Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I have tried and tried and tried to make biscuits from scratch. I have failed and failed and failed at them more than I care to admit. Until now...   I . Made. Biscuits! They were nothing like the hockey pucks from my past. They were light and flaky and absolutely wonderful! And now, I will share....the biscuit recipe.


4 1/2 c. Flour (I used Bread Flour)
2 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Sticks Butter softened, not melted
2 C. Milk

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until it is mostly pea sized pieces. Add the milk and mix until you get a soft dough ball. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 1 minute. Form into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut the biscuits out and lay on a parchment lined (or greased) cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
Please ignore the weird shaped ones!

Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes or until the tops are nice and browned. This recipe makes about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen biscuits depending on how big you make them. You can freeze them too. When you get to the part where you put them in the oven, put them in the freezer instead. Once frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag. To cook them from frozen just heat oven to 400 and bake them for about 20 minutes.
Look at the height on that sucker

I have made lots and lots of biscuits and very few were edible. These are extremely easy and I even re-rolled out the pieces to make more and they weren't tough. If you have tried and failed to make homemade biscuits before, THIS is your recipe!

Monday, February 27, 2012


I will be doing a post soon on some stuff that I have been experimenting with. The ones I like and the ones that just didn't work too well. So stay tuned!!!!
Things have been so busy here. With winter a no show, gardening and lawn work has become a top priority. I have an old, old, old lawn mower that I have been babying along just because we can't afford a new one right now. I have a tractor but it is a big one and I can't mow up close to the house with it so I use a riding mower that my parents gave me about 6 years ago. It was pretty beat up then. Hubby keeps ordering stuff to fix it up and, by the end of this summer, it will probably be pretty much new! We have had to replace blades (I am not very good about picking up rocks and sticks before mowing), belts, pulleys, wheels, tires, plugs and I don't even know what the bar between the front tires is but it had to be replaced too. But I really love that thing. Sure, I like plowing up stuff in "Big Green" but my little mower is a lot of fun too. By the way, I LOVE MOWING GRASS! I know, it's a sickness. But we live on 25 acres and I am the chief yard person so it's a very good thing that I love to mow. My in laws live across the road and pop's is a bit anal about keeping his yard all trimmed up. Me, not so much. I do love the little competition we have with each other ,though, so my yard gets mowed whether it needs it or not just so he won't be "one up" on me. I usually fizzle out in September and just let him win. Too many other things that need my attention. He was over the other day saying that he is going to take his mower apart and clean it and do all kinds of stuff to it. I whispered to hubby to get my mower ready pronto so I can get a head start! And so it begins...

Sloppy Joe Casserole

I only go grocery shopping once, at the beginning of each month. If I plan well, we never notice any shortages. However, what usually happens is that we eat strange stuff the last week of the month because, for some reason, I never plan well! This recipe isn't strange per se, but it was something new for us. New and delicious!

Sloppy Joe Casserole

1 lb. Ground meat-I used venison
1/2 Small Onion diced
1 Can Tomato Sauce
1/4 to 1/3 C. Ketchup (I just squirted it in, didn't measure it)
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 Cans Crescent Rolls
8 Slices Cheese ( I used colby/cheddar)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown ground meat and onions until meat is no longer pink. Salt and pepper meat to suit you. Add in tomato sauce, ketchup and brown sugar. Adjust seasonings to your liking. I like my sloppy joes kinda sweet but not overly sweet. Unroll 1 can rolls and press into the bottom of a greased 13x9 pan. Pinch the seams closed. Put cheese slices on top of rolls.

 Pour meat mixture onto cheese and even it out.  Unroll 2nd can of rolls and place over the top of the meat. Pinch seams closed as best you can. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 15-20 mins. You want the top nice and browned. My kids have declared that this is how they want sloppy joes from now on!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mother Earth News Garden Planner

I have just been made aware of an awesome gardening tool. Mother Earth News Magazine has an online garden planning site that is free for 30 days. You can plan your entire garden for the year, layout, plants, EVERYTHING for FREE!!!!!! If you decide that you just can't live without this service, they offer it for $25 a year, which I think is a real bargain, too. Check them out. I just planned my entire new garden on it and now all hubby has to do is buy the seeds and materials, build my planter boxes and lay down the gravel. I don't know what is taking him so long! Oh beautiful garden, here I come!

