Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Gone Fishin'


Greetings gentle reader!

I just wanted to let you all know that our family will be taking a trip to visit far-away family for the summer months. I have prepared some light homemaking posts and will share a few guest posts during that time but will not be able to comment or do any blog visiting (though I would still love to hear from you in the comments section if you care to share!). The links ups will also be pre-scheduled in but I obviously won't be able to prepare any features.  Thank you for understanding! :)

I hope that those in the northern hemisphere enjoy their summer and that those in the south enjoy a nice and cozy winter.

Happy homemaking!

Until September-ish...

Love,
JES

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Raw Honey ~ Foods with No Expiration Date ~ Pantry Builder #2


"What is sweeter than honey?"
~ Judges 14:18b

Welcome to our Pantry Builder #2 post which is a part of our Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series! Raw honey is my favorite food to stock up on since it is so versatile! It is nice and sweet, medicinal, cosmetic and culinary! The only downside is that it can be expensive (beside coconut oil, it is probably the most expensive item we splurge on in our pantry). We are fortunate to have a beekeeper nearby who sells local honey to us at a very discounted price. Before that, I found a reputable bee-farmer on Ebay who reasonably sold 5-gallon buckets through the mail. It is worth it to shop around when making a large purchase such as this!


"And let them gather all the food of those good years that come..."
~ Genesis 41:35

As I mentioned in our first pantry builder post, "there are many reasons that people prepare and not all of them are doomsday scenarios. Our main reason is for "lean times". We are full-time farmers which means our income is very sporadic. In the winter, it is almost stagnant. Having a supply of food which has been gathered in the good times creates a sense of proverbial peace. Like the biblical ants who collect in the summer, so must we! Because of this, I am also going to include projects we can make and do with our pantry building supplies that can be used for everyday household use and gift giving -- it may help us to be creative in the challenging times when we are working with limited resources. Plus, by seeing how versatile these pantry items are, perhaps it will encourage you to store more abundantly when you have the opportunity. This information will also be shared in a printable for each item to include in your Proverbs 31 Preparedness binders."



RAW HONEY

When properly stored, the shelf life of raw honey is indefinite.

Storing Tips:

According to the National Honey Board, honey is best stored in a sealed container at room temperature. Cooler temperatures will hasten honey's natural crystallization process. If honey does crystallize, remove the lid and place in a jar of warm water until crystals dissolve. Honey stored at temperatures above 85°F for extended periods of time will darken in color and be subject to subtle flavor changes but will still be good. We keep our honey in basic, large containers with lids in our pantry and have never had any problems.


To prove its versatility, here are some things you can make and do with honey:

  • cook and bake healthy desserts and snacks (such as these oatmeal muffins
  • face wash (use honey in place of soap for a gentle cleanser alternative) 
  • herbal oxymels (see sample here
  • make medicinal honey (aka honey based-tinctures -- see sample here
  • preserve foods (you can can jams, marmalade and syrups with it) 
  • sweeten teas and other beverages naturally 

"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good;
and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste..."
~ Proverbs 24:13


Do you have any more useful ideas for honey to add to this list?

You will find our printable "Proverbs 31 Preparedness" sheet for ways to use honey HERE!

For further homemaking hints and tips about honey usage, visit this post here!

Your homework for the week:
  • Assess the amount of raw honey you store in your pantry. Could you add more to your food storage knowing it has no expiration date and is so versatile? 
Extra Credit:
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DIY Easy Shabby Cottage Tea Napkins Using Flour Sack Towels ~ A Pie and the Patty-Pan Project


"Then she spread a very clean white table-cloth, and set out her best china tea-set, which she took out of a wall-cupboard near the fireplace. The tea-cups were white with a pattern of pink roses; and the dinner-plates were white and blue."


