Tuesday, December 29, 2009

YAY! If you are reading this it means I can know blog from my cell phone... This could be fun lol.

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The perfect gift??

I'm sure you all know I love to cook and bake, and you can probably imagine that I have tons of cookbooks.. This is all true, but there is one that was given to me that is my favorite. At my bridal shower my than future MIL and SIL's gave me a cookbook. Not just any cookbook, it's my favorite cookbook. The perfect cookbook. I don't know where they got it, but after all these years, i've finally found one.

Mine is worn, to say the least, but it still has lots of life left.

When they gave it to me, they had it filled with many family favorites for cookies, salads, pies and even a few main dishes. They had taken the cards and had Grandma Dugan fill many of them in herself. There were also room for more. I was able to fill it up even more with favorites from my family. When I'm in the mood to cook, it's the first thing I grab. When we discover a new favorite of our own, I add it in there so I can find it quickly again. So I wanted to pass this on to my daughter, who loves to bake and cook as much as myself. Sooooooooo I'm so excited I found one. I got it in the mail a few weeks ago and have been busy filling it up, Amber doesn't know about it. I'm going to try to fill it up and give it to her for her 10th birthday in March. She can than put it away and save it for when she is grown up. I'm sad to think she'll grow up, but it's bound to happen.

Here is where I found it..

It was brought to my attention, after I posted this, that they no longer offer these books, BUMMER!!.. I've been searching online and the closest I can find is making your own. One point I will make about that is, if you can find the plastic protectors that holds the 4X6 photos, 2 to a page you will be much happier. It's nice being able to pull the recipe out sometimes, and saves room putting 4 per page (2 on front, 2 on back). This site offers them, but they cost 1/2 what it cost for my whole book EEK! If I find a new source for these books I promise to post it)

I will try to take some pictures of the new one to post of here. It holds a 4x6 index card and is protected with plastic..

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My freezer dinners!

So i've gotten some more meals put in the freezer. Actually I have a list of 14 meals i'd like to have ready, i've got 6 done so far. Not bad. I'm not trying to cook them all in one or even two days, i've given myself a week.

First I made a list of the dinners, after scouring cookbooks and websites. Than I made a grocery list and went to Meijer and Sam's club. Here's my list. I'll put the one's I've finished first and link them to the site I found them at if possible.

1. Bean & Pasta soup

2. Lemon chicken: I make this up, and froze them in bread pans, THAN once it was frozen, I removed them and put them in a vaccum packed bag. (Frozen liquid doesn't get sucked out and prevent the whole vaccuum thing LOL)

3. Chicken Manicotti: I didn't freeze it with the sauce, but rather just ran the pre-frozen chicken tenders under warm water enough to cut in half, seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic and stuffed them into the shells. They are pretty tough, i didn't have any break. I than used the plastic package them came in to store them in, just wrapped them in tin foil than a plastic gallon bag and wrote directions on top.

4. Stew meat: I just seasoned it, browned it and threw it in a freezer bag, ready to throw into a crock pot.

5. Beef roast: Put some garlic cloves in side, salted and peppered and vacuum sealed.

6. Meatloaf: dinner tonight lol. Instead of making once loaf, I made 3. 3 pounds of burger, 1/2 pound of sausage, some homemade breadcrumbs (Abigail can't have crackers), some canned mushrooms with the juice and beef broth. Oh and salt and pepper, onion and garlic too. I made 2 loafs in a bread pan, and froze them raw. Once frozen I popped them out (a little hot water on bottom helps) and vacuum sealed them.

Here's the one's I still have to make

7. Chicken Pot pie: no recipe really, just some dough, pot, cooked chicken cubes, frozen mixed vegi's flour to thicken, I freeze them raw.

8. Beef Noodle Supreme:

9. Lasagna: I've done this many times. I make a HUGE pan, cook it, cut it into single meal size portions, once it's cooled. Vacuum pack it, it's GREAT warmed up!!

10. Beefy Rice Casserole:

11. Cheesy Ham & Hashbrown casserole:

12. Chicken Fahita Meat: Just pre season and cut chicken into strips, freeze.

13. Stuffed burgers: Well i don't have a recipe exactly, but basically make two patties, make a mixture of butter, garlic, cheese, onion, or whatever sounds good, put a blob in the middle and put the patties together, smoosh the edges together and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Than you can put them in a bag together (freeze separate, than you can get them apart to cook w/o waiting for them to thaw)

14. Chicken Broccoli Bake:

Just a tip, make sure you label everything. If you can put cooking directions on them. You may remember now, but in a month or so, you may not!!

I did put some cooked chicken and broth in the freezer too, and some cooked burger for spaghetti.. Now for the rest of my list lol.. If you have idea's about some recipes, lets hear them. And that's it!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bean & Pasta soup mix

I've been seriously considering the whole Once a Month Cooking idea. I did this on a short term while I was pg for my last two kids, and it was SO nice. Dinner was easy, quick and not much fuss. Sooo I've been looking for recipes to make up ahead and store in the freezer. I have a list of 13 whole or partial meals to make up. I went shopping and got most of the stuff. Here is the first one I made. It smelled really good, even tho it wasn't even cooked lol.

Here is where I found the recipe (and several others I'm going to use too)

Of course, you know me, i changed it a little. First off, it's not in a jar. Jar's take up more space and i'm not giving them as gifts, sooo I just used a quart size freezer bag, used a small Ziploc for the seasoning and placed it inside the bag with beans. I also left out the pasta. It only amounts to less than 1/2 cup in each bag, so I will just add it when we make it. I buy my noodles in large bags, so it won't matter if I only need a little amount. The other thing I changed is the bouillon cubes. Abigail can't have them and they have way to much salt in them anyhow, sooo I just left that out and will use broth instead of water. I than printed the instructions on a 3x5 card and put it inside, zipped up the bag, folded the flap over and used tape to keep it from coming undone. I than put all 6 bags in a gallon size bag and put it in the freezer. Space is limited so my chest freezer gets LOTS of use. lol

Here is what my index card says:

Bean and Pasta Soup mix

Sort and wash beans.
Combine the following in crock pot or Lg casserole pan
seasoning packet
3 quarts of beef broth
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup of cooked meat (ham, bacon, sausage)
1 (14 ½ oz can) can diced tomatoes.

Cover and cook till beans are soft
add ½ c. uncooked noodles. Cook till done.
Makes 9 cups.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I found some awsome sites for baking!!

Ok, so i'm always on the hunt for new recipes to try. Esp since we have food allergies to deal with. If I can make a 'convenience' food, homemade I'm SO happy!!!

So I was just searching for cream of mush soup. I've made it of sorts in my pork roast. Just used a can of mush and flour and water, but what if I want it for other recipes and what about cream of celery, chicken etc. well, I FOUND A RECIPE for ALL of them.. YAY!!!!

