Simple, Versatile Pesto

I’ve loved pesto since the first time I tasted it.  As the years have gone by I’ve made quite a few versions of my own.  I’ve made traditional pesto.  I’ve made red pepper and sun-dried tomato pesto.  And I’ve made very simple pesto.

pesto pasta

I’ve added new ingredients.  I’ve taken things out when I had various dietary restrictions.  And I finally settled on my base pesto recipe that only takes about 2 minutes to make.  I’ve removed the allergens (dairy and nuts) as well so just about anybody can eat it.

Pesto is so versatile.  You can use whatever greens you have fresh or frozen.  And you can use it in so many dishes.  Here are a few ways to use pesto.

  • Pizza sauce – Replace your usual tomato sauce with pesto and top with chicken and vegetables.  With all the flavor from the pesto you can even skip the cheese and make a delicious dairy free pizza.
  • Salad dressing – Store-bought dressings are almost always made with unhealthy vegetable oils.  Whip up a batch of pesto and you’ve got easy, flavorful dressing on hand for the whole week.
  • Rice – Rice can get pretty boring.  Liven it up with a few spoonfuls of pesto.  Add a little parmesan cheese and cooked chicken and you’ve got a whole meal!
  • Vegetable topping – Mix pesto into a bowl of roasted vegetables or pureed squash or pumpkin.
  • Quiche – Spread a layer of pesto on a pie crust.  Top it with a mixture of eggs, milk and cheese and bake.
  • Snack – Need a quick bite of something healthy in-between meals?  Try a spoon or two of pesto.  You’ll get easy to digest nutrients and healthy fat.
  • Baby food – Who says baby’s need bland food?  Let your little one try some.  No need to chew
  • Bread – Make your favorite yeast bread dough.  Roll it out.  Spread pesto on top.  Roll the dough into a loaf and bake.  You’ll have a homemade bread with pesto swirled throughout.
  • Pasta – Cook some pasta, drain most of the liquid, stir in pesto.  Top it with cheese and/or add cooked chicken or bacon if desired.  Or mix the pesto into your favorite alfredo sauce to make pesto-fredo pasta.
  • Panini – Use pesto as the dressing on a Panini.
  • Soup – Mix pesto into a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup, squash soup or white chili.  It’s a great twist on your favorite soups.
  • Dip – Dip raw vegetables into plain pesto.  Or you can mix pesto with hummus to make a “pummus” dip.

Do you like pesto?  What is your favorite way to use it?

pesto pizza

Simple, Versatile Pesto
Author: 
 
Makes 2½ cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen (thawed) or fresh peas, spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, basil or any other green/herb you like (you can use a combination as well)
  • ½ - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (you can replace some of it with water for a ighter version or to make it have a more neutral flavor)
  • unrefined sea salt and garlic powder to taste
Method of Preparation
  1. Blend greens, ½ cup olive oil, salt and garlic powder in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Add extra olive oil or water to reach desired consistency.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.

 

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Spring Cleaning – the kitchen

This morning I just couldn’t take it anymore. The spots on the tile back-splash, the cabinets covered in finger prints and food, as well as the constant array of dirty dishes waiting to be washed.

It was time for spring cleaning.

So I grabbed my handy-dandy Norwex cloth, gave the kids a couple of rags, and got to work cleaning some of the spots that rarely see regular cleaning.

I’m more of the “quick, hide it in the dishwasher/stove before company comes over” kind of gal most days. And the adrenal fatigue I’ve been dealing with for the last year has pushed me to be a bit lazier when it comes to housecleaning.

Deal with the mundane first

The dishes had to be done and put away to clear the counter before anything else got done. Often I forget this crucial step and instead find myself with piles upon piles of “stuff” in my way.

I really should have taken a before picture, so y’all don’t feel bad about your own messes, but I forgot until I was almost done.

The Stove

The workhorse of my kitchen, the stove is usually used for every meal! I find that it’s best to pull out the stove from the wall a couple of times a year to vacuum underneath and get out any food that may have fallen under. It’s also a good time to wipe down the sides as well as the side of the counter that are usually covered. Then I push it back in, wipe down the stove top  and sides with my Norwex cloth and then get to cleaning the oven.

