Well, I’m sure you weren’t expecting to be home on a Wednesday but here you are. How about a nice Roasted Garlic soup recipe that will help boost your immune system & your mood! Keep everyone healthy & happy with this tasty soup!
Five entire bulbs of garlic roasted to perfection and incorporated in a creamy soup. You can stop at the puree stage, and refrigerate for up to one day before adding the cream and lemon juice.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Soup
Keyword: garlic, Gluten Free, vegetarian
Author: Grandma Antionette
6tablespoonsunsalted butter or ghee
6tablespoonsall-purpose flouror Gluten free to make it GF
4cupschicken brothor vegetable broth for vegetarian version
1cupheavy whipping cream
1/8teaspoonsalt or to taste
¼teaspoonfreshly ground white pepper
2tablespoonschopped fresh chivesOptional
Cut off top 1/4 inch of each garlic head. Place in a small, shallow baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Press individual garlic cloves between thumb and finger to release. Chop garlic.
Melt butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks, and onion; saute until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add flour and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in hot broth and sherry and oregano. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor.
Return soup to saucepan, and add cream. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and white pepper. Garnish with chives.
We have a little recipe to put a smile on your face – Crockpot Fajitas! You can go meatless or meat them up with anything you like. The base stays the same, just add the protein of your choice set it, forget it and eat!
This Crockpot fajita recipe is super easy and can include whatever protein you like.
Some prefer meatless with mushrooms, some like fish beef or chicken. The base recipe is the same but you can make this recipe yours.
114.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
3bell peppersideally 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green cored and sliced
1largeyellow onionhalved and sliced
2 1/2tspchili powder
3Tbspfresh lime juice
2lbchicken breast cut into strips
2cupportobello mushrooms sliced and peeled with the stems removed
Pour half of the canned tomatoes into the bottom of a slow cooker and spread into an even layer. Top with half of the peppers and half of the onions. Sprinkle garlic in. Top with your choice of protein.
In a bowl whisk together chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper. Evenly sprinkle the seasoning over protein. Top with remaining half of the tomatoes, then layer in remaining peppers and onions.
Cover and cook on HIGH heat about 2 1/2 – 3 hours or low heat 4 – 6 hours.
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice and honey and add to slow cooker along with the protein and season with additional salt to taste if desired (I sometimes like to add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro too here but this is optional). Gently toss. Serve warm in warmed tortillas optional toppings.
Spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot yields a perfectly cooked squash—not mushy, but tender and holding its shape. Spaghetti squash is also a perfect base for so many sauces or just a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese as a side dish. At the market, look for squash that are about 3 lbs.
This Instant Pot Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes recipe is an easy one-pot meal that the whole family will love. This is healthy comfort food at its finest and most delicious. Parmesan cheese over the chicken and potatoes on your plate is the final, delectable touch.
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Keyword: Chicken, Instant Pot, Potatoes
1 1/3poundsboneless skinless chicken breastCubed
¼teaspoonsaltor more if desired
2poundsbaby red potatoeshalved
2 1/2cupschicken broth
3clovegarlicminced or chopped
1/2teaspoondried thyme or fresh rosemary
1cupfreshly grated parmesan reggiano
2tablespoonschopped fresh parsley leaves
Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
Select “sauté on high heat” on the Instant Pot and add the butter. Once hot, add the chicken and sauté for about 2 minutes on each side (will not be completely cooked).
Add the potatoes to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in chicken broth, garlic and thyme or rosemary. Secure the lid.
Select “Manual” and cook for 20 minutes on high pressure.
When cooking is complete, slow-release for about 10 minutes before releasing the rest of the pressure.
Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a platter. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan and garnished with parsley, if desired.
Today’s recipe for homemade slow cooker apple cider might seem like a lot of work but it's super easy. It’s made 100% from scratch and has been one of my favorite entertaining recipes over the past few years. Don’t believe me, try it for yourself!
Keyword: apple cider, apples, crockpot, slow cooker
8gala apples quartered or any apples you have on handRemove the core
1orange slicedleave the rind on
Place your quartered apples into a slow cooker.
