Saturday, January 31, 2009

One of my favorite magazines to read is Mother Earth News. I enjoy the recipes, gardening tips, DIY projects, etc. Unfortunately there is a lot that I don't like...the liberal leanings, the references to evolution, etc. So we renew our subscription on a year by year basis.

Last month I enjoyed an article called Five Minutes A Day For Fresh Baked Bread. The basic idea is that you mix the dough and let it sit for two hours. Pinch off enough dough for a loaf of bread (about the size of a small cantaloup) and save the rest in the refrigerator. Do this daily for up to 2 weeks.

I tried it and liked it...somewhat. I think this recipe works best if you use 100% white flour. I used 50% freshly ground wheat and 50% King Arthur bread flour. I also thought the results were a bit salty.The basic rule of this bread is the 6-3-3-13 rule: 6 cups water, 3 tbsp yeast, 3 tbsp salt, and 13 cups flour. I didn't have a large covered bowl, so I went to Walmart and bought this 2 gallon container. I like the way the lid works, but my dough soon burst through in the refrigerator. Yuck!
So the next day I went back to Walmart and bought this 2-1/2 gallon bin, and it worked nicely. Both bins are made by Rubbermaid.
We weren't crazy about any of the breads that I made from this recipe; however, the sticky rolls were the best I'd ever made/eaten. Yummy!
I also made the pizza from this recipe. It was good, but not the best. I cooked the pizza in my 17" cast iron skillet. First I preheated the skillet for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. While it was still hot, I put the rolled out dough into it (it sure sizzles!) and then added toppings. I love the way the pizza "pops" out of the skillet with no mess. My children love the chewy crusts.

So take a few minutes and read the article here. I just got my newest issue of Mother Earth News and I see there is an article about cooking with sprouts...another of my favorites! I'll give you a report on that after I try a few of the recipes.

We have had a busy Saturday here. Splitting and stacking firewood, housework, shopping and laundry. While we are working hard, we can smell my briskets cooking in the oven. I am making my famous Paula Deen Brisket (remember to use only half the salt called for) for brisket sandwiches tomorrow . Our church is having a potluck fellowship dinner. That is always something to look forward to.

Enjoy your weekend. I pray you will be blessed by your Pastor's sermon tomorrow. Think snow. Keep warm. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We really enjoyed our little snowstorm ~ all two inches! But it was enough to give the schoolchildren 1-3/4 days off. Allen's Tang Soo Do class was canceled.

I love living in the country when it snows. Everything is so beautifully white. Because we have a well that runs on electricity, I asked Allen to fill up our white, plastic 55-gallon drum with water, and place it to the left of the basement door. Well, he thought I meant outside the basement now we have a huge block of ice that is supposed to be used for potty water in an emergency. What a laugh.
Lizzie's homemade fence looks pretty nice.