My oven has a self cleaner which I love to use (it’s easy) but if there was a spill I’ll clean that up with some baking soda and white vinegar. On Easter I decided to bake some au gratin potatoes and I figured the more cheese sauce the better right?

Wrong. It spilled all over inside and smoked up the entire house as it burned on the bottom of the stove. So I had to clean out the inside a bit.

Refrigerator

I also pull out he fridge and vacuum up lost toys, dust bunnies, and any fossilized food. The outside gets wiped down and then I get to work emptying it of contents to wipe down the shelves. I regularly just use my Norwex cloth, but diluted white vinegar also makes a fantastic cleaner. There is always something in the back that I haven’t seen in a while as my ferments tend to get piled in on top, so the lost and lonely food goes straight to the garbage.

Other appliances

We have a microwave above the stove, what a mess that thing gets to be! Grease spatters all around as well as ick from when food is reheated. (I rarely use it, Todd is the main microwave user here) But it also has a couple of filters from the vent that I go about cleaning as well.

The dishwasher gets to run a load or two empty and this is the one place I use a conventional cleaner. We have hard water that runs through a softener and we get a fair amount of lime scale buildup. We have learned over the years that a nasty dishwasher, covered in rusty lime scale, is a recipe for disaster. So I now run a bottle of dishwasher cleaner through it as well as check the drains and the little ‘do-hicky’ that often gets clogged and allows it to overflow. (I’ve tried every natural option I can think of and nothing works well enough. I even got to the point where I hillbilly rigged the hose up the deck so that I could haul it in the kitchen and use the sprayer nozzle a few times!)

Cabinets

The kids got the job of wiping down the cabinets today, made more fun by listening to an episode of Adventures in Odyssey while they worked. For the most part they quietly worked instead of arguing the whole time. Other kids argue to…right? It’s not just mine?

I didn’t do a whole lot cleaning out the insides of them as I recently went through them all a couple of months ago, but I did clean out under the sink and finally found space for some of my mason jars.

Those things sure pile up with all of the ferments and farm fresh milk we go through!

Since our cabinets down go all the way to the ceiling I also have to get up there and dust cobwebs. And get down all of the egg cartons I save for bringing back to the farm.

Floors

Well, I guess I haven’t fully cleaned my kitchen if I haven’t mopped my floor. But I also can’t seem to find the mop……. so that will wait for another day. It did get a good sweeping with my ‘custodian broom’ though. I bought this broom years ago when I found that sweeping up a large area with a broom was just beyond ridiculously a pain. So I went to the hardware store and picked up the small version of what they use in schools and churches, I absolutely love it. A few sweeps and I’m done.

Normally on the floors I use warm water with about a cup of white vinegar, a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, and a few drops of essential oil.

Windows

I also wipe down the blinds, because man do white blinds show everything! Once the sun moves to the other side of the house I’ll also wash the windows inside and out. Now that the sun is finally out, I would like to be able to see through the winter grunge that has covered them.

spring clean the kitchen

As you may have noticed, I was so excited to have a clean kitchen that I also baked up a small plate of cookies. :-)

Have you done any spring cleaning in your kitchen yet? What’s the toughest part to tackle?

Unfortunately, I now have to start getting dinner ready which will eventually mess up all my hard work, so I’ll be back to cleaning it up….again….later tonight.

Read more:

Wellness Mama also talks about her cleaning methods

What’s Under My Sink? at Kitchen Stewardship



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Think Spring, Plan Your Pantry

If you’re anything like me, by the time February draws to a close you are so ready for spring!  But most of the time it still seems so far away.  The ground is likely covered with snow.  Everything is wet and sloppy.  The sun likes to hide.

You’re still eating lots of winter comfort foods and living off your freezer stock from last year.

peaches

As March approaches I’m anxious for fresh foods.  While they aren’t quite available yet, it’s time to start thinking about them.

