Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Meeting

March was a very good meeting - easy driving weather, plans for the Herb Symposium are moving right along, and the refreshments were great (see the previous posts - Sharon's scones and cranberry tea). We had one guest who found us over the internet. We learned of our very own Lois Meldrum being honored as the Michigan Herb Associates person of the year at this year's conference. Ulrike reported that Lois' Tea Talk at the conference was extra special. I know she does a beautiful job.

As we were admiring Lois' green and white corsage from the MHA conference banquet - which incorporated the Herb of the Year, dill, I wrote down some tips from the discussion:
Dill will retain its green shade if dehydrated in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Ulrike told us she presses orchids and calla lily flowers between wool pads in the refrigerator as well. The discussion turned to the practice of dehydrating herbs in the car during the summer - a sort of solar dehydrator - and Lois told us it was mentioned at the MHA conference that lavender might be the one herb we shouldn't car-dry ... the fragrance can put one to sleep!
Lois also brought a hot off the press copy of the Herb Society of America's great yearbook on Dill, which will go into the GCHS library next month. I have just quickly leafed through it, but it does look like good reading for "we herbies".

April 24, 2010 Herb Symposium: our speakers will be  Iris Lee Underwood, owner of Yule Love It Lavender Farm, and Jan Burns, from Seven Ponds Herb Group.

Sue Doyle provided an Herb Study on Stevia, including some commentary of the controversy over this natural sweetener versus artificial, growing and harvesting directions, and a sample of lemonade made with Stevia extract. She told us her recipe:
Sue's Stevia-Sweetened Lemonade
 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juce
8 cups water
2 tsp. stevia extract

Our meeting ended with an extra treat, Sharon Paulsen brought a crafty project for us all to make and take home - these embossed paper butterfly bookmarks featuring lavender. After putting them together, Sharon provided her own homemade lavender powder to dust them with, giving them an extra herbal touch. Thanks Sharon!

March Meeting Tea

Here is the info on the cranberry tea that we had at the March meeting.  It is produced by the Metropolitan Tea Company and can be purchased online at  My favorite tea from Metropolitan is Canadian Breakfast Tea which I have in the house all the time.
Sharon P.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sharon's Cinnamon Scones

Sharon Paulsen served these delicious cinnamon-y scones at our March meeting last evening.

Cinnamon Chip Scones Recipe
12 Servings

Prep: 25 min. Bake: 10 min.
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1 package (10 ounces) cinnamon baking mini-chips
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened. Fold in chips.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 10-12 times or until dough is no longer sticky. Divide in half; gently pat or roll each portion into a 7-in. circle. Brush with butter and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Cut each circle into six wedges. Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen

Mock Devonshire Cream

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt; stir until well blended.

Stir in whipping cream.

With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in refrigerator

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tea memories

The GCHS has presented an annual autumn Tea for our invited friends and for other local Michigan herb groups for several years, now. I have programs going back to 1993. It is a free, invitation-only event.

Our venue for the Tea is the beautiful pink dining room at The Warehouse in Crossroads Village. The decorations are always interesting to look at. Our professional florist/party planner, Linda Patterson has taught us so much about elegant decorating, and we have some naturally talented members who always come up with lovely decorations. The buffet and welcome table are staffed and decorated by our members. Many years, table favors for our guests are provided by the committee. All of our members, by pairs, serve as hostesses, individually decorating and hostessing each table. One charming aspect of our Tea is that our hostesses provide their own personal table settings - especially our personal tea cups - and themes, so that each table is different. It is an enjoyable evening just to stroll around and see the table decorations!

We have a guest speaker and we provide a wonderful, l-o-n-g buffet of sweet and savory foods that keeps our guests coming back. We defray some of our costs (Village tea helper's tip, linens) by maintaining a ways and means sale of crafts contributed by our members. The Village has (so far, in this economy) been quite accommodating in allowing us (as a partnering volunteer group) to use their facilities.

On October 14, 1993, we had a dulcimer player provide music. Our guest speaker was Lila Baker, who talked about Herbal Folklore.

On October 13, 1994, our speaker was Della Helton, who talked about Herbal Tea.

On October 12, 1995, our speaker was Lynn Morningstar who spoke on Culinary Herbs and Landscaping and Garden Ornaments.

In 1996, our speaker was Mary Ann Last, owner of Liberty Tea Room in Crystal, MI. This tea was billed as a Victorian Herbal Tea. Several of our members loaned their husbands to act as escorts to accompany our guests to the parking, and Linda Patterson conducted a (Victorian) Fashion Show. The Tea committee was Linda, Milli Paxton, Diane Jacobson and Sue Burks.

