Friday, April 30, 2010

Frugal Recipe Binder

I have tried just about every possible system for storing and organizing recipes:
  • Plastic box with tabbed dividers - it would get stuffed quickly and the top wouldn't close properly.  =(
  • Binder with tabs and sheet protectors - larger capacity for recipes.  =)  The sheet protectors were pricey and it never fit nicely on my cookbook shelf =(
  • Filing them on the computer - good idea in concept because you aren't wasting printer paper. =)   How many of us want the laptop in the middle of a hot, messy kitchen?  =(
This is no good!  There must be a better solution!  Thinking.  Thinking.  Thinking.  Aha ... I've got it!  A trip to the thrift store and $3.00 later -- my problem was solved.

It's an old style photo album.  I actually bought two of them for 50 cents because I wanted more photo pages.  I kept this binder because the flowers, striped pattern and scallops reminded me of an old-fashioned kitchen.

I bought stick-on index tabs from Wal-Mart for $2.00.  They are in the office supply section by the post it notes, index cards, thumb tacks, and such.  I already had the  index cards but if you don't, check out the $1 section of Michael's Arts & Crafts for some really fun ones.  =)  The 4x6 size card fits perfectly in the photo album. 

Wouldn't this be a fun project to do with a budding young homemaker this summer?  You could make a day of it.  =)

A trip to a thrift shop or two for the photo album.  Follow that up with a quick jaunt into Wal-Mart for the stick on tabs.  Make sure you put on your blinders or you might get sucked in to the WM time warp and not come out until supper time!!!  LOL.  If you don't already have them, buzz into Michael's and pick out the prettiest recipe cards you can find in the $1 section.  They usually have several styles from which to choose.  On your way home, stop at McDonald's for $1 Hot Fudge Sundaes, so that you will be well nourished for your creative afternoon.  =)   Put on some nice music and enjoy a nice chat while you work together.

I would love to see pictures of your finished Frugal Recipe Binders so send them to erin1978 at gmail dot com.


The People have Spoken!!

The poll ended yesterday, and the strong winners were Artsy-Crafty Tutorials, Meal Plans with Recipes, and Importance of Hearth and Home.

One other question.  Do you like random posts?  Or do you prefer a schedule such as, Meal Plan Monday, Wordless Wednesday, and Frugal Friday?  I'm not sure if that is clever or corny.

Let me know ... I promise I will listen.  =)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Corners of my Home - Our Bedroom

Bed with a down comforter.
Thrifted  pillow shams.

Drawstring project bag made by my friend Sue.
Just an arm reach away for when the knitting bug strikes.

Vintage quilt top lovingly re-finished by my Momma.  
Hand quilted in my favorite color -- red!

Stained glass lamp made by Grandpa Bill years ago.
I love the reflection in the mirror!

EZ Style Joseph's Coat

I was utterly astonished and delighted when I pulled this picture out of Abigail's backpack.  She colored her Joseph's Coat just as Elizabeth Zimmerman, the matriarch of modern knitting, would have designed it  =) =) =)

Starting at the top, notice the yoke style neckline that is perfectly sized for Joseph's proportions.  It's knit back in forth in random colored strips rather then in the round.  Abigail must be as scared of steeking as her mommy!

The sleeves however are knit in the round and the random strips are continued.  Both the neckline and cuffs don't appear to roll, so I'm guessing they were knit in garter stitch,  EZ's all-time favorite.  

Now onto the body of the coat.   Instead of more random vertical strips, she decides to do an extra, extra, extra long knitted-on border to form the body of the coat.  This is where Abigail truly shows she is not a blind follower and does a bit of "uninventing".  Elizabeth would be so proud of her!

If you are a knitter and haven't heard of Elizabeth Zimmerman