Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home Canning and Preserving

My house smells like fall, more specifically, it smells like apples! We have a friend with several apple trees. I have been canning apple butter, apple pie filling, and homemade applesauce. On top of that I am dehydrating apples for a quick easy snack for my kids (minus preservatives)!

Here's a picture of my homemade apple butter cooking in my crock pot:

Garage sales and Craigslist are great resources for finding canning supplies and cheap dehydrators in your area. I recommend finding a dehydrator that has heat AND a fan. Food dehydrators are not only handy with fruit-- it can also help preserve vegetables to be used later on.

Garden vegetables can be dehydrated and then later added to homemade soups! If you find celery on sale or dig up homegrown carrots, remember they can be dehydrated to use later in the year. A friend of mine even slices up and dehydrates potatoes. You can used dehydrated potato flakes to thicken up a gravy, or make mashed potatoes!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Felt Play Food

Giving our kids gifts that are top quality for a low price can be hard to do. Making gifts for your kids is a great way to provide more high quality gifts, than if you were to buy them in the store.

Felt play food is something that's new to me. However, I plan on buying a few patterns to make this for my daughters. It looks great, it's soft, and it's easily made at home.

Here's a picture of some of the many creations from Bugga Bugs:

For more information check out http://www.buggabugs.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Craving Chocolate-Quick Tip

I found this recipe courtesy of the Bargain Hunters Board on Babycenter.com

Coffee Mug Cake
Mix all the ingredients up in a coffee mug for a quick chocolate treat!

5 tbs all-purpose flour
2 slightly rounded tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 slightly rounded tbs sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Mix these ingredients together and add:

3 tbs milk
2 tbs oil
1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix it all up! Add chocolate chips or nuts if you like.

Put it in the microwave and watch it closely, it does not take long(about 1 minute or 2).There are not any eggs in this recipe, so it cooks fast. To see if the cake is done, poke with a fork. If the fork comes out clean and the cake feels springy, it's done! Add a scoop of ice cream to the top and enjoy!

I'll try posting pics of this tonight after the kids go to bed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Save Money with Cloth Diapers

I discovered cloth diapering when my oldest was a baby. She had very sensitive skin, and every disposable diaper we tried caused horrible blisters on her bottom. I don't want to shell out $30-$40 a diaper because I had 2 in diapers until very recently. I used and still use regular prefold diapers on my girls. A few months ago, I received a sewing machine as a gift. I have managed to draft my own pattern for one-size diapers for my youngest and a newborn pattern as well.

I have 3 relatives that are currently pregnant, with one being due any day now. Instead of trying to buy 3 different shower gifts, I'm sewing newborn cloth diapers. You can find great deals on flannel prints in the fabric clearance sections at Wal-Mart and Joann Fabrics.

Here's a newborn fitted cloth diaper I made for my nephew:

I can make several of these gifts for a fraction of the cost of a decent shower gift. Not only that, but it's something I made, which I always think adds a little extra value!

This site is very helpful is showing how to draft your very own cloth diaper pattern.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall, Football, and Chili!

It's football season combine that with cool, crisp Fall weather and it's a perfect time for chili. We love homemade chili, but it's never a meal with out cornbread. Sure, you could buy the boxed mix, but there's a way to make your own and save money. I love having this in bulk because in the winter, we make cornbread all the time. This is a great side dish with the homemade jambalaya!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups cornmeal

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or two knives cut in shortening until particles are fine. Add the cornmeal and mix well. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 months. Makes about 10 cups of dry mix

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the homemade cornbread mix with 1 beaten egg and 1-1/4 cups milk. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into a greased 8" square pan or greased muffin tins and bake at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes until light golden brown and bread springs back when lightly touched with finger. Muffins will bake for the shorter time period.

This Recipe is by Linda Larsen, About.com