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The Simple House Project Timeline – Finalizing What Happens When

Sun, 01/03/2016 - 06:50
Today is the 5th installment of 26 in our year-long series called “The Simple House Project.” Every 2 weeks, we publish an article covering the process from start to finish. We hope to document the challenges, trials and tribulations of creating a simple house that is extremely cost-effective, energy-efficient and earth-friendly – using only the space we truly need to live comfortably. You can see the entire collection of stories here :  Simple House Project Creating A Timeline… One of the best ways to complete any large project is to create a building timeline showing what needs to be done – and by when. In fact, it’s really the only way to keep everything on schedule, moving forward, and perhaps most importantly – on budget! Since we are responsible for coordinating the entire process of the “Simple House Project” – having an accurate timeline is critical. It will help us keep the flow of the process on track – letting us know when we need to have everything from the foundation poured to the kitchen cabinets installed. Our timeline is unique in that in addition to coordinating the various hired trades for the project – we will also be responsible for completing most of the interior. In addition to drywall, installing floors, hanging [...]

Simplicity for 2016 – Happy New Year From OWG!

Fri, 01/01/2016 - 07:22
Sometimes…a picture can say it all….Happy New Year from Old World Garden Farms! Filed under: Life in the Garden Tagged: 2016 goals, happy new year, new years goals, oldworldgardenfarms.com, owgarden, simplicity for 2016

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatball Recipe – A Quick and Easy New Year’s Eve Appetizer

Tue, 12/29/2015 - 06:49
Appetizers are very popular this time of the year.  Between all the of the holiday celebrations, work place pot luck meals, and football parties, we have made several of our favorite appetizers over the past few weeks. We determine what type of appetizer we will make depending upon the type of event that we will be attending/hosting. For instance, for those game day parties we typically provide chicken wings or chips/dips. Those are days that you can get a little messy while sitting down to eat and watching the big game. However, during those events where more mingling occurs where the majority of the people are walking around and interacting with various people, simple foods that can be eaten without much of a mess are ideal.  So we have combined a game day favorite with a classic appetizer to make life much more simple. These buffalo meatballs are much healthier than traditional chicken wings but also much easier to eat while socializing. In fact, these have become an all time favorite for not only parties, but also as a main dish when placed on a sub bun with a little lettuce, celery and blue cheese! Check out some of our [...]

4 Simple Life Changing Goals For 2016

Sun, 12/27/2015 - 07:31
As we approach the start of 2016 – we have been working together on our annual household “Goals and To-Do List.” Over the course of the last 5 years – the list has become an invaluable tool for keeping us focused on creating and building our little farm.  See: Setting The Annual Goals List But beyond our individual goals for the farm and our life – there is without question 4 changes we have made to our lifestyle that have made the biggest impact in creating a more simple and healthy life for our entire family. In no particular order – here they are: 1 – Learn to Live With Less If there is one goal for 2016 that can simplify your life more than anything else – it is to learn to live with less!  Less “stuff” and less clutter are the simple answer to one thing – less stress! “Stuff” costs more than you will ever know.  Much more than just the original purchase price of the item. It then becomes where do you store it, how much do you use it, what does it cost to maintain it – and how long will it last.  And that of course is [...]

Merry Christmas Around The World – From Old World Garden Farms!

Thu, 12/24/2015 - 07:47
Usually, we come to you at the end of each week with one of our DIY or Gardening articles. However, this week – we wanted to take that time to wish all of our followers and friends from around the globe a very Merry Christmas! As Santa stands snow-free at the entrance to the farm – you can see it won’t be a White Christmas this year in Ohio – but the spirit of Christmas remains alive and well! It’s hard to believe, but our little OWG Farm blog has now grown to include followers from 223 countries around the world. And at least we know somewhere – a few of our followers will have a little snow to make Santa’s sled ride a little smoother. In fact – if you have a moment – leave us a comment and let us know what your Christmas day will be like in your part of the world! Here is to Very Merry Christmas to all – and wishing everyone a very Happy and Healthy 2016! Merry Christmas!!!   Jim and Mary Filed under: Life in the Garden Tagged: Christmas, diy, gardening, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Old World Garden Farms, Santa Claus

Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe – An Easy-Make Christmas Morning Treat

Tue, 12/22/2015 - 06:52
On Christmas morning when our family gathers to celebrate, there is nothing better than being with each other and enjoying the time together. So the last thing that I want to do after the first cup of coffee has been consumed and the presents have been opened is to spend an hour in the kitchen preparing breakfast.  Each year we make an overnight breakfast dish that requires us only to turn on the oven or slow cooker and wait. This year we will be making our children’s favorite – Cinnamon Rolls.  They are super easy to make the day before, and all you have to do is pull them out of the refrigerator, let rise while the festivities are happening, and then bake. They remind me of that famous company’s cinnamon rolls…..You know what I am talking about!!! Here are a couple of our other favorite overnight breakfast recipes: Overnight Breakfast Casserole Recipe Overnight Monkey Bread Recipe Overnight French Toast Casserole Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe *Makes 12 large rolls Ingredients: Dough 1 Tbs. (1 package) active dry yeast 1/2 cup warm water (105°F) 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 4 eggs 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tsp. [...]

