Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spinach and Feta Phyllo Pie

While spinach is just about done in the southern part of the country this recipe is so good I wanted to print it anyway!

Ingredients -

20 oz spinach leaves
knob Butter, plus extra for greasing
1 large red onion, finely sliced
3 oz toasted pine nuts
2 oz raisins
freshly grated Nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
3 Eggs
1/2 pkg Filo or Phyllo pastry (about 10 sheets)
melted butter, for brushing

Directions -

1. Wash the spinach and lightly cook it in with a knob of butter for a few minutes. Drain well, squeeze the excess water from the spinach and then chop it.

2. Preheat the oven to 400. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan and fry the onion for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned and softened.

3. Transfer the onion to a large bowl and add the chopped spinach, pine nuts, raisins, some nutmeg. Stir together, season well and set aside to cool. Stir in the feta cheese and eggs once the mixture has cooled.

4. Lightly butter a 9 x 11 shallow-sided non-stick baking dish. Press 4 sheets of pastry into the dish, brushing well with melted butter between each layer and allowing the excess to hang over the sides.

5. Spoon in the spinach mixture and level off the surface. Fold over the pastry edges and top with a further 5 sheets of buttered filo pastry. Lightly score the top of the pie and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.

I halved this recipe and used an 8x8 dish. It served 6 people and everyone wanted more!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade Drain Cleaner/Unclogger

A few weeks ago my kitchen drains seriously started to back up. Slow wasn’t the word for what happened. It seemed overnight, they completely backed up! It was hard to run the dishwasher for the water backing up into the sink. Heck, I couldn’t wash a few potatoes for dinner without water collecting in the sink. It would take over an hour for just a bit of it to drain.

I have no idea what got in there but “it” wasn’t letting hardly any water pass through the pipes. Being the cheap budget savvy person I am, I refused to pay $20 or more for drain cleaner! After a little Googling and some testing in my own kitchen, I discovered some positive results.

Recipe #1

  • 1/2 cup borax (per side of the kitchen drain)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Use a funnel to help sprinkle the borax into one side of the kitchen drain and block the other side with a stopper. Allow the borax to settle in the drain for a few minutes. While you’re waiting, boil at least one cup of water in the microwave or on the stove top. Slowly and carefully pour the water down the drain to activate the borax. Repeat for the other side.

Depending on how backed up your drains are, it may take several treatments. It took me three treatments to fully opened my completely backed up drain.

Recipe #2

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 cups VERY hot vinegar

Same process as before. Pour one cup of baking soda down one side of the drain. Don’t forget to block the other side with a stopper. Slowly pour the hot vinegar down the drain and allow the baking soda to activate and bubble the clog away. Repeat for the other side.

This worked somewhat well but I think I’ll use it for slow drains instead of completely clogged pipes.

What’s your best recipe for clearing clogs???

frugal front porchJenn is a stay at home southern mom raising her kids in Northwestern Minnesota with her trucker hubby. She loves to cook, craft and blog. Soon she’ll be going back to school for a new adventure in Graphic Design. You can find recipes, crafts, parenting strategies, budget tips, product reviews and fabulous giveaways on her blog, Frugal Front Porch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

MIFS #173 - Goat Milk Ice Cream

Welcome to the carnival! The Make it from Scratch carnival is your chance to share your projects. I hope you join us by linking up at the bottom of this post.

I call our home the 100 Acre Woods because it is literally in 100 acres of woods. My father named the farm Mil-Ton farms as a reference to our last name and his and to a nearby town. But I really think we should have named it the Old MacDonald farm because of the variety of animals that we keep.

The latest addition to the farm was dairy goats. Before these ladies joined us we had no dairy animals. I had been toying with the idea of dairy goats for several months when a friend offered me a deal I couldn't pass on.

It has been a learning experience. It has at times been quite a challenge, but now that we all seem to have settled into the routine, it is quite rewarding. I am just milking once a day. The babies are left with the does during the day, separated at night, and I milk in the morning. Milking this way, we are getting about 2 quarts of milk everyday. This much milk adds up quick. Now, the fun begins. What to make with all the extra milk?

This week we tried something new, goat milk ice cream.