Add in cinnamon sticks, orange, whole cloves, and allspice in there and pour in the 10 cups of water.
Cook on high for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, mash the apples with a potato masher.
Add in brown sugar and cook an additional 1-3 hours on low.
Using a cheesecloth, strain the solids from the liquids.
Discard solids and store liquids in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for later use.
If the group you're feeding on Thanksgiving Day has someone who is vegetarian, gluten-free or following a low-carb special diet, this is the stuffing recipe you’ll need to make the day perfect! Skip the carb-filled stuffing and have extra turkey 😉
Skip the same old boring barbecue sauce and opt for a maple dijon syrup glaze to slick up these pork ribs. These tender ribs are slow-cooked in a luscious maple-mustard sauce. Easy peasy and finger lickin good!!!
Even a beginner cook could make this crockpot chicken and have it turn out perfectly.
This recipe could not be easier. A few minutes of prep and you’ll come home to a deliciously cooked chicken with veggies on the side.
Love chicken dinners? Love slow cooker meals? Love Italian food? Then you will LOVE our slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe! This amazing chicken cacciatore is packed with protein and vegetables that are slowly cooked for maximum flavor and minimal work. Set it & forget it!
Love chicken dinners? Love slow cooker meals? Love Italian food? Then you will LOVE this slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe! This amazing chicken cacciatore is packed with protein and vegetables that are slowly cooked for maximum flavor and minimal work.
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Keyword: Chicken, crockpot, Gluten Free, high protein, low calorie, slowcooker
Author: Grandma Antoinette
2MediumYellow onionsthinly sliced
13/4 Lbsbroiler/fryer chickencut up and skin removed
1can14-1/2 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
1can8 ounces tomato sauce
1can4 ounces mushroom stems and pieces, drained, or 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/3cupwhite wine or water
Serve with Pasta or Gluten Free Pasta for a GF version.
Place onions in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add the chicken, seasonings, tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, and wine.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve chicken with sauce over your pasta choice.
Grandma Antoinette's Potato Soup loaded with chunks of tender, hearty potatoes and made with a rich and creamy soup base. This soup is a family favorite and for good reason – it’s easy to make and absolutely delicious! Top it with cheese and bacon and no one will be able to resist.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, low calorie, one dish meal, slowcooker
Author: Grandma Antionette
8CupsDiced Russet potatoes
48OuncesChicken brothor vegetable broth for vegetarian version
110oz CanCondensed Cream of Chicken soup, undilutedor Cream of Celery soup for vegetarian version
1/2CupChopped yellow onion
1 LargeCarrot diced
18ozPackage of cream cheese – Cubed
½LbSliced baconcooked and crumbled (Omit for vegetarian version)
Shredded Cheddar cheese
In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all the main ingredients EXCEPT the Cream Cheese. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or until potatoes are tender.
Add cream cheese; stir until blended. Serve immediately & enjoy.
Garnish with bacon, cheese & chives if desired.
Nutrition Facts 1 cup (calculated without bacon): 179 calories,9g fat (5g saturated fat),25mg cholesterol,787mg sodium,21g carbohydrate(2g sugars, 2g fiber),4g protein.
This is one of my weekend favorites. 2-3 hrs in the slow cooker and before you know it, a superbly delicious, soul-warming meal. I use this when I have leftover chicken handy, usually grilled chicken or leftover rotisserie minus the skin. Skip the chicken and rosemary and you've got yourself a wonderful vegetarian mushroom risotto! Either way, enjoy 😉
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Comfort, Italian
Keyword: crockpot, one dish meal, risotto, slowcooker
Author: Grandma Antoinette
3cupssliced fresh mushrooms about 8 oz
1 3/4cupsuncooked Arborio rice
3/4cupdry white wine or additional chicken broth
1/2teaspooncracked black pepper
½teaspoonRosemaryor a few fresh sprigs
Asiago or parmesan cheese shreds optional
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leavesoptional
In a large skillet saute mushrooms, onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat . Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned and liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally.