The Simple House Project Update #4 – Determining What We Can Do – And What We Can’t

Sun, 12/20/2015 - 06:57
Today is the 4th installment of 26 in our year-long series called “The Simple House Project.” Every 2 weeks, we publish an article or video covering the process from start to finish. From permits, plans, and construction of the exterior, to the complete interior finish – we hope to document the challenges, trials and tribulations of creating a simple house that is extremely cost-effective, energy-efficient and earth-friendly – using only the space we truly need to live comfortably. One of the most exciting aspects of our “Simple House Project” is that so much of it will be created with our own four hands. For Mary and myself, it’s not only critical to keeping the house affordable and on budget – but a way for us to do what we love together  – create and build! Although the complete timeline and budget of the project will be covered in a future update – today’s article is all about separating the tasks we can complete, and those we can’t. The real key to success in any large project is knowing what you can do – and making sure you have great people doing what you can’t.  There are four major areas of the house that we are leaving [...]

DIY Hand Painted Pallet Sign – No Vinyl Cutter Required!

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 06:48
After we painted our kitchen over the long Thanksgiving weekend we realized that our decorations and pictures no longer fit with the new decor. You know how it is – one project leads to another, and another and another. We still haven’t decided what we want to hang on our wall yet, but we knew it couldn’t be bare for long because we had a Christmas party scheduled at the house in just over a week.  So with Jim being gone on a business trip, I took matters in my own hands. A couple of weeks earlier, Jim found some pallets behind a local farm store, and asked the manager if we could have them. He loaded them in the truck and in a short matter of time, he took them apart and stored the wood in our garage. After verifying that there was some extra wood that I could use, I began our Hand Painted Pallet Sign Project. DIY Hand Painted Pallet Sign Project Use a pallet that has been heat-treated with no chemicals if this project is going to be used indoors. Disassemble the pallet (see How to Disassemble a Pallet). Determine the length and height of your [...]

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie Recipe – The Ultimate Christmas Cookie!!!

Tue, 12/15/2015 - 06:48
Cooking baking is in full force so we thought for this week’s recipe we would share our favorite ‘go-to’ cookie recipe for any time of the year. These cookies are easy to recognize on a holiday tray – a classic peanut butter cookie with a Hershey kiss sitting upright in the center.  You better act fast if you want to try one at your holiday gathering because these cookies are always the first ones to be eaten. Better yet – make an extra batch to keep at home! Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies Ingredients: 1/2 c. butter (softened) 1/2 c. peanut butter (creamy) 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. packed brown sugar 1 egg 1 1/4 c. flour 1 tsp. baking powder 3/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt Instructions: Preheat oven to 375° F Mix together first 5 ingredients. Mix together remaining dry ingredients and slowly add to the first 5 ingredients. Mix until you form a sticky dough. Roll dough into small balls and place onto a greased cookie sheet or parchment lined baking sheet. *Optional – roll dough balls in white sugar before baking. Bake 8-10 minutes or until just golden brown. Unwrap Hershey kisses and place in the [...]

The “Growing Simple” Book Launch Date Nears, And A Dream Becomes Reality

Sun, 12/13/2015 - 06:55
It seems hard to believe that just 8 1/2 months ago, the Kickstarter campaign for our “Growing Simple” book reached its goal, and our dreams of writing our first Home and Garden book became a reality. To say that taking on the project was a gargantuan effort might be the biggest understatement of the year for us! We had originally hoped to complete the entire writing process by the end of October or the first part of November – and have the book out by late December. Looking back – that was a bit of an aggressive plan!  I think with it being our first ever book –  we probably (well, not probably, more like definitely) underestimated how much time creating, writing and editing would take! But somehow, through the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons, with a little effort each and every week, we have worked our way through the creation of the book. We have loved absolutely every minute of the process – but wow – does it take time to go back and forth to complete! With that said – the end is in sight. We should wrap up the final two chapters by the end of the year, have final edits in [...]

