Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 Herb Program

Hey Herbies!

For all of you that missed our January program, "The Chocolate Tree" presented by Pat Baugh's son and daughter-in-law, . . .well all I can say is you missed a really great program! I think that the terrible weather kept a lot of members from attending! Thank you Pat, Darrell and Gayle! I will be posting some websites to check out about chocolate. I had no idea how chocolate comes about, but I do now.

Also I have some photos that I'm going to add to our Blog about our November 14, 2012 program “Aromatics" presented by Cindy Meredith and Mary Ann Davis.

We need to get our 2013 Herb Program ready! Are there any of you wanting to give a program this year? Any of you want to recommend a field trip? Any suggestions are more than welcome.

OK, here is the sign up list!

January 9, 2013: "The Chocolate Tree" by Darrell and Gayle Smith

The rest of the months are open. Please send me back a reply for which month and topic you want.

February 13: "Come learn the history, cultivation and current uses of Elderberry, The Herb of the Year for 2013" presented by Cindy Meredith
March 13: "Mandrake" presented by Cindy Meredith (Remember Harry Potter and Mandrake?)

April 10:

May 8:

June 12:

July 10:

August 14:

September 11:

October 9:

November 13:

December 11: Holiday Luncheon

Just as soon as I find out who is going to give the February program, I'll let you know. FYI: Elder (Sambucus): Herb of the Year™ 2013! Anyone interested in taking this for our February program?

Also since we didn't put on the Herb Festival for 2012, I wonder if anyone is interested in referring the Festival out to another group. I think that our group has gotten too small to put on such a big festival. If you know anyone interested in joining our group, please pass on an invitation for them to join us. Regarding the Festival, I got lots and lots of inquiries about it last year. It's already "set-in-motion" with all of the information we can pass on! Let me, Ruth or Cindy know.

Be sure to read our Rockport Herbies Blog. Ruth, Cindy and I try to keep updated information on it!

Great Gardening,

Linda  a/k/a Herbie

Hey all you Herbies out there!

As most of you know, I love to eat, thus my quest to find new and exciting recipes! I have a collection of cook books numbering somewhere around 60+! The Internet is a great way to find new recipes to try out on my family and friends.

So this morning, I was reading the Houston Chronicle and found the following recipes which I plan on trying. Let me know if any of you try these recipes and your opinion, please! 

Remember that all of these recipes can be made even better by adding some fresh herbs! Of course fresh flat-leaf parsley is always a great addition to most any dish, but use your imagination and add the herbs you like the best. I would add fresh chopped dill and/or fresh chopped fennel to both the Lima Bean Salad and the Quinoa and Good Stuff. Also Mexican Mint Marigold a/k/a Texas Tarragon would be a great addition to either of these two recipes.  If you haven't had pea soup made with fresh dill or fresh mint, you don't know what you are missing. Add some right before serving the Simple & Delicious Vegetarian Pea Soup. Also add fresh basil to any of the dishes for an extra treat! Fresh herbs can made the difference between a good dish and a great dish! Enjoy!

