If you find yourself longing for warmer days, bring a little summer in to your home with this fragrant peach crumb cake. I think this cake would also be luscious with apple pie filling! Pair with some coffee or tea and sit back and dream of the warmer days to come.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter (4 ounces), room temperature 1 cup light brown sugar, packed 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup milk Filling: 1 can (20 ounces) peach pie filling Topping: 1/2 cup flour 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Preparation: Grease and flour a 9-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350°. Combine 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup brown sugar; beat until light. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon mixture; add to the batter, beating slowly, alternating with the milk. Beat on low until smooth. Spread about half of the batter in the prepared baking pan. Spread the peach pie filling over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter evenly over the peach layer and spread gently to cover the filling.
Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.
Lavender is considered the most important aroma in aromatherapy, an ancient art that is being embraced in this country, particularly among those seeking a more centered and holistic lifestyle. Aromatherapy acts on the central nervous system and thus can have a powerful impact on promoting health and well-being. It has been used for generations to soothe and bring tranquility to the mind and spirit.
Not only effective in relieving stress, lavender helps in healing a variety of skin conditions. You can purchase muslin drawstring bags to make this soothing bath recipe, or you can tie the ingredients in cheesecloth and dangle from the string in the tub.
You will need: 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers 1/4 cup instant powered milk 1/4 cup oatmeal
Place all ingredients into a muslin drawstring bag or cheesecloth tied with string. Toss the bag in to the bath water as it's running. You can also use the bag to rub your skin as you bathe.
You can make variations of bath tea with assorted fresh or dried herbs. Place a cup or so of assorted herbs in to a bowl and add 2 cups of boiling water. Let this steep for 10 mins, strain and add to your bath as it runs. These amounts are estimates so feel free to experiment until you find a combination that works for you.
I love handmade quilts, they are a masterpiece of the heart. Many of the quilts of yesterday took a lifetime to make. Perhaps the mystical part of quilts—the aspect that makes them almost human—is the countless hours of work and devotion it took to create them.
Beyond their beauty and usefulness, quilts possess a magic that will never die, for all of life's hopes and fears, loves and hates have been sewn into them. A partial unraveling of quilt history reveals that the oldest example of patchwork, a canopy for an Egyptian queen, dates back to 960 B.C. In the earliest quilts, grass and leaves or feathers were used for the filling. After the top had been meticulously pieced together, the three layers were assembled and laid over a quilting frame supported by legs, sawhorses, or chair backs. In the South, the quilting frame was often suspended from the ceiling. The layers were then joined together by quilting, the running of stitches through the three layers of material.
The origin of quilts are somewhat sketchy. The name derives from the Latin meaning "stuffed sack." I imagine the quilt maker stitching away at her labor of love and perhaps wondering where it will be years after she (or he) is gone. Some quilts hold layers of meaning, others are stitched just for the job of keeping warm. Our job, if we own one of these treasures, is to lengthen their life by protecting them to the best of our ability. A few enemies of our treasured quilts include light, dirt, humidity, heat, insects, and pressure, among others.
Never put any quilt in direct light, whether natural or artificial. I have had a couple of my quilts fade due to the sun and though I still love them, they can never be returned to their freshly made, colorful splendor. In antique quilts the fabrics were either colored with natural dyes or the "new" synthetic dyes, which began to be used toward the end of the 19th century. With few exceptions, most of these dyes were not very color-fast, which is why we see greens that have faded to yellow or dull blue, purples that have faded to tan, and blacks have disintegrated the fiber completely. Even today, the dyes currently available can fade fairly rapidly when exposed to light.
Before you put a quilt in storage, take time to clean it. Bugs like to eat food stains and spray starch. Be sure to take care of any problems before storing your quilt. Usually, just a good vacuuming will take care of any problems. Place a 12" x 12" square of screening (with the edges covered with masking tape) over your quilt and gently use a hand-held vacuum to remove surface dust. Consider wet cleaning only as a last resort and realize that it will deteriorate your quilt to some extent. Be sure to consult some knowledgeable sources before attempting to wash an antique quilt. Never have your quilt dry-cleaned; the chemicals used can be very harsh to the fibers and are never completely removed.