How To Turn Your Summer Hanging Baskets Into Beautiful Christmas Decorations

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 06:49
Need a new and refreshing way to spruce up your Christmas decorations without costing you any money at all? If you have an outdoor hanging basket it is easy to do! This year we transformed our hanging baskets that are normally filled with ornamental peppers or impatiens into a beautiful Christmas decoration and we didn’t spend a dime, and it all started with a trip to visit Jim’s mom. As we were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee we peered out of the window and looked at the enormous pine trees in the back yard. We then began to discuss how nice it would be to use the fresh pine to decorate for Christmas.  So in a matter of minutes, Jim and Nolan trekked outside on that cold and frosty morning and began to snip some branches to bring home with us. ‘Luckily’ Jim is tall and could reach the ‘low’ branches, that aren’t so low any more, but his luck turned south quickly. The dew from the morning fog had frozen on top of the branches and every time Jim went to grab a branch to cut, he was sprayed with the melting frost – [...]

Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookie Recipe – All The Magic In One Cookie

Tue, 12/08/2015 - 06:55
Do you want the best of both worlds in a single cookie? A sweet treat with a hint of salty flavor that bursts in your mouth with every single bite is exactly what this recipe provides. Every year we participate in various cookie exchanges and look for something unique to add to those Christmas trays.  So last week I made one of my favorite cookie recipes instead of opting for the peanut butter blossoms or sugar cookies that I would typically share. The sweetness of the caramel along with a hint of salt in each bite makes this cookie a favorite for many. In addition the crunchy texture adds a unique attribute to most typical cookie trays.  My favorite time to eat them – with a hot cup of coffee in the morning – YUM!!! Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookie Recipe Recipe Yields : 2 dozen cookies Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups broken thin pretzels 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 large egg yolks 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour Caramel Ingredients: 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream Instructions: Place [...]

The Exit Plan – Remodeling, Downsizing, and Preparing to Sell While Building

Sun, 12/06/2015 - 06:52
Today is the 3rd installment of 24 articles in our year-long series called “The Simple House Project.” Every 2 weeks, we will publish an article or video covering the process from start to finish. From permits, plans, and construction of the exterior, to the complete interior finish – we hope to document the challenges, trials and tribulations of creating a simple cost-effective, energy-efficient and earth-friendly house. With the new house plan well underway, one of our biggest concerns now becomes our current house – as in finding the time to prepare it for sale and deciding when to put it on the market. We also need continue to pare down to prepare for living in a smaller home. The good news is that we have been preparing for this for a while – the bad news is that time is beginning to run short – and we need to get the house ready for sale at some point next year. As many of you know – we are both big believers in using daily to-do lists and yearly goals to help motivate and keep us on track – and those have both played a huge role in helping us get the house ready to [...]

How To Build This Simple Yet Elegant Wine And Glass Rack – From Pallets!

Fri, 12/04/2015 - 06:46
Sometimes, simple can be elegant.  A few years back, when we featured our large 60 bottle DIY wine rack built from pallets and old barn wood – we had a lot of followers email and ask if there was a way to make a smaller version. So, using much of the same methods in building the larger rack – we created a mini version for today’s DIY post. The rack holds a modest wine collection of 20 bottles – and a set of 12 wine glasses to boot! The entire piece measures just 21″ wide x 11″ deep x 36″ high – and can be painted or stained to fit in with any decor. Better yet – it can easily be created in an afternoon from scrap lumber or pallets – for free!  This can make the perfect Christmas gift for those friends and family who enjoy wine! Tools Used : For this project, we used a table saw, chop saw ( a jig saw or hand saw can be used in place), nail gun and a hand sander. Selecting The Wood: Whether you are using new boards, pallet wood or reclaimed lumber –  you will want to make sure your boards are somewhere [...]

The Secret to Making the Perfect Chocolate and Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 06:47
It is hard to find a cookie recipe that is as easy as this one. There is no baking required and all you have to do is follow the instructions and you will end up with crowd pleasing, quick and easy cookies every time. I have been making these cookies for many years and have seen and followed a variety of recipes. Sometimes they turned out dry, sometimes they didn’t set up at all, and other times they were the so delicious that they never made it to the cookie jar! The two biggest secrets to make sure that these cookies are award winning every time is all about the timing. First of all you will see many recipes that calls for you to boil the mixture from anywhere from 1-3 minutes. They don’t tell you that you should start timing the boil when it is at a full and rapid boil, not when you first start to see bubbles.  We NEVER go over 1 minute and 15 seconds when boiling, otherwise you end up with too dry of a mixture that results in crumbling cookies. The second secret may seem silly, but it holds true every time – Do [...]

