Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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

“The magic of autumn has seized the countryside; now that the sun isn't ripening anything it shines for the sake of the golden age; for the sake of Eden; to please the moon for all I know.” 
~ Elizabeth Coatsworth, Personal Geography

With each season, I am determined to make a crazy cake to compliment it... Because they don't require milk, eggs or butter, they are a perfect (and frugal) recipe to keep on hand for a rainy day or have ready in the spirit of preparedness or make for someone with food allergies or simply because they are an "everything from the pantry" creation (which you know I am obsessed with)! With items not always being available at the supermarket these days, I love to have these kinds of recipes as beautiful back up. So far I have shared Apply Crazy Cake, Banana Crazy CakeZucchini Crazy Cake, Chocolate Banana Crazy CakeCarrot Crazy Cake, Lemon Crazy Cake and Orange Crazy Cake. May I now present to you the crazy cake that can be prepared with either pumpkin or butternut squash puree? You can make them with a canned good from the pantry or pick a pumpkin from the patch! Either way this cake is an ode to fall and is a perfect seasonal treat.

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8 by 8 inch square baking pan. I was fortunate enough to find this pumpkin shaped pan for a dollar at the thrift store and I couldn't resist it! 

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour (all purpose or gluten-free flour blend) 
  • 1 c. white sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. Pumpkin pie spice (use only 1-2 tsp. if you're not into those kinds of spices)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (use 1 1/2 tsp. is using gluten-free flour blend) 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
Wet Ingredients: 
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil (we use sunflower) 
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar (use apple cider vinegar for gluten-free version) 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 c. water 
  • 1 c. Pureed pumpkin or butternut squash 
Measure out and mix all the dry ingredients together in your prepared baking pan (or in a large baking bowl if you have an odd shaped pan like I used). Make three wells in the baking pan, making sure one is large enough to contain the oil. (You will find more detailed pictures in the apple crazy cake recipe in case this is a new concept for you.) Pour the oil into the largest well and the vinegar and vanilla separately into the other impressions. Pour water over all the contents, add the puree and carefully mix your ingredients until combined and smooth. 

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes (it is finished when a toothpick inserted inside the center comes out clean). Cool on wire rack. Once it is completely cooled, you may frost it.

I used the recipe for icing from Sally's Baking Addiction and simply opted for the version using one cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and 3 Tbs. heavy cream. This had a thicker consistency when using cream (rather than milk) which I liked for the heavy drizzle effect I desired. The nuts of course are optional but I felt the pecans added a pretty touch.

While I did include a printable link for this recipe HERE, some people have been having problems accessing our printables so I inserted a picture of the recipe below. Perhaps it can be printed directly from the picture? I would love some feedback to see if this works... or if you are able to access the file and print it via Google Docs with my recipe link. Either one I would be quite curious about! 

Now, this recipe can go inside your basic recipe book. It can also go into your preparedness notebook as it is a purely pantry recipe that can definitely come in handy. Or, it can go into your garden cookbook under winter squash. Decisions, decisions! What are your thoughts? To be honest, I will place it in all three as I don't like having all my eggs in one basket. 

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself,
than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” 
~ Henry David Thoreau

And that is all there is to it my friends. This recipe comes together in minutes and is so very moist. I do hope you give it a try as baking is what autumn is all about in my world... As well as a cozy sofa full of throw blankets, hot cups of creamy liquids, candles, warm sweaters... I could go on and on! But I know you have much to do so I will leave you with a "happy homemaking"! 

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Hidden Life of a Homemaker ~ Snippets

No one sees the tears you wiped this very morning... no one sees the moments you keep quiet in order to maintain peace... no one sees the stress you carry (since you still smile) with the current "situations"... no one sees the messes you clean in order to keep cozy... no one sees the pie you baked in order to bring joy to the sorrowful... no one sees the sacrifices you make every hour of the day... no one sees what you go without so that others may have plenty... no one sees the prayers you send up for every one of those souls in your home and in your heart... 

No one sees... but Him.

Glory Hallelujah.

"For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

~ George Eliot

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven."

~ Matthew 6:1


(Note: These little "snippets" shared here and there are from some of my more special Instagram posts that I feel some of you may enjoy that aren't on it...)

