Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Fresh Baby Food

So one of my best friends is pregnant with baby number 2! YAY! So while we were discussing how she will not be able to bend over to tend to her garden this fall i mentioned making homemade fresh baby food.. well how do you do that?

When my daughter was born I was already going green and wanting to be healthier but it was more then that i wanted to save money.. it didn't make since to spend $2 for a 2 pack of "baby food" which had more ingredients then that vegetable or fruit should.. so i went homemade and here is how!

Homemade Baby Food:
Simple and General:

Stage 1 Starter Foods (fruits and veggies)


~Wash well scrubbing with clean sponge if necessary
~Take a pan and boil just enough water to cover your chosen vegetable.
~While the water is boiling (DO NOT ADD SALT TO MAKE WATER BOIL) Peel and Chop into small pieces.
~Cook until tender (taste test after 5 minutes then every couple)
~Place tender veggie pieces into blender or food processor.
~Blend/process adding water until a thick creamy texture (yogurt consistency)
~Place into Tupperware and stick in fridge to use (good for about a week) OR fill a ice cube tray with the liquid and freeze into portion sized cubes for future use.. just defrost and warm when ready to serve!


Use this for peaches, apples, and other HARD fruits
~Wash well scrubbing with clean sponge if necessary
~Take a pan and boil just enough water to cover your chosen fruit
~While the water is boiling (DO NOT ADD SALT TO MAKE WATER BOIL) Peel and slice Fruit.
~Cook until tender (taste test after 3 minutes then every couple)
~Place tender fruit slices into blender or food processor.
~Blend/process adding water until a thick creamy texture (yogurt consistency)
~Place into Tupperware and stick in fridge to use (good for about a week) OR fill a ice cube tray with the baby food and freeze into portion sized cubes for future use.. just defrost and warm when ready to serve or for teething baby's give them the frozen fruit cube in one of those nifty netted baby servers (i think target had them) not only are they getting yummy nutrients but also helping their swollen gums! : )

For soft fruits (bananas, avocados, mango)

~ Wash fruit and Peel
~ Slice or cut into small sections
~ Mash adding water as desired until yogurt consistency
(if you do not have a masher or don't want to mash throw into blender or processor)

Not only are you feeding your child nothing but pure goodness you are giving your child all sorts of nutrients to keep them happy and healthy.

Note: Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Flower Power and Organizing Seeds

I was talking to my friend and commented on how lovely all her flowers were looking. she said she had grown them from seed!! WHAT!?! Last time i tried all that resulted was moldy soil i can grow veggies and fruits like no ones business but give me a flower and no luck, but after her beautiful flowers and some good luck wishing i scouted my seed organizer for some flowers. I was in luck i had a TON of full flower seed packs, Shasta Daisy, baby's breath, butterfly weed, and some other good flowers!
I pulled the weeds in my front yards empty bed raked and turned soil then scattered all the seeds randomly in the garden! I'm hoping they grow and create a wildflower look which I have always found beautiful! with all this rain they have been watered in and im excited to see what happens!!
Above is all the seed packs I scattered!

Below is my garden bed right after the seeds were scattered!

Now seed organizing (this is very important!
How do you organize that basket of seed packs?
Grab the thickest binder you can find in whatever color attracts you!
I choose the type you can slip papers in the front of because that's where i keep my last seed order slip!
Next buy a pack of those trading card clear slips that fit inside a binder.. it would hold 9 cards per page but in our case 9 seed packs per page! : )
You can use this but i added 1 more thing. i used separators (with tabs) to keep a section of warm season, cold season, and herbs/flowers.. this lets me easily find what I'm looking for and what season to plant!
PRESTO! A nifty cheap organized seed binder!
One of the most important reasons to keep organized is so you know what seeds you have, more then once Ive been ready to buy seeds double check my binder before check out and low and behold I already have them!! A great project for the rainy days of summer! : )

Enjoy my friends!

Below: Here's a look inside the binder.. its show my tab, and seed packs all nicely organized!
Below: The look at my binder!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Its just a little rain... Right?

Day 4:

I woke up to rumbling and windows rattling, dark skies outside my bedroom window, the trees blowing in the wind.
I laid in bed for a while longer listening to the sound of rain on the roof and against the windows. Its now day 4 of continuous dark skies and storms but I'm not complaining.
I got up and lit the oil lamp getting slowly out of bed so I didn't wake Ronnie, I peeked into Brooke's room and watched her a minute sleeping so soundly under her princess sheets. I went to the living room and set the lamp next to my favorite chair while I sat down and slip on some sandals to head outside.

