Make Your Own Zucchini Chips

With all this talk about our garden, I thought I would share this super easy and healthy recipe with you all!!! We always end up having way more zucchini than we can imagine so I love being able to create fun recipes with them. Here is a great one.

  • Total: 50 min
    Yield: 4 servings, serving size 1/2 cup
    Level: Easy
  • Ingredients
    Cooking spray
    2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
    1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

  1. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a bowl, toss the zucchini with oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture and make sure to coat it evenly on both sides. Place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp for about 25 to 30 minutes.

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The Top 3 Best Gardening Tips

Planning is essential to growing a successful garden. You must start by finding out your climate, soil type, average rainfall, and sunlight exposure. This will determine what kinds of plants you can grow and what supplies you’ll need.

  1. Pick Your Plants: Lettuce is quick and easy, since you start with seeds in the garden. Make sure to look for heat tolerant varieties if you’ll be growing and harvesting in the summer.  Tomatoes are a plant that provides big payback;, this is my favorite thing to grow. Pick about 3-5 items to grow, especially if you are new to gardening. It is always smart to find a blog, or book, that you can refer to when gardening at first.
  2. Gear Needed: You will need to have a full-size shovel if you’re digging into the ground, plus a hand towel for smaller work. You will also want to make sure that you have some gloves for pulling out some weeds, etc. Consider a hose and sprinkler, as well. After all you might not want to garden them manually. Sometimes when it is too hot outside it is better for the seeds to actually get more water with a sprinkler.
  3. The Right Spot: Plants are only as good as the ground they grow in. Typically, you will want to use the spot that gets the most sunlight so they can grow. Plus, ensure the water .is near by if possible.

You can always make do with the items that you have already., Be sure to do some research before starting, too. Even if you have been gardening before, you can consistently learn more about bettering your practices.

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The 3 Best Reasons For A Garden

Gardening is a great hobby to have. I love being able to get out of the house and take care of my little garden. I love how healthy my food is and how I manage to save money at the same time. There are many motives/grounds why you should garden, but here are my best top five reasons:

  1. Adose of Vitamin D. You get to go outside for a little while and soak up that sunshine. If you wanted to get a little tan, you could even do that. ; )

  2. A good work out. Carrying a watering can is heavy. Getting the garden set up is the hardest part because you have to make sure that you remove all the weeds. And Hello squats!! I mean, you have to get down and pull out all those bad weeds!!

  3. Get a little dirty. Okay, so this isn’t always a good perk, but it could be. It gives you an excuse to go in the shower, and get away from life for a little while.

So many more great benefits can be expected from gardening. But, more importantly, have fun!! Having fun and watching your little garden grow is so exciting.

Try these to help make your garden a success and allow you to truly enjoy the process:

 

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Easy Green Home Projects

By Christine H. The more you read, the more you learn our modern habits disrupt natural processes. From the energy you consume in your home to your driving habits to what you buy at the grocery store, there are a hundred different ways that you can better limit your environmental impact. Many of these changes feel like large undertakings–changing to solar energy, for example. However, there are also a lot of little changes that you can make in your home–just once–to reduce the amount of energy that you use each day without changing anything at all in your daily habits.

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So if you have a moment to check a few simple items off of your to-do list, read through the article below and pick one or two things that you can do today to go a little greener at home.

