Helpful Hints – Plants

Helpful Hints - PlantsOne of my hobbies is growing plants and now that it’s almost growing season I’ve listed a few helpful hints on all things plants.

  • Don’t put clay pots on furniture. The clay is porous and the water will seep through and ruin your table’s finish.
  • To water clay potted plants while you are on holidays place a brick in the bath tube and fill with water to the top of the brick. The water will seep through the drainage hole in the clay plot and water your plants.
  • Styrofoam packing chips are good substitutes for rocks placed in the drainage layer at the bottom of flower pots.
  • Save empty egg cartons to plant your spring seeds in. The cardboard containers can be planted directly outside in the soil.
  • Plant banana skins at the base of roses to provide vital nutrients for the plant.
  • Crush egg shells and scatter around the base of roses to deter bugs.
  • Plant dill near tomatoes to lure caterpillars away from the plants.
  • Vinegar will destroy grass in driveway and sidewalk cracks.
  • Cut flowers from the garden in late evening or early morning to make them last longer.
  • Add leftover tea water to plants that require acidic soil weekly.
  • Take egg shells and place in a container filled with water.  Let sit for a couple of weeks, strain and then feed your plants.
  • Spider plants act as household air cleaners.
  • White azaleas last longer than the other coloured azaleas
  • Freeze fresh herbs in a bit of olive oil in ice cube trays.  Pop a cube out to flavor soups and stews.
  • Grow house plants from avocado pits, orange pits and pineapple tops.
  • When re-potting plants use a coffee filter to prevent soil seeping out of the bottom of the pot.
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A variety of Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread has always been a favourite cookie in my household.  On holidays we used to make a platter of different types of the sweet treat.  Below I’ve included some cookie recipes that were always hits on our holiday platter.

Enjoy!

Recipes are ordered from left to right.

Chocolate Chip Brown Sugar Shortbread

1/2 cup brown sugarA variety of shortbread

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips.

See preparation method below.

Continue reading “A variety of Shortbread Cookies”

Citrus Nut Clusters

Citrus Nut clusters are great for a mid-morning pick me up.  If you find the recipe too tart then just add another tablespoon or so of honey or maple syrup.

IngredientsCitrus Nut Clusters

1 cup cashews

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup lime juice

3 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup coconut to roll bites in

Add all ingredients to a food processor omitting the second amount of coconut.  Mix until a thick paste forms.  Do not over mix.

Roll paste into small bites and roll in second amount of coconut.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

This recipe makes 30 small clusters.

For a refreshing pairing try serving this recipe with Peach Lemonade.

Strawberry Lemonade

This variation on lemonade is fun to serve at family outings or for a children’s lemonade stand.

Ingredients

3 cups strawberries

Strawberry Lemonade1/4 cup water

1 cup powdered steevia

1 cup lemon juice

3 cups sparkling water

ice cubes

Heat strawberries, water and Steevia in a large pan and bring to a boil .

Cook for 5 minutes and strain the contents into a pitcher. Cool.

Add lemon juice, sparkling water and ice cubes.

Serve immediately.

Sharp Cheddar Biscuits

Sharp cheddar biscuits are made from Greek yogourt  and your choice of cheddar cheese.  I prefer sharp cheese but you can make it with the type of cheese you prefer.  The recipe makes a great mid-day treat.

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp baking powderSharp Cheddar Biscuits

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup flour

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup Greek yogourt

2 tbsp oil

Mix wet ingredients into a bowl including the cheddar cheese.

Combine dry ingredients together.

Mix wet ingredients into dry.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

Serve warm with butter.

Try this recipe with Veggie Shepherd’s Pie !

Mae’s Shortbread

Mae’s shortbread is a recipe that my mom received from a close friend when I was a kid.  My mom took the recipe and made it into a special treat for holidays.  I remember coming home from school to the smell of this buttery treat close to Christmas.  She’d meticulously cut out shapes of birds, bells and trees.  These days I just roll the dough in a log and cut into disks for when  I need a quick treat for friends and family.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter

1/2 cup icing sugarMae's Shortbread

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cream butter and icing sugar and then mix into dry ingredients just until mixed.  Do not over mix dough as it will make the cookies tough.

Use a piece of  parchment paper to roll a cookie log. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Remove from fridge and cut in slices.

Bake on an un-greased cookie sheet at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until bottoms are golden brown.

Move to a wire rack and cool before serving.

Try serving these cookies with  Strawberry Lemonade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Coffee Fudge

Chocolate coffee fudge is sweet and decadent.  It goes well in any party platter and packs up for a terrific gift.  The coffee adds an extra depth to the recipe. 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Chocolate Coffee Fudge1/4 cup + 2 tbsp prepared coffee

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Bring brown sugar, coffee, butter and cocoa to a boil over low heat.  Continue boiling for five minutes then  remove from stove.  Blend in icing sugar and nuts.  Spread mixture in greased  9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Cool and cut into squares.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

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