This recipe is from my good friend and talented chef Elise Johnson. My daughter took a cooking class with Elise a few years ago and she has been baking and perfecting her cooking skills ever since (my daughter, not Elise). The Biscotti and Fudgy Bon-Bons, which are also from Elise are always top of the Christmas baking list. You can follow Elise on facebook by looking for Cooking with Elise, or go straight to her website www.cookingwithelise.com Elise also has an awesome cookbook that I highly recommend. Elise is down to earth, funny, talented, and an exceptional cook. The title of her cookbook is You Never Cook Alone
A Cookbook for The Well Fed Family
by: Elise Johnson
Christmas Baking makes the house smell so sweet that I think I gain a couple of pounds just from the aroma. This year we are cutting back and baking just some of our favorites. One of my girls loves baking, thankfully she gets more joy from baking and giving gifts of her baked goods than eating them. Me, whew, I enjoy eating the goodies so we really have to cut back. Continue reading →
In December 2004 I was waiting in line to get fabric cut to make a round tree skirt. I was trying to figure out how much I needed to make it large enough and of course I would have to get enough to make it round and it would need to be hemmed. Like I said I was waiting in line, it was a long line. It hit me like a ton of bricks, get out of this line and go get a red, round table cloth. So that’s exactly what I did.
I picked up some gold paint, gold glitter, and gold paint pen. Do you see the theme I had in mind?
I was planning on getting the kids to go all along the hem line with their handprints in gold paint, then write their names with the gold paint pen, and put some gold glitter here and there out lining their names. Continue reading →
Along with celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, December brings with it all sorts of excitement. We look forward to seeing family and friends that we don’t see very often, singing Christmas carols, watching once a year movies, wearing sweaters (ugly as some of them are) that can only be worn once a year. We hope for snow which rarely happens around here, we hope for cold weather at least but that often doesn’t happen either. We decorate the house, bring in a tree, cook more than usual, certainly eat a lot more than usual, and just have a jolly feeling all in side.
In our house the thing that marks December is here, Christmas is near, is the sudden appearance of Turkey Bacon.
Yep, we can go all year without having turkey bacon, but we can’t make it through December without it.
The kids open the fridge and the first one to spot it usually yells, “Faux Bacon in the House” now we can get on with Christmas planning and celebrating. Continue reading →
Tiny Christmas Tree Craft Crafting With the Lil’ Ones
Decorate a Tiny Christmas Tree with the Lil Ones
Oh how the little ones love to make crafts, and they especially enjoy crafts centered around any holiday.
During the weeks before Christmas it is so easy to hold their attention with simple crafts that help them celebrate and enjoy the season.
You can not go wrong with stickers, all lil ones love stickers.
These little foam Christmas Trees were purchased in a package of 30 for $4.00
The foam tree is the base for decorating with foam stickers. The stickers were purchased for $1 per sheet. Little hands can handle these with no problem and even kids that are a little bit older enjoy these just as much as the little ones. They are quick and easy with no mess. Each child can decorate a couple of them in just a few minutes.
In a in a Sunday School class or preschool class setting it’s fun to let the kids take one home, and decorate the room, with one as well. They are also great gifts to take to nursing homes and give each resident one.
We like to add a magnet or double-sided tape to the back so they can easily display them at home.
This craft is Fun, Easy and Inexpensive what else could we look for in a craft.
1 can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) Before you get started you need to dehydrate 1 can of pumpkin in a pan over medium high heat to get most of the moisture out of it. — I like to do this step the night before, but you don’t have to 2 sticks of softened butter – use only real butter (you can set the butter in a large mixing bowl the night before) 2 cups of light brown sugar 1 egg 1.5 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (Better for Bread works great) 1 cups Old Fashioned Oats 1 teaspoon baking soda 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1.5 teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon salt
******optional ingredients***** white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped pecan or walnuts,
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt In a large mixing bowl, mix softened butter and sugar by hand until it is creamy (mixing by hand helps in preventing too much air and makes for a little bit crispy, chewy cookie. Add egg and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar. Now add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine well. If you are adding any of the optional items you can add them now combining for a total of 2 – 2 ½ cups. I like to bake ½ of the mix without any of the optional items then add 3/4 cup of white chocolate and 3/4 cup of dried cranberries to the remainder of the mix.