I had never made ice cream before let alone with goats milk. I did a little research about using goats milk in ice cream recipes. I found several places that said goat milk ice cream tended to be a  little thin. I also found a lot of recipes. This one for a short cut ice cream is interesting, but not what I wanted to try for our very first attempt at goat milk ice cream. This one for chocolate ice cream was given to me by a friend on Facebook, and it may well be the one I try next.  This one addresses the issue of the ice cream being thin by adding half and half.  While I am sure it is delicious, I really wanted to make ice cream just from goats milk.

After looking at all these recipes (and more,) I finally decided to go with Creamy Homemade Ice Cream found at Countryside and Small Stock Journal. I chose this recipe because it added thickeners and I really wanted the family's first experience with goat milk ice cream to be a rich and creamy one. I wanted it to meet their expectations of what homemade ice cream is supposed to taste like, and it did.

The recipe does take a lot more prep time than many of the recipes I looked at, but it was certainly worth it. I am so happy that I got those dairy goats and now have an abundance of milk. Next on the list of things to try, cheese. I am thinking feta. Anyone have a good recipe?


Carnival Guidelines:

Link up your recipes, crafts, garden projects, yarn creations, home improvement, or other d-i-y posts. Posts about making something, or helpful resources and tips for making things are what we are all about.

Please link directly to the post, not to home page of your blog. Kindly link back to the carnival with twitter, stumble and/or from your blog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate Beet Cake

Still have beets to use? I got this recipe in the weekly email from my CSA yesterday. Give it a try and let me know how it comes out. Even if you don't like beets, you may like this!

4 eggs

1 ½ cups raw sugar or honey

¾ cup coconut oil (can substitute)

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon vanilla

3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate melted (if you don’t have this use 2T. cocoa and 1T. oil)

3 cups shredded beets

Heat oven to 350 and grease a 13 X9 inch baking pan. Melt chocolate over low heat and while it is melting beat together eggs, sugar and oil. Add chocolate. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in separate bowl. Add to egg mixture. Add vanilla and beets and stir well. Pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mac n Cheese Pizza Pleez!

My neck of the woods

It’s the first “official” day of summer but here it hasn’t been very summer-y! For many of you I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of hot weather but I’m waaay up here in Northwestern Minnesota. We’re the last MN gas station in the US before you hit Canada! Our days have been filled with rain, wind, rain, clouds, rain, a tiny bit of sunshine, rain…well you get the idea. ;D

Needless to say, I’m a little envious of you guys with better weather. I would LOVE to turn on the sprinklers for the kids to run wild or take a nice long bike ride but at least the garden doesn’t need any watering! Too bad it washed away a lot of my seeds. :(

With the kids home for the summer, getting something on the table tasty and fast isn’t always easy. We don’t have pizza delivery or fast food in our small town – not that I’d buy it anyway because it’s just too darn expensive and unhealthy! My kids love mac n cheese and they love pizza! Enter homemade mac n cheese pizza!

IngredientsMac N Cheese Pizza

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package of instant yeast (not active, INSTANT)
  • 1 cup of warm water (115 to 125 degrees)
  • 1 cup flour reserved
  • your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe (plus 1 TB milk)
  • shredded mozzarella & parmesan or other shredded cheese


Blend all 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and INSTANT yeast together in a large bowl. Slowly add enough warm water to combine all ingredients. Lightly flour surface and knead in the extra cup of flour until you get a pliable workable dough. (Depending on the moisture in the air and flour you may need less or more flour). Roll with a floured fingers or rolling pin into an 1/4” thick 12 x 9 rectangle or any shape you like. Place dough onto a greased baking sheet. Prick or dock with a fork. Brush the top of the dough with EVOO and sprinkle with herbs like basil, oregano, garlic powder, thyme, etc. Spread prepared macaroni and cheese pizza evenly over pizza crust. Top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil.

Mac n Cheese Pizza

Win 2 bottles of laundry detergent


Jenn is a stay at home southern mom raising her kids in Northwestern Minnesota with her trucker hubby. Living on one income isn’t easy but it can be done with a little creative thinking and budget savvy strategies. Read more at Frugal Front Porch.

Be sure to check out my latest giveaway! Win 2 free bottles of All Free Clear laundry detergent with a fabulous bonus!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Confession & Fruitily Fruitful Hand Pies

I'm going to be straight up with you. There hasn't been much making-from-scratch the past two weeks. Remember how I had surgery two Fridays ago? That equals a whole lot of sitting around, not being allowed to do much of anything. Well, unless I want to get yelled at by my Mom/husband/mother in law. Who thankfully have been helping us with my son the Bear - he is included in the list of things I'm not allowed to lift.

