Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Loaf Bread and Spice Blueberry and Peach Jam recipes

Another bread blog has been LONG in the making.  I have purchased my last loaf of bread from the grocery store, and I am making it from here on out.  Why?  BECAUSE IT IS SO EASY!!!  Plus, it tastes better.  And it is cheaper.  What could be better than that?  Nothing.  Repeat after me.  Nothing.

Oh, and did I mention it is best with spice blueberry and peach jam?  Homemade, of course.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sweet Cinnamon Sugar Braids

This week was the last week for the Farmers Market in my area.  It is kind of a sad moment, because I have been going to this particular market since 2008 and have not missed very many Tuesday afternoons.  I knew the names of the people we bought from and they knew us.  We always saw the same people.  We knew the honey lady, the milk lady, the bread lady, the soap lady, and the produce lady.  I would consider them my friends.  And this past Tuesday was the last one before we move, so we all went to say “good-bye.” 

While we were there, we bought a couple of sweet bread braids.  One was cinnamon and sugar and the other was cream cheese.  They were so good!  And it got me thinking…  Man, I sure am going to miss this.  As soon as we got home, I set out to learn how to make my own. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Walnut Surprise Cookies Recipe

Several years ago, I found the most fantastic recipe, but I didn’t write it down… and I haven’t seen it since.  UNTIL, a few weeks ago… I was standing in the checkout line at Kohls. They always have a shelf of books for sale at the registers that are only $5 each for fundraiser.  My oldest daughter was with me, and she picks up this book with Christmas cookie recipes.  She says “Mom, can we get this book?”  And by default, I said “No.”  But I look through it anyways.  Low and behold, there are the cookies!  Well, close enough, anyways.  We ended up getting the book.  I changed the recipe a bit, but I think you will enjoy the results!  I know we already are!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY Flannel and Fleece Baby Blanket/ Lap Throw (Simple Sewing Blogs)

I started making baby blankets awhile back for several reasons.  The ones at the stores were expensive for the nice, thick, warm ones...  And sometimes they still were not big enough for me.  So, I started making my own awhile back, because I just could not justify anymore paying $18- $40 a baby blanket that would probably get spit up on and pooped on anyways.  You can also use these instructions, but get a more "grown up" material and have a fantastic lap throw.  Besides, homemade is always better.  And it is always custom made.

DIY Flower Press

A great project for children and adults is making a flower press.  It is very easy and simple, and even after you are done you can still continue to use it to make other things like nature collages or just use it to preserve fall leaves and spring flowers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Future of the Dirty Goat Farm

Things have been moving along here, although I haven’t really put too much information out as to what is happening.  Actually, in some ways it is happening very fast, and in other ways it is just totally dragging along.  We have been thinking and planning and discussing plans for our farm until my brain hurts. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

DIY Chocolate and Peanut Butter Dipped Pretzels

I found on clearance at the store a few days ago, a double boiler!  So, of course, I HAVE to use it.  When I brought home the double boiler, I also brought home chocolate and pretzels...  do you see where this is going???  It is SO, SO easy to dip pretzels and you can make all kinds of delicious combinations. 

For this, I used the square pretzels that have a grid kind of thing in the center of them.  I dipped a whole bunch with just chocolate and then while the chocolate was still drying, I sprinkled them with festive Fall sprinkles.  I found the Fall sprinkles at Target in the dollar bins.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

N'Awlins Red Beans and Rice recipe with Sweet Cornbread

When I was growing up, one of my family's most favorite meals was always red beans and rice.  My mom made it best!  Now, I get to make it for my own family and they love it just as much as I did growing up.  It has definitely become a family tradition.  In fact, this is exactly what I made during the Super Bowl several years ago when the New Orleans Saint won.  It is easy to make from scratch and once you try it like this, you will NEVER go back to that boxed crap.  It is so much healthier for you anyways.

Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning Recipe

I LOVE Tony Chachere's.  In fact, when we started anticipating our move, I started thinking about how much Tony Chachere's I needed to stock up on to last us like...  forever.  I. Can't. Live. Without. Cajun. Seasoning.  Just can't.  So, I found a recipe!  Score!  Now, no matter how far into Yankee country I am...  I just still have my Cajun seasoning. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the Dirty Goat Farm!  Have a boo-tiful day!  

Song of the Witches
By William Shakespeare

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY Homemade Play-do

About the most fun any kid can have is playing with play-do.  But who really wants to buy that little tiny container from the store only to have to end up with a brownish-blackish-mucky color that only lasts for about a week or so before it dries out?  Growing up, my mom always made our own play-do.  I don't remember buying it from the store very often, and after having my own children, I started making my own play-do.  So simple!  And the kids love to help with it!

Our Smoky Mountain Vacation

Several weeks ago my family went on a short trip to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.  It was a really great trip and so nice to get away from it all.  We rented a cabin for about four days at Moose Creek Crossings.  Our cabin was actually right at the base of the Smoky Mountain National Forrest, and we ended up spending a lot of time in those woods.

We also went on a short day trip on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad on an old restored open aired train car.  The theme for the trip was Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and the trip took us out to a pumpkin patch with all kinds of activities for the kids.  While there, each of the kids got the opportunity to bring home a pumpkin.  However, we only picked out two.  Most of the kids on the trip dressed up in their Halloween costumes, and our kids each wore a hoodie made into an animal or character.  We had a pink monkey, an owl, a panda bear, a purple kitten, and a robot.  Then we sprayed each of their hair different colors.  They really enjoyed that.  Overall, the trip was a blast.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Banana Bread Recipe

We have a lot of favorite things at our house, but pretty close to the top of the list is banana bread.  My kids could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I allowed it.  And it is even better (which is truly hard to imagine after cutting a slice while it is still warm) after it has sat in tin foil overnight to make the top sticky.  Nummy nummy! 

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

My family does not actually USE our dishwasher unless we are canning something.  And even then that is only because we do so much at one time that we do not have the space we need on the stove top to heat everything up like it needs to be.  So, we throw the mason jars in the dishwasher and it works just fine.  That is really the ONLY thing we use the dishwasher for.  The reason being is because when we started cutting out chemicals in our house, the dishwasher detergent was one that had to go.  But none of the “green” detergents really did the job.  They all left a film after they’d been washed.  We started hand washing and just haven’t gone back, even though I make a pretty good dishwasher detergent now that does work like it is supposed to.

Setting up a Sewing Machine

If you are not an avid seamstress…  sometimes pulling out the sewing machine can seem…  well, a bit intimidating.  It’s one of those humps, that unless you have someone helping you along, may seem impossible to get over.  Learning to sew on your own can be a lot of trial and error.  This is me, trying to help ease some of that sewing grief. 

Some of the biggest mistakes people make are also the most simple to remedy, but unless you know you are making them, then how can you remedy them?  There is only ONE way to set up a sewing machine.  If you do it wrong, it can mess up the whole project and leave you feeling very flustered. 

Setting up a Sewing Kit

I get all kinds of excited over my sewing box gadgets.  I can spend hours pouring over the little knick-knacks, buttons, and embellishments at the cloth stores.  I just find it fun.  Comparably, I am sure Keith, my husband, is the same way at the auto supply store.  I don’t get it, but I am sure he doesn’t really see what I see in sewing supplies either.  It is just one big way we are different (but kind of the same).  I also LOVE having everything I need organized and available.  I don't have to search for things in drawers anymore.  Making a sewing kit solved all those problems for me. 

DIY Laundry Detergent and Laundry tips

I have taken to making EVERYTHING I need to wash my family’s laundry.  So, I am typing this up because I would love to share it with everyone.  It has saved us a lot of money, and it is so simple that anybody can do it.  And if you are anything like me, I also feel a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I have made something myself.

