Saturday, September 29, 2012

Itsy Bitsy Spider ..... NOT

For some reason we've had a lot of spiders in and around the house this year.  A couple of months ago, when I was cleaning the outsides of the picture windows, I was knocking down webs like crazy.  There were so many you'd think we live in a haunted house!!!  I've tried spraying Pine Sol (was told by someone that works) around the outside of the house and around the windows to no avail ... I've tried a couple natural home 'remedies' to no avail ... and I've finally just had to break out the spider spray.  

So what do I find late last night on our back deck ... a humongous spider web!!!  This one much bigger than all those others I knocked down.  And somehow the spider had managed to build it in just over an hour because it wasn't there earlier!  He was planning to catch something big ... yikes!  I was thankful I hadn't brought my Bella out with me because she would have walked right through it down the steps and had, not only spider web all in her long white hair, but also a pretty humongous spider on her as well ... eeeeeewww!

I'm surprised I was able to get the web to show up in a pic ... I tried blowing flour onto the web thinking it would stick and help it show up better ... thought maybe the spider spray might do the trick too but no ... nothing seemed to help ... not even the Windex, LOL  But you can somewhat make it out in this pic.

And here's a couple close ups (thank goodness for zoom lenses) of that nasty spider ... eeeeeew ... looks like it may be a wolf spider but I'm not sure ... does anyone know?  At this point, he was dying but I wasn't getting close ... no way ... no how!  Legs and all ... he was easily 3 inches ... wish I'd thought to put something down beside it for comparison.

Here's a shot of the web today in the daylight ...

Afterall ... Halloween is just around the corner!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Laminated Furniture Saved from the Garbage

Okay ... Here's a before picture of a laminated pressboard (particle board ... whatever you want to call it) ... cheap furniture that was left here when the gparents moved out (Dresser and Nightstand).  I was going to donate it or trash it since I just do not care for non-solid wood furniture.  BUT then I read on Pinterest that I could paint it just like you can real solid wood furniture ... still not quite as pretty or durable but it works for my need ... an extra bedroom that we probably won't have in our next house since we plan to downsize and there's no need to buy any new furniture just for temporary use.  Anyway ... I don't know why I didn't think of painting it myself since in our last house we had laminated kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets ... all of which I sanded (basically just roughed up) and painted and aged and they turned out beautiful!!!!

What did I do?  No sanding ... that's for sure.  I used one of the Kilz primers (see photo below) ... one coat.  Now when it dried it looked really grainy like sand was mixed into it but I moved on to the next step anyway.  I figured if these pieces didn't turn out like I expected ... out to the curb or up for donation they would go.

Next I rolled on two coats of black paint and again ... between each coat the finish looked grainy/sandy but when it dried it was smooth as a baby's butt ... honestly!

Why did I roll on instead of using a brush?  Because a roller, especially the type I used (foam rollers), do not leave brush marks ... you get a smooth finish and besides that it's just plain easier to roll instead of brush.

So here's the finished Dresser and Nightstand ... I even replaced the ugly drawer handles/knobs at a cost of about $25... total cost to redo (half a qt of primer, half a qt of paint, 2 rollers and the knobs) approximately $40 ... whatcha think?

Good old Southern Pepper Sauce

Good old Southern Pepper Sauce … we put that ____ on everything.  LOL  Pepper Sauce is not to be confused with Hot Sauce … Pepper Sauce is a vinegar based sauce with a dirty water sorta look whereas Hot Sauce, which is also vinegar based, is made using red peppers and paprika, hence the red tomatoey color.  There is a difference in flavor between the two.

No Southern table is complete without a bottle/jar of Pepper Sauce and we literally put it on everything … well at least some of us do … collard greens, turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, black eyed peas, field peas, white acre peas, purple hulls and zipper peas and whatever else you feel like splashing it on.

Now normally I make mine with Thai Chile Peppers but this year I couldn’t find any plants for that particular pepper so I grew Cayenne … I’m sure it will be just as good, just not quite the kick of the Thai Chile Peppers.  Depending on the type hot/spicy pepper you use … the flavor can be different … from mild to blow your head off HOT!

