Monday, November 13, 2017

Sweat Sandwich Recipe

These sandwiches are kind of a special tradition in my family.

My late Uncle Kenny was the inventor of The Sweat Sandwich. He passed away at a young age when I was only 8 years old. I don't have many memories of my Uncle Kenny. But, when I crave the unique combination of cream cheese and pickled jalapenos, I think of him. These are such a simple snack that I feel funny calling this a recipe. Here it is anyway:

Sweat Sandwich Recipe

2 slices of bread (any variety of your choice)
3 TBS. soft cream cheese
Pickled jalapeno slices

Spread the cream cheese on both slices of bread. Cover the cream cheese on one slice with a layer of pickled jalapeno slices. Place the other slice of bread, cream cheese side down, over the jalapenos. Enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Lacto Fermented Peppers Recipe

These are the very best picked peppers that I have ever had!

Lacto-Fermented Peppers 
1/2 peck (4 quarts) sweet peppers 
1/2 peck (4 quarts) hot peppers 
1 cup sea salt 
3/4 cup water 
1 quart live apple cider vinegar 
2 cups extra virgin olive oil 
3 garlic cloves, chopped 
1/4 cup oregano 

Cut the peppers into rings or cracker size squares.  Mix all the ingredients together. Let sit at room temperature overnight. Pack into jars. Store in cool dark place.

 I made this recipe before I was married with hot Banana peppers and Anaheim chilli's and my family really enjoyed them. I haven't had the opportunity to make this recipe since I have been married until this year.

This year our next door neighbors grew more peppers than they could use. They offered me their extra peppers. I only had enough to make a 1/4 batch. I think this recipe is intended to be store in jars in cellar like conditions. I have always kept my jars in the refrigerator. I am just to nervous about leaving them unrefrigerated.

These picked peppers make great Sweat Sandwiches. Never heard of a Sweat Sandwich? Don't worry, I am planning to tell you in my next post! ;)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This Season's Butternut Squash Harvest

We have had our first hard frost of the season. And, that means all of our winter squash have been picked and stored.

The only winter sqaush we grew this year were Butternut squash. I planted two hills, and I think there were 6 plants. We did have some volunteer Pink Banana sqaush. They were not able to mature fully, thanks to squash beetles killing their vines. So, they had to be eaten in short order instead of being stored through the winter.

I think Butternut squash are the best! Grant it, I have not tasted every variety of winter sqaush. :) Of the winter squash I have eaten, which includes Acorn, Burgess Buttercup, Hubbard, Pink Banana, and Pumpkin, I prefer Butternut.

Butternut squash seems to be the sweetest variety. It can be enjoyed plain without adding anything, and it is delicious!

Generally, Butternut squash is a great keeper. In proper conditions it can be stored all winter. This year I had several specimens that had to be cooked right away because of blemishes and flaws that would cause them to rot if stored.

I have found that I really like the flesh to be pureed. After I bake up several squash, I scoop out the flesh. At this point I can just put it into a large bowl and refrigerate it if I don't have time to blend it and bag it. The next step is to run it through the food processor in batches. And then it can be put in plastic bags and frozen for long term storage. I like to measure it and make sure I have 2 cups of pulp in each bag. That makes it nice in the future if I want to be able to use a bag to make "Pumpkin" bread or cake or something. So far, I have 14 bags of Butternut squash in the freezer. There are still 12 uncooked squash in the basement.

Do you have a favorite sqaush? Or squash recipe? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section! :)

Proverbs 20:4 
The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Applesauce Numbers For Future Reference

I want to keep track of how many apples I canned, what they cost, where I bought them, how many quarts they yielded, etc.... I usually don't write these details down and forget from year to year.

We drove a couple hours to the Amish orchard. We went on October 18th and they still had plenty of apples. We bought 2 bushels of golden delicious apples.

The price was $16 per bushel for bag-it-yourself apples. We didn't have to pick any apples. They were in a large bin and we just had to put them into the bag ourselves. The apples were big and beautiful. They didn't have any blemishes. No doubt they had been sprayed with chemicals. Oh well. I didn't have to cut out any worm holes. :)

The bags of apples sat on the floor in our foyer for 12 days. The conditions weren't the best for storing apple because it got a little warmer than ideal in that room.  One apple rotted and two others had bad spots.

We probably ate 3+ pounds of apples fresh. Before I turned them all into applesauce.

Yesterday, (10/30/17) I canned applesauce. I started at around 11 a.m. and finished at 6 p.m. Everything went smoothly. I didn't have to stop progress to do any other duties. Since the apples didn't have any worm holes cutting them up was easy. I just quartered the apples and put them into pots to cook. No peeling, no coring. It couldn't be easier. I was able to keep at least two pots of apples cooking on the stove and 2 pots ready to process at all times. I put 2 cups of water in the apple pots to keep them from burning. That amount of water seemed to be just enough to make the applesauce a good consistency. So, I didn't have to pour any water off before processing.

