Monday, May 25, 2015

No Bake THM Chocolate Cookies - A Revised Recipe

Since I started Trim Healthy Mama a year and a half ago, I haven't found too many desserts I like.
I adapted my favorite sponge cake to THM and you can find the recipe here.  But, I wanted something easy and quick for summer snacking.  I know there is a recipe out there for these no bake cookies, but because I didn't have heavy cream on hand, I changed it a bit.  Here is my recipe;

1/4 c butter
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/4 c water
1/2 c xylitol
2 Tbsp whey protein powder

Mix together in a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute. Then add;

1/4 c natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c oats
1 c coconut

I used a 2 Tbsp cookie scoop to make into cookies and placed them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Then place in refrigerator until chilled.  I made 16 cookies.  Adding the coconut, I think, makes it more an S than just oatmeal like the original recipe I found.  I did a rough check on the carbs and think there is about 3.5 net carbs per cookie. So that would make 2 a serving.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Small Town Excitement

Living in a small town, we don't get loads of exciting events taking place. So, when one does, we go out and enjoy it. This happened this past weekend, when our brand new John Deere building had it's grand opening. I know! How awesome is that? They made it so fun for the entire family. They had delicious barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, pedal race track, bouncy house and an inviting atmosphere for the adults to sit, drink coffee and visit with one another.

We were there for 3 hours and enjoyed every minute of it!

Here are some pictures;

Ben on the pedal race track

Even Rebekah took a turn on the race track.

Jacob racing

Milking a "cow"

I'm sure this wasn't by far the biggest tractor there, but you can see how big it is. The tires must be 6 feet tall.

Hanging out

What a totally awesome afternoon!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Makeables

I have been busy making cute things to sell at some upcoming spring markets in our area and thought I would share some with you.

A little hanging bird's nest.

I made this bird's nest using old rusty tart pans, a little store bought bird's nest, rusty wire, small tags and eggs cut off an Easter wreath from the dollar store.  I glued the eggs in the nest, fashioned the wire as a hanger and stamped "spring" on the tag. I tied the tag on with some twine and glued it in place.

Decorated jars

I get a lot of my craft supplies off Ebay from China.  I bought 300 little tags for $1 and 200 little metal keys, on the "dream" bottle, for $1.25 all with free shipping.  I like getting things delivered right to my home, so that I have less things to shop for when we do make it to the big city.

Framed keys on burlap background.

Rebekah wood burned garden markers. I hope she doesn't sell them all, because I'd like to buy some.

That is a little sample of the things I've made.

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Canning Goal

I'm sorry to bore you all with my canning goal list for this year, but I'm afraid I'm a little disorganized when it comes to record keeping and at least now I can look back to stay on track.

I must say, this last few months we have almost completely depleted all of our home canned goods. We are down to just a couple of jars of strawberry jam, chokecherry jelly, zucchini salsa and pizza sauce. Oh, and 1 jar of mixed veggies (pure gold!).

This is what I hope to put up this year;

60 pints mixed veggies - onions, celery, carrots and green beans
30 pints apple sauce
28 quarts apple juice
12 pints & 12 1/2 pints strawberry jam
20 pints & 12 1/2 pints crab apple chokecherry jelly
6 pints & 12 1/2 pints chokecherry jelly
12 pints THM bumbleberry jam
42 pints dill pickle beets
21 pints zucchini salsa
35 pints stewed tomatoes (with zucchini)
14 quarts rhubarb pie filling
14 quarts sliced potatoes
21 pints pickled green beans
21 quarts dill pickles - (if I can grow cucumbers, which I have never been able to)
21 pints peaches

Now, I have to plan our garden accordingly. It's still covered in snow, so I have a couple of weeks before I need a hard fast plan. 

I have started the tomato, pepper and sweet potato plants and have the rest of the seeds at the ready. Although, I am waiting for my celery seed to come in the mail. It's hard to find here, because apparently, you can't grow celery here. But last year I grew beautiful celery, so I hope I can do the same this year.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Crocheted Headband Tutorial

I have been having lots of fun crocheting these headbands lately. Now that winter is almost over here in Central Alberta:) BUT, I'll be ready for next winter.  These headbands whip up so fast! Just an hour or two. And the flowers only take a few minutes!

Before I start to TRY to tell you how to make them, please remember I'm not really a crocheter, so I might not be able to use the proper terminology. And if you know a better way, please share with me!

To start I chained 12 or 13 for adult size or 10 or 11 for child size. (Leave about 8 inches of tail yarn length for sewing it up later.) This will be your width.  Then, chain 3 more. This is the first double crochet stitch.  Now, starting with the next chain over, double crochet in each stitch to the end.
I don't know if you can see my finger peeking threw the stitch next to the 3 chains. That's where you start the double crochet stitch.

Chain 3 and turn your work. Starting in the next stitch, double crochet in each stitch to the end. Chain 3 and turn your work. Repeat this until it is the desired length. You want about 2 inches overlap to sew together.  I think for adult, mine were about 20 inches long and child size was about 18 inches long.  But if you are making it for yourself, just keep wrapping it around your head until it is the right size.

I like the way the chain 3 along the edges kind of makes a scallop edge.

