Archive for the ‘homemaking’ Category

Apples, apples, apples…

It’s fall!  The leaves are a beautiful array of colors and apples are plentiful.  This means apples are usually on sale in most grocery stores and being the ever diligent budget minded person I am, I start thinking of ways to use them in our meals.  Besides snacking, there are numerous recipes using apples.  I found a couple of great recipes online and thought I’d share.  Both were easy to make and tasted wonderful!

As usual, even though most recipes are probably fine, I’ve gotta make some adjustments.  I’ll be sure to include the things I changed or found might work better.  This past Saturday, I made some delicious apple scones.  This is the first time I’ve made scones, but they turned out to be easy to make.  The recipe for Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones can be found over at the King Arthur Flour site.

Instead of the all-purpose flour, I used fresh ground whole wheat flour.  I did not use cinnamon chips as I didn’t have any, so I just left those out and didn’t do a substitution.  The only other change to the recipe ingredients I did, was I used regular sugar to make the topping for sprinkling on the dough.  They still tasted good, but I think the coarse sugar would have made them look prettier.

Other than those few changes, I followed the rest of the recipe exactly.  The only thing I believe I’d do different next time would be to chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting it in wedges.  I think it would have made that step easier, because I found it a little difficult to slide the wedges apart so there was 1/2 inch in between each piece.  Everyone loved these and I even ate a couple another day with a glass of milk for breakfast.

The other thing I love is these can be frozen in dough form and baked when you’re ready.  I read about it in the comment section below the recipe.  The recipe makes two rounds, so you could always bake one and save the other for another day.  Freezing this recipe would make it real convenient to have something fresh baked for breakfast, dessert, or a tasty treat for surprise company.  Here are some pictures(you can see the bit of a mess I made pulling apart the wedges) :

Scone Dough Shaped in a Circle

Scone Dough Shaped in a Circle

Scone Dough Divided Into Wedges

Scone Dough Divided Into Wedges

Finished Scones Ready for Eating

Finished Scones Ready for Eating

Yesterday, I made a tasty and nutritious apple cranberry crisp.   I was a little hesitant about the recipe I found.  It is a light recipe and did not use butter, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste.  I’m a firm believer in using butter in baking, but as I was out of butter I decided to give it a try.  The recipe can be found over at My Recipes for the Apple-Cranberry Crisp.

Now for the changes, you knew they were coming. 🙂  I added 3/4 cup of crushed pineapple drained, which I mixed in with the other fruit.  I sprinkled a tablespoon of lemon juice over the apples after I cut them up.  Lastly, I sprinkled about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon on top.  The only reason I put the cinnamon on top is because I forgot to add it into the oat and brown sugar mix which gets sprinkled on top of the apple mix.

This recipe is another winner, despite my initial hesitations.  It tasted so good, I did not miss the butter.  The other plus of this recipe is it has a lot less sugar than crisp I have made in the past.  On the down side, this can make it a little more runnier than I’m used to.   I briefly thought about trying to add a little cornstarch next time, but then quickly dismissed the idea as this was so good there was nothing left after breakfast the next day.  I will make this again.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Hope you enjoy the recipes and get inspired to make something delicious with apples… 🙂


Crochet Crazy

Life has been busy, but is calming down for the moment.  Fall is easing in with leaves changing colors and cooler weather.  It’s the perfect time of year for working on craft projects, some practical and some gift projects for Christmas.  I thought I’d share a few of my recent crochet projects.  Maybe you’ll find something you’d like to make.

This is a scarf I made using the  free Vanilla Bean Scarf pattern found over on the Fiber Flux…Adventures in Stitching blog.

Completed Scarf

Completed Scarf

Additional Row on Flat End

Additional Row on Flat End

I love it!  This scarf works up incredibly quick and is beautiful.  I used the Caron Simply Soft yarn with no dye lot, which is my favorite.  I experimented and added 1 row onto the beginning row, which ends up flat in the original pattern.  To make it more wavy, I joined the yarn at the end of the beginning row and chained 3.  In the larger openings of each set of (2dc, ch2, 2dc), I worked 2dc, ch2, 2dc.  At the end of the row I did a dc in the last stitch, finished off, and wove in the end.  I’m still thinking about maybe weaving a piece of ribbon through the larger holes and tacking down the ends of the ribbon with a few stitches.

Another crochet project I completed in just a short time the other day was a small change purse.  I’ve been looking for one and finally just decided to make one.  I crocheted it using a very small ball of leftover cotton yarn, like you make dishcloths out of, and a size C hook.  Here’s my original pattern I created, which is crocheted in one piece.  It does include a little sewing to stitch the sides together and sewing on the button.

