Thursday, October 17, 2013

Relaxing Herb Recipes

Photo from website:
All of the following recipes are from website:
Relaxing Massage Oil
1/4 C. sesame oil
2 T. almond oil
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 fresh rose geranium leaf

Combine ingredients with whisk or fork, then let stand for at least 3 hours. Strain mixture into jar through paper coffee filter, or paper towel to remove ground spices and herb leaf. Use liberally during massage.

After use, store mixture in a glass or plastic container and keep in a cool, dry place.

Herb Garden Holiday Potpourri
1 ounce orris root chips
6 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil
6 drops orange essential oil
2 1/2 cups dried lemon verbena leaves
1 1/2 cups dried lemon balm
1 cup dried rosemary
1 cup dried lavender
1/2 cup dried thyme
1/2 cup dried sage
1/2 cup dried rose petals
1/2 cup dried yarrow blossoms
1/2 cup dried bay leaves
1/4 cup cinnamon sticks broken
1/2 cup lovage root
6 tablespoons dried orange peel
Make the potpourri, combine orris root and oils in small bowl.
Combine all of the other ingredients and stir in the orris root and oil mixture in a large bowl. Cover the bowl.
Let stand out of direct sunlight for 5 days, stirring occasionally.
Package in decorative bags and tie with a festive ribbon and give as gifts for the holiday season.


Herb Vinegar Bath Splash
Mix together
2 ounces fresh or 1 ounce dried, each:
Thyme sprigs and leaves
Lavender sprigs and flowers
Spearmint sprigs and leaves
Rosemary sprigs and leaves
Sage sprigs and leaves
Steep with 4 cups apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar for several weeks, then strain.
Mix together until dissolved:
1/4 ounce gum camphor
1/2 ounce gum benzoin
3 T grain alcohol
Stir into vinegar, cover and let stand for three days.
Strain, bottle, garnish with fresh sprigs if desired, cap tightly and label.


Essential Oil Tune-Up
...For Mind & Body

State of Mind/Body
Altered State Desired
Tune-up Oil
Groggy, Stupid
Sharp, Focused
Stuffy Nose & Head
Eucalyptus, Thyme, Pine, Camphor, Tea Tree
Woozy Tummy
Peppermint, Ginger
Calm, Confident
Chamomile, Basil, Lavender, Jasmine, Patchouli
Well & Wonderful
Lemon Balm, Clary, Sage, Rose Geranium
Up-Tight/Can't Sleep
Relaxed, Sleepy
Marjoram, Lavender, Chamomile
Hung Over
Peppermint, Lavender, Fennel
Lemongrass, Rosemary
Really Cool


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Holiday Culinary Herb" program which we are presenting at the South Texas Botanical Gardens in Corpus Christi on Saturday, November 2 from 10:00 until noon!

Hello Herbies!

Cindy has brought it to my attention that we should be making our plans for our "Holiday Culinary Herb" program which we are presenting at the South Texas Botanical Gardens in Corpus Christi on Saturday, November 2 from 10:00 until noon!

Saturday, November 2, 10-noon
This cooking workshop teaches people how to use herbs in their holiday cooking and includes samples of delicious new treats to wow your family and holiday guests.
MEMBERS $3. Non-members $3 plus general admission.

I was thinking that some of us can do an oral presentation on the herbs and then do the cooking demonstrations with tastings. Lois has agreed to do the cooking demonstration for the rosemary cookies. OK, which of you are going to volunteer to help with either and/or the program and/or the cooking demonstrations?! Suggestions please. The following are some Blogs from our Rockport Herbies Blog on holiday herbs. Check them out for information, and then send us suggestions, PLEASE!





I will gladly drive over there. I can fit 7 passengers in my SUV! We can caravan if necessary. It takes about an hour to get there, so I figure we need to leave here around 8:00 to give us an hour to drive and an hour to set up. Let Cindy, Ruth and/or me know! Hope to see you soon!

Great Gardening,


Linda T. Collins
Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group
Post Office Box 1988
Rockport, TX 78381
361-729-6037 (Land)
713-582-2268 (Cell)
361-729-6058 (Fax)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Herbal Vinegars

Here is an article about Herbal Vinegars that I published earlier this year on our Rockport Herbies Blog.


Photo courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs.

“Herb Vinegars”

Hey Herbies!

We had a really fun “Herb Vinegars” program last Wednesday, October 9, 2013 with everyone taking home a bottle of herb vinegar.  We had an assortment of vinegars, herbs and jars to choose from, so no two vinegars were the same. 


