Category Archives: Recipies

Wheat Free Buckwheat & Oat Pancakes

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So, we recently found out my husband has to eat wheat free.  We’ve been on a 4 month journey to finding replacements for all our wheat-y foods!  Sheesh, it’s been a trip for sure.  But we’ve found some favorites… like this Buckwheat & oat pancake recipe my husband invented after getting so fed up with all the nastyness of Gluten-Free “bread” stuffs.  Seriously, rice flour!?  Eeew.  Besides, it’s not whole grain, and I wasn’t willing to start using white flours.  So… we invented this pancake recipe!  I hope you enjoy… we actually prefer it over the whole wheat pancakes we used to eat!

UPDATE : Feel free to use whatever combination of flours you want… Sometimes I don’t use the buckwheat at all and just do barley and oat, or just plain oat!

Buckwheat & Barley Pancakes

Also feel free to check out my pin boards for other Wheat Free Recipies!

Wheat Free Snacks/Sides

Wheat Free Breakfast

Wheat Free Desserts

Wheat Free Main Dishes/Sides

Wheat Free Buckwheat & Barley Pancakes or Waffle Recipie

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Unconventional Cooking

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I have a confession to make… until this week, I’d never started a campfire by myself!  I know… crazy.  Well, I’ve made some improvements, and to date I have started THREE fires… and not just fires… COOKING fires!

Back in April my husband built us a lovely fire pit in our back yard.  If we wanted barbecue, this is how we did it.  Traditionally, I would have a meal ready, he would come home from work, start the fire, wait for coals, cook dinner.  Not exactly my favorite thing ever since I like having dinner ready when he gets home so he can relax.

The fire pit started out as an occasional way to have a BBQ treat, since we don’t often barbecue.   As the temperature increased, we became less and less thrilled with cooking indoors in a home with no AC!  You can imagine why!  So, we started grilling a lot more often.  Which meant more late dinners, more hubby having to cook after arriving home from work.  Not ideal.  But, at the same time, we were becoming better and better at cooking over a fire!  Yea!

So!  The beginning of this week I had a meal planned that would take a little too long to wait for my Mr. to come home.  So… I mustered up as much courage as I had, built a wood tee-pee in the fire pit over some torn up egg carton, and lit a match!  Eeek.  But, check it out!  It’s a pretty good first fire!  And it was reduced to perfect coals by the time Mr. got home!  I was so proud!   And, yes, that’s a snow sled in the background… we use it to haul wood!

Even after building such a beautiful fire, I still wasn’t brave enough to cook with it.  So, I left the grilling to the pro.

Fast forward a couple days, and I did it again.  Built a fire, Mr. cooked dinner.

Fast forward to last night… I built a fire… AND I cooked dinner!  This is where things get interesting!  Dinner HAD to be Craveable Taco Dip, from the Costco cookbook.  I was craving it.  However… it was H.O.T outside… which, of course, meant it was around 84 in our house.  Oven?  Yeah, not a chance!

Okay, so we don’t have a dutch oven … technically (Update: Now we do and I Love it!).  But, in case you don’t have one, if you have two cast iron skillets, one somewhat larger than the other you can make a “dutch oven”!  Since we’ve been campfire cooking all week anyway, I figured why not branch out & do something other than grilling?  Experiment a little… I experiment for a living (mom’s do that), and dinner is no exception in this home!  Here’s what I came up with as a “dutch oven”…

Yep… it is actually two skillets one stacked on the other!

I set a few rocks up beside the fire, spread the coals around, stabilized the grill on the rocks, laid some foil out on the grill so as not to smokify my marvelous cast iron, and put the smaller pan on the grill on top of the foil.  Then I stacked the larger pan on top, lined it with foil, filled it with coals, and timed it for 20 minutes!  I looked at the clock seriously every 3-5 minutes, I was so anxious to see if it worked!

The whole time we were waiting for dinner, the kids were riding on their little outside cars.  They’d come up to me every thirty seconds giving me pretend money and asking the “gas lady” to fill up their car with gas!  So, I took imaginary money, and “Ffffffssssshhhhhh”ed my way all the way till the timer went off!

