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!

Cold Remedy Tea--Soothing Relief for Chest Colds, Coughs, and Scratchy Throats

Winter is here, and with the cold, dreary days comes cold and flu season. This tea recipe helps to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of scratchy throats, congested chest colds, and coughs. And believe it or not, it tastes sort of like chi tea with a bit of a zing to it. Even better, you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards so there's no need to go to the store when you're not feeling your best.

Cold Remedy Tea

1 green tea bag (you can use black tea if that's all you have)
1/2 tsp. cloves (whole or ground)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. honey or to taste
juice of half a lemon, about 1/8 cup (or use bottled lemon juice--the real stuff with no added ingredients)

If you are using ground spices, put them in a very fine mesh loose tea steeper, or simply measure the spices into the bottom of your mug. (I use ground spices because that's what I have, and I simply dump them into my mug.) Add the tea bag and pour boiling water into your mug, leaving enough room to later add the honey and lemon. Do not add the honey or lemon at this time.

Steep the tea and spices for 3-5 minutes, covered. Strain the tea: I use a coffee filter that I rubber band around the edge of my mug and then slowly pour the tea into the well of the filter. Because of the ground spices, it filters slowly into the mug, so be careful! You can also use several layers of cheesecloth, but coffee filters work better. Next, I add the honey and lemon. I like lots of lemon juice and honey in my tea, so I adjust the amounts to taste.

Now. Even though I filter the tea, it's still not clear, but it doesn't bother me and isn't gritty (at least not much!). If you let the tea sit in your cup, the cloudy residue from the spices will settle toward the bottom. You can drink carefully to keep at least most of the cloudy residue in the bottom, but I actually like to swirl the liquid in my mug before taking a sip. (I'm working under the assumption that by ingesting at least some of the residue I'm getting greater benefit!)

Mug of tea. You can see that's it's not clear.

Next time you're feeling puny, give this soothing tea a try!

Blessings to you and your loved ones. Head out today and bless someone who needs it. In my opinion, that would be everyone!

Stay well,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Will It Snow at Your House? Know Your Elevation!

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had a wet and windy winter so far, and the season has just begun. As it happens, snow is falling in my area this morning, and local weather forecasters are saying that we are almost guaranteed to see some snow if we live above about 500 feet in elevation.

Here's my nod to "just in case." (Because the power usually goes off!)

So how do you know if you're destined for the white stuff, or if you will dodge the next snow storm? It's easy enough to find out because there are websites that will tell you just what the elevation is right where you live:


You can actually type in your street address along with the city/state/etc. where you reside and these nifty websites will spit out your elevation in feet or meters, depending on your preference.

Give it a try and see if you should batten down the hatches and prepare for blizzard conditions! And if you like to can food, these websites are handy for finding out if you need to increase your processing time in order to safely can your food. But no matter what, this information is just plain fun to know.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Handspun Mittens

It's cold around here and that means I get to wear my fingerless gloves, regular gloves, and mittens--all hand knit, of course!

But probably my favorite pair are these:

The yarns are handspun (for the knitting as well as the embroidery.) After completing the knitting, I slightly fulled the mittens to smooth out the stitching as well as to add warmth. Next, I added the embroidery. (Embroidered freehand.) Even more fun, the dying was done using cake frosting decorating gels. The colors are saturated, which is what I was going for. Nothing like a bright and cheery pair of mittens to see me through the long winter!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. May you have a peaceful day. :)


Monday, November 23, 2015

Link to Amish Reader Guest Blog Post--Leftover Ham Pie

Brrrr! This morning was another frigid one. Winter has definitely come, and when the days are short and cold, hearty fare just tastes good.

I was asked to do a guest blog post for and want to share the link with you. It's a recipe for ham pie that has potatoes, onions, and apples in it. The ingredients work well together, and if you are using leftover ham that might otherwise go to waste, it's a frugal dish as well. (Which, of course, always makes me happy!)

Here is the link:

I suggest you give it a try!

Stay warm. And stay well fed!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Creamy Lime Jello Salad

The recipe I'm going to share with you today is a good one. We have made this molded Jell-O salad since I was a kid...which is approximately when the earth was still flat. :)

It's a great Jell-O salad to make for holiday feasts such as Thanksgiving. But really, anytime of the year is a good time to make it.

Our Molded Jell-O Salad

(Yes, I know that's a weird name, but that's what we always called in, "Are we going to have our molded Jell-O salad for Thanksgiving this year?")

1 small package lime Jell-O
1 small package cream cheese
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup pineapple juice from canned pineapple (see next ingredient)
1 small can pineapple tidbits, drained but save the juice
1/4-1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 T. vinegar
2 T. sugar
1/4-1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 pint cream, whipped

Dissolve Jell-O in 1 cup hot water; add 3/4 cup pineapple juice. (If you need to, you can add some cold water to make a total of 3/4 cup.) Add cream cheese and beat on low with electric mixer until frothy and cream cheese is broken up completely. Add the vinegar, sugar, and walnuts and stir to mix well. Set in the refrigerator until it begins to set. Fold in the whipped cream and chill until completely set, for several hours.

You can serve it plain or add some sweetened whipped cream on top.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken with Carrots

I'm not a fan of slow cookers (aka Crock Pots). Never have been. So why am I sharing a slow cooker recipe? Well, it's because of my neighbors.

But first a little digression. I moved into "town" about 5 years ago. By "town," I mean a small berg of about 2500 folks. But having raised my sons in the country, this was a mighty big adjustment for me. I was a bit nervous about having neighbors all around, and I wondered if they would be nice. I didn't hold out too much hope because after all, I was about to move into the big, bad "city." But I was absolutely, 100 percent wrong I'm glad to say. Since I have been here I have been repeatedly touched and amazed by the kindnesses shown me.

