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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What we don't buy anymore...

It is amazing what you realize you can very comfortably do without. I no longer buy paper towels, napkins, dryer sheets, store made cleaning products (see posted recipes under "penny pinching") or baby wipes. We aren't religious about it or anything... if we have a large get together I may buy napkins for that, but really, a cloth towel works just fine, or cloth napkin. Dryer sheets I have recently learned about how awful/toxic they are (you make them more toxic by heating them up!) and who knew that laundry isn't any different without it! (I sure didn't... I thought for sure everything would cling to me like glue... but alas, I can't even tell the difference...) It is amazing how much I save when going to the store to not be buying anything but food. (fancy that!) These things really do add up, especially with a toddler who would use nearly an entire roll of paper towels to clean up a small spill, or when we do about 10-15 loads of laundry a week. I also now delute hand soap. Truly, about 50/50 fifty percent water and fifty percent liquid soap... still get a good lather, lasts twice as long! I am still working at perfecting my shampoo and lotion/cream recipies... it is a lot of chemistry and I am awful at chemistry! I will post those recipes when I am happy with them!


Here's a picture of the sunrise view from our master bedroom porch. There was so much pink in the sky that this doesn't show...it was too early to fuss with the camera! That water out there is just seasonal... in the summer it is actually a hay field that gets hayed. The blackberry bushes below give us masses of blackberries and have a family of Quail that live in them. It is so fun to see them come out and forege (sp?) in the field during the day. We counted 13 of them.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I LOVE peanut butter cookies. I have been making them a lot lately and never really quite follow a recipe. Here is what I have found works the best and makes some INCREDIBLE cookies... (These are also awesome with hershey kisses smooched into them about 5 minutes after they come out of the oven. I also enjoy adding about 1/2-1/2 cup of straight peanuts into the dough just before rolling it out..makes for a more clunky, crunchy cookie.)

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 Cup crunchy natural (I use Adams) Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Butter
2 Eggs
3 Cups wheat flour (you can use all purpose white flour if you'd rather)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Small amount additional sugar

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and eggs in a large bowl until all ingrediants are well mixed together. In a separate bowl stir the flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Add together and stir.
2. Roll dough into about 1 1/ 2 inc balls, roll them in the additonal sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Once the cookie sheet is full take a fork and lightly press down on the dough ball to make a criss-cross pattern and flatten the ball, just slightly.
3. Bake 7-8 minutes. They will still be a little gooey- this is how I like them! You can cook longer if you'd like, but I think what makes them so soft is pulling them out when they are still soft. Carefully transfer the cookies to wire rack immediately to cool.
I honestly can't tell you how many dozen this makes...5? I usually make about 3 dozen and then just freeze the dough to eat it later (as dough, not cookies!) =)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shoemaker Brothers

My brother in laws! What an amazing journey they have had and are now in a MUSIC VIDEO- check it out! Their music is incredible. Memorable, heartfelt lyrics that make you feel like you already know the words, even if you've never heard the song. Their ability to play a wide variety of instruments in astounding. For more information check out http://www.shoemakerbrothers.com/.