Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins Two Ways

Pumpkin Muffins
(original version w/sugar)

3 1/3 cups flour
2 cups cooked mashed pumpkin
1 cup oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
2 t. soda
1 t. salt
3 cups sugar
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves

Mix oil, sugar, water, eggs and pumpkin. In a separate bowl mix flour, soda, salt and spices. Pour into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees 20 - 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Muffins
(healthy version w/honey and whole wheat flour)

substitute 3 1/3 cups flour for 3 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
substitue 3 cups sugar for 3 cups honey (you could get by with a little less)

and proceed as above.

I really like the healthy version better (when I can tell the difference :)) I can't believe how delicious and moist these are.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Formal For A Change

As a pleasant change from buffet style we decided to try our hand at a formal dinner. It was so much fun playing with the dishes trying to achieve just the "right look". Because of the number not everything matched so we mixed pewter, solid white dishes, and a botanic garden pattern. We also had to do a little on line research to learn where to place everything and for directions on fun new napkin folds.

It looked really nice and we were pleased with this change of pace style dinner. We alternated servers for each course so everyone could enjoy the meal (not to mention learn how to serve). It made for a special and yes in a way relaxing meal.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Death of Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year- old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Pando, sun lotion or a Band Aid to a student - but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral be cause so few realized he was gone.
-author unknown

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lettuce At Hand

Why didn't I think of it sooner? Lettuce by the front door- so much easier than tromping out to the garden.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Terrific Message

Last night as the kids were finishing up the movie White Christmas I was doing my usual several things at once while the movie was playing in the background. As one of my favorite scenes came on I dropped what I was doing to pay a little closer attention. I really like the song Count Your Blessings, but I guess I never paid that much attention to the specific words. Did I hear that corrrectly? I had to go to the internet and look up the words- here they are and what a wonderful message!- Christmas or anytime!!

(Irving Berlin)
from the 1954 movie "White Christmas"

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings

How about you what has blessed you and your family this year?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Having a Snack

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hidden Beauty

When the leaves all fall and the trees are bare,
when the air turns crisp with blowing chills the earth may seem all dull and dead but there is always deep hidden beauty to be found in God's creation. A beauty unlike anything man could ever create, a beauty that could only be made by the hands of the Creator. Sometimes it may be hard to find or it might just be the alluring atmosphere of nature itself, but its always there.

The cool, clear nights only winter can boast,

a spacious pasture,

or a small winter blossom made noticeable only by the deadness around it, God's creation never ceases to show its beauty to any who seek it.

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

posted by: Sarah

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Have You Thanked Your Hand Mixer Today!!

I try to limit my shopping to thrift stores mostly because I love a bargin, but also because if I'm tempted to make an impulse purchase it usually won't set me back too badly. Such was the case recently when I just had to buy this hand held mixer. I don't know if it was because it reminded me of a type I had seen at my grandmother's house or if I thought it would actually be useful.

Unrealistically, a fault my optimistic nature, I did indeed think it could be useful. Just think of the possiblities: if the power goes out; if the power hand mixer is broken (which happens to be true right now); if I need more exercise (which is also very true!!); to save money on the power bill- never hurts, right? Anyway, my first experiment of creaming butter in sugar was totally exhausting. Fortunately, due to the fact that we are on vacation right now the cookies were saved by powered method.

Oh well, maybe I'll see if there's a market on ebay. However, on the other hand I do have a friend that loves retro..... are you there? Any more suggestions?

I've Been Tagged!!!

Six Random Things About Me:

1. I enjoy playing the violin with my sister Allison. :)
2. I am on vacation right now.
3. My family and I are in the process of listening to the 200 year plan by Doug Phillips and Geoff Botkin.
4. My middle name is Elizabeth
5. I am reading When in the Course of Human Events by: Charles Adams
6. I am preparing to be a godly wife and mother someday.......

