Monday, December 7, 2009

Homemade Honey Lemon Brew for Sore and Scratchy Throats

1/3 cup of boiling water
1 T Raw Honey
1 T Lemon Juice

Add honey to boiling water and dissolve. Add Lemon Juice. While it is still nice and hot, take a Tablespoon at a time, tilt head back and gargle for 10 to 15 seconds then swallow to coat back of your throat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Make your own Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar


2 Pounds of Sugar
6 ounces of Molasses

Put Sugar and Molasses in food processor and pulse a few times until incorporated. Store in airtight container for 30 days.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homemade Tartar Sauce

1 cup of mayo (Best Foods)
1/8 cup of dill pickle relish (Steinfields)
1/8 cup of minced onion
2 tsp of dried dill (or 1 tsp of fresh baby dill)

Mix all ingredients together and let flavors meld together in the refrigerator for at least one hour before using. The flavor is awesome.

My favorite things to use this tartar sauce on is steamed fish, salmon cakes or fish tacos.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cherry Almond Granola

Cherry Almond Granola

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate
2 T of canola oil
3 tsp almond extract
6 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups of dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds or pecans


In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk powder, honey, apple juice concentrate and oil. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir in extract. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cherries and almonds. Drizzle with the sugar mixture and mix well.

Spread in a thin layer in two 15x10 baking pans coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Uses or serving suggestions: Serve with skim milk for breakfast, top with vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt for dessert.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pre-planning helps with Chaos and Routines.

If I can find a way to save time or nonsense in my day I am willing to try it. The evenings and bedtime for our little toddlers can get quite hectic in our household. Our mornings can be crazy too, if we have appointments or errands to run with the kids. So I try to find ways to save time, be better organized with routines, and eliminate chaos in our lives.

Here are a few things that keep me sane.

1) Set out Pajamas in the morning for the night time.

2) Before bath time, put PJ's and fresh diapers on the bed.

3) Before bedtime, select clothes for the next morning.

4) Fill sippy cups after bedtime, put in fridge for the morning.

5) Have a basket of snacks in Ziploc snack bags to grab and go.

6) Keep a few snack bags of crackers or cereal in van or diaper bag for hunger or meltdowns.

7) Have a few books, learning or activity toys in the van for quiet time or crankiness.

8) Have the kids help pick up their rooms and/or family room before nap time and bedtime.

9) Have my teenager do the dinner dishes to give me a break in the evenings.

10) Keep a family calendar in site to help keep us all on schedule with events or appointments.

11)I have a dry erase board on my fridge for items that I have run out of and need to replace.

12) Meal plan- On my fridge I have a weekly meal plan to help me stay organized and stay with in a budget.

13) I am the only one that administers medicine or vitamins. So we don't double medicate.

14) I hire a helper/teenager (once or twice a month) to help with the deep cleaning or yard work.

15) Make ahead meals and freeze for quick and easy dinners, for those hectic days.

Some of these things saves us time, eliminates chaos, saves us money or keeps us organized. Pre-planning creates good habits and routines and we have more time to spend as a family.

If you have any other ideas or advice please do share.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Homemade Pizza Crust

I have given this pizza crust recipe to a few friends and it was a big hit with there families. It is delicious, easy and super cheap to make. So I thought that I'd share it with all of you too.

Pizza Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 package of dry yeast
1 T plus 2 tsp olive oil
1 cup of lukewarm water

*Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 12x 9 inch baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center and add olive oil and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for five minutes.

Roll out dough and press into a prepared baking sheet. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, then bake for 5-7 minutes.

Remove crust from the oven (spread your pizza sauce on top and top with mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings). Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Helpful tips: I rub my hands with olive oil to help crust from sticking to my hands, when pressing out. I like to sprinkle my baking sheet with a touch of cornmeal before pressing out dough, for a chewy/crunchy crust.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sorry no new posts lately. I am healing from Pneumonia and am taking it easy for a while. I will try to post some new recipes and info soon. Hope you all have had a wonderful Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to Basics

Back to the Basics is all I've seen this week in grocery ads, commercials, online... Whether it is my local grocery store's new sales gimmick to get you in their store for their sale items or the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten's cookbook "Back to Basics" using simple ingredients with fabulous flavor, quick and easy recipes and cooking techniques or on Headline News or CNN only buying the necessities to live on and quit spending our money frivolously.

