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Monday, December 19, 2011

*sniffle* Rice Pudding to the Rescue! + Chicken Corn Soup, + brandy.....

When I'm sick I want comfort food...LOTS of it! Remember the old ditty about "feeding a cold, starving a fever?" I firmly believe in that! SO I'm doctoring myself with these old family standbys...


(*ADD dried CRANBERRIES instead of raisins for a delicious holiday touch!*)


3/4 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg (optional)


In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
In another saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. (I like to stir in a pinch of nutmeg, too!) Serve warm.
We serve ours with cinnamon sprinkled on top! Good enough to make a grown man cry - and/or propose! ;)




1 (4 pound) chicken
1 onion, chopped
4 quarts water
1 (10 ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup chopped celery
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped


In a large stock pot cover chicken and onion with water. Cook slowly until tender, approximately 1 hour. Remove chicken, let cool and remove meat from bones. Cut meat into 1 inch pieces, discard skin and bones (or, feed them to your cats!).
Cut corn from cobs if using fresh corn.
Add corn, cut up chicken, celery to stock pot and season with salt and pepper. Simmer soup for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl make rivels by mixing together flour, salt, egg, and enough milk to form small crumbs.
Drop rivels into soup and add hard boiled eggs. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve hot.


1. Per my Grandpa...ADMINISTER brandy just before really works on a cold!!! Our favorites are blackberry + peach.
2. Settle down + snooze away your sickness!

HAVE a wonderful, HEALTHY holiday season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recipe Wednesday! Celebrate with this EASY EGGNOG!

If you see a fat man …
Who’s jolly and cute,
wearing a beard
and a red flannel suit,
and if he is chuckling
and laughing away,
while flying around
in a miniature sleigh
with eight tiny reindeer
to pull him along,
then lets face it…
Your eggnog’s too strong!!!
(hee hee)

Set up a punch bowl full of this CREAMY goodness, and surround it with your favorite/festive holiday MUGS! We set up labelled SHAKERS of cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg - a great way to use/display your Christmas salt shakers!



4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 quart milk, chilled
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt


Beat three whole eggs and 1 yolk until very thick and light in color. Add 1 2/3 tablespoons sugar, beating in thoroughly. Stir in milk, vanilla, and salt and pour the mixture into glasses.
Beat remaining egg white until almost stiff, add remaining sugar and beat until peaks appear. Top each glass of eggnog with a spoonful of meringue, sprinkle with nutmeg and serve immediately.

*Refrigerate the eggnog right away, DON'T let it sit out!

*You can spike it with rum or brandy, but we like to use vanilla vodka!
Just add 2 oz. spirits to each 8 oz. glass. Just fab to warm you up after
shopping or wrapping!

"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss."
~Robert A. Heinlein

"Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read."
~Francis Bacon

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bare tree? Fill it up with 101 IDEAS for crafting ornaments...

Set up an ORNAMENT PARTY and make some with your friends and family! Grab that GLITTER and GLUE and get going! Now you won't have to hear the kids saying "I'm bored...."

Here's a few to sample....







Warming Trend...A spot of TEA...and Jelly Scones!!!

When the north wind blows and icicles are forming, it's time to curl up with a cup of hot tea, a wonderful book and these FABULOUS...



2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/2 cup whipping cream (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
4 teaspoons jelly


In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg, cream and orange peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
On a greased baking sheet, pat dough into an 8-in. circle; cut into eight wedges. Do not separate wedges. Make a thumbprint in each wedge, about 1/4 in. deep. Fill indentation with jelly. Bake at 400° for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.
(I often substitute sour cream for the half & half, since I always have it on hand, and it works great!!!)


"Kettle's on, cups are waiting
favorite chairs anticipating.
No matter what I have to do
my friend, there's always time
for you."

And check out my fellow farmgirl friend JULIA'S site for a SUPERB selection of TEAS to buy for yourself or GIFTS!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OWL be darned! Look at these CUTE owl-themed projects!

Hey everyone, since OWLS are all the rage right now, I just wanted to share these cute + crafty project ideas with you! I think they're a "hoot"!


OWL PILLOW...I wanna squeeeeeeze it!

