Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade Tortillas

      Homemade tortillas are very cost-effective, healthy and simple to make. Tortillas are great for meals like enchiladas, fajitas, and tacos. They also make a good snack with some peanut butter or hummus. It's a pretty blank base and so the possibilities for use are numerous. 
     For a comparison:

3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. baking powder

1. Combine flours, salt, and baking powder in mixer. Add oil and water gradually and mix until smooth. Dough should be soft and no longer sticky. 
2. Form into a single ball and allow to rest for up to an hour. 
3. Divide into 16 golf ball size portions. (If you wish to store some in the freezer then do so at this point. See additional notes below for thawing and cooking instructions).
4. Allow each dough ball to rest for an additional 20-30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat griddle or pan. Cook for a few seconds on each side until lightly browned. (More tips below). 
6. Cover to keep warm before serving. 

    If your tortillas form large bubbles or are darkening significantly in some spots more than others, then adjust your heat. I cook mine in a cast iron pan which maintains heat well. I start it off on medium and then turn the heat down to med-low. The pan retains the temperature without continuously having the higher level heat added. On the contrary, if it's taking a minute or two to take on some color then your heat is too low. The tortilla will soak up the oil in your pan and the outer surface will cook and crisp before the tortilla is actually finished. Both cases will cause the tortillas to be difficult to roll or fragile. 

    I like to keep tortilla dough balls in the freezer as part of my regular stock. I've never had much luck retaining pliability when freezing and thawing a finished tortilla. The dough balls however freeze well and allow you to only cook what's needed at the time. After the first rest and last shaping, lay each dough ball onto a baking pan. Place in freezer until completely frozen. Then, store all in a labeled bag in the freezer. When you're ready to cook them, then simply remove the desired amount from the freezer and set out to thaw. This time doubles at the final 20-30 minute resting period. To finish just roll out (may require a bit more flour on the mat) and cook like normal. 

Finished product: tortillas for today's meal and many more for future meals. 

Linked up at: An Original Belle, A Mama's Story, What Joy Is Mine, Growing Home, Time-Warp Wife, Thankful Homemaker, Women Living Well, Young Living Oil Lady, Raising Homemakers, A Mama's Story, An Original Belle, The Alabaster Jar, Homestead Revival, The Better Mom, What Joy Is Mine, I'm an Organization Junkie, Covered in Grace, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Raising Arrows, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Time-Warp Wife, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, Women Living Well


Friday, May 25, 2012

Five Question Friday!

1. Are you a napper?
      If I'm completely exhausted, then I will opt for a cat nap out of necessity. If still functional though sleep deprived, then I'll keep going. Attempting a nap when not absolutely necessary will often leave me laying in bed thinking (which when any bit sleep deprived is not a good thing haha). I also tend to dream more during naps, so best not to go there either. 

2. What was your favorite subject in school? Most hated?
     I loved science. Well, I loved science until I got to the upper levels in college. Then, not so much. I still enjoy the functional aspect of science which answers that never quenced question of "why?" Currently, I love learning science as it is applied in the culinary realm. Learning the properties of ingredients and how they react with others throughout the cooking process just thrills me (yep, nerd alert. haha). 
    My least favorite subject has always been history. It just never tickled my fancy and stuck when having to memorize all those dates and names. I acknowledge the importance of learning history and the impact applying such knowledge can have on the future. But I advise that I not be included in any trivia game involving this subject . You will lose. haha

3. Did you have the something old, new, borrowed and blue at your wedding? What were they?
     Hubby and I did a getaway wedding with just the two of us. There wasn't a whole lot of ceremony, tradition, or fuss, which is part of what we wanted. Consequently, the whole "something old, new, and blue" was skipped. I haven't missed having a big event or all those details too much. In the end, we're married! :)

4. What one thing are you determined to do this summer?
     I'm working on being more diligent regarding regular posts on the blog and adding many more items to the Etsy shop. I really enjoy finally getting to let the creative kid in me out and connecting with others on a similar path. I could do this any time though. I suppose when school breaks are no longer (or yet to be) a part of life, establishing summer plans or goals just gets washed into daily life throughout the year. I still make goals with deadlines for myself though. haha

5. Ice cream or Popsicles?
     Ice cream! There is no other choice. Love ice cream. I have a few fun ideas floating in my head of fun flavors and ingredients to try out with our home ice cream maker. I could eat ice cream daily and not get bored of it. I blame my bowl-of-ice-cream-before-bed upbringing, but I'm not complaining! haha

How would you answer today's Five Question Friday? Share in the comment section below!