King Cake

Ok, so I am a day late posting this but we did make and eat it on Fat Tuesday so that counts right??? In all my 42 years, I have NEVER eaten King Cake. I know, such a shame. I made up for it last night. I had the twins research Mardi Gras ( I have been on a research kick with the 2 of them lately) and I wanted to make something that would go along with it. What better than to get a King Cake recipe from than the man himself, Mr. Emeril Lagasse. Oh it was good, too. If you have never eaten at one of Emeril's restaurants, you REALLY need to do it. We have been to the one at City Walk in Oralando a couple of times. Oh so good...But I digress. My little sweetie girl decided that she wanted to make it herself so, by all means, I turned the kitchen over to her. This was her interpretation of Emeril's King Cake.

Not bad for a 12 year old!

1/2 C. Warm Water
2 Pkgs. Dry Yeast (or 4 1/2 Tsp. of jarred yeast)
2 Tsp. Sugar
4 to 5 C. Flour (I used hard white wheat)
1/2 C. Sugar-yes more sugar
2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 Tsp. Grated Lemon Peel
1/2 C. Warm Milk
1/2 C. Melted Butter, cooled
5 Egg Yolks
1/2 C. Finely Chopped Candied Citron (once I looked this up I realized I didn't have any so I left it out)
I also left out the little baby you are supposed to hide in the cake. Didn't want broken teeth to ruin the fun!

2 C. Sifted Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Water
Green, Purple and Gold Sugar Crystals

Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. Combine the 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon rind and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.
Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the citron and knead until the citron is evenly distributed. Shape the dough into a cylinder, about 30 inches long. Place the cylinder on a buttered baking sheet. Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal.  Press the King Cake Baby into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.  Allow the cake to cool. For the glaze: Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors. Cut into the cake and hope you do not get the baby. This really tasted good heated up. I, however, couldn't wait so I ate it cold and thoroughly enjoyed it :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Granola

I admit, I was one of THOSE people who thought granola was a treat that came only from the grocery store. ***shudder*** It never even crossed my mind that I could actually make it here at home using ONLY the stuff I like and not having to pick around those little bits and pieces from the store bought ones that I didn't like. What are those bits and pieces anyway???? I have only made 2 recipes of granola and, boy, are they simple! This particular recipe comes from....well, I can't remember where exactly I saw this, but, honestly, granola is basically oats and stuff held together with goo and then baked. The beauty of it is that you can make it ANY WAY YOU WANT! I changed this recipe around to use up those annoying little bags of miscellaneous goodies that have migrated to the back of the pantry. You know those things I am talking about. The half empty bag of dried canberries that you meant to use in cookies. The 3 opened 1/4 full bags of grated coconut. Why are 3 of them opened???? The 2 half empty bags of sliced or diced nuts. The list can go on and on so today I thought I would use them ALL up.


3/4 C. Honey
1 C. Coconut Oil
4 C. Old Fashioned Oats
1 C. Shredded Coconut (I had only sweetened but you can certainly use unsweetened)
1 C. Sunflower Nuts (I didn't have any so I subbed in the nuts below)
1 C. Chopped Nuts (I used sliced almonds and diced walnuts to get rid of the opened bags!)
1/2 C. Dried Fruit (I tossed in the cranberries that I forgot to make cookies with)
1/2 C. Chocolate Chips ( Use any chip you find. I used chocolate and white chips)
Feel free to add anything else that might tickle you. There are no hard and fast rules. I actually tossed in some sesame seeds that I didn't even know I had.

In a saucepan, stir together the honey and coconut oil until melted. While that is melting, mix the other ingredients in a large bowl. Once the honey and oil are melted, pour them over the other ingredients. Mix very well and dump bowl out onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Spread evenly over the cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container. This is so yummy mixed in with yogurt or topped with milk or just by the handful.

Last Weekend...

We had a busy time this past weekend. The twins had an archery competition in a town 2 hours away from home. We were originally supposed to be there at 11 am but, a few days before, their coach called and said we would need to be there are 8:30.....That would be 8:30.... AM!!!!! Now, I have become somewhat of a morning person (living on a farm it is sort of required!) but anything prior to 6 am is just early to me. We needed to get up at 5 so we could take care of morning chores and be out of the house by 6. Blech!!!! Anyway, we made sure that we went to bed nice and early Friday night. I fell asleep right away (Thank you Jesus!) but starting at about 3:30, I woke up thinking I had overselpt. You know that jolt awake when you think you missed the alarm??? Well, I realized it was only 3:30 so I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Then I started thinking, "What if my alarm doesn't go off?" "What if we all oversleep?" So, you can imagine that there wasn't a whole lot of sleep going on. At 4:30, hubby sprang out of bed claiming that he just couldn't sleep anymore. WHAT???? He asked if I was getting up and I told him he was crazy and I was gonna sleep for the next 30 minutes and NOT to bug me. I am only a morning person after 6am, not before! I laid there for approximately 22 seconds then I threw off the covers and got my rear end up. UGH!! Hubby turned on the Keurig so I got my first cup. Ok, maybe it wasn't so bad being up BEFORE the chickens. Anyway, to make a very long, drawn out story of my unwillingness to get up too early short, we arrived at the Ag Center for the competition right on time and the twins had a great time.
 Don't they look so focused? Since my girl is a lefty, she had to shoot facing her brother. Thankfully, he refrained from making the crazy faces he is famous for. Have I ever told you that I have almost NO pictures of him WITHOUT making some sort of face??? Boys!
The whole group. Mine are in the 2nd row, 2nd and 3rd from left.