The Answer To Using Up Those Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 06:45
We face the same dilemma every year…what in the world are we going to do with all this leftover turkey? During the process of making Thanksgiving dinner, we always wonder if we will have enough food to feed everyone. Our 20+ pound turkey just seems so small –that is until it is time to carve it.  Now we are left with several pounds of leftover turkey in our refrigerator to figure out what to do with. After all the carbohydrates that we consumed over the last several days the last thing on my mind is wanting to make or eat a turkey casserole or a turkey sandwich (ok, maybe one, but that is it!).  In fact, the less time I spend in the kitchen over the next couple of days is ok with me.  That is why this is the perfect leftover turkey recipe. We use leftover ingredients that we have from our Thanksgiving meal and throw it in a crock pot, add some tomatoes and make Turkey Chili.  We also throw in some bell and hot peppers from the summer’s garden that we have frozen to add a little flavor. This is a great way to use the leftover [...]

Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 06:44
After last week’s post about how to roast a turkey, we got several requests to post how to make gravy. So this week’s recipe, we will share our quick and easy method to making turkey gravy using the drippings from the pan. This method could be used for any roasted turkey, chicken, or even a pot roast. There is plenty of time to make the gravy while your meat has been removed from the oven and is resting.  There are a lot of gravy recipes that can be made ahead of time, using stock, multiple vegetables and seasonings. However, we believe that the best gravy comes from the pan drippings – you’ve already seasoned the turkey, so why not use it? The key to making smooth gravy is to keep the heat low and to whisk, not stir. You also must ‘cook’ the gravy and allow it to simmer which gives the flour time to blend with the drippings and stock – otherwise you end up with gravy that tastes just like flour.  By following the simple recipe below, you will end up with smooth and great tasting gravy each and every time! Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe Ingredients: 1 cup [...]

The Simple House Floor Plan – Making The Most Of A Small Space

Sun, 11/22/2015 - 06:56
Today is the 2nd installment of 24 articles in our year-long series called “The Simple House Project.” Every 2 weeks, we will publish an article or video covering the process from start to finish. From permits, plans, and construction of the exterior, to the complete interior finish – we hope to document the challenges, trials and tribulations of creating a simple house that is extremely cost-effective, energy-efficient and earth-friendly – using only the space we truly need to live comfortably. Let me first say that we loved all of the comments and suggestions after our first segment two weeks back. The response so far has been amazing, and it makes us realize how many people out there are really looking at downsizing and living larger – with less! As we have said from the beginning of this project – finding the “perfect small-house design” will be different for each and every person – and by sharing our ideas – we hope to inspire others to find theirs. Today’s segment is all about the floor plan. The simple fact is that if you really want to downsize – you DO have to make cuts somewhere in livable space. For us – we chose to [...]

4 Wintertime Projects To Get Your Garden Prepared For Next Year – And Keep You From The Winter Blah’s!

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 06:33
Even though the snow and cold of winter’s dark days will be upon us soon enough – it doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about your garden. In fact, wintertime is actually the perfect time to plan, prepare and create all kinds of garden projects to help make next year’s growing season a huge success! Whether you are planning to grow your first veggies ever – or a seasoned veteran of the backyard garden – now is the time to make sure you have everything ready you’ll need next spring to hit the ground running – or should I say hit the garden planting! Here are 4 projects you can do to help chase the wintertime blahs – and get ready for growing next Spring! Plan Your Garden Out On Paper – Now! Taking time to plan your garden over the winter months is one of the most important and overlooked chores each year. By planning now – you can figure out the best ways to get the most from the available space in your garden, and make the most of your family’s food goals. It also allows you to get a jump-start on what seeds to order – and when to start them indoors.  Last but not least – [...]

The Secret to a Moist and Tender Thanksgiving Turkey – Recipe Included

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 06:45
Last year we shared an article that included many of the recipes that we prepare at our own Thanksgiving meal. (see our Old World Garden Thanksgiving meal post here) We also promised each and every one of you that this year we would provide the instructions on how we prepare our Thanksgiving Turkey.  After many years of trying, we have finally found the preparation technique that we have, and that we will continue to stick with, for countless years to come. You see, there are many ways to prepare the main dish of our Thanksgiving meal, however, many of them require countless ingredients or specialized equipment. We like to keep things simple, because for us, simple means extraordinary! So you won’t find any hard to find ingredients in this recipe, nor will you need to go out a buy a special dish, fryer, or injector. The true key to our moist and delicious turkey is in the overnight brine.  We love the fact that we can prepare part of our meal a couple of days ahead or the evening before Thanksgiving, and the results are outstanding! So here is to keeping it simple and delicious! Moist and Tender Roasted Turkey [...]