Change Purse

Change Purse

Opened Change Purse

Opened Change Purse

Change Purse Pattern

ch 17
row 1:  sc in 2nd ch from hook and sc in each ch across. (16 sc)

row 2:  ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across.

Repeat row 2 till piece measures about 4 inches, do not finish off.

Next row:  ch 1, turn, dec, sc across to last 2 sc, dec; repeat this row till only 6 sc remain

Last row: ch 1, turn, dec, ch 3, skip next 2 sc(makes loop for button closure), dec, finish off

Forming the change purse:  Weave in any remaining loose ends.   Stitching is done using 6 strands embroidery floss in a needle with a large hole.  You could use a matching color, but I used contrasting thread for a decorative touch.  Fold bottom of piece(1st row) up to last row prior to 1st dec row.  Holding together, I blanket stitched through both layers all around; beginning at the top side of the formed pouch, across the bottom, and up along the next side.  Do not finish off, but continue to blanket stitch around the single layer that makes the envelope type flap.  Be sure not to stitch the button loop closed.  Finish off.  Fold the flap down to help determine where to stitch the button on the pocket.  I’m not sure what size button as I just used one I thought was pretty from my button jar.

*Simple sewing version would be to just sew the sides together and sew on the button.*

These are a couple of the projects I’ve completed recently, but I have several other projects in the works.  I’m working on an afghan and some baby clothes for the new grandbaby on the way.  I just started a Creative Crochet board over on Pinterest for project ideas I think are interesting and I’d like to make.  Happy Crocheting!  🙂



Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Yesterday I had some over ripe bananas sitting on the kitchen table just beckoning to be made into something.  I decided last night, I would make some muffins this morning.  Well, I searched around looking for recipes and ending up having fun experimenting.

Not all of my kitchen experiments turn out well, but this one is a keeper.  The muffins turned out moist, sweet enough, and held together well.  Of course, tasted great too or it wouldn’t be a keeper.  On the plus side, these are healthier than my usual muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Ingredients :

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. whole oats
  • 1/4 c. flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c. agave nectar
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.  Add the melted butter, applesauce, agave nectar, and milk in the bowl.  Do not stir just yet.  In a separate bowl mash 2 over ripe bananas with a fork.  Add the 2 eggs in with the bananas and beat slightly.  Pour the banana and egg mixture into the large mixing bowl with the other ingredients.  Now, stir all the ingredients together till moistened and well blended, but do not over stir.

Prepare muffin pan by greasing cups with cooking spray or using paper muffin liners.  Fill muffin cups with batter.  Place pan in a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.  I actually pulled my muffins out at 23 minutes as I like my baked goods a little on the lighter side.  I also used fresh ground cinnamon in the recipe, just since I had it on hand, but cinnamon powder could be used.  Also, I think the cinnamon could’ve stood to be bumped up to 1 teaspoon for more flavor.  Yum!

Catching Up and Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies…

It has been a busy couple of weeks, so I’ve been a little lax in my blogging and my gardening.  I’m back from a good trip to my mother’s.  My daughter and I went for her retirement ceremony.  She’s retiring after teaching school for about 12 years.  We had a good visit and it was nice it was just us girls.  No guys.

Now I’m playing catch up, which seems something I’m always busy doing.  I was very happy to find out this blog was nominated for a blog award from a fellow blogger.  I will try to do another post for it later today.  It’s on my ever growing “To Do” list. 

This morning I got busy with the hoe and weeded four rows in the garden while it was still cool.  The big garden is coming along nicely with a minimum of deer damage.  The little shade bed has some beautiful bright pink impatients, which are in bloom.  The smaller herb bed, with a few vegetables mixed in, is doing nicely and needs some care.

As the weather continues to warm up some, hopefully there will be more fresh produce soon.  The small amount of peas I had planted are done and I need to plant some more.  We continue to have some lettuce and of course lots of fresh herbs.  I used some fresh chives the other day to make scalloped potatoes.   

Making Cookies

Making Cookies

Here is a picture from last week I had wanted to share.  It’s my daughter finishing up making some chocolate oatmeal drop cookies.  It’s a cookie more like a candy that we love.  Most of the time they set up, but sometimes they end up being spoon cookies(meaning so soft you have to eat them with a spoon).  The cookies did good this time.

It’s a good quick cookie, which can be made in a hurry.  We usually always have these ingredients on hand in our house.  Make sure to gather your ingredients before starting.  The peanut butter and oats should be measured out and sitting on counter ready to add when needed.  Prepare a flat surface (counter or kitchen table) with at least 3 feet of wax paper rolled out for cookies.

