Sunday, September 30, 2012

Homemade Air Freshner

I love candles, scentsy and room spray. Occasionally though I find myself out... or I am craving a more natural smell. My go to smells are usually ones that smell like I have been cooking... you know when I occasionally don't feel like it... or I need to fake it. Just keeping it real. I mean nothing beats the smell of home-cooking ..unless you got 2 kids running your pregnant butt happens. So when I need to fake it.. I just make a little homemade air freshener . Follow the directions above or switch some ingredients out that are listed below.

The great thing about this is you can change out the fruit and herbs... Here are some other great combos I love

Orange Slices, Rosemary, Vanilla
Orange Slices, Vanilla, Cinnamon Sticks, Star Anise, Vanilla
Apple Slices, Apple Cider, Cinnamon Sticks, Vanilla

You can use different extracts also...

I have done
Vanilla and Strawberry extract
Orange and Vanilla extract

I almost forgot to tell you... If you have one of the little mini crock can also simmer it in there with the lid off.

Linking up at

Sew Can Do-Craftastic Monday
Project Inspire- Just Something I whipped up

Friday, September 28, 2012

Loaded Potato Soup

You ever have one of those days. I promised my boys we would go out today. I really didn't want to. Because that meant I was going to have to put clothes on without holes and maybe make myself presentable.. I said maybe. I did however. I got up washed my hair... made an attempt to fix it. Its naturally curly which means that anything you do to it... it has its own ideas with how its going to actually react. It could be good and look like something out of a magazine... or it could take the notion to make it look like you licked a light socket... Trust me. I live with that look... So anyways.. wash hair... makeup... which that in itself should get me some kind of an award.. Its been a while. I actually had to remind myself which end of the eyeliner you hold and which end you put to your nose... Joking I know eyeliner is for eyes. So then I got a comfy t shirt . suck it up. I am 23 weeks pregnant..and I have never been one of those ladies that's a clothes whore... I mean if anyone ever called me a whore it would not be preceded by clothes... ha. So me dressed hair fixed... 2 boys dressed hair fixed.. everyone had on clean underwear and shoes! Another medal was needed. Off we go to the mall... now our mall isn't much in this town..but it was a big enough adventure to satisfy my little men's needs for getting out of the house.. and they have lemonade... so something for mom. Of course they don't put coconut rum in their lemonade..What? you have never done that...your missing out. I'm 23 weeks pregnant so I cant do that... hey why don't you have one for me?? We do lunch... which with kids means they shove food in and mostly hit their mouth and I pick up what misses. I kinda do lunch.... because I am busy... you know attending to them. We go to the bookstore...the arcade.. then we hit the rides.. you know the kind you put 1.00 in and it kinda throws your kid around and they love it...and all you can think is I would have whiplash and man this lemonade is missing something. Then we stop by the cookie place..where the kids each choose a cookie with neon icing that you get to imagine the stain that's going to cause.. We leave the mall... hit the grocery store.. well you know not physically assault..but we go there and get a few things... Finally make it home. I am drenched covered with sweat.. because I have just survived Armageddon an outing with 2 kids. My husband makes it home from work and looks at me... Whats for dinner? I pick up the phone and order a hit man... Not really I just look at him and walk away...well waddle away. I had a cold shower and a glass of ice water.. and I feel life returning. So whats the point of that whole story? If I can survive that and still make this soup so can you....

Loaded Potato Soup

3 large baking potatoes peeled and cubed
1 tsp dried minced onions
6 cups of water
6 bouillon cubes
4 oz 2% percent Velveeta cubed
1/2 can evaporated milk fat free (about 6 oz)
3/4 cup of potato flakes

optional toppings- shredded cheese, bacon bits*, green onions, sour cream

Put your first 4 ingredients into a large pot. Boil for 15-20 minutes with the lid on. I do it just until tender. Lower heat add the Velveeta and stir till melted. Next pour in evaporated milk. Again stir till combined. Lastly add the potato flakes and stir again. Once it is all combined  simply take off the heat and serve.

*the bacon I baked a few center cut pieces in the oven on 350 for 15 minutes. Drained, cooled and chopped.

I served this with the optional toppings and some beer bread fresh out of the oven.

