Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade Play Dough

My children enjoy playing with Play-Do very much, but I hate the smell and the crumbly mess. So I make this instead! It's very smooth, soft, and I can make it smell nice with any essential oil or extract that I'd like!

Homemade Play Dough
4 cups cheap white flour
4 cups water
2 cups cheap salt
1/2 cup cheap canola oil
8 tsp. cream of tarter
food coloring and essential oils as desired

Mix everything together in a large saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon, over medium heat, until the dough forms. This only takes a couple of minutes. When the dough forms, plop is out onto a counter and knead a few times until smooth.

If you want different colors, wait to add the food coloring until now. Separate the dough into as many different colors as you want and add different food coloring to each. Knead it in and add drops until the color you want develops.

Store in zippy bags.

Roman Meal

Roman Meal
6 cups oats, rolled
cup EACH spelt, wheat, rye, kamut, rolled
2 cups wheat bran
1/2 cup flax seeds

Mix well and store in the freezer. To use, measure 2 cups water for each cup of Roman Meal and cook 10-15 minutes. Season as desired with butter, coconut oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, etc.

You may also grind the mix in the blender and whisk it into the boiling water for a more instant cereal. Cook only 1 minute. Let stand 5 minutes before seasoning.

You may also be Nourishing Traditions friendly by soaking your mix overnight in the water and a few Tbsp. of whey. Get out your big yellow book for the specific method!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seasoned Tomato Sauce

Seasoned Tomato Sauce

4 large onions, chopped
8 medium carrots, sliced
4 cups chopped celery
4 green bell peppers, chopped
36 to 40 large tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
lemon juice (1Tbsp per pint, 2 Tbsp per quart)

gather the ingredients
Prepare the veggies by coarsely chopping them. I used my Bosch Slicer/Shredder and this took just minutes.
prepare veggies
Saute onion, carrots, celery and green peppers in olive oil until onions are limp and transparent. Peel, core and chop tomatoes (you should have 8 quarts). I love the colors here!
chop tomatoes
Add to vegetables and cook about 15 minutes.
simmer together

Puree vegetables in a food processor, press through a fine sieve, or put through a food mill, if desired. Add salt and cook sauce, uncovered, until thick (about 1 hour), stirring frequently to prevent sticking. The final consistency should fall halfway between juice and paste.
finished sauce

Add lemon juice to the jar, then quickly ladle sauce into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims, seal with simmered lids. Process in boiling water bath 35 minutes for pints and quarts (at 0-1000 ft), or pressure can at 10 pounds for 15 minutes.
process for 90 minutes at 10 pounds

Yields about 8 to 10 pints or 4-5 quarts.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I found this on a friend's blog, and have made it a couple times. Our family really likes it, and it's so darn easy! What could be better than that? The original recipe is HERE and here is how we made it:


2 pounds of dry pinto beans (no need to soak, just rinse)
1 cup onion, chopped fine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz chopped green chilies
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (made it once without this, and it's good, too!)
4 pounds beef or pork roast (with or without the bone)
1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons of salt

Cover with water and simmer until beans are tender and meat falls of bone. Remove bone, return meat to crockpot. This takes about 6-7 hours in my crockpot.
Serve over tortilla chips or rice. 

Add any toppings that you would to tacos: salsa, sour cream, cheese, olives, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes etc.

We ate it wrapped in a warmed tortilla with many of the above toppings.

Simple Beef and Rice Dinner

This simple recipe got five stars from all my children! Yeah, a new popular (cheap, too!) dinner! I have this posted at The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap.

Simple Beef and Rice Dinner
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (I used 1 Tbsp. dried, minced onions)
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (I used about 1/2 cup, minced)
2 cups white rice
2 (16 oz) cans diced tomatoes (I used quartered home-grown cherry tomatoes and 1 (7 3/4 0z.) can of El Pato jalapeno tomato
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 tsp.
coconut animos
1 tsp dried basil
3 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 cup grated sharp cheese

Brown the meat with the onions and bell peppers. Drain, if needed. Add the rice and cook two minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese). Bring to a boil. reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, until rice is done. Stir, then serve, sprinkled with cheese.

That's it. Simple, tasty, and cheap. Just my kind of supper.

Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy

Here's my recipe for the old time diner favorite. We have this just once in a while, since it's not that kind to the waistline. I have never measured the amounts of ingredients I use in the gravy, so you'll have to eyeball it, too! It's a very forgiving dish, so do try it!

Buttermilk Biscuits
8 cups flour
1/4 cup baking powder
8 tsp sugar
2 tsp cream of tarter
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 cups butter
3 cups kefir or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Make a well in the center and pour in kefir. Stir just till flour is moistened. turn out on a floured surface and knead till smooth, about 12 times. DO NOT OVERKNEAD! Press out to about 1" thick. Cut out biscuits. Place close together, but not quite touching on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.

Sausage Gravy (Sawmill Gravy)
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bulk mild or spicy breakfast sausage
bacon grease


In a large skillet, cook the sausage till browned, keeping it chopped in small pieces. When it's almost finished, add in about 1/4 cup (ok, maybe about 1/2 cup) of bacon grease. You save your bacon grease, right? If you do not add the bacon grease, this gravy will not taste right! I told you it isn't a diet breakfast!) When that's all melted and mixed around, sprinkle on about 3/4 cups of flour. You want all the meat coated with flour and all the grease mixed with it, too. Then add milk until the meat is covered by about 1/2 inch. As you bring it to a boil, add in salt and pepper to taste. It needs a lot of salt. I guess I use just over a tablespoon, but add 2 tsp, then add it a bit at a time, to your taste. Use your pepper very liberally, too.

When the gravy is incredible, and the biscuits are hot from the oven, serve as follows:

Split a biscuit and spread with butter, if desired (I do not, but my husband does). Cover with the sausage gravy. Serve with a scrambled egg on the side and orange juice.

BLT Pasta

BLT Pasta
1 pound shaped pasta, cooked and drained
8 slices bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
2-3 tsp chicken bouillon powder
4 cups lettuce, thinly shredded

Combine the mayo, lemon juice, sugar and bouillon powder for the dressing.

Combine all remaining ingredients, except the lettuce. Chill. if desired.

Just before serving, stir in the lettuce.

Homemade Sausage

Homemade Sausage
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
5 tsp sage
2 1/2 tsp salt, fennel seeds, thyme, black pepper
1 1/4 tsp white pepper, cayenne pepper
5/8 tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp ground cloves, nutmeg, allspice

Mix well. If time allows, let sausage sit overnight in the refrigerator to allow flavors to blend. Form into patties and cook as needed. Do not overcook! You may add an egg to the mixture if desired.

Large Family Breakfast Casserole

Large Family Breakfast Casserole
2 pounds sausage
8 cups bread, cut into pieces
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
20 eggs, beaten
8 cups milk
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp onion powder, garlic powder

Cook crumbled sausage until done, drain. Thickly butter two 9x13 pans. Add bread. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine milk, eggs, and spices. Pour over bread and cheese. Sprinkle evenly with sausage. Cover and chill overnight. Preheat oven to 325, and bake casseroles uncovered for 1 hour.

Everything Breakfast Bar

We tried this one this morning. It was very cake-like and soft in texture and well-flavored. I do think I'll put a touch more cinnamon in next time. I did use the entire can of pumpkin (what would I do with half a can leftover, anyway?). Give it a try!

Everything Breakfast Bars
4 cups oatmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin (can use entire small can if desired)
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup raisins

Oven to 350.

Combine oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in a greased 9x13. Bake for 40 minutes.

Breakfast Bread

Breakfast Bread
2 cups buttermilk or kefir
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup raisins, nuts

Oven to 400.

Grease two loaf pans. Mix all ingredients together and pour into prepared pans. Place in the 400 degree oven, and immediately lower oven to 350. Bake 1 hour. Turn out and cool, covered with a towel, for 8 hours.

Lemon Loaf

This is a delicately flavored dessert or sweet breakfast bread. The texture is like pound cake. Very good!

Lemon Loaf
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
4 eggs
3 cups bread or AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
The rind of 2 lemons, grated and minced
1/4 cup (or more) lemon juice

Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar

Oven to 350.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Blend in milk.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon rind. Pour into batter. Stir just till moistened.

Pour into 2 greased 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.

Combine glaze ingredients and heat until sugar dissolves.

Cool loaves for five minutes. Poke holes in the top with a toothpick.

Spoon glaze over evenly.