We need to get back to the basics with our ingredients that we use or shall I say should use. Back in the day Pioneer women didn't run to their mercantile or Trading Post to purchase prepared packages of cake mixes, pancake mix, corn bread mix, biscuit mix and boxed things like Hamburger Helper or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or canned things like Condensed Soups or bottled Salad Dressings. They used simple ingredients they had on hand and made them themselves also known as "From Scratch."

I have been trying to save money by making my own homemade prepared items and either canning them, freezing them or storing dry goods in airtight containers. This is economical for my family and I enjoy doing it. Being in the kitchen and knowing that I am nourishing my family with good food is so rewarding as a wife and mother.

Here are a few of the "From Scratch" foods that I have made from Back to Basic, Simple Ingredients. I'll post a few recipes soon.

Pancake Mix
Pizza Crust
Yeast Rolls
Pie Crust
Cheese Biscuits
Spaghetti Sauce
Pizza Sauce
Corn Bread Mix
Graham Cracker Crust
Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Garlic and Herb Croutons
Loaded Vegetable Beef Soup
Scallop Potatoes
Homemade Noodles
Caesar Salad Dressing
Asian Salad Dressing
Thousand Island Salad Dressing
Tartar Sauce
Barbecue Sauce
Hoisin Sauce
Hot Chocolate
Beef and Chicken Broth/Stock
Homemade Hamburger Buns

Be Inspired to get Back to Basics and live the simple life.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pacific N.W. Gumbo

I was creative the other day and started putting items from my fridge into a stock pot and this is the recipe I came up with. I call it Pacific N.W. Gumbo, because it is served like Southern Gumbo, but has North West ingredients. We don't grow okra in our neck of the woods, we grow mushrooms. Ground Beef is what I had on hand, shrimp and andouille sausage is a bit expensive for my budget. It is delicious and feels like comfort food. I hope you enjoy it like my family did. By the way it is loaded with fresh vegetables and is healthy too.

Pacific N.W. Gumbo

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tsp ranch seasoning
4 tsp of taco seasoning
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup cabbage, diced
4 cups of beef broth
3 cups of chicken broth
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
3 T of tomato paste
1 cup zucchini, quartered and diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup of red or yellow bell pepper

Hot buttered rice (the real thing, not instant)


Make rice as directed on package ahead of time.

Brown ground beef, add shallots and garlic, add seasonings, carrots and cabbage. Saute a few minutes. Add beef stock, chicken stock, tomatoes with juice and tomato paste. Stir together and bring to a boil. Add remaining veggies and simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and season to your liking.

In a bowl add a half a cup of hot buttered rice, and ladle the gumbo over rice (about a cup and a half or two).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Balance of Life

We all have those reminders that we need to slow down and put things in perspective and live a balanced life. Well I need to slow down on my Inspired Living homemaking blog for while. I will not be posting as much during the Spring. You'll see posts, but not as frequent.

God is telling me to slow down and focus on a healthy balance in every area of my life. I need to give my time to God and spend more quiet time with him. Having quiet time is a daily discipline that will bring the rich rewards of balance, which is something I need, and I'm sure we all need.

Thank you for following my blog and please continue as there will be updates and posts to come.

Be Inspired to find balance in your life and inspire one another.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Little Black Book

A little black address book. You have one don't you? I do. Well mine is actually navy blue, but oh well. I'm not talking about the dirty secret little black book, I'm talking about the very important address book that we all need to have and keep in a safe place.

Let me explain... My husband and I have tons of websites and blogs that we visit and have made them our favorites on our computer. Not all of them have the same Access Id codes, passwords etc.. So the big question is "If my computer crashed or was stolen do I have any backup documentation to all the sites, blogs, passwords, access Id's, e-mail addresses to those places or contacts?" If you do, good for you! You think ahead. If you don't well it is not too late to get one started.

We have a vinyl spiral bound address book that is about 5 inches by 8 inches. Not little, but big enough to actually read and write information in. In alphabetical order we write down the name of the website, the URL, the password, and some have a registration number. About twice a year we print out our contact e-mail addresses since we are with Yahoo, and keep it folded inside the little black book. That way we can refer to the little black book, if we crash or forget our passwords etc.. It comes in real handy. Remember to keep it in a safe place. We keep ours in a fire proof safe.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

50% Off Winter Clearance Sale

Hey girlfriends... If you have a Value Village thrift store in your area you may want to check out their Winter Clearance Sale on Monday, February 16th (President's Day). 50% Off everything in the store.

