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Showing posts from September, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Cake (from a cake mix)

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I had a box of spice cake mix in my cupboard that has been there for a while. With fall here and being in a little bit of a mood to do some simple fall baking I set out to see what I could with this cake mix. I found this simple recipe: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/incredibly-moist-pumpkin-spice-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/c8ce831f-e933-425d-b8c6-a2335705f63a    The cake is very moist and good.  A nice mix of spice and pumpkin flavors. 


It required the cake mix, a can of pumpkin and a few other ingredients...


I baked it in a 9x13 pan. The recipe made it into a layer cake.  I ended up baking if for about 35 minutes..
Frosted it...


The only changes I made to the recipe was to the frosting. The original recipe had 5 cups of powdered sugar, which seemed like a lot to me. I cut that down to 3 cups. I also added to the frosting 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon.


It was yummy!! My guys ate it up pretty quick..





Menu Monday!

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Today is grocery shopping day. I shop once a week. I've tried shopping every other week but that seems to be a little challenging especially with fresh veggies. I serve a lot of green salads because I love fresh veggies and find it the easiest way to get our daily fresh veggie needs met. So, I shop weekly (which is why menu planning is good, I can make sure I have everything I need for the weeks meals on hand).

How often do you grocery shop?


Last week's menu worked perfectly .. which was nice. We had the ham for a couple nights, the chili for a couple nights, had 2 nights were everyone fended for themselves.. and one night of meatloaf and tonight will be night 2 of meatloaf.

When I make a meal I cook a double batch of whatever I'm cooking with the intention of the meal lasting me for 2 nights. So far it's been a good plan. I cook less often and it makes meal planning pretty simple.

As I said, tonight we are having meatloaf along with tater tots and salad.…

Brown Sugar & Honey Ham Glaze

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I mentioned earlier this week (in Menu Monday) about having a ham dinner. I had bought a ham at Costco. The hams I buy have a packet of dry mix for making the glaze (just add water). It is very good and tasty.


However I realized with all the freezer work I must have punctured the packet of glaze and it had fallen out. So my ham had no glaze. I searched the web for something that would work. I found a lot of recipes but I just wanted a simple glaze. So I combined a couple different recipes and this is what I came up with...


This was delish!! (I know the pic does not look like much :), but it was easy to make and yummy.


My ham was about 9lbs and I baked it 325 for about 3 hours I pulled it out of the oven...


I spooned and spread the glaze over the ham. It was a spiral cut ham and I made sure to let the glaze drizzle as much as possible between the slices as well. I returned the ham to the oven and bumped up the heat to 400. It baked for about 20 to 30 minutes and this is wh…

Canning Corn off the Cob

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Last week it was time to harvest my corn. My corn was a bit behind others in my area. I got it planted a little late but that was ok. Up until now I was drowning in a sea of tomatoes! Ha, ha!! My son and I picked it...

Had to get a pic of my sunflowers.. they're looking so pretty right now..


Then we just sat by the goat fence and shucked it and tossed the husks to the goats. It was efficient and the goats were in heaven having all those corn husks...


I had over 100 ears of corn...


I raw packed my corn. I took about ¾ of the ears and scraped the the corn off the cob.


You can use a knife for this. I have a nifty little corn cob scraper that does a great job.


{affiliate link}

Then I filled pint size jars up with corn, covered in boiling water, put a new lid and a ring on the jars and filled up my canner. You can stack jars as I did here..


Corn is a low acid food and you must use a pressure canner to can it. I canned pint jars for 55 minutes at 10#'s of pressure. Quarts w…

Freezer Organization

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Last week I mention in my Menu Monday post about organizing my chest freezer. Chest freezers are a challenge to organize. Things get lost in the bottom and items pile up on top. I know I've tried several methods over the years. I received a comment asking me to share with pictures of my organization job.

I think the key to any method is consistency. As and example... after grocery shopping last week my son was helping me put the groceries away. He took the freezer items and put them in the freezer. Well.. he basically just dumped them in the freezer. So much of my organization plan was gone. When I realized what had happened (when I went to the freezer to retrieve something :) I spent a few minutes putting things back where they belong.

I've not always been great at the consistency part. So an annual freezer cleaning is needed. Now that I have only one freezer my determination to keep it organized and usable is very high. 
I did not purchase anything to organize. I…

Menu Monday!

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Last week I talked about organizing my chest freezer. I had a lady comment about how I did this and sharing some pics. I plan to chat about that tomorrow and share pics of my now organized freezer.

Last week was one of those weeks where the kids had their own plans a couple of nights. The pizza chili did not get made. I baked the ham last night and we have leftovers for today (Monday). I made mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and green beans to go along with this meal. The ham bone will be put in the freezer for bean and ham soup in the future.

I'm getting so ready for soups. Our weather cools down for a day or two and I start thinking about soups and chili and then it heats up again. We have a couple cool rainy days at the end of the week so I'll be making my pizza chili then.

My plan for this week will include the leftover baked ham today. 
For the rest of the week.... 

Pizza Chili
This should warm us up for those cool days! A pan of corn bread will be served along…

Tomato Soup Base for Canning

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Yesterday I posted about making tomato soup from fresh tomatoes. It turned out so good! I had a bunch of tomatoes from my last picking that needed to be used up. So I thought.. why not can up the tomato soup base. When I want to use it.. I simply add the salt, sugar, baking soda, butter and milk and serve. So that is what I did.

