Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Old Rugged Cross

Sundays in my house are reserved for The Lord and today it was a little unusual, but I went to two churches.  I went to our first service at the church that I normally attend and then rushed back home to get a pan of corn bread I had prepared for the 2nd church I was going to…..

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Why am I going to two churches?  I live in Cassia, which isn’t really a town, but an area outside of the town of Eustis.  I know, it’s confusing.  I am the treasurer for the Cassia Community Club and recently in one of our meetings, one of our members mentioned Cassia Baptist Church.  I think she said there were 6 regular attendees.  Wow, cause I really just thought that was an old sign.  So, let’s go and support our area church!

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How cute is this church?  Well, several of us decided to go to this church today as they were having a potluck dinner after service and “The Judy’s” Bluegrass Band was going to be playing.

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It was nice visiting and meeting some of the locals in our little area.  The food was amazing and the band played some really good bluegrass tunes!  It was also good preachin’ too!

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O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

 

Have a blessed Sunday!

Before They say “I Do”

I was so excited when my niece announced that she was engaged last winter.  That meant I could photograph the wedding and make my yummy cupcakes for the shower.  Bonus!!!

I love entertaining and my sister, my niece’es great aunt and I decided that we would go in together and do the shower.  It makes it more cost effective and with my sister, Lynn, and I, it made it easier for us as we were traveling to Palm Coast for the shower.

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I was in charge of the cupcakes, my bacon dip, drinks and pictures.  Check!

So, I decided to make my carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter cream frosting.  I thought I’d make the carrot cupcakes in the form of a wedding dress.  I think it turned out really cute!

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I love paying attention to detail when I am at events.  I know how hard it is to put something like this together, so I always try to make sure that I mention it to the hostess. <3

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By now, you are probably wandering where is the recipe for these yummy looking cupcakes?  Am I right?

I will be posting these soon under a separate post.  You’ll want to print this one out! 🙂

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The favor gift was a bar of soap and a srubby.  I thought it was a perfect idea!

 

 

 

 

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My sister made these awesome roll ups with Turkey, cream cheese and pickles!  Oh my!!

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I made hibiscus tea from a lady that I bought the loose leaves from at a local farmer’s market. This is so good that you don’t even need any sugar.

 

We had a fabulous time and I’d post the picture of me as the model of the toilet paper dress contestant, but you might re-consider reading my blog anymore LOL.  It was quite comical really.

Stay tuned for the recipes and maybe more pics 😉

 

How to Make Homemade Vanilla

Is there one thing in your kitchen that you absolutely love?  Well, I have one!  It’s Vanilla.  I’m not talking about vanilla that you get at the grocery store.  I’m talking about the “good stuff”!!!!

homemade vanilla, from scratch baking, madagascar beans

I usually buy Watkins Pure Vanilla Extract, Trader Joe’s or Nielsen Massey Nielsen-Massey Real Vanillauntil…….

I started making my own and let me tell you how simple it is.  The worst part about it was I had to go to a liquor store and buy the bourbon.  I don’t drink, so I kept thinking, “What if I see someone I know, like my pastor”.  Well, I guess he might be embarrassed too as I might think he has a problem as well LOL.

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Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with going into a liquor store.  You might even find yourself ministering to someone in one of the aisles.  Anyway, I grabbed a bottle of some bourbon from Kentucky.  It said it was vintage, so that looked good to me!

You won’t go back to the regular vanilla you buy at the store.  You just won’t.  Make it one morning or evening, but don’t forget about it.  Try to put the jar in a cabinet that you at least go in once a week. 🙂

Homemade Vanilla

  • Servings: lots
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients
6-8 Madagascar Organic Vanilla Beans

1 cup of Bourbon

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Directions

Pour Bourbon into a jar with a good sealing lid.  I use my Wide Mouth 20oz. Jar
pictured above.

Then, take each bean and cut it down the middle with a knife and scrape out the oh so good stuff aka vanilla beans.  This is where the magic comes from. Put the vanilla beans that you scraped off in the jar along with the entire bean.

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Put the lid on tightly and then get a sticky note and write the date that you made it.  You’ll thank yourself later so you can remember how long it needs to cure for LOL.  Put your jar in a dark cabinet and shake it about once a week.  In 2 months, it should be ready!  You can transfer to a small jar for easier storage and then give some away, if you want to. 😉

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This stuff is pure gold around my house!  It is my secret ingredient in all of my baking recipes. 😉

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~Happy Baking~

 

Comfort Food – Chicken Pot Pie

As it’s pouring rain right now, I can’t help but think how good it would be if I made my homemade Chicken Pot Pie for dinner!

I usually try to keep all the ingredients as basics on hand in my kitchen.  Although the recipe is gluten-free, I think you can still substitute and use gluten-free flours in the crust.

