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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! PARTY HEARTY with these quick appetizers...

My two NO-FAIL recipes for feeding folks FAST at a party! You can prep both ahead of time and cook when ready. The ingredients are simple and cheap, the results are yummy. Make a lot - and enjoy all of your holiday get-togethers!
COCKTAIL DOGS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ +++INGREDIENTS: *2 pkgs. hot dogs, cut into quarters *1 cup ketchup *1/2 cup sweet relish *1/2 cup brown sugar +++DIRECTIONS: Place the hot dogs in a rice cooker or saucepan. (We use a rice cooker, because it switches to a warm setting to serve.) Mix together the ketchup, relish and brown sugar, and pour over the dogs, stirring to coat. Heat through, and serve warm with toothpicks or skewers for grabbing.
MINI CRAB CAKES~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (makes 25, can double - we do!) +++INGREDIENTS: *2 Tbsp green onions or fresh chives *2 Tbsp mayonnaise *1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce *1/2 tsp salt *1/4 tsp cayenne pepper *3 eggs, lightly beaten *1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs *16 oz. real or imitation crabmeat, flaked +++DIRECTIONS: (Preheat oven to 350 F.) Mix green onions, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne pepper; stir well. Add in eggs and bread crumbs; add crabmeat and blend until mixed. Shape mixture by tablespoonfuls into 25 patties and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve on a plate garnished with thin lemon slices, and if desired, with cocktail sauce or remoulade. (If you prebake them, warm them again by microwaving them lightly until just warmed.) ******************************************************************************************************************************************* “At every party there are two kinds of people -- those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.” ~Ann Landers

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! Twin recipes for Baked PORK CHOPS...

AUTUMN PORK CHOP BAKE >>>INGREDIENTS: *1/4 cup butter *3/4 cup brown sugar *4 garlic cloves *4 green onions, sliced *2 cups baby carrots *3 small red potatoes, cubed *1/2 - 1 small apple sliced *1/2 - 1 small pear sliced *1 Tbsp each fresh snipped rosemary + parsley *6-8 pork chops *olive oil *1 1/2 tsp kosher salt *1 tsp pepper *4 Tbsp dijon mustard *2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar >>>DIRECTIONS: Melt butter and brown sugar in a frying pan. Saute green onions, carrots, garlic, kosher salt and pepper approx 5 minutes then add potatoes, apples and pears and herbs and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until everything is well coated but not cooked tender. Sear pork chops in a hot frying pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper until just browned. Place in a baking dish and pour vegetables and glaze over pork chops. Stir together the dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar (or water) just enough to make it thin enough to drizzle over pork chops and vegetables. Snip fresh parsley and rosemary on top and cover dish with 2 layers of foil. Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 250 F and bake for 30-40 more minutes. Make sure pork chops are cooked through and are no longer pink. ***********************************************************************************************************************************
CIDER CABBAGE CHOPS >>>INGREDIENTS: *1/2 head cabbage, shredded *6-8 pork chops *salt + pepper to season *1/2 tsp caraway seeds *2 cups apple cider *3 Tbsp vinegar *4 Tbsp melted butter >>>DIRECTIONS: Place the shredded cabbage in the bottom of a baking dish. Season the chops with salt + pepper, and place them over the cabbage. Stir together the remaining ingredients, and pour over the pork chops. Seal the pan with foil and bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, then at 250 F for 2 hours. ******************************************************************************************************************************************* “In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.” ~Barbara Costikyan

Friday, November 16, 2012

IMPOSSIBLY EASY Natural Holiday Wreath

Seasons Greetings!
Here's how to make an IMPOSSIBLY EASY wreath for the holidays: STEP 1: USE A FRESH OR FAUX GREENERY WREATH FOR THE BASE.
*TIP* When evenly adding sprayed pieces around the wreath, use multiples of the same piece in odd numbers - for example, 3, 5, or 7. It's an old florist's trick for making an arrangement look balanced! ***HAPPY HOLIDAYS!***

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! SQUASH your sweet cravings for PUMPKIN!

How to CHEAT on holiday time by starting with a cake mix! That's right, these two recipes satisfy your sweet tooth and get you out of the kitchen quickly. Have a FABULOUS Thanksgiving with your family + friends too! ************************************************************************************************************************** PUMPKIN CHIP COOKIES
>>>INGREDIENTS: *1 box spice cake mix *1 can pumpkin (15 oz.) *2 Tbsp water *1 tsp vanilla *dash of salt *1/2 Cup cinnamon chips (optional) *1/4 Cup white chocolate chips (optional) *1/4 Cup chocolate chips (optional) >>>DIRECTIONS: Mix it all together, scoop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 350 for approx 20 minutes (depends on size of scoops) or until barely golden. **************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** PUMPKIN COBBLER WITH CUSTARD
>>>INGREDIENTS: *1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)- reserve 2 Tbsp *2 eggs *1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.) *1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice *1 box yellow cake mix *1 stick melted butter *caramel ice cream topping for drizzling *whipped cream for garnish >>>DIRECTIONS: Mix the first four ingredients above, and layer this pumpkin mix onto the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the yellow cake mix on top, sprinkle over it with water. Pour the stick of melted butter over the top of the cake mix. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes. (While this is baking, prepare the custard.) >>>CUSTARD TOPPING: *2 cups whipping cream – whipped until thick, then add the following until very thick: *1 package instant vanilla pudding *1/4 cup milk *2 Tbsp reserved pumpkin *1/2 tsp cinnamon Chill custard until ready to serve. When cobbler is out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, then serve with a dollop of pumpkin custard, caramel drizzle and whipped cream.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