I'm SO excited, having a recipe means I can substitute milks and butters for Abigail friendly foods. Here is the link and I copied and pasted it below.

Ingredients (recipe is equal to 1 can)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch pepper (optional)

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning or sage
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (I use homemade)
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon diced onion
1 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped mushroom
1 tablespoon onion
1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 cup tomato juice

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and saute veggies (if using).
2Whisk in flour, salt, and spices (if using).
3Let cook 1 minute, stirring often; slowly add liquid(s). Whisk continually until bubbly and thick. (If making cheese soup, stir in cheese here).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Cake

I can't believe I've never posted this recipe. For all you peanut butter lovers, I'm sorry, you really don't know what you've been missing. This is hands down the BEST cake you will ever taste. It's moist, rich and so very versatile. I LOVE peanut butter, as a matter of fact, my nickname growing up was peanut butter lol. This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Matter of fact it was the cake my MIL made for my baby shower lol, and we also used it at our 10 anniversary party too, and various birthdays thru the years. YUM!! My only warning is, it's big, so make it when you can share it, because you WILL want to keep eating it lol..

The PB cake we decorated for our 10 ann. party. They said to decorate it to reflect us, so we chose a pond setting, with our little turtle kids heading to it, and one still hatching (I was pg with Abigail).. It was a great celebration with my inlaws celebrating their 30th and grandparents their 50th..

Peanut Butter Cake

You will need a jelly roll pan, or a sheet pan with sides 17" X 12" ish and at least 1" deep. If you want to half the recipe, it would probably work in a 9x13, but I've never made it that way.

in a sauce pan heat
1C. water
4 T (heaping) Peanut Butter
1 1/2 t salt
1 c marg.

once melted slowly incorporate
2 eggs
1/2 c sour milk
1 t vanilla

being careful not to cook your eggs in the mix (you can let it cool slightly first, or just blend your eggs and warm it up slowly by adding some of the warm mixture to the eggs, than mixing it all together)

mix in

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. soda

Bake in 375 oven for 20 min. Do not over bake it. It will be soft and spongy..

While it's baking, make the frosting using the previous saucepan

melt together

1/2 c marg
1/3 c milk
4 T peanut butter (heaping)
1 t. vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar

Pour over the cake while they are BOTH still hot. TIP: use a spatula to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan first, so the frosting goes down the sides rather than outside the pan. It will be runny.

than let it cool as long as you can stand to wait and try some!!!

I know the recipe sounds complicated, but really it isn't. The basic idea is to melt the PB and marg so it mixes in better. Besides once you try it once, you find it VERY worth it..


Oh I want to add, this cake freezes well too. Just cool it completely, than either freeze it in the pan for a day, than removed and wrap well, or take out in pieces and freeze. Be sure to frost it first..

Friday, December 4, 2009

The snow has arrived!

My kids have been looking forward to snow since, well since summer lol.. So when they seen less than 1/2" on the ground before bed last night, they made plans to get up early and go out and play. As I put David to bed last night he told me..

"Mom, when I get up, I'm going to get dressed and get my breakfast and go outside and make a snow angel" lol.

So here's the conversations that went on this morning when they woke up. So much for Yahoo's prediction of less than one inch accumulation over night..

Marky "this is the BEST DAY EVER!!"

David "Abigail, look there's snow outside"
Abigail " Uh-huh, I see snow"

They rushed thru breakfast and getting dressed. David didn't even need the usual "encouragement" to get dressed. They were outside around 10 am, a record for even being dressed (we homeschoolers don't hop out of bed as early as the rest of you, and can do school in PJ's lol)

Here are a few pictures I snapped this morning..

The first time she wore her snow pants, the was SO happy to put them on and they looked quite funny going almost clear up to her arm pits.

Pretty in Pink

Sled rides YAY

His first snow angel of the season.

The pond on our patio in under there somewhere

And of course we had to have some warm hot cocoa when we came in.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

my oldest wants to know!

OK, so it's been a while since I've posted on here, sorry. I seem to be on my facebook page alot more often lol. So if you know me, you can find me on there and keep up with me. We've had a lot going on, and Dec and Jan will be very hectic..

I just had a quick thought for here today.

My 9 yr old asked me yesterday, "Why do people idolize Santa?" We've been learning about the fruits of the spirit and flesh in our Bible study we have here. We also just got done studying about halloween, so it's all still very new and interesting to her.

So why do we idolize Santa? How, you may be asking me.. Well think about it, what do the songs that we sing over and over say??

"He knows when you are sleeping,
He knows when your awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
so be good for goodness sake"

We don't just sing this over and over, we hear it in the stores, on the radio, even in the cartoons and movies we watch. And we want them to believe it. How is God suppose to feel about that?? We put more effort into making them believe in Santa than him.. On top of all that, it's all a lie..

Out of the mouth of babes, it's no wonder he wants us to be like children...

(In case you didn't already know, we don't celebrate Christmas, as a matter of fact the only "holiday" we celebrate is Thanksgiving. If you know me, this doesn't come as a surprise, if you don't well, sorry for the shock, you can breathe now. We celebrate God and all his truths, the KJV Bible way, and celebrating a Pagan filled holiday is NOT one of his commandments. If you want to know more, here's a post I made a few years ago about Christmas. I make no promise that you won't see more or less on here about my beliefs, but I do promise that if you ask me, I will tell you. I'm not ashamed for how and why we believe, but I want to be a postive example, not a cram it down your throat kinda person.)

So pray for us these next few months, we have some things going on that are going to make us VERY busy.... I will try to post a little big more often, I just don't want to bore everyone and repeat everything all facebook lol..

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apple Sauce Raisin cookies

I was looking thru my cookbook to find a cookie recipe that would easily adapt to be dairy, egg and soy free. I found this old one from Grandma Dugan. I'll post the original and the 2 variations I tried. I found that it works well with our without raisins and if you omit the spices, chocolate chips would probably work great too (the expensive dairy and soy free kind)

Apple Sauce Raisin Cookies. (original)

1 C soft Marg/butter
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C white sugar

2 eggs
1/2 C applesauce

3 1/4 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

1 C of raisins, plumped (in warm water) and drained

Bake 350 for 12 -14 min.

Applesauce Raisin cookies, using goat butter (@ $5 a LB. EEK), egg, dairy and soy free

1/2 C canola oil
1/2 C softened goat butter

3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C white sugar
1/2 C applesauce
3 T. water

3 1/4 C flour
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

1 C Raisins, plumped and drained

Bake 350 for 12-14 min.

I only added 1/2 C raisins, and they were still good. These were very much like a cookie texture.

