Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Wisdom of Cookbooks

I have a lot of cookbooks.  Most of them were part of my grandmother's and my mom's collections.  Some I have no idea where they came from.  Like this one:

This cookbook is from 1971 and was put together by the women of the Calvary Baptist Church in Denver.

It has some interesting things inside.  Like recipes from Mrs. Richard M. Nixon and Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower.

There is also this nice ditty from the section on casseroles:

I also like this kitchen prayer.


Lord of all pots and pan and things since I've not time to be
A saint by doing lovely tings or watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawn light or storming Heavn's gates
Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.
Although I mist have Martha's hands, I have a Mary mind
And when I black the boot and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord I find.
I think of how they trod the earth, what time I scrub the floor
Accept this meditation Lord, I haven't time for more.
Warm all the kitchen with They love, and light it with Thy peace
Forgive all my worrying and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food in room or by the sea
Accept this service that I do, I do it unto Thee.

Cookbooks are such a snapshot in time.  I'm pretty sure you wouldn't find a section for men only in a cookbook published today.

Or a poem on how to preserve a husband . . .


First, use care and get one.  Not too young; but tender and a healthy growth.  Make your selection carefully and let it be final.  Otherwise they will not keep.  Like wine they improve with age.  Do not pickle or put in hot water.  This makes them sour.  Prepare as follows: Sweeten with smiles according to variety.  The sour, bitter kind are improved by a pinch of salt of common sense.  Spice with patience.  Wrap well in a mantle of charity.  Preserve over a good fire of steady devotion.  Serve with peaches and cream.  The poorest varieties make be improved by this process and kept for years in any climate.
. . . or recommendations as to what men love.

What cookbooks do you love to read?

Friday, May 18, 2012

What's the right kind of soap for making bubbles?

I decided to do a post on whether you could make a good bubble mixture from an ordinary store brand dish soap or whether you needed to use Dawn.  I had two large jars of bubbles mixed up--one of each kind.  I went to go find my camera and returned to the above.

Yup, Toddler #2 dumped both jars out.  That's nearly a quart of bubble mixture that is now on my steps.

Perhaps this will explain why I haven't blogged in nearly a week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I'm in! I'm in! I'm in the Dino Squad!

My three year old is really into Dino Squad.  If you don't know what that is, it's a TV show from about 5 years ago in which some teenagers turn into dinosaurs.  Recently, my little guy has picked up the theme song.  Here he is singing it (please ignore all my laundry in the background):

And, just so you can compare the original.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Homemade Hand Sanitizer


I saw the above pin on Pinterest.  It only takes 3 ingredients, 2 if you skip the essential oil, which I did.  Basically its a mix of one part aloe vera gel and two parts rubbing alcohol.  I threw it together in an empty pump bottle that originally had hand sanitizer in it.

At first I thought that it was too much rubbing alcohol, but I think the consistency is about right.  So how does it compare to the store bought stuff?  Well, the aloe vera has a bit of a residue when you rub it in.  It doesn't dry as quickly as the store bought sanitizer.  But it's aloe vera so it can't be bad for your skin!

Considering that the aloe vera was something I had around the house (I had to buy enough rubbing alcohol to match what I had) it was cheap.  I like cheap.  Will I use it?  Yes, definitely.  Will I do it again?  Eh.

This post is linked at Project Pinterest:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Surprise for Kate!

Last week I got a package in the mail from Amazon.  I thought it might be something Bryce had ordered.  It wasn't.  It was a book called Surprise Party.  I thought for sure that it was a mistake until I read it.

It's about a surprise party for . . . Kate.  Well, I was surprised!

I needed to determine if it was in fact a gift, and if so from whom.  Fortunately, the packing slip had the information I needed to contact Amazon and solve the mystery.

The book was from my friend Alison Brown.  Thank you Alison for the fun surprise.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How I Started My Food Storage: Part VI--Powdered Eggs

My sister told me this last week that she liked my posts summarizing my experiences with food storage.  So, this post is really for her.  Maybe it will help some of you too.

After I got the basics of my food storage in place with the food storage calculator I started to try and figure what else I should be storing.  It didn't take me long to get overwhelmed given the options that are available.  In order to try and determine what other things I want to have on hand I have made an effort to experiment a bit.  Hence, the Self Reliance Experiment.

After having done lived on our food storage twice now, I can honestly say there are a few things I can't live without.  The first (and the subject of this post) is powdered eggs.  I think I have been through at least three cans in the last two years.  And that's while also buying fresh eggs.

Powdered eggs are super handy.  While you can use them as scrambled eggs, we prefer fresh for that.  So, I use powdered eggs in everything else: cookie dough, pancakes, muffins, crackers, cakes, I've even used them for an egg wash to make chicken nuggets.

There are still lots of things I would like to try the powdered eggs in too: pasta, a breakfast casserole or quiche and meatballs.

So far I have been pleased with the results.  I did think the cookies were a little drier than with fresh eggs, but they still tasted delicious.  In fact, perhaps I will go make some right now . . . mmm . . . coooookies.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cardamom Spiced Applesauce Muffins

I have lots of powdered butter to play with.  I don't use it that much, so I decided to try it as a butter replacement in baking.  I started with a favorite recipe: cardamom spiced applesauce muffins.  The recipe is super rich because it calls for both butter and oil.  Since it has two oils, I figured replacing the butter with powdered butter couldn't hurt too much.

You don't need powdered butter to try this recipe.  It is super delicious on it's own.  But Hubby did say these were the best I had made.  Perhaps he was just hungry.  You can see that some of them appeared to have oozed something.  I don't think this was the powdered butter.  I think it might have been the sugar, which is very old and a bit lumpy.  In any event, they tasted great and didn't last long around the house.

