Friday, February 23, 2018

It is time to start Sweet Potatoes!

I am hoping to grow all of my own sweet potato plants this year. In the picture above, you can see four glass jars, filled with water, each with a sweet potato in it. Over the next few weeks, sweet potato "slips" will grow and when they are big enough, I will pull them off and put them in a jar of water.  They will grow roots and then in May, I can plant them outside.

I chose one of the purple sweet potatoes and three of the regular ones that have little sprouts growing out of them already.  You can see, in the pictures, the sweet little slips growing out.  I put them in the water just last night and the leaves are already starting to open!

As they grow, and I pull them off, they will grow more. I am looking forward to getting into the garden this Spring. I still have the kale out there and there are bunching onions and garlic growing a little.  

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Purple Sweet Potato Pie

This past summer, we grew some Purple Sweet Potatoes in our garden. Here is a link to where we got the original plants:

We bought the original plants 2 years ago and planted them, but then had a terrible, horrible, very bad gardening year and ended up with, literally, one little tuber about the size of a walnut.  One of my garden fairies (I have TWO now) told me to plant it in a pot to keep it alive.  I did, placing it on the windowsill in the kitchen.  It grew, at last and I started taking "slips" off of it and rooted them in a little jar of water.  I ended up planting just 3 of them in the sweet potato bed and they did very well!
Here is a photo from the website to show you what they look like:

Sweet Potato, Molokai Purple (3 Plants, Ships March-June)

I find them to be relatively dry, and not as sweet as the usual orange sweet potatoes, but they make up for that in their nutritional punch! That deep purple color tells you that they have LOTS more of the wonderful phytonutrients that are in blueberries.

Yesterday, I steamed some of them and then made a pie.  Here is my pie.  As it bakes it puffs up and that is what you see here, but after it begins to cool, it sinks back down.

Sweet Potato Pie 

(I used purple sweet potatoes.  You can use the orange ones, of course.)

1 pound steamed sweet potato (I put mine through a ricer, you don’t have to do that – mine was purple, but the orange kind would work just fine.

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup honey
½ cup milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Steam the sweet potatoes,cool a little, take off the skins and break them up into a bowl. Add the butter and mix well with mixer. Stir in honey, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until nice and smooth. Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 350 F for 55 – 60 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. It will puff up and then will sink down as it cools.

CRUST – use a pastry cutter to work in the lard.
About ¾ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cold lard
½ teaspoon salt
Ice water

I did not give you the method for making the crust here, just the ingredients.  If you have a question about the method, please comment and ask!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Good old soap and water...

Go into any variety store or grocery store and you will find a bewildering array of products for cleaning your home.  Look around online and you will find many companies eager and willing to sell not only the typical cleaning products, but "natural and safe" products as well, all at an inflated price.

Being a confirmed penny pincer, I am generally skeptical of most of these items.  Not only are they expensive, but in general, most of them are not needed at all.  Let me tell you what I use to clean and disinfect with.

For general cleaning, I use plain bar soap, a wash rag and water.  If something needs to be disinfected, just get an opaque spray bottle and fill it with Hydrogen Peroxide which is very inexpensive.

If something is exceedingly greasy, I might add a little ammonia to the washing water and wear vinyl gloves when using that.

To clean windows and mirrors, here is the recipe I use.  If the windows are actually dirty, I first wash them off with the soap and water and wash rag.  Then, I spray on a small amount of this solution and dry it with a sheet of crumbled newspaper:

Window cleaning solution - to fill a 32 ounce bottle -
Mix together 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/3 cup vinegar, and add enough water to fill the spray bottle.  Shake it up a bit.  If your water is VERY hard, you might want to try distilled water, but I have never found that to be necessary.

To clean the bathtub, I rub a bar of soap onto a wet nylon scrubbing pad like these:Image result for picture of scotch brite pads
then I just scrub away and rinse!  There is No Need to use chemical things that can poison you and the environment. If you clean often enough, the job is very easy.  I do ours at least once a week.  If you have a larger family (there are only 2 of us) you might need to clean your bathtub a bit more often.
If I need a "scouring" powder, I just use plain baking soda.
So... my cleaning "products" are....water, plain bar soap, baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol.
If I could only have ONE of these, it would be the soap, water and a wash cloth.  
How did we ever get convinced that we need to buy (and fill our closets with) all that stuff?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cole Slaw - that I like - AT LAST !!!

