Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pickin' Berries

Just a couple photos of Eli picking the blueberries! We had fun and I think it will be an annual family event!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blueberries Galore! Part 2

There were still MORE blueberries, so I had to do somethings else. I saw that Crystal at Money Saving Mom was having a baking day and making Blueberry Streusel Muffins and had to try them. They are delicious. I loved this recipe and will make it often! It is not so healthy, but it does have blueberries and I think I will use 1/2 whole wheat flour next time.

Here is my batter, chock full of blueberries.

Topped with streusel, ready to go in the oven.

Just out of the oven, gooey berries overflowing!

They tasted as good as they look!

Blueberries Galore!

On Monday Andy, Eli, and I went to a farm in Lampe, MO to pick blueberries with our friend Sarah. Eli ate as many blueberries as he picked, including a couple that were green and not blue! Sarah picked about 3 pounds and we ended up with close to 7 pounds. The next question was what to do with hundreds of blueberries! The first thing I did was rinse and sort the berries, then take the stems off. I was consciense to remove the stems as I picked, but Andy and Eli were not. Eli just pulled berries off and Andy would pick whole bunches which was faster, but also meant I had unripe or overripe berries with stems. Then I froze a couple pounds by laying them out on a baking sheet in the freezer then putting them in a ziploc bag.

Here are some of our many berries! The next task was freezer jam. As with all homemaking tasks, this was new to me! I was excited at how easy it was to do and how delicious it was to eat! I just used the recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook. The basic recipe for freezer jam is about equal amounts of crushed fruit and sugar and a package of pectin mixed in.

Here are my berries in the midst of crushing...

After I added the sugar. It takes about 20 minutes to dissolve. Just stir every few minutes.

After the pectin was added, I stirred for a couple minutes.

My finished product! It takes up to a day to set up. I did one jar and the rest in tupperware-like containers. I am giving the jar to my daddy! He likes fresh jam! Freezer jam will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge and 6-12 months in the freezer.
We had toast with jam for breakfast this morning and it was wonderful! This recipe was a success!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Skillet Granola

This was my first attempt at making granola and I think it turned out well. This was a very simple recipe with ingredients I have on hand. Most granola recipes call for soaking oats and baking them. I cannot do this. The time it would take! This recipe from the University of Oregon took less than 30 minutes. I, of course, did not follow the recipe exactly, and I certainly did not measure most ingredients.

1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups uncooked, old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I used chopped nuts instead)
1 cup raisins

1. Warm oil and honey in a skillet for one minute over medium heat. Add
powdered milk and vanilla. (At this point I also added a few shakes if cinnamon)
2. Stir in oats and sunflower seeds and mix until coated with oil and
honey mixture. Heat over medium heat. Stir until oatmeal is slightly
brown. (I browned for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes)
3. Take off heat. Stir in raisins.
4. Cool mixture. Store in an airtight container (jar or plastic bag).

Oil and honey after it heated.After I added powdered milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Poured in oats, then mixed.
My finished product!

Cooling before I sealed it.
It tasted great. I think I will have it mixed with Cheerios for breakfast tomorrow. I also need to get yogurt and use my granola as a topping.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

At the lake with Nana and Grandpa

My mom and dad went to Horseshoe Bend, AR last week and kindly invited Eli and I to join them for a couple days. Andy was invited as well, but he had to work. Someone has to support us, you know! My parents drove down on the bike. My dad's mid-life crisis is a shiny, blue Harley Davidson Electric Glide. Since he got they have made a few long trips on the bike, to Tennessee, Branson, Arkansas. Maybe California is next!

Grandpa and Eli in their matching clothes! They went on a walk down to the lake before supper. I love the khakis, red Ts and ball caps!

Waving 'hi' to Nana and the camera!

Notice the cigar in my Dad's mouth. He chews on one while traveling then smokes it sometime during vacation. Odd habit...

Playing in the sand. It was amazing. The resort has white sand dumped on the beach. It gets a little darker the closer it is to the water. Much better than the rocks that are by our lakes at home! The bucket, shovel, and other sand toys were a great investment from Dollar General. Eli played with them for hours and we used them at Table Rock Lake too!

Mom, Eli and I swimming!

Playing mini-golf in town. The course was really neat and creative, but was falling apart and badly in need of repair. It was actually dangerous because there were large limbs on the ground and boards that had fallen off with nails sticking out. Eli does love golf. It involves a ball!

Fishing off the dock! My dad says this was a terrifying experience. Eli doesn't mix well with hooks!

Canoeing, Eli was a little nervous, but he loved all the 'boats'!

New Room!

Since Carmody is getting a new room, we had to redecorate Eli's room. The new look was a gift from Grandma (Thanks!).

A personalized growth chart! Eli loves balls. When this came in the mail he was so excited and said "ball, ball, ball" over and over again.
The new bedspread matches the light green walls in Eli's room. It is very bright and fun!

New curtains make the room so cheery!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cheap Dairy

Dairy items do not usually have coupons or amazing sales, but it is possible to get a good deal on these. One of Eli's favorite foods is yogurt. I would love to buy it for him, but at $.50 a serving it can get pricey. I tried once to make my own yogurt and was a failure. I plan to try again someday, but until I am successful at yogurt making I have found another option.

While at the grocery store, I check the expiration or sell by dates on the yogurt and pull the ones that expire that day or the next. When I check out I ask for a manager to mark them down. And every time they have! I usually find 4 or 5 containers each week, which makes my son and husband happy. Different managers mark different prices, but I ordinarily pay $.20-25 for each carton. I check each brand, but if one is on sale, they won't generally be expired.

This also works for other dairy products like milk, cream, etc. If you are not going to use them right now these can be frozen and used later for baking! I have frozen milk and butter milk to use in waffles and pancakes and whipping cream for alfredo sauce. Some stores will pull items close to expiring and mark them down, but if your store doesn't, just ask! I don't expect them to say yes, but I am glad they do!