We’re having a cold, dreary day here in Vermont. It’s been raining on and off and I’ve even noticed a few snow flurries. Not the day to be working outside. Instead I have an inside project. I’m sure you’ve seen the seed tape they sell in catalogs. Designed to help you plant those very small seeds like carrots so you don’t have to do as much thinning. Did you know you can also make these easily at home?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Flour paste – ¼ cup flour and enough water to make a paste.

Strips of paper to make the tape, you can use black and white newspaper, single-ply toilet paper or a thin paper bag.

seed tape, vegetable seeds, planting

Strips of paper

Something to dab the glue on such as a small paintbrush or a toothpick.

Start by making the paste, start with the flour and add enough water until you have the consistency of a paste.

Check your seed packet for the recommendations as to how far apart the seeds should be planted.

seed packet, carrots, prudent living

Packet of Carrot Seeds

Dab the paste onto your strips of paper as far apart as you would plant the seeds. Just drop the seeds into the paste. Drop the same number of seeds that you would plant in your garden.

seeds, prudent planting

Allow seeds to dry in the paste.

Allow the paste to dry completely and roll up your tape. You are all ready to head out to the garden!

seeds, vegetable gardening, carrots

My homemade seed tape.

For most seeds you will just need to lay the tape down in your garden and lightly cover it with soil. Water and watch the seeds grow! The paper will eventually decompose and you’ll never see it again.

Linked to HomesteadRevival.blogspot.com,
lilsuburbanhomestead.wordpress.com

I’ve been meaning to try making my own tortillas for some time. Today I finally got around to it. I checked out a number of recipes online and basically they are all the same!

1 ¾ cups masa harina
1 1/8 cup water

In case you’re wondering what masa harina is it is finely ground corn meal.

prudent living, recipe, cornmeal

masa hairina de maize

corn meal, corn tortillas, recipe

masa hairina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more masa harina. If it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.

Divide dough into 15 equal size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on the second side for approximately 30 seconds more., then transfer to a plate.

corn tortilla

Roll into a circle

Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

 homemade corn tortillas, corn meal, prudent living

Homemade corn tortillas

I may have to invest in a tortilla press! I found it hard to roll them into perfect circles. However I mixed up some refried beans (healthy style) and we enjoyed them for dinner! Too easy!

Linked to: LearningTheFrugalLife.blogspot.com, PremeditatedLeftovers
Cheap Recipes and Money-Saving Tips

Several weeks ago I shared a recipe for Kale chips. My husband and I enjoyed these so much I wondered if there were other vegetable chips I could make at home.  After a bit of searching I found a recipe for Broccoli Chips on KeepItSimple.com.. I decided to give it a try. First time around I usually try a recipe as it is written; second time around I make a few changes. This recipe was really good, the only change I would make would be to either try seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the panko bread crumbs or just use more seasoning. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

vegetables, chips, healthy eating

Broccoli Stalks

Ingredients:
Broccoli Stalks
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg plus a splash of milk, whisked together
A dash of salt, onion powder and cayenne pepper (mixed in with the crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the broccoli stems into thin coins.

broccoli, vegetable chips

Broccoli Coins

Dip the coins into the egg mixture and then coat them in the panko mix.

broccoli, eggs

Broccoli in egg mix.

vegetable chips, recipe box

Panko crumbs and egg mix.

Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

baking, prudent living

Broccoli chips on a baking sheet.

Bake the broccoli coins for about 10 minutes or until the coins are tender and fragrant.

vegetable chips, healthy eating

Fragrant Broccoli Chips

You could fry these too but then they wouldn’t be as healthy a choice.

I made a batch while I was making dinner and they were perfect to munch on while I was prepping the rest of the dinner.

Linked to: notyourordinaryrecipes.com, comfyinthekitchen.com, simplysweethome.com, designsbygollum.blogspot.com, homemaidsimple.com, annkroeker.com, momtrends.com. MakeAheadMealsForBusyMoms.com, FlourMeWithLove.com, MyFavoriteFinds.blogspot.com

As we work on having a well-stocked and organized pantry it is also important to have a pest free pantry. The last thing you want to find is a bug in your oats! Finding bugs isn’t unusual because bugs like what we eat. Stored foods commonly infested include flour, cereals, cracked grains, baking mixes and processed foods, macaroni, powdered milk, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn and spices.