On October 9, 1997, our Tea program speaker was Nikki Lennox, owner of Crab Apple Creek of Macomb County, who talked about Moonlite Gardens and Bathtime Teas. Our chairpersons were Diana Jacobson and Frances Haerens.
Our guests included herb groups from Frankenmuth Unit of HSA, Bay City's Valley Herb Society, Owosso's Potpourri Guild, Midland, Davison and the Herb Study Group from Seven Ponds Nature Center, near Metamora.

Monday, March 08, 2010

21st Anniversary Party

On May 5, 2007, we celebrated our 21st year as a herb society!

The idea was inspired by our committee chairperson, Barb Kaiser. Our venue was Faith United General Baptist Church. Photos of the day are posted in a photo album on our Yahoo Group page. Here is one of those photos, a line up of some of our past presidents.

Here is a page from the program brochure:

For a special souvenir for our members, we had Rice's Garden Ornaments make a specially designed garden stepping stone. What a job THAT was!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Symposium Remembrances 2008

Our 11th Bi-Annual Herb Symposium was titled "Cookin' With WHAT? Herbs!" Our guest speaker was Donna Frawley, from Frawley's Fine Herbary of Midland, MI, who gave two herbal cooking presentations, "Cooking With Herbs" and "Herbal Breads".

Norma Jones and Betsy Stevens chaired the event on April 26, 2008. It was our last year holding the Symposium at Faith United Baptist Church. Wouldn't ya know it, I don't have my program - can anybody help?
The speaker bio is from the brochure:

Workshops (and teachers) were:
Dried Herbal Seasonings "Better Than Store-Bought" (Betsy Stevens)
Herbal Tea in a Decorated Jar (Norma Jones)
Stamped Place Cards for your Tea Table (Robin Mickiewicz)
Post-It Notes with Pressed Flowers (Ulrike Vanover)
Holiday and All Occasion Table Favors (Lois Meldrum)
Herbal Meals in a Jar (Sharon Paulsen)
Using Herbs for Medicinal and Cosmetic Purposes (Marion Armstrong)

Here's a link to a post on Betsy's Herb Garden blog about the 2008 Herb Symposium. And here's a link to a discussion of this year's planning.

Symposium Remembrances 2006

Our 10th Biannual Herbal Symposium was held on May 6, 2006. The theme of "The Garden, Mind Body & Soul" featured guest speaker Brenda Ginther, owner of Wooden Shoe Herb Farm in Mason, MI. Brenda spoke on "Lovely Lavender" and demonstrated "Designs from Nature". Brenda brought lavender plants to purchase. Her bio was in the brochure:

This year our chairpersons were Julie Hubbs and Sally Gifford. I should mention that every year we have had a beautifully staged "groaning board" breakfast pastry and tea table for our guests to partake as they shop and get settled in the hall.

The luncheon menu included: Oriental Chicken Salad, Fruit Kabob, Cranberry-Orange Bread with Orange Butter and Mint garnish, Brownie with Raspberry Sauce, Lavender Lemonade and Scented Geranium Punch.

The workshops (and teachers) were:
Simple Wreaths (Marion Armstrong)
Tea Tasting (Della Helton)
Gift in a Jar (Norma Jones)
How to Create a Theme Tea (Demo by Linda Patterson)
Labyrinths and Garden Mazes (Demo by Betsy Stevens)
Stamping Creations (Robin Mickiewicz)
Language of Flowers - Tussie Mussies (Barb Kaiser)
Pressed Flower Card and Magnet (Ulrike Vanover)

Symposium Remembrances 2004

I believe this is the year we began to hold our Herb Symposiums on alternate years. The theme for our 9th (now) Biannual Symposium? "Herban Renewal"! with returning guest speaker, Beulah Hargrove.
Beulah demonstrated "Making a Living Wreath" and "Making and Using Herbal Tinctures". Our speaker also brought live plants to sell. (All of our speakers have been encouraged to sell their specialty wares, to help defray their costs.)

Our May 1, 2004 event was chaired by Glenda Stevenson. The price was raised to $30.
The Luncheon menu included: a Fruit-Vegetable Skewer, Creamy Leek Soup, Chicken Salad on Lettuce Leaf, Mexican Wedding Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Rosemary infused Punch.