Add in rice, stirring to coat for 2 minutes.
Dump the rice mixture to a 4-quart crockpot. Stir in broth, chicken, wine, and pepper.
Cover and cook – low-heat setting about 2 hours and 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
Top with cheese and/or parsley. Serve immediately.
Cooking times may vary a little depending on slow cooker brands. Some run hotter than others. For this recipe, I used Crock-Pot.
In honor of Rosh Hashanah, this week’s Crockpot recipe is a flavorful pot roast for a delightful family dinner. (Brisket can be used if you prefer).
The rules are simple: Get a good piece of meat from your butcher, season it, cover it with liquid or sauce, and cook a long time over low heat. You’ll need to have this on for about 7-8 hours but it will be worth it! L’shana tova umetukah
The rules are simple: Get a good piece of meat from your butcher, season it, cover it with liquid, and cook a long time over low heat.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Jewish
Keyword: Gluten Free, nut free
6largecarrots cut thin
1/4cupof dried cranberries
6Tbspof cider vinegar
A handful of fresh cut herbs – parsley and tarragon
Heat up a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle all sides of your pot roast with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Add pot roast to the sauté pan and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). When pot roast is browned, add to crockpot.
In same skillet, add a touch more oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about 5-10 minutes, cooking the vegetables just a touch.
Meanwhile in a measuring cup add wine, stock, brown sugar, ketchup, and vinegar. Whisk and set aside.
When vegetables are done add cranberries and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine mixture and add herbs, bring to a boil.
Carefully pour vegetables and sauce over pot roast, cook high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours.
When done, take out the meat, let it cool for 5 minutes or until it’s easy to handle, cut, plate and spoon some vegetables over with a touch of gravy.
Side note: This pot roast can be cooked a day in advance; let the meat and vegetables cool in the crockpot in their juices, and then cover and refrigerate. Reheat, covered on high, about 30 minutes.
Apples! Did someone say apples? This week “This, Not That Thursday” is all about saving those apple peels and cores.
Every fall we take at least one trip to an apple orchard near us. They have family-friendly activities, wonderful local canned goods for sale, and of course, apples. So many apples! Plain apples, apples to make applesauce, pies, crisps and the “mother” of them all… Apple Cider Vinegar
When making any of the above you will probably peel & core some of those apples but did you know you can use the peels and the cores to make apple cider vinegar? This way you have virtually no waste! WINNER!
It is also totally possible to make apple cider vinegar from the whole apple so don’t worry if you don’t have leftover peels and cores from anything.
There are several more elaborate ways to make apple cider vinegar at home, but today I’m gonna show you how to make it from apple scraps. I especially like this method since it allows me to use the apples for other stuff while still making a valuable product from the “waste”.
5-6Large applesApple peels & coresany browning/discolored flesh from organic apples
2-2 1/2Tbspgranulated sugarI like Turbinado raw sugar
2-2 1/2cupswaterboiled and allowed to cool
Cover the bottom of your jar with apple scraps, filling no more than 3/4 full. The apples need room to expand and stay submerged.
Add 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar and 2 cups of filtered water to the jar. The apples should be completely submerged. Mold can grow on any portions of apples that are not covered and ruin your batch of vinegar. If your scraps float to the top of the jar add a smaller jar on top to keep them submerged.
3.Stir the apples, sugar, and water and cover with a coffee filter. Secure with a canning band, or a rubber band.
Allow apples to sit in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks. Above the refrigerator or on the top shelf of a cupboard are great places. Just don’t forget you put it there!
After 2 weeks, you might notice some fizz or bubbles. That’s good news! Strain out the apple pieces and compost. Cover the apple cider vinegar again with a coffee filter and canning band. Allow continuing to sit at room temperature for another 2-4 weeks.
The vinegar may become cloudy or a SCOBY could form on the top, both of which are normal. Taste test the vinegar once a week until it’s to your liking. You can stop the fermentation process by replacing the coffee filter with a canning lid and storing it in the refrigerator.
