Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coconut Oil

DIY experiment continues with coconut oil.  I am using it in two different ways, moisturizer and body scrub.  I am using the scrub in the shower before I shave, and my legs have never felt smoother.  LOVE IT. 

I was nervous to use it on my face, but it has been wonderful.  My complexion looks dewy, which is amazing considering I am over 40.  My make-up is going on more evenly and lasting longer, and I didn't even get a period pimple.  All day moisture with very, very little cost.   You don't need to use that much at all because I little dab will do ya.  It does store as a solid, so rub it between your hands and it will melt quickly. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent Update

In my previous post, I mentioned I was going to make my own detergent.  Well, Sunday morning I pulled out the ingredients and went to work.  Purchasing the three main ingredients ran about 6.75.   I had to buy Borax, Super Washing Soda, and the old fashioned Fels-Naptha.  Even though I had to buy this, the Flatlander and I figured each Tide Pod is .30 per pod.   Making my own detergent took my cost down to .20 per BATCH.  I didn't take this lightly.  I researched the heck out of it.  I even found videos of people making their own batches.  With their knowledge, I took to my own kitchen.   Melting the Fels-Naptha was actually fun.  The house smelled wonderful and clean, and I loved the homey feeling that went along with it.  We had a bucket on hand, so it was easy for me to mix and store it.  The next morning, it was at a perfect consistency.  I only had to mix it with water in my plastic jug.  Since we have a HE machine, I am using 1/4 cup per wash.

Now, how did it turn out?

So far, so good.  The clothes look great and smell fresh without being perfumey.   In fact, when compared to a load of name brand detergent, I cannot tell the difference.  I think this is something we will continue.

I also am using a white vinegar rinse instead of fabric softener.  The clothes don't smell like vinegar, but they are soft and static free.  No heavy perfume smell and no dyes.  I think this is something I will also continue.

Here is the link I found on Pinterest:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Long Time No Type

I know it has been months and months, but here I come, once again, with my hat in hand.   To be honest, I have been changing my focus and bearings.  No, it is still faith and family, but we are struggling with how to be less wasteful, gardening disasters (why did he plant that many tomatoes!?), and coming up with a quality life on a budget.

This week I am researching on how to do my own DIY cleaners.  Once again, God bless Pinterest.  I can kill hours trying to be a better person.  Anyway, tomorrow, the Flatlander and I are going to try our hand at making our own detergent.  I really hope it cleans well.  I found the recipe, and the source is from a Dugger Family website.  If anybody knows how to do laundry, it should be them.  I love my Tide Pods,  but with all of our laundry, it is costing me a fortune.  Here is the link:

Keep your fingers crossed for us, and I will let you know in our next post how it goes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Easy Taco Bake

Today at lunch, I wanted a quick meal that would appeal to most of the people in the house (Thing One is not doing red meat).  She is getting turkey meat loaf later.  Now, my buddies have been pinning several different recipes for taco casseroles, including one using Doritos.  Since I didn't want a trip to the grocery store, I decided to just go with what I have, and it turned out wonderfully.

1 lb. Ground beef
diced onion
garlic powder
packet of taco mix
Jar of chunky veggie salsa
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
Marxian blend of shredded cheese
Nacho chips

Preheat oven to 400 and brown meat with the onion, salt/pepper, garlic powder.
Drain grease except for 1 tbs.
Mix in the taco mix and salsa and heat
Crunch a lawyer of nachos into a casserole dish (sprayed with Pam)
Mix sour cream and cottage cheeses
Pour meat over chip and then spread the sour cream/cottage cheese
Put down a layer of cheese
Another layer of chip

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Life Past the Kitchen

Saturday was a day to remember.   I was inducted into the University of Kentucky's "Teachers Who Made a Difference".  This  touched me on so many different levels because this award was given to me through the nomination of a former student.  It is a reminder that every time we open our mouths, we can either build somebody up or tear them down.  Every day I become a memory for a child.  I am not only painting my canvas, but one for every student who walks into my classroom.

