Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Home Canned Dill Relish

Last summer I embarked on a canning frenzy. I have canned in the past, but mostly the usual: green beans, carrots, beets, apple sauce, tomatoes. Last year, I made pizza sauce, salsa, tomato soup, Italian style tomatoes, plus dill pickle relish. As it will soon be harvest time for cucumbers, I thought I'd share the recipe I used. This relish is dilly, but a little sweet, too. It doesn't taste like store bought, but I like it better and will never bother to buy it again. I still have plenty (I made 2 double batches), so I won't be making it this year, but you can! Once you invest in the canning salt and spices, you will have enough ingredients to make TONS. Using your own cucumbers, you will save all sorts of money by making your own. Plus, you know what is in it.

Dill Pickle Relish
4 lb cucumbers
1/4 cup pickling salt (you must use non-iodized salt or it will turn a nasty color)
1/2 tsp turmeric (I used ground)
2 cups white vinegar (5%)
1/3 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used the jar stuff)
1 Tbsp dill seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups onions
Scrub cucumbers and trim off ends and cut into chunks. In batches in a food processor, pulse cucumbers and onions 8 to 10 times to cut into 1/8 to 1/4" pieces.

In a large bowl, sprinkle cucumbers with salt and turmeric. Stir in 1 cup cold water and let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain in large sieve. Rinse under cold water and drain again, pressing out moisture.
On a large saucepan bring vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill seeds and mustard seeds to a boil. Add cucumber mixture, return to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes.
Ladle into half pint jars leaving a 1/2" headspace. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Adjust time according to altitude.
Makes About: 3 pints

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I have unleashed an inner baker that I didn't know existed. Today, I whipped up some of this amazing Cinnamon Swirl Bread for tomorrow's breakfast.

Adapted from Cinnamon Swirl Bread:
1 cup warm water
2 packages yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp)
1 can evaporated milk (15 oz?)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
8 cups flour
milk or water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbls cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl (or your mixer's bowl) dissolve yeast in water. Heat milk in microwave until bubbly, add sugar, salt, butter (it will melt in the milk), let cool to room temperature, add eggs and then pour entire thing into yeast. Add flour and mix until forms a stiff dough. Cover and let rise until doubled (1 hour). Punch down, roll out on floured surface to form a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten with about 1 Tbls milk or water (use a pastry brush or your clean hand). Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and liberally spread all over dough. Roll up tightly, like cinnamon rolls. Cut into 3 smaller or 2 larger loaves. Pinch the ends to seal. Place in greased loaf pans, cover and let rise another hour. Bake 350 degrees 45 minutes or until done (might be less time depending on your oven). Knock on it, and if it sounds hollow, it's done.
Butter the top to keep it soft. After about 5-10 minutes, remove from pan to cool on a wire rack. On my list of other baking hurdles to jump this week are English Muffins and Naan.
We will be having curry for dinner this week to go with the naan, plus pasta & crab sauce, manicotti, and the old 4th of July standby: hot dogs.

Visit the Organizing Junkie for Menu Monday
11th heaven's homemaker haven hosts homemaker Monday
Our Chaotic Life hosts a Monday Recipe Swap
In the Land of Monkeys and Princesses hosts Mouthwatering Mondays

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Peach Crisp without Sugar

There are a lot of diabetics in my family. It runs in the family. Therefore, I try to make desserts once in a while that everyone can enjoy without as much guilt as usual ;-). This dish isn't terribly sweet and lets the flavor of the peaches shine through. If you choose to use fresh, you may have to alter the time a bit.

1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup crystaline fructose
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups sliced frozen peaches
2 tsp minute tapioca
Place peaches in the bottom of a 9 X 9 pan. Sprinkle with tapioca and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Combine oats, flour, fructose, butter and remaining cinnamon in a bowl and combine with a pastry blender until nice and crumbly. Sprinkle over the peaches. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with sugar free vanilla ice cream if desired.

