Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in the New Year!

We are enjoying a quiet new year with our traditional spread of appetizers and snacks, which include a veggie tray, layered bean dip with homemade tortilla chips, mozzarella sticks, tacos, bubbly and more. Wishing you and your family a blessed and promising 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Staple Foods- Milk

I went shopping for some basics last week, you know, milk, sugar, flour,etc. and you can't help but notice how much food prices have gone up in the last 8-12 months. For example, at a local store that sells the Western Family brand, I had bought some dry beans for .98/lb. this spring. Those same beans are now $1.78/lb. That's a 55% increase in the price of a staple food item, not the 3-6% increase that the media tells you. In my little area of the PACNW, milk prices have remained relatively stable, at about $2.49/gallon over the past year or so. But I noticed that milk is creeping up, anywhere from $2.59-$3.19 a gallon. Dry milk prices are about $15 for a box that makes 5 gallons, so that works out to about $3/gallon. So it may be cheaper for some folks to buy nonfat dry milk and reconstitute it for drinking and baking.

Some people don't like the taste of nonfat dry milk, but where I grew up, our milk was frozen and barged in from Seattle and mom always mixed 1/2 reconstituted dry milk with 1/2 the regular milk from the store. There were times that if the barges didn't make it, we were drinking straight up powdered milk. I liked chocolate Nestle Quick in mine and my brother had Strawberry Quick in his. That was how mom got us to drink a tall glass of milk at every dinner. But I also had it on cereal and with cookies, and I drank it however we had it.

You can improve the taste of nonfat dry milk by adding a tsp. of sugar or vanilla to it. But I like it just plain, too. If I am running low on milk and am not going to be making a trip to town, or when money has been tight, I often mix up a quart of powdered milk, and add it to what is left in the gallon of milk that is in the fridge to stretch it. Just shake it up. You won't even notice. It is a good staple food item to have on hand. If you find it cheaper to buy, or necessary to use dry milk, here are some ways to use it.

To make 1 quart of milk, mix 3 3/4 C water with 1 1/3 C dry milk and mix well.

To make 1 Cup of milk, mix 1 C water with 1/3 C. dry milk and mix well.

Condensed Milk

(14 oz. can)
1/2 C. Hot Water
1 C. Dry Powdered Milk
1 C. Sugar
1 T. Butter
in blender or with beater.

Evaporated Milk
(12 oz. Can)
1-1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. + 1 T. Dry Powdered Milk
in blender or with beater.

Add a tablespoon of
lemon juice or white
vinegar to a cup of
milk and let it stand
for 5-10 min.

Whipped Topping
1/2 C ice water
1 TB lemon juice
1/2 C instant nonfat dry milk
3 TB sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Put water and lemon juice in a bowl and add instant nonfat dry milk, stirring until mixed. Beat until stiff with electric mixer, beat in sugar and vanilla. Use right away.

White Sauce Mix (Magic Mix)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Quiet Weekend

We had a quiet weekend here in our little neck of the woods. We actually got a heavy skiff of snow Sunday afternoon, so we had a white Christmas after all. We went to church and had a quiet Christmas morning opening presents and enjoying some great new pancakes that I discovered.The pancakes are made with whole wheat berries. I was sold on the idea that it was less work to make these whole wheat pancakes, because after all, I didn't have to grind the wheat. But, I was skeptical that the berries would break down in the blender and not have chunks of hard wheat grains that I would be biting down on and cracking a tooth. DH was eyeing the blender in amazement at how fast they broke down. I mean, have you ever tried to bite a wheat berry? They are hard! The pancakes were not gritty or tough, but pleasantly light, fluffy and delicious! And no chipped teeth. Here is the recipe:

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 C milk
1 C dry wheat berries

Put the milk and whole wheat berries in a glass blender and blend on high for 5 min. until thick. Next add, 2 TB. oil, 2 TB honey or sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 eggs and a pinch of salt, blend on med. speed for about 30 sec to mix. Pour onto heated and greased griddle, turn when bubbly and cook on other side until light brown. This made 14 pancakes. Serve with butter, syrup or whatever you like. Enjoy!

Here's Cooper enjoying a warm fire after all the frenzy of opening Christmas presents.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Holiday Blessings

Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your family during this
wonderful season of Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Is There a Chicken Shrink in the House?

BO decided to get off the nest the other day, Wednesday, and in her place were a black sex link and a RI Red. She was in another corner of the barn, on the floor of course. DH said she had been off the nest most of the day and in her new spot. So, here we have a clutch of eggs that she had been brooding on for a week, and then she changes her address. I don't know if the other 2 pullets were trying out her method of squatting in a corner, but I sure wish I had taken a picture. I don't know if they were laying eggs, taking turns with her keeping the eggs warm, trying to be copycats, or what.

Now, what to do with the eggs. You see, I don't keep tabs on BO cock, so I don't know who he is servicing, or what. But I do know that I don't want to collect the eggs and break one open into the frying pan only to find a chick embryo. Ick! Call me squeamish, but that would just about put me over the top and then I'd never want an egg again. Instead, I had DD collect the eggs on the floor of the barn and get rid of them.

But whom do I find on the original nest yesterday and today? My confused BO pullet. Is this what they call sowing your wild oats in the chicken world? She is starting all over again. I would have left the first batch, but hubby said she hadn't been on them at all, and there were the other 2 squatting, or laying, or doing whatever on the clutch. I am hoping there is some chicken shrinks out there to help me out. Next time, do I just leave the eggs that appear abandoned? I know she has to get off to get food and water, but honestly, she just let 2 other hens hijack her clutch and then abandon it. Does she know she is starting over? What if she gets off in 2 weeks? I can't make chickens or eggs out of her. The last time I had a hen brood, she did so out of sight. We never even knew she had been brooding until one day she appeared in the barn with a dozen adorable little chicks. I will try to be patient and let her sort out her nesting instincts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Gifts

We never know what to give my MIL for Christmas. DH usually makes something homemade for her. It seems that there is always one or two people in each family that are difficult to shop for. I used to give her homemade canned treats like maple pecan sauce, cranberry-orange relish, or salsa. But then we would be at her house the following year and there they sat, unopened in her cupboard. So, now, DH is the only lucky one to try and rack his brain about what he can make that will please her. We hope she likes it. Do you think he made me one, too? I will find out in 5 more days. I hope so.

This year he made her this elk cutout for her entry on her front porch, or inside in the foyer.

Last year he made me this elk light switch cover.

The year before he made me this oil candle holder with a mamma bear and 2 cubs. You can see the 2 cubs in the photo. This was harder for him to make as he drew the bears free hand and the hand filing was time consuming.

Random pics from our drive this afternoon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Musings and Cookies

If you've read my blog the last couple of days then you know about my BO sitting on a clutch of eggs on the floor of the barn in the dead of winter. The pic I posted yesterday showed her with some of the eggs the other pullets had laid around her because she was in their "spot." Well, I wasn't wearing gloves and picked up 2 of the eggs that were furthest from her beak reach, leaving the others that were within striking distance with her, on the assumption that I would return later with gloves and be able to grab them unscathed by a sharp, blood drawing peck on the hand. Yes, I know your're thinking it, go ahead, yes, I was chicken to grab the eggs. I know...
Of course, when I went out later, they were gone. Yep, she had added them to her clutch. Now, those eggs are newer than what she already has under her, I can't help but wonder how often while I was gone at work that she snuck more eggs to brood. Good heavens, Lord knows how many eggs are under her, and I don't want to take the chance disturbing her and then she leaves the eggs for good. I will keep you informed of her progress.

Our 2 daughters are off on the big adventure of driving to the city to go Christmas shopping, which is 45 min. away. We have a couple of stores in town and some quaint (expensive) stores in downtown, so they had to go to "the mall" to shop. They stopped along the way at Target to check out what they had. They've been gone for 3 hours and just called. They just finished lunch and are heading home. They found everything they wanted at Target. I have to tell you this because I hate to say it but they are victims of our secular public school and "have" to shop at American Eagle, Rue 21 and other stores that I hate. They "need" to have the name brands. I got away with buying at Target when they were little, but once middle school hit, forget it. That's when they found themselves buying a lot of clothes with their own money, and even then only if it passed mom's inspections. Like, no cleavage showing. No skinny jeans. No inappropriate slogans, pictures or anything else. I can't understand parents (?) who allow their children to cloak themselves with images of death, you know, skulls, dark images, and the like. Why on earth would anyone WANT to represent death and wear signs of death? It is an invitation towards evil if you want my opinion. Anyway, I am secretly smiling inside, because now that they both have jobs and DD18 is living on her own, money is a much more precious commodity. DD18 is paying her way through college. They both like to buy clothes and I totally understand because I did too when I was their age. But they are both making frugal inexpensive choices. Yeah! They spent less than they budgeted. I am so proud of their choices and they didn't even "have to go to the mall."

DD18 is gluten free. I am putting together a gift basket for her for Christmas with gluten free items and I am shopping for a gluten free cookbook. I made Christmas cookies today with gluten free flour just for her so she can enjoy some Christmas cookies. They actually turned out pretty good, very flaky. I have made these cookies every year since I was a child and I still have the original cookie molds. Here is my recipe:

Merry Christmas Cookies

1 1/2 C flour (I used Augason Farms Featherlite flour for the gluten free cookies)
1/2 C softened butter
3/4 C powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 TB milk if dough is too dry
Blend in mixer until it forms a dough. Divide into 24 portions and press into cookie molds, or roll out 1/4 in. thick on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Lightly brush with milk and decorate with sprinkles, etc. Bake at 350 for 8-12 min or until lightly browned on edges. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

BO on Nest

Here's a pic with my new camera of my Buff Orpington (BO) on her clutch. I put some straw next to her this morning for her nest, along with some scratch to eat. You can see there's just a few pieces of straw that she didn't use. The eggs you see were laid today from the other pullets.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken Timing

I just love having chickens around. You get to eat the most delicious and freshest eggs every day, they eat pesky little bugs around your place, and it's just plain fun to have them around to watch. But they are are not the brightest, and think about the little sayings folks picked up over the years by observing them. "Hen Pecked, pecking order, scared as a chicken, running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, she's no spring chicken, they laid an egg, don't chicken out, that's chicken feed, don't count your chickens before they hatch, scared as a chicken, when the chickens come home to roost, go to bed with the chickens, if it isn't chicken, it's feathers, and it's a chicken and egg situation." I'm sure there are more but I can't think of any right now off the top of my head. If you know one, go ahead and add it in a comment.