We still have no idea how their scores compared to the other teams in their division because they haven't been posted yet. Bummer because, last year, my daughter placed 4th in her division. This year, she bested her score by 1 point so we are hopeful that she placed again. Little man also bested his score by about 20 pts. so he may have placed too. Won't know until the next practice.
Since we were already in the neighborhood, we went to Bass Pro Shops. We hardly ever go because it is quite a ways away but since the competition is close by, we made a stop there. I love Bass Pro. I never thought I would until I went there the first time. I only went to please hubby who was dying to go, I had zero interest in going. Two hours later, HE had to drag ME out of the store! I am a total convert now! Another big plus is that the Girl Scouts were there selling cookies so I got a box of Samoas, a box of Tagalongs and a box of Thin Mints. We now only have a little of the Thin Mints left! Sticking the rest of those in the freezer to slow us down. That night, we were all so tired that we went to bed at 8:30! Nothing like 11 hours of sleep to make you wide eyed and bushy tailed for church on Sunday morning!
Hubby wasn't feeling himself so he stayed home from church and re-grouted our bathroom floor AND had lunch waiting for us when we got home. Such a good man! Then it was off to archery practice and Edge (the twins church group). That made for a loooooong day. Loved it all but glad it only happens infrequently!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hands In The Dirt

Yesterday was awesome! My soul was most definitly fed. Yesterday, I worked outside. The weather has been so mild (mostly) that hubby decided it was time for the ivy to come off the house and out of the ground. I couldn't agree more. I have grown to really hate the stuff. It has grown up to the second story window, all over the closest pecan tree and, pretty much, all around the house. I am sure when the previous owners planted it, they had no idea it would take over. At least I hope they didn't plan to drive me completely crazy with the stuff.

Hubby already pulled the lower half off

Ivy growing on this brick column

Ivy growing and growing and growing....

 I have quite a love-hate relationship with the outside of our house. For one, the color is olive green...or maybe it's army green. Not sure. Anyway, it isn't exactly what I would have chosen. Then there is the random bushes, plants, decorative grasses, trees and bricks that don't seem to have been placed with any thought to their growth pattern.
Honestly, WHAT were they thinking??????

We just had an oak tree removed that was planted under the electric line coming into the house AND planted only a few feet away from the house. That is a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Anyway, hubby got started scraping the ivy of the house and the twins and I got busy ripping their sorry little roots out of the ground.  Except for the sore fingers and muscles, I had the time of my life. I love getting my hands dirty in the soil. I am itching to get my garden up and going but hubby hasn't built my planter boxes yet. I am still going to get my seeds started though. I bought some on our last trip to Home Depot. I think I will order some from Burpee too. I love Burpee's catalog. The photos are so pretty and enticing. Great marketing manuever, Burpee! I can't wait for Spring! Of course, by the time the temps are hovering around the 110 degree mark, I will be praying for winter to come back! I don't know what it is about gardening and growing food that excites me. I guess that, even though I have been doing this for awhile, it still amazes me that all this food comes from teeny tiny little seeds. God is great!

Along with the weird planting of greenery, they planted bulbs in odd places too. Now, I know that they multiply all by themselves but you should really see where some of them pop up year after year. Once I get the ivy and other bushes removed, I will dig up the bulbs and replant them in a more appealing way. Some of them are just beautiful but they aren't showcased very well where they are planted. Ahhhh, lots of work ahead but it isn't really work if you love it...and I do!

These are my favorite!!!!

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I love pasta stuffed with virtually anything. Except liver. I don't think I would care for that so I won't stuff my pasta with liver. Everything else is fair game. I found this recipe at Once A Month Mom who reposted it from Food.com. I added my own touch to it and I am going to share this spicy little number with you right now!