We have found great deals on gently used and/or brand new items. Such as home decor items, furniture, name brand clothing, sports gear, books etc... I have a fetish for cookbooks and usually find a few that I have to add to my collection.
Happy Bargain Shopping!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My First Blog Award

Wow! I've received my first blog award! Thanks to Angela at The Creative Homemaker for passing along this award to me. You should totally go visit her blog. Be sure to visit!

What is the lemonade award you might ask. It's an award that celebrates good attitude and gratitude. So I am passing it along to five other bloggers. I enjoy visiting all of them and seeing what they are doing, saying or creating. I think they show great attitude and gratitude. So be sure to check these out too!

When you receive your lemonade award, pass it on to others who show great attitude and gratitude. Share the love! Here's what you do:

1. Put the lemonade logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate 10 other bloggers who you think demonstrate good attitude and/or gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Comment on their blog to let them know they have received this award.
5. Link back to this post and the person whom you received this award from.

I only have five I'd like to share. My nominees for the Lemonade award are, and in no particular order:

Joy at Joys of Home
Shannon at Bless Our Nest
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality
Karol at Home Sweet Home
Nikki at Sneaky Recipes

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl Sliders

Man are these making my mouth water. Sliders are almost bite size gourmet burgers. Some restaurants have them on their menus. I make these up every once in a while and they are a big hit. My husband works for a bakery that makes these little tiny buns. If you can't find them in your local grocer then check out a local restaurant food supplier, like Cash n Carry (at least that is the name of ours), where restaurant owners purchase from. The general public are usually welcome to purchase too. You could also make them from scratch.

The Slider pictured is a sauteed mushroom and swiss with grilled onion that I had made (the slider looks big but is just sitting on a salad plate). They are just wonderful and are the hit of any party or family night. You can make a bunch up and have your guests top them with their favorite toppings. Other ideas that you could make are mini bacon burgers, sloppy joes, a chicken slider using half of a grilled chicken tender, chicken salad.... or what ever your hunger is in the mood for. My kids like Peanut Butter and Jelly Sliders, the perfect size for little hands or big mouths. You can't just eat one.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fast Food Breakfast

I have three kids that love pancakes and french toast. Sometimes, I don't have the time to get out the griddle and begin breakfast with a big mess. So I spend a morning and make up about a 100 pancakes and about 75 slices of french toast. I love this idea because I make only one big mess in the kitchen. I let them cool on a wire rack then flash freeze them on cookie sheets (this way they won't stick together, when stacked). I stack them into gallon size Ziploc bags and freeze.

Whenever I need a quick fix breakfast for my toddlers I just grab a few from the freezer and pop them into the microwave. Our preteen loves getting them and microwaving them himself. We have even taken them with us on vacation. I don't buy the frozen brands from my grocery store anymore. You see.. Mama Angie makes them with love and they are cheaper to make too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Plan C

We all have those days where we get so busy or we have forgotten to take something out to thaw for Dinner. Then you have to go to plan B which might be having to go to the store, go out to eat or it's soup and sandwiches for dinner. I have plan C on hand, and it sure comes in handy.
About every four months I brown up ten or twelve pounds of hamburger and/or ground turkey and season with Garlic Salt, Lawry's Seasoning and Parsley. Just enough to give it some taste. Then I drain beef in a mesh strainer. Let cool and package into Ziploc quart size bags, which is about a pound each. They stack flat in the freezer and are nice to have on hand.
In a pinch I grab a package from the freezer and thaw in the microwave in a matter of two minutes. I can throw it into some spaghetti sauce, or into a soup or casserole, or add some taco seasoning and have tacos or nachos. This really helps on those nights that you don't want to be in the kitchen very long and want to spend it with your family instead. It is my way of saving a step by being prepared in advance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting ready to Garden

While at Michael's craft store I found more treasures in their bargain bins. I picked up a Gardener's Journal and metal plant label stakes. The journal was $5 and has tabs and sections for monthly calenders, notes, planning/planting grids to design your space, garden notes, photos, etc.. The metal labels were only $1 each and the gardening gloves were free (I got them at a home and garden show). I'm going to enjoy my new treasures this Spring and Summer. These would make a good gift for some one for less than $10.00, just toss in a gift bag or flower pot with a couple of packets of seeds and whaalah!

