Sunday, May 29, 2016

Homemade Chamomile Tea with Fresh Flowers from The Garden

The flowers of the chamomile plant resemble a carpet of mini-daisies blanketing a small, sunny corner of my vegetable patch. 
They're lovely, actually. Hardy, too.
Tonight I made my first batch of chamomile/mint tea. 
By the way, mint is the other "easiest herb in the world to grow"--you simply cannot kill it. 
Trust me. 
So back to chamomile: I snipped a small bouquet of the white and yellow flowers and placed them in my coffee mug with a few sprigs of mint leaves. I poured warm water over and set the timer for about five minutes. 
I strained the liquid into another mug, and like magic, we had homemade chamomile tea.
Your tea will taste nothing like the dried bags of herbal chamomile tea you may have tried. 
The fresh-flower variety of tea is very herb-y. A bit of a lemony taste, too. It's delicious. 
Chamomile tea is said to be good for helping ease stomach upset and to help with sleep.

The best chamomile herb to buy is one of German origin matricaria retutica, or so I've read. 
I basically used common sense and bought the herb from the nursery with the tag that said, Excellent for Making Tea! 
Side-by-side growing mint with green beans. I KNOW! 
But it works. 
Make sure you strain the tea. Once you do, you'll have this lovely pale greenish-yellow brew. 
Comfort in a cup.
In other news. This is Frankie. She's a giant. We just adore her and her sissy tolerates her. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Gluten Free Mexican Casserole with Pickled Onions

This dinner should be called, "my-kitchen's-calling-me" casserole. 
Here' how this awesome vegan (oh and did I mention it was gluten-free, too?) casserole came about.

 I made a lovely pan of veggies and beans to use as my filler: onion, garlic, green pepper, mushrooms, black beans, corn and a can of tomatoes, plenty of cumin and oregano--spice it up to your heart's content. *I have a special Penzey's blend I use, too. Let this mixture simmer for a bit (let the juices reduce, too), and while it simmers, make the pickled onions: red onion slice thin, juice of one lime with a pinch of sugar and some salt and white vinegar--enough to cover the onions in a bowl. Set this aside. When you've finished the pickling stuff, begin layering the casserole by using a square dish, spread a bit of salsa over the bottom to begin with, then cover this with corn tortillas (you'll have to break a few in half just to fill in the corners well. In between the three or four layers you make, add a smattering of vegan cheeze in between for good measure, then top the casserole with a bit of the cheese and bake at 375 until bubbly, about 30 minutes. While this bakes, make your rice and guacamole you'll be serving with it on the side. This has been on our table at least once a week for the past few weeks now. 
You can see here what I'm talking about with the whole "layering" thing. Just keep layering until you run out of filling. You'll want to keep room at the top so while it bakes, you don't have oven spillage.
This is delicious and makes for an even better left over.  


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