Tag Archives: winter

Wintery Lavender & Yummy Bread Pudding!

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In the Winter I spend lots of time indoors because, “baby it’s cold outside”!! Our lavender plants are “sleeping in”, all dormant, happily covered with a blanket of snow! I love the serene beauty and stillness of our wintery lavender farm ūüôā

Snow on lavender 2016 Jan 2

I keep myself busy this time of year packing orders from our website, and taking care of our wholesale accounts. When I’m not doing that, I’m baking yummy breads & tasty treats for Lavender Joe, and my friends. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Here’s a link on our Pinterest of some of the Tasties that I’ve made through the past years: ¬†My Tasty Creations¬†

I love cooking with Lavender!!5-1-14

Baking has always been one of my favorite creative hobbies, and I grew up with a Mother that loved baking breads, and other pastries.¬†When I’m baking, all my creative energy and thoughts are focused on the process, which helps me de-stress!! Baking is an amazing healing aromatherapy, especially when cooking with lavender!! As the lovely lavender aroma fills my busy kitchen, a calming peace surrounds me… just Breathe! ¬†When I’ve completed what I made, the true joy comes as I share my tasty treat with another!

Today I made a delightfully delicious Lavender Cream Cheese and Jam Bread Pudding!! It’s now my favorite bread pudding! I used our Organic Signature Blend, English Lavender. It lends a lovely delicate floral note to sweet desserts, and bread.

Lavender Cream Cheese Jam Bread Pudding 18

I begin with these pantry staples. Homemade Sourdough Bread and Organic English Lavender. Only the best raw and wholesome ingredients! ¬†Lavender bouquet in my kitchen for cooking with lavenderSlice your day old bread to fit into your baking dish, in two layers, then remove it and begin spreading on softened cream cheese.¬†Lavender Cream Cheese Jam Bread Pudding 3Spread jam on each slice, in two layers. I’ve used a wonderful sweet, tart Jam that my dear husband made me, Plum Black Current Jam. It’s so yummy, sweet & tart!¬†Lavender Cream Cheese Jam Bread Pudding 4Lavender Cream Cheese Jam Bread Pudding2

Whisk ¬†together the custard ingredients: I added 1 tsp. English Lavender “whole buds”, into my mixture. ¬†If you’d like, you could grind the lavender “finely” with a¬†little sugar in your spice grinder, for a more delicate texture. Then gently pour it over your bread, and allow to sit 30 minutes.
LAVENDER Cream Cheese and J BP 7

Place your dish of bread pudding into a larger roasting pan, and carefully fill the pan halfway with boiling water. Then it goes into your preheated oven to bake 55 minutes, or more, until custard is set.

While it’s baking, prepare this awesome, lavender bourbon whiskey sauce or whipping topping.¬†I just tossed in 1 tsp. culinary lavender, however you could grind it more finely if you choose.¬†One of my favorite motto’s is: “Keep it Simple and Keep it Tasty”!!

LAVENDER Cream Cheese and J BP3Prepare to indulge on a taste of Heaven!! This Bread Pudding may just be the “quintessential comfort food”!! It’s my favorite, hands down & thumbs up!!

It would be a delightfully delish dessert for Valentines Day¬†with it’s lovely red color from the Jam! BTW, it’s also a Breakfast Food, served with Greek Yogurt! Yummy!