It is confession time... You see dear reader, Ribby and I have something in common! We are not very good nor very patient seamstresses. Yet she still needs the proper pieces to set a pretty tea table (and so do I for that matter)! She was after all, a respectable and feminine sort of feline! When she prepares a sewing project, it is always very simple (some samples are here). No measuring and no fuss is her mantra. And thus, we are brought to our tutorial today for an easy set of "shabby cottage style" tea napkins using a farmhouse classic -- flour sack towels! 


Simple Supply List:
  • flour sack towels (1 towel will make 4 tea napkins) (make sure they are square shaped)
  • lace (or other decorative edging such as ribbon, rick-rack, etc., mine came from grandmother)
  • scissors
  • sewing pins
  • sewing machine (or needle and thread)

Simple Step-by-Step Directions:

1. Fold flour sack towel in half. Snip at the half-way point.

2. Tear towel in half using the snip you made. Fold the remaining two pieces in half. Snip at half-way point and tear towel in half one more time. 

3. You should now have four square pieces of the same size.

4. Fold fabric down on the two raw sides (the same width as your lace) and press down with iron. Real seamstresses would miter the corners but we have already established that this isn't the case with Ribby and I. Do as you choose she says.


5. Fold the hems you made one more time over and iron down once again. Pin in place.

6. Place the lace along one side of the napkin and snip to size (making sure to allow a quarter-inch or so overage on each side). Tuck the lace into the hem or fold under itself to finish it neatly. Pin lace in place.

7. Sew the lace and the remaining hem down at the edges. I sewed down two lines on each side to keep it in place using a jagged-like design. 

8. Your napkin is finished! Just iron it for a final touch if you like.


What makes this little sewing project easy is that you don't need to measure. It is an "eye-ball it" project which allows for a few little flaws under the name of "shabby". Also, there are only two sides to hem on each napkin which is a time-saver. 


I really like the look of the flour sack towels. To me, they have a sort of shabby chic feeling to them. After the wash when they are a bit crumpled, it will just add to the style. 


Another nice feature to Ribby's tutorial is that 3 flour sack towels will make a dozen napkins. That isn't too "shabby" either...


Thank you for taking the time to call! Other posts shared thus far in the "patty-pan" spring series include a printable coloring bookprintable gift tagsprintable recipe sheets, a pie and the patty-pan pantry pie crust mix kit and quaint cottage homemaking musings and music. Have a lovely weekend!
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). 
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Banana Crazy Cake (No Butter, Eggs, Milk or Mess) ~ Inspired by the Depression Era Recipe (aka Wacky Cake) w/ GF Option


"We make our own cakes, in a great measure, therefore let us look to it, my brethren, that they are mixed according to the best receipt, baked in a well regulated oven, and gratefully eaten with a temperate appetite.”
~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl

I am still on my mission and am here to share the second recipe developed for my personal "pantry cookbook" which I am including in my Proverbs 31 Preparedness Binder! No butter, eggs or milk is required in this easiest ever recipe. We also share the gluten-free alternative so you can have your cake and eat it too! It is inspired by the famous Great Depression "wacky" cake recipe. This cake is so moist and best of all, it is very frugal and a great way to use up aged bananas!


Ingredients:
  • 3 c. flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar (you may be able to get away with 1 1/4 c. if you want to reduce your sugar intake)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda (3 tsp. if using gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Approx. 3 - 4 over-ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. oil (we use sunflower)
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar (use apple cider vinegar for gluten-free cake)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in an "un-greased" 9 by 13 inch pan.

Gently stir the dry ingredients inside the pan until they are somewhat blended.



Puree or finely mash together (in a separate bowl) the bananas and water (I used our Nutribullet for quick work).


Add the banana and water mixture, the oil and the vinegar to the pan. Stir the batter directly in the pan until combined. 


Make sure the batter is even and smooth across the top when you are finished mixing it.


Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 - 35 minutes (it is finished when a toothpick inserted inside the center comes out clean). 

The banana cake will be quite golden brown when finished but nice and moist on the inside!

Cool on a wire rack before serving and/or frosting. 



