This Week’s Menu

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I know it isn’t Monday yet, but seeing as this weekend is Easter weekend, I wanted to highlight our Sunday dinner before the actual day, plus, it gives me an excuse to show off the minute iota of Photoshop skills I have acquired lately…it only took me an hour to get those 3 little coloured eggs on the menu board and for that, I think I deserve a big high-five.

After this Sunday’s annual stuffing of excess food, by the way, didn’t we just do this a few weeks ago at Christmas?! sheesh, time flies… it will be time to get back up on that DIE-et Wagon and work off the pounds that crept on the past couple weeks while snacking with abandon on Mini Eggs and Hershey Kisses (totally guilty on the kisses).

This week’s menu is full of whole-grain goodness, veggies, lean meats and fish, and nary a cookie nor chocolate egg to be found anywhere.  It is also time to get back into a workout routine as mine has fallen by the wayside lately due to too much on the go leading up to Easter.  Now that the nicer weather has finally arrived, I don’t have to bundle up in my parka and mukluks to head out for a stroll, so get out there and make your heart proud and pound some pavement.

With the exception of the sausage penne night, here is next week’s DIE-et friendly rendition of what is on the Homestead Menu..

maple leaves green frameRecipe Links

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

 

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Edible Easter Table CenterPiece

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What better way to showcase your Easter Brunch or Dinner Table than with an edible arrangement?  Your kids will go ga-ga over them and it beats fresh cut flowers any day.

This is a super yummy basic Sugar Cookie Dough recipe that will soon become a staple in your cookie repertoire…and they are not just for Easter either, but will also become a standard for making cookies at Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day, or whenever you want to make ‘cut out’ cookies.  This recipe will be your new go-to from now on.

DSC02180_A

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Un-Salted Butter, softened
5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs

 Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time; add the vanilla and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet, mix well.  Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface to 3/8th inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.  Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  5. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in a pre-heated oven. Cool completely on wire racks before decorating.

** To Make Sugar Cookie ‘Lollipops’ ~ once cookies are cut out, insert lollipop sticks into one end of the cookie before baking, being careful not to break dough.  Bake as directed above, carefully remove from pan and cool on wire racks before decorating.

Wrap each ‘Cookie Pop’ in a small cellophane bag and arrange in a small, bottom-weighted basket as a table centerpiece.  A perfect treat for handing out Easter Sunday after dinner.

DSC02183_AVariation

Chocolate Sugar Cookies:
Add 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder and decrease flour by 1/2 cup

Decorators Icing

Combine milk and enough powdered sugar (Icing Sugar) to make a glaze, don’t make it too runny or it will run off the cookies before setting.    Add food colouring to reach desired shades.  Paint on the coloured glazes with artists brushes.

Happy Easter!

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How To Get Rid Of Fuzzy White Mold On House Plants

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You know the stuff…the little grayish-white fuzzy puffballs that suddenly spring up about a week after you plant your new garden seeds.  It blossoms across the surface of the soil and if you have planted your seeds in peat pots, soon the entire outside of the container will resemble one of the guitars from ZZ Top.

So what do you do???

Easy, go buy a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide…Yup, the same stuff you tried to bleach your hair with back in the 70′s to try and look like Farrah Fawcett.

DSC09275Add 2 Tbsp of Hydrogen Peroxide to 2 Cups Water.  Water your seedlings (or any houseplants) with the solution and the next day – poof! No more fuzzy white stuff on the soil. I was amazed at how fast it worked too as usually I am a skeptic with internet-based cure-all claims.

The peroxide in low concentration will not harm seeds, seedlings or any plants, it just kills off the existing mold and deters it from coming back.  Use as a preventative measure once a month on all your houseplants for a fuzz-free potting medium.

Your houseplants will thank you!

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This Week’s Menu

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Last week’s menu didn’t work out as planned…we moved Tuesday’s to Friday, Friday’s to Wednesday, canceled Thursday’s outright…and I ended up changing my mind on yesterday’s too!

This coming week is going to be downright hectic as well… with all the hoopla of Easter, throw in the elbowing of crazed grandma’s to get at the best chocolate bunnies, preparing the annual Easter Paska for Easter Sunday Dinner as well as packing to spend the long weekend up at the cottage….  oh…and I think I have an actual job to do in the midst of all of the above…..I have sooooo much to prep for in sooooo little time.

This week we are VERY excited about Friday’s Pickerel dinner as we kept 2 of the highly prized fish squirreled away in the freezer from last year’s fishing season.  We now have a very long wait ahead until pickerel season opens on the May long weekend.  Remind me to start digging for worms once the ground thaws…

Here is your weekly dinner inspiration….

maple leaves green frameRecipe Links:

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin
Heirloom Pickerel Dinner
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

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Today…I am….

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B-U-S-Y!

Too busy to create a post…but technically, this IS a post, so it will have to do.

Meanwhile, to keep you amused, I have included the following picture… and if you are feeling exceptionally smart today, your assignment is to create a caption for it…

squirrelHave a great weekend!

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A Happy 200th!

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200th BlogPost copyCan you believe it?  My 200th blog post in almost a year…. Even more amazing is that I have that much stuff rambling around in my noggin to write about, with lots more to come too….

