Welcome! I'm happy and humbled you've stopped by.....Cozy up and follow along as I share my attempts at simple living with you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dressing up a Salad

As promised, a post about vinegar and vinaigrettes. I have experimented with many vinegars, mostly because we enjoy homemade salad dressings as opposed to the store bought variety. I have many recipes for a wide range of dressings. But I prefer to just "wing it" using a few vinaigrette basics.

The basic ratio of vinegar to oil is 3-1. Three parts of your favorite oil to 1 part of thevinegar of your choice. Sometimes I even cut back on the vinegar(acid)and add a squeeze of orange, lemon or lime. Most any sweetner (ie... maple syrup, sugar, honey, artificial sweetners .....) can be used to sweeten the mix if you desire. I prefer my dressings somewhat sweet. My sweetner of choice is honey. Not only does honey serve as a sweetener, but it provides a thicker consistency for the dressing. And for a little kick, dijon mustard or a shot of tobasco works great. Or how about a dash of this and that from the spice rack. The sky is the limit on the number of concoctions you can put together. No measuring required. Just use the mix and taste method. (My favorite way to cook!)


I love to experiment with vinegar. For herbal vinegars with fresh cut herbs from the garden:

*Sterilize your bottles or jars by immersing them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool.

*Wash herbs thoroughly.

*Put four herb sprigs in each bottle and fill with 3 cups vinegar of your choice.

*Seal bottles with lids or corks.

*Store in a cool, dark place for three weeks to allow flavor to ripen.

I have also experimented with raspberry vinegar. We have a ton of wild raspberries here each summer. Raspberry vinegrette goes well with a salad sprinkled with a few berries of some kind. You get that mix of sweet and sour.

Raspberry Vinegar

6 cups Raspberries 1 quart Distilled White Vinegar (Heinz Natural If Available) 1/2 cup raw cane or date Sugar

Place the berries in a large container. Bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil and pour over the berries. Stir and cover. Cool and refrigerate for 30 days. To process, strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth into a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into hot sterilized jars, cover and seal.

NOTE: This vinegar needs to sit for 30 days to attain its full body and flavor. Serve with salads, as a marinade for tofu, or for something unusual sprinkle over French fried sweet potatoes. Try using the vinegar in salad dressings.

Have fun Experimenting!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fun in the kitchen

I had a little fun in the kitchen today. There have been a few items I have been wanting to make. So after making my rounds in the garden this morning, I got busy. There were a few strawberries still lingering that made it into my basket. There wasn't enough to make a pie or strawberry shortcake, but I did have just enough to eat on a little yogurt. I love granola on my yogurt and fruit! So I whipped up a batch of homemade granola. I had been wanting to try out this recipe for some time now. It is Crystal Miller's recipe from http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/. Check out her site if you get a chance. There's a girl that's got it going on! ......Oh, and the granola....de-lish!

My Favorite Granola

12 cups uncooked oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup powdered milk
1 T. cinnamon
1 ½ t. salt
1 cup light olive oil
1 1/3 cup honey
1 T. vanilla
2 cup raisins
2 cups nuts of your choice, chopped

You will need a very large bowl for mixing. Combine oats, coconut, flour, powdered milk, cinnamon and salt well in the large bowl and mix well. In a saucepan heat the oil, honey and vanilla until just warm. This helps the mixture pour easily. Pour this over the oat mixture and stir well. I start out by stirring it with a large spoon, but end up mixing it with my hands to insure that everything is evenly mixed. Spread this in a thin layer on 2 to 3 large cookie sheets and bake in the oven at 300 for 45 to 50 minutes. You will need to stir it about every 15 minutes. I bake two trays at a time and switch the position of the trays each time I stir so that the granola browns evenly. When the mixture is done you can pour it back into the large pan and let it cool. When completely cool stir in the raisins and the nuts. You can store the finished granola in any air tight container or even a couple of large Ziploc type bags. This recipe will make approx. 20 cups of granola.


While the granola was baking, it was on to my next project-croutons. I love homemade croutons. And with all the lettuce in the garden, we have salad every evening. You can make croutons with any kind of bread you choose....leftover stale bread never needs to go to waste. I don't even use a recipe. I just kinda throw everything together. But here's the crouton basics to get you started:

Cut bread into cubes, place in a large bowl
Drizzle and toss cubes with olive oil
Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice ( I like garlic salt and oregano)

Bake at 350 for 15 min or until golden brown
Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parm Cheese


In the next post, I will share some tips on homemade dressings for your garden lettuce.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 22, 2009


I am trying to get my house in order, spring clean if you would. I’m restoring order and reorganizing a few things…..catching up on some projects that were put on the back burner while I was busy planting garden and playing in the flower gardens-not to mention pulling weeds and mowing all that grass from all of our spring rains here in Pennsylvania. Exhausting! And while I still have some things to keep me busy in the yard, I have it under control and decided to move inside.

Do you ever wonder how many rolls of toilet paper you’ve changed in your lifetime, or how many trash cans you’ve emptied? My brain can’t calculate that high! As I was cleaning today, that thought crossed my mind. No one else in this house is able to do those two mundane jobs. I’m irreplaceable! Its a good thing they have me- their “homemaker”.