Homemade Window Cleaner

This really does work well.
  • About 7 pints cold water (108 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup soapy ammonia
  • 1 pint rubbing alcohol
Fill a 1- or 2-gallon bucket with the water. Carefully add the ammonia and rubbing alcohol.

Mix well and pour into spray bottles.

To distinguish this clear liquid from other cleaners, tint it with a drop or two of blue food coloring or clearly label the spray bottle.

Applesauce (or Pumpkin) Cookies

These are great, inexpensive healthy cookies to serve as breakfast or a snack. They can be made with applesauce, or an equal amount of canned pumpkin. I love that they don't call for any butter. I often forget to soften some for my other breakfast cookies! Give them a try and see if your family likes them as much as we do!

Applesauce (or Pumpkin) Cookies
2 cups applesauce or canned pumpkin
1 cup raw sugar
4 eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
6 cups oatmeal
2 cups raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 350.

Thoroughly mix applesauce and sugar and then beat in the eggs. Slowly mix inn flour, soda and spices; then oatmeal and raisins. Drop by spoonful onto a lightly greased pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

CrockPot Split Pea Soup

This came out really well! I made simple drop biscuits to be crumbled into the soup and almost everyone liked it a lot.

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup
3 cups dried split peas
12 cups water
1 chopped onion (or 1/2 cup dried)
6 chopped carrots (in bite size pieces)
6 celery stalks (sliced)
a few bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
Pepper to taste

Cook until peas are tender (you can put in at night and it may be done when you wake up!). Ladle out 1/2 into blender to puree. Add back to soup so broth is thick.

It took about five hours on high for my crockpot, and I didn't need to do the blending step, as it was thick enough for me.

Simple Mexican Stew

Simple Mexican Stew
1 cup onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive or red palm oil
2-4 cups cooked chicken meat (use less or more depending on your tastes!)
1/3 cup taco seasoning
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cups frozen corn
8 oz chopped green chilis
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch (optional)

Saute garlic and onion in oil for a couple of minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.

That's it! Serve with crusty rolls and you've got your meal, unless you're like me and didn't plan ahead. Then you serve it with saltine crackers.

I used 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce and 1 can of El Pato Jalepeno tomato sauce for the 4 cans diced tomatoes and 8 oz jalepenos. It worked for our tastes just right!

Mexican Hamburger Rice Bake

If you are used to white rice, brown can be difficult to incorporate into your diet at first. This is an outstanding dish to use, since it is so tasty and easy to prepare.

Mexican Hamburger Rice Bake
6 cups cooked brown rice (cook three cups dry rice with 6 cups water or broth for 55-60 minutes)
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes and peppers
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (I used Yellow El-Pato)
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup (or more) shredded cheese

Cook the hamburger and onion together till the burger is brown. Drain if needed. Add cooked rice, and all other ingredients and mix well. Spread into a buttered 11x15 pan and top with a little more cheese, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to heat through and melt cheese.

BTW, if you use regular tomato sauce instead of Yellow El Pato, it will be a milder dish. We like things a bit more spicy!

Peanut Butter Granola

Peanut Butter Granola
2/3 cup oil (slightly less if using natural peanut butter...you are using natural peanut butter, without the partially hydrogenated oils, right?!?)
2 cups peanut butter

Melt together over low heat.

Add 3 cups brown sugar. Stir and melt.

Pour over 14 cups oats. Mix well, then bake in 9x13's at 325 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Salmon Patties

Salmon Patties
3 cans salmon
3 slices wheat bread, crumbled tiny
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 cup mayo
6 eggs
1 Tbsp softened butter
3/4 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together and form into 15 patties.
Place the very sticky patties on greased cookie sheets. Bake 45 minutes.

I served them on homemade buns with homemade tarter sauce and shredded lettuce. The side dish was carrot sticks. The sandwich truly tasted like a restaurant fish sandwich. I will be serving this often!

Apples in Robes

The children made these for their Daddy today and they smell wonderful! This recipe is from the out-of-print "Cookbook of Foods from Bible Days" by Jean and Frank McKibbin.

Apples in Robes
2 cups self-rising flour (to make yourself, add 1 Tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt to 2 cups white flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup milk

Combine flour, salt and sugar and cut in butter. Add milk and mix. Roll out on a floured board and cut into squares large enough to wrap half an apple.

