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Monday, November 28, 2011

Beauty and a nice Scrub, too!

Lavender and Squash Blossoms
November 11, 2011
My Black Beauty surveying all the
delicious greenery!
 I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of good food and family!  Here at StarDragonfly Herbals, Cousin Sandra, L, and I had Chicken Tortilla Soup, and to add to the  soup, we had Cilantro and Jalapenos from this years garden.  In fact, we had Cilantro volunteer to sprout and now have a whole raised bed full of baby cilantro plants.  An Apple pie made with Tennessee Winesap apples was for dessert.  I know, I know, what happened to the Turkey and all the accompanying delicious sides and desserts?

Last week, I featured the Winnsboro Emporium and it's proprietor, Conrad, because he so graciously has let me set up a mini store to sell my herbal wares.  So now I would like to tell you about these herbal wares, talk about the herbs used in the products and how to use the products.

The first products we will be talking about will be:

Sister Susan's Natural Skin Care Products

I love to make these homemade beauty products!  I like to use fresh, natural or organic herbs and oils because they are gentle and healthy for the skin.  When learning to make these products, I was using my teacher, Rosemary's basic recipes.  She states when you are using these products that you should always be thinking the thought "I am beautiful" as you apply them!  Honestly, we don't tell ourselves enough how beautiful and special we are, we feel we must wait for someone else to say those words to us.  Well, believe me, folks, we are all in the same boat! So from us at StarDragonfly Herbals, let us assure you that you are beautiful!

These are the basic instructions for using the: a.  Cowgirl Face Wash & Scrub
                                                                    b. Chamomile Flower Astringent
                                                                    c.  Cowgirl Face Lotion

1. Make a paste in the palm of hand by adding a few drops water to 1-2 tsp Cowgirl Face Wash & Scrub.  Apply to face in gentle, circular motions. DO NOT GET IN OR NEAR YOUR EYES!  Leave on and relax in a bathtub full of bubbles or just rinse face off!
2.  Put Chamomile Flower Astringent on cotton ball and gentle clean face.  DO NOT GET IN OR NEAR YOUR EYES! 
3.  Apply Cowgirl Face Lotion.  Start with just a small amount on the tip of your finger.  Your skin will seem oily at first but will absorb the lotion.
4.Always think of yourself as beautiful and now have a wonderful day or a restful evening!

Sister Susan's
Cowgirl Face Wash & Scrub
Sister Susan's
Cowgirl Face Wash & Scrub

This is such a nice face scrub.  When I first discovered this scrub, I had been using an Apricot scrub that was very harsh.  You better be very careful using that scrub!  You definitely could scrub a couple layers of skin off in a hurry!  Use the Apricot scrub on your heels or a dirty cooking pot but use the Cowgirl Face Wash and Scrub on your lovely and tender face and hands!

The Cowgirl Face Wash and Scrub contains:

Powdered milk....think Cleopatra!  Really, powdered milk has the same benefits as good old camel milk!  "Over two thousand years ago, Cleopatra filled her elegant tub with camel milk to maintain her notoriously supple skin.

Milk naturally contains Vitamins A and D, which helps to make your skin soft, yet strong. Further, the lactic acid in milk has natural beta hydroxy acids which not only exfoliate your skin, but soothe it. The natural ingredients found in milk improve the appearance and condition of your skin. As milk eliminates dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, it adds essential moisture."  www.natural-skin-care-info.com/milk-bath.html

Ground oats... "Oats are  highly absorptive, hypoallergenic, and help to soften skin. They have the best amino acid balance of all the cereal grains (amino acids work as water-binding agents in skin care products). Oats have been clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin."  www.pioneerthinking.com/oatmealbeauty.html    Beauty (the horse) maintains that oats beautify her from the inside out! 

Ground almonds...Exfoliation Gone Nutty – Finely ground almonds can be used as a gentle and natural exfoliate, great for rubbing away dead skin cells and sprucing up the complexion. Almonds contain linoleic acid which is a fatty acid that helps soften and moisturize the skin.

Ground lavender...Lavender is really known for its calming aromatherapy effect but lavender contains powerful antioxidants that prevent and counteract the irritating effects of pollutants on the skin.

Blue Corn

Ground blue corn...Blue corn is one of the oldest varieties. The Pueblo tribe in the Southwestern United States was using blue corn at least as far back as 1540, when Spanish explorers discovered the region. Corn meal is a natural and gentle exfoliate.

