Gardening Journal – Seed Savers Exchange

My seed orders are in! Each Christmas my sister is so kind to send us a gift certificate to Seed Savers Exchange. I love to see what’s new each year and order seeds that we couldn’t source locally. (This post is not sponsored by Seed Savers Exchange. I simply enjoy their products and I think you might too!)

We’re long-time customers of Seed Savers Exchange and have been very pleased with the selection and quality of their seeds. I’ve never interacted with customer service, because the orders have always been accurately fulfilled.

I love that SSE shares the history behind the seeds. To think that some of these seeds were handed down within families for generations or tucked away and forgotten for decades!

Delaway Kale – We buy a ton of organic kale and use it in salads and soups all year long. I chose this variety because it is a fall crop with relatively smooth leaves. (I don’t enjoy the texture of curly kale; it’s like munching on a Brillo pad) As a bonus, this kale has an Irish provenance.

Bouquet Dill – We use dill when it is in season and freeze it for use in salads and dips, especially tzatziki.

Diamond Eggplant – I haven’t grown eggplant in several years, but I love it studded with garlic and roasted or in my favorite roasted eggplant dip.

Sea Shells Cosmos Mix – I chose this because it’s pretty! These little sun-lovers tolerate poor soil and drought. I’ve never grown cosmos before, but I have a few bare areas of the yard to beautify.

Petite Yellow Watermelon – This little icebox variety is just right for a family of two. Watermelon is our go-to summertime dessert, we just can’t get enough.

Red Velvet Lettuce – Let’s get real, I chose this for it’s bold color. How pretty will this be on the plate?!

Winter Density Lettuce – Cold tolerant, slow to bolt, imported from England; what’s not to love?

Parris Island Cos Lettuce – In addition to kale, we go through a ton of romaine around here. I’m interested to see if this variety will tolerate a little late spring heat.

Glass Gem Corn – So, my sister Anna bullied me into buying this seed. Just kidding, she said I should give it a try. And I figured, why not? Mark has experience growing corn, although we’ve never dried it for popping. We’ll give it a whirl. Gardening is one giant experiment, right?

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Cottage Collectibles – Miniature Log Cabin

Before we were married, I told Mark that when we’re retired I’d like to have a cabin in the woods and a cottage at the beach. That way we can enjoy each location, and alternate between them when the tourists get annoying.

Many years ago, we were browsing a new consignment store and wandered into the children’s section. Mark pointed out this little log cabin and said “There’s your log cabin. I’ll buy it for you today.” We laughed and then went over to inspect it. It was filled with a jumble of furniture and household items.

As we looked at the construction of the cabin, it became very clear that someone lovingly built this from scratch. It is more folk art than a scale miniature.

The stairs are wonky, the shingles are enormous, there are pencil markings where the builder notched the logs and a few adhesive smears on the windows. Nothing is to scale, and there are large holes drilled in the back for nightlight bulbs.

I like to imagine that Grandpa made this for the grandkids to enjoy. I had to have it.

For $35, we brought it home and cleaned it up. I used nail polish remover to clean the adhesive from the window glass. The chimney was covered in what looked like aquarium gravel. Little bits fell off every time we moved it, so I scraped all that off. I plan to add stone that is more to scale.

I added dollhouse miniature wood floors and covered the plywood ceilings with embossed paper to mimic tin panels. With doors that are 4″ high, it’s somewhere between 1:24 and 1:18 scale. It can be a challenge to find furnishings that fit because it is not a standard size.

The roof lifts off, and the 2nd floor lifts out to access the first floor. The only other access is through the tiny doors.

I gave the furniture a coat of paint, and painted the kitchen hutch to resemble our Hoosier cabinet.

When our nieces and nephews were little they loved to play with the furnishings and decorate it for the holidays. They’re now teenagers and young adults with no interest in the log cabin. I guess it’s up to me to carry on their important work!

I found some new miniatures in my advent calendar, so I have a few tiny projects to make for the log cabin. I love coming home from work in the evening and seeing the warm glow of the log cabin with the lights on. So cozy.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Eradicating Japanese Stiltgrass – The Saga Continues

This past October at Go Outside Festival, I spoke with two lovely, master gardeners about our little (okay, massive) Japanese Stiltgrass invasion. They each used two different methods of controlling stiltgrass in their own gardens.

