Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whole Wheat Crackers

Somehow I thought this would be harder than it was. I dreaded trying to make my own crackers thinking that there was some hidden complication or reason not to. This recipe is so easy to make, granted it takes a little time and patients to roll out the dough between the waxed paper, but very much worth it. I was willing to follow the recipe and add butter, but did not have any. So I used applesauce instead and added a Tbsp. of Olivio. When the first batch was done, I called out my taste testers and they emptied the pan. I had to use force to keep them away from the rest so that I had some to go with dinner, which was homemade chicken noodle soup. I made some plain (with a little salt) and sprinkled some with caraway seeds and basil. All were delicious.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Rice bags

Once again, rice bags were at the top of everybodies list for Christmas. I can not seem to make enough of them. I believe I have forgotten who has recieve one and who has not, I should really keep a list. Although I dont believe I would ever get a complaint about seconds on this one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I can't take credit for this idea, I found it on the internet. We made them with the little buggers at pre-school. They painted the coffee filters with watercolor, and due to multiple snowdays I had to bring them home and finish them. There is a bead in the middle and a pipecleaner to attach it to a clothspin. I couldnt help myself, they were so cute I clipped them to a basket and used them for a temporary centerpiece.

Sign your Name?

In my quest to make cool Christmas presents that are cheap, useful and Wanted...... I decided to make Signs. I used old wooden pickets and cut out letters that I printed on sticker paper , used a little spray paint, sandpaper, fabric scraps, elbow grease and Ta-Da! Presents for all of my co-workers.

Crunchy the Otter....

My daughter requested a new cornbag for Christmas this year, her old one is getting stinky :( She also has a new found love of otters. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I call this little guy "Crunchy" because thats the sound he makes when you hold him. He is sure to keep her warm and happy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Re-inventing the Christmas Cookie

This is experiment #1 in re-inventing Christmas cookies at my home this year. I used my Grandmothers basic cut-out cookie recipe and substituted Whole Wheat flour for the White and I substituted half of the butter that it called for with applesauce. The dough and the cookie had the same flavor as the "untouched" recipe just more texture, well worth the convertion. The thought of bringing any of that evil white refined sugar into the house did not appeal to me so I decided to try a differant kind of "frosting". I pureed frozen cherries in my blender with a small amount of the slightly lesser evil brown sugar and smoothed it on my creation, grated a little Chocolate on top and Wa-La. Okay, so it doesnt taste completely like the old Christmas cookie Grandma used to make, but since Grandpa died of an artery clogging stroke and Grandma's in the nursing home with alzhiemers, maybe it is okay to rethink how we feed our families. I think Grandma would approve! Change is never easy.....but I am willing to try. P.S. the family loves the cookies.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Donkey Ornaments-Hee Haw

This was kind of an off the cuff project. The best kind in my opinion :) In the process of coming up with a nativity project for the wee ones I came across a great donkey ornament and decided to have a try at making my own. This is my version of Mary's donkey, much cleaner than the one that she had to ride. Could you imagine, riding a donkey while you were pregnant? Not to mention the dirty stable birth and all. I used fleece for the donkey, very easy and as luck would have it I had a great wool skirt waiting to be cut up into little tiny blankets. Note to self, save , save , save those hand-me-down-come-my-way-free-cloths! The skirt was far to short for anyone to ever wear anyway. Re-purpose

Cloth Napkins

I have a new blog I have been following and found this great idea under their eco-friendly Christmas Gifts. I loved making these, I made two sets for my secret sister and can't wait to have some extra time to make some for myself.
Napkin Set Tutorial http://http//

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread

It not very often that I get excited about my "Baking Day" this time I could not wait. I went to the Amish store and got my first 50 lb. bag of Prarie Gold whole wheat berries. I had an audience for the grinding process. Everyone including me wanted to see if my Thriftily found Grainmaster would put on a good show ...and it did. I put my wheat berries in a large plastic tub, and the kids couldnt help but to sink their hands deep into the pile as I would ask them to scoop some out. It just feels so good, so natural, so raw, so right. After I ground the wheat I couldnt help but to feel it myself, it felt warm and alive and the bread that it produced was a testament to that. It rose higher and tasted fresher........

