Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hi, You've met Happy Herb and the other Spice Gals, Basil and Rosemary. I'm Spice Gal Lavender. My name comes from the Latin (not Greek) word lavare and I was named by the Romans, who used my leaves, flowers and stems in their "Roman" baths. "Lavare" literally means "to wash." 

Friends tell me I'm beautiful (and who am I to disagree) and that I smell wonderful. (again, who am I to disagree). I'm a staple of the English countryside, although I'm not native to England. I was born and raised in the coastal hills of the Mediterranean and I've travelled (with the Romans) throughout Europe.

Cleopatra was a close friend of my family. It is long believed that one of Cleopatra's secret "love" weapons was Lavender. Our sultry scent, helped Cleopatra seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. FYI: Cleo had plenty of men friends. It's rumored that the wasp that killed her was hiding in one of her lavender bushes. I promise, we didn't have anything to do with that!

I help life smell more beautiful. Oil made from my leaves has soothing properties and are often associated with calming the nerves or relieving anxiety, providing relief for ailments from headaches, migraines to insomnia. As a medicinal herb, and once dried, I can be made into teas that calm the nerves and can help you sleep. 

I'm compatible with the flavors of honey and lemon, and I am the perfect summertime herb to brighten seasonal foods. I add a unique, unexpected and delightful flavor to meats, salads, custards, jams, teas and cookies. Think of me as a sous chef. 'm so versatile in the kitchen, that adding me into almost any recipe will give you favorable results.

Recipes using both fresh and dried flowers are generally on the sweet side. I can be used to replace rosemary and other strong tasting herbs. Or, I can be blended with other members of my mint family, like Rosemary, Sage, Fennel, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme and Mint. Together, we're known as Herbes de Provence. We're especially good mixed with olive oil to coat chicken, fish, tomatoes or chunks of potato for roasting, adding to a pizza sauce or sprinkled over game or kabobs before roasting. I'm also used for seasoning salads, sauces and cheeses, as well as soups and stews. Try rubbing the blend on whole turkey or the breast before roasting.

Here are a few of my most favorite recipes. 

Lavender Lemonade with Honey
1 cup raw honey
5 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, crushed* 
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained
Ice cubes
Lavender sprigs for garnish

Bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil in a medium pan
Remove from heat and add honey, stirring to dissolve.
Add the lavender to the honey water, cover, and let steep at least 20 minutes or up to several hours, to taste.
Strain mixture and discard lavender
Pour infusion into a glass pitcher
Add lemon juice and another 2 1/2 cups of cold water. 
Stir well.
Refrigerate until ready to use, or pour into tall glasses half filled with ice, then garnish with lavender sprigs.
Share and enjoy!

*Note: DO NOT use lavender essential oil in this recipe. Consuming lavender oil can be toxic, cause allergic reactions, as well as contribute to hormone imbalances in men and boys. Signs of lavender oil toxicity (requiring a call to Poison Control) include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, burning pain in the throat, difficulty breathing and skin rash.

Lavender Roasted Potatoes
This simple roast potato recipe is transporting with the flavor or lavender conjuring flavors of Provence. It's sure to freshen up any meal. (Special thanks to Toni Dash/BoulderLocavore.com Click HERE) 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

2-2 ½ pounds (about 4 large) thin skinned Potatoes (New, Red, etc)
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 ½ tablespoon dried Lavender
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Scrub potatoes, cut out any bad spots and cut into bite sized pieces. Do not peel.
Toss in a bowl with olive oil. When coated with the olive oil, add lavender, salt and pepper.

Spread into a single layer in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring part way through to ensure even browning. Potatoes are done when soft inside to the fork/bite.

Meyer Lemon Lavender Mojitos
Mojitos aren't just for limes anymore! Meyer lemons and lavender paired with traditional mint create a light, refreshing Mojito that is unexpected and tastes deliciously of spring.

