Thursday, November 7, 2013

I have moved to a new blog

Hello there! If you have found this blog, well I have moved to a new one. Enjoy all the fun ideas from this blog. Just  go to Torch Light Cottage and visit my new blog. Looking forward to have you visit.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

How To Use Sausage Links Instead Of Hamburger

The price of hamburger is so expensive anymore. What do I do when I have no hamburger??? Well, I am able to find sausage links at Sam's Club for reduced for quick sale. The price ends up being much lower than hamburger per pound.

What I do is just place the sausage in the pan and break it up into tiny pieces. I use the sausage in spaghetti sauce, potato bake, cornmeal quiche, add to scrambled eggs and many more meals. My family enjoys all the meals that I make with using sausage instead of hamburger.

In encourage you to become creative in how you cook. By researching the internet for recipes that have hamburger. You never know how yummy they can be by replacing the hamburger with sausage. Use what you have on hand. Substitution can be a good thing.

Happy cooking in your kitchens. Think outside the box. Cooking can be fun and healthy.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fixed My Pressure Cooker

A while back (the last time I used my pressure cooker), I noticed it was not working quite right. The seal on the inside of the lid was not neatly tucked in the lid groove how it should be. So, fast forward to today. Well, I took part of the seal out of the groove and cleaned the seal and groove. What do you know! It totally worked!! I made 2 1/2 cups pinto beans.

I really did not want to purchase another seal online. We are saving money like crazy and looking for another home to purchase. My personal expenses are just food for the family. I am not purchasing anything for myself unless it is a much needed item. No eating out. Last month we ate home the entire month. Even my husband has been fine with that.

I have not done any crafts in a while. Too busy with homeschooling my children. It is that time of year for us. Even a stay at home, homeschool mom is busy.

Hoping your day is wonderful.


Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Home Hunting

We have been looking for a new home since the beginning of September. Several rejected offers and more homes coming on the market everyday. We are hoping to find a home to be in by Christmas. Waiting on God to open up the door to the one he wants us to have.

Very busy for the kids and I since school started. We are a homeschooling family. The Lord has blessed many years for our family. It honestly is the only way for us. Hannah is in 7th and Sam is in 5th now. Boy, time flies. My children are getting so big.

The Lord has been walking us through some pretty tough trials as a family this month too. God is refining our lives in him.

I hope your day is wonderful.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Well, there are many times the Lord stretches my life. Mainly on a daily basis with my children and husband. If he does not sanctify me, I will get stale in  my walk with him. The type of personality I have is; to keep things simple, if it is not broke don't fix it, homebody, keep to what I know how to do well. Last week, I wanted to try making some simple crochet flowers. Turning to YouTube, I found several videos. Also, I am a very visual person. So saying that, I watched one video at a time with my crochet hook and yarn. During the video I would also take down exact directions. When I finished the flower, I then stapled it to my paper with the directions. This was very helpful. Below is one of the pages and example.

Trying new things that do not cost any money is great. I believe the internet can be used in a good way instead of the bad way many people use it for. The Lord gave us the technology, so lets us it for His glory.

Praying your day is wonderful!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Stretching Your Food Budget

Since 2009 I have really learned how to make by food budget stretch as far as it will go. Many recipes I have found on the internet, and from really vintage cookbooks or create my own. I usually change the recipe to what there is on hand in my pantry, freezer and refrigerator.

We usually spend less than $400.00 per month. Many months is is around $200.00. It all depends what is on sale. Shopping for items such as meats only on sale is a very important tip. Otherwise we could not afford to purchase meat. I will not pay over $2.50 a pound for meats. For example, once to twice a year we will splurge on hamburger at Sam's Club. I can find different cuts of pork for less than $1.99 and much less during the year. Chicken is a big staple for our home. On average I pay between .79 and .99 cents per pound.  Search the grocery store ads and see what they have on sale near your home.

The last couple of weeks I have made some yummy dinner dishes. Enjoy the photos.

Masa Cakes (Instead of tamales)

Pork Verde with Veggies poured over the masa cakes. They were quite tasty.

