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.
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.
As we follow Yolanda through her pregnancy, she talks about what she is experiencing during weeks 15 through 18. At this stage, the baby is around the size of a pomegranate, and you may be able to tell the sex of the baby. Some symptoms you may be dealing with include leg cramping and swelling of your legs and feet.
Instant Pot French Onion Soup—A quick and easy way to make a classic French onion soup recipe in a power pressure cooker. Delicious every time!
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Chicken, Instant Pot, instapot
4Largeyellow onions — or Spanish onionshalved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 2 1/2 pounds)
4clovesgarlic — mincedabout 2 teaspoons
2springs fresh thyme
1/2cupdry red wine — such as Cabernet Sauvignon
4cartons Beef Bone Broth8.25-ounce cartons
1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
8 to 12slicessmall baguette — cut about 3/4-inch thick
1/2lbsliced provoloneGruyère cheese — white cheddar fontina, and gouda, are also delicious
Turn the Instant Pot (or similar electric pressure cooker) to sauté. Add the butter and let melt. Once melted, add the onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Cook, stirring, until onions slightly soften and start to release liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons water. Cover and seal the Instant Pot, then set to cook on HIGH pressure (manual setting) for 20 minutes. Release pressure to vent immediately.
Remove the lid, then turn the Instant Pot back to sauté. Cook for 5 minutes until some of the liquid evaporates, then add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits that have collected on the bottom of the pot. Let simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf.
Add the bone broth and stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the soup thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
For the bread topping: When you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyère. Broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, watching constantly towards the end so that the bread does not burn. Ladle the soup into bowls, then float the bread on top. Enjoy! Alternatively, if you have ovenproof bowls, you can ladle the soup into them first, top with each with a baguette slice and cheese, then arrange the bowls on a baking sheet and place the sheet under the boiler, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
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.
Follow our Yolanda throughout her pregnancy as she talks about what she is experiencing. Here she talks about weeks 1 through 14. This is the start of the second trimester, where the pregnant mother may experience an increased appetite, varicose veins, and a stuffy nose.
1. Chanukah on Main Street Brightwaters Brightwaters Canal Brightwaters, NY 11718 05:00 PM – 06:30 PM Sun, Dec 22, 2019
2. Ronkonkoma’s 2019 Menorah Lighting at Raynor Beach County Park Ronkonkoma Ave. Ronkonkoma, NY 11777 07:00 PM – 08:00 PM Sun, Dec 22, 2019
3. Kings Park’s 2019 Menorah Lighting Ceremony at Kings Park Library Main Street/Route 25A Kings Park, NY 11754 11:00 AM Sun, Dec 22, 2019
4. St. James’ 2019 Menorah Lighting at The Triangle Route 25A and Lake Avenue St. James, NY 11780 05:30 PM Dec 22, 2019 through Dec 29, 2019 (daily) Lightings will take place at 5:30 PM, except on Friday at 4:30 PM.
