November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

  We had a wonderful day!
My mom & dad joined us
in celebrating
Thanksgiving this year.

Following in my grandfather's tradition...
I pulled out my camera
and took table shots!
I miss him...
and I still laugh
when I think of his antics 
over taking pictures!

Thankfully, cameras have
come along way!
We watched them change over the years...
from the old Polaroids, 110, 124,
the ones with the flash bulb that had to be
changed with each picture, the flash cubes,
flip flash, 35 mm and now finally
the digital cameras! He would
have LOVED the digital camera for sure!!

I hope you made some fond
memories during your


Mom's Breakfast Sausage Recipe!! DELICIOUS!

We got the unsmoked portion of our pork back
from the  butcher last week!
                                So far, we've tried the pork chops & ground pork!                                
  Here's my mom's recipe for breakfast sausage!
It is beyond wonderful!
Using 1 pound of ground pork add:
1 tsp. salt
2/3 tsp. ground sage (I add a little more)
dash of thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper  (I omit this and add at the table)
dash savory   (summer savory)
(did you know there is both summer & winter savory?)
Mix by hand or spoon then form patties and cook!
I add a little water to the pan so it won't stick
and to cook out some of the extra fat.

You can also use this recipe with ground turkey
or chicken and probably with any ground meat!


I won't be buying sweet sausage all prepared anymore!
I'll share that next time I make it.
It was VERY good as a pizza topping!

November 24, 2010

Prepping For Gravy!!

I've decided to re post this one!! This method makes an incredible gravy!! I looked it up to re-read myself and thought that if you read my blog, perhaps you'd like to read it again too! :) I'm preparing for my Thanksgiving meal today and have decided to make up some browned flour to have on hand in a canning jar! Sounded like a great idea to me! Have a blessed day everyone!

One thing that I'm really excited about.....
is that I've FINALLY learned how to make an AWESOME gravy after all these years! :) I hope that wasn't a huge let down and I know some of you are laughing at me right now, that's ok! You won't be laughing after I explain how I did it!! :)
First I've been having fun looking through a few 'recipe' websites and I happened to stumble onto this gravy recipe. The blog owner (Food In Jars) explained that her father liked to make sure he had enough gravy to last through the ENTIRE turkey leftovers. Well, that intrigued me right away so I watched their video... and viola!

I actually made it this way tonight for a pot roast! Pete was wondering what I was doing.... cooking flour in a pan all by itself! Hmmmm, I told him I was trying an experiment and if it worked, he'd LOVE IT! :) Well it did... and he did... we ALL did... (do you know how hard that feat is in a family of 6!) OK, here goes.....

Start with a cup or two of white flour in a dry pan over medium heat. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon while the heat is on medium.... it doesn't take too long!!
In a short time it is nice and browned! It does have a funny smell while it's cooking, so be sure to continue stirring so it doesn't burn! The shades of flour turn from white to light tan to a darker tan. It is recommended that you let the flour cool, then sift out the larger chunks of flour so the gravy won't be lumpy.
Now is the time to add the juices from your meat! Heat and stir with a whisk until it thickens! (You can also use a canned broth with great results.)

A perfect gravy!! Try it... I bet you'll love it too!

November 18, 2010

Christmas List Planner

My friend Anne told me of a great idea she was working on and
shared a website that hosted the "how to's" of this
creative little idea!  I took the main concept
and switched it up (or down) just a bit
to fit my own needs and style!

 Here is my completed project, complete with a
ribbon to hold it together!
I tri-folded a piece of cardstock paper and
stamped the outside cover.
Inside: I cut some designed paper to use as dividers
as well as some notebook paper.
Behind the first divider I have 8-9 pieces of paper
to use for notes of who I need to buy or make
gifts for... 
I'll also list ideas and the stores to
visit to make purchases!
I decorated & tucked in the envelope flap and
will use this to hold receipts (all in one place!).
Behind the other divider is note paper for lists of
"Christmas Ingredients",
the food that we have during the Christmas holiday season
and what I'll need to buy to prepare it.
And another envelope for coupons!
I'm sure there are LOTS of things that you can add
to make this work for you. You can decorate
with stickers instead of stamps. You can
change colors, add doilies 
or even buttons to decorate.
Next time, I think I'll adhere a page with
the calender on it to the inside cover!
Bottom line... it was fun
and I only used what I had in the house already!
NOW...  it is in my handbag ready to be used!

Check out Simple Lives Thursday hosted
at Sustainable Eats for more ideas to
simplify your life!

What are you using to keep yourself organized for
the wonders of the Christmas season?

November 16, 2010

I Tried a New Cornbread Recipe....

I tried a new cornbread recipe last night...  it came out very moist and tasty! I went online to find a different recipe then the one I've used over and over to see if I could make any improvements! This one had lots of rave reviews so I gave it a try! Pete LOVED it ... it was moist, it held together and it was tasty!!

West Tennessee Corn Bread

1 Egg
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup buttermilk
1 TBsp. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 Cup cornmeal
1/4 Cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Mix the wet ingredients until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Grease (or spray) a 6" skillet or round baking dish, dust with cornmeal. Add batter and bake at 425* for 18-20 minutes. 

NOTE: I doubled the recipe and baked in a 9X9 baking dish... I often use a cast iron skillet though!