Not only have I not been doing much, my camera broke this past weekend. I never realized how attached I am to my camera until I couldn't use it. My Mom came to the rescue yesterday though, and has allowed me to borrow her camera until I can either find one on eBay or figure out how to get mine fixed for an affordable cost.

This week Ok, last night, I was in a panic. What on earth was I going to post about for my MIFs post?!?!? I haven't done anything MIFs-worthy!! So I am going to share what I baked yesterday: hand pies. They're like sweet little calzones; a tidy handful of pie perfect for school or work lunches, quick snacks and even a dessert if you add a scoop of ice cream (or not!).

My husband goes crazy about these and he doesn't like desserts, as a general rule.
Previously I'd only made apple, but have always wanted to try other fillings. They are essentially a pie, so whatever you might find delicious in a two-crust pie would work. Obviously fillings like lemon meringue or key lime wouldn't work well in this application but if you let your imagination run wild with fruit and fruit combinations, chocolate or heck, even a savory route would be totally yum (I'm thinking a beef n cheddar...).

I made three kinds yesterday: strawberry rhubarb, blueberry and apple. Just a few of each - I only made one batch of pâte brisée and out of that one batch made about twenty hand pies. I would have been able to make more but on the first go around I was unable to reroll the was my mistake and I'm still kicking myself but anyway!
Of course it all depends on the size of whatever you are using to cut out your hand pies. I was using a 3.5 inch Cut n Seal (Pampered Chef) that I found at the thrift store for a dollar.

There really isn't a recipe I can share with you - I was just tossing the fruit with sugar, cornstarch/flour, pinches of salt, gratings of fresh nutmeg and splashes of vanilla. For the strawberry rhubarb I added some strawberry gelatin powder to help the fruit set up nicely and not run as much (although they still ran terribly while baking!). Go with your instincts or loosely follow your favorite fruit pie recipes!

My favorite
pâte brisée recipe is from Martha Stewart - it's quite rich with butter but comes out so flaky and tender it's worth the extra calories.

What would you put in a hand pie??

I usually blog at
Gotta Little Space
and Suitable For Consumption, come say hi!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

MIFS #172 - Wild Flower Fritters

Welcome to the carnival! The Make it from Scratch carnival is your chance to share your projects. I hope you join us by linking up at the bottom of this post. 

Summer is in full swing now. There is heat and humidity, full gardens, swim dates, and wild flowers everywhere. The wild flowers are beautiful. Many of them smell incredible, but did you know that many of them are also edible.

Last week we went on a walk to harvest some of those edible wild flowers. We found daylily, milkweed, and elder flowers. Though not exactly the healthiest way to enjoy your wild flowers, we decided to make fritters with our freshly picked finds.

If you've made fruit fritters before, making flower fritters is exactly the same. You make a thin pancake batter. Dip and fry. To make them extra special, dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Wild Flower Fritters
Edible Wild Flowers - Daylily, Elderberry, Milkweed, and Queen Anne's Lace all work well. Gently shake or rinse to clean.

Fritter Batter
1 Cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C buttermilk
1 TB. vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix oil, egg and buttermilk.  Stir into the dry ingredients.

To make the fritters, heat several inches of vegetable oil in a pan (or use a deep fryer.) When the oil is hot, gently dip the flower into the batter, and shake off the excess. If the batter seems too thick, stir in more milk. Drop the battered flower into the oil. Fry until it turns a light golden brown. The time this takes will depend on what kind of flower you are using. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.

Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip hot fritter into the mixture and gently toss to coat. Shake off the excess and allow the fritter to cool a little. Best tasting when still warm!


Carnival Guidelines:

Link up your recipes, crafts, garden projects, yarn creations, home improvement, or other d-i-y posts. Posts about making something, or helpful resources and tips for making things are what we are all about.

Please link directly to the post, not to home page of your blog. Kindly link back to the carnival with twitter, stumble and/or from your blog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beet, Carrot and Feta Salad

Are you looking for ways to use those freshly harvested beets? This salad turned my younger sister from a beet hater to a beet lover!


