Thursday, August 28, 2014

Praying Mantis

This has nothing to do with food but I still had to share.  He/She was sitting on the hedge near my door.  It didn't seem to mind that I wanted to take its picture and would even turn its head to look at me while I took pictures.  This is the 1st one I've ever seen this close and I was surprised at its size.  I would estimate it at abut 5" from head to end of wings.  Below is a little information I found on the Praying Mantis.

The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. Mantis refers to the genus mantis, to which only some praying mantids belong.

By any name, these fascinating insects are formidable predators. They have triangular heads poised on a long "neck," or elongated thorax. Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them.

Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantis lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.

Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.

Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aspirin Uses

Yes, another Grandparent article. Aspirin - and you thought it was only good for headaches (well, I did too).

Though willow bark has been used for thousands of years to relieve pain and inflammation, it wasn't until 1897 that a German chemist was able to modify its active ingredient – salicin – to create acetylsalicylic acid, which is gentler on stomachs and the basis of modern aspirin. But this “miracle drug” can do more than treat a headache.


Soften your feet: Remove calluses from your feet (or hands) with aspirin. Crush six to eight tablets and mix them with a teaspoon or two of lemon juice, and enough warm water to make a paste. Spread the paste on the calloused area, then wrap in a warm towel and cover with a plastic bag. Leave on for ten or fifteen minutes, then scrub with a pumice stone to remove the callous. (NOTE: Do not try this if you are diabetic or have impaired circulation.)

Make your plants healthier: Aspirin may just be a gardener’s best friend. A solution of one aspirin in a gallon of water can help plants that have been traumatized by moving or replanting to recover, and can help new plants to develop strong root systems. Or add a little mild, liquid soap to the aspirin water and spray it on plant leaves to discourage pests. (The soap will keep the solution from just rolling off the plant.) 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tortilla Pizza

Flour Tortillas
Pizza Sauce
Favorite toppings:
  Ground Beef, cooked & crumbled
  Sausage, cooked & crumbled
  Bell Peppers, chopped
  Onions, chopped
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

On tortilla spread as little or as much pizza sauce that you might like.  Top with both cheeses covering nicely, or as much as you may like.  Top with your favorite toppings.  Bake in a toaster oven on 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until hot and cheeses have melted.

Comment:  I have a friend who loves pizza but he seldom eats the crust and since pizza delivered can get quite expensive I've tried to tell him that he needs to get his money's worth and eat the crust too.  He simply won't do it so I told him he could pay me the $20.00 he spends for pizza, delivery and tip and I would make a pizza he would simply live and not have to worry about the crust.  So I used tortillas for my crust, cooked up about 1/4 lb. of ground beef and started creating his pizza.  It's perfect!  The crust is thin enough that he actually eats it and you can make it soft by only cooking it after topping or you can crisp it up by putting it in the toaster oven for about 3-5 minutes before topping.  You can add any toppings and those you don't use you simply place in a baggie to use for more pizzas later or to add to another dish.  And the pizza sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several days so you can have pizza every day.  I think this may be a little healthier than delivered pizza too since it has such a thin crust.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

Yes, another Grandparent article that had to be shared.

Next time you buy apple cider vinegar, skip the clear, refined stuff and go raw and organic. (Look for a brand that may look a little cloudy, and has bits of sediment in it; those are the enzymes that make it so powerful.)


Use it to tame a rosacea flare-up: For some rosacea suffers, applying apple cider vinegar diluted with water as a toner can help soothe the redness and burning or itching of rosacea.

Condition your hair: Add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of warm water and rinse your hair with it after you shampoo. It will remove any soapy residue and leave your hair shiny and manageable! (Don’t do this if you color your hair, though, as it may interact with, or strip away, the dye.)

Remove fish scales more easily: When your favorite fisherman brings you his catch of the day, rub it with vinegar before you clean it. The scales will come off more easily, and your hands will smell less fishy, too.

