Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipe {from scratch with love}

Growing up in our house, Thanksgiving was a big deal! Turkey, potatoes, vegetables… you name it, it was on our table. We couldn’t have Thanksgiving dinner without all the trimmings, including cranberry sauce!

Only, the sauce on our table wasn’t a sauce at all.

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It was more like a jello mold in the shape of a can sliced thin and laid on a plate. Which is exactly what it was.

Fast forward 30 or so years and my own foodie journey began researching and eliminating GMO’s, artificial flavors, colors and ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and carageenan. At our Thanksgiving table (present day) you will not find jellied slices of red 40 and high fructose corn syrup. NO! At our table you will find a bowl of creamy sweet cranberries, water and sugar. That’s right, three ingredients that are easy to pronounce and you may already have in your kitchen (one would hope). The best part about it is it will take about the same time to make as it does to drive to the store buy the can, come home, open and slice the jellied artificial version: about 15 minutes. The price is als0 comparable where as 12 oz. of fresh cranberries is $2.50 and an 8 oz. can of jellied cranberry sauce is $1.25, both on sale right now.

Here is my easy recipe I hope you try and let me know how it fairs in comparison to the canned stuff!

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Boil

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Blend

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Sweeten

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DONE!

Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipe {from scratch with love}


Ingredients:

12 oz. fresh cranberries

3/4 water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Optional additional/substitutions

equal parts water and orange juice

replace 1/4 cup sugar with honey

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse cranberries, picking out mushy or unripe berries.
  2. Boil water
  3. Add cranberries, boil 5-10 minutes, until all split open
  4. Drain, strain, then blend OR do not drain or strain, simply use liquid immersion blender(my method) right in the pan.
  5. Bring back to a boil.
  6. Add sugar, stirring gently for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat, allow to cool and refrigerate up to 7-10 days.

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The great thing about this recipe is you can process in a hot water bath for canning and keep for a year!

Also, if you are the kind of person who needs the jello texture, you can easily add gelatin and voila! Jellied cranberry sauce.

 

 

Crust-less Apple Crisp Recipe {from scratch with love}

There are a few things in this world that I feel confident enough to brag about. This recipe is one of those things; with only 6 ingredients and a few short steps, anyone can make this family favorite!

My mama usually comes to visit us on Mondays, and if she had the choice, she would eat my meatloaf and apple crisp every. single. Monday!

I’m not a pie person. I’m also not a cooked apple person. Heck, I’m not even a dessert person, but THIS, I will leave plenty of room, because the combination of a crispy struessel topping and sweet melt-in-your-mouth apple filling is addicting to the taste buds and keeps you coming back for more.

You will thank me for this one!

 

Crust-less Apple Crisp {from scratch with love }


Ingredients:

Struessel

3/4 c. unsalted butter (softened)

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. brown sugar

Filling

10-12 medium apples (peeled, cored, chopped)

1 c. white sugar

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.*
  2. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with butter (alternative options: coconut oil, vegetable shortening or cooking spray)
  3. Make Topping by mixing butter, flour and brown sugar to a crumble texture, set aside.
  4. Add apples, white sugar, and cinnamon to baking dish fold to coat.
  5. Spread Streussel on top of apple mixture.
  6. Bake at 350* for one hour or until toasty and light brown
  7. Serve warm with ice cream and enjoy!

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Personally, my kids love the process! They have fun watching me peel/core/cut the apples with this nifty tool and fight for the last shred of apple skin!

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Timeless Corn Pudding Recipe (From Scratch With Love)

At 25 years old, I hadn’t even heard of corn pudding. It sounded similar to bread pudding (which I despise). But, when I sat down for the first Thanksgiving with my future in-laws, I was polite. I tried it.

Had Darryl and I never made it through that first year, I still would have been in love…with this dish!

Of course, I had to have the recipe as does anyone who tries this delectable treat among the potatoes and bird on the table. It’s THAT good!

