I’m in my own Purple Haze…the lavender has taken over!

Are you familiar with the word xeriscape?  I would never want to assume you’re not, but I don’t believe I would know the word if I lived in a different part of the country. In fact, I probably have only known the term for about a decade. I have no idea if it represents a concept that has traveled very far.

Xeriscaping refers to the conservation of water through creative landscaping. Originally it was developed for drought-afflicted areas, but there is a much broader appeal as water is now more generally considered an expensive and limited resource.

Many states are experiencing drought conditions, but I am particularly tuned into California forecasts.  We had another too-dry winter and reporting indicates that a mere 4.4% of the state is not suffering from extremely dry conditions to severe drought. The Los Angeles area is classified as “abnormally dry.” We aren’t yet thrown into drought conditions, but we have previously lived through seasons of strict water rationing, and with the hot summer months yet to come, any rain before next winter is unlikely.

I do remember long seasons we were forced to limit our water usage or pay high fines for going over our limit. And it wasn’t fun carting pails of bath water out to the vegetable garden. We still have many water-inefficient segments in our landscaping, but I am studying the concepts of xeriscaping, and patch by patch making some better choices. I’m slowly selecting plants that are native to this region–which means they must be drought tolerant.

We have large areas of succulents and some limited showy cactus, but we aren’t restricted to typical desert plants. At the moment I have an abundance of lavender. It’s such a wonderfully drought tolerant plant requiring almost no care so it’s the perfect plant accepting Southern California heat. It tends to take over.

Lavender attracts ladybugs, butterflies and praying mantises, too –all sorts of beneficial insects. But the bees are so active on the plants that I don’t know why I have been so slow to realize I need lavender closer to the vegetable garden. Lavender attracts the friendly pollinators!

I hadn’t even considered how much it had spread, and that it was” free” in my front yard until I opened this week’s produce box and out popped a large and lovely bunch of…more lavender! I put my little bouquet in a glass vase with some water and just enjoyed how pretty it looked. The addition of a little aromatherapy was enjoyable, too.

But then it began to play on my thoughts…What to do with all the lavender?

So I’m going to try something a little different…for me anyway!

We will be entertaining guests this weekend. My cousins are coming into town for a family wedding and although I think we will all be figuring out meals together, I would still enjoy having a couple of things ready just because I can!  I’ve decided to take a couple of tried and true recipes and experiment with an exchange. I frequently use rosemary from my garden, so I’m thinking… how about exchanging my rosemary bread with lavender bread?

This is the easiest no-think recipe!

Rosemary Bread…I’ll try it with Lavender…at least once!

Rosemary Lavender Bread


1TB yeast

1 TB sugar

1 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 TB rosemary lavender

2 TB butter

1)Place yeast, sugar and water in large bowl and allow mixture to become bubbly.

2) Mix in 1 T butter, salt, and 2 cups of flour

3) Add 1 TB of the fresh chopped lavender

4) Knead for about 10 minutes by hand, or 5 minutes in mixer with dough hook

5) May need to add another 1/2 cup of flour (I always do).

6) Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour–until dough is doubled.

7) Punch down dough and divide in half.

8) Let dough rest about five minutes then shape the dough into 2 small rounded oval loaves.

9) Sprinkle remaining lavender over the loaves and press into the surface.

10) Let loaves rise again until doubled–45 minutes or so

11) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. I like to use a baking stone.

Sometimes I make four smaller loaves. It all depends on how I intend to use the bread.

Let it cool…remember you’ve made it for company and don’t eat too much!

If I find I have time I might delve into other recipes I’ve just recently found. There are lavender cookies, scones, even ice cream! Maybe a little too much for one weekend, but I am now quite curious and will need to do a little experimenting.

I often make a very simple  rosemary lemonade  and it has a very distinctive flavor. But exchanging the rosemary with lavender I’m thinking I might need a little something extra? Maybe some Citrus Vodka? Sounds good to me!

