Edible Flowers for Garnishing Food

Fruit and Flower Garnishes

Fruit and Flower Garnishes

You can use edible flowers to create beautiful garnishes for your food!

It’s fun to use edible flowers to garnish your food.  My gardens are in full bloom right now with every color imaginable!  I have dwarf zinnias in reds, yellows, pinks and white.  Purple coneflowers ( otherwise known as Echinacea ) , white coneflowers (as shown above), lime green coneflowers, pineapple lilies,  shasta daisies, roses, nasturtiums, geraniums, impatiens, lavender, snapdragons and more!  As much as I enjoy my flowers outside, it’s fun to bring them indoors too!  I make cut fresh flower bouquets for my kitchen so I’m always enjoying the beautiful colors and scents.  

It is so simple to use fresh cut flowers to add some pizzazz to your food too!  Garnishing food only takes a few seconds and the results are spectacular!  Here is a simple garnish I made for my Crockpot Orange Chicken recipe.

Garnished Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

Garnished Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

 Now I am using the term “Edible Flowers” only because you should make certain that the flowers you use are edible, even if you only use them as a garnish.  I have never eaten a flower but I may eventually try some in a salad.   I’ll give you several suggestions for flowers that are safe but you can also check out this Edible Flower List. The other important advise to to make certain that the flowers you use have not been sprayed with any pesticides or chemically treated.  The safest flowers are the ones from your garden because you can be certain that they have not been sprayed with anything that would not be food safe.  You should never use flowers from a florist for garnishing your food – no matter how beautiful they are.  

Here are some edible flower tips

  • Use flowers you know are safe
  • Use flowers you have grown yourself
  • Never use roadside flowers or flowers from a flower shop or nursery
  • You can keep your cut flowers fresh by placing the stems in a moist paper towel and refrigerating in a sealed container.  They can last up to 10 days when stored this way. 
  • The best time to cut your flowers is early to mid-morning or early evening.  Remove the stamen and pistil.
  • Clean the flowers by shaking them to remove insects and bits of dirt.  Gently wash each flower with a soft spray of water and then arrange on paper towels to air dry.

Edible Flowers

  1. Dandelion – delicious in salads.  They have a sweet flavor, like honey
  2. Carnation – great for salads or as a garnish
  3. Petunias
  4. Chive blossoms
  5. Lavender
  6. Pansies – beautiful in salads
  7. Rose petals
  8. Violets
  9. Hibiscus
  10. Geranium leaves
  11. Dianthus
  12. Impatiens
  13. Nasturtiums
  14. Sage blossoms
  15. Snapdragons
  16. Violets
  17. Bee Balm
  18. Borage
  19. Chamomile
  20. Chrysanthemum petals

This in only a partial list but you can see how easy it is to bring the beauty of your garden to your table.  

Remember, let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!

Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

I’m definitely feeling those lazy days of summer so I’m turning to my crockpot for some tasty and easy summertime cookin’ !  This Crockpot Orange Chicken recipe is to die for!  I’m so glad I discovered this new technique for cooking chicken in the crockpot!  The secret of this recipe is to cook the chicken breasts on high for 3 hours and then DRAIN the juices off of the chicken before you add the sauce.  Then, the chicken only has to cook another 30 minutes slathered in the sauce.  This sauce is full of sticky and tangy goodness that will tantalize your taste buds! So give this recipe a try and let the crockpot do all of the work for you.

Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe
 
The sauce on this Crockpot Orange Chicken recipe is full of sticky and tangy goodness! You'll want to serve extra sauce on the side for dipping!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 or 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1 cup sweet orange marmalade
  • 1 cup BBQ Sauce ( I used Sweet Baby Ray's Original Sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
Instructions
  1. Spray the crockpot with Pam.
  2. Place the chicken breasts into the crockpot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
  3. Drain the juices off.
  4. Mix the orange marmalade, BBQ Sauce and Soy sauce together and pour over the cooked chicken.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high another 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Crockpot Orange Chicken

Ingredients for Crockpot Orange Chicken

Spray the crockpot with Pam.  Place the chicken breasts into the crockpot.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours.

Place the Chicken Breasts in the Crockpot

Place the Chicken Breasts in the Crockpot

After 3 hours, drain the juices off of the chicken.  Mix the sauce ingredients together ( sweet orange marmalade, Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce and the Soy Sauce)

Mixing the Sauce

Mixing the Sauce

Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts.  Cover and cook on HIGH 30 more minutes.