Now is the perfect time to plan how you want to stock your pantry and freezer during the spring, summer and fall.  Doing so can save you money and keep your family well fed.

Maybe you already have a good inventory of what you preserved last year.  That is a great start.  Even if you don’t you can still start planning for the coming produce season now.

Here are general guidelines of when some produce is available in the area and some ideas of ways to preserve it.  Make a list of the ones you want, find recipes, put the plans in your calendar so you know when you’ll have to do it and stock up on all of your supplies.

When spring does finally decide to show up you’ll be ready to stock your pantry for a full year of healthy food.

Produce Season:

  • Early – mid June: strawberry, rhubarb, asparagus
  • Mid – late June: strawberry, rhubarb, asparagus, sugar snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, cherry, cucumber, raspberry
  • Early – mid July: strawberry, asparagus, zucchini, summer squash, cherry, cucumber, raspberry, blueberry, apricot, peach, cherry, nectarine
  • Mid – late July: zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, raspberry, blueberry, peach, nectarine, corn, plum, melon
  • Early – mid August: zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, raspberry, peach, nectarine, plum, corn, melon
  • Mid – late August: zucchini, summer squash, raspberry, peach, nectarine, plum, corn, melon, apples, pears,  cauliflower, broccoli, squash, brussels sprouts, peppers, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage
  • Early – mid September: corn, melon, apples, pears, plums, peaches, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, brussels sprouts, nectarine, peppers, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage
  • Mid – late September: corn, melon, apples, pears, plums, peaches, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, brussels sprouts, nectarine, peppers, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage
  • Early – mid October: apples, pears, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, brussels sprouts, peppers, beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage

Preserving Ideas:

  • Berries: jam, jelly, pancake/ice cream topping, frozen, pie, fruit leather, dried, relish/salsa, baked goods
  • Stone fruits: jam, jelly, frozen, canned, pie, dried, fruit butter
  • Zucchini/summer squash: salsa, tomato sauce, frozen, sweet bread
  • Apples/pears: canned, pies, sauce, butter
  • Tomatoes/peppers/onions: pasta sauce, chili sauce, salsa
  • Squash: bake and freeze
  • Corn/broccoli/cauliflower/peppers: frozen

apple butter

Recipe:

Apple Butter

makes 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 pts.

  • 4 1/2 qts. apples, peeled, cored and sliced (16-17 LARGE apples)
  • 1 qt. water
  • 1 qt. apple cider
  • 3 cups cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
Cook apples with water until soft (5-10 min.).  Press through sieve or food mill on the finest setting.  Add the cider and sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Cook on low until thick (about 3 hours).  Add spices.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

EcoBuns new ownership {and a special discount for you!}

EcoBuns, a fantastic cloth diaper and natural baby care store in Holland, MI, just changed ownership and I had the pleasure of chatting with one of them. Here’s what Marissa had to say about EcoBuns:

What excites you about owning a company dedicated to cloth diapers?

Marissa: When I first started cloth diapering I was so confused about it all. It was Kellie, the original owner of EcoBuns, who sat down with me for over an hour and explained all the ins and outs of cloth diapering. If it weren’t for her and having a local store around to give me guidance when I first started, I probably wouldn’t have cloth diapered at all. I love that I can now be that person for other moms!

What customer services are you really passionate about?

Marissa: I am really excited to offer local natural parenting resources to the Holland Area such as babywearing classes, cloth diaper classes, natural birth option classes and more. EcoBuns is really focused on being not only a retail store, but also a resource center for all aspects of natural parenting. We are also now offering on-site diaper repair as well as snap conversions which are all done by one of the new owners.

What can people expect from the new ownership?

Marissa: A commitment to keeping our store fully stocked with the products that our customers love. Customers can expect useful parenting products and essential educational resources all in one place, along with exceptional customer service.

Will there always be knowledgeable staff available to help customers?

