Sunday, December 9, 2012
With Christmas quickly approaching, I have been trying to think of homemade gifts that I could make for giving. I’m a huge kettle corn fan and up till about two years ago, I had to wait for summer fairs to come around so that I could buy my kettle corn. I have tried several in the grocery store, but ugh, I just did not like them. So I started looking on the internet and found this recipe on http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kettle-corn/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=kettle%20corn&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Reviews
Here is what you will need:
- 1 Large Pan
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil (or oil of your choice—I have used coconut and peanut with great success)
- ¼ cup white sugar (can use brown sugar—gives it a caramel color and taste)
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
Pour oil and 3 kernels in pan and place over medium heat until you hear all three kernels pop.
Once popped, add sugar and stir it around well, then add the remainder of the popcorn and cover it. I then alternate every three seconds from leaving the pot on the burner to shaking it.
Once the popping has slowed, remove from stove top and immediately sprinkle with salt.
Let the batch cool a little, and enjoy! WARNING---this is highly addictive!
If I need to store (which rarely ever happens because I eat the whole batch), I will store in a glass container so that the popcorn stays nice and crunchy. I find that plastic containers will soften the popcorn. For gift giving, I like to use cellophane bags tied with a little piece of jute—very country looking. Why not combine a bag of kettle corn with maybe a movie for a movie night Christmas gift!
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Just Tell Someone…..
It’s that time of the year when most of us will reminisce on the memories of Christmases past. For some of us, this will be a joyous Christmas that will be bursting with new memories and traditions……..however, for some, it may be a painful Christmas because we may have experienced the painful loss of someone dear to us this past year. As I personally reflect on Christmases of the past and also what has happened in my life this past year, I am thankful for the many blessings.
Unexpectedly this year, my Dad who is 73 had open heart surgery- a triple bypass. He started with chest pains near the end of the summer, and after a visit to the Dr’s, he was scheduled for a stent. While in the hospital awaiting his stent, the Dr discovered more blockages and sent him directly (by ambulance) to a hospital that specializes in open heart surgery. Needless to say, my family was a bit shocked that he went from having a stent to open heart! Almost three months later, he is doing fine and getting back to his normal self. This really got me thinking of how blessed I am that God has given me more time with my Dad.
While visiting my Dad one evening, my Mom and were looking at old photos of my three siblings and me (where does the time go?). What really caught my eye was that there were so many pictures of my brother and me (who are only 16 months apart) and the pictures depicted two happy kids! I noticed that most of the pictures were taken at home because that is where we spent most of our time, and we were so happy. It got me thinking about the life that my parents had given us. They didn’t have much money raising four children and my Mom being a stay home Mom, but they gave us what they could, and we were always happy and well taken care of. This is where the inspiration came for this blog “Just Tell Someone”. After my visit with my folks, I went home and wrote my parents a letter thanking them for all they did for me growing up as well as thanking them for being such loving and caring parents. I decided to put my thoughts on paper because writing allows me to list all the things I want to say (not forgetting anything) and secondly, they would have the letter in case they ever wanted to read it again.
I also have been blessed with a very special Aunty (Rita) who is battling cancer for the second time. I don’t recall when or how we became close; but I do know is that she is such a caring, loving, giving, funny and strong person who always showed up with her “big old heart” whenever I needed her. I also sent my Aunty a letter telling her the reasons I love her.
The purpose of these letters was not just to tell them all that I loved them, but why I do and how they have made a difference in my life. As I began to think about all the other special people in my life, I thought that this would be the perfect time of the year to “just tell someone”. Who in your life needs to hear or would love to hear how special they or how they have made a difference in your life by just being in it? I think that this would make a very special Christmas present to the ones you love in your life. I would love to hear about the special people in your life and what makes them so special to you! Just tell someone……
Until next time....blessings....
