6833 Whitneyville Ave SE, Alto MI 49302 * (616) 868-6676 * CountryHarvestGreenhouse.com

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Caring for a Fresh Christmas Tree from Country Harvest Greenhouse

Here are a few tips to keep your Fresh Christmas Tree looking it's best.  Plus, important safety reminders.

CARE TIPS


Starting out right
- Removing about 1/2 inch from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand will allow the best water absorption.
- Don't cut the trunk at an angle or into a v-shape, it won't help with water absorption and may your tree less stable in the stand.  
- Don't remove the bark at the base - that absorbs the most water!

Your tree needs plenty of water!
- Get your tree in water as soon as possible.  
- Using a stand with a reservoir base is the best way to maintain freshness. Stands should provide about 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. 
- Your tree can absorb up to 1 gallon of water the first day home!
- Check every day or every other day to ensure the tree has water.  Never let the water level get below the tree trunk bottom.
- Some people put an aspirin in the water to help keep it fresh. Some also add lemon-lime soda. (Just don't spill on those gifts!)
- A well-watered tree will lose fewer needles but all fresh trees will lose some needles.

Maintenance
- Check for sap seepage - the sooner you clean it up the easier it will be.
- Keep away from heat sources.  Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in - less water consumption each day.
- Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.

Disposal
- At the end of the season, you can take advantage of one of the many tree drop-off locations in the area -- or put it in your garden.  When spring comes, you can chip it into compost or nutrition for your garden.


SAFETY TIPS
*Printable fire-safety sheet from the National Fire Protection Assocation* 

- Make sure you don't block and exit when placing the tree.
- Place breakable ornaments high out of reach of children and pets.
- Keep the tree at least 3 feet away from open flames or heat sources (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, candles), which may dry it out prematurely and pose a hazard. Trees do sometimes catch on fire - and when they do they go fast - so be very careful!
- Inspect your light sets. Make sure they are not frayed or bitten by pets, and that the connections are secure.
- Do not overload electrical circuits.  Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
- Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
- Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house.
- Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
- Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace!

Sources:
National Fire Protection Association, National Christmas Tree Association, Wikihow

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strawberry Dessert

This decadent dessert is similar to the idea of the popular "fruit pizza".  It's a wonderful use for our fresh Michigan Strawberries at Country Harvest Greenhouse.

 2 Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mixes
16 ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups sugar
1 to 2 cups cool whip
2 or 3 lbs. strawberries washed and sliced
Strawberry glaze

Whipped Cream for topping

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare the cookie mixes with the butter and egg as the directions on the bags say to. Spread in a Texas sheet cake pan (like 10x15 I think) to make the crust. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix softened cream cheese and sugar with hand mixer until well blended. Then fold in the cool whip. When cookie crust is done and slightly cooled spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust.

Then mix strawberries with glaze of your choice and pour the mixture over the top and chill for about four hours or more


Recipe and image source: here

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cucumber Tips and Tricks

Cucumbers are a popular and prolific veggie -- and apparently they have many other great uses besides being a delicious addition to any meal.  

You can find homegrown Michigan cucumbers at Country Harvest Greenhouse during the summer months.






1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2.For a pick me up in the afternoon... Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. Slice some and put in your water bottle.

3. If you rub a cucumber slice along your bathroom mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Place a few slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemical in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free.
Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the photochemical will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.


Source

Easy Strawberry Banana Cheesecake Dessert

Here's a fun and easy summer dessert the kids are sure to love - plus it packs in plenty of fruit!

You can find sweet, delicious Michigan Strawberries at Country Harvest during the month of June.









1 bag mini marshmallows
16 oz of vanilla yogurt
1 regular size tub of cool whip
1 package of nobake cheese cake filling

Stir in
1-2 quarts of sliced up strawberries
3-4 sliced up bananas

Other fruits can be substituted or added as desired

Best served chilled and same day due to banana discoloration

Infused Water

Enjoy summer with a cool, flavored water that is good for you.

