Tag: organic

Grilled Herb-Rubbed, Bone-In Pork Chops with Veggie Medley

I don’t know what the temperatures are like where you are but here in coastal Carolina it is sweltering hot. The humidity on top of 95+°F weather is horrible. Since I’m not trying to use more energy to cool the house we’re doing a lot of our cooking on the grill. It helps that we have the pool to cool off in when we need to and face it, grilled food always tastes better!

GrilledBoneInPorkChop_1

When you add fresh garden veggies to deliciously grilled meat you have a meal fit for any summer night. That’s how I felt about these herb-rubbed pork chops and grilled vegetable medley. I couldn’t think of a more perfect combination.

Grilling pork chops is an entirely different experience than grilling red meat. While steaks can be charred on the outside and a delicious shade of pink inside, pork needs to be more uniformly cooked throughout. Therefore, use a medium direct heat while grilling pork so the inside cooks evenly with the outside.

GrilledSummerVeggieMedley_2

Keep in mind when assembling the ingredients for the herb rub that it is more of a template than a hard-and-fast rule. We aren’t going for dainty precision with this technique, just a uniform infusion of robust herbal flavors.

 

Grilled Herb-Rubbed, Bone-In Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 2 T. Kosher salt
  • 6-8 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and crushed
  • 2 T. fresh thyme leaves, crushed with fingers
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 T. black Hawaiian salt
  • 4 thick-cut bone-in pork chops, approximately 1” thick

Instructions

  1. Combine salt, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper thoroughly in a small bowl. Rub mixture over all sides of pork chops until thoroughly covered.
  2. Scrub grill grates with a wire brush prior to starting. Preheat grill to medium before adding pork chops over direct heat. Cook for 7-8 minutes, turn once, but otherwise keep the lid closed as much as possible. If your chops are thinner or thicker than 1”, adjust cook time accordingly.
  3. Remove chops from heat, cover and let rest for 3 - 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a grilled summer vegetable medley and top with a pat of compound butter seasoned with the same herbs used in the rub.
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Grilled Summer Vegetable Medley with Herb Butter

Grilling is a great way to enhance the natural sweetness of summer garden vegetable. For best results, cut all vegetables to a uniform thickness and angle your cuts to ensure the largest surface area possible.

Ingredients:

Herb Butter:

  • 4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 t. fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
  • Pinch of salt, or prepare on Himalayan salt block.
  • 3 small yellow squash, washed and halved
  • 3 small zucchini, washed and halved.
  • 3 red bell pepper, core removed and cut into equal-sized flat pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, tough outer layer removed and cut into ½“ half round sections
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. black Hawaiian salt

Directions:

GrilledSummerVeggieMedley_1

For herb butter, combine butter, thyme, and salt into a small bowl or on a Himalayan salt block, if you have one. (Do not add additional salt if you use this method). Combine thoroughly with a fork (bowl method) or a large knife blade (salt block). When finished, transfer to a serving container.

Prepare grill by brushing grates with a wire brush. Set heat to medium. When ready, the temperature should be between 350-450 degrees.

Brush both sides of each vegetable section with extra virgin olive oil and place on grill. Cook on medium, direct heat until vegetables are crisp-tender. For zucchini and yellow squash, this should take about 5 minutes. Onion and bell pepper will take approximately 10-12 minutes, maybe slightly longer. Turn once while cooking.

Remove from heat and serve immediately with grilled bone-in pork chops. Add a pat of herb butter to the vegetables and pork chop for an extra bit of flavor and a nice presentation

Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ #Recipe

Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue

North Carolina may have a lot of awesome achievements under its belt, but none of them top the Carolina BBQ. I’ve had pork barbecue in many places and if it’s not Carolina style I don’t want it. To ease my cravings when money is tight and going out isn’t an option I’ve learned how to make the perfect Carolina Pork Barbecue at home.

This recipe is great for a hot summer day when you don’t want to turn the stove on. Just pull out your slow cooker and gather a few simple ingredients. I’ll leave some affiliate links to where to get some of the harder to find ingredients online.

