Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

I wish you a wonderful Easter spent with loving family and friends! 
The crux of the Christian faith is the death and ressurection of the Lord Jesus and and we have so much to be thankful for in all that was accomplished!  Forgiveness of sins, victory over sin, walking with a Lord who is a perfect and loving Father.    In this world we can only catch glimpse of what a perfect Father is, but He encompasses all that we need, desire or want in every part of life.
  My prayer is that you would know Him and grow in faith, grace and love. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

Ive been making my own hand soap and, wowser, every time I make it I am impressed! The scent is great and the texture is just like a namebrand softsoap.
It's so much more economical than buying in the stores.  
Homemade Soft Soap,  Homemade Liquid Soap 
Best of all it's easy!

1 bar of your favorite hand soap
Boiling water
1 Tbsp Glycerin (purchase at health food stores or online)
1 Tbsp Honey

Grate your bar of soap or throw it in your food processor (makes it much easier!) 
Add 1 cup of boiling water and whip till mixture is thick.  Let mixture cool for 15 minutes and add glycerin and honey.  You can also add some moisturizer if you like especially during the cold winter months.  

Add water up to 6 cups and whir in food processor, adding water bit by bit until desired consistency.
Running your soap through the food processor (or better quality blender)  really makes your soap thicken up and not a watery mess.

Before pouring into container let sit overnight since it will thicken. If you store it in a plastic container the soap taste and smell will be absorbed so it's best to store in glass or metal.  If you put it in too early it will be too thick to run through the pump.  Add enough water and whir in food processor again if neccesary.

 I was very pleased with the results and will use this recipe time and time again!

Here's the cost breakdown. For my last batch of handsoap each bar of soap cost .45 cents and the glycerin cost $4.50ish.  (If you use a more expensive soap it will cost more)  I've used about 1/16th of the bottle of glycerin so I can safely say that each batch of soap makes about 4 bottles of hand soap and costs approximately 70 cents.  If I were to buy the generic hand soap it would cost approximately 4 dollars for the amount I made.   One bottle of soap in the store runs approximately 90 cents to a dollar so it's quite a great savings!

Since this has honey in it (and possible moisturizer)  I wouldn't use this on your glasses.  :)  Ask me how I know!  After running this through my food processor the plastic absorbed some of the smell of the soap.  I ran some baking powder mixed with vinegar in my processor and it remedied it.  I'm going to be on the lookout for a cheapy food processor at the food processor for when I grate soap with it.

My inspiration for making this hand soap came from this video.

A Favorite Thing at Mockingbird Hill Lane Cottage
Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spanish Rice

Here are the ingredients~ 
1 cup of long grain rice 
2-3 Tbsp Tomato Sauce ( You can see how I store mine here
onion~  about 1/3 of an onion (or however much you like) 
Season Salt 
Cajun Seasoning 
Goya (comes in small envelopes inside of box.  You can find it in the Hispanic section of the supermarket
(all of these are totally optional and you can use whatever you like and have on hand.  These are what I like.  I love the Goya since it gives a great flavor and wonderful color but, sometimes I don't have it and I don't use it.  
Add some oil to pan~  about 2 Tbsp or so
Cook rice on medium heat until it starts getting brown.  
Add more oil if neccesary and keep sauteeing the rice.  
Chop up onion and add to pot.  I like minne coursely chopped.
Add about 2-3 Tbsp of tomato sauce.  I've frozen mine into little discs since I usually never use the entire can and don't want to waste the leftovers.  (In a pinch I've even used salsa as a substitute for the tomato sauce) 
Add the seasoning.
Add the water recomended on the package to cook.  Usually, as a rule of thumb, it's double the amount of rice~  1 cup of water to 2 cups of rice.  I'd go about 2 tbsp less than that amount since you used that same amount of tomato sauce.  Now is a good time to taste your water and see how you like the flavor and adjust seasoning if neccesary.  
In this batch of spanish rice, I've added a pound of cooked ground turkey since I was making a main dish.  Totally optional. 
I'm a cheater.  After living in Asia for over 13 years of my life I can't live without my rice cooker.  I hate boiled over pots of rice so I stick it all in my rice cooker and walk away and let it cook.  No overboiled pots and that's how I like it!  If you don't have a rice cooker just bring the rice to a boil and then let it cook on low heat till the water is absorbed.  
This is a great side for enchiladas, burritos, or any Mexican food.  Like I had mentioned previously,  I added ground turkey to this batch and ate it with some salad.  I added a bit of shredded Colby to the top but Monterey Jack is the most tastiest!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homemade Yogurt in Crock Pot