I started with 25#'s of tomatoes. I cut off the ends and pureed them. I put them in my big 14 quart stock pot. I set it on the stove to boil and reduce...




It took about 3 hours to reduce by almost half....


Then I ran the whole batch through the blender to make it nice and smooth in texture...



I put it back in the stock pot. I added the salt and sugar and heated it back up. Then I filled a quart jar with the soup base and put a new lid and a ring on it....




And put it in the canner....


I did this with the rest of the jars....


I pressure canned this recipe. Tomatoes are borderline on having enough acid to can in a boiling water bath. Since I did no…

Tomato Soup from Fresh Tomatoes

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Last weekend I picked another 75#'s of tomatoes. My daughter and I have already canned up 90 jars of salsa from our previous pickings and it was time to do something else with these. I gave my daughter several pounds of fresh tomatoes and we've been eating a lot of tomatoes lately. But I still had enough to play around with.

So I decided to make some tomato soup. It was delish!! I made it for lunch a few days ago. 
When I was done making this I thought that this would be a great recipe to can.   I then made a larger batch of tomato soup base and canned it.   I'll be sharing the canning version of this recipe tomorrow.

It was not difficult to make. It did take more time than opening a can of soup.. but the end results are worth the time!! :) I started with 5#'s of tomatoes. I cut them up and pureed them in my food processor...




I don't peel my tomatoes. I find that a whole heck of a lot of work, and don't find it necessary. I puree them and cook them …

Hospitality

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Romans 12:13: distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.


Many years ago I remember reading books on practicing hospitality. I definitely did not see myself as this type of person. All the books I read made it sound to intimidating. I felt like I really had to have my act together to be hosting Bible studies in my home or inviting strangers over. Plus, I'm more of an introvert so the whole idea of hospitality was just a bit to much. I enjoy people quite a bit, but putting the word “hospitality” in the mix suddenly made it seem like a work. I felt it was something to add to a to-do list of life or that was required of me as a Christian. So right then and there I decided that this just was not a gift that the Lord had given me.

But as time went on here is what happened. We met a family at church one Sunday and invited them over to our home for dinner. They had children about our kids ages and we hit it off. Became very good friends for many years. But…

Menu Monday!

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As you can see above I decided to celebrate my new Menu Monday format change with a new header! :) It was time for something new..

Now on to food chat... I have 2 freezers and was wondering if I was at a point I could downsize to 1. A few years ago I had 3 freezers and was able to clean them all out and reorganize down to the 2 I now have. I gave that freezer to my daughter Hannah. I figured it was time to try again with my family size going down. I don't freeze as much food as I use to. I don't buy in the huge quantities I use to. So I tackled it and was successful! I was able to send some things that had been in there way to long to the goats (veggies). I was able to toss things that I had not marked well and had no idea what they were or how long they'd been there. A couple months ago I had also started making a concerted effort to use up food in the freezer so that had helped. Now with better organization and an ice free freezer, my food fit nicely into one…

That Moment When You Realize.....

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You have the sweetest kid ever.. Well, I always knew he was sweet and kind.. but it was another reminder of his big heart...

My son Isaac has been working since the end of March. His company had their annual company picnic. Every employee was given a very generous gift card. There were a lot of gift cards to pick from. But, this was his choice....



He brought it home and gave it to me. He is always thinking of others and this just touched my heart (and for sure, I'll be sharing it with him :).

Getting Fit in the 50's

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I'm still walking!! And still making a point to get out and move every day. It has been great. I feel better than ever.

My daughter Hannah and I have been getting together weekly to walk and hike in various places with the grand kids. Our goal is to get them able to walk more and more distance. Last week we walked over 3 miles.. and they did great. We had the stroller for the baby.. he has little legs that are not ready to walk that distance.
I am so in love with walking. A friend said to me... you have to find your “soul mate” exercise. The one thing that you look forward to, not feel dread about. I have to say walking is that for me.

Walking is amazing. It is free, it is easy, it does not cost anything. It is a fantastic way to take in God's creation. It is my think time, it is my prayer time, it is my sanctuary.. I walk.. any issues in life that were bothering me 3 miles ago.. no longer seem so bad. I feel energized.

When I first started I'd walk a mile and…

Cilantro Chicken

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This was yummy!! I posted this on last weeks “Menu Monday” and wanted to follow up with it.

It takes a bit of planning because the chicken has to marinate in the cilantro/garlic mix. I put it together one evening before bed, cooked it up the next morning. I was going to be busy in the afternoon and wanted the main part of our dinner all done. We reheated it at dinner time.

The recipe was one my daughter Hannah had tried and shared with me. You can find the original version here: http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/08/13/cilantro-chicken/

I made a few changes to it all and will share that. First off, I used chicken legs in my version because that is what I had in the freezer. Second, I baked it in the oven and not on the grill. I also used more chicken than the original recipe called for and made a bigger batch of the cilantro/garlic mixture.

Here is my version...

I used the blender to mix up the cilantro, garlic and olive oil. I reminded me a lot pesto .. only with cilantro..…