Monday, May 31, 2010

Dried Sunflower Birdfeeder

This is a cute birdfeeder to make..if the birds don't clean yours out before they dry out...mine are always empty by the time its dried out..the birds in my yard go crazy on my sunflowers!

Go to her link, she has a video of how to hang them. (some of you get the idea just from the pic)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tons of Ebooks in my Yahoo Group

I started a Yahoo Group for posting my files (free ebooks etc) .  I have not figured out how to post them on my blog, so this is the easiest way for me to share them.
Join my yahoo group, go on no mail or daily digest if you don't want much mail.  Right now the group is just starting out so there isn't much mail at all, and you can join under fully featured if you want for now and if the mail gets out of hand change it. 

Some of my favorite recipes are also there for easy finding..of course, you can always use my search bar on here for seeing the recipes here too.

Baby Chicks....weeks 1- 3

This is day one, we brought home the Silver Spangles and the Barred Rocks..don't they look like little chicken nuggets!  (Silver Spangle in Brian's hand, Barred Rocks are black)  The Americauna's weren't in yet.  They had a problem with the shipment (not the same as Aracaunas, slightly different breed)
If you click the pic, it will get bigger to see it closer up.  If I make it extra large on here, it runs off of the page. 
Now the others's are about a week old, and the little chipmunk colored one's (Americaunas) are only two days old, their first day here, aged two days in shipping)
Their first time outside in the playpen.  Its a warm day finally!
My husband did really fall asleep in the playpen with them. 
Brian in the playpen with them.
Atlas minding his own business.  We have ducks too and he doesn't bother them.  What a good dog!
The teens lookin into the duck pen..they are only penned at night to protect them from foxes and weasels...which have taken a few
Allen is cleaning out the shed for a chicken coop and look what he finds....a baby field mouse all water logged. (I never did ask why it was water logged in the shed?)

This is the barred rock's first escape!  She jumped on the lounge chair and flew from there (that was put in there to shade them more on sunny days, they are under a big cherry tree but for extra shade)
Look at me, I'm free!
Lazy Americauna!

Her first catch in the free world.... a moth!
She is just checking out the view from Allen's shoulder.
This is right before the chicken jumped on Atlas's head.  Whoever heard of a American Bulldog/Pitbull being afraid of a little chicken nugget?
Atlas is trying to figure out what that thing is that just jumped on his head.
Nose to nose, no worries.  He won't hurt it.  We have ducks that he doesn't bother with.  They run to him when they see a hawk flying overhead.  He just lays there and they run to his side, knowing the hawk won't come down with him there!
Last night they slept in their new chicken coop for the first time!  Their first time out in the real world...they were sleeping in my son's room (in a crate of course) before that but were outgrowing it.  There is a window in the chicken coop, so it was fun peeking in periodically and watching them.  They seemed to enjoy their new room!  They will be outside as free range chickens once we get them used to staying in the yard.  For now, they are in the playpen during the day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sloppy, Yummy, Easy Loose Meat!

This is a sloppy german (sausage and peppers)

My son loves Barbq, as we call it.  Many people call them sloppy joes. 
They are super easy to make, and most people have on hand what goes into them.
You don't need to buy those commercial cans of Manwich...yuk!


1 lb ground beef

1 c ketsup

2 T mustard

1 T vinegar

4 T sugar (I add more sugar than this, we like it sweet)

2 T worchestershire sauce

brown meat until cooked.

Mash meat

Drain meat

Add remaining ingredients

Cook five min

Serve on hamburger buns turned upside down, the bun top holds more weight.
Can make big batch and freeze or serve in a crock pot

I like to mix things up sometimes too and make Sloppy German's which are just ground sausage,  green peppers and onions served on a roll. (take the casing off if you can't find it bulk ground)
A Sloppy Italian would be Italian Sausage, Hot Peppers and Onions...
Sloppy Tacos are a taco on a roll.  I'm not real fond of those, but some like them.  I need the tortilla.  And there is another could make your loose meat sandwiches in taco shells. 

You can make buffalo chicken sandwiches, just ground up some chicken thighs, add your favorite hot sauce.  If you search my search bar, I posted my recipe for it before. 

