October 20, 2015

Home School Adventure and When Life Gives You Dirty Microwaves.

Our new adventure: Homeschooling. 

We are currently half way through our 8th week of home schooling. Our decision to home school our children was one that we have sat on the fence about for years.You know I find in my life as I get older, (cough) that sometimes choices are made, and sometimes I think God just pushes you off the fence. That being said, we were leaning over the fence, thinking "Wow, that home school side really looks awesome, maybe we could do this!" The next thing we knew, we were pushed and found ourselves falling over. Ready or Not!
We home schooled our oldest, now 24, for one semester in his seventh grade year. We were not completely unfamiliar with schooling at home. Plus we know several families that choose to home school. I think what really held us back from jumping into this type of education was just timing, fear of not being adequate, being selfish, you know the "ahhh, the kids are in school, it is my time." But the past two years we really started looking into home schooling, researching,  talking with people and prayer. We also noticed our daughter, 11, was struggling in school. We were just not happy with the way our children were being educated.

Despite the push, we have landed safely. Now what? Well let me tell you, the last 7 weeks or so has tested us in ways I did not imagine. We have changed our way of educational approach, six times. Had what in our minds would be the perfect home school bubble popped. Had our sixteen year old decide he wanted to go back to school,  I have been on the brink of tears, yelled, walked away from the table, had feelings of inadequacy, felt I have failed to teach my children just simple respect, how did we lose control of these little people? where did we go wrong? But you know what? Through all these trials, I am glad we did it. Here is what I have learned in these last few short weeks...

1. Do not have unrealistic expectations. Expect a roller coaster, up and down. Remember our kids are just "little people" that just need our guidance, safety, and love to become adults. They have bad days too.

2. Give your self and your family time to find their groove. Especially when you have children that were in public schools for some time. I have been told by several people, that it can take up to year for you ALL to get it "together."

3. Plan, but be flexible. It is very easy to get caught up in having to get EVERYTHING done daily. Thank the Lord that there are others out there that are veterans in this adventure. Read their stories, take what you like, leave the rest.

4.  Utilize your resources whether it be curriculum, home school groups, other parents. If it was not for my local Facebook group of Home school parents, my kids would have been shoved back into school weeks ago, and I would be sitting feeling like a failure.

5. Remember your reason you chose this path. We all have different reasons, we all have different ways in how we home school. Do not compare your life, your family, your kids to others. Keep the focus on what you do have.

6. Start a Journal. A close friend of mine shared her way of getting through the days. She keeps a journal. At the end of the day she tries to write all the good things and things that she did accomplish in her day. That way when she feels like she is totally "failing", she just has to go and flip back and realize that she is accomplishing things. I have started doing this.

But the biggest thing I am learning is to....

7. RELAX! As a self-proclaimed organizational nut, bordering on OCD.  I tend to over think and over do. I have learned am learning that it is alright to not have every thing perfect, that is just stinking thinking. We will never be perfect. What we need to focus on is what we can change, what we can overcome. For me I need to really keep the focus, do things a day at a time and say a lot of prayers. It is when I let the "small stuff" bother me, or lose focus on what is really important. Sometimes it is easier said then done. I get it. As a mother it is always something, right? But guess what? It will never be perfect. When I make the choice to allow things to bother me, it is when I lose focus. I lose my goals, I lose my peace.

Take this for example:

My soon to be 10 year old son. A bowl of Ravioli. A microwave. This is what I found.

 I share this with you as a lesson. Normally, and I am sure most of us would see this and just flip out! I bet we have all had this conversation go through our minds, or even we have said it out loud. "How many times do I have to say to these kids to cover the bowl, here I go again, cleaning. All I do is clean. Gosh, my life feels like that movie Ground Hog's Day! Why are they making my life so hard." (Raising Hand, been there, done that! Guilty) But today when I saw this, I did not freak out. I saw it as a blessing.

What happened was that I saw it as a teachable moment. . Today my youngest son is learning how to be self-sufficient. He has learned to open up a can, he has learned to read the cooking directions. He has followed directions in the preparation of his snack. He has learned the safe way to remove his hot dish. He has learned. When I compare those positives to my one negative: He made a mess, the positives out way the negative. The Positives win! I realized that we both have learned. That is what is important! Granted there is still a mess, but it helped me put our life into perspective. We only have a short time to teach and enjoy the season of life our children are in. It is much easier to put aside the outside influences, thoughts of failure, and just enjoy what we are blessed with today.

