Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fruit and Yogurt

Taking advantage of fresh fruit while we can get it! This is delicious any time of day but we enjoy it with breakfast in the morning.

Just put some vanilla yogurt in a bowl and top with your fresh fruits. Add some granola. Easy. Delicious. Healthy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Karissa's Smoothie

My 12 year old daughter is addicted to smoothies, so much so that we tease her about a smoothie blender being her first thing we buy for her dorm room when she goes to college in a few more years. She loves fruit and since we have been working on freezing and canning of fruits, she has been enjoying her smoothies. When I woke to a sticky note with her new recipe she made up and pictures on her camera, I knew she wanted this one in the "save" pile. So this is what she has been enjoying as of late....

Mix 1 3/4 cup ice in smoothie blender with...

1 1/2 bananas, (she inserts here ~ can use less)  As you can see we freeze mashed bananas for quick use.

3/4 cup blueberries, these are fresh (YUM) but you can use frozen too.

1 1/2 cup strawberries, again these were fresh but can use frozen.

1/2 cup of raspberries....using up last years, more are on the way now.

as much milk as needed.  may add a sweetener too, such as sugar or honey.

Blend and if too thick, add more milk.

Apparently, you are supposed to enjoy it in a super big glass!
All her leftover smoothie drinks end up in my freezer in the popsicle molds.  Another yummy way to get your fruits!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Canning Rainier Cherries

This is my first year canning cherries. I've always wondered what I would do with sweet cherries or if we would even like them canned. I had a 1/2 box that I picked up from a local mennonite store that I thought we would eat fresh, but my canning curiosity got the best of me so in the jars they went....well, that is after I took all the pits out. No cherry pitter here, so if we do like them canned a cherry-pitter will be necessary....It took forever to get those pits out!

Here's my pot of cherries after getting the pits out.  I hear you can raw pack these but they are in a light syrup here and cooking just long enough to get somewhat soft.

Ladeling them into the jars....

Looking pretty good still......

And here is the final product.  In TWO of my jars I added one small drop of almond extract with a medicine dropper.  Always experimenting!  See the jar on the left?  I had 2 pints of cherry syrup left over.  Yep, canned that too.  I'll find something to use it for!
Of course I had to search online for ways to use these cherries since eating them straight out of the jar almost seems like a waste.  I need something fancy or delicious.  So here are the two things our family came up with to try this year with our cherries.

1.  Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Soda
2.  Homemade Cherry Ice Cream

And now for the "how-to":

  • 6 cups sweet cherries (Rainier, Bing, or other sweet variety)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cup – 2 cups sugar
  • vanilla beans, almond extract (optional)
1. Wash and pit your cherries. You can use a cherry pitter or simply cut the cherries in half to remove the pit. Do this over a large bowl to capture any juices.
2. Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Keep hot (but not boiling) while you prep your jars.
3. Ensure your jars are clean, sterilized, and hot. (Adding hot syrup to a cold jar may cause the jar to shatter!)  Ladle cherries with syrup into jars.
4. If you want to add vanilla to your cherries, cut  1 inch pieces of whole vanilla bean.  Add to the desired jars.  Alternatively, you could add a drop or two of almond extract to the cherries.  (I added the almond extract to 2 of my jars.)
5. Fill each jar with the hot syrup, stopping 1/4 inch from the rim of the jar. With a clean, hot, wet cloth, wipe the rims of the jars and place the sealers and lids on top. Tighten with your hands.
6. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from the water bath, let cool, and listen for the pops.  Let set for a few weeks to let the flavor seep into them before eating.  If you have any that did not seal properly, put in refrigerator for eating immediately.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

6 Week Muffins

Want a recipe for muffins that taste good and makes enough to feed a large family?  We use this recipe often and just recently I made these for a walkathon.  These muffins are super easy to make and the batter lasts for 6 weeks in your refrigerator.  You can make as little or as much as needed in 15 minutes.

So here's the recipe:

1 box Raisin Bran or Bran Flakes (10 ounces)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups flour

Mix all ingredients.  Store in covered container (I use an ice cream pail) in refrigerator.  Keeps six weeks.  Do not stir when putting mix into muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

That's it!  Easy.

This is what the batter will look like when you take it out of the refrigerator to bake.  Don't stir!

Just scoop the batter right into the muffin tins.  I use a large cookie scoop, that way they are all the same size.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garden Beginnings