Well, my point is that they are not that smart. Most animals and birds have their young in the spring and summer, when the temperatures are warmer and the days are longer. That just makes sense for viability issues. We have had a Buff Orpington brooding on the floor of the hen house. There is a corner where several chickens have gotten in the poor habit of laying eggs on the floor, and not in the boxes. I noticed about 2 weeks ago when I went out to put them up for the night, that she was sitting in the corner and didn't get up and run out the door like a scaredy cat chicken usually does. The next morning she was not on the eggs and they were cold, so I collected them. I think she was doing a dry run, because now, she has been on the eggs for the last three days when we have gone out in the morning and evening. I guess if she was doing a dry run, that would mean she has some forethought. I don't know how many eggs there are, but I would love to have little chicks running around. They are so cute. But it is December, and here it has been cold and foggy with lows of 10-14 to highs of 28 the last 3 weeks. The chicks take 3 weeks to incubate, so we could very well have snow on the ground, wind, and obviously, more cold weather. I hope she does brood and we get some little chicks. I hope with that little pea brain of hers, she knows what she is doing. I hope as well that they will survive. We have a pen where we will put them away from the others when (if) they hatch. I don't know that I agree with her timing, but I am hopeful. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Making Your Own Cleaners and Detergent

Cleaners, and detergents are expensive. About ten years ago I went on a kick to make my own to save money, feel a sense of accomplishment, and just for the fact that I could, and they would be just as good as the store bought stuff. All were successful, except for my flypaper strips. Let me tell you about these. I picked up a book called Cheaper and Better by Nancy Birnes. There are a lot of food recipes, clothing care, personal care, children's play items, and holiday ideas. It is a super resource and I have adapted many of her ideas. But fly paper was not one of those super fantastic ideas.

"These hairy, speckled items (fly paper) could be the ugliest-looking thing in the world, but if you want to get rid of flies in places where you don't mind looking at their dead bodies hanging stuck on long strips of paper, then this is just the ticket. You can hang them in out of the way places like barns, sheds, and even in guest bedrooms."

I was convinced that I could make these and hang them out at the barn and hen house to reduce the infective numbers of flies that we get in the summer time around here. So I followed the recipe.

Fly Paper

2 C milk
2 TB black pepper
2 TB white sugar
2 TB brown sugar
brown paper bags cut into strips

Boil the milk, pepper and sugars together for 5 min. Simmer uncovered for 5 min. more, until thick and let cool. Wind the paper strips into a tight roll and drop into the milk mixture. Let become completely saturated. Rewind strips and let them air dry on a cookie sheet. They are ready to use when sticky to the touch. Suspend from wherever flies are a problem.

DH got home from work that afternoon and I showed him my latest attempt at being self sufficient and creative. He was like,"Gross, what on earth is that?" "Homemade fly paper. We'll just hang it up and the flies will stick to it like the store bought kind. The book says they're just the ticket." He tried to be supportive, but I could tell he had his doubts. He was secretly laughing. We hung them up all over the place. And waited. Friends came over and were like, "What is that?" I tried to explain how I was being frugal and thrifty and homemade items were just as useful and effective as store bought. "Than how come there aren't any flies stuck to the paper?" Not one fly to be had. Yes, these were a real disaster. We both have had a good laugh about that over the years.

I have been making my own laundry detergent for a year and a half now, and it works just as well as the store bought and costs pennies to make. Here are some tried and tested recipes that work.

Laundry Detergent

3 pints water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated (1/3 C)
1/2 C Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, NOT baking soda
1/2 C 20 Mule team borax
2 gal. bucket
hot water
You can get the Fels Naptha, washing soda, and borax at Fred Meyer. Look on the top or bottom shelf.

Mix the grated Fels Naptha in a sauce pan with 3 pints water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and 20 Mule team borax. Stir until completely dissolved. Add 1 qt. hot water to the 2 gal. bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water and mix well. Set aside overnight. It will gel and kind of separate when you mix it again. Don't worry. Just use 1/2 C of mixture per load of laundry. That's all you need, I promise. I even have a large capacity washer. I do like to add 2 TB. of softener when I wash laundry. It helps with the static and clothes are softer.

Fabric Softener

2 C baking soda
2 C white vinegar, or herbal vinegar
4 C water

Mix ingredients in a plastic container. Label. To use, add 1/8-1/4 C to final rinse water in your washing machine, or in the fabric softener receptacle in you washer.


Kris Watson over at Simply Living has a wonderful Windex/409 recipe.

Windshield Washer Fluid

3 C isopropyl alcohol
1 TB liquid detergent or soft soap
10 C water

Pour alcohol and detergent into a clean gallon size plastic jug and add water. Shake well. Label. To use, shake well and pour into car's windshield washer compartment.

All Purpose Cleaner

1 C ammonia
1 C washing soda, NOT baking soda (Arm and Hammer)
14 C warm water.

Pour ammonia and washing soda into a clean gallon size jug. Add 2 C warm water and shake jug to mix. Fill the jug with the rest of the water. Close and label. To use, pour 1/2 C of solution in a bucket and fill with warm water. Great for scrubbing wall surfaces or floors. For small jobs, fill a spray container (label) and use full-strength on appliances and tile, or any washable surface.

Coffee Pot Cleaner

1 C white vinegar
1 C water

Mix together and pour into your automatic coffee pot reservoir. Turn on and run solution through. Discard solution, or fill your thermos and let soak for 30 min. Fill reservoir with clean water and run coffee pot again to rinse.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advice Needed

I need your help. Many of you know that my camera died and I had already had it repaired a couple of years ago. It is a Kodak Easy Share and has the camera dock that charges the camera and prints pictures. I don't know if I want to get another one. You may also remember that my computer up and died in October and we had one built and I got a new printer at that time.

To complicate matters, when all my files were transferred from my old hard drive to my new computer, none of my pictures from my computer transferred that were on the Kodak program, only pics that I had moved to another folder. So, sad to say, I have very few pictures that were taken over the last 4 1/2 years because they were not backed up elsewhere. So, vacations, basketball, volleyball, 4-H, birthdays, Christmas, etc, are gone forever.

They guys at the computer store told me that they keep the old hard drives for a couple of months when they gave us our new one. Well...yeah. They've never been able to find it. So it is lost in the heap of disorganization and gone forever. So, my advice I need is, what kind of camera do you recommend? My new HP printer has picture printing capabilities and a place for an SD card. I need something inexpensive since we have been spending up a storm with a new computer and sets of snow tires for 2 cars. Any advice or suggestions are appreciated.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Good Morning and Welcome

I am busy with the last 2 weeks of school before Christmas break and holiday baking, but I wanted to welcome Vicki and Rob's Bunker. I'll post more later this week. Have a good one.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Apples and Eggs

I'm still trying to gain headway with my apple abundance. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I have made apple cider, apple coffee cake, apple pie filling, applesauce, and dehydrated apples over the course of several weekends. Today I dehydrated another batch. Still got more to go. A reader suggested making apple butter, which would make good Christmas gifts. I may still do that. I guess all I can do is to keep plodding along.

Along with an overage of apples, we get about 8-9 eggs a day. At least, that's the eggs that I find in the hen house. I occasionally find clutches of eggs in odd places, like under the tractor mower attachment. We let our chickens free range during the day, and then put them up at night. So, since we don't go through that many eggs on a daily basis, we have way too many. DH sells some to a coworker, and I have mentioned that I have eggs at work, but no one seems to want them. So, here we are with eggs coming out our ears. Not to mention that I have gotten very creative in the frig.

Finally, after 17 years, DD17 is eating eggs. But, only if they are hard boiled. So, if you raise chickens or are lucky enough to have access to fresh eggs, then you know how frustrating it is to hard boil a fresh egg. See, it just doesn't work. Why? Because the eggs are fresh and the yolk and white take up the whole inside of the egg. So when you hard boil them and then go and try to peel one, yeah, they don't peel. The white is still kind of attached to the shell. The egg will kind of have shell and white come off in grotesque chunks. Not the kind of egg you want on your deviled egg party tray this Christmas.

For the best hard boiled eggs, you need to age the eggs. I mean, they need to be hanging out in your frig for 4-5 weeks for the best results. And put them in the carton with the narrow end down. This way, some of the white evaporates through the pores of the egg. This leaves a little air pocket in the larger end of the egg. You can check to see if your eggs are ready for hard boiling by putting them in a pan of water. If they lay flat on their side, they are too fresh. If the large end floats up a tad bit, or really sticks up in the water, they are perfect. That means there is an air pocket. Now, if your egg totally floats, get rid of it! It has spoiled.

