DIY Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is so expensive these days. It is also generally a mystery as to what is actually in the mixture…

Today I’m sharing the DIY eco-friendly super easy laundry detergent I have been making (and using) for years. It is made with three ingredients. Borax, Super Washing Soda, Dawn Dish Soap.


Here is a little more information on each of the ingredients:

Borax is a powdery white substance, also known as sodium borate. It’s widely used as a household cleaner and a booster for laundry detergent

Borax – Borax is a powdery white substance, also known as sodium borate. It’s widely used as a household cleaner and a booster for laundry detergent. It’s a combination of boron, sodium, and oxygen. Borax is often found in dry lake beds in places like California’s Death Valley, where the water evaporated and left behind deposits of minerals.

A powdery white substance composed of sodium carbonate, made by the Arm & Hammer company.

Super Washing Soda – A powdery white substance composed of sodium carbonate, made by the Arm & Hammer company, and all natural, since 1874. It is a natural detergent booster that is 100% fragrance and phosphate free.

We all know about Dawn’s commitment to the environment (we know about them helping animals after tragic oil spills), while also providing safe and effective products.

Dawn Dish Soap – We all know about Dawn’s commitment to the environment (we know about them helping animals after tragic oil spills), while also providing safe and effective products. If you want to see a full list of the ingredients used in Dawn products, simply click here to learn more. Growing up, we always kept a small bottle of Dawn in the laundry room to treat oil stains on clothes.


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

DIY Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Recipe

DIY Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent

Disclaimer: While the ingredients in his laundry detergent recipe are eco-friendly, they are not for consumption. If ingested, they are likely to cause nausea, and or diarrhea, or other unpleasant side effects. (Ingested in large quantities, they could lead to kidney failure.) For those tempted by Tide Pods, resist the temptation of guzzling this recipe and go for a Dr. Pepper instead.

Ingredients:

3 TBS Borax
3 TBS Super Washing Soda
2 TBS Dawn Dish Soap

Direction:

Put ingredients into a gallon jug.

Pour in 4 cups of boiling water. Swirl until the ingredients have dissolved, then let cool.

Fill the remainder of the jug with cold water.

Use 3 ounces of detergent per load of laundry (or more as needed based on how soiled the clothes may be).

NOTES:

– I like to reuse/recycle so I had an old jug of All liquid laundry detergent that I had used before making the switch to homemade detergent years ago. Any gallon container will work, but I personally prefer one with a spout for easy decanting. If you want something prettier, a lovely beverage dispenser with a spigot could be a cute option.

– This is a low sudsing formula, so it is a septic safe option.

Leave a Reply

brown farm gate and green grass field

6 Homesteading Resources

It is a little crazy to see how much my ideal life has changed over the last ten years.

When I was on the cusp of graduating from university I wanted a high paying executive job. I wanted to live in an ultra-modern house – sleek, angular, windows galore. I said I didn’t really want kids, but that I figured I’d change my mind when I find the right guy to marry and start a family with. I had grown up with a backyard garden, and even had a small herb (container) garden in college.

Fast forward nine years post-grad and I hardly recognize myself regarding those old aspirations.

Now a days I want to be a homemaker, a homesteader, a wife and mother. I want a modern farmhouse, with land for big gardens, chickens, and a milk cow or two. I want to live a simple life. I want to eat and preserve what I grow, and live off the land.

I’ve made strides in my efforts to make my revised dreams reality. I expanded my garden by three times the area it used to be. I’ve become adept at canning tomatoes, pickles, and meat. I’ve increased my gardening knowledge tenfold. I’ve learned more about edible plants (such as dandelions, and all the parts of a sunflower).

By law, I’m not allowed to have chickens where I live (I’ve checked – they must be 150 feet away from any neighbor’s house and that simply isn’t feasible right now). Milk cow? Forget it!
Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on having them someday (much like a husband and kids).

Community really helps aspiring and beginner homesteaders, and in this case, social media can be a true asset!

Having people to learn from (like mentors), is invaluable – that’s why I follow several on Instagram.

My Favorite Homestead Helpers on Instagram

@aprilsunrisefarm

April lives in Florida, and I have learned so much from her – like that there is marrow in the stalks of sunflowers (and that it is edible and has several health benefits). I’ve learned about making homemade vanilla extract (and now I want my own vanilla orchid). She is so sweet (a human ray of sunshine in her reels), and a wealth of knowledge.

