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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well today is December 24th , Christmas Eve; and for all those out there who celebrate this day I thought I'd send out a few helpful hints for this day.

Christmas Safety Tips:

#1 Before baking Christmas cookies remember not to leave the bag of sugar at dog eye level and walk away... or you'll be sweeping the floor and have a hyper dog on your hands! (has happened twice to us)

#2 When making the aforementioned cookies please don't drink egg nog... salt ans sugar look to close to want to mix them up.

#3 When getting ready to cook your bird... remember to remove the giblet bag... it's not a bad of goodies left by Santa.

#4 If deep frying a turkey, you probably don't want to do it in front of the wood burning stove.

#5 Family dinners are FUN, especially if you sugar the kids up before you get there.

#6 If you want to never have to say the blessing at dinner ... remember to thank the main course for giving it's life for your dinner when you have to say the blessing the next time (WARNING this has the opposite affect in Pagan households)

#7 Clean up wrapping paper mess quickly... or Sammy might decide to dress up the cat in the ribbons.

#8 If trying out the "microwave" method of cooking the turkey.... please remember that you don't need to preheat the microwave.

#9 Driving to relative's houses with the whole family can be a rewarding experience...but not if you sugar the kids before you leave. (you do it right before you show up!)

#10 Great, Great Granny is full of wonderful stories she never gets to tell (...not surprising...) don't forget to ask during dinner how the holidays were when she was a child.

#11 Watch the over eating... the drive home won't be rewarding if JR is in the back throwing up half his dinner after eating too much.

#12 Don't forget your pets this holiday season... Rover likes Turkey too... and will take it right off the table if you look away for an instant.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

BE Well and Blessed Be...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Help

I'd like to pause today to thank people who have helped us, whether they read this blog or not. The wire Mark, and Jon sent along; as well as the rest of the assorted building supplies they have passed along to us. To the people who gave us the insulation for the shed we are living in, it has been a very big help.

I'd also like to thank some people who have decided to give us some help over this holiday season. I am not sure who it was but last night (I think it was the school), after the kids went to the church they attend on wed.; a group of people showed up with a food basket for the holiday. I will tell you I did not ask for nor did I sign up for any such thing. Also this morning around 9am I think (I was still in bed) a group of men showed up with presents for the kids. Again I did not ask for nor did I sign up for anything. I am very grateful of this however. Or neighbor is also giving the kids some gifts and I thank them greatly for it.

Have a Happy Holiday everyone!

BE Well and Blessed Be....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Yule!

Yes I know Yule was yesterday, but as I did not post anything yesterday I figured I'd comment about it now. We had a quiet Yule with my kids behaving (now -THATS- a Yule gift) granted one incident between brother and sister was probably inevitable.. so I don't count that against them. Not on a holiday anywho, one fight.. I considered myself lucky! I figured with the people out there having a fire on Yule I'd offer some safety tips for you to follow if you are so inclined.

Yule Safety Tips:

#1 The sawdust filled boxes of red paper cylinders in cousin Darrel's basement are not a good fire starter.. nor do they make good fire wood.

#2 Recycling and handmade robes are wonderful... however using leftover tissue paper from gift wrapping does not make good robes especially if it's going to be anything near raining or you are lighting the yule fire.

#3 When doing a bonfire for yule please make sure your bucket of emergency water is water and not gasoline... water puts it out and gas makes it bigger.

#4 Skyclad is fun but even with a bonfire at -3 degree air temperature skyclad is probably not a good idea, however if wearing the tissue paper robes you probably will be just as cold

#5 Those having a ritual on this wondrous day please remember to have the cakes and ale after lighting the fire, we wouldn't want someone to accidentally light the tissue paper robes on fire.

#6 don't forget your pets! Little Honeyraninbow chasing your familiar around with a burning branch is probably not a good idea, and if it's a cat she'll let you know later what she thinks.

#7 If you decide to draw down the moon on this day remember the moving lights in the sky are not the moon.

