Thanksgiving: How-to host the perfect holiday dinner!

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.
~Willard Scott

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year right along with Christmas. Autumn is so beautiful with the splendid colors, the rustic smell of fallen leaves, and of course the cackling of the blue jays. But even better than all that, I love to decorate for the the holidays.

I wanted to share a few of my holiday decorating tips with all of my wonderful Dragonfly friends. I thought I’d start with Thanksgiving as I don’t really do a lot of Halloween décor. I generally keep to a fall theme. I hope you enjoy this post, and please be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

My delicious recipes will be coming the week before Thanksgiving, so if you aren’t already following me on Facebook, click this link & hit the LIKE & Follow buttons so you don’t miss any of my wonderful posts!

I always prep the day before I host a holiday meal or party. I love to entertain and make my guests feel incredibly special. As most of you know I am a mother of six with two grandsons, so we often gather at my home as it has the most space.

Pro tip: If you are bringing in additional tables & chairs, bring them in the day before and get them set with whatever linens, dinnerware, flatware, glasses, etc. This will alleviate so much day-of event stress! As you can see from these pictures, each guest has a linen napkin tied with a piece of raffia and then a special name tag at their place.

Layering makes a showy table! As you can see, I have a table cloth, table runner, dinner & salad plate along with a linen napkin. Each place setting is different which adds to the elegance of the table.

Name tags make people feel special! When your guests arrive and see the extra effort you made to the point of making handmade name tags, they will feel all the love you put into this task!

Use real greenery & gourds!
I have a smorgasbord of living vines including bittersweet in my woods and the ditches around me. I love to incorporate beautiful fall leaves as well. A table centerpiece is so inviting!

Pro Tip: To make name tags I simply cut 4″ x 4″ squares of card stock, fold in half to make a tent style card, and then place a black name label on it. I used chalkboard paint markers to write my guests names. Be careful to let them dry adequately or they will smudge!

Pro Tip: Be eclectic!!! I do love things to match, but I also love showing off several different styles of linens & plates.

My grandson’s love to see their special plates and personalized name tags!

Pro Tip: Shop the dollar stores & thrift shops! I love to find interesting, one-of-a-kind pieces of glassware, linens, and glasses.

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

All these wonderfully yummy recipes will post on November 16th right before Thanksgiving, so keep posted on my Facebook page for that reminder!

What is a holiday with a Mimosa!

Pro Tip: DON’T use Brut Champaign, it is too bitter!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Our Favorite Pecan & Apple Pie Recipes!

Pro Tip: If you are not a baker like my daughter Taylor is, don’t feel bad to purchase pies from a bakery new you. Supporting local is awesome!

So-Yum Mashed Potatoes & Dad’s Delicious Stuffing

Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls!

Mimosa’s are so easy to make! All you need is a Spumante Champaign, some orange, pineapple & cranberry juice.
Mix 1 part Champaign with 1 part juice. I like to mix the orange & pineapple, but my favorite is a cranberry mimosa!

Pro Tip: If you don’t want all the work of making cabbage rolls, you can make a cabbage roll casserole! You can find this recipe in my popular cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats. Purchase at this link:

Of course we will have my famous Real Pumpkin Pie as well. For those of you who have my cookbook, this recipe can be found on page 304 of my cookbook.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think ! I love your feedback!

Happy Day,

Stuffed Peppers & Bonus Italian Seasoning Recipe!

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne

It’s amazing how the garden produces with just a bit of tender loving care, some sunshine, and of course water. This summers garden produced an abundance of tomatoes & peppers. This recipe is for sure one of our summer time favorites, & I sure hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

Pro tip: You can use canned tomato juice, but making your own is soooo easy if you have extra tomatoes! Read below for a quick how-to!

Our Favorite Recipes


5 peppers, halved
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
2 cups Jasmine rice, cooked
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups PLUS 3 ½ cups tomato juice
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup minced red OR yellow onion
2 fresh cloves of garlic minced OR 2 tsp jarred
1 tsp salt- divided
1 tsp pepper- divided
1 tsp Italian Seasoning- See link for the recipe on how to make your own!

