Thursday, September 18, 2014

Make Your Own Sweetened Condensed Milk

I worked on basketry today. Our high school is having a fund raiser this weekend and I was putting the finishing touches on a pair of gift baskets that we're donating to the silent auction. This is something we've done for several years and I enjoy working on.  I'll have to post some pics as soon as I have everything together. 

  Other than that, I'm in the mood for making fudge. This isn't supposed to happen until Christmas time. Now that I think about it, I suppose I may have picked up some subconscious vibes as I read some library magazines while waiting for my son to get done with cross country practice.  

  I have all the ingredients for the fudge. Well almost... A few days ago I saw this recipe in one of my cookbooks for making your own sweetened condensed milk. I could make "easy fudge" if I used this recipe. Handy, huh? When Christmas time gets here, I'll be ready.

  I'm going to let this be our little secret because if anyone in this house even thought there was a possibility of fudge being made, there would be no peace around here until I did. In the meantime, I decided to make a cup of hot chocolate instead. 

Sweetened Condensed Milk


1/2 cup boiling water
3 T. butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups powdered milk


Measure boiling water into blender. Add butter, sugar and dry milk. Blend 30 seconds. Pour out and let stand until thick and cool. Makes 14 ounces.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake

 I love going to the library, and I always find some treasure to bring home and use for awhile before reluctantly returning it. Today I found the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Cookbook and since this recipe from the book is grain free and gluten free, I couldn't resist trying it.

 While I didn't add it here, I did add a slight hint of cinnamon when mixing mine, maybe 1/4 tsp. The cake is very moist, almost more like a brownie and it got thumbs up here. It is also very simple to make, which really elevates it on my list.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes


19 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 T. powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
  • Place chocolate chips in microwaveable bowl. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds until melted and smooth. Chips may also be melted in double boiler on stove top.
  • Combine the eggs and drained beans in food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and baking powder and pulse to blend.
  • Pour in melted chocolate and blend until smooth scraping down sides to make sure it is completely mixed.
  • Pour batter into cake pan.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Cool cake.
  • Shake on powdered sugar just before serving. 

Yield: About 12 servings

Menu Plan Monday

Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Chef Salad with homemade French Dressing

Shepherds Pie
One of our favorites!

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

Black Bean Spaghetti Bake
I had picked up this spaghetti at Costco when my daughter was shopping with me. It's gluten free, low carb and really tastes quite good despite the look. I have tomatoes and zucchini to use up, so this looks like a winner. I may not make it exactly like this but this looked like a good recipe for starters. 

Homemade Pizza

High School Fund Raiser Auction  Dinner

Pork Loin or Beef Roast, Rice, Squash
Something like this is often our Sunday Dinner

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  I'm not sure how pumpkin spice cappuccino ended being the topic of the day as I drove teens to the bus this morning, but it was. I had to drive our youngest to his school, which was maybe a blessing in disguise or I might have been down at the convenience store buying a cup. It would have been a great day for it too. I had to dig out long sleeves and a jacket this morning. Brrr!

  Pumpkin spice is really easy to make. This is my recipe. I think there are other variations out there, but to have another jar marked "Pumpkin Spice"  isn't necessary. You can make it up seasonally from your other spices.


1 T. plus 1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

   So now I bet you're thinking I made myself a cup of cappuccino, right?  Well, no.  I decided to make a pumpkin coffee cake instead. The kitchen was warmer that way!

   Our favorite gluten free product is Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix and we always have it on hand. My husband likes it for Saturday morning pancakes, and I'll often use it during the week for some muffins or cookies to throw in lunches and backpacks.

   I decided to get a little inventive and made a delicious and moist coffee cake that is going to tempt me from now until supper time.

   Keep in mind that this was a one time experiment, not a test kitchen recipe. However, I did taste test it and it is amazing. If you want to give it a try, here is a link to a printable recipe.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Forgive me for not getting my menu plan posted sooner. I spent the day trying to find my dining room table and working on some projects that should be really helpful for keeping things a bit more organized.

I have a nice new address book and know where my stamps and envelopes are.  Last night we had nicer family time and much easier clean up after supper. Today we had both the band instrument and the lunch money...and homemade treats for the back packs.

Today dinner is in the crock pot. We've been taste testing and enjoying some of the recipes from the diabetic slow cooker. Even though we aren't diabetic there are some really great recipes there. Recipes from the book are indicated with an asterisk.

Monday-Grilled Chicken Thighs 
Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday-*Classic French Dips
*Slow Cooked Sweet Sour Red Cabbage

Wednesday-*Southwestern Steak and Potato Soup

Thursday-*Broccoli Cheese Dip with Baked Potatoes

Friday-Taco Salad
Since we have after school activities, I think this will work well for advance preparation

Saturday-Ham Sandwiches, veggie and/or leftovers

Sunday-Shepherds Pie or Burger Cookout

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Real Value of Precious Stones

Last week, as my daughter and I were searching through piles of old photos that we could use on bulletin boards at my mom-in-law’s funeral, we came across many different kinds of pictures.  We had a picture of my mom-in-law with our entire family at our twenty-fifth wedding  anniversary,  nearly 5 years ago already.  We had pictures of when my husband first returned from the Navy and we visited my in-laws at their favorite campground. There lots of pictures of grandma and grandpa with our children, pictures of past snowstorms, trips to various places, kids “helping papa” and more. Then there were the old black and whites, like pictures of me when I was a child, pictures of my mom and dad, grandparents, and the list goes on. But as we hunted for pictures we talked…

"What's this?"
"Remember when..."

If we look to scripture in Joshua 4, we see that the Israelites have just crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. Wonderful story! We’ve probably all had it read to us at one point or another in Church, Sunday School or devotions. And of course as Christians, we know it to be the truth, God’s word. 

I'm  not a  theologian, but crossing the river isn’t the end of the story, but often times that's where we end this story. But there's more...

Joshua 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

And so like our “Remember when…” as we looked through our piles of pictures, their future generations are asking, “What do these stones mean?” 
Sometimes I’ve been accused of being “Old Fashioned.” Hard to believe isn’t it? A product of the free spirited 1960s, old fashioned huh? (Yep…getting old) But to younger generations, heritage and tradition and seem “old fashioned” or maybe a bit lifeless and disconnected. 

At every turn in the road, we feel that in order to breathe new life into something we have to change it, move forward and see things from a new perspective. Often times we don’t see the old ways of doing something as relevant any longer. It happens in our homes, churches, schools, businesses and everywhere we look.  

And I don’t mean to say that change is always a bad thing. But often times our sense of experience in the here and now,  blurs that glimpse of our heritage and we lose sight of the real

worth and value that tradition has on us and on our children, especially when it comes to our spiritual heritage. 

We live in a world that is fast paced and constantly changing. There are many challenges in life.  My husband and I look back and realize that we face things we never thought we’d face as a couple and as parents.

There are battles. We get discouraged. Sometimes we can get hit by the waves of life in such a way that we wonder if we’ll ever be standing on solid ground again. 

We need to remember though that we have a sure foundation, one that is built on the precious promises of Christ and the good news of the gospel. It's an old story, but the fact that it doesn't change is a great comfort to us.

And when we’re swept along by all that life puts in our path, we can look back and remember the places in our life where the Lord has done wonders in our lives, has provided for our needs, forgiven us, strengthened us, led us to green pastures, renewed us, refreshed us, provided shelter in storms and gave us solid ground to walk on. 

But we shouldn’t keep it to ourselves. We need to tell it to our children. Lay the foundation of a rich spiritual heritage and then share it with your children and your grandchildren.