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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I am a sucker for MYO mixes and sauces that taste just like the ones that cost $$ at the grocery stores, and I stumbled upon this taste-alike recipe from THE Make Your Own Zone blog and am going to give this recipe a try since we really enjoy the taco sauce. Now I am on a quest to find a good taste-a-like MYO HEALTHY Catalina dressing, since I really like Catalina dressing on my taco salad along with taco sauce...


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

6 Lbs of tomato puree = 4 days worth of meals!

This is my base for a Ragu/Bolognese type sauce that I convert into several dishes or I freeze into smaller portions for "Sunday Gravy" later in the month when time is short.

I make Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta (recipe here), and the KIDS eat it up, they especially like when I add in meatballs (What can I say I have carnivores!)

I then make a variety of meals from this base, this week I decided to concentrate on soups and since it is the cold of winter, soups are just the ticket!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fugal Freezer Cooking Friday: Winter Cooking Session 2013

My SIL is having major surgery in about 2 weeks, and I want to make her a few meals so her family won't have to think about dinner the first few days. Plus my freezer stash is down to a few meals from my major cooking session in June, so it is time for another Batch Cooking Session! 

Last session I made a CRAZY amount of food plus the kind folks at my church brought me meals for a few weeks, & it has thankfully, lasted me a fairly long time. 
 As is the normal, I am going to be making these meals in sessions according to protein type so as to avoid any cross-contamination plus make is easier with the little ones running around! I will attempt to make these in 3 days time max each protein group, the

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RECIPE WED #22: Bubbles & Squeak

A perfect warm up dinner in the winter time!!

This is a dish my momma 

would make often!! 

We loved it, she would change it up with what was available in the garden, grocery store, or even fridge

Kinda like a Shepperd's pie. 

My momma never called it "Bubbles and Squeak" 

but as I grew up I realized it wasn't just a "made up dish" it actually had a name...

Isn't this head of cabbage lovely?! This pic is from this blog.

Medicine Cabinet in your Pantry Thursdays: MYO Cough Syrup

IT'S that time again....COLD & FLU season!! The hacking and coughing upper respiratory junk has hit my household this morning with a vengeance! So I pull out my YUMMY Cough/Sore Throat Syrup Ingredients and whip this up!

 It contains only 5 ingredients and we all pretty much keep these on hand

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teach Me Tuesdays: MYO Natural Triple Butter Whipped Super Lotion


 Winter Time Remedy for Chapped 
& Red Hands

I saved 6oz baby food jars from son (they were FREE otherwise I made my own baby food) and I pour the mixture in them. This way I don't have to worry about contamination and each batch stays fresh. I store the unused portions in the fridge if I happen to run out of room I place them in the closet in my bedroom which remains cool 9 months out the year.

This make so much & is so rich you 
only need a small amount- you can make  
some for yourself and  
give some for gifts! 
I use my Cricut die cutting machine to cut adorable tags and labels then I use adhesives to affix labels when able or tie on tags with pretty ribbon.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Frugal Fridays: REVIEW of DIY formulas in 2012

As I head into the 2013, I look back to the previous year and take inventory of what goals I have met and what I am striving towards in the new year.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 GOALS

Pic Credit
I reviewed my Goals of 2012, overall I have achieved as much as I could, the major surgery ended up being more major than any of us really planned for. 6 months and counting of healing put a tremendous strain on the financial, mental, overall health of our extended family & any goals I had planned on acheiving fell by the wayside

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ice Box Yeasty Dinner Rolls

I have had this recipe for years and 
it is such time saver, super savory, and a real crowd pleaser every time. 

Your dinner guests will never believe this is such an easy recipe to make, no kneading required, just mix up and refrigerate. You can make ahead up to 4 days in advance, shape, then let rise and bake for perfect rolls every time!!

Heat's Kitchen Awesome rolls from my recipe!! Gr8 Job Heather!

