Pecan Steelers… A Cookie Misadventure

I decided to make my Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies awhile back.  I’ve been making those cookies since I was a child back in the day.  Sometimes a new recipe is born when I start a recipe and find that I’m out of something.

Well, I just knew I had all the ingredients to make the cookies, so I started creaming sugar and butter together.  Well, I had almost all the ingredients.  I’d just substitute white sugar for brown just this once.  Then, I reached for my oatmeal jar. Where is it?  It’s usually on the counter.  It’s a gallon jar, it has to be here somewhere…. Oh well, I’ll just get some out of the five gallon bucket… oh no!  I forgot I emptied it!  What now?  I searched and searched and asked the kids if they’d moved the oats.  No oats.  None.  Nada.  Except… here’s a small jar of steel cut oats.  Wonder if that would work… why not?  Okay, now, time for raisins.  “Kids, where are my raisins? How can we be out?”  Well, I do have 8 ounces of chopped pecans.  Guess that will do.

So, my Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies became my new-fashioned Pecan Steelers!  Believe it or not, they were really good.  At first the kids were reluctant.  The texture seemed a bit healthy to them.  The taste reminded them of granola.  The good news – they lasted a few days.  The really good news – they tasted good the entire time.  It was a nice crisp cookie.  Not a health cookie, but still, it was filled with some good for you ingredients that you can pronounce!

Pecan Steelers

An Original Recipe by Laura Lane of Harvest Lane Cottage

Combine and cream the following ingredients together in a mixing bowl:

1 1/2 c white sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 T softened butter

1 t vanilla

3 T water

1 large egg

Combine the following dry ingredients in a medium bowl:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups steel cut oats (uncooked)

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

8 oz pecans, broken in pieces or chopped

Bake about 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Watch them closely and adjust baking time as needed.  They’re done when the edges are lightly golden.

Doing with what I’ve got,

Laura

An Ingredient in My Recipe for Life and a Frugal Recipe

Dear Reader,

 I’m so happy to spend a few moments of this new month with you. Like you, I have many interests and many roles and responsibilities in my life. I am a wife, mother, my children’s teacher, homemaker, friend, and of course, a daughter of the King. Each month, as I write to you, I’d like to share with you a little about an ingredient that I believe helps us create an enjoyable, rich recipe for life. I’ll also share a favorite recipe to help make your life a little easier.

Reading is an integral part of my life’s recipe. I read to learn, to relax, to hope, to plan, to dream, and to glean from the experiences of others who have walked this way before. I am primarily a non-fiction reader. A few years ago, I added more fiction to my reading. I found that although I am all grown up, I really enjoy losing myself in a good story. As a full-time wife, mother, and my children’s teacher, I welcome those moments alone.

Time alone has taken on new meaning and different forms as each of my four children were added to our little family. What used to be uninterrupted hours of free time to read or pursue hobbies and other entertainment, has shrunk to snatched moments here and there. Still, I have managed to find moments for this beloved nourishment for my mind and companionship for my soul.

By reading, I am indeed allowing the author to nourish my thoughts and my imagination. I’m also enjoying the author’s companionship as I read. That’s why I often linger over favorite books, stretching the reading over weeks or even months. To finish the book means to end the companionship, unless I find another book she’s written. I say she because most of these books are written by women about my journey with Jesus, homemaking, frugal living, or homeschooling.

As a matter of discipline, I have a goal of reading 50 books a year. I keep a journal of the title, author, date completed, and a notation stating fiction, non-fiction, or with the children. This keeps me accountable for what I read, and it helps me to see that I’m reading a good variety. I believe what Zig Ziglar used to say, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Reading is a big part of that for me.

I encourage you to make yourself a reading goal for the remainder year. It might not be 50 books. It might be 12; but, set a goal and start reading toward it. This year I set aside 50 books on my bookshelf that I’d like to read. Perhaps my interests will lead me to different books; but, I’ve got a plan. Make a plan for yourself. Think about books that will help you with your finances, your cooking skills, your homemaking skills, your people skills, your business skills, your Christian life, a hobby or a skill that you’d like to learn. Most importantly, though, make a BIBLE goal. Make it something attainable. After all, even one book, read over and over can change you. That’s what we really want after all, isn’t it? To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Now, to give you a little more time to sneak in a little of what I call snatch reading (snatch a moment here and there), here is one of my family’s favorite soup recipes. It’s frugal, too. Put it together and let it simmer on the back of the stove or in a crock pot while you snatch a few pages! May God bless you as you seek His face.