The birdies like their new feeder I bought at the thrift shop for 50 cents.
Yesterday was our day to cook for Grandaddy's church because last week the pipes froze and broke. Normally we cook on the third Wednesday. Grandaddy is on his way home from Texas right now (and sick with a flu bug), so the rest of the clan pitched in. Simba was in charge. Our theme for the night was Mexican Food. Everyone seemed to like it more than usual. Simba made the best fajitas ~ beef, chicken and shrimp. We also had mexican rice, refried beans, several kinds of salsas, cornbread (a real hit...and it was the only thing we made from a box!), and for the non-mexican folks (bless their poor souls) we had hotdogs and chili.
My contribution was 6 quarts of homemade salsa. I was asked for the recipe several times. I should have known better and typed up some cards. I always get asked for the recipe.
My secret ingredient for both my salsa and my salad dressing, is this brown rice vinegar from Emperor's Kitchen. I buy it from my co-op, but I've seen it in health food stores.
I took my food processor to see if I could make light work of all the chopping. What a good decision!
I have a Cuisinart 14-cup processor that I love. I bought it in 1995, and just last week I had to replace a small $20 part. But that's okay, this processor has been a workhorse in my kitchen. And it was very easy to replace the part by ordering online. The only feature I wish it had is a continuous flow chute. But that is an expensive feature.
The other good decision I made was to take my own sharp knives. I bought these knife covers a few years ago, and I've used them many times since. I bought them at a clearance store, but you can buy them here also.
Here's Allen with my nephew Cody. Cody and his Dad, Floyd, showed up to be taste testers. My nephew, Dustin (my brother Mike's son), also showed up to do his share of work.
Ruthie always enjoys working at Saysf. The only person missing was darling Abby (9 months now!) because her Momma is a sensible person and kept her home out of the freezing rain. Boo hoo.
After all the chopping, slicing and dicing was done, the children played volleyball in the gym. We all had such a great time working together. We weren't sure what kind of night it would be because of the snow and fog, but Saysf had a business meeting scheduled for after dinner, which usually draws large crowds. There were only 50-60 people.
This morning Allen ate a burrito with rice, black beans, lettuce and chicken. It sure smelled good! I came home with two gallons of leftover chili, so I froze it and will take it to church this Sunday for our fellowship dinner.
While it was snowing this week, I took the chance to make Sourdough Focaccia. It took longer than usual to rise, so it wasn't done until late at night. Everyone said it was delicious. I just couldn't bear to eat carmelized onions that late at night.
Cantaloups are on sale at Walmart for $2 each, so I made some fruit salad with grapes, cantaloup, pineapple and orange slices. Yummy! The cantaloups are very sweet. Walmart also has avocados on sale for .68 treat yourself to some guacamole! Just a note about our super Walmart here in California, MD. You always have to watch the checkout process. It is not unusual for the regular prices to come up on sale items. Yes, it's a bother.

Anna just talked to Grandad. He's doing much better, all over with his sickness. They are already in Richmond. He made the entire trip from Corpus Christi to Richmond with one 10 minute nap in Louisiana. That's a record! It's amazing how quickly Grandad healed when he learned he couldn't see darling Abby if he wasn't well!

So that's our busy week so far. Today we are catching up on laundry, cleaning, schoolwork and music practice. Our snow is quickly disappearing.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ruthie

Ruthie turned 9 yesterday. How time flies. It seems like yesterday that I was in the midst of diapers, toys, and mashed bananas. This picture is so typically Ruthie the cowgirl. Around here we call Ruthie, "Rooty Toot." She used to ask us to call her Dale Evans. Nowadays she asks us to call her "Israel Boone" after Daniel Boone's son. I had a hard time finding pictures of Ruthie. I have a bunch of her as a newborn, and a bunch of her in the past two years (since we went digital), but nothing in between. I copied this page out of a scrapbook Sarah gave me.

This picture was taken five years ago when the girls were dressed for Uncle Simba's wedding.
I found these two funny pictures that were taken on Grandaddy's boat in Virginia. We have many pictures of Maggie and Anna reading to Ruthie. She is definitely a much-loved child.
Our big news today is SNOW! Our first measurable snow of the season. Whippee! We are supposed to get 1-2 inches. (Don't laugh, Joan.) For those of you who wonder why we are now getting's because my parents are coming home from Texas this week. Snow seems to follow them everywhere. My poor folks even took cold weather to Texas with them for their first week. But the past few weeks they've been basking in 80 degree days on the beach of North Padre Island.

Allen's Tang Soo Do class has been canceled, but I still have to take Maggie to a 2-hour long appt on base. Anyone who has visited us knows we have a mile long dirt road with treacherous hills. We will certainly be prayerful!

Keep warm and enjoy the snow. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ten Thousand Steps Fitness Program

If you've been thinking about starting the popular Ten Thousand Steps program, but don't have a pedometer, then I have the deal for you! Until midnight tonight, you can get a free pedometer at that will only cost $3.99 shipping.
If you'd like to price other pedometers, go here to see a complete listing. The average person takes 5,000 steps a day. So the idea is to double your daily walking. Ten thousand steps is equal to 30 minutes of brisk walking.

