March 31, 2010

Baby Cheesecakes

My mother-in-law makes these every Christmas and they are so yummy! Yes, I know it's not Christmas, but they sounded so yummy I just had to share them with you!

Baby Cheesecakes

19 oz. cream cheese - softened
3 eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
vanilla wafers
Paper baking cups

Place paper baking cups in muffin pans. Place one vanilla wafer in each cup. Mix all ingredients and fill cups 3/4 full. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven 12-15 minutes. Fill center indentations with pie filling of your choice. I sometimes use our home made cherry filling.


**hook rug image is from

March 30, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

I made my Easy Peasy Chops on Sunday, but as I was gathering the ingredients I noticed I was plum out of cream of chicken soup. Didn't I just stock up on that a few months ago? Uh oh! What was I going to do? Then I remember Crystal aka Money Saving Mom had mentioned a homemade recipe a while ago. She linked over to Tammy's page where the recipe is posted. I tweaked it a bit to suit my needs (ie. non-existent poultry seasoning -- oops!). It worked great and we didn't even miss the poultry seasoning! (You can use cream of mushroom soup for the chops, too!)

Cream of Chicken Soup Base
(Makes about 3 cups which would be about 2 cans of soup.)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
1/4 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup flour

In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two. In a large measuring cup (I used my 2 cup) whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and stir until mixture boils and thickens.


March 29, 2010

Recipes Featured!

Jolyn over at Bargains to Bounty has sale ads and coupon matchups. She is now featuring some of my recipes that match up with certain sale items posted. Go on over and check out the Meijer listing at her site!

Cute Giveaway!!


Faithfulness Farm is having a giveaway! Enter here!

Resurrection Rolls

I thought I'd post this in time for you to assemble the goods and make for your children for Good Friday or Easter weekend.

Resurrection Rolls

8 large marshmallows
1/4 cup melted butter
sugar/cinnamon mixture (approx. 2 T each)
1 10 ounce can of crescent rolls

1. Open can of crescent rolls and separate into triangles.  
The rolls represent the linen cloth used in covering the dead.

2. Dip and roll one marshmallow (representing the body) into melted butter.
The butter represents the oils used in anointing the dead body.

3. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar together. Roll the marshmallow in the mixture.
The mixture represents the spices used in burials.

4. Place the marshmallow in the center of the crescent triangle and carefully fold the dough around the marshmallow. (Pinch the edges tightly to seal in the marshmallow as it melts.) Put each crescent-wrapped marshmallow on a slightly greased cookie sheet or in a greased cupcake pan.

5. Bake the rolls in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  
The oven represents the tomb.

Let them cool. When the kids bite into them, they will see that the inside is empty!   
Just like the tomb was empty that wonderful morning!!


For more information on this wonderful Easter miracle read more HERE.

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of March 29

Monday (March 29)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: Tuna salad sandwiches and Chicken salad sandwiches, carrots, apples, chips or pretzels
Dinner: Sausage rolls, scrambled eggs, fruit, Cherry Cheese Braid

Tuesday (March 30)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: Left over sandwiches, sausage rolls, etc.
Dinner: Papa John's pizza!! (They have a great reading program in which the kiddos earned free pizzas for dinner!)

(March 31) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: left over sausage rolls, eggs, etc.
Dinner: tacos, taco rice, refried beans, chips, carrots

Thursday (April 1)
Breakfast: eggs and toast
Lunch: left over tacos, carrots, chips(or popcorn), apple slices
Dinner: Huntington Chicken (recipe coming Friday), smashed potatoes, veggies, rolls

Friday (April 2)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: left overs or sandwiches, chips, carrots, apples, bananas
Dinner: Lasagna, garlic bread, salad

Saturday (April 3)
Breakfast: french toast
Lunch: left over lasagna and/or sandwiches
Dinner: Stuffed Crust Pizza

Sunday (April 4)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: EASTER!! And that means Chinese Buffet for lunch!! Woohoo!
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night!

March 28, 2010


Once again I shamelessly share the cutie-patootie-ness of my littlest. There's a recipe at the bottom, too!

The nursery folk at church blow bubbles for the kiddos on Sunday mornings. She really likes much that she made up her own "bubbles"!

Hey -- she's in the kitchen, right? Oh, and her hair's pulled back in a low ponytail.

We'll be getting ours out when it warms up a bit more and we can go outside to enjoy them! Here's my bubble recipe:


2/3 cup dish soap (Joy is what was suggested years ago and I haven't tried anything else.)
1 gallon water
3 T glycerin (Found at the pharmacy. Glycerin thickens the bubble solution. You could try sugar or corn syrup)

Mix up the ingredients and have at it!