Finally it went off! I got some pot holders and practically ran to the pit.  When I lifted my giant pan off the top of my “dutch oven”, I saw bubbling cheese all around the edges!  Oooooo, was I excited… not just because I LOVE this meal, but mostly because I COOKED ON THE FIRE ALL BY MYSELF!!!!!  Okay, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but to me, this is a huge milestone!  I’m so excited!

So, here’s the final product.  I give it to the littlest in a bowl with a spoon, and to the bigger two in a tortilla shell.  Can you believe I cooked this in such a fashion!? Next time I’m trying pizza!

I just gotta say, I know this post is a little strange, but I’m just so proud of myself I had to share it somewhere.  It makes me happy to know that I’m saving money by cooking outdoors, and it’s kind of empowering, in a weird sort of way, to know that I can cook the same outside as I can inside!  With some creativity and improvisation, anything is possible!  I only wish I had a real Dutch Oven so I could cook a cobbler! (We just planted our very own berry patch, so I have cobbler on the mind!).

One of my favorite bloggers is Kelly over at The Morris Tribe.  She’s been blogging a lot lately about sustainable living, cooking outside, raising your own food, breadmaking!, and many other things relating to living more simply.  We started our fire pit as a way to just have fun… but Kelly’s influence, and my own desire to spend less and not heat up the house, has made me think a lot more about the things we take for granted.  What if my stove broke?  What if natural gas was rationed in our country?  What if the power went down & I hadn’t cooked dinner yet?  It’s not only fun to explore other options, but now I’m seeing that it’s actually practical.  It’s good for me to know that I don’t have to depend on someone or something else to prepare food for my family.  I can do it with a fire pit and some scrap wood scavenged from construction site dumpsters!  I can cook for free!

Summertime Treat: Popsicles

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I’m a sucker for not wasting anything… call me cheap, call me frugal, whatever… I can’t throw stuff away if I find that it still has use left in it, even if that use is not what it was intended for in the first place!

So, I have TONS of leftover Playtex Drop-In Disposable Bottle Liners that just never got used when my kids were taking bottles… I couldn’t return them to the store, so I had to figure out a way to re-purpose them. I also have a bunch of wooden Popsicle sticks!

My kids eat smoothies in the summer… A LOT OF SMOOTHIES!  Ever since we burnt out two blenders making baby food & my husband got me a Vitamix (Heaven I tell you!), I’ve been blending like a maniac!  I never add sugar to my smoothies (a banana or two does the trick just fine!), so I am not opposed to giving them to my kids as often as they want!  We have smoothies for snacks, smoothies with meals, smoothies as Popsicles!  Yeah!  I really want to try this Sweet Potato Smoothie from Money Saving Mom!  Doesn’t that sound delicious!

RE-PURPOSING TIP :

Whenever I make a smoothie there is usually some leftover.  So, I press a popsicle stick into a chunk of fruit (banana, apple, pear, watermelon…), put that into the bottom of a liner so the stick stands straight up, then fill the liner half full (or full… as my kids will eat a LARGE Popsicle with no hesitation)! Then I stand those up in a container & put them in the freezer.  After they are frozen, I take them out & put them in a ziplock, or just on a shelf – they’ll get eaten fast enough!  I have three eating popsicles now, and having a shelf full is a must for us!

In this way, I always have a supply of nutritious popsicles during the summer!  And they often have spinach, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli!  You can put soooo many veggies in a smoothie, disguise it with fruit, and vwalla… a nutritious treat for everyone!

The best part for my frugal-lishious self, the liners are reusable since there is no heating involved. I put them in the top rack of the dishwasher or just rinse by hand for the next time!

What is your favorite smoothie concoction?

Pregnancy Survival Tip: EAT BREAKFAST!!!

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So far this pregnancy has been nothing but nausea.  If I cough, I lose my lunch.  If I brush my teeth, I lose it.  If I am too active, you guessed it.  I’ve been spending a LOT of time on the couch.  For a time, I keep telling myself!  This too shall pass.