Visit 3 Sides of Crazy for her Simply Delicious Sunday Swap and
Organize with Sandy for Share your Recipe Sunday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maple Bar Success

I asked my oldest what he wanted for breakfast one day this week, expectingthat he would say waffles or cinnamon rolls. Imagine my surprise when he said doughnuts. Luckily, he gave me a few days to think about it, find a recipe to try and build up my nerve to actually do it. I don't have a doughnut cutter and the thought of cutting out circles and then finding a smaller device to cut out the inner hole didn't sound like something I wanted to do. One of my kids' favorite kind of doughnuts is maple bars, so I decided to make those. I just had to combine a few different recipes.

4 1/2 tsp yeast (or 2 packages yeast)
1/4 cup warm water
1 can evaporated milk, room temp or a little warmer
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
5 cups flour
canola oil for frying
Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixer bowl. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter and 2 cups flour. Beat on low until all mixed, then on a little higher speed for 2 more minutes, scaping bowl often. Add remaining flour and mix until smooth. Cover and let rise until double; about an hour. Dough will be sticky. Turn dough onto flour surface, roll out to 1/2 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Cover with a towel and let rise another half hour. Heat oil to 350 degrees (here, the use of an electric fry pan or a deep fryer would have come in handy, but I used my candy thermometer to gauge the temperature.) Slide doughnuts into oil, four at a time and fry until golden; about 30 seconds each side if your oil is really hot. Remove to drain.
Maple Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp milk
Drizzle glaze over doughnuts.  

Saving a trip to the store, using ingredients that I can pronounce, seeing the delight in eaters' eyes and learning a new skill works for me!
Visit We are THAT Family for Works for Me Wednesday
Visit Life as Mom for for Frugal Fridays.
Visit Grocery Cart Challenge for the Friday recipe swap
Visit Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday
Visit Ann Kroeker for Food on Friday
Visit MomTrends for Friday Feasts

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stuffed Bread

Okay, I have a new favorite way to use up leftovers. Janelle has said repeatedly how wonderful it is, but like bagels, I thought it might be too hard. Really, all I can say is the more I try, the easier things are to make/bake. Here is the recipe I used for my bread:
Mix 2 1/4 cups flour with 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp instant yeast. Stir in 1 cup warm water and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Mix in enough of 1 more cup of flour to make a soft dough (I probably only used 1/2 cup more). Knead.
Roll out to a 10 X 14 rectangle ON YOUR BAKING SHEET. Put your filling on the middle third of the dough. In my case, I put a layer of American cheese, a layer of bbq pork and another layer of cheese. Cut the outer thirds into 1 inch strips equally on both sides. Alternating sides, criss cross over the filling. Cover with a towel and let rise 25 minutes. Bake 400 degrees for 25 minutes. I brushed butter over the top after baking to keep it soft. You could literally fill this with anything. I am thinking a Reuben-esque filling with sauerkraut, corned beef, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing would be really good; so would meatballs and spaghetti sauce; so would turkey, gravy and stuffing....the possibilities are endless.

Tasty Tuesday is here.
Tempt your tummy Tuesday is here.
Tuesdays at the table are here.
$5 Dinner Challenge is here. P.S. I am getting up at 6am tomorrow to attempt homemade maple bars; wish me luck! If they turn out, you will see them here soon, otherwise, well, you know what happened.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Homemade Bagels

This post was a long time coming. I was vacillating between psyching myself up to making bagels and then I was convincing myself that they were just too hard to do. Finally, my son, the Musician, was rumaging through the cupboards, frige, freezer as teenagers are want to do and he said,"Boy, I wish we had some bagels to go with that cream cheese." Suddenly, I was in the kitchen saying that I'd make some.

I originally intended to make bagels following Smitten Kitchen's recipe, but instead I grabbed my trusty Joy of Cooking and followed that recipe. It took about an hour (less time than bread!) and the results were out of this world. All the family said I needed to keep on making homemade bagels from now on.

