Monday, November 14, 2011

Grab A Thrifty Mom Button

Grab A Thrifty Mom Button

Monday, October 17, 2011

Enter to win free crock pot!

Who doesn't love coming home to a hot and ready meal, check out "Eat at Home" for some great slow cooker recipes, menu planning, and enter to win a brand new crock pot
http://eatathomecooks.com/2011/10/menu-grocery-list-recipes-year-2-week-52-and-a-slow-cooker-giveaway.html/comment-page-4#comment-15172

Well Hello there Blog!

I have been so busy reading other people's blogs, and testing new and improved recipes, that I have been neglecting my own.  As you might guess, I am not one for a daily routine so to speak, and in fact I am really quite random!  That's me, scattered!
I am very proud to say that I have made my first ever attempt and canning!  And I have successfully preserved some apple butter, raspberry jam, and some apple jelly.  Nothing broke, shattered or exploded!  I am thrilled to say that both the jelly and jam were "thickened" with pectin that I made from the apple cores, and peels from the batch of apple butter I made in the crock pot.   I was impressed with myself that I made something from, basically, garbage.  The apples, and raspberries were given to us, so it really only cost me some time, a few cups of sugar and a little cinnamon.
My canning debut (while only with a hot water canner, no pressure cooker yet) has inspired both my husband and I to increase the size of our garden, which was also a first for us this year.  It was a learning experience to say the least, and while we did get plenty of zucchini, a few cukes, some leafy green lettuce and one tasty watermelon (Bob the goat got the 3 ears of "10 kernels on an ear" corn)  We do know that he put way toooooo much compost on the soil too soon to planting time, and I won't waste my time starting seeds inside.  I am excitedly planning for more veggies, and will gear up sooner with out fruit trees in a better attempt at sparing them from the bugs!  We have a great apple tree that has tried since we moved here 3 years ago to actually produce, this year there were tons of apples on it, but each of them were wormy.  We did get some yummy pears off the tree, but I think I will have to save the milk jugs and bait them with cider vinegar early on and often.
I have tasted the fresh from home difference, and I can't wait to stock the pantry next year.
Well there I feel satisfied that I have paid a little attention to the blog...I am off to check on the sick boy, and get a few chores done around here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I am on a mission

I am on a mission this week, to make bread dough and freeze some loaves, some rolls, and some buns before baking, so they can be taken out and baked fresh as needed.  I enjoy making bread, I started with a wonderful bread machine, that I still use often, but I have found that kneading with my hands, while messier, also makes such a wonderful loaf of bread.  The white bread that I have been making lately uses a sponge that really needs overnight to taste it's best, and since I only have 2 loaf pans, its quite the process.  So I have seen on various posts how you can make the dough and freeze to thaw and use later, I have never tried it, and won't go too gung ho on in, just a few loaves, and a batch of rolls/buns for today to see how well they bake up later.  Sure I can just bake and freeze, home made bread freezes so well, and actually seems to be more moist after freezing, but as I said, 2 loaf pans, and a baked loaves will surely take up more space than I have room.  So this is my mission! I am going to go start my sponge now 3 batches worth will do, and I will also make 2 batches of dough in the bread machine to compare later and see if the extra work is worth the end result.  If you are interested in my by hand from sponge recipe here is the link!  This is the one that I find easy to use, fail proof really, and with a very tasty end result.  I do add just a touch more salt in with the flour to punch up the flavor, other than that its a great dough for sandwich loaves and makes wonderful dinner rolls (i use a muffin tin)


http://vernasrecipes.norseaodyssey.com/Breads/Yeast_Breads/White_Bread_with_Sponge_Starte/white_bread_with_sponge_starte.htm

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oh boy!

Gosh I have been a bad blogger....sorry I have not checked in for a while.  I can say I am busy, but who isn't...I really am busy, but from the outside of my life looking in, some would say "busy with what?"  The kids are back to school, life's routine has returned.  So why am I so busy really, doing not much?!?
 