Thankfully, my Mother-in-law was happy to share her Aunt Lorretta’s side dish with me and with permission, I can share it with all (4) of you!

The original recipe is very easy to make, putting all the ingredients in a baking dish and popping it in the oven, my from-scratch version is just as easy, but with a few measuring spoons instead of a box of mix.

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So I’ll lay them both out for you:

Timeless Corn Pudding {from scratch with love }


Ingredients:

1/2 c. (one stick) butter

2 12 oz. bag frozen corn

1/2 c. sour cream

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 & 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. cornmeal

5 TBS. sugar

1 TBS baking powder

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.*
  2. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with butter (alternative options: coconut oil, vegetable shortening or cooking spray)
  3. Melt the stick of butter in a small sauce pan.
  4. Add 1/4 c. water and one bag of frozen corn to another saucepan and bring to a boil. let simmer 5 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend until creamy.
  5. Mix the first five ingredients together in the baking dish.
  6. In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.
  7. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well
  8. Bake at 350* for one hour or until golden yellow.
  9. For a firmer top, broil low for a few minutes keeping watch not to burn.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Now for the original

Timeless Corn Pudding {not from scratch but still with love }


Ingredients:

1/2 c. (one stick) butter (soft enough to stir)

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can cream corn

8 oz. sour cream

2 large eggs

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

5 TBS. Sugar

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.*
  2. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with butter (alternative options: coconut oil, vegetable shortening or cooking spray)
  3. Mix all wet ingredients in the baking dish.
  4. Add in dry ingredients.
  5. Stir until combined.
  6. Bake at 350* for one hour or until golden yellow.
  7. For a firmer top, broil low for a few minutes keeping watch not to burn.
  8. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Not only is this recipe a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving plate, alongside the turkey and sweet potatoes, it’s also perfect for breakfast or to eat as a snack (which is what I’m doing right now). I strategically waited for the kids to go to bed before making this batch for the blog, so I can eat as much as I want. Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!

Company’s Gone… Now What?

Yesterday was the start of a new series I’m calling Homemaking Madness…

We focused on a speed-clean for company although, company wasn’t coming. How did you do?

For most of us, we hurry to tidy for company and when they’ve gone, what do we do?

Do we straighten up the mess our company left? I don’t.

But, we should, because we ARE worthy of a clean home!!!

There is a saying, “treat guests like family and family like guests.” It has been argued by me that this philosophy is bogus, but, is it?

If we treat our guests like family, as in not hiding our mess… not tidying up before they come over…will they feel more comfortable?

I have no idea but there is no way I would voluntarily allow this. It would have to be a completely spontaneous visit (which doesn’t happen in the middle of the Pennsylvania woods) even at that, I would be straightening up the entire time my guests were visiting.

If we treat our family like guests, as in going all out for dinner and bring out the fine china, or making sure there was a beautifully expensive candle burning… would they feel comfortable?

I have no idea but I probably wouldn’t want to do this either. That china is pricey and I’d hate to have a chip in it at such regular use. The candle might be expensive but I don’t like candles (my cat sets himself on fire, he’s an @$$2073!)

On the other hand… if a guest comes over and you are just you, not all done up as usual. And there’s a regular dinner prepared with regular plates and lifetime movie on in the background… they probably would feel more comfortable.ย And if your family came home to classical music and a candle burning (in a hurricane) with some fancy flatware and rack of lamb on the table, they probably would feel special.

So, while I’m still partially opposed to the phrase, I can see value in it’s meaning.

A new perspective on keeping house; “Make it special for us and don’t be such a Betty Crocker when friends stop over.”

While this post is meant to give a different perspective on hosting guests in our homes, next I think we’ll get into some things we can do on the daily to make our speed-clean a little easier.

Are You Drowning in a Sea of Housework?

I am!

Oh am I!

But, not for long!

With Halloween just ending and November beginning like a lion, let’s work together to get ready for the holidays!