Use your homemade vinegar just like you would store-bought vinegar– for cooking, cleaning and everything in between
Tip: You don’t HAVE to use a quart-sized jar, but it’s what I readily have available. Feel free to use whatever size jar you have on hand. If you use a different size jar, the ratio is 1 Tbsp sugar per 1 cup water.NOTE: About preserving and pickling with homemade vinegar: It’s generally recommended that you do NOT use homemade vinegar for any sort of preservation. In order to ensure the safety of your home canned products, you need a vinegar with an acetic acid level of 5%. Since most of us don’t have a way to check the levels of our homemade vinegar, it’s best just to skip using it for canning or preserving– better safe than sorry!
NOTE: You want the peels to be from apples that have been scrubbed very, very well. Organic apples are preferred, but simply buy the best you can afford and wash them very well. Secondly, it’s okay to use brown or bruised apples. However, it is NOT okay to use moldy or rotten apples.
It is easy to make aloe vera gel at home. All you need is a few healthy leaves of the aloe vera plant. If you have an aloe vera plant at home or in your garden, then you are lucky! Aloe vera gel is an excellent all-natural healer for skin issues such as sunburn, rashes, acne, among others. Aloe vera gel is also known to promote healthy hair growth. You can even preserve the gel for a month by adding natural preservatives.
How to make Aloe Vera Gel
Make your very own natural healer and skin cleanser!
Prep Time 30 mins – Total Time 30 mins
Appliance Needed: Blender, Refrigerator Serving size: 1 cup
2 aloe vera leaves
500 mg vitamin C (optional)
400 IU vitamin E (optional)
If you have access to an aloe vera plant, take a sharp knife and cut off a leaf from the outside of the plant, close to its base. They are usually more mature and contain plenty of gel. If your plant is too young, make sure you do not cut off too many leaves at once. Aloe vera leaves are also available in supermarkets in the produce section. You can usually get 1/2 a cup of gel from 1 mature aloe vera leaf.
Wash the leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt on the skin.
Place the leaves upright in a bowl to let any white or yellow resin to drain off. This can cause irritation to the skin.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the aloe vera leaf on one side. You will see the sticky gel underneath.
Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the gel. Collect the gel in a clean glass container and make sure you do not get any pieces of the leaf skin in it.
If you have collected a lot of gel and want to preserve it, you can mix it with natural preservatives. In a blender, add aloe vera gel and vitamin C or vitamin E capsules. For every 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel, you can either add 500 mg of vitamin C or 400 IU vitamin E. The foamy gel should be put in a clean, airtight glass jar. It will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.
You can also use fresh aloe vera gel to make a nourishing aloe vera juice or add it to smoothies.
Consider growing an aloe vera plant in your home as they are low-maintenance plants and grow easily. Aloe is generally safe for most people, but if you have an underlying health condition or take medicines or use herbs, talk to your doctor before using aloe as it could react with other medications and substances.
It’s getting a bit cooler here today and that makes me crave comfort foods. One of my favorite comfort meals of all time is my Grandmother’s pot roast. I remember sitting at her table with my siblings and cousins, inhaling plate after plate. One bite could make your whole week.
Fork tender and juicy right from her dutch oven, this Grandma Anionette classic is a meal in one pan and perfect for your next Sunday supper.
4large russet potatoes peeled and sliced into 1-inch wedges
4large carrots peeled and sliced into ½ -inch thick pieces
2celery stalks sliced into ½ -inch thick pieces
Preheat the oven to 375.
Put your dutch oven on the stove and heat it over high heat 5 to 6 minutes to sear the meat. Add the oil and season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. Add it to the pan. It should sizzle immediately.
Reduce the heat to medium-high, and let the meat sear on one side 5 minutes, then flip. Add the onions, and garlic then cook 5 minutes more. Deglaze the pot by adding wine.
Add the beef broth to the pot–it should come about halfway up the side of the meat.
