Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Top 10 Posts of 2020

    Here are the top posts from my blog for the year 2020.  I did not blog as much due to my health but some of the most popular were posts from this year and others are ones from years past.  The most popular post of 2020 that had over 4,000 unique views was my recipe for Homemade Au Jus.  

 

1.  Homemade Au Jus.

  

    Our family loves Au Jus but it is not always easy to make when I'm in a time crunch.  I decided to come up with a homemade mix that would be similar (but superior) to the store-bought envelopes of the mix.  This turned out even better than I dreamed.  There is so much flavor that comes from the mix and you can have the homemade taste in a matter of minutes!


 

2.  Chicken and Rice Soup Mix-in-a-Jar.


   I like having many kinds of "mix-in-a-jar" meals around.  My goal is to have 365 of them made up, one for every day of the year.  They are great on days you feel lazy or anything like that and perfect for any type of emergency.  Most of them you just toss into a pot of boiling water and in a bit the meal is done.  Some meals require adding a few more ingredients but the beauty of these is most of the prep work is done for you.

 

3.  Cooking turkey breast in the Crock-Pot.

 


 

 4.  Frugal Living.  

 

    This is my most popular post ever.  It has been viewed over 1,000 times this year but over 100,000 times total.  Lots of frugal tips that everyone finds useful.


5. The Perfect Wacky Cake Recipe (no eggs, no milk, no butter)


    This cake is perfect for the things we are all going through right now.  This calls for no eggs, no milk, and no butter!  How wonderful is that?!  This cake actually dates back to the depression era when things were scarce.  But don't let that deter you about the taste.  This cake bakes up super moist and stills tastes good.  This is absolutely my husband's favorite cake!

 

6.  Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread.

 


    The BEST cornbread in the world is made in a cast iron skillet.  It makes all the difference in the world.  We try to make this a few times a week and there is never any left over.  We eat it all.  It is great with meals and we often eat it as a snack.

 

7.   Cooking a Roast in a Cast Iron Skillet.


    Pot roast is a favorite of most families.  It is the most flavorful, comfort meal that is a staple evening meal for so many of us in America!  It takes a bit of work to make this but it is TOTALLY worth the effort.  Quick and easy is not always best and this is one recipe that proves the fact!


8.  Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

 




 

9.  How to Cook the Perfect Porterhouse Steak

 


      A porterhouse steak is a true thing of beauty.  It is a large cut that has both the New York Strip and a Filet Mignon; which is separated by a T-bone.  With a porterhouse steak, you truly get the best of both worlds.  A perfect marriage cooked beautifully in a cast iron pan.  It will be juicy, flavorful and have the perfect crust on the outside!

 

10.  True Southern Pimento Cheese Spread.

 

    People are always asking for my Pimento Cheese recipe.  It is so good and creamy. 
 

    Which one of these is your favorite?

 

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Strawberry Jell-O Fluff Salad

    I love fluff salads and up until today, my husband's favorite fluff salad was my Rocky Road Fluff Salad, while the boys' favorite was Oreo Fluff.  Today I made up this Strawberry Fluff Salad and Ron fell in love with it.  He ate 2 large bowls full and declared it his new favorite. 


    Fluff salads are easy to make and are perfect as a side dish or dessert.  It turns out light, fluffy and delicious.  And with the walnuts added to it, the extra crunch and texture is an absolute delight.  


Strawberry Jell-O Fluff Salad

1 c. mini marshmallows

 1/2 c. walnuts

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

1- 3 oz. pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1- 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

8 oz. Cool Whip

    


    Mix the pineapple, sugar and water together over low heat in a small saucepan.  Cook until the sugar is just dissolved.  Pour in the jell-o powder and mix to combine.

    Pour the mixture into a bowl and place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour, or just until the mixture starts to congeal.

    Once it has started to congeal, stir in the walnuts and fold in the Cool Whip and mini marshmallows.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving. 

