Idle No More – What in the World is Happening to Us?

The time is now for a Hungry New Year.

Hungry for Truth, Justice & Solutions.

People are NOT DISPOSABLE.  We must be IDLE NO MORE.

Tomato Powder – For Those Tired of Canning Already!

Ah, the harvest of tomatoes is a plentiful this year, however … Honestly, I am sick of canning tomatoes.

Too much time.  Too much work.  Too much space.

You get the point.

So I thought I would look up Do-It-Yourself sundried tomatoes, being all clever to figure something different out.  I do love sundried tomatoes but until I looked them up, I did not realize the difficulty in storing them.  Well, I don’t really want to have to freeze tons of sundried tomatoes.

As I was surfing through delicious photos of reds and yellows, recipes slowly going through the back of my mind, I saw the words:

TOMATO POWDER

how the POWDER changed my cooking life forever

These words combined have made my love of tomatoes grow beyond measure. And taste.

MR. DEHYDRATOR

Cutting up large numbers of my beautiful, organic tomatoes (courtesy of my wonderful garden this year!) in slices no more than 1/4 inch thick, sprinkle with a dash of pickling salt and now steps in Mr. Dehydrator.

The tomatoes get a really good air drying for around 12 – 20 hours.  Toss in some freshly chopped basil or oregano from my garden on top of the slices and add a punch of flavour.

MR. SPICE GRINDER

Spice grinder in one hand and the other throws a bunch of crushed, dehydrated tomato slices in.

BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ

It’s pulse grinding.  Keep at it until you have taken a peek and find the consistency you are looking for, which for me is finely ground tomato powder.

USES

2 tablespoons of concentrated tomato powder plus about 1/2 cup of water creates the most amazing tomato paste to use for sauces.

Sprinkle a small amount into your foods, depending on taste.  Use anywhere you would use tomato or sundried tomato in recipes, just make sure to taste and adjust accordingly.

ALWAYS TASTE.

It is so versatile.

THE TASTE

It totally tastes like ketchup chips minus the chip part.

STORAGE

Storage is the best part it takes up WAY less room.  I store in a mason jar with a bunch of rice at the bottom to keep the moisture out.

Hope you enjoy, let me know any recipes that you may know of that uses tomato powder.

Green Tomatoes? Chow Down On Canadiana Style Chow Chow – Fresh Gardening Recipe

The Art of a Great Chow Chow

This year, I’m on the verge of  a tantalizingly tasty tomato crop.  Reds, yellows & even purples I have painstakingly been gardening in a very organic fashion.  But I always find some that have found a home on the ground, or a few that have a brown patch or two … and besides, I don’t always want to wait for the September for the last of the green tomatoes to make something with them … something called Chow Chow.

Many of you have been reading about the horrors of genetically modified produce & meat, and I have been doing my best to avoid GMOs & processed foods.  Corn syrup, for instance, has given rise to heated arguments between scientists & health specialists & all kinds of people, and we all know we find it in everything.

One thing it’s in is Catsup. Or Ketchup. Heinz lists it here in Canada as ‘liquid syrup’, but we all know it’s genetically modified corn syrup.

Catsup or Ketchup is for some, like butter is to bread … a marvellously sweet, spicy & salty condiment that goes with everything from the classic french fry to being used as a flavour enhancer in curry sauces.

I don’t like bottled Ketchup. Sorry Heinz, but I can taste the fakeness. It just isn’t like it was when I was a kid (and I’m an OLD lady!).

But recently, thanks to a twitter friend, my attention was brought to a fantastically deliciously wonderful condiment that goes by the name “Chow Chow”.

Thank you dear twitter friend, because now my taste buds have taken me back to my childhood of travelling up to the cottage, stopping by the side of the road on Highway 11 North in Ontario at Dutchie’s Restaurant, where they made the best french fries I have ever eaten in my life.  And I know, I KNOW, they had homemade ‘catsup’.  Chow Chow brings me right back to the old style counter seats & smell of the fryer.  Enough memories, let’s make some Chow Chow and can it!

What you will need:

6 cups of coarsely chopped green tomatoes*

* remove white core, & if too many or too large seeds remove as well

3 medium to large size onions, coarsely chopped

3 medium apples, coarsely chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped up

1/4 – 1/2 cup of water

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of maple syrup

2 cups of white vinegar* (5% acetic acid)

* substitutes: red wine vinegar, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of lemon or lime juice

1 tbs. of mustard powder

1/4 tsp. of allspice (I put 1/2, I love it!)