And with rosemary bread I often serve an olive tapenade, Italian truffle cheese, some artisan salami, and because we can’t get enough…more olives! But somehow I think I may need to add a new twist to suitable accompaniments for the taste of  lavender.

There are some great cooks out there…I know, because I read your blogs! If you have some thoughts and suggestions, don’t hold back! I haven’t done my shopping yet!

And I hope you, too, make a few exchanges…perhaps exchange the flurry of the busy week with a giant exhale, and simply fold into a wonderful weekend.


63 thoughts on “I’m in my own Purple Haze…the lavender has taken over!

  1. I’ve never cooked with lavender, Debra, so I’ve little help to offer, I’m afraid. I do like the sound of your rosemary bread, though, and will be baking a loaf, to be sure. Of all herbs, rosemary is my favorite and really enjoy it’s aroma when being baked in a recipe. I’ll have a very hard time letting that bread cool before cutting into it, company coming or no! Thanks for sharing its recipe and I’m anxious to read the lavender suggestions of your many readers. 🙂

    1. I’m going to try the bread tomorrow morning, John, and I expect it will smell good! But the truth is that I am almost sure I am going to prefer the rosemary bread. If I have time, maybe I’ll just bake both! If you do make the rosemary bread, I should have included the info that I have never measured the rosemary and I’m sure I use it more liberally than the original recipe calls for. If you’re going to use rosemary, really use it, I say! Hope you have a great weekend. Debra

  2. That’s a great idea about the lavender. I know someone who made a chocolate and lavender tart once. Sorry to hear about the dry conditions. We had drought here for a out 10 years, now we have flooding. Where is the happy medium! I hope the wedding celebration goes well x

    1. Oh wow! A chocolate and lavender tart sounds really wonderful. I wonder if I google around I might find a recipe! I’ve been busy all day getting ready for my company, Charlie. I haven’t done any reading…but I’m eager to get over to your site and see what’s up with Arabella and the dress! I must know! 🙂 Hope you have a very nice weekend. Thanks for stopping by here 🙂 Debra

  3. A new word!!! I love new words, thank you. We have drought restrictions here in the SE but they are talking about ending them soon as we’ve had outrageous amounts of rain, but as you say the problem is dry winters.
    The lavender is so pretty, I planted a few plants on my allotment partly for the bees and partly for me 🙂
    Hmmm, recipes – I’ve had lavender shortcakes and cupcakes before now. Delicious. And your bread looks divine!

    1. You have had a lot of rain! If we could just all share 🙂 I’m glad you like the word “xeriscape.” There are many landscape architects who are doing some absolutely wonderful “works of art” in gardens that now require almost no water and need very little care. I cannot picture myself going the whole distance, but I’m slowly being influenced and it’s a new challenge. I think lavender must grow almost anywhere. I do need to plant it closer to my vegetable garden, though. After watching all the bees this spring I know I must! I hope you have a great weekend, Claire! 🙂 Debra

  4. As I look out of my window at the continuing drizzle I find myself not at all surprised that I’m unfamiliar with the word “xeriscaping” but a lovely word it is. In my Algarve home we have an enormous lavender that has “eaten” everything else in the garden. Perhaps I should put it to good use!

    1. It does take over, doesn’t it? I think that’s what amused me so much when the produce box arrived with even more…I hadn’t realized how mine had spread. It was fun to share a new word, and I really thought it might be a little obscure. You have probably had plenty of rain this past season, haven’t you? I’m so glad you stopped by. I’ll return the visit! 🙂 Debra

    1. I am afraid I have better cooking intentions than delivery much of the time, Fiona! I get inspired every now and then, though! I wish you could stop by I’d be delighted to share with you! Have a great weekend. You’ve had a full activity load this week! Debra

  5. I have lavender in my front garden, and I never considered baking or cooking with it — I thought it was just for stuffing into my pillow to help me sleep at night… Omigooseness I learn something new everyday here at the Breathe Lighter place. THANKS! 🙂

    1. I’m wondering if I’m going to find that lavender smells a lot better than it tastes! I’m going to make the bread first thing in the morning an I guess I’ll find out! There are a lot of lavender recipes though, so if you decide to try something different you might give it a try! I hope you have a very lovely weekend Natalie! Debra

  6. Our lavender is inconsistent, but we haven’t cooked with it. Meanwhile, bingo … your rosemary bread sparked an idea because we our hosting the next dinner group. What theme did we set? …. Scarborough Fare. Enjoy the visitors and the wedding!