The Rules:

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write Six Random Things about yourself.
  • “Tag” six-or-so other people at the bottom of your post.
  • Leave comments on their blogs, letting them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve written the post.
  • Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    A Fall Garden

    "For the beauty of the earth......."

    Yes, those are watermelons!

    Beautiful zinnias!

    "Healthy Version" 2

    Here's another healthy recipe of chocolate chip cookies to try!
    This recipes new twists are peanut butter, dark chocolate, and honey.
    The honey in these cookies gives them a tender, chewy texture.

    Whole Wheat Chocolate Peanut Oatmeal Cookies

    1 c. melted butter
    1c. honey
    1 c. brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 c. peanut butter
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 c. flour
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 c. oats
    6 oz. chocolate chips or 3.53 oz. bar of dark chocolate, chopped (we put about 2/3 of the bar into the cookies, but you could use the whole thing if you like a lot of chocolate in your cookies)

    Mix all ingredients together and place them by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cookies will still be soft when done.

    Another idea: Sucanat is a unrefined natural sugar that would probably be a good substitute for the sugars in this recipe. We didn't have any on hand so I couldn't use it in the cookies but you can find it at health food stores.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    I'm Such A City Slicker

    When harvesting my leaf lettuce I have always pulled up the plant and cut the root stem off and tossed it into the compost simply because I hated to leave the chopped off stub in my lovely garden bed. Lately I've tried leaving the stalk in the ground. I noticed the other day new leaves started to grow from the old stalk. Yeah! More lettuce less work.
    How do you harvest your lettuce- just the leaves or the whole head?

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    "Healthy Version" 1

    Who doesn't enjoy a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie? Here's a recipe that uses whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour. My sister Hannah made these yesterday and they were delicious.

    Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies:

    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 egg
    1 cup oats
    2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    1 tsp. soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1 cup milk chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine softened butter and sugars. Beat for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, mixing together well. Next add in flour, salt, soda, and oats. Lastly fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
    Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

    Chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate coming up so stay tuned!

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Monday Meditation

    This helps me put the week into perspective

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Fun with Play Doh

    Earlier this week my brothers and I made some play doh.
    This is one of the best recipes I have ever used. I used peppermint oil instead of wintergreen.

    Play Doh:
    1 c. flour 1 c. water
    1/2 c. salt Food coloring
    2 tsp. cream of tartar Oil of wintergreen (optional)
    1 Tbsp. cooking oil

    Combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook about 3 minutes or until mixture becomes lumpy and forms a ball. Empty onto cookie sheet and knead until smooth. Cool and store in an airtight container.

    Note: This play doh is for a one time use only. I tried storing it in a plastic container but a few days later when I checked it mold had taken over!


    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Square Foot Gardening- Lettuce

    One reason why I really love the square foot gardening method is.....efficiency. Who would have thought that you can grow 64 heads of lettuce in a 4 foot by 4 foot bed? After a year of broken tillers and hoeing by hand this is good news:).

    The picture above is the beginning of a 4 x4 bed that will eventually be planted entirely in lettuce. I tried this a bit skeptically a couple of years ago and it really works. The heads grow such that they are touching and this drowns out any possibility of weeds. Not only is it a much more efficient use of space its pretty too.

    Even though we live on twenty acres and space for a garden is not a problem I find that wastefulness is. Our tendency over the years has trended more towards spreading out thus making our work less effective instead of concentrating our resources.

    Through the square foot method I've learned that small can be good- especially when it comes to the work of weeding, watering, and planting. By the way, if you have been a traditional gardener and planted by the row method you must read the introduction to this book it is hilarious.

    We still plant a few things by the row method, but most of what we plant goes in the the 4 x 4 beds. I find myself continually referring back to his book for tips and planting instructions. There is a wonderful quick resource at the back of the book that give planting instructions and tips listed by each individual plant.

    What about you? Are you planning a fall garden?

