Thursday, July 22, 2010


It's that time of year for harvesting zucchini. It's always so much fun at first. Picking those small green summer squash. They taste so good cooked on the grill with a little salt and pepper. Pretty soon though you find yourself up to your ears in the BIG green summer squash. Yes, after awhile you quit picking and it can get HUGE. That's when baking zucchini bread starts. I personally try to only plant two zucchini plants. I find this still gives me way more than I need, and I give a lot away. I have a friend who in her first year of gardening, planted the whole seed packet!! It was too funny. We would place bags of our zucchini in her car for her to find after work. We also always made sure to ask her if she needed any more zucchini. Some do say to always beware of abandoned zucchini on your doorstep in the month of August.
I would like to know if any of you have any recipes for zucchini?
I just got done baking with my first picked zuke(it was pretty big cause it actually went unnoticed). I made chocolate zucchini cupcakes.
**Warning, this recipe is really for chocolate lovers(thankfully I have a 13 yr old boy who LOVES chocolate). It wouldn't hurt to serve with a cup of cold milk or a hot cup of coffee.

You will need:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare muffin tins. (This recipe should make 9 large cupcakes or 24 regular cupcakes)
Mix together sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini, and chocolate chips.
In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add liquid mixture and mix until well combined. Pour into muffin tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

(This is where I found the recipe in case I made a mistake in copying)

I am hoping soon to make a homemade Alfredo sauce to serve with all these fresh zukes and other veggies. Just need to wait for some more broccoli(it'd help if I didn't have one child who loved to eat it right from the garden!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hand Milled Soap

Today I made a batch of hand milled soap. I opted for a rosemary-lavender scented soap with some oatmeal. This is the second time I have made this recipe. I just love the smell of the this combo!

To start off you will need 2-3 bars of plain unscented soap. I used the homemade soap my mom and I made last summer. You will also need 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of water.

You will need a mold. The best kind are made of plastic and containers you don't use anymore. I have an old storage container, PVC piping, and a silicone bread pan I picked up at a garage sale. Grease the container you wish to use.
For the additives I used 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of each dried rosemary and dried lavender flowers. I used my little food processor to grind them up.
Add the soap, oil, and water to a bowl that can be heated. Place bowl over a pot of water and heat until melted. Try not to stir too much cause that will cause air bubbles.

Once melted take the bowl off the heat and stir in the oatmeal/rosemary/lavender mixture. When that is mixed add about 5 drops of each rosemary and lavender essential oils. The amounts you add of the additives can vary to your own preference.

I then placed the soap into my mold, covered, and stuck it in my freezer. In a few hours I will take it out. Hopefully it will be frozen and I can remove it from the mold. At this time I can cut the soap into the size bars I want. This will help them dry faster.

Technically the soap is ready to use. Since this is hand milled soap, it is not caustic. However it will need time to dry out. If you use to soon it will turn to mush once it gets wet. Give it a few weeks or a month to completely dry.

This evening I took my soap out of the freezer. I was able to easily push it out of the mold. I then cut into individual pieces and wrapped in wax paper. It smells great and I can't wait to use it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

With the desire to not have to wait a day for this soap to set(laundry NEEDED to be done LIKE YESTERDAY).  I came upon the powder version.  I added a few extras to it, for I feel I have dirty clothes from kids who like to play in dirt all day long.

1 bar of soap(finely grated)
 (I still use fels naptha.  For an added luxury you could use a soap like Dr. Bonners.)
1 1/2 cup borax
11/2 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda (my addition)

Mix it all up and place in a container.  It takes up much less space, can be made instantly, and no water mess!  I do like the fact that I can stock up on these ingredients and when I suddenly find my laundry soap is gone(cause you know how that ALWAYS sneaks up on you) I can whip up more soap!

I still like using vinegar for my fabric softener and hanging my clothes on the line if time and weather permits.  Something about the process of hanging the clothes on the line that makes a person slow down and enjoy life.

I haven't been up to anything too crafty. Mainly I have been working on my gardening. It took me all day but my blueberry bushes are planted! I also had to do some rearranging with my strawberry plants. I now have nice wide rows in the hopes for really nice size plants next year. I decided I would like my fence that bordered my garden to go farther down. I have that all roped off with plans for another trellis in that area. Now what to plant on that trellis?
Besides gardening I did make some more laundry soap. I thought I would share the recipe.

You will need Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, borax, water, 2 gallon bucket for mixing, and a container for storing.

Grate 1/3 of the bar of soap.
Take grated soap and 6 cups of water and heat until soap is melted.
Add 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda.
Stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Pour 4 cups of water into bucket.
Add soap mixture and stir.
Add 1 gallon + 6 cups of water to bucket and stir.
Let set for about 24hrs.
Use about 1/2 cup per load.
Note: The soap will be a bit clumpy. You will need to make sure to shake before you use.