What I love most about this recipe is that you can eat it for days. Freeze anything that won’t be eaten within 2 or 3 days and enjoy later. This is truly a budget-friendy meal.

Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue

Ingredients:

  • 1- 6 to 8-pound pork shoulder, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons organic paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (more if desired)

Directions:

Mix the paprika, pepper, and salt together in a bowl and use as a rub for the pork shoulder.

Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and give a good whisk to mix everything together. Carefully place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or on high for 5 – 7 hours.

Transfer the meat to a platter and shred by using 2 forks, one in each hand, to pull the pork in opposing directions. If the meat isn’t easily shredding you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer to do the work for you, just be sure to work in small batches so you don’t make a mess!

Once the pork is shredded start adding the reserved liquid from the crock pot to just slightly moisten the meat. Don’t drown it now.

Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue

Top off with your favorite fresh veggies and/or slaw and you’re set. For a complete meal serve these up with a healthy side of sweet potato fries.

Carolina Pork BBQ

Carolina Pork BBQ

Ingredients

  • 1- 6 to 8 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (more if desired)

Instructions

  1. Mix the paprika, pepper, and salt together in a bowl and use as a rub for the pork shoulder. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and give a good whisk to mix everything together.
  2. Carefully place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker.Cover and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours or on high for 5 - 7 hours.
  3. Transfer the meat to a platter and shred by using 2 forks, one in each hand, to pull the pork in opposing directions. If the meat isn't easily shredding you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer to do the work for you, just be sure to work in small batches so you don't make a mess!
  4. Once the pork is shredded start adding the reserved liquid from the crock pot to just slightly moisten the meat
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Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 ½ t. smoked paprika
  • 1 T. sea salt

Directions:

Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue

Preheat oven to 375F

Peel sweet potatoes and slice into equal-sized long rectangular pieces. Try to avoid leaving tapered ends as they will become too crisp while the thicker parts are still baking.

Place potato slices on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss potatoes with your hands until thoroughly coated in oil. Arrange into a single layer without touching. Sprinkle with paprika and salt and put in the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once, or until fries are crisp and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Carolina Pulled Pork Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Organic Chemical Free Gardening

Each year there are thousands upon thousands of gallons of chemicals being poured into the environment. Why? Many gardeners and farmers are using toxic chemicals in their garden. The chemicals leech into the produce that we ingest. Rain washes the chemicals from the vegetables and into the ground. There are many ways these chemicals get there, but the point is it can be prevented.

organic garden

Use these ideas to make the switch from chemicals to chemical-free gardening and start doing your part to prevent these chemicals from destroying our Earth.

You don’t need pesticides if there are no pests.

Many plants have their own defense systems when it comes to warding off would-be predators. They naturally produce chemicals that ward off animals. Some of these plants include

  • basil – repels flies and mosquitos
  • garlic – repels rabbits
  • catnip – repels ants, cockroaches, beetles, and aphids
  • oregano – repels most pests
  • rosemary – repels slugs and snails

Plant any of these in and around your garden to cut back the need for pesticides. You can also use these in recipes and DIY projects.

crops

If you’d rather not have these crops growing in your garden you can use natural sprays of vanilla, lavender, and/or hot pepper on your plants.

Reach in and pull out the weeds.

Weedkiller is a temptation for many gardeners. It’s definitely much easier to spray it on than to pull each individual weed but easier is rarely better. If you do regular check and pulls then it wouldn’t take much time to keep your garden weed-free. Pull them when you see them and you’re done. The fresh air will help you in the long run.

garden in need of weeding

If you’re feeling particularly lazy you can make a DIY natural weedkiller using Borax powder and water. Mix 10 ounces of borax powder with 2.5 gallons of water and spray only on weeds and plants you want to kill. Avoid overspray as this can harm your wanted plants along with the weeds and you don’t want this stuff seeping into the soil.

Switch ’em, Change ’em, Rearrange ’em

Mass producing farmers and home gardeners alike are using crop rotation to naturally fertilize plants. The concept is to change what crop you’re planting in a certain plot each year. Plants use different nutrients and put other nutrients back into the soil. If you rotate crops that replace the nutrients the other plants use, you will have to fertilize the soil less.