P.S. They also had a Travelers Journal for those who would like to journal about their trips and adventures and add their photos too.
Posted by Picasa

Shopping Treasures

This week I stopped in at my local Michael's craft store. I had some spare time to take a look at their newly opened location, and wanted to see what deals they had. I am in the process of cleaning out drawers and the area where our homework/sewing station is, that is in my kitchen. I am looking to do a makeover of sorts and am trying to find some spring colors. At Michael's I found a long isle with bargain bins with prices ranging from .50 cents to $7.00

Everything pictured here was only $1.00 each. I found weekly menu planners, matching recipe cards and glass magnets. I bought enough for me and extras to give as gifts. For three dollars you can give someone a menu planner, recipe cards and a set of matching magnets. That is a great frugal idea and gift. If you are crafty you could make a apron to go with the gift and maybe a wooden spoon or wisk from the dollar store.

I plan on making push pins for a message board out of the magnets with the birds and flowers. Of course I plan on making the message board too, if I can't locate just what I'm looking for. There were tons of other items but, I was trying to not spend too much. So another day awaits a frugal find of shopping treasures.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Homemade Croutons

What do you do with left over bread? I had made four loaves of garlic toast for a Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner/Potluck for a friends birthday and had this many slices of garlic toast leftover. Normally I would have just tossed them out into the garbage because cold buttered garlic toast is just nasty tasting. However.. I decided to be frugal and make croutons out of them. Since they were already seasoned and cold, I just sliced them into thin strips and then into cubes. I tossed them with a little olive oil and parsley and toasted them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning twice. Once they were crispy I let them cool and then bagged them up in Ziploc bags. Since there was butter on them originally they needed to be used up within the week. I kept a bag and then gave a bag to a friend.

So save your day old bread or left over garlic toast and make croutons out of them. Great on salads or just snacking on.

Tri color Cauliflower, who knew?

Cauliflower doesn't come only in white anymore. I was at my local Grocery Outlet last week and noticed these colorful cauliflowers in lime green, purple and orange. The labels said rich in beta carotene and vitamins. I would assume they were colored from the juices of other veggies. I just had to buy them, because they were so beautiful and different. I thought that they would look lovely in a salad. Buying three will inspire me to research cauliflower recipes also. I plan on roasting some florets this week.

Do you have any ideas or recipes for cauliflower you want to share?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chicken Corn Chowder

3 baked or boiled Chicken Breasts, sliced in semi-thin one inch slices
10 Fingerling Potatoes, sliced in rounds
1 cup of sliced Carrots
1 1/2 cups of Frozen Sweet Corn
2 cups of Cream
1 cup of Whole Milk
1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
1/2 cup of bacon bits
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil and add fingerling potatoes and carrots, simmer until fork tender. Drain most of the water leaving about 1/2 a cup of water. Add cream, milk and sweet corn and heat until hot. Add chicken, bacon and cheese and heat until hot. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Homemade Gifts are from the Heart

I know Christmas has passed, but I want to mention the homemade gifts I made this year for friends and family. Not only are they frugal they come from the heart. Homemade gifts are great to give and receive. You don't have to wait for Christmas to come around.. you can make some up and give them for birthdays, valentines day, secret friend gifts, welcome a new family to the neighborhood or even welcome a couple with a homemade gift for the birth of a child. There are so many possibilities.

For Christmas I made up several homemade and semi-homemade gifts for my friends. When they all came over for coffee and brunch I told them they each got to go shopping and pick out their gift. That way they could choose a gift that fits their need and desire. I had homemade fudge, bottles of olive oil, soup in a jar mixes, Winter Cocoa Jars, Pedicure sets, Movie Night In bags, and Mugs of Devotions and Decadence.

