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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Earn Gift Cards for the Holidays

Earn extra money for the holidays. I have been using this site for about four months and I have earned about $600 in cash and gift cards. This site offers low payouts for gift cards ($1.00) and there are hundreds of gift cards to choose from. This side is offered to many other countries in addition to the U.S. Also, you can have the money deposited to your checking account or a prepaid gift card. Give it a try.http://www.instagc.com/547308

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Make Your Own Disposable Cleaning Wipes

Save Money by Making Your Own Disposable Cleaning Wipes
By: Monique Kilgore

I love disposable disinfectant wipes! No, that is an understatement. I'm obsessed with disposable cleaning wipes! Not only are they quick, easy and convenient to use, but they really come in handy when you want to sanitize around the house without getting out the spray bottle and rag.

I use to stock up on Lysol and Clorox wipes every time they were on sale, which still ended up costing me a lot. They usually run about $4 for a case of 50-70 wipes.

Imagine my joy when I discovered a way to make my own, better quality disinfectant wipes for a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but I could create any kind of cleaning wipe that I desired. I made up batches of wipes using Pledge cleaner to create dusting wipes and used Windex cleaner to make my own window wipes. I even created all-natural, green wipes to use in my baby's nursery.

Here is the exact recipe that I use to make homemade disposable wipes.

Homemade Cleaning Wipes Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 roll of extra strong paper towels (Bounty)
2-3 cups of your favorite cleaner (be sure to use a cleaner that doesn't require rinsing afterwards)
An air-tight storage container
Knife
Cutting board

DIRECTIONS

1. Using the knife, cut the paper towel roll in half
2.) Place the roll inside of the container. (save the other half for a refill later)
3.) Pour cleaning solution all over paper towels
4.) Close the container and shake it up a bit so that the cleaning solution is absorbed
5.) Remove the cardboard tubing from the inside of the roll. (It should come out easily if the towels are wet enough)

The cleaning wipes are now ready to use!

To watch a step-by-step video of me making these homemade cleaning wipes from start to finish visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnYIEUrBXAQ

Monique Kilgore is the owner and operator of the website Yes Divas Can Cook. http://yesdivascancook.com A fun, girly website designed to get young women motivated to cook & create from scratch! Featuring easy, 5-star, tried and true recipes, cooking tips, videos and much more!

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Save-Money-by-Making-Your-Own-Disposable-Cleaning-Wipes&id=3680047] Save Money by Making Your Own Disposable Cleaning Wipes

Low Cost Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Great Baby Shower Gifts Without Breaking the Bank
By: Jack Chary

You've received an invitation to a friend's baby shower, and while you're excited, you don't want to break the bank or go overboard, especially in today's economy. Well, don't plan on giving up your invitation just because you're broke. There are lots of great gift ideas out there that are surprisingly affordable and that are will still be just as appreciated as more expensive gifts.

1.) If you want to purchase clothing, you should think ahead. Don't plan on buying newborn or 0-3 months sizes, because everyone will be buying those! If you think ahead you may be able to buy a 12 month or 18 month outfit now that is on clearance because it's the end of the season. This will allow you to purchase a much-appreciated outfit for half, if not more, of the cost!

2.) There are a lot of inexpensive sentimental type gifts out there. You could consider purchasing a photo album with room to write in it or a plaster or ink handprint/footprint kit. Or what about a couple of matching picture frames in different sizes that you've decorated yourself? These are all great, inexpensive ideas, and they will become wonderful keepsakes the new parents will truly cherish.

3.) If you are related to or a close friend of the mommy-to-be, maybe you could attend each shower with her (if she's having more than one), take photos of the shower(s), and make her a scrapbook of her baby shower(s). This would be a great gift idea at a relatively low cost to you.

4.) What about a couple of classic children's books? Board books are the best from growing babies, since they love putting everything in their mouth. But, any children's book would be great especially ones that rhyme, like a great Dr. Suess book, or even a classic, Jack and the Beanstalk or Little Red Riding Hood.

5.) A basket of baby essentials is also a wonderful gift and if you play your cards right, you can usually keep it under $20.00. Just buy a nice looking basket and fill it with baby wash, baby lotion, maybe a couple baby wash cloths, diaper rash cream, diaper wipes, etc. Whatever you think may be especially useful to the new parents that they may not have thought to even register for.

6.) An umbrella stroller is nice to have, especially once the baby starts sitting up. They are easier to tote than bigger strollers, and you can usually get one for under $15.00.

7.) Small infant toys are always a great buy, especially if you get the educational one. These are handy for new parents to have at home and to keep in their diaper bag, because babies are constantly learning, so why not give them something to help them along. They are usually relatively inexpensive, so you can get a few and still stay well within your budget.

8.) A big package of diapers is always welcome! Watch your local paper or sign up for coupons online, so you can ensure your getting the best deal once you go to buy your gift.

As you can see, there are so many affordable baby gift ideas, so don't feel like you have to forfeit or attend empty handed. Remember anytime of gift will be appreciated, especially with a baby on the way.

Jack "the clipper" (coupon clipper that is) is an expert bargain hunter and founder of JacksCouponCodes.com which offers money saving promo codes and coupons to use when shopping online. Limited time only! Get unheard of deals on discount codes before supplies run out. Visit [http://www.jackscouponcodes.com]coupon codes today!

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Great-Baby-Shower-Gifts-Without-Breaking-the-Bank&id=3168895] Great Baby Shower Gifts Without Breaking the Bank

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Free Recipes

Why Pay for Recipes When You Get Them Online for Free?
By:Stephanie Manley

With so many recipe web sits online, why should you pay for recipes?  The Internet really gives you a great resource of many different web sites.  There is a great variety of web sites out there.  Some sites are run by food companies such as Kraft foods, Barilla Pasta, and Land O'Lakes. Other sites are run by magazines like Martha Steward, Women's Day, Family Circle, and many others.  There are other websites that are simply collections of recipes.

Many companies such as Kraft foods build websites so you will use their ingredients in the food that you make.  On Kraft's website you can find so many recipes for things made with cheese: casseroles, appetizers, breads, pizzas, and so much more.  Other sites such as Barilla Pasta feature recipes that are specialize in pasta. Land of Lakes features recipes that contain butter: cookies, sauces, breads, a variety of desserts, and so much more.   If you buy a particular brand of food, chances are that there is a web site to compliment what you just bought. 

Many magazines offer free recipes online.  Bon Appetit, Gourmet Magazine offers tons of recipes from current magazines as well as the past.  Other magazines such as Woman's Day, and Family Circle offer so many free recipes.  So if you can think of a magazine you enjoy, chances are there is a web site to match. 

Another terrific type of recipe web site are simply ones that are collections of recipes.  Allrecipes.com features many recipes from its viewers, people just like you.  SOAR recipe archive has been around since around 1995 and is a non profit web site that features thousands of recipes from many different categories.  Be sure to use your favorite search engine to find recipe collections based upon pies, cakes, Jewish, French, and just about any other sorts of recipes you can think of. 

You can easily see that there are many different free recipes available online.  There is really no need in purchasing recipes when there is a great variety that is available for you.  There are literally thousands of recipes and cooking web sites that are waiting for you to explore them.

Web Sites Mentioned

Major food companies http://www.kraft.com [http://www.barillaus.com/index.aspx] http://www.landolakes.com/

Magazines with recipes http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/ - Features recipes from Gourmet and Bon Apetit Magazines http://www.womansday.com http://www.familycircle.com

Other Recipe Websites http://www.recipesource.com/ http://www.allrecipes.com

Stephanei Manley is  the editor for   CopyKat recipes - you have tried it in the restaurant, now make it at home. http://www.copykat.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Why-Pay-for-Recipes-When-You-Get-Them-Online-for-Free?&id=456383] Why Pay for Recipes When You Get Them Online for Free?

Great Ideas For Your Children This Summer

Never Again Hear Your Kids Say During The Summer, "I'm Bored!"
By:Darryl Mobley

Every parent (to include me) has heard their kids say - with the incredible freedom of summer all around - "I'm bored!" As a life and executive coach, I find that every summer I am asked by my clients who are parents to tell them what they should do to keep their kids active, engaged and not bored during the greatest three months of the year (for kids).

You know how it works. Your children are excited about the upcoming summer as the school year comes to a close. Then, for the first week or so they are all fired up and balls of energy. Then, they run out of energy and things to do. And you hear, "I'm bored," and "What should I do?" Your summer has just turned ugly.

First of all, let me say that it is easy for kids to get bored during the summer because they have so much freedom. But childhood freedom often becomes the strongest of all chains; a slave master who uses mind-numbing boredom as punishment. My belief and study has shown that kids do not need unfettered freedom. Kids need structure in order to grow and feel fulfilled.

Here's my simple 3-step process for eliminating your child's boredom during the summer months.

Step 1
You should sit down with your kids before the school-is-out-for-the-summer season hits and write a list of their GOALS for the summer. Setting goals is the most important step you can take to keep your child from getting bored during the summer. Ask your kid these questions (and have them write down the answers):
- What new sports do you want to learn?
- What new challenges do you want to tackle?
- What new books do you want to read?
- What new sights do you want to see?
- What new skills do you want to learn?
- What area(s) do you want to improve in?

Step 2
Next - using the goals as your guide, you and your kid(s) should write out a week-by-week schedule of summer activities for them. (I actually recommend you have the entire summer scheduled out day-by-day, but let me allow you to ease into this.)

Step 3
Then, follow the schedule.

My kids have not uttered the phrase, "I'm bored," since I began this approach to their summers. They are too busy, engaged and happy to be bored! And yours will be as well. And I know that your kids and mine will look back someday (as we parents do) and say how great this or that summer was because of what they did.

To help you get rolling, I am providing you (below) a list of 301 things that your kid can do during the summer. Many of these are low cost or no cost. This list makes sure that no kid need ever be bored.

The following list of 301 activities will help your kid, your family, and you take full advantage of the warm weather season and spark the creativity that makes summer the best time of the year! Your kid can look over the list and choose any activities they are interested in and get started. Some of my suggested activities require parental permission, but most are suitable for your kids to complete on their own.