5. Sayville’s 2019 Hanukkah Lighting at Sayville Chamber House 175 N. Main Street Sayville, NY 11782 06:30 PM – 07:00 PM Sun, Dec 22, 2019
1 2019 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting & Display Rockefeller Center – TONIGHT 30 Rockefeller Plaza New YorkNY 10012 Visit Website: Website. 05:00 PM Dec 04, 2019
2 Moriches’ 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Center Square Shopping Center 552 Montauk Highway Center Moriches, NY 11934 Visit Website: Website. 07:00 PM Fri, Dec 06, 2019
3 Tree Lighting Ceremony at Mary Jane Davies Green, Manhasset at Mary Jane Davies Green Plandome Road Manhasset, NY 11030 Visit Website: Website. 04:00 PM – 05:00 PM Fri, Dec 06, 2019
4 Orient Beach State Park’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at Orient Beach State Park 40000 Main Road Orient, NY 11957 Visit Website: Website. 06:30 PM Fri, Dec 06, 2019
5 Annual Brookhaven Town Tree Lighting, Holtsville at Holtsville Ecology Site 249 Buckley Road Holtsville, NY 11742 Visit Website: Website. 06:00 PM – 07:00 PM Fri, Dec 06, 2019
6 The Maidstone Hotel’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony, East Hampton at The Maidstone Hotel 207 Main St. East Hampton, NY 11937 Visit Website: Website. 05:00 PM – 07:00 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
7 9th Annual Patriotic Holiday Tree Lighting, Nesconset at 316 Smithtown Boulevard Nesconset, NY Visit Website: Website. 05:00 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
8 Kings Park’s 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Kings Park Library Main Street/Route 25A Kings Park, NY 11754 Visit Website: Website. 04:30 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
9 Freeport Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting Woodcleft ave Freeport, NY 11520 Visit Website: Website 05:00 PM – 11:00 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
10 Grace Tree Lighting at Grace Episcopal Church, Massapequa 23 Cedar Shore Dr. Massapequa, NY 11758 Visit Website: Website. 05:00 PM Sat, Dec 7, 2019
11 Annual Train Car Tree Lighting and Visit with Santa, Port Jefferson Station Terryville Chamber Train Car Park 1003 Rt 112 Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776 Visit Website: Website. 06:00 PM – 08:00 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
12 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting at Deepwells, St. James at Deepwells Farm County Park Route 25A and Moriches Road St. James, NY 11780 Visit Website: Website. 04:30 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
13 Belmont Lake State Park’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, West Babylon at Belmont Lake State Park Southern State Parkway, Exit 38 West Babylon, NY 11703 Visit Website: Website. 04:15 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019
14 Bellport Village’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony at Bellport Village Bellport Lane Bellport, NY 11713 Visit Website: Website. 06:00 PM Sat Dec 07, 2019
15 Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium 1660 Route 25A Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 Visit Website: Website. 05:00 PM – 07:00 PM Sat, Dec 07, 2019.
16 Nesconset’s 2019 Holiday Lighting – Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting at Gazebo Park 127 Smithtown Blvd Nesconset, NY 11767 Visit Website: Website. 02:00 PM – 04:30 PM Sun, Dec 08, 2019
17 Medford’s 2019 Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting at Medford Memorial Park Route 112 Medford, NY 11763 Visit Website: Website. 04:00 PM Sun, Dec 08, 2019
18 Stony Brook Village’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting at Stony Brook Village Center 111 Main Street Stony Brook, NY 11790 Visit Website: Website. 05:30 PM Sun, Dec 08, 2019
19 OLA Knights of Columbus Children’s Christmas Parade, Copiague at Great Neck Road/OLA 1400 Great Neck Road Copiague, NY 11726 Visit Website: Website. 06:00 PM – 10:00 PM Fri, Dec 13, 2019
20 15th Annual Tree Lighting at Planting Fields, Oyster Bay at Planting Fields Arboretum 1395 Planting Fields Rd. Oyster Bay, NY 11771 Visit Website: Website. 06:00 PM – 08:00 PM Fri, Dec 13, 2019
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 😉
If you’re looking for a great holiday appetizer, this serves a ton of people and is super yummy! I love the combination of these two simple vegetables into a creamy dip. The recipe I’m sharing today is leagues above the recipes I’ve made in the past, taking spinach and artichokes from simple to extraordinary thanks to the addition of the 4 cheese blend. You are welcome!
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.
Nothing says “comfort food” like the aroma of a warm roast wafting through your home. These Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches are a perfectly satisfying and easy dinner option for this rainy Halloween night.
The contrast of the crusty French bread and the tender, juicy meat brings this sandwich to the next level.
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, french dip, high protein, slow cooker
Author: Grandma Antoinette
13 lbBoneless beef chuck roastTrimmed
1Can10-1/2 ounces condensed French onion soup, undiluted
We have something special for you today! Our “This, Not That, Thursday” is about indoor herb gardens. An indoor herb garden is a great way to have fresh herbs all year long and in almost any climate. Plus if you grow them from organic non-GMO seeds, you’ll know you’ve got the best of the best for your family.