Just darling...OWL HEATABLE PACKS - made with rice!


And HERE'S a LINK to the directions for the up-cycled/re-cycled purse:

Whooo's gonna have fun with these crafts? Me, and hopefully, YOU TOO!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GET SOME IDEAS! See the cool creations for the Handmade gift exchange w/ CRAFTAHOLICS ANONYMOUS!

From the FARM...Hoping that your Thanksgiving celebrations with family + friends were wonderful! Just wanted to post some pics of my creation for my exchange buddy...she loves black + white, and polka dots!!! Hope I'm not spoiling the surprise too much, Megan! :)


I'm LOVING the FRAMED PINECONES by Blogger host Linda from Craftaholics Anonymous...check out the easy tutorials on her BLOG, too!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DIPPY, but HOT! Easy entertaining recipes for your holiday guests!

Only 5 ingredients needed for this quick HOT REUBEN DIP! Fond of the Applebee's appetizer? Try this version of SPINACH/ARTICHOKE! Both are guaranteed to keep your guests munching, and coming back for more. (I LOVE recipes I can just DUMP, BAKE + SERVE!)



1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing
16 ounces sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded corned beef
16 ounces shredded Swiss cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and dressing. Spread sauerkraut into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer corned beef, Swiss cheese, and the mayonnaise-dressing mixture on top of the sauerkraut.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.




1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a blender or food processor, place artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic . Pulse until chopped, but not ground. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together spinach, heavy cream, sour cream and mozzarella cheese. Stir in artichoke mixture. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Turkey Pops - from Rice Krispies! So stinkin' cute...

Aren't these just adorable? And so easy too! Make some with your + yummy!

Here's the LINK:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Singer's Trip to the Sewing Repair SPA...Whatcha working on this FALL?

SO, my trusty Singer is at the sewing repair "spa", and I am missing her already! What is it about NOT having something that makes you want it all the more??? In the meantime, hubby cheered me up by buying me this adorable old cabinet Singer from Goodwill...for only $50! She's so cute - she'll probably need some girl time at the repair spa too, but she's humming along fine for now.
I've been scanning local thrift stores for old thread, the kind that's 100% cotton, on old wooden spools, and is so hard to find! It just doesn't knot and tangle like the new stuff does...ah, the good ole days!
I'm painting a side table PINK for the girls' room, and ordering some Annie Sloan chalk paint to try out on old furniture pieces that need to be "prettied up". Finishing a flannel square quilt and making placemats and runners for our new dining table are also on my "MAMA DO" list. How about you? What crafts and projects are you starting this fall?

Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing.
~Author Unknown

Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Michelangelo to paint your garage. ~Author Unknown

Sewing fills my days, not to mention the living room, bedroom, and closets! ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TURKEY POOP! Gift bags for your Thanksgiving table! (with printable tag link)

Hey all!

Getting ready for the holidays, and just HAD to share this, my kids and I loved it!!! Looking for a silly treat for Thanksgiving? it's Turkey Poop!
Just right for a gag gift--or even Thanksgiving Day place cards--Turkey Poop is easy to make. Here's the link for these printable gift tags:


Place a handful of Milk Duds-brand candy, chocolate-covered raisins, or brown jelly beans in a small zipper food storage bag or seasonal cellophane gift bag. Attach printed tag, and set as place settings for Thanksgiving Day!

Recipe Wednesday! What to do with JACK? Make BREAD, MUFFINS + SOUP!

Now that All Hallow's Eve has passed us by, remake your DECOR into DINNER!
Now THAT'S what I call recycling! IN the recipes below, just substitute 2 cups of cooked pumpkin - Cut the pumpkin into large pieces, remove the seeds and toast them separately for a snack, (Toss lightly with Kosher salt, then roast at 400 F for 10-15 min.) then steam the pumpkin, covered, in a pan with water until soft and mushy!


(makes 2 loaves or 1 loaf + 12 muffins! )


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
To make muffins, fill paper-lined cups 1/2 - 2/3 full, and bake 15-20 minutes!



Absolutely delicious, and unusual, and good-for-you too!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the bell pepper and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes.
Pour in the pumpkin puree, black beans, corn, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and 1 teaspoon cilantro; season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a gentle boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and additional cilantro, if desired.

