Saturday, June 30, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What's your favorite childhood snack that you still eat as an adult?
     If given the opportunity, it would probably be anything sweet. The recent experience of my mother, sister and I taking down a bag of marshmallows the last time we were together is evidence enough of our willingness to indulge in that snack favorite. haha

2. What food will you not eat the low fat version of?
    I'm not a tremendous fan of low fat versions of much of anything. I do prefer 1-2% milk over whole milk. Beyond that, I go ahead an purchase the full version of foods. 

3. What's your favorite way to cool off during the summer?
     This summer it appears that the method of choice is just staying inside during the hottest part of the day. If we had access to a backyard pool, then I'd probably choose that option..a lot. 

4. What's your favorite summer read?
     I read continuously so I don't really have a "summer" list. I did just finish A Million Little Pieces by James Frey  (review coming soon) and now I'm reading A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami  and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan.

5. What are you doing to stay cool in this awful heat? 
Again, just trying to stay inside during the hottest part of the day. Triple digit temperatures leave little desire to get out and turn into a sweaty mess. haha

*Note: Some of the products listed above contain affiliate links to Reviving Homemaking is an affiliate of, and as such receives compensation for each purchase made through the links. 

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


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Homemade Granola

     Store-bought boxed cereals generally are not my first choice for a breakfast meal. I do, however, enjoy cereals like granola with lots of yummy dried fruits and nuts. Though it can be purchased premade in the stores (at a rather high price), I prefer to make my own. It does take some time to prepare and then cook in the oven, but I find it well worth the energy. I have made granola using a slow cooker and oven, and prefer the oven. Since the oven has to be on (low) for several hours, I recommend cooking your batch in the early morning or late evening during warmer months to try to conserve some energy. During the cooler months, leave the oven door open once finished to fill your home with the delicious aroma and give your heating unit a break. If you're using a slow cooker instead, then you would simply turn it on low and stir on occasion until done. 
     Since regularly making our own yogurt, I've begun to use some of the whey that is left from the process to soak the oats. It isn't a mandatory step by any means. It's just a way to use the whey and infuse a little more nutrition. You can certainly skip this step all together if you wish. 
      I typically make enough granola to have about two quart + a pint jars, which will last my husband and I about a month since we don't eat it every day. Beyond a quick cereal breakfast, we also enjoy it as a topping for yogurt parfait snacks. 

Homemade Granola:
2 c. old-fashioned oats
2 c. multi-grain hot cereal mix (4-Grain 7 Grain, 10 Grain Hot Cereal etc)
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. water
1/4-3/4 c. whey  (optional) 
1/4 c. honey 
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. almond pieces/slices
1/4 c. pecan pieces
1/4 c. pumpkin (unsalted) seeds
1/4 c. dried mixed berries
1/4 c. raisins

1a. Optional soaking method: Mix oats and grains with butter, coconut oil, water and whey until all is moistened. Cover and place in refrigerator to soak for 12-24hours. Afterwards, stir together in a pot the honey, syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Simmer until thinned. Preheat oven to 200 °F.

1b. No soak method:  Stir together all wet ingredients (oil, butter, water, honey, syrup, vanilla) and spices (salt & cinnamon) in a pot until honey is thinned. Preheat oven to 200 °F. 

2.  Add honey and oat mixtures. Spread onto two-three baking sheets.

3. Bake for approximately four hours. Stir granola around a bit halfway through. The oats will continue to crisp when cooling.

4. Add nuts, seeds, berries and raisins. 

5. Store in sealed containers. 

Adapted from: Passionate Homemaking

Additional Resources:
10 Granola Recipes
14 Ways to Use Granola
Gifting With Granola

*Note: Some of the products listed above contain affiliate links to Reviving Homemaking is an affiliate of, and as such receives compensation for each purchase made through the links. (Thank you!).