I bake, I clean, I feed my Facebook addiction, I have lunch with my hubby when he gets home, I do laundry, I play with the dogs, cats, and give the goat loves...I chat with old friends and new on the screen that sits here calling me through out the day.  And then the kids are home and the hustle of evening is here, homework, supper, posting on FB what was for supper, posting pic of said supper, kids shower or bath, cats fed, goat put to bed, ah better check what happened on FB again.  Chat with hubby and kids about their busy being busy days.  And then its to bed with the kids, to bed with the hubs, a little TV and off to sleep so that I can wake up and do it all again.
It's a sometimes boring, often rewarding, frustrating for no apparent reason, laughter filled, sweet and sometimes sour life, and I love (almost) every minute of it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Too Good not to share

I have been hearing about these rolls on various blogs and pages that I follow, and so I had to try them...I did not use the cinnamon butter that I guess is what makes them a big deal, and after trying them, I will do that next time, but we had a savory meal of chicken fried steak, mashers and country gravy so I didn't want sweet rolls.  These are easy, and they are quite impressive once baked  I think cutting the sugar back by half and adding some garlic or onion powder and these would make on hellova burger bun...I will do them again for a brunch with the cinnamon butter.   Anyway I wanted to share the link to the recipe that I used...I have fallen in love with a roll!!!!!!!!
http://bethsfavoriterecipes.blogspot.com/2011/08/texas-roadhouse-rolls-for-bread-maker.html

Friday, August 19, 2011

say AHHhhhhh

So my 11 year old started complaining of a scratchy throat the other night, I figured he may have some allergy issues as the entire desert around is has been on fire and it is rather smoky...when his fever spiked at 103 last night I figured I better get him in to see the doc.   And so its official 2 weeks till school, and we have our first round of Strep!..  We are no stranger to it, both my husband and I were once or twice a year streppers through our childhood, my daughter battled with strep and tonsillitis so much last year that she had her tonsils removed, and now its Gage's turn.  Boy I never wish for my kids to be sick, but it has been rather nice to have him be so quiet for the last few days... he isn't even talking in his sleep!  He opted for the shot in the rear instead of pills or syrup so he will be back to normal in a few days, and able to enjoy what little is left of summer.
Fingers crossed that no one else gets any type of sick!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where did Summer go?

Despite my best efforts for a slow easy summer, it seems that it is coming to a swift end.  We have only a 3 weeks until school begins, which means supply shipping, the clothes thing is an easy one thanks to the dress code.   The kiddos are doing their level best to enjoy the pool, and the new trampoline, however they have found out that it is exercise as much as it is fun,  both have sore back muscles, and tummy muscles from jumping as much as laughing.  They are ready to head back, and I am ready to have a quite house again.
Still busy with baking and cheese making, however I recently made a 2 gallon batch of cream cheese, and didn't realize till it was set and drained that I did not add my culture to it!  so that was a flop.  I used the last of my mozzarella stash tonight so its time again.  I managed 4 loaves of bread this morning, 2 plain janes and one braided, one split top.  Will give the no knead sourdough a try this weekend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Love this time of year

Our poor over fertilized garden is trying so hard to produce, and the watermelon are looking great, but the thing about living out in the middle of nowhere is most folks around here grow a garden, and everyone has too much of something and so it's passed around, I bake bread and make cheese to trade for this and that, a few days ago the hubbs brought home a few pounds of apricots and some onions.  The local grocery store always has good bulk deals, and chicken breasts are always a steal, I get a 20 pound box of frozen skinless boneless breasts for around 30 bucks.  So tonight Its Apricot Chicken for supper...gotta love that Google recipe search!


Apricot Chicken Recipe

If you don't have fresh apricots, you can use a combo of dried pitted apricots and apricot jam. Chop up about a dozen dried apricots and add them, with a half cup of apricot jam, to the stock in step 4 (skipping steps 1 and 5).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 pounds apricots, roughly chopped, pits removed and discarded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (can sub olive oil)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth (use gluten-free stock if you are cooking gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce (you can add more if you like)
  • Black pepper

METHOD

1 Place the chopped apricots in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and the vinegar. Let sit while you brown the chicken in the next step.
2 In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the pan, without crowding the pan, and brown them on each side. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle salt over it. Once the chicken is browned, remove the pieces from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
3 Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. As the onion cooks and releases moisture, use a flat edged spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the browned bits from the chicken (called fond) from the bottom of the pan.
4 Once the onions have browned a bit, add the chicken stock and lower the heat to medium.
5 Put about 2/3 of the apricots, along with any juice they have given up, into a blender and blend into a purée. Pour the purée into the pan with the chicken stock and onions.
6 Add the cinnamon, rosemary and Tabasco and taste. You may need to add some salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 10-20 minutes.
7 When you are ready to serve, put the chicken and the remaining apricot pieces into the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Serve hot with rice.
Yield: Serves 6.
* courtesy of simplyrecipes.com 



Monday, August 8, 2011

One step forward...