Never store your quilts in plastic bags. Textiles need to breathe. When excess heat and moisture build, mildew will inevitably occur. Once the quilt is spotted with mildew, it is very difficult to remove the stains. Instead, if you need to store your quilts in a closet or other enclosed space, wrap them in clean, un-dyed, un-bleached muslin. Be sure to remove them from storage every three to six months. Spread them on a flat surface and air them out, first on one side and then the other. I like to hang mine on quilt racks and let them have their turns at displaying their loveliness. While you have the quilt out, be sure to inspect for signs of bugs or new stains.
When you return the quilt to storage, fold it in a different way. If you had folded it in half last time, then fold it in thirds this time. Don't crush your quilt and fold it as little as possible. When you fold it, do it so the backing is on the inside. The most wrinkles will occur on the inside of a fold. You can minimize the wrinkles by cushioning the folds with crushed, acid free tissue paper or a roll of muslin.
Enjoy the wonderful quilts you have stitched, inherited or adopted, but be sure to care for them so other generations will be able to enjoy them too.
Bay leaves can be used for much more than just cooking. Did you know the bay leaf has a reputation for soothing the stomach and relieving flatulence? Try a tea made from bay leaves for minor stomach upsets. Place a few leaves in a pot of water and bring to a boil. That's all there is to it!
Bay is also well known for its ability to relieve the aches and pains associated with rheumatism, sprains, bruises, and skin rashes. Distill an oil from the leaves and rub on the affected areas, or make an ointment to rub into affected areas.
Studies have shown that Bay has mild narcotic and sedative effects in mice, and therefore can be tried in a tea before bed for better sleep, or after a stressful day.
The classical legend of bay's origin was Daphne's transformation into the laurel tree during her pursuit by Apollo. Though versions vary, one infers that the nymph Daphne was a fiercely independent, rather wild creature and rather than give herself to Apollo, she pleaded with her father, the river god Ladonas, to transform her. Another account indicates that Apollo was wounded by an arrow of Eros (cupid) and fell madly in love with Daphne, who fled from his advances and was changed into the slender bay laurel moments before her capture. All agree that Apollo was so astounded by the tree's beauty that he claimed the laurel as his own and dedicated it to reward the highest achievements of Greek civilization. Bay was first an herb of poets, but also of oracles, warriors, statesmen, and doctors. The leaves were made into wreaths for illustrious poets and the ancients used them to crown heroes.
Bay is bound to Jupiter and fire. It is used in magic for wisdom, protection, clairvoyance, and purification purposes.
Burn fresh bay leaves to increase psychic powers and for divination. Alternatively, make a weak tea to increase wisdom and clairvoyance.
It is said that you can hang bay leaves at the highest point in the house for protection, or burn and let the smoke hit all four corners of the house for purification and to banish evil. This is appropriate in new house or apartment situations.
Legend has it that a girl could dream of her future husband on St. Valentine's Eve by sleeping with four bay or laurel leaves pinned to the corners of her pillow. Some believed that lovers stayed faithful as long as each carried half of the same laurel twig. Today, the laurel leaf still represents thoughts of loved ones.
Place bay leaves in a pillowcase for safe sleep and prophetic dreams.
Grilled Peppers with Bay Leaves 3 large red peppers 3 large yellow peppers 3-5 branches of fresh bay leaves 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt & Pepper to taste
Place the peppers over a hot grill. Cook until they begin to blacken on all sides (this will happen quickly). Place the peppers in a container and cover tightly with plastic wrap until they are cool enough to handle. When cooled, peel the blackened skin from the peppers with a knife.
Rub each pepper with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the peppers in a bowl so that they fit snugly, and insert bay leaves between them so that they are touching each pepper. Allow to sit for about one hour, then reheat on a cool part of the grill for about 30 seconds and serve. Makes 6 servings.
These are healthy muffins that are sweet, satisfying, moist, and perfect for breakfast or a snack. They freeze well so bake a double batch and put some away to enjoy at a later date.
Ingredients: 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour 1 1/4 cups oats 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1/2 cup buttermilk (don't have any on hand? Check my archives and make your own!) 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2 tbsp canola oil 1 large egg, lightly beaten 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen...if using frozen do not thaw)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and egg. Add applesauce mixture to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
I am reposting this recipe from last spring because, well, some cakes should just be eaten over and over again!
