Archive for May, 2010

Mother’s Day Gift Guide from Discover Lavender:  Top Ten Gift Ideas

1. Give your mom “Discover Cooking with Lavender.” No surprise that my number one gift idea for Mother’s Day (and almost any event you can dream up) is my very own cookbook, “Discover Cooking with Lavender.” What would you think if I didn’t put it at the top of the list? This book is the ultimate guide to cooking with lavender.

Seattle area retailers offering “Discover Cooking with Lavender” include: Made In Washington, Ravenna Gardens, Swansons Nursery, Sky Nursery, West Seattle Nursery, Lavender Heart Botanicals, City Peoples Mercantile (on Sand Point Way), Fresh, University Book Store and Fremont Place Books.


2. Buy “The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook.” This new book, written by Debra Daniels-Zeller, offers 200 recipes and tells stories of the farms and farmers who grow our food.

Whether your mom likes to cook or simply enjoys discovering and learning about local farms, she will be grateful for this gift.



3. Take your mom to her favorite cookware shop so she can select some new kitchen toys. In my neighborhood, my favorite cookware shop is Mrs. Cooks.  I’ll be there on Saturday, May 8th, so stop in and say hello. Other great retailers offering cookware include Sur la Table, Dish it Up and City Kitchens.


4. Create an edible herb garden for your mom. Plant a container with sage, oregano, parsley, tarragon and lavender. Your mother will think of you every time she snips herbs to add flavor to her favorite dishes. And she will save money, too. Go to a local nursery, they will be delighted to help you. If you are in the Seattle area, go to Sky Nursery, Swansons Nursery, City People’s garden shop, Ravenna Gardens  or West Seattle Nursery.


5. Drop by Eat Chocolates in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. You will find an assortment of hand-made truffles and beautifully crafted chocolate candy.


6.  Give the gift of lavender sugar. If you are a dad and want to help your kids discover the joy of gift-giving, this idea is for you. Get a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. You can buy a jar at the store or just wash out an empty pickle jar or peanut butter jar. Buy culinary lavender buds at the grocery store or spice shop. Mix 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender buds with 2 cups of granulated sugar. Pour the mixtures of sugar and lavender into the jar, cover it, and put a ribbon around it. Enlist the kids to help.  This is easy and inexpensive.


7. Invite your mother to spend Mother’s day with you. Take her to a beautiful garden. In our region, I recommend the Lakewold Gardens, Kubota Garden, Bellevue Botanical Gardens  or the Japanese Tea Garden at the Washington Arboretum.

If the weather remains cold and rainy through the weekend, Volunteer Park Conservatory is a good option. Another wonderful conservatory that I love to visit is W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory  at Wright’s Park in Tacoma.


8.  Register you and your mom for a walk or race. One of my best ever Mother’s Day gifts was aninvitation to run with my daughters in the Kirkland 5K race. Consider this as a way to enjoy time with your mom.  After the run, treat her to breakfast at a favorite eatery.


9.  Bring your mom to a wine-tasting at a nearby winery. On Sunday (May 9th) afternoon, I will be at Columbia Winery in the tasting room offering samplings from my new cook book – “Discover Cooking with Lavender.” Check out event calendars at wineries near where you live. Many offer unique events.


 10.  Invite you mother to go sailing with you. On Saturday, May 8, 2010, 10am – 4pm, the Center for Wooden Boats  will host a day of free boat rides and family activities at Cama Beach State Park. The event will feature free boat rides on a variety of visiting vessels, toy boat building, live music and more.


Happy Mother’s Day!




Read Full Post »

May 1st is National HerbDay! Events celebrating herbs are happening all around the country. Click here to find an event in your area.  I will be at a local nursery demonstrating how to plant a kitchen herb garden. Having a garden full of herbs is a luxury. Imagine having enough dill to make a sauce to serve with fresh salmon or halibut. Think of cutting fresh rosemary for seasoning chicken or port.  Dream of fresh mint to chop and serve with fresh berries or pineapple.

Fresh herbs add depth and richness to our food. Food is more pleasurable and satisfying.  And somehow this leads me to a more healthy diet. I am happy with smaller portions, and I feel better – healthy and vibrant. Herbs are easy to grow. The ingredients of an edible herb garden are:  six to eight hours of sun daily, very well drained soil, little fertilizing and pruning in the spring for renewal. Many herbs are perennial plants that come back year after year. In the Pacific Northwest where I live, lavender, rosemary, mint and sage are perennials. Basil, chervil and cilantro are grown as annuals. I like to grow my herbs in a container. The herbs planted in my kitchen garden include sage, tarragon, oregano and dill. I have lavender growing in containers, and also in borders. I also plant basil, however I will wait till the nighttime temperature is above 50F before planting. Five Tips for Creating Your Kitchen Herb Garden

  1. Use soil mixes formulated for containers. While it is tempting to fill my container with soil from my garden, I’ve found that this soil is clumpy and does not give the drainage the herbs require. To provide adequate drainage, make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom. This will prevent the plant from drowning. Use a container large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system and to hold enough soil so the plant gets enough moisture especially in hot weather. I use containers that are at least 18 inches in diameter. Plants in pots need to be fertilized. I use an organic fish fertilizer. I find a biweekly routine to keep my herbs thriving and healthy.
  2. One challenge in container gardening is to group plants in containers according to their needs.  Lavender and Rosemary are draught-tolerant and are at risk for root rot if they get too much water, while basil and chervil suffer when not watered enough. The solution is to group plants together that require similar growing conditions.

 Soil, sun, water and plants are the ingredients for creating an edible herb garden. Want to know more? I recommend Rosalind Creasy’s  book, “The Edible Herb Garden.”

Her book contains an encyclopedia of culinary herbs, recipes and growing tips.

Read Full Post »