Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Texas Drought

This drought has been a little crazy this summer and I wanted to show a little bit of what the results of the drought have been in our area. I will be trying to post more as they happen.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another couponing trip :)

Yesterday I made another trip over to Walgreens and got some more AMAZING deals! I wanted to share those with you. If you ever have any questions about couponing, beginning doing it, or how to find deals, let me know and I will definitely help you the best I can!

So here is everything I purchased today:

I spent a total of $4.32 for everything!


Original Price: $7.99
Coupon: -$4.00
Total Price paid: $4.32
THEN received $3.00 Register Rewards!


Toothpaste Original Price: $4.29
Sale Price: $3.99
Coupon: -$1.50
Total Price: $2.50

Dawn Original Price: $1.50
Sale Price: $0.99
Total Price: $0.50

GRAND TOTAL: $3.00 paid with $3.00 register rewards from previous transaction.
THEN received $2.00 Register Rewards from the Toothpaste :)

Total paid: $0.00


Dawn Original Price: $1.50
Sale Price: $0.99
No coupon on this transaction but I didn't need one.
Total: $0.99

Shaving cream Original Price: $2.00
Store Coupon Price: $0.99
Total: $0.99

GRAND TOTAL: $2.00 paid with $2.00 register rewards from previous transaction :)

Ultimately I only paid for the first transaction and then used the register rewards for the rest of the purchases! It's like I got the Air Wick thing for $4.00 and everything else was FREE!
Pretty awesome I'm not going to lie. Definitely going to keep this up!

Quick side note: If you notice, I get the really good deals on the smaller sizes of things like dawn and toothpaste. Although this is not always the case, it is most commonly what is the best deal.  However, right now I have 3 things of 4 oz. toothpaste (the expensive kinds) and I have paid maybe $0.50 total. So the small things add up. I just have more quantities of the small items and we won't run out of toothpaste or dawn for a long time! 

Couponing is definitely worth it :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Now Let's Jam!

Recently I made the decision that I would try my hand a making my own jam and canning it. First of all, I had never canned anything before or even remotely used a canner. Second of all, I had never made homemade jam before or even remotely seen someone make homemade jam. So this was definitely going to be an adventure. But i was very excited for this challenge. I have loved making my own homemade bread and wanted to start making even more things from scratch!

I'm not going to post the entire step by step of what I did, because I don't feel like i'm really any kind of expert right now, BUT i will link you to the site that I followed: It made things pretty easy to follow :)

It turned out GREAT! It tastes amazing and the canning process was actually pretty easy as a whole. I'm going to start really trying to making more kinds of jams and canning more things! I absolutely love it!

Next time, I'm thinking Apple Butter :)


Sunday, September 4, 2011

We love to cook!

Kendall and I have always loved cooking together! We always want to make new things and we love to make things completely from scratch. Dinner is usually the meal that we really go all out for. It is not uncommon for us to make a really nice meal, typically containing pasta of some kind, and we will sit down and enjoy what we have just made.

That always make the day worth it, sitting down with the man I love, eating food that we prepared together. Already this week we have made 2 big meals! I almost forgot to take pictures of the first meal (I was just so excited!), but Kendall reminded me that I may want to blog about it! haha. I love him!

Meal #1: Asparagus with fresh salad and cheesy garlic bread.

We cooked the Asparagus on the stove with a little butter and oil and some miscellaneous spices. He then covered it to allow it to cook in the steam.

Next we took the homemade bread I prepared (see yesterday's post) and cut a few slices. I then shredded fresh mozzarella cheese and took some fresh dried basil and fresh cut garlic and added that to the top. I put them on my stone and placed them in the oven at 400 until the cheese was melted (If you want soft bread, place on a stone or cookie sheet, If you want crispier bread, place them directly on the rack)

Finally, we made a homemade salad. we took organic romaine salad and cut up some fresh strawberries, shredded some fresh gouda cheese, cut some fresh tomatoes and topped it with a red wine vinaigrette. It was excellent!

Meal #2: Homemade alfredo sauce on whole wheat spaghetti

First I made the Alfredo sauce (One of the easiest recipes to make!!).

This will make enough for 2 people, you can double it for more. I took 4T of organic butter, 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 6T of parmesan cheese. Keep the temperature on low because you don't want it to boil, you just want everything to slowly melt into each other and thicken a bit. I then added 3 small cloves of garlic, some freshly dried basil, and salt and pepper for taste.