I stood on my back porch watching the steady stream of rain fall from the grey skies, the sound is so soothing on the metal porch roof, I decided it wasn't going to stop so I grabbed my feed container and headed out. Opening the chickens door they made all sorts of clucking happy sounds ready to go explore the wet dirt in hopes of finding little bugs and other goodies. I filled the feed dish and gave each one a pat and a good morning as they hurried past me into the rain. Clucking happily they immediately started scratching around and pecking getting all sorts of yummy treats but knowing me they soon stopped pecking and surrounded me hoping for a morning treat of course I had something for them..
Somewhat stale crackers from the cupboard and the tops of strawberries my daughter didn't eat. I dumped it in front of them and the shook their feathers at me digging in... spoiled birds! : )

By this time I was soaked but cool which is amazing for summer in FL, I decided it wouldn't hurt to go explore the gardens. I opened the chicken enclosure door and headed to the gardens. The soil was black and muddy but the plants seemed to be enjoying it.. spreading their leaves and soaking up all they could get. My okra seedlings have developed their true leaves and seem to be getting larger everyday, I can't wait to make pickled okra! My corn failed this season as I didn't plant them right and gave them such a small space they couldn't pollinate properly so yesterday while I weeded I yanked the corn stalks out and through them into the compost. My melon plant doesn't seem to be producing anymore melons after the chicken destroyed the first 4 and ill soon pull that. After checking on everything I headed back inside where I discovered both Ronnie and Brooke were now awake.

I decided to make breakfast and scrambled some of our fresh eggs with Canadian bacon, bell peppers, onion, and goat cheese yummm! Everyone sat down and chowed. By this time the rained had stopped and cleared to sunny skies and muggy heat! I cleaned the cast iron and seasoned it hanging it back over our bar. Today I plan on getting some reading as well as head to work soon!

Happy Monday Everyone!!

Barn Hop.. HERE!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pictures from around Sunny Spot!

On rainy days i get itchy for something to do so this morning i went around and took some shots of the house and outside! Enjoy!

Below: Chickens in the rain!

Below: My collection of mantle books : )

Below: My beautiful daughter saying Cheese!!

Below: My cast iron collection.. My fav cookware

Below: Fried Cheese Curds- A northern favorite that I missed but finally made

Below: Rain from the porch

Above: A look at my dining room table.. A old stained red tablecloth topped with a lace curtain panel that cost $2 : ) Looks awesome!

Below: My fireplace

Below: A peace sign I made out of broken cds!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let them drink Soda!

Got Kids?

I'm sure all parents who drink soda know their children want some as well. but is it ok to give your child Pepsi or Coke?
Not only is it super sweet, but also filled with unknown chemicals and GMO products. I drink sierra mist natural and while its ingredient list is i think 5 products long while most sodas are about 10 I still would not and will not be happy or feel comfortable giving my daughter this drink.

So what are you supposed to do after you pour yourself a glass and hear non stop begging to have a sip or have a glass???
Make a child friendly soda!!

What I do is take my daughters favorite juice (Grape but you can use your child's fav) and sparkling water. I pour a 1/4 glass with her juice then add sparkling soda until the glass is 3/4 full. Serve!

Not only does it make her happy that she is having "soda" but its actually better (sugar wise) for her then a full glass of juice. Its a win win for me!

Plus its not to shabby and on occasion i make myself a glass! Its definitely a lot better for me then real soda!

The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

Have you heard about the dirty dozen? These fruits and veggies are the most pesticide ridden out of 53 fruits/veggies they tested.

Samples were washed and peeled before testing and these STILL tested high!

The Dirty Dozen:
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines
7. Grapes
8. Bell Peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/Collards

Do you know what this means? The most common foods people buy from the grocery store (some people not even washing or peeling)are so pesticide ridden they sent out this study. That scares me. This is even more reason to grow your own, or buy local organic!

Now on the other hand you have the cleanest foods. The Clean 15 that showed little to no pesticide left on eaten product.

The Clean 15:
1. Onions
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe – domestic
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

Friday, June 24, 2011

Onions for the South

I recently read a post from a troubled homesteader who for the 3rd year in the row was trying to grow onions but was not having any luck.

There are many problems that us southern gardeners run into while planting and growing are own food. Bad soil, hot weather, droughts, and now correct seeds.

The problem is at least with onions the south and hot regions need a different type of onion then most common types.
80% of onions are what they call long day onions meaning they need a longer day then the south has. If you plant these long day types in the south you result in no or small bulbs.

1 problem is short day onions do not produce sets so any onion you plant from sets will not grow to well in the south!
Look for onions listed as short day types. Last year I had good luck with red creole onions from bakers creek

Also for larger bulbs I have found that mounding dirt around the plant as it grows helps produce larger better quality onion bulbs but not everyone agrees some report they have best success letting the bulb grow out the top of the soil.. so experiment.. mound some leave others uncovered see what works best for you!