  1. Bottle in the Toilet Tank: Each person uses 80-100 gallons of water a day, and the vast majority of that water usage is in toilet flushes. That’s why reducing the amount of water used with each flush going to be such a significant way to reduce your water bill. And a quick way to do that is to add a bottle in your toilet tank. This simply makes it so that your tank registers as full when it has about a liter less. To do this, fill an old soda bottle with water, twist the lid back on, and stick it in the tank. Note that this is especially useful for old toilets that use excess water. However, if you have a new tank (that uses 1.6 gallons or less per flush) then you won’t want to use this method. It could interrupt the functionality. However, you can still increase how efficient your water usage is by making sure that the flapper and float are working properly. (See here for tips.)
  2. Weather-Strip the Doors: The vast majority of a home’s energy usage goes to temperature regulation. Whether you’re countering winter’s chill, or creating a cool haven from the summer sun, your home is constantly working to keep your home a comfortable temperature to eat, sleep, and play. However, if you don’t have measures in place to retain the proper temperature, you could be wasting up to 50% of your energy usage. Insulation in the walls and roof are important. But one of biggest ways that heat and cool escape your home is through the cracks under and around doors. The good news is that it’s an easy under-an-hour project to weather-proof your door. Just buy some weather-stripping at the hardware store. Installing it is as easy as placing a (really long) sticker. If your door has a bit of a gap at the bottom, you should also think about installing a bottom sweep, which will also reduce the amount of pests that can get into your home.
  3. Eliminate Phantom Energy Drain: Did you know that phantom energy drain costs up to 100$ per year in energy bills? This is the term used for energy drain that happens when electrical appliances and machines are plugged in, even though they’re currently off and just on standby mode. That means that even when your microwave isn’t in use, it’s still draining a little bit of electricity out of the walls as long as it’s plugged in. Each minute, the amount of electricity used is negligible, but between all the things plugged in in your home, day after day, it adds up. You can reduce phantom energy drain each day by unplugging things when they’re not in use (especially laptop and phone chargers.) However, you can also institute a one-time solution, if you have a hard time remembering to unplug. Install a couple of power strips in your home–especially around the entertainment center, the desktop computer, and in the kitchen. Turn off the whole power strip when it’s not in use, and you’ve suddenly cut phantom drain in half, at least. Power strips aren’t all that expensive, and if you use some zip ties or sticky velcro, you can usually find an unobtrusive spot for them. Again, this project will take you under an hour.
  4. Garden Greener: If you like to garden, that’s wonderful! However, it can also use a lot of extra water and chemicals, if you’re not mindful about it. Set up a compost pile to fertilize your garden with, install a rain barrel to use for watering the garden, and research organic pest control methods like these. You can usually install a rain barrel easily in a day. Just make sure that your downspout funnels in properly, and that the barrel is covered to avoid debris and pests getting in.
  5. Change the Lightbulbs: At least 5% of your energy budget goes towards lighting. You can save almost $100/year by switching to more energy-efficient bulbs. It might be more money up front, but more energy-efficient bulbs will also last longer, which reduces waste and pays for itself after a few years. So, take some time to buy CFL or LED lights for your home and replace those old incandescent ones when they burn out. Old incandescent lights waste a lot of energy by converting it into heat, which is useless for your home.
  6. Learn a Few Vegetarian Recipes: Whether or not you have moral standards about eating meat, you should know that meat production industries take more energy and contribute more to environmental pollution than just about any other food. That’s why you can greatly reduce your environmental impact simply by opting for meatless days once or twice a week. So, if it feels like dinner is incomplete without an animal-product protein on the plate, then maybe it’s time to explore some alternatives. Look up vegetarian curries, explore the possibilities inherent in different legumes, and find ways to eat just as heartily, and with just as much protein, without animal products. Again, you don’t have to make a cold-turkey commitment in order to reduce your impact.
  7. Opt Out of Unsolicited Mail: How much paper waste do you end up with each time you get the mail? It’s annoying, but few of us take the time to make it stop. However, if you just decide that you’re going to sit down for an hour and make a few calls, you can greatly reduce this nuisance (not to mention reduce the amount of waste in your home.) You can opt out of pre-approved credit offers simply by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688). You can contact Dex and Valpack online or by phone to prevent them from giving you mail. If you donate to charities that keep sending you mail for more, you can call them and ask for reminders via email instead.

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How To Use Sunlight To Grow Your Garden

This year we are really going in head strong with our gardening. Last year we made some mistakes and learned from them, but we aren’t going to do that anymore!

It was so fun to pick our vegetables, and fruits, from the garden PLUS it saved us so much money. It really did, and I created a hobby out of it. There are somethings that you need to know about sunlight in order to be successful.

  1. High Sunlight 6-8 hours per day: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, cucumbers, squash, beans. These ones need a lot of sunlight! Make sure that they are planted in the spots where the most sun is.
  2. Medium Sunlight 4-6 hours per day: Broccoli, Carrots, Radishes, Beets, turnip, potatoes. These ones still need quite a bit of sunlight so make sure to put them in good sunlight in order to get the best results.
  3. Low Sunlight 3-4 hours per day: Kale, spinach, lettuce,Arugula, Asian greens, cabbage, parsley, scallions. These should be hidden so that the other items can hog up most of the sunlight.

Sunlight is important for your garden, study where your sun goes and make sure to strategically place it in the right spots.

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The Top Six Must Have’s For Gardening Decor.