Look for the those teachable moments, Relax and celebrate those dirty microwaves!

September 29, 2015

One Month at a Time: Part 2

As promised I wanted to give you all the break down on my first Once a Month shopping/Menu/Batch meals for our family of five. I stated in the last post that we resembled the "Old Mother Hubbard" nursery rhyme by our pay day.

See? My bare refrigerator. Yikes! This was taken late night the day before the "Big Haul." Since I had meal planned for the week, we were living on what was left in our cupboards. But any Mom will tell you, by this point you are getting super creative with meals. I did make an inventory of what items we had left in our freezer and small deep freezer.  So with that being said, let's start with my break down of everything!

1. Inventory on Hand

7 pounds of Chicken Thighs
2 Smoke Sausage
8 pounds of ground deer meat
3 quarts of strawberries, picked this summer and froze
1 large beef bone, for broth
2 pork chops, about 2 pounds
1 huge filet of salmon
2 pints jar of homemade strawberry freezer jam
2 12 ounce bags of frozen green beans
                                                                               1 12 ounce bag of frozen Brussels sprouts
                                                                                2 quart bags of frozen spaghetti squash
                                                                                1 gallon bag of shredded sweet potatoes
                                                                                1/2 pound of rice
I had still on hand all my Almond flour, Coconut flour, Coconut oil, gelatin, etc. As far as canned goods, I had tuna fish, beets, chick peas. As you can see the refrigerator was slim pickings! Still had a half a dozen eggs, some grapes, coconut milk, cheese sticks, butter and condiments.

2. The Grocery List (my hand hurt after making it!)

As I said in my prior post, I check the local ads. This was the first time I had to really do my major homework, comparing prices, weights and unit prices. I also had a blank calendar next to me and plugged in meal ideas, my recipe book, and looked up recipes online. But we pretty much know what we like and do not like, so it was not that difficult. I used one of our Composition books and made a list on each page according to the store. I wrote the amount I needed and the price and then the totals. That way I kind of knew where my budget was. REMEMBER I ONLY TOOK $440 with me.

Store #1 
 Our little village has a grocery store. Normally we only shop there if we run out of milk etc. However, they were having the best sale around on meat. Plus the meat is from a local source. The were also having a great 10 for $10 sale, which included paper towels.

12 Paper Towel rolls(they only had 7 left, I was not the only one who was digging the bargain!) So, 7 paper towels, 2 pkg. of pepperoni, 4 boxes of instant mac n cheese (kids and hubby are not fully on my gluten free/Paleo eating, yet!) 2 cans of biscuits, 4lb Chuck roast @ $3.49 a pound, 10 pound of ground beef @ $2.99 a pound, 12 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts @ @1.79 a pound

Store #2-Aldi
Here is where I used a price list I googled. Some of the prices were spot on, but some were lower.

1 bag of Pretzels, 2 bags of regular chips, 1 bag of Tortilla chips, 1 jar of peanut butter, 1 jar of almond butter, 3 boxes of cereal, 1 10 pack box of Oatmeal, 4 Applesauce cups with 6 per a pack, 1 corn bread, 4 cream cheese, 1 1/2 gallon Almond milk, 4 packages of bacon, 4 bags of bagels, 2 boxes of Taco shells, 2 20 ct. flour tortillas, 1 3 pound bag of rice, 1 bag of Gluten free penne pasta, 2 bags of gluten free spaghetti noodles, 1 box of regular penne pasta, 1 bag of Spinach, 1 cottage cheese, 8 blocks of cheese, 10 loaves of bread, 6 gallons of milk (it was the cheapest at $1.69 a gallon) 2 cans of black beans, 4 cans of kidney beans, 12 cans of corn, 12 cans of green beans, 2 cans of mixed veggies, 4 cans of pineapple, and about 6 1/2 pounds of Bananas   

Store #3-Costco
1 box of 12 cans of organic tomato sauce, 1 6 pound bag of Italian meatballs, 1 butter (4) 1 pound sticks, 1 bag of Frigo Cheese sticks, 1 liter of Natural Maple syrup, 1 box of 100% Natural juice boxes, 36 count, Laundry Soap(normally 13.99 was on sale for $2.00 off) 1 dish soap (normally $7.99, on sale for $2.00 off) Toilet paper, Cat food, 4 dozen organic eggs

