Drying Basil

We planted a  moderately sized raised bed herb garden this year and our plants are growing like crazy!   I’ve been playing with drying herbs and have been researching ways to dry various herbs and found a few different ways of doing it.

 

Air Drying Basil

I haven’t tried this method because I don’t really have anywhere to hang basil as it needs to be.  But here’s how to do it and here is what you need to do it:

  • Fresh  Basil from your garden
  •  A piece of String, yarn or thread

Wash the basil leaves carefully using water only keeping stems on.  Tie together the bunches with the string, yarn or thread, making sure to tie them tight as you don’t want any of the stems in the bunch to fall down when they start to dry and shrink.

Hang it in a dry place out of direct sunlight.

You will know they are ready when the leaves easily break.  If not, give it another week.  Very simple.

 

Oven drying Basil

What you will need:

  •  basil from your garden
  • Kitchen sheers (herb scissors)
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • A cookie sheet
  • Paper towels
  • Oven
  1. Wash and dry your stems  with water only.  Drying by blotting between two paper towels.
  2. Take out discolored leaves and woody stems.
  3. Preheat your oven to the lowest . (150-180)
  4. Spread whole leaves out on chosen surface making sure that the leaves to do not overlap or fold over themselves.

You can do the next step one of two ways.

  1. You can bake your leaves  for 20 minutes in the oven, turn off the heat and leave in oven for 24 hours  (I used this method) OR
  2. Place in oven on top rack for 2 to 4 hours or until basil crumbles easily between your fingers.
  3. Gather in middle of parchment paper or foil and crumble with your fingers.
  4. Store in a glass jar in a cool dark place

I recently dried Basil using the second method and it came out pretty good.

 

Microwave Drying Basil

From my research, I have learned that microwave drying of basil is easier on the basil leaves than oven  drying of the leaves.  It is easier on the leaf tissue because the water in the her leaves absorbs more of the energy than the plant tissue does.  The water inside the leaves gets hot and evaporates, drying the plant tissue.

What you will need to do this:

  • Basil leaves with stems removed
  • Paper towels
  • microwave
  • funnel
  1. Wash basil bunches in cool water.
  2. remove all the leaves dividing up by size (this is important later)
  3. Blot between two paper towels to dry…make sure all the excess water is removed; otherwise, they will cook, not dry in the microwave.
  4. Arrange leaves of similar size on a paper towel on your microwave carousel .
  5. Start on with 1 minute on high setting and check the leaves.  If they do not crumble easily add another 30 seconds checking each time for ease of crumbling.

I recently dried Cinnamon Basil this way and I found that larger Basil leaves were perfect at 2 minutes and crumbled easily.  Around 1.5 minutes was good for moderately sized leaves and less for smaller leaves. Judge for yourself in 30 second increments.

After drying I gathered each batch of leaves to the center of the paper towel and crumbled with my fingers.  I used a funnel to put them into a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid.

With this method the leaves seem to retain their color and delightful aroma.

I hope you will give this a try and let me know how it worked for you!

Corned Beef and Cabbage in a Crock Pot

This is my first time ever making Corned Beef and Cabbage.  I used a recipe I found on Food.

  • 4 cups HOT water
  • 2 Tablespoons  Cider Vinegar
  • 2 table spoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground Pepper
  • 1 large onion cut into quarters
  • 3 lbs corned beef brisket (with spices)
  • 8 small white or yellow potatoes scrubbed and cut into quarters
  • 1 head of cabbage cored and cut into 10 wedges (1.5 lbs)
  • 4-5 Carrots cut into one inch pieces

 Instructions

Combine water , vinegar , sugar and pepper and onions in a 6 qt crockpot and mix well.

Place corned beef and the contents of the spice packet in the mixture

Scatter the potatoes over the top and along the sides

Cover and cook on high heat setting for 4 hours

Remove the lid and scatter the cabbage wedges over the top.

Cover and continue cooking on high 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender.

To Serve care the beef into slices against the Grain and serve with the cabbage and potatoes and carrots with some of the cooking liquid spooned ontop of the beef to keep it moist.

I found that the potatoes were done after the first four hours and removed them.  Perhaps place the potatoes when you place the cabbage leaves and the carrots or just remove them as i did after the first four hours.

This smells so great cooking in the house all day.

Lost Socks

I don’t know about you but I hate doing laundry.  The only thing I hate more than laundry is losing socks from one load to another!  I usually just throw them back into the dirty laundry basket until a mate can be found.  Well, no more!!

I saw this idea on Pinterest and I loved it. Here is the original idea:

I loved it so much I decided to make my own.   And here’s how I did it!

Materials I used:

  • 1 piece of Basswood Project wood (from Hobby Lobby)
  • 1 Jar of Americana Chalky finish in the color: Escape
  • Mod Podge Gloss Sealer
  • Americana Acrylic Paint in Snow White
  • 1 2″ Paint Brush
  • 4 Wooden clothes pins
  • Smaller Craft Paint brushes
  • Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks

First, I started with my Wood and brushed off all the splinters.

