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Roasted Aspargus & Scape Quiche

There are a very few weeks each year were garlic scapes are available and we are there in this part of the world.

Garlic comes in two varieties, hardneck and softneck. Hardneck  garlic needs to have their tops taken off so that the energy goes into the bulbs, making larger bulbs for harvesting later in the year. The yummy tops can be used as a vegetable, made into pesto, turned into soup, pickled and substituted for any recipe calling for garlic.

For the strongest garlic flavour, use the scapes in pesto and hummus, were it is ground fresh but if you would like something mellower then cooking your scapes it the answer.

The challenge in my home is that someone here has a serious negative reaction to garlic. No vampire jokes please. Instead of putting this together in my home, I ran off to use a friend’s kitchen, share a meal and BONUS! cuddle cats!

My intention was to test two options but once I realized there was not enough asparagus, we went with the truly simple option to check out the flavour of the roasted scapes.

Garlic is a healthy little powerhouse, known to boost the function of the immune system improve blood pressure and cholesterol numbers when added regularly to a diet and contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

You will need:

1 pie crust, cold and uncooked

6 fresh garlic scapes, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 onion, chopped

3/4 cup of chopped asparagus, cup into 1 inch pieces

2 Tbsp. oil

3 eggs

1 cup milk

6 chives finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Take a deep breath, wash your hands and gather up your apron. Three simple actions to bring your focus into the present moment, let go of any nigglies and separate from daily life, into a place of connection with the job at hand. “Work is love in action” is a mantra from the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland but the concept that sacredness and food preparation go hand in hand can be found in cultures around the world.

Cut the asparagus and garlic scapes into pieces, one inch long and toss along with the chopped onion in 2 Tbsp. oil. Place on cookie sheet and pop in the oven.

I pre-roasted the veggies in the oven at 375 degrees F. for what was supposed to be twenty minutes but what can I say, cuddling  cats and keeping track of time don’t mix. They got about 10 extra minutes but in no way tasted burned, just well caramelized.

This can also be done in a pan or grilled on a BBQ if that makes better sense to your plans.

Mix the eggs, milk, spices and chives together.

I made an edge of pastry maple leaves because Canada’s birthday celebrations happen next week and I was thinking about ways to get that symbolism into a meal.

A ready made pie shell or a different edge on home made pastry will work just as well.

Place the vegetables in the shell and pour the milk and egg mixture slowly on top making sure not to over fill. Remember that the eggs will puff a little.

Roasted Aspargus and Garlic Scape Quiche from My Kitchen Wand.Place in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until the mixture is cooked in the center and the edges are lightly browned.

See how much the pastry shrunk back to the edge of the pie plate even though it came directly from the fridge and had a much bigger overhang?

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy. The flavour is surprisingly delicate and if there is no asparagus easily available, no worries. This delicious quiche could have been made entirely with scapes and onions, as long as you like garlic.

Roasted Aspargus and Garlic Scape Quiche from My Kitchen Wand.We shared dinner on the back veranda, in the lovely warm setting sun near bushes filled with six yellow song birds vying for dinner at the bird feeder and a fresh from the garden salad.Roasted Aspargus and Garlic Scape Quiche from My Kitchen Wand.What better way to celebrate summer than with a simple tasty meal and good friends? Roasted Aspargus and Garlic Scape Quiche from My Kitchen Wand.

 

Litha Honey Drops

Most Litha celebrations are sourced in European traditions. Whether it be an Italian all white midnight picnic or Celtic dancing around the community bonfire, summer solstice marks the shifting from the growing/waxing half of the Wheel of the Year to the half that is connected to dieing/waning and death.

Nordstjernan.com an online magazine celebrating all things Swedish in America, printed this description,” On Midsummer we eat and dance with abandon, leaving all worries behind. The sun never sets and there are flowers everywhere. ” Midsummer is even a national holiday in Sweden.

It is not at all surprising that bees are one of the animals of the summer solstice as honey, in all its forms (mead, raw, cakes and ales), is one of the festival foods of Litha. Now is the time to raid the pantry of all things infusing, curing or generally mellowing that speak of fire, strength and sun.

These honey cookies are made with rose and lavender infused honey that I have mentioned before but if that is not a handy option substitute wildflower honey or any locally produced honey available. Fir and pine also have strong connections to the summer solstice so these infusions would work as well.

