Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Visual Homemaking Journal

I've always been a sporadic journaler, mainly during a time of travel or intense learning do I consistently keep one. But every time I have skimmed through my past writings, I am amazed and reminded by the things the Lord had been teaching me at the time (and quite regularly I didn't realize it at the time!) and the incredible experience the Lord has given me the opportunity to have.

I've had several beautiful journals that I justified buying from Barnes and Noble because of the dignified reason of recording a trip or something, but really, my favorite journal is my current one, inspired by Ann from Holy Experience. A dear friend introduced me to the idea, and I immediately began searching for the perfect medium to create such a diary. 

Here are a few shots of mine, but for a better explanation of how to accomplish something similar, there is a tutorial at Holy Experience.

Unfortunately, I could only find a basic, textured, black journal, but the pages were made for this and I'm alright with a boring outside, because I know what's inside. I use a rolling tape dispenser that is typically used for scrapbooking, and works well for this. 

This helps, because one of my favorite things to do is tear out what I like from magazines so I don't have to keep the whole thing. I hope to post some other time what I like to do with the rest of my tear-outs. It's kind of fun. :-)

I record what's going on in our lives, pray, write verses, lists, goals, quotes and anything else that I may want to remember. It's a good way to save pictures of fun ideas too. There are no rules. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I've been tagged!

Thanks to Thoughts Caught on a Web for the tag! You brighten everyone's day. :-)

Here are the rules:
List 10 things that make you happy. (try to do one of those things TODAY!)
Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
Make sure to link back to the person that tagged you!

10 Things That Make Me Happy

   1. The way God cares about the little things.
   2. Laughing with my sweet hubby.
   3. Making (and eating...) chocolate chip cookies. 
   4. Holding a baby--especially when they fall asleep on your shoulder...
   5. Coffee dates.
   6. Cooking...anything.
   7. Road trips.
   8. Not having to clean my house because it's already clean. :-)
   9. Reading about healthier, more frugal ways to cook.
   10. Good music. That makes you want to dance. :-)

    Bloggers that brighten my day...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Comfort Food: Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie


One of those meals that just makes your tummy happy. It's warm, comforting, yet has a unique blend of flavors that excites your taste buds. What started as a Rachael Ray creation, with a slight bit of tweaking has evolved into a favorite of our household!

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie


2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (the more the better in my opinion!)
Ground cloves*
Ground cinnamon*
Garlic Powder*
Old Bay's Seasoning* 
Extra-virgin olive oil (as needed) 
2 pounds ground turkey (I use ground buffalo or ground moose, which leads me to believe it could be fine with beef, or any meat you have on hand)
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups turkey or chicken broth (I used beef broth)
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of frozen peas

* Unfortunately I didn't measure these ingredients. I just sprinkled, stirred and tasted. Don't underestimate yourself, you're the best judge of whether it has enough flavor. I tend to add until it tastes good...and then add a little more... :-) 

Optional Ingredients:

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
A few dashes hot pepper sauce
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce


In an appropriate sized pot, cover sweet potatoes with water. Bring to a boil (add salt if desired) and cook until tender--10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

While sweet potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 Degrees. In a large skillet, cook the meat, breaking up with a spoon. Once cooked, add carrots, celery, onion, garlic powder, Old Bay's, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, approximately 5 minutes. 

In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Next whisk in the stock and season to taste--garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper...use your creativity and taste it as you go! Allow to thicken, stirring constantly. Then add to the meat mixture. 

Mash the sweet potatoes with butter, milk, garlic powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt, pepper and if desired,  Worcestershire sauce and/or hot sauce. I think my favorite is including both with a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese mixed in. 

Place meat mixture in an appropriate casserole dish and top with sweet potato mixture, smoothing it to cover the top completely. Sprinkle more cheese over top if desired. Bake until cheese is melted. Can be made ahead of time, just look for bubbling along the edges. 

Adapted from Rachael Ray's Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie--main changes: no banana (it just doesn't sound good...), the cheese isn't necessary, nor the hot sauce (but they are fun to experiment with for different flavor!) and I added the cloves, cinnamon, Old Bay's and garlic powder. The contrast is so interesting Who would have thought cinnamon, garlic and hot sauce could make such a delicious flavor! 
          Serve with a crisp salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Green Tortillas

Yum! I'm just finishing up with Tammy's Spinach Tortilla recipe. They are pretty easy and very good. I am definitely not a perfectionist, so each one is shaped differently, but it doesn't bother me. :-) I used Pastry Berry Flour (but you could use all-purpose flour), fresh spinach and a few other ingredients that most have on hand. While waiting for them each to be done on the skillet, I melted some cheese in one and ate it for lunch. I love spinach, so the true test will be to see what my husband says about them...

I'm planning to store them in the fridge for a lunch later this week. I'm curious to see how long they keep and how they are for different recipes. Also, I didn't need to cook them 5 minutes on each side--I would say about 2 minutes or so.

I give them a 10!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Wonderful World of Canning

I'm now in the club. A friend and I made our first batch of strawberry jam! I loved every moment of it and can't wait to enjoy the yumminess for the next few months. Nor can I wait till the next canning day. My delightful friend Jen, from Hibby and Hubby posted photos and commentary of our splendid day and instead of attempting to write as well as she does, I thought I would just send you over there. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back in and here to talk about soap nuts!

I know, I've been gone awhile. Not really gone. I've been home, at work and whatnot, even on the computer...but blogging hasn't happened for awhile!

Good news though! One of my favorite blogs Passionate Homemaker is doing a soap nut liquid detergent giveaway. Yup, you read that right--soap nuts. For the questions running through your mind, you can check out her FAQ on soap nuts here. Lindsay has done all of the pricing and sampling, so her review is very helpful. I purchased a sample set awhile back and recently tried it on my load of whites while washing the rest of my laundry with normal detergent. There was no difference, my whites came out just as clean as the other loads of laundry. The soap nuts are scent free, but I did put a few drops of essential oil on the bag containing the nuts which added a nice subtle scent rather than the overpowering perfum-y detergent scent. I'm doing more laundry today and will try the soap nuts for washing my sheets and will blog about the results later.

For now, here is a quote from Lindsay at Passionate Homemaker about soap nuts:

"It is 100% safe and natural for the most sensitive skin. Soap nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. They contain saponin, a natural cleaner. They are simply harvested, de-seeded, and then dried in the sun. Great for hard water and high efficiency machines. It is biodegradable, hypo-allergenic, brightens colors, low sudsing, and contains a natural fabric softener."

The giveaway is for a liquid version of the soap nuts that can be used for cleaning, laundry and the dishwasher--I'm all for true multi-purpose cleaners! It's going on now, so head on over to enter! Or if I have just piqued your interest you can shop online for soap nuts at NaturOli.