@homesteadonpurpose

Steph lives in Canada, and it was from her basic instructions that I made my first batch of homemade apple cider vinegar. She posts to her stories her daily homesteading activities, and it is so fun to watch and glean new knowledge. She recently launched an app for homesteaders – “Hello Homesteader” helps connect homesteaders to each other for various purposes.

@theshilohfarm

Noah at Shiloh Farms is from Nebraska (a little closer to Texas). He is humorous, and very knowledgeable – especially when it comes to gardening (as well as chicken raising). It is from Noah that I learned the head of sunflowers is edible – like corn on the cob! With his Instagram reels he delivers a quick video that will brighten your day and expand your mind.

@creative_explained

I discovered Armen from his viral “Don’t Throw It Out” videos on Instagram/TikTok. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to gardening. He shares tips and tricks – everything from how to grow/re-grow plants, as well as how to get rid of fruit flies, how best to use things you were going to throw away (like chicken bones, and sour milk) to nourish your plants and garden.

My Favorite Homesteading Books

Books are a priceless resource. In terms of things evolving and changing some might say the internet is so much better than books…but what if there is a storm and you are without power? When it comes to homesteading – gardening, raising livestock, canning, general self-sufficiency – the basics are fairly constant.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

Some of my favorite homesteading books include:

Armen/Creative_Explained’s two books:

"Don't Throw It Out" book 1 and 2 from Creative Explained (a great gardening resource!)

These two books, “Don’t Throw it Out!” and “Don’t Throw it Out! 2” are amazing resources for gardeners (both beginners and old pros). These books are both packed with information, pictures, and the second one even has QR codes you can scan to watch videos with more information.
These two books are only available through the Creative Explained website. If you use code: therenaissancetexan you can save 10% off your order!


“40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead” by David Toht

40 Projects for your backyard homestead - a great resource for starting your own homesteading journey

Not handy with tools? Don’t really know how to construct small functional buildings & or gardens?
This book is great! It includes homesteading structures with pictures and step-by-step Instructions (and even a list of the tools needed for to complete each project). Things from a rooftop gardens, fences, sheds to chicken coops (which I will need someday)! Whatever your homestead needs may be, this book covers it!


“Back to the Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills” by Abagail Gehring

Back to the Basics book by Abigail Gehring - a great resource for Homesteading and beginner homesteaders

Looking for a catchall book/a great place to start, this book has it all! This book starts with how to pick out land. Then moves onto digging a well and building an entire house and barn (by hand). Then there’s the section on growing and raising your food, plus how to preserve and cook with it (including meats and dairy products). And other useful things for the house like candle making, soap making, herbal remedies, sewing, weaving, quilting, and so on. There is a nice overview of various ways of cooking with wood, then sections of woodworking. It shows you how to make the tools and furniture you need for your house. 


If you are thinking about starting, have already started or are a life-long homesteader, I hope some of these resources help you along your journey of self-sufficiency.

Leave a Reply

Delicious S’mores Pie

Wednesday (08/10) is “National S’mores Day” according to my Celebrate Every Day Calendar.

Flaming marshmallow to make traditional s'mores.

Now, I’m not a big fan of marshmallows. I’m onboard with the graham cracker and chocolate part of s’mores, but the marshmallow part has always kept me from being a big fan.

On the other hand, there are people like my sister who love s’mores, who likes the marshmallow lit on fire not simply toasted (yuck!). As they say, “Different strokes for different folks.”

Anyway, I’ve been trying my best to partake in each day’s celebration according to my wall calendar… National Lipstick Day (July 29th) – check, National hammock Day (July 22nd) – check, World Water Day (March 22nd) – check, National Spaghetti Day (January 4th) – check! These little celebrations help me look for the joy in daily life.

Now, Wednesday is National S’more Day, as I said earlier and I’m not a big fan of them, so I was trying to brainstorm a way to like them. I also don’t care for pie (actually, what I don’t really like is pie crust) so naturally my brain thought, “S’mores PIE!”

I know it sounds odd, but I gave it more thought and created this recipe by adapting the recipe for my beloved Peanut Butter Pie.

