Saturday, February 28, 2009

Great Depression Cooking with Clara

I came across this beautiful woman today, Clara. She is in her 90s and has you tube videos of her cooking secrets from The Great Depression. She tells great stories of life during the depression while she cooks. Check her out! She is so cute!
Here is her blog also.

They even have a website where they sell Dvd's of her.

Friday, February 27, 2009


This is a great link to the info from MaryJane's farm magazine on making sourdough bread with ONLY flour and water!
Its healthier and easy to make. It's a Sunday start bread, if you are going to follow her directions so be ready to start on a Sunday and take only a min each day!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread

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I have made the bread many times now.....It is so good.
starter recipe at bottom if you lose your starter or have no one to get it from.
Yes I know the amish do not use instant pudding...this is a variation recipe, if you google, you will find recipes that do not use it....I like mine with banana pudding and walnuts.
A homemade instant pudding recipe link is at the bottom of this post in case you don't have any on hand.
Also, note: I have made the bread on days 1-5 and it turns out great, in case you are stuck with too many starters, bake it and give to a friend, or neighbor.
Amish Friendship Bread
Do NOT use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing.
Do NOT refrigerate.
If air gets in the bag, let it out.
It IS normal for the batter to rise and ferment.
The date lines below can be used to help keep track of the date or day you are at in the process.
Day 1- Do nothing, this is the day you receive the bag, unless told otherwise.
Day 2- Mush the bag
Day 3- Mush the bag
Day 4- Mush the bag
Day 5- Mush the bag
Day 6-Add to the bag: 1 c flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and mush the bag
Day 7- Mush the bag
Day 8- Mush the bag
Day 9- Mush the bag
Day 10- Mix and divide the starter.
Directions below.
Dividing directions: Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-meal bowl. Add 1½ cups flour, 1½ cups sugar and 1½ cups milk. Mix. Then measure 1 cup of the batter into each of four Ziploc bags. Keep one for yourself and give the other 3 starter bags away with a copy of the recipe instructions.
Note: Starter should be passed to a friend on the 10th day. Be certain to tell the recipient what day the bag is at when you present it to her. If you keep one starter yourself, you will be baking every 10 days.This bread makes a great gift.
Baking Directions: To the remaining batter in the bowl add:3 eggs 1 cup sugar ½ tsp salt1 c oil 2 tsp cinnamon 2 c flour½ c milk 1½ tsp baking powder 1 large or 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding½ tsp vanilla ½ tsp baking sodaPreheat oven to 325°.
Grease two large loaf pans. Mix together and additional ½ c sugar and 1½ tsp cinnamon. Dust greased pans with half of this mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle remaining sugar on top of the batter.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from the pan evenly (about 10 min). Turn over onto serving dish. Serve warm or fool.Options: Add 1 cup chopped nuts, raisings or chocolate chips. You can also use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla if you prefer. ( Its really good with banana and walnuts)
If the starter turns green or gets an awful smell discard and start over.It should have a beer like smell, that is normal.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. flour1 c. sugar
1 c. warm milk (110 degrees)
Mix all and divide into one cup portions in Ziploc bags.Follow the directions for the amish friendship bread as it needs to be fed and tended to or it will die.
If it turns green discard and start over.
Instant Pudding Recipe (homemade)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Great Lemonade for Guests

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I make lemonade that people rave about all the time..and (sneaky giggle), its just powdered..hehe
I buy the generic yellow lemonade powder (equivalent to country time type).

I make it as directed, but put a bit more powder in to give it more umph and then I add slices of lemon, orange, strawberries and blueberries...any fruits or even a few marischino cherries, that will "pretty it up"

It looks really neat and it turns pink from the strawberries and it looks like you went to trouble to make it homemade and everyone loves it. lol.

I serve it in a nice glass pitcher and serve it in wine glasses (I got at the restaurant supply store, it was missing two from a case, I paid about 40 cents each because it was on clearance because of the missing glasses).
Of course, I have a bottle of vodka on hand, in case anyone wants to spike their glass of lemonade.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Aprons again

Believe it or not, I put on an apron. I have some really cool ones, and it did put me in a homemaking kind of mood. I need to make an effort to wear them at least a few hours each day, so i get more done around here. It really does motivate me.

here is a link to free apron patters you can make aprons
(I love her blog and I must admit, I snag some of her beautiful pics)

I love this apron evangelism post from

Apron Evangelismphilosophies on the pleasure & power of aprons
One day not too long ago I was struggling with the boys over some minor details which come up when a lot of people live in a small shack in the woods. Details like the value of picking one's dirty clothes up off of the living room floor when company has been spotted driving up the mountain. The boys were unusually stubborn that particular day. Rather than fight with them over their household responsibilities I picked up the dirty clothes myself and crammed them into the washing machine. I ran some soapy water in the sink to get a start on the dishes before the company arrived.

