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7/30/2008 08:48:00 PM

Lavender Ice Cream

Fresh Lavender Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup sugar
4 cups light cream
1/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 handful fresh Lavender angustifolia flowers*

*The deeper the colour of your Lavender flowers, the more colour your ice cream will have. I use our deepest coloured "Hidcote " Sweet Lavender. Pick when just freshly opening, not older over bloom for the freshest taste.

Gently heat the milk and fresh Lavender together. Do not boil.

Strain out the Lavender & stir in the salt & sugar while still hot.

Stir in vanilla extract & cream.

Chill immediately, minimum 2 hours.

Churn or process as your ice cream maker directs, then skip to step #8.OR by hand follow steps #6 & #7~

Pour mixture into a stainless steel bowl and place in your freezer.

Every 15 minutes, whisk or beat until icy or thickened.

In the last few minutes or just before you remove from the ice cream maker: sprinkle in a few fresh florets of Lavender! Fresh raspberries an option or Lemon peel zest.

PS: Dried angustifolia Sweet Lavender can be used, try 3 Tbsp. and add when milk is already heated, time 5 minutes, strain immediately. Then follow as above. Over steeping with dried Lavender makes the taste bitter & the colour grey. If you like a stronger Lavender flavour, use 4-5 Tbsp. dried Sweet Lavender.

7/30/2008 02:26:00 PM

Zucchini Crisps

1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsps Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
dash garlic powder
4 small unpeeled zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine crumbs, cheese and seasonings; place in a plastic bag. Dip zucchini strips in butter and shake in the crumbs to coat. Place on a baking sheet; bake5F for 10 minutes or til crisp. 4 servings.

7/30/2008 03:25:00 AM

Oh and by the way...

The second Carnival of Home Preserving is out. You can find it listed on the Quiverfull Family blog page. I am very excited about being apart of a second one! So make sure to have a look at the other tips and recipes over there!

7/30/2008 03:01:00 AM

Busy busy bee

If I get any busier I'm going to bust! Once again I'm coming home to presents on my door knob. I just adore my neighbor. So much to do so little time! Going to getting some tomato relish made again this year and I'm still trying to figure out new and interesting ways of cooking zucchini. The ones he is bringing me are just monstrous. So lots of Parmesan zucchini crisps and such. I'll have to get some of that stuff posted here. Give me some time I'll be back!

7/23/2008 11:43:00 PM

Tomato Relish

I grew up on tomato relish and last year I made an incredible batch of them. We canned 12 pints and I put together some smaller jars for folks I work with. And I got good reviews. Good mostly because in the area I live, no one knew what it was. I had to explain. But it is really good, especially with a big batch of black eyed peas or purple hull peas and cornbread! Or to eat with fried okra. It was a hard transition I had to make eating salsa with my fried okra because I was far away from home. But no more!

30 large tomatoes
10 large yellow onion (or something with more bite if you prefer)
5 large green bell peppers
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
3 tbs salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups cider vinegar

Peel and seed (or leave the seeds to have that bitter flavor if you prefer) tomatoes. Chop tomatoes, onions and peppers. Combine with rest of ingredients and cook on medium to low heat for several hours until relish turns a deep red color and is very thick. Spoon into sterile jars and seal. This is excellent on hamburger patties, leftover roast and black eyed peas. It can be made with canned tomatoes, about 7 (28 oz.) cans of a good brand, frozen chopped onions and green peppers.

Yield: 6 to 8 half pints.

Because my neighbor was hanging grocery bags on my back door, I only had to purchase the onions, the rest was given to me because he'd had about enough!

My husband discovered it was awesome putting in a roast with potatoes and carrots, the relish made a tangy addition to the same ole boring roast. And adding more flavor to the party is always a great thing.

The awesome thing about making and canning your own foods is that you know exactly went into them. There is something truly magical about slicing up vegetables to create something magnificent. Especially this recipe. It doesn't take as long to do this as it has other canning project's I've done throughout my life. This would be a tasty one for beginners because it is so easy, there is just a lot of prep work.

After we set it up, I popped open a can one night while making purple hull peas and I drizzled the relish over some zucchini as I gave the greens a good run in a pan. It was delicious!