This recipe hits the three requirements for s’mores: graham cracker (crust), marshmallow (creme), and chocolate!

It is a super simple, no-bake pie – sorry for all you scorched marshmallow s’mores lovers out there (Casey)…this may not be the recipe for you, but you might still want to give it a try.

S'mores pie recipe to celebrate National S'mores Day (August 10th) in a new and different way!

S’mores Pie

Ingredients:

1 graham cracker crust
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
7 oz Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
½ c powdered sugar
½ c Nutella
8 oz Cool Whip
1 Hershey’s Chocolate Bar (optional)

Directions:

Start by mixing the cream cheese and the marshmallow crème together with a mixer.

Add the powdered sugar to the mixture (make sure to turn off the mixer while adding the powdered sugar).

Then add ½ of your Cool Whip – fold it in until evenly distributed.

Once mixed, add half of the mixture to the graham cracker pie crust.

Use a normal vegetable peeler to shave the chocolate bar and top the layer of cream in the pie crust with your shavings.

Return the other half of the cream mixture to the mixer and add the Nutella and mix well.

Once the Nutella is mixed in, fold in the other half of the Cool Whip.

Add this filling to the top of the first layer in the pie crust. Spread evenly with a spatula.

Refrigerate overnight – this allows it all to set up well for cutting into slices.

Remove from the refrigerator when ready to slice and serve.

Notes:
  • If you really love marshmallows (like my neighbor, and my grandma) you could fold some mini marshmallows into the first/”marshmallow” layer (you could fold them into the chocolate layer too if you’re really mad for marshmallows!
  • You could save your shaved Hershey’s bar to top the pie if you wanted it to be more decorative.
  • You could also top the pie with mini marshmallows, or some more marshmallow creme (I must warn you that it does have a tendency to move like The Blob – I know because I used it as snow on top of a gingerbread house one Christmas…that snow turned into a sticky avalanche). If you topped the pie with marshmallows, you could then use a brulee torch to flame kiss the marshmallows.
  • You could also chose to reverse the layers so that the chocolate is on the bottom and the marshmallow creme layer is on top.

If you try this new take on the classic s’more, let me know in the comments below what you think!

S'mores pie - Completed and ready to serve

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

Leave a Reply

My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to dig out my old copy of my mom’s classic recipe.

One of the reasons I love my mom’s chocolate chip cookies best is because the sugar is divided in half – half brown sugar, half regular sugar. This gives them a rich golden color and a scrumptious taste!

My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

2/3 c butter flavored Crisco
½ c brown sugar
½ c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ c flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a mixer combine the Crisco, sugars, egg, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low.

Once the dough is combined it is pretty stiff. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the chocolate chips (you can use a spatula, but over the years I have learned that clean hands work even better).

Once the chocolate chips are folded in, use a cookie scoop to evenly scoop them onto a greased or silicone lined cookie sheet.

These cookies don’t spread, so in order to achieve an even bake (no raw dough in the center) you will need to use a jelly jar/mug/hand, to press them a little flatter.

Put them in the oven to bake for 8 minutes.

After the 8 minutes, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cook for at least 10 minutes.

After they have cooled a bit you can enjoy them – they are great with a glass of milk!

Chocolate Chip Cookies with a glass of milk

I was responsible for supplying treats to the nonagenarian Sunday school class at my church yesterday. For them I got some cello bags and some ribbon. I used my Cricut machine to make some little tags that read “Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!”.

I then threaded the ribbon through some slits that were cut in the tags and tied up two cookie per bag.

These cookies make crowd pleasing goodie bags.

goodie bad with two chocolate chip cookies

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

Leave a Reply

black dslr camera on beige wooden surface

August 2022 Photography Challenge

While some find themselves back to school this month, all can find inspiration in this new set of photography challenge words in the August 2022 Photography Challenge!

I can’t wait to see how you interpret the following prompts and #captureaugust.

  1. Park
  2. Breakfast
  3. Above
  4. Hot
  5. Button
  6. Down
  7. Water
  8. Spray
  9. Sky
  10. Condensation
  11. Medium
  12. Hair
  13. After
  14. On
  15. Lint
  16. King
  17. Spine
  18. Made
  19. Garage/Utility Light
  20. Pencil
  21. 8
  22. Hands
  23. Doorknob
  24. Brush
  25. Temperature
  26. Dots
  27. A Part
  28. Alley
  29. Back
  30. Wide
  31. Ad

Take it literally, take them as suggestions. Play word association, or even photograph the opposite. Go in order, go backward, or randomize!  Whatever you do look for good in the world. Look at things from a different perspective…try a new angle.

