Recipes

Artichoke Spinach Dip

spinach dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip is the perfect appetizer for a potluck dinner or party.  I made it for a surprise birthday party that was given for my daughter over the weekend.  This is a favorite dish and was a big hit.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

2 cups grated parmesan cheese, extra for topping

10 oz spinach (if using frozen, drain water)

1 package cream cheese-softened

1 8 oz sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together and pour into baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

 

Recipes

Banana Cake

banana cake

 

My daughter’s favorite cake is banana with a peanut butter frosting.  I use bananas that are passed their prime, which I keep in the freezer until ready for use.  This recipe is really simple and delicious.

 

Banana Cake

1 stick of softened butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 bananas

1 cup sour cream

2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In mixer, or large bowl, cream butter and sugar and fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating well after adding. Add vanilla.  In separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mix. Add the banana, sour cream and milk.

Pour into prepared 13×9 inch pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

 

Peanut Butter Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

milk

Mix the butter and peanut butter until creamy.  Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined.  Stir in vanilla.  Add milk until you get desired consistency.  Spread on cake.

Recipes

Miso Glazed Salmon

We get our seafood from Sitka Salmon Shares.  It is a CSA for seafood that is available in the Midwest.  This company uses sustainable practices and is environmentally friendly. Once a month from May to December we get a box of really good seafood.  This year we received salmon, cod, bass, tuna and prawns.  We eat it once a week and I think we might have enough left to get us through March.  We will be signing up again this year.

Tonight I made Miso Glazed Salmon with rice and sugar snap peas on the side.

Miso Glazed Salmon

1 lb salmon

1/4 cup miso

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Mix miso, sugar vinegar and water.  When oven is 500 degrees, turn the oven down to 200, put the glaze on the salmon and bake.

I cook my seafood in a high temperature oven and then turn down and let the heat cook the fish slowly.  It take about 30 minutes, but the fish always turns out perfectly and not overcooked.

miso salmon

 

Household

Glass Cleaner

cleaning supplies

I make a lot of my own cleaning supplies.  Saving money is a big reason why I choose to make my own.  But, an even bigger reason is our health.  So many store-bought cleaning supplies are filled with toxic chemicals that I personally don’t believe are good for the health of my family.  For this reason, we go the homemade route as much as possible.  It also means we put less plastic into our ecosystem, which is obviously better for all of us.

This recipe is for the window cleaner we use.  It costs pennies to make and smells great.  Quick side note, that bottle of Dr. Bronner’s is 18 years old.  We have been recycling it since the year 2001.  We buy it by the gallon and continue to refill that bottle.  In 18 years, we have only purchased 3 gallons.

Glass Cleaner

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon castile soap (we use Dr. Bronner’s)

2 cups water

4 drops lavender essential oil

4 drops lemon essential oil

The directions are pretty straightforward.  Add all ingredients to a bottle and mix.

You can use any essential oil of your choice.  I just prefer the lemon lavender mix.

Happy Cleaning!

Recipes

Sugar Cookies

I found the perfect recipe for sugar cookies. These are the best sugar cookies that I have ever made, and that I have ever tired. This recipe was also really easy to follow and didn’t take long at all. I made these cookies for a bake sale, but I will definitely be going back to this recipe the next time I make sugar cookies.IMG_5890.JPG

These are the cookies that I made, and they are so good.

Here is the recipe: http://bakingaway.blogspot.com/2009/10/chewy-sugar-cookies.html

Enjoy these delicious cookies!

Recipes

Baked Creamy Polenta

I have added a new side dish to my dinner rotation.  Baked Creamy Polenta.  I purchase the polenta in bulk at my local health food store.  It has always been a favorite of mine, but it always seemed daunting cook from scratch.  When I made it, I used the premade polenta in the tubes, that always has the texture of rubber.  This recipe is a winner and very easy to make.

Baked Creamy Polenta

6 cups water

1 1/2 cups slow cooking polenta

1/4 cup butter (I use Kerrygold)

Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil.. Whisking constantly, slowly add the polenta and reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk often, until polenta is tender. If the polenta becomes  thick too soon,  add more water and continue cooking. Add butter and ½ cup Parmesan to polenta and stir.

