Saturday, November 26, 2016

A good reason to save your fallen leaves

We are all about reduce, reuse, recycle and it bothered me so much to see my neighborhood doing leaf pick up. They go over and behind to collect the leaves in everyone's back yard and even going some what in the woods. From what I herd it gets burned  in this area...that is sad...So here is some reasons why you should keep the leaves and what to do with them! 
~Compost~ It is a organic material that adds carbon witch is a plus. Try shredding them before adding. Helps it break down quicker.
~Mulch~Shredded leaves help insulate plants and breaks down on its own. We also add it over our garden in the winter when growing is done. (also great to go over garlic plants for the winter)
~Chicken bedding and stimulation. Gives them a place to dig and search. Make sure the leaves stay dry though and this could be added to a compost pile when you clean them out of the coop. 
~Bug homes! Pile leaves in a place away from the home and let it be. Many bugs call leaves home.
~Craft! There is many craft ideas on google to reuse leaves. We have done a few in our home and always have fun.
~Add to the bottom of pots when you plant next season.

 I am sure I did not even come close to listening all the ways you can reuse leaves, so if you know more feel free to add in the comments!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Biscotti Recipe with ideas

As a first time baker of biscotti I love this recipe. I tried few different things and wanted  to write down the recipe to share. So to make regular traditional biscottis you will need~
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of anise extract
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour

In one bowl mix together the oil, eggs, sugar, and extract. In another bowl mix together the flour and baking powder. Then add the flour baking powder mix to the egg mix and mix till dough forms. This is where I almost broke my  hand mixer....I suggest using a kitchen aid if you have one but if not use a big medal spoon. It doesn't become sticky and tough to mix.  Now I did not see this anywhere but let me say the dough should be sticky!! Do not add more flour! If you want you can place the dough in the fridge before the next part for 15 mins. should make it a little easier to work with. 
then next step is to spray your cooking tray with a non stick spray, then split the dough into two parts. Roll out the dough so it is as long as the tray and press down till it is about a 1/2 thick. Then bake at 375 for about 30 mins. Once done let it cool then cut it into 1/2 slices. Lay the pieces one side up and bake again for 8 mins each side. 

Other ways to add to this recipe~
If you like fruit in your biscottis when you mix the egg and things into the first bowl add in dried fruit of your choosing. (You would add at the same time if you wanted to add any kind of nuts)

If you want chocolate dipped biscottis it is way easier then people make it seem! In a pot melt some chocolate chips over low/med. heat. Make sure to stir often so it does not burn. Then just dip or drizzle the chocolate over the biscottis....or dip the bottom in the chocolate so you have  chocolate the whole time you eat :) 

*Make sure to let the chocolate cool before storing away...I did not that is why mines look so messy...I was hungry....*

For the holiday time, try adding white chocolate drizzle with colorful sprinkles.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Chicken rice and broccoli casserole. Feeding a large family for cheap

This has become a new favorite in our house. 
All you need is~
Cream of chicken soup (we used 1 can)
cooked chicken(cheaper to buy raw and cook yourself, we use boneless, skinless chicken breast and we use 2)
steamed broccoli
shredded cheese(we add about 1 cup to the mix and then top it all with more)
cooked rice (we use 1 cup uncooked, witch makes 2 cups once cooked)(we always buy bulked white rice bags, but others work fine)
(we are a 4 person home, for bigger families just double the recipe)

Once rice, chicken and broccoli is cooked just mixed together everything and place in a baking dish and top with cheese. Cook @ 350 for 10-15 mins. or until cheese is melted.
Easy, cheap one dish meal!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Crushing peppers for seasoning

This is some thing that was recommend to me and I can't say thank you enough for it. This year we grew way to many peppers and even after freezing and giving away a bunch had a lot left over. Someone told me to let them dry out or use a dehydrator and dry them then crush them, store them away and use them for cooking. Just sprinkle over food to add a bold flavor. So I used a chopper and my chopper does suck but it still did the job. Great idea for when you have to make a quick dinner, no worries about chopping any peppers. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why I garden with my kids and neighborhood kids