Thelma's Rose
A beautiful cabbage type rose given to us
by our dear neighbor, Thelma

Ground rose petals..."The use of the rose is far and varied. It has a long history in its use in folk remedies, especially in the area of skincare. It is suitable for all skin types, but it is especially valuable for dry, sensitive or aging skins. It has a tonic and astringent effect on the capillaries just below the skin surface, which makes it useful in diminishing the redness caused by enlarged capillaries.

The rose also offers a soothing property to the nerves and emotional /psychological state of mind. It is regarded as a mild sedative and anti-depressant. It is increasingly used in treatments for conditions of stress: nervous tension, peptic ulcers, heart disease, among others." www.rosemagazine.com/pages/therapeutic.asp
Wow!   I am always amazed at the healing properties of the plants!  Not only are they beautiful but so generous.  They feed us and the animals, cloth us and give us medicine and beauty!  Sister Susan's Cowgirl Face Wash & Scrub is available at the Winnsboro Emporium, located on Main Street in  Winnsboro, Texas or contact StarDragonfly Herbals at 903-866-3606 or stdragonfly@yahoo.com.  Until next time, remember you are beautiful and so, think beautiful thoughts!  Herbally yours, Susan
Beauty is not in the face;               
beauty is a light in the heart.Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from StarDragonfly Herbals!

Need I say more?
 Good morning!  Wow, can you believe how the time has flown!  This is Thanksgiving Day week!  When I started the blog (August) the temperature was a daily 105!  But, let me tell you, I am thankful for this cool weather!  The garden has been thriving!  Believe it or not, I have Lavender blooming!

A great store
full of

Now that Farmer's Market is over for the year, I have been very excited to be able to put my herbal products in one of Winnsboro's finest little Main Street stores!  If you haven't visited the Winnsboro Emporium it is  located across the street form The First National Bank of Winnsboro. You haven't been to the Emporium?  Well then, it is high time you wondered on down Main Street and stopped in to visit Conrad.  The Winnsboro Emporium has quite a collection of first edition books, videos, art work, candles and candle holders, jewelry and  now StarDragonfly Herbal products.

The Winnsboro Emporium

I am very thankful to Conrad for letting me set up a little area in his store to display StarDragonfly Herbal products.  I realize there is not much inventory yet!  But, I make everything in small batches with herbs fresh from the garden.  Dried herbs come from our gardens or are responsible wild-crafted from the woods and plains of Northeast Texas or are ordered from companies that promote organic and fair-trade practices.

StarDragonfly Herbals
Mini Store
The Winnsboro Emporium
As of this week, these are the products available:

Sister Susan's ....
     Cowgirl Face Wash & Scrub
     Chamomile Flower Astringent
     Lavender Homemade Face Cream

StarDragonfly Herbals....
     All Purpose Herbal Salve
     Garden Calcium Herbal Tea
     Herbal Fairy Dust
     Packets of Dried Herbs

Between now and Christmas, I will be working on some herbal gift baskets and Eye Pillows!  These should make great Christmas presents!  Also, I would be happy to make custom gift baskets.  Are you looking for something different, unusual or homemade to give for Christmas this year?  Let me know by sending me an email:  stdragonfly@yahoo.com or calling me 903-866-3606.  Or if you are in the Winnsboro Emporium there is a notebook on my mini store table for customers to leave me notes and ask for products.

On Being Thankful!
I wanted to end the blog today with thoughts about being thankful!  I really have had a great year.  My job at Art & Espresso was fulfilling and creative until it ended in August, then I was so amazed and appreciative of all the support from customers and vendors at the Winnsboro Farmers Market. 
I am so thankful for my home!  Chi and I share a great place to live with Cousin Sandra and all the other critters that are loved and cared for at StarDragonfly Herbals.  I am thankful for the herb and vegetable gardens that struggled to survive through the drought and are still producing. 
I am blessed and thankful to have so many friends and family that are not only loving but supportive. 
I am thankful to have Cousin Sandra.  I cannot say enough about her....but she is not only family but my best friend.  That is a rare quality these days.  
I am thankful to have a kind and gentle man like L in my life.  Not to mention, HANDSOME!   
I am so blessed to have my dog, Chi.  She is always available when I holler, "I need my Herb Dog!" as I head out to the garden!  And bless her great big doggie heart for putting up with me dressing her up for Blog Photo sessions. 
There are so many things I am blessed and thankful for in my life.  And I want to extend a heart felt THANK YOU, YA'LL to my faithful readers!  Your support and following have just been amazing!

I will close this week with the feeling of being totally appreciative for my life.  My sincere desire for you and all who stop by for a visit here at the StarDragonfly Herbals blog spot is that you have more things than you can list to feel blessed about, not only this week but all your days!