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Encouraging Music, Encouraging Words

    One of our favorite on line radio stations is Rejoice Radio- not only is the music beautiful and inspiring, but the comments and challenging words we hear are such an encouragement to our family. We especially like the morning program- "This is the day" and the evening program "Drive Time".

    The music is primarily choral in nature (a lot of old hymns), but there is a wonderful variety of songs geared toward the young and old and plenty of short features thrown in for fun. Check out their program guide to see all they offer.

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Monday Meditation

    I Looked Into the Eyes of My Children

    by Donna Reish

    I looked into the eyes of my children, surprised by what I did see,
    For I thought I’d see the face of Jesus, staring back at me.
    But instead when I looked into their hearts, what I saw was a big surprise.
    For instead I saw me–their mother—reflected in their eyes.

    All that I wish I wasn’t; all that I’d like to change,
    Was reflected right there in my children—in many different ways.
    All the things I wanted them to change; all the things I dislike the most,
    Were merely reflections of me–things I should have already known.

    I cried to the Lord, “Forgive me, for pressuring them, you see,
    To be things that I was not willing—or even able to be.

    When I heard an older one say, in a very selfish tone,
    “I’ll give you my very best toy, if you’ll only leave me alone.”
    I saw manipulation taking place, and suddenly knew where it was learned,
    For I, too, can be the very same way—the very way I spurned.

    When I saw one of them wanting the best–I thought, “What a selfish child,”
    Then saw myself being selfish in just a very short while.
    When I heard one of them talking angrily, I couldn’t believe my ears,
    Until a few minutes later–my own voice did I hear!

    I saw one of them putting frivolities before the things of the Lord,
    And then saw me with my magazines, instead of God’s holy Word.

    Day after day, God showed me, my children learn what they live,
    And before I can help them to change, I must be willing to give–
    Yes, give up the things that hold me from being, what God wants me to be,
    And willing to be an example–of Jesus—for my children to see.

    Now when I see negative character–reflected in my children’s eyes,
    I look into the mirror–for it’s no longer such a surprise.
    Instead of asking them to change, I ask God to work in me,
    And day by day, changes in them take place—and Christ I am able to see.

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    I'm Thirsty!!!!

    I know when it's hot the best beverage you can drink is water. But, for those times when you need a change from water it's nice to have an option on hand.

    I really like to keep seltzer water, carbonated water or some version thereof to make an inexpensive refreshing juice drink. Just about any juice mixed with the carbonated water and served over ice makes a wonderful treat. For some reason the cranberry versions are especially good and if you freeze the juice before mixing it with the water it makes a slushy delight.

    Note: I always check the ingredients on the seltzer water some brands contain sodium but, I prefer those that contain carbonated water only.

    What beverages do you enjoy on a hot day?

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Making Mixes Is Easy and A Time Saver Too

    In preparation for getting out of town for a few days my daughter has been making up some mixes- pancake, muffin, biscuit etc. We have found this is a wonderful way to speed up meal preparation so we all can take a vacation.

    It's easy-take your favorite recipe and a zip lock bag. Write the mixing and baking instructions from your recipe on the bag with a sharpie marker - be sure to list the wet ingredients and items you'll be adding later that aren't in your mix. Next add all the dry ingredients to your bag and zip it up. The bag can either be stored in the refrig or freezer until your ready to go. We have found the bags pack neatly and tightly.

    While we are making our mixes we keep two lists on hand one for other grocery items we want to take from home and another for our grocery list to purchase once we arrive. This way we ensure that all the ingredients needed to mix up our dish are on hand. We also make seasoning packets for spaghetti sauce, tacos or other dishes we'll be preparing that week. My daughter likes to label her mixes with the day she'll be preparing them- so while the mixes are being made the menus are all planned out.

    Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

    Write on the bag -Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl combine- 1 2/3 cups honey; 1 cup oil; 3 eggs; 1 3/4 cups milk; 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring; 2 teaspoons lemon flavoring. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Pour into greased muffin cups and bake for 20-30 minutes.