Apple Sauce Raisin cookies, butter, soy and egg free.

1/2 C canola oil
1/2 C mashed banana
1/2 C applesauce
3 T water

3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C white sugar

3 1/4 C flour
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

I omitted the raisins on this one, and made some into muffins. My SIL said they were "heavenly". The kids begged for more and since they were cheap to make (no $5 lb goat butter) I said sure. They freeze well too. The dough is VERY sticky for this last recipe. The cookies turn out SUPER moist, almost like a bread rather than a cookie.

If I try some variations I let you know how they taste. Sorry I can't add pictures, my laptop is in the shop, so I can't upload them from my camera.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A few good links!!

I have a few new favorite websites I wanted to share....

My SIL was showing my something on this one and I kept looking around the site. They have TONS of really nice, cheap and useful stuff on there.

LTD Commodities

I'm eyeing some socks they have right now. Yes I like to wear skirts in the winter, and yes I freeze sometimes. As a kids we wore those sweater tights, anyone remember them? Can't tell you how many skinned knees i got in them, and scabs grew thru the tights OUCH lol.. Anyhow, these days I'm not much for the whole tights thing, so finding some long warm socks is awesome.. They are cheaper than even Walmart. $7 for a set of 4, not just solid colors either. Check them out here. I'm thinking about getting a set for both Amberlin and myself...

They have a set of rugs I'm eyeing too, maybe when I pull up this carpet I'll get them. It would match our style and a set of 3 would cost about $100 incl. shipping. Not to bad I think.

There's another site pretty much the same, sometimes the stuff is a bit cheaper, not always.

If you are into sewing, here's one you might like. I do alterations, and this site is going to be invaluable. When i worked at the Tailor shop they ordered from a place like this, and oh how I've missed being able to get just zipper sliders, you can't find them in a decent selection at Jo-Anns. So this place is cheaper, better selection and larger quantities. Most items you can buy single...


If your more into the artsy craftys kinda stuff and/or dressmaking, this site may be more useful for you. My Mom has purchased their lace and items like that, she was very happy.


So that's it for now. Tomorrow David turns 4 EEK, can you believe it?? And the dentist called for him to come in tomorrow. He has a molar that needs filled. We are on their cancellation list since we loose insurance at the end of this month. I'll let you know how it goes.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Easy Chicken, Mushroom Gravy

I will first say, this is NOT a soy free gravy. It can be made soy free if real broth is used.

chicken bouillon (the label tells you how much to add)
1 can of mushrooms with juice

I chop the garlic, onion and mushrooms up and add it in with the water and the rest. Than I let it all simmer. Once it's boiled for a bit, I add some water and flour mixture to thicken it up.

I than have a kinda homemade chicken, mushroom gravy to go on mashed potatoes.

If I have homemade broth I use that, but sometimes I don't. You could use canned broth as well. Just add enough liquid till you have enough gravy.. You could do the same with beef, venison or pork broth as well. YUM!! It's going on our mashed potatoes i'm making with Amish fried chicken for supper..


Friday, September 18, 2009

Crown, root canal or just pull it!!

Have I mentioned before that I'm not fond of doctors?? Well I'm not, unfortunately it's a necessary place to visit.

I had healthy teeth growing up. Never had a cavity till I was 18 yrs old. We went every 6 months, my dad was very consistent with our dental care. I remember going to the dentist, and this was before they had those nice suction things and wore masks (bad memories). We had a little sink beside the dental chair to rinse and spit in. The dentist ran the place with his son, they were both good, but the dad, well he had BAD breath. They didn't wear masks and he always made me gag from the smell. UGH.. I was to embarrassed to tell him, "your breath stinks, that's why I gag" he was obviously a little annoyed at my constant gagging. So we don't go to him anymore. I do love our dentist now, he's great with the kids and hubby has been going to him since he was a kid. Very family friendly. Still not fond of going and having my teeth pulled apart tho..

So we have insurance at the moment and went in for a cleaning, this was Davids first cleaning. He did GREAT!! He was in Amber's room and watched her get done. Her nurse was very patient and let him smell and feel the tools and such. So he climbed up in his chair when it was his turn. He already knew what tooth paste he wanted, which sunglasses and which tooth brush. He was VERY specific lol. I was in the next room and could hear it all. I heard him tell his nurse several times, "the other lady had...." so they were very comforting and he did fine even with no one in there. Mark and Amber's teeth look great. David has a little cavity in a molar.

So on to me, well back around the first of the year (while we had no insurance) I broke my molar in the top right. It was sharp and annoying to chew on but didn't hurt and I wasn't going to rack up a bill for it. I did go in sometime in Mar to have my front tooth fixed. I had a cavity and it was getting to the point it was showing black on the front. So we decided we could handle $80 to fix it. They also checked out my molar, sanded the sharp point off and said GET IT FIXED ASAP!! Well ASAP was Wed.. We found we had insurance and it ends the end of the month. Oh the joys of Union's... So i got on their on call list, if someone called in. Tuesday I got a cleaning with the rest of the family (after 2 yrs EEK) and they called me on the way home and said I could come in at 3 on Wed to hopefully get a crown. They did an X-ray and it showed the decay stopping close to the root, so maybe we could crown it, maybe we would have to do a root canal. Let's try and hope for a Crown..

They decay was to far down, a crown would fix it for now, but not last long, and root canal was the best option OR just pull it.. Oh a tough decision.. i was already numb so get it done now, or come back and do a root canal later. ugh...

Well we decided lets just pull it.. My appt was at 3pm, I got out of there at 8pm, YES 5 hours later. Ends up I have really hard teeth and it was infected, poked thru into my sinus AND I inherited my grandfathers hooked roots. YIPPEE but it's all over and I don't have to go back. My mouth is really small so that didn't leave much room either.. My tooth came out in about 20 pieces, they had to drill it apart. Pulling only helped a little, the nerves kept coming un-numb (mostly likely leaked into my sinus) and it was so close to my jaw it could only move in 2 directions with out hurting...

So I'm on an antibiotic for the infection and Ibuprofen, being here with 4 kids all day, there's not much else I can take. It seems to be working, 400mg every 4 hrs. I feel much better than I expected to. So that was Wed, this is Friday only a few more days and I should be good and new right???? and maybe I won't get as many sinus infections too..

So that was my week, how was yours?? LOL

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Items you don't expect to contain soy, dairy, egg or oats

Yes there are some products you want to assume are fine and are surprised are not. So here's a list of some of the items I was surprised to find soy, dairy, egg or oats in. Some seem SOO obvious now..

Vegetable shortening and oil: It's all made from soybean oil. I've yet to find a solid shortening I can use that does NOT contain soy in one form or the other. Coconut oil, Canola oil and Olive oil are the only alternatives I've found. Unless you go to Goat butter..