This is a refreshingly wonderful recipe for a spring and summer cake. Super easy to make, and people love it! Serve with a mound of sugar free or fat free whipped cream.
Ingredients: 1/3 cup reduced calorie margarine, melted 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar substitute 1 tsp. powdered sugar substitute 1 egg 1 1/4 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 2/3 cup unsweetened orange juice Vegetable cooking spray
Combine margarine, sugar substitutes and egg. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon, stirring to blend. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat at low speed after each addition. Spoon batter into an 8 inch round or square pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Note: This makes 1 cake. Double the recipe if you want a layer cake. 9 servings.
Old vintage linens are lovely, but they can yellow in spots as well as hold stains. Here’s a recipe to help brighten things up. You can soak items for a few days if they are heavily yellowed and the cleaning solutions aren’t giving you the results you want. Just replace with fresh hot water and another dose of the recipe every day or two.
First check a spot to make sure the recipe won’t damage the fabric or colors before soaking the entire item.
1 Quart Buttermilk 1 Gallon Water 1 TBS Fresh Lemon Juice Soak linens in the buttermilk recipe for up to 24 hours, rinse twice, then launder as usual.
Do you have an old door that squeaks and you vow to do something about it this spring? You can quiet that hinge with a coating of petroleum jelly on the hinge pin. It works great and you won't have to worry about messy drips.
You can also use soap. Just wedge moist soap between the door frame and hinge, and work the door back and forth; also rub soap directly onto the hinge.
Some of you have been wondering what I've been up to the past few days as I've been away from my blog. I'm sorry to have worried you!
We have been giving the cottage kitchen a bit of a much needed makeover and I have been painting. It's a very small space so one would think it would be a chore done quickly...but nooooo! The wall space is such that paint rollers are unable to be used so I have been toiling away with a paintbrush. That wouldn't be so labor intensive if the walls didn't need a second coat of paint, but they do, so on and on I go with my little brush and my bucket of paint. Couple that with having to move rather large appliances and we are exhausted. Today should be the last day of painting and not a moment to soon...I've grown weary and my back needs a bit of a rest. The kitchen will be fresh, clean and ready for spring.
An ordinary paper plate, glued to the bottom of the paint can, is much more convenient than spreading newspapers which must be moved every time the paint can is shifted from one place to another? The next time you have a painting project give this tip a try. It saves on cleanup!
This is a repost but for those who haven't read it, it may be a handy tip to save your nails!
Are you tired of polishing your nails, only to have them chip soon after? With all of the spring cleaning and gardening, it's all to easy to ruin your manicure. Try this frugal trick to make your nail polish last longer and hopefully you will be able to avoid having to repolish your nails for awhile. It's so simple!
What You Do: Dip your nails in vinegar (white or apple cider), and allow them to dry. Then, paint as usual.
Why This Works: Vinegar removes the natural oils from the surface of your nails, so that the polish adheres to your nails (and not the oils).
Also, make sure to wear some sort of kitchen gloves while you are cleaning, painting or even washing your fruits and veggies.
This big, beautiful, rich cake will win you over. What better way to warm your cottage on a cold winter's day, than with a cake baking in the oven?
Ingredients: 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup brown sugar 1 cup honey 2 tsp. vanilla 4 large eggs 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) 2 and 3/4 cups flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 TBSP. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 cup fresh brewed coffee, cooled (vanilla flavored coffee beans are very good) 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped regular chips)
Topping: 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
In a mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, brown sugar, honey and vanilla. Beat in the eggs until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. On low speed, add to the honey mixture alternating with the cooled coffee. Blend to make a smooth batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. REDUCE oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake another 50 - 60 minutes.
Remove and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake. Let sit a minute, then spread the softened chocolate over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
Place the cake in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Once set, invert the cake and remove it from the pan. Peel off the parchment and set on a serving platter.
The cake will keep for several days if kept well covered.
