July 18, 2012

Life and Pumpkin Donuts

I'll share a yummy recipe with you in a moment, but first I need to explain my absence and why I'll be "out of the office" for the next week or so.

We've been busy with vacation bible school at our church!  It's been fun!  I'm the craft lady and I get to do all sorts of fun things with the kiddos!  They are a great bunch of kids! We've made creation banners, Bible sunglasses, God's eye crosses, paper plate 3-D art, and twirly birds.  Tonight is our last night and we'll be creating dinosaur suncatchers and pipe cleaner spiders.  (They all tie in with the Bible stories for each night...really!) 

I've received several orders on my Etsy shop for the wooden signs I make.  Actually, it's a group effort.  Hubby buys the wood and cuts it if needed, our oldest son sands the wood for me with the power sander, I paint the signs, then the girls help me package them up for shipping.  The 4 orders are definitely keeping me busy this week!

We have a wedding open house for my brother and sister - in - law on Saturday to attend.  Saturday also begins our week of 4-H judging.  Our second oldest son, Isaac, will be showing his doe, Pixie, on Saturday.  (We'll be shaving her and bathing her today!) Sunday afternoon three of our 4-H-ers will be making their foods items for judging on Monday.  The girls will be showing some sewing projects and the boys will be showing their Lego creations.  The girls also have dolls to show in the arts and crafts area, Isaac will show a punched tin artwork he made for me for the kitchen (he's a sweetie!), and Noah will be showing a drawing and a bookshelf (both of which need to be completed this weekend -- eek!).  Not to mention all the paperwork, workbooks, and record sheets that need to be filled out for each entry!  Wowsers!  (I'll be sharing the latest judging news on Facebook so you'll want to tune in there for ribbons and placement announcements ... if you're interested.  *smile*)

(Isaac and Pixie last year....they won Reserve Champion)

We are going to be busy around here!  But...before I take a little break I thought I'd leave a recipe for you! 

I'm making good on my promise to share the pumpkin donut recipe I shared a photo of on Facebook a few weeks ago!  It's from The Happy Housewife blog.


Pumpkin Donuts

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons butter (room temp)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk (find my substitute HERE)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin

 Oil for frying (I used shortening)

Cream together sugars and butter.  Mix in egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and buttermilk.  Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.  Slowly mix in flour until the dough is easy to work with and can be rolled out without sticking on a lightly floured surface.  Fill the fryer (I have a Fry Daddy) with 3 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees. Make sure you use a thermometer because the wrong temperature will ruin the donuts (I just started frying when I put a drop of dough in and it started sizzling...that's when I started putting in donuts).  Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut out large circles (I used a large drinking glass and a small cap for the middle). Drop donuts in frying pan (or fryer) two at a time. Fry for one minute and then flip. Fry an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Do not over cook.  Place on paper towels to cool (line the counter with paper bags or newspaper so the counter doesn't get greasy).

I made a glaze of milk, cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar. Keep the glaze a little runny so you can drizzle it over the donuts.

We made these on the 4th of July and even though they were pumpkin (an usual fall treat) they were enjoyed!!  We hope you enjoy the donuts as much as we did!

July 11, 2012


I received the following note in my inbox the other day and I thought I would share it with you.  I love it when customers are happy!  If you have something nice to say about Old House Mercantile products let me know and I'll happily tell the world!  *smile*  Just email me at oldhousemercantile (at) gmail (dot) com.

I received my soaps and decided to try the lemongrass first. I planned to use another one next time. The lemongrass has stayed put for now because I absolutely love it! I know I will like the others too but for now, this one is staying where it is till it's gone.
I can't use most regular soaps because the fragrance in them causes eczema on my hands. I have had absolutely no problems with my Natural Goat Milk Soaps from Old House Mercantile! Thank you so much for making available 'good smelly soaps' that I can feel pampered with!

Thanks & Hugs,

Elaine H

Aw, shucks.  You're so welcome Elaine!  I'm so happy to be able to share our soaps with you!  Warms my heart!!  Hugs back at ya!

 Hop on over HERE to take a peeky at other Old House Mercantile items!
(Rosemary w/ Tea Tree Oil soaps are currently out of stock but will be available in two weeks!)

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

I made this pie the other day and it was delicious!  The recipe is from the wrapper of Keebler's Ready Made pie crust.  (I bought them really inexpensively with a coupon and sale, but I often make my own graham cracker pie crust...recipe to come!)  I used our homemade raspberry jam (it wasn't seedless and it was still yummy!).  I hope ya'll enjoy it as much as the rest of us!