[Lucy scoops out the innards of the pumpkin Linus brought]
~from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple Roast Chicken...Mon Poulet Rôti!

Délicieux et nutritif!

Mon Poulet Rôti
(My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken)


*One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
*Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
*2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
*Unsalted butter
*Dijon mustard


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I'm cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook's rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You'll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it's so good.

(from Epicurious)
96% would make it again!

main ingredients: Chicken, Poultry

cuisine: French

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SPOOKTAKULAR FALL FUN Fundraiser! SAT, OCT 29 5:30-7:30 PM


Odessa's American Heritage Girls Troop is sponsoring a
SPOOKTACULAR FALL FUN fundraiser to coincide with
FRIGHT NIGHT at Odessa-Montour High School, on

5:30-7:30 PM

TICKETS are for sale AT THE EVENT, and good for:




Wednesday, October 19, 2011 the MICROWAVE??? YEP! Bread and buttah...

3 WAYS to make one of my family's FAVORITE pickles!



1 large cucumber, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric


In a medium microwave safe bowl, mix cucumber, salt, onion, mustard seeds, white sugar, distilled white vinegar, celery seed and turmeric.
Microwave on high 7 to 8 minutes, stirring twice, until cucumbers are tender and onion is translucent.
Transfer to sterile containers. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until serving.




12 cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 green bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup salt

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoons mustard seed
1 teaspoons celery seed
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tteaspoon ground turmeric


In a large bowl, mix together cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers, garlic and salt. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.
In a large saucepan, mix the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric. Bring to a boil.
Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture. Stir the mixture into the boiling vinegar mixture. Remove from heat shortly before the combined mixtures return to boil.
Transfer to sterile containers. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until serving....OR....CAN this way:
Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner, adjusting for altitude.


AND FINALLY, here's a quick recipe from


Makes 2 (32 oz) quarts
For when you want to make just a few jars of Bread & Butter Pickles, use this recipe featuring Ball® Bread & Butter Pickle Mix - Small Batch with Pickle Crisp® Granules for crunchier pickles!


3 1/2 lbs pickling cucumbers (about 14 small to medium)
2 1/2 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup Ball® Bread & Butter Pickle Mix
2 Ball® Quart (32 oz) Fresh Preserving jars with lids and bands


1. PREPARE canner, jars, and lids according to manufacturer's instructions.
2. CUT ends off cucumbers. Cut into 1/2 inch slices.
3. COMBINE vinegar, sugar, and contents of pouch in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil.
4. PACK slices into jars. Ladle hot pickling liquid over slices leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars. Apply bands and adjust to fingertip tight.
5. PROCESS in boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude*. For best flavor, allow pickles to stand for 4-6 weeks.

*Increase processing time: 5 minutes for 1,001 to 3, 000 ft; 10 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 ft; 15 minutes for 6,001 to 8,000 ft; 20 minutes for 8,001 to 10,000 ft.

Don't forget to "cure" your pickles - canned should sit 4-6 weeks to develop, and refrigerator pickles are best after at least 2 weeks in the fridge! Good luck!

"This puts pickles on a whole ‘nother level."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet + Simple AND Overnight Casserole - FRENCH TOAST 2 Ways!

This is my PERSONAL recipe for a super-fast breakfast! It's a great way to use those organic eggs! Serve with fresh seasonal fruit or fruit salad on the side...yum!


slices of day old bread
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. sugar
cinnamon + 10x sugar for sprinkling
oil for the pan

Beat eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar well, until frothy. Heat oil in skillet on medium-high. Sprinkle each slice of bread on both sides with cinnamon, then dip each side into the egg batter. Fry in the oil until lightly browned on both sides. Sprinkle with 10x sugar, and serve hot with maple syrup.


OK, if you're going to be REALLY busy, try this one, just make it ahead!



8 slices bread, cubed
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cubed
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
10x sugar for sprinkling


Layer half of the bread cubes in a greased 9 X 13 casserole dish.
Scatter the cream cheese cubes over the bread, then add the other half of the bread cubes on top. Combine eggs, milk, and syrup. Pour over the casserole.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bring to room temperature, and sprinkle the nuts over the top of the casserole, lightly pressing them in with a spatula. Bake 30 to 45 minutes in a 350 oven. Remove, sprinkle with 10x sugar, and serve HOT! Serve with more maple syrup, if desired.

