Sunday, October 19, 2014

Super Little Singers.....At Home!



I have a number of sweet little Grandchildren....sprinkled all over the United States.  Yes, I really mean all over.  I kind of want to agree with my neighbor Vicki who says that "It should be against the law for Grandchildren to move far away from their Grandparents".  If only it could be like that....

Our little Grandchildren love music in many forms.  I love to hear their sweet voices when they talk and when they sing.  Being a Speech-Language Pathologist, little voices are very intriguing to me.

Family Home Evening, spending time together as a Family.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a number of auxiliaries and programs that support the family. Today, I want to highlight "Family Home Evening".  This is an opportunity for the family to gather one night a week and spend time together in a variety of activities.  There may be nights with games or recreation, religious instruction, service to others, etc.  The purpose is to build strong families, understanding of our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Gospel.  It's a great idea isn't it...in fact it was inspired.  

As early as 1915, the Church of Jesus Christ encouraged families to set aside one evening a week to spend valuable time together.  In 1970, President Joseph Fielding Smith and the First Presidency designated Monday nights as Family Home Evening night and encouraged no other activities etc to be held that would interfere with this valued time with the family.  

Singing Songs and Hymns for Family Home Evening

One special aspect for me during our Family Home Evenings together is singing songs for fun and for worship.  As such, I have made binders for many of my adult children and their families.  I wanted to make it fun, so let me show you what I did and how I organized it.


Although these are not published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think the graphics are really fun for our Family Home Evening singing time.  You can purchase these in many areas, with Amazon being only one source.

I printed, cut and laminated the different graphics for various songs from the CD's.




Singing a Song is "Fun to Do"...


and, "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam". There are many more that I have prepared in the same manner.

When you follow these links above, you will be directed to a screen like this one...


You can see the sheet music, can play the audio, learn about the composer and see this song in various languages.  However, what I was pleased to learn is that you can print the song as a "PDF". Look in the upper right hand corner of the screen and download the song.  I printed a copy of each song in color.

I put the graphics and the song into plastic sleeves.


I used a Sharpie to label each plastic sleeve and put them into a binder. Now, you have everything you need to add music to your home.....and your Family Home Evening.

Music adds such a positive element to our family. I hope you consider putting together a binder similar to this one to make your time together organized and fun!

Try it!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Fall-inspired Breakfast From My Food Storage


I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As such, we have a world-wide series of meetings every 6 months called "General Conference".  Well, it is that time again and I love to hear what I consider inspired messages from our Prophet and Apostles.  Since it is world-wide, it is broadcast over television, radio, and the Internet.  We are watching in the comfort of our living room.

Every General Conference time, I publish a recipe that is made from Food Storage staples.  I think this is a perfect time to 'practice' and share the 'yumminess' with my family members.  Here is my current offering....pumpkin pancakes.  Doesn't the name alone conjure up delicious thoughts?

Making Pumpkin Pancakes from Food Storage items:


I have actually canned my own Pumpkin. Yes, I really did it.  It has been a great blessing over the past year and I have used it in so many of my recipes.  Today's recipe is no different.  I placed the golden chunks of canned pumpkin into a blender and made my puree. So quick and easy to do!


I got my bowls and spoons/cups out.  Did you know that they all come in one system and are stored inside of the green bowl?  I love this set!  


You start by adding the dry ingredients beginning with the flour.


...White Sugar


....add the Brown Sugar


.....don't forget the baking powder and cinnamon, pumpkin spice and the nutmeg!


Mix all the dry ingredients together.


In a separate bowl, begin to add your wet ingredients starting with an egg.


.....add the milk


...the Pumpkin puree


....and yummy Mexican Vanilla and Molasses


Mix the wet ingredients together.  Then add the wet and dry ingredients together.


Spray your favorite oil product onto a hot griddle.  Because these pancakes have a darker color already, they will be dark when they are finished cooking.  Just watch your heat and you will be fine.  At first, I thought I had burned them, but  that wasn't the case.


Don't they look yummy?  I used butter that I have stored in the freezer and syrup which I had in my pantry.  This is a surprisingly simple and delicious dish.  I plan to do this again. Why would you ask?


Because Rooster Senior said, "We should have these again".  That's good enough for me.