Favorite Cookbooks

These are two of my favorite cookbooks. The Ideals whole grain cookbook was my Grandmothers and I use it for alot of my basic "sweet tooth" recipes. My chocolate chip recipe below is from this book. It is packed with great recipes as well as poetry and proverbs!
The " 500 fat free recipes" I borrowed from the local library and could not give it up so I bought one used on The recipes are delicious!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hearty Granola

I try to get all of my baking done in one day. And granola is on my list. This recipe is a little chewy, I am sure that it would taste better with some extra suger and butter, but I am trying to keep these to a minimal. In July of this year my husband faced the dilema of High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and was diagnosed as Pre- diabetic. Instead of putting him on more medicines, and because he is only 40 I decided to make some drastic changes in our diet. We were already eating pretty healthy, but obviously something more needed to be done. So I have systematically eliminated all of the unhealthy stuff from my home and my recipes. Is it worth it? You bet. At my husbands last Dr. appointment they were amazed at his improvements, his triglycerides went down - to the point that they took him off of the medicine, his blood pressure has gone down, and his cholesterol looked great. The granola must be good, as I am constantly making more.......... here is my recipe. I do change and tweek it depending on what is on hand.

Hearty Granola

1/2 - cup raisins
1/4 - cup chopped dates
1/4 - cup dried chopped
1/4 - cup dried cranberries
1/4 - cup dried apples
1/2 - cup sliced/flaked almonds
1/2 - cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 - cup non-fat dried milk
2 - TBSP. shredded unsweetend coconut
3 - cups rolled oats
1+1/2 - cups unsweeted puffed rice cereal
4 - TBSP. honey
1 - tsp. cinnamon or more
1 - cup hot water
1/4 - cup ground flax seed

Mix together the honey and hot water then add raisins and dates. While these are soaking mix together all other ingredients. Slowly pour water mixure in with the other ingredients while stirring. Mix well. I use my dehydrator for about 6 hours, but you can do it in the oven at 25o for about an hour. use as a snack or with milk

Healthy Substitutes

I use bananas and applesauce as a substitute for butter, margerine or oil in recipes. I make the applesuace with no added suger and freeze it in muffin tins. I buy the banana on sale in the reduces section and freeze them. The bananas do leave a strong flavor in whatever you cook, so just make sure it is a compatable flavor, like chocolate brownies. Yum

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my families favorite cookie recipe. I use applesauce instead of butter or margerine to cut down on the fat. You could also use banana instead of applesauce, I have tried bananas in my brownie recipe and it is delicious. Now keep in mind that this will not taste anything like a sticky sweet white flour choco-chip cookie. BUT if eating healthy is your goal then this is the cookie for you. I prefer to put them in the freezer as soon as they cool to keep them fresh, we don't even thaw them to eat them they are delicious right out of the freezer. A silicone baking sheet is a great tool to have on hand, I don't have to grease it and my cookies never stick.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Wow! did being thrifty pay off for me today. I don't normally go shopping on Sunday's (its my official-nap after church day) but I needed a few things and I could not resist checking out the Volunteers of America thrift shop while I was out. As I was walking around, I spotted this wheat grinder. I immediatly went into slow motion, as I got closer everything outside of my direct view blurred. I had visions of someone getting closer than I and taking it home to be thier treasure. The price said $4.99 and I looked around expecting there to be a crowd, someone I would have to compete with. But there was no one......Hooray......but me stairing dreamily as I embraced this chunk if plastic. My husband and I have been on the look out for a good used grinder, but this far exceeds anything I could have dreamed of, we had done our homework and Wheat grinders are expensive $250.00 for a good quality one new. I paid for my grinder and took it to my car, my daughter did not know what to think when I put a seatbelt around it for safe transport! I do not believe in luck, I believe in Divine Placement ;) and giving credit where credit is do. hmm what is that verse about Him knowing our wants and needs ?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Polka Dot Cupcakes

My daughter has a thing for Polka Dots. Not wanting to dissapoint her I explored "simple"ways to put them on cup cakes. Merckens wafers and chocolate chips turned upside down worked great. Hooray for Simple!

Grandma'a Aprons

I came across these photo's this morning on my computer. These were my Grandmother's aprons. It caused me to reminisce. I miss her, even though she is still alive, but suffering from Alzhiemers. I remember going to her house as a little girl. Seeing her in the kitchen with one of these aprons on, Spatula in hand, making a cake for someone. Sometimes we would be fortunate enough to arrive while she was in her garden, I can see her smiling at me,apron on, with a basket full of veggies, eating peas as she coaxes me along to enjoy the fruits of her labor with her. My Grandmother was crafty to be sure, she could cook,crochet and sew among other things. But the most creative thing she did was share Love. No matter what she did with us, she did it with love. Making sure everyone was happy, she saw the value in a smile. And found simple ways to make it appear. When we were angry, she would open up the closet door and step inside to show us how to get rid of it. We would all take turns stepping inside, closing the door and screaming at the top of our lungs. We would all giggle when Grandma did it, of coarse she wasnt angry, but she sure could scream. She made every thing non confrontational, it was an artform that I have yet to master. I miss those days, I miss her. I can only hope that I learn to be half the master of creativity that she is. Grandma Stefan here is a smile for you :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Theraputic Scarf

