Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Revisting the Apron

I posted this Apron Evangelism from Hillbilly Houswife back in 2008 and its such a cute theory, I got a few aprons.  Although I don't put them on everyday, I do occasionally wear one and it does put me in more of a domesticated mood.  I should wear them around the house more often, as I have bleach spots and food stains on some of my favorite clothing!
I make no money from this shop, but wanted to share the cutest apron etsy shop.
Bambino Amore Aprons
I love them all on her etsy shop, but I have my eye on that Big Cherries one.  Too cute!

                Apron Evangelism

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.


–Maggie (The original Hillbilly Housewife)

Now one more thing...if anyone knows the where abouts of this apron, please tell me.  I love the material and it was listed on another blog, but the link did not take me to any stores that sold it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Vegetarian Ebook

Just a short and sweet post today. 

You don't have to eat vegetarian everyday to enjoy good vegetarian food.  Here is a free cookbook offer I got today.  I saved it on my hard drive and the food looks awesome! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

♥ Mango Pulled Pork → Pressure Cooker Recipe!

Aart's pulled pork pic (I'm not a photographer! lol)

I love Food Network and, after cheering on Aarti on The Next Food Network Star, I am always excited to see her show recorded on my DVR (I record her series and watch it at my liesure).

She made this pulled pork a couple of weeks ago, and I decided to give it a the pressure cooker.  That way I don't have to cook it three hours and turn it every half hour. (It's the laziness coming out in me).  Here is the recipe her way (link below↓ ) notes at the bottom will show you how I made changes to it. This recipe is to die for!  OMG its wonderful!

 Aarti's Pulled Pork with Mango BBQ Sauce  (link to her original recipe, and below the ingredients I used, similar with some minor changes, to make it in the pressure cooker.  If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can just follow her recipe directions.


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), about 3 pounds, excess fat removed


  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup  grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced (seeds discarded if you don't like it spicy)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups mango puree 
  • 1½-2 cup mango nectar (goya sells it in cans, you know I am not a fan of measuring)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Keiser Rolls
  • cole slaw or pickles, whatever ya like.

I prefer to avoid anything canned where possible, so I whirl mangos in my vitamix. 


Mix the rub ingredients and massage the pork shoulder with it, working it into the shoulder a bit.  Set aside. Aarti said you can do this and refrigerate overnight and the flavors get even better..but no time for that here.  

In the pressure cooker add the first six ingredients and with the lid off, cook on rice setting about two minutes.  Add the mano nectar and the *puree'd mango*.  * (I could not find mango puree but I found mango frozen and just thawed it and  whirled it in my food processor). Add the lime juice, cider vinegary, molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Let it come up to a boil in the pressure cooker (the lid is still off).
Place the pork shoulder into the barbq sauce and turn it should be just about submerged.

Now put the lid on.

Turn the pressure cooker back off and on again to the meat setting.  Set time for 60 minutes and walk away!  You are done until its time to pull it apart and slap together the sandwiches. I don't think I need to walk you through that, especially since the pressure cooker will have it so tender, it will fall apart when your fork touches it.

If you want to see Aarti in action....catch her on Sunday's on The Food Network.  She makes cooking fun, I adore her!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free Celebrity Pasta Cookbook

I love homemade pasta, but if I don't make it from scratch, I always use Barilla.  We had Taco Thursday every Thursday here and it got a little old. I think for easy meal planning, I may revert back to that, but call it Mexican Monday.....and have a pasta day one day a week.  Some weeks I can make it homemade, and some I can make it from Barilla Pasta (I'm not advertising for them, its really what I use!) 
Oh, before I forget....Barilla is offering a free cookbook right now, for downloading.  Years ago, they sent out print books free, I have one or two, but with the information highway so congested, they probably can't afford to do that anymore, so its just a they are saving trees (who are they kidding, we print them lol)
The Celebrity Pasta Lovers Cookbook  
Go to this page ↑ (link above) and click below the blue box with the counter in it on the right.

Download our new limited edition cookbook featuring exclusive Mario Batali recipes, inspired by the favorite dishes of Julianne Moore, Jimmy Fallon, Meryl Streep, and more! Available through October 15th.

Please share my blog post with your friends, so they can take advantage of it too, ya never know, you could lose the file and need to get it back from someone (the very reason I always share recipes).  Also if you got this link from facebook, share my link please! 