Now usually I am not one to hold a grudge over small disagreements like laundry on the living room floor. This one settled in my brain though, and I felt compelled to mull over it for several days. It was the outright insubordination which offended me the most. After I figured that out I went in search of solutions.

About the same time I was in the process of Spring Cleaning. I was having a great deal of trouble motivating myself to wash the walls in the kitchen and mop the back porch where the cats live (blessedly with a doggie door so they don't need litter boxes).

Well, the more I worried about these twin dilemmas the more I felt the need to discuss them with the queen of solutions, my momma Darthulia. As I suspected she had the perfect solution. Darthulia told me I needed a uniform or costume which would reassure myself and others of my intention and status in the home. She claimed it would remind me of my duties, inspire me to greater levels of cleanliness (which as a hillbilly I sorely need), and reaffirm my authority in the home.

Darthulia then went on to describe the homemaker's uniform to me in detail. "Imagine the modern archetype of the housewife." She began. "Think Donna Reed, or Beaver Cleaver's mom. They wore full skirts, and stockings, and heels when they vacuumed. But you knew they were doing housework because they had their aprons on. A string of beads graced the necks of their classic shirtwaist dresses, and a lacy bibbed apron proclaimed their role as matriarch in charge of household management."

I only have a fleeting memory of Donna Reed. I sort of wish she came on television regularly so I could take notes but she doesn't in my area so I am stuck looking for other heroines-of-the-home to model myself after. Most of what momma said made sense to me though. That very day, I put on a full skirt, stockings, sensibly low high heeled shoes, and a string of pearly white beads. Then I sat down at my sewing machine and ran up a couple of bibbed aprons, decorated with lace and ribbons.

I made up the pattern as I went along using a small rectangle for the first bib and a heart shape for the second bib. Then I stitched lace around the edges of the bib and attatched it to a simple tie with a full apron skirt gathered to the waist. I made them short waisted so they would fit my maternal figure a bit better, and voila, I was set. I put the first apron on, a creamy white or ecru, and looked in the mirror to admire my handiwork. I expected to see myself staring back at me, probably looking a little silly in this frilly piece of confection designed to protect my clothing.
Boy howdy, was I in for a surprise. In the mirror I saw a vision of the homemaker I have always strived to become staring back at me. Her cheery face glistened in the sunshine. Her hair tied up neatly in bun looked authoritative, and compassionate all at the same time. The apron covered several figure flaws and accentuated the fertile curves of the woman I saw in the mirror. This woman had purpose. She had status. She had clout. I stood there, contemplating the wonder of the homemaker that shone through my image in the mirror. "This is who I want to be" I told myself. "This is the Keeper of the home, with a capital 'K'. "

I wear my aprons every day now. I have made more, in different colors and configurations so as to be pleasing to my senses. I have come to believe they are a like lacy bits of lingerie, only worn on the outside, and a quite a bit more respectable. When I put on my aprons the children mind me better, wandering visitors immediately know my role as a stay at home mom. Door to door religious missionaries assume I am a virtuous woman and cheerfully move on to the next house. Fred thinks I look cute as a button, and neighbor children hug me more often.

I like my aprons. They have changed my life, raising my standards, inspiring me to greater feats of home making skill, and making me more effective as a parent. Whoever thought that a dollars worth of fabric and lace could effect so many changes on one woman and one family? Since my success with aprons I have become a true believer. I am now called to spread the word among my fellow housewives. Join the crusade by sharing your love of aprons with friends, family and internet buddies around the world. Together we will change the face of the House Wife, the world over.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rotisserie Chicken from warehouse club

I love to get Rotisserie chicken from Sams Club.

They are $4.97! What a bargain!

Super delicious and you can't buy a chicken for that price not to mention having to run your oven to cook it and cook it to that perfection!
We love them to eat as is, and also I get them to shred for recipes, such as chicken wing barbq sandwiches, fajitias, chimichangas, cornbread stuffing casserole and so much more!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

upside down tomato plants

I do have to say, after seeing everyone's upside down tomato plants, why?  They grow just fine from the ground...and these things are heavy and must be watered individually....but whatever..if you are going to buy one...don' can just do this!