301 THINGS YOUR KID CAN DO DURING THE SUMMER

1 Act in a play
2 Adopt a pet
3 Attend a concert
4 Bake cookies
5 Barbecue shrimp
6 Become a model
7 Become a photographer
8 Become an expert cupcake, cookie or brownie baker. Give them a funky name and sell them. That's how Wally 'Famous Amos' got started
9 Become an expert on something. Choose a topic you interested in and study it a little everyday. By the end of the summer, you'll be one of the leading experts
10 Blow up balloons and give them to your friends and family
11 Build a sandcastle
12 Build a tree house
13 Build an electric train model
14 Build your own plane from a kit
15 Buy a DVD projector and host a movie that you project on the side of your house at night
16 Call a president of a large company and interview him/her about what they do
17 Check out the stars with a telescope
18 Clean up a nature trail
19 Clean your room!
20 Climb a tree
21 Collect sea shells from the seashore
22 Cook something you've never cooked before
23 Cook your breakfast on an outdoor fire
24 Create a family photo album of summer activities
25 Create a terrarium
26 Create a treasure hunt
27 Create a web site
28 Create your own holiday - a Festivus-for-the-Rest-of-Us
29 Create your own science club with friends
30 Design a new clothing line
31 Determine 10 goals you have for your life.
32 Dig for fossils
33 Do 25 jumping jacks each day
34 Donate some of the toys and clothes you no longer use
35 Draw a self-portrait
36 E-mail a friend you haven't spoken to in awhile.
37 Send your question about life success and life's challenges to us.
38 Enter a chili cooking contest (or host your own)
39 Find a new favorite author or book
40 Find a pen-pal
41 Find the cheapest flight you can to a foreign country and go on a vacation
42 Fly a kite
43 Get a job as a lifeguard at the local pool
44 Get a job or an internship.
45 Get a ride on a paddle wheeler
46 Get a summer job with a friend
47 Get a temporary tattoo
48 Get in better shape! Exercise everyday
49 Get in touch with a cousin you've never met
50 Give your dog a bath.
51 Go backpacking
52 Go beachcombing for driftwood, shells and stones
53 Go birdwatching
54 Go boating
55 Go bowling
56 Go camping in a national park
57 Go camping in your backyard
58 Go camping on the beach
59 Go canoeing
60 Go deep sea diving
61 Go explore caves
62 Go fishing
63 Go for a hike
64 Go go-karting
65 Go hunting
66 Go on a boat ride
67 Go on a glass-bottom boat ride
68 Go on a hayride
69 Go on a long bike ride
70 Go on a rollercoaster ride
71 Go on a walk and take pictures of trees, flowers, dogs, etc.
72 Go out for lunch with one of your parents
73 Go outside and find 20 different kinds of flowers
74 Go paddle boating
75 Go parachuting
76 Go prospect for gold
77 Go river rafting
78 Go sailing
79 Go swimming
80 Go to a baseball game
81 Go to a camp
82 Go to a museum
83 Go to a national park
84 Go to a new restaurant
85 Go to a party
86 Go to a pre-season practice being held by your local pro team
87 Go to a science camp
88 Go to a Shakespeare festival
89 Go to a waterslide park
90 Go to an amusement park
91 Go to an antiques show
92 Go to an opera
93 Go to the fair
94 Go to the movies with friends
95 Go to the movies with your siblings.
96 Go to the playground and swing or play on the monkey bars
97 Go to the top of the tallest building in the nearest big city
98 Go to work with your parents and observe
99 Go vegetarian for a week
100 Go whale watching
101 Go window-shopping at the most expensive stores with a friend
102 Go without email for a day
103 Go without TV for a day
104 Hang a bird feeder
105 Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows
106 Have a bubblegum blowing contest
107 Have a 'classic movie' night with friends
108 Have a family game night
109 Have a paper airplane contest
110 Have a picnic
111 Have a sleepover with your best friends
112 Help an elderly person with house or yard work
113 Hike to a waterfall
114 Host a 24 hour soccer game for charity or just for fun
115 Host a 5k race to benefit charity
116 Host a dance and you be the DJ
117 Host a real clambake
118 Host a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood or with friends at a park
119 Host a water balloon fight
120 Host a yard sale
121 Increase your vocabulary. Learn 5 new words each day from the dictionary
122 Invent a new dance
123 Invent your own board game
124 Invite friends over and have a tea sandwich party
125 Keep a journal of what you do during the Summer
126 Learn a foreign language
127 Learn a martial art
128 Learn a new card game and play it a lot
129 Learn about fireworks
130 Learn CPR
131 Learn how to be a comedian
132 Learn how to make balloon animals
133 Learn how to make crafts
134 Learn how to make jewelry
135 Learn how to make sushi
136 Learn how to play chess
137 Learn how to play the conga drums
138 Learn how to play the guitar
139 Learn how to rappel down mountains
140 Learn how to refinish antique furniture
141 Learn how to sail
142 Learn how to sew
143 Learn how to sew or knit
144 Learn how to snorkel
145 Learn how to swim
146 Learn how to throw a boomerang
147 Learn or teach a new sport with someone
148 Learn origami
149 Learn some new outdoor games
150 Learn to how to paint
151 Learn to windsurf
152 Listen to a motivational audio program
153 Look for sand dollars and shells at a beach
154 Make a bird feeder
155 Make a collage from magazine photos and words
156 Make a delicious ice cream float
157 Make a fire plan for your home
158 Make a new kind of sandwich
159 Make a scrapbook of everything you do this summer
160 Make a scrapbook of your baby pictures.
161 Make a smoothie so tasty it makes your toes curl!
162 Make a time capsule and bury it in your backyard
163 Make an obstacle course in your back yard
164 Make dinner for your family
165 Make homemade fruit juice.
166 Make homemade ice cream
167 Make popsicles in your freezer.
168 Make purses and sell them
169 Make something from recyclables
170 Make the world's best root beer float.
171 Open a savings account at your bank
172 Organize a bike safety clinic
173 Organize a scavenger hunt
174 Paint your family
175 Plan a trip to Disney World
176 Plan the vacation you want to take next summer.
177 Plant flowers in your yard.
178 Play a computer game
179 Play backgammon
180 Play badminton
181 Play croquet
182 Play crossword puzzles
183 Play in a summer sports league
184 Play monopoly
185 Play pool
186 Play pool volleyball
187 Play putt-putt golf
188 Play soccer
189 Play Twister
190 Play volleyball
191 Play Wii
192 Play with the family pet
193 Play with your siblings
194 Produce and direct your own movie
195 Put up a basketball hoop in your driveway
196 Read 25 (or 50 or more) books this Summer
197 Read a book about a famous super-achiever
198 Read a book based on a movie you have seen
199 Read a story to someone
200 Read the newspaper (your favorite parts) everyday
201 Recycle bottles and donate the money to a local charity
202 Re-decorate your room
203 Rent a bicycle-built-for-two and go for a ride with a friend or family member
204 Rent a houseboat
205 Research your family tree
206 Ride a mechanical bull
207 Ride a rollercoaster
208 Ride every ride at the carnival
209 Ride on a train
210 Roast marshmallows
211 Set up a lemonade stand
212 Share your favorite DVD with a friend
213 Shoot 100 free throws
214 Show off your green thumb! Buy some flower seeds and plant them in your own garden
215 Sign up at your local library for their summer great books reading program
216 Spend time with your grandparents
217 Start a babysitting business
218 Start a band
219 Start a blog
220 Start a business
221 Start a collection of something you find interesting
222 Start a diary and write in it everyday.
223 Start a dog pooper-scooper business
224 Start a dog-walking business
225 Start a grocery shopping business
226 Start a herb garden
227 Start a lawn care business
228 Start a magazine for kids your age
229 Start a snow-removal business. (Send out flyers now so everyone remembers when the winter season comes)
230 Start a tutoring business
231 Start a yard cleaning business
232 Start an errand running business
233 Start an internet based business
234 Start an investing club with your friends. Buy stock. Sell stock. Make money!
235 Start practicing to become an Olympic Athlete
236 Start saving for a trip to Europe (or Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, Japan,... ) next Summer
237 Start your own soccer camp
238 Stay at a Dude Ranch
239 Stay in a hostel
240 Stay up and watch the shows that air from midnight to 7am
241 Study a school subject during the Summer
242 Subscribe to a new magazine
243 Swim with dolphins
244 Swim with stingrays
245 Take a boat ride
246 Take a course on mountaineering
247 Take a dance class
248 Take a family vacations
249 Take a first aid class
250 Take a helicopter ride
251 Take a jeep tour in the wilds of Arizona or New Mexico
252 Take a math class
253 Take a ride on a dinner train
254 Take a singing class
255 Take a trip in an RV
256 Take a vacation on a cruise ship
257 Take a walk and listen to the sounds of nature
258 Take a yoga class
259 Take an orienteering class
260 Take flying lessons
261 Take Pictures of interesting buildings, homes, birds, trees, waterways, cars, roads...
262 Take up golfing
263 Take up trampoline jumping
264 Take your dog for a walk.
265 Take your dog to dog-obedience school
266 Tale a class on animation
267 Teach your grandparents to use email
268 Throw a cultural heritage party in your neighborhood
269 Tie-Dye a t-shirt
270 Track the moon phases
271 Train for running your first marathon
272 Try to break a Guinness Book of World Records record
273 Use a compass or GPS to map your neighborhood
274 Visit a farm
275 Visit a National Park
276 Visit a tourist spot near your city
277 Visit every professional baseball or football stadium in the country
278 Visit Mt. Rushmore
279 Visit the aquarium
280 Visit the desert
281 Visit the Grand Canyon
282 Visit the Great Wall of China
283 Visit the Rocky Mountains
284 Visit the zoo
285 Visit Washington, DC
286 Visit the U.S. service academies (West Point, Annapolis, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy... )
287 Volunteer at a local nursing home
288 Watch a cricket match
289 Watch a favorite TV show with your friends
290 Write a book
291 Write a comedy TV show
292 Write a fairy tale
293 Write a letter to your best friend
294 Write a letter to your grandparents telling them how much you love them
295 Write a list of the 10 most important questions you want to ask you grandparents. Then ask them the questions
296 Write a list of the 10 most important questions you want to ask you parents. Then ask them the questions
297 Write a play and get your friends to act it out
298 Write a poem
299 Write a song
300 Write a speech on something you find interesting
301 Write letters on airplane air-sickness bags and mail them to your friends

Summer Fun
My Goals Are...