Saturday, October 2, 2021

July/August 2021 Homemaking Newsletter (Plus Extra Pantry Talk)

"In her notes, she wrote that homekeeping wasn't just a matter of cleaning a house; it was a matter of presentation, hospitality, entertaining, etiquette, organizing, letter writing, caring for loved ones, cooking, sewing, and just plain general information that made for a thoughtful, meaningful, and considered life."

~ Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping by Miriam Lukken

Greetings my gentle readers! And here we find ourselves with another bi-monthly update in which we speak peacefully about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which do not fit into its own post. It is simply an old-fashioned homemaking newsletter. Would you like to join me in our little home for the happenings of July and August?

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I did spend much time in reorganizing and deep cleaning our home for the cozy autumn months ahead. This is what spurred on my herbal projects that I had posted of late. To go through all your closets and baskets and see what you put aside, compelled me to start making use of those lovely things and put to order everything else. I also have been quite intentional with my pantry as you shall soon see!

“Home life is important and housekeeping should be an enjoyable part of it.” 

Making pretty places in the home is something I find immense pleasure in doing. I love to create useful themed “areas” and bask in the organized beauty. In this case, I noticed a frantic rush for extra towels and linens whenever we would have overnight guests. Therefore, I carved out a little space in our spare-room closet to host these extra items for convenience. This is where my thrifted cotton sheet collection has become quite handy! Don’t forget a stack of fresh bath towels which feels luxuriously relaxing because the excess “closet things” are stored away in secondhand baskets. The delightful detail of fragrant soaps (also useful), tucked inside the linens, generously scents the air when one opens the tiny doors. These little homemaking scenes add such satisfaction to my homemaking senses! Do you like to make useful nooks and zones in your sweet sanctuary?

I also made up these scented wax sachets (in order to use up some of my herbal inventory and add a delightful scent to my "now" organized closets and drawers). You will find the DIY project here if you are interested. This autumn nesting was quite enjoyable. 

I also did much baking and have been adding to my freezer for spur of the moment hospitality. It feels good to have stacks of goodies to share on a moments notice or to take to someone for a spontaneous visit. I have been trying to put aside one day of the week for such baking activities. Cookies and bars freeze well and I always double the recipes to maximize my output. All that is left to do when folks arrive is fire up the tea kettle and brew a nice hot batch of coffee!

A large part of my days have also been spent in making the most of our harvests. I try to cook with our garden produce for all our meals and freeze the excess for future meals. There is nothing like homegrown vegetable dishes in the autumn and winter months. We had much summer squashes and I have tried to preserve every single ounce. 

How to store a zillion zucchini in a quarter-of-a-square foot. 

Dice and dehydrate. Dice and dehydrate. Dice and… 🎢 Until the whole army has been defeated πŸ”ͺπŸ˜‰ 

I’ll use this surplus with a glad heart in autumn and winter casseroles, soups, stews and sauces.

It is also a blessing to know you have “fresh” food in your Proverbs 31 pantry… The simple joy of adding another full quart of provisions to our larder shelf. To me, food in jars are beautiful home decoration!

What do you do with your excess summer squash?

Are you trying to be more intentional with your harvests this year? Visit our blog post on “gentle preparedness“ for some extra “food for thought”.

I did all the things I could do with zucchini including baking with it. I was "forced" to make these chocolate cake zucchini bars because I don't believe in waste. It was difficult but frugality must be respected and so I just had to have a piece every day to honor this homemaking tradition. 

“It is a good idea sometimes to think of the importance and dignity of our every-day duties. It keeps them from being so tiresome; besides, others are apt to take us at our own valuation.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

And so I do ♥️ and being I am in the kitchen a great deal of the day, I like to create special, helpful things to make my homemaking duties go more smoothly… and give them a bit of “importance”. As it is my career, I love to do things efficiently but prettily. 

In the summer (especially with all the zucchini) we make a lot of quiches! To make meal time easier, I had put together a little printable quiche recipe kit. You will find it freshly posted HERE if you are interested in adding a bit of homemaking “dignity” into your day πŸ˜‰ 

For me, what is outside in the world is so hard to relate to, that my home becomes more of a place that defines my vision for life.

We can make a difference to our family and give them a beautiful and noble world that is not represented in this modern culture.

And while we’re at it, we can also enjoy lovely things together like grandmother’s old tablecloth, serving food on pretty thrifted platters, flowers cut from the garden, food grown fresh on your own patch of earth, reading books about all the good things this life offers (like cultivating a godly family, home-keeping, gardening, biographies of people who inspire and of course, the “Good Book”).