Loose meat sandwiches are fast, fun and easy.  Great for Parties!  You make it a day ahead, and put it in the crockpot on the morning of the party and no one has to slave over the grill.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Easy and Healthy Sprouts! Make them Yourself with little effort!

My family loves alfalfa sprouts.  In fact, the kids prefer them to lettuce on their sandwiches!
Sprouts have been in the news again for causing sickness. 
You can make your own sprouts at home, and you know they are safe, because you are in control!
They are so much cheaper and so simple to do.  I have been sprouting for years.
I have resorted to the basics, of canning jars and lids for my daily sprouting needs. I keep two going at once, about 2-3 days apart so there is always a fresh supply.
I just put a table spoon of sprouts in a wide mouth canning jar with this lid on top.
fill the jar with water

Then soak them for about 6 hours or overnight.

In the am, drain, rinse twice and set the jar on its side or upside down if its very humid.  You can prop it upside down like this. 
On humid days, I rinse them twice a day, but in the winter time, I find I only need to tend to them once a day.  Rinsing twice can't hurt though, so to be safe, staring out, rinse in the am and before bed.

In about 4 days, they are ready to set in the sun for a short time to turn them green.
After that, they are ready to eat!  
Store them in the frige  and use them on salads and sandwiches.

When I started out, I bought this fancy garden, but its plastic so now I limit my use of it to when I am having guests over for a picnic, 4 days ahead of time, I stack all the trays up and sprout a bunch at once.

A few can get a powder called Citric Acid, used in canning to add to the rinse water to avoid mold.  Mine do not mold but some types, such as broccoli sprouts tend to mold so adding this avoids that.  So far, I have sprouted alfalfa sprouts (most often what I sprout), red clover sprouts, broccoli sprouts and garbanzo sprouts.

I have a PDF sheet (pictured below) that you can access on my yahoo group.  To subscribe, email..
I wasn't sure I wanted to start a new group but this is the only way I can finagle to get you documents I want to upload.  I have a files section on that yahoo group that I can upload things I want to share.  

You are welcome to join under no mail if you wish to recieve no mail, or daily digest to get  a whole days worth of emails in one email....or fully featured to get it all.  At this point, I don't generate much if any emails at all.  I have not really been using this group. You can join under fully featured now and change to no mail at any point also. 


Cheesecake with Praline Sauce

I think Paula Deen should run for president!  She could solve all of the world's problems with her food. Who can fight when they are eating butter, cream cheese, sour cream?  She could make a pie and everyone would do exactly what she wanted!

I happened across her Cheesecake with Praline Sauce recipe and decided to make it yesterday.
I used walnuts instead of her pecans she calls for, only because I grabbed them out of the freezer first and they struck my fancy.  I also just dumped it on top of the cheesecake instead of letting it for everyone to ladle on. 

A few years ago, my spring form pan I used one time rusted.  I threw it out.  I was nervous about making something in it and it falling apart.  I recently got a new one, for recipes I keep seeing that I want to try.  I'm not sure why I was so nervous about it, it was very simple to use!  I will make things in it all of the time now.  I even saw an Italian Easter Pie (with meats) that you make in one. 

In any case, this cheesecake was simple, and very good.  I have to make the Hollywood Cheesecake I make again and compare them.  I make it in a regular pie shell because of my spring form nervousness.  Now I have to try it in the spring form pan. 

It's from The Lady and Sons Too cookbook. 

Cheesecake with Praline Sauce



  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter


  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Praline Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pat this mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and granulated sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then beat in the vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 1 hour. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping: In a bowl, mix the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Spread this mixture over the warm cake and return to the oven for 4 minutes. Let the cake cool to room temperature in the pan, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. At serving time, use a table knife to loosen the cake from the pan. Remove the sides of the pan and place the cake on a platter, leaving it on pan bottom. To make the praline sauce, in a small heavy saucepan stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the corn syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts and vanilla. Cool slightly. Serve the cheesecake, passing the sauce in a bowl with a small ladle. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hot Fudge a crockpot!!!! Don't heat up the kitchen!

