Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fresh Bread made easy

Snowy and cold out today...Brr...
An excellent day to make some chili and bake fresh bread. Fresh bread is so easy to make - and I have a recipe that I don't even knead. I let it rise on top of the oven while the oven is pre-heating, then I pop it in the oven. I bake it in 2 small metal coffee cans, so when I am ready to cut into it, the bread has ridges to follow... it can't get any more eay than that.
I have the recipe in my new recipe book that I am currently writing. Here is a preview:
EASY CHILI $1.12 plate
2 # hamburger
tomato sauce or 2 cans paste:

Choice of spices: chili powder, red pepper, salt, black pepper etc.

Brown the hamburger and pour off the grease. Add 2 cans of light red kidney beans and a large can of tomato sauce or 2 cans of tomato paste with 2 cups of water. You can put this in a crock pot to heat, or heat it until bubbly on the stove.
To make this cheaper, add left-over pinto beans, and cut down on the burger. You can use chili beans, northern beans, sausage –the flavors will all mix together. That is the beauty of chili.

Beginners Easy Bread $.25 a loaf
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour (you will probably use less)
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tbls. (or 2 packages) yeast - You can measure a tablespoon in your hand
2 1/4 cups hot tap water
2 tbls sugar
1 tbls. Salt
Combine 2 cups flour, un-dissolved yeast, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir well to blend. Add butter and hot water. (To soften butter, I put it in the hot tap water)
Beat with a mixer on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl occasionally. Add 1 more cup of flour. Beat on high for 1 minute until smooth and elastic. Gradually stir in just enough of the remaining flour with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough which leaves the sides of bowl. Using my mixer, I mix until it leaves the sides of the bowl.
Flour your hands and Knead 5 - 10 minutes (I usually don't do it this long and I do it in the mixing bowl. ) until dough is smooth and elastic and doesn't stick all over your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest for 20 minutes. (I only do this if I have the 20 minutes to wait)
Punch down and divide the loaf into 2 loaves if you want 2 loaves. I use a glass 2 qt. casserole dish and bake my bread in this. Otherwise, divide into 2 loaves. Roll it out with a rolling pin, then starting with the narrow end, roll up into a jelly roll and tuck in the ends. Put this into a greased bread pan (measuring 81/2 x 41/2 x21/2).

(I skip this next part): Brush lightly with butter Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate 2 - 24 hours. When ready to bake, Uncover, let stand for 10 minutes while preheating oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you rap your knuckles on the top.
If you want the bread NOW! Skip the refrigerator step. Just let the dough rise, for a few minutes and pop it into the oven.
When the bread comes out of the oven and cools for a few minutes, butter the top. This keeps the crust soft. If you want a crunchy top, don't add butter.

If you are interested in my frugal recipe book ( I also have a High Lonesome Ranch cook book with recipes handed down to me) let me know!

Until then, enjoy baking bread at home!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banana Bread

I would rather be slogging through the snow than deal with the mud... However I do like the warmer temperatures and the fact that the cisterns are full.

I have been making banana bread a lot lately. The smell in the kitchen makes your mouth water. you can eat it warm from the oven with whipped cream, for breakfast with your coffee or drink of choice, and for a snack. The recipe I use is very moist and does not dry out.
Bananas remain a very inexpensive fruit so buy a few bunches, eat them as usual and when they get a little over ripe, that is the time for a good banana bread.

I do not put nuts in mine, of course many people do. Here is my favorite recipe:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 2 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 1/2 cup flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3) 1/2 cup sour cream
Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients; mix well. Add the mashed bananas and sour cream. Grease 2 loaf pans . Fill 1/2 full with batter and bake in 350 degree oven. For 1 hour

When cool drizzle with a glaze made of confectioner’s sugar and milk

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I was not surprised the other day when my 20 year old, Mariann came to me, a little upset because she and her new long distance boyfriend were having communication trouble. They met over the Internet... she lives in her own home on her own land in WV, he lives at home (in Pittsburgh) with his family... I mean, they are very different and they don't get to see each other a lot. So their communication is basically through the phone mostly.

He has been to visit her a few times and was very sweet on her... He came on pretty strong, and we were surprised to see Mariann react positively to this as she is very reserved, and grounded. She is very choosy whom she will allow into her private thoughts even. He seemed a little over the top - very talkative, exuberant - much like a Labrador puppy.

But I was surprised when I found out the reason for their lack of communication. It seems when Mariann went to Pittsburgh to meet his family, she didn't feel well. She has a monitor medically placed in her chest to monitor her heart because she was having unknown episodes. She was told that it could effect her appetite, among numerous other things. (You know those commercials when the side effects from the medication seem worse than the condition itself??)

Anyway, that weekend - maybe it was the traveling, maybe it was the nervousness, but she felt nauseous and didn't eat. I guess they kept track, not only of her non-eating habits... but also the amount of times she went to the bathroom (that wasn't enough either, I guess)!!!

His mother's conclusion? Mariann is some sort of socially - inadequate country girl. And a liar (they looked it up on the Internet and nausea wasn't listed). Not only that, she is wanting to get out of WV so badly and head for the exciting lights of Pittsburgh that she is using their precious 22 year old son to get out of WV and move to PA...

We obviously are country bumpkins - we live on top of the mountain, have lived without electricity in our self - sufficient way. Our house is not finished inside and probably won't be for a good long time - we built it with out a mortgage, and totally on our own with our young children. I guess that doesn't count for anything...

Mariann has traveled to 11 different countries since she was 16... She is independent, has been working since she was 16, was promoted to shift manager at McDonald's as the youngest one they have ever had... and still she is "socially" inadequate... wow

It all comes down to living in a state that is notorious for "hicks... hillbillies" etc. .. and we have been labeled as such by this "open minded" family.

So, he has slowly begun to distance himself from her, and it has hurt her. He was supposed to meet her 1/2 way on Sunday and his 2009 truck seems to be developing all these problems so he can't travel any distance... ha

As parents, your husband wants to punch him in the face... As a mother, I want to say something to him for being such a "Mama's Boy" .
I guess his opinion of Mariann can be so swayed so easily, by something that to me sounds ludicrous... He is not a strong enough man to be dating my daughter...

His mother was obviously really reaching for straws to come up with a reason to dislike Mariann...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Home Remedies

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore Throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Any home remedies you would want to share?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Home Remedy

Drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately -- without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers."

The weather has turned for the better and warmed up enough to melt some of the snow. Hopefully the cisterns will start to fill back up again. The sun certainly looks good outside.

We have a litter of labradoodles due this week. Olive Oil sure doesn't act like she is even close to giving birth... makes you wonder.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Happy New Year!

We have been busy trying to keep the animals watered. The problem with homesteading is everything is much more difficult to achieve results. We have our water collected in 2 cisterns. One has run out of water, so Jim had to re-route the other so that we all have water - our house and my mother's "dauty haus" which is a large apartment attached to the main house - actually her side is probably as big as our side.
West Virginia has ended up with a lot of snow this year. I don't know if any records have been set, but the past few years have been mild. Our first winter here it was very snowy and cold like this. You can see my laundry being freeze-dried!
So, my frugal tip for the day is to dry your clothes on a line, no matter what the weather!