Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Frugal Eating

This week we are trying to use up lots of food that we have stored up in our pantry. I was able to feed 5 mouths this week on about $100 and using up what we have. Here is my menu:

1) brats chopped up and sauteed with bell peppers and onions, served with refried beans

2) eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy (we make the gravy with flour, bacon grease, & milk and add in cooked sausage)

3) tomato soup (we have Walmart brand and we use cream, water, garlic powder, and chili powder to make it yummy) with cheese toast and salad

4) cream of chicken soup (we have Walmart brand and we use cream, water, and garlic powder, and fajita seasoning to make it yummy) with cheese toast and salad

5) tortilla chips topped with canned chili, cheese, and served with salad

Snacks include:

Apples and Peanut Butter
Milk and Cereal
Oatmeal Cookies

image from here

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipes ~ Snickerdoodle Bars, Nutella Brownies, and Buttermilk Cornbread

My baking day is Wednesday and I went all out. A lot of people like to bake with wine to sip on. My chosen drink during baking is Diet Coke. So much fun!!! I found recipes and altered them. My family does not like things too sweet so I really lowered the amounts of sugar in these first 2 recipes.

Lightly Sweetened Snickerdoodle Bars ~ great for Breakfast
9x13 pan
Stir together 2  cups flour, 1 t baking powder, 1 t baking soda, 1 t cream of tartar, 1/2 t salt, 1 T cinnamon
Add 2/3 cup sugar, 3 eggs 1/4 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup butter
Mix well and pour into greased 9x13 pan
Sprinkle with a mix of cinnamon and sugar
Bake between 325 and 350, depending on your oven for 25-35 minutes
Nutella Brownies
9x13 pan
Stir together 2 cups flour,  3/4 t baking powder, 1/2 t baking soda, 1/2 t salt
Add 3/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 T vanilla, 1/2 cup Nutella, 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Mix well and pour into greased 9x13 pan
Bake between 325 and 350, depending on your oven for 25-35 minutes

Buttermilk Cornbread ~ serve at coffee or teatime with butter and applesauce on top
Big pan

Mix 4 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, 5 eggs
Pour into greased pan
Bake at 325 for approx. 20 minutes

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Warriors Crookedstar's Promise Chapters 10-15 ~ Relationships

Relationships are the core of the Clan's life. Crookedpaw and his brother have such a sweet, unconditionally loving bond. Crookedpaw's mom is still cold to her son, as she has been since he was injured. Crookedpaw's mentors have their own ways of training and Crookedpaw has to see which way works best for him. Then there is the battles between the clans which we see a lot of in these five the Riverclan is defeated trying to take back Sunningrocks and as they are victorious in retrieving the babies that had been taken from them. 

This gets me to thinking about my relationships. As an introvert, I really love, love time alone, time with my husband, and time home. Just last night, a spur of the moment dinner opportunity came up and I just was not prepared mentally to spend a couple of hours with people I hardly knew. Another conversation yesterday left me agreeing to things that I wasn't comfortable with - simply because I am afraid to say no and disappoint.

From Riverclan's example, I am becoming more and more aware that relationships vary, we are not supposed to be happy social butterflies with everyone and jump on every bandwagon of ministry. Our most important relationship is with Jesus, staying close to him so we can hear his plan for us each minute. As a wife and mom, my family comes next. The plans laid out for each of us are widely different. As we stay in the Word and pliable in his hand, we will know what to do.  

image from here

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wordless Weekends ~ Cats as Kids

Homeschooling Kitty Cats

Sharing in Mama's Pleasures
Proud Mama of Big, Handsome Cats

Nights at our Home ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crookedstar's Promise by Erin Hunter, Chapters 5-10 - Learning through Choices

In chapters 5-10 in The Warrior's Crookedstar's Promise by Erin Hunter, we find Crookedkit leaving the clan and learning some of his worth among farm cats. I can relate. I ran away from my faith out of fear and doubt, and did learn about life in the big, bad world, but like Crookedkit, finally realized that my home is with Jesus and until I returned and learned to trust Him with everything, I would not find happiness. The experience, though, in my time away from Jesus,  made me the open-minded and empathic Christian that I am today. Yes, I have many faults still..pride, distrust, defensiveness. But the mercy I developed through my rebellion, I would not change for anything. I just hope I can be a leader of love in my clan, like Crookedkit, who is definitely learning through humility.

image from here

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ranch Food & Lessons...guest post from my husband

Check out my husband's other guest posts here & here

Cattail Soup ... Hey ya'll, this is Bonnie's beau and I'm giving her the day off and filling in where I can. Please know that when I'm telling a tale like this, I tend to put in a LOT of sub-text, but I do so in order for you to know what I'm talking about. So without further ado, here's a totally truthful story about food, served with a Texas-sized heaping of different!

When I was a kid growing up in West Texas on my grandparent's ranch, I had what you might call a "western education". That said, I spent time with the men who helped my granddaddy round up the cattle, brand them, and get them to market. These old men - each ones legends in their own right - taught me a lot about life and how to find my place in it. One of these great men was none other than Bobby Estes, the Rodeo Showman. (Here's a picture of him...)

 Among the many things he's known for is riding and winning awards as a Bareback Bronc and Bull Rider, as a Rodeo producer who took his rodeo show across Europe playing for Kings, Queens, and even the sheiks in the Middle East. And he's worked with the likes of Roy Rogers, Buffalo Bill, Will Rogers, and every other great cowboy you can think of from that era. Now picture me as a little 4, 5, 6 year old kid hanging on the cattle pen fence with Bobby, "Indian" (no joke, that's what we all called him and he was Bobby's man, doing whatever he said), and several other men like my granddaddy and my uncles.