    Place in bag- 3 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour; 1 Tablespoon baking powder; 1 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 cup poppy seeds.

    Note: this makes a lot you may want to half the recipe.


    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

    Guess you can tell what I've been up to lately. After a rather busy weekend I succumbed to a sore throat, achy body, and a general overall lousy feeling.

    I'm back on my feet (somewhat) today after a day of rest and many healthy "treatments". Here are a few of my favorites:

    Routine Care and Immunity Boosting

    • Emergen C- we love these little packets- contains 1000 mg of vitamin C & many extras (our Walmart carries these)
    • garlic capsules- taken daily to boost immunity
    Sore Throat Treatment
    • gargle with warm salt water (I remember doing this as a child)- it really works and is so soothing!
    • make a warm drink of lemon juice and honey- sip on this throughout the day to relieve a dry scratchy throat
    Overall Lousy Feeling
    • Berry Well- we just love this stuff. A teaspoon 3 times a day helps shorten an illness and reduce the severity.
    • Echinacea Complete Care Wellness Tea by Celestial Seasonings- two to three cups a day as soon as you notice any symptoms.
    Ear Ache
    • Garlic Ear Oil- I wished I had known this remedy when the children were younger- it seems as if we went through dozens of antibiotics. For achy ears we put drops in the ear canal three times a day. I haven't used an antibiotic for ear aches in eight years!
    What about you? What are your favorite home remedies?

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    Monday Meditation

    I really don't pay a lot of attention to all the imperfections in my home until I start to clean. Suddenly it begins to become painfully aware how many things are broken and worn out. The pedal on the trash can, the vacuum cleaner taped together, the broken window, the couches painfully in need of an upholstery job, etc. etc. Thoughts can run rampant and this mother of many can end up easily becoming depressed.

    Last week we were getting ready to have a few folks over for dinner and if you have a larger than "normal" family like we do a few families quickly adds up to about fifty people. Right inside our front door is a door mat given to us by a very special family last year for Christmas. The inscription reads: "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord".

    While getting ready for company and staring at the rug I was trying to decide is it too worn out, should I put it up before our company comes? Then it dawned on me the reason why it was "worn out"- feet passing in and out. That's it -we're here to be used- our homes, our possessions, our lives given for the glory and service of Christ.

    Worn out or just coming into season-how's it with you?

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    It's Not Too Late

    The other day I was visiting with a friend and she made the comment, "peppers are selling for $1.00/each you can buy a plant for cheaper than that". I thought how true.

    With the price of food lately even if you're an armchair gardener growing just a few things can translate into big grocery savings. And the best news, (depending upon where you live) it's not too late. When I was in Walmart today I noticed they still had pepper, tomato, and other vegetable plants for sale.

    In Patricia Lanza' s Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces: A Layering System for Big Results in Small Gardens and Containers she has tons of tips for growing vegetables in containers. So, if traditional gardening is not "your thing" and you'd still like to save a little on your grocery budget you may want to give her method a try.

    On the other hand, it you love to garden and are bursting at the seams with produce, pour yourself a big glass of iced tea, and get some good food preservation tips at the carnival of home preserving.

    Happy Friday!

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Easy Rag Quilt

    My girls had so much fun making this rag quilt

    If you can cut squares and sew straight lines you can make this quilt.

    Check out these easy directions

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    I Really Don't Know What I Was Thinking

    We had been blueberry picking once already and come home with five gallons, but the bushes were still loaded and I couldn't stand the thought of leaving so many on the bush.

    Soooooooooo, back we go and home again with five more gallons. My thought being they are so delicious, so easy to freeze, so wonderful to cook with and on and on.

    Anyway, if you have a surplus too, here are some more ideas-

    Blueberry smoothie-

    Fresh blueberries, frozen bananas, and yogurt

    Wonderful Blueberry Oat Coffee Cake
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees

    4 Tablespoons butter melted
    1 cup oats

    Wet ingredients:
    1 cup milk or buttermilk
    2/3 cup honey
    4 eggs

    Dry ingredients:
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    5 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

    Mix the topping ingredients together and set aside. Combine the next four wet ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl combine the next five ingredients dry ingredients and mix together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix briefly, and pour into a greased 9x13x2 glass pan.