Chicken bouillon and broth: They all seem to contain some form of soy as a preservative.

Cream of ... soups: Cream of Mushroom, chicken, broccoli any canned cream of soup contains dairy.

Meijer Organics Rice Milk: contains soy, try Rice Dream or Westsoy instead.

Country Time Lemonade mix: Pink and regular both contain soy.

Most Cake mixes, pancake mixes and cookie mixes: all seem to contain eggs and/or dairy in the mix. See my post of items you CAN use for alternatives.

Premixed spices. I have a few that are my favorites, but have now found that, they contain soy as a preservative. So watch your mixes, or just make your own.

Sherbert ice cream: I always thought it was an alternative, but no, actually it's not. it does contain dairy. Schwans carries a strawberry Sorbet that is dairy free and Popsicles are a great alternative too.

An update

So as you've probably noticed, we've been having to re work out whole kitchen philosophy. Our youngest daughter was recently, well about 2 months ago now, diagnosed with several food allergies. I noticed she was wheezing alot. It didn't seem to stop after we made it thru winter and thru a few colds and teething. I had to admit that, yes maybe she was allergic to something. First we tried dairy. All the milk went away from her diet. She stopped wheezing, it was wonderful. Than as we started down the road of dairy free, adding soy and rice milk and other replacements, she started getting diarrhea, ALOT.. So I decided to take her to the allergist and get a test done. I have several allergies, none to foods, but all environmental allergies. My son seems to have inherited them. We also have food allergies in the family (my sisters, niece and such), so it was worth checking out. They did a test right than, the kind where the pick your back will several different things. YES it hurts for a minute, but she was fine after a few minutes. So the results were taken and to my surprise She was just as allergic to SOY as she was to MILK (casein). Also to Egg yolk, dairy and shell fish (we'll just lump that with seafood). Of course she has all the environmental allergies as well. So we are off and on our journey to making her healthy.

I've talked to several people with food allergies and have very much appreciated all the advice. I am now a label reader lol. I stand and read EVERYTHING, every time I buy it almost. I was shocked to find that Meijer Organic Rice milk contains Soy. I'd bought it, when they were out of the normal brand I was buying (Rice Dream). I was using Peanut Butter in some cookies instead of Marg and found that not all peanut butters are alike. The nice big jar from Gordons, has Soybean oil in it, I can use Save-a-lot brand tho. Go figure, the cheaper brand is better for her.. Our beloved Ragu spaghetti sauce is no longer our most used. I have found a few less popular brands that have a few flavors that don't contain some form of cheese. Pizza sauce is another one we have to substitute. And BREAD, there is NO bread i have found that doesn't contain either Milk or soy, so I have to make my own bread for her. I have found that I don't use it much anymore. If we have burgers, I just give it to her with ketchup, if we have sloppy Joe's, it's (homemade mix) and just on the plate for her. There is a few brands of tortilla shells I can use for her. They are kinda hard for her to chew, she's not even 2 yet..

Going out to eat is pretty much out of the question, unless it's a buffet with a salad bar. There are a few fast food options, but we try to avoid them. So we have a few fruit cups in her bag and always keep some snacks on hand for her, in case we get stuck out on a long day. Something else I have in the truck is a Ziploc bag with some plastic silverware and napkins and plastic cups. If all else fails we can go to a grocery store and find some ready to eat fresh fruits and vegis..

So I'll try to collect all the tips and bad ideas we've tried on here. If you have any, I'd love to hear them.

Food products that are Dairy free, egg free, soy free, Oat free

I'm going to collect the names of the brands and mixes, broths, and well everything I find that I've found I can use in cooking and baking..

Since Abigail is allergic to Milk, Soy, Egg and Oats and fish, they will all be free of these items.

I do use rice milk instead of milk, bananas, apple sauce or PB instead of Marg and Canola oil instead of Veg oil and melted marg. I'll list any other substitutions I use as well. I will just keep adding to this list as I find more.

Baking Mixes:

Meijer Naturals, Vanilla all natural cake mix: I use 1 -2 mashed bananas instead of melted butter. Made them into cupcakes for a breakfast muffin for her.

Bisquick HEART SMART Pancake and Baking Mix: (WATCH the labels, the regular one contains soy? I believe)

Canned products:

Spartan ready to serve Beef broth: (NOT the chicken, it does contain soy)

Panner (Save-A-Lot brand) Peanut butter: NOTE: Jiff, Peter Pan, Wal-Mart brand and every other one i've looked at contains soybean oil)

Snack foods:

Enjoy Life brand cookies and snacks (Meijer carries a small selection, our local health food store carries a larger variety, or you can find Enjoylifefoods online).

Better Made Special Potato Chips: it's a off brand I find at Wal-Mart and a few other stores. I know the plain flavor are fine, not sure if there are flavors or not.

Gummy candies, so far all the brands I've seen are fine. BUT watch the labels, some may use some form of soybean oil.

Marshmallows, store brand and name brands seem to be fine

Hershey's Syrup (ONLY Hershey brand, the store brands all seem to have dairy in it)

Meijer Sourdough nuggets pretzels (NOT all of their kinds are soy free, read your label)


Rice and Corn Chex: Great Value (Wal-Mart) and General Mills brand are both fine.

Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheat's: (I know the frosting would make you think it's got dairy, but it doesn't)

Cream of Wheat

Ralston 100% Wheat Hot Cereal

Kellogg's Rice Crispies

Kellogg's Raisin Bran


Di Campania Classico Pasta Sauce: Traditional Sweet Basil & Roasted Garlic are both fine ( I find these at Meijer)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our art class project!

Well school has officially begun. We are heading into it full time. We were doing it year round, but not everyday. I don't want them to forget everything, but I do want them to be able to spend time with family that is out of school...

So we have our schedule set and here is our first art project. We are going to try to do art once a week....

I'll post pictures of the finished project..

Here's where I got my idea from

but to make it even more interesting, we are going to pick a Bible story to make puppets for and act out with them.. Hmm this should be interesting... So off I go to get it all ready. What story will we choose?? i don't know yet.

For a quick update of the happenings around here, well my baby girl has officially been diagnosed with allergies. Yea we took her to get a test done and she is allergic to milk, soy, egg yolks, and oat. So we've been busy trying to get all of that out of her system for the past month. It's amazing how many things you find soy in.

I'll post more on that later...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Since I'm on here posting about PB&J cookies I'll take an extra few mintues and tell you what's been going on her, or what's going to be going on..

