Bread Crumbs…

I don’t like wasting hard earned money on things I can make myself, especially on groceries.

I use breadcrumbs in many dishes, from meatloaf to chicken breading. Store bought is not only ridiculous in price it normally has additives.

I like using left over bread I’ve baked, but any stale (not molded) bread works fine.

I use my dehydrator to completely dry the bread after cutting it up into cubes. You can use an oven on the very lowest heat. You want to make sure there is absolutely no moisture left in any of the bread.

Next I toss the cubes into my ninja blender and pulse until the crumbs are the texture I prefer. You can also add in dried herbs or dehydrated onion, ramps and or garlic if you like for seasoning.

I keep one jar with an easy access Los for immediate use and other jars I will vac-seal to store in the pantry.

I hope you enjoyed this frugal tip for your kitchen.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

Knitted Cable Blanket

One of my favorite knitted blanket patterns, especially when using Bernat Blanket Yarn.

What you will need:

  • 10.5 circular needles
  • Cable needle of same size
  • 5 balls of Bernat Blanket Yarn (I’m using Sailors Delight color for the one pictured)

Stitches and abbreviations:

  • k = knit
  • p = perl
  • ss = seed stitch (k1,p1)

Work rows back and forth as you would on strait needles, do not connect into a circle, you are only using circular needles for the length.

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DIRECTIONS

  • Cast on 101 stitches / multiple of 11 +1
  • Rows: 1-8 seed stitch (k1;p1)
  • Row: 9 and ALL ODD rows:  ss (k1;p1) 6 stitches p1; *k2; p6; k2; p1* repeat * to * until last 6 stitches, ss(p1;k1) last 6 stitches ending on k1.
  • Row 10 & 12:  ss 6 stitches (k1;p1); k1; *p2; k6; p2; k1* repeat * to * until last 6 stitches, ss (p1;k1) last  stitches ending k1.
  • Row 14:  ss (k1;p1) 6 stitches. k1; * p2, slip 3 stitches on cable needle and hold to back, k3 from left needle, k3 off cable needle, p2; k1 *  repeat * to * until last 6 stitches, ss (p1;k1) last 6 stitches ending k1.
  • Row 16:  ss (k1;p1) 6 stitches, k1; * p2; k6; p2; k1* repeat * to * until last 6 stitches, ss (p1;k1) last 6 stitches ending k1.
  • Repeat rows 9-16 until the desired length.
  • Final 8 rows: ss (k1;p1)
  • Cast off.

Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Rice

 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, I baked one of my favorite stand-by cookies to share with friends and coworkers.  Upon receiving many requests to pass on the recipe, I decided to post it, so here it is.  It is a very basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, however, here is the secret.  REAL BUTTER and DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS.  Yup, that’s the secret.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients mixed in one large mixing bowl:

  1. Cream 1 cup (2 sticks) of REAL softened butter.
  2. Slowly whip in 3/4 cup of white sugar (or raw sugar)
  3. Slowly add in 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar (molasses sugar)
  4. Slowly fold in 1 tsp of real vanilla (imitation vanilla does not have the same flavor)
  5. Off to the side in another small bowl, whip 2 eggs until ‘fluffy’ and add into the wet mixture by folding the eggs in until well disbursed.
  6. Add in 3 cups of dark chocolate chips (4 cups if you use the small (mini) chips)

In a separate bowl, sift together your dry ingredients.

  • 2 1/4 flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of salt

It is very important to thoroughly sift your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding to your wet ingredients.

Next, fold in your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients a half cup at a time.  Yes, you read that correctly, a half cup at a time.  fold in making sure the wet and the dry combine evenly, so that the only lumps are your chips.

Once you have all of your ingredients mixed together in one bowl, set to the side.

Cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

I use a melon scoop so that my cookies are pretty even in size, but you can use a tablespoon or even a regular silverware spoon.  I scoop the dough and roll them into tight little balls.

Place the balls on your cookie sheet, make sure there is plenty of room in between because they will spread out a bit as they cook.

Bake for 10-11 minutes (until golden brown) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove them from the paper and let cool on a paper towel (or cookie towel-thin weave towel).  Don’t put in your cookie jar or container until completely cooled.

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Sometimes I’ll add a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts, sometimes I’ll mix in a cup of mint chips as well, this is to your taste and mood at the time.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, please let me know how you liked it!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

 

 

Preserving Wild Ramps

Wild Ramps, also referred to as Wild Leeks, are an amazing spring treat that grows in the wooded areas around the same time that morals (mushrooms) and Pheasant Back Mushrooms start to peek out.  April to the end of May these wonderful natural treats cover select patches of wooded areas.  They originally were gathered and enjoyed in the Appalachia Areas (that I know of).   Ramps taste like sweet garlic.  Some people say they taste like green onion, but to me they are more garlic.