The recipe calls for oil instead of butter and I used three tablespoons of dandelion and St. John’s Wort infused oil in the total amount needed. It is not a requirement but it was available and seemed perfect for a sun related celebration.

There are a number of herbs specifically connected to Litha. This is in part because herbs are at the height of their potency at this time of the year. I used fresh thyme in this recipe but other relatively easy to locate herbs could be substituted; basil, chervil, chive, fennel, mint, parsley, sage, rosemary, tarragon or vervain. Each would bring a different taste to the final cookie and the amount added might need adjusting. Lemon, a suggested addition to solstice incense was added in zest form instead of a more standard vanilla extract.

It is best to make these a few days in advance, giving the honey time to soften the cookies before serving.

You will need:

2/3 cup oil (herb infused if you have it available)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup flower infused honey, rose and lavender

1 egg

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Raw sugar, or violet infused sugar for rolling

As mentioned above, summer solstice is a time for letting go of all your worries, so it is highly appropriate to be in that same energetic place while preparing these offerings. If you have trouble doing that imagine a basket sitting in the corner of the room. It has a lid on it and you can lift the lid and place all those nigglies inside before putting the top back down, tightly. Know that once you are finished baking, if you really need them, they will be available for you to pick up again.

For now, take a deep breath, feel the freedom and lightness of letting go. Wash your hands, grab your apron, invite the compassionate spirits and enjoy the creative process.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie tray(s) with parchment.

Mix the oil, honey, and sugar together until smooth. Add the lemon zest, egg and freshly chopped thyme. Mix in the salt, stirring to dissolve.

I really enjoyed doing this recipe by hand, There was no need to beat butter so it was nice to get into the flowing patterns of movement, mixing dandelion and St. John’s Wort with rose and lavender, thyme and lemon.

In a sifter mix add the flour and baking soda.

Sift the dry ingredients into the liquid ones, in thirds, mixing everything together after each addition.

You should be able to start rolling right away but if you are finding your dough a little soft, just cover and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Shape the dough into balls and roll in sugar making sure to coat the whole cookie.

I made three different varieties, one with balls the size of walnuts, rolled in raw sugar cane sugar and then pressed down with two fingers. They worked well but I was looking for a lighter finished colour for Litha and wanted to get away from the browner tones of raw sugar.

There were also two smaller balls, about the size of half a walnut. One version was rolled in violet infused sugar. That is sugar flavoured by adding whole violets. The sugar is still white but has taken on the flavour of the violets. (This was my preference but if it is not already sitting on a shelf, plain sugar is the other option.)

The other was baked plain and then tossed in violet sugar, a mixture of ground violets and white sugar. It did not seem a good idea to roll the cookies in violets and sugar before baking as that would turn the ground petal pieces black.

Place the cookies on the parchment covered trays and bake. The smaller cookies will be done when they are lightly browned on top, in about 8 – 10 minutes. The larger cookies took just over 12 minutes.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for at least 24 hours. You will find that the cookies will soften and the flavour will ripen over time.Litha Honey Drops from My Kitchen WandThese are the larger ones, rolled in raw sugar.Litha Honey Drops from My Kitchen WandAnd these are the smaller ones, rolled in violet sugar.

Please take this recipe as a suggestion of how to blend the traditional elements of the season into a celebratory cookie.

Weather and latitude will dictate what is available for your cookie creation. The point here is to gather together what is locally available ( fresh honey, eggs and herbs ) with what has been previously prepared ( infused honey, flour and zest ) to create something uniquely appropriate for Litha.

It is not a chocolate chip and nut kind of cookie for munching on with a glass of milk but rather something to nibble while toasting the day with sun infused tea. Consumable expressions of the benefits that come to us through Earth’s relationship with the sun. Feel the gratitude, freedom and lightness however you celebrate. Be ready to eat, drink and be merry met all night long, (dancing with abandon encouraged).

 

Litha Beeswax Tapers

The Wheel of the Year is all about our relationship with the sun, so a respected and tended fire is always a perfect addition to any solstice celebration. Because we are outside more at this time of the year, that can also be a campfire, a small bonfire on the beach or even some burning potted candles to keep the bugs away. Please make sure to follow the burning regulations wherever you live.