Cinnamon tea is a great way to reap the health benefits of cinnamon. You can buy cinnamon tea but it's quite easy to make your own with the following recipe. Ingredients 1 cinnamon stick 1 c. of boiling water
Directions Break cinnamon stick into pieces and place in a cup. Add boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. You can keep adding hot water to the cup to enjoy all day long. Use more or less cinnamon depending on the strength you prefer.
You can also place a cinnamon stick in any tea while it steeps to add flavor and health benefits. Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol and several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells and it has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative. Another study also found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
It is also a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
'Then rose the seed of Chaos and of Night To blot out order and extinguish light. Of dull and venal a new world to mould, And bring Saturnian days of lead and gold.'
When one reads about the meaning of the day Saturday, it does not seem to be one of the better days of the week. Traditionally seen as the seventh day of the week, the Latin name for this day was 'Dies Saturni' meaning the 'Day of Saturn' (Saturn being a Roman deity) which was later developed by the Anglo-Saxons to 'Soeterdoeg'. Saturn was associated with the ancient Greek 'Kronos' or 'Time' (some refer to this deity as Father Time). Kronos was said to have attempted to devour each one of his children but was unsuccessful with 'Neptune' or 'Water', 'Jupiter' or 'Air' and 'Pluto' or 'The Grave' as it was believed that not even time can harm these. Jupiter eventually banished Saturn from his throne. Saturn was also known as the God of the Seed and Harvest being symbolized by a scythe.
Saturday in India is traditionally believed to be an unlucky day, as this is the day dedicated to the God of Misfortune named 'Sani'.
In Ireland it is believed that if the visual phenomena of a rainbow appears on this day, then the following week will be nothing but wet weather.
In Scotland it was traditionally believed that any child born on this day would have the gift of seeing ghosts.
In rural areas of the British Isles it was traditionally believed to be bad luck to change jobs on a Saturday, an old English rhyme to support this was:
Saturday servants never stay, Sunday servants run away.
"Black Saturday" was the name given to August 4 1621. It is said that a violent storm symbolically blew up in Scotland just at the moment when Parliament was in the house discussing whether to make change of the Episcopacy laws, and force this upon the people of Scotland.
Saturday is ruled by Saturn. It is the best day to deal with such matters as: Patience, Stability, Neutralization, Material Gain, Protection, Karma, Death, Manifestation, Structure’s, Reality, Laws of society, Limits, Obstacles, Tests, Handwork, Real Estate, Dentists, Bones, Teeth, Farm Workers, Sacrifice, Separation, Stalkers, Murderers, Criminals, Civil Servants, Justice, Math’s, Plumbing, Joint Money Matters, Wills, Debts, Financing, Real Estate, Discoveries, Transformation and Relations with Older People.
What is a garden without a few daisies? I just planted some English Daisy seeds and can't wait for them to peek their little heads up out of the soil.
The flower symbolism associated with the daisy is purity, innocence, loyal love, beauty, patience and simplicity. Daisies are often depicted in meadows in Medieval paintings, also known as a "flowery mead." Daisies are believed to be more than 4,000years old and hairpins decorated with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on the Island of Crete. Even further back, Egyptian ceramics were decorated with daisies. Daisies were also used in Mary Gardens.
Commercially important plants in the daisy family include the food crops lettuce, chicory, globe artichoke, sunflower, safflower and Jerusalem artichoke. Other commercially important species include flowers used as herbs and in herbal teas and other beverages. Chamomile and calendula are grown commercially for herbal teas and the potpourri industry. Echinacea is used as a medicinal tea.
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Most of the time, having too much uric acid is not harmful. Many people with high levels in their blood never get gout. When uric acid levels in the blood are too high, the uric acid may form hard crystals in your joints.
Your chances of getting gout are higher if you are overweight, drink too much alcohol, or eat too much meat and fish that are high in chemicals called purines. Some medicines, such as water pills (diuretics), can also bring on gout. Below are some old fashioned remedies for gout that you may find helpful.
Black Cherry Juice...Black cherry juice or whole fresh black cherries seem to be a common favorite in treating gout. Cherries help reduce uric acid levels.
Strawberries...Fresh strawberries help neutralize uric acid, as do nuts, seeds, and grains, although to a lesser extent. The berries contain high concentrations of vitamin C as well as fruit acids and minerals, like potassium, magnesium zinc, manganese, calcium and iron.