This year my husband and I went foraging and were blessed with an abundance of Ramps and some Pheasant Back mushrooms.

Since I work in the city all week, I long for my evenings and weekends in the country.  I love coming home to simplicity, and it doesn’t get much more simple than this.  Enjoying the gifts strait from God.  The wonderful afternoon hike proved to be more than just good for my soul, but it provided a bountiful addition to our pantry.

We love both of these items fresh, but honestly their natural shelf life is not very long.  So what to do with all the wonderful goodies, without over eating or worse, wasting them?

My favorite recipe this year is Pickled Ramps.  A very good friend of mine from church sent me a link for a recipe she uses for her pickled radishes.  I’ve tweaked it a tad to include water bath canning time and preferred taste:

Recipe 1:  Spicy Pickled Ramps  (Makes 2 pints)

Preparation:  Clean your ramps.  Wash thoroughly, peel away the outer layer, cut off the roots and just below the leaves.  (Keep your leaves separated for the next recipe)

 

Once you have your ramps ready, pack them tightly in clean and sterilized Pint Canning jars.  I pack mine to where there is a layer bulb down and a layer bulb up so that they are nice and tight but not squished.

In EACH Pint Jar Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon of whole mustard seed.

Set the jars two the side, while your water bath canner is heating up.

Off to the side on another stove burner in a Simmering Pot Add:

  • 3/4 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar (canning grade)
  • 3/4 cups of Water
  • 2 teaspoons of canning salt
  • 3 tablespoons of raw honey

Heat your liquid mixture, constantly stirring until it is boiling.  Make sure you don’t stop stirring so your honey doesn’t scorch.

Pour your liquid over your ramps in your jars until the ramps are covered (1/2 inch head space for the jar).

Wipe down your jar rims from any splash.

Place your lids on the jars and tightly (but not like Hercules tightly) put on your rims.

Place the jars one by one in your water bath canner.  Water should be one inch over your jars after all jars are loaded into your canner.

Once your canner comes to a boil, you will want it to remain boiling for 20 minutes.

At the sound of the timer, the end of twenty minutes, I turn off the heat to the canner and let it sit until the boil is gone.  Then using canning tongs I take my jars out and put them on a clean covered area where they can cool for the next 12 hours.  Each sealed jar will give you that wonderful “POP”.  Let cool for 12 hours and put away in the pantry.

These are best if you can wait 5 days before opening, however, we opened one jar 24 hours after it was canned, we couldn’t stand it any longer, and it was absolutely heavenly.

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Refrigerate after you break the seal.

Recipe #2: Dehydrated Ramps

Remember when I said, don’t throw away those leaves?  Well here is why, they make yummy soup & stew & Stock greens.  Using your dehydrator (or oven on the lowest temperature), spread your leaves out and dry, then crumble up.

For the bulbs, we slice thin and put in the dehydrator at 100 degrees for overnight (or until they crumble).  Dehydrated ramp bulbs are so yummy to just eat like chips if you like garlic, which we do.  They are also perfect for dried goods for your pantry to be used anywhere you would use leeks, garlic or green onion.

We have a Vac-u-Sealer with a lid attachment, so we put our dehydrated goods in a canning jar, then using the lid attachment vac-seal the jar.  This is a great way to store without crushing your dehydrated goods.  NOTE:  You must use a clean jar and a clean canning lid each time you seal the jar.  You can not reuse lids.20180508_200148742386972.jpg

We also cleaned, diced and stored our Pheasant Back mushrooms this way with the dehydrator and the vac-u-sealer with the lid attachment.  The centers will be used for stew and soup stock while the tender outer areas will be used for pretty much anything.

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I really hope you enjoy this recipe and ideas to use what you have and venture out into nature to enjoy the beauty and bounty provided there.

But remember this, don’t take more than YOU can use.  Don’t be greedy.  Use a netted bag when collecting mushrooms (that way the spores will fall to the ground and make more next year).  Leave plenty for the animals and nature.  Oh and if you don’t know for sure if something is not edible, don’t eat it.  😉

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

 

 

 

Homemade Blueberry Syrup

Since I can my own fruit, especially berries, I have plenty of juice available as well. Each year I pick up fresh blueberries in Michigan when I visit my parents and to me nothing is better than blueberry syrup on pancakes.

Fruit syrup is simple to make.

Place 1 cup of juice in a small pot and add 1 cup of honey. While stirring heat on high for about 15 min after boiling. Let cool and bottle. Keep in your refrigerator.

Until next time.

Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice

Think Twice Before Getting Chickens

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Hey Hey and Penny

Yes, you read that title correctly.  I have had chickens in many places for many years and when my husband and I moved back to ‘the country’ I knew I had to have ‘my girls’ again.  For me it comes natural to have hens on my property, but not and I repeat, NOT, as pets.  They have a purpose.  They lay eggs for breakfast, when they stop laying, they are dinner.  Even the ones with names.

