Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to Make Self-Rising Flour...Cake Flour Too!

Yesterday I got a wild bee in my bonnet and just HAD to bake some biscuits using a new recipe. One of the ingredients happened to be self-rising flour, which I never keep on hand because it's so easy to make my own. But that didn't slow me down because it's so easy to make your own. Here's how:

Homemade Self-Rising Flour

For every one cup of flour, measure out the flour and then remove 1 3/4 teaspoons flour (you'll be adding that amount back in with the following ingredients); add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt; mix everything together well and either store it for future use or add it to your recipe. That's it!

Remember that if you decide to use self-rising flour in a recipe that doesn't call for it, you'll want to delete the baking powder and salt (or at least some of it) because it's already included in your special flour.

Homemade Cake Flour

And since I'm on the subject of flour, I thought I'd tell you how to make cake flour also. I have a very few cake recipes that call for this special flour, and my frugal nature won't allow me to run to the store and buy an incredibly expensive box of the stuff. So instead, I haul out my cornstarch and make my own.

First of all, I use all-purpose white flour for this--I've never tried it with whole wheat flour and I don't think it would work well because the gluten content in whole wheat flour is so high. But even so, I can't bring myself to ever buy bleached all-purpose flour, so I opt for unbleached all-purpose flour. I don't know if there would be a difference if using bleached, but I thought I'd throw that out into the ether.

Measure out one cup all-purpose flour; remove 2 tablespoons flour and add 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Mix well and then before using, sift so it's light and fluffy.

Well, I'm going to say good bye for now. I have work deadlines and need to keep on track. Plus three of my grandkids are coming over this evening and we're going to have a magic marker coloring fest (I bought new markers--the kind that don't mark anything except the special pages--and special marker coloring books). I can't wait!

I hope that life is treating you and your loved ones gently. But if you are in the midst of a storm right now, keep your chin up and remember that better times are coming, just as sure as the seasons change.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Georgia Varozza (Georgia Plain and Simple) Featured in a Podcast with Pioneering Today

Hello, friends-

I was recently featured in a podcast with Melissa K. Norris of Pioneering Today. Our conversation was wide-ranging and fun, fun, fun! I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed talking with Melissa.

Blessings to you and yours,

The Amish Canning Cookbook Is Officially a Bestseller!

Hello, all! Yesterday my publisher informed me that the ebook version of The Amish Canning Cookbook was listed last Friday in Publisher's Weekly as #7 on the top-20 bestsellers list in the cooking, food and wine category. I'm pretty happy about that!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Relaxing Tea Recipe

Hi, all-

Below is the link to a blog post I wrote for the Harvest House Publishers' website. The tea is easy to make in bulk, so when you need soothing in a hurry, you'll have the ingredients on hand.

Enjoy, and blessings to you and yours!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

No-Knead Oatmeal Bread

Hello, all, and happy spring!

The sun is shining and the temperature is mild...something no one who lives in the Pacific Northwest takes for granted at this time of year. There's a reason why we are known for having such lush, green plants and trees, and it's a direct result of all the rain we endure in the winter and springtime. (Days and sometimes weeks at a time!) So when we are blessed with a sunny day, we take advantage of it!

When the sun shines, we get outside if at all possible. But we still must feed our loved ones, and today's recipe might work well on such a busy day. You see, it's a recipe for yeast bread, but there's no need to knead. The bread is tasty and makes a good sandwich bread, which you can use for tomorrow's lunch if you have any leftovers. Really, that's rather surprising to me, because a no-knead bread generally is crumbly, while this loaf performs quite well.

The bread may not be pretty, but it's a great addition to your recipe cache. It works up fairly quickly, takes minimal input from you, and produces a tasty loaf that will put a smile on your family's faces. What's not to like about that?

No-Knead Oatmeal Bread

2 to 2½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
1 tsp. salt
2¼ tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast
1 cup water
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup butter
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, rolled oats, salt, and yeast; blend well.

In a small saucepan, heat the water, molasses, and butter to quite warm (120º to 130º). Add the warm liquid and the egg to the flour mixture. Using electric mixer or beaters, blend at low speed until flour mixture is incorporated and then turn the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing for 3 minutes. Stir in an addition 1 to 1½ cups of the flour to form a stiff batter. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

Stir down the batter and then pour it into a greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise until the batter reaches the top of the pan.

Preheat oven to 375º and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Remove the bread from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.
I hope your day is going well and that there is time in your day to pause and simply glory in God's creation. To my way of thinking, that is always a boost to the spirit.
Blessings and peace to you and yours,

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Using Epsom Salt in the Garden Helps Plants Grow Lush and Productive

Hello, all!

I was asked to write a guest blog post over at Amish Reader, and decided that--because the days are lengthening and warming up--I'd write about the uses of Epsom salt in the garden. I learned the secret of using Epsom salt many years ago from an elderly Amish Mennonite woman, and since then I've expanded my use to include the veggie garden and fruit trees.

You can read about these uses at



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Homemade Cough Syrup!

I've seen recipes for homemade cough syrup all over the internet lately and thought I'd add mine to the lot.

Here it is, in all its boozy glory:

Homemade Cough Syrup

1 half-gallon canning jar, washed and sanitized, or 2 wide-mouthed quart jars
1-2 white onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used one big onion)
2-4 lemons, unpeeled and thinly sliced (I used organic lemons and washed them well before slicing)
1 pint bottle peppermint schnapps
1 pint bottle blackberry brandy (or any flavor that appeals to you)
1 "honey bear" bottle of honey (or about 2 cups)

Slice the onions and lemons and add them in layers in your very clean jar. Pour in the honey, peppermint schnapps, and brandy. Stir to mix. (This will take a bit of doing because the honey is thick.) Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid and set it in the refrigerator. You can use it immediately, but of course it will be better after it sits for a time. No need to take out the lemons and onions.

Keep in mind that this can sit in your refrigerator for months and months because the alcohol keeps mold from forming. (Although I'll still check things over carefully before I use it.) Every once in awhile, give the jar a swirl to move the contents around. I have no real idea if that is necessary, but it'll make me feel like I'm taking care of things!

When you need some cough syrup, take about 1 tablespoon for adults or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for children. Remember there is alcohol in it--lots of alcohol to my way of thinking, but then again, I'm not a drinker--so have a care in dosing. But it's also true that there isn't anything in this cough syrup mixture that is actual "medicine," so it seems like a relatively safe alternative to the store-bought kind.

I hope you don't get sick this winter, but if you do, and if you have an aggravating cough to contend with, this just might be your solution.

Blessings to you and yours,

P.S--I tasted this but so far haven't needed it to quiet a cough. I kind of hope I never need to find out how efficacious it is because that'll mean I'm sick! But it's in my fridge, just waiting to make me feel better. That's a good feeling!