What will you make this week that only costs a few cents per serving? Give it a try and see what you can come up with.

Have a wonderful day in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Waiting, waiting and waiting

Well, waiting is not one of my favorite things is this world. Watching homes that we could put offers on are either going to pending sale then back on sale or selling outright. It is hard to see which home God is going to have for us. My husband is waiting until September to start looking. He is right though. The market is changing, and who knows (only God) we just may get a larger home with more land than we expected. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that I need to trust Him in all things. That does include the little and big things. If today you are feeling a bit stretched in the "Trusting" area, join the club. I do believe that all true Christians have issues with trusting in God fully from time to time.

God is a just and loving God and He know what is best for our family and does for your family too.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Praising God In All The Details

Sometimes I tend forget to Thank God for all the little blessings in my life. For example, having a roof over our head, more than enough food on our table and so many other things. Last week, I seemed to not be thanking my Lord for those little blessings. Needless to say, I was becoming grouchy in many areas of my day. Praise God his mercies and forgiveness are new everyday.

Grocery shopping can get myself and the children tired and grouchy too. Thursday we went grocery shopping. We actually stopped at 5 places!!! Post office, thrift store, KIA garage, Winco and Sams Club. Phew! That was alot of stops. Well, the three of us rejoiced that we had the money to purchase our groceries, vintage fabric, postage stamps to mail or letters, and the car was fixed for free (small recall issue). Much to be thankful to the Lord for. Our day was very tiring BUT, we were joyful, thankful and so glad we had food to eat. Try being thankful to God in the little details and He can do much in your life.

Again, I stretched our food to created some really tasty meals for just pennies. Oh yes, they were healthy dishes too. In doing this, I can big shop about once every 5 weeks or so.

I just love it when I find vintage fabrics or any good fabric for that matter. The price was right in my book.

  • Pork ribs, potatoes, salad, fruit
  • Taco soup (with the left over chicken I had baked)
  • Sausage, potato, zucchini bake (made from left over breakfast meal)
  • Breakfast, sausage, eggs, potatoes
  • Fend for yourself night (whatever was in the fridge)
  • Left over pork ribs with rice bake.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's Hot In Northern California

As I write this, it has been extremely hot here where we live. Monday was 106. Triple digits!! A bit melting for our family. My husband has to work in this weather (he is a building contractor). So, when the weather is this way, our family huddles inside and tries to do other activities.

I let my kids watch a few more movies than normal, do crafts, read books, and such. I also, don't cook on the stove top or oven. We do cook in the microwave, make cold sandwiches, and eat salads. Anything to keep the cottage from heating up. It was a good thing Monday morning, I had put a chicken in the crockpot. It was completely cooked before the power went off.

This week I did make a skirt for my daughter and a slip. For myself and very pretty skirt.

Regarding using my time more wisely, just staying off the computer. Making sure that I read my bible in the morning before doing activities in the house. So far so good.

I hope your 4th of July was wonderful.

A pair of earrings I made for my daughters Awana leader. They were clip on earrings. Yes, vintage all the way. These earrings have character.

My kids and I made fans on Monday for the power went off. Due to a fire  near an electrical substation in town. It was really hot that  day.

The items I ordered from Wawak sewing supplies. The shipping is very low, ship fast, prices are excellent. I used a coupon code for $20.00 off purchases $40.00 or more. It's good till September 30, 2013. Type in this code upon checking out  THREADS913. Next month or August I may order something else. We will see what they happen to have on sale.

  • Spinach strawberry pecan salad
  • Crockpot chicken
  • Chicken, sausage, tomato sauce and rice mix (left overs)
  • Pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans
  • Yummy BBQ for the 4th of July at our friends home on the 4th

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Accomplishments From Last Week

Busy week it has been. We started our Summer homeschooling again, after a long break of house selling. Things did have to be pushed to the side for a while. The Lord was really gracious to us during that time. It feels good to be back on track and getting things accomplished around the rental cottage. I have even put some photos up of the cute cards I made with my kids this week. We enjoy making the cards and having them ready in a box to send when one is needed. So much better than purchasing a card.