Pour Sauce Over chicken Breasts

While the chicken is cooking in the sauce, you might want to think about some garnishes for the dish!  My flower garden is in full bloom so I clipped some “food safe” flowers to add to my orange swirls.  You may also want to check out my Success Secrets Flower Garnishes.  

 

Fruit and Flower Garnishes for Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

Fruit and Flower Garnishes for Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

Now that has to be one of the easiest recipes we have done!  Be sure to serve some of the extra sauce on the side so everyone can dip every bite into this yummy sauce.

Remember, let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!

Crockpot Orange Chicken 2 

 

 

   

Crock Pot Recipe for Vegetables …Easy!

Looking For an Easy Crock Pot Recipe for Vegetables ???

Crock Pot Roasted Vegetables

I love oven roasted vegetables and now I’m going to show you how to make an easy crockpot recipe for roasted vegetables.  The secret ingredient is one packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix.  

Here is the Crockpot Recipe for Roasted Vegetables

Crock Pot Roasted Veggies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 6 cups fresh vegetables ( broccoli, baby carrots, cauliflower, etc)
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. (I used my 2 quart insert)
  2. Wash and trim the vegetables and put them into the crock pot.
  3. Sprinkle with the dry ranch salad dressing mix
  4. sprinkle with the water.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 2½ to 3 hours.

You can watch my Video Tutorial for this easy crockpot recipe here:

 

Here are the ingredients for this easy crockpot recipe…Only 2 main ingredients…Easy!

Crock Pot Roasted Vegetables Ingredients

 

You can use any combination of fresh vegetables that you like.I like the combination of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.  

Fresh Vegetables for Crock Pot Roasted Vegetables

Add all of the vegetables to the crock pot.  Sprinkle with the dry mix.  Sprinkle the water over all.  Stir, cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

There are many advantages of crockpot cooking.

  1. Crockpot cooking is convenient!  Crockpot recipes allow you to throw everything in the crockpot in the morning and come home to a delicious home cooked meal in the evening.
  2. A crockpot does not heat up the kitchen the way the oven does and that is especially important during the hot summer months.
  3. Crockpots are portable so they are great to take to potlucks and parties.  Just plug the crockpot in when you get there and it will keep the food warm for hours!

What would be your favorite vegetables for this easy crockpot recipe?  Share your ideas in the comments section below. 

Be Sure to Try These Other Make Life Special Crockpot Recipes!

Vickie’s Mom’s Sunday Pot Roast Dinner

Cooker Chops – Great for Easy Entertaining!

Vickie’s Italian Beef Recipe

Remember, “Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!”

 

 

Video: Crock Pot Roasted Veggies


Crock Pot Roasted Veggies are quick, easy and healthy!


Potato Smashers for Easy Potato Recipes

Looking for some easy potato recipes?

Potato Smashers are like Potato Skins, covered with crisp bacon and sharp cheddar cheese…but on a grander scale!  You can make these in about 15 minutes and your family and friends will rave!

Print the recipe here:

Potato Smashers
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 small new red potatoes, about 2 inches in diameter
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
  • ½ to 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes and water in 2 quart microwavable bowl. Microwave, uncovered, om HIGH for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let stand a couple of minutes to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large skillet 8 minutes or so..until crisp, turning frequently. Drain on paper towels, leaving the grease in the skillet.
  3. Drain the potatoes, press each potato with the bottom of a small bowl or saucer to flatten to ½ inch thickness.
  4. Heat Italian dressing in the skillet with the bacon grease. Add potatoes; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, crumble bacon. Turn the potatoes over; sprinkle with the cheese and bacon.
  6. Cover skillet with lid and cook an additional 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Potato Smashers Ingredients 

Place potatoes and water in 2 quart microwavable dish.  Microwave, uncovered on HIGH for 10 minutes…

Microwave Potatoes

Cook the bacon…and save the grease!  You are going to brown the cooked potatoes in that grease in a few minutes!

Cook Bacon

 

Drain the potatoes and “smash” each one with the bottom of a small bowl or saucer..

Smash Potatoes

 

Heat the dressing in a large skillet with the bacon grease..add the potatoes. 

Add Italian Dressing to Potato Smashers

 

Use kitchen scissors to crumble the crisp bacon.

Crumble Bacon with Kitchen Scissors

 

Cook the potatoes 4  minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.  Turn the potatoes over.

Flip Potato Smashers

 

Top with bacon and cheese.

Top Potato Smashers with Bacon and cheddar Cheese

 

Serve….

Potato Smashers

This is one of my favorite potato recipes!