    1. I think the rosemary bread would be perfect for your Scarborough Fare! How fun! I’m not sure I’m going to be as inspired by the lavender because I really do love the rosemary bread. I will find out tomorrow morning. I am committed to it at this point! I am looking forward to having my family with me, and I hope you, too, have a very nice weekend, Frank! Debra

        1. The recipe made two medium loaves…it doesn’t rise like a loaf bread, but is more of an artisan loaf. I have easily doubled the recipe, though. And good point…I don’t think I did say that on the recipe! Duh!! Debra

  7. Your rosemary bread with all those wonderful sides sounds absolutely delightful! I love all those things; they’d make a wonderful snack or appetizer board. I’m looking forward to hearing how the lavender exchange goes, I’ve never heard of lavender bread before! Enjoy your family weekend!

    1. I hope I won’t be disappointed! I expect the bread will at least have a nice aroma, though! I’m looking forward to having my guests, and I think they’ll at least be amused by something different! I hope you, too, have a wonderful weekend! Give Daisy a little hug from me 🙂 Debra

    1. Oh my Kate! Six plants in less than a week…you must be right! There are many different kinds of lavender, so perhaps a true English lavender would do well. I hope you have a good weekend. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Debra

  8. I had a lavender growing in a small (contained) patch right by our front door in our other house, Debra. I positioned it just so that when one walked up the steps a skirt or pant leg would just brush the flowers and release the scent. Heavenly!

    Your bread sounds delicious and I can only imagine the scents rising from your kitchen this weekend. I did have some delicious shortbread with lavender in it. Have you tried lavender sugar? Just put sprigs of lavender in a jar of sugar, cover, and let absorb for a few weeks. It won’t be ready for this weekend, but a little something to look forward to – or a little gift for guests?

    1. I haven’t heard of lavender sugar, Penny! What a great idea. I’ll definitely do that. And you’re right about the fragrance. I have yet to really place it where I get the full benefit. It isn’t by the vegetable garden and it also isn’t by the front door where we would naturally enjoy the fragrance. It’s pretty where it is but I think I need to think about getting more natural benefits by placing it more strategically!

      I hope the bread is more than fragrant…it needs to taste good! I’ll find out tomorrow! 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend, Penny! Debra

  9. I had a nice clump of lavender in my old garden, and I loved it, too. MTM made some lasagna tinged with it for me one time. It really is excellent when cooked. I can almost smell that bread through my computer screen.

    1. Oh my! Lavender in lasagna? That is so creative…I would love to try that. I hope it all comes out well, but it will be fun to give it a try. I will need to get up a little early tomorrow to get moving, but I’d like to take the bread out of the oven just about the time my cousin arrives! I hope you have a good weekend, Andra. I don’t know how much reading I’ll be able to do but I’ll get caught up! I hate to miss out on what you’re up to! Debra

  10. Dear Debra, I’ve never met the word “Xeriscaping” before. So thank you for introducing me to it and to its meaning. Years ago–back in the eighties–I was a member of the League of Women Voters. The league asked me to research the use of water in the coming year and whether there would be a scarcity. What I discovered from much reading is that the big environmental issue of the 21st century- would be water. I try to watch my use, but often I truly waste water by washing out my dished before putting them in the dishwasher.

    Thank you also for the bread recipe. I enjoy baking and will make a couple of loaves soon.


