18 Sunflower Facts You Never Knew

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 “Bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of the light.” – Eugenion Montale

Here Comes The Sun! From munching on the salted seeds packed in my Barbie lunchbox, to growing the gigantic beauties in my garden, I have always had a love affair with sunflowers. I literally skip when my seeds begin to sprout, anxiously awaiting the bright, canary-colored magical bloom! Check out these interesting facts that I never knew about my favorite flower:

The scientific name of sunflowers is Helianthus, Helios for sun and Anthos for flower.

Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants, growing up to 12 feet tall within six months.

The tallest sunflower (over 25 feet) was grown in The Netherlands in 1986.

There are more than 60 different kinds of sunflowers, including yellow, orange, red-orange, maroon, tan, peach and striped colors.

The former Soviet Union grows the most sunflowers. The sunflower is the national flower of Russia.

Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. The large petals around the edge of a sunflower head are individual ray flowers which do not develop into seed.

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“Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower. He attracts and follows.” – Jean Paul Richter

Sunflowers are thought to have existed 3000-8000 years ago. The Aztecs worshipped sunflowers.

Native American Indians used sunflowers for food, oil, in medical ointments, and as dyes and body paints.

Sunflowers are connected to the zodiac sign, Leo.

Kansas is known as the Sunflower State.

The sunflower’s flowering heads track the sun’s movement, a phenomenon known as heliotropism. In French, the word for sunflower is tournesol, meaning “turn with the sun.”

Mature sunflowers can have up to 40% of their weight in oil, which they store as a source of energy and food. Sunflower seeds are crushed to give us oil for cooking.

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 “The sunflower is mine, in a way.” ― Vincent van Gogh

Famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh did a series of paintings featuring and called Sunflowers.

One sunflower can have up to 2000 seeds.

There are two kinds of sunflower seeds: black and stripe. Oil is made from black seeds; snacks are made from striped seeds.

Sunflowers can also be processed into a peanut butter substitute called Sunbutter. In Germany, sunflower seeds are mixed with rye flour to make a type of bread (Sonnenblumenkernbrot).

According to folklore, it is bad luck to cut down a sunflower.

Another folk legend says that if you sleep with a sunflower under your pillow, you will become wise.

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 “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” – Helen Keller

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Resources include:  AmazingandWeird.com and SunflowerPlant.com

Shared with: Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Fiesta Friday, Plant Based PotLuck, Gluten Free Fridays, Real Food Fridays

50 Shades of Tomatoes {recipe}

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Curvaceous. Juicy. Bursting. Plump. Tempting. Exotic. Heavenly. Sinful. 50 Shades. No, this isn’t the sexy Hollywood movie. It’s 50 Shades of Tomatoes.

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My organic heirloom tomatoes are show stopping in spectacular shades, shapes and sizes with exotic names like: Black Tula, Principe Borghese, Large Barred Boar, Brandy Wine, Purple Russian, Big Pink and Green Zebra.

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 “Only two things that money can’t buy,  

that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” Guy Clark


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“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”  – Lewis Grizzard


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 “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.”


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 “The tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.”

  -Pablo Neruda


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“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”

-Laurie Colwin


Nothing screams “Summer!!” like just-picked tomatoes, sun-kissed and dripping with juicy ripeness.  To highlight your mouth-watering garden gems, keep it simple. Start by adding fragrant basil…

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“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.”

– Sir Thomas Moore 


Add soft, fresh mozzarella cheese…

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Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a thick, rich balsamic glaze.

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Now, how sexy is that?


Caprese Salad

(Shhhh. The secret is the glossy balsamic glaze.) For a more dramatic presentation, vary different shades, colors and shapes of tomatoes.

Serves 8 to 12

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

2 Cups balsamic vinegar

3 ripe heirloom tomatoes, preferably organic

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced

Fresh basil leaves

High-quality olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Make the glaze: Pour balsamic vinegar into saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat.

Cook for about 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the balsamic has reduced to a thick (but still pourable) glaze. Cool.

Assemble: Cut tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them on a platter. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Alternate tomato slices with mozzarella slices. Tuck whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.

Drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Drizzle balsamic glaze.

Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.

***

Buon Appetito!

Recipe_caprese_salad_seedylawyer

“Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes

What would life be without homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”

– John Denver/Guy Clark

(click on link to sing along to “Homegrown Tomatoes”)

***

Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Post shared with:  Fiesta Friday, Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Mix It Up Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Try A Bite Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Fridays, Thursday Favorite Things, Link Party Palooza

Do you grow tomatoes? What’s your favorite heirloom tomato?

