Non-Traditional Succulent Recipes For Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, to talk over platters and bowls of food, and to merry-make with our loved ones. Every year, there’s probably someone in the family or your group of friends who are tasked to handle the Thanksgiving dinner. Is this year your turn? If you’re tired of the usual fare being served during your annual Thanksgiving dinners, maybe up the competition a notch by going full succulents on them. That’s right. Unknown to many, there are many delicious recipes that involve succulents. You can make a whole feast—from appetizers to soups to salads to entrees—out of succulents.

Appetizers

How about a mini taco that can be passed around from one table to another? You can saute the cactus with your favorite taco filling like chicken, shrimps, beef, and pork. You can choose between a hard taco shell or a soft taco shell. The crunch of the cacti leaf, which is meaty and sumptuous, will be an exciting surprise for your guests.

Soups

A heartwarming nopales soup on a chilly winter night is the best way to jumpstart your Thanksgiving dinner. You can make a lentil and cactus soup by boiling water in a soup pot with garlic, lentils, and chicken bouillon. After the lentils become soft at the one-hour mark, you can then lower the heat to a simmer. In a separate skillet, put extra-virgin olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the tomato and stir until the tomato releases its juice. Add the lentil, the cumin, and the chicken bouillon before putting the nopales and the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Salads

Grilled cactus sounds good to you? That’s right. You can grill the cactus leaves and chop them into cubes. Put your favorite dressing together (a light virgin olive oil with a squeeze of lemon sounds wonderful), as well as other vegetables and garnishes such as iceberg lettuce, onions, olives, chopped eggs, and cherry tomatoes. Toss them all together and you’ll come up with a wonderful salad that everyone will love.

Main Entrees

Okay, you can still have your turkey dinner, don’t worry. Prepare your turkey the way you like it—with stuffing and turkey gravy and your cranberry sauce. But on the side, instead of the usual carbs like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, you can serve the turkey with a cactus salsa. Turn your Thanksgiving dinner a bit Mexican by chopping the cactus into bite-sized pieces and mixing it with tomatoes, onions, and corn kernels. Drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and Himalayan salt, and you’re good to go.

And while there are no succulent desserts, you can always design your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies into cactus shapes. Simply purchase a cookie cutter in the shape of a cactus and color your cookies with same colorful foliage of the succulents in your garden. Using the right piping tip, you can also create a rosette on your cupcakes.

Decorating Your Thanksgiving Dinner With Succulent Plants

Don’t we just love this season? Fiery leaves are falling and in many parts of America, snow has started to fall. Everywhere we go, there’s a holiday season vibe that seems to permeate the air. And over in our house, we’re prepping up for the much-awaited annual Thanksgiving dinner where we invite our family and friends for a night of marrying and well, eating. However, we want to make this year different. How do we do that?

First, let’s take a look at how we’re decorating our homes for this festive season.

Matching Succulents with Christmas Decors

Have you put up your Christmas trees and other Christmas ornaments? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t and don’t bother now for your Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas trees are better put up when you’re truly in that festive mood and not when you’re pressured and stressed out to do so. For this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, simply decorate your home with little knick-knacks of fresh succulent plants. Trust us, your home will be feeling Christmas-y and Thanksgiving-y in no time.

Succulents Providing Guests a Grand Welcome

Your patio is the first thing that your guests will notice when they arrive at your home. You’ll probably greet them there and you guys might even stay for a while to look at the neighborhood Christmas decorations. Make sure that your patio is inviting by putting up succulent ornaments. A simple hanging succulent in the entrance of your patio will look very chic and interesting. Simply put the hanging succulents in a glass orb and hang it from your patio’s ceiling. Just make sure you’re using a variety of succulent that will survive well during the winter season.

Succulents in the Living Room

Next, let’s look at your foyer or your living room. This is where your guests will have to wait until dinner is ready to be served. You’ll probably bring them a glass of champagne and some hors-d’oeuvres here. Focus on your table centerpieces where a miniature succulent garden should be in place. You can do this by purchasing a large terracotta pot with a wide opening, filling it up with soil, and designing them with pebbles, mini arbors, and miniature succulent plants. You can also use a large Jade tree in the corner of the room that you can decorate with twinkling Christmas lights. It’s going to look like your mini Christmas tree.

