Showing posts from January, 2014
Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
I must admit that one weakness I have is chocolate and peanut butter. Be it ice cream, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or this cake. Years ago when I had a house full I would make Texas Sheet Cake because it is easy to make and can be made and served in less than hour. No need to wait for the cake to cool. My recent twist on this old stand by recipe is the peanut butter frosting.  It was very yummy and much enjoyed by my family.

This cake would make a great treat for a winter’s evening with your family. Snuggle up, watch a favorite TV show or movie and enjoy this special goodie!

Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake
2 cups flour (whole wheat, white or a combo of both, choice is yours)
2 cups sugar
¼ t salt
2 sticks butter
¼ heaping cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup buttermilk or soured milk
2 large eggs
1t baking soda
1t vanilla

Spray a jelly roll pan (18x12) with non stick spray or (as I did) you can line the bot…

13 Ways to Help Ease the Winter Blues

I don’t know about you but personally I deal with the winter time blues. It’s not bad but it is something I’ve dealt with for a long time. As soon as the weather warms up, the days get longer, the trees start to bloom, the birds and frogs are back making their spring time noises, I start feeling much better! But in the meantime the stark look of winter and short days are just no fun. However there are a few things that I’ve learned to do over the years to pull me out of it all and learn to make the most of this time of year. 

1. Lights
I’m not talking about the fancy SAD type lights (although I’ve heard they are helpful), I tend to turn on every light in the house during the day. Maybe because I live in an area that can be rather gray and gloomy most of the time I’ve found this to be very helpful.

2. Candles
Candles create a mood, a good mood for me. I find pretty smelling candles and light them. This is especially nice in the evenings.

3. Exercise
Honestly this is not one of m…

Menu Monday!

This week I have a couple meals that I had planned for last week but were never made.  I'm also taking advantage of my crockpot a lot this week as well.  I'll share any new recipes that pass my family's taste test with you!

Crockpot chili, chips & salsa, salad

Crockpot orange pork over brown rice, salad

Crockpot chicken philly sandwiches, split pea soup, salad


Crockpot hamburger potato casserole, salad

Sausage gravy & biscuits

Crockpot SW stew, dinner rolls, salad

Updates from the Homestead

Life seems to be a string of never ending busyness. A home to manage, food to cook, laundry to be done, time spent with family and friends. Knowing how to use my time wisely is something I’ve always taken seriously. Even more so as I started out the New Year my prayer has been, “Lord am I using my time as wisely as I could?”. I see areas where I am and areas where I am not. So lately I’ve been focusing on the areas I’m not and seeing how I could improve on this. We all need down time so lately I’ve been asking myself how much down time is enough? How much time on the computer is enough? How much time spent running around is too much? Not that I’m being hard on myself but just examining the best use of my time.

My son Jacob celebrated his 20th birthday this last week. He is my 6th child and I seriously have to ask myself where did all the time go!!?? He is a great kid.. and I am so proud of him. He works nearly full time (30 hours a week) and is his degree non-traditionall…

Pamper Yourself a Little - Bath Soaks

(Photo Credit: Sierra Miller  ) 

I’ve always loved baths.. super relaxing, stress relieving, and a special treat. You can things to your bath water to help make the experience even more enjoyable. The simplest thing is Epsom salts, just pour some in while the water is running. Epsom salts have are very relaxing to tired, achy muscles. Another good additive is baking soda. Adding a some to the water helps clean and soften skin.

You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to any bath for more enjoyment and aromatherapy benefits.

If you want to do something just a little bit more then I have a couple suggestions. The first is an Oatmeal Bath. Oatmeal is great for dry itchy winter skin as it has the ability to lock in moisture reduce inflammation. However you don’t want oatmeal floating around in the tub and clogging the drain. Here is an easy way to enjoy this beauty treatment.