Take home message:

  • All the items were in my pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.  I did not have to purchase anything special for this.
  • Although I am not sure how I would calculate the cost of this meal, the most expensive ingredient would have been the pumpkin puree.  Well, last year I canned a large pumpkin that cost me $2.00 and another that was free.  I calculated that I canned an equivalent of the canned pumpkin (15 oz can) for $.28 versus the cost of a commercially priced can of over $3.00.  You can save money by preserving your own foods as well as know what had been added to the food.  
  • This is a filling and warm breakfast on a cool fall morning.
  • Time together with my family.....priceless!

Try it!


Here is the recipe from Averie Cooks:


1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
3/4 cup Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (I used whole milk) 
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 to 2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
maple syrup for serving, or your favorite topping (try Vanilla Maple Syrup or Ginger Molasses Maple Syrup)

DIRECTIONS:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the first 9 dry ingredients (through optional salt); set aside.
In a  small bowl, whisk to combine all remaining wet ingredients (except maple syrup for serving).
Pour wet mixture over dry, and stir gently until just combined; don't overmix.
Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Using a 1/4-cup measure or  large cookie scoop, scoop batter onto warm skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until small bubbles form on the surface and pancakes are set enough to flip. I cook covered for better results, but cook the way you normally cook your pancakes.
Carefully flip over and cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes, or until done and cooked through.
Add more cooking spray to wiped skillet before starting next batch.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Little Something for a Couple of Important Ladies....


September marks a few important things.  For mother's, it often means a new school year for their children.  For some it is the month focusing on preparedness.  Still, for me, it is a month marking some important birthdays for my Mother and Mother-in-law.

Embroidering Hand Towels:

I was given a new toy a few months ago.  It came with classes that were scheduled during my work hours.  I didn't figure a way to take the classes right away, I had a wedding, family reunions, was hiring up for work, and just trying to stay afloat with all the other aspects of life.

Well, I finally figured a way to go to the classes to learn how.... to.....use ....my new Embroidery Sewing Machine! Yes, I got something I had never really looked into. I have always admired the beautiful things my sisters had made with their machines. However, with the very busy schedule I keep, I couldn't even justify it. Well, apparently my husband did not get this cryptic message I had stored in my head.  With the help of my daughter, they purchased one for me.  Would you like to see one of my first projects?


I ironed "wonder-under" on to my cotton fabric (the one with the circles) and cut out a circle after tracing a bowl from my cupboard.  I appliqu├ęd the circle on to the towel after ironing the circle on.  

Then I typed in my font and the name "A...n,,,n", tried to center the item...and..... then.....

 
I pushed the "Green button".  It magically moved the hoop all over the place as it embroidered the name.


I also just tried an initial to see how that would look.  I kind of liked it!


I made ruffles for the bottom of each towel. I used a rolled hem to finish the edges (using my serger).


Didn't they turn out really cute?

What is the cost break-down:

  • A set of 4 towels with 2 washcloths from the "Ross" store was $6.00. A second pack of 4 towels and one washcloth was $4.00.
  • The Thread I had, but the cost would have been minuscule
  • Stabilizer I calculate cost about $.75
  • Wonder-under ~$.50
  • Cotton Fabric $6.50 for a yard (I used 3/4 of a yard for 6 towels)
  • The look in the eyes of my Mother and Mother-in-law...Priceless!

So, I will be venturing out more and trying to make other projects using this new tool.....    More to come!



Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's a Matter of an Outdoor Kitchen


The Benefits of setting up an Outdoor Kitchen...

I have a new neighbor.  Actually, she is a friend from long ago who has moved just down the street from me. As I was visiting with her, we discussed her newly acquired apple tree....that was heavy laden.  Some of the branches were touching the ground as they were heavy.  She asked me if I wanted some.....well of course!!!!

I decided to make Apple Juice among other things.  However, I needed many burners and I really didn't want to heat up my kitchen.  So, I set up an outdoor kitchen.  


I have a bar outside.  I set up our Camp Chef Stove.


There are advantages to canning outside. See how easy it is to wash the apples.  No spilling on the floor!

Making Apple Juice

I quickly sliced the apples into wedges.  I did this because this tree was left to its own all summer.  Some of the apples were bound to have 'inhabitants'.  By slicing in wedges, I could move quickly and check for unwanted guests.  That way I could toss the wedges I did not want and keep the rest.

