Archive for June, 2012


 

WARNING: 
Never use white distilled vinegar on marble. The acid can damage the surface.

Unclog and deodorize drains

The combination of vinegar and baking soda is one of the most effective ways to unclog and deodorize drains. It’s also far gentler on your pipes (and your wallet) than commercial drain cleaners.

  • To clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water. Besides clearing blockages, this technique also washes away odor-causing bacteria.
  • To speed up a slow drain, pour in 1/2 cup salt followed by 2 cups boiling vinegar, then flush with hot and cold tap water.

Kill germs all around the bathroom with a spray of full-strength white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.
Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight.
Kill germs all around the bathroom with a spray of full-strength white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Clean the wheel of a can opener using white distilled vinegar and an old toothbrush.

Wipe away mildew

When you want to remove mildew stains, reach for white vinegar first. It can be safely used without additional ventilation and can be applied to almost any surface –bathroom fixtures and tile, clothing, furniture, painted surfaces, plastic curtains, and more. To eliminate heavy mildew accumulations, use it full strength. For light stains, dilute it with an equal amount of water. You can also prevent mildew from forming on the bottoms of rugs and carpeting by misting the backs with full-strength white vinegar from a spray bottle.

Remove bumper stickers

Saturate the top and sides of the sticker with undiluted distilled vinegar and wait 10-15 minutes for the vinegar to soak through. Then use an expired credit card (or one of those promotional plastic cards that come in the mail) to scrape it off. Use more full-strength vinegar to get rid of any remaining gluey residue. Use the same technique to detach those cute decals your kids used to decorate the back windshield.

Disinfect cutting boards

To disinfect and clean your wood cutting boards or butcher block countertop, wipe them with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is a good disinfectant, effective against such harmful bugs as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Never use water and dishwashing detergent, because it can weaken surface wood fibers. When your wooden cutting surface needs deodorizing as well as disinfecting, spread some baking soda over it and then spray on undiluted white vinegar. Let it foam and bubble for five to ten minutes, then rinse with a cloth dipped in clean cold water.

Tenderize and purify meats and seafood

Soaking a lean or inexpensive cut of red meat in a couple of cups of vinegar breaks down tough fibers to make it more tender-and in addition, kills off any potentially harmful bacteria. You can also use vinegar to tenderize seafood steaks. Let the meat or fish soak in full — strength vinegar overnight. Experiment with different vinegar varieties for added flavor, or simply use apple cider or distilled vinegar if you intend to rinse it off before cooking.

Wash store-bought produce

You can’t be too careful these days when it comes to handling the foods you eat. Before serving your fruits and vegetables, a great way to eliminate the hidden dirt, pesticides, and even insects, is to rinse them in 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar dissolved in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) cold water.

 

Test soil acidity or alkalinity

To do a quick test for excess alkalinity in the soil in your yard, place a handful of earth in a container and then pour in 1/2 cup white vinegar. If the soil fizzes or bubbles, it’s definitely alkaline. Similarly, to see if your soil has a high acidity, mix the earth with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup baking soda. This time, fizzing would indicate acid in the soil. To find the exact pH level of your soil, have it tested or pick up a simple, do-it-yourself kit or meter.

Clean a hummingbird feeder

Hummingbirds are innately discriminating creatures, so don’t expect to see them flocking around a dirty, sticky, or crusted-over sugar-water feeder. Regularly clean your feeders by thoroughly washing them in equal parts apple cider vinegar and hot water. Rinse well with cold water after washing, and air-dry them outdoors in full sunlight before refilling them with food.

Speed germination of flower seed

You can get woody seeds, such as moonflower, passionflower, morning glory, and gourds, off to a healthier start by scarifying them-that is, lightly rubbing them between a couple of sheets of fine sandpaper-and soaking them overnight in a solution of 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 pint (half liter) warm water. Next morning, remove the seeds from the solution, rinse them off, and plant them. You can also use the solution (minus the sandpaper treatment) to start many herb and vegetable seeds.