1. ______________________________________
2. ______________________________________
3. ______________________________________
4. ______________________________________
5. ______________________________________
6. ______________________________________
7. ______________________________________
8. ______________________________________
9. ______________________________________
10. _____________________________________

About Life Coach Darryl Mobley:
Darryl Mobley has been called "America's No. 1 Life Coach!" Darryl reveals how to become more successful, happier, wealthier, get unstuck, and be better at everything you do in just 30 days at [http://www.RescueYourLife.com]http://www.RescueYourLife.com. You may Use This Article In Your E-Zine, Magazine Or Web Site as long as you include the entire article and this short blurb with it.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Never-Again-Hear-Your-Kids-Say-During-The-Summer,-Im-Bored!&id=2628898] Never Again Hear Your Kids Say During The Summer, "I'm Bored!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Companion Gardening 102

How Does Companion Planting Help My Home Vegetable Garden Grow Better?
By Loretta Crowder

Companion planting in your home vegetable garden is based on the relationships between plants and organisms, as well as among various different plants. The attractant crops are the plants that attract beneficial insects that you want in the garden. These factors prey on pest insects and supplement their diet with the nectar and pollen of the attractant crops. On the other hand, repellent crops discourage pests. Marigolds, for example, exude a substance from their roots that repels eelworms (root-sucking nematodes). It is quite common to see home gardeners plant a border of marigolds around their vegetable garden to keep these pests away from precious edibles. Another excellent all-purpose pest repellent is garlic - grown in humus rich soil, garlic gives off sulfur compounds (what makes garlic smell) that will kill aphids and onion flies, just to name a couple of things.

Another important factor in companion planting includes allies (those that help adjacent plants by nourishing them). For example, legumes (peas or beans) fix nitrogen from the air, adding nutrition to the soil. When allies are planted with root vegetables (carrots, turnips, radishes, rutabagas and beets) the allies provide fertilizer to neighboring plants. (Sometimes better than our own neighbors right?) Plants that make good neighbors don't compete for space, sun, or nutrients. For example, inter-planting corn and lettuce maximizes the use of space in your home vegetable garden; the corn shields the lettuce from the sun's glare and the plants have no pests in common. Another one, basil can enhance the growth of any plant in close proximity.

All the elements of companion gardening are not complete without some mention of the plant enemies. Plant enemies are plants that may have a negative effect on other plants when grown in close proximity. Sometimes an enemy may be too aggressive, competing for the same sun and soil nutrients of a neighboring plant. A different type of plant may attract or be a host plant for a pest or disease that also affects the other plants you want to grow in your home vegetable garden. Some plants inhibit the growth of specific plants or all plants in general, such as black walnut trees and sunflowers. Another plant that often stunts the growth of other plants is fennel, but fennel attracts beneficial parasitic wasps and can be given space near your garden rather than inside your home vegetable garden.

With these facts in mind, you should be able to plan your home vegetable garden so that it will benefit from allies, attractant crops and repellent crops while avoiding plant enemies. Whether we want to admit it or not, pests come in all shapes and sizes, from microscopic size upwards. These pests can wreak havoc on a vegetable garden if these same pests are not controlled. Diseases, too, come in all sorts of guises - molds and mildews, wilts and blights, curls and burns. Depending on the disease, its manifestation and effects may be merely unsightly or at worst can destroy an entire vegetable garden. Insects - both good and bad-will vary from one garden to the next; each habitat is unique.

If you haven't tried companion gardening yet, do you plan on seeding your home vegetable garden with companion gardening in mind?

As an avid gardener in the Province of Saskatchewan, I highly recommend going to [http://www.ezyhomegardening.com].

You receive encouragement at that website, and you are shown it is possible to succeed in spite of the weather.

The blog posts are ongoing and a great source of information. What you thought was impossible is not really impossible!

Check it out today!

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?How-Does-Companion-Planting-Help-My-Home-Vegetable-Garden-Grow-Better?&id=6919656] How Does Companion Planting Help My Home Vegetable Garden Grow Better?

Companion Gardening 101

Companion Planting - Natures Own Pesticide
By: Cynthia M Overfield

Before there were chemical and manufactured pesticides, early settlers used companion planting to keep away pests and to make their crops grow heartier. Farmers of old would plant squash, beans and corn together because they knew that these three crops were kept in balance because they gave each other nutrients.

Organic farmers and those who care about not polluting the Earth use this type of gardening method in lieu of chemicals and harsh fertilizers. Planting two or more crops together in some instances will allow nature to make its own pesticide protection and its own fertilizer.

What exactly is companion planting?

Companion planting is the practice of planting certain types of plants next to or around each other to discourage disease, pests and to help all the plants grow to their full potential. You can't just run out and start planting a menagerie of plants. You do have to study up a little bit. Knowing which plants use a lot of the soils nutrients and which plants need more water are all things you must take into consideration. You should never grow two plants together that deplete the soil or who need lots of water; they will just fight each other for their own share instead of balancing each other out.

My mother always put orange peels in her flower beds to keep the cats out. Farmers who grow hay may plant that crop for two years, and then plant a crop of oats so that the soil will get replenished with nutrients. Using companion planting works in the same way. You are letting Mother Nature make her own eco-system.

Companion Planting as a Pest Control

Many people like to companion plant to control pests. If you garden much then you will know that some bugs are necessary; bees for plant growth and worms for replenishing the soil, so you never want to harm the varmints that should be there.

You can plant marigolds throughout your flower gardens to control aphids. They look beautiful mixed in with other flowers and they naturally repel the bugs that eat the leaves. You could plant garlic around the same area as your rose bushes to keep the aphids away. Garlic planted around the borders of your potato beds will help keep the dreaded potato beetle from destroying your valuable crop.

You may be using chemical pesticides and fertilizers because you don't really know any other way to keep your gardens healthy and bug free. We have seen the studies of what these substances are doing to the planet and many caring people are starting to use our ancestor's old methods of pest and fertilizer control.

When you mix different types of plants together, you are not only helping the planet-you will be surprised at how beautiful your gardens will look when you learn how to do companion gardening correctly.

Cynthia writes a successful blog called Tulip Care Tips - Bulb Gardening For The Beginner. She loves sharing her gardening tips with others. Visit her website at: http://www.tulipcaretips.com

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Companion-Planting---Natures-Own-Pesticide&id=6898043] Companion Planting - Natures Own Pesticide

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Great Father's Day Gift Ideas
By:Phoenix Roberts

Father's Day gifts can be a tricky proposition. Fortunately, most men have similar basic needs and wants that don't change much, regardless of their age or situation. This Father's Day gift buying guide will help you figure out how to buy a Father's Day gift that will tell Dear Old Dad that you care -- specifically, that you care enough to think about what he would really like to receive on Father's Day.

Electronics -- Gifts for the Techno-Dad

GPS
Men don't like asking directions, so help Dad get where he's going with a global positioning system. A basic handheld GPS or mobile GPS unit displays coordinates over a map. Fancier GPS systems go from a simple dash-mount GPS navigation system to multi-component in-dash car audio-video units loaded with everything you want and a few things you may never figure out.

LCD TV
Most LCD televisions are called flat panel televisions because they are thin and light enough to hang on the wall like a painting. LCD technology has seen huge improvements in recent years and LCD TVs are becoming the most popular TV set. Big screens are fabulous, but not a necessity -- a 26-inch LCD TV is affordably priced and works in most rooms. For the serious movie or sports fan, a 32-inch to 42-inch wide-screen HDTV is a thing to be envied. If you have a very large TV room or just like your action life-size, go 52 inches or bigger!

Home Theater Audio
If Dad already has a widescreen TV, well, what's dazzling video without astounding audio? Pick out a home theater! For small rooms, a home-theater-in-a-box -- a package containing the amplifier, tuner and speakers -- is enough but not too much. For Dads who never shout, "Turn your stereo down!" go with surround sound speakers -- a multi-speaker system identified by number: 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1; the ".1" is the subwoofer (the deep notes); the other number is how many speakers are in the group. Spread them around the room and they'll reproduce theater-quality audio.

iPods & MP3 players
Dad probably grew up with "boomboxes" or "ghetto blasters," big radio-cassette tape players. Today's Dad still wants to listen to Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash or Rachmaninov (or maybe SheDaisy), but on pocket-sized iPods and MP3 players. iPods help keep distractions down while working. MP3 players make excellent companions driving or exercising. If music isn't Dad's thing, help keep the gray matter from getting stale with audio books.

Video game consoles and games
Lots of Dads grew up with video games then outgrew them. Now that they have children to game with, video games make brilliant Father's Day gift ideas. A new video game console can be a great way to get some one-on-one time with each child. It's also a way for Mom and Dad to keep an eye on the video games the kids are playing.

Sports -- Gifts for the Active Dad

Camping
Think you've run out of Father's Day ideas because Dad has a room full of electronics? Here's an idea: Turn them off! That's right, shut them down, throw the kids in the car and take to the great outdoors! What good is a Father's Day present that brings the whole world into your living room if you never get out and experience the real thing? Fishing gear gifts or camping gifts for Dad can be simple and economical, or you can buy enough camp gear for a crusade. (By the way, if Dad really isn't the Lewis and Clark type, Mom might still get him to pitch a family tent in the backyard, if she buys a cozy double sleeping bag to go with it!)

Golf
Whether Dad is a duffer or the local club pro, if the man likes his links, he needs something. (Don't buy him golf lessons unless he knows he needs them.) Fortunately, the great thing about golf gifts is the range -- not the driving, range, the price range! They start with useful, inexpensive gear like rangefinders and electronic scorecards, going all the way to a golf club set including the best handmade woods or latest high-tech irons.

Do the Q!
BBQ, that is. Barbecue may be America's most popular lawn sport, and like any great athlete, the right equipment is important in making the point spread. A classic charcoal grill or a new-style gas grill plus grill accessories are cooking essentials that abound in the home store. By the way, Dad will enjoy this even more with Father's Day baskets full of gourmet foods, tasty treats or other goodies!

Games
Dads work hard, so they appreciate Father's Day gifts that help them relax. "Poker night with the boys" is more common in late night reruns than most suburban homes, but it hasn't gone the way of the vinyl record yet. Poker is more than just a way to trade money; it is something to do with the hands while men talk about manly things. Dad doesn't gamble? Not a problem with the many indoor games on today's market. Board games include chess, backgammon or darts. For the bigger game room, a billiards table or billiards accessories. They are all gift ideas for Dads they will be grateful for every time they play.