I love my garden and being able to make it my own. I also love a good deal. I put together some of my favorite items that you can also enjoy whether you have a big garden or just a small one. Remember when you are growing your garden to keep it simple.

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4 Tips For Freezing Meat & Food

Did you know that you can freeze other foods, besides fruits and vegetables? You can freeze fish, shellfish, and poultry. Here are some general tips on the freezing process, as well as some specifics on how to freeze fruits and vegetables.

1.Equipment

  • Containers: This is probably the most important item in freezing foods. You will want a tightly sealed product. This will make sure that the foods won’t develop odd flavors, or lose their color. One example of a good container includes freezer bags of various sizes. You may even want rigid plastic containers that have wide tops, or freezing/canning jars. *Make sure that any wrapping or covering used for freezing are moisture proof and that they can be tightly sealed. All packaging materials should be able to withstand a temperature of 0 degrees F.

2. Other equipment Another item that you will need and is essential for freezing vegetables is a large pot and a basket for blanching or steaming. You will also want a kitchen timer The General Freezing Process

  • Select top-quality fresh, ripe but firm fruit and vegetables. You will want to choose vegetables that are best for freezing.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables in cold water and prepare them. Make sure to keep your work area clean so that you don’t cross contaminate.
  • Pack the food tightly into containers, leaving space needed at the top.
  • For a good seal make sure to wipe the bottom of the container, as well as around the edges.

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4 Ways to Get Rid Of Critters From Your Garden

Last summer when we had our garden growing we realized that we kept getting critters in it. We even had our dogs get in there at one point. This year we are going to be much more strategic.

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4 Tips For Freezing Vegetables

Gardening can be a lot of fun, but if you do it successfully, there will come a time when you have so many vegetables that you might not know what to do with them! You could give them away, but you don’t want to give them all away. You also don’t want to let them go bad in your fridge. Have you thought about freezing them instead? Almost anything can be frozen, including your vegetables and fruits.
Here are four simple tips for freezing your vegetables.
1. Select and wash vegetable, precook, following the directions in your regular recipes. Cooking helps to impede the enzyme action, helping to retain the color, texture, and flavor of the food.
2. To blanch, boil your vegetables in a large kettle with a lid. Use a minimum of 1 gallon of water for each pound of vegetables. Boil the water, and then place the vegetables in a blanching basket and lower into the water. Cover the lid and heat for one more minute. You will want to maintain high temperature during blanching, so keep the water boiling.
If you want to steam the vegetable, as I do with broccoli, use a pot with a lid, and a steamer basket or trivet placed three inches above the bottom. Add an inch or two of water in the pot to boil. Again, keep the temperature up during steaming.

3. Remove the vegetable immediately from the water or pot. Then plunge the basket of vegetables into a large quantity of ice water. Allow as much time for cooling as for blanching, and then drain the vegetables. The cold water stops the vegetables from continuing to cook.

4. Pack the vegetables lightly into freezer containers, leaving the appropriate space. Seal, label, and freeze when you have completed all the steps. You don’t want to forget what’s in there, so the label is really important!

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7 benefits of having a garden

So with all this talk about a garden, why do it? What are the benefits of a garden?

  1. Garden for freshness: Stores can’t even come close to free vegetables for flavor and freshness; it is just not possible. Even though most items say fresh and organic there are a lot of processed vegetables and pestitces that affect these. You have to be careful when shopping at a grocery store for your fruits and vegetables.
  2. Saves Money: This is the number reason why I did it.. I am all about saving money and being healthy too; the two go hand in hand for me. I saw this as an opportunity instead of an investment.
  3. Minimize pesticide exposure: This is a great way to be sure that your body is getting the best of the best without pesticides.
  4. Avoid tainted produce: Chances are your fruits and vegetables won’t be recalled. Think about the time when there was rat poop in bagged lettuce, this won’t happen with your vegetables.
  5. Garden for exercise: It is true; it gets me out of the house away from the computer! It helps me to get the walks in (since I monitor them on my Apple Watch). I get up stretch out and carry the water bottle, which is fairly heavy and helps me get in that exercise.
  6. For your health: Eating vegetables is essential for your health. You need greens and vitamins and this gives you that exactly. Again there aren’t any processed items so you will get the best benefits from it.
  7. It’s social: You will have some extra stuff its guaranteed and people will want your gardening tips, tricks, and food.

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