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Use up the last of your dryer sheets and then never go back!  I got a good alternative for you for the dryer.  Make wool dryer balls!  They take out the static, they keep the stuff in the dryer bouncing around so that they dry faster, plus your clothes aren’t exposed to any chemicals. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Dirty Goat Farm is MOVING!

Well…  just when you have resigned yourself to believe that things are going one way…  they change.  And they have changed BIG for us. 

The backstory:  Keith got out of the Army in April of 2011.  We had a plan.  The plan fell through.  When I mean that it fell through, I mean that it took a deep dive down a dark hole and we hadn’t seen it since…  until almost two weeks ago.  But the news seemed too good to be true, so I was being very careful about putting too much hope into it.  That only lasted like two days.  Then I got really excited and my hopes have been up ever since.  We were waiting for a few things to work out though. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

DIY Fleece Blanket

Full size fleece blanket with travel size blanket. 
I have made so many of these blankets, that I have since lost count.  I love them because they are so versatile for people of any age.  When my kids are infants, I can lay one of these on the ground and put them on the floor.  As they get older, they snuggle up with them in bed.  During story time in the evenings, they wrap themselves up in them to stay warm.  And for a few of our kids, they have since taken to them as security blankets and have become inseparable.   I actually had to start making smaller sized blankets so that the younger kids who still insist on having “blankie” in the car with them, don’t have to take a full sized blanket.  Those have been a hit as well. 

They are really easy to make.  No sewing machine required, so anybody can do this.  It takes a little time, but they are definitely worth it.  It takes me about 45 minutes to get a full size one finished, and about 25 minutes to get a travel size blankie made. 

Favorite Fall Pumpkin Recipes

Fall is in the air (or at least it will be soon), and I have already hung my fall wreath on the front door in anticipation.  I always look forward to the fall time…  crisp air, warm sweaters, hot chocolate, red leaves falling…  but one of the things I probably enjoy the most when the season starts to change is the food.  Hm…  I love food. 

And isn’t that the majority of what homesteading is about?  Being able to provide everything you and your family need on your own?  Food is a great big part of that.  It is an essential in life for all of us.  So, do you want food (eh.) or do you want GOOD food??? 

Because I am so in the mood for fall, I am craving pumpkin.  I came up with all kinds of pumpkin things. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe (the most awesome-est EVER)

Tonight I made probably the best cheesecake we have ever eaten.  It takes a little work, but not anymore than to make a strawberry cake or pumpkin pie.  And the results are totally worth it!  

I was able to find end of the season berries at the store, brought home six packages, and within 24 hours only two packages remained.  I figured if I was going to make something with the berries, then I had to do it fast, because I was fighting little fingers from snatching berries the whole time I was baking.  Really though, this recipe would be good with any berry.  Don't limit yourself to just strawberries.  Use what you have!

Graham Cracker Crust Recipe

It will be crumbly once mixed completely

Basic crust recipe.  MUCH better than the store bought crusts and very easy to make!  Use it with any pie just for a little something extra!   Besides, this way you can brag you made it from scratch.

1 ½ cups of finely crushed graham cracker
1/3 cups of sugar
6 tablespoons of melted butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Homemade Chest Rub

A few blogs ago, I said I was not sure how natural Vicks Vapor Rub was.  So, I looked into it…  and technically, it is somewhat of a natural option.  It is actually made from quite a few essential oils with a base of something similar to Vaseline.  However, I am plagued with the do-it-yourselfitis…  and so I found several recipes and then kind of made my own from what I saw.  Google is definitely feeding my addiction.  Besides, at our house we use a lot of Vicks, so this way I can replace it with something that I made knowing full good and well what is in it.   

When my kids see me pull out the Vicks, they actually willingly bring me their socks so that I can rub it on their feet before they go to bed.  It’s like candy for the toes. 

