About Me

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sweet Dumplings for Fruit Cobbler

I or members of my family have been sick for the past 3+ weeks.  I'm worn out honestly.  The weather is nice, I have lots of activities I'd like to attend, just not really the energy to do it yet.  I've been on the mend for over a week now.  I'm hoping everyone else is on the upswing too.

We had dinner guests tonight and I made a Peach Blueberry Cobbler for dessert.   Summer desserts are some of my favorite.   I Love chocolate.  Especially good chocolate where you only want a bite or three.  Cakes and Pies are delicious as well.  However, there is something unmatched about baking with delicious fruit, fresh in season!  These are the desserts I contemplate making two of, and hiding on in the corner cupboard just for me.  The types of desserts that if there is a bit left in the pan after dishing everyone up,  I WILL devour it without thought of sharing!

This is my go to dumpling recipe no matter what fruit i'm cooking with.  I feel it goes with most everything, and can still yield a good result when I do it quick and dirty (meaning, I'm not measuring much).  I have used so many liquids, and they've all worked well with slight flavor variations.  I prefer the buttermilk so far.  Though I am tempted to make this with coconut cream the next time I have some on hand,  I'm willing to bet, it would be delicious too!

Sweet Dumplings


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cream, half and half, buttermilk, evaporated milk, or even, plain ole milk
  1. Combine Flour, Sugar, Powder, Salt and the lemon peel in your mixing bowl.  
  2. Using a pastry blender cut in your butter till you have a mixture that resembles corn meal.
  3. Pour in your choice of liquid.  Combine only until all dough is moistened and evenly mixed.
  4. Drop spoonfuls over your prepared filling.  Sprinkle with nutmeg if you wish.  I usually do!
  5. Bake at 400 Degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
I am tempted to make this with coconut cream the next time I have some on hand,  I'm willing to bet, it would be delicious too!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adventures in an alternative Sour Dough

A friend of mine gave me a sourdough start in April.  Actually, she gave me five.  I put them in the fridge to keep for a few days till I could get to them but since then, we've been cooking!
I know that Amish Friendship Bread comes with a little handout and  recipe with specific instructions on it's feeding schedule, how and when to split the mixture and yet more details on how to spread it around to the whole world, 5 friends at a time.  Grand Ambitions... and on their preferred schedule, I believe it could be achieved.  However, I also think that majority of people are really missing what a gem this ziplock bag of goo on the counter really is.  Sure.  The cinnamon laden Amish friendship cake is amazing.  But, it has so much more potential!
I love their slightly sourdough pancakes and waffles.  Both are delicious!  I would not give up my traditional waffle recipe, but I would love to keep this as an alternative.  My favorite resource for recipes, most of them being reviewed, can be found here.

The morning is going to be crazy at the least, as I finished bedtime with all the children at 10:45.  That is up to 3 hours late for some of them!    Knowing this, I'm hedging my bet tonight by preparing breakfast for the morn.
I found a Apple Cranberry Nut Bread recipe that is made with the starter.

I had to make some subs from lack of ingredients, and others I choose to add out of preference.
I wanted to make them with all wheat flour to give them a bit more staying power and help propel every one through their meetings in the morning.  I added the coconut at the end on a whim.  I wouldn't change that, as it added a delicious added note!

Apple Cranberry Nut Amish Friendship Muffins


  • 2 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 vegetable oil
  • 6 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup shredded apple
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup smashed pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. Beat eggs, then combine all ingredients in Bosch.
  3. Bake in large muffin tins for approximately 25 min*.
These are a delicious muffin.  Not too sweet, but still yummy enough to devour.  A great Breakfast!
*My oven is a bit wonky, please don't go off of this time measurement by faith alone!

On a side note, while you're waiting for those muffins to bake,  macerate some strawberries with fresh mint leaves.

Thinking these are destined to be served over some ice cream tomorrow topped with some whipped cream!  Yum!

Friday, May 11, 2012

How I really work

In the past, I have read blog posts that expose a person in their true form.  They always awe me as I'm the person who tries to do a quick tidy behind the child before I shoot the picture.  Of course, half the time I miss the shot.  Then there is another good percentage of the time that I would not even think about taking a picture no matter how cute my kid is being because there is just no way I could make the background look presentable in any amount of short time!  