If anyone decides to take on this little adventure, let me know how it works out, I'd love to see comments!

7/23/2008 11:20:00 PM

Body Wraps

I found this surfing around years ago and somehow managed to lose the author information to it. So if you are the person who put this together, please email me and let me know how you would prefer I give you credit.

Body Wraps

I prefer the essential oil body wraps because they are less messy. You just apply the oil mixture to the area, then wrap in plastic wrap. Be sure to use therapeutic grade essential oils if you want results. I buy my oils from Young Living Essential Oils. Drink plenty of water after any body wrap.

Essential Oil Body Wrap

30 Ledum oil
15 Grapefruit oil
10 Lemon oil
10 Lemongrass oil
10 Cypress oil
4 oz. V-6 Mixing Oil or Massage Oil Base

Layer the massage table with a tarp (silver lining up)[I got a 6 X 9ft one on sale for $5.99], a wool blanket, a bed sheet, and a thin plastic sheet (like the cheap drop cloth you can buy for painting for$1.00 at Dollar General & can be cut in half).

Lay down on top of the plastic and have someone rub the oil blend all over your body(omitting the chest area). This includes legs, feet, arms, and hands. We used approximately an ounce of the mixture. After the oil is applied, have the person bring the plastic tightly around you tucking it between your legs and between your arms and body. Then the sheet (wrapping it as if you were wrapping a baby in a receiving blanket). Next put a large hot towel over your body, then wrap the blanket around you and finally the tarp. Stay in this cocoon for 45 minutes to an hour. After you are unwrapped you will be wet from the fluid you have shed. It might be wise to wrap up in a dry sheet, towel or blanket to cool down for a while. I don't shower because I want the oils to stay on my body as long as possible.

Cellulite Body Wrap:

5 drops rosemary oil
10 drops grapefruit oil
2 drops cypress oil
1/2 to 1 oz. V-6 Mixing Oil or Massage Oil Base

Cellulite Body Wrap Recipe:

10 drops grapefruit oil
5 drops lavender oil
3 drops helichrysum oil
3 drops patchouli oil
4 drops cypress oil
1/2 to 1 oz. V-6 Mixing Oil or Massage Oil Base

Body Wrap Recipe:

8-10 cups distilled or Spring water
1 cup sea salt
4 cups Bentonite Clay
½ cup Dulse Powder
2 cups granulated kelp
50 drops grapefruit or lemon oil
30 drops cypress oil

Combine water and sea salt in saucepan and heat until salt is dissolved. Add other ingredients and mix until it is a smooth paste.

Green Tea Wrap
8 cups very hot water
2 cups sea salt
½ cup Echinacea powder
½ cup green tea powder
50 drops grapefruit oil
40 drops lemon oil

Bring the water and sea salt to a boil. Add herbs only, one at a time, then strain after heated for 15 minutes. Let mixture cool until it is not to hot to touch. Add oils, mix. Dip cloth strips in mixture, then wring out. Wrap body with very warm cloth strips.

Clay and Seaweed
8 cups spring water
4 cups green clay
2 cups sea salt
2 cups kelp
1 dropper green tea extract
50 drops grapefruit oil
30 drops cypress oil

Simmer green tea and water. Do not boil. Add sea salt until dissolved. Add herbs and clay, mix well. Remove from heat, add oils. Mixture should feel like a wet paste. Add more water of clay to get desired consistency.

Post Wrap Massage Oil Blend
Citrus Blend

4 oz grape seed
30 drops grapefruit oil
20 drops cypress oil
10 drops lavender oil

Mix by shaking well

7/22/2008 09:59:00 PM

Lavender Lemonade

Hidcote lavender turns lemonade rosy pink. Other varieties turn it a paler color. Avoid piney-smelling lavenders, such as spike. For that extra touch, garnish lemonade with fresh lavender sprigs. Makes: 6 cups

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (a generous handful) fresh or 1 tablespoon dried lavender blooms stripped from stems
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
Ice cubes
Lavender sprigs for garnish

Combine sugar with 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.Add the lavender blooms to the sugar water, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand at least 20 minutes (and up to several hours).Strain mixture and discard lavender. Pour infusion into a glass pitcher. Add lemon juice and another 21/2 cups water. Stir well and watch lemonade change color.Pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice or refrigerate until ready to use.

