Things I Would Tell the Young Me

You’ve seen lists like this.  But have you ever really put thought into making one yourself?  It has been really tough for me to do it but here is my list.  What is your list of five things you’d tell a young YOU?  Here is my list …….

  1. Your mom and dad would argue and fight even if if you weren’t there. Don’t take it personally. It’s not your marriage, not your fault, not your decisions. Focus on being you, being good and true.
  2. Choose your friends very wisely. It may mean that you don’t have many friends, but the ones you have will be the keepers.
  3. When you go to college, major in music if you want to. don’t allow anyone to persuade you to major in something you’re not in love with. There will be people who say all sorts of discouraging things to you, push ahead.
  4. Stay in college, don’t quit even for a little while. Don’t quit for anything. You’ll get finished even though the math is hard. Then, you’ll be able to choose what you want to do in life and you won’t feel like you’ve done things out of order.
  5. Everyone in Church isn’t a Christian. Everyone in Church doesn’t deserve your friendship. You’ve always been a person who respects others but you don’t have to allow people to speak into your life who don’t deserve that honor. Back away from them. Seek out truly godly people to learn from.

What’s your list?

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Ginger Tea For A Cold

Its cold and flu season again.  This is a tea that I drink all winter and its been on my website a very long time… except that in this version, I add some cayenne pepper to help your immune system fight those viruses. Plus, it just tastes good!





…this will warm up the frostiest person in your family, and it’s great for those who are ailing.

4 cups water
2 oz fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
5 whole cloves
Juice of one lemon

Bring all to a boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain into cups and sweeten as desired with honey or stevia preferably but go easy on the sugar, its not so good for your immune system.

Posted in Medicinal Herbs | 4 Comments

Candied Orange Peel

Right after Christmas, when we have lots of citrus on hand, I start making candied orange peel. Its an old fashioned candy that folks used to make to keep from wasting the peel.  I like just plain orange peel, I know its not a taste everyone likes though. The sugar makes it palatable for everyone.

The best kind of oranges to use for this are thin skinned ones. You CAN use naval oranges but you’ll have lots of pith to remove before you can candy the peel. Its just easier and I think the thin skin is better tasting anyway.

It doesn’t matter how much peel you have, you’ll be cooking it in the same amount of syrup. But you can save the syrup from batch to batch and just add sugar and water to it as you need.

Its best to use organic oranges for this too, but back in the day before we had organic stuff, I just used regular oranges and washed them before I set them out in a bowl for everyone to eat.
Also, it doesn’t matter how shaggy the peels are but if you want nice even pieces of candied peel you’ll want to cut and quarter the oranges as you peel them. Store the peels in a bowl in the kitchen til you have all you want to make the candy.

First, put 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a medium sized, heavy bottomed pan. Bring it to a boil and then drop all the orange peel in it. Boil for 10 minutes.

At this point if your peel has lots of white pith on it, you’ll want to take the peel out of the syrup and use a spoon to scrape off a lot of the pith. The more you scrape off, the stiffer and harder the finished candy will be. I like it kind of chewy so I leave the pith on when using thin skinned oranges and I don’t scrape it all off of the peel of naval or Florida oranges either.

Return the oranges to the syrup and bring back to a boil for 10 minutes. If you didn’t scrape pith, just leave the orange peels in the syrup and let it boil another 10 minutes.

Now take the peel out of the syrup draining it as best you can while reserving the syrup if you want to use it again, and let the peels drain. I use a small colander.

Next put about 2 cups of sugar in a large plate ( I use pure cane sugar) and piece by piece press the boiled peel into the sugar. Some people even use a rolling pin to press the sugar into the peel. I just use the back of a spoon.

Next you can cut your sugared peel into strips and lay it on parchment paper or a wire cooling rack to dry. I have even dried it in a dehydrator on about 110*F for a couple of hours, works great. When the strips or pieces are no longer wet and are sort of firm, they’re ready.

Store dried candied peel in glass jars, tightly covered. It will last a long time on the shelf if it is really dry, but I like to freeze it to have on hand for months.

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Welsh Cakes

If you like candied fruit and spicy baked goods, you’ll like these old-fashioned cookies.
Welsh Cakes are like scones but spicier and thinner. These are some of my favorite cookies and I only make them at Christmas. They go really well with a bold tea like Welsh Breakfast, Scottish Breakfast or English Breakfast.