Linked up at: Time-Warp Wife, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, A Pause on the Path, Beauty and Bedlam, Cornerstone Confessions, Women Living Well, A Mother's Heritage, Deep Roots at Home, Frugally Sustainable, Raising Homemakers, We Are THAT Family, Passionate and Creative Homemaking, Feminine Adventures, Little Natural Cottage, Our Simple Country Life, Raising Might Arrows, Consider the Lilies, Comfy in the Kitchen, Your Thriving Family, 1-Minute Bible Love Notes


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Creative Gift Wrapping: Thinking Outside the Roll

     Newspaper can actually provide a creative and fun medium for wrapping gifts. The bow is what really makes the presentation complete (instructions below). I think this style makes a great option for gift wrapping for men, who are generally not as impressed with a lot of frills in presentation. It could also be a frugal way of wrapping if need be. I think the newspaper made a superb gift wrap for this year's Father's Day gift.  

Create a Paper Bow

Wrap gift as normal, but with a sheet of newspaper. Then cut several (12-15) 1" strips of newspaper, and several (12-15) more strips of colored paper 1/2" in width. A sales circular generally provides a more colorful bow to set it apart from the text of the newspaper wrapping. 

Form a ring with the strips.

Bring the back to the front and tape/glue/stable to join. 

Using a needle and thread, pierce the center of each folded strip and begin stacking them while alternating the sales circular pieces and colored paper pieces. 

Use the same colored paper to create a little tag. Finished!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Five Question Friday!

1. Would you grow your hair out to donate it?
I've done this several times actually. My hair grows pretty fast ,and so it's not too distressing to cut it short on occasion to donate it. 

2. What song makes you think of summer?
I don't know if there is a song that makes me think of summer. There are plenty that remind me of driving to tennis clinic in the summers though. I hear those songs and instantly thing: tennis! Of course, I can't recall any song titles at the moment to list. haha

3. Are you a flip flops or sandals kind of person?
I'm a total closed heal and closed toe shoe kind of gal. I do have one pair of sangals and one pair of flip flops, but they are rarely worn. My favorite summertime shoe is the a Crocs ballet flat. They're lightweight and the holes give the shoe that sandal effect, but they're still enclosed around my feet so that I don't have to work to keep them on. Interestingly, my husband is just the opposite in that he only wears flip flops. He can't stand closed shoes and will wear flip flops all year regardless of the weather. I suppose opposites do attract! haha

4. Favorite summer treat (ie ice cream, snow cones, etc)?
I love smoothies during the warm weather months. The cool and fruity flavors compliment the heat of summer so well. Of the options listed in the question, however, I'd have to choose ice cream as my favorite. Though, I have been known to have an ice cream treat while sitting by a space heater in the winter! haha.

5. Do you do something special for the father of your children?
   No kiddos, so this isn't an applicable question at this time. We'll see what happens with this holiday when that time comes in the future. 

*Note: Some of the products listed above contain affiliate links to Reviving Homemaking is an affiliate of, and as such receives compensation for each purchase made through the links. 

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


Sunday, June 10, 2012

10 Ways To Reduce Kitchen Waste

     Part of my definition of homemaking is productivity. There are many ways to be productive within the home, and most often that involves working with my own hands to create. However, productivity could also be a matter of reducing waste. If my home is producing an excessive amount of waste then it becomes nonproductive. It's not aiding my community, both local and global, to transfer the responsibility of managing and discarding resources appropriately. I realize that resources are not unlimited and I am not entitled to anything and everything. One of the areas of my home that I try to reduce waste is in the kitchen. My goal in selecting items for my kitchen is to look for muli-use or multi-purpose and sustainable. The following is just a few ideas with links to products I either currently use or have found that could be valuable:

1) Cloth napkins instead of paper

2) Cloth towels can be used for many purposes that cloth paper towels are used for ordinarily 
    There are many Etsy retailers who sale reusable cloth "paper" towels in a roll just like the paper version. I haven't incorporated these into our home, but they do appear like an interesting idea. 

3) Reusable coffee cupscold drink tumblers, and water bottles are great alternatives to the throwaway versions
4) Wash and reuse plastic bags.
      There is also a reusable cloth baggie option available on Etsy. I don't use these currently. I image they'd be fun for kids' packed lunches for school. 

5) Seal foods in containers or reused baggies instead of plastic wrap.
       These cute cloth bowl covers serve the same purpose as plastic wrap, except they can be used over and over. I think these are wonderful, and hope to add them to my kitchen in the future. 

