Sunday, February 7, 2016

History and Growth of the Onion

A friend sent this article to me regarding the history and growing of the onion.  It came from D. Landreth Seed Co. which is the oldest seed house in America.  I enjoyed this bit of history so much I decided to share.

The origin of onions like the origin of garlic is buried in antiquity. It is known that onions were grown in Ancient Egypt and that eventually they arrived in Rome. It was in Rome that they were given the name unio, which means large pearl. Unio became unyon in Middle English when the Romans introduced the onion into the British Isles. The status of the onion rose substantially after French Onion Soup was made popular by Stanislaus I, the former King of Poland.

The Bermuda onion was first listed by Peter Henderson & Co. in 1888 as the White Bermuda. Not to be outdone, D. Landreth & Co., in their 1890 catalogue said that although shipped as White Bermuda it really “had quite a yellowish character” and, although known as a product of Bermuda, is of Italian origin.

Sweet onions originated in Texas after Bermuda onion seed from the Canary Islands was introduced into South Texas in 1898. In 1899, onions that grew from the seeds planted in 1898 were shipped to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they were so enthusiastically received that the following year the small garden plot, which had been the source of the first onions was expanded to 500 acres.

In 1952, the Granex, later to be claimed as Vidalia, was introduced in Texas. That same year Granex tranplants from Dixondale Farms (Carrizo Springs, Texas) were shipped to Georgia to a man named Mose Coleman. Coleman discovered that these onions were not hot like other onions planted in Georgia, instead they were remarkably sweet. Coleman was able to sell these sweet onions for $3.50 per 50 pound bag, a fortune in the post-Depression years. Soon almost every farmer in Georgia was growing Vidalia onions.

Onions come in three distinct colors: white, yellow and red. The varieties can be classed into three important groupings: short day, intermediate day and long day varieties. These groupings refer to the number of hours of sunlight required to get the onion to bulb. Short Day onions require 10-12 hours of sunlight and are used in the South for winter production. Because Short Day onions have a higher concentration of water as opposed to solid fiber content, they do not store well and should be eaten fresh. Intermediate Day onions require 12-14 hours of sunlight and are ideal for almost all growing areas in the United States. Long Day onions require 14-16 hours of sunlight and grow better in northern states where there are extended hours of daylight during the summer months. Long Day varieties typically have more pungent flavor and store better than other varieties.

Onions may be planted in the fall or the spring similar to garlic. Fall plantings will mature earlier. Onion plants are hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees fahrenheit so spring plantings may be made as soon as the soil can be worked.

Like garlic bulbs, onions planted in the fall go through a short, approximately 2-week dormant period, and then roots emerge and leaves sprout. With the onset of winter, the leaves die back and the roots cease to grow. This process is called vernalization. Proper bulbing is a function of adequate growth, vernalization and subsequent growth under longer days. Bulbs planted in the spring must experience some minimal cold treatment in order to insure proper bulbing.

Onions can be grown in many different types of soil, but the plants prefer a rich moist sandy soil. Turn the soil and add some lime before planting. Plant the bulbs, root end down, two inches deep, making certain that the growing point is exposed above the surface of the ground. Leave 3 inches between bulbs in rows 18-24 inches apart. Mulch immediately. In the spring, apply a nitrogen and phosphorus rich fertilizer (10-20-10) and water like any garden green. Onions are shallow rooted and benefit from frequent weeding. Onion roots cannot tolerate competition from weeds.

Onions will be ready to harvest in approximately 100 days when the leaf tops have fallen over and dried. On sunny, breezy days, onions can be allowed to cure in the field for a day or two before being taken to a curing area. Curing must take place for the onions to be stored for any length of time. Cure onions by placing them in a warm, well-ventilated area until the necks are thoroughly dry. With warm temperatures, good air circulation and low humidity, curing should be completed within two weeks after harvest. Onions are best stored in a cool, moderately dry area in ventilated containers. Humidity in the 60%-70% is preferable. With good air flow and low humidity, onions should store for at least 6 months. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Baked Bacon

I hate to fry bacon!  And the microwave type never seems to cook evenly.  I end up with some of the bacon being burned, some crispy and some limp...  all 3 in just 1 piece of bacon!  The other day I found that I had a package of bacon that needed to be cooked but I wasn't ready to eat it just yet.  Soooo I preheated the oven to 400, lined a cookie sheet with sides with foil, put my bacon down trying to keep it from touching and stuck it in the oven.  I couldn't get the full package to fit the one pan but that was ok too.

The 1st pieces of bacon were ready in about 8 minutes after being turned once about half way through.  About half of the bacon was done after the 8 minutes and these were around the outer edges.  I removed them and added the rest of the bacon.  After about 4 minutes I was able to remove the rest of the 1st batch and turn the 2nd batch, removing them in about 4 more minutes.