RECIPE WED: Slow Cooker Honey Hoisin Chicken and Pork Carnitas

Simple slow cooker recipes for crazy busy days! These are great for holiday company - throw 'em together, switch on, eat when ready! I love food that keeps when everyone in the family is eating/hungry at different times. Just set your crock to keep warm and serve whenever!
SLOW COOKER HONEY HOISIN CHICKEN *************************************** >>>INGREDIENTS: *5-6 boneless chicken breasts *1/4 cup hoisin sauce *1/4 cup soy sauce *1/4 cup honey *1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth *1/4 tsp. ground ginger >>>INSTRUCTIONS: Put the chicken in the crockpot. Mix the other ingredients together and pour over the chicken. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. ************************************************
SLOW COOKER PORK CARNITAS ****************************** >>>INGREDIENTS: *1 tsp salt *1 tsp garlic powder *1 tsp cumin *1/2 tsp oregano *1/2 tsp coriander *1/4 tsp cinnamon *1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast *2 bay leaves *2 cups chicken broth >>>DIRECTIONS: Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the pork on top. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture. Cover and cook on low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat. ***************************************************************************** "People in Slow Food understand that food is an environmental issue." ~Michael Pollan

Friday, November 2, 2012

**SHHH** My secret weapon recipes...PIE CRUST + BISCUITS!

These are my tried-and-true, no-fail, come-back-to-everytime BASIC recipes. Our family uses them day in, day out, all-the-time, year-round! The PIE CRUST is super for any filling, savory or sweet, and never gets soggy. It is crisp, flaky, perfect! The BISCUITS recipe was painstakingly wrangled out of the owner of a southern roadside diner - many, many years ago. Note the similarity in ingredients. They're my faves, and here they are for you! But don't tell anyone I shared! :)
EXCELLENT PIE CRUST >>>INGREDIENTS: *1 1/3 c flour *1/2 tsp salt *1/3 c oil (we use canola or olive oil!) *3 Tbsp cold milk >>>DIRECTIONS: Makes 1 crust, double ingredients for a two-crust pie. Mix ingredients until blended. Roll out between sheets of wax paper. Lift one sheet off, and lay over pie pan, then remove top sheet. Build up a fluted edge by pinching with your fingers. Bake at 475 F for 8-10 minutes, until VERY lightly browned, for refrigerated fillings, or just fill and bake according to filling directions. *TIP* You can chill the dough to make rolling easier, and for a crisper crust. ******************************************************************************************************************************************
GRAMMY'S BEST BISCUITS >>>INGREDIENTS: *2 c flour *3 tsp baking powder *1/2 tsp salt *2/3 c milk *1/3 c oil >>>DIRECTIONS: Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients all at once. Stir until JUST blended, DO NOT overmix! Gently roll into a log, and slice into 8-10 pieces. Bake at 425 F 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. ******************************************************************************************************************************************* "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." ~Carl Sagan

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wahoo! FENCING the pig pasture is FINALLY done!

Our fenced in pasture for the pigs is complete! You can already see what they've cleared on the right side of the fence. It used to look like the left side, all brush and brambles. Not bad for only 2 weeks of rooting - gotta love piggies! TA DA...FENCING FINISHED...
SO here's the FORMULA:
BEAUTIFUL CRUMBLY SOIL, READY TO PLANT! My Grandpa always said "Who needs a tractor when you've got pigs?" and he was right! Why spend time and gas money tilling the soil when a pig will do it for you with no effort on your part and no chemical weed killers? They eat all the roots, so nothing regrows. We plan on fencing in more areas for them to clear, and we'll seed the areas when they've finished. An unmanageable patch of land will be pasture in no time - the pigs love it, and so do we. The space they're in now is an old apple orchard that was neglected and grew over with berry bushes, shrubs, grapevines and weeds. There are nuts from black walnut trees (squirrel-planted), apple drops, some plums, and more. Our pigs think it's a buffet, and are happier than in mud! Next on the farm project list is winterizing the coops. I'll let you know how that goes too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! 4-Ingredient Refried Beans Recipes!

