Look, a T-Rex Spaghetti Measurer. I don’t know if it’s worth $18.99, but it made me laugh.
Did you know that your weeds tell you a lot about your soil?
Because certain weeds grow in certain conditions, when one appears, you can bet it’s there because of the kind of soil that’s there. So knowing your weeds can tell you whether your soil is wet or dry, rich or poor, alkaline or acidic, aerated or compacted.
Acidic Soil (A good place for blueberries, azaleas, and hydrangeas)
Fertile soil (Maybe a spot for a vegetable garden):
Weeds That Improve Soil Fertility
Clover—pulls nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil
Dock–Deep taproots bring up calcium, potassium, phosphorus and iron, and help soil structure.
What have you learned from reading the weeds?
For this week’s freezer meal to Save Time In The Kitchen, I made muffins. Blueberry muffins because I had frozen blueberries in the freezer. The great thing about this recipe is that you can use frozen berries and the muffins work even better.
I adapted Alton Brown’s muffin recipe. I like this recipe because the yogurt and the addition of wheat flour makes the muffins a bit more nutritious than they’d normally be. (Let’s face it, often muffins are just an excuse to eat cake in the morning.)
To make the muffins into a freezer meal, I made a double batch of the recipe, which ended up being 24 muffins. I left some out for the boys to eat and froze the rest.
Before putting the muffins in a freezer-safe bag, I wrapped each one in wax paper. This does two things: 1. It helps protect the muffins from freezer burn and 2. It keeps them from freezing together in a big clump, making it easy to pull individual muffins out of the bag when needed.
DIY Freezer Meals: Blueberry Muffins
1 cup wheat flour
2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups plain yogurt
2-3 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, and yogurt. Don’t over-stir the mixture. You want it to be a shaggy ball. Add blueberries to mixture and stir 3 more times.
Grease 2 muffin pans. Fill each muffin indentation with 1/3 cup batter. Place in the oven and bake 18-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Remove when a knife inserted in the center muffin comes out clean.
To Freeze: Wrap each muffin in wax or parchment paper. Store in a freezer-safe container. To eat, remove a muffin from freezer, let defrost, and enjoy.
With barbecue season–and Father’s Day–right around the corner, here’s a cool project: DIY Barbecue Grill Apron. You print out the design on printable inkjet transfer paper for light fabric, then iron it onto a plain apron. Pretty cool.
Great for a kid’s room, or just those who love The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis: Narnia Travel Poster. $30
A study found that eating more whole grains can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Data from three case-control studies involving 14,427 patients with CHD and 400,492 participants found that people who ate more whole grains were “significantly associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease.”
What are whole grains? Here’s a partial list from the whole grains council.
Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
Oats, including oatmeal
Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
Sorghum (also called milo)
Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
So convincing, I just ate some oatmeal.
Here’s an interesting idea: Lemon Beeswax Candles, made out of real lemons. They’d be great on a outdoor table at a barbeque this summer.
As with the other meals, my method is to double a batch of whatever it is, serve some for dinner, and put the rest in the freezer.
I’ll admit this time was extra labor intensive because I had to form all the raviolis. However, since homemade ravioli tastes infinitely better, it was worth the work in my book.
Having a couple of dinner’s worth of homemade ravioli in the freezer feels like having gourmet food available that you can pull out any time.
To serve the frozen ravioli, all you have to do is drop them in boiling, salted water and serve with your favorite sauce.
I ended up with about 50 extra ravioli, or three meals worth, plus whatever we ate the first night (about 10?). With ravioli, a few go a long way.
DIY Freezer Meals: Cheese Ravioli
For the Dough:
4 eggs + 1 egg for sealing the ravioli
4 cups flour
6 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup olive oil
For the Filling:
24 ounces ricotta, preferably whole milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Make the Dough:
In a separate bowl, crack four eggs and muddle with a fork. Add the olive oil and water.
Sift 4 cups of flour into a mixer or bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the flour. Mix together for 1 minute on medium speed, or with a spoon or spatula, until you have a shaggy ball.
Knead the dough. I used a dough hook for my mixer and let it run for 3 minutes on medium until the dough became a shiny ball. Alternately, you can turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.
Let the dough sit for an hour.
For the Filling:
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste for seasoning.
Make the raviolis by running the dough through a pasta machine, filling, and forming the ravioli. I go over my method in detail in this post.
If cooking right away: Heat a pot of boiling water. Add salt. Drop in the raviolis and wait until they float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauces, like this simple Butter-Sage Sauce.
If freezing for later use: Put the raw raviolis on a cookie sheet and freeze until hard. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. Label and freeze. On serving day, simply cook the ravioli in boiling salted water, as I mentioned above. Enjoy!
Check it out, a Bigfoot Bundt Cake!
To make it, you cut out the Bigfoots out of chocolate cake with a Bigfoot cookie cutter. Then you place the Bigfoots periodically in the batter.
From the site: “Placing pre-made cake into the center of this bundt doesn’t change the texture, since the batter serves as a protective layer.”
When you cut into the cake, someone occasionally spots the Yeti.
I like this Cheese & Crackers Serving Board. It’s in the shape of an ampersand. $48