Happy Easter!

Table setting 2– all from Target (Threshold and Hearth and Hand collection)

Table setting number 1 (Target Threshold and local florist and local primitive gift shop)–I think this one is really Spring like and less Easter, so I’m going with #2!

Our Easter dinner is going to be:

Ham with a brown sugar mustard glaze

Hasselback potatoes

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Glazed Carrots

Parker House Rolls

Lemon Cheesecake

Whatever you’re doing this coming Sunday–have a wonderful make memories kind of day be safe and be well! 🐝

Parker House Rolls

Parker House rolls are a staple in our home. If you follow me on IG you’ll see that a lot of our holiday meals feature them. This year, at least in that respect, nothing has changed.

parker house rolls

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Here  is a great recipe that I found that I’m trying this year.

I read the Food Network magazine quite a bit and found a great recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli. I’ll be making enough for Thanksgiving that I’ll be able to freeze some for Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving we fix turkey sandwiches with them and the day after Christmas, ham. 

A question I was recently asked was “what inspires some of my content?” Well, several years ago I began researching where my food comes from. Through that research I became very interested in some of the “ingredients”-additives, preservatives in the food my husband and I were eating. From there I was inspired to gradually change our diet to an organic diet.  Of the many topics I’ve written about, food safety is my favorite. Many years ago now when blogging was brand new for me (1998 Open Diary & Live Journal) I created my first blog. I never knew what to write about consistently. Eventually I stopped writing on it altogether. I guess mainly because I didn’t think I had anything interesting enough to write about that someone would spend the time to read. I still think that at times but I’ve kept this blog going since 2008 because in doing so I learn to research better, write better, and communicate better.

I’ve noticed a lot of blogs out there whose content is advertising something, or promoting someone else’s blog to get them to promote yours, challenges and so on. The drive behind most of it views–to qualify for affiliate programs, and advertise some more. As much as I understand that and know many people who do this–very few to almost rare ever make a solid income from it unless they are doing it all the time M-Sun (at least in the beginning) and making many sacrifices. I think that is great but I have a full-time + job and it’s not something I have ever had the desire or the time to do.

If I write it and you like it, I’m happy about it. I guess what I am trying to say is–I write because I am compelled to write and this blog contains some of my writing. I create blog posts because I want to and enjoy blogging. Money, believe it or not, or accolades, or demands would ruin the very nature of what inspires me to write. If that makes sense? If you show up you will read content I have worked hard on that I hope you can take something away from. If not I hope you’ll stop back another time. 

I follow a lot of really good blogs, full of substance, creativity and hard work. I hope each time I make a post to be half as good as the ones I read. I hope you will try the Parker House rolls, you will love them and I’m certain you will make them a family tradition. Until next time, stay warm, stay safe and have a great week!

 

 

Leftover Ham & Scrumptious Egg Bake Recipes

Easter is going to be different this year for sure, but I am still planning on cooking our family’s traditional Easter dinner. My little family and our close neighbor are all looking forward to the meal I am preparing. Almost all of the food for this meal was purchased in January.  The ham is left over from Christmas dinner when I baked up a nearly 50# ham, that I was given by my boss, and ended up freezing a lot of it; including a package reserved for our Easter dinner!

I will also be using any leftovers from my Easter dinner to make 3 different kinds of sandwiches that will be served throughout the holiday weekend.

My menu for our Easter meal is:  Ham, rich and cheesy scalloped potatoes, roasted carrots, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes, wild rice, parker house rolls, and lemon cheesecake.

On Easter morning I’m making this for breakfast–

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Here are the three different kinds of sandwiches I’m going to make–

deviled ham sandwich

Ham Spread- the recipe I use is here- I skip the hard-boiled eggs and use Miracle Whip salad dressing for this sandwich. If you want a less sweet taste stick with the mayonnaise.  I loved going to church events as a kid because these sandwiches were always served on bakery fresh buns/rolls. I have a great food grinder attachment for my KitchenAid and I use it to grind my ham extra smooth-I’m not fond of chunks of ham in this sandwich.

ham and cheese

Ham & Cheese Sliders-the recipe I use is here. I fix these sandwiches a lot on game nights, our guests finish them right off. The Hawaiian Rolls are essential in these sliders.

cuban sandwich

Cuban Sliders are my favorite of all sandwiches. The best one I’ve had to date was at The Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company in Madison Wisconsin some years ago. Since then I have been regularly making my own.  The recipe I use, by Tyler Florence, is here.

Friends, I’m not going to lie it’s been busier than usual around here with everything going on and it’s been hard adjusting to this temporary? new normal. I pray whatever kind of day you have planned for Sunday that it is a good day. I hope you are all well and thank you for stopping and visiting my blog during these difficult times. Until next time–be well and be safe!