My whole life, until the last few weeks, I've hated had an uncertain relationship with "Cole Slaw." Everyone else in the entire world seems to like it.  I've tried numerous recipes through the years and either they tasted awful to me or just so - so.  But now!  I've conquered it, at last! I realize, Gentle Readers, that many among you are not adverse to the taste of Cole Slaw.  This has been a personal quest.  I mean, what am I supposed to do with all of that cabbage that I grow other than just cook it with corned beef and potatoes, or make it into sauerkraut?


Here is a picture of the new version of Cole Slaw:

I will show you how this came about, and share my Recipe (more a method, really.)  Here is the temperature this morning; a lovely 70.1 F inside and 24.4 F outside: 

Come with me, we are going to the garden...

See that?

That is a simple Hoop House that my husband constructed over the bed of kale that I planted last spring.  Here we are, closer:

Now I will open up the end and give you a look inside.

Since the light is so bright, you can't see how the hoop house really looks inside, but you can see that there is a lot of perfectly happy Curly Scotch Kale in there.  It will stand all winter, and when it is a little warmer, it will even continue to grow.  If we have a warmish day, or one that is very sunny, I open up the ends of the structure so it won't overheat.

Here is how I am making the Cole Slaw that I love:

I use a food processor to thinly shred the following:  (A very sharp knife could be used as well, of course.)

Some fresh cabbage
1/3 as much fresh kale leaves, stems removed

Then I use the processor, again, and grate these ingredients:

Some carrot
A small amount of onion
Some celery (from freezer)
Some sweet pepper (from freezer)

Mix all of the vegetables together and then I add homemade mayonnaise until it's as moist as I like, then a nice squirt of prepared yellow mustard, some salt, and a big dollop of home canned sweet pickle relish.

Stir all of that well, taste and see if it needs anything.

That's it!  Now, of course, you can use the basic ingredients and tweek this for what you have on hand, etc...  

I am so happy to have a way to eat the kale raw that tastes good to me.  The only other way that I really like kale is in soup or Colcannon. Kale chips are very popular, but I am not a fan as it takes a lot of trouble for only a small amount of food.

I have to mention, though, that I actually canned some kale this year, early on, and I DO like it that way.  I only put up 3 pints, as an experiment, but I think I will try to do more next year.

Oh, yes... here is my mayonnaise recipe:


In a medium-sized bowl combine:

3 egg yolks (if you are not worried about the safety of raw eggs)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1.5 Tablespoons (one and one-half) raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or 1/2 EVOO and 1/2 Avocado oil)
sea salt, to taste (about 8 pinches)

I use an immersion blender to blend this all together and it takes only moments to do.  I used to do it in a stand blender, drizzling in the olive oil very slowly and that works fine, but takes a lot more time.

According to Gnowfglins, if you add a Tablespoon of live whey to this and let it sit out on the counter for 7 hours before putting it in the fridge, it will keep much longer, but if you are going to use it within a week, I wouldn't worry about that.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


This little sweetie and our youngest son and his wife came to visit for Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2017

That Gingerbread House...

Years ago, I posted instructions for making a gingerbread house.  I had learned how to do it back in the 80's from some sisters in Relief Society.  Later, I posted a "humble healthy" gingerbread house and got rid of the other one, but then realized that leaves you without a pattern!  I reposted that 2 days ago and then realized my mistake... so now I have found a blog post that someone else has made with the exact instructions and pattern that I used to use.  It is simple and fun.  Here is the link:

Here is how I decorated my Humble Healthy version with popcorn, nuts, seeds and raisins:

This is a nice project to do with children.  We used to make one every year and then on New Year's Day the children would divide it up and eat it!  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Another tiny tip.... egg salad!

Do you make egg salad?  How do you cut up your hard boiled eggs for it?  Here is what I do.  I use a pastry cutter.  

It is very quick and easy to do this way.

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