November 15, 2010

November Can Jam.... Apple Cider Jelly

Apples, pears, quince oh my! These are the choices for November's can jam...  and lovely they are! Years back I would go apple picking, make up a dozen pies for the freezer (keeping the peelings & cores of course), make a bunch of applesauce and then use all the peelings & cores to make my apple jelly! This process sure did produce some amazing jellies and crab apples make even yummier jelly... if that is possible!

A few years ago a friend gave me her recipe for apple cider jelly. I tried it and I have NEVER looked back! This recipe is scrumptious! I've tried it as written and also without the cinnamon candies! Either way, this jelly is a hit! AND BELIEVE ME... this 'short cut' from peeling, boiling down, and hanging the apple peels to get the juice... before I even got started making jelly was very welcomed!! THANKS NADINE! :)

Apple Cider Jelly

1 quart Apple Cider
1/3 cup cinnamon candies (2 oz. container cake decorating candies)
1 Box Sure-Jell pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar

Bring the cider, pectin & candies to a full boil, melting the candies.
Add the sugar and stir well. Bring back to a full boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Carefully put into jelly jars and seal with lids & rings. Waterbath for 10 minutes.

Two separate batches... one with the cinnamon candies and one without!

Approximately 8 jars per batch!

November 12, 2010


Kale is a new to me vegetable over the past couple of years! I had a kale soup at a friend's house and REALLY liked it! After coming home I came up with my own version of Kale Soup and posted it here. I have done some research on the nutrients found in kale... VERY IMPRESSIVE INDEED!

Now, I'm working on my kale patch from the garden... YIKES it just grows and grows and GROWS!!

I've frozen some and now I'm working on dehydrating some too!! A friend of mine told me that she does this, so I thought I'd try it too! IT IS SUPER EASY!!

Pick, rinse well, tear or cut the leaves off the spine and put them on the dehydrator racks...  turn the machine on and roughly 4 hours later...   we have dried leaves!!

I took one batch, put them into a zip lock bag and crunched the leaves down to more of a powder. I think this will be a fun way of adding kale to spaghetti sauces and other soups etc. for a little bit more of a nutritious boost or if I ever get around to figuring out how to make my own pasta... I can see adding some kale powder to that too! :)

The rest of the dried kale leaves I've put into a large plastic container for storage! This will be used for kale soup or other soups where I want to have the leafy textures added in!! I've also read that you can bake the leaves spread out on a baking sheet sprinkled with a little olive oil and seasoned salt for kale chips!
I've shared this on Simple Lives Thursday hosted by Sustainable Eats! Check out this site for more recipes, tips and ways others have found to make their lives simpler! There are some very creative people out there!

November 3, 2010

My Mom's Bread Recipe....

When I was young, my mom baked her own bread. I'm not sure if it was due to the economic times or because she liked to make our family's weekly bread. She would double this recipe and make 10 loaves a week! I remember seeing the dough rising in the line of bread pans hidden under the linen towels.  I also remember getting into trouble for 'pinching' pieces of dough to taste as it rose therefore causing it them to fall! I have such fond memories of bread baking....

Here is her recipe and commentary as it is written in my recipe collection:

Some folks think that making bread is a big job, but I am going to prove to you that is is not so. The only utensils you need are a saucepan, a large bowl, a spoon for mixing, measuring cups & spoons and five bread pans. Plan to make bread on a day when you will be home for most of the time since the process will take 5 to 6 hours.

In the morning, put 1 quart of milk in a sauce pan (4 C). (Regular, fresh or instant milk may be used). Add 1/2 cup shortening or vegetable oil. Heat until the shortening is melted and steams. In your large mixing bowl, put 1/2 cup of sugar and 3 tsp. of salt. Pour the hot milk over this, stir and then set it aside to cool down.  Now put 2/3 cut of warm water in a cup (not too hot, not too cool) add 2 pkg. of yeast or 2 TBsp of yeast and stir until dissolved.  When the milk is also lukewarm mix the yeast/water into it. Add 11 cups of flour. Measure & add it as you take it out of the bag. Sifting is not necessary. 

When the dough is well mixed, turn it onto a well floured table or flour board. (wash the large bowl and either spray it with some baking spray or apply a think layer of shortening). Knead the dough using enough flour to prevent it from sticking. Put this firm but soft ball of dough into the greased bowl to rise. Cover it with a linen towel and set the bowl in a warm place.                                                             When the dough has doubled in bulk, cut it down. Using a knife, cut through and through to release the air and then knead it with your hands and place back in the bowl to rise. Repeat this process again and a third time if you want. This will allow the bread to have a finer grain. After the second or third rising, knead the dough again using very little added flour. Cut into 5 pieces and shape into loaves. Put the dough into 5 greased bread pans, cover and allow the dough to rise for up to an hour.

Bake at 325* for 50 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool on baking racks. By the time you have washed the bowl, pan, spoons and knife, you have spent about 25-30 minutes of actual work (not including the rising & baking time) for five loaves of delicious bread!!

Since this bread takes readily to freezing, put some away for future use or better yet... share some with a friend!

You can make bread bowls or dinner rolls but remember the baking time will be shorter!
You can also use a combination of white and wheat flour. I've used 7 cups white and 4 cups wheat with a wonderful outcome! Good luck and have fun baking bread!!