The full moon in June is known in North America as the Strawberry Full Moon as this is the time to begin harvesting the first berries of the season. In Europe it is referred to as the Honey Moon, in honour of all the bees buzzingly collecting pollen and making honey. Mead, a honey wine, is bubbling away, to be ready for hand fasting celebrations, traditionally held at Summer Solstice.

This connection to honey makes beeswax the perfect wax choice for Litha candles and tapers are a quick roll up, easily done in five minutes. You will need:

1 sheet of honeycomb beewax approximately 16 x 8 inches, in the colour of your choice

28 inches of #2/0 wick or the recommended choice of your supplier, cut in half

There are many ways to cut a sheet of beeswax. In this case I used a jig that was cut diagonally, four inches from each end. That will give me two 14 inch candles when finished.

Changing the angle of the cut can give you anything from eight inch high candles that will have no taper to 16 inch candles with lots of taper. The choice is yours.

Begin by making sure that when you look at the two pieces, the points are pointing in opposite directions with the longest edge side closest to you. This will ensure that when the candles are rolled, they will roll in opposite directions, creating complimentary curves when set together on a table.Lay the wick on the edge of the longest side and fold the beeswax over. It does not need to cover the wick entirely on the first fold. One third is just fine with the wick still visible. You will be working from the other side and not able to see the wick as the beeswax will be folder over it. I just wanted to show you what people will see from the other side.

The wick should go from top to bottom and leave 1/4 inch protruding from the top. If for some reason the wick is a little short, pull it up from the bottom as candles rarely get burned all the way to the bottom.

Once the wax has been folded from top to bottom on the longest side, repeat by folding over a second time. This will completely enclose the wick.

Roll again. You will see that the taper is being to be formed at the top of the candle as the angled side gets shorter and shorter.In this picture you can see that the beeswax pieces are pointing in different directions as mentioned above. At this stage, it is possible to roll the candles up using the palm of your hands. Keeping an eye on the bottom edge as it is rolled up is the best way to keep the candles straight. Make sure it aligns and does not begin to curve in either direction.

Honeycomb beeswax is forgiving and if you find yourself off the straight and narrow, gently unroll, correct your positioning and reroll.

Beeswax can be sticky so working on a surface that is easily cleaned is a good idea.

The edge at the end of the rolled candle can be helped to stick to the taper by rolling back and forth a few time, edge down, pushing down just enough to press the beeswax layers together.

A nice optional finishing touch is to use your thumbs and round the bottom. This will help keep the finishing edge in place and also create an angle so that no matter the size of your candlestick holder, the taper will fit.

Choose colours that work best with your intentions. The yellow in the picture is natural beeswax and it is usually possible to find in several shades. White beeswax has been charcoal filtered to take out all the “honey” components and will not have the aroma of natural beeswax. All other colours have vegetables based dyes added to the beeswax. Choose for the season, the intention or the table decoration.

These directions are to begin a simple taper candle. It is possible to turn the edges back, creating a flair. They also can be decorated or scribed with a gold or silver pen.

These candles will last eight hours and it is possible to double the burning time by using two half sheets while making one taper candle. The wick size will need to be raised to #1/0 to accomodate the extra wax.

Cut the wick length to 1/4 inch before lighting and clip if needed.

If there is no supplier close by, Wicks and Wax will happily ship sheets and wick. I can vouch for the fact that these are 100% beeswax sheets.

Candles are used more often on the dark side of the wheel, but if you are choosing an indoor event this year, then beeswax candles will bring the symbols of fire and bees together perfectly on your summer solstice table.

Litha Beeswax Tapers from My Kitchen WandLitha Beeswax Tapers from My Kitchen Wand

 

 

Orange Marmalade Coffee Cake with Almonds

Sometimes you just don’t want the usual.

Chocolate? Nah.

Local fresh fruit? Not in season yet.

How about…? Takes too much time and effort.

This coffee cake may be just the thing. Yes, there are several steps, like a simple struessel to make but once it is in the oven you can choose to be done.

I used Seville orange marmalade and made it for a couple of women in their eighties who rarely have a second slice of anything, so it must have turned out pretty well.

I baked this in a round springform but using a rectangle and cutting it into squares would make a wonderful addition to the dessert portion of a special brunch buffet.

