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I am a lucky Woman, I have a Husband that loves me, a beautiful grown step-daughter, a 15 yr old son and a 8 yr old son. I try to create a home that is warm and will linger with memories of Mom's cooking and being home for my children. This isn't always possible, considering they rough house, I get tired and hit the Mcdonald's drive thru and sometimes buy clean socks for them instead of wash it.... I try to do a menu plan, hang our clothes out to dry, use coupons, go to Church every week.. and pretend I am a stay at home Mom while working 40 hours a week

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Use it up, Wear it out, Make do or do with out

             I find myself despite always having trying to rebel against it- wanting to be more green. I don't know if it is cause I am moving toward a more simple life style or I am obsessed with the Amish way of life or i just plain old got some crazy pretty reuseable grocery bags for Christmas this year?
              I have an amazing amount of reuseable bags to begin with- but since I started part time at a grocery store ontop of my regular day job, I know how much easier these are to pack for the cashiers- I love when people come thru my line with the sturdy bags- the cat hair lined ones- not so much- but I am customer service oriented so I suffer thru that with a smile! 

              I think that my New Year's resolution is to not waste- like Connor told me- " waste not want not" he learned it in school- he was so proud to tell me that- and I am starting small with the reuseable bags, I reuse my plastic ones- believe me.. for numerous things- but it seems I have a glut of them right now.
               I want a simpler life, we have had almost a week off from work and Brian and I have cooked, ground 20 lb of venison, food savered meat, made our own deer bologna( a separate post soon to come) and pretty much i have started cleaning out cupboards.... any way this is a short post about becoming more simple and more nondependant on the outside world I suppose.. so here are 2 pics of my new reuseable bags which I adore!
This is an adorable 10x8 bag my Mom got me for Christmas perfect for one or two things or a fast short trip and even though I love the simple life- I love the pics from Breakfast at Tiffanys!

I love love love this bag, it was from my boss at work - Susan, I have used it quite a bit since she gave them to us all at work....
What little ways did you all decide to become "green" or simple- you know I have also decided thru making this post - I do not like the word "Green" LOL- I like Simple or Homesteading/Homesteader, Frugal or Acting Amish .....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters~mmmmmmmmm

             So Brian got a Brinkman Smoker, the gas one, for Christmas... well we have been smoking everything we can get our hands on! I got Chicken Leg Quarters for 99 cents a lb... which is really cheap. Normally I won't pay more than that for chicken, since we buy our beef from a farmer for way cheaper than a grocery store, I try to get our other meat when it is marked down at the store then freeze it.
So far we have smoked ribs- literally awesome- we had to tell Max to come up for air during dinner, My mom bought salmon for Christmas and we smoked it ( my Step Daughter and her Boyfriend loved it so much they bought one for us to smoke for them to take home to D.C) I will take pics this time around to do a post on it. 
              And we have been doing the Chicken Leg Quarters.... which this post is all about!
Here is the recipe:
4 Chicken Leg Quarters
Marinade in 1 cup Olive Oil-2 TBSP Bells poultry seasoning, pepper,and salt
1 TBSP of Garlic Powder
You want to put the marinade mix in a large ziplock that will hold the chicken then add the chicken and marinade for at least 4 hours.
 Brian bought some sprayers and added olive oil and vinegar to it - and sprayed the chicken every hour with it to keep it moist.
He used Apple wood  and in the liquid pan put water and 1 Lager beer....
the target tem we had was 250 degrees and the target inside meat temp was 180 degrees.

Feel free to ask me questions and I can ask Brian the answers- since this is my first post on smoker recipes!
on that note - here are the pictures:
Spraying with the olive oil and vinegar mix to keep the chickens moist

My Adorable Hubby Brian

The wood Chips soaking in water

Spraying again

I wish I had smell-o-vision

The Happy flashlight holder Max

Almost done! See the liquid bubbling?

You can't see the temp but it is right!

Plated up and totally gorgeous!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Venison Jalepeno Poppers!

