My Great Grandmother’s Recipes

great grandma's recipesMy mother recently gave me my great grandmother’s recipe box. I have been having lots of fun looking through it. There are quite a few recipes I want to try, including her butterscotch pie. I am equally confused and enthralled with the fact that there are no directions, just a short list of ingredients. How on earth do I begin to make this? I’m not sure whether it was just a recipe that she knew so well there was no need to write down how to make it, or if in her generation it was just silly to assume that someone wouldn’t know how to make this pie. Either way, one of these days I’m going to try it. These are the kinds of things that I am excited to pass down to my children, memories and traditions of the women before me. Thanks mom!

family, food • Thursday, October 15th, 2009 • 12 Comments »

Apple Butter and Oatmeal Bread

apple butterLast week I had a request for my oatmeal bread recipe, and I thought that some homemade apple butter would round it out perfectly. Unfortunately, yesterday I pinched a nerve in my back and then today the electricity went out for most of the afternoon, due to an outage clear to Nebraska. Needless to say, I have not been doing much other than sitting very still. I didn’t get any bread made. though I did manage to do the apple butter after the electricity came back on. I wanted to share both recipes with you as with the weather cooling down, there is almost nothing better than a slice of fresh, warm bread and the delicious taste of apple butter. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I cheat when I make bread. I dump all of the ingredients into my bread machine pan and let it do all the kneading and rising work for me. Then I pull it out and shape it the way I want it, and bake it in the oven. This method works really well for me, so while one day I would like to do all the kneading with my own hands, this works for me now. Hope you enjoy!

Apple Butter

  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  1. Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for approx. 1 hour until desired thickness.

Oatmeal Bread

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
  1. Place ingredients in bread machine pan in order specified by manufacturer (mine is wet ingredients first, so just put them in in order I have listed)
  2. Put on the dough cycle, and when it is done, take the dough out and shape it however you want your loaf to look.
  3. Cover and let rise until about doubled.
  4. Bake at 350° for approx. 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  5. Enjoy!

food • Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 • 14 Comments »

Winter Wonderland

snowy treeicy leavessnowy parksnowy flowersNot our typical early October weather, but beautiful all the same. Entire trees encased in ice. Leaves that normally would have long fallen off the branch by the first snow, encrusted with snowy jewels. Flowers in full bloom drooping under the weight of freshly fallen snow.

nature • Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 • 11 Comments »

Our Little Girl’s 5th Birthday

birthday crownThis past weekend was our little girl’s 5th birthday. We woke up in the morning and there was a solid foot of snow on the ground, we were snowed in. We really try with our kid’s birthdays to have it be more about memories than stuff. We let them choose what the meals are for the whole day and if it is possible, what to do that day. Even though we couldn’t go anywhere, it ended up being a great day, with lots of fun and snuggles. After donning her birthday crown we ate bacon, cheddar scones from the recipe in The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe, which were absolutely fantastic. They will definitely be made again, and again. We had plenty of hot chocolate and Christmas music, after all it was snowing. little crocheting handsThis year for her birthday gift, we put together a sewing basket filled with all the goodies necessary to start crocheting. I found a neat old sewing basket at an antique shop last month and had fun picking out pink and cream cotton yarn, several crochet hooks in colours she would love and Kids Learn to Crochet by Lucinda Guy. This book is fantastic, and it really hold’s her attention. Incidentally, it is also really helpful for me as I am just learning how to crochet as well.learn to crochetThere was lots of playing in the snow, making snowmen and snow angels, plenty of black forest gateaux, and lots of snuggling with her new crochet hook and yarn. She mastered the slip knot and was thrilled to complete a chain of 23 stitches with just a teeny bit of help. Five years ago I held a tiny baby girl in my arms just seconds after she was born. My how time flies, and now she has grown into a beautiful, funny, imaginative, loving, creative 5 year old. We are so grateful to have her and look ahead to many years of love and laughter. Happy Birthday little one!

books, crochet, family, food, sewing • Monday, October 12th, 2009 • 9 Comments »

A New Crochet Project

new project materials 1Yesterday I started a new project. I knew this crocheting business was going to be addicting. Now that I can do a granny square without looking at the pattern, I am finding it very easy to fit them in during the day. They are so quick and easy, and I can put them down and pick them up and know right away what to do next. This is perfect for my life with four kiddos, I don’t waste time figuring out where I stopped off, and I see fairly immediate progress, all good things. These are the materials for this project. I decided to go for some brighter colours and a cotton yarn as I need this to be a little sturdier. I’m hoping to have it done in the next few days and I am excited to show you all. The top photo is the way I arranged my materials, but I like how my daughter did it much more.new project materials 2

crochet, kid's art, sewing • Saturday, October 10th, 2009 • 5 Comments »