6) Use a silicone mat to line pans during baking instead of aluminum foil or parchment paper.

7) A french press saves energy and paper filters compared to an electric coffee pot. 

8) Bring reusable produce and shopping bags to the store as much as possible

9) Glass food storage containers instead of plastic. Plastic containers shouldn't be heated. Also, they will need replacing far faster than glass. 
     Glass containers are more expensive than plastic. I hope to make a slow transition to glass, one container at a time. 

10) Use an oil mister  instead of the pressurized can of cooking spray

*Note: Some of the products listed above contain affiliate links to Reviving Homemaking is an affiliate of, and as such receives compensation for each purchase made through the links. 

Linked up at: What Joy Is Mine, Homestead Revival, A Mama's Story, The Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, The Modest Mom, Covered in Grace, Raising Arrows, Created To Be HIS, Time-Warp Wife, Heavenly Homemakers, Growing Home, Thankful Homemaker, Far Above Rubies, Women Living Well, A Mother's Heritage, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Frugally Sustainable, We Are THAT Family, The Woodwife's Journal, Homemaker By Choice


Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. Did you do anything special for your kids on the last day of school? Or did you parents do anything special for you?
    We don't have kiddos so I'm going to skip to the second part. Actually, I don't have an answer for that one either because I honestly can't remember. I remember the last day of the holiday breaks, but not  the summer breaks. Sorry, parents if something special was done!

2. What's your favorite summer tradition with your children?
       Again, no kiddos to be able to answer this one also. I've never considered "summer tradition(s)." We'll see what the future holds.

3. What was your favorite thing to do during the summer as a kid?
     I just loved being outside. We have a local park that I enjoy walking through often, and the smell of the grass, the ping of the balls being hit off the metal bats as the crowds cheer, and the pop of tennis balls traveling from side to side all bring back such fond memories of spending time outside playing as a kid. The best summer activities and memories were simply being outside playing. 

4. How old were you when you were married? Were you a Bridezilla?
     I was 24 and my husband was 26. I don't think I was a Bridezilla in the least. We did a getaway wedding in which all we had to do was show up at the island with our outfits, and the coordinator (absolutely wonderful!) took care of everything else. We told her what flavors we enjoy for the cake, my favorite flower and the color of his shirt. Done. There was a reason I chose the island getaway with the coordinator, and that was partly because those wedding planning books and details scared (and still do) the daylights out of me. That's all just way too much for me. I just wanted to relax and focus on the vows we were to exchange. If we had gone the traditional route, then I'll admit that the stress probably would have resulted in some Bridezilla moments. haha. 

5. What is your favorite girl name? 
      Greenleigh Ann or Laurelei Belle .. To hubby: I mean, *cough, cough* I don't have any favorite names for future kiddos. hahaha, you love me ;)

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

Linked up at: 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Single Serving Frozen Banana Treat

     I love ice cream.There was a time when I had a constant stock of ice cream in my freezer and delighted in it daily. But then I had to reconsider the cost and nutrition in ice cream. To my surprise I've discovered that bananas actually make a pretty tasty alternative.

     The recipe is quite simple. I just sliced one banana thinly and placed in the freezer until frozen. Then, I blended them with the immersion blender until creamy and smooth. You could eat it as is, or get creative with adding other flavors. I really enjoyed peanut butter and chocolate. Other flavors that pair well with banana include: caramel, cherries, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, ginger, hazelnut, honey, mango, molasses, papaya, and peanuts. I foresee another serving one afternoon with some coffee! Or perhaps dark chocolate chips! Mmm!

      Although I still love traditional ice cream, I can definitely go for a daily dose of this alternate version. After all, it's completely cost effective and nutritious! Two things I really enjoy in food, most of all in desserts! 

Linked up at: Thankful Homemaker, Women Living Well, Time-Warp Wife, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Maximizing Freezer Space

       One of the most aggravatingly disorganized spaces has been my freezer. It's a small, open freezer in which foods can quickly get piled up and lost. I love utilizing the convenience and savings offered by a well-stocked freezer, but digging through the mass was not helping me in either regard. I needed some kind of an organization system that allowed me to maximize the small space while still providing me access to everything. My solution has involved the addition of a tiered sliding basket unit, cabinet shelf and Freezer Inventory Sheet. 

