Category Archives: DIY

Brussels sprouts with a dash of maple syrup

Daisy Nichols | The Daily Meal said never boil Brussels sprouts take some cleaned Brussels sprouts with any woody stems and yellow or brown outer leaves removed and season them generously in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place them on a lined baking tray and into a preheated 375 degrees F (190 C) oven for a total of about 35 minutes, checking them and stirring them every 15 minutes or so.
In the last 15 minutes drizzle over a few tablespoons of good quality maple syrup (sorry no Mrs. Butterworth or Aunt Jemima, today) and finish them in the oven until roasted, golden brown and delicious.

NOTE: I did not have ‘real maple syrup’ in my kitchen, so I used a generic store brand ‘maple syrup’ and was pleased with the results.

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Thanksgiving and food safety

This post has become an annual posting in hopes it will help keep you and your family safe. Food handling, thawing times, cooking time / temperatures and safe storing of any thanksgiving day food leftovers.

For some this is old information and is considered plain common sense. For others this will be their first time dealing with such a large bird and safely handling so many side dishes for one meal.
turkey
Butterball Turkey Talk provides a free service to answer your questions about proper handling, thawing and cooking Turkey.
You can reach them by telephone, email or via live chat line.
Butterball also has a informative page of FAQ’s that you may find useful.

Butterball said:
FROZEN WHOLE TURKEY
Thaw in refrigerator (not at room temperature). Place unopened turkey, breast side up, on a tray in refrigerator and follow our refrigerator thawing instructions. Allow at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

To thaw more quickly, place unopened turkey breast down in sink filled with cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.

When thawed, keep in refrigerator up to 4 days until ready to cook.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) has a nice and very informative fact sheet as well as a useful PDF file on the safe handling, cooking, Storage and re-heating of Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey USDA’s information applies to any poultry, Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Goose and so on that you may plan on cooking and serving to your family.

For more information about food safety, call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or
E-mail: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov Or “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ Web-based automated response system – available 24/7 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

Hints:
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.

Thawing In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days
Roasting Time
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Alternate methods to cook Turkey / poultry Grilling a Turkey, Covered Gas Grill, Covered Charcoal Grill, Smoking a Turkey, Deep Fat Frying a Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Basics: Safe Cooking Turkey A PDF file. Great 1 page tip sheet on cooking Turkey / Poultry.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Turkey Roasting Chart Everything you will ever need to know about Roasting your Turkey.
Hint:
Reheating Your Turkey
In the Oven
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People. Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal Important cooking information to providing Safe food preparation information.

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Clean and Green – Ford, GM and Harley Davidson electric vehicles announced

Ford has acquired dockless scooter sharing service Spin as the automaker looks to expand its offerings in the alternative mobility space.

General Motors announced it will begin building electric bicycles next year.

Chevrolet Silverado could be heading to the front lines.
GM Defense, the new General Motors division focused on military machines, has posted a video to its website that reveals a hydrogen-fueled electric Silverado ZH2 pickup is in the works. Automotive News reports that the video was first presented at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in October.

Harley-Davidson has revealed a little more information about the production version of its upcoming electric LiveWire at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy.
Power and range still haven’t been announced, but the LiveWire will be compatible with Level 3 DC fast chargers, which should be able to recharge its battery pack in just a few minutes.
Full specifications and pricing for the LiveWire are expected to be announced in January. Harley-Davidson plans to follow it up with a line of smaller electric motorcycles.

Tool Time – Fall jobs needing to be taken care of

chimney-sweep Now is the time for those of you that use a fire place, wood or coal burning heating stove or kitchen cook stove to set a date to have your fire place brick and chimney inspected and cleaned. Stove pipes need inspected, cleaned repaired or replaced as needed.

Fire wood. Carefully inspect fire wood for insects. Termites can and do live in fire wood and you don’t want to bring an infestation of undesirable insects to your garden or home. Keep fire wood stacks far away form your home.
Check your Natural gas, Propane and Electric space heaters. Insure they are clean inside and outside.
Check gas heaters to insure the pilot-lights, and thermocouples are working.
Check your central air systems heaters for proper operation and change all air filters.

Automobile care: Check your tires for tread, uneven wear, proper tire pressures are very important.
Check and if needed refill coolant levels with the proper type antifreeze recommended in your cars owners manual. If you need more help/information ask the service desk at your local auto supply parts house. All antifreeze is not the same!

