BBQ Chicken: Here’s a Good Tip

I’ve heard that using recycled cans is not a great idea because of the lining inside combined with the heat.

Using cake rings works great.  This keeps your chicken off the grill and crisps up the skin really well.

Bon appétit.  Enjoy!

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Repurposed Wood – Hallway Table – Retro Legs: You Can Do It Yourself

Recently, I’ve been going through all my old stuff.  I bought a scruffy looking table at Goodwill for $10 some time ago, never looking under all that terrible fake paint stain stuff.

Much to my surprise, it is wonderful quality pine wood.  So, I decided to do something with it.

Had another old 40’s table, so I took the legs and spray painted them with a dark Chameleon Purple (changes to dark Burgundy depending on the light):

And voila! After repurposing the old wood from a $10.00 table, sanding, using the legs from an old free table I had, plus some left over metal spray paint for the legs and hardware, here is what is looks like now:

It is not difficult to repurpose old things.  It just takes some imagination (or use other people’s ideas, Pinterest is so great for this!) and a bit of effort.  Old becomes new again, saving you money and bonus, reuse, recycle – REPURPOSE!!!  Total cost: $10.00, a few screws, spray paint & time.

Lemon Vinegar – The Art of Homemade, Safe Cleaning

Vinegar. A versatile & classic liquid, used in cooking & cleaning.

When it comes to cleaning, it’s a natural disinfectant, a brilliant cleaner, but … it stinks.

Salt & Vinegar Fish & Chips, sure, loves it! But not a house that smells like pure vinegar?  Too abrasive to the senses.

Hence, a formula for Lemon Vinegar.

Now, you can use orange peels if you like … I’m a lemon girl!

What you need:

500 ml Mason Jar or whatever size you wish

Peel from 2 -3 lemons (add more for bigger jar)

Vinegar

How to do it:

Place peels in jar. Fill to top with vinegar. Cap tightly.

Let sit in a cool, dark place for about 14 days, give or take.

ET VOILA!

Lemon scented vinegar to be used for making the house not only shine its cleanest, but smell like bright, fresh lemons!

Enjoy.

Plant a Tree Together for Mothers’ Day – Consider Rose of Sharon

My Mom has passed however, I do think of her everyday.

This year, I have Rose of Sharon trees that I have people picking up from my yard – in order to plant with their mothers, for Mothers’ Day.

Instead of cut flowers, or chocolates or other stuff, planting a tree together is symbolic of a strong relationship.

Plant, root, water, prune, watch it grow … it make for a wonderful gift that not only is a beautiful thing, but also a benefit to our Earth.

Rose of Sharon are beautiful trees that can also be pruned into bushes.  They come in a wonderful variety of colours, of which I have pink, lavender and white in my yard.  They are late summer bloomers, but so worth the wait, as the flowers are large in size and vibrant in colour.

Rose of Sharon do really well in full sun, but also thrive in partial shade.  They can reach 10′ in height and branch out over 6′ around.

I really love these trees.  Super hardy and easy to transplant.

I pull these trees up from sprouts up to 2′ and run them through a hydroponic set up I have for them.  This ensures they are well rooted.

Giving your mother the gift of planting a tree together is really a positive and unique idea that can also help replenish earth.

The Healthy Growing Lives of: Chives – Herb, Food, Plant & Flower

Chives: Easy Healthy Add to Liven Up Your Garden & Your Food

I have been taking a good long look at the plants I inherited when I bought my home.  I am blessed with a wonderful property, full of interesting plants, trees and animals.

Recently, for the last couple of years, my garden has been sprouting bunches of Chives.  This year is exceptional, so the following is an ode of information about and for the CHIVE.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a part of the same plant family as onions, scallions and garlic. They actually grow from small bulbs and have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses.

In the Middle Ages, chives were promoted as a cure for melancholy and believed to drive away evil spirits. Today we know that chives and chive flowers are high in vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. Therefore, they should be routinely added to recipes to help restore vital nutrients lost in cooking. This herb’s tangy aromatic taste come from its high concentration of sulfur compounds and other essential oils, which are also partly responsible for its healing properties.

Growing Chives: So Easy!!!

Chives can be started from seed but it’s easiest to find a friend that already has an herb garden and dig-up a clump of their chive plant and get started growing your fresh chives.

Once your herb garden is established and you start getting blossoms on your chive plants you’ll quickly find that it’s best to use scissors instead of pruning sheers or a knife on these plants. Scissors are especially useful when cutting your chives to prepare for your favorite dishes.