It's crucial that you place your pedometer in the correct place to get an accurate reading: on your belt, directly above the crease in your pantleg on your dominant leg.

Have a productive Saturday. We are up and running. Our one warm day yesterday reached 55 degrees, but today will only reach 40. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, January 23, 2009

This past Monday I started a project that ended up taking 4 days to complete. Yikes, that's getting to be the norm around here! I used to have placemats lining my cupboards, but they got so dirty that they became permanently stained. So I found two kinds of liners at the Dollar Store.

The first kind of liner kept sliding everytime someone got a glass. The second kind, shown in the pictures, works like a dream. It looks like a tablecloth but has a sticky runner on the bottom. No more shifting liners!I really like the color. There were lots of colors to choose from, including nice florals. I bought some extra to do the bathroom drawers. Anna helped me finish this project last night. It felt so good to put everything back in its place.
Today I took Anna, Maggie and Lizzie shopping at Michaels. They have all their picture frames on sale at 55% off! Maggie and I both bought these large frames for $6.56. What a deal! These make wonderful gifts, so stock up now. Nine years ago, I bought one of these toilet paper holders to put in our bathroom. I only bought one because I wasn't sure I'd like it. Well, I really like it, but when I went to order four more for the rest of our bathrooms, they were out of stock. That was nine years ago.
So last week I was looking at my new Lehmans catalog and found them again. I wasted no time in ordering three online (Mike made an oak one for our main bathroom). I was disappointed when they came...they are off-cast and the paint is chipped. One of the screw-holes is off center. I have to say, I have been buying things from Lehmans for years, but this is the first item that is not up to their standards.

I wrote to Lehmans to let them know that the picture in their catalog does not match the actual item, and sure enough, they offered me a refund. That is the kind of service that endears folks to them! I declined since I've already bought white spray paint to cover the paint chips. I am still very thankful to have found these.
This week I went to my friend, Heather's, home to help unload the truck for our co-op. I got to see Heather's latest project, her woodstove. The hearth is beautiful! Heather and her hubby did the hearth themselves to save a bundle of money. And her living room was wonderfully toasty.
Heather has two blogs, Slice of Heaven (where you can see more pictures of her woodstove projects) and Goin' Stir Crazy, a blog about her cooking experiences. Well, Heather has motivated me to start using my new slow cooker. My old crockpot was 25 years old and gave up, so I bought this new Hamilton Beach crockpot. I love it. Today I diced 3 chicken breasts, and added 12 cups of mixed veggies (some frozen, some leftovers), 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and one box of Lipton's Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix. The smell is tantalizing.

Every night I mix 2 cups of milk (we use ricemilk), 2 cups of water, and 1-1/2 cups of steel cut oats, and put it in the slowcooker. I set the timer for 4 am and let the oats cook until 9 am on the low setting. Yummy! My children love it. Most mornings they eat it with Maple Buds, but some mornings they add dates, raisins, nuts or shredded coconut. I just bought a 50# bag of oats for $26, so this is definitely a cheap meal.
For those of you from church: This January 30th is Mr. Joe's one year anniversary of living in glory. If you can, please send Mrs. Jane a note letting her know that you love her. I talked to her this morning, and she is suffering terribly from her arthritis. Thank you so much.

Enjoy your weekend. We hope to use Mike's new chainsaw to cut more firewood for our woodpile. Hopefully we will get several other projects finished as well.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day, particularly this year's Inauguration Day, means different things to different people. For our family, it is a somber day. In 1981, my cousin's husband, Chet Bitterman, was kidnapped in Bogota, Columbia, South America. Chet and Brenda were in Bogota as missionaries, specifically as linguists. Chet was kidnapped on the 19th, but most of us learned about it on the 20th, as Ronald Reagan was being inaugurated.
I have a thick folder full of articles about Chet's abduction and subsequent murder. Chet was held captive for 48 days while Christians around the world prayed fervantly for his release. God had other plans for Chet. On March 7, Chet's body was found with a bullet hole through his chest. I still remember the numbness we felt upon hearing the news.

