Thursday, September 29, 2011

When is it okay to kill a baby?

Here is a MUST watch video that is well worth your time. No matter what your views on abortion are- you should watch. Please be advised that there are a few graphic scenes and so be careful if you have little eyes wanting to watch with you.

Watch, share, and then tell me what you think.

180 Movie

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Going bananas for apples

I realize I haven't blogged in forever. Summer found mejuggling outside time with my children and trying to keep the house together inside- amongst all the other crazy smmer activities. Now fall is so close you can smell it! Especially since the intense heat wave hs finaly been broken! Praise the Lord for the seasons!
*Now that I'm ready to get back in the swing of things...I can't find the charger for my these are raw, unedited pictures from my camera*

So once again I foraged the local abandoned outlet mal for apples. This year instead of just swiping them, I called and got permission. The guy said to 'knock myself out' and so I did. With the help of my sister I think we gathered close to 50 lbs all together and I'm going to make another run before the season is over.

So that night I whipped up an apple pie- delicious. (Picture to come later)
The recipe: is here. I did add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla. I used Alton Brown's pie crust recipe. So good. My husband doesn't really like apple pie but he loved this. Enough said.
The next day I filled a  6 quart crockpot with sliced (not peeled) apples. A good bit of cinnamon and some lemon juice and a banana to help with the tartness (though I think it would have been better without). Let it go till it was real soft, about 4 hrs on low. Then I did a quick run through it with my immersion blender. Done! Applesauce!

Then today I filled a 4 quart (3-4 lbs) with sliced apples- not peeled. I used 1/4 t ground cloves, 2t cinnamon, dash of salt, 1T red hot candies, juice of one half of a large lemon, 1/4 c of water, 1/2 c brown sugar, 3/4 c white sugar. I set the crock pot on low and let it go. I stirred it maybe once an hour. Then when nice and mushy I put it in the blender and pureed it. Voila! Who knew something so delish could be so easy?!
Dive into the fall the right way: with a piece of homemade bread smothered in homemade apple butter!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I LOVE warm weather. I LOVE naturally being able to cook outside and enjoy the warmth... I love to grill.  I'm learning how to grill bone in chicken, but I'm not that great at it's my nemesis. However, I still get out there and cook up brats, hot dogs, chicken breast but my favorite grilling is grilled pizza.  I enjoy pizza and so grilled pizza is only better..
And before I start I wanted to mention yeast.  I used to get a little aprehensive about using yeast because I was afraid of not doing it right and because it's kind of expensive. But I have solved both problems. I have a cheap coffee thermometer I pick up at Starbuck's on clearance. I just stick in the water/milk before I add the yeast. Then I discovered that they sell yeast in bulk at the health food stores. I don't buy anymore than I used to and pay a fourth of the price. For $ 1.13I can have the same amount that I would pay $4.50+ for at Walmart.I just kept the jars from the last time I bought it and refill it with my cheap yeast. 

I start with the sauce...and I should follow a recipe but...I don't. I found some yummy fire roasted tomatoes by Mur Glen Organics and thought how great would those be for grilled pizza! So I used my immersion blender and pureed them up a bit and threw in some italian season, honey, parsley, basil, pepper, and sea salt.

I was looking for a dough recipe that was closer to Pizza Hut's (my husband could live on their Pan Pizza). I had also been looking for recipes that I could use evaporated milk (my sister gave me some cans). I found out that you can use evaporated milk in almost any baking recipe and simply put half evaporated milk and half water to make up whatever your amount of milk that is called for.   So I came across two similar recipes and joined the two ideas.

Here is the first recipe I found, it is for Pizza Hut Pan Pizza.  I like it but it needs more salt. I have never tried the sauce recipe.  The other recipe I found is for Artisan Pizza Crust. The biggest difference in this recipe is that it allows for a 24 hour "fermentation," like a sour dough, and that is calls for milk.  I like the idea of allowing the dough to sit for a while but do to procrastination and indecision, I haven't tried that yet.  But I was looking around and found an interesting little entry that affirmed that fermenting is a great way to get a better crust. So here's the combined recipe that I DO use:

2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 of those little packages is the same amount)
1 Tbl sugar
1 1/4 c milk
1 Tbl salt
3-3 1/2 c flour
2 Tbl

So I warmed the milk on the stove up to 110-120. 

Add to oil and sugar and salt.

Making sure that the milk is not above the 120, I add it to 1 cup flour and the yeast. 