Marissa: YES! There are three new owners of EcoBuns: myself, my sister Meghan and our mom Vicki. Meghan and I both currently cloth diaper our kids. Vicki used cloth diapers on us in the 80’s with prefolds, pins and plastic pants, and she now uses the newer, easier version of cloth diapers on her grandkids. We can all help you with any of questions.

You mentioned classes for cloth diapers, what topics do you cover?

Marissa: We hold Buns Bootcamp classes once a month. It’s an hour-long class that covers topics such as reasons to use cloth diapers, styles and options of cloth, washing instructions, do’s and do not’s of cloth, what you can expect from us as your cloth diaper resource and finally, how we can help you get your stash started at little to no cost! You can find all of our current classes and events on our website.

Where are you located, and what are your current hours?

Marissa: EcoBuns is in The Holland Town Center (formally known as the Outlet Mall). We are between Carter’s and Gap Outlet, facing Dutch Village. (super easy to get to!) And we are open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00am to 8:00pm. Please stop in and check out all that we have to offer!

As a special discount to our GRNL readers, EcoBuns is offering $5.00 off any purchase of $30 or more! Just print out the coupon below and bring it in to the store by the end of March.

ecobuns coupon



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

When It’s Cold Outside Get Crafty Inside

I’ll be honest.  I’m not a fan of cold weather.  I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life.  But I still don’t like the cold.

I do believe it’s healthy to get outside as much as you can…so we do.  But it’s also nice sometimes to stay inside.  So as soon as the weather gets cooler I’m looking for fun indoor activities.

Around here that means it’s time to get crafty.  Here are some easy fall crafts and activities to do with your kids or by yourself!

  1. Paint with fruits and vegetables – Slice any fruit or vegetable to use as a stamp.  You get all different shapes and sizes.  Plus you can use up produce that is getting old.
  2. Make placemats with wax paper – Use leaves or color a picture and place them between two pieces of wax paper.  Iron the paper until both sides stick together.  Trim the edges.
  3. Make all of your fall/Thanksgiving decorations from nature – Go on a scavenger hunt in your yard or a local park to find sticks, pine-cones, leaves, rocks, etc.  Then get creative making decorations with them.
  4. Make Christmas cards and gifts – It may be early for some, but if you start making cards and gifts now you’ll be less stressed when Christmas approaches.  Plus you’ll have unique, heartfelt, homemade gifts for your friends and family.  Homemade baked goods and spice blends make great presents, as do crafts that you and your children create.
  5. Paint pottery – Find a local paint-your-own pottery studio (like Naked Plates) and create your own masterpiece.  This is a great thing to do with your kids.  Make a serving dish together and use it at all of your holiday gatherings.  Your kids will be so proud.
  6. Make Halloween costumes – There’s still time!  Instead of spending a lot of money to buy a costume, let your kids help make their own.  See how creative you can be using what you have at home.  Is that a fairy princess chef I see?
  7. Recreate the first Thanksgiving – Have your kids help make pilgrim and Indian costumes.  Read about the first Thanksgiving and put on a play.  You can even make a mini feast of what they may have eaten.
  8. Make a countdown chain – Make paper chains to count down to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Then let your kids cut one ring off each day.
  9. Make art with food…and eat it! – Provide an assortment of sliced fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers and dips (nut butters, pesto, hummus, etc.) and let your child get creative.  Make a picture on a plate (maybe a face or an animal or even something abstract).  Then eat it!  You can take a picture to capture their creation.
  10. Write a book – Help your child write their own book.  Fold blank paper.  Let them create a story.  If they are young you can write the story as they tell it.  If they are older they can write it themselves.  Then they can illustrate it.  After the book is finished read it together…over and over.  It’s a great way to help them be creative.

Fall is a wonderful time to be outside, breathe the crisp air and see the beauty of nature.  But it’s also a great time to be creative with your kids inside.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of time to stir their imagination and spend quality time together.  Plus you can get some of your holiday preparation done in advance.

What sort of fun activities do you do indoors once the weather becomes cooler?