A book has been written, Called to Die, about Chet's life and death. There are numerous copies for sale on Amazon. This book should be on every family's bookshelf. In May of 1981, our family traveled to Lancaster, PA, for Chet's memorial service. There were hundreds of people crammed into the church sanctuary. My most vivid memory from that service was the singing of Chet's favorite song, "Only To Be What He Wants Me To Be." I still get chills when I hear this song.

My extended family here in Maryland loved Chet. When Brenda and Chet came to a large family picnic (the only kind we have!), we were all impressed with Chet's friendliness, and the fact that he memorized all our names...a feat even I cannot do!

So today our family is rereading all my articles, and talking about what it means to live totally for the Lord. I'm sure Brenda is also reflecting. Brenda married Ken Jackson shortly after Chet's death and they have a wonderful ministry with Wycliffe Bible Translators. They have 4 daughters.

On a different note, this past Sunday morning, Maggie woke up in pain and was unable to move her legs. We don't know if she reacted to something she ate, or medicines, or what, but after many megadoses of ibuprofen, she is doing better. Our family stayed home from church because we weren't sure if we were going to be taking Maggie to the hospital. PTL, we didn't have to. But it was a long day of watching and praying.

My children and I went to Mom and Dad's home to watch the Inauguration ceremony. What a blessing to live in a free country.

Keep warm, think snow. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What a fun time we had today. It took us 20 minutes to get to The Vintage Source. The last three miles are very scenic countryside. Our family enjoyed seeing the open land and different homes.
I tried to take a picture to give you an idea how wonderful this store is. It is bigger than I thought it would be. I was surprised when I saw this picture at home because there were many people in the store.
There were five dressers that I liked, but none of them really made my heart sing, so we came home with nothing. That's okay...I always enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and my hunt has only just begun. This cute little dresser was one of a pair, but too short. I would knock over my lamp.
This dresser was a little clunky looking.
This one too square or plain. I would definitely have to replace the knobs.
I really liked this one, but I'd have to take off the mirror, and that would end up destroying the top. Oh well. I am looking forward to going back next month.

I am back to using dial-up internet until Jan 23rd. We used up our allotment for the broadband. How did I ever run an internet business using dial-up?! This is painful!

We just received word that the missions team that our church sent to Ecuador, has made all their connecting flights for coming home tonight. What a praise. They had some issues they were concerned about.

I want to say many heartfelt thanks for those of you who prayed for Maggie on Friday. We got the perfect answer to our prayers. Maggie's painful test was canceled. The doctor realized it was unnecessary since she has taken this test three times already, and all three results were normal. PTL

You should have come to our home for BLTs today! I made some of my best sourdough bread ever! I tried a new recipe from Actually, I've seen this recipe several places, but I wanted to be able to direct you to a copy so I wouldn't have to type it out. It was so yummy that tonight I made four more loaves. Click here for the recipe. This is a perfect sandwich holes like typical sourdough.

Today we decided that we'd eaten too much sourdough bread, so I came up with my own little joke: Now we know why the French call bread "pain"!

I also made a batch of sourdough blonde brownies. I got the recipe from an old cookbook. If you want the recipe, email me.

As I write, my robo vacuum is cleaning my kitchen floor. What a wonderful life! Both yesterday and today we have woken up to 8 degree temperatures outside. That's really cold for us!

This afternoon our family watched a Disney movie called Johnny Tremain. We enjoyed it. Several times we stopped and took the time to teach our children historical facts. What a winner movie. To learn more about this movie (or any movie or actor) click here for This movie is best seen in front of a toasty pellet stove! (If any of you local folks would like to borrow this from us, let me know...the dvd, not the pellet stove.)

I hope everyone had as nice a day as we did. We are preparing our hearts today for the sermon tomorrow. Many blessings ~ Kathie