Marci's Table

Delicious helpings from a philosophizing foodie with Marci Izard

Resolution Check: Forget Losing Weight, Are you a Muffin or a Cucumber

If it’s true that you are what you eat, I’m peanut butter. All natural, but generic. I’d like to say I’m broccoli, but at least I’m doing better than my friend Carolyn who eats about five power bars a day. Sorry Carolyn.
Anyone I work with will corroborate that I habitually make a lunch out of whole wheat English Muffins smeared with crunchy p-b and a sloppily sliced organic apple (darn office plastic ware). It isn’t exactly a lunch of champions, but it requires very little homework and the peanut butter fills me up. It’s delicious too.
But especially after that Ayurveda appointment a few weeks ago (see earlier blog), I’m all the more aware of the concept that physiologically, we are what we eat. It’s said that the human body is entirely renewed within seven years. So our cells are continuously breaking-down and transforming the foods we eat into new tissues and flesh. What we ingest fuels and ultimately becomes our form. When you think about it like that, food choices become more significant.
Are you made up of brightness and vitality thanks to a diet that’s rich in freshness, color and variety? Or are you a hodgepodge of chemicals and unnatural junk? It’s worth thinking about, because the qualities of the foods you eat, will likely become your own. Are you a processed, oversized muffin or a cool, collected cucumber? Maybe you’re more like me, nuts.
Especially as New Year’s resolutions are both heating up or dwindling, this is a useful topic to consider. It’s made me tweak a few things. Don’t get me wrong, I still have two jars of peanut butter in my fridge, and it will continue to be a lunchtime go-to when I have nothing else (which is sadly often). But I’m also trying to add variety to my afternoon regimen. Leftovers from a healthy dinner are ideal, but there are other simple possibilities too.
So here are a few of my faves. If I have anything too heavy for lunch, I’ll subsequently fall asleep at my desk, so these recipes are light and yummy. They’re made-up of vital ingredients that can revitalize your system, ultimately making you even more powerful than a power bar. Sorry again Carolyn.
They say variety is the spice of life, so let’s get spicy!

Moroccan Zucchini Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, finely sliced
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (13.75 oz.) artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
½ cup whole wheat couscous
1/3 cup raisins
4 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp dried parsley
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground red pepper
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
Bring the broth and water to a boil. Drop the heat to low, add the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes.
Serves 4.

Lima Bean Salad
1 cup frozen Lima beans, defrosted
¼ cup unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (or any seed variety)
½ lemon, juiced
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the Lima beans, almonds, raisins and seeds. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Coat with olive oil, vinegar and pepper. Stir to combine.
Serves 2.

Quinoa and Good Stuff
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package’s instructions
4-5 tomatoes
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 avocado, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the chopped vegetables to the cooked quinoa. Top with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Serves 4.

Orange Fennel Salad
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp lemon juice
1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
10 baby carrots, sliced thinly
1 small can of tangerines, no sugar added (preserve 1 tbsp of juice)
1 cup spinach, chopped
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak red onion slices in lemon juice. Set aside.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the sliced fennel, carrots, tangerine juice, spinach, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir.  Add the red onion mixture, and then lightly toss in tangerine slices.

Simple & Delicious Vegetarian Pea Soup
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
Dash of salt and pepper
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp cayenne pepper (or less to taste)
16 oz. bag dried peas
32 oz. vegetable broth
1½ cups water
In a large pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, thyme and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently for about five minutes, until soft and translucent.  Add the peas, broth and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Serves 4.

Find more recipes, categorized by how they make you feel on my blog, Feelfoods.comFor more recipes, Facebook members can check out:!/Feelfoods

Categories: Healthy, Recipes, dinner

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 Website courtesy of the Houston Chronicle:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

HAROLD L. HENLEY 1928-2013

For those of you that knew Harold, I think we all agree that he will be so greatly missed! Harold was one of my all time favorite people. We worked together in Master Gardeners! He will be so greatly missed!

HAROLD L. HENLEY 1928-2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:17 PM CST
On Tuesday, January 15, 2013, Rockport lost one of its most beloved, debonair bachelors, and “all round man about town,” Harold L. Henley, after a long battle with cancer. He was 84 years young.

He was born in Dallas, on July 6, 1928 to his three older siblings, Stacy Quincy (S.Q.), Marie, and Mildred, and their parents, Walter and Minna Henley.

Harold attended Adamson High School in Dallas where he graduated as his class vice president in 1945. No doubt a title that was fitting for his personality. In 1947 he met and married the mother of his three children, Gary, Beverly and Donald. In 1954 he joined the Dallas Police Department and attended night classes at SMU while pursuing his career in Law Enforcement. Harold’s family and friends always enjoyed his tales of all the years he spent on the Dallas Police force. Including the historic events of the Kennedy assassination that took place in Dallas.

Having spent many of his youthful summers on the beaches of Corpus with his family, and most of his adult free time and vacations in Port Aransas, it was only natural that in 1975 after retiring from the Dallas Police Dept, he chose to move to Port Aransas and begin the next chapter in his life.

Harold was skilled in construction and architecture. These skills he learned and perfected from working in his youthful years at his family’s lumber and home building businesses in Dallas.

