The other thing I have been doing in the kitchen is making up my own sourdough "Boboli's" for the freezer for future convenience. It is really simple as I just double my sourdough pizza recipe on Friday nights (this can be done with regular pizza dough too of course!). I keep two for our dinner and par-bake two extra each week to add to the freezer. I place a piece of parchment in between the two cooled crusts and store them in an oversized plastic bag in the freezer. Then I just need to add the toppings on a night where I'm short on time, bake until bubbly and we're ready to go! I love double cooking shortcuts because there is less mess (it's done once) and more back up meals for busy nights. I also love that I don't need to throw out so much of my sourdough discard. It gets used up nicely here!
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Monday, October 19, 2020
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For our free printable letter inserts, visit here:
for the smaller size and here for the larger size...🤎
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
It's time to "autumn-ize" your home... fall is full of so much potential fun! And I do admit to loving a good homemaking checklist! Our pioneering ancestors would spend their complete spring and summer to make sure their autumn and winter existences were provided for. We may not have to rely on everything we grow for survival, but it is prudent to make sure your family is stocked for the chillier seasons as we never know what the future brings. I would advise to especially take stock of the medicinal pantry this month (and always to be working on your food pantry) in order to be prepared like the Proverbs 31 woman. I also encourage you to nurture your artistic side and enjoy the aromas and beauty the season offers to embellish your homes with projects that celebrate the five senses of fall. And now, without further adieu, here is our pretty and practical autumn checklist:
- Assess your home apothecary/medicine cabinet (i.e. health supplements, salves, essential oils, tinctures, herbal honeys) and prepare or purchase what is lacking. Do inventory on medicinal herbs and restock what is necessary for the cold and flu season. (Our apothecary sticker labels can be found here.)
- Organize your culinary herbs and spices. Restock what is necessary.
- Take inventory of your spice mixes and prepare and/or restock what is necessary.
- Make your own pumpkin pie spice (here is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman).
- Do a fall maintenance on your pantry. Go through all the contents, remove everything, put aside what is aged and add that to the "use up" quickly list, give away what you are no longer eating (I have some items that I bought that I really didn't take a liking to but I know others enjoy), throw away what is truly old (and not just expired as those dates are way too conservative), make a list of what you are low on, wipe down the shelves, restock your pantry, label what is necessary, place everything back in order.
- Prepare broths and stocks (freeze or pressure-can them).
- Prepare hearty health-giving soups such as the traditional homemade chicken soup (freeze or pressure-can them). These will be your emergency stash when the cold or flu hit or to deliver to someone who is ill.
- Make up meals featuring fall vegetables. Some ideas are butternut squash soup, pumpkin soup, roasted root vegetables, sweet potatoes fries, twice baked potatoes and seasonal soups and stews.
- Make an apple crazy cake.
- Bake apple and pumpkin treats.
- Harvest and preserve the remains of the summer garden.
- Prepare some homemade mixes to add to the pantry such as cornbread mix, oatmeal muffin mix, pie crust mix and jam bar mix.
- Make a big batch of granola. Prepare extra for autumn hostess gifts.
- Make mulling spice sugar scrub (for gifts and for home).
- Diffuse orange, cinnamon, and clove essential oils to clean the air and delight the senses.
- Do some frugal fall decorating by bringing out any earth-toned dishes, displaying seasonal fruits in autumn colored bowls or baskets and/or printing out our "Give Thanks" sign to style autumn inspired vignettes in your home.
- Dry flowers and leaves for frugal fall decorating.
- Make your own fall-inspired wreaths.
- Forage for pine cones, acorns, leaves and prepare autumn potpourri for display (switch out the dried citrus for dried apples to make it more autumn inspired).
- Burn autumn scented candles.
- Prepare simmering potpourri (add nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, apples slices/cores/peels, or citrus slices with water and simmer for a soothing fall scent).
- Change out linens. Replace lightweight bedding with heavier blankets (and in fall colors if available), change out shower curtains to reflect the fall season (if available) and use kitchen linens to reflect autumn colors (use earth-toned tablecloths and napkins if you have them).