I have tons of these, my husband is a painter.
I am totally giving this guy credit, this is an awesome idea..see his website.
Get a 5 gallon bucket and lid. (hardware stores sell them for about 2.00 )----------------------------------------------on one of the yahoo group that i belong to someone suggested you might get 5 gal buckets at local restaurant/grocery for free

Drill 2 inch hole in the center of the LID and center of the bottom of the bucket

Fill Bucket with Dirt.
(Miracle grow dirt is best)

Put a coffee filter over the dirt in the center, then put the top on. the coffee filter is to hold the dirt in the bucket when you do step 5 and 6

Flip bucket upside down, so its now on its lid. put the tomato plant inside the hole. Water it and if needed add more dirt.oh ya.. we use celebrity tomato's

Let the plant grow for 1 week to let the roots grow into the soil before you do step 7
The reason you let it the plant grow for 1 week before doing step 7 is so the roots can grow into the dirt since you just planted the plant
If you don't have the room to let it grow for 1 week out side you can put it inside by a window.
Water the plant as needed in this stage.

Now that the plant is 12 inches tall flip it upside down and hang it some where. I hung it from a clothes line pole. (make sure its strong enough)(Also now you may take off the top lid if you like, you don't need to but some might find it easier to water if you do.)
(don't forget to water it)

This shows it weeks later flowering
(don't forget to water it)

Here it is weeks later again and you can see 13 or more tomatoes on it in this photo (its only July)
(don't forget to water it)

And to extend the growing season, here is what Todd does...
TIP for longer growing season: Remember when fall comes you can take this plant inside, so the frost don't get to it and kill it. I use 2 step ladders and put a pole between them to hold the plant up, and put them by a patio window so it can get good sun in the day. (if the weather is 40 degrees or more you can move them outside in the daytime, and back inside over night. so the frost don't get them.)
Tips for inside growing You can get some nice plant lights at hardware stores. I suggest the spot lights so you can beam it right at the plants from different angles. 3 60watt spot lights are just fine. Make sure they are Grow lights. (as the store if you are not sure) put them around the plat in a triangle. so all of the plant gets the light. (if you want you can use more then 3 lights, 4 or 5 is good too. I use 3 and its just fine. Keep the lights 5 to 6 feet away from the plants. (WARNING its a fire hazer if you allow the plant to touch the bulbs)
Remember tomato's need darkness too. so light should only be on for no longer then 12 hours, and off again for 12 hours. keep them in a room that will not have light in it. such as a basement or spare bed room that's not used) if you use a timer set the time for 6am for the lights to go on. and 6pm for the lights to go off.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fun Winery Hopping

One of my best friend's Kelly and I at Calvaressi Wine Fest.
It was also a car show.
A bottle of port and off we went to find a new,
this is not my car, or hers. lol.

This is a graphic image "borrowed" from Long Trout Winery

Where the wine is cool and the hippie chicks rule.

One of the most fun wineries I have ever visited!

My husband and I grab a few of our friends, we hop in the truck and head out to wineries in our area. There are so many and we have such a good time. The wineries we frequent have never charged us for our "wine tours". We don't go on wine tour weekends, we go on off weekends. We also come home with a case or two, or three of wines in all varieties.

My favorite wine comes from Clover Hill Winery. They make a few varieties that top any wine I have ever had, including wines friends from France have brought us. The Concord is a gold medal winner, year after year, and one of our favorites. It's sweet, but its great. They have so many wines that have won awards, I could talk about them all day. The Catawba is my absolute favorite wine in the world. No Catawba or blush wine I have tried can compare! I do not care where in the world I go, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for Clover Hill Wine! Their Vignoles is wonderful, as are the fruit wines they make. I love the Red's too. There are so many that are great tasting, you just have to get there and try for yourself or call to order a bottle or two. There wine prices average 10-12 dollars a bottle.

I must say, I am extremely disappointed in the Mt. Hope Winery at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. They have superb wines, but took all of the romance out of it, by going with screw caps. I do not mind the faux corks wineries are using today, in fact, I prefer them. I just expect to open a bottle of wine with a cork screw not a screw cap and my last two cases I got there last fall, will probably be the last I buy from them, unless they resort back to corks. Their Blueberry was out of this world...better than any blueberry and what a great price, full size bottle was about 10.00. Unlike some wineries that go with a small bottle when they give you a fruit wine.
I realize that some wineries are going to screw caps, but I will not support them. I have many reasons for drinking wine and the romance of using the corkscrew is one of them. They should be going with the "fake" corks if they are having problems with mold on their corks.