Add in flour until it is nicely incorporated and smooth. Here you can either turn out your dough and kneed or if your mixer is up to it you can also just let your mixer keep going for a few minutes (make sure you're using your hook!). (All of this is VERY doable by hand as well.)
Then just cover it with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 20 min or 24 hours. OR you can use it right away or stick it in the fridge for later!

Pizza is great for entertaining because you can make it ahead of time. Grilled pizza is only better because you can make your dough ahead of time, get it rolled out and stacked and prep your toppings and then everyone can build their own personal pizzas and it's so very fast.
This recipe I divide into 8 pizzas.  I rolled them out pretty thin, about 1/4 in or so. This recipe easily feeds 6 or more adults. I stack the discs with some flour is in between each one.

So I get all my prep together, cheese, sauce(s), toppings, and a small custard cup with olive oil and a brush and metal spatula.

Make sure grill is hot before you start.
I brush the dough before it goes on and then the other side after I put it on.  The dough is easier to work with if it was refrigerated after rolled into the discs. These got a little warm and the one on the right got stretched a little to much when I was pulling it off the stack.

I put my fire at a medium low. 2-4 minutes on each side

These pizzas I made pepperoni and tomato sauce as well as some buffalo chicken with ranch sauce. 

After turrned once I throw the toppings on.

If I have problems getting the cheese to melt I close the lid for a min. If I'm afraid of the crust burning I throw it on the top rack and close the lid.

A big crowd pleaser!

What's your favorite toppings for pizza?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shop when you don't feel good

And I'm not talking about retail therapy...though how much fun is that!? 
As I mentioned in my previous post, I haven't been feeling so great, but I'm a mom and things must be done. Like grocery shopping.  And after doing shopping while not feeling good, I have decided that is the best time to do so.  For me anyways, I'm more prone to get better foods and less to none junk food when I'm feeling so great.  
For the first time I decided to wash them off all at once, except for a few things (like strawberries of course).  I dumped them all into a hot bath of soapy water.  This saves me time and money. If you're good with using vinegar than I think a cold vinegar bath would be great! 

I scrubbed them all off and put them in the fruit basket and was done jiffy fast!

Of course, just because I don't feel well still doesn't mean that the rest of my family is having the same convictions about their diet. So I was off to try a cookie I've been waiting and waiting to try.  Now before you see the results you need to know something about me. I have a serious problem with following instructions.  I have to change almost every recipe in some way...even before I've tried it. Most of the time it's my frugality that causes this...and that was somewhat the case here.


16 squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)
Turn this recipe into a puzzle! [click] 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coarsely chop 8 squares (1 package) of the chocolate; set aside. Microwave emaining 8 squares chocolate in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Stir in sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in flour and baking powder. Stir in reserved chopped chocolate and nuts. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely

I had chocolate chips, but not Baker's Chocolate. So I used the chocolate chips, and guestimated on the measurements.  I also added a sprinkle of instant coffee and a pinch of salt (I don't like to make anything chocolate without a pinch of salt and coffee with it). 

They were pretty wet and gooey.

This pan was second in and flattened out way more.

This was the first pan in and was a little better. 
Either way they were pretty delicious. I have another chocolate, chocolate chip cookie recipe that I like a lot. I did appreciate the glossy outside. Made for the perfect crispy and crunchy cookie.

Sunday morning we made mini Donut Muffins.


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 mini-muffin cups.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then mix in the baking powder and flour until just combined. Fill the prepared mini muffin cups about half full.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops are lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While muffins are baking, place 1/4 cup of melted margarine in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Remove muffins from their cups, dip each muffin in the melted margarine, and roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Let cool and serve.

After reading the reviews I doubled the recipe except for the nutmeg.  The nutmeg I cut in half (doubled the recipe but kept the nutmeg a single measurement) though I think it could have used even half of that.

It was so quick to mix and mine baked in 8 min.  I had a little left over and so put just a little into regular sized muffin tins and make "muffin tops" with them.

Joy really enjoyed helping dip them into melted butter and then into the  cinnamon and sugar. I like recipes that the kids can join into too!

They were pretty good.

Now for me, I fasted yesterday in attempts to start feeling a little better. I didn't have any solids until about 3 in the afternoon. I had been talking with a good friend of mine, who also happens to be connected with my friends at Health for Life and Meg , who I've mentioned before, and my friend had a great method of making a flax seed crackers and I decided to try that out. 
Flax is great because it offers a good fat as well as good fiber.