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Four Flavors of Fall

The Spring of 2012 made history here in West Michigan. We had five days in March with temperatures reaching 80 degrees or higher. While many of us didn’t complain and enjoyed the brief heat wave by getting a head start on the yard work, this type of weather was bad news for many farmers whose apple, cherry, peach trees began to blossom far too early. Typically, fruit trees in Michigan don’t blossom until early May. The warm March weather followed by a cold, frost-filled Spring resulted in the largest fruit crop loss since 1947 – from SouthWest Michigan all the way to Traverse City.

Fall is now upon us now and some of the most popular seasonal crops are in short supply. Many orchards are shipping in produce across the United States to make up for the loss, while others are picking what is left in their orchards and selling them as ‘pre-picked’. Apples, cherries, peaches and pears were perhaps the hardest hit, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy them. There are still plenty of local farms and orchards with late-blossoming varieties hoping you’ll stop by this year to taste their Fall flavors.

 

west michigan apples

Apples

Believe it or not, Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S. after New York and Washington. Most of those are grown right here in West Michigan and are a local symbol that Fall has arrived. The Michigan apple crop loss this season is expected to have a 110 million dollar impact, but it’s not all bad news.

Many Macintosh, Gala, and HoneyCrisp trees survived the frost and are still producing fruit this year at many local orchards. These neighborhood farms would love to sell you pre-picked apples.
Sietsema Orchards and Cider Mill
8540 2 Mile Rd, Ada, MI 49301
Phone: 616-676-5584

Moelker Orchards Farm Market
9265 Kenowa Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Phone: 616-453-2585

Wells Orchards
0-8993 Kenowa Ave. S.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Phone: 616-453-5919

 

Pumpkins

Bright orange pumpkins are perhaps the most visible symbol of Fall-time festivities. Pick up a small pumpkin for baking and use the larger varieties to welcome Halloween guests to your porch.

Pumpkins and other winter squashes are plentiful and currently in season, so find a local patch and pick a few. Keep in mind pumpkins are considered a super food rich in carotenes that covert to vitamin A inside the body.
Klackle Orchards
11466 W Carson City Rd, Greenville, MI 48838
Phone: 616-754-8632

Ed Dunneback & Girls
3025 6 Mile Rd Grand, Rapids, MI 49544
Phone: 616-784-0058

Fruit Ridge Hayrides
11966 Fruit Ridge NW, Kent City, 49330
Phone: 616-887-5052

 

Pears

Apples may be the quintessential autumn fruit, but pears can be just as delicious. Pears ripen in throughout September and can help turn ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones. The bell-shaped fruit is a more delicate traveler, but don’t let that stop you from picking some up from your local fruit farmer.

The most popular variety, Bartlett pears, were hardest hit this Spring, others like Bosc are beginning to ripen and available from these two local orchards.
Moelker Orchards Farm Market
9265 Kenowa Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Phone: 616-453-2585

Wells Orchards
0-8993 Kenowa Ave. S.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Phone: 616-453-5919

Raspberries

Most people think of raspberries as a summer-time treat, but everbearing types produce until the first frost. Why not visit a U-pick patch to stock up on raspberries and freeze them for the winter months?

 

Post Farms
9849 Myers Lake Avenue Ne, Rockford, MI 49341
Phone: 616-874-7569

Sandy Bottom Berries
11555 Sandy Bottom Road, Rockford, MI  49341
Phone: 616-225-9376

De Lange’s Redberry Farm
5723 Port Sheldon, Hudsonville, MI
Phone: 616-875-6026

 

Take some time in the next month to experience West Michigan by supporting our local farms and orchards. Remember to always call ahead of time for hours and to get a an update on what’s currently available.

Many of the orchards listed above also have family activities like hay rides and corn mazes. Even if you end up bringing home less fruit this season, take the time to enjoy the fresh air and wonderful Fall flavors.

The importance of time

My husband and I took our kids on their first camping trip last month.

It’s something we have always wanted to do, but it never made priority in our budget.  Medical bills, student loans, and our dream of owning a hobby farm someday have always made financial priority.  But this spring it dawned on me that my children only get one childhood and I wanted to make the absolute most of it!