I am linking up at the following:

The Shabby Nest-Frugal Friday

The French Country Cottage-Feathered Nest Friday

Simply Designing- Simply Link Party

Tatertots & Jello- Weekend Wrap Up

Blissful & Domestic- Friday Feature Linky

SixSisters-Strut your Stuff

Not just a Housewife- Show Me What Ya Got

A Clever Chick

Blissful & Domestic-Sunday Blog Hop

You are talking too much- Meet Me Monday

Project Inspire-Just something I whipped up

Or So She Says- your great ideas

Sew Can Do- Craftastic Monday

Mom's Crazy Cooking- This Weeks Craving

Southern Lovely-Show and Share

Home Maid Simple-Foodie Friday

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Get Rid of the Mildew Smell in Towels

In that cup is the magic ingredient keep reading to see what works!

I live in a family of stinky monsters... Seriously. My boys and my man... make everything smelly. Since I have been dealing with pregnancy I have fallen behind on some household chores.. Like laundry... Ok I am going to keep it real. I don't have to be pregnant to fall behind on laundry. We dirty up more than our fair share of towels clothes and etc... But one problem that has drove me nuts is the smell of towels. Seriously I know the culprit is the boys... soaked sodden towels tossed into the hamper and left for days...or as luck would have it  a week...because if its a really bad week I keep pulling enough off the top for a load...while the stuff on the bottom really gets a smell going. I wash them and they always smell great after but sometimes my powerful pregnancy nose can detect something else... I had to get rid of that background smell... It was driving me nuts. A while back I found a tutorial for cleaning the washing machine with vinegar... so I wondered if I could use it to help with the towels. I started filling the machine up with water and added 2 cups of vinegar. Then I added the towels in... I let it work for a few minutes to get it mixed up good. Then I paused my machine.. Not all machines have this option if yours doesn't just leave the machine open.. I let the towels soak for an hour then let the machine continue on a heavy wash. When you are done you can put them in the machine when they are dry the vinegar smell will be completely gone. What I like to do is run it through a light wash with my regular detergent and softener...just because I like the smell my laundry detergent leaves... I have now done this with all the towels, dish clothes and wash clothes in my house. You can't tell anyone stinky lives here... Try it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple Dinner

The past week was rough week. We worked all week to get ready for a yard sale. There is a mountainous pile of junk still sitting in the back corner of my living room... Because the yard sale didn't happen. Friday while doing laundry I pulled a muscle in my that went from my lower back all the way up to my left shoulder sneaking its way into my neck. I was miserable Friday and all day Saturday... Sunday I was a bit better but still there was a tug in my neck and my lower back is still sore. So today since we are still recovering we are going to stay close to home and try to get our house in order. This pregnancy hasn't been especially kind to me. Last night I crashed about 9:30 only to be woke up a little after midnight sick. I had heartburn... Ever see the commercial where the guy sits up in bed and blows fire..yeah I totally did that my living room was crispy. My stomach rolled and boiled forever so I was awake till about 4 am. I tried my previously never fail trick. I keep the old fashioned glass bottles of coke in my fridge..for moments just like this something about it usually without fail settles my stomach..but not last night.. Chick was partying hard in there. So it was infomercial city till I almost found myself reaching for the phone and ordering something... I did manage to stop myself before I owned something super expensive and worthless.. I am feeling my late night session right now though and my stomach and I still aren't on the best of terms. So for today I feel the need for a homey comfort meal. My husband's is a meat and potatoes man. He isn't much for fancy. When we first got together he didn't eat vegetables...any kind of vegetables period. I have since changed that. His palate is still a work in progress. Most of the time simple is the best with him...and luckily today simple sounds perfect for me. So our  menu today is Tater Tot Casserole, green peas, apple sauce and rolls. I made the applesauce homemade and it is just simply apple slices cooked with a little bit of water till super tender then sugar and cinnamon to taste. We like ours chunky so I give it a few mashes with the potato masher and its done. The rolls are some frozen Parker House rolls that I just put in muffin tins and let rise for about 4 hours. I did whip up some homemade honey butter to go with them. Now for my Tater Tot Casserole. I know there are lots of recipes for this out there..and lots of different ways to prepare it but this is mine and how we like it best. I generally use all reduced far as cheese and soup in the recipe below. Also even the milk I use is skim.

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater tots (enough to cover the bottom of a 13 by 9)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp. dried minced onions. (soak in a few Tbsp of hot water for about 5 mins)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 can of mushroom pieces (drained)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of  cream of chicken soup
1 can of milk
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. Kitchen bouquet
2 cups of shredded cheese (I use cheddar or a combo of what I have on hand)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9 pan with cooking spray. Line your tots up in the bottom of the pan neatly. Cover the entire bottom of the pan. Bake that in the oven for 25 mins. While you are baking the tots brown the ground beef in a large skillet or pot. I like to brown it well and get a fine crumble on it. I use an extra lean ground that most of the time doesn't need drained but I do take a couple of paper towels to the meat after it is brown pressing to get any grease that might be hiding in there. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cheese. I heat the combined mixture on low stirring to get it all combined well. When the 25 mins are up on the tots pull them out of the oven carefully pour the beef mixture on top of the tots and spread out evenly. Bake for another 20 minutes. Then top with cheese and bake for another 5 or so till all melted on top. Take out and serve for a really hearty yummy dinner.