March 27, 2010

Smashed Potatoes

I serve my potatoes mashed with the skin on. You get more vitamins and minerals from your spud that way! A friend used to call them "smashed" potatoes and the name kind of stuck.

Smashed Potatoes
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp pepper
dash or two of salt

Scrub and cube potatoes. Put them in a pan of water and bring them to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes. Test with a fork...if they're hard then boil a few more minutes. Drain. Place a stick of butter in the pan and put the lid back on it so the heat melts the butter. Add milk, pepper, and salt. Smash the potatoes with a masher. Transfer to a pretty bowl if you wish! Enjoy!

March 26, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

A friend of mine came over last week with her gang. She brought some very yummy cookies! I had to know what the secret was. Cake mix! Read on...

Cake Mix Cookies

1 package yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
Chips of any type...she used mini chocolate chips but can you imagine butterscotch chips? Yum!

Drop rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated. Check on them at 6 minutes. You don't want them to get too brown so check often. Like I've said before...ovens vary!

*Note: Note: if the mix still seems too dry, add another Tsp. of oil.

March 25, 2010

Sloppy Joes

Our busy day of the week is Wednesday. We usually have tacos or sloppy joes. They are quick and easy. Everyone likes them and I can throw them in the crock pot after lunch and they're ready for dinner. This is my own sloppy joe concoction. You may like it, you may not. Feel free to tweak it however you like!

Sloppy Joes

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 tsp. mustard (from the fridge...not powder)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

In a crock pot put the beef and add the remaining ingredients. Mix together and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2.


March 24, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Stuffing

This dish is super easy and great for the crock pot. It's wonderful paired with smashed potatoes. The cream can be used as a thick gravy for the potatoes.

Creamy Chicken and Stuffing

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast (halves)
2 10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 can of milk (use one of the soup cans)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 packages Stove Top stuffing mix
3/4 cup water

Place chicken in the crock pot. Combine soup, milk, and onion powder; pour over the chicken. Combine stuffing and water in the same bowl ( use dirtying lots of dishes!). It will seem a little dry but it will moisten up while cooking. Spoon over the chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.


*picture from

March 23, 2010

Zippy Steak Fries

We love going to a certain restaurant where they serve these wonderful steak fries with cheese and a zesty dipping sauce. I've created my own version. Hope you enjoy!

Steak Fries
6-8 medium potatoes (russet work well)
3 T oil (olive oil or veg. oil...take your pick)

1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
3/4 cup colby-jack cheese

Zesty Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 tsp. chili powder

Wash, half and then slice potatoes into thin wedges. Place potatoes in a bowl and fill with cold water. Let sit for a few minutes to get some of the starch out. Drain, rinse and then towel dry. (Yes, I said towel dry. The oil needs to stick and if you've covered oil and water in science class...) Sprinkle oil and then seasonings over potatoes and toss together. Spread around on a large, greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 450 oven for about 10 minutes. Flip the fries over and then bake at 400 for about 30-40 more minutes. Sprinkle cheeses on top of the fries and bake until cheese is melted to your liking (about 5 minutes for us).

While the fries are baking mix together the ranch dressing and chili powder and let it chill in the fridge. Serve as a side to the fries.


Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Cheap Cleaning Tips

I'm not a huge fan of chemical cleansers in the home, neither is my budget. We use chemical toilet bowl cleaners and when the flu bug is in the house we use anti-bacterial sprays, etc. But when it comes to regular cleaning, nothing can beat some great ingredients you more than likely have on hand in your kitchen. Vinegar (distilled white) and baking soda. Two very powerful cleaners that are inexpensive and very helpful...especially combined!

Here's a list of ideas that we find handy:

Vinegar in the laundry is great to clean some smelliness out of the washer but did you know that you can use it as an inexpensive fabric softener? You're clothes won't smell like vinegar afterward, either. Just add 1/4 cup to the rinse cup.

I sprinkle baking soda in the bathtub and then with a vinegar soaked rag scrub away and rinse with water. It gets the soap scum off and is sparkling clean!

For an odor free carpet just sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes or so and then vacuum.

I'm sure you all know to put a box of opened baking soda in your refrigerators to keep the smellies away!

Run out of toothpaste? Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the palm of your hand, wet your toothbrush, dip it in the baking soda and brush away. If you have some mint flavoring you could add that for a fresh minty taste.

For more vinegar cleaning tips visit this Vinegar Tips site.
For more baking soda cleaning tips visit this Green Living site.

