My kids love pancakes for breakfast! I have to say; their syrupy sweetness also goes pretty good with my morning cup of black coffee! So, I thought I would share my super easy recipe for fluffy pancakes.
The great thing about this recipe, is that you can just put all ingredients in one bowl and stir! I use a whisk and beat it good, till it is well mixed. You can also use an electric mixer – or even a blender. But the fastest way is just to whisk it good. It is ok if there are a few lumps in the batter. When you fry the pancakes the lumps will disappear. The batter is pretty runny, so you can add less milk for a thicker batter – which will also make slightly thicker pancakes.
You can use any skillet – but for our large family, I like to use my electric skillet. I can fry 4 at a time, which really speeds things up. Sometimes I make the pancakes a bit smaller, and fry 6 at a time. My Presto® electric skillet was a wedding gift – 17 years ago!! I didn’t use it much the first 7 years, but for the past 10 years I have used it quite a lot. I can also throw an egg on there with the pancakes, or some sausages…
It is non-stick, which makes cleanup a breeze. I usually think nonstick will get scratched too easily, but this skillet has lasted a long time. The spatula pictured is steel – probably not the best choice! But I am careful, and so far it has been fine.
We like syrup on our pancakes – but honey, maple syrup, or fruit is also delicious! Right now the days are getting colder, and somehow pancakes seem like the thing to make for the kiddos! They like peanut butter on theirs – which I encourage for the protein.
Ranch cooking is usually centered around beef recipes. And often – crowd-sized! I have to double or triple most recipes, when I am feeding the cowboys! I decided to go searching for all the beef recipes for a crowd that I could find, and compile them in one place for us ranch wives. Hopefully this will help simplify your meal-planning, the next time you need to feed a bunch of cowboys.
When I was a kid, my mom made easy jello pudding cake often. It was one of my favorite desserts! The pretty jello paired with the creamy pudding was just great. Especially in the heat of a Southern Illinois summer – it was so refreshing!
Mom used strawberry jello most frequently, but sometimes she experimented with green or orange. I have used a white cake with blue jello(raspberry) for July 4th, green jello (lime) with pistachio pudding for St. Patrick’s Day, or red (strawberry) for Christmas. So many fun options!
The pudding is one of my favorite parts. I am not a huge fan of thick frosting, but this pudding is just right. Creamy and sweet, but not too sweet!
The other great thing about this easy jello pudding cake, is how simple it is. First, you bake a cake mix according to directions on box. I use yellow but you could also use white cake mix.
When it comes out of the oven, let it cool 10 minutes while you mix up the jello. Mix 1 package jello (any flavor) with 1 cup hot water. When it is dissolved, add 1/2 cup cold water.
Poke lots of holes in the cake, with a fork. Make sure you get around the edges.
Take a large spoon and spoon the jello over the cake, slowly. This is somewhat tedious, but keep at it. Pay special attention to the higher areas where it just wants to run off. Keep spooning jello until it is all on. It seems like a lot but it will be fine. 😉 Then set your cake in the fridge to chill for several hours.
After the cake is cold, mix the pudding and pour it over.;
The wind whipped about me mercilessly, as I waited for the cowboys to get their food and coffee. The sun was shining and the temperature hung around 45*, but it didn’t feel that warm on the open prairie. The sound of cows lowing and calves bawling drowned out the talking and laughter of the cowboys.
When I looked in the foil-covered pan sitting on the tailgate, I saw something that looked like sausage balls. I took one, because I love sausage! The hot sausage warmed my cold hands, and I bit into it as the Wyoming wind whipped my hair. Inside the sausage was a hard-boiled egg!
Then I remembered… Cliff had told me that this ranch served something called “Scottish Eggs”. His description of a hard-boiled egg inside sausage had sounded delicious. I was happy to get a chance to try them. Somehow, it seemed the perfect food for a branding snack. Hot, easy to hold, full of protein – to give the cowboys energy.
I relished every bite, and resolved to go home and make them myself! Since that day on the wide and windy prairie, I have made them often. Today I want to share with you this incredibly easy, filling breakfast food.
The process is incredibly simple. You take a pound of bulk pork sausage, divide into 6 equal parts, and flatten each part. Then you place a hard-boiled egg on top of the sausage, and wrap the sausage around the egg. The wrapping is the hardest part – you might have to squish it a bit to get the egg completely covered. You can divide the sausage into only 5 parts for a thicker sausage layer, if you like.