Drop by scoops on pan or stone lined with parchment paper, then flatten out the scooped mix with a fork or knife. This dough doesn’t spread very much so the cookies can be close together on the pan. If you don’t flatten out your mix, it will spread some but will be a thicker end product which is also good.
1 can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
Before you get started you need to dehydrate 1 can of pumpkin in a pan over medium high heat to get most of the moisture out of it. — I like to do this step the night before, but you don’t have to Continue reading →
I’m sure that I am not the first to come up with this, but since no one shared it with me, and I didn’t find it anywhere else. My lil’ mind says, “hey look what I thought of”.
I had some pumpkin puree left over from baking cookies, so I decided that a pumpkin smoothie would be good. I put the ingredients in a blender for about a minute and I had a beautiful, creamy smoothie.
I used 1 cup of low fat vanilla yogurt 1 cup of pumpkin puree 1 cup of milk added in some allspice and a couple of ice cubes
That’s it. Let it blend for a minute and enjoy all that hard work with a refreshing pumpkin smoothie.
I put the leftover in an ice tray so I could just dump that in the blender the next day and have another one without all of that hard work 🙂
I actually had two with the leftover since I used only 1/2 of the cubes in the blender with a little milk and I added a little cinnamon this time to make the easy one.
I’m sure that I am not the first to come up with this, but since no one shared it with me, and I didn’t find it anywhere else. My lil’ mind says, “hey look what I thought of”.
I had some pumpkin puree left over from baking cookies, so I decided that a pumpkin smoothie would be good.
I put the ingredients in a blender for about a minute and I had a beautiful, creamy smoothie. Continue reading →
This is a recipe that has been around for many generations, and it is so easy to make. I bet your Grandma has made this recipe.
First you start with a gallon jar of Sour pickles (not dill pickles, Sour pickles)
4 pounds of Sugar
½ bottle of Pickling Spice (or make up your own)
a couple of pinches of crushed red pepper
½ bottle of Tabasco Sauce
1 knee-high stocking cut into thirds (to make your spice pack)
Every recipe I have ever seen for this calls for 5 pounds of sugar. I decreased it to 4 pounds a while back and cannot tell the difference.
Hey, cutting a whole pound of sugar from the recipe should help a little bit in the calorie count, wouldn’t you think? I admit my 2 weaknesses in the healthier choices side of recipes is white sugar and white flour. Try as I may, I keep going back to those two items, so instead of beating myself up over it, I make most of my healthy choices in other areas and I don’t over- do it with the white stuff every day.
OK, back to the Homemade Wickles ; start by draining the pickle juice from the sour pickles, and pouring 2 cups of it in a pot then bring it to a boil.
Put Pickling Spice and crushed Red Pepper in 1/3 of a knee-high stocking (an unused one of course) tie it in a knot and drop it into the boiling liquid, let it boil for about 5 minutes, then turn heat off of the liquid and let the pot stay on the burner until you are ready for it. (save the other 2/3 of the knee-high for future recipes, you could also use cheesecloth)
Now, cut all of the pickles into thick slices, and put them back in the jar, layered with sugar.
Some people like to add fresh onions and garlic in the layers, if you want to, now is the time.
All of the pickles and all 4 pounds of the sugar will go back in the jar.
Pour the pickle juice along with the spice pack over the pickles and sugar. Then add ½ bottle of Tabasco Sauce (that’s about 50 shakes). This will give just a smooth lil’ kick to your finished pickles, if you want a wallop of a kick then use the whole bottle of Tabasco sauce.
Put the lid on the jar and turn it upside down and back up right about ten times.
After that the hard part begins, you have to wait the next 7 days while letting the jar sit upright on day one, upside down on day two, right side up, then upside down. Turn the jar every day for 7 days. Now that’s the hard part.
On the 7th day, open the jar and discard the spice pack, enjoy your Wickles.
These get even better as the days go by.
If you are a fan of Wickles, which are pricey at nearly $5.00 per quart and can only be found in the stores around Thanksgiving and Christmas you will love these.
If you don’t like sweet and spicy, make the same recipe but leave out the red pepper and Tabasco Sauce, then you’ll have the best sweet pickles of your life.
I know, I know, you’re asking if I wanted sweet pickles why didn’t I just get sweet pickles to start with instead of converting sour pickles into sweet pickles.
The answer to that is that these are so much better, worth the wait, and I get a whole gallon of these for about $11.00. I usually pay $6.00 for a gallon of Sour Pickles and under $5.00 for the sugar, tabasco, and spices.