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

1 package 8 oz. cream cheese (softened -- microwave for 15 seconds)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided (3 T. and 1 T.)
1 egg
1 graham cracker pie crust
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry preserves

In a small mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy.  Beat in sweetened condensed milk and 3 T. lemon juice.  Add egg and beat until combined.

Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the crust.  In a small bowl combine preserves and remaining lemon juice.  Spoon half over cream cheese mixture.

Top with remaining cream cheese mixture and the remaining preserves mixture.  Use a knife or spatula to swirl preserves into the mixture.

Bake at 300 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

*I thought this would be really yummy in a chocolate graham cracker crust and the with fudge ice cream topping drizzled over the top!  Can't wait to try it again!!

July 6, 2012


How was your 4th of July?  Ours was relaxing and fun.  We made pumpkin donuts for breakfast!  Yummy!  (Don't worry the recipe is coming soon!)

We didn't step foot outside, though.  Too hot and dry to enjoy fireworks, s'mores, etc.  The kiddos asked if we could do s'mores and I told them to put a marshmallow on a poker and stick it out the front door in the sun.  It would roast soon enough!  *wink*  The kids are antsy to do s'mores but that won't happen with our 100+ degree temperatures.  Not worth it to sit around a camp fire and roast, roast, roast!  We have a cold front coming through I believe Sunday so we're hoping to do some fun outdoor activities soon!  (Like put our pool liner in so we can use the pool!)

 Little man started standing without help this week and is so proud of himself!

Our garden is doing well.  Hubby has been out every morning to check on it, water and weed.  Then he comes in drenched like he took a shower out there!  Hot I tell ya!  I don't know how you southern folks stand the heat!  We northern Indiana folk like it less than 80!  *smile*

 The boys decided that they love the Star Wars station on Pandora.  It makes for a nice backdrop to a saber fight!  *wink*

Our girls made patriotic cupcakes and (most of) the kiddos took them to our immediate neighbors to wish them a Happy Independence Day!

What did ya'll do for the 4th?  Do tell?!

July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Hey there ya'll!  Happy 4th of July! 

It's so hot and dry here in Northern Indiana that there's a burn ban so we can't do fireworks from home and it's too stinkin' hot to go watch them somewhere.  Maybe if our van was air conditioned we might go sit and watch, but we're staying home!

We'll make some goodies, play some games (inside!), and watch a few movies.  Tonight hubby, my mom, the two teenagers and I will pop some popcorn and watch our annual viewing of The Patriot!  Love. Love that movie!  "Aim small, miss small."  Love it!

Our menu for the day is grilled hot dogs and hamburgers (hubby's going to grill them before it gets too hot), crock pot mac-n-cheese, corn on the cob, veggies, baked beans, and for dessert we have peanut butter pie and key lime pie.  The girls are making cupcakes to munch on throughout the day...I bought some lovely patriotic cupcake holders and sprinkles (from our favorite local cake supply store) for our small groups/4th cookout that didn't happen because of our loooong power outage.

Enjoy the day, folks!  Thank the Lord for your independence!  And pray like dixie for our country...we need it!

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

July 3, 2012

Peaches, Peaches, Everywhere!

Hey there!  Bet ya'll were wondering when you'd see another recipe around here, huh?  I know I was! Between our trip, Hannah's surgery, and our doozy of a storm that knocked out power for several days I haven't had much time to try new recipes, let alone get the regular daily chores done.  I'm up to my eyeballs in etsy orders.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take all the orders I can get!   I'm finishing up on my latest ones and working on a few custom orders so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Phew!

Last week, a few days before our wicked storm hit, I had hubby pick up a gazillion peaches.  They weren't ripe so I put them in paper bags to ripen.  Well wouldn't you know it that half of them were ripe the second day of the outage?  My oldest daughter, Rebekah, and I got peach jam canned and had planned on making jelly, but ran out of steam  It's hard to watch a wondering little guy (Samuel's crawling around and getting into everything!), keep kidddos occupied and do some canning when you're not at your own home (my in-laws graciously let us stay at their house while they were out of town).  But today I am working on that second batch of peaches.  So I'll be making jam and jelly.  Enjoy the repost of the recipe below.  It's super yummy and the jars look so pretty sitting on the counter!