    Sprinkle the blueberries and topping on top. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

    Does anyone have a recipe for blueberry jam?

    Has anyone dehydrated blueberries?

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    It's Been Awfully Quiet Up There... today I thought I'd go check. I'd seen the girls in and out, up and down quietly doing....something. Let's go see.

    What fun laundry bags!

    This idea came from Romantic Home Sewing by Christina Strutt.

    Chapters include: Living Room, Bedroom and bathroom, Clothes and accessories, Gifts, Instructions, Templates, Stocklists, and Index.

    In addition to the beautiful photography and clever ideas there is a full section in the back complete with instructions and templates.

    Check your library- that's where we got ours.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Monday Meditation

    May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
    Live in me from day to day,
    By His love and power controlling
    All I do and say.

    May the Word of God dwell richly
    In my heart from hour to hour,
    So that all may see I triumph
    Only through His power.

    May the peace of God my Father
    Rule my life in everything,
    That I may be calm to comfort
    Sick and sorrowing.

    May the love of Jesus fill me
    As the waters fill the sea;
    Him exalting, self abasing,
    This is victory.

    May I run the race before me,
    Strong and brave to face the foe,
    Looking only unto Jesus
    As I onward go.

    May His beauty rest upon me,
    As I seek the lost to win,
    And may they forget the channel,
    Seeing only Him.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Vinegar.....Don't You Love It?

    Increase soil acidity. In hard water areas, add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of tap water for
    watering acid loving plants like rhododendrums, gardenias, or azaleas. The vinegar will release iron in the soil for the plants to use.

    Kill grass on walks and driveways. Pour full strength on unwanted grass.

    Deter ants. Spray vinegar around door and window frames, under appliances, and along other known ant trails.

    Keep cats away. Sprinkle vinegar on an area to discourage cats from walking,sleeping, or
    scratching on it.

    Relieve itching by using a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites with Vinegar straight from the bottle.

    Cure for colds. Mix one-quarter cup Apple Cider Vinegar with one-quarter cup honey.
    Take one tablespoon six to eight times daily.

    Remove fruit stains from hands. Rub with vinegar.

    Use in laundry to cut soap.

    Keep bright colors from running. Immerse clothes in full strength vinegar for 10 minutes before washing.

    Freshen up the washing machine. Clean the hoses and unclog soap scum.

    Freshen vegetables. Soak wilted vegetables in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vinegar.

    Boil better eggs by adding 2 tablespoons water before boiling. Keeps them from cracking.

    Vinegar can help to dissolve mineral deposits that collect in automatic drip coffee makers. Fill the reservoir with vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished. (Be sure sure to check the owners manual for
    specific instructions).

    Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of distilled vinegar.

    Clean the dishwasher by running a cup of vinegar through the whole cycle once a month to reduce soap build up on the inner mechanisms and on glassware.

    Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.

    Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

    Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.

    Cut the grime on the top of the refrigerator with a paper towel or cloth and full-strength white distilled vinegar.

    Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar.

    Create your own window cleaning solution by combining 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water.

    What's your favorite vinegar tip?

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Baking With Whole Wheat Flour -Part I

    Part I - All Whole Wheat Flour is Not Created Equal

    Here is an interesting article from describing the differences between different types of whole wheat flour. If you are trying to switch to whole wheat flour or just add more whole wheat to your recipes it is important that you understand the differences between hard wheat and soft wheat.

    Whole-Wheat Flour

    Whole-wheat flour is produced from grinding the full wheat berry (kernel). All parts of the wheat berry are used in the flour including the bran, germ, and the endosperm, which when milled, creates the speckled brown color that is characteristic of the flour. Three granulations (particle size) of whole-wheat are produced: fine, medium, and coarse. The particle size influences the rate liquid is absorbed into the flour. Finer grained flour absorbs liquid at a faster rate than medium or coarse grains, thus affecting the preparation of the dough.