When the apples were good and soft (they were falling apart when stirred) I pulled them off the heat and ran them through my Victorio strainer. While the sauce was still hot I ladled it into clean quart jars. When I had 7 jars finished they went into the canner.

They were water bathed for 20 minutes. I was able to keep up with the canner and had a batch to put in as soon as one load came out, or almost ready (I just had to ladle sauce into a few jars). I used all of the apples and canned 40 quarts.
We are going to enjoy all that sauce!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pressed Nasturtium Cards

Here are some Nasturtium blossoms I gathered this summer.

I arranged them in my flower press. (With plenty of paper towels. See why that matters in my post HERE and HERE) I pressed some of the flowers whole and some of the flowers in pieces.

I recently had fun using my pressed Nasturtiums to make some cards. I tried to be creative. I use the orange petals as flames for the tops of birthday candles. I made some of the petals into hot air balloons. Some became a bundle of birthday balloons. I displayed a few whole blossoms with their Latin name, like a botanists identification card. And, I made a little Dutch girl with Nasturtium petals as her skirt and bonnet.

This was a fun little project. I hope to do more flower pressing next year. :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marble Rolling Pin

For my birthday this year my Mom sent me a marble rolling pin. And, I have been so grateful to have it. :) I have used it to make cinnamon rolls,

Homemade noodles,

Croissant Rolls,

And Tortillas; flour tortillas and corn tortillas.

I have used a wooden rolling pin for several years and it has done a good job for me. But, I can tell you, after comparing the two, that the marble pin makes rolling out all these foods much easier! It is quite a bit heavier and the weight helps things flatten a lot faster.

Another great thing about a marble rolling pin is that it can be chilled and will stay cool, which can be useful when rolling out pastries. Although I haven't used mine for pie pastry yet, I know from experience in my mother's kitchen, using her marble rolling pin, that a cold rolling pin makes pie pastry easier to work with.

"Thank you so much, Mommy! You know a rolling pin in my kitchen is sure to get a lot of use, and one of such quality has made my job easier." ;)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Personal Care Products That I Use

I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite personal care products. I am going to split it up into three categories; skin care, hair cleanser, and perfume.

I hope you find this interesting! :)

Skin Care:

A skin care product that I use all of the time and find makes a positive difference in how my skin feels and looks is a luffa sponge. I use very few skin products, but I consider having a luffa sponge to be a worthwhile purchase.

I usually pay around $1.50-$2.00 for a luffa sponge. I can sometimes find them for the $1.50 price at Big Lots and closer to $2.00 at Walmart. The most recent one I purchased was actually 25¢ at a garage sale, still in the original packaging! (I wouldn't have been interested if it was not brand new, gross!) I was really excited to find such a good deal on something I consider a luxury item.

Luffa sponges are actually not sponges at all. They are part of the cucumber family! The sponge part of the luffa is from the inside of the squash-like fruit. The sqaush is dried and then the inside is harvested. It is a light, rigged, porous substance.

Luffa sponges are great at exfoliating the skin. The scrubbing action can stimulate blood flow, which is great, because your blood is how your body carries nutrients and oxygen to your skin. This makes your skin healthier. And healthy skin is beautiful skin!

I replace my luffa sponge about every six months. It starts to get dark spots, which I believe to be mold growth, at around that time. I will sometimes soak my sponge in vinegar to kill the mold, but eventually it needs to be replaced. Another thing I try to do to extend the useful life of my sponge is let it dry between uses. I try not to store it in the shower where conditions are always damp and moist.

When it is time to replace my luffa sponge I throw the old one in the compost. Luffa sponges are 100% natural and biodegradable.

I wear lipstick from time to time, but I wear either A+D ointment or lanolin on my lips all the time. Both products are not exactly marketed as lip moisturizer.

A+D ointment is found in the baby care section of stores next to diaper rash cream. A+D ointment is a very good diaper rash cream. It is also a good healing ointment to put on minor scrapes and cuts. It also makes a good lip moisturizer and gloss.

Lanolin is also sold in the baby department of most stores. It is next to all of the nursing supplies. Lanolin is know for being a soothing, protective saav to use on dry, cracked nipples. Lanolin is safe to be consumed by the baby and that makes it great for nursing mothers. Lanolin also makes a really good lip moisturizer and gloss, as well.

I usually carry Lanolin in my purse and A+D ointment stays in the bathroom cabinet. Both products are pretty inexpensive and have multiple applications. I use such small amounts that each tube will last for several years.

