Monday, September 29, 2008

Basic Corn Bread

One of my husbands favorite meals is Pinto beans, corn bread and taters. Can you tell we're from the South? :) He doesn't much care what kind of taters we have...we've had all types including the Italian Herb Roasted potatoes. Most of the time though...I serve beans and cornbread with tater TOTS!

We've tried a lot of corn bread recipes over the 20 years we've been married and this one is our favorite. Sometimes we'll add a chopped up onion or a cup of cheddar cheese to the mix...either way, it always turns out great!

Basic Corn Bread

2 cups yellow corn meal
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix until most of the lumps are gone but don't over mix. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

You can also put all the dry ingredients together and store in a jar so you'll have a cornbread "mix" that's handy to have ready.

Have a great day!

Mavis D.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Make a Mix Monday - Spaghetti Sauce Mix

It's often difficult to find already prepared sauces that do not contain high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. Even if you do find some without these ingredients, it is difficult to control the amount of sugar in them. After many trial and error evenings eating spaghetti with different types of sauce, I think we have finally found a winner.

We also want to have something that's as easy and convenient as pre-made sauce. So here it is!

Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1 cup cornstarch
1 cup dried minced onion
1 cup dried parsley
3/4 cup dehydrated bell peppers (found at health food stores or online at HomeStyle Mercantile)
1/2 cup Italian Seasoning
2 Tbsp garlic granules
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Lemon Pepper seasoning

Mix and store in a tight fitting container...I like to use a canning jar.

To use: Mix 1/4 cup of seasoning mix with 1 can of tomato paste and 2 cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes to incorporate flavors. Feel free to add a pound of browned ground beef, prepared meatballs or your other favorite meats.

This also makes a great sauce for lasagna!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordy Wednesday

The blocks are set, plumbing installed in the floor and concrete poured. When looking at the floor it looks HUGE compared to our small mobile home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordy Wednesday

Over the next few weeks I'd like to show you something.
In 2003, we started building our own house. We did about 75-80 percent of the work ourselves. We had someone do the foundation, framing and roofing...then we took over the rest. It's been an adventure!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Our Busy Lives

We are just starting basketball for the new school year. The first practice was last Friday and I know it is going to get busy around here. Many times when we get busy, we do not eat well because we'll grab something from the fast food joints and scarf it down on the way to our next appointment. The stress of a too busy lifestyle is NOT the topic of this post but it is a good topic to explore...someday.

To make sure we eat well during this time of the year I usually use my crockpot a lot. Another thing I do is to make up mixes ahead of time...simple things that cook up fast with just a little prep work. Think of those overpriced rice packages and meal kits. You can make up the same thing at a fraction of the cost, avoid all the preservatives and you'll feel good about serving "made from scratch" meals to your family.

So...welcome to the first edition of (drum roll please)...

Make A Mix Monday!

Most of the time, I put these into mason jars and put on an "already used" lid on it. There is no point in using a new lid or heat because the rubber seal on the lid is just fine for our purpose. If you were making these up for long-term food storage then you'd do it a little differently. You can also purchase the plastic lids that fit your jars in the canning isles of your local store. I prefer to use up all my regular mouth jars because I don't like using them for canning.

Let's get to our first recipe!

Cheesy Potato Soup Mix

1 3/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes
1 1/2 cup dry milk powder
1/2 cup dry cheese powder (local health food stores or HomeStyle Mercantile)
2 Tbsp chicken bouillon
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store in quart sized Mason jar or other suitable container. For long-term storage, simply add a 55cc oxygen absorber and seal tightly.

To use: Combine 1/2 cup mix with 1 cup boiling water...stir until smooth.

Have a great day!

Mavis D.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wordy Wednesday

This is my sweet baby James. He's sick today...had sniffles last night and it's slowly gotten worse. His brother is now "infected" and it will probably spread through the whole family. Perhaps I taught them to share too much! LOL!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Preparing for Class

Did I mention that we homeschool? Well...we do. We started homeschooling our oldest around 1994 or so and joined the local homeschool group in 1995.

Funny thing, when we first had children we said..."it doesn't matter if I have to work two jobs but they are going to a Christian school." Well, the school we planned to send them to closed and we were a bit lost at what we would do. Someone, in passing, mentioned homeschooling. What was my reaction? I exclaimed with great passion "That's not LEGAL!" :) Since then I found it was legal and we love it!

So, what does that have to do with "preparing for class?" Well, I have volunteered to teach a class with our local co-op for the fall session. Digital Photography 101!

I love photography and taking tons of pictures...yeah, sometimes they don't turn out as planned but I still love it and I'm going to teach what I've learned. The problem is that as the class gets closer and closer I get more and more nervous. Hey...I'm older than they are and I know more but I still get a little nervous at the thought of teaching "other peoples kids" anything!

Don't worry, I'll get over it and do just fine...I just hate those butterflies. :)

Have a great week!

Mavis D.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Italian Herb Roasted Potatoes

We just love simple foods and this one is no different. There are several variations that I use but it's all basically the same.

First, start with enough red potatoes to feed your family. A good rule of thumb is one good-sized potato for each person and then add 2 or 3 more...just in case they are a little extra hungry.

Red potatoes
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - optional

Wash and dry potatoes then cut into cubes about 1 inch square. Put them in a large bowl. Pour the olive oil over the potatoes, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and parmesan cheese and toss to coat well and distribute the herbs. Spread on un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees until fork tender and lightly browned.