Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Make Lemon Vinegar Cleaner

Since having children I've become aware of how "toxic" our cleaners can be for them. Especially when my youngest liked to lick the area that I was cleaning. Another mom gave me this idea to make my own cleaner that not only would clean my house but wasn't toxic for the licking child. I have to admit I was skeptical that it would actually clean. I can say that not only was I wrong but this is the BEST cleaner I've ever used. Even my windows shine and no streaks.

1 gallon water.........../...........8C water
4C vinegar................/...........2C vinegar
1C lemon juice........./............1/2C lemon juice

For a smaller batch I use 1C vinegar and 1/2C lemon juice (love the smell so I use more). I pour 6oz into 2 different spray bottles. Fill with water.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Freezing Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes are the EASIEST way to perserve your veggies for sauces all winter long. I'm not interested in spending all day/night canning so I found this way and have been doing it ever since.

Get out the following items:
A pot for boiling,
a strainer (mine fits inside the pot of boiling water),
a HUGE bowl w/ ice water in it. I set the ice water up 1st to get the water nice and cold.

Then do the following steps:
- Wash all tomatoes and slice a small X in the bottom (important step do not forget).
- Start the big pot of boiling water.
- Put a few of the tomatoes inside the strainer to wait for the water to boil. About 2 layers but not any higher.
- Once the water is boiling put the strainer inside the pot. Start your timer from the moment the tomatoes hit the water. It may take a few minutes for the water to start boiling again but blanche the tomatoes anywhere from 1-3 min. The time depends on how mushy or strong you want your tomatoes to be once blanched. I like mine a little bit harder so I blanch for around 2 minutes.
- When blanching time ends pour your tomatoes into the bowl of ice. This stops the cooking time and seals the tomato for freezing.
- Once the tomato cools off in ice (around 2 minutes) you can handle it and peel the skin off.
- I quarter the tomato or half it depending on size for freezing.
- Freeze tomatoes in a gallon freezer bag with 4C-6C of tomatoes in ea bag (w/ juice). Lay them flat to freeze so you can stack more in the freezer.
Note: Cherry tomatoes do not have to be blanched. To freeze wash and blend in the blender. Pour into freezable gallon bags by either 4C or 6C.

Click here for more pictures on Flickr

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baked Zucchini Chips - 5 star recipe

2 Medium Zucchini
2 Eggs
2 T Water
1 C Italian Breadcrumbs
2 T Grated Parmesan Cheese (we like cheese so I threw in extra)
1/8 t Cajun Seasoning (to taste)


-Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
-Cut zucchini into thin slices
-Mix egg with water in a small bowl and set aside.
-Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and Cajun Seasoning on a plate.
-Dip zucchini into egg mixture then dredge through breadcrumb mixture and place on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
-Bake each side approx. 5-10 minutes or until brown and crispy.

Sorry about the white stuff that "floated" into the picture.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Zucchini Bread

Here's the zucchini bread recipe I use with my zukes. Hope you enjoy.

Wet ingredients
3 eggs
2C sugar
3t vanilla
1C cooking oil
2C zucchini shredded/grated

Dry ingredients
3C flour
1t salt
1t baking soda
3t cinnamon
1C nuts (optional)

Mix wet ingredients in 1 bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Add the bowls together (I put dry into wet - makes it easier to stir). Pour into 2 greased bread/loaf pans.

Bake 350 for 50-60 minutes

Below is a picture of my zucchini from the freezer. I shred it and freeze it in 2C or 5C bags for future recipes.
2nd picture is the finished product.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pruning Squash and Zucchini

Someone asked me about pruning squash and zucchini. This may not be correct BUT here's what I learned from someone else and tried it and had MAJOR success. As squash and zucchini ripens you need to pick it thus allowing the plant to create more. BUT if the plant becomes overgrown and too crowded then it stops producing veggies. Over crowding does not allow for air and sun to hit down at the roots where the veggies grow. Pruning allows air to circulate and sunlight to hit the roots. If you prune too much the plant is exposed. Below are some pictures after I've pruned. I'll try to explain w/ the pictures how it works.
Pictures 1 and 2 are a view of the plants showing the new growth on the LT and roots on RT. After a section produces veggies I cut back all the leaves pushing the plant energy towards new growth. Leave a few leaves around new growth to provide the shade it needs.
Pictures 3 and 4 continue on the same line. Showing the old places that produced veggies and how the new growth keeps going. Picture 4 with my hand in it shows where the root decided to produce 2 new growth sections. Zucchini plants will develop multiple new growth sections at the same time. Currently I have 1 plant that has started 5 new growth sections. Again prune off leaves that do not have veggies growing underneath.