I love making my own crusts, for both this and dessert pies.  It tastes so much better than store bought and doesn’t have all the additives that you get from pre-packaged food.

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This is the perfect crust!  It’s buttery and oh so yummy!  Butter actually is not bad for you, that is if you use real hand churned butter and/or made with cream from grass fed cows.  I love buying the hand rolled butter from Troyer’s.  I get it locally at a market in town.

This pie is easy enough to make several and stick a few in the freezer for those “comfort food” kinda nights!  You can even make just the dough and have that on hand and stick it in the freezer.

 

Chicken Pot Pie 
by Wendy Walker

 

Ingredients

  • 2 pie crusts, bottom and top (recipe to follow)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion, small dice
  • 1/2 cup carrots, small dice
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1 cup raw chicken, medium dice

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken in iron skillet with coconut oil.  You can use any type of seasoning to flavor it.  I use 21 Salute from Trader Joe’s.

2. Roll out your pie dough and line the bottom of a standard pie pan. Cut any extra and discard or eat it LOL. Roll out the second pie dough and save for the top.

3. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add in flour and stir until it becomes smooth like a paste. Add cream and chicken stock and whisk. Cook for several minutes until it begins to thicken, like gravy. Season with salt and pepper. Add onion, carrots, peas, and cooked chicken. Stir and mix well.

4. Pour mixture in the prepared pie pan. Then, take your top crust and place it over the filled pie pan.  You want the crust to look a little rustic, so perfection is not necessary at this point.  Place in oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool after removing from oven to set, otherwise, you will burn your mouth LOL.  I speak from experience!

*Serve with homemade mashed potatoes (or riced cauliflower) and fresh green beans from your garden!  Remember those that you canned back in the spring??

 

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“The Best” Pie Dough

by Wendy Walker

 

Ingredients

3 cups of flour

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks of butter (and I mean “real” butter; you gotta get the good stuff)

ice cold water

 

Directions

Mix the flour and salt together. Add the butter into the flour mixture and stir until you have large pea-size chunks scattered throughout.  I actually use a pastry blender as well to cut the butter in.

Add about 6-8 tablespoons of ice water slowly, while stirring with a fork, just until combined. Transfer to a floured surface, divide in half, and then shape into 2 round disc looking ball shapes and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then your’re done!

It really is the Best Pie Dough ever!  I hope you and your family enjoy this yummy comfort food recipe.  It also makes a great “Take Them A Meal”!  ~Enjoy~

DIY: Dish Soap

Have you ever looked at the back of your hand soap bottle?

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Do we even know what’s in it, I mean really.  It looks to me like a whole lot of chemicals LOL

I have a good recipe that will surely be good for your skin and your family!

Click on the links to order the products: Castile Soap and Glass Bottle Soap Dispenser

You can contact me for further information at info@littlehousesimpleliving.com.

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE DIY: DISH SOAP RECIPE

 

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Who’s ready for Fall?  I live for this time of year, really I do!  I drive my husband crazy all summer talking about, well complaining, that I can’t wait for Fall!

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I found this scrumptious recipe from Dessert for Two and couldn’t help pass this one along!!!

Click here for the recipe…..

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*Photo courtesy of Dessert for Two

Bacon Anyone?

Who doesn’t like Bacon?  I absolutely LOVE Bacon!  I mean, I could probably eat it every day of the week, but……

Besides eating it, I love to cook and season other foods with it, like green beans, black eyed peas or fresh zipper peas.

I really can’t afford to go to the store every time I need bacon.  I use a lot of it, remember? 😉

I love going to Trader Joe’s and stocking up on their “Ends and Pieces” Bacon.  It’s perfect for all the cooking that requires bacon grease and well, just the flavoring!  I only buy uncured bacon, without the nitrites and if I can’t find any at TJ’s, then I buy Applegate.

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This is really affordable ($2-3) and now that I have a TJ’s near me, I go a couple times a month and stock up!

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When I get home, I pull out anywhere from 5-6 sandwich zip lock bags and I divide all the bacon among the bags.  What’s cool about this bacon is that it’s already chopped and cut up for you, making it perfect for cooking a pot of beans!

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I then seal them up and stick them in the freezer.  So, every time I need bacon for cooking, I just get in the freezer and pull a bag out.  It’s no mess and the perfect amount pre-measured!

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Buttermilk Ranch

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Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

By Wendy Walker

 

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

½ tsp of vinegar

1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

2 tblsp of fresh dill (minced)

¼ cup of Italian leaf parsley (finely chopped)

1 cup of real mayo (or you can make your own)

½ cup of sour cream

¼ tsp of paprika

Buttermilk

Pint size mason jar (I use wide mouth, but regular is fine too)

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Directions: Mince garlic with a knife or I use my pampered chef garlic press.  Grab your mason jar and combine everything but the buttermilk.  Mix everything together and then add the buttermilk to a consistency of your liking.  You can also adjust the seasonings as needed or add cayenne pepper if you want a kick to it.  Chill for a few hours and enjoy!  You might need to add more buttermilk as this will thicken in the fridge the more it sets.