Store #4-Ciolinos Fruit/Veggie market, a.k.a My happy place

2 10 pound bags of Potatoes, 1 10lb. bag of Red Delicious apples, 2.45 pounds of zucchini, 7.85 pound cabbage, 2 jumbo cauliflowers, 2 pkg. of 4 each red, orange, yellow sweet peppers, 3 pkg. of mushrooms, 3 large cucumbers, 3 pound bag of grapes, Romaine lettuce 2 pack, 2 bunches of green onions, 3 limes, 1 Pomegranate, 2 large green peppers, 2 3 pound bag of carrots. Total here: $34.21

Again another place that has 10 for $10. We also love their manager's specials on meat. We have found some awesome deals. We just use it or freeze it right away.
2 Ekrich Bologna, 2 Ekrich hot dogs (again not my choice, and we normally do NOT buy it) 1 sour cream, I had a coupon for this, and it was on sale, so I paid .85 for it. 12 6 ounce yogurts( on sale) 2 pkg of 2 lb. lunch meat, 4 pkg of corned beef lunch meat. I also had two coupons for 1 free 4 to 6 ounce toothpaste, and 1 free tub of lunch meat. Total: $21.99

Had a sale on Pork loins, in which I ended up getting 14 chops out of and about 2 lbs of extra meat. Pork loin was 7.82 pounds. I also did a "No-No" I got caught up in the Halloween mood and bought the kids a package of Halloween Oreos on sale for $2.79.

Store #7 Dollar Tree-Everything is only $1
2 boxes of Lasagna Noodles, 1 jar of minced garlic, 2 cans of coconut milk, 4 8x8 pans, 1 box of Quart baggies, 1 box of Gallon bags, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 package of maxi pads.

Store #8-Dollar General
1 can of Parmesan cheese, 1 bag of dark chocolate chips, and I added 2 more boxes of Gallon bags.

The last four stores were all with in the same area. So my final total when all was said and done was...

        $419. 25

Now do I think this will be the same every month, no. I am shooting for next month to be about $350. Some of the things I bought at Costco will last us about 2 to 3 months.(i.e. laundry soap, dish soap, cat food) Plus this leads me into how I utilized all of our goodies into batch and freezer meals. It is my hope that we may have a few things left over when the next big haul comes. Here is what I batched cooked.

Meals:Batched and Frozen too! 

2 dozen muffin tin Omelet cups
3 dozen banana, almond butter, chocolate bites
1 1/2 dozen Paleo Banana Chocolate chip bars
14 pork loin chops (2 meals)
2 lbs. of pork, which I cubed
4 lbs. of Taco meat
1 meatloaf
2 meals of Chili
8 Chicken Alfredo veggie lasagna roll-ups
1 Gallon bag of chicken stock
1 Roast with vegetables
2 meals of Chicken Fajitas
1 meal of Potato soup
1 meal of Chicken and Wild Rice soup
2 Lasagnas
2 trays of Mac-n- cheese
2 meals of Pigs in a Blanket, or Stuffed Cabbage
1 Gallon bag of chopped cabbage, will use for soups, or some kind of meal
3 or 4 meals with the 6lb. bag of meatballs
1 meal of Crock pot Cilantro Chicken
2 lbs of Tuna, for sandwiches, salads, of patties
24 individual Pepperoni Bagel Pizzas
2 meals of homemade chicken nuggets
1 meal of chicken chunks
Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
18 Cinnamon French Toast sticks
1 meal of Bake Potato bar
1 meal of Bacon and Cinnamon Monkey Bread (I will eat eggs)
2 quarts of chopped carrots, for soups, side veggie, snacks
1 meal of Grilled Middle Eastern Chicken breast

Now for breakfast and lunches I will do cereal, eggs, smoothies, oatmeal, etc. Lunches we will use up the lunch meat first. My kids love when I make rolled up meat and cheese in a tortilla, or even Quesadillas. Also, every so many days, lunches will be left overs too. You can also see on one of the Saturdays, I put "O.Y.O" meaning On Your Own. Pretty much find something.  I just used my Chalk board calendar and separated the days into Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners. I also designated certain days of the week as always a theme. Wednesdays: Breakfast Night, Fridays: Fiesta Fridays, Saturdays: Soup

 I also listed up at the the top in the blank space ideas for snacks. The kids and Deputy Dog love popcorn, so that is always a inexpensive snack, plus they love to use the air popper. 
Since the way Deputy Dog's pay period falls, we are shooting for not having to do the next haul until October 23. There are some a day or two when we will not be at home for lunch, so that also gives me and extra meal. We have also decided since my big shopping day is so hectic, that will be the day we get a treat and have a meal out. This is within a budget of course. 

