Indoor Plants for Very Low Light Rooms

low light plant

As the cooler weather approaches, our focus turns indoors.  Indoor gardening is healthy – both for the air as well as for your physical, mental and emotional well being.

But, with our Northern climate, we often struggle with indoor gardens due to the low level of light at this time of year.  Small windows are great for keeping the heat in, but it does present challenges for the indoor gardener.

You can use grow lights, but, if you don’t want to do that, there are certain plants that will grow well even in very low light conditions.

Here are a few choices that work well with a minimum of light:

low light plantMother-in-Law’s tongue / Snake plant – it has stiff, sword shaped leaves often variegated with dark green / light green / gold.

 

 

low light plantCast iron plant looks a little like Mother-in-Law’s Tongue in that it also has sword shaped leaves although these are a bit more floppy and they are a dark green with no variegation. They are completely ‘dummy proof’ as they’re not only tolerant of low light but also dampness, dust and general neglect.

 

 

 

low light plantPeace Lily also has dark green sword shaped leaves, but it has a creamy white ‘flower’. It likes moist soil.

 

 

 

 

low light plantDracaena has spiky long leaves in a mid to light green colour and can be variegated.  It looks like a cross between an ornamental grass, a reed and a small palm. It is easy to grow and should be trimmed to keep it at the size you prefer.

 

 

 

low light plantPhilodendrons come in many varieties  including creeping or vine-like varieties. They may have variegated leaves or areas of other colors on a green background. These can look lovely in a hanging basket as well as in a pot.

 

 

low light plantChinese evergreen looks a bit like the Peace Lily or Arum Lily, but with variegated leaves.

 

 

 

 

low light plantHen and Chicks / Spider Plant  is often a summer hanging basket favourite, but it also does well as an indoor low light plant.

 

 

 

low light plantZZ plant looks a little like a ficus tree except that it’s a pot plant and comes up from the roots in multiple stems with dark green oval leaves that are quite fleshy.

Honey-Sweetened Marshmallows

honey sweetened marshmallows 2

CHEF KAYLA’S HONEY SWEETENED MARSHMALLOWS:

I created a recipe to be a little more health conscious using only 3 ingredients; honey, gelatin, and water.  That’s it friends! I then rolled half in toasted unsweetened coconut and the other half in cocoa powder.  Of course the weather was not cooperating the day that  I created these so I pulled out the good ol’ torch and torched those marshmallows at the kitchen table. Hey! you gotta do what ya gotta do! I hope you enjoy these tasty marshmallows as much as my girls and I!
honey sweetened marshmallows 2

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla, or flavoring of your choice
  • pinch of salt
  • toasted coconut
  • cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan and then layer with parchment paper.  Lightly butter the parchment paper. (At this point, since I was making toasted coconut and cocoa marshmallows and I dusted cocoa powder over half the pan and sprinkled the coconut on the other half of the pan).
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup water  in the bowl of your mixer and let bloom. Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pot pour the other 1/2 cup water, salt and 1 cup honey.  Cook over medium-low heat until the temperature comes to 240.  Do not stir during this process. Once it has reached the desired temperature take off the heat.
  4. Now very carefully, on low speed, slowly drizzle the honey syrup into the bowl with the gelatin/water mixture and beat. Once the mixture begins to fluff up, slowly increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating for about 10-12 minutes.  When it looks fluffy and cloud-like, add in the vanilla (or any other flavoring you prefer) and pour into the prepared pan.  Let it side for a minimum of 4 hours.
  5. Once it has completely set, I cut into about 1 inch cubes and roll into my desired garnishes.  I did half toasted coconut and half cocoa.  Then eat away and enjoy!

For more delicious recipes from Chef Kayla, click the ‘Life from Scratch’ tab in the menu above.

Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

braised moroccan lamb shanks

A FAVOURITE FROM CHEF KAYLA:

This is one of my most loved dishes, Moroccan Lamb Shanks, which I created when I was running Brambles Bistro. It is the perfect combination of spice and aromatics, perfectly warming and comforting. I know that lamb shanks can sometimes scare people off and they are not too common, but they are quite simple to prepare and get deliciously tender, and the flavor is extremely rich and decadent. My taste buds are already getting excited thinking about eating the welcomed leftovers tomorrow night. I hope you enjoy this truly loved dish as much as myself and my loved ones do. Enjoy!