My house is in total disarray, as is most of my life right now. This isn’t about me, though. It’s about us coming together here on the inter-web to share our failures, our successes and everything in between.

For the month of November, I’ll be writing a series of housekeeping posts to share our journey, inspire my readers and hopefully exchange tips and tricks with all of you out there in cyberspace.

We’ll call this new series Homemaking Madness and to kick things off I’m sharing my speed cleaning strategy with you.

I shared a meme on Facebook yesterday that couldn’t be more true for me as I’m sure many of you (whether you admit it or not)

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…and it’s true.

I’ve written of this before in (how to keep house with a million mess makers)

Why do we strenuously try to attain a clean home only when company’s coming?

Why aren’t WE good enough to just have a nice, tidy, neat, clean home to live in?

 

Well, it is what it is.

Before we can achieve the great pleasure of just having a clean home (maybe from a magical fairy) let’s straighten up like company is coming!

 

Do you dread certain areas? maybe the laundry, or cleaning the bathroom? Have you read home-cleaning books or blogs where they tell you to do certain areas of the home first… blah blah blah!

 

I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you the best way to clean the house is to just do it! (my husband tells me this) But it just doesn’t work!

I get sidetracked reorganizing a closet, or deep-cleaning a corner for an hour…this does not get us ready for company.

 

My most productive house cleaning endeavors usually involve some great tunes and a game. A game? a game!

First, assess the situation, either physically or mentally. Knowing what needs to be done and prioritizing is a key to being successful in a speed cleaning session.

In my home, it’s not so much dirt as is it is stuff, mess, clutter, crap etc.

So, usually I have to go to each room and get rid of the crap before I can do anything else.

 

But, in my home, there is so much crap in every room, I never know where to begin and just don’t do any of it. I get defeated before I begin, so I brake it down to simple zones and make a game of it. Want to play?

Sample list of zones:

  1. Kitchen
  2. Laundry
  3. Bathroom
  4. Family Room
  5. Living & Dining Rooms
  6. Hallway
  7. Kid’s Bedrooms
  8. Master Bedroom

Put the rooms/zones in a hat, pick one and spend no more than 30 minutes in that zone just doing what needs to be done. The key here is only spending the 15 or 30 minutes needed in each space. Doing only what needs to be done on the surface.

Set the timer on your stove, phone or alarm clock and when time’s up, pick a new zone and keep going until all the areas have been attended.

Please customize this game to your home size and needs. If each room only needs 10 minutes of attention for presentable display, don’t start ripping down curtains, please.

A speed clean around the house is for looks, not white gloves. Now, I’m not saying to shove the dirty dishes in the oven, here, people, let’s be reasonable. The object is to get the counters de-cluttered and floor clear of the obstacle course.

Keep the momentum going but give yourself some grace. If you need a break or a rest, take it, but not more than ten minutes (set the timer).

Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour or two and can see progress!

Follow me for more posts in this series and I hope you’ve had fun speed-cleaning!

 

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Please don’t be shy, I want to hear from you! Comment on this post and share your tips, tricks, struggles and success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a medical condition…

I’ve been debating sharing this illness with anyone for a while now but I think it’s time. I can’t hide it any longer.

 

I have self diagnosed it to be “blogger’s guilt.”

 

Okay, I made it up entirely but it is weighing heavily on my heart.

 

Maybe my condition is a slight case of ADD, procrastination, overwhelmed-mom syndrome… I’m not sure yet.

Either way, I am apologizing (once again) for neglecting my blog. I set out 3 years ago to share our home, life and adventures and, personally, I’ve let myself down.

Well, today is a new day my friends! Today is the day I tell you about our home, life and adventures… for now.

Our home: It’s a mess!

~Halloween was yesterday! We are still recuperating from the festivities.

~My dining room table looks like a laundromat threw up all over it and into surrounding baskets.Not for any other reason than I. HATE. LAUNDRY.

