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

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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?

The Death of the RSVP

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Sure we all have a lot going on, but when did flakiness become the rule (instead of the exception)?

These are all actual responses to a get together I planned to host – in my home, that required real supplies, and actual food/drinks (not just a seamless delivery or meetup at a bar).

“I think so!”

“Can I let you know? I think I have a dinner that night so I’m not sure yet.”

….no response….

“Ah sounds so fun and I think I should be free. Would love to join and can confirm tomorrow!”

“I’m not sure, but keep me in the loop.”

 “I plan on coming…”

And the subtext was…

…if I plan ahead and go to the gym before work (but I probably won’t).

…if work isn’t too crazy.

…if nothing better comes up.

…if I don’t decide I’d rather watch Netflix by myself.

I can read between the lines. It’s like everyone liked the idea of getting together, but no one wanted to actually commit until they knew definitively there wasn’t a more appealing plan.

Or maybe they wanted to just wishy washy enough that when they decided to bail at the last minute, I, as the hostess, wouldn’t be surprised.

Then, the day before – when any good party planner has already made the bulk of the preparations for the get together (read: spent money on booze and food) – the cancellations started to roll on in.

“Sorry to be a total flake, but something came up I need to see about.”

“Sorry to be lame, I have a tinder date… I don’t want to be alone forever lolz!”

“I feel like death. I’m trying to rest up so I can be well for this weekend!”

“I don’t think I can make it. I got a big week at work!!!”

And the sad thing is – I expected them. It has become so common for people to cancel on plans via a quick text with little to no notice, it wasn’t a shock.

But it was a disappointment, because no matter how much you expect it, when you’ve made preparations for having company, it’s a bummer when they pull out. Luckily for my not-attending guests, it’s hard to hear frustration through a text message. And even though your guest is doing the rude thing, the polite way to respond isn’t to say…

“What happened to making plans, and then scheduling other things around it?”

“Tinder dates can happen any damn day of the week – except the one you already had a thing.”

“How late are you really working homey?”

It’s to say…

“No worries! Let’s get together soon!”

“Have fun! Maybe he’s the one!!”

“Ugh work is the worst, but at least I’ll see you this weekend instead!”

It’s to let your guest off the hook, and smooth things over, when what you really want to do is tell your friends that they’re the absolute worst.

Now, sometimes, it’s true. Things do come up after you’ve already made plans – and being sick is a legitimate excuse, but this isn’t that. It’s an epidemic of refusing to say you’re going to do something, then actually do it.

Of course we all occasionally skip the birthday party you said you’d go to because you’re tired out and need a night on the couch, and you know that 10 other people will be there at there at the bar with cake and candles. Bailing happens.

Yet lately, it seems like a weird bystander effect – you know, the one that makes no one call the cops when they witness a crime because just think someone else is going to do it – but socially. Everyone thinks that someone else will be there. Someone else won’t bail. In big groups of friends, it’s easy to get away with. Except what if, what if one time no one actually shows up?

Or it’s the constant connectedness. There was a time when if you were having a birthday party, you had to mail invitations. Then to respond, you had to pick up the phone and talk to a person – or at least leave a recorded voice message saying if you’d make it. Now, invites happen by group text, by facebook invitation, or evite. It’s a lot easier to ignore the RSVP when there’s no personal contact involved – or to write a quick message cancelling with lots of emojis and exclamation points that seem to capture how disappointed you are to miss it. There’s no disappointed tone of voice. No frown to see.

Or maybe it’s invitation fatigue. There are so many things to do all the time, we get tired, panic, and don’t respond to any of them. Or we genuinely want to go, say we will, then feel overwhelmed and bail. But here’s an idea – what if, we just commit to the things we can realistically do and then use google calendar to remind ourselves?

In many ways, it’s actually easier to remember what we have to do than it was in yesteryear. We have iPhone alerts, and google calendars that sync across devices. There’s no more writing it on one calendar, but not seeing it when you’re at work and it’s at home.

There is uber and lyft so we don’t have to worry about a designated driver (at least in metropolitan areas).

There are services that will deliver us gifts within two days, wrapped if we please. I can even order a card online and have someone else write it and mail it for me. Still I find myself constantly frustrated by flakiness and refusal to commit.

Wouldn’t we all be a lot happier if we just decided to do what we want (and stick to it)?Can you relate?

And until everyone gets their ish together, at least there is this guide to getting people to ACTUALLY show up.

Image by Pexels.

I Hate Me Some [Fill in the Blank]

verbal fadEvery now and again there’s a verbal fad that really grates on my nerves (see butthurt).

Everything “AF”? I love that enthusiasm. All the feels for “low-key ____”? Sure. It’s fun.

But lately, everyone is saying and posting, “Love me some [fill in the blank].” And it drives me nuts.

It adds SO many unnecessary words, when you could just be saying, “I love puppies.” Or marshmallows. Or whatever strikes your fancy.

It co-opts a dialect from the South and Appalachian, where most of the people I see using it just.aren’t.from. Which, just sounds odd when it’s not a person’s typical way of speaking.

