Friday, April 30, 2010

the girl loves her salsa

My granddaughter, Skyleigh, had her first taste of my home canned salsa recently.

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First bite: 

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I think she likes it…

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But whatever you do, please PLEASE do NOT attempt to touch Skyleigh’s salsa bowl. 

Such and infraction will swiftly incur much WEEPING and WAILING and GNASHING of teeth.  K

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wherein I become a mad scientist

Awhile back, I found this awesome post from My Purple Brick Road on how to make compost tea for your indoor plants. 
Oh, so timely was her post.  The winter.  It was long.  Snow.  There was  The spring.  It forgot to come and melt the snow. 
Staying inside, instead of trekking through our winter spring wonderland to the compost bin?  I was all in, baby. 
And thus began my foray into the world of indoor compost experiments.  Which really wasn’t a full on experiment.  Or scientifically sound.  But it did make my kids roll their eyes. 
For the full instructions, hop over to My Purple Brick Road.  She splains it real good. 
Here’s my jar, about halfway through the week.  Doesn’t it look all dark and mysterious-like? 
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I included the paper coffee filter and some tea bags, but otherwise proceeded according to the directions on her blog. 
When the week was up and it was time to test the tea,  I was, um, a little afraid of what it would *smell* like.  I mean, sitting on the counter all week at room temperature does not bode well for the fragrance department. 
So I removed the lid with proper fear and trepidation. 
Which, as it turns out, was totally unnecessary.  It smells just like straight-from-the-store potting soil.  My very own homemade Miracle Grow
After straining, I mixed mine 50:50 with water, so there would be enough for each plant to have a taste.  Now at week 6, they are thriving and healthy 6 
And I’m loving making it inside.  At least until the warm weather finally arrives.  (Please hurry).  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Freezer Hamburgers

The next time you make hamburger patties, make a few (or a bunch) extra.   Raw hamburgers freeze great!  Wonderful to have them ready for a quick meal…
Bonus: Only dealing with the work and mess cleanup once
I’ve included a couple recipes we love below, but use your favorite method!  Hamburgers will freeze just fine, no matter how you prepare them.
Make your prepared and seasoned hamburger into patties:
Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.   Freeze until solid.  Once frozen, they’ll separate easily from the cookie sheet.  Divide the frozen patties into portions/amounts you typically use and place in Ziploc bags.  Return to freezer. 
When ready to cook, thaw in refrigerator or cook from frozen.   
Honey Ranch Burgers 
Original recipe (makes 8):
2 pounds ground beef
1 (1 ounce) envelope ranch dressing mix 
2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard (optional)
Mega Freezer Recipe (makes 24):
6 pounds ground beef
3 envelopes ranch dressing mix
6 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard (optional)
Mix all ingredients well.**  Shape into 8 (or 24) patties. Cook until juices run clear (well done). 
Juicy Freezer Hamburgers
Makes 24 hamburgers: 
6 pounds ground beef
3 eggs
3-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 to 1 cup barbecue sauce 
3 teaspoons ground pepper 
Gently mix** and shape into 24 patties.  Season with salt while cooking. 
**I mix the burgers in batches with my Kitchenaid mixer and paddle.  Mix the seasoning ingredients first.  Add hamburger and pulse mixer on and off until blended.  Do not over mix. 
Please visit Tasty Tuesday and Tempt-My-Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes!


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Eighteen puppies, frogs and Mary Janes are going to a new home. 

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So sweet!

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Posted to:  I Made The World Cuter Monday and Made By You Monday.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Very Verdant Urban Eden

I am one of those people who seemingly never wins anything. 

Never.  Anything.  

Until recently.

Now I am one of those people who win blog giveaways.  Not just one, mind you.  TWO! 

And the goodies I got couldn’t be more completely wonderful!

VeryVerdant hosted a blog giveaway for one of her beautiful and useful pencil cases.  And not only that.  A matching key fob too!  
Aren’t they purdy?!  I adore the fabric and colors!  But look closer.  I don’t use my case for pencils…
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It’s the perfect size for toting my crochet hooks to Matthew’s baseball games and practices.  My hands like to keep busy, if I have to spend very much time waiting.  
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And look at the back:

The cutest pocket ever is the perfect size for my little scissors.

Thank you Very Verdant! It’s so PERFECT! 

Blog giveaway #2 was through the SAFE (soap artisan friends on Etsy) Team.  They had a fun contest that involved gorgeous soaps and poetry. 

Even though they were all so fabulous, UrbanEden was the winner.  And through some process that remains a mystery to me, I won a bar of handmade soap from Urban Eden’s Etsy shop!  Woot!

First, I went ahead and ordered a wood soap dish from her shop.  Cuz I’ve been wanting one for ever so long: 

il_430xN_138718719 I love it!

But back to the soap.

Mercy.  Just look at this gorgeous thing: 

I call it Beautiful.  But it’s real name is Secret Garden soap with organic shea butter

Either way. 

This soap is divine

So all in all, I’m feeling very lucky blessed lately. 

And spoiled. 

