Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Best Granola

This, by far, is the most wonderful granola recipe I have ever made.



My dear friend Monica developed the recipe and was nice enough to share it with me. 
We make it often.
We eat it fast....as cereal, plain Jane as a snack, or over yogurt.
We are slightly addicted:).

Here is the recipe:

Heavenly Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
In a large bowl, mix the oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan, warm the oil and honey. Carefully stir in vanilla {it bubbles up}.
 Pour liquid over oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.
 Finish mixing by hand until coated well.

Dry in an electric dehydrator at 145 degrees for three hours, or until crunchy. Cool in dehydrator for 1 hour.

You can also place mixture on an parchment lined cookie sheet and place in oven at 200 degrees.
 Crack the oven door open a bit and mix every 10 minutes or so. 
This will let it dry slowly. Be prepared because it takes a little while!
 Watch granola CAREFULLY...pull out when it is crunchy...but not browned. 
Let it cool in pan for 1 hour.
 Makes 6 cups. Store in airtight container.

Add ins: coconut, raisins {after it has cooled}, chocolate chips, flax seed, etc.


We LOVE it with 1/2 cup coconut and 1 cup of raisins. 
YUM!

~Julia

I am sharing HERE.      

Monday, March 28, 2011

White Bean Enchiladas

I love a recipe that doesn't let you down, and this was no exception!
I have been cooking even more lately to cut down on our food bill and this recipe was easy, fairly fast to make, and a real crowd pleaser.



The recipe comes from Thy Hand Hath Provided... she has fabulous recipes and is a gardening  genius:). I love visiting her blog!


White Bean Enchiladas

4 tbsp. sour cream
2 16-ounce cans white beans (I used Great Northern), rinsed and drained
1- 1 1/2 cups shredded blend of cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese, divided {I just used Cheddar}
4-ounce can chopped green chilies (I use mild)
4 tbsp. fresh, chopped cilantro, divided, optional
2 tbsp. sliced green onions, optional
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 15-ounce jar/can of EITHER (but NOT BOTH) enchilada sauce or green salsa
water
10 8-inch flour tortillas



Combine the sour cream and white beans in a food processor until smooth.  Stir in half of the cheese, all of the chilies, onions, half of the cilantro and all of the cumin.  Set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, combine 2/3 cup of enchilada sauce (or green salsa) with about 1/3 a cup of water.  Heat until warm. 

 One at a time, drop a tortilla into the sauce mixture and coat it on both sides.  Lay it on a plate and fill it with 1/4-1/3 cup of the bean filling and lay it seam side down in a 9x13 inch pan coated with cooking spray.  


Repeat, making more sauce/water mixture as needed, but trying to reserve about 1/3 of the full strength sauce.  Top the enchiladas with the remaining (full strength) sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Top with remaining cilantro.


They are even great as leftovers the next day:).


*Here is a great tip from a sweet blog friend, Amanda. She buys a package of Northern Beans for $1 and soaks them and can make 2 recipes from 1 pound. Thanks Amanda! 


~Julia

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Won!

I was so excited to learn that I had won a giveaway from Cozy Blanket!
Debbie is just the sweetest person and I have enjoyed following her adventures on her blog. 
She is quite talented and makes these beautiful photo books. 
Lily and I have already filled it up!

She has so many fun ideas on her blog:).

She also sent me these wonderful things!
 A darling Boyd's Bear.
 A REALLY nice insulated lunch bag.
 Letter stamps...oh, the things I can do with them!


Thank you so much Debbie!
I LOVE my gifts so very much!

You can visit Debbie at Cozy Blanket  HERE.

~Julia

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tutorial: Making Wire Baskets

This is the year that we are concentrating on becoming more self sufficient.
I can't help feeling like we need to be prepared for anything, especially in the wake of the earthquake in Japan.
Oh, we have been praying for those poor people.

Growing our own organic food is a big part of preparation for me. 
I am planting a bigger garden and have my peas {which I am planting every three weeks}, potatoes {Russets and Yukon Gold}, 400 onion starts, and a box of spinach and lettuce.

We may not all have the space to plant a huge garden, but anyone can plant a small one.
It is so much fun and the benefits are great!

 I have really been wanting a nice harvest basket. You know....something to put all of your picked lettuces, carrots, potatoes, and other veges. We eat straight from the garden all summer, so I usually end up making two or three trips inside. I just adore wire baskets, and this morning I thought about what we had laying around to make one. It's all about what you have, not what you don't have.