Sour pickles might be a little hard to find, but can usually be found around North Carolina at the IGA stores and the Carlie C’s stores, which are the older grocery stores. Mt. Olive Pickle Company, based in Mount Olive, North Carolina carries exactly what you need if you have trouble finding them. I guess you can ask your grocer to order them for you. www.mtolivepickles.com
These also make great gifts. Divide into quarts or pints, tie a little raffia around the top, and whala you have a cute little gift.
It’s Green Smoothie time. Yeah, it’s pumpkin time too. Every season is green smoothie time. I do love pumpkin everything and I have several really good pumpkin recipes that I might get around to posting sometime before this season is over but for now, it’s green smoothie / spinach smoothie time
The best green smoothie is so simple to make.
Just put about 1 cup of apple juice in your blender (maybe a little more)
throw in a banana
toss in a handful of frozen mango
after all of that is good and blended put in a heaping handful of baby spinach
Yummo, Yummo, this gets a little green in my kids that otherwise won’t get near the stuff. If you or your kiddos don’t like spinach, don’t worry, go ahead and try it anyway. There is no spinach flavor but all the benefits.
The amount of the recipe above made three of these glasses.
Hauling off the Trash
You can save $200 -$300 a year by hauling your own trash to the landfill.
I mean literally hauling off the trash. We live in a rural area, we are not in a sub-division and we only live a couple of miles from the landfill which we drive by often. So all of this makes perfect sense.
By the end of December last year our yearly payment to the company that we used to pick up our trash was due for the next year. We paid yearly so we could get a free month. The costs was $250.00 per year. Now that’s not too much for the convenience of having someone come by every Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning to pick up the trash. It’s like having a trash Ginnie and the job was done before the light of day and we were good to go again for a week. Continue reading →
What’s on your ballot?
Check out your ballot before heading to the polls.
Go to the link and put in your address, then get your ballot and learn more about your candidates. 2012 North Carolina Voter Guide.
Say What????? Ok, I know I said I’m just a passive politicker, but I just can’t believe the nerve of this guy.
He said WHAT??????
Oh my word, Mr Woods should get the opportunity to take Joe Biden “out behind the barn” for this one.
Somebody please put a muzzle on the guy before he makes himself look like a fool…. oh wait.
I just ordered my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. They have a Buy One Get One Free special going right now. Plus Free Shipping for using the code 221211.
The code expires at midnight on October 25, 2012. So hurry, get your order in.
Even if you don’t have a tendency toward finding / purchasing Made in USA products, you can still support your locals.
Shop your Mom and Pop stores, look in the older downtown districts for those Mom and Pop locations. Go to Craft Fairs and Flea Markets, ask around if you are new to your area.
Look for and frequent your local independently owned and operated businesses.
Are you concerned about the lack of American made items you can find in your local stores. You will not find very many in the big box stores. It is depressing and the only way to combat this is to take action. It is time for Americans to demand American made products. Bring jobs back to America. We need to stop being held captive by the manipulation of currency by China and Japan. Let’s put America back to work. Build manufacturing, build economy. Take Action Now: Our actions speak volumes. Start now shopping as much as you possibly can for American made products. Search your hometown or home state and find products made “at home”. Continue reading →
EASY (and a little healthier) Basic White Bread. This recipe makes 1 loaf (Small loaf pan. I use the Pampered Chef loaf pans) I usually double the recipe so I can get two loaves in the same time as it takes to make one.
1 pk or 2 ¼ tsp of fast acting yeast
¼ warm milk
1 ½ TBSP coconut oil, (try to replace butter with coconut oil anywhere you can)
1 tsp salt
¼ c. sugar
½ tsp baking powder
2 ½ -3 ½ cups of flour
(set aside 2 cups of flour in a bowl with ½ tsp baking powder mixed to it, keep the other 1 ½ cups of flour separate because you may not use all of it and some of it can be used for your floured surface)
Gather all the ingredients and lay them out in the order needed.
First dissolve the yeast into ¾ cup of warm water (about 101 degrees) let the water sit in the measuring cup with the water while you get the other ingredients ready.
Start with a large warm glass bowl….I have found that anytime I am working with yeast bread the warm bowl is very helpful. If your microwave oven is large enough to hold a large glass bowl, put about 1 cup of water it the bowl and put it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. The water will boil, the bowl will be good and hot. When I take the water out, I take this opportunity to wipe out the microwave because it is good and sweaty with the water when I take the water out. This is also a great proofing oven. Pour that heated water down the drain.
