Happy Holidays!

In CategoryDesserts, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Recipes

It’s that time of year again, the red, green, and white time of year called Christmas! Where everything glistens and sparkles, and the smell of cinnamon, chocolate, orange, and peppermint waltz through the air. For many of us it is one of the most blessed days of the year celebrated with family and friends. A time to give thanks, to reflect on what we have and what we could do better. A time for peace and goodwill, gift-giving and good food.  Christmas season with all its many traditions is also one of the busiest times of the year and no wonder, the to-do list is endless. Families with young children are particularly hurried with homework, school activities, concerts, trips to see Santa, shopping, baking, cleaning and cooking. Would we have it any other way? Never! Could we pare it down some, enough to smell the mistletoe? Absolutely or should I say I hope so!

This year I decided to give it my best shot paring down the list. First I had to make a few choices, like do I really need to spend a gazillion dollars to have a great Christmas? Will Aunt Ida really care  that I baked one less dessert or that my usual formal dinner is buffet style this year? Do I really need to iron ALL the linens, clean every nook and cranny? Will my benefactors appreciate a less than glitzy store bought gift? I don’t know but I will soon find out. If they love me ha, ha,then they had better love my gifts!

So here it goes, I’m going to list them as I make them or when time permits. Remember I’m going for nice, easy and stress-free while reducing my carbon foot print this holiday season so please be patient with me.  Like ‘somebody’ once said “there’s always next year”. Seriously though most of these recipes, gifts, and projects can be applied and/or adapted to suit any time of year.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle-Cookies

Preheat oven to 190’C (375’F)

Makes 4.5 dozen cookies

  • 1 package  Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 15ml. (1 Tsp.) water
  • 75ml. (1/2 cup) Crisco
  • Icing sugar

Blend together dry cake mix, eggs, water, and Crisco with a spoon. Drop batter by 4 ml. (1 tsp.) into icing sugar. Coat well and roll into balls Put onto greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

I like to add vanilla, chocolate chips and coconut to the second batch for an extra rich taste. Replace the chocolate with chocolate mint chips for a whole other flavour!  I picked up some inexpensive cookie tins from the dollar store to add a festive touch. The great thing about tins is that they are so easy to reuse or recycle once the goodies are gone. Next year I may rethink my containers to incorporate a more natural look or maybe hand-paint recycled cardboard boxes. This year I’m sticking with the tins, they fit my theme and will look cheery and colourful in my gift baskets. Plus I hadn’t planned to make my own gifts this year until a few weeks ago so I’m sort of in a time crunch  before Rudolph comes calling!

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Peanut-Free Granola Bars

1/2 cup peanut butter or sunbutter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil (or another oil of your choice)
1 cup oats

Peanut-Free-Granola-Bars-How-To-Make-6GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens

1 cup of any combination of:  sesame seeds, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds,dried fruit, mini chocolate chips

  • In a medium sized saucepan, melt together peanut butter/sunbutter, honey and coconut oil.
  • Remove from heat and add one cup of oats.
  • Choose your favorite combination of coconut flakes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and mini chocolate chips, to equal a total of ONE CUP. Pour into oat mixture and stir well.
  • Spread mixture into an 8×8 or 9×4 pan.
  • Chill for two hours, cut into bars. For quick snacks on the go, wrap each bar separately in plastic wrap.
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Meilland’s ‘Peace’ Rose

In CategoryGrass Root Gardens NEWS, Roses

The ‘Peace’ rose was introduced to the world in 1945. Today this is one of the most popular roses in the garden and cut flower trade with over one-hundred million sold as of 1992.  Much of the success of this beautiful rose lies in its perfect form, fragrance and colour; Large flowers, light yellow to cream color, slightly blushed at the petal edges with crimson-pink.  For me it is the history of its origin that captured my heart.

In 1935 at the age of 23, French horticulturalist Francis Meilland, developed a hybridized tea rose known at the time as #3-35-40.  In 1939 as war began in Europe, Meilland foresaw the impending invasion of France and secretly sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and United States to protect the new rose. Rumor has it, that it was sent on the last U.S. plane out of Europe before the German invasion, to Conrad Pyle Company where it was successfully propagated during the war. For over five years, because of no communication due to the war, Meilland had no knowledge of what happened to the rose. It survived its clandestine journey under three separate names. In Germany- ‘Gloria Dei’ (Latin for glory of God), in Italy ‘Gioia’ (Joy), in the United States ‘Peace’ and in France, Meilland named it ‘Madame A. Meilland’ in memory of his dear mother. The latter name is recognized as the true cultivar while the others are the commercial names.

The variation of the commercial name ‘Peace’ was announced by the Conrad Pyle Company on April 29, 1945. Interestingly, on the same day that Berlin fell, which is also the day officially recognized as the end of WW2 in Europe. Later that year the ‘Peace’ rose was given to the delegates at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco with a note which read “We hope the ‘Peace’ rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace”.

It’s remarkable that sixty-six years later the ‘Peace’ rose is still the most enduring and beautiful hybrid tea rose on the market. Unfortunately world peace is still so elusive to our world today.


Nothing is more precious than peace. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.

~Daisaku Ikeda

Peace rose image by Firegodess1-photobucket

Three Cheers to 2012!

In CategoryGrass Root Gardens NEWS

Wow, it has been quite some time between posts, I’m awfully sorry about that!  It was not my intention to be gone so long, but you know how life is, sometimes it drifts in other directions if only for a moment. I may have been gone for a bit, but you were not forgotten.  Closing up the greenhouses, covering perennials in thermal blankets and prep work for the 2012 season is hard work. Fun for me because I love what I do but hard just the same. Grass Root Gardens has been a one woman operation the last few years and I have become a ‘Jill of all trades’. Soup to nuts, I do it all. Probably not a good thing but there you have it!  The economy has taken a beating, road closures and detours in front of my business due to municipal and federal infrastructure forced me to cut expenses. I trimmed my inventory as much I could without affecting quality however that was not enough so I had to let my employees go. Hopefully the economy picks up for everyone so that I may relinquish some of my duties and rehire. On a good note I have been assured by the government that my road will NOT be blocked this year. Fingers crossed on that one because Grass Root Gardens just could not take a third year of road closures!

Thankfully I’m an optimist, any gardener can tell you this is one our most endearing qualities, so what’s a few obstacles, right? Pull up the boot straps, again and carry on. As my grandmother used to say “life is good if we don’t weaken” so three cheers to Grass Root Gardens as it embarks on its ten year anniversary in 2012 and cheers to you for coming along for the ride, I could never have done it without you.

Peace On Earth card

Give me love, give me peace on earth, give me light,

give me life; keep me free from birth,

give me hope; help me cope, with this heavy load,

trying to, touch and reach you with, heart and soul.

~George Harrison

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