When I fry bacon it pops and makes a mess of my stove.  To get it to cook evenly and not curl I usually have to cut it in half and use a bacon press.  Not with this method!  It didn't curl, it stayed flat without the press and it didn't seem to shrink very much.  My cooked bacon came out with the crispy texture I wanted and perfect for just about any use.

Now... I still didn't need a whole package of bacon so I put it in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator.  To use it I simply put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds (700 watt) and it comes out warm and perfect with no burning.

This may sound like it takes longer but it really doesn't and it's so much better than frying or microwaving.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Citrus Fruit Salad

I love most fruit salads and normally make the one I grew up with which had oranges, nuts, marshmallows and cherries.  A few days ago I decided to make my usual and found that I had no oranges but I did have a can of  'Citrus Salad' mix.  This is a combination of a little orange but mostly grapefruit - red and white.  When I spotted this I decided to give it a try.  So here is what I used.

1 can of DelMonte Citrus Salad (15 oz.), drained
Shaved, unsweetened coconut
Pecans (or nuts of your choice)
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 can Pineapple chunks (15 oz.), drained

Mix it all together and let sit in the refrigerator covered for about 1 hr.  Stir and serve.  The grapefruit in this mixture gives the whole dish a deliciously, 'clean' taste that I simply love.  I've made this 3 times now and can't get enough of it.  I eat it at night as my dessert and whenever I find myself wanting something sweet.  You got to try this one!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

How to Clean Your Home Using Only 2 Ingredients - Part 4 (End)

Info from

Sneaker deodorizer
Sprinkle baking soda in sneakers. Allow to sit overnight. Shake out baking soda before wearing shoes.

Smelly towels are often caused by detergent build-up. To freshen smelly towels, wash in hot water and one cup vinegar, then again in hot water and ½ cup baking soda. Reichert recommends not using laundry detergent during this process. Detergent stays in the towels, even after rinsing, and can hold the smells.

What not to clean with baking soda and/or vinegar:
Do not use vinegar on anything shiny as it is an acid, and, over time, can remove the shine.
Do not use vinegar on sealed countertops such as granite or marble. It won't hurt the stone but it will slowly remove the shine.
Don't use baking soda as an abrasive scrub on surfaces that scratch easily.
When in doubt, first test products on a small, inconspicuous part of the item to be cleaned.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Clean Your Home Using Only 2 Ingredients - Part 3

Info from

Oven cleaner (not for self-cleaning ovens)
Method #1:
Scrub bottom and sides of oven using baking soda and steel wool.
Method #2:
1 cup baking soda
2 cups white vinegar
Pour vinegar into a spray bottle. Sprinkle baking soda onto bottom of oven. Spray with vinegar to make a light foam. Keep baking soda moist by spraying vinegar as needed. For sides of oven, mix baking soda with water to make a thick paste. Spread this on sides then spray with vinegar. Allow it to sit for as long as you can. Wipe off and rinse with hot water.

Pots and pans
To remove burnt-on food, sprinkle baking soda over the burnt area, add hot water and let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub with an abrasive sponge or Teflon scrubbing cloth.

Shower walls, doors and curtains
To prevent mildew from forming, spray walls, curtains and shower doors with white vinegar after showering.

Sinks and bath tubs

Simply spray with white vinegar and wipe! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to Clean Your Home Using Only 2 Ingredients - Part 2

Info from

Cups and mugs
Fill with one part baking soda to two parts water. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe away stains with a sponge.

Fabric softener
3 cups white vinegar
½ cup water
½ cup baking soda
8 drops of your favorite essential oil, optional
Mix water and vinegar, then the mixture heat in microwave for one minute. Dissolve baking soda in mixture. Add essential oils if fragrance is desired. Use in the wash cycle as you would commercial softener.

Glass and window cleaner
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 quart of water

Mix and spray on glass. Wipe with microfiber cloth. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How to Clean Your Home Using Only 2 Ingredients - Part 1

This article came from .  Interesting and I'm going to give it a try. 

With only baking soda and white vinegar, you have a stellar "green combo" for many household cleaning chores. Whether you're tackling a grimy oven or sprucing up your countertops, these earth-friendly products are great alternatives to harsh chemical products. We asked green cleaning expert Leslie Reichert to share some of her favorite baking soda and vinegar recipes. They'll do the job, save you money and help the environment — all at the same time.

Carpet spot-cleaner
White vinegar
Blot spills from carpet. Spray soiled area with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. Blot with a towel. Repeat until spot is gone.

Coffee makers
2 cups of white vinegar
Run vinegar through the brew cycle. Fill reservoir with water. Run through brew cycle again.