Ice Box Dinner Rolls
Makes 24 Rolls

1 C warm water (105-115 Degrees F)
2 Pkgs Active Dry Yeast (Or 4 & 1/2t)
1/2 C Butter, Melted (1 Stick)
1/2 C Sugar
3 Eggs
1 t Kosher Salt
4-4 1/2 C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
Additional Melted Butter

  1. Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes
  2. Stir in butter, sugar, and salt. Beat in Flour one cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (Some of the flour make not be needed). 
  3. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days!
  4. Grease a 13X9" Baking Pan.
  5. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 6 rows & 4 columns making 24 even & equal pieces.
  6. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place in even rows in prepared pan. 4 Rows & 6 Columns.
  7. Cover and let Dough Balls rise until doubled (About an hour, I place my pan in my gas oven with heart off but light turned on.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake until rolls are golden brown about 15-20 min.
  9. Brush with melted butter, if desired. 
  10. Break apart Rolls and wrap in a clean tea towel and place in a gorgeous hand woven basket or crock.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Teach Me Tuesdays: Miracle Soap Scum Remover and MORE!!

This is such a simple formula- so simple in fact, I nearly didn't try it 
even though I knew about it for 
about a year!!!

I have struggled with soap scum in my bath tub for 2 years & 1/2 years- pretty munch since I was injured during the birth of my son and was unable to scrub my tub. 

I was in hosp in ICU on life support for nearly a month bc of that injury and had 12 months of recovery & during that time span a house hold plumbing job went awry and a faulty plumber torch valve caused a fire in my bath tub! Yeah, I know, who does that happen to?? The same people who get injured so badly during childbirth they nearly die "in the 21st century" apparently... Anyhow-The soap scum that had accumulated during that time was then "burned" into my enamel clad cast iron tub. 

What a nightmare, right? 

I couldn't take a bath for nearly 12 months, I could only do sink "baths" so I saw the mess but didn't really "see". Let's be honest I had a new born, a 2 year old, trying to survive life threatening injuries, an open wound the size of a foot ball in my abdomen that was 3" deep- requiring a wound vac, visiting nurses 3X's/wk and a faulty ileostomy pouch to deal with... yeah, UMM,  do you think I was even concerned about the soap scum??

The spray waiting to be wiped away!
Fast forward 2 years, after my 4th surgery in about 25 months time span and a 5th one possibly looming in the horizon, I AM SICK OF LOOKING at that 
      GROSS Soap SCUM!! 

Grrrrr, it grosses me out, I can't give the kids a bath totally yet, I have ways to work around it, but the wound in my abs can be excruciating at times and it is right smack dap where my belly button USED to be {SIGH!}...ANYWAYS.... I look at that icky soap scum and think what else is clinging to the tub besides soap scum???

I can't stand strong chemicals, since that birthing injury also caused my left lung to collapse harsh chemicals really affects me, the strongest "chemical" I can stand is Dawn Dish soap {Which incidentally is all we used to clean the soot from the ceiling, walls and surfaces after the fire...IT WORKED amazing, in fact that was all I used to clean my house until I noticed it left a film if I didn't rinse well, which took too long!} Soooooooooo, as I was saying, I have tried all my DIY remedies and was resigned to buy a bottle of Soft scrub with Bleach....I know, "Say it isn't so!"...BUT I was sooooo going to...

Picture Credit
 Then I remembered a year or so ago seeing a pin about dawn and vinegar working miracles on soap scum, so today I tried it. I was thinking perhaps this would work on a typical soap scum, but not only do I have soap scum isses bc of using all natural bar soaps and gels but some was "welded" on to the surface from the fire so I wasn't hoping for much.

Boy am I every glad to be wrong (for once LOL!), it really worked! All I had to was use a wash cloth no real scrubbing, I can't handle that yet, and no abrasive brushes, or pads like I thought I would. It just wiped off slick as a whistle.....REALLY COOL!  

Now I do see a little darkness in the bottom of the tub, this pic makes it look darker that it is in real life. The fire was in there, not as bad as it could look considering the whole torch was on fire in my tub for about 90 minutes melting kids bath toys and a plastic curtain to the bottom of the tub. 

You can barely see the darkened area on the tub, it isn't soap scum, but the left over from the fire...

All you need is equal parts Dawn, the original blue kind, & distilled HOT vinegar. That is it. The super concentrated dawn that is out there now will cause way too much suds in the rag/cloth you use to wipe it down with, {AKS ME HOW I KNOW!:-) I could barely rinse it out with the super concentrated kind. LOL! Here is the amount I used:

1/4 C (2 oz) Hot Vinegar {microwave 1 min}
1/4 C (2 oz) Original Blue Dawn 

Mix in Spray bottle. Spray onto surface allow to stand 2 hours or overnight. (Some ppl report using this formula as a base- or just the ingredients for oven cleaner, carpet cleaner, glass cleaner, bug remover, stainless steel cleaner, Whole house cleaner, wool cleaner, and so on...

