Celebrating the Kentucky Derby & Mint Juleps

Image courtesy of kentuckyderby.com

As most people who will be watching the Kentucky Derby this weekend know, the official drink of the race is the mint julep, one of the oldest and most iconic American cocktails.

Since of course we’re candlemakers and not mixologists by trade, consider our new Garden Mint candle our ode to this exciting tradition.

From Esquire, we found a good old-fashioned julep recipe. Not too sweet, just the way we like it:

Instructions

Place 5 or 6 leaves of mint in the bottom of a prechilled, dry 12-ounce glass or silver beaker. Add sugar and crush slightly with a muddler. Pack glass with finely cracked ice. Pour a generous 3 ounces of Kentucky bourbon over the ice. Stir briskly until the glass frosts. Add more ice and stir again before serving. Stick a few sprigs of mint into the ice so that the partaker will get the aroma.

Still not enough mint flavor? Try this: For each julep, lightly cover about 10 sprigs of mint with superfine sugar, add an ounce of spring water, macerate, let stand for 10-15 minutes, and strain through a fine sieve into the ice-filled glass. Then add whiskey and proceed as above. If you’ll stoop to maceration, you might also want to float 1/2 ounce of dark Jamaica rum on top.

Will you be watching the big event this weekend?

Our Secret Garden: Introducing New Garden Mint Candle

In eager anticipation of relaxing afternoons spent at home gardening, Linnea’s Lights is proud to present its fresh Garden Mint candle. There’s no finer feeling than planting new seeds with love, allowing mother nature to work her magic, and with some  of our own delicate nurturing, seeing what grows.

Garden Mint ~ Known for its therapeutic properties and cooling scent, Garden Mint thrives no matter how green the gardener’s thumb. A perfect aroma to take the edge off summer’s fiery heat, watery notes of garden mint leaves mingle with cucumber, spearmint and hints of citrus. Cooling.

Linnea’s Lights® candles combine natural soy wax, lead-free cotton candle wicks, pure essences and fine fragrances to create clean burning, perfectly scented and highly aromatic candles. Each signature double wicked glass candle provides over 60 hours of illumination and is mindfully packaged in recycled materials, printed with soy inks and hand stamped.

Each 9 oz. candle is $30. Pick yours up now at Oliver’s Twist!

New Scent for Spring: Wild Honeysuckle

Happy spring! With March 20th ringing in the official start of the new season, say hello to sunshine, spring flowers, and longer days. In honor of spring, I’m excited to introduce to you our newest scent of the season: Wild Honeysuckle!

Inspired by childhood memories of searching for a single dewdrop at the center of fresh flowers under the warmth of the Texan sun. Sweet honeysuckle nectar mingles with leafy vines and a hint of mandarin and musk. Energizing.

Doesn’t it sound lovely? I like to have Wild Honeysuckle lit in the background to give me an extra boost of energy while I get myself ready in the morning. You can get yours here from Terrain, a terrific spot to find all things home, garden, and beauty. When do you feel most energized?

Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day

Image courtesy of serenebeautyphotos.com

We’re getting ready for St. Paddy’s Day festivities and I can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends. To get in the spirit, we’ll light our Garden Mint candle and the whole family will help bake some delicious Irish Soda Bread. This year, I think we’ll try a new recipe found over on Rachel Ray:

Cranberry Irish Soda Bread with Lime Glaze

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/3 cups milk and the lemon juice; let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Rub in the butter until coarse crumbs form, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries.
  3. Beat the egg into the milk mixture; stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it just comes together; form into an 8-inch round and place on the prepared baking sheet. Using a knife, score a 1/2-inch-deep “X” in the round. Bake until dark golden and crusty, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lime peel, lime juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon milk. Drizzle the cooled soda bread with the lime glaze.

(6 servings)

How yummy does that sound?

Tell me, what St. Paddy’s Day traditions do you usually look forward to?

Brand New Scents for Valentine’s Day & Spring: Part 2

Well we hope the suspense hasn’t been too painful! We’re back again with the latest installment of our romantic new scents, and this time we’re thrilled to introduce you to our cupid-approved Rose candle.

In ancient mythology, Roses were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, Isis, the goddess of motherhood and magic, and Eros, also known as Cupid. In modern days, the Rose is a time-honored way to say “I love you” when words just aren’t enough. Warm, inviting, and intoxicating all in one, this timeless blend is inspired by the endless bouquets of roses that our loved ones shower upon us. Close your eyes and be swept off your feet. Romance. Love. Seduction. What do Roses mean to you?

Plus, shop the Rose candle, now available at Terrain!