I LOVE autumn, and our family has been running around everywhere, taking advantage of the fall festivals, events, classes and such. With our crazy schedule, I'm using a few food shortcuts! Here are 2 super-fast scrumptious recipes for you to try:
****Great to make in a batch, and freeze!**** BEEF + BEAN BURRITOS >>>INGREDIENTS: *1 can refried beans *1 pack large flour tortillas *1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground beef *1 package taco seasoning mix (or DIY - recipe below!) >>>DIRECTIONS: Cook the beef in a skillet with a little water, adding the taco seasoning per directions. Spread about 2 Tbsp. refried beans on half of a tortilla, then top with 1 1/12 - 2 Tbsp. of the seasoned beef. Roll up from the filled side, when you get to the empty side (halfway), tuck in the ends, and finish rolling it up. We heat them in the microwave about 45 seconds, and serve. You can top them with salsa and shredded cheese before heating, too! Tuck them into plastic sandwich or snack size zip-top bags, and freeze. (We fit 1 in a snack size, and 2 into a sandwich size.) Microwave them on a plate for 1 minute, 15 seconds EACH to reheat. _____________________________________________________________________________________
**This is really FAST, EASY and PACKED with PROTEIN!** DOUBLE BEAN DIP >>>INGREDIENTS: *1 can refried beans *1 can black beans *1 Tbsp. tabasco sauce *shredded cheddar cheese >>>DIRECTIONS: Grease a medium baking dish (9 x 9, au gratin, etc.) Drain and rinse the can of black beans, and place into the dish. Add the Tbsp. of tabasco sauce, and stir it in. Lightly mash the beans, so that some are squished and some are still whole. Stir in the refried beans, just until blended. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 300 F, until heated through and cheese melts and bubbles. Serve with tortilla chips! OPTIONAL: Top with your family's favorites before serving: sliced scallions, sliced black olives, sour cream, diced tomatoes, minced cilantro, etc. _____________________________________________________________________________________
**Make it yourself and save on buying packets!** TACO SEASONING MIX >>>INGREDIENTS: *2 Tbsp all-purpose flour *2 tsp chili powder *1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion *3/4 tsp crushed beef bouillon (1 cube) *1 tsp salt *1 tsp paprika *1/2 tsp oregano *1/2 tsp onion powder *1/4 tsp cayenne pepper *1/4 tsp garlic powder >>>DIRECTIONS: Mix together all ingredients, and store in an airtight container, or use right away. Add to 1 pound of cooked, crumbled or shredded meat. __________________________________________________________________________________ “Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.” ~Aesop

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! Peachy Keen...TWO ways to SAVE AND SAVOR!

You can make these recipes with fresh peaches or their hairless relatives...nectarines. Both are simple, require few ingredients (so the fruit shines!) and are delicious ways to use your fruit.
RASBERRY PEACH JAM >>>INGREDIENTS: *2-2/3 cups finely chopped peeled peaches *1-1/2 cups crushed fresh or frozen raspberries *3 cups sugar *1-1/2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice >>>DIRECTIONS: In a Dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Bring to a full rolling boil; boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 5 half-pints. ***************************************
PEACH FROZEN YOGURT >>>INGREDIENTS: *3 cups non-fat, vanilla yogurt *6 ripe peaches, pitted and cup into ½” slices *2 Tbsp honey or sugar >>>DIRECTIONS: Line a colander or a sieve with a cheese cloth or coffee filter. Add the yogurt to the lined sieve/colander. Place the sieve into a bowl and cover it with a plate. Set in the refrigerator for several hours. You can let it sit overnight, but it's not necessary, 3-4 hours is plenty. Place the peaches into a blender or food processor and puree. Add the strained yogurt to the peach puree and blend until well incorporated. Add honey and mix until combined. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours until the mixture is chilled. You may have to break up your mixture if the honey hardens, just use a spoon. Pour the peach yogurt mixture into the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. You can put a kitchen towel over the ice cream maker to help keep the cold in. Remove from the bowl of your ice cream maker, and place into an air tight container, put into the freezer for a few hours until it becomes more firm. Serve and enjoy! ******************************************** “One does a whole painting for one peach and people think just the opposite -- that particular peach is but a detail.” ~Pablo Picasso

Friday, September 21, 2012

Farmgirl Friday! SIMPLE SIDES of CABBAGE...

THESE tangy seasonal sides are perfect alongside a beef or pork roast, use leftovers on sandwiches the next day!
LIME COLESLAW (SUPER on tacos!) >>>INGREDIENTS: *1 small head cabbage *4 scallions *1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, torn *1/2 cup sour cream *1/2 cup mayonnaise *1 1/2 tablespoons sugar *2 limes *Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper >>>DIRECTIONS: Shave the cabbage with a sharp knife or mandoline so you have thin ribbons. Cut the scallions long and on the bias so you have pieces similar in shape to the cabbage. Toss the cabbage, scallions and cilantro in a large salad bowl. Make the dressing by combining the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and the zest of the limes in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
SWEET + SOUR SAUTEED CABBAGE >>>INGREDIENTS: *2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil *1 small onion, sliced *1/2 red or green cabbage, shredded *1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar *2 rounded tablespoons sugar *1 teaspoon mustard seed *Salt and pepper >>>DIRECTIONS: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turn in pan, sauteing it until it wilts, 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and coat the cabbage in it. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and turn again. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper and reduce heat a bit. Let cabbage continue to cook 10 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally. ******************************************* "Lime juice makes things taste fresher. I use it for drinks, salsas, relishes, soups, and sauces. You want some give to your limes - firmness means the inside is dry - and they'll stay softer longer if you don't refrigerate them." ~Bobby Flay

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

FRUGAL (Grocery) Shopping - For FIVE!