For perfect hard boiled eggs, put them in cold water and check that the big end stands up a bit in the water. Next, bring them to a boil. When the water boils, turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the burner. Set the timer for 16 min. When the time is up, immediately chill with ice water. You will find that your eggs will peel smoothly because that air pocket allows space between the white and shell. Your yolk will be fully cooked but will not have that nasty greenish-gray coloring around the yolk. That is from over cooking your eggs. I should mention that the 16 min. is for large to extra large eggs. If you have medium eggs, cook for 15. min. I have found that this method works for me every time, although, I do on occasion, get that one egg that just refuses to peel.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pantry Essentials, Easy & Economical White Sauce Mix

I have posted some of my trusted recipes, but the past couple of weeks really reminded me of how much I relay on pantry basics. DH looks in the pantry and sees a mess and nothing to eat, but I look at my pantry and see endless possibilities, much like I look in his shop and see a disaster, but he sees numerous projects beckoning. DH mentioned that he would like to help out more in the kitchen since I am working full-time now, and he is off 3 days during the work week. He wants to get really good at making several dinners, so he can always be a help in the kitchen.

Lately, I have been making a lot of white sauces to make macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, Swedish meatballs, and lasagna to name a few. I have chosen to make my own white sauce rather than use canned cream of __________ (fill in the blank) soups. They are expensive and it only takes an extra 5 min. to make your own sauce. Plus, I have to say, homemade sauce tastes so much cleaner and fresher than the canned soups that you won't want to ever go back. The soups always have that chemical taste and just don't taste clean. I was at the store today and a can of the Western Family brand of cream of chicken soup was $1.18! Way too much to pay.

Now, DH is handy in the kitchen when it comes to making toast or heating up a can of chili. But for me to try and show him how to melt butter in the saucepan (which I didn't measure but eyeballed), and then whisk in flour (again, eyeballed), then stir with a whisk now and then for a couple of minutes to get the flour taste out, and then to add milk, yeah, again, without measuring, just until it looks right, is like me in his shop with power tools, a bolt, and a slab of wood. So, I told him I would whip up a batch of master mix and show him how easy it is to make.

It's easy, simple and economical, and tastes great! Here is my version of the mix. You can find variations on the internet. I also included ideas to make a cheese sauce, and condensed soups. I use this sauce as a base in many recipes that call for a white sauce, or condensed soups.

Magic Mix
(white sauce mix)

4 C nonfat dry milk
1 C flour
¼ C corn starch
1 C butter or shortening (or a combination)

Combine all very well with a pastry blender, or better yet, with a food processor or mixer.

To use, combine 2/3 C Magic Mix with 1 ¼ to 1 ½ C water, and simmer until thick. You can start with less water and add more if you want a thinner sauce.

Store in your refrigerator in a coffee can. I add a piece of masking tape with the basic white sauce recipe.


Cheese Sauce
2/3 C Magic Mix
1 ¼ C water
1-2 C shredded cheddar cheese (parmesan works well for an Alfredo sauce)
Combine Magic Mix and water over Med. Heat stirring until thick. Add cheese and stir until well blended. This is a good base for mac and cheese, or over pasta.

Cream of Chicken soup, condensed
1 C. Magic Mix
3/4 C. Chicken Broth (either from a can, bouillion, or liquid from canned chicken)
1 t. Dry Parsley
Dash of Onion Salt
Combine and stir over Med. Heat until thick. Use in recipes for condensed chicken soup.

Cream of Mushroom Soup, condensed
1 C Magic Mix
1 4.5 oz. can Mushroom pieces and stems, drain, but save liquid (or use dehydrated mushrooms and use leftover water)
1/4 C. Water + water from mushrooms (3/4 C total)
Dash of Onion Salt
1-2 drops Kitchen Bouqet, optional
Combine and stir over Med. Heat until thick. Use in recipes for condensed mushroom soup.

Cream of Celery Soup
1 C. Magic Mix
¾ C. Water from Cooking Celery
1 C. Chopped Celery, cooked and drained (or use dehydrated celery and use the water left over from hydrating the celery as my water)
Pinch of Celery Seed
1 t. Dry Parsley Flakes (optional)
Combine magic mix and water from cooking celery. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until it thickens. Add in celery, celery salt and parsley. Use in any recipe calling for canned Cream of Celery soup.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Trying to Get Motivated

I'm trying to get motivated to do something productive today. Last month I went cidering and was able to put up about 13 qts. of cider, but I still have apples galore. I dehydrated for 3 weekends in a row, and I still have apples coming out my ears. I even made apple pie filling, which I canned. I put one overly full box in the bottom of our garage fridge, and I have another box. So, this morning, I grabbed that box and cut them up. Wait... there's still more apples in the box! My 16 qt. pot is full with cut up apples, which I plan to turn into applesauce. They are simmering until soft, and then into my food mill on my Kitchenaid to separate skin and seeds. Then back into the pot will be applesauce ready to can up. But it is like that box is a bottomless pit. And, there are more in the fridge!

That is my plan. But I am having a difficult time getting moving. Now that I have started the process, there is nothing left to do but complete my endeavor. DH is back to work after 5 days off, DD17 is working, and DD18 is off to see her first Seahawks game. I went to mass last night, so won't be socializing after church. So, maybe I am lonely more so than not motivated. But I need to use these apples or find a better storage solution. My theory is that if we don't make use of what God has blessed us with, we may not be blessed with abundance in the future. And you never know, next year we might not get any apples! So, I'm applesaucing today.

Just got back from milling and filling jars. I know, you have no idea if I sit down and write all at once, or take breaks to process my apples. That's the convenience of blogging, I guess. Anyway, I just got the applesauce in the canner, 6 qts. worth. 3 qt. jars, and 4- 1 1/2 pt. jars. I LOVE the 1 1/2 pint size which they don't make anymore. I have a case that was my late mother's, and I was lucky enough to score a handful this summer at garage sales. They are tall and have the wide mouth, which is my preference.

Okay, so let's get motivated. I have leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner. My favorite thing to do with leftover mashed potatoes is to make potato dough. It is so versatile and you will love the quick and easy dinner rolls and luscious cinnamon rolls that you can make. You keep the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days until you're ready to use it. The starch from the potatoes helps feed the yeast, so your dough lasts. You don't need to let it rise again, just punch it down and take what you need to make the rolls or whatever it is you're making. I don't remember where I found the recipe, but somewhere I think I read that it is from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. We make the cloverleaf rolls and the cinnamon rolls were my idea and didn't come with the original recipe. (the filling and frosting are my personal recipes). The cinnamon rolls are a family hit. I often make them the night before. They reheat well covered in the oven. Here is the recipe with variations.

Betty Crocker Potato Refrigerator Dough with Variations

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115F)
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup lukewarm mashed potatoes*
6 1/2 to 7 cups Gold Medal all-purpose** or unbleached flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in sugar, salt, shortening, eggs, potatoes and 4 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover bowl tightly; refrigerate at least 8 hours. Can be stored in refrigerator at 45 degrees or below up to 5 days. Keep covered.

Punch down dough; divide dough into 4 parts for Casserole, Cloverleaf, Crescents, Fan Tans, Four-leaf Clover and Parker House Rolls. Divide dough into 3 parts for Orange Butterhorn Rolls, Apricot Cream Cake, Cinnamon Braid, Rich Nut Roll, Parker House Rolls, Braided Dinner Rolls and Hamburger Buns. Divide in half for loaves.

*Potato Buds mashed potatoes can be used for the mashed potatoes. Prepare as directed on package for 2 servings.

**If using self-rising flour, omit salt.

*** Cloverleaf (easy, and a favorite): Shape bits of 1/4 of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 3 balls in each greased muffin cup. Brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 1 dozen rolls.

**** Cinnamon rolls (my idea and a family favorite, my method, filling and frosting): Punch dough down and use 2/3 of the potato dough recipe. Let the dough rest for 35-45 min. after you take it out of the fridge. It is easier to roll out when it is not cold. Roll on a floured surface into a rectangle that is about 21” by 16”, and is ¼ in. thick. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make filling: 1 C packed brown sugar, 2 ½ TB. Cinnamon, mix well. Spread 1/3 C softened butter on rolled out dough, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon mix.

Working from the long edge, roll firmly jelly roll style down to the bottom edge. Cut into 1-1/2 in. slices and place in greased baking pan. Bake for 10-20 min. until light golden brown.

While rolls are baking, make icing: Beat with an electric mixer ½ C. softened butter, 1 ½ C powdered sugar, ½ C cream cheese, ½ tsp vanilla, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1 TB. Lemon juice.
Spread over rolls that have just come out of the oven, ENJOY!

Four-leaf Clover: Shape 1/4 of dough into 2-inch balls. Place each ball in greased muffin cup. With scissors, snip each ball in half, then into quarters. Brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 13 to 15 minutes. About 1 dozen rolls.

Casserole: Shape bits of 1/4 of dough into 1-inch balls. Place in lightly greased round pan, 9x1 1/2 inches. Brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 3 dozen rolls.

Crescents: Roll 1/4 of dough into 12-inch circle. Spread with margarine or butter, softened. Cut into 16 wedges. Roll up, beginning at rounded edge. Place rolls, with points underneath, on greased cookie sheet; curve slightly. Brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 16 rolls.

Fan Tans: Roll 1/4 of dough into rectangle, 13x9 inches. Spread with margarine or butter, softened. Cut lengthwise into 6 strips, 1 1/2 inches wide. Stack strips evenly, one on top of the other; cut into 12 pieces, each about 1 inch wide. Place cut side down in greased muffin cups; brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 1 dozen rolls.

Parker House Rolls: Roll 1/4 of dough into rectangle, 13x9 inches. Cut into 3-inch circles; brush with margarine or butter, softened. Fold so top half overlaps slightly. Press edges together. Place close together in greased round pan, 9x1 1/2 inches. Brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 10 rolls.

Orange Butterhorn Rolls: Divide 1/3 of dough in half; roll each half into 10-inch circle. Spread 2 tablespoons Orange Glaze (below) on outside of circle, leaving 2-inch circle in the center without glaze. Cut into 12 wedges. Roll up, beginning at rounded edge. Place rolls, points underneath, on greased cookie sheet. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until light brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Spread remaining glaze on hot rolls. Makes 24 rolls.