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*This beats Hidden Valley Ranch anyday!  This goes great on salads, use it as a spread for burgers or dip your veggies in it!!!

Do our emotions play a part in healing?

Just how much do our emotions play on our health?  We all hold unresolved feelings of pain and hurt which need to be brought to the surface for transformation and healing.  Whether it be a death, loss of a job, divorce or anything negative in your life; emotions play a HUGE part of our health.  When we are stressed or depressed our emotions fluctuate and wreak havoc on our adrenals, which produce all of our hormones.

Essential oils play a powerful role in emotional healing.  They support healing in five stages.  They strengthen us during each stage and prepare us for the next level of healing.

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The Five Stages are:

– Assist in healing the physical body

– Assist in healing the heart

– Assist in releasing limiting beliefs

– Increase spiritual awareness and connection

– Inspire the fulfillment of our life’s purpose

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Essential oils can be used aromatically, topically and internally.  Many popular oils are Basil, Oregano, Cinnamon, and Ginger.

 

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Essential oils are the vital fluids of plants that are their life blood.  They are called “essential” because they are necessary for the life of the plant and contain the “essence” of the plant. Essential oils contain life force, intelligence, and vibrational energy that imbues them with healing power that works for people.

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The story of oils begins in the Bible with Adam and Eve, when God placed them in a garden.  In Genesis, when God provided for all of their needs in that first paradise, there is no mention of a shelter of any kind.  Instead, God placed them out-of-doors in a natural setting among the flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees as their furniture and dwelling place. (Genesis 2:8)

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There are 1,031 references to essential oils in the Bible, including at least 33 species.  So, if there are so much mentioning of oils in biblical times, where and why did we ever get away from them?

I’m going to find out as I read these two books that just came in the mail today.  So excited to read these and share with you what I will be learning.  After all, if it’s in the Bible, then we should be doing it, right?

 

References

Emotional Healing with Essential Oils by Daniel McDonald

Healing Oils of the Bible by David Stewart, Ph.D.

 

 

Homemade Granola

I’ve been making this recipe for several months now and have made the mistake, I mean I have graciously, (LOL) been sharing with all my friends and family.  I have even sold it at a market that I participated in. My pastor seems to request it every time he sees me too…..

Before making my own granola, I was buying Kind or Larabar bars.  Those are really good and have all the ingredients that are healthy for me, but I still felt like I should be making my own.  I do keep the Kind bars on hand for a go to quick snack for my diabetic son.

What’s different about this recipe is that it’s no-bake and they taste amazing!  You can easily substitute the regular oats for gluten-free oats if you want.

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Here’s a few pics of more with my professional look (I love my job!)

 

No-Bake Granola (and/or bars)

By Wendy Walker

 

1 ¾ cups of Organic Oats (I buy mine from my Bread Becker’s Co-op or you can buy them HERE)

½ cup of Organic Raw Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup of Organic Raw Almonds

1/8 cup of Organic Chia Seeds & Organic Flax Seeds

4 tbsp of Organic Hemp Heart Seeds

1/3 cup of Raw Honey

1/3 cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

Pink Himalayan Salt (adjust according to your liking)

1/3 cup of Organic Peanut Butter (optional)

Vanilla extract (just splash, or whatever you like. I use about 2 tsp as I love vanilla)

½ cup of chocolate (you can use chips or just rough chop a block – milk, dark, cacao, etc.) I use THESE.

 

Directions:

 

Soak the almonds overnight in water and add a little salt.

Cut parchment paper to fit a 9×13 or the medium size pampered chef pan.

Toast pumpkin seeds at 250◦ for 20 minutes.  Once that is done, chop them real fine along with the flax seeds.  I use my pampered chef food chopper.

Combine oats, toasted pumpkin seeds, chia, hemp, almonds in a bowl.  In a saucepan, mix honey, sugar and salt.  Stir until it comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Pour the mixture over your dry ingredients and mix well.

Let cool for about 10 minutes and then add the chocolate.  Spread the mixture on the parchment lined pan and press down.  Cover with a towel for a few hours.  Cut and enjoy!  They make about 12-15 bars.  You can also break the pieces up and use it as just granola as a topping for yogurt or pour milk on it and eat like cereal.

I buy my seeds in bulk on either Amazon or at Hoover’s in Altamonte.  They are all organic and raw.  I’m sure you can find them at Sprout’s or Health Basket if you are local.  I figured the cost out to be $1.00 per bar.  I’m sure you can get the cost down cheaper if you don’t use organic.  You could also bake this, but you receive more health benefits when they are raw and alive!

Enjoy!