You will need:

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. orange zest

3.5 Tbsp. butter

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup orange marmalade

1 tsp. almond extract or 1/2 bottle almond essence

1 cup greek yoghurt

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup ground almond

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup orange marmalade

Begin by letting go of all the nigglies running around your thoughts. Bring your focus back into the present moment and the reason and people you are making this offering for. Separate yourself from the past by washing hands, putting on an apron and taking a deep cleansing breath. Separate from the future by taking a second deep cleansing breath. Invite the compassionate spirits to join you and begin.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. The last time I made this the oven was at 350 degrees but I think the lower temperature and a little longer bake time is a better idea.

Combine the flour, brown and white sugar, orange zest and butter in a small bowl.

It is best if the butter is at room temperature.

Using a fork or clean hands squish the ingredients together until well combined.

Put the bowl aside for later.

Grease and flour the pan. Put aside.

In a new medium sized bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This can be done by hand but a hand mixer/kitchen mixer is quicker.

Add in the eggs, marmalade, almond extract and greek yoghurt and combine well.

Sprinkle the almond flour over the top and fold in. If ground almonds are not handy, try increasing the flour by half a cup instead.

Once the wet ingredients have been combined, add the dry ingredients.

If you have a sifter to aerate the flour, add the leavening agents to the flour, stir a little to combine and then sift over the batter in thirds, mixing after each addition.

Once the batter is complete, transfer half to the prepared form and gently spsread to teh edges.

Dot the batter with 1/2 teaspoonfuls of marmalade and sprikle with 1/3 of the streussel.

Repeat with the remaining batter, dab with marmalade and top with the last 2/3’s of the topping.

Bake for an hour. Test for doneness with a toothpick or knitting needle.The middle may need a few extra minutes.

The cake will be dark and crunchy on the edges but not burnt.

Cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge and releasing the baked cake from the springform. Cool completely before adding an optional drizzle to the top of the cake.

The drizzle was 1/2 cup icing sugar and 2 – 3 Tbsp. liquid. (I used whipping cream). Stir until combined and add liquid only until the glaze will drizzle, is not too thick or too thin but just right. One would think I had invited the three bears to coffee. The added heat of the cake if it has not been fully cooled will thin and absorb the drizzle, so be patient if using.

Marmalade Cake from My Kitchen Wand Serve fresh with a little whipped cream on the side. I flavoured the cream with some orange syrup from my orange zest jar and vanilla sugar will also work.

The texture is light and it will firm up, especially if kept in the fridge overnight. Best to find a home for your efforts the day this is baked.

Marmalade Cake from My Kitchen WandMarmalade Cake from My Kitchen Wand

 

Crab Stuffed Mushroom Cups

Our bimonthly throwdown was yesterday, a chance to catch up on what has been going on in everyone’s life and nibble someone elses creativity.  The May challenge was mushroom caps, something I have actually only made once before.

I was looking forward to seeing what range of finished caps there would be and I was not disappointed. It had never even occurred to me to think in terms of an upcooked mushroom cap but on the hot day we were having, ( 30C/87F ) it made total sense not to turn on the oven. Another presenter used Portabella mushrooms and made what could have been an intriguing light dinner option or an appetizer easily shared by two.

So here we go with my version of Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps.You will need:

1 small can of crabmeat ( 120 grams size in Canada, 4.25 oz in the U.S., drained)

5 Tbsp. Greek yoghurt, plain

3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

4 stocks of fresh chives, finely chopped

3 Tbsp. roasted red peppers, finely chopped and drained

1 tsp. sundried tomatoes finely chopped

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. fresh oregano finely chopped.

salt to taste

12 two inch brown mushrooms

1/4 cup fine bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients listed from the top of the list down to and including the salt.

Ensure the roasted red peppers are nicely drained and that the ingredients are finely chopped so that they will the caps easily.

You can taste at this point and adjust the flavouring ( there is that Canadian spelling again ) but my suggestion is to cover and put the bowl in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavours mingle before testing for flavour.

Adjust the smoked paprika and salt or any other factor to a combination that suits your taste.

While the filling is mellowing, prepare the caps.

Mushroom can absorb a lot of water so if at all possible brush or wipe them clean instead of letting the mushrooms sit in water.

Remove the center stock and take out the gills. It is surprising how much space will suddenly appear.

Mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan.

You will not need it all but having a little extra makes dipping the caps much easier.

Using as small spoon, evenly fill the caps as full as possible.

