Monday, February 6, 2017

365 List by Category

And to make it easier to find something more specific, here is a list sorted by categories. 

Snacks

Beef Jerky*
Caramel: sauce, fruit dip, candies*
Cream Cheese Fruit Dip*
Flavored Sunflower Seeds
Fruit Cups*
Pudding: Vanilla*

Condiments

Apple Butter*
BBQ Sauce
Chocolate Sauce
Dill Pickles*
French Dressing
Fruit Topping: quick & easy*, with pectin
Jam: pectin free raspberry, pectin free blackberry*, pectin free strawberry, strawberry, jalapeno*
Ketchup
Maple Syrup
Mayo
Peanut Butter
Relish*
Ranch*
Salsa*: fresh, canned
Soy Sauce
Thousand Island Dressing*
Teriyaki Sauce
Wine Vinegar

Breakfast

Bagels: plain, cinnamon & sugar, jalapeno
Biscuits*
Cinnamon Rolls*
Granola*
Sausage Gravy*

Milk & Dairy

Butter
Buttermilk*
Half & Half*
Pasteurized Eggs*
Ricotta Cheese*
Shredded Cheese*
Sour Cream
Whipped Topping*
Yogurt

Herbs & Spices

Celery Salt*
Herbs
Italian Seasoning*
Pizza Sauce Mix*
Pumpkin Pie Spice*
Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning Mix*
Steak Seasoning*
Taco Seasoning*

Baking

Baking Powder*
Brown Sugar*
Cake Flour*
Cooking Spray*
Extract: Vanilla*
Evaporated Milk
Marshmallow Fluff*
Pie Crust*
Self-Rising Flour*
Sweetened Condensed Milk

Canned Goods

Applesauce*
Canned Beans*
Chicken Broth
Cream of Something Soup or mix
Pumpkin Puree
Refried Beans*
Tomato Sauce

Produce

Fresh Produce: garden plot
Garden Starters*

Meats & Deli

Coleslaw*

Breads & Bakery

Bagels: plain, cinnamon & sugar, jalapeno
Bakery Cakes: Ella Scharlach Cake, DIY Decorating*
Cinnamon Rolls*
Cookies: refrigerator/freeze cookie rolls, Lofthouse*
Pizza Dough*
Tortilla Shells

Frozen


Rice & Pasta

Mac & Cheese*
Noodles

Health & Beauty

Antacid Relief
Bath Salts*
Bronzer*
Conditioner: Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Deodorant
Dry Shampoo*
Eye Make-up Remover
Face Powder*
Face Wash*
Facial Moisturizer*
Hair Detangler*
Hair Putty: Shealoe
Mascara
Moisturizer
Shampoo: No-Poo
Shaving Cream
Sugar Scrub
Toothpaste

Household

All Purpose Cleaner*: Norwex clothes, orange infused vinegar
Ant Bait*
Laundry Soap*
Stain Remover: gel*, spray
Washing Soda
Windex*

Outdoors & Auto

Armorall*
Car Wash*
Garden Fertilizer: compost bin
Garden Pesticide: Weed Killers, spray
Tick Repellent*

* - has been completely replaced with homemade version ... no more store bought

The ones not marked are items I have tried and either due to time, money, or taste I am still working to find a way to replace them that works best for us. My goal is to be able to eventually mark all items with an asterisk! As of 2/1/2016 we have 105 items of our 365 tried.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

365 List

As I continue to plug through my 365 challenge {see my original plan and an update, because with life comes change} and the number of homemade items I have made continues to grow, I decided it would be wise to compile a complete list of items so to see the bigger picture. :)

List of store bought items we have tried - (click here, to see these items by category)