Finding my Title

I really don’t like the word homemaker even though it’s a job I love. It’s the job that I truly believe God has called me to do. It seems to be a condescending title in the world we live in. Not much value can be placed on a “homemaker-right?” But it still doesn’t describe who I am or what I do. I’m no longer a stay at home mom. So I can no longer claim that name. My babies are 22 and 23. I’m no longer a homeschool mom. I can’t claim that name. My students have graduated. One has even graduated with honors from college. The other is "building a career" in the construction industry. (get it, building a career:) I guess I can claim the “proud mom” title!

In October, I’ll be a grandmother for the first time. Okay now we’re talking…grandmas are valuable. Oh, and I’ve been the wife of a great guy for nearly 30 years. Now that’s an accomplishment-especially in today’s world. Perhaps our marriage has lasted because there is someone at home to take care of the nest….someone to present him with a homemade meal and a peaceful place to land at the end of the day.

Hubby and I work hard to keep this place going, and make it a pleasant and peaceful place to hang. But we work together; we have developed a clear division of labor. He brings home the bacon and I cook it up. We work hard as unto the Lord. The Bible says to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands (1 Thes 4:11). I love that scripture. It has become my own personal mission statement. And I honestly believe tending home and family is the highest calling on a woman’s life. We are the care givers. Not only do we care for our homes and those who live in our homes, but we are flexible enough to find time to care for others in their time of need.

So call me a housewife, or a homemaker or whatever. It doesn’t matter what our job title is. Really, all that matters is that we are living out God’s plan for our lives. I am a wife, a mom, a grandma to be, and a homemaker (just to name a few). But I know my true worth and value comes from being a blood bought child of God- and Living my life for Him!

May all my homemaker friends be blessed today!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

My Hubby with our kids and grand-dog!

We were fortunate to be able to spend Father's Day with the family.
Our daughter and her husband came and spent the weekend.

As always, it was wonderful to see them, as well as her growing belly.

Like her mom, she too enjoys spending time in the kitchen!
On Saturday, she baked a Hershey's chocolate cake. Yummy! As of 9:30 pm Sunday, there is one piece left.
~Hope you all had a great day!~

Friday, June 19, 2009

Foto Friday

Somehow I managed to spy this little
guy......couldn't resist snapping a pic!

Can you spy the hole he was peeking from?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Clippin' Chicken Wings

Today was chicken clippin' day! By trade, I'm a retired hairdresser. So today I used my talent on our get-a-way chickens. You may think cutting their wings is cruel. But I'll tell you what cruel is- crazy neighbors who would be quick to eat my chickens for dinner! So I had no choice but to trim their little wings back. This morning I let them out of the chicken house one by one-clipping them one by one. By clipping just one wing they become lopsided, making flight very difficult. Their little trim didn't hurt them any. They are still some pretty cute chicks!

the damage

the weapon of choice

Have a great day!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What a difference a week makes!

We saw our daughter the last weekend in May. She is finally beginning to look pregnant. I got a picture of her tummy to track the progress for her scrapbook. With the ultrasound pictures and a belly picture I figured I could get started on the first pages of that scrapbook.

Just one week later, we went to visit her and her husband. They are trying to find a bigger place before the baby comes. So we looked at a few houses while we were there too. Looking at houses makes one very hungry you know, so we stopped for an ice-cream treat. I managed to snap a picture of her belly. And wow, what a difference a week makes!
Oh, and did I tell you, the baby is a boy! We are having a grandson! I'd better get busy on planning that baby shower!
If you have any clever baby shower ideas. Please, share them with me.
Have a great day!
Grandma Tammy

Celebrating "bubba's" Birthday

We celebrated my son's birthday with family and cake-lots of cake! At his request we had strawberry shortcake. And to ensure we had enough cake, I whipped up another cake as well.

He looks so serious in this picture, but he is really laid back and fun loving.

Paula Deen's
Is it really better than sex cake

1 18.25-ounce box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 3.4-ounce box French vanilla pudding, plus ingredients to prepare
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup flaked, sweetened toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare yellow cake mix as directed using a greased 13x9x2-inch pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. While cake is baking, combine the pineapple, 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Remove cake from oven and using a fork, pierce holes into cake. Pour pineapple mixture over hot cake and set aside.
Prepare pudding according to package directions. Spread pudding over cake and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Whip heavy cream and remaining sugar until stiff. Cover top of cake with whipped cream and sprinkle toasted coconut on top.

NOTE: I don't add the layer of pudding. We prefer it that way. Also, a white cake mix may also be used.

Strawberry Shortcake

1 qt fresh strawberries, sliced

1-2 TBL sugar


1-3/4 c. flour

2 TBL sugar

1 TBL baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 c. cold butter or margarine

1 egg

3/4 c. sour cream


1 c. whipping cream

1-2 TBL sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Combine strawberries and sugar; set aside. For shortcake, combine dry ingredients in a large bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, beat egg; add sour cream. Stir into crumb mixture just until moistened. Turn onto a floured board; knead 25 times or until smooth. Roll out into a 7-1/2 in. circle. Cut a 2 in. hole in center to form a ring. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 12-14 minutes or until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For topping, beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form; stir in vanilla. Just before serving, split cake horizontally. Spoon juice from berries over bottom layer. Top with half of the berries and half of the topping. Add the top cake layer, remaining topping and berries. Cut into wedges. Yields 8 servings.




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