Friday, October 31, 2008

Rustic Reality and No-Bake Apple Crisp

For the past 5 days, we've been living without our homes' central heating! The "heater" needs to be re-lit, so until my Dad is able to fix it, we're bundling up! We've put our fireplace into good use though, and have been keeping warm with our space heater :) To add to our lack of heat, our stove and oven are off as well!!
hahaha! Do you think God is trying to test our self-sufficiency aspirations? :) Our appliances work fine, its actually a problem with the stove, which occurs when we turn on the breaker...that's why both appliances are out! :) We're in good spirits though, because we know all this will only last for a little while! But until then, we'll try to make as many "cold" meals as we can. I started it out by coming up with a "no bake" apple crisp for dessert! It turned out great (considering its COLD and not "fresh from the oven") :)

No-Bake Apple Crisp

1. Start with 8 apples (I used 4 Granny Smith, and 4 Gala Apples)

2. Peel, Core and Slice the apples however you want. Sit 2 apples aside.

3. In the large bowl, squeeze 1 lemon over the apple pieces to preserve the color.

4. In a seperate small bowl, pour 1/2 cup scalding hot water over 1 cup of raisins. Cover and let 'em plump up for about 10 mins. Drain the water from the raisins.

5. A food processer would work better, but I chopped & blended the 2 extra apples..

Then add the plump raisins! Blend until smooth.

6. Pour the apple/raisin mixture over the sliced apples, the add 1/3 cup brown sugar!

7. I poured the apples in a greased (11x13) cake pan.

8. To make the "crumb topping", I combined 2 cups Raisin Bran cereal,

1 cup of Old-Fashioned Oats..

And 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg in a large zip lock bag.

9. Now shake and crush it all up! :)

Then pour the topping onto the apples.

10. I pressed the topping onto the apples until it was evenly covered.

11. Then immediatly serve, or refrigerate for later! We all enjoyed the apple dessert, and its even better if its heated in the microwave!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vacation: A visit to my Grandmothers'

I know its been a while since I've posted, but my family has been on vacation in SC for a week! Our purpose in going was to visit my Grandmother, and try to minister to our other family members (who aren't Christians as well.) We left Saturday morning and stopped at the SC rest stop. We found out the annual "Sweet Potato Festival" was taking place that day, and the location was super close, so we stopped by!

There were quite a few vendors there, and I saw an older woman was selling handmade aprons (each was one of a kind!) for only $10! I thought the price and quality was excellent, so I decided on this "Holiday" apron, since I don't have one for the approaching winter season :) {The middle of the apron reads "Merry Christmas from the heart"}. Before we left, my dad was able to fellowship with old friends and we bought home-grown sweet potatoes for $0.25 each!

Before going to my Grandmother's house, we went to my great-uncles house to visit. It was a good time, and after playing my guitar, I noticed these small irons as doorstops. I asked him about them, and he told me that they're most likely from the 1890's--he remembers his mother heating them over the fire! He then offered them to me, and I'm so excited :) The larger one weighs about 6 lbs, the other, 4.5 lbs. To be so small they're extremely heavy! I like to imagine my great-grandmother using these...*sigh* Women 100 years ago inspire me..they really do!

On Sunday morning, we went to a wonderful Family Integrated house church nearby. We just love the small congregation--we feel so much at home, especially when all the families are so like-minded! After church, we had a fellowship meal and afterwards we walked around the farm, and had great conversation. Before leaving, we were invited to have lunch at the Pastors' house on Wednesday (They have a working farm as well).

On Monday we were on the town! As you know, I *love* Farmers Markets, so it felt like paradise when we walked into the old-fashioned Market in downtown Aiken. Mom took a picture of us in front of the entrance!

Inside each "barrel" was a different type of organic granola. You're allowed to taste, so after everyone gave their opinion, it was {hands-down} blueberry crunch! My dad was loving it, so he did the honors of scooping out the granola :) By the way, for some reason, it tasted like "Trix" cereal! Really. yeah, I'm not kidding ;) I don't know how those blueberries were so flavorful, but we enjoyed granola cereal the next morning!

Monday-Wednesday we stayed inside the house with my Grandmother (the majority of the time). Honestly, our patience wore thin because as we tried to serve, my grandmother talked, criticized and got upset at everything. We were very grateful to get out for lunch on Wednesday! We had a lovely time at their home! I enjoyed learning more about keeping goats too :) Afterward we were able to sigh with relief for christian fellowship!