50/50: Fifty years of life’s lessons

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Me with Mom in Miami

You’ve come a long way, baby!

This is it!  The Big 5-0! Half of a century. Five decades.

Adios, youth.  Hello, AARP! Egad!

….Cue music: “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” 

Where has all the time gone? I act so silly sometimes that I just can’t believe my age. Well, I’m definitely older and maybe a little bit wiser. I have learned much over the past fifty years. But the lessons I have learned have not all been easy.

As I laugh myself into the next 50 years, I reflect on a few, okay, 50 things that I know for sure from 50 years passed.  Here’s my 50/50 countdown:

50.  You should always talk to strangers.

49. Diamonds Dogs are a girl’s best friend.

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My rescued dog, Dingo

48.  Cherish your family.

47.  Life’s too short to drink cheap wine.

46.  Friends are measured in quality, not quantity.

45.  Eat dessert first.

44. Never talk to Dad during a football game.

43.  I believe in angels!

42. Watching the sunrise can change your whole day.

41. Rainbows make me giddy.

40.  ’70’s and ’80’s music rocks!

39.  I will always be Daddy’s little girl.

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Dad, my first true love.

38.  Bees are beautiful.

37.  Laughter can cure anything.

36.  You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be.

35.  My mother loves me.

34.  I may be a little bit older, but I’m young at heart!

33.  The smell of rain intoxicates me. (Cue music: “Have you ever seen the rain?”)

32.  I smile at strangers. (You should try it!)

31.  My garden fills me with peace.

30.  Me gusta el café cubano.

29.  The ocean calms me. (Cue music: “Well I was born in the sign of water, And it’s there that I feel my best.”)

28.  I love the Autumn breeze blowing my hair.

27.  My 99 year old grandmother is amazing (and she wishes she was my age!)

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“A garden of love grows in a grandmother’s heart.” ~Author Unknown

26.  I could dance for the rest of my life! (Cue music: “I could have danced all night and still have begged for more.“)

25.  It is better to be alone than in bad company.

24.  A smile is a reflection of your soul.

23. No matter how bad life seems, remember: “This, too, shall pass.”

22. I love the smell of a wood-burning fire (and eating smores)!

21. If you have one true friend, you are rich.

20. Snowflakes make me skip!

19.  Mean people stink!

18.  Fall leaves are absolutely spectacular!

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17.  You should really, really listen to people.

16.  Sunsets rock!

15.  I sing along with birds.

14.  Sunshine on my shoulders really makes me happy.

13.  I love watching butterflies visit my flowers.

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12. Music moves me.

11. Trains are really cool!

10. I wish upon stars.

9.  Writing satisfies my soul.

8.  You are responsible for making yourself happy.

7.  A random act of kindness can make all the difference in the world.

6.  God loves me.

5.  A rescued dog rescues you right back.

4.  There’s nothing like a really great joke!

3.  A good, cold craft beer is totally worth the calories.

2. I would rather be in my garden than in the courtroom.

….and the number one thing I know for sure is…(drumroll please)….

1.  50 is the new 39!!!

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I’m excited to see what the next 50 years will teach me!  Stay tuned…

What life’s lessons have you learned?  I would love to hear them!

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with:  Wordless Wednesday, Fiesta Friday, Great Idea Thursday, Natural Family Friday, Farm Hop, Home and Garden Thursday, Foodie Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Share Your Cup Thursday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Simple Saturdays, Full Plate Thursday, Craft Spices, Busy Monday, Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Mix It Up Monday, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday

Winter into Spring: A Gardener’s Dream

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“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” – Victor Hugo

Snow, rain, ice and sleet. The days are dark and dreary. No flowers blooming. No organic veggies in my garden. No signs of life. My dogs are miserable. Even my homemade Kombucha needs a heating pad just to keep warm!

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These boots were made for walking…in my garden!

“In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner things happen, the resurge of nature.” – Edna O’Brien

But today as the snow slowly melted, I spotted a beautiful robin perched in my tree! I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Ecstatic, I rushed towards the singing bird only to scare him away like a big ole scarecrow. So, sadly, the red red robin went bop bop boppin’ along!

Could it be that my fine feathered friend was chirping to say that Spring is just around the corner? Oh Spring, where art thou?? I miss you so. I’ve got The Gardener’s Blues!

My garden is frozen.