You could say that I have a LOT of mouths to FEED...besides the hubby + kids, I have 2 dogs, assorted cats, pigs, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese...etc. A local farmer grinds our organic feed for us, so that, with pasture, takes care of the animals + birds, except for the cats + dogs. We buy them a BIG 36 lb. (used to be 40 lbs, gotta love those cutbacks!) bag of cat food twice a month, for $20 from Tractor Supply. We also buy GALVANIZED "garbage" cans at T.S. to store the pet food, bulk flour, and bulk sugar. Cat food for the DOGS, you say? YES!!! It has more protein, and they eat less, which saves me $$$. We also save them the gizzards, hearts, etc. from the chickens when we get them butchered, and I cook up a big pot with rice, and portion it out for them.
SO what about my humans? Here, in order, is where I shop on the CHEAP:
>>>1. local BULK FOOD store <<< Ours is Mennonite-run, and has great prices on large purchases. Here, I buy: *5 lb. bags of cheese, for around $10 - $12 *25 lb. bags of flour (and sugar, if around $.50/lb - otherwise, I buy it at WALMART, in 10 lb. bags, for around $.50/lb.) *SPICES, for canning + cooking, in small and large deli containers *CEREAL, in bulk *CANNING LIDS, for "putting by" our garden's bounty *bulk YEAST, for around $3
>>>2. local PRODUCE STAND <<< The more quantity you buy, the cheaper the price per piece. Find the cheapest, best quality stand in your area, and score: *BUSHELS of APPLES + TOMATOES, BAGS of POTATOES *PECKS of PEPPERS, PEACHES, and CUCUMBERS *PINTS of BERRIES, GRAPES and GARLIC *INDIVIDUAL PUMPKINS, CABBAGES and SQUASH
>>>3. DOLLAR TREE <<< If you shop here, you'll find super buys for $1 like these: *tortillas *tortilla chips (serve with homemade salsa or picante sauce) *lunch box drinks (save + reuse the lidded bottles!) *3 lb. bags of rice *2 lb. bags of pasta *bagged dry beans *salad dressings *olives + pickles *soaps, cleaners, household items *and more!!!
>>>4. ALDI's, SAVE-A-LOT, discount grocery store <<< The best place for low-priced DAIRY, BREADS, and CANNED GOODS. TIP: Shop the PERIMETER of the store for the best deals. Also, look for their little CLEARANCE signs + bins, and save even MORE! My stock-ups here are: *DAIRY: MILK, BUTTER, SOUR CREAM, COTTAGE CHEESE, TUB YOGURT, HOT DOGS *CANNED GOODS: TOMATOES, BEANS, TUNA, CORN, MIXED VEGGIES, RAVIOLI *BREADS: If I'm not baking it, I buy it here, or on BAKERY clearance racks (Walmart, Big Grocery stores) - ENGLISH MUFFINS, WHITE + WHEAT BREAD
>>>5. DOLLAR AISLES at BIG Grocery Chains (TOPS, JUBILEE, etc.) <<< LOTS of stuff here, like: *MICROWAVE POPCORN *SPICES + FLAVORINGS *CLEANERS *SALAD DRESSINGS *PAPER PLATES + CUPS (for parties) *SAUCE MIXES ****************************************************************************************************************************************** So that's it! I try to shop only TWICE a MONTH, the LESS I shop, the LESS I SPEND! We raise our own MEAT: beef, pork, turkey, chicken + eggs. I've been able to spend UNDER $200 in a month! ****************************************************************************************************************************************** >>> MORE THINGS WE DO TO SAVE CASH: (and who doesn't like SAVING CASH?) <<< ***BAKE!!! Save tons by baking at home, make quick things like: MUFFINS, COOKIES, CUPCAKES, QUICK BREADS, PIES, CAKES, CRISPS - and take them along for lunches + snacking! ***CAN!!! GROW your own produce, or buy it in QUANTITY, and can it for later! ***FREEZE!!! Buy MEAT from a local farmer, and freeze FRUITS, VEGGIES + HERBS! ***RE-PURPOSE!!! We shop at garage sales, resale shops, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and church THRIFT stores, save the MALL and RETAIL stores for LAST! Ebay, Craigslist, and Freecycle are great sources for CHEAP and FREE! ***BOOKS!!! Learn to DIY, there's a BOOK or YOUTUBE video on How-to-do MOST ANYTHING! Save yourself a FORTUNE! ***HOMESCHOOL!!! No more fundraisers, expensive kids' clothes, or adds-up-fast lunches - and there are TONS of free classes/groups/sports/events available in your community! Check out "yahoo groups" for ones to join, and your local college bulletin boards. Buy textbooks at thrift stores, ebay, abebooks + amazon. Take classes too, and learn alongside your kids!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