Drain old fuel or add fuel stabilizers to gas powered tool, lawn mowers, chain saws, weed eaters and such. Be sure you are using the correct fuel stabilizer. Fuel stabilizers formulated for ‘normal’ gasoline and stabilizers formulated for alcohol added fuels are not the same.
Remove and replace or sharpen blades on grass cutting equipment be it gas or electric powered.
Riding and push lawn mower(s) tillers, string trimmers and such should be serviced.
Clean all dirt, oil and grease from your equipment.
Grease and lubricate as described in your owners manual before storing your power equipment for the winter.

Cleaning and care of Garden Hand Tools. Wash using warm bleach and soap water to sterilize and remove all remaining dirt. Use fine sand paper or steel wool to remove all signs of rust from metal parts. Coat metal parts with a light coating of good quality oil like 3-in-one oil.
Linseed oil is good for wood handled tools like shovels, rakes and hoe’s. Don’t forget to clean your wheel barrow metal parts re-paint as needed, and treat all wood parts with a wipe down using Linseed oil.

Keep cutting edged tools shovels, hoe’s and lawn mower blades sharp. Invest in a good quality 12 or 14 inch Mill Bastard file. Yes, Mill Bastard is the real name of a utility file. If properly cared for and kept rust free a file will last a lifetime.

Most important of all: Keep your tools indoors, and hang them up! Don’t lean them against the garage/garden shed wall. Never allow them to touch the floor. Even if it’s cement. Moisture is your enemy, keep your tools dry.

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Cranberry Sauce – For your special holiday season table

harvesting cranberry's
New crop cranberry’s will soon be arriving in your local supermarket. Purchase cranberry’s early in the season to insure you are getting the best and freshest berries.

Cranberry sauce goes well with any type poultry or water fowl as well as many pork dishes.

Galaxy Class Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry’s – Tangerine – Cinnamon – Cloves – Nutmeg with or without added sugar, it’s still the best Cranberry sauce this side of Venus and Mars.

You can add either white cane sugar or dark brown sugar. Make this sauce as sweet or tart as you like.
If you like the tart bite of cranberry’s then omit most of the sugar.

If you do add sugar, start with 1/2 the amount given in this recipe and continue tasting and add sugar until you get the amount of sweetness that is to your liking.

Wash cranberries and tangerine’s well. Dump cranberries into a bowl of cold water, pick out any damaged berries.

In a large sauce pan add 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed tangerine juice with pulp, be sure to remove any seeds that may get into your tangerine juice. [Save tangerine rinds].
Note: Oranges are Not the same thing as tangerines! If your use oranges it will produce a totally different tasting sauce.

Add 1/2 cup cold water
Bring to a slow simmer
Add cranberries
Wrap in cheese cloth: 4 whole cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 anise star add to pot
1/8 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup dark brown sugar – Start with 1/3 cup sugar – add more as needed to your taste
Simmer 5 minutes Note: stir pot often
Decide at this point by tasting if more sugar is needed.
Adding sugar until it is as sweet as you like.

At some point cranberries will start to pop open, this is a good thing, stir to prevent sticking to bottom of your sauce pan.

Cranberry sauce is ready when all or at least most of the cranberries have popped open and the juice has become very thick.

Grate 1 table spoon of tangerine rind into mix.

Remove from heat, remove whole cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. ‘Carefully’ spoon cranberry sauce into hot sterile canning jar(s), seal and allow to cool.
Under Refrigeration this sauce will keep for several weeks.

Better yet process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Remove from water bath, allow to cool, check jar for proper seal. Will store well for 2 years or more in a cool dark pantry.

This sauce can be placed in zip-lock freezer bags and stored frozen for a year or more.

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Short day length trigger Fall events

Day length even more than temperature is the trigger for Fall migration of birds and leaf color changes.
As hours of daylight shorten I am seeing the first signs of Fall.
Tree leafs are beginning to change from dark greens to lighter yellowish colors with tinges of red.

Trees have slowed their growth and are getting ready to shed leafs and go dormant for winter hibernation.
Flowers are in full bloom in an attempt to produce viable seed for next years growing season.
Here that means it is sunflower season and everywhere you look sunflowers are in full bloom.

Birds that I haven’t seen in several months are returning to feed and build fat reserves to continue their long migration south. Some over winter as far south as southern Mexico and central America.

Several different types of hummingbirds can be seen in the early morning hours feeding. Getting ready to move south where they will over winter.
My tiny garden is on the edge of the fall migration flyways for Ruby throat, Black chin, Broad billed, Rufous and Broadtail hummingbirds.

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Chrysanthemums – Add Fall Color To Your Home And Garden

Chrysanthemums, or “mums,” are popular perennials. They offer a wide variety of flower colors, from white and cream to dark maroon and burgundy, as well as numerous growth habits from small dwarf plants to giant shrub-like Maxi-Mums. Mums are easy to grow and can provide years of enjoyment.