Well I am more than pleased to say that I have made major progress on my pantry organization...not all the way done, but I did get the food shelves cleared, and my wonderful kids packed all the food stores back and my daughter organized it beautifully.  Today we all worked on laundry, and cleared out the bottom cupboards of the kitchen, and we will work on the uppers next weekend.  The kids' clothes are gone through and they both organized closets, shelves and drawers.  We managed to get some play time in together, and I made a cheesecake, and macaroni salad.  I am so glad to have my dear friend A. here with us for a day or 2 on her way to start a new job in a new town, and thrilled that she will be an hour closer now.  When you live in the middle of nowhere, it is always a pleasant treat to have another grown up to visit with.
So the sale of the week was bulk bacon, it ended up being $1.29 per pound in a large package, the one we chose was 16 pounds, and the Hubbs sectioned it out for us.  That said I am finding creative ways to use some bacon, and today I used it in a mac salad, it was to die for...Give it a whirl!
 
            BACON AND VEG MAC SALAD
1 package of pasta, any shape..(I used Penne) cooked to package directions and then drained and rinsed in cold water.
4-5 slices of bacon chopped and rendered of all fat (about 10 minutes on a moderately high heat and drained) This takes about the same amount of time as your pasta..so multi-task away
1 small onion chopped
1/2cup(or more if you like) of frozen veggies I used peas and corn.
1 1/2 cups Mayo with a dash of milk (more if needed or desired)
1 package dry Italian or Ranch dressing package.
Mix together and chill well.  Season with pepper and salt as needed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

TGIF?????

Not sure about that, today will be busy.  Kids to swimming lessons, off to find another hummingbird feeder or two ( they are fighting out there ) then its home to make cream cheese and mozzarella, and bake a few loaves of bread.  Cheese and bread are a thank you to my husbands wonderful boss who send him home with jewels from her garden quite frequently, and she is the supplier of all the fresh milk I use for my cheese making.  When that is said and done, and cleaned up after then its time to sort out supper for tonight and tomorrow.  A ceiling to floor, wall to wall cleaning is in order for Saturday and through Sunday, need to get that back storage room sorted out, things we haven't used in a year tossed out and get the shelves in proper order for pantry storage.  My couponing ventures are starting to really pay off and I LOVE when we are shopping and I see a great sale AND have a coupon for that, but it means that I am starting to really accumulate a stock pile, a good thing with grocery prices what they are today, and only rising, but it's tough to share space with a r/c plane collection and the tools that go with it, the dryer, the chest freezer and the space heaters/ air conditioner and tool space.  But I will sort it out.  This is my mission...so I am not sure if I thank God it's Friday, because it is more of a Monday for this gal!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Feast in 15!

Love love love love this blog and NOW a book to go along.  The one thing in life no one has enough of is time, and here is one way to make the most of meal prep, shopping, and menu planning time.  Can't say enough so go take a look!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wow it's been a while

Well, what can I say, being a mom and wife and zookeeper keeps me busy and I just have not made this a priority.  5 weeks until school begins again so until then my posts will be sporadic.
Right now I am busy taking the kids to swimming lessons, and sorting through closets to move out everything that no longer fits, I think I may end up with 2 kids with empty closets...But we did hit a bonus with our last years grown out of in a week clothes!  Our school has a dress code, which I am a bog fan of, it makes life easier on me in the mornings, there is not too much time wasted deciding what to wear, and I never hear "But...so and so has this kind of such and such".  To the point, our registration was on Monday, and they had set up a little "store" selling pants and tops to dress code for $2.00 a piece, and if you brought in you could trade 1:1!  How awesome is this?  We brought in the 6 pair of almost new pants and 2 like new tops in exchange for 1 pant, 1, skirt, 4 tops and 1 sweater, and now only need to get a few pants and shoes for the kids!  And what we left there will do the same for another family!
On the kitchen/garden front..things are slow going,  this is the first year we have attempted a garden, and so things are growing slowly, or not at all.  The hubbs has a few watermelon starting to develop, my cucumber plants are growing well (second planting) and everything we put in the ground on the first go round was burned from too much compost....It will be a good plot next year, and so we tinker and learn as we go.  I am still making cheese, keeping my eyes out for a cheap dorm sized frig to turn into a cheese cave, so I can attempt some blue cheese, sour cream and some cheddar if the hubbs will work out a press for us.  I have come up with some creative ways to use the left over whey.  I always throw it in the bread maker instead of water, the dogs like it on their dry food, and I have just used some to make, and feed a new sourdough starter, which I am making my first loaf out of as I type.  I found a new "slow-rise" and additional yeast free recipe and I am excited for the results, it will take a long rest in machine after its done churning, for 3 hours and then will sleep well in the fridge tonight and be baked fresh in the morning, should make for a nice treat of some fresh toast with breakfast tomorrow since it's the hubb's day off.   Besides what smells better than fresh bread baking, bacon frying and fresh coffee brewing?  He works so hard for us, and it's the least I can do!