Our First Real Snow

first snowSo much for fall, yesterday we had our first real snowfall. We’ve had a few flurries and flakes during the last week, but not enough to play in. Yesterday morning we woke up to a winter wonderland, and there were squeals of delight from my kiddos. It is supposed to continue snowing until next week, and probably longer, so I made soup for lunch. I’ve been planning on trying to make soup and bread for lunch on most days in an effort to keep tummies filled with nutritious, inexpensive, and most importantly, warm soup. When I was a child, one of my favourite foods was cauliflower cheese (I grew up in England), and I was thrilled to pieces when I found a recipe for cauliflower cheese soup. I was skeptical at first, but as soon as I made it, I was in love. One of the big draws for me is that it is pureed, so some of my pickier kids can’t complain when they see a bowl full of veggies, nothing to see here folks. Just a creamy white pureed soup that is delicious. I can’t remember where I found the recipe as I scrawled it on a piece of paper quite a while ago. I just couldn’t handle making soup in 90 degree weather, but now that the bitter winds and snow have arrived, it’s perfect. One batch makes enough for all six of us, and goes really well with oatmeal bread. In an effort to spread the cauliflower cheese love, I wanted to share the recipe. I’d love to hear if any of you try it and like it.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

  • 1Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in a pan and saute the onions until soft.
  2. Add cauliflower, potato, broth, and milk, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for approx. 30 minutes or until the veggies are soft.
  3. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the cheese until it melts.
  4. Blend well, and enjoy!

I use my immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pan, but if you use a blender, remember not to fill it more than about 2/3 full and to remove the plug from the top and cover it with a towel, because a boiling hot soup explosion is definitely not a good thing.

family, food, nature • Friday, October 9th, 2009 • 11 Comments »

Birthday Bunting

birthday buntingI am in the middle of last minute crafting for my little one’s fifth birthday, and this is one project that is now complete. She is growing up so fast, and boy is she excited about her birthday. I am not a big fan of buying a bunch of decorations to be used for one day and then to be tossed, so I was thrilled when I saw the idea of making homemade decorations that would last indefinitely. It is such a simple idea, I don’t know why I never thought of it. This bunting is made out of vintage fabrics, with some more handmade bias tape. My little one is so excited and loves the idea of decorating with it. I love the fact that years down the road she will be able to look at these decorations and have such wonderful memories of all the birthdays gone by.

family, home, sewing, thrift store finds • Thursday, October 8th, 2009 • 5 Comments »

Bison

BisonJust one more reason I love the prairie.

nature • Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 • 6 Comments »

My First Granny Square

granny square This may sound really silly, but I am so excited and pleased with myself. I’ve wanted to learn how to crochet for quite a while now, but every time I would try, I would get really frustrated. I am a very visual learner, and a lefty, and for some reason I just couldn’t figure it out. Other people who crochet didn’t really know how to help me flip everything around and so for a while I tried to crochet right-handed. That was not happening, so I just gave up. Lucy and Jane both have blogs that I just adore, and all of their crochet was making me have serious envy issues. I finally decided to give it another go, and guess what, I think I cracked it. I sat down for a couple of hours with a couple of crochet books, and Lucy’s tutorials, and came out with this one perfect (ok, well not perfect) granny square. It took a fair bit of concentration and plenty of ripping it out and starting over again, but I finally got it. I used Paton’s classic wool, which is so nice to use. The pinkish yarn (called Currant) is not quite as orange as in the picture, I just couldn’t get a great picture. Anyway, I can see how this crochet business could be very addictive. I think once I get the hang of these granny squares and am not relying so heavily on the pattern, they will be super easy to whip out. I have lots of plans in my head, but first I think I shall make a blanket for myself. Then again, maybe I’ll come up with something else. Thank you Jane and Lucy for the inspiration to give it another go, and thanks Lucy for the fantastic tutorials.

crochet • Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 • 18 Comments »

A Children’s Village

children's villageThis past Friday we visited the new Children’s Village at the Botanic Gardens in town. I was absolutely amazed, and the kids had a blast. I think this is going to be our new go-to destination. They had statues, and sculptures….duck statuebird sculpture a large wooden dome with plenty of wooden chairs and a big bucket of chalk for all those budding little artists….wooden domewooden paths through the pond leading to teepees….wooden pathplenty of hands on experiments….water pumpnot to mention, a door leading to a far away land…far away landand of course a puppet theatre…puppet theatreThere were many other fun things including, sand pits, a floating bridge, plenty of picnic tables, and a grassy area for sack races. There were also plenty of beautiful plants, flowers and veggies growing around the village. We had so much fun and the kids have been asking over and over to go again, now if only it wasn’t 34 degrees and raining. Hopefully we’ll get another little patch of nice weather, when I’m sure our first stop will be this amazing children’s village.

gardening, homeschooling, nature • Monday, October 5th, 2009 • 5 Comments »