Other gift ideas -- Gifts for the hard-to-buy-for Dad

Gear and gizmos work for most Dads, but not all. Personalized Father's Day gifts -- meaning gifts that reflect Dad's personality, not just something with his name or initials -- require thought. For Dads with other tastes, Father's Day can be an interesting challenge:

Superior style
Men's clothing and men's jewelry are great choices for the Dad who's serious about his appearance, but it can be tricky. Solid research for truly personal items means you avoid the ever-present Father's Day gift-giving risk -- getting something you like instead of something Dad likes. Some Dads always dress casual; some always dress for business; some like to mix it up. Whatever his taste, there are plenty of Father's Day gift ideas in the clothing store (especially in the designer section!). Likewise, the right men's jewelry, including fine men's watches, could be a Father's Day gift that really hits the mark; one he'll wear for life and could become a treasured family heirloom.

Academic advancement
For Father's Day ideas for the practical Dads whose business or profession demands they keep up with the latest advances, or for Dads who simply like a good tale well told, choose something from among the classics or latest releases in books, movies, music and videos.

"Back in my day..."
Is Dad waxing nostalgic? Is he always talking about "the way things were"? If so, maybe a retro-gift is the Father's Day gift he'll love. Get him a candlestick telephone, a collectible framed photo showing someone he admires, a collegiate souvenir or something else to remind him -- with a gentle smile -- that's he's getting on in years.

The Pro from Dover!
Is Dad a professional man? Most professionals still carry briefcases or attache cases and these do wear out eventually. Practical gifts are excellent Father's Day gift ideas for the practical man. Pick a prime-leather business case or some new luggage.

What's his size?

Getting the right size can be a tricky proposition. If you want to get personalized Father's Day gifts like clothes that really fit well, take a look at what Dad wears most often. Generally, this is what fits him best. If you can't measure the Man, measure the clothing.

What doesn't work on Father's Day?

A keychain -- unless it contains keys to a new car, leave this one at the auto parts counter.

"Oh, I don't really want anything." Yeah, right.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Great-Fathers-Day-Gift-Ideas&id=1155333] Great Father's Day Gift Ideas

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Leven Rose Organic Rosehip Oil Review

I have combination skin on my face and my hands are a little rough and need extra moisture.  I was delighted to have the opportunity to review the Leven Rose Organic Rosehip Seed Oil. The Rosehip Seed Oil arrived securely wrapped.. The bottle arrived with a delightful pink label. The label listed the many uses for the oil, along with proper storage information.

The Rosehip seed oil is 100% organic, this means, no worries about rubbing harsh ingredients on your skin. The bottle included a dropper which made application of the oil quick and easy and it helped control the amount of  oil to apply. I chose to use the Rosehip seed oil on my hands and face. I applied a few drops of the oil on my face and I took my time and rubbed the oil onto my face in a circular motion. The oil is smooth and silky, it felt luxurious and the oil has a very light scent. My face appeared moisturized, refreshed and clear after I applied the oil. Also, the Rosehip seed oil did not make my face greasy or shiny. On my hands, the oil was silky and my hands felt softer and  smoother as well, no more rough skin.Rosehip Seed oil has many uses, but I used it as a general moisturizer for my face and hands and I love it. In addition to the wonderful product, the people from Leven Rose are great to work with, they were quick to respond with any questions I had and they made sure I received the product promptly. I  highly recommend the Leven Rose Organic Rosehip Seed Oil for conditioning and moisturizing your skin.

"I received this product at a discount for my honest and unbiased feedback."

The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Coupons: Step Two

7 Tips for Becoming a Successful Couponer
By:James Dooley

GET IN A SET ROUTINE. Most of what we do in our lives is part of a routine. Whether it is brushing our teeth, watching television or going to work, we do most of our everyday activities without giving them a lot of thought. To be a successful couponer, couponing will need to take its place in your life to the same extent as these other activities. That is not to say you have to work at it daily, rather, it has to become such a part of your life that you do it automatically. Failure to integrate couponing into your life, in most cases, will result in this becoming just another fad in your life that you will soon abandon.

GET ORGANIZED. Couponing is much simpler when you are organized. Not only is it easier, you will find that your savings are greater too. Organized doesn't just mean neat. The purpose of being organized is to allow you identify what coupons you have so that you can take maximum advantage of them. You need to set up a system for adding coupons, removing coupons and storing your coupons. There are many ways to do this but the key is to set up a system you will actually use.

Decide what storage system you will use. Several options for storage are accordion files, coupon boxes and notebook binders.

You must decide whether you will cut out your coupons as you obtain them or cut the coupons only as you need them.

You must decide how you are going to file your coupons. You can sort by category (such as canned meats, canned vegetables, cereal etc); you can sort by aisle (this method works best if you shop mostly at one store); you can sort by the coupon's issue date or by its expiration date or; you can sort by source and issue date (such as Smartsource insert dated (insert date here) or Redplum insert dated (insert date here).

You must establish a set routine for removing the expired coupons.

COMBINE COUPONS WITH SALES. Anybody can use a coupon at the store. A true couponer uses her/his coupons to the fullest advantage by using coupons when the product is on sale. Combining a coupon with a sale results in maximum savings. To take advantage of this, you must either learn your stores sales cycle or (in this days of the internet) you must find a site where someone else has done this homework for you. There are many sites devoted to specific stores that will tell you when a product is on sale, if there is a coupon for that product and if the combination of the sale and the coupon is good enough for you to stack up at this time.

MAKE USE OF ONLINE COUPON SITES. The web abounds with sites for getting advice on the best way(s) to coupon as well as sites from which you can print online coupons. You should take advantage of these sites.

Sites for general advice. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of websites that will help you become a better couponer. Review as many as you can. If you only pick up one nugget of information from each one, you will be a better couponer for it. Some sites are better at conveying information than other sites. Some sites have better information. Find several you really enjoy and refer to them often. Not only will these sites educate you, they will also offer you encouragement and motivation.

Sites for specific store coupon information. There are many sites that take all the guess work out of using your coupons to their fullest advantage. These sites review the advertised (and sometimes the unadvertised) sales prices at specific stores and tell you if there are store or manufacturer's coupons that can be used on those products. If you are store loyal, these types of sites are a must to use. Find the ones for your favorite store and use them weekly.

FREE Online printable coupon sites. There are several sites on the internet where you can search for and print out free coupons for specific products. Many of these sites have manufacturer's coupons exclusive to that particular website. Several of these sites are coupons.com, smartsource.com and redplum.com. If the site is truly free to use, you should bookmark it and use it regularly.

STOCKPILE. As discussed above, the best way to save money using your coupons is to combine a coupon (or coupons) with a sales price. When you find an item on sale at its lowest price (again use the websites that do this research for you) you will want to buy as many of that product as you need to last you until the product hits its lowest price again (products usually hit their lowest price once every 12 weeks for most stores). There is little in the world of couponing that is more encouraging than looking at the groceries you have stockpiled knowing you bought the product at 70% to 100% off. (Yes, you can get many items for free if you combine a coupon with the products lowest sales price).

PLAN MENUS AROUND SALES. If you plan your menus around the items that are on sale, you will realize a much greater reduction in your food budget than if you plan a menu and then look for coupons or sales. Again, more savings equals greater satisfaction which equals a greater likelihood that couponing will move from chore to way of life.

DON'T GET DISCOURAGED.Give it time. Becoming a successful couponer takes time for most people. Don't let the unrealistic expectations created by Extreme Couponing get you discouraged. Within a month or so, you should be seeing your grocery bills cut by 30% to 50%. After you have established your routine, and begun building your grocery stockpile, you should easily see savings of 50% to 65%.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?7-Tips-for-Becoming-a-Successful-Couponer&id=6654489] 7 Tips for Becoming a Successful Couponer

Coupons: Step One

Everyone Wants to Save Money, Right? But Are You Ready to Tackle the World of Coupons?
By:Marsha Sobieski

Coupon Basics

How do I find coupons?

Manufacturers publish coupons to bring product awareness, boost sales and to promote new items. When coupons are published they have an expiration date anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months from the date of publication. Generally within the life of the coupon, there will be a sale at one of your local stores and you can match the coupon to the sale for additional savings. So, the key concept is to get the coupons for items you normally would purchase and hold them until there is a sale. Patience can have big payoffs!

Manufacturers release coupons in a variety of ways. Below are some ways to obtain coupons:


Sunday paper coupon inserts
Magazines - All You has lots of coupons and can be found at Wal-Mart, Women's Day, Food Magazines, etc.
Newspapers and local supermarket flyers
Blinkies - located in the supermarket aisles in little red machine
Peelies - located on actual product
Tear Pads - located on special displays in a store and sometimes at customer service desk. Mail-in rebates are often displayed on tear pads.
Wine Tags/Neck Tags - these are tags that hang on the neck of a wine bottle or any other bottle with a neck.
Internet Printables - only allowed 2 printed coupons per computer used. Check your store policy, some stores don't accept or limit the amount you can use in a shopping trip. In addition, they may accept printed coupons but none over a certain value or for free items.
E-Coupons - lots of local grocery stores and pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) offer electronic coupons to be loaded to your membership card for use. Check the rules for these types of coupons - if the store has a "doubling coupon policy" e-coupons may not be doubled.
Write to manufactures and ask for coupons. If you are going to do this, we would recommend you set up an email account just for this type of activity so you won't get bombarded with email offers or spam on your person email.
Coupon Clipping Service. A service can make your life so much easier, you only select the coupons you are going to use, so no extra papers or clipping coupons. Make sure you pick a service that offers a good variety and is reliable. A coupon clipping service is an advantage, because they source coupons from around the country, not just one area, so the variety is much better than what you can find in your local papers. Choose a service close to your location to ensure you get your coupons timely for sale items, or consider upgraded trackable shipping.

How do I use coupons?

•First, READ READ READ your coupon. Make sure the coupon expiration date is good. Read any limitations listed, such as "only 4 like coupons per shopping trip". If the coupon states "16oz or larger" you can't buy a 12oz product and use the coupon. You can only use 1 coupon per product being purchased. So if you buy 3 tubes of toothpaste you can use 3 coupons, but you cannot use 3 coupons for 1 tube of toothpaste. Make sure to match the product you are buying with the coupon.

•Manufacturer coupons are universal and can be used anywhere that accepts coupons. So if you live in TX and go to CA for a trip and want to use a manufacturer's coupon you can do so.