Monday, June 27, 2011

So busy, and yet nothing is done

Why in the world is it that you can feel sooo busy, and yet nothing is completed....I am decided that complete is not actually a word.  It's a mirage in the middle of a hot desert road that just keeps moving farther no matter how fast you go at it.  I have to remind myself that if I have smiled, or made someone else smile then it was a good day.  After shampooing the van and her seats, bathing the goat, feeding the critters, feeding the family, providing tech support for my Aunt in Iowa, catching the premier episode of Weeds with the hubbs and the 10 other things I started and didnt finish, it was a busy day...I did have some smiles and some LOLs but I am now looking at the dishes that need to be loaded in the dishwasher, the carpet that needs to be vacuumed, and knowing that there is laundry that is not folding it's self....I think it will wait for tomorrow.  Maybe I will try a new strategy and move at a snail's pace and see if anything is completed!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Time and the livin's...Easy?

I can remember slow summer days, fishing on the doc with Grampa, and spending the entire day at the pool, coming home lobster red and G-ma putting a damp sheet on the couch so I could sleep.  It seemed like the days would last forever.  Now that I am grown, and have kids of my own, I wonder where those slow and easy summer days went.  Life is so fast and busy, it seems we never have a moment to stop and just enjoy a summer day.  Before I know it the school bells will be ringing again, so I am making a point to make the most of this summer.  The kids have helped with the garden, and we will learn some home canning together and with some failures and I hope some success we will be able to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of our labor year round.  We will be taking a little longer trip to see their grandparents and will spend the 4th of July on the beach.  It is my goal not to rush this summer, to spend whole days with nothing planned but making others smile.  So, here's to iced tea and lemonade, melty popcicles, fishing, walking, talking and sunburns.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Goat!

So  I said before I am giving cheese making a shot, and I use my bread machine at least once a week...so that lead to making some yummo cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing.  Lucky for Bob (the goat) these were stuffed away and forgotten, and a little dry for my taste, so he got a yummy treat.  I had to grab the camera because his face is like a kid with their first ice-cream cone.  I swear he said thank you :)  Notice Polly trying to catch crumbs...she even tries to eat dandilions when she sees him do it 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

SACO Foods: Cultured Buttermilk

SACO Foods: Cultured Buttermilk
I was given a container of this from a friend who didn't need it...I did not know it existed! I am always thrilled to find a new product, and can't wait to experiment with this. It's dried cultured buttermilk. I love to use buttermilk in recipes, and I uses it as a started in some of my cheese making. In dried form! I am loving that, because fresh buttermilk looses its gusto quite quickly. You watch...This will be the best thing to happen to me, and I will not be able to find it in stores! That's the way it goes! I will try out a few recipes and let you know how it goes!

Oh before I forget the first batch of bagels were a taste and texture success, but I made too many out of one batch of dough so they were not thick enough for slicing. I will be trying recipe number 2 tomorrow, and then I will try #1 again making 8 instead of 12 and then I will post. This is my first time really taking notes in the kitchen, and I am having a blast.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sorry....Most over used word in the English language IMHO

sor·ry  [sor-ee, sawr-ee]

adjective, -ri·er, -ri·est.
1.
feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.: to besorry to leave one's friends; to be sorry for a remark; to besorry for someone in trouble.
2.
regrettable or deplorable; unfortunate; tragic: a sorrysituation; to come to a sorry end.
3.
sorrowful, grieved, or sad: Was she sorry when her brother died?



This is a tough word for me.  Not everyone that says it means it.  Not everyone  that means is says it.  I try to teach my kids to say they are sorry when they do wrong,  more to the point when they do wrong TO someone else.  It feels to me like this word is like toilet paper, its useful, when you really need it, you're out, it can be soft and fluffy, or rough and uncomfortable.  Have you heard the phrase "Love means never having to say you're sorry"?  What load of garbage is that?  IMHO  Love means having to MEAN that you are sorry.  We live in a world where that little 5 letter word is tossed around so frequently that it almost means nothing.  I was raised to look someone in the eye, tell them how what you did must have made them feel, and to say you are sorry, knowing that it meant you would NEVER do it again.  Now a days It seems to me that "sorry" just means...here take this word, swallow it and be quiet because I am to busy for your feelings.  I hope that if you are reading this, you will think about how many times a day you say this word, and if you really need to say it, and most importantly...Do you really mean it.
Sorry if you didn't like that....LOL!

