Friday, February 24, 2012

Starting Seeds in Eggshells

As you can probably tell, I'm loooonging for spring/summer!!! I promised myself I would wait until at least march to start my herb garden, but as you can see, that didn't exactly happen. Ha! So here is my way to start seeds indoors with little to no cost (besides the seeds)... plant them in eggshells!

For years, farmers have started seeds in eggshells and had great success. My mom gave me the idea when I started buying seeds for my medicinal herb garden and so far it has worked wonderfully! I wanted to grow a little of several varieties and move all the matured plants to one large pot. Because of this, it didn’t quite make sense to buy several small pots just for the couple of months that I would be growing the seeds. That made eggshells the perfect solution for me.

Not only are eggshells inexpensive and easy to acquire, they also provide natural nutrients for the seeds as they grow. Also, later when transferring to a different pot, all you have to do is break the shell into the dirt you are transplanting it into!
My little baby basil starting to sprout

I used white eggs, because it isn’t always the easiest to get brown ones here in Denver, but I would definitely use the brown if they are available. Start by saving an empty egg container (I cut a one and one-half dozen carton in half and cut off the lid). Lay that by your sink or put it back in your fridge if you have space. Now anytime that you use eggs, try to crack it at the top and peel away the shell so that about three-fourths remains. Once you've removed the egg, rinse the eggshell out and lay it in the carton.
Chamomile is the in the front,
basil in the back

After you’ve collected as many as you need, take a tack or egg piercer if you have one and poke the bottom about four or five times to make holes for drainage. (It takes some practice to accomplish this without destroying the egg, so you might keep a few extra eggshells on hand just in case)

Fill the eggshells with dirt and sprinkle four to six seeds on top. The amount of dirt to be used to cover the seeds will vary on the size of the seed. Such tiny seeds as lavender take only a dusting of dirt, whereas cilantro with it’s almost pea sized seeds needs about a quarter inch of dirt.

The rule of thumb usually stands that you cover the seed with a layer of dirt no taller than the seed is tall.

Water the seeds with a spritz bottle only till the dirt is soaked, and then cover with plastic rap or a shower cap. Keep the dirt moist watering every morning or so. Put them in a sunny window where it’s warm, and voila! Expect seeds in about two weeks. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Homemade Ocean Spray

~So, I know it's February, but I've been having major beach withdrawals lately. That might explain why a few of my subsequent posts will be about my years living near the ocean.. like this one~

I used to love going to the beach on the weekends and that feeling when my hair would get gritty with salt and sand and falls in the most gorgeous waves around my shoulders. 

Then I moved to Denver...

I'd heard about this Ocean Spray serum that you can buy that gives your hair that ocean shine and feel, but it was nearly as expensive as just flying myself back to the beach (well not quite, but you get the idea). 
I ran across this recipe, however, and had to try it! It worked amazingly well! I could hardly believe it. It's cheap, fast, and oh-so worth it <3 

1 Cup Warm Water
3 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Gel or Spray Gel
1/2 Tbs Conditioner (or leave-in)
A couple of spritzes of your fav perfume

Mix water and salt till thoroughly combined then add the other ingredients (I halved the recipe the first time, and I suggest you try it first as well). Pour the liquid into a small squirt bottle (I got mine for 95 cents at Wal-Mart) and generously spray on clean dry hair till hair is damp. Scrunch your hair till dry. 
My hair was already kind of curly when I started, but this just helped bring out the wave. Also, if you have dry hands, you might want to use plastic gloves or make sure to lather with lotion first.... the salt sting horribly on dry skin!

It just took a spray and a scrunch and I felt like I was back in Leguna Beach sinking my toes in the sand, listening to the seagulls overhead, watching the waves crash on the shore....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Amazing Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Hey y'all,
 Sorry I've been away for a while. In the past 48 hours we've been dumped on with over 20 inches of snow and my life consists of shoveling right now... (everyday I'm shoveling'... *dancing). Perks of living in Denver.
 Anywho... on this snowy morning, something fresh and yummy sounded good, and I happen to loooooooooove lemon poppyseed, so I decided to try some muffins. I added my own healthy twist (because I've been feeling fat lately -_-), but I added the regular fattening, sugar filled, calorie infested alterations beside it.. just in case you're interested ;) By the way, these DO NOT taste healthy. My parents didn't even know till I told them that it wasn't regular junk. 

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

1 c. White Flour
1 c. Wheat Flour (or just 2 cups white flour)
3 TBS Poppy Seeds
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

1 Stick Butter (8 TBS)
1/2 c. Sugar 
4 packets Stevia powder (or just 1 cup sugar)
2 large Eggs
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup Yogurt (I used orange, but you can use lemon, vanilla, or greek) 

Juice of 1 lemon (just use the same lemon you zested!) 
1 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or use muffin liners. 

Combine first six dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk. 
Combine butter, sugar, and stevia in a mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed till light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add zest and vanilla and blend. Scrape the sides of your bowl well. With mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients then the yogurt, then the rest of the dry ingredients and blend just until mixed. 
Divide the batter between the cups filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minute or till toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

While muffins are still warm, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar together to make a glaze. Drizzle evenly over the muffins and let set. Enjoy!

Makes 12 muffins.