This year was the first in our new home and with our new garden. As I planned out what I wanted to plant I had many kids asking what I was doing and taking interest. My answer was planning the garden out but time and time again I kept getting this question. So no surprise when the day came to plant and transfer I had many kids at my feet watching. It was then I kind of threw the plan out the window gave each kid some seeds and they went to work making their own little space  to plant the seeds. It was amazing to see the kids take to it like little pros. 
At the end of planting it gave me a great feeling to hear them say they never get to do things like this and how much they would love to when they are grown. Maybe next year if money allows I can find some small pots and have garden party so each kid can bring home their own plant. Above was harvest day for the carrots, as you can see not many made it inside after the kids ate but it was well worth it! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

A list of easy fire starters

We keep a bucket in our kitchen to help collect things that could go in the fire and stay out of the trash. Sense we started a compost pile and a fire bin it has made a big difference in how much trash we end up with each week. We really enjoy it and its been a huge learning experience. These are the things we keep out of the trash and put in our trash bin to use when we build fires both inside the home and outside. 

~paper towels
~toilet paper rolls
~scrap paper
~dryer lint
~wood shavings (we shaved this from cutting wood and we also use this in our compost bin)
~left over chips my kids don't finish
~left over birthday candles (for some reason in our house every birthday we end up getting new ones if you get the trick ones that don't burn out when its windy)
~birch bark (we have a few of these trees around so when we are out and see any laying around it comes home with us)
~wine corks(helps that husband works for a wine company ;) )

Feel free to add what you use, I woudl love to know what else I can  save and use!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

How to choose, cut, and freeze Mango

The first thing is to choose the right mango. A good mango doesn't have anything to do with the color but more with the feel. A ripe mango will be soft. (think of avocados, same thing) You can choose unripe ones if you plan on using them later. That is what I did this time, they were on sale so I grabbed a bunch. Mangoes also have a fruity smell that happens near their stems as they ripen. Over ripen mangoes have more of a alcohol smell and they are the ones to avoided. 

Two different ways to cut a mango~
1. This one I find harder, First you peel the whole mango. Then  cut off pieces avoiding the pit.
2. This one is way easier to me, Slice the mango with the skin. Then  use a knife to cut around the skin.

To freeze~
Cut all the mango into cubes and place on a pan that fits in your freezer. Cover the top and bottom of the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for a day. Then place mango cubes into a freezer bag and done! 

we put any thing not used into our compost bin, witch I know needs to be mixed lol

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Home made compost bin from a storage bin

I love the idea of having a compost bin and for awhile now been looking around online for ones that my HOA would not freak out over. This means it could not be big or "open". Days of searching and pricing out ones I finally decided to make my own. I started with a small storage bin and poked many holes in all sides, top and bottom also. This helps air flow around the compost to break it down. Then place the bin in a spot that works for you and get sunlight.(some keep them in a shaded place to help keep it moist but personally I like sunny spots better and just add water when needed)  If your bin is not near your house you might want to keep a small bin in the kitchen to collect scraps to be thrown in.

Fill your bin with tons of things like~
old soil
fruit/veggie scraps
grass clippings
egg shells
tea bags
coffee grounds
shredded newspaper(this also helps if it starts to smell)
kitchen/toilet rolls
old flowers
evergreen needles
small twigs/branches

Do not add~
nothing with salt or butter
dog/cat waste
lime (carries a lot of acid)
dairy products

Remember to keep the compost moist, add water when necessary but remember it should be moist but not soaking.  Also make a habit of every time you add something to shake around the box to mix up the compost. With smaller bins it should only take between 4-6 months for compost to be ready. Use in a gardens or sprinkle over lawns to help keep both healthy!