Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Decorating On A Budget




Spring Decorating~
Has the economy put you in the bah humbug mood?  Not me~it has challenged me to new money saving heights. Spring cleaning is a great time for redecorating. You can do it without spending money! 
How to decorate on a budget. First of all~use what you have. While my Brian has been out of town I went on a ideas shopping trip. I went to all the antique stores, thrift stores, and stores that I just love. I had the best time. I did not spend money but I got so inspired.  The next day I went through all my things and re~created the looks I loved using what I had.  Just rearranging things and thinking outside the box we can get a new look.
Here's how to get started~ Empty a whole room of everything but furniture; remove curtains for washing (I hang them back up damp with that Downy fresh smell), pictures, everything!
Clean the room, then start with your favorite things. Go back and put your favorite things, switch out the dark winter items for light spring like items! When it looks perfect stop.
I use bird houses, nest, blown out tea stained eggs, spring flowers, ect...
You may wish to have a garage sale~I do not have sales often. I re-create mostly.

Instead of overall decorating try to do one little corner at a time~a tabletop or hutch; setting up scenes using plants, photographs, candles and books. 
Take one room at a time. While you are at it~wash windows and  trim. Remove heavy rugs or drapes. Lighten up for heavens sake!

Daffodowndilly is coming to town in a yellow petticoat & a green gown.
 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Christian Girl's Night Out".......


Oh my~when you put up Girl's Night Out bad things pop up. So I added "Christian" to the title. I hope that keeps things cleaned up.







My Brian is out of town on business~which makes me sad. So what is a girl to do........have a party! I decided I would share our Homeschool Mom~Girl's Night Out with you. We had a wonderful night of fellowship, secrets and laughter. I am so richly blessed with many great friends and family. 

Our Menu
Chicken Salad on Challah Bread
Dill Dip/Crackers
Spring Salad
Veggies/Dip
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Texas Sheet Cake
Birds Nest Candy
Sweet Raspberry Tea 

Homemade Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake


Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

3 level Tablespoon cocoa


Mix these up. And in another bowl...


1-cup sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup cold water

1 tsp. vanilla



Mix it up a little and then beat in dry ingredients until smooth.
Put into a greased cake pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. 



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Springy Lemon Cake~Yum




Almost Homemade~Lemon Cake

Lemon Box Cake
Just make it and add a tablespoon of real mayonnaise.

Frosting:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

Beat butter with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar, lemon juice, extract, and zest, then mix until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.

Make sure cake is completely cooled before you frost it.

I put raspberry preserves in the middle layer. It would also be great with lemon curd layered in the middle.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Garden~Victory Garden






Today we finally got our onions put in the ground. I did not read the potato directions~so I ran into a little snag! ( My Brian prefers I not use that word~which is what I call the very few fender benders I have encountered.) The directions stated that we were to cut the potatoes into sections and let them sit a couple of days. I will get them in the ground this week.  I am so excited to get a garden. We have always lived in the city so this is our first attempt at a large garden. 
It is all the sudden the new cool to plant a garden. In fact I heard on the news that we are experiencing a shortage on seeds. However~I did not find this to be true.  I was able to get my pick of seeds with no problem. 
I just love planting things and watching them grow. The fact we will be growing our own food is so exciting to me. 
I find it most intriguing that our first lady is also planting a garden on the White House lawn. Not since Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II-era “Victory Garden,” has an administration eaten what it has grown on the White House grounds. Read the story here!  I only wish I could have Mrs. Obama's kitchen staff to come help me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Homemade Pizza Sauce


This is so much better than store bought sauce~and so cheap to make! Try it with your bread sticks or homemade pizza!

8 ounce can of Tomato Sauce
1/2 t. Basil
1/2 t. Oregano
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 t. sugar
1 t. onion powder
1 T. olive oil
Mix all together!

Heavenly~Homemade Breadsticks




6 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
5 teaspoon yeast
2 cups of hot water

  • Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of hot water and allow to froth (to hot for a baby bath)
  • Add flour, salt, sugar, oil in a mixing bowl or Kitchen Aid Mixer.
  • Combine yeast mixture, with second mixture and last cup of hot water.
  • Knead until you get a soft dough. Do not over knead! The less you work it the fluffier they will be.
  • Roll out dough~about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut in strips with pizza cutter.
  • Take 3 bread sticks and braid into a pretty braid.
  • Let then raise about 30 minutes.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Brush with butter while hot and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homemade Pancake Mix



Homemade Pancake Mix

12 c. flour
4 c. dry powered milk
3/4 c. baking powder
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. salt

When you are ready to make pancakes~use the following recipe.
1 1/2 c. dry mix
1 c. water
1 egg, beaten
2 T. oil

* I write the recipe on the outside of my container. The dry mix can be stored in the pantry.
This makes wonderful pancakes and waffles.

St Patty's Day is coming~are you ready?