Upon arrival in Port A, Harold quickly set about building his own home, as well as several homes for other people on Port Aransas Island. His homes were renowned by Japanese architects, who came to Port Aransas Island to learn his techniques for building structures that could withstand hurricane force winds easily.

He designed and built Port A’s first animal shelter for the city, where that building carried his name for years until it was replaced by a larger more modern structure and renamed.

Throughout his years in Port A, he held a Captains license and owned several large fishing boats where he was a frequent deep-sea fishing guide to visiting tourist.

In 1988, looking to make what he termed, “positive changes” in his life, Harold left Port A and relocated to settled in Rockport. As the extremely likeable and charming man he was, he quickly made many, many new friends and became involved in his new community. He entertained his many friends with gatherings in his home and he was frequently a much sought after guest by others - for social functions. Being thought of by many as “the life of the party!” He was known around town, and in many businesses for his friendliness, frequent patronage, and for his willingness to help a friend.

Harold made many trips during these years to spend time with his family and friends in Dallas - always making monthly excursions to attend the many gatherings with his high school chums.
He has been a faithful member of the Fulton Community Church, which he dearly loved for many years. He continued to attend worship services up until just before his death.

His biggest passion became his involvement with the Aransas-­‐San Patricio Master Gardeners. He quickly became the other member’s go‐to man for all the many wonderful educational projects the Master Gardeners provide to the community. Harold spent many volunteer hours working on the gardens, and repair projects. When his family members would come to town to visit, it was the Master Gardener’s Community Project, where Harold could always be found happily toiling away. In 2009 during a recognition ceremony the Master Gardener’s bestowed on him their “Lifetime Master Gardener” membership, as his daughter, Beverly, proudly looked on.

Harold’s other passion was his charter membership in the “Taco Flats Breakfast Club”, where he was a founder of that “by invitation only” organization. He rarely missed the daily meetings, during his later years of life. His boisterous laughing could be clearly heard as soon as one entered the door! Many hours were spent with other members as they pondered and discussed national political events, the political climate in Rockport, and various other hot topics. Harold was proud to be a member of this group of individuals that shared his like civic-­mindedness.

Harold was preceded in death by his beloved eldest son Gary, his brother Stacy Quincy, his parents Walter and Minna, his grandson Howard and his brother­‐in-­law, Rev Robert Stacy. He is survived however by his daughter Beverly Henley of Dallas, and his youngest son Donald Henley of Amarillo. His two sisters Mildred Canterbury and her husband Ernest of Winnsboro, TX, and Marie Stacy of Dallas, and his sister-­in-­law Mary Henley of Arlington. His grandchildren Marcus Henley of Dallas, Christopher Henley of Ca, April Dumas of Rowlett, Alex Henley of Austin, Peter Gibson of Houston, Brandon Henley of Seguin, Lexie Henley, and Donald Jr, both of Dallas, great grandchildren, Alexander and Andrew Dumas of Rowlett, Hayden Henley of Dallas, and Grayson and Genevieve Henley of Austin, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as many dear friends.

As was Harold’s wishes he will be cremated and released in “his” Gulf. At a later date his family will gather for that private release of his cremated remains in a ceremony that will take place at dusk. His ashes will be set free into the Gulf in a shower of brightly colored and illuminated Chinese Lanterns. The sky will glow with colorful light in rememberance of Harold’s colorful personality - his laugh and most of all the humor in which he tackled each day.

A Memorial Celebration of Harold’s life will be held on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 3:00p.m. at the Fulton Community Church, 215 N. 3rd St., Fulton,TX. Pastor Hughes Varner officiating.

As it would have been Harold’s desire, the family requests that in lieu of floral tributes, contributions be made in Harold’s name to the Aransas-­‐San Patricio Master Gardeners, 892 Airport Rd., Rockport, 78382.

From website:

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I think that I'm starting to feel better since it seems all I can think about is food. I've been going through some of my recipes that look good and healthy. Here is one that you all might like. I hate those cold, pickled beets that come in jars. However, when I started having problems with my gallbladder, I read that beets are very good. So I decided to put together my own beet recipe. Try it; you just might like it.