Well I saw this post with this wand that you use for dishes with the "magic" potion inside...
Mmm, there are possibilities in that idea only the one key factor in making this work is the heating of the vinegar. 

I think this still has potential, I know some blogs I read said their family members know use the wand filled with this "magic potion" after each shower or face "their wrath"! Not sure how it works without heating vinegar, unless for upkeep perhaps it is not as necessary?

The only way I can see it working properly with hot vinegar is either I would have to figure on a way of heating it up b4 each use, or only make small amounts fresh each time, adding dawn last? I will think on it, bc the wash cloth I used to wipe down the tub is still bubbling! I think my hubby is going to throw it in with his GRIMY AWFUL STINKY WORK clothes and we might be posting a new launder aid from this... LOL!

Now excuse me while I take a bath in my sparkly clean tub, I know the 1970's lavender color, lime corroded water spout and handles (I am still looking for natural formula for that one) and tile surround make you soo jealous, you wished you had one just like it right? Well until we come into our millons, this one works and now that it isn't covered in soap scum it is clean, sparkly and fresh!!

Really Look at how SHINY it is! I know there are some really dark places in the grout in the corner, it isn't mold, its from the fire. Hubby calked the edges of tub to help w/the stains and used a grey grout to help as well... ONE day it will be new, like I said I am happy for now!!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Recipe Wed: Pain Perdu...'HOOD Style!!


This is soooooo Flippity-Flappity GOOD!! If you use your favorite search engine you can find a ton of "Pain Perdu"recipes, I believe mine would rival any one you could find... 

Even the kids were begging me 
to hurry up and cook them.

What sets mine apart from the others, is vanilla sugar, 
GOOD homemade vanilla bean extract, left over rich eggy, slightly sweet dinner rolls, coconut & eggnog...


My plan is all coming together...


Eggnog & Coconut Pain Perdu
  • 2 Jumbo Local Farm Fresh Pasture Raised Organic Eggs (Large reg white commercial eggs ok if that is all you have)
  • 2 T Homemade Organic Vanilla Raw Sugar (Or reg. granulated sugar)
  • 2 t Homemade Organic Vanilla Bean extract (Or GOOD Pure Vanilla Extract)
  • 1/2Cup Grass Fed Organic Half & Half (Or  pasteurized Whole Milk)
  • 1/4 C Organic Eggnog
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 T Unbleached All Purpose Organic Flour
  • 1/2 C of Organic Shredded Coconut
  • 15- ICE BOX YEASTY DINNER ROLLS* day old & sliced into 3rds (or 4 pieces of dense rich egg bread like Brioche, or Challah 3/4" thick)
  • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO
  • Butter
*I will post the Ice Box Dinner Rolls later this month, This is a round #2 recipe, a great way to repurpose a dish and make it just as good if not better than the original use!!

  1. Preheat oven to 250
  2. Place Sliced rolls or Brioche on a rack and allow to dry out for about 15-20 min.
  3. In a shallow dish large enough to hold the Rolls or Brioche in a single layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt, then whisk in the milk and flour. Add the brioche to the dish and turn to coat, then let the brioche soak for 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Place Shredded Coconut in a shallow dish and dip each bread slice on both sides, evenly coat.
  5. Over Medium heat add butter and EVCO. Cook egg bread for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. (While you're cooking each batch, add more bread to the egg mixture to soak.)
  6. Place the cooked bread on a baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven. 
  7. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil, and continue to fry the remaining soaked bread until they're all cooked. (This is important as the coconut will get bitter if overly browned)

I serve as, I am don't like soggy bread so I don't add any syrups, but a Caramel-Vanilla Syrup would be nice, or the addition of ripe strawberries or blueberries would be delicious too!! 

We eat this for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, or dessert. Either way you choose to eat it, your family will love it and it freezes beautifully. Make a huge batch and freeze the extras for unexpected company, they will feel so special! 