Linked up at: My Little Life


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Morning Smoothies...Shh, Quietly!

     Seasons create in me a craving for certain foods. In the winter I could eat soups daily. In the warmer months my preference turns to smoothies. Smoothies are a fantastic way to pack in a lot of nutrients in a convenient and tasty way. 

     However, running the blender in the mornings while my husband sleeps puts my smoothie-making desires on hold. I've discovered that one way around this problem is to prep the smoothie in the evening, freeze, and then thaw and enjoy the next day. I decided it better to freeze the smoothie rather than just storing in the refrigerator because certain fresh produce tend to oxidize quickly turning it a shade of brown, which unless it's chocolate that coloration doesn't appeal to me at all. There is also a belief that the nutrients begin to break down soon after juicing/blending and should be consumed or frozen immediately. 

      I love exploring new smoothie recipes so that I can take advantage of seasonal or sale produce. This particular recipe includes: 1 handful of spinach, 1 c. blueberries, 1 c. strawberries, 1 c. mixed berry juice and 2 tbsp flax seeds and a handful of ice cubes. 
       Once blended until smooth, pour it into empty ice cube trays and place in the freezer overnight. I enjoy utilizing the ice cube trays for the ease of popping them out the next day. Since I'm freezing short term they don't interfere too much with the available space in my freezer. The cubes are also great for serving smaller portions when desired. You can also freeze the smoothies in plastic bags. Flat freezing the bags will aid in conserving space for longer term storage. If you have more freezer space, then you certainly could make several different kinds of smoothies and store in bags in the freezer for later use. Doing so would be a great way to take advantage of seasonal produce for the off-season. 
     When finished for the night, clean up is really quick by simply adding some water and dish soap to the blender and then turning it on. It comes out nice and clean and I don't have to handle the sharp blade at the bottom. 
     Preparing the smoothies when desired simply requires warming the frozen batch either on the stove or in the microwave. I melted mine a bit and then took the potato masher to blend everything together while preserving some of the icy texture. 

  Ta da! Good morning to me! haha

      I don't have kiddos, but I imagine that freezing smoothies in popsicle molds would be a fun way to offer smoothies to them. Making fresh smoothies and juicing is a good trick for getting more fruits and veggies in the diet. Storing them frozen is a handy way to fix a smoothie quickly without a lot of excess noise disturbing the rest of the household.  I've been enjoying a new smoothie each week during these warming summer days!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trading College for Homemaking

       May- it's the time for graduations. But for me it's a time of guilt and grief. It's a reminder that I didn't do what I was supposed to do. It's a flagrant labeling of me as a quitter, failure. I spent six years and thousands of dollars and yet have no piece of paper hanging on my wall with my name on it. Six months from the finish line and I walked away. I pushed so hard for so long to make it happen, but for all the wrong reasons. Finally, I stopped. I could no longer ignore God's tug on my heart. In that moment, for the first time I asked Him what He would have me to do and that changed everything. 

    When I began my college journey I was assured of my abilities to perform academically. I very proudly stated that I was a college student, where I attended and what I was majoring in (at the time ;) ). When I think back on those years, I was always trying to prove myself. I could do it. I am intelligent. I am capable. I am worthy of this praise. An “A” wasn’t just a score, but a symbol for approval. I tried and I tried, but the Proverb (16:18) rang true that pride goes before the fall. The last program attended was again a last stitch effort to redeem myself from my miserable college performance. It was the logical and safe choice, but not the best choice. I discovered that a pretty solid sign that you’re on the wrong path is when you feel obligated to change or hide who you are for it. Indeed, I had denied myself on the inside to become pretend to be what I was supposed to be for this field. I was miserable and cried each day. One day in particular was telling. The instructor had asked us to envision life five years from then. Every single person said an education or career goal. Me? I silenced the room and left jaws dropped with my honest response of “home and family.” I had kept this to myself before then but there was the moment I had to be truthful or deceitful with myself and them.  I kept thinking, “if God created me as I am for a reason, then what am I doing trying to be or do something else.” So, I stepped out in faith into the unknown believing that God knows better than I do and He is trustworthy.