So… I know one of the best things I can do for the sickies is to eat breakfast… IMMEDIATELY!  Thankfully, I have an AMAZING husband who does ALL the other morning stuff, including making the kids breakfast, while I eat a leisurely bite before the kids wake up.

I’ve always practiced this morning ritual of eating immediately after getting up… but Honey Bunches of Oats (my go to breakfast choice because it’s easy to give it up a moment later), has become sooooooo boring!  I’ve used it for four pregnancies so far and I’m.sick.of.it!!!!  But, a stroll through the cereal aisle reveals nothing more appetizing.  In fact, anything dry & bready/crunchy is rather nauseating to me this time around.

Anyway… 15 years ago (yikes!) I went to Guatemala on a short term youth group mission trip.  One thing I remember about that trip was this drink we had in the town of Holca… a small mountain town where we experienced a GINORMOUS rain & thunderstorm & slept on the concrete floor of a room with a spider in it….. A spider as big as my hand…. Let me tell you, that was the scariest night of my young life!

Oh yeah, the drink.  I’ve thought about this drink a lot since then… researched on the internet for recipes…. but could never find anything that resembled it!  I remember thinking it definitely had cinnamon in it… and some sort of grain but I couldn’t distinguish if it was barley, oat, rice or what.  So, on one particular day a couple weeks ago… after puking my guts out twice before Jesse even left for work… I browsed the internet again with a craving for this drink I remembered.  Guess what!?!?!  I FOUND IT… it’s called Mosh, and it’s a slow-cooked oatmeal with cinnamon!  Ha!

Anyway… thought I’d share with you the recipe.  I found it here, but I’ve modified the recipe slightly to make it more like what I remember.

Guatemalan Mosh

  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 4.5 Cups Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (these are the ones we get)
  • Mix in a saucepan & bring to a boil.

Pour into a crock pot & cook on low 4-5 hours stirring occasionally, until the oats are quite broken down & the Mosh is runny.

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Add to crock pot, stir, cook another couple hours.Allow to cool, pour into mason jars, cover & store in fridge.  In the morning, put 8oz or so in a mug, heat on stove or in microwave, and eat immediately.

If you need more protein for your morning meal (this recipe only has about 2g per serving) just add an additional cup of water & 5 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds to bring the protein up to 5g per serving!  Chia Seeds also contribute a ton of omegas which is great for pregnancy.

So, this has really helped sooo much!  Yes, I’m still super nauseous… but since I’ve switched to Mosh from HBoO I have been able to get the morning chores done before taking a break in the morning!  That alone has been quite helpful!

I hope all my preggie friends have been able to find a “miracle help” for those morning yuckies as I seem to have found.

What has been your go-to food for conquering the sickies during pregnancy?

Homemade Yogurt

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The ultimate test of being “Granola” is making your own yogurt!  At least, it’s been the hardest one to figure out for me, so I guess I feel pretty good now that I have it mastered!

Even though it took me forever to get it right, making yogurt is sooo easy.  I tried so many recipes, followed so many different directions, tested many different methods.  The following tutorial is the only way that has worked for me.  I found that crockpot methods make the yogurt too “textured”… I’m a fan of smooooooth yogurt thank you very much!  And being that I didn’t want to purchase some fancy yogurt kit, I came up with this!

1. Decide how much yogurt you want to make at a time.  My family goes through one gallon of yogurt in about 2 weeks, so that’s how much I make!

2. Find a container with a lid that fits just that much liquid.  I use a one gallon iced tea jar.

3. Find a bucket or cooler that your container will fit in.  I use a 5 gallon bucket with a lid.  If you use a cooler (I didn’t have one small enough) you don’t need to do the next step.

4. If you use a bucket, you’ll need to insulate it.  I used foam insulation we had on hand.  It can be purchased at any home improvement store.  Line the bucket’s bottom first, then the sides as shown leaving a gap at the top so you can have a lid as well.

