Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shopping bag potato update

I have sprouted!!!!
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Easiest Jam in the world....

I had alot of rhubarb to use up, and my husband can only eat so many crisps and pies, so I decided to try this easy easy jam recipe, using, again, jello.  I was pleasantly surprised!  It turned out great.  Of course, I made a few changes, like adding fresh strawberries, and raspberries, but I have to make it my own.
Rhubarb Strawberry Jam
5 c chopped fresh rhubarb
1 c fresh strawberries
3 c white sugar
1 3oz box of strawberry jello
In a large non reeactive pot or bowl, stir together rhubarb and sugar.  Cover and let sit overnight.
Bring the rhubarb sugar mixture, and strawberries to a boil over medium heat.  Boil stirring constantly, for 12 minutes on low heat.  Remove from heat, and stir in dry jello packet.  Transfer to sterile jars and refrigerate.
This recipe is very forgiving, I really don't think you can mess this up, so give it a try!!

Homemade Sherbet

In the quest to help my husband, and myself, be just a little healthier, I decided to make my own sherbet. My husband loves ice cream, but it just makes him miserable when he eats it because, well, he makes a pig of himself. I also believe because its so full of sugar and fat, plus he heaps Cool whip and toppings on it, its no wonder he feels bad!
So here is my offering of a non-fat orange sherbet. It does use a jello packet, but I can live with it. At least when eats this, he doesn't keep ME up all night!

I made this in my Rival ice cream maker. Its small, its cheap, but we don't need a workhorse for this.

2 c skim milk
1 can fat free condensed milk, or fat free half and half
6 oz box of Orange jello
6 oz can of orange juice concentrate
3/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Dissolve jello in 1 c boiling water. Add sugar and salt.

Mix in can of orange juice concentrate.

Add milks, mix well. Follow the instructions for making ice cream or sherbet in your appliance.

I plan to try Lime sherbet next time!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

Im participating in the Hearth and Soul blog hop, check it out, lots of cool blog links!!

Hearth and Soul Hop at the 21st Century Housewife

Dry Pantry Mixes

I got started on this preparedness kick, probably because I started following Preparedness 365. Check her out, she takes a common sense approach, in my opinion. But, even if you aren't a prepper or doomer, so to speak, these dry pantry mixes are timesavers, and healthy alternatives to box and package mixes.

My very favorites is of course, the cake mix, a big hit with the husband. Our next favorite has turned out to be the homemade shake and bakish coating mix. So far I have used it with chicken and porkchops and both have been fantastic! (recipe below)

Another good one was the Sloppy Joe Mix.

After knitting with my friends last week, I wanted something fast and warm, so I fixed up a mug of my home made cream soup base, it was good, I added some dried mushrooms to the water and soup mixture while it was heating. It wasn't terribly thick, but it was satisfying and soothing. (recipe below)

A pantry mix I began making and using more frequently, since I found out the store bought I used to use contained MSG, is a lentil rice pilaf. I have used this with chicken and pork, and various vegetables too, it makes an easy and satisfying skillet dinner. (recipe below)

As with any recipe I post, personalize it and make it your own. Add, take away or sub ingredients to your liking.

Homemade Shake and Bakish Coating Mix

4 c flour
4 c finely crushed saltines (I used fat free saltines
1/4 c salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp pepper
3 tbsp paprika
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 c canola oil

Mix all dry ingredients, then drizzle oil in, and incorporate until well distributed fine particles. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

To Use:

Dip chicken, pork or fish into milk, water, or beaten egg, then dredge completely in 1/2 to 1 cup of mix.
Place on baking sheet, I drizzle with a tiny bit of oil, but you can omit if you like.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes for boneless, and 1 hour for bone in.
Internal temp for chicken should be 160.

Dry Cream Soup Base
2 c instant milk
3/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c chicken bouillon ( I used an msg/sodium free product)
2 tbsp dry onion flakes
1 tsp dry basil
1tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp or less of salt (or to your preference)

Mix well, store in air tight container.

To Use:
1/3 c mix stirred into 1 c of water. Adjust water or mix to your preference.

Rice Lentil Pilaf

1 1/3 c each of long grain rice, lentils and orzo pasta
5 tsp chicken bouillon (again, I used 5 packets of the msg/sodium free product)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tbsp dehydrated onion
1 tbsp dehydrated garlic
1 tsp pepper

Mix well, store in air tight container.

To Use:

4-5 pieces of chicken or pork
1 c pilaf mix
2 1/4 water
2 tbsp oil
1 c of frozen peas,or fresh broccoli, or asparagus pieces.

Brown meat pieces in oil in skillet. Brown til each side has good color, remove to plate. Lower heat and add pilaf mix. Stir and heat for a few minutes, then add water. Bring to boil, lower heat to simmer. Add the meat and accumulated juices back into skillet. Simmer, covered for 25 minutes, until lentils are cooked and tender. remove cover, add vegetables, replace lid and turn off heat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

I did test a Hamburgerish Helper mix, but I need to tweak that recipe. Either its not a very good recipe, or I dont know what hamburger helper should taste like. Personally, i think the sloppy joe mix would be awesome for hamburger helper.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good quote...