I didn’t want to blame Toni Braxton, and her 1997 hit I Love Me Some Him because, let’s be honest, anyone listening to Toni should be playing Unbreak My Heart or Let It Flow.

And then.

I found this article, that credits Toni as the original snowclone creator. The Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack will never be the same for me again.

What do you think? Do you say, “Love me some ……”?

Image by Prawny.

Links!

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Here’s what I’ve been reading on the internet lately.

My immediate post-college career would have been so much easier if this existed already. I wish every office had them.

YES to Elizabeth Warren. “Fifty years later, violence against African Americans has not disappeared.”

No wonder it feels like money goes so quickly round these parts. New York gets only $86.73 of $100.

If I was going to get a tattoo, it would be one of these gorgeous works of art.

Illustrations of celebrities and their younger selves, side-by-side.

This app would really cut down on the amount of pepper spray we might need to buy.

Turns out, the internet doesn’t make us isolated and lonely. Hooray!

How exercise makes us happier.

Finally! Thank you, Australia, for setting a good example.

My new hobby for when I retire.

Do You Act Your Age?

*Originally posted as In Which Everyone Realizes I’m Actually 50 or 80 as the case may be

Ever since I was a child, people have remarked about how I never really act my current age. My mother said I was born a little adult, and the librarian backed her up by calling to report that the fiction I chose was not age-appropriate. Growing up, my sister used to say I had the habits of a middle-aged man. Fast forward to now, when my friends regularly proclaim there must an old woman trapped in my young(ish) adult body. Then I read this post on Yes and Yes, and it got me thinking about what exactly I do to give everyone this impression. So I decided to make my own list, a condensed story of my life, where I tend toward a senior citizen. Here are some of things I love that are not age appropriate.

Casseroles

I like to eat them, and I like to make them, and not just at holidays like Thanksgiving. Hot melty bowls of veggies and meat usually covered in mayonnaise and cheese with a delicious crunchy topping? Sign me up.

Crossword Puzzles

They’re the only reason I ever take the AM New York from those pesky subway workers, or buy Star magazine.  Actually, let’s just make that puzzles , in general. I love putting them together, especially if they are covered in glitter feature cute animals.

Scratch Off Lottery Tickets

Though I have to go into the sketchy bodegas that usually feature pet cats roaming around, and degenerate gamblers playing strings of numbers, every now and then, I need to satisfy my itch for a Cashword or Win for Life. Hey guys, if you don’t buy the ticket, you can’t ever win.

Clogs and Nightgowns

I own them and wear them, even though I’m pretty sure they are only made for the Swedes and people living in retirement homes.

Crocheting

I find it relaxing to make scarves and hats while watching TV. Maybe its my short attention span that requires me to do multiple things at once for entertainment. Or maybe I am just secretly an old woman on the inside.

USA Network

You know those shows that only your parents watch during the summer? Like Royal Pains, and Suits, and that one your mother can’t stop talking about how handsome the lead guy is, White Collar? They’re my favorite shows too.

Bonnie Rait, James Taylor and Aretha Franklin

It’s not the classic music that is SO HIP to listen to, or scores you points with the hippies at music festivals. It will, however, let you bond with your boss. These guys feature heavily into my iPod playlists, and I may or may not own their Christmas albums.

I Speak in Proverbs

If you’re spent time with me, you’re probably so used to me using expressions like, “That’s handy!” or, “Under mackerel sky, they ground’s never dry” that you don’t even notice them anymore. At least that’s what I tell myself when I let a, “Go to town!” slip out in the workplace when a coworker asks to do something. Or when I find myself clucking my tongue and thinking, “Willful waste makes for woeful want” when I see someone throwing out food. My strange little expressions picked up over the years from my great-grandma, aunts and uncles, and country childhood go unnoticed to most, right? Right.

Punch and a Cheeseball are Book Club Refreshments

This one’s two-fold. I have a book club. When I used to host it at my apartment, a typical snack was a big bowl of punch (alcoholic of course), and a cheese ball or dip. Sound like something you’d see at Aunt Gertrude’s holiday party? Also for book club I have been known to suggest a Nicholas Sparks book, and secretly read a Norah Roberts novel in between selections here and there.

I don’t know why I like all of these older-lady things. Maybe it’s because of all the time I spend at my grandparent’s house growing up (Hi Gram!), or maybe I was destined to be age inappropriate from birth.

Anything I forgot to include friends? What do you like that’s not typical for your age?

Links!

links

Here’s what I’ve been reading on the internet lately.

Phew! For everyone freaking out about turning 30 this year, you’re still in the ideal age range to get married.

So true (especially can openers!) Lefty Struggles.

I think this is a pretty genius idea to get food that is normally wasted to people who need it. Let’s follow Spain’s lead!

Summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop listening to the President’s Summer Playlists!

The only thing cuter than a baby panda is a baby panda sleeping in a basket.

Lisa Frank, the early years.

A great way a lot of people haven’t thought of to Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Team Idris.

10 daily habits of exceptionally happy people.

Brooke from One Tree Hill (as she will perpetually be known in my memory) shares her secrets to a happy life.