This is just my first time. As I said before I hope to get the budget for our family of five down to around $350 or less a month. I look forward to the challenge! 

Month at a Time: The New Budget, List, and Shopping!

Meal planning, coupon clipping, has been something I have done for a while now. Usually I would plan meals for two weeks since the hubby, "Deputy Dog" is paid biweekly. I would sit down the week of the paycheck and go through our local stores ads, compare prices, gather any coupons and then plan two weeks of meals. I occasionally prepared freezer meals or batch cooking. I really did see a savings when I did that. Coupon clipping in my opinion helped at times, but overall I did not see a big difference in my savings. Mainly because I find that "off brands" are cheaper. Plus I think once couponing became super popular, the stores got smart to it and couponing is not as beneficial. Correct me if I am wrong. However, recently our lives have changed. This year we have decided to home school our two youngest children, so our already busy life just became a tad bit more hectic!

As I said previous, I have cooked batch/freezer meals. Once. I think I got three weeks of dinners for our family of five for $249 dollars or something like that. It was just dinners though. At that time the kiddos were eating lunches at school and breakfast was at best hit or miss. Mostly grab a cheese stick or toast and juice. Snacks were bought as needed, and there was a lot of eating out. Honestly, we were not saving, it seemed like our money was just flying out the window, well it was. We seemed to be always broke. Then about two weeks ago I was reading over Jamerrill Stewart's website Free Homeschool Deals, when I linked into her You Tube channel. (by the way, love the idea of Vlogs! Hmmm....) I was immediately hooked. I loved the idea of once a month meals. I loved how her large family operated. I loved everything about them. Jamerrill shared in one of her Vlogs, about Dave Ramsey's financial plan.My head was spinning! My heart was screaming "this is it!" You know the saying that God works through people? Well, I believe that, and this was an answer to our family's problems. Thank you Heavenly Father!

Deputy Dog and I sat down and had a real heart to heart about what I had learned. We started our research. For him, to really look at Ramsey's info and begin to outline it for our life. Me, to research ads, price lists, and how I could do once a month meals while I eat a clean eating Paleo lifestyle. If you follow my other blog The Goddess I Truly Am Inside, you know that in June I started eating a gluten free, then a paleo diet. It has really worked for me. Anyway, I digress...
 We were really ready to jump in. This past Friday was a pay day. We decided this would be the best time to implement our new plan of action.  Plus, if you looked at my cupboards/Refrigerator, it was right out of the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard." The only plus side to this was my Refrigerator got a really good cleaning out!  I spent a few evenings when time permitted, to look at our local ads for the week. I want to give a shout out to all those who have compiled price lists for Costco and Aldi store, thank you, thank you, and thank you! From there I just put on my creative hat and planned out meals. Now Jamerrill utilizes one meal, such as Chili and feeds her family that for a couple of meals consecutively. It works for her. For us, we are not above left overs. But we have to spread them out. So with that being said I created certain days where we would have left overs for Dinner or Lunch. I also gave certain days a theme. For example: Fiesta Fridays, Soupy Saturdays, and Wednesday's will be Breakfast Nights.(Sorry could not come up with a catchy name for that.) That way it made it a bit easier to plan for meals on those nights.Then I printed off a blank calendar and proceeded to plug in the meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.This is where my recipes and creative juices started to flow. Now my family will eat Gluten free but they are not 100% doing Paleo. So if they are having something that I do not eat, I made a notation for my alternate. I used the blank paper calendar first, which is good for me since I would not post same type of meals in a row. We love chicken, but eating chicken three days in a row, we begin to feel like we could grow feathers and cluck!  After I made a mock up meal plan, with pencil I might add,  I transferred it to my cute black board calendar that hangs in our kitchen. That way everyone knows the meal plans, or in case Momma needs a night off and then they can prepare it.