Now, into that hot bowl put the coconut oil, and let it melt, then pour in the milk, the warm bowl will warm the milk enough after a minute or so.
Then add the sugar and salt to the milk mixture, after the sugar is completely dissolved add the yeast water.
Now add 2 cups of the flour to the liquid mix, and mix it until it is a stiff and sticky. (a wooden spoon works great for this)
Then begin to add ¼ cup of flour at a time until the mixture pulls away from the bowl in a ball that is not sticky.
Pour ball out onto floured surface, go ahead and run some warm water into the bowl that you just poured the flour out of (that’s so you can clean it easily in a few minutes, don’t you just love all these helpful hints placed along the way in this recipe)
Knead the bread for 10 minutes, don’t short change the kneading time, it does get tiring but it is worth it. (If you have kiddos around, tap into some of that free child labor, make sure they are strong enough to really knead though)
After the 10 minute knead, the soaked bowl will come clean with just a swish, dry it out and oil it with a little coconut oil. Place the dough ball in and swirl it around and flip it over. While you are putting the oil in the bowl, go ahead and oil your loaf pan too since you have it on your hands anyway. Also while rinsing and drying the bowl run the microwave with a cup of water in it for about 1 minute. Again just to get it steamy in there if you are going to use it for your proofing oven. After you have flipped the dough ball over in the bowl, cover it with a clean towel and put it in that steamy microwave. Set the timer for an hour and forget about it.
At the end of the hour, dump it back onto the floured surface and knead it for just a minute or two and put it in your oiled loaf pan.
Again put it in a warm microwave and set the timer for an hour.
At the end of the hour the loaf will be higher than your loaf pan and smell so good.
Put it in the over at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Tah Dah, best basic white bread you have ever tasted.
It really is very easy, it’s just all my ramblings (helpful hints) here that makes it sound like it might be difficult.
The warm bowl and the warm microwave are the big tips.
Now to double that recipe, of course double the ingredients, but I use my crockpot for the big glass bowl. The crockpot fits right into the microwave but if yours doesn’t a sink of warm water to sit the crockpot down in will work as well.
The best part about it is that you don’t have to double that 10 minute knead time. It is a bit harder to knead but the time is the same. If you can get another set of hands to knead half of it, all the better.
I like Gold Medal Better for Bread and King Arthur’s Wheat, sometimes I do half and half, but you may want to just do white until you get used to how the bread rises and cooks.
Have fun and let me know if you try this bread, and if you discover any other helpful hints, please pass them along to me.
Learning to read can be fun and it can be quite a challenge for both parent and child. If your little scholar is ready to read, then go ahead and teach. If little munchkin is not ready don’t push. Hey, who said they have to read by the time they are the grand old age of 5.
One great resource any parent can easily use is “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. Continue reading →
While standing in line at the grocery store yesterday, I overheard the lady in front of me declare wonderful news about her bread.
She said to the cashier, “this is the best bread I have ever had” after a little chitchat back and forth with the cashier the lady stated the reason she likes this bread. She stated: “I can have this bread on my counter for 3 weeks without it molding” Really???? Continue reading →
Diabetes doesn’t come from what you eat. It comes from the fact that your pancreas no longer produces insulin. Just like ignorance, there is no cure for diabetes.
Yeah, I have to admit that when I ran across the post-it picture that so many people thought was funny it set a lil’ fire in me. No, all sense of humor hasn’t been lost but making fun of a devastating, life altering, chronic disease just isn’t funny.
I have to wonder if people who make jokes about diabetes also make jokes about cancer or downs syndrome or Alzheimer’s or the many other epidemics we are faced with in this day and time.
Do you have free ranging backyard chickens? If so, you are always worried about hawks, and dogs, and any other critter that might make it into the yard and cause havoc among the flock.
Flight Netting could help with issues that may arise.
We have lost a hen here and there to a hawk or a dog. Always a sad situation. A couple of months ago though we had a relentless predator in our yard that would not let up. We are down to 11 chickens from the 27 we had just a couple of months ago. Most went missing without a trace, and a few were left behind after the killing.