This hardy perennial grows from 12 to 24 inches tall, with pink and lavender flowers that have flavored meals for centuries. It prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil that high in organic matter. Planting rooted clumps is the easiest way to propagate chives. Seeds germinate slowly and require darkness, constant moisture, and temperatures of 60 degrees to 70 degrees F. Divide plants every few years. Chives also grow well in containers on a sunny windowsill or on your deck mixed with other herbs or edible flowers.

It’s just unbelievable how incredibly versatile chives can be. When you have an abundance of plants in your garden you can always make a chive bouquet.

Here’s a wonderful outdoor dining idea: place a chive bouquet in the center of your picnic table or outdoor dining area, the aroma can enhance dishes placed around it!

You can even use them as dried flower arrangements. They are very easy to dry and keep as edible flowers for your salads and soups.

Chives Save Lives: Surprising Medicinal Health Benefits

You may be surprised to find that there is research that supports how chives ease stomach distress, protect against heart disease and stroke and may help the body fight bacteria that can cause disease. In addition, the herb may increase the body’s ability to digest fat.

Therapeutic Effect:The medicinal properties of chives are as varied as their uses in the kitchen. Chives stimulate the appetite and promote good digestion. They can be used to ease stomach upset, clear a stuffy nose, reduce flatulence and prevent bad breath. Combined with a low-salt diet, they help lower high blood pressure. Plus, they have a mild diuretic effect, as well as some antibacterial properties.

Components: Chives are valued for their many essential minerals, including cardiac-friendly potassium, bone-strengthening calcium and blood-building iron. And unlike most other members of the onion family, chives are high in folic acid (a B vitamin), vitamin A and vitamin C. In fact, just 3 ½ ounces of chives supplies enough vitamin C to meet your daily requirement of 60 mg.

Cold Prevention: The high vitamin C content in chives can help prevent colds. They also speed recovery if a cold develops by helping the body to expel mucus; the sulfurous compounds in chives are natural expectorants.

Cholesterol Reduction: Scientific research shows that chives stimulate the body’s digestion of fat. Eaten regularly, chives may help lower blood cholesterol levels.

The Chive Flower: Tastes as Good as It Looks

Here are a few foodie food ideas …

Don’t overlook the chive flower. The chive’s delicate purple flowers have a milder flavor than the leaves and stems and add a decorative touch to salads, herb oils and other dishes.

Chive Flavored Oil: add 1 ½ ounces of chive blossoms to 1 quart of vegetable oil. After a week, the oil will turn lilac and take on the fragrance of the chive flowers. Use the oil on salads or in cooking. Keep it refrigerated when not in use!

Chive Salt: If you like the oniony flavor of chives, make your own Chive Salt to add zip to all sorts of dishes. First, add some chive leaves to some salt. Then bake the mixture in the oven to dry the leaves and blend the flavors. Store in an airtight jar.

Cottage Cheese with Chives

  • 8 ounces of cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 bunch chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • White pepper

1. Blend the cottage cheese and mustard.

2. Peel the shallot, chip finely and mix with the cottage cheese blend.

3. Wash and dry the chives and snip them finely. Stir about two-thirds of the chives into the cottage cheese mixture.

4. Season the cottage-cheese mixture with the paprika and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the remaining chives on top.

Food & Kitchen Tips

  • Cut chives just before you are ready to use them to preserve their vitamins, aroma and flavor. Chives are delicate; to prevent the loss of essential oils, snip them with kitchen shears rather than chopping or grinding.
  •  Don’t heat chives or they will lose their valuable vitamin C as well as their digestive properties
  •  Grow chives at home in a pot on a windowsill. Wait until the plant reaches about 6 inches in height before cutting. Harvest the chive leaves frequently to prevent blooming unless you specifically want to use the flowers. Once the plant blooms, the leave become less flavorful.
  • Freeze chives for future use. Frozen chives tend to retain more flavor than dried chives. Snip fresh chives into small pieces, then place them in an ice-cube tray and fill it with water. To thaw, put a chive cube in a strainer.

We hope you enjoyed the article on Chives.

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Garlic, Sweet Smell of Health: Benefits, Home Gardening Tips and Cold Cure Recipe

Garlic, that food we all love (or hate, but here at Stealth WE LOVE GARLIC!) has amazing medicinal uses. Recently, garlic health benefits have been the object of scientific research. Traditionally, it has been reputed as a cure for all diseases imaginable.

Listed below are some health benefits for Garlic, proper dose and what to look out for when you buy Garlic supplements at the store, along with a few home gardening tips about this wondrous food.

