Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Terra Cotta Flower Pots

Take your old terra cotta flower pots ~ paint wash them.. Add a bit of water your paint, and have fun while you give the pots a new look.....

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler Recipe Blueberry Cobbler Recipe Blueberry Cobbler RecipeIngredients:Blueberry Cobbler Recipe6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 
1-1/2 cups sugar 
1/4 cup water 

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional


  • Place blueberries in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; set aside. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over berries.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture. Spread over berry mixture. Drizzle with melted butter; sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  • Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Yield: 15 servings.
20 40 6

Monday, June 18, 2012

DIY Bird Feeders

Love this DIY Bird Feeders from

Special Blend Bird Seed

This month’s Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas blog­ger chal­lenge was all about the birds! And, with spring most def­i­nitely here, it was a fit­ting chal­lenge. As always, the tough­est part was just fig­ur­ing out what to do. We decided that we liked the idea of a bird feeder bet­ter than a bird house–

 So, here’s what they came up with:

Can you tell what they’re made from? They were easy to do–even some­thing the kid­dos can help with! And, I love the pop of color we have out­side now.

Cozy Den Bird House

Here’s the bird chal­lenge sup­plies picked up at Lowe’s:

- 3 small paint cans, a 3/16″ wooden dowel, finch food, a Hum­ming­bird feeder & Hum­ming­bird food! Now, of course, the hum­ming­bird stuff wasn’t part of our DIY project. But, since we were think­ing of our lit­tle feath­ered friends, we had to get some­thing for our beau­ti­ful desert hummingbirds–like this guy:Hope­fully they’ll come around even more often now that we have a new feeder filled with that super sug­ary red liquid!

Ok, now back to our project.… Cut­ part of the dowel into 4 inch pieces (one for each paint can). Then  work on spruc­ing up the paint cans. 

 paint the three cans and the dowel pieces.

Classic Series Arts and Crafts Bird House

Once those had a good while to dry,  put a lit­tle bead of hot glue on the inside grove of the top of each paint can (where the lid would snap into) and stick a dowel piece in. Then, you will need some­thing to hang them.

Quick & easy project and pro­vides such a cute look out by the gar­den. And, here’s the best part…our fine feath­ered friends have already taken notice! Here’s what we saw when we came down­stairs this morning:

Build it and they will come!”"

 Covered Bridge Bird Feeder in Victorian White


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Easy to Grow Veggies!

So, you say you have no time for a vegetable garden. Or, you are convinced that your thumb is definitely not green. Give these five tasty vegetables a try. You'll be surprised at how much fresh produce you can get for the amount of work you'll need to put in.

1. Beans

Forever Garden Vegetable Seeds - Emergency Food

If you are going to grow beans, the best advice I can give you is to be sure you actually like to eat beans. Beans (specifically pole beans) are prolific, providing you with an almost constant harvest for several weeks during the summer. For a more manageable amount of produce, consider growing bush beans. In addition to not requiring the trellising that pole beans require, bush beans tend to produce one or two harvests during the season, so you don't have to worry about harvesting continuously to keep the plants productive. Beans require at least six hours of sun per day and regular watering, especially when they are blooming and fruiting.

2. Lettuce

 Organic Tomato & Vegetable Planting Mix

Whether you grow it in a traditional garden bed, a window box, or a flower pot, lettuce is an easy and rewarding vegetable to grow. The main issue with lettuce is that it abhors hot weather, and will bolt in no time once the temperatures start to soar. Look for heat-tolerant varieties, such as 'Black-Seeded Simpson,' to prolong your harvest. Alternately, plant them in an area that gets a bit of afternoon shade. Keep your lettuce well watered, and grow cut-and-come again or loose-leaf varieties, which will provide plenty of lettuce for salads throughout the growing season.

