Our love for NASTURTIUMS runs deep here at Triangle Chance for All. A prolific vining plant, nasturtiums come in a range of warm flower colors, from red to orange to yellow.
Besides their beauty, nasturtiums are great plants to have around your garden. They are aphid magnets, attracting them away from your other plants that are susceptible to aphids (which is a useful way to approach insect control, rather than spraying toxic petro-chemicals around your yard).
The seeds, buds, flowers, and even leaves are edible. The flowers and buds are particularly tasty, adding an unusually (for flowers) powerful peppery punch to salads and other dishes.
Here is an easy salad & vinaigrette recipe you can make using the petals and flowers–along with other edible flowers like marigolds or geraniums: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/mixed-green-salad-with-nasturtium-vinaigrette/.
Triangle Chance for All loves plants, too! We will be featuring a number of our vegetative residents at the Microsanctuary to help inspire you to grow more of your own plant-based foods. Our first featured edible plant is LAVENDER.
Lavender is one of our favorite herbs to have around the yard and the house. Both its flowers and leaves can be used in cooking, and it has medicinal properties as well. It has traditionally been used to soothe the nervous and digestive systems, whether by consuming it, using it on the skin, or through aromatherapy (see more about its uses at http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-838-LAVENDER.aspx?activeIngredientId=838&activeIngredientName=LAVENDER).
Lavender is also a beautiful plant that is relatively easy to grow in well-drained, sunny spots. It comes in a variety of types, each with its own different color, ranging from a deep dark purple to white! We have had good luck with it being deer resistant so far.
Here are a couple of fun ways to use lavender in your kitchen.
Lavender Lemonade: http://www.skinnylimits.com/lavender-lemonade/
Lady Grey Muffins: http://sunberrybaking.com/2013/06/19/vegan-recipe-shares-lady-grey-muffins/
How do you use lavender?
Not all of us find it easy to eat greens so for those who find it hard, we’re offering two delicious recipes today. Check back for a snack recipe later today.
Here is my favorite morning juice all ready for breakfast out on the deck. It’s made from 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 sticks of celery, and 2 oranges. I love lime so I add a splash of it to this, too. Yum!
– Linda Nelson
And, now for something completely different in the recipe department! Please don’t try to eat this.
While it is possible to find vegan deodorant with no animal ingredients and that has not been tested on animals, why not make your own? You’ll save a bundle, and you’ll be able to choose the scents that please you.
– Linda Nelson
Homemade Vegan Deodorant
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
5 tablespoons organic refined coconut oil
10 drops therapeutic grade rosemary essential oil
10 drops therapeutic grade spearmint essential oil
Container/s to fill
Place the coconut oil and essential oils in a food processor, slowly add the baking soda and cornstarch, and process until smooth. You can use a hand mixer if you don’t have a food processor, or even use some elbow grease to do it by hand. Pour into your containers, and place in the refrigerator for awhile until it is solid.
You may want to store this in the fridge during the really hot months. It will work when it is melted, but it will be messy. Apply a couple of minutes before you dress so that the oils penetrate your skin and don’t stain your clothing.
Play around with essential oils to get the scent you like. I was inspired by a commercial rosemary/mint product that I just love.
I just veganized an old Betty Crocker recipe to make these little bird breads. This is a great first yeast bread recipe for kids or for those of us who have been afraid of yeast for too long. It is easy and fun to come up with our own little creations!
– Linda Nelson
Chicken Little Rolls
(or bread or rolls shaped into your favorite animal)
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (2 1/4 teaspoons) package quick acting active dry yeast
1/3 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 egg equivalent of egg replacer
raisins or seeds for eyes and beaks
1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees F. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Place the soy milk and vegan butter in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water. Heat on medium until the butter is melted. It should feel very warm to a finger tip. Stir this liquid into the dry ingredients along with the egg replacer. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is easy to handle.
3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and knead until it is smooth and elastic. This takes about five minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for ten minutes.
4. Lightly oil a cookie sheet, or use a silpat. Shape into one large animal or decide to make smaller rolls as I did. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 20 minutes. I usually make turtles, but I thought I’d pay my respects to the TCA chickens this time.
5. Stick nuts, seeds, or raisins into your animals for eyes or noses. Bake until golden brown. This will be about 20 to 25 minutes for one big bread, and 10 to 15 for smaller rolls.
(Ha ha, Alan just told me my chicks look more like baby seals, and I think he is right. I was in a hurry, and who doesn’t love baby seals!)