Sunday, June 28, 2009

North Carolina or Bust

Today is the day! Fin-all-y. I am on my way to North Carolina to see Megan, Nolan, and Skyleigh. Pretty excited about that.

Plus, blog friends, IT IS WARM THERE! Hallelujah and Amen. Strangely, people who live there think they're burnin' slap up, but I will happily soak up their share of the warm and mine before returning to the prairie cottage.

On Wednesday we will load up and take a teensy weensy little 31 hour road from North Carolina to Wyoming. With a baby. And a toddler. And the Mommy and the Nana.

You'll know it's us when you see these two chug-a-lugs hanging out the back :o) AKA Duke and Raven Lillie, the Great Danes.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Hobos

I am fascinated with all of the amazing bags and purses on Etsy and could spend hours looking through them all. So when my daughter wanted a new purse, I took the plunge and decided to try making a hobo bag... one for her sister, too!

Both girls picked out their own fabric. So cute that they picked almost identical fabrics...even though they live more than 1700 miles apart.

I also made Megan this pouch for her purse. The pattern states it fits a travel sized box of wipes and 2-3 diapers. Since I don't actually have any wipes or diapers to test their theory, I'm taking their word for it. Guess we'll find out. Now that Skyleigh is getting older, it will be nice for Megan to have a few diapers in her regular purse, instead lugging a huge diaper bag.

A peak at the lining fabric and pockets. Lacey already has hers filled :o)

They were fun to make and not as difficult and complicated as I had anticipated. I may even try making more. You know, when somebody finally adds 12 more hours to a day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spreadable Country Butter

Otherwise known as I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Margarine, this is a great way to stretch butter a little further, while making it softer and easier to spread.

Slather it on youf toast, pancake or biscuit straight from the refrigerator, no waiting for it to soften. Country Butter can also be frozen for up to 1 year.

No special container or crock is needed. If you will be storing it in the refrigerator, a pretty glass dish with a lid is particularly nice. I generally use plastic containers for the freezer.

So simple... only 3 ingredients. Whip the butter and oil first until very smooth, then add in the buttermilk and continue mixing. And no, you can't taste the buttermilk! Trust me, there are those amongst us who would not let it cross their lips if they could taste the buttermilk :)

Since we typically don't use buttermilk for anything else, I increase the recipe until I use up the whole quart. Then we have enough country butter to last many months in the freezer (and no wasted buttermilk).

Pour the creamy country butter into your containers. They can be enormous or minuscule...whatever best fits the size of your family. Even though this is a freezer recipe, it's not just for large families!

And here they are, ready for their trip to the freezer.
Country Butter
1 pound butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil (your preference)
1 cup buttermilk
The butter must be very soft, but not melted. Whip together the butter and oil until smooth and glossy. Add the buttermilk and continue mixing until creamy. Store in tightly covered containers. Keeps in the refrigerator 2 months and freezes for up to 1 year.
Country Butter works for me. See what works for others at Works For Me Wednesday.
Visit Kitchen Stewardship for more Healthy Fat Recipes as part of the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June Challenge

The SHE team June challenge was really fun this month. The theme was patriotic and I managed to get an item finished for each of my shops. I was inspired to crochet this blanket for puddintoes and Liberty angel runner is from prairiecottagerose.

Did you know I have 2 Etsy shops now? My baby items weren't getting many views in the PrairieCottageRose shop. So I decided to open Puddintoes for the baby things. I had several cute shop names picked out, but finally decided on Puddintoes. That's my grandson's nickname! He's also here. And here. Because I wouldn't want you to miss out on any cuteness :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Feeding the Freezer

Feeding Cookies to the Freezer

True confession: our house is filled with cookie monsters! Seriously. We have scarcely met a cookie we didn't love. But lately, what with people growing up and moving out and such, we really can't eat a whole batch of cookies before they get stale. The cookie jar? It was very sad.

Quite a dilemma, let me tell you. Then I had a why-didn't-I-think-of-it-sooner moment when I remembered our friend, the freezer. Problem solved.
There are 2 ways to get started:
  1. The next time you make cookies, make a double batch. Bake what you need for today, then freeze the rest for later. By making a double batch and freezing a portion each time you make cookies, you will very quickly have quite a variety tucked away.
  2. Alternatively, you can have a mega cookie day and fill the freezer all at once. I prefer this method- dirty mixers and a messy kitchen only once a year! Get the whole family involved making different doughs, scooping, freezing, and bagging in assembly line fashion. It really doesn't take long!
Drop type cookies are the easiest to freeze, but it will work with bar cookies too. I am not going to share any recipes. All your favorite cookie recipes will freeze beautifully.

Once frozen, they are safe to freeze for at least a year. You can quickly bake a few or a few dozen without dirtying a single measuring spoon. Bake them as you normally do, per your recipe's instructions. No need to thaw first. Unless it makes you happy. Then by all means, go ahead and thaw. You may need to add a minute or two to the baking time, but not usually.
Freezer Cookies
The Details

You will need a handy dandy cookie scoop. They are so much faster than using a spoon and are easy to find... even Walmart has them now.
Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet until it's gone. Snug those little dough balls tightly together. If you run out of cookie sheets, layer wax paper over the dough blobs and scoop another layer.
Place the whole tray into the freezer to "flash freeze" the dough. It will take a couple of hours, but they'll be just fine in there overnight.
Pop them off the tray and into zip type bags that you have marked with the type of cookie, oven temperature, baking time and any other pertinent instructions. They will stay separate, so that you can take out as many as you need.
Throw them back in the freezer. Voila! You have just fed the freezer cookies!
Now, go bake a few for someone special :o)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Dress

Just wanted to show y'all the sundress I just finished for grandgirl Skyleigh. It was so much fun! I had forgotten how much faster it is to sew clothes for a little one. I just have one more thing to finish for their box and then it'll be on its way to North Carolina. And if we ask her very nicely, maybe we can get Miss Thang herself to model it for us ;o)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Excellent & Amazing Potato Salad

Our family loves potato salad. Now. But once upon a time, my youngest son absolutely despised the stuff. We tried so many different combinations and recipes in our attempt to convert him, alas to no avail. Until this recipe. He actually ate a whole bite. Then another and another, pronouncing the stuff "excellent and amazing" while we stared in awe. Persistence. It pays off.

So here are the details. We happen to love olives. And pickles. But mostly olives. If your family does too, give this recipe a try. If you don't leave out what you don't like and throw in what you do. The recipe is very forgiving. Enjoy!
Excellent & Amazing Potato Salad
3 pounds potatoes
8 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup chopped red onions
3/4 cup diced dill pickles
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup mustard
2-1/4 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Boil potatoes whole and unpeeled. Cool, peel, and cut into chunks. Peel, rinse and cut up the eggs. Toss the potatoes, eggs, onions, pickles and olives gently. In a separate bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Add to the potato mixture and carefully stir to coat everything evenly. Keep refrigerated. Serves 8-10.
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