Most people think dandelions are a weed – a nuisance that should be sprayed with weed killer and mowed over. However, there are some great reasons to let your dandelions grow, or at least harvest them from someplace other than your lawn. These little ‘weeds’ are full of flavor and vitamins.
Dandelions contain a vast amount of vitamins and minerals. Those include Vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, potassium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s astonishing that we trash these loathed little plants, and treat them so poorly when they provide such benefits to our health.
One of the best things about the dandelion is - you can eat the entire plant – from the leaves, flowers, roots, and crowns. If you choose, you can gain benefits from every piece of the plant – and use each part in different dishes or applications.
Dandelion flowers are very versatile – you can make syrups, jellies, honey, vinegar, and wine. They can be used to make dandelion tea and added to salads.
The entire flower head(or crown) can not only provide nutritious elements, but it can also add a unique and exciting look to any dish. You can batter and fry the heads and use as a side dish or an edible garnish.
Dandelion leaves are a great addition to green salads. They can also be stir-fried with other veggies for a delicious and nutritious meal. Most people find the older leaves to have a bitter taste and prefer to use the small young leaves when eating them raw. You can remove some of the bitterness from older leaves by cooking them.
The roots can be roasted and used to make dandelion coffee. I suppose if the world runs out of coffee beans, I might resort to dandelion coffee, but until then, I think I will stick with what I know.
Do you cook with dandelions? I would love to learn how you utilize them in the kitchen!
*A word of caution – make sure you harvest your dandelions in an area that does not use weed killer or other pesticides or herbicides that can be harmful when ingested.
Summer Skin Care Tips
It’s finally summer – the days are hot and the nights are warm. You are probably spending more time outside and enjoying trips to the beach, the park, neighborhood BBQ’s, and walking the dog. With the warmer weather and the stronger sun, we need to alter our skincare routines to keep up with all that sun time. Following are some tips for keeping gorgeous skin during the summer.
Never forget to apply sunscreen before heading outdoors. While sunscreen is vital year-round, it is especially imperative during the summer months while the sun is at its strongest. Not only does the sun cause sunburns, cancer, and contributes to early aging of the skin, but it also causes embarrassing discoloration.
Invest in a daily facial lotion that contains SPF to protect your face throughout the day. If you are especially active, apply your moisturizer more than once.
If you plan to have an active day outside, look for a waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours to get the most protection. You should also use SPF 30 at the least.
Hydrate your skin
Hydrate your skin both inside and out during the summer. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and eat foods rich in water – the majority of these are fruits and vegetables. Look for melons, grapes, celery, and lettuce.
Body oils work well to add a lot of moisture to your skin. You will also want to apply lotion to your face and body after showering. Post-shower is the time when your pores are most receptive to moisturizing.
The summer is the best time to exfoliate your skin. Sugar scrubs work wonders at removing dry skin and dirt lodged deep in your pores. Due to excessive sweating during the summer, you tend to have more buildup in your pores that can be difficult to remove with just a typical facial wash.
Vitamin C, Collagen Peptides, and Omega 3’s
Don’t forget to take your vitamins. Vitamin C contains collagen to help you have healthy, youthful skin. Vitamin C also combats free radicals that make our skin age prematurely.
Collagen Peptides also help keep your skin young and firm. They come in powder form that can be dissolved in coffee or tea easily.
Omega 3’s are the perfect way to add healthy fats into your diet if you don’t eat much fish or avocado. Healthy fats help our skin look radiant and soft.
You can enjoy all of the summer activities and protect your gorgeous skin at the same time. Put together a summer skincare routine and stick to it to have radiant skin all year long.
There are a plethora of different herbs that will not only look gorgeous in your yard but are also useful in your home. Each herb has many different uses – from adding flavor to soups or salads to clearing up skin issues or easing an upset stomach.
It doesn’t matter if you have a large outside space to plant or just an apartment balcony. Herbs are flexible when it comes to being in containers. Many times, as with peppermint, growing in containers is ideal.