•Coupons cannot be copied - it is illegal. Only original coupons can be used.

•Wherever you shop, learn the coupon policy. Read carefully, if you have questions, ask. If you are only allowed 6 like items per order, be aware. This is why extreme couponers break their orders up into smaller groups to comply with store policies. Look at things like - do they double coupons? Up to how much? Do they have a special day every month when there is additional savings? Senior Day - 5% off? Triple Coupon Day? Some stores may double up to $.50 or $.99; others may limit double to $1.00. Some stores accept expired coupons up to 30 days after expiration. Others price match competitors and will accept their coupons too. Some won't double on certain items like dairy products. Some won't double e-coupons. Some won't accept coupons that won't scan - will not hand enter coupons if they do not scan. Some FREE coupons are not accepted if printed from the internet. There can be limit differences on printed coupons vs. published coupons. This knowledge may lead you to some new stores for shopping!

We recommend when you find a good deal on an item that you use regularly, to purchase enough supply until the item goes on sale again and you can restock. Now this is a general rule, if you do not know when the item will go on sale again do 3 months or whatever you are comfortable with. Create your own rules based on your budget and family needs. If you do this within a few months your regular shopping trip will diminish to just essential (milk, bread, etc.) and sales items. This is when you know you're in the "coupon groove"!

Summary

In conclusion, start out slow with one store you are comfortable with and start the coupon matching process. Slowly add more stores in your general shopping area that you frequent on a regular basis. Watch the sales cycles. Choose the stores that have the best coupon policies for your family, limits for a larger family are important. If you are a family of 2, you will definitely shop differently than a family of 6. You probably already know that certain items go on sale every few weeks or months but never really paid any attention. There are a ton of sites that will tell you what coupons to match a sale for many national chains. Just search "coupon matchups" on the web. Honestly, nothing beats just browsing through your favorite local store. You can really find some great bargains. Let's face it, we are not all going to walk away with a 99% savings at the grocery store, like on TV. However just by doing a little coupon clipping and spending a little time planning, you could save up to 40-60% on your regular shopping trips. Coupon Clipping is well worth the effort!

The author of this article is the owner of Coupons Clipped Cheap. If you would like to find out more information on couponing, you can visit the site below.

We are a Coupon Clipping Service offering Clipped Coupons & Whole Inserts!

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Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Everyone-Wants-to-Save-Money,-Right?-But-Are-You-Ready-to-Tackle-the-World-of-Coupons?&id=7672322] Everyone Wants to Save Money, Right? But Are You Ready to Tackle the World of Coupons?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mother's Day Ideas Part 2

Mother's Day Gift Ideas That Last All Year Long
By:Yvette Vanda

Mother's Day comes but once a year, but if you are looking for Mother's Day Gift Ideas, why not give a Mother's Day present that shows Mom you are thinking of her all year long?

Mothers everywhere will be receiving flowers, and hopefully having a day off from cooking on their special day. But mothers should be shown how special they are everyday, so why not give unique Mother's Day gifts that show Mom how loved and appreciated she is every time she uses her present?

There are lots of ideas for gifts such as this, but one way to make sure Mom knows you are thinking of her all year long is by giving a gift of the month such as flowers, delicious gourmet candies, or fresh organic fruit. There are many of these types of monthly subscription gifts available which are easily found by searching online.

You could also make sure your Mom is pampered on a regular basis by buying a monthly certificate to her favorite salon, day spa, or restaurant. Every time she uses a certificate to enjoy a massage, facial or a special lunch or dinner out she will be reminded of how much you care.

Is your mom the intellectual type? Or is she greatly invested in the arts or other cultural offerings in your area? Perhaps a great present idea would be season tickets to her favorite concert series, a series of gift certificates to her favorite book store, or a subscription to a magazine you think she might like.

Another way you can show Mom she is appreciated all year long is to think about your Mom's special needs. Does she have aches and pains that could use soothing? Items that help ease pain and provide comfort would make her feel loved and cared for every time she used them. Perhaps she would enjoy special massagers or heating pads to soothe her tired body.

Or is your Mom always cold? If so she would love a pajama warmer to warm her pajamas, socks, towels and other items in so they are always warm to put on. Your mom can use a pajama warmer to also heat lotions and oils for soothing and relaxing application, and if she puts the pajama warmer in her bed while warming her pajamas she can also warm her bed up at the same time.

A pajama warmer is truly unique and caring [http://www.pajamawarmer.com]Mothers Day present and you can learn more about how a pajama warmer can help your Mom stay warm and feel pampered at [http://www.pajamawarmer.com]http://www.pajamawarmer.com.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Mothers-Day-Gift-Ideas-That-Last-All-Year-Long&id=4187758] Mother's Day Gift Ideas That Last All Year Long

Mother's Day Gift Ideas Part 1

5 Thoughtful Mother's Day Gift Ideas
By:Colin Southwell

Mother's Day is approaching and now is the perfect time to come up with an original Mother's Day gift idea that shows a little thought and a lot of love. But, let's face it... Sometimes it's hard to come up with an original Mother's Day gift idea that hasn't been done a hundred times before.

As a rule, mothers are sentimental at heart. They are usually happiest with a thoughtful gift that shows how much we appreciate the important ladies in our lives. Here are five thoughtful Mother's Day gift ideas to keep in mind as you set out to find the perfect gift this year:

1.    Blow up a favorite photograph of family and frame it in an original frame. Frame and craft stores have a huge selection of frames, from the simple to the ornate. Match a frame to your mother's style, add her favorite photo and you have a guaranteed winner. And if you are really feeling creative, you can customize the frame with objects that you know your mother loves. Try adding a few small shells for the beach-loving mom or a few dried flowers for the gardening mom.

2.    Make a jigsaw puzzle from a favorite family photo for a truly unique, meaningful gift. Pick a photo from a special time and upload it to a site that specializes in creating photo jigsaw puzzles. You can select the exact size and number of pieces to create a puzzle that any mom will love.

3.    For an even more personalized gift, you can create a photo collage puzzle that showcases someone's favorite memories from the last year. Using an on-line Photo Collage service, you can select multiple photos you would like to include in the photo collage, and have them professionally arranged to create a wonderful original photo collage layout used to create a custom puzzle. A personalized gift like this lets someone relive her happy memories - whether it's a memorable vacation, a year's worth of family photos or a year's worth of major milestones.

4.    Similar to the idea above, create a photo collage puzzle that illustrates a portion of mom's history.  Start with wedding pictures and move forward through her life to celebrate the major milestones - new babies, kids growing up, taking a dream vacation - anything that makes her smile.

5.    For those of you who are most affected by today's economy, try the ultimate free gift. Give mom the day off - from everything! Take over whatever duties need to be done, whether it's walking the dog, making dinner or cleaning the house.  A thoughtful gift like this shows that you appreciate all that your mother - or wife - does for your family.

This year, try something truly original and thoughtful for a memorable Mother's Day.

Order a uniquely personal [http://www.jigsaw2order.com/photo_collage_main.html]Photo Collage Puzzle for your Mom today.

Simply visit Jigsaw2order.com, select the puzzle size you want and send off your photos. For some ideas of how your puzzle layout may look, checkout the [http://www.jigsaw2order.com/photo_collage_projects2.html]Photo Collage Puzzles examples page at Jigsaw2order.com.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?5-Thoughtful-Mothers-Day-Gift-Ideas&id=2197366] 5 Thoughtful Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Growing Vegetables

Tips For How to Garden Vegetables
By:Bill Boor

If you are new to vegetable gardening, there are certain things you must know before you start out. Vegetable gardening is not rocket science, and once you have got the basics right it is extremely simple to do. So what are some of the best tips for how to garden vegetables?

The first decision that you must make is how large your garden should be. For a family of four, a standard sized 20X20 foot plot should suffice. Starting off big is actually not a very good idea, since you are likely to become overwhelmed.

Next you need to decide which crops you want to grow in your garden. In the initial stages, you may want to try some of the more easy to grow vegetables such as beets, lettuces, carrots, and radishes. However, one key to successful gardening is to know your vegetables requirements and to do so, proper research is a must. Read the best gardening information you can find in order to develop a good understanding of how to grow different crops. Some factors you need to consider include whether the crops are best grown during the cooler spring and fall months, or warmer summer one, water and light requirements, and how much compost or other nutritional additives they may need.

The next step that you must take is select a good location for your vegetable garden. Your garden must receive proper sunlight, preferably at least eight hours a day. You also want to make sure it is somewhat sheltered from the wind. Selecting the right spot is crucial to your gardening success, so choose wisely. You also need to make sure you have easy access to water as well for your garden's needs.

The next thing that you must do is to prepare your soil for the plantation. If your soil is not prepared well, even the easiest crops will not grow well. The best time to prepare your soil is during the fall the year prior to planting, but you can also do this early in the spring season as well, as long as the soil is not too wet. First you must clear the selected spot and make it free from weeds and debris. Next you must make the surface smooth. Till the soil with the proper garden tool and prepare the soil for the plantation. You can use some compost or manure to add required organic matter to your soil. The organic matter is meant to improve the fertility of the soil.

After you are done with the soil preparation, plant the crops you have chosen to garden. Some additional tips on how to garden vegetables that should help: the tallest crops are always to be planted at the furthest point of your garden, so as not to shade other crops. Rows should be planted north to south, and there needs to be spacing of at least two feet between each garden row.

One of the best guides on how to garden vegetables [http://gardening4healthandwealth.com/] is Food4Wealth [http://gardening4healthandwealth.info/], a simple system that teaches you how to have the MOST productive vegetable garden possible.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Tips-For-How-to-Garden-Vegetables&id=4057043] Tips For How to Garden Vegetables

Low Cost Gardening Tips Part 2

Low-Maintenance Gardening
By:Judy Camp

A popular trend in gardening today is to go low maintenance. We want a beautiful garden, but a busy lifestyle means we don't have time to tend to it on a regular basis.

 "Low-maintenance gardens can be high on impact, and they can be just as stylish as gardens that demand regular attention, "according to Peter McHoy in book, Planning Your Garden.

Low-maintenance gardens allow you to leave for a week or more, and the plants can fend for themselves. The most important aspect of a low maintenance garden, besides your choice of plants, is the floor for your garden. "It's important to get this aspect of the garden right, as, initially, it will be the most time-consuming and costly part of planning your garden," McHoy says. "Large areas of the same kind of hard landscaping material will look boring. Be prepared to mix different kinds of paving materials." Use various materials to create symmetry in your garden design.