Method to my Madness

Alright, how did I do this? I will just break it down under headings. I think it would be easier to follow, I hope. I stated above that I checked our store's ads and consulted online price lists. Now granted I learned from various blogs that pricing on certain items can fluctuate. For instance, milk and eggs.We have our own chickens, the Ladies of the Yard, but they are molting, so eggs are hit and miss. (Deputy Dog calls them Union Workers, no offense) I also found that certain items can be misprinted. For example, a price list I looked at said cream cheese at Aldi was $1.69 each. For my Aldi, it was .99 cents each. I budgeted the $1.69 when I made my list. I also found that Costco had my Laundry soap and Dish soap on sale for the week. While I was shopping I did find deals on some things that I had not seen on my late night ad searching...Hello, Momma Brain!Or I decided to buy the kids a "goodie" that was on sale. Like I said this was my first time, so I budgeted for some hiccups. That is life right?

The Budget

We crunched numbers. We figured that since we were out of much of our food, this was going to be a expensive trip. I needed to buy taxable items like toilet paper, cat food, chicken feed, cleaning etc. Do not get me wrong, we were not starving. I had some things still in our freezer. I will list what I started with. I took  So we decided that $440 was what I was going to go out shopping with in cash only as Dave Ramsey suggests. It helps to not use the debit card, you will not over spend.  The $440 would include all our food, cleaning items, etc. EVERYTHING! This shopping trip will be for September 25 through October 23. Guess what? My final spending was $419.37! I did not even use it all. So, again utilizing Dave Ramsey's approach, that extra money went into an envelope labeled groceries. It can be used towards items I may run out of for the month, or go towards the next month's haul.

The List

O.k. this is what I did. I made my list a little bit from what I knew I needed, what was on sale, the unit prices per items, cross referenced those with other store's products and what I menu planned for. I grabbed a Composition notebook and on each page I wrote down the store's name, what I was going to buy there and the quantity. I then wrote the price down for each item. For example: Aldi,
Bagels: 4x $1.69=$6.76 after I was done with all the items I was going to buy from each store, I added up the totals.
One page of my list. Seriously there is a method to my Madness


I made my plan of action. The whole purpose of this is to try and save money. So I really planned out what stores I could shop at that were fairly close to one another. Lucky for me, our local village grocery store had a heck of deal on chicken breasts $1.79 a pound and beef at $2.99 a pound this week. Wahoo! Plus the other major stores I shop at are all located by each other. However, there is one place that I love to buy my vegetable and fruit at. They carry local and they are so inexpensive.I mean $4.99 for a 10 pound bag of apples, .19 cents a pound for zucchini! I love that place! The issue is this, it is about 30 to 45 minutes from our home. But, four of the other stores are also located to it. So really I could shop there and not feel too bad. It is just not my normal stores, you know how you frequent a place so much to "change" is a bit foreign? But I can get over it. This time I was not sure what prices were on eggs and milk at Costco and Aldi. So it was a bit of more of a drive for me, chalk it up to research! Anyway, I organized my list in the notebook. I took a red pen to cross off my buys and to make any adjustments on prices, or if I had add-on items. I do not want to get into the habit of having Add-on items, but I gave myself that buffer in my budget this time. My total time shopping/driving was 5 1/2 hours.

My Stores I Shop At

I live in North West Ohio so I know that you may not have these locally. I implore you to find the best deals with in your area and match up the unit prices and weights of food. It really does make a difference.My go to stores are Aldi, Costco, Kroger, Meijer, Ciolino's (fruit and veggie market), Dollar Tree, and Dollar General.

Stay Tuned...

For the sake of your eyes and that this post does not turn into a novel, I will post a "Part 2" for you all. I will break down what I had on hand, what I bought, and what I ended up Batch cooking and freezing up.

The other side
One side of my counter

May 16, 2014

Dandelion Burgers

Finally it is Spring! Can you believe the Winter we had this year? We all thought it would never end! Granted we are still experiencing some wacky weather, one day it is 87 degrees and today temperatures hit maybe 60 degrees. But Spring is here bringing with it one of the best wild culinary delights, Dandelions! I can almost hear some of you shudder at the mention of them, yes, you know who you are. You are the "Lawn Lovers." The ones with the perfect green grass, sporting a small sign stating  "do not walk on grass, just treated" with not a weed in sight. Now do not be upset, no judgment here, really, I appreciate your hard work. In fact I hoping that maybe after you read this, maybe just maybe, you will come to realize that Dandelions are not public enemy number one. In fact many of the plants we think are weeds are really wonderful plants full of medicinal and nutritional properties. Dandelions are full of vitamin C, help with liver detox/and function and so much more.