Friday, October 14, 2011

VOILA! Get our new blog "qr code" for yer smartphone right here!

That's you can click on this to go directly to our blog!

Fast, easy, no typing required! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Old Fashioned Online Christmas Craft Show" ~ NOV. 11-13

Check out this link to join/shop!

FROM: Old Road Primitives

Your Prim Country Craft Pattern Store!!!
I Know that it's Hard to Believe but there are ONLY...

!!!!!!!75 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

***Getting Ready for Our "Old Fashioned Online Christmas Craft Show"...
Hi, Ladies!
Here is a partial "List" of Participants in our
"Old Fashioned Online Christmas Craft Show"
that will run the weekend of November 11th, 12th & 13th!
These ladies are all busy working on their "Handmade" Christmas items
getting ready for the "Craft Show"!

The Bear's Blog
Crafts by Jodi
Countryside Cottage
Laura's Little House
Salmon Falls Prims
The Barn Hollow
Happy Valley Primitives
Cat Nap Inn Primitives
Buttermilk Creek Farm
Designs by Guka
Paula's Primitives
Old Road Primitives
Sweet Bear Creek Whims
Grandma Kringle's Country Crafts
The Farmer's Attic
Santa & the Mrs.
Olde Crow Mercantile
Huckleberry Lady
Primitive Country Cabin
Yorkies Primitives
Olde Annie Primitives
Mel's Designs from the Cabin
Country Cents
Colleen's Craft Shed
Ellie's Country Accents

Please click on the blog if you are interested in joining in on our
"Old Fashioned Online Christmas Craft Show"!

The deadline to sign up is October 15th!

Recipe TUESDAY! Next-Day Roasted Ckn Soup AND Mexican Baked Eggs

Recipes this week...a day early!
Two hearty ideas for you - at little cost!
What to do with the remains of your roasted chicken? Make this delicious fall SOUP!
How to turn eggs into a meal of their own? Add some veggies, beans and cheese and ole - it's a dinner FIESTA!!!

Next-Day Roasted Chicken Soup


Chicken meat and bones remaining from your
roasted chicken the day before, AND (optional) giblets
4 potatoes, cubed
4 carrots, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 onion, peeled and minced
1 lb kale, chopped
1 10 oz bag of frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese and diced red pepper for garnish


1. Cover remaining chicken meat, bones and giblets with water in a large soup pot.
2. Add salt and pepper.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer for two hours.
4. Remove all of the chicken parts from the broth. Set aside to cool.
5. Add potatoes, garlic, carrots, leek and onion. Bring contents to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
6. Remove remaining chicken from bones and cut into bite size pieces. Add chicken, frozen corn and kale.
7. Cook for 15 minutes or until kale is soft.
8. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and pepper.


Mexican Baked Eggs


1 tablespoon corn oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes or 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 (19 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon oregano
1 handful cilantro, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese such as jack and cheddar


Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and jalapeno saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the tomatoes and black beans and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
Place half of the mixture into one or more baking dishes, top with the eggs and spoon the remaining mixture around the eggs.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the eggs just start to set, about 5-8 minutes.
Top with the cheese and broil until it melts, no more than a minute or so.


"Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people."
~Elizabeth Berry

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recipe Wednesday! WILD thing! You make my heart sing...Grape Jelly!

Not just jelly...did you know that you can make bread starter from wild grapes? Check along country roadsides for wild grapes, they're growing like mad and ready right now! Happy picking!

(Grape Yeast Bread Starter)

"Use unwashed, organically grown red or purple grapes for this recipe. The white powder found on the skins of the grapes is yeast. If you wish, you can switch to bread flour on the 5th day. The starter is fully active and ready to use in 9 days."