One neighbor--a 40-some-odd-year-old man, who looks like a very well muscled and kind of scary bear--has turned out to be a gem. He has stepped in to help me so many times that I now fondly call him my angel in disguise. (And whenever I do, he always gets embarrassed, but it's true!) Just this week he popped over to take measurements for a new door that I need as my old one is broken and needs to be replaced. (Now that's a story in itself! My home was recently burglarized while I was on a trip to California but the young man who burgled me realized--when he turned on my computer that he had stolen and saw my name on the opening screen--that he knew who I was from when he was a kid. He actually came back and returned all of the things he stole from me. He told my sons--who had shown up because another kind neighbor had driven to one of my son's homes to say that something was wrong at my house--that he felt bad because he remembered me from years ago and I had always been kind to him. My sons invited him in while they waited for the sheriff to show up, and the repentant burglar came in willingly. Amazing!)

Another neighbor is helping me to remodel my bathroom. He's retired and says he loves to remodel bathrooms. Ha! I find that hard to believe, but he solemnly swears this is so. And yet another neighbor showed up at my door this morning and informed me that he was here to cut the two trees I recently got cut down into firewood-sized pieces, and he promptly did just that.

As you can imagine, I've been making lots of cookies as thank you gifts lately.

Okay. So back to my chicken recipe. Yet another neighbor is a young husband and father. The family is on a tight budget and the dad recently knocked on my door and asked if I could teach him how to make homemade from scratch macaroni and cheese. While I was at their house cooking and teaching, he mentioned that he'd love some slow cooker recipes if I had any good ones. Well, I don't. But I started thinking that I could come up with a few for them. To wit:

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

* You can halve this recipe no problem, which would make it a good choice for smaller families.

2 cans cream of chicken soup (or you can use cream of mushroom soup)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
8 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
hot cooked noodles or hot cooked rice
Parmesan cheese, grated

Mix together the soup, water, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and garlic powder until well blended. Now add the carrots and chicken and mix again. Place everything but the noodles or rice and Parmesan cheese into the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 7 hours, or on low for about 8-9 hours.

To serve, ladle chicken, carrots, and sauce over noodles or rice. Add Parmesan cheese if desired and dig it. Yum!

I'll no doubt be posting several more slow cooker recipes in the near future, but in the meantime, happy eating!

Blessings to you and yours,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Super Easy Dinner!

Recently, I was extremely busy but needed to make dinner. What I came up with satisfied us. It was cheap, easy, and tasty, which are pluses in my book any day!

Hamburger Patties and Gravy

1 lb. hamburger (more or less)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 - 2 cans water
1 package dry beef gravy mix
salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste (optional)
Cooked mashed potatoes or noodles

Make patties using the hamburger meat to which you've added salt, pepper, and any seasonings you desire. You can also include a bit of finely diced onion.

Brown the hamburger patties in an oven-proof pot. I use my cast iron and that works super well.

While hamburger patties are browning, mix together the cream of mushroom soup, water, and beef gravy mix. When the hamburger patties have been browned on both sides, pour the soup mixture over the top. Cover the pot with a lid and place in a preheated 350 degree oven; bake until the meat is done and the gravy is bubbling hot. I let mine bake for about 45 minutes with no ill effect--no burning--but it could be because I was using cast iron.

Dish up the hamburger and ladle the gravy over the mashed potatoes or noodles. Serve.

In the photo above, you'll notice the spinach soufflé. It's actually Stouffer's Spinach Soufflé Side Dish. You can find it in the frozen food section of your grocery store. It's good! In fact, I sometimes thaw it out (something you don't need to do if you're baking it in the container it comes in--just follow directions) and stuff large button mushrooms with it. I add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and bake them until the soufflé is done, about 45 minutes.

Well, there you have it. I think of this as a semi-cheater's meal because of the canned soup and dry gravy mix. I don't usually go that route, but like I said, I was in a tearing big hurry. And it's still an inexpensive meal, even with the packaged goods, so I thought it was worth sharing.

Hope all is well with you and your loved ones. The hot summer weather and drought conditions have finally broken around here. We have had several rain fronts move through, and today is no different. We are scheduled to have rain for the next week, and I'm glad for it. I just hope our reservoirs fill back up to capacity. (Without, of course, raining so much that flooding becomes a concern.)

Enjoy the weather!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

German Runzas Recipe

I had lots of cabbage. Lots and lots of cabbage. There's just so much sauerkraut you can make before you rebel. So I decided to make German Runzas, which are cabbage and meat stuffed buns. They're easy and delicious. And keep in mind that you can actually add anything you want (even no cabbage if that's your druthers!) and make stuffed buns that will tickle your taste buds.
Runzas with a dollop of sour cream

German Runzas

4 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 - 1 lb. hamburger
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup green or red bell pepper (or a combination)
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)
bread dough, enough for 2-3 loaves (see note below for an easy workaround)

Brown the hamburger; only drain off fat if there's a lot. Some fat is good because it soaks into the buns while baking. Add the cabbage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent and the hamburger is cooked, about 5 minutes more. Add salt, pepper, and caraway seeds (if using) to taste. Add a spritz of water or broth so the filling isn't bone dry. (Although this isn't absolutely necessary, I like to do that.)
Runza filling

Now turn your attention to the bread dough.

NOTE: You can actually buy bread dough or even pizza dough at the grocery store if you don't have the time to make your own. But you do need to use a yeast-raised bread dough of some kind. (Not biscuit dough.)

