Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Philly Cheese Melt Sandwiches on Basil Rolls


Oh dear, these were so delicious for dinner the other night, I just had to share the recipe!

Philly Cheese Melts

1 lb. steak, cut into strips or a small roast, cooked and shredded
1/2 C beef broth
1 tsp garlic
2 TBS. Worchestershire 
1 yellow, green, and red bell pepper, sliced thin
{if you don't have peppers, substitute 1 small onion, chopped}
4 oz. Monterrey Jack Cheese, sliced
Basil Rolls or sliced bread

Au Jus 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Place the sliced steak {or small roast}, garlic, Worchestershire, and beef broth into a crockpot.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours, until beef is tender and done.
When beef is ready, slice up the bell peppers {or onion} and saute in 1 tsp. olive oil.

Then, slice some bread. 

Using a slotted spoon, top the bread with beef. 
 Add peppers and cheese.
Toast in the toaster oven until the cheese melts. 



Serve with Au Jus....so delicious!


 Enjoy!

Basil Roll recipe to follow....


~Julia


I am sharing HERE.

Basil Rolls

This is simply a lovely roll recipe that you can use for hoagies for Philly Cheese Melts...or as rolls for any meal. They also make great sandwich rolls.


Basil Rolls
Adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen
Makes 6 large rolls, or 12 small rolls

1 1/4 cup of warm water
3 TBS. yeast
1/4 sugar
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten {optional, but makes it so moist}
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour
2 TBS butter
1 tsp. salt 
2 TBS dried basil or 1 TBS fresh, chopped

Let yeast proof in bowl with water. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Punch down and knead for 5-10 minutes. 

Shape into about 6 long, oval shaped rolls, or just make 6-12 smaller ball shaped rolls. 
For hoagies, place on a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
For rolls, place in a greased 13x9 inch pan. It is OK if they touch:).
Put in a 170 degree oven and let rise....about 30-40 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes.

You can also use your bread machine...just place all ingredients in pan and run on dough cycle.
Follow direction for shaping and bake!


Enjoy!

I am sharing HERE.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

I love having a healthy treat around for my kids and something quick and easy to grab in the mornings.
 These muffins are moist, delicious and really healthy!
They are perfect for a snack, breakfast, or dessert.


I adapted the original recipe from HERE, and used honey instead of white sugar.
They turned out so delicious!

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins


Adapted from King Arthur Flour



Yield: 12


1 1/4 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour

1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


1 tsp. vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped



Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 12 muffin cups and set aside.
Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, honey, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) 
Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes {on the top rack}, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy!

~Julia


I am sharing HERE.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fresh Lilacs and Ironstone

I had to share my yard sale find today...a wonderful ironstone pitcher for $1. 
My dear friend Beth had some fantastic finds at her sale.
 Thanks Beth!

Lilacs are by far my favorite flower.
Their fragrance is simply intoxicating.
My lilacs are just barely in bloom, but my new pitcher was just begging for a bouquet.

I collect ironstone and have lots of mismatched pieces for our dinnerware and serving plates.

Lilacs and ironstone...just make me happy:)!

Blessings,

Julia

Friday, May 20, 2011

Farmgirl Meeting

Thank to everyone for your sweet comments yesterday! Amanda, I have permanently adopted "ham sandwich" as part of my vocabulary now! 

So, on to our Farmgirl group....
We formed a really great group with a number of ladies who are neighbors a few years ago. 
The idea came from Mary Jane, who has Farmgirl groups all over the nation now! 
She runs a program a lot like 4-H, where you can earn badges for learning how to crochet, sewing, canning...all kinds of domestic arts that many of us are just picking up now! There is so much to tell, so you can read more about it here.  It has been such a wonderful way to have a circle of women to learn from!

We decided to call ourselves the Fairview Farmgirls, after the name of our area that we live in.
 The little girls have a group, too ...the FFA's {Future Farmgirls of America}!!

We haven't gone as far as doing the badge thing, but our focus has been on learning something new each time we meet.  We usually rotate homes and meet about every three months or so. 
Our meetings are relaxed and so fun and a great way for the kids to learn, too. 