I reuse my bottles … GLASS bottles … let me rephrase that … Clear Glass Bottles (cause you want to see what’s inside plus the peppers look pretty through the clear glass) … from things such as malt vinegar or red wine vinegar since they have the little sprinkling cap on the top, otherwise, the sauce would just come pouring out.  You don’t want to use plastic bottles … for many reasons.  Now I’ve seen some that use mason jars and that’s fine too but you might need a spoon to dip it out cause pouring from a mason jar just wouldn’t be pretty.

This year my pepper plants didn’t produce quite as many peppers as usual.  I really didn’t have enough to completely fill (tightly pack) my bottles.  This is fine but the sauce won’t be near as potent.  You really need to pack ‘em in as tightly as possible.  I really prefer the Thai Chile Peppers for several reasons (1) they are much more potent than the cayenne that I grew this year (2) they are much smaller … growing to about 2-3 inches and (3) they are multi colored … red, green and yellow.

Another helpful hint, if your sauce begins to run low from harvesting season to harvesting season … just pour in a little more vinegar mixture to get you through the year!

It’s easy to make your own and besides that you know where the peppers came from.  Mine are totally organic … I do not use pesticides in my gardening ~ I use companion plants when necessary.  I had some today (after it sat for a few days) on my kale and man was it good!

Pepper Sauce

1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Sugar
Thai Chile Peppers

Tightly pack your glass bottle with chile peppers which have been stemmed to within one inch from top.  Bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved (about 3 minutes).  Remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.  Pour hot mixture over peppers in jar.  Whalaa … you’ve got yourself some homemade Pepper Sauce … its just that easy!  Hint: You might want to wear rubber gloves when working with hot peppers.

One Recipe = one bottle (if peppers are packed in as tightly as possible)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Basil Meatloaf

This is a recipe I came up with and it’s all about the Basil … yummmm!  I don’t really measure my Basil and I almost always use FRESH!  I just add it until I smell it … If you cook much, you’ll know what I mean!  The one in the photo is a half recipe since hubby was out of town I didn’t need to make a full recipe … so delicious!!!

Basil Meatloaf

2 lbs Ground Beef (I use Organic)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped or 2 tsps Dried Basil Leaves
½ tsp Ground Mustard
¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¼ tsp Sea Salt
1 Clove Garlic, Minced or 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
1 Egg
1 Cup Plain Dry Breadcrumbs
1 small Onion, Finely Chopped (1/4 cup)
½ cup Green Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped

Mix all ingredients and place in a greased loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees (uncovered).  I like to cover mine with Ketchup (Simply Heinz) for the last 10-15 mins of cooking.

*Simply Heinz Tomato Ketchup is their ketchup made the old fashioned way … the way it was meant to be made and the way I remember it as a child.  NO high fructose corn syrup or artificial anything.  This is a new product and they still make the old stuff but I prefer this even if it costs a little more!  NOPE ... NOT getting paid for this plug lol

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just Like Wendy’s Chili

Here’s my version of ‘Wendy’s’ Chili which I absolutely love … I may not do fast food but when I’m in the mood for Chili … it’s gotta be Wendys.

Just Like Wendy’s Chili

1 lb Ground Beef
½ cup Onion, diced
1 can Diced Green Chilies
¼ cup Celery, diced
1 can Tomato Sauce
1 can Red Beans, undrained
1 can Pinto Beans, undrained
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) V-8 Juice
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Sea Salt

In a large pot, brown the Ground Beef and drain.  Crumble Ground Beef into pea-sized pieces.  Add Onion, Chilis and Celery to Ground Beef and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for an hour or so, stirring every 15 minutes.

Cucumber Salad ~ Like My Mama Used to Make

Cucumber Salad ~ Like My Mama Used to Make

2 medium sized Cucumbers or 1 English Cucumber, sliced
1 Onion, chopped into bite size pieces
1 Tomato, cut into bite size pieces or 20 Grape Tomatoes
Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Mayonnaise, to desired consistency

Place Cucumbers, Onions and Tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with Sea Salt and Black Pepper.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Add Sugar and Mayonnaise and stir.  Ready to eat immediately but best if refrigerated overnight or for several hours before serving.