Just over a week ago we were finally able to get the garden planted. The weather has been super crazy this year. Even today started about 40ish and high of 60 and yesterday we made it into the upper 90's. We need some rain and heat and things should take off.  These are some of the newly planted pepper plants.  We lost one plant already, probably due to the weather.  Last year we got big, juicy peppers.  Hoping for the same this year.  I think I should have planted about 10 more plants because our kids will eat them like apples, but in order to accomplish that I think we need a country garden!
Tomatoes are all growing nicely.  I planted 10 "Big Momma" variety plum tomatoes.  If you have never tried them and you make sauces or juice, etc., these are for you!  I'll post a pic of the huge tomatoes you can harvest off these plants when they are ripe.  We planted a grape tomato too, for enjoying fresh off the vine.
Tomatoes up close.  This year because of the wind the plants have needed some extra sheltering....that's why the ice cream pails are around them.  So far so good....
Our first rows of green beans have begun to sprout out of the ground.  We planted two rows early and tomorrow or Saturday we'll plant a couple more.  Hopefully, that will keep the canning at a steady pace and not green bean overload all in a week.  My husband and I had a bet at how many days it would take before they sprouted.  I said 8 and he said 12-14.  I won.  (I also read the back of the seed package, shhhh!)  We are planting 3 different varieties to see which ones we like for canning and freezing.
Here they are all popped and crooked.  You can't see the whole row but they ALL look like this.
My rhubarb that is growing by the pine trees pretty much died off this year.  So much so that we could not harvest any stalks from it.  The other large, gorgeous rhubarb just got lost in our raspberries.  So, at the nursery I found these last remaining two and brought them home.  The very next morning the plant on the left had totally disappeared, leaves and all.  Not sure what happened but now we are down to the plant on the right.  Hopefully it will grow.  I am going to plant him in the flower garden.  (If it survives).
Looks like a good year for the Paula Red apple tree.  It was full of blossoms and now turning into these cute little apples.  Last fall, the deer ate 1/2 the tree and I am surprised at how it is coming back, more than ever before!  Maybe the deer gave it just the right pruning it needed.
My favorite of all is the grapes that come every year.  The vines are so pretty and the grapes are just "cute" when they start their little bunches.  Ever so tiny...and my vines are full!  Yum!
Meanwhile, out in the front yard, here is one tree...
and it's blossoms.  I love this time of year more than any other season.  It's only a matter of time now until the real work begins!  Happy Spring!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shredded Steak Sandwiches

I had some extra beef rib steaks in the freezer that needed to be used up. I cooked up about 8 steaks in boiling water for about 2 hours and shredded the meat from the fat and bones.

Then, I threw the meat in the crock-pot and added the sauce from the recipe below.

I turned it on the low setting and kept it warm just for an hour or so.

This is a really bad picture of the sandwiches but they were really very good. I think we will keep this one.

3 pounds boneless beef round steak, cut into large pieces
2 large onions, chopped
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
12 sandwich rolls, split

Place meat in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add onions and celery. In a bowl, combine the ketchup, water, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard, paprika, chili powder, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.
Remove meat; cool slightly. Shred with a fork. Return to the sauce and heat through. Serve on rolls.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuna and Chips Casserole

Tuna and Chips

So easy. So fast. My kids grew up with this casserole, maybe because I did too. I used to watch my mom make this and so I just tried to repeat it when I left home. Not sure if this is a true recipe but this is how we make it:

Into a large mixing bowl, (x-tra large, really) mix 3 cans of cream of celery soup, 1 can milk, 1 large and 1 small cans drained tuna fish and about 2 cups crushed potato chips. Oh yeah, not to forget, 1 can drained peas. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix it all together so it looks like yummy, right? Not!

Then, add a large strainer full of elbow macaroni, cooked. I used about 1/2 of a 48 ounce box of noodles. I then decided it was about 2 cooked cups too many and took them out.

When mixed all together, put in a large 9x13. The kind you use for lasagna.

Crush another cup or two of potato chips and sprinkle on top of casserole.

Cook uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Chips will be ever-so-lightly browned. Even if you don't enjoy.....your kids will!

The recipe without pics.

3 cans cream of celery
1 soup can milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 lge, 1 sm can drained tuna
1 can drained peas
11 ounce bag potato chips, crushed
about 24 ounces of elbow macaroni, cooked

Mix soup and milk, salt and pepper. Add tuna, peas, 2 cups chips and macaroni. Pour into 9x13. Spread with 1 cup more of the crushed chips. Cook, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Teddy's Cabbage Contest

Teddy brought home a Bonnie cabbage plant from school last week along with instructions on what to do with it. The reason Teddy found this cabbage and instruction sheet so much fun is because if you grow the biggest cabbage this season someone from each state will win a $1,000 scholarship. If there is competition involved, you have his attention. "Mom, we have to try to win!" he says. Anyone know how to grow a 40 pound cabbage, cause I surely don't!? Feel free to leave a comment on how we might get started on our garden wonder!

The first step says to have a parent help you. I think having grandma's help will work here too. We are actually supposed to plant this baby outside in the cool weather now. What Wisconsin weather doesn't understand is that in April it ISN'T supposed to snow anymore!! The saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers." Hmmm, still waiting. So, in the meantime we will re-pot him (or her?) in a bigger pot and see if we can still do some growing inside for now.

Know a teacher who might want to share this project with their children? You can find out how, here.

Here's an interesting post/tutorial on how to make homemade sauerkraut using the canning method from Keeper of the Home. We will probably have plenty of kraut if our cabbage does well! And, this method seems so much faster than Grandma's did!

Wish us luck!!
recipe coming...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups pumpkin
3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1teaspoon nutmeg
1teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup raisins, optional

Combine oil, eggs, water and pumpkin.  Mix all dry ingredients and make a well in center.  Add pumpkin mixture and blend until moistened.  Stir in raisins. (optional)  Pour into 2 greased and floured bread loaf pans.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until toothpick poked into center comes out dry.  Let set for 10 minutes in bread pans and turn out onto cooling rack to cool.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you have this.....

Then you can make these....

with this recipe.

Start by mixing the brown sugar, sugar and butter together.

Once combined, mix in eggs and vanilla.

In seperate mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.

Mix in with sugar mixture. Add one bag of chocolate chips.

With cookie scoop (or spoon), put on baking sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 or 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack. When cool, put on this plate and hide before the kids get home.
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