4 apples, cored, peeled and halved
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix cinnamon and sugar. Put 1 tsp in center of each pastry square. Place half an apple over it. Wrap carefully, sealing all edges. Put in greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining sugar on tops. Bake at 325 for 20 min. + 10 minutes more.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour over pastries when they have baked 20 minutes. return to oven and bake 10 more minutes. Serve hot with cream, if desired.

Italian Cheese Bread

I have to double this for my large pizza pan. I also use the bread recipe (without the toppings) for a quick pizza crust.

Italian Cheese Bread

2 1/2 cup bread flour
1 tsp. EACH salt and sugar
1 Tbsp quick rising yeast (regular works, too)
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
1/4 tsp. EACH salt, garlic powder, thyme, oregano
a dash of pepper
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Combine water and oil and add to flour mixture. Add additional flour if needed, to form a soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl and allow to rise 20 minutes.

Punch down. Place on greased pizza pan and push down to fill pan. Brush with salad dressing. Combine seasonings and sprinkle over dough. Bake at 450 for 13 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake another 2-3 minutes till cheese is melted. Serve warm.

A Sinkful of Help!

Kitchen Sink Showing Pots, Pans, Plates and Other Utensils Photographic Print

Here's one of my very simplest, but most helpful tips. Before you start cooking, draw a half a sinkful of hot, soapy water. As you use something, wash it and lay it on a clean, dry towel. You'll be surprised at how few dishes you have to do at the end of the job! Also, you can easily wash your hands between steps.

Bacon-the easy way

My IRL friend MotherofBlessings gave me this tip yesterday: to easily use a slice or two of bacon in a recipe, prepare ahead of time! Take a pound of bacon and a long strip of plastic wrap. Lay a piece of bacon down, wrap it a time or two, then lay another slice on top of it. Repeat until the entire package is individually wrapped. Now wrap that in foil and freeze. You can easily get just a few pieces when a recipe calls for it!

I always save my bacon grease. Collect the rendered fat in a glass jar and store it in your fridge. Bacon drippings add so much flavor to foods, especially country gravy and refried beans. Also, a teaspoon of drippings along with a tablespoon of crumbles makes green beans incredible!

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Mixed Berry Cobbler


1 1/2 cups or more fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups or more fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups or more fresh raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or use pastry wheat flour for a healthier dessert)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, refrigerated and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk (or kefir)

Preheat oven to 400 F and lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish.

Gently mix blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and almond extract in a large bowl. Pour berry mixture into the baking dish and bake until it begins to bubble, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until it is evenly mixed. Add butter and knead with your hands until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Slowly add buttermilk and mix just until dough comes together.

When it is ready, remove the hot, bubbly berry mixture from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 F. Drop the topping by spoonfuls onto the baked fruit so that the dough covers the filling evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the dough.

Bake cobbler for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and serve warm with freshly whipped cream or ice cream, or both! Serves 6.

Crockpot Refried Beans

Crockpot Refried Beans
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dried pintos, sorted and rinsed
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp cumin powder
9 cups water (you may used up to 4 1/2 cups broth instead of all water, if desired)
3-4 Tbsp bacon grease

Soak beans overnight.

Rinse beans. Combine all ingredients in the crock, stirring to mix. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. When soft, strain, using care to collect the cooking liquid.

Remove beans to a large skillet. Add a few tablespoonfuls of bacon grease and some bean juice reserved from the crock. Fry over medium high heat, mashing with a potato masher till beans are as 'smushy' as you desire. I like to let some whole beans remain. Add more liquid as needed to avoid dried-out nasty beans!

Spiced Plum Butter

Spiced Plum Butter
4 lbs plums, quartered
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 c sugar
3/4 c orange juice

Combine juice & plums In a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, & let simmer 30 minutes or until tender.
Place plum mixture in a mixer or food processor/blender; process until smooth.
Press pureed mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
Combine plum mixture, sugar, & remaining ingredients in pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 1 hr or until thick, stirring frequently. Cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 months.

Cinnamon Apple Jelly

Cinnamon Apple Jelly

4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup red hot candies

1 (1 3/4 ounce) package fruit pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar

Combine juice, candy and pectin in a large pot. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to a full boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam and any unmelted candy. Pour hot liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust lids. Process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath.