    1. I can guarantee the rosemary bread recipe, Dee. Use as much rosemary in the recipe as you’d like. I add a lot! Here we are a couple of decades beyond the years you did your research and we continue to overbuild in areas that don’t have enough natural resource to provide! And I see so much waste even from city governments, like sprinkler systems that go off automatically even on very cool days. I try to be mindful, but I’m not always the best either. But it’s good to keep the conversation alive and consider the small things we can do to conserve! I do hope you try the bread! When I make it we eat a little too much of it, but oh well! 🙂 I hope you have a good weekend, Dee! Debra

  11. I am unable to tolerate the taste or smell of lavender, Debra, although I love the color. The farm gives us one bunch of lavender a year and I usually hand it to the nearest person I see. But, last summer, I found out that lavender was one of the ingredients in Coca-Cola, so next time I see lavender I plan to make my own cola syrup (I saved the recipe). Most people eat it in sweets: I have seen lavender creme brulee, for example.

    1. Lavender creme brulee…now that sounds decadent to me! I will have to think about that one! I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say they didn’t like the smell of lavender, Sharyn, but it is distinctive, so if you don’t like it you’d be quite overpowered by it, I think. That’s a big surprise to me to learn that lavender is in Coca-Cola. You don’t shy away from a challenge either. I would think that cola syrup would be something very unique to concoct. I hope that adventure becomes a post! Debra

  12. Lavender: one of the most beautiful embellishments to our lives. I remember staying in the Alps in the South of France surrounded by fields of ripe lavender, and the waft of perfume would come blowing in the warm wind from the fields to the little stone cottage where we were staying. The idea of lavender bread is not one I have heard of before, but I’d love to try it. Thanks, Debra!!

    1. I remember my aunt telling me about the lavender fields she experienced in France! It must be a heavenly experience to have such an intoxicating fragrance! And I must say that picturing that with the addition of a little stone cottage…what a setting! I’ll find out tomorrow what I think of lavender bread! But the rosemary bread is just wonderful. I can already vouch for that recipe! 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Kate, and some good family time! Debra

  13. In contrast to your dry weather . . . we are having wet, wet, wet weather. Only 8 days into the month and we have SURPASSED the average rainfall for June and we are halfway to the record set in 1940 for the wettest June.

    Enjoy your family gathering. I’ve never cooked with Lavender.

    1. It’s a shame we can’t share a little weather back and forth, Nancy! We sure don’t get to control the weather, and I think I just find it fascinating that we all have different challenges. And being mindful of what resources we are each allotted seems wise, too! I’ll now be curious to see if you break the 1940 record. Wow! Have a good weekend–I expect that you will 🙂 D

  14. We haven’t had too many warm days here in Oregon,we actually had a day in the upper 50’s, and it has been raining a lot. Sending some over to L.A. 🙂

    My goodness, never thought of using lavender in breads, sounds good! I can cook, but am not a fancy cook so I am always willing to learn new recipes.

    Also, THANK YOU so much for the awesome Amazon book review. If you ever need a couple of more books, I will send them to you for free and signed if you wish. 🙂

    1. The lavender bread turned out to be quite nice! I was afraid it would remind me of perfume! LOL! But the flavor was very mild and I’ll definitely make it another time! I was very pleased to write a review, Marie. I really think the book is a beautiful effort, and I meant it when I said I’d like to give it as gifts 🙂 I will contact you at some point, because yes, I would love a signed book! That would be so lovely! oxo Debra

  15. I’ve seen bakery shop items with lavender but I’ve never used it myself. I would love to give it a try. This bread looks really good. It’s SO cold here right now. Cranking up the oven to bake this tomorrow would make my chilly fingers happy.

    1. Thank you, Maureen. The lavender bread turned out to be a very nice surprise! It smelled good, but wasn’t perfumey! Somehow that was my concern. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll have to learn more about you…and where you are that is SO cold! My goodness…we just don’t all have the same circumstances in our comforts, do we! Debra

  16. Lavender is one of my favorite flowers, and I love seeing the bumblebees buzzing around it! I usually dry it to use for sachets, but I like the idea of cooking with it, too. Thanks for such a fun post Debra!