COZY Potato Corn Chowder...MMMMMMM

This makes a nice hefty kettle of soul-warming soup. With just a few easy pantry ingredients, you can put a pot on now! It's great with fresh bread or croutons on top, too. POTATO CORN CHOWDER
>>>INGREDIENTS: *2 tablespoons oil *1 cup chopped celery *1 cup chopped onion *2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth *3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes *2 (15 ounce) cans cream of corn *2 cups milk *1/2 cup flour *salt + pepper, dash of cayenne pepper *1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or 8 oz. of slices >>>DIRECTIONS: *Cook celery + onion in oil for 5 minutes. *Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. *Add potatoes, cook over low heat for 20 minutes. *Whisk the flour, milk, salt, pepper + cayenne together, and stir into the simmering soup. Add in the creamed corn. Add in the cheese, stirring until it melts. Serve hot in bowls with crackers. I like to sprinkle some shredded cheese on top to serve. You can also add a dash of Tabasco if you like it spicier!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! BETTER with FROSTING! Pumpkin Bread + Spiced Applesauce Muffins...

TWO uber-yummy, quintessentially FALL treats! And the piece de resistance? TOP them BOTH off with MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING! We need calories in the FALL - LOL - I even have PROOF: "Hibernating animals (those that sleep during the winter) tend to store fat before they hibernate. One of the ways they accomplish this is via an increase in the activity of enzymes (such as lipoprotein lipase, known also as LPL) that promote the storage of fat. More interesting still, LPL levels in humans also rise and fall in tandem with the seasons." (ARTICLE LINK: ) SO EAT UP my fellow hibernating humans!
********************************************************************************************************************************************* PUMPKIN BREAD >>>INGREDIENTS: *3 cups all-purpose flour *2 cups white sugar *2 teaspoons baking soda *2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice *1 teaspoon salt *1/2 teaspoon baking powder *2 cups pumpkin puree *2/3 cup vegetable oil *3 eggs, beaten >>>DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, pie spice, salt and baking powder. Add pumpkin, oil and eggs; mix well. Pour into loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans. ****************************************************************************************************************************************
SPICED APPLESAUCE MUFFINS >>>INGREDIENTS: *1 cup butter, softened *2 cups sugar *2 eggs *1 teaspoon vanilla extract *2 cups applesauce *4 cups all-purpose flour *1 teaspoon baking soda *1 teaspoon ground cinnamon *1 teaspoon ground allspice *1/4 teaspoon ground cloves *1 cup chopped walnuts, optional *Cinnamon-sugar, optional >>>DIRECTIONS: In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if desired, or frost! Yield: about 2 dozen. ****************************************************************************************************************************************** MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING >>>INGREDIENTS: *11 ounces cream cheese, softened *2/3 cup butter, softened *4 cups confectioners' sugar *1/4 cup maple syrup >>>DIRECTIONS: Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl until well combined; add 4 cups of confectioner's sugar and maple syrup and beat until smooth. Store in refrigerator until needed. ****************************************************************************************************************************************** "I drink maple syrup. Then I'm hyper so I just run around like crazy and work it all off." ~Rachel McAdams

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! PUPPIES + FRITTERS!

Here are recipes for the kind you eat, not the kind that chews your shoes and whines! One savory, one sweet, and hot apple fritters. MMMMMM...The first cool nights in fall make me want to fry up delicious snacks. They bring back autumn memories of homemade, spicy, cinnamon-sugar dusted DONUTS; bouncy, chilly, scratchy HAYRIDES; and fresh-pressed, cold, UNpasteurized CIDER. FALL is my FAVORITE SEASON!
SOUTHERN HUSH PUPPIES (Yield: 30 medium hush puppies) >>>Ingredients: * 2 cups all-purpose flour * 2 cups yellow cornmeal * 1 Tb baking powder * ½ tsp baking soda * 1 tsp salt * ½ cup sugar * 3 eggs beaten * 1 ½ cups buttermilk * ½ tsp garlic powder * (optional - 1 Tb minced onion) >>>Directions: Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and garlic powder together to make a thick batter. Drop the batter into hot oil by tablespoons. Fry to a golden brown for about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. **************************************** SWEET CORN HUSH PUPPIES >>>Ingredients: * 1 cup cornmeal * 1 cup flour * 3 tablespoons sugar * 1 (16 ounce) can creamed corn * 1 onion, diced * 1 egg * 1/2 cup buttermilk * 1 teaspoon vegetable oil * vegetable oil (for frying) >>>Directions: Mix all ingredients until blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil. Fry until cooked. ***************************************** APPLE FRITTER RINGS >>>Ingredients: * 3 apples, cored, peeled and sliced into rings * 1 cup flour * 2 tablespoons sugar * 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder * 1/4 teaspoon salt * 2/3 cup milk * 2 eggs * 1 tablespoon butter, melted * (vegetable oil, for frying) >>>Directions: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl, add milk, one egg yolk and butter. In a third bowl, add 2 egg whites and beat until peaks are stiff. Whisk contents of bowl #1 into bowl #2 until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour oil into a medium, pot until it is 2 inches deep. Heat oil until it reaches 350°F. Dip apple rings into batter, then fry for approximately 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn once. Serve while warm. ******************************************* "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." ~Martin Luther

