Butterfly Fund

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Homemade Fertilizers for your Plants

Homemade Fertilizers for your Plants

Fish-Emulsion Fertilizer

Why: Fish guts, bones, and heads are good sources of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and amino acids.

How: During the year, collect and freeze fish parts, leftover tuna, and sardines so you’ll have enough to make gallons of fish emulsion in spring.

Add 1 part fish to 2 parts water in an airtight container, and place it a sunny spot far from your house (because it’ll stink). Stir every two days as the soup cooks; in about two weeks, apply to your garden soil at 3 gal./100 sq. ft. Leafy greens, beets, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli love it.

Peeing On Your Veggies

Why: Sounds gross, but human urine is rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate, a well-balanced meal for plants. Rose gardeners know their flowers love it. Fresh urine from a healthy person is sterile, so you can feed it to veggies, too.

How: Pee straight from the source is highly concentrated and can burn plants, much the way dog pee turns grass brown. Make sure you dilute it 1 part pee/10 parts water. Then soak plant roots. Good for leafy greens, cabbages, cucumbers, and roses.

Soak Your Plants in Epsom Salts

Why: Epsom salts consist of magnesium — critical for seed germination and chlorophyll production — and sulfur — key for protein production and plant growth. A dose of an Epsom salts solution increases fruit and flower production in roses, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and houseplants.

How: Combine 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water. Spray foliage with the solution for best results.

Save Your Wood Ash

Why: Wood ash not only adds calcium (good for root growth) and potassium (promotes seed and fruit formation) to soil, but it also raises the pH of highly acidic soil, making it friendlier to neutral pH-loving plants, such as most vegetables. (Don’t use it in blueberry gardens, which like acidic soil.)

How: Apply wood ash straight from the fireplace to your garden: Dig in 5 lbs./100 sq. ft.

Adding Crumbled Eggshells

Why: Eggshells are rich in calcium. A calcium deficiency in tomatoes will cause blossom rot, that ugly brown patch on the bottom of the fruit.

How: Place crumbled eggshells in the bottom of your planting hole, or dig them into the soil around the base of your tomato plant.

Bonus: If slugs plague your garden, place crumbled eggshells around the bottom of plants. The shards will cut the slimy pests.

Cow Pattie Tea for your plants

Cow Pattie Tea

  • Collect 5-10 patties. 

  • Soak in 5gallons of rain water for best results about 5 days.

  • Pour thru cheesecloth.

  • Do not drink.

  • Use to water your plants.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Did you know that soap you buy is really not GOOD SOAP???

Did you know that the regular soap you buy at the store is really not good soap at all?

When you purchase soap at the store for bathing, cleaning, etc, you are purchasing a chemical compound created by a company.

Soap manufacturers, (large corporations), remove the good things from soap, such as the glycerine, and replace it with other chemicals.

The smell good in soap is from chemical compounds, rather than natural essential oils.

Ever wonder why your skin is dry, cracked, and peeling? It is because when you bathe with store bought soap, you are bathing in chemicals.

Real soap, is made from three basic ingredients: Fat, water, and lye.

I make soap for The Butterfly Bonsai and for my family.
I have 3 basic recipes.
One for the hubby, one for me, and one for household cleaning.

I make soap for the family usually about 2X a year. Mainly, so that I never run out.

Soap 1: Hubby's Soap: Lard, coconut oil, water, lye, coffee grounds. Yep, that's it. The coffee grounds acts as an exfoliant. Like a pumice soap would work for cleaning super dirty mechanic's hands, the coffee grounds work the same way, except that they do NOT strip the callouses or scratch the skin. The natural glycerine that is created in the soap during the saponification process of making soap, leaves my husband's hands conditioned and smooth. The husband does want me to make the next batch with citrus oil, so I will be trying that one out for him.

For myself, I like to spoil myself a bit. I make a "luxury bar", that is made from: Lard, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, almond oil, olive oil, water, lye, and either lavender oil or peppermint oil.

For the household cleaning, I make a Castille Soap, that is made from: Olive oil, water, and lye.