1/4 tsp. of cumin

1/4 tsp. of red chili powder (spicy, don’t put in if you don’t like it)

Just a pinch, or two, of cinnamon

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup of pickling salt

In Quebec, additions such as green & red peppers and/or cauliflower are also included.

I always say, “Make sure you play with your food!”

How to Make Chow Chow:

In non-reactive pot (enamel, stainless steel), put 1/4 cup of water at bottom and heat on high.

Toss all ingredients except maple syrup & vinegar.  Bring up to almost a boil & simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the touch of Canadiana style – maple syrup – and give it a stir.  Then mix in all the vinegar.

Let this wonderful pot of goodness simmer on a low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

Depending on your choice, you can can this chunky or fine.  I prefer it done fine, so I either mush it through a sieve or I use my hand blender.

Water bath canning takes 10 minutes (but as most know, this depends on your altitude.)

Serve with french fries, hot dogs, hamburgers …

One of my absolute favourite uses is as a wonderful side sauce for Jerk’d Chicken or Pork, and it goes heavenly with West Indian Curry.

Please try my recipe & let me know how it turns out for you.

Enjoy!

Name Those Rescue Bunnies and an Update on Henry, Rescue Boxer Puppy

Seems I have been given the choice to help a few animals in the past week and a half.  So I have chosen to help them.

Yesterday, I also become the Momma to 2 orphaned rabbits, asides from rescuing Henry!  And these babies need names, so I’m hoping you all out there will help out … details after the Henry update.

Henry came to us last week.  He is a Boxer and has the best temperament! He is gentle and loving.

We rescued him from a crystal meth addict’s home, where he was crated (caged) in extremely cramped quarters and most likely, not given proper food and water.  We’ve had him at the vet’s office twice this past week, to get checked out.  He is 15 lbs underweight at 9 months and is suffering from both eyes being infected.  So now he’s a cone head, and he’s receiving proper medical, a proper diet and above all else, TONS OF LOVE …

Henry is a cone head for the next week or so.
He came to us 15 lbs underweight and eyes infected. He’s getting all the care he needs now!

And now to those bunnies …

Seems some Jack Rabbits were orphaned on a large energy company’s property … the mother was eaten by coyotes & so, once again, I am doing my best to rescue another set of animals.

They are approximately a week and a half old and since I work from home, plus having a big property, I’ve decided to help them out for the next few weeks until they are a bit bigger and strong enough to be let go again.

Jack Rabbits or Hares, are not domesticated.  These creatures tend to live singular lives, except when mating season happens.  They do not fare well in captivity, however, when orphaned, can be successfully cared back to health and strong growth.

I’m feeding them baby formula with an eye dropper, along with fresh purple clover, grass, apples & carrots.

AND THEY NEED NAMES!!!!  Will you help out?

Please leave names in the comments section.

My 8 year old is going to pick out the best ones for these beautiful little creatures.

We Need Names!!!
Please Help Us!

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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A Piece of Haunted History – Fun House Mirror, Crystal Beach Amusement Park

fun house mirror

I own this original Crystal Beach Fun House mirror. It is pretty spooky!

I am lucky enough to come into possession one of the original Fun House mirrors, said to be haunted, from the Crystal Beach Amusement Park, located hearth the northern shore of Lake Erie, near Niagara Falls & Ft. Erie, Ontario.  The following is a fascinating summary of the history of the Crystal Beach Amusement Park, which itself has been said to be haunted. Now gone, but not forgotten.

I certainly can’t forget.  That mirror stares back at me!

History 

Crystal Beach, located on the Northern (Canadian) shore of Lake Erie near the cities of Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, Ontario operated from 1880 until 1989. During its peak days in the 1940’s and early 1950’s about 20,000 visitors walked through it gates every day in the summer. Ferry service ran between Buffalo, New York and the park at many times ensuring easy access for customers from the US. In 1989 when the park closed due to financial issues we lost of our great amusement parks and treasured piece of history.

Crystal Beach began as a campground complete with an auditorium, tenting and a picnic ground. The campground became so popular that over 150,000 people visited the site every year. A group of investors began to see an opportunity emerging and began to install amusements and a pier. The first ferry service between the park and Buffalo began on July 16th 1888 with the first ferry being called “The Dove”. The park was to have opened four days earlier but ferry required 4 days of work on its side paddle before service could commence.

