The violets are in bloom nestled in the mile high grass after all this rain. There’s no way we are alone in wishing for sunshine and warmer weather. Just like seasons in our life, we often have a Pinterest-perfect image in our mind as to what our life should look like, and somehow we know we’re not alone in thinking there is no way real life looks remotely close to that Instgram picture. Lord knows, ours doesn’t either.
Brandon and I have had a wild six years. We have moved our home four times in six years proving that we are certifiably crazy. Lots of things have happened that people looking from the outside in have not seen. It's important to say out loud that our journey hasn’t been a walk in the park. It’s gritty,it’s littered with road blocks, speed bumps and less-than-picturesque moments that have brought us to this very moment in time.Do you feel like you can relate? Take a breath, it’s going to be okay.
Just the other day, I found myself walking over to the barn; you know, top knot, no makeup, looking like a hot mess express; and realizing for the first time in six years what it was like to actually hear the birds around us. Brandon was busy trying to beat the next rain cloud and getting the grass cut when I waved him down and said not to cut the grass this area where a sweet little patch of wild violets had covered the ground. Now, for the past six years we trampled thousands of violets in life’s hurry to the next thing. We haven’t really stopped and listened to the birds or witnessed the trees budding right before our eyes. So in this not-so-picturesque moment I was having with my red boots on (probably hideous socks too), I had this epiphany of really being present right where we are. Not looking forward or backward, worrying about what other people think but really being rooted in life, right now…right here in all of it’s imperfect glory.
I was timing the lawnmower loop as I plucked as many of those violets as I could before Brandon came back around on the mower to that grassy (and violet filled) patch. I couldn’t help but remember picking mini bouquets of violets for my grandma and she would perch them on her window ledges in sweet little mini vases. In my moment of throw-back, I was determined to have mini vases of violets. I ran as fast as I could to beat the lawn mower to grab some miniature beakers; it was the closest thing. Mission Accomplished.
Full disclosure, I also went into total Martha Stewart mode and made violet ice cubes, an ice ring with violets and threw a few in a spring salad. Yes. They are edible. What I love the most about this is that it didn’t cost a thing. Simple pleasures can sometimes be right under your feet and sometimes just lost in the shuffle of life. Soak it up, it’s what will make your heart smile. And, that my friend, is something no Instagram picture or Pinterest board will ever perfectly capture. Get out there and take it in, life is way too short not to bloom where you are planted.
Flowers are an easy way to add a pop of color and creativity to your drinks. Whether it's water, lemonade or a cocktail, chilling the beverage with flower ice cubes couldn't be easier. But not all flowers should be floating around in your drinks.
Even if a flower is edible, the way it’s grown needs to be considered. If the source of the flowers is unknown, then so is the use of types of pesticides and fertilizers on them. Choose organically grown flowers, find a local grower and ask how the flowers are grown, or grow flowers to use in ice cubes or other culinary uses. For ice cubes, try one of these nine flowers.
Marigolds:Marigolds are easy to grow, so these may be where to start if you're planning to grow edible flowers for ice cubes. They're workhorses in the garden, attracting pollinators and repelling insects that can attack some vegetables so they're useful outside and inside.
Lavender: Lavender ice cubes don't have to go in lavender-flavored drinks. They can go in any drink. Try adding a teaspoon of lavender to your iced tea. With 6 regular sized tea bags steeping, add a teaspoon of lavender. Once ready you can keep the lavender in the tea or strain it out. Pour over ice.
Hibiscus: These pretty flowers need the stamens and insides removed before going into the ice cube tray. Use the ice cubes in Jamaican Hibiscus Tea or put them in a glass pitcher full of water so the color is visible
Pansies: Pansies can be blue, orange, yellow, purple, various shades of red and white. Imagine the colorful ice cubes a variety of pansies would make.
Dandelions: dandelions are not weeds — they're completely edible. Put them in ice cubes whole or pull individual petals off and sprinkle them in the cube trays before adding the water.
Cornflowers:Cornflower ice cubes would be a great addition to July Fourth celebrations. Like hibiscus, pull the insides out of these flowers before using them in ice cubes. They bloom in late spring and early summer, so think ice cubes for a 4th of July celebration, pairing them with white and red flowers.
Begonias: Begonias grow well in containers. A hanging basket or a pot by the back door mean flowers for ice cubes are always in reach during their growing season.
Common Daisies: Also known as English daisies, the whole flower can go into the cube tray or the petals alone.
Roses:Miniature roses are just as edible as full size roses, so either can be used in ice cubes. The mini roses can fit whole into an ice cube tray. Pluck the petals from full size roses and use a few in each ice cube.
- I use a variety of objects to make ice cubes. The most obvious is using an ice cube tray. Think about what you will be serving; a drink, punch, cocktail, etc. If you are having lemonade, consider throwing in a few raspberries, blueberries or strawberries in with your violets. It adds color and fruit infusion to your everyday lemonade.
- Use distilled water instead of straight tap water. Your cubes will be crystal clear.
- If you are hosting a shower, or luncheon, consider making an ice cube ring that can be made with a bundt pan and placed in a punch bowl. Same rules apply with fruit or other flowers you can include in your ice ring. This just adds a level of pretty to your punch.
- Some other fun containers that work are miniature bundt pans, candy tins, or anything that is freezer safe and shapes that can be made into ice cubes.
- Did you know basil is a garnish that tastes amazing in gin and tonic? Try freezing basil in the cubes and pour your everyday gin and tonic over for a new twist on a summer favorite.