Savor the flavor of your favorite herbs and add a bright bit of green to your kitchen when you bring your herb garden inside. If you have a sunny windowsill with at least four hours of sunshine a day, you have everything you need for a flourishing garden full of herbs such as mint, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
There’s no benefit to growing herbs you aren’t going to use. Start with the ones you use often. If you’re still not sure which to grow, here are some ideas:
Rosemary – This herb is spicy and warm and great paired with beef, lamb, or chicken. Rosemary is also helpful for keeping rodents and mosquitoes away.
Thyme – Thyme is most often used as a spice in culinary uses and its aromatic and rich flavor is perfect for soups, stews, and marinades.
Oregano – Oregano is often used in Greek and Italian food (especially tomato dishes).
Mint – Mint is a tasty herb that adds some freshness to any dish (especially lamb!).
Basil – Most well known as the main ingredient in pesto, basil is a delicious and mild herb.
Sage – Sage is a great herb to add to pork or turkey sausage and combines well with any other herb on this list.
You can start your herb garden from seeds, or to get a quick start, you can purchase established herb plants from your local garden center or grocery store. When you purchase established plants you won’t have to wait long until the plants are mature enough for harvesting fresh herbs when you need them.
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.
Hello again! Since many of today’s cat treats are full of preservatives and chemicals, why not make them yourself? That’s why this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” is on DIY Natural Cat treats. It’s relatively easy and quick, and, best of all, you know what kitty is eating!
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.
Did you know that a single little brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour?
One gray bat will munch on 3,000 insects in a night. I don’t know about you, but those statistics make these little nighttime flyers pretty popular with me. Would you like to attract some bats to your homestead for natural, non-toxic organic pest control?
The first way to get the little critters interested in your yard is to leave a dead tree if you happen to have one. Some dead trees can pose a problem if they are close to your house or other structures, but if you have a tree that can be left on your property, chances are the bats will eventually move in. The bark that loosens up and pulls away from the trunk when a tree dies provides a perfect little crevice for bats, who love to squeeze into small spaces.
If you’re like most people and having a dead tree on your property is not an option. The next best choice is to install a bat house. If you are handy and want to try building your own bat house, here is a link on DIY Bat house plans https://homesthetics.net/bat-house-plans/ If you’d rather purchase a ready-made bat house, those are also available online, amazon sells them for $25-$60. You may want to visit the website for Bat Conservation International. You’ll find bat house plans, ready-made houses, and all kinds of fascinating bat information.
Now, onto where to place your Bat house. They are best located near a permanent source of water, especially a marsh, lake or river, which is by far the most likely to attract bats. They should be hung roughly 12–15 feet above the ground, where their approach is unobstructed by vegetation or utility wires and they are sheltered as much as possible from the wind. A bat house can be placed on a tree or pole, although those attached to the side of a building have had the most success because they provide temperature stability.
Since appropriate temperature may determine how (or even if) your bat house is used, you may wish to consider several factors before mounting it. Lower temperatures, due to higher altitude or latitude, require that bat houses intended for use by nursery colonies be oriented to receive maximum sun, especially in the morning (southeast exposure). Another way to gain heat absorption is to add tar paper or dark-colored shingles to the Bat house roof. Even in hot climates, bat houses should be positioned to receive morning sun
No matter if they are summer residents only or hang out all year long, it is well worth your time and effort to attract them to your homestead by installing one or more bat houses on or near your home. Encourage other community members to do the same. You’ll enjoy the natural pest protection that they will happily provide you and your family.
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.
This Crockpot Apple Crisp is a perfect way to use some of the apples you got while apple picking out east! This super easy dessert is bursting with juicy apples, brown sugar, and a buttery oat crumble topping, just like grandma used to make.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Keyword: soy free
Author: Grandma Antoinette
The Apple Mixture:
8Granny Smith apples (Or what you have on hand)peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
½cuppacked light brown sugar
The Crisp Topping:
¾cupwhite whole wheat flour
1/3cuppacked light brown sugar
½cupcold unsalted buttercut into cubes
Place sliced apples in the slow cooker. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir. (Be sure to use a non-metal spoon so as not to scratch your slow cooker insert.) Let sit while you prepare the crisp topping.
Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the oat mixture until the mixture starts to clump together.
Back to the apple mixture, stir one more time and then spread apples out into an even layer. Now, sprinkle on the crisp topping evenly.
Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 3-3½ hours, until apples, are soft. Turn off heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving (keeping the lid on). We serve it with vanilla ice cream, but you can use any flavor you like. Enjoy!
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.
On this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday,” we want to discuss beeswax wraps. Last week we touched on DIY reusable snack bags to move away from disposable plastic, so this week we’re focusing on plastic cling wrap.
If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – “can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen”*
Fortunately, there are so many amazing alternatives available like leakproof glass containers and silicone stretchable lids that stretch to fit a variety of container sizes, and of course beeswax wraps!
When you pack your own lunch every day (maybe your kids’ too), it might feel like you’re always adding cling wrap to your grocery list… enter beeswax wraps. The pliable covers fold up around foods and cover bowls of leftovers. They rinse clean with cold water and mild soap (hot water would melt the wax!) and you can reuse them time and time again.
These bee-autiful storage solutions sell for about $18 for a pack of three on Amazon, but if you’re feeling crafty, they’re super easy to DIY. Either way, you’ll easily recoup the cost by buying fewer sandwich bags and plastic wrap. If you use three plastic bags per day and a box of 150 costs about $10, you’re already spending more than $70 per year on something most people just throw away after one use.
These beeswax food wraps are not hard to make, but they do take a little bit of time, so plan ahead for that. This recipe makes four wraps, but it’s easy to double the recipe if you want to make more.
Cut the muslin cloth to whatever size works best for you, or even different sizes if you wish. You can use pinking shears if you want to make the edges fancy. I personally love the look it gives. The pine resin is probably the hardest ingredient to come by, but I was able to find a good source on Amazon. Beeswax pastilles are probably the easiest form of beeswax to use here, or you can do what I did and grate some off a block of beeswax.
¼ cup beeswax
2 tablespoons pine resin
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
4 squares of 100% cotton muslin fabric (I used 12″ squares)
glass pyrex measuring cup
1″ wide paintbrush
clothes drying rack
Melt the pine resin in a double boiler (I use a glass pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water) over medium heat.
It takes a while for the resin to fully melt, but once it does add the beeswax. Stir using a wooden or bamboo stick until the resin and wax are completely melted together.
Then slowly drizzle in the jojoba oil. Turn the heat to low to keep it all melted.
Preheat the oven to 225°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one square of muslin on the parchment and use the paintbrush to brush it all over with the beeswax mixture.
Place the baking sheet in the oven just long enough to fully melt the beeswax. It should only take a couple of minutes. Take it out of the oven and spread the beeswax around again with the paintbrush, so that the whole muslin cloth is coated evenly.
Then take another square of muslin and lay it on top of the first square to blot up the extra wax. Flip the two squares over so that the blotting square is now on the bottom.
Return the baking sheet to the oven briefly, just long enough to liquefy the wax.
Remove from the oven, and hang the first piece of beeswax coated muslin on a clothes drying rack to dry.
Use the paintbrush to spread the wax on the blotting square, which is now your working square, and repeat the whole process again.
Once they are all dry, they are ready to use! They work perfectly for covering bowls, just as you would use plastic wrap. The beeswax can be warmed in the hands and will conform to the bowl and stick to the rim. The pine resin gives it some stickiness as well.
FYI: Beeswax wraps aren’t air-tight and won’t keep highly perishable items (like raw meat) fresh. We recommend using them to cover foods you’ll eat within a couple of hours or the next day, like a sandwich, bowl of pasta, or piece of fruit. For longer-lasting leftovers or smellier items like cheese, you’re probably better off sealing them up in reusable glass containers. With that in mind, here’s how you can make your own beeswax wraps <3
*Concluded a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives(source 1, source 2)
This week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re talking about Diatomaceous Earth. It’s the “Jack of all trades” of natural home care products, and it has applications in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and more. An added bonus is that DE is so safe and non-toxic, it’s frequently used in water filtration.