Lately, I have been thinking about how I am using my time wisely. Honestly lately it has been a bit crazy with the move and getting settled. My heart wants to glorify God in how my time is spent. I will keep you updated on what steps have been taken in order to accomplish this important change in my life.

Super Delicious Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins

Perfect Gluten Free Oatmeal Millet Bread

The cards my children and I made. We used my embossing machine from Sizzix and fun templates from Cuttlebug.

  • I made homemade chicken pot pie, used up phyllo dough sheets I have had in the freezer since last November.
  • I made a double batch of gluten free millet oatmeal bread, and pumpkin muffins. Family loves these
  • Made a spaghetti with italian sauce, then ate leftovers another day.
  • Really focused on how my time is spent. I find that my accomplishments this last week were were more than they had been in quite a while.
  • We had homemade vegetarian chili from dried beans in my bulk buckets. The best way to re-hydrate beans is in the pressure cooker. I just cook them for 15 minutes and they are pretty soft.
  • Took a few more things out of boxes from the garage.

Have a wonderful day!!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Cottage

Busy is the word for our household last week. Things began to get back to regular schedule since our home had been put up for sale. We had to sign final papers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday escrow closed and getting settled in our rental cottage. The Lord has been very good to us during this time of stretching in our faith. Selling a home is a huge undertaking.

The cottage is out from town about 15 minutes or so. The trips I take into town are few now. I am so glad that the last few years purchasing food in bulk, cooking from scratch and  stocking up the pantry has been done in my household. Not having to run to the store for something has been great. Last week I made some great meals from items we had in the freezer, and pantry. Here is a list of some of the things we have eaten last week.

Turkey spam sandwiches
Black bean chili with rice
Pork chops with left over black bean chili with rice
Left over pork, black bean chili, rice tacos
Lots of wonderful green salads
Ham (that was already cooked)and baked potatoes
Potato zucchini pancakes with salad and fruit

I did make a large pitcher of mint water. Our landlords planted several things for us in the garden on the property. The mint water was very refreshing. My daughter asked if I could make some more. Very free indeed. My main goal is to make everything stretch as far as possible. Making sure the meals are healthy and tasty.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Officially Back to Blogging

So much has happened since March. We placed our home up for sale in April. 4 offers and 3 times in escrow we officially handed the house to the new buyers as of today. It was an odd journey but, God had his best plans for our family. We ended up with the best offer and more money in our pockets. Last week (Thursday) we finished moving everything out of the house. What a huge chore!! Glad it is done. Loving our little rental cottage out in the country. Many birds, deer and other wildlife visit our place. Best thing of all, no traffic noise anymore. We are thankful for all the Lord has done for our family. Now we are praying for our next home, prayerfully before Christmas.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

I have a camera now!!

Last weekend my husband and I traveled down to Southern California. I picked items from my mother's estate. One item was her digital camera. So, happily I can say photos will be coming to my blog. I am excited to post some fun scrapbook pages and other creations. What a huge blessing to get another camera. I felt like a fish out of water not having a camera for the last couple of months.

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Still no camera BUT, New Gluten Free Bread Recipe

Hi all, hoping your day was a great one. Today I made 3 different batches of bread. Actually one batch was bagels. Sorry to say that I still do not have a camera. Hoping soon. So, I thought I would share this wonderful millet oatmeal bread. Very yummy it is. My cravings for bread really came to a head today. I needed bread bad!! So, taking my ingredients out of the cupboard and the fridge, away I went. I found this recipe online but tweaked it a bit. Enjoy it to the fullest.

