Picking the Perfect Lighting for Your New Home

Our new home building is coming to an end soon. We are probably about 6-8 weeks out and our lighting is being installed right now. What a journey it has been! If you’ve been following along for a while, I hope you have enjoyed my documentation. I will be doing a virtual tour once we are finished and sharing more details of our home.

*Source :http://gpschafer.com/

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes

How do you like your potatoes? Pan fried, mashed or baked? My favorite side dish hands down has to be mashed potatoes.

There are several kinds of potatoes so which ones do you use to make mashed potatoes?

POTATO TYPES:

  1. Idaho Russet – baked potato soup, potato salad, baked potatoes
  2. Red – potato salad, roasted
  3. White – mashed, scalloped, roasted, potato salad
  4. Yellow – mashed, roasted, potato salad
  5. Purple – roasted
  6. Sweet – roasted, baked, casserole
  7. Fingerling – baked or roasted

Wow! There’s a lot of different kinds of potatoes! My favorite type for mashed potatoes is Yellow Yukon Gold. I’ve tried making mashed potatoes with red or russet and I just don’t get the texture and creaminess that I do with the yellow.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
3 lbs. of Yellow Yukon Gold Potatoes
Organic Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream
Himalayan Pink Salt
Ground Pepper
Regular Sour Cream
Kerry Gold Unsalted Butter
Potato Masher or Hand Mixer

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and place in a pot of boiling water.
  2. Boil until fork tender and drain.
  3. Add potatoes back to the pot and add a little bit of the milk or heavy cream. This is an eyeball thing. Start slowly and you can always add a little more if needed. Don’t over pour or your potatoes will be runny.
  4. Add in the salt and pepper. Mash or mix everything together.
  5. Once mashed, gently fold in a few heaping tablespoons of sour cream.
  6. Top your potatoes with several pats of butter.

Note: If you have an Instant Pot, place your potatoes on a rack and fill the pot with at least 1 cup of water. Press the “steam” setting and set it for 5 minutes. Use the Natural Release method for pressurizing.

With Easter Sunday coming tomorrow, do you have mashed potatoes on your menu? I love them with a good spiral ham, salad, deviled eggs and some homemade bread. Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter!

Jesus is Risen! (Matthew 28:6)

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How to Harvest Potatoes

I’ve never met a potato I’ve never liked LOL. Seriously, I love potatoes and they are actually healthy.

They are loaded with potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C. They are made up of carbohydrates, so I do eat them in moderation. Pulling them fresh from the garden assures that they are even better for you as they haven’t lost any of their vitamin and minerals.

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra charge to you and
I only share what I personally use or believe in.

They can actually benefit several health conditions:

  1. They prevent heart disease
  2. Relieve high blood pressure
  3. Reduce inflammation
  4. Stimulates the brain
  5. Provides relief from rheumatism
  6. Prevents the formation of kidney stones
  7. Facilitates digestion.

To be such a little vegetable, potatoes sure do have some great benefits!

(Source: www.organicfacts.net)

AntiqueFarmHouse

My favorite potato is the Yukon Gold. They make the best mashed potatoes. I also enjoy roasting them in the oven with some butter, Himalayan sea salt and pepper.

Back in January, I wrote about how to plant the potatoes. I also shared a video on how I planted them.  You can find that post HERE.

HARVESTING POTATOES:

  1. Wait at least 2-3 months after planting your seed. The plant’s leaves should have all fallen off and the plant should look dead.
  2. Pull the plant out of the ground. You should see several potatoes attached at the root. You will see small and large potatoes.
  3. Dig around in the dirt because there’s always a few that stay in the ground.

STORING POTATOES:

  1. Place your potatoes in a brown paper bag. Like an “old school” lunch sack. This will allow for them to have good air circulation.
  2. Next, place your bag of potatoes in a dark cool place. If you live in the North, a cellar is ideal but here in the South, a dark cabinet will do just fine.
  3. They should store fine for around 2-3 months.

WATCH MY VIDEO:

*Warning: I say “uhm” alot ha ha.