5 fresh Spearmint Leaves
1 teaspoon Confectioner's Sugar
Juice of half a Meyer Lemon*
1/2 teaspoon dried Lavender
2 ounces Light Rum
Club Soda to fill

In a quart Mason jar or a shaker, combine the spearmint leaves, confectioner's sugar, Meyer lemon juice and lavender. Muddle completely. Strain into a Collins glass.
Fill the glass with ice. 
Pour rum over the ice and fill with Club Soda. 
Garnish with lavender sprig, mint sprig and/or a Meyer lemon slice and serve

*TIP: microwaving citrus fruit on high for 10 seconds before juicing will release more juice!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Our New Website Has Launched and Herb Is So Happy. 

And Sigh Up For Our Newsletter to receive Product Updates, Special Promotions, Discount Coupons, Planting Suggestions, Family Project Ideas, recipes and more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rosemary By Any Other Name is Rosemary! 
Hi, my name is Spice Gal Rosemary. You can call me Rose, Rosie Rosemarie or Rosemary. My name is derived from the Latin words ros (dew) and marinus (sea). Happy Herb loves my aromatic fragrance, which is slightly resinous with a sweet scent. I’m often described as having a very bold flavor. 

I am one of the most commonly used herbs in Italy - especially for roast lamb. Italians have a passion for rosemary (and I have a passion for Italians) and you will see me in many of the true Italian recipes. If you go to an Italian butcher shop and order lamb they will include several sprigs of rosemary with the meat. What’s a sprig – good question. A sprig is a small stem bearing leaves or flowers, taken from a bush or plant. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. I am discreetly used in French, Greek or Spanish cooking. I especially enjoy the company of lamb, red meat, fillet Mignon, fish, shellfish, veal and chicken dishes cooked with wine and garlic.

I am also an excellent flavoring for potato dishes and other root vegetables like carrots and onions. When you add me to spaghetti sauce, I bring out the flavor of other ingredients. I am a very nice addition to tomato-based soups, stews and sauce and I am very much at home around the barbecue. YES, the BBQ. Place a sprig inside your poultry, or insert some needles into your leg of lamb. Use me in meat marinades. Burn several sprigs on your barbecue grill to impart the flavor on the cooking meats or poultry. 

Here is a tip: bundle several sprigs together and use them as a basting brush. Try me in pea soup, bread recipes, vegetables such as beans, peas, spinach and zucchini and stews. I am an essential ingredient in poultry or fish stuffing. Some recipes call for chopping me up, but I am best added as a whole sprig to soups and stews. Remove the sprig prior to serving. And you should know that I make an especially tasty and fine tea.

You can plant me in your outdoor vertical hanging planter and I’ll grow really well. I’m actually a bush perennial that grows in abundance in the Mediterranean area (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Southern France, Greece and North Africa as well as in isolated areas of Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt). I am one of the most common aromatic wild plants of the Mediterranean landscape, especially in rocky limestone hillsides adjoining the seaside.

You can plant me in your outdoor vertical hanging planter and I’ll grow really well. I’m actually a bush perennial that grows in abundance in the Mediterranean area (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Southern France, Greece and North Africa as well as in isolated areas of Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt). I am one of the most common aromatic wild plants of the Mediterranean landscape, especially in rocky limestone hillsides adjoining the seaside.

In the eighth century, the Romans relocated me to England, primarily in the southern part of the country. Charlemagne ordered me to be grown on his farms in the tenth-century Spain. What a view! Who is Charlemagne – another good question. Charlemagne (c.742-814), also known as Karl and Charles the Great, was a medieval emperor who ruled much of Western Europe from 768 to 814. In 771, Charlemagne became king of the Franks, a Germanic tribe in present-day Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and western Germany. Early immigrants later introduced me to the New World.  