My Christmas Centerpiece & Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies

I  ❤️ this centerpiece–fresh boughs of evergreen in vintage vases/ containers. Perfect and in my case free as we have both pine and juniper trees outside that are lush and green and I have several milk glass containers to put them in. I don’t have a tray quite like this so I will be improvising, but I do have some warm white fairy lights to help warm things up and bring some Christmas cheer to our holiday table.

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My beautiful amaryllis is blooming this week!

Thanksgiving dinner turned out great–if you followed along on my IG stories you saw my preparations and enjoyed some storytelling from Dad and my holiday tablescape!

Just a little over 3 weeks from today and the big day will be here. Between a very busy volunteering schedule- SA ringing the bell, church activities, caroling and putting together Christmas packages for the shelter I volunteer at, I haven’t really found much time to bake. Which is fine because I’d much rather be volunteering than packing on the pounds. This week I will be making rosettes and the Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies

We’ve also been busy with Christmas open houses, the CP Holiday Train and food drive, and the amazing Rotary Lights in La Crosse Wisconsin.

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Christmas Day B’fast- Breakfast Strata

Christmas Dinner Menu

BBQ Beef Ribs
Ham
Rice Pilaf
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Scalloped Corn
Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
Dinner Rolls

I’ve got two new cookie recipes I am trying this week and I will take photos and post them here with recipes soon. Until next time–be well!

 

Turkey Dinner for 12 & gratitude printable

This week I found a fantastic printable that I copied onto my chalkboard.
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Source for printable–  & may I say that I just love this blog-All Things Bright and Beautiful

Well folks, its Thanksgiving week already. Where does the time go? My husband and I went shopping this past weekend to avoid the big rush and purchased a ton (it sure felt like it) of food. We helped friends host family members and a deer hunter get-together and helped feed over 40 people for 3 days. On top of that we finished our Christmas shopping, painted the bathroom, picked out new carpeting and both worked overtime at our full-time jobs. But oh the reward of the big feast all weekend. I made a lot of homemade sloppy- joes, bbq’d what seemed like an endless supply of brats and baked 6 pies. Now after another full week of work, we’ll be doing it all over again come Thursday. It’s very rewarding to cook for people who love to eat and we are extremely grateful to have friends and loved ones near us throughout the Thanksgiving and holiday season. I’m thankful to know such wonderful people not only through work, but through living in this area and through the various organizations we volunteer for. It’s  really a labor of love to entertain the special people in our life.

For Thanksgiving dinner there will be 12 people give or take 5 more. I wanted to make sure we had plenty of food and also some leftovers as well as something here and there to send home with everyone. So I perused the internet until I found some pointers about how much food to prepare for 12 people. I will be the main cook/hostess so it’s all on me. Here’s what I found at Taste of Home .   I think we nailed it with what we bought and have on hand- I currently have two 20-pound turkeys defrosting in the refrigerator and I’ll be baking 1-13# ham.  We’ll be having sides of mashed, rice and stuffing, along with cauliflower, squash, brussels sprouts, corn and sweet potatoes. We will have both veggie and fruit trays for before the meal and cookie and cake trays after the meal. The desserts are yet to be decided, I’m thinking cheesecake, pie and creme brulee . On Wednesday, after work, I’ll be making the homemade bread and rolls. Having a lot of people for dinner isn’t new to us but this is the first Thanksgiving I’ve cooked alone for more than 10 people.

Until next time, I wish all of my readers a wonderful Thanksgiving day(if you celebrate the day)and as always until next time–be safe and be well.

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Homemade Turkey Gravy

Over the years I have perfected two things Thanksgiving dinner related- the turkey and the turkey gravy. The only thing about my thanksgiving meal that never turns out is the stuffing. I’m not one to stuff my bird– I’ve tried bread crumbs and day old dried bread but it never tastes as good as store bought. But store bought has so many ingredients in it. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list for Stove Top stuffing? We cannot eat it. So no stuffing this year, but of course there will be a well made Turkey and lump free gravy.  And lots more, but this post is about turkey gravy (ahem).

My tried and true recipe is here . Where it says gravy or cornstarch, I always use cornstarch. You are to dissolve the cornstarch in water ( as little as needed to make a thin paste) and while it is dissolving I take a clean finger and stir it around until fully dissolved and then add to the drippings in the pan. When I used to use a spoon to help dissolve it, the cornstarch (clumps of it) would stick to my spoon. Make sure your paste of cornstarch is thin. Besides being a simple recipe, it is simply delicious and your people will thank you.