Home Made Tomato Juice

Here’s a simple how-to make homemade tomato juice!

Wash your tomato’s; cut off any bad spots and stem ends.

Cut the tomato’s into large chunks and blend in a food processor.

Once they are blended, measure out how much you will need for the recipe. Anything extra you can freeze or can.

Pro tip: There is no need to remove seeds as they will never be noticeable once processed. I have done this for years & no one has ever noticed!

1. Cut your peppers in half & clean out all seeds & white membranes.

2. In a frying pan add oil and minced onion; sauté on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes until golden, and then add minced garlic; sauté for an additional 5 minutes.

3. In the meantime while your onions & garlic are sautéing, cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside until ready to use.

Pro tip: You can add a TBSP of butter to the rice to prevent it from sticking.

4. Once the onion & garlic are finished sautéing, add both pork & beef, Italian seasoning, ½ tsp each salt & pepper to onion garlic mixture; fry while cutting into the meat until crumbly and done, about 20 minutes; drain grease from meat mixture in a colander. 

5. In a large bowl add meat mixture, cooked rice, 2 cups of the tomato juice, remaining salt & pepper, and parmesan cheese; mix until well blended; add the remaining 1 ½ cups of tomato juice reserving the additional 2 cups.

This is what your meat & rice mixture should look like.

6. Pour remaining 2 cups of the tomato juice into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread until covering the entire bottom.

7. Take ½ cup of meat and rice mixture and fill each pepper half; place in the baking dish side by side until all are filled. Use the remaining meat and rice mixture and fill around the peppers.

8. Divide mozzarella cheese evenly across the tops of each pepper half.

9. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 45 minutes; uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and peppers are soft enough for a knife to go through. 

I really enjoy making things from scratch, which is why I wanted to share a super easy how-to make your own tomato juice.

Here’s the link to my blog post with my recipe for homemade Italian Seasoning.

If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE & Follow me for more great recipes and home & garden tips. Be sure to visit me at my Facebook page for more informative & fun posts! Be sure to say “Hi!”.

Happy Day,

Feeding the Birds: Cooler days are ahead so lets help out our little feathered friends!

“There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business” – Grant Hutchison, The Complete Lachlan.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

I have always enjoyed the quiet stillness that resonates while observing these little feathered friends flirt about.  I feel very fortunate to have been visited by so many varieties here with our five acres of woods. We have been able to observe several bird species including Baltimore Orioles, rose breasted grosbeaks, ruby throated hummingbirds, and the elusive pileated woodpecker. My personal favorite is the little garden wren who comes and sings while sitting on one of my plant hangers on my deck. I just know they are saying, “Good morning Jean, thanks for the yummy bird seed!”

I’ve always loved watching the birds and teaching my children their species name & different qualities. Feeding the birds has been something I’ve done with my children for many years. I thought why not share a few easy recipes for suet’s & other treats they love!

Bird feed and treats can get a bit expensive, although I feel it is money well spent for the reward of being able to watch such intricate & beautiful creatures so closely.

PRO TIP: The territorial Blue Jay can be very defensive around bird feeders, so I grow a row of sunflowers on the edge of our garden just for them. I also have a special dried corn cob holder I put in a tree away from the other feeders. They are very happy and I believe they feel a bit spoiled by me!
Sweet Autumn Clematis
Bird house in the clematis
Gold Finch
My favorite, The House Wren

I have a beautiful Sweet Autumn Clematis growing on my pool deck, and the birds just love these vining havens. They gather for shelter as well as nesting! Last week I put a bird house in the inside corner… I can’t wait to see who makes it a home!

