All posts by Melissa

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese  Crackers

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (or substitute 1 tablespoon unsalted butter)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons ice water

Combine the cheese, butter, shortening and salt in a food processor or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add the flour and pulse or mix on low speed until the mixture is combined. Add the ice water slowly with the mixer or food processor running. The dough will just start to come together, you may need to add a few more drops of water, but go slowly so you don’t overdo it. Gather up the dough and pat it into three disc shapes. Don’t knead it or mess with it too much. Wrap the discs tightly in waxed paper or parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until you’re ready to bake the crackers. The dough can be refrigerated like this for up to 5 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the dough sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes, and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your favorite baking sheet.  Gently begin to roll the dough out directly on the parchment paper. It might be hard at first but keep at it. Roll the dough quite thin, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.  Cut the crackers into 1 inch squares. Poke a hole in the center of each cracker with a skewer. Along with being decorative, the hole allows the steam to escape which helps your crackers bake up nice and crisp. Use a sharp spatula to separate the crackers gently on the parchment paper and transfer the whole paper to a baking sheet. Bake the crackers for about 12 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool the whole sheet on a wire baking rack and repeat with the remaining dough. You can serve the crackers warm, or cool them completely and store them in a container with a tight fitting lid.  This recipe makes about 8 dozen crackers.

Sweet potato crunch

Sweet potato crunch

4 medium sweet potatoes (cooked, skinned and cut in to chunks)

2 eggs

½ stick butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients except the sweet potatoes. Put sweet potatoes in the bottom of a 1 quart casserole dish and pour egg mixture over the potatoes.

Topping

¼ cup butter

½ cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts are good)

Cover sweet potatoes with topping bake covered for ½ hour at 350 degrees then remove cover and return dish to oven bake 15 more minutes or until topping to toasted.

Butternut Casserole

Butternut Casserole

2 pounds Butternut Squash

½ cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter

2 ½ cups herb seasoned croutons

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1 ½ cup cooked cubed chicken

½ cups shredded cheese (American or cheddar)

Halve squash remove seeds and pulp place cut side down in shallow baking dish. Bake at 375 until tender about 45 minutes. Remove squash from the skin and mash.

In a sauce pan cook onion in butter till tender, stir in croutons, salt and pepper. Add broth and toss, stir in mashed squash and meat. Place mixture in 1 and ½ quart casserole dish and cover. Bake at 375 about 30 minutes or until bubbling, uncover top with cheese and return to oven bake 15 minutes.

Granola

Granola

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ginger

Mix together in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Add

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup honey

¼ cup milk

¾ cup dried fruit

¼ cup sunflower seeds

1/8 cup flax seeds

¼ cup sliced almonds

Mix well making sure to use all loose flour has been incorporated. Spread in 9×13 inch pan and bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees. Stir every 10 minutes until light brown about 50-60 minutes total.

Freezes well and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

3 eggs beaten

2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash puree

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt (we use sea salt)

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 2/3 cups evaporated milk (Or 1 2/3 cups milk and 1 tablespoon cornstarch)

Mix dry ingredients, mix separately pumpkin and eggs, add dry ingredients to egg mixture.  Pour into pie crust and bake on bottom rack at 350 for 35 min or until middle is set.

Baked Squash Halves

Baked Squash Halves

2-4 Acorn or butternut squash cut in half

16 oz. browned sausage (one package)

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup plain bread crumbs

First prepare squash by cutting in half and removing seeds.

*Tip to cut squash easily use a big knife and a small tack hammer and tap on the top of the knife to split them apart.

Bake squash cut side down on a cookie sheet until soft approx. 1 hour at 375.  Mix the browned sausage and bread crumbs along with the brown sugar and stuff into the squash cavity.  Return the now stuffed squash to the oven until golden brown approx. 20 minutes.

Butternut Squash Bake

Butternut Squash Bake

1/3 cup butter

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 can (5oz) evaporated Milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups mashed (cooked) squash

Topping

½ cup rice crispy cereal

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter

Mix butter and sugar, beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Stir in squash (mixture will be thin) pour into a greased 9 x 13 cake pan. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes. Combine topping ingredients, sprinkle over casserole return to oven for 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.

Potatoes – Scalloped

Potatoes – Scalloped                                                                                     TWC

 

1/8 cup chopped Onions (or 4 tsp dried Onions soaked in 4 tsp water)

1/8 cup Butter

1/8 cup All-purpose Flour (or White whole wheat Flour)

1 ¼ cup Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 ½ cup peeled and sliced thin (1/8“) Potatoes

Cook onion in butter until tender but not browned

Stir in flour, salt, pepper

Add milk

Stir and cook until thick and bubbly

Put half of potatoes in greased 1 qt casserole

Add half of sauce

Repeat

Bake at 350 covered for 45 min.

Squash and apple casserole

Squash and apple casserole

1 butternut squash (baked and skin removed)

1 tart apple red or green (cored and sliced in thin circles)

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup chopped pecans

3 tablespoons melted real butter (salted or unsalted)

Grease a 9×9 inch glass baking dish. Add squash and layer over apples. Mix together all dry ingredients in a small bowl add melted butter, mix well and sprinkle over squash and apples. Cover and bake at 350 until apples are soft approx. 30 minutes.

*To add a little more nutrition try adding a tablespoon full or two of flax seeds.

*To bake squash preheat oven to 400 cut squash in half remove seeds and  place in grease pan cut side down. Bake at 400 for approx. 40 min or until squash is soft.  Let the squash cool remove to a plate cut side up and let cool until you can handle it. Using a table spoon scope the squash from the shell.

Simple Living Tips

Simple Living Tips

 

Limit your media consumption.  Try a media fast. TV, radio, internet, movies, etc.

Purge your stuff. If you can spend a weekend purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels really good. Use old boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or if donating means just letting the stuff collect dust in a spare room just toss it.

Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary.  Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time.

Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close. Do this by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear.

Spend time with people you love. Whether those people are a spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them, talk to them, play, or just be close.

Eat healthy.  Think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs throughout your life. Might be years down the road, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … can get expensive not to mention you just won’t feel good.  Eating healthy simplifies all of that over the long term and the present.

Exercise.  For the same reasons as eating healthy, it simplifies your life down the road, but for the present: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better.

Find an outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, painting, drawing,creating websites, dance, skateboarding, etc. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that brings joy to your life.

Play. Find ways to have fun in your daily life. Be it playing with your kids or grandkids or creating a weekly game night with friends, adding more play time to your life will reduce stress and give you the ability to burn off excess energy (physical or intellectual).

Organization. Everything has a place and everything in its place. There’s much to be said for not having to search for things.

Living simply means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. Start small and try one step at a time.