Garden chrysanthemums grow in a wide variety of soils but must have excellent drainage conditions. Growth is poor and winterkill likely in poorly drained wet soils.
Before planting incorporate 2 – 4″ of peat moss, compost, or well-rotted barnyard manure into the soil. If you use only peat moss or do not add organic matter, apply a complete fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 in the spring. Side-dressing plants with a complete fertilizer in early August, especially in years of abundant rainfall or irrigation. Space plants 12 – 24″ apart, depending on the mature size of the cultivar.

Mums vary widely in cold hardiness. Cultivars listed in the table below have been developed based on years of plant breeding at the University of Minnesota. These plants have been selected for superior flower characteristics, growth habit, and winter hardiness. Most will survive winters in Minnesota.

Plant Division Plants can be dug and divided in spring as new growth begins. Stronger shoots are usually on the outside of the clump. Set the growing tip of each division just below ground level. For an attractive display of color, plant at least three shoots in a triangular pattern.

Florist Mums Are attractive blooming potted plants are available through-out the year from florists. After flowers fade, plants can be cut back to 3 or 4 inches and planted in the garden. Florist mums may overwinter, but usually flower too late for USDA Zones 2, 3 and 4.
mum1
mum2
mum3

Plant A Fall Garden – It’s Not To Late

It’s the first week of August but it’s not to late to plant many Fall and early Winter crops.

Fast growing cool weather crops like lettuce, turnip for fresh greens, radish’s, kale and such still have time to produce before the first hard killing freeze in most areas of North America.

As for my tiny garden in SW Oklahoma hot dry drought conditions is the main limiting factor of what can be planted and expected to produce a Fall crop.

As of this morning my soil available moisture at the 4 inch depth is about 9 percent. This is not a good thing!

Plant Available Water values are 24-hour averages, updated each day after midnight.
Most plants experience water stress when less than 50% of the maximum plant available water remains in the active root zone.

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Hummingbird Summer

Summers dry rainless days and nights with it’s full sunshine and heat has arrived.

Springs cooler weather flowering plants are gone.
Few plants in my tiny part of SW Oklahoma flower in the heat and dry of summer. It will be late August before the cooler season fall blooming flowers suddenly pop in to full bloom. Till then my hummingbird feeders will supplement the hummingbirds food needs.

I only have 2 feeders. Each holds about 8 ounces (1 1/2 cup) of sugar water. At present I have enough hummingbirds visiting my feeders to consume 16 ounces (3 cups) of sugar water every 24 hours. Making fresh sugar water and refilling feeders is an every morning project.
This routine will continue until cooler weather fall season flowers are in bloom and the hummingbirds will be less dependent on a supplemental food source.

Several pair of Ring Neck doves, 2 pair of Cardinals(redbirds) and 1 pair of Redwing black birds that come to feed from a cake pan filled with black sunflower seed several times a day seem to be happy to shell and consume sunflower seed. At present they are consuming close to one 13 ounce coffee can full of sunflower seed everyday.

Luckily I can purchase 50 pounds of sunflower seed from my local farmers coop store for about 1/3 the price of 50 pounds of seed from places like Atwood’s, Lowe’s and Home depot.

Like pigeons, dove are ground feeders and prefer to feed from a feed tray placed on a large flat landing platform.

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Save Hundreds Of Dollars On Your Food Bill – Buy In Bulk ….. Pt-2

Produce packaged in large tin cans may cause storage problems after being opened.

When I find produce on sale in large 1/2 or 1 gallon size tin cans at a really low price I bring it home and spend a little time ‘re-packing’ into smaller more useful size jars. For me that means using pint size jars.
Any produce packaged in tin cans not consumed in one or 2 meals may become a storage problem. What do you do with a 1/2 tin can of pickled peppers?

Pack hot sterilized jar(s) with peppers. Fill jar to within 1/2 of the top with boiling vinegar, seal. Allow to cool to room temperature, check to see if jar is sealed, then store in refrigerator for up to 1 month. For longer term storage process your jar(s) in a boiling water bath for 10 or 15 minutes. Allow to cool, check to be sure your jar(s) are sealed and move them to a cool, dark place in your pantry.

Hint: When repacking discard liquid from the can and use fresh white or cider vinegar rated as being 5% acid content.
Customize your repacked produce. Add 1 o 2 peeled whole cloves of garlic in each jar.
Add color by adding a few carrot or red and yellow bell peppers sliced length wise.

Nuts packaged in large cans or bags or fresh shelled nuts will benefit being repacked in small more useful size containers. Store out of direct daylight in a dark cool place in your pantry.

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