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Homemade by Jade

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  • Tracey Boyer
  • January 17, 2015 02:23:21 AM
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A Little About Us

A blog about homesteading and getting back to a simpler lifestyle. Posts include subjects such as cooking from scratch, backyard gardening, canning, cooking, crafts, sewing and household DIY.

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Homemade Weed Killer That Really Works!

​I have been making my own weed killer for years.  Ever since I heard that Round up has a big link to cancer, I decided I would use only weed killers with commonly known ingredients.  My homemade formula does not work as well as chemicals, but the trade off is more than worth it.  However, recently I have changed one ingredients in my homemade weed killer that I have been using for the last few years.  That change makes a big difference!​​If you replace the Epsom salt...

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​I have been making my own weed killer for years.  Ever since I heard that Round up has a big link to cancer, I decided I would use only weed killers with commonly known ingredients.  My homemade formula does not work as well as chemicals, but the trade off is more than worth it.  However, recently I have changed one ingredients in my homemade weed killer that I have been using for the last few years.  That change makes a big difference!

​If you replace the Epsom salt with regular salt, it works much better and faster.  The only difference is that you have to make sure that you don't over use the mixture or use it a lot in your garden because too much salt in the ground will adversely affect how well plants grow in the soil.  I use this for overgrowth around my pole barns, and for big weeds in the grass.  It does a really good job!
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup blue dawn dish soap
  • 1 gal vinegar
Directions:

  1. Pour the white vinegar in your spaying container
  2. Add salt while stirring
  3. Pour in dishwashing liquid slowly
  4. Stir slowly and gently until salt dissolves.  If you stir too fast it will foam.
Hope this helps you all out.  I know by this time of the summer, I am thoroughly sick of weeds!  Have a great week!

Jade     :)



6 Tips to Dehydrate Vegetables Successfully

If you are anything like me, food storage is always a problem.  It either takes up a lot of shelf space or room in your freezer.  There is one method that takes up very little room on the shelf and no room in your freezer.  Dehydrating!  It is easy to do and takes up so little space, you will not believe how much food you can store in a cabinet or closet shelf.  Grow your own vegetables or buy them in season and you will be eating them all winter long.​ ...

If you are anything like me, food storage is always a problem.  It either takes up a lot of shelf space or room in your freezer.  There is one method that takes up very little room on the shelf and no room in your freezer.  Dehydrating!  It is easy to do and takes up so little space, you will not believe how much food you can store in a cabinet or closet shelf.  Grow your own vegetables or buy them in season and you will be eating them all winter long.


Whenever dehydrating vegetables, the first step is to make sure to wash them thoroughly and slice them fairly thin.  Always place them in a single layer on the dehydrator trays or cookie sheets.  You don't have to have a dehydrating machine to dehydrate food.  You can use your oven.  Here's how:
How to Dehydrate in Your Oven

  1. Turn on your oven to the lowest setting
  2. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  3. Slice your veggies or fruits to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch
  4. Line them up in a single layer on your cookie sheet
  5. Bake until crisp, usually 7 to 8 hours

​I find it a bit quicker to use a dehydrator, plus it does not tie up your oven for hours at a 
time.  You can get dehydrators for as little as $35, but they can go up to over $500 for the fancier models.
This is my dehydrator, I love it!  But it is a bit pricey.  I started out with a round one, but I wanted something bigger, so I saved up and got this one!

Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator
This dehydrator is similar to the first one that I had that was given to me by my sister.  It worked well, and I used it for a few years before getting my Excalibur.