     Yet, I still want that beaming look of pride expressed to one who has achieved a college degree. I want that sense of value that is bestowed upon those who have earned and achieved it according to this measure. To be considered accomplished and educated (because the paper deems one educated whereas my time spent in study all those years doesn't). To be given the same respect and regard for choosing wife as others are given for choosing work. In my weakness, I begin to believe that these desires would be satisfied if I went back to the traditional path of college, career, and then family. After all, a homemaker without children is nonsense, right? I’m wasting my time and energy, not to mention holding us back from moving on in life, by choosing this foreign path of homemaking as means of pursuing home and family, right? The conflicting messages easily throw me into a pit of self-pity and despair.

     To believe these things and act upon them would be to once again do the wrong things for the wrong reasons. I notice how me-driven or others-driven my motivation was during my college years. The same is true of the (false) desires mentioned above. It’s all about what I could do for what they could give to me. It’s an empty exchange because only God could satisfy those desires of my heart. Only He can give me worth, because He is the one who carefully crafted me to be as I am. And it is only He who deserves such high regard and glory. Who am I? Rather, I am one seeking the Lord and endeavoring to walk by faith. I may one day return to college, but it will be for the right reasons- to gain greater knowledge and skills or be in place for influence to serve Him for His glory.

     Even in my weak moments (and this particular month there are many) I know that I can rest in the comfort of my Heavenly Father’s loving embrace. I also know that love is so great that He would give me a husband who so patiently endures my weaknesses and even my sold-out heart for home and family.  Blessed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Homemade Liquid Handsoap

      I've found that one of the greatest ways of making homemaking work with only one income in a two income world is to develop the knowledge and skill of making food or household items myself. Recently, when the handsoap in our home ran out I searched for an alternative to having to purchase it from the store. The less items I'm dependent on the store for managing our home, the better. When I did a cost comparison between the store refill bottle and the homemade version, the difference was laughable. See for yourself:

56oz refill bottle (large store brand soap, nothing special) = $3.88, which is $0.069/oz

1 gallon (128oz) = $1.18, which is $0.0092/oz!
      The supplies necessary to make homemade handsoap are simple and with some smart purchasing they're really inexpensive. I purchased the glycerin in an 8oz bottle from a local craft store and used an online 40% off coupon. So, it's cost was only $2.08, which is $0.26/oz. The soap was $3.72 for eight bars, which is $0.46/bar. With a total unit cost so low I could even go for the fancier soaps if I wished and still have a better value than purchasing it pre-made! I already had the fragrance, but if I hadn't I would've also used another 40% off coupon or waiting until it went on sale. Buying in larger quantities or using coupons/sales is a smart way to trim cost for homemade or DIY projects.

      The recipe isn't my own, but was found at The Farmer's Nest. Consequently, I'll offer the steps to the process but refer you to the original site for specific quantities. The original recipe doesn't include a fragrance and I didn't use any in my batch since my soap was scented. However, if you wanted to use an unscented soap and add your own fragrance, then I'd recommend adding it drop-wise and determining incrementally the amount you'd prefer. 

1. Supplies: Large stock pot, empty gallon jug or other container, glycerin, bar soap (x2), essential oil fragrance (optional) and dispensers. 

2. Grate soap bars.

3. Melt soap bits in a gallon of water on the stove. Add glycerin. 

4. Allow to sit until cooled (approx. 10-12 hours). It will be thick when complete, and so use a mixer or whisk to combine until a smooth consistency. 

5. Pour into container. 

6. Finished! A gallon of handsoap for less than a penny!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

And the winner is...

And the winner of the Money Management Series giveaway is....  Sue R.! Congratulations, Sue! I'll be sending you an email shortly to discuss the details of shipping it to you. Thank you everyone who participated! 


Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Question Friday


1. What advice would you give a couple getting married?

     Read & work through Emmerson Eggerichs' book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs together. In my opinion, this is a great resource for the learning aspect of love and marriage.
     Also, consider all possibilities for this newlywed season. It may be an appropriate time to focus on education and work. Or, it may serve as an opportunity to focus more intently on your marriage. An education or work can be reestablished later in life, but the foundation of marriage is now. Again, it ultimately depends on what is appropriate for the individuals and marriage unit. Just be aware that many paths exist. 

2. If you could tell your 16 year old self ONE thing, what would it be?
Smile. :)

3. What do you do to keep cool in the summer? (AC, windows, fans, swimming, etc.)
     I prefer to use the windows and fans to keep cool instead of turning on the AC for as long as I can. It saves energy, and I love the breezes and sounds that flow in to our home from outside. 

4. What did you crave most while pregnant?
     Not applicable in the least. Perhaps check back years from now if that is ever the case. haha

5. Who is your favorite TV mom? Why?

     Retro- Harriet Nelson from the Ozzy and Harriet Show. Modern- Michelle Duggar from "19 Kids and Counting". Both individuals portray themselves to exercise a high level of self-control in regard to their emotions (something I'm a work in progress at!). To be constantly aware of how your behavior can build up or tear down your family members is a powerful tool of influence. Obviously, no one is perfect and television portrayal is deceptive, but I can still appreciate the mere show of good character and qualities. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Money Management Series Giveaway!


     We're finishing our Money Management Series.. If you missed the previous entries, then read Part 1: IntroductionPart 2: Budgeting and TrackingPart 3: Allocation and Payments Schedule, and Part 4: Debt, Part 5: Savings. Be sure to enter the giveaway below for some great resources!

     We've discussed the practical aspects of managing money, but if you and your spouse are on two different pages then it will all sound like a nice theory only. Finances are at the top of the list of marital conflict. It's difficult to come together as one while traveling in two different directions. It's not impossible or hopeless though. Perhaps one of you is a saver and one is a spender. Or, one believes in exerting some level of control over money while the other prefers to live with "no worries." I've learned that indirect handling of money through character and prayer are just as important as having all tools for managing money or greater money all together.

      Don't lose sight of the purpose you're taking a journey in money management when if feels as though for every step forward you're also taking two or three steps back. Just do your best. Maintain the purposes for your travel and destinations and just keep going. If he's not with you, then exhibit patience, prayer and grace. In other words, don't fuss and nag! (Easier said than done I admit, but consider it practice). I've learned that it is better to win him over by demonstration than by anything I could say. So, show him how Christmas or taxes were paid in cash without disrupting your living. Allow your lessened stress from being prepared when major expenses arise convey the worthiness of the goals. A lot can be accomplished without a word! This is the basic principle of you exemplify that which you wish others to demonstrate. If they don't see it in you, then they're less likely to do it as well. And if you fuss, nag or just constantly talk with displeasure then he'll certainly have little motivation to join you. Last (but not least!) is to pray for a oneness in this and all matters within your marriage. Notice, I didn't say to pray for him to change or take on your ideas. Just like many other areas of marriage, it's about finding a common ground, not about one conceding to the wishes of the other exclusively. Pray for oneness, patience, grace, a heart for the other person, wisdom, the Lord's guidance etc. Even if you two don't arrive to the same page for a while, you're marriage will benefit by exhibiting these qualities! . Always remember, money is just money and marriage is so much more!

        It's my heart and prayer that this series has been helpful to you. For additional reading, I highly recommend Your Money Map: A Proven 7-Step Guide to True Financial Freedom by Howard Dayton* and The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey*. The latter book, though, is one you can win here at Reviving Homemaking. Enter below for a chance to win the book and deluxe envelope system! (Giveaway starts at 12am est on 5/5/12).

*Note: I’m not an affiliate of any kind with The Lampo Group, Inc. or Thomas Nelson publishing. These materials were given to me by The Lampo Group,Inc. and it was agreed upon that they may be offered as a giveaway.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please feel free to leave any tips you may have in the comment section below. This is simply how I've come to work with finances, but I'd be interested to know of other ways as well. :)

*Note: Reviving Homemaking is an affiliate of These links will take you to the site and if the materials are purchased then Reviving Homemaking will receive a small percentage of payment in return. Recommendation of these materials was not influenced in anyway. It is done so based solely on my personal experience with them. 


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