I have found to many people this is disturbing.  All I can say is this.  Chickens are livestock, period.  Yes, they have personalities and yes we even named some of our ‘favorites’.  BUT, they are still livestock, they provide us with food.  There will be a day when my favorite, Hey-Hey, the white hen picutred (yes we named her after the rooster from Moana), will no longer provide us with fresh eggs for breakfast and she will find herself on the chopping block.   This is my first point of think twice before having chickens.

Another other points is cost.  They are not cheap.  You must provide good shelter, ‘litter’ for the floor of their roost which does need taken care of, food, lots of food.  This includes good quality egg layer pellets/crumbles, scratch (seeds and stuff for them to scratch for), oyster shell for strong eggs and treats.  If you free-range some of this eases a bit in the spring, summer and fall, but then you also have to take into account, predators.  You will eventually loose a chicken or more to predators.   I spoil my girls on their food, for two reasons:  Health of the chickens and good eating (eggs and chicken).

Another think to consider is chores.  Chickens are an everyday chore, there  are no vacations and no excuses.  We are blessed with a wonderful neighbor who is our “chicken sitter” when we go out of town, but for the most part you are looking at care multiple times a day.  Food, water must not run out.  The coop and run MUST be kept clean to avoid pests, smell and disease.  The water must remain clean for the same reason and in the winter to prevent freezing.  Chickens are the ADHD animal of the livestock world and will need things to keep them preoccupied.  I throw in scratch seed and straw to keep them entertained or bundles of fresh greens (NOT SPINACH) to entertain them.  Sometimes they get spoiled with a fresh surprise of live crickets from the pet store.  If they are not entertained, they will go to picking on each other, never pretty to find one of your girls ‘hen-pecked’ to death, literally.   There is smell involved in chickens, if you have a backyard coop, keep that in mind, the poop has to go somewhere.  Chicken manure should always be composted before adding to gardens (great fertilizer), but still the poop, and there is lots of poop, must go somewhere and be cleaned often.

Chickens love to explore, again, they are the ADHD animal of the homestead.  They don’t understand boundaries or telling them ‘NO’.  Fence where they can be and make it tall, yes chickens can fly if their wings are not trimmed.  They will also eat, or attempt to eat, anything and everything.  If you don’t want your tulips eaten, fence them off or keep the girls in a large pen.

You do not need a rooster to have eggs.  You only need a rooster if you want babies.  Personally, we don’t have a rooster because we do not want to be woken up before sunrise every day and we also don’t want that one change of opening a fertilized egg.  I’ve done that before, it’s not pretty.

I love having our hens.  They are entertaining and it is wonderful to have the abundance of eggs.  We have 13 hens are we average 10 – 13 eggs a day.  Our friends like them too.  Just think twice before starting your flock, you are devoting your life to a way of life, not a cute feathery novelty and they deserve your attention and care.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

One Skillet Dinner: Rice, Beans and Pork

Dinner doesn’t have to be a major production.  I am a true believer in keeping it simple and using what is on hand.  Recipes that have a ton of ingredients that you will only use once, are wasteful and frustrating.

I keep my pantry stocked with basics that I can go to in a pinch, beans, rice and canned meat & stock (I pressure can my own) are always on my shelves.  I keep diced onions in the freezer for a quick go to as well.

Here is a simple one skillet meal that really sticks to your ribs and is so easy to prepare.  Nothing fancy, even the name is as simple as it gets:

Rice, Beans and Pork

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of rice (not cooked)
  • 1 cup of pork (or chicken) broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 four/eight ounce jar of mushrooms (depending how much you like mushrooms, or not at all if you don’t)
  • one small onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon of lard or butter
  • 2 cups of shredded pork or chicken (or canned, I use my own canned pork)
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp of parsley
  • 1/4 tsp of thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce (Optional)

Directions:

  1. In a deep skillet, melt your lard/butter.
  2. add in your onion and garlic and cook until limp.
  3. Add in your mushrooms with juice.
  4. Add in your Rice, stir in with the base until well mixed.
  5. Add in your Broth and meat.
  6. Add in your beans.
  7. Add in water and cover the skillet and let cook until MOST of the water is soaked up by the rice.  (use a medium heat)
  8. Add in your parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  9. Continue to cook while “folding” ingredients until the rice is tender. Be very careful not to scorch your rice!
  10. Dish up and serve, adding hot sauce to your liking.

This dish also is great as leftovers for a quick lunch or meal on the run.

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Enjoy and Until next time!

