Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home Made Chocolate Cake

In general I'm not a baked goods person. I worked at a bakery in a grocery store in college. I didn't have a problem with gaining weight, however if I'd worked in the deli, I'd have been in trouble! I love to bake at home, but my little people aren't big enough to eat dozens of doughnuts and my husband likes his recipes on a monthly or longer cycle. Here is the recipe I use when I want a good chocolate cake. I am however looking at another recipe that may or may not make it on my recipe page. This is a Duncan Heinz copy cat I believe, or maybe Betty Crocker- anyhow a good representative for those who have the taste for (or husbands in my case) things store-bought. This is puzzle piece #3 for the Murder In Montana I'll be posting next week....Hee Heee. 

Chocolate Cake
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour 
3/4-1 c. cocoa ;-)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 - 1 c. boiling water
2 t. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients  and beat 2- 5 minutes on medium.  Pour immediately into greased and floured pans and bake in preheated 350 degree oven. 9 X 13 pan = 35-40 minutes.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Home Made Chocolate Pudding

Today's recipe comes from and Chris from Kansas. With over 210 reviews this pudding is right on the mark. Another great standby when you feel like boycotting the store.

Thick Chocolate Pudding

1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
3 T. cornstarch
1/8 t. salt
2 c. milk (I like to use almond milk and because its cornstarch based it sets up fine)
1 t. vanilla

Easy peasy. Combine all except vanilla in pan over medium heat stirring till thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Use in recipes after cooling. Makes about 4 servings. I also add extra vanilla or sometimes even mint extract. YUMMY. Keep this recipe in mind this week it might come in handy to make some Murder In Montana!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home Made Toffee Butter Crunch Recipe

Im not usually a big candy maker, but I do make my own toffee when it comes to making a desert called Murder In Montana. I got the recipe from the Dinnerbell Bakery Cookbook from up in the Mission mountain range at the Amish resturant - The Dinnerbell Bakery. Instead of spending big bucks for the SKOR bars it calls for, I make my own recipe. 

Toffee Butter Crunch

1 cup butter ( I've taken a shine to 1/2 margerine, 1/2 real butter)
1 cup sugar 
3 T water
1 T corn syrup (or corn syrup substitute)

      In a heavy pan over medium heat boil all ingredients stirring frequently till thermometer reaches 290. Pour into a buttered 13 X 9 pan. Add chocolate chips if desired when surface is firm. When melted spread evenly. When completely cool breake into small pieces and store in airtight container.
      And yes, Im going to make you wait for the Murder In Montana recipe- trust me its a killer! :-P

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home Made Coco Wheats

     Time for a recipe! One thing I've liked doing with my grain mill is to make our own Coco Wheats, so its time to share the goods with you. 
     Really this is so simple it doesn't even take measurements. Necessary items: Grain mill, wheat (sprouted and dried or regular) sieve, cocoa. I like to use sprouted and dried in my dehydrator. 
     Take whatever amount of wheat you desire (2 cups hard red winter wheat makes enough to make about 6 average size bowls of cereal) and grind on a smaller than cracked setting. On my Family Grain Mill this is a 2.5 setting. 

This is what it looks like up close before its sifted.

Sift a little bit at a time into a different bowl to separate out the bits that have already made it to a flour stage.

Add baking cocoa to the larger bits till you are satisfied with the coverage.
Cook as per directions given for the commercial product. If you don't have those handy, I usually do as much water as I want finished product and cut that amount in half for the coco wheats. Example 1 part cocoa wheats to 2 parts water. When it is cooked to the consistancy you want, add your sugar butter or whatnot. We usually like to add peanut butter, or maybe even some chocolate chips in the bowls, or some mint extract (just a touch). Vanilla is always good too.

If you don't use the whole batch that meal (dry mix) stick it in a container in the freezer to keep the oils from the fresh ground wheat from going rancid. Do this especially if you have sprouted and dried your wheat.  Enjoy!