Pull off small hunks of dough and pat or roll them out. You want the dough to be on the thin side, but not so thin that it tears when you add the meat mixture. Mine end up being about 5 inches on each side. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle of the dough square and wrap the dough around the meat mixture. Seal the edges so it's a little round packet. Place seam-side-down on a greased cookie sheet--although I use my silicon baking mats and I think they make better runzas because the bottoms don't get too brown. But suit yourself.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the runzas in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 25-30 minutes. (The time will vary depending on how big and how thick your runza buns are, so check them after about 20 minutes.)

Plate them up and serve them with sour cream. Yum!

Talk about simple. And tasty. And filling. And cheap. Some of my favorite attributes for meal-getting.

Be creative. Really, you could make just about any kind of stuffed bun, so use what you have on hand and enjoy the adventure.

Blessings to you and yours. I hope you are enjoying the cooler days of autumn. The leaves are changing color and it's a beautiful sight to behold. I love this time of year!


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cheesy Sausage Biscuits--Another Great School Day Breakfast!

I saw this recipe on the Internet and I wish I could give kudos where they are due. I think I saw it on a site called--believe it or not--Mob Boss. Go figure!

Anyway, I've been thinking about all the kiddos returning to school and since I believe strongly that a good breakfast is the foundation to a good day at school, I wanted to share this recipe for y'all. It took me about 5 minutes to put together and get in the oven. Can't get much quicker than that.

Cheesy Sausage Biscuits

3/4 - 1 lb. sausage (I used some Jimmy Dean's original and it was tasty, but cook's choice)
4 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick
couple shakes of salt (optional)

First, turn on the oven to 350 degrees so it has a chance to preheat while you're making the batter.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside. (I was in a slothful mood, so I used a spray can of olive oil instead of hand greasing with Crisco or butter, which I'm sure would be good also.)

Next, cook the sausage. I just made sure that the pink was gone but didn't feel I needed to cook it too brown since it would continue baking in the oven. Worked like a charm.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs well. Add the cheddar cheese and mix well again. Next, add the Bisquick and the shakes of salt and mix well. (I used a large spoon for this.) Now, add the cooked sausage and mix well for the last time. When I added the sausage from the frying pan that I had cooked it in, I simply dumped everything into the mixing bowl--grease and all. The sausage I used seems to be quite lean and there was almost no grease. But if you're squeamish about that, you can always drain off the fat before adding it to the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes and voila! Breakfast is ready.

I was reading in Psalms today and Psalm 5:3 really heartened me. I hope it will encourage you as well: "In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch."

Our part in this is to establish morning prayers. But God says we can eagerly watch, and I like to think that what we are watching for is how He unfolds our days. I realize that life isn't always easy. In fact, in the last two weeks I've experienced two very traumatic, life-changing events. I'll admit that I got a bit off-kilter there for a few days, but I continued to pray, even though most of my prayers were nothing more than "Help me! Help me!" And I can honestly say that--while I still struggle against anxiety sometimes--I am learning to eagerly watch and wait for His gracious presence in my every day. That's my hope for you too.

So carry on! Show your love and light.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole--Perfect for School Days--Or Any Days!

School will be starting for our little ones next week, and that means busy--and early--mornings. But we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (I think all mothers have said that!), so starting our scholars out with good food in their tummies is a good habit to develop.

Well, this breakfast casserole can be made the night before and refrigerated and then baked in the morning. Perfect! But it can also be put together and baked immediately for those weekends when you have a bit more time to lollygag in the kitchen preparing breakfast. And it tastes good too. No vegetables for picky little eaters, but lots of good protein to keep them full and energized for hours.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

12 slices bread (more or less)
1 lb. thinly sliced ham (I've used sliced deli ham, leftover ham from dinner, and even canned ham, which I usually dice instead of slice, like this can):
2 cups shredded cheddar cheeses, divided
6 large eggs
3 cups milk
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups cornflakes, crushed

Butter or grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and preheat over to 350 degrees.

Line the buttered baking dish with 6 slices of bread. Layer half of the ham over the bread and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat these layers one more time.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, dry mustard, onion powder, salt, and pepper and mix well. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread layers in the baking dish.

NOW: If you are going to bake this in the morning, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. The next morning, take the casserole out of the fridge and let it set while you complete the next step.

Mix the melted butter with the crushed cornflakes and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until set. If you refrigerated it overnight, you'll need about 5-10 minutes more to get it completely baked because it started out cold.
Pretty tasty stuff.

The change of seasons is just beginning to be felt around these parts. We finally got a bit of rain, and I noticed that the leaves are starting to turn colors. I love this time of year! (But then I say that every season!)

I hope the coming months are filled with nothing but smooth sailing for you and your loved ones. Love one another well. It can make all the difference!

Blessings to you and yours,

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Hutterite Diaries

Good morning, all!

I recently purchased the book, The Hutterite Diaries, by Linda Maendel, who is herself a Hutterite.

It's a fascinating and well written look into one woman's Hutterian worldview, and often the stories are about her day-to-day life in the colony where she lives. Hutterites are a Plain sect that began around the same time as the Amish and Mennonites, and like the other Plain groups, they eventually immigrated to North America. Today there are Hutterite colonies in the northern tier of the United States as well as in Canada. They use modern equipment and technology and grow grains and other crops on massive acreage that's owned by the individual colonies. They eat communally in a centrally located building, but each family has their own home.

I'm so glad I got this book because it's given me a better understanding of this particular people group. Next, I plan on researching their cooking traditions and who knows--maybe I'll post a blog or two with a tasty Hutterite recipe!