I do know I am probably missing a few here and I do hope everyone takes these in good humor :D as they are meant to be. Watch for my Christmas tips coming soon! :D

BE Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Honey! or is that Hunny...?

Ok I'd like to say that; growing up I did not like honey, in fact I really did not like the flavor. In the last few years I have come to prefer it over refined sugar, which is good but also bad as the price is not the same as refined sugar. We are planning to keep bees eventually and like to switch over to just using honey versus sugar, which again will be good as Silver is diabetic. Granted with the diet we have been on since moving his blood sugar has not been an issue. So for now I am looking for some recipes that are honey instead of sugar, as well as conversion charts. I have found a couple they were listed in some old Organic Gardening and Farming magazines from the '60's, '70's,and '80's. Here are the ones I found:

Raspberry Leather

4 quarts raspberries
¼ cup water
½ to 1 cup honey

Wash raspberries. Place the fruit and water in a large heavy pot. Cover and cook over low heat until fruit comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour the raspberries into a colander, allowing the juice to drain into a pot.
The more juice that is drained out, the quicker the fruit leather will dry. The juice can be used as a drink or saved in the freezer for later.
To increase the yield of this recipe, 6 cubed apples can be added for every quart of raspberries used. Each quart of raspberries and 6 apples will yield 8 oz of fruit leather or 2 full cookie sheets.
Press fruit through a food mill. The puree should be the consistency of apple butter. Add honey to taste.
Spread the pulp 1/4-inch thick on 4 lightly oiled, stainless steel cookie sheets. Place in a warm dry place. You can use your oven or a food dryer.
When using an oven, turn down to the lowest temperature and leave the door open to allow moisture to escape. The fruit leather should dry in a bout 12 hours. When it has dried, peel the leather from the cookie sheet and lay it on wire racks to dry completely. Cornstarch or arrowroot can be used to powder the leather if it remains sticky to the touch. Roll the raspberry leather between two sheets of wax paper and store it in a cool dry place. The red color will keep one month at room temperature, four months in the fridge, and a year in the freezer.

Blueberry Pie:

Pie for a 2-crust pie
4 cups blueberries
4 tablespoons tapioca
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons melted butter

Line a 9-inch pie pan with bottom crust of pie. Combine remaining ingredients and pour into crust. Top with crust. Wrap tightly in foil and freeze. When ready to use, thaw the pie, then bake 450 degrees for 15 minutes and 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. Cool before cutting.

Peach upside down cake:

¼ cup butter
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
2 cups sliced peaches
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup oil
½ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Melt butter in 8-by-8 pan. Add honey, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Make sure mixture coats bottom of pan. Arrange peaches over butter mixture. Mix flour and soda. Set aside. Mix 1/3 cup honey, oil, buttermilk, lemon rind, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture. Mix well and add egg. When completely blended, pour over peaches in pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from pan immediately by inverting onto serving plate. Cool to room temperature.

Fruit Puree Pancakes:

¾ cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup fruit puree (your favorite)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add fruit puree, honey, melted butter, and egg and mix thoroughly. Drop batter onto hot buttered griddle. Turn pancakes when bubbles form on top and brown on both sides.

Amaranth-Strawberry Spread

2 cups water
1 cup raw amaranth seeds
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
1/3 lemon, chopped very fine with rind included

In a small sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add amaranth, strawberries, honey and lemon. Stir until the mixture comes to the boiling point again, then lower heat and cook slowly for about 45 minutes, until mixture is thick and the amaranth grains are tender.