Keep out four-legged creatures

Some animals — including cats, deer, dogs, rabbits, and raccoons — can’t stand the scent of vinegar even after it has dried. You can keep these unauthorized visitors out of your garden by soaking several recycled rags in white vinegar, and placing them on stakes around your veggies. Resoak the rags about every 7-10 days.

Exterminate dandelions and unwanted grass

Are dandelions sprouting up in the cracks of your driveway or along the fringes of your patio? Make them disappear for good by spraying them with full-strength white or apple cider vinegar. Early in the season, give each plant a single spritz of vinegar in its midsection, or in the middle of the flower before the plants go to seed. Aim another shot near the stem at ground level so the vinegar can soak down to the roots. Keep an eye on the weather, though; if it rains the next day, you’ll need to give the weeds another spraying.

Directly protect against fleas and ticks

To give your dog effective flea and tick protection, fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar and apply it directly to the dog’s coat and rub it in well. You may have more trouble doing this with cats, because they really hate the smell of the stuff.

Clean your pet’s ears

If you’ve noticed that Rover has been scratching around his ears a lot more than usual lately, a bit of vinegar could bring him some big relief. Swabbing your pet’s ears with a cotton ball or soft cloth dabbed in solution of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water will keep them clean and help deter ear mites and bacteria. It also soothes minor itches from mosquito bites and such. Warning: Do not apply vinegar to open lacerations. If you see a cut in your pet’s ears, seek veterinary treatment.

Keep the paint on your cement floors

Painted cement floors have a tendency to peel after a while. But you can keep the paint stuck to the cement longer by giving the floor an initial coat of white vinegar before you paint it. Wait until the vinegar has dried, then begin painting. This same technique will also help keep paint affixed to galvanized metal.

 

 

 

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Makes 10 servings.

Cook Time: 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH

1 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast, well trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 package of Chili Seasoning (McCormicks)
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Place pork, beans and corn in slow cooker.

2. Mix Seasoning, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and onion until blended. Pour over pork mixture; stir lightly. Cover.

3. Cook 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

4.  Serve in bowl topped with fresh shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese and chopped fresh onions

Extra can be frozen in one serving size freezer containers for quick warm up in the future.

 

 

Being  a family of two with the husband working nights, one must plan ahead to provide a bigger meal at noon each day.    I  use muffin pans for plan ahead meals.   One can make meat loaves in the muffin pans, bake then once cooled you can freeze to later thaw and heat in a toaster oven.  This provides just the right serving size or should you have guests then you have meat loaves for each person.

I have also used muffin pans for zucchini bread…you bake and freeze for portion serving in the future…so handy when there is just the two of you.

This same method can be used for individual servings of so many things including casseroles, breads, cupcakes and preserve them in the freezer.

I like the large size 6 piece muffin pan as the servings are just right for men….you can make them any size you what depending on how much you put in the pan.

Always date your freezing items and if you do not have a seal-a-meal…insert straw and suck out the excess air for better freezing.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • (I save broth from previous baked chickens, chill, remove fat as it rises to top, then freeze broth & use in recipes
  • 1  teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • lemon basil leaves (about 6)

Preparation

Saute garlic, onion and celery in skillet with your coconut oil or butter…set aside.

Mix chicken broth and lemon juice together, put into slow cooker, add sauteed garlic, onion, celery..then  add rice, then chicken breasts and place basil leaves on top of breasts, cook on low the night before (around 11:00)(approximately 7-8 hours) then upon waking remove lid and flip the breasts over replace lid  then  turn slow cooker to “warm” and it is ready for nice noon meal…serve with fresh salad and garlic bread….

