Organic Pest Control for Sugar Ants

Well, it’s that time of year again. Those pesky little tiny black ants start showing back up. I have never had a problem with ants until we moved 6 months ago. I’ve always heard other people talk about how irritating ants can be, I never thought twice about it. Well let me tell you I now know what they were talking about. I will be the first to admit that I’m not a super clean freak but my kitchen is always clean. I love to bake and try out new recipes, so you can see why I would freak out seeing these little pest in my kitchen. So, I have researched how to get rid of these little intruders without using any harsh chemicals in my kitchen. I’m sure I’m not alone in not wanting any chemicals were I prepare my food. So, I thought I would share what I have learned about getting rid of these intruders.

A colony of Sugar Ants (also known as Pharaoh Ants) can consist of up to 300,000 ants. Organic pest control is vital because Pharaoh Ants are capable of carrying pathogens such as salmonella, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. These ants are very small in size and are a light yellow to reddish-brown. The antenna, terminate in a distinct club shape and have 3 longer segments. The female is capable of laying over 350 eggs during her lifetime and can lay about 12 eggs a day. The eggs hatch in 6-7 days. They only live about 45 days depending on climate conditions.

Sugar Ants like to feed on almost anything, even grease and shoe polish. Foraging ants have been found in almost everything including sealed packages of sterile dressings, IV bottles, water pitchers and car engines.

Pharaoh Ants Travel in Trails.

Trail Locations Outside the House

* Edges of the foundation or sidewalk
* Edge of the driveway
* Fence stringers
* Edge of the lawn or border of flowerbeds
* Separation grooves in the sidewalk
* Next to cement blocks or wood steps

Trial Locations Inside the House

* Next to wiring or plumbing that has been cut through studs
* Trails through insulation in the wall spaces
* Edges of cabinets and close to furniture
* Tree branches or bushes that touch the house
* Old stump roots that may go underneath the house

Ants work day and night. Sometimes you can trick sugar ants by leaving a light on at night in areas you’ve seen them frequent. Ants become frustrated when they notice a change in their light patterns.

Organic Pest Control for Sugar Ants

You can mix one quart of water and 1 tablespoon of Ivory Liquid in a spray bottle and make sure it’s mixed well. Once you spray them and their trail it will help get rid of them because you’ll wash away their scent pathway.

Scrub your kitchen counters with ½ white vinegar and ½ water mixture.

Ants won’t cross a line of chalk, cayenne pepper, baby powder or coffee grounds. This works great around pet food either outdoors or indoors, just make a line around their dishes with any of the above products.

A common window cleaner will kill ants. Just spray them with window cleaner and they are history.

For houseplants just soak orange or lemon peels in hot water< overnight then water your plants with it the next day, it will deter sugar ants away from your plants and out of the soil.

Herbs are great for Organic Pest Control

* Bay Leaves can deter Sugar Ants from kitchen drawers, cupboards and under refrigerator. Just make sure you use fresh whole Bay Leaves.

* Cinnamon powdered cinnamon will block Pharaoh Ants path back to their colony.

* Cloves you can place cloves anywhere you see ants.

* Garlic just place a few small pieces of garlic in cracks and crevices and ants will avoid that area.

* Mint Leaves mint leaves and oils will deter just about any critter but crushed mint leaves has been used for thousands of years to repel ants.

* Ants hate the herb Turmeric. If you can find a sugar ant tunnel entrance just sprinkle Turmeric down into the opening, the pharaoh ants will move far away and never return to that location.

Organic Ant Bait

Here is a good organic ant bait that will kill the ants, mix ½ cup of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of borax into 1 cup of water. Place this mixture in a bottle laying on its side with the cap off. Keep out of reach of children and pets!

To kill off the entire colony of ants, mix up a batch honey and boric acid, about ½ teaspoon of each. Place the mixture into a very small bottle with the lid off. The ants will carry the mixture back to the colony and give to the queen as a treat. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

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The Best Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Drenched Pound Cakes

This recipe makes two cakes, to be baked in loaf pans. I wouldn’t try using anything other than loaf pans…they work best for this recipe.