Makes 2 cups

Concord grape pie:

Plain short pastry- enough to line a 9- to 10- inch pie pan plus one-half that amount for lattice top
5 ½ cups ripe concord grapes (the other varieties may have skins that are too tough)
2/3 cup light honey
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten

Line pan with 2/3 of the dough and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Pinch grape pulp out of skins and set skins aside. Put pulp in saucepan (with no water) and bring to rolling boil. While pulp is still hot, rub it through a fine food mill to remove seeds. Combine strained pulp, skins and honey and stir well. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, water, and lemon juice, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture and orange rind to grape mixture. Spoon into pastry shell. Dot with butter. Roll out renaming dough into a long strip. Brush lightly with beaten egg and cut into strips ½ inch wide, long enough to stretch over pan. Arrange in lattice pattern on top of pie. Place pie on baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees 40-45 minutes. Let cool, serve with ice cream if desired.

Now I also found a recipe in those same magazines for homemade pectin:


First you need the small early apples for this for the best thought it won't be clear using it.

1 Wash the apples carefully, trim, and cut pieces into thin slices. Place in a large pot.
2 add one pint of water for every pound of apples inside pot
3 Cover and boil for 15 minutes.
4 strain off the free running juices through one thickness of cheese cloth, DO NOT SQUEEZE
5 return the pulp to the pot and add the same amount of water, simmer for 15 minutes
6 let stand for 10 minutes, strain through one thickness of cheese cloth DO NOT SQUEEZE
7 Allow to cool enough for you to handle
8 squeeze out remaining juice and combine the three juices

There should be a quart for every pound of apples, you can use it immediately or store for future use. To can, heat to boiling point and pour immediately into hot , sterilized canning jars. Seal and invert the jars to cool.

I am looking for more honey recipes to add to my "cookbook" for later use if you can pass any along I would be verrrrrrry happy. I did find out about a new book that has honey recipes it is :

Honey, I'm Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World edited by May Berenbaum

I found it listed in many online book sellers, for under $25 so once I get the spare cash I am buying a copy of it. Those of you out there looking for alternatives might want to look into it. Also, to some of my readers who have seen these recipes "elsewhere" yes I know you've seen them; but I want everyone to see them. Again I found them in some old Organic Gardening and Farming and yes it is listed as "farming" Organic Gardening use to include "farming" in it... I do not know why they dropped the "Farming" line but they did. Also, I'd like to point out I have found in a grocery store "raw" honey; granted how "raw" it is I do not know. I would like to say it has a better flavor over the standard honey does. I almost can't wait to try real "raw" honey, does anyone know if you honestly cannot give raw honey to children? If so how old do they need to be? My youngest loves drinking tea and wants to try the "raw" honey we bought but I am not sure about letting her.

On another note, If you listen to podcasts please listen to my friend's one... yes you might not agree with her religious beliefs, I share the beliefs she has if you have not figured it out yet with my "goodbye" on here. She has a lot of information in her podcasts and I think those of you who listen might find it interesting to hear.

Also... Hey our WATER is back on after over a week of being frozen, our neighbor had given us some heat tape, and well when Silver went to go put it on the pipe we discovered a small problem. The pipe.. both in fact (one going in and one going out) had been covered by almost 3 inches of ice, and we had to wait for that to melt first. Then the heat tape was able to heat the pipe, but still it took until yesterday to have it heat fully. The good news about it is though, it did not freeze until the temperature dropped to 4 degrees with a negative windchill. Silver also thinks that one of the kids had turned off the water by accident, we had been leaving it running just to make sure it didn't freeze; so we aren't quite sure why it froze as it did not until early morning. Not like 4 am but rather sometime after we got the kids up for school, so we aren't sure why.

Thats all for now and if you can pass us some honey recipes along please do!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Good News!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK for those of you who don't know what is in this picture. IT'S OUR WARRANTY DEED!!!! It arrived in yesterday's mail and I was so surprised to see it finally! Happy but surprised. I almost got up and started dancing :) and boy would that have been a sight!

On another note our water is still frozen but with the warmer temps i imagine it will be running sometime tomorrow.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold Weather

Well, it dropped down to 2 degrees before dawn today, with a negative wind chill. Before we went to bed last night it was 11 degrees, with all three heaters we now have running we kept the temp inside at about 50 degrees. Though because we didn't know how much it would cool down everyone slept in a full set of clothes under their blankets. Even the dogs didn't want to get up this morning :), but they did go outside without to much fuss. The kids did have to walk to the bus in that nasty wind chill this morning... after I had them so bundled they look like that younger brother on "Christmas Story" you know the one so bundled he can barely walk. They told me they were warm enough when they came home today... though my youngest complained that I had so much on her she almost choked.