Apple Cider Vinegar...ACV is touted as a universal home remedy for numerous ailments. For gout it reduces acid crystals thus reducing pain. Two tablespoons with a little water and organic honey is the normal dosage.
Reduce Purine...Purine rich foods produce excess amounts of uric acid which is the cause of crystal formation that creates the pain of gout. Animal protein is the main source of purine, particularly red meat and shell fish. Gout sufferers should completely eliminate this source during an attack. There are plenty of other healthy sources of protein.
Lots of Water...Drinking enough water helps flush acids from the system.
This information is not intended to replace the information from a Dr. Please seek the attention of your medical provider for treatment of your ailments.
Call me curious or crazy, I always seem to be searching for the meaning of something. Since I have been in the planning stages of my spring and summer garden I have been obsessed with pondering my flower choices. You probably know that by now, since this is not my first post on the subject. Oh, I know. Most people head off to the market for seeds and grab haphazardly at whatever is on sale. I have been known to do that as well, but in my quest to bring meaning to everything in my life, my curiosity gets the best of me and I do what I can to bring love and luck to my small garden space.
In my quest to find the meanings of the flowers I am choosing, I found that there is actually a name for what I am doing. The study of the meaning of flowers is an actual science known as floriography, and it reveals an extra underlying meaning to sending or receiving flowers - subtle and secret messages can be passed through the different blooms. We all need magic in our lives and what better way than with flowers? Who would have known? To know there are others who share my quest, helps me to know that I have not lost my mind on a trivial matter such as seeds. In the coming weeks you will be able to tell what I am planting as I post the meanings. Flowers that have always been near and dear to me are even more so when I know why I am attracted to them.
One of the first flowers I will plant will be the Pansy. I have always loved them. Dainty, with their little faces pointing up towards the sun, how could you not love them? The flower symbolism associated with the pansy is merriment and you occupy my thoughts. The pansy is also called the Heartsease or Johnny Jump Up. The name pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning "thought", and was so named because the flower resembles a human face. In August the pansy is thought to nod forward as if deep in thought.
I love looking through the old books, magazines and ads that I collect. Women have always had a love affair with their hair, and though I'm not sure I would wash mine with rum and rosewater, I find it nice to think back to the women who did.
It is the claim in these articles from the days of old, that the hair should be brushed for at least twenty minutes in the morning, for ten minutes when it is dressed in the middle of the day, and for a like period at night. In brushing or combing it, they instruct to begin at extreme points, and in combing hold the portion of hair just above that through which the comb is passing firmly between the first and second fingers, so that if entangled it may drag from that point, and not from the roots.
The finest head of hair may be spoiled by the practice of plunging the comb into it high up and dragging it in a reckless manner. Short, loose, broken hairs are thus created, and become very troublesome.
To soften and beautify the hair, beat up the whites of four eggs into a froth, and rub thoroughly in close to the roots of the hair. Leave it to dry on. Then wash the head and hair clean with a mixture of equal parts of rum and rosewater.
That there is a belief that Robin's can forecast weather? The Robin is also affectionately known as “Robin Redbreast” and is undoubtedly one of the best loved garden birds. Its position when singing was believed to forecast the weather. If it sang on top of a bush the weather would be warm, while if it sang from within the branches then rain was on the way. It was also thought to be extremely unlucky to kill the bird. According to one superstition, if you killed a robin your hands would not stop shaking, while anyone who broke its eggs would have something valuable of their own broken.
Because of his red breast and this color being associated with fire, like the Raven in mythology, the Robin is said to have brought fire from heaven. In folklore Robins are considered holy birds. A similar myth has it that the Robin was a storm cloud bird held sacred by Thor, the god of Thunder in Norse mythology.
In the old folklore traditions of Great Britain, if a Robin pecks at your window or enters your house, it is likely a death will soon occur there. Likewise, if a Robin flies into a house through an open window, it was taken as a sign of death being present. This idea is thought to have come from an old 16th century folk tale called “Babes in the Wood”, which implies that if a Robin finds a human corpse, it would cover the corpse with moss, leaves and flowers, effectively burying it.