Serves 2

  • 4 beets, roasted
  • 4 bunches beet greens
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • *Dash hot sauce (Optional)
  • *Sprouts (optional)
  • *Hollandaise sauce (Optional: Can make home made or buy packaged Hollandaise sauce.)

Cut greens off of the beets leaving about 1” of stem on the beet and scrub the beets.  Then chop stems and greens and set aside.  Toss beets in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in 350° oven until done, about 45 minutes, or you can roast them on the grill.  After beets are done remove from oven, cool a little and cut off the root and stems, peel them, then cover and keep warm.  Chop right before plating.

In a skillet add olive oil and heat to med high heat.  Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent.  Add beet stems and greens, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and sauté until tender.  Add dash of hot sauce (optional). 

While greens are sautéing, poach 4 eggs.  I use a wok with about a teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar added to the water.  Remove eggs and drain on a paper towel. 


Arrange greens on plate; add chopped roasted beets on top of greens.  Top greens and beets with poached eggs. 


  • Can add sprouts on top of poached eggs.
  • Can top poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce
BEETS ARE GOOD FOR YOU!  Beets and their foliage are good sources of folate, manganese, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, iron, copper, phosphorus, and tryptophan. They have one of the highest sugar contents of all vegetables, but one cup of boiled beets only contains about 75 calories.  Betaine and betacyanin, both found in abundance in beets, proffer several health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity. 

Photo by

January 9, 2013 Herb Program: "The Chocolate Tree"

Our meeting in January 2013 will feature Darrell and Gayle Smith, Pat Baugh's son and daughter-in-law. They are presenting the story and product of
"The Chocolate Tree".
The meeting is open to everyone and will be very interesting.
Date: January 9, 2013

Time: 10:00 AM

Place: ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas

Happy New Year 2013!

Some websites to check out:
Here's another website to checkout:



Happy New Year!  Here it is 2013, and have you had your New Year's food?  Up in the Midwest it is corned beef and cabbage, but down here in the South it is black-eyed peas, cabbage and cornbread.  Here is my version of cornbread which is easy and good.

Martha White corn meal mix, white or yellow (Don't use the Jiffy corn meal because it has too much sugar in it.)

Follow the directions on the package,

• 1 egg,
• substitute buttermilk for milk,
• add one 11 oz. can of whole Mexican corn, drained,
• add one cup of shredded cheese,
• add a couple of drops of hot sauce.

and mix well.

• 2 slices bacon
• ¼ finely chopped onion
• 1 finely minced garlic clove (optional)

Chop up two slices of bacon into a cast iron skillet and add ¼ cup finely chopped onion and garlic (don't let the garlic burn); heat bacon and onion in the oven at 400°; cook until the fat is rendered out of the bacon and the onion is tender. Don't drain, but pour the mixture directly into the very hot cast iron skillet and cook for the given time on the package.

You can add the following variations:
• pork cracklings
• jalapeños, bell peppers or other peppers

I serve this cornbread with pinto beans or black beans. Oh, and yes I realize this is high in calories and it is not a heart-healthy recipe, but it is very easy and very good!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Herb Cottage December 2012 Newsletter by Cindy Meredith

December 2012
Winter Solstice

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Winter SolsticeThe Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year because the earth's axis is tilted farthest from the sun and, therefore, is also the longest night. Our ancestors took this very seriously, as darkness presented more danger as well as cold due to lack of sunlight.

Winter Solstice
Stonehenge marks the Winter and Summer Solstice

Many cultures and religions celebrate the longest night of the year with rituals involving fire, light, noise, singing- anything to lessen the impact of the darkness and to encourage daylight to return with the continuation of the cycle of the earth.

Winter SolsticeWinter Solstice
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: People carry lanterns at the Burning The Clocks Festival on December 21, 2011 in Brighton, England. The annual celebration is enjoyed by thousands of people who carry paper lanterns through the streets of Brighton culminating on Brighton Beach where the lanterns are burnt and the Winter Solstice is marked.