3. Leafy Greens

Frontier Natural Products

Many of the leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, chard) are even easier to grow than lettuce, and are full of essential vitamins and minerals. While spinach is infamous for bolting as soon as the weather warms, crops such as swiss chard and kale will keep producing happily in even the hottest weather. Like lettuce, leafy greens can either be grown in a traditional garden bed or in a container, making them a very convenient crop. In fact, a colorful glazed pot of 'Bright Lights' swiss chard is as ornamental as it is practical. Greens require regular moisture, soil with plenty of organic matter, and at least four hours of sun per day to thrive.

4. Summer Squash

I Buy Local Fruits & Vegetables

There's a reason that the cliche of a gardener leaving bushels of zucchini on the doorsteps of unsuspecting neighbors is so prevalent. If you give a zucchini plant full sun, good soil, and plenty of water, the fruits will seem to grow before your eyes. Given their prolific nature, you really only need two or three plants to feed a family of four throughout the summer. Yellow squash tends to be a bit less prolific than zucchini, but you'll still be growing a bounty of squash either way. For a nice change, try switching the traditional zucchini for something like 'Eight Ball' zucchini, which are small and round. They are too large to grow in containers, and take up a fair amount of space in the garden, but they are worth it.

5. Tomatoes

Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

Yes, tomatoes are easy to grow. I'll never understand why some people think tomatoes are a tricky crop. Have you ever thrown a tomato into your compost pile? If you have, you'd know that the next season, you end up with tens to hundreds of little tomato seedlings. All tomatoes need are warm temperatures, eight or more hours of sunlight per day, and even moisture. Give them a soil that is rich in organic matter, fertilize them monthly with a good, balanced organic fertilizer, and let them go. You don't even have to stake or cage them if you don't want to. They'll grow just fine sprawled out on the ground. For a truly worry-free tomato growing experience, choose hybrid varieties, which are usually more disease-resistant than heirlooms.


Friday, June 08, 2012

Butter Crunch Apple Pie

Found this yummie recipe on another site!! Can't wait to try it!

Butter Crunch Apple Pie 

Howdy Sugar Pie Darlin’s here’s the recipe for Butter Crunch Apple Pie as promised! My recipe for the pie crust is for two single pies,  so I made a double batch of the apple pie filling and a double batch of the Butter Crunch Topping for two to keep and the other to give away! This very pie was given as a “thank you” gift and the response was this…
“Thank you Ruth Ann for the wonderful pie!  I could not eat it all on my own so I shared with several people.  Everyone agrees, it was the best apple pie they’d ever had!” Boy, that made me feel good! Try this recipe, I think you’ll agree it’s super yummy!
Aunt Ruthie’s Pie Crust
(This recipe makes two single crust pies or one double crust pie.)
3 cups unbleached flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold salted butter (cut in small cubes)
½ cup or more ice water
Mix the flour and sugar together in mixer (or by hand with pastry blender). Add butter, mix until the butter bits are pea-size. Add 1/2 cup ice water and mix until ball forms. If needed you can add more water but only a teaspoon at a time. Once a ball is formed cut in half.  Flatten into 2 patties, then roll out, place in pie dish, crimp. Store pie shells in refrigerator or freezer until it’s time to fill.

The Low-Carb Baking and Dessert Cookbook 
Apple Pie Filling (for one pie)
6-7  large apples (or 6 cups), peeled, sliced and cored (a variety of Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp or other crisp sweet apple…not Red Delicious though)
1 1/4  cup sugar
2 Tablespoon Flour
½ stick melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of Nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix together in a bowl and pour into prepared pie shell.  Pile the apples up higher in the middle.
Butter Crunch  Topping  (for one pie)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick salted butter cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional 1 cup chopped pecans
Mix dry ingredients together. Add  butter pieces and Vanilla. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Leave the butter in large chunks. I also take my hands and squeeze the mixture together until fully blended but still chunky. You can add 1 cup of chopped pecans at this point if you would like or not…either way it’s yummy! Pour over apple pie filling.
Preheat oven at 425 degrees. Bake pie on parchment lined baking sheet for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 375 degrees. At this point, after you lower the temperature, take a sheet of foil, scrunch it around the edge into a circle…like a hubcap… and put it on top of pie to prevent over-browning. Continue to bake pie for 1 hour at the 375 degree temperature.
Enjoy  with ice cream or plain…either way it’s a party in your mouth!


