Celebrating America’s Finest (with or without Herbs)

Today is November 11th, Veterans’ Day in the United States of America. This day is set aside to honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed via the Armed Forces. Citizens across the country come together to celebrate on this day. For some it is simply a day off from work. But for many more, it is a day to truly honor and demonstrate gratitude to Veterans’ of all ages. Where would the citizens of our country be without their sacrifices? Can you imagine not having the freedoms you enjoy today? Many men and women have fought and sacrificed so that we can enjoy many freedoms, freedoms that very few citizens worldwide enjoy.

Today, make a point to help to honor those Veterans who have served our country and fought for the freedoms we all enjoy. Participate in a Veterans’ Day parade or celebration. Personally say “thank-you” to a Vet in your neighborhood or family. Fly the American flag high and proud..not just today but everyday of the year. Place your right hand over your heart every time you see a flag (unless you served in the Armed Forces yourself and thus traditionally salute) or hear the National Anthem. (I, personally, am old enough to remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance each day as a group in grade school!) These acts of patriotism not only honor the history of our country but they also say you appreciate being an American and help to demonstrate it to all Americans including Veterans!

Cook a special dinner for a Veteran using herbs that are symbolic of the traits that each service man and woman has. This may sound strange to some, but since the Victorian era herbs, flowers and various plants have been given special meaning and significance. In Biblical times and during the Middle Ages, herbs were even believed by some to have magical powers. Why not tap into these powers for your favorite Veteran or even for yourself? This is ‘kharma’ at its finest!

For example, Thyme has long been associated with courage and valor (necessary for serving in the military). Rosemary stands for remembrance (never forget the sacrifices that have been made). Sage stands for long life and immortality (wishes for every service person and their family members). Marjoram represents happiness (a feeling everyone can use more of). Basil can represent good wishes (read blessings), Fennel stands for strength (an idea that we associate with the military forces). And bay stands for glory (glory for surviving a difficult journey and glory for the present and future). These are just a few of the traits associated with the Language of Herbs and Flowers. And there are many different versions of them. Let this post inspire you to check them out for yourself!

The following is an inspirational menu to cook that includes several dishes with the above herbs (the first 3 recipes are from the book Herbal Treasures).

Marinated Chicken Breasts
1/2 c. olive oil      1 tsp. dry mustard         1/4 c. low-salt soy sauce          2 pounds boneless chicken breasts

1 c. dry sherry or vermouth                      2 Tb. olive oil                           1 tsp. dried Rosemary

Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, sherry, mustard and Rosemary to make a marinade. Split the chicken breasts into halves, and marinate them, refrigerated, at least 1 hour. Drain. Over medium-high heat, saute the chicken in the 2 tablespoons olive oil about 8-9 minutes on each side.

~~~~~~~~~

Microwave Savory Herbed Rice
2 c. water        2 tsp. Parsley        2 vegetable bouillon cubes            pinch of Thyme         1 c. long-grain rice pepper
1 Tbl. onion flakes                        1 Tbl. celery flakes                        1 tsp. Thyme             1 1/2 Tbl. butter or margarine,

(if the bouillon is fat-free)

Mix all ingredients together in a 2-quart, microwave-safe casserole dish. In a microwave, cook, covered on high for 4-6 minutes or until mixture begins to boil. Stir. Cook, covered, on medium for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is just tender. Let stand covered for 5 minutes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linda’s Quick Basil Beer Bread
3 c. self-rising flour          3 Tbl. granulated sugar            12 ounces warm beer         1/2 c. Sweet Basil, chopped
Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a well-greased 5″ x 9″ loaf pan. Place in an unheated oven. Set temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from pan, cool on a wire rack and slice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lemon Rosemary Sorbet
3/4 c. sugar          3 c. water           4 sprigs Rosemary, about 4-6 inches long, broken up           1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice    3 Tbl. vodka

Combine sugar and water in pan and bring to a simmer. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add Rosemary and cover pan with a lid and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove and discard Rosemary. Add the lemon juice and chill for 2 hours then start the freezing process in a sorbet maker. After the sorbet begins to freeze, add the vodka and continue freezing the sorbet. Enjoy!

I would like to thank each and every Veteran for his or her service and sacrifices. It truly is appreciated!!!

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