Cardamom Spiced Applesauce Muffins

1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 stick butter melted (or 1/2 c. powdered butter)
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
2 c. applesauce
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. cardamom
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper (weird, I know.  But don't skip it!)
2 1/2 c. flour (I think I did 1 1/2 c. whole wheat with 1 c. white.  Maybe it was the other way around.)

Mix together ingredients and scoop into lined muffin tin.  Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean.  Makes about 24 muffins.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jelly Beans for Dinner?

One of the things I have thought about doing with this second round of the Self Reliance Experiment is having one meal a week that is meatless and based on beans.  Beans are good for you, right?  This is a good idea, right?  Well, I'm feeling a bit discouraged.

This last week I planned a meal of beans and rice.  I thought that if I could make the beans sweet and yummy they would be as delicious as a Chinese stir fry.  Perfect over rice.

I made the beans in the crock pot using some of the beans I canned with Fiona as part of our rice-a-roni canning day.  Basically it was a pound of white beans, 2 T. dried celery, 1/4 c. dried onion, 1 t. garlic powder, 2 T. chicken bouillon and 6 c. water thrown into my crock pot.  They cooked beautifully and only needed some salt.  For a sauce I added some "Desert Glaze"  which is basically a prickly pear cactus syrup with some spices including chilies.  I thought the sweet and spicy would be a great sauce for beans.  And it was!  I thought it was delicious.

So the problem?  Neither of my kids would eat the beans and rice.  No shocker there!  But Hubby informs me he doesn't think beans and rice is a meal.  Oh.  Well, good thing I had some taco pockets on hand to throw into the mix.  No one went hungry.

Now, to my husband's credit he said that he would eat beans once a week because they are inexpensive and I am doing my food storage thing.  But I have to confess that I've lost a little wind out of my sails.  It makes me feel like I am cooking frumpy meals.  No one likes to feel frumpy.

So, I am considering feeding my family jelly beans for dinner.  At least I know they will enjoy them.

I'm only kidding.  Sort of.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pin Reviews

I was looking at some of my old pins and realized that there a few that I have tried and never bothered to blog about.  I always like reading other bloggers experiences with testing pins, so I hope you find these helpful.

I saw this pin and knew it would help clean up my sink.  I could have been crafty and made my own cake stand, but I just used my glass cake stand instead.  It works wonders to have a place to stick sponges and soap.

I used this pin to hang a trivet in my kitchen.  Instead of a safety pin I used a paperclip.  Just hot glued the paperclip in place.  Perfect!

I thought this pin was so clever since I am a canning nut.  The next time I used up a salt container I cut the top off.  The only problem?  I didn't know what to store in the jar!  Lol.

I also thought this pin was clever because I have toddlers.  The problem?  Toddlers don't like to have something in between their hand and the popsicle.  Perhaps they like to have it drip down to their elbows . . .

What pins have you tried out lately?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Twisty Ties in a Jar

So this is the latest pin that I attempted to replicate in a desperate effort to entertain my children while simultaneously trying to get something done.

Since I didn't have any pipe cleaners I used twisty ties (see there is more than one use for these things!).  I put them in a mason jar and let the kids have at it.


Unfortunately the graham crackers were more entertaining.  Then I realized that part of the problem with the jar was too thick.  You'll notice that the original pin looks like a plastic jar.  Well, we'll have to try that tomorrow.  But I still have my doubts that it will keep them occupied for hours.  But hey, I'd take five minutes.

UPDATE: I just linked this post to Project Pinterest.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Heidi's Zucchini Soup

This soup was so good that my three year old requested it for lunch!  I can barely get him to eat mac and cheese let alone anything with a vegetable.  I have to agree it was so delicious.  Thanks for the recipe, Heidi!

Here is how I made it:

1.  Bring 5 cups water, 1 T. chicken bullion, 1/2 onion diced and 4 zucchini chopped to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.
2.  Blend soup until smooth.  I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender would do just fine.
3.  Add 3/4 c. potato pearls and blend until combined.  The original recipe called for real potatoes but since I didn't have any Heidi suggested I use instant.  They made the soup taste so creamy that I almost skipped the last step, but that would have been a shame.
4.  Add 8 ounces cream cheese and stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lemon Cubes

You might remember when I zested a bunch of limes and froze the juice.  Well, I decided to do the same with some lemons.  Only this time I just froze the juice and the zest together.  Why not, right?  These cubes will be perfect to use in this lemon chicken or anything else that needs a little brightening up.  What do you like to use lemons for?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April's Grocery Purchases

From April 15-30 I purchased the following food items.
  • 6 gallons milk
  • curry powder (used here)
  • chocolate syrup
  • peanut butter
  • 2 dozen eggs ($0.50 each!)
  • graham crackers
  • 2 cartons of ice cream
  • popsicles
  • carnation instant breakfast
  • powdered sugar
Total spent: $40.91

With a budget of only $25.00 for the half month, I didn't do too well.  It also looks like all I purchased was milk and treats.  In my defense, the powdered sugar and one of the ice creams were for a birthday dinner for my father-in-law, whom I love.  I really wanted him to have a nice birthday.

My second excuse is that the popsicles were for my son who was teething this last week.  You could say they were for medicinal purposes.

My last excuse is that I honestly didn't realize how much milk we go through.  I stopped buying 1% for myself, but that leaves 6 gallons of whole milk for my boys and my husband in two weeks!  I think I might have to adjust my budget to accommodate all the milk drinkers here.

If we drink 12 gallons per month that's about $29 for just milk.  And since I add instant breakfast to it for my kids (It adds protein and vitamins.  Yes, I know it adds sugar too.  No need to lecture.), that could be another $14.  That would be about $43 just for milk.  That leaves only $7 for other purchases.  I really want to try my SREII for a least a few months. So . . .

. . . my new budget for May will be $75.


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