I do have to thank the people who follow me around and read my blog though, because if it wasn’t for my faithful readers, I probably would be selling fake Persian rugs in a market stall somewhere in Bursa, Turkey…and even though many of you don’t comment all the time, I do peek at the stats counter and I can tell who is watching and reading….and who isn’t… Kinda gives me the same power as Santa Claus (insert evil laugh here)…

To celebrate this momentous event, I am offering a give away of 3 Hand-Crafted 100% Cotton Northern Homestead Dishcloths…just like these here….  DSC09268 copy

All you need to do for a chance to win a set of these gorgeous dishcloths is to leave a comment below and I will pick a winner at random on Tuesday, April 2nd (after the Easter hoopla).

Thank you all again for allowing me to entertain and inform you…. Good Luck in the Draw!

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Spring! Has Hopefully Arrived….

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Today marks the Vernal Equinox…better known as
the First Day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Spring CrocusAt 7:02 a.m. EDT, we march into a brand new season filled with warmer temperatures and the rebirth of flora and fauna….

Now will someone tell Old Man Winter to buzz off? I am sick of the white flurries that have been flying around the last 2 days….

Not only it is a Special Day for the beginning of Spring….but it is also a VERY Special Day in that it is also our daughter’s birthday.  Laura was born on the first day of Spring and her personality is just like the bright, Spring flowers bursting from the ground….and to celebrate, I have brought along a few snapshots of her from over the years…

Here she is on her 3rd Birthday ~ Care Bears in hand…

Laura_Care_Bears_1She also joined her mom on the riding circuit,
this is her on my Albino Palomino mare Lady…

Laura_on_Lady1and here she is today…all grown up with her hubby…

Laura_Scott

We wish you a Happy Birthday Sweetie!

There…aren’t you glad I chose these photos to share with the world?
Could have been worse! :)

Love,
Mom and Dad

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How To Plant Your Garden Seeds

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WOOOO-HOOOO!

I was waiting….and waiting…and WAITING….until finally…THE day arrived.

Planting Day!

Outside the living room window, the dreary gray skies blocked out the sun and  the cold, easterly winds were whipping the branches of my tall Blue Spruce, but inside, it was warm, toasty and with a hot mug of tea in hand, I assembled my cast of characters…

DSC09209Seed Starting Mix
Potting Soil
Containers by the dozen(s)
Seed packets
Holding Trays
Plant Labels
Watering Can
Garden Journal Notebook and Pen
Paper Napkins

Step 1 ~ and I can not stress this enough…. If you are re-using pots from past years, first thing to do is wash them in hot soapy water, then soak them in a weak bleach solution for at least an hour, then rinse and let dry.  This will kill off any dormant organisms that may have been hanging out over the past year in them.  If you are using new pots/peat pots, move on to Step 2!

Step 2 ~ Take a regular paper napkin and cut it in half, taking one half of the napkin, line the bottom of the pot, this will keep dirt from falling out the holes while you fill them.  Less mess to clean up later and the paper napkin will degrade slowly. DSC09222Step 3 ~ Fill the pots 2/3rd’s full with regular potting soil.

DSC09225Step 4 ~ Fill the remaining 1/3rd with Seed Starting Mix, this has more peat mixed in and is a more absorbent medium for starting seeds in.  Lightly press down the layers, and I do mean L-I-G-H-T-L-Y, no hard squishing here please.

DSC09227You can see the difference between the regular potting soil on the left and the seed starting mix on the right.

Step 5 ~ Place 4 to 5 seeds in each container, spacing evenly apart.  If your containers are smaller, put in 2 to 3.  I always err on the side of caution and make sure I have plenty of backup sprouts for future calamities.

DSC09231_AStep 6 ~ Sprinkle a light layer of seed starting mix over top of the seeds and again, lightly press down.  Label your pots and water slowly so that the potting medium soaks up the water without floating your seeds.

DSC09213Step 7 ~ Record the date in your garden journal of what you planted, then, when your seeds sprout, you record that date as well.  Once you have done this at least once, you can look back at prior years and see how long it took for certain seeds to sprout, which ones didn’t and adjust from there.

Step 8 ~ Load up your trays with your newly planted pots, cover with a dome lid, place in a sunny window or under grow lights if you have them….and then wait…and wait…and wait…

For summer to sprout!

**Note ~ if you are growing pepper plants, they need to be heated to above 75°F (24°C) in order to germinate.  I use an old heating pad placed underneath the tray and keep it on the ‘low’ setting.DSC09245_ANow what are you waiting for? Get out there and get your supplies and get started!

Happy Growing!

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This Week’s Menu

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Have you recovered?

From all the fun and frivolity of St. Patrick’s Day and all things green? I have, although I kept my beer green-free as I can’t bring myself to drink something that looks like a Leprechaun peed in it.

The highlight of the weekend was enjoying a delicious steak dinner while watching the NASCAR race from Bristol Motor Speedway yesterday, one of the best tracks to watch a race from (which we had the pleasure of attending a few years ago) and while watching the race, I was contemplating what to do with this week’s menu….

I decided I had a craving for turkey, even though the impending Turkey Day is at the end of the month, so I tossed in a simple but tasty meal idea to tide us over until then.

Oh! and guess what else I did this past weekend?
You’ll have to stay tuned tomorrow to find out!

maple leaves green frameRecipe Links:

Spaghetti with Meatballs

 

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