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January 24 – National Peanut Butter Day

  • Posted on January 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

National Peanut Butter Day


Today is National Peanut Butter Day! A staple food product in over 90% of American households, an average individual eats more that 6 pounds of peanut products annuall.  While men seem to prefer the chunky variety (I actually do to), studies show that most women and children prefer creamy peanut butter.  I’ve always been ‘unique’, so I guess that’s not anything new. 

Created in 1890 by a St. Louis doctor as a remedy for bad teeth, it soon became a popular item with his patients.  The only problem was the oil separating from the solid peanut parts.  Finally, in 1933, the homogenization process was created to for the spreadable butter we are familiar with today. 

Interesting facts:  It takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.  An excellent source of protein, peanuts are cholesterol free and peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth due to the high protein content.

Did you know that it takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Peanuts are cholesterol free and an excellent source of protein. In fact, it’s the high protein content that causes peanut butter to stick to the roof of your mouth.

I think to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, I’ll have a peanut butter w/jelly sandwick for lunch…. or maybe some peanut butter cookies…. oh and bake some peanut butter dog treats for the Newfie horde.  Enjoy some yourself and have a great day!

Hugs, Ellen

Butterfly Flower

  • Posted on January 22, 2012 at 6:00 am
Clerodendrum ugandense

"Butterfly Flower"


This lovely plant is Clerodendrum ugandense, also known as the Butterfly Flower, a relative of the Glory bower family.  I think it’s absolutely stunning and I love the small light and dark blue ‘butterflies’!

An ‘everbloomer’, this beauty blooms year round.  It likes Full Sun and is hardy to Zone 8 for outdoor plantings (sad because I’m in Zone 7, but it’s also happy living in a container in a sunny window, which works for me).  It grows to 2-4′ so is a lovely size.

Hope you like it and have a great week.

Hugs, Ellen

Herbs – A World of Basils

  • Posted on January 21, 2012 at 6:00 am

Pictured is one of the many lovely, fragrant and amazingly useful Basils I grew last summer.  I’m not sure if this is cinnamon basil or Thai holy basil, but I know it’s delicious and smells SO good!!

Whether it’s a tender annual or a short-lived perennial in your temperature zone, basil’s a great herb in the garden landscape, the kitchen and can be used to make you feel better via teas, etc.  I just love to be out in the garden, plucking a leaf  and crushing it, releasing the awesome basilness.

My research tells me that there are between 50 and 150 species of basils (all true basils are genus Ocimum species, with the majority of culinary basils cultivars of O. basilicum, or sweet basil with the remainder cultivars of other basil species and a number of hybrid basils.  A historic heirloom herb, basil is native to tropical and subtropical regions of both the Old and New World.

Basil is hardy only in frost-free zones and will turn black with the merest hint of frost or freeze, try to keep it over 50 degrees and give it the full sun and well drained soil it craves while not over-watering.

Some of my favorite Basil Varieties

Sweet basil – standard, probably easiest to grow

Red Rubin – soft purple of Largeleaf Italian, ornamental and sturdy

Globe/Spicy Globe – small round globe shapes

Siam Queen – All American winner, gives a terrific Thai flavor.

Lemon Sweet Dani – robust, with intense lemon fragrance, ideal for seasoning fish and salads.

Cinnamon – good for fuit compote or cheesecake

Lemon or lime – great for teas or cool summer drinks

Largeleaf Italian/Genovese – best for making pesto

clove – adds a spicy warmth to peach cobbler

licorice – anise perks up homemade tomato soup

One of the most popular culinary herbs grown today, it’s best used fresh and added at the end of the cooking process.  The leaves of basil can be very large, or very small with a wide variety of colors and smells.

I’m so excited I’ll be growing quite a bit of basil this next year and experimenting with great recipies and new varieties.

What is your favorite basil?  And what is your favorite recipe made with basil?  If you share with me, I’ll share with you!!

Have a great week,

Hugs, Ellen