The mixture will be moist enough to hold together if extra is piled on top.

Dip each cap into the bread crumb mixture or pour the mixture over the top and shake the excess off.

Now is a good time to reshape the caps if needed.

Using fingers push the filling into circles that sit nicely in the center of the mushroom.

Return the mushrooms to the fridge to be baked later or bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. I turned up the heat to 375 degrees for the last 7 minutes to get a little extra browning.

Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with a little extra freshly chopped herbs.

Serve hot or warm as your plans dictate.These were the raw caps with a creamy mushroom filling that worked really well on a hot day.These were a delicious cheese and spinach filled entry, also baked but easily served at room temperature.These were the mushroom caps as dinner offering, topped with deep fried onions and cashews. They also included a hint of vermouth, aspargus and leeks! Delish!And finally Crab Stuffed Mushrooms Caps from My Kitchen Wand.

It was fun to play in a sandbox I don’t often visit and I was thrilled to come away with first place.

 

 

 

Quick & Easy Rhubarb Jam with Orange Zest

There are stories of Baba Yaga, an archetypal Russian crone, who gathered rhubarb stocks for use in her kitchen. Rhubarb was said to bring together the energetic influences of what was being brewed. Using the stocks to stir increased the magical potential and adding a little rhubarb to preparations had a binding effect on the ingredients.

Not all jams need to be large productions. A pot of leftovers on the back burner ( with the timer set ) can give you one or two jars for immediate use that don’t even need preserving.

You will need:

1 1/4 pounds of fresh rhubarb, washed and chopped

1 cup white sugar

2 tsp. grated orange zest

3/4 cup water

2 tsp. candied ginger (optional)

Begin with a deep breath to help shift your attention. Washing your hands will also help turn your focus to the task at hand. Allow the warm water to drip off your fingers and let it take all your nigglies with it. Putting on an apron also aids in separating from what was and being with what is. Invite the compassionate spirits and begin.

In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest and water.

I used what was on hand so brought out the zest in sugar I always keep in the fridge. If you are going with a fresh orange, feel free to juice it and include the juice as part of the water requirement.

Bring to a boil, reduce temperature and simmer for 40 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The larger the pot, the larger area connecting directly to the heat and the shorter the cooking time will be.

Stir occasionally.

Pay more attention as the jam is coming to the end of the cooking time to ensure the bottom of the jam is not burning. The water will have evaporated making the mixture thicker and more prone to sticking to the bottom.

Transfer to hot sterile jars, clean edges and seal. When cool, label.

This recipe was just enough for two medium jars.

It took care of the left over rhubarb and didn’t fill the pantry for the next 18 months. Win!

If you have a larger family then it is really just one large jar and it can go directly onto the breakfast table with no need to take the steps to preserve it.

Store any non sealed jars in the fridge once cool.

Note: I used orange zest this time but candied and/or freshly grated ginger is also a tasty option. I was in the pantry and discovered it on a few too many labels so went with orange zest.

On morning toast, with afternoon scones or topping evening yoghurt, this quick and easy jam is a versatile addition to your kitchen.Rhubarb Jam with Orange Zest from My Kitchen WandRhubarb Jam with Orange Zest from My Kitchen Wand

 

 

Sea Salt Hair Spray

Looking for that ” been having a fabulous day at the beach look”? A sea salt spritzer can help bring out that added wave and glow and making it yourself can save some pennies along the way.

When searching online you will see a number of suggestions for ingredients. I thought it might be valuable to go over how each one can be helpful so you can choose what works best for your idea of the perfect sea salt spray.

Don’t be put off by this sampling of possible ingredients. You will not need them all.

A simple three ingredient mixture from Huffington Post uses one tablespoon each of sea salt, coconut oil and leave-in conditioner in 1 cup warm water but changing some things up might work for you as well.

Container with spritz attachment – Test your bottle as several that I have recently purchased leaked. A working spritzer is also important. If you are adding essential oils then a dark coloured glass or metal container work best as light and essential oils are not a good combination. Small bottle for one person and larger one for the whole family.

Water – I see lots of recipes that I am assuming use tap water as there are no special mentions. I happen to live in a place with good tap water (not too hard or full of too many extra chemicals) but I also am in the habit of using distilled water for toiletries so I naturally reach for that.