Blessings to you and your loved ones. I hope life is treating you gently these days.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gather Around the Amish Table Book Endorsement

Hello, all!

Some months ago I was approached and asked to write an endorsement for a cookbook, which I was happy to do. They promised me a complimentary copy once it was in print, and true to their word, I found this in my mailbox today.

I took a quick peek inside and I'm looking forward to relaxing with a hot cup of tea and going through it at my leisure. The recipes appear to be plain, with no exotic ingredients--the kind of food that many families seem to relish. But what I think I'll enjoy even more are the short "diaries" of the Plain cooks who contributed family favorite recipes.

The book is put out by Herald Press ( and retails for $19.99. It has some great color photos of some of the foods featured in the cookbook, and would more than likely be a great addition to your collection.


May today find you and your loved ones in good health and spirits.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fabulous Wheat Bread Recipe

Two events came together in my little world that resulted in this wonderful bread recipe. First of all, yesterday I canned 46 pounds of albacore tuna, so of course I wanted to have a tuna sandwich for lunch today. But I had no bread. What to do? I could run to the store and buy a loaf, which I do when I'm busy, but the thought of home-canned tuna on homemade bread wouldn't be dislodged from my mind, so this morning early I set about making bread.

I ground up some hard white wheat berries and got a quart of wheat flour, which I figured would be plenty for a single loaf. I also decided that I wanted to throw in some of my powdered buttermilk (I've set myself to the task of finding ways to use powdered buttermilk because it's so handy to have around.). I wasn't planning on making anything complex--just your average loaf of good tasting bread.

But of course, it didn't turn out as I planned, and it's all my fault. (I really need to stop daydreaming while I'm cooking!) Suffice to say that I added way too much yeast (enough for 2-3 loaves, rather than 1!) in the proofing batter. Further, I'm a frugal person, so I couldn't conscience throwing out a perfectly good bowl of bread starter. So I changed plans midstream.

To wit:

Honey Buttermilk Wheat Bread (makes 3 loaves)

1 1/4 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/3 cup honey
6-8 T. melted butter
8 T. buttermilk powder
2 cups water
1 T. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 cups wheat flour
4 cups+- regular flour

Grease or butter one large mixing bowl; set aside for now.

In another large mixing bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 cups warm water, yeast, and honey. Let set for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble and froth.

Add remainder of ingredients except the regular flour. Mix together with a large wooden spoon. When well mixed, begin to add the regular flour, about a cup at a time and then mix well after each addition. When the dough pulls away from the mixing bowl and forms a loose ball, dump dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick on your counter or bread board. Form into a ball and place in the greased mixing bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

When ready to proceed, grease 3 loaf pans and set aside. Form the dough into 3 loaves and place them in the prepared loaf pans. Cover with the clean towel and let them rise until about doubled. (The loaves will be about 1-2 inches above the top of the pan at their highest peak.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread for 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.

I have a weakness for fresh baked bread so I did what I usually do--and what the "experts" say you should never do. I cut into one of the loaves minutes after pulling them from the oven so I could slather butter onto a thick heel slice. Heaven!

This is a good recipe--perfect as sandwich bread or toast. The texture is soft and small crumbed (no doubt from the egg and all that butter!), and when completely cooled down you can cut lovely, thin slices if that's your druthers. The only thing that niggles is that it's not the cheapest bread recipe to make, but it still beats the price I would pay for 3 loaves of organic wheat bread at the store. And the freshness and taste can't be improved upon.

Lunchtime, please get here quick. I've got tuna fish sandwiches on the brain!

Hope all is well in your part of the universe. Blessings to you and yours!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Quick and Easy Taco Soup--Delicious!

I've been so busy lately and one evening earlier this week I needed to come up with something quick for dinner. I had some hamburger thawed, so I knew I wanted to start with that. I poked around in the fridge and found a lovely bell pepper along with lots of onions, so next I perused the pantry shelves and made up my mind. Taco Soup sounded like just the thing.

The recipe below is for a smallish batch (serves 3 people), but I listed ingredients in parentheses to make a larger batch  that would easily feed a good-sized family--especially if you serve it with cornbread, biscuits, or buttered bread, etc. And bear in mind that all the ingredients can be increased or decreased according to your tastes.

Ready to Eat!
A Close-up View

Quick and Easy Taco Soup

1/4 lb. hamburger (1 lb.)
1/2 onion, chopped (1 onion)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (1 bell pepper)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles (2 cans if you like lots of spice)
1 can diced tomatoes (2 cans)
2+ cans water (4+ cans water)
1 T. powdered Ranch Dressing mix (2 T.), or use a packet if that's what you have 
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (1/2 tsp.)
1 tsp. cumin (1 1/2 tsp.)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup uncooked white rice (1/2 cup)
Brown hamburger and then drain grease. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer until rice is done, about 25 minutes. Once the soup is ready, you can add more water if you want your soup soupier.
Eat as is, or top with cheese:

Sour cream would probably be tasty also.

It's a breeze to make. And it's a delight to eat!

Hope all is well with you and yours. The summer is speeding by, and tomorrow I'm going to can about 50 pounds of tuna. I can't wait!

Carry on!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Vortex Hand-Cranked Blender

In my continuing quest to find non-electric tools and gadgets for around my home (that really work!), I recently purchased the Vortex Hand-Cranked Blender:

So far, I've made some smoothies and mixed pancake batter, and here are my observations:

The Vortex hand-cranked blender needs a wee bit of elbow grease to turn if you have anything frozen to blend, such as ice cubes or frozen fruit. But if you begin on the low speed and then switch to the high speed, it's quite easy to use. Easy enough, in fact, that I'll use it regularly.