And for 18 more uses go to Tree Hugger and see how many of their suggestions you might use.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Uses of Honey

This is another interesting article from Grandparents


Raw, organic honey is one of nature’s superfoods, and you should definitely keep a jar on hand! If you can, buy honey that is produced locally. (Some of the honey sold in supermarkets has been found to contain high fructose corn syrup and red food dye.) Besides being delicious, the good stuff can help keep you beautiful inside and out!


Ease a hangover: Next time you’ve overindulged, try a tablespoon of honey. (You can add it to herbal tea or hot water or drizzle it on toast, if you prefer not to eat it straight.) The fructose is thought to help speed up the metabolism of the alcohol, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK.

As a dressing for minor wounds: Honey is antimicrobial and antibacterial, which means the bad stuff can’t grow in it. You can use raw honey as an ointment on minor burns, cuts and scrapes. It also can banish blemishes for the same reason. Just be sure you cover the area with a bandage so you won’t be tempted to lick it off – and, of course, to keep the sticky stuff off your clothes and furniture!

Then I found even more uses on Care 2. 

They say:
It’s often said that the famed ancient beauty Cleopatra would soak in honey and milk baths. Well, whether or not that’s true, it’s certainly not surprising that the story has persisted for so long — honey has a tremendous effect on the skin. And that’s not all — honey is a powerful antiseptic and a fantastic natural sugar substitute. Keep reading for these and more alternative uses for honey.  13 Uses of Honey by Care 2

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Petroleum Jelly and its Uses

The tips below are from the Grandparent site.

Unless you’re swimming the English Channel, we don’t recommend slathering your body with petroleum jelly. As the name implies, it’s a by-product of oil refining, so a little dab will do you! That said, it’s been in use since 1870, and high-quality brands (like Vaseline, for example) are generally recognized as safe.


Keep car doors from freezing shut: We got this tip from an Air Force mechanic: Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the insulation of your car door, and you won’t have to worry about your car doors freezing shut when the next polar vortex hits.

Make an at-home mani/pedi look perfect: Use a cotton swab to outline your nails and nail polish won’t stick to your skin. Also, a thin layer of jelly around the tops of your nail polish bottles will keep them opening easily.

Keep ants out of the doggy bowl: Coat the outside of Fido or Fluffy’s food dish with a thin layer of jelly and ants will dine elsewhere.

For more uses visit 57 Uses for Petroleum Jelly

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Distilled White Vinegar Uses

Another Great Article from Grandparents 

Distilled White Vinegar

The Native Americans were right: Corn is our friend. Not only is it delicious on the cob or off, it’s the source of white distilled vinegar, which – as our grandmothers knew – can make a salad dressing or clean the walls with equal aplomb.

Revive wilted vegetables: Soak wilted greens or other vegetables in a bath of one tablespoon of white vinegar to two cups of water for 10 minutes.

Keep colors from running: Add one cup of white vinegar to the wash to help set the color of new towels or other items. 

Prevent cheese from getting moldy: Dampen a paper towel in white vinegar and wrap it around hard cheese to prevent mold spores from forming.

After reading this I decided to check a little deeper into the many uses of vinegar.  This is what I found:

Howard Garrett, also known as The Dirt Doctor, has compiled a number of uses for vinegar, including recipes for both internal use and use in your organic garden, which I will share with you here.  This is a lengthy article but worth going to the site to read.  It brings to light so many more uses of vinegar.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Salt Uses

I belong to a site that has some of the best information articles.  It's mainly created for Grandparents but is useful for everyone.  I wanted to share some of the information they posted a few days ago that I found interesting as well as useful.

You probably don’t think twice about the salt that graces your table, but at one time, salt was so highly prized that it was used as currency. The Roman army is said to have paid soldiers in salt; the word “salary” has its roots in this practice, and it’s why we say someone is “worth his salt.”

Remove a wine stain: Blot (don’t rub) the spill to remove as much as possible, then cover the stain liberally with salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water, if possible, then repeat if necessary. If the spill is on a carpet, you can wait for the salt to dry and then vacuum it up.

Make drip-proof candles: Soak new candles in salt water for a few hours, then let them dry. They will burn drip-free.