If you're too lazy to make it from scratch, you can cheat by buying it.

7/22/2008 03:13:00 PM

Pleased as Punch

Laura Williams hosted a "Carnival of Home Preserving" event that has now published. Go take a look at some tasty instructions and very knowledgeable folks that have also participated in the event. Including me! Which makes me pleased as punch that my meatballs are being shown off over there.

Make meat balls! You know you wanna. And come back and tell me how it went. Comments are always welcome.

7/22/2008 01:19:00 AM

Rosemary Dip

For those of you fortunate enough to have fresh rosemary, this is a must!

Now doesn't this sound good?

Rosemary Dip
2 cups Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Rosemary flowers or flowering tops, chopped
1/2 cup Walnuts or Hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy Cream
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Pinch Sugar

Allow the cream cheese to soften; add the Rosemary flowers or flowering tops, nuts, cream, salt, and sugar. Blend together with a wooden spoon;chill. Serve with crackers.

7/19/2008 11:17:00 PM

After Sun Healing Spray

It's July. The hottest part of the year has yet to come. Make sure to put on your sunblock but in case you forget, try this recipe out.

1/2 cup distilled water
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup aloe gel or juice
8 drops lavender
2 drops chamomile
1 drop geranium
1 teaspoon honey

Combine ingredients, shake well before each use. Store in the refrigerator for cool relief from minor sunburn.

7/19/2008 07:24:00 PM

Pumpkins and Carrots

The little container garden we've started is in full swing! We have blooms on every pumpkin plant we have! If this is any indication of how well these guys are going to produce I'm certain our first year with a fresh veggie/fruit stand will do quite nicely.

We do pumpkin decorating contests where I work and my boss offered to purchase my pumpkins instead of going to the store when I went into work babbling about the lush green that is coming out of these guys. Not a single pumpkin on the vine yet and we've already got some business.

The carrots finally have true leaves. I'm thrilled about the success we're having. Its a good feeling to do this. I know exactly what is going into the soil because I'm the one putting it in. My children are excited to be involved in this. Seth, my oldest, is the one who sparked this by asking me what I did when I was his age. I told him I grew up on a farm and that was when the barrage of questioning came. I think its really awesome that my 6 year old wants to have a garden and is the one that makes sure to always remind that we need to water and asks if it is time for the kelp fertilizer. My youngest doesn't get as vocally involved, but he knows automatically that he needs to hunt down the water can so we can get it filled up. I know this will sound strange, but they argue who gets to do the work.. and that is certainly fine by me! I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Unopened blooms, true leaves on the carrots, I've got bell peppers ready to start hardening off. We're just moving right along with seeds in the freezer for a spring planting.
I'm trying to start off small and slowly work our way up. With the help of the kids, we make sure to take notes on our garden, to see what reactions we get in container gardening. Next year, pumpkins, carrots, bell pepper and tomatoes will be a breeze and we'll tackle new additions and start all over again.
I really think this is a plan that more newbies to gardening should take. While I grew up on a farm and we grew most of our food on that farm, I know some things about gardening already but I didn't want to overwhelm us with all these plants either. This is a mistake that a lot of new gardeners take and its why some of them fail. They take on too much at once and can't keep up with multiple issues because they just don't know how and it takes so long to solve some problems by the time the problem is solved, the plants have sustained too much damage or are already dead.
Everything in moderation, right?

7/19/2008 02:17:00 AM

Saving Private Benjamin

It's all about the Benjamins and keeping his face firmly planted in my pocket. Gas prices, food supply costs going up, everything is getting much more expensive. It's frightening. For those of us that are cattle owners and chicken raisers with fresh eggs aren't safe anymore. Now they have to contend with the destruction of their property and the theft of their only ripened foods with every thing that hasn't ripened yet torn off the vine so that it never will. These types of sabotage are beginning everywhere. My father was going off on this very subject the last time I talked with him. Then another friend in a different state on the other side of the country complained of something similar.

We're already feeling the heat. I know in my own household we have a side of beef, enough chicken to feed a small country... twice and canned and dried foods hanging out in another room other than the kitchen (my kitchen is barely large enough to handle what we eat in a week. Virtually enough to get us through a year without having to pay higher and higher prices. And also being close with a community of people that have a cannery that we can use and purchase what we want to fill those cans with here. (Did I mention that networking is the key? I don't think I did, network, network, network!)