             It has been way too long since I posted~ a whole summer and fall too long. We have been so busy gardening, canning then school started for the kids and I got a part-time job on top of my regular day job.... but I am gonna make it my New Year resolution to post more! Plus all my pictures normally came from my old phone, which died on my and I have been using my son's hahahah- which I think is even older since he got an upgrade, sooooo I started using Brian's camera- hopefully the picture quality is better now for the blog.

               So- I frequent Homesteading websites alot- and since we got some venison this year from  wonderfully generous friends, I have been looking up neat, cool, frugal fun recipes- and someone suggested making Jalapeno Poppers (our friend gave us their favorite venison potpie recipe- which when I make I will post it as well). This is right up the boys and my alley... I couldn't wait to try them:

                First the recipe- then the pics taken by my lovely assistant Brian (I told him he was my new Blogger Photographer)

I only made a few since it was a new recipe and I wanted to make sure if it worked out I would have enough ingredients left on hand for appetizers on Christmas Day:)
Plus this is a pretty frugal recipe- I got the bacon for 99 cents- the Jalapenos were 80 cents for 15 of them the cheese was on sale for 2.50 (sad that I think 2.50 is a good sale price I remember when it was like 1.25 on sale- cheese making is next on my list of things to learn to do) the venison was gifted-
Venison Poppers:
5 Jalapenos~ Cut in half lengthwise and seeded
5 slices of bacon~ Cut in half
10 quarter inch wedges of sharp cheddar cheese
10 quarter inch slices of venison

In each half of jalepeno put a slice of venison, then cheese, then wrap in a half of a slice of bacon secure with a toothpick.. bake at 350 degrees for approx 20 min, then broil until bacon is crisp. Keep an eye on them when you broil them, they will burn!

Enjoy- They lasted all of about 4 minutes in my house- and that was with Brian and Max eating them hot out of the oven!
The Pretty Peppers all washed and ready to go!

Bacon from the freezer- of course cause I buy it on sale for about 99 cents a package and then freeze it

The venison butterfly steaks pack, that we foodsavered and then froze

Extra Sharp cheese mmmmm my favorite! Cheese should be SHARP unless it is Brie of course

Cutting and seeding the peppers- see- I am wearing a glove- I managed to slice my index finger this morning using a new razor, no way I wasn't wearing a glove.

Cutting the venison to fit into the peppers

Love this picture- I think it is so pretty the venison is soooo red and lean

Brian does a pretty good job of picture taking mid-point dontcha think? this is the cheese on half the peppers

Wrapping the peppers

All snuggled ready for the oven!

How awesome do they look? mmmm

2 minutes later on the plate

Four minutes later after I called Brian and Max to try them!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homemade Frugal Croutons or "Fancy Scmancy Yippie Lookin Salad Toppins"

            I like to make things out of stuff that no one else might want, I like to re-purpose things, including food.. hence my love of day old bread. I like to make crackers and croutons, the kids love to eat them and so does Brian.             Making croutons is so easy, I can not believe there is even a market for packaged ones! They look fancy, they are great on top of tomato soup, to snack on, to put on *gasp* a salad! I should give a definition of Yippie- since it is in the title- I made the little word up ( and yes I am taking credit for the word, so don't try it!) It is a mash of two words~ Yuppie and Hippie... you know those   people who love their earthy crunchiness, tyedye, gardening and dirt, BUT- also love their money- their fancy things.... I know not really a technical definition- but think hard- we all know a Yippie!!
            Anyway- on to the croutons- now that I have probably offended someone!

Here is the recipe:

One loaf of day old bread- usually italian works best.
Olive oil, amount depends on size of loaf usually I add about 2 tablespoons- or other oil- I used Smart Oil- since I had it in the house from coupons!
Your favorite seasonings to taste- I used Onion Salt and Italian seasonings.

Cut the bread into bite sizes that you prefer, place bread in a large bowl or stock pot.. add oil and seasonings mix by hand-- it is just easier. Bake at 250 for about an hour- or until bread is dry and crisp.. checking on it about every 15 min to make sure it isn't burning, you can turn it in the pan- I use a large cookie sheet.