The blender is easy to put together and to clean after using. Not many parts and very intuitive. I like that! Plus, everything fits together super well and there's no leaking of liquid. The container is a high-grade food-safe plastic so it won't break like glass would, but I must say that I would have preferred a glass container. (That's just my personal inclination. I realize that this blender was made with campers/backpackers in mind, so the plastic makes sense in that regard. But still...)

It can hold a (surprising) lot of ingredients. One day I made about a quart of smoothie without exerting too much effort. I could have made more with room to spare, so it would be totally usable for a family.

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that you have to crank for a longer period of time to get the frozen bits (say, ice and fruit) to thoroughly break up and the smoothie to become...well, smooth! I probably industriously cranked for two minutes or so in order to get a creamy, smooth end result. Still, it wasn't hard work (although you know you're cranking!), and I was pleased with the results.

I want to try making cream soup because I love, love, LOVE cream of broccoli soup. I'm betting that it'll do a great job.

All this to say, the Vortex hand-cranked blender is a welcome addition to my kitchen. I will continue to use it often, and I'm glad I purchased it!

Blessings to you and yours,

Great Tasting Buckwheat Pancakes and Waffles

Good morning!

I made buckwheat waffles earlier today for breakfast and wanted to share the recipe with you. This recipe is found in my book The Homestyle Amish Kitchen. (You can find ordering information for this book as well as my other books on this website under the heading "My Books". Scroll to the bottom of that page for a thumbnail image of the cover of The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook.)

Buckwheat Waffle and Bacon--Breakfast Is Served!

Buckwheat pancakes (or waffles) are rib-sticking fare--you'll know you've had breakfast if you eat these filling cakes! Plus, buckwheat has a nutty flavor that is hearty and delicious. And what's more, buckwheat groats are gluten-free, for those of you with wheat sensitivity.

Note that after I give you the recipe, I'll add some comments that may be of interest to you. But now, I present:

Buckwheat Pancakes

2 cups buckwheat flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup water

Mix together all ingredients. Drop the batter on a well greased, hot griddle and cook the pancakes until they are brown on the edges and have bubbles popping through the top. Turn pancakes and cook second side until done.

That's all there is to it! Personally, I'm a big fan of great-tasting, easy recipes that are done in a flash, and buckwheat pancakes certainly fit the bill.

If you are new to the robust flavor of buckwheat, you can alter this recipe by substituting some regular flour for the buckwheat flour. (Try using one cup buckwheat flour and one cup regular flour to start and then gradually reduce the regular flour until you are using all buckwheat. This might be a good idea if you are feeding kids, but then again, they may just surprise you and love the full-on buckwheat taste right at the get-go!)

When I cook waffles, I usually add another egg, 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and a pinch more baking powder.

I usually have leftovers and they make great snacks: I simply toast them, spread on some butter or peanut butter, and have a filling snack-on-the-go.

Buckwheat isn't a cereal grain, even though we use it as such. (You've probably heard of the porridge called kasha.) Buckwheat are the fruit seeds from the flowers of buckwheat (which bees love, by the way)--a plant that is related to sorrel and rhubarb. Buckwheat is great for heart health and contains more fiber than oatmeal per serving. It's also a good source for magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium, and it can help lower blood pressure and stabilize blood glucose levels when eaten regularly. Buckwheat really is a powerhouse of nutrition!

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Shout-Out from Better Homes and Gardens!

My publisher informed me this morning that two of my cookbooks are featured in the Better Homes and Gardens website. I'm so appreciative!

Here's the link:


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Amish Butter!

I popped into my local grocery store yesterday to pick up a few items and found this:
I couldn't resist! It's a two-pound slab and was not a good deal...and as it was $5.98 per pound and not organic, I paid way more than I'm wont to do. But I was a (temporary) sucker and purchased it anyway. And what's more, I don't have any regrets! But it will still probably be a one-time-only purchase because my frugal nature won't abide a continual supply at that price. Still...I'm happy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Homemade Noodles Article and Recipe on Amish Wisdom website

Hello, all-

Several months ago, I wrote an article for Amish Wisdom and included a recipe for my homemade egg noodles. They reposted it today here:

If you have a few minutes, go check it out. The recipe is easy, cheap, tasty, and filling--my favorite kind!

We are in the middle of a grueling heat wave. If you are too, remember to stay hydrated (God's liquid--water--is the very best!) and do try to get out of the sun during the heat of the day.

Blessings to you and your loved ones,

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's Berry Season! Two Great Recipes for Berry Muffins

I live in the Pacific Northwest and I think we grow the best berries. Many berries are wild--in fact, blackberries are wildly overenthusiastic "weeds" in these parts (although incredibly welcome weeds, I must say!). But when they start ripening, you'll see people all over the place--beside major highways, even--buckets in hand, stripping the bushes of all that luscious free fruit.

So what can we do with all that bounty? Of course, at the top of the heap of "things to do with berries" are pies and cobblers, frozen whole berries (for winter smoothies--yum!), and jams and jellies. Still, if you have even more berries to use up, try berry muffins.

I'm going to share two with you. The first recipe can use any kind of berry you can think of, and the second recipe is one I've made for about forever, and uses blueberries, although I don't see why you couldn't try a different type of berry if that's what you have. But I must say that the blueberry muffin recipe is a treat like no other, so at least try it as written once. I've made these recipes using fresh, frozen (but thawed and drained first), and home canned berries and they're all good. So use what you can lay your hands on and I think you'll be pleased.

Berry Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 T. sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup berries (blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, etc.)

Grease muffin pans. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, stir together milk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in berries.

Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 20 minutes or until done.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup blueberries
sugar or cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the sugar and rolled oats and mix well.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and butter. Add dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in blueberries.

Fill greased muffin tins about 2/3 full and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each muffin. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

The only thing left to do is enjoy!

I hope all is well with you and your loved ones.

Blessings to you and yours,

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Little Dutch Maid Mixer

Woohoo! This one is mine!

I'm so excited about my latest purchase! It's the Little Dutch Maid Mixer, a hand-cranked beauty made by an Amish outfit in Ohio. I bought it online from Cottage Craftworks, out of Texas. Paul, the owner, is one of the few people who sells the Little Dutch Maid, and his price is good--although make no mistake--the Little Dutch Maid mixer is spendy. But I've wanted one for years, and I finally took the plunge.

Am I happy I did? Most definitely. Does it work well? Absolutely!

I have used it a lot since I got it. On purpose. I wanted to get a good feel for just how useful this mixer is for daily use. I am not disappointed!

As soon as I unboxed it, I washed and dried everything, and then I thought I'd try something easy. I whipped up some sweetened cream, and was impressed. It was so easy and efficient that I had whipped cream way sooner than I wanted because I was enjoying the effortless turning. Easy peasy.

Next, I decided to try whipping up mashed potatoes. According to the one page "manual" (I use that term loosely, mind you!), I could mash potatoes using the whips and the low cranking speed. It totally worked and my potatoes were lovely. (I'll never go back to using my old potato masher. And I know my kids will be thrilled because they don't like it when there are lumps of potato in the "mashies.") The Little Dutch Maid did a thorough job of it.
Mashed Potatoes
I whipped up some waffle batter and that was a piece of cake. So next, I decided to try making cookie dough. Creaming together the butter and sugar and mixing up a stiff dough would really put it to the test, I figured. I had bought the cookie paddles (they're extra, but worth the price in my opinion), so I used those--first on high-speed crank, and then on the low-speed crank once I started adding the flour. I couldn't believe how easy it was! This mixer really works, and it doesn't take so much energy that you'll be wanting to use an electric mixer instead.
Chocolate Cookie Dough

Note the Cookie Paddles
I've also made an extra large batch of Snickerdoodle cookies (gifts for my wonderful neighbors). Again, it was not a problem, even though I had a full bowl of dough.

I. Am. In. Love. :)

Here are some thoughts about the Little Dutch Maid mixer:

1) It's simple to use. Everything fits together well and getting it put together and ready to use is minimal.

2) Unlike most stand mixers, the top is open. (No head to come down over the bowl.) This makes for easy additions of ingredients, such as flour, etc. If you notice my first photo above, the Little Dutch Maid comes with a two-piece plastic top. The outer part is called a splash ring, so you can add ingredients by simply taking off the inner part. However, I don't use either. I just keep the bowl completely uncovered while using it. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that when you add something powdery (such as flour or cocoa powder), you want to make sure that you crank slowly at first so the flour doesn't fly out. And once it's been partially mixed in, you can crank faster.

3) Using the Little Dutch Maid--even for stiff doughs--doesn't require muscles. It's surprisingly easy to turn. I did find, however, that I used one of my hands to sort of press down on the base while cranking so it wouldn't move around. But it's also true that mostly I didn't need to do that. (I experimented!) The base part of the mixer probably weighs close to 20 pounds. Which brings up my next point:

4) The mixer is heavy duty, but it's still easy to move around if you need to do so. Also, it doesn't take up all that much counter space. I'd say no more than an electric stand mixer would.

5) It's quick. I was really amazed at just how little time it took to mix things. In my opinion, it doesn't seem to take any longer to mix than an electric mixer.

6) Cleanup is a breeze. I do wash everything by hand, but I don't think that's really necessary. Obviously you don't want to submerge the base into water, even though there are no electric parts to worry about, because you don't want things to rust inside. You can submerge the bowl in water when cleaning it.

Would I recommend buying a Little Dutch Maid hand-crank mixer? You bet I would! Yes, I know that spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $489 is steep, but to my way of thinking, it's totally worth it. If you, like me, enjoy the thought of using non-electric gadgets in the kitchen and around the house, the Little Dutch Maid mixer is right at the top of the list for useful tools to own.

Carry on!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lemon Pudding Cookies

Making a batch of cookies is soothing to me, and I work with some expert treat eaters so I can always find a home for my baking. This week's offering is delicately flavored little morsels, lemony little puffs of goodness. They taste wonderful with ice cold milk, but coffee or tea would probably suit just as well. They are quick and easy and they bake up beautifully. I got 45 cookies from the recipe, for those of you who need to know.

Lemon Pudding Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 3.4-oz. package instant lemon pudding mix
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), cream shortening, sugar, and pudding mix. Beat in eggs. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt. Using about a teaspoonful at a time, roll the dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used my silicone baking mats, which I am partial to--they came out perfect! Bake 10 minutes (or a minute or two longer if your oven runs cool) or until just beginning to brown. Let cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes before removing to wire rack or parchment paper to finish cooling.

That's it! So easy. These cookies are good anytime, but I think they would make a perfect ending for a light luncheon or tea.

You can find this recipe and many more delicious treats in my book The Amish Baking Cookbook, which is sold in many fine stores, and online at Harvest House Publishers, CBD, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon:

It's Sunday afternoon. For most of us that means we are gearing up for the work week ahead. I'll say this: If you have a batch of these delicious cookies, the week will start out well!

Blessings to you and your loved ones,


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stonaflesch--Plain and Simple Fare

The recipe I'm going to share with you today uses just a few basic ingredients, is quick to put together, and cooks while you're busy doing something else. Those are the kinds of meals I, tasty, and self-cooking. Yay for Stonaflesch!