Counter cleaner
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
8 drops lemon essential oil, optional

Mix ingredients, then spray on counter. Wipe with a microfiber cloth. For extra power, heat the mixture in the microwave until it's warm. (Do not use vinegar on sealed granite, marble or other sealed stone countertops.) 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #8 (end)

Eat a High-Protein Breakfast

“Protein in the morning gets converted into dopamine, which energizes you,” said Dr. Winter. Yes to meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds. Go easy on carbs (breads and cereals) and processed foods with lots of added sugar that will make you feel logey.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #7

Exercise Every Morning

“The best time is right when you wake up. It gets your body used to revving up in the morning. If you can stay to a routine, it’s amazing what it will do to your energy and attitude,” says Dr. Winter. It doesn’t have to be rigorous. In fact, gentle yoga, qigong or tai chi routines have been shown to be very effective in getting the body and brain started for the day. (You can find videos to follow by searching on Youtube.) Twenty minutes is optimal, but an intense five can do the trick particularly in a bright, stimulating environment.

Monday, January 11, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #6

Try Yoga Breathing

An Oxford University study found that pranayama or yoga breathing “had a markedly invigorating effect on perceptions of both mental and physical energy and increased high positive mood.” The most common form is called Three Part Breath or Dirgha Breath. You can do it lying in bed: Inhale deeply through your nose, filling up belly your belly first. Expand your belly like a balloon. Continue to inhale, expanding ribs like gills on a fish. When you are completely full, empty yourself slowly but completely, exhaling through your nose. Do six to 10 rounds.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #5

Seek Out Light

According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, light is the main cue influencing circadian rhythms, turning on or turning off genes that control your internal clock. Roll up your shades as soon as you’re awake. If you can’t get natural light in your bedroom, consider a lightbox or alarm that slowly gets brighter, simulating dawn. If you don’t want to get that fancy, just flip on a regular light as soon as you get up.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #4

Drink Water When You First Get Up

You lose a lot of fluid when you sleep and breathe at night, and unfortunately, dehydration can make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Rehydrating can go a long way in making you feel more alert. You don’t have to chug, just quench your thirst.

Friday, January 8, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up with More Energy - #3

3. Don't Hit the Snooze Button

Set your alarm for when you must get up and stick to that. Hitting snooze over and over just leads to fragmented, fitful sleeping and you’ll wake up more tired. If you can’t trust yourself, move your alarm to a place you can’t reach it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #2

2. Always Get Up at the Same Time—Even on Weekends

“Regardless of how well you slept or when you went to sleep, always get up at a set wake-up time,” recommends Dr.  Winter. Our circadian rhythm, the biological process that drives your sleep-wake cycle, needs consistency in order to work correctly. Not everyone needs eight hours—some need more, some can get by on less. If you stick to a set wake up time, your body will start telling you when to go to bed in order to achieve your optimal amount of rest. The overall routine will help you get the healthy sleep you need to replenish your energy stores, which means you won’t wake up as bedraggled.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

8 Ways to Wake up With More Energy - #1

This fits me 100% so I thought I would share with those of you who are like me.  This is from

Tired of Feeling Tired?
Brrrrrrriiiiiiiinnngggg! When the alarm goes off, do you:
A. Spring immediately out of bed, shouting, “It's going to be a great day!”
B. Moan, hit the snooze button and then pull the sheets over your head.

If your answer is A, then good for you. In the more likely event that your answer is B, don’t worry, help is on the way. Here are suggestions on how to quickly shake off the morning blahs and greet the day more refreshed.
1. Go to Sleep the Right Way
The best way to wake up refreshed is to get a good night’s sleep. This means:

No caffeine after lunch since caffeine can be a stimulant and keep you awake. And only one glass of wine at dinner. Too much wine can knock you out, then cause you to wake up during the night.
Make sure your room is cool. “The drop off in temperature is a natural cue for your body to fall asleep,” W. Christopher Winter, MD, Medical Director at the Martha Jefferson Sleep Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Don’t exercise near bedtime—it will just rouse your body.

Stay off the computer—and away from any lit screen—an hour before bed. The light makes your brain think it’s day time. (If you must, download F.lux at It’s a free software program that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the light in the room.)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Fruit, Vegetables & Pesticides

A friend sent this article to me so I'm sharing.  I love fresh fruit and vegetables but didn't realize just how much pesticides they might have on them.  She found this at a site titled  Natural Health Care For You - Thanks Lynn

Recently, we all became aware of the grand contamination of fruit and vegetables. This is why we must learn how to reduce the level of pesticides. Pesticides cannot be washed only with water. Washing fruits and vegetables using vinegar.