If you decide to post your challenge photos on Instagram, I would love to see them – please tag me so I don’t miss your creative shots!

Interested in taking your photography to the next level? Check out Evan Sharboneau’s 295-page eBook on Trick Photography and Special Effects. In this book he shares the secrets of light painting, levitation photography, trick photography, infrared photography, and more.

Calendar for the August 2022 Photography Challenge - daily prompts all month long to help you #captureaugust

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

Leave a Reply

batman logo

My 12 Favorite The Dark Knight Movie Quotes

Every year for the past 14 years I have watched “The Dark Knight” on July 18th.

My best friend when I was a kid had the initials B.A.T. and he loved Batman; he was in an accident and died when we were young. When the second movie of the Dark Knight trilogy came out (on his birthday no less), I knew I had to see it opening day – something I had never done before – and watching it on this day has become a tradition.

It is, by far, my favorite of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. It has so many great lines, not to mention the stunning cinematography and excellent acting.

As is tradition I will be watching it tonight, but I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite quotes from this film:

My 12 Favorite The Dark Knight Movie Quotes


Harvey Dent: You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.


Batman: [as Joker is holding Rachel out a window] Let her go!

The Joker: Very poor choice of words…


Harvey Dent: The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.


The Joker: A little fight in you. I like that.

Batman: Then you’re gonna love me.


James Gordon Jr.: Why’s he running, Dad?

Lt. James Gordon: Because we have to chase him.

James Gordon Jr.: He didn’t do anything wrong.

Lt. James Gordon: Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.


Salvatore Maroni: [to Batman who is interrogating him about The Joker] No one’s gonna tell you nothin’. They’re wise to your act. You got rules. The Joker, he’s got no rules. No one’s gonna cross him to you. You want this guy, you got one way. But you already know what that is. Just take off that mask and let him come find you.


Mayor: We must remember that vigilance is the price of safety.


Joker: [to Harvey Dent] The mob has plans. The cops have plans. Gordon’s got plans. Y’know they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So when I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know I’m telling the truth. It’s the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and, uh, look where that got you.

Batman: Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded…


Two-Face: Then why was it me who was the only one who lost everything?

Batman: It wasn’t.

Two-Face: The Joker chose ME!

Batman: Because you were the best of us! He wanted to prove that even someone as good as you could fall.


Two-Face: You thought we could be decent men in an indecent time. But you were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased, unprejudiced… fair.


Bruce Wayne: People are dying, Alfred. What would you have me do?

Alfred Pennyworth: Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.


Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren’t complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he’s after.

Alfred Pennyworth: With respect Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that *you* don’t fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.

Bruce Wayne: So why steal them?

Alfred Pennyworth: Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.


Do you have a favorite Batman movie, or Batman movie line? If you do, let me know what it is the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Self-Watering Hack For Your Garden

Last week I had, what I originally thought was, a brilliant idea. I recycled/upcycled/repurposed empty water bottles to be a self-watering/drip irrigation system for my avocado trees. To say this watering hack it didn’t exactly work would be fair, but it was a learning opportunity, which led to a pleasant discovery.

Let’s back up and I’ll tell you the full story from the beginning…

sliced avocado on white surface
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

My Avocado Trees

In 2020 I Tried sprouting avocado pits to grow my own trees. The first two are affectionately named “Guaco” and “Mole” (as in guacamole).

I’m going to be very honest here and confess that sprouting avocado pits became a little bit of an obsession…At one point I had fourteen, I now have eleven healthy ones, and poor Rita (Margarita) is on life support after not tolerating the Texas summer heat well. The other losses were at the hands of the murderous and thieving squirrels in my backyard.

The heat in Texas arrived a little earlier than usual with it’s full there-must-be-a-magnifying-glass-between-Texas-and-the-sun force. As my avocado trees are still fairly small they are in pots. This makes water easy and tricky. It is easy to water the pots each morning, but the water runs right trough and pours out on the ground/ The soil does not retain much moisture, and what it does retain is subject to evaporation throughout the heat of the day.