*pic. from

March 22, 2010

25 Mac & Cheese Recipes by Gooseberry Patch

From Gooseberry Patch to you! Enjoy!
25 Mac & Cheese Recipes by Gooseberry Patch

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

I bought a lot of split chicken breasts a few weeks ago that were super cheap and put them in the fridge. I had my husband (aka Hubster, not-the-Hubster...hehe) grill some the other day and to get them thoroughly cooked they had to, let's say. So I'm thinking grilling these puppies is not a great idea. I dug up this recipe that I haven't used in a long time and it's a hit!

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

8 chicken breasts (split with skin removed or boneless)
1 cup ranch dressing
2 T flour
1/2 c. cheddar cheese

Combine ranch, flour, and cheddar cheese and spread on top of the chicken. Bake at 375 degrees covered with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. Remove aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes. Check for doneness.


*drawing from

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of March 22 -- FIGHT FAMINE!!

This week's menu plan is going to be different. I'm using what I have on hand from the freezer and the pantry. We will be using less milk, having less snacks, drinking a lot more water, etc. Because...

The youth group at our church is participating in the 30 Hour Famine sponsored through World Vision. Due to preventable poverty, disease and hunger 26,000 children perish every day. Most of us in America are so blessed to be able eat wonderful, wholesome foods, drink clean water, and enjoy other luxuries we feel we "need". Our family has decided to only purchase the bare necessities this week like toilet paper, diapers, some fresh fruit, etc. What is left of our weekly grocery budget of $150 will go to our youth groups collection. Our goal is $100. Will you join with our family and live on what you can to get by with this week so that you can give to an organization that helps those less fortunate?

Monday (March 22)
Breakfast: Sour Cream Blueberry Bread
Lunch: pigs in a blanket, carrots, apples
Dinner: Chicken Tetrazinni (using chicken left from Saturday), mashed potatoes (I have some starting to sprout in the basement-- eek!), salad?, rolls (from the freezer)

Tuesday (March 23)
Breakfast: cereal (if there is any left...or toast and yogurt we have on hand)
Lunch: leftover chicken tetrazinni
Dinner: Blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs (provided by our chickens), Sausage Gravy with Biscuits (left over sausage in the fridge)

(March 24) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: grilled cheese and soup (soup bought on sale weeks ago)
Dinner: sloppy joes, chips (or popcorn...whatever we have), carrots, apples (beef and buns from the freezer)

Thursday (March 25)
Breakfast: cereal (or eggs--from chickens and toast --from freezer)
Lunch: left over sloppy joes, carrots, chips(or popcorn), apple slices and grapes
Dinner: Ranch Cheddar Chicken (chicken from the freezer), steak fries (if we have any usable potatoes left), corn on the cob (in the freezer from last summer), rolls (freezer)

Friday (March 26)
Breakfast: muffins (mixes in the pantry)
Lunch: left over chicken in sandwiches, carrots, apples, cheese and crackers (both basically free from sales a few weeks ago)
Dinner: Spaghetti dinner at church for the 30 Hour Famine

Saturday (March 27)
Breakfast: french toast (bread from freezer and eggs from chickens)
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: Homemade Stuffed Crust Pizza might be non-stuffed...depends what's left in the fridge...and it might be just plain cheese pizza?

Sunday (March 28)
Breakfast: muffins (mix from pantry)
Lunch: Easy Peasy Chops (pork from freezer), mashed potatoes (might have to buy a new bag?), stuffing (bought some discounted at the bread outlet), mixed frozen veggies (freezer stock),rolls
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night!

March 21, 2010


See this little girlie?

She enjoys watching this little girlie...

And this one...

These are "dotes" according to the first girlie. She thoroughly enjoys watching these goats. She squeels with delight while watching them. She watches them from the back door and hollers "shooga" (Sugar -- the pygmy goat) and "fwippy" (Skippy -- the Nubian goat). It's rather quite cute. Some day these "dotes" will have more little girlies and maybe some day we will have stories and recipes of goats milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. Along with some lovely goat milking anecdotes, I'm sure. For now we just enjoy watching them gnaw on the fence posts, nibble at clothes and loooove a good back scratch.

Side-note: I'm kind of enjoying my Sunday posts...they really have nothing to do with the kitchen lately, just a glimpse of our non-kitchen world. Hope you enjoy!

March 19, 2010

Spring and Key Lime Pie

Today is the first day of spring!! It's felt like it the last week or so, but the next few days won't feel so much like it. My kiddos know that when spring rolls around it's getting closer to the days for Key Lime Pie. Happy Spring ya'll!

Key Lime Pie

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup lime juice (I buy the bottled kind)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 drops green food coloring (if you want it to look green)
9 inch graham crust

Directions are quite difficult, but I think you can handle them. Ready? Mix the ingredients (minus the pie crust, of course) and pour it in the crust. (I mix it in my stand mixer. It is a bit difficult to get it smooth and creamy when mixing by hand.) Stick it in the fridge. Wait a couple hours and voila! Key Lime Pie!!


