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Archive for January, 2011

This is a pillow case I recently finished. I’ve started work on second one now, then there is a sheet and still eight of the twelve quilt squares (not to mention sewing them into a quilt) to complete for a full size bed.  With everything else on my plate it’s been a labor of love to slowly finish this project which I began last year.  But I am resolved to see the completed project.  If I will keep it or seek to sell it at an Autism raffle remains to be seen.  I really have fallen in love with the design, but after I finish all the parts that love might be in question.  Oh, and it has been washed since this picture taken, little hands make for some dirt stains when trying to “help” Mom.

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Winters the time when oranges and cranberries are in abundance at stores and farmer’s markets.  I stock pile on these items this time of year while prices are reduced.  The oranges are first zested, then thrown into a juicer. The zest and the juice frozen in ice cube trays for use during the long summer months ahead.  I freeze cranberries too.  Some go into making canned cranberry jell or whole cranberry sauce,  but I also make sure to freeze some whole or halved also for making into muffins and other delights.  Orange-Cranberry Muffins one of those.

Orange-Cranberry Muffins. (6 -8 muffins)

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on desired sweetness)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp grated orange peel (zest)

3/4 cup  fresh orange juice (can also use made from concentrate)

2 eggs beaten well

6 tbsp butter (I prefer butter which is all natural ingredients to margarine)

1 – 1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries  (whole or course chopped)

(You can opt to add walnuts or other nuts if you desire.  1/4 cup usually is suitable.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first five ingredients in mixing bowl.  Add juice, eggs, butter, cranberries and nuts (if using).  Stir until moistened and no flour lumps remain.  Spoon 2/3 full into greased muffin tins or cupcake liners.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden and passing toothpick test.

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It’s soup season, with all the cold’s and flu’s going around I seem to be making more soup meals then usual.  This is fine with me, I love soup.  It is easy to make and budget friendly.  Soup also is a very forgiving food, there is little you can do to it which can ruin it.

Having made up a beef roast this past weekend, I reserved the bones and a bit of the stock to make a nice beef vegetable soup. This is my method, but again, as with all food recipes, play with it, add or alter to your personal taste and see what delicious meals you can create for your family.

ABC Vegetable Soup

8 cups beef stock  (can use store bought, I prefer making my own by simmering beef bones in water.)

1 cup onions, thick diced

1 cup celery, thick sliced

1 cup corn (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 cup English peas (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 cup green beans (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 1/2 cups diced potatoes

1/2 – 1 cup ABC pasta (can be found in most pasta sections of stores, if not there, ask your store. Some put them under “exotic” foods such as Chinese or Mexican dish ingredients)

2 tbsp tomato powder (this is the “throw away” part of canned tomatoes dehydrated and blended in blender to powder form,  you can substitute 1/2 can of  tomato paste.)

1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp parsley

2 tsp basil flakes

1 tsp sage

1 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Place broth in dutch oven or crock pot.  Bring to just under a boil stage and add onion & celery. Let simmer until celery is pliable and has lost it’s “crunch”, add rest of vegetables and herbs and let simmer until vegetables are cooked to just under tender.  Add your pasta and continue to cook for an additional 1/2 hour or longer.  Don’t be afraid to let it simmer, it actually improves its taste over time.

 

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I needed to do something special for a holiday brunch, and had run out of ideas.  I happened upon a old recipe I had for a copycat Krispy Kreme style donut and figured I would give it a shot.  They were easy to make and made a lot for the money.  I honestly don’t remember the source for the recipe, but they deserve the credit in this.  The donuts were light, airy and nearly melted in your mouth.  For the frosting it is just a very thick confectioner sugar frosting drizzled on the donuts.

MYO Krispy Kreme Donuts

2 cups scalded milk.

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp active yeast

4 eggs (beaten)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

7 cups flour

Melt butter in milk and add salt and 1 tsp sugar.  Let cool to room temperature.

Beat in yeast, eggs, nutmeg, rest of sugar, and 3 cups flour to milk/butter mixture.

Add rest of flour (it will be a sticky batter, it’s ok.)