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Gives a new meaning to “frozen peas”

 “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet

No partridge (or pears) in my pear tree.

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Winter: Just grin and pear it!

“The color of springtime is in the flowers;

the color of winter is in the imagination.”

– Terri Guillemets

When will my magnificent magnolias replace the frosty snow?

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I’d prefer frozen Margaritas over frozen Magnolias!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland

With every bird’s sweet song and each sunbeam peering through the wintry clouds, I am filled with anticipation and excitement of Spring’s arrival. When I dream about Spring, I’m as hopeful as Tony in West Side Story, (cue music) … (Click on link to sing along)

(Something’s Coming)

“Could it be? Yes it could.

Something’s coming, something good, if I can wait.

Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is but it is gonna be great!”

Soon my seeds will begin to sprout and hopefully I will be blessed with a bountiful harvest. My flowers will bloom in every color of the rainbow, attracting buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies. Then I will blissfully watch my dogs chase the butterflies.

Yes, it will be Spring, indeed.

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Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” – Robin Williams

The air is hummin’ and something great is comin’! Like Spring, my birthday is just around the corner. Although I’m not exactly a Spring chicken, this garden girl can receive no better gift than the joy of Springtime. What a way to celebrate!

Perhaps the Rockin’ Robin will sing Happy Birthday to me? Hoppin’ and a- boppin’ and singing my song! I may, however, need a strong Autumn breeze to blow out all the candles on my birthday cake!

Are you ready for Spring? What about Spring excites you?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

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Shared with Fiesta Friday, Natural Family Friday, Farm Hop, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Simple Saturdays, Motivation Monday, The Clever Chicks, Busy Monday, Creative Mondays, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It, Tasty Tuesday, Mix It Up Monday

Pumpkin, Sage, Browned-Butter Cakes {recipe}

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Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Cakes

I would rather sit on a pumpkin,

and have it all to myself,

than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Scoot over, bland Pumpkin Pie! Out of the way, stale Pumpkin Scones! Beat it, boring Pumpkin Biscuits! Make way for Pumpkin Sage Browned-Butter Cakes!

It’s that time of year. Pumpkins are everywhere!

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At the Health Food Markets…

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And the Farmer’s Market…

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And of course, The Pumpkin Patch…

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“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Even little pumpkins hanging out on Main Street….

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In my humble foodie opinion, nothing goes better with pumpkin than sage.  The combination just screams (and smells) “Autumn!!”

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Sage or salvia officinalis has many health benefits and has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. Its Latin root Salvare means “to heal.” It’s a great addition to my home garden. Easy to grow, sage adds a savory and light lemony flavor to dishes.

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Since my sage plant has runneth over, thank goodness there’s pumpkin. There are so many delicious pumpkin/sage combos including stuffing, ravioli and risotto. Oh My! But how about something sweet yet a bit savory?

I’ve got it! Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Cakes! (Thank you, Martha Stewart!)

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I added a touch of vanilla and topped with pumpkin seeds for texture and color. Browned-butter adds a hint of nuttiness. The pumpkin brings out a beautiful golden, Harvest color. Want some?

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My Pumpkin cakes are:

Oh so fluffy

moist

pumpkiny

not too sweet

I repeat, not too sweet (LOL)

light

crunchy and creamy

savory

spiced so nice

“Autumn in one bite!”

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Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Cakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Yield Makes 4 mini loaves

Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter*, plus more for pans
    • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
    • 1/4 cup fresh sage, cut into thin strips, plus whole leaves for garnish (optional)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • ½ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

*Can substitute Earth Balance or Coconut Oil for butter.

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 4 mini loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sage strips; cook until butter turns golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sage-butter mixture. Add flour mixture; whisk until incorporated.
  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Sprinkle top with pumpkins seeds. Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely. (Cakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature overnight or refrigerated up to 5 days.) Garnish with whole sage leaves before serving, if desired.

***

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Oh Baby! The aroma from the oven fills your home with Autumn goodness!

It’s The Great Pumpkin, indeed, Charlie Brown! Take my sage advice and bake these cakes!  Happy Autumn!

What’s your favorite Pumpkin recipe?

This post was featured on:

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I am sharing my Pumpkin, Sage cakes with the folks at Real Food Fridays, Green Thumb Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Great Idea Thursdays, Fiesta Friday, HomeAcre Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Plant Based Potluck, Natural Family Friday, Foodie Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Farm Hop, LHITS DIY, Weekend Bites, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Motivation Monday, Melt In You Mouth Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Creative Mondays, Clever Chicks, Tuesdays With a Twist, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Backyard Farming Connection, Tasty Tuesday, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday , Show and Share Wednesday, Wine’d Down Wednesday

Original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

30 Cool Things To Compost

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“My whole life has been spent waiting for an epiphany… the kind of transcendent, magical experience that lets you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap.”