Yield:3 pints

Christmas Scent

Christmas Scent
2-4 tablespoons cloves (whole) (optional)

2-4 cinnamon sticks

4 bay leaves
1/2 orange, sliced

1/2 lemon, sliced
Add orange and lemon slices to dry mixture of spices. Put in a small sauce pan with 4 cups of water. Simmer on low to release the fragrance.

TO GIVE AS A GIFT: Put ingredients in a decorative jar.
Add enough water to fill jar. Add a few drops of red food coloring. Close securely and give with a small gift tag explaining how to use it. Store in refrigerator when not in use, to prevent molding. Can be simmered over and over again! Note, I prefer to use the lesser amount of cloves so that they don't overwhelm the other fragrances.

Yield: 1 jar

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Foccaccia Bread

This sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving dessert/breakfast! What about taking some to church to share after service? Ummmm, your friends would definitely thank you! I saw it and promptly stole it from Chas' blog.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Focaccia Bread

1 cup warm water (110°F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 T sugar
4 T butter, melted, divided

1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon for topping

1/4 cup powdered sugar, milk, vanilla for icing

Stir together warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Add the yeast slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine the flour, additional sugar, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Stir to combine thoroughly but try not to knead at this point. I had to mix it together with my hands just a bit to make sure it was all mixed up.

Cover and rest for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees after 15 minutes of the resting time.

Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 30-60 seconds. The dough should still be fairly soft but also smooth. Roll out about 1/2 inch thick and place on a baking sheet or stone. Push your fingertips down into the dough, making dimples, not holes, all over the dough. Spread the remaining 2 T butter over the top.

Combine topping ingredients and spread all over the buttered dough. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

Place powdered sugar in a bowl and add *maybe* 3 t milk, a little bit at a time, until the consistency of icing. Add the tiniest splash of vanilla extract and stir. Drizzle over warm bread (I like to cut into strips and then drizzle) and serve.

Taco Sauce for Canning

Taco Sauce For Canning

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

3 cups water
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
2 tablespoons canned jalapeno slices

Combine the tomato paste with the water in a large stainless or enamel saucepan over medium heat.

Stir until smooth. Add the cayenne, chili powder, salt, cornstarch, and vinegar. In a food processor puree the onion and jalapeno until smooth.

Add to tomato water mixture and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Once you have reached the hard boil stage cook for 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Let stand to cool.

Place in a tightly sealed container and place in the fridge.
This will keep up to 2 months.

If you wish to can this product you pour the hot liquid into clean, sterile hot half pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Carrot Cake Jam

Here's another recipe I haven't yet tried, but want to. Doesn't it sound interesting?

Carrot Cake Jam

1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1 1/2 cups peeled chopped pears
1 (14 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon clove
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 (3 ounce) certo liquid pectin

Mix everything BUT sugar and pectin in pan.
Bring to a boil.
Bring down to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every once in while.
Add pectin and bring to a boil.
Add sugar bring to a rolling boil.
Take off heat.
Fill hot sterile jars.
Put lids on.
Water bath for 10 minutes

Yield:6 1/2 pints

Apple Marmalade

Apple Marmalade
6 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (57 g) package fruit pectin
4 cups white sugar
1 lemon, sliced thin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large stainless or enamel stock pot combine the apples, water and lemon juice.
Cover and boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times to prevent sticking. Stir in fruit pectin. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar, lemon slices and cinnamon. Return to a full boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and ladle into clean hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes for half-pints, 10 minutes for pints at altitudes up to 1000 feet.

First attempt at using Pomona Pectin (11-30-10):

6 cups sliced apples
1 cup water
6 Tbsp lemon juice
4 1/2 tsp Pomona pectin
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 lemon, sliced thin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tsp calcium water

In a large stainless or enamel stock pot combine the apples, water and lemon juice. Cover and boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times to prevent sticking. Add calcium water. Stir together sugar and pectin. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin fully. Add lemon slices and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and ladle into clean hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes for half pints, 10 minutes for pints at altitudes up to 1000 feet.

Homemade Brown Sugar

Have you ever run out of brown sugar? You can just mix up a batch rather than driving off to the store.

Homemade Brown Sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp molasses

Mix well.

That's it! You can use up to 4 Tbsp molasses for a dark brown sugar. Use just 1:1 if you have blackstrap molasses. Now, of course, neither this nor regular browns sugar is healthy. Use Rapadura, plain molasses, stevia or honey for a healthier alternative sweetener.