*In the picture above my husband helped me make it. After he put the normal layer of tater tots in the bottom he went back and put a ring almost like a crust of tater tots around the side. He then put it in the oven for 30 minutes and when I pulled it out I was surprised to see it like that. He said he did it for me because the potatoes are my favorite and he baked it longer because I like it crispier. Also there is probably extra cheese on top because he also helped put the cheese on it.

I am sharing at the following. Just click link and it will take you to some great blogs and link parties showing so many neat things, ideas, crafts, and recipes...check them out!

A Girl Creative- Just something I whipped up!

Your Talking To Much- Meet Me Monday

Skip to my Lou- Made by you Mondays!

Sew Can Do- Craftastic Monday

Mom's Crazy Cooking
Jam Hands
We made that!

Fresh Eggs Daily-Farm Girl Friday

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blogger Problem

I am having problems with blogger. The dashboard changed and now I can't see any of the tools. I promise we are trying to figure it out... but so far no luck... Now lets see if I can hold my mouth just right cross my fingers eyes and toes and publish

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bread Making Tutorial

The following is what worked for me and helped the above bread turn out the way it did. I am not a professional baker...therefore don't hold me responsible it you do as I say and it doesn't do as mine did... all I can say is you weren't holding your mouth right...and I did... or it was sheer luck...or I made a deal with the devil...or I promised the kitchen gods my 2nd born girl..which they are so not going to like me when they figure out this is my first last and only more babies this is one oven that's done baking. So here goes nothing... I have been trying forever to make bread and it has given me nothing but heartache and failure every time till this past Saturday. I copied this recipe down by hand forever ago and have made so many edits on it I don't know anymore what the original recipe was but here goes. I use a stand mixer and a dough hook. I also weigh my flour out. I generally start with 770 grams of flour which is about 6 cups. Now you don't have to weigh yours out I don't know why I started doing it. I think I read it in a cookbook one time how many grams are in a cup of flour and it helps to get it accurate...the recipe originally called for 6 cups of flour. However I always always always end up using more... In the picture above it was 8 cups. You also need a kitchen thermometer....suck it up and buy one.. at the Walmarts they aren't that expensive. Here is a basic ingredient list

2 cups warm water at about 110 degrees
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup melted butter (I have used vegetable oil and olive oil but prefer butter)
6-8 cups of bread flour (it varies because humidity is evil)

