How to Grow Black-eyed Susan from Seeds

Black-Eyed_Susan_(1046464129)Black-eyed Susan’s are a very common and fairly easy to grow plant in North America. The flowers are bright yellow with a dark center. They are considered to be perennials and are easy to grow from seeds. In fact the plant will drop it’s seeds each fall and you will find small plants emerging from the soil in the spring.

If you know someone who has Black-eyed Susan’s growing you can ask to collect the seeds in the fall and keep overwinter to sow in the early spring (earlier the better). I have also spread the seeds in prepared soil in the late fall and have had several seedlings grow up early the next spring. If you don’t know anyone with Black-eyed Susan seeds you can buy them in your local grocery store, nursery, or hardware store. I recently bought some seeds while visiting Mount Vernon in Virginia, they are heirloom seeds from George Washington’s Estate (I also picked up heirloom Columbine seeds).

1. Prepare soil by removing weeds, grass, and rocks. Add mulch to soil and blend well (however, Black-eyed Susan’s are known for growing even in poor soil) – the better the soil, the better the results will be.
2. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the soil. The seeds will fall into the cracks of the soil and do not need to be covered.
3. Water the seeds immediately and carefully after spreading the seeds, so that the wind will not blow them away. The seeds are pretty small.

It should take from 2 – 3 weeks for the seeds to germinate. When the seedlings take hold thin out the plants to 1 – 1 ½ feet apart. Black-eyed Susan’s tend to do well even when crowding but will take hold much better when they are properly spaced.

After the first year you may have to thin the plants out annually as the seeds germinate and take hold pretty easily.

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Cream Cheese Cake Squares

chess squares
creamy, cheesy cake squares
This is a very sweet dessert that you need only a small square to satisfy your sweet tooth. It is super easy to make and you can have the kids help out.

Ingredients
1 box of yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese or neufchatel, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar (yes, that says 4 cups – it is a very sweet and creamy dessert)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2. Spray 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray or wipe down with light coat of oil.
3. Mix together the cake mix, melted butter, and on egg to form a soft dough.
4. Press the dough into the bottom of the 9 X 13 pan.
5. Mix the powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and the remaining 2 eggs in mixer until well blended – the mix should be smooth (about 1 to 2 minutes).
6. Pour the sugar mixture over the top of the crust.
7. Bake in oven for 40 – 50 minutes – the top will look a light golden brown color.

Enjoy the great tasting cake squares, serve to friends so that you do not eat it all…

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Brown Sugar Substitute Recipe

You have a recipe that calls for brown sugar and there is none in the pantry. What do you do? Do you make something else? or do you just forget about it? Maybe you run to the store because you really want those cookies. You really don’t have to, it is easy to make your own brown sugar at home with white sugar and molasses.

What you need:
1 cup White sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (more if you like dark brown sugar)

Simply mix the molasses in with the white sugar until it is well combined and use in the recipe. You can make extra and store in an airtight container.

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Hamburger Spice Mix

Hamburger
Here is an easy to make ahead of time spice to mix into your hamburgers. Makes the burgers tastier.

Recipe makes 2 ¼ tablespoons

Ingredients

1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoons salt (you can cut this back if you are trying to limit your salt intake)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together and add to your next batch of hamburgers. Spice the burgers to your taste.
How to Use: I mix about 2 teaspoons in with 3 tablespoons of water and then add to hamburger with a dash of worcestershire sauce. Makes great hamburgers.

You can also mix in with any recipe that calls for hamburger.

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Oatmeal Facial

Oatmeal is great for a Facial
An oatmeal facial is great for oily skin and also a great way to relax.

An oatmeal facial is great if you have oily skin and are looking for a great homemade facial. Oatmeal facials are easy to make. You do not need to go out and spend a lot of money on store-bought facials, save your money and treat yourself to a wonderful facial at home by yourself or with friends.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons oatmeal ground (blender, or food processor)
  • water

Directions:

Grind the oatmeal and add enough water to make a thick and smooth paste. Spread the mask over the face being careful to avoid the eyes. Allow to dry about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove with cool or cold water.

A link to my original article about homemade facials Make your own Facials and Save Money Pampering Yourself

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How to make Donuts with Glaze

Glazed Donuts
Homemade Glazed Donuts

Want to be a hero to your kids and husband, try your hand at making these great tasting glazed donuts – and you’ll like them as well. This recipe is for making small donuts that are large in taste. Great for guests or just for the family. I always thought making donuts would be difficult and messy. Although I found it messy to make, they were not at all difficult.

Ingredients
Donuts

3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry active yeast
8 oz plain flour (about 2 cups)
3 tbsp sugar
dash of salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter (cold to room temperature – not melted)

Glaze:

1/3 cup butter melted
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons hot water or as needed

Plus enough oil to cover the bottom of a wok or deep fryer with a few inches.

Homemade donuts
Easy to make Donuts

Directions:

Step 1: In a large measuring cup, combine the milk and boiling water and add the teaspoon of sugar and yeast. Stir gently, allow the mixture to sit in a warm place to allow the yeast to activate – it should become foamy with a very yeasty smell.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, the remaining sugar, and the salt. Cut in the butter using your fingers, fork, or a pastry blender – it should look like crumbs.

Step 3: Add the egg (give it a quick beat), then the yeast mixture, to the flour mix. Stir until well mixed and the dough is smooth – about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter top or floured waxed paper – knead for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough feels springy and there are small bubbles under the surface of the dough. Place the dough into a raising bowl and cover with clean kitchen cloth or plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Allow to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).