Here is more information on herbal vinegars by Michael Bettler!  They make great presents! 

Christmas gifts from the herb garden

By Michael Bettler
Lucia's Garden

The fine thing about having an herb garden is that you can harvest all year and create garden gifts all year. There is always something to be done in the garden and always something to be done in the kitchen. Seasonal gifts in December are gifts that can be remembered long after the season is over.

One gift that you can make inexpensively is herbal vinegars and herbal oils to be given as presents "From My Garden to Your Kitchen."

Making fine herbal vinegars is not that much a problem to make. Buy natural flavored vinegars: white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, clear apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and red wine vinegar. These vinegars are softer and you taste more of the herb in these vinegars. (The 5% and 10% "White" vinegars can be too acidic or sharp as the final product.) Don't buy more than you want to give away. The 16. oz vinegar bottles are the perfect gift size.

Go to your grocery store and buy any of the above listed vinegars in quantities of five bottles, all the same or mixed. When you get home, put all the bottles in warm water to soak off the labels. Search in the fridge, under the cabinets or in the pantry for an open bottle of vinegar you are using.

There are three parts of any commercial screw-on vinegar bottle lid: the child-proofed plastic seal, the metal screw-on lid, the plastic seal in the top of the lid, and a plastic "shaker-pour" spout. Strip off the plastic seal and discard. Unscrew the metal lid and set aside the lid. Pry out the "shaker-pour" spout out and discard.

From only one bottle of new vinegar, pour about 1/8 to 1/4 of the new vinegar into the bottle of the old vinegar you are now using.

Go out to your garden and harvest what you want of one herb or of a combination of herbs. Gather a "hand full" of herbs for the first bottle of vinegar. Bring them back whole into the kitchen and spread them out on the kitchen table or the sink counter. Do not "wash" or rinse the herbs in the sink. (If you do, you will wash away some of the herb's flavor oils in its leaves and branches and you will then have to thoroughly air-dry them before putting them in the vinegar. Water in the vinegar will cloud it.)

Inspect the herbs for the vinegars and discard any yellowed or bug kissed leaves, as well as any that seem distressed or unhealthy. (Put these leaves in your kitchen compost or discard.) Pick all the leaves off their stems or twigs. Set these into two piles do not throw away the stems and twigs. (The stems and twigs make great package decoration, twig bundles for grilling smoke, or can be put into an old teapot to be put on the stove to boil, infusing the kitchen and the whole house with the scent of a herb potpourri.)

Now pack as many of one kind of herb leaf as you can into one bottle of new vinegar, using a Chinese chopstick as a plunger, in order to get as concentrated of a flavor as possible in one bottle. When you have nearly topped off the bottle, screw the lid on tight and set it aside, labeling the bottle "Basis Vinegar" or "Rosemary Vinegar" or "Thyme Vinegar." (Use one bottle of new vinegar for each individual  herb, or pack several herbs in one bottle and call it "Bar-b-q Vinegar," "3-Herb Blend," "7-Herb Blend," or "Herbs de Provence Blend.") Lay the bottle on its side in the pantry at room temperature and forget it for about 4 weeks while Mother Nature infuses the flavor oils into the vinegar.

After the four weeks, bring your vinegar bottles out of the pantry, open them to inspect, smell and taste each one. If they "pass," go out and buy four new bottles of "unflavored" vinegar at the grocery store, soak the labels, remove the seals, open the tops and remove the "shaker-pour" spouts. Now pour off 1/4 of each bottle into an already existing bottle of vinegar and then replace what you have discarded with the new herb-flavored vinegar. Put a single herb stem in the bottle to identify it later and screw on the lids back on.

Cut lengths of ribbon for each bottle and write a note saying "From My Garden To Your Kitchen" and you now have a wonderful kitchen gift to give to a friend, for salads, marinades or when ever you need a flavored vinegar.

Courtesy of Texas Gardener's Seeds for November 29


We discussed the problems with using fresh garlic, and it was suggested that we not use it. I waited until I got home to make my jar of herbal vinegar. I found an unopened jar of NAKANO - Roasted Garlic Seasoned Rice Vinegar. So I used it with oregano, rosemary and dark opal basil and have it stored in a cabinet. It's looking good!


The following websites have more information about “Herb Vinegars”:


 Photos courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs.

Key Lime Cookies & Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Hummus

At our October 2013 "Herb Vinegar" program, Sandy treated us with key lime cookies, spicy roasted pumpkin hummus and crackers to enjoy the hummus. Here are the recipes! Enjoy!