~We’ve packed our pantry and kitchen cupboards to the point of becoming a “counter-keeping family” (another phrase I’ve just coined-right now) where we don’t have enough closet space, so, our cereal boxes and extra juice bottles are sitting on the counter.

~Our yard can now be classified as a leaf-covered meadow for frolicking fawn, which is nice; but my kids are not going out there to acquire tick born illnesses and get bitten by snakes.

~Cabin fever is beginning to set in from lack of outdoor play time.

~Baby girl #6 is awake more during the day and due to her cute and happiness factors, I will just eat her up instead of getting any work done.

~If you didn’t know, I have an etsy shop! I’m not a huge success but at night, when the kids are in bed, I’m in my workshop doing my thing.

~Another thing, if you didn’t know, we home-school. Although, this year has been extremely lax, I’m getting down to the wire and after submitting my paperwork for this session (since my Juniper turned 8 this year, it’s time to report to the state) we need to keep track and stay on task for 180 days!

~Again, if you didn’t know, I’ve been working on writing a book. (about homeschooling, actually it’s about deciding whether or not to home-school) It’s been taking me forever because of my other disorder: perfectionism. {I had to swallow my hesitation and just get it published!}

 

So if all that wasn’t enough, add in regular life things, like grocery shopping, changing diapers and scrolling my facebook feed ( all things imperative to living) my bitty, baby blog has taken more than the back burner…she’s fallen off the stove. So much so, google adwords canceled my account (not that $1.94 is a lot to lose:/ ) Now, I’ll have to gain readership and activity, then reapply in the hope of creating any kind of income here.

 

Otherwise, you all can head over to my etsy shop and buy one of my signs๐Ÿ™‚

 

Or, sign up to receive emails and head over to Amazon and grab a copy of my new book… Deciding to Homeschool: A Guide for Parents on the Fence

Meet the Author

That’s right! This mama has finally published an e-book!

Two years in the making, I’m proud to announce, Deciding to Homeschool: A Guide for Parents on the Fence

 

I couldn’t be more proud to share this with you, and I hope to help a lot of people decide if this lifestyle is right for them, and shed some light on the struggles we face as a homeschooling family.

If you read it, I hope you’ll send some feedback my way, even if it’s negative.

I’ve been holding off on publishing for quite some time; my fear of failure and my self-esteem have been stifling me.

So, why now?

Some unforeseen circumstances have presented in our life; and, to be perfectly honest, we need the money.

I know, it’s shallow and one might say I’m “selling out,” but I’m killing a couple birds here.

  1. Helping support my family (if anyone actually buys it)
  2. Sharing our experiences and my blunt opinions will (hopefully) help others
  3. Realizing this dream of being an author, a dream I’ve had since childhood
  4. Shedding some light on our life for anyone questioning themselves

So, with all these birds being killed… now, is as good a time as any.

 

To kick things off it’s available for FREE download until Friday, October 28, 2016!

Deciding to Homeschool: A Guide for Parents on the Fence

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DO NOT BUY THIS!!!!

Edited to add:

I did not experience this personally, I do not have a son. The following is an introduction from the author in the Source: Link. (I’ve added quotation marks to show her original words)

I also feel compelled to tell you that parenting is tough stuff! For a number reasons, we are all scrutinized for the tiniest indiscretion, especially when children are involved. Perhaps the mother in the post topic had a bad day, maybe the sunscreen from whichever dollar store it was purchased was really old or experienced extreme temperatures, maybe the sun was exceptionally strong that day (from a solar storm or something…).

Well, I’m not defending the mother per-say, I’m also not saying anyone who uses this sunscreen is a bad parent.

I shared the post to help anyone who might find the information and experience useful.

Maybe you or your kids have sensitive skin, maybe if you hadn’t seen this one persons account right before your vacation, you would have bought this very same product and had this very same horrific outcome.