Pictures 5-7 show new growth sections; roots are behind the new growth. Picture 5 shows a close up of new growth w/ baby zucchinis (3) and new flowers and leaves growing. Picture 6 shows new growth from previous week with a full grown zucchini. As part of pruning if you see smaller leaves that when grown will stunt the growth of a zucchini go ahead and prune it. You can see in this picture that I pruned a few things around this zucchini to let it grow. Picture 7 shows new growth of squash. New growth for both plants grows upward until it reaches a certain size then lays back down on the ground.
This may seem like a lot of information or even a lot of hard work but it's not really. We ended up doubling the amount of produce we got this year. We had neighbors who's plants started producing the same week as ours and we are still going where theirs has ended.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Squash Muffins

I keep forgetting to post updates on our garden. Below are pictures our our first squash and what we did with them. Yummy. This is our kids favorite way to eat squash and I have to admit it tastes good to.
Picture 1 is cut up squash.
Picture 2 is cooked squash.
Picture 3 is muffin mixture and
Picture 4 is the finished product.
Here's the recipe:
1lb squash, cut into slices (approx 2-3)
1/2 C butter melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Boil 1 in water; add squash. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and mash. Stir in butter and egg.
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in squash mixture til moistened.
Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 375 for 20-25 min til toothpick is clean. Yield: 1 dozen

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Judah's tree house

My husband and I believe in letting the kids have a say in how they want their room decorated because after all it's their room and they have to live in it - like it or not. When it came time for Judah to choose a new big boy room (entering K) he chose a jungle theme equipped with a tree house and a loft bed. It took some doing, but it's complete EXCEPT for the greenery at the top of the tree. Below is a list of things we did to his room.

Scrape the popcorn ceiling and put a flat ceiling in.

Tear up the carpet in a corner where the tree will go.
Build new floor to ceiling shelf unit to represent 1 side of the tree.
For the tree we used an existing bookshelf on 1 side and built shelves on the other. Shelves went from floor to ceiling and now hold all toys. The inside of the tree is big enough for the kids to sleep in.

Install hardwood floor inside the tree.
Install a double switch outlet and 1 plug outlet inside the tree. Installed a wall lamp for light.

Create a door for the tree with a hole in it.

Create a loft for the double bed.

Paint inside of tree 2 shades of brown. The dark brown representing inside of tree. The light brown represents the veins of the tree.
Hung outdoor lighted fireflies inside the top of the tree.
Paint loft.
Get new comforter, sheets, and curtain.
Paint room to match decor. Green on wall, ceiling is Carolina blue with white clouds.
Put plywood around outside of tree to make it round. Secure it so it won't pop out.
Plaster the tree to represent bark.
Prime and paint tree. This was a long process as I had to use 3 coats of paint to represent bark and its edging. The finished effect looks like real bark.

We hope you enjoy a few of our pictures but feel free to check out all pictures and videos at :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cleared our Woods

As most of you (all handful that check this) know LAST winter we spent 4 months clearing a small, small, small portion of our land by hand which you can read about here. This year we saved our pennies and hired a sweet gentleman to do it for us. What a difference. Check it out below. If you are on facebook go to Angela's video section and see for yourself how the trees were taken out.

Now for the after pictures.

To see even more pictures click here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2008 Year at a Glance starting with kitchen remodel

We were REALLY blessed in 2008 to accomplish so much in our lives, in our walk with Christ, in our finances and in our home. There's really no way to tell you all that we did but I can show you some of the house transformations. For those that do not know me well be warned. I do not understand that painting a room means chosing just 1 color and sticking to it. Most of my rooms have 2-6 colors in them with some sort of design just for the heck of it.

Kitchen before had just plain light brown or whatever it's called.
Afterwards there are 2 shades of green. The darker green is on top of the cabinets and the lighter green is underneath. To marry the 2 colors I put a series of stripes on the wall beside the sink. Accent color is red, of course, and various shades of green. In the pictures below you can see where the dark green stops in the dining room. The brown from the living room carries over into the dining room to meet the green. Originally I had red dining room furniture but hated it against the brown and green so I repainted it white again (well actually it was white then red and then white again). More rooms/projects to come on other posts.