What Is A Sprig Of Thyme?

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Baltimore Lemon Sticks

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Lemon sticks were popular in London in the 18th century. In this country, both Baltimore and Philadelphia lay claim to the sweet. (The Philly version uses lemon candy, and during Prohibition, it naughtily added vodka.)

MAKES 1 LEMON STICK
Ingredients
1 chilled lemon
1 peppermint stick (a porous stick, not a candy cane)

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Instructions
To make the lemon stick, roll a chilled lemon on a table to soften the pulp, then halve it crosswise. Insert the peppermint and suck, drawing the cool, tart juice through your minty, sugary straw.

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Birthday Breakfast: Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Agrodolce Syrup

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I’ve had this recipe from Cuisine At Home (Issue 115 February 2016) for quite awhile and decided it was time to give it a try for my special birthday breakfast today.

We spent some time this morning picking wild raspberries and had them along side this amazing breakfast.

I love to be in the kitchen, cooking and trying new recipes, and this one is unbelievably good.

Sometimes I make something that’s so good, I can’t believe I actually made it myself. This recipe was simple, yet fancy. We pictured ourselves at a highend resort somewhere in Switzerland having breakfast on our balcony.

The pancake recipe says it serves 6 and makes 12 pancakes. We actually made 11 pancakes, and between the two of us, we ate every-single-one-of-them (the pancakes were kind of small😋). What an amazing way to start the day ❤️

Blueberry Agrodolce Pancake Syrup

Makes about 1 3/4 cups
Total time: 20 minutes

Heat:
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 sprigs of thyme
1 cinnamon stick (3-inch)
Heat in a sauce pan over medium-high to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrup begins to thicken, 7-9 minutes.

Remove pan off heat, stir in
2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
1 Tbsp white wine or Champagne vinegar
When butter melts, stir in 1/2 cup thawed blueberries and 1/4 tsp. Table salt

Serve syrup over pancakes

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Ricotta Pancakes

Makes: 6 servings (12 pancakes) Total time: 30 minutes

WHISK:
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. table salt

WHISK:
1 cup Homemade Ricotta Cheese or purchased whole milk ricotta
1⁄2 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 eggs, separated
1⁄2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Minced zest of half a lemon

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, then form a well in the center.

Whisk together ricotta, milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, vanilla, and zest in a large measuring cup; pour into dry ingredients, stirring just until incorporated.

Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high speed until firm peaks form, 2–3 minutes.
Stir one third of egg whites into the batter; fold in remaining whites in two additions.

Heat an electric griddle to 375° or a nonstick skillet over medium; coat with nonstick spray. Drop half the batter, by a scant ¼ cup per pancake, onto griddle; cook until bubbles appear on tops and bottoms brown, 4 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until bottoms brown, 3 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter.

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Wild Raspberries On The 4th Of July

Nothing like going for a walk and coming across some ripe wild raspberries. At least we had an unused doggie poop bag to put them in so we could bring them home. And, there’s also nothing like coming across a ginormous America flag to make you feel patriotic. Happy Independence Day!

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Collier Cove Nature Preserve

While driving down Sweeten Creek Rd the other day, we saw a little sign that read Collier Cove Nature Preserve. It’s so close to our home, and we’ve never heard of it before, so today we decided to check it out.

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The park was opened to the public in 2014.

This trailhead/parking area is located at 194 Rhododendron Drive in Arden, NC. There is limited parking and no restroom facilities are available.

The park consists of over 29 acres of hillside woodland with nearly 2 miles of well defined, steep and strenuous hiking trails. There are several areas with ample clearing, which provides beautiful views of the eastern Butler mountain Range.

Activities in the park include hiking, picnicking, and nature loving. Mountain biking is not allowed in the park as the trails have sharp turns and lack the width and visibility to accommodate hiking and biking without running the risk of user conflicts and accidents.

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The preserve’s trail system is not that long, but we made several figure 8s to extend our distance.

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The trails are very well maintained.

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But when they say the trails are short but steep and rigorous, they aren’t kidding. The preserve is on the side of a mountain, so it’s very hilly, but very well laid out.

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Fortunately, it’s still early in spring, so there are lots of wild flowers to stop and admire which gave me time to catch my breath.

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The trails are well marked with signs, and color blaze marks on the trees that match the color coded map of the trails.

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The views are beautiful, and there are park benches were you can relax and take in the scenery.