My good friend Pam, Owner & baker extraordinaire of Cookie Cutter Tweets & Treat the Dog can be found at The Farmington Farmers Market on Saturday & at The Birmingham Farmers Market on Sundays. Be sure to check to make sure she will be there! Besides bird & dog treats, she has super cool pet swag, lovely bird themed décor she creates, and gobs of other cool stuff. Check her out at her Facebook page!

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
– Thomas Keller

This recipe has become an all time favorite for my family, so I thought I’d share it with my Dragonfly family to enjoy as well!

A few years back I was invited to prepare this recipe on Fox TV2 while promoting my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. It was so fun to share my pesto recipe on air. You can find my original recipe at the link provide below.

Our Favorite Recipes


2 boneless, skinless chicken Breasts- about 2 pounds
1 TBSP Garlic Salt, divided
1 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
1- 16 ounce or 1 pound box of Cellentani Pasta or similar
1 cup Pesto- see recipe link for Pesto recipe
2 cup Alfredo Sauce:
Ingredients for sauce:
1 stick salted butter or 1/4 cup
1 cup whole milk
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1- 8 ounce container of whipped cream cheese
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black Pepper

Pro tip: I recommend making the pesto sauce first, as this can be refrigerated allowing the flavor to intensify!

Pro tip: For the best results with the alfredo sauce, use as quickly as you can so it doesn’t begin to firm up. However if it does, simply warm on low heat until desired consistency, stirring constantly.

Click here for my Pesto Recipe.

As a side dish, my yummy Bruschetta recipe makes a great accompaniment! You can find that recipe here:

1. Sprinkle half the garlic salt on one side of chicken, flip and season second side.
Grill chicken breasts until fully cooked and juices run clear;

2. Once chicken is cooled, using kitchen shears cut chicken into bite size chunks; set aside

3. Prepare both your pesto and alfredo sauces; see recipe link for instructions for pesto above.

4. Put a large pot of water on high heat while you are making your alfredo sauce. Add pasta once the water comes to a full rolling boil; cook until Al Dente. Follow box instructions for cooking time.

5. While water is heating, prepare the alfredo sauce:

i. In a medium sized pot melt the stick of butter.

ii. Once the butter is melted, add cream cheese and half the milk; whisk until well blended.

iii. Once cream cheese is melted and blended evenly, add remaining milk and parmesan cheese; mix until completely melted and is a smooth consistency.

iv. Add salt & pepper; blend thoroughly. Set aside while pasta is cooking.

6. Once pasta is done, drain and then place in a large serving bowl.

7. To drained pasta, add chicken and both sauces; blend until both noodles and chicken are evenly coated with sauce. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve with bruschetta or any other garlic bread.

Pro tip: Once you’ve drained your pasta, add a tablespoon of olive oil, blend thoroughly. This will prevent the noodles from sticking. Butter works too!

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

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Happy Day,

How-to Host the Best Holiday Cookie Exchange!

“Friends are like sprinkles on the cupcake of life!”
Author unknown.

I love to entertain, and what better time to do so than the holiday season? 

Several years ago, 2012 to be precise, I wrote a detailed article on how-to host a holiday cookie exchange. I wanted to provide an update with a few new ideas I’ve come up with. After all, it’s been a few years! I’ll provide the link to the original post which has several of my cookie recipes down below. You won’t want to miss that!

I want to touch on some older points, and expound on them here. Let me know if you are planning a cookie exchange & what tips would you have to share?

First we need to determine how many guests you plan to have which will determine how many cookies you will each need to bake. There are generally two methods to determine how many dozen cookies each participant will need to bake.

Pro tip: Be sure to be specific when inviting guests! Don’t expect them to know they need to make just 1 variety, not a mixture.

Small Group 5 to 10 guests

Each person will bring 1 dozen cookies for each guest. Therefore if you are having 5 guests plus yourself, each person will bake 6 dozen cookies of the same variety. At the end, everyone will leave with 6 dozen cookies of 6 different varieties.