This award is really about how they shape me.  I know I am a better person due to my students.  They are the ones who are making a difference in my life.  I carry all them in my heart. 

Watching the other teachers in the room filled me with pride.  Young and old were joined together, sharing and rejoicing.  The applause was sincere, and we were united, raising our voices together in celebration.  In front of me, an elderly woman sat.  When they called her name, her steps were true, and her smile warmed the entire room.  I don't think I will ever forget her, and one day, I hope to like her.  I want to wake up every day with excitement for my chosen profession.  I want to feel a sense of accomplishment, as I enter my retirement years.  I want to say "job well done".

Friday, April 6, 2012

Very Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

The Flatlander and I were kid free this week, and instead of playing around with exotic recipes, I stayed close to comfort foods and traditional meals.  Last night's dinner was proof of that.  I tried my hand at chicken and dumplings, and I am ashamed to say it took me 40 years to even try making the dish.  My family's history proves a legacy of failed dumplings and horrible dough accidents.  With that in mind, I entered dumpling territory with a sense of trepidation.  Come on, I am from the Appalachian Mountains.  I should have been born with the recipe already implanted in my head. 

Well, since that dumpling gene passed me by, I turned to Pinterest, which directed me to  The recipe is beyond simple and everything turned out deliciously:

2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbs. butter
Less than 1 cup of milk and a pinch of salt
1 container of chicken broth
Cooked chicken

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut the butter into it with either a fork or pastry blender. 
Add milk and mix together forming a dough ball.   Put the dough onto a heavily floured surface, and roll out until it is thin, like a pie crust.
Cut dumplings out using a basket weave pattern.  You can use a pizza cutter, dough cutter, or regular knife.
Drop dumplings into boiling broth and stir gently, so not crush the dumplings.  Throw in the extra flour clinging to the dumplings to make the gravy. Simmer.
Add chicken and serve.

To make it taste like the church dinners at home, I added pepper.

The next time I fix this, I am going to add water to the simmering dumplings so the gravy isn't as thick.  I guess it is a matter of gravy taste.

Oh, and the Flatlander approves of this recipe, and he just ate all of the leftovers for lunch.  Sunday, for Easter dinner, I plan on making the dumplings only, without chicken.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easy and Delicious Pulled Pork

This is a recipe that I have read about on several different sites and finally had to try.  It doesn't get much easier than this, and the results are perfect:

Pork roast
salt, pepper, and garlic for a rub
1 can root beer
Your favorite barbecue sauce

The rubbed down roast needs to be placed in a crock pot and pierced several times.  Pour the can of root beer over it and cook on low for eight hours.  After this cooking time, the roast is ready to be shredded and should be melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Drain the soda and return the shredded pork to the crock pot.  Pour your favorite sauce over it and cook for an additional hour. 

I served the shredded pork with cole slaw and fried pickles, and it was a huge success.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pinterest Recipe: 7 UP Biscuits

Don't you love my cookbook caddy!  I do.  I found it at the Peddlers' Mall in Lexington and had to buy it.  It holds my favorite cookbooks, and it is handcrafted; however, last night's recipe came from Pinterest, and it is on the tablet before you.  The recipe is for 7 UP biscuits and they are OMG yummy.  The basic recipe isn't an Internet secret.  If you search for it, it is all over the place.  The basic recipe is as follows:

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup 7 UP
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 butter

You mix the Bisquick with the 7 UP and sour cream together.  You melt the butter in a 9 inch pan and place the cut biscuits on the butter. Bake at 450 until golden brown.

Now, last night I had to rework the recipe because I had everything but the Bisquick.

2 cups flour
3 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. Crisco
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7 UP
butter:  I reduced it from 1/4 cup, just a bit

Preheat oven to 450 and mix flour, baking powder, salt, and Crisco.  I used a pastry cutter to blend and crumble the Crisco.  I then added the sour cream and soda.  Mixed into it was a batter, and it is sticky and soft.  Instead of cutting the dough, I just poured the entire thing on the butter.  I baked as normal and then cut into squares afterwards.
They are melt in your mouth good, and I think it is a recipe to keep!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Do You Pinterest?

