Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing all who visit here a lovely Christmas.
I have enjoyed interacting with each of you.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cookie Bake 2013

Today was the 7th annual cookie bake/exchange with Noel farm ladies. This year my dear friend, Karana, was absent since she is days away from having a little one. We missed you this year- but sure do understand that you needed to stay home and take care.

To view previous cookie baking days click on the year.
 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Charity's Molasses Crinkles | My Russian Tea Cookies
Mom's Cherry Winks | Faith's Crunchy Peppermint Cookies

Aunt Shirley's Chocolate Crinkles | Beth's Spritz Cookies
Brenda's Orange Glazed Cookies | Maggie's Blondie Rolo Cookies

My Three Colored Coconut Candy | Maggie's Almond Joys
Lynette's White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies | Faith's Turtles

There were little boys to help...

...and cookie thieves of all sizes.

We ended a busy day with story time with Grandmother.

My freezer is full and I am happy,

Monday, December 9, 2013

Grandma's Cranberry Salad

My Grandma Shank makes a delicious cranberry salad. If you are wanting something red and festive to grace your Christmas table try this.

It's the real thing- and it's good. No canned cranberry sauce in this recipe.

Refreshing it is.

Grandma's Cranberry Salad

12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 sm. boxes of raspberry jello
2 cups hot water
3 cups cold water
6 apples, grated
4 oranges, cubed
2- 20 oz. cans crushed pineapple
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine

In a saucepan cook cranberries, sugar and water until 
cranberries pop open and mixture slightly thickens. 

Dissolve jello in hot water then add cold water. 
Pour into cranberry mixture and mix well.

Fold in apples, oranges, pineapple and celery into cranberry mixture.

Chill overnight until set.

It makes almost 2 gallon. Great recipe for family gatherings.


Friday, December 6, 2013

A Workshop

Celebrate the joy of winter and the warmth of the holidays in a renovated Mill 
tucked away in a tiny farming village. Gather around a table filled with bundles of 
foraged greens, berries and natural elements to tie into festive holiday arrangements. 
Learn how to use nature's inspiration for wrapping gifts to give away. 
Come away with a little something to adorn your tree, a wreath to hang on your 
door and perhaps a garland or two that we created together during a continual flow 
of conversation, sweet treats and hot spiced cider. As the afternoon winds down, 
a spread of hearty savory offerings invite you to linger a little longer then planned.

Hosted by Hope Helmuth and Amy Showalter from Spring Creek Roller Mills, 
Katie Schmid of The Pinwheel Collective, and Sara Christensen from The Lady Jane Shop

Visit Kinfolk's website to purchase tickets.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Arrangements

Last week my sisters came over to make Christmas arrangements. We have an abundance of pine on our property so it's handy to make them 'onsite'.

We are in the middle of remodeling our living room so it was hard for me to decide whether it was worth decorating for Christmas. I decided to create a few pine arrangements to set amongst the dust. We will call the drywall dust and sawdust 'snow'.

All of our creations.

The few I created to brighten our home.

Charity and I made Jam for gifts.

I am so happy to be back! 
Blogger decided to let me load photos this evening.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I am thankful for...

| A Heavenly Father |
| A godly husband |

| A warm home to cover our heads |

| Little ones in our family... and the ones yet to arrive |

| Sister days like these, making donuts |

Oh, the list could go on and on.
I am humbled at what I have been given.
But it comes with a great responsibility,

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; 
and from the one who has been entrusted with much, 
much more will be asked."
Luke 12:48b

Happy Thanksgiving, lets go on 'Thanksliving'


Monday, November 25, 2013

An update

Yes, I'm still alive. Alive and well. Our computer decided to kick the bucket, and we were without it for a whole two weeks. It was good for us and good for me. Yes, I can survive without one, but do miss blogging.

I hope to be back soon. Until then, enjoy your Thanksgiving vacation and don't eat too much turkey. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tapioca Pudding

If you want to be comforted, try this pudding recipe. Before you know it you will have consumed a whole bowl or two.

This recipe is from my school cookbook. The lady who put the recipe in, Ethel, is known for her tapioca pudding and dill rolls. I added unflavored gelatin for extra shine and a little thicker pudding.

 Comfort awaits.

Tapioca Pudding

6 Tbsp. seed pearl tapioca
4 cups milk

2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. unflavored gelatin, dissolved in a little water
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste, or plain vanilla

Soak tapioca in 4 cups of milk for several hours.
Pour into a double broiler and cook for 15 minutes.

In a blender add milk, egg yolks, sugar and salt. Blend well.
Stirring constantly, add mixture to double broiler.
Cook until tapioca is clear and pudding has thickened.
This takes awhile, be patient. Sing a song or read a magazine while stirring.
It will help tone your 'chicken wing' arms. I always freak out 
when I'm whisking and I feel my upper arm flopping.