2 cups flour
1/2 level tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) butter
1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine granulated)
1/2 level tsp Mixed Spice (All Spice / Pumpkin pie spice) (optional)
1/2 cup or about 2 oz candied peel. I used what I had left over from fruit cake making.
1 egg, beaten
Cream to blend…. you really do need to use cream in this.

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.
2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. Add the peel.
3. Stir in the egg, then add enough cream to make a firm dough.
4. Roll out the dough to 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick, cut it in to 3 inch rounds

Traditionally, you would cook them on a hot buttered griddle iron or in a heavy frying pan for about 10 minutes, turning when the underside is brown. However, I baked them in a 350* F oven on a stone until they were lightly browned.
Serve warm with butter and honey. Makes about 10

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Turkey Vegetable Soup with Homemade Noodles

I was given the turkey carcass from last night’s fellowship dinner at Church. So tonight I am making turkey soup. With homemade noodles.

I have cooked the carcass in a big pot of water with some carrots, celery and onion for flavor and a splash of apple cider vinegar to help the bones release minerals.  No, the soup won’t taste vinegary, I don’t use that much just a ‘glug’ from the bottle.

After it has simmered all day, it’s ready to make soup. I strain the broth out. What I don’t use tonight will be pressured canned or put in the freezer for later. It will develop a wonderful jelly like layer over the top of the liquid. That jelly is filled with protein and nutrition. Its great for simple lunches and recipes both.

Then I pick the meat off the cooked bones and set it aside. I save the cooked veggies for lunch tomorrow.

In a smaller pot I put enough broth for tonight’s soup.  Just about 8 cups or so. Then I add some meat, about 1/4 cup per cup of soup so about 2 cups of meat in this pot. Next I add chopped carrots, chopped celery and a diced potato. I just eye-ball the amounts. You don’t need to add the potato, but it makes the soup heartier.

Now add some salt and black pepper to taste.

Once the potatoes are about done, and it won’t take long because they’re diced, I add the homemade noodles. I have some in the freezer from where I made them last week.

The noodles only take 10 minutes or less to cook. Taste the soup and add more salt and black pepper if needed.  This soup is so simple and satisfying, it doesn’t need a bunch of herbs or seasonings, it stands on it’s own.

The Noodles

I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of Pasta Grannies and learned that the flour I can buy here is not like their 00 flour.  So I ran some plain flour through my VitaMix and made a flour that is like powder, much like the Italian 00 flour. And oh my does it ever make great noodles!

I use 1 egg and a glug of olive oil for every cup of flour and a pinch of salt. I’m kind of big on glugs, aren’t I?  Mix it all up and knead til its smooth and soft, elastic.  Let it rest about 20 minutes before rolling out the noodles.

You can run it through a pasta roller or hand roll it with a rolling pin. I suggest you roll it out about 1/4 inch. I use my Kitchen Aid pasta roller.  Then you can roll it up and cut the noodles or use an old fashioned thingie like this pasta/noodle roller. That’s what I usually use.




Keep the noodles floured well and separate them to dry a little while before you cook them, maybe another 15 minutes.



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Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

Two weeks til the Big Day!  You can start now getting your plans together so that your Thanksgiving Day will be easier and even enjoyable. This post is meant to help you find your way through preparing a big Thanksgiving Dinner.

I started planning big holiday meals years ago and it has enabled me to let go of last minute stress and hurry. There isn’t much I like LESS than having to hurry through a recipe or making a meal.

I’ve gathered all my Thanksgiving Helps together from all over this site so you can use them if you want to.  The lists start on Friday, November 16th and go through Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd this year, 2018.

You can start today, November 8th, by putting together your menus, grocery lists both perishables and non-perishables, checking to see if you have all the equipment you will need to cook the meal, cleaning out your refrigerator and using this post to create a timeline of what you want to get done before Thursday, November 22nd.

You can print this page out and use these lists, adding your own notes, to help you prepare.

Here is a link to my FREE Thanksgiving Planner!

Friday, November 16th
Make pie crusts for the freezer. I freeze them between waxed paper, flat on a cookie sheet and store them in a ziplock bag, lying flat.
Make cornbread and biscuits for dressing, crumble and freeze in plastic bags.
Grocery shop for non-perishables
Clean bathroom and do general straightening in the house

Saturday, November 17th
Take turkeys out to defrost
Grocery shop for perishables
Cleaning and laundry

Monday, November 19th
Check on turkeys as they defrost
Clean dining room, put out plates, utensils, etc.
Set out all casserole dishes, pots and pans, see if I have what I need to cook everything
Make Aunt Eura’s Yeast Rolls and put in freezer
Make Cranberry Relish, refrigerate

Tuesday, November 20th
Brine the turkeys. I’ll use the Traditional Turkey recipe this year!
Assemble casseroles and refrigerate (sweet potato, green bean, any casserole that does not contain breads, baking soda or baking powder.)
Make a Breakfast Casserole for Thursday, freeze or refrigerate OR make a hot dip like artichoke spinach dip and serve it for an appetizer Thursday morning.