This coming season why don't you go wild and plant a row of onions! : )

Here is a website with some short day onion seeds for sale:

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The future of my front yard.

If you drive past my house its nothing special. I have a single shade tree smack in the middle a currently empty garden bed and mulched walkway from the car to my front door.

But I have plans!

Along my property line on the side I plan to plant 4 banana trees each 3.5 feet from each other. I found a local nursery that sells banana plants for $8 each.. add the soil i have to amend with and the water saver buckets ill plant them in and the total for a property line comes to roughly $70.. now these bananas are supposed to produce yearly and average about 90 bananas per tree (they are slightly smaller then store bought but sweeter and tastier) plus i think they will add a nice tropical look to my Florida yard.
In front of the bananas i plan to great a 4x4 raised bed to plant cooking ginger.
Along my walkway I plan on placing wildflowers that will come back year after year!

Heres a Neon Paint version of my banana trees to come! ; )

Monday, June 20, 2011

Arsenic and You..

In normal day to day talk you don't here much about Arsenic but millions of people eat it everyday without realizing it.
Yes friends you read that right you are consuming Arsenic almost every day for a lot of people.
Do you know why this is?
Because they feed it to our supermarket chicken.

Do you know what Arsenic does?
Long-term exposure to arsenic can cause cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney. It can also cause other skin changes.
Arsenic may also contribute to other life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, and to a decline in mental functioning.
And large amounts were used to kill people as a poison.

None of the fast-food chains had chicken that was arsenic-free
! And millions of Americans eat fast food EVERYDAY!

So let me ask you.. is it OK to deliberately put this poison into our chicken feed?
I think not.

Its NOT safe and with more and more people eating larger amounts of chicken then even 20 years ago these dated practices need to be removed.

Remember this has been a government-approved additive in poultry feed for decades. They claim its used to kill parasites. I think we need to find another way..

Stop your consumption of arsenic today by choosing chickens labeled organic or antibiotic-free!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Couple Pics!

The gardens have been named!

Everyone after much thought and great ideas from friends and family I have finally come up with a name!!

Sunny Spot Gardens

My yard has no shade so it is a very sunny spot as well as living here in the sunshine state so what better way to pay tribute??

: )

I did some more work in sunny spot today watering, pulling weeds, and yanking back grass in the pathways so I could put down hay.

Its in the upper 90's with something around the lines on 65% humidity.. YIKES!
I was pouring out buckets of sweat but it felt good to be close to the earth. I held the warm soil in my hands and watched the little bugs walk around..

As i yanked out the grass and other Florida weeds i through them over the fence into the chicken area creating a large pile.
They loved it!! Right away they started pecking through it finding bugs, seeds, and other goodies, kicking around the dirt, their claws and beaks will rip apart the roots, stems, and leaves making it easier for the plant matter to break down and help create more fertile soil!
Its a beautiful circle and nothing goes to waste!

Join the Barn Hop.. HERE!

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy fathers day to all the dads out there today!

For my fiance my daughter got him a assortment of strange meats. When I say strange I just mean meat we don't eat on a daily basis. He got lamb for gyros, gator tail, venison steaks, and a whole rabbit.

There's a little meat market down the road that's on my way home from work and they are the only store I found that sells diffirent meats.

Also he got a sweet card from "his little princess" and some stuffed peppers.

For dinner I will be making salmon, red mashed potatoes, and sweet corn on the cob.

Ronnie has already left for work so today I'm doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, and working in the gardens! Busy busy before I start my work week!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A quick laugh thanks to youtube

To my tampa readers

Does anyone have a tiller I can use for a weekend???
Would be super helpful in the creation of my new garden beds for next seasons plantings!!!


P.S~ Also we have reached over 5000 views on this blog! A HUGE thank you to all my readers, people who send me emails full of wonderful questions, and hope you stick around and continue to follow my journey of sustainability in this modern world!

Saturday Morning Market

Today I made a trip to St. Pete where I went to the local Saturday Morning Market and for the first time they have summer hours and a new summer location! They are located this summer in Williams Park from 830am to 1pm.

They have about 30 vendors ranging from produce to clothing.

I found myself wanting something at every booth and having to stop myself!!

Grass fed beef, fresh produce, handmade pottery, local artwork, raw dairy, butter, cheese, free trade clothing, herbs, fruit trees, food (I had the yummiest spinach and feta pastry), and other wonderful goodies.

I met some fantastic people and found some fantastic local businesses that I can't wait to share with you!!