Many years ago I participated in classes in foraging. The classes were from early Spring to late Fall. They were a blast. We learned, foraged, and then came back to the kitchen and prepared all of our "Volunteer Vegetables" as my teacher called them. (Great nickname for wild edibles don't you think?) Because the subject of foraging is in itself a complete blog entry, heck a book for that matter, I wanted to just focus on one of the easiest wild edible to identify, The Dandies! For this recipe I used the actually flower. 

Before I begin let me tell you a few hard rules about foraging. 1. Never forage close to roadways, or any place that may have been chemically treated. Keep at least 75 feet from any of those areas. 2. know exactly what you are picking 3. Always leave some of the plants in their natural habit.


For Dandelion Burgers be prepared to collect a lot of flowers. I even pick enough and freeze for future recipes. For one burger, I had about 30 flower heads. I usually have my kids help in this process. Grab a bag and pick, great family activity. After you have gathered enough flowers, it is important to rinse them well. You still have to make sure they are clean. I usually soak them for about 15 minutes and then drain them in a strainer. The next step is a bit time consuming. Remove the yellow flower part from the green. I just peel back one part and scrap out the flower. If you do get some of the green part in, don't worry, that part is also edible. Try not get too much though, the green parts of the Dandelion are bitter. 

Once you have separated the flowers, discard the remaining greens. Take the flowers and place them in a towel and pat the excess water off of them. Place them in a bowl. 

Next you are going to add:
(for 30 heads of flowers)
1/2 c. of flour
Heads of 30 flowers
1 egg
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons of minced onion

*Honestly, I add seasoning to taste, and use  whatever I am in the mood for. Dandelion flowers have a slight sweet taste, but take on the taste of what you spice them with.

Take your flowers and add the egg, flour and spices. Then you basically mix it until you get a good consistency that you can form a patty.

In a skillet, add olive oil, about 2 Tablespoons. Fry the patty for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.

Form into a ball and make a patty.



 You may need to add flour to get the mixture to hold. Just add it a little at a time. When you do that remember to add a bit more spices to balance it out.

B-B-Q Volunteer Veggie Style!
Once you have your burger cooked, top it with whatever your heart desires. For mine, I use tomato, baby Kale to pump up the nutritional value, whole grain bun and garlic sauce. Yum!


July 31, 2013

Pierogi Recipe

It does not matter how you spell it, these little Polish sides are a popular comfort food in my family. My cousin and I decided to try our hand at them. We have seen our family make them, but never did them ourselves.

Pierogi Adventure:

They are not difficult to make. Especially if you are just making a small batch. But if you are going to make them, go big! They are great to make and freeze for later. Plus once the word gets out that you made them, you will be giving some away. When doing a large batch you will need to have someone help. It makes it go faster. So I drove out to my cousin's house and we had a pierogi fest! We made 8 dozen and split them. If you do not want to make 8 dozen, I will give the base recipe that we used. This will give you about 12 finished Pierogi.

 Traditionally pierogi were filled with cabbage/sauerkraut and onion or potato and onion. But don't stop there, these can be filled with just about anything. For me I stick to the traditional fillings. For ours we did Potato and Onion filling and then a batch of Potato, Onion and Sauerkraut. I found that to save time, prepare your fillings the day before.

Filling Ingredients: 

Potato and Onion
1 1/2 cups of butter
4 cups of onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 medium Potatoes, boiled and mashed. (For our huge batch, I used a whole 5 pound bag of potatoes and had extra.)

Peel and cut potatoes. Boil them until soft. Meantime, dice your onions. Saute the onions in the butter until they are clear. When potatoes are done, drain water. Mash the potatoes. Add the onion and butter mixture to them. Stir to together. Yields filling for 12 to 15

Saurkraut and Onion Filling
*You can use cabbage. You just need to shred it, mince it up and saute it with butter and onion, but to save time we used sauerkraut.We love Sauerkraut!
2 cans of sauerkraut, drained, and minced
1 cup of butter
1 cup of onions, chopped

Drain your sauerkraut. Mince it on a cutting board. Melt butter in a large skillet, add onions and saute them until they are clear. Add your minced sauerkraut, Cook for about 5 minutes.

*Side Note* 
Since we had left over Potato filling, we decided to add our Saurkraut filling to it, mixing it together. Can I just say Yum!