Cover and bake 2 hours, then check the liquid in the pot. Add a cup or so of extra water if needed.
Reduce the heat to 300 and bake an additional hour, and then add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Bake covered 1 hour longer or until the meat is tender and the potatoes and carrots are soft.
These Instant Pot Beef Gyros are a quick meal filled with healthy, clean ingredients and veggies that will make your mouth water! Ready in 25 min what could be better?
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: low carb, soy free
2lbsbeef roast thinly sliced *I've also used loin flap meat and it's so easy to slice and cook
1/2cupvegetable or beef broth
1red onionthinly sliced
4tbspoilolive, coconut, avocado, etc
1tspapple cider vinegaroptional
Pitas or Naan bread
grape tomatoes quartered
Feta or goat cheeseoptional, use container to measure
1cupplain Greek yogurt
1/2cupcucumber peeledseeded, and chopped finely
1tspsalt and pepper
Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pot warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pot and let it get hot.
Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes.
Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset, cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes.
Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method.
While the gyro meat is cooking mix together the Tzatziki sauce and slice your vegetable toppings. For added flavor, drizzle apple cider vinegar and olive oil over vegetables.
Note: To make your gyro, layer the lettuce at the bottom of the pita or naan bread. Then add your meat, toppings, and sauce. This will keep the pita or naan from getting soggy. Nutrition Calories: 395 cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2.5% | Vitamin C: 5% | Calcium: 6.9% | Iron: 18.1%
When cleaning your oven, you think of a giant chore & super harsh chemicals.
Well, we’re here with this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” to offer you a better way. You don’t even have to clean your oven in a day. By getting started the night before, you’ll save yourself time and aggravation. Thanks to white vinegar and baking soda, you won’t need to use harsh chemicals. They are environmentally friendly, remove hardened stains and eliminate germs and odors.
Natural Oven cleaner
A spray bottle
A sponge or cleaning cloth
A scraper or spatula
Bucket or bowl
1. Remove the racks from your oven and wash them in warm, soapy water. Some oven racks are dishwasher-safe, but check your oven manual first to make sure they won’t be damaged in the dishwasher. Dry the racks and set them aside.
2. Remove any loose food particles from your oven. Use a scraper to get all the burnt bits out.
3. Make a paste using three parts baking soda and one part water.
4. Spread the paste around the inside of your oven. If there are really tough, burnt-on spots, put a little extra baking soda paste on them. Avoid putting the paste on heating elements inside the oven.
5. Close your oven, and let the paste sit overnight.
6. When you’re ready, moisten your sponge or cleaning cloth with warm water and wipe away the baking soda paste. Use a bucket or bowl full of warm water to rinse the sponge or cleaning cloth as you’re removing the baking soda paste. For any stubborn messes, use a scraper or spatula.
7. Fill a spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part water. Spray down the oven and wipe away leftover baking soda paste with paper towels or another cleaning cloth.
8. Replace the oven racks.
Your oven is going to be so spotless, the next time your mother-in-law stops by, you’ll make up excuses for her to open it up.
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Plunge tomatoes into the boiling water and immediately remove to a medium bowl of ice water; drain. Remove and discard skins from tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until tomatoes are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in olives, wine, capers, lemon juice, and 1/2 the basil. Reduce heat, blend in Parmesan cheese, and cook until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
Place flounder in a shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over the fillets and top with remaining basil leaves.
Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.
In this salad, we combine traditional Caprese flavors with summer blueberries, peaches and added prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced and flavor-packed dish. Caprese and fresh fruit always remind me of summer.
My word, today is just perfect. Too perfect in fact, to be inside slaving in front of the stove for dinner tonight. In just 20 minutes this delightfully fresh dish is on the table without the need of an oven heating up the whole house. Let Grandma Antoinette help you with dinner <3
Hey all! We’re back with another installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.” If you need a way to deter rabbits from eating your flowers, try this organic rabbit repellent recipe. It uses garlic and red peppers to repel the rabbits naturally without damaging your plants. And don’t worry–those cute little critters won’t be harmed at all.