1. Cooking Spray*
2. Buttermilk*
3. Ranch*
4. Peanut Butter
5. Taco Seasoning*
6. Croutons
7. Jam: pectin free raspberry, pectin free blackberry*, strawberry, pectin free strawberry, jalapeno*
8. Breadcrumbs*
9. Half& Half*
10. BrownSugar*
11. Fresh Produce: garden plot
12. Maple Syrup
13. Shredded Cheese*
14. Cream of Something Soup or mix
15. Sour Cream
16. Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning Mix*
17. Bread
18. Garden Starters*
19. Canned Beans*
20. Flavored Sunflower Seeds
21. Garden Fertilizer: compost bin
22. French Dressing
23. Car Wash*
24. Chicken Broth
25. Noodles
26. Soy Sauce
27. Ricotta Cheese*
28. Pasteurized Eggs*
29. Pizza Dough*
30. Mayo
31. Yogurt
32. Caramel: sauce, fruit dip, candies*
33. Ketchup
34. Ant Bait*
35. Baking Powder*
36. BBQ Sauce
37. Chocolate Sauce
38. Cake Flour*
39. Self-Rising Flour*
40. Wine Vinegar
41. Pudding: Vanilla*
42. Extract: Vanilla*
43. Evaporated Milk
44. Sweetened Condensed Milk
45. Garden Pesticide: Weed Killers, spray
46. Toothpaste
47. Deodorant
48. Shampoo: No-Poo
49. Conditioner: Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
50. Hair Detangler*
51. Shaving Cream
52. Sugar Scrub
53. Fruit Cups*
54. Moisturizer
55. Face Wash*
56. Eye Make-up Remover*
57. Tortilla Shells
58. Refried Beans*
59. Tick Repellent*
60. Mac & Cheese*
61. Beef Jerky*
62. Whipped Topping*
63. Fruit Topping: quick & easy*, with pectin
64. Hair Putty: Shealoe
65. Stain Remover: gel*, spray
66. Thousand Island Dressing*
67. Coleslaw*
68. Pizza Sauce Mix*
69. Bagels: plain, cinnamon & sugar, jalapeno
70. Teriyaki Sauce
71. All Purpose Cleaner*: Norwex clothes, orange infused vinegar
72. Salsa*: fresh, canned
73. Face Powder*
74. Cookies: refrigerator/freeze cookie rolls, Lofthouse*
75. Dill Pickles*
76. Laundry Soap*
77. Applesauce*
78. Bakery Cakes*: Ella Scharlach Cake, DIY Decorating
79. Bath Salts*
80. Mascara
81. Antacid Relief
82. Biscuits*
83. Sausage Gravy*
84. Washing Soda
85. Granola*
86. Cinnamon Rolls*
87. Bronzer*
88. Armorall*
89. Butter
90. Herbs
91. Facial Moisturizer*
92. Windex*
93. Italian Seasoning*
94. Marshmallow Fluff*
95. Cream Cheese Fruit Dip*
96. Steak Seasoning*
97. Celery Salt*
98. Pickle Relish*
99. Tomato Sauce
100. Pumpkin Pie Spice*
101. Pumpkin Puree
102. Pie Crust*
103. Apple Butter*
104. Dry Shampoo*
105. Dishwasher Detergent
106. Granola Bars
107. Foaming Hand Soap

* - has been completely replaced with homemade version ... no more store bought



The ones not marked are items I have tried and either due to time, money, or taste I am still working to find a way to replace them that works best for us. My goal is to be able to eventually mark all items with an asterisk! 

Please note that items that have not been linked to a post are ones that I have tried and am working on getting a post up for these {hopefully sooner than later}!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fears & Offenses

I've been fighting this post God for quite some time to just sit down and write what has been pressing heavily on my heart. The biggest fight was to admit the real reason for not finishing this which ironically was my own fear of causing an offense! After ninety-gazillion of my own excuses and a gentle nudge from a sweet friend reminding me God doesn't take 'no' for an answer, He finally reverted to getting the megaphone out, turning the volume to its highest setting, and using His Dad voice to yell "It's worth the risk ... TRUST ME!" through my morning devotion yesterday, "Abandon it All." 


I feared my heart would be misinterpreted. I feared my sincerity would come across hypocritical. I feared I would open the door of vulnerability. I feared I would offend someone. While I don't hold tight to what people may think of me, I feared this post would be read with an offensive mind rather than one of openness. If I have already struck a nerve, I ask that you please continue reading ... give yourself the opportunity to breakthrough the offense that is trying to stop you and allow me to go deeper. 

A while back, I heard on the radio {and have since looked into it out of curiosity and more proof :)} that we are born with only two natural fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Which leaves all other fears to being learned through experience. Talk about an interesting insight! This has really challenged me to stop myself as soon as I feel that first tinge of fear, fright, panic, terror, apprehension, or trepidation and re-evaluate my emotions to discern if they are intuitionally warranted or just habitual from a prior experience in which I have chosen to now avoid all together. 


Sometimes at the first sign of fear (or any of those other feelings), we react by stopping dead in our tracks and shutting the door in which to never return without ever once questioning it. What really is the cause for the fear? Is it a natural reaction that has been learned through a previous experience? Or is it the fear of the unknown or the fear of what will come? Or is it actually warranted, like the tug on your conscience or that 'momma feeling' you get when something just isn't right? Unless it is your intuition or gut instinct {which there are days I wonder if we have forgotten what this is ... sigh, another day, another post maybe}, no matter the cause of these fears they have the potential to overtake our life and hold us back if we are not careful.


