Tuesday, August 12

H is for....


I really like to make things myself. I make my own bread. I make the boys' Halloween costumes. I cook from scratch and I make things like yogurt, barbecue sauce, and taco seasoning ( just to name a few of the most recent.)

I also make some other household items myself. Most recently I started making my own deodorant. I really got sick of all my white shirts turning yellow and all my dark shirts turning white in the armpits. My store bought deodorant actually started bleaching my dark shirts! That kind of scared me.

I live in Texas and I sweat. Not very lady like but it's true. I need something that will work and the natural deodorants I've tried don't work. My homemade deodorant does not keep me completely dry but it does keep me from stinking. That is all I'm asking for. To stay dry, I just dust with a little plain baking soda.

There are several similar recipes out there for homemade deodorant. This is the one that I use which is adapted from a few that I found. I chose the essential oils that I did because I like the way they smell and because of the benefits they provide. I haven't had any problems with my skin discoloring which I understand can happen with certain oils.

Maybe it's "H is for Hippie"!


1/4 c shea butter
3 Tbls baking soda
2 Tbls corn starch
1/4 tsp vitamin E oil
15 drops tea tree oil
15 drops rosemary oil
25 drops lavender oil

Melt the shea butter and then stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour in to a suitable container and place in the fridge to set up.

This is pretty firm so you could make some sort of a stick deodorant if you wanted. I just rub it on with my fingers.

I'm picking up where I left off with this project.

Monday, August 11

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market week 16

We made it to the farmer's market this week! There weren't smiles all around but after last week, I wasn't letting anyone off the hook.

It's been very hot so okra is really plentiful right now. Farmer Jack said that the hotter the better for okra. Good to know. I think I'll have to try planting some next year.

We bought okra, yellow squash (lots of it, too. My parents are coming this week and my dad really likes it), green beans, Roma tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, and peaches.

We also bought some oatmeal cookies but we ate those on the way home.

Thursday, August 7

Making Yogurt

Making Yogurt 3

I make my own yogurt. Yep. I do.

I don't like all the unnecessary sugar (and other things) in store bought flavored yogurt and Chaz doesn't like yogurt that is not smooth so I started buying plain yogurt and flavoring it myself. Then Chris, the gadget guy, bought me a little yogurt maker. It took me a while to really get into it but once I did - there's no going back! Homemade yogurt is so very easy, so good and pretty economical, too. (and guess what - you don't even need a yogurt maker!)

I have 2 different recipes for yogurt. They are both good. Chris, however, has a little trouble with dairy sometimes so I switched to the first recipe and he is much happier.

Making Yogurt 1

Yogurt #1

3 3/4 c water
1 2/3 c powdered milk
1/4 c plain yogurt with active live cultures

Heat the water to 110º. Stir in the powdered milk and then the yogurt.

Yogurt #2

4 c milk (any kind, cow, soy, goat)
1/3 c powdered milk *
1/4 c plain yogurt with active live cultures

*if you use whole milk, you can leave the powdered milk out. If you use no-fat or low-fat milk the powdered milk adds a little richness and creaminess

Heat the milk to 175º and then cool to 110º. Stir in the powdered milk and then the yogurt.

Yogurt Maker

This is the yogurt maker I have. I just put the mixture in and let it go for my desired* amount of time.

You can, however, make yogurt in the oven or even a crock pot.

In the oven:

Heat the oven to 110º and then turn it off. You may need to set the oven a bit higher and then let it cool back down a little. Place your yogurt mixture in to canning jars, cover with the lids and place on a pan in the warm oven. You can wrap them in a warm towel to help hold in the heat. Let it go for the desired* amount of time checking the oven temperature periodically. It should stay around 100º.

In the crock pot:

If you have a warm setting, use that. If not, heat some water on low and check the temperature. You don't want it to get too hot (about 110º is perfect). Place the yogurt mixture in caning jars and put the tops on. Place in to the warm crock pot with enough water to come about half way up the jar. Cover with a folded towel to hold the heat in and let it go for the desired* amount of time.

* How long? You can let it go anywhere from 5-10 hours. It's pretty forgiving. The longer it "cooks" the tangier it will be. I've let it go for as long as 12 and then it made some pretty good sour cream. You just need to experiment to figure out how long you like it. I usually average about 8.