20 Jumbo Pasta Shells (this is about 1/2 a box. I use the other 1/2 for Feta & Artichoke Stuffed Shells)
1 lb. Ground Venison or Beef (You could also sub in ground turkey)
1 Envelope Taco Seasoning ( I use about 2 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning. Make it as spicy as you like)
1/2 C. Water
1 Chopped Onion
4 Oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 C. Salsa, divided
1 C. Shredded Cheese, divided (Use whatever you like. I used Sharp Cheddar)
1 15 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
Chili Powder, to taste
Green onions, optional


Add onions to ground meat and cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain. While the meat is browning, boil shells according to package directions, drain. To the meat, add taco seasoning, water, 1/2 c. salsa, cream cheese and 1/4 c. shredded cheese. Stir until combined and cream cheese is melted. In a bowl, mix together the rest of the salsa, the tomato sauce and chili powder. In the bottom of a 13x9 pan, spread a thin layer of sauce around the bottom. This will keep the shells from sticking. Fill each shell with the meat mixture and place them in the pan. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Cover with foil. You can freeze it at this point or bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese and green onions over the stuffed shells and bake for 5 more minutes, until all melted. Enjoy with a big glass of milk cuz this can be a little hot-hot-hot!!!

Sharing at:
The Way Grandmama Does It
The Prairie Homestead

Banana Chips

I like to buy lots of bananas at once and stick most of them in the freezer for smoothies. However, my smoothie stash was full so I decided to dehydrate them on the dehydrator my in laws got me a few years ago that I have used exactly 1 time before. I made venison jerky and it took FOREVER! I figured it was because I wasn't careful enough in cutting the meat into similar sizes so I was very careful to cut all the banana slices equally. I laid them out, the other morning, on the trays and started the machine up. It was very loud. Kind of grated on my nerves all day but I love banana chips so I figured it was worth it. I checked them throughout the day. Lovely flavor but way too chewy. I kept them drying until we went to bed. Still not finished so the next morning I turned that noisy thing on again. All day long I let it go about drying. I came to the realization that my previous experience had nothing to do with the meat not being sliced correctly. My dehydrator is just not very good.  There is no temperature setting, just an on/off switch so everything dries at the same temp. I finally had enough and turned it off and put the not quite finished slices in a bag. I figured, eventually, we would eat them. Eat them we did! While they weren't as crispy as I would have liked, the flavor was fantastic. I told hubby we were going to get another dehydrator soon because I want to dry lots of stuff, especially more bananas. I would have included a photo of my dried bananas but we, ummmm....kinda...ate them...ALL! They didn't even last 48 hours! Eight bananas in less than 48 hours...The sad part is that only my daughter and I ate them :) Well sad for hubby and son, but not for us. They were pretty good AND they gave our jaws a workout. That has to count for exercise, right????

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Another Remodel...

I'm so excited!!!! And I just can't hide it!!!!! Sorry for the Pointer Sisters song just jumping in there but I really am excited! You know how you just wing suggestions out to your hubby, never really expecting him to agree with you much less act on it? Well I did that a few weeks ago and hubby has run with my ideas. What ideas??? REMODELING!!!! When we bought this house, it left A LOT to be desired. It was built in the mid-late 70's and had never really been updated. However, the 25 acres it sits on were fabulous so we bought the house. Thankfully, hubby can build ANYTHING so we have done 95% of the remodeling ourselves. The one area that has completely bugged me is the fact that the front of the house is no longer the front. It used to be but, for some strange reason, the driveway was removed and the back of the house was the only way to comfortably enter the house. Unfortunately, the back door goes right into my kitchen, quite possibly the untidiest room in the house. I am in that room almost all day and it takes a beating. I am also one of those people that cannot stand to have anyone visit my house when it is not spic and span. With the kitchen being the entrance to the house, I cannot simply keep visitors out of that mess so I drive myself nuts trying to keep in presentable. Here is an aerial photo taken late 70's-early 80's showing the drive in the front of the house.

Please excuse the crummy photography! But you can see the drive is in the front. It is no longer there. It has been moved all the way to the right (out of camera shot) so that you drive up and enter right into my kitchen. I casually mentioned to hubby that I wanted to move a wall in the living room and take it all the way to the other side of the house. Our living room is ridiculously small and moving the wall to open the space up would mean that the main part of the house was one big room. If I were cooking, I could still be a part of family activities. Right now, I am tucked away in the kitchen which is only open to the dining room. I never in a million years thought he would agree but HE DID! Then we were discussing how I could put my laundry room in the house (it is currently in hubby's office across the drive) and we were going to close in the porch and make a formal entrance to the house and put in a laundry room. Well, that meant that people would still walk into the house, kitchen first. So I, again, just wing an idea out there. I asked him why we couldn't just add a driveway to the front of the house again and, with the remodel of the living room, make a formal entrance in the new addition? Hubby actually liked the idea! So in a year or two, people might actually be entering here:
Except the front would look a little different with the living room extended across the front of the house. Doesn't it look all pretty with the snow? In the 7 years we have been here, it has only looked like this once! We certainly enjoyed it though. ANYWAY....I may have a normal house someday! Another idea I threw at hubby was adding a 2nd story to tie in with the loft. He very quickly nixed that idea and told me I was nuts. Yeah, probably.