Rain

Photo: A SNAIL AND A DROP OF RAIN!</p>
<p>Photographer:  Vadim Trunov

Rain

Sounds of soft tapping

Metal roof reverberates

Close one’s eyes

Dreams of green fields

Wild flowers and petals open wide

It is good to be alive

Watching all the soil being natured

Rivers and streams overflowing

No control do we have

Only prayers to the creator

Thankful for these blessings

Others are overcome

Devastation and floods

Banks overrun

One person’s joy

Another’s sadness

Nature reigns

Soft rains pelting against the window, dark clouds overhead which brings peace and calming pattern of sounds.  Weather has different perspectives depending on your location and severity.   Those in the flood and heavy wind areas I am sure do not feel feel the same calm.  

My moment in time is a peaceful one.  I know that no matter what occurs in this world, no matter how high tech we as humans think we are, there is no doubt that Mother Nature is stronger then all the powers and cannot be controlled by any one person, government or power.  We are at the mercy of our great creator.

The springs and all bodies of water in our immediate area are in appreciation of the waters from this rain.  Many wells and waterways are in great deficit from several years of drought.  

When the sun shines once more it arms will draw up the seeds and roots bringing forth new life, new foods, new havens for all creatures of nature.

How blessed we are at this location today.

 

By saltworks.us

Epsom salt has become a popular and well-reputed supplement in organic gardening. With the recent push towards “green” living, Epsom salt is an ideal answer to a variety of organic gardening needs. Both cost effective and gentle on your greenery, Epsom salt is an affordable and green treatment for your well-tended plants—both indoors and out.

Completely one-of-a-kind with a chemical structure unlike any other, Epsom salt (or Magnesium Sulfate) is one of the most economic and versatile salt-like substances in the world. Throughout time, Epsom salt has been known as a wonderful garden supplement, helping to create lush grass, full roses, and healthy, vibrant greenery. It has long been considered a planter’s “secret” ingredient to a lovely, lush garden, and is such a simple, affordable way to have a dramatic impact. Just as gourmet salt works with the ingredients in food to enhance and bring a meal to its full potential, Epsom salt enhances fertilizer and soil’s capabilities to bring a deeper level of vitality to your garden’s composition. Ultra Epsom Salt is the highest quality Epsom salt available, and is widely celebrated for its powerful benefits on natural life, ranging from household plants to shrubs, lawns and even trees.

 

Why Epsom Salt Works in the Garden

Composed almost exclusively of Magnesium Sulfate, Epsom salt is intensely rich in these two minerals that are both crucial to healthy plant life. These same minerals which are so beneficial for bathing and using around the house are also a wonderful facilitator to your garden, helping it reach its fullest potential and creating a lush and vibrant outdoor space. Unlike common fertilizers, Epsom Salt does not build up in the soil over time, so it is very safe to use.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is beneficial to plants from the beginning of their life, right when the seed begins to develop. It assists with the process of seed germination; infusing the seed with this important mineral and helping to strengthen the plant cell walls, so that the plant can receive essential nutrients. Magnesium also plays a crucial role in photosynthesis by assisting with the creation of chlorophyll, used by plants to convert sunlight into food. In addition, it is a wonderful help in allowing the plant to soak up phosphorus and nitrogen, which serve as vital fertilizer components for the soil. Magnesium is believed to bring more flowers and fruit to your garden, increasing the bounty as well as the beauty of your space.

SULFATE

Sulfate, a mineral form of sulfur found in nature, is an equally important nutrient for plant life. Sulfate is essential to the health and longevity of plants, and aides in the production of chlorophyll. It joins with the soil to make key nutrients more effective for plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Sulfate works in conjunction with Magnesium to create a “vitamin” full of minerals, nourishment and health benefits for your garden.

How to Use Epsom Salt in the Garden

EPSOM SALT FOR HOUSEPLANTS

Perhaps the most natural and easiest place to start with Ultra Epsom Salt is with the potted plants that are dispersed around your house and porch. Epsom salt is such a simple way to increase their blooming and health, and is something that you can include easily as a part of a normal routine.For potted plants, simply dissolve 2 tablespoons per gallon of water, and substitute this solution for normal watering at least once a month – although it is safe to do this as often as desired.