~  ~  ~

I bought a bunch of peaches last week. I made two Creamy Peach Pies, some peach jam, and a couple of gluten free mini peach cobblers (for my mom). (Don't get super excited...I haven't conquered gluten free cooking...the crust part was Gluten Free Bisquick.) So the peaches that were used for the jam and pies were peeled and pitted. I saved them! Did you know you could use them for something else? Yep. I'm super frugal. I happened upon the idea in an Amish cookbook.

Here's what I did. Don't worry, I won't bore you with a picture of every. single. ingredient, but I will share with you a few pics that are helpful. *wink*

Tools needed:  medium pan for making peach skin juice, large pan for making jelly,  medium large pan for boiling jars, smaller sauce pan for boiling lids and bands, wooden spoons, hot pads, towels and dish rags, ladle, canning jar funnel

Peach Jelly
4 cups peach juice (see below)
1/2 tsp. butter
1 package of pectin (I really like Kroger brand!)
5 1/2 cups sugar
canning jars, bands and lids (new lids!)

Get your jars in a boiling water bath to sterilize or you can put them in the dishwasher and run it on sterilize, but I think that uses a lot of electricity.

I just put a towel on the bottom of my pan, set the jars in, fill with water, then get them to boiling.  Turn it down to medium and get started on the jam.  They are sterile by the time the jam is ready to go in them (10 minute minimum).  Put the lids and bands in another small pot, cover with water, get them boiling and turn down on medium.

To make peach juice place the peach pits and skins in a pot and cover with water.  (I had about 15-20 peaches so this batch of juice made enough for two batches of jelly and then some.) Turn the burner on high.  Once it starts boiling, turn it down to medium/low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Let it cool a bit.  (I had to wait for hubby to get back from running errands, one of which was buying more sugar for me, so my juice sat a few hours.)  Then strain the juice.  You'll need 4 cups of juice for a batch of jelly. (If you have less than 4 cups of juice...like 3 or so, it will work if you add water to it to make 4 cups, but I wouldn't use more that one cup of water.)

Place the juice, butter (keeps the jelly from foaming), and pectin powder in the pan.  See how big of a pan I use? It's a must or you are going to get splattered with very hot jelly later in the process.  Trust me, I know!  Stir it on high heat until it boils.  A full rolling boil.

Add the sugar all at once and stir.  Keep stirring until it gets to a full rolling boil like in the picture above.  You want it to boil like that for 1 minute.  (Keep stirring...you don't want the bottom to scorch.)  Then take it off the heat and set a timer for 5 minutes. During that time I take all my jars very carefully out of the water.  I use a long skinny wooden spoon and pair of hefty tongs to do this.  I set them on a towel on the counter upside down.  Then I set the pan of jelly on a hot pad right next to them on the counter.  I also set the lids and bands next to those. 

When the five minute timer is up I skim the top of the jelly.  There will be a bit of foam, but not nearly as much as if you hadn't put the butter in.  Set a jar next to the pot, put the funnel on, and funnel jelly into the jar leaving 1/4 - 1/2 inch head space.  Move on to the next jar until all are full.  (I usually have a little bit left over that goes into a jar that will go in the fridge for breakfast the next morning.)

Once the jars are all full I wipe the rims of the jars with a hot damp dishrag.  You may need more than one, depends on how messy you were filling the jars.  *smile*  Next take a lid out of the water and dry it off with a clean towel, set it on the jar, take out a band, dry it off, then screw it on the jar.  Make sure it's tight.  Set jars upside down on a clean towel.  Repeat until all jars are tended to.  Place the jars 1 inch apart.  Once the last jar is flipped upside down set the timer for 5 minutes. (This helps seal the lids.) After 5 minutes flip them right side up and in an hour or so you'll hear little pops.  Check all the lids in a few hours to make sure the lids are sealed.  If you can press on the lid gently and there's some give then you need to pop that one in fridge and use within a few weeks.  There's no need to process the jelly/jam if your jars, lids and band are sterile and hot and your jelly/jam is hot.  I know what some people say.  I have done this for a few years now and never had a problem with my jelly/jam.  And I make a lot of jelly and jam!  The instructions on the box of Kroger pectin even tells you to do it this way.  Why waste the time and energy when you don't need to? Trust me.  It works.  Enough said?  Good.  *smile*

Phew. That was a process, but let me tell you it gets easier each time you do it.  I would much rather do several batches in a row this way because it becomes like an assembly line.  When my jars are inverted for 5 minutes I take the time to wash out the pan for the jelly, wash the jars and get everything set up for the next batch.  It's so rewarding when you're done to see all those pretty little jars lined up on the counter.  I love it and I hope you do, too!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...