February 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Rolls

These rolls are 100% whole wheat and delicious!

⅓ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon honey
2½ tablespoons active dry yeast
1½ cups water
½ cup honey
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour

2½ cups whole wheat flour or 3 to 3½ cups spelt flour
1 tablespoon oil

Cover sunflower seeds with water and let soak for a couple of hours. Dissolve yeast with 1 teaspoon honey and ½ cup lukewarm water (110-115 degrees); let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast forms bubbles. Heat 1½ cups water, ½ cup honey, ¼ cup unsalted butter, and 2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan until the butter melts. Pour yeast mixture and butter mixture into a mixing bowl with 1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour; stir enough to incorporate, then beat vigorously for 3 minutes.

Mix and knead in sunflower seeds and remaining flours as needed to prevent sticking while kneading until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl, lightly oil the top, cover with a towel, and let rise until double. Gently punch down and knead lightly. Divide dough in half. Shape each piece into 12 rolls, placing in greased pans with a little space between them.

Cover and let rise in a warm place 15-20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Brush rolls immediately after baking with soft or melted butter.

July 1, 2010

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

I had a request for this recipe and thought I'd throw it out on the blog to share. I got this recipe from my sister a few years ago and it has become a Sunday-after-church-lunch standby. We throw it in the crockpot while we're cleaning up breakfast and it's ready to eat when we get home.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese
1 pkg. (16oz) elbow mac
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten (I have found these to be optional)
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1 can cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni noodles, do not over cook. While the noodles are cooking toss the margarine in the crockpot to melt (or you could microwave it). When it's soft/melted add milk, soup, evap. milk, cheese, and eggs (if you're adding them). Add cooked noodles to cheese mixture and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. If you're around give it a stir a few times while cooking.

*Optional: Reserve one cup of cheese and sprinkle it on top the last 15 minutes of cooking.
*If you like really creamy mac and cheese (like KFC), omit the eggs and cook just until heated through.

June 5, 2010

Book Review: Family Feasts for $75

After hearing about it on a few blogs, I was excited to get this book from the library to see if I could learn a few new grocery saving tips. Unfortunately, Family Feasts for $75 a Week fell short of my expectations.

I felt a little misled by the title. Knowing Mary Ostyn has 10 children, I figured if she could feed her family for $75 a week, I had a few things to learn from her. But the author (or editors) did the math for her family and then reworked it for a family of four to come up with the title. Mary is not paying $75 a week to feed her family. Instead, she pays about $75 per person per month or around $200 per week. With her numbers our goal (for a family of 8) would be about $138 per week. We're already under that!

The first section covers the "how to" and is relatively short. If you need a "beginner's guide" to grocery savings this book would be an excellent place to start. It's not that I disagree with anything she says... in fact, the reason our grocery spending is so low is that we are doing many of the things she suggests! I was just disappointed by the fact it didn't really have an "new, improved" ideas. The second part of the book is recipes, some of them sound really good, so if you are looking for some new frugal recipes this book might be worth reading.

Either way, I suggest you check it out from the library first to see if you find it helpful before purchasing it.

April 1, 2010

Empty Tomb Craft

Easter is just a few days away. During Bible time this week we have been reading about the last days of Jesus' life. The boys often surprise me with what they remember or want to discuss. One of my sons wondered aloud early this week why we call it "Good Friday" when it's the day something bad happened to Jesus. My eight year old answered him and said something along the lines of "Well, it was good for us!".

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

For Christ died for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

1 Peter 3:18

While Good Friday is about Jesus' death, Easter is about His resurrection! He isn't dead anymore! This week we have been singing (off key, but heartily) Low in the Grave He Lay. Here's the chorus:

Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o'er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

After our reading and singing today we made an Easter visual aid. We made one last year too, but I guess I never posted it to the blog. It's quite easy and if you have little kids they will enjoy it!

Mix up a batch of salt dough (2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 3/4 cup warm water) until smooth. This year I added a few drops of black food coloring to the water to make the dough more rock colored. Last year I just left it.

Place a glass (oven proof) bowl upside down on a cookie sheet. Spray it with non-stick spray. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness or so then carefully place the rolled dough on to the bowl to make a tomb. Cut away a door. Reshape the door as more of a rock (or just lay it down on the cookie sheet as is).

Bake in a warm oven (the lowest mine goes is 170) for several hours. The original recipe I saw said two hours but it's never done after only two hours in our oven. When it's dry and cool, remove the tomb from the bowl.

Last year (see below) we made a little salt dough plaque to write a Bible verse on. This year I just wrote it on the piece of cardboard we are using to display the tomb.

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Matthew 28:6

March 8, 2010

Get Organized Presentation

I recently gave a short presentation on organizing to a local MoMs club. I am really not fond of public speaking. Before I got started I was nervous as all get out and my hands were cold and clammy, but once I got going I was okay. It helps to be talking about something that you're excited about!

Part of my organizing/cleaning skills are nature (thanks Mom and Grandma!) and part are nurture (years of reading books and blogs for new ideas). People already think we're weird (large family, homeschool, frugal, etc.) and I'm afraid I didn't help the cause much with my presentation last night. :) If they didn't think I was weird before I'm sure they do now that they've seen pictures of my closets and drawers!

As I was speaking to the group, I realized it really is the little things that make a big difference! I am sure some of the moms saw my pictures and thought I must spend hours and hours keeping up my house. But I really don't!! I promise you, I don't... ask my husband.

I told the group that I didn't want to hear any excuses because I had an answer for every single one! Don't tell me about small houses, I've lived in one. Don't tell me you have lots of kids, so do I! Don't tell me you work full time, my house was still clean/organized when I worked. The only "excuse" mentioned that I didn't really have an answer for was being just plain old "lazy".

The more I thought about this, the more I thought that's not an excuse... that's exactly why you should get organized!! I'm pretty lazy myself. I would much rather spend my time reading or surfing the internet than doing just about any household chore. My "system" frees up my time so I have more time to do the fun things (like blog) not less. I like to say "I'm not lazy, I'm efficient" but the truth is I'm efficient so I can be lazy!

I'm not saying "my way" is the best way. It works for me, but each household manager has to find their own "system". I can only share what works for me. There are literally hundreds of books about cleaning and organizing. Check out a few from the library and try a few of the suggestions. If they don't work out for you, move on and try something different. If you don't know where to start... start small! One drawer or cupboard or closet at a time. But definitely do something... "a penny saved is a penny earned" and "a stitch in time saves nine"... and that "stitch you save"... well, it will give you more time to do the things you want, no matter what it is!

In the next couple weeks, I'll be sharing some of my notes from the presentation. If you want to get started right away click on the "Get Organized" tab above. Happy Organizing!!