Hair Cleanser:

I use a cleansing conditioner as my only hair product.

I used to do the no shampoo method with just baking soda and vinegar. (I even wrote a blog post about it here.) I did that for well over a year. I started running into problems with my ends getting really brittle (pH imbalance?) and really gross grease or mineral (or both) build ups matting my hair.

I discovered Renpure Cleansing Conditioner about a year ago. The product is made in the United States and contains zero sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol. It comes in four scents, that I am aware of, Rosemary Mint, Vanilla Mint, Lavender, and Sweet Pomegranate.

The product is kind of pricey. A 16 ounce bottle is almost $7.00 at Walmart. One bottle lasted me exactly one year, though. For us, $7.00 a year for hair care products is affordable. Keep in mind that how long a bottle of shampoo will last has a lot of variables like your hair type, hair length, frequency of washing, ect. My hair is a little dry and course and frizzy. It is down to my waist. And, I only wash it every 5-6 days.

I have really enjoyed using the Renpure Cleansing Conditioner. The Conditioner does a really good job at keeping my hair clean and hydrated. The product is designed to be used in between washes with real shampoo. The suggestion on the bottle is to wash your hair with shampoo every sixth wash or so. The brand also has a shampoo that is sulfate and paraben free.

With my particular hair type I have never felt the need to use a shampoo at all while using the Cleansing Conditioner. I liked the Rosemary Mint scent. The new bottle I purchased is the Vanilla Mint scent. They are both nice, but I like the Rosemary Mint best.


I started wearing perfume a year ago. My husband and I went to a 18th century historical reenactment of life in a French and Native American fort in the wilderness last October. At the reenactment there were vendors or "suttlers" who sold period supplies and such. One of the suttlers was an appothecary business from Wisconsin. Here is a link to their Etsy store. They sell many different authentic personal care products. Some of their perfumes are made from actual recipes from the 1700's and others are just made with techniques and ingredients from the time period.

The LCC Historical Appothecary sells an Austin (as in Jane Austin) perfume collection. Each scent is named after one Jane Austin's famous heroines and is formulated to accentuate her particular characteristics. After sampling the perfumes we settled on"Jane", which is very fitting in many ways. (Those who know me closely will understand. 😁) The perfume is very floral with notes of rose, Lily, and jasmine.

When sampling a perfume it is important to actually put it on your skin. The various chemical make up and oils of your skin can make the perfume smell different than it does in the bottle.

After coming home with my very first perfume I wanted to make sure I used it properly. I read several helpful articles on line that gave some guidelines and tips. I also learned that wether a scent is called a toilet water, perfume, or cologne is based solely on the concentration of the fragrance, and not on the gender for whom it is intended.

These are the guidelines I follow when applying my perfume.

1. Always apply perfume to clean, dry skin. I apply perfume every time after I shower and have thoroughly dried off.

2. Apply a small amount of perfume on three areas of the body. Your scent should not be wafting off of you in your wake. The scent should be something that only people who are very close to you might smell, like when you give a loved one a hug.
I usually apply perfume at the base of my neck, under my ear, and at my collar bone.

3. Allow your perfume to dry on you skin before dressing to avoid your clothing crushing the scent. You do not want to rub your perfume into your skin. That can diminish the more delicate notes of your scent.

I have really enjoyed getting to wear perfume. It is one of those things that makes me feel grown-up and sophisticated. I, also, really like how Mr. In The Mid-west notices my perfume. :) He loves it and always tells me how nice I smell. :)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"More Cookies, Please!"

Over the past month I have been a "Cookie Jar Mama".  What is a "Cookie Jar Mama"? It is just what I decided to call those kind of mother who always have a full cookie jar and let their children (or grandchildren) have free range of the cookies.

I don't actually have a cookie jar. What I did was bake a couple batches of cookies and put them into containers in the freezer. Boy In The Mid-west knows where they are located. He can open the freezer by himself and get cookies whenever he wants.

I have not had the heart or resolve to stop him. He doesn't spoil his appetite with cookies before meals. Nor does he pig out on cookies. So far, I have no problems with him helping himself to cookies.

Most nights he wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to the kitchen to fetch a cookie as a midnight snack. I really think it is kind of cute. :) He is just two years old, but he toddles in there, opens the freezer, and pulls a cookie out like a tiny grown-up.

The night before last we were out of cookies. BMW didn't know what to do. How could we be out of cookies?! I told him we would make some "tomorrow".

Yesterday I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies to restock the freezer.

While I was taking cookies off of baking sheet, BMW was sitting across the counter from me eating a chocolate chip cookie. He looked at me with a smile on his chocolate-y face and said, "Thank you for make cookies!"

Awww. "You're welcome, Son!"

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 
Matthew 7:11 (KJV)