My husband had surgery on his neck this past spring. Now that the weather is getting cold he is really feeling uncomfortable. I am hoping this will do the trick, I made a short scarf (he is not the scarf wearing kind of man) and stitched a pocket onto it so he can insert a disposable heat pack when he is out in the cold for long periods of time. I also made a small rice filled pack that he can place on the heat vent in his vehicle and put in the scarf pocket.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cardboard Jeep

Update-I've had alot of people ask for more info on the jeep. I hope these pictures and measurements help

This is one of my favorite things to do if I have a lot of extra time. There are endless possibilitys with cardboard. This is the Safari Jeep/ Puppet theatre for a class I teach at my church. The back is open so the kids can play in it.

Paper Plate Safari Hats

Thank you Vanity Fair! I was looking for a way to make a bunch of Safari hats on the cheap, and paper plates were the answer. I traced the shape of the bowl onto the plate and cut the hole slightly smaller, hot glued them together and Wa-La .
add a little spray paint and some jute twine. FYI buy the jute twine in the section of Walmart where they sell rope , it is alot cheaper than what you buy in the craft section and is just as good.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dumpster Dive Duo!

On a dumpster diving excursion this spring, I found a whole pile of brand new lanyards. This one has a new life as a match to my new cell phone case. The shirt was a hand-me-down that no one wanted. I liked the print so I put it in my pile of fabric. wa-la! Trash to Treasue :)
I ripped the seam out of the old lanyard and covered it with the fabric, I wanted a clip instead of a ring, so I use this one that I had cut off of an old purse before I tossed it.
I used the rest of the fabric scraps to make a case for my cell phone, I used the shirt strap for a handle.
That was soooo much fun, and simple to make....................I think I will make another!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Graduation Quilt

This is a happy/sad quilt, usually I am elated when I finish a Quilt.......but this means that my daughter will be leaving, it does help to know that it will be keeping her warm at night while she is away. This was completely her design, it turned out fabulous.
this is my first experience with the scalloped edges, it was alot easier than I envisioned, and well worth the little bit of extra time it took
notice the suttle waves appliqued on the front, they are a reminder of one of her favorite places...the ocean


Who says piniata's are just for little kids? I made this Logo piniata for my daughters Grad Party and filled it with candy bars and rolled up dollar bills. To make it interesting I used a fair amount of duct tape to "challenge" them. It is a cardboard frame, hot glued,taped and finally topped with crepe paper. They had to resort to brute force and a baseball bat to finally crack it open.

Renaissance Dress

This is a dress I made for my Niece for her Renaissance themed reception after her wedding. My manecan is smaller than the dress but you can get an idea of what it looks like. We found most of the material on the cheap rack at walmart.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brides Maids

Yeah! they are done. This was a good challenge for me, makeing some of the Brides Maids Pant/skirts for my nephews wedding in May. They turned out beautiful.

Brides Maid

This is a McCalls pattern, and I love the way it turned out ;) (that wink is for you Valerie)The girls will be so comfortable and have more room to move in it than with a regular skirt.
I believe I have learned a few valueable lessons...............sheer fabric takes forever to hem. Note to self in the future: Spray Starch is your best friend. And please find yourself a good zipper foot!
All in all this was a relatively easy make, the McCalls directions leave alot to the imagination but it got the job done.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Home made rolls

Ahhh......there is nothing like the smell of homemade breads. I was having a groggy March day. You know..... the its been to cold for too long, with not enough sunshine. Its days like this that living down south sounds good. I decided to make some rolls a. because I am too cheep to go and buy some b. because my family will love me for it. and c. because there is something primitive and rewarding about making bread :) little things in live bring me great joy! This time I added some fresh garlic cloves and dried basil (I wish it was fresh from the garden) . below is the reciped, I clipped it from my favoritecooking magazine "Taste of Home" they turn out great everytime.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dorm Room Quilt

this is the quilt I am making for my daughter who will be heading off to collage in the fall. She picked all of the fabric and designed the quilt, and I am doing all of the sewing/quilting. It will have scalloped edges when it is finished. I need to make my quilt sandwich (my least favorite part) and bast it together.
My daughter loves the ocean, so it was inevitable that she would incorporate waves into her design. I love them, she is very creative. I had to applique the waves on. Actually the whol middle piece is applique.