And then there are our offenses, although a completely different emotion, these can have the same effect on us. In one instance we may allow a single circumstance {even if it's completely taken out of context} to adamantly dictate how we think or how we will react. Hurtful words spoken, words and actions read into, false accusations made, resentment. rejection, disagreement, conflict of interest, and the list could continue. However, whatever the offense is, if we hold onto it for too long it will eventually become a part of who we are and will only build up more anger, spread more strife, and ultimately hold us back also. 


Fears and offenses are ugly beasts that can stand in our way, blind us from the facts, cause us to tear down rather than build up, and create boundaries that only limit our ability to truly love one another like Jesus loves us, unconditionally. This doesn't mean we have to agree with one another, but it does mean we need to lay down our offenses and push through our fears so true love can be seen. The true love that casts out all fear and has no boundaries, not one! We need to learn how to truly love so we can step outside of the box of seeing things as one side vs. the other and instead seeing it as love vs. hate. 

It's not going to be easy, hard work never is, but especially when it seems impossible to face some of the largest giants you have ever seen. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Holiday Hosting

The final post for 2016 and for the mini-Christmas series is our go-to food list -

Since my memory can be absolutely terrible sometimes :) {especially a year from now when I try to remember exactly what I made}

Christmas Eve Dinner
Italian Beef - prepared by my MIL.
Cheesey Potatoes - recipe coming soon


Christmas Morning Breakfast
Blueberry Muffin French Toast - This is one of my favorites and was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. A few years ago, I decided I would make this for Christmas morning. To simplify things {because that's always essential around here!}, I make it the day ahead and use a 12"x3" round cake pan. First thing after the kids wake us up Christmas morning, I preheat the oven, place my DIY bake-even cake strips on the outside of the pan, and bake for a little over an hour or until the center is fully cooked.


Christmas Day Brunch
Biscuits and gravy - I was able to make my gravy ahead of time in my new enameled dutch oven {thanks to the Mr. for deciding we should exchange our gifts before Christmas morning!}. For the gravy I used 1 lb of sausage and 1 1/2 batches of the gravy. As for the biscuits (2 1/2 batches), I tried for the first time to make them ahead of time and they turned out pretty good {definitely worth not making them the day of}, but this is something I will not start doing on a typical basis.

Breakfast Pizza and Breakfast Burritos - prepped the day before by the MIL.

Christmas Day Snack
Buffalo Chicken Dip - Bake until bubbly and serve with tortilla chips. I've been using this recipe for YEARS as it was shared with us by a sweet hometown friend shortly after we finished college and started life in the 'real-world'.

Fruit Pizza - prepared by one of my SILs ... I have willpower against over consumption of chocolate, but this stuff, oh dear me, NO WAY!

Christmas Day Dinner {If we still have room in our stomachs by this time}
Dagwood Sandwiches - A quick, easy, and light go to dinner around here. Salami, ham, roast beef, and lettuce on ciabatta rolls. Additional topping options: bacon, avocado, tomato, horseradish, mayo, ranch, mustard, and anything else that suites your fancy.

New Years Eve and Day Snacks
Spinach Artichoke Dip - recipe coming soon
Chipped Beef Sandwiches - recipe coming soon
More Buffalo Chicken Dip

And then a few additional things just to have on hand: granola bars (recipe coming soon) and caramels.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Homemade Dry Shampoo

Well this may be a complete stretch, BUT I decided I am going to include homemade dry shampoo as part of my Mini-Christmas Series. And why you might asked? Because we could all use a little extra time during the Christmas Season and what easier way to do this other than finding a way to stretch the number of days between hair washings! {Please note I didn't not say between showering/bathing days, heehee ... but of course you are welcome to your own interpretation and choice on that matter   ;-p}




I've been wanting to try this for a while now and when my sister shared with me one of the last times we chatted how she just had ... it was all I needed to take the plunge :)

Homemade Dry Shampoo


make-up brush (an old one is just fine)
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder (baby powder would be another option if on hand)
cocoa powder for tinting (optional)
container (I love using this size of mason jars and these lids would be really convenient)

Place the cornstarch in container. If adding cocoa powder for use on darker hair, I would suggest start by adding 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder at a time until you get the desired color. Use the make-up brush to apply at your roots. Once applied use your fingers, brush or comb to evenly coat if necessary, then take the extra 5-10+ extra minutes to use as you please!

