Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wedding Card- CPS Sketch 160

Staying home from church today with some little sickies so I decided to ignore my messy kitchen [whole house] for a bit and make a card for the CPS sketch challenge #160.  I like it- I think simple cards are just my thing, I love looking at the fancy ones other people make but I tend to ruin cards when I try to put more than a couple things on them!  You can see the sketch and a bunch of other people's cards over on the CPS blog HERE.

Friday, March 26, 2010

For all the crafty people and scrapbookers...

Have you heard about the new Little Black Dress Kit Club?  March is their first kit and it looks great.  I've never joined a kit club before but it sounds really cool, especially if you don't have time to spend hunting around the scrapbook store for papers, embellishments and other supplies that "go" together!  I often buy things I love but then they sit in drawers and shelves because I don't quite know what to pair them with!  Kits solve that problem, and joining a club gets you a bunch of stuff delivered straight to your door and all for a discount! 
This is a picture of the stuff in the current kit, and you can check out the blog HERE for lots of great ideas, including this altered book that I am IN LOVE with!
One of my good friends is involved in this club and she is crazy talented so I know they are going to have great kits every month, go check it out ASAP- Little Black Dress Kit Club.

Food Storage Friday: Learn to make bread

I've wanted to post this for a long time but couldn't do it until I actually learned to make bread myself.  I've got a bunch of hard white wheat stored (and you should too- it stores forever!)  but up until a few weeks ago it was almost completely useless to me, the best I could do with it was cook it up for cereal or make some Chili Wheat with it.  I finally found a whole wheat bread recipe that was simple enough for me!  (and I have tried and failed with several recipes)  And it's very good, even for sandwiches, but especially for toast and grilled cheese.  100% Whole wheat bread, with just a little honey and oil- try it, you will be able to do it if I can! This recipe came from The Essential Food Storage Cookbook by Tami Girsberger and Carol Peterson and it is awesome. (the whole cookbook is great too if you are looking for a good one!) The original has this doubled to make 4 loaves, but my KitchenAide can only handle 2 loaves at a time, so here's my "half" version:

Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil (olive or canola)
1/3 cup honey
1 TB Vital Wheat Gluten (look in the health food section, or by specialty flours)
1/4 cup powdered milk (optional)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 TB yeast
1 TB salt
5 cups whole wheat flour

Mix hot water, oil, honey, Vital Wheat Gluten, powdered milk, and 3 cups flour.  At this point the batter should be lukewarm so it won't kill the yeast.  Add yeast.
Gently mix to blend and then let it sit to sponge about 10 minutes.  Add salt.
While stirring, gradually add additional flour until the dough begins to "clean" the bowl.  If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, continue to add flour.  You can test for enough flour by gently touching dough with your finger.  If dough sticks to your finger, add flour and keep kneading.  When dough barely does not stick to finger, stop adding flour.
Knead on low speed for 8 minutes.  Turn dough onto an oiled surface (do not use flour).  Turn dough a coulple of times to coat with oil.  Cut dough into 2 equal pieces (you can weigh them to be sure, 32oz each)  Shape each piece into a loaf and place in a bread pan that has been sprayed with oil.  Cover and let dough rise 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.  A good place for bread to rise is under the lights on your range.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 26-28 minutes or until interal internal temp reaches 190 degrees F.  Remove from oven and brush tops with butter.  Let loaves sit 5-10 minutes before gently removing from pans, cool on a wire rack.

And that's it- I couldn't believe it actually worked, and that even my kids will eat it! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Splitting Harry's

My biggest concern with naming this sweetie Harrison was that he might someday be called "Harry".
And that "someday" happened like the day he came home from the hospital, and many many times since, even by me (gasp!) The girls started it, and looking at that sweet little face and hearing him called Harry suddenly it wasn't such a horrible thing, I didn't think about this guy,
or this guy,
or this "hairy" image.
It was good enough of a name for Princess Diana to use right?

And one of our favorite characters over here is Harry Potter, are there any other "good" Harry's out there? Or do I really need to be strict about sticking to Harrison?
And why can't I make my pictures go where I want them to go anymore????  I'm going to scream.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lunch Box Love Notes

I remember sometimes getting little notes in my lunch box from my mom when I was little and loving it. It seems like our mornings now are always rush rush rush with me (not so cheerfully) telling them what to do over and over and over. I often feel bad dropping my kids off at school after one of those stressful mornings with me, they're going out into the "world" where people don't necessarily care about them or their feelings, they shouldn't leave feeling like mom thinks they're anything less than wonderful too! I try to throw a note in their lunches when I can, just to remind them I love them and let them know I care and think about them when they are gone, but if I wait until we are rushing to get out the door it's not going to happen. A week or so ago I was up at night and too tired to be really creative, but not too tired to go to bed so I busted out a little "mat stack" of cardstock and went to work cutting each sheet in half, then folding it and adding some kind of little embellishment to make some "special" lunch box love notes. They turned out kind of cute and were super easy and the girls LOVE them.I put them all in a shoe box with a pen in the pantry and now I just pull one out and write a quick note before dropping it in their lunches. It's quick and easy and they always tell me how happy they were when they saw it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Food Storage Friday: Papa's Beans

Today I'm sharing my father in law's "recipe" for beans! Dried beans can be stored for years easily and are cheap so go get a big bag or 2! My whole family loves these, they are often served when we get together with my husbands entire family! Slice some french bread and sprinkle in some cheese and fresh onions if you like and enjoy.

Papa's Beans
2 lbs dried pinto beans (about 4 cups)
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (can substitute garlic powder)
3 large onions, diced (can substitute dried onions)
1 TB salt
1 TB pepper
Cayenne Pepper sprinkle to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 lb chopped bacon or ham hock (you can leave the meat out, but my family prefers them this way)

Sort, rinse and soak beans overnight in a large pot.
In the morning, drain, rinse and fill pot with new water and bring to a boil on high heat while stirring in all other ingredients.
Reduce heat to medium, but keep it boiling. You can further reduce the heat after 2 hours or so, when the beans begin to soften, keeping it at a low boil.
Stir throughout the day every 20 minutes or so, adding water when needed so they don't stick to the pot.
The longer they cook, the softer and yummier they get.
You can also combine all ingredients in the crock pot and let them cook all day as well. Enjoy with a salad and some bread and you have dinner, and good leftovers too!

Friday, March 05, 2010

It's Back- Food Storage Friday!

I don't know why I stopped doing it in the first place, probably because there are so many blogs out there already dedicated to it that are much more thorough, (or maybe I gave up when my kids destroyed my inventory list before it was finished!) but I got a lot of good feedback from you when I was doing it, so here we go again! Come back on Fridays for a simple tip, recipe or idea to help you on your way to self sufficiency with your family's food storage! For past FSF posts, click HERE.
I've told you how simple it is to bottle your own meat and today I wanted to share some sources for recipes to use that canned meat. Chicken is easy because it can be used in pretty much any of those many recipes calling for "cooked shredded chicken" but Campbells has several written spcifically for Swansons canned chicken HERE. Hereford Foods has canned meat products and they have some yummy looking recipes for canned beef and pork HERE. (To download instructions for canning your own meat click HERE.) My in-laws were in Maui last weekend when the tsunami threat was going on and Costco was limiting SPAM purchases to 2 per customer- HA! So just think about what you want to have on hand in case of an emergency or longer term food shortage!