You will need a clean (old) sock or a knee high nylon and some oats. You can use …
Meal Planning Simplicity

This week is all about tuna! I bought a 4# can of tuna and stretched it out to 3 meals (for 6 adult size appetites per meal) that were completely different. Tuna could get old really fast.. but no worries.. your family won’t even realize they are eating tuna for three meals in a row.. I promise..

I bought this huge can of tuna from Costco. It was approx. 4 pounds…

An equivalent to 11/12 regular 6oz cans. My hubby saw the can I bought and said.. wow.. that’s a lot of tuna.. LOL.. I replied.. I’ve got a lot of people to feed honey.. and I made good use of it.. no one complained this week.. just walked away from the table feeling full and happy..

So what did I do?

I opened the can and drained it.. then made tuna patties with it… I ended up with 3 dozen plus 1…

Tuna Patties (bulk recipe)
1 large can tuna, 66.5oz (I purchase mine from Costco) – 11/12 6oz cans
4 cups bread crumbs
8 eggs
2 cups mayo
6 to 8 green onions, sliced
1t salt
1t pepper

Combine all i…

Menu Monday!

Chili, chips & salsa, salad

Chicken pot pie, salad

Sausage & gravy over biscuits, sliced oranges & apples

Bbq baked chicken legs, cheesy brown rice, salad

Chinese beef & broccoli over rice, carrot & celery sticks

Clam chowder, dinner rolls, marinated cucumbers

Sub sandwiches, tomato soup, and Korean salad

Mocha Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake

I was talking to a friend of mine a few days ago and she mentioned a mayonnaise cake and was I familiar with it? Took me a second and then I said, “Yes! My mother use to make them”. I had not thought about them in many years. So I made one for dessert for my family. Oh yum!! And this cake is so easy to make as well.

If you’re not familiar with them you may be thinking, “oh yuck” .. but I assure you, you don’t taste the mayo. The mayonnaise replaces the fat and eggs in the recipe. The cake is super moist and chocolaty .. and my twist to it (different than what my mama did).. I used strong coffee instead of water which made the cake taste even better.

I frosted it with a mocha frosting and in the end decided to name my version…..

Mocha Mayonnaise Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
2t baking soda
¼ t salt
1 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing such as Miracle Whip)
1t vanilla
1 cup room temp coffee

In a mixer combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt until i…

Homemaking Challenge for January: Update #2

I’m so thrilled with my progress.. It’s taken a bit of time but I’m just about done. My youngest son Isaac has been a great help to me in the whole process.

So for a little recap (you can see all the before pics on the 1st blog post and my progress up to this point on the 2nd post)

When I finished last time I had cleared off this area….

And was ready to tackle this area…

I began by moving items that were laying on the floor and in my way to the other side of the room. Then I took each of the storage totes, one by one, and went through them. I found items I no longer needed and those went into my “give” boxes, I found items that I had to question myself as to why I still had them and those were tossed (no more purposeful life left in them or the items were broken, etc..), and a few items I needed to think about and they went into the “I don’t know” box until I had gone through all totes and could go back and make a decision on them.

When it was all done I had been able to e…

Meal Planning Simplicity

**Warning: this is a long post! With lots of pictures! ~smile~

This week’s Meal Planning Simplicity (making the most from time spent in the kitchen) is focused mainly on ham & beans. I bought a 6# boneless ham from Costco…

I chopped it all up at one time…

I also cooked up a large pot of beans. I used a mix of red & black beans. I cooked about 10 to 12 cups of dried beans in my large 14qt pan. I had enough beans to use in a couple different bean meals during the week and was able to freeze 2qts of beans for future use (one bag is being used this week).

After the beans were cooking and the ham had been cut up I went ahead and cut up a couple large onions for use during the week. I cook with a lot of onions and it was nice to have them chopped up and ready to go as I needed them for the rest of the week.

Here was my plan of action:

Using the cooked beans I made a batch of chicken tortilla soup…

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2lbs boneless, skinless, chicken (thighs or breast will …