I've lived in Michigan my WHOLE life, but NEVER been to Mackinac to watch the fireworks, WELL this year WE ARE GOING!! Hubby's job is working out so that we are heading up north for a week!! YES!! We are all very excited.. I get to watch the fireworks from St. Ignace. We are camping on Lake Michigan at a campground. We have a really busy weekend and week because we are leaving on Thursday, and I have to pack the camper. Hubby just got to slide out on the camper out for me, so I can get into my pantry and get it loaded.

Sunday I have a fitting for a bridal party (very excited!))
Monday appointment for WIC and picking strawberries
Tuesday we are making strawberry Jam!!
Wednesday we have eye doc. appt

Oh and yea in the mix I have to load the camper, dig out my canning jars from the shed, get the house ready to be empty for a week and all the stuff that goes along with normal life...

but all that work will be well worth it.. You see if won't just be us going... there will be about a dozen or so of us from Marks family going and we are going to have a BLAST... We've got our dinners planned and everything....

Well I better get busy!!!

PB&J cookies!!!

If you've read my blog much, than you know I love making up recipes and trying new ones.. Well a few comments on facebook prompted this one. I was making peanut butter cookies anyhow and decided to try making them into PB&J..

I just made the usual peanut butter recipe and than make a hole with my thumb and added a glob of strawberry jelly. I cooked them like regular ones and they worked just fine. The only down side is, you can eat them hot like PB cookies, HOT jelly is REALLY HOT lol.. So try it, everyone seemed to like them..

Oh the kids think there wasn't enought jelly lol. Because once you cook them the cookie spreads and the jelly melts in a little lol. Amber suggests adding more after you pull them out of the oven. I'm thinking we'll just make a bigger hole or something...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My newest sewing project...

I've been busy lately. Well we turned off our satellite television and even thou I didn't think i watched it alot, I have more free time, sooooo I've been able to get more sewing done... I've not have alot of time to type however, because I sew when Abigail is sleeping (and not on my lap)... Anyhow, here's my latest projects. I seen the idea a few years ago and we did a pillow for my MIL along the same lines..
I've started my own sewing business and have a website to help get the word out..

Here's somethings I will be putting on there.. I only have one done, but several in the process... It's a bag that has a iris applique on one side and a pocket on the other. The blue iris part is aprox the size of a sheet of paper. Perfect library bag, or church bag... I also have this bag identical but the iris is pink.

This is going to be my favorite so far. They started out as bags, but I think they will make a beautiful set of Satin rose bed pillows.. The stem will fold over to the other side. They are opposite of each other and I think will look very elegant when they are done. As you can see they are quite large..

I'll keep you posted on how it all goes. The satin pillows are coming along very well. So far i've not had to buy any thing for these. I even had the applique interfacing already.. Hmmm how much can i see homemade, each unique bags for????
I have a few more ideas for pictures, so we'll see how far we get...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rotisserie chicken YUM!!

We've had our grill for a few years now, but I finally tried our Rotisserie attachment out the other day. YUP!!! It was GOOD!!

Here's what I did:

First I bought a whole chicken, yea that was a no brainer i know LOL.

Then I put it in my fridge for a few day, no reason other than I just hadn't gotten the chance to make it yet. We ended up making on Memorial Day, so it worked out well.

The day I knew I would be using it, I pulled it out and unwrapped it, pulled out the neck and such in the inside. I rinsed it and pulled out any unsightly leftover feather parts and than I coated it with some seasoning. I suppose just salt and pepper would work too, but I had bought this seasoning from Sam's a few weeks back and wanted to give it a try. So this is what I used, and put it in a glass dish and back in the fridge till I was ready (a few hours)

When we were ready for supper I got my rotisserie all cleaned and plugged in. Ours has a plug to turn it. It worked really good. I got the chicken on the rotisserie before I turned the grill on, and good thing, because that's the hard part. Getting it all to stay on there is tricky. I ended up running to the store to get some turkey lacers (like you find here) and using them to hold the wings and legs up close to the body. If they hang down they get toasted!! It took a few tries and even going back and fixing it after it cooked and got warmed up too, but in the end it worked.

I put more salt and pepper on it and the rotisserie went around in the beginning. It was about a 6 lb chicken I believe and it ended up taking about 2 hrs I think. I just had it on med heat, so it got to be around 350 in the grill (I have a thermometer on my grill). I than used a meat thermometer to check the internal temp on the chicken.

Here's the finish product and it was very YUMMY!!! We had it with some corn on the cob and boil potatoes. I suppose there was enough juice inside to make some gravy, but i was tired by the time it was all done, it took longer than expected and we ended up eating later than planned.

Is it May or not???

I'm beginning to wonder, because it's been kinda chilly around here. Rain isn't unusual in Michigan, but the chill isn't that common in May. It's almost June and it's only in the 50's today. It will get warmer eventually, I know.. Our house is nice and toasty, which is nice. When we did get those few warm days, we didn't even notice since we have central air for the first time EVER too!! We are going to really LOVE it this summer...

We've been going in circles around here lately. Sometimes I wonder if I standing up straight. I can't tell you everything we've been doing lately (soon I can!), but trust me, we've had quite a month and a really busy next few weeks.

We are trying to stay on track with our homeschooling, a constant struggle. We take more breaks off than public schools do, to be able to spend as much time as possible with hubby. His schedule can be erratic to say the least. This winter hasn't been quite as difficult as last year, but it still can be hectic. I'm planning on schooling year round, since we do take breaks. My kids understand that once they get this years work done they will get a "summer break", but since they've never been to public school they don't miss it as much as you would expect. I'm planning on adding a few subjects to next year too, art, Latin and music. I know it's not really adding since we do them in one form or another, but with a regularly scheduled curriculum is the plan.

I'm getting ready to order next years curriculum too, Rod and Staff for Reading, English, Writing, Art and Spelling. I already have the Latin, Music and Abeka Math. I also have a Science curriculum too. I'm debating finding something else, but my kids LOVE it, so it's a hard decision. It's just that it's a old one and from a public school format with the "red lined" teachers books, so I have to scan and edit the answers out. So if anyone knows how to make the answers not print, i would LOVE to know how.. It would save me alot of time and money since I have the curriculum up to 6th grade I believe.. The answers are in red and are not suppose to copy somehow, but i think that only works on the old copiers from what I can figure.

As far as the Rod and Staff goes, I am really liking it. It blends the Bible stories in with the lessons, which actually makes it easier for the kids to learn it, it makes the fill in the blanks make more sense. I can't tell you how many of their old books would ask random questions in the lessons that made no sense to even me. The answer was totally different than what we would call it, or answer. I've gotten that a few times in this, but since it's Mennonite based, most of the answers are related to more historic items (like using oxen with a yoke, something they need to know, but not a normal routine for us lol).