In this article we will present a great solution for removing bacteria from fruit and vegetables. You need to use a mixture consisted of water and vinegar in a ratio of 3:1. This solution can remove even 98% of bacteria. Fruits and vegetables should be soaked in the mixture for 10 to 20 minutes and then rinsed with water. Or you can pour the liquid into a bottle with sprayer and spray the fruit and vegetables with it. Let them stand still for 10 minutes and then rinse them with water.

You can also make other effective mixtures
– 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water
– 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water

For products with very high percentage of pesticides, try the following solution:
– 1 cup of water, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of grapefruit seed extract. Let the ingredients soak in this mixture for an hour.

Peel fruits or vegetables
This is maybe the best way to remove harmful pesticides, especially when it comes to apples. Rinse the apples with water before you peel them.

Remove outer layers
Try to eat only the internal parts because outer layers may contain a high percentage of chemicals.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Controlling Cholesterol - Do's and Don'ts

I found this information on Spark People and decided to share.  If you're like me you have high cholesterol and need all the help you can get to lower it.

Heart disease is a scary thing. In the face of dire risk factor statistics and horror stories about cholesterol, you can easily get rattled. You might feel overwhelmed by the whole cholesterol question, and feel like you face uninformed life and death decisions every time you sit down at the table.

But reducing your risk of heart disease is not an impossible task. All it takes is a few simple adjustments.

Your cholesterol level is determined by several factors, including your genetic makeup, your diet, and certain lifestyle choices. You can’t do anything about genes passed down from Grandpa Charlie, but you can change your future with a few new, heart-friendly lifestyle choices.

The list below contains several strategies to help you develop cholesterol-smart, heart-healthy habits. These nutritional do’s and don’ts won’t have you feeling deprived, or require you to train for a marathon. They will, however, make your heart very happy. And a happy heart has nothing to be afraid of.

DO watch your cholesterol intake. Dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol you eat) may raise blood cholesterol levels. Limit dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day.

DO limit the fat in your diet. A diet rich in fat encourages weight gain and may lead to elevated blood cholesterol levels.

DON’T eliminate all fat from your diet. You need some fat in your diet for good health Fat adds pleasure to your meal and makes you feel satisfied after the meal. Fat also gives flavor, texture, and moisture to food.

DO choose olive oil and canola oil for salad dressing, sautéing vegetables, cooking and baking. They are rich in monounsaturated fat, the heart healthy fat.

DON’T forego seeds and nuts, like almonds, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts. These are high in the healthy monounsaturated fats. A small handful 3-5 times a week can help prevent heart disease and increase your HDL (high density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol) levels.

DO find more soluble fiber. Soluble fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels. It is found in oats, rice, bran, barley, dried peas and beans, and certain fruits like prunes and apples.

DON’T overlook complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Choose more whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, brown rice, and dried beans and peas. Enjoy fruits and vegetables more often.

DON’T overindulge in salt. High blood pressure is associated with a diet high in sodium. Check labels carefully and watch the amount of salt you use in cooking and at the table.
DO cut back on trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which makes a fat more saturated and extends its shelf life. Avoid the term "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" on the ingredient list of margarines, as well as packaged foods, cookies and crackers.

DON’T forget to go fishing. Fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, is good for cholesterol. It is recommended to eat at least 6-8 ounces of baked or broiled fish each week. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and halibut are excellent sources.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Prepare to be Amazed - Part 14 (End)

More cool facts you may not know

*More than 16 million one dollar bills are printed each day.

*The average dollar bill lasts 21 months in circulation.

*One-dollar bills make up 45 percent of all bills printed by the U.S. government each year.

*If you had 10 billion one-dollar notes and spent one every second, it would take 317 years for you to go broke.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Prepare to be Amazed - Part 13

·        Fun activities you can do with a dollar bill

Track your bills. Go to the website Where's George? and enter the serial number of the bill. If the bill has been in circulation long enough, you might be able to see where your bill has been as it travels from wallets to registers and back. After you enter your bills, check back later to see where they have gone.

Play dollar-bill poker. Each of you takes a dollar bill and examines the green serial numbers as if they were a hand of playing cards. Make your best poker hand and see who wins

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Prepare to be Amazed - Part 12

How many groups of 13 can you find?


*The eagle is holding an olive branch in its right talon with 13 leaves and 13 fruits.
*In its left talon, the eagle is holding 13 arrows.
*The shield over the eagle's chest has 13 bars.
*Over the eagle's head, there are 13 stars.
*The phrase E Plurbus Unum, on the scroll hanging from the eagle's mouth, has 13 letters.
*The phrase Annuit Coeptis has 13 letters
*The pyramid has 13 steps.
*The green seal of the department of the treasury has a chevron (a V-shaped stripe) with 13 stars.
*There are leaves and fruit on either side of George Washington totaling 13 — eight leaves and five