Friday, June 24, 2016

JALAPENO SALT AND PEPPER - How to dehydrate your own

Dehydrated Jalapenos are the best! We use this spice in practically every dish, not to mention, growing Jalapenos and preserving them through dehydration is a great way to ensure we'll be enjoying these dried peppers all year long!

My mother at her BLOG was the first to introduce the JALAPENO SALT and PEPPER combination, by adding dehydrated Jalapenos (grounded) with salt in a shaker, and also making the ground pepper batch with Jalapenos. The pepper shaker is perfect for those dishes where you want to add flavor, but not extra salt.

For dehydration and speed, slice the Jalapeno's long ways, and dehydrate.

Dried Jalapenos

I prefer using the Magic Bullet for grinding my spices - pictured, I was making my own sweetener from STEVIA

For the Dehydrated Jalapeno Salt and Pepper, just dehydrate peppers, grind with salt, and store your seasonings in a shaker, or jar. Repeat process with black pepper and Jalapenos. That's it. Simple, easy, and your meals will be enhanced!

We've used our Jalapeno Salt and Pepper on practically every dish, but my favorite is baked chicken!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

NATURAL MOSQUITO SPRAY - Homemade Mosquito repellent

Need a healthy WAY to keep the mosquitoes at BAY?  
Here's a simple remedy with only 3 ingredients

Apple Cider Vinegar
Medieval Blend Essential Oil


For a no fuss (and economical) blend that WORKS, I've discovered my own healthy mosquito repellent!  


10 drops of Essential Oil
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
Fill spray bottle to top with water

Spray as needed your arms and legs and enjoy the outdoors safely!

Ingredients of the Medieval Mix:

Sweet Orange
Red Thyme
Tea Tree Oil

The Aura Cacia blend essential oil (and Braggs Cider Vinegar) can be found online at Amazon, or at your local Sprouts grocery store.

Unlike the commercial brands of natural mosquito repellents, this homemade recipe is non sticky, and smells pleasant. But most important, it keeps the mosquitoes away! Keep a bottle nearby and spray as needed!

Add this recipe to Pinterest!

Friday, June 3, 2016

GROWING VIRGINIA CREEPER - for shade and beauty

Growing Virginia Creeper for shade and beauty is why I ignore the warnings that this plant is invasive and a nuisance. I personally think Virginia Creeper gets a bad rap! There are so many benefits to allowing this plant to thrive.

One of the top reasons why I have allowed the Ivy to grow is for shade. With searing temperatures of 100 degrees here in Texas, I have pleasantly discovered that my home and porch stays comfortably cool. Studies have shown that this covering vine can create a thermal shield adding warmth in the winter, and in the summer, cooling the temps up to almost 40%.  The other benefits to this covering vine is that it also wards off water related damage.

I'm sure there are plenty of cons to this vine, but I have found too many pros to tear it down.

Virginia Creeper in England

The Ivy is a prolific grower and can reach up to 50 feet. It does require pruning for control, but I have found that it makes an excellent privacy screen when wanting to quickly cover fences, and archways. The only drawback is that this vine "winters" and the leaves will turn red, form berries, then die back, leaving only the wooded parts -- the leaves reappear in the spring.

Virginia Creeper indoors and on front porch

Sometimes the Virginia Creeper is mistaken for Poison Ivy. When this plant first appeared in an abandoned flower pot, I counted 3 leaves and remembered the old saying:


Poison Ivy has three leaves
Virginia Creeper has five

There are medical benefits to the Virginia Creeper. Although the berries are considered harmful for consumption, the berries are food for the birds. During the Great Plague in London, the berries were infused with vinegar to help with infertility, and as an antiseptic during the plague.
My "Poison Ivy" plant turned out being Virginia Creeper and I didn't have the heart to pluck it out.

Using a wire coat hanger, I formed it into a heart shape and created a topiary.

Not sure if this vine will "winter" indoors, but it now has a new home.

This Virginia Creeper, is a Keeper.