Here's another photo I thought I would throw in just for fun. It's our mama cat, Hobbes sleeping in the bird feeder.  Bad kitty!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Soaking Grains?? Not Soaking Grains???

As someone who is relatively new to the whole foods arena, I am having a hard time deciding which is better-soaking grains or not soaking grains. I am currently reading Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook and there is quite an argument for soaking all grains before cooking or eating them. The idea behind this practice is that when you eat unsoaked whole grains, phytates bind to important minerals and keep your body from absorbing them. Soaking the grains breaks down phytates. Sounds good right? Well, maybe not. While I was doing my morning blog reading, I came across this article concerning soaking. I have to say that she makes a compelling argument against soaking. I think maybe I am secretly relieved. Soaking can be time consuming and, if you tend to be a bit unorganized like me, a real pain in the rear. However, I was determined to soak away for the health and benefit of my family. Could I really get away with not soaking them and just make my breads, pancakes and muffins without having to remember to get them soaking the day before I want to bake? Well, for me, I think the answer may be YES!!!!! My whole goal is to make the healthiest, tastiest food for my family because that is my job and I take it very seriously. I have been reading about how to use food to "cure what ails you" and, honestly, commercial food WILL KILL YOU! I think the best thing for my family is to eat the way God intended us to eat. He gave us all the food we would ever need to grow and thrive. Big corporations gave us all the chemicals, pesticides and man-made poisons, in the name of progress I might add, that is slowly destroying the human race. How many diseases do we need to have to realize that, if we are not eating whole foods, we are killing ourselves? I know it is hard trying to change something that you may have been doing for decades (believe me I know!) but isn't your health and that of your family worth it to you to try? I know it is for me.
So I think I will take a break from the soaking and just enjoy natural, God given food and let the healing begin!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sugar...The Enemy

I have always had a love-hate relationship with sugar. I don't just have one sweet tooth. I have a whole mouth full of them! I was home alone a lot as a kid because both my parents worked so I didn't have anyone there to tell me "NO" soooooo, I ate a lot of stuff that wasn't good for me. My dad was a truck driver then a broker so he was gone a lot and mom and I would go to dinner quite a bit after she got home from work. It was easier to go to the corner diner and grab something than to plan a meal, cook it and clean up when it was just the 2 of us most of the time. Once my dad was home more often, we would still meet my mom in town after she was done working and go out to dinner so dessert was ALWAYS a part of my dinners (and occasionally a part of my lunches and snacks as well!) Fast forward many, many years and I am trying to undo the damage that I caused by eating all the wrong stuff. I came across this blog and read the article and was shocked by what I learned. Please take a couple minutes and read it. It was an eye opener for me. I no longer use regular white sugar but really, even sucanat, while a healthier alternative, is not without its ill effects on the body if not used in moderation. Moderation-that is the word I lacked as a kid growing up. I ate what I wanted and as much as I wanted because no one ever told me "NO". Now I am the parent and I have to tell my kids "NO"...a lot. Why? Because when they were really little, I let them eat what they wanted, as much as they wanted. Now that I know better, I have to retrain them, and myself, how to eat healthfully and in moderation. It's hard because I passed my mouth full of sweet teeth on to them, especially my daughter. Thankfully, she is quite active and loves to be outside running around. But I still have to say "NO". It truly is because I love them, though. Hopefully, one day they will understand....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Strawberries...A Chocolate Wonder

My daughter came up with quite a tasty little snack that she wanted me to share with you.  She likes to experiment in the kitchen (wonder where she gets that from???) so she melted some chocolate chips. Then she stirred in a little shredded coconut. Then she took strawberries and dipped then in the chocolate mixture and rolled them in chopped nuts and more coconut. Delightful!!!
Happiness...on a plate!