If you wish to make homemade pasta, my link below will take you to it, and also, my homemade ricotta cheese link is here too....I am making homemade Lasagna this weekend....totally from scratch!  My kids love my lasagna, and, like my grandmother did, I always add a pinch of cinnamon to my sauce. She must have known it was good for you, but its also so yummy! 

Homemade Pasta

Homemade Ricotta Cheese  
Milk is cheaper to buy than a commercial Ricotta Cheese..they want 5.00 a container and I always need more than one container.  It tastes better homemade too!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tomato Tart and Homemade Pesto

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Its getting cold at night, and I was worried my basil might catch cold (frost) so I went out today and harvested a huge wad of it and made up a bunch of pesto to freeze so I have it for the winter.  I have an indoor plant or two, but I strip those bare often and run out.   I have about 30 of these cookie scoops of it (about 2 T each) that I froze.  I watered the basil and hope to get some more before the frost kills them.

I can't call it MY pesto recipe, but its the one I use.  It's very good.  (see below)

My Pesto looks as good as it tastes! My Kodak easy share has stood the test of time! 

I made a tomato pesto pasta for the teenagers that were here and then I made this tomato tart.  I've made it and posted it before, but I thought I would repost it.  If you haven't tried it yet, you are missing out! 

This is effortless...if you have the pesto made up, most of the work is done!   I snapped this pic right before I devoured it.
Not bad for my 6 year old camera!  One of these days I will get a new one.
Here is a picture of last year's post.
This tart is so easy and delicious, perfect for summer when the tomatoes are pushing like crazy. Its great for breakfast, a light dinner with wine, or a snack. I took the picture of my basil from my garden. Isn't it breathtaking! lol.

Before I start,
I have a Special note
to the



quite frankly any moron can....but in a pinch, these prepared refrigerated one's are just as good and super handy to have around...and who has time for pie crust making, there is exercising to be done, don't forget, if you are going to eat the good things in life...ya better make damn sure you are working it off!

I have heard it before when someone sees I use the Pillsbury one's, "mine are better, I make them homemade" Bullshit, I tasted yours and its not any And I make pies all of the often are you rolling out pie crusts? And I exercise 5-7 times a week...raise my kids, homeschool, grow a big garden that supplies not only my family but extended family and friends, yard work, run a few yahoo cooking groups with over 5000 members, blog here and there and everywhere, and chat with my friends on facebook daily...should I go on? If you manage to do all those things and make your own pie crust all of the time, good for you!

So if you want to brag about how you make your own pie crust, big fat freakin' raspberries to ya...GET A LIFE!

I can make them too...but just feel there are more important things in life, and if Pillsbury wants to do the work for me...Thanks Pillsbury!

Now, on with the recipe

Tomato Tart

one roll of pie crust from
the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust box
2 C Mozzarella Cheese
5 tomatoes

1/2 c Kraft Real Mayo
(its the brand I use, use what you prefer)

1/4 c parmesan cheese grated

2 T basil pesto

2-4 T chopped fresh basil (opt)

Unroll pie crust on a pizza stone and brush the outer edges with water, and fold over to make a pie or pizza crust look. Prick with a fork

Bake the pie crust at 450 degrees for 8-10 min. Sprinkle with ONE cup of the mozzerella cheese and let it set for 15 min on the counter or stove top. Meanwhile, lower oven temp to 375.

Arrange the tomato slices over the cheese. Stir together 1 cup mozzerella cheese, mayo, Parmesan cheese, and pesto. Spread it over the tomato slices.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 min. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil to garnish. 

This is also good with Ricotta Cheese dolloped on top before the final baking! I made it again and added garlic..
 This is a pic of basil from my herb garden.
Basil Pesto
Makes 2 cups or 16 (2-tablespoon) cubes
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
6 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup pine nuts, toasted  ( I use Walnuts and don't toast them)
1 cup olive oil  ( I use grapeseed oil)
Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon mixture into ice-cube trays, and freeze. Store cubes in freezer bags up to 6 months.
Pesto is great to have on hand for last minute hors d'oeuvres. It can stand alone as a dip and also works as a spread for pizzas and sandwiches.
Southern Living, SEPTEMBER 2003

Just a quick note:  I used my cookie scoop and put them onto wax paper on a tray and froze them.

  I just read that people make lemon balm and other herbed pestos.  I have tons of herbs to try out.  I have to get more Parmesan cheese first.  
These scoops are priceless.  I have a few, in different sizes.  Great for cookies or anything really. I use them to scoop cupcake batter into muffin tins, they are great for meat balls too.   

Here is a video of a gal making pesto. It's really easy and fast to make.