Here are some inspirational ideas for easy gardening:

Paving: a huge variety of pavers are available, but you will need lots of plants in combination with them to soften the effect. You can pave a walkway through your garden, or create a patio, with plants throughout.

Gravel and stone: These are best with drought-resistant plants such as lavenders. A few plants go a long way in this type of garden, and maintenance is limited to trimming back any plants that begin to outgrow their space," says McHoy. Lay the gravel thick to keep weeds away.

Raised beds: These can be used in conjunction with various ground coverings, and can be made of wood, brick, or a number of other materials. Raised beds usually hold a greater depth of soil than do pots or tubs, so plants are less likely to dry out, and it should not be necessary to water a raised bed daily during hot weather.

Use drought-resistant plants: check with your local nursery for the plants that grow best in your climate, and choose the ones that work the best with your garden style.

Ground-cover plants: "Ground-cover plants are also important 'carpets' for suitable beds and borders," says McHoy. Use plants that do well in your area. Some choices include moss, chamomile, thyme, and even clover.

Other options include planting through gravel, through gaps in a patio, and against walls.

The number of plants you use, and the size of your low-maintenance garden is up to you. The more plants you use, the more tending they will require. But your initial planning will make a huge difference in the time you need to spend, as well as your enjoyment later in your perfectly designed garden.

Judy Camp is a writer for ParadoxPro.com Home and Garden Site, which provides [http://www.paradoxpro.com/homegarden.html]home garden design tips and [http://www.paradoxpro.com/goinggreen.html]tips for going green.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Low-Maintenance-Gardening&id=1294468] Low-Maintenance Gardening

Low Cost Gardening Tips Part 1

Low Cost Garden Tips For Growing Organic Vegetables and Fruit
By:Tee Rogers

Many people seem to think that growing organic vegetables and fruit is time consuming and costly. Whilst developing such a garden can take a little while, that investment in time is far outweighed by the fulfillment that comes from eating fresh healthy produce at very low cost.

Here are some tips to assist you in your development of a low cost garden.

Low cost garden tip 1: You can make a compost pile for next to nothing - use recycled materials like timber, chicken wire, old hay bales, etc. Look around at what's free. You can put almost anything into your compost pile - leaves, grass, wood clippings from your local area, coffee grounds from local cafes, shredded paper - anything biodegradable except animal by-products.

Low cost garden tip 2: For your hard landscaping (paths, steps and borders) use recycled materials and be surprised by how much money you can save. Check with your neighbors or local construction sites for old bricks, stones or timber that you can use.

Low cost garden tip 3: Use what you have (or scrounge) and you will be surprised at what is possible! Plant seedlings right in egg shells (those not headed for the compost pile), or use any small containers or egg cartons.

Low cost garden tip 4: If you having trouble with weeds in your garden beds, use old newspapers, cardboard or carpet under mulch to smother them. They will eventually break down and provide organic matter in the garden. This is much better than spending money on commercial weed mats.

Low cost garden tip 5: Are you having problems with pests on your fruit and vegetables? Don't use commercially produced insecticides and poisons (no-one wants to eat produce that has been treated with chemicals), make your own!. Coffee grounds will deter snails and slugs, and your own white oil (soap, vegetable oil and water) will work on scale. Mix an emulsion with chili and water, or use molasses with water as another spray for caterpillars. You will save money and also preserve your health.

Low cost garden tip 6: Hook up with a Gardening Buddy and you can share seeds, tools, buy cheap bulk products that you can split (such as potting mix) and share machinery rental fees. Join a local garden club or check with your local council to see what programs are available in your area.

Low cost garden tip 7: Expand your plant horizons by finding alternative ways to get new plants - look for plant swaps, garden club plant sales, exchange plants with a friend or arrange a neighborhood plant exchange. Always be on the lookout for seasonal bargains and check for end of line clearances - you can find your plants in some unusual places.

Remember that growing your own food is part of a return to times when we were all a lot healthier and spent less money on junk food. Do something important for yourself, your family and the environment at very low cost - get growing organic vegetables and fruit!

Tee Rogers is passionate about gardens, from both aesthetic and practical perspectives. She designs and develops gardens which extend and complement the natural environment in which they are located, and avidly attends to her organically grown fruit and vegetables. If you are interested in learning more about organic gardening, please [http://all-lifestyle-learnings.blogspot.com/2009/02/enigma-of-gardening.html]visit her recommended blog.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Low-Cost-Garden-Tips-For-Growing-Organic-Vegetables-and-Fruit&id=2078704] Low Cost Garden Tips For Growing Organic Vegetables and Fruit

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Low Cost Butter Spreads

Easy Herb Butters
By:Suzanne Lieurance

Since herbs are plentiful this time of year, why not use them to make a variety of simple herb butters? You can even freeze the butters to enjoy in the cooler fall months ahead. You can buy fresh herbs at the grocery store or farmer's market, or even grow them yourself in a small herb garden, or in pots on the windowsill.

Use these tasty butters on everything from grilled steaks, fish, and chicken, to cooked vegetables. And don't forget to slather some on a big chunk of fresh bread. Yum!

To make herb butters, chop the herbs very fine (and pulverize the seeds). Cream the butter. Then blend in the herbs and seasonings. Roll the herb butter into a log, then wrap the log in waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator, or put in the freezer (for up to 6 months).

Try the following herb butter combinations:

BASIC HERBAL BUTTER
2 sticks softened butter
1 Tsp. chopped, fresh green basil
1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh marjoram
1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh chives
1 tsp. chopped, fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice


PARSLEY HERB BUTTER
1/2 c. softened butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. chopped basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
Pepper to taste


ROSEMARY BUTTER
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 sticks softened butter

Variation: To make pretty pats of these butters, spoon softened herb butter into candy molds and freeze. When the butter is frozen, pop it out of the molds. Store the butter pats in the refrigerator.

Visit the Three Angels Gourmet Co. at http://www.threeangelsgourmet.com and sign up to receive two free ebooks with quick recipes and tips for easy entertaining.

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, children's author, and The Working Writer's Coach. Find out more about her writing and coaching services at [http://www.lieurancegroup.com]

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Easy-Herb-Butters&id=65629] Easy Herb Butters

Easter Tips

Easter Baking and Cooking Tips (Plus a Bonus Easter Recipe)
By: Juliana Montgomery

If you're hosting Easter this year, I'd like to share a few tips with you that have helped me keep my sanity when I have hosted this holiday.

1. Cook and bake as many dishes as you can in advance. I have an Easter baking recipe that I share with you below that is easy and can be done up to a week in advance. I highly recommend baking your Easter desserts the day before. It really helps me cut down on the stress on Easter day.

2. Organize your kitchen into baking/cooking stations the night before. I know this might sound crazy but I have found it helps me whenever I am making a holiday meal. I put out all of the ingredients for each Easter recipe that do not need to be refrigerated. I put the recipe out and put all of the ingredients that go into that recipe right next to it, along with any pans or measuring cups or spoons I may need for it. I also try to organize them from longest to shortest cooking time so that I know what to start with first.

3. Select the Easter recipes that you want to use a week in advance. This helps me make a grocery list of all the ingredients that I need. That way I can get to the grocery store and get everything that I need well in advance of the day itself.

4. Use or borrow appliances to help make the job easier. I still remember the first Easter I hosted at my house. I must have spent at least half an hour slicing potatoes. If I had just asked to borrow a food processor with a slicer from a friend, it would have made that day so much easier. If you do not have the right appliance for the job or cannot borrow it, find a different recipe.

5. Enlist helpers! The friends and family who have come to your Easter feast are usually more than happy to help out with any small last minute things. My husband has become the official potato masher for all of the holiday gatherings we hold at our house! Those last 30 minutes before your meal is ready can sometimes get a bit crazy. It is okay to ask for help.

Bonus Easter Recipe: Chocolate Easter Nests

These have been a favorite Easter baking recipe of mine for as long as I can remember. I loved helping mom put jelly beans in these for the "eggs."

1 box shredded wheat cereal (10-12 biscuits)
1 - 12 ounce package chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Crush the biscuits so they are fairly fine. Melt the chocolate chips in bowl in the microwave until they are soft. Add the peanut butter to the melted chocolate. Mix together, put into a large bowl, and add the shredded wheat. Put mixture by tablespoon on a piece of waxed paper. Shape each into a nest. Chill until firmly set. Store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to set them out, put a few jelly beans in each nest. It is a cute, tasty Easter treat.

Jill Seader is an avid baking enthusiast who loves to share baking stories. Visit her baking recipes website at http://www.YourBakingStory.com to hear her stories and share some of your own.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Easter-Baking-and-Cooking-Tips-(Plus-a-Bonus-Easter-Recipe)&id=501824] Easter Baking and Cooking Tips (Plus a Bonus Easter Recipe)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Vinegar: Low Cost Solution to Many Problems

Vinegar And Its Uses
By:Dr. Emanuel M. Cane, DC

Vinegar is described in the dictionary as an acid liquid obtained from an alcoholic liquid, as cider, by oxidation, as an acetous fermentation: used as a condiment and as a preservative. It is the product of two biochemical processes.


Alcoholic fermentation, which changes natural, sugars into alcohol.
Acid fermentation in which acetobacter, a group bacteria, converts the alcohol portion into acid.


There are four basic types of vinegar;


Distilled vinegar made by the acid fermentation of distilled alcohol. This is the white vinegar you can probably find in your house now.
Malt vinegar fermented from barley malt or other grains that can be converted to maltose (known as C12 H22 011 H20, the chemical formula.
Vinegar made from sugar, a two-step fermentation of sugar or molasses.
Vinegar that is made from juices in a two-step fermentation process. Apple juice is the juice of choice and most commonly used. However, other fruits such as peaches, grapes, and berries can be used as well.


Extremely popular vinegar, most everyone knows and usually found in restaurants, is Balsamic vinegar. The process of producing Balsamic vinegar begins with crushing grapes and concentrating the juice over an open flame. This produces what is called "must". The "must" is then fermented with yeast to produce alcohol, and is again fermented by the "madre" culture, producing the Balsamic vinegar we know so well. The entire process occurs in wooden barrels and as the liquid evaporates over time, it is then transferred to smaller barrels. It is these wooden barrels that what will give the vinegar its unique aromatic taste.