When it is the right length, cut the yarn to about 10 inches and pull through the last stitch.  Using the tail ends of yarn, I sew the headband together, making sure to line up the edges. There will be about 2 inch overlap here.  I don't stitch right along the edge of the top overlap. I stitch about 3/4 of an inch in.  I try to make both strings end up in about the same place at the back to tie them together in a knot. But don't cut them, you can still use them to sew on your flower or buttons.

Now, onto the flower. I like making a two layer flower and again, it's just using the double crochet stitch.  For the smaller one, chain 7. Then slip stitch into the first chain. This makes a circle.
This is the slip stitch. Put the hook through the stitch, yarn over with the yarn and pull through.

Now, just like the headband, chain 3. You're going to double crochet right into the circle.  Double crochet 3 times, chain 3, then slip stitch into the circle again. Make sure you are working away from the yarn tail. Repeat 4 times to end up with 5 petals.  Snip the yarn to about 6 inches, then pull the yarn through the last slip stitch.  Tie the 2 yarn tails together.  Then I sewed each tail through the back of one petal and snipped the yarn.

The large size flower is made the same way, only start with chaining 11 and making 6 or 7 petals.

I first sewed on the large flower, then the small flower, then I sewed on the button in the middle.  And this is the finished product;

My personal preference is just sewing on 2 buttons like this;

These headbands are great because they don't use that much yarn. I just used some scraps I got from a lady from church.

That is how I crochet headbands.

This post is linked up to; Happy and Blessed Home  Thrifty Thursday The Dedicated House

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentines Day

Somehow this year our family got a little caught up in the hype of Valentines Day. We usually don't celebrate it. Other than Rebekah says I used to always make heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I think because our church had a big Valentines Day family breakfast and were offering babysitting that night, it caused us to do more than we might have otherwise.

I had found some waffle pretzels on clearance and still had a white chocolate Easter bunny in the freezer. So we made dipped pretzels with sprinkles.

We used our electric fondue pot to melt the chocolate in.

These were so good! Unfortunately, only Rebekah and I liked them and ate most of them. Totally not THM!

I thought you'd like to see my deal from the thrift store. I love this covered dish.

Lunch for the kids. Heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches and candy hearts.
After supper, Larry and I dropped the boys off at the church, (because that was where Rebekah was helping with the babysitting) and we went out for coffee.
And when we got home, Larry had a surprise for me. A beautiful new ring.

It was fun, but I don't mind if we get back to normal next year.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Made Sauerkraut!... I Think

Today was the day. It was the day I chose transfer my sauerkraut from my big crock to smaller jars. But, let me start at the beginning.

3 and a half weeks ago when my mom was here visiting I felt like it was the perfect time to try to make sauerkraut. Mainly because of the extra hands:)  I have only had sauerkraut once at our neighbours on baked potatoes. Oh my! I just dreamed about it after that and just had to try to make some!

I bought 5 heads of cabbage at Walmart. I think the total cost was $8.50 (at $0.50/lb).  I gathered the tools I had on hand. Which turned out to be a 3 gallon crock, potato masher, mandolin and sharp knives.  Oh ya, and my mom and Rebekah.

My mom and I cut up the cabbage as thin as we could with knives and my little mandolin. Which is more for looks than use.  We worked in batches of 2.5 lbs, because that is how much my mixing bowl would hold and the recipe we were using was;

5 lbs shredded cabbage
2 Tbsp canning salt

So we just made half batches.  Rebekah stirred and worked in the salt until the salt was dissolved and juice was starting to form on the bottom.  Then Rebekah transferred it to the crock and packed it down with the potato masher, which worked really great.  She packed it down until it was covered in it's own juice.  And we repeated this process until all the cabbage was in the crock.

Then I put a plastic lid from a plastic mixing bowl that covered the cabbage on top of it and put 3 quart jars filled with water on top of the lid to keep all of the cabbage under it's liquid.  Then I made sure to wipe around the inside of the crock right down to the liquid to get all the juices off of the sides. My neighbour told me this is where mold could grow.

Now, I didn't really know what to put on top of the crock for a lid. So, I just put on a dinner plate that covered the top. I put the crock in the boys' closet, because it's fairly cool in there. But I didn't realize, especially for the first 4 days, it should be kept quite close to room temperature to get the good bacteria growing.

I read that it should sit for at least 4 weeks, but I noticed the juice colour was getting a little darker and got anxious. So I hauled it downstairs to the dinging room table, because that was as far as I could carry it. It was HEAVY!  Now this is where the "I Think" comes in.  As I said, I have only had sauerkraut once on baked potatoes, with butter, sour ream, green onions and salt and pepper. So, I couldn't really taste what the sauerkraut itself tasted like.  But, Rebekah ate a bowl of the neighbours on it's own and said ours tasted just like theirs, only stronger because I let ours sit a bit longer.

So, I just put it into smaller glass jars to store it in the fridge.  I think I read it will last 6 months in the fridge and I am sure that we will have eaten it all by then.

I had just a little bit of foam as you can see. But I think it looks all right.

Out of 5 heads of cabbage, I got about 6 quarts of sauerkraut.

My pretty mandolin and the potato masher we used.  The sauerkraut was packed down very good using this potato masher.

That chronicles my first attempt at sauerkraut and I'm happy with the results! Please, if any of you make sauerkraut and see something I did wrong, or you have a better way, please tell me. I would be SO happy to hear from you.

God bless!

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.

Proverbs 21:2

This post is linked up to; Thrifty Thursday  Sew Crafty Angel  From the Farm Hop