Thursday, April 30, 2009

Homemade Sauces/Mixes

This was posted on my local homeschool group today, so I can't give credit for where it's originally from, but it looks really good. These are almost all things I use regularly, so hopefully I'll be able to make my own and save money AND eat healthier! : )

Instead of commercial taco seasoning:
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
Add these ingredients to a pound of lean ground beef (which has been
browned for about 10 minutes with a medium chopped onion and two cloves of minced
or pressed garlic and then drained); stir and simmer for about 5 minutes
until thickened.

Instead of onion soup mix for dip:
2 tablespoons of toasted dried onion
2 envelopes beef bouillon
Stir into a half pint of sour cream or plain yogurt. ( put the onion on
foil in the toaster oven and watch it carefully as it browns quickly.)

Instead of canned enchilada sauce:
3 T flour
4 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 T garlic powder
2 T oil
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz each)
2 cans water
Combine dry ingredients, mix, add oil and stir well. Add sauce and water,
mix, heat to boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Makes about 4 cups.

Instead of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix:
2 T lemon juice
1 clove garlic (pressed if you are not using a blender)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
freshly ground pepper to taste
Put this in a blender with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 cup olive oil and
blend until smooth. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. (This is tart, so some people
prefer 1/3 cup vinegar.)

Easy, Homemade Hamburger Helper® Alternative
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
16 oz pasta cooked according to package directions
Drain pasta and combine with ground beef, then add:
2 (10 3/4 oz) cans of condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. prepared mustard
Cook on low heat until heated through. As an option, add six to eight
strips of cooked, crumbled bacon.

Homemade Rice Side
1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
1 cup thin spaghetti, broken into 1/2" pieces
3 T. butter
2 3/4 cups water
1 T. beef, chicken, or vegetable bouillon powder or granules
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 T. parsley
1/4 tsp. dried thyme or poultry seasoning
1/8 t. black pepper
Melt butter in medium saucepan or skillet, add uncooked rice and pasta
pieces, and stir about five minutes until pasta is lightly browned. Add
remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about
15 minutes. Do not lift lid. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and
let steam an additional 5-10 minutes.

Instant Stuffing Mix
3-1/2 cups unseasoned bread cubes
3 tablespoons dried celery flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sage
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
To prepare stuffing, in a sauce pan over medium heat, bring water, butter
and seasonings to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add bread cubes and mix gently. Cover and let stand for 5
minutes. Toss with a fork before serving. This equals one box.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I picked my first *ever* asparagus today! I am SO excited! (The link has recipes and growing information...indeed, all the asparagus information I was thinking of linking to.)

I read in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last year (and I wish I had the exact quote) about her forays to the asparagus patch in April, waiting for the asparagus to come up. I've kept that in the back of my mind, waiting to use the information. ; )

Last fall I noted where I've seen asparagus's easy to spot, next to the second of a row of metal posts, beside a railroad....odd place for it, I must say.... Anyway, I remembered where it was, and started stopping there to check for new plants as soon as April began. I'd forgotten to check a time or two when I passed, but last night I remembered, and today as we were passing I yelled, STOP!!! lol I am thrilled!

I want to try getting some started in my own garden...asparagus and rhubarb both, but since we're not yet sure about the new house and how it will change the lay of the yard I'm guessing I'll need to hold off on it. I'm hoping to have raised beds over most, if not all, of the yard eventually (less mowing!), and I suppose I'll have to wait a year or so to get a bed made for it.....looking forward to it, though...and in the meantime, I'll be watching for more asparagus fronds in the fall and checking those spots in the spring!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pickled Egg Experiment

My first attempt at pickled eggs. Aren't they lovely? : ) I'll let you know in a week or so how they taste. ; )

(Poomba was added to the picture for interest. DH bought him for me, and Anna named him.) lol

(Edited and new picture added 4-21-09)

The...brine? I guess.....came out a *wee* bit too ...bitey? pickley?...for my taste. The eggs were (are...I have one left) great, but the beets I dropped in (because, after all, I had to buy a can of beets to get the beet juice, and it seemed a shame to toss them after I used the juice...anyway) came out too sour to eat, but the eggs were good.

I thought I had added a link to pickled egg recipes, but apparently I forgot. Anyway, the one I used didn't call for enough sugar ~I think~ so if I go looking for another recipe I'll make sure it uses plenty of sugar.

Monday, April 13, 2009


This site is SO cool...everything you ever wanted to know about oatmeal! Who knew it was so versitle?!?

If you scroll down a bit, it tells about how to make out flour from oatmeal...that might be handy information for the next time I run low on flour and I'm in the middle of a recipe! ; )

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pickled Eggs

I started thinking about pickled eggs grandmother usually has some for Easter dinner...and wondered if it could be possible for *me* to make some.

It *IS* possible! According to this site, it's too soon to have them for Easter, although I did see another site which said they only needed to soak overnight. However, since I don't have any beets on hand anyway, I'll have to wait a bit for them.

I'm looking forward to them, though! : )

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dyeing Eggs Naturally

Dyeing eggs with natural dyes is SO cool!

We dyed some a couple years ago....the girls really enjoyed it, and I thought it was interesting. Plus, it's better for the environment than chemicals. : )