We do prefer free ranging chickens over those in a run or pen. However, since the recent attacks hubby put up flight nettingover the run which has been a good addition. Most days now, we leave them in the run area so they can be out and about but under the covering of the flight netting. On days that we know we will be home most of the day we will let them out and let them run around the yard having a fun time scratching and pecking.
Hubby wanted to make it easy for us to enter the run area so he put a 3″ x 8′ PVC pipe in the ground in the center of the run. Then we put the netting across that and pulled it to the edges of the run and stapled it to that all the way around.
So far it has worked well at keeping the flock safe.
Flight netting is inexpensive as well as the PVC pipe.
Hope this helps you work through a situation you may be having in your Backyard Chickens vs Hawks.
Are you an overwhelmed Homeschool Momma, looking at all the choices and have no idea which way to turn?
Getting started with homeschool you actually wondered where you would get books and curriculum. Now you know there are more choices than you could have ever imagined and your head is spinning because you don’t know what to do.
OK, slow down. Take a deep breath. I know, I know, you go to church with Sister Suzy better than you. Sister Suzy is using the XYZ Continue reading →
Hatching baby chicks, naturally.
No incubator needed.
Hatching Baby Chicks is a lot of fun and excitement for the kids, and adults too.
How do you know when you have a broody girl:
She will not leave the nest, when she sits in the nesting box she is in a flattened out posture, she steals eggs pushes them under her and will squawk and peck at you for trying to lift her. No worries, she can’t really hurt you even though she tries, unless she gets you just right to draw blood when she pecks at you. Don’t worry about that drawing blood thing, it’s unlikely, wear gloves if you are worried.
Taking care of Broody Hens:
When you have a broody hen you will want to separate her from the others.
OK, now that you know you have a broody girl you are probably noticing that when you go out to collect eggs there are fewer than before, most likely she is rolling the eggs from another box to her own because you see, you have been collecting hers everyday while she has been trying gather her clutch. Now is the time to let the sweet girl be a kleptomaniac and give her 8 – 15 eggs.
You can also collect eggs for her and hold them in a cool dark room and give them back to her when you have gathered as many as you want.
When the incubation time is ready (the eggs have been collected) You need to move her to a quiet and comfortable place away from the others. The other girls have a way of getting jealous over the momma to be. The others will wait for her to leave the nest the one time a day that she does and try to go in and attack the eggs.
A large dog crate is a great place for a broody hen sitting on her eggs. We put it right on the back porch so we can keep a good watch on her. fill is with some nice clean pine shavings, we hang food and water feeders on the door, and in the back of the crate we put a cardboard box that has a bottom just a little smaller than the crate, and we cut it down so it’s just about 2″ – 3″ high and put shavings in it too.
Now lil’ momma has a nice quiet, shady place. We do lock her in when we aren’t out there watching her. That isn’t so much to keep her in but any other critters out. We open it in the morning and let her run out in the yard if she wants to, but most often she isn’t leaving that crate. She has enough room in there to get off her nest to poop which she only does once a day, and it’s easy enough to scoop it out to keep the crate clean for her. She only touches the food and water the once a day that she is off the nest. We like to give her the option to leave the crate though and once in a while after she’s been in there for over 2 weeks she will venture out for just a few minutes. She doesn’t get too far from the crate and keeps a watch on it all the time.
If you are using a dog crate, which we have found to be a wonderful little hatching house make sure to use a large one. Hang the food and water on the wire door so that it doesn’t get spilled. Use chick starter feed for her because she doesn’t need the extra calcium in the layer feed, and you will also need the chick starter feed for the chicks.
Mark your calendar for 21 days, it could be longer because she may not have been finished collecting her clutch so it may take her a day or two to realize that she has all the eggs she going to have for this clutch. The 21 days doesn’t start until she is sitting all but a few minutes a day on the eggs. Usually by the time you have discovered she’s broody and she has collected eggs and you get her moved to her quiet place you can be pretty close to the 21 days.
On the 21st day be ready for the excitement, amazement, and the thrill as you watch your little momma’s baby chicks arrive.
Another advantage to using a dog crate is that you can take the top off and let the kids watch. Lil Momma does not mind, just don’t try to handle her. When you see the newly hatched chicks if they still look wet, dont’ touch them. Let their momma take care of them. After they begin to fluff out in an hour or so you can handle them. Don’t over indulge the kiddos by letting them handle the chicks too much and make sure hands are washed before and after handling the chicks.