Stuffed Crust Pizza

Friday night at our house is usually pizza night. Sometimes we order out but usually we make it. I have to use two large rectangular baking sheets and that feeds us plenty with some leftovers for the next day.

Stuffed Crust Pizza

10 sticks mozzarella string cheese
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce (the latter is cheaper and doesn't taste any different)
4 oz. shredded colby jack cheese
16 oz. mozzarella
Parmesan cheese (I used Parmesan/Romano blend)
Garlic powder

(I usually add browned sausage, onions, green pepper, and black olives on one of the pizzas but I didn't have those since we were eating from the pantry last week.)

Spray the cookie sheets with non-stick spray. Put two large clumps of dough on the cookie sheets and pat out with greased hands. Make sure you make the edges of the dough touch the pans and be a little thick. Cut the string cheese in half and then in half lengthwise. Push them into the edges of the dough.

Once you've laid out all the string cheese start folding over the dough so it encases the cheese.

Spread out the pizza or spaghetti sauce. Try not to touch the seams where your dough encased the cheese or they may unroll and the cheese will melt out.

Sprinkle half the mozzarella on the cheese and then the colby jack. Then lay out the toppings.

Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan/Romano cheese (I use the kind in the can), garlic powder, oregano, and basil (there's not a specific depends on what you like).

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Ovens vary, and if you are baking two pizzas you'll need to rotate them.


March 18, 2010

Monkey Muffins

A dear friend made these for us when we had just had our first baby. I had never had then before and thought they were heavenly. I got the recipe from her and my kiddos love them. Hope your family does as well.

Monkey Muffins

6 tubes flaky biscuit dough (the ones that have 10 in a tube)
2-3 sticks melted butter
2 1/2 cups white sugar
2 T cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar

Mix together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Roll uncooked biscuits in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place biscuits in a large buttered pan. (A bundt pan works well.) Mix remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture with brown sugar, sugar, and butter. Spread over the top of the pan evenly. Bake 20-30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

March 17, 2010


I never found a meatloaf recipe that the whole family likes so I made up my own. Hope you all like it.


-makes 1 loaf pan

2 lbs. ground beef
1 cup crushed crackers (I use butter crackers like Ritz)
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 T parsley (dried)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. mustard
2 tsp. brown sugar

Mix together the first set of ingredients in a large bowl. Bate in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Carefully drain grease. Spoon sauce on top and bake an additional 10 minutes.

March 16, 2010

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes

This dish can be put in the crock pot or baked in the oven. You can make it a main dish and add chopped cooked ham or chicken.

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes

Mix together the following:
26 oz. frozen hashbrowns (thawed)
2 cups colby jack cheese
1 T onion powder

Mix together in a separate bowl:
2 T butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup milk or Half & Half
1/2 cup beef broth

Add the liquid bowl mixture to the potato mixture. Place in a greased 13x9 baking dish and bake 425 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I like buying boxes of cereal really cheap but I hate filling the landfills with the garbage from them. We burn a lot of our paper products with the exception of a few items that we use as weed block on the garden like newspaper and animal feed bags (goat and chicken). So we burn the boxes unless the kiddos get a hold of them first to create things (which regularly happens). The waxy bags are great to press down rice krispie treats in a pan or reuse as storage bags. With the exception of freezer bags I rarely have to buy storage bags. The kiddos (and even Nana) are trained now to pack extra food from meals away in these bags. It takes like 3 weeks or so to get a habit formed? I'm glad we have. It's great for creation and it also saves money. Anyone else have any ideas that are along these lines?

March 15, 2010

Poke Cake

Since spring is just around the corner I thought I'd share with you one of our favorite spring desserts. It's a common one but like I've said before I'm entering all our favorite recipes into my BigOven program so this one goes in, too. Have you checked out the links to BigOven? The link is on my side bard over to the right.

Poke Cake

1 package white cake mix
water, vegetable oil and egg whites as called for on cake mix package
1 package (4-serving size) strawberry, or raspberry-flavored Jello (you can use lime or orange...any flavor, really)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 container (8 ounces) Cool Whip
fresh berries or fruit as a garnish

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. make and bake cake as directed on package for 13x9 pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Poke cake all over with a fork. Stir Jello and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth; stir in cold water. Ladle it over the cake. Refrigerate 2 hours. Frost with Cool Whip; garnish with fruit. Store covered in refrigerator.


