Saturday, December 27, 2008

Italian Sprouts

Our family loves Brussell sprouts and here is a simple recipe to serve them. You can use homemade Italian dressing or your favorite brand.

2 (16 oz.) packages of Brussell sprouts
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put sprouts in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes then drain. Put cooked sprouts into a serving dish. Pour dressing over the sprouts and mix lightly to coat. Top with grated cheese and serve.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Grandma's Divinity

This is the time of year for candy making, cookie baking and all sorts of things to fix the sweet tooth! I'm not a candy maker...I prefer to eat it. My mom, however, has been making Fudge and Divinity for years and I have fond memories of scraping the last of the fudge out of the pan or stealing pieces of Divinity when she wasn't looking. It's wonderful stuff and we just can't get enough. My son, the candy maker of our family, plans to get hands-on training in the art of making this divinity. Last year he learned fudge making...this year, it's Grandma's Divinity! I can't wait! YUM!

2 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 egg whites (stiffly beaten)
2/3 cups pecans
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup and water in a pan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves; Cook without stirring to 260 degrees. Remove from heat and pour beating constantly in a fine stream into the beaten egg whites. Add vanilla, fold in nuts. Spread into a buttered pan or spoon onto buttered cookie sheet. Top with pecan halves.

Have a great day and don't eat TOO much Divinity!

Mavis D.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Make-A-Mix Monday - Ranch Dressing Mix

Our boys love Ranch Dressing with carrot sticks and other fresh vegetables. This is a great treat but sometimes they get out of hand with the dressing. To make it a little cheaper, I've started making my own. Most of the ingredients I already had but I did buy the dill weed and it's simple mix this up and keep it on hand. I use an empty pickle relish jar to store it.

1/2 cup buttermilk powder
1 Tblsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dill weed
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt (or adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix well and store in an airtight container. To use, mix 1 tablespoon of mix with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 cup of milk.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Did I Tell You? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Well...did I? Our oldest son who has been serving in Baghdad, Iraq is coming home!

He should be here in a matter of days and we'll be so happy to have him home and safe.

Please continue to keep these men and women in your prayers. There are still many more over there and even when they do come home they need the prayers to help them adjust back into "normal" life.

To Will...we are proud of you and love you very much!

To everyone else...have a great week!

Mavis D.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Homemade Vapor Rub

It's cold and flu season again and we've already had our first round of colds for the year. I hate having a cold and we've always seemed to use a lot of Vicks. However, lately I'm concerned with a lot of ingredients in many of the things we use rather it's food items or medicines.

There's a product called Winter Breeze vapor rub that is made with natural things like beeswax, oil and essential oils but it's rather costly. I've found some instructions to make my own "vapor rub" so I thought I'd share.

Here are the instructions I used:

Vapor rub

1/2 cup non-petroleum gel
1/2 Tbsp sweet almond or olive oil
1/2 tsp essential oil of Eucalyptus
2 - 3 drops of tea tree oil

Combine the non-petroleum gel and the almond/olive oil in a double boiler. Melt together, blending well, then remove from the heat. Add in the eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil and mix well. Pour into container and allow cooling and setting.

How to make "non-petroleum gel"

Using a double boiler melt together 1 ounce of beeswax per 1/2 cup of oil. Pour into container and allow to set.

You can use baby oil, mineral oil, almond oil or olive oil. I used olive oil because mineral oil is a by product of petroleum (like what is used to make gasoline!) and baby oil is usually made of mineral oil. Almond oil is ok but might be more costly...I haven't compared the cost of it to olive oil but I also just like the properties of olive oil.

Have a great day!

Mavis D.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Preparations...Not for the Faint of Heart

The trim is DONE in the living room. It's amazing how "finished" it looks even though it's not painted yet.

Tonight, we'll be repairing a toilet by installing a new wax ring and possibly install the trim in the "main" bathroom.

On another note, how many of you braved the chaos and cold to go shopping on Black Friday? I scanned the ads while the turkey was baking and was not excited about anything. With our economy as it is, I really expected more "fabulous" sales and know, to get the customers out to stimulate the economy and help their bottom-lines.

Many found something worth going out for but I stayed home and waited until about 10am before I left. I only stopped at two stores...Walmart and Walgreen's to pick up a few things...most were already gone but I did get a few things I wanted to purchase.

I came home, we set up the tree, and decorated a little...we don't usually decorate much, just a tree and the mantel. We definitely don't do a bunch of lights outside but this year I plan to have at least a wreath on the door. I've done bows in the past but I'm thinking I want a wreath instead.

Lastly, I've been working on Christmas gifts. I plan putting together some gift baskets and I really want to think about what would be a good theme for each person. For example, I have one person that is always journaling so I'll probably put together a basket for her that has something to do with writing her "life's story" or other short stories. It's something she enjoyed when she was younger. Don't worry, she's not "online" so she won't be reading this! LOL!

I do have to stay within a everyone else so I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck and trying to make many things as "homemade" as possible.

Do you have any ideas? What are you doing to keep your Christmas budget from getting out of hand? I'd love to hear more ideas including gift leave a comment and tell us how you are filling your Christmas with cheer.

Have a great day!

Mavis D.