I have an historical association with the Virgin Mary. My flowers received their light blue color when she placed her shawl over me, after she washed me. I am a wedding crasher, bringing good luck for the new couple. My branches were placed on the floors of medieval homes to combat diseases during the “black plague”,  And because of my fragrance, I’m often used as incense. I am a very busy herb! 

My virtues are extolled by Ancient Greek, Roman, Arab and European herbalists. I have been used to prevent balding and as a hair conditioner. I am also the herb of memory, my eaves were supposed to quicken the mind and prevent forgetfulness. Roman herbalists recommended me to be used to cure jaundice, I have antioxidant properties and I’m used as a preservative by modern food processors. I have been mentioned in medical texts as being a digestive aid in the form of a tea infusion. Externally, you can apply me as an ointment, to treat rheumatism, sores, eczema and bruises.  

Enjoy this recipe for Pan Seared Veal Chops With Rosemary.

Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 2

veal chops (about 3/4-inch thick)
cloves garlic, finely chopped
tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
tablespoons olive oil 
salt & freshly ground black pepper
cup white wine
cup chicken stock

Rub the chops with 1 Tbsp. oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and let sit on a plate for 15 minutes.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add remaining oil.
Add chops to pan and cook until golden brown on one side, and flip.
Remove chops from pan to a baking dish, brown side down and roast at 375ºF for 10 minutes.
Add wine and stock to cast iron pan and stir up brown bits from the bottom.
Serve chops with juice from pan.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Meet Spice Gal Basil - Just One Of The Reasons Herb Is So Happy.

July 8th, 2016
Watch for more details on Happy Herb & The Spice Gals - our outdoor, vertical hanging planter. 

Hi. I’m Spice Gal Basil, but you can call me Basil. (That’s pronounced BAY-zil or BA-zihl.) Not to brag, but I am one of the great, classic herbs and Happy Herb's favorite herb.

I’m a popular sweet herb of the mint family, with a licorice-clove flavor - best used fresh or dried. Leaf production slows or stops on any stem which flowers, so you should pinch off - I love to be pinched - any flower stems to keep the plant producing, or pinch off  - please pinch me - some stems while leaving others to bloom for decoration or seeds.

I usually grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 - 45cm) – makes dating a bit challenging. If you thinking of helping me find the perfect match – I go great with cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, lamb, liver, olive oil, onions, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, salads, shellfish, soups, sweet peppers, tomatoes, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini, tomato sauce and…

I’m usually green, (although my favorite color is RED), though there are purple members of my family, such as Opal basil. Lemon basil, anise basil, clove basil and cinnamon basil - all have flavors similar to their names. 

To keep me happy, wrap me in damp paper towel, put me in a plastic bag and refrigerate me for up to 4 days or place some of my stems in a glass of water with plastic over my leaves for about a week with regular water changing. You can dry and store me for 6 months in a cool dark place.
(Info from our friends at Food.com)

Here are some interesting facts about me from our friends at 

Basil (that’s me) was first mentioned in English writing in the mid-seventeenth century and in American literature about 100 years later. Basil is considered sacred in the Hindu cultures, believed by many to be a favorite of their gods. In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples.

Basil is a powerful herb with a fragrant aroma and adaptable taste. Its taste will allow you to add it to many recipes as a pleasant accent. Basil is a key ingredient for tomato sauces and pesto recipes. A favorite use of pesto in French cooking is in soups. Italians favor pesto mixed with olive oil and used as a sauce for spaghetti. Fresh pesto is always better than the store bought version. Basil and tomatoes are a natural combination. Use this combination with Pizza. Another great recipe is to cut a crusty roll in half and add salt, olive oil, a few leaves of basil and slices of fresh tomatoes. Dress a tomato and mozzarella salad with shredded basil, salt and olive oil. Basil goes well with sweet peppers, fish dishes, meat dishes, wine-garlic sauces, chicken, in butter as a steak condiment, eggs, and shellfish. Fresh leaves are a great accouterment to any salad, cheese or stuffing recipe.