– Bette Midler

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Compost your Jack O’Lantern!

What are you doing with your Jack O’Lantern after Halloween? Did you throw out your used coffee grounds this morning? How about that empty toilet paper roll? Don’t toss them; compost them!

It is said that “One man’s trash is another one’s treasure.”  This is true about compost, where nature magically recycles kitchen scraps into “black gold” soil.

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Compost is “black gold” for your garden!

There are many benefits of compost that include increasing the quality of your soil with nutrients, air and texture. “Volunteer plants” often pop up, too. Some of my best producing tomato plants miraculously grew from my compost heap. I even discovered an avocado tree! All for free! (Shhh… it’s our “dirty” little secret!)

If you’re new to composting, check out the basics of composting. I started by simply cleaning out my refrigerator. (Gross, I know!)

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Most people compost kitchen scraps like banana peels and apple cores. Others throw in stale bread and old lettuce leaves.

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You can compost the apple peel AND core!

You probably already compost eggshells.  Toss in the (cut up) cardboard egg carton, too.

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Add eggshells and the egg carton to compost.

My list of things to compost seems endless. Did you know that can compost:

  1. Counting Sheep: old woolen socks (cut into small pieces)
  2. On Cloud Nine: 100% cotton balls; cotton from vitamin bottle; cotton swabs with wooden middle
  3. Cheers: wine cork (real cork)… and stale or old wine and beer
  4. Veggie Delight: cooled water from steaming veggies
  5. Sprout It Out: growing sprouts in a jar? compost the rinse water
  6. Hair of the Dog: pet hair (human hair, too! – untreated)
  7. Go Fish: dirty water and dirt from aquarium; fish food
  8. Plain White T’s: old 100% cotton t-shirt (cut up into pieces)
  9. Crab Shack: crab and shrimp shells; seaweed
  10. Bag It: contents from vacuum cleaner bag
  11. Pumpkin Patch: Jack o’ Lantern/pumpkin (cut into smaller pieces)
  12. Dirty Laundry: dryer lint
  13. Good to the Last Drop: coffee grinds and used coffee filters
  14. Perfect Match: used matches
  15. Chop, Chop: chopsticks (broken into pieces)
  16. You’re Fired: fireplace ashes (cooled!)
  17. Lots of Pastabilities: cold pasta noodles (no sauce)
  18. All Cracked Up: stale crackers
  19. Tea for Two: tea bags/loose tea leafs
  20. Pulp Fiction: pulp from the juicer
  21. Eggcellent: egg shells (rinsed) and cardboard egg cartons (cut into pieces)
  22. Pickin’ and Grinnin’: toothpicks
  23. Mikey Likes It: old cereal and cereal boxes (shredded)
  24. The Nutty Professor: shells from nuts and seeds (no salt)
  25. Featherweight: real feathers
  26. Totally Tubular: cardboard tubes from toilet paper, paper towels and gift wrap
  27. Prom Night: dried out corsages, bouquets and flower arrangements
  28. Brown Paper Packages: ask for paper bags at grocery store; cut into pieces
  29. Pick Up Sticks: popsicle sticks  
  30. Tis The Season: Christmas tree and natural holiday wreaths (chopped up).  Don’t forget to remove decorations first! (HaHa)
Compostrs_seedylawyer

Check out my “black gold!”

Imagine the huge reduction in landfills if we all composted. Plus, we’d have the healthiest plants in town! It can’t hurt to make dirt!

So, before you toss something in the trash, think to yourself, “Can I compost this?” The answer may just surprise you! Can’t you just dig it?!

I am sharing The Dirt with Busy Monday, Fiesta Friday, Tuesday Garden Party, Natural Living Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Motivation Monday, Tuesdays With A Twist, Totally Talented Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Great Idea Thursdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday, Plant Based Potluck, Meet and Greet, Simple Lives Thursday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Weekend Bites, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Fridays, I’m Lovin It, Farm Hop, LHITS DIY, Farm Girl Friday, Backyard Farming Connection, Natural Family Friday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturday, Creative Style Link Up, Creative Mondays

Do you compost? What items do you add to your compost pile?

