Hummingbirds are beautiful creatures and fun to watch but I don’t like having to boil the nectar. From what I have read it is important to cook it so that any bacteria that might be present in the water is killed. I know you can buy it already made but the frugal person in me won’t allow that. Fortunately, I came up with an easier way to make it. All you need is water, sugar, and a handy dandy coffee maker.
A common ratio of water to sugar is 4:1. For my feeders I pour 2 cups water into the coffee maker and place 1/2 cup sugar in the glass carafe. Turn on the coffee maker and it will do the rest. Once the water has dripped into the carafe simply stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool and pour it into a clean feeder. That’s it. Easy Peasy.
Now I know the coffee pot does not boil the water but it does heat it to steaming. I have had hummers at the feeders all summer so not boiling the water doesn’t seem to be an issue.
As a side note…Do not add red food coloring to the water. There is some evidence that it can cause birth defects in the babies.
I love being able to go outside and “pick supper”. Selection varies from night to night and season to season but it sure beats going to the grocery store. You can’t get much fresher than “just picked”. Last night we had fresh picked asparagus sautéed in butter with mushrooms and carrots along with a salad filled with freshly picked lettuce. No pictures of that though we ate it all up before I thought about it.
Tonight we had crappie caught by my Dad out of our pond, wild onions which were great in the hushpuppies and an infusion of peppermint tea. All organic, chemical free and loaded with nutrients. Wild onions are full of minerals and peppermint has many known health benefits including improving digestion.
I spent the afternoon digging up garlic and onion chives as well as peppermint to plant in containers so that I can have fresh herbs indoors next winter. The chives are fabulous in salads and on baked potatoes. The peppermint tea is useful for helping fight off winter colds. My tomatoes, bell cayenne, jalopeno, and habanero peppers are ready to plant as soon as the weather cooperates. I couldn’t resist planting a few cucumber seeds but I brought them inside to germinate. A few days head start will allow me to have fresh cucumbers just a little bit earlier.
Hopefully I have inspired you to start growing your own food if you aren’t already doing so. Let me know how it goes.
I usually just use fruit in my milk kefir smoothies but on the weekend it is nice to do something out of the ordinary and have a special treat. A while back I adapted a chocolate smoothie recipe and made it with milk kefir. It was okay but nothing special. Today a friend was asking for smoothie recipes that her kids would be more willing to drink so I drug out the recipe and tweaked it. So here is the new and improved recipe and it is pretty tasty if I do say so myself. This recipe is for two servings.
1 C milk kefir
2 t vanilla
2 t cocoa
Place all ingredients in a glass jar and blend with a stick blender and blend until smooth. Serve in your favorite glass and enjoy. It can also be blended in a food processer, Magic Bullet, Ninja, etc. For a Mexican twist add 1/4 t cinnamon. I like to add almond slivers and eat it with a spoon.
Ranchero Soup is a cross between chili and vegetable soup and one of my favorite soups. It is a great choice for the frugally minded. You can add a lot of left overs that will otherwise end up being thrown out. When I made this one I used left over corn, home canned chili beans, lentils and left over broth in addition to the ground beef and a bag of mixed vegetables. The end result was it cost next to nothing and tasted great.
Now about that left over broth. Whenever I cook vegetables I freeze the left over broth. I also add that handful of vegetables that is too small to do anything else with. I keep quart containers in the freezer and just keep adding left over broth and vegetables until it is full. No need to worry about what type of vegetable broth it is. Just mix them all together. I do the same with left over beef and chicken broth, however, I do keep them separate from each other.
This is the basic recipe but anyone that knows me knows that for me recipes are guidelines and I tend to deviate from the basic recipe a little every time I fix something.
Brown 1 # ground beef, season with cumin, onion powder and chili powder Sautee ½ C diced onions with meat after browning is complete.
Add meat and onions to
2 cans Ranch Style or Chili Beans
1 package frozen mixed vegetables
6 C chicken or beef broth
¼ c chopped celery
1 to 1 ½ t cumin
1 t onion powder
1 ½ t chili powder
Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes
If you read my last post you know that I love pancakes. Biscuits are another favorite of mine. My Mom used to make what she called “yam cakes” which was basically a biscuit that had yams or sweet potatoes in it. A few years back I got a hankering for those yam cakes and called Mom to ask for the recipe. Long story short, she hadn’t made them in years and didn’t know where the recipe was. Sooooo, I started experimenting until I came up with a recipe that worked and don’t tell Mom but it is better than the one she made.
If you try to eat healthy you will be pleased to know these biscuits have less fat, less flour, and milk than the typical biscuit recipe and the sweet potatoes add fiber. If you love fall foods you will love this one. It is loaded with cinnamon, all spice, and pumpkin pie spice. These biscuits are good with jelly or honey. My favorite topping on them is homemade cinnamon spiced pear honey.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
1 1/4 C flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
½ t allspice
½ t pumpkin pie spice
Cut in 3 T butter until mixture is crumbly. Then cut in 1 ¼ C mashed sweet potatoes. You can use canned or home grown.
Add ¼ c milk all at once and stir until mixture comes together. Place on lightly floured board and knead 10 times. Roll out or just pat it flat on floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter or the opening of a pint sized jar and place on cookie sheet. (I like to stack 2 together for a thicker biscuit) Bake @ 450 for 12 minutes or until golden and puffed.
I love pancakes. Actually, I love pancakes with my syrup. As much as I love pancakes, I used to avoid making them because I use so much syrup. Then being the experimenter that I am, I came up with a solution to make the syrup and pancakes healthier but still tasty.
Easy Peasy Healthier Pancakes
1/2 C white flour (or 1/4 C white flour and 1/4 C whole wheat flour)
1/2 C quick oats
1 egg beaten
2 T baking powder
1 C milk
¼ t salt
2 T oil
For a special Fall treat add 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
In a medium bowl mix egg, milk, and oil. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour dough onto hot, oiled griddle. Turn when bubbles appear and batter is set. Makes 4-5 8” pancakes.
Easy Peasy Healthier Syrup (Don’t worry. Your kids will love it)
In a small sauce pan mix 1/2 C syrup with 1/2 C juice and warm it up. That’s all there is too it. You can use just about any juice (except orange and grapefruit) but personally I like grape, apple, blackberry, and strawberry.