Really cool Halloween Ideas: Don’t know what to be? Why not try a virtual costume?

He's not REALLY a vampire, is he?

He’s not REALLY a vampire, is he?

Halloween is right around the corner again and the same question always comes up? What should I be for Halloween?

If you are a fan of The Walking Dead or True Blood or maybe even the new cool The Originals or how about the awesome American Horror Story, you may have zombies or vampires or creepy things on the brain.  Both have been around for as long as people have been conjuring up monsters in their imaginations.

In comes a cool idea – try out your ‘costume’ virtually online!  Are you familiar with fiverr? Fiverr is a website that offers skilled people who will do all kinds of interesting jobs for $5.  One of them is having your photo transformed into a zombie, vampire or even demon.

photo of the living dead

photo of the living dead

Pretty cool, huh?  If you are interested in having this kind of work done, check out the link to the fiverr job here – HALLOWEEN STYLE YOUR PHOTO for $5.

Last cool pic:

supernatural

supernatural

Top 5 #Prepper Twitter Profiles – #PrepperTalk #Preppers #socialmedia

5. @zombielyptic

Twitter Description:

Fighting Global Stupidization! ZombieLyptic Is A Community Dedicated To SHTF Disaster Preparedness And Survival In A Post Apocalyptic World. Follow Me

Texas · http://www.zombielyptic.com/

About 1,400 followers

4. @snomannews

Twitter Description:

The best source on the web for emergency preparedness! Survival, guns, supplies, tea party lover, freedom expert. We follow back.

http://www.survivalnewsonline.com

Current followers: approximately 3,600

3. @isurvivalskills

Twitter Description:

Anything related to #bushcraft#survival#preparedness#preppers#preppertalk#shtf#wrol#teotwawkihttp://paper.li/isurvivalskills/1314252498 …

http://isurvivalskills.blogspot.com

Current followers: approximately 3,900

2. @beprepared_com

Twitter Description:

“Helping People Prepare for 25 years. Food Storage, Emergency Kits, Water Filtration, First Aid, MRE’s, Survival Kits, Camping Gear, Preparedness, and more.

Utah USA · http://beprepared.com

Current followers: approximately 5,000

1. @SurvivorJane

Twitter Description:

Girlie Girl once clueless about what was happening in Politics, Economy, Disasters. Passion: Educating Ppl in Survival/Preparedness Creator of #PrepperTalk

United States · http://www.survivorjane.com

Current followers: approximately 6,000

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.

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!

Repurposed Wood Shelves into Country Style Crates – Do It Yourself

repurposed wood turned into crates

I found an old, solid wood shelf in the trash and stared at it.  I also had some pallet wood left over from another old shelf.

What to do.

Repurposing wood into something new takes some thought.  What is the shape of the wood? How much of the shape can be used without altering it too much? What kind of creation becomes the result only takes your imagination and some effort.

I sawed apart the shelving into sections and sanded off the old and extremely ugly varnish.  The wood underneath was beautiful.  Then it finally occurred to me: the wood & shape of the shelving reminded me of those old fashioned country style fruit and veggie crates.  Only even better.

So, with the help of some pallet wood I already had, I cut it into 2 bases and 1 top, allowing me to not only have a crate, but a chest as well.  A few screws and a bit more sanding and going from nothing to something:

Cost: A couple dozen screws & time.

Please consider repurposing when designing in your home.  There are so many creative ideas out there!

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.

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!