You know how you can go along in life and never really think about certain things? Then one day, out of the blue, BAM! A thought enters your head and no matter how you try to push it out, it remains...and festers, until you just have to give it some consideration. Well, that has happened to me. Now, it isn't anything earth shattering or world changing but it is just something I can't get out of my head. I am thinking of wearing skirts. There, I said it out loud and threw it out into the universe. I asked hubby what he would think of me in skirts more often. I mean, I wear skirts but it is usually only once a month and on a Sunday at that so it isn't like I he has never seen me in one. Hubby (Mr. Practicality) looks at me and says "Well how are you going to mow grass in a skirt?" Hmmmm. Ok, so maybe I won't wear them EXCLUSIVELY but maybe a couple days a week for starters. He then told me that he thought they would probably be cooler in the summer and that maybe he should start wearing one. He would wear a kilt and go commando. Yes, the conversation went downhill from there but he is really sweet about letting me do what I think I need to do without judging. Or laughing. At least not in front of me! So....skirts? Really? I have nothing against them personally. I do have something against my legs, however. My thighs to be exact. I love my legs from mid thigh down but those upper thighs???? They kinda sorta maybe rub together a teensy bit every once in awhile and I CAN'T STAND that feeling. I wear shorts, EVERYDAY! Doesn't matter if it is 100 degrees or 20 degrees. I don't like my legs feeling hot and, as I already stated, I don't like my thighs trying to start a fire, so shorts have been my go to clothing item. I love my shorts. But then again, where is this skirt idea coming from? Certainly not from me. I have never been interested in them. A few blogs I read, the ladies mention that they wear skirts but I have never been one to be easily influenced by others in the clothing dept. What if God is telling me this? What if He wants me to be a bit more feminine? What if I don't listen? Well, I already know the answer to that last one. I have already been "dealt" with when I don't obey Him. More times than I care to admit. I guess I could give this whole skirt thing a try. My daughter has already stated that she wants to wear them more often so I think maybe I will slip one on and see how it goes. Wish me luck...and my thighs!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Honey Oatmeal Bread

As you have probably guessed, I LOVE BREAD!!! I love to make all different kinds, experiment with different techniques. When a loaf doesn't turn out quite nice, I make french toast out of it so it is a win-win situation. This recipe is a great sandwich bread. Nice high rise, light and fluffy texture. All around great bread. It isn't soaked but I am going to experiment with it and see if I can turn it into a soaked recipe.
In the meantime, enjoy this tasty lil' gem!


4 1/2 Tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/2 C. Honey (Raw is best)
4 Tbsp. Butter
2 1/4 C. Water
1 Tbsp. Real Sea Salt
2 C. All Purpose Flour (I had Bread Flour so that is what I used)
4-5 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour (I used Hard White Whole Wheat)
1 C. Quick Cooking Oats
1 Egg

In a saucepan, combine the butter and honey. Stir over medium high heat until butter is melted. Add water and stir. Take off heat and check to make sure that it is very warm but not too hot to touch (if it is, just let it set for a few seconds to cool down a little). Add yeast and let sit until it is nice and foamy ( about 10 minutes).

While the yeast is getting foamy, combine salt, 2 c. whole wheat flour and 1 c. bread flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it up. Add the yeast mixture and stir on low just until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in the egg and then add 1 c. wheat flour. Beat for another 2 minutes. Stir in oats, 1 c. wheat flour and 1 c. all purpose (or bread) flour. Use the mixer to knead the dough until it cleans the sides of the bowl and looks smooth and elastic. Add more flour if needed. (Depending on the weather, I add anywhere from 1/2 to 1 c. extra flour). Grease a large bowl and place dough in it, flipping it over to grease the top. Cover and let sit in a warm place for an hour.

Punch down dough, flip it over and let it rise again, covered, for 15 minutes. Divide dough in half, shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans.

Put them in a warm place for about 35-40 minutes to rise for the last time. Bake at 350 for 35 or so minutes.

Enjoy with some butter. Gobs and gobs of butter!

Post being shared at:
The Prairie Homestead
The Way Grandmama Does It
Frugally Sustainable

Mustard & Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

I like fish. Only I don't like my fish to taste "fishy". That is why I usually stay away from salmon because it tends to be a bit strong in flavor to me. HOWEVER, I love this particular recipe for salmon. I had to change it a bit because I was out of a few ingredients but it tasted almost exactly the same as the original. If you have been avoiding salmon because you don't like strong fish, this is a good way to introduce it to your diet.

Photo: Prevention.com
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar ( I used Sucanat)
1 1/2 Tsp. Real Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Dry Mustard (I was out of this so I used the same amount Turmeric)
4 Salmon Fillets, skin removed (approx. 6 oz each. I have used bigger fillets and the rub was enough to cover them too)
Olive oil

Mix together the brown sugar (or sucanat), salt, pepper, cumin and mustard in a bowl and set aside. Lay out salmon fillets and put the seasoning mixture evenly over the top of the fillets. Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet and place the fish in, seasoned side down. Cook until the rub dissolves and darkens (about 4 minutes). Flip fish and cook until done. It's that simple. And yummy! Even the kids love this recipe.