One of the ladies used a pre-emergent herbicide. This product creates a barrier in the soil to prevent stiltgrass seed from germinating. In our U.S. planting zone (7), you apply the herbicide in late December and again in early April. There are two options, granular and a liquid concentrate. The granular is broadcast and needs moisture to activate. The liquid is diluted with water and sprayed on.

Once the product is dry, it’s safe for pets and people to re-enter the area. (But I probably would wait a few extra days just to be safe.) Always use common sense and do your homework before trying a new product in your landscape.

While Prodiamine controls chickweed, dandelions and other common weeds, the master gardeners assured me this product will not kill turf grasses and other desirable plants. If you apply the herbicide in spring, wait until fall to put down grass seed.

A patch of Japanese Stiltgrass in our woods.

The other master gardener is using the time-tested method of hard work and vigilance to remove her stiltgrass. She was not comfortable with using an herbicide, so she is hand-pulling this invasive weed. She admitted to having a much smaller property, and scourge of stiltgrass than the first lady.

The pre-emergent gives me pause. I really don’t like the idea of using it on our property, but I also don’t see how we’ll get rid of the stiltgrass without it. I think for now we’ll stick to weed-eating the wide swaths of stiltgrass in our woods, and hand-pulling it from our banks and lawn. My back aches just thinking about that; but I have to remind myself how truly terrible this stuff is.

In happier news, I present to you the best gardening gloves ever! Seriously, these are so good. My mother-in-law gave these to me about 15 years ago, and they finally developed a hole after years of heavy use. The perfect gift for the gardener in your life. If that’s you, treat yourself!

I’ll leave you with a pretty picture, because all those brown weeds are just depressing. Spring is right around the corner!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Real Food Menu for Week of 01.12.2020

One of my goals for the new year is to reduce food waste (and hopefully food costs) by doing a better job of meal planning. Wasting produce is a huge pet peeve of mine. I suppose composting it gives it a second life, but it’s not what I intended.

We received this compost bin at Christmas and I just love it. We previously kept our kitchen scraps in a bowl and emptied it every day. Now we can get away with emptying every few days because the filter eliminates any odors. Yay!

Breakfast:
Blueberry and Raspberry Baked Oatmeal – This recipe is an old favorite. Perfect for using up a few bananas that are heading into banana bread territory. We like it with a little coconut milk on top.
https://www.sohowsittaste.com/blueberry-raspberry-baked-oatmeal/

Lunch:
Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup – New Recipe! Tastes like a cabbage roll without all that work. The recipe says it yields 12 servings. Um. Maybe if you’re feeding tiny people, or consider a cup of soup a serving? This makes 8 nice bowls of soup.
https://www.veggiebalance.com/cabbage-roll-in-a-bowl-slow-cooker-recipe/

Dinner:

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup – New Recipe! – Very likely the most monochromatic meal we’ve ever had, but tasty nonetheless. We’re having this with Brazilian cheese bread on the side.
https://cookieandkate.com/creamy-roasted-cauliflower-soup-recipe/

Mediterranean Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Artichokes and Capers – New Recipe! UPDATE: This meal was not only visually unappealing, it had a sharp acidity which neither of us enjoyed. And we don’t shy away from acidity around here.
https://juliasalbum.com/mediterranean-chicken-sun-dried-tomatoes-artichokes/

Pickety Bits – Unfamiliar? It’s a charcuterie board, a grazing board, or whatever the trendy name for it is today. I prefer ‘pickety bits’. Essentially, you just arrange your favorite snacks on a serving board or platter and call it dinner. My kind of cooking. This is best made for a low-key evening; great for game night.

Turkey Herb Stuffing Style Riced Cauliflower – This isn’t a new recipe, I just forgot to take pictures of it! We’ll throw some turkey cutlets in the crock pot to serve with this delicious side.
https://cleanfoodcrush.com/cauliflower-stuffing/

Snacks:
Clementines, Bananas, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers and Hummus, Popcorn
Rinse and repeat (we never tire of this).