Much to my dismay we've decided to hold off on the garden and greenhouse. Since it's been so cold here, i'm not sure it was a bad idea yet anyhow. My FIL didn't get his garden planted until this week, part because he was busy and part it's just been to cold still. I'm just holding out hope that we'll get to pack up the camper and head out with hubby soon. I'm so ready to go do some camping lol.. I've got it cleaned and packed for the most part. I've still got to find a few things for it, like some decent plastic plates and bowls, but we can survive.

I've got a few most post to get on here, like I tried my first rotisserie on our grill YUM!! I have pictures, and a few others too. I need to get the pictures off my camera still, it's sitting her next to me, that is my next project lol..

So till later!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

WOW it's been a MONTH???

Our peaceful Patio!!

WOW I can't believe it's been a month since I posted on here. Sorry guys!! For those of you who follow me on facebook, you know what we've been up too LOL. I'll have to remember to do both.

So what's been going on around here????

We are finally getting spring weather here, of course that includes rain, but it's warm!! We've gotten out a little bit to clean up the yard, the patio is cleaned off and looks so peaceful... We swept, moved leaves and got our compost pile set up. We have been dumping our food waste in it everyday and mixing our weeds and pots from last year in it as well. We decided to go a less obvious route, hubby didn't like the idea of a tote or anything in his yard, SO... I took advantage of some 4x4's up agains the shed and boxed in a little area. It's not covered, but it's quite long and works well.. We have a long handled claw to mix it all in each day. An added chore but WOW I can't believe how much food waste goes into it each day!!

Our greenhouse is still empty, we are debating what to do this year. With plans to be gone with hubby's job we just aren't sure what to do with a garden. I'd LOVE to have one, really , but with no one here to make sure it is always watered and than picked... Last year most of it went to waste since it didn't always get watered.. Sigh so i'm just not sure what to do yet.

We have been beginning to get prepared for our summer camping as well. I hear JoAnns has their summer stuff on sale, and dishes, so I am hoping to find some nice plastic plates for the camper this year. We will see..

Hmm what else is news!!!! Well we need to mow our lawn, not real news, except that our lawn mower is broken AHH we are going to have a jungle here soon. No one ever stops to offer to mow it for us lol, I think because we used to have the lawn care company and chased them all away...hehe.. No they can stop and don't. Maybe we will get that fixed this weekend??? We've had a new baby in the extended family (no NOT ME!!), we've had a retirement party, a few birthdays, baby shower, a mishap on an ATV, LOTS of excitement!!

And lastly I guess I HAVE to tell you a new recipe, well it's not NEW, but it sure is yummy and it's the first time I made it..

HONEY BUTTER, have you ever had it?? I'm not talking about the kind you get at the restaurants I'm talking about REAL homemade honey butter. IT is THE best....

Here's how I made it

2 parts real butter, 1 part honey. (you can get real butter on sale often, this weeks it's $1.50 at our local grocery store, and it's better for you!!)

Set the butter in a dish, one that you will keep it in is good... and let it soften, DO NOT MELT IT. Once it's soft add the honey and mix it good. I used my electric hand mixer. Than put it in the fridge and use it on all kinds of stuff, PANCAKES ohhh that's good, even better than syrup I think.. If you melt the butter, the honey will separate and sink to the bottom even if you whip it together, and you will find yourself mixing it again anyhow (yea, i tried it that way too LOL)..

Ok, well I'm off to do my weekly shopping, yes with all 4 kids today. Sometimes it works out to leave them with my nieces and sometimes not!!

Oh I almost forgot.... MY newest addition to the tons of other things I do!!! My sewing website. I finally have it done. I've had it in the process for about a year but finally am ready to spread the word.. Please share it with others, and tell me what you think...


OK, we are off to get some groceries!! Wish me luck with 4 kids!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Busy, busy

Warm weather is finally here, or closer anyhow. I know I don't post much, but the warm weather makes me feel more ALIVE!! Lol...

Today I have a large order of alterations to get done. I got it started yesterday. I'm hemming pants, jacket sleeves and taking some sides in as well. I LOVE doing alterations. I love sewing, but I really think my passion is the altering. I know I'm a little crazy. As my mom pointed out last night, I just get busy and don't finish sewing projects, hehe, she was the same way when we were small. It's sad really, I have some really adorable outfits I made for Amberlin and Marky (matching) and now, the dress will fit Abigail this fall... YIKES all it needs is a hem and buttons. I now have it hanging in front of me in stead of packed in a box, so I'll remember it's there. I promise to post pictures.

I'm also looking forward to moving Abigail upstairs to Amberlins room. I'm not sure how soon that will happen, but when it does...... I will have a room just for sewing and office, NOT baby too. It's kinda hard to sew when she's sleeping and harder to sew when she's awake lol. I have great plans for that room. She's still not quite ready to go upstairs yet tho. We do have our school in there as well, but we do our school at the table, and store out books in a tote in the DR. Our shelves of books and such are in the office/sewing/baby room lol..

So it's time to get the kids going at their school and I've got sewing to do.

I'm also compiling a list of some great links I've found regarding composting and simple gardens. I'm really excited about it, I can't wait to get some flowers and vegis in the yard. I have to keep in mind that I have 4 kids, I'm busy and I'm not always here in the summer, so...... if you have ideas, I'd love to hear them and I just may add them to my list on here....

Till later..

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oh goodness...

It doesn't matter how busy you get, life keeps going. Did you ever notice that??? Last week was a busy week, at least for me. My baby was sick most of the week. She ran a fever for a few days, sore throat, congested, just not happy. A few of the others were not feeling 100% either. So since they didn't feel well, or sleep well, Mom didn't sleep well... It was a Loooonnnngg week. It was a happy one to tho, we now have a new nephew and he's adorable...

It's also time to start thinking about planting too. I was just talking to my SIL about a garden and we are planning on doing it together. I'm excited, it will be fun. Last year we tried with the green house, but ended up being gone most of the summer, so they went un watered. This year, we plan on being gone off and on as well, BUT she found a great article on how to plant a garden with mulch and CARDBOARD and not have to water it. YUP we're trying it. We figure it's worth a try. It will be fresh vegis if it works, that will save us $$ and of course it's better for us....

You can see a video from the article at
http://pearloutdoors.com/ Click on "organic gardening video" at the top.

You can read the article from the magazine here..

I'll keep you posted on our plans as soon as we get them figured out lol.

Be sure to check out my tips on practical ways to live a little greener... I post a new tip every Tuesday. There is also a link on the this blog now as well. Come check it out!!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Have you heard?? Turn off your lights for 60 mintues tonight, starting at 8:30pm. WHY?? Well to help bring awareness to global warming and energy concervation.

Find out more at


Let us know if you are going to participate..


Earth Hour 2009

Have you heard about this?? It's been all over the news.. Tonight at 8:30 pm, turn your lights off for 60 minutes and help bring awareness to global warming and energy concervation.