LAVENDER Cream Cheese and J BP 4

Lavender Cream Cheese and Jam Bread Pudding
Recipe type: American
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 8
This Bread Pudding may just be the quintessential comfort food! It has a delightful tart flavor from the sourdough bread and Plum Black Currant Jam, and sweet delicate floral note from the culinary lavender. The rich, sweet sauce sets off the tartness of the fruit.. simply a taste of heaven!! Served warm with Lavender Bourbon Whiskey sauce, or whipped topping; or cold for breakfast, with a dollop of plain greek yogurt!
  • 8 slices white bread ¼' thick (left to dry out on a rack 4 hours or overnight)
  • *I used my homemade Sourdough Bread
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup good quality raspberry jam (I used Plum Black Current Jam my husband made)
  • 2½ cups milk (I used Almond Milk)
  • 1 tsp. culinary English lavender "Signature Blend"
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup organic sugar
  • pinch salt
  • *Lavender Bourbon Whiskey Sauce
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground English culinary lavender, (Hood River Lavender, Signature Blend)
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup butter, room temp.
  • 3 Tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey or to your taste (Yukon Jack works also)
  1. Preheat oven to 325'
  2. Fit the bread into an 8" square pan in two layers, trimming where needed. Remove the bread from the pan, and butter pan bottom and sides. Spread cream cheese, then jam evenly over all the bread slices. (If this seems a little messy, it is)
  3. Put one layer of bread in the bottom of the pan, cream cheese and jam side up. Then put the second layer of bread on top of the first, also with cream cheese and jam up.
  4. Whisk together the milk, lavender, vanilla, and eggs. Add sugar and salt, whisk to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the bread in the pan and push the slices down into the milk mixture to be sure they are soaked. (cover & allow custard to soak into bread for 30 minutes)
  5. Put this pan into a larger one, and fill the larger pan halfway with hot water. (I suggest that you do this by the stove to avoid spills) Carefully place into the oven, and Bake for about 55 minutes, or until a knife placed in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 1 hour, if you can wait that long! ūüėČ *Serve with Lavender Bourbon Whiskey Sauce. Taste like heaven on earth, Goodness!
  6. *Instructions for Lavender Bourbon Whiskey Sauce:
  7. Finely grind the culinary lavender, by placing ¼ cup sugar & 1 tsp lavender in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.(I tossed my culinary lavender into the pan whole) In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, lavender and egg, stir until well blended. Add butter, stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey. Pour it on, freely, and enjoy a taste of heaven! (Cream Cheese Bread Pudding author:unknown, Bourbon Whiskey Sauce: Linda Stradley, I'll Have What They're Having)

Happy Winter and cooking with Lavender!!

XO Lavender Lady

Love Bluebird Winter Days

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Fresh baked Provence Herb Focaccia Bread for dinner! Ahhh..the released aroma of freshly baked bread fills my house, and warms my senses! ¬†On these slower, cold winter days, I spend most of my day inside and I enjoy quality time on my favorite hobbies like baking rustic breads, reading, watching movies, pinning photos of our Lavender Farm on Pinterest, “eating”, and sipping lavender herbal tea!

I love to get outdoors for a brisk walk with our two dogs, Sadie and Gunther. The day I took this photo, it was such an extremely gorgeous, cold, yet Bluebird day, with few clouds in the sky. Just perfect! ¬†The lavender plants sit dormant in the warm winter sun. Calm and peaceful is the feeling I have as I walk around our lavender farm taking in the beauty. ūüôā

Today I received an order for one pound of our bulk loose lavender, for our customer making sachets out of lovely Doilies! Wonderful idea… in fact I’ve made a few similar sachets for a few of my friends. It makes a beautiful gift to give, that is handmade, personal, and given with love ūüôā ¬†<3 Maybe a great idea for next month on “Valentine’s Day” <3

Below is my favorite recipe for Focaccia Bread. A wonderful, quick flat bread with herbs, and lots of yummy flavor!

Provence Herb Focaccia

For the dough:

2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cup white unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oatmeal or ground flax seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 Tablespoons Rosemary
1 1/2 Tablespoons Provence Culinary Lavender
2 Tablespoons honey
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the topping:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Make the dough: Add 1 1/2 cups of warm “to touch” water in mixer bowl. Then add yeast, white flour, honey, and let sit 10 minutes to “proof”. ¬†Then add olive oil, and salt, and mix 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, whole wheat flour, oatmeal or ground flax seed, rosemary, Provence culinary lavender, and mix to make a soft dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl. (Add a few more tablespoons of flour if necessary) Place dough on floured counter top and knead 5-8 times. Place dough in large oiled bowl; cover with towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. (Or let it rise in the refrigerator for 24 hours; return to room temperature before proceeding, about 1 1/2 hours)

Cut the dough in half. Place on 2 oiled 11×17 baking sheets. (Apply oil to hands to prevent dough from sticking). Push out dough with your fingers and palm, until it extends almost to the sides of the sheet. (you may need to let the dough rest 8 minutes for it to stretch easily) Then press out toward sides again.