You can use this concept by planting different plants every year, or just rotating where you put specific plants in the garden. Here are a few ideas for starting your crop rotation.

sample crop rotation schedule

Natural DIY Beauty Products

As great as some of the beauty products on the market are they aren’t always eco-friendly or affordable. I like to think if it can’t be found in nature then we don’t necessarily need it. What did people do before when chemicals weren’t readily available and alchemists were few and far between? They sure didn’t run to Boscov’s to pick up a jar of face cream!

To help myself stay more environmentally conscious I like to make my own natural skin care products. This way I control the ingredients and there’s less chance my sensitive skin will have a bad reaction.

The following skin care ‘recipes‘ are inexpensive and natural, perfect for those on a budget.

Face Mask

face maskEating the right foods helps give you the right nutrients you need for healthy skin. You can get even more of these vitamins and minerals by putting the good stuff right on your skin.

Use this recipe to make a natural face mask.

  • 1 carrot, pureed
  • 1 avocado, pureed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup organic honey

Mix all ingredients together and apply generously to your face. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse with cool water.

Make an all-natural toner with 2 grated cucumbers and 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

Hair Conditioner

diy conditioner

For a natural and affordable alternative to store-bought conditioners use this recipe. Your hair will be soft and shiny and this conditioner can be used regularly.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon castor oil
  • 2 – 5 drops essential oil

Mix ingredients together and work through hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. Experiment with fresh herbs, flowers, and oils as you like.

Hand and Foot Cream

diy skin careA quick face mask will help make you look great in not a lot of time, but hands and feet require extra care. Use this recipe to make a hand and foot cream that will make your skin thank you.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons natural sea salt
  • 5 – 10 drops essential oil

Mix ingredients and massage onto hands and feet. Let sit on the skin for a few minutes then rinse with warm water.

When it comes to natural beauty products, these recipes are just the start. You can find hundreds of different combinations in natural beauty books, magazines, and on the internet. Or you can go to your kitchen cabinet and make your own special creations.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Supplies

Basic Garden Essentials for Organic Gardening

So you’re ready to start your organic garden but don’t know what supplies you need. Let’s take a look at the basic and important things you need to start your organic garden.

The first thing is soil. Much like a swimming pool, soil needs to have the right pH level for plants to thrive. In order to regulate the pH, you can use compost as a neutralizer. Compost will also make sure the soil has the appropriate range of nutrients for the soil to cultivate.

soil

You can make the compost yourself using dead leaves and weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps and rinds, as well as meat waste. These items are biodegradable and by turning them into compost you’re helping reduce the size of landfills.

After soil, seeds are the next most important thing you’ll need for your organic garden. If you choose to buy them you want to make sure you do so from a reputable dealer. Many places will sell seeds that are damaged or non-viable leading to no crops.

seeds

If you are worried about or just don’t want to grow from seeds you can buy already growing vegetable plants. Check the leaves and avoid the ones with discolored or wilted leaves.

Pest deterrents are vital for maintaining the integrity of your garden. Use helpful critters like ladybugs, praying mantis, and toads to keep the most damaging pests away. You can add a bird feeder and bird bath near the area to attract birds for even further protection.

You can use horticultural oils to control pests, but use caution since they can be toxic to humans and pets. Make your own using 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of NON-DEGREASING liquid dishwashing detergent per gallon of water.

Garden Tools

Weeds are a garden’s worst enemy and therefore should be dealt with before they can wreak havoc. Use gardening gloves to pull the weeds from the ground, ensuring root removal. You can spray the area with horticultural vinegar or corn meal gluten granules to prevent weeds from germinating. These also release nitrogen into the soil.

Another of the non-toxic chemicals you can use to combat weeds are fish and seaweed based liquid based fertilizers. These also release nitrogen, phosphate, and potash which are good for your crops.

For people who don’t have a backyard, you can still do organic farming by buying pots. Ideally, you should use those made out of clay or wood. Keep in mind that container gardens need to be watered more frequently.