Basic White Bread

I bought myself a bread machine earlier in the year and I’ve had great success with it, but I’ve only used the boxed bread from krusteaz. The one where all you do is add water, dump in the box,bread5
make a well for the yeast and hit start. It’s super easy and tastes great. However, I didn’t have any on hand today and so I decided to try making the bread from actual ingredients. lol. I found this recipe on the internet and read all of the comments and made the recommended changes. I can’t say enough great things about this recipe! It was perfect and just as easy as the pre-boxed stuff. And, I think it actually tasted better – my Husbeast ate it up and there was nothing left after serving it with dinner. So if you’re stuck thinking INSIDE the box, give this a try … you wont be disappointed!

Here’s what I did: (full recipe in menu on the right)

1. Get your ingredients together. (The recipe can be found on the menu to the right)


2. Add the water (must be 110*), sugar and yeast to the bread machine pan. And let the yeast foam (activate) for 10 minutes.


3. Now add in the vegetable oil, flour and salt and chose your settings.


4. After the bread machine alerts you that it’s finished, remove the pan and then the bread. Make sure your knead bars came out. If not, your bread machine may have come with a special little tool for digging them out of the bottom of the loaf. This is the first loaf I’ve ever made, that I did NOT have to dig out either of the knead bars! (I got excited about that. lol)





5. Let the bread cool for just a few minutes and then slice and enjoy! See my how to on making your own home-made butter to go along with your delicious bread!


How I make Home-Made Butter.

I finally tried my hand at making my own butter. I have to say, it was so much easier than I thought it would be and the results are amazing! My husbeast really liked the final product and thatbutter7
made me very happy! lol. All you need is some heavy whipping cream, kitchenaid mixer and some time. For the ‘how to’, complete with step-by-step photos, click HERE or navigate to the Home-Made Butter page using the menu on the right side of this page. 🙂

Freezing Left-Over Soups

When it comes time to freeze the left-overs, if you prefer your soups in a bag and not a plastic container, use these niffty clips to “hang” your bag of soup from the underside of your freezer rack until frozen. This insures the soup will freeze into a nice compact “roll” sort of shape, which is easier to store in the freezer. If you’ve ever filled a gallon bag with soup and then set it on the counter, it immerdiately gets this weird, beer belly sort of shape that creates all sorts of weird corners with the bag. NO THANKS! lol You can also freeze it flat, but I find this is super easy to stuff into small gaps made by other frozen items in the freezer.


Tilapia and Broccoli Freezer Meal for Grazing Teens


3 minutes for the broccoli was too long. While the fish was in the microwave (5 min. was perfect). I heated a couple of inches of water in a sauce pan and and cooked the broccoli for about 1.5 minutes and she said that tasted a lot better. The 3 minutes in the microwave made the broccoli very limp. lol


This is the second freezer meal I have put together for my grazing teen. I was inspired to create these easy to prepare meals because as I’ve said before, she prefers grazing to large meals. Thegrabandgofish4a problem with that is I either end up in the kitchen 100’s of times a day, or, she ends up grazing on the wrong types of food. So this is my solution for having quick, but healthy(‘ish) meal choices. Also, my motivation is two-fold – since she’s turning 15 at the turn of the new year, she will be getting a job soon and then before I know it, she will be moving out and starting her own life. I want to have set a nice pattern for food choices well before that time comes. I want to teach her through example, that a day of food prep can make a freezer full of wonderful meals that are both easy and delicious. So for this meal, I have chosen individually wrapped tilapia fillets and individual portions of broccoli. The fish was purchased already portioned and frozen and I bought the broccoli in a large bundle at my local Aldi. In order to freeze the broccoli properly so that safety and quality are maintained, it needs to be blanched for 3 minutes. Then give it a nice dip in ice water for no more than the amount of time it was blanched. Then set it out to drip dry for a few minutes, lay it out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours. Then, portion out single servings into sandwich bags and then place all of the bags in a gallon freezer bag with the date and cooking instructions written on the front. Super easy!

Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes

Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes


Ice water bath for 2-3 minutes


Freeze in single layer for 1-2 hours



Creole Seasoned Tilapia, Broccoli and Brown Gravy

The instructions for this plate can be found in the recipes menu to the right.