Succulents at the Dining Area

Finally, we arrive at your dining area where you and your guests are going to spend most of the dinner hours. Your guests will be focused on the food that you will serve, yes, but since they’re also in your dining table, you might as well give them something they can feast their eyes on. A grand succulent centerpiece is what we’re talking about. Think about how you’ll arrange a bouquet of roses. That’s how you want your succulent arrangement to look, too. You can use burro’s tail, rosettes, and other baby succulents to fill up the glass container. For this arrangement, you don’t need to put draining holes in the container since you’re going to return these plants to their original ones after dinner in your house.

How To Create An Adorable Tabletop Mini Succulent Garden

Tired of the usual succulent arrangement you see on your tabletop? Want something unique, fun, and interesting? Have you ever heard of a tabletop mini succulent garden? Basically, it’s an arrangement of succulents but designed as a miniature garden in a large terracotta. You can put it on your foyer, your dining room table, your living room center table, or even in your outdoor garden. These tabletop miniature gardens are so addicting to arrange and they make for a great conversation starter.

First, what you need are 12-inch terracotta pot saucer (with or without drainage holes), cactus mix potting soil, miniature garden furnishings (arbor, chair, wheelbarrow, urn, cat, and dog), tiny pebbles or crushed rocks, and succulents with small leaves such as Crassula Tetragona, sedums, small-stacked crassulas, and Sedum rubrotinctum.

You can get all these materials from your local gardening shop or hardware. Most of these can be found under the gardening section. As for the succulents, you can pick them up from your favorite succulent store or you can find all of these available online. Simply place the order and wait for the delivery guy to drop off your succulent plants. Just remind the seller to pack the plants as securely as possible, so that they won’t lose any leaves or break off any stem.

1. Fill the pot with soil.

Clean the succulents pot and make sure that there are no broken areas. If there are no draining holes, drill small holes at the bottom of the pot, so you can water the succulents. It doesn’t have to be too many holes. Just a few small ones will do; enough to drain the water off the arrangement. Fill the terracotta pot with potting mix up to ½ inch below the rim. Next, secure the miniature arbor about an inch inside the rim of the saucer.

2. Create the pathway.

Using the finely crushed rocks or the pebbles, create a pathway from the edge of the pot and down to the middle of the arbor to the other side of the saucer. Just think about your own pathway in your garden at home and you should be fine. Don’t be afraid about not perfecting it the first time because you can always adjust the “pathway.”

3. Add the plants.

If you are growing succulents at home, simply pinch the top-half inch of the plants so you can insert their rosettes or tips into the soil. Do not put the plants on your “pathway.” Rather, place them between the pathway and the rim, creating a lush greenery that surrounds your little arbor.

4. Put the accents.

Finally, make the tabletop miniature garden look more realistic by adding accents such as a cat sitting on a bench, the wheelbarrow, a dog sitting beside the arbor, etc. You can be as creative as you want to be when it comes to using accents for a miniature garden. You can also pattern your tabletop miniature garden after your very own outdoor garden. Just find miniature accents that look exactly like the things you have scattered around your garden.

Repurposed Succulents Decorations For Your Home

A couple of days ago, I attended a bridal shower that had succulents decorations. Cactuses and rosettes were arranged in a pot together with bright white roses. They made up most of the decors around the room, which made the area elegant and gorgeous. But above all, the succulents fitted the bride, a close friend of mine, who’s incredibly simple but has one of the classiest tastes I know in terms of home decorations.

After the bridal shower, which was a blast, by the way, I asked if I could take home one of the arrangements of succulents, and the bride agreed. I imagined it would look perfect as my table centerpiece, and I was right. Upon going home, I placed the pot filled with cactuses, roseum, burro’s tail, hens and chicks, and dudleya. There was a dozen of white roses thrown around the arrangement, and though I knew they wouldn’t last long, I opted for them since the combination of the succulents and white roses was too pretty to pass on.

