Caramel Snack Mix

Here’s a yummmmy alternative to caramel popcorn.

6 c. rice cereal (Chex, Crispix)
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 stick real butter
1/2 – 1 c. nuts (pecans, peanuts) – optional

– Melt brown sugar and butter in microwave for 2 minutes.
– Stir
– Microwave another 1 – 2 minutes.
– Add cereal and nuts, mixing well.
– Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, stir, and continue baking for another 5-7 minutes.
– Let cool.

Store in a sealable container or a gallon-size baggie.

Blueberry Crisp

Now, I love my apple crisp.. but this blueberry crisp sounds so yummmmy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I may just have to try it this winter.

1 – 16 oz package frozen blueberries
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp corn starch

2/3 c. quick-cook oats
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
Dash of salt
1/3 c. butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine blueberries and lemon juice in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
Stir brown sugar and corn starch into the blueberries.
Set aside.
Mix oats, flour, brown sugar and salt.
Cut in butter.
Sprinkle mixture over blueberries.
Bake, uncovered, approx 40 minutes or until the topping is browned and the blueberries are bubbly.
Serve warm with ice cream… oooohhh yummmmy!

Creamy Potato Chowder

Q. What is Chowder?

A. Chowder is a thick soup that usually contains potatoes, vegetables, and/or seafood.

This potato chowder sounds yummmmy for a chilly nights dinner… I can taste it now… warm rolls fresh out of the oven, some cheese, bacon and chives on top… scooping it with saltine crackers. Oh yeah…. I admit though, I hate the chore of pealing and dicing potatoes. I’ll pass that one along to Em, who doesn’t mind and I’ll chop the onion (yes, I’ll choose the onion over the potatoes!!). Good Teamwork. ::wink::

8 c. diced potatoes
1/3 c. chopped onion
3 – 14 1/2 oz cans chicken broth (I recommend Swanson’s)
1 – 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/4 tsp pepper
1 – 8 oz package cream cheese, cubed

Optional (but yummmmy) Toppings
1/2 lb sliced bacon, cooked, crumbed
extra cheese (I love cheddar on my potato soup)
chives, snipped – love to use those kitchen shears

– Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the cream cheese and toppings in a crock pot (slow cooker).
– Cover and cook for 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender.
– Add cream cheese, stirring until well blended.

Approx 12 servings

Easy Crock Pot Chili

An easy meal to throw together in the crock pot. Let it cook all day and be greeted by the yummmy smells of chili for dinner.

2 lbs ground beef, browned
2 – 16 oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 14 1/2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Optional Toppings
shredded cheese
sour cream

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker (crock pot), cover.
Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours OR HIGH for 4 hours.

Approx 10 servings

Other Serving Options
serve over pasta noodles
make chili dogs

Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup

Originally uploaded by madaise.

Here’s a Tomato Soup recipe that calls for several ingredients – but all are easy enough. This tasty, rich soup takes condense tomato soup and perks it up.

1 medium, chopped onion
2 TBSP butter
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained – 14 1/2 oz cans
2 cans condensed tomato soup, undiluted – 10 3/4 oz cans
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp dried basil
1/2 – 1 tsp paprika
1/8 – 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 package cream cheese, cubed – 8 oz package

– Saute onions in butter, until tender, using a large sauce pan.
– Stir in everything EXCEPT the cream cheese.
– Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
– Add cream cheese, stirring until melted.
– Serve immediately.

Makes approx 2 quarts, or 8 servings.

Easy Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

I’ve always wondered about making homemade tomato soup, from scratch, or mostly. I grew up on Campbell’s Tomato Soup, creamy with milk. Looking through my recipe books, I came across this tomato soup recipe… sounds yummmmy!

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 can (46 oz) tomato juice
1/4 c. sugar

– Melt butter in a large sauce pan.
– Stir in flour, curry, onion powder until smooth.
– Add tomato juice and sugar, gradually.
– Cook uncovered for approx 5 minutes, until thick and warm.

Soft & Silky Handmade Lotion Recipe

This is one of my favorite lotions, moisturizing without leaving an oily feel on the skin.

Oil Phase:
9 oz sweet almond oil
3 oz jojoba oil
6 oz grapeseed oil
1 oz wheatgerm oil
2.5 oz stearic acid (used to thicken lotion)
2.5 oz ewax (thickens lotions; allows water and oil to blend)
3 oz shea butter

Water Phase:
44 oz distilled water
.6 oz citric acid (used to soften water)
1.8 oz glycerin
2 oz hydrolized wheat protein
1 oz rose hydrosol*
1 oz lavender hydrosol*

.8 oz fragrance (optional)
.7 optiphen (preservative)

* hydrosols are option, if unavailable, just up your water amount.