Garlic has always used in every aspect of cooking in Asian countries such as India and China for thousands of years. Numerous health claims have been made regarding the benefit of Garlic however only lately have any real data been presented to back some of the claims. Many companies have created their own formulations of garlic essence and garlic oil. These are being sold at health stores under names like Aged Garlic Extract, Ail, Ajo, Allii Sativi Bulbus, Allium, Camphor of the Poor, Clove Garlic, Garlic Oil, Da Suan, Lasun, Lasuna, Nectar of the Gods, Poor Man’s Treacle, Rason, Rust Treacle and Stinking Rose. The scientific name for Garic is Allium Sativum.

Fraud Warning

Be very careful buying odorless formulations of garlic supplements. If it is odorless, then it means that formulation may not contain a chemical called Allicin which is responsible for the garlic odor. Allicin is important as many health benefits from garlic. Look to make sure your product has 1.3% Alliin or 0.6% Allicin in it.

Dose

It is recommended to take 600 to 900mg of garlic tablets per day which is the equivalent of taking ½ to 1 clove of garlic a day.

Main Health benefits

Cholesterol Lowering Effects – Studies show garlic can lower your total cholesterol levels by up to 12% after taking it for 1 month. It can also lower triglyceride levels by 15% but will not raise your HDL levels (the good cholesterol levels). However the research done to estimate the figures above are heavily disputed with the current medical guidelines advising patients that garlic may have some effect but not significant clinical benefits in patients with high cholesterol.

Blood Pressure Effects – In the short term, garlic has been known to lower blood pressure by up to 10% in the systolic and diastolic readings. Most studies used the specific garlic powder formulation from Kwai and Lichtwer Pharma though some studies used the garlic extracts. The theory is that the mechanism of action of garlic is through stimulation of nitric oxide which relaxes your blood vessels and inhibition of your ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) so be careful if you are taking blood pressure medications from your pharmacy. It can cause an interaction.

Anticoagulant Effects – Garlic can make it harder for your blood to clot by reducing the ability of your platelets from sticking with each other and clotting. It also makes your blood “thinner” by reducing the viscosity or the flowabiltiy of your plasma in your blood. Be careful taking other herbal products or anticoagulant drugs like Warfarin (Coumadin) when taking high doses of garlic as it can increase your risk of bleeding out. Herbal products known to have anticoagulant effects are angelica, clove, danshen, ginger, ginkgo, red clover, turmeric, vitamin E and willow as well as a few other products. Taking fish oil supplements with garlic supplements can enhance this effect.

Gardening Garlic in Containers

This is the way I grow garlic.  I keep it separate from my other veggies that we grow.  Some veggies don’t like it.

Choosing a Garlic Variety
There are tons of garlic varieties to choose from and they are divided into two basic categories: hardneck types, which have a hard central stock with a single layer of cloves around it, and softneck types, which have swirling layers of cloves and no defined neck. I prefer hardneck varieties because they produce a flower bud called a scape in late spring. Scapes have a delicious mild garlicky flavor and taste amazing in pesto. In theory, you could plant garlic purchased from the grocery store, but it is often treated to prevent it from sprouting. For the best results and a more interesting array of varieties, buy garlic that was grown locally at a farmer’s market or purchase bulbs at a nursery.

Choosing Containers
Garlic has fairly shallow roots, but it is important to make sure they have plenty of room to stretch out in the soil. Choose a pot that is at least 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Half barrels and wooden crates work well, but you certainly do not need to buy a container for your garlic. The large black plastic containers that trees come in are a great choice, as are contractor buckets. Whatever container you use, make sure that it has drainage holes in the bottom. Place the container in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of bright, direct sunlight each day.

Use Good Potting Soil 
Garlic is prone to fungal root diseases, so it is important that the soil you plant the cloves in drains well. Don’t be tempted to put regular garden soil in the containers. It is too heavy and tends to get soggy over the winter. Instead use a high quality soil-less potting mix. These mixes typically contain a blend of coconut fiber or peat and compost, plus vermiculite or pearlite to help keep it light. I use a brand called Black Gold. Get the potting mix as damp as a wrung out sponge before placing it in the container. Fill the container to within about 2 inches of the rim.

Planting the Garlic
Break the garlic heads apart, being careful to keep the papery wrapper around each clove intact. Only plant the largest cloves (you can use the smaller ones to cook with).
Plant the garlic 2 inches in from the rim of the container, spacing the bulbs 5 inches apart in all directions. Use a piece of bamboo to make planting holes that are 3 inches deep. Plant one clove per hole, with the flat side down and the pointy end up. Backfill the hole with soil, making sure that the tip of the clove is about 1 inch below the surface. The garlic may sprout and then die back over the winter, but don’t worry. It will re-sprout again in the spring.