1 pound grapes
1 cup whole wheat flour


Stem grapes into a medium mixing bowl. Crush with hands. Cover with cheesecloth, and set aside for three days at room temperature.
After three days there should be bubbles in the grape juice, indicating fermentation has begun. Strain liquid, and discard skins. Return to bowl, and stir in 1 cup whole wheat flour. Set aside for 24 hours at room temperature.
Measure 1 cup starter, discard any extra, and transfer to a 1 quart glass or ceramic container with a lid. Stir in 1 scant cup bread flour and 1 cup water. The mixture should resemble a thick batter; add more water or flour if necessary to achieve this consistency. Cover loosely with lid. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Repeat the following day. Some activity should be noticeable: the mixture should be starting to bubble. Repeat twice more. You will need to discard some of the mixture each day.
Starter should be quite active. Begin feeding regularly, every 4 to 6 hours, doubling the starter each time. For instance, if you have 1 cup starter, add 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup water. Alternatively, store in the refrigerator, and feed weekly.




3 lbs wild grapes, stemmed
3 cups water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 (85 ml) package liquid pectin


In large saucepan, crush grapes with potato masher; pour in water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until fruit is very soft.
Transfer to jelly bag or colander lined with a double thickness of fine cheesecloth and let drip overnight.
Measure juice (you should have 3 cups/750 ml) into a large heavy saucepan; stir in sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Stir in pectin. Return to full boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon.
Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.




3 cups grape juice
5 1/4 cups white sugar
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin


Sterilize and dry jars for jelly, and set side. I like to use my dishwasher. New lids are recommended for best results.
Combine grape juice and pectin in a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and stir one minute at a rolling boil. Stir in sugar for a few minutes to completely dissolve. Remove from heat.
Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe rims of jars with a clean dry cloth. Cover with a lid and ring to seal. Let stand 24 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate. Jelly may take up to a week to set. Once set, it is ready to serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, once set. If canning for long term storage, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, or contact your local extension for processing times in your area.

AND...another method for you to try!

...Making Wild Grape Jelly...
When all the grapes are clean and free of any debris, I put them all through the food mill. I dump all the pulp and its juice into a large pot. Then I add 1 cup of water. You bring this mixture up to a boil and then turn down your stove. Let it simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. By this time the beautiful purple color of the skins begins to emerge in the juice.
The juice is beginning to turn purple from the skins.
Now you need to separate the juice from its pulp. Place a large bowl under a colander or cheesecloth. There are many ways to do it. You can read in your canning book for different ideas to extract the juice. I place the pulp, juice, and all into a colander with fine mesh. Then I let it sit overnight while the juice gathers in the bowl. I put this in the refrigerator when I go to bed.
In the morning, I measure out the juice and throw the pulp to the chickens. You need 5 cups of grape juice for one recipe. I used pectin this year with fabulous results. Last year I tried the no pectin recipe. The flavor was the same, but the texture was more of syrup than jelly. We prefer jelly.
So, add a box of powdered pectin to your 5 cups of grape juice. Bring to a boil. Add 5 cups of sugar. Then let it boil hard for one minute. Pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe off the rim of the jar and place a brand-new hot lid. Screw on the band. Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and let to cool. Check for good seals, remove the bands, label, and store.
This is a fairly easy process. This year I made two batches yielding 8 pints of jelly. It is always best not to double your recipe when canning. Make separate batches.

"I am sure the grapes are sour."
~Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes

"It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow."
~Aesop, The Ant and the Grasshopper

*FRUGAL TIP* Cat Litter Substitute – Wood Stove Pellets!

WOW! What a great idea! This comes out to $.16 /lb. VS. $1.00 /lb!
If you've got kitties, this can really save you some moolah!

"I had been purchasing Feline Pine cat litter because it was biodegradable. I now purchase wood stove pellets and sprinkle with baking soda to reduce any odors. Works like a charm. I just make sure to purchase the smallest pellets I can find. Here Feline Pine is $5.00 for 5 pounds. Wood stove pellets are $8.00 for 50 pounds."

We've also used sand before...helps with clay soils, too!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

FALL Baking...Oat Breads in the Oven and Bread Machine!

Nothing warms up the kitchen quite like a loaf of bread in the oven.
Keep your cholesterol low and your waistline small by eating yer oats!