· 2 medium large raw beets, peeled

4-5 medium carrots, peeled

· 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, well drained

· feta cheese for garnish (approx. 1 - 1 1/2 cups total)

· 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

· juice of half an orange (or 3-4 Tbs orange juice)

· 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

· 1 tsp dried dill (or 2 Tbs fresh chopped dill)

· 1 minced clove garlic

· black pepper to taste

· salt to taste (go light because of the saltiness of the feta cheese)


Get started by making the dressing in a mixing bowl, that is large enough to eventually make the salad in, by combining about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil with the juice of half of a fresh squeezed orange, 2-3 Tbs of balsamic vinegar, about 1 tsp of dried dill, a good crack of fresh ground black pepper and 1 minced clove of garlic and whisk it up.

Next, use a peeler to peel a couple of medium sized beets over the sink and then use a box grater to grate those raw beets right into the bowl with the dressing. Then grate an equal amount of peeled carrots over the top of that.

Be super careful with your fingers as you're grating the vegetables or, if you wanted to, you could use a food processor with a shredder attachment instead.

Next, add 1 well drained 15-ounce can of chickpeas and toss everything around to coat.

All that is left is to check it for seasoning, maybe add a little more orange juice or dill and maybe a pinch of salt but, be careful with the salt because the feta cheese we're finishing with is pretty salty itself. Finish each individual serving with a little crumbled feta cheese over the top.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Kid’s FAVORITE Breakfast – Waffle Pizza

I started making these as a way to get my kids to eat whole grain waffles without drowning them in syrup or sugar. This sort of defeats the purpose of feeding them whole grain…right???YUMMY Waffles

Turns out, they LOVE them. Especially my almost 4 year old!

They are very simple to make!

  • frozen or fresh waffles, any flavor
  • shredded cheese, any flavor
  • toppings of your choice – chopped ham, pepperoni, scrambled egg, bacon bits, chopped fruit, etc

Pop your frozen waffle in the toaster till it’s nice n’ toasty warm. Sprinkle some cheese on top with any toppings you like. Pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. Cut with a pizza cutter and enjoy.

My almost 4 year old LOVES blueberry waffles with shredded mozzarella! I know it sounds like a weird combo but at least he’s getting a serving of fruit, grain and dairy all in one meal!

What are some unusually tasty, yet healthy treats your kids love???

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Carnival #171 - Freezing Sugar Snap Peas

Welcome to the carnival! The Make it from Scratch carnival is your chance to share your projects. I hope you join us by linking up at the bottom of this post. 

There really is nothing like fresh peas from the garden, so sweet and delicious. If you do not have some growing in your garden, I encourage you to stop by your local produce market to get some.

Peas do have their down side though. We have never planted a lot of peas because they yield very little for the amount of work they take. Peas are very easy to grow. The work comes with the harvest; more specifically with the shelling of the peas. A huge bowl of pea pods will yield about enough for one dinner for my family of six. So, while we thoroughly enjoy our fresh peas, we seldom have any to freeze for the  winter. But not this year.

This year, in addition to shell peas, we planted sugar snap peas. Sugar snap peas have a wonderful sweet flavor with an added bonus. The pods are edible. So a huge bowl of pea pods actually yields a huge bowl of peas to eat. They are wonderful fresh served with dip, or cut up into salad. They are great in soups, stir-fry, or just lightly steamed.

I am so excited to have some of these frozen to use over the winter. Here is how you freeze them.

1. Wash the pods.
2. String the peas by pinching the ends and pulling off the strings on the top and bottom.
3. Blanch. Place peas in boiling water for two minutes. Lift peas out and plunge into ice cold water for two minutes.
4. Drain.
5. Pack into freezer bags or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace, seal, and freeze.


Carnival Guidelines:

Link up your recipes, crafts, garden projects, yarn creations, home improvement, or other d-i-y posts. Posts about making something, or helpful resources and tips for making things are what we are all about.

Please link directly to the post, not to home page of your blog. Kindly link back to the carnival with twitter, stumble and/or from your blog.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer and Sparkling Wines: A Perfect Pairing!

I’ve recently signed up to attend a three-week course on champagnes and other sparkling wines, sponsored by the University of Tennessee’s outreach program. I attended my first class Monday night and, on the assumption that we are interested in drinking as well as eating (!) I thought I’d share a little of what I learned. What follows is a very basic explanation!

Although we tend to refer to most sparkling wines as “champagne”, technically, champagnes are sparkling wines produced in the Champagne area or appellation of France and are primarily made from chardonnay, pinot noir and/or pinot meunier grapes.