Separated Steps:
1. Combine all oil phase ingredients, except shea butter in a pan or microwave safe bowl. Heat over low on stove or in microwave until ewax is melted. Once melted, remove from heat, add shea butter and allow to melt.
2. Combine water phase ingredients, heating over low heat until citric acid is disolved.
3. Combine oil and water ingredients and mix with mixer on low until cool.
4. Add fragrance and preservative, blending until well incorporated.
5. Pour into sterilized containers

I combine my steps to speed the process, with no ill effects. Here’s how I do it now:
1. Combine all ingredients, except fragrance and preservative.
2. Heat until melted.
3. Blend in a mixer (I have a kitchen aid that works awesomely for lotion making).
4. Once fairly cool to the touch (think “luke-warm”), I add my fragrance oil and preservative.
5. Continue mixing to ensure the last ingredients are well incorporated.
6. Pour into sterilized containers.

Lotion Percentages will provide percentage information, to allow you to make your own lotion recipe. Or experiment with the ingredients in this recipe – each oil you substitute may result in a different feel to the end product. I’d suggest making a smaller batch while you experiment.

Lavender Soap with Tea Tree Oil and Oatmeal Recipe

Here is another lavender soap variation and it’s another big favorite too.

Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils have long been reputed to have tremendous healing and soothing properties. Lavender essential oil has been known to be soothing to dry, itchy skin; calms the mind and eases stress. Lavender eo has been used to treat various skin disorders because of it’s antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, such as acne, wrinkles, and psoriasis. Tea Tree Oil has been used to treat acne, oily skin, rashes. It is used as an antiseptic as well as a general disinfectant. This soap makes a great face soap, and is easy on baby’s butt, too.

I used a few different base recipes, but my all-time favorite was a very simple one.

Makes 2 pounds

24 oz. Olive Oil (75)
8 oz. Palm Kernel Oil (25%)

4.38 oz. Lye (6% superfat)
8.8 oz. goat milk *

1 oz. lavender essential oil
.5 oz tea tree essential oil
2 TBSP lavender powder
2 TBSP fine oatmeal, powdered

* This is your lye amount x 2.

Lavender tea, water, oatmeal milk, soy milk, all may be substituted for the goatmilk.

Freeze the goat milk in the container used for your lye mixture. Once frozen, very slowly add your lye. Stirring, and slowly adding – this helps prevent the milk from getting hot too fast. I also put my container in a bowl with ice to keep the goat milk and lye mixture as cool as possible.

Once mixed and set to cooling, put aside (in a safe place!).

Measure your Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) and melt (not hot, just melted) – I have used a microwave in the past to do this, just make sure your container is microwave safe. If you are able, a stove top works well. I use a hot plate in my soap workshop and love it – found it pretty cheap at a local flea market.

While your PKO is melting, measure your lavender and tea tree essential oils into a glass container.

Prepare your lavender powder and oatmeal powdered. I buy lavender powder, because it’s really fine.

Making oatmeal powder is a little different. I use a combination of whatever I have on hand, rolled oats, instant and I love using baby oatmeal cereal. Whatever I use, I put in a food processor and zap a few times until really fine. Then I use a screen and collect about 2 tablespoons of fine powder for use in this soap.

Have your mold clean, lined and at the ready.

When your PKO is melted, add the olive oil. Feeling the side of the pot, it should not be hot. A little warm is fine, but generally a the cooler the temperature the better when mixing a goat milk soap (actually, I prefer working with cool temps all the time – more time to mix).

Now, your lye mixture should be cooler to the touch and your oils cooler to the touch… think “luke-warm”.

Have your stick blender (immersion blender) at hand and ready. Slowly add your lye mixture to your oils (note: always add the lye TO the oil). Blending while you pour…

Bring your soap mixture to trace (trace is when your spoon or blender leaves a trail and takes a minute to disappear back into the mixture). Once trace has been reached, add your lavender and oatmeal powders, mixing, then your essential oils, mixing..

Everything should be mixed well, now pour into your mold. I do not insulate my soap, but if you prefer to insulate, what I used to do is put a piece of cardboard on top of my soap, then draped a blanket or a thick towel over it. Then, I put it on a shelf for about 24 hours before I unmold and cut. Once cut, I leave on a shelf for another 24 hours before I bevel edges.

Give it a couple weeks before using, though a good month would be best as the soap will harden up nicely over time.

Homemade Whipped Cream

A homemade sweet whipped cream goes great on cakes, pies, ice cream or even by the spoonful! I love simple recipes and this one fits the bill.

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream until thick and stiff.

Add sugar and vanilla.

Continue beating until it holds peaks.

Ultra-tasty on our Easy Apple Crisp Recipe. Yummmmmy!

Easy Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Fall is all about pumpkins, piles of leaves, hay rides and hot spiced apple cider… oh yummmmy!

This is tasty apple cider recipe and making it in the coffee pot is about as easy as it gets!

2 quarts apple cider
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 large orange (cut into quarters leaving peel on)

Place all ingredients, except the cider, into a coffee filter.
Put the coffee filter into the basket.
Add the apple cider to “brew”.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream and add a cinnamon stick for a stirrer.
Serve hot.

Really, how simple is that? 🙂