Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Propagating Your Herbs From Clippings

Starting a new herb garden is an addition to adding flavor, spice and color to your garden, now that you have an established herb garden outdoors in the spring and summer you can start taking clippings from some herbs. Here are a list of 8 herbs you can propagate:

Sweet mint, any variety of mint

Just think no more going to the store in the winter months for your fresh herbs, you can pick them right in your home now. You can keep them for many years, during summer you can place them back outside or keep them where they are in your home. I literally have 10 pots of basil, loads of mint, Rosemary, thyme and Lavender. I am so glad I looked into this I will not have to buy herbs for years if all goes well, I am so excited with all these herbs, just filling the house with all of these wonderful herb scents and saving so much money. I went to my local craft store and purchased pots and the bottoms, you can paint them to match your decor. I can't wait to place Rosemary and lavender in every room in my house, plus the great part about this, if you own chickens these herbs will prevent mosquitos in there coop, it's a win win situation all the way around. Enjoy!!!!

No need to go back to the garden center where you purchased your first plants. This step is called propagation.

What Is Propagation?

Propagation is creating new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs, and other plant parts. There are 3 main methods of herb propagation: seeds, cutting and division. Today I am talking about cutting because that is the method I use. Most plants can all be started by all 3 methods. For herbs in this case the quickest way to get more plants is by stem cutting.

Where and How To Cut:
Start your cuttings when your plants are well established, mid summer-fall. On an herb stem there is a softwood and a hardwood part of a stem, the softwood is the new growth of the plant, the softwood is lighter in color and more flexible, and this softwood part you want to use, it will root out quicker which means (the roots grow quickly then the hardwood part of the stem).
Cut the stems at the node, (right under where the leaves join the stem). Cut at least 4-6 inches of stem and take off the leaves 2 inches from the bottom. This is where your new roots will emerge.

Place the stems into a mason jar or a glass on a windowsill and place room temperature water in the jar, making sure the bottom stems are covered. I place the water all the way up to where I cut the last few leaves of the plants, about 4 inches of water, just make sure all the stems are covered. Change the water every few days. You will see roots rather quickly about 2-3 weeks. When you see plenty of nice long roots you are ready to place into pots in your home. Basil and mint are very quick and root very easy.

What to do next:

Get yourself several pots and potting soil, after you notice all of your cuttings have plenty of roots, plant them and store them on a table, end table, somewhere in your home where you are going to have sun in the winter months.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Creamy Tortellini With Sun Dried Tomato,Spinach, And Mozzarella

This tortellini with sun dried tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella, and fresh basil are so delicious together and the creamy sauce is just perfect, so many great flavors and everyone loved it, no need to go to any fancy restaurants when you have this meal, my family said WOW..so I knew it was a huge hit.
Very easy to make in less then 30 minutes you will impress everyone with this. This is so fresh tasting and a light meal, the sauce is not thick and heavy, just perfect. I saw this and I knew we would all love it. This recipe would even be great for a crowd if you are making large trays of hot dishes. try it you will make it over and over again just like we do..

  • 1/2 heaping cup Julianne cut sun dried tomatoes in oil in a jar, If you cannot find the Julianne cut sun dried tomatoes then use what you can find and slice them
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces bag fresh baby spinach 
  • 2 2/3 cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 cups tortellini, uncooked 
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, optional: only use the pasta water if sauce looks a little dry, if you make earlier and have to reheat.  I added it in anyway
  • Parmesan Cheese for topping 

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat add 2 Tablespoons of the sun-dried tomatoe oil and the sun dried tomatoes saute for about 1-2 minutes, then add garlic and saute for a minute or until fragrant. Add baby spinach and continue cooking and stirring on medium heat until spinach just starts to wilt. Add the half and half, salt, paprika and bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and add the mozzarella cheese then stir until the mozzarella is melted and smooth, add 1/2 cup of pasta water then add chopped fresh basil.
  2. Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain, rinse pasta, add a drizzle of olive oil salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the cooked tortellini to the sauce, stir to coat and until warm. You can add more salt and pepper if needed at this point, 
  4. Serve warm and top with Parmesan cheese.