This conundrum led me to attempting my own DIY self-watering system.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

DIY Drip Fail

The idea behind this “hack” was the blown glass globe that I got from my grandma that is stuck in my Croton plant in my bedroom. We’ve probably all seen these things on infomercials or on the “As Seen On TV” aisles at stores.

Self-Watering blown glass globe - the pricier option here.

The science behind them is that you fill the globe with water, then stick the straw-like part into the soil of your plants. It releases the water into the soil as needed to maintain a state of equilibrium between the water in the soil and that in the globe – otherwise the water would just run out of the bottle and drench the soil.

The drawback to using these in my avocado pots is that they are a bit pricey, and needing a dozen made that cost prohibitive for me.

Don’t get me wrong, they are effective and beautiful, and I love the one I have for my indoor plant, but for an orchard of avocados I needed something more financially reasonable.

I decided to make my own with that same concept, but with a drip component to allow a slow and constant source of water to help these plants through the heat of the summer…

To start I took some wooden skewers and duct taped them to the top of the bottle (creating a stake system to hold the bottle upside down in the soil of the pot).

I then removed the bottle’s lid and poked a hole in it with an icepick. After that I shoved a Q-tip through the hole in the lid, then filled the bottle with water and screwed the lid back on. I then turned it upside down and gently pushed the skewers into the soil on the outer edge of the pot. Then I confirmed the water was traveling from the bottle down the Q-Tip and dripping into the pot.

The concept was very much like that of an IV drip in the hospital.

I proceeded to make the rest and placed them in the post of the avocados.

Avocado trees set up with my DIY self-watering fail...

The next day, I noticed a bottle had fallen off its skewers, so I went to fix it… That is when I noticed all the Q-Tips were bone dry – despite the bottles all still having the vast majority of the water they started out with.

The diagnosis/conclusion I have come to is that they cotton end and rolled paper middle of the Q-Tip ended up absorbing as much water as it could, then essentially created a clot at the hole in the lid. This led to the flow of water (and dripping) to stop. Or…the Texas summer heat dried the water on the Q-Tip before it could collect enough for another drip. Either way, it was a rare DIY FAIL for me. Luckily, I did not have much invested in this experiment.

My Solution

After assessing the situation, I decided to look for alternatives on the internet. I eventually discovered a compromise between the original pricey globe and the DIY disaster…

Self-watering drip irrigation spikes

These things use the bottles I was already using, then the spike gets poked into the dirt. When inverted, the water from the bottle pours into the little cup-like section where it maintains the equilibrium and drips (at the rate you want – determined by how tightly you screw on the small regulator nozzle. They maintain a constant dripping speed until the bottle is empty. Then you simply refill them.

The small page of instructions also show you the formula to calculate the number of days you can get out of one bottle of water, when used inside, depending on the drip rate you have set.

Days = ML x S /4320

Meaning, the number of days of constant dripping in your plant is the number of milliliters of water in the bottle (times) the number of seconds between drips, all divided by 4320.

For example, if I have 1,000 milliliters in my water bottle, and I set the regulator valve to one drip of water every 43 seconds, I would multiply 1,000 by 43. That would give me 43,000, which I would divide by 4320 for a total of 9.95 days of watering from one bottle. That math comes in handy if you are wanting to use these to water your indoor plants while away from the house/on vacation.

When using them outside, if you live in a hot and sunny place like Texas, you will not get a full 10 days out of one 1,000 ML bottle dripping once every 43 seconds as calculated above, because of this little thig called evaporation. This means you may need to refill your bottles more often, but the concept of drip irrigation still holds.

A drip of water from my Self-watering drip irrigation spikes

These are a fraction the cost of fancy blown glass option. They are reusable and I am still able to reduce/reuse/upcycle my old water bottles.

Unless you want something pretty, these are a great option for creating a self-watering system in your garden or indoor plants.



Leave a Reply

Sour Ranch Pickle Relish

My cucumber plants have been prolific this year. They really like the trellis I gave them this year, and their fruit has been more reliable and less bitter.

So, copious quantities of cukes have led to a plethora of pickles! Also known (by me) as Project Pickle!

I love pickles – always have and probably always will. I love the pucker power!