This is one of the best pound cakes I’ve ever eaten!

I doubled the ingredients for the syrup and spread them between the two cakes. I like a lot of syrup.

For the Cakes:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

2 1/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature

2/3 cups heavy cream

zest of two lemons, finely grated

1 stick, plus 7 Tablespoons (15 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the syrup:

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

juice of two lemons

Making the cakes:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8 1/2-4 1/2-inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them. Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and the lemon zest in a large bowl, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of lemon.

Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the extract, then whisk in the cream. Continuing with the whisk, or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. As soon as the cake goes into the oven, make the syrup. After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the cakes for color if they are browning too quickly, cover them lightly with foil tents.

Making the syrup:

Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil Remove the pan from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-bladed sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.

adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Joy the Baker

Red Velvet Sheet Cake | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond

Here is another great cake recipe from Pioneer Woman that I tried and LOVED so I just had to share it.  Hope you all enjoy it too!!

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

I’m a sheet cake type of girl. I love the simplicity…the ease…the I-don’t-have-to-make-layer-cakes-if-I-don’t-want-to-dangit beauty of a sheet cake. With a sheet cake, it’s all about the cake, and very little about stacking and icing and crumb layers and balancing and cursing because you just don’t have it in you to create the beautiful layer cakes you see out in the world. (See: I Am Baker. Girl’s got talent.)

This is the red velvet cake recipe from my cookbook; I adapted it ever so slightly when I made it yesterday afternoon. And this time, instead of using the standard cream cheese frosting recipe that I was always indoctrinated to believe was a requirement for red velvet cake, I used the quickly-becoming-my-favorite frosting recipe from Tasty Kitchen: That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had, by Tasty Kitchen member MissyDew.

Guys, this frosting. It’s indescribable, and such a fantastic alternative to cream cheese frosting, which, while delicious, can sometimes be a little rich. And from what I’m told, this “Best…” frosting is actually the original frosting for red velvet cake, before cream cheese frosting burst onto the scene and inserted itself into the mix.

And after trying my first bite last night, it was instantly clear that these two things were M.F.E.O.

(If you know what that stands for, you watch way too many movies. Like me.)

Let’s make the cake!

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Here’s what you need.

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Begin by throwing cake flour and salt in a sifter

(Thanks to Bridget, who very kindly sent me a sifter after discovering during her visit here that I just use big, unwieldy fine mesh strainers to sift my dry ingredients.)

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Sift them together…

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And set them aside.

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In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk…

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Two eggs…

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Vanilla, and baking soda.

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Whisk it together, then add a little vinegar. Set this aside, too.

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Finally, in a separate small bowl, add 1 1/2 ounces of red food coloring. This is one-and-a-half bottles (the small size) of red food coloring. Shocking. But that’s how red velvet cake gets its color.

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Add in cocoa powder…

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And stir it together to make a paste. Set this aside for a minute.

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To make the cake, beat shortening and butter together until it’s light and fluffy.

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Scoop out a little of the sifted flour mixture…

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And dump it into the mixer, mixing until just combined.

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Next, add in a little of the buttermilk/egg mixture, mixing until just combined. Continue alternating the flour and buttermilk mixture, mixing well at the end. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

I haven’t entered into the realm of scraping blades yet. Do they work?

Bueller? Bueller?

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Yum. And this makes a nice whitish cake if you’d like to omit the red step.

But I’m not going to omit the red step. For I am making red velvet cake. And I will not be thwarted!

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Pour in the red mixture…

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And beat until combined. You’ll need to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure all the white batter is incorporated.

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Now, thoroughly spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Get in the corners and crevices and hidden places. Spray, spray, spray.

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Then pour the batter into the pan.

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Then use a large spatula to spread the batter evenly.

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Then, this is a VERY important step. Take the spatula…

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And do this.

Yeesh. That makes my tongue look a little large and scary, doesn’t it?

Pretend you didn’t see that.