Funny thing... our water was ok last night... was running this morning... but about 2 hours after the kids left and I was ready to make a pot of tea we discovered that our water was frozen. I guess it got so cold this morning that it froze quickly. As of 6 pm central our water is -STILL- frozen but we have a 5+ gallon jug of water for emergencies. It should last a couple days if necessary, just means I have to wash dishes verrry carefully.

We did have to go out today, though we waited until after noon so we knew the car would start; we aren't sure how good it will be in very low temps as it is not in good shape. anyway we had to go out and do some kid laundry, as it seems when I tell the kids i need their clothes to wash they don't always listen. So instead of washing clothes this Friday we had to was them today, we did have some fun on the way home. Highway 5 going out of Hartville towards Grovespring had an accident on it and the police turned everyone around. So we had to take the long way home and added about 10 minutes to our drive time. We did get to find the pay fishing ponds that are near here by taking this 'alternate route'. So once we get our fishing rods fixed up and get some licenses we plan on fishing there with the kids.

I do hope everyone who had to deal with the snow storm and cold is doing well and didn't get buried too deep!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No Egg Chocolate cake...

OK now that I have your attention...

Yes this chocolate cake has no eggs in the recipe, I found it in a old cook book, copies with the blueish text; I think it was a church cookbook but I am not sure. The woman who contributed this recipe's name is Edythe Caskey and the recipe is as follows:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 t salt
2 T cocoa

Into this mixture stir:
1T vinegar (it does not matter white or apple cider)
5T melted butter
1 cup cold water

Mix thoroughly and bake in oven 30 mins at 350 degrees.

Now the original recipe says to mix it in the pan you are going to bake in, and doesn't say to grease it so i did not the first time and it stuck. Which according to the original recipe says shouldn't happen. So this time I greased the pan and put it in a bunt pan (which I just got at the thrift store for $1). I do have to say this is a wonderful cake and it is fluffy and moist. this one I did today was a double batch, so play with it and see what you need. Also I used dark cocoa powder so I do not know how it will taste with normal cocoa.


This picture is of a quart jar of fresh honey and about a 1/4 lb of orange fudge. I bought the fudge for $1 and the honey for $10 today and found out the man who sells the honey is not far from me, but also he sells his product in our MFA store (Missouri Farm Association). The fudge was bought in a little bakery on Highway 5 going into Hartville, and we found out if you don't get to the bakery early almost everything is sold out. They serve breakfast and lunch and she wonderful smells just hit you when you walk in the door.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Picture time! again

This is our tree for this year, it's having issues but it is still pretty. A living Norfolk Pine that we will be planting in the yard this coming spring. We also picked up this tiny pitiful cypress tree that Lowes was selling for $1 due to the fact it was dropping a tad... it's not now and we are going to plant it next spring as well.

Well though we are putting in insulation my little girl had a three dog night the other day.. as of course the dogs did not want to sleep on the cold floor. Oh, does anyone have any suggestions for Paris' skin problem? The vet said it's a flea allergy.. but it takes a full winter for her coat to grow back, anyone know of a way to have it grow back faster?

This of course is our resident momma cat Paige, she was hanging off the upper bunk bed the other day and I though she looked so cute like that (and of course she knows she's cute) and also had a "wow your legs are long" moment too.

On another note, we had a visitor back on Friday, seems the school called the state about our 'substandard' living conditions and sent someone out to check on us. The man who came out was very nice and he was impressed with our set up actually and thought the sawdust toilet was a interesting idea, and was surprised it didn't smell. I do have to wonder though if we were homeschooling would have had this problem?

Be Well and Blessed Be...