So, Project Pickle is basically just making homemade pickles with homegrown cucumbers and canning them. I’ve done some research and learned a couple of tricks to making the best homemade pickles.

Pickle Tricks:

  • Prior to canning your pickles, soak your cucumber slices or spears in an ice water bath for 4-6 hours. The chilling helps your cucumbers to have a good texture.
  • Add a grape leaf or oak tree leaf to your jars when canning pickles. The tannins from the leaves help keep your pickles crunchy.

There is more to project pickle than just pickle spears and slices…

I have never been a fan of relish. It is generally too sweet for me, remember I said I like pucker power. During the course of Project Pickle, I have learned to try new recipes, and fallen in love with relish…Sour Relish! Add a little Ranch seasoning and you’ve got yourself the king of sandwich and burger condiments.

It is really easy to make, and you don’t even need a canner to preserve it. It would make great hostess or housewarming gifts.

Sour Ranch Pickle Relish Recipe

Sour Ranch Pickle Relish

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

Ingredients

4-5 pounds of cucumber
2 bell peppers (any color/combination)
1 medium onion
¼ C pickling salt
1 C white vinegar
1 C apple cider vinegar
1 C water
2 pkgs Ranch seasoning

Directions

-Shred your cucumbers, peppers, and onion into a large bowl. (An old-school box grater works, but a Presto Salad Shooter is so much faster.)
-Add the pickling salt, along with ice and enough water to cover your shreds, then let sit for 4-6 hours – stir occasionally.

Shredded cucumbers, peppers, and onion in a ice water bath.

-During your wait time, sterilize your jars.
I personally like canning relish in half-pint jars, but any size jar will do.
To sterilize your jars add ½ tsp of bleach to each jar, then fill them with boiling water.
If you have access to grape leaves or oak leaves, go ahead and wash them then stick one (or half of one) in each jar.

Sterilized half-pint jars with an oak leaf (for tannins) waiting for relish.

-After the ice water bath, drain your shreds and rinse them well TWICE.

-In a large pot on the stove, add the vinegars, cup of water, and Ranch packets. Whisk together and bring to a boil.
-Boil for 5 minutes.
-Add the rinsed cucumber, pepper, and onion shreds to the brine mixture on the stove.
-Bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

-While the mixture is simmering, get your canning lids ready. Place the lids in a pot of boiling water (I tend to use water from my hot pot/kettle and pour it over the lids in a shallow bowl) to soften the seal so they will make good contact with the jar and seal well.

-After 10 minutes turn off the heat and use a ladle and canning funnel to fill your jars. (Remember to leave about 1 inch of space at the top of each jar.)

Jars filled with sour Ranch Pickle Relish, waiting for lids!

-Use a paper towel and white vinegar to wipe the rims of each jar (this removes any oils or contaminants that might keep the seals from making good contact with the rim of the jars.
-Carefully add a lid and a ring to each jar (a canning magnet comes in handy for this part) and screw them on finger tight.

-Place your jars into another large pot (large enough to hold jars and enough water to cover their lids).
-After the jars and water are in the pot, crank up the heat and bring the water to a boil. This is a canning method known as a water bath. Boil the jars and water for 10 minutes.
After the water bath, carefully remove the jars (jar lifters are a lifesaver here) and turn them upside down on a kitchen towel.

-Let the jars cool. After they have sealed, flip them right side up and check that they have sealed. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated.

Wait at least two weeks to enjoy the relish – then it is fully seasoned and pickled, and worth the wait!

This sour Ranch relish is great for sandwiches, hamburgers, and charcuterie boards.

For an easy guide to canning check out my posts on tomatoes and blueberries.

Leave a Reply

Easy Cloning Tomato Plants

According to all my gardening resources, it is time to start prepping for fall tomatoes.

Most nurseries don’t carry autumn tomatoes, so your best bet is either to try to work with a small local nursery (to see if they can get some baby tomato plants for you) or start your own.

Why “Fall Tomatoes” Instead of Nursing the Ones I Started in the Spring?

Tomato plants that were started in the spring have now run up to the heat of summer (especially in the south). They will be struggling to survive through the hottest months of the year, and not as concerned about producing fruit.

I am not saying pull your current tomato plants out of the garden and plant new ones. My tomato plants still have fruit on them (albeit green) and they still have loads of blossoms. At the moment, I am simply getting my fall plants ready for planting.