Allow to cool and store in a ziplock bag. If you make more than you think you will use in a week - you can freeze them! Freeze them in a ziplock freezer bag, it works great.

The package of Italian Bread- DAY OLD:) Plus, the evidence of the 50% off tag on the day old bread!
Cutting away on the board!
I cut these ones a little bigger than I normally do- I wanted to give it a shot see how they turned out- plus I was tired.
Large stockpot, I tried a large bowl, as I usually do, but they just didn't fit well this time.
The seasonings I used- Onion Salt and Italian
Mmmmm mixing by hand- clean hands mind you!
One the sheet ready to bake! and then enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Master Gardner's Garden~ a month later

            So- I finally am getting around to posting the current pictures of Brian's Garden- aka- The Master Gardener's Garden-
           It really is coming along nicely here up north- I hear about other people already harvesting things and I get jealous- but then I just need to remember we are in Central Pa, where the garden doesn't go in until after Memorial Day.
           We - well Brian almost lost a tomato plant- it became a new nickname for him " the tomato whisper" when the plant actually came back to life.
And here is what it looks like now:
All the lovely tomato plants, to the left are the beefsteak big sandwich kind and the other 2 rows are the Italian canners and sauce/salsa ones

Next to the tomatoes, are all the peppers- we did lose 3 habanaro peppers - but we have so many other hot varieties I figured it was fine.

At the top of the picture are the cucumbers for pickles and then my zucchini plants.

Pretty Zucchini blossoms!

A different view from the top of the yard

A banana pepper hiding, but growing!

Brian's self proclaimed "Salad Bar" of lettuce, radishes, onions and some garlic.

So how is everyone else's gardens growing?!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jalapenos!!!! Not on a Steeeeick... Pickled!

            This week in my many travels to the local Weis Market, I noticed that Jalapenos were on sale for 99 cents a pound, to me this is a good deal. We have plenty of hotter varieties of peppers in the garden, but we would never produce enough to can actual numerous pints of pickled jalapenos... and the older boys and myself- are really beginning to love love love them - on everything! 
            At 2.99 to 3.49 a jar at the store, I knew I could make them cheaper. Brian was all for it- since he is a true man and canner- he actually woke up this morning and said " I can not wait to can those jalapenos, I actually dreamt about it".
            I purchased just over 12 lbs of jalapenos- you should have seen the look on the cashier's face....

We ended up using about 10 lbs of those and I am saving the other 2 lbs to make poppers for Brian's Aunt Mo's Fourth of July party Monday.

I am going to put the recipe first - incase someone doesn't to scroll thru all my pics- I was pic happy thru this procedure! 

Pickled Jalapenos:
Jalapeno Peppers (10 lbs)
Canning salt 7TBSPs
Vinegar (white) 14 cups- maybe a little more
Rubber Gloves- trust me - DO NOT DO THIS WITH OUT RUBBER GLOVES!!!
Wash and slice Jalapenos, pack into sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Bring vinegar and salt to a boil... Pour Hot liquid over jalapenos and leave the 1/4 head space there!
Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
most people say wait at least 5 weeks to eat them, I don't know if I can keep the boys away that long!

Now I can start the pic show! 

I have to disclose that Brian is a hard worker- he totally does half the work when we can together!

Here are the peppers - well some of the 10 lbs, after being washed!

Brian slicing and dicing the peppers! With rubber gloves mind you!

The little buggers could get slippery wearing the gloves and being freshly washed- this one ended up on the rug!
My handsome helpful hubby cuttin away!

Aren't they pretty all cut- I wanted so bad to eat one raw- but I bailed!
packed in the jars awaiting the vinegar and salt mix that is boiling... I used a funnel to fill the jars- tapping them as i added handfuls to fit more in the jars.
Vinegar is almost boiling!
A nice ring in the jar after filling with the vinegar mix
Yes I lifted the canner lid- just for the action shot of the jars in the boiling water bath
21 pints- Yehawwww- and one Quart! I love this picture!

The only thing better than this picture is the Ping noise I hear every few minutes of the jars sealing... Oh and the fact that Brian helped me make sure the kitchen was clean too when we finished.