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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fresh From The Farmer Market

Hi everyone!

Well, this past weekend was very busy for us. Last year when we decided to take our little our herb business DTL Herbs, to the streets, so to speak, we had no idea how well received we would be. I have grown and used fresh herbs for about 20 years or so. I thought herbs were also just very pretty to have in the yard. When Troy and I got married, we really planted a lot more herbs because we both like to experiment with them in cooking. But, when the princess entered our life, everything took a large turn. We wanted her to understand and become part of something that involved our whole little family from the beginning. She is the “L” in DTL Herbs.

Last year we started the Farmer Markets with fresh cut herbs, dried herbs and plants. By the end of the season we also had dip mixes, dry rubs, salt scrubs, jellies and seasoning packets. This past year, we have worked really hard making, trying out and testing even more products. This season we started out the markets with double the products that we had last year. We also have about 8 times the herb gardens we have planted this year. And now we are constantly in the process of making even more products.

Dundee FM 2011There is a lot of behind the scenes things that need to be done for our business that people don’t realize. One of the biggest things that we need to do is to check out different farmer market venues for our business. This year instead of selling at 2-3 markets, we are selling at 6 markets. That is 6 out of 7 days being spent at the market. However, sometimes you have to take a day off to check out other markets and that is what we did this past weekend.

We had heard that this market was a really successful one. However, last year they already had an herb vendor so we didn’t join them. This year they called us to let us know that they didn’t have an herb person. The biggest problem with this market is that they are an hour away from our home. The market is on Saturday morning from 8-1:00 (which means we need to be there at 7:00 to set up). As most of you can guess, Saturday markets are the best market of the week. Well, our Friday market is the only evening market we have so, that means we would not have anytime between the two busiest markets of the week to make more product if we have to.

So, before we committed, we really had to be sure this is a market good for us. We invited my parents to join us Saturday morning to go and check it out.

page It was a beautiful Saturday morning! And we instantly fell in love with this market! The location and setup was great. The energy level was high and fun.

page1They have a wonderful selection of different vendors. And everyone was happy and enjoying themselves.

page2Each week they have a different type of entertainment. This Saturday was a local “Clogging and Tap” dancing group. They had fun music going and involved the audience. The princess loved it so much that she got up front and watched them doing their dances and started mimicking them. Everyone seemed to enjoy the newest member of the dance club. We were approached later by the dance instructor. She asked if the princess was in a dance class and if not, they would love to have her join them. LOL

Dundee FM 2011 008Dundee FM 2011 011We even bought some new to us herbs. We got a Hot & Spicy Oregano and a Lime Mint.

Dundee FM 2011 012Look at the gorgeous lettuce! My dad bought a huge bundle of each and we split them. They are just beautiful and large bundles. This is one of the best parts of being involved in Farmer Markets. We get all of our produce fresh everyday!

As soon as I got the beautiful lettuce home and cleaned, I made one of my favorites…BLT Finger Salad!

Simple and fresh, here is the super easy recipe:

BLT Finger Salad

Large Leaf Lettuce

Bacon cooked (I like it cooked nice and crispy)

Diced Fresh Tomatoes

The Dressing:

Dundee FM 2011 013Our fresh baby dill in our garden here at home.

1 cup of mayo (I confess, one of the only name brands I am loyal to: Hellman’s mayo!)

1/2 Lemon

1/2 tsp fresh dill

1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the cup of mayo. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. It’s best to put in fridge for a couple hours to mix all the flavors.

Spread mayo mix on leaf lettuce. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and chopped tomatoes. That’s it!

So good and fresh tasting! Just fold and eat. A little messy but, not too bad. :)

Dundee FM 2011 021Dundee FM 2011 022

Edited from original post at The Thrifty Groove

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's Market Time!

Hi everyone!

Well, if you read this blog semi regularly you know that my hubby and I have our own herb business. And this is the major busy time for us. We have had our herbs planted for months in the greenhouse (we start our herbs from seed) and now it is time to get things ready to sell at the markets.

Troy and I spent hours the other day in the greenhouse getting things ready. I have been collecting different thrifted items to use for tabletop herb gardens/planters. So, I spent time putting together these different planters. I thought you may want to see some of them.

Now, keep in mind, I just planted these. So, they are not cleaned up yet and I won't be selling them for a least a week. Why wait? I want the planters to look full and not just planted.

Okay, come on in and join me in the greenhouse!

Farmers market 2011 003These are two little wood tea boxes. I thought they look cute with a little spearmint plant in them. I really tried to do a lot of different sizes and looks of the mini herb gardens. When you are a seller, you want to offer your customers different price points. So, these will be the least expensive ones. **SOLD!