The park’s investors also built the Assembly House Hotel, which was later renamed The Royal. This first hotel on site burned to the ground in 1923.

The ferry company which began with regular service with The Dove (500 passengers) would later start another service with The Superior (1,200 passengers) beginning the 1890 season. They would then buy The Pearl (800 passengers) which would later be re-named The Crystal in 1891 to meet the ongoing demand of Americans wanting to visit the park.

Other ferries used in the first years of the park’s existence were The Gazelle, The Pilgrim, The State of New York, The AJ Timon, The Garden City, The Darius Cole and the Puritan which burned to the water in 1901.

Ferry service to the park continued until 1956. By this time the main ferries were the Americana and the Candiana; both were capable of carrying 3,000 passengers.

In 1896 the Ontario Southern Railroad decided to complete with the bustling ferry service and built an electrical railway from Ridgeway to the north to the park. It consisted of a center running rail between 2 guide rails and was mounted on posts 3 to 9 meters above the ground. The railway earned the nicknames Peg-Leg and Bicycle railway. The railway only operated for 3 seasons.

 The first roller coaster was installed by TM Harton in either 1902 or 1905 in shape of a figure 8. This coaster was in the park until 1918. Another coaster was installed in the park called The Giant. The original figure 8 coaster was rumored to have been sold to Erie Beach Park.

In 1908 as profits began to seriously climb the park was sold to The Lake Erie Excursion Company, another ferry company. They introduced a water system to the park and also built another hotel, The Bon Air, and completely revamped the midway expanding it to four times its previous size.

In 1909 the Backety-Back rollercoaster was added to the park at a cost of $50,000.00. It had two cars with 10 double seats and was in the park until 1926.

Amusements advertised for the 1909-1910 season under the new ownership included: the aerial swing, an athletic field and track, Backety-Back coaster, a bathing area, boating, bowling and box ball alleys, bump the bumps, a cake walk, the dance pavilion, an electric theatre, a gypsy camp, the house that Jack built, a Japanese ball game, a penny arcade, a photo studio, a roller rink, rivers of the world, a shooting gallery, a theatre trip to the North Pole and the figure 8 roller coaster.

The park was made famous by the construction of The Cyclone roller coaster which was built in 1927. A full time nurse was kept on staff due to so many passengers passing out on the intense ride. In 1948 The Comet replaced The Cyclone and was built using many of the parts of The Cyclone. The Comet would run until the park’s closure.

By 1983 the park was having serious financial problems due to high interest loans and poor weather. The park would pass into receivership with the accounting firm Peat, Marwick, Thorne and the Canadian Imperial Back of Commerce (CIBC) becoming the official owners. During the next 6 years attempts would be made to rejuvenate the park that would ultimately fail leading to the park’s complete closure in 1989.

The reasons given for the park’s closure was its inability to compete with the new and more modern amusement parks being built in New York State(Darien Lake), Toronto (Canada’s Wonderland) and most especially in Niagara Falls (Marineland) with its brand new ultra-modern steel roller coaster.

When the park closed The Comet was moved to The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Queensbury, New York where it still operates today. The park’s Ferris wheel was moved to Centreville Amusement on the Toronto Islands in Toronto and also still operates to this day. By its closure in 1989 the park covered between 18 and 28 hectares.

After its closure the grounds were re-designated as residential and the area is now covered by private homes. All that remains of the once grand park is a hill that was once part of a ride and a shattered ferry dock.

Legends and Paranormal Activity

Well it would be most interesting to talk to the people who now live on the grounds of what was once the park. As with most amusement parks in the late 19th and early 20th century the park had a safety record that would appall anyone in the modern age with more than a few deaths rumored to have occurred. Activity reported at the old site include: feeling of being watched, light anomalies, disembodied voices and the occasional phantom prowling.

The loss of Crystal Beach ended yet another tie we had with a more innocent time. As people’s needs have changed in this fast paced and stressful world the rides had to become more modern and intense. It is perhaps a lesson for us all that we need to be twisted upside down in a corkscrew or dropped a 100 feet straight down in order to be thrilled these days. No longer are most people content with a wooden coaster, ferris wheel or a simple merry-go-round.