For Thanksgiving (and those days after!) eat lots of turkey or tofurkey and have a piece of pumpkin or pecan pie for me! 
Thankfully, Susan


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Messes, a Recipe and Computer in Trauma!

Sandra, I cannot even begin to work in this kitchen!
So, Susan, just what do you think
I am doing up here! 
Oops, my apologizes
to Cousin Sandra, the Queen of Paint!
Good afternoon!  I know I am a day late on the Blog.  My apologizes to all my faithful readers who begin looking for the blog on Monday morning.

Well, let me tell you what's been happening.  I have started a new house/petsitting job in Winnsboro.  It really is fun to be in the middle of Winnsboro so close to the holidays...there will be Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas programs galore.  And I will be pretty much in walking distance to everything.  I will be enjoying city life for a couple weeks while down on the farm, Cousin Sandra has been painting the kitchen and will be putting up new shelving to display my vast collection of spices and teas.

So, the blog is short and sweet today.  Because most of the rooms in the house are filled to the brim with stuff from the kitchen.  Which means there is really no place to cook or create anything herbal.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 is Homemade Bread Baking Day

I received this recipe in an e-newsletter I get from the author of the China Bayles mystery series.  Her name is Susan Wittig Albert and her website is Abouthyme.com.  I won't be able to try this bread for a couple days, or at least til I can locate the crock pot in the StarDragonfly Herbals kitchen.  I have an idea.....why don't you try this bread and let me know how it comes out!

Susan's Easy Slow-Cooker Herb Bread
Baked in your slow-cooker, this crisp-crust oat-and-wheat herb bread is moist and good-tasting. Great for summertime cooking or anytime you don't want to heat the oven. This recipe makes one small loaf.
  • 1 tblsp yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1½ tblsp olive oil
  • 1½ tblsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp fresh or dried minced rosemary
  • 2 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 cups wheat flour, plus up to additional 1/3 cup
Turn on the slow cooker to high. Place a trivet (try a couple of fruit-jar rings or crumpled aluminum foil) in the bottom. Add 1 cup water.
Grease a deep bowl or other container that will fit your cooker. I use one of those 9"x5" disposable aluminum foil bread pans.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Combine with warm milk, oats, oil, honey, egg, wheat germ, herbs, and salt (if desired). Stir in 2 cups flour, a cup at a time. Turn the soft dough out onto a floured board and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is soft and elastic. Shape to fit your cooking container.
The herbs are a suggestion; use your own favorite savory combinations.
Place dough in the cooking container and arrange on the trivet. Make a tent of aluminum foil and place loosely over the dough (this keeps moisture from dripping off the lid and into the dough). Bake on high for 3½ hours (no peeking until the end!), or until a toothpick tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Native Plant Society of Texas Winnsboro Chapter meeting Thursday, November 17 at (new time!) 6:00 pm!  At Art & Espresso on Market St. in Winnsboro.  I will give a short talk on plants used for dyeing fibers.

Well, I shall let you get on about your day....I have been hearing thunder rumbling outside and that means at any given moment the computer can shut itself down and go into hiding.  Great, a computer with Thunderstorm anxiety!  Have a great week!  Messily yours, Susan

Maximilian's SunflowerHelianthus maximilianii


Monday, November 7, 2011

Howdy, Ya'll, Paula Deen and Hoecakes

Howdy, Ya'll!
Good morning, Ya'll!  Today we are going to explore a good old southern recipe.

The other day I was watching Paula Deen on the Food Network.  Well, I hate to admit it but I do love Paula and her penchant for BUTTER!  Ya'll, Sandra and I do try to eat healthy.  Soooo I hesitate to use Paula's recipes because of the high fat content, and I am not much on frying food.  Oh, yeah, Ya'll, cookies don't count because Ya'll just have to use BUTTER to make a good cookie.....and honestly, I have never found a healthy cookie that was worth eating because they usually don't contain BUTTER!

Paula was talking about Hoecakes.  They serve these delectable little cornmeal cakes at her Savannah, Georgia restaurant Lady and Sons.

Photo by 

Ya'll need to  surf on over to the Lady and Sons website and take a look at the menu.  Talk about good old down home cookin'!  Now I know Cousin Sandra and L would absolutely have a drool fest over the selection of fried foods.....I would order one of the signature salads and a plate of those fried Hoecakes, and yes, please pass the BUTTER, Ya'll!