1 1/2 cup Carol's flour Mix
1/2 cup certified gluten free oat flour (you can pulverize oats in a food processor to make oat flour)
3/4 cup millet flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch* you can substitute cornstarch if you need to
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
3 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoon dried yeast
1 Tablespoon molasses
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter or butter substitute melted , or olive oil
1 1/4 cup warm water
Make sure all your dry ingredients (and eggs!) are at room temperature. Grease the bottom of a 10 inch loaf pan or two 8 inch pans. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and then turn off.Add all dry ingredients together, this includes the fast acting yeast.  In a separate medium bowl, mix eggs, molasses, vinegar, and melted butter together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Then slowly add your water  to achieve the right consistency in your batter. Since different brands, flours, measuring techniques act different I do not recommend just  dumping in the rest of the water but adding gradually instead.  If you accidentally add too much water simply add a little flour until you achieve the dough consistency you are after. Put the dough in your prepared pan and place in oven to rise for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours in the warm oven or on top of the oven. You can put plastic wrap or a towel over the pan. Once the dough has risen to the top of the pan, bake the bread for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until
Makes a delicious loaf of bread that is eaten in no time.  I would not refrigerate this bread ( it might get soggy), but I would slice and freeze it for later use.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gluten Free Dumplings

As a child, my mom made chicken and dumplings. Just saying those words brings back wonderful memories. Choosing to completely stay away from gluten has been good for me. I wanted to find a simple recipe for gluten free dumplings to put in my chicken soup. Well, this is it. I tweaked it a little and it turned out wonderful. In fact, my family really liked it too. Hoping you will enjoy this also.


(Makes about 12 dumplings)

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend*
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or other fresh herbs (optional)
2 tablespoonsoil
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk of choice
1 large egg, beaten

Make the dumpling batter by sifting together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add chopped chives or other fresh herbs. Add melted butter, milk and egg to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a wooden spoon or fork until mixture is moist and comes together.  Do not overmix or dumplings will be too dense.

Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by heaping tablespoonfuls, over the surface of the stew. (Note that the dumplings will double in size as they cook.)  Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes.   Do not uncover and peek while the dumplings are cooking.  In order for the dumplings to be light and fluffy, they must steam, not boil. Uncovering the pan releases the steam. If after 15 minutes they are still not cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test) cover pan again, and cook for another 5 minutes.

* If all-purpose flour blend contains salt, do not add additional salt.  If blend does not contain xanthan or guar gum, add 1 teaspoon gum to the dry ingredients.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Recipe for Gluten Free Doughnuts

I have had to go back to complete gluten free. The holidays did me in. Too much gluten where I was not feeling well after Christmas. So, I am back on track and tried an amazing doughnut  recipe. As my daughter says, "It's a keeper and amazing!" My husband and son loved them too. Hoping those of you out in Internet land who are gluten free, will love this as much as my family does.


My gluten free flour mix is 5 cups brown rice flour, 2 cups white rice flour and 2 cups tapioca flour (all mixed together.)

Amazing Gluten-Free Buttermilk Donuts / Doughnuts
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 cups gluten-free rice flour mix (see note)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 cup sugar, set aside in a bowl

Beat the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a large bowl with a whisk.
Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold slowly into the wet ingredients, mixing by hand with a wooden spoon. When the ingredients are mostly combined, use your hands to knead a few times to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle extra rice flour mix on your countertop or a large cutting board. Roll out dough to between 1/3 and 1/2 inch thick. If dough is sticky, work in more rice flour blend.
Heat 2-3 inches of canola oil in the bottom of a pot until very hot (375 degrees F).
Cut dough with doughnut cutter OR use a glass, biscuit cutter or jar with approximately 3-inch diameter to cut disks out of the dough and use the cap of the oil bottle to cut out the center hole.
Remaining dough scraps can be rolled into balls ("donut holes") and fried.
Carefully drop each doughnut in hot oil with fingers, being cautious not to splash oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides (just a few minutes). You will need to cook just a few at a time, but the cooking doesn't take long at all so this goes quickly.
Remove donuts from oil with a slotted spoon or spatula, and place on a plate lined with two layers of paper towel or brown paper to absorb oil. While still warm, roll each donut in the bowl of sugar to coat fully. Alternately, you may omit this step and apply a glaze at this time.
Serve while warm.