    1. I was really happy with the results in the bread, Meg, so I’ll be a bit bolder in the future. Silly me, but I’ll go buy a sachet, and here I am with all this aromatic goodness right in my front yard! Believe me, I’m thinking differently now! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! Debra

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe…you make so many lovely things this is kind of simple, but sometimes quick and easy is all any of us have time for! I must plant the lavender near the garden…I was only thinking ornamental at the time I planted and that’s going to change 🙂 Debra

  17. It’s perfect timing for me to be back.. I’ve just “unxeriscaped” a portion of my garden, replacing with lovely soil and… lavender and tarragon! This looks like a great place to start for a loaf of bread. Let me know how the lavender one turns out!

    1. I’m so glad to see you back, Smidge! I hope the time “away”–although brief, was just helpful! 🙂 You’re so funny with “unxeriscaped” observation. I’m thinking that perhaps the herbs are more adaptable than most plants and we can all claim them! The bread turned out very nice. I toasted some this morning, too, and that set the aroma back into play! It is so fun to experiment, and I only wish I found a better balance in my time so I could do a bit more of it. I think that may be called “retirement” if I ever truly pull the plug! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by…you were missed 🙂 Debra

  18. Folding into a relaxing weekend sounds just about perfect. 🙂 The lavender looks gorgeous! Ours did not grow so well this year, but that’s ok. Some of our herbs are doing quite well so for us that’s a success. The bread looks wonderful! And I like the idea of lavender in lemonade too. Mmmm.

    1. I was thinking about my garden this morning, Kristy, and how quick a start the vegetables have received. And then I noted how we’ve had an early warming trend…I can’t count on that year to year, so we do sort of need to just roll with the punches. When I acquire the ability to control the weather I will really be styling! 🙂 The bread turned out to be great, and I think I will enjoy making it often and perhaps now experimenting with lavender more liberally. I didn’t get the lavender made, but we are having a baby shower here in a couple of weeks and I think I’ll try to work on the recipe for that! Hope you’ve had a good weekend…I’m now waiting to get dressed for the wedding we are attending, so it’s a lovely family day! 🙂 oxo Debra

  19. A lovely post, Debra. I can almost smell and taste it. 🙂 I adore lavender and you can indeed cook with some varieties of it. I’m hoping that the lavender I planted in France last summer will have survived and be there for me when we arrive. Your bread recipe looks and sounds delicious and I will definitely try it.

    1. I somehow can just imagine a lovely lavender garden in France, Perpetua! How wonderful. Just saying “lavender” and “France” in the same sentence just sounds amazing to me 🙂 ! The lavender bread turned out to be very nice, and I look forward to being a bit more experimental! Hope all continues to be well…still chuckling at “grandpa.” 🙂 Debra

  20. tickalongnice

    How amazing! I love lavendar and have some in my garden. How did the bread turn out? I quite fancy making it, maybe lavendar and rosemary bread?

    1. What a great idea! Lavender butter! I will do that and thank you for the suggestion. I absolutely seem to rely upon the suggestions of others. I’m not a very creative cook…but I’m learning to follow! And enjoy! 🙂

  21. Living out here in the California desert we call it desertscape … changing your landscape to a more water friendly version. I have all drought resident desert plants I front yard. MT backyard was planted by previous owner and needs to have many more than has now. Plus I have huge background.
    Great yummy ideal you have. I think will taste fabulous

    1. Even in our Pasadena suburb we are still desert, Kellie…we just pretend we aren’t, and use resources as though they are unlimited! Desertscape is probably exactly the same as xeriscaping…I have a lot of succulents and cactus, too. It’s been interesting watching the garden centers sell more and more of these desert plants and the prices keep going up. When I first started planting this way twenty years ago, no one cared for succulents. I was able to get a good start very inexpensively. Funny how some things go in and our of fashion. I love the desert and I’m sure you have some beautiful sunrises, sunsets and night skies! Debra

    1. I love the colors in your garden, Carl! I love bougainvillea, and I’m sure in your climate you are well accustomed to many months of wonderful color! I think everything just grows so beautifully in Florida!

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