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tender Caramelized Crock Pot Roast Pork

This is a classic Pork [Shoulder/Butt]Roast recipe, it has a delicious seasoned & seared crust on outside and fall apart tenderness from the low and slow cooking of the crock pot underneath all the glorious crust!!
Pic Credit
 I make this often and will transform the leftovers 
to suit just about any pork recipe that call for "cooked pork"
... It is really easy and really flavorful!! 

"...With [a] honest seasoning of salt and sugar, you can simply set and forget a huge hunk of pork butt in a low-temperature [crock-pot]. This slow roasted pork butt meat is divine and falls right off the bone when slowly cooked. Now this is the gift that keeps on giving, and the shredded pork butt meat can be used in thousands of ways..." Eric Borzino on October 14, 2012 of Peck the Beak Blog

  • 3 -4 lbs Boneless pork butt (shoulder) 
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 large yellow onion 
  • Any dry seasoning, your family likes- Seasoned with salt and pepper would be fine- (I use my "Family's House Seasoning": Coarse Kosher Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt, fresh cracked Black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and powdered chipotle pepper)  
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Season both sides of pork roast with your choice of dry seasonings & Brown Sugar-massage in well
  2. Wrap Tightly in Plastic Wrap and allow to sit in Fridge Overnight in a shallow Bowl.
  3. Pull Roast out of fridge discard the juices at bottom of bowl leave out for about 30 min b4 cooking to bring up to room temp.
  5. In a shallow roasting pan brown the roast under the broiler about 5 minutes on each side or you can brown on top the stove in a cast iron skillet with a touch of oil.
  6. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP!!!{This step enhances the flavor and seals the juices in the meat, and renders any excess fat from the roast.}
  7. While roast is browning, slice large onion into thick slices, separate into rings & saute on stove top in a 2 T of butter or EVOO.
  8. Place 1/2 of the sauteed rings in the bottom of the crock pot.
  9. Take the browned pork roast and place on top of the onion rings in the crock pot then cover with the other half of the onion rings.
  10. Pour the 1/4 cup soy sauce over the top of roast, then pour the 1/2 cup water on sides of roast.
  11. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5 hours. 
  12. Meat should be falling apart.
You may have leftovers depending on family size and is great for: sandwiches especially Barb-B-Q Pulled Pork, Go North Eastern American with some Pennsylvania/Dutch Sour Kraut on the side and Just about any Asian Dish like Momo Foku Bo Ssam- Korean Lettuce Wraps, Chinese Pork Fried Rice, or Vietnamese Thit Kho To... 
Are you drooling yet??

You can cook this exclusively in oven at 300 Fahrenheit in a roasting pan for 6 hours and braise with its juices every hour or so. The pork will collapse, yielding gently when prodded with a fork when fully cooked.
Remove it from the oven and let it rest for an hour, or next day if necessary.Then turn the oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together the remaining salt or seasonings and the brown sugar. Rub it all over the pork. Blast it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pork is covered with a nice caramel crust. 
This crust is extremely flavorful you will however have to use a knife to cut into it, to get past the caramelized crust, but you WILL DEVOUR it!! Trust me!!

Menu Mondays: Dec 31-Jan 6, 2013

I wanna go!! Pic Credit

What a year 2012 was for my family, I don't think I would ever want to repeat that year again that is for sure. It's one of those things  you hear people say it was the worst of times, it was the best of times...

I am looking forward to great beginnings this year, new chapters, and starting over- recalibrating... Really finding a new standard to measure up to...

So I hope you had a safe new year eve and
learned lots from 2012 to make
2013 one the best years EVER!!!

This menu really utilizes the left overs from New Years and capitalizes round #2 recipe. My mom was really instrumental in teaching us by example, we learned even when she wasn't speaking and with a family of 5 on one income every penny counted. 

So she would use every last scrap of left-overs and with a particular husband and finicky kids we sure gave her a run for her "culinary skill". She really inspired me to make a menu out of "Sunday" dinner and make is last all week long and still taste exciting and "new".

