Advent Wreath Making in Under One Hour

Advent Wreath Making

Advent Wreath Making: Simply ~ and ~ Beautiful!

Are you looking for a meaningful addition to truly celebrate Christmas?

Are you already beginning to feel a ‘holiday crunch’ on your time? The holiday rush?

Do you want to celebrate this Season “simply”?

Advent begins tomorrow, and is a wonderful time to s-l-o-w down and really soak in the true meaning of what Christmas is all about — and it is not about the ‘crunch’ or rush.

A wonderful way to do this is by celebrating Advent at home. Making an Advent Wreath is a wonderful tradition that can easily be made up quickly and frugally, yet be a beautiful touch to your seasonal decor. Many of the items you probably have on hand.

Fresh clippings can be had from your yard or from a willing friend’s garden, or perhaps you have a stash of unused holiday decor items you could fashion into a lovely wreath.

This is a great family activity and once made, serves as a reminder of the Reason for this Season — and maybe a symbol to s-l-o-w down and steep in that thought just a bit.

A few days ago, I wrote about teaching an Advent Wreath Making Workshop for area homeschool moms as a “Mom’s Night Out.” We had such a fun time and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The designs were incredible, each unique and beautiful. None of the ladies had ever made an Advent Wreath before, so rest assured — no experience is required. That being the case, they also discovered they could make an Advent Wreath in an hour or less!

Not quite sure how to go about making an Advent Wreath?

To help you assemble a safe, sturdy wreath, and learn about the proper care and use of an Advent Wreath, we have just released Herbal Treasures Advent Wreath Making Guide, Advent Wreath Devotional and online Workshop. Based on 10 years of study about Advent Wreaths and 5 years of teaching and writing about them, our Advent Wreath Making Book Package is available by PDF download on your computer, so you don’t have to wait for a delivery — or pay shipping charges!

For more information about Herbal Treasures’ Advent Wreath Making Guide and Advent Wreath Devotional and Online Workshop

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The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

HSA Bk The Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking With Herbs

            More than a cookbook and more than a gardening manual – a delightful combination!

Are you searching for a great gift idea for a gardener, an accomplished cook or someone who is a combination of the two? How about a gift for an herbal enthusiast? Are you looking for an informative herby read?

The Herb Society of America’s The Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs provides detailed information for cultivating a variety of popular herbs, along with simple herbal recipes that will satisfy even fussiest gourmet. 

The book is divided into 3 sections: 

The first part provides horticultural information for 63 herbs found in the National Herb Garden’s Culinary Garden. Descriptive information includes the common and botanical names, family, origin, and growing requirements. 

In the second section of the guide, Herb Society of America members offer over 200 classic and creative recipes incorporating a variety of herbs. 

The final portion of the book features a personal tour of the 2.5 acre National Herb Garden, located at the center of the United States National Arboretum, in the heart of Washington, D.C. The descriptive narrative spotlights the themed gardens which illustrate the various uses of herbs and includes complete plants lists for each area. 

The sale of this book is to benefit the National Herb Garden, so you see your purchase is truly a gift that keeps on giving. 

As a Lifetime Member of the Herb Society of America, I am pleased to be a part of this benefit for the National Herb Garden, with one of my recipes selected and included in this book. 

Read more about The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

Winterizing the Herb Garden

Christmas Candle Winterizing the Herb Garden

A few hours tidying up a garden at season’s end saves a lot of unnecessary hard work for the spring, when you are anxious to plant and till some new soil! As the weather has been so unseasonably warm in many parts, if you have not yet attended to some of these chores, it’s not too late!

Prune and shape – artemisia, marjoram, oregano, lavender, thyme – don’t cut back severely, but light pruning after frost is fine. Cut off spent flower stems and dead limbs throughout the garden. Avoid severe pruning late in the fall, as winter hardiness is reduced until the cuts have healed. Woody plants should not be severely pruned within 4 – 6 weeks of the first severe freeze.

Pull up annuals and tender perennials you do not plan to over winter, placing them into your composting pile. Remove dead, damaged or diseased plants, to lessen the spread of disease to other plants in your garden now, or next growing season. This minimizes over wintering insects and disease problems.

Prior to first frost: Pull tropicals, scented geraniums, other plants you may wish to pot and over winter. (Tender perennials are best potted up in the late summer.) Cuttings might be taken to root, rather than trying to pot up and keep a well established tender perennial, or if you should lose it during the winter, trying to over winter it.

Clean up garden beds, by raking and removing leaves and trash. Transplant “orphan” herb plants you may discover along the way, to a better spot, or mark with a plant stake. Let the beds remain clean and clear for a week or so. Many insect pests and some weeds seeds are destroyed when exposed to the sun and to chilly nights.

“Pull the covers up”, by spreading 1-2″ of compost or topsoil over the garden beds; then top with loose organic mulch, which acts like a blanket. Woodchips or sawdust should not be used, as they absorb the nitrogen, necessary for plants to grow. Winter mulching helps to maintain a uniform soil temperature around the plant’s root system, while providing protection against heaving caused by the freezing and thawing of soil.