So, upon arriving home, I immediately placed the arrangement on my table. They didn’t need any tinkering since they looked absolutely magnificent there on my big empty table. They stood out on their own, particularly against the colorful deco walls I have hanging around the dining area. They provided that lush of green that the dining room needed and I immediately thought of where else can I put such an arrangement.

Since I didn’t want to buy an arrangement of succulents for every room, I decided to repurpose the existing one on my dining table. A couple of days after, the white roses began to wilt while the succulents remained as beautiful and as gorgeous as ever.

While the roses needed water to thrive, the succulent plants, of course, had none of those requirements. I preferred to let the roses wilt and did not water the pot since I got it. The bride said the arrangement was watered before they arrived at the venue, so I deduced that the soil needs at least a week to completely dry out. As a result, the roses began to wilt and I had to take them out.

Although the succulents still looked beautiful sitting on top of my dining table, they lost their edge after the roses wilted. For me, they were just like any other succulents that I purposely arranged around the house. They don’t stand out anymore, and as much as I like to replant the roses, I was bored with them, truth to say. I wanted something more for this arrangement of roseum, burro’s tail, dudleya, and hens and chicks. I knew what I wanted to do and that is to propagate the succulents.

I replanted both the dudleya and hens and chicks outside where I knew they will likely thrive. They were outdoor succulents anyway, and they crave more sunlight and water than the roseum and the burro’s tail. Meanwhile, I put the burro’s tail in a hanging basket and arranged it in the foyer where it greets my guests. The roseum was the one I repurposed with the other succulents around the house. Since the roseum has such a versatile look, I mixed it with the other succulents arrangement and they immediately looked more gorgeous than ever.

4 Common Varieties of Indoor Succulent Plants

Succulent plants are everywhere—from corsages to earrings to wedding bouquets to home decor. They are taking over gardens as more people choose succulents over other types of flowers and plants because the former is easy to maintain and requires little to no attention. Most succulents grew in Africa and Central America where there is little humidity. They thrive in these conditions because their fleshy leaves can store water and as such, they have no need for constant watering, re-plotting, and even sunlight (though they are not adverse to it).

Even though these drought-resistant plans are simple to maintain, they still have a preference when it comes to location. In this article, we’ll talk about indoor succulent plants and the top common varieties that you can choose.

Indoor succulent plants grow best in room temperature where it is dry and there is little humidity. While they also need direct sunlight, the can adapt to lower levels of light provided indoors. They make for an ideal home décor because they come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. They are exciting décor both for the living room and even a child’s bedroom.

1. Burro’s Tail (sedum morganianum)

Known also as the donkey tail plant, this is the easiest plant to propagate and have inside the house. The name comes from the plant’s ability to grow four inches tall with a shape that resembles a tail. This succulent grows well when put in a well-draining container, where its long stems can hang off the edges of the pot.

2. Crown of Thorns (euphorbia milii)

This is a great indoor plant because it adjusts well to the temperature indoors which is mostly dry and has little moisture in the air. To best care for the Crown of Thorns, place it near a window where it can get three to four hours of sunlight every day. Make sure to only water the plant when the soil has completely dried out. In Thailand, there is a legend that the number of flowers that bloom on this plant will predict the future of the plant-keeper.

3. Flaming Katy (kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

This is a common houseplant and is native to Madagascar. It is best suited indoors because it is sensitive to the cold, and likes temperatures ranging between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to take care of the Flaming Katy, make sure to put it in a clay pot with draining holes at the bottom. They will produce more buds and flowers if they can get eight to 10 hours of sun every day. During late autumn and early winter, it can produce petals that are dark red, gold, and white in color.

4. Jade Plant (crassula ovata)

Jade Plant is one of the most popular indoor succulent plants. It is similar to a bonsai plant wherein the trunk grows thick with branches that jut out like a miniature tree. This plant has thick, shiny, dark green leaves that grow into an oval shape. Some varieties of Jade Plant have a red color at the tip of the leaf. Many believe that the Jade Plant brings luck which is why they can be found in most homes.

5 Healthy And Edible Succulents That You Can Easily Prepare

Salads and sautes are not the first things you will think about when you hear the word succulents. In fact, food will be the farthest from your mind. All you’ll probably think about is draining soil, terra cotta pots, pebbles, fertilizers, and propagation. Food is not synonymous with succulents, unfortunately, in this side of the world. But in farther south, where President Donald Trump plans to build his wall, succulent are delicious additions to their dinner fare.

