Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peach and Blueberry Polka Dot Pie Tutorial

Here's another great recipe for those fresh blueberries you'll be getting this summer!

Peach and Blueberry Polka Dot Pie

Ingredients

1 package refrigerated pie crust (both crusts)
1 29oz can peaches, drained (or two regular sized cans of peaches)
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp butter, melted

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the fruit, sugar, flour, vanilla, and butter.

Step 2

Press one crust into a greased pie pan and add the fruit filling.

Step 3

Unroll the second crust and cut out 1-inch sized holes (I used that little medicine cup that comes with children's medicine, hehe).

Step 4


Place second crust on top of filling, pressing along the edges to seal. Brush the top of the crust with a little milk and sprinkle 1 Tbs  granulated sugar over the top.

Step 5


Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Casserole Tutorial

I'm always trying to find new ways to cook chicken breasts since a lot of people seem to prefer that part of the chicken. This recipe is SUPER delicious and makes the chicken breast so tender, I cut through it with my plastic spatula without any trouble. I also make my own cheddar cheese sauce from scratch but you can always use two cans of cheddar cheese condensed soup in place of the homemade cheese sauce. But really, the homemade method only takes about 5 minutes. Totally worth it and better!

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied or cut in half through the side
16oz bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed
2 Tbs butter, melted
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers (I used whole wheat crackers)
For the sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour bag of thawed veggies into a 9X13 baking dish.

Step 2

Layer the three butterflied chicken breasts over the veggies. Pour the 2 Tbs of melted butter over the breasts and season with salt and pepper.

Step 3



Next, make the cheese sauce. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Add the 1/4 cup of flour and whisk together until the flour is dissolved. Add the 1 1/2 cups of milk and whisk together until bubbly and thick. Add the 1 tsp of salt and your cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. (This is also how you make homemade Mac-n-Cheese, by the way).

Step 4

Pour the entire sauce pan of cheese sauce over the chicken breasts.

Step 5


Top with crushed Ritz Crackers.


Step 6



Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blueberry-Lemon Bread Tutorial

My mother-in-law has two gigantic blueberry bushes on her property. So every summer I always go home with gallon bags full of fresh-picked blueberries and I'm always on the lookout for recipes. This is one of my favorites. It goes great with a cup of coffee in the morning and makes a great dessert, too.

Blueberry-Lemon Bread

Ingredients

6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup buttermilk (or plain milk)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs lemon juice

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a loaf pan and set aside. In a mixer, beat the 1 cup of sugar and softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Then add the lemon zest.

Step 2

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.

Step 3

Fold in the blueberries.

Step 4

Pour batter into buttered loaf pan, smooth out the top with a spatula.

Step 5


Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Heat the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and lemon juice until dissolved and pour over the hot loaf, serve warm.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Tutorial

A favorite comfort food of mine is Red Beans and Rice. It's a cheap dinner and goes a LONG way. It's very easy to make, especially in the slow-cooker. The leftovers freeze well, too. Just divide among quart freezer bags, seal, and freeze flat. When you have a craving for some, just microwave or reheat in a pot then serve over fresh rice. I doubled the recipe, so I could have some to freeze.

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

1lb bag of dry red kidney beans
1lb smoked sausage (I use mild, but you can use whatever you like- even hamhocks work)
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 cups of water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
Cooked White Rice for serving

Step 1 

Place the dry beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least 8 hours. Ideally, overnight.

Step 2

The next day, discard remaining soaking water. Pour beans into your slow-cooker. To them, add the chopped onions, garlic, salt, Cajun seasoning, and pepper.

Step 3



Then add your sausage, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with juice), and water. Stir to combine everything. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours until beans are soft.

Step 4

 Serve over white rice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Want to be in my upcoming book?

If you follow me on Facebook, you might be aware that I'm currently writing a book. A Guide to Homemaking, if you will. I've already completed a rough outline and am starting on the first draft. So far, I'm up to 15 chapters, each filled with recipes, checklists, tips/tricks, and tons of inspiration. But I want more. That's where you come in.

Every one has their own tried and true tips and tricks. Either for cooking, gardening, cleaning, first aid, raising children, and even advice for a long and happy marriage. All of these things, we've learned along the way. We've been taught by our mothers, grandmothers, dads, and even our own kids have taught us valuable lessons. There's no way I could think up all these tricks on my own. But I want to put these down on paper so women who weren't taught them can have an entire book of them at their disposal. I want these traditions to be passed down somewhere. What better place than a Guide to Homemaking?

Here's what you need to do. In the comments section of this post, tell me your favorite or most useful tip/trick/advice you've gotten in your life.  Keep it simple. Also, include your name, state where you live, and age...also if you can remember, try to include who you learned it from (i.e. mother, grandmother, pastor). I'd love to include as many as possible in the book. If your tip makes it in, I'll include your name and last initial and the other info I asked you to include.

Homemaking is becoming a lost art but I don't want the decade of information to disappear, too.

Now, think hard ladies (and gents) and lets get back to the basics!



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Easy Bread Pudding Tutorial

If you have half a loaf of bread you need to use up, here is a great and easy recipe for it! This makes a delicious dessert or breakfast. You can also double this recipe.

Easy Bread Pudding

Ingredients

6 slices of day-old bread (I used half a loaf of my Honey Wheat Bread)
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
4 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Tear up the bread into 1 inch chunks and place in an 8X8 baking dish.

Step 2

Sprinkle with raisins and pour the melted butter over the top.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract (I used my stand-mixer).

Step 4

 
Pour the egg mixture over the top of the bread. Use a fork and push the bread down into the liquid.

Step 5



Bake in the 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until it's puffed up and golden brown and center springs back when pushed.





Fuzzibunz Cloth Diaper and Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder Giveaway!

This weeks giveaway is from my friend Rikki at eLeMeNO-Pee! If you've been looking at cloth diapers but not sure if they were for you (or your baby), here is your chance to try one out for free!

She's donated a FuzziBunz® One Size Elite Pocket Diaper in Apple Green AND Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder - 80 load! A 40 dollar value!



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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homemade Baked Mac-n-Cheese Tutorial

My mother-in-law recently let me borrow a cookbook that her mother had passed down to her. It is copyrighted in 1937 and is full of recipes from my MIL's grandmother. While reading through the pages (I read cookbooks like anyone else would read a novel), I found a recipe card for homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese. I've never made my own...let me rephrase that...I've never made my own successfully- until this recipe. I made it in my enameled cast-iron pot which went straight from stovetop to oven, but you can always pour the Mac-n-Cheese in a baking dish to crisp the top.

Homemade Baked Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1 pkg (8oz) elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups milk (I used whole)
2 cups (8oz) Cheddar cheese, shredded (shred it yourself from a block- makes it creamier than bagged)
1 large tomato, thickly sliced (I omitted)
Seasoned bread crumbs


Step 1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook macaroni as package label directs, drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Step 2




Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for 1 minute. It will become thick and coat the spoon. Remove from heat.

Step 3




Stir in the cheese, until smooth. Add the cooked macaroni, mix well.

Step 4


Pour into a baking dish, arrange tomato slices over top, sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs.

Step 5





Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.