Wednesday, November 11, 2015


My little herb garden has done really well this summer! I grew oregano, sage, dill, basil, rosemary, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and serrano peppers.  Overall my little herb garden did very well, but the dill did not survive. Not sure if it didn't get enough sun or if it was a bad plant from the get go.  The basil and rosemary did well, but they were on the bottom and got less sunlight.  Next year I will put the basil and rosemary on the top. 

I love using fresh herbs in recipes and cooked with basil, sage, and oregano the most.  I used sage in a chicken saltimbocca recipe and it was delicious! The oregano I used in a one pot pasta recipe and the basil I used in a caprese pasta salad. Fresh herbs make all the difference. 

The oregano grew like a weed!  I had so much oregano, that I decided to dry some of it. 

I cut a bunch of oregano off, washed the dirt off, and bundled it into 4 sections.  I tied each bundle with some rope.  I then hung the rope by a hanger inside to dry. This made the kitchen smell so good!

...  and 4 days later the oregano was dried.  I removed the dried oregano from the rope and pulled the pieces of oregano off and crumbled them to make smaller pieces. My dried oregano filled 2 spice containers- this should last a while!!!  It would cost more to buy dried oregano at the store than to buy the plant and I had fun in the process :)

Now that the leaves are falling and it is chilly in the evenings, I decided to move a few of my herbs inside.  I planted the rosemary, basil, sage, and oregano in small pots and placed them in a window sill that gets sun.  An ideal location would be in a kitchen window, but our house is so shaded that it was hard to find a place that gets sun.  So the great room window now houses my little inside herb garden. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lets get fired up!

We love having fires in the fireplace and curling up with the pups on the couch!  

My mom had given us a few fire starters that she made years ago and they work like a charm! We were almost out, so she came over and helped us make our own.  

She used newspaper before, but since we don't have any newspaper we decided to use a role of paper instead.  We cut into 18 inch pieces, folded in 3rds, and rolled them up and secured with twist ties.  Wine definitely helped this process!

We placed metal coffee cans in a pot with water- enough water to boil but not allow the can to float.  We then melted a mixture of chunks of wax and old candle sticks in the coffee can until all melted. This took longer than I thought it would.

We attached a binder clip to the end of a piece of string and used it to dip the rolled up paper into the wax.  We let them dry some and then dipped each one a second time.  I'm sure there is an easier way to dip them, but this is what our German minds came up with!

Thank you to my grandpa for providing us with all of the materials to make our homemade fire starters and my mom for showing us how!

  Looks like we are ready for many fires in the fireplace this winter!!