Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Book Lover, Baby!

Book Lovers DREAM Come True!

I love books and I read and read and read when I can force the time in for it. I have loved reading since childhood when my mother chose books and booksets for every gift giving occasion. Many times, I didn’t catch the gold in what she was doing and I wondered what her hang up with books was. Now I know. Now, my hang up with books is even greater than hers.

Over the years, much of the spare money, extra, gift money, gift cards and on it goes would greedily go for books. Bookstores, Christian gifts shops, thrift stores, antique malls, used book stores, yardsales and online shopping led me to more and more books.

Yes, you can have too many. I’ve tried extremely hard to be diligent over the years and have given boxes and boxes and boxes reluctantly away.

I tried one of the book programs supposedly just like Netflix is with movies but I was very much NOT impressed with the price involved.

Somehow, through a blog or something? I landed on the AWESOME SITE I’m sharing about now and it is amazingly FREE to join and participate in! IF you ship books out, you pay small shipping fees but you can “order” books yourself and pay none!

You send books out and get credits for them and you can get books sent to you in a matter of days. I have waited to share more on this until I saw if I liked it and the deal is : I LOVE IT!

IF YOU SIGN UP, PLEASE use me as a referral! My email name is --- I’ve been sharing and sharing with people around me about this and didn’t know YOU get CREDITS for sharing with others! Very fun thing and there are so many cool features.

Just a few:

· Message boards. You can ask questions, read feedbacks, chat or whatever with other members all over.
· You get assigned someone to help you through as a new member and I’ve been helped instantly with my questions from the start. Amazing to get all this for free.
· You can add a facebook app and share the news that way and there are all kinds of website banners, email signatures, and more. I am freaking out over all of these.
· Everything is kept up for y ou. What books you send/sent, what books you receive. I recently found out you can email the person you are sending the book to and email the one sending you a book.
· The process is SO EASY! I am the world’s WORSE mail things out person. I really don’t know if anyone on this planet could come close to my wretched record. Things are changing… this place lets you PRINT the label straight from the website and you can wrap the book in it or slip it in a bubble envelope and tape the label there.
· There are several mailing options AND instruction sheets for wrapping paperbacks, hardcovers and more.

I cannot say enough about this wonderful deal. I do hope more and more will join the thousands of members already participating because the more of us there … the wider our book inventory and resources will be! My sister (THANK YOU, SISTA!) gave me a stack of books to start me off sending and three were asked for immediately.
I now can browse for homemaking, cookbooks, Christian, fiction, drama, classics, biographies, college books, kids books, and just about any other book you can think of!

Please check it out if you get a few minutes!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Healthy HomeSchool Lunch

Healthy HomeSchool Lunch

Braxton and I find ourselves without many ideas for lunch during the day since our microwave flipped out. I actually don’t care because I’m so concerned over the possible harm they can do but my family is used to having one.

The only thing we use a microwave for is the very reason everyone is feeling one no longer being here: heating up left overs. Pasta dishes, spaghetti, lasagna, and a lot of the things made in the oven are now heated up in potss, skillets, or in the oven. More time and more dirty dishes to wash being the only real drawback in my opinion.

ANYway . . . this has meant a change in plans regarding quick lunches for two or three if Dad is home. I am making “mini-dinners” for our lunches and if there are any left… they make darling after school snacks for Lauren.

For the lunch I’m sharing the idea of:
I pulled fresh broccoli, green onions, parmesan cheese and butter out of the fridge. Grabbed peanut oil out of the cabinet and heated the WOK up on the stove top. When it was hot, I added the oil as is recommended in the book that came with our WOK and then added chopped green onions. Meanwhile, I had put the water on for pasta and (forgot to add my garlic clove or two in the pasta water… frown!) and added cut up broccoli to the WOK.

Oh, and I added three chicken bouillon cubes to the boiling water. I do this if we are in a hurry or if I want flavor for less seasoned dishes.

When the broccoli looked just like I wanted it, I added chopped garlic and tossed that. Pasta was drained and all was tossed together and a cloud or two of shaved parmesan topped the whole thing.