Orange Glaze: Mix 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened, 1 tablespoon grated orange peel, 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until smooth and of desired consistency. If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons additional orange juice.

Apricot Cream Cake: Roll 1/3 of dough into 15-inch circle; place over greased 9-inch ring mold. Fit dough into ring mold (outer edge of circle will come to rim of mold). Spoon Cream Cheese Filling (below) on dough. Lap edge of circle over filling; seal to inside ring of dough. Cut a cross in dough which covers the center of the mold. Fold each triangle formed back over ring and pinch each point to the dough to seal securely. Let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Heat oven to 350F. Bake 30 minutes. Remove Apricot Cream Cake from pan; place top side up on serving plate. Heat 1/2 cup apricot jam until melted; spoon on ring. Sift 1 tablespoon powdered sugar on top.

Cream Cheese Filling:
Beat 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, and 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in 3 tablespoons flour, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Cinnamon Braid: Divide 1/3 of dough into 3 parts; roll each part into strand, 15 inches long. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll each strand in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place strands close together and braid gently and loosely. Seal ends securely and tuck under. Place in greased loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Brush braid with milk; sprinkle remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture on top. Let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Heat oven to 375F. Bake until loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.

Rich Nut Roll: Roll 1/3 of dough into rectangle, 12x10 inches. Spread Nut Filling (below) to within 1/2 inch of edge. Roll up tightly, beginning at 12-inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal securely. Stretch roll to make even. Place on greased cookie sheet; seal ends securely. Let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Heat oven to 350F. Beat 1 egg white slightly; brush roll with beaten egg white. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped nuts on top. Bake 40 minutes. While warm, drizzle mixture of 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon half-and-half on top.

Nut Filling: Beat 1 egg white until stiff. Fold in 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts.

Parker House Rolls: Roll 1/3 of dough into rectangle, 15x10 inches. Cut into 3-inch circles; brush with margarine or butter, softened. Fold so top half overlaps slightly. Pinch edges together. Place close together in greased pan, 9x9x2 inches. Brush with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Bake until brown, 13 to 15 minutes.

Bread Loaves: Increase salt to 2 teaspoons. Roll each half into rectangle, 18x9 inches. Roll up, beginning at 9-inch side. Press each end with side of hand to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place loaf, seam side down, in greased loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Brush loaves with margarine or butter, softened. Let rise until double, about 2 hours. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.) Heat oven to 375F. Place loaves on low rack so tops of pan are in center of oven. Pans should not touch each other or sides of oven. Bake until deep golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from pans. Brush with margarine or butter, softened; cool on wire rack.

Braided Dinner Rolls

1/3 Potato Refrigerator Dough (above)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon poppy seed
3/4 teaspoon sesame seed

Divide dough into 18 equal parts. Roll each part into rope, 7 inches long, on lightly floured surface. Place groups of 3 ropes each close together on lightly greased cookie sheet. Braid ropes gently and loosely. Do not stretch. Pinch ends to fasten; tuck under securely. Let rise until double, about 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 375F. Beat egg and water slightly; brush over braids. Sprinkle each of 3 braids with 1/4 teaspoon poppy seed and each of remaining 3 braids with 1/4 teaspoon sesame seed. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Makes 6 rolls.

Hamburger Buns
Divide 1/3 of Potato Refrigerator Dough (above) into 12 equal parts. Shape each part into smooth ball on lightly floured surface with lightly greased fingers; flatten. Place about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Heat oven to 400F. Brush buns with margarine or butter, softened; sprinkle with sesame seed or poppy seed. Bake until golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 1 dozen rolls.

High Altitude Directions (3500 to 6500 feet): For Casserole, Crescents, Parker House Rolls, Bread Loaves, Braided Dinner Rolls and Hamburger Buns, rising time may be slightly shorter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shoppers, Protesters, and Terrorists

This weekend I have been busy being thankful for all the blessings and freedoms that my family and I have. We went up in the forest to cut our Christmas tree and put it up. We put up our lighted cross in our front yard, finally got our potatoes in storage, got the remains of the corn off the stalks and in a box for chicken feed this winter, and tried to tie up any loose ends before winter really hits. DH also coyote proofed the chicken pen. We are taking the time to be prepared and be self-sufficient, so we don't have to rely on others for our needs.

Meanwhile, other, less thankful people have been busy making life miserable for the rest of America. I am sure you have heard about the woman at Walmart who pepper sprayed other shoppers to deter them from getting "her" XBox before she could get her grubby hands on it. Is this what our shallow materialistic personalities have come to? Is an XBox really worth treating others in this manner? 20 people were injured. The woman apparently has surrendered.

Then there' the OWS protesters in San Diego that "continued its outreach program of thuggery, harassment and intimidation on Black Friday" by verbally harassing Walmart shoppers with vulgar rhetoric and filling 75 shopping carts with merchandise, then leaving the carts for employees to restock. Isn't that nice? Has anyone seen evidence that any of these protesters even have jobs, a mortgage, or a family to support?

Of course, this discomfort may pale in comparison with what Oakland protesters are planning for December 12th. They plan to shut down all west coast ports. The Oakland protesters are calling to close the entire west coast. Do they realize that this will affect their access to goods and services as well as the rest of us? Seriously, their antics and intimidation are hurting the workers of America who are trying to earn a living and provide for their families. Remember back in September when 500 Longshoremen broke down gates of the Port of Longview at about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack,...and six guards were held hostage for a few hours. Not everyone who belongs to a union is like this, but this is how violent and disruptive our unions and protesters are becoming. Makes you proud to be giving your money to these crooks and thugs, doesn't it?

Don't forget the US terrorists in Egypt who threw molotov cocktails at police. At least one wants to renounce his US citizenship. Let him. Let's leave them in Egypt to experience what other countries do to terrorists and criminals. I don't want them back here in our country.

My friends, I fear our life as we have lived it is fast approaching it's demise. There is massive unrest and violence in our cities. The liberal leftist looters are after us and our way of life. This civil unrest my lead to a civil war. Our politicians have spent our cities and country into a deep abyss. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that I need to be right with God. Be thankful and be prepared.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Christmas Tree Hunt

Almost every year for the last 12 years, we have gone up to a little stand of Noble Fir trees to pick out our Christmas tree. We buy a $5 permit, which allows us to drive and park on NFS and BLM lands without the ridiculous Forest Service Pass that Washington put into effect this year. The $30 pass is not transferable from car to car, so if you want to drive, say your passenger car in the summer, and your pickup in the winter, you need to pay $60 for two passes. It has been wildly unpopular with residents and the state is complaining that sales of the pass didn't bring in projected revenue. Duh! Not only are fewer people coughing up money for this pass, people can't afford to pay twice.

Only 2 other years have we not been able to make it up to our coveted tree stand of Nobles due to snow. It was 23 degrees out and fresh snow had fallen overnight. It was 14-18" deep, the roads are not maintained, and there is ice in places. When the snowmobilers compact the snow, it is hard to drive in, and the fresh snow compounds the driving difficulties making it hard to make headway. We have a Dodge Ram 3500 crew cab, and even with chains, we couldn't make it through the snow to our hunting grounds. We only came across a handful of snowmobilers, which was very unusual. It seems that even the die hards will scrimp and save to have snowmobliling money for fun and play. We also usually come across other Christmas tree hunters, but not this year. So we were alone up in the woods. It was sunny and breezy. The thin clouds overhead were moving at a brisk pace. A gorgeous day. We always pack a thermos of hot chocolate, and sometimes sandwiches, if we plan to stay and play.

Today, we brought hot cocoa in anticipation of a quick jaunt, up and back, and a few minutes planned for some target practice. DD18 had to work, so it was me, DH and DD17 along with Cooper, our golden retriever. Well, we made it past the rock pit. One year, the road past the rock pit was closed, so we had to hunt near there for a tree. But usually, if we can make it past that landmark, we only have a few hairpin corners and it's not too much further to our secret hunting spot. Only, again this year, we got to the point where our pickup was not able to keep up with the snow. So we backed down and turned around, all the while keeping our eyes peeled for the perfect Christmas tree. Not a Noble to be found. Now, we love Nobles because they have a lot of room between the layers of branches for hanging ornaments. They last a long time, are fragrant, and are very pretty, and, well, noble.

We hunted and hiked and huffed and puffed as we trudged around in the deep snow. I have a pair of old Snocraft snow shoes made in Norway, Maine, that belonged to my mother when I lived in Alaska. They would have been perfect for getting around in the snow. At least I'd like to think so, because I have actually never used them before. Maybe next time.

A white jackrabbit took off when we got too close, but Cooper was too interested in romping in the snow that he didn't even notice. DD17 is not as into this tree hunt now that it has become more work trudging in deep snow, and there are basically no trees to choose from. She's hunting from the road, now. Almost all the fir trees have dead needles on the tips. Not sure what is up with that, beetle kill, maybe? We go up and around the rock pit. Cooper spots a squirrel up in a tree which he is enamored with. We head back towards the pickup, and down further on. We settled for a Douglas fir. Not our first choice, and maybe it is even hinting at being a Charlie Brown tree, although we can cover up any flaws with plenty of ornaments. DH cuts it down and lugs it to the pickup. That means it's hot cocoa time!

We set up our target which is stapled to a thick board and lean it up against a tree. I practice with my PK380 and DH with his 357. DD17 gets in on some practice, too. None of us are doing very well. I know I need to get dialed in, I keep shooting too low. I am much better with a rifle. I also am thinking of adding a laser to my pistol. But I need to be good without it, if I am to be any good at all. Worst case, shotguns are on sale at Bi-Mart this week.