Tea – Tea is a possible substitution for water in certain circumstances. If you have light coloured hair and would like to add that sunkissed look, chamomile tea can help. It does not work very well if you have dark har.

Steeped black tea is an option if you are looking to darken your hair. It is also important to know that tea will need more than one application to make a visible difference so your best bet is using the tea as a separate rinse.

When using tea the finished product should be stored in the fridge.

Epsom Salt – Magnesium sulfate combined with a conditioner can act as a volumizer and assist in getting rid of excess oil. Equal parts mixed together and allowed to sit in hair for 20 minutes before rinsing will do the trick. Epsom in hairspray

Sea or Himalayan Salt – All salts once dry on hair will add to the hold of the waves. Sea and Himalayan hold a little bit more than Epsom salt.

Coconut Oil – helps hair retain its natural protein and is absorbed into the hair better than many oils. It is however not for everyone. Coconut oil is more effective on fine to medium hair that may be lacking protein in the follicles and not so well for coarse and dry hair where it can make hair more brittle, leading to broken strands and hair loss.

Argan Oil – One of argan oils uses is as a hair conditioner, helping split ends and taming frizz. It softens hair, leaving it silkier and shinier. It is not an inexpensive oil so it is good you will only need a few drops.

Almond OilFull of healthy ingredients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, vitamin E and magnesium. It nourishes, strengthens, treats damaged hair and adds silkiness and shine.

Leave-in conditioner – Conditioners of all sorts will help counter the drying of the salts in the hairspray.

For oily and fine hair, no conditioner may be needed, so try with and without before settling on a formula that works for you.

Aleo Vera Gel – can be used to detangle, define curls and moisturize. The enzymes in aloe vera help clear away skin cells clogging hair follicles on the scalp allowing the nutrients that enhance growth to get where they are helpful. Full of amino acids there are lots of nutrients to be found. In a hairspray they also add a shine.

Essential Oils – will add a lovely aroma of your choice. Keep finished spray in a dark container for maximum benefits. Also please remember that getting the oil on the scalp will have the greatest benefit so using them in a shampoo rather than a hairspray will be more successful if choosing for specific results. Here are seven suggestions.

Lavender can assist in healing dry skin and hair, thereby smoothing scalps. It is also thought to promote hair growth. As thinning hair can have an emotional component, lavender can assist in creating a calming environment.

Rosemary also treats dry scalp and dandruff. Supporting hair growth and encouraging thickness are also attributed to rosemary essential oil.

Chamomile adds shine and softness to hair in addition to the lightening option mentioned above.

Cedarwood has been used to promote hair growth, slow hair loss by increasing circulation in the scalp. In some cases it has also been used as a treatment for alopecia and to keep bugs away.

Lemongrass Oil is another natural bug repellant and stress reliever. It can also reduce dandruff when used topically.

Lemon Juice – This will help in lightening naturally light coloured hair. Again like the tea, it will have little effect on dark tones. It is important to remember that lemon juice is acidic and works by stripping colour and oils. Keep the finished spray in the fridge if using.

Alcohol – acts as a preservative.

Choose your ingredients and combine. Remember that all the benefits from the ingredients work best when they reach your scalp and in a hairspray that is not going to happen. This is really about getting that toussled day at the beach look. Many of these ingredients can be used in alternate ways such as scalp massages and hair treatments where the benefits to your hair will be greater.

Try this as a basic combination and tweak as needed:

1/2 cup warm water

1 Tbsp. epsom salt

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. almond oil

1/2 tsp. aloe vera gel

1 drop lavender essential oil

Top the bottle with a funnel and add 3/4’s of the warm water to the container.

Add the individual ingredients and once they are added, top with remaining water until full.

Twist on spritz top and shake for 1 – 2 minutes to dissolve salts.

If the water was very warm, the container might need wrapping in a tea towel. especially is using a metal container. Label.

To use, towel dry hair. Shake bottle and spritz lightly and evenly.

Scrunch hair as it continues to dry. Apply a second time once hair is dry if needed.

This short hair found body and volume.

Longer very straight hair held its wave all afternoon long.

The dried salt in your hair will probably inspire a wash at the end of the day and repeated daily use is not recommended if you have dry hair to begin with.

So when the summer days finally arrive, apply a sun block.

Grab some water.

Find your sunglasses and a good book.