And with that I feel the urge to not only remind myself but all of you also while we all scurry around attending to our own busyness that we will witness so many snapshots of the Christmas season (the Nativity scenes, the Christmas lights, the presents, the family gatherings, the hustle and bustle for the last minute prep) but we must not forget to take time to read the story behind all of those snapshots!

Jesus is the reason for the Season! :)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Homemade Apple Butter

And the mini-fall series continues ....

Thus far we've made -
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin Puree
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Pie
and now apple butter

It's not too often that I can get a morning post in but since today is a celebratory vacation day so I could support our high school at the state volleyball tournament, it allowed for a few extra hours this morning to finish up my apple butter and enjoy some with my breakfast!



After the debacle of coming home from work to an unplugged crockpot yesterday <insert facepalm>, the Mr. and I spent the later hours of our evening surrounded by the AMAZING aroma of this deliciousness simmering ... talk about the feels of fall! And although I didn't need to rush out of the house this morning, I had that 'Christmas Morning' moment ... when for a split second I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep and then I remembered what would be waiting for me in the kitchen!


after 10+ hours in the crockpot
After a quick spin through the food processor, we had ourselves some warm and fresh apple butter. The taste ... well lets just say if you could eat apple cider this is pretty much what it is like AND for somebody that pretty much loves all things apples, this was exactly what I had been hoping for!

The recipe was straight from Lynn at fresh april flours. The only change I made, other than the amounts do to what fit in my crockpot, was by using all fuji apples instead of the variety she called for. Although I don't think you could go wrong with this recipe no matter what variety of apple, I would love to compare how her version would taste. The next time I will be making a much larger batch and will definitely be trying it with a combination of apple varieties. 

Homemade Apple Butter

9 fuji apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon groung cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon molasses

Mix all ingredients except apples in a small bowl. Place 1/4 to 1/3 of the apples in crockpot. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup sugar mixture. Continue to layer in crockpot. Top with remaining sugar mixture and molasses drizzled on top. Cook on low for 10 or more hours. Use blender, food processor, or immersion blend to process until smooth. If the consistency is not thick enough, continue to cook in crockpot with lid off to remove some excess moisture.




Cost Comparison
Homemade Cost - about $5 for 34 ounces (apples purchased ... image if I had my own tree!)
Store Bought Cost - $3.25 for 28 ounces, Musselman's brand
Time - 20-30 minutes active participation
            just over 10 hours of total time



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Homemade Pie Crust

... and of course then some pumpkin pie! 

This recipe originated from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook but was then completely perfected by my amazing sis that lives halfway around the world! She has been the source of my inspiration on more than one occasion and she NEVER ceases to amaze me. A few weeks back I was running low on ideas and quite frankly motivation, in need of a little extra help plugging away at my 365 list, I was chatting with my her on our almost weekly chat {this can definitely be a challenge due to the 10 hour time difference} and had the idea to do some collaborative thinking! Best idea EVER!

So we started brainstorming and before you knew it we had birthed this mini-fall series with all this pumpkin deliciousness and THE absolute best pie crust recipe I have ever used {credit goes 100% to her for perfecting this pie crust}. Back in the days {like pre-kiddos} when I had time to bake pies, I had a go-to pie crust recipe that was 'good', but this my friends is AaH...MAZING! Some absolutely, completely flaky goodness {so good I am thinking about taking this dough outside of the pie world ... croissantish even maybe}. But what's even more awesome than that ... is that my sister rattled off exactly how she made her pie crust is if it were an everyday conversation!


So here you have it, straight from the source-

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 


Homemade Pie Crust

Iced water
½ cup cold butter
1 ½ flour
½ teaspoon salt















Fill liquid measure cup with ice water and let it sit. Add flour and salt to a bowl. Add butter, cubed (cut stick lengthwise in quarters, then cube). Use hands to mix quickly (you don’t want butter to melt) until mixed thoroughly and the butter is pea-sized  or smaller. Using rubber spatula, mix 1 tablespoon at a time of cold water (up to 8 tablespoons). Mix until it sticks together with no flour left in the bowl but not too moist. Transfer to saran wrap and form into a hockey puck shape. Place in fridge for 10 mins or 10 min in freezer. With a rolling pin, round out with a little bit of flower. Put it in your pie plate and crimp edges. Put in freeze to shock for 5-10 minutes (you want the butter to be nice and cold when it goes into the oven). While the crust is getting chilly, prep your pie filling. 