Nesco Food Dehydrator


6 Tips for Dehydrating Vegetables Successfully

  1. ​Cooking vegetables is not necessary before dehydrating if the vegetable is one that you eat raw when fresh, such as tomatoes, onions, peppers.  If the vegetable is one that you usually cook before eating, then boiling or steaming them for 8 to 10 minutes before dehydrating will make them plump up better when you rehydrate them.  This is not totally necessary, but I have found that it make rehydration more successful.
  2. I prefer not to mix vegetables when drying, as I find sometimes one vegetable will contaminate to taste of others.  I do know that many people do mix items, so this is a decision you will have to make for yourself.  However, never put fresh food in the dehydrator or stove along with food that has already been dehydrating.  It throws off the time and will result in some items being over dried and ruined.
  3. When dehydrating potatoes, you MUST blanch them first.  You simply slice them 1/8 of an inch thick, or you can grate them, and then boil them in salted water till they are fork tender, about 8 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK, or they will fall apart when you are trying to put them on the trays.  This step is very very important.  If you do not blanch, your potatoes will turn a gross shade of gray brown, and no one will want to eat them, even though they are safe to eat.
  4. When dehydrating bananas and apples, they will turn brown while drying and look very unappealing unless you spray them with lemon juice.  This will not affect the taste, but it will stop them from turning dark.  Make sure you spray both sides.
  5. Method of storage of dehydrated foods is very important.  It is very important to store them in a clean, air tight container so they stay dry and free of moisture.  The only two ways I recommend storing dehydrated vegetables is in a mason jar with a oxygen absorber, or use a Food Saver to remove the oxygen and seal the bag.  I am comfortable with these methods of storage because I know they are safe, as long as the veggies are dried properly.
  6. To rehydrate vegetables you can either boil them for 15 minutes, one cup of veggies to two cups of water, or you can just soak them in room temperature water for 2 to 3 hours.  

You don't need to have a garden to take advantage of dehydrating vegetables.  You can buy vegetables at the grocery store, especially at the end of the season when the stores are inundated with local harvests and the prices are cheap.  Also try picking up very ripe fruits and veggies at the store.  They are usually inexpensive because the store wants to sell them before they are overripe and have to be thrown out.  You can also try local farmers markets.  Many times you can make a deal with the farmer if you buy in bulk and he has an abundance of certain produce.  And don't forget your gardening neighbors!  Trade them some dehydrated produce in exchange for fresh vegetables from their garden.

Dehydrating is a great way to store food.  It takes up 1/5 the space of canning and it does not require the electricity that freezing does.  It is perfect for small houses and apartments.  When I started doing it, I was shocked at how easy it was and how little room you need to store a lot of food!  Try it and you will be sold, I guarantee it!

Jade    :)



10 Beach Bag Essentials

​Everyone loves going to the beach, from children to adults.  What could be more fun.....wading, swimming, building sand castles, playing volleyball, or just relaxing and reading.  However there are some dangers at the beach, but it is easy to prepare for these dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones.  All you have to do is pack a few essentials and you are good to go! ​These important items don't take up a lot of room but they...


​Everyone loves going to the beach, from children to adults.  What could be more fun.....wading, swimming, building sand castles, playing volleyball, or just relaxing and reading.  However there are some dangers at the beach, but it is easy to prepare for these dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones.  All you have to do is pack a few essentials and you are good to go!

These important items don't take up a lot of room but they are very necessary if you want to protect yourself and your family while having fun in the sun, so don't forget them!

1.  Sun Screen - a good SPF15 with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA should be good for all but the most fair skinned.   SPF30 is only 4% more effective that SPF15, so I stick with the latter.  Make sure you put it on correctly, for tips on application and some other good sun screen info see the video below:
2.  Lip Protector - it is very important to protect your lips from the sun.  Repeated exposure to the sun and getting sunburned has been linked to lip cancer, so using lip balm like Chapstick Ultra with SPF25, when at the beach is very important.

3.  Flip Flops or Water Shoes - Wearing flip flops or water shoes at the beach and while swimming is imperative.  Not only will it save your feet from being burned on the hot sand, but it will also protect you from stepping on things that can cut your feet like glass or metal hidden in the sand.  Wearning them while swimming will protect your feet from stepping on any marine life that could bite or sting you and also from cutting your feet on rocks, shells 
or coral.
4.  Waterproof Mascara - It is very hard to wear makeup at the beach.  Foundation, blush and eyeshadow is sweated off, leaving you a streaked mess.  However there is one makeup that you can wear to the beach and it will stay beautifully, even while swimming, and that is waterproof mascara, like Maybelline Lash Stiletto Waterproof Mascara.

