Top 10 Friendly Bugs in the Garden


Top 10 Friendly Bugs in the Garden

    • Aphid Midge - The larvae of this tiny, long-legged fly feed on more than 60 species of aphids by paralyzing their prey with toxic saliva. Pollen plants will bring aphid midges to your garden.
    • Braconid Wasps - The adult female of the species injects its eggs into host insects. The larvae then feed inside their hosts, which include moth and beetle larvae and aphids. The host dies once the larvae have completed development. Grow nectar plants with small flowers, such as dill, parsley, wild carrot, and yarrow, to bring them to your garden.
    • Damsel Bugs - Damsel bugs feed on aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, thrips, and other pesky pests. Collect damsel bugs from alfalfa fields, using a sweep net, and then release them around your site.
    • Ground Beetles - The nocturnal ground beetle is a voracious predator of slugs, snails, cutworms, cabbage maggots, and other pests that live in your garden’s soil. One beetle larva can eat more than 50 caterpillars! Plant perennials among garden plants for stable habitats, or white clover as a ground cover in orchards.
    • Lady Beetles - Adult lady beetles eat aphids, mites, and mealybugs, and their hungry larvae do even more damage to garden pests.Plant angelica, coreopsis, dill, fennel, and yarrow to attract them.
    • Minute Pirate Bugs - The quick-moving, black-and-white patterned minute pirate bugs will attack almost any insect. Goldenrods, daisies, alfalfa, and yarrow will attract these bugs.
    • Soldier Beetles - The soldier beetle feeds on aphids, caterpillars, and other insects, including harmless and beneficial species. Attract this flying insect by planting catnip, goldenrod, and hydrangea.
    • Spined Soldier Bug - The spinded soldier bug’s pointed “shoulders” distinguish it from the peskier stink bug. Plant permanent beds of perennials to provide shelter for this predator of hairless caterpillars and beetle larvae.
    • Tachinid Flies - Tachinid fly larvae burrow their way into many caterpillars, destroying these garden pests from the inside. Plant dill, parsley, sweet clover, and other herbs to attract adult flies.

To learn more… 

Works for me Wednesday – Family Dinner Theme


Works for Me!

You have made it halfway through the week!  At this point, it has either been 3 busy days and you can’t wait until the weekend or the week is sailing by without much stress.  Either way, it is nice to take a break mid-week, so make Wednesday’s dinner whatever works for you!

Need Some Suggestions?

  • Leftovers!  This is when the cook once, eat twice concept comes in handy!
  • Throw together a meal with some steamed veggies and rice!
  • Make Breakfast for Dinner!
  • Bake potatoes and top with whatever is in the fridge!

Keeping a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer will make Work for Me Wednesday a snap!

  1. Select 3 to 4 family favorite dinner menus.
  2. Add the ingredients to your next shopping list.
  3. Replenish your pantry with these ingredients so they are always on hand.
  4. These 3 to 4 dinner menus become your Works for Me Wednesday meals!

Many of the markets have started to carry fresh chopped produce and prepared meats.  This makes it easy to swing by on the way home and grab chopped veggies for a stir fry, soup, and so many other quick recipes.  Add cooked chicken breast or a whole roasted chicken and you have a Works for Me Wednesday meal.  Granted, this is a little more expensive and at the same time, it is still cheaper and healthier than eating out or on the run!

Would love to have you add your suggestions and recipes in the comment section of this blog post!  We can all use a few more suggestions when it comes to throwing together a meal!




Taco Tuesday – Family Dinner Themes


Take the Stress Out and Add Some Fun with Family Dinner Themes!

Let’s face it, even the most organized family can find it very challenging to get a healthy meal on the table.  Everyone is rushing from work/school, running off to after school activities, and then pushing to find time to complete homework!  How do you find the time to eat… let alone cook!  Using daily dinner themes can help reduce the stress and add some fun.  If you have a theme for each day of the week it eliminates the proverbially question… what’s for dinner?

Taco Tuesday is a great family dinner theme for many reasons!

  1. Little preparation is needed!  In fact, it can all be done at the table by bringing all ingredients to the table and enlisting everyone to help with the chopping.
  2. Satisfy everyones’ tastes!  There is a large selection of ingredients that can be used in a taco.  This will keep it exciting and satisfy everyones’ tastes.
  3. Easy Shopping List!  So easy to fly through the produce, ethnic and dairy sections to grab the veggies, taco shells and other toppings.
  4. Heathy!  By using fresh produce, lean meat, beans and rice the taco becomes a well balanced meal.

Dinner themes can create other opportunities for your family!  It is a great way to get the kids involved in meal preparation and learning cooking skills.  When the kids have ownership in the food, meal prep and cooking, they are more likely to sit and eat!

Consider Taking the Next Step to Add More Fun:

  1. Get dressed up for dinner!
  2. Make simple decorations for dinner!
  3. Have a discussion about the food!

So, for Taco Tuesday add a little ethnic flare to your dinner!

Would love to have you share your taco creations by commenting on this blog post!  Also, you will be able to find recipes for taco ideas on our recipe page!



So Many Reasons to Go Meatless on Mondays!


Why Meatless Monday?

Reducing the amount of animal protein we consume has many different benefits for our health and the health of the planet!  Everything from reducing our risks of chronic preventable conditions to reducing the amount of precious resources used.

The Meatless Monday initiative was founded in 2003 by Sid Lerner, in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future.  Monday was chosen for several reasons other than it has a nice ring –  Monday is the beginning of the week for many Americans and they are more likely to get back into their routines or start new ones.  Several similar programs/projects have popped up in support of this initiative.  The Monday Campaigns, Inc has determined the following to be true.

Health Benefits

Environmental Benefits

  • REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
  • MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
  • HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.

Please join Food Faith and Family’s effort to support healthy families and a healthy planet!  Go Meatless Today!


How to Store Olive Oil.


A Fine Olive Oil… Not Like a Fine Wine!

For the best quality and flavor, use your olive oil within a year of pressing and it’s peak is really about two to three months after being bottled.  The bad news, very few bottles of olive oil are labeled with “use by” dates, let alone pressing dates!

The bigger issue over flavor is the nutritional value – it degrades rapidly.

In the May 2004 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Spanish researchers tested virgin olive oil that had been stored for 12 months under perfect conditions.

What they found was quite surprising: After 12 months, many of the oil’s prime healing substances had practically vanished. All the vitamin E was gone, as much as 30 percent of the chlorophyll had deteriorated, and 40 percent of the beta-carotene had disintegrated. Phenol levels had dropped dramatically, too.

Storing Your Olive Oil:

Choose a storage location that takes into consideration heat, air and light.

  • Select a cool place.
  • Choose an air tight container.
  • Pick a location that is dark.

1.  Select a cool place.

  • Temperature is key!
  • Storing at room temp (70 degrees f) is okay.
  • Storing in the fridge is better – especially for long term.
  • The fridge is not recommended for premium extra-virgin oils.

2.  Choose a container type that will protect the oil.

  • Tinted Glass
  • Nonreactive  metal – like stainless steel

3.  Pick a location that is dark.

  • If left on the counter, select a tinted or non-see through container.
  • Clear glass is okay if stored in a cabinet or in the fridge.

Using fresh olive oil that is not rancid is an important health issue!  These elements; heat, air and light help create free radicals, which eventually lead to excessive oxidation and rancidity in the oil that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Even worse, oxidation and free radicals contribute to heart disease and cancer.

So follow these 3 simple steps to keep your oil fresh and protect your family.