Category: Day to Day

Our Favorite Breadmaker Bread

I posted this recipe in my original site: The Kitchen, and later on Graced by Christ. We still use this recipe often, in fact it is the recipe I use more than any other. My girls both know how to make it themselves and Issac is well on his way.

This recipe is our favorite breadmaker bread recipe. We use it for everything from the standard loaf to bagels to pizza dough.

My kids love to help measure for this, get out the ingredients, and watch the bread “dance” as my middle child calls it.

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A Day in the Life 10: Chaos Central Revisited

Welcome to Chaos Central, please hold on to the railings lest you go sliding across the ice and land in the puddle under the computer desk. Also, please be wary of the mommy because she is rather uncomfortable and liable to bite your head off on the way out the door. Oh, and no sled riding because it is so icy you may slide into a tree.

Um yeah. Things are crazy around here. The roof is leaking immediately over Shamus’ office desk–where the huge tangle of wires can be found. It is also leaking over his chair, dripping on him as he tries to work.

Outside all is ice. Everything is covered in half an inch of ice with a puddle on top.

I am rather uncomfortable due to the “issues” I have been having and the doctor insists I go and get bloodwork done, today.

We need to move Shamus’ desk out from under the drips but can’t because it is old and falling apart, not to mention the issues I am having which mean carrying heavy things is bad.

So, we are off to get my blood-work and purchase Shamus a much needed new computer desk so we can put it up in a spot where there is no evidence of previous water falling from the ceiling plus put the check in the bank which, praise the Lord, came today.

The kids have been out helping spread ice melt while Shamus stood on a ladder with me holding it, pouring boiling water down our ice encrusted gutters and freezing his hands off trying to remove the slurry of leaves and slushy. When finished, Issac attempted to sled ride and ran into a tree doing it. The girls each fell at least three times each trying to walk across our ice encrusted yard. It was very educational.:)

How is that for an untraditional home?

Pictures to follow.

WFMW: Leftover Cranberries

I meant to share this a while back, you know when it would be more useful, but for some reason it never happened.

After the holidays I snatch up all the cranberries I can find on sale and stick them in my deep freeze.  No we aren’t fans of homemade cranberry sauce or cranberry bread or muffins or whatever.  We are fans of cranberry juice and with 5 people in the house who don’t believe in juice glasses and several members who can’t have preservatives, corn syrup, or dyes–well the preservative free  plain old cranberry juice with no extra sweeteners is EXPENSIVE, plus you still have to sweeten it with stuff they can use (usually honey).

So, instead of spending $5 for a bottle of unsweetened cranberry juice I buy up cranberries and make my own.  

Before you panic and run the other direction–it is easy.  Really. 

First, fill a large soup pot up about 3/4 of the way with water.  Set it to boil.

Next, rinse two bags of cranberries then  pour them in (you don’t want to use a small pot because it will overflow and that is messy.)

Cover and once it is boiling, turn down the heat and let simmer until all the cranberries pop open. (kind of like popcorn only less dramatic).

Add whatever sweetener you like (my pot holds about 2 gallons and I add about a cup of honey or maple syrup at this point–we have also used Splenda in the past, this works pretty well too.)  You can add more sweetener later to taste.

Once all the berries have popped and the sweetener is combined with the liquid, grab a pitcher, a sieve, and a ladle.   Put the sieve in the pitcher and ladle the cranberries plus juice into the sieve, using the ladle to squish the berries into the sieve.  (If you don’t like seeds you will want to use some cheese cloth in the sieve as well.)

I then pour the contents of the pitcher into glass jars (jelly jars, honey jars, you name it–the kids LOVE to drink the juice right out of these and they work as well as bottled juices when you are on the go.)   These get stored in the back of the fridge until they are gone (it only takes a few days around here.)  They aren’t officially canned but I have found that usually they seal quite tight due to the heat of the juice.

When I can’t get cranberries I buy concentrated grape juice at the health food store (it comes in glass bottles with plastic lids. )  I make it up similarly, without the cooking, and store it the same way.   The bottles make several gallons and the juice is much better than the frozen concentrate from the grocery store, plus I can adapt the sweetener to suit and often add a bit of magnesium powder (from the health food store) to give it a bit of a fizz.

