Decoration or Dinner? 5 Flowering Plants That You Can Add to Your a Salad

Growing up wandering the aisles of my Uncle Gene’s greenhouses taught me one important lesson: plants may be pretty, but they are also good snacks.

House plants serve many purposes.

  • They provide that nice pop of green next to your gold curtains.
  • They’re a good barometer for if you’re ready to get a cat (or a dog).
  • They clean the air you breathe 

But flowering plants have another, lesser-appreciated benefit – besides just sitting there and looking pretty, of course.  Many can be trimmed and added to your salad, soup, or sauté.

Nasturtium

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Photo by Pezibear on Pixabay

The flat, disk-shaped leaves and the bright yellow-orange blooms of these little beauties are both edible. They add a peppery zip to any salad. Or, use the flower to decorate the plate of a special meal.

The dwarf varieties are best for growing in containers indoors. They like full sun, and can take a little abuse if you don’t have much of a green thumb. If you have a bigger outdoor space, they will spread, and grace you with lots of free plants.

Chives

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Photo by Pitsch on Pixabay

These green stalks grow easily on nearly any windowsill, but prefer full sun. Most people don’t realize that they sprout a pretty purple bloom that adds a delicate oniony-flavor to sauces or scrambled eggs.

My favorite use is to trim them into plain cream cheese for a yummy spread or dip. They are like a mild scallion when mixed into a salad, or chopped into a soup.

Pansies

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Photo by MrGajowy3 on Pixabay

Pansies are often seen in tiny ceramic pots as the favor for a springtime baby shower. That’s because they are vibrant and like the sunshine and cool temperatures of April (read: don’t set them right next to your radiator).

You can tear off the petals to toss with your mixed greens for a grassy, almost minty, note, or use the whole bloom as an edible garnish for cocktail night or a special cake.

Dandelion

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Photo by makamuki0 on Pixabay

Though dandelions are commonly seen as weeds, every part of this plant is edible – roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. They’re often sprouting in the cracks of the sidewalk, or among the grass of your yard, so for a beginner gardener, they make a hardy choice in a pot.

Dandelion greens have a bitter flavor akin to Swiss chard or radicchio when uncooked or sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil. The flowers are a treat when battered and fried. The root has a history as a homeopathic remedy when made into tea. Some believe it improves liver function, digestion, and even skin problems.

Calendula (Pot Marigolds)

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Photo by olinuez on Pixabay

 

Calendula thrive in sun or shade. Place them any nook, but be sure not to over-water.

These bright orange petals can be mixed in with a salad uncooked, or dried then used in place of saffron seasoning. It is used as an alternative remedy for certain skin problems and may speed wound healing when made into a salve or tincture.

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How to Sleep Anywhere When You Suck at Sleeping

sleep

I often have a hard time sleeping. And I am one of those people who becomes very grumpy when sleep deprived. In order to sleep well, I need complete silence, complete darkness, and a comfortable place to lie down. As such, I’ve made some investments in my apartment that have made my bedroom a haven for difficult sleepers. I have a down featherbed, padded mattress pad, super soft sheets, 100% down pillows, blackout curtains and a white noise machine. Sometimes it’s almost too comfortable to get up. But there are times when I can’t sleep in my specially designed sleeping cocoon – when I am on vacation, when I need to sleep in transit, or if I stay over at a friend’s home. Luckily, a year living on a noisy avenue, and in an apartment where hoards of pigeons congregated outside my window have forced me to develop some handy coping strategies so I am not biting all my friends heads off when I visit them, or ruining a trip by being irritable. Here are the tools you need for sleeping anywhere, even when the conditions are not ideal.

Figure out your sleep soundtrack

If you prefer silence or white noise, buy some travel ear plugs. I think the best ones for blocking sound, and the most comfortable for sleeping are the mushy foam kind that you can roll down to fit into your ears.

If you need music or television, download some soothing songs and make a sleeping playlist, then get some sound cancelling headphones for when you’re catching zzz’s on a plane.

Pick a side

Everyone has a side that they sleep more comfortably on- mine is the left. So, when I am booking a trip that I know I’ll want to sleep on the way, I make sure to snag a left hand window so I can lean against it and snooze (or a right hand seat if I know my travel companion will lend me their shoulder). If you’re a stomach sleeper, pulling out the tray table in front of you and putting a pillow down is a pretty good substitute.

Determine your ideal sleep conditions

Then get the things you need to closely mirror them when you’re not at home. I like to be laying down on soft things in darkness. So, when I travel, I bring an eye mask in case the room I am sleeping in is bright, and a mini cushion to wedge against any hard surfaces I might want to lean against to get as close to laying down as I can. Sometimes it’s a mini pillow, sometimes it’s just a big sweater I can take off and ball up into a pillow. If you can’t sleep when your toes are cold, pack a pair of warm socks for the train. People might look at you like you’re a diva, but do you really care if it means you’re well-rested at the end of your trip?