*photo from Kraft

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of March 15

Last week the goal was to out of the pantry. With the stomach flu most of us had we pretty much only ate two meals that were on the menu and that was Thursday and Friday. So this week I'll be reusing part of last week's menu plan. Hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it, right? : )

This week's menu plan:

Monday (March 15)
Breakfast: bagels, cream cheese, and homemade jam
Lunch: Cheese quesadillas, beans, sour cream, black olives, salsa
Dinner: Chili, corn bread, carrots

Tuesday (March 16)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: left over chili and chips
Dinner: Grilled chicken?? (Hoping for a nice day?), steak fries, grilled veggies??

(March 17) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: bagels, cream cheese, and homemade jam
Lunch: grilled cheese and soup or chili
Dinner: tacos, taco rice, refried beans, black olives, sour cream...

Thursday (March 18)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: left over tacos, carrots, chips, apple slices and grapes
Dinner: Parmesan Crusted Chicken, steak fries, corn on the cob, rolls

Friday (March 19)
Breakfast: bagel, egg and cheese sandwiches
Lunch: left over chicken and noodle casserole and grilled cheese
Dinner: Homemade Pizza (recipe posting on Friday)

Saturday (March 20)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: left over pizza and/or sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie, rolls

Sunday (March 21)
Breakfast: baked egg with bacon casserole and muffins
Lunch: Chicken burritoes, refried beans, taco rice, tortilla chips
Dinner: "Clean out the fridge night!" (We use up whatever leftovers are still there and come up with some interesting combos!) carrots, apple slices

March 14, 2010

One of These Things is Not Like the Other...

Our eldest boy has 13 hens; his "girls". He goes out to feed them and yells "giiirrrlllss" and they come running and follow him like a puppy dog. It's rather quite cute. Good thing he likes them. I think they look like Velociraptors with feathers.

Their egg production is pretty erratic. Thursday we got 6 eggs. Yay!! Friday he came in with these three. Quite a funny group.

I think he may have to go have another "talk" with them regarding them holding up their part of the bargain. ; )

March 13, 2010

Tina's Pineapple Cookies

My friend, Tina, posted this recipe. I tweaked it a bit. I used butter and I doubled the recipe. I'm sure there are some of you that don't like's a staple here and I may get into it further at some point why we choose butter over anything else. If you want her version go to her site Tina's Tidbits.

Pineapple Cookies
2 cups butter (melted)
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla
2o oz. can crushed pineapple, juice and all
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
8 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I mixed the following in my stand mixer; eggs, butter, sugars, and vanilla on medium. Add pineapple and mix on low until blended. In a large (and I mean big! -- since it's a doubled recipe) bowl mix together flour, soda, salt and baking powder. Use the P. Chef scooper to drop cookies onto gently sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 1o-ish minutes.

I made a double batch because it called for a cup of crushed pineapple and I had a can of 2 cups. The double batch made 58 cookies (medium size P. Chef scooper) and an 8x8 pan. No, the recipe didn't call for an 8x8 pan. I told you I tweaked it. You see...I have cookie ADD. I get bored after the first batch or so are out of the oven. Shoot...I just have plain 'ol craft ADD. I can't quilt, knit, crochet...I get bored in the middle of a scrap book. *sigh* It's quite the affliction. Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah...8x8 baked at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes (test it before you take it out...ovens vary).

We love these cookies! My "I'm not picky" (yes she is!) mom even loves them! We frosted some with vanilla frosting out of the can. When I'm feeling more ambitious I'm thinking maybe some lemon or orange frosting or glaze might be a neat twist, too.

Thanks for sharing this Tina!

Enjoy everyone!

Under Budget!

I know I usually write about tips on Tuesdays but I was just so excited about this that I had to share. I get excited about saving money and low grocery bills might be strange to you...but it's part of my job as wife and mom. : )

I wrote a few weeks ago about stock piling and couponing. No matter what your storage space is I hope you are trying to do a little bit at a time. It's really worth it! I don't know if I shared this or not already but our grocery budget is $150 a week -- for our family of 10. The only reason it is that low is because of stockpiling and couponing. It's the only way for me to feed my family. Between what my husband (Hubster/, never mind) spent Monday on a few extra cleaning supplies (nasty, nasty flu bug!) and a few other things plus my trip Wednesday we are under budget by like $10!

Wednesday's shopping trip consisted of:

Woven basket (to organize part of the desk)
Tote (on clearance! - for toys in the playroom)
Grill basket -- hopeful for all those veggies this summer!
"Welcome Spring" sign -- el cheapo and the outside needs a little Spring pick-me-up
Preen -- weed preventer (I'm bound and determined not to pull so many stinkin' weeds this summer!)

