Friday, March 28, 2014

Idea Day, lots of neat stuff

  Did I tell you about the stain remover? Works better than brand names in stores.  I had 4 year old stains on sweat shirts, they are gone. Mix 2 parts of peroxide to 1 part Dawn, put in a spray bottle, spray stain, let set overnight and wash as usual, amazing.
  Got a carpet stain? Try this in a place that doesn't show first to be sure your carpet is color safe, but just pour a small amount of white vinegar on the stain, sprinkle baking soda over that, let it fizz, then blot up, let dry and vacuum.
  If you don't want to weed your garden or flower beds, start with 4 layers of newspaper, punch holes and plant your plants, then mulch well.  Should be no weeds for 18 months and the paper dissolves so no cloth to pull up later.
  Need helium balloons?  Soda to the rescue. With a funnel, fill a tall pop bottle 1/3 full with vinegar,  with a dry funnel put baking soda in the balloon, about half full, carefully pull lip of balloon over pop bottle, the stand it upright to add soda to vinegar, it fizzes and blows up the balloon.
  Next time you empty a salt box, keep the pour spout top, cut it to fit inside a mason jar lid, and you have a pour spout jar.
  To cook bacon, run it under cold water first, blot dry.  It will shrink 50% less. Bake in oven at 365 for 10 minutes or until done as you like it.
  In Pain?   Grate 1 teaspoon of ginger root into a cup, pour boiling water over it,  steep 5 minutes, and drink. Repeat as many times a day as needed.
   Cool hard boiled egg, shake raw egg vigorously for 3 minutes, boil as usual, I bring mine to a boil, turn off and let sit 15 minutes for hard boiled, and you will have a golden egg.
  Want a cancer free sun tan? Mix some cocoa powder into oil, olive, canola etc, rub in well, it will give you a nice color immediately.
   High protein breakfast, beat 6 eggs with 1/2 cup of milk. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray, pour the egg mix into  and add on top your choice of veggies and cheese, like cheddar, feta, red pepper, onions, spinach, chard etc. Stir, put in 350 degree oven, bake 10 minutes, turn pan around and bake 10 more minutes.
  Craving chocolate cake, but with less calories? This is a weight watcher  recipe,  mix 1 box chocolate cake mix with  1 can(15 ounces) of pumpkin puree, not pie mix, and 1/4 cup of water. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
   If you are getting ready to plant tomatoes and have extra big pop bottles, sink one in the ground after punching it full of tiny holes, next to the tomato plant, leaving top exposed for filling, and keep water in the  bottle to slow water the plants.
  Made a trip to town this morning for supplies, it's dark and cloudy, rain , maybe thunderstorms today. So far it's dry, was glad I went early and got back. By Sunday they have said we may get snow again, nothing that sticks, but now I have blueberry bushes blooming and sure don't want them to freeze. Winter is sure hanging on this year, hope it gets tired of us very soon now.  Those Bradford pear trees are opened fully now, very pretty. So much color creeping back into the mountains,  hope the balmy temperatures we are looking for come along soon.
  Next time I have a recipe for Sriracha sauce, they say the ones you buy may have some dubious fish sauce added, and home made is easy. 
  Have a great week, see you next time!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Bridle Party, House wash reci0pe, recalls