Step 5: When the dough has risen, place the dough on a flat surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Take each piece and stretch until it is about and inch wide. Then cut strips about one inch long and roll them into a ball. Place the balls of dough onto a baking tray and cover with a cloth until the oil is ready to cook.

Step 6: Heat the oil to 375 F.

Step 7: Place the balls of dough carefully into the oil to fry until golden brown – about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Fry a few at a time so that the doughnuts do not stick together.

Step 8: Remove donuts from oil and Drain on a paper towel or wire rack over a cloth.

Step 9: Prepare glaze. Mix softened butter, sugar, vanilla and water as needed and whisk until well blended.

Step 10: Glaze donuts while they are still warm. Place on a wire rack and allow excess glaze to drip off.

Enjoy these wonderful donuts while they are still warm. The kids will love them and you might want to try them with a nice cup of brewed coffee. Enjoy these treats without feeling the guilt of spending all that money at a coffee shop. Not only do you save the money, but you can enjoy the fact that the donuts are as fresh as they can be with no preservatives.

variations:
add a teaspoon of lemon to the glaze.

if you have any other ideas please let me know. If you try this recipe, please let me know how it went.

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Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Grapefruit

I’m always making my own salad dressings, not only do they taste better but they are healthier, less expensive, and fun to make. Usually I look up a recipe or recipes for what I want to make and then adjust them to my own tastes. I have recently

Ingredients
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine and mix all ingredients with a whisk or immersion blender. Serve over salad greens.

I’ve tried many recipes for vinaigrettes but especially like those containing dijon mustard and using honey as the sweetener. I hope you enjoy trying this vinaigrette and please let me know how you liked it.

Balsamic Dressing over greens
Wonderful flavors from Balsamic dressing

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Eliminate the Odors in your Home

At one time or another most people will have to eliminate odors in their homes or cars. It is important that you do not just mask the odors because they will only return. Many store-bought deodorants just mask the smell or mix with the smell making it only worse. With ingredients that you most likely already have in your home you can effectively eliminate the odors, while saving money and reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals.

1. First and foremost, cleaning up spills and pet accidents immediately by blotting liquids, diluting with water and blotting again as soon as the accident occurs is the most effective method of eliminating odors. However, that is not always possible and old stains can still be effectively deodorized with a little bit of work.
2. Baking Soda – I have tested my carpet and couches to ensure that baking soda will not harm them. It can also be used on mattresses. Simply sprinkle baking soda over your mattress, let sit for 15 minutes or more (I give mine an hour – just because I can do other things while it sits) then vacuum up the residue. This gives your mattress a fresh smell, while actually eliminating the odor.
3. Baking soda is also good for eliminating odor in shoes, carpets, couches and other fabrics. Sprinkle allow to sit and vacuum up. Not only is baking soda great for eliminating odors but it also makes a wonderful cleaner. Baking soda is probably the best value when it comes to cleaning and deodorizing.
4. Vinegar is great for reducing odors in the air and is great for cleaning trash cans. To remove odors from the air simply place an open bowl of vinegar in a room with a lingering smell. Vinegar does not simply mask or overpower the smell but also eliminates the smell. Although vinegar can have an overpowering smell at first, the vinegar smell will dissipate quickly and remove the odor with it.
5. Pet Odors – Another very effective odor eliminator is enzymatic deodorizers/cleaners specially for pet odors. The enzymes in these cleaners break down the molecules that cause the odors. Enzymatic cleaners can be bought at most cleaning supply stores. They can also be made, however it does take some time.
6. Dryer sheets placed in the fresh air vents will help clean the air circulated throughout your home.

Some extremely pernicious odors may need to be treated more than once. However, I have found these remedies to be successful at removing most any odor.

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Hot Tangy Tea

Tangy Tea
I have fond memories of tangy tea from my childhood. This is the time of the year coming inside from playing outside in the cold. We would come inside remove out coats and boots and mom would have a wonderful cup of hot tangy tea ready for us to enjoy.

Ingredients
2 cups Tang Drink Mix
1 cup Instant Tea
I cup Sugar
1 packet Lemonade Kool-Aid
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Cloves

Mix all ingredients together and store in a sealed container. When ready for a tasty cup of tangy tea, use one rounded teaspoon per cup of hot water stir well and adjust to your taste. Enjoy.

If you are watching your sugar intake a simple sugar-free version you can make.

Sugar-free Tangy Tea

2 cups sugar-free Tang
1 (2-quart) package sugar-free lemonade
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sugar-free, lemon-flavored Nestea

Mix all ingredients. Use one rounded teaspoon per cup of hot water.

Please let me know how you enjoy this wonderful treat.

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Tangy Blue Cheese Sandwich Spread

add blue cheese dressing to a Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for a great sandwich

I like to make my own sauces, dips, and salad dressings, not only to save money but because I can make the exact amount I need and the quality of homemade sauces is much higher than the store bought brands.

If you would like to try something a little different than your usual mayonnaise on sandwiches then try this tangy sandwich spread on your sandwich and turn it into a gourmet sandwich. The creamy blue cheese dressing is a smooth dressing with crumbled blue cheese throughout. It is great on BLTs, Bacon Lettuce and Avocado sandwiches and makes a great blue cheese dressing for hamburgers. Serve it on a hamburger or any other sandwich you would normally use mayonnaise.

¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped onion
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled – about ½ cup

Mix first 5 ingredients plus half of the blue cheese in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth. Then add the remaining half of the blue cheese to the mix and fold in. Spread on bread or toast.

Serving suggestions:

serve on rye bread with bacon, lettuce and sliced avocado
great on chicken sandwiches
great on hamburgers
great to dip vegetables
serve over roasted vegetables

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