5. Now that you have your insulated keeper it’s time to make yogurt!

SUPPLIES

  • Milk – I like to use half whole milk & half low fat (2%).  But just 2% milk works great as well.
  • Thermometer – candy or meat thermometer.  I like my digital thermometer because I can set the temperature & it tells me when I’ve reached that temperature.
  • Pot large enough to hold the milk
  • 6-8 ounces Plain Greek Yogurt
PREPARATION
  1. Slowly heat milk in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 185 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Turn off the heat, reset the thermometer to 110 degrees Farenheit, and wait until the milk cools to 110 degrees… depending on how much you make this could take a couple hours.
  3. Whisk in the Plain Greek Yogurt.
  4. Pour yogurt into smaller container & put the lid on.
  5. Place container in yogurt keeper & pack extra space with towels.
  6. Seal with the insulated lid & the bucket lid (or close your cooler) & wait 24-30 hours.
  7. Remove & refrigerate.
  8. Flavor just before serving with jams or jellies, or your favorite fresh fruit.  Add into smoothies.  Make it into frozen yogurt.  Oh the possibilities are endless!

For my recipe card click here!

Enjoy!

Have you ever made homemade yogurt?  What is your favorite flavoring?

My Freezer Staples

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I’m a self-proclaimed freeze-a-holic!  I wish I had more freezers, it’s the only thing holding me back from freezing more things!  I have a 25 cubic foot chest freezer along with the dinky freezer attached to my fridge.  They are both usually pretty well filled up!  Here’s what things I currently have in my freezers! 🙂

  • IChicken Breasts (Boneless Skinless)
  • Chicken Breasts (Bone In)
  • Chicken Thighs (Bone In)
  • Chicken Thighs (Boneless – for shredding because it’s easier!)
  • Whole Chickens (2)
  • Ground Beef
  • Beef Roasts
  • Homemade Shredded Chicken (cooked) 1
  • Homemade Taco Mat (cooked) 2
  • Chopped Deli Sliced Ham 3
  • Pepperoni
  • Hot Dogs
  • I prefer buying fresh chicken breasts & freezing myself as opposed to the bags of frozen because they are thicker and taste better.
  • I freeze the meats I purchase in “meal size” bags… in other words, whatever my family will consume in one meal at that time.
  • I stock up on these meats when they are on sale.  Sometimes I might have 5 packages of chicken breasts on hand, sometimes none.
  1. Shredded Chicken – ready to toss in enchiladas, on salads, in soups or white chicken chili or other casseroles.
  2. Taco Meat – ready for tacos, enchiladas, taco salads, casseroles, etc.
  3. Chopped Deli Ham – chop & freeze on cookie sheets, separate, toss in a bag for use in omelets, quiches, casseroles, soups, etc.

  • Peas (frozen 5# bag from Costco)
  • Green Beans (frozen 5# bag from Costco)
  • Stir Fry (from Costco – because it’s yummy!)
  • Chopped Bell Peppers 1
  • Chopped Carrots 2
  • Celery Hearts 3
  • Chopped Green Chilies 4
  • Spinach 5
  • Peeled Garlic Cloves (Costco!)
  1. Peppers – Chop peppers from fresh, freeze on a cookie sheet, separate & store in freezer bags.  Use the peppers (I keep a bag of mixed colors on hand) in omelets, quiches, fresh vinagrette salads, enchiladas, etc.
  2. Carrots – Chop carrots from fresh (or chop & blanche), freeze on a cookie sheet, separate & store in freezer bags.  Use in soups, smoothies, stir frys, etc.
  3. Celery Hearts is that clump of tender celery & leaves in the center of the bunch of celery.  Wash, chop & freeze fresh in a small baggie.  Use in soups!  Yumm!
  4. Green Chilies – How often do you actually use the entire can of chopped green chilies?  Yeah… So freeze the excess in a baggie or ice cube tray for later.
  5. Spinach – Wash & freeze fresh spinach on cookie sheet, break apart, put in baggie & use in soups, smoothies, muffins, breads, omelets, quiches, casseroles, etc.

  • Blueberries (frozen Costco)
  • Strawberries (frozen Costco)
  • Orange Juice 1
  • Bananas 2
  1. Orange Juice – or whole oranges pureed to pulp… frozen in ice cubes for easy smoothies
  2. Bananas – chopped & individually frozen if I’m not going to use them before they go bad for use in smoothies, banana breads, muffins, baby food, etc.