Point being that not everyone magically knows that there are systems out there that aren't government driven and thus don't need a list a mile long of things that prove you're you after you've been sitting in an office that doesn't have air conditioning waiting to give your story to someone that doesn't really care they just plug in some numbers and tell you that making $9.00 an hour is too much to get day care aid and its too much for full benefits, but they'd be more than willing to give you the whopping $35 for a month. Of course you took it because it would mean that is one more meal on the table and one night less that you had to worry about if you could serve anything more than just smoother fried potatoes.

But there are places out there that can help out! I've personally done this one and still do it. I have a friend that is a high class lawyer and she gets two. The idea here is that you spend $25 for a box of food that changes from month to month. The box has pasta, canned veggies/fruit, frozen pizzas, meatballs, breakfast stuffs. They have side boxes that are $17 to $18 a piece that are grill packs during the winter months and alternate stuff like 15 lbs of breaded chicken nuggets and a 5 pound bag of chicken. Steak. The list is long, so go look at their site to find out which church is handing it in your area. The $25 spent would be doubled for the same items at a normal grocery store. And if you need help to the car, that have handsome little boys and girls push the dolly out to your car. There is no obligation to do this service other than the funds. The only drawback on this is you have a small window to pay and then you have to wait for 3 weeks before you get it. So look it up, and get some help, and be happy!

Another program is called SHARE is similar to Angel Food. Angel Food is hosted by the Baptist community here, Share is done by Catholic Charities. I found a site that has them listed.

Support your local farmers! The Farmer's Market is something to be praised and cherished. Without those wonderful souls toiling away for several months growing the food they wish to share with others, we would always be stuck with getting foods that are solely stored at the grocery store. I certainly don't want that!

Buy in bulk. You can buy a pound of this or 10 pounds of that, invest in a seal a meal and vacuum them up and tuck them away in your freezer. I buy all my culinary herbs in bulk. I have pounds and pounds and pounds of this stuff separated out in more manageable sizes because we cook with herbs and spices so much that it didn't seem feasible buying a tiny jar of it at the store when I could order it by the pound for the same price or less for a pound a piece.

Buy a freezer. Please. Buy one. They aren't that expensive. I have a 5 cubic foot one that ran me less than $135. I bought another one a 7 cubic foot and I spent $180-ish. I make fewer trips to the store, spend less money on full priced items and more on sale items because I can afford the luxury of not purchasing it if it isn't on sale because I have dinner sitting in the freezer at home. But to keep it filled, I have to buy. I just make the choice to go only when I know the sales are going on.

Having said that, buy a side of beef. Mine came pre-vacuum sealed so all I had to do was load it into the freezer. It will take a family of 4 (with several large bbq's going on) about 9 months to eat one 12 depending on the size of the beef. I immediately thawed out the a bunch of hamburger and started making meatballs as my first set of prepare ahead meals.

Buy on sale: I buy 16 ounce bags of frozen vegetables when they are on sale like that, I can't pass it up. I cook up several bags at a time and can what we don't eat (or just vacuum seal it and drop it back into the freezer in family serving sizes).

Plan your meals before you shop. If you do this, you will buy what you need instead of just tossing stuff in the buggy that looks good. Planning gives you a game plan. Your in, your out and you spent only what you needed to spend.

Check out the farms in your area. If any of them are apart of a co-operative, buy into it. It will enable you to get the freshest foods during the growing season and most of these will have more than just fruit and vegetables. Eggs, honey, milk... it just depends on the farms in your area. Once you've researched and picked out one, talk to them about your needs so that you can come up with a way to make not only you happy, but the man that is toiling away in the hot sun, too. He gets capital you get fresh food. Not a bad way of buying locally and helping to keep a farmer on his farm.

Check with your local extension. They will usually have information on farms and such around your area. Check with your local government who probably fund such things so they would be able to point you in the right direction.