Meatloaf Patties

These are fairly quick to put together, and have an interesting (and good!) flavor.

Meatloaf Patties

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 slice bread OR 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 - 2/3 cup milk

scant 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2-4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup

Combine all meatloaf ingredients except ground beef. Let sit for a minute or two. Crumble in meat and mix well. Form into patties and cook as you would plain hamburgers. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a small pot. Cook over medium heat for ten minutes. Serve a spoonful or two of sauce over the meatloaf patties.

Stove Top Stuffing Clone Recipe

I'll use this instead of a box any day! Look, no chemicals! This makes the same as a 6 oz. box. Make it in bulk to have on hand as often as you want.

Stove Top Clone

1/3 cup freshly chopped celery
4-5 slices white bread
3-4 slices whole wheat bread
3 tsp chicken bouillion
2 tsp chopped dried onions
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp EACH sugar and onion powder

To prepare, you need:

1 2/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter

Mince the celery tiny and dry overnight on a sheet pan overnight, or in a very slightly warm oven. I have a dehydrator, which makes it much easier!

Press the bread together to compress it and cube it. You should have about 4 cups of bread.

Dry the bread cubes in a 250 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. You should have about 2 2/3 cups cubes after drying.

Combine the dried veggies, seasonings and bread. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To prepare the stuffing, bring the water and butter to a boil, stir in the veggie/spice mix, cover and let simmer 10 minutes. Add the bread cubes, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5-7 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Banana Split Freezer Jam

I found this recipe on Recipzaar. I haven't made it yet, but it sounds good!

Banana Split Freezer Jam
2 cups crushed strawberries (about 1 qt)
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
3/4 cup water
1 box sure-jell fruit pectin

Mix exactly 2 cups crushed strawberries and 1/2 cup mashed bananas in large bowl.
Stir in sugar and lemon juice; let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chocolate syrup; mix well.
Mix water and pectin in small saucepan.
Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
Continue boiling and stirring 1 minute.
Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and no longer grainy.
(A few sugar crystals may remain.) Fill clean plastic containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops.
Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids.
Let stand at room temperature 24 hours.
Jam is now ready to use.
Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year.
Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Skillet Meatloaf Patties

I used to make this all the time! I've adapted it with better ingredients, but for now, here is my once-favorite quick meal. I'd need to double it now.

Skillet Meatloaf Patties
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup homemade stuffing mix
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, divided (I use a homemade tomato soup instead)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, stuffing mix, onion, egg, 1/4 cup soup, and the salt; mix well. Shape into four oval patties about 1/2 inch thick.

2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and brown on both sides; drain if necessary.

3. Stir the water into the remaining soup and pour over the browned patties. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until no pink remains in the beef, stirring the sauce occasionally.

Quick Homemade Tomato Soup

Quick Homemade Tomato Soup
1/4 cup red palm oil

1 onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 28oz cans stewed tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to make smooth, if desired.

Canning Mexican Spiced Pinto Beans

See a photo tutorial for canning beans here.

Soak 5 pounds of pinto beans overnight. Rinse with clean water and cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Then proceed with the recipe(s). Yield is 14 quarts; 7 quarts of each kind.

Canned Burrito Beans
In each of seven washed, hot quart jars, add:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper, garlic powder AND sugar
1/8 tsp oregano
2 1/2 cups soaked pinto beans

Fill with hot water to 1" headspace.
Stir carefully to distribute spices. Clean rim of jar well. Cap securely with two piece lids. Process in pressure canner for 90 minutes at 10 pounds. Release pressure and carefully move the jars to a folded towel to cool. Let cool overnight.

Canned Pinto Beans
In each of seven washed, hot quart jars, add:
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp tomato sauce
1 tsp dried onion AND salt
scant 1/8 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/2 Tbsp diced green chilis
2 1/2 cup soaked pinto beans

Fill with hot water to 1" headspace. Stir carefully to distribute spices. Clean rim of jar well. Cap securely with two piece lids. Process in pressure canner for 90 minutes at 10 pounds. Release pressure and carefully move the jars to a folded towel to cool. Let cool overnight.