Do your kids have those days where nothing is interesting, anymore? Mine too. This morning, my youngest told me mournfully: “Mom, your phone doesn’t work, the iPad doesn’t work, and the dvd player doesn’t work. There’s nothing to do!!”
Oh my goodness. Child, mama will find you something to do! 😀 So after lunch, I pulled out my stained recipe, and punched up some play dough.
Trust me, once you make this easy recipe, you won’t want to spend another dime on the boughten stuff! This makes 2+ cups (maybe 3 cups?) of dough, and it smells so good, and is so soft and fun to play with. My kids LOVE the homemade version. They love picking the scents, too!
What’s great about this recipe, is the fact that it uses only 4 simple ingredients. The only one I have to specially buy is the drink mix. But it is very inexpensive, so I buy a 10 pack and keep it around for sudden play dough urges.
You can use any type of flavored drink mix to scent it with. The recipe calls for 2 envelopes, but I have scraped by with one, if I don’t have two of the same kind. Note: if you mix 2 kinds of drink mix, your play dough may turn out brown.
The process is quite simple: First, you mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then, you set that aside for a minute. Put the water in a large kettle, bring to a boil. Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the dry mixture. Stir well.
The dough will look terrible for a bit, but use a sturdy spoon and keep stirring!
Once it starts forming a ball, turn it out on a clean, dry counter, and start kneading. CAUTION! The dough will be very hot at this point! Be very careful or wait till it cools a bit. Don’t let it cool completely, though, or it won’t get nice and smooth.
I gingerly start kneading it with my hands (stand mixer with dough hook might work too!). After 3-5 minutes, it becomes very soft and smooth. If there is still small specks and lumps in it, you can either knead longer or just give it to the kids. Once in a while, mine doesn’t quite get smooth, but my kids still love it!
So there you go! A large ball of play dough for mere pennies. Scented, non-toxic, and child-friendly.
Here are some cookie cutters that would be fun to use with the play dough! My kids have a big basket of cutters.
We keep ours in a zip-loc bag for several days up to two weeks and it stays nice. Usually they play with it like crazy for about a week, then someone leaves it set out for a night, and it dries out! I would guess it would keep several weeks in an air-tight bag or container.
TIP: Make several batches to give as gifts. Any kid will enjoy it!
Mix flour, drink mix, and salt in a bowl. Place water in a pot, bring to a boil. When water boils, add oil and dry mix. Stir vigorously till it clumps together. Turn onto a clean, dry surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until smooth and soft. Caution!! Dough will be hot!!
Store in a airtight container or ziploc bag between uses.
Big drops of sweat ran down my face as I gently pulled the briars away from my skirt. I gingerly stomped at the base of the brambles ahead of me, trying to mash them down away from me, so they wouldn’t grab my clothes and skin. I steadied the plastic ice-cream bucket with my other hand, careful not to allow any berries to spill.
I picked all the ripe blackberries within reach, then carefully reached through the briars to pick a few more. I reached as far as I could without spilling my bucket of berries, or falling face-first into the briars. No matter how careful I was, I would get my arm caught on a thorn, then I’d grit my teeth as I unhooked my skin. Sweat ran down my face and down my back and down my legs.
The bees buzzed lazily around the sweet blossoms, and crawled over the ripe, juicy berries. Ants scurried over the berries, too, getting their fill of the sweetness. Every so often, I’d have to pick a tick off my arms or my dress. But they were less annoying than the chiggers that I would certainly find the following day. We’d rub Avon ‘Skin-So-Soft’ oil all over our arms and legs before we began, but it didn’t work that great. We still came home loaded with ticks and chiggers.
After several hours of picking wild blackberries in the soggy, stifling heat, Mom would finally sigh and say: “Well, I guess that’s as much as we can get today. We better go home.”
Sweeter words were never spoken.
We’d untie the scarves from our waists, carefully pouring our buckets of berries into the huge, stainless steel bowls. We’d climb wearily into the van, picking off the last few briars and sticks and other debris from hours trampling around in brambles higher than our heads.