And still there is growing it yourself. It is not as expensive as some people think. Dwarf citrus trees go for about $12.99 a piece with breaks if you buy two or more. I've seen all sorts of dwarf varieties: Blueberries, orange, lime, lemon, tangerine, pomegranate, fig, banana, cherry, apple, etc. None of the dwarf varieties I list here get above 6 feet tall and can remain in their planter. Container gardening in general is fairly easy to do and with some trial and error, can yield immense crops in small spaces. If you're pressed for space, grow your favorite ones or perhaps the ones that are most expensive so you are paying that much less every month your garden produces.

Happy living!

7/17/2008 09:27:00 PM

Aeroponics and Hydroponics

In an earlier post I found some info on how to build an Aeroponic system. I do plan on building one but I won't be able to build it for some time as space is an issue. While that is unfortunate, it has given me plenty of time to work on plans for what type of system I want.

I found this system which is nicely done and feasible. It recycles two liter bottles as the plant container which I really like. We go through enough sprite making cherry limeade's that we definitely can use the help recycling. This system is probably the most practical due to the fact that it is a fairly simple design and there isn't an a whole lot of construction involving power tools. Giving this one a 8 on the greener meter. I found another site with similar plans.

I've seen the bucket system quite a bit while researching. While most systems utilize spray emitters, this one simply uses a garden hose which has been punctured to allow spraying. Probably saves a little bit of cash doing it this way, too. The problem I have with this system is that it is bulky. It will take up a lot of room. Five gallon buckets aren't small. In the system above, we can control how far apart the plants are from each other by simply making the pipe shorter or longer to fit out needs. In the bucket system that isn't the case. But a pro for this system is if you're only looking to grow two or three plants then you don't have to do half the work setting it up that you would still have to do for the one above. Liking this one enough to give it a 5 on the greener meter.

The Greenman's system is a rather nice project for the home hobbyist. It isn't a huge elaborate system, but it isn't exactly tiny either. It's done with things that are easily located and purchased locally. It is made in such a way that anyone can do it. The instructions are to the point and there are photo's for each step which helps a lot if you're not construction inclined. 40 holes for small plants or make fewer larger ones for bigger plants. The only drawback to this system is that it isn't easily expanded. So if there are a lot of plants one wants to grow, more than one system would need to be built. Not a bad thing if you like to have a project that will keep you busy for a few hours. Definitely giving this one an 8 on the greener meter.

I came across this set up and it is cool! The stacker method is a space saver, instead of utilizing floor space, it goes vertical to make growing a lot of plants in a small space possible. There is a shot of a large hoop house with these things in it and it will definitely out produce anything that was growing just one layer of plants! More growing without having to buy another room to put it in. Giving this one a 9 on the greener meter.

I also found a potential profit calculator if you are interested in seeing how you might be able to make some extra cash for surplus plants and vegetables/fruits.

Growing plants in this type of environment requires something more than just air and water. There are several different growing mediums for this. Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber, oasis cubes, ect. The list goes on and on and on. As the plant will get all of the nutrients it needs from the water, the need for soil is eliminated but it still needs something to help it stand up. Read up on the different mediums and make the choice yourself.

And while you're reading up on the different types of mediums, make sure to visit the FAQ at Hydro University. The entire site is just a gem! I learned a good bit there, more than everywhere else.

There are varying degrees of gadgets one could get. CO2 emitters are used to feed the plants just as much as the nutrients in the water. With the CO2, you definitely need a fan to clear the room after each session. Folier sprays help plants with deficiencies recover quickly. pH testers help keep things in balance by letting the grower know if the water is too acidic or alkaline. Temperature and humidity testers, system cleaners, water conditioners, propagation products to help with cloning, pest control, beneficial insects, soil amendments, ect. The list just keeps on going. All of these things are important, but not as important than lighting.

There is a staggering array of lighting units. Fluorescent, metal halide, and high pressure sodium can be found on numerous sites. Reflectors are used to optimize the light plants receive and Mylar is used to line walls to also increase the light plants get. The lights range from 40 watts to 1000 watts.

There are timers to control the lights, fans and pumps. Meters to test lighting, pH balance, temperature, humidity. Equalizers to reduce hot spots that could potentially give the plants sun burn. Motorized systems that send lights moving across large systems. Friendly insects to aid in pest control. Liquid vitamins, bloom enhancers, pH controllers, catalyst additives, flavor and aroma enhancers, disease preventatives, energy boosters, and the list keeps going on and on.