A record of our twice a year date

My mom and stepdad took the kids sledding (outside) and swimming (inside) today so that my husband and I could use the Christmas present they got us–a movie gift card and money for my stepdad’s friend’s new restaurant.  We didn’t really have a plan about what movie to see, instead we knew we needed to stop at the comic book store (because that is what we do).

We went to the store first then headed the complete other direction towards the movie theater, making it there just before the movie started (it is a 30 minute drive and snowing–we did good.)  We had decided on Juno even though we would both like Cloverfield (because we like that sort of thing).  I was nervous about poor camera work which always gives me motion sickness–Juno was a much safer choice.

It was lovely and sweet and sad and funny and hard and soft all at once.  We both loved it as well as the soundtrack.  (I adore indie music and this was perfect.)   Both of us teared up completely at one point and every one giggled out loud at more than a few places.

After the movie we headed to the restaurant which was very good except that it was a sports bar and grill which meant huge tv’s with varying degrees of sports (from football to bowling to skiing)–which is weird–remember we went to the comic book store, not the sporting goods store.  Not really sports fans here. 🙂  The bacon swiss burger was excellent and Shamus says my french fries and his fish sandwich were very good as well.

Of course what married couple date would be complete without a quick trip to the grocery store to get what we were out of and pick up stuff we didn’t know we wanted. 🙂

Now we wait for the kids to return home and tell us excitedly about how wonderful thewir time with the grandparents was. 🙂

11 years

Today my husband and I have been married for 11 years. It is amazing how quickly it has gone and how much closer we are now than we were then. God is good.

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Sunday we are going to attempt to see a movie and go out to eat (we got a gift card for each for Christmas and my mom and step-dad are taking the kids sled riding and feeding them.)

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BTW–if you click over to his site you will see our wedding picture (he is ever so much handsomer now than when I married him.  Actually he is just taking better care of himself.   He is an awesome guy and a super genius to boot. :))

Saturday Photohunt: Important

(Yes, I have moved from Gracedbychrist.com to here. Welcome to my new home.)

I had a painting that I finished just in time to share but couldn’t get a decent photo of it due to poor lighting. Sigh. Instead I decided to share a most important event of this week, and one of my daughter’s most important dates so far–her tenth birthday. Yes, my oldest is now in the double digits and on her way to becoming a young lady.

She felt it was VERY important that we make a “Hummingbird Cake” for her birthday so we bought a whole Pineapple and dried the slices so it could be decorated just as she wanted. She was very proud of her heart shaped hummingbird cake. (The recipe is here.)

It’s a Start

Things aren’t all in place here but you are very welcome. More tweaks to the theme, explanations, and posts to come. I have some stuff to add which isn’t there yet and will be doing an actual post soon.

Today was Rachel’s tenth birthday so I am still recovering from a very busy week (which will get busier before it settles down.)

A frugal recipe: Spring Rolls

When I wrote about our attempts to stay home instead of going out to eat several people requested some of our recipes. As I mentioned most of the quick stay at home recipes are really convenience foods that I have found are cheaper than making from scratch (like Aldi’s Asian Style frozen veggies with sauce) but some of the foods, though worth it to avoid going out to eat still are expensive and with our eldest’s food allergies VERY expensive to get versions she can eat. Spring Rolls are one of those foods.

Aldi’s egg/spring rolls are roughly $3.50 a package of four making them nearly the same price as those at the restaurant. Problem is that they are kind of tricky to make and if you buy the wrappers to make them yourself they are still fairly expensive. Enter the spring roll wrapper recipe. It takes some practice but Rachel LOVES making them and then you can fill them with whatever your heart desires. (These take a lot of strength to roll to the right thinness–we have yet to get them there which means they are a bit to thick–you really need a pasta roller to make them thin enough.)

We use this recipe for the wrappers although we found that you don’t really need to refrigerate it to make it work (we don’t, it is hard enough to roll as it is without having it cold.) Because we can’t get them thin enough we make a quadruple batch to make 10 egg rolls, if you can get them thinner you can make a smaller batch and make many more.

