Happy New Year from The Baker Family!
Flash back to December 31, 2020. My husband, daughter and I eagerly waited for the end of 2020, ready to start a new year with hope and better days on the horizon. Since we couldn’t go anywhere (and let’s be honest, we were already New Year's Eve homebodies), we watched the Avett Brothers NYE concert in our living room and I joyfully danced, champagne in hand, ready for the countdown to 2021 to begin. Things would be better in 2021…because, well, certainly they couldn’t get worse. Now as I look back on 2021, ready to welcome 2022, I can indeed say things out in the world did get a little better and I'm hopeful that 2022 will continue that trend. Yes, we still have a tough road ahead of us, but it seems we are heading in the right direction.
One thing I noticed that definitely got better last year was my attitude. Rather than endlessly "doom-scrolling," I looked instead for the small joys around me, relishing every interaction with loved ones, and spending time learning more about the miracle of the natural world. We were also able to get out into the world more last year, thanks to the incredible work of our scientists. After being “double-vaxed,” Mark and I were lucky enough to travel to Finland to see our son Josh after 2 years and attend our niece Bethany's wedding in Colorado. We visited our parents, attended a few social gatherings and ventured into restaurants again. We cherished every one of those events, and more. And we are looking forward to more of the same this coming year.
My hope is that 2022 will be a year of healing and rebuilding -- that we will continue to see the beauty and the miracles around us, that we will work together for a better world, and that we will be kind to each other.
Happy New Year Friends!
(Oh and one more thing! A HUGE thank you to all of you for keeping me so busy this Holiday Season! I am working hard to replenish our online shop, so if something is out right now, check back in a week or so and it should be back in stock!)
Lemon and lavender is one of my favorite combinations! Of course you've all probably had lavender lemonade, but there are so many other ways to use this tasty combo! Here are a few!
This oh-so-easy lemon lavender bundt cake is actually a variation I created of my mom's famous Rum Cake. And it's one of my new favorites!
For the cake:
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 3.4 ounce pkge instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2.5 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender buds, crushed
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 large eggs
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp crushed, dried culinary lavender buds
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat large Bundt pan with shortening or nonstick spray and then lightly flour.
Mix together cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and eggs and mix well to combine.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Using a long wooden skewer, poke holes in the top of the cake about 1" apart, all the way to the bottom. Do not remove from the pan. Follow the directions below for adding the glaze.
For the glaze
Mix the sugar and the lemon juice and heat until the sugar dissolves into a syrup. Do not add the lemon zest and lavender yet.
Pour 1/2 of the glaze over the cake while it's still in the pan. Let the cake rest for 15 minutes and then invert the pan over a plate and carefully remove the cake from the pan onto the plate.
Mix the other half of the syrup with the lemon zest and lavender buds. Heat in a small pot and let it reduce about 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat, wait about 15 seconds, and then pour the syrup with the zest and the lavender buds in it over the top of the cake and allow to cool.
Recipe by Pam Baker
- 10 pieces chicken (1 whole chicken, cut up or your favorite bone-in cuts)
For the Marinade
- 2 tbsp dried culinary lavender buds
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Crush the lavender in a mortar and pestle or herb grinder. Put the crushed lavender into a large bowl along with the remaining marinade ingredients.
- Stir well to combine. Add the chicken pieces and toss well to coat. Cover and leave in marinade for 30 minutes (at room temp) or up to four hours (in the refrigerator).
- When you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan in a single layer, skin side up. Pour the marinade over the top. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven, flip pieces over and baste the chicken pieces with the pan juices. Roast for 10 minutes more. Remove pan and flip pieces again to crisp and brown the skin side. Roast for another 6-10 minutes, watching carefully for over browning.
- Serve chicken with pan juices spooned over.
Recipe adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
Scenes From a Snowy Lavender Farm
This year, on the day after Christmas, Mother Nature gifted us with a winter wonderland! Since all of the kids were home, we had a great time sledding in the lavender field (I probably lost a few plants, but it was worth it) and going for nice long walks in the snow. We don't get this much snow very often in our neck of the woods, so we thoroughly enjoyed it while it lasted! Snow just makes everything so pretty!
Perfect for cold winter days, these bath salts are easy to make with readily available ingredients! Great for self care or a gift for someone who needs a little pampering. (And you can also buy them in our shop!)
- 2/3 cup Epsom salt
- 2/3 cup other therapeutic salts (Dead Sea salt, Himalayan, etc)
- 2 TB baking soda
- 2 TB lav bud
- 30 drops lav eo
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the salts
- Add the essential oil and mix thoroughly
- Add the lavender buds
- Fill containers and store in a dry cool place
- When you are ready to use, grab a handful and add to bath water
And in case you're curious, here's a breakdown of the benefits of the ingredients in your bath salts:
Benefits of Epsom Salt:
– eases stress and relaxes the body
– helps draw toxins out of the body
– helps reduce inflammation
– helps improve the absorption of nutrients
Benefits of Dead Sea Salt:
– Potassium helps to balance skin moisture
– Bromides helps reduce muscle pain and stiffness
– Sodium helps improves the circulation of lymphatic fluid
– Magnesium helps support a great night’s sleep
– Iodine is important for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland and is aids in the body’s metabolic exchanges
– Sulfur is known as a powerful detoxifying agent, as it works closely with the liver to rid the body of toxins
Benefits of Baking Soda:
– Helps to detoxify and alkalize your body
– Helps to soften the skin
Source: The Salt Box
A Little Lavender History
Have you ever wondered how lavender came to be such an important part of the herbal world? Well let me drop a little lavender history on you…
A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India, lavender use goes back at least 2500 years. It was used in ancient times for everything from chasing away evil spirits to perfume, but it was most commonly noted for its cleaning properties. In fact, the word lavender is derived from the word “Lavare” which means “to wash” in Latin, and this makes sense since it was a favorite bath ingredient for both Greeks and Romans. Its use in cleaning later extended to the home as well, where lavender was often strewn about the floor in castles and hospitals as a disinfectant and a deodorant. Clothing was often washed using lavender and women in France who took in wash were known as “lavenders.”
In the 1st century, its healing properties started to reveal themselves. The Greek physician Dioscorides wrote that taking lavender internally helped to relieve indigestion, headaches and sore throats, as well as being an effective wound cleaner. St Hildegard of Bingham, a respected botanist and herbalist (among many other talents) documented lavender’s attributes in her book Physica, noting “...its smell clears the eyes since it contains the power of the strongest aromas and the usefulness of the bitterest ones.” She recommended cooking lavender with honey and water and then drinking it at a lukewarm temperature to “soothe the pain in his or her liver and lungs and makes his or her thinking and mind pure.” It is claimed that she was the first to distill lavender water. After a while, lavender gained a reputation for being something of a cure-all-- able to cure everything from colds to paralysis (and even ward away evil spirits), and while some claims are of course questionable, its antiseptic and healing benefits continued to be documented and it was used as late as World War 1 for wound cleaning and healing. Read more...
I hope you've enjoyed our January newsletter! And please feel free to forward our newsletter to any lavender-loving friends who you think might enjoy it!