All Natural Skin Care and Remedies

I have been on somewhat of a health kick lately.  It makes for a whole lot of good crunchy herbal information for everybody around me.  So much so that I am calling people up and telling them “Did you know such and such is good for such and such!”  This kind of thing gets me excited.  In my former life, I was a medic in the Army.  I dig medical information even if it is a little…  ahem…  less than mainstream now.  ...And it is less emergent than my previous life.  Going from combat medic to wannabe herbalist is a big transition no matter how you try to swing it.  But the part I love most about it is that I can still manage my family’s health without pumping them full of chemicals to get the job done. 

Pure Olive Oil Soap Recipe (updated)

This is a pure castile soap.  All that means, is that olive oil is the only ingredient besides the lye which causes the saponification.  This is, by far, my favorite soap. Adding a bit of aloe vera and honey to it at trace just kind of takes it up a notch and adds to the nutrient blast your skin recieves when you use it.  I use this all over, including washing my face with it, and I use it on the babies because the soap is gentle enough for even the most senstive of skin.

Pure Olive Oil Soap Recipe
Makes 4 pounds

Lye (NaOH)- 8.15 ounces or 231.05 grams
Distilled Water- 24.32 ounces or 689.46 grams

Olive Oil, pomace grade-  64 ounces or 1814.37 grams

Castile Soap with Hemp Oil Recipe

Castile Soap with Hemp Oil Recipe
Makes 4 pounds

Lye (NaOH)- 9.03 ounces or 255.87 grams
Distilled Water- 24.32 ounces or 689.46 grams

Coconut Oil, 76-  19.2 ounces or 544.31 grams
Palm Oil-  19.2 ounces or 544.31 grams
Hemp Oil-  12.8 ounces or 362.87 grams
Olive Oil, pomace grade-  9.6 ounces or 272.16 grams
Jojoba Oil- 3.2 ounces or 90.72 grams

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Natural Cold Remedies and Care

Out of everyone in my family, I am the only one that ever gets knocked off my feet kind of sick.  It is almost guaranteed that at some point in time when the weather starts cooling down that Mom will get deathly ill.  Okay, not really DEATHLY ill (although, it feels like it to me in a very dramatic way), but in a way that surely keeps me from my true potential.  It could be that I am pregnant right now, which means my immune system is already weakened.  Whatever the case, I feel terrible. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Carrie is FAMOUS!

Check it out!  Carrie the goat was in the newspaper!

Sweetness!  Thank you Mary Ann!  You can check out her blog here

Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

Here at the Dirty Goat Farm we are all about homemade.  It’s a borderline disorder.  When I see something, I am not one of those people that say “Oh wow, that’s really cool.  How much does that cost?”  Instead, I say “Oh wow, that’s really cool.  Pf, I could do that.”  Sometimes I irritate myself.  I’ve heard that there is treatment, but so far I am skeptical. 

About a year ago, I said “I could make vanilla extract.”  So, I did.  It’s very easy, although start up can be slightly expensive (think long term), but it is not something that will go bad (that I know of).

Cinnamon Vanilla Cream Recipe

Nothing goes better on warm pumpkin bread or hot oatmeal on a cold morning than my cinnamon vanilla sauce.  It’s just perfect for those crisp mornings after the leaves have started changing colors outside. 

And you are in luck!  I have a recipe! 

To make a quart sized mason jar of cream you will need

2- 12 oz cans of evaporate milk
1 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
4 cinnamon sticks (the thinner the sticks, the better they will be)

In a sauce pan on medium heat, add the two cans of evaporated milk with the sugar, cornstarch, and the cinnamon sticks.  Stir occasionally, making sure that as the cream warms and thickens that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Once you feel it start to thicken, take it off the heat and add the vanilla extract.  Pour into mason jar and cool in the refrigerator. Leave the cinnamon sticks in for added flavor later on!

After it is done, pour onto almost anything.  Your taste buds will absolutely LOVE you for it!  It goes really great on my Banana Bread.

What would make this recipe even sweeter?  Make your own vanilla for it.  Click here for instructions.

Check out Dirty Goat Farm on Facebook!