Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Earlier summer garden notes

A post I just noticed not sent from earlier on this summer: (an update: the garden is almost gone! All we have left are some peppers, basil, and possibly watermelon! We are making plans for a fall/winter garden now. )

How are you?
Share from your kitchens!
Share from your living areas!
Share from your gardens!
Share, share!

How is your homemaking?

Things here are overflowing with blessings.
There have been some scary situations… some sad moments and reflections and things haven’t been perfect. What I’m choosing to focus on is the light flowing through our lives and that light is from the Lord. He pours it down from heaven and surrounds us with beauty so bountiful that the world’s countless words cannot come close to explaining it.  Here, we  are growing our best gardens ever, we are happy in our new (to us) home and still studying nutrition in research, reading, and almost living in the kitchen some days.

My husband lost 41 pounds and won a Biggest Loser contest at work and since I started my weight loss journey three years ago… I have lost 36 pounds. I prayed over this and I believe God has been showing the way to go and it is an ongoing thing… not just a one ditch effort.

We have tried herb gardens, vegetable gardens, berries, flowers, you name it over the years. With all we put in… we haven’t yielded a great deal of harvest. The closest was one of my many herb gardens but something happened the next year and it never did well again. This year, I prayed over our seeds, seedlings, soil, land, and on and on and the Lord just blessed and blessed and blessed some more! I honestly don’t know that we have lost ONE plant! We WAY OVER PLANTED in hopes to have at least some success but every spot has not only survived but THRIVED! I even won a contest from (I think that is it) and got 50.00 worth of seeds for FREE!
We have three kinds of watermelons, three types of cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, yellow peppers, red peppers, rainbow chard, yellow squash, carrots, purple pole beans, basil, parsley, okra, egg plant, pineapple sage, sage, rosemary, lemon balm, dill, cilantro, several kinds of tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, specialty peppers, cantaloupe, honeydew, nasturtiums, zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes, oregano, chives, chamomile, lavender, sweet mint, peppermint, German thyme, lemon thyme, hanging strawberries, and some flowering beauties left here by my beautiful MIL when she moved.

We are so in awe of God’s work every time we mulch, weed, gather, water, and so on.
I am also doing something I have tried for around 15 years now without the first sign of success …ever. I am growing aloe! Everyone I EVER had died no matter what advice I followed or how I followed it! Now? I have so many and more being potted every few weeks! I have two nice sized ones in pottery pots on each side of our back door (inside) and another one in a planter basket on one of the end tables. I have a stone fire place front/floor/shelf and there are a row of them there. I have a huge one (a gift someone had for like 10 years) in a terra cotta pot in the dining room, a vintage bowl full of little pots of them and some on the front porch! I used cacti soil mixed with some organic potting soil and some in regular soil and others in just organic potting soil. They are doing SO well!

My daily rhythm is basically:
Getting up around 4:30 or 5:00 am with my husband and making his coffee for then and a cup to go as well as a cup for me ;) I make his breakfast (oatmeal, eggs and garden squash with onions, or grits) and sometimes a smoothie or juice.

When he leaves, I have been sitting down with my coffee and doing my quiet time… reading the Word, praying, prayer journaling and so on. This morning I changed the schedule around. Now, I am heading to the gardens before Bible time to beat the heat. I may start reading but as soon as the sun rises, I head out with my garden hat on and hand shears in gloved hand ;) I take a good look at everything, weed here and there, mulch where needed, water if necessary, and gather anything ripe and ready! I want a lovely basket or something for gathering new cucumbers, basil leaves, pineapple sage, tomatoes, okra, rainbow chard, peppers, peppers, and more peppers! 

Monday, August 26, 2013


My daughter and I just enjoyed this nut meat mixture along with veggie filled/fried eggs and on top of a mixed salad.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Prayer Places

There is a television episode with Charles Stanley aired on August 18th, 2013, titled: God's Stress Remover. This sermon has had SUCH an impact on me... on my emotions, heart, and mind!
If you have access to something capable of playing a video... I HOPE you will take the time out of your day, evening, or week end to watch this.

I have watched this and taken notes on it and shared it with anyone who was willing to listen. It is that good...
Note: I'll share more on this after you've had a chance to hear about it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Around my appliances

We are trying to save the last of the garden so we can till it up and start over for fall! We didn't yield NEARLY the harvest we hoped for but the bounty was substantial even so. We have been juicing the cucumbers and using them in homemade salad dressings and eating lots of thinly sliced freshness on sandwiches. Spreading cream cheese on whole grain bread, pan seared toast, whole grain tortillas or lettuce leaves and layering with cool cucumber slices makes for delicious summer snacking!
I am gathering the rest of the cucumbers this week and getting the seeds out, rinsing, drying, labeling and storing them for the next time I plant!