By the way, I just wanted to rave about these grits! They're "Daniel Boone Yellow Corn Grits". We bought these while at the Market. I know it sounds funny, but we haven't found a brand of corn grits that we all like..until now! These grits ALWAYS come out creamy and flavorful...without milk, butter etc. Its not "gritty" or "mushy". It costs $3 and we're hoping that our local market in GA carries this brand!~

On Thursday, My Dad and brother went fishing with our Granddad and Great-Uncle who are great fishermen. They caught over 15 fish altogether, but my Dad says the "bonding" was the best part! lol He says it was a multi-generation/vision forum moment! :)

While the guys were gone fishing, we ladies went to a few thrift and consignment stores! I found two dress patterns for $0.75 total! I also picked up this pretty floral picture for $4. I don't usually like too much floral, but I think this portrait will go nicely with my other Victorian pictures.

We were invited to have dinner on Thursday night, over at the deacon's home. (Where the house church is held). We had a great time! The deacons' wife makes homemade soap all the time (which I need to start doing again!) so she let us pick out which type of soap we'd like, and we settled on Strawberry, Goats milk, and Rosemary! After dinner we talked, sang (yep, I pulled out my guitar!) and prayed before we left for the evening.

We spent all Friday visiting some relatives, then staying at home helping my Grandmother with chores around the house. "Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in manner of living, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

On Saturday, our great-aunt took us out for Lunch! It was so nice; we ate and talked and had great conversation! (It was raining all Saturday so I had so much fun wearing my 50's style raincoat!) After lunch, she took us to a large bookstore; It was wonderful to be surrounded by literature on a cold, rainy day! When we came home, we spent our time packing up our luggage and doing whatever needed to be done around the house before we left.

We were invited (by one of the families' from house church) to stop by their home on our way back to GA. Well, we did, and so enjoyed it! They've been homesteading for over 30 years and have inspired us so much to live self sufficiently! They gave us a tour of their barn, garden, and root cellar! At supper, we had animated conversation of economics, stories and multi generational vision and the christian life. Afterwards, my sister and I were able to talk to their 2 daughters (who are our age) about modesty and reaching out to our old friends. We all agreed that knowing there are other girls out there that are like-minded is so comforting and edifying! As our family said goodbye and headed home, we were so encouraged with the Godly fellowship in my Grandmothers' home town. My Mom describes it as "finding households of light". We were able to encourage and be encouraged, and I believe my Grandmother noticed a difference as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

SecondHand Treasure: 1950's style Rain Coat!

Today we went by a second-hand store, and to my amazement, found a vintage-style rain coat! It doesn't have a hood, but I love the way it "flows" over my skirt! I went ahead and tried it on, right there, without bothering to go into the dressing room ;)
It fits wonderfully, and I bought it at a bargain price of $10.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn Menu

As the sky's turn gray, and the leaves start to fall, we're constantly reminded of Autumn. I know here, we're preparing for our new autumn menu! We anticipate the hearty soups & stews that bring warmth to the home. I thought I'd share with you our Dinner Menu.
Sunday~ Crockpot/Slowcooked Meal (Chili/Potato Chowder/Beef Stew), Veggies & Dip, Homemade Bread
Dessert: Caramel Popcorn
Monday~ Sweet Potatoes (w/ all the fixings!), Collard Greens, Baked Apples, Homemade Bread
Dessert: Apple Pie
Tuesday~ Baked Fish, Wild Rice, Salad w/Homemade Dressing, Bread
Dessert: Ginger Cookies
Wednesday~ Green Bean Cassarole or Lasagna, Homemade Bread
Thursday~ Homemade Pizza, Salad, Bread Sticks
Friday~ International Day--Chinese Stir Fry, Fried Rice/Lo Mein noodles
Dessert: Mandarin Orange Cake
Saturday~ Sub Sandwiches (On whole-grain bread), Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Can you tell we like variety? ;)
We want to stick to a schedule, so we can better prepare for dinners. (I may try freezing them ahead of time) Now we can expect/look forward to a certain meal, and because of variety, we won't grow tired of it. (hopefully!) As I start cooking and baking, I'll try to post some recipes and meals that we enjoyed.
As far as dessert, we'll start incorporating more seasonal foods and drinks (Apples, Cider, Cobblers, Crisps, Pears, Cookies, Hot cocoa etc.)
We're on "Day 2" of our new menu, and after church we came home to warm Potato Soup (Mom's recipe!) I'm really looking forward to a full week of meals from our menu!