Crock Pot Hot Fudge Cake
1¾  C packed brown sugar, divided
1 C all-purpose flour
6 T baking cocoa, divided
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ C milk
2 T butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1¾ C boiling water
Vanilla Ice Cream

In a bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, 3 T cocoa, baking powder and salt. 

In another bowl, combine the milk, butter and vanilla; stir in dry ingredients until just combined.  Spread evenly into a 3-qt slow cooker coated with a non-stick spray (or just crisco it).  Sprinke with chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine the remaining brown sugar and cocoa; stir in boiling water.  Pour over batter, DO NOT STIR.  Put the lid on and cook on high for 4-4½ hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean.  Serve warm with ice cream.  Yield 6-8 servings

I got this recipe from Taste of Home's Casseroles, Slow Cookers, and Soups cookbook. GREAT BOOK!  A keeper!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pssst! My Margarita's Spice (like garlic garlic but better)

I was not going to share this...but I am so against keeping recipes a secret, as if there is a tragedy, and I lose it, how would I ever recover it? I cant' stand recipe snobs. First off, anyone can cook, and your "secret" recipe isn't such a secret, someone can and will figure it out.

I created this recipe because I was determined to find a replacement for the pricey Garlic Garlic that Tastefully Simple sells. I cant' see spending that kind of money on a spice that you can make cheap at home. This is just as good, if not better!

I have had a few friends over in the past few months, who raved about my dip and had to have the recipe. In fact, one kept apologizing for eating so much of it, I made another batch while they were here because it was such a hit.

Make this and store it in a small canning jar, or save an old spice jar, remove the label and make your it what you want...take the credit if that's how you roll (and when you lose it, you can come back here to find it).....I times this by 10 when I make it, so I can make a big batch. Make a single batch and try it out...I am sure you will agree, its just as good if not better than garlic garlic and cheaper!  Those things are just a mixture of spices sold for 5-10 dollars a bottle..that is outrageous! could create your own spice blends, start small, and write it down so that you know what went into it, so you can re-create it!

Margarita's  Spice

1/8 tsp lawry's season salt -no msg
3/4 t onion powder
1 1/8 t granulated garlic
1½ t minced garlic (dried)
1 t parsley flakes
Makes 4½ tsp.

Margaritas Mad  Spice
add 1 t cayenne pepper
1½ t crushed red pepper (whirled in a coffee grinder)

Serving Suggestions:

Mix 2 TBSP with 16 ounces of sour cream and serve with chips or vegetables, or 8 oz cream cheese and serve with crackers. I add more than 2 TBSP but some think its too much.  When I originally made it, I used four and hubby said it was overwhelmingly garlicky, but I liked I do about 3 T.

Great on chicken, beef and pork too. Also great in hummus!

I am on a mission for my sister, to copy the Spinach and Herb mix now! She loves that and I found dried spinach at Echo Hill (my favorite little Menonite County store that has cheap bulk spices)


Two Free Cookbooks from Smucker's

Okay, they are by mail...but you can put an envelope into your mailbox and send for one, after all, it keeps our postal worker's in business.  Quick, before you close this window, grab an envelope and fill  out the address!  Don't forget to include your address for them to send it to! 
A link to their site is at the bottom, if you want to search the recipes on their site.


Classic Cookie Recipe Booklet
Receive a free Smucker's Classic Cookie Recipe Collection booklet where you'll find scrumptious cookie recipes featuring our jams, jellies and preserves. Our booklet includes over a dozen fruit-filled recipe ideas, each with a full-color photograph.
To receive your free booklet, just send a postcard to:
The J.M. Smucker Company
Attention: Classic Cookie Recipe Collection
Consumer Relations Department
P.O. Box 280
Orrville, Ohio 44667 
Free Offer
Natural Peanut Butter Recipe Booklet Receive a free Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter Recipes Booklet where you'll find scrumptious recipes for Decadent Peanut Butter Pie, Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Peanut Butter Frosty and more... each with a full-color photograph!
To receive your free booklet, just send a postcard to:
The J.M. Smucker Company
Attention: Peanut Butter Recipe Collection
Consumer Relations Department
P.O. Box 280
Orrville, Ohio 44667 
Smucker's site