These recipes are great, since they use cheaper all-purpose flour. They make nice, easy-to-cut loaves for sandwiches:

(for bread machines)


1 1/4 cups warm water
2 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
(you can sub up to half with any other flour - wheat, rye, etc. but keep the recipe at 3 cups! - I use 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose)
1/2 cups rolled oats
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp yeast


Add all to bread machine in order recommended by your machine's manufacturer. Set to regular light setting.




1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 cup rolled oats (NOT instant)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar (or molasses)
1 Tb yeast
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour


Mix water, milk and oil in a pan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in oats. Cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour. Pour into bowl, add salt, brown sugar, yeast
and 1 cup of the flour. Beat 2 minutes, then add the rest of the flour a little
at a time. Remove dough from the bowl, and knead it 8-10 minutes on a floured board. Oil the outside, and let it rise, covered in the bowl until doubled. Punch down, and divide it into 2 loaves, placing them into 2 greased loaf pans. Let it rise in the loaf pans until doubled, then bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, it will sound hollow when thumped. Slice when cool!


An EASY, quick, traditional dark New England Bread!
SUPERB with Bean Soup!



1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp melted shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups sour milk (or add 2 Tbsp vinegar to regular milk)
2 tsp. soda
2 cups quick oats
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking powder


Mix together and pour into loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F about 1 hour. This can also be baked in a coffee can or soup cans, then sliced.

Friday, September 30, 2011

CHEERS! Wine Slushies and Wine Jelly - It's Finger Lakes Wine Season!

The inspiration for this week's recipe posting - my sweet MIL is visiting our area this weekend on a local wine tour! If you'd like to schedule your own, here's a super link:



One 750ml bottle of sweet or semi-sweet wine
One large canister of a sugar based lemonade mix
One large canister of a sugar based instant tea mix, could be raspberry flavor, peach flavor, choose.


Pour 750ml of your preferred wine into a zipstyle bag, add 1/2 bottle of water. Per canister directions, add enough lemonade powder to make 2 quarts. Add half that amount of instant tea mix. You can substitute the lemonade with sugar based limeade, or even a sugar based "orange-ade".
You can play around with the sugar free varieties....just be sure to use the equivalent of 2 quart citrus base and 1 quart instant tea base.
Seal the zipstyle bag well, and shake bag gently, kneading with your hands to ensure all ingredients have dissolved.
Place in freezer for about 6 hours. Prior to serving, allow to sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes. Serve in glass of your choice. Can be topped off with lemon-lime soda for a spritzer, or eat as is for a tasty frozen treat. Return any unconsumed product to the can thawed and refrozen an unlimited amount of times.

Some flavor combos:

*sweet red wine, lemonade powder and raspberry flavored tea mix
*sweet white wine, limeade powder and lemon flavored tea mix
*semisweet rose, cherry lemonade powder and lemon flavored tea mix
*Dessert raspberry, lemonade powder, and raspberry flavored tea mix
*Dessert blueberry, lemonade powder, and lemon flavored tea mix (serve in a hollowed out lemon half, which has been frozen)

TOTAL SERVINGS: 750 milliliters = 25 oz, plus add another 12 oz. for the water and you end up with 37 oz. That would give you about 6 6oz servings. Or you can add half Sprite and serve even more. I like it with the Sprite!

***Kid friendly version:
Substitute wine with sparkling juice variety OR non-alcoholic version wines ARE available in liquor stores!



4 cups wine
6 cups sugar
2 pkgs. liquid pectin


Heat the wine just enough to melt the sugar. (Do not let the wine come to a boil, or you will get a bitter taste due to the tannins in the wine. Add the liquid pectin and heat to just before boiling, you will see small bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pot. Pour into jars and process. Takes about 45 mins from beginning to end. Super simple!



4 cups port wine
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter
5 half pint canning jars with lids and rings


Pour the port into a large saucepan, and sprinkle in the pectin. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Once boiling, pour in the sugar, and stir until dissolved. Return the mixture to a boil, and stir in the butter until melted. Continue boiling for 1 minute, skimming and discarding any foam the forms on the surface.
Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

"Pour out the wine without restraint or stay,
Pour not by cups, but by the bellyful,
Pour out to all that wull."
~Edmund Spenser

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Now THIS is the way to eat yer veggies! IRISH Carrot Cake recipe...