I do.  I am now an addict, and I try to only surf it during the weekends so I won't waste countless hours on it.  Here are some things I learned/done/made/bought due to the wonder of Pinterest:

1.  Lesson Plans:  There are so many new ideas out there, and teachers love organizational tools, so going on Pinterest should count as professional development.  Just type in what you are looking for and there it is, in a cute picture and smile.  Life got easier.

2.  Planning my wedding:  Okay, I am planning an elopement, but Pinterest is helping me to organize the dream vs.  reality of the big day.  It is much more fun than just using a big notebook, which I have as well.  I also have a few of my own ideas, and I am looking forward to sharing, as well.

3.  Organized my closet:  I used Pinterest to make outfits out of clothes I own, and now I go to my board to help organize what I am going to wear during the week. 

4.  Cleaning House:  Take a dryer sheet and wipe off your baseboards.  It attracts the dust and repeals it so it stays cleaner longer. 
I love, love my organizational board because it reflects the life I really would like to have. 

5.  Cooking:  Biscuits, pound cake, and more.  Yep, I have found some wonderful ideas and it is cheaper than buying new cookbooks. 

The appeal of Pinterest is that is shows you the life you want if you had the money and the time.  It is like a modern day fairy tale with neat little virtual boards to tidy up and slay my giants.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We Are Talking Biscuits Here

My granny can make a mean biscuit.  I do believe it is her speciality.  When I was a child, she often made cat head biscuits (about as big as the cat's head).  I often got the name mixed up and called them cat house biscuits.  People would look at me strangely, and my papaw would smile and say, "It was something she picked up while I was in the war."

Granny never appreciated the joke. 

Now, do I have her recipe?  No.  I have tried, and it never comes out just like hers.  She has the magic, and I am Mickey Mouse with dancing brooms.  Not exactly the same.  So, in order to feed my kiddos something other than WOMP (the sound the can makes as it hits the counter) biscuits, I came up with this:

Robyn's Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups of All Purpose
4 tbs. of baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tarter
1 stick of butter
1 cup milk (buttermilk or whole)

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix all dry ingredients and butter, except for one small section.  Take a pastry blender and break butter into fine pieces that blend into the flour.  Two knives can substitute for a pastry blender.  Add milk and and mix together. 

Put on a floured surface and either roll out or press down.  I prefer to place the dough between parchment paper and press out with my hands. You can make the biscuits as thick as you want.  Cut out and place on a parchment lined pan.  I then take the butter I have left and soften in the microwave for a few seconds.  I brush the butter over the tops.

Bake about 10 minutes.

My granny is so proud of me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Want a Hot Dog?

Okay it has been months since my last post, and to be honest, life went crazy.  Falling in love, raising a family, health scares, jobs woes; you name, we got it.  Well, life is still crazy, but I have missed writing.  I miss the catharsis of putting my thoughts to paper..virtually of course.  It is time to begin anew. 

The focus of this blog will continue to be home and hearth, and I am no longer comfortable about airing personal business.  I have Facebook for that :)

So, what has called me out of my self-imposed exile?  How about good, old-fashioned hot dog chili.  Yep, I got my granny's recipe, and it is too good to ignore.  Her chili is quick, easy, and makes your dog almost church fund raiser good.

2 1/2 lbs high quality ground beef
2 to 3 tbs. chili powder (for your taste)
1 tbs. salt
1 tbs. brown sugar
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 3/4 cup water
finely diced onion
Sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce

Now, instead of browning meat, just cook it in the water.  As you stir it, it will become very fine.  Combine all the ingridients and simmer for at least 20 minutes. 

That is it.  It is delicious, and Granny swears it is due to the brown sugar.  I made it Saturday, and it was even better on Sunday. 


Perfect Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was a very busy but lovely beginning to our Halloween Festivities.  My husband and I went to a Farmers' Market that was featuring ...