 

 
 
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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Cake Mix Pumpkin Cookies

    These are the easiest cookies you will ever make and they turn out moist, soft and delicious to boot!  It only takes a few ingredients and you can have cookies in the oven in about 5 minutes.!  I do mainly from-scratch cooking but with having MS and having an autistic son, I do not have the time or energy to cook from scratch all the time.   This is the perfect recipe for times like that. 

 


      Cake Mix Pumpkin Cookies

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 box spice cake mix or yellow cake mix (15 oz.-18 oz.)
2 c. mini semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1 lg. egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
 
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  
 

 
 
    In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, the egg, vanilla, cinnamon and cake mix.  Do not use the mixer to mix the ingredients.  Just use a large spoon to gently mix the dough.  Be sure not to over-mix them.  Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans if using them.  The dough will be sticky and that is okay.
 
    Drop by spoonfuls onto your prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 9-10 minutes.  The cookies are done with they look done and the tops should spring back slightly when touched.  The tops should not look glossy. 
 

 
    Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.  Best to eat them the same day they are cooked.  Makes 36-40 cookies, depending on the size.  Each cookie has 18 carbs.  
 

 
    Here are a few more pumpkin recipes I think you will love: Pumpkin Sheet Cake, Pumpkin Supreme Pie, and my No Bake Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie.  
 
 
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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Homemade Dog Treats--Recipe #2

    I recently did a blog post over making homemade dog treats.  Today I am sharing another recipe for dog treats that is different than the first one.  Our dog Chrissy prefers the first recipe but Cheddar and Esther prefer this recipe.  Try them both out and let me know which recipe your dog(s) prefer.  

 

Esther, our cock-a-poo.

Chrissy, our Great Pyrenees.

 

Homemade Dog Treats--Recipe #2     

 1 1/2 c. quick oats

1 c. apple sauce

1 c. wheat flour

1/2 c. peanut butter (no Xylitol or  sugar substitutes)

2 lg. eggs

1 can carrots, drained and mashed up

1 can chicken (10 oz. can), drained

1 T. coconut oil

 

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.


    In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.  Stir well.  The dough should be a bit sticky and stiff.  Lightly flour your countertop and roll the dough out to 1/4"-1/2" thickness and cut out dough with cookie cutters. Place on tray.

     Bake for 15 minutes or until desired crunchiness is achieved.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. 


Our guard dog Cheddar.


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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Homemade Dog Treats--Recipe #1

    Our dogs love getting a treat each day.  Every day at the same time each day, we give our dogs one treat and they certainly look forward to it too. 


Bub's dog "Chrissy" who is a Great Pyrenees.



"Esther" is Ronny's dog and is a cock-a-poo.

"Cheddar" is my "puppy" and our family guard dog. 

    When we say "treat time", they come running over and then sit down so prettily in front of the boys and gently take a treat from their hands.  They love them!  Not only do they enjoy the treats we bake for them, the treats are also good for them.  Their coats look so shiny and nice and the treats are easy to make too!

    Be sure to check your peanut butter label before making these for your pups.  Dogs love peanut butter but not all peanut butter is safe for them to eat.  In fact, some peanut butter can be deadly for dogs.  When checking the label be sure that it does NOT contain any Xylitol in it.  Xylitol can kill your dog.


Homemade Dog Treat Recipe #1

2 c. whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)

1 c. pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/3 c. peanut butter (no Xylitol or sugar substitutes)

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside

    In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.  Stir well.  The dough should be a bit sticky and stiff.  Lightly flour your countertop and roll the dough out to 1/4"-1/2" thickness and cut out dough with cookie cutters. Place on tray.

 


    Bake for about 15 minutes or until the desired level of crunchiness is achieved.  


    

    Remove treats from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.


****NOTE****  

    Nutmeg can also be toxic to some animals so be sure to just add the cinnamon and no other spices.  


    Be sure to check out some of my pumpkin recipes for humans. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, Traditional Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Supreme Pie, and my No Bake Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie.