Topping: Mix the olive oil with 1/4 cup of room-temperature water and the salt. Pour over the focaccias. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons Hood River Lavender Spice Blend on top. Dimple with your fingers; let rise at room temperature for 35-45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake 12-15 minutes. This recipe also works great for making Mini Pizza Crust. Children will enjoy covering crust with topping, making a personal mini pizza! ūüôā You will need to extend the cooking time if necessary.
**It is also great to add olives, sundried tomatoes, and chopped garlic on top before baking.**

Recipe adapted from Fox 12 Oregon. ENJOY ūüôā

Spring Lavender Starts

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Lavender plant starts
Lavender plant starts

This is the time of year for new starts, and new growth. Just like the bulbs in the ground begin their growth in preparation of those beautiful flowers, the fruit trees are also developing full buds that will become lovely ¬†apple, pear, or cherry blossoms. This is also the time of year that we take cuttings from particular varieties of lavender, for new starts which we’ll sell at our Upick Lavender Farm. ¬†So, today ¬†Joe and I took cuttings of a few varieties of Angustifolia Lavender, “Jean Davis” a white/pink lavender, and “Folgate”, a dark purple lavender. We remove a 2-3″ cutting of the “new growth” part of the lavender stem . We usually take about 50-100 cuttings from one particular plant. ¬†With these cuttings, we stripped off all the lower leaves up about 1″, then we scrape the outer stem(bark) off one side only, until we see the green inner stem. Then this cutting is placed into a starter tray that has been soaked with water. ¬†

These cuttings are then placed in a warm greenhouse, out of cold weather conditions. The cuttings in the starter tray need to be sprayed at min. twice daily to get water into the leaves, hydrate the cutting and promote root growth. Rooting can take 3-6 weeks depending on light, heat and the weather. Until they develop good roots, we water them when the soil looks and feels dry.

Lavender is drought tolerant, so they don’t like being over watered. ¬†We take cuttings in the early spring or late fall when the plants are not in bloom. When these¬†cuttings have developed strong roots, and are hardened off outside, they will be sold in 2″ and 4.5″ pots at our Organic Lavender Plant sale during Blossom weekend, on April 17th, 18th and 19th.

Spring always inspires me to think about the newness in life it’s self, life that will develop moment by moment. ¬†I watch this garden transform… I’ll sit and ponder that thought a lot through out the days ahead, as winter lets loose its grip and I tend my garden ūüôā

Winter storm cleanup

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Windstorm damage
Windstorm damage

Today before I ran outside to work, I mixed up some Rustic Whole Grain Herb Bread. I mixed 2 Tbsp of our Hood River Spice Blend (Herbs de Provence) into my basic whole grain¬†bread recipe, and I’ll let it rise all day, while I’m busy doing other projects outside.

Outside at our Lavender Farm,¬†Joe and I cleaned up¬†the damage from¬†the winter snow, rain, and strong winds. ¬†We had one six foot wide strip of ground cover pull up¬†from the strong winds. It just happened to be a section where I had planted 2″ lavender plants in October, so I hope we¬†don’t loose any. They are extremely hardy though, and we just placed the ground cover around them and tacked it down with 6″ staples.¬†There were also¬†a lot of branches that fell around our house and a neighbors house, so we picked up¬†and raked the debris.¬† So far we got off pretty¬†easy from the winter storms. Now I’ll go indoors, and bake my bread for dinner.¬†We need some warm comfort food!! ūüôā

Snow Angels in Lavender

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Lavender Lumps
Lavender Lumps

After a bit of work filling orders for the post lady to pick-up, I dressed warmly for a walk outside in¬†our “Winter Wonderland”. Oh how serene, quiet and peaceful it is, looking around at the white puffs covering the fruit trees, tall firs, and puffs piled on top our sleepy Lavender plants. I think the quiet beauty calms me inside; as¬†I take deep breaths and look around; I smile. I know, I’ll make some “Snow Angels”, 7 in all, one for each person that I have on my heart. A dear lady who lost her husband, a husband who lost his wife; 2 people fighting cancer, my dear daughter and son, and¬†one of¬†our friends. I hope they find peace in this season, and may¬†joy and love surround them each day. Peace¬† {{:){

Winter wonderland

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Now, it is winter for sure, as I look out my window¬†and see 16-18″ of a beautiful white blanket of fresh falling snow. I’ve packed enough web orders to go out just in time for Christmas, now I’ve got to get outside and play a little!! Thankfully the temp. has risen to 32′, from 8′ last week. I think I’ll get on my cross-country skiis,(I don’t need to drive to the ski slope

x-country skiing on our road
x-country skiing on our road

s, I have it here) and ski around our snow covered Lavender Farm, through the pear orchard, and down the road to visit, and deliver a Christmas card to a dear widow who lives alone, with her 5 cats that she rescued. She is a delight to be around, at 84 years old, she still has a wonderful sense of humor.

The ski trip has invigorated me a lot. Wherever you live, get outside to enjoy the beauty around you, and share wonderful moments with family and friends. Have a wonderful holiday.