This is being shared at:
Frugally Sustainable
The Way Grandmama Does It
The Prairie Homestead

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Such a Loss...

I was going to post about something else today but, while I was on the internet, I came across a news story that has broken my heart. A father, who was accused in the disappearance of his wife, murdered his 2 little boys and committed suicide. Josh Powell hacked his precious babies with a hatchet and then set the house on fire. All 3 died of smoke inhalation so the boys were still alive while the house was burning. The whole story just turns my stomach. In case you are not familiar with this family, Josh and Susan Powell lived in Oregon with their 2 little boys, Charlie and Braden (I think that was their names. I can't bear to look at the article again to double check). Josh claims that he took his sons camping at midnight in the middle of a blizzard and, when he returned home, his wife was gone. Shortly after this happened, he up and moved his boys to Washington State to live with his father, denying any visitation of the boys with his wife's parents. Last fall, Josh's father gave an indecent interview claiming truly disgusting things about his daughter in law. A couple of weeks later, the father was arrested on child pornography charges and voyuerism. He also had nude pictures of his daughter in law taken without her knowing. This guy was a real creep. He claimed in his interview to have had sex with his daughter in law because ," Hey, she was attractive." His DAUGHTER IN LAW!!!!! Anyway, Susan's parents requested custody of the boys and were granted custody of them soon after. Josh had supervised visitation with the boys and that is when the unimaginable happened. The person supervising the visit pulled up to the house and the boys ran ahead of her to the door. Josh let them in then closed the door to the supervisor. He refused to let her in and she called her supervisor saying that she smelled gasoline. Inside the house, Josh used a hatchet on his boys necks and then set the house on fire, killing all 3 of them. I am having such a hard time NOT being glad that Josh is dead. I know, he was one of God's children and He loved him every bit as much as He loves me but still, I struggle having any sympathy. My sympathy lies with the family left behind and the 2 little boys who must have known at some point that daddy was killing them. I cannot even put into words the agony, as a mother, this makes my heart feel. I don't know why this story affects me this way. I don't know this family. I have never had a tragedy like this in my life. But something about it just hurts me. Susan's parents said that they are sure their daughter is dead (her body has never been found) and that their grandsons are now safe in her arms again but how do you recover from this? I have been talking to God a bit today about it. Unfortunately, our conversations are so one sided. I am sure He will reveal something to me but for now I just pray that those left behind can find some comfort peace.

Friday, February 3, 2012

BBQ Quesadillas

We just had these for lunch and I had to share how awesomely yummiful they were! They were so good and went so quick that I didn't even have time to snap a pic. The other day I made some BBQ from a very small pork roast that was in the freezer. One of the pigs hubby hunted was only about 60 lbs so her roast was a bit too small to make dinner for us. Anyway, I cooked it up one morning and made BBQ sandwiches and had a bit left over. I wanted something other than sandwiches for lunch so I took some whole wheat tortilla shells and put them on a cookie sheet. I spread half of each one with leftover meat and some shredded cheese and folded them in half. I cooked them at 350 for 5 or so minutes on each side to get them nice and crispy on the edges. When they were done, I put a little bit of BBQ sauce and sour cream on top. Oh sweet Jesus, they were good. Hubby didn't even take the time to bring his lunch back to his desk. He ate it standing at the kitchen sink! We rounded out the meal with some carrot sticks and homemade Ranch dressing and some grapes. Best thing is, there is just enough for one or two more....they're mine, I called it!

Baked Linguine

I came across this recipe years ago in a Southern Living magazine. While the whole family loves it, my son is especially enamored with it, so I am grateful that this recipe makes a very large 9x13 pan. That boy eats like a horse and he's only 12! Leftovers are pretty scarce around here and, if there are any leftovers, he  "calls" them so no one else can eat them the next day. I wish "calling" things worked for adults. "That's my parking space. I called it." "That's my brand new car. I called it."  ANYWAY.....