I am thankful that we found a tree. We will put it up tomorrow. It is always fun to go up and play in the snow. We look forward to our Christmas tree hunts every year. We never know what conditions we will run into, or what our tree will be. But we always have a great time and it's those family traditions that make lasting memories. What do you do for your family Christmas tree?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happenings That Build Faith Update

My DH talked with our neighbor today and I had to keep you posted as to the happenings in our neighborhood. In my previous post, I talked about how the coyotes had been exploring the chicken barn and how our dog, Cooper, had barked his alarm warnings and by the time we went out to investigate the girls, all that was left were coyote prints in the snow, which Cooper eagerly familiarized himself with. Well, our neighbor lost 9 chickens that night. Yep, they dug under his barn and stole 9 laying hens. I know how it feels to lose your livestock, so I am even more determined to keep those rascals out. DH made sure to lock them in tonight, but we also have a dirt floor, and night creatures are determined when they are hungry. I will pray that we will be blessed with no chicken losses.

Our DD17 who was disappointed with the basketball outcome, has signed up for another Running Start class at the local college for winter quarter. This will keep her busy and focused. I will pray that she does well and that a new open door will present itself to her soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happenings That Build Faith

It has been one of those odd weeks where curious events happen. Now, I guess the events may not seem odd or unusual for anyone else, but I have been praying about how things have worked out and I know that my family and I are truly blessed and we have our guardian angels and the Holy Spirit looking out for us.

On Monday, my DH, was in a near death accident. He was still upset about it when he got home that evening, relieved that he was alive. Tuesday morning, DD18 was driving out to our house so DH could put her snow tires on. Right before you turn to go up the road to our house, there is a big corner. As she approached the corner, a big semi came barreling down the road completely in her lane. There is very little shoulder and a drop off into a ditch, which she did her best to try and get off the road to avoid a collision. There was a car at the stop sign on our road that was watching in horror at what was unraveling before their eyes. She managed to squeeze off the road in the split second of time as the semi started swerving all over the road. She was so shaken and trembling it was all she could do to make it the 2 miles to our house where she could be in the comfort of her dad's arms. Thank God she is alive and safe!

So Wednesday after school, I begin my commute home. It had snowed a couple of inches that day, with highs between 25-31, so that translates to slick roads. As I crest one of the hills and start my descent, I see flares in the road and I'm thinking, "Oh, no." Sure enough, two trucks and a car had been going too fast and were all twisted up in the ditch on the side of the road. I have a Subaru with studs and all wheel drive, but I could still feel my tires slip as I was driving. I try my best to be safe and not be over confident. I moved to the left lane. The problem here was drivers who were over confident, and black ice. I prayed for a safe drive the rest of the way home as a car flew up on my rear end, trying to mate with the my car, I guess. Can't these people see the wrecks? Fortunately, I was able to get over and let this nincumpoop pass me. Funny, about a 1/2 mile after he passed me, I saw him slip. He slowed down. I made it home safely.

Friday morning, DD18 called to let us know that one of her roommates (she moved out last week) had backed out while turning and damaged the front driver side of her car so bad that she has to crawl through the passenger side to get in because she can't open her door. At least the car is driveable. She had already had a rough week with Monday's near death experience, that this was enough to build doubt.

DD17 has played basketball for 6 years, from 5th grade on. She is not a star player, but she is one of the few players that consistently blocks out, runs the plays correctly, and tries her hardest. She needs to work on squaring up to make her shots. She is not one of the high scorers. She was on C squad the last two years. Last year she started almost every game, and played point guard, or 2 and 3. Well, after tryouts this week, she was cut from the team last night. Told there was no room on JV or V for her. She is devastated. She needs to have something to do. I baked brownies for her. Chocolate, you know, makes things easier. She perked up and said that she would have an awesome IBA (intramural) basketball team and have fun with that. When one door closes, another door opens. As a parent, I am trying not to seethe over this whole situation, noting that the head coach has never liked either one of our daughters, but how the JV and C coach always played her and told us how she was improving her game, and how much they liked her. Okay, enough griping. I need to think positive. There is a plan for her.

Last night at 1 a.m., I awoke to hear the coyotes howling and yipping closer to our house than I had ever heard them before. Like maybe 25-30 yards away. Cooper, our golden retriever, was going ballistic! His bark changes and you can tell he is upset and doing his best to guard his pack. I finally got up and got the spotlight. By then, I didn't hear them. So, I went back to bed, but Cooper sure didn't. He circles the house routinely, and he was still barking and growling. DH got grumpily up and grabbed the gun and spotlight. We checked out the chicken barn. "Are those Cooper prints in the snow?" They didn't appear to be. More like several coyotes. So we checked on the gals, who were snug in the barn. Well, I guess 20 degrees is not easy to be snug in, but they were safe. Whew! Actually, one of my biggest worries with coyotes is Cooper. If coyotes feel a dog is a threat, they send in a lure close to the house. If your dog chases it away into the field, there is the rest of the pack waiting to ambush. I know this because when we had our other golden, who was barking maniacally late one night, stood his ground in the front yard. As I shone the spotlight out into the front field I saw nothing. I couldn't figure out what was up with him. As I brought my spotlight down, there was a coyote at the edge of our front lawn! When the light hit him, he ran off and as I followed him with the spotlight, all of a sudden several sets of glowing eyes appeared in the field. I was so relieved that Jake had stood his ground and not chased the bait. I hope that Cooper will show he is wise in this way as well. I could not stand to lose a great protector.

I know these are the kinds of events that happen. They are nothing unusual. But for whatever reason, I feel blessed that my DH is alive and able to wrap his arms around me. My DD18 was paying attention when she was driving, otherwise, I would be planning a funeral right now. I had a safe trip home. A damaged car is more of an inconvenience than anything else. DD17 will be blessed in some way after losing the opportunity to play her favorite game. Cooper is a good watchdog who stays up all night to guard us and our livestock. I feel blessed. I am happy that although things may go wrong, I am being shown that I have Him on our side.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

College "Weed Out" Classes Designed to Indoctrinate and Generate Income

My freshman daughter has indicated her desire to become an oncology nurse. She is a good student with a good head on her shoulders. She was told by her adviser to take a 100 level Finite Math class, as it is required for a degree in nursing. So she registered and bought the books and attended class. On the first day her professor told the class that 75% of them would fail and have to retake the class. Her confidence in math is low anyway, and being told she would fail, of course put doubt in her impressionable mind. She said she was already struggling the first week and it was math that was unfamiliar to her. So, she dropped the class and received no refund in tuition. An expensive lesson that cost her confidence and money.

This is a weed out class. I just became aware of this college policy to require professors to intentionally make sure students fail when my DH called today after listening to Kevin Walter on True Wealth Radio. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for a month until the archive of today's show is on the website so I can have a listen. My DH described our daughter and her nightmare math class to a tee. Weed out classes are introductory classes that are intentionally made exceptionally challenging. Often these classes are graded on a curve and set up so that a certain percentage of students must fail.

"In almost every major, especially high paying ones, there are weed out classes designed to get rid of you. There are usually 3-5 weed out classes per major. What happens is the school will pick the most difficult class in the major (usually). Then, in addition, the school will make a policy that only a few students may receive a good grade. The university will make another policy that states to advance you will need to have a good grade in these select classes. What happens is that a lot of poor performing students change majors to something easier. Anyone want a low paying low standardized degree?"

The college claims that the first two years of general education requirements are designed to make students more "well-rounded." According to the college catalog, Finite Math meets the general education "reasoning" requirement. Really, though, any college's "reasoning" centers around liberal indoctrination. With these "weed out" classes in place, the school has a hold on your child's mind for a longer period as a result of having to retake all these bogus classes, and a hold of your pocketbook.

In my University 101 Kool Aid post, I reveal how the colleges are working hard on the very first week of class to grab your child's mind to put a progressive leftwing liberal theology worldview into their mindset. I want our students to be able to reason with lucid discernment, and not socialist thinking. Students need to be taught how to look at information from both sides, and then logically discern the truth, and not be afraid to speak the truth that political correctness has silenced. Isn't that what any intelligent person, college educated or not, does?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winnie the Pooh Kind of Day

It was what I refer to as a Winnie the Pooh day. Cold, blustery and requiring a hot chocolate fix. I had just enough mix left over to make two delectable mugs of hot cocoa. There's just something about hot chocolate that soothes and comforts. So now we are officially into the hot chocolate season at our house. After enjoying some hot chocolate, I whipped up a batch of this mix. This mix makes a lot and I make it several times during the winter months. Of course, Winnie the Pooh would have added honey to his hot chocolate, but this is close enough.

Hot Chocolate Mix

2 lbs. Nesquick
1 1/4 C. powdered sugar
2 C. coffee creamer
4 1/2 C non-fat dry milk

Mix all together. Store in an airtight container (or two). To use, put desired amount into a mug (2-3 TB. or so), add hot water, and enjoy!

Remember our Veterans.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canning Apple Pie Filling

I have an abundance of apples and I have been trying my best to keep up with them. I got one box off my two dwarf Jonagold trees. My DSH got a box of some fantastic eating variety, Honeycrisp, maybe. And I came home with 2 1/2 boxes after I went cidering with some friends a couple of weeks ago. I canned up the cider I had, and I have been drying 12 trays the past 3 weekends. But we still have apples. I will make applesauce soon, but you can use apples that aren't as firm and crisp, so I wanted to make some more apple pie filling since I only had one jar left. I I only have so much room in my fridge to keep apples in cold storage, which is where I have my home grown Jonagolds. The rest are sitting in the garage under less than ideal conditions. So I need to use them soon, or put together some form of makeshift root cellar.

Canned Apple Pie Filling

7 quarts

6 qts. fresh, tart apples
1 tsp ascorbic acid
5 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C Clear Jel (you can order this from Kitchen Krafts here)
1 TB cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
5 C apple juice
2 1/2 C water
3/4 C bottled lemon juice

** A note on Clear Jel- do not use regular corn starch as it will not stand up under the processing. Clear Jel is approved for use in canning. Plus, Kitchen Krafts will send you other pie recipes to make with the Clear Jel.