5. Sun Hat- A nice straw sun hat not only looks cute, but will shade your face from the sun and getting sunburned.  This does not mean that you do not need to wear sunscreen!

6.  Sunglasses - Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from bright sunlight and the glare of sunlight off water.
7.  Magazines - Magazines are a better choice than a book because the reading is compartmentalized.  You don't have to concentrate as hard because there is no overall storyline, just short articles you can read as you keep an eye on things around you.

8.  High Energy Snacks - The sun and swimming can drain your energy quickly, so it is always good to bring along some high protein snacks like nuts, trail mix or granola bars.  They will help keep your energy level up so you won't feel so exhausted when you get home from the beach.

9.  Clock or Watch - It is important to keep an eye on the time.  Too much time in the water or on the beach will lead to sunburn or worse.  It is better to stay out of the sun during the middle of the day when the rays are at their strongest. 

10. Cooler Full of Ice and Water Bottles - The best way to stay hydrated is to drink water.  It is especially important when you are sweating continually.  Water out, water in......remember this when you go to the beach!
​​
Pack your bag with the above items and be comfortable in the fact you are prepared and safe for a fun day at the beach or pool.  Actually, I just decided to buy items 1 through 9 and just keep them in my bag at all times, that way I don't ever forget them.  Just don't let anyone know you do this, or things will end up missing when items are "borrowed."  

Have a great week,

Jade    :)



15 Things You Don't Need To Refrigerate

​Standard practice today is to keep almost all foods in the refrigerator.  Most of the time we don't even think about it, we just put things in the refrigerator, but did you know that many of those things really don't need to go in the refrigerator?  Many items are good out on the counter in a bowl, or in the cupboard.  Find out which ones! ​There are many cases where this is just not necessary, and can even be bad for some things. ...


Standard practice today is to keep almost all foods in the refrigerator.  Most of the time we don't even think about it, we just put things in the refrigerator, but did you know that many of those things really don't need to go in the refrigerator?  Many items are good out on the counter in a bowl, or in the cupboard.  Find out which ones!


​There are many cases where this is just not necessary, and can even be bad for some things.  This applies only to whole and uncut items.

  1. Tomatoes –  You can leave tomatoes out for up to a week with no ill effects, but if you plan to keep them longer than that, you should put them in the fridge.  Plan for them to lose some flavor once refrigerated and to get more mushy.
  2. Peppers – Can be left out in a bowl on the counter for up to a week.  Refrigerating actually makes them wrinkle and get soft faster.
  3. Winter Squash – Will stay good unrefrigerated for weeks or even months, it stored in a cool dry place
  4. Bread – Refrigerating bread will actually make it go stale faster than putting it in an uncooled bread box.  It will, however, get moldly faster, if your house is hot, or if you leave it by the stove or toaster. 
  5. Apples – Uncut apples can be left in a bowl on your counter and will stay good for about a week without refrigeration.
  6. Melons – This means whole melons only.  Putting whole melons in the fridge is unnecessary and does not keep them from going bad any faster than leaving them out
  7. Butter – if you use butter on a daily basis then leaving it out in a butter dish is perfectly ok.  It is pasteurized and salted, so it will not go bad.  However if you only use it once a week or so, I would keep it in the fridge.
  8. Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes – Do not need refrigeration but should be kept in a cool place, keeping them in a spot that is too hot will make them sprout.
  9. Garlic – Cured after picking, you can keep garlic on the shelf indefinitely, but it will start to dry if you don’t use it for weeks or months.
  10. Dry Beans – Homegrown beans that you pick and shell, or bags of beans you buy at the grocery store, neither need refrigeration
  11. Honey - Honey is one of the only foods that never spoils.  With time, it crystallizes, but it is still perfectly good to use.  Keeping it in the fridge actually speeds up the crystallization process, so keeping it in the cupboard is preferable.
  12. Avocado - An unripe avocado will never ripen in the refridgerator, put it on the counter and it will ripen quickly.
  13. Eggplant - Stays good for at least a week in a bowl on your counter
  14. Peanut Butter - the only peanut butter than needs refrigeration is pure organic.
  15. Hot Sauce - Even after opening, hot sauce will not spoil for at least three years.