And it’s not my tongue. It’s…it’s Charlie’s.

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Bake the cake for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for another 20 minutes or so.

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Place a large cutting board on top of the cake pan, then invert it to allow the cake to drop out of the pan. Allow the cake to totally cool, sticking it in the fridge or freezer to hasten the cooling if you’re in a hurry.

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Make the frosting, and let me tell you something about the frosting after having made it several times: if, after making it, you feel like it “flopped”, you simply need to beat the heck out of it some more. In fact, I believe “beat the heck out of it” is a specific phrase included in the official instructions, and it really is true. There’ve been times I’ve make the icing and it’s appeared grainy or weird; but if I just beat the heck out of it some more, it redeems itself.

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Plop the icing on the totally cooled (and slightly cool is best) cake, then spread it thinly with a knife.

Another frosting note: I got by with one recipe of the frosting, but it resulted in a pretty thin icing layer all around. I liked this, but if you prefer a thicker application of frosting, you might double the frosting recipe. You might not quite need it all, but you can just eat the extra for dinner.

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I like to make a little grid with raspberries (or whatever little trinket suits you.)

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Then you can just cut the cake into squares with a sharp knife. It’s best to rinse/wipe dry the knife after each cut to avoid dragging red crumbs into the icing like I did.

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And this is why I like to turn sheet cakes out onto a surface before frosting them. Much easier to cut and serve!

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Yum. This really is a lovely cake.

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And you can do this to make it more…uh…”healthy.”

Forget I ever said that.

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Whip this up sometime this spring. It’s bright and colorful and beautiful, but it’s also light, fluffy, and exceedingly delicious.

Enjoy!

Here are the two printables, one for the cake and one for MissyDew‘s frosting:

 

Recipe: Red Velvet Sheet Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 1-¾ cup Sugar
  • 2-½ cups Cake Flour
  • 1-¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vinegar
  • 1-½ ounce, fluid Red Food Coloring
  • 1-½ teaspoon Cocoa Powder

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly spray a large (18 x 12) sheet cake pan (or you can use a slightly smaller jelly roll pan) with nonstick baking spray. Be sure to get in all the corners of the pan.

Sift together cake flour and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. Add vinegar and stir. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, mix together cocoa and red food coloring. Set aside.

Cream together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk/egg mixture until all combined. Pour the red mixture in and beat until combined.

Pour batter into prepared sheet cake pan. Use a large offset spatula or knife to even out the surface. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Place a large cutting board on top of the cake pan, then invert the cake, allowing it to turn out onto the cutting board. Allow cake to cool completely before icing.

(Ice with Tasty Kitchen recipe “That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had”. It’s perfect with this cake.)

Posted by Ree on April 4 2011

 

Recipe: That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had

Ingredients

  • 5 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

Preparation Instructions

Bake your favorite chocolate cake and let it cool.

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

Grab a spoon and taste this wonderful goodness. If there is any left after your taste test, spread it on a cooled chocolate cake.

Cut yourself a piece and put it on a pretty plate. Grab a fork and prepare to experience the most divine pairing you can imagine. This frosting on chocolate cake is to die for. Sure, the recipe sounds strange — it has flour in it — but it’s sublime. Try it, you’ll see. You’ll love it so much you won’t go back.

Broccoli Beef Recipe | Simply Recipes

Broccoli Beef Recipe

Print Options

* Print (no photos)

* Print (with photos)

Ingredients

* 3/4 pound flank or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain

* 3/4 pound broccoli florets

* 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil

* 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced or smushed through garlic smusher

* 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

For the beef marinade

* 1 teaspoon soy sauce

* 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

* 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

* 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

* 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

* 1 tablespoon soy sauce

* 1/4 cup chicken broth

Method

1 Marinate the beef: Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Let stand for 10 minutes

2 Prepare the sauce: Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

3 Blanch the broccoli: Cook the broccoli in a small pot of boiling, salted water until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

4 Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and immediately spread the beef out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink, Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, 30 seconds.

via Broccoli Beef Recipe | Simply Recipes.

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