Today's Purchases:

Dried hibiscus flowers (for making tea or lemonade)
Fresh herbed goat cheese
Wisonsin cheese curds
Florida corn
Red potatoes
Ruskin tomatoes
Kirby cucumbers (for pickles)
A loaf of sourdough bread
A mini sun dried tomato loaf
Pepper jack cheese breadsticks
A eco bag (to hold my produce while shopping
Stevia Herb

Friday, June 17, 2011

A days work is never done!

Today I got off work early (1pm) and headed home. We ran and did some grocery shopping then stopped at a new local thrift store and i found a utensil caddy for the table and a magazine table perfect sized for my record player and with a place to store some records! : ) my total came to $11 : )

After that we stopped at the feed store and picked up a bale of hay, some chicken scratch, and marveled at the pretty birds they have (my daughter loves them)!!

We got home and I fixed up the fence around the chicken area (they have been getting out and totally devoured my crop of honeydew)... GRRRRR! Still need to get some garden stakes as they have been going underneath it as well... Damn smart birds!

Next we broke open the hay and started spreading.. first the coop got its flooring changed with fresh hay! then i pulled weeds in the dead gardens and raked over the soil and scattered about a inch thick of hay mulch... down our couple walkways i also spread fresh hay (it feels much better in the feet then wood mulch plus it decomposes and is good for the soil!)

The chickens got some treats and loved gobbling it all up!

I hung a handmade pesticide free sign where my old scarecrow had fallen apart.
I'm planning on hanging a sign with a funky name for my gardens under it but haven't decided on a good name!! 0_0

Tonight I made some Zucchini Bread and tomorrow morning we are waking up bright and early to go downtown St. Pete to the Summer Saturday Morning Market! Over 30 vendors with local and handmade goodies!!! YAY! : )

Zucchini Bread


3 cups all-purpose flour non-bleached
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts


Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl.
Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well.
Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes.
Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Just stuck tomorrows batch in the oven as I write this. I'm bringing some to the farmers market to share with friends as we browse the local goodies!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To market to market to make a fresh pizza

Dough Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Dough Prep:
Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Brush large bowl lightly with oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt.
Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil.
Mix until dough forms and is sticky.
Move to lightly floured surface.
Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky.
Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm until doubled in size(usually a hour or so). Punch down & Roll out dough.

2 tablespoon of olive oil
Thin sliced medium onion
Chopped up fresh thyme(about a tablespoon)
A chopped up red or orange bell pepper
4 garlic cloves chopped up super fine or minced
1/2 a teaspoon salt and pepper
2 ears of corn stripped for kernels
A bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 cup quartered heirloom cherry tomatoes
1/2 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 425
Roll out dough(thin crust preferred by me)to preferred size (or make 3 or 4 personal sized) and place on pizza cooking sheet.

Heat large cast iron skillet on medium. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet.. dump in onions and thyme.. cook until soft then add peppers and garlic.. cook for about 3 minutes then add corn and salt/pepper mix, cook until heated.

First brush dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil then cover dough with mozzarella (add as much cheese as you like everyone is different)
Sprinkle on cooked toppings, top with Parmesan, Feta, and quartered tomatoes, cook for 23 minutes, serve and enjoy!

(recipe inspired by cooking light magazine but perfected by me!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vintage items rock!

Last weekend I went to the local thrift store and found myself a 1950's Therm-a-jug
Essentially a 1 gallon sized thermos! Its coral pink but kind of beat up where the paint is gone from age and wear but the inside is perfect and even has the little plastic cup/seal. Its awesome, I am hoping to find some matching paint to fix it up and restore it but I cannot wait to go on a picnic or even set up in the garden with my therm-a-jug full of some type of cold drink! I love vintage shopping! Things just aren't made like they used to be!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Repost of my homemade laundry soap!

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap( you can use normal people soap like dove but use a whole bar)

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

2 - 3 gallon bucket

1/2 oz of essential oil (optional)

Grate the soap into a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4 cups hot water and essential oil to the bucket. Now add your soap mixture. Stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel into something along the lines of egg white. You use 1/2 cup per load.

I'm having Ronnie (the fiance) make it for the first time as I ran outta time this weekend! We are using Fresh citrus scent for this batch!

Homemade Tortillas and the dinner that went along with

Ah dinner the one thing that can bring a family together nowadays.

In the past we ate dinner in front of the TV.. playing games, watching movies, or worse the news. :)

Lately we have made it a point to sit down and have a family dinner at the table. Its been really nice and we all feel that it has brought us closer together, even my 3 year old who normally hates eating gets excited and LOVES to help set the table and usher daddy to the table.