Don’t forget to add a basket or two for some old fashioned warmth.

Just a little recipe for life.

Plus a picture of our eggplant harvest!

I probably made this tasty Italian-inspired eggplant and rice dish (pictured) about six times this summer! We don't tire of it as this is the only time of year I prepare it. This is what makes the little garden harvests special as they come with their own seasonal menus that are a treat to all!  We had quite the eggplant crop this year so I also dehydrated a few quarts to use in winter soups and sauces. 

The tomatoes kept coming and I continued to dehydrate as much as possible. These will be added to olive oil and placed onto winter pizzas and warm sourdough bread with cheese! 

I've pureed much of the tomatoes and froze them in recycled yogurt containers. They will definitely come in handy for soup making. 

The last jars of tomatoes were preserved into salsa on the last day of August… I used the “fresh salsa” recipe from the Ball website. I look forward to adding these lovelies to the pantry. I also love the feeling of being the proverbial “ant”… 

“Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer,
and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

~ Proverbs 6:7-8

I’ve kept a “pretty pantry shelf” in our kitchen as seasonal decoration and to inspire me to continue to add to the family larder. This tiny area holds four large baskets of tomatoes (sliced and dehydrated), 10 trays of diced and dried zucchini as well as two large baskets of tomatoes (preserved raw packed in canning jars). This shelf changes monthly and has become a little beacon in the home to encourage me to continue in the old ways and to inspire me to maintain a storage of homegrown food as our ancestors did. 

“Food security is not in the supermarket. It's not in the government. It's not at the emergency services division. True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times, building that in-house larder, and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week's farmers' market or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.”
~ Joel Salatin, Excerpt from Folks This Ain’t Normal

It also serves as a way to feel productive in a world that feels quite counterproductive.

Pictured is the August pantry shelf contents of:

- fresh yellow roses, clipped from our blooming bushes

- (more) dried tomato slices (5 square dehydrator trays)

- diced dried eggplant (5 square dehydrator trays)

- (more) diced dried zucchini (5 square dehydrator trays)

- 8 half-pint jars of salsa

- dried cayenne garland

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

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”
~ Gen. George S. Patton

And finally, I'd like to share my "pretend pantry"…

I shared earlier my desire to be more purposeful with filling my pantry this summer. But what I didn’t explain was my lack of space to expand it. As our home is small and our food storage is at capacity, we repurposed a bookshelf to store our excess canned and dehydrated goods. As it’s in my living room, I’ve tried to keep it looking tidy with a little lace curtain. 

I call it my “pretend pantry” as I imagine myself to be a pioneering woman preparing for the winter. I placed other items I came across at thrift stores inside to give it that homespun feel (stacks of ironstone dishes, baskets of eggs and linens). It inspires me to do that extra bit of work. Although I am currently surrounded by the convenience of grocery stores, I don’t want to lose sight of the old ways of providing for our family.

A year or so ago, we saw the modern storefront unable to provide all that the people wanted. This verified my decade-long desire to build up the larder and I’ll continue to add to our real “pretend” pantry for peace of mind.

As a child I marveled over the preparations the pioneering women did each season and I consider it an honor to partake in some of that history. It’s old fashioned but chock-full of common sense.

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”
~ Joel Salatin

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

With that being said, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me!

Happily homemaking,

P.S. Pictured are these sweet little shabby rose "all purpose" gift tags from our Etsy Shop

“What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and work flow.” 

~ Martin Luther

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…”

~ Colossians 3:23

πŸ•― 🧺 πŸ•Š 

I do find this work sacred and pleasing to the Almighty because he commissioned me to do it… (Titus 2:4-5) how can it be anything but holy?

“I suppose I am a sparrow, a stay-at-home bird.” 
― Gladys Taber

“Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You.”
— Psalm 84:3-4


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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Daydreaming at Home ~ Snippets

Sometimes I daydream as I make my home. I’d like to think Louisa May might have tidied up and scrubbed the floor as I have, or Ma might have baked a few batches of bread that wasn’t quite perfect as I’ve done or that Mrs. Tittlemouse might have had a little cabinet just like this... with dried chilies dancing merrily above a shelf of filled mason jars.

The world may feel weird right now but home is still what you make of it.

🌢 🧺 πŸ…

“...aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

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