Thursday, August 2, 2012


With yummy new potatoes on market stands, it's time to fill the fridge with salad! Here are three of our family-favorite potato salads...
TANGY WARM GERMAN POTATO SALAD >>>INGREDIENTS: *4 pounds potatoes (about 12 ) *10 slices bacon *2 medium onions, chopped *2/3 cups vinegar *2/3 cups sugar *2/3 cups water *2 teaspoons celery seed *Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste >>>DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 300°. Boil potatoes in their skins. Fry bacon until crisp and remove from pan. Cook onion in bacon drippings until translucent. Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Crumble bacon over potatoes. Heat bacon drippings, onion, vinegar, sugar, water and celery seed until boiling. Pour over hot potatoes. Make sure liquid and potatoes are very hot when mixed together. Mix well. Add salt & pepper to taste. Place potato mixture in a pan and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. ************************************* SWEET POTATO SALAD >>>INGREDIENTS: *16 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 ½ pounds) *2 cups white wine vinegar *1 cup vegetable oil *4 tablespoons honey *3 garlic cloves, minced *1 teaspoon salt *½ teaspoon ground pepper *2 teaspoon grated orange peel *1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped *2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced *2 medium green peppers, julienned *4 medium firm apples, chopped >>>DIRECTIONS: In a large saucepan, cook sweet potatoes in boiling salted water just until tender, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. While potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl, combine vinegar, vegetable oil, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, orange peel, and thyme and set aside. Peel potatoes and cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch slices. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, onion, green peppers, and apples. Add dressing and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. ******************************************* TIP: My son's FAVORITE - A SUPER-QUICK way to make a delicious sweet and tangy potato salad: Mix together equal parts "Cattleman's Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ sauce" and mayonnaise, dress over peeled, cooked, cooled diced potatoes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FREE Jam labels for canning...Printable + Customizable!

HI all...on vacay this week so I'm posting you this freebie link to make pretty custom canning labels: HAPPY PRESERVING! (The site also has other free labels, so browse and explore!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gobs of IDEAS for bread-machine PIZZA DOUGH!

PIZZA DOUGH FOR THE BREAD MACHINE! Why call the pizza guy? Make it healthy, make it cheap, make it yourself! Take this basic, inexpensive recipe, add your own twists, and make breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! *Ingredients: *3/4 cup water *1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use olive oil!) *1 tsp lemon juice *1/2 tsp salt *1 Tbsp white sugar *1 Tbsp dry milk powder *2 cups bread flour *1 tsp active dry yeast *Directions: Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle; press Start. Remove dough from pan after rise cycle and use for your favorite pizza recipe. I make this into 2 large rounds, and bake them at 425 F for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown lightly. (I also remove them at this stage and FREEZE them for quick future meals!) Then I take them out, add toppings, and put back in to bake until all of the cheese has melted, another 10-15 minutes. FASTER than take out! You can set the dough in the morning before work, and have it ready when you arrive home. ***************************************************** ***MORE IDEAS*** >ADD herbs to the dough - garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary, etc. - before baking. >ADD finely shredded asiago or parmesan cheese to the top of the crusts before baking. >MAKE the dough into mini rounds, top with vanilla pudding, streusel crumbs and fruit or drizzled caramel/chocolate to create dessert pizzas. >PRESS two of the rounds together with fillings (pepperoni + cheese, ham + cheese, chicken + broccoli, buffalo chicken + mozzarella, sausage + peppers) for easy calzones. >ROLL dough up with butter and cinnamon-sugar, slice and bake for cinnamon rolls, drizzle after baking with vanilla frosting thinned with milk. >FLATTEN dough, slice into strips, twist, top with garlic/onion salt + herbs for a side of breadsticks. >SLICE the dough into triangles, roll them up into knots, dip tops in melted garlic butter, then grated parmesan, and bake. Serve with the melted garlic butter and heated spaghetti sauce for dipping. >MAKE 4 rounds, top with herbs/cheese and bake for flatbreads for panini-making! >PLUCK dough into pieces, and drop into a fryer, remove after lightly browned, and roll in cinnamon-sugar for fried dough snacks. >ROLL up small pieces with spinach leaves, salami + sliced provolone and bake for delicious appetizer bites.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! Mason Jar Salads + Parfaits - LAYER + go!

Happy summer to you all! Here's a great summer picnic take-along - mason jar layered salads. You can change up the ingredients as you like, just remember to reverse the order - dressing goes on the bottom, then lettuce, then toppings, then the lettuce again - have fun mixing + experimenting! MASON JAR SALADS ****************************************** >>>BOTTOM LAYER *1/3 head lettuce, chopped *1 cup shredded cheddar cheese *2 c. mayo *1 small onion, sliced thinly *1 can peas, drained >>>TOP LAYER *1/3 head lettuce, chopped *1/2 lb. bacon, crumbled *6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped *1/3 head lettuce, chopped >>>Directions: Fill 4-6 quart jars in the order listed, dividing the ingredients equally among the jars. Screw on lids + rings, and refrigerate overnight to mix the flavors. Pack + go! ************************************************** WE MAKE PARFAITS THIS WAY TOO! Just make 2 layers of cut pieces of yellow cake, pudding or fruit pie filling, and whipped topping. ************************************************** "You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, "Let's get some parfait," they say, "Hell no, I don't like no parfait"? Parfaits are delicious!" ~Donkey from Shrek

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Two Rap-SCALLION recipes for you - no, they're actually good!