We have had great success with a variety of peppers and we are eating those on so many things, adding them to dressings, soups, salads, baked goods and more. We are also dehydrating them, blending and making pepper powder to use for seasoning and natural health applications.
 Dehydrated tiny tomatoes. I set the temp at 135 and spread halved little tomatoes over a mesh sheet for about 10 hours. I have read you can blanch them or toss with a bit of oil and I have done similar in the past but this time, I was in a hurry and just put them right in after giving them a good wash. I love these! 
 Cayenne peppers from our garden and organically grown! My husband just cut the tops off and put them on the trays. We are dehydrating them at 140 and have the timer set for 8 hours but they may need to go up to 12 hours. We'll check them before bed and again in the morning. 
This is the flour milled from soaked, sprouted and dehydrated hard grain white berries. I also have a bag of flour done the same way with spelt berries. 

I have been soaking and sprouting a variety of grains and more - spelt, hard white, soft white, quinoa, lentils, beans, and so on. The grains have been sprouted in jars (or bowls and damp, clean kitchen towels) before dehydrating and then grinding into flours. I've used them as is after making into flours and I've soaked the flours the night before and all have turned out good to great.
We've had pancakes this way twice, cornmeal skillet breads, and bread loaves.
We made brownies with white flour and the regular baking ingredients and I wasn't highly impressed so I am hoping to make a healthier sweet this week to make up for it!

We have had a few times of eating from the pantry and freezer and nearly cleared both out in the process. What a blessing, what a blessing it was as a friend and I shared... to have food in the back yard! No bread? We sauteed different peppers with an onion and served alongside some eggs. Out of eggs? We had cucumbers and carrots in a juice! There were so many things that helped us stretch right on through and I am so thankful!

I am on a mission to make the most use of each and every one of my kitchen and household appliances as I can find to make. If they are going to take up space in this home, I want them to be used to the fullest!

So, the appliances I used making the things in this post were:
Our blender, dehydrater, oven/stove top, food processer, juicer, grain grinder, and I think that is it for now!
How do you use your kitchen and house hold appliances to get the most out of them? If you don't feel you get enough use from them... what are some appliances you'd like to gain ideas about?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
By: Vonieta Stogner
"A delicious pumpkin cookie that can be eaten single or filled with whoopie pie filling to make it even better."

Servings (Help)

Original Recipe Yield3 dozen


  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
  2. Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.
  3. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool then make sandwiches from two cookies filled with Whoopie Pie Filling.
  4. To Make Whoopie Pie Filling: Beat egg white and mix with the milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix well then beat in the shortening and the remaining cup of confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 425 | Total Fat: 21.7g | Cholesterol: 24mg

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Draft share/Smoothies

Yesterday, I made a great, green smoothie someone posted on a forum. I will try to remember to get the link for that to post but I am hurrying up to add my smoothies because I only have about ten more minutes on here!

The green smoothie was simple:
4-5 oranges, peeled and cut or pulled in a few pieces

and the one I had this morning came from: Practically Raw and was a fall treat!

Apple Pie Smoothie
1 large apple, cored and cut in wedges (peeled, if desired)
3/4 cup of almond milk
1/2 t. cinnamon
Vanilla extract

In my drafts files... from my kitchen.

Quick share for my records and for anyone still reading this:

3 nourishing juices as of late:

1. Three organic carrots and two crunchy apples along with a piece of fresh ginger.
2. Three organic carrots and two organic oranges.
3. Apples, lemon, and blended with brewed green tea.


*Chocolate almond milk, frozen banana, peanut butter powder, and Greek yogurt.
*Apple, pear, cinnamon, almond milk and spinach.
*Apple pie smoothie from the Practically Raw book ... scrumptious! Two apples, cored and cut in sections (I usually use a little circle thing that does all of this at once) ... almond milk, cinnamon,

Bok Choy! I have never eaten this before and I bought it for juicing or green smoothies but we got hungry!
We tossed some garlic, fresh ginger, water and stir fry sauce in the WOK and added a bunch of Bok Choy after cutting it in slices across and then down the middle. My daughter made this and her friend, Jordan made organic, brown basmati rice. We drizzled some Paul Newman's light Asian ginger dressing over the rice and spooned the greens over that. SO GOOD!

We also made our very own Pumpkin Smoothies. My again mentioned daughter (Lauren --- I should share her name, right?) was talking about some Pumpkin milkshakes she heard about and I told her we could make smoothie versions. She wasn't delighted but I set about having her help gather things for it none-the-less. We loved them! It took some tasting to get it right but in the end... they hit the spot.

Almond milk
Pumpkin Pie Spice (we made our own from an internet recipe and used all of it for three smoothies: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger, 1/4 teaspoon or more of freshly grated nutmeg.)
Ice cubes
Vanilla bean sugar with a vanilla bean left in
We made these by blending well and then swirled some half N half in them SO GOOD.

