Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

A Quick Snack. Frozen Bananas

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

I know, summer is coming to a close already, but pretty darn hot around here, so I thought I’d share a snack we reach for all the time to cool off.

Frozen bananas are a healthy alternative to all those freeze pops that invade the stores in the hot months.  And don’t worry if you’re not a big banana fan, they have a somewhat different, much creamier taste when frozen.

Just grab a bunch of bananas.  Peel them.  Cut them in half and put a wooden stick in the end.

For easy clean up.  We place a piece of plastic wrap on a large plate and then lay the bananas towards the center and cover with another piece of plastic.

The wooden sticks can be found at any craft store for about five dollars (make sure to use the 40% off coupon), and you’ll have 1000 to last for summers to come.

For a special treat, dip them in chocolate and roll them in coconut or crushed candies before eating.

For more frozen bananas check out Neverhomemaker and Choosing Raw.

Making Peanut Butter Eggs

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Forget that the house isn’t decorated, and we haven’t dyed a single egg yet…and then there’s the girls Easter dresses that I havne’t even started, and yes Easter is only a week away…

…Rather than do any of that, we decided to try something new and make candy eggs yesterday.

This is a simple project, but definitely not quick.  In fact, we actually only got about one-third of the eggs completely finished yesterday.  There’s about 70 more left to dip in chocolate today.  But it is alot of fun for the kids, and the eggs are very tasty and much much cheaper than store bought candy eggs.

To start, you only need a few simple ingredients.

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter

1 8oz. package of Cream Cheese

1 1/2 cups of Creamy Peanut Butter (about 1container)

2 pounds of Powdered Sugar (yes 2 whole pounds…it is candy after all)

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Salt

24 oz Milk Chocolate or Semi Sweet Chocolate (for dark chocolate eggs) Chips

Mix the softened butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl.   Add about half of the confectionary sugar one cup at a time then add the peanut butter, vanilla and salt.  Mix well and then with a wooden spoon (and then your hands), mix in the rest of the powdered sugar one cup at a time.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to harden the dough.

Form the peanut butter mixture into egg shapes (the dough is very easy to work with and not sticky) and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Then refrigerate again for at least an hour.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, adding a bit of shortening if it needs to be thinned.  Dip the eggs about two thirds into the chocolate then spread the chocolate over the rest of the egg with a knife so that the chocolate coating is not too thick. 

Place the finished eggs back on the wax paper till the chocolate has hardened.

Store in an airtight container and try not to eat too many at once.

NOTES:

The kids really enjoyed making these, and were thrilled to find out they could make their own candy.  They’re even more thrilled that there are now about 100 peanut butter eggs in the house for consumption. 

For cute (and inexpensive/green) packaging wrap each of 12 eggs in a small piece of plastic wrap and place them in an egg carton.  Tie the egg carton with a big bow.

Homemade Play Doh

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

We have been meaning to make homemade play doh for over a year….and now that I know just how easy it is, and how good it turned out, I wish we’d gotten around to making it sooner. 

There are literally dozens of recipes on the internet and I’m not sure why I chose this particular one (or where I got it), but it turned out fantastic and it is the recipe I’ll stick to.

You’ll need..

2 Cups Flour

1 Cup Salt

2 Cups Water

4 Tbsp. Oil

4 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar (found in the spice aisle)

TIP  Add Peppermint Extract to help preserve the play doh and give it a great scent. 

 Mix all the ingredients together in a large pot.

Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes.  It will start to clump as you can see in the above photo.

Then it almost instantly all clumps together and looks like this.

At this point it is really soft and smooth and can be picked up and put on wax paper and kneaded and split into 3 or 4 balls depending on how many different colors you want to make.

Add several drops of food coloring and let the kids have fun mixing it in.

Then it’s playtime.

 And a picnic…

..and Alexandra is not liking the looks of the play doh hot dog too much.

Halloween Cupcakes

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I needed Halloween themed cupcakes quickly.

With no decorations in sight, I found a few marshmallows and some leftover black gel icing.

The marshamllows were cut into four slices.  Sliced from the top down the slices start out round but pull together since they’re sticky and form these little ghostly shapes.

Enjoy!

Berry Custard Pie

Friday, July 10th, 2009

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t share my very very very favorite pie recipe that I have been making the last few weeks.  Berry Custard.

 

It’s a pie my mom and mammy and aunt made when we were kids and it’s not just my favorite pie but that of most of our family.  So I assume it is an old Pennsylvania German recipe.