 

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Saturday, November 7, 2020

How to Make Your Own Celery Powder at Home

    I have owned my dehydrator for many years and one of the things I really like to dehydrate and make is different vegetables and herbs and turning them into my own homemade seasonings and spice mixes.  Today, I am dehydrating celery to make my own celery powder.

 


         My husband hates celery but doesn't mind, or just doesn't notice, when I add it to soups, stews, chili, or even when I sprinkle it over meat.  I also use it in my potato salad and in my salad dressings.  I love celery powder because it is a great way to add flavor to dishes without it being over powering.  Also, I prefer to make my own celery powder because when I make it, I use only celery and in the store-bought variety, there are a lot of ingredients that I prefer not to put into my family. 

         Celery and celery powder are rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C.  They also contain calcium and have a reasonable amount of fiber.

         All you need to make celery powder is your dehydrator, some celery, and something to grind the dehydrated celery into a powder.  I just use my coffee grinder or my mortar and pestle. You can also use a spice grinder, your blender, or even a food processor.

         Take a bunch of celery and wash it.

 


     Cut up the celery.

 


    Lay out the cut up celery onto your dehydrator trays and turn on the dehydrator.  I recommend a setting of 125-135 degrees.  I put mine on at night before I go to bed so it is done in the morning.  It will take 8-10 hours to completely dry.  Once your celery is dehydrate, place the dried celery into your grinder and grind it into a powder. Store the powder in a small canning jar.  I have found that one bunch of celery makes approximately 2 oz. of celery powder.  If you want to turn the celery powder into celery salt, just take 1 tablespoon of the celery powder and mix it up with 1/4 cup of sea salt. 

 

    

    I also make my own tomato powder, mushroom powder, garlic powder and spinach powder.  Be sure to check each of them out and let me know what kinds of powders you like to make.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Doing Laundry All Year Long Without a Conventional Washer or Dryer

    Whenever someone hears we have not owned a "conventional" washer or dryer for the past 10+ years they always are in awe and have so many questions for us.  I have done posts in the past that answered a few of their questions but decided to answer them all in one complete post.  

 



    Doing laundry without a "real" washer or dryer is not that hard or time consuming. Not only that, but you save a lot of money on water and electricity by doing without them too. Some are amazed that we line dry all year long, even in the winter time but it can be done. 

 


    First things first is to make some homemade laundry detergent.  I know a lot of people make their own homemade laundry detergent but mine is slightly different than others.  Instead of Fels-Naptha soap we prefer to use Ivory soap.  Ivory does not cause skin allergies or reactions as much (or at least in our experience) and Ivory is easier to find in stores and is generally less expensive. To read the directions to make our homemade laundry detergent, click here:  link to our homemade laundry detergent.

    I also make homemade fabric softener.  It takes only 2 ingredients plus water to make it and our clothes come out soft and smell fantastic.  With line drying, towels and other items can come out a bit "crunchy" but by using my homemade fabric softener, even the towels come out soft.  To find the recipe for the fabric softener, click here:  link to my homemade fabric softener.  

     Instead of a washer, we use a washtub and washboard, the old-fashioned way.  We heat up water in the house and add it the the washtub and scrub our clothes on the washboard.  Clothes that seem to delicate for this, we use a plunger in a bucket to get them clean.  Our clothes come out clean and our whites are not dingy. 

 


    We dry our clothes on a clothesline all year long.  Whether it is sunny, windy, or below freezing, we still line dry our clothes.  If we have to wash clothes and it is raining out, we wash the clothes in the sink with the washboard and lay out the clothes on an indoor clothes rack but that rarely happens.  Drying in the winter time when temperatures are below freezing is called "freeze drying" and was done long before there was electricity and absolutely no reason it cannot be done today.  If you would like to read more about it, click here:  Line drying clothes in the winter.  

    Hope you found this interesting and informative.  Do you do laundry this way too or perhaps a bit differently?  Regardless, I'd love to hear how you do laundry.  


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Broccoli and Cheese Risotto Recipe

     This broccoli and cheese risotto is super creamy and is such a great comfort food. Many people are scared to cook risotto because they ...