Making Apple Juice and Apple Sauce

Again, using my garden sprayer I filled the bottom container of the Steamer Juicer.  No hauling water...anywhere!  I turned on the burner and brought the water to a boil while I continued to slice the apples. 

Apples for Apple Juice

I filled the middle container of the device with the apple wedges.  I placed the apple-filled container on top of the boiling water and placed the lid on top.  Then I continued to fill the second device as well.  

Setting up a table with supplies

While the apples were processing, I set up a table with the lids (that I had heated in water and set on a hot pad), and a basket of rings.  Do you want to see what is under the towel?

Keeping the sterilized jar safe

I have my clean and sterilized bottles (from the dishwasher) under the cloth.

Juice flowing into bottles.

When the time came, I started to fill the jars with the fabulous golden liquid.

Using the Food Strainer to make Applesauce

So what do you do with the steamed apples after juicing?  I put them through my Strainer.

Mixing applesauce with Jello Powder

Lots of beautiful applesauce was extracted.  And, it wasn't runny!  So I decided to make flavored Fruit leather.  I chose my favorite Jello Flavor and mixed them together.

Making Fruit Leather

I spread the red deliciousness on my fruit leather tray and put the trays in the dehydrator.  

Take Home Message:

  • I was blessed enough to have a lovely gift from my neighbor who was stressing about what to do with all her apples. As she was just moving in, she didn't want to deal with them. She also didn't want any of the juice etc as she said she cannot think of bringing another thing into her new house.  I have been there and done that.  I can relate.  
  • I was able to can inside my house while I had apples processing in my 'outside kitchen'.  
  • Clean up was a breeze.  I just used my garden hose and sprayed down all the surfaces.  It took minutes!
  • I was able to add golden apple juice and fruit leathers to our Pantry.

Consider putting together an outdoor kitchen for canning.  It was really simple and is something I will do again.




Monday, September 8, 2014

Have you ever wondered what to do with older bottled fruit?


What to do with Old Bottled Fruit....

It's that time of year again.  I am referring to Canning Season, which is in full swing!  I was recently was reorganizing my storage room.  I had several bottles of "fruit somethings".  My family's tastes and preferences seemed to have morphed over the past few years.  It was very evident because of the bottles of fruit that were left behind.  I needed the space for this years harvest, so I decided to 'morph' these older bottles of fruit.


In particular, I had peaches and Apple Pie Filling.  I decided to try to make fruit leather from them.  I poured the contents of the bottles into the blender.


A quick whirl of the blend made a beautiful puree.


I poured the contents on to fruit leather trays (which are sprayed with a cooking spray).


I decided to add some variety to these leathers.  Here I added sesame seeds.


On this Peach leather tray, I added some cinnamon.  


Into the dehydrator it all went!


Once the fruit was properly dehydrated, I needed to repack it.  I cut a sheet of wax paper.


I removed the leather from the tray and placed it on the wax paper.


I cut the leather into sections.  Initially I cut the leather into fourths, but later decided on eighths.


It is important to work with the leather when it is warm.  I rolled the leather in the wax paper.


I then wrapped it into plastic wrap.

This is easy to do, just take the rolled fruit and roll it on an angle into the plastic wrap.  Tuck the edges along the length of the rolled fruit.


I needed to label the jars, but I hate removing adhesive from jars. So, I just printed off these 'labels' which are actually pieces of paper.


I laid the jar on its side, placed a paper label on the bottom of the jar and started to place the rolled leather into the jar.


Using my Food Saver, I vacuum-sealed each jar.


These jars of fruit leather are equivalent to 9 jars of canned fruit.  

Take home message:

  • What I like about this system is that you can take out one jar at a time and eat the leather.  
  • Or, you can take out a piece of different leathers from their respective jars and vacuum-seal them again.  
  • Also, you are using your old fruit in a new way.  Around here, leather does not last too long.
  • You can also embellish your fruit with seeds, flavor, and things like granola to make it more appealing.
  • This leather was essentially free to me as I had everything already.
  • Rethinking your bottle fruit and making it into something new is a frugal choice for your family.
  • The Apple-Pie-Filling was very scrumptious.  The added crunch of the seeds is a pleasant surprise as well.
  • I can take pureed fruit and add Jello to it to add new flavor to the leather and increase the variety of the leathers I have.  

Try it!



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