Some very interesting stories that are attributed to the use of vinegar since it was discovered approximately 10,000 years ago. No one knows who discovered it, but it probably occurred by accident. Vinegar means sour wine, so what probably happened was that some wine turned sour and vinegar was born. There are references to the healing and soothing properties of vinegar in the Bible. Vinegar was not permitted to be used by commoners, but was only permitted for use by the nobility by decree.

Roman legionnaires used vinegar as a beverage. They must have had strong stomachs. In Babylonian times it was used as an herb flavored condiment. Cleopatra is attributed to making a wager that she could consume a fortune in a single meal. She won her bet by dissolving precious pearls in vinegar and consumed the liquid with her meal. It was a dinner fit for a queen.

When Hannibal had to cross the Alps, there were boulders that obstructed his path. He found an ingenious way to overcome that obstacle. He had the boulders heated and then drenched with vinegar, causing them to crack and crumble so that they were easily cleared aside. One of the most interesting facts is that Hippocrates, the father of medicine spoke very highly of using vinegar as a remedy for many ills. The Egyptians used vinegar for medicinal purposes for a great many ills.

The uses for vinegar are many, and some new use is always being found. These are just some that can be used at home for our daily chores.

Clean windows by using a mixture of water and vinegar.
Dampen a cloth with vinegar to remove stains from chrome and stainless steel.
Wipe shower walls and door with vinegar-soaked cloth to remove and prevent mildew and mold from growing.
Use water and vinegar to rinse glasses and dishes to remove film and spots.
Add vinegar instead of water to the coffee maker and run the cycle. Then add plain water and run through cycle again to rinse. Will remove buildup of scale.
To remove scale from teakettle, add water and vinegar and let stand overnight.
To clean a hardened paint brush, let it simmer in boiling water and rinse in very hot soapy water.
Wipe your oven frequently with vinegar, that will help prevent a buildup of grease, making cleaning much easier.
Adding a little vinegar to the water will make cleaning your car easier and make it shine.
When seats in cane chairs start to sag use a solution of half water and half vinegar. Heat solution until hot, then sponge the seats and place outdoors in the sun to dry.
Add a little vinegar to the water when mopping tile floors. It will make them shine and also act as a deodorant and prevent mold and mildew.

In the kitchen and the preparing of foods, there are many uses as well.


Rinse your fruits and vegetables in a solution of vinegar and water before eating or preparing the food for cooking.
Make a better piecrust by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to recipe. The crust will be flakier.
Add a little vinegar when boiling eggs. If there are cracks in the egg, it will prevent the whites from leaking out.
Add a teaspoon of vinegar when poaching eggs to prevent separation.
When canning or preserving foods, wipe the jars with vinegar. That will prevent the buildup of mold producing bacteria.
To improve the taste of fish when cooking, rinse in a solution of vinegar and water. Much of the fishy taste and odor will be removed.
A spoon full of vinegar added to the water when cooking cauliflower will make it whiter, and when cooking green vegetables, it will make them greener.
Adding a tablespoon of vinegar to gelatin will make it firmer.
Add a 1/8 to � cup of cider vinegar when soaking beans to remove the gas from the beans.
Cabbage odor can be removed when cooking cabbage by adding some vinegar to the water.
To prevent mold from the end of an uncooked ham, just rub some vinegar on it.
To make a real fluffy meringue, add one teaspoon of vinegar to 3 egg whites.
Adding vinegar to the water when boiling a ham will remove the salty taste and improve the flavor.
New Englanders put vinegar on their French fries. It is also used that way in the UK.


In health related issues, vinegar has many applications. Some such uses are.


For skin burns apply ice-cold vinegar immediately. Use cold compresses by soaking a cloth in vinegar. Using these compresses 3 or 4 times daily. Doing this can prevent blisters from forming.
Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to water in a plastic pan. Use to soak your feet to soften calluses. Makes trimming toenails and cuticles much easier.
Add 2 cups of cider vinegar to a hot tub. Makes an excellent soak for muscle soreness. This reduces the soreness by adding potassium to the muscles.
One of the best uses is making solution of half vinegar and half water, this basically is a solution that could be bought commercially, and was called "Burrow's Solution". It is an excellent solution to reduce the swelling and inflammation of a sprained ankle, by applying a cold compress. Use it also for any other injury that causes pain, swelling, and inflammation.


The versatility of vinegar makes it practically mandatory that all households have a bottle of white, and a bottle of apple cider vinegar in the pantry. And you needn't worry about it becoming outdated or spoiling. It doesn't spoil and can be kept indefinitely.

Dr. Emanuel M. Cane, D.C. [http://www.doctorsexercise.com]

 [mailto:doc1@gate.net]doc1@gate.net

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Vinegar-And-Its-Uses&id=5786541] Vinegar And Its Uses

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Low Cost Homemade Laundry Detergent

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Simple Recipe to Save Money
By:Holly Mann

Ingredients:

1 Box of Washing Soda ($2.23)
  1 Box of Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle, approx. $1.99)
  1 Bar of Soap
  Large Bucket
  Mixing Spoon
  Cheese Grater
  Old containers, water jugs, plastic bottles to store the detergent in


Making laundry detergent at home, is an excellent way to save money. According to the US Department of Energy, the average American does 148 loads of laundry per year. Some families wash clothes daily, which would equal a few hundred loads of laundry per year. Laundry soap is ridiculously expensive, and it's time you save some money = each load will cost you mere pennies!

I first made my own batch several months ago, after reading several tutorials online - my favorite which was from the Simple Dollar Website. So, thank you Trent, for your article as it has saved me a lot of money. My son and I enjoyed making our own detergent so much, that I wanted to create a little graphic tutorial for you on making laundry detergent from home. We altered the recipe a little bit to make. It was a fun project to do with my four-year-old son, took less than 20 minutes, and saved me hundreds of dollars (per year).

Tutorial: 4 Steps to Making Laundry Detergent Step 1: First, take your bar of soap (any kind of bar soap will work) and your cheese grater and grate that bar of soap down just like you would a block of cheese. This is the only hard part of making your own detergent, but it is worth the work! Grate it down until you have a bowl full of grated soap.

Step 2: In a large pan on your stove, put four cups of water and bring it to a boil. Take your grated soap bar pieces and dump them into the water, stirring constantly. It will take a few minutes, but continue to stir until the soap shavings dissolve fully. The water will become cloudy and thicken up. When all pieces are dissolved, you're ready for the next step.

Step 3: Leave the pan on the stove for a moment, and take out your large bucket. Put approximately 3 gallons of warm water into the bucket. Then add 1 Cup of Washing Soda, and 1/2 Cup of Borax. Stir it all until it dissolves.

Step 4: Take the pan off of the stove, and pour it directly into the bucket with the mixture of washing soda and borax. Continue to stir until everything is dissolved fully. And, you're done! It is recommended that you let the stuff settle overnight, before putting it all into containers for future usage.

The Final Result: My son and I (within 20 minutes) made a large batch of laundry detergent. We filled up all the old laundry detergent containers as well as the other bottles with detergent, and had detergent to spare. I ran out of bottles so I kept it in the bucket and used that first, before getting to the bottles. This stuff lasts a very long time, and costs just pennies for each load. Making laundry detergent at home is simple, fun and a great way to save a lot of money.

Holly Mann is an entrepreneur, helping others save money and make money from the Internet, at home. She runs numerous websites, and is the author of one of the most popular work-from-home guides, Honest Riches. [http://www.HonestHolly.com] [http://www.HonestRiches.com]

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Make-Your-Own-Laundry-Detergent---Simple-Recipe-to-Save-Money&id=2404448] Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Simple Recipe to Save Money

What To Do With Stale Bread

6 Ways to Save Money - Rescue Your Stale Bread
By:Jesse Whitehead

If you are looking for ways to save money, what better place to start than by looking in your bread box. If you're like many people, you may not always eat all of your bread before it starts to gets dried-out or stale. This need not be a problem though. Here are 6 things you can do to save your stale bread from being thrown away, and you will save money too.

1) Bring Your Dried-Out Bread Back to Life. Don't throw the dry bread away - it can be saved! Just dip the dried-out bread in some water, put it in a warm oven that's about 200 degrees for a few minutes. Be sure to do this when you're already using the oven for something else though, or you won't really be saving any money. You'll know the bread is done when you see the outside turn crisp. The inside will be soft. You'll probably want to eat the bread when it's hot -it will be yummy with a little butter and jam.

2) Another way to use your stale bread is to make breadcrumbs - a great way to stretch your meats and add flavor. Breadcrumbs are perfect for making meatloaf, burgers, meatballs, and vegetarian dishes. Freeze what you don't use in an airtight container or freezer bag.

3) Make Croutons. Rescue your dry bread from going down the garbage disposal by making croutons. Wheat and white bread, bagels, English muffins and just about any other bread will work. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, toss with seasonings and oil in a bowl, bake on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees until crisp. Use immediately on salads, soups, or in recipes. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container.

4) Feed the birds. Your dried bread crumbs are perfect for feeding the neighborhood birds, and is a sure way to attract many fine-feathered friends to your bird feeder.

5) Make bread pudding. Leftover bread is perfect for bread puddings. Look online or at your favorite bookstore for great bread pudding recipes.

6) Make French Toast. Yes believe it or not stale bread makes terrific French toast because it will easily soak up the egg mixture. In fact French toast was created as a way to use bread that had become stale and dry.

As you can see you need not throw away your dry, stale bread anymore. Reducing waste can help you stretch your budget and save you money when your finances are tight.

Jesse Whitehead lives in the Central Valley of California where he enjoys writing articles on a variety of different subjects. His latest interest is in [http://flukedigitalmultimeter.org/Fluke-Clamp-Meter.html]Fluke Clamp Meters. Come visit his latest website at http://FlukeDigitalMultimeter.org which provides more information about Fluke Clamp Meters, and other electrical testing products.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?6-Ways-to-Save-Money---Rescue-Your-Stale-Bread&id=3267075] 6 Ways to Save Money - Rescue Your Stale Bread

What You Need To Know About Onions

The Humble Onion: A Guide for Creative Cooks
By:Shawn Scott

A good cook knows what ingredients to combine into a delicious meal. This short article in the "Ingredients" series focuses on the humble and ubiquitous onion. Virtually every cuisine uses the onion or onion variant as a basic flavoring. In fact, Julia Child once said, "It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions."