Laura

By the way, in case you’re wondering, I do count the books I read to my children that are chapter books and some of their history readers and that sort of thing.  I don’t read 50 just for me. ~grin~

I have also discovered books loaded onto an MP3 player that can hang around my neck at my library.  They are helping me to meet my goal and also stretch beyond my normal reading genres.  I recently listened to The Audacity of Hope by President Obama.  I don’t agree with him on many of his beliefs; but, it was good to know where he stands.  I also listened to Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess (of Russia).  It was in the youth section; but was very informative.  I like history.

Snow, Teas, and Infusions

I’m just sitting here, enjoying a quiet snowy day.

I love the way the snow glistens when the sun hits it.

I’m thinking of putting the kettle on and making a

nice cup of tea in a little bit.  You know they say that

nothing warms like tea.  I just read a book called Time for Tea

with  Mary Engelbreit.  It was filled with her delightful

whimsical art and lots of tea tips and lore.  It is a

nice light read.   She says that the herbal teas are

actually infusions.  I guess I love infusions as

well, then.   Here are a few of my favorite teas and

infusions. 

From Bigelow:

Constant Comment is my favorite Tea. 

It’s laced with the flavor of oranges and spice. 

If I could have only one tea for the rest of my

life, this would be it.  It’s refreshing hot or cold. 

I also like Bigelow’s green tea.  I must admit that

I drink green tea because it’s good for me.

From Stash Tea Comany:

Pumkin Spice and Ruby Mist

From Celestial Seasonings:

Honey Chamomile, Sugar Cookie Sleighride,

Tension Tamer, and India Spiced Chai Tea,

and Sleepy Time, known as Teddy Bear Tea

at our house.  We also drink Peter Rabbit tea,

which is of course, chamomile.

Do you have a favorite tea that I might like to try?

Well, I think I’ll go and put the kettle on. 

Keep warm!

Cozy at home, Laura

Old Fashioned Cocoa from Scratch

My family just loves the rich flavor of old fashioned cocoa made from scratch.  Scratch means you start with basic ingredients and go from there.  I love it because I always have the ingredients on hand.  My kids will have the memory of Momma over the stove stirring the cocoa.  They come running when they hear the sound the whisk makes in the pan. 

 Here’s how I make mine.  All you need is Hershey’s cocoa, sugar, milk and a bit of water.

Old Fashioned Cocoa from Scratch

Combine 1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa and 1 cup of white sugar in a three quart saucepan using a wire whisk.  I do this while the cocoa and sugar are still dry so that the cocoa will mix in nice and smooth without a bunch of lumps. 

Add about 1/3 cup of cold water and mix until smooth.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil it for about a minute, stirring constantly.  Don’t worry if it sticks to the sides, it’ll melt back into the cocoa as it heats up. 

Fill the pan with milk, It”ll be a little more than a half a gallon of milk.  Stir and heat using  medium heat.  If you need to walk away from it, just turn it on the lowest heat.   I check to see if it’s hot enough by dropping in a miniature marshmallow.  It’s ready when the marshmallow just starts to melt.  I offer extra milk to my little ones to cool it if they want it. 

This is so easy, we can make it any time we want it.  Read aloud time is one of our favorite times to enjoy Old Fashioned Cocoa.

German Apple Stuffing

My momma always made sage dressing.  When I got married, I decided to do something different.  It’s become my family’s favorite stuffing.  I always think I’m going to go back and make the sage dressing sometime; but, I’m always voted down!  Happy Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas!

German Apple Stuffing

1 loaf white bread in 1/2″ cubes

1/3 cup butter

1medium chopped onion

1/2 c chopped celery

1/4 c chopped celery leaves

2 T chopped parsley

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

2 cups milk

2 eggs, beaten slightly

2 medium Red Delicious or Gala Apples, pared and chopped

1/4-1/2 cup raisins

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 6 cup baking dish.  Place bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and toasted, about 5 minutes.  I sometimes just have the kids toast the bread in the toaster and tear it up small for me instead. 

2.  Transfer bread into large bowl.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. 

3.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in onion, celery, parsley, salt and pepper.  Cook 3 minutes. 

4.  Pour over bread and stir.  Add milk and eggs.  Stir to moisten.  Gently stir in the raisins and apples.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.  Cover with foil.

5.  Bake one hour.

How to Plan Your Holiday Meal Preparation Timeline

Happy Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas!

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage 

Belgian Waffles

Belgian Waffles

These are light and crispy. They’re the best I’ve ever had!

1 pkg dry yeast (2 ¼ t)

2 c lukewarm milk

4 eggs, separated

1 t vanilla

2 ½ c sifted flour

1 T sugar

½ c melted butter

Sprinkle yeast over warm milk; stir to dissolve. Beat egg yolks and add to yeast mixture with vanilla. Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Add to liquid ingredients. Stir in melted butter and combine thoroughly. Beat the egg whites until stiff; carefully fold into batter. Let mixture stand in a warm place about 45 minutes or until mixture doubles in bulk. Use 3/4 – 1 c per waffle. Makes 4 Belgian Waffles.

Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

 

This can be made very frugally with a few backs and necks.

 

10 lbs Chicken leg quarters,

The more chicken you boil, the better the broth.

6 eggs

flour

salt & pepper

Okay, first of all, put the chicken into a large stockpot. Salt and pepper it generously. Boil the chicken for at least an hour, until the chicken is ready to fall off the bones. Take the chicken from the broth, and put it in the refrigerator until it’s cool enough to handle. Keep the broth simmering.

Next, crack six eggs into a large bowl and beat well with a fork. Add some salt and pepper. Start adding flour half a cup at a time until the dough becomes stiff, hard to mix, and a bit dry. Bring the broth back to a full boil, then begin dropping dough by teaspoonfuls into the broth. Allow them to boil about 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through when you cut them. It won’t hurt them to cook them a little longer. Meanwhile, de-bone the chicken and add back as much chicken as you’d like to the broth. Save the rest for another meal.

Serve this up on a bed of mashed potatoes and enjoy!

Hard Times, Making Do and Doing Without…Old Fashioned Biscuits

Awhile back I wrote that you can survive if you have a few basic ingredients in your house.  I thought I’d share our family’s favorite biscuit recipe.  We literally survived on these during a couple of hard times in our life.  I have since started converting recipes to whole wheat; but, I want you to know how we did it when we were doing without. 

Old Fashioned Baking Powder Biscuits

This is my family’s favorite biscuit recipe!

 

4 c all-purpose flour

3 T baking powder

2 t salt

4 T canola oil

1 ½ – 1 ¾ c milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Begin with a large bowl. Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl and then mix it all together well with a big fork. Combine 1 ½ cups of milk with the oil. Pour it all into the dry ingredients at once. Stir until it’s all mixed in and all the flour is moistened. Add the extra ¼ cup of milk if the dough is too dry.

Now, take all the dough in your hands and put it on a baking sheet. Pat the dough into a large rectangle, keeping in mind that you want the dough about an inch thick and you’ll be cutting it into 12 equal pieces.

After you cut the dough into equal pieces, separate the biscuits by about ¼ inch. Then put them into the oven for 15 minutes. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter and put them back into the oven to bake until they’re golden brown on top. Makes 12 big biscuits.

May God bless you as you are making do!

Laura

Happy at Home

One Lovely Luscious Lemon

Hello Friends!

I bought myself a beautiful lemon yesterday.  I love to put a fresh slice in my water, so pretty and tasty.  Don’t you just love fresh lemons?  They’re bright and cheerful.  They look great in a fruit bowl.  They make scrumptious lemon meringue pies.  They make delicious lemon bars.  They make the best homemade lemonade.   Why not buy a few today? 

Homemade Lemonade

 

Serve this over crushed ice with a slice of lemon; and, you have summertime anytime!

 

You can use fresh squeezed lemon juice or bottled lemon juice. Fresh sliced lemons floating in the pitcher add a nice touch.

For 2 quarts:

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

6 cups water

For 1 gallon:

2 cups of lemon juice

2 cups of sugar

12 cups of water

Bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. This causes the sugar to completely dissolve. Then pour the lemon sugar mixture into a pitcher which already has cold water in it. That way you won’t break your pitcher!

Adjust ingredients to your sweet tart preferences.

Enjoy and God bless!

Laura

Happy at Home

What is in Your Hand? $50 Grocery Shopping Trip

What is in your hand?

If you have only $50 to go grocery shopping for the week, how can you do it?  It seems impossible.  Well, I did that this morning.  When you have that much money, the key is using it for what I call completer items. 

For instance, I already had some fruits and vegetables on hand from last week’s shopping.  Today, I bought salad dressing and some inexpensive croutons to complete a main dish salad.

I bought a restaurant size can of tomato sauce to complete spaghetti.  I already had noodles, leftover italian sausage in the freezer,  and spices at home.

I bought a can of crushed tomatoes and a pound of ground chuck to complete my chili.

You get the idea.  The point is to think about what you can make with what you have; and, buy the completer ingredients that you need to make a meal.

For breakfasts, I bought oats and brown sugar to make Brown Sugar Granola from www.hillbillyhousewife.com .  This is an inexpensive granola recipe. My kids aren’t real fond of plain oatmeal; so, I try to change it up a bit.

For lunches, I’m hoping for leftovers to fill the gap!

If all else fails, I can make bread and serve beans!

Just an idea to help you with training for the grocery store high jump!

God bless and good shopping!

Laura

Happy at Home