Photos courtesy of Kirsty Hall, Normanack, Net_efekt, Michael Gil  and Seedy Lawyer.

All rights reserved.

This post was featured on:

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Very Berry Summer Smoothie

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Hot town, summer in the city

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

– Summer in the City, The Lovin’ Spoonful

Cool off from the hot summer in the city with a Very Berry Summer Smoothie.

I started with juicy strawberries and blueberries and blended them with garden herbs, fruit juice, and a few other ingredients.

Chia seeds prolong hydration, are a great source of protein and Omega-3’s. Chia seeds also thicken the smoothie. Mint and cinnamon beat the heat with a cooling effect. Ground flaxseed boosts fiber and is loaded with Omega-3’s.   Ripe avocado adds nutrients and creaminess. Don’t worry, the flavorful fruit will cover up any taste of the spinach. (Your kids will never know that they are drinking their vegetables!)

After getting dirty and gritty from my garden, I cooled down with this refreshing Very Berry Summer Smoothie:BerriliciousSmoothie_Seedylawyer

Very Berry Summer Smoothie

Serves about 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup apple juice or water

1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds (let seeds soak in liquid in the blender for 5-10 minutes before adding other ingredients)

2 cups fresh spinach or kale, chopped

6 leaves of fresh mint (or any fresh herb)

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ of a mango

½ of an avocado

pinch of Cinnamon

1 frozen banana (cut up)

Ice

PREPARATION:

Start by adding the liquid to your blender. Add the chia seeds. Let chia seeds soak in liquid for 5-10 minutes. Blend.

Add greens and herbs. Blend.

Follow with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high for one minute or until the smoothie is well-blended and creamy. Adjust liquid to desired consistency.

Pour into your favorite glass and add a cute straw. Garnish with a strawberry or mint leaf. Voila! 

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Enjoy every lovin’ spoonful of your summer smoothie!  What ingredients do you add to your summer smoothies?

Sharing this recipe with my friends at Fiesta Friday #24!

 

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

 

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Herbal Lemonade

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Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

– Sam Keen

Summer is definitely here.  My herb garden is growing wild. Lemonade stands are popping up everywhere.

I spotted this classic lemonade stand while driving down a mountain road in Western North Carolina. These smart girls even sold Moon Pies!

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This adorable family was serving cold lemonade on a hot day in South Florida. It reminded me of my childhood in Miami.

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Not sure she was so happy when life gave her lemons…

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You can always find frosty lemonade during the summer at the farmer’s market.

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Fortunately, you don’t need your own lemonade stand to indulge in refreshing lemonade.  Just mix lemons, water and a sweetener of your choice to create your own tasty treat.  For an extra twist, add fragrant herbs from your garden. It’s simple:

Squeeze lemons…

lemonsMix in a handful of fresh garden herbs…

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and…Pucker up!

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Experiment with your favorite herbs and fresh fruit.  Though you many not have a lemonade stand, these mouth-watering recipes are sure to have friends lining up for more.

Here’s my absolute favorite recipe. My friend Birgerbird can relate to the lemonade story, so I invited her to guest post a recipe.  She offers a refreshing, floral and aromatic lemonade enhanced with strawberry and basil that will disappear when you serve it.  The addition of a few strawberries gives it a lovely, almost amber, color. Cheers to Summer!

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Lemonade with Strawberry and Basil

Serves: about 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw sugar
1 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
about 20 medium-size basil leaves, torn into rough pieces
3½ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 24 lemons; wait to juice the lemons until after you’ve made the sugar syrup)

PREPARATION:

Make syrup:  Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl. Wash the lemons and rub the sugar over the outsides of them, which releases some of the aromatic oils into the sugar, gently flavoring it.  Scrape off sugar back into bowl to the best of your ability! Then, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.

Combine the strawberries and 15 basil leaves in a blender (use the remaining leaves to garnish in a pitcher) along with ¼ cup of the syrup. Blend for 1 minute.  Pour into a pitcher with all of the lemon juice and stir well.  Add ice cubes.  Alternatively to make a glass of lemonade, stir together approximately 3 Tbs. strawberry mixture with 3 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 or 2 Tbs. sugar syrup. Add ice cubes and top with a bit of cold water (still or sparkling water are both tasty). Stir well. Enjoy!

I am sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #22!

Do you have memories of your childhood lemonade stand?  Have a special summertime lemonade recipe?

Photos courtesy of  Rob Bertolf,  Nina Frazier

Original photos by BirgerBird and Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.