1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp yeast
1 Tbls sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbls oil
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour Combine the water, yeast, sugar, oil and salt in the mixer. After a sponge has formed, add the 3 - 3 1/2 cups flour. The recipe says the dough will be smooth and elastic. Mine was not sticky at all. Let it sit in the bowl, covered for 15 minutes. Divide it into 8 pieces, roll into 10" snakes. Wet the ends and form into rings. Place on a floured baking sheet, cover and let rise 15 minutes.

Boil the bagels, 4 at a time in 4 quarts of water, 1 Tbls sugar, and 1 tsp salt Place the boiled bagels on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees. I made them again a few days later using another recipe (just as easy) that contained no oil (fat-free bagels!). I might have to make both at the same time to see which we really like better. This time, however, I made some mini-bagels which are a better suited size for my younger kids. I rolled the snakes 6 inches long.

Visit Mouth Watering Mondays here
Monday Recipe Swap here.
Homemaker Mondays here
Try it Tuesday here
Tightwad Tuesday here
We will undoubtedly have more bagels often this week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making Your Own Ground Beef

WARNING: Post Contains Pictures of Raw Meat.
Here's the dilemma I faced: Ground beef 80% lean (which for some reason is now called extra lean?) was $1.88/lb in the big family packs and Boneless Beef Chuck Roasts were $1.79 (and a whole lot leaner, I might add). So what did I do? I bought the chuck and made ground chuck!!

I cut the beef into workable sized pieces. I placed it in my food processor with the sharp metal blade and ground it up. By the time I ground it all, I had almost 4 pounds of hamburger (guess what we are eating this week?!), very little mess, and fresh leaner ground meat than I could ever find at the store for the price I paid. Visit We are THAT Family for Works for Me Wednesday

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baby Wipes

I ran out of baby wipes on purpose this week. I know that sounds weird, but, as I keep saying, I am trying to use things up. Ideally, my little girl would be potty trained by now, however, she appears to have no intention of being completely trained any time soon. She goes on her potty 75% of the time, so we don't use as many wipes as we did when she was strictly in diapers. I have paper towels coming out my ears, so I have started making my own wipes.

Homemade Baby Wipes:
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 Tbls baby oil
2 Tbls baby wash
1/2 roll paper towels (normal sized roll, not super mega double roll)
Add oil and soap to boiling water. Place paper towels in a plastic container (an old baby wipes container would work, but I am using a rubbermaid cannister)
Pour water mixture over wipes. Let cool completely before using!!!

Frugal Fridays can be found at Life as Mom

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Well Supplied First Aid Cupboard Works for Me

Last Thursday, I did a random post for the Thursday 13 meme and received some comments that got me thinking. I mentioned 13 things in my medicine cabinet. These weren't my big medicine supplies, these were just some things I had in the mirrored cabinet in my master bathroom. Some of the comments said I was well prepared. I thought I'd do a post on my real medicine supplies.

For fevers, I have infant, junior chewable and adult strength tylenol and ibuprofin. Alternating the two fights fevers better than either by themselves. I also have some tylenol pm to help my older family members at night when they are sick.
For headaches, I have aspirin and excedrin. Sometimes caffeine helps headaches better than plain aspirin.
For allergies, I have claritin, breathe right nasal strips, cortisone for hives, and benedryl in liquid and tablet form.
For sore throats, I have lozenges and cough drops, plus sore throat spray.
I have calamine lotion and meat tenderizer for bug bites.
I have hydrogen peroxide, bactine spray, neosporin, bandaids of all styles and sizes, gauze and 1st aid tape for wounds. There are also some ace bandages, splints, slings and a heating pad for other injuries.
I have pepto bismal and tums for sour tummies.
I still buy real sudafed (with photo id!) and have vicks vapor rub for stuffy noses.
For burns, I have aloe and lavender essential oil.
Other supplies I have are a cool mist vaporizer, a digital thermometer, an otoscope for looking in ears...I can recognize an ear infection with great accuracy now, tweezers and needles for slivers, salt for mouth sores (gargling in warm salt water is a great cure) and ice packs in the freezer.
When someone suddenly gets sick, we are always ready. Often it's bedtime when a sad boy comes knocking on my door complaining of some malady. There is no time to rush off to the store and buy a remedy. Croupy coughs, skinned knees, hives; we have seen them all. Being prepared keeps me from panicking and a calm mom means calmer kids.
Visit We are THAT family for Works for me Wednesday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Instant Mashed Beans