Find out more here and let us know if you are going to participate.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Home made French toast sticks..

I tried something new. Since I had some overly browned home made bread last week, I made them into french toast sticks. They are super easy to make and freeze for later breakfast.

We have french toast for breakfast, so I made some extra dipping mix. Milk, eggs, salt, pepper and some cinnamon is all I use. I took the loaf and sliced it into 1" thick slices. Than I cut each piece (several at a time) into 3 sticks each. I coated them and instead of frying them, I put them on a buttered cookie sheet and baked them. YES I baked them at 400 degrees for oh about 10 minutes I think. I turned them once to brown both sides nicely. When they were nice and toasty I pulled them out, let them cool and threw them into a bag and into the freezer. When we were ready to use them the next day, I spread them on a pan and warmed them in an oven. The kids loved the finger food. A little syrup or fruit in a cup was all they needed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The BEST fried chicken! EVER!!

WOW, I can't believe how good that was. I'm not a good chicken fryer. I try, but it just turns out so-so. Of course no one complains, but I want to make THE BEST.. Well I was told that Amish fried chicken is the best, so I did a search and they were right. Here is the recipe I used tonight, and it was DELICIOUS!! It was easy too and that makes it even better.

I omitted the majoram because I didn't have any and I used olive oil and butter. I was surprised at how much pepper it called for, but now I know what was missing in mine....

Try it and ENJOY.. It's finger lickin good..

Amish Fried Chicken Recipe
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
10 pieces of chicken

1. Place oil and butter in a shallow cooking pan and place in 375ºF oven to melt butter, set aside.
2. In a large paper sack, combine dry ingredients.
3. Roll the chicken pieces, 3 at a time, in butter and oil then drop into a sack and shake to cover.
4. Place on a plate until all pieces are coated.
5. Leave any excess butter and oil in pan.
6. Place chicken in the pan skin side down (or its just as good if you remove all the skin first).
7. Bake at 375ºF for 45 minutes.
8. Turn chicken pieces over and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until crust begins to bubble.


I made this with some potatoes. I cut some red potatoes into bit size pieces. Put them in my stone casserole dish. Added a few tabs of butter, salt, pepper, oil and water. I stirred it together, covered it and put it in the oven with the chicken. It was done at about the same time..

Simple dinner, I like it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Home made of course.

2 parts burger to 1 part sausage.
Chopped onion (not too much, about 1 onion to 3 lbs of meat)
Chopped garlic (I used 2 large cloves to 3 lbs of meat)
Salt and pepper

Mix it up in your mixer and roll into balls. I made mine I'm guessing I used about 1/4c of mix each. They end up being the size of a plum.

I put them on my oiled stone and baked them at 350 till they were cooked thru, but not to brown.

We put them on top of some noodles and sauce. They were really good. I had some extra mix, so I baked and froze them for later use.


If you think sausage cost to much, look again. I can very often find a 1 lb log of sausage for $2 at our local grocery store. Burger is at least, if not close to that. So get some sausage to add some extra yumminess to it. Some store mixed breakfast sausage works great too. A great thing to make and freeze for later. David LOVED being able to helped roll the balls.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This is my favorite bread recipe. It's a little trickier to make, has a few more steps, but it is the BEST...

I got the recipe from my sister-in-law, who got it from her sister. I think it came from an Amish cook book somewhere along the lines.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

1 c. warm water
2 T yeast

Combine and set aside

In the mixer:
2 1/2 c. boiling Water
2 c. Oatmeal

Let the oatmeal and water get mixed well and cool slightly

1 c. Honey
3/4 c. Oil
4 eggs
2 t. salt

Beat well than add the yeast mix

Add the flour 1 -2 c. at a time (a total of 7-8 cups) until the dough is spongy and not sticky (like regular bread)

Grease the top and let it raise till double

Knead down and roll into 3 loaves, grease the top and let raise again.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min. than 350 degrees for 25-30 min.
This step is very important, if you try to cook it at 350 the whole time, the inside will not be done.

When it's done, dump it out of the pan and butter. Place in a bag, as soon as it is slightly cooled (about 10 min). If you wait to long to put it in a bag, the crust will get hard. You don't want it to sweat in the bag, but you don't want the butter to dry.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I haven't forget.....

I really need to try to post more often huh?? I really do try. I have all these ideas that go around and around in my brain and then get lost when I have the time to sit and type. It has nothing to do with having 4 kids, really LOL..

So I've found and tried a few new recipes I've been wanting to put on here. I'll post them separate one per message, hopefully today. Hubby's been home more often lately, which is really nice. Our family time has really gotten a boost, but he doesn't have his own laptop. Our desk top computer is too slow, so he uses my laptop. Hopefully he'll be getting his own here shortly. It seems that when I have time to sit and type for longer than a minute, it's when Abigail is sleeping, in the office, where the desk top is, sooooo.... I sit and read a book instead. I LOVE to read, but tend to read a book in one or two days, if it's good. I read very fast. So I can't put it down. I don't usually even pick up a book, because I know i'll be stuck in it. I got a few from the library and have been totally absorbed lately.

So I'm off to go roll out my noodles for supper right now. My bread is almost ready to put in the oven. The first batch was wheat and yes it was GOOD warm. The second is just plain ole white for the kids that don't like wheat... sigh..

I'll be back later to give you my FAVORITE recipe, YUM
Honey Oatmeal Bread,, I crave this bread, it's sooo yummy..

until later..


Monday, February 16, 2009

Yeast, the baking kind

Have you ever wondered what yeast (the kind used in baking) really is?? Is it a bug? Is it a plant? What is it?? So I hit the internet to find out.

I found a really great site that gave me the info I was looking for.

Did you know that yeast is a micro-organism? Its a tiny plant basically. Of course most people know it needs water to become active and it feeds on sugar. But did you know that salt slows it down?? Soo on those days that my bread just doesn't raise well, I wonder if it's because I sometimes add my salt at the same time as the yeast. I add my yeast, water, sugar and salt all at once. It depends on how much of a hurry I'm in. Soo from now on I will make a point to add my yeast, sugar and water first, after it is 'active' or fluffy I will than add my salt, oil and flour. Just thought I would pass that on..

Here's 2 sites that we found very helpful.



Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Dud" bread = Home made Grilled Flat bread sandwhich

I love baking bread, as you probably already know. Well even I have days that they just don't work. Sometimes is because, as mentioned in my previous post, I unknowingly killed the yeast. Others, well it's just not a good bread day. When it is super humid outside, it can appear to be done after only 5 cups of flour. If I don't add the rest anyways, it just won't raise. So what do you do with dud bread? Well if it didn't raise the first time I'm usually at a loss for what to do. I use it for pizza dough most often, OR this last time I tried some flat breads.

