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Bonnie’s First Blog Post!   Well, we’ve had the application on the website for quite some time, “Bonnie’s Blog” but Bonnie has not quite known how to start. She’s just going to begin.

I’ve had the experience of a lifetime since I began writing the book, “Rubies in the Sand; Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs”. I’ve had a nice journey so far to Cranberry Company Boardrooms, main streets and tourist attractions on Cape Cod and Farm Museums and bookstores from here to Cooperstown, New York. I’ve literally walked up and down every town on the Cape, book in hand, asking the question I always asked, “I was wondering if you’d like to sell my book in your store?” AND PEOPLE WERE ALWAYS NICE…(well, there was that one man in Wellfleet that wasn’t so nice, but hey, maybe he was having a bad day and one person out of the hundreds I met this summer is a pretty good statistic).

My friends have asked me if I took the rejections well, if I felt bad when people said, “no thank you.” Most people who said “No thank you” said it because the book just wasn’t an appropriate fit in their store and they didn’t want to see it not do well.

They were very gracious in their refusals, some gave me names of other shops to try and said to mention them to the owners, and I have a lot of people who told me to come back in the spring so, like the daffodils and tulips that first appear in the spring, Bonnie will be back on the Cape. This time I won’t wait until the Fourth of July to begin, the book will be there waiting for the thousands and thousands who flock to the Cape in the summer.

Writing a book has been quite a learning experience for this nurse/herbalist. This book came about after a conversation I had with a long time friend of mine, Fred Bottomley, who happens to be a cranberry farmer. Fred is the owner/manager of Fairland Farm, LLC/Cape Cod Organic Cranberry LLC. We wanted to come up with a way to have people eat more cranberries on a daily basis, year round. As a nurse and an herbalist, I am passionate about people eating healthy which is really, truly the best medicine a person can have. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes all are on the rise.  People take statin drugs to control their cholesterol levels and then go out and order McDonald’s for lunch. There is a direct correlation to what one puts in their mouth and how healthy one feels. The economy is certainly a factor in how well people eat and corners are cut on grocery bills and less expensive versions of foods that are good for us are substituted….fresh green beans cost $1.99/lb and you can buy 2 cans of string beans for a dollar…see what I mean? People need to stretch their food dollars and feed their families healthy foods at the same time. When I started to research the cranberry and its nutritional and medicinal value, I wanted to pass this information onto as many people as I could. I wanted people to learn how to incorporate this native, sustainable super food of a berry into their diets on a regular basis; not just the 8 traditional weeks of use in November and December. With a little education this is easy to accomplish. My cranberry farmer friend wants to sell more cranberries, I want people to eat more cranberries…it works… So, “Rubies” was born.

I’m told by my blogging friends (seems like EVERYONE blogs these days) that I need to do this on a regular basis…I’ll try for once a week and this is just the “introduction” blog, I’ll try to be more succinct in future writings…newbie here…please be patient.

I want to make this a useful tool for my readers (reader at this point) so I’m going to include a recipe or medicinal tip in each blog. Please know that these recipes and/or remedies are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare practitioner and I urge everyone to consult with one before beginning any new medical regime.

The recipe I’ve included today is just for fun. It’s a cranberry/lavender torte that I created using an old recipe for an apple torte…I just substituted cranberries for the apples and noted the first time that I made it (without the lavender) that it’s crust had a shortbread like texture as do my lavender cookies so on trial two I added a little dried lavender flowers to the crust and it tasted incredible. It’s a house favorite here and I recently took it to sample at the North Attleboro Farmer’s market that I vend at every Sunday and it was a hit with my customers as well.

Be careful with the lavender though. A little goes a long way and while you may be tempted to add more than this recipe calls for I urge you not to. As pleasant as lavender is in this recipe if you add too much you will have a taste somewhat like I imagine old-fashioned hair tonic (do they even make that stuff anymore?) would taste.

Lavender has been used for centuries for its ability to calm nerves, relieve pain, relax, and, of course, it smells wonderful. Women in Medieval times would hold sprigs of lavender in their hands to squeeze when they were giving birth. It was thought at the time that the lavender would give them strength and make the birthing process easier. Modern science now tells us that smelling lavender does indeed relax muscles and when muscles are relaxed, birthing is easier…it’s the basis behind Lamaze after all. Lavender and rose tea makes for a very relaxing tea for menopausal women and Lavender essential oil is a remarkable first aid kit in a jar. The essential oil of lavender is antimicrobial, antispasmotic and is one of the best remedies for a minor kitchen burn that I have ever encountered. Too much summer sun? Make a cup of tea (regular black tea) and put a few drops of essential oil of lavender in it. Keep this in the refrigerator in a spray bottle and use to ease the pain of the sunburn. It’s also great for conditions that itch like poison ivy and insect bites. But onto the good stuff…my cranberry/lavender torte which is found on page 187 of “Rubies in the Sand; Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs”…enjoy and let me know what you think. Bonnie

Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries

½ cup of walnuts, finely chopped

1 ½ cups of sugar

½ cup of melted butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

¾ cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate. Pour the cranberries into the bottom of the prepared plate.

Mix ½ cup of the sugar together with the chopped walnuts and sprinkle this evenly over the cranberries. Cool the melted butter slightly and combine it with the eggs, flour, lavender flowers and remaining one cup of sugar and pour this over the cranberries and walnut/sugar mixture.

Bake for 45-60 minutes until golden brown and the center is firm to the touch.

This is excellent served warm with vanilla ice cream. Garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender.

Serves 8

Comments

  1. Fred Bottomley says:

    Bonnie,
    Tell us more about farmers market and your experience. They seem the best local way to help sustain local agriculture and be at a social happening at the same time.

  2. Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower says:

    Hi miss Bonnie,
    Thank you for doing this. So many will be grateful for your words of wisdom and experience. I have been enjoying your cranberries for the last few months. So glad I bought a huge batch last fall. And I just tried the Cranberry Lavender Torte last night. It was delicious. Did it help me go to sleep? Maybe. Like from maybe having too much. hahaha I look forward to your next blog … wondering what you’re going to write about and which recipe you’ll be pulling out to share with us.
    Blessings dear one,
    Marguerite

  3. Hi Bonnie, don’t believe we have met but through Marguerite I have had the pleasure of enjoying your delicious cranberries!! Your site it beautiful, looking forward to exploring. Katherine

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