There is nothing like the aroma of baked goods coming from your cottage kitchen that creates the warm, cozy feeling of home. This is a simple tea cake that is wonderful as is, or you can add raisins, dried cherries, etc. to "dress it up." Create memories today with something wonderful from your oven.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened (I use I can't believe it's not butter) 1 cup white sugar 2 eggs 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch round pan.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. It will be a very thick batter. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack, then turn out onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners sugar right before serving.
There is alot of hussle and bustle here in the cottage of late and it's wearing me out! We are in the middle of a kitchen floor redo that we are doing ourselves, a pending install of wood floors (that we are hiring out), new carpeting on the stairs has recently been accomplished, and repainting the kitchen is in our future as well. It's alot of work and chaos but the cottage will look beautiful when we are finished and it will all be worth it.
With all of the dust that our projects have created, I can see a major spring clean in my future as well. Here are some of my cleaning recipes to help you on your way to a sparkling clean cottage of your own. Thrifty and safe, they are more practical than bringing toxins in to your home.
Do you have candle holders to clean? To help remove candle wax: Sponge with a piece of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Decals/Gummed Labels/Price Tag Remover: Use vinegar (I'll bet you knew I was going to say that since my addiction to this for cleaning is quite well known) To remove non-slip appliques and strips from bathtubs, saturate a cloth or sponge and squeeze hot vinegar over decals. Vinegar also removes stick-on hooks from painted walls. Saturate a cloth or sponge with vinegar and squeeze the liquid behind the hook so that the vinegar comes in contact with the adhesive. In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price labels and other decals from glass, wood, and china. Paint the label or decal with several coats of white vinegar. Give the vinegar time to soak in and after several minutes the decal can be rubbed off. (NOTE: Use these methods only on washable surfaces and washable paint) Grease Cutters: 1) Use lemon juice, vinegar, or sprinkle with borax and scrub with scrub brush. 2) 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 3 tbsp. vinegar, and 2 cups hot water. Mix in spray bottle, spray and scrub, wipe clean.
It's time to freshen things up and some may need a coat of paint. To clean paint brushes: Soften hard paintbrushes in hot vinegar for a few minutes. Then wash paintbrush in soap and warm water and let dry.
Rust Remover: 1) To remove rust from tin-ware, rub with a peeled potato dipped in a mild abrasive such as baking soda or salt. 2) Aluminum Foil. Briskly scrub rust spots on car bumpers with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, shiny side up.
Shoe Polish/Care/Deodorizer: 1) Cold Pressed Nut Oil, Olive Oil, Walnut Oil, or Beeswax: Apply oil/wax to leather then buff with a chamois cloth to a shine. 2) Lemon Juice. Good for black or tan leather shoes. Follow by buffing with a soft cloth. 3) Vinegar; Remove water stains on leather by rubbing with a cloth dipped in a vinegar and water solution. 4) Petroleum Jelly. A dab of petroleum jelly rubbed into patent leather gives a glistening shine and prevents cracking in the winter. 5) Vinegar. To shine patent leather, moisten a soft cloth with white vinegar and wipe clean all patent leather articles. The color of the leather may be slightly changed. 6) Art-Gum Eraser and Sandpaper or Emery Board. Dirt marks on suede can be rubbed out with an art-gum eraser. Then buff very lightly an emery board. 7)Add a shine to your leather shoes by polishing with the inside of a banana peel, then buff.
Shoe/Sneaker Deodorizer 6 Tbsp Cornstarch 3 Tbsp Baking Soda 20 drops Rosemary essential oil 20 drops Tea Tree essential oil 5 drops Lemon essential oil 5 drops Clove essential oil Mix all, then put 1-2 Tablespoon in each shoe/sneaker and rub it in. Allow the powder to sit in the shoe overnight.
Stain and Spot Removers: 1) Concrete Grease Spot Remover: To remove grease from concrete flooring sprinkle dry cement over grease. Allow it to absorb the grease, then sweep up. 2) Ink Stains: Use a non-aerosol hair spray to remove ink stains.