 

Let’s try to be mindful of the fact that once we do or say something, anything, we cannot UN-do it. Even on the internet.

 

“I do not usually do things like this, but I felt compelled to share our families experience, so hopefully no one has to suffer like my son did.ย  Last Wednesday our family decided to go swimminโ€ฆ”

Source: DO NOT BUY THIS!!!!ย ย 

 

My deepest apologies for the misleading post.

Let’s Talk About Breast, Baby…

… let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be; let’s talk about BREAST

milk, that is.

If you haven’t heard, I’ve had my sixth baby. She’s about to be six months old in a few weeks.

Well, I’m ashamed to say that with my sixth, I’ve finally learned the ins and outs of breastfeeding.

How can that be, you ask? Well, no one ever told me some of the things one would need to know in order to successfully feed from the breast.

That’s right! I took lamaze, and child care classes with my first; they didn’t tell me.

I had a lactation consultant in the hospital and they didn’t tell me.

Obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, midwives… no one told me!!!!

They were all so concerned with the latch and supply at birth (two things I thankfully never had any issues with), not what happens 4-6 months down the road.

Finally with my sixth, I was determined to make breastfeeding past 6 months successful (it wasn’t with the others) and so when I registered for my insurance they asked,

“Are you expecting?”

“Yes!” I replied.

“Would you like a free breast-pump?”

I figured if feeding the baby myself wasn’t going to last, maybe pumping would at least keep her drinking my milk, so I accepted.

A few days after my baby was born, with an abundance of milk, I tried out the pump.

I read the manual cover to cover and learned something that probably would have kept my first five daughters on the breast a lot longer.

You have to prime the nipple!!!!!!

I never knew that the baby needed to suckle for up to two minutes before the milk would flow, all of my babies would reach the four-five month mark and fuss every time I tried to nurse them. Only a few seconds of getting them to the breast and they would wriggle and squirm and cry, cry, cry.

Apparently, I assumed the milk would flow like it did for the first few months…just pour out of me with or without the baby, but, girl was I wrong!

Your body and hormones change. The milk supply regulates according to the baby’s needs. If the baby doesn’t eat it, it won’t come. (the opposite of the field of dreams)

So, learning this vital tidbit of nursing information, I know to have patience with my little one right now. Instead of giving in to her fussiness and handing her a bottle like I did five times before, I soothe her and sing to her and stroke her bald head while she fusses for two minutes, the time it takes for the milk to flow, and then I hear it; the soft sound of swallowing; she’s got milk.

 

***This is a hot-button topic among moms nowadays getting into the #mommywars but just to be clear on my position:

FED IS BEST no matter bottle or breast!

It’s just my personal preference to nurse my babies.

Maybe in another post I’ll go into all the reasons behind my preference but today is not that day.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip {from scratch with love }

My biggest hit at family parties, this dip recipe has evolved over the years, because at times I would throw it together with whatever I had on hand. Well, I can say it always tasted the same somehow, and each time it was delectable!

If you have spinach and some fixin’s for a dip you can make this recipe and everyone will love it, or like me you can hoard a batch to eat after everyone’s asleep.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip {from scratch with love }


Ingredients:

1 package or 2 bunches fresh (or 1 packageย frozen) spinachย ย ย  **if using frozen spinach skip steps 2 & 3

8 oz. marinated artichoke hearts

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

1-3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (divided)

olive oil

butter

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.*
  2. Heat a large skillet at medium temperature and drizzle olive oil.
  3. Add FRESH spinach and saute until wilted.
  4. Drain spinach and artichokes.
  5. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with butter (alternative options: coconut oil, vegetable shortening or cooking spray)
  6. Finely chop spinach and artichokes,ย then add to the greased baking dish.
  7. Add the next 3 ingredients and/or salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Combine and fold in half of the shredded cheese (we favor cheddar).
  9. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
  10. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

This recipe is best served hot and pairs well with tortilla chips, bread and vegetable slices.