Kitchen Crafts 'n' More

Monday, February 19, 2007 Homemade Herbal Tea Recipes - Lavender Verbena Tea

Lavender Verbena Tea
Thanks again to Jeannie for sending in this delicious herbal tea blend for us to try.
A simple mix of lemon verbena and a little bit of lavender.

1 cup lemon verbena leaves
3 tbs lavender flowers

Mix the herbs thoroughly, and store in an air tight container. For a cup of tea, use 1 tsp in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes and strain out the leaves. Enjoy with a bit of honey.

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Requested Recipes - Homemade Herbal Teas - Damiana Homemade Herbal Tea

Damiana Delight
Thanks to Jeannie for sending in this unique herbal tea recipe.
The bitterness of damiana is offset by the spearmint and orange zest.
1 tbs chamomile
1 tbs damiana leaves
1 tbs lemongrass
1 tbs spearmint leaves
1/4 tbs jasmine flowers
1/4 tbs orange peel, grated
Combine herbs in two cups of water, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out herbs and serve hot.

Christina's Note: I was very curious to learn more about damiana, which I had never heard of before Jeannie had sent in this recipe! Here are a few notes on what damiana is, in case (like me) you've never heard of this herb.

A small shrub; leaves smooth and pale green on upper side, underneath glabrous, with a few hairs on the ribs, ovolanceolate, shortly petiolate with two small glands at base; flowers yellow, rising singly from axils of the leaves, capsule one-celled splitting into three pieces; smell aromatic, taste characteristic, bitterish, aromatic and resinous.

A greenish volatile oil, smelling like chamomile, amorhpous bitter principle Damianin, resins and tannin.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Mild purgative, diuretic, tonic, acting directly on the reproductive organs, stimulant, hypochondriastic, aphrodisiae.

If YOU have ever tried using Damiana in a tea, please let me know how it worked for you. :) I'm curious to find out more about this...

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Help for a Reader - Making Sugar-Free Chocolates at Home

In our last newsletter one reader wanted more information on making homemade sugar-free chocolates, instead of buying them at such a high cost in the stores.

Here is one helpful answer I received from another reader so far:

Helen F. asked about chocolate coating suitable for diabetics so she could make her own sweet treats at a more reasonable cost.....and I have found that "carob" chips work great for children with sensitivity to sugar and/or chocolate and need a substitute. Also, I have found that Kitchen Krafts offers candy coating for diabetics....and have used this coating just this past Christmas season for making lots and lots of chocolate treats for all the diabetics in our family! It's really a great sugar-free coating that looks and tastes like the real thing! Their website is

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Bath Recipes - Easy Essential Oil Baths

Essential Oils Bath
Add a few drops (no more than 10) of your favorite essential oil(s)
to warm water. Choose the oils to match your mood. For example, use
lavender and/or melissa if you want to relax before bed. Use
peppermint or juniper to revive and energize. Look at our complete
index of essential oils to choose more. **Note: Some oils can be
irritating, and should not be used by some people. Read the
instructions first, and always do a patch test before using a new

For more bath recipes, visit: The Bath and Beauty Recipes Page on Kitchen Crafts 'n' More Site

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Saturday, February 17, 2007 Readers Questions - Finding Sugar-Free Chocolate to Make Handmade Chocolates & Candies

Today's Reader Question of the Day is from: Helen F
who asks:

"I am diabetic and would like to make my own sugar free chocolate candy. The purchased candy is so expensive. Can I use the chocolate chips in the bag to cover nuts, pretzels, etc. or is there a special chocolate I should use. If there is such a thing as sugar free chocolate coating, where can it be purchased as I have never seen it. I have tried asking this question to several sources and no one seems to be able to give me an answer so I am going to the "experts".

Have an answer for Helen? Then email it to me at and thanks for helping out!

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Aromatherapy - Essential Oils - Today's Essential Oil is Basil

Basil Essential Oil is Today's Essential Oil of the Day!
(Please note: a skin test should always be done before using any essential oil, to ensure that you're not sensitive or allergic to it.)

Ways to Use Basil Essential Oil: Possible Uses: Bronchitis, colds, coughs, exhaustion, flatulence, flu, gout, insect bites, insect repellent, muscle aches, rheumatism, sinusitis.

Safety Information: Safety Information: Use sparingly with caution. High doses may be carcinogenic due to its methyl chavicol content. Avoid in cases of liver problems. [Robert Tisserand, Essential Oil Safety (United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone, 1995), 120.]

