Monday, August 29, 2011

The Mystery of History

This year Elizabeth is in 4th grade; and for history we will be using The Mystery of History. I have heard so many good things about this curriculum. One exciting part is the use of a timeline; which is just up my alley since I used one when we homeschooled Jonathan.

The timeline for The Mystery of History is made with a fold-up pattern board; which I just happened to have on hand.

The book suggested covering the pattern board with contact paper but Elizabeth and I wanted something more exciting so we colored a picture on the back side of the board and then marked the time "lines" with clear packing tape; this way we could still see our design.

Our timeline turned out so cute and we are looking forward to filling it up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peppers Hot Hot Peppers

Fresh picked peppers....
Newly washed...

And preserved.

The first picking provided enough peppers to fill a dozen 4-ounce jar with leftovers. These will be used for salsa so instead of canning them in vinegar I used water and processed in the pressure canner.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garden Progress

My garden is still producing but it's quickly being taken over by weeds.I have begun removing my green bean plants and tossing them into the chicken yard.

My tomatoes are still blooming and I have been discovering more and more tomatoes;

Not only in the middle of the plants but on the ground as well.

It looks like we will have a nice tomato crop after all.

So far I have two watermelons growing well. One is on the outside of the fence and I am hoping the rabbits do not start eating it.

The cantaloupes are small so I have no idea how many of them may be hiding under the leaves.

I have given up on my carrots having any flavor and have begun pulling them up and tossing them into the chicken yard.

The cucumber plants are slowly dying. It still amazes me how many cucumbers we got this year.

The bell peppers are big and ready to be picked. I plan to make stuffed peppers very soon.

An oh my, the jalapeno peppers are so plentiful. I will be canning these very very soon.

I am still amazed how well my garden did this year, especially since we had very little rain and many many days with temperatures over 100-degrees.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beef Tips Over Rice

Today I made some of the best beef tips using my pressure cooker. I began by Browning the meat, which was a steak I cut into bite size pieces, in olive oil. I seasoned the meat with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and an onion cut in half. When it was time to add the water I stirred in a tablespoon of brown gravy powder. Next I cooked it at 10-pounds for 40-minutes.

Adding the powdered gravy mix was the perfect touch; it blended so well into the meat and broth. The flavor was rich and the meat was so tender.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fried Pies

We love fried pies and today, while searching online, I found the best fried pie crust recipe ever. It can be found here.
While my dough was chilling in the fridge I opened a jar of fresh canned peaches, from last years crop, and proceeded to thicken it.

When my dough was chilled enough I took a small amount and rolled it thin; I like to roll out more dough than needed.

Next I added my filling;

And covered the filling with half of the rolled dough.

Taking a fork I crimped the edges;

And trimmed the edge with a pizza cutter.

The pizza cutter works well for shaping the pie.

Once the pie has been shaped take your fork and crimp a second time.

If you forget to do the second crimp your fruit will spill out like this.

Gently place your pie into hot oil.

Flipping when golden brown.

Drain on paper towel.

This newly discovered recipe made a nice flaky crust.

Today's fried pies were the best I have ever made!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I am not very good at making homemade flour tortillas but someday I plan to master them.
I can roll them out pretty well, but not round.

When it's time to flip them I am chicken...

And use a metal spatula.

They usually cook up well but are never soft enough to fold into a burrito.

So we eat them as a snack with peanut butter and honey or margarine.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup warm water

Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening until it resembles crumbs. Add water and mix until it forms a soft dough ball. Place in plastic for 10 to 20 minutes; this makes the texture of the dough more like elastic and easier to roll. Divide into small balls and roll flat. Cook on a hot griddle until brown on each side.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Wedding Gift

While searching the fabric store recently I stumbled upon these cute kitchen themed fabrics. Using my embroidery machine I stitched a cute "days of the week" design onto muslin;

And trimmed the ends in a ruffle using the fruit print fabric.Next I found some plain hand towels at Wal-Mart;

And stitched a strip across the bottom of one end using the utensil print fabric.

All the towels and this set of knives are headed to an upcoming wedding.

I think the happy couple will enjoy their gift for many years.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Out on the Water

We recently enjoyed two days out on the water with just the moms and four kids.
The kids had a blast playing on a raft being pulled by the boat. Their favorite part was jumping off while the raft was moving full speed.

My favorite part was swimming in the lake when the boat was sitting away from shore. We were able to dive or jump from the back of the boat and not worry about hitting any rocks or tree branches.

The water was cool and refreshing, perfect for cooling us off on these hot summer days we have been having!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The First

We picked the first of the hidden tomatoes.And it was perfect!

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