Common insect pests you might find are: Indian Meal Moths,

pantry pests, bugs, prudent living

Indian Meal Moth

Demestid Beetles,

pantry pests, bugs

Demestid Beetle

Sawtooth Grain Beetles,

pantry pests, bugs, prudent living

Sawtooth Grain Beetle

Flour Beetles,

pantry pests, prudent living

Flour Beetle

Granary Weevil,

pantry pest, prudent living

Granary Weevil

Rice and Maize Weevils,

pests, pantry storage

Maize Weevil

bugs, pantry pests

Rice Weevil

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bean Weevils and Spider Beetles.

pantry pests, bugs

Spider Beetle

bugs, pests, pantry pests

Bean Weevil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first indication of an infestation is often the presence of small brown beetles, moths or worms in your cupboards or on counters. Looking closer you may find them in opened packages or containers of food and in the cracks and crevices of cupboards. You want to get rid of them as soon as possible because they can multiply and spread to other stored food.

If you do notice bugs in your pantry you want to find all the potential food sources. Locate and discard all infested items. Do not overlook intact boxes or containers because many insects can chew their way into cardboard and foil.

Infested items can be thrown away or salvaged by freezing three to four days. Do not use insecticide for controlling insects in pantry areas. Removing infested items and thoroughly cleaning with a vacuum is usually sufficient. As a precaution against re-infestation, store susceptible foods in tightly sealed glass, metal or heavy plastic containers or in the refrigerator or freezer.

To prevent pantry pests when you purchase food be certain containers are not damaged and seals are intact. Store dried food in insect proof containers such as screw-top glass, heavy plastic or metal containers. This will prevent entry of insects. Keep your pantry areas clean and do not allow crumbs or food particles to accumulate, as exposed food will attract insects.

 

Vermont, barns, spring

Springtime in Vermont

Spring comes slowly to Vermont. We often have snow in April but this year we’ve had much warmer weather. I’m anxious to get out in the garden but we’re still having temperatures well below freezing at night. I have planted some lettuce, spinach and parsley and as soon as we get the composted manure all spread and tilled in I will be planting my peas. Hopefully this weekend! I thought I would share some pictures of what my garden looks like here in Vermont in mid-April.

The forsythia is in full bloom. I really wanted to get a picture of the bright yellow Goldfinches in the forsythia but they are just too skittish.

spring flower, garden

Forsythia in full bloom

Remember all those bulbs I planted in the fall? Well they all seem to be coming up and many of them are in bloom. I love daffodils.

bulbs, spring flowers, home frontbulbs, spring flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blueberry bushes are mulched with some pine mulch we got delivered for free from Henderson’s. They were cutting some pines just down the street and were happy to deliver it.

mulch, bushes, blueberries

Mulched Blueberry bushes

The strawberries that I mulched in the fall survived the winter and are coming along well.

berries, strawberries

Sparkle Strawberries

Lupines are coming up everywhere. They are another favorite of mine.

spring flowers, prudent living

Lupines

Soon I’ll be cooking with rhubarb. Five plants all bursting out of the ground.

vegetable gardening

Rhubarb

My oregano is up as are my chives.

herbs, homegrown

Chives

herbs, homegrown

Oregano

The garlic that I planted in the fall is also doing well.

bulbs, vegetable garden

Garlic

General view of the garden to the chicken palace.Vermont garden, spring, Vermont

Inside things are doing well. My geranium, which I overwintered indoors, is in full bloom and ready to be moved outside for the summer.

overwintering, house plants

Geraniums

The vegetable seedlings are also doing well, the tomatoes seem to grow more robust every day!

seed starting, seedlings

Vegetable seedlings

Hope you’ve enjoyed my pictures of my garden progress here in Vermont.
Linked to: Gallery of Favorites

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival
spring cleaning, prudent living

Microwave

I try to stay on top of my microwave and when I heat things up I usually use a cover of some sort. However sometimes I end up with a dirty microwave in need of cleaning! I found this method of cleaning my microwave to be very easy. It’s a simple as microwaving a cup of water for about three minutes. You may have to do it a little longer, depending on your microwave. When it’s done, the inside of your microwave should be nice and steamy. Let sit and cool for a few minutes before opening the door. Then just wipe the inside off with a rag and you will easily wipe away all the grime. If it doesn’t work the first time repeat until the inside of the microwave is clean and shiny.

If you want this to smell nice you can add all sorts of things to the water before you boil it. Place inside a four cup microwavable container that contains 1 cup of water a chopped up lemon, lime or orange. You can also add several tablespoons of vinegar.

microwave cleaning

Water and an orange

If the window is greasy you can clean it with a mixture of half vinegar and half water and then dry. End result – a clean microwave without using chemicals!

household cleaning, cleaning tips

A clean microwave.

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