Large Group 11 or more guests

With a larger group you will want to choose an easy number of cookies for each guest to bake. Generally 12 dozen is reasonable as most recipes will make 3 to 5 dozen.
Once you know how many guests you will be attending, you will use this simple formula  to determine how many cookies each guest will take home.

Formula: # of cookies divided by # of guests = total number of cookies to take from each guest.

Example: If you have everyone make 12 dozen cookies and you are planning on 20 guests you will take 12 dozen multiplied by 12 cookies= 144 cookies; then divide by 20 guests = 7.2 cookies of each variety for each guest. 
Take the .2 extra cookies and give them to a friend who couldn’t attend, a neighbor who doesn’t get out much, or bring them to work. Generally the host takes the extra’s.

There are a variety of containers you can bring your cookies in to the exchange. See my previous post for ideas!

The Invitation

 I am all about the details when entertaining, and that includes the invitation. This will emphasize the theme of your cookie exchange. Here are some cutesy ideas from my previous post & some new ones!

Pro tip: Be sure to invite your guests at least three weeks in advance. This will allow them ample opportunity to find the perfect containers or make them!

What to include on the invitation:

  1. Date, time & location is essential.  
  2. Explain how many cookies to bring, and to bring ONLY 1 variety! 
  3. Encourage guests to bring cookies in cute containers- purchased or homemade!
  4. If you have a theme, include that information. For example everyone is to wear an ugly sweater, Victorian hat, or pajamas. It’s your party, have fun with it!
  5. Ask your guests to include a copy of the recipe on a cute recipe card for each guest with their name and date on it.  Be sure to stress that they would be so extra special if they are hand written. A family member or friend’s handwriting is so special.

Pro tip: Once you know how many guests will be attending, you can prepackage each guests cookies in cute containers. Grab & Go!

Should you create or purchase the invitation? If you choose to make the invitation, here are some super cute idea’s!

Invitation Ideas!

1. Using vintage postcards or the front of an old Christmas card is a super cute idea. Using an adhesive place the postcard or card on a piece of cardstock and put all the info on the back of the card.
2. Attach a mini cookie cutter to the invitation as a keepsake! Simply punch a hole in the top corner of the invitation, tie the cookie cutter with a length of raffia or ribbon. 
3. If you love to stamp or scrapbook, you more than likely have oodles of supplies and ideas. If you have a theme, make your invitation reflect it. 
4. Paper die-cuts in the shape of cookies, snow flakes, or any winter theme would work; get a rubber stamp that has Invitation info on it; or print off your computer with a cute font.
5. Photo Greeting Cards make beautiful invites as well. Take a photo of your cookie, a bowl full of vintage cookie cutters or whatever your theme might be. Have enough 4×6 prints made for the amount of invitations you need. Crop about an inch off either the top or bottom of the photo and then adhere to a piece of card stock. Too cute!

To read more suggestions on setting your cookie table, the luncheon menu, tips on how-to get your cookies home, & of course several of my yummiest cookie recipes, head over to my original blog post!

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like the ones you’ll find in my posts, you can go to my blog at to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden!

Happy Day,

Here are some great sites for free printable invitations, recipe cards,
stickers & labels: 

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All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa Nacho Skillet!

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne

Dave said, “Lets make some black bean & corn salsa!” Of course it was game on… & of course I said, “Let’s give it a twist!” You can make this recipe as is served with chips, or you can add the Queso & chorizo to give it that special Jean twist! Let me know how you like it in the comments below!

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients for the Salsa:

  • 1-15.25 ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1-15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomato- about 2 large
  • 1/2 cup diced red shallot- about 1 medium to large
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper, ribbed & seeded- about 1 large or 2 medium
  • 1 glove fresh garlic OR 1 tsp jarred
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP Lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Bag of your favorite tortilla chips!

    Ingredients for Nacho Skillet:
  • 1 pound chorizo pork sausage fried & drained
  • 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil to fry sausage in
  • 1 cup taco blend shredded cheese
  • 1 cup your favorite Queso- I like On The Border with Monterey Jack

We have been feasting from our garden daily. Using fresh ingredients gives this recipe such wonderful flavor.

