This is a vintage post, but seasonally appropriate and lots of fun. Don’t spray toxins on your lawn… let those dandelions grow au naturel! The beautiful golden color and early summer fragrance of dandelions attracts bees, providing life sustaining nectar this time of year. Bees are HUNGRY in May and June, and if we want them around to pollinate our fruit orchards and vegetable gardens later in the season, we had better provide them with something to eat right now.
Asparagus is at it’s lowest price of the entire year right now, at least where I live. I bought a few bundles and used some to make a pot of this amazing soup. If you’d like to stock up (this soup really is that good), simply follow the directions below and stop at Step 3. You can freeze the partially prepared soup well into autumn, then thaw and continue with the last few steps. So easy!
Ingredients (Serves 4) Continue reading
Hop. Hop. Hippidy Hop. That bunny is heading our way, and wouldn’t it be nice if he arrived with a basket of homemade Easter candy? Jelly Bean Brittle is awesome for so many reasons… it’s super easy (Can you boil water? That’s about the only skill you need!), doesn’t require any expensive ingredients, and unlike peanut brittle, is completely free of common allergens. This recipe makes a great big pan (about 2 1/2 pounds’ worth) – perfect for an office or a classroom!
The only special item you will need is a candy thermometer. Now, don’t panic – a candy thermometer looks like any other thermometer, and just clips right onto your pot. All you need to do is READ it, and if you are reading this blog post, you’ve got that skill locked. Here is a link to the simple candy thermometer that I use:
It’s less than $6, and if you order it today you’ll be able to make Jelly Bean Brittle before Easter. You’re welcome. Let’s get started!
1 pound bag of mini jelly beans
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (no lumps!)
Step 1) Clip your candy thermometer to the side of a big, old pot. The tip of the thermometer should not be touching the bottom of the pot. Add sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently.
Step 2) Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat slightly (low-medium) and allow to continue boiling until the temperature gauge on your candy thermometer reaches the line labeled “Hard Crack” or 295 degrees. Be patient – this will take 20 – 30 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally.
Step 3) While your mixture boils, prepare your pan. First, cover your largest baking pan with aluminum foil; don’t forget to cover the sides. Next, grease the aluminum foil with the wrapper from a stick of butter. Then, evenly distribute jelly beans on the foil.
Step 4) When your boiling mixture reaches the Hard Crack stage, turn off the heat and sprinkle baking soda into the pot. STIR QUICKLY! A chemical reaction will take place, causing the boiling mixture to foam and froth. This is normal – and exciting!
Step 6) After about 10 minutes, your jelly bean brittle will be ready to break apart into bite size pieces. Store in an airtight container to keep nice and fresh!
PS – About that pot… just add a drop of dish soap and fill with BOILING water. It’ll come clean in seconds.
At Crowded Earth Kitchen, we love chocolate truffles. They’re ridiculously easy to make, beautiful when dipped in chocolate coating, and make lovely hostess gifts. This recipe for Springtime Chocolate Truffles is so easy – what are you waiting for?
Ingredients (Makes about 36 truffles)
4 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips Continue reading
Happy first day of Spring! Lavender is synonymous with springtime here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. The signature color of lavender buds, combined with their fresh, clean scent, are an assurance that the warm summer sun will be here soon enough. While we wait, let’s warm up with a cup of tea!
Lavender teas have long been recommended by herbal experts for soothing the stomach, serving as a sleep aide, and relieving headaches. Crowded Earth Kitchen is featuring two lavender tea blends today. The first, Lavender Passion Flower Tea, combines lavender with passion flower leaves. Available in the herbal section of many markets, passion flower leaves have a long history as a folk remedy for anxiety and insomnia. Lavender Passion Flower Tea has an earthy taste and a springtime fragrance reminiscent of freshly cut grass.
Our second lavender tea blend, Lavender Chamomint, combines lavender with the soothing power of German chamomile and the perky zip of peppermint. While also offering calming properties, the herbs in Lavender Chamomint have also been used by women as folk remedies for pre-menstrual symptoms and menstrual cramps.
(makes 12 cups)
Combine 2 heaping tablespoons of dried passion flower leaves with 2 heaping tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of this mixture. Steep for 5 minutes.
(makes 15 cups)
Combine 2 heaping tablespoons of dried lavender buds, 2 heaping tablespoons of dried German chamomile, and 1 heaping tablespoon of peppermint. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of this mixture. Steep for 5 minutes.
Enjoy, and Be Well!
Crowded Earth Kitchen will revisit the topic of tea from time to time. If you have a favorite herb or type of tea that you would like to see featured, please comment below!