Treat:
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies – Here’s a fun fact about Mr. Arthurized Home: He hates chickpeas. But he LOVES these little babies. We like them with these chocolate chips.
https://cleanfoodcrush.com/chocolate-chickpea-blondies/

Thank you for taking time to read here! Have a great week!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Altering Decor that Almost Works

One of my perpetual January tasks is to focus on getting organized. I’m always on the hunt for boxes and baskets to corral my stuff, particularly in closets and my crafting space. I needed a small basket to hold toiletries in the bathroom closet, and this one fit the bill. Almost.

As much as I enjoy word art, I didn’t love the word “dream” on the side of the fabric liner. So, out came my embroidery scissors and seam ripper.

Taking care not to cut through the liner fabric, I removed the embroidery. I pulled all those stray threads out from the front and back of the liner.

Now the liner is perfect, and surprisingly, I’m still able to dream without that bossy basket ordering me to do so!

Don’t be afraid to buy a decor item that almost works, if you can alter it to fit your needs.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Gardening Journal – Cold Stratification

With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, I’d just as soon go straight to spring and gardening season. Since that won’t happen, I’ll busy myself with a few garden tasks while the snow flies.

This year I’m planting a few types of seeds that benefit from cold stratification. In a nutshell, stratification is subjecting the seeds to cold, moist conditions in order to mimic winter dormancy. This softens up the hard seed coat and when warm temperatures arrive, it signals the seed to open and grow. Some seeds will not germinate (or will germinate very poorly) without it.

Depending on the seed, it could need anywhere from 1-3 months of stratification; this information will be printed on the seed packet. I’m experimenting with two varieties of lavender because it is a good companion plant for nearly everything else in the garden.

I’m also planting milkweed to draw pollinators to the yard. My father-in-law (affectionately known as Pa Kettle) planted milkweed for my mother-in-law so she could collect monarch caterpillars and watch them transform. Each fall, her front porch and dining room table were filled with butterfly cages. She was the cutest little mad scientist! Her middle school students enjoyed watching the process and learning about the life cycle of monarch butterflies.

This is my first attempt at cold stratification, and I’ve read that you can use either peat moss or sand. Being a more-is-more girl, I decided to try each, plus a 1:1 mixture of peat and sand. The process is the same regardless of the medium.

Some articles suggested sterilizing the planting medium so I placed my peat and sand into the oven on the lowest setting for a few hours.

Prepare plastic bags or other containers by writing the seed name and date for removal from cold stratification on the bag.

Now for the fun part! Mix a little water into the peat or sand until you can form it into a ball. The medium should be thoroughly but only slightly dampened. You should not be able to squeeze water out of the mixture. Excess moisture could cause the seeds to mildew or rot.

Mix the seeds into the medium and place into the prepared bags. Pop the bags into the lowest part of your refrigerator and you’re done!

I’ll check on mine occasionally to make sure they haven’t germinated. If some seeds do sprout, I will transfer them to planting trays and keep them in a warm, sunny spot until I can plant them outside.

Have you had any success with cold stratification? Do you have any tips to share? I’m all ears!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Real Food Menu for Week of 1.5.2020

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas/New Year’s break was an enjoyable time. We had a quiet Christmas with the Arthur fam, ate a delicious brunch and had a leisurely visit.

My sis and nieces came to visit on Boxing Day and stayed through New Year’s Day. We played some new games, watched movies, crafted, ate loads of snacks and generally trashed our sleep schedules. We rang in the new year with our midnight silly string battle on the front lawn. It was fantastic.

One of my goals this year is to reduce our food waste, so we’ve decided to limit our dinners on the menu to four per week. This gives us a night to eat out, a leftovers night and (let’s just be honest), a night to eat popcorn and call it dinner! #reallife

Breakfast:
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – New Recipe! These little babies are delicious! (I used these chocolate chips.) I slightly overbaked them at 25 minutes. The next time I make them, I’ll start checking for doneness at 20 minutes.
https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/sweet-potato-breakfast-cookies/

Lunch:
Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup – New Recipe! This recipe is very forgiving. For the veggies we used kale, sweet potatoes, carrots and celery. We didn’t have any Old Bay seasoning (my brother will be ashamed of me), so we used Italian seasoning and subbed brown rice for the wild rice. Basically, we used the recipe as a jumping off point and then went totally rogue!
https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cozy-autumn-wild-rice-soup/