Breakfast Options:

Crispy Mashed Potatoe Pancakes served with sour Cream and Applesauce, Customized Omelets, French Toast, Hot Cereal, Fresh Fruit, Toast Points, Cold Cereal, Smoothies, Fried Egg Sammies

Lunch Choices:               Side Selections:

Mashed Potatoe Polpetti   Applesauce           Fresh Veggies
Kraut Dogs                        Mac & Cheese     Apple Wedges
PB&J Roll Ups                  Veggie Chips        Fresh Fruit
Chicken Noodle Soup       Whole Wheat Crackers   Dried Fruit
Pain Perdu                         Cottage Cheese   Black Grapes
Bo Ssam-Lettuce Wraps   Carrot Slivers      Orange Segments
Pizza Crescent Roll-Ups   Carrot Coins        Green Grapes

Bo Ssam from Peck the Beak

Supper Offerings:

Customized Tomato Soup & Sharp Cheddar Creamy Grilled Cheese Sammies on Homemade Chibatta Bread

Crock Pot Pork Shoulder Roast
Crisp Sour Kraut & Caramelized Onions
Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes
Chicken Gravy
Super Sweet Corn Nibblets
Ice Box Dinner Rolls
Black Forest Brownie Torte
Apple Pie

Kapausta (Cabbage Soup), Ice Box Dinner Rolls, Spinach Salad with toasted Almonds and Feta Cheese, & Black Forest Brownie Torte

Pork Lo Mien, Chopped Salad, & Apple Pie w/Fresh Whipped Vanilla Bean Infused Cream

Sour Kraut and Mashed Potato Perogies, Brown Butter & Sour Cream Sauce w/Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms, Cripsy Pork Ribbons, Spinach Salad, & Dinner Rolls
(I just take about 2 C of Leftover Pork and coat in brown sugar and hickory salt, then blast in 500 degree oven for a few minutes to caramelize the outside.)

Barb-B-Q Pulled Laquered Pork, Spring Rolls, Twice Baked Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Chopped Salad. 
(I take Left over Mashed Potatoes, & Stin in: Sour Cream, Chopped Green Onions, Sharp Cheddar Cheese-Shredded, & Bacon- cooked crisp and crumbled. Pour into a casserole pan and bake 350 until heated through. Sprinkle more add-on ingredients on top.)

Chicken Scaloppine, Angel Hair Pasta, Spinach Salad.

Snack Fancies:

Smoked Almonds, String Cheese, Apple Sauce, Cottage Cheese, Yogurt, Carrot Sticks, Fresh Fruit, Dried Fruit, Granola, Juice, Water, Keifer Smoothies.   

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

KAPUSTA- Cabbage Soup

Kapusta is a well known Eastern European recipe featuring Pork, cabbage, & sour kraut. People from Russian, Poland, Lithuanian, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and more have thier own takes on this dish. 
 You can enjoy this as a main dish, soup, or a side dish. It is very versatile and an awesome round #2 Recipe, I often make this utilizing left-overs from New Year's Day
Sometimes I have seen it served w/ kielbasa, 
baked with kluski noodles then topped with cottage cheese sprinkled with Smoked Paprika  
and other times mixed cream of mushroom soup 
and served like a casserole.

Pic Credit
I am using this Polish inspired dish to use up the leftovers from New Year's Day Supper in the soup form...

Cabbage Soup
1 lg. (28 oz.) sauerkraut, drained and rinsed- save some of the juice- (Or left overs from New Year's Day)
1 med. cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 & 1/2 C Mushrooms, Sliced
Chicken Stock to cover both (I use left over Chicken Gravy and thin with more chicken Stock)
2 c. cooked pork chops or leftover pork roast
Kosher Salt & Course Ground Pepper
1/2 t dried Thyme 
Pinch of Brown Sugar, optional
2-4 T Butter or Bacon Drippings
15 oz  corn nibblets or whatever vegetable you have left over.
  1. Add Bacon Drippings to dutch oven and Saute Cabbage until cooked through. 
  2. Push Cabbage to outside of pan- add Mushrooms and Carrots, sauteing until mushrooms are cooked & carrots are soft.
  3. Combine Cabbage with the pork roast/chops & Sour Kraut. 
  4. Add enough Chicken Gravy/Stock to cover. 
  5. Sprinkle in kosher salt and Fresh Cracked pepper, to taste. 
  6. Cook over low heat, simmering for about 2 hours, adding Chicken Stock as needed and taste to adjust seasoning.
  7. If desired,  add some of the reserved kraut juice if more tart is needed
  8. Add the corn and continue cooking until heated through
  9. Serve hot.