From Webster: rap·scal·lion - "a disreputable person; rascal or rogue" >>>OR..."one who is playfully mischievous" = either way, these onion recipes are super-easy, and a great way to use these in-season gems! CHINESE NOODLES WITH SCALLIONS >>>INGREDIENTS: 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked linguini pasta 1/2 cup butter 1 (9.25 ounce) container cashews 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 bunch green onions, diced (5-6) >>>DIRECTIONS: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place linguini in the pot, cook 9 to 11 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the cashews 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the cooked linguini, teriyaki sauce, ginger, and green onion, and continue to cook and stir until heated through. *TIP* I like to add in a sprinkle or two of garlic powder too! ************************************** SIMPLE BEAN SOUP WITH SCALLIONS >>>INGREDIENTS: 1 bag (1 lb.) dry pinto beans 1 ham steak 5-6 scallions, chopped with scissors 1 Tbsp. bacon grease pepper to taste >>>DIRECTIONS: Add all to a large pot, and cover with twice as much water as there are beans. Cook on high until boiling, then turn down and simmer 3 hours. Add more water as needed during cooking to keep a soup-type consistency. Remove bones and fat, stir, smash a few beans up to thicken the soup. Add more pepper to taste (I like a lot!), and serve hot. ************************************************** "Good intentions are not enough. They've never put an onion in the soup yet." ~Sonya Levien

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! Glorious Greens...Two dressings to top them off!

With spring well under way, greens are ready everywhere. Whether it's chard, spinach, mustard or turnip greens, kale, collard or dandelion greens, this zippy sauce will temper some of the the strong flavor, and make your greens delicious. Try the collards recipe for a taste of down-home cookin'! **************************************** PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH DRESSING FOR GREENS >>>Ingredients: *1/2 lb. bacon ends and pieces *1/2 cup sugar *1 1/2 Tbsp. flour *1/2 tsp. mustard *1 egg *1/2 cup milk *1/4 cup vinegar *1/4 cup water *2-3 chopped hard-boiled eggs *cooked, crumbled bacon >>>Directions: Chop bacon pieces and saute in saucepan. Combine sugar and flour in mixing bowl. Beat in mustard and egg until smooth. Gradually pour in milk, vinegar, and water. Drain excess fat from bacon and pour liquid ingredients into saucepan over browned bacon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When mixture thickens, remove from heat and pour over washed, chopped greens. Sprinkle chopped hard-boiled eggs and crumbled bacon over the top, serve warm. Dressing may also be used for potato salad. Can be stored in refrigerator for up-to one week. ******************************************** SOUTHERN-STYLE COLLARD GREENS >>>Ingredients: *3 smoked ham hocks *3-5 lbs collard greens, 2 lbs broccoli rabe, or mustard greens *1 1/2 tsp salt *3 cloves garlic, chopped *1/4 tsp red pepper flakes *salt and pepper to taste >>>Directions: Put ham hocks and garlic in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 3 hours, replacing water as needed allowing water level to reduce a little as you go along. When ham hocks begin to fall apart, separate the collard green leaves and rinse each carefully under cold running water. Roll the leaves up and slice across into strips, or just rip the leaves from the stems and add to the pot - discard the heaviest stems, but don't be picky. As the collards are added gradually to the pot and they begin to wilt down, continue to add until all are used. Season with the salt, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes more over medium heat until the greens are tender. Serve with hot sauce if desired, or a splash of balsamic vinegar, or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. NOTE: If you are making a boiled ham or smoked shoulder, you can reserve the liquid and reduce it and then make the collard greens using this recipe once the ham is removed. ***************************************************** "If your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.” ~Bill Watterson (American Author of the comic strip "Calvin & Hobbes")

Saturday, June 2, 2012

National Glamping Weekend is HERE!

Fire up your dream machine! This year’s glamping round-up will be June 2 and 3, 2012, anywhere USA (backyards, rooftops, and city parks notwithstanding). Dust off your prom dress, pack up your mule, load up on chocolate, and gather up your glamping gal friends. This is the website where, finally, all of us glamper types are showing up on the same page. If I’ve missed your website or blog, give a hoot, give a holler, I’m all yours. And if you have ideas for other ways I can honor and showcase what we’re about, I’m all ears. MaryJane heading out glamping in a Mercedes with trailer in tow When in doubt, go glamping! In sisterhood, MaryJane w/ heart

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! RHUBARB Muffins + RHUBARB Salsa