What Is Diatomaceous Earth, Anyway?
DE is, as mentioned, a white powder naturally occurring from the fossils of diatoms (a type of algae found in river beds and lake beds). The diatoms form a very hard shell of silica in a tubular shape.
When dry, DE appears very fine and soft to the naked eye but microscopically it has some very unique qualities:
High Silica Content: These fossilized diatoms have a very high silica content (which is used to build hair, skin, and nails).
Hard as Nails … or Diamonds: DE is very hard (only two points lower than diamonds on the hardness scale). It looks like a tiny cylindrical tube with many holes in it when viewed through a microscope.
Holds a Strong Negative Charge: DE has a very strong negative charge, which makes it purifying and beneficial in several ways.
Since the 1960s DE has been commonly used in things like toothpaste, as an anti-caking aid, for clarifying beer or wine, and to eliminate pests naturally. In fact, you’ve likely consumed products that contain traces of DE without even knowing it! While I’m usually not a fan of hidden ingredients, DE is one we don’t need to worry about.
Note: you should only use “food grade” Diatomaceous Earth if you intend to use it around your house. This is distinct from “pool grade” Diatomaceous Earth, which is coarser and designed to help filter pool water.
Do your copper pots look dull? A mixture of vegetable oil, vinegar, and DE can return it to its store-bought shine. Just rub the mixture vigorously into the pots until you can start to see that copper color come back.
Water Stain Removal
Notice a buildup around your water faucets? Mix together lemon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and DE in a small bowl. With a damp cloth, use that substance to scrub the deposits away.
Oil Spill Cleanup
Interestingly, DE can hold up to twice its weight in liquid. That makes it useful when you accidentally spill oil on your driveway. Just coat the spill in DE and let it soak the oil up. Then, sweep up the DE and throw it away. When you clean the area with hot, soapy water afterward, it’s much less likely to leave a permanent stain.
Do your shoes sometimes resemble a petri dish? Hey, don’t be embarrassed. Fungus thrives in conditions exactly like the inside of your shoe. However, there’s one crucial ingredient that all fungi need in order to thrive: moisture.
By sprinkling DE in your shoes, you’ll steal away that moisture and neutralize foot odors at the same time.
DE absorbs odors. That’s incredibly valuable when you have an old fridge that is filled with the smells of years’ worth of groceries.
To improve the odor, first, find a container (like a coffee can or a mason jar) and stick a few holes in the lid. Pour DE in the container, slap on the lid, and stick it inside of your refrigerator. As the air slowly circulates, you should notice it start to smell more neutral in about a week.
Repel Bugs & Fleas
Pest infestations in your home are maddening. But it’s possible to clear your home of insects without using pesticides. Since DE absorbs oils, a small sprinkling of the stuff can cause bugs to shrivel like raisins and die, even though the substance is harmless to humans and pets. If your home is under siege, thoroughly clean your bedding, carpets, and upholstery, then dust these surfaces with DE.
Have you ever used Diatomaceous Earth? What did you use it for? How did it work? Share below!
Good morning! It’s almost Back to School & snacks are a big deal. This week “This, Not That, Thursday” is focusing on reusable snack bags. There is so much waste that comes from using single-serve packets or using plastic bags every day. Reusable snack bags are amazing and will save you money in the long run. You can buy them of course but we’re going to tell you how to make them.
