Saturday, February 23, 2013

It WILL be Spring, soon

  Driving to town yesterday I was happy to see daffodils poking up all along our back mountain roads. Maybe some crocus's too, couldn't tell for sure. We have had a lot of rain, should be good for spring planting. My pots with seeds are all sprouted, and growing nicely.
  Have a kettle of split pea soup simmering for lunch, heavy with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and of course herbs, Tossed in some cumin to add some smokiness to it, can hardly wait for lunch time.
  So many of my friends and family are coping with lots of snow and ice and winter weather right now, and our weatherman has the audacity to suggest we are due for a major amount of snow the entire first week of March.  So far this year, we have only had very small skiffs, just enough to close school as the buses can't safely run these twisty steep mountain roads.
  However, it is approaching the time when we want the winter sludge cleaned off the windows, fresh air coming in and a nice clean smell to our homes.  If you have 5 ingredients in your house, you can clean anything. These would be lemons or lemon juice, salt, white vinegar, tea tee oil and baking soda. In combination these can just about do anything. If you go back a ways you will find a wonderful mattress refresher made with home made fabric softener and soda, dry sprinkle over mattress and let set an hour or so, then vacuum. Lovely clean smell!  Mix one part water to one part white vinegar, put in spray bottle and use for counter tops, sinks, even safe on granite, and it disinfects. Toilet bowl cleaners are very toxic, so pour a cup of vinegar, and a sprinkle of soda in toilet, let sit an hour and brush. Baking soda can be used to remove black marks from floors, to scour pots and pans, and if you add equal amount of salt, you have a great scouring powder. Tea tree oil is a disinfectant and a few drops added to your potions will kill germs. Swish out your garbage cans with a little soda and water, add some to your laundry to boost cleaning power.
   If your oven needs a good cleaning try this instead of toxic oven cleaner:
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup washing soda,(laundry isle)
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
hot water
few drops white vinegar.
Be sure oven is off and cool. Wipe off any surface debris.  Combine first 3 ingredients and slowly add hot water til you have a thick but useable paste, add a few drops of vinegar. Spread on surfaces of oven, let sit overnight and wipe off.
   Have you used tapinade in your cooking? I am guessing if you bought a jar in the store it would be pricy, but it is soooo easy to make. Its used as a garnish for soups, salads, meats, you name it and here is how to do:

1/2 cup green olives(seedless)
1/2 cup black olives(ditto)
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
sprinkle of black pepper.
Place in food processors and pulse, don't make it smooth, its meant to be chunky.
See, just saved a bundle. Another good recipe is for ranch dressing, avoiding all the icky stuff they use for preserving, check out their label to see for yourself.
1 cup buttermilk or greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
3 tablespoons of sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives
4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt and a sprinkle of black pepper.  Whisk all til smooth, keep in container in fridge. You can add other herbs, like parsley, or dill, and a splash of worchestershire sauce if you want a little more flavor.
  Hope this finds you inside , warm and well, and hopefully not far from some lovely spring days. See you soon.


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