Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Of course right after I write my post about my stubborn computer the card reader starts working, gah!  So frustrating.  We had tostadas the other night for dinner very American style of course.  I even deep fried the corn tortillas myself and smoked up the whole darn house.  
Jeff ground the meat for me and it was the best part of the whole dinner.  We used pork butt from the butcher and it was so flavorful compared to buying it from the store pre-ground.  I would show you pictures but Jeff did this for me while the kids and I were at church and I forgot to ask him to take any.

Start with a three pound pork butt roast and trim the huge veins of fat from it.  Jeff used my grandpa's boning knife.  Grind all the meat once on a coarse grind.  Into the ground meat mix in 1 Tbsp of chili powder, 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, dried Mexican oregano (or regular) 1 tsp paprika, 1 Tbsp cumin, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper.  Mix this in with your hands.  Run back through the finer holes on your grinder this will incorporate the seasonings beautifully and evenly through the meat.  Just fry this up and enjoy how ever you love your Mexi-meat best!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stupid Computer

My computer and I are not getting along.  I have a wonderful recipe for this awesome Mexican style meat for you.  Jeff took the photos and now I can't get the computer to read my SD card.  My computer has been fighting with me more and more often.  There is a plan to get a new one soon.  Until I can get the card reader to do it's thing here are some adorable photos from our garden in 2011 I found on my hard drive.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hostess Gift

 I'm an old fashioned girl at heart really.  I have always loved the idea of hostess gifts but very rarely do I get the opportunity to give one.  When we were invited to our ministers house a few Saturday's ago I was as excited to go and talk as I was to be able to bring a gift.  

The tag was the most fun to make and I have to say it turned out better than I thought it would.  I attached it to a jar of the Orange Honey Butter I had made the day before.  Underneath is a loaf of Oatmeal Banana Bread wrapped in plastic with a layer of Kraft paper over top (a brown shopping bag works great).  It was just so nice to be able to walk up to the door and have something to say thank you for inviting me into your home.

Oatmeal Banana Bread

1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. stone ground whole wheat (or AP whatever is fine)
1/2 C. old fashioned oats with more for on top
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 C. buttermilk
1 TBSP. melted butter
1 TBSP. vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1/4 C. honey
2 medium mashed bananas (I like to leave them a little chunky)
1 1/2 C. frozen (or fresh in season) cranberries
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a bread pan.

In a medium bowl mix together the flours, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a measuring cup measure out your buttermilk and add the vanilla extract and the melted butter

I like to add the cinnamon and the cardamom into my mashed bananas
With an electric mixer beat the eggs, brown sugar and the honey until well combined it turns thick and pale in color (approximately five minutes).  Mix in the spiced mashed bananas and the buttermilk mixture.  In two batches add the flour mixture.  Do not over mix you just want to combine these things.  Fold in the cranberries by hand and pour into the bread pan.  Sprinkle with more oats on top.

Bake for 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool the bread out of the pan on a rack. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Cultured Buttermilk

 Do you love homemade buttermilk pancakes but hate when you don't have buttermilk on hand?  Then you get stuck doing the whole milk with lemon juice mixed in to make a soured milk substitute right?  We decided to try making our own cultured buttermilk and oh my gods is it easy!  I don't think we will be running out again any time soon.  

Start with 6 to 8 ounces of cultured buttermilk from the store (okay so this is probably cheating but go with me 'kay?) in a clean quart jar.  Check the labels to make sure it has the cultures in it.  I wasn't sure how fresh my 'stater' was so I used 8 ounces.

Fill the rest of your quart jar with whole milk.  I used it cold straight from the fridge without any problems but room temp would have probably made this go faster.

I then wrapped my jar in a tea towel and placed it in the oven over night with the light on because my house gets pretty chilly sometimes and when I did this the wind was really kicked up. 

The next morning I woke up with a gorgeous thick buttermilk that as you can see coated the glass.  Molly tried it and claimed it was like drinking one of those yogurt shakes and thought maybe we should flavor it.  That might not be a bad idea. 