Add to baking dish, cover with additional parmesan cheese and bake in 350 degree of 20 minutes.

baked creamy polenta

Uncategorized

My Birthday Girl

Today I spent the day with my middle child,  Hannah, to celebrate her 20th birthday.  Her actual birthday is on Sunday, but we wanted to take a day for manicures, lunch and shopping.

Hannah has had a tough year.  In April she was diagnosed with Grave’s disease.  The last 9 months were filled with doctors appointments, labs and experimenting with a wide array of prescriptions and doses.  She was a trooper, rarely complained and completed 2 successful semesters in college while feeling pretty crappy. In all honesty, she dealt with the situation much better than I did.  As a parent, it is so hard to see your child struggle.  Her symptoms seemed to come out of nowhere.  It started with the a phone call from her at school saying “I need to go to the ER” and ending with a life changing diagnosis.

Because her heart symptoms were severe, she underwent radioactive iodine on January 2 to “kill” her thyroid.  Once she enters hypothyroidism, which will be a life long diagnosis, she will go on Synthroid.  It sounds extreme, but in her case, it was the only choice.   The radioactive iodine lead to 5 days of isolation because she was literally radioactive.  Since the thyroid absorbs the radiation, for her to be around other people would have put their thyroid at risk.  Again, she dealt with it like a trooper, rarely complained and just asked for food on a very regular basis!  To prepare for the treatment, she had to eat a low iodine diet for 3 weeks which eliminated cheese from her diet.  As a Wisconsin girl, cheese is very important.

She was released from isolation earlier this week.  She spent her time packing up to go back to college, spending time with her boyfriend and spending time with us.  We ended the week by celebrating her birthday, which felt like a perfect reward for enduring a long 9 months.

hannah birthday

My girl enjoying a birthday cake.

Uncategorized

Moving Forward

I am in a lot of Facebook groups that focus on frugal living, non consumerism, hygge and housekeeping.  Since January 1, it seems like the main topic of conversation in all of those groups is the Netflix show about organizing your life and getting rid of your stuff.  I feel like the only person on the planet who has not watched it yet.  I refuse to watch it at this point out of principle.  I have enough guilt, I don’t need somebody telling me that getting rid all of my stuff will make me happy, I am very happy as it is.  As with all things in life, moderation is key, even minimalism.  It feels like another trend that will lose its steam and something else will take it’s place.

Instead, I am choosing to just let life lead me where it will.  Keeping my to do list short and attainable and allowing myself to savor the season of winter with its promise of coziness and warmth.  It’s a cold night out there tonight and I plan on ending this day, in my unorganized room, reading a book.  Tomorrow is always another day.

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Recipes

Meatballs and Mushroom Gravy Over Cauliflower Rice

Tonight I scrapped my meal plan of homemade macaroni and cheese and decided on Meatballs instead.  It turned out really good and is adapted from a number of recipes I found online.

I used cauliflower rice and turkey meatballs that I had in the freezer (both from Costco).

Meatballs and Mushroom Gravy Over Cauliflower Rice

2 tbsp butter

16 oz white mushrooms

1/4 cup flour

1 quart vegetable broth (I used Penzey’s vegetable base)

8 oz frozen spinach

Premade meatballs

1 lb Frozen Cauliflower Rice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter in skillet, add mushrooms and saute for 5-6 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add flour and whisk until smooth and thickened.  Add frozen meatballs and spinach.  Serve on cauliflower rice (or regular rice if you prefer).

Since there was an abundance of vegetables in this dish, we had a fruit salad on the side.

meatballs and fruit

 

Homesteading, Recipes

White Bread Recipe For Bread Machine

We make our own bread in a bread machine that we have had for 22 years.  No plastic bags, no additives and it saves us money.  Plus, it just tastes better.  The recipe below is our recipe for basic white sandwich bread.

 

Basic White Bread Recipe

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

3 1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

How to make bread in a bread machine:
  1. Add water and oil into the bread pan. Add salt, sugar. Add flour.

  2. Make a small well on top of flour and make sure it does not reach wet ingredients. Add the gluten and  yeast to the well.

  3. Use Basic bread, 1.5 lb loaf, medium crust cycle (3 hrs 10 minutes)

    bread