After one of our batches of yogurt failed we've updated our recipe for no failure.  Please click on over to our post on Homemade Yogurt to get the updates!
Homemade yogurt in crock pot,  Homemade yogurt in slow cooker.      
Homemade yogurt in crock pot,  Homemade yogurt in slow cooker.
Homemade yogurt in crock pot,  Homemade yogurt in slow cooker.
4 cups of Milk~  for thicker yogurt use whole milk 
1/2 cup dry (powdered milk but I used 3/4 cup) 
1/4 cup plain yogurt with live yogurt cultures as a starter.  I used Greek Yogurt

Step One~  Place milk in pot and heat up till milk is almost boiling which is 180 degrees.  You don't neccesarily need a thermometer for this but I like to be sure.  When the milk is just starting to boil in the middle of the pot then it's at the right temperature.  Cover.  

Step Two~  Let sit for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Here's where using a thermometer is handy.  Your milk should be at 110 degrees.    

Step Three~  Remove 2 cups of the yogurt and put in seperate bowl..  Whisk in 1/2 cup powdered milk and 1/4 cup yogurt.  Whisk well.  Place back in crock pot and whisk again.  Cover crockpot with a towel or a blanket to hold in heat and let sit for 8 hours. It's important to keep your pot in a draft free place.  On my second batch we left the kitchen door open and my yogurt was a failure.  The BEST place to keep your yogurt is wrapped up in towels and place it in your oven after you have removed the racks so it can fit.  

After 8 hours you should have yogurt.  You can put the yogurt in jars or tupperware and refrigerate.  If there is any seperation of yogurt and whey you can take off the whey and throw it away or use it in bread recipes in place of water.  Whey will stay good in the refrigerator in a glass jar for a few months.

This is unsweetened yogurt so I've added a bit  lot of honey.
Homemade yogurt in crock pot,  Homemade yogurt in slow cooker.
And some chopped pecans.  I like texture!  I should have added fruit~ next time!
Homemade yogurt in crock pot,  Homemade yogurt in slow cooker.
Homemade yogurt in crock pot,  Homemade yogurt in slow cooker.
Save 1/4 cup of your culture for your next batch.  You can even freeze the yogurt since the good bacteria is not killed by the cold temperatures.  

The one struggle I had to get over about eating homemade yogurt was that I knew exactly how long a milk product sat unrefrigerated.  11 hours!  I'm paranoid about food going bad coupled with food poisoning so it was a big hurdle for me honestly.  I've been eating this yogurt for 2 days now and I can't wait to try it with fruit smoothies.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Smoothies for 2

Easy Smoothies
Smoothies are so yummy and I love trying different variations!  
I did these today for the hubs and I and they are pretty basic.  
Easy Smoothies
Frozen fruit~  your choice of rasberries, strawberries, peaches...etc (1/2 cup or so)
Bananas 2 or 3 ( chop and freeze them in a baggy for an even better smoothie)
Yogurt~  This is the American counterpart to the Korean version of yogurt.  I prefer using a regular 8 ounce of yogurt but this is what I had .   

If I use a different frozen fruit I'll add in some canned peaches sometimes.  

I use a food processor but a blender is great too.  
Easy Smoothies
Blend fruit and juice together.  
Easy Smoothies
Add more bananas or juice to desired thickness.  
If my bananas aren't frozen I'll stick it in the freezer for a bit.  
Quick and easy breakfast!

Easy Smoothies

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Indian Fried Bread & Tacos

I rustled up some Fried Bread this afternoon for an early dinner/late lunch and then then, using what I have in the kitchen, made up some Indian Fried Tacos.   Not bad and pretty easy to boot!  
Indian Fried Bread, Indian Tacos
It isn't as greasy as it seems since the dough is pretty thick and doesn't absorb too much oil.  
Mix together: 
4 cups flour 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk 
Oil for frying 
Mix together flour, salt and baking powder.  Pour in milk and knead dough till incorporated.  It isn't an easy dough to knead and is rather tough.  Seperate into 12 pieces and roll out flat to about 1/4 inch thickness.  
Indian Fried Bread, Tacos
 Fry in oil till bubbly and then flip over and fry on other side.  
Indian Fried Bread, Tacos
Even though the dough is a bit difficult to roll out and not very flexible, once fried it becomes very soft and pliable.  
Serve with meat, refried beans, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa.  
Indian Fried Bread, Tacos
The bread alone is great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and anything and all.  It's really good!     
Indian Fried Bread, Tacos
A Favorite Thing at Mockingbird Hill Lane Cottage
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Believers in Action~ Ministry

My husband and I had the opportunity to visit with a sweet lady who so kindly invited us into her living room to sit and talk.