Put 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter in a pot and melt over medium heat.  Add in 2 1/2 c. sugar, 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder, and 1/2 c. milk.  I stir this continuously, bring to a boil.  After it’s boiled for 1 minute (often I do just a bit over a minute), take it off the burner.  Quickly stir in 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter, and 3 c. whole oats (uncooked).  Quickly drop by tablespoon onto waxed paper.  Makes about 3 dozen.

I say quickly a couple of times, because if the cookies are doing properly, they will set up rapidly.  If the cookies start to harden up, the ones you do towards the end will not be as glossy looking and will be harder to drop from the spoon.  It does not take long for the cookies to cool down and they should peel up easily from the waxed paper.  Love to eat a couple while still slightly warm with a glass of cold milk.  Yum… 



Hopes in Midst of Rain and Changes…

English: Hopes Reservoir The water, seen from ...

English: Hopes Reservoir The water, seen from the dam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today has hopes of feeling like a good day.  A slow gentle rain has been falling for the last several hours.  Of course, don’t have to go water the garden today, but couldn’t resist going out there to see how things are progressing.  It’s looking nice and almost all the seeds I planted are sprouting.  Only saw one bit of deer mischief….they ate my four broccoli plants.  It’s time to get busy with my anti-deer plans.

Guess it will be one of those housework catch up days with a bit of reading and writing thrown in the mix.  Still reading a book I picked up the other day at the used bookstore, a book of Sylvia Plath‘s Journals.  Maybe I can think of something delicious to bake up.  Baking is always good to do on rainy days when you can’t really do much outdoors.  Not complaining though, we so need the rain and I wanted it for my garden.

Well in other news, my household has recently grown.  My daughter and her significant other have moved in so they can work on getting other jobs and saving up a little.  The other additions to the household include their two dogs, one of which is still a frisky little puppy.  They are almost completely done with the moving part.  Just finishing up a few odds and ends over the next couple of days.  So far, so good.

Still trying to not worry so much even though it seems like things want to start falling apart in spurts and too many changes happen at once.  If you are in need of an uplifting song, here’s Drinking From My Saucer by Michael Combs.  It’s a wonderful reminder to be grateful, which a friend shared with me.



No Fail Fruit Cobbler

Last night I saw a bag of blackberries I had frozen a while back, so decided to take them out to defrost for this morning.  This morning I turned them into a lovely blackberry cobbler.  Sorry, didn’t think to take a picture till after we had dug in for breakfast.

This is a cobbler recipe I have been using for years and is so easy I have it memorized.  It really is no fail.  Just use two cups of your favorite fruit to make whatever kind of cobbler you like.  Best to use fresh fruit or frozen fruit you have defrosted, though you probably could use canned fruit.  I have used this recipe to make blackberry, blueberry, and peach cobblers.  It is so easy!

First melt a stick of butter and put in the bottom of your square pan.  If you like you could do my shortcut, just put a stick of butter in a glass pan and put it in the microwave to melt the butter(only takes a minute in my microwave).  Stir 1 cup of sugar into the butter.  Next add 1 cup milk and 1 cup self rising flour in the pan.  Stir all ingredients well.  Put the fruit right on top of the batter and do not stir.  Place the pan in a preheated oven and cook for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

About 5-10 minutes before the cobbler is due to be done, I will sometimes lightly sprinkle the top with a little sugar.  If I am making a peach cobbler I will also sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.  I like my cobbler a little on the not so done side, so many times I will pull it out about 5-10 minutes before the timer is up.  Hope you enjoy and be forewarned this cobbler is so tasty it disappears quickly!


Rainy Day, Gardening Updates, and a Spring Poem


Forsythia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been rainy since early this morning and it still continues.  Pitter patter of unending rain, but at least content in the thought the new seeds will get the rain they need.  Yesterday, I reseeded the lettuce and onions in the bed as some of the older seed had failed to come up.  However, the dwarf snow peas were doing well and already about 2 inches tall.  I planted some nasturtiums along the edge of another square, so they can grow up along the fence.

Guess no outside gardening today.  It looks like today will be one of those piddle around in the house days.  This morning has mainly been computer time as I have added a few items to the etsy shop, wrote blog posts, and checked email.  The seedlings in the window sill have continued to grow amazingly well and I love the tomatoes have finally got their true leaves.  I love the smell of tomato plants.  Also, grateful spring is officially here.  Well, off to do chores and guess the only gardening today will be planting more seeds indoors, but here’s a spring poem(a haiku) for you to enjoy :

Golden Blooms

Blooming Forsythia
Bold color signaling spring
Golden yellow burst