On a side note, that reminds me of the story about Grandaddy chasing my uncle with the cattleprod... you see, we were branding the cattle... oh, but I digress...   

Things learned: These men taught me how to stand, how to spit, how to draw and shoot a pistol (it's like throwing a ball underhand), how to shoot a rifle from the hip so you don't hurt your shoulder, how to admit when you made a mistake, how to take the consequences when you owned up to that mistake, how to respect all men regardless of race or color, how to respect all of nature around you - even the critters you were about to eat, and many other things...

But among the things I learned from all these men (especially Grandaddy) was how to cook with a campfire. We made a lot of things on that fire. "Crunchy Coffee" (rough coffee grounds dropped into a pot of water and left to boil in the fire - the coffee tends to get a little crunchy near the bottom of the pot), "Toasted Eggs" (eggs over easy and slapped onto pan-cooked toast with a little butter, or meatfat/grease for flavor), "Beef Slap" (seriously, you take a cow and instead of sending it to market, you slap it in a truss, butcher it, and fry it on the spot), Chili (OH! We made LOTS of chili...) and one of the strangest things we ever made was a little something called "Cattail Soup".

Now before you all go off thinking this is some cruel piece against kitties, know that its referring to the plant instead. And rather than wasting everyone's time telling you things you already know, I'll tell you up front: yes, the recipe is a variation on Stone Soup. While cattails (the plant, not the animal) are edible, I don't recommend it unless you're a vegetarian or you like eating straw. Now, back to the story...

Anyways, it was a cold October day and everyone was in a particularly happy mood. They had all started way before dawn and had eaten a good breakfast of "Tack n' Scratch" (fried meat - usually sausage or "Beef Slap", dry tack bread - commonly made for use on the trail because it could last several days regardless of the storage or conditions, and grease gravy - good old fashioned cream gravy made with grease, flour, spice, and raw milk that came from the cow straight to the pan) and "Crunchy Coffee". I should know because I got there in time to clean up the remains of it all. As they were working the cattle, they were all talking about what they had brought to add to the soup and they were really getting carried away. They talked about adding everything from birds nests to mesquite tree beans and from used chewing tobacco to the very cow poop we were all trying not to step in. (Side Note: the beans from Mesquite trees are not edible in and of themselves, but they can be ground into a serviceable flour and used like that are a good source of fiber.)

As the day progressed, I discovered that they already had the pot a boiling and had already added most of their ingredients. It was hanging on a tripod over a fire so I couldn't get to it to test it... a fact that made me agitated with anticipation and excited at the same time. When it was time to eat, I was more than ready. So imagine my surprise and frustration when Grandaddy said that he and I were going in the house to eat what Grandmother had fixed for us instead. I begged him to let me stay out there with the men, but he just sternly told me no stating that Grandmother had worked hard on our meal and that we should leave the men in peace.

I obediently followed him only because he was stopping every few feet to remind me to keep up with him. If I could have slipped away, I would have, but my Grandaddy was too smart for that. We went inside, washed up, and ate the cold meat-thing-I-have-no-idea-what-it-was-sandwiches my Grandmother had left for us before she went into town. I was in agony. Here we are eating yuck when they're out there eating awesome Cattail Soup!

When it was finally time to get back out there, I was forbidden to ask them to share, After all, that was their lunch and I hadn't brought anything to help with it. For me to take their food like that was nothing less than stealing. So here we are walking back out and all the men are already back at work. They cleaned up and left nothing laying around for me to taste, so I was considerably less enthusiastic at this point. Pretty soon, Bobby had slid up beside me to see what was wrong. I told him I wasn't allowed to talk about it. He just grinned...

"Indian, do we have any soup left?" "Yes, Bobby," came the reply. "Will you please fetch me a cup'o some?" And without a word the indian went and got a small metal coffee cup filling it with my craving. Bobby then took off his leather work gloves saying, "Here, put these on. You're gonna need them to hold that cup." Soon I was holding a small amount of little boy's ambrosia: the soup smelled like comfort, acceptance, and compassion wrapped in bacon.

Up to this point, Grandaddy had been busy handling things on the high pen and hadn't been watching me. But when he saw what I had in my hands, he immediately came down to scold me. As he approached, I could feel the burning sensation of disapproval even without looking in his eyes. I knew I was in trouble. He walked up, took the cup, and began to softly chastise me for what I had done, even after our discussion earlier.

As I tried to defend myself, I felt a weathered hand on my shoulder. Bobby, taking the cup from Grandaddy said, "Kenneth, I gave it to him. He didn't even ask for it. I did so 'cause I wanted to." Next thing I know, the cup is in one of Indian's hands and I'm in the other as I watch my Grandfather and my hero step away and have words. Grandaddy was NOT pleased. Then, without looking at me, Indian turned me away from them and back towards the cattle pen, handed me the cup, and then stood there with his hands on my shoulders. There wasn't much in that soup: beans, potato, wild onion, fresh dill, wild garlic, and some finely chopped salt pork. There were no cats or even any cattails in that soup, but it didn't matter to me... I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless.

Granted, I was a little kid back then, but I still noticed that Bobby and the crew didn't come back to work the cattle with us the next year leaving us to do it alone. Was it because of that incident? Was it because Bobby had something else going on? I'll never know. But I'll never forget that day, the lesson of standing up for what you've done, of how food can bring folks together, or most importantly... how all those things come together to make a man.

I have a wonderful new grandson who's only a few months old right now and one day I'm gonna have him call me Grandaddy. Then, when I think he's ready, I'm gonna build a fire and teach him the importance of Cattail Soup.

Linked at The Better Mom, Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, True Aim Education, We Are That Family, Women Living Well, lowercase letters, Passionate and Creative Homemaking, Consider the Lilies, Raising Homemakers 

images from here & here