     Now, everything has a place so I know where to look for what I need. The breakdown is as follows:
     (1) Ice Cube Trays- Ice cube trays take up about half the room of the automatic ice cube maker's bin. In such a small area, that space is too valuable to lose. Ice cube trays are more versatile in that I can freeze several different foods instead of just ice.

     (2) Chicken Stock- Chicken stock is easily made by tossing in some celery, carrots seasonings when boiling a whole chicken. I flat freeze my stock in one cup portions so that I thaw about what I need per use and they stack up nicely when stored.

     (3) Meats & Pre-made Meals- Most of the meats I store regularly are ground beef/turkey (flat frozen in per use bags), shredded cooked chicken (also flat frozen in per use bags), pork chops (after cutting a whole loin into portions). Pre-made meals are typically anything that we didn't quite finish the week it was cooked. For instance, we currently have leftover mackerel patties, meatballs for pasta, and Norwegian meatballs ready to go whenever we need a quick meal option.

     (4) Fruits- We make a couple of trips during the spring & summer to pick our own blueberries, apples, and strawberries. Some of gets used immediately in baked goods or canned, while the rest gets tray frozen. I particularly love putting these frozen berries into smoothies

     (5) Dairy, Sauces, Soups and Breads- If we have any cheeses leftover by the week's end then I'll cut some of it into slices and the rest will get shredded. This way, we can continue to have a variety of cheeses without worries of it going bad. Soups and sauces get frozen flat in bags in per use portions to allow them to stack nicely. The exception is with pesto and salsa which I freeze in ice cube trays because we only use a smaller amount at a time than can be frozen in a bag. I typically don't keep too many finished breads in the freezer. However, I do love keeping bags of tortilla dough balls

     (6) Vegetables- I like to have a variety of frozen vegetables and will typically purchase in the best value size, which is perhaps the main culprit to the piles that tend to arise. I've found that it is easiest on me to actually divide the larger bag into per use portions and store them clustered. When I need it I simply grab the pre-measured bag and add it to whatever I'm cooking. It also keeps the rest of the vegetables in the bag fresher by not being opened and exposed each time that particular vegetable is needed. Along this same line, I dice fresh onion and bell peppers, tray freeze them and then store them in bags. When needed, I just scoop out the portion the dish calls for, which saves me time and dirty dishes from prepping them on the spot. As you can see from the picture, I'm able to get quite a bit of vegetables in that single bin! 
    Last but not least is the Freezer Inventory Sheet that keeps me informed as to what we have and what needs to be purchased before we make our weekly grocery trip. Simply jot down what item is stored under each category when it goes in the freezer. When it's used, then it get's marked down or off and you thereby know if you need to replace it. I currently keep mine on the side of the freezer and use a pencil to record on it. To make it even easier, slip it in a sheet protector and then using a fine tip dry erase marker each time. I've provided the sheet I created and use in the link under the photo. 

Freezer Inventory Sheet
     There are a few different methods of freezing food, some of which have been mentioned above. We'll discuss those further in an upcoming post. 


Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What were you scared of as a kid?
     Giant masked costumes. Those things still freak me out!

2. Do you sleep well in a hotel?
     Typically I don't sleep tremendously well in another's bed. Ultimately, though, it depends on how tired I am. When exhausted, I seem to have no preference at all. 

3. If you could meet any celebrity, dead or alive, who and why?
     I'm not sure if I'd actually want to meet the person or just observe. I believe you can tell more about a person by how he/she lives than what is said. That being the case, my top two would be Jesus when he walked among us and Mother Theresa. Yes, perhaps very generic answers, but also very admirable people. 

4. It's a hot summer day. Do you prefer to be pool side or at the beach?
    Perhaps the beach. There's more to do at a beach than pool beyond swimming and laying out in the sun. Some beaches offer a lot of neat activities to do along the shore. 

5. What is your favorite summer dish?
     Ice cream! That counts as a "dish," right? haha. Okay, okay. A couple of my favorite meals are a pasta veggie dish and veggie pizza. Both incorporate lots of yummy seasonal veggies. 

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

Linked up at: My Little Life


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