Neil Sperry comes in clutch with a great, and more scientific, answer to the question, ‘Why would I want to plant fall tomatoes instead of just continuing with the ones I planted in the spring?’:

“By late spring and early summer each year gardeners are usually frustrated by early blight, spider mites, splitting fruit, tomato fruit worms, blossom-end rot and other problems that beset their spring tomatoes that try to ripen in heat.
The fall crop, by comparison, is freed from all of these issues. You’ll get picture-perfect fruit of the highest flavor and texture.”

As the heat of the summer fades, tomato plants will be getting more of the temperatures they like, warm but not scorching.

* Another great tip for helping your tomatoes through this heat: Don’t water the leaves. Only water the ground near the roots…I know it is so much easier to just set the sprinkler and a timer, but watering the leaves can lead to fungus with turns the leaves yellow. *

Start from Seeds or Cuttings?

I started the vast majority of my current tomato plants from seeds, and I will be doing that again for the fall, but I am also rooting cutting from my current plants – “cloning them” as some say.

For more information or to review my starting from seeds post, click here.

If you saved some seeds from your spring harvests now is a great time to reinvest them in your garden.

Last year I shared a post about tomato suckers (for a refresher, click here). This year, the suckers grew so fast and produced fruit so quickly, I was not able to stay on top of pruning them off. As I said, they produced fruit, but the volume of suckers I have might be why my plants are not producing much fruit at the moment…that of this crazy heat.

Anyway, I am going to make some lemonade out of this sucker situation. I have clipped off some of the well-established suckers (4-7 inches long) and placed them each in a glass bottle in a well-lit windowsill to grow roots.

Make sure to have the newer growth under the waterline. They suck water up like a straw so you will need to top off your container 2, maybe even 3, times a day. The older growth is too woody to sprout roots, so you may also want to trim them a little to make sure a newer section of the stem is under water.

Once their roots resemble Rapunzel’s long locks, I will begin taking them outside to re-acclimate to the full, hot sun before transplanting them into my well-prepared garden soil.

Cutting from tomato plants that has been in water for a few weeks, and how has long healthy roots - ready to be planted in the garden.

By using cuttings that also happen to be suckers, I am sort of killing two birds with one stone.

This process and concept work well with any tomato plant cutting (in the event you’ve managed to stay on top of your sucker pruning better than I have).

Final note on fall tomatoes: I WILL be planting an egg under each of them again like I did in the spring. Since trying that secret BER (Blossom End Rot) has been almost nonexistent in my daily harvests.


Will you be planting more tomatoes for the fall? If so, how do you prefer to get your autumn babies started?

Leave a Reply

pexels-photo-1738636.jpeg

July 2022 Photography Challenge

July first means we have made it through the first half of 2022! How about we celebrate all this wonderful month has to offer with a fresh list of randomness to photograph (aka the July 2022 Photography Challenge)?!

I can’t wait to see how you interpret the following prompts and #capturejuly.

  1. Red
  2. White
  3. Blue
  4. Freedom
  5. America
  6. Patriotic
  7. Game
  8. Check
  9. Proud
  10. Corn
  11. Circle
  12. Bug
  13. String
  14. Fresh
  15. Tap
  16. Fan
  17. Balcony
  18. Paper
  19. Suit
  20. Off
  21. Step
  22. Celebration
  23. Still
  24. Onion
  25. Moving On
  26. Stairs
  27. Top
  28. Bubble
  29. Before
  30. Cake
  31. Under

Take it literally, take them as suggestions. Play word association, or even photograph the opposite. Go in order, go backward, or randomize!  Whatever you do look for good in the world. Look at things from a different perspective…try a new angle.

Schedule for the July 2022 Photography Challenge - A calendar with each day's prompt

If you decide to post your challenge photos on Instagram, I would love to see them – please tag me so I don’t miss your creative shots!

Interested in taking your photography to the next level? Check out Evan Sharboneau’s 295-page eBook on Trick Photography and Special Effects. In this book he shares the secrets of light painting, levitation photography, trick photography, infrared photography, and more.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links (and pictures), I may receive a small commission – as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It will not cost you anything. I only share products and services that I truly believe in and think are great.

Leave a Reply