Yes I tried something new, imagine that lol. I decided to try a few things. First I tired to make tortilla shells with them. I rolled them out really thin and fried them in a dry pan. Well they were good with some butter and jelly on them, but were to stiff to roll. So I decided to try baking them next. I separated the dough into smaller dough balls. I got 2 - 3 per loaf of bread. I rolled them into a rectangular shape at thin as possible. I than cut them in half, so I had two rectangles in a 4"x6" shape. I had made some onion/garlic butter to spread on it (chop some onion and garlic and put in some melted butter) after I placed it on the pan. Than I baked it on 350, just till cooked, NOT too brown. Coat with more onion/garlic butter when they come out, BOTH sides this time.

So for the filling, YUM..

Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced into strips. Fry some bacon, than use the grease to partially cook some onion, garlic, green peppers and mushrooms, you can also brown the chicken strips in it. Cook them for a few minutes DO NOT COOK all the way. You want to leave a crunch. When they are perfect fill up your flat bread. Fold it in half, layer some cheese first ( I used provolone for chicken), than add the bacon and meat vegi mix. I added some Feta cheese on top, it was on sale and I had it so YUM...

I used my George Foreman Grill to grill it like a panini. Be sure to make the opening towards the back, so your stuff doesn't all fall out. Grill it, press it flat in there, until it's nice and toasty looking. Than you can take it out and add pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and dressing. Ranch or even some Sweet Vadalia Onion dressing is really good (it's in the dressing section, made by "Kens") YUM.

You can vary the meats but what you have left over. We tried some corned beef last night. I left out the onions and used Swiss cheese instead. It was still good, but not AS good as the chicken. The chicken were SO good, hubby wanted them again yesterday LOL.

Yesterday I tried it with a good dough, and it really worked better with the "dud" bread. They got too thick, they were still GOOD. I made some extras and threw them in the freezer for a quick lunch. So if you want to try some, my bread recipe is here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winter Blaaaaaaas....

I know we still have a month or so to go, but this year the winter is really bumming me out. I guess maybe because I'm stuck in the house more. I mean last winter I was very pregnant and going out to the doctor all the time it seemed. This year I have no appointments. In an effort to save gas and not have to cart all 4 kids out, we've condensed alot of activities. On Monday nights when our kids have their music, they alot of times ride with their Aunt (who lives around the corner). I really like to go and get out, but dragging 4 kids, just is daunting. Only the older 2 have a class, so that leaves the younger 2 to run in circles and be board lol. David is the biggest challenge. At 3 1/2 he's not to keen on sitting still and being quiet. Now Abigail (who will be a year old on Sat!!!) is very mobile and has learned there is a door she can run thru... I go when I can, and miss it when I don't.

So our shopping day is our only day out, really. Thankfully my nieces live close, so I can leave some or all of the kids with them to go shopping. It doesn't always work out that way, but when it does, it's a HUGE relief. Have you taken a 3 yr old into a store? YIKES. He just has to much energy for me. If it was just him, I wouldn't be so crazy, but with Abigail, who is not sure she likes the cart anymore...... I'm not complaining about having 4 kids, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade them for anything, (but maybe more sleep?? just kidding) but being that we homeschool, I need a break at least once in a while LOL. So I can't wait for summer. I can sit on the patio and watch them run off some energy. They seem to think the house is a gym and the couch is a jungle gym. I can't blame them really, they are kids.......

OK, so enough complaining....

Is it Spring yet???

Well we got our first bill since putting in the Geo-thermal. Of course it was for the move previous, so we know how much we hope to save. Our Gas and electric together was $525, yikes... They came by yesterday and read the meter, so we will see how it works out. They estimated it last month. I'm not sure if that means they will give us a refund or what, ha I know, probably not... But I am anxious to see the difference..

So we are back into the singles and teens for temps around here. It's 10 degrees right now. BRR. It got down to singles over night.

Well I better go dig something out for supper. I'm thinking pork chops and rice maybe??? Hmm you think I could bring the grill inside?? lol, no I'll wait till it's warmer outside. I know it's on our patio and I COULD use it, but I would freeze....


Is it spring yet??

Monday, January 19, 2009

An update on the Geo-thermal...

If you live anywhere near the North east, you've experienced some of this extreme weather we've had lately. We have been in the negatives at least at night for the last week, at least. We were lucky to get above 20 today. Of course we aren't even the worst. Mark was in the Quad cities and it was in the -20's and the windchill in the -40's. That's COLD!! Well we of course had our geo-thermal running and thought I would give you all an update on how it worked....

We live in a very old house. We've been doing alot of work to it, since we bought it. New roof, siding, insulation, windows. We even had new duct work put it, since there wasn't any in the 2nd floor before. That said, it's still an old house and still has alot of leaky places. All along the foundation, along the floor you can feel the cold air. We have some floor boards missing that leak air. It's far better than it was. That said our gas furnace has a hard time keeping up when it gets below 0 degrees outside. Well the geo-thermal had a hard time under 10 degrees. Not because it froze or anything, but just because the house leaked so much it just dropped the temp to fast. You see the geo-thermal is more of a constant heat. It runs more often and takes longer to bring up a temp. The gas furnace you turn it on and it blast hot air and warms it up faster. That is why you have to have a back-up source of heat. Most units have an electric backup. It kicks on when the temp drops to fast and warms it up. The Geo takes over and keeps it there. Well we have a new gas furnace, we had to put one in when we moved here, so we opted to use that instead. All it means is, when it drops below 10 outside esp if the windchill is lower, we have to turn the gas on and the geo off to warm the house up. I mean it was dropping 5 degrees in an hour when it was REALLY cold out. So we did have to use some gas, but all in all, we're still happy with it. It saved us a bundle already. We only had to run it for probably 1 day total since we put it in. Mostly at night. A gas furnace would've been running constant with these temps.

So our next big project??? Well figure out how to fix the foundation so it doesn't leak so bad. Maybe we can put a basement in?? Who know at this point. We're still considering our options.

Stay warm!!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rice soup...

is NOT good. Yup I tried it and it just was NOT a good thing. I had some chicken and rice that I had made, used homemade broth and everything. Well the leftovers I thought might make go farther if I made into soup. So I added more broth some vegi's and water, and well it didn't get any farther than the trash. It just was not good. Unlike barley rice get's blander as it cooks. The broth was fine, but the rice was just to blah. I cooked it in lots of flavor and it was great as a casserole type dish. Soo it went into the trash and we had PB & J instead. The kids all tried it, but it just wasn't good. SO I advise don't try this at home LOL. Maybe if there was less rice and potatoes maybe??? but just rice, don't waste your time or food.