The twins and I can actually eat a whole pie ourselves at one sitting, ok, truth be told, my mom and I could probably eat a whole one ourselves. And  luckily, Brian does not like the consistency of it, or the fact that berries have seeds, so there’s more for us.

The best part is you can use your favorite berries in season.   We’ve tried strawberries, blueberries, black raspberries, red raspberries and black berries, with our favorite being the raspberries.   And it’s so simple that you can whip it up in 3 minutes, if you don’t include the time to make the crust (I timed myself this morning.

 

Berry Custard Pie

2 cups Milk

1/ 2 cup White Sugar

2 Eggs

2 heaping Tbsp. Corn Starch

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 1/ 4 cup Berries

9 inch pie crust

Mix all ingredients (except berries) in a medium bowl and wisk.  I generally stir the sugar and cornstarch together first so the cornstarch blends in more easily.

Stir in the berries.

Pour into the pie crust.

Add a few extra berries if the top of the pie is not covered with one layer of berries.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes and 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

(this is the only part of the pie that is ‘difficult’, it has to bake a long time and it is usually at least an hour.)

The pie is done when the top is a little firm and very slightly brown.  Insert a knife in the center to test the firmness.

These are the black raspberries that we used in this pie.  We find and pick them wild in July here in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately they aren’t a fruit that is generally found in stores.   But red raspberries can be found seasonally in many grocery/produce stores and are my personal favorite in this pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Pie Filling

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

We had so many sour cherries this year that after we made  lots of pies, and lots of jam, I needed to use them for something else.

Since we liked the pies so much, I decided to make pie filling to use when cherries are no longer in season.

I looked up a recipe and gave it a try.  After taste tasting, I think it’s a winner. 

I wish I could have made more, but the black raspberries started coming in (and black raspberries trump sour cherries), so we left the rest of the cherries for the birds to eat.

But the pie filling was so fun to make, and I love pie SOOO much, that I’m excited about making blueberry pie filling next!

Sour Cherry Pie Filling

(for EACH Quart that you make you will need these ingredients)

 

3 1/3 Cup Pitted Fresh or Thawed Sour Cherries

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/ 4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. Clear Gel (Cooking Gel)

1 1/ 3 Cup Cold Water

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Bottled Lemon Juice

Red Food Coloring (Optional)

 

For Fresh Fruit

Pit Cherries and then boil for 1 minute.  Drain and  keep in covered colander (to keep them warm). 

For Frozen Fruit   Drain.

 

Combine Sugar and Clear Gel in a large saucepan and add water and food coloring.  Stir mixture and cook over medium heat till it bubbles and thickens.

Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Fold in the cherries. 

Quickly fill quart jars leaving 1 inch space at the top.

Put on lids and process 20 minutes in boiling water.

Cherry Pie

Monday, June 29th, 2009

The sour cherries are ripe on our tree.

Now it’s just a matter of beating the birds to them, and finding the time to make stuff with all of them.

So far I’ve made pie….There’s always time to make pie.

Three of them to be exact. 

And there is no pie left.

I wasn’t quick enough with my camera, so I didn’t even get a picture of one of the completed pies before it was cut into.

It was very very yummy.

Sour Cherry Pie

2 - 9″ Pie Crusts

4 cups pitted sour cherries

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup Flour

1/4 cup Corn Starch

Mix together the cherries, sugar, flour and corn starch.  Pour into pie crust.  Top with second pie crust and cut 3-5 air slits into the top crust with a sharp knife.  Bake at 375 for approximately 1 hour or until pie filling is just starting to bubble through the slits.

Homemade Poptarts and Cookie Dough Pie. YUM!

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I swear that I did not go searching for really yummy looking, diet ruining recipes today;  but yet I stumbled upon these two that I just have to try this weekend.

I love pie crust and jam, so what could be better than some homemade poptarts that include both!  And if you prefer toaster struedel over pop tarts then check out the mouth watering photos at the Idea Room where she uses pastry sheets instead of pie dough.

And since Father’s Day is coming up soon a recipe for Cookie Dough Pie that involves chocolate chip cookies, milk and cool whip is a must for Brian.  And yes, I know Father’s Day is a few weeks away, but I have to make it now just to ‘test’ it.  I wouldn’t want to go making him something that isn’t any good on Father’s Day.

Homemade Shampoo

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Here is something I never thought I’d try.  Homemade Shampoo.