Cheese Please

Ok..this is odd in this day and age of grocery store conveniences I know, but since my hubby works on a dairy farm, one of the perks is being able to bring home a gallon of fresh milk every day.  Wow right add that up @ 3 bucks or so a gallon.  Now this is some serious whole fat milk, and we as a family drink 1%, that's what we like and what works for us, so he passed on the milk up until recently.  I started thinking, while planning to try a garden this year, hey I am going to grow tomatoes and basil and boy would some fresh mozzarella go great with that.  We live in a rural area of Idaho, our local store is great, but not know for their cheese selection, so with the fact that we are blessed with fresh milk, I started to Google how to make cheese... surprisingly, and unbeknownst to me...it's relatively easy.  I ordered a few supplies off of Ebay, spent less than 5 bucks, bought some rennet at the grocery store, and gave it a go.  Since then I have successfully made 3 batches of mozzarella cheese, and the whey left from that process made about 2 pounds of ricotta totally free!! And I have made 2 batches of cream cheese, with milk not cream so it's really  Neufchâtel.  It's fun, its easy and I find it very rewarding to save money on the grocery bill.  The down side of this money saving idea is that from one gallon of milk I yield approximately 2 pounds of cream cheese, so now I am on a mission to turn my wonderful bread maker (My favorite kitchen tool used VERY often) into a bagel maker.  I have NO clue how to do this, that's what's so great about it!  So Google here I come!  I am sure it will take me a few major flops, and a few recipe trials...lucky family taste testers.  I will let you know how it works out, or if I throw in the towel and hit the market!

What's for dinner?????

If I had a dime for every time I heard this, I'd have a personal chef so I could ask them that!  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to cook, but after so many years I think we all get in a rut with supper time routines and the same old same old.  I try to be organized about this, and get the kids involved as much as possible.  We use print outs from http://eatathomecooks.com/printable-menu-planner to make it easier at the grocery store, and so I know what I need to take out of the freezer for the next day. There are some great recipes and tools on that site, its a daily visit for me.  My favorite way to come up with new menu items is to take a look in the freezer, choose a protein, scan the pantry and fridge, chose a few things I know everyone likes and then do a Google recipe search with those items.  Like this... I searched Porkchops, rice, spinach then hit enter then the recipe tab on the left http://www.google.com/search?q=Pork+chops,+rice,+spinach&hl=en&prmd=ivnse&source=lnms&tbm=rcp&ei=MCb1Tbi_GozirAf857nVBg&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=6&ved=0CAwQ_AUoBQ
 It's a fun way to try something brand new.  If you have kids at home get them involved in the kitchen especially if you are making something no one has tried before, I find that if the kids help make it, they will almost always eat it, because their hands helped create it.  They sure don't wanna say something is gross that they made.  So if you are uninspired for what to make for dinner tonight play Google recipe roulette and see what you come up with!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Here's the first one!

OK, so I am so new to this "blog" thing!  I would never have thought of it at all, but for my dear friend Vicky, who suggested that I start one up.  I am not sure if I am thanking or cursing her yet, I'll let you know later.  

Let me start by stating loud and clear that I am by no means a writer.  I spell things wrong on a regular basis.  I punctuate rarely, and incorrectly most of the time that I try.  I am just a regular Mom with more important things to worry about than how to use a coma or a semi-colon properly.  You can email and try to correct me, but I will just congratulate you on your abilities and embrace my flaws :)  

So about me, this is tough, I don't like to talk about myself, I have never needed, nor wanted to be the center of attention, but I will start at the start and work my way up from there.  I am an only child, lucky and then again not so much.  I was raised in Southwest Minnesota in an itty bitty town named Holland.   I spent my winters freezing my rear off and my summers with my Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and lots of Cousins.  Where I was taught many things by many people, the most important of those things being common sense.  A skill or trait that is so rare these days.  I have fond memories of being in Gramma's kitchen.  I only wish I had really been paying closer attention.  When I was 13 my folks dragged me to Oregon, new job for Dad...New school for an angry teenage girl, but eventually Oregon became home to me.  The friendships I made are still cherished today, and that's what home is really, isn't it?  I have since made my home here in Idaho with my fantastic husband, and my two youngest children, a hamster, 4 cats, 2 dogs, and Bob the goat.  I am sure to post tons more about all of the characters in my life.  

I think I will leave with that, and hope to see you soon.  

Follow by Email