If mom had a bit of extra money, she’d stop at the Little Red Barn on the way home, and buy us an ice cream cone. It didn’t make up for picking blackberries, but it sure was delicious! I would lick the ice cream as fast as I could, trying to get every drop of cool sweetness before it dripped and was wasted. The hot summer sun burned down and the wind from the open windows felt hot, not cooling at all. But with no AC, moving air seemed better than still air, somehow.
When we arrived at home, mom carefully washed the berries, and spread them on a clean towel to dry. Then she would put them in bags and into the freezer. They would make many delicious pies all year long.
But she didn’t freeze all of them – she made pie, too. And jam. But the pie was my favorite! We’d have blackberry pie for dessert, Saturday evening, then we would have a slice for breakfast Sunday morning. It was the most delicious thing I ever ate! It tasted like hot sun and sweet summertime and mom’s love.
Here is my personal recipe for blackberry pie. Mom never measured, and I don’t either. We add and taste! But just for you, I measured. I measured several times, over several weeks, trying to perfect the taste. I think I have it!
Now, I don’t live in the blackberry mecca of the Midwest, anymore. There aren’t any blackberry bushes out here, that I have found. So, I start with frozen blackberries from the grocery store.
Put them in a kettle, add some water, and let them simmer. You don’t want too much water or you will end up with a lot of sauce and not much fruit. The berries really cook down! Also, I buy Clear Jell from Amazon. You can substitute corn starch, but I do not know the ratio. Here is the kind I buy: (click on photo)
When the berries come to a simmer, add sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Stir occasionally till it boils.
Add the clear jell mixture, and stir quickly because it begins to thicken almost immediately. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. You can fill your crust immediately, or let the filling cool. Either way works.
Tips: –Cornstarch thickens more as it cools. Clear Jell reaches its full thickening when it boils.
–This recipe is crafted for tame, store-bought blackberries. if you use wild berries, they will definitely need more sugar! They make better pies, in my opinion, but they are much more tart. Fresh berries work great, too.
I have a simple way to make your home smell amazing! My husband read a Facebook post to me recently… something about orange peels and spices. I didn’t have time right then to try it, but a few weeks later I thought of it, and wanted to see if it worked. Only by then – I had forgotten the recipe! So I had to come up with my own.
It is super easy if you do any Indian cooking – you will probably already have the spices. If you don’t have the whole spices, just use the ground version, I’m sure it will work just as well. I just place all the spices and orange peel in a small kettle, and fill with water, and simmer on the stove-top. You want to keep an eye on it, though, as the water will all evaporate after several hours.
Peel of an orange
3 whole cloves
1 cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups of water Place in a small kettle, fill with water, and simmer.
I am not usually a fan of ‘healthy, raw’ recipes. Because, lets face it – most don’t taste that good. (Unless you are one of those extreme dieters who live on organic kale chips and kombucha. 😉 ) But – I am finding a few recipes that are super healthy and taste delicious! How fun!
Here is my most recent addition to my file. It is raw, healthy, and yet tastes sweet and delicious. I dare you to try it. No really. See what you think!
They are so easy that you really can’t mess them up! Just throw everything in the food processor (or blender) for a few minutes, till ground up fine and well blended. Pat the mixture in a 9X9 pan, lined with parchment paper. Chill several hours and cut into small squares. Eat as necessary. 😉 They are fine without being chilled to, but will be softer and crumble more.
Do you have a pumpkin setting on your front porch, that you don’t what to do with? I challenge you to use it! If it is still firm and not squishy/rotten, that is.
It is really simple, actually, and if you don’t want to can it, you can still follow these steps and just freeze the chunks instead of canning.
First, you wash it off well. Mine was kinda dusty from sitting around.
Next you cut it open,
…and scrape all the seeds and stringy insides out.
Ahh! That’s better!
Once you have it cut up into chunks, place in large kettle and cover with water. Cook for 5 minutes.
( I like to cut mine in strips – makes it easier to peel after it’s cooked.)
After it is cooked and peeled, cut the pumpkin into cubes and place in jars. Cover with leftover cooking water.
Add lids and rings and place into your pressure canner. Process quart jars for 90 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Process pint jars for 55 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. (may need to adjust cooking times for your altitude. I live at 7,500 ft)
*Linking to ‘What We Accomplished Wednesdays’ over at: http://www.greenwillowpond.com/