Pro tip: If you would like to use fresh sweet corn, simply purchase 2 ears, steam until cooked, and then cut the kernels off. Super easy, & super yum!

1. Drain & wash both the black beans and corn in a colander until the water runs clear.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl; mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

3. While the salsa is chilling fry chorizo sausage in olive oil until cooked thoroughly; once cooked drain in a colander.

4. Place fried sausage in a 6×9 baking dish.

5. Spread 2 cups of the salsa over the sausage evenly.

6. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over salsa. Then pour 1 cup of Queso over cheese.

7. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

You can also warm this in the microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes if you prefer.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Pro tip: I purchase all my pork & beef from local farmers. The taste is genuinely so much more flavorful!

One of the meat, egg, & cheese vendors at The Royal Oak Farmers Market

If you enjoyed this post & thought this was a super yummy recipe leave me a comment.
…. and of course please LIKE, Follow & Share.

You can purchase my wonderful cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats again! Click this link to purchase:…/

Be sure to check out my Facebook page & follow me there for daily inspirations, lovely photos, & of course all kinds of great home & garden tips!

Happy Day,

How-to Preserve Your Canna Rhizomes

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”
Alfred Austin

I can still remember my grandmother’s cannas towering up against the back of our house. I can still see the tall, red blossoms amongst the elegant tropical leaves. Every year she planted the rhizomes she’d saved from the year before. She just loved those tall, blazing red blooms. 

As an adult I also have grown to love them and have saved my own for years. And believe me, there is always plenty to share! Today I want to share my technique for harvesting & storing my canna’s, along with another that you may prefer.

1. Once your canna’s leaves have died back- generally after the first light frost, cut back the leaves leaving about 4-6 inches of the stem.
NOTE: Do not allow your cannas to suffer a hard frost otherwise they will more than likely parish.

2. Carefully begin to dig up the rhizomes with your shovel.
NOTE: Use a large pointed spade or garden fork and cut into the soil straight down rather than angling in. This will help prevent cutting any of the rhizomes.

3. Carefully lift the thick mound of roots from the soil. You may need to work the soil from all sides with the shovel to lift them without damaging them.

4. Next, carefully pull the rhizomes apart trying not to snap them. Don’t worry if any of them do snap, you can still store them.

Once they are separated, lightly rinse off the dirt with a misting spray of water without rubbing them.

Did you know: Cannas are commonly referred to as a bulb although they are not a true bulb.

Cannas multiply beneath the soil from a fattened extension of the stalk called a rhizome.

Fun Fact: Although canna’s are a tropical plant, they can be overwintered in zones north of zone 8 if brought in, or by digging up the rhizomes and storing.

NOTE: Rhizomes that may have been cut by your shovel are still salvageable.

There are many types of canna’s varying in height, blossom & leaf color. Blossoms range from all shades of reds, corals, oranges, & yellows. Heights can range from 2 feet up to 12 feet tall… which are simply magnificent!

However, the most intriguing element these beauties offer are their wide range of leaf color. My personal favorites are the green variegated. Other colors include purplish-red, bright red or green, as well as a variegated red. The varieties offered are sure to please any gardener.

Now lets talk storage!

Digging up & storing over winter

Once you’ve dug up your cannas according to my instructions above, you must cure them before storage begins.
To do this simply air-dry them in a dry, warm location for seven to ten days. This can be done in your garage or in an outdoor shed. The key is to keep them dry. Curing toughens the outer skins in order to help the rhizomes resist rot during storage.
Once they are cured, you will take the rhizomes and wrap them individually in newspaper or in paper lunch bags. You can then place them in a cardboard box for winter storage. Keeping them in a dry basement, in a garage as long as it doesn’t freeze, or even a closet will work. Temperatures should remain above 40 degrees, but not get over 60.