You just need a couple of items to make this Natural rabbit repellent: garlic, peppers, dish soap, and an empty milk jug.
Natural Rabbit Repellent Recipe Items needed: empty milk/water jug 7 garlic cloves 2 teaspoon crushed red peppers 1-gallon water 1 tablespoon dish soap (see our other posts for a Natural Dish Soap) Directions: To make the repellent fill an old jug with water, add 7 crushed garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of crushed red peppers (you can save a packet from the pizza delivery for this) and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Shake well. Then let it sit in the sun for a day or two to make sure the water is saturated with the flavors and smells. Shake well. Then spray or pour on the plants that you don’t want the rabbits to eat. I had to reapply the rabbit repellent once a week for a couple of weeks to convince the rabbits that my tulips were never going to taste good again. With my other bulbs, I sprayed them with the natural rabbit repellent as soon as they started to poke through the ground and then reapplied the repellent once a week and after it rains. Good luck
We’re here with this week’s installment of “this, Not That, Thursday” – Natural Dish Soap. Here we go….
Every single recipe I’ve tried just kept falling short. It didn’t suds enough or it wasn’t soapy or slippery enough, or worse – it left a nasty film on my dishes. There are lots of factors at play of course (type of soap, water hardness, etc.) so I’m not saying that those recipes didn’t work – just that they didn’t work for me. THIS ONE DID!
Homemade Dish Soap: A Natural Recipe Ingredients 1 ¾ cups boiling water 1 Tbsp borax 1 Tbsp grated bar soap (use homemade soap, castile bar soap, Ivory, or whichever natural bar you prefer) 15-20 drops essential oils, optional Instructions Heat water to boiling. Combine borax and grated bar soap in a medium bowl. Pour hot water over the mixture. Whisk until the grated soap is completely melted. Allow mixture to cool on the countertop for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Dish soap will gel upon standing. Transfer to a squirt bottle, and add essential oils (if using). Shake well to combine.
*do not use vinegar – As per Dr. Bronners daughter Lisa “In great part, it’s due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both (the scum cutting ability of the vinegar and the dirt transporting ability of the soap), you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever.”
In this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you some Natural Gardening tips. Gardening is tough enough, but to do it without chemicals is well worth the effort for you & the family.
Fertilizer Although you can use ready-made organic fertilizers, it is best to learn how to create your own organic fertilizers. Not only will it be better for the soil and the environment in the long-term, but it also helps you gain valuable insight into the world of gardening.
Homemade Fertilizer Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to improve the quality of your soil with natural fertilization. However, not everyone has the space or time for composting. We’ve got you covered! There are some other easy ways to fertilize your garden naturally. For one thing, instead of a huge compost pile, you can simply save some of the stuff from your kitchen you’d normally throw away. Three things that can benefit your garden: Coffee Grounds – adds nitrogen to the soil and is ideal for acid-loving plants like tomatoes Banana Peels – decompose quickly, replenishing potassium and other minerals to the soil Egg Shells – can add calcium carbonate and help avoid blossom rot in peppers and tomatoes Another common kitchen ingredient to help fertilize your garden is molasses. Just mix a few tablespoons of molasses with a gallon of water and then water your plants with it. The molasses acts sort of like a probiotic. It helps increase beneficial microbes.
Garden Pest Control Every vegetable gardener faces pest issues from time to time, and learning how to manage the little leaf-munching menaces without using synthetic chemical pesticides is an essential step in growing a healthy, productive garden. To help you with this task, we’ve put together tips for keeping those pesky critters out of your garden.
Orange Peels Orange peels can be placed around plants or attached directly to the stem to ward off and eliminate some pests. That’s because orange peels contain a natural chemical known as d-Limonene, which can kill off ants and aphids. The chemical destroys the waxy substance around the bugs, causing them to suffocate. Even the scent of orange peels, as well as other citrus peels, can keep those plant-destroying aphids and ants away.