Remove from heat, add vanilla and unflavored gelatin.

Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap right 
against the pudding. This keeps a thick layer from forming on top.

Set in refrigerator until completely cool.

I am having fun with a sweet visitor that is staying around for two months.
My sister, Charity, and her husband will be staying for the winter in Virginia.
Yipee, skippie.

"Mom, the tummy blowing joke is getting old," he says.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Simple Cranberry Sauce

I made dinner tonight with ear plugs in. My husband is putting down our hard wood floor and the stapler noise is above loud. He started this evening before I had my ear plugs in place and I screamed at the first staple. 

Cooking with ear plugs sure is interesting. I had to take them out twice to taste something. I had to hear the sizzle of the pan to get the whole taste. Kind of like my Grandma I guess- she cant talk on the phone until she finds her glasses.

I was craving thanksgiving food so I made fried ham with a simple cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, creamed limas and spinach salad.

I am sharing the simple cranberry sauce recipe with you. It sure is tasty. I caught Josh eating it by the spoonful. This could be used on various meats.

  Cranberries make me happy. I love their flavor and color.

Simple Cranberry Sauce

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
zest of one orange
12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries

In a small saucepan combine sugar, water, salt and orange zest.
Bring to a boil, stir in cranberries return to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until 3/4 of berries have popped open.
Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
If you want a thicker sauce just cook it longer.
It really thickens once it cools.

Cooks Illustrated recipe revised slightly.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Last week I was craving maple glazed pork chops. I had them awhile back at my sister's house, but she couldn't remember the recipe so I recreated the flavors I remembered.

I remember a Hickory Smoke Marinade in the recipe and happened to have some on hand. It's tasty and adds a real smokey flavor to meats. You can buy it at Walmart or most grocery stores.

Marinate | Fry | Make Sauce | Your Done

My mouth is watering now. I need to go fix supper.

Maple Glazed Pork Chops

4 pork chops
 3 Tbsp. butter

6-8 large mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. maple syrup

Place pork chops in a shallow dish and pour about 1/2 cup marinade
over them. Poke all over with a fork and let marinate 40 minutes.

Heat a skillet with 3 Tbsp. butter. Add pork chops and fry until done, 
about 5-6 minutes. Size and thickness can make a difference.
Do not over cook! They will get tough. A little pink is okay in the middle.
You will be adding them back to the heat once the sauce is done.
When done remove from skillet.

Add mushrooms to pan drippings and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Saute until soft. Add chicken broth and maple syrup, cook on high
until sauce reduces and thickens. Add pork chops back to skillet
and heat for a minute or so.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And the winner is...

A favorite fall food, apple crisp or apple dumplings....what a fun giveaway!

Check out her lovely blog!

I hope you are ready to do some fall baking!
 Please email me your address so I can send it your way.

p.s. This was so much fun to see all who commented. 
I would love to have a big party with all of you! 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

a Fall Giveaway

Because I like fall and all my readers, I am giving away some fall baking supplies. A nice sturdy cookie scoop, a flour sack towel that's great for covering baked goods while they cool, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, and a pint of local sorghum molasses.

Let the fall baking begin!

To enter just answer the following question.
What's your favorite fall food?

The cookie scoop and flour sack towel are supplied by Kitchen Kupboard, my mother-in-law's specialty kitchen store. It is a local store with friendly help. Go to her website for more information.

The spices are from my Auntie's store, The Cheese Place. There you will find tasty cheese and bulk foods of all kinds. She has an extra special worker, my Grandma Shank, who I like visit when I stop by.

Deadline October 23.

No shipping outside USA and Canada.

Winners will be selected using One entry per person.
Winner will be announced on my blog page Tuesday evening. Please include your email address so I can contact you. If you feel uncomfortable leaving your email address be sure to look at my page Tuesday evening and you can email me your information for shipping address.

Let the giving begin,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

If Grandma had Instagram...

Funny title, but it's a thought that comes across my mind often when blogging or posting on Instagram.

Some days I wonder why I blog and post on Instagram- Is this all about me? Grandma didn't post a photo of her three layered cake every Christmas. But then I think of how many people have inspired me through blogging and Instagram. Some blog posts leave me feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my house again. It's just the nudge I need at times. God wants us to be creative and to use the gifts He has given us. And that's what keeps me going. While a blog may seem glorious with photos and words- It's been stretching for me. I am a quiet person that is not good at expressing my feelings in group setting. I have finally tackled the ever present worry about people taking me wrong- and just blogging about what I love to do.

So if my Grandma had instagram... she'd have 5,000,000 followers. But she doesn't have instagram and so not everyone knows how awesome she is. But what matters is that God knows it along with her family and friends who deeply appreciate her for who she is. So 'be' who you would be without instagram or a blog to post on. Be the godly, caring, intentional person God has created you to be.