 
1. Green tea, mint, and lime - For fat burning, digestion, headaches, congestion and breath freshener.

2. Strawberry and kiwi - For cardiovascular health, immune system protection, blood sugar regulation, digestion.

3. Cucumber, lime, and lemon - For water weight management, bloating, appetite control, hydration, digestion

4. Lemon, lime, and orange - For digestion vitamin C, immune defense, heartburn, (Drink this one at room temperature)

Infused waters are good for detoxification energy and hydration. Put as much fruit in water as you like and let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.


Source

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yellow Squash Casserole

 
Here's one way to get the kids to eat those vegetables! :)  Be sure to visit us at Country Harvest Greenhouse to get local yellow squash when in season!

2 pounds of yellow squash (about 4 cups)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers (about 35 crackers)
1 cup cheddar cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


Lightly steam squash and onion in steamer basket* for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs and cheese.


In large bowl, add drained squash and onion and gently fold in 1/2 the cracker/cheese mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk, then add to squash mixture.

Melt 1/2 cup of butter. Add half the melted butter to the squash mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread squash mixture into 9 x 13″ baking dish. Top with remaining crackers and pour remaining butter over dish.


Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes until lightly brown.
Yellow Squash Casserole


Source: Facebook: Foodie's TV

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

75 Uses for Baking Soda

1. Use it as an antacid.
2. Use it as underarm deodorant by applying it with a powder puff.
3. Mix half a teaspoon with peroxide paste and use it as toothpaste.
4. Use it as a face and body scrub.
5. Add a cup to bathwater to soften your skin.
6. Relieve skin itch from insect bites and pain from sunburn.
7. Remove strong odors from your hands by rubbing them with baking soda and water.
8. Put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.
9. Apply it on rashes, insect bites, and poison ivy irritations.
10. Take a baking soda bath to relieve skin irritations.
11. Heartburn? Take a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one-half glass of water.
12. Freshen your mouth by gargling half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed water.
13. Relieve canker sore pain by using it as mouthwash.
14. Use it to relieve bee stings.
15. Use it to relieve windburns.
16. Apply it on jellyfish sting to draw out the venom.
17. Unblock stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your vaporizer.
18. Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon to the water in the vase.
19. Put out small fires on rugs, upholstery, clothing, and wood.
20. Put an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb the odors.
21. Sprinkle it on your ashtrays to reduce bad odor and prevent smoldering.
22. Sprinkle it on your slippers, boots, shoes, and socks to eliminate foul odor.
23. Turn baking soda into modeling clay by combining it with one and 1/4 cups of water and one cup of cornstarch.
24. After feeding your baby, wipe his shirt with a moist cloth sprinkled with baking soda to remove the odor.
25. Wipe your windshield with it to repel rain.
26. Improve the smell of dishrags by soaking them in baking soda and water.
27. Suck it in with your vacuum cleaner to remove the odor.
28. Freshen the air by mixing baking soda with your favorite perfumed bath salts. Put the mixture in small sachet bags.
29. Restore stiff brushes by boiling them in a solution of 1/2 gallon of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a cup of baking soda.
30. Put it under sinks and along basement windows to repel cockroaches and ants.
31. Scatter baking soda around flowerbeds to prevent rabbits from eating your veggies.
32. Sweeten your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants.
33. Sprinkle it onto your cat’s litter box to absorb the bad odor.
34. Sprinkle it on your pet’s comb or brush to deodorize their fur and skin.
35. Use it as a substitute for baking powder by mixing with it with cream of tartar or vinegar.
36. Wash fruits and vegetables with it.
37. When boiling a chicken, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.
38. Soak dried beans to a baking soda solution to make them more digestible.
39. Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.
40. Make a sports drink by mixing it with boiled water, salt, and Kool-Aid.
41. Remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside the fridge.
42. Make fluffier omelets by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs used.
43. Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda.
44. Add a cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush. It will clean the toilet and absorb the odor.
45. Use it to scrub sinks, showers, plastic and porcelain tubs
46. Spray it on walls, mirrors, and countertops.
47. Add a spoonful to your dishwasher to make scrubbing dishes easier.
48. Remove grease from pots and pans.
49. Dry clean carpets and upholstered furniture by sprinkling baking soda over the fabric and gently brushing it. Leave it for an hour or overnight, then vacuum.
50. Boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power by sprinkling a handful on dirty clothes.
51. Combine it with water to make a paste for polishing stainless steel and chrome.
52. Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls.
53. Clean your shoes with it.
54. Clean garbage cans with it.
55. Use it to wash diapers.
56. Clean the fridge with it.
57. Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda solution.
58. Mix it with water to wash food and drink containers.
59. Put three tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water, then use the mixture to wash marble-topped furniture.
60. Absorb it with a damp sponge, then clean Formica countertops with the sponge.
61. Use it to get rid of stale odors from cooling containers and thermos bottles.
62. Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution, then rinse.
63. Combine with hot water to clean baby bottles.
64. Sprinkle it on barbecue grills, then rinse it off.
65. Scatter it on your greasy garage floor, scrub the floor, and rinse.
66. Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing.
67. Clean your ashtrays with a baking soda solution.
68. Keep your drains clean by putting four tablespoons of baking soda in them each week. Flush it down with hot water.
69. Clean your shower curtains by soaking them in baking soda and water.
70. Put it on a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
71. Use it to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from a toaster. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp rug, then use the rug to clean the toaster.
72. Use it to clean your retainers and dentures.
73. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and used it to scrub enameled cast iron and stainless steel.
74. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water, and use it to clean the inside part of an oven.
75. Use it to unclog gas stoves.

