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Herbs grow lush and abundant almost everywhere. Left to their own devices they will happily run rampant up to the garden fence and beyond. Yet they are allocated the stingiest applications in cooking – a sprig of parsley on the potatoes, a little chopped mint in the peas or a few leaves of basil on the spaghetti. Herbs grow in abundance because they are meant to be used that way. While the usual culinary wisdom is to timidly add them to cooked dishes, the best way to enjoy their fresh flavors and health-giving properties is raw, using them as abundantly as they grow.

Everyday herbs like parsley, chives, mint, cilantro and basil, herbs you know and hopefully love, make stunning salads. Hold the bunches of herbs by the stems and chop the leaves roughly. Toss the chopped leaves into a bowl and mix them all together. The fragrance will be glorious – this not a garnish, it’s the real thing. You can eat it just as it is, or toss a dressing over it and add other salad ingredients. Prepare for a taste shock – this anything but bland lettuce and tomatoes.

For a bigger salad that is more of a meal, add some Lebanese cucumber, cherry tomatoes, snow peas and radish. Cubes of avocado will add a creamy finish so you won’t even need a dressing. Serve it with ceviche, fish ‘cooked’ by sprinkling it with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Another way to serve herb salad is with lobster, mayo and fresh crusty bread rolls. This makes a great summer lunch for a friendly get-together and the fresh herbs add punch to the basic lobster roll. The gentler aromatic herbs like Italian parsley and chives will not overpower the lobster. But don’t just stop at familiar herbs. Explore the many varieties of basil like dark opal and Thai, and the vast range of mints – pineapple, chocolate, apple, lemon and spicy ginger mint. Lemon balm and lemon verbena are not just for tea, these herbs will add sweetness and delicate flavor to your salads.

Green smoothies can also take on a fresh burst of flavor with handfuls of herbs tossed in the blender. A blend of mint, watermelon and a squeeze of lime blitzed with ice cubes will cool you down on the hottest day. Make your favourite herb tea and cool it in the fridge for iced tea or freeze it in ice pop moulds for a refreshing and healthy treat.

The more you use fresh herbs, the more you experiment by mixing them with your favorite fruits and vegetables, the more new taste sensations you will enjoy!

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10 Themes for the Perfect Bachelorette Party

Every great party starts with a fantastic theme. Whether you are planning a quiet day of relaxation for the bride-to-be or an evening of wild abandon, focusing on a theme will help your party plans fall into place.

These 10 ideas range from traditional to unconventional, and they are sure to spark your imagination when it comes to planning an amazing bachelorette party that you and the bride will always remember.

Slumber Party

Pretend you’re 15 again, and throw an old-fashioned overnight party. Make popcorn, order pizza, and rent movies you liked as a teenager. Take time to do each other’s nails and indulge in a game of truth or dare.

Before the party, gather the ingredients for some brightly colored cocktails. Depending on the games you choose to play, the movies you rent, and any planned surprises, you can make your slumber party as innocent or as raunchy as you like.

Remember that sleepovers last longer than the night. Have supplies on hand to make a big breakfast in the morning.

Lingerie Party

Combining a bachelorette bash with a lingerie shower can be fun. Ask guests to bring some sexy lingerie for the bride-to-be, and see whose gift can shock her. For a more adult event, guests can bring grown-up toys as well.

To get the evening started, ask each guest to bring panties that express her personality. Then ask the bride to determine which panties were brought by which guest.

Spa Party

Take the bride to a spa for a day of pampering. Enjoy massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. You could also throw this party at home. If you have the money to spend, hire massage therapists to come to you.

For a less expensive option, set up some at-home spa treatment stations with homemade skin treatments to try on each other. See if you can borrow a massage chair and a home foot spa.

Ask friends who are great at nails to bring their supplies. Serve fancy cocktails and appetizers for guests to enjoy as they relax.

Wine Tasting

Book your group for a vineyard tour and wine tasting event. This choice is perfect for an upscale afternoon, especially for the bride who appreciates good wine.

Alternatively, you could buy several different kinds of wine to taste at home. Ask each guest to bring her favorite for everyone to try. If you aren’t wine experts, print out a guide to the proper way to sample wine.

Chartered Boat

Take your guests out on the water in a rented boat. Opt for a party boat, a luxurious yacht, or a relaxing catamaran. Some boating services will offer drinks and food, while others will require you to bring your refreshments.

You can save money by making reservations for your group on a touring boat rather than chartering the whole vessel yourself. Some short cruises will have dancing and other entertainment.

If the bride-to-be is less of a party girl and more into the outdoors, you might want to reserve space on a fishing boat and try catching your dinner.

Shooting Range

Take your gun loving group for an adventure at a shooting range. A guide will teach each guest how to shoot a weapon correctly, and then you will have a chance to test your skills.

You can also try your skills at a shooting range that allows you to fire automatic weapons and other guns that you might not have a chance to experience anywhere else. Just remember to do any drinking after your visit to the shooting range.

Dance Class

Head to a local dance studio, and reserve some time with a professional dance teacher. Learn sexy salsa dancing, country line dancing, or ballroom techniques.

For a sexier party, take a class in pole dancing. When you’ve finished your lessons, take the party to a club where you can try out your new skills.

Race Across Town

Divide guests into pairs or teams, and lead them on a crazy night through your hometown. Each group should get a clue pointing them from the first location to the next. At the second place, arrange for them to get a clue for the third one. When everyone has made their way through retails stores, playgrounds, car washes, or any other creative destination, send them to your house or a restaurant where the party will continue.

Comedy Club

Bring on the laughs by spending the evening at a comedy club. If you make it clear by your appearance that you are a bachelorette party, the bride-to-be is likely to get plenty of attention from the stage.

If you have budding comediennes among your friends, attend an open mic night and encourage each other to participate. That can be an especially fun evening when combined with karaoke.

Camping

Appreciate nature and chill out under the stars on a camping trip. Borrow a camper or set up tents, and spend the evening laughing and bonding over a campfire. Ask musicians in your group to bring guitars for a sing-a-long, and don’t forget the marshmallows.

Not all bachelorette parties are the same, and you can throw the perfect party for the bride-to-be you love. Take her interests, personality, and comfort into account as you consider just the right theme for a pre-wedding celebration she will look back on with joy for the rest of her life.


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