Wash, peel and core the apples. Cut slices 1/2" thick. Place in a bowl with 6 C. cold water and 2 TB. of Fruit Fresh or other treatment to prevent browning while you are working.

Bring to a boil 1 gallon of water and add the ascorbic acid to prevent browning.
Place 6 C of apples at a time in the boiling water and blanch 1 min. after water returns to boiling. Drain, and put in a covered pot to keep warm. Repeat until all apples are blanched.

Combine the sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large pot. Stir in the apple juice and water. Stir and cook over Med-High heat until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble.

Add the lemon juice and boil for 1 min, stirring constantly.

Fold in the drained apples and quickly fill hot quart jars with the apple mixture. Remove air bubbles, cap and seal.

Process in a boiling water bath (BWB) for 25 min. and adjust for altitude if needed.

To use, dump in your home made or store bought pie crust and bake!

Sorry I don't have any pictures, but my camera died and we've been spending money like no other on never ending expenses.

When I made the filling today, I ended up with 6 qts to can, and about 1 cup left over. So I opened my last remaining jar, made a pie crust, dumped in my jar of filling and added the leftover pie filling I had just made on top. I topped with the crust and it is in the oven as I write. Smells wonderful... and I think there is some ice cream in the freezer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

La Nina Comes Knocking

A La Nina winter is predicted here in the PACNW which means more snow and precipitation. The La Nina trend is to get stronger as fall turns into winter. Meteorologists are calling for an Arctic Oscillation as well. This means that there can be a sudden change of brief, unseasonably warm temperatures and precipitation which can cause sudden melting snow, or rain on snow, and subsequent flooding. The arctic oscillation can generate strong changes in the weather patterns and can wreak havoc so be prepared.

It is already getting cold here. This morning it was 30. It got down to 19 degrees about a week and a half ago, and this evening when I went out to feed the chickens and put them up it was a very cold wind. I have a water heater plugged in for the chicken water but won't know if it is working until it freezes. We still need to get the horse water heater in. Not to mention our dog's heated water dish and Cooper needs a heated bed, too. His is old and torn up and not working. But gosh they are expensive. One year I put hot water bottles out for him to lay on every night. What was I thinking?

We have not gotten everything winterized and ready. DSH got snow tires and they are ready to put on cars. We have the Drize the air in the camp trailer. I think most hoses are put up, except on the front porch. We need to cover the garden with a tarp.I got out our snow boots and have ice scrapers in the car. The tractor has fuel and is ready for DSW to plow the driveway. We have a 1/2 mile long driveway and we get the wind so snowdrifts can get really bad and we have been snow bound for a couple of days before. We have never lost power for more than a couple of hours but the generator is ready if needed and we will manage if we need without power. Got candles and can cook because we have propane.

Oh, and have you bought some peanut butter lately? The price is jumping by leaps and bounds. I got a rain check for some that was on sale and a 40 oz. jar of Skippy was $8.58. Better stock up. Are you ready for winter?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Flu Attack

It all started last Tuesday when DD18 came home from school sick with the flu. You know, aching, headache, diarrhea, stuffy nose etc. She was laid up for 3 days in her room. Saturday night DH was up at 1:30 a.m. in the bathroom getting rid of everything in his body. At one point, he blacked out and fell practically biting his lip off. It was a long night. He was down for 2 days before he started to feel back to himself. I was happy to play caregiver, after all, I was feeling fine.

So, Monday afternoon, DD17 has to have older sis pick her up from school. Yep, she has it, too. The flu. She got home and curled up on the couch for a couple of hours. Later DD 18 noticed she had been in the bathroom for 45 minutes so I check on her. She was literally camped out in there with her blanket, a pot, and sitting on the floor in front of the commode. That's no way to be sick. So we convinced her to camp out on the couch some more. She was cold as ice, 96.4 temp and pasty, pale white. So we do our best to keep her comfortable.

Fast forward to 11:00 p.m. Monday evening and you guessed it. Me! I'm making friends with the commode in the bathroom. Aching, miserable, and honestly, just how long can this go on? There can't possibly be anything left in my body to get rid of. This flu that we had is sudden and violent. Not fun! I don't buy acetaminophen because it has never helped me with headaches or anything else. But the ibuprofen and aleve that we had on hand said to take with food, which I obviously hadn't eaten, and I didn't want to further distress my stomach. So DH made a run to town Tuesday and picked some acetaminophen up and guess what. I took two at 1:00, and fell asleep for an hour. At 2:00 p.m., I woke up and most of my achiness was gone. I was on the road to recovery!

The biggest challenge was to try and keep DD17 hydrated. She didn't want to take anything in. She finally perked up Tuesday afternoon and had some toast and gatorade. Plus, she's off to school today. I stayed home again today. I want to be sure I don't have any unforeseen bodily attacks at school!

I haven't had a flu shot in about 5 years. The last time I had a flu shot, I was sicker than a dog for the next 2 days with all the miserable flu symptoms. I haven't had one since. The rest of my family doesn't get the shots either. I don't know that I trust what the government puts in those shots, either. And why do I want to be putting the virus in my body anyway? Flu shots are only good for a few strains of the flu, and who knows, we may have had a strain that wasn't included in the shots. I have heard it is going through the schools here. It's never fun. But my advice is to have some acetaminophen on hand. It was my life saver.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple Coffee Cake

I forgot to include my Apple Coffee Cake recipe on my last post. Here it is.

Apple Coffee Cake

2 medium apples peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (you could rehydrate 2 C of dried apples in boiling water)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 C butter or margarine
1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 C sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle cut apples with lemon juice to prevent browning. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding dry ingredients and the milk to the butter and sugar mixture. Add vanilla and mix well. Grease and flour a 9 inch square cake pan. Pour batter into pan and top with the cut apples. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon topping mix and sprinkle over the apples. Bake at 325 for 40-45 min until done. Enjoy!

Trudging on...

It's been one of those weeks where you are dead beat tired but there is so much to do. To top it off, I'm battling a cold. It started last week with just being busy. Then Saturday I spent my entire day with a family picking and pressing apples for cider. Sunday, I canned the cider up and dried some apples and tried to get caught up on laundry, bills, etc. Monday evening my husband and I attended a Care Net Banquet fundraiser. Tuesday I was my youngest daughters 17th birthday and my 18 year old came home from school sicker than a dog with a 102 temp and slept the rest of the day. Also on Tuesday, a dear old neighbor from Oregon showed up for a wonderful visit and stayed a couple of days. I also stayed up past my normal bedtime in order to visit, so I'm not complaining, but it left me tired.

Wednesday rolled around and I'm pretty exhausted but still trucking along. Report cards are due next week, our class party is Friday and I still have planning for the following week. Got my hair cut on Thursday and worked out. Well, Friday my oldest has not gone to school and sounds horrible. She said her lower back is killing her and she hasn't urinated all morning. I'm thinking kidney issues and make an appointment with the doctor, explaining to the triage nurse that she has been sick all week with a high of 102, stuffy, aching, coughing, and now lower back pain and not peeing. Well, I'm at school working so I can't go with her, but she is 18 anyway, so she can start to take on these kinds of responsibilities. She gets to the doctor and they don't even take her temp. or her blood pressure. The diagnoses: a back strain. Yeah, I was pretty peeved that we had to spend money for him not to even look at her. She's just been laying in bed and getting up to go to the bathroom or get a drink and bite of something to eat. We're praying for a quick recovery and back to her normal school and work routine.

Today, I didn't work out but went to town and found a pair of pants for work. I got home and started some apples in the dryer. I would dry at night, but mine dry in about 8 hours, so I don't want it running all night or all day while I'm away because I don't want them over dried. So I'm doing 2 dryer loads over each weekend. I have an apple coffee cake in the oven right now. It smells delicious! Our neighbor who came up over the week bought us some kielbasa at a local Italian deli while he was here and we are having it tonight. I can hardly wait to try it.

So this weekend I am going to try and lay low (sort of) and get laundry caught up and bills paid. The lawn needs mowing and we haven't winter fertilized it yet. It got down to 20 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday night, so the couple of apples that were left on my trees are not good. But I picked all the decent ones and got tomatoes picked and in the garage. I need to do something with them tomorrow. Either make salsa, tomato sauce or can them up whole. Not sure yet. That's about all we've been up to around here. Busy as always, and just trying to get by.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I don't know if cidering is a word or not, but that's what I had the good fortune of doing all day Saturday with some dear family friends. I have never cidered before (is that a word?) and I had a great time. We picked apples, Emperors, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp and maybe a couple of other varieties. We loaded them into one of those large wooden bins that holds 1,000 pounds of apples. It was on the back of a 1950 Ford tractor which was straining to carry th load. The bin was probably 2/3 full. Next, off for a break for lunch and then off to press apples.

There was a job for everyone aged 4-89. From washing the apples to putting them in the crushing hopper, to turning the crushing crank and then turning the pressing crank. It was a very old cider press and it was hosed down the day bfore so the wood would absorb the water and not the cider we would be making th following day. Next, filling 5 gallon pots with the cider and putting it raw into gallon containers, or heating it up to pasturize it. Each family was able to take home some cider and apples. It was a great treat.

Sunday, I pasturized the raw cider by heating it to 200 degrees for 10 min. You don't want the cider to boil as that can negatively affect the taste. Next, I poured it into quart jars and processed for 30 min. in a boiling watr bath and tried to keep the water from coming to a rolling boil. Again, we don't want the cider to boil. I canned up 13 quarts and we still had over a 1/2 gallon to add cinnamon and lemon ginger tea to. It was wonderful!I dried one batch of apples, as well.