Knead for 5 minutes and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Roll out dough, cut into shapes using either a donut cutter or a glass + a pop bottle lid to make center hole.

Let rise 40 minutes.

Fry in 365 degree oil for 1-2 minutes per side.   (Cook donut holes first, then donuts.)

Let cool on paper towel before glazing.

Glaze

(this is basics, add as you need for more, also add more liquid if wishing thinner, more sugar if thicker)

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tbsp milk or water

1/4 tsp vanilla, lemon, or other extract flavor.

 

 

 

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Meatballs are one of those “can’t go wrong” foods.  I make up large batches of them, cook and freeze for quick grab meals.  Some are pre-done in spaghetti or marinara sauce to be put on top spaghetti or into meatball sub sandwiches.  Others I crock pot in bbq sauce, and yet others I leave plain to be made up later.  Unlike meatloaf they are very versatile and can be used and made into a good number of dishes.  Being easy to make with basic ingredients found in just about every kitchen adds to their appeal.

Meatballs for Spaghetti.

1 lb hamburger

2 eggs

1 cup cracker crumbs (or cornflake style cereal)

1/4 cup onions, fine diced

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp liquid smoke

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp parsley

1/2 tsp basil

Spaghetti sauce of choice. (I used homemade)

Olive oil to cook meat balls in.

Mix all but the oil and sauce together.  Heat oil over medium high heat. Form meatballs and fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towel and add to pot of spaghetti sauce.  Heat and let simmer for at least an hour to infuse flavors and “glaze”.

Meatballs can also be put into sweet and sour sauce, BBQ Sauce, plum glaze or any other styles of coating one desires. They also can be served dry if desired or put on top meals.

**These make wonderful filling for Meatball Sub’s. Just make the balls on the smaller size to fit.**

Alternatives.

No crackers, you can use stuffing mix, rice, rice krispy cereal, instant potatoes or broken apart bread.

Try adding 2 tbsp Italian dressing for variety.

Add 2 tbsp mustard along with the ketchup.

Play with herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, cumin also are delicious.

Try adding cream of mushroom soup (condensed or left over, also cream of chicken, tomato, cream of celery..etc.)

If you don’t have a lot of hamburger but have some leftover ground sausage you can add together and turn out just fine.

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This is normally a dish I make in the hot summer months when cold salads are refreshing. Simple to make and low cost it also has added benefit of introducing vegetables to a meal.

Cold Tuna-Pasta Salad

1 16oz package medium shell pasta.

2 cans tuna fish (drained)

1 can garden peas (drained)

1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup radishes, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta until done but still with some firmness.  Drain and let cool slightly before adding rest of ingredients. Stir well.  Chill until completely chilled through and serve.

 

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Earmergency!

It started innocent enough. A soft yawn from the bed, a stretch, then a slow patter of little feet to the kitchen table for a hot breakfast.  It was then an emergency struck.  Mort, the faithful friend for years suddenly dropped to the ground, leaving only his big floppy ear clenched firmly in the little hand.  It was a crisis to be certain, and with bits of stuffing seeping from the place where the ear once was attached, that would mean breakfast would just need to wait.  Immediate surgery was required, so Mort, quiet and strong as ever went without hesitation or fuss to the table lined with all the surgical supplies needed for this delicate operation.  His worried human friend watching every stitch, every stuff with baited breath after a long five minutes the ear was reattached with great success.  Relief washed over those waiting, Mort would survive with nothing more then a slight scar for his experience.  Bunny and child reunited, it was time for breakfast.

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MYO Dry Soup Mixes

This time of year is soup weather. Be it due to colds or flu’s, or just because it’s a comfort food during the dark winter months soup is just soothing.   Store purchased soup in cans is packed full of preservatives, additives and sodium to point there is little “soup” to it.  Dry mixes are expensive for the amount you get.  I personally love the dry mixes as they are easy to take with you or to make single servings, but they are also easy to make at home in bulk, and at a fraction of the cost.