I then cooked the pasta as you normally would. I spooned the sauce on top of the pasta and topped with a little tomato and 2 fresh basil leaves from my garden. :) Favoloso


Friday, September 2, 2011

Fantastic Honey Whole Wheat Bread!

Here is my recipe for homemade whole wheat bread. This is the bread that Kendall and I use for our everyday bread. We love the taste of it! The first time I made it I followed the recipe I had found to a T, however I want to change a few things, so i will post this recipe with those changes :)

This recipe will make 4-5 loaves of bread.  What you do is freeze it until you are ready to make more! It makes things so easy.  I recommend using a stand mixer, if you have one, however I do not and I did it by hand.  It's hard, but it CAN be done by hand!

You will also want to start this recipe in the evening as it will soak overnight and then you will finish it in the morning.

6 cups of unbleached whole wheat flour
2/3 cup of honey
1/2 cup of organic butter
2T salt
1/2 cup of buttermilk
3T active dry yeast
4 cups of very warm water
1/2 cup of very warm water
2 cups of Spelt or bread flour
4 to 5 cups of all-purpose flour

First, combine the butter and 4 cups of water in a saucepan.  Heat on low until the butter is melted.

Next combine the whole wheat flour and the salt in a bowl.

Combine the water and butter mixture with the flour mixer and 1/2 cup of buttermilk and allow to soak overnight. I covered mine with foil just to protect it and left it sitting on the counter.

The reason you soak it is to allow the wheat grains to fully open up.

Next, combine the yeast, 1/2 cup of warm water and 2/3 cup of honey together.

Combine, the yeast mixture and the wheat flour mixture. Add the bread flour and the all-purpose flour. I added it 1/2 cup at a time and I alternated the flours. You will know it's done when the dough is no longer sticky. It may take a while.

Remove the dough and butter the inside of the bowl all the way to the top. Replace dough and allow to rise for about an hour. You will want it to double in size (it will probably be almost overflowing on the top.

Once it has risen, dump the dough out on a board and "punch" down the excess air. Break the dough into 5 equal portions (my original recipe said 4, but i felt that it would rise better as 5 loaves instead of 4). Take a section of the dough and roll it out

Roll up the dough and pinch the edges so it stays together

Fold the edges down so they sit underneath the roll of dough

Place the dough in a completely buttered bread pan

Here is where you can choose to freeze them. I made one loaf and froze the other ones, You can also make all the loaves and freeze the already made loaf until you want to use it. Depends on if you want to eat fresh bread or want the ease of just pulling it out of the freezer.

To freeze the bread:

Place the dough in the buttered pan and cover the pan with foil

Place the loaves in the freezer. Once you are ready to bake them, pull them out and allow them to thaw and rise to your liking.

Note: Only freeze for about a month.  I discovered that if frozen longer than that, they will no longer rise.  I lost a whole batch due to that.  So just make sure to use it within about a month. 

To Bake the bread:

Place the bread in the buttered pan, leave out the loaves you want to bake and cover with a clean towel. Allow them to rise for about 30-45 minutes (You will know they are ready when the top of the loaf looks like a nice dome.

Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes. You will know they are done when you tap the top and it sounds hollow.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool until you're ready to eat :)

Slice your bread with a cerated knife and enjoy!! I store my bread in a ziploc bag in the fridge. I then take it out when I want a slice :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

He's finally home!

After waiting an entire year to see my husband, he is finally home from Iraq! I can't describe how amazing it feels to finally have him back here with me. So many times this week I have looked at him and just said, "you're here!" haha. It almost feels surreal!

The ceremony for their return was very cool! everyone was sitting in the bleacher on a field on post. At about 2:30 am they announced that the busses were coming (We had been waiting since midnight, so you can imagine how excited everyone got!). The buses lined up at the end of the field and then the DJ had us all yell, "MOVE THAT BUS!" haha As the buses moved, you saw that all the soldiers were in formation on the other side of the busses. Then they are marched forward until they were right in front of us. They said a few words and then they told the families to "CHARGE!" everyone ran forward to find their loved one! It was a really neat experience, but i have to say, i hope i don't have to participate in another one :)

I have been thanking the Lord daily that I finally have him home!

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