Yes, soap making can be a bit intimidating, considering you are working with a nasty compound, lye. BUT, once you learn how to use it properly, it is much less scary, and you can create really cool soaps!

I do not make the "froo-froo" soaps with all the fancy designs, but because I do not spend all the extra time with artistic needs, I can keep my soap costs fairly low. I know ladies who command a rather large price for a single bar of soap due to how they look. While yes, these are gorgeous bars of soap, Once you use it, you are destroying the pretty look of the soap. So why would you use it? You are paying for something to look at, rather than use.
I want to purchase a soap I can use, that will clean me well, but is not going to cost a pretty penny!

What is the difference between handmade soaps & commercial bar soaps?

The two biggest differences are the glycerin in handmade soaps and the lack of detergents.
Glycerin is naturally produced during saponification. It’s a humectant which means it draws moisture from the air to your skin so it leaves your skin soft and moisturized. Commercial soaps remove the glycerin and sell it separately and/or use glycerin in more profitable products like moisturizers.
Detergents are synthetic often petroleum based cleansers whereas soap is simply oils and butters saponified with lye. I won’t get into the whole issue of polluting our water supply with detergents or my issues with petroleum byproducts. Detergents strip your skin, leaving it dry whereas soap cleanses without stripping.
Another issue with detergent based soaps is that the preservatives required to keep these acidic soaps from growing bacteria are toxic and drying as well. A well formulated handmade soap will outshine a detergent based bar soap any day!
If you are new to handmade soaps, you are in for a huge treat because they leave your skin feeling completely different than commercial soaps. I superfat all my soaps by about 5%, which means that I leave 5% extra oils/butters that doesn’t get turned into soap. Those extra oils/butters leave your skin moisturized.

So, if you are interested in great quality but relatively inexpensive handmade soap, stop by The butterfly Bonsai for a bar or 2...  My average pricing is $2-$3 a bar, versus the $5-$10 a bar for the "froo-froo" bars. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How to properly pick a ripe watermelon

How to pick the sweetest and ripest watermelon.

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Everyday I see people banging on watermelons trying to pick the best one. 

Here's the real deal on picking the sweetest Watermelon: 

1. Make sure it has a prominent yellow spot. This is where it sat on the ground ripening. 

No spot = premature pick = not ripe. 

2. Look for "webbing". This is the brown, course web looking materiel. This is caused when bees pollinate the flower and scar the membranes that later forms the fruit. 

The more pollination = more webbing = sweeter fruit. 

3. Look for black hard globs seeping out. This is sugar not insects or rotting. You're welcome

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Make your own spice/seasoning blends for pennies on the dollar!

Make your own spice and seasoning blends for pennies!


Chili Powder

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Put into blender, (or not), and grind into a fine powder. Store in airtight jar/container.

Salt Free Cajun Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground paprika, sweet
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 small to medium bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Put into blender and grind into a fine powder. Store in airtight jar/container.

Herb Seasoning Blend (Works great for poultry)

  • 2 tbsp. basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. dried leaf oregano crushed
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
 Combine all and store in jar/airtight container.

Seasoned Salt

  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Put into blender and grind into a fine powder. Store in airtight jar/container.

Taco Seasoning Blend

  • 1 tablespoon of minced dried onions
  • 2 teaspoons of  chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika.

  1. Stir to blend.
  2. When using in a recipe, add salt, to taste.
  3. Makes the equivalent of a 1 1/4-ounce package of taco seasoning mix.
  4. Store in airtight jar/container

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Combine all and store in jar/airtight container.

Apple Pie Spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine all and store in jar/airtight container. 

Multi Purpose Spice Blend (For chicken, fish, and vegetables)

  • 5 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
Combine all and store in jar/airtight container. 