Adding this Epsom salt solution to houseplants that have been potted for a long time is especially useful, due in part to natural salt, which can build up in the soil and clog the root cells of the plant. Ultra Epsom Salt can help to clear up this accumulation of natural salts in the pot, and lead to a revival in the plant’s health and vibrancy. It is also useful for a plant that has just been potted, as it will more easily receive the proper nutrients and have a healthy start in life. As general guidance, most plants need plenty of sun to receive the benefits of Ultra Epsom Salt (and photosynthesize), so be sure to keep typical houseplants in a sunny area of the home unless instructed otherwise. Using Ultra Epsom Salt with potted vegetable plants is a really wonderful idea as well, because it can increase the amount of fruit or vegetables you receive from the one plant. This is particularly beneficial to apartment dwellers and those with little or no personal yard space, as Ultra Epsom Salt can help you receive a large bounty within a confined space. A wonderful way to easily and effectively grow food!

FIRST PLANTING WITH EPSOM SALT

For setting up your garden and the initial planting stage, Ultra Epsom Salt is especially useful for getting a nourishing start. Prep your garden soil by sprinkling up to 1 cup of Ultra Epsom Salt per 100 square feet, and then work it into the soil before seeding or planting. This helps the seeds to germinate better, and start with a strong and healthy growth. It is also very beneficial for more mature plants that you are going to add to your garden, since the transition can be difficult for their growth and health.

VEGETABLE GARDENS & EPSOM SALT

For maintaining and creating a vegetable garden, Epsom salt can help you refresh and revitalize the garden you have already created—or create a healthy beginning to a new space. Ultra Epsom Salt is advised for use with all fruits, vegetables, and herbs (It is not advisable to use Epsom salt with the planting of sage—it is not beneficial for this particular plant). As previously mentioned, it does not cause build-up or any harm to plants when used, and so can be used safely and effectively during any stage of the plant’s life. For general purposes, Ultra Epsom Salt works well as a saline solution for a tank sprayer. Simply fill your tank sprayer (commonly available at gardening and home improvement stores) with 1 tablespoon of Ultra Epsom Salt per gallon of water. Then spray your garden after the initial planting, later when it begins to grow (or after a month or so for transplants), and lastly when the vegetables begin to mature. It is believed that this practice will give you healthier vegetables, and a lush vegetable garden.

The advice above is wonderful for any vegetable or herb, but we do have additional advice for some varieties and situations:

Tomatoes & Epsom Salt

Tomatoes are prone to magnesium deficiency later in the growing season, and display this through yellow leaves and less production. They can greatly benefit from Ultra Epsom Salt treatments both at the beginning of their planting and throughout their seasonal life. When gardening, simply add one or two tablespoons per hole before planting the seeds or transplants. Then as the tomato matures, either work in one tablespoon of Ultra Epsom Salt per foot of plant height around the base of the tomato plant (individually), or create the tank sprayer solution mentioned above and use that every two weeks.

Peppers & Epsom Salt

Like tomatoes, peppers are also prone to magnesium deficiency and thrive much more fully with the use of Epsom salt. This can be done in the same way as tomatoes—through adding one or two tablespoons per hole before planting (for seeds and grown plants), and then twice a week based on the height of the plant (see above). A study conducted by the National Gardening Association discovered that four out of six home gardeners noticed that their Epsom salt-treated peppers were larger than those that were un-treated. Many gardeners credit their healthy, vibrant peppers and tomatoes to Epsom salt. This solution truly aides in the production level, aesthetic beauty and quality of the harvest produced.