Materials for Making Reusable Snack Bags: – Outside cotton fabric—dig through your fabric stash! You just need enough to make two 6 1/2”x5″ rectangles (or whatever size you choose) – Waterproof food-safe fabric – Velcro – Coordinating thread – Scissors – Ruler – Seam gauge – Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but makes this project even quicker!)How to Make – Reusable Snack Bags: 1. Cut your fabric. Cut two pieces each of the outer fabric and the line (6 1/2″ x 5″) but any size will work. Cut a strip of the Velcro/hook and loop fastener to 6 1/2″ (or whatever width your bag will be). 2. Pin one half of the velcro strip 3/4″ from the top of one-liner piece, and sew all around the edges of the fastener. You may be tempted to not pin, even if you tend to freehand your sewing, you WILL want to pin in this. Repeat with the other piece of lining fabric and the other half of the hook-and-loop fastener. 3. Pin one piece of the lining fabric to one piece of the outer fabric, right sides together (for the lining, the “right side” is the one with the fastener on it). Sew along the top, 1/4″ from the edge. Repeat with the other lining and outside fabric piece. Open up both pieces and run your finger along the seams to press them open. You’d usually want to iron here, but the high heat may damage the liner. 4. Put together both pieces, right sides together, matching up the seams and the Velcro. Starting at the bottom of the lining fabric, sew around the perimeter of the piece, leaving a 2″ space open at the bottom of the liner to turn the bag. Backstitch at each end of your sewing for security. 5. Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening in the bottom of the liner. 6. Close the opening at the bottom of the liner by folding in the edges to create a seam. You can either topstitch over this or slipstitch it. 7. Push the liner inside the bag, and you’re done! To make the bags lay flat, you may want to either finger press the top seams or briefly run over the bags with a very low iron. Cleaning Your Snack Bags Most of the time, you can just turn the bags inside out and wipe clean. But if it gets really dirty, wash in cold water and hang up to dry. If you choose to put these through the washer, I recommend putting them in a mesh laundry bag first, just so the Velcro doesn’t get caught on the rest of your laundry
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.
Something that never felt right to me was throwing away used coffee grounds. Many people wake up in the morning looking forward to their cup of coffee and then habitually toss the grounds into the trash without a second thought.
As it turns out, there are many wonderful things you can do with these spent coffee grounds. Before you throw out those grounds after brewing up your morning beverage, give one of these ideas a try.
1. Coffee grounds are wonderful at exfoliating your hair.
To exfoliate hair, use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, depending on hair length. In the shower, wet hair thoroughly. Massage grounds through hair focusing on the scalp. It helps to part the hair and work in sections. Once you have covered the whole scalp, thoroughly wet the hair again. Don’t try to rinse the grounds out as it won’t work. Use your shampoo to work up a nice lather. Then you can rinse it all out. A second shampooing may be necessary. Finish with your normal conditioner or apple cider vinegar rinse.
2. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants.
Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil. Tomatoes love acidic soil!
3. Neutralize refrigerator odors.
Placing them in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.
4. Weigh Down Ashes for Fireplace Clean-up:
If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, those old coffee grounds will become your best friend. When it is time to clean out the ashes, cover them with a layer of wet coffee grounds to moisten and weigh them down. This will greatly reduce the amount of ash that will float up and coat your living room when you scoop them out.
5. Pest Repellent
Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of used grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.
This week’s installment of This, Not That, Thursday, is about getting out of the habit of sitting at home watching TV after work. Instead of the boob tube, we’ve made a list of local, free live music to help get you started. Tonight is – Live at 5 in Patchogue & Music on Main in Farmingdale! Check it out
It is a beautiful sunny Thursday and were happy to bring you this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.” This week we will be talking about Air purifying plants.
Why does indoor air need purifying?
Well, there are plenty of toxins floating around outside thanks to pesticides and herbicides, vehicle fumes, and other industrial pollutants. Sadly, you’ll find a ton of toxins in the air inside your own home as well.
Your indoor air quality is affected by the following:
Cleaning products, especially laundry detergent and fabric softener, as laundry chemicals are the top indoor pollutant
Chemical flame retardants in furniture, mattresses, and children’s PJs
Formaldehyde found in gas stoves, garbage bags, paper towels and tissues, carpet backing, and some fabrics
Other toxins carried in on your clothes and shoes from outdoors
Electromagnetic frequencies (from computers, WiFi, and other electronics)
Opening your windows can go a long way, but a solution I really like is plants. These houseplants are the most effective at removing indoor air toxins and contaminants.