Using one of four methods produces the bubbles in sparkling wines. The champagne method involves first fermenting the grapes in a tank and then bottling the result, adding some yeast and sugar and sealing the bottle. The yeast ferments in the bottle, creating the bubbles. After a period of time the bottles are opened, the sediment is removed and the bottles are permanently corked for sale. When you see “champenois” on the label, it means the wine was made using the champagne method. The champenois method is used for making more complex sparkling wines.

Like the champenois, the cuvee or transfer method, involves a second fermentation in the bottle to achieve some complexity, after which the contents are transferred into a tank to clarify and pressurize the wine before it is re-bottled. The charmat or tank method involves second fermentation in a specially pressurized tank, instead of in the bottle. These wines are also bottled under pressure. This is a less expensive process than the champenois method and is common with proseccos and other light sparkling wines. The charmat method produces a smaller, longer lasting bubble than the CO2 method. Using the same method as making soda, some sparkling wines use the CO2 method in which CO2 is injected into the bottle after corking. This method is the least expensive and produces larger bubbles, which dissipate quickly.

Unfortunately, sparkling wine labels don’t always help you figure out what’s going on inside the bottle. On Italian sparkling wines you may see the term “metodo classico”, which refers to the champagne method. While other bottles created using the champagne method may say champenois but some won’t. “Methode Traditionnelle” also refers to the champagne method. I don’t think you’ll ever see CO2 on a label but price will help you there. A $10 bottle of sparkling wine is not one that was created using the champenois method.

From a taste standpoint it’s good to know that Brut means a dry wine with a sugar content of less than 1.5%. Extra Bruts have less than 0.6% sugar. Extra dry is slightly sweeter than a Brut with about 1.2 to 2% sugar. Secs are 1.7 to 3.5% sugar and Demi-Secs are 3.3 – 5% sugar. Celebration wines are also very sweet.

When you see “vintage” on the label that means that all the grapes used in that particular bottle were harvested during the same year. Non-vintage means the wine is made from grapes (or wines) from different years, blended together. You might see the terms “vintage” or “non-vintage” on the label or you might not. If you don’t see a year on the label, you are probably looking at a non-vintage wine. Vintage wines can be cellared longer than non-vintage wines with vintage wines from “good” years being cellared the longest of all. A good, vintage champagne or sparkling wine can be safely cellared for 15 – 20 years.

That’s a lot of information, isn’t it? The only real way to figure out what you like and what you don’t is to drink some sparkling wines! In this week’s class we tried eight different sparkling wines. It was no surprise at all to discover that the dryer, less sweet wines appealed to me the most. Although I consider myself a red wine drinker, I like lighter, brighter sparkling wines. Did you know that there are red sparking wines? I didn’t. I especially liked a Spanish sparkling pinot noir. We also had an excellent sparkling Shiraz from South Australia. Evidently the sparkling Shiraz is as common in Australia as prosecco is in Italy.

Summer and sparkling wines go hand in hand. Go shopping in the sparkling wine section of your local wine shop and host a tasting! See what you and your friends like the most. Here are a few excellent food choices to serve with your sparkling wines:


Brie goes well with a light and fruity Champagne.

Mild Cheddar goes well with sharp, bright Champagnes.

Chevre pairs with stronger Champagnes.

Colby goes well with medium weight Champagnes.

Pair Edams and Goudas with nutty Champagnes.


Fois Gras pairs nicely with gentle, delicate Champagnes.

Raw oysters also pair well with delicate Champagnes but avoid lemon and vinegar preparations on the oysters.

Sushi and Champagne go hand-in-hand!

Shellfish like lobsters, shrimp and scallops are also good choices.

Chicken with olive oil but no lemon or vinegar flavors pair well with Champagne.


Strawberries are a classic for romantic occasions but use sweet sparklers like Asti Spumanti.

Tarts and crumbles, fruit puddings, shortbread and almond cookies are all good flavors to match with sweeter, dessert champagnes.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Poppy Seed Whole Grain Waffles


Ever since we bought our flip waffle maker, I've been searching for the perfect whole grain waffle recipe. I like regular waffles, too, but I've been trying to avoid the use of white flour in my recipes, so when I came across this recipe at one of my favorite food blogs, I had to try it. I modified this recipe to fit the ingredients I had on hand, and these waffles were absolutely delicious. Most importantly, however, the kids loved them! Hope you do, too!


(For the original recipe at 101 Cookbooks dot com, click HERE.)

Poppy Seed Whole Grain Waffles

A waffle recipe using 100% whole wheat flour…

See Poppy Seed Whole Grain Waffles on Key Ingredient.


  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk mixed with 2 tablespoons vinegar, set to curdle for ten minutes)
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • scant ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted and cooled a bit


1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
2. Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Combine all ingredients in the large bowl, and spoon about ½ cup-fulls into preheated waffle maker. Don’t open the waffle maker to check on them for at a couple of minutes, letting the waffle form a crust.
4. Cook until deep golden brown. To keep them from getting soggy while the subsequent waffles are cooking, try placing them on a baking rack in the oven at 125 degrees F until they are ready to be served.

Direct recipe link:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cheap Kid’s Summer Activity: Invisible Ink

Summer is officially here in my house! This means long days with my kids plus my husband’s two children at home. Since neither of us are working, the entertainment budget is VERY small, really it’s non-existent but I’ve discovered some fun things they can do throughout the summer to keep them occupied.

One activity uses items right out of the kitchen! Invisible ink!

What kid wouldn’t love writing secret invisible messages revealed only to the person who can uncover the trick to making the message visible again?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper (duh!)
  • Q-tips
  • lemon or lime juice (fresh or from the plastic lemon shaped bottle)
  • cookie sheet or shallow baking pan
  • dryer or oven set to 400

Write your messages or draw pictures with a Q-tip dipped in lemon/lime juice. Place your paper with the hidden message on a cookie sheet and into the oven for just a few minutes. Carefully remove the cookie sheet to see the image revealed. Ours took about 2 minutes to fully reveal the invisible message.

If you don’t want to use the oven, you can use a blow dryer but it took us much longer doing it this way and the image was much lighter than when we did it in the oven.

Another option we haven’t tested yet is using grape juice to reveal the hidden message. You swab a Q-tip soaked in grape juice over the dried invisible lemon juice message. The message is revealed when the grape juice interacts with the lemon juice changing the color of the message area. Again, we haven’t tried this one yet but this would be a great activity for later this summer.

What do you have planned for a budget friendly summer?


Jenn’s a southern gal raising her family in Northwestern Minnesota with her husband. Find recipes, crafts, parenting strategies, home keeping tips, product reviews, and giveaways on her blog, Frugal Front Porch. Be sure to link up your giveaways, recipes, or other favorite posts to the weekly blog meme, Strut Your Stuff.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap / Detergent / Soda

So I finally caved and made my own laundry detergent and all I have to say is OH MY GOODNESS WHY HAVE I NOT MADE THIS SOONER???

I was so excited to post about my experience but then I realized that I was most likely way behind in this trend and sure enough, Kellie posted about making not only her own laundry detergent but a multitude of other cleaning products (which thankfully, I'm already doing). So I hope that it's alright if I do a repeat...because seriously, I'm pretty excited about this!!

And um, I'm having surgery today. So, yeah. *runs away*

Anyway. Finding a recipe proved to be painless and quite simple. There are of course many variations - liquid or powder, scented or unscented, the different types of washing sodas, bar soaps and other ingredients; I went with something that sounded quite simple:

1 bar soap (I used a simple bar of Ivory but there are many alternatives)
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda

Finely grate the bar of soap and stir well to combine with borax and washing soda. Store in an airtight container - use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load. You can also add a few drops of essential oil for a light scent; I used lavender.

See? Totally easy.

My husband was extremely dubious about this whole adventure. He actually got a bit angry and started ranting about how he already has to deal without paper towels and hardly ever any processed foods and the environment this and exposing our skin to chemicals that and gol ding it, he said, I want my clothes to smell all perfumey!

I explained that I had added some essential oil to my mix and that I had only made a small batch - if he didn't like how the clothes/sheets/towels came out using the homemade detergent, we'd go back to using Nellie's and there wouldn't be any harm done.

Turns out, it exceeded my husband's expectations and I am loving it. I love the way the clothes feel and smell! If you haven't tried making your own detergent give it a try!!!

I usually blog at Gotta Little Space and Suitable For Consumption, come say hi!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Carnival #170

Welcome to the carnival! The Make it from Scratch carnival is your chance to share your projects. I hope you join us by linking up at the bottom of this post. Trying the thumbnail version of  the linking tool. Love to hear which version you prefer.

The strawberries are almost done. I am not exactly sure if that makes me sad or happy. I don't think we could ever have too many strawberries, but it will be nice to move on to something new. Not to mention, I'm having a little trouble keeping up with all the strawberries.

Which is why my MIFS post this week is about things in process instead of things that are completed. Currently in process in my kitchen is Strawberry Cordial. This is the strawberry version of the Blackberry Cordial that I made last summer. This was so delicious. I can't wait to try the strawberry version.

The next strawberry project on the agenda is something new to me,  Strawberry Lemonade concentrate. This project is in process also. Well, in the very early stages of the process. The berries are cleaned and hulled. That counts as starting doesn't it?

I first came across the recipe for this in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Recession Therapy has a very similar recipe posted at her site.

I am very excited to try this. I imagine myself in the dead of winter mixing up a pitcher of strawberry lemonade, and bringing a little sunshine to the day.   Well, I guess that means I need to get moving and  bottle up some of that summer goodness.

Photo credit: 101 Recipes

What have you been working on this week?


Carnival Guidelines:

Link up your recipes, crafts, garden projects, yarn creations, home improvement, or other d-i-y posts. Posts about making something, or helpful resources and tips for making things are what we are all about.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Greens and Quinoa Pie

This is a great way to use up piles of random greens. The recipe calls for chicory but you can use any cooking greens. I made it the other day using kale, collards, beet greens and baby totsoi. Just make sure they're all well washed and that they equal a pound or two of greens total.

  • Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large bunch chicory (1 to 1 1/4 lb.), cut into bite-sized pieces (bottom 1 1/2 inches of hard stems removed)(or any cooking greens)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded (I omit the lettuce.)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek (1 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup grated aged goat cheese or Swiss cheese (1 oz.)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Place well-rinsed quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.

2. Heat large pot over medium heat. Add greens, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs. Add romaine, and wilt 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer greens to strainer, and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to cutting board, and chop into small pieces. Stir greens into quinoa.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper, if desired.

4. Pour 1 Tbs. oil into 9-inch pie pan, and place in oven. Heat 5 minutes, or until oil is hot. Swirl oil to coat bottom of pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 20 minutes. Drizzle pie with remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and bake 20 to 30 minutes more, or until golden brown.

I made numerous other changes to this recipe to suit what I had in my fridge and pantry and you should feel free to do the same. This is a very tasty, nutritious and low calorie dish that can serve as either a side-dish or main dish with a side of salad. This recipe came from Vegetarian Times. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thank you cookie for the teacher.... the classic cookie cutter recipe

Hello friends!

Here you are in your summer, where down under we have embarked on our winter - though nothing quite like yours - yet it's cold enough!  Our climate here would be similar to Florida's I think - our winters barely go anywhere near 0 degrees.  Doesn't stop my envy of your summer, but I'm looking forward to the spring.

The year is just rushing past and I'm aware that many of your kids are finishing up school for the year, so I thought I would share with you a cute gift idea whilst also sharing my failsafe cookie cutter recipe.  I've tried many, many others and always return to this one.  It's from Nigella Lawsons' How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking and has many recipes I go back to again and again.

Old River Road Apple Shape Cookie Cutter, CopperThe great thing about this cookie cutter recipe is you can flavour it quite easily with oil flavoring.  I used LorAnn Oils Apple Flavor to both the cookie and the icing, you only need a few drops in the dough and 1 drop in the icing.  It goes a long way.  You can use the oil in candy and chocolate too.

Let your kids do the baking and decorating with you too!

Ingredients: (this will make 20 large apples or 50 small ones)
175g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
400g strong white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 drops lorann flavour, if desired.

300g icing sugar, sieved, with coloring and flavour.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one by one and then the flour, baking powder and salt until it becomes a dough.

Divide in half and wrap each half in clingfilm in a disk.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c
After refrigeration, roll out the dough one disk at a time over a floured surface, dust your cookie cutter in flour and cut out your shapes.
Place on greased tray and bake for about 10-15minutes until golden on top.

Cool on tray and move to a cooling rack. after 10 minutes.  Ice as desired!

You can find more step-by-step cooking from scratch posts and much more at my blog, Frills in the Hills - the fabulous life of our family of five - the fun, the food and the frugality.  Now also tragically on facebook and twitter...

Header designed by Crystal. Thanks!