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I can’t think of a better time of the year than the fall & winter to have oatmeal for breakfast. There is nothing like having your hands wrapped around a warm bowl of oatmeal on a chilly morning, with the aromas of oats, cinnamon and fruit tickling your nose and face. I like to think of oatmeal as comfort food for breakfast, and I prefer to have thick oatmeal that will stick to your ribs and keep your tummy full! My Hunnee (husband) eats oatmeal year around, and so I always felt good about buying him those oatmeal packets with all the different flavors and brands to choose from! I too was eating oatmeal regularly (the extra fiber brand) but got tired of the rolled oats & dust in the packets (I’m an Old Fashioned Whole Oats girl) and also the growling of my tummy only a short time later. It then came to me, why wasn’t I making homemade oatmeal every day? The first and probably only reason was because of the inconvenience and time to get it ready; after all my husband and I both work and our mornings are very busy. So I thought about creating single serving bags similar to Quaker, but, including what we enjoy and also controlling the amount of sugar. Here is my basic oatmeal packet recipe:
¼ cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon crushed oatmeal
½ tsp or so of sugar (I prefer brown sugar)
Sprinkle of cinnamon
I put approximately 2/3 cup of milk in a small sauce pan (Hunnee just uses water) and warm it up on low for just a couple seconds before dumping in a bag of oatmeal. Cooking the oatmeal on the stove takes probably 2 minutes from start to finish; it cooks up fast, so you will want to watch it so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. If you prefer a more runny oatmeal, then add more milk, I prefer mine a bit thicker, so the 2/3 cup works perfect for me.
Like I mentioned, this is a basic recipe—just like you would get from a store bought packet---but there are so many ways that you can have fun with your oatmeal. I am trying to lower my cholesterol, so I have started adding flax seed, ground flax seed and wheat bran. I also like to use various types of fruit such as peaches, bananas or blueberries. Still other variations include nuts, pumpkin spice and a little squirt of some local honey…YUM!
Like many of you, I am trying to find ways to conserve money in this tough economy, so I did the math to figure out if there was any savings at all. To make the basic oatmeal including the bags, it cost me .15¢ per bag. Quaker figured out to be .25¢ a bag, and the local store brand cost .17¢ a bag. Because this is my second time around making this oatmeal, I am reusing the bags, so this batch cost me 13¢ per bag. I also just learned on the Homesteading Barn Hop that I can make my own brown sugar, so I will try that out next time which will also cut down on the cost of purchasing brown sugar. I know this isn’t a huge savings when you compare to the store brands, but it is still a savings, and your kids can help you make these. I also have to consider that I am controlling the amount of sugar that is going into these bags as well knowing exactly what was put into these bags, not to mention our tummies are staying fulling longer. As I mentioned in my last post, there is a satisfaction that comes when you are preparing for your family that is so difficut to explain, and for most, it is only understood when it is experienced.
Do you have a favorite homemade oatmeal recipe or concoction? I would love to hear from you!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
For some time now I have wanted to try my hand at making homemade cleaners, and a couple weekends ago, I finally did it! I started with a disinfectant recipe that I found on this website http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm , the recipe is as follows:
*Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)*
Here I made a double batch and I was able to reuse old spray bottles!
In my recipe, I did not use castile soap only because I did not have any on hand, but did add some tea tree & sweet orange essential oils. Tea Tree Oil is used as an anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti septic, anti viral, balsamic, cicatrisant, expectorant and fungicide…just to name a few. For more information check out this link http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-tea-tree-essential-oil.html which lists them in more details. I chose sweet orange because it is a natural grease cutter and because it smells great…perfect for cleaning the kitchen! There are plenty of different homemade disinfectants out there, so try and few and decide for yourself which is your favorite!
It has been three weeks since I have started using my new disinfectant and I’m really enjoying the benefits of not having harmful chemicals in my home as well as creating products for a fraction of the cost. I have also cut up old t-shirts into easy to use pieces and placed them right next to the cleaner; this way, when I’m ready to clean or wipe something up, I’m not reaching for paper towels. By having these t-shirt pieces easily accessible, I learning to do without paper towels, which is better for my wallet and better for the environment! We know that we are living in a tough economy, but I fear this is not then end, so it’s time to start doing more at home and saving money!
Till next time……