Baked Linguine

1 lb. Ground beef (I used venison)
2 cloves Garlic, minced (ok, mine came out of a bottle)
1 28oz can Crushed tomatoes
1 8oz can Tomato sauce (I used a 15 oz can because I used 2x's the noodles)
1 6oz can Tomato paste
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar (I used sucanat)
8 oz Uncooked Linguine noodles (Since my boy was eating this, I cooked the entire 16oz box)
1 16oz container Sour cream
1 8oz Cream cheese (softened)
Green onions (optional)
2 c. shredded Sharp cheddar cheese

Cook ground meat until no longer pink. You can salt and pepper the meat, if you like. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients and let simmer for about 30 minutes. While sauce is simmering, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and put them in a greased 9x13 pan.
Mix together the sour cream and cream cheese until it is nice and smooth. Stir in onions, if using. Spread this over the noodles then pour the meat/tomato sauce over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Top with cheese and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

This post is being shared at The Way Grandmama Does It

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Couple of Updates

Back in December, we decided that we would not be eating out the entire month of January. We almost made it. Twice, I took the kids to lunch when we were out grocery shopping, once my husband took our son to lunch because they had errands to run in town and once I picked up KFC just because I couldn't think of one thing I wanted to cook! Not perfect but we saw progress. I cook 3 meals a day, EVERY DAY so sometimes I just needed a break. The main thing I learned was that A) It isn't that hard to cook from scratch once you know what you are making and B) I kinda like my cooking better than any restaurant. I think we will be continuing this through February.

In January, I tried the no-poo method of washing my hair. After 3 1/2 weeks I am dropping this for a couple of reasons. First, I really don't like the smell of apple cider vinegar. Even though you cannot smell it in your hair once it is dry, it really stinks up the shower while you are in there! Second, part of the idea was that I would be able to only "wash" my hair a few times a week. Nope. I had to do it every single day or the greasies took over. Third, I am not quite happy with some of the results. I do love that my hair is much fuller at the crown (usually that only happened when I colored my hair) and that I wasn't using anything toxic on my head. However, my hair never really felt clean. There were a couple of times when I had to put my hair up because it just looked a bit greasy even after I showered. My ends are also in serious bad shape. Not because of the no-poo, though. They were rough when I started so I will be going and getting a bunch of it cut off :-( I think I will look for a shampoo/conditioner that doesn't contain harmful chemicals and that doesn't stink like ACV!!!!

Our goal for February is to continue eating most meals at home as I really love saving the money! I will get hubby out for a date night once in awhile, though! This is also the time to begin starting my seeds and prepping the garden. I want to grow 75% of our fruits and veggies this year. I will be doing MUCH canning and preserving over the next several months. I CAN'T WAIT!!!! Funny how, at the end of the growing season last year, I was so happy for it to be over and now I can't wait to get my hands dirty again. Go figure.
This month I will also being trying a new recipe using a familiar meat in a new way. Nothing ground breaking for those of you that are used to eating wild game but quite a first for me. I have used venison ground, cubed and stewed but never have I used the tenderloin. I tasted it once, years ago, and hated it. But then again, I hated venison period at that time. Since hubby hunts a lot, deer is our main meat source so I am giving it another shot. Plus the tenderloin steaks will be wrapped in bacon so how bad could it be??? I am thinking of making them for Valentine's Day so I will post about it then.

On the cleaning front, I have journeyed into making my own laundry detergent. Just started using it this week and, so far so good. I'll post the recipe I am using for that later once I use it a bit more. The real test will be when we start working outside again and get all dirty, smelly and grimy. As far as household cleaners, this is what I use:
Granite counters- combo of castille soap, hot water and tea tree oil all mixed together and kept in a squirt bottle. I have read some blogs that use vinegar on their granite but I have been told that, over time, vinegar will pit granite and I am NOT taking any chances!

Sinks, showers, tubs, toilets- Good ol' vinegar and baking soda. Honestly, there isn't anything better! Plus, no bad chemicals to mess with the delicate balance of organisms in our septic tank! If you have ever had septic tank trouble you can appreciate that!

Carpets- To freshen, baking soda mixed with some essential oil, sprinkled all over and later vacuumed up.
To clean- Baking soda and tea tree oil mixed with hot water and poured into the cleanser dispenser on my carpet cleaner. Makes the whole house smell fresh and my carpets are clean and oh so soft!

Mirrors/windows-I just use vinegar in a spray bottle but some people say to mix either water or alcohol with it to keep it from streaking. I haven't had a streaking problem so I am sticking with it.

Hand Soap- I ran out of my chemical filled hand soap refill so I made my own using a grated bar of Ivory, glycerin and water. It is a bit runnier but works just fine. I'll post that recipe soon.

Facial Cleanser-I still have some of my oil of olay left so I will use that until it is done then I will use what my kids use which is the cleaner I use on my counters. I LOVE things with multiple uses!!!

As soon as I use up my chapstick (I am an addict to them!), lotion, moisturizer and deodorant, I will be making those myself too. I will post those recipes as I make and use them.

Well, that is about it my friends. Things are getting pretty busy around here. Just the way I like it!