Luscious And Fragrant Valentine’s Day Treats….Be Still My Heart

Share Button

These Red Velvet Lavender Cheesecake Brownies are rich, luscious, and fragrant, and so perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Love at first bite….just the tiniest bite is capable of sending you into paroxysms of ardor!  The delightful interplay of flavors: Chocolate, Cheesecake and Lavender…. Be still my Heart!  I will enjoy these luscious, fragrant treats with a warm cup of tea, as I spend many hours inside, out of the cold winter elements. May your winter blues be lifted, and calmness fill your days, as each day brings springtime closer 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Red Velvet Lavender Cheesecake Brownies

Original recipe is from Sweetpeakitchen.com, altered a tad adding culinary lavender.

Ingredients:

½ cup butter

2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (100% natural Cacao)

1 cup sugar (I used natural cane sugar)

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3-5 tsp. culinary English Lavender (I used 5 tsp)

1 ½ tsp. red food coloring (I left this out)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar (I used natural cane sugar)

1 large egg

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom & sides of an 8 inch baking pan (I used a 9 x 12 Pyrex baking pan to make a thinner brownie). Put a long piece of unbleached parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
  2. In a small pan add culinary lavender, butter and chocolate, on low, melt together. Stir until combined and very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Add chocolate, lavender mixture and stir until smooth.  Add flour and salt and stir until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  5. To prepare cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Distribute the cheesecake mixture in 8 -10 dollops over batter in the pan. Swirl in with a knife or spatula.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes (9 x 12 baking pan). Bake 35-40 minutes (8 inch baking pan), until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
  7. Let cool in pan on a cooling rack before lifting out the parchment paper to remove the brownies. (I let brownies cool only slightly, about 10-15 minutes, and gently lifted the parchment paper w/brownies out of the pan, and set it on countertop. Then I cut 12 heart brownies using small & medium  heart shaped cookie cutters)

Winter finally arrives at the Lavender Farm

Share Button

Weeks ago I was whining about not having any snow yet, well you know how the saying goes, be careful what you wish for! Last week we got 20″ of snow, which was reallllly beautiful. I was able to finally get my x-country skis out, and trek around our lavender farm. What fun!!

Hood River Lavender in Winter

However, that evening we got more snow,  and ice “freezing rain”, on top of it. Whew! We had many tree limbs break, luckily nothing fell on our house, but we lost our electricity for a few hours in the afternoon….just as I was attempting to sew up lavender Neckwraps. Darn.. didn’t work fast enough! Making the best of the situation, I grabbed my sewing needles and attempted to hand-stitch the opening, adding our HRL  label on, and finishing one Neckwrap. I hadn’t forgot how to hand-stitch 🙂 I still remember my dear Grandmother Mable saying , “hand-stitching is the foundation of all sewing, it starts there”. Thank you Grandmother! I only hand-stitched one neck wrap and gave it up until our electricity came back on.  We were lucky our power returned within a few hours, so I finished machine stitching our Neckwraps.

I needed something warming, so I made a cup of  hot Lavender Chai Mate Tea. Then I began sewing on a few lavender Eye Pillows. As I sipped on my tea, I  had lots of hopeful thoughts, that our electricity stays on for us, as well as our friends and family in our Hood River Valley and surrounding towns. And I hope I’ll find a few more opportunities to x-country ski before our snow melts  Enjoying winter. Keep warm 🙂

Dreamy Hibernation

Share Button

I’m dreaming of warm fragrant summer days with 1000’s of lavender flowers surrounding me 🙂

Awww…what an amazing aroma, I’m imagining! These days I spend most of my time hibernating indoors, working on our business, while the lavender plants are dormant outside in the cold…Today, when I wasn’t day dreaming 🙂 , I filled numerous bottles of English Lavender Essential Oil for web orders. When I needed a mood lift I would inhale deeply, huffing the lavender aromas,to soothe my blues away!!! It helped bring the fresh aroma of my lavender garden inside to me. I call lavender my “Fragrance of Sunlight”, because it instantly lifts my spirits, like walking in the lavender garden with the warm sun-shining on my face 🙂 🙂 If you are one of the wonderful customers that ordered Angustifolia (English) lavender essential oil during our largest price reduction special, you will soon also bring the Fragrance of Sunlight into your home, as you experience it’s calming, soothing aroma.

Save 50% on our Lavender Oil Now!

 

Lavender Ginger Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Share Button

This yummy recipe comes from Ming Tsai, and is adapted by me a tad to incorporate our Organic Culinary Lavender. It combines together with the ginger beautifully, enlivening this recipe with a delicate floral-spice flavor. We love it!

Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients

1 lb unsalted butter

1 lb dark brown sugar

1 lb eggs (9-10 large eggs)

1 lb. all purpose flour

2 tablespoons culinary lavender “Signature Blend”

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Cooking spray with flour, for greasing pans

Whipped cream, for serving

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter.
  • Add sugar and continue to cream together until light & fluffy.
  • With mixer still going, add 1 egg at a time.
  • In a bowl, combine flour, culinary lavender, ginger & salt. Sprinkle in flour mixture while beating & mix until just incorporated.
  • Spoon into greased loaf pans.
  • Bake 350 degrees in center of oven for 55-60 minutes. Cake will be done when deep golden brown and skewer comes out clean when inserted into center of cake. Allow to cool on wire rack, run knife around edge & release from pan. Serve slices with generous amount of whipped cream. Second loaf can be stored, wrapped tightly in freezer, for 2-4 weeks.

Enjoy with a warm cup of Gorge Wind Tea

Recipe was altered a tad with our Culinary Lavender, thanks to Ming Tsai.

See more Yummy Lavender recipes!

Reflections, Looking Forward With A Dream, And Lavender

Share Button

Today I delivered a wholesale order to the organic department, Huckleberry’s Natural Foods, in Rosauer’s. We appreciate the years we’ve had the opportunity to have many of our lavender products available at this popular grocery store in our hometown. It has made our organic lavender products available, and convenient to many folks. We “Thank you” Huckleberrys, and look forward to another year of partnership & friendship!

With the New Year right around the corner, I’m looking forward to this coming year with much anticipation and wonder. This is our 9th year since we started our lavender business, and 8th year we’ve been open at our U-Pick lavender farm. Reflecting on the extreme changes we’ve progressed through in developing our U-pick farm, it gives me much joy to ponder on the  growth  from year to year. It has been amazing , exciting, and I admit, exhausting at times, however that’s what brings Joe and I the fullest joy, and the rewards of our labor! Because we’ve experienced the stretching pains of growth, and we’ve worked, day by day, cultivating the plan, expanding our creativity, and creating a thriving business… when there was nothing, just a dream! That alone brings a Smile of achievement, but most of all we want to remember, with appreciation, our amazing seasonal employees,  and customers that helped make it all possible!

So when I reflect on the past years, I smile, and inhale deeply, knowing that as we move forward in the coming year all our effort, and creative insight will be just enough for each day, and this lovely calming, healing lavender aroma will touch others.  And we will be touched in the process by each of  you!!

Thank you for celebrating life and lavender with us! 

contemplating and planning 2005

Happy New Year to you and your families. May it be a prosperous year, filled with good health and happiness! Let’s bring in 2012 with all the Gusto we have 🙂