FLOWER GARDENS & EPSOM SALT

Like vegetable gardens, flower gardens also blossom more vibrantly and beautifully with the use of Ultra Epsom Salt in the soil and as a liquid solution. Epsom salt helps your garden to become the calming, serene environment you have been envisioning, and will increase the beauty of your home and landscape as well. To use, follow the guidelines outlined in the First Planting section for both brand new seedlings and more mature plants. Next, using a tank sprayer, fill with a liquid solution containing one tablespoon of Ultra Epsom Salt per gallon of water. This solution can be used as much as desired during the gardening season; but definitely after the initial planting, then later when you see growth (or after a month or so for transplants), and finally when they have received full bloom. If you don’t have a tank sprayer, you can always create this solution in a watering can using the ratio of 1 tablespoon Ultra Epsom Salt to 1 gallon of water.

Roses and flower bushes have some additional tips concerning the use of Epsom salt:

Roses & Epsom Salt

Roses in particular can greatly benefit from Epsom salt, and it is said to make foliage greener, healthier and lead to more canes and roses. Start by soaking unplanted rose bushes in one half cup of Ultra Epsom Salt per gallon of water before planting, to help the roots get stronger and firmer. Then, when planting, add one tablespoon of Ultra Epsom Salt per hole before inserting the rose bush. After the roses are planted (and to boost already planted roses), make the liquid Ultra Epsom Salt solution listed above for either a tank sprayer or watering can, or simply work in one tablespoon of Ultra Epsom Salt per foot of plant (individually). Once during the beginning of the season, it is also advised to work one half cup of Ultra Epsom Salt into the base of the plant to encourage blooming canes and healthy basal cane development.

Shrubs & Epsom Salt

For flowering and green shrubs, particularly evergreens, azaleas and rhododendrons, Epsom salt can improve the blooming of the flowers and the vibrancy of the greenery. Simply work in one tablespoon of Ultra Epsom Salt per nine square feet of bush into the soil, over the root zone, which allows the shrubs to absorb the nutritional benefits. Repeat this every two to four weeks for optimal results.

LAWN CARE & EPSOM SALT

Just as Ultra Epsom Salt can revitalize your garden, so does it improve the greenery and sustainability of your lawn. Epsom salt is particularly useful for preventing a yellowing lawn and creating lusher, softer, deeply green grass. It can be applied using a tank sprayer (which can also be used on your flower and vegetable gardens), a lawn spreader, and by using a hose and spray attachment. Use three pounds per 1250 square feet (25’ x 50’), six pounds per 2500 square feet (50’ x 50’), and twelve pounds per 5000 square feet (50’ x 100’). If using a tank sprayer or a hose and spray attachment, make sure to dilute the salt in plenty of water (enough to make it dissolve), so that it is a concentrated solution.

TREES & EPSOM SALT

Trees, the largest and longest standing part of your garden, can also benefit from Epsom salt by allowing more minerals to be absorbed through the roots, giving you strong healthy trees to enjoy for years to come. If your trees bloom or produce fruit, Ultra Epsom Salt can be particularly useful due to its ability to increase the production of both flowers and bounty. Simply work in two tablespoons per nine square feet into the soil over the root zone three or four times a year. Planning to complete this at the beginning of each season is particularly helpful for preparing the tree for the change in weather, and allowing them to become stronger and healthier.

 

Serves 4

A quick and easy salad featuring the bold flavors of the Mediterranean.

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup finely sliced kale, tough stems removed
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped Kalamata olives
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Method

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition

Per serving: 130 calories (35 from fat), 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 6g protein

Garlic Scape Pesto

Ingredients:

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼ – 1/2 cup grated parmigiano
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Method:

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated.

With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper.  For ½ pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Grilled Pizzas With Ricotta, Summer Squash, and Scallions

 

Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 25m| Total Time: 25m

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium. In a shallow baking dish or large bowl, toss the squash and scallions with 2 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Grill the vegetables until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side for the squash and 1 to 2 minutes per side for the scallions. Cut up the scallions; return the vegetables to the dish.
  2. Stretch the dough into four 8-inch rounds. Dividing evenly, brush the dough (on both sides) with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Grill the dough until puffed and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Dividing evenly, dollop the ricotta on the pizzas and top with the grilled vegetables.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the arugula and radishes with the vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle the pizzas with additional oil and serve with the salad.
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