Dinner:

Autumn Pear Salad – Tried and true! Very customizable. Add what you like, leave out the rest.
https://cleanfoodcrush.com/autumn-pear-goat-cheese-chicken-salad/

Greek Chicken Soup – A favorite. The lemon juice adds a nice brightness to this dish.
https://cleanfoodcrush.com/budget-friendly-greek-chicken-soup/

Dijon Baked Salmon – New Recipe! I’m excited to try this one as flat leaf Italian parsley is one of my favorite fresh herbs.
https://downshiftology.com/recipes/dijon-baked-salmon/

Perfect Roast Chicken – Hello, old friend! I love a meal that you literally can’t mess up! I mean, I suppose you could if you forgot to turn the oven on, but outside of that happening…
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/perfect-roast-chicken-recipe-1940592

Snacks:
I’m still loving the organic hummus from Aldi, so I’ll snack on that this week along with cucumber slices, bell pepper strips and carrot sticks. Nothing revolutionary, just easy snacks during my busiest season at work.

Treats:
Stovetop Cinnamon Apples: New Recipe! My sister made a version of these while she was here and left us a bag of apples to enjoy. I’ll leave the maple syrup out of this; the apples add enough sweetness.
https://joyfoodsunshine.com/stovetop-cinnamon-apples/

Let’s have another look at those breakfast cookies, shall we?

I hope your new year is off to a great start and brings only good things!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Have a Cup of Cheer – Beverage Center

A few years ago, I grouped our Christmas mugs, and hot cocoa fixings to create a little beverage center on one shelf of the Hoosier. We liked it so well that we’ve done it every year since then. Our guests can help themselves, and we simply replenish the supplies throughout the season.

I painted the sign on a scrap board leftover from another project.

We like to offer a selection of chocolate, marshmallows and peppermint candies for flavoring drinks.

This short string of lights is meant to surround a computer monitor, but it’s the perfect length for framing the beverage center. We’ve got it plugged into an adapter and timer.

This little snowman mug is a favorite gift from my mother-in-law.

Keep a supply of spoons nearby for mixing cocoa, and stirring honey into tea.

My sister (who knows me all too well!) gave me this sign, and I love it. It’s a good reminder this time of year!

This little tractor is one of my husband’s childhood toys. It is on display somewhere in the house throughout the year. Apparently, we had a bumper crop of peppermint!

Merry Christmas from Arthurized Home!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Antipasto Christmas Wreath

Now, this is my kind of wreath-making! Quick, easy and no tromping through the woods to gather materials. Plus, this wreath is delicious! It’s elegant in its presentation, but very simple to create.

To make your own antipasto wreath, you will need:

  • A large, round serving tray or platter. For reference, my tray is 14″ in diameter. This wood tray is lovely and large.
  • Fresh rosemary, cut into approximately 6″ lengths. The rosemary imparts a subtle, woodsy flavor to the appetizer.
  • Tasty baubles of your choosing. I used mozzarella pearls, grape tomatoes, green and kalamata olives. Cheese cubes, salami rounds and quartered artichoke hearts would be delicious as well.

Begin creating the wreath base by laying the rosemary in a circle. I worked counter-clockwise keeping the cut ends to the right. The raised edge of the platter helps to hold the shape of the wreath. Continue adding rosemary until you’re happy with the thickness of the base.

A few short rosemary stems pointing into the center of the wreath add rustic texture.

Next add the mozzarella pearls. I like to imagine they are ribbons encircling the wreath.

Nestle grape tomatoes into the wreath between the mozzarella pearls.

Then add green and kalamata olives.

Don’t do what I did, and accidentally buy olives with pits in them. Oops! Parties are awkward enough without attempting to (gracefully) spit a pit out.

Refresh the wreath as needed during your party.

No rosemary? Don’t enjoy olives? (Mr. Arthurized Home raises hand) Try a caprese twist on the wreath, arrange basil leaves to form the wreath base, and decorate with mozzarella pearls and grape tomatoes. Sprinkle a generous chiffonade of basil leaves on top. Drizzle the wreath with balsamic reduction or serve it on the side.

May all your Christmas parties be fantastic! Merry Christmas!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.