Monday, June 04, 2012


The Hidden Reason You Get Flabby (Not Calories or Lack of Exercise)

By Dr. Mercola
Diet myths abound in the health industry, but one of the biggest myths of all is the idea that a calorie is a calorie, no matter where you get it from, or what the chemical or nutritional makeup of it is. 
If you care about your health and are truly working to keep your weight down, then you need to know the truth about calories as well as the substances that distort how calories work in your body.
For example, sugar is one of the major health topics in the news these days, with “sugar is sugar” news updates, ads, and counter-ads.
Now, a new video, the “Skinny on Obesity”, presents a chilling awakening on weight, weight gain, and chronic diseases like dementia, cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Watch it, and you may never look the same way at sugar or calories again. Your body actually treats sugar in the same way it treats alcohol and other toxins. This is in large part how sugars can damage your liver and other organs, and why Dr. Lustig refers to sugar as a toxin. I recently wrote about this at length in the article, Is Sugar Toxic?

Obesity Goes Beyond Aesthetics

While many still shrug at the notion of obesity being anything but an aesthetic issue, this simply isn’t a truthful evaluation of the situation. The obesity epidemic threatens not only the health and longevity of a clear majority of people, it also adds a tremendous burden to our health care system. As Dr. Lustig explains in part 1 above, the eight primary diseases related to metabolic dysfunction account for a staggering 75 percent of the healthcare costs in the US.
 These diseases include:
Type 2 diabetes Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (now affects 1/3 of all Americans)
Hypertension Polysystic ovarian syndrome (affects 10 percent of American women)
Lipid problems Cancer
Heart disease Dementia

The four diseases listed on the top row are conventionally associated with metabolic syndrome. However, as stated by Dr. Lustig, several other diseases fall within this scope as well—which are listed in the bottom row. He also explains that while obesity is associated with metabolic syndrome and all of these diseases, obesity is not the CAUSE of them; it is simply a marker. Rather, the underlying cause is metabolic dysfunction, and excessive sugar/fructose consumption is a primary driver of that.
According to Dr. Lustig, 20 percent of obese people have perfectly normal metabolic functioning, and the excess weight will not affect their overall lifespan. Ditto for 60 percent of normal-weight people. However, the MAJORITY of obese people—about 80 percent of them—do not have normal metabolic function, and 40 percent of normal-weight people also suffer from metabolic dysfunction, and are therefore prone to these obesity-related diseases... All in all, metabolic dysfunction affects a clear majority of Americans.
But why?

What’s the Cause of Rampant Metabolic Dysfunction?

One dogma that has contributed to the ever-worsening health of the Western world is the belief that “a calorie is a calorie.” This is one of the first things dieticians learn in school. Unfortunately, this is completely FALSE... Another dogmatic belief that simply isn’t true is the idea that obesity is the end result of eating too much and exercising too little; i.e. consuming more calories than you’re expending. This has led to the view that obese people are simply “lazy.”
But as Dr. Lustig points out, there are societal forces at work that go beyond personal responsibility. An increasing number of infants are now obese, and “laziness” is certainly not a label that can easily be affixed to a developing infant.  These societal forces include:
Lack of time to prepare and consume proper foods Alterations in mass food production. Since the 1960’s, when saturated fat was incorrectly demonized as the cause of heart disease, processed foods have reduced fat content while simultaneously increasing sugar content (in order to be palatable) Reduced sleep
Increased stress Soil depletion (reduced nutrient content in soil) Alterations in animal husbandry and the feed given to animals. Commercial livestock routinely get antibiotics and genetically engineered feed, for example

As mentioned in the featured video above, the societal changes over the past 60 years or so have created what amounts to a perfect storm; a confluence of dramatically altered food environment combined with reduced physical exertion and increased exposure to, and consumption of, a wide array of industrial- and agricultural chemicals that have a detrimental impact on the human biochemistry.
Among the dramatic changes to our food supply is the extensive use of sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is added to virtually all processed foods. And this is where the fallacy of “a calorie is a calorie” comes into play, because a calorie from fat does not impact your body in the same way a calorie from fructose does.