There are several ways you can cook this meal also, so read to the end to find out and choose the method best suited to your day's needs.


Before I go into the recipe proper, understand that you can make larger or smaller amounts depending on how many people you need to feed, and how much of each ingredient you have. You can use less meat, or more potatoes or carrots. For instance, I almost always use much less hamburger because I'm frugal. (Like less than a pound of hamburger to feed an entire family!) It's very forgiving. I like to think of Stonaflesch as a dry stew. One last mention: kids generally love this dish.

2 lb. hamburger
10 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
thyme to taste
paprika (optional)

In a heavy oven-proof pot, large stove-top pot, or large slow cooker, layer a portion of the hamburger (raw) with some of the carrots and then potatoes. (It's better to have a number of thin layers versus just a few thick ones.) As each layer is completed, sprinkle on a bit of salt, pepper, and thyme. Continue layering, ending with a small amount of hamburger. Sprinkle paprika over the top and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

The following directions are how to cook Stonaflesch, from my favorite way to least favorite way:

Oven: Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, or until carrots and potatoes are cooked through and tender. Or if you have the time, bake it at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours, being careful not to scorch the bottom. (You can add about 1/4 cup water or broth to help prevent scorching, but it's not necessary, and it's not how we ate it as kids.) Classic method.

Slow Cooker: Make the layers and slow cook on high for about 5 hours, or on low for the entire day. This is a great method if you'll be gone from the house all day but still want a hot meal in the evening. Note that the hamburger will look a little pink, but it's simply because it was slow cooked; it's completely safe to eat and cooked through.

Stove-Top: Brown hamburger until almost done; drain grease, and then use the same pot to make the layers. Turn the stove to just above low, cover the pot, and cook until vegetables are tender.

That's it! Dinner is served.

Summer is just beginning in earnest around these parts. It's a good time to grow your own potatoes and carrots--and just think how inexpensive this meal would be if you simply went out back and dug up your dinner!

Blessings to you and yours,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Soft Chocolate Cookies

Here's a quick and easy recipe for you--Soft Chocolate Cookies. It takes minimal ingredients and minimal time to whip up. If you have an electric stand mixer, it virtually makes itself!

Soft Chocolate Cookies

2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well again.

Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time. If you have time, let the dough chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so before baking; the dough won't be so messy.

Form a rounded spoonful of dough into a ball and place on a cookie pan that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

Cool for several minutes right on the cookie sheet before transferring the cookies to a paper lined counter to completely cool.


Oven Baked Spareribs

The recipe I'm going to share today has been in my family for at least 40 years. It's easy and pretty much hassle-free. The taste isn't like the usual barbeque sauce spareribs, and I think it makes for a tasty change of pace. Plus, because it's completely done in the oven, you can make these ribs in the middle of winter. Served with homemade potato salad, it's a little bit of summer's best anytime of the year!

Oven-Baked Spareribs

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cu sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
6 lbs. meaty spareribs, cut into individual ribs

Combine all ingredients for sauce and let stand for several hours. I usually make this in the morning and keep it on the kitchen counter, stirring every so often. You want allow enough time for the sugar to dissolve and the flavors to meld.

Using your largest roaster or two smaller ones (not ideal), place the ribs in a roaster and bake, uncovered, in a 375-degree oven until just done (approximately 1 1/2 hours). Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the drippings, and then baste with the sauce. Baste frequently. Ribs are done when sauce becomes sticky.

Note: The basting part takes some time. I use a pastry brush and turn my ribs over to get both sides. And I'll confess also that I've been known to use a spoon to add my sauce. When I do, I make sure to also baste from the pan drippings/sauce in the bottom of the roaster. I've found that by doing this, the time it takes to do the basting and for the sauce to thicken takes less time.

I'm sharing this on Memorial Day weekend. This is the holiday where we often gather with friends and family for one of the season's first barbeques. Time spent with loved ones is always to be treasured, don't you agree? I do so hope that when you gather, you all take some time to thank God for those courageous men and women who have suffered or died for our freedoms. And pray for all the families that have an empty seat at the table because of these heroes. They, too, have sacrificed much for all Americans and I, for one, am grateful.

Blessings to you and yours on this Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I recently read a Facebook post that had a recipe for taco soup and it looked good. As so often happens with me, I couldn't rest until I'd made some, so that's exactly what I did. Because I didn't write down or otherwise bookmark that page, I was unable to follow the recipe exactly. But I figure that should never be a problem--we can simply "taste" with our minds and add ingredients accordingly. Here is the result:

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

1/2 - 1 lb. ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel), undrained (I used my home canned goods instead: a quart jar of diced tomatoes and a pint jar of salsa)
1 cup (more or less) salsa
1 soup can water (I added around 3 cups water)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn (I suppose you could use canned corn, but I've never tried it that way)
2 T. taco seasoning
2-3 T. Ranch dressing mix (powdered, not made)
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Brown the meat; drain off grease. Mix browned meat and all other ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 3 hours. This is very forgiving, so you can eat it as soon as it's hot enough, or you can let it go on low for many hours. I've made this several times on a weekend when I know I'll want a hot meal later in the day but also know I won't be inside to make it. And it's also possible to make this on the stovetop instead of in a slow cooker. Just let the soup simmer until the corn is done and you can be eating in a hurry!

Serve in bowls with shredded cheese and crush tortilla chips if desired, but it's also good plain. I like to make a batch of cornbread to go with. Yum!

One more thing to consider: This recipe is very fluid. Use what you have and in the amounts that seem good to you. You can't go wrong!