Episode 7: Heirloom Pesto -- powered by


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rice Cooker Pepper Omelet

I made an omelet in the rice cooker this morning, just because I was lazy.  It turned out really nice!

In the rice cooker:
2 T oil
1/2 cup frozen onion and green pepper strips
1/8 cup bacon pieces
  Who measures? lol  Its an estimate of how much I put in. Put in as much as you want. Hot peppers are a plus!
Turn on the rice cooker, keep lid open and let it "fry" for a few mins

Now, if your bacon is not precooked, as I buy mine, you can brown it up now

Next, add 6 eggs, scrambled with 1/8 c water. 
Shut the lid
If the cook turns off, hit it again.  It will turn off once or biggie..if you let this go, it will still cook, but to speed it up, I go out and re-hit the cook button.

It will take about 10 minutes ...I know, longer than in a fry pan, but if you don't feel like getting out the frying pan, or don't have one on hand...this is so easy.

When its done, you can tell, the eggs firm up, lay 5-6 slices of American Cheese on top, and close the lid to let it melt.   It's done.  This served four in my small 7-cup rice cooker.  If you have a bigger cooker, you can make more. 

This was delicious and easy.  Great for if you are taking it on vacation and don't want to pay to eat out, or for your college dorm room. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Latte It's so Easy!

Pumpkin Latte
 My daughter posted on facebook that she was drinking a pumpkin latte....I WANT ONE  I replied.  Searched around and came up with a concoction from reading a few other concoctions lol.

These are semi healthy, as they contain real pumpkin.  Each batch serves one.  You can make one in two minutes and be out the door with it.

You are going to be amazed at how fast it is to make these. It won't cost you 5.00 a cup either.

To make it easy, take any remaining pumpkin and freeze in an ice cube tray and break out, store in baggies.  When you want one, you can thaw an ice cube right into your mug in the microwave and then you will have just the right amount to make one.

Pumpkin Latte

1/2  mug half and half or creamer (milk would do)
2 T pumpkin
dash black walnut extract
1/2 mug coffee
1/8 - 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
 whipped cream (optional) and some pumpkin pie spice or halloween sprinkles for garnish

I just took a frozen pumpkin cube, dropped it in a mug and nuked it (in the microwave of course) for 30 secs.  It was ready to work with.   Fill the mug halfway with cream or half and half.  Add the black walnut extract and pumpkin pie spice.  Nuke it for 30 secs.  Add hot coffee to fill the cup.  

Add whipped cream if desired and garnish with spice or sprinkles...Enjoy!  

PS.  for those who refuse to have a microwave (my sister lol) can do this on the stove top, but if you had a microwave, it would be less mess and faster.

Feel free to make the froth machine noise while you are waiting for the microwave lol. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Apple Season! How about some Nachos, no fattening tortilla chips needed



I got this awesome looking recipe from Taste of Home
Its a great magazine filled with yummy and fun recipes. This recipe claims to yield 24 servings, but I'd say it serves 4 lol.

Apple Nachos
by RaeAnne Gnatkowski

36 caramels
1 T water
30 large marshmallows
1/3 C butter, cubed
4 medium tart apples cut into ¼ inch slices
1/3 C dry roasted peanuts, chopped
1/3 C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
3 T Halloween colored sprinkles

In a microwave safe bowl, melt caramel with water and stir until smooth.  

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt marshmallows and butter.  Arrange apple slices on a large platter.  Drizzle with caramel, top with marshmallow mixture.  Sprinkle peanuts, chocolate chips and sprinkles on top. 
Serve immediately.

149 calories per serving

Tip: Spritz the apple slices with some lemon lime soda to prevent oxidation.  You could use pecans or walnuts in place of the peanuts. 

If you have an apple peeler corer slicer, this recipe can be whipped up in 5-10 minutes! Just pull the peeler thing back.  Or peel them if you like.  The recipe calls for peeled apples, but the pic shows them not peeled and I love the peel on mine.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch Party Mix

I love Chex party mixes and none of the store bought bags compare to the homemade varieties.  And NO MSG or artificial flavors in the homemade versions!

Here is a great one for fall.

Chex® Pumpkin Pie Crunch

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
  • 2 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
  • 2 cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal
  • 8 oz pecans
  1. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.
  2. Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.
16 servings (1/2 cup each) 

Who's counting? lol
1 Serving: Calories 180 (Calories from Fat 80); Total Fat 9g (Saturated Fat 2.5g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 150mg; Total Carbohydrate 23g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 7g); Protein 2g
% Daily Value: Vitamin A 8%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 6%; Iron 30%
Exchanges: 1/2 Starch, 1 Other Carbohydrate, 2 Fat
Carbohydrate Choices: 1 1/2 
for more great recipes from Chex, visit their website...