Farmers market 2011 004A large ceramic golf ball planter filled with Basil and Oregano. You might see these planters on Teleflora ads on TV right now for Father's Day. I found this at a thrift store. **SOLD!

Farmers market 2011 005A pretty vintage hobnail milk glass dish with Lemon Balm.

Farmers market 2011 006I chose a beautiful white flowering Basil plant for this wicker watering can that I got at The Christmas Tree Shops. I have another one of these to make up yet. **SOLD!

Farmers market 2011 007I just recently used this old enamel coffee pot on a tablescape I posted. Although I bought it for this purpose, I figured why not use it once before I planted it. I added Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme. **SOLD!

Farmers market 2011 008This will be sold as a set. The vintage green enamelware coffee pot and matching cup (I also have the lid that I will include). I planted Lemon balm in the coffee pot and Spearmint in the cup. the two flavors work great together for a tea or in brewed tea.  **SOLD!

Farmers market 2011 009This is a huge cookie jar (I will include the lid) that I planted with Basil, Thyme and Oregano.

Farmers market 2011 012This little strawberry planter is planted with creeping Thyme and it can be hung.

Farmers market 2011 010This cute tall ceramic jar has Sweet Basil planted (also will include the lid).

We got about 25 more planted containers. I have about 30 more containers to use for various  mini gardens. If they all sell really good (keeping fingers crossed!) I will be racing around every weekend hitting every yard sale I see! LOL Yup, that is actually part of my real life job!

**I wrote this post early last week. So, we have been at a couple of Markets now. So far, so good! Yay! I have made up several other planters that have sold as well. And yes, I am going through some of my fun thrifted finds from over the winter to see what else I can use for planters. I haven’t had time to go to yard sales! Now, did you ever think you would hear those words come out of my mouth? LOL**

I also have other projects for our business going on right now. I will share them at a later time. And several new food items are being added by us. I am excited to see how these go. Casa Chaos is busy, busy, busy these days!

Do you want to take a little tour around the greenhouse?

Let's check out some of our herbs. Now keep in mind this is only ONE area that we have our herbs for our business planted. We have the bulk of our mint here at home, a garden at my parents and a garden plot at a local church. Yes, we are running around like crazy people every day!

Okay, let's look around the greenhouse.

Farmers market 2011 013Potting station.

Farmers market 2011 016


Farmers market 2011 017  More Herbs

Farmers market 2011 018You guessed it, more herbs

Farmers market 2011 020Hummmm, could it be even more herbs? :)

Farmers market 2011 021This is part of the hydroponic gardens. Look at that gorgeous Basil!

Farmers market 2011 022Beautiful different lettuce

Farmers market 2011 023Farmers market 2011 025See those big trees in the background? Those are tomato plants that were grown in the hydroponic gardens! Yes, I have been eating fresh tomatoes for awhile now. Yummo!

Well, I hope you enjoyed peeking into my world as of late. Have a fantastic day!

I am also posting this at our Herb blog DTL Herbs


Orignially posted at my blog The Thrifty Groove

Monday, June 13, 2011

Farmers' Markets Start This Week!

This is it, the week we have been planning and preparing for all spring. The Markets that we will be attending this summer kick off their season this week.

Starting Tuesday, June 14 with the Brownstown Market, Located on King Road, between Telegraph and Dix Highway, from Noon to 6:00 PM.

Then Wednesday we will have the Romulus Market, located on Hunt, between Bibbins and Goddard Roads. from Noon to 6:00 PM.

Thursday is the Wyandotte Market, Located at First and Elm Street, from Noon to 6:00 PM.

Friday would have been the Taylor Market, but that market has been cancelled for this season, due to funding issues. Riverview will be starting a market, on Fridays, later this summer, in Patriot Park. Watch for more details as the become available.

Saturday will be the Flat Rock Market, in the old Kmart Plaza on Telegraph Road.

We are excited about the markets, and look forward to seeing everyone there. Please come see us at the the market in your neighborhood.

Watch this blog later in the week to find out how the first week went!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chive Blossom Dishes

Hi everyone!

Well, it seems that a lot of folks out there are not familiar with cooking with chive blossoms/flowers. I have never really thought about it because I use them all the time. so, I thought I would show you an example of a dish I just made with chive blossoms.

If you are not familiar with the taste of chive blossoms, let me tell you what they taste like. They are a very mild, delicate sweet onion taste. Not as intense as the chive stalks or green onions. The blossoms are wonderful when you want a very subtle onion flavor in your dish and you don’t want chunks or pieces of onion.