Lastly, but not least, in fact,its a tie for first place in my favorite that Long Trout Winery that I mentioned above. Talk about a fun winery! We make this our last stop. They have a bar you sit at, and goldfish crackers on the bar for in between palette cleaning. They have hippie memorabilia, and John Lennon's pics (even a nakey one of him and Yoko!). It's a truly amazing place you have to see. It's in a log cabin in the woods with a pond and disc golf available there (for those not aware, that is golf with frisbees)

The wine is not super sweet, but that is okay with me, I like all types of wine. Their wines are good and a bit odd, in a really good way...things like Burning Bra, which is a peach, Instant Chocolate O, a chocolate wine! Yes...chocolate strawberry, they also have Berried in Chocolate, which is chocolate berry, they have quite a few chocolate varieties. Delish! The Berried Alive is out of this world, mixing a few berries together. Waskfully Wrasperry another notable goodie. Their wine list is so long and there are too many great tasting one's to mention.
I do want to note, they have come cooking wines that really caught my eye and I have many of them here in my wine collection (collection is a fun term, as I don't hang onto them very long lol...dust does not collect on my wine bottles!). Old One Eye is a garden vegetable medley, Yellow Snow has hot pepper and garlic...yum, its not only good to cook with but fun to sip. check out their wine list and give them a call if you live too far away. I should note, their wines average in price around 10-12 dollars a bottle!

Berks County has many wineries and many Bed and Breakfasts to stay in if you want to come out and try some small wineries in our area. There are also many wineries close by in surrounding counties, as well as the Amish communities to visit in the Morgantown area and nearby Lancaster County.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Frugal Tips

I use paper towels in my bathroom for hand drying. I know it sounds crazy, but I have guests over and don't want to share my hand towel with anyone. That is one place I cannot be frugal.

I save a lot on paper towels because I have those Sham wow, and they work great and I also have cleaning towels from sams in a big bar rag pack.
I have always made my babies food. I just took what we ate, and ground it up in the food processor for my babies. Yes, occasionally I bought some for on the go food, but there are so many other things you can feed your babies, they don't need those unhealthy jarred baby foods.

I just read somewhere, instead of buying windex, use windshield washer fluid. That is a great idea...if you use windex. Personally, I use Shaklee Basic H2 with a bit of essential oil for smell. I know, smell has no clean, and I agree. I like to add smell I add clove oil to my kitchen cleaner, as it adds a natural anti bacterial to it. The Shaklee basic H2 can be bought on ebay pretty cheap. I am a member of Shaklee so I get mine there. A bottle lasts more than a year in an average household..and its about 10 dollars, it turns into an all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, degreaser, and people even use it to clean their veggies.
We do not go to the hairdresser. I went to a hairdresser one time since 1995 and she did my hair exactly like I do why pay her? I get my hair color at CVS and dye it myself. I cut my hair, and help hubby get the back of his..he does the boys cutting and I dye my older teenage boys hair for him. Its 6.00 for dye and the hair scissors are the only price we paid for hair cuts.
We save money buying pizza by making it at home. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a great book with doughs you can make without having to knead. Check my other blog entries for links to watch the authors in action making it on you tube. Super fast and its always ready. Yes, we buy pizzeria pizza on occasion, but we love the Artisan dough pizza because we make personal pizza's and everyone gets what they want. Besides, the pizzerias charge you a fortune for a few scraps of toppings you end up getting.
Learn to sew...even a little bit. Its not hard to make curtains! I made curtains for all 19 of my windows at my house, and I am so happy I did. The curtains at the store are super expensive and the pickins are slim on styles. I got to chose from 1000s of bolts of fabric and made them in about an hour per room (3 windows).
If you get a plastic grocery bag, reuse it before you get rid of it. Use it as a trashcan liner or save them and when someoen comes over for veggies from your garden, send them home with it.
I grind my own meats instead of buying good ground beef..if its ever good. I also ground turkey and chicken to make burgers. It just tastes so much better.
Something I recently read about greeting the front off and use it as a postcard...9.5 times out of 10,nothing is written on the back of the front cover of the cards..and sending a post card is cheaper than sending a full card in an envelope. Go figure!
Pack your lunch, for goodness sakes! If you can get a hot lunch for less than 2.00, then by all means, go for it..but you can pack a good healthy lunch for a dollar or two.
Make your own fabric softener sheets. Sure its not totally homemade..but if you take one part fabric softener, and four parts water and put it in a spray bottle. Then take a washrag and spritz it with the fabric softener spray and toss it in the dryer. Wala! One bottle of fabric softener will last you a year or more!