3 Steps To Take Now for Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

3 Steps to Take Now for Next Year's Vegetable Garden

Good planning can make a big difference between a prosperous and productive home vegetable garden, and one that sputters throughout the season.  Even though we are on the cusp of winter time, and gardening may be the furthest thing from your mind, now is the perfect time to start planning a few things. 1. Review Last Year's Plan Before you even start thinking about your 2015 garden, the first step in every plan should be to review your 2014 garden.  Did you write a plan down for 2014?  If not, how do you know what worked?  When did you feed your plants, water them and [Read More...]

Food Brick and Water Brick Giveaway!

FoodBrick and WaterBrick Giveaway!

Eartheasy.com has graciously agreed to sponsor a pre-Thanksgiving Giveaway to one of our loyal readers so they can get their food and water storage off the ground! Thanks Eartheasy!! Today you get the opportunity to win FOUR water bricks and FOUR food bricks! The Water Bricks can hold up to 3.5 Gallons of water, and are sturdy enough to stack up to 4 feet tall. They are small enough to slide under a bed, and light enough (even when full) to be easily carried with their handy handle. The Food Bricks are the same size as the water brick, but they are specifically designed to pack, stack, [Read More...]

“Better than Mott’s” Homemade Applesauce

"Better Than Mott's" Homemade Applesauce

Growing up, the only applesauce I ate came in a jar with a label on it that said Mott’s. I liked it fine as a kid but as I got older I stopped eating applesauce all together. It just wasn’t that great. As a newbie canner, I was told several times to try canning applesauce because it’s easy to can. However, if I’m putting in the effort, I want to can something I like. Applesauce didn't make the cut. So, instead, I canned strawberry and blueberry jam. Then, I canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, traditional salsa and peach salsa. I even tried pressure canning. The result? Darn good [Read More...]

Is Expired Food Safe to Eat?

Is Expired Food Safe to Eat?

Last week, I went through my pantry, trying to get an idea of how much food storage I have. By the time the organizing session was complete, a dozen or so “expired” items sat on my kitchen counter. In the past, I didn’t hesitate to throw a can in the trash if it was expired. And according to an article on Urban Survival Site, I’m not the only one tossing the goods. More than 75% (and some studies claim it's as high as 90%) of us believe that food is unsafe to eat after the expiration date. This time, though, I’ve decided to change my ways and put the expired items back on the [Read More...]

10 Ways to Use and Store Fresh Herbs

10 Ways to Use and Store Fresh Herbs

Let's talk herbs! Cooking from scratch often requires that you use fresh herbs and spices. Ask any really good chef, and they’ll tell you that there is a distinct taste difference in dishes made with store bought dried herbs and dishes made from herbs fresh from the garden. There is just no comparison, and once you start using fresh and recognize that distinct difference, you won’t want to go back to the commercial stuff!  Herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro are some of the easiest plants to grow. They require very little space, and they don’t need a ton of attention so [Read More...]

5 Book Recommendations for Your Preparedness Library

5 Book Recommendations for Your Preparedness Library (Home Ready Home)

Last December, I shared my list of 101 Best Resources for the Beginner Prepper with you. And even though it's a pretty complete list, I'm constantly coming across new books that should be added to it. In addition, to one of my recent favorites, Angela Paskett's Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival, there are 5 books that belong on the best resources list. Here are the 5 book recommendations:  1. Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper’s 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness by Jim Cobb Jim Cobb writes some good books. This is the third one [Read More...]

How to Use a Cold Frame in Your Fall Vegetable Garden

How to Use a Cold Frame in Your Fall Vegetable Garden (Home Ready Home)

The winding down of the summer home vegetable garden season does dampen the spirits of many who have spent the last few months working hard to produce fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs at home.  Do not stay down for long, fall gardening season is here.  With the help of a cold frame, you can extend your gardening season into winter, growing fresh salad greens, carrots, radish and a lot more. What is a cold frame? A cold frame is a structure that has a clear top to allow in light and, when closed, keeps the temperature constant around the plants that you grow in it.  Good [Read More...]

Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan?

Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? (Home Ready Home)

Note: This post is part of the Prepared Blogger's 30 Days of Preparedness series to celebrate National Preparedness Month.  Day 4: Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? According to the National Fire Prevention Association, you have a one in four chance of experiencing a house fire large enough to need to call for firefighters' assistance.  Does that statistic surprise you? It sure surprised me. I didn't get serious about being ready for home fires until a house in my neighborhood burnt to the ground. When that happened, I realized a home fire really could happen to my [Read More...]