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Here’s wishing all who are following my blog, or who just stop to read a post or two, a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Fall Baking: Pumpkin Bread and Cranberry Muffins 🧡🔴 🎃

banana bread

cranberry muffin

Source -cranberry muffins

Happy 22nd day of October friends.  Cooler temperatures call for fall baking. The first thing I want to bake is usually pumpkin something, anything. This past Saturday between hiking and golfing I baked both a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. I used homemade apple pie filling for the apple pie and then baked a cooking pumpkin up for the pumpkin pie. I found the recipe for the homemade pumpkin pie here. Around this time I begin thinking about the holidays and the baking I will do for my volunteer work. I bake and then give away a lot of banana and pumpkin bread. I use King Arthur Gluten-Free flour for baking my bread so that I can enjoy a piece or two.  The pumpkin bread recipe I use and have found great success with is here.  We stopped at an apple stand this past weekend and bought more apples and some cranberries. This weekend I plan on making some orange cranberry muffins. The cranberries keep the muffins so moist and are a perfect marriage to the orange. I plan on whipping up some orange glaze with orange peel and then drizzling it over them once they’ve cooled down.

I love the smell of oranges and I am giving serious consideration to having something made with oranges for my birthday dessert instead of pumpkin. But what? maybe some of these – Orange Sour Cream Muffins with Zesty Orange Glaze

orange glaze muffins

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Until next time– happy fall baking friends!

Hello October!

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Coming to the blog soon–

  • Farm Life- fall, back to school, and country living
  • Caramel Apple hand pies
  • Potato Carrot & Leek soup

A favorite fall poem of mine by Robert Frost:

October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Perfect Pumpkin

Now while pumpkins are plentiful is the time to start buying and baking–because pumpkin has so many health benefits not known to the general public.

About 10 years ago now my husband and I were in the middle of trying to adopt a greyhound. Our love and desire to have a greyhound become part of our family was huge. After most tracks in this country stopped racing greyhounds, local agencies formed to help people/families adopt the retired greyhounds. The one we were trying to get had really bad teeth (potential of hundreds of dollars of care) and she also had problems with her stomach also due to the poor diet given to racing dogs. Time and again at meetings we heard stories of how the foster families and forever families were always using pumpkin with their greyhounds. Pumpkin will bulk up their stool, settle their tummies, and boost nutrition. Unfortunately, because of where we were living at the time, which lacked the appropriate space for this particular greyhound, we did not adopt her.

I’ve never forgotten how much I learned about pumpkin–here’s what I know:

  • It’s rich in vitamin A
  • One cup of cooked pumpkin is 49 calories
  • High in antioxidants that may reduce your risk of chronic disease
  • It’s high in beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C–boosts immunity
  • The nutrients in pumpkin are good for your eyesight
  • Nutrient dense, low calorie, may produce weight loss
  • Antioxidants lower risk of cancer
  • Is packed with fiber
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Versatile foodstuff that you can add to anything–wraps, salads(cooked) veggies, stews, soups and more

Some people may not know this but pumpkins are a type of squash. Pumpkins and squash belong to the same family called Cucurbitaceae.  Every year I bake up two dozen squash and pumpkin, then let cool, place in freezer bags and freeze. We then are able to eat squash every single month, almost, until the next year’s season. If one or both of us is feeling ill I will make up a pumpkin risotto. Pumpkin risotto does the trick every time. Here is the recipe–Pumpkin Risotto

I also roast all my pumpkin seeds for snacks and to add to bird food.

When you’re done with your pumpkins instead of throwing them into the garbage, where they’ll just clutter up a landfill, choose to break them up and set them out in a place where the birds and other small animals can get to them.

As we head into the season of sickness I would also like to add this article that has natural health remedies such as pumpkin, ginger, rice, and sweet potatoes that help manage diarrhea, nausea, and flu-like symptoms.

Until next time– stay healthy and happy!

Homemade Biscuits – an urban homesteader treat

A dream come true– I’ve just made homemade biscuits from scratch!

For years and years, I’ve been buying

and to be perfectly honest we’ve never been happy with them.

So today I followed a recipe by @colonialmilling

Combine in a bowl: 2 c All Purpose Flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt. Cut in 6 tbsp cold butter. The butter should be about pea sized when you’re finished. (use a fork or your hands) Pour in 1 cup buttermilk and mix just until it comes together. It will be very crumbly. Flatten the dough on a floured surface then fold it over on itself. Do this 3-4 times. (this makes them flaky) Cut your biscuits and bake 450-degree oven 15 min or so or until golden brown.

Total prep time- 10 min. Total bake time 15 minutes. These could also be baked in a cast iron pan. I used a cookie sheet. My first 6 weren’t as tall as my last 6 because I flattened my dough too much with my first batch. I tasted one almost right out of the oven–absolute heaven. I used organic flour, aluminum free baking soda, salt, organic butter, and organic buttermilk plus the slat and baking powder. I was able to get 12 biscuits vs. the standard 5-8 we got in the Pillsbury cans. I usually pay just a bit over $2.20 for the Pillsbury.  The total cost for a dozen organic homemade biscuits is-salt on hand, soda on hand, powder on hand, 2 cups of flour cost less than .50 cents a cup, buttermilk .35 and butter (6 tbsp).75 = total cost of approx. $1.80

Tonight’s meal- sausage patties and eggs on homemade biscuits!

Up Next- Endocrine Disruptors–what are they? and what can you do about them?