    Fine grain whole-wheat flour is used for all types of baked goods, such as breads, rolls, and pastries. Medium grained can be used for the same types of foods, but will provide a coarser crumb. Coarse whole-wheat flour has a much larger bran particle and consequently is most often used to provide breads with natural, nutty flavors and rough textures.

    Whole-wheat flour used for bread making is usually milled from red wheat. White whole-wheat flour is milled from hard white winter wheat and has a milder flavor, lighter color, and a texture that is not as course. Whole-wheat flour used alone in bread making results in a nutritious, but smaller and denser loaf due to the bran, which hinders the dough from rising fully. In order to create a bread loaf that is a bit lighter and of greater volume, it is often best to combine whole-wheat flour with all-purpose flour or bread flour. Whole-wheat flour may also be referred to as entire wheat flour or graham flour (although there are some differences).

    Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour

    Like refined white pastry flour, whole-wheat pastry flour is produced from soft-wheat and it has a fine-texture and a high starch content, however not all of the bran and germ portions of the wheat kernel have been removed during the milling process. Because of the presence of some of the bran and germ, pastry items made with whole-wheat pastry flour are more nutritious than pastries made with white pastry flour, but they are not quite as light and airy.

    Stay Tuned- Part II- Recipes and Tips for Adapting Your Recipes

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Blueberries!!! Muffins Anyone?

    The blueberries are in and boy are they sweet. Some of my children helped me pick and between the seven of us we got 5 gallons and are planning to go back for more. The bushes belong to a neighbor of ours and we couldn't believe how loaded they were. You could stand in one spot and pick forever.

    Here are two of our favorite blueberry muffin recipes. One is the sweet bakery type- white flour, white sugar- terrible for you but wonderfully fluffy and delicious.

    The other is slightly sweet and much more hearty- made with whole wheat flour, oats and honey. Good for you and good tasting too.

    What mood are you in?

    Blueberry Streusel Muffins

    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 egg
    2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
    1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

    1/2 cup sugar
    1/3 cup all- purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup butter softened

    Cream butter; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, beating well

    Combine 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, stirring well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract, and fold in blueberries

    Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Combine topping ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of muffin batter. Bake at 375 degrees 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately. Yield 1 1/2 dozen

    Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

    Wet Ingredients:
    2 cups rolled oats
    2 cups milk
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup honey
    2/3 cup canola oil

    Dry Ingredients
    2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon soda

    1 1/2 cup blueberries

    Combine the wet ingredients using a wire whisk.

    In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients.

    Add both mixtures together. Gently stir in the blueberries

    Pour the batter into greased muffin cups

    Bake 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until light brown.

    What's your favorite blueberry treat?

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    What is That Refreshing Smell?

    We had a terrific time at the herb class held recently at the Cedar House. Olivia did an outstanding job teaching us about herbs- how to grow them; how to cook with them. She had herbs displayed everywhere and the minute you walked into the room the wonderful aroma hit you in the face. I thought-"wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get our house to smell like this?"

    We came home with recipes, a pot of growing herbs, and a bag of dried spearmint. One of the ladies who attended the class bought a large bag of dried spearmint to share with everyone- the scent was wonderful. I came home heated a little on the stove to "scent" up the kitchen. Then the bag just kinda sat. Whenever I came into the kitchen I'd smell the spearmint through the bag. Then the thought occurred- what about herb sachets? We had some pretty little drawstring bags- I filled them with the dried herb and sat them around in the bathroom and kitchen- ahhhhh what a wonderful smell.

    What about you what do you do with your dried or fresh herbs?

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Monday Meditations

    Refreshing Wonderful......Rain!