What to feed the chicks: Use a started feed, which momma already has because she didn’t need the extra calcium while sitting on the eggs. The chicks may not eat for 2 or 3 days so don’t worry, Momma knows exactly what to do. It is totally amazing to watch as lil momma takes a little food out of the feeder and puts in before the chicks and shows them what to do. It is exciting to watch the chicks at about a week old climb on momma’s back and start to play around in the crate. At about 2 weeks Momma will want to venture out but the chicks need to stay in the crate for another couple of weeks. You can let her out and let her roam the yard for a few minutes while you watch the babies and then let her back in the crate when she comes back to the door. When she takes the babies out for the first tour, you will really want to have your video camera ready because it is so sweet to watch her guide and protect them and then return back to the crate in just a few minutes.
As the days go on momma will want to introduce her little ones to the flock, if you have a free range flock you can move the crate from the back porch to underneath a shady tree and watch them. A few more days and momma will take her littles right into the run and coop with the others.
Since the chicks aren’t big enough to get on the roost yet, momma will gather them in a nesting box and either stay with them at night or she will return to the roost after gathering her littles in one nesting box.
If you have never had the opportunity to watch a momma hen and her chicks, you will want to make it happen. Spring is the best time of the year, so be watching those girls and hopefully you will get a broody one.
If you have kiddos in your house this will be the most exciting spring/summer event for them.
In January of 2010 National Home Education Research Institute reported that there were over 2 million home educated students in the United States. This was up from 1.5 million registered in 2007. In January, 2011 North Carolina reported more than 43,000 registered homeschools in the state. Continue reading →
For 13 years now we have had 2 questions constantly asked of us. The first is the ever so worried family and friends mantra of “aren’t you concerned about socialization?” and the second is “do you plan on homeschooling through high school?” or “how long do you plan on homeschooling?” Continue reading →
Backyard Chickens may be fun, but not necessarily frugal.
Well not frugal at all actually.
We do enjoy our backyard chickens. We love watching them as they have very entertaining antics and personalities. Some are skittish and others come right up to us wanting to be held for a minute or two. Continue reading →
On Friday, February 13, 2004, our 5-year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. This wasn’t exactly something that we were prepared for. After all, she had only been sick with a virus for a couple of days – at least that is what we thought. We found out soon enough that we were certainly mistaken. With an initial blood sugar reading of 1631, we were faced with the uncertainties of what would happen to get her blood sugar level back in line. BTW: 1631, is not a typo. If you know about blood sugar levels you know that is dangerously high as normal BGL (blood glucose level) is 80 – 120. We are blessed that our daughter survived. Continue reading →
Many years ago I picked up a book titled “Make Your Own Groceries” by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig. I think the book is now out of print, but I’m sure there are several others similar to it that you can find. I also have “Top Secret Restaurant Recipes” by Todd Wilbur, and “Once-A-Month Cooking” by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. I have had these books for so long, their tattered pages and stains show that they have been used a lot. I was at one time a collector of cookbooks. I have long since gotten rid of most of those cookbooks, but every time I clean out the cabinet, these books are still keepers. I can’t say that I have tried every recipe in these books and I probably don’t even want to, but I can say that they are filled with good recipes to help you get into making your own homemade items, which are less expensive and better for you. Whether your goal is ecology or economy, you will be able to save money and have healthier food in your house just by making a few of your own commonly used items. Continue reading →
What drives me crazy about what people think about Type I Diabetes:
often times people think it comes from eating too much sugar
people think lack of exercise (too much time playing video games) causes it
sometimes people think maybe it’s not from eating too much sugar but just “not eating right” or not eating enough fruits or vegetables
Even on television programs or magazine articles we hear or see where even doctors say something along the line of, with a change in your diet, lose some weight, and increase activity you can reverse your diabetes and get off of your diabetes meds.
Oh, that last one really drives me nearly insane because it is said by doctors. Continue reading →
Many years ago I got a book titled “Make Your Own Groceries” by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig. I think the book is now out of print, but I’m sure there are several others similar to it that you can find. I also have “Top Secret Restaurant Recipes” by Todd Wilbur, and “Once-A-Month Cooking” by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. I have had these books for so long, their tattered pages and stains show that they have been used a lot. I was at one time a collector of cookbooks. I have long since gotten rid of most of those cookbooks, but every time I clean out the cabinet, these books are still keepers. I can’t say that I have tried every recipe in these books and I probably don’t even want to, but I can say that they are filled with good recipes to help you get into making your own homemade items, which are less expensive and better for you.