Brand New Scents for Valentine’s Day & Spring: Part 1

With Valentine’s Day around the corner and Spring following shortly after, we’re excited to be introducing our latest candles for your enjoyment. Wouldn’t it be nice to give your sweetheart the ultimate floral bouquet and one that will last a heck of a lot longer than just a few days? Personally, I’d love to receive something like that too!

Now I’d like to introduce the first of our newest additions to the Spring 2012 collection: our Violet scent. It is said that those with violet auras are forward looking visionaries while in ancient Chinese paintings the pigment cultivated from pure violet flower extract, represents the harmony of the universe, the yin and yang. Violets are known to have a flirty scent as its fragrance comes and goes with the gentle winds of spring. Inspired by the beauty and elegance of the color Violet & the simplicity of the plant itself with Iris at the heart, Violet represents love & luxury. This blend has top notes of florals & leafy greens, middle notes of violet & iris and bottom notes of musk.

Enjoy and once you try it, we always love to hear what you think!

Celebrating the Chinese New Year

chinese-new-year-cards.blogspot.com

Happy Lunar New Year! As a little bit of background, Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival) is one of the longest and most important celebrations in the lunar calendar. Festivities begin on Monday, January 23, and continue for 15 days to usher in the start of a new year and the beginning of  the revitalizing spring season. The events consist of fireworks, family feasts, “lucky money” given in traditional red envelopes and on the final day, the Lantern Festival. The Lantern Festival is an exciting, action-packed day filled with music, dancing, acrobatics, parades, Yuanxiao dumplings, and, of course, the release of beautifully decorated lanterns.

I think Lunar New Year is a perfect time to revisit some of the resolutions we made at the beginning of this month and to evaluate our progress in each of them. In honor of the occasion, I will be celebrating the Chinese New Year this Monday by curling up in a comfortable chair with a good book and the Asian-inspired Bamboo candle in the background. The Bamboo scent, which has notes of Asian spices, grasses, citrus and lavender, is the perfect way to enjoy the New Year since bamboo is traditionally believed to bring in prosperity and good luck.

How are you celebrating the Lunar New Year?

Linnea’s Lights featured in Country Living

Image courtesy of Country Living

You may remember a while back we gave you a sneak peek at a shoot happening in the studio… Well, we’re so excited we’re finally be able to make the big reveal and are honored to be featured in this lovely story from Country Living‘s December issue, on newsstands now!

We loved sharing the story of our journey as female entrepreneurs of a small business we love with the magazine and hope you’ll enjoy reading it. So interesting to see how much work goes into a magazine shoot, but it was all worth it. What a blast!

Favorite Fall recipes & inspired scents

Image courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Besides the colorful foliage, another thing I look forward to in Fall is breaking out my favorite recipes and sharing them with family and friends. It’s become such a tradition that some of my recipes have even found their way into an inspired food-themed candle like French Pear (inspired by an apple-pear crisp I’ll mention below) and Pumpkin! The pomander candle is one we’ve based on our Swedish family tradition of scoring oranges with fresh cloves to perfume the house for the holidays. They can be put in a beautiful bowl or tied with red ribbon and hung around the house, and the smell is captured perfectly in our wax rendering!

Right now, we’re making lots of soups with seasonal vegetables to keep warm on chilly days. We are also baking pumpkin bread (both regular and gluten/dairy free versions to accommodate my daughter’s gluten allergy) and enjoying hot apple cider. I also just made a delicious apple pear crisp created by one of our favorite cooks, Ina Garten!

I thought you might like to see some of my recipes and I’d love to see yours as well! Here are a few of our favorites:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

  • 1/2 cup butter or vegetarian substitute for non-dairy
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour, blend
  • 1.5 cups white rice flour,1.5 cups sorghum flour, .5 cups tapioca starch, 4 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease a bread pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well after each one. Add Vanilla and pumpkin and mix until well-blended. In a separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Pour into prepared bread pan and bake one hour to one hour and ten minutes. ENJOY!

And here’s the recipe from Ina Garten that I used to make the Apple Pear Crisp. I used the gluten-free flour mix above in place of the multipurpose flour for Gluten Free and substituted the vegan butter for real butter. It is delicious! I also reduced the amount of sugar in the apple/pear mix to half because the fruit should be nice and ripe.

I hope you enjoyed this quick visit to our country kitchen and bon appétit! 

Linnea’s Lights featured in People Country

Image courtesy of People Country

When we got our hands on the new People Country October issue, we were positively glowing by the time we spotted our Cashmere candle listed as one of Martina McBride‘s must-haves. Martina is one of our favorites around the office, and having her music on while we work on new blends certainly never hurts in the inspiration department!

We were so excited, we just had to share the news with all of you and hope you’ll check out the new issue of People Country today! And in the meantime, if you want your home to smell like a country crooner’s,  make sure to pick up a Cashmere candle of your own, right here at AshBlue.