Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

To all of my Gentle Readers and Friends, you make my life richer and I wish you the best at this sacred time of year.  God bless you all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homemade rag rugs for our new house!

I've never made rugs before.  Our trailer house is going to have all vinyl flooring (my choice - I hate taking care of carpets) so I knew I'd want some throw rugs.  Nice ones are hard to find, I found.  :)  I have a small rigid heddle loom and although those are not designed to weave rugs, I knew I could do it if I would just beat in the weft carefully by hand.  So, with my husband's help, I warped the loom with the kind of cotton string that is used for rugs, bought some sheets at the thrift store and started to work.  Here they are.  After they were completed, I ran them through the washer and then hung them to dry, so you are only looking at half of each one.

Here are the three rugs.


They are a bit rough looking (I am a beginner) but I do like them and I think they will be very nice in our humble home. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yummy Cranberry Relish !

My sister made this wonderful cranberry relish.  I am going to be roasting a turkey that I bought at a very low price recently, so I made some of this relish today.  She uses 3/4 cup of sugar, and that seems like a lot, although it was awfully good, so I decided to play around with the amount.  Now, if you make this, add your sugar gradually and taste the relish, because some oranges are sweeter than others, and of course, your preference may be much different than mine.

Cranberry Relish

1 whole orange, including skin, but not the seeds, cut into 12 pieces.
1 bag of fresh cranberries

Process all of this in a food processor.
Begin adding sugar and stirring well, tasting as you go.

I ended up using 1/2 cup of sugar.

This is really good on it's own, and also nice in a jello salad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Low Sugar Apple Pie :)





See that?  It's actually a Healthy Homemade Apple pie and quite delicious.  You will be pleasantly surprised!  I had several apples past their prime and wanted to use them, so I made one of these yesterday.  We really like it.

Low Sugar Apple Pie Filling

7 cups of apples, washed, cored, and sliced thinly (I leave the peelings on, but you don't have to.)
1 Tablespoon quick tapioca OR 3 Tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

Instructions

1. Stir all of the above ingredients together thoroughly.
2.  Pour into a pie plate lined with a pie crust (refer to recipe in my last post, only this time, I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup unbleached.)
3. Cut 3 vents in the top crust and put it on top of the pie and flute the edges.  Protect edges of pie crust with strips of foil.
4.  Bake in pre-heated 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Then, insert a small sharp knife into one of the vent holes and check to see if the apples are done.  They need to be Very Tender.  It could take up to 90 minutes altogether.
5.  Cool before serving.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Salmon Pot Pie !


INGREDIENTS

2 unbaked pie crusts (recipe below)
2/3 cup brown rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 small can mushrooms, drained
1 Tablespoon butter
1.5 cups homemade stock or broth
3 Tablespoons corn starch
14.5 ounce canned Salmon, drained
1 cup shredded cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring water to boil in small saucepan.  Add rice and salt.  Cover, simmer for 45 minutes.  Be sure to watch water level.  Don't let it run completely dry.

2. Preheat oven to 450 F.

3. Put one of the crusts in a 9 inch pie pan.

4. Sautee sliced onions in butter until soft, and then add the drained mushrooms and cook a little longer.

5. Mix corn starch into broth or stock, stirring, bring to a boil and simmer until thick.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Taste and see if it needs more salt.

6. Mix the thickened broth with the rice and put half of it in the bottom crust.

7.  Drain and mash the canned salmon.  Spread that in the pie now.

8. Spread the onions and mushrooms next.

9.  Pour in the rest of the rice mixture and spread that around.

10.  Sprinkle on the cheese.

11.  Add the top crust.  Trim.  Flute the edges.  Protect edges with foil or one of THESE.

12.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 F. and bake for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven.

13.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes, slice and serve!

This is very very good.  :)

How I made the crust -

In the bowl of a food processor, with the metal blade, put:

2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter, cut in chuncks

Process that until the butter is cut in little pieces, then -

Turn on the processor and begin slowly adding COLD milk, a little at a time, until the dough is soft, but not sticky.

That's it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some small things I'm learning...

In preparation for moving into our new, smaller, home, we've been getting rid of a LOT of things.  As I mentioned earlier, it is embarrassing how much I had accumulated in the 20 years we've been in this house.

I used to have a enough Corelle dishes to serve 12 people.  I've paired it down to enough for 4 people plus a platter and 2 vegetable bowls:

Not all of them match, which I don't care about at all.  I also have some china that belonged to my mother.  A lot of the set broke long ago, as she really used them when we were growing up, but I love them and when we have company and need more plates and things, that's what I'll fall back on.  The Corelle is what I'm using right now in the kitchen.

How can I explain this?  ....   Since I have fewer dishes, the kitchen stays cleaner, as I can't afford to not wash the dishes after a meal.  There is not nearly so much to wash.  It's really nice! Here are dishes from one meal:
The other thing I want to show you is that I traded our HUGE microwave oven to our daughter for her small one when they moved out of our home a few weeks ago.  I needed a smaller one for our new house.  It's nothing fancy, but it is all we need!
...and it's much quicker to clean a small one that the big one.  I hadn't even thought of that.  The marks on the front are rust under the glass, not ickies from cooking.  Here is the inside with a pint jar in it so you can see the size better:
I've really fallen in love with having a tidier, streamlined kitchen.  It will be interesting (for me) to see how I put it all together when we move.

Another thing along these lines... you know how on the cooking shows they "prep" all the food ingredients and put them in little bowls and then assemble the dish?  I've started doing that, and it makes it even easier to keep the kitchen clean.  As I measure out things, then I can put things away.  If I have to cook some of the ingredients first, before assembly, then it is a quick matter to wash up the pans, bowls, utensils, or whatever I used in the preparation.  So, by the time I have it all together, nearly all the dishes are done and so after a meal the clean up is faster and much easier.  Does that make sense?

By the way, if any of you Gentle Readers have any suggestions for me concerning how to manage in a tiny kitchen, please feel free to comment and share them with me!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Spaghetti Squash!

Many of you, I am sure, are at least aware that there is a winter squash called "spaghetti squash."  It gets this interesting name because when it is cooked, you can remove the flesh of the squash with a fork and it looks a lot like spaghetti.  Being a winter squash, it keeps well on the kitchen counter.  Most groceries in the USA carry it throughout the winter.  The price can vary, but it is a wonderful meal if you like it... which I do... Very Much.  By the way, it is also easy to grow in your own garden.
The flavor is very mild and slightly sweet.  It really doesn't taste anything like spaghetti, but it has somewhat the same texture and appearance.  I like to eat it with some butter and grated cheese, and also, instead of cooking pasta (which isn't really a healthy choice - too highly processed) I use it topped with my own homemade marinara sauce.

To cook a spaghetti squash, cover it with water in a pot, bring it to a boil and simmer until a knife inserted goes in easily, once you get past the tough skin.  Then, drain the squash, and let it cool for a while.  That way you won't get burned when you are preparing it for the table.

Next, cut it in half, long-ways, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and then a fork to shred the flesh of the squash.
That's it!  Once it is ready, you can serve it immediately or refrigerate it and re-heat later.  If you want to add it to soup, just put it in when you are serving the soup, so it won't cook to mush.

If you are a lover of vegetables, give spaghetti squash a try!





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