Monday, December 31, 2012

Crocheted Baskets/Bags

Over the Christmas holiday I gave 6 of the crocheted bags away that I had made earlier this month and sold one to Gina who filled it with some homemade soap to give someone she worked with.   My stock has gone down so I have been crocheting them when I have some free time.  Ron helped me tie some of the rags together and then wind them up.  I have a basket of recycled linens ready to be cut in strips and washed the rest of the linens that I had stored.   I hung them out side and some froze even before I got them on the lines.  Then I hung some on the lines in the laundry room when I ran out of room outside.
I use the word "recycled" when I use something that had been previous used.  Now I guess the word "up-cycled" is being used.  I guess "up-cycled" sounds classier than recycled.  Whatever you call it, recycled or up-cycled, that is what I am doing.  I use recycled linens and material to crochet baskets or bags.

Local family and friends:  I need recycled buttons.  If you are throwing away something with buttons please cut the buttons off for me.  Thanks

Recycled linens, lace from a recycled pillow case, recycled button.

All recycled items.

Recycled linens, lace from a pillow case and button.

Vintage potato mashers made into baskets with recycled linens.

Recycled linens.

Recycled basket with recycled t-shirts and buttons.

monday's homestead barn hop

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Using the Leftovers

This past week I cooked an 18 lb turkey and a half a ham.  We ate turkey and ham for 5 days and that is all we could take.  We love both things but after 5 days it was time for a change.  I made 2 ham and cheese braids, 2 turkey and cheese braids and froze those for later.  I canned 7 quarts of turkey broth, 5 pints of turkey pieces and 5 pints of ham pieces.  Turkey and ham all used up and nothing went to waste.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Good and Bad

After eating on Christmas day we all sat around and had a nice visit.  I was telling them about all the happenings trying to get lunch made.  Brandon asked if I shared only the good things on the blog and not the stupid things I do.  I told him I share everything, so here we go.
I made a large pan of cheese potatoes and about half way through baking them they started to boil over the side of the pan.  I have a washable oven liner in the bottom of the oven and the butter that was dripping was landing on the liner and then starting to smoke.  I took an old kitchen towel out of the rag bag and put it under the pan to sop up the dripping butter.  At this time I also put the ham and cheese braid in the oven.  I had the braid on a piece of parchment paper and on a cookie sheet, the kind WITHOUT sides, plain old flat cookie sheet.
The braid was in the oven about 3 minutes and the butter that was brushed over the top started to melt, run off the parchment paper and on to the bottom of the oven.  Also the rag towel I put in the bottom of the oven started to burn.  At this point the whole house was smoke filled.  I opened the oven took out the towel and started to throw it in the garbage can and my husband said to throw it in the sink.  Thank goodness I listened;  I ran some water over the towel to put out the small fire.  Then we took the pan of potatoes and put it cookie sheet with sides under it and also did the same for the braid.
I opened the kitchen window, put a small fan in it, we opened the front door and turned on the oven exhaust fan.  It took about 45 minutes to get the smoke out.
The smoke did not have any negative effect on the braid or potatoes and everything was delicious.   So here you have it my smoky Christmas morning.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Celebrating the Holiday

Trying to get 3 kids and their family together all at once is hard to do.  Gina the oldest works at a hospital and is worked Christmas day so we celebrated 2 different times.  I invited all who could come to a gathering we had Sunday the 23rd and then on Christmas day.  We had turkey and all the stuff that goes with it on Sunday and on Christmas we had ham, several cheeses, the ham and cheese braid, deviled eggs, Renee's favorite cheese potatoes and leftover turkey.  On Sunday I got out all the cookies I made over the last 2 weeks and made 2 pumpkin pies and 1 apple pie.  On Christmas I served leftover pies and cookies.  Both days we had nice visits and ate way too much.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ham and Cheese Braid

I'm not sure where I saw this recipe but after reading it I knew I wanted to try it.   The original recipe called for white bread dough but I made it with rye bread dough.  On Christmas morning I mixed up the rye bread dough using the following recipe:

2 teaspoons yeast
2 c unbleached flour
1 c rye flour
1/4 c pumpernickel flour
1/4 c nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 1/4 cups warm water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Whisk together the yeast, flours, milk powder, salt, sugar and seeds in a large mixing bowl.
Add the water and butter, and mix till well-blended.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it's smooth.  Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise till doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Roll out bread dough to a rectangle about 18 x 24 inches.
Then take: 
1/2 cup softened butter and 1 pkg. of Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix and mix together.

Spread half of this onto the rolled out dough. (Save the other half for later.)  Top with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese and lay ham on top of this.  Using a pizza cutter cut strips of dough along both long edges. You'll need an even number of strips on both sides.  

Starting on one short end, fold up the short end over the ham and begin crisscrossing the first two strips on each side:
Continue crisscrossing the strips to cover the entire top of the bread. At the other end, fold up the short end to tuck it under the last set of braided twists.

Spread remaining butter/ranch mix across the top of the braided bread.  Let this rise/rest for 30 minutes.

Bake in 375 degree oven 45 minutes or until bread dough is golden brown.  I tented mine an additional 10 minutes.  Just keep an eye on it.

Serve this warm.

The recipe says this can be froze and stored for up to 4 months. 
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil.  Take Ham & Cheese Braid from freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. A hour before baking place on a greased baking sheet and allow to rise on counter.  Bake as directed above.  

This could also be made with turkey using white bread dough or any other meat.
This was a big hit, everyone loved it.   I ate a couple pieces for supper cold and dipped in a little spicy mustard.  Yummy
I made another batch of this bread and made 2 smaller ones and are in the freezer.  

Shredded cheese and the dough after rising for 1 1/2 hours.

Dough spread out and the butter mixture down the center.

Next the cheese was added.

Add some ham and cut strips on the sides, even number of strips are needed.

Fold the end up.

Then take a strip on the right and bring it over the top, then from the left and continue this.

Continue braiding.

Before you get to the other end fold it up like you did at the beginning.

The rest of the butter mixture is then spread on the top.  Make sure you use a cookie sheet with sides as the butter will melt and drip in the oven.

Ready to be cut.

All cut and ready to eat.

monday's homestead barn hop

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Marbled Rye Bread

My very favorite bread is rye and I can't have ham without rye bread.  On Christmas eve morning I made a loaf of marbled rye bread.  I used the same recipe as I did last year and again it turned out perfect.  The recipe I use is from King Arthur's web site and adapted it a little or you could use your favorite recipe.

Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread

3 c Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 c rye flour
3/4 c pumpernickel flour
1/4 c nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3/4 c warm water

1-2 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 tsp oil for coloring of half the dough

Combine all of the ingredients except cocoa powder and the 1 tsp oil, stirring until the dough comes together. Knead until smooth, adding additional water or all-purpose flour if needed--the dough should be soft and quite sticky.  Take out half the dough and put in a well oiled bowl.  To the other half add the cocoa powder and 1 tsp oil and knead until combined.  Put the colored dough into the oiled bowl.  Cover and put in a warm place and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down and take out the light rye dough and pat out on a sheet of wax paper, then put the colored rye dough on top and pat it out.  Roll tightly and put seam side down on a sheet of parchment paper.  Let this rise for about 1 hour.

Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes (tenting it lightly with aluminum foil). Remove the bread foil, and let the bread bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until it's golden brown on top.  Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool completely before slicing.
Yield: 1 large loaf.

Give me a slice of this bread and a piece of cheese and this makes a wonderful lunch.  In fact I took the heal of the bread and some cheese and it made a good Christmas breakfast.

Marbled rye bread after 1 1/2 hours rise time.

Each half of the dough patted out flat.

All ready to rise again for 1 hour.

Out of oven.

It is as good as it looks.

monday's homestead barn hop

Monday, December 24, 2012

Season Greetings

From me and the girls we wish you a Merry Christmas.  May everyone enjoy the time you spend with your family and friends.

Derek 5
Reagan 10

Hannah 16

Brandon 14

Brandon and Derek (these are Renee's boys)

Hannah (Gina's daughter)
Reagan (Ron's daughter)

Me and Hannah

With the little snow we had it was enough that there were snow balls flying and kids screaming all just to get a couple pictures.  I was questioning my sanity for even thinking about doing this.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vintage Ball Jar Kitchen Light

This past year I've seen several different ways that people use vintage mason jars and make them into light fixtures.  I liked them and wanted to make a ceiling fixture that I could replace the fixture by my kitchen sink with.  I asked Ron to watch for a fixture that would work.  He brought home a 4 bulb fixture that was mounted under a ceiling fan  to see if this would work.  I spray painted the fixture gray to match the zinc vintage canning lids and Ron fixed the lids to the fixture so I could screw the jars on.  I also had him drill 2 small holes in the lids so the heat from the bulb could vent out.  Then in the middle of the fixture Ron took a wide mouth zinc lid and screwed it there to hide the wiring.  I used 4 ball blue mason jars and I think it looks perfect.  The only cost was for the 4 jars and they were about 75 cents each.  Recycled fixture, vintage jars and lids equal a pretty neat looking fixture.
I have a vintage hanging 5 light fixture that I would like to re-do sometime.  I paid $1 for it but it hangs down too low to hang it in our house.  Just for the heck of it I'm thinking about hanging it in the storage shed.  This is a project for next spring when its warm out so I can do some painting on it.

My new kitchen light.

You can see the center cap in this picture.

monday's homestead barn hop

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Annual Holiday Movie Day with the Grandchildren

Every year we take the grandchildren to see a Christmas holiday movie and this year we went to see Rise of The Guardians.  It is difficult to choose a movie that they all might enjoy.  There is a 16 year span from the oldest to the youngest one.  The oldest grandchild did not go to this years movie with us, he had some prior plans and the 20 year old worked 3rd shift and was sleeping.   When we get to the theater we get our seats first and then we go and get drinks and popcorn for everyone.  We usually share a couple of tubs of popcorn and get refills if needed.  We try and break the group up so they don't sit and talk during the movie.  The oldest granddaughter (Hannah 16) is always a big help with the others, she has always been a little "mother hen".
After the movie we swung by the house so I could get some pictures of the grandchildren and will post them on Monday.  The picture taking took place outside and we had some snow the other day and the minute we got in the backyard the snowballs started.  I was ready to hang them by their toe nails.  I would get one to stop and then another one would start; I was regretting even thinking about taking pictures.   With grandchildren you get to take them back home and I was ready for that.  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies

Several years ago I came across a cookie recipe that called for bacon so I made it and everyone enjoyed it.  Ian the grandson who lives with us requested a batch last week and I finally got them done today.  The batch made 4 1/2 dozen and I will put some up so we can have them on Christmas day when the kids are here.  You use the bacon fat/grease when making these but you have to let the grease sit until it solidifies.  These would be something that you could start out by frying the bacon and then putting it and the grease in the fridge overnight and make the next morning.

Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies

monday's homestead barn hop

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fruit Rollups

Last week I ordered some non stick drying sheets for my Excalibur Food Dehydrator.  I wanted to make some fruit roll-ups from some of the fruit I canned this summer.  They arrived on Tuesday and I put them to use right away.  So far I have made apple and pear/apple fruit roll-ups and they are super. A good way to get in some fruit and a good way to use up fruit.   I plan to take some of the peaches that I canned and run them through the blender to make some roll-ups.   Pure fruit, no additives and good for you. 

The dried fruit waiting to be be cut up.

2 half gallon jars of fruit roll-ups, these will be nice for the kids to snack on when there over.

monday's homestead barn hop

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Therapy Appointment

Had my hand therapy appointment at 8:30 this morning.  My hand is doing very good and am much further along with recovery than most people do when having this type of surgery.    He was very surprised that I was able to crochet and as long as my hand doesn't swell I can continue doing what I have been doing.   They have added some strength exercises for my hand and don't go back to see him for 4 weeks.
While I was in town I dropped off 12 dozen eggs that I had an order for, picked up a Christmas gift for one of the grandchildren and stopped at the post office.  When I go out I try and get as much done as possible.
When I got home I took down 4 lines of linens and hung up 4 more lines of linen.  Washed up 4 loads of old linens so I can get them cut up for crocheting rag rug, bags and baskets.  By crocheting I am doing something I enjoy and getting free hand therapy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rag Baskets, Rag Bags

This last week I've been keeping myself busy making rag bags and rag baskets.  It has kept me busy and is helping me rehab my left hand.  Tomorrow I go back to therapy so I will see how much progress I've made.
I taught myself to crochet almost a year ago by watching YouTube videos.  The reason I wanted to learn was I wanted to learn how to make rag rugs like my grandmother made.  I can't read patterns and have no idea what stitches I make are called, I just crochet.   I made about 18 rugs and gave some away, sold some and use several.  After seeing some pictures on some blogs of rag baskets I liked them and decide to make some.  As you can see below I have made 11 so far and am almost done with number 12.  I am almost out of rags that are ready to be crocheted so will need to get out the stuff I have washed and start cutting some more.  I have several loads of old linens to wash to use and will wash some tomorrow so I can hang them out to dry.

Baskets/bags made using recycled clothes and linens.  I used some old buttons and crocheted items I had to embellish them.

More baskets/bags made using recycled items.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Misty Day

It's been a misty, cloudy, ugly day.  I slept in until 4:30 today, WOW a whole half hour and right now am pretty tired.  We went shopping for groceries this morning and got a turkey for next Sunday when Gina and family come over, and a ham for Christmas when the rest come over.
I've been begging Gina to make me some Christmas cookies but no luck so when we were shopping I picked up a few things and when we came home I made 4 dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies, 4 dozen Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and 4 dozen Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.  My favorite cookie is Oatmeal Raisin.  Several years ago I made a batch of Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies and were really good, Ian has request some and I have everything except some salted peanuts so he is going to pick some up when he is out tomorrow.  The recipe I use is the one put out by the pork industry.   I will also make a couple batches of Spritz Press Cookies which are Ron's favorite.  I froze have of all the cookies so we can have them when the kids come over.
Ron put in a new roost system in the coop.  We had two 8 foot long roosts and I wanted to put in a ladder style roost so they would have more room.  The new one is 6 feet wide with 5 steps/roosts.  So we went from 16 feet of space to 30 feet.  

Click on the below picture to get the recipe for Bacon Peanut Butter Cookies.

Recipe Details

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Making Rag Baskets

I've been getting up at 4 everyday; the older I get the less sleep I need or that's what they say.   After making a couple of rag baskets on Monday and loving them I've found something to do on long winter days.  I had a lot of material/old sheets/old shirts already cut into strips that needed to be connected and then wound in balls.  I did that yesterday for several hours and have all that I had cut up done.  It takes longer to prepare the material than it does to crochet it.  Last night I made nice size basket and so far today I've made 3 and working on the fourth.
It took me 45 minutes yesterday to clean the living room after working with the material.  You'd be amazed at all the dust/lint that it creates.  Cleaning everyday after working on the stuff is a pain but I can't stand to see anything on the carpet.  I have a lot more old items that need cut up and hopefully I have enough stuff ready to keep me busy until after Christmas.
My hand doesn't hurt as bad as it did yesterday which is good.  I've taken more pills for pain in the last week than I did after the surgery.  The doctor said that would be the case.
What am I going to do with all these baskets after I make them, no plans.  It keeps me busy and costs NOTHING.  It's a lot better than just sitting watching TV, I'm a little hyper and have to have something to do all the time.  My sister-in-law Gale is always telling me to cut back on things and rest.   I always remind her that I will get all the rest I need when I'm dead!!! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crocheted Rag Baskets

A couple weeks ago while "surfing" I saw some cute crocheted rag baskets and wanted to try to make some.  I had to wait until my hand was better and since I was up at 4 this morning I decided to try to make one.  They are made just like the rag rugs and I really think they are cute.  The first one I made today was from some recycled white t-shirts from my son-in-law.  After making it I wanted to age it a little so I picked some used tea bags out of the top of the garbage and boiled them and then put the basket in it to age it. Then I made another one from some old sheets that someone gave me.  My hand is hurting pretty bad so I overdid it a bit.
There are so many uses for these; use it in the garden to put veggies in, egg basket, use as a purse, put a baking dish in to take to a pot luck, fruit basket and many more.  I have a lot of old sheets, table cloths, t-shirts and misc fabric that people have given me to make rag rugs so these are made using recycled items at no cost.  You can make so many different shapes, with or without handles and different kind of handles.  I will post pictures of mare as I make them.
Basket before I tea aged it.

T-shirt basket and sheet basket.

The tea aged basket will be my new egg gathering basket.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stuffing Mix

I've been wanting to make some homemade stuffing mix so when we want stuffed pork chops or chicken and dressing we would be able to have it.  So on Thursday I cut up 3 loaves of home made bread and let it sit out overnight.  Then I put 1/3 of the bread cubes into a bowl and stuck them in the dehydrator.  I dried them for about 10 hours stirring them during that time; I did this until all the bread was good and dry.
I was able to get 6 bags and this is the ingredients that went in each bag:

10 oz dry bread cubes
2 Tbsp dried celery
1 Tbsp dried onion
1 Tbsp chicken base
2 tsp sage
1 tsp dried parsley

When we get ready to have some I will add some canned chicken or turkey broth.  This was so easy to make and will taste so good.

6 bags of stuffing.

Homemade stuffing.

Spices/seasonings used.  The celery and onion were some I dehydrated, the sage and chicken base I got at the Amish bulk food store and the parsley I purchased.