Most of the liquid additives are obvious and for the ones that aren't it is easy to find out what its for exactly by a little research. Some places I've read say that liquid kelp is all that is needed, and others swear by the lot of chemicals listed above and then some. It choice is really up to you and how your plants do.

As I come across more information, I'll get it posted!

7/16/2008 06:53:00 PM

Fancy Green Beans

While at my mother-in-law's one Thanksgiving, she produced some awesome green beans. They were sweet, salty, tangy. I asked her for the recipe and she told me where to go get it. Thanks to Paula Deen we have Fancy Green Beans.

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans

2 slices bacon

1/2 cup red bell pepper strips

1/2 cup thin onion wedges

1/2 cup whole cashews

In a small bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, honey, and butter. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the lemon juice. Drop in the beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beans are bright green. Drain the beans in a colander and then plunge them into the iced water. Drain again and set aside.

In a skillet, cook the bacon until very crispy, crumble and set aside. Saute the bell pepper and onion in the hot bacon fat for 2 minutes. Add the beans, cashews, and bacon to the skillet. Add the teriyaki-honey sauce and toss gently.

7/15/2008 07:58:00 PM

Menstrual Frustration

I have become a lot greener today. I try to think about ways of being more green friendly considering how much I love the earth and the seasons and the circle that they represent. I have a healthy respect for Mother Earth. When I started thinking about where all the wipes go when I'm done using them and where the packaging from foods go after I've emptied them I also started thinking about menstrual pads.

Reading up on this has shown me that the average woman spends a small fortune in disposable pads every year. I know I do. When I first started looking into cloth pads I was aghast at how much one costs. On one site I went to one pad cost $18.00. But after I got my heart beating again, I did the math. It is much much cheaper in the long run for me to purchase reusable cloth pads than it is for me to buy disposables. I'm not filling up a land fill. I'm saving money in the future because I don't have to spend all that money on disposables.

I have a healthy list of links.

First, if you're crafty and you have time, this site and this site have instructions with patterns on how to make your own cloth pad. I'm going to attempt this when I get a chance.

I ordered from Many Moons but there is also Luna Pads, Wemoon and Glad Rags. There are lots of sites that sell them pre-made. There is a link list on the left side that have links to these sites.

This site has articles and a list of links for cloth pad manufacturers scoring a 7 on the greener meter due to content.

This site also has a nice organized listing of international cloth pad companies scoring a 9 on the greener meter.

If you're not a pad user, have no fear, there is also a natural tampon type menstrual cup.

Enjoy a happier period.

7/15/2008 06:05:00 PM

New Look

We have a new look! I just love it and hope you do as well. I'm cleaning house so some of the things on the sidebar are going to be gone for a while until I'm happy with the changes.

7/15/2008 04:30:00 PM

Carnival of Home Preserving

Thanks to Laura Williams for dropping by and giving an invite to be apart of the Carnival of Home Preserving. I am thrilled to contribute!

I was scooting around her site and it is just wonderful! So make sure to head over to Laura Williams' Musing and check out all the great things she has to offer!

Laura Williams' Musings

Thanks again Laura!

7/15/2008 12:26:00 AM

Meatball Mania! Followup

All of the meatballs were a success. We decided at the last minute to make a sesame ginger one as well which turned out great.

The favorite was the Caribbean Jerk. We decided all of the recipes needed about 1/4 of the marinade we put in instead of a couple of tablespoons. When we remade the Caribbean Jerk, we added a lot more of the marinade and it turned out just wonderfully. Needless to say, very few of them were left to freeze.

Better luck next time I guess.

It's been a real blast putting them together. I think the coolest thing is getting input from the kids who munched down more than we did.

Each recipe was easily made:

Caribbean Jerk Meatballs
2 pounds of ground beef
1/4 cup Caribbean Jerk Marinade
1/2 yellow onion diced
1/2 orange bell pepper diced
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup of bread crumbs

Pre-heat oven to 375. Mix everything together but the crumbs. Mix thoroughly. Add the bread crumbs, mix until combined. Roll into balls. Bake for 25 minutes flipping the meatballs over half way through. Serve on a bed of jasmine rice with chunks of pineapple mixed in. We considered grilling the pineapple and adding it to the rice, but we weren't using the grill so we decided against it.

