Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Make Your Own Spicy Stone Ground Mustard

Mustard. An American staple. As a matter-of-fact, mustard is used in the cuisine of India, the Mediterranean, northern and southeastern Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, making it one of the most popular and widely used spices and condiments in the world.1

Made from the simplest ingredients, mustard actually is good for you. Some of the many vitamins and nutrients found in mustard seeds are selenium and omega 3 fatty acid2  Mustard has also been used medicinally for generations as well. This is one condiment that is good for you.  However, today's mustards have so many added ingredients that making your own can control what you put into it.  And unlike its ketchup counterpart, mustard can be made very easily, with no cooking and not much fuss.

I found this recipe while watching PBS many years ago.  It was with Mary Ann Esposito and I have loved this mustard ever since.  What can be better than making a condiment that not only tastes amazing but has health benefits as well? This recipe is hands-down the easiest gourmet mustard I've ever made and we think one of the tastiest too!

"Prepared mustard dates back thousands of years to the early Romans, who used to grind mustard seeds and mix them with wine into a paste not much different from the prepared mustards we know today."

This recipe uses two types of mustard...yellow and brown seeds.  You can use all of one or the other, but I really like the color combination of the two varieties.  The brown tends to be a little hotter but they are basically the same. 

For this recipe you'll need one cup of yellow (white) seeds and one cup of brown seeds.  Put them both in a non-corrosive container such as a handy mason jar.  

Add to the jar 2 cups of red wine vinegar. (I also use Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to bump up the health benefits of mine.)  

 Now the easiest part.  Cover the jar with plastic if you're using a metal lid.  Otherwise you can top with a plastic lid and let the seeds soak for two days.  You'll be amazed at how much of the vinegar they soak up during this time.  

After two days, put your seed vinegar mix into a food processor and add 1/2 cup of raw honey, 2 tsp of fine sea salt, and 1 tsp of allspice.  Pulse until they form a coarse grainy paste.

Fill approximately six sterilized 1/2 pint jars with the mustard. Cut out wax paper circles larger than the jar opening and place over the tops of each jar before capping them.  

Unopened, the mustard will keep indefinitely, but once opened you'll want to make sure and refrigerate it. 

Need I mention that this mustard makes a great gift as well?  I gave a small bottle to friends one year and they raved about it so much that I ended up making them a quart of it!  

Hope you like this mustard and if you are looking for seeds to buy online, you can try here and
here. You may be able to find yellow mustard seeds any place selling bulk herbs and spices as well. 

Have you made mustard before?  What's your favorite additions?  Blessings!!

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Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pinterest Garden Inspired Christmas Decor!

When it comes to decorating, the garden is my favorite inspiration.  I love the diversity of colors...from earth tones to vibrant that the garden offers.  The garden also offers a huge variety of textures and shapes as well.  

Scanning Christmas Garden Decoration Ideas on Pinterest yielded some really fun ideas for your garden this year.  And...if you don't actually make them, the creativity they display is worth the look.

What's perfect for the kitchen this season?  How about putting together a small edible wreath made up of herbs from the garden?  Make it up a few days before gift giving and it's ready to use.  Or you can give it to them at any time and allow it to dry.  This wreath has bay leaves, sage, thyme and blooming oregano.  This is sure to please the savviest of cooks!

Photo Source

I love this beautiful Moss wreath for Christmas.  The colors, the textures and the square shape make it a show stopper.  What reindeer wouldn't want to visit this house?  Click on the caption under the photo for directions on how to make your own.

Photo Source

Simple is always nice.  This rustic garland made with dried orange slices and twine would look great on any mantel or Christmas tree.  Make your own or buy them at a craft store for an instant garden look inside!

Photo Source

Even the most craft-challenged person can put holly berry sprigs under a wine glass with some tea lights on top.  This is a beautiful table top decoration for a special Christmas meal or use a flame-less tea light to use all season long.  A great way to use those crystal wine glasses tucked away in the cabinet. 

Have pinecones?  Gild them with a quick spray of white paint and hang them from a rustic chandelier for a super outdoorsy, nature inspired holiday decoration!  This one is simplicity at its best!

Photo Source

No need to put away those garden shepherd hooks this year!  Decorate them up with your own version of Christmas cheer!  Check out the link below the photo for step by step instructions from the Love Gone Wild blog.

I couldn't resist this photo because it's just so clever!  Made up of driftwood, this gardener has Christmas cheer all year long with this rustic branch tree.  It adds texture and character to the garden and I bet the birds like it too!

What's your favorite garden inspired Christmas decoration?


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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gardener's Gift Guide for Christmas - 2013

Christmas is once again upon us and with it the time for gift giving.  When shopping for your gardening friends, it can be a bit challenging to decide what to give them...hopefully this gift guide will spark some ideas for you and your fellow gardeners!

Burt's Bees Res-Q Ointment

First up, a great stocking stuffer and a product from Burt that I especially love...his RES-Q Ointment.  Yes, I can make my own and have many times, but this little tin has lasted me a long time and is well worth the money.  I use it as a lip ointment and it does the job without leaving the waxy residue other products can.  

" Bruises, burns, stings, and scrapes -- soothe and comfort your minor wounds with the green magic of Mother Nature. Burt's Bees Res-Q Ointment contains lavender oil, vitamin E, olive oil, and more."

Mirrored Window Birdfeeder

I love this product!  I actually have used clear plastic bird-feeders for windows many times and they are by far my favorite kind.  They are squirrel resistant and great up close fun!  This one has a one way mirror in the back so the birds won't notice you creeping up to the window to watch them feed.  Great for adults and kids alike!

 What gardener does not love to garden even in the winter?  A terrarium can help fulfill the plant nurturing instincts even when the temperatures in most places are far from idea.  This kit comes with everything and makes for a beautiful display no matter the weather outside.

Oggi Stainless Steel EZ Open Compost Pail

OXO Good Grips White Kitchen Scraps Compost Pail

 Don't let the great kitchen veggie scraps go to waste!  Collect them all in one of these modern and helpful compost pails.  Stainless steel or sleek white plastic; they will hold your compostable gold in style!  I love my compost pail and use it religiously all year long.  It's a great item to use to fill your outdoor compost bin!

Deluxe Organic Fruit Box

How about giving the gift of good organic eats?  I really enjoy getting a fruit basket and this one is perfect with all of its organic fruit!  Yes, you can make your own for someone local, but this makes for a great gift for a friend or family member far from home.  Try this one from Cherry Moon Farms for a great edible gift.

That's my gardening gift guide for Christmas 2013.  Hope you'll find some of these goodies under your tree this year!  Blessings!

What was your favorite gardening gift?

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