Keeping your potted cannas indoors over winter

If you planted cannas in your summer garden pots, you can bring them in to over-winter! This is a great way to save them if you have the room. Depending on how many you have, it may be easier to do the first method, or split them up if you have several.
Simply cut the stems back to the soil. Keep them in the same conditions as the digging up method.

Monitoring your rhizomes throughout the winter!
Over the winter months, periodically inspect the bulbs to make sure they are not rotting. Inspecting does take a bit of time, but you won’t be disappointed if you do this just once a month.

Marking it on your calendar helps to remember. 

Once spring arrives, carefully inspect all your rhizomes discarding any bad ones… & then happy gardening planting the rest!

Losing a few over the winter is normal as bad spots can easily be missed. If 70 to 80 percent of them make it, you did a great job!

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think ! I love your feedback!

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Happy Day,

Peach Marmalade- Pectin Free!

“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors—it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”

– Wolfgang Puck

Even though it’s October, you can still pick up some delicious peaches at the farmers market- or worse casa scenario, the grocery store. Farmers markets generally are open through the end of October, and some move indoors for the colder winter months, while others like Detroit Eastern Market & the Ann Arbor Farmers Market are open outdoors year round! I encourage all of you to support your local farmers throughout the cold months as well… after all, they keep coming for all of us!

My grandmother & mother were incredible cooks. I have always hoped my children would enjoy my cooking & baking as much as I did theirs… they say they do. Every summer and throughout the fall they would begin making their jams, jellies, & marmalades. I loved to sit on a stool and watch them make the magic happen. This is one of my favorite recipes, and I’m so happy to share it with all of you!

Our Favorite Recipes


12 cups sliced, peeled peaches
This is about 4 pounds fresh peaches or about 10-12 medium peaches

1 cup orange slices, plus zest. About 1 large orange

2-3 cups sugar- more or less depending on how sweet you like your marmalades or jams.

2 TBSP Lemon juice

Yields approximately 6 cups of finished marmalade.

What you’ll need to prepare this recipe:
Large stock pot
Potato masher or dough blender
Jar filler
Large bowl
6- half pint canning jars or freezer containers

Did you know: Jam is a fruit spread that includes crushed fruits cut into pieces, while jelly is a clear fruit spread made out of firmed fruit or vegetable juice. Marmalade, on the other hand, is usually made out of citrus fruits and their peel, which are boiled with water and sugar.

1. First wash your peaches in a clean sink of cold water; using your hands rub as much of the fuzz off as you can; place on a dry dish towel.

2. Peel your peaches with a sharp paring knife; cut each in half and remove the pit; slice each half in 4 pieces.

3. Using a zester, zest the orange and set aside; now peal your orange, discarding any white membrane. Peel orange(s) and cut inside flesh into small pieces. Remove large pieces of whitish fibrous layers. You should have about 1 cup.

4. Place sliced peaches, fresh lemon juice, oranges with zest and sugar in a large pot.

5. Using a potato masher, begin pressing the mixture until desired consistency. I like to leave some chunks.

6. On medium heat, bring mixture to a low boil for 20-30 minutes. Cooking time will depend on how thick you prefer your marmalade; Your marmalade is ready when it runs off a spoon slowly.

7. Using a jar filler, ladle your marmalade into ½ pint jars, or spoon into freezer containers.

 You can freeze these for up to a year or refrigerate for up to 2 months.

If you enjoyed this recipe post, please LIKE, share, & of course follow me to receive notifications on all my posts. 

Follow me on Facebook for daily inspirations, & more tips and tricks for your garden & home!

Added bonus: You can go to my blog at to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Happy day,

How-to preserve your herbs, & bonus recipes!

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

– Julia Child

My freshly dried basil

Growing your own veggies & herbs is a such blessing! Although having the ability to preserve them is a wonderful use of what you’ve grown & harvested. It helps save a ton of money as herbs can be very expensive, especially organic brands. Whether or not you garden organically, your home grown herbs will taste remarkably richer than any purchased from the store.