Go out and enjoy the day.

Sea Salt Hairspray from My Kitchen WandSea Salt Hairspray from My Kitchen Wand

 

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Popsicles

As I look at tomorrow’s rainy forecast, I am more grateful than ever for yesterday’s first hot sunny day. And it was on a long weekend!

Along with the heat comes the need for healthy summer style treats and it just so happened all the ingredients were on hand.You will need:

1 cup yoghurt ( I used homemade Greek style )

1/2 cup stewed rhubarb ( sweetened )

1/2 cup washed chopped fresh strawberries

sugar or honey ( optional )

As you prepare to make these popsicles by washing your hands and getting out an apron, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Find gratitude for the availability of supplies in your home, the skills and knowledge to create a healthy offering for the people you care about and the bounty of this new year’s crop. Invite in the compassionate spirits and begin.

Into a blender place the first three ingredients and pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Depending on your machine it may be necessary to clean off the insides once ot twice to ensure everything is well mixed.

Taste your mixture. Ripe local strawberries will be sweeter than earlier ones that have travelled. Sour can be refreshing on hot days so see what your mixture tastes like before tweaking. If an extra teaspoon of sugar or honey is needed, now would be the right time to add and blend again.

Transfer the mixture to the popsicle moulds.

Fill to the top, add the tops and place in the freezer.

I don’t really care for the tops to my moulds so I place the moulds in the freezer without the tops. Thirty minutes later, the mixture is solid enough to add regular popsicle sticks and they will stand upright.

Return to the freezer and freeze until solid.

A little hot water will release the popsicles from their moulds and a few minutes on the counter will soften the treat before serving.

As the berry season arrives, there will be plenty of other options available for substitutions, that can go right through to fall once the fruit is frozen.

Note: If you make popsicles regularly, measure the volume of your moulds and adjust the quantities as needed. You want to end up with the right volume for your personal moulds. Small paper cups or recycled individual yoghurt containers are another option. Don’t let lack of popsicles moulds stop you from dipping your toe in the summer treat making water.

Tasty healthy snacks that you will feel good about serving and the kids can easily grab. They also contain protein to support all that running around. Just in time for Memorial Day but delicious any time.

Strawberry Rhubarb Popsicles from My Kitchen WandStrawberry Rhubarb Popsicles from My Kitchen Wand

 

Rhubarb & Rose Sorbet

Sometime during the second half of the 1600’s, the first European recipe for sorbet was written down. It happened in Naples, Italy and is attributed to the first person to also put pen to paper with a recipe for ice cream, Antonio Latini. The story goes that the idea of mixing fruit juices and ice actually came to Italy through Chinese connections and there it has been known to be made since the seven hundreds.

Sorbet was considered an elegant refined food, enjoyed by the courts of Europe before exanding into a wider population.There are tales of lemon flavoured sorbets being stored in cool caves near Sorrento, covered with ferns for extra insulation.

It was considered a palate cleanser. Something that clears away the taste of the previous course before the next one is offered, allowing for a full experience of each dish. Today we rarely sit down to 14 or 20 course meals and sorbet has become a tasty dessert offering, a light, fresh and often tangy way to end a meal.

You will need:

3 cups chopped rhubarb

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. rose water

1/4 cup rose infused honey

Wash and dice the rhubarb. Place in a small pot and add the water and rosewater. Bring to a boil, reduce the temperature and simmer until tender, 7 – 10 minutes.

Once the rhubarb is soft as shown in the photo above, add the rose infused honey.

I am using my rose honey for this recipe but I know that that is not something everyone has handy on their shelves. Regular honey is fine but it will probably mean adjusting the rosewater. Pulse per the instructions below and taste. If needed add a little extra rosewate,r by the teaspoonful, until a desired strength is achieved.

Place the mixture in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Once smooth, transfer to a sieve and press the mixture through, ensuring that any remaining long rhubarb threads are removed from the mixture.

If there is an ice cream maker in your home,  follow the manufacturers instructions.

Option two is to transfer the mixture to a bowl and place in the freezer.

The trick to a good sorbet without a machine is to keep breaking down the ice crystals while the mixture freezes. The smaller the crystals the smoother the texture in your mouth.

Stir every 30 minutes or so as the sorbet freezes.