Grab and Go for Grazing Teens

So I’ve been trying to come up with ways to manage feeding a hungry teen who prefers grazing over having large meals. In 100*+ weather, the last thing I want to do is cook something in the kitchen every time she is hungry. My solution, is what I call “grab and go”, and this is the first one I’ve come up with. Not only is it easy, but it’s very cost effective. I bought a huge bag of fully cooked breaded wings at the chicken store and portioned them out into 10 wings in each of 9 baggies. They are all then placed in a large 2 gallon baggie with the heating instructions written on the front. I then added 9 individual bags of chips into a basket in the pantry. All my teen has to do is grab a bag of wings, place then in a glass dish, cover and heat in the microwave for 3.5 minutes and then coat them in whatever sauce she chooses from the fridge. Grab a bag chips to go along with it and she’s good to go. Next up is individual portions of broccoli and fish, and then meatloaf with corn. This is also really great because all I have to do is glance at the 2 gallon bag and I can see if she’s getting low on portions or not. I”m also going to try this with dried fruit as snacks.


Beefy Onion Crock Pot Meatloaf


I live in a very old house with a whole house AC and window units in the bedrooms. This means, that once summer arrives, turning on the gas oven in the kitchen is nearly impossible because it heats up the entire house. Gas ovens vent IN TO the room, so it’s like having a fireplace going when it’s 100+* outside. SO, the way around this is to come up with alternative ways of cooking during the summer, and one of the best ways to do this is to utilize the crock pot! This delicious 2 pound meatloaf was made in the crock pot in about 5 hours, the bread was done in a bread machine and I only had to use the stove top for the brown gravy, mashed potatoes and corn. Super simple and no sweating to death involved! lol. For the recipe, go HERE or find it in the menu to the right.

Sunflower Bib Set

I found a fantastic pattern HERE for sewing baby bibs using vintage kitchen towels. I bought my towels new from biglots for under $5 for the set. It was a bit challenging to find something fun

and nice looking, yet something that was fit for a boy. Sunflowers seemed to fit the bill perfectly! What my daughter likes the most about theses (other than I made them for her. lol) is that since they are made from kitchen towels, they are very absorbent and can even be used to wipe down the baby after eating. The vinyl was purchased at walmart in their fabric department. It’s sold off large rolls by the yard. If you’d like to make your own baby bibs, the pattern and instructions can be found at Bloesem.


Honey Orange Slices

I had 5 oranges leftover from a bag I bought earlier in the week and I was worried they would spoil before someone ate them. So, this is what I came up with for preserving them. I peeled andhoneyoranges seeded them, and broke each segment apart and put them in a quart jar. I tried to get as much of the pith removed as I could, without damaging the meaty parts. I then made an extra light simple syrup with 1.75 cups sugar and 5.5 cups of water. Once the sugar was dissolved, I added a very small amount of honey to the mixture. I continued to simmer the syrup for about a minute and then I ladled it into the jar of orange slices. Use something flat to run along the inside edges of the jar to get rid of the bubbles and then add more syrup if needed. I wont bother water bathing this as it’s only one quart. But let me tell you, they are delicious! Especially if you heat them up the next time you want to eat some. I will be doing this again and again! lol.

Canned Cherries

pittedcherriesI found cherries on sale today for $1.49 a pound and, I got about 8 pounds. I LOOOOVE cherries and they only come around about ONCE a year where they are affordable, and it’s like Christmas in July when I can get them. However, with my new found love of canning, I can hopefully have them all year long now! 🙂

I have to say, I wasn’t too happy about having to pit all those cherries by hand though – so I took a chance and went to the kitchen section at walmart to see if they had anything. Now pittermind you, I have NEVER seen a cherry pitter of any kind at walmart and so I wasn’t too hopeful. As luck would have it though, there they were! AND, they were marked down from $13 to $1! I couldn’t believe my luck! I bought two so I could wrangle in a family member to help me pit the cherries. As it turns out, my wonderful Husbeast was more than glad to lend a hand. Honestly, I think he wants to help promote all of the goodness I’ve been whipping up lately. lol. Anyway, this little device is made by Progessive and is called Prepsolutions 6 cherry pitter and it works amazingly well!

To can the cherries, I chose a light syrup and followed the Ball canning book on raw-packing and then processed them in a water bath canner for 25 minutes. I can’t wait to taste them for dessert one night after a heartly winter dinner!