Friday, April 17, 2009

Tulips in my Garden

Well Spring is finally here and I am just thrilled!
My tulips came up and began blooming last weekend - just in time to grace us for Easter!

My sis & I planted these amongst my rose bushes last fall.
Soon I'll be out collecting the petals to infuse in oil.
I just LOVE the smell of Tulips!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Natural Easter Egg Dyes - Living Green

Coloring eggs with spices, herbs, fruits & veggies can net color results from very pale & delicate to bold and vibrant. I prefer more vibrant colors for Easter...but for a spring luncheon - pastel eggs would make lovely table decorations. (just my personal preference)

I will share with you my Lazy Girl method of dying eggs as well as the "proper recommendation" method of dying eggs.
Please note: These are only a few options for dying eggs - there are many more "natural dyes" that you can experiment with. When placing your hard-boiled eggs into dyes - I have found that color adheres best if the shells are room temperature NOT cold.

My Lazy Girl Method
I like my eggs with all the flecks, speckles & imperfections that occur this way. For Primitive looking eggs here is what I did:
I boiled water! Then I added 1 heaping tablespoon of my dry tea, herb powder or spices to 1.5 cups of boiling water. I gave it a couple of stirs and then just plopped an egg into the cup of mush.
Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the cooling Spice or Juice liquids before adding eggs. NOTE: Do NOT add vinegar to herbs or green veggies as it may discolor to brown.
These sat overnight in the mix.

HERE IS HOW I MADE THESE...................
The pretty blue eggs - I slightly warmed a can of blueberry sauce that I strained from the berries. After adding vinegar - I sat the eggs in the sauce for 30 minutes.
The golden egg was made using powdered Tumeric. The salmon egg from Paprika, the plum egg from Alkanet root powder, the pink egg from beet juice and the yellow egg with brown speckles from green tea & chamomile powder.
Proper Recommendation Guidelines for dyeing Eggs:
Spices - add 2 heaping tablespoons of spice to 2 cups of water.
Bring to boil then simmer 30 minutes. Let cool, strain into egg dying cup (glass or plastic) and stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Let egg sit in dye for 10 minutes to overnight.
Fruit & Veggie juices - Warm 2 cups of the juice and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.If using canned cherries, frozen chopped strawberries, canned blueberries - simmer fruit & sauce for 30 minutes - strain and add the vinegar to the juice. You can mix 1/2 cup fruit mixture to 1.5 cups water for paler colors or use the fruit mixture full strength for darker coloring.
Chopped Herbs - if using chopped, dried or powdered herbs, teas and various plant greens like spinach & parsley - DO NOT add vinegar. It might discolor your dyes.

Here is a list of suggested materials & colors:

Yellow: from pale to golden amber Curry, Tumeric, Saffron, Carrots (finely grated)
Tan - Brown: coffee, cinnamon
Peach -Orange: Paprika, Annatto Seed powder, Carrot Juice (very pale)
Pink - Red: Canned Cherries, Beets/beetjuice, frozen strawberries
Blue - canned blueberries
Purple - concentrated grape juice.
Green - Alfalfa, chopped spinach
Pale Yellow Green - green tea with crushed sage, parsley or chamomile

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

The Cherry Blossoms are blooming here in the DC area!

Did you know there are a total of 3000 trees planted along the Tidal Basin?

When asked to make cupcakes this week - I decided to make cherry chip in honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
They are simply white cupcakes with chopped maraschino cherries in the centers.
I decorated the top of the cupcakes to look like cherry blossom branches.

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