Workshops (and teachers) were:
Starting an Herb Garden (Marion Armstrong)
Make Tea, Taste Tea, Take Tea (Della Helton)
Glass Painting (Norma Jones)
Flower Arranging From The Garden (Linda Patterson)
Herbal Housekeeping (Betsy Stevens)
A Bag, A Tag, A Box (Glenda Stevenson)
Herbal Recipe Book (MaryLynn Turner)
Pressed Flower Photo Holder (Ulrike Vanover)

True to Glenda's stylish creativity, the programs were packaged in folded stamped envelopes with the recipes provided on small cards. Neat!

Symposium Remembrances 2002

Our 8th Annual Herb Symposium, on April 27, 2002, was again titled, "The Enchantment of Herbs", with our guest speaker, Deanna House, returning for another visit. Her talk was entitled "Food Kissed With Herbs".

Glenda Stevenson and Lois Meldrum were our chairpersons. Glenda always went the extra mile - our programs covers were a lovely handmade paper (made by Glenda) tied with beaded jute, and the programs were done with her own calligraphy and stamping. Cool!

Another fun feature in this event was our herbal fashion show "Adventures in Fashion" - a tongue in cheek salute to the silly.

The luncheon included Spinach Bisque, Colorful Chicken Croissants (the color from celery, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and chopped red onion), Potluck Apple Pie, flavored with maple syrup, and Sparkling Citrus Punch.

Classes (and teachers) were:
Press On - a pressed flower project (Ulrike Vanover)
In The Bag - a gift bag (MaryLynn Turner)
Brighten Your Life - a decorated candle (Norma Jones)
Making Scents - potpourri (Milli Paxton)
A Proper Tea - the fine points of making and serving tea (Della Helton and Lois Meldrum)
Pour It On - herbal lotion (Rachael Ramirez)
Take Note - designer note pads (Glenda Stevenson)
Rub-a-dub - aromatherapy bath (Janice Tierney)

Symposium Remembrances 2001

"The Enchantment of Herbs" was the theme for our 7th Annual Herb Symposium on March 31, 2001. Our guest speaker was another winner - Marilyn Edmison-Driedger, owner of The Herbal Touch in Otterville, Ontario. Marilyn spoke on Herbal themes, and I particularly enjoyed her construction of a herbal fairy garden planted in the seat of a wooden chair.

The luncheon included Three Cheese Twists, Herbed Chicken Breast on Mandarin Orange Salad, and a Raspberry Brownie Dessert. The salad was served imaginatively in clay flower pot saucers with centerpiece ideas on how to make yard decor such as flower pot bird baths with the take-home lunch containers.

Our chairpersons were Ulrike Vanover and Lois Meldrum. The addition of a second make and take workshop made this quite an event.
Workshops (and teachers) were:
Fragrant Aromatherapy Spritz (Janice Tierney)
Botanical Stamped Notecards, gift boxed (Lois Meldrum)
Friendship Card with a Pressed Flower Bookmark (Ulrike Vanover)
Herbal Glass Magnets, gift packaged (Jean Johnson)
Folded Pocket Nature Journal (Rebecca Johnson)
Decoupaged Birdhouse (Linda Patterson)
Herbal Salve and Lip Balm (Rachael Ramirez)
Painted Clay Pot Candle Holder (Norma Jones)

Symposium Remembrances 2000

Our 6th Annual Herb Symposium had a name! We called it "Herbs for Flavor, Fragrance, and Fitness".
This year was a treat! Our speaker was Kathleen Gips, owner of The Village Herb Shop, from Chagrin Falls, OH, who spoke on "Herbs for Flavor, Fragrance, and Fitness" and a second talk on "Rosemary, the Herb of the Year".
We were back to Faith United for our venue - a more comfortable space, to be sure. We added door prizes and evaluations. The event was on April 15, and the price was $25.00. Our chairpersons were Jean Johnson and Ulrike Vanover. The menu wasn't included in the program, but I'm sure the luncheon was wonderful as usual.

