September 23, 2016

Make your own Chai Tea

You don't even have to have a spice grinder - but it helps. A Mortar and pestle will work to grind your spices - just a little more elbow grease is required. :-)

I prefer whole spices whenever I can find them. A Google search can turn up most everything on this list. We have an International Market nearby and that's where I find things like Betel nut and whole nutmeg. I bought the Ceylon Cinnamon here.  I do use an electric spice grinder. Here is what mine looks like as I grind my tea mix.

 I add this mix to green or black tea leaves and steep for about 5 minutes. Works in coffee too. Drink it hot or over ice. Let it steep a little longer for cold or add more mix to the hot water. I like to squeeze fresh orange juice into my tea too.

Chai Tea Mix:
1 part whole cloves
2 parts fresh ground Ceylon Cinnamon
1 part freshly grated nutmeg
a dash of dried Ginger Root - more if you like it spicy
1/8 part ground betel nut (in other words -to taste)
1/4 part Cardamon - I buy whole cardamon and grind the seeds in my grinder

This mix will be "chunky" and not as fine as tea you get that is leaves only.

Below is what your Ceylon Cinnamon looks like after grinding.

I use a mesh tea ball for my Chai mix and one of my favorite cups (above). I found this handy little shaker top to fit my littlest Ball glass jar. It is just right to store my tea mix or ground spices of any kind.

Grilled Lemon Grass Chicken Recipe

I use Lemon Grass for so many things! It is one of the ingredients in my natural Mosquito repellant and I use it in tea and other recipes. Lemon Grass is not hardy in Tennessee but I winter it over in the greenhouse (unheated) or in the basement under lights. This recipe turned out so good I wanted to share it here. I cooked it on the grill but it would be just as good baked in the oven at about 400° till a meat thermometer reads 165°

Grilled Lemon Grass Chicken
Boneless Chicken Breasts (I used 2)
a handful of Lemon Grass cut into about 14-18 inch pieces
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary for each piece of chicken
Dried Rosemary can be substituted
Garlic salt, fresh cracked pepper
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with garlic salt and fresh crushed pepper
lay a sprig of Rosemary on top of each piece and then wrap lemon grass around each piece and tie. I used 3 of these ties for each piece.  

Now your are ready for the grill. My grill is electric and the thermometer has been broken for an age. I just preheated the grill till I knew the chicken would sear when I put it on the rack. I seared each side well and cooked it till my meat thermometer read 165°.  
Now I plated it and served ours with sweet potato fries, spinach, tomato and fresh sprouts drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Yummy!

September 9, 2016


Oh, I know, we all rush out and purchase mums as soon as they are available in the fall. Some of us have them in our yard and spend half the summer pinching buds off so they will be full and pretty in October. Well there is a perennial that is so much easier to care for and it waits to bloom in late September with no help from humans at all! The lowly Aster! Asters come in deep blue (almost purple) pink and white double flowering varieties. This picture above is a seed mix from Mountain Valley Seed Company.  Here is a link to a good article all about them and how to grow and care for them too. Old Farmers Almanac  caring for Asters. The really good thing about Asters is you can plant them in the ground or even a big pot and they bloom without all that pinching and cutting back - one purchase and you are done for years!
Purple Dome Aster

September 1, 2016


I'm so sad about this. It has Rose Rosetta Disease - contacted from my next door neighbor's beautiful old white antique rose. I'm sure in a year or so their rose will be a skeleton on the fence too.

There is nothing I can do but cut my rose down and dig out as much of the roots as possible. I'm thankful that I have two healthy Peggy Martins in the back yard and I am praying that the privacy fence will keep the mites from affecting them also. We noticed that my rose was declining about a year ago. There were no signs at that time of the gnarly looking leaves that are characteristic of Rossetta Disease  Below are the before and after pictures. This Rose was a landmark in the spring for my customers.