Question: To those who have a meal menu/schedule, do you save $$ by always buying the same ingredients for meals? I'm interested to see if this will make an impact on our grocery savings!

Friday, October 10, 2008

And the winner is...

Jasmine from Joyfully At Home!
Congrats!!!! I'll be contacting you shortly :)
Thank you to all the ladies who entered--I had alot of fun choosing the tea for the giveaway!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Women at Home

"Thank God, O women, for the quietude of your home; but all day long you are there, beautifying it, sanctifying it, adorning it, blessing it. Better be there than wear a queens coronet. Better be there than carry the purse of a princess. It may be a very humble home. There may be no carpet on the floor. There may be no pictures on the wall. There may be no silks in the wardrobe; but, by your faith in God, and your cheerful demeanor, you may garniture that place with more splendor than the upholsterer's hand ever kindled."
Rev. T. Dewitt Talmage, D.D.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I've been tagged!

I have been tagged by Miss Julia !

Here are the Rules:
*Link to the person who tagged you.
*Post the rules on your blog.
*Write six random things about yourself.
*'Tag' six-or-so other people at the bottom of your post-
*And leave comments on their blogs letting them know they've been tagged.
*Let the person who tagged you know when you've written the post.
Ok, Here are mine! :)

1. I'm outgoing and love to laugh and be spontanious!

2. I often wish for the manners and "customs" of the Jane Austen era (such as gentlemans manners, friends "coming to call", etiquette, clothing, dances and balls etc.)

3. I've always lived in GA, and have moved only once!

4. I love to go bass fishing and camping!

5. I love photography, but I really dislike decorating! Contemplating color schemes and moving furniture around isn't my cup o' tea!

6. I was saved 3 years ago and baptised 2 years ago! I performed "He knows my name" on the guitar at my baptism--That was my first time playing on-stage!

I guess that's it! I hope y'all were able to get to know a little bit more about me :) I'll tag:

Janna, Meredith Ivy, Rose, Ashley, Victoria, and Abigail

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pie

We had bought a 10 lb pumpkin last week, and instead of carving it, I thought it might be fun to make some pumpkin pie! It was an all-day process though, so I'm glad I started in the morning!

1. Start by carving the pumpkin in half...

2. Then, remove the stringy insides and seeds...

3. This is what it looks like after being cleaned out..

4. On two greased cookie sheets/baking pans, I placed the pumpkin halves in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 mins uncovered. Then I covered each pan with foil and let bake an additional 45 minutes.

5. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and let it cool...I think I gave it about 30-40 minutes. (oh, there will be liquid in the baking pan, I didn't need it so I just poured it out)

Start scooping out the pumpkin!

Almost done...

6. The pumpkin is a very watery vegetable, so as I mashed it up, I drained out the liquid.

7. After draining as much I could, I used a blender to puree the pumpkin. I used tupperware to store the extra (pureed pumpkin) I wouldn't need for today.

My Pastry Dough recipe

Combine: 3 cups flour, 2 TBsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup shortening, 1 egg yolk, 7 TBsp milk, 1 tsp vinegar. Use a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 8. Very important: Divide the dough into two, Wrap up the dough in plastic, and freeze for 30 minutes

Roll out the dough...

Then put into 2 pie pans...and pop into the freezer/fridge until it's time to fill 'em up!

Now...back to the Pumpkin!

9. In a large bowl, add 30 oz (or 3.5 cups) of pumpkin...

1 cup (packed) brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground Cloves, 1 TBsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp ground Ginger, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg & 1 tsp Salt. Combine ingredients!

10. Add 4 beaten eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, and 1 cup heavy cream (If you heat the milks to a scalding point in a saucepan before adding to mixture, this will cut baking time in half! I learned this the hard way! lol)

Pour pie filling into pie crusts...

11. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, then I reduced heat to 250 degrees and baked for an additional hour. 12. The Pumpkin Spice Cake should come out golden and firm in the middle (although, its ok if its a little'll firm up as it cools.)

Perfect! Garnish with a healthy dollop of Cool Whip, sprinkle a pinch of Cinnamon on top, and Enjoy!! We loved how flavorful it turned out, and enjoyed eating our slice of pie while watching the BBC series, "Cranford" (Which we highly recommend!) :)