On Wednesday morning, I walked around my house, and took note that nearly every single room was destroyed.  Many spaces just had their typical stuff scattered around.  I only make the kids tidy their rooms for vacuuming once a week on Friday's.  So, it's safe to say, their rooms are messy.   Naturally, my canning from Monday is all sitting on the counter still in all its red bejeweled glory. The hallway looked as if a book tornado make a few passes. (the little kids like to read books by pulling off the entire shelf, sitting in the pile, and then reading.) It also was the home of the spilt box of costumes. The front room had the remnants of a pillow fort and the toys that they were playing with inside of said fort. The dining room had the leftovers of a get well soon card that the family made together for my sis who just had surgery, and the toys that were brought in to keep Zander happy on the floor and not crawling over the masterpiece in the making.   The kids bathroom was host to a family reunion for the toothbrushes thanks to Abigail.  She set out beds for each one, and made sure they had snacks.  Toothpaste, of course.  Darling in its own disastrous way.   Am I painting a picture yet?

My problem is I don't know where to start.  I wanted to put away my jams and syrups so I could prepare the kitchen for Strawberry 2.0, but this is what I ran into when I went up the stairs to get to the food storage closet.  

 These are some of our costumes.  Let me explain.  I love all things pretend.  I love to sew and buy costumes.  In our last home, Khali had a gigantic closet and we hung up all of our costumes in there.  When we moved, there was no extra closet space to put them.  Since I didn't have a solution for this, I left the costumes packed in a box, stored in the back of food storage closet knowing that without a good place for them, they'd constantly be a mess.  However, I now have a 6 year old who is extremely curious and can ready very well.  So, of course when I asked her to retrieve some salsa one night, she stepped on top of this box to get it and read 'Costumes' written in fat sharpie.  My salsa never was brought to the kitchen, and when I went upstairs to see where my child had gotten lost, the costumes were being strewn about as Bell looked, excitedly, for a princess gown.  I had successfully avoided the problem of costume storage for 8 months.  That was 4 months ago.  Since then, whenever the kids wanted to play dress up, they dug through the box casting off the rejections in all directions.  Then someone (generally me) would go toss them all back into the box for the process to repeat another day.

So, with an entire house to put back in order, I went to the garage. I had seen a costume wardrobe on Ana White's website.  I figured if I fixed my costume problem, then I would be able to traverse the path from my kitchen to the storage area, and then, and only then, could I clean up the rest of my house.  This logic works for you,  doesn't it?  If it does, please come help me explain to my dearest.  He doesn't get it at all.

I didn't have any nice wood to work with, and my dearest darling has banned me from spending any more at Lowes or Home Depot this month, so I went with plywood leftover from my Chicken Coop project.  While not being ideal wood, this helps me solve the problem of what to do to with these piles that are taking over my garage.  (The wood on the left is slated for Potato Boxes. My next project!)

 The next problem comes from not having a table saw to rip down the boards, or a chop saw to make quick cuts.   I did have my trusty old Jig Saw.  Thanks Daddy for giving me your cast off tools!  I obviously was slightly determined or the lack of the ideal wood and tools would have sent me to choose a different starting point in cleaning the house. Maybe the costumes?  Nah.

I had the base built in about 2 hours in the afternoon, and even had enough time to make a proper dinner!  Because this was turning into a use-it-up project, I went to the paint closet and made my selection from there.  I went with 'Twig Basket', since I wanted a neutral color to work for all my littles.   I managed to paint it while the older kids cleaned up the dinner dishes.  After bedtime, I pulled out my Silhouette and cut out the freezer paper stencil I used on the base to jazz it up a little.

I didn't wait quite long enough to stencil,  I got a bit of paint (a whole lot of paint) on the sole of my iron.  But this isn't the first time a craft project has made a mess of my iron. A little salt will clean it up!  
I ran to the store this morning to buy castors to put on the bottom so that we could move it easily.  This addition puts the project at a grand total of $7.00 out of pocket.   I had it upstairs with a few costumes already hung up when the little girls woke up to surprise them.  

Ideally I'd finish up the project with 
  • Baskets on the top shelf  to hold wings, crowns, hats and armor.
  • Full body mirror on one side
  • Hooks for bags on the other side
  • Sword Storage
  • Organize Shoes that are now tossed into the bottom.
Not too shabby for a day project eh?  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry Preserves

I have recently been participating in a coop called Bountiful Baskets.  They are a grassroots volunteer ran organization that works together to get fruit and vegetables at rock bottom prices. I've been very happy with their produce in volume and quality.  They have a standard share that fills much of a laundry basket for $15 dollars and also great value's available to add-on, such as sour dough bread, granola, and extra portions of fruits and veggies.
This past weekend, I ordered 40 lbs of Strawberries for 60 dollars.  I wanted to prepare them over the weekend, but sick babies negated that plan.  So today, armed with the help of the children, I set to work.
We washed, hulled, and mashed 36 lbs of Strawberries in a few short hours.  It's amazing what team work can do!