4 gallons milk
30 containers yogurt (they were on sale and I had a coupon for all of it -- making them 33 cents each) (I have to add that I would like to start making my's on my never-ending to-do list!)
3 roasting chickens (99 cents/lb. and I had a $4 Meijer coupon for $15 or more for meat)
2 lb. pears
Vine tomatoes (can't wait for home grown ones but these will do)
Aunt Millies' buns - buy 1 get 2 free -- not as cheap as the bread outlet prices but I'm not burning the gas to "save" money to go there, you know?
2 jars of Ragu

That's about it...I had several coupons and $-off Meijer catalina coupons that all total saved me $12.60. Grand total was under $140 this week! Woo hoo!

*Photo from

March 12, 2010

Review: "Making Herbs Simple" -- Poultices

I like to make a lot of things myself. Not only for the joy of making something with my own hands, but to save our family money. I hope to give the following recipes a try this year. It's a goal...if I don't do it this summer, maybe next year. Each year the garden gets better. Each year I learn something more about homesteading. Each year there are great possibilities. If they don't all happen I have the joy of knowing I tried.

Proverbs 31:17 "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

It's good to have a goal!

Part Two -- Poultices

I have to say I've never made a poultice but it seems very interesting and I might give it a try. I thought I'd share my notes with you so you could try it, too, if you like.
Garlic Poultice -- Garlic is good for fighting illness and a poultice is a good way to get garlic into the bloodstream. I would like to grow my own garlic and I am planning on adding that to my herb garden area this year. For a poultice you should separate the garlic bulb into cloves. Squish the garlic cloves using a fork or a garlic press. You want to get the juices flowing. Place the garlic in a folded cheesecloth and fold it up like a burrito. Lay it in a bowl and pour hot water on it to get it wet. Place the poultice on the skin for about 5 minutes or so. Garlic is best the first 15 minutes it's "squished" and hot. Garlic can irritate the skin so be careful not to have it on too long. For chest congestion rub a little olive oil on the chest and lay a poultice on the chest for 1-2 minutes. If you have the flu they suggest you wrap a poultice loosely and lay it on the wrist veins for about 20 minutes. (I have to add that if I had the flu, garlic is the last thing I would want to smell!)

Plantain Poultice -- As I mentioned before that plantains are great for soothing a bug bite. If you don't have a tincture around you can use a poultice of dried plantains. Crush up dried plantain in a bowl and add enough hot water to saturate the herb. Put a lid on the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Pour it into a doubled cheesecloth and squeeze a bit of the juice out of it, wrap it up like a burrito and place it on the irritated skin for 10-15 minutes.

According to the ladies, plantain and garlic poultices will draw the infection out. I'm going to give it a try this summer. Let me know if you've ever tried these tips and if they've worked for you!

March 11, 2010

Review: "Making Herbs Simple" -- Tinctures

I like to make a lot of things myself. Not only for the joy of making something with my own hands, but to save our family money. I hope to give the following recipes a try this year. It's a goal...if I don't do it this summer, maybe next year. Each year the garden gets better. Each year I learn something more about homesteading. Each year there are great possibilities. If they don't all happen I have the joy of knowing I tried.

Proverbs 31:17 "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

It's good to have a goal!

Part One -- Tinctures

I borrowed
"Making Herbs Simple" from the library the other day. The Bulk Herb Store not only sells this video but has a lot of dried herbs, accessories, and heirloom seeds that you can purchase. They also have a lot of information about herbs: using herbs, cooking with herbs, and making medicinal items with herbs. If you're a hands-on kind of gal like me you might want to watch the video to really get a good grasp on herbal remedies. Following are some of the highlights from the video.
Plantain Tincture -- Did you know Plantains live in pretty much everyone's yards? This herb is great for soothing bug bites, bad complexions, and for toothaches (chew a bit of it and hold it on the sore tooth to soothe). What you do is pick plantain and wash it. Break it up into pieces and fill a glass jar (a canning jar does well) with the herbs. Pour apple cider vinegar (the kind that has the mother in it) over the top to cover it. Store it in a dark cool place. Shake it a couple of times every day. It will look nasty with it's greenish-brown tint. In 2 weeks you can strain it into another jar with a cheesecloth. Store it in a cool dark place. Don't forget to label and date it since tinctures last between one and three years. You dab this on bug bites and stings or use on a bad complexion. The ladies say not to be in the sun much if you're using this on your face. I'm not sure why. I haven't used this yet since it's winter and there are no plantains to be found but I will definitely be giving it a try come spring!