I found that my refrigerator was much less crowded when I “weeded out” the items that did not need to be in there.  Give it a try!

​Have a great week,

​Jade    :)

This is my favorite bowl to hold items that don't need to be refrigerated.  I love the two tiers so you can keep fruits and vegetables separated.  It's also cool that the top tier can be removed if you don't want or need two tiers!  A great bowl for the price!


How to Make Perfect Popcorn in the Microwave

​You don't need to pay the high dollar for microwave popcorn, you can make regular grocery store popcorn in the microwave and it will come out perfect every time. It's so easy!  You can also make your microwave popcorn even more delicious by putting the right seasonings on it.  Savory or sweet, seasonings always turn up the flavor!​​Directions to Make Perfect Microwave Popcorn:​Pour a quarter cup of regular popcorn kernels in a microwave safe glass bowl.Cover the bowl with a...

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​You don't need to pay the high dollar for microwave popcorn, you can make regular grocery store popcorn in the microwave and it will come out perfect every time. It's so easy!  You can also make your microwave popcorn even more delicious by putting the right seasonings on it.  Savory or sweet, seasonings always turn up the flavor!

​Directions to Make Perfect Microwave Popcorn:
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Now I know what you are thinking:  Seasonings will not stick to popcorn cooked without oil.  Well, there are two things you can do to help your seasonings to stick. 
  1. Spray and toss with fat free butter flavored cooking spray
  2. Spritz lightly with olive or canola oil and toss 

You will probably have better sticking with the cooking spray, but if you are like me, you hesitate to use cooking spray because of all the unnatural ingredients in it.  I use this oil sprayer instead of cooking spray.  It saves me money too!

​Garlic Parmesan Popcorn Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • Small pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
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Cinnamon Popcorn Seasoning
For both recipes just take the bowl of popcorn and spray the kernels generously and toss, till evenly coated and then shake the seasonings on, generously, and toss again.  These seasonings also make great homemade jar gifts if you have friends that love movies, or just love popcorn!
No muss, no fuss, and low in calories, popcorn is a great snack for the whole family. It's also simple to make as well as delicious, and you never get tired because of all the different seasonings that you can put on it.  What more could you want in a snack?

Have a great weekend,

​Jade    :)



How to Freeze Eggs

​Sometimes you find yourself with too many eggs to use before they spoil. Maybe there was a great sale, or your hens have been overly prolific in laying or you bought a dozen forgetting that you already had a couple dozen. Regardless of how it happened, it does happen. What do you do ?​​Freezing eggs is really quite simple, but you cannot freeze them in the shell. The best method I have found is to crack them and beat them with a fork or whisk, and then pour them into an ice tray and...

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Sometimes you find yourself with too many eggs to use before they spoil. Maybe there was a great sale, or your hens have been overly prolific in laying or you bought a dozen forgetting that you already had a couple dozen. Regardless of how it happened, it does happen. What do you do ?
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​Freezing eggs is really quite simple, but you cannot freeze them in the shell. The best method I have found is to crack them and beat them with a fork or whisk, and then pour them into an ice tray and freeze. When you get ready to use them, two cubes equal one whole egg, just let them thaw naturally in the refrigerator and then use as usual.
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If you want to freeze just the yolks, you will need to know what you are using them for. If you plan to use them for baking sweets, then you will need to add 3/4 teaspoon of sugar for every 1/2 cup of yolks. If you are going to cook them savory, then 1/4 teaspoon of salt for every 1/2 cup of yolks. If you try to freeze yolks without salt or sugar added, theyn come out really thick and yucky. One frozen cube equals two yolks.

Freezing egg whites is the simplest. Just pour them into the ice tray and freeze. One cube equals one white.

Eggs keep in the freezer for up to a year, but I prefer to use mine within 3 or 4 months. I think they taste the same, so freeze eggs a lot because our hens lay alot!

Have a great weekend,

​Jade    :)


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