 Now for the dough...

Pierogi Dough

2 cups of Flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup of Sour cream
1/4 cup of butter

Whisk eggs, add sour cream. Mixing it together until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sour cream mixture. Combine until dough is not sticky. Next lightly flour your work surface. Knead the dough to further smooth. Next roll out the dough to 1/8 inches. Use a large cup about 3 1/2 inches to cut out circles. Put a Tablespoon of filling onto the circle. Fold dough in half, using a bit of water on your fingers, rub the edges and pinch edges closed. Place onto wax paper. Continue until  the steps until all the dough is used up. Cook or freeze.


After you are finished, boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add pierogi. When the Pierogi float to the top of the water, they are done cooking. Drain. You may eat them boiled or you can pan fry them after you boil them. To pan fry your boiled pierogi, add a bit of butter and some chopped onion in a fry pan. Once both sides are a crispy, brown remove. Serve. (See photo below) Some people enjoy adding a bit of sour cream to them.

Now some potential problems you may encounter. But do not let them stop you from making pierogi. Once you get your rhythm going, you will have it. It is good to do a "mock up." Meaning once you get a few done, cook them up and see how they turn out. Then adjust. O.k. problems...

1. Not rolling the dough thin enough will cause the pierogi to be thick and "doughy."
2. Do not overfill, they will bust open.
3. Sealing is important. Too little water they will not seal.
4.  Freezing. Do not put them in a bag or container with out flash freezing them first. They will freeze together as a big ball.(we learned the hard way.) Another idea is to wrap them individually in wax paper, then placing them in large freezer bags.

IF you are not scared off and want to make a big batch, here is the dough recipe for 8 dozen.

Dough for 8 dozen:
16 cups of flour
4 teaspoons of salt
8 eggs, good thing my cousin and I raise chickens!
2 cups of butter
4 cups of Sour cream

Since I did all my dough mixing by hand, I worked the recipe a half at a time. A bit more time consuming however, can you imagine mixing and rolling all that dough at one time?

For the fillings as I said before, I used a 5 pound bag of potatoes. For the sauerkraut, we used six cans. I am a "by taste and eye cook." If I think it needs more or less I adjust. Lucky for me my cousin is the same way, so we adjusted onions and salt and pepper and butter by taste for this large batch and the results were awesome.

Good luck!

July 5, 2013

Happy Birthday America! A four day celebration.

Yes, "technically" the holiday was yesterday. However, our new town, well actually it is a village,  celebrates the fourth of July for a total of four days. The festivities started on Wednesday and ends tomorrow with a firework show that I am told is awesome. What is even better is that we can sit on our back deck and watch them. The boxes from the move are unpacked, (well mostly) the house is in order, perfect timing for our official first party at our new "country digs!"

Of course I had to do a bit of decorating for the holiday/party today. Just something fun to utilize some of the items I already had laying around in my arts and crafts stuff. It is amazing what you find when you pack up a whole house to move!

A fun banner on the fireplace using scrapbook paper, burlap ribbon and embellishments. The center rosette is made from my collection of cupcake liners. (Kate from Farmhouse 38 and I share a crazy fetish for them. Right Kate?)

Banner at a distance. Sorry about the glare, I have two windows that are on both sides.
Toilet paper roll firecrackers. Who does not have a bunch of these? Especially if you have kids. Super easy to make! See how I did it below...

To add the wire I just combined a few pieces together, poked a hole into the circle and taped it to the bottom. Then I curled the wire and added silver star sequins.

May 31, 2013

Never Fear, I am still Here!

Yes, Yes I am! You would think that I fell off the face of the earth, but I have not. Sigh, I blame the warm weather. All winter I could not wait for Spring. Well here it is and I feel like I am on a roller coaster.

Scary, exciting, unsure of what is around the next hill but in the end it is fun, exhilarating. That is what Spring has brought me. The kiddos have field trips, fun days and only few more days until school is out. The Memorial Day weekend brought parties to go to every day. My husband's cousin, bless her heart, lost her two year battle with breast cancer, so a period of mourning. A wedding next weekend and our a move. We have two weeks until our move, one that as a family we are excited for. Despite living around boxes, eating off of paper plates, drinking out of Solo cups, we are very ready for our new adventure!

So buckle your seat belts, keep your arms and legs in the car at all times, and join me as we continue on this crazy roller coaster ride!