Blackened Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 4 teaspoons dried leaf thyme
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all and store in jar/airtight container. (Shake well before each use.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cream Cheese Cake Bites

Cream Cheese Cake Bites

Cream Cheese Cake Bites
  • Prep Time 60 min
  • Total Time 3 hr 20 min
  • Servings 66


1 box yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
 3/4 cup cream cheese frosting
20 oz chocolate-flavored candy coating (from two 16-oz packages)
Assorted candy sprinkles


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Make and bake cake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • In large bowl, crumble cake. Add frosting; mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls; place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze about 45 minutes or until firm. Refrigerate to keep chilled.
  • In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave 8 oz of the candy coating uncovered on High 1 minute 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 15-second increments until melted and smooth.
  • Remove one-third of the balls at a time from refrigerator. Using 2 forks, dip and roll 1 ball at a time in coating. Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet; immediately decorate with sprinkles. Refrigerate cake balls about 10 minutes or until coating is set. Melt remaining candy coating in 6-oz batches; dip remaining balls. (Reheat coating in microwave if it is too thick to coat.) Serve at room temperature. Store in airtight container.

Slow-Cooker Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Cake

Slow-Cooker Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Cake

Slow-Cooker Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Cake
  • Prep Time 20 min
  • Total Time 2 hr 50 min
  • Servings 12



1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chocolate-flavored syrup


3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons chocolate-flavored syrup
20 miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped and cut in half


  • Spray a 5- to 6-quart oval slow cooker with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, eggs, 1/2 cup peanut butter and the butter with electric mixer on low 30 speed seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl.
  • Remove 2/3 cup of the batter to medium bowl; stir in 1/2 cup chocolate syrup to make chocolate fudge batter.
  • Spoon 1/2 of the peanut butter batter into the slow cooker, followed by all of the chocolate fudge batter. Top with remaining peanut butter batter. Swirl with a knife in a circular motion.
  • Cover; cook on High heat setting 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Turn off slow cooker; uncover, and remove ceramic base from cooker to cooling rack. Let cool 15 minutes.
  • In medium bowl, beat 3 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 tablespoons milk with whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar; mix until smooth. If necessary, gradually add additional 1 tablespoon milk until glaze is desired consistency. Spread peanut butter glaze over cake; drizzle with the chocolate syrup. Sprinkle peanut butter cups over top of cake.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Garlic Paste (Toum) Recipe

Garlic Paste (Toum)

Requirement: Must love garlic.

This is one of the more versatile condiments to have on hand. It can outlast the sprouting fresh garlic in your pantry and is at the ready for marinades, dips and sauces and as a spread for any savory sandwich. Its flavor will mellow only slightly over several weeks.
If you have access to a high-powered, commercial-grade food processor, the paste will turn out even fluffier and lighter than if you use a standard food processor.
Make Ahead: The garlic paste can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
  • Scant 2 cups peeled garlic cloves (from about 7 heads)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups soybean or canola oil, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup water
Combine the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor. Puree until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl as needed.
With the motor running (for the next 4 steps), gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the oil in the thinnest possible stream; do not rush the process or the mixture will separate. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Gradually add 1/2 cup more of the oil in the same manner; the mixture should begin to set up a bit, with the consistency of creamy cooked grits.
Gradually add the lemon juice. The mixture will become lighter and whiter.
Add 1/2 cup more of the oil in the same gradual fashion as before, then slowly add the water. The mixture will loosen but should not be runny.
Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of oil. The resulting garlic paste should be creamy white and fluffy, like beaten egg whites. If not, keep the motor running and add more oil to achieve the right color and consistency.
Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; seal and refrigerate for a few hours before using, and up to 3 weeks
Reprinted with permission from The Washington Post. Tested by Bonnie S. BenwickFrom Joseph Chemali, chef-owner of Shemali's Cafe and Market in Northwest Washington.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

7-Up Biscuits - Only 4 Ingredients! - Awesome!

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4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7-up
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix Bisquick, sour cream and 7 up. Dough will be very soft - don't worry. Knead and fold dough until well mixed. Pat dough out and cut biscuits using a round biscuit / cookie cutter. Melt butter in bottom of cookie sheet pan or 9x13 casserole dish. Place biscuits on top of melted butter and bake @ 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until brown.