As gardeners, the short days of Winter cause us to look forward to the Spring planting season. One way we while away the short days until Spring is to peruse new seed and plant catalogs coming in the mail. As the days slowly lengthen, all seems possible in the upcoming growing season

When I buy seeds, I usually order on-line, but I use the print catalog first to carefully look at my choices for the upcoming season. Somehow, I think the paper catalog allows for more contemplation and comparison, than on-line listings.

Catalog Covers

The problem with those colorful photographs and glowing descriptions is, of course, that we order much more than we can fit in our garden space or than we have time to tend.

Overgrown Garden
Overgrown Garden

But... what's a gardener to do? This is the perfect time of year to sit in a cozy house with a hot beverage and a stack of seed catalogs to thumb through and dream with. Each catalog has exciting new varieties to offer. Each variety of tomato sounds tastier than the last. Each piquant pepper will add just the right note to your salsa. Each new flower color will add just the right touch to your garden.

lion's tailAfrican Blue Basil
African Blue Basil

There is a danger in all those pretty pictures and descriptions, each plant seeming like the perfect choice for your garden. Not all plants do well in all parts of the country, in all soil types and in all situations. So, before you get completely carried away, there are a few things you should take into account when looking at seed and plant catalogs.

The first thing you need to know is your GARDENING ZONE. The US, and Western Europe, is divided into zones depending on the aveage coldest temperature of that area. TO FIND YOUR ZONE, VISIT THIS PAGE. Seed and plant catalogs list the hardiness for many varieties of perennials, especially. Winter hardiness isn't quite so meaningful for annuals, as they grow and flower during the warm season, generally, and do not over-winter. Also, winter hardiness isn't as important for vegetables that grow and produce during the spring, summer and fall.

Winter Herb Bed
This is my herb bed in winter of 2011-2012. The Herb Cottage is in Zone 8b.

Another guide which will help you grow better plants and not waste money is to learn the AVERAGE DATE OF YOUR LAST FROST. That way you'll know when you can plant out tender seedlings and seed warm season crops in your garden. You can count back from that date to learn when to sow seeds that take 8 weeks to grow before you can put them out after all danger of frost is past. Or, for hardy seedlings, such as broccoli, cabbage, and many herbs, you can put the the seedlings in your garden a couple of weeks before the average date of your last frost. You can find that information here. Remember, though, this is just an average, and your individual situation is likely to be a bit different.

If you live in the Southern US or in the milder regions of the West Coast of the US, your gardening decisions are a little different than the rest of the country. Certain crops do not grow well- or at all- in the hot Southern summers with our very warm and humid nights. As an example, broccoli, kale and lettuce are grown as winter crops in the South rather than summer crops.

Here is a printable schedule for Southern Fall & Winter Planting.

Fall Veg. Garden
This is the Fall/Winter Vegetable Garden in tubs and containers at The Herb Cottage. This was taken in early November, 2012.

In some areas of the West Coast, you can grow these crops almost year round due to mild temperatures. Flowers such as pansies, violets and calendula are also winter growers in the South, and year round growers on the West Coast, even though they're considered annuals elsewhere.

If you're a newcomer to the Southern US or the mild West Coast, your best gardening information will be found locally- your county extension agent, regional magazines and gardening books and other gardeners. For information on Southern vegetable and herb gardening, there are links to websites that will answer lots of your questions on The Herb Cottage Links Page.

What can you do now, if you live in the South? Here's a quick rundown of current garden-related activities:
  • start tomato seeds indoors
  • start slow-growing & perennial herb seeds indoors: oregano, thyme, lemon balm, salad burnet, sage, parsley
  • work compost into your beds or containers to get ready for planting
  • read and enjoy those seed and plant catalogs!

  • Here is a printable schedule for Southern Fall & Winter Planting.
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    One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if it were possible, speak a few reasonable words.
    -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, dramatist, novelist, and philosopher (1749-1832)

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    Until Next Time,
    Good Growing to You,
    Cindy Meredith, proprietor
    The Herb Cottage
    442 CR 233
    Hallettsville, TX 77964
    phone & fax: 979-562-2153, cell: 361-258-1192
    Visit Cindy's Blog at