It’s That Easy

I am amazed at how expensive granola is in the store! Did you know that granola is super easy and cheaper than the stuff in the store?  We eat so much of it that I keep it in a pretty container on the counter. So here it is….. ENJOY!

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Peanut Butter Granola

1/2 cup of vegetable oil or coconut oil ( I use coconut oil)

1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 to 3/4  cup honey or real maple syrup ( sometimes I mix the two)

1 tsp vanilla

3 to 4 cups of whole oats

Mix the wet ingredients in a large pot on the stove. When it is all melted together take it off the heat and add your oats. If you like your granola clumpy add less oats.

Spread it on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 300 degress for 30 to 40 minutes or untill it is golden brown. Stir it every 15 minutes. Cool and pour into a container.

We keep our granola simple but sometimes I like to throw in some shedded coconut, raisens, and toasted pecans. Add whatever you like or whatever you have on hand. You can do that step halfway through baking it. If you do it at the begining the raisens have a tendency to harden.

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This recipe is a rough estimate of how much ingredients I use. I literaly just dump in the ingredients. I do not measure very often and that is something Brook just doesn’t understand. When you are in the kitchen all the time you learn to eyeball it, plus it makes for less clean-up!

 

 

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Thrifting

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I am so excited about my thrifting finds! The vintage cowboy boots are my favorite. Oh, the red leather and that purple stitching! What more could a girl ask for? I also found a pair for Gracie too. She was just saying how she needed a new pair because her other ones are too small. I also found a little leather bag for when mama goes out, some vintage pins to re-purpose, and a sewing/knitting basket that I will use to store my sewing patterns.

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I almost passed on the southwest blanket but soon realized how much I would regret it when I eventually get my vintage camper or VW bus one day!

Do It For Cheese

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love cheese. When I was young and in sports, a family friend (you know who you are) would yell “do it for cheese!” So it is no surprise that I had to learn to make it myself. My husband bought me Ricki Carroll’s book, Home Cheese Making. If you visit her website, www.cheesemaking.com you will be able to find anything you need for cheese making. Last summer I purchased a 30 minute mozzarella kit, hard cheese making kit, and blue prints for a cheese press. Brook made me the cheese press but I did not have luck with the hard cheeses. I am not giving up on the hard cheeses yet, but at this point in my life, thirty minutes is all I have and I can make some yummy mozzarella. It may not look so pretty but when it is sliced with some tomatoes and basil, no one will care about the looks. The whole process sounds hard, but if you can follow a recipe you will be able to make it too. The kit is great because it gives you all your ingredients, tools, and instructions for several batches of cheese. The book has all the same recipes but it gives an overview of the ingredients and the kinds of milks to use. I like to use raw milk from a farmer down the road.

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Bringing the milk to the correct tempurature.

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Letting the milk rest after adding the rennet.

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Curds and whey

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After you stir it for about five minutes the cheese starts to form.

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The finished product after pouring off the whey and working the cheese for a few minutes. It doesn’t look pretty but it tastes good. It truly does only take about 30 minutes. It is amazing that this is all the cheese you get from a gallon of milk. It doesn’t last long in this house!

 

Bountiful Harvest

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 It seems like all the beautiful vegetables from our garden are ripening at the same time this year. That makes for a crazy mama around this house. Over the weekend Brook and I opted to keep our date night at home working in the garden. We dug the potatoes and the last of the carrots. Brook tilled the soil for the fall planting while I prepped the carrots for freezing.

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We felt like we got a lot accomplished and we hope to get the fall plants in this week. We like to plant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and turnips. Grace and I planted two rows of sunflowers yesterday. Oh, how I love sunflowers! 

As we tend to our garden around here, Grace has something else to tend to. On Saturday Morning, one of our cats Picky, had a litter of three kittens next to the house and the driveway. I moved them into the flowerbed, under my cannas. Grace sat herself right next to them to keep watch over them and protect them from our dog Sage.

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I leave you with my Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe. If you like to can sauce but hate all the work in peeling the tomatoes, this is the easiest recipe.  I make it every year and this year I actually wrote it down because I believe I perfected it. I finished my third batch of it on Saturday and I am debating if I want to do one more batch. This year I decided to freeze it because of the time issue with two little ones. It is my all-purpose sauce. I use it on everything. It will probably be used mostly for pizza though. Hope you enjoy making it and let me know how you like it.

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

6-7 lbs roma tomatoes or any canning/sauce tomato ( I use Amish Paste Tomatoes) trim the tops and quarter them.

6 sweet onions coursly chopped

2 red peppers and 2 green peppers coursly chopped

5-6 bulbs of garlic ( keep cloves whole)

2 dried chilli peppers ( I find them in a mexican store near my house. Check the ethnic food section at your store)

5-6 TBLS cornstarch

a big handful of fresh basil 

handful of fresh oregano

1/2 to 1 cup sugar ( more or less depending on your taste)

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan add the vinegar and oil. Put in the oven for five minutes to thicken the vinegar. Add the onion, peppers, garlic cloves and the whole chilli peppers. Roast for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add quartered tomatoes and some seasalt. Add another 1/4 cup of olive oil to the tomatoes. Lightly mix all the ingredients and put back in the oven for another 30 to 45 minutes. The tomatoes will cook down and soften. Remove from the oven and ladle out 1 cup of the tomato broth. Add the cornstarch and mix to make a thick paste. pour that on top of the tomatoes and REMOVE THE CHILI PEPPERS. Add the basil and oregano. Use an immersion blender (A hand-held blender to puree soups etc. I use a Cuisanart that I purchased at Kohl’s) to puree the ingredients. Add the sugar and carefully put the pan back in the oven for one hour at 350. Stir every 20 minutes. Let it cool and ladle into containers and freeze. Make sure you do not fill to the top if you plan on freezing it. This recipe makes about 7 to 8 quarts.

Drab to Fab

 Last March I found some crazy quilt pieces and a chenille bed spread at a rummage sale. They have been sitting on my project table just waiting to be turned into pillows. Over the weekend I went yard saling, something I don’t get to do very often.  The best part was not my great finds, but that I went solo. That’s right, no unbuckling car seats or loading up the stroller. I did not find much, but what I did find went with the theme in my livingroom. I found one feed sack and a seed sack for a few dollars. The best find was a free shabby afghan but I knew I could salvage parts of it.  I worked during nap times and after the girls went to bed to finish my livingroom pillows and my bedroom pillows. They are simple pillows sewn on all four sides. I don’t have time to get fancy with my sewing these days. My goal is to get the project done and make sure it looks good. I am pleased with the results and I have been slowly rearranging accessories in each room to make the space look fresh without spending money. Go forth and be creative today.

Drab