Ancient herbalists believed placing basil leaves on the bites or stings of insects would draw out the poison.Today’s herbalists recommend its use as a digestive and anti-gas aid. Some herbalists recommend it for easing anxiety and headaches because of the basil tea’s sedative properties.  Use it for stomach cramps. It has been proven to ease constipation.

I can be found in many Italian recipes. I especially love Basil Pesto and Tomato and Basil Bruschetta. I’m sure you have your favorite recipes and I invite you to share them with all our friends on Facebook and/or Twitter 

Try these recipes

By Bonnie Traynor,
This is a wonderful lemon-flavored pesto. You can freeze this and have it ready to add to your spaghetti sauce or other sauces. It freezes great!

Total time: 10 minutes

1 1⁄2
cups fresh from your garden basil
2-5 garlic cloves
cup pine nuts
cup grated parmesan cheese
cup lemon juice
cup olive oil

Mix everything together in food processor - except the oil and lemon.
Once everything is mixed well, drizzle with lemon and oil.
Mix until well blended.
Serve on pasta or just about anything that needs a pick me up.
Will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days - best served fresh.

This recipe came from a great book Cucina Amore. (Provided by BothFex)

Total time: 45 minutes

roma tomatoes diced
cloves garlic, chopped
cloves garlic, peeled
tablespoons olive oil
2 1⁄4
teaspoons balsamic vinegar
tablespoons chopped fresh basil
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
slices Italian bread, cut about 1 inch thick
tablespoons grated, parmigiana reggiano cheese

Whisk together chopped garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil.
When combined slowly drizzle in oil.
Add tomatoes and let sit for 20 minutes at room temp.
Toast the bread - either in the toaster (if it's got really wide slots) or under the broiler (if using this method watch closely so it doesn't become a brickette).
When the bread is toasted rub each piece, on one side, with the whole garlic pieces.
Place the bread on a cookie sheet and top with tomato mixture. 
Sprinkle on a little cheese and broil till the cheese melts (you can skip that last broiling bit and it's equally as wonderful).
Serve immediately.
Note; The tomato mixture also makes a wonderful vinegrette for an antipasto salad.

Stay tuned for more Happy Herb & The Spice Gals updates. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Prototype In Test Mode.

July 5th, 2016
Happy Herb & The Spice Gals - our outdoor vertical hanging planter - prototype testing in progress. Hung planter on our fence using four hooks. Used two cubic feet of organic soil for a variety of nine herb plants. Watered plants and the drain holes worked perfectly to help reduce over watering and root rot. We will be making additional modifications prior to getting production samples from China, India and two US based manufacturers. 

Gardening Is A Great Family Project

Herb is Happy because he loves to plant, cut fresh herbs from his garden and cook/add them to his favorite meals. Herb especially likes to add basil and oregano to his homemade pizza. Happy Herb & The Spice Gals, our outdoor, vertical hanging planter will be available March 2017. Happy Herb will be introducing the Spice Gals soon (all eight of 'em) and will be sharing special offers, so stay tuned for more updates.

Happy Herb would like to share this excerpt from an article written by Heide Estrada, found on mykidsadventures.com:  "Why Garden With Your Kids? Gardening is an easy and fun outdoor spring activity that gives kids and parents a free pass to play outside in the dirt. It’s also an excellent way to teach children about organic food, composting and where food comes from. Plus, gardening can also serve as a great lesson about patience and delayed gratification! Whether you’re a seasoned or amateur gardener, you’ll enjoy spending time outdoors with your family. You’ll get your hands dirty and create terrific memories, especially when you harvest the fruits of your labor."

Unleash The Power Of Your Brand

Your brand could be the top brand in your state - starts with refining your strategy, 
being authentic and sharing your story.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Herb & The Spice Gals Coming March 2017

Here's the 9 pocket prototype of our 
outdoor, vertical hanging planter.

 And I'd like to introduce you to Happy Herb