Key Lime Cookies


½ c. butter

1 c. white sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ c. fresh lime juice

1 ½ tsp. grated lime zest

½ c. confectioners’sugar (for decoration)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, cram butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in lime juice and lime zest. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, then blend into the creamed mixture. Form dough in to ½ inch balls, and arrange on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Sift confectioners’ sugar over cookies while still warm.

Note - I do not grease the cookie sheet, just spray with Pam. My cookies took longer to bake. Its hard to make a ½ inch ball. I just kept checking them after 10 minutes and depending on the size, they took up to 14 minutes.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
1 ½ c. pureed roasted sugar pumpkin (can use canned)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 T. tahini paste

1 clove garlic

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. cinnamon (more to taste)

1 T. olive oil

2 T. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

Salt and pepper to taste


Puree chickpeas and pumpkin until fairly smooth. Add tahini, garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon juice until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note - I like ‘spicy’ stuff but the cayenne was too much for me! I would try a 1/8 to ¼ tsp. and taste. I do use more cinnamon but it is up to you how cinnamon empowered you want it. I have used fresh pumpkins but think the canned is fine. I save baked fresh pumpkins for PIE! Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Herbal Vinegars: Hands on Demonstration" October 9, 2013

WHAT: "Herbal Vinegars: Hands on Demonstration"
WHEN: Second Wednesday of every month, next meeting October 9, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

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

Don't you just love those herbal vinegars that you find at specialty stores and grocery stores? They are very pretty and tasty too. But what about the price of those herbal vinegars? The cost is too high for most of us. So rather than buy the vinegars, why not make your own? Don't know how? Well attend our October herb meeting and you will find out how to make these wonderful vinegars. We will provide some jars for making your vinegar or just bring your own sterilized bottle, cork or screw top. Also bring herbs; just make sure that they are all thoroughly dry. Also we will have some vinegars and herbs, but feel free to bring a good quality vinegar, i.e. white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar (not apple cider flavored distilled vinegar).
Some Favorite Combinations:
Rosemary in everything
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Tarragon and Garlic
Dill, Garlic and dried red peppers
Basil, Garlic, and dried red peppers
Opal Basil with white wine vinegar turns it pink
Pineapple Sage blossoms with white wine vinegar turns it reddish
Pineapple Sage, ginger, cranberries, and garlic
Pineapple Sage, spearmint, and lemon thyme
Lemon thyme and sage
We have a lot of up-coming events in the near future. A few things we discussed at the last meeting, and more that I've added since, are as follows:

  • October 9, 2013 - "Herbal Vinegars" Hands on program at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, TX. They make great Christmas presents.
  • October 12, 2013 - "Field Trip to the Goliad Market Days" where Cindy has a booth. We will car pool and after shopping, we will eat lunch there. Be sure to RSVP by October 9, 2013. For more information, check out the following website:
  • November 2, 2013 - "Culinary Holiday Herbs" that we are presenting at the South Texas Botanical Gardens from 10:00 to noon. We will give lots of good information on which herbs to use and have samples for tasting. Please let RSVP to let us know if you want to participate. For more information, check out the following website:

Saturday, November 2, 10-noon
This cooking workshop teaches people how to use herbs in their holiday cooking and includes samples of delicious new treats to wow your family and holiday guests.

  • November 13, 2013 - "Culinary Holiday Herbs" with samples for tasting. This will be a recap of our program given at the South Texas Botanical Gardens.
  • December 11, 2013 - "Christmas-Holiday Luncheon" will be at Barb McSpadden's home again. Thanks so much for having the luncheon Barb. Be sure to bring a $10.00 gift for our exchange!

Carol Krank, with the Botanical Gardens, also mentioned that she and Michael are discussing the possibility of presenting a "Wine & Cheese Program". No date has been set yet, but it is something that they would like for us to possibly participate with them.

So hope to see you all next Wednesday!

Come and learn everything you ever wanted to know about herbs. Did you know that there are over 2,000 herbs and that roses are herbs too? And did you know that many of our Texas Native Plants are herbs also? Herbs have been used for centuries for not only culinary purposes, but also for medicinal uses, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, clothing (one of which is Gossypium cotton), building supplies, dyes, arts and crafts.

Our herb study group was founded in March 2003 and meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas at 10:00 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. We are open to the public. Some members of the group are available as speakers to other audiences, so please contact us if you need a speaker to present an herb program.

The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge and awareness about herbs.


Linda T. Collins
Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group
Post Office Box 1988
Rockport, TX 78381
361-729-6037 (Land)
713-582-2268 (Cell)
361-729-6058 (Fax)