I made a Mexican Layer dip for dinner earlier in the week. I didn't have any refried beans in the house but I did have about 200+ lbs of dried beans. In about 10 minutes, I had really cheap fat-free refried beans. NOTE:The following can be done in a blender if it's strong enough; test out about 5 beans in the bottom of your blender and see if it can handle it. Do not put more than 1/4 cup in at a time!

I started with 1 cup of whole dried pinto beans. I put them through my wheat grinder and got about 1 1/2 cups of bean flour. Then, I mixed the flour with 2 cups of cool water and then added it to 2 cups of boiling water. I stirred it with a whisk until it boiled, reduced the heat and cooked 4 more minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. For flavor, I added a package of taco seasoning (1/4 cup bulk bought at Costco) and then made the dip according to the recipe. These inexpensive beans are great for burritos or any other place you would use refried beans.

This is participating in the Make It from Scratch Carnival at It's Frugal being Green.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Honey Cocoa Cake with Fudge Frosting

 This cake recipe comes from the 1939 edition of The American Woman's Cookbook. It was the cake I asked for as a birthday cake for years. It always crumbles a little.  It is not a terribly moist cake.  Honey tends to dry things out, in my opinion.  However, the fudge frosting, which comes from a vintage Eagle Brand Milk recipe booklet, matched up perfectly with the cake.  Mom always made a round two layer cake for me.  After making the fudge frosting recipe, I realized that Mom must have at least doubled that recipe, if not tripled it because the layers of frosting were THICK!  In my photos, I only had enough frosting for the top and middle and the thickness was mediocre at best.  The taste, though, was just as wonderful as ever.  There are a lot of happy birthdays wrapped up in this cake.

Honey Cocoa Cake: (from the American Woman's Cookbook)
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup sour milk (use buttermilk)
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening, sugar, eggs and honey. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk. Bake in 2 round prepared pans at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool completely.  You may want to consider freezing the cake layers before frosting because they may crumble slightly.

Fudge Frosting:(from Eagle Brand Milk)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

6 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp butter
dash salt
1 Tbsp water 
1/2 tsp vanilla
Cook all ingredients, except vanilla,  in a double boiler until thick, this will take at least 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Cool, then spread on cake.

I am joining Joy of Desserts for her Vintage Recipe Thursday

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some Recipes for Kids in the Kitchen

To fight off the attacks of boredom that occasionally hit during summer vacation, I sometimes offer my kids things to do in the kitchen (other than washing the dishes, that is!). Here are a few things we have done in the past.

1. Homemade Soft Pretzels
2. Peanut Butter Candy (great as an edible play dough)
3. Finger painting with instant pudding
4. Ice Cream in a Bag or can
5. Fudge in a Bag
6. Homemade milkshakes (the kids love to drop in fruit or help pour the milk into the blender, help cover it, push the buttons and of course divide it into equal portions)
7. Sandwich Roll Ups: Let the kids roll a rolling pin over a slice of bread until it it really thin. Spread on the sandwich fillings or layer a piece of meat and roll up.
8. Depression Cookies: Hand the kids a bunch of graham crackers and a tub of frosting.
9. For children too young to see through this activity, fill a spray bottle with water and hand them a sponge. They will have a ball mopping your floor.
10. Also for younger children, fill the sink with a bit of water and more dish soap than usual and let them "wash" the dishes. They will have a ball standing on a chair helping Mom. (it always gets back to cleaning up the messes we make, doesn't it!)

For more ways to beat the summer boredom blues, visit We are THAT Family for a themed Works for Me Wednesday.
And visit Feels Like Home for Grace's Kitchen.
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