If you like a texture closer to a Wendy’s Frosty, stop and serve when semi frozen. If the plan to serve at a later time, give the sorbet five to ten minutes out of the freezer to soften before serving.

If fully frozen is also possible to chop and return the frozen sorbet to the blender and pulse one or two times, enough to breakup the crystals and soften the sorbet one last time before scooping into dishes.

Tangy deliciousness and proof that summer if it has not yet arrived where you are, is on its way.

Rhubarb Rose Sorbet from My Kitchen WandRhubarb Rose Sorbet from My Kitchen Wand

Baked Lemon Doughnuts ( Two options )

Not all treats for special occasions need to take hours to prepare. Sometimes it is the fresh from the oven warmth that does the trick and makes things special. These baked lemon doughnuts fall into that category and since is is best to bake them on the day needed, there is not a lot of preplanning to add to the “to do” list.

One version is glazed and the other sugar coated and either can have a touch of coconut added if that seems appropriate.

You will need:

7/8 cup flour

2 Tbsp. corn starch

6 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. buttermilk or plain yoghurt

1 egg

1 Tbsp. butter melted

1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 -2 Tbsp. coconut ( optional )

Tomorrow Is Mother’s Day and if you are whipping up a batch of these lemon doughnuts to add to the celebration then focusing on Mom or whoever holds that energy in your life while you gather and mix ingredients would be the way to go. That said mother/daughter relationships can be complex so hold onto the good memories and shift if other ones come to mind. Open your heart and invite the compassionate spirits to join you.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease the doughnut pan and put aside. This can easily be done with a pump or spray coating or wipe each mould individually with butter.

Combine the dry ingredients, sift and set aside. If you choose to add the coconut two things happen, the batter will be a little drier and there will be more of it. I would suggest reducing the flour by 1 Tbsp. and making sure not to overfill.

Combine the wet ingredients, stir well and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix only until moist. Do not overmix.

Transfer the batter to a sandwich bag. Seal the top and then cut a corner off the bottom, creating a small hole for the batter to be piped through.

Fill each form about 3/4’s full.

These are a little overfilled.

The more batter in the form the more likely the doughnut will grow over the center nob and loose some of its traditional shape.

There is just enough batter to make six doughnuts.

If you need a dozen, double the recipe and place the unused batter in the fridge, unless you have two doughnut pans and can bake then together.

Bake for seven minutes or until the batter is lightly golden. Check and add a minute or two if needed.

The tops of the doughnuts are the undersides in the pan and since this recipe is about summer lightness, not getting them too brown is a good idea. The baked batter should be springy to the touch and it is best to leave the doughnuts in the pan for a few minutes before taking them out. This will allow the structure of the doughnut to firm up, making it less likely they will break while being removed.

Once baked, here are two options for final touches.

My original plan was to create light citrusy doughnuts with a hint of tropical goodness for a spring or summer time event. I chose a white glaze and topped it with coconut and lemon zest.

If choosing to glaze, let the doughnuts cool as glazing while warm will cause extra dripping and thinner coverage.

You will need:

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. coconut

1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Mix lemon juice into the icing sugar. Dip the doughnut half way into the glaze and then sit upright on a cookie sheet over a plate or the baking pan to drip. While still wet top with grated coconut and lemon zest. The glaze will act as glue as it dries and hold the toppings in place. In the end I kept the coconut untoasted as I was going for a light and airy look. If you choose to toast keep an eye on what is happening in the oven as things can change very quickly, especially if using sweetened coconut.

Baked Coconut Lemon Doughnuts from My KitchenWandBaked Coconut Lemon Doughnuts from My KitchenWand

Option Two is what went over best around here. It lacked the tea party appeal of the glazed doughnuts but was what people seemed drawn to reach for.

You will need:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 Tbsp. butter, melted

These lemon doughnuts should be finished while still warm.

Combine sugar and lemon zest on a saucer or small bowl big enough to hold the doughnut. Melt butter, also in a container large enough to hold a doughnut.

Dip the top of the doughnut in butter and then immediately place on the lemon/sugar mixture.

Return to the rack and let dry.

Baked Lemon Sugar Doughnuts from My Kitchen Wand

Baked Lemon Sugar Doughnuts from My Kitchen Wand

So there you have it, two or three options for a delicious treat that can be dressed up or down as the situation dictates, done in 30 minutes and ready to be shared, gifted or devoured.