Tar Remover: Food grade linseed oil. Wet rag with linseed oil and rub hard
Vinyl Cleaner: 1 tsp. to 1/4 cup washing soda, and 1 cup boiling water. Dissolve the washing soda in the boiling water. Apply with sponge, wipe off with a damp cloth.
Wallpaper Cleaner: 1) Roll up a piece of white bread and use it to "erase" marks on wallpaper (stop laughing..this works!)
Homemade floor cleaner can save you hundreds of dollars per year. I have been making my own for quite some time now with better results than the store bought brands. I use the following recipe for cleaning my floors:
1/4 cup dish soap 4 cups white vinegar 2 cups lemon juice 2 cups of water
This recipe works best on Pergo laminate floors, vinyl, or linoleum. Just place the mixture into a spray bottle and spray onto the floor. I use a mop with a washable cloth mop head that I can launder when my chores are done. If you get a sticky residue, ( which I have never gotten) try using less dish soap. You can also rinse with water. I do mop over the floor again with clean water just to make sure there is no residue. This leaves my floor so shiny you'd swear it was waxed! I also use this to clean the shower floor and tub. You will wonder why you bought toxic cleaners when you try this mix!
While I have been planning my spring garden, my mind always wanders back to lilacs. I love their delicate little flowers all grouped together, and their scent is unmistakable. I long to have my own large lilac bush one day, just like the one we had while I was growing up. I daydream of having fresh lilacs from it all season long and opening my windows to it's scent wafting in. My first attempt at planting one did not fare so well a few years back, but I am thinking of planting another this year. In my quest to find out just exactly what suits them best I came across this interesting information. If you love lilacs as well you may enjoy it.
The story of lilac, according to Greek mythology, begins with a beautiful nymph named Syringa (lilac’s botanical name). Captivated by her beauty, Pan, the god of the forests and fields, chased Syringa through the forest. Frightened by Pan’s affections, Syringa escaped him by turning herself into an aromatic bush – the flower we now refer to as lilac.
The 8th wedding anniversary flower and the state flower of New Hampshire (symbolizing the hardy character of the Granite State’s citizens), lilacs are frequently considered a harbinger of spring, with the time of their bloom signaling whether spring will be early or late. In the language of flowers, purple lilacs symbolize the first emotions of love, while white lilacs represent youthful innocence.
I know it may not be spring where you are, but why not create a little of the spring feeling by hosting a tea with these dainty and wonderful little sandwiches? Or perhaps just treat yourself to some fresh flowers and have a couple of these little sandwiches while you relax, have tea and read your favorite magazine. In the spring, when young radishes are available, these are absolutely wonderful so save this recipe for later use if you don't have radishes available at this time.
Ingredients: Thinly sliced radishes 16 slices best-quality white or wheat bread 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Spread one side of each piece of bread lightly with butter.
Top the buttered side of the eight (8) slices of bread with the sliced radishes and top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down.
While browsing low cal breakfast recipes I came across this one for oat pancakes. I made it this morning and it's perfect if you're cutting calories or just eating healthy. The recipe makes 2 small pancakes so you can eat both, share one, or freeze one for the next morning. I ate both, not realizing how filling they would be. The next time I will freeze the 2nd one for the next morning.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup oats (not instant) 3 egg whites 2 TBS. splenda ( or brown sugar) 1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. This can be done the night before if you're rushed for time.
Spray cooking spray in pan and drop a spoonful of the batter in to pan and cook approximately 2 minutes or until golden. Turn and cook the other side until golden brown as well.
Top with yogurt as I did, or fruit, jams, or syrups. Enjoy!
To bleach! I don't like using bleach. It's an irritant, the fumes are unpleasant, and it can pose a health hazard. Undiluted, bleach is corrosive and will damage many surfaces such as skin and fabrics. Did you realize that hundreds of young children suffer accidents with bleach each year? Many people with respiratory complaints find the fumes can be intolerable.
If you're like me and prefer not to have it in your home, try this tip to whiten your laundry. I can attest to the fact that it works!
Use 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to your wash load and your whites will sparkle. I usually use 1/4 cup and always have wonderful results!
Note: To remove blood stains soak area with peroxide and watch them disappear! This does not work as well on set in blood stains that have been through the wash already, but it will lighten them and if you keep at it, they usually disappear.