Plant Marigolds Around the Perimeter of the Garden Many gardeners put marigolds in their vegetable gardens. It’s believed the pungent smell potentially repels pests while attracting beneficial insects. Some say that the aroma of marigolds might even help keep rabbits and other rodents away from your vegetables too. However, not everyone is a believer in the marigold theory. In fact, there are some gardeners who say marigolds may actually attract harmful spider mites. Regardless of whether it works or not – marigolds will at least add a splash of color to your vegetable garden.
Cayenne pepper Sprinkling cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and/or garlic pepper on and around your plants when they are ready to bloom is an excellent deterrent. Squirrels won’t eat anything with cayenne—which you can often buy in bulk.
On this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” segment, we’re looking at all natural cleaning tips. Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to come by and last a long time.
The natural cleaning ingredients we like to keep on hand are: * white vinegar * liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners) * natural salt * baking soda * borax * washing soda * hydrogen peroxide * lemons * microfiber cloths * essential oils (optional) * a spray bottle or two (preferably glass)
Our 3 top recipes!
All-Purpose Cleaner Ingredients * 1 tsp borax * 1/2 tsp washing soda * 1 tsp liquid castile soap * Essential oils of choice – I use 4 drops lemon, 4 drops lavender, and 10 drops orange * Glass spray bottle for storage All-Purpose Cleaner Instructions 1. Place borax, washing soda, and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass). 2. Add 2 cups of warm water. Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work. 3. Add essential oils of choice. 4. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed. I use as bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, kitchen cleaner and on toys.
Glass Cleaner Ingredients * 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue) * 2 tablespoons vinegar * 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon (optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell) Glass Cleaner Instructions Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window. I like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.
How to Make Washing Soda If you have an oven and are feeling crafty, try this simple method of making washing soda. Another bonus is that baking soda is typically even less expensive (especially at big box stores) and making this at home can help further reduce the cost of budget-friendly cleaning recipes. Washing Soda Ingredients * Baking Soda * A large baking dish or baking sheet (I use these stainless steel restaurant pans for this and all of my baking and cooking) * An Oven
Washing Soda Instructions 1. Turn oven on 400 degrees F. 2. Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish. 3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring 1-2 times in the middle, or until it has changed in look and feel. Baking soda has a silky/powdery feel and washing soda is more grainy and not silky. The baking soda will need to reach the full 400 degrees for this reaction to take place, so be patient. 4. Let cool and store in an air-tight jar. Use this homemade washing soda as you would store-bought in natural cleaning recipes and laundry soaps.
There’s nothing like walking into your kitchen first thing in the morning, bleary-eyed and ready for your morning cup of coffee only to find that your home has been invaded by ants. Below are some of the best natural remedies you can try to get rid of the ants infesting your space.
Cinnamon Cinnamon is an effective household ant repellent. Its smell discourages ants from entering your house and scrounging in your kitchen. According to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, cinnamon essential oil yields positive results in both repellency and insecticidal activity. * Add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution and wipe down the areas where ants may enter and dwell. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone. * You can also put ground cinnamon and whole cloves near entry points. Note: Use the cinnamon oil spray strategically in places of ant infestation; do not put it all over the place.
White Vinegar White vinegar will also send an eviction notice to ants on your premises. They cannot bear its strong smell. In addition, the smell masks their scent trails, making them lose their direction. 1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. 2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle. 3. Add a few drops of any essential oil and shake the bottle thoroughly. 4. Spray this solution around baseboards and other entry points. 5. After an hour, wipe up the ants using a damp paper towel and discard them. 6. Repeat once daily until the ants are completely gone. You can also use this vinegar solution to clean floors, windowsills and countertops to prevent ants from crawling over these surfaces.
Peppermint Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that can effectively keep ants away. Ants hate its strong smell, which also disrupts their smelling capabilities so they cannot detect food sources. * Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of water. Spray the solution on all areas where ants are present. Repeat twice daily, until the ants are gone completely. * Sprinkle some dried peppermint around your doors, entryways and garbage areas to repel ants. * You can even grow peppermint plants in your kitchen garden.