    The rain has socked in, puddles are forming all over the pasture, and I'm feeling like crawling up with a good book. I don't think I realized until recently the impact that last year's drought had on me. I had never lived through a drought or even been in drought like conditions before. It was so sad to see everything so brown and dry. There were no all day rains and very few showers. There was dust everywhere. Any time spent outdoors was miserable because of the heat, dust, and continual reminders of dryness. Time that had been spent in the garden was a total waste as we watered what we could, but it still died in spite of our efforts. All the news was totally depressing- there was no forecast of rain in sight and water restrictions and shortages were reported everywhere- not to mention the risk of forest fires. There was nothing we could do- nothing, but God could make it rain. In our culture there are very few things we can't fix, but this was one of them- nothing and no one but God could make it rain, and rain is something we desperately needed.

    This summer has been totally different. The grass and trees are green- the garden is growing- puddles are forming-and ...we've had rain. Not flooding mind you, but what we need. It still gets dry, but just about the time it gets really dry rains.

    There are not a whole lot of things these days that remind us of our total dependence on God. But shouldn't we really live all our days as if we were in a drought- totally dependent on God- for truly we are.

    "I also will give you rain unto your land in due time, the first rain and the later, that thou mayest gather in thy wheat, and thy wine, and thine oil. Also I will send grass in thy field for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat, and have enough. But beware lest your heart deceive you , and lest ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them." Deuteronomy 11:14

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    We Love the Sue Gregg Cookbooks

    Can you tell?

    Do any of y'all use Sue Gregg's cookbooks? We love her recipes and meal ideas. Her books are much more than just recipes- she has cooking tips, menu ideas, nutrition facts galore, and dollar amount per serving! Wow- so much information in one location. Here's one of our standbys-

    Tuna Fettuchini

    amount 6 servings

    1. To cook pasta, add noodles, salt, and oil to boiling water and cook until barely tender, 5-6 minutes; drain and rinse in cold water
    4 quarts boiling water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon oil
    8 oz. whole grain noodles

    2. Saute nuts and vegetables in butter:
    1/4 cup melted butter, unsalted
    1/4 cup almonds, slivered or chopped
    1/2 cup celery, chopped
    1/4 cup onion, chopped
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    or 1 teaspoon ready to use cut garlic

    3. Blend together in large bowl and fold in cooked noodles and sauteed ingredients:
    1 cup sour cream or light sour cream
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    4. Gently fold in:
    6 1/2 ounce can tuna, water pack
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/2 cup frozen peas (broken apart)

    5. Pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole and bake 350 degrees until bubbly.

    taken from Casseroles Meals in Minutes by Sue Gregg

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Now's The Time!!!

    Pumpkin Time

    It is time to get started for that perfect fall pumpkin.

    We've also started some broccoli and lettuce. It maybe too early on the lettuce, we'll let you know. It has been in the nineties this week- I'm dreaming of fall :)

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Fancy Handkerchiefs

    How about dressing up a simple cotton handkerchief? We found a package of cotton handkerchiefs at our local Walmart store and decided to add a fancy feminine border. You can use a border from some crochet patterns you have on hand or use our simple pattern as follows.

    Using a very fine crochet hook (size 10 or 1.3mm) and cotton crochet thread stick the hook firmly into the fabric and work around the handkerchief in single crochet stitches. This will be your foundation row. The next time around we made a shell stitch- skip stitch, slip stitch, *3 dc in the same stitch, skip stitch, skip stitch, repeat from * until the corner sc . On the corner single crochet we worked 3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet in the same stitch.

    Don't worry you can't mess it up and this project is a wonderful opportunity for beginners to practice easy stitches. You can place the handkerchief, ball of thread, and needle in a zip lock bag and its perfect for time in the car or waits in the doctor's office.

    If you have trouble getting your crochet needle to poke through the cotton fabric machine baste in large stitches around the handkerchief and then pull the thread out. The machine needle will have made the hole for you. Start your single crochets about 1/4 inch inside the edge of your handkerchief. It'll be pretty!!