Now is the hard part! I immediately felt that banana cake required a cream cheese frosting (yes, I know, this no longer makes it dairy-free or frugal) while the frosting connoisseur (my daughter) was adamant that it required chocolate. Such tumult in the home! :) Because she offered to prepare the frosting, she won. And I must say she may be on to something... What do you think? If I had a choice, I would probably have a piece of each!

You will find our printable recipe HERE . 
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Friday, May 5, 2017

Old Fashioned Pantry Pie Crust Mix (No Butter, Eggs or Milk) ~ A Patty-Pan Printable Recipe Kit


"I am baking it in a pie-dish— a pie-dish with a pink rim.
You never tasted anything so good!"


Welcome to another edition of Fun Friday with Beatrix Potter featuring The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan! Today I wanted to share an old fashioned recipe from dear Ribby! It is an oil crust pastry which is made from ingredients found exclusively in the pantry. I believe she got it from her great-grandmother who used this easy, frugal recipe during the Depression Era. 


"But she thought a great deal about Ribby's pie,
and she read Ribby's letter over and over again."

Dear Ribby liked to make things convenient and places a few jars of make-ahead crust mixes in her pantry. She noticed that if half of the work was done (and it only took minutes!), it made the pie-making process so very simple and she was apt to make more of them for her loved ones! You can fill them up with so many different foods and you have an instant feast when served inside a pastry shell! For meal making inspiration, there is the classic chicken pot pies and quiches. For desserts, the sky is the limit with peaches, apples, pumpkins, you name it!
It is especially easy with Ribby's printable recipe kit which includes the directions, jar labels and instruction labels. This is such a fun way to fill your pantry shelves! She told me she enjoys preparing these little projects. What an industrious feline after my own heart!


"She peeped again into the bottom oven,
the pie had become a lovely brown,
and it was steaming hot."

To Make the Mix:

Place inside a pint-sized jar the following ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour *
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (reduce the sugar by half when serving a savory dish)

Place lid firmly back on jar and give it a good shake for a final blend. The mix is now complete. Simply label and attach the following directions to the mix. In order to be an ink saver, when the mix is used up, simply wipe out the jar with a clean towel and place it back in the pantry until ready to refill again (so as not to disturb the labels).

* We have made this with a gluten-free flour blend but the dough is harder to handle and breaks easy. I end up pressing it directly into the pie plate once it is somewhat rolled out.


"When she came back, she peeped into the bottom oven;
the pie looked very comfortable."


"Such lovely pie-crust; and I put in a little tin patty-pan to hold up the crust;
and I made a hole in the middle with a fork to let out the steam..."

To Make the Pie:

1. Place the dry ingredients (or the mix-in-a-jar) in a mixing bowl and stir (Ribby prefers using a wooden spoon).

2. Add 1/2 c. oil. Mix again with the spoon until it looks almost mixed in (like fig. 2 above).

3. Add 1/4 c. water and knead until just blended in (Ribby uses her paws hands). Shape dough into disc. 

4. Roll out your dough into a circle shape by placing the disc between two sheets of plastic wrap.

5. Remove top plastic sheet, invert the dough into the pie pan (as pictured) and fit the crust snugly inside. Remove other top piece of plastic wrap and crimp your edges. Your pie is ready to fill!


This recipe works well with "baked and filled" pies such as apple, peach and pumpkin. If making it for cream pies or fresh fruit pies, since the dough is softer, it will puff up in the bottom if baking unfilled. However, you can remedy that somewhat by poking holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork prior to baking it and also by filling the shell with pie weights during the baking process.

Final Notes:

This recipe is for one crust.

To make a double crusted pie mix -- double the ingredients and place them in a quart jar.

Depending on the sugar amount you use in the mix, you may wish to write down either "savory" or "sweet" on the lid.

You will find the Patty-Pan Printable Recipe Kit HERE.