Video: Potato Smashers

Potato Smashers are loaded with bacon and cheddar cheese.

You Have To Make These Little Cheese Bread Bites!

Little Cheese Bread Bites are hard to resist!

I always make a double batch of Little Cheese Bread Bites because 10 of these is just not enough at our house!  These are great as an appetizer or to serve with soup or a salad.  Watch the Make Life Special YouTube video and see just how easy these are to make!  

 

Little Cheese Bread  Bites are great to serve as a appetizer or with your meal. Only 3 main ingredients…what could be easier?  Enjoy!

Little Cheesy Bites
 
Recipe type: appetizer, bread
Ingredients
  • 5 oz jar Old English Cheese Spread
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup flour
  • dash of salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine the cheese spread and melted butter in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add flour and a dash of salt. Mix well.
  3. Roll into small balls and refrigerate for one hour or longer.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place balls on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Balls will flatten as they cook. Serve hot.
  6. Makes about 10 Little Cheesy Bites.

 

Note:  The Kraft Old English Cheese Spread is found in the pasta section or the deli section of your grocery.

Here is another Make Life Special Cheese Bread recipe that is a rustic bread.  Easy Cheese Bread 

 

 

VitaTops Carrot Cake Is a Healthy and Tasty Snack!

VitaTops are yummy and low calorie!

We tried a box of the VitaTops Carrot Cakes.  Now, we all know that the muffin tops are the best part of a muffin!  The great folks at VitaTops know that too and they have created lighter versions of almost every muffin you could crave.  

VitaTops

VitaTops carrot Cake

Are you trying to lose weight but you still have a sweet tooth?  

Want to have your cake and eat it too?

Are you looking for a sweet and delicious snack that isn’t packed with calories?

Don’t let your cravings side track you from your goal!

Vitalicious can help you make your resolution of losing weight a reality.  Vitalicious has introduced alternatives to your favorite comfort foods so you can enjoy what you love without all of the guilt.

Each VitaTop  Carrot Cake has 100 calories and is packed with nutrition.

How is this for the line-up?

All Natural

High Fiber

Low Fat

15 Vitamins and Minerals

4 grams Protein

Their slogan is ”  Minimum calories for Maximum Nutrition and Pleasure”

VitaTops Nutrition Facts  

I liked several things about VitaTops! 

  • First, the Vitamins, Protein and Fiber numbers are impressive because of the Nutrition Facts above.  If you are going to eat a snack, VitaTops certainly offer you a guilt free option. 
  • They are amazingly filling.  I  enjoyed them for breakfast with yogurt and I was satisfied until lunchtime.  
  • They are convenient to carry and eat on the run.  You can easily pop the VitaTops into your purse, briefcase or bag and they can be just what you need to satisfy that mid-day urge for sweets.
  • The VitaTops Carrot Cakes tasted very good. I preferred them toasted and they are delicious with fat-free cream cheese spread on them.  I enjoyed them with yogurt and even made a yogurt parfait with them. 

Vitalicious offers VitaTops ( which I tried) , VitaBrownies, VitaCakes and VitaMuffins.  Check out their website for all the great information about the Vitalicious products: Vitalicious Website

Where can you buy these?

You can find VitaTops in the freezer section of your grocery store or order online.

I’m just wondering….Have you tried these yet?   What are your favorites?

I received a box of VitaTops Carrot Cake to review for this post and I did not receive compensation for this post.  These are my true and honest opinions.



Jellybean Wine Is For Your Playful Side!

Wow!  I really have a great job…I am often asked to review and sample products for the Make Life Special website.  I love trying new products and it is especially fun when I am asked to review wine.  Today I’m sampling some fun wines by Jellybean Wine  .

Jellybean Wines

 

I was asked to sample and review three of the Jellybean Wines:  ( Moscato, Moscato Rose and Bubbles)  

The Jellybean Wines are made in a style that is very popular right now — fruit-forward, very smooth, styled for easy sipping and enjoyment.  

If you follow my website, you know how much I love bubbly wines!  So, the first bottle opened was, of course, the Jellybean Orchard Blossom Bubbles.  Jellybean Bubbles comes from Spain, and is made in the style of a traditional Spanish Cava.    Using Spanish varietal grapes found in traditional Spanish  Cavas, this sparkling wine was produced using the methode champenoise manner with the secondary   fermentation taking place in the bottle.  Orchard Blossom Bubbles will take you down a sunny, tree-lined path in early summer….enveloping you with sweetly scented notes of warm, fresh picked peaches, honeysuckle and jasmine wrapped in a vibrant style that’s crisp and effervescent.  In case you can’t tell….I really loved this bubbly!  It was not too sweet, had small elegant bubbles, and the honeyed flavors finished with a clean, fresh, mouthwatering sensation.    All can can say about this one is WOW!  Well, I will add one additional note….I loved this so much I ordered a case of it!  