Ever wonder how succulents taste like? Want to try how edible and healthy these are? Here are the top five edible succulents that you can turn into delicious salads, soups, and main courses:

1. Saguaro

If you have ever looked at an old Western movie and wondered what those ubiquitous plants in the background are called, that’s the Saguaro. But this is more than just a desert decoration. The night-blooming white flowers, which are the state flower of Arizona, produce greenish-pink fruits whose bright red pulp and black seeds have a sweet and nutty flavor. Tribes from Arizona and the Mexican people have used the Saguaro to make sweet jams, syrups, and ceremonial wines.

Rich in fiber, vitamin C, and B12, Saguaro can be chopped and turned into salads or biscuits.

2. Opuntia

Also called the “nopales” in Mexico and the many Mexican restaurants scattered all over the country, the Opuntia has a flavor similar to green beans though with a slightly chewy texture. It produces a fruit called tuna in Mexico but known as the prickly pear stateside, tastes like a mix of bubblegum and watermelon. The flat oval leaves of the Opuntia can be chopped and made into salads, soups, salsa, and tacos while the fruit can be peeled and sliced and eaten raw or juiced.

The leaves are rich in fiber and calcium, and it’s just 23 calories per cup. The fruit is high in vitamin C.

3. Stonecrops

Also known as sedums, Stonecrops have up to 600 species of plants. The leaves have a peppery and mildly bitter flavor that’s perfect for salads and stir-fry. If you want to eat these, make sure to take them in moderation because large quantities can upset the stomach. They are best used for stir-fry. The red-flowering sedum leaves, stems, and tubers are safe to eat raw while the yellow-flowering sedums need to be cooked because of a mild toxicity.

Stonecrops can relieve coughs and can lower blood pressure. It is also known for being applied to burns, cuts, hemorrhoids, and eczema.

4. Sea Beans

Scientifically called the Salicornia, Sea Beans grow on salt marshes and sandy beaches. Over the last years, they have grown popular among gourmet chefs. The flavor is similar to asparagus, so you can either eat it raw or pan-fry it. If you want to mellow out the intense sea salt flavor, you can blanch it in hot water.

Sea Beans are high in protein, iron, calcium, and iodine.

5. Dragon Fruit

Who knew Dragon Fruit came from a cactus? These fruits come from a night-blooming cactus known as the queen of the night. Their appearance may be striking but the flavor is very mild, almost like a bland melon. To eat it, you can scoop out the pulp and turn it into a smoothie or shake.

The Dragon Fruit is low in calories and packs protein, fiber, vitamin C, iron, and calcium.

Unique Ways of Using Succulent Plants In Your Events

Have you ever thought about how unique and interesting succulent plants are? How versatile they are compared to our regular garden plants? How great their textures are and how much range of colors and shapes they have? It’s truly amazing when you consider the many ways we can use succulents to make our homes more gorgeous and to make an ordinary office space homey.

But beyond our homes and our offices, we also see succulents being used to liven up a blank canvas of an event place. Have you seen a birthday party or an anniversary celebration with succulents as the main design? Don’t these plants look gorgeous and fun? Every event stylist is looking to design an event place that’s both beautiful and fun. You may think that’s a pretty ordinary combination but come to think of it. Roses are only beautiful. They are not fun. Peonies are pretty. They are not fun. Daises and sunflowers are fun, but they are not drop-dead gorgeous.

On the other hand, succulents are always beautiful when they are in full bloom. And also, they are fun once you consider all the different colors, shapes, and textures they bring to a room. People can gather around a succulent décor and talk about how unique the setting was and how the color matches the overall motif of the event. It’s a conversation-starter, and it’s also one of the most interesting decorative pieces an event can have.

Centerpieces and Bouquets

Do not think that you can only design with succulents alone. The best thing about these plants is that they are so versatile and flexible they can be mixed with other garden plants such as roses and tulips and they will still stand out. Or better yet, they can bring a touch of elegance to the already gorgeous bunch of red roses you have in your hand. You can use a succulent arrangement as table centerpieces or as bouquets for weddings. All you need to do is use different shapes and sizes of succulents to bring height and weight to the arrangement.