Yesterday, I hosted and my Mom lined up a guest speaker who is a beekeeper.
 I am so lucky that they live about two miles from me!!
As you can see, the Fairview Farmgirls have women of all ages. 
That is what makes it so special, to me:).
This is about half of our group. 
There are always a few that can't make it, and sometimes our group is as many as 20 people.



Justin, "The Bee Guy," as I like to call him and his wife, Heidi, were so incredibly knowledgeable.
 I am just skimming the surface in my research, and I think I learned more in an hour from him than in all of my reading. He brought examples of everything you needed to get started and even plans to build your own hive.


I had no idea that you needed at least two hives...in case you lose one to disease.
 And do you see the bottom two boxes on the apiary? 
Those two stay for the bees to live off of. There will be over 100 pounds of honey for them to eat through the winter. You add to the top, and each of those will produce about 30 pounds of honey. 

I am so thrilled that he offered to do 4 more classes for us AND a field trip for the kids to his farm. 
They recently bought a 150 year old homestead just down the road.
Too fun!

After the presentation, we exchanged little Spring gift baskets. Isn't this one darling?
I also made Pioneer Woman's carrot cake and set out refreshing lemonade in Mason Jars.
Can you tell I have a thing for jars?
 I added a little fabric ribbon to the top:).
It complimented the mini flower baskets.

It was such a fun day! 


I made a little something for my Mom, too, who helped me like crazy to set up.
Our next meeting will be on pressure canning. My neighbor, Kimberlee, will be demonstrating. 
I can't wait to introduce her to you. She is absolutely amazing and has been such a mentor to me! 
This month, she is launching a new business with her family, and I am excited to feature them. 
I am REALLY thrilled that I get to sample and review a couple of their products!!


If you have been thinking about organizing a group like this, I would just encourage you!
The friendships and support you receive from knowing and loving your neighbors is priceless.

Have a great weekend:).

~Julia

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mini Flower Baskets

I have a wonderful group of friends coming over today and I am so excited! 
A couple of years ago, we started a Farmgirl group with several neighbors {within a ten mile radius around here}. The inspiration came from Mary Jane Butters...who has some really fun ideas if you want to start chapter in your area. You can read about it HERE

I am hoping to past later about all of the fun we will have today. We meet about once every 3 months and today we are having a guest speaker who is a bee keeper. I am so excited, as this is my latest venture.
 I am soaking up every bit of information I can!

I decided to make a selection of mini flower baskets as favors to take home today.
I saw this idea somewhere...and can't seem to remember where. Sorry to not be able to give credit!
The idea is so simple, cheap, and a really fun little gift.

You will need: 
Jiffy Pots {I used the 2 1/2 inch pots}
soil
small flowers that will fit in the pots
several fabric strips {1/2 inch x 8 inches long}

Punch holes on either side of the pots for the fabric ribbons

Add the ribbon and tie at each end.


Fill partially with soil

Plant the little flower.


It is that simple!


Water your little flowers the day before, so that they don't soak through the Jiffy Pots. Your friends can just plant the whole thing when they are ready!


I'll post a little later about our Fairview Farmgirl meeting today!

~Julia

 I am linked up HERE.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is just around the corner and in true fashion, I procrastinated on my gift making.
I do best under pressure...at least that is what I keep telling myself:).
I had wanted to post this long ago, but maybe this will help fellow procrastinators who are looking for a sweet gift!
I focused on "hands" as my theme.
As Moms we do so much to care for our loved ones with our hands.
So, I came up with this:

Lemon Sugar Scrub to keep Mom's hands soft and pretty and a pair of sweet ruffled rubber gloves.
Here is the recipe for the sugar scrub...

Lemon Sugar Scrub
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup olive oil {vegetable is fine, too}
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon extract or a few drops of essential oil

Mix everything together in a bowl and transfer to small jars.
I used little canning jars, but anything will work.
The scrub is good for at least two weeks.


I don't have a tutorial for the gloves, but they are really simple to make.
I have seen them in specialty stores and just fell in love with the idea!

 I cut my fabric to the desired ruffle length and then hemmed the bottom edge.
The measurements were about 4 1/2 inches by 20 inches.
Then, I sewed a loose stitch and puckered the fabric.
At this point, sew the two sides together and then pin the ruffle {right side} to the outside of the glove.
When you are finished sewing, it will fold down so there is no seam showing.
Does that make sense?

