Growing Tomatoes Part 2: Transplanting Outdoors & Care

Growing Tomatoes; Transplanting Outdoors & General Care After seeding inside, then transplanting tiny seedlings to larger pots to grow and develop, the time will eventually come when the plants will need to move outside. In this post I will show you how to get your tomato plants ready for the outdoors and how to further care for them. In my previous post, Growing Tomatoes Part 1: Seeding & Transplanting Seedlings, I went through the process of seeding and caring for tomato sprouts. Growing Tomatoes Part 3: Common Problems & Solutions is also worth reading to keep you a step ahead, preventing disease. Once tomato sprouts have reached a certain size, such as in the picture below, they will take off and grow very quickly; several inches a week is not uncommon. Tomato plants crave direct sun and warmth all day long and they will also absorb a lot of water. I often water twice a day at this stage, with holes on the bottom of the cups to allow drainage.  May 1: May 6: If you have extra plants on hand to share with friends and family, this is a good time to pass them along. Preparing for Transplanting Outdoors: Weathering Once the weather has warmed up sufficiently and the danger of night frost has just about passed, it is time to “weather” your plants in preparation for outdoor transplanting. Weathering means to gradually get them used to the climate […] Read more »

Growing Tomatoes Part 1: Seeding & Transplanting Seedlings

    Growing Tomato Plants from Seed Growing plants from seed can be a very rewarding and fun experience when you start with just a few, basic know-how’s. I have seeded everything from broccoli, peppers, and watermelon, to beans and much more. And, of course, lots of tomatoes! In this post I will use pictures to show you what to do to plant tomato seeds, how to care for the tiny seedlings, and also how to transplant them when the time is right. The first time I seeded anything at all, more than a decade ago, was a complete flop. Since then, I have learned just how easy it can be and have grown to really love seeding my own plants. My absolute biggest mistake in the very beginning was to put the newly seeded trays away from where I could see them, in order to also keep them away from my cute little toddlers. The problem was that since I didn’t see them, I forgot about them (the trays, not my toddlers! Ha!) and didn’t water the seedlings often enough. When I did water, I didn’t realize just how fragile these tiny plants were, and knocked them over while watering from a watering can that was far too forceful for them. The poor little plants didn’t stand a chance and quickly gave up. And so did I. I did not believe I had it in me to grow anything […] Read more »

Savory & Tender Fall Apart Pot Roast, Recipe

    Savory & Tender Fall Apart Pot Roast To make an excellent, fall-apart tender pot roast, choose a 2-3 pound piece of chuck roast. This particular cut of beef is marbled with a lot of fat and connective tissues and is initially quite tough, but becomes very juicy and fork tender if cooked the right way. The fat also adds a lot of flavor! Contrary to an already lean and tender piece of meat, which needs a shorter cooking time and dry, high heat, a chuck roast needs to cook for several hours in moist heat.  In other words, low & slow to break down fat and tenderize the meat for that fall-apart doneness a good pot roast is known for. The result is juicy, tender meat that melts in your mouth! Various recipes of herbs and spices can be used with this cooking method, and personally I love to use my crock pot to slow cook this wonderful, savory meat. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! Cooking the Meat The first thing you should do as you prepare to cook a pot roast is to sear it on all sides. Fry the meat in oil on high heat until browned all over. This time I cut my roast into serving pieces, but it […] Read more »

Rich Homestead Sour Cream Ham & Potato Soup Recipe

Sour Cream Ham & Potato Soup One of my favorite soup recipes of all times, Sour Cream Ham & Potato Soup, is incredibly rich in flavors with no skimping on the good stuff! The base of the soup is stock from simmering a ham bone ahead of time, for hours on end. Straining the stock, then adding potatoes, vegetables, and loads of leftover ham, and a bit of heavy cream and sour cream at the very end, you’ll find yourself enjoying a soup unlike any other. Many soups use canned broth from the grocery store as a base, which is quite inferior to stock made at home. Homemade stock made by simmering a bone most of the day, is rich in flavors and dense in nutrients such as gelatin, calcium, magnesium, condroitin, glucosamine and more,  as explained so nicely in the article Broth is Beautiful, by Sally Fallon. When originally searching for ham soup recipes on-line, I found mostly recipes with lots of beans, which did not appeal to me. It just wasn’t what I was looking for. I ended up using my own ideas and mixing up ingredients I thought would fit well with the soup, also adding cream and sour cream at the very end as suggested  by Paula Dean in her recipe. I was so happy with the results that I couldn’t wait to make it again, wishing I had purchased more than just one bone-in-ham during […] Read more »

Super Bowl Appetizer: Six Layer Mexican Guacamole Dip

Party Appetizer: Six Layer Taco Guacamole Dip

Six Layer Mexican Guacamole Dip With Super Bowl coming up, I thought I would share this awesome six layer Mexican dip, which not only looks great but is very tasty as well! Served with tortilla chips, it is a perfect appetizer for any gathering, whether it’s for a party, game night, or for a bigger event such as Super Bowl. With taco seasoning mixed into the refried beans on the bottom layer, then guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and cheese topped with green onions, this dip delivers mixed flavors that complement each other. One recipe will often serve a crowd of 20 people or more during an event when several other dishes are offered as well. If you are expecting as many as 40-50 people, I would double to make two bowls. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! In addition to some spices and lemon juice for the guacamole, these are the ingredients needed: Taco seasoning mix, avocados, sour cream, salsa, refried beans, cheese, and scallions (which is the same as green onions.) This recipe can easily be made gluten free by choosing certified gluten free ingredients. However, the ingredients needed for this recipe are often free from gluten naturally, though they can sometimes contain traces if not certified gluten free. The Layers: I like to […] Read more »

Making a Tracing Light Box in Seconds, Using Flashlight

DIY Tracing Light Box, Using Flash Light

Seeing my son being tempted to put a sheet of paper onto a flat-screen computer monitor to trace a picture, I felt inspired to make him a tracing light box instead. I explained to him that the monitor surface would scratch if he used it to trace, and tracing is what he wanted to do. Remembering a pin on Pinterest, I decided to make a light box by using what we already had on hand, and I came up with this simple solution: A tracing box made from a clear bin and a flashlight! In a matter of seconds I simply put a flashlight standing inside a clear plastic container, and the light shining through made the picture visible through the sheet of paper placed on top. When looking at my bins, I found that most of them had edges or ridges on the bottom that would make tracing difficult. But I also found that using the sides of a medium sized plastic container worked perfectly! Instead of tracking down a light bulb on a cord to make one like the pin on pinterest suggested, I just stuck a flashlight inside. A shorter flashlight that spreads the light out more evenly across the box would probably have improved the light box, but using what we had took seconds and worked quite well. My son did move the flashlight around a little bit to better light up the areas he was […] Read more »