We couldn’t wait another year to start making memories; it needed to start now! 

spending time with family

So I planned a 4 day trip with some friends of ours and it was amazing, to say the least.

Yes, the first night we got so much rain that it destroyed our used tent and we had to drive to town to put a new one on a credit card.

Yes, our hobo pie makers got melted in the fire (they were made of aluminum; be sure to buy the cast iron ones).

No camping trip is going to go by without mishaps, which always lead to great stories.

We left our iPods and cell phones in the car.  We had no electricity, no running water, and nothing stopping us from being engulfed by the nature that surrounded us.  We had amazing, secluded, rustic camping sites on the river and it was gorgeous.  We spent time with our children building memories to last a lifetime.

It was wonderful to take a break from the distractions around us to enjoy quality time together enjoying nature and you can bet that we will be camping regularly – even planning to go on a trip to the Upper Peninsula later this summer.

So take some time off, buy a tent, and start making some memories with your children or grandchildren. I can guarantee that it will be a good investment. 

 

New Tent: $150
Camping: $30/night
Spending undisturbed time with those I love: Priceless

 

Do you camp regularly with your family? If not, how to you spend undisturbed time with them in the big outdoors?

 

Mel has a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Cornerstone University and is just about finished with a Family Herbalist Certification from Vintage Remedies. She enjoys studying nutrition and herbs in her spare time. As a stay-at-home mother of two she spends her days reading, homeschooling, cleaning, and cooking nutritious meals. Eventually her and her husband hope to buy a property to homestead.




All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Natural bug repellent for gardens

natural bug repellant for the garden

photo credit: stevendepolo

A couple of years ago, just as I was weeding the garden, I noticed the leaves of the green bean plants had small holes in them. Figuring it was some sort of bug, and hoping they would just go away, I left them be.

Then I started to harvest my beans, and they had holes in them too. And one happened to have a little green worm sticking right out of the center of one of my beans! I didn’t know exactly what they are (still don’t), but I do know I want them off my plants.

I also want to keep chemicals out of my garden so I can keep our produce as healthy as possible.

After some searching, I found a recipe online (pre-Pinterest days) and thought I’d give it a try.

Ingredients
one head of garlic, chopped up (big pieces are fine)
one onion, chopped (again they don’t have to be small pieces)
one tablespoon cayenne pepper
three quarts water

Method of Preparation

1. Put all ingredients into a pot on the stove and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until you have just a quart of liquid left.

2. Strain into a jar or other storage device using  cheesecloth or other thin material.

3. To use, take about 1 Tbsp mixture and pour into a spray bottle with about 2 cups of water and a couple drops of a natural liquid soap (helps it stick).

4. Spray the plants including the underside of the leaves. Reapply after a hard rain.

Now, I don’t worry to much about measuring exactly, and I just do a quick spray all over (I’m sure I miss parts of the plant) but this has really helped keep the nasty little worms away from my beans and other plants. I’ve used it every year with great results.

Do you have any tricks to keeping your plants bug free?

 



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Cloth Diaper FAQ’s

cloth diapers

I asked Candis from EcoBuns to give me a hand in answering some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to cloth diapering.

How many cloth diapers do I need to start?

You should expect to have a stash of around 25 diapers to start clothdiapering your little one full time.

What else do I need to get other than the diapers?

In addition to the actual cloth diapers you are going to need to invest in cloth safe detergent, a wet bag or pail liner to store your dirty diapers, a sprayer and a cloth safe diaper cream.

How do I prep my cloth diapers before I use them the first time?

All cloth diapers will need to be washed and dried a minimum of three times prior to your first use. Most diapers will gain max absorbency after about the eighth wash. You will add a decreased amount of cloth safe detergent to a hot wash using the highest water level possible. A cold rinse will follow the wash before you dry the diapers.

What’s the best way to wash them? (and Can I use a HE washer?)