With leftover Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark squares from the holidays? Make cookies, of course! It takes a little time to unwrap each one of the little square morsels but it's worth it! These cookies taste wonderful and I can only imagine that any of the Ghirardelli square flavors (thinking chocolate caramel!) would taste just as good! I added a cup of miniature chocolate chips so as not to overpower the cookie with peppermint flavor. Bake a double batch! You'll be happy you did. Enjoy!
Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups unsifted all purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 1 cup butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter cubes) 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips 2 cups chopped Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter, both sugars, vanilla and eggs in mixer and mix until fully blended. Add dry ingredients and mix. Gently fold in chocolate chips and peppermint bark.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake 11-13 minutes until light brown.
I doubled the batch and it made approximately 3 dozen cookies.
According to the etiquette, class and elegance of days gone by, a lady should be quiet in her manners, natural and unassuming in her language, careful to wound no one's feelings, but give generously and freely from the treasures of her pure mind to her friends. She should scorn no one openly, have a gentle pity for the unfortunate, and at the same time carry herself with an innocence and singleheartedness that disarm ill nature and win respect and love from all. Such a lady is a model for her sex, the "bright particular star" on which others look with reference. The influence of such a woman is a power for good that cannot be overestimated.
Many things in life have changed and evolved with time, yet I believe women should still make every attempt at being quiet and graceful in their manner. I would be the first to admit that it is not easy these days to practice that "quiet and unassuming manner" but I will practice it (to no avail at times I'm sure), day by day, and make it habit.
Today, whether you are entering or leaving a room, purchasing groceries or pumping gas, hold your head up high. Live your day with class and elegance. Hold your head high, shoulders back, lengthen your spine and tuck your tummy in. Gracefully walk to your destination always with purpose. Buy yourself some flowers. Listen instead of talk. You have accomplished a lot to date. You need to show yourself strong, confident and proud. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel about yourself and how many heads will turn to see the lady of the day (you), full of manners, class and elegance.
EASY Homemade Blueberry Jam, and no canning equipment is needed! This jam recipe is so easy anyone can make it. You don't need jars or have to deal with sterilizing anything and you can have jam in no time at all! I made this to accompany our scones, but this jam is also wonderful on vanilla ice cream or in the middle of fruit bars!
This recipe makes 2 small 8 oz. containers. I use the same little glass containers I put our homemade butter in and it's perfect. Don't expect it to last long, it's delicious!
Ingredients: 5 Cups Blueberries 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used Real Lemon in the bottle) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the berries have released their juices.
Cook over medium high heat, stirring every couple minutes, until the mixture is thickened. This takes me about 25 minutes or so.
Transfer to your containers and refrigerate or freeze. If freezing, this jam will last up to 1 year. (BUT only if you forget it's there ;)
*You can also use 2 10 oz. bags of frozen blueberries for this recipe. Cook the frozen berries for 2-3 minutes before mashing. I find the frozen berries don't "set up" quite as well due to the extra moisture from being frozen, but it's still wonderful.
Elfwort and Elf Dock are folk names for elecampane, an herb whose roots are used in fairy magic. Scattering the root about is said to attract fairies to your home, and growing elecampane is said to attract them to your garden.
Elecampane, also called wild sunflower scabwort, and horseheal, is a perennial garden flower traditionally used to kill intestinal parasites and treat bronchial congestion. Traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine recommends elecampane for treatment of bronchitis and asthma. It is also said to improve digestion, and has been used for many years to heal skin infections in horses and sheep.
The root was employed by the ancients both as a medicine and as a condiment, and in England it was formerly in great repute as an aromatic tonic and stimulant of the secretory organs. As a drug, however, the root is now seldom resorted to except in veterinary practice, though it is undoubtedly possessed of antiseptic properties.
Today herbalists prescribe it as an expectorant and for water retention.
You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. ~Casare Pavese
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Welcome! Please pour yourself a cup of tea and settle in and relax with me awhile. As you'll notice, I am captivated by ancient times, a soul misplaced in this modern day. I have a love for my ancestry and I believe people who grow up without a sense of how yesterday has affected today, are unlikely to have a strong sense of how today affects tomorrow.