Tonight dinner was Chicken Tacos with Homemade Tortillas!
The difference in calories and lack of unknown chemicals makes the little bit of work that goes into these well worth the peace of mind in what I'm feeding my family!

Tortilla Recipe:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lard/butter
3/4 cup water

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add butter (or lard) and mix in until mix looks something like cornmeal. Add water and mix together. Take dough and place on a lightly floured surface kneading and turning. When elastic like section into 10 good sized balls. Roll out each ball into a circle as much as your can. I found it helped to flatten and start the circle shape with my hands before using a rolling pin. Make sure to roll as thin as possible without tearing. Get a skillet, pour a little bit of veggie oil in it and fry on medium/low until bubbly and golden brown, flip and repeat. Keep warm and serve!

For my taco I hand pulled apart leftover chicken breast, added a light sprinkling of seasoning salt and cut up a quarter onion. I sauteed both of these until browned.

At dinner we served with shredded cheddar cheese and hot salsa.


Then for dessert we all went outside started a fire and made s'mores! Nothing like family time then a nice homemade dinner and time together outside under the moon eating sweet treats!

Eating Non-GMO

As I have started my quest to be more aware of the foods I eat I want to STOP eating dangerous GM foods. GM- is genetically modified

We are not lab rats we should not be eating "things" that have not been tested for short term or long term effects!

I have found a App (yes there's a app for that) that tells you what brands are Non-GMO and which are and even provide a email and phone number so you can contact the company's that use GMO products.

Here are few GOOD company's:
~ Whole Foods Brand
~ Traders Joes Organic Line

Sadly that's all the supermarkets that are fully Non-GMO
There are some that use both and some that use mostly(or have no statement):

Here's a few brands to STAY AWAY from:
~ Aldi (also fit & active, kirkwood, and friendly farms)
~ Ingles
~ Roundy's
~ Save Mart
~ Smart & Final

I'm actually sad to report that about Aldi as I had started using them for basic ingredients and great sales.

Here is possibly the scariest.. baby formula and food that may contain GMO!
~ Beech-Nut
~ Enfamil
~ Good Start
~ Nestle brands
~ Similac (except organic)

They say that most fresh fruits and veggies are safe except for Hawaii papaya, corn, radiccio, and yellow crookneck squash
Please also note that in this day and age most soy and soy products are GM and should be avoided so watch your ingrediants only soy that says non-gmo or says organic should be trusted!

Then they also list company's that may still use rBGH (growth hormones):
Colombo better known as General Mills, Kemps(not select brand), Kraft, Land O' Lakes, and Sorrento

If you would like to download this App (Android and Iphone,Ipad,Ianything) search for True Food Network

Explaning Nature to a child

When we moved into this house 2 years ago outside my bedroom in my tree i has discovered a old birds nest. I decided not to bother it and trimmed around it. Sometime ago i discovered a mockingbird who had discovered it and made it her own. Recently i checked and there were eggs, yesterday when i looked there were eggs, today there are 3 little tiny birds whose beaks probably take up their whole face. I love nature! So i called my daughter in who has been watching the changes along with me. She was so excited to see the little babies! She gasped when they open their beaks, and laughed when they would move around. She wants to know where momma and daddy are. I told her I didn't know about daddy but mommy was off trying to find them some food. watching my daughters face as she watched the baby birds was amazing to me. To see the aw and excitement, her little faced pressed to the glass peering into the nest she doesn't want to leave but i try to explain that momma bird prob does not want us staring at her children and we must leave them in peace. It truly was inspiring to me to look around at things with fresh eyes and a new wonder. Nature is pretty amazing but most of us are so busy running around with our lives that we hardly stop to appreciate its real beauty! : )

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fridge Pickles!

Fridge Pickles Recipe: (Given to me by my momma)

1 3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 bunch of fresh dill
4 pickling cucumbers
2 medium garlic gloves cut in half

Mix water, vinegar, and salt in bowl.
Get a canning jar and add half the dill, and 2 (half) garlic cloves to the bottom.
Pack half full of cucumbers and add the rest of the dill and half garlic gloves.
Fill with rest of cucumbers and pour well mixed liquids on top until it covers ALL cucumber. Cover tightly and wait at least 2 days before eating!
Good for up to 3 weeks!

I made these today in about 20 minutes! : )

I will update with taste, crunch, etc!

June 14th update on homemade pickles: So yummy! Crunchy, sour, dilly, perfecto! My 3 year old has already voiced wanting to eat up the entire jar tonight : ) Yay!

Ybor Farmers Market

When I did a search for local farmers markets this one popped up and I was excited because it was close to home. Sadly i hesitate to even call this open air market a "farmers market". Mostly filled with art there were a couple vendors that stood out.