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) also works well as an ant repellent. This powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. The microscopic razor sharp edges of DE can cut through the ant’s exoskeletons, gradually causing their body to dry out. 1. Gently sprinkle a thin layer of DE on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, in and around garbage cans and any other places where you see ants. 2. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone. Note: Do not wet the DE or it will not work.
Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out under cold running water and remove all fat. Pat dry with paper towels.
Put chicken into a small baking pan. Rub with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, paprika and cayenne pepper together and sprinkle over chicken.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and continue roasting to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 40 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
In this low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, garlicky broccoli, spaghetti squash and cheese are combined for a healthy take on a favorite casserole. This bakes right in the squash shells for a fun presentation.
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°F.
Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and red pepper (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring, until the broccolini is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place the shells in a broiler-safe baking pan or on a baking sheet. Stir ¾ cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide it between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.
2skinless boneless chicken breast halvescut into cubes
2sweet potatoespeeled and chopped
½poundwhite button mushroomsthinly sliced
1pinchcrushed red pepperor more to taste
1pinchpaprikaor more to taste
1pinchsea salt or more to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach, crushed red pepper, paprika, and sea salt with the onion and garlic in the saucepan. Pour as much chicken broth into the saucepan to make the mixture as soup-like or stew-like as you’d like it.
Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
“Use an array of colorful veggies to make this healthy shrimp salad pop. Cooking the shrimp with fresh herbs and garlic infuses them with flavor without coming off too strong for a light dinner salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining.”
1¼poundsraw shrimp21-25 count, peeled and deveined
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
10sprigs fresh thyme
3large heirloom tomatoeschopped
½cupchopped fresh basilplus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Toss shrimp with oil, thyme and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the shrimp are pink and firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl (discard thyme and garlic). Add lemon juice and stir to coat. Gently stir in cucumber, tomatoes and basil. Arrange the shrimp and vegetables in a serving bowl. Serve drizzled with any dressing left in the bowl and garnish with more basil, if desired.
The Romanesco broccoli is technically an edible flower and is easily recognized by its eye-catching fractal appearance. It is grown in the region of Lazio, home to Rome and hence its name. In Italy, you find it typically consumed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted or sauteed. It has a delicate nutty flavor making it easily adaptable to various preparations and is a favorite ingredient in Italian soups just like this one.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: low fat
Author: Grandma Antointte
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
2small carrotfinely chopped
1rib celeryfinely chopped
7ouncesRomanesco broccoli (a large head)tough parts discarded, chopped
4small potatoespeeled and chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrot, shallot, and celery; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Romanesco broccoli and potatoes.
Pour hot water into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until broccoli and potatoes are soft, about 40 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
These wedges of juicy watermelon are topped with nondairy coconut yogurt and berries that make for a crisp and refreshing dessert. For kids snacks, leave the wedges blank and let everyone add their own toppings to the yogurt.
"My favorite recipes are ones with few ingredients that I normally have on hand, you'll love it too!
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free
Author: Grandma Antoinette
2large bell pepperssliced into thin strips
1/3cupred wine vinegar
1 1/2poundsflank steakcut into thin strips
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, bell peppers, and garlic in oil until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour soy sauce, honey, and red wine vinegar in pan, then add beef. Cook beef, stirring frequently, until done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cooked vegetables, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
Grandma’s lighter take on eggplant parmesan maintains all the flavors of the classic dish but is baked instead of fried. This is a household favorite here & is bound to be in your house too. Besides being delicious, there are 11 grams of filling protein in this hearty vegetarian dish.
Preheat oven to 400°Coat two baking sheets and an 8-by-11½-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut eggplants crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Whisk egg whites and water in a shallow dish until frothy. Combine breadcrumbs, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, salt and pepper in another shallow dish. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg-white mixture, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. (Discard any leftover breadcrumbs and egg white.) Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the eggplant slices over, and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.
Stir basil into tomato sauce. Spread about ½ cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add a layer of the remaining eggplant slices and top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes