Raising the next generation to shine for HIM!

Raising the next generation to shine for HIM!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fresh Recipe: Granola Bars

  • rolled oats_DxO1.jpg
  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mini M & M's
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan.

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the m & m's and raisins.

  • Press mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

Fresh Recipe: Crockpot Chili


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 lbs. kidney beans
2 lbs. canned crushed tomatoes
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Mix all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Fresh Recipe: Stuffed Shells


1 8 oz. package of large shells (you will use approximately 25 shells)
2 15 oz. packages of small curd cottage cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
2 eggs
1 cup cooked chopped spinach
1 jar spaghetti sauce or about 3 cups

Boil noodles according to package directions, adding oil to water so they won't stick together.  Meanwhile, mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley, spinach and eggs.

Drain noodles;  run cold water over it.  Stuff each shell with cheese mixture.  Place them in a 9x13 greased baking dish, and pour sauce around the stuffed shells. Sprinkle desired amount of mozzarella cheese and shredded fresh parmesan over sauce. Cover dish with foil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake dish covered for 45 min. and uncovered for 15 minutes more.

Fresh Recipe: Hummus and Pita Bread


Hummus Recipe
1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas (or 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (I used a full 1/2 cup, we like our hummus creamy)

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor (I use my Magic Bullet). Add olive oil until the hummus is the consistency you like, and season to taste. It’s that easy! You can also add Tahini if you would like.

Pita Bread Recipe
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water and let rest 10 minutes. Mix salt and 1 cup warm water. Put flour in a mixing bowl and make a well. Add the yeast water and mix. Add the salt water and mix thoroughly. Knead in the oil for 10 minutes. Cover and rise until double (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
Knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into balls the size of golf balls. Shape into balls, and roll to 3/8 inch thick. Prick each piece of rolled dough with a fork.
Cook on a dry or lightly-oiled griddle for 3 minutes each side. Keep cooked pitas covered with a towel so they don’t dry out.

Frugal Recipe: Fabric Softener


1 Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener
                                4 Inexpensive sponges, cut in half

Pour entire container of softener into an empty container. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.

If you would like to use a liquid fabric softener, I would suggest putting about a 1/4 cup white vinegar in your wash cycle.

Frugal Recipe: Dusting Spray

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil
1 3/4 cups water

Pour all three ingredients into an empty spray bottle. Shake well and spritz on furniture. Wipe with an old cotton t-shirt. Done!

Frugal Recipe: Fabric freshener (febreeze)

3 Cups Water
3 Tablespoons Liquid Fabric Softener
3 Tablespoons Rubbing Alcohol

Mix all three ingredients in a spray bottle.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fresh Recipe: Organic Banana Bread and Banana Bread French Toast

Here is a great recipe for banana bread using organic and all natural ingredients and after, a recipe for all banana bread french toast using your leftover bread.

4 ripe organic bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted organic butter
1 cup organic sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 teaspoon organic baking soda (I use Bob's red mill brand)
pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cups organic hard white wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla.  Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over mixture and mix in.  Add the flour last and mix in.  Pour mixture in a buttered 4x8 inch bread loaf pan.  Bake for 55 minutes.  Cool on a cooling rack.  Remove from pan and slice to serve.

*Makes one loaf

Banana Bread French Toast

Raw milk
Organic eggs
Organic vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon sugar

1.)  lightly toast your sliced banana bread
2.)  mix 3 eggs and one cup of milk in a bowl
3.)  add a teaspoon of vanilla 
4.)  mix well with a whisk
5.)  melt a Tablespoon of butter on your griddle
6.)  dip both sides of your bread into your batter
7.)  fry in butter until both sides are golden brown
8.)  mix together cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.
9.)  place on your plate and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture, top with slices of banana and warmed organic syrup.

*this will make about 4 slices of french toast

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fresh Recipe: Organic White Wheat Bread (Breadmaker recipe)

I have been thinking about making my own bread for awhile now and to stop buying the processed bread at the store but I was worried it was going to be too difficult so I kept putting it off.  The first thing I needed to do was find a good place to purchase my organic white wheat flour from and a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a lady that sells her goods at the Lansing City Market.  She was fabulous.  She explained to me the many reasons why it's so important to make your own bread and be aware of what you are using to make it with.  She explained to me that not even a cockroach would touch the white flour we purchase from the grocery store but yet we are all still filling our bodies with it.  Anyway, she has helped me on my road to breadmaking and the first thing I told her was, "I know that the best way to make bread is to use the breadmaking hands God has given me but that with 3 young kids and a house to keep up and homeschooling, I really need to use my breadmaker." She assured me that this was not cheating and that she would often use a breadmaker as well, phew! that made me feel a whole lot better :)  So I started playing around and just recently I got the perfect and yummiest bread and so I wanted to share my recipe here.  I have also included a link below for The Grain Market, which is where I purchase my organic flour from, $5.50 for 5 lbs.

This recipe is for a 2lb loaf

1 and 3/8 cups water
2 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons raw milk
1 and 3/4 teaspoons salt
4 cups organic whole hard white wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1.) Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan
2.) Measure and add dry ingredients except yeast to the bread pan
3.) use your finger to make a well in the flour where you will pour the yeast.  Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients.  Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well.
4.) snap the baking pan into the breadmaker and close the lid
5.) choose the basic bread setting on your breadmaker
6.) choose the crust you prefer ( I used the light crust setting)
7.) press the start button


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fresh Recipe: Salsa

I recently took a trip to the farmers market and there was a booth that was selling "salsa in a bag."  In the bag had every ingredient you need to make fresh salsa and it turned out FABULOUS so I wanted to share the recipe here :)

2 Roma tomatoes
1 yellow banana pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 small white onion
2 green onions
2 T. chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves
1 small green pepper

Chop up all ingredients to your liking.  I actually put the roma tomatoes in a blender to start and then chopped up the large pieces that were left unblended.  And that's it :)  Yummy easy, fresh salsa at a cost of around $5.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Frugal Recipes: Window Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • 2 cups rubbing alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap
  • 1 gallon water
  • Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients together, adding just enough water to reach the 1 gallon mark, and divide up into spray bottles for all bathrooms.
  2. Can also be used to clean exterior windows. (haven't tried it outside but look forward to in the Spring) If doing a big job like that, make sure the water is hot. That will help to dissolve the dirt
*I poured the mixture in an old gallon milk jug and then poured what I needed into spray bottles.
* This averages .50 cents for a 32 oz. bottle.  Meijer brand glass cleaner is 1.99 so you are saving 1.50 :)

Frugal Recipes: Laundry Soap

4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Meijer.com). Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

*Just a reminder-  This is a non sudsing soap so don't be alarmed if you don't see suds, it's still working :)

The cost per load is less than a penny :)

On The Road To A Healthy/frugal Life: Raw Milk

What is raw milk?
     It is a natural, unaltered milk from cows, goats and sheep.  

I had been hearing a lot of people talking about raw milk lately and so I began to research the benefits to see if this would be a good change for our family.  I was amazed by all the benefits that are in it.  There are higher levels of nutrients in raw milk like calcium, iron and zinc. Did you know that it was used to cure chronic diseases at one point in our past history?  There are a ton of natural antibodies in raw milk as well as a fatty acid that can help fight cancer. I always thought that raw milk would make you sick and that's why everything is pasteurized.  Nope, not true.  There are many other things that you have a higher chance to get a foodborne illness from such as tacos, cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken and produce. The only reason it's pasteurized is to have a longer shelf life for the convenience of grocery stores.  The pasteurization process kills the beneficial bacteria, healthy enzymes and proteins. Two of my children have severe allergies and asthma and I have read in recent studies that raw milk is actually the better choice milk for those with these health concerns and that they will most likely suffer less if drinking it.  A lot of us are so stuck on the low fat milk kick because we think it's healthier and less fattening but we lose all of the great benefits that milk has like, growth, health and development. I also read recently that low fat milk actually makes you gain weight and can also cause fertility problems.  The vitamins A and D that is in the raw milk verses low fat milk is very important in the absorption of calcium and also contains a lot of the fatty acids that help us fight disease.  Some people think they are lactose intolerant but they are actually reacting because the milk is pasteurized.  Another benefit to raw milk as far as saving money goes is that it will never go bad like pasteurized milk.  It will turn sour but when it does this you can still use it in baking where as pasteurized milk would need to be tossed.  And as a side note, it just tastes better :)

A few of the scary things I found out about the milk we buy in the grocery store is that some actually have bleach added in to make it look more white.  A lot of the "grocery store milk" cows need to be fed antibiotics because they are being held in small pens and just being fed a lot of grain.  Ultimately the milk you find in your grocery store can be more harmful than what people think of raw milk because of all the antibiotics and hormones that are given to these factory line cows and then consumed by you and I.

If you begin to search for a place to purchase raw milk, make sure it is grass fed so that you can benefit from more of the nutrients.  You may have a hard time finding a farm to buy raw milk because it is actually illegal in Michigan.  The only way that this is legal is by purchasing a herd share which ranges from $50-$75 that is paid per year.  You will then need to pay boarding fees which is around $20-$40 a month which will get you one gallon of milk per week. One gallon of raw milk, as long as it is stored properly in a cold refrigerator should last up to 2 weeks. I have added a link to help you in your search for raw milk :)

We have decided to make the switch and have really enjoyed it.  I can only hope and pray that some day our government will see the benefits of raw milk and allow it to be legal to sell, but until then we will continue to go "underground" to purchase our milk and will never go back and I believe that if you begin to research like I did you will be doing the same thing.  Raw milk is THE way that God intended us to drink milk :)


All I Need

Last week was the deadline to sign my boys up for soccer in the Fall.  I had put a reminder in my planner so that I would make sure to sign them up and pay for the season.  I kept seeing it creep up closer and closer and started to get nervous as I watched the amount drop in our checking account.  There was no way we would be able to sign them up this season, the money just wasn't there.  I had even contemplated letting the account go negative just so that they would be able to play.  I was having nightmares, the "You are a horrible Mom because you can't even afford soccer for your kids," kind.  As Wednesday came and went I felt so sick.  I would think to myself, "this is horrible, how could I let this happen?"  I dreaded having to tell the boys that they weren't going to be able to play.

This scenario has happened more than once in our household.  With a family of five on one income there is a lot that we just can't add to the pocket book.  I honestly can't remember a time where we haven't struggled financially and it was really starting to get to me.  Why wasn't God letting me sign my kids up for soccer?  Why wasn't God letting us take a family vacation?  Why wasn't God letting us get new windows for the house so that our electric bill would just go down?  Every day my prayer was a cry  out to God basically saying, "It's not enough! YOUR not enough!

Contentment.  This is the word that was constantly being thrown into my brain.  I would hear it as I was washing dishes on only one side of the sink because we hadn't had the money to fix the other side and I sat there grumbling, "if only I could use the other side, dishes would go so much faster."  I would hear it as I watched my younger son riding a bike that is two times too small because I would sit on the porch thinking about spending money on a credit card so that he could at least ride a bike that fit.  I would hear it as sweat throughout my day because we ONLY have a window air conditioner.  All of these things, that's what they are, THINGS!  It's wanting and having and lusting over and desiring.  It's not being content with what God HAS given you, but constantly asking and WANTING more.  This word, contentment had been haunting me for days.  At first I didn't want to listen.  I wanted to have my pity party and whine and complain and pout.  It wasn't fair.  Other people had central air.  Other people can take vacations.  Other people can buy proper fitting riding equipment for their kids.  God didn't stop reminding me.  He kept finding ways to show me ways I could be content and after tugging and pulling, as I usually do when He tries to teach me things, I finally began to give in.

I looked up the word content in the dictionary.  Those of you who have read my blog in the past know how much I LOVE the meanings of words :)  The meaning for content is satisfied.  I definitely was not satisfied.  God then showed me a few verses:
     Proverbs 17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
     Proverbs 30:8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;  give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me        only my daily bread.
     Ecclesiastes 3:13  That everyone might eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil-This is the gift of God.
There are many other verses but these were my favorite.  My house was definitely not peaceful and quiet when it came to the complaints on what I wanted.  My satisfaction level was way below zero.  These verses were actually telling me that contentment and satisfaction were a gift from God.  God had been trying to give me this gift and instead I was screaming and yelling and demanding what he wasn't giving to me.  I finally sat down, sat, not standing up and screaming and threw my hands up and said, "God, YOU are all I need.  YOU are the one that satisfies me.  YOU are the one that can give me peace and contentment in life.  Lord, I no longer want for THINGS but want YOU"

So my boys won't be playing soccer on a team in the fall but we will be basking in God's glory and running around in the beautiful green grass of our own backyard kicking a ball around with the people we love.  God has given us a gift if we are willing to take it.  He WILL give us all we need and if we focus on Him and be satisfied with the life and things He has given us than our lives will feel blessed.  YOU God are my everything!