But there I was hunting around for some knitting projects to work on when we go on a long trip this week, and I stumbled upon homemade deodorant at Angry Chicken.  Not that I particularly wanted to make homemade deodorant, because frankly I’m lazy when it comes to making anything with ingredients that I have to go to the health food store to buy, but I was curious as to just how you would make homemade deodorant.

And in there I found this link for homemade shampoo.  It intrigued me since it said it only consisted of using baking soda and water with an apple cider vinegar rinse.

I could do that.  I have baking soda and vinegar in the house.  And I had used vinegar for years to make my hair shinier.

So on a whim I decided to wash my hair with a Tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water.  I did however skip the vinegar rinse because it was going to be raining that day and I know from past experience that if your hair gets wet after using an apple cider vinegar rinse you will smell a bit like vinegar.  My hubby hates the smell of vinegar.

For a rinse I decided to try green tea instead.  Why green tea?  Because I had it in the house and thought it sounded healthy and all natural. 

At this point my husband and son had weird looks on their faces as to why I was bringing baking soda and a cup of tea in the shower with me, but they know better, and didn’t even bother to ask.

The results.

Well, that was a week ago and I have been using it ever since….it really works.  And the bonus is that it keeps my very oily hair cleaner longer than commercial shampoo.  Generally I would have to wash my hair every 24 hours, and by then my hair would look dirty, now it stays clean that whole time. 

I don’t always use a rinse because I don’t always feel like making a cup of tea, but the baking soda alone works great. .  I am thinking of checking out some different teas that are said to have different effects on your hair..

Next I’m going to try it on Makenna’s thick, dry hair to see the results.  I won’t try it on Jarod.  I can’t imagine my boy letting my put something you bake with on his head.  

So my hair is shinier and softer, I’m saving some money and we’ll be helping the environment too.  Yeah.

 

Here are some other links to homemade shampoo.

Frugal Granola

Craftbits.  A good listing of hair types and what herbs work best for them.

Making Homemade Pie Crusts

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I was making four pie crusts yesterday for the obligatory apple crumb and pumpkin pies this year and thought of how many times people have said they can’t make good pie crusts. 

They oooo and ahhh over how good mine are and when I try to say they’re easy to make they don’t believe me.  Apparently there’s some pie crust myth floating around out there about how difficult it is to make them.  Trust me, they’re not hard to make, my seven year old twins can make them with just a little assistance with the rolling.

 

So while making my crusts I decided to take pictures and will do my best to describe exactly how to make very good, very simple pie crusts that will have everyone complimenting you.

 

I believe this recipe comes from Betty Crocker or Fanny Farmer, but I’m not sure since I’ve been making it from memory since my mom taught me 30 some years ago.   Back then my cousin Dawn and I would steal raw pie crust (it is very good, although probably not too healthy) while my aunt and mom were baking and they would tell us we’d get worms from eating it. 

To spite them, I now eat unbaked pie crust whenever I want, and I let the kids and dogs have some too.  I can testify that none of us has ever gotten worms.

 

For one recipe that makes 2, 9 inch Pie Crusts you’ll need.

 

2 cups Flour

1 tsp Salt

¾ cup shortening (I use a little extra to make the crust flakier)

6 Tbsp. Ice Cold Water (I drop an ice cube in a cup of water and scoop it out of there to add to the mix)

Wax Paper

 

 Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.

 

 

Add the shortening and cut into crumbs with a fork or a pastry mixer thingy.  I don’t know the technical name so I took a picture for you to see.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix in with a fork.

 

 

 

  

   

 

Gather half of the mixture together in your hands and press into a ball.  (If it is too dry and doesn’t stick well, add additional water.)

 

 

 

 

 

Tear two pieces of wax paper and place a ball of dough between the two. 

Roll the dough out into a circle always pushing from the center so the crust is an even thickness.  (If it’s not looking like a circle then tear off the section that is out of shape and put it where you need more dough)

 

Once your circle is about 10” in diameter (a bit bigger than the pie plate) carefully peel the wax paper off the top of the dough and replace it again.  (this loosens the dough from the paper)

Next flip the dough over onto the other side while keeping it between the two pieces of wax paper.

Carefully peel the wax paper from the top side to loosen it, but do not replace the wax paper.

 

 

 

 

Set your pie plate face down in the center of the crust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your crust should now be sitting on top of your pie plate.

 

  

 

Press the crust into the pie plate.

 

 

Cut any excess crust off that is hanging over the edge of the pie plate and crimp the edges of the crust either pie pinching together with your thumb and index finger, or with the tines of a fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your pie crust is now ready to be filled.

 

 

Happy Baking!