One Calorie Can Be Vastly Different from Another...

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose is 'isocaloric but not isometabolic." This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. This is largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine, among other things, how much fat you accumulate.
The average American consumes 1/3 of a pound of sugar a day. That's five ounces or 150 grams, half of which is fructose, which is 300 percent more than the amount that will trigger biochemical havoc. And many Americans consume more than twice that amount! Thanks to the excellent work of researchers like Dr. Robert Lustig, as well as Dr. Richard Johnson, we now know that fructose:
  • Is metabolized differently from glucose, with the majority being turned directly into fat
  • Tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism, as it turns off your body's appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone"), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.
  • Rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
  • Over time leads to insulin resistance, which is not only an underlying factor of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but also many cancers.
This is why the idea that you can lose weight by counting calories simply doesn't work. After fructose, other sugars and grains are likely the most excessively consumed food that promotes weight gain and chronic disease. This also includes food items that are typically viewed as healthy, such as fruit juice or even large amounts of high fructose fruits. What needs to be understood is that when consumed in large amounts, these items will also adversely affect your insulin, which is a crucially potent fat regulator. So yes, drinking large amounts of fruit juice on a daily basis can contribute to weight gain... In short, you do not get fat because you eat too many calories and don't exercise enough. You get fat because you eat the wrong kind of calories. As long as you keep eating fructose and grains, you're programming your body to create and store fat.

Replacing Sugars with Healthy Fats is Key for Reversing Metabolic Syndrome

I believe there are two primary dietary recommendations that, if widely implemented, could help reverse our current disease trend in short order:
  1. Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains), and
  2. Increasing healthy fat consumption
While health authorities insist that sugar is fine "in moderation," and that grains are an essential part of a healthy diet and can actually help you prevent heart disease, they fail to take into consideration that:
  1. Fructose is the NUMBER ONE source of calories in the US. An ingredient that is found in virtually all processed foods cannot be considered "moderate." Even most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, which helps explain how six-month old babies can be obese
  2. Refined carbohydrates (breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles etc) quickly breaks down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease known to man, including heart disease

Your Body NEEDS Fats for Optimal Function

Fats in general are considered the dietary villains, especially saturated fat, which many people still claim will increase your risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. However, this is simply untrue. The only really dangerous fat out there is trans fat (margarine, vegetable oils). Saturated fats are actuallyvital for optimal health as they are:
Building blocks for your cell membranes Useful antiviral agents (caprylic acid) Effective as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti fungal agents (lauric acid) Modulators of genetic regulation and prevent cancer (butyric acid)
Needed for production of a variety of hormones and hormone like substances Carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids) Provide a concentrated source of energy

When cutting down on carbs, you generally need to increase your intake of healthy (ideally organic, unprocessed and minimally heated ) saturated fats. Both carbs and fats are sources of energy, but saturated fat is actually the preferred fuel for your heart. Another metabolic bonus is that fat does not raise your insulin levels, whereas carbs do.  However, it’s important to recognize the difference between grain carbs and vegetable carbs.
If you want to lower your insulin levels and reduce fat accumulation, reduce the amount of grains and sugars you eat; NOT your vegetables. In fact, you actually need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat when you cut grains, as by volume grains are far denser than vegetables. As for healthy fats, good sources include:
Olives and Olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw Nuts, such as, almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass fed meats Palm oil Unheated organic nut oils

Keep in mind that olive oil should not be used for cooking. Instead, use coconut oil for cooking, frying and baking, and save the olive oil for salad dressing.  Another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3's and the best sources of this fat, please review my previous article: Are You Getting the Right Type of Omega-3 Fats?