Source: Life Hackery

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fairy Garden Inspiration


I saw this image on Facebook recently.  I have an obession with succulent plants, especially Hens & Chicks, and I adore minature things.  So this was definitely right up my alley.  I don't have directions to go along with it just yet.

A Tip to Recharge Towels

I found this tip on Facebook recently.  Haven't tried it yet, but I will soon.
 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Favorite Things: Homemade Hawaiian Bread (or Rolls)

I am a huge fan of hawaiian dinner rolls.  My sister-in-law recently gave me this recipe and I've enjoyed making a few batches.  It's a delicious, slightly sweet bread. Very similar to the orginal, though the texture is not the same in my experience.  (Note the recipe variation at the bottom, if you want to give it a try.)

6 c. all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 c. pineapple juice
1 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. vanilla
2 pkgs yeast
1 stick butter or margarine, melted

Beat eggs; add pineapple juice, water, sugar, ginger, vanilla and melted margarine.  Add in 3 cups of flour and stir till well mixed.  Sprinkle in yeast one package at a time and stir till well mixed.  Gradually add the other 3 cups of flour.  Mix well.  Will be a very sticky dough!

Leave in the mixing bowl, cover and rise 1 hour in a warm place.  Remove from bowl onto well-floured surface and knead in 1/2 cup flour -- a bread scraper is a huge help right about here.  Knead about 10 times. Will still be a very sticky dough.

Grease pans for desired loaves or rolls:
  • For loaves, you'll need three 8-inch round cake pans. 
  • For rolls, this will fill a double-sheet cake pan (or two 9x13 pans and possibly one more small one).
Form dough into round loaves or rolls.  Once again, my bread scraper was a lifesaver here.  I used it to cut the sticky dough into my desired number of pieces.

Cover loaves/rolls and rise 1 hour in a warm place. Bake at 350 degrees, 20-30 minutes for breads and 10-12 minutes for rolls.

Variation to yield a fluffier bread
I just found these alterations to the above recipe online, for those who want a fluffier texture:

Use 1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice and 1/2 cup of water. Heat this mixture to 110 degrees and proof the yeast in it. Mix the eggs, sugar, melted butter, ginger and vanilla together. Put 6 cups of King Arthur Bread Flour into a bowl. Then mix in the egg mixture, then the pineapple juice, water and yeast mixture. After mixing, let rise for 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, knead, divide into 3 loaves. Place each loaf into a greased round cake pan, let rise for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 - 25 mins. Brush with melted butter when you take out of oven.