We also dug up our potatoes. Many potatoes had been a tasty snack for our resident gophers. If you have been following me, you know that we lost a lot of potato plants so our harvest was down. And, unfortunately, we had to put our eggbound pullet down, as we were unable to save her. A busy weekend. Thank you to my newest readers and wishing everyone a great week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Prolapsed Pullet

Yesterday afternoon I went out to feed the chickens and put them up for the night when I noticed one of my Buff Orpingotns was not herself. She had a huge bulge coming our of her rear end, and feces smeared all down her backside. Oh, no! I went to read up in one of my chicken books and sure enough, her oviduct is prolapsed. It is protruding outside her body, and it is large and hard so there is probably an egg stuck inside. It was like there was the membrane covering the egg, because you can't see the egg, and I don't know how to get it out. We tried to work it around a little, but with no luck.

Hens that have prolapsed and that are left to the natural instincts of flock members, will be picked at on their exposed tissue from the vent. This will result in hemorrhaging, shock, and death.

We isolated her last night. I leave before daylight so did not check on her. My DD said this morning she wasn't moving and is dad going to shoot her when he gets home? Well, I get home 2 hours before DH, so I got a garbage bag and the .22 and headed out to the barn. She was alert and had eaten. The bulge seemed to have reduced in size and I find it hard to kill an animal that still seems to have life and not be suffering enormously. I gave her some more food and checked her water. I will see what DH says when he gets home. Even if she lays that egg, she will never be the same and will be prolapsing often.

Now I know which chicken has been laying the gigantic eggs, sometimes with 2 yolks. While it may seem cool at the time to be getting such large eggs, the downside is that it is ultimately going to cost us the life and egg laying of one of our flock. She is beautiful. She is slightly larger than Rhode Island reds and has golden yellow feathers, with slightly darker feathers around her neck. I know that if the is not put out of her misery tonight, it will be soon. I will keep you posted.

New Computer and Welcome

Welcome and thank you to my newest followers, Xa Lynn, Mamma Bear, and Pioneer Preppy. I appreciate your reading and your comments.

I got my new computer and can't believe how fast it is. My old one had 4 battery cells, or something like that, that were blown on the mother board. A result I am told because the tower was on carpeted floor. The dust is a killer. Lesson learned. The new one is on a stand. I knew ours was outdated (a 2003), but now there are so many things that won't work with the new equipment. Like my printer. Quicken. And some others. KA-CHING! Yeah, more money. I just posted about Never Ending Expense and forgot to add the expense of a new computer to my post. Isn't it always something? Thank God I have a job to be able to pay for this.

Oh, and my youngest just received a bill in the mail today for her college class. She's in high school but will get college credit. We have Running Start and Cornerstone at the high school. Plus, if you take an AP (Advanced Placement) course, you can take a college test and if you pass, get college credit for it. Another $250 out the door. Sigh...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Never Ending Expenses

I think our family is like most. It just seems that just when you've gotten on top of your bills, some unforeseen pops up. We're always saying, "It's always something." I was laid off earlier this year and we were watching every penny anticipating that my income would be substantially less. But we tried to save enough to pay our property taxes and water bill which are due on the 31st, as well as stock up on the three B's.

Fortunately for our family, I was blessed with a full time job. It is a commute, but I am lucky to share the drive with another commuter. We alternate weeks, and we work within 4 blocks of each other so it works out great.

Now I have to say that I have a shopping compulsion that may sometimes create a very tight budget by months end. My DH is okay with that. Only because I buy food, not clothes. Although, really, I do need to add to my sparse wardrobe, especially since winter is coming. I need 1-2 more sets of pants, and a sweater would be nice since I work in an old, cinder block building with a boiler for heat in the winter, which is sketchy from what I hear. Plus, I work on the north (cool) side of the building.

This month our property tax and water are due. I have almost enough saved but am $300 short. My full time job can cover the gap on payday. But, we need to heat our house this winter and need 2 tons of wood pellets. We have about 1/3 of a ton from last year, but need to buy at least 1 and 1/2, and my youngest needs snow tires and wheels. Plus, I need new studs, too.
KA-CHING! Did you hear the money fly out the door? DH works four 10's. He worked 2 extra days this week to earn money for a down payment on snow tires. We can put the pellets on our bill at the feed store and prayerfully come up with the balance. I bet you won't see these Occupy (Dependent) Protesters working extra hours to keep their family warm and safe on the road. Oh yeah, I guess if they had jobs, they wouldn't be squatting on public property with the local law enforcement and Obama's blessing. Have you noticed this past week how gas prices have risen sharply? The expenses just don't stop.

This week I hit the store because there were some great sale ads (on food). I have never gone to this particular store and seen the shelves so empty. Tillamook cheese, $4.88/2 #. I grabbed up the last 2 out of 8 remaining from the end aisle because the main cheese section was wiped out (wished I could have afforded all of them). Butter- $2.00/#. Sold out but you can get a rain check. TP and paper towels-$4.88/12 double rolls. GONE! Are you seeing these kind of sales being sold out where you live? People are realizing that their dollar is not s t r e t c h i n g like it used to and are compensating and buying whether or not they understand the gravity or our nations (and world's) situation.

It just seems that in our household we just seem to get level with our money and get the savings building up again, when, POOF!, all your expenses hit at once, or an unexpected expense robs you dry. It is hard to be stocking up, saving, paying down bills, buying necessities, etc, especially when manufactured inflation, and Soros funded world events are working to destroy our Constitutional, American, Republic way of life. God, help our nation. God, bless us all. God, help us. We need You.

Oh, and about Quaddafi. Al Qaeda is poised and ready to take over. Are you ready? The door to terrorism has been opened even wider. And Obama praises this.

Dependent Protesters Deprive Worker's of Livelihoods

Have you noticed how these Occupy protesters are very dependent on government handouts? They scream for work, but then deny people the right to sell their goods and earn a living, so they can then turn around and pay taxes, so the protesters can get a handout. Occupy (Dependent) protesters squatted on property used by vendors to sell their wares, displacing them. I lived in Eugene, OR for over 20 years and this action does not surprise me at all since it is a very liberal area. Eugene, OR vendors had to move their market across the street in order to make money to put food on the table. These protesters were trespassing and the local law enforcement broke Eugene's city rules by allowing the protesters to commit trespassing and stay while displacing hard working people. So, they say they want to work. Really? Then why on earth are they denying others the right to work an honest job to earn money to feed their family and pay their mortgage? And to pay taxes that feed these low lifes?

This Farmer's Market started in 1975 and has been downtown every Saturday from spring through the fall. It then grew to have a produce only section. Now, the market is on Tuesdays as well. But thanks to these selfish idiots, real people are displaced and losing family income. They are screaming for government jobs, government housing, government food subsudies, and anything that they can get their lazy hands on. Obama has stated that he supports these protesters. I bet he does, because hasn't he said he wants a civilian security force. He also wants to expand civilian community service opportunities. Well, that sounds an awful lot like what happened with the Nazi's. Put people to work through reeducation camps. If you don't follow like sheeple, you don't get food, clothing and shelter. Obama may just give these people what they whine for, but there is a steep loss of freedom price to pay. Lookout.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Donations Up For Obama?

Fox News has a headline this morning that indicates that more people are supporting Obama with donations. I don't believe it for one minute! Two weeks ago Obama was shaming supporters into making donations. How is he getting more people to donate to support him when his job approval rating is the lowest of his career at 45%? It doesn't make any sense. Does the government really think that if they tell us his donations are up that we will puppet along and think that he's not doing so bad a job after all? I mean, if so many wise people are donating for his cause, he must be doing okay, so then I should donate, too. Right? Not!

Are you getting ready for the storm?

A shrewd man perceives evil and hides, while simpletons continue on and suffer for it. Proverbs 22:3 NAB

What Are you Seeing Where You Live?

Pioneer Preppy has a great post illustrating how dire our nation's situation is becoming. Give it a read.Small Holding: Politics of the Tribe - Just Passing Through His post echos my remark about 2 neighbors being robbed of farm tools and equipment. I'm wondering how it is going to look around my neck of the woods when the city people come over here and are looting and squatting on private property. It is going to get ugly.

We're seeing small protests in larger cities where we live. And some people are buying more. We even know someone with some remote property that they visit every month or so to prepare for TEOTWAWKI. Even friends that we don't discuss politics with very much have timidly mentioned their uneasiness about the state of things. When I mention stocking up, they say well, we have a pretty full pantry and we're going to Costco next month...

Time is of the essence.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hijacked Daughter's Computer

We purchased a laptop for our oldest when she graduated from high school this year. And since my computer is not in service, I was able to cajole her into letting us borrow hers. I am finding out that I cannot type nearly as fast on this laptop and make numerous typing errors, so this will be short.

The economic and political situation here and around the world is moving in negative ways at lightening speed. Turmoil is happening in large cities and it is only a matter of time before smaller communities have rioting. We live out in the country and 2 neighbors that we know around us were recently burglarized, taking tools, equipment and other items. That is how it starts. Wait until people are hungry and then it will get really ugly.

How are your provisions? I bought a case of mac and cheese for .33/box. I also bought meat and am canning it right now. Tomorrow I will can salsa and get potatoes out of the ground this week, hopefully. I am going to try my hand at dehydrating eggs from Scifichick. I will let you know how they turn out. Be prepared, my friends.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Will Be Out of Comission

My old computer is shot and I am having a new one ordered and built. I am hoping to have the new one up and running by next weekend and will post then. Have a great week and be sure to stock up on a few items. The storm is on the horizon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gone Plum Crazy Here!

I talked to a friend yesterday and she said she had some Italian prunes for me. They have 4 trees, I think, and her family is grown and out of the house so she doesn't do as much canning and preserving as she used to. She is very generous with her fruit as we picked plums from her other plum tree in August and I made some jam from them. The jam is a dark blush color and has a very light taste.

