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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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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    :)


Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/brown-eggs-breakfast-nutrition-food-3217675/
https://pixabay.com/photos/egg-basket-food-kitchen-1686641/
https://pixabay.com/photos/egg-yolk-raw-liquid-beat-up-351469/


The Barnwood Look Made Simple

The barnwood look is so popular right now, it is used in crafts, in home decor in furniture and much more!  The only problem is that now that everyone wants it, of course, the price has skyrocketed!  Even the people with barns that are falling down want big money for the wood, even if you remove it yourself!  However, there is a very easy way to make new wook look gray and weathered like barnwood.  You won't believe how easy it is!​ A few months ago, I decided that I...

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The barnwood look is so popular right now, it is used in crafts, in home decor in furniture and much more!  The only problem is that now that everyone wants it, of course, the price has skyrocketed!  Even the people with barns that are falling down want big money for the wood, even if you remove it yourself!  However, there is a very easy way to make new wook look gray and weathered like barnwood.  You won't believe how easy it is!

 A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to make a wood wall in my home.  Since the decor in my house is basically farmhouse, I wanted to make the wood of the wall weathered gray.  I did a lot of research on the internet on how to make new wood look weathered.  Many of the processes were complicated and or expensive.  None of them were something I wanted to undertake for the amount of wood that I was going to need for an entire wall.  

I started checking out real barn wood, thinking maybe I would just bite the bullet and buy the wood I needed.  Hah!  Real barnwood on eBay would have been over $500, plus heaven knows how much for shipping.  So that was out, and I really did not know what to do.  I finally decided to just buy new wood and stain it gray.  It was not really what I wanted, but I could not think of anything else to do.
I stained a couple pieces of wood and it was too light, so I let it dry and put on another layer of stain.  I still did not like the look, so I put another layer and it really was not getting any darker.  Since I wanted the pieces to be all different shades of gray (light, medium, dark, etc) I knew that just using the stain was not going to work.  I was stumped!

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​​Then I had a thought!  Maybe I could put a darker undercoat on the wood and that would help to give me the different shades that I wanted and then put the stain on top.  But what to use for the undercoat?  I needed something that would dry quickly, faster than stain, so I decided to try black craft paint.  I figured if I watered it down, it would be gray, and I could make it as light or dark as I wanted by adjusting the amount of water I added.  
I put one coat on and I could not believe how nice it looked!  I put a bit more black paint in the mix and tried making a darker board.  It looked great!  The watered down paint gave the wood a whole different look than the stain.  It was rougher and less shiny.  The grain of the wood was more pronounced and it looked a lot like barnwood!  I showed it to my husband and he was really impressed, he said he liked it much better than the wood that was stained.  So we decided to use it as is, with no more stain.
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The wall turned out awesome!  It looks so good, I can't believe it.  The weathered barnwood color turned out to be so easy to attain, just black craft paint and water.  Who would have thought it would have been so simple?
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So there you have it.......my wood wall!  
Have a great week!

​Jade    :)


How to Make a Laundry Scent Booster (like Unstoppables)

If you really love laundry that smells great, you have probably already tried store bought laundry scent boosters like Unstoppables. While they don't do anything towards making your clothes cleaner, they do make your laundry smell wonderful!   The downside is they are pretty expensive and I have often wondered exactly what is in them.  Most all commercially made laundry products are usually full of all kinds of chemicals and artificial scents.  Manufacturers are not...


If you really love laundry that smells great, you have probably already tried store bought laundry scent boosters like Unstoppables. While they don't do anything towards making your clothes cleaner, they do make your laundry smell wonderful!   The downside is they are pretty expensive and I have often wondered exactly what is in them.  Most all commercially made laundry products are usually full of all kinds of chemicals and artificial scents.  Manufacturers are not required to put all the ingredients on the label, reading labels will not help you.  The best way to deal with this problem is to make your own.....it is so easy you will not believe it!!


​Just a couple of common ingredients and you are good to go.

Ingredients:

​Directions:

Measure epsom salt into a bowl
Add 20-30 drops essential oil 
Stir thoroughly to combine
Pour onto a cookie sheet and spread out to dry 

Pour the dried mixture into a Mason jar 

Instructions for Use: 

​Add 1 tablespoon of the Laundry Scent Booster directly to the washer while it is filling and wash as usual.

The Epsom salt will dissolve in the water, transferring the scent to the clothing and drying will intensify it.  If you want a stronger scent, just add more oil to the Epsom salt.  Your clothes will come out smelling fabulous and for much less than buying the chemical laden 
store bought variety. 
You can use any essential oil fragrance you like.  I prefer to use a combined scent, mixing two different oils.  Pine Needle and Lemongrass is my favorite.  If you want to try mixed scents and you are wondering which oil scent are good together, here are a few combinations that go well together:
If you like this recipe, please share it with friends and on Pinterest!

Have a great week,

Jade    :)



Images:
By author and Amazon products
https://www.flickr.com/photos/147374674@N04/29787022785/sizes/l



How to Make Homemade Flour Tortillas

​Over the last few years, I have found myself using tortillas more and more.  I use them instead of bread for sandwiches. (otherwise known as "wraps")  I toast them in a bowl shape and put salad in them.  Of course there are tons of Mexican food applications like soft tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, etc.  I have also toasted them in triangles for a crunchy snack, either with salt or with cinnamon sugar.  Their uses are endless!  But, as always with stuff that is...

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​Over the last few years, I have found myself using tortillas more and more.  I use them instead of bread for sandwiches. (otherwise known as "wraps")  I toast them in a bowl shape and put salad in them.  Of course there are tons of Mexican food applications like soft tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, etc.  I have also toasted them in triangles for a crunchy snack, either with salt or with cinnamon sugar.  Their uses are endless!  But, as always with stuff that is good, they are not that cheap, so I decided to learn to make my own.  I was shocked at how simple it was. 


​Ingredients:

  • 4 cups white flour (you can use ground wheat flour if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter  (can use shortening but its not as flavorful)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (lukewarm, not hot!)
​​
Directions​ :
  1. Turn on your oven to its lowest setting
  2. Stir together the baking powder, salt and flour 
  3. Cut butter into pieces and drop into the flour mixture and mix with your hands until you get a crumble consistency 
  4. Slowly add the water, stirring until you have smooth dough
  5. Flour your counter and place the dough on it and kneed with your hands, briefly.  Do not over kneed as it will add too much flour to the dough
  6. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough and cut into 24 pieces
  7. Spray your skillet with cooking spray or use a teaspoon of oil and turn on the heat medium-high 
  8. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten to a circular tortilla thickness with a rolling pin
  9. Place the tortilla in the skillet and cook until golden and toasty, then flip and do the same to the other side
  10. Remove from skillet and place on paper towels in a warm oven
  11. Do the same with the rest of the pieces  
  12. When you are done, serve or put them in a container with a tight fitting lid, trying to get out as much air as possible



Since these tortillas don't have any preservatives, they must be kept in the refrigerator, and eaten within a few days or a week.  Mine rarely make it that long!

Have a great weekend!

​Jade    :)



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