Very good! I’ll add it to our “Lunch List” so we can draw from it on hurried days. I plan to print out a sheet of breakfast and lunch ideas to tape or tack to a cabinet or wall in the kitchen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

I wrote about the birthday this cake was made for on my vox blog ( and here is the recipe Laura and I made:

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

(based on the Poppyseed Lemon Cake at --- I changed it bec/ we changed the recipe AND I like the name better;)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup fat-free plain yogurt (we used regular sour cream)
1/4 cup canola oil (we used olive oil)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (we used freshly squeezed)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel (we zested and used 3 T.)
4 teaspoons poppy seeds (we used more)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (we used sea salt)
1 cup fat-free milk (used whole)
1 cup confectioners' sugar (added more)
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (added more)
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds (used more)

1. Coat a 10-in. fluted tube pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yogurt, oil and lemon juice. Combine the flour, lemon peel, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Pour into prepared pan.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes longer. Place rack on waxed paper. For glaze, combine confectioners' sugar and lemon juice; brush over warm cake. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cool completely before cutting.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Printed from 1/22/2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Lunch & A Dinner

Bagel Sandwiches

I split a bagel and placed both sides on a cookie sheet and added to an oven I set at 375 to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, I heated up sloppy jo meat from the previous night’s dinner (ours was made with venison) and added a jar of mushrooms. When the bagels were golden brown, I took them out and topped both sides with the heated meat mixture and topped with chopped red onions and sharp cheddar cheese.
This was heated until the cheese melted and my husband asked me to write it down. He and my 14 year old daughter loved it!

I made Poppy Seed Chicken tonight and it was easy and perfect for a cold night because it called for the oven!

• 5 cups chopped cooked chicken (I cut two Rotisserie chickens into bite sized pieces because I had no other cooked chicken)
• 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 1/2 cups crushed buttery round crackers (used whole grain Ritz or Ritz like crackers)
• 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (added more to feed my daughter’s pleas for it)
• 1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Place the chicken into a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together the condensed soup and sour cream. Pour over the chicken. In a separate bowl, stir together the crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken and sauce.
3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the casserole is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

Things have been simple in my kitchen because we have been serving in hospitality, going to church, visiting relatives, going to birthday parties and on it goes. The biggest reason has been me tackling my kitchen cleaning (deep cleaning) this month. I hoped to have it done way before now but I’m still knocking it away an area at a time.

Baking, cooking, and making things in this constantly used room will be so much nicer when the cleaning and organizing is done! It is already a big difference just in the changes so far. I'm making a list of things to do more routinely now as well. Like the scrubbing bubbles on the walls I shared about in the last Home Notes letter? That shall be an every 4-6 weeks job from now on!
I'll try to hit the walls, pot rack, oven vent and other grease prone areas regularly enough so it is a quick job.

More later... I need to finish here and get today's culinary work started:)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Drying Oranges

"Florida oranges are so juicy that you have to eat them in the bathtub"
Californian saying

I have been way too busy and had far too much company to keep up with all the things going on in my kitchen. Since I last wrote, we have been going steadily along with few stopping points.

For Christmas, we were given a huge box full of ORANGES! We didn’t want them to go bad so we filled a bowl full to eat as snacks. I scrubbed, dried, sliced and dehydrated several containers full and we used up a good portion of the box making orange juice.

The house has smelled happy and delicious as a result of all our orange “harvesting” and other preparations.

So far, I have the ideas from previous and present researching:

to make hot teas with the dried orange slices, use the dried peels and pieces in potpourri, and to have a skin toning bath with a scattering of them in the bath water.

Something else I might try is to heat up some sugar, dried orange slices, and a little water in a sauce pan. I read somewhere you could stew into a thin syrup and pour this over desserts and more.

I added one to a cup of hot chocolate and it was delicious! It tasted like one of those chocolate oranges melted and mixed with hot milk. Smiles.

I need to keep reading up on dehydrating so I can prepare for this summer when we plan to have our first real garden. We want to do a lot of drying because I don’t do a lot of canning and we are still saving up for a freezer so there isn’t much space there. I’ll be exploring several ways of food preservation as we go along but I love drying foods, flowers a
nd herbs.

I started dehydrating many years ago but we’ve always used everything up too quickly to store it. This summer, I hope to have enough to stock up on often used foods and will bag them up with the Food Saver and Mason jars.

Just a quick share...smiles.