There is a local baker couple who make ALL organic breads. Sprouted Grain Wheat Bread, Sourdough(I got), and Cinnamon Raisin Bread(I got) which they gave a taste to my daughter and she gobbled up! It was $6 a loaf or 2 for $10

Next the vendor is a LOCAL produce hydroponic grower. This gentleman does not have a super sized selection but the basics. I got zucchini, pickling cucumbers, and a single head of corn that he gave to my daughter as a gift. Everything was decently priced and organic. I got 12 pickling cukes for $4, 4 large zucchini for $3, and of course the free corn : )

My grandma bought some local honey from another vendor and at another art vendor a future gift for someone!

It was a good trip but I don't think ill be making the drive in the future.

I did discover though, a LOCAL farmers market but that is only open once a month(first Sunday) and I already missed it this month. So next month ill be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feel free to comment!

Hey readers! Do not be shy to comment or ask questions!
Remember you do NOT have to be a member to leave a comment!
: )
Have a Green day!

Homemade Cleaner

Do you have to do some cleaning this weekend? I sure do so here are some homemade cleaners!

All-Purpose Cleaner
This cleaner you make right in your spray bottle

2T vinegar

1 t Borax

Hot water

a few drops of a mild dish detergent

10 drops of essential oil, optional

In a 16 spray bottle put vinegar, borax and hot water. Swish around until borax has dissolved. Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Add the essential oil.

Soft Scrubbing Type Cleaners

There are no measurements necessary for this one. Simply put a small amount of baking soda in a bowl and add liquid dish detergent until you have smooth paste or frosting like substance. This very well on sinks and counters and won’t scratch the surface.

Homemade Window Cleaner

This one can be made right in your spray bottle.
1/2 t mild dish detergent

3T vinegar

2 cups water

Put all these ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake this up some and use it just like the commercial variety.

Wood Polish:

1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil

Mix Together and rub on lightly with a soft towel.
Please note, use sparingly as to not damage fine wood surfaces, you might try a test spot first.

Farmers Markets to Visit this Weekend!

Tampa Bay Area Farmers Markets:

Cheyennes Country Thangs
19319 Holly Lane
Lutz, FL 33548
Market hrs. Saturdays 10am to 4pm and longer on Holidays.
Contact Info:
Lisa Hunt

Ybor City Fresh Market
Centennial Park-Ybor City8th and 19th Street
Tampa, FL 33675
We are open every Saturday, 9am-3pm (Summer hours 9am-1pm, May-September), year-round, rain or shine!
Contact Information
Lynn Schultz

Saturday Morning Market
1st Ave S at 1st Street at Al Lang Stadium (For GPS use '101 1st St. SE.')
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Al Lang Stadium parking lot (1st Street and 1st Ave S) in the heart of St. St.Petersburg, FL
Every Saturday from 9 AM until 2 PM
Contact Information
Gail Eggeman

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ways to eat local..

Check out these websites to find local farmers in your area!

Eat Local.. Rosas Farm

In the spotlight is Rosas Farm.. Grass feed animals, no antibiotics, healthy and happy.. you can even go to the farm to see and for pick up or they have monthly drop off all over Florida! Proplem is compared to prices paid by my family in IL some items are over priced this can be because they do deliver all over FL so you don't have shipping costs but this is a good start to finding local farms. I will of course post more as I discover them since I have had a recent number of emails asking me about local meat farmers, local farmers markets, etc. Never be afraod to email me at


Fresh Ground Beef $6.22
Ground Beef $5.58
Flat Iron Steats $9.37
Beef Tenderloin $26.54
New York Strip $17.95
Rib Eye $17.95
Beef Brisket $9.46
Beef Sirloin Roast $10.90
Rump Roast $9.80
Sirloin Steak $13.90
Shoulder Roast $10.90
Chuck Roast $8.95
Short Rib Meat $8.99
Stew Beef $8.99
Pre Cooked Shredded Beef $17.95
Liver $6.78
Beef London Broil $9.74
Beef Heart $7.50
Tongue $6.00
Kidney $4.50
Beef Bones/Beef Fat

I am unsure about compariable beef prices since my mom in IL does not eat red meat

ONLY $9.99
Italian Sausage (Sugar Free)
Polish Sausage (Sugar Free)
Whole Hog Country Sausage loose or link $9.99 (Sugar Free)
Chicken Feta Sausage and Delicious Chicken Brats $9.99 (Sugar Free)