Chamomile Tincture -- I'm going to start growing some Chamomile in the herb garden this year! Chamomile relaxes nerves and muscles, and helps you sleep! It's gentle enough that children can drink chamomile tea! Wash and then hang to dry your chamomile (hang up to dry 3-5 days in a warm, dry, dark place) . Once they're dry pop off the dried flower heads. Fill a jar half full and pour enough boiling water in it to make it thick and muddy. Add food grade glycerin to the top of the jar. Heat the jar on a low setting for 3 days. (Put a cloth in the bottom of a crock pot and put your jars in. Put enough water in the crock pot so it's half way up the jar.) Once it's done strain it with cheese cloth while warm. Label and store it in a clean jar with a dropper. Add enough drops to your hot water for tea for a nice relaxing flavor. How much you add depends on how concentrated your chamomile/glycerine mixture is. Tomorrow I will share some tips on making a poultice.

March 10, 2010

Caesar Chicken Pizza

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me years ago and our family loves it! She used 2 Pillsbury pizza crusts or you can use my recipe.

This recipe is for one large rectangular pizza.

1 lb. chicken
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
Parmesan cheese (1 fresh wedge (shredded) is best but I use the canned Kraft kind and eye-ball it)
2 tsp. minced Garlic (or 4 cloves or 1 tsp. garlic powder) -- divided
Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing (Kraft makes a nice one!)
Romaine lettuce
Roma tomatoes
Black olives
Green onion if you like (us...not so much!)

Cut chicken into strips. Put 2 T. salad dressing and 1 tsp. garlic into a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook thoroughly. Place the pizza crust on a pan. Spread 2 T dressing and 1 tsp. garlic onto the crust. Sprinkle 1/2 the wedge of Parm. cheese (or 1/2 cup-ish of canned) plus 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese over the crust. Put the cooked chicken on top of the cheese then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for approx. 25 minutes (or until cheese is melted and crust is done).

The topping for this is basically a salad on top. Chop up your lettuce, dice the tomatoes, black olives and onion. Toss it with some of the dressing and place on top of the baked pizza. Slice and enjoy!

**photo from

March 9, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Simple Dough

If you are afraid of making your own bread dough, pizza dough, garlic sticks, etc. Fear no more! This recipe is adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. I've made it an easy process.

Here are the ingredients:
6 c. warm water
3 T yeast
8 tsp. salt
13 c. flour (I use all-purpose unbleached)

All you need is a large 10 quart container. I mix the yeast and salt in warm water with a spoon. (Not hot, because you'll kill the yeast, but not cold because you want the water warm enough to activate the yeast. Think of it as warm enough for a baby's bath.) Add in the flour all at once. Mix it around with a spoon or your hands. (I remove my rings...picking dough out of the nooks and crannies is no fun!) Place the cover on top loosely and let it rise for about 2 hours. You can then either use it or place the lid on tight and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.

If you're going to bake it right after the 2 hour rising process then preheat the oven to 450 degrees. The important part is to bake w/steam. That means put a pie pan on the bottom rack with about 1/2 inch water in it. Be careful when opening up the oven, though...that steam likes to escape and it's a bit hot! (I don't use steam when baking pizza, though.)

This is the container I use..

This is the label that I have on it so I remember the directions...

This recipe will make about 4-6 pizza crusts (thinner is better)...or various amounts of bread sticks, or rolls. The easiest thing I do is pat it out onto a greased cookie sheet and bake it for about 15 minutes until slightly golden on top. When it's done I cut it up with a pizza cutter and serve with butter.

For garlic cheese bread I press dough into a pizza pan. I cut it in strips with the pizza cutter. Then I pour melted butter over the top. Sprinkle on garlic powder, basil, oregano, parmesan cheese, mozzarella, colby-jack and a little bit of cheddar. Bake for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!!

March 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Pie

This is one of my most favorite-est desserts in the whole wide world!! ; )

1 chocolate cookie pie crust
1 cup peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz. Cool Whip
1- 11.75 oz. jar Smucker's Hot Fudge Ice Cream Topping, divided (see below)

2 T Hot fudge
2 T peanut butter

In a medium-ish bowl, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups of Cool Whip. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell. Smooth mixture to edges of the pie.

Set aside 2 T hot fudge from the jar (put it in a baggie). Microwave the jar of hot fudge for 1 minute. Stir. Spread it over the pie to cover the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until serving time.

Just before serving, spread the remaining Cool Whip over the hot fudge layer. Be careful not to mix the layers! Remember you want it to look pretty and all!

Place the 2 T hot fudge in a small baggie and knead it for a few seconds. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over the pie. I do it in lines about an inch apart. Do the same thing with 2 T of peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge stripes.

Enjoy! Someone pass me a fork!!