Approximately I mixed:
1/4 c milled flax seed
2 T freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t salt
2 t dried parsley (fresh would be great if you have it)
1 T or less of water to bind

Pressed them into little balls, covered with wax paper and rolled out paper thin on my baking mat.
I put them under the broiler for 5 or more minutes. I took them out and let them cook a min and then turned them over and put them back in for 2-3 more minutes. I really like crispy things.

These were surprisingly good! I am looking forward to my friend, Emily's idea of a big of cinnamon (or spices of that sort) and sugar and having them with my yogurt. What a yummy way to have some nutrition.
Speaking of yummy nutrition...
the green smoothie photos that didn't make it yesterday...I took some today.

The kids love them!
*and yes, that's a gas station cup. They work so well for our smoothies I like to save them for just that.   Makes for a much cleaner eating.

Here's to a better body on a budget! =D

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tea and Coffee

Our weekend started off early with the Royals Home Opener on Thursday. We celebrated at home of course.

This weekend was windy but warm and beautiful. I wasn't feeling super but the sun was so very motivating and healing in it's own way.  Because I wasn't feeling so well I talked with some friends and decided that after over a month of contemplating...I would try my hand at a green smoothie.
I put:
8 fresh strawberries
4 baby carrots
1 orange
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 C plain organic yogurt with cream top =)
3 T flax seed
1 T local honey
Handful of fresh, organic, baby Spinach

I would normally put in a banana but they weren't ripe yet.  This was pretty good but the lemon made it way tart. The banana made all the difference in the world. I look forward to trying this more down the road and I can't wait to try it with fresh mint leaves! Thanks, Frontyard  Foodie, once again.

After a short stint of returning cold weather, that reminds us that we live in the Midwest jet stream and that it is Spring, and not yet summer, the warmth was so welcome. I hurried to get my sun tea out and decided to try my hand at cold-brew coffee.

For my sun tea I fill up a glass jar (I got this from Wal-Mart for $4) with water and throw in about 8 servings of black tea bags.  I set it in the sun and it's ready in a few hours! I love this because you don't use any electricity, it doesn't warm your house in the slightest (perfect for summer), and you don't really have to worry about over steeping or it becoming bitter.  When finished I just throw in 1/2 C of sugar (my Sugar likes his sugar!) and put it in the fridge or into a serving pitcher.

I sliced up a lemon and threw in half of the slices.

The Cold-brew coffee.
I followed the process that I found in a Food and Wine magazine for Vietnamese-style iced coffee. The article is here.
The process takes 24 hrs to complete but there is so little to it. 23 hrs and 55 mins is wait time.
Get your cold water...I don't know why but I felt the need to use ice.

Ground your coffee and mix with water.

Cover and wait 23 hrs and 55mins. Approximately.

Strain/Press coffee grounds out. My french press worked well.

And if you're wondering if that is a pasta sauce jar, you'd be correct. To my husbands dismay. But hey, it saves him money!

Then they have a recipe that called for sweetened condensed milk and milk...I did not have that, and I'm sure it would have been delicious.  But I used a flavored creamer and water.  
6oz coffee concentrate
8oz (1 cup) water
1-2T flavored coffee creamer 
served over ice (of course).

Results: Great! This was so easy and is definitely worth a shot. Especially since the magazines says "Coffee snobs prefer cold-brewing." That alone should make you try this out this summer!

Also something new I have started, that also takes some wait time (but a LOT longer) is making my own vanilla.  In the Valentines Day (or February) edition of Martha Stewarts Living she had a small article on making your own vanilla extract.  It is shamefully easy. Shamefully in that we should all be making our own!
You need:
Vanilla Beans

Now a friend had given me some of her homemade vanilla and I knew I was going to have to make some, but I knew that mine would not be ready before I finished hers off. So I decided to buy the Vanilla flavored Vodka and get a head start on the flavor so that I could use it as it becomes more and more developed.  My friend also gave me a bag of vanilla beans (she's a wonderful friend huh!?) and my vodka cost me $6. So I have 750 ml of vanilla extract for $6. You can't beat that. Of course, because I got the flavored stuff, I can't call it "pure" but its good enough for me.
I simply sliced open the vanilla bean pods and scraped/loosened the tiny vanilla beans and put the pods and beans in the bottle. As the article says, you can continue to add pods that you may have leftover from any recipe that calls for vanilla beans.  
The recipe called for at least one vanilla bean per 1/2 cup of vodka. So I put about 8 in to start my bottle. Then you wait 280 days. Or, if you're unable to wait you can try my cheating method.

Here is the deepening color only two weeks in.  And it smells wonderful.