Here we'll take a look at what kinds of onions there are, their different tastes and qualities, and the different uses to which onions can be put.  When you're done reading you'll feel a lot more confident going to the market and selecting onions, cooking with onions and creating recipes with onions as an ingredient.



What's an onion?



The Latin name for onion is "Allium cepa."  It's related to other edible Allium species: leeks (Allium ampeloprasum or porrum); shallots (Allium ascalonicum); garlic (Allium sativum); and, chives (Allium schoenoprasum), among others.  You may immediately recognize some common characteristics: they all have bulbs, are layered, and taste quite strongly.  If you're a gardener, you know that they grow tall and thin, that there is one flower to a stalk, and that they reproduce by budding off the bulb.



When you go to the market you may notice that there are several types of onion available. In North America the most common are the yellow onion, the white onion, and the red onion. You may also find small white pearl onions or Walla Walla sweet onions.  Because onions are a foundation spice in many areas of the world, people have cultivated sub-species of the common garden onion, often named for where they come from. These different species have different flavors and uses and we'll cover those below.



You can find an excellent resource on the history of onions in general and sweet onions in particular at Peggy Trowbridge's About.com site, " [http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/swonionhistory.htm]Sweet Onion History." The history of the onion is fascinating, but not the subject of this article.  Here we're more concerned with choosing, storing and cooking with onions.



How to pick and store an onion



Onions should be firm and solid, heavy to the hand.  There should be no soft or mushy parts.  The "parchment" layer of thin skin should cover the whole onion, but not descend through more than one or two thin layers towards the heart.  It's said that the perfect onion has 13 rings, but of course you can't count them in the grocery store.



Onions keep for a very long time if they are stored in cool, dark, dry places.  If they are stored wet, however, they are prone to become moldy.  Don't buy onions that have mold on them (the mold can be dry and powdery, or, if the onion is very wet, it can be smeary like algae.  If you find mold on an onion you store at home, quickly remove it from other onions and check them for mold.  If it's a small spot of mold you can cut it away, but if there is a large area of mold or if the onion is soft you should dispose of it in the compost heap or the garbage. When onions begin to sprout they are still edible, but they lose some of their flavor. When the sprouts grow large they suck moisture from the bulb and the onion changes texture and taste for the worse. The drier you keep them, the less likely they will sprout.



Onions labeled "Sweet" do not store as well as other onions, and are usually only available seasonally. They are mild and, as their name suggests, taste sweeter than more common onions. Use these soon after you buy them.



Onions come in sizes from small to large. I recommend that you consider how much onion you will actually use at a time. If you need small amounts of onion to flavor dishes, buy smaller onions. If you're making sauce and need a lot of onion, go big. Just remember that cut and peeled onions are difficult to store properly. They can dry out, get mouldy and, if not kept in air-tight containers, make your whole refrigerator and/or kitchen smell like onion. An onion is considered "super-colossal" if it is 4.5" in diameter or larger.



Raw onions



The best onions for eating raw are Sweet Onions. Varieties of Sweet Onion are usually only available April-August, depending on the region you live in.



Raw onions are primarily used as flavoring and to add crunchy texture to cold or hot foods.  They can be chopped for salads, sliced for sandwiches, and pureed for dressings or sauces. They can also be eaten plain: Russians love to eat raw white onion with their black rye bread; a favorite combination is to take a shot of good vodka, bite into an onion, and follow it with a piece of the bread. (Repeat as necessary.)  Onions can also be marinated and pickled in a variety of ways.



When using raw onions, it is particularly important to pay attention to the flavor and strength of the particular onion you are using.  Peeling them under running water can help to cut the fumes, but the best method I've found for very sensitive people is to wear a pair of swimming goggles. Really; I'm not kidding.



How strong is your onion?



Though you might buy the same brand of onion from the market again and again, one time the flavor will be strong and the fumes so powerful they burn your eyes, and another time they will be mild and almost fume-free.  Onion strength within the same species vary depending upon the time of year they are grown, the conditions under which they are grown, their age at the time of harvesting, how long they have been stored, the quality of the soil, and the amount of water they receive. It's important to remember this when you are cooking and to taste the particular onions you have chosen for your meal.  "A cup of chopped onion" is simply a bulk measurement and doesn't tell you anything about flavor.  If your onions are very strong, use fewer. If they are weak and mild, you can use more.  Except when you are baking, regard recipes as guidelines to use in your cooking: amounts and proportions are rarely absolute.



Different kinds of onions



Yellow Onions comprise about 70 percent of the onions available in supermarkets.  They are easier to grow than red or white onions, have tougher skin and are not prone to showing the green streaks (from late harvest rains) or the sunburn that white onions can suffer. Yellow Onions can be strong or mild depending on the factors discussed above.



White onions grow very large and are more tender than Yellow Onions.  Like yellow onions, they vary a great deal in strength, pungency and fume emission. They are very popular for Mexican and Latin American cooking as they tend to be tangier and more crisp tasting than Yellow Onions.  They are very susceptible to mold, but store for a long time if kept very dry.



Red Onions grow to a smaller size than Yellow Onions. They are also often milder and sweeter, with a distinctive taste and texture. One variety of red onion is the Bermuda, which usually shows up in supermarkets in the spring.



Yellow Granax (sweet onions, called Vidalia when grown around Vidalia, Georgia and called Maui Onion when grown on that island in Hawaii).  The Cippolini is an Italian sweet onion. Other varieties include Sweet Imperial, Carzalia Sweet, Oso, Arizona, and the strangely named Texas 1015Y.  Remember these are hard to store.



Walla Walla Onion (called Walla Walla Sweets when grown around Walla Walla, Washington). This onion originated in Corsica and was brought to Washington by immigrants.



Pearl Onions (also called Boiling Onions) are small white onions under 2" in diameter. They are difficult to peel, but they are a lovely addition to soups and stews, and they are a joy to pickle. They are rarely eaten raw.



Dried Onions and Preserved Fried Onions



Dried onions are never as good as fresh. Use dried minced onion as a substitute for fresh only when absolutely necessary. Personally, I stay away from onion powder entirely.



Preserved fried (crispy) onions are often used to garnish finished dishes and can be purchased in many Asian food markets.



Cooking With Onions



Onions should always be cooked at medium or lower heat because they change their taste and become bitter if cooked too hot. Onions can be cooked into six different forms:



1) Transparent: 



If you cook an onion for a medium- to long-period of time over a low heat they will turn soft and transparent.  The longer you cook them at this temperature, the softer and less visible they will become.  Sauteing onions to transparency is the method often used for introducing them into sauces and stews. Many sauces begin with the instruction to "melt" your onions into some sort of oil, often combined with garlic and tomatoes.  When you put raw onions into liquid (like soups and stews) and boil them, you also achieve the state of transparency. In the first case you suffuse the oil with the onion taste. In the second, the onion taste diffuses through the boiling or simmering liquid.



2) Browned: 



The taste of browning onions is indeed delectable and can be smelled throughout the house (and even sometimes out onto the street), especially when combined with garlic.  Browned onions are sauted over a medium heat just to the point of achieving a golden brown color around the edges.  If you overcook the onions and burn them, the smooth, mellow flavor will be replaced by a sharp, bitter, burnt taste, so it is very important to keep a close watch on onions if you are cooking them over a medium heat. Never cook them higher than medium.  Browned onions are also used as the basis for sauces or stews, but they impart a very different flavor than transparent onions.  The best description I can give is that they have a "toasted" flavor. The flavor suffuses the oil medium in which they are browned and thus anything cooked in that oil will also taste of browned onions.



3) Fried:



If you dip onions in a batter and then drop them hot oil they will fry quickly. Properly fried onions have a crispy batter and reach a soft transparent or semi-transparent state. They must never burn on the outside. You can fry cut up onions (as in Onion Rings) or the whole onion (a popular dish in many steak houses).  Fried onions are usually served as garnishes or side dishes.



4) Baked or roasted:



Onions can be put in an oven and baked, either on their own with some sort of sauce (balsamic vinegar and garlic, for example), or as a part of a roasted dish (pot roast, tandoori, roast beef, etc.).  Roasted onions may toast lightly on the outside and be soft in the middle, or they may become completely soft and transparent. The end state depends on the amount of moisture in which the dish is cooked.



5) Grilled:



Onions grill very well, but since they burn quickly at high temperatures it's best to add them late to the barbecue grill or skewer.  Watch grilled onions carefully to ensure that they brown but do not burn. Grilled onions usually do not cook long enough to be soft in the middle, so they are often toasted and soft on the outer layers, and retain some crunch and bite on the inside. This makes them a particularly lively and tasty accompaniment to strongly flavored dishes like shishkebob.



6) Pickled or marinated: 



The most commonly pickled onions are boilers, but large onions can also be pickled if they are cut up. The best pickled onions retain freshness and crunch while merging their flavors with strong pickling spices. Most pickled onions are lightly boiled (less than three minutes) before being put in the preserving liquid. This liquid combines vinegar with other pickling spices.  If you arepickling for storage make sure to follow safe canning rules. Unlike most of the recipes I discuss, pickling is a delicate procedure and proportions of preserving liquid need to be measure carefully. For a great guide see Clemson Universities " [http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC3100.htm]Pickle Basics." 



Marinated onion dishes should be used within a week. Often the same spices are used for marination as for pickling, but the proportions and procedure are not so important since the pickled will not be canned and stored.



Summary



Most good cooks have onions on hand since they use them in many dishes and storage onions (non-sweet) keep for long periods of time. Learn to distinguish varieties of onion by tasting them and using them in your cooking experiments. A properly-used onion can ring flavor and taste out of scant ingredients.  If you don't feel like cooking, you can simply contemplate the onion. It inspires deep thoughts, or at least it did in Carl Sandburg, the famous American poet.  Sandburg wrote:  "Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."

In addition to being a scholar, Shawn Scott, Ph.D., is a culinary enthusiast and has worked as a professional caterer and chef.  Now retired from teaching, Scott has decided to share the collected wit and wisdom of almost forty years of cooking and food lore.  You can read more about Scott's ideas on innovation and improvisation in the kitchen at "  Recipe-Free Cooking": http://recipefreecooking.blogspot.com/

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Humble-Onion:-A-Guide-for-Creative-Cooks&id=317023] The Humble Onion: A Guide for Creative Cooks