**photo from Bliss Tree

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of March 8

This week we are trying to use a lot of what we out of the pantry, if you will. I think it's a good challenge to do from time to time. Eating up what's close to going stale or out of date will save the money this week and also use up items that would go to waste and therefore lose us money. I challenge you to do the same this week! Since we are doing that, our menu might not look so exciting. And there are several meals that never got made since it was such a busy week...kind of makes for easy planning! Just keepin' it real! ; )

This week's menu plan:

Monday (March 8)
Breakfast: bagels, cream cheese, and homemade jam
Lunch: Cheese quesadillas, beans, sour cream, black olives, salsa
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie, rolls

Tuesday (March 2)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: left over pot pie
Dinner: Not sure...nothing strikes me as of yet.

(March 3) -- this is our busy day so I use the crock pot for lunch and dinner
Breakfast: bagels, cream cheese, and homemade jam
Lunch: grilled cheese and soup or chili
Dinner: tacos, taco rice, refried beans, black olives, sour cream...

Thursday (March 4)
Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: left over tacos, carrots, chips, apple slices and grapes
Dinner: Chicken and Noodle Casserole, veggies, bread

Friday (March 5)
Breakfast: bagel, egg and cheese sandwiches
Lunch: left over chicken and noodle casserole and grilled cheese
Dinner: homemade pizza

Saturday (March 6)
Breakfast: muffins
Lunch: left over pizza
Dinner: Parmesan Crusted Chicken, steak fries, corn on the cob, rolls

Sunday (March 7)
Breakfast: baked egg with bacon casserole and muffins
Lunch: Chicken burritoes, refried beans, taco rice, tortilla chips
Dinner: "Clean out the fridge night!" (We use up whatever leftovers are still there and come up with some interesting combos!) carrots, apple slices

March 7, 2010

Wordless Sunday...not really

O.K. I've gone from "From My Kitchen Window" to " Wordless Sunday". I like the idea of having the day off of blogging and just sharing a picture or two with you. I like the idea of sharing a picture of something from my window or in the kitchen in general. But I have nothing.



But, I have a good reason. Really. This week was crazy! We had a Missionary Conference -- something going on three nights in a row for that. We had what I call Wacky Wednesday -- the day of the week in which I run hither and yon taking various kiddos to piano lessons and dance while Hubster takes some kiddos with him to Wed. night Bible club). Thursday we decided to drive 2 hours south of us to buy a used camper with our income tax return. We haven't camped in ages. We sold our pop up camper about 3 years ago when we outgrew it. The words "large family" and "pop-up camper" do not belong together in a sentence! We've been looking and searching and we found one that sleeps all ten of us and was in our budget! BONUS!! So...we got that Thursday and got back very late that night. Friday was our 6 year old's birthday so we celebrated that. Friday night a child decided to get ill...right as I was going to bed. Can you say "EEWWW!!". It was not fun -- AT ALL!! Then today (Saturday) I started on loads of laundry, cleaned out the camper (mostly, was pretty eewww, too!), and now I'm blogging about our crazy week.

I have no new picture that I took that would sum up the kitchen or anything. We had left over pizza for lunch and what I had planned for dinner got changed into chicken patty sandwiches, chips and carrots. *sigh* I'm so stinkin' tired I don't know which way is up! I hope I'm not catching what my little dude has.

So this is what I got...keeping in tradition of what I've been's a picture for ya'll!

This is a Moosebird. Years ago camping with the kiddos we made up this ficticious animal. Kind of like a Jackalope. When out hiking with the kiddos Hubster trailed off and made this weird, deep squawking sound. We told the kiddos it was a Moosebird. Beforehand he made this picture and when getting our camping permit pretended to get it from the camping office. They took it hook, line, and sinker! The older few are onto our game but they like playing along. The younger ones even try to look for it. We love the Moosebird! He's so much fun! Watch out Bald Eagle...there's a new National Bird!

March 6, 2010

Baked Carrots

I think this dish tastes a bit like sweet potatoes. We have it every Thanksgiving and Christmas and sometimes in between. Let me know what you think!

Baked Carrots

2 cup cooked and mashed carrots
3/4 cup sugar
3 T flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick butter (softened)
3 eggs, beaten

Mix all ingredients. Place in a greased 9x9 casserole dish. Top with cinnamon or cloves. (I do a smidge of clove and a smidge more's that for precise?!).
Bake 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

March 5, 2010

Fess Up Friday

Kendra over at New Life on a Homestead has a feature each Friday in which she asks her readers to "write up a short post confessing that less than perfect housekeeping secret you’ve been sweeping under the rug!" Well mine isn't exactly a housekeeping issue but I'd be mortified if I ran into someone I new...

Well... here goes...

*whispering* Sometimes I wear my slippers to the Post Office.

When I can't find my boots and the ground is frozen and not mushy or anything, I'll wear my slippers into town, scoot in and out and back home again.

There. I said it. *sigh*
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