First I start by putting the water sugar and yeast in my mixer bowl and let it proof for 10 minutes. Proofing is just basically making sure your yeast is case you don't bake...dead yeast is yeast is good. I buy a bulk package at Sam's and store it in the fridge to last my yeast is kind of living dead yeast till the warm water says hello wake up. Anyways you know the yeast is good when you get a little bubble bubble toil and trouble action. While the yeast is foaming I take the time to measure out my other ingredients. For the butter I simply put it in a cup and microwave it on defrost for about 45 seconds. I could tell you I break out a pot and melt it on the stove... but lets keep it real I have two kids and I am making bread... Its homemade even if I take a few cheater shortcuts. I measure the flour...starting with the 770 grams out in a bowl separate from the yeast that I add the salt and I stir it around.. Because salt kills yeast. I want to introduce it to it as gently as possible. Yeast is fickle...and delicate.. It most definitely has P.M.S. So if yours goes crazy on you... chalk it up to experience don't give up try again.. you tried to use it at the wrong time of the day, week, month, or year. Salt is not the only thing that kills yeast... heat can too.. so that butter cant be scalding... it just needs to be melted gently and kinda hang out for a few minutes. Ok so after the yeast has proved its power you can pour in the butter. Put your machine on stir. Now one scoop at a time you want to add your flour/salt mixture. I generally take a 1/3 a cup measure and put a scoop in every 30 seconds or so giving it time to mix in... once I get all of that bowl in its time to evaluate the dough... is it super sticky and still very wet.... add some more flour.... keep adding just a little flour at a time till it cleans the side of the bowl. Once that happens its time to turn your mixer up to medium and let it knead the dough for you for about 5 minutes... I watch the entire time it kneads... not because I don't trust my mixer... I totally do.. its never let me down once... Well one time I was cleaning it and it kinda bit the end of my thumb off... but that was my fault and I only held a grudge for a week..and I stopped talking dirty about its mother after the first 48 hours...ok 72 hours. Anyways what sometimes happens to my dough is it gets some bright ideas about itself and all the sudden it starts sticking to the sides again. It has issues obviously...everything in my life does..even baked goods. So if your dough starts sticking this is what I do. I stop the machine...its very important you stop the machine...because what you want to do is put a tablespoon full of flour in the bottom of it.. and if you don't stop the machine it will grab that spoon from your hand and try to beat you to death with it. That's what I hear anyway...its never happened to me... well more than once... ok twice.. cut me some slack here I'm accident prone. So then I turn the machine on and let it go again and sometimes that corrects it and sometimes it doesn't...if it does continue with you time of 5 minutes kneading... if it doesn't do the flour thing again.. Once it has kneaded for a total of 5 minutes stop the machine again.. you can lift it up. Pull the hook out of the dough add a little olive oil to your bowl and swirl it around. Shape your dough into a ball some what and put it in the bowl and flip it over to get a nice coat of oil on it to keep it moist. Then take some plastic wrap and cover the bowl. Then I also cover mine with a tea towel or kitchen towel. I even moisten the towel first because well because one time I seen Martha do it and its always a good thing if Martha says so. Now you can put it in a warm place to rise for an hour. The best place I have found to let my bread rise is in the oven. Typically I turn it on preheat for about 2 mins then turn it off and put the dough in. Then I set a kitchen timer because I may or may not have forgotten one time I was making bread and when I remembered a few hours later I opened the oven to find a bread dough monster trying to wasn't pretty... So after your time has elapsed you should be able to get the bowl out and take the towel and plastic wrap off. There should be a big poofy pillow of dough in there.. This is where it takes a violent turn. You have to punch the dough down. After all the work you put into it show it who is boss... So you punch it down. Fold it over on its self a few times. Now take to loaf pans same size about a 9 by 5 or the next size down..spray them real good in cooking spray divide the dough into two equal pieces shape like a loaf put one in each pan. Now turn the oven on and preheat to 350. Let it rise for another 30 minutes or till the dough is over the pan by about an inch. I usually let it rise on top of the oven. Bake it at 350 till golden brown and take out. I like to brush it with melted butter or you can totally be lazy and just take a stick of butter and rub it on top of it... works in a pinch and doesn't have to dirty a pastry brush.. There you have it fresh homemade bread your family will love.

I sliced it up today and toasted it and made a BLT that almost made me cry... and when my hubby got home from work I sliced him up some and toasted it... then spread some fresh homemade chicken salad on it...he couldn't talk much about it... he was too busy stuffing his face with it. Needless to say both loaves are gone.

Since I am new to this I am having trouble figuring this lets hope I am doing this right. I am linking up at the following

 Skip to My Lou- Made by you Monday!

Home Stories A2Z-.Tutorials & Tips

You are talking to much- Meet me Monday

A Girl Creative-Just something I whipped up

Sew Can Do-Craftastic

Mom's Crazy Cooking-This Weeks Craving

Or So She Says-Your Great Idea

I made some bread.. not the kind you spend the kind you eat.

Ok so nobody is reading this...but I need a record of this. I made bread real bread... and it was just like a cookbook picture. If you can make bread easy peasy good for you. I however live in GA...where humidity is a horrid rhymes with witch starts with a b and it should be in all CAPS. I have been trying for years. I finally got it right.. so without beating around the bush... here she is
I kid you not I held my breath the entire time I was making it.. and I may or may not have sat in front of the stove with the light on watching it bake...then I may or may not have texted the above picture to everyone I know... There is no proof of it. Mainly because none of my friends know about this...well one does but if she doesn't keep her mouth shut I swear she will sleep with the fishes.. Not about the bread...seriously tell everyone. I made bread successfully. Keep me nerding out on this blog a secret. Want to know how I made it?? Seriously.. anyone anyone? Ok I need some peoples to read my blog so we can talk about cooking and kids..and pregnancy...and maybe marriage... how hard life sometimes is... because seriously life can be glorious one moment and the next minute its down in the gutter... Much like my mind. but that's a whole other subject..having nothing to do with bread and all to do with the therapy I probably need. So far I am talking to myself here which brings up that previous subject of needed therapy...  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Insomnia leads to Apple Butter... what? thats not what you do when you can't sleep.