 Of course neither was buttermilk blueberry pancakes for dinner!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter Canning

Aren't these so pretty?!  We are lucky to have a year round farmer's market not too far away.  The kids and I picked up some carrots for snacks, soups and all sorts of other yummy carrotness recently.  As we did not get the amount of canning done that we had planned on this year I decided to get some extra pickles made for us.  These are spicy pickled carrots and I'm thinking they are going to be very spicy.  We all love pickles but only Jack and I really like the heat so we'll see how they go over when it is time to pop them open in a month or so.  I would like to say that next time I'm making anything with a brine I should probably not do it an hour before bed because that is a smell that hangs around! 
Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern PantryThis is the book that I found the recipe in.  I love that it is broken into seasons and it fun to read not just to pick up for it's recipes.  Do you have this book and have a favorite recipe from it?  Or do you maybe have a favorite way to preserve carrots or other winter root veggies?  I would love to hear them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Little Brightness

Today is one of those gross ugly days that just make me want to hide.  It's the exact end this week deserves really.  Too much homework, too much time inside, too many meltdowns all the way around this week.       

Really I want to wallow in it but I know that I've already promised to go to the gym later tonight and that will make me feel loads better so I'm running on optimism and made something bright and yummy.  

In the Better Homes and Gardens canning magazine I kicked  moved earlier I saw this gem and decided that since we have all the ingredients the colors were just want I needed to brighten up my day.

All we have here is one stick of butter, a quarter cup of honey (local), zest from an orange and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon.  Whip that all together and viola! sunshine in a jar!  Now on to dinner then getting ready for the gym wish me luck!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Projects

It is so nice to have snow this year!  Last year we had a smattering here and there but nothing that ever stuck very long.  So far we have a good amount and it's staying cold (which I'm hoping means good sap running in the Spring).  Without much to do around the outside of the house I'm finding things to keep me busy inside like reading.  I can't wait to read Dinner, a Love Story  I love the blog it came from very much and I can't wait to bite into the book.  The other two books are ones that have been on my Amazon wish list forever.  I'm giving them a test drive before deciding to buy them.  We have so many books that I'm really trying to make sure that the new ones coming don't just have the same information as the ones already on the shelf.

I'm also working on another pair of socks.  It is the same simple toe up style that I've done before but I'm a quicker knitter this time around with a little more patience and a lot more experience.  I think this pair will end up a pair not just one lonely sock floating around the house mate-less. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yummy Honey

I found the ingredients for this delicious honey on this blog.  We decided we needed to try it since the entire family and the kids I babysit for spent the entire holiday break sick.  It is so unusual for any of us to be sick it was honestly a little frustrating.  So to the herbal medicine cabinet we go.  Gorgeous local honey, a nice lemon and a chunk of ginger root. 
 I used about an inch and a half of ginger and left it in decent sized chunks so that they could be fished out before going into someones tea or even for an addition to stir fry or soup. 

This is a regular pint jar we filled it to the 12oz line and then placed it in the fridge.  After about a week in the fridge we pulled it out and gave it a good stirring.  We added more honey to fill the jar and stirred that in too.  The flavor is incredible, nothing is too overpowering this can be eaten by the spoonful.
This will be the perfect thing to help get rid of the sickies! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Reintroducing Ourselves

So we have been gone for far too long.  One blogger I follow had done the same and then reintroduced herself and I thought it was just clever so here we go.

Hi I'm Erin an early 30's stay at home mom of two and a wife.  My family started this blog to share our experiences as we try to become more self sufficient and a more 'homemade' family.  Everyone gets in on the act.  I teach through our Community Education program offering classes in card making, canning, green cleaning and more.  Jeff (my husband) is great with his hands he builds and makes possible all my crazy ideas.  He is the heavy lifter and backbone of the family.  Molly is just starting to discover herself as a person (man is it scary sometimes).  She is wildly creative with huge ideas and her energy is off the charts.  So far gardening seems to really agree with her and she doesn't mind getting in there and getting dirty.  My Jack is a budding chef he loves to bring his stool into the kitchen and work along side me.

We love to cook, can, bake, preserve in the kitchen.  We make our own laundry soap and softener.  There is a garden in the yard and a dog by the front door.  This little house in the suburbs is always changing and we hope it is for the better for ourselves our community and our world. 

If you are new to our blog welcome and if you have been a member 'Thank you for sticking with us!'.