Blessings to you and yours!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Apple Pecan Quick Bread

Apple Pecan Bread--Sweet, Rich, Dense--Yum!

Okay. This is seriously easy to make. But be forewarned--it needs to bake for an hour and then, when completely cool (which takes awhile because this is a dense sweet bread), wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for hours (such as all day, or overnight). So you can't expect to eat it anytime soon. (Although I've cheated and cut a slice while it's still warm. I sometimes can't help myself!) Still, it's worth the effort even if you wait.

Apple Pecan Bread

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup peeled, chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add flour and stir just until blended. Fold in apples and pecans. Pour into a prepared loaf pan and bake 1 hour. Remove bread from pan and cool on a rack. When completely cool, wrap the bread with plastic wrap and let stand overnight before slicing.

As I said before, I've been known to cheat and eat a slice warm. The problem, however, is that it doesn't slice as clean as it will after a good time wrapped. Also, I sometimes like it with a thin swipe of butter. This bread is filling, so go for thinner slices. Eaten with a cup of coffee or tea, this is the perfect midday treat. Makes a body happy!

As always, I pray that you and your loved ones are well. My family is healthy--which wasn't the case earlier this week. Upset tummies abounded, but everyone is feeling fine now--just in time for our first real spate of sunny and warm weather! In the Pacific Northwest, we tend to become giddy when the season turns. Everyone seems to be in good moods and the good cheer is infectious!

May the Lord richly bless you as you care for your families. It's a good work that we do.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mashed Potato Rolls--The Best!

I made Mashed Potato Dinner Rolls for Easter dinner and had several people ask for my recipe, so I thought I'd add it here. This recipe uses yeast, baking powder, and baking soda, and I think that's part of what makes them so soft. And the taste is out of this world. They reheat very well, too. I wrap the rolls in two thicknesses of aluminum foil and throw them in the oven for about 15 minutes or so. These also make great hamburger buns, and if you shape the dough into "logs," you will have tasty hotdog buns just as easily.

Mashed Potato Rolls

2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 3/4 cups warm milk
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup oil
6 T. sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 cups all-purpose flour
melted butter (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, butter, oil, sugar, egg, and mashed potatoes and mix well. Stir in salt, baking powder, baking soda, and half the flour. Mix either by hand or using a stand mixer, adding flour until a soft dough is formed.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl and turn so the entire surface of the dough is greased. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough. Break off bits of dough and roll them in your hands to make balls a bit larger than a golf ball. You will get anywhere from about 32 to 45. Place balls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until done and golden. Remove from the oven and if desired immediately brush or dip tops of rolls in melted butter. Set on racks to cool.

Note: If you don't have nay leftover mashed potatoes and you're in a hurry, you can used dehydrated mashed potatoes. Just mix according to the package directions and use in place of fresh mashed potatoes.

There you have it. I do hope you give them a try because they are delish!

I pray your Easter was a blessing to you. Love others well--what a gift you give when you shower those in your portion of the world with love! I think the Lord would approve.

Blessings to you and yours,

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Coffee and Sugar Skin Scrub

This is a wonderful exfoliating scrub that smells great (if you like the smell of coffee that is!) and softens and moisturizes your skin. I use this often--even on my face! I love the stuff. Even better? It is so simple to make and takes all of about 5 minutes. So here goes:
Coffee and Sugar Skin Scrub

Coffee and Sugar Skin Scrub

1/2 cup coconut oil (use cold-pressed oil made from ground coconut meat)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup coffee grounds (unused!)

Gently heat the coconut oil just until liquefied. (It doesn't take much effort because coconut oil starts to liquefy at about 75 degrees.) You can heat the oil in a double boiler or the microwave. Pour the oil into a medium sized mixing bowl and immediately add the honey. Stir to mix and "melt" the honey. Let it sit until the oil has cooled. (The oil won't yet be solidified even though it has cooled, so check often.)

Once the oil and honey are cool, add the vanilla and stir to mix well. Next, add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Last, add the coffee grounds and mix thoroughly again.

I store my scrub in wide-mouth half-pint canning jars. (It takes three of them per batch.) I keep one jar in the shower to use and store the others in the refrigerator so the coconut oil doesn't liquefy during warm weather.

To use, simply scoop out a small amount and massage into your wet skin. Rinse.

That's it! So simple. Your skin will love you!


Applesauce Nut Bread

Sometimes I'm in the mood for a soothing treat, but find that I either don't have the energy to involve myself in a lengthy process, or I'm busy and don't have much time. That's where quick breads really come in handy--they are quick and easy to prepare, and I can satisfy my desire without investing much time or effort. What's not to love about that?

The recipe I'm going to share with you today is called Applesauce Nut Bread. This bread isn't very sweet, so it's a good choice for breakfast, and actually complements scrambled eggs very well. It's tasty plain, or you can spread a bit of butter or apple butter on it (toasted or not) as well.
Close-up view
You can find this recipe--and others like it--in The Amish Baking Cookbook:

Applesauce Nut Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the rolled oats, walnuts, and raisins.

In another bowl, cream together the shortening and brown sugar. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in applesauce and milk.

Add creamed mixture to the dry ingredients and beat for 30 seconds. Although the batter will be lumpy, don't overbeat it. Pour batter into a large, greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let the bread cool a bit before attempting to slice it. It's even better the next day (if you've kept it covered with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out).

Note: If you want a slightly sweeter bread you can add a bit more brown sugar to the batter (about another 1/8 cup) or sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar on top of the loaf before baking.

Next time I plan on sharing an even simpler quick bread recipe--Apple Pecan Bread. Be looking for it soon!

Blessings on your week.