- Pull out your fall clothing (sweaters, scarves, corduroy, etc.) and move to the front of the closet for easy access. Make sure you have a nice selection of warm underclothes such as tights and leggings and overclothes such as a heavy jacket and cardigans (shop the thrift stores if you are lacking -- I find so many warm and cozy clothes there!).
- Read fall inspired books and watch fall inspired movies (some of my favorites are shared in the links below). Although the pictured book isn't autumn inspired, it certainly has a beautiful autumn cover so this counts! 🤎 (A caveat... I pictured the book above because of its lovely fall colors, but I have not read it yet as it is my latest thrift store acquisition so I am not necessarily recommending it yet...)
And finally, here are some autumn inspired gift tags to print for any of these fall inspired projects (pictured below)!
With this in mind, how can you ever be bored at home? There is so much to do when you are a season loving homemaker!
Here is a link to our PRINTABLE FALL HOMEMAKING CHECKLIST for those of you who love lists!
You can also find the PRINTABLE Martha Stewart Fall Home Maintenance Checklist HERE which shares a very practical side of the autumn chore list!
Happy homemaking! 🤎
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
We continued to enjoy the last of the tomatoes in these fresh, tasty and healthy caprese salads.
Mix in mayonnaise and seasoned salt with some freshly ground pepper and you have a tasty tuna salad. Serve with whole grain bread for sandwiches, dip with your favorite chips and crackers or lay atop a pile of fresh greens! Do you have a favorite tuna recipe?
I also have been preparing batches of spice mixes for our pantry by the pint. We go through the ranch and Italian dressings like water! What I love about these mixes is that they are healthier and don't contain all the extra additives and are very inexpensive to make. For the Italian dressing recipe, I substituted the sugar for Monkfruit sweetener and that works out well. I also use the Italian dressing mix as an herbal sprinkle on top of my salads if I use plain vinegar and oil (I put a small amount in a shaker). It would be tasty on top of pizza too!
For the ranch dip mix, I actually revised the recipe that I shared many years ago. I like this mixture better and will share the updated version soon! It is now our favorite and it doesn't contain the evil MSG! Plus it is pennies to make when compared to purchasing the Hidden Valley mix!
Note: When preparing your own spice mixes, I find buying the parsley, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper in bulk to be very beneficial (I purchase ours at Costco).
I also continue to build up my pantry (these labels can be found here). Unfortunately, we are living in uncertain times and we see that sometimes (contrary to popular belief), the stores can not keep up with the demand during a crisis. I feel that as the keeper of my home, it is my duty to make sure we have the proper inventory of household supplies to get us through at least a six-month period. Just like a business needs to keep a certain amount of inventory to make it run efficiently, so must we in our home if we want things to run smoothly. I have been doing this for years but now I have seen the first-hand blessing of it! (See our preparedness series here and our pantry series here.)
In good times, basic flour, oatmeal, beans and rice are very affordable and those are the items I gravitate towards because of our budget. I am not putting us back financially to prepare (you can add one item for $5 a week which will get you suprisingly far!) and these particular food items last longer so there is no harm in storing them long term. During the "heat of the moment" a few months back, I wasn't running around looking for flour or other food items, we already had a solid supply of food.
To give a small example of following these little homemaking instincts... during our last year of homeschooling, we read Hiroshima together. After finishing the book, I felt a great need to stock up on our first aid supplies (as that was the sought after element during that tragic time). I went to Walmart and purchased many bottles of alcohol, bandaids, peroxide, you name it! This was done during a time of plenty so I don't consider that hoarding but preparing. Well, as soon as the crisis hit us at the beginning of the year, my husband came home saying an elderly man he knew was panicking as he needed alcohol to clean some of his medical supplies and couldn't find any. It felt so good to be able to hand my husband a bottle knowing we had plenty to share and plenty for home use. These are the things I am thinking of as I continue to build my medicinal pantry, my first aid pantry, my toiletry pantry and my food storage. That investment into my first aid kit only set me back $20 as alcohol was cheap at that time ($1 per bottle) and little did I know what a sought-after item it would turn out to be a few months later!