Caring for the Garlic Over the Winter
In very cold areas, you can place straw over the surface of the soil during periods where temperatures stay below freezing for an extended period of time. However, be prepared to remove it when temperatures rise, as the straw tends to stay damp and it will rot the garlic cloves. Skip using straw if you have wet, mild winters. In dry climates, don’t let the soil completely dry out. Keep it about as damp as a wrung out sponge.

Caring for the Garlic in Spring
In spring be sure to remove straw (if using it) as soon as temperatures rise above freezing. When the garlic begins to grow, fertilize it every 3 weeks with a dilute liquid organic fertilizer. Keep the soil consistently moist. Cut the scapes off just after they emerge to encourage the bulbs to grow larger. The bulbs will be ready for harvest in early summer when the bottom 1/3 of the leaves have yellowed.

However, I do cheat when spring comes.  The bulbs I start begin to sprout and I then put them into good potting soil in containers.

Cheap and Effective Cold Cure – Garlic & Ginger Soup (Recipe)

What you need:

A pack of Ramen Noodles (or whatever Chinese style soup noodles are around, cheap)

2 cups water

Lots of garlic (depends on your taste, but more is better)

Fresh ginger (or powder if you have)

Frozen or fresh veggies cut up into small pieces such as broccoli, green beans, red peppers, peas, carrots etc.

1 Tablespoon of sesame oil

Chili-garlic sauce (mm mm good) to taste

How to do it:

1) Boil the 2 cups of water along with the Ramen flavouring packet.

2) Add your garlic and ginger.

3) If you have frozen veggies add them and boil them out part of the way.  You will need the final 2 minutes for the noodles.

4) If you have fresh veggies, I suggest only slightly longer than blanching them.  I like mine pretty raw. Add them in.

5) For the final two minutes, add in your noodles and cook till done.

6) As an addition, I like to put in leftover chicken, beef or pork, cubed down small.  Frozen shrimp too.

7) Eat it up, yum.

This really helps me when I have a cold. Soothing, hot and HOT!

Garlic is an amazing food that is not to hard to grow, a benefit to your health and above all, really, really tasty!

P.S. For all you preppers, powdered garlic is said to have the same benefits.  Dehydrate and grind down.  Can be stored for up to 5 years in airtight containers.

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10 Unusual and Useful Hiding Places for Valuables at Home

Burglars don’t want to be seen or heard, so if they do enter your home, they want to be out quick. Break-in, run-out.  Money, jewellery and small electronics are the choice prizes for most of these culprits, since small to pocket and carry is what they want.

1. A Decoy Can Be The Best Place to Hide

There are several ways to distract burglars, the best one being to leave out a decoy.  One of my favourites I’ve heard is to leave a jewellery box on your bedroom dresser or a box in your sock drawer that contains $50-$200 in cash, some fake gold & cubic zirconia jewellery plus one key with the label, “safety-deposit box”.  Albeit you may lose a few bucks, the illusion has been created and the deal sealed with a fake safety-deposit key.  The burglars will take that and run, as the majority of break and enters last no longer than 10 minutes from start to finish.

Always remember, burglars can’t afford to be seen or heard, so they need to be quick.  With adrenaline pumping, their decisions will be immediate and reactive to what they have found.  A decoy is a perfect way to satisfy them.

Other great places to consider:

2. Sew an extra “pocket” at the bottom-back of long window curtains (not sheers).

3. An empty, opaque aspirin, medicine or vitamin bottle. Roll up your money, use an elastic & insert.

4. Tape your money envelope & even small jewellery (use duct tape, a handy person’s best friend!) to the bottom of your dining room or kitchen table.

5. Tape your stuff to the bottom of your cat’s litter box. Or in the alternative, wrap it up in skid marked underwear (ewww is all I said when I heard that one!)

6. A couple of coffee cups, with your valuables taped inside, upside down in the dishwashing rack or machine.

7. Suitcases or chests with false bottoms.

8. There is usually a compartment hidden at the bottom of stand up and table lamps.  As long as you are careful (electricity), its a good stashing place.

9. Hidden crawl spaces underneath your home.  Air ducts in an apartment.

10. In plain sight specialty modified items, such as furniture & even documents, like these (which I love!):

And to top off the good, here’s a few of the worst I’ve heard:

Sock & underwear drawers

Glove compartment of car (like really?)

Stereo equipment

Mattresses

The biggest suggestion when hiding your valuables is to have a second person you can trust to know where they are.  This holds true especially in the case of the elderly because should they pass, their valuables may accidentally end up either being thrown out or eventually sold at a garage sale.

Since burglars don’t want to be seen or heard, we suggest our quality security laminates for basement windows, patio doors and 1st floor windows. No burglar is going to try bashing glass over and over.  Otherwise, we hope that the ideas above help with securing your valuables.

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