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How to Make Water Kefir and Why You Should Be Drinking It

You may have heard about “Juice Kefir” or “Water Kefir”? If not, grab a cup of hot herbal tea and let me share with you an amazing drink for your body.

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This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products I personally use or I believe in. There is no extra cost to you.

What is Kefir?

It is a fermented drink that gives your body a good dose of probiotics. First though, you need to start with a grain starter. I highly recommend using Cultures for Health starters as they are non-gmo and made with organic sugar. Kefir grains have good bacteria and yeast in them. Water Kefir grains can be used indefinitely to make Water/Juice Kefir. Just store them in a jar with fresh sugar water, juice or coconut water.

Juice Kefir is fun and easy to make. It’s also very refreshing and a great alternative to water if you are looking for a healthy drink. It actually has a little “fizz” to it, so it kinda makes you feel like you are drinking a soda without all the bad chemicals.

You can use fresh or dried fruit. Once your grains are removed from the initial round of fermentation, you can then add dried peaches, grapes, strawberries, etc.  and let them ferment for a few more days.

The quickest way to get Juice Kefir is by purchasing a bottle of juice from the store. Just make sure it has at least 25 grams of sugar in it. I don’t buy the “white stuff” anymore, so I usually will buy a bottle of juice from Whole Foods or a local health food store.

Culturesforhealth.com

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy. You can improve your gut’s digestive and immune health just by consuming fermented foods and taking probiotic supplements.

How to Make Water/Juice Kefir

Activating the grains:

  1. Prepare your sugar water. Heat ½ cup of water and pour into a
    glass mason jar.
  2. Dissolve ¼ cup of organic raw cane sugar into the water.
  3. Add 2 ½- 3 cup of water at room temperature. Make sure the
    temperature reads 65°-85°.
  4. Empty the entire packet of grains into your sugar water.
  5. Cover the jar with a coffee filter or cloth and secure with a
    rubber band. Keep in a warm spot for 3-4 days.
  6. On day 4, the grains should be plump and translucent. Strain
    them out and discard the sugar.

Making the Kefir:

  1. Prepare the sugar water just like above but only let sit for 24-48 hours. When culture is complete, prepare a new batch of sugar water. Repeat the process every 24-48 hours and you will be able to use your grains indefinitely.
    *See package for complete directions.

Flavoring the Kefir:

I love drinking Juice Kefir as it gives you a little “fizz” like soda does. Flavoring your Water Kefir with fruit or a juice blend is called the second fermentation. This allows the sugars to feed the bacteria producing a wonderful probiotic drink.

If you’re using Fruit Juice, add ½ cup to a bottle or jar, leaving about 1-inch head space. Let set on the counter for 24-72 hours or until the kefir carbonates. If using dried fruit, add and let the kefir ferment for 2-3 days or up to a week. For fresh fruit, add and ferment for no longer than 24 hours. Once each variety is fermented, refrigerate.

Learn to DIY! Find natural foods, fermentation, essential oils, and more at CulturesforHealth.com!

I’d love hear if you make your own Kefir?? If so, what is your favorite flavoring?

**NOTE: Please use caution when opening your bottles. The contents are under pressure. Twist the lid carefully and slowly or use a towel and open them in a sink.

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Grow Beautiful Sunflowers and Save their Seeds

What do you think about when you see sunflowers? They are bright, cheery and just bring joy to the garden, right? I love looking out my window and seeing these beauties growing! Sunflowers say “Summer” and you can even harvest the seeds for a nutritious snack.

sunflowers, how to grow sunflowers, saving seeds

Here’s some simple tips on growing them and harvesting the seeds:

Growing Sunflowers

  1. Make sure you have a nice rich soil free of any weeds.
  2. Pull back about an inch of soil or use your finger to poke a hole. Make a hole every 6 inches and place one seed in each hole.
  3. Cover the soil over the seeds and water.
  4. Water daily (until germination begins) and you should start to see seedlings sprouting in about 6-10 days.
  5. The best time to plant Sunflowers is between March and May. If you live in Northern states, please wait until after your last frost.  I use the Farmer’s Almanac or Grier’s Almanac to determine when to plant mine.
  6. Next, sprinkle an organic fertilizer over the top of the soil. I love using Dr. Earth fertilizers. You can find them at most big box garden stores. They are Non-GMO Project verified and you will not need to fertilize again during their growing season.
  7. Your Sunflowers will be in full bloom in around 60-70 days from when you planted them.
  8. Spread some wood chips at the base of the sunflower so they can retain moisture. Make sure you water them weekly.
sunflowers, how to grow sunflowers, save seeds, back to eden garden

Harvesting the Sunflowers

  1. When you start to see the sunflowers open fully, then they are ready to cut. Using pruning shears, cut the stem to however long you want them. Five to six inches is usually a good amount.
  2. Make a bouquet and put them in a mason jar filled with water.
  3. They will be pretty for about a week.

Harvesting the Seeds

  1. Once you start seeing the petals fall off or the sunflowers start drooping, it’s probably time to cut the heads off. You can hang them to dry in a dark cool place for about a week.
  2. Next, put a towel or parchment paper down on a flat surface.
  3. Shake the heads gently and the seeds should just fall out.
  4. Store them in a jar for a year in the refrigerator so you can plant more next season.

Varieties

I like planting the Mammoth (5-6 feet tall ones) Sunflowers that I put along my back fence. These will need support as they are so tall. Just use some bamboo, rebar, a stick or whatever you can find laying around that you think will support your big ‘ole sunflowers.

I also like planting the Firecracker Sunflowers. These are about 4-5 inches in diameter and about 2-3 feet tall. They have a beautiful showing of yellow and orange and resemble a “ring of fire”. These are my favorite ones that look so pretty in a mason jar! They get planted in the garden in different areas. They are great for the bees, which will pollinate all of our veggies growing.

There are several more other varieties. Just explore which ones you want to plant in your yard. The only real requirement is they need a lot of sunshine! So, make sure you plant them in a sunny open area.

That’s it! Super easy to grow. I’d love to hear how you are doing with your Sunflowers!

Receive a a “FREE” actual copy of the Grier’s Almanac just for following me. Just email me (info@littlehousesimpleliving.com) your address and I’ll pop one in the mail to you!

Confession: I went out of town last May for about a week. No one watered mine and they did just fine. I was amazed at how beautiful they were when I came back home!

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sunflowers, how to grow sunflowers, save seeds, back to eden garden

How to Make a Distressed Wood Beam

My husband and I have been taking our time building our house. Like, it will be three years once we’re completed LOL. I’ve definitely learned patience through this whole process, that’s for sure. We are paying as we go as we don’t want a mortgage with this home. I’ll share with you more details on how we are doing that soon. Meanwhile…..

    *Source: www.heritagebarns.com                                          

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Selecting Bathroom Fixtures in your New Home

You have your plans drawn and you are ready to go to permitting with your local county. Maybe you have a builder or you are building your home yourself.  The little details in your new home should make an impact and showcase your style.

Most of the time when you walk into someone’s home, you notice how tall the ceilings are or the gorgeous wood floors. The lighting is a great focal point when you walk into a room as well. Making sure everything coordinates is super important.

bathroom fixtures, moen, delta, randolph morris, kingstonbrass, claw foot tub, vintage faucets, farmhouse bathroom

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How to Plant Potatoes

I’ve never met a potato that I didn’t like. Are you with me? I know we should be limiting our potatoes especially the ones at the grocery store. They are more than likely sprayed with herbicide, which I try to stay away from.

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How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot

Have you ever tried a spaghetti squash? I heard all the rave about them several years ago. First, they are a pain to cut in half, right? They take about an hour to cook in the oven too. For those two reasons, I kinda only cook them a few times a year.

Until now…..cooking spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot is so easy breezy!!!

how to cook spaghetti squash in the instant pot

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5 Things to Know Before Staying in a Cabin

Living in Florida, I long for the weather to start cooling off when the rest of the country is.  One thing I’m not a fan of, is not having much FALL foliage here. We have it, but it doesn’t come until January and February. Like right now, the leaves are beautiful!

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