Instant Noodle Soup Mix (Yield 5 – 1 cup servings)

2 tbsp chicken flavored instant bouillon (low sodium)

1 tbsp dried mixed vegetables (preferably ones you dried yourself and put in blender to “flake”)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp dried parsley flakes (preferably ones you dried yourself and put in blender to “flake”)

1 tbsp dried onion flakes (preferably ones you dried yourself and put in blender to “flake”)

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/8 to 1/4 tsp black pepper

4 oz (1 cup) tiny soup noodle pasta (found in your pasta section of store)

Combine in bowl, mix well and spoon into small plastic bag or container.

To make.  Add 6 cups water to mix and bring to boil over medium heat, or until pasta is of desired tenderness.  Stir frequently.

or place in microwave safe container and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Instant Potato Soup Powder Mix (12 servings)

1/4 cup chicken bouillion granules

3 cups mashed instant potato flakes

2 tbsp dried minced onions

3 tbsp dried green onions

1 tsp white pepper

1/4 cup REAL bacon bits.

1 tbsp parsley flakes

1/2 tbsp dill weed

1/2 tsp thyme

1 cup instant milk powder

To make: 1/3 cup dry mix to 1 1/2 cups water. Heat to boiling and add 3 tbsp flour mixed with enough water to get thin paste.  Heat and stir constantly until thickened.

Cream of ANYTHING Soup Mix. (3 cups dry, 9 cups reconstituted)

2 cups instant dry milk

3/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup chicken bouillion granules

2 tbsp dried onion flakes

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

To make: Combine 1/3 cup mix and 1 1/4 cup water. Heat over medium heat until thickened.

**Variations**

**Cream of Mushroom Soup: 1 cup dried mushroom bits.

**Cream of Celery: 1 cup sauteed celery, dried and put in blender to make powder.

**Cream of Broccoli: 1 cup steamed broccoli, dried and blended to powder.

Onion Soup Mix

3/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup beef bouillion granules

2 tbsp dried onion flakes

1 tsp dried basil flakes

Combine all ingredients and store in airtight container.

To make: 1/3 cup dry mix and 1 1/2 cups water. Cook over medium heat until thickened.

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With Christmas behind and the New Year ahead it is time to pull out the seed catalogs.  During the dreary winter months I find myself looking forward to this time, a time to reflect on dreams of warm spring days, the feel of soft dirt under bare feet and resting in palm of my hands.  A time to watch tiny seeds sprout into glorious plants that produce tasty food to keep my family fed and that I know are safe and chemical free to offer nutrient to their growing bodies. A time to  just bask upon the wonders of nature in her full glory.

With so many varieties of seeds available, from those that do well in large gardens to container, even some indoor grown varieties, there is little reason anyone can not plant and harvest some fresh foods for their families and tables.  With so much questionable produce in the stories these days, it is worth the time and effort even if limited.

Here is a list of companies that send free catalogs that I have and do use when I need to replace seeds or wish to try new varieties.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Abundant Life Seed Company.

Annie’s Annuals and Perennial’s Plant Catalog.

Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog.

Bluestone Perennials Plant Catalog.

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog. (US & Canada)

Bountiful Gardens Seed Catalog.

Brent & Becky’s Bulbs Seed Catalog. (US & Canada)

Burnt Ridge Nursery.

Burpee Seeds and Plants.

The Cook’s Garden. (US & Canada)

Garden’s Alive.

Gurney’s Seed Catalog.

Harris Seed Catalog.

Heronswood.

High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Jackson & Perkins.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Klehm’s Song Sparrow.

Neseed.

Nichol’s Garden Nursery.

The Online Greenhouse.

Park Seeds.

Grow Organic.

Planet Natural.

Plant Delights Nursery.

Raintree Nursery.

Richters Herbs.  (US & Canada)

Seed Savers Exchange.

Seeds of Change. (US & Canada)

Select Seeds.

Southern Exposure Seed Catalog.

Territorial Seed Company.

Thompson & Morgan.

Urban Farmer Seeds & Plants.

Veseys. (US & Canada)

Wayside Gardens.

White Flower Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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