Wednesday, November 21st
Take Breakfast casserole/hot dip out of freezer
Bake pies
Make dressing and refrigerate
Make salads
Roast turkey, carve, refrigerate in chicken broth
Make centerpieces
Do last minute laundry

Thursday, November 22nd – Thanksgiving Day
Put Breakfast casserole or hot dips in to bake
Take pies and yeast rolls out of freezer early
Make stuffing
Make mashed potatoes
Reheat turkey
Bake casseroles
Bake yeast rolls
Make gravy

Dinner is ready!

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Meals For Large Crowds ~ Oven Fried Chicken

Oven Fried Chicken is a favorite of just about everyone who likes chicken. Its moist, flavorful and has a bit of a crust. Its not any more healthy than skillet fried chicken, but when you have a lot of people to feed, its easier to fry it in the oven than stand over a hot skillet for a few hours or even over a big outdoor deep fryer.

Oven fried chicken takes 2 hours to bake so prepare accordingly.

You can make any sides you like for this dish. I make mashed potatoes and green beans.  Watch the serving sizes on cans of green beans and buy what you need plus a few servings more.  If you decide that 1/2 cup is not enough green beans, then buy more accordingly.  I make instant mashed potatoes and most people can’t tell the difference between them and regular mashed potatoes because I use sour cream and butter in them. I buy a big box and make the whole box but I make them in two batches. Its easier to stir them even with a hand held mixer when you make them in batches. Again watch your serving size. The folks I know LOVE their mashed potatoes so I make sure the serving size is about 1 cup.

For the chicken you’ll need:

1 leg-thigh quarter per person. Add a few legs and thighs cut apart for those who don’t want two pieces of chicken and for children.

Cooking  oil  of your choice
Seasoned Salt

The night before you cook the chicken………..

Yes, you need to start the night before. Cut off dangly pieces of chicken fat and trim up the pieces neatly. Do not cut the thighs and legs apart except for the few pieces I mentioned above. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl, cover with cold water, sprinkle over about 3 tablespoons salt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

The salt water draws out all the blood from the meat and helps your chicken pieces cook more evenly. It also flavors the meat a tiny bit with salt. That’s a good thing.

The next morning………….
….Or right before you cook the chicken.

Heat the oven to 350*F. Place about 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup butter on each baking sheet you will be using. Put the prepared baking sheets in the oven to preheat. If you use really big baking sheets, then you can increase the amount of oil and butter you put on each sheet. You don’t want them to over flow but you want enough oil and butter to cook the chicken.

Put about 5 cups of flour in a large bowl. You can either add about 1 cup seasoned salt to the flour or you can wait and sprinkle the seasoned salt over the chicken after you dredge it with flour.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour. Set aside.

Take the HOT pans from the oven. (OR you can place the chicken pieces in the HOT oil while the pan sits in the oven using tongs. I actually do this more often than taking the pan out of the oven. It’s kind of hard to move a flat pan filled with hot grease!)

Place the pieces of dredged chicken skin side down on the baking sheet and in the oil/butter mixture. (If you did not add the seasoned salt to the flour, now is the time to sprinkle it over the chicken). Fill up your baking sheets and place them back in the oven.

Allow the chicken to cook for 1 hour. Gently, using a spatula, lift each piece of chicken and turn it over. Allow the chicken to bake for 1 more hour. If you find that the chicken pieces are getting too brown too quickly, you can lightly cover the baking sheet with foil while the chicken cooks and remove it toward the end of the cooking time.

After the chicken is done, the juices will run clear when you press the chicken with a spatula.

Once its done, I remove it to a heated serving pan and cover with foil until time to serve.

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Easy Taco Soup Recipe

Its getting to be soup time!  Cooler weather makes me crave a good soup.  If you like tacos, here is a soup recipe that is bound to please you!  This recipe isn’t my usual whole foods type but contains mixes and canned ingredients. Feel free to change it up as you like.

Taco Soup

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix


  • Corn chips
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped green onions

Brown the beef and onions together, drain if needed.

Add all other ingredients, transfer to a slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 6 hours.  Serve with garnishes.

For a thinner soup, add a little beef broth.

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