Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

~Let's Talk Lavender with Larissa~

Today's guest post comes to us from blogger Larissa from Food....Life....Love. She's going to share some beautiful thoughts on lavender. Enjoy! And before we continue, I owe a huge thank you to Larissa for her post!

Many thanks to Karley and Chic and Green for inviting me to be a guest blogger while she is on vacation. I have big shoes to fill!

Years ago, my husband and I took an amazing vacation to France. We started in Paris then took a train to Aix-En-Provence where we bicycled through the French countryside, stopping at an old farmhouse for a cooking lesson and wine tasting. It was there that I developed my love of lavender. I loved walking through the markets and smelling all the dried lavender sachets, soaps and candles.

Lavender remains one of my favorite scents and I love buying homemade soap and other products made with fresh lavender. However, I am extremely fussy when it comes to my scents and prefer the authentic, natural smell over the fake perfumed lavender scent so prevalent these days. 

When purchasing my lavender products, I have the best luck at farm markets and small shops where products are made in-house.

Besides just smelling lovely, lavender has medicinal qualities. Essential oils made with lavender have both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Folk wisdom dictates that it can help soothe and heal insect bites and burns and also aids in easing headaches and insomnia. Personally, I find the scent to be a great stress reliever and you’ll often find a lavender candle burning in my home.

What most people don’t realize is that lavender can be used in cooking as well. Because the flowers produce such a high amount of nectar, bees can make a very high-quality honey from lavender plants which can be used in baking, marinades and to sweeten tea or other beverages.
Fresh flowers make a colorful addition to salads or a beautiful garnish for ice cream or sorbet. The spikes can be used just like fresh rosemary spikes for kabobs and lavender can be substituted for rosemary in bread recipes. I recently read a cookbook that suggested burying fresh lavender inside your sugar container and letting it sit for a few weeks. This allows the herb to infuse into the sugar and adds a unique flavor in cookies, cakes and other baked goods.

To celebrate summer, here is a refreshing lavender lemonade recipe that I plan to make with the plant I bought at the farmer’s market last weekend.

2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups chopped lavender leaves
A second 2 ½ cups water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Take the first 2 ½ cups of water and the sugar and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Add the lavender and allow the mixture to cool. Strain the lavender and add the mixture to a pitcher. Stir in the second 2 ½ cups water and lemon juice. Stir and add more sugar if needed. Chill and serve over ice.

Cooking is all about experimenting, trying new flavors and recipes and trying a new herb like lavender is a great way to do this. My blog is Food…Life…Love so please feel free to stop by in your free time and read about my adventures in the culinary world.

A very important note: Before using any fresh lavender, check with your farm or garden center to make sure the flowers were not treated with pesticides. Your best bet is to purchase a certified organic plant.