A top loading machine is the best way to wash cloth as it enables you to choose the amount of water you wash with. You can certainly use an HE, you may find that a wet bath towel thrown in the machine with the diapers is needed to add more weight so the machine adds more water for proper rinsing.

What do I do with the dirty diapers before I have enough to wash? Do I need a wet pail?

You will need to store your dirty diapers in a “wet bag” or a “pail liner”, both of which use a PUL to make the bags waterproof. Either of the options allow for you to simply toss the soiled diaper (after poo is removed) into the bag or pail which remains dry. There is no need for any type of soaking or bucket filled with water, actually most reputable manufacturers discourage use the use of a wet pail. A long continual soak in a wet pail can breed bacteria, disintegrate fibers and pose a drowning risk for small children.

What about stains? How do you get the cloth diapers actually clean?

So stains are natural and normal in the world of cloth, just because you see a stain does not mean they are not getting clean. Some people are totally comfortable with staining while others want them gone ASAP. Good old sunshine is going to be your best friend when it comes to removing stains, after you pull the diapers from your washing machine simply bring them outside and allow the sun to do its job of drying and bleaching! You will be amazed as to what a few hours in the sunshine can do for stained diapers. Keep in mind some stains ( blueberry poop) can take multiple sunnings to remove.

Will I be able to use them while out?

Absolutely, a travel size wet bag will accompany your traditional diaper bag and when your baby needs a change, simply toss the dirty diaper into the wet bag and move on! You can use flushable liners to help with the poo when out and about or just resign yourself to knowing you will be using your toilet sprayer to take care of the day’s diapers when you get home.

What do you do with the “poopy” cloth diapers?

Spray, spray and spray again! The diaper sprayer is the easiest and most convenient way to keep hands poo free while flushing it where it belongs. Some people swear by using a poo spatula that they scrape the poo away with, not me!

What’s the best way to figure out which cloth diaper will work best for your baby?

Patience and a variety of styles and brands will help you to decide which system is going to work best with your lifestyle, budget and baby. All cloth diapers will do the main job but you will eventually find yourself gravitating toward a favorite, you may have 4 or 5 favorites for different reasons! Don’t be afraid to try something that seems completely out of your comfort zone.

 

Candis DeBoer is a cloth diaper lover who not only uses cloth diapers but tries to pass her love of cloth on to other natural living parents in her store, EcoBuns, located in Holland,MI.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Review : Don’t Bit Me Patch

We live on a mosquito farm.

Seriously.

Everyone has them at their house in the summer right? Right.

Except we also have a good size river that floods during the spring/summer rains and then proceeds to fill all of the low lying areas just a few hundred feet from our front door. I mean, we used to live 2 miles (big move huh?) from where we are now and it was nothing compared to this. At night we get swarms of them outside the sliders and basically can’t go outside after about 6pm.

It borders on ridiculous.

A few years ago I tried out the Don’t Bite Me Patches to see if they worked. I really wanted to get rid of the chemical sprays we normally used.

This patch is a natural way to repel those stupid biting insects.

It contains only vitamin B1 and aloe.

The vitamin B1 travels through your system and the excess is the sent out your pores, thereby masking the carbon dioxide your body emits. The aloe is an anti inflammatory that helps minimize any inflammation that occurs if you do get a bite.

Sounds great right? At least a way to not use lots of chemicals.

But does it work?

I put one on my leg about 2 hours before I tested it out. (it takes 2 hours to be effective) After dinner I went outside, right up to the edge of the woods. What transpired was really weird. I was being swarmed, yet none landed on me. After a few minutes I received only one bite, which is a miracle seeing how many where out there.

Since then I have used the patches a few more times, and each time received one bite or less. So these things really do work! My only beef is that it takes a couple hours to be effective so it doesn’t really work for impromptu outings. But for camping or for when you know you’ll be outside for great lengths of time, these are awesome.

They’re waterproof and they even last for about 36 hours.

Best of all, you can put them on kids without having to worry about Deet and other toxins.

Has anyone else tried these?

I may try to remember to pick some up in the next few weeks as we’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors getting the garden ready.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.