Making Yogurt 2

When it is done, immedietly take out 1/4 cup for your next batch and set it aside in the fridge (if you don't and you're like me, you'll forget and eat it all. Then you'll have to go buy more yogurt just to make yogurt). Chill the rest of the yogurt. Homemade yogurt is not exactly like store bought. There's no added gelatins or pectins to make it really thick. I don't like it too runny so if my yogurt is a little thinner than I like (check after it cools, it thickens as it cools) I thicken it up a bit by straining it. I put it in to a strainer with a thin flour sack towel and drain it for 5 minutes. If you strain it longer, you can make a really great yogurt cheese. I also save the liquid that I drain off and use it when I make bread or soups.


Today's breakfast: homemade yogurt with strawberries, nectarines and chopped almonds.

Tuesday, August 5


Pinto Beans

Oh how I love beans!

And this summer I've discovered the joy that is fresh beans (or Southern Peas) from my farmer's market. This recipe is one that I make on a regular basis. It's so good and so easily adaptable.

Use whatever kind of beans you like. This time it was pinto beans. Sometimes I use pink-eyed peas. It doesn't really matter.

We had it topped with a little cheese, a fried egg and some corn relish with sweet potato fries on the side the last time I made them. These beans go with everything though.

Drunken Beans

1 lb of fresh beans or 2 cups of dried beans
1 bottle beer
1/2 Tbls olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 peppers, chopped (use what you like, bell, sweet banana, chiles, etc)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tomatoes, diced


If you are using dried beans, soak them and cook them according to your preferred method. If you are using fresh beans, drop them in to a pot of boiling water and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size. (small beans 5 min, large beans 10 minutes)

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped peppers, onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the drained beans, 1/2 the bottle of beer and the cumin. The beans should be just slightly soupy. Add more beer as needed or turn the heat up to cook some of the liquid off. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cover. Cook another 5 minutes.

Test for doneness and seasoning. I like my beans cooked through but still a little firm. Squeeze a little lime juice over the top before serving.

Monday, August 4

Farmer's Market Sandwich

Farmer's Market Week 15

My market basket is empty this week. Edmund had a leadership training meeting to go to on Saturday so Chris was gone all morning with him and a certain small person was having one of those mornings. I really missed going and I will miss it all week with each meal I prepare.

BUT I do have a recipe to share using some of my favorite farmer's market finds.

My Favorite Sandwich

This is probably my absolute favorite sandwich. I can't begin to describe how good it is! Just try it for yourself - then you'll know.

Farmer's Market Pan Bagnat

2 medium eggplant, sliced in to 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 lb green beans trimmed
1/2 c roasted red peppers cut in to wide strips
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella sliced in to 1/4 inch rounds
3 Tbls olive tapenade
1 ciabatta loaf halved lengthwise

1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbls red wine vinegar
1 Tbls fresh parsley minced
1 1/2 tsp shallots minced
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350º. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Lay eggplant on sheet in a single layer and coat with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 10 min, turn and bake another 10 min (or you can just grill the slices) until brown and tender.

Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 5 min. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry.

Mix together vinaigrette until smooth.

Spread bottom half of the bread with the tapenade. Brush with vinaigrette. Spread green beans over the tapenade and press firmly. Lay pepper slices followed by the cheese and then the eggplant.

Brush the top of the bread generously with the vinaigrette and place on top of the eggplant. Press the sandwich together and chill 1-4 hours. Slice in half and then each half in half again on a diagonal.

- If you wrap it really tight, it travels well for a picnic, too.

Friday, August 1

Goodbye July, Hello August

July 365

I can't believe it's August already! The Summer is whizzing by just a little too fast.

I had hoped to post every day during the month of July but, well, other things happened. I did, however, manage to take a self portrait every day. After seeing so many wonderful and creative self portraits, I decided to join the 365 Days challenge. (a self portrait a day for 365 days) I am hoping that it will help me learn a little more about photography and my camera. I am planning to document the everyday moments in my every day life which should be interesting since many of my days look like the day before!

I'm not sure what August will be like here on the blog. School starts at the end of the month so we need to get back in to some sort of a routine. We also are expecting some out of town guests this month (Grandmom and Grandpa are coming!) I DO have some recipes to share so watch for those. Other than that, I'll be here when I can!