Last night everyone in my family drifted off to sleep at 9:30 p.m. Except for me... you know the pregnant one. The one that should have been sleeping... I have had insomnia on and off my entire life. So after watching some mindless t.v. Endless episodes of junk... I got bored. This past Sunday my family and I went to an apple orchard a town over... Its was a lovely little Sunday drive winding through mountain roads. Lovely if you don't count the bbq place we just had to try that cost a small fortune... who charges 15 dollars for a plate of pork basically served out of a trailer... I hate eating out for the most part because its never worth the money... Also don't count when we were in the apple barn and the 2 year old had an epic meltdown ... or the 3 year old standing shouting how he went to the bathroom in his pull up for everyone and their neighbor to hear... oh yeah and don't count the carsick that hit me on the way home... and don't count the crazy price we paid for a couple bushels of apples.. Ok so maybe it wasn't all that lovely... but if you have 2 little kids and can take a trip without drama more power to you. Us not so much. It wouldn't be a family trip if I didn't half lose my mind. So anyways I have apples... lots of apples. I have already made an apple butter cake, fried apples, and we have been eating apples as snacks for days. Anyways sitting on the couch last night it hit me. I get brilliant past midnight. Pure genius. It could be because its the only time the house is quiet and I can hear myself think. That means I am brilliant all the time.. Einstein in yoga pants.. shouting at her children don't hit your brother, don't lick your brother, don't lick me.... nobody touch anyone else. I just don't always hear the genius...its muffled by monster noises. So sitting on the couch it dawned on me. I could go in there peel apples, chop them, and put them in the slow cooker... and in the morning I would have apple butter. So that's what I did. I didn't even half cut my finger off... lose my mind...and I didn't have to shout at anyone to stop licking some one else. It was magically peaceful. I was alone with my Einsteinish thoughts. Which went something like... hmmm how do I season this... cinnamon, cloves? The kitchen would look so nice a brighter color. I could go pick out paint swatches. I really would love to finish that mirror for over the fireplace. I cant believe its almost September. Fall is my favorite time of year. The baby will be here before I know it. Omg I need to figure out who is going to watch the boys while they are cutting this new little she-monster out of me. We haven't bought anything for the new baby... Wait what the hell am I doing in the kitchen at 2am... oh yeah apple butter.. after that I tried to concentrate mainly on the task at hand because I almost cut the hand that was doing the task off... I loaded all the chopped apples into the slow cooker and tossed with the spices I had devised. Here is what she looked like.
Then I turned the slow cooker on low.. Let me tell you the smell that went through my house all night was amazing... Scentsy has nothing on apples in the crockpot. Every inch of my house smelled divine...all night long.. Probably would have lasted longer but I have boys.. Is it just my boys or does that baby smell wear off too soon? I swear one day they smelled like lotion and baby powder and the next day...well I wont tell you what they smelled like...lets just say its not cinnamon and spice and everything nice.. So I got up and finished the apples. All I did was stuck my immersion blender in for a whir... and  put the mixture in jars and then processed them for 10 minutes.. and this what I had.

Apple Butter.. I had enough left over for a small container which I put directly in the fridge. The boys enjoyed it this morning on some hot biscuits with their scrambled eggs... You can tell it is good when they are quietly eating. They don't want to talk..or lick one another... It lasted for all of 10 minutes but hey I will take what I can get. Insomnia sometimes has its benefits.... Now I have 1.5 bushels of apples left... I may never sleep again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lets pretend there are people reading this.

Hi my name is Cas. I am 31 years old. I am a stay at home mom of 2 little monster boys and currently pregnant with a little girl. Something I have figured out about life is it moves really fast. I have a 3 year old and 2 year old and I swear to you if I close my eyes I can still feel what it felt like to hold them in my arms and sniff their little newborn heads. When I open my eyes I am greeted by the site of boys that are no longer babies... they are in an in between state.. Somewhere between babies and big boys. I would keep them little forever but it wouldn't be fair. There is a big wide world out there I know they are looking forward to seeing. My goal with this blog is just to keep up with life. So that sometimes when my brain is mush and I cant remember what we did that one time on that rainy day with the leaves...or what I got in the kitchen and created... I can look back and see. I am going to keep this basically as an online journal of sorts. I want a record of my adventures... cooking, crafting and my kitchen creations. I don't have alot of friends who are into the same things as I maybe along the way I will find some kindred spirits. I like making things from often as I can. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house and I am generally in pursuit of the best recipe for insert everything imaginable...from chili to marinara...biscuits bread cake etc. I don't really know where I am going with this blog... but hey sometimes the greatest adventures start with no destination.