  Yesterday morning, I headed to town for an oil change. And new wiper blades at the auto parts store, and gas, and a stop at the bank.  When I get that far, I try and do all the stuff I can at one time. SO , after a long morning, I headed home up our mountain roads.  The forsythia and daffodils are now in full bloom, shining their golden light for all to see. A magnolia tree had opened her lovely pink flowers, and up and down the roads, the Bradford Pear trees have donned their pristine white gowns. They look like a bridal party, marching down the aisles in all their splendor.  No wonder spring is my favorite time of year!  God is waking up all the beautiful plants that slept through this long, cold winter, and reminding us of rebirth.  The rest of the spring and summer season will be blessed with all the colors of the rainbow, and yet. Mother Nature is still flexing her winter weapons, weather forecast says next week we will have a day or two only in the 40's, and a possibility of 1 to 3 inches of snow.  Of course it will not last long as the ground has warmed some, but still, hope this is her last gasp.
   Worked outside a bit this last week, yesterday I cleaned up the area behind the house at one end. This faces north, no sun ever gets to it and the siding on the house molds, turns green and icky.  So I made up a big spray bottle of 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and sprayed the moldy areas. That's all you have to do. The next rain will wash off the green stuff. Be a bit cautious when adding the soda, it will fizz up.   This same potion without the soda, but with a tablespoon of Dawn, will kill weeds. Lately  I buy a gallon of vinegar a month, use it for all my cleaning and yard needs. Very versatile and cheap compared to most things. It disinfects, deodorizes and makes things a bit shiny.
  Checked up on some recalls,  nothing too impressive, Fannie May chocolates may contain peanuts, not listed, so if you have a nut allergy, nix that.  Freestyle Blood meters have been shown to read your blood glucose too low.   Lettuce by Freshway Foods and Dole bags of salad mix are both bearing Listeria. And Starbucks yogurt has egg, not listed on label. Hmm, had no clue egg was an ingredient in yogurt.
  Just to add a note of frustration and humor, let me tell you of an experience I had.  My house payments are a "bubba" thing, every two weeks, so some months I have 3 payments, most months 2. The amount kept creeping up, so called the mortgage company to see why. They told me it was my insurance, not them. Went to see my insurance agent and got the amount down almost by half(yearly). Kept watching for the payment to go down, but it has not. Called the mortgage guys again, they tell me it will go down about 12 bucks a payment, but not until May. And oh yes, they are returning an escrow amount due to lower insurance cost. Well.  My husband died 4 years ago, and I have sent copies of his death certificate to all who needed that. BUT. The returned escrow check was in both our names. So when I tried to cash it, the bank insisted they  needed his signature too. I explained, they took sooooo long to confer, and finally decided I could sign his name. I have asked the mortgage company to take his name off the paperwork, but they tell me he is the co signer, so they can't do that. Why is it all this stuff has to be so complicated?  I know others of you have had similar fights, just does not make sense to me. Oh well, I am a small fly in the ointment of life.
   Hope you are having some warmer, sunny days to break the spell of winter, take care, get some sun. Til next time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Be Afraid of Superbugs. Some good, easy home cures

   My new Good Housekeeping magazine has an article about our overuse of antibiotics, making them ineffective for illnesses in many cases.  And an article about a gal that ate a ground turkey burger, then got really sick.  The burger made her ill, it was infected with salmonella. That caused her potassium level to drop to a dangerous low level,  and required an iv treatment with Cipro.,  That likely saved her, but other normally used antibiotics are now useless.  40% of all who get sick with salmonella will be hospitalized.  Health officials are concerned because antibiotics are used in the raising of farm animals, to prevent them from getting sick, but we ingest that and it takes out human resisitance to drugs. Using these medicines on animals gets them to market sooner. But it develops resistant strains of illnesses. The FDA has issued new guidelines that will hopefully help this issue.  Look for chickens and turkey that are not raised on antibiotics.  Try and stay away from overuse of antibiotics  by yourself and your family, so if you do become ill, the antibiotics used will work.  One thing you need to avoid is using antibacterial soaps.  The triclosan used in them promotes drug resistance. Plain old soap and water are just as effective, and safer for you and your family. It looks like the US is getting close to ending the use of antibiotics in animals, other countries like Denmark have already done so and are seeing  fewer resisitant bugs.
  Got some ideas for your face and body this week. If you are prone to breakouts, make a mask with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 and 1/2  tablespoons of honey.  Cover your face, leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse. Will clear out those blemishes.
  To whiten your teeth,  mix 3 parts of baking soda with 1 part mashed strawberry and enough lemon juice to make a paste.  Apply to teeth twice a week,  let it set 20 minutes and brush off. Keep in the refrigerator.
  If you have a sore throat,   here are a few good ways to ease it.  Hot water with lemon is easy,  or boil some water and steep some sage for 10 minutes, strain and add some salt,  Best of all, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, so  stir a spoon ful into warm water, add a good dash of salt and a little honey, and gargle with that.
  Mother Nature has been on the warpath this week. We had some really warm days, in the upper 70s , causing me to go to short sleeves and barefoot in the house. Then a day later, we woke up to snow.  It left fast as the ground was warm before it came down, but talk about contrasts. We are warming up again now, but the weather man expects a couple more snow events before April.  Thishas been called " the endless winter," it sure seems to hang on.  Things are looking green, leaf buds on trees, flowers blooming,  gives hope that we may soon stay warmer than 30s at night.
  The poisoned tomato fields are being prepped.   All the bad stuff was plowed into the ground last fall, and now they are laying out the long plastic raised runs they plant tomatoes in.  Be forewarned, they use all kinds of sprays, pick them green, ripen them in ethylene gas and pack them in BPH lined cans.  Look for organic ones if you buy cans. I have switched to a paste in a tube, imported from Italy. Works well, tastes good and not grown with all the stuff ours are.  Heard some warnings this week about Italian olive oil, seems they are cutting the extra virgin with soy oil to make more money. You may need to research your brand.
   One of the odd things I have found in TN is the influx of Japanese beetles in the late fall. They look like lady bugs but are orange. And stink if you smash them.  Normally they invade the house when the first cold weather sets in. This year they have come in all winter and are still doing so. So I am off to do battle with the vacuum.  I spray Dawn mixed in water  around the windows and doors, and it kills them, so there are mostly dead ones to clean up, but there are a lot of them. Wonder if they will leave when spring finally arrives.
 Have a great week, enjoy family and friends, see you next time