Roasted beets with honey goat cheese ----drizzled with balsamic vinegar glaze or vinegairette.

Easy, delicious ice cream

My DIL, Ryann picked up my daughter, Lauren from Starbucks on her way home from work recently. They got here later in the evening and decided to watch a movie and the movie led to a movie snack and the movie snack was homemade ice cream.

Lauren & Ryann's "Made Together" Ice Cream

Half-n-half (a quart bag was 3/4th full)
Sugar (according to taste for how sweet they wanted it)
Vanilla extract (possibly around 4 Tablespoons)
cinnamon (around 1 1/2 teaspoons)
Cocoa powder ("we just kind of shook the container" ... ? 1/4th cup?)

They used the plastic food storage bag method:
A gallon size bag (press or zip sealed kind)  is filled less than half full of ice and 1/2 cup of Rock salt is added to the ice. The ingredients above are put into a quart size plastic bag and then the bag is pressed/zipped closed and placed inside the gallon size bag and then it is pressed/zipped close. Shake until the ice cream is thick and eat right out of the bag!

What they did:
My daughter put a little glop (her word) of peanut butter in each of their bowls. She microwaved it just until it was shiny and spreadable and she spread it on the bottom of the bowl and drizzled honey over that. They cut a hole in the corner of the ice cream bag and "piped" it onto the honey/peanut butter.
This was days ago and they are both still raving how this was the best ice cream!

One Bowl Cocoa Brownies on the Food Network

One Bowl Cocoa Brownies on the Food Network

My DIL and I just made these. The kitchen is cleaned back up and hopefully the chocolate goodness will be worth the oven heating up the house! Ryann swirled peanut butter over the top of the brownie batter and it looks SO good! My plan to keep away from white sugar will have to be upheld another day!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

I planned on making homemade ice cream on the 4th of July but didn't. I still had my ice cream maker  contaienr in the freezer so I knew I was approximately 20 minutes from cold and creamy creations and set out to search (cyber style) for a healthier version than those we've used for so many years now.
This Snickerdoodle Ice Cream was really good!

Yield: Makes about 3 cups
With the irresistible flavors of cinnamon and vanilla, this ice cream gives a nod to the classic snickerdoodle cookie. (See bottom of recipe for a vegan option.)
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (full fat)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond or hemp milk
1/2 cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup honey
1-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth, 30-45 seconds. The dates should be completely blended with no chunks remaining.
Pour the ice cream into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Go VeganTurn this into Maple Snickerdoodle Ice Cream by replacing the honey with Grade B maple syrup.

Easy & delicious soaked bread

Here is the bread recipe I am trying. I have some tried and true (lots, actually) bread favorites from the traditional white flour to freshly ground flour and more in my kitchen notebooks. We still have no shelves for my cookbooks so they are organized by type in tubs with lids and stacked in a corner.
Anyway, this recipe is way different than most I've made so I'll let you know how it goes after we try it.

Soaking grains and such...

I am sweeping through the pantry and fridge shelves to make use of what we have and have decided to share from where I am. If I ever find the many scribbled, copied, scanned, and hand given recipes and kitchen tutorials I have been saving to share here - I will share away. I've been far too much the perfectionist and wanted to have themed posting, pretty formatting, relevant pictures and so on.
Alas! I must serve from the humble place I am standing (and cooking, cleaning, soaking, simmering, and blending) or risk neglecting to share at all.

Here we go.
Recently, I cleaned the work table from our previous kitchen (now in the garage a couple doors from my kitchen) and got it ready for ... well, work. The dehydrator is set up and all nine trays are cleaned and ready to dry garden produce, farmer's market sells, and sprouted grains for milling healthy flours. I found my Kamut, hard winter white, hard winter red, soft pastry and a small bucket of spelt.

Last night, I soaked a mixture to make pancakes with today (didn't care for it but I might have modified it too much) and soaked some for whole grain bread, have some spelt sprouting to dry, and two kinds of grains are soaking to sprout.

We had these pancakes this morning:

Vegan, Soaked Whole Grain, Sugar-free Pancakes!
The night before making pancakes:
Make vegan "buttermilk" with:
3T apple cider vinegar
3 cups rice, almond, or soy milk
Whisk and let sit 5 minutes.
Then whisk into:
3 cups whole grain flour.You might be able to use brown rice flour to make them gluten-free...
Cover and let sit overnight.
The morning of:
Measure and mix into flour and "buttermilk" mixture from night before:
1/4 cup baking powder (yes! lol)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed or "light-tasting" olive oil
1 tsp liquid stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract 
Cook in a cast iron skillet greased up with coconut oil over medium-low heat. 
Now I want to figure out how to make all-natural sugar-free imitation maple syrup... I'm thinking xylitol, maple extract, and water... 
In a hurry but plan to share how the bread turns out later today!