Posted by Donna Kates on Facebook

Another Favorite Saying

If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try - you don't take the risk.

Rosalynn Carter

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Cross Stitch Patterns

When I closed my shop several years ago, I had patterns leftover, how? I don't know! But its your gain! I've created a new blog just sell my excess stitchery supplies. These patterns are new, from my shop, some are kits, some just patterns, and some are patterns with fabric or threads. If you have any questions, let me know merriest_one @ yahoo.com. These are going out at below wholesale cost, and nothing is newer than 2008, so if you are trying to complete a collection or some such, I may be able to help.

I will be listing every day, so if today you don't see anything, keep looking, tomorrow maybe your lucky day!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homemade Sloppy Joe Mix

So last night I test drove my homemade sloppy Joe mix and was very pleased! The cool thing about this mix is that it can be adjusted as you go, I don't feel there is a hard and fast recipe for this, as I usually make this with whatever I have on hand anyway. Add, increase, or leave out ingredients as you wish. Makes about one cup of dry mix.

1 tbsp each of:
Dried basil
Italian seasoning
Dehydrated onion
Dehydrated garlic
3 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp each of:
Dry mustard
celery seed, powder, whatever
Chili powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Blend well, keep in airtight container.

To Use:

Brown 1lb of ground meat, pour off grease.
Add 2 tbsp of mix, 1/2 c of water and 1 can of crushed tomatoes, sauce or ketchup.
Simmer 20 minutes, adjust seasonings to taste.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Growing Potatoes in a Reusable Shopping Bag

I was chatting with my friend Amy awhile back, and she expressed a curiosity about growing potatoes in a grow bag. Of course, curiosity is contagious so I had to do a little research of my own. What I found out was that potato grow bags were a little pricey, to me anyway. So I researched a little more. Didn't want to use garbage bags or trash cans or tires. Then I realized that I could use landscaping cloth and sew up a few, but I didn't need to buy as much as was in the package, not for an experiment. If I spent that much I might as well buy the grow bag! So I hit on maybe using my reusable HyVee grocery bag, its black and approximately the same dimensions, just square not round, but its porous! And only cost $.99!
So, off to Earl May garden store, picked up 6 seed potatoes, on sale.
Folded down the sides at least 4 inches, filled with soil, and planted 7 "eyes" of my potatoes.
Covered them with 3" of soil, and watered thoroughly.
We'll see how this goes, I planted so many in each bag so in case a few questionable "eyes" don't open.
When the plants are 8" tall, I will add more soil, then add more again when there's another 8" of growth.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Setting a little back

In order to keep my pain from arthritis in check, I'm very careful about portions so I can keep my weight down. So, many nights when I finish cooking dinner, I take a portion out and freeze it. This has proven to be an asset for those nights I don't feel up to standing and cooking a full meal, or when there aren't any leftovers for lunch! The biggest plus has been that it takes away that extra serving I may be tempted to eat, and it keeps me from serving too large a portion. Not just that, but what a treat to have that tasty meal again, without all the work!
Cool down your food completely before freezing, and I don't reheat in the same container I freeze, I tip it out onto a plate. Not everything freezes well, but give your food a try and see how it works.
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Friday, May 6, 2011

make it yourself - brown bag popcorn

I love popcorn! I love the convenience of microwave popcorn, but too many questionable things inside that bag.
I'm probably the last person on the planet that discovered popping it in a brown paper bag in the microwave. What I like about this is no pan to clean, nothing unpronounceable inside the bag, and I don't burn myself!
So, take a lunch bag,
put a good handful of popcorn kernels in it, about 1/4 cup,
a squirt of canola oil (about 3 tsp), fold down the top loosely,
Cook on high, about 2 minutes, 20 seconds, pull it out when there is more than 2 seconds between pops, and voila! Popcorn!
This will burn easily, just like the commercial kind, but with a bit of practice, you will be a pro!
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Such a Cream Puff!

My husband loves cream puffs, I think he loves the filling most!
I've never made these before, and I loved them, not difficult at all, so give em a go!

1 c water
6 tbsp butter, diced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 c flour
4 med eggs
Place salt, sugar, water and butter in saucepan over heat medium heat, and heat to boiling, take off heat.
All at once add flour and mix until smooth and forms a ball that pulls away from sides of pan.
Add eggs, ONE at a time. Beat until egg is absorbed, keep adding rest of eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is absorbed.
Using a pastry bag, two spoons, or I used my cookie press, pipe onto parchment covered baking sheets, with enough room between as they will double in size when baked.
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, until browned and puffed. Remove from oven, cut a slit in side to let the steam out, then return to oven, door ajar and oven turned OFF for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool completely before filling.

Cool completely before storing, unfilled in an airtight container at room temperature, or in freezer. You can recrisp for a few minutes in very warm oven, but cool completely before filling.

Buttercream filling
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup shortening (I used my own home rendered lard)
1 stick butter, sliced

In mixer bowl on low, mix powdered sugar, milk, salt and vanilla until smooth. On high, add butter, on piece at a time until smooth, then add lard or shortening and whip on highest speed until volume increases by 50%.
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