Here is what I came up with. 

" The Market Basket."



Would you like to make one of your own?
Here's how...
You will need:
 At least 4 feet of wire.
 I am using 1/2 inch woven wire. It is pretty stiff. You definitely don't want thin and flexible wire.
Go for something that is really sturdy.
Wire snips.
Needle nose pliers.
Gloves.

Cut your basket out.
You really could make it any size.
My measurements were as follows:
Cut a rectangular piece of wire 33 inches long and 23.5 inches wide.
The basket is as follows:
Base: 20" long by 10.5" wide. I measure this out first and mark it with tape or a water soluble marker that you can wipe off.
The long sides are 20" by 6.5" high.
The short sides are 10.5" by 6.5" high. 
Don't cut each individual side out....cut from one solid piece of wire.
 So, you already have your base marked. 
Now, come up 6.5 inches for each side.
Here is the MOST IMPORTANT detail.
Leave a long wire every other snip down the sides. {You can see how I did it in the picture below}.
You will use these to secure the sides!!

 You will be left with a little square in each corner to discard.


Try and snip as close to the edges as possible to prevent any sharp points.


Next, wearing gloves, fold up each side.
Try and make your edges as crisp and neat as you can.


Now comes the tricky part.
To secure the sides together you need to bend each little wire around and then use your needle nose pliers to fasten them completely around.


This takes a little time, but here is how it should look.

After you have secured all of the sides, your basket is almost ready!
It will be a little uneven. 
That's OK.
 Bend things to get them as straight as possible.
Then try and find a heavy object, like bricks, that will fit inside the basket.


Place the bricks in the bottom of the basket and let her sit there for a while.

Now, turn it over and set the brick on top.

Your end result is not supposed to be "Martha" perfect, but is really charming.
I added ticking handles and just tied them on.




I am so excited to use it this summer.
Meanwhile, I think it will look wonderful occupying space in the house:).

~Julia

I am sharing HERE.    
   

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Printed Dish Cloths

I found these wonderful flour sack dish cloths for 50% off of the clearance price and couldn't resist.
I've had an idea rolling around for a while in my head.
I thought they would make perfect Easter gifts for family and friends with a little sprucing up!




You could also use a plain cotton dish towel and it would work wonderfully.
You will need:
cotton dish cloths {mine are 32"x38"" flour sacks}

iron transfer paper
ink jet printer
iron
a hard surface to iron on

To make, just follow the directions on the iron transfer paper package and print your image.
Remember to print in mirror image. Most printers have this option.
Cut out the picture so that you can use leftover transfer paper.
Also, make sure you wash and dry your dish cloths first. You want them pre-shrunk.

Here are a few images that I used...









These are all free on the web.

Next, iron your towel out and place the image where you would like.


Press, making sure you are following the package directions.

Let it cool and peel off the backing.
Whalaa! 



You have an easy, beautiful, and useful gift to give.

Happy Spring!!

~Julia

I am sharing HERE.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Homeschool Photography

This past year I bought a "big girl" camera which I have had so much fun with!
There is a real learning curve from the standard point and click camera, but I just love the challenge.
Slowly....very slowly...I am starting to take a few pictures that are decent.
The kids are really interested in the camera, too, so I have been trying to fill them in on what I learn.
Today, I had them each play with the shutter speed and take a picture of something that they liked outside.
I think they did so well!

Here is what they came up with:

Lily photographed her cat, Cinnamon.


I love this one.
Look! He's talking to Lily.


Tim captured our hen "Henry." I know... she's a girl. They thought she was going to be a rooster, though.
 So the name stuck.

Here are the girls in their favorite spot:).


Will captured Daisy's cute little face.




Hope you are all having a great Friday:)!

~Julia

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Simple Things

I thought I would link up with Rebecca at Simple as That.
 Oh, I LOVE her blog!
Her photography is just stunning and so dreamy.



So, here is my picture of a simple moment from our farm this week.




Jack loves this little bike.
His brothers and Lily push him around the yard for hours.
They usually end up tying it to another bike or the wagon and getting towed.
With three boys, I am sure you can imagine the concoctions they come up with.

Georgia thought she would take a ride today:).

To see other wonderful photographs click on the link below.





Have a lovely Sunday!

~Julia

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