  • Bread loaves (yes these can be frozen, thaw on the counter)
  • Tortillas (flour)
  • Yeast (yes, I keep it in the freezer)

  • Milk (cardboard cartons freeze best)
  • Butter (yes, it freezes well)
  • Cheese (shredded only – I get the 5# bag at Costco)

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Soup 1
  • Split Pea Soup 2
  • Minestrone Soup 3
  • Mashed Potates
  • Pancakes
  • French Toast
  • Refried Beans (see my bulk recipe here)
  • Golden Oats 4 (see my recipe here)
  • Cookie Dough 5
  • Meatloaf 6 (see my recipe for a bulk preparation here)
  • Taco Meat
  • Shredded Mexican Chicken
  • Chicken Pot Pie (see my recipe for a bulk preparation here)
  1. Chicken Soup made without noodles – put these in later or they will be overcooked.
  2. Split Pea Soup – Pureed soup works best here… the texture has always been funny when I don’t puree.  Add some of the chopped ham from the meat section & the carrots from the veggi section when reheating.
  3. Minestrone Soup – without the noodles.
  4. Golden Oats – freeze on cookie sheet, separate, store in a ziplock.  To use, place however much you want in a pan, add a touch of oil & water & reheat.  Or microwave.
  5. Cookie Dough – Prepare a large batch of your favorite cookie dough.  Press into a log inside a sheet of saran wrap.  Unwrap & roll in the wrap again (so there is no wrap stuck inside the log of dough).  Next time you want a cookie, chop of a round and bake!  No need to have a dozen cookies lying around anymore!
  6. Meatloaf – Use as a meatloaf (thaw before cooking), or shape the meatloaf into balls for a meatball & spaghetti dinner or teriyaki meatballs.

  • Popsicles (made from leftover smoothie when we don’t eat all of it)
  • Cookie Dough


For my list of Pantry Staples click here.

What do you always keep in your freezer that isn’t on my list?

Homemade Laundry Detergent

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I love using homemade Laundry Detergent.  I found a recipe on the Duggar Family Website here.  I have been using it for a little over two years & have only made 4 batches!  All you need is a few simple ingredients, a 5 gallon bucket, and some smaller jugs (like the empty gallon vinegar jugs you’ll have on hand if you use non-chemical cleaners!)

EDIT:  I quit making the liquid laundry detergent some time ago. I switched to this creamy detergent… still homemade, and still the same basic ingredients.  Then I switched again!  Now I use the same ingredients… but it’s powder, so prep time is quite a bit less.  I found the recipe here.  Really, there’s a zillion of these recipes out there.  You can even add these scented laundry bead thingys, but I prefer my laundry to smell like clean cloth, not froofy flowers or some such scent.

I get all the supplies I need from here: Borax, Super Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha Soap

Have you made your own laundry detergent?  
What recipe do you use?

BeeHive Apple Pie

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My husband and I were feeling creative this evening!  We wanted apple pie but didn’t want to make a whole pie, so we made these little numbers!  I was thrilled when we opened them up and found these adorable little beehives.

 

BeeHive Apple Pies

3 Granny Smith Apples

1 C Flour

1.5 C Sugar

2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

  • Mix in a large bowl.
  • Carefully flour each apple until thoroughly coated (even between the layers)

Pie Crust

  • Whip up 3 recipies of your favorite pie crust
  • Roll three large circles
  • Set on apple on each

1/2 C Raisins

3 Tablespoon Butter

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

  • Mix together
  • Stuff into center of each apple
  • Carefully wrap crust around apples & pinch to close the top.  Patch any holes with extra crust.
  • Place on cookie sheet
IMPORTANT: Freeze crusted apples for 60 minutes.  Bake directly from the freezer.

Baking

  • Preheat oven to 450*F
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Reduce heat to 350*F
  • Cover apples with little domes of aluminum foil
  • Bake another 45 minutes
  • Remove foil & bake another 15 minutes or until apples are soft (insert a skewer to test doneness).

Cool completely before slicing in half to serve.

Serves 6

What’s your families favorite original recipe?

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