To freeze, simply place cooked meatballs in freezer bags or vacuum seal to extend their life. I prefer the vacuum seal personally.

Man these were good. It's a fairly easy recipe and it makes quite a bit depending on the size of the meatballs.

The recipe is basically the same for each one except for the sauces/liquids and minus the pineapple in the above recipe.

Sesame Ginger
Cilantro and red pepper (for the Fireball)
Peanut sauce and sesame seeds
Cheese (I used Colby jack) and garlic (4 large cloves)

Possibilities are endless. And each one can be served alone or on a bed of rice or noodles or in a sauce. We're still working on deciding how we want to serve them. Though, now that I think about it, pineapple in the sesame ginger sounds pretty good. Or perhaps making the meatball with watercress in the middle or chopped and mixed in.

The best thing about cooking your own meals from scratch is that you get to go through the fun of figuring out what the best way to serve them would be. Not to mention the family time. I know that when my children grow up they will look back on our time in the kitchen fondly.

Who could ask for more?

7/13/2008 12:44:00 AM

Homemade Lavender Water Recipes

Lavender water can be used in a variety of ways around the house. Some ideas:
When washing bedding and linens, add some lavender water to the rinse cycle. Your bedding will have a light lavender scent.

Use when ironing, spritz a bit of the lavender water on the items being ironed. Will add a nice lavender scent to the garment.

Lavender water can also be used as a beauty aid, try it as a skin freshener on hot summer days, a hair rinse, splash in the bath or dab around temples for headache relief.

Insect repellent, try it for mosquito repellent use as well as a mosquito bite itch helper. Lavender deters flies and other insects too.

How To Make Lavender Water - Recipes

Recipe #1

Mason Jar
Lavender Buds

Fill the glass jar with lavender and cover completely with vodka. Seal jar.
Place the jar in a sunny location for about 18 days, rotate and shake the jar each day–morning and night.
After 18 days, strain the lavender from the vodka and seal the liquid in a clean glass jar.
Use as needed.

Recipe #2
2 cups water (distilled)
3 TBS vodka
15 drops Lavender essential oil

Mix the essential oil and vodka together then add water. Seal in a jar or bottle, keep in a dark place for 2 weeks before using.

7/13/2008 12:21:00 AM

Meatball Mania!

My last meatballs intended for the freezer never made it out of the bowl in which they were cooling. Not an entirely sad thing as it struck a cord on what I want to do next.

The base recipe that I put together the first time I made meatballs was a huge success on the first run. I'd never made meatballs before then and I didn't look it up on the net. I just went with what felt right. So having talked about them with my husband who wanted to stuff them with cheese, it sparked a rather interesting brainstorming session. This is what we came up with:

Cheesy Meatballs will be the base recipe plus crushed garlic and Colby Jack cheese mixed into it.

Italian Meatballs of course will follow the base recipe but with Italian herbs and Parmesan.

Thai Meatballs will have a Thai peanut sauce and sesame seeds mixed in. This will be served with jasmine rice, snow peas and water chestnuts. I'm still working out how I'm going to make them.

Caribbean Jerk Meatballs will have the jerk and crushed pineapple mixed in. Served on a bed of short noodles, orange bell pepper, red bell pepper and ... well, I'm not sure yet.

Fireball Meatballs will have cilantro, yellow onion, allspice or nutmeg and honey mixed into the meat.

I'm kicking around glazing them, too. Orange, lemon, pear or apple. But I haven't worked that one out all the way just yet.

The idea here is to create. Get them made, taste them and then say "You know what would go well with this?" When that comes out, you've got the makings of whole dinners.

And who knows if half of these won't turn out to be just horrible! I doubt it, though. These are good flavor combinations.

Speaking of meals. I created a new dish today. I was inspired when I watched something on Food Network.

Seth said right after his first bite that it was fantastic! I was very pleased that I got that kind of praise from the picky one. Connor couldn't eat all of his, but daddy was there to scoop up the plate and inhale it for him.