Friday, March 7, 2014

Be Veeerrry Afraaaid of potatoes

  This is a shocker, I love Yukon gold potatoes, and sweet potatoes, which I grew enough of last year to feed me all winter.  Did you know the most toxic food you can buy is a potato? And it's the number one food kids eat.  Think of all the fries you get at Micky D's or other  burger places. Even at home, do you buy bags of ready to bake taters and bake them? Well, rethink that.   When the fields are prepared, they are sprayed with pesticides. After the potato plants come up they are sprayed again,  maybe several times. And all that pesticide soaks into the potatoes. Even if you wash and peel them, you can not remove the poison from the vegetable.,  They are still highly contaminated. There is 10 times as much  gunk as organically grown potatoes.  So the safe thing here is, if you must eat them make this the one thing you buy organic. The pesticides have been proven to cause ADHD in kids, cancer, Alzheimer's and many other serious health problems for anyone who eats them.   They store well, so if you can find a Farmer's market that has safe ones, put away enough for a while. 
  That white lining in cans is called BPA,  if you are using canned foods, this is  an estrogen, and increases your level at least 10 times. Try looking for jars, frozen or fresh things instead.
  Dairy is a big causer of breast cancer. In our country all cattle are injected with hormones.  These really do nasty things to you. There are so many good alternatives now, there is no excuse to keep making your little girls mature by age 8, and maybe cause premature death from cancer.  If you must use cow's milk, look for organic. And be aware that low fat milks do not allow you to absorb calcium. My soy and almond milks have 50% more calcium than dairy milk, and once you develop a taste for them, they are so much better you never want to go back. My Silk milk is coming out with yogurt now, can hardly wait to find that in the store.
  Went to town for supplies yesterday after several weeks of cold, snow, ice or other keep me at home weather. There were daffodils blooming along the sides of the mountain roads, and you can see green now on the trees and bushes, leaves are starting to open, spring is making an entrance even if slowly. We should have really nice weather temperature wise the next week, then maybe spring will stay around.
  My youngest son has my Mother's Birdseye Maple bedroom furniture in the grandma bedroom I use when I visit them in Nebraska. I have an old, over 100 years,  wash stand meant to hold a bowl and pitcher with towel bars on the sides, that was my husband's mothers.  It has been painted o many times I can't strip it, so have researched a faux finish to  match the other bedroom things. Started working on it this am, have one coat of satin finish paint on and will let it dry most of the day. Needs another coat, then wiping down with gesso, then wood stain, followed by pickling with vinegar water, then the birdseye marks, and finally a sealer coat.  Will take a while, and I sure hope it comes out decent after all that.
 Been experimenting with face cleansers, was not fond of the oatmeal and honey one, so made one with organic castile soap, very small amount, and jojoba, grapeseed and apricot oils and vitamin E. Like this one. Think its a keeper.  If you have that kind of thing on hand, just put 2 tablespoons of each oil, using what you have and like, even olive, and the vitamin E, and add a small amount of pure castile soap. Keep in a pretty container ready for use, moisten face, massage in gently and rinse. Smells nice, works great, even on makeup.
  Hope your spring is springing,  stay well, get out and enjoy the nicer weather.