Emer Fallon’s West Kerry Carrot Cake

2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp bread (baking) soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated carrot
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sunflower (vegetable) oil
1 small can of crushed pineapple
1 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
1 tsp of vanilla essence

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk the sugar, eggs and carrot together in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Finally, add the oil, pineapple, walnuts and vanilla essence and beat everything together, pour your mixture into a lined cake tin with a removable base and bake for about an hour at 170 C, 350 F.

If the cake looks like it’s getting a little too brown on top, cover it with tinfoil, and after about half an hour turn the heat down to 150 C, 300 F.
When the hour is up, test it with a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean the cake is done. You can also gently pat the top – if it’s firm your carrot cake is ready to come out of the oven.
Leave it to cool before removing from the tin and icing.

For the icing:

Juice of half a lemon
1 cup of cream cheese
1 cup of Icing sugar (10X, confectioners)

Mix ingredients together, spread the icing generously over the top of your cake, and decorate with some whole walnuts. Voila – or sin é, as we say in West Kerry.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recipe Wednesday! Bumper Crop of Crab Apples!

Apples, apples everywhere! All the rain early this spring prevented bugs and diseases from getting to the apple trees, so even if you didn't spray your trees,
you probably have great apples this year. Here are a few recipes to use up the harvest!



4 pounds apples(about 16 medium)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves


To prepare pulp: Cook apples down and put apples through a food mill. Combine apple pulp, sugar and spices in a large saucepot. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Note : If butter becomes too thick add water or apple juice for desired consistency.

(from Ball Blue Book!)


"This is a fresh tasting, pure jelly with NO PECTIN added! Just the goodness of your backyard. No commercial pectin is required as crabapples have high natural pectin content."



8 cups fresh crabapples
water as needed
3 cups white sugar
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick (optional)


Remove stems and blossom ends from crabapples, and cut into quarters. Place them in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pot or saucepan. Add enough water to be able to see, but no so much that the crabapples are floating. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The apples should soften and change color.
Strain the apples and juice through 2 or 3 layers of cheese cloth. You should have at least 4 cups of juice. Discard pulp, and pour the juice back into the pan. Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 10 minutes. Skim off any foam that comes to the top. Next, stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Continue cooking at a low boil until the temperature reaches 220 to 222 degrees F (108 to 110 C). Remove from heat.
Pour the jelly into sterile small decorative jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath to seal.




4 quarts crabapples, washed,cored and quartered
4 cups sugar
3 cups vodka


Fill 1 (4-quart) mason jar with tight-fitting lid with prepared crabapples.
Add the 4 cups of sugar and three cups of vodka.
Store the jar on its side, turning once every day for 16 days to help the sugar to dissolve.
After 16 days, filter out the fruit bits and bottle.




1/2 c. shortening (or use oil)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. salt
2 c. chopped red crab apples, peeled
2 c. flour


Mix all together. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.



Cover crab apples with water. Cook about 15 minutes. Let cool. Drain well.

2 c. juice
2 c. water
1/3 c. sugar

Boil 5 minutes. Pour while hot into jars. Can, or cool the juice well, then freeze.

"Somebody’s little girl—she played once under a crab-apple tree in June and the blossoms fell on the dark hair.
Let ’em dream long as they want to … of June somewhere… and crabapple blossoms."
~from "Crabapple Blossoms" by Carl Sandburg

Use up those peels & cores! :)


After peeling your apples, you boil the skins and core (minus the blossom end) to make jelly. To the boiled juice add about 1/2 c. red hots candy and make candy apple jelly...


(Makes about 4 (8 oz) half pints)


1-3/4 cups unsweetened apple juice (14 oz)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 3-oz pouch Ball® RealFruit™ Liquid Pectin
3-1/2 cups sugar
4 Ball® Plastic (8 oz) Freezer Jars


1.) COMBINE apple juice with sugar in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Let stand 10 minutes.
2.) ADD entire contents of pectin pouch and lemon juice. Stir for 3 minutes
3.) LADLE freezer jelly into clean freezer jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Apply caps and let jelly stand in refrigerator until set, but no longer than 24 hours. Serve immediately, refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or freeze up to 1 year.