Braised Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Lamb Shank Marinade

  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 
1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Braising Liquid/Sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup good red wine
  • 1 onion, large dice
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 cardamom pods (the seeds inside)
  • 
3 star anise
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 
2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 can canned tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1/2 cup whole cilantro
  • 1 cup whole apricots
Directions for Lamb Shank Marinade
  • Combine olive oil, spices, salt & pepper, mint, and cilantro in a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  • Place lamb shanks in marinade and let sit for a minimum of 8 hours.
  • Once it has sat sear the lamb shanks in a hot pan until all sides are nicely seared.
Directions for Braising Liquid/Sauce
  1. Heat oven to 300.
  2. Heat a large ceramic pot/dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil.
  3. Saute onions, garlic, & ginger until translucent.
  4. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, cumin, and fennel seeds.
  5. Saute for about 10 minutes over low heat.
  6. Add a little water at a time to prevent the spices from burning.
  7. Once you have thoroughly cooked out the spices add the wine and reduce until about 1/4 cup.
  8. Add coconut milk, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon zest & juice, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and apricots.
  9. Add the seared lamb shanks to the braising liquid/sauce. Place the lid on the top and place in the pre-heated oven until the meat is falling off the bone, approximately 2 hours.
  10. Check and rotate lamb shanks every 45 minutes.
6. Garnish with more freshly chopped mint, cilantro, and lemon zest. You can either serve alongside couscous or fresh naan bread.

braised moroccan lamb shanksFor more delicious recipes from Chef Kayla, click the ‘Life from Scratch’ tab in the menu above.

October In The Garden

october

It’s October and Fall is making its appearance in the garden.

As Fall kicks off during October, it is one of the best times of the year to garden and there’s plenty to keep you busy!

October

Here is a brief list of garden-keeping tasks for this month:

OctoberPrepare for color:  it’s time to plant your spring flowering bulbs and late flowering perennials.  Because those bulbs are underground and won’t pop out till next Spring, it’s a good idea to put markers on the spots where they are buried so that you don’t plant over them or dig them up by mistake!

OctoberDivide and move perennials that have grown too much in a clump over the summer.

Plant your paperwhite bulbs so that they’re blooming in time for Christmas.

Plant garlic.

 

Skimmia RubellaPlant or move shrubs nowFall is a great time for planting as the plants energy goes into establishing roots rather than growing upwards into shoots and leaves.

 

 

OctoberTrim your climbing vines and make sure they are securely fastened to their trellises so that they don’t get broken when the winds begin.

Prune all the shrubs and herbaceous perennials that should be trimmed at this time of year – hostas, certain ornamental grasses, spirea, bearded iris, beebalm, columbine, corydalis, crocosmia, daylily, margeurite, golden star, ground clematis, hardy begonia, peony, ph;ox, salvia.

Many plants should not be pruned until spring, so be sure to check with your garden center to avoid winter damage.

OctoberGet a head start on your flowers next spring: dig up all the tender ones that would normally die off in winter. Pot them and keep them in a light place protected from cold and frost, then replant in the spring. Geraniums and fuschias can be overwintered by removing from soil, trimming back and storing. Geraniums can be hung roots up while fuschias can be buried under soil.

If you’ve grown apples, now is the time to store them at between zero and seven degrees celcius.

Dry beans well before storing in airtight containers.

Clean and dry onions before storing.

Store root crops that have been cleaned in a cool, dry, dark spot. Trimming off the tops will help them to last longer.  Squash / Pumpkins need to be cleaned well with bleach or vinegar solution and then stored in a cool, dry place.

To Rake or Not To Rake: Now’s the time when the trees really begin shedding their leaves.  Some people like to take advantage of dry Fall days to blow these leaves clear, gathering them up and adding them to the compost heap.  Others prefer to leave them in the garden as a protection for shrub and tree roots from the cold.