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The last trail loop we took was Trillium. It was by far the steepest most difficult trail of them all, but the trail is named after the trillium flower, and the entire hillside was literally covered with them. It was truly a spectacular site which definitely helped make the steep climb more enjoyable.

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Trillium is a genus of perennial flowering plants native to temperate regions of North America and Asia. It was formerly treated in the family Trilliaceae or trillium family, a part of the Liliales or lily order. Today we saw pink, purple and white Trillium.

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While they are beautiful to look at, they are also extremely fragile, and picking them seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year, often effectively killing the plant and ensuring none will grow in its place.

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There’s just a couple things we found disheartening today and that was the amount of graffiti on signs and park benches and the amount of trash left around. The people that do these things have no appreciation of the beauty of nature and have no respect for the hard work others put in to making the preserve come to fruition.

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…Sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash to leave the world better than you found it.

 

Margarita Popsicles

Happy belated Cinco De Mayo. We celebrated with some friends and had dinner at West First Wood-Fired Pizza in Hendersonville.

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Probably not everyone’s first pick to commemorate this holiday, but we had a great time, great food with the best company of friends, and to top it off, it was our first experience of having margarita popsicles.

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We tried the Mango Margarita Popsicles. One of the employees made these at home the night before, and brought them in as a new item. They were a huge hit! The staff was even kind enough to share their recipe with us.

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Urban Gardening

I am so ready to dig into some flower beds and veggie gardens!

A few weeks ago, I planted some sweet pepper, daisy, and forget-me-not seeds. They all are doing great.

Today, I planted a some lettuce and cucumber seeds in a couple of kits I bought on sale last fall. I was so excited I got them on sale for $4 each.

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Another thing I experimented with was planting some leftover green onions. I read on Pinterest that you can plant the root end of green onions and grow more. That’s been successfully so far too.

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The oregano I planted last fall survived the winter and is coming back strong. Rosemary seems to be doing well also, but we’ll have to wait and see how the wild strawberry plants do. I ordered them from a farm in Tennessee, and they didn’t arrive in the best condition. They were pretty dried out. Also, I’m not sure if I have them planted it a good location. Time will tell.

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There’s something therapeutic for me about sprouting seeds and caring for plants. It takes my mind to a peaceful place ❤️

5 Of The Healthiest Fruits And Vegetables: What Makes Them So Important?

“We are what we eat”, or so the saying goes. Different foods help our bodies to grow, to heal, and to keep the immune system running properly. More than that, they stop our bodies from falling apart: the absence of many different nutrients can lead to various physical ailments. It’s really important to eat healthily, so let’s look at five of the best fruits and vegetables to include in your diet.

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Broccoli: Green vegetables are widely considered among the healthiest foods we can eat, and broccoli is definitely one of the most nutrient-rich green vegetables. It’s a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, vitamin B and fiber. In addition, it contains potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, protein and calcium.

Broccoli can assist in lowering cholesterol levels which improves cardiovascular health. It supports the body’s detoxification system, aids vitamin D uptake and may also reduce our susceptibility to certain allergies.

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Blueberries: Blueberries have a low glycemic index (GI) which means they have a low impact on our blood sugar levels., so you won’t get a sugar rush from eating blueberries. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is also believed to reduce the risk of developing type-II diabetes as well as coronary heart disease.

Blueberries are also a very rich source of antioxidants, which are thought to help reduce the risk of developing cancer. They are a good source of vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C too, placing them high on the nutrient-density scale.

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Spinach: Spinach is one of the best green vegetables for your health. It contains a huge quantity of nutrients, and offers several specific health benefits. Among the most concentrated nutrients are magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, protein and zinc.

Spinach may help reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, meaning it may help reduce our susceptibility to allergies. The vitamin K, magnesium and calcium content of spinach is good for maintaining healthy bones and there are also antioxidants in spinach that help remove harmful free radicals from the body.

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Peas: Green peas are another fantastic source of nutrients. They contain a huge range of nutrients in high quantities, including manganese, fiber, vitamin K and C, phosphorus, protein, copper, iron and zinc.

Peas can help to regulate blood sugar levels thanks to their fiber and protein content. Fiber and protein slow down the pace of digestion, which also means that carbohydrates are digested more slowly too. Peas are also known to reduce the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and to help protect against stomach cancer.

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Apples: Apples are a fantastic source of fiber which helps promote a healthy digestive system. This also aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of vitamin C. Although apples aren’t as nutrient-rich as some other fruits and vegetables, they are thought to have both anti-cancer and anti-asthma properties. In addition, they’re good for cardiovascular health.