Ceiling Treatments

A popular trend these days is to hang flowers, balloons, lanterns, and other ornaments from the ceiling. This will create such a gorgeous backdrop in an indoor event place. How about hanging succulents instead? Succulents are great because they last long so even if you hang them as decorations during the day, they will still look as gorgeous as ever when the party extends to evening time. Roses and other flowers can easily wilt because of lack of water but succulents will still look plump and lively even after a day has passed.

Backdrops

How about a succulent garden as the background for the stage? We’re so used to using plastic ornaments and decors that we never stop to think about how gorgeous real flowers and plants would look like when they are used as a stage backdrop. Trust us, your photos will look priceless and you’ll feel like a million bucks.

4 Things To Consider When Choosing Containers For Succulents

After planning which succulents to plant in your garden, you will have to decide the size, material, and drainage capacity of the containers or pots. It is important to consider the quality of your containers for succulents before beginning to plant them because the healthy growth of the plants will also depend on the right material used for the container.

1. The Size of the Container for Succulents

Keep in mind that it is easier to grow plants in large containers because it allows their roots to grow without any hindrance. A large container holds more soil, which stays moist longer and does not dry out easily as the soil in small pots. The rapid temperature outside can cause fluctuations in the moisture content of the soil, so more soil and more moisture mean a better chance for these plants to thrive.

Small hanging baskets are prone to drying out quickly, especially during hot and humid summer days. Though succulent plants generally like the idea of being dried out and not being watered regularly, this routine might change if the soil will use its moisture.

It is also important to consider what plant to grow in each container. You have to consider the size of the plants’ root systems, though succulents don’t grow that much in terms of root size. If you are going into mixed planting and plans to combine different succulent variants, you may have to buy a large container to accommodate all the roots that would take place.

2. The Drainage Capability of the Container

Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are important. Without drainage holes, water will pool and plants may die because of “drowning.” The holes don’t need to be large, though they have to be sizeable enough to squeeze the remaining water out of the roots. If you managed to buy a container with no holes in them, you have to drill ones yourself. Or, you can use this as a cachepot, which is functional for managing large plants and heavy pots. Simply grow your plants in an ordinary nursery pot that fits inside a decorative cachepot. You can then move them separately when the weather requires.

3. The Material of the Container

Each material used to make containers has its own benefits and drawbacks. Terracotta containers are attractive, but they easily break. Concrete containers last long and they come in a range of sizes and styles, but they are heavy and could not be moved from one area to another. Fiberglass, plastic, and planters are lightweight, inexpensive, and are available in different sizes and styles. However, they can become brittle over time and may even break and cause your plants to die. Wood is natural-looking and they are attractive and protects roots from the temperature swings. But you need to be careful in choosing the type of wood. Don’t use creosote, which is toxic to plants.

4. The Preparation for the Container

When the soil is out inside the containers, they will naturally become heavy and you have to decide strategically where to place them in your garden. Metal and plastic containers are lighter compared to wood and terracotta containers, so you can hang metal and plastic containers even with the soil and plant in them. But remember that metal containers can get very hot, too, so make sure they are not directly under the sun. These are just some of the considerations you need to make when preparing the container for your garden.

3 Key Benefits of Container Gardens For Succulents

Pots, old fishbowls, metal tubs, half barrels, and an old crate overflowing with succulents, flowers, and plants add appeal to any garden, but they have practical purposes, too. Aside from making your gardens look incredibly gorgeous, container gardens are also flexible and versatile when it comes to the maintenance. Container gardening is ideal for people with small patches of lands to turn into a garden. They can also be employed by people who have no space to start even a tiny garden, which makes this strategy workable for those living in apartment buildings and condominiums.

In addition to growing flowers, those who can only plant on a little space in their balcony or their driveway can grow a wide variety of vegetable crops in containers. The most important spices and herbs—basil, thyme, chives, rosemary, spring onion, and even chili—in our pantry can grow in pots and containers. In fact, you can put these potted herbs on your windowsill by the kitchen and just nip their buds when you need them for cooking. How much fresher can that be, right?