TOMATOES: Ripening problems this summer?

I don't know about you, but if you live in the North East Mid Atlantic States, we didn't have a great summer for tomatoes.  Most people I talk to had the same problem. It's nothing you as a gardener did, and there was not much you as a gardener could do. And here is why.

According to my newsletter I get from Penn State Extension Gardeners Newsletter, when temperatures are above 85° F, tomatoes do not produce lycopene and carotene, the pigments responsible for ripe tomato color.

The optimum temperature range for ripening mature green tomatoes is 68°-77° F. The further the termperatures stray from the optimum, the slower the ripening process will be.  Most of the summer, we had 90+ degree days.

We pulled some off the vine and let them ripen indoors, but they aren't the same as when they ripen on the vine. Tomatoes that reach mature green stage can be ripened off the vine, so if the weather man is predicting frost, gather then and bring them in! 

The temperatures are more favorable now, so they should be pushing and ripening like crazy for you now!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keeping Track of Medical Records

Here is a FREE  program to help you keep track of your medical records on your own computer.  It's not on a server or website, its on just your PC.  

I got this site from Kim Komando and she always has safe sites and programs so I trust it. 

There is always that last minute thing you need to fill out that asks when your kids had their last shots.  I even put my Pets records on it! 

HeyDoc! is a unique program that helps your doctor to keep you healthy. HeyDoc! provides an easy way for you to store and present all kinds of health information to give to your doctor. HeyDoc! is perfect for individuals, families, companies, camps, clinics, and groups.

With HeyDoc! all your personal medical information stays on your own computer. Nothing is stored on a server.

Here are just some of the ways HeyDoc! can help:
  • Keep your medical information readily available while on vacation.
  • Perfect for traveling abroad.
  • When sending your kids to camp or an overnight sleepover with their medical information.
  • Taking care of elderly parents.
  • Any time you may have to visit multiple doctors or specialists.
  • Verification of records for hospitals and clinics.
  • Quick and easy access to vital information for those with special needs.
  • Encouraging healthy habits for employees.
  • Have research, allergic reactions and special instructions ready to show health professionals.
  • Improve your diet.
  • Lose weight.
  • Make it more enjoyable for children to improve their diet.
  • Great for school projects concerning nutrition and health.
HeyDoc! is specifically designed to record the following information in a user-friendly and printer-friendly way:
  • Name, address, phone, photograph and physical descriptions
  • Emergency contact information
  • A Diet Diary which includes:
    • Daily record of food consumed
    • Calorie calculator
    • Average daily calories
    • Calorie counter chart
  • Insurance or self-pay information
  • Medical history including:
    • Medical conditions and surgeries
    • Allergies and allergic reactions notes
  • Symptom tracking
  • Doctor recommendations for easy reference
  • Information and contact details for multiple doctors/specialists
  • Printable charts (bar or line graph format) which include:
    • Blood pressure records and charts
    • Glucose levels (for diabetes)
    • Pedometer counts
    • Sleep Chart
    • Menstrual cycle records
    • Cholesterol levels
    • Temperatures
    • Pain levels
    • Sodium levels
    • Weight Chart
    • Children's growth
    • Infant length
    • Infant weight
  • Immunization records
  • Current and past medications
  • Eye examinations
  • Special medical research and notes
  • Vitamins and supplements tracking (including dosage, frequency and directions)
  • Organ donor status
  • Blood type information
  • Smoker/drinker information
  • Prescription tracking including:
    • Doctor's name
    • Pharmacy's name, address and phone number
    • Prescription number, dosages, directions, and notes for any side effects
  • Print a full report, or limit by time period or section
  • Add scanned documents
  • Optional popup appointment reminders
  • Printable note template to use while you are not at your computer
  • Multiple user profiles
  • Backup and restore options for your data
  • Help manual
  • Free e-mail technical support
HeyDoc! also has the ability to scan and store medical documents and prescriptions, and will even print out an emergency permission slip. HeyDoc! also includes these useful features throughout the program:
  • Different color schemes
  • Four color highlighting
  • Spell check
  • Read ahead on input
  • Personalize your notes:
    • Change fonts and formatting
    • Use bullet points
    • Add horizontal lines
    To Download, visit their site....
    Hey Doc