Savor each season of life just like you savor an apple dumpling in the fall- for it may not last long. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Art

I decided to paint pumpkins with my two nephews last week. I was imagining orange pumpkins with symmetrical polka dots of blue and green. Something their mother and aunt would love to set on their porch.

Well it was two boys with an endless supply of paint. We started with a sponge for each color. Sawyer took a liking to the smallest sponge and proceeded to use it for all colors. At that point I gave in and let them go hog wild- and that they did.

 Little artists.

Once there was no more surface area on their pumpkins to paint,
they moved over to their hands and arms.
Their mother photographed this as she was quietly smirking.

I had to get the water hose out to clean up the aftermath.
It was worth it though.
While painting Sawyer exclaims, "this is so much fun I can hardly believe it!"
I think he could hardly believe he was able to make such a mess.

Happy fall,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pasta de fagioli

Don't let the fancy name scare you. It really is a simple soup. It's a copy cat recipe from Olive Garden. The soup my husband calls "chili" when he orders it at Olive Garden. 

I decided to bring Olive Garden home tonight. Not that I watched an Olive Garden commercial and was craving their food or anything. Commercials didn't get me til' now. Oh, boy.

The classic question you are asked once your food is set in front of you.
"Would you like fresh grated Parmesan on that?"
"Okay, tell me when."
You never know if you are to say "stop" or "when".
The pile starts to mound... "when!", you exclaim.
Then you guiltlessly eat a mountain of melted cheese.

Recipe link here.
I used sausage instead of ground beef and added more tomato
juice and less pasta. Go easy on the salt since sausage is seasoned.
Revised recipe below. 

Pasta de fagioli

1 pound sausage
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 Qt. tomato juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 pound (1/3 pkg.) ditali pasta

Brown the sausage in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat.
Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.

About 50 minutes into the simmering, in another pan cook the pasta for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. 
Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more and serve.

Recipe by Todd Wilbur


Tuesday, September 24, 2013


We are overjoyed to say the least.

Yes, there was a recipe drought for this reason.
I am just now enjoying cooking again!

Praising Our Great Creator,
Hope and Josh

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Barn Sale Sneak Peek

Today was a delightful way to start fall- with a community event such as the barn sale. There were a lot of vendors this year so it would be hard to post a photo of everyone- so I thought I would share a few photos of our booth.

Happy fall!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Barn Sale 2013

I am excited to be a vendor this year 

I will be sharing a booth with my fellow friend, Amy.
We will be offering...

Caramel apples.

Hand crafted cutting boards. Made by us.
I still have all my fingers! My husband is a patient teacher.

Along with homemade cookies and other fall treats!

I hope to see you there!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Chicken & Bacon Sandwich

I was at work trying to decide what to make for supper. Alice Springs Chicken from Outback Steakhouse came to mind. Josh had a softball game at 7:00- so I decided to create a sandwich out of my idea.

The cast of characters.

 The characters stacked together to create bountiful flavors.

Chicken & Bacon Sandwich

Chicken Breast
a nice bread of your choice, toasted  
Tomatoes, lettuce and onion
Honey mustard sauce

Honey Mustard Sauce
3 Tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. regular mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1 shake of red pepper
a pinch of salt

Drizzle your chicken breast with lemon juice and sprinkle with seasoned
salt and pepper. Heat up a skillet with a couple tablespoons of butter.
Place chicken in skillet and keep a low/medium heat so it can cook through
without drying out. Don't flip until the meat is 2/3 done. You can see it turn from pink to white as it gets done. I have learned how to pan fry 
chicken breast without them being bone dry. 
If you do it right it can be quite juicy!
When your chicken is done top with a slice of cheese so it can melt.

Cook your bacon as you wish, I usually broil mine in the oven. Less mess!

Mix together honey mustard sauce and set aside.

When things are getting close to done- butter your bread and lightly toast it.
Mine wasn't so lightly toasted.

Assemble your cast of characters and secure with a toothpick.
I used the honey mustard as mayo.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

After a busy weekend- today was a wonderful day to be Labor Day. I helped host a Kinfolk Workshop on Saturday, for a documentation go here.

This afternoon I headed to mom's to hang out with my sister and her two boys. We made apple turnovers, cucumber boats and created picture collages out of magazine photos. To top all of that- we headed to cook out for the evening. Did somebody say work tomorrow?

Boys can bake too.

This boy melts my heart.

Many hands make light work, you know. Not to mention the mess.

Cucumber boat launch.

The second meal this weekend cooked by the campfire cooking master, Chris.

What he does is an art. Art comes in all kinds of ways.

How was your Labor Day?