The following how-to can be used with just about any herbs you grow. Here are a few processes I want to share with all of you.

Pro tip: You don’t have to wait until the fall to preserve your delicious herbs, you can start early in the spring and work at it all season long! 

As I mentioned there are a few ways to dry your herbs. Let’s look at each one.

Pro tip: You can have herbs all year in cold weather states. In the spring when you are purchasing your seeds, save a few to plant in late summer in pots. You can keep these in your kitchen all winter long.

Pro Tip: De-stemming your herb leaves from the stem is essential for the highest quality finished product. You can see in these photo’s the original stem of basil, then plucking each leaf off. The stems will not dry well and are often times stringy.

For recipes using all your wonderful dried herbs, check out my blog post here:

Some seeds do not have a long shelf life when kept at room temperature. If you keep the seeds in your freezer they will have a better chance of germinating. 

1. Using a dehydrator. Your dehydrator will come with instructions and is very easy to use. You can use a dehydrator for all types of herbs as well as fruit! You can even make fruit roll ups! 

2. Place herbs on a cookie sheet and dry in your oven. After you’ve de-stemmed the leaves, place them on a cookie sheet and bake in a 250 degree oven until dry. The length of time will be determined by the size of the leaves.
For example, thyme and oregano leaves will be quicker than basil or parsley as their leaves are larger

Place leaves in a single layer on the cookie sheet so they are not overlapping each other. You do not need to turn the leaves. Check every 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Hanging your herbs to dry in a shady spot works too! You can bundle your herbs with a rubber band and hang them to dry. This generally takes a bit longer to dry as the herbs are more densely packed.

This photo was taken at
Greenfield Village

Pro tip: Don’t hang these in a sunny window as the sun will fade the color of the leaves.

Once the leaves are crumbly to the touch, remove them from the cookie sheet into a shallow bowl; gently crumble the leaves, do not crumble so hard that they become dusty. Think about how herbs look purchased from the store.

4. Besides drying your herbs, you can also freeze some of them. I have found that chives and parsley both freeze well. Most others will turn black and slimy.

Storage: Once you have dried your herbs, you can store them in glass jars with tight fitting lids, freezer storage bags or I like to use half pint jars with cute labels.

Other tips!

Freeze your pesto for use year round! We use pesto for so many recipes. I will make a large batch when my basil and parsley are at their best and then freeze them in half pint jars as these are equivalent to 1 cup which most recipes call for. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays and toss in a freezer bag.

Pro tip: Remember to leave at least an inch headspace when freezing!

Herb infused oils can be rather expensive even though they are so easy to make! Simply pack 2 cups of most any fresh culinary herb with 1/2 cup canola or safflower oil.

Pro tip: Olive oil can have a strong taste so I generally only use a few herbs with it. Basil, Thyme, & oregano. I also love to add fresh minced garlic with these. Soooo yummy!

Bonus Herb Salt & Salt Free Recipes

Here are some of my yummy herb salts-less recipes!
If you are trying to watch your salt intake, here a some great salt substitutes that the whole family will enjoy and they won’t even miss the salt!

For each recipe, combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly I even use a mini food processor. Once blended, store each one in a separate airtight container; shake before using, contents will probably settle.

Salt-less Herb Blend

5 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all and store in an airtight container. Great on fish & chicken!

I had to use this pic of Aaron back on the farm after he harvested these onions!!

Italian Blend

1 Tbsp. garlic powder
5 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all and store in an airtight container. Great in ground beef when making goulash!

Basic Herb Salt

1 cup sea salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. rosemary
2 Tbsp. thyme
1/4 cup parsley
2 Tbsp. tarragon
2 Tbsp. dill week
2 Tbsp. paprika
1/4 cup basil

Blend together in a food processor; store in an airtight container. Great for grilling or putting on pork or beef roasts!

All of these are great Great sprinkled on burger patties before grilling and really adds something special to ground beef when fried.

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Happy Day,