Oh Buckets! A Handwashing Revelation

     Well, sorry for the hiatus here for this last month, but I've had some dire and experimental situations going on. As of my last post my washer conked on me. Its not the first time, and it most certainly wont be the last. However I've spent the better part of the last month (up until 3 days ago) doing all my laundry by hand. As you can see that leaves little time for blogging when one has a new baby. To compound the dire-ness of the month we've moved off an old truck that needed junked and I've had boxes of stuff to do something with, that still need my attention. Also we have been ordering books and curriculum  to start this school year with. 
      The main subject of this particular post however is a method that have revolutionized my hand washing.
     In my last post, I mentioned that I had been struggling with the thought of using my hard earned money to purchase a WonderWash. That night after blogging I showed my husband the picture of the washer, divulging to him the workings of my inner mind. See, I had analyzed the basics of this setup for a while realizing that 
  1. Its basicly a bucket with an airtight lid and rounded corners
  2. Its leak proof (well its supposed to be according to the description)
  3. Its rotated to slog the water around and through the clothing.
  4. It is reported to be a revolutionizer of laundry lines everywhere or a complete lemon.
  5. I could make one of my own, and I could make it for nothing.
How could this be? Buckets baby, buckets! So the experimenting began. First, I get the gasketed buckets from the local bakery and use them for just about everything. The seal in the lid is airtight so I can keep my flour and sugar in them without fear of bugs or moisture getting in. 
     Following the directions per manufacture of the WonderWash, I used warm water, small amount of soap and put only a few things in at first to see what the big deal was.  My first method was to tumble the bucket end over end through the living room and kitchen (after the kids were sleeping) for roughly the minute and a half that is recommended. Cracked that lid open and I was literally astounded at the amount of dirt that was in the water. 
     Ok time to simplify. I didn't have time nor energy to walk my laundry through the house bent over all night. So I tried sitting on a chair and, using the handle, thunking the bucket back and forth tipping it at my side. I got several buckets of laundry done this way, tinkering with how many diapers I could put in it and still get them clean.  After thinking some more, analyzing the mechanics of the HE front-loading washers, I figured I could just tip the bucket on its side and rock it back and forth. This proved to be the best and most effective method yet, and my laundry, and especially my diapers were coming cleaner than with my washer. I was astounded.  And whats more, it was somewhat fun, good exercise, economical and the children were enlisted to help too. 
     With the help of my previously aquired wringer off of Ebay my laundry started getting a good sized dent. 
     It makes me realize why people wore clothes till they were REALLY dirty way back when (and wore aprons constantly as well). It just took too much time. So the kids were immediately on clothing restriction- one spot did not dirty laundry make. Aprons were used when available and extra care was taken when cooking and playing. Well, as much care as a dirt prone boy and a 5yo tomboy,  3yo "helper", wonder whiz baby and a coal miner husband could take. :-P
Thankfully this isn't my closet!
     This also led me to another realization that our clothing needed to take a serious downsizing! There was no need to have a dozen pants for said boy, or ten shirts each for said girls. The diapers were unavoidable, but easily taken care of.  That is a blog post for another day.
     Overall I learned that washing by hand didn't have to be a chore and that the amount of clothing really needed by our family was quite small. Also that a bucket worked so well that I'll probably never (yes I said NEVER) go back to using a plunger or even my rapid washer again. No wringer? No problem- wringing by hand worked just fine and I didn't have to get blisters doing it either. The only thing that wasn't as satisfactory as my washer was the men's size jeans. Well at least my husbands super grubby greasy ones. Those ones would definitely benefit from the extra swishing of an electric washer.
     Total cost $0. Had I used rainwater it would be technically completely free as we do have to pay for water. However, I think I'll be pleasantly surprised how much I'll have saved on my next water bill since washing diapers every day used up around 6 gallons or so, versus about 20-30 gallons every time the washer filled, which with diapers is three times or 90 gallons just for the diapers alone!
     Conclusion: Get one of the airtight sealing buckets from your local store bakery (they are handy for tons of stuff besides laundry) and keep it around for your emergency washer. Try it out once or twice to get the feel of it, and tuck it away. You'll be glad you did someday.