Jellybean Orchard Blossom Bubbles

The Jellybean Orchard Blossom Bubbles can be ordered online.  I found it at NapaCabs.com at $ 8.95 a bottle plus shipping.   

 

Next, I sampled the Jellybean Moscato.  This wine hails from Italy and is made with Moscato Bianco grapes  that were grown in the Sicilia region of Italy.  

Jellybean Moscato

This wine is sweeter than the Orchard Blossom Bubbles – but still light-bodied.  I enjoyed the vibrant flavors of stone fruit and lime….laced with notes of honey and orange blossom.  This was a very refreshing wine – one that I will order and enjoy this summer.  It has aromatic notes of peach and apricot and is lush in the mouth.  This finishes with just a hint of sweetness and again, I did not find this Moscato too sweet.

The last Jellybean Wine I sampled was the Jellybean Moscato Rose.  This wine also comes from Italy.

Jellybean Moscato Rose

This lightly sparkling wine would be perfect to pair with appetizers, to enjoy on picnics or just for afternoon sipping occasions.  I loved the hint of effervescence in this wine and the lush notes of peach and apricot.

These Jellybean Wines are for your playful side.  They are engaging with color and flavor….a little bit glamorous…a lot indulgent and unstoppably fun!  

Again, if you can’t find these wines locally, you can order them online.  Prices range from $ 8.99 to $12.99 plus shipping.  

Note:  I received one bottle of the Jellybean Orchard Blossom Bubbles, one bottle of the Jellybean Moscato and one bottle of the Jellybean Moscato Rose to sample for this review.  No compensation was received.  These are my true and honest opinions. 


 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Winner

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 And the giveaway winner is

Make Life Special hosts many giveaways and each giveaway winner is posted here.

If you are a  giveaway winner, please email your mailing information to MakeLifeSpecial@gmail.com   Thanks!

 

GIVEAWAY                                                                              WINNER / WINNERS

Secrets of Longevity Cookbook                                            Lynette Williams             

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                              

 

Meet Kacy With Make Life Special!

Meet Kacy

The Make Life Special Team!

Meet Kacy!  Kacy is my youngest daughter and she has been working behind the camera at Make Life Special.  This really is a family affair!

Kacy is a Midwestern girl who is Southern at heart…..

Her smile will warm you down to your toes……and her laughter fills the air like a warm summer breeze…

She is as strong as steel…..but as soft as a flower petal……

She is small town born and raised…..but loves the big city…….

She loves high heel shoes……..and pick-up trucks……

She loves the theater……but is just as comfortable lifting weights with the guys….

Kacy is a full time nursing student at University of Southern Indiana and is planning on becoming a CRNA.  Her hobby is cooking and she LOVES working with Make Life Special.  Kacy is also very talented with Social Media and she assists with that promotional area as well.   She would like to join Vickie in front of the camera and start doing YouTube videos for Make Life Special.

You Make My Life Special!

Thank you Kacy,  for helping me with Make Life Special.  I have truly been blessed to have two wonderful daughters who are strong and independent women!   You and Nicole really do “Make My Life Special”!  Mom   

Meet The Make Life Special Dogs!

Meet Our Make Life Special Dogs!

Make Life Special features recipes that are quick and easy for busy cooks.  We work to bring you quality YouTube videos with how-to recipes as well as blog posts with step by step by step photos.  We have made a lot of friends through the blog and people often ask about our other hobbies and interests.

I thought you might like to meet the other two Make Life Special dogs!  Harley is a 4 year old Chocolate Lab and Nala is a 2 year old Yellow Lab.  These dogs are seldom apart.  Some of you have caught glimpses of them scampering outside my kitchen window while I’m doing YouTube videos and I have had readers ask about the dogs so I thought I would share a picture of them.  They certainly keep us entertained!

Make Life Special!

Be sure to check out these recipes:

Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower

Fresh Strawberry Dessert

Strawberry Dessert Flower

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Fresh Peach Cobbler

I like to bake my Fresh Peach Cobbler in my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  Check out the post for other great tips on how to serve this delicious dessert!

 

 

 

 

Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com