Whether your goal is ecology or economy, you will be able to save money and have healthier food in your house just by making a few of your own commonly used items.
You can start with something small such as salad dressings. These are easy to make and store, they last a long time, and you save quite a bit of money by making your own.
No more running to the store to get salad dressing at the last-minute.
Keep any empty glass jars you have, they are great for storing your homemade items in, and helps you get away from so many plastics.
Make your own — Thousand Island Salad Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup and add a little chili powder to it (or chili sauce if you have it on hand)
a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
a few shakes of garlic powder
2 Tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
Mix this up and store it in an empty jar in your refrigerator.
This will be good for weeks if it stays around that long.
Make Your Own — French Salad Dressing
3/4 cup Mayo
1/4 cup oil (use a light oil such as Sunflower or Sesame)
3 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
Combine and blend all of the dry ingredients together, and set aside
Beat the mayo and oil until smooth, then add the dry ingredients to the oil and mayo,
Store in a glass jar in your refrigerator
Make your own — Olive Garden Salad Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried Italian spices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
2/3 cups water
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
Combine all ingredients in a blender on high until combined, about 30 seconds.
Store in an empty glass jar
Shake before serving
There are dozens of other homemade salad dressings, these are just to get you started.
You can share your own recipes with us as well.
A little bit about me…..
I’m Southern but not a Charmer A little bit opinionated, a little bit stubborn, a little bit strong-willed, and a little bit witty. Homemaker & Homeschooler I enjoy Cooking and Crafting
but not Cleaning
-Never enough time to do it all – Gotta have Coffee, Chocolate, Good Books, FlipFlops, and the occasional Sweet Tea -Runner Wannabe- Finding and claiming balance between healthier options for home and body but, not being a slave to those choices.
Lover and Follower of Jesus-
it’s a relationship not a religion.
No more Canned Cream of Soups.
Nix the cream of soups for good.
Instead of canned cream of whatever soup, you can pureed vegetables in your recipe or to thicken a soup.
Pureed vegetables can be an easy and healthy way to thicken soups, or sauces. If you use a pureed vegetable such as sweet potato or carrot to thicken a soup instead of a can of cream of celery of something like that you will cut out a lot of sodium, fat and calories.
Cream of Mushroom canned soup has 2.5 servings
in each serving it has 870 mg of sodium, 9 carbs, 6 grams of fat, & 100 calories.
Not that I don’t think you can do the math, but just think about it, if you use a can of this soup in a recipe you add 2,175 mg of sodium, 22.5 carbs, 15 grams of fat and 250 calories to the recipe with that one can.
Not to mention it also contains MSG.
You can also use vegetable puree to thicken gravy.
When making vegetable soup, I like to take out some of the vegetables and let them cool, then I just whirl them in the blender to make a thick puree. Then pour that back in the soup pot and stir to give your soup a creamy base.
This also adds to the flavor of your soup or gravy. I usually use it for soups, but I have used vegetable puree for sauces and gravies as well.
No canned cream of soup for your casserole. If you are making a casserole you can do the same thing. Let’s say you are making a casserole that has potatoes, chicken, and cream of soup.
Just boil some potatoes, season them to your liking, blend them up and then proceed with the recipe using the potato puree and leaving out the cream of soup. If you don’t have time to boil the potatoes to use in a recipe, you can use sour cream of heavy cream instead.
You will be glad to get the cans of creamed soup off your pantry shelf.
You can also use sour cream or heavy cream in those creamy pasta dishes that call for canned cream of.
If you like cream of mushroom, just throw in some fresh sautéed mushrooms. If you like cream of celery just make a puree with celery and onions.
You get the idea, you do not have to settle for the high sodium canned cream soups which also have a dozen ingredients you can’t pronounce on the label.
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee. After all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:
“If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.” Continue reading →
We are frugal as mentioned before, but there are places that we approved spending a little more money. We believe in making investments for the health of our family and the future of our family.
We try to buy local when we can, and we try to buy USA made when we can.
For example, Continue reading →
EASY (and a little healthier)
Basic White Bread this recipe makes 1 loaf (Small loaf pan, I use the Pampered Chef loaf pans) I usually double the recipe so I can get two loaves in the same time as it takes to make one. Continue reading →