Okay, let's step back into history and learn where and how the Hoecake originated.  Historically speaking, cotton was the main farm crop around 1745.  The hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through.  The farm hands at lunchtime would stop work and build a fire, then let the fire burn down to a bed of coals.  The blade of the hoe was washed in a creek and the handle was removed.  The workers would have brought a mixture of corn meal and salt in a mason jar with them to the field.  They would use fat back to oil the hoe blade then place the blade on the hot coals.  A little water was added to the jar until the texture was just right.  This  batter was then cooked on the hot hoe.  Hoecakes were created.

Hoecakes are also called Journey or Johnnycakes.  These were an early American staple food.  These cakes were baked on a wooden board or barrel stave at an angle in front of an open fire.
Traditional Hoecake Recipe

Photo by
Hoecakes, Ya'll!
2 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
oil for frying
Put the tea kettle on to boil. In a large bowl combine the corn meal and salt. When the water boils, measure it in a metal or tempered-glass measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and stir it up. The cornmeal will swell up, absorbing the water, and making a very thick mash.
Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. You can use as little as two tablespoon of oil per panful, but it is a little easier to use 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil for each panful. Use your waistline and frying skill as the final judge. Now scoop up a little of the cornmeal mush (about 1/4-cup) and shape it into a patty. It will still be warm from the boiling water, so be careful not to burn yourself. You can let it cool down some more first if you like. Plop the patty into the hot fat, and get it to frying. Make some more, until you have a whole pan full. I usually cook about 4 or 5 at a time. When the underside is crispy brown, turn them and cook the other side. When both sides are crispy and brown, transfer them to a plate to keep warm, and start another batch. This recipe makes about 12 hoe cakes.
Paula Deen's Lady and Sons
Ya'll will need:
1 C. self-rising flour
1 C. self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended Aunt Jemima's
2 eggs
1 Tbls. sugar
3/4 C. buttermilk
1/3 C. plus 1Tbls. water
1/4 C. vegetable oil or bacon grease
Oil, butter or clarified margarine, for frying

Now, Ya'll these are the directions:

Mix well all ingredients, except for the frying oil.  Heat the frying oil or butter in a medium or large skillet over medium heat.  Drop the batter by the tablespoon into the hot skillet.  Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake.  Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula and then brown the other side.  With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Leftover batter will keep in the frig for up to 2 days.

After much soul searching and waistline analyzing I think I will make the traditional hoecake recipe.  If Ya'll hadn't noticed the traditional recipe has no added fat, Paula's has 1/3 C. added fat, 2 eggs and buttermilk.  Need I say more.
Now Ya'll let's get busy cookin'.  Oh, by the way, I put a pot of beans on the stove this morning.  We will have brown beans, hoecakes and a green salad fresh from the garden with homemade Honey Mustard Dressing for lunch  Ya'll hungry yet?

Use a Tablespoon to drop mix
in very hot oil.  I found that
flattening the batter when
I dropped them in the oil made
a crispier hoecake.

Fry  in about 1/2 inch of very hot oil til
golden brown.

A lunch plate that would make
The Queen of Southern Cooking
We love you Paula Deen!
The Lady and Sons House Seasoning
I will share a discovery I made recently.  Well, actually, Paula was on the new show The Chew.  Cousin Sandra and I enjoy watching this show daily around noon.  Paula was giving the recipe for the Lady and Sons House Seasoning.  Well she slipped and gave away a secret ingredient because when I googled said seasoning recipe I found this:

1 C. salt
1/4 C. pepper
1/4 C. garlic powder
Ya'll, Paula gave onion powder as one of the ingredients! So, I add:
1/8 cup onion powder
Then because I cannot leave well enough alone, I add:
1/8 cup dried Thyme leaves, (I grind them in my spice/coffee grinder)

Mix all together and put on everything that isn't intended to be sweet.  We LOVE this seasoning!

The Chew comes on at 11:00 am on WFAA Channel 8 courtesy of our satelite provider

Another blog post has been completed.  Ya'll have a wonderful week!  Southernly yours, Susan
Unidentified workers in cotton field
Photo from:
"Texas leads the U.S. in cotton production and it is our leading cash crop, ranking only behind the beef and nursery industries in total cash receipts. Texas annually produces about 25% of the entire U.S. crop and plants over 6 million acres! That’s over 9,000 square miles of cotton fields."  This information is from the Texas A & M Cotton Program website.

Swing low, sweet chariot Coming for to carry me home Swing low, sweet chariot 
Coming for to carry me home If you get there before I do Coming for to carry me home Tell all my friends, I’m coming too Coming for to carry me home

In 1840, the hymn “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”  was penned by Wallace Willis, the black slave of a Choctaw Indian.