I know, sounds weird, right? But rhubarb salsa is FABULOUS! Try it, you'll love it! The muffins are great to take along on your next picnic, or pack in a lunch.
RHUBARB MUFFINS >>>Ingredients: *2 1/2 cups flour *1 tsp baking soda *1 tsp baking powder *1/2 tsp salt *1 1/4 cups brown sugar *1/2 cup vegetable oil *1 egg *1 tsp vanilla extract *1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb TOPPING: *1 Tbsp melted butter *1/3 cup sugar *1 tsp ground cinnamon >>>Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of this mixture on top of each muffin. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing. ******************************************
RHUBARB SALSA >>>Ingredients: *2 cups rhubarb, diced small *1 cup chopped apple *3 green onions, chopped *2 limes, juiced *2 tablespoons honey *1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped >>>Directions: Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat, and stir in the rhubarb; simmer for 2 minutes to blanch. Drain in a colander set in the sink, and let cool. Stir together the cooled rhubarb, apple, green onions, lime juice, honey, and jalapeno pepper until thoroughly combined. Serve over chicken, pork or fish - or just eat up with chips! Delish! *************************************************** “I want a dish to taste good, rather than to have been seethed in pig's milk and served wrapped in a rhubarb leaf with grated thistle root.” ~Kingsley Amis >>>TIP: Which reminds me, NEVER eat rhubarb leaves, they are POISONOUS!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recipe Wednesday! BOK!BOK! Sweet + Sour Chicken, White Chicken Enchiladas

Quick chicken recipes that please the whole family - including picky eaters!
SKILLET SWEET + SOUR CHICKEN >>>Ingredients: *4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts *Salt and pepper, to taste *1 cup cornstarch *2 eggs, beaten *1/4 cup canola oil *¾ cup sugar *4 tablespoons ketchup *½ cup vinegar *1 Tbsp soy sauce *1 Tbsp minced garlic *Cooked rice >>>Directions: Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in beaten egg, then in cornstarch. Fry in a large skillet in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. In the skillet, combine sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. Mix well and add in chicken. Cook on high for 5 minutes, then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes, turning chicken so it is evenly cooked and coated with the sauce. Serve over rice. -adapted from Let's Dish ******************************************
WHITE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS >>>Ingredients: *8 soft taco size flour tortillas *2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese, or white cheddar cheese, divided *2 cups shredded cooked chicken *3 tablespoons butter *3 tablespoons flour *2 cups chicken broth *1 cup sour cream *1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles *Chopped, fresh cilantro for garnish >>>Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Mix the chicken together with 1 cup of the cheese. Distribute the chicken and cheese mixture evenly among the tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down in the prepared pan. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Continue cooking over medium heat until sauce is thick and bubbly. Stir in the sour cream and diced green chiles. Pour the sauce in an even layer over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving. -adapted from Let's Dish

Friday, May 18, 2012

WOWZA! Caramel Applesauce Cake...sticky goodness...

Had to share this...oh YUMMO...made it with home-canned chunky applesauce (you can use fresh apples), and it is DIVINE!
CARAMEL APPLESAUCE CAKE >>INGREDIENTS: *3 eggs *1 cup sugar *1 cup brown sugar *1/2 cup vegetable oil *2 teaspoons vanilla extract *3 cups all-purpose flour *1 teaspoon salt *1 tsp. cinnamon *1 teaspoon baking soda *5 cups home-made applesauce (or 4 cups peeled/chopped apples + 1 cup applesauce) *1 cup coarsely chopped pecans TOPPING: *1/2 cup butter or margarine *1/4 cup milk *1 cup packed brown sugar *Pinch salt >>DIRECTIONS: In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy; gradually add sugar. Blend in oil and vanilla. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; add to egg mixture. Stir in applesauce and pecans. Pour into a greased 10-in. tube pan; bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake to a serving platter. For topping, combine all topping ingredients in a saucepan; boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly pour over warm cake (some topping will run down onto the serving plate.) ************************************************** >>TIP>> The caramel sauce is tremendous. I suggest pouring about 1/2 of it over the warm cake (You can poke a few holes in the cake beforehand.) and then, if you're serving it right away, drizzle the remainder over each slice. Wowza! To drool for!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recipe Thursday! WAKE UP with this easy breakfast duo...

Just a few ingredients, and y'all will have this quick southern breakfast, shur 'nough! Use our "fresh-from-the-farm" breakfast sausage to make it perfectly delicious!
BUTTER-DIPPED BISCUITS Ingredients: *2 cups self-rising flour *2 tablespoons sugar *1 cup milk *1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), melted *all-purpose flour Directions: In a bowl, combine the self-rising flour, sugar and milk; mix well. Turn onto a floured surface; sprinkle with all-purpose flour. Pat dough to 1/2-in. thickness. With a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut into 3-in. x 2-in. pieces. Pour butter into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Dip one side of each piece into melted butter. Carefully turn to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes or until golden brown. ********************************************** SAUSAGE GRAVY Ingredients: *1 (16 ounce) package breakfast sausage *3 tablespoons butter *1/4 cup all-purpose flour *3 cups whole milk *salt and pepper to taste Directions: Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan. Stir in the butter until melted. Add flour, and stir until smooth. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until light brown. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in cooked sausage. Reduce heat, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. If gravy becomes too thick, stir in a little more milk. *OPT* Before serving, you can stir a Tablespoon of maple syrup into the gravy if you'd like it sweeter! ************************************************** "All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast." ~John Gunther