I was told the sausage prices are a little high

Pork Chops w/bone $7.99 <-- HIGH PRICED Ground Pork $6.99 Pork tenderloin $12.99 Bison Hot Dogs $9.99 (Sweetened with Honey) Whole Chicken Pasture Raised Chicken $5.99 <-- HIGH PRICED Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $7.99 Chicken Breasts w/bone $6.99 Chicken Thighs $4.99 Chicken Wings $4.99 Chicken Drummies $4.99 Ground Chicken $8.99 New Zealand Lamb- Grass-Fed Sirloin Steaks $13.90 Lamb Roast (boneless) $13.90 Ground Lamb $10.99 Sustainably Harvested, Wild Caught Fish PRICES PER POUND Wild Caught Sweet and Tasty Cod $9.99 Wild Caught Pacific Salmon $9.99 Wild Caught Sushi Grade Ahi Tuna $9.99 Mahi Mahi $11.75 Wild Caught Haddock $10.59 Wild Caught Grouper $12.70 Wild Caught Diver Scallops $22.30 Local Wild Caught HUGE Shrimp $19.50 Wild Caught Sea bass $26.60 Wild Caught Conch $16.70 Local Raw Organic Honey QT With and Without Comb $27.75 Florida No Hormone No Antibiotic Rabbit $16.99 2-3 lb We Carry No Hormone No Antibiotic LOCAL RAW CHEESE! Havarti and Gouda $15 per lb Pasture Raised, Free Range Eggs $4.99/dz The Organic Chef Spice Blends $4.99 White Meat Blend or Dark Meat Blend. No need for a cabinet full of spices when two will do! Drop off locations and dates:

Tuesday Orders Must Be In By The Friday Prior
Wednesday Orders Must Be In By The Monday Prior
Friday Orders Must Be In By The Wednesday Prior

EUSTIS/MT. DORA : Monday The 6TH: Drop Windhorse Wellness Center 353 Plaza Dr.
LUTZ: Tuesday The 7TH & 21ST: Drop Spot: A Natural Approach to Wellness, 15901 N. Florida Ave. Lutz, Fl.
Clearwater/St. Pete/ Sarasota Wednesday The 1ST & The 15TH :
Clearwater: 2077 Sunnydale Blvd.
ST. Pete: Home Depot 2300 22ND Avenue North
Sarasota: Polo Grill & Bar 10670 Boardwalk Loop,
Lakewood Ranch
Tampa Tuesday The 14TH & 28TH : I-275 and Dale Mabry- Rooms to Go Parking Lot
Orlando/Sanford/Lake Mary/Longwood: Wednesday the 8TH : Drop Spot: Target Parking Lot, Conroy Road, Mall At Milennia
JENSEN BEACH/PORT ST. LUCIE: Fourth Wednesday- Call For Details
GAINESVILLE: Third Thursday : Newberry rd. In front of Books-A-Million
TARPON SPRINGS: Friday The 10TH & 24TH: 40114 U.S 19 , Tarpon Olympic Plaza

This is a high priced distributor because they have to drive from ocala 2 times a month.. so with gas and storage you pay more... look for even more local then this!!

Foody Movies to Watch

As I grow my own food I want to learn more about it, why is GMO so bad, why is factory farming awful, why should we buy in season and local.. these are all things we know but do we really know why?

Here's my list of movies watched or soon to be watched.. feel free to add more in the comments!

The future of food
No impact man
Food matters
Food beware
Food inc.
King corn
The botany of desire
Fat head
The real dirt of farmer john
Fed up!
The garden
The evils of monsanto
Whats on your plate?

A lot of these are avaliable on Netflix instant streaming or disc based.

Pop some popcorn grab a drink and start the learning!

Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner

Simple No Shampoo.. Poo Free
Mix 1 Tbsp. baking soda with 8 oz. hot water and stir or shake until well dissolved. You can use a funnel and put this in a container like a squirt bottle.
Squirt into hair, massage, rinse, then condition.

Basic Shampoo:

You need:
1 empty bottle
3 cups of soap flakes (which you can get almost anywhere)
Essential Oil of Lavender
Essential Oil of Rosemary

Mix the soap flakes with the water and then add 4 drops of each oil.

Another basic Shampoo:

1/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap - I use unscented, but you can choose your favorite
1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, or other light vegetable oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Shake before use.
This mixture isn't as thick as commercial shampoos - you'll need to just tilt the bottle over your head.

Fruit and Veggie Shampoo:

Blend 1 peeled lemon and 1 peeled cucumber until smooth, massage into hair, rinse VERY well.. Problem 1: can leave little pieces of food in hair that can look like dandruff, not everyone has this problem

Conditioning Treatment:

1 tablespoon baby oil
2 egg yolks
1 cup of water

Beat the eggs yolks together well until frothy.
Next mix in the other ingredients and mix well.
In the shower, massage it well into your scalp and leave on for five minutes.
Rinse well.