Good-bye to one of the last grand old amusement parks; good-bye to Crystal Beach you will be missed.

Photos

 

I think I have seen shadows around the fireplace the Fun House mirror is hanging over and the room seems a lot colder than it did before I got it.
Could be my imagination.  What do you think?
Hope you enjoy the article.  Please follow us on Twitter @stealtharmour
source: haunted sites in N.A.

Gardening Protection: 10 Natural Insecticides and Repellents For You to Use

Howdy Folks! Yes, I put that SH*T on my plants (see further down) to keep the bugs away!  Besides Franks, here’s a few ideas to tell those pesky insects to bug off:

Depending on the kind of vegetables you’ll be growing in your vegetable garden, the methods of getting rid of the pests will change. And since that could turn out to be a never ending topic, let’s tackle this a little differently. Given below are some general and natural insecticides for vegetable gardens that will work for any kind of vegetable garden. So take note and start moving.

Also, here is a good guide to herbs that you can grow that are also natural repellents: Your Garden: Growing Herbs That Repel Insects & Other Critters Naturally

Tomato Leaves: Take some tomato leaves and add cornstarch (1 tbs) and water (3-5 pints) and blend well in the juicer. Now strain the liquid and transfer the contents into a spray bottle. Spray around the plants for getting rid of ants in vegetable garden. Actually a whole other set of bugs as well.

Vegetable Oil Soap: Take any mild liquid soap and measure out about ½ cup of the same. Add vegetable oil (2 cups) in that and mix together in a blender. To a tablespoon of this mixture, add 1 quart of water. Use this formula to cover both sides of the leaves on our plant. Make sure that you do not use a stronger formula ‘coz it’ll be harmful for your plants. And even though this is a tedious process, it really works in answering how to get rid of bugs in houseplants as well as other insects that infest houseplants and vegetable gardens.

Garlic Spray: Take about 4 garlic cloves and chop them up. Now add them in a liter of water and let it sit through an entire night over. You can boil garlic cloves in a cup of paraffin wax as well. Now add some soap flakes to the same by grating about a level full of any mild soap bar in it. Mix the liquid well and transfer into a spray bottle. Spray over the leaves.

The other alternative to this is to add hot chillies or onions to the same. Garlic has been known to get rid of spider mites, rabbits, mosquitoes and several other garden pests. This has been seen to work wonders as a natural insecticide for basil and other plants.

I would suggest to watch the reaction of your plants after spraying with a garlic infused recipe.  Some plants may not like it.

Mixed Recipe: Mix 3 tbs of onion and garlic juice, 1 tbs pf Tabasco sauce, 3 tbs skim milk, 2 tbs baby shampoo in 1 gallon of water. Mix all ingredients well and spray all over the plants. Repeat every 10 days.

Neem Oil: Neem leaves are extremely bitter to taste and are usually used as a natural insecticide. Oil made from these leaves is also makes for one of the very effective and natural insecticides for vegetable gardens. Just dab a cotton ball into the neem oil and spread over the plants. Neem oil as insecticide will not only repel the insects but also discourage them from breeding.

Cloves: Crush several cloves in a gallon of water, mix well, let sit overnight and then use this mixture to spray over the plants. The strong smell of the cloves drives the insects away.

Wormwood Spray: Take some wormwood leaves and dry them out till you have about 15 gm of these. Add these to a liter of water and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Now cool the liquid and spray on plants. This is a strong solution and should only be used for larger pests and insects.

Cayenne Pepper (Diluted Frank’s Red Hot Sauce) – I put that SH*T on everything, including my plants.  Diluted with water of course.  Or use powdered cayenne pepper mixed with a litre of water and 1 tsp. of baby shampoo. Spray onto plants.

Crushed Mint & Cucumber Peels: Problems with ants? No more. Use this in your garden and also, along any entry points ants may have into your home. Bitter cucumbers work best.

Essential Oils: Try essential oils such as lemon balm (citronella), pennyroyal, lavender, and rose geranium mixed with 1 tsp baby shampoo and 1 litre of water. Wash before and after spending time outdoors.

The advantage of using natural insecticides for vegetable gardens is that it rids the insects without harming the plants. And that is exactly what you need in the end. Now that you know what some of the ways of controlling insects in vegetable gardens are, use them and rid the area for a cleaner and better garden.

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