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

 

Cheeseburger Casserole

A simple recipe that kids and adults will love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 4 ounces diced roasted pablano peppers or green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons of steak sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Hand full grated pepper jack cheese
  • Hand full grated chedder cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup biscuit mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spray deep dish pie dish with no stick spray
  3. In a skillet, brown onions and garlic with hamburger.
  4. Add to meat mix the steak sauce, salt, pepper and roasted peppers.
  5. Drain off grease.
  6. Put meat mix in deep dish pie dish.
  7. Put cheeses on the browned meat, keep a little cheese to the side.
  8. In a small bowl, whip the milk and eggs until well mixed.
  9. Add in biscuit mix and fold until no lumps.
  10. Pour on top of the meat and cheese.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Pull out and sprinkle remaining grated cheese on crust.
  13. Finish baking for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice

Knitted Triangle Shawl

A simple knitted shawl is always nice to have around to keep the shoulder’s warm.  This pattern is on a level of EASY.

Measures:  72 inches at the widest point and 24 inches at the longest point.

Yarn Used:  Red Heart Super Saver Ombre (I used the Baja Blue for the color)

Needles:  Circular knitting Needle US 8, 40 inches long.  Stitch markers.

Hooks:  for the trim Crochet Hook J (Optional)

Abbreviations:

k = knit; k2tog = knit 2 stitches together; tog = together; yo= yarn over; [] = work directions in brackets until the number of times specified; dc = double crochet (trim); sc=single crochet (trim)

NOTES:  This Shawl is worked back and forth in rows.  Utilizing a circular needle allows for the width as it grows.

Row 1: (Right Side):  k1, yo, k1, yo, place marker, k1, place marker, yo, k1, yo,k1 = 9 stitches.

Row 2: knit

Row 3: k1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, slip marker, yo, knit to last stitch yo, k1.  = 13 stitches

Row 4: knit

Repeat rows 3-4 three more times = 25 stitches on the last row worked.

Row 11:  k1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, slip marker, yo, knit to last stitch, yo, k1 = 29 stitches.

Row 12: k1, purl to last stitch, k1.

Repeat rows 11-12 two more times = 37 stitches on last row.

Row 17 (Right Side):  k1, yo, k1,[yo, k2tog] to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, slip marker, [yo, k2tog] to last stitch, yo, k1, yo, k1 = 41 stitches.

Row 18:  Repeat row 12.

Repeat rows 11-18 until there are 269 stitches are on the last row worked.

Next row (Wrong side):  Knit.

Next Row:  k1,yo,knit to last stitch, yo, k1 = 271 stitches.

Bind off on the last wrong side row.

For the trim:

Start on a corner: Attach using the loop method with your yarn.  Chain 3 (This is your first double chain. 3 more DC, chain one, 4 double chains in the same stitch on the corner. Skip 2 stitches and SC in the third stitch.

Skip 2 stitches, 4 DC in the next stitch skip 2 stitches, single chain in the next stitch.

Continue this shell pattern until the next corner.

On the next corner stitch:  DC 4 in the same stitch, chain one, DC 4 in same stitch skip two stitches, 4 DC in the next stitch skip 2 stitches, single chain in the next stitch.

Continue this shell pattern until the next corner.

On the next corner stitch:  DC 4 in the same stitch, chain one, DC 4 in same stitch skip two stitches, 4 DC in the next stitch skip 2 stitches, single chain in the next stitch.

Using a single chain attach to your original corner starting shell top.

To block, pin piece on board evenly and flat to remove “curl”.  Spray with a little water and leave to dry.

Then Wear and Enjoy!

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Until Next Time,

Kay L. Rice

 

 

Alphabet Soup Mix in a Jar

Meal-Prepping and filling your pantry doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  Utilizing dehydrated veggies and herbs works great to have a quick grab and prepared home cooked meal.  These also have a great shelf life to have on hand during emergency and disaster situations.

Today I am sharing a fun kid friendly recipe.  Alphabet Soup.  And it tastes so much better than store bought condensed.

First to prepare your jars.

  • 1 half pint canning jar with a tight lid.
  • 1 cup alphabet pasta
  • 2 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granuals or powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions for jars.

  1. Make sure your jar and lids are clean and dry!
  2. Layer 1/2 cup of pasta, then 1 tablespoon of dehydrated veggies, then the boullion and Pepper.
  3. Layer the second tablespoon of veggies then the second half cup of pasta.
  4. The layering just makes it “pretty”.
  5. Tightly screw on your lid and label.
  6. Alphabet Soup Mix
  7. Add 4 cups water + 1/2 cup of tomato pasta sauce.

When you are ready to use.

  1. Place water, pasta sauce and contents of jar in a large sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, or until pasta and veggies are tender.

Easy peasy!

Place in a cool place to store that isn’t prone to high humidity, your pantry.
Until next time!

Kay L Rice