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

Oatmeal Pancake Mix
3 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

Grind the oats in a food processor until they're chopped fine, but not a powder. Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make pancakes:
Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk, and 1 large egg. Don't worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F. Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here). When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 2 minutes, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side, which will take about 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe adapted from King Arther All Purpose Baking Book.

Seasoned Pepper

Seasoned Pepper is a nice change when you want a little more spice than usual.
1/3 c  black peppercorns
2 Tbsp sweet pepper flakes
2 Tbsp
whole white peppercorns
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic

Process until crushed to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2/3 cup.

Sloppy Joes Seasoning Mix

Here's another time saver for those busy nights. I'll make this in bulk and use 6 Tbsp per dinner.

Sloppy Joes Seasoning Mix
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 tsp green pepper flakes
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Store in small glass jar in a cool, dry place and use within 6 months.
Makes 1 package (about 3 T) of mix.

Sloppy Joes: Brown 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease. Add 6 Tbsp seasoning mix, 1 cup water, 2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over toasted hamburger buns.

Makes 12 servings

Pumpkin Cornbread

Holiday Pumpkin Cornbread
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grease an 8-inch square baking pan or a 8 or 9-inch square or round oven safe cast iron skillet. Sprinkle bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon cornmeal; set aside.In a medium-size bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; set aside. In a medium-size bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in pumpkin, milk, oil, brown sugar, molasses, and orange zest. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

I will be doubling this and using a 9x13.

Creamy Italian Dressing

Creamy Italian Dressing
1 cup mayo
2/3 cup white vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan AND Romano cheese, finely shredded and chopped tiny (though I usually just use 1/4 cup Parmesan and it tastes just fine)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning AND Parsley
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix all together well (even in the blender if you'd like) and serve beside greens. Store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving (if you have time).

Vanilla Granola

This is a really tasty, inexpensive granola that the children and I love! Imagine it served with yogurt and berries, in the spring...YUM!

Vanilla Granola
10 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (or more) flax seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup coconut oil (use vegetable oil if you have to)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300. Lightly oil a 11x15 glass baking pan, or cookie sheets

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flax, salt and cinnamon.
In a small saucepan, combine honey, coconut oil, and white sugar. Cook over low heat until sugar has dissolved and everything is combined.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. It will bubble and foam. Pour over oat mixture and mix with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until oats are evenly coated.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Leave on counter uncovered overnight to cool. In the morning, break apart and store in an airtight container.

Applesauce Oat Muffins

Applesauce Oat Muffins
4 1/2 cups oats
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup white flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 1/4 tsp baking soda AND cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups applesauce
9 Tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
3 eggs

1 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
Blend all together and top muffins before cooking

For muffins: Preheat oven to 400. Combine all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix just until moistened. Fill paper lined muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Top with topping mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes.

Yield about 3 dozen

Quick Yellow Cake and Yummy Chocolate Frosting

My daughter Trixie requested a yellow cake for her birthday. I found this recipe on Recipezaar and tried it. It came out a bit thin but tasted very good! I might double the recipe and cook a little longer the next time.
*UPDATE* Do not double this recipe and still use 2 9" rounds. It will make a mess of your oven. Use two 9x13's instead. Ask me how I know...

Quick Yellow Cake

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350.
Mix dry ingredients in lg bowl.
Add butter, milk and vanilla.
Beat on med for 2 minutes.
Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds more.
Bake in greased 13x9 pan for 35 minutes or 2 9" rounds for 22-25 minutes or until pick comes out clean.

I paired it up with Nana's Chocolate Frosting (adapted to my ingredients).

Nana's Chocolate Frosting

5 ounces chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter
1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine chocolate and butter in large saucepan.
Cook over low heat until melted; stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; cool.
Sift sugar; add to chocolate alternately with milk and vanilla.
Beat at high speed until of spreading consistency.

Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cookies

I found this recipe at Rose's Recipes: http://reinsrecipes.blogspot.com/ Her site is a goldmine of great food! This is adapted to our tastes and doubled to make enough for our family.

Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cookies

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce (generous)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cup grated carrots
2 cup oats
2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, mix together oil, applesauce, sugar, egg, vanilla and spices.
Stir in flour mixture. Once no streaks of flour remain, stir in carrots, oats and raisins.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are set and lightly browned on the edges. Cool for 3 or 4 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Homemade Baking Powder

Baking powder is essential for homemade biscuits and other goodies. Store bought often has aluminum and other unpronounceable things in it. Just make your own instead!