Corned Beef and Vegetables
1 (about 4 1/2 pounds) corned-beef brisket, trimmed
20 whole black peppercorns
5 teaspoons of all spice
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 bay leaves
4 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pounds carrots, peeled
1 medium (about 3 pounds) head green cabbage~chopped
Directions
1.
Prepare Corned Beef and Vegetables: In 8-quart Dutch oven or 
sauce pot, place brisket, peppercorns, allspice, garlic, bay leaves, and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 hours 30 minutes.
2.
Add quartered potatoes, whole carrots, and whole parsnips to Dutch oven; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender. With tongs and slotted spoon, transfer meat and vegetables to platter; cover and keep warm.
3.
Add cabbage to liquid in Dutch oven; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
4.
Drain cabbage and add to platter with meat. Thinly slice meat and serve with vegetables . Garnish with chopped parsley.


Iced Shamrock Cookies
2 c. shortening
2  1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. orange peel
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. orange juice
6 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt

*Cream shortening, sugar, orange peel and vanilla together.
*Add eggs and mix well. 
*Add orange juice~mix again.
*Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Then add to creamed mixture.
*Chill for 2 hours.
Cut into shamrock shapes.

Frosting
1 c. powered sugar
2T. soft butter
3~4 drops of green food coloring
peppermint extract to taste~you could use whatever flavor you wish!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking for Seeds

This morning I am off to research seeds. I want to get my seedlings started this week end~I think I should have already finished this. The snow storm last week delayed me. I am on a mission to find the best seeds I can find. I have a heirloom order pending. What do you think? Are heirloom seeds any better?

I plan to start my tomatoes and flowers this week. I have saved all my flowers from last summer and they are starting to bloom again. I am just sure Spring is finally here~ Woo hoo! 

I am on a mission to get my potatoes and onions in by St. Patty's Day! I will keep you updated on my progress. You might not want to miss my first attempt at a garden. I am sure you will be entertained!
Have a great and Godly day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homemade Egg Noodles


In my attempt to save money I have vowed to go mostly Homemade. This was my first time making noodles. They were wonderful. I think next time I will double this recipe and I will not roll them so thin. I like them a bit thicker! I also rolled mine up like you would a cinnamon roll and sliced them. This recipe belongs to The Hillbilly Housewife! Give it a try! Mmmmm!

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium eggs
1/4 cup water
In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Make a hole in the flour, like the center of a volcano.
Crack the eggs into the hole. Now use your hands to mash the eggs and flour together making a coarse and crumbly mixture. Add the water. Mix again until you have a nice, stiff dough. Knead the dough a few minutes to get it nice and smooth. You may need to dust it with a little flour to keep it from sticking to your hands. When you are satisfied with your ball of noodle dough cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes. This is to relax the gluten in the dough, making it easier to roll out.

After the dough has rested, lay it on a pastry cloth or waxed paper. Using a rolling pin, or sturdy bottle or cup, roll the dough out thinner than pie crust. Fancy noodles are made from rolling the dough out until it is almost see-through, but I am not that dedicated. After getting the dough as thin as your patience and arm muscles suggest, let it rest again, to dry slightly, if you have the time. It is easiest to cut after resting the dough for about two hours, but I often cut it right away with a pizza cutter. Use your own best judgment in this regard. However you do it, make squares or rectangles about 1/2 inch wide. Remember they will swell up as they cook, so make them smaller than you think you should.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My New Flock Will Be Arriving Soon!

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I Am A New Mother Hen In Waiting~


Oh now before you all get your feathers in an up roar~hear me out.  I have been called a Mother Hen all my life. I tend to take mothering to an extreme at times. I have loved every minute with my little chicks. It is hard to believe that the time has come for them to start leaving the nest.
I have tried to get My Brian talked into having a new little one but he thinks we are to old. Imagine that!
Here are my beautiful chicks~ Alex (my son-in-law), Ashley, Hannah and Caleb.

 The news I have for you is that I am going to be the New Mother Hen to 12 new baby chicks. My girls are going to be 6 sets of twins. They will arrive the first Monday in April by the US Postal Service.  My sister ordered 30. Now my brother in law thinks we will have no problem telling the different breeds apart! Who am I to argue?  

I have been doing a lot of research on proper care and feeding of my awaited little flock. Do you know that they must be under constant care for 4 to 5 weeks. I did not mention that I have a huge Ladies Retreat that I must help pull off in April. By then I am praying My Brian has fallen in love with our little ones and will not mind sitting with them.  I will post photos just as soon as they arrive.  I just can't wait to get my girls! Stay tuned for the rest of the story! 


Ohhh Nooooo Snow...................


This is what we woke up to Saturday Morning in Missouri.  My Amish friend told me it is time to till the garden. The potatoes and onions are to be in the ground by St Pattys Day!  My  Brian is searching for our plow and I am so ready to get my hands in that soil.

 However~this is what I found when when I opened my eyes Saturday morning. My Brian and I got our seed order ready and planned our garden over coffee. (We took advantage of being snowed in and cuddled! I am sure this has to be our very last SNOW!!!)  This is our very first Spring on our little Homestead. We are so excited. I have 10 acres to cover. This is also our first real garden. I am so excited. 

Any ideas on how to prepare our soil. We have more clay than we need! We have been reading but would love any frugal advice from fellow gardeners!

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