**update: I have found some variations to this laundry soap recipe.  I have been adding a 1/2 cup of baking soda.
Karla had a day off on Wed (which means she works on the weekend). We had a sisters craft day, spending 4 hours completing totems. We have some details to work out with the construction, but were pleased with the results. My computer skills, however, are not savy enough to get a picture here to show. I will continue to try. Sure is great to have Pat back in the state. We need all three of us to compensate for the mp brains.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our yellow lab, Sam, suprised a skunk last week. The first time in a long time. I had just found this recipe for a skunk odor wash. I worked better than the tomato juice I remember trying last time and is less expensive than the product from the veterinarian.

1 pint hydrogen peroxide
1 box baking soda
1 pint water
2 TBSP dish soap

Mix thoroughly and rub into your dog's fur. Rinse well.
This recipe will treat 1 small dog. You may need up to 3 recipes for a large dog.

I thought I'd share this recipe as we experienced "perfumed" air during the night when we stayed with Emily last week. I plan to keep the ingredients for this stuff on hand at all times.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bringing back memories.

My first "post". I love the title and blueberry picture. I feel so blessed to have had the chance to go "up north" for so many years. The times I remember are going past the Laporte cemetery to find the first berries. Love you all, Marjie
I'm finally on here. I love being included. I love all of the postings. One of these day's I'll have something important to say. In the meantime, keep those recipes and stories coming.
I located this article from the U extension on Growing Blueberrys for the home gardener. Thought I'd share it before I forgot.
Hi all, This recipe came from the recipe section of the Willmar Reminder. I've made it several times and it has been a hit. Thought I'd share it here for those of you who want to try it.

Breakfast Cookies

1 C. butter softened
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 C oatmeal
1 C chopped dried apricots
3/4 C dried cranberries (I use dried cherries)
3/4 C flaked coconut
3/4 C slivered almonds (other nuts?)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and extract and mix well. Blend in flour, soda, cin, salt. Stir in oats and remaining ingredients.
Form into balls (they may be slightly crumbly) Flatten slightly with your hand after placing on baking sheet.
Bake 350 15 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Tips: I mixed the oatmeal, dried fruit, coconut and nuts together in a separate bowl first then added them all at one time. You may have to use your hands for the final mix. I didn't have apricots so used raisins. I think this would be a fun to try dried blueberry.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's all been said so nicely!! It was a wonderful weekend: Blueberries, Jam!, farmers market, FOOD!!, garage sales looking for glass items, crafting the glass totems, Sisters, Emily and her
beautiful family.
Thank you again Emily. Love you very much!!
Firsts for everything, and blogging qualifies as a first. Just to add to Reenies post, it was a wonderfully busy weekend. Filled with exercises, (that only berry pickers can appreciate) and craftiness. Loved every minute of it.

July 2010 Northern Adventure

Our sisters trip to the Acres of Faith country home of Emily and Travis was a great success. Travis and Emily scouted out blueberry picking spots and led us to the mother load. They are exceptionally great hosts and sent us home with home made jams and canned fruit. I have not been blueberry picking for several years and each trip into the forest reminded me of our adventures of years ago with Aunt Doris at the lead. My friend Carol laughs every time she remembers being invited to join us with Aunt Marlys in the driver seat of a new Suburban and Doris as shot gun with her cig and beer. The logging trails were never impassable, we always just drove around or over obstacles. I think that my memories of those adventures shape my enthusiasm for blueberries.

My other blueberry memories include wood ticks, deer fly, and poison ivy. They never seemed to diminish my motivation to gather berries.

We shared our favorite Blueberry Muffin recipe with Emily. Her children seemed to enjoy them - Anthony reported he ate six at last count. The recipe is an original from Mom's Betty Crocker cookbook. It was entitled the Sweet Muffins - Preheat over to 375. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt in one bowl and blend with a spoon. Add 1 cup of blueberrys to the bowl with the flour mixture and stir. In another bowl, mix 1/2 c milk, 1/4 cup oil, 1 egg (blend well with fork). Make a well in the dry mix and add the liquids, blending until just mixed - the batter should not be over mixed. Divide the mixture into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

I promised to share my Breakfast Cookie Recipe with Karla and others may enjoy it also, but that will be my next blog.

Thanks again Emily. I love you and your entire family.


Bemidji's Farmers Market

Treasure from
Bemidji's Farmers Market
My first outing to Bemidji's farmers market was this past weekend. The old farmers market has now split in to two separate groups. We headed to Bemidji's Natural Choice Farmers Market first. It is located in the Union Square(the other is still in Pamida's parking lot). It was such a fun atmosphere. They had lots of fresh veggies, fruit, jams, honey, maple syrup, and all sorts of breads. There was also annuals and vegetable plants. In the background was live bluegrass music. My favorite booth was the creator of this chair! She had so many neat plant containers made from old discarded items. I thought the splitting of the farmers market was silly. I see now that they are doing lots of fun stuff to stay in competition with each other. What fun that is for us shoppers!

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Blueberry Vinaigrette
1/2 c. Mashed Blueberries
1/4 c. vinegar
few Tablespoons of oil
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
Chopped onion

Blend ingredients and serve over a fresh garden salad.


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