Flat, heavy stones may be used to “mulch” around lavender plants, to help keep the soil from heaving, in areas where winter is more severe. Leaves, straw or a simple cut pine bough placed around French tarragon, germander, Roman chamomile, silver and lemon thyme, winter savory, large lavender or sage plants, help provide protection. In areas of large amounts of snow or ice, teepees of twigs, sticks or bamboo may be constructed, and the leaves or straw mounded within for greater plant protection.

Rewrite or replace plant markers, as you go…

Cared for properly, many herbs (and other perennial plants!) will thrive in your garden for seasons to come! Enjoy!!!

TIP: Use clippings to make an Advent Wreath and other seasonal decor!

Tomato-Basil Soup Recipe

HT Kit  Tomato~Basil Soup 

½ cup onions, chopped                                                        

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 

1 Tbsp garlic, crushed                                                           

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 

2 Tbsp olive oil                                                                     

½ tsp dry mustard powder 

5  28 ounce cans “fresh cut” tomatoes, plus juice        

1 cup grated Romano cheese 

2/3 cup pureed or finely-minced basil                                    

4 cups vegetable stock 

2 teaspoons sugar 

In heavy stock pot, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil, until soft. Add all other ingredients except Romano, and bring to simmer.  Continue simmering for about 20 minutes. Remove 2 cups of hot soup, whisk Romano into it, returning it to the stock pot. Adjust seasonings and serve. 

Note: Enjoyed at Herbal Treasures’ “Herbs in the Kitchen” Luncheon!

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack Gardener’s Glossary – Hardy:

Able to withstand year-round climatic conditions, including cold, without protection.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

NOTE: We discussed the importance of this in this post

A Thyme for Sharing: Reader Recipe – Marinade

Turkey  A Thyme for Sharing ~ An Herbal Treasures Reader Writes…

“I’d like to share a turkey marinade that I concocted about 10 years ago, and have shared with tons of folks. They in return have passed it on to guests in their homes. Recipes only get better and better when shared with friends. This works well with turkey or chicken, in the oven, or on the barbeque. I submitted it to Allrecipes.com a couple of years ago.”

Here it is:

Chicken and Turkey Marinade

A 24-hour marinade, guaranteed to please every time. Chicken or turkey is always moist, tender. Use half of a recipe for a chicken, or the full recipe for a turkey of any size.

Everyone will clamor for this recipe!!!

Makes 5 cups of marinade.

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup minced fresh oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and mustard. Add the chives, sage, oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic, paprika, and herb seasoning. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend before marinating your favorite meat.

Submitted by: Elaine Maxwell, Herbal Treasures reader

Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe with us, Elaine!

More about cooking turkeys may be found here…

Gardener’s Inspiration: Fall Table Décor

Pumpkin Flwr Cntrpc  Gardener’s Inspiration: Fall Table Décor and Displays

Table Décor Ideas for the Season We Just Love:

Serve dip or herbed spread in a small, hollowed out pumpkin, with crudités and whole wheat crackers, from a rustic serving tray.

Ladle your pumpkin soup from a clean, hollowed out larger pumpkin!

Feature a seasonal flower arrangement in a hollowed out pumpkin, or place setting-sized arrangements in hollowed out mini-pumpkins or gourds.

Fall is a Time of Renewal

Fall Apple Bskt  Although in the latter portion of the year, fall has always seemed to be a time of renewal to me. It is a time of starting anew — a new school year, a new project, completion of the summer’s many responsibilities and chores, or looking ahead to a busy, new fall schedule.

Fall also seems to be a festive time of the year to me. The weather generally cools a bit initially, the days turn golden, and the colorful leaves make for a bright, happy time to celebrate!

Fall brings with it many traditions we anticipate and share…

Two Family Favorite Fall Recipes:

***Hot Spiced Cider***

Warm 1 gallon of fresh apple cider in a large pot, over medium heat.  

Thinly slice 1 orange and 1 lemon, and add slices to the warming cider.

Add 6 broken cinnamon sticks and a handful of whole cloves in the pot.

Cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer, allowing flavors to blend about 20-30 minutes.

Serve in pretty mugs. (Aromatherapy in a mug — and in the kitchen!)

***Roasted Pumpkin Seeds***

Cut a lid out of your chosen pumpkin. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp.

Rinse the seeds, removing the strings and pulp from them. Soak them for about 30 minutes in 2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt added.

Remove the seeds from the salty solution and let them dry on clean papertowels.

Spread a single layer of pumpkin seeds on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle them with garlic salt, onion salt and chili pepper — or your favorite blend!

Bake 10-15 minutes in a 350-degreeF oven, until the seeds begin to lightly brown. Stir the seeds occasionally throughout the baking time.

Fall is Garlic Planting Time

Garlic Garlic (Allium sativum) is a hardy perennial member of the onion family.

The fall, just prior to the first frost is the time we plant garlic in our gardens. No special items need to be ordered to enjoy yummy garlicky results next season!

Prepare soil with compost and organic matter, so that it is fertile and frisable (loose texture).

Simply plant the larger garlic cloves (located on the outside of a garlic bulb you buy at the store, farm stand or membership warehouse), with the pointed end turned upward; set them at a depth of one-half to one inch deep, allowing 18 to 30 inches between the rows. 

Once planted, make sure the soil remains evenly moist.  

The bulbs may be harvested when the tops begin to dry. In our garden, this is in the spring.

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