DIY: Solar Battery (+Weekly Roundup)

DIY: Solar Battery (+Weekly Roundup)

Isn't solar power fascinating? There's just something about charging electronics with sunlight that gets me excited. I've amassed quite the collection of solar flashlights, solar lanterns and solar cell phone chargers and I dream of the day when our house is powered by the sun. I even picked up a book on how to build your own solar panels the last time I was in Lowe's Home Improvement store. Unfortunately, though, the book was a little too technical for me. I wouldn't call myself handy by any stretch (yet!) but luckily for you, Jennifer of Are We Crazy or [Read More...]

15+ School Supplies to Stock For Emergencies (+Weekly Roundup)

15+ School Supplies to Stock for Emergencies (+Weekly Roundup)

My girls went back to school on Thursday. Earlier in the week, we took a trip to Target to get the items on their school supply lists.  Because of back to school sale prices,  I've gotten into the habit of purchasing more than the listed items.  I fill a cabinet in the laundry room with extra supplies. Not only is this great for the "Mom, I need another notebook" emergencies, these supplies may come in handy if we ever face a larger crisis.   If you are thinking "What? How?",  Jane at Mom with a Prep will show you. She's created a list [Read More...]

5 Items You Should Be Growing In Your Garden

5 Items You Should Be Growing in Your Garden (Home Ready Home)

There is a lot of advice on how to grow various fruits and vegetables in your garden, but not a lot of what you should be actually growing.  I did a recent radio interview and that question came up by the host.  “Mike, what would you recommend someone grow in their garden?” the host asked.   As always, my recommendation is to first, grow what you like to eat.  You will do a lot better in your garden if you are growing items that you will eventually enjoy consuming.  The host then asked, "Which vegetables would make great additions to someone’s garden if they [Read More...]

How to Use Lemon Balm (+Weekly Roundup)

How to Use Lemon Balm (+Weekly Roundup)

Early this spring, I picked up a teeny, tiny plant at the local garden center. Mmmmm. This smells nice.   As I placed it in my cart, I had no idea what I was in for. That little plant—lemon balm—is attempting to take over the backyard.  While fighting to keep it contained, I've been on a quest to find a use for it. This week I came across not one, but twelve uses for lemon balm, thanks to Jan of The Nerdy Farm Wife.  If you've been wondering what to do with your lemon balm, Jan has some great suggestions. 12 Things to Do with Lemon Balm Lemon [Read More...]

DIY: Home Canned Peach Salsa

DIY: Home Canned Peach Salsa (Home Ready Home)

Tomato salsa is great and all but when you need to change things up a little, peach salsa is where it's at. When I posted a photo on Facebook of the peach salsa I had canned, a few of you mentioned that you never had it before. Peach salsa has a fresh fruity flavor. It's sweet with a spicy kick. You can serve it with tortilla chips or use it to dress up grilled chicken or fish. The recipe I use is from Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving. With 400 recipes, it has become one of my favorite books. The only change I made to the recipe was the [Read More...]

DIY: Home Canned Salsa (+Weekly Roundup)

DIY: Home Canned Salsa (+Weekly Roundup)

  This week I met up with a friend to can tomato sauce. I’ve made strawberry and blueberry jam but this was my first time canning tomato sauce. My friend is an experienced tomato canner so I was thrilled when she invited me over to help out.  While the tomatoes were processing, we thumbed through the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving in search of new recipes to try. I decided I would make “Jalapeno Salsa” this weekend.  Well, my plans changed once I saw Laurie of Common Sense Homesteading’s recipe for homemade canned salsa. Looks good! Want to try it with me?  Home [Read More...]

How to Make Bread in a Crock-Pot

How to Make Bread in a Crock Pot

If you’ve ever had homemade bread, you know how amazing it tastes! Soft, warm, and fluffy! You’ll wonder what that stuff in the bread isle really is :) Baking your own bread seems intimidating to some people, but once you get the hang of it (and really, its not that hard at all!) you’ll never want to buy bread again! You can make sandwich bread, cut big, thick slices for toast, have dinner rolls, tortillas, French bread loaves, sourdough, hot dog buns, hamburger buns…. I could go on. Just remember to factor in the aroma tease. You know, the one where you have to sacrifice your first loaf of [Read More...]