This is what it looks like from the inside of the glove.

Here is what the finished product should resemble.
It is a little tricky sewing with rubber.
I do recommend buying the flocked gloves {with the cotton inside}.

I hope this helps:).


They look so darling when worn.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day and I hope you all get to spend some time remembering or treasuring your Mother.
 I feel so grateful for everything that my Mom has done for me and am so lucky to see her daily.
She continues to be such a blessing in my life:).

~Julia 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

I thought I would re-post about my homemade laundry soap, as I have now officially been using it for a year.  
It has been wonderfully cost effective and works great! 
Each load costs about 3-4 cents. 
Can you believe that? 
I have included my recipe along with a few options. 


My laundry blowing in the wind:).

Since I missed having scented soap, I started adding about 1 cup of whatever fabric softener was on sale that month.
 I also add about 1/4 cup of my favorite liquid stain remover.
This does slightly raise the cost, so it is a little more than 2 cents a load...but still a HUGE bargain.

I have found that my whites are usually not super white, so I do use bleach. 
Oxy Clean also works really well. 
Another tip: treat your stains beforehand. 
I like to use a spray, but even rubbing Fels Naptha or using the laundry soap to pre-treat the stain works well. 
If you are looking to save money, this is a great way to go!

  Here is the basic recipe I am using: 


3 Pints Water
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Borax
3 Gallon Bucket
Hot Water
Essential Oil {lavender is wonderful}
*Optional* 1 cup of your favorite liquid fabric softener
1/4 cup stain remover





Grate the Fels Naptha soap. I just use my cheese grater.


You end up with a lot!



Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. 




Add Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. 





Try and not look at the Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake you just made for you son's 12th birthdayOK...this has nothing to do with laundry soap, but I LOVE Pioneer Woman! This cake is absolutely divine. Visit her HERE .


Add 1 quart hot water to a bucket that holds at least 3 gallons. 


Add soap mixture and mix really well with a wooden spoon. 
At this point, you can also add the fabric softener and stain remover.


I like to add about 15 drops of essential oil. Yum!


Fill bucket to the top with hot water and mix again. 



 Put the lid on and set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. 
If you are in a hurry...it will work right away...it just won't be thick:).


It becomes a jelly- like substance. I just use a 1/2-1 cup of mixture per load. You can use a funnel and transfer the gel to a recycled pump detergent container. I  like a 3 gallon bucket with a lid. It fits nicely on my dryer. My washing machine is a top loader, but this will work for front loaders as well.
Just use about 1 TBS. per load.

This, by far, has been the BEST recipe! My kids are NOT easy on their clothing and I have found that this detergent is just as great as store bought. Sometimes, I have to increase the amount if I have an extra dirty load. I also use it as a pre-stain remover!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here are a couple of more recipes that you might want to try...

Recipe #2

1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Tablespoons Glycerin
2 Gallons Water (NOTE: This recipe originally called for 2 Cups Water)

Mix all three ingredients together. Add glycerin and water.
Use 1/2 - 3/4 cup per load. Best when used with cold or warm water. 



Recipe #3

Water
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
5 Gallon Bucket
1 Cup Washing Soda
4 1/2 Gallons Water

Place grated soap in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat on low until dissolved. Fill bucket with hot water, and add soap. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup washing soda and mix well. As it cools it will thicken. May be used immediately. Use 1-2 cups per load. 

Powdered Detergent
{Using a food processor give the Fels Naptha Bar the best texture}.

1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Borax

For light load, use 1 tablespoon.
For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2-6 tablespoons. 

Click HERE for more information and tips on making your own detergent.

I realize this might not be for everyone, but there are great monetary benefits! 
Our clothes have come out sweet smelling and clean.  
I hope this helps if you would like to give it a whirl!

~Julia




Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Doily Cookies

Oh my....I saw these cookies on the lovely blog BLISS and just had to share!
Wouldn't these cookies make a darling Mother's Day gift?


What a wonderful idea!

For the complete recipe, click HERE.

Have a great week!

~Julia
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