Then I brushed on Mod Podge Gloss Sealer And Allowed to dry.

Applied Three coats of the Americana Chalky finish paint, allowing it to dry between coats.  This pain has a neat almost crackle finish on top of the Mod Podge and it looks really nice..

I left it overnight to dry.   The next day I took the Americana acrylic paint and painted “Lost Socks” on the top of the board.  Freehand.

Using the hot glue gun I glued four clothes pins to the board as evenly spaced as I could.   The original idea had five clothes pins on it but my wood is a bit smaller than in the example so I limited mine to four clothes pins.  I debated painting the fronts of the clothes pins but decided against it.

Here is the finished product!  Cute, no?

‘The Walking Dead’ companion series gets pilot greenlight

Marie:

Is this really necessary??

Originally posted on Inside TV:

[ew_image url=”http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2014/09/04/the-walking-dead-02_612x380.jpg” credit=”” align=”none”]

The Walking Dead companion series pilot is a go.

EW can exclusively report that AMC has officially ordered a pilot set in the same zombie-plagued universe as TV’s top-rated drama series. The as-yet-untitled project will go into production later this year, and will be set in a different location than the original series and star a new cast of characters. (Since the characters are different, the series not technically a “spinoff.”)

The Walking Dead executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert are all on board for the new project. Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy) was tapped as showrunner back in March. Kirkman and Erickson recently turned in a pilot script, which we’re told really impressed AMC’s executive ranks.

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Buddy Update 8-25-2014

Since we’ve moved to our temporary digs, we’ve taken Buddy to the vet.  He’s had a problem with incontinence for a while now as well as an enlarged lymph node in his left leg.  It’s like a damn golf ball!

The Vet took an x-ray of his abdomen and they found a large mass that is pushing down on his bladder.  The vet believes that this is a very enlarged lymph node in his abdomen. She showed us the x-ray and it looks to me that it is as big as one of those triangle potato hash browns you can get at some restaurants. 

They did a urine analysis (UA) and the UA said that he has +3 Red Blood Cells in his urine. So the vet but him back on antibiotics even though the last culture said nothing was in there.  He’s taking Simplecef now. I’m wondering if the cancer has erroded into his bladder.  There’s no way to tell according to the vet. 

Buddy is sleeping a lot more on his favorite cushion  and does a lot more shaking than he used to, a lot more than typical “little dog shake.”

I don’t know if Buddy will be with us this time next year.

Oh Captain, My Captain!

It’s been a little more than a week since Robin Williams took his own life in his San Francisco area home.  I have to say that that one hit me hard.  It was a shock more than anything else.  Immediately I thought, drugs, he fell off the wagon and managed to kill himself.   The following day I learned that he was found hanging with a belt with superficial cuts on his wrists.  That made me profoundly sad.  The world has lost an amazing talent. 

I was fortunate to be able to see him in his Weapons Of Self Destruction tour at UCF. That was an amazing show.  It was great even though I had nose bleed seats.  My husband and I were just talking a little while before that it would be great to see him again in concert. That wont be happening.

Robin Williams not only made us laugh year after year from Mork and Mindy to his turn as Roosevelt in Night at the Museum.  I have learned that he had reprised his role in Night at the Museum 3 which I believe is already in the can, as they say in Hollywood or at the very least in post production.  Mrs Doubtfire 2 was in the works but will now not be happening. So much potential for laughter. 

I can only imagine what pain he must have been in to leave his beloved family and to take his own life. Makes me sad to think about it. 

What are your favorite Robin Williams movies?  Mine are as follows:

The Dead Poets Society

This is by far my favorite more of his.  Inspiring to many to Carpe Diem- to Seize the Day.  Gather thee rosebuds while ye may….  While in college, I did a production of A Midsummer Nights Dream and we watched this at the cast party.  I had seen it many times before but now it holds extra special meaning.

Good Morning Vietnam

Such a funny movie on such a serious topic.  Showed Robin’s ability to swing from the funny to the dramatic and he was amazing.  One of my favorite movies of all time.

Mrs Doubtfire

I just love this movie. Heartwarming and funny

What Dreams May Come

A little known, a little depressing, but artistically amazing film.  If you haven’t seen it you must check it out.  It willed me with wonder.

 

 

RIP Robin.  You will be missed.

 

 

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
— Walt Whitman

Southwest still sucks!!

Yet another problem southwest. When we finally reached Baltimore we upgraded to upgraded boarding and received position 2 + 3 when they scanned our boarding pass there was a problem and we couldn’t get on the damn plane. We upgraded for a reason and now that is useless!! They are telling is that we’ve flown already!! Yeah, that’s why we are still
Sitting in the airport waiting for a
Flight that wad four hours late!! This is not what we want to hear at 12:25 am after a four hour layover. We are beyond unhappy!! We upgraded so we could sit together now the entire flight is boarding and we are not yet on it!!