Homemade Baking Powder
3 Tbsp cream of tarter
4 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Mix well.

You can scale the recipe back to make just a bit, too. Adjust it to make whatever amount you want, but it works best fresh, so don't make too much!

1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cornstarch

Homemade Corn Syrup

Homemade Corn Syrup
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to a simmer and cover for 3 minutes. remove cover and cook, stirring constantly until it reaches the soft ball stage (230-240 degrees) or until it's thick and reduced. Cool completely and store in a glass jar in a cool place. It will store for about two months. Yield is 1 1/2 cups.

All Purpose Cleaner

All Purpose Cleaner
1 teaspoon borax
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 tsp washing soda
1/2 tsp Dawn
2 cups hot water

Mix together.

Dehydrated Tomatoes

I haven't tried this yet, but hope to with garden bounty this summer.

To Dehydrate Tomatoes:
Slice tomatoes into ¼" slices. Place on dehydrator and dry until crisp. Place dried tomato slices into blender, herb, or coffee grinder and blend until a fine powder. Use powder in a variety of dishes from soups to meatloaf.


To 1 cup of dried tomato powder, add the following....

Tomato Paste:
1¾ cup water and ½ tsp. sugar.

Tomato Sauce:
3 cups water and ½ tsp. sugar.

Tomato Juice:
3-5 cups water or to desired thickness.
Salt, pepper, to taste.

Tomato Soup:
¾ cup water, ½ cup dry milk.
Season to taste.

Cowboy Coffee Cake

My children love when I make this recipe!

Cowboy Coffee Cake
2 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat pastry flour works fine!)
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter

Cut butter in till mixture resembles small crumbs. then add:
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp EACH cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Mix well. Spoon into a buttered 9x13. Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

I've topped this with my favorite muffin topping before, too. It's a sweet breakfast, but good to have once in a while.

Optional Topping:
1 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
Blend all together and top cake before cooking

Simple Strawberry Jam

From Recipezaar.

40 min | 15 min prep

6 pint jars (approximately)

* 3 lbs fresh strawberries, washed and hulled (about 9 cups)
* 4 cups sugar
* 1/3 cup lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)

* In a large saucepan, bring strawberries up to a simmer over medium-low heat, mashing roughly with a potato masher or flat spoon. Add sugar and lemon juice, stir, and bring up to a simmer for 2 minutes. Add butter and bring to a vigorous boil, stirring often and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, periodically measuring the viscosity of the jam by dabbing a spoonful onto a plate and tipping the plate. Once the jam slows its drip down the plate (it should no longer run like a syrup), remove from heat and skim off foam.
* Fill jars that have been washed, rinsed, dried and boiled in a pot of water for 3 minutes to ¼ -inch from the top. Fasten lids securely and boil jars in a vat of water (be sure jars are completely submerged) for 15 minutes. Remove jars with tongs and let cool upright. Check for secure seals on jars (lid should not spring when touched) and store in a cool place away from light for up to a year.
* Any jars that do not achieve a proper seal should be refrigerated.

Bread and Butter Pickles

From Recipezaar.

50 min | 30 min prep

3 quarts

* 15 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
* 3 onions, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup coarse salt
* 4 cups cracked ice
* 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
* 2 1/2 cups sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
* 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

* Combine cucumbers, onions, salt and ice in a large bowl.
* Mix well.
* Put a weight on and allow to stand 3 hours. (For a weight, I use a plate with a gallon bottle of vinegar or water on top of it).
* Drain thoroughly.
* Combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed in a large pot.
* Add drained cucumbers.
* Place pot on medium low heat.
* Bring almost to a boil, but DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
* Remove from heat.
* Seal in sterilized jars, 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
* Easy way to sterilize jars: Wash them well in hot soapy water.
* Dry them off.
* Put on a cookie sheet, right side up, at 225°F for 15 minutes.
* Turn off oven and leave them in there until you need them.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

This is a great tasting sauce that is wonderful in many other recipes.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Saute garlic in saucepan in the olive oil. Stir in remaining ingredients. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. store in fridge for up to a week.

Makes about 5 1/2 cups sauce.

I have also used the same weight of tomato sauce rather than the puree and crushed tomatoes.