Workshops (and teachers) were:
A Pressed Flower Decorated Candle (Ulrike Vanover)
Herbal Tea Blend (Della Helton)
Rosemary Flowerpot Bread Mix (Robin Mickiewicz)
Aromatherapy Spritz (Janice Tierney)
Embellished Garden Treasure Boxes (Milli Paxton and Linda Patterson)
Stamped Plant Stake (Jean Johnson)
Spiced Orange Pomander (Bonnie Keen)
Lavender Spice Cookie Mix (Norma Jones)

Symposium Remembrances 1999

Our 5th Annual Herb Symposium, on April 24, 1999, featured Jonathan Hoffman, owner of The Garden Path, and Judy Reed from Stoneware Sculptures by JUD, and our venue was the Warehouse at Crossroads Village.
Jonathan spoke on "Creative Use of Herbs in the Landscape" and Judy spoke on "Using Your Gourd"

Workshops (and teachers) were:
Pressed Flower bookmark (Ulrike Vanover)
Hand-dyed Silk Rose Pin (Jean Johnson)
Spice Necklace (Lois Meldrum)
Fun With Rubber Stamps (Jaymie Marshall)
Terra Cotta Pot Candle Holder (Norma Jones)
Natural Skin Care (Rachael Ramirez)

(I don't have a copy of the program.) Jaymie and Ulrike were chairpersons. This is from the brochure (if you click on the image, it will show up larger in another window):

Symposium Remembrances 1998

Our 4th Annual Herb Symposium featured 2 speakers! Beulah Hargrove, owner of Grand Oak Herb Farm in Bancroft, MI spoke on "How to Grow, Use, and Enjoy Lavender and Rosemary", and Deanna House, from House Specialties spoke on "Quick and Easy Herb-Kissed Recipes".

Our luncheon menu included an oriental Grilled Chicken Salad, Fruit Slush, and Raspberry Lemonade.
Ulrike and Jaymie chaired the project. Date: April 18. Location: Faith United General Baptist Church. This year we also had an added treat - a live plant sale.
Cost for the full day was $12.50!

Our workshop offerings (and teachers) were:
Pressed Flower Votive Holder (Ulrike Vanover)
Potpourri Angel (MaryLynn Turner)
Spice Necklace (Lois Meldrum and Lois Mylar)
Fun with Rubber Stamps (Jaymie Marshall)
Garden Angel Pin (Jean Johnson)

Symposium Remembrances 1997

I must have lost my program from the third Herb Symposium in 1997. If anyone has more information on any of these programs, let me know!

This little booklet has recipes for Shale Hill Farm Punch, a cold Chicken Basil Salad, Chilled Strawberry Soup and Scottish Shortbread.
The ingredients for the Chicken Salad include: (cooked) boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped celery, chopped Granny Smith apples (peeled), chopped green onions, pecans, fresh basil, and halved (green) grapes... all held together with Miracle Whip, and served on a lettuce leaf or in a halved croissant.

Symposium Remembrances 1996

Our 1996 Herb Symposium featured speaker Jim Meuninck who presented us with 2 lectures, "Cooking with Herbs and Flowers" and "Herbal Therapies for Natural Health".

Our menu:
Tortellini Herbed Salad
Herbed garlic toast
Mousse-filled Tulip Cups
and Rosemary Punch

By 1996 we had changed our venue. We also added a silent auction.

This from the program:
Lessons in Flowers
Flowers are one of the few non-controversial things in life.
But they are certainly great teachers. They nourish our sensibilities, quicken our wonder over Nature's magnificence and variety.
They prove to us, above all, that there is a power that defies mortal impatience, rebuffs willfulness, induces serenity in a world that is largely aimless bedlam.
The best way to realize this, of course, is to grow them as well as buy them.
Even the posture required is healthily humbling, for most of a gardener's work is done upon his knees; hoping with love and reverence that what he does will be approved by the Master who rules the sun, the earth and air.
If he has faithfully followed His law, the result will be something human lives should resemble: a transitory and fragile existence under the compulsion of time, but leaving an unforgettable perfume, color and form to its successors.

Fond remembrances of our first Herb Symposium 1995

Our first symposium, on July 22, 1995 was called "Celebration of Herbs"... and our guest speaker was Betsy Williams owner of The Proper Season in Andover MA.
Betsy spoke on "Herbal Living" and "The Herbs of Christmas"

We offered a marketplace, an herbal luncheon and a later light refreshment.
Lunch menu:
Chicken Basil Salad
Hard roll with herb butter
Fresh veggies with dill dip
Chocolate glazed cheesecakes with candied violets and Iced Raspberry-Mint tea

Our workshops (and teachers) were:
Pressing Issues (Robin Mickiewicz)
Making Scents (Glenda Stevenson and MaryLynn Turner)
Bath Thyme (Jaymie Marshall)

Our chairperson was Jaymie Marshall. We held the symposium in Faith United General Baptist Church's original location on Dye and Lennon Rd., using the sanctuary and basement. The price of a ticket for the all inclusive full day was $20.00. It was such a success, it became the first in a long history of herb symposiums.