The following herbs are easy to grow and will provide you (and the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds) with beautiful and useful plants.
Plant lavender in full sun and make sure the soil is well drained. Lavender does not like having wet feet. It does best if planted in a rock garden or on a slope to ensure proper drainage. Honey bees love lavender and can be seen buzzing around the beautiful purple blooms.
Lemongrass makes a stunning landscape grass. While lemongrass enjoys a lot of moisture, it needs good drainage to prevent root rot. Lemongrass can also be grown in large containers and looks lovely as a fixture on a porch or walkway.
Peppermint should be grown in containers unless you want the plant to spread through your lawn like a weed. Peppermint sends off runners that will take over quickly. It should be planted in an area that gets sun most of the day, and it should be watered often.
Rosemary likes to be in full sun with good drainage. It needs to be trimmed of dead wood each spring and enjoys small trimmings throughout the summer and fall. It is a fragrant herb used mostly for white meats, soups, and sauces. You can even add a few sprigs to olive oil for a delicious infused oil.
Sage does well in a container or planted in the ground. It blooms in early spring with delicate pink or purple flowers and can be harvested from regularly. It’s easy to grow and the cuttings can be hung upside down to dry – and can be used to flavor your favorite holiday dinners.
If you are a fan of cooking with basil, it is a must-grow herb. It can be grown on your kitchen window sill – and can be harvested from whenever you need it. It also makes a beautiful addition to any garden with its dark green leaves and fragrant aroma.
Chamomile has both a perennial and annual breed. If you want a perennial – plant Roman Chamomile. If you are more interested in the annual – look for German Chamomile. Both have delicate daisy-like flowers that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. It is often used as a companion plant in the vegetable garden to protect other plants from harmful insects.
Otherwise known as the pot marigold, calendula is a beautiful plant with bright yellow and orange petaled flowers. The calendula plant will not only add interest and color to your yard, but it also attracts beneficial insects and is used as a companion plant in the vegetable garden.
Whether you are planting these herbs for their beauty or their usefulness - they are sure to please the gardener with their ease of growth and their ability to attract pollinators and other helpful bugs.
Perhaps you’ve heard of bergamot, and perhaps you haven’t. Bergamot comes from the rinds of the bergamot orange tree. It is used in Earl Grey tea, many perfumes, as well as skin care products. It has a spicy citrus scent and is a great option for beautiful skin and hair.
While bergamot has many healing properties which include reducing depression symptoms and increasing digestive functions, this article will focus more on the skin care aspects of bergamot.
Like so many other herbs and essential oils, bergamot contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit skin irritations and acne.
Bergamot is a great skin cleanser. You can find beauty products that contain bergamot or add some oil drops to the products you already own. It is best to use at night as bergamot can increase your skin’s photosensitivity.
If you suffer from oily skin and clogged pores, bergamot can help. It will remove the icky buildup in your pores and even out the oils in your skin.
Due to cicatrizant (a property that encourages healing) in bergamot, it is a natural scar healer. It can reduce the appearance of scars and works well to even out skin tone. If you have acne scars or dark spots on your skin, using the bergamot oil can make your skin tone even and youthful looking.
Bergamot is also an excellent oil for taming wild curls or frizzy hair. The oil will soften the hair and leave a gentle scent behind.
Add a few drops of bergamot oil to your shampoo and wash and condition as normal.
Always dilute bergamot oil with a carrier oil. Never apply directly to the skin. Some people can have a sensitivity or an allergic reaction to the oil.
It is always a good idea to spot check a small area on your arm before applying to the face to ensure you do not have a bad reaction to the oil.
Spot treatment for Acne
Mix bergamot oil with a carrier oil of your choice. I recommend Jojoba oil as it is great for Acne prone skin.
Apply bergamot mix directly to the pimple or blackhead.
Leave this on your skin overnight.
*Using it during the day can have ill effects if you expose your skin to sunlight.