It's very simple:

Dana's Open Omelet

Fry 8 pieces of bacon until crisp. Set aside. Dice a medium yellow onion and add to the bacon drippings. When they are soft, crush 4 large cloves of garlic into the pan. Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes. Crack open a can of Stewed tomatoes the basil oregano garlic one and add that to the mix. Add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and dried thyme (if you force me to guess, I'd say 1/2 tablespoon on the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme) While that is heating, cut the bacon down to 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices. Add that to the tomato base and heat for 2 minutes. Set aside. Spray non-stick oil into a pan, beat the eggs, whirl around the pan to coat. When the egg is just getting done, add a sprinkling of shredded Colby jack (or whatever your preference). Slowly work a spatula around the edges if your egg sticks to the pan. Slip it out of the pan and onto a plate. Add some tomato mixture, top with more cheese. Serve immediately.

I came up with that this morning. My family loves it. My husband demanded I write it down so he can do it. It's big flavor. I'm thinking that a orange, banana, strawberry juice to go with it will make it even better. I'm also thinking of trying some sour cream on the egg after it is done to see how that goes.

7/13/2008 12:06:00 AM

Garden Outlook

It is amazing to me how a tiny seed can just sprout a plant. My pumpkins have a wild will of their own. We planted them in this one 15 gallon container knowing that we'd get a good yield. They have just excelled in their growth so much. We're going to have a great time when these guys yield some pumpkins. Pumpkin pie for us is an autumn tradition. I start making it as soon as the pumpkins come on the market and put up enough to get us through the holidays making many many many pumpkin pies, most of which never go used for their original intent due to the fact that I have little dervishes tearing silently through the house when everyone thinks I'm not watching. They devour the pie in two seconds flat and hum a tune as they stroll away reeking of my pumpkin pie spice. Kinda makes me feel good that my pie is so loved.

On the other hand, I'm glad I have plenty of kelp. These guys are just moving right along. I'm hoping the other blooms will give some berries soon. Having two at a time would not do very much around here. We're excited none-the-less!

Tiny as they are, they are still going strong. We have true leaves! At last count we had about 38. We're jabbing our fingers at them and counting. It's a family event, you know.

And everyone got a hefty dose of DE.

The bell peppers sprouted. We're looking forward to getting them planted as soon as they have grown a tad bit more. We're just moving right along. No major pest problems, unless you consider the dog trying to chomp down on anything my hand touches a problem. It is. But he hasn't yanked my plants out so we're good there.

7/07/2008 01:52:00 AM


I started reading on this and wanted to find a good set of instructions on how to do it. After a couple of days of digging, I found one.

Greenman has complete instructions on how to build a system complete with pictures. I'm seriously going to have to invest in one of these just to see.

7/06/2008 11:35:00 PM

4th Aftermath

Whew! We had a pretty busy 4th. We spent most of our 4 day weekend with friends. We grilled about 30 pounds of ribs. We watched spectacular displays of fireworks from the neighbors and then added in our own plus some! D.J. actually went back out and bought mortars and I've never seen the guys get so worked up over explosives. But then again, why wouldn't they?

The kids had a wonderful time.

Seth with his first sparkler.

Connor running around saying "I'm a wizard! I'm a wizard!" I guess he has been watching too much Harry Potter.

We planted the pumpkins over the weekend. I found a rather large container that we figure will do just fine in keeping four pumpkin plants occupied for the season. We got them in and ran out of soil so its about three inches from the top, but husband and kids couldn't wait to get them planted so we went with it. They are doing fine and have been watered and fertilized. I'll get pictures of them up tomorrow.

7/06/2008 03:09:00 AM

Happy 4th! (Belated)

I know this is a little late but..

- At

7/02/2008 09:19:00 AM

Having Faith

You know that tomato plant I was really starting to fear wouldn't do anything? Well, he has friends! We have tomatoes! Those little suckers sneaked up on me and man we're just proud of them. I called my father almost immediately and told him and he boasted that he'd picked five today. Well, I'll see his five with my two organically grown any day!
This little guy was getting a spray down with kelp and DE when we noticed he managed to hide the fact that his blooms turned tomatoes sometimes last week.
I'm pleased as punch. I should have never doubted my poor tomato plant. Now if only I could get the bell pepper to do more than look like a tiny blade of grass.

I'm Green Inside!

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Fred's Fine Fowl

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