Homemade Pumpkin Pie Filling 

2 cups of pumpkin puree
12 ounces evaporated milk
2 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat all ingredients together. 

And now for the pie!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Remove pie crust from freezer. Pour in pumpkin pie filling. Bake at 400 for 45 -50 minutes. 

However, next time I am going to try as Mrs. Sigg's recommends and start at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for an additional 40-50 minutes. 







Additional Pie Info - for future reference and fun facts

Also from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for pies that use pre-baked pie crust. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Follow the pie crust recipe as detailed above. Cover the pie crust with a double layer of tin foil. Push it down (this will keep it from rising OR you could use pie weights). Make sure oven is hot and ready to bake the crust quickly so that your crust doesn’t get soggy. Bake for 8 minutes or until the pie crust looks dry and not moist. Remove the tinfoil and continue to bake for 6-8 minutes to make sure it’s cooked completely. Then use your freshly baked pie crust "aaaas yoooou wiiiiish." :) 

Random, I know but there are some phrases that NO matter how they are used, my brain only hears them one way and then gets sidetracked thinking about the movie it's from, like this one from The Princess Bride. And I think this is where I need to call it a night ... before my tangents get WAY to far off course! heehee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Fall Mini-Series - Post #2: Pumpkin Puree

I don't know about you but I could hit repeat on the fall season and stay here forEVER! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all the others (the glistening snow and Christmas decorations ... budding flowers and the smell of freshly cut grass ... barefeet pitter-patter and the SUN) BUT there is a peace that fills my soul seeing the slowly changing colors of the leaves, the aroma of hot apple cider, toasted marshmallows over a campfire, cool fall breezes, and my old, oversized, chunky knit cardigan!

Today's post overall really couldn't be any easier, but it does take a little bit of time.




Homemade Pumpkin Puree

1 pie pumpkin (not your ordinary jack-o-lantern pumpkin)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pumpkin into quarters. Spoon out seeds (set aside if you are up for lightly salted roasted pumkin seeds, yummmmm!) and stringy fibers. Place quartered pumpkin cut side up in a 9 x 13 dish. Bake for about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Scoop out pumpkin flesh and place in food processor. Blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or freeze. 





Now I will say I've heard from multiple sources (one being my sweet sis, who knows her homemade make from scratch stuff) that homemade pumpkin puree may carry too much water and need to be drained. A couple suggestions to remove any excess water from the puree would be cheesecloth OR 2) a coffee filter lined colander. So far I haven't noticed any excess amount of water in the pumpkin puree that I made, but only time will tell when we try it out in some pie!


Cost Comparison
Homemade Cost - $2.49 for 12 ounce
Store Bought Cost - $1.99 for 15 ounces, Libby's brand
And of course I couldn't go without taking advantage of
the pumpkin seeds. Just rinse them and spread them out in a
baking dish, sprinkle them with salt and roasted them
right next to the pumpkin quarters!
Time - 15 minutes active participation
            1 hour and 15 minutes total time

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Welcome to the Fall Mini-Series - Post #1!

After a few weeks off to get things tidied up and back into a somewhat normal routine {not sure if that ever really happens with a family of 6 .... but I sure like to try every now and again :)}, I decided with fall fully upon us it would be fitting to add a little pumpkin pie spice to the mix and cross another item off my list! So simple, I am not sure why it's taken me this long but here it is ... short, sweet and to the point since I have been a slacking and need to make up some ground!

It really is just a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves. and allspice ... so kinda like a taco seasoning you can go heavier on the flavors you are head over heals for and light on the ones you are not.


Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 cup cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all the ingredients. 


Since I am all about multi-functional, I began to wonder what would be some other great uses for pumpkin pie spice ... oh world wide web, you amaze me! Thanks to The Kitchn here are 7 other ways!

Cost Comparison
Homemade Cost - $0 for 1 ounce
Store Bought Cost - $4.89 for 1.12 ounces McCormick brand
Time - 5 minutes

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Upside Down Pizza

Because I finally remembered to take a picture!


Upside Down Pizza

1 lb ground beef
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoons spaghetti sauce mix
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 refrigerated crescent roll
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Brown hamburger. Add tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce mix. Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and milk. Pour over shredded cheese and meat mixture. Top with unrolled crescent rolls. Spread melted butter over crescent rolls and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes prior to cutting. 

Starting point and inspiration came from my grandma's recipe in our family recipe book.