After church I drove over to her car and in the back she had two huge boxes of Italian prunes. Wow! Jackpot. Now, I have never processed plums before this summer and only did so because I was blessed with her bounty that she had shared. I rarely buy plums in the store because they are never very good, can be mealy and have little flavor and I don't like the texture. The plums I made jam with from her first tree were very good and we ate our fair share. But I had never in my life had Italian prunes before. They are outstanding. They have a dark purple skin with yellowish-gold flesh, and are about the size of a medium egg or smaller. They are sweet, tasty and wonderful.

So, this afternoon I have been pitting plums. They pit very easily like a freestone peach. I canned up 14 quarts in a light syrup. The juice after they have processed in the canner is a pomegranate color and looks lovely. I then proceeded to pit more but left them attached as I didn't cut all the way through. I put up 3 gallon size freezer bags full and then I had some leftover syrup from canning and quartered some more and put up 2 pints with a light syrup for the freezer.

I am now drying 6 full trays for prunes. I hear they are superb. I still have about 2/3 of the second box left to process. I'm not sure what I will be doing with them but will probably dry some more and make some fruit leather. I love that these don't need any pretreatment as this moves the show on a lot faster.

Since I have never had canned plums before, does anyone have any suggestions for their use? I have thought about making a plum crisp, but I don't have many other ideas. Also, suggestions for the frozen plums would be appreciated. Well, time to get rest of the kitchen cleaned up before dinner and take the few unusable plums out to the chickens.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bean and Rice Casserole

Here is another great dollar stretcher. It is filling and tasty. Add some cornbread and green beans or a salad, and you have a satisfying meal. It is even better reheated the next day for leftovers.

Bean and Rice Casserole

Preheat oven to 350
Saute in a large skillet:
2 TB oil
1/2 C chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 C chopped celery
1/4 C chopped green pepper (optional)
1/4-1/2 lb. hamburger, sausage, or chopped ham (you could use chicken, too)

When the meat is brown, stir in:
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
2 1/2 C cooked beans (any variety), or one 15 oz. can
1 10 oz.can tomato soup, or 1 8 oz can tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 C hot water
2- 2 1/2 C. cooked rice

Heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Place in a greased casserole and bake for 45 minutes. Top with grated cheese return to oven until cheese is melted.

Frugal Biscuit Mix with Recipes

We have all been to the grocery store and are keenly aware of higher food prices and our eroding dollar. We really need to stretch our food dollar and be making more food at home. Here is a Master Mix Biscuit Mix with many variations that you can make with it. It is cheap and versatile. From biscuits, coffee cake and cookies, to taco pie and lasagne, this is a handy mix to have on hand. I have made many of the recipes, but am not fond of using biscuit dough for cinnamon rolls. I got these recipes when I was first married from the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Master Mix Biscuit Mix

9 C flour
¼ C baking powder
1 TBSP salt
1 ½ C non-fat dry milk
1 C + 2 TBSP shortening
Blend all ingredients with a pastry blender or in food processor. Store in airtight container for up to 9 months. I store mine in a large coffee can.

Master Mix Biscuit Mix Recipes

2 C. mix
2/3 C. water
Knead 15 times on floured board. Roll ½ in. thick, fold in half. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 10-12 min. Option, add more water and make drop biscuits.

Coffee Cake
2 C. mix Topping: ½ C. flour
½ C. sugar ¼ C. brown sugar
¾ C. water ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 egg 21/2 TBSP butter, cut into bits
½ tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C. blueberries or chopped apples with dash cinnamon (optional)
Mix batter just until blended. Pour into a greased 8 in. square pan. Mix topping and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min.

Shortcake (preheat oven to 475)
2 C. mix
2 TBSP sugar
1/3 C. heavy cream
1/3 C. milk
1 TBSP melted butter
Mix dry ingredients. Mix in wet ingredients. Turn onto floured board and pat into a ½ in. rectangle. Cut with a biscuit cutter and put onto greased baking sheet. Turn oven down to 425 and bake for 12-15 min. until light brown. Split, butter and serve with fruit, cream etc.

English Muffins

2 C. mix
2/3 C. water
Knead 15 times on floured board. Roll ½ in. thick, fold in half. Cut with biscuit cutter. Dust with cornmeal. Cook in frying pan over low heat, turn and cook other side. Split and toast.

2 C. mix
1 C water
1 egg
Mix together. Fry on greased griddle, flip when craters form.

2 C mix
1 ½ C water
4 eggs
Combine in blender. Pour ½ C batter in buttered 8” fry pan until dry on top. For crepes, flip and cook other side. Remove and place between sheets of wax paper. Fill as desired.

2 C mix
2 TBSP melted butter or vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/3 C water
Combine all ingredients. Bake in waffle iron until done.

Cinnamon Rolls

3 C. mix
½-2/3 C. water
2 TBSP sugar
Knead 15 times on floured board. Roll to ¼ in thickness. Spread with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon (raisins optional). Roll up, cut into ¾ in. thick slices and bake at 400 for 10-15 min.

Pizza Crust
3 C mix
¾ C water
Mix together to make dough, roll or press out. Put on pizza wheel dusted with corn flour, or press into a greased pan. Add your favorite toppings and bake at 450 for 10-15 min.

Meat Roll Ups

3 C. mix
½ -2/3 C. water
Mix ingredients. Knead 15 times on floured board. Roll into a rectangle to ¼ in thickness. 1 C leftover meat, chicken or fish. Chopped onion & celery (optional). Spread over dough. Cut into ¾ in. slices and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 12-15 min. Serve with cheese sauce, white sauce or gravy over top.

Pizza Pockets or Pasties

3 C mix
½-2/3 C water
Meat, cheese, vegetable, and white or tomato sauce of choice.
Blend mix and water. Roll out onto floured board. Cut into 8x8 rectangles. Spread with meat, vegetable and sauce of choice on one ½, fold over and seal edges. Prick with fork. Bake at 375 for 12-15 min.

Peanut Butter Cookies

3 C mix, 1 C sugar
1/3 C water, 2 eggs
1 C peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla.
Mix ingredients, drop by teaspoon onto greased baking sheet, flatten with fork. Bake at 375 10-15 min.

Oatmeal Cookies
3 C mix
1 C sugar
1/3 C water
2 eggs
1 C rolled oats
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix ingredients until blended. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 10-15 min.

2 C mix
¼ C sugar
½ C water
2 eggs
½ C molasses
½ tsp cinnamon,
½ tsp ginger
Mix ingredients until well blended. Pour into 8x8 in greased pan. Bake at 375 for 35-40 min.

Basic Muffin Recipe
3 C mix
½ C sugar
1 C water
2 eggs
1 add-in (3/4 C diced apple & dash cinnamon, or ¾ C blueberries, or 1/3 C cooked, crumbled bacon, 3/4 C chocolate chips + 1/2 C cocoa powder, or 3/4 C mashed banana & dash nutmeg)
Blend ingredients until just moistened. Use liners or grease 12 muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 20 min.

Flip Flop Pizza
1 ½ C mix ½ tsp basil
1 # ground meat 1 ½ C grated cheese
½ onion, chopped ½ tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced ¼ tsp pepper
1- 15 oz can tomato sauce 6 TBSP water
½ tsp oregano
In oven proof skillet, brown meat, add onion & garlic and sauté. Drain off oil, Add tomato sauce, herbs, 1 C cheese, salt and pepper. Simmer 10 min. In bowl, add 6 TBSP water to master mix, shape into a ball and knead 5-6 times on floured board. Roll into circle the size of the skillet. Place on top of meat mixture and bake at 450 for 12-15 min. Let rest 5 min. Flip skillet over onto baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Or, serve from skillet and sprinkle cheese on top.

Layered Tostada Bake
1 C mix ½ C cornmeal
1 # ground meat
½ C chopped onion ¼ C milk
1 pkg. taco seasoning 2 eggs
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce 2 TBSP oil
½ C sliced olives 2 C grated cheese
1- 16 oz can refried beans 1 cup sour cream
1- 4 oz can green chiles
Brown meat and sauté onion, drain. Combine taco mix, tomato sauce, olives, beans and chilies; stir into meat & set aside. Stir master mix, corn meal, milk, 1 egg and oil, beat until moist. Spread into greased dish, spoon meat mixture over top. Combine cheese, 1 egg and sour cream, spread over meat. Bake at 375 for 30-35 min.

Taco Pie
1 1/3 C mix 1 ½ C milk
1 # ground meat 3 eggs
½ C onion, chopped 1 C grated cheese
1-4 oz can green chilies chopped lettuce and tomatoes
1 pkg. taco seasoning
Brown meat and drain. Combine meat, onion, chilies, and taco mix. Sprinkle into pie pan. Blend together eggs, and master mix. Pour over meat mixture and bake at 350 for 50 min. Top with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.


2/3 C master mix ½ tsp salt
½ C cottage cheese ¼ tsp pepper
¼ C grated parmesan 1- 6 oz can tomato paste
¼ C cheddar 1 C grated M. Jack cheese
1 #b cooked ground meat 2 eggs
1 tsp basil 1 C milk
1 tsp oregano
Grease pan. Mix cottage cheese, parmesan, and cheddar and spread in dish. Combine meat, herbs, salt and pepper, tomato paste, and ½ C jack cheese- spoon onto cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining jack cheese. Blend master mix, eggs and milk. Pour over ingredients in pan. Bake at 400 for 30-35 min.

1 C mix ½ C mayonnaise
12 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled 1/8 tsp salt
1 C grated swiss cheese 1/8 tsp pepper
3 eggs lettuce and tomatoes
1 ½ C milk
Place bacon and cheese in a baking dish. Blend master mix, eggs, milk, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and pour over bacon and cheese. Bake at 400 for 30-35 min. Top with lettuce and tomatoes.