Thank you for taking the time to visit! Other posts shared thus far in the "patty-pan" spring series include a printable coloring bookprintable gift tags, printable recipe sheets and quaint cottage homemaking musings and music. Have a lovely weekend!
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Frugal Homemaking Lessons from the Great Depression Inspired by Janette Oke ~ Part 2


"Without frugality none can be rich,
and with it very few would be poor."
~ Samuel Johnson

Thank you for joining us for our second installment of Frugal Homemaking Lessons from The Great Depression Inspired by Janette Oke.  You will find part one HERE which features #1-6. As I had previously mentioned, my daughter and I just finished reading the Seasons of the Heart series together by Janette Oke. The final book in the series, Spring's Gentle Promise landed the newly married couple right in the beginning of the Great Depression. As a result, the novel had many gems on how women made do during the lean times. The author herself grew up as a child during the Depression Era. Perhaps these are the frugal homemaking lessons she learned from her mother. I would like to pass them down to you... inspired by the excerpts written by Janette Oke from her gentle story. 


#7. Host Potlucks

"No fuss was made, but each family member brought simple food items with them. Lou had a big pot of rabbit stew and some pickled beets. Lilli brought deviled eggs and a crock of kraut. With the roast chicken prepared in our kitchen, we had ourselves quite a feast. There was even a cake for the birthday boy -- and some weak tea for the adults."
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

Potlucks are the perfect way to show hospitality, practice fellowship, have fun and share food when the budget is tight. Every person invited is asked to bring a dish and the collected food is a feast! During the Great Depression, the church often held these socials where the one-dish casserole was star of the show. People are glad to do this! You provide the clean house and date, they will be more than happy to bring a small share of the meal or dessert. You will also be amazed how each little dish is stretched and blessed into an abundant state on your table!

"There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten."
~ John 6:9-13


#7. Mend and Make Do

"And then I looked across the table to where {she} sat mending work socks. They had more darning than original wool...  She patched my overalls and sewed buttons back on my coat, but there didn't seem to be much she could do about my worn-out mittens... But the following morning when I joined the family at the breakfast table there was a new pair of mittens. She must have stayed up again most of the night in order to knit them. They were the same color as her chore sweater, which I noticed was no longer hanging on the peg by the door where she always kept it. I tried to swallow away the lump that grew large in my throat..."
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" needs a second mentioning in this series. It encourages us to be creative with our resources and with a sewing needle and thread, miracles were made! For starters, you would simply maintain what you had by letting out seams and tucks to make dresses larger and/or longer for your growing girls, patch up pants, mend socks and even shoes! Frayed bath towels would be cut down to make smaller hand-towels and washcloths. Likewise, the thicker (but worn out) dishtowels can be fashioned into serviceable dishcloths. Buttons and zippers can be removed from clothing that is completely worn down and reused while the fabric itself can become rags. Better portions of fabric can be used to cover pathetic looking potholders and embellish small sewing projects. The salvaged pieces can also be saved to make old fashioned patchwork quilts and rag rugs.


Sew the items you need from available and free fabrics (remember the famous flour-sack fabrics recycled into children's clothing, tea towels, bonnets, aprons, etc.). Look in your own linen closet for random pieces that have no real use! You can also find flat sheets and such at yard sales and thrift shops very inexpensively that can be repurposed into napkins, curtains, clothing (remember the Sound of Music?), duvets, runners and so forth. Flannel sheets can be repurposed into re-usable paper towels, soft handkerchiefs, baby blankets, bibs and burp cloths. Be creative with your resources and you will find the challenge to be very satisfying! 

"To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven...
A time to rend, and a time to sew..."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 3:7


#8. Reduce

"We did make the payment. It was always a miracle to me. But we had to drain ourselves down to practically nothing to do it. We sold off almost all my good stock...  she also sold the silver tea service..." 
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

It is during the lean times that we must assess the situation. What do we own that we really don't need? Perhaps it is that second car? An RV or boat? Or just too much "stuff" in general? Ebay, yard sales and Craig's list are ways to earn a few extra dollars to make ends meet. Most of the time, we can find the bondage from all these extra things very freeing. In the case of a second car, you are also reducing a car insurance bill, an extra registration fee, future fuel expenses and garage space. You don't realize how owning one item can cost you so much!