Avocado Conditioner:

Peel and seed the avocado, blend until creamy, massage into hair, let sit for 5 minutes, rinse well

Many people say that going without commercial shampoos have fixed their many scalp problems as well as left hair clean, shiny, and in better condition.
Why are we brainwashed to believe in order to be clean we must buy these special shampoos or have large suds that get in your eyes (and burn)?
Try out a new natural product and see if maybe you can make the switch!
not only will these be better for you but you wont be polluting the earth with that chemical runoff, and you can even reuse your bath water to water your plants!!

Spring Clean your mailbox

Click the title to be taken to a opt out webpage where you can decide not to get that wasteful junk mail anymore!

Here are the facts:
"Not that the 100 billion pieces of junk mail Americans receive each year are irksome enough or that the emissions of junk mail are equal to those of over nine million cars or 51 million tons of greenhouse gases.

The group estimates that every year, more than 100 million trees are cut down to make junk mail – the equivalent of clear-cutting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every 4 months!

Source: EcoLocalizer ("

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lets waste less..

So when you go to the store you stock your fridge with essentially A LOT of trash and some food.. not in the literal sense but every piece of food is wrapped, bagged, boxed, etc which will eventually wind up in the land fill.. why don't we cut down on this consumption of waste?
Buy bulk beans that you can take right from the plastic holder and scoop into a reusable cotton bag, or when we get our fruit and veggies do we really need those flimsy plastic bags?
I mean what would happen if the apple touched the orange or the lettuce and tomato touched?
Nothing bad I can assure you.

So while I make this simple change in my life I suggest everyone who reads this does as well.. maybe it cuts down on 2% of your garbage but its something! Also go green and don't use plastic or paper for your groceries use no bag or the fabric ones! There's a little more waste gone from your life and our trash dump : )

Also.. compost your food scraps either in a compost or worm bin, water your plants with watered down expired milk.. recycle all glass, plastic, and cardboard...

Just imagine a world where everyone did this and just how much it could benefit the earth and each other..
Do your part today : )

The evils of the meat you eat

There are many reasons to eat only things you grow or raise but some people like myself live in urban areas with little to no land. What can we do?

Well, we go to the grocery store.. here everything is bright lights and clean floors.. tightly wrapped, cut, priced and sectioned meat, ready to take home on the spot. Sounds wonderful right? No slaughtering, no blood, no guilty feeling? Lets take a look at this meat you eat...

I have seen the footage of these poor chickens who have no room to walk.. to move.. not even to stretch their wings, they have feeders set up in the middle of the room where chickens climb over on another and peck each other to get to it.. where these big company's are so money hungry they have no feelings toward their animals.. they have genetically engineered a chicken to grow to full slaughtering size (5.5 lbs) in 40 days.. that used to take 3-4 months in a normal chicken.. Great you say fast meat production means more for me.. your right but did you know that the rate that these chickens grow their organs cannot keep up.. that means death, or crippled chickens who can barley breathe, walk, or do anything...
In these chicken houses roughly 10 birds die a day because of the awful conditions.. feces all over, dead birds rotting, dust build up.. repulsive.
The sad thing is we cant even hold the farmers accountable in fact most of them hate it as much as i do, but these big company suck them in and never let their grip go.. demanding that growers build these houses.. that costs about $100,000 a house(they need at least 2).. then food, ventilation, water, labor, tools.. they borrow all this money get sucked into debt and only get paid $18,000 a year.. after the initial costs these company's demand upgrades that cost more money, keeping these farmers in debt so they have no choice but to follow anything the big monster says... its awful!

..and its not just chickens.. they tether baby calves to cages to keep their meat lean and soft, they store hogs in tiny cages until slaughter, and they take cows that normally eat grass, make them eat corn and it makes them sick which gets passed to us in its meat (E-coli sound familiar?).. then make these cows live in feces covered pens, no grass, no where to graze, no where to walk around..

the whole thing is sick but that's how they get the meat from their "farm" to your plate.. next time you go to the store think about that.. then turn around and find a local farmer and buy your meat from them.. it may cost more but its worth it not only to help these animals but to keep yourself safe from the diseases these new genetically altered animals, or feces covered animals may bring...

P.S: No i am not a vegetarian and no i do not support PETA but i want to know whats in my meat and where is comes from because they are part of this world and the delicate balance of earth that keeps us alive.. Search your area for a local farmer that you can buy your meat from, this is the safest and best way!!

Below is a clip from Food Inc. a must see movie if you havent already.. this is what inspired me to write this..