She has macular degeneration and her vision is quickly growing very dim.  She has been housebound and is unable to work.  She is quickly losing her ability to do things independantly and has basically shut herself off from the outside world.  Her husband was a pastor and had passed away 2 years earlier.  She told us of their last conversation and how they held hands for the last time that very day.   A short while later he went to take his daily shower and she found him in a praying position with the water running over his body in the shower.   He had already gone to be with the Lord.

She mentioned to me how that, because of her situation she doesn't feel that she has a ministry anymore. Oh how my heart broke for her!  I encouraged her that she DOES have a ministry and God can use her in her situation!   Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us!  
Sometimes it's messy and very uncomfortable!  
And did I mention that it HURTS???   Oh yes it hurts!
  Our ministry capacity might not be what we've desired and had in times past,
but God has a ministry for each and person.  
Right now.  
At this moment where we are at.  In the middle of the pain, the hurt and the suffering.  
All of this~  God can use!
The best person to help a hurting person is one who has been hurt. 
 If you are breathing God has a purpose for you~ to use you.  To touch, strengthen and encourage those around you from what you have been through.  
Your life can touch others in ways unimaginable!

In the church world there is this notion that only people who are serving in a large capacity are ministering.  
It's the false premise that ministering is only done by pastor's, pastor's wives, evangelists, speakers and writers and...   It's NOT true!  
Ministering is believers in action!  You!
If you are a Christian, you are living, breathing, walking and sharing a testimony of the Grace of God!   
Pray for friends.   
Read the Bible with them.  
Befriend them.  
Bring someone food.  
Help a hurting family.  
Bring a sick person soup. 
Visit a shut in. 
But the most important way to minister is to love.  

 Only you can touch people in significant ways because you are an instrument (and minister) for Him!  

In what ways can we be God's hands and feet and reach out to others?  

Let your lifesong sing~

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

My New "Cloche"

I love cloches and have been scouting for them as I shop.  Last Monday at the thrift store I ran into this~  2.50 marked down half price to 1.25.  So I brought it home and started trying how it fit on different things~  

I already had the mini cake stand so here's how it looks~ 
This red salad plate was .35 cents...
...and the large yellow dinner plate was .35 cents also.   
I know that it's not 'officially' a cloche.   It's probably the top a of a cheese dish where the bottom has gone missing but I love it anyways!  
A Favorite Thing at Mockingbird Hill Lane Cottage

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Candy Apple Red Kitchen Aid!

On Tuesday Night, hubby and I returned home and there was a box that was delivered at our back door.  We hadn't ordered anything.  On the outside it said "Kitchen Aid".  Of course I had always wanted a Kitchen Aid so I asked the hubs if he ordered it.  He said, no.  So I sat it on the dining room table while I scratched my head wondering who in the world could have sent this to us???    Enter Melissa.  You can find her blog here and here.  We met at an internet Embroidery Group over 10 years ago (has it really been THAT long?) and we met in person,  attended church together, had lunch, stitched and chatted for a few hours.  It was a lot of fun and we've remained friends ever since!  We've done swaps in the past and sent each other gifts so I wasn't surprised when she asked for my new address last week.  Yes, it was Melissa that sent the Kitchen Aid and one of her comments on Facebook after I found out it was her was the sweetest ever!  
I know you will use it probably about everyday!  
You deserve it and God just likes to dote, and we like to be a part of it! ;-D
Over the years that I've known Melissa, she's always had a heart to serve the Lord and showing the Love of God in an authentic way with no pretenses.  
Thank you Melissa for being such a wonderful friend and for all of the encouragement over the years!  You are a sweet blessing to me!   

Here's the note that was included in the box~ 
I am blessed!  Over and Over!  

And the instructions and recipe book~  oh yeah!!!
Sitting on my dining room table.
The next morning (which was today) I finally got the nerve to open this pretty thing!   
Out of the box!!! 
The Attachments~! 
Isn't she pretty???  Candy Apple Red!!!
Would you look at that shine? 
I'm still in shock~ it's an Artisan!  Wowser!!! 
Her name is Candy and her sheen is drop dead gorgeous!!!
Her new home on the countertop!  
Isn't she a beauty?  
Thank You my Friend!!!  (((hugz)))

Places I share with~ 
A Favorite Thing at Mockingbird Hill Lane Cottage