"A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away..."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:6


#9. Search for Side Work

"Then I thought about the piece of treed crick bottom on the Turley land, and I decided there might be a bit of money in cord wood. (She) clutched at the idea right away, her eyes shining..."
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

Finding work outside of your regular work to make ends meet was also done. Cutting lumber, preparing cord wood, selling off eggs and cream from the farm, hiring out washing services, cleaning services, selling produce, homemade casseroles, etc., are all ways one made a few extra dollars during lean times. In this modern era, you can also do some bookkeeping and/or quarterly tax reports for smaller businesses from the privacy of your own home. There are also many internet based income opportunities! And once again, there is selling on Ebay (each year I would sell my old homeschool curriculum and use that money to purchase the new year's curriculum), Etsy (if you are crafty) and Craig's List (I wouldn't personally have anyone in my home without my husband present though).

"For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you..."
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8


#10. Let the Animals Forage 

"And with no feed to speak of, the few remaining farm animals mostly had to forage for themselves anyway. Even her chickens had been turned loose to fend for themselves." 
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

Those on the farm had not only their families to think of but their animals. If there was an economy, they could be sold off. However, that might not be feasible. Old fashioned foraging was necessary during these rough times. Excess chickens, sheep or goats can also be processed to provide meals for the family table and reduce food consumption on a farm. Dogs can be given food scraps from the kitchen (there wasn't always those bags of Purina...). Lawn clippings can be given to livestock and chickens as a supplement. I have also heard of feeding animals fish from local ponds during the Depression Era. 

"...yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table..."
~ Matthew 15:27b


#11. Take in Boarders or Move in with Family

"(She) tore the envelope open quickly... "It's from the school-board chairman, " she told me. "I wrote inquiring about boarding the teacher."'
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

Boarding houses were quite popular during the Great Depression. It provided a way for many people to keep their homes and for many other people to affordably live in one. In this day and age, boarding strangers could prove unsafe. Consider a relative who would be blessed by living with a family or convert a garage into a separate living quarters that you could rent out. I grew up living with two uncles (at different times), a grandfather and a cousin. The memories are precious! Multigenerational homes were quite normal until a few decades ago. I remember a few of my aged aunts living with my great grand-parents. In the Old World, this is still done in the poorer villages. There is always a babysitter at hand and many hands make light work --- not to mention a lighter financial load! Plus, you may not realize what a blessing your boarding house can be to someone else! 

"And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house,
and received all that came in unto him..."
~ Acts 28:30-31


#12. Prayer Doesn't Co$t a Penny

"I guess it was my Bible and the time I was able to spend reading it
and praying that got me through that long winter..."
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

"...then I heard her simple, fervent prayer, "Help us, Lord, please help us."'
~ Janette Oke, Spring's Gentle Promise

And finally, what has kept many an old-fashioned, God-fearing homemaker sane during challenging times is the precious power of prayer. This doesn't cost a penny but is the most valuable thing we can do. It puts that heavy burden into more Capable Hands. We physically are not able to endure that much stress and sorrow. It will deplete us of our health and strain our joyful presence in the home. These trying circumstances easily create tension, anger and bitterness. Prayer provides not only answers, but peace -- and that is something we all strive for as faithful Titus-2 women in our homes, especially during the hardships as home is our sacred haven, our sanctuary, our refuge.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 4:6-7

"He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
And shall not despise their prayer."
~ Psalm 102:17


Thank you for joining us in the final installment of Frugal Homemaking Lessons from The Great Depression Inspired by Janette Oke. If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in Titus 2 Homemaking Lessons Inspired by Jane Austen. We will be sharing more in this series shortly. In the meantime, I leave you with these sober words on the subject for the modern-day household as a bit of prevention...

“There is no dignity
quite so impressive,
and no independence
quite so important,
as living within your means.”
 ~ Calvin Coolidge
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).



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