I found the soup in a jar mixes online. Some were Split Pea Soup, Confetti Bean soup and Cowboy Chili. I printed up the quick recipe and tied it on the jar with raffia. (I had received a Cookie in a Jar mix from a young friend that works for me and does house cleaning and yard work). The cocoa recipe I had for years and made up a few batches. I put them in plastic jars that I got at the dollar store and printed up instructions and tied it on with ribbon. The Pedicure sets had nail files, callus remover tool, nail polish and a mini bottle of sparkling cider in it. The Movie Night In had bags of microwave popcorn, big boxes of movie candy, individual popcorn tubs and mini cans of soda. I was going to add a movie rental gift card to them, but was trying to keep the cost down. The Mug of Devotions and Decadence was a large snowman or Santa mug with packets of gourmet flavored hot chocolates, cappuccino packet, hot apple cider packets, chocolate dipped biscotti and a Bible on CD (from the dollar store).

I also gave homemade gifts to our family. I put in jars of apple and pear butter that I made up in the Fall. I had made Carmel Corn with peanuts and made tags for them and called it "Koch Krunch" using our family's last name. I also put in bags of walnut fudge, the jars of soup mix and Winter Cocoa jars. I added some fragrant tea lights as well. They were frugal and from the heart, all made from love.

Our children received homemade gifts from their grandparents this year. Our pre-teen received a treasure box that was stained, had hinges, a lock and brass corner covers. He can use it as a secret storage box for his journal or treasures. The little ones received handmade wooden cars. All made by their Grandfather.

My Dad is a widow and my Uncle in Law is a bachelor and I found the perfect homemade gifts to give them. I made two big pots of Cowboy Chili and Navy Bean Soup (my Dad's favorites). I put two cups of hearty soup into disposable and microwaveable plastic containers and added a label and date on the top. I gave them each three which they can freeze and eat when ever they want. I put them in a gift bag. You can do this to stew, vegetable beef soup, etc.. What a great gift for a guy that doesn't cook much.

Do you know what is a good gift to give a couple that just brought home their newborn baby? A big tall jar of homemade soup. Wrap it in a receiving blanket, tie it at the top with ribbon and add a rattle for decoration. Remember to make the soup nursing friendly for the mom and baby, like Chicken Corn Chowder or Potato Soup. Stay away from Chili or Taco Soup, or spicy foods that can be discomforting.

A few years ago I received a knitted afghan from my Grandmother. It is absolutely beautiful. She made each of her girls one. She knitted all year long and made sure that we had something made from her to treasure forever.

There are so many other possibilities like knitted dish cloths, aprons, wooden toys, a meal, baked goods and treats, jams and jellies, home canned salsa, home sewn place mats and napkins etc... The ideas are endless. I think that we need to get back to the basics and make gifts from the heart that mean much more.

Do you have any homemade gift ideas that you want to brag about, that either you made or received?

Be Inspired to Make a gift from the heart.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Well it's that time of year to sit down and reflect on life. Time to reflect on the previous year and what was accomplished, what was put on the back burner, what made a difference, what would I want to change and what was most memorable? We shouldn't focus too much on the past but do need to reflect back on the year and then move on into the future.

And.. so the list begins for the New Year and our resolutions we want to focus on. Mine looks something like this. I have some direct ideas and then I have questions for myself that can be answered after some more in depth thought and prayer.

Spend more time with the Lord.
Spend more quality time with my children.
Schedule date nights and alone time with my hubby.
Create a schedule to get fit and healthy.
Lose weight so I can look great on my 40th b-day.
Read more and turn off the TV.
It's OK to say No or Sorry... I need to spend more quality time with my family.
Make changes in family traditions and holidays, to be more Christ Centered.

How can I be a better person and friend?
How can I help and/or donate my time to others?
How can I give back or pay it forward?
How can I make a difference in the lives of others?

These are just a few of the things on my list this year. What is important in your heart and life that you want to focus on or make changes in the New Year?

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all of you. How did you celebrate the New Year? We don't go out to parties or whoop it up on New Years Eve. We stay home as a family, have snacks, enjoy a special dinner and play games. Last night we had a Bowling tournament on our Wii. It was a lot of fun. I buy the kids a six pack of mini bottles of sparkling cider, and they get to use my fancy champagne glasses (from our wedding), it makes them feel special. We choose to not be out on the streets at night on New Years, knowing that others could be intoxicated and put our family at risk. It just makes more sense to us to stay home, be safe and enjoy our family.

Hope that you all enjoyed your New Years. We wish you many blessings and prosperity in 2009! God Bless.