build a super sturdy tomato cage.  we grow monsters.  our tomato plants are 8 ft tall and we got bushels from 4 plants.  we bought a house with land and plan to garden even larger this year.  i can’t wait to get this built and have my mega tomatoes growing like gangbusters but totally OFF the ground!

Natural Fruit & Herb Honey Syrups



These versatile syrups are great to have on hand for adding quick flavor and a hint of sweetness to beverages of all kinds. I sip on unsweetenednaturally flavored waters most of the time; but sometimes I enjoy a little bit of sweetness in my beverages, too. The great thing about these syrups is that you can add a little or lot, depending on how much sweetness you prefer. They’re a great way to wean yourself off of sugary beverages, too, by gradually adding less and less of them.

Natural, healthy ingredients. I like making my own syrups so I can control the ingredients and know exactly what is going into them. These syrups are nothing but honey, fruit, herbs, and spices. 

No-cook method retains nutrients. Most of the syrup recipes I come across involve heating and simmering the ingredients for quite awhile. That’s a quick way to extract flavors and make syrup. Trouble is, heat destroys the nutrients in honey, fruit, and herbs. I’ve found that taking an extra day to let raw ingredients marinate in the fridge results in fresh flavorful syrups with all of the nutrients left intact. This no-cook method is healthier and easier, but you have to be patient and wait 24 hours before you can use them. That inconvenience is well worth it to me.

Nutritional information per tablespoon of syrup: 44 calories, 0g fat, 11.8g carbs, 11.7g sugars, 0g fiber, .1g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 1

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I love the name of this cake!  Only in the South will you find a cake called “Pig Pickin’ Cake” and only in the South will you find folks that know what “Pig Pickin'” means to begin with!   I have seen this recipe on various food sites and such and sometimes even if they get the name right, they still don’t know why it’s called “Pig Pickin’ Cake”.   I have seen a few attribute the name to how people ‘pig out’ when they get a taste of the cake or that they make pigs out of themselves over it.  So, for those of you who are wondering about the name,  a ‘pig pickin’ is a pig roast or when a whole pig is barbequed for a bunch of people.  The guests all usually bring side dishes and desserts and that sort of thing and this cake became very popular as a perfect cool ending to such a meal.  Most think it gained popularity back in the seventies or around that time.  It seems like so many of the good recipes came about back in the seventies for some reason.  
Now there are several variations and even names for this cake, but this is the recipe my Aunt Vel uses and if I do say so myself, hers is one of the best.   Here is what her recipe calls for:
 1 butter cake mix 
4 eggs
1/2/ cup vegetable oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can Mandarin oranges, chopped and drained (reserve juice)
1 (5 oz.) box of  instant vanilla pudding
1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 (16 oz.) large frozen whipped topping
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