So, whenever you want a slight taste of onion to a dish, use the chive blossom. You can use the entire blossom head just as it is or as I prefer, I cut of all the actual flowers. Just chop them off at the base of the flower.

recipe 001 The chive blossoms are fantastic in scrambled eggs or omelets. Just thought I would throw that in. LOL

This is another “Diann is cleaning out the fridge so, let’s see what happens” recipes.

I don’t know about you but, certain dishes that I make, I also will make extra to freeze. Lasagna is a very good example with me. I never make just one lasagna for dinner. If I am going to all the trouble to make a lasagna it’s just as easy to make 3 and only cook one that night and freeze the other two. For me, that works. Especially now that we are in summer. Life is just too busy. I always want to have something quick to make. Well, I do several things that are make ahead and freeze dishes. One of those is stuffed pasta. Make up a bunch then divide them into individual meal portions and freeze.

  So, that is what I started with. Cheese stuffed pasta. This is super easy. Use large shells, lasagna noodles or make your own wide noodles. My cheese stuffing is just ricotta, garlic powder, some parmesan cheese and sometime chopped chives if they are in season. Just mix that all together and either stuff the shells or roll the wide noodles. These are so handy to have on hand. I don’t season them up a lot because I like to create different dishes with them. I want them as the foundation of my meal.

To get this dish started, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Stuffed noodles go right from freezer to a baking dish. And set aside for the moment.

recipe 010 Next I sliced cherry tomatoes in half and tossed some in another baking dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon on garlic powder and a healthy dose of black pepper. Stir them until all the tomatoes are covered in oil.

recipe 014 Pop these into the 425 preheated oven for about 10 minutes (uncovered). When you remove from oven, drop the heat down to 350 degrees.

recipe 021 The other night we grilled Italian sausages for dinner. It was a good size package so, we cooked it all so we could have some left over for another meal or two. One more step to help you with time and ease of cooking. After all, when the grill is hot, why not take advantage of it and cook a bunch of meats to be used at a later day. I always have ziplock bags of grilled meats in the freezer.

recipe 004 I used 3 of the sausages and put them in the food processor to grind them down.

Into a skillet they went.

recipe 005 I chopped up about 8 chive blossoms and threw those in there too.

recipe 007 Another great time saver are these bottled sauces. Now, I have never used them as they are in the bottle. They are just a good quick sauce base to start with. This one is a 4 cheese rosa sauce. Love it! I had 8 coupons for these and was able to get them at .78 cents a jar to have on hand. What I normally use as my sauce base is a simple white sauce that I make ahead of time. You can get that recipe HERE.

recipe 003  Pour the entire jar in the skillet with the meat. Add a cup of milk into the emptied jar to get out all the last bit of the sauce, shake and pour into mix. Add about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan (optional). Bring to a boil (stir often).

recipe 009 Now pour sauce over stuffed noodles.

recipe 011  Add the baked tomatoes. Do NOT throw out that yummy oil!

recipe 022recipe 023  Now, just because I think this kind of dish is better with melted cheese (isn’t everything!), I added white cheddar on top. You could use whatever you have. Cover with foil and put in 350 degree oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

recipe 024Okay, while are meal is cooking, let’s make the salad and dressing. When I have a rich dish like the one above I want a simple salad to go with it and I think citrus is the perfect compliment to  a rich cheesy dish. So, our salad is going to be lettuce, mandarin orange and almond slices.

Time to make the dressing. Grab that empty sauce jar and rinse. Yup, I don’t believe in messing up any unnecessary dishes whenever possible!

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

The mandarin juice (for a 15 oz can)

Healthy dash of S & P

About a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

Chopped chive blossoms and chopped chives.

recipe 006Important tip regarding chives. If you have left your chives to blossom, clip off your blossoms and then just cut the chives down. You can dry out these chives but, they are too tough to eat at this point. I kind of rotate my chives so that I always have part of them tender to use and some left to blossom so I can use the flower.

recipe 026Take all your chopped blossoms and chives and toss them into the tomato oil left from roasting the tomatoes.  Stir and try to get every bit of that yummy flavor out of the dish.

recipe 027Put of the goodness into your jar of dressing an shake well.

recipe 030What’s nice with reusing this jar, the leftover dressing is already in a jar and can go in the fridge.

Let’s get our salad dressed.

recipe 031 YUM!

Okay, it’s time to get our dish out of the oven. Make sure to let this rest for about 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

recipe 028And that is it. Enjoy!

recipe 033recipe 032

The chive flowers looks so pretty in the salad and are so tasty.

recipe 034recipe 036recipe 033recipe 037recipe 038Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed these chive blossom dishes and now have an idea how to use them in your meals. I will be posting more chive blossom dishes throughout the summer.

Have a great day!