With all the preparation done we made;

  • 4 quarts, 4 pints and 4 half-pints of Strawberry Syrup
  • 9 pints of Strawberry Jam
Since I ran out of lids, we stopped there and cleaned up the kitchen for the day leaving 1.5 gallons of Strawberry puree in the fridge awaiting to be used in other recipes.  I'm looking at; 

I would use my mothers recipe for the Rhubarb Strawberry Jam, but the other two recipes are ones that I've never tried, but am interested in.  I'm excited to add these jars to my food storage shelves.  I find extreme joy in the work involved in canning, but I am almost giddy when I go to the closet to get out some type of food I put away months before!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Switching Fires

A slight change of plans today.

I am told, perhaps only by friends to help me feel better, that even professional builders have that one measurement that in the end just isn't right.  Here is mine.  Last week, I measured out my coop and build the base in position.  Then, my darling husband helped me dig through the rocks mixed with dirt and debris we lovingly refer to as the ground around here to not only even the ground out for the legs, but also to be able to bury and flay out hardware cloth.  The coop is very near being finished and we asked a few friends to help us move from the backyard where I've been building it on top of a little tykes toy, to the side yard where the chickens will be kept.  This move was a bit complicated as there was a tree in the way that required lifting the coop over the fence and into the neighbors yard to bypass.  With three grunting men, and two buff women helping, we got the coop to the base!  Score!
Oh Wait.
There is an overhang on the roof.  Of course there is an overhang on the roof.  They are supposed to be built that way to ensure that the rain will run off the edge of the roof and not straight down the outer wall of your building.  
However, I didn't take that into consideration when burying the base and it's accompanying wire. So, the coop won't sit on it's base.  We're off by a measly inch.  AN INCH I SAY!
So, command decisions needed to be made while we had the man power to help us.  We took off a lower roof and switched the direction the coop is oriented on the base.  This messes will all sorts of little details.  Like, the egg boxes not being located at the end of the coop adjacent to the side door for easy collecting, the feeding tubes not being in the same local, the muck doors being only feet away from the compost bin, and the trap door built into the bottom of the coop so the chickens can go into Fort Knox (their small but very secure) run when we are going to be gone all day no longer lines up with the supports underneath.

I feel the need to scream.  Just a little bit.

Tonight I had the idea in my head I was going to relax with a friend a little bit and do some crafting.  My friend came over, we played a game with our husbands before they headed off together, and we got out supplies.  Only, I never got around to any of it.

I did reclaim my kitchen.  Kinda embarrassed that I loaded a full dishwasher, and then hand washed 6 baking dishes, 3 pots, and 4 large bowls.   It's been a long weekend of doing many other things....
I also mopped the floor after Abigail tried to clean it for me with baby oil.  I must admit, it was very shiny!
I also scrubbed the backdoor and adjacent molding after Abigail drew on them with pen, right in front of me!

So, after taking my friend home, I realized there is a potluck tomorrow after church that I needed to make salads for.  Lucky thing I just cleaned my kitchen eh?
So, I made my families Blueberry Salad, that I actually have changed into a Fresh Blackberry Salad since I live in Washington and have access to them.  Then I wanted to make the Pink Jello Salad, but tried to take it up a notch by cooking my jello with pineapple juice and a cup of marshmallows until it thickens, then once it cooled whipped it to a bright fluffy mess and then mixed it in with the other ingredients.  From tasting the spoon once I got it into its bowl, I am willing to say I'm positive it was worth the extra effort.
Since I'd started with a clean kitchen I was inspired to clean along the way.  I was also inspired to make muffins for the morning since I had blackberries from the freezer out on the counter.  It felt great to be in the kitchen for the night.  It felt productive.  I don't even mind that its after midnight and I'm not done yet, because everything is working out.

I had a tendency to burn out on projects when things get rough.  I can't tell you how many unfinished projecst I have.  The chicken coop has definitely started to get much harder recently!  Two days ago, I had to change the position of the roosting poles three times, which means there are 6 un-used holes to putty. Just last night I got stuck trying to figure out the angles and lengths to cut to make the foux chimney.  I asked Kolton to figure out the Geometry of it all for me and the geek came through and got me all my measurements and angles.
Tonight, I made a list of everything that needed to be done to finish the coop.  I came up with 10 things.  I am praying I have everything on the list.  I am getting tired of this project.  The chickens are getting tired of living in their box in the garage.  I will finish this.  I will push through.  I have not worked so hard for so many hours to quit now!  But for tonight,  I am going to go to bed.  Maybe I will be able to find a few positives in all the changes that had to be made in the morning light.


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