Avoid during pregnancy

If you have any more tips on how to use basil essential oil, please email them to me at

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007 Household Hints - Chopping & Peeling Garlic Made Easy

Here are a few hints for all of you garlic lovers out there, to make peeling and chopping garlic a lot easier.

  • To make it easier to chop garlic, if you liberally sprinkle the cutting board with salt, this will keep the garlic from sticking to your knife. Be sure to adjust your recipe to take into account the salt you have added to the garlic.
  • To peel garlic, either smash the clove of garlic with the side of your chef's knife OR use a handy little plastic garlic peeler tube. All you do is insert the clove of garlic in, roll it around using the palm of your hand, and out pops the peel and the peeled garlic. Really easy!
  • There are new handy little food choppers available that do all the work of chopping garlic for you. One popular model is called the Alligator Mini.
  • A good garlic press takes away all the work of chopping garlic - just insert a peeled clove of garlic and press for perfectly minced fresh garlic!

For more household hints:

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Sunday, February 11, 2007 Pie Recipes - Two Delicious New Pie Recipes to Try

I've just posted Two Delicious NEW Pie Recipes for you guys. :) One for a Vanilla Pumpkin Pie,and the other a Crazy Crust Apple Pie. If you hate making pie crust, this is the recipe for you!

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Sunday, February 04, 2007 Recipe Requests - FOUND - Baked Pumpkin Pudding Recipe (Healthy Version)

FOR: A Reader
Big thanks to Sue B. for finding this healthy Baked Pumpkin Pudding recipe. I think it would be delicious warm with a dollop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup egg substitute, 2 cups cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp. honey, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1 1/2 cups fat-free evaporated milk, 5 tbsp's. light whipped topping.

DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg substitute, pumpkin, sugar, honey and spices until blended. Slowly add milk and continue to blend. Pour into five eight-ounce custard cups that are coated with nonstick cooking spray. Place in a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. 2. Bake pudding uncovered for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue to bake for 30-35 minutes until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. You can serve this dessert warm or cold. Garnish with a dollop of light whipped topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon, Keep in refrigerator.MAKES: 5 servings

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Eggnog Bread (with Cake Consistency) - Readers Requested Recipes Found

This is a delicious Eggnog Bread recipe I have made several times. It is very tender and cake-like.
Jan J.

Eggnog Bread
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup eggnog
2 Tablespoons rum
2-1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggsand rum and beat light and fluffy again. In anotherbowl, stir together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add to creamed mixture. Mix until thoroughly blended. Pour into a greased and floured large loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees until center tests done. Cool slightly, then remove from pan and cool completely.

This is in response to a recent recipe request for Eggnog Bread. Hope this helps! :) Enjoy, everyone.

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Seasoning Cast Iron Pans with Bacon Fat

I love to find old skillets anywhere no matter what kind of shape they are in. Trust me, some have seen better days! No matter what, I have been able to salvage each one of them. I know that one day my kids will move out and take every thing that isn't nailed down, including my skillets. So I have them stockpiled.
All I do to season them is.....clean them really well with an SOS pad, dry them on a low stove burner and when I want to season them, I just make some bacon! That's it, the mystery is solved. Bacon. My dad has a fit everytime Mom washes his "seasoned" skillet. A pound of bacon later, it's as good as used! (Who would want it new?) It's not necessary to use soap to wash them after that, all you need to do is wipe it out with a paper towel and it's good for next time. It's just like using Pampered Chef stonewear. Don't wash it when a wipe will do, right?

Hint Submitted by Becky - thanks for all the readers' tips on how to season cast iron skillets!

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How to Season a Cast Iron pan - More Readers Tips

Submitted by Ruth W.

The first time you season the pan, you should coat it lightly with cooking oil inside and out and bake in a 250 degree oven for 1/2 hour.

To maintain the cast iron cookware, never, never, never soak it in water. What I do is dip a bit of dishwater into the pan and scrub out the inside, then rinse well. Then I put it on the stove on medium heat for 5 minutes. This is enough to dry the pan and open its pores. Then put about a tablespoon of oil into the pan and with a double paper towel spread it around the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Let it cool on the stovetop, then put it away. As long as you haven't soaked the pan in water, I never bother with the outside unless something has spilled over. I have used my cast iron for years, and it is better than teflon if you keep it seasoned.

Happy cooking!

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