Bamboo palms are effective at removing chemical contaminants from the air like formaldehyde and benzene. They also help to keep the air moist, which is helpful during winter months when all types of heaters can produce overly dry indoor air.
Bamboo palms have a tropical appearance and, though green instead of the typical tan bamboo color, have the characteristic tall, skinny canes and fanned leaves.
The rubber plant is very effective for removing formaldehyde from indoor air. It’s favored for its ease of growth, as well as its appearance, which features large, rubbery leaves.
The rubber plant can grow up to 8 feet tall in the proper conditions. This large plant is bred for toughness, which means that it’s not only one of the most effective plants for purifying indoor air, but it’s sure to be hardy even in less than ideal conditions.
English ivy is most often seen growing as a covering in atriums and lobbies, but it makes a lovely feature if grown as a topiary. Like the rubber plant, English ivy is known for its ability to remove formaldehyde from the air.
English ivy needs lots of light to look its best, but does well when the temperature doesn’t get too hot. It is, however, very adaptable to its environment, as it will climb and spread over any surface given the chance.
Dwarf Date Palm
If you’re into tropical plants, the dwarf date palm is for you. It’s like an adorable mini palm tree that fits in your living room.
The dwarf date palm is one of the most effective palms for removing indoor air pollution, especially xylene, which is found in solvents and paint thinner. It’s also quite good at keeping the air moist and is fairly easy to grow.
For this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re discussing “how to start a compost pile.”
The EPA estimates that 22 percent of solid waste that enters the landfill is food.
Composting is a perfect way to divert a lot of that organic matter away from the landfill. While it’s still important to cut down on food waste by eating leftovers and using up produce before it goes bad, no one is perfect. So, composting the kitchen waste that can’t be saved is a great way to reduce food waste.
How to start a compost pile
Starting a compost pile requires a few simple steps: creating the compost heap, adding organic materials, and watering and turning the compost as necessary.
Creating your compost heap
Location – One of the most important factors for starting a compost pile is its location. Choose an open, level area with good drainage. You do not want your compost to sit in standing water. An area with partial sun or shade is also ideal. Too much sun can dry the pile out, while too much shade can keep it overly wet. Finally, choose a site that is easy for you to get to and avoid areas near dogs or other meat-eating animals.
Size – The recommended size for a compost pile is generally no smaller than 3 feet high and wide and no larger than 5 feet. Anything smaller may not heat up efficiently and anything larger may hold too much water and become difficult to turn. It is recommended to start your pile on the bare ground rather than on asphalt or concrete. This impedes aeration and inhibits microbes. Placing a pallet underneath the pile is fine, however, if you prefer.
Adding organic materials
Many organic materials can be composted, but there are some items that you should keep out of your compost pile.
Carnivorous pet feces (e.g. dog, cat)
Diseased plants, or weeds that have seeded Human waste Charcoal or coal ash (wood ash is ok though)
The key materials for composting are nitrogen/greens and carbon/browns. When starting a compost pile, the recommended practice is to layer or alternate these greens and browns, the same way as you would for making lasagna.
Your bulkier organic materials do best in the first ground layer, so start with a layer of browns, such as twigs (less than ½ inch in diameter) or straw, about 4 to 6 inches.
Next, add in some green materials, such as kitchen waste and grass clippings, again about 4 to 6 inches thick. Additionally, animal manure and fertilizers serve as activators that accelerate the heating of your pile and provide a nitrogen source for beneficial microbes.
Continue to add layers of nitrogen and carbon materials until you reach the top or run out. Lightly water each layer as it is added, firming it down but do not compact.
Watering and turning the compost
Your compost pile should be moist, but not soggy. Most of your water will come from rain, as well as the moisture in green materials, but you may need to water the pile yourself on occasion. If the pile gets too wet, you can turn it more frequently to dry it or add more brown materials to soak up excess moisture. Once you turn the pile the first time, these materials will get mixed together and compost more efficiently. Keeping the compost pile turned on a frequent basis will help with aeration and speed up decomposition. Using these simple instructions for composting, you will be well on your way to creating the ideal compost for your garden.