For the filling:

I had used ready made broth that Rachel can eat (Swanson organic–I think) to make some soup

because it had been yucky out. We threw a 1lb bag of regular carrots, two leeks, and an onion in the food processor to be sliced and threw that in the broth while it cooked. That was our filling. In the future I would throw in some sliced cabbage and some texturized soy protein (we don’t eat much meat but you could throw in some left over pork or chicken.)

Once everyone was done eating soup I put a strainer over a bowl and let the liquid drain out of the veggies.

We then followed the recipe for the spring roll wrappers, quadrupaling the recipe.

First we put the eggs, flour, and water in the food processor (I LOVE my Bosch), putting it on high for about 12 minutes–you want the gluten to do its work and the dough should be hard to the touch but very elastic. Once it prepared you will want to separate it into 1-2 inch balls. If you can roll it super thin or have a dough press/noodle press then go with the smaller balls. We were hand rolling and it took a lot to get them as thin as we did.

Grab a ball of dough (cover the rest because otherwise they dry out pretty quick) and smash it as flat as you can with your hands (this was Issac’s job.) I use a silicone baking mat for all rolling–it is one of the few things I have found that doesn’t make a sticky mess and require tons of flour. Once flattened roll dough out as thin as you can, flipping and rotating every few minutes. This is a great job for kids who love rolling dough–the dough is not sticky and doesn’t require tons of flour. Hold it up to the light every so often to find thicker areas. Ours were too thick –you want them to be only a little over a millimeter thick, if that.

Once you have it as thin as you want moisten the top of the wrapper then add the filling (make sure the filling is relatively dry). Cover the filling with the side closest to you, pull wrapping it tightly then fold the sides in (very similar to making a burrito) then roll it over itself until the whole thing is wrapped. It is best to have it super thin and have several layers although ours only had one layer–this makes for a thicker shell though the kids liked it as well.


Finally, fry the rolls until golden brown. It is better to deep fry them though if you rubbed oil over them you can put them in the oven. This is where a thin wrapper is best as frying a thicker wrapper means you have to cook it longer to get the inner wrapper cooked through.

Yeah it is more work to start but if you get the kids involved it is fun. Plus you can freeze a whole bunch and warm them when you are in the mood for a quick meal. We also make all kinds of perogie/calzone style dumplings along this same lines–I make a biscuit or pizza like crust (usually I just make extra dough when I am making biscuits/pie/pizza and freeze it for when I have filling ready) then add similar fillings, boil or fry them then freeze for a quick, easy to heat, and VERY filling meal.

It saves us a lot of money and if the kids are involved they learn a lot about how their favorite foods are made, not to mention how to prepare healthy alternatives to ready made junk food.

Wordless Wednesday (or look at our new play shelter!)

Cool damp weather brings out the worst in me–this week I am taking it easy as I am relying on my herbal supplements, eating right, and wisdom to keep my arthritis from having a full-fledged flair-up.

So of course I would decide to help the kids build a new shelter today, this time out of wood and tarps instead of just bungee cords and tarps. 🙂

It is comprised of an old apple tree, an old wooden climbing toy, scavenged wood, tarps, lots of bungee cords, some nails, plus an old sliding board from the climbing toy. All aspects of this shelter were scavenged, nothing was purchased for the project.


Yes, this project included hammering, and sawing, and carrying heavy things. Yes, I know those are not wise things to be doing when you are already fending off an attack of rheumatoid arthritis.

(The kids helped a lot and did a lot of the planning though I had to do the sawing and some of the carrying and hammering.)

It was well worth it. I spent the rest of the day resting and playing Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, huddled in a pile of blankets trying to keep warm–which was nice in its own way.

I have actual work I need to do but was not up to that so just sat and rested.

The kids spent that time playing in their new shelter and discussing how the next one will be even better ( Rachel spent quite a bit of time perusing Issac’s new “The Dangerous Book for Boys” for how to build a tree house–I have a feeling that will be their next such project. :))

(This shelter is nice because it is out of the wind and when we do get snow will provide a place for the kids to get out of the elements without having to climb the hill to our house. 🙂 They can’t wait for snow!