1. Adds Versatility to Gardens

We are so used to seeing gardens with roses or tulips up front and a bunch of other plants and flowers below the front windows. But these plants don’t stand out primarily because we have come to expect to see the same plants and flowers house after house. Putting succulent plants in a container and putting two containers of the same style on either side of the front walk could serve as a welcoming decoration to your guests. Container gardening on the deck or the patio also adds a burst of color to an otherwise dreary garden space. Succulent plants lend instant color and texture, and it provides a focal point in the garden that ties the architecture of the house to the garden. In other words, it balances the overall look of the whole property.

2. Flexible Depending on Weather Conditions

Depending on weather conditions, you may need to transfer your succulent plants from outdoors to indoors, or vice versa. This is extremely hard to do, of course, if the plants have taken root in the actual garden soil. You would need to prepare well ahead of time and dig the plants’ roots to transfer them to specific containers. Do you really want to go through all that trouble every time the weather pushes you to put the plants inside? If they are in containers, you could easily put them carefully in a basket and transfer them to a safer place.

3. Provides Accents to the Garden

A single large container with an over-the-top succulent plant could serve as an accent to your garden. This could be the first thing that your guests will notice when they arrive at your property. Simply buy a container that’s big enough to embrace all the plants and flowers you want to combine. The possibilities are endless, of course, as you can combine succulents with ordinary houseplants. A guideline to follow is the “thriller, spiller, and filler” formula. The thriller is the focal point of the arrangement while the spiller will crawl over the edge of the containers. Finally, the filler will fill in the “gaps” in the arrangement.

Best Sources To Learn About Succulents

If you want to become good at growing succulents or any kinds of cacti plants, you need accurate information about its physical structure, its propagation, the right maintenance schedule, and the materials used to take care of these plants. The skill of taking care and growing succulents is not something you can just “wing.” You need the right information if you are to grow these plants in your own garden or even turn this passion into a profitable business.

Do you want to know how to take care of succulents, the proper way of propagating it, and choosing the right varieties for your garden? Have you ever considered going back to school or taking an online course that will teach you everything you need to know about these plants?

Before enrolling in an actual university or for an online course, you need first to know what you’re going into. The study of plants and the practice of garden cultivation and management is called horticulture. This is an actual job for many people and they make a profit by growing and managing gardens and plants. It is not to be taken lightly. You cannot say that someone is a horticulturist just because he has a “green thumb.” Before beginning to learn about succulents, you need to first learn to respect the science that defines it.

University Courses

Find out if the local university or college in your area has a department or institute of horticulture. This department will cover the course about succulents and cacti. The courses are usually just around 100 hours to finish, so you should be done easily and armed with enough knowledge to get your succulent garden going. Taking the course isn’t expensive as well. Some universities will offer the course for only $500. You get to spend that little money and learn everything you need about growing succulent plants and managing a garden.

Online Courses

Of course, if you don’t have the time to attend an actual university course, you can take it online. Meaning, your professor or instructor will send the manuals and the reading materials to you. After which, you will be given an assignment and you will be graded accordingly. The instructor is tasked to guide you as you complete the assignment and if necessary, provide comments, suggestions, and inputs to turn you into a better succulent gardener.

YouTube Videos

Don’t have the money to spend on an actual course about succulent? Want to do this sparingly? No worries because you can still learn plenty of things via free YouTube videos made by experts and vloggers. Just browse through the internet to find well-known succulent experts and see if they have made tutorial videos about succulents. You can find these videos on YouTube and you can digest as many information as you can.

Books

You can always check out the local library or the bookstore and find many books about horticulture and succulents. It’s not the same as seeing an actual gardener nip and water and propagate the succulents but if you are a good reader (meaning, you digest more information when you read than when you watch), this might be a good source of information for you.

Blogs

Blogs like the one found here at Cal Farms provide more personal narrative and comprehensive information about succulent plants. We touch succulent-related topics including growing, buying, choosing, maintaining and a lot more. We give a more general take on the things you find in schools, online courses, YouTube videos, and books.

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