How Much Fructose is Too Much?

As a general recommendation, I suggest keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, with a maximum of 15 grams from whole fruit. The table at the bottom of this page can help you calculate your fructose from fruit consumption. However, if you have ANY of the following health issues, then you'll want to be very careful to limit fructose to just 15 grams per day or less, and this includes fructose from whole fruit. Ideally you'll want to avoid ALL sources of fructose until your insulin stabilizes, and then proceed with caution.
Insulin resistance Diabetes High blood pressure
High cholesterol High uric acid Obesity

High uric acid, in particular, is a potent marker for fructose toxicity, so if your levels are above:
  • 4 mg/dl for men
  • 3.5 mg/dl for women
... then you would be wise to avoid all forms of fructose until your levels have normalized—just as you would with high insulin levels. Here's a quick reference list of some of the most common fruits that you can use to help you count your fructose grams:

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0 Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Lemons 1 medium 0.6 Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7 Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9 Peach 1 medium 5.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2 Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Apricot 1 medium 1.3 Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2 Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6 Banana 1 medium 7.1
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8 Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0 Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Clementine 1 medium 3.4 Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4 Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5 Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6 Pear 1 medium 11.8
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8 Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8 Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0 Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Pineapple 1 slice

(3.5" x .75")
4.0 Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3 Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0

How to Keep a Cut Apple from Turning Brown

When you cut open an apple, an enzyme in the flesh reacts with oxygen to turn polyphenols into melanin (the same pigment that makes you tan). Here's how to halt the process so your apples stay bright and white.
Easy Steps ....


1. Choose apples that are less prone to browning. A study found that Arangeh tend to brown the least. Granny Smith and Golden Smoty apples also showed minimal browning. Golden Delicious apples were in the middle and Red Delicious apples browned the most.

"Apple and Fruit Crusher"

2. Cut the apple underwater. This keeps the enzyme from making contact with oxygen. Keep the cut apple in the water until ready to serve.


3. Coat the exposed flesh in acid. Bringing the pH enzyme that makes the apple flesh turn brown  deactivated. Here are some acids you can use:... Ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C. Look for it in the canning section or pharmacy as powder. Apply directly or dissolved in water (1/2 tsp. per 2 1/2 cups of water).... Lemon or lime juice. It's not as effective as ascorbic acid, but it'll do in a pinch, and they're more readily available. The juice can be diluted up to 3:1. Lemon juice will have a less obvious taste than lime juice. ...
I like using Ginger Ale. Soak in ginger ale for 10 min and then eat or you can put them in a bag for a picnic.

Sodastream Ginger Ale Sodamix

4. Blanch the apples. This will denature the enzyme. Let the apple sit in boiling water for one or two minutes, then rinse with cold water. They can then be eaten, frozen, or used for apple pie.
5. Cover exposed apple flesh tightly in plastic wrap. This will work best if you have half an apple (as opposed to several pieces). Try to avoid having creases in the plastic wrap on the exposed side. This technique keeps the air away from the apple flesh to prevent the apple flesh from oxidizing.

6. Soak apple pieces in a slightly salty water solution for a few seconds. Remove and enjoy white apple pieces for a considerable time. Works well if you're adding apples to a fruit salad.

Another thing to do is to pour a tablespoon of lemon juice over the apple slice and you can either put it into the refrigerator or you can keep it at room temperature.

These techniques will also work for potatoes. It's the same underlying mechanism.
If you use lemon juice and then rinse it off with water, it still works reasonably well and also nearly eliminates the lemony taste.
Also, the sharper the knife you use, the better.
Sprinkling apple slices with ground cinnamon (no sugar needed) adds a nice taste and helps to "disguise" any browning.

If you coat the apple with an acid, the flavor can be affected, and picky eaters might notice. Try sprinkling apples with Jello powder or Kool-aid powder. Jello adds sweetness.