If you need me, I’ll be here.  Pretending to be Princess of Quite A Lot.  i

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yo Mama Spaghetti Sauce

My kids love this sauce.  They’re a bit disappointed when they have to eat jarred sauce from the supermarket. 
Lucky for them, this recipe makes at least 4 quarts of sauce and there are usually several Ziploc bags of Yo Mama in the freezer. 
Yo Mama’s Spaghetti Sauce: 
2 lbs browned hamburger (may substitute all or part with browned Italian sausage)** 1 small onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes 
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce 
1 cup water (If you don't want to simmer very long, add much less)
3 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper  
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

In large, heavy pot, combine cooked and drained hamburger and/or Italian sausage.  Add onions and cook on low, stirring occasionally until onions are softened.

Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, basil, oregano, parsley, brown sugar, salt, chili powder, black pepper and mushrooms.  Stir well and barely bring to a boil.

Simmer on low for at least an hour.  Stir frequently.  Longer simmering makes a fabulous sauce.  May also be simmered in a large Crock Pot.  Just make sure all the ingredients will fit. 

When ready to eat:  Spoon sauce over cooked and drained spaghetti noodles and top with parmesan cheese.
**I use pre-browned ground beef and Italian Sausage from the freezer for this sauce.  You can also cook and drain your meats right before you make the sauce.   
Changed to suit our tastes… original recipe from Recipezaar

A frosty bag of Yo Mama, waiting patiently in the freezer :o)

Please visit Crock Pot Wednesday, Foodie Friday, Tasty Tuesday and Tempt-My-Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Starting Garden Seeds Indoors

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Gardening.  It is a challenge in our climate.  At   6100  feet, our gardening season is quite short, cold and windy.   Even though we have approximately 100 frost free days, only about 30 days are likely to be above 55 degrees. 
If they are to have any chance at reaching maturity, annuals, perennials and most vegetables must be planted in the garden as seedlings or transplants instead of direct seeding. 
It is difficult to provide enough light when starting seeds indoors. Lighting is critically important to all plants, but little seedlings seem to be especially sensitive to the light conditions.
This is my grow light set up.  There are commercially available indoor grow light stands, but they are quite expensive.  This one is comparable in size and costs $489 plus shipping!  
  • A metal bookcase from Target with 3 shelves.  They frequently go on sale for less than $20 and are quite sturdy.  
  • Fluorescent shop lights, 2 per shelf (total of 4 bulbs per shelf).  They’re very inexpensive and available at home centers and department stores.  They come with little chains and S-hooks to suspend them.  Adjust the chains so the lights are just barely above the plants. 
  • A timer is nice (but not necessary) to turn the lights on and off for you.  The lights should be on 12-16 hours per day. 
  • Labels or plant stakes (I use popsicle sticks) so you don’t forget what you planted and thus feel sorry for yourself on a whole new level…
So far, so good: April 130

Please visit We Are That Family for more Works-For-Me-Wednesday tips and ideas. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mega Lasagna

Freezer cooking is my favorite time and money saving cooking method.  But I rarely have time to make 30 meals for a once-a-month freezer session.  The solution?  Mega cooking. 
Instead of spending an entire day or even 2, preparing a month’s worth of meals, simply double or triple a recipe.  Today we made a large batch of lasagna, had one for dinner and froze 4 beautiful lasagnas.
First make the sauce: 
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Assemble in pans.  I don’t precook my lasagna noodles.  They easily snap as needed to fit any pan from single serving to food service size.  Once all the layers are ready, wrap well and freeze (or bake and eat :o)
Mom’s Famous Lasagna 1 pound hamburger, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped 
3 cloves minced garlic
28 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes 
8 ounces tomato sauce 
1.5 cups water (omit if you cook your noodles first)
1 cup salsa
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fennel seed
1.5 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil leaves
1 tsp salt
16 oz cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
4-6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan 
1 package regular lasagna noodles
Combine all but the last 6 ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer at least 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, egg and salt.  

In a 13 x 9 pan (or two 8 x 8 pans) layer uncooked noodles, about 1/3 of the meat sauce, 1/3 the cottage cheese and 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Repeat layers twice.  Wrap well, label and freeze.  When ready to eat, thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10-15 more minutes.  Let set a few minutes before cutting. 
If you don’t have enough casserole pans to allocate to the freezer, this is my method:  Line your pan with a piece of Non-Stick Reynolds wrap.  Make extra sure it’s the non-stick kind so it will release easily!  Layer your lasagna and fold the foil ends lightly over the top.  Freeze.  When frozen, set pan on a warm wet towel for a few minutes to loosen.  Loosen around the edges and remove lasagna.  Peel off the foil and freeze in a zipper freezer bag. 
Posted to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday

Liberty Angel

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New at PrairieCottageRose ~ LiBeRTy aNGeL table runner.  She is 14 x 40 inches and was so fun to make!  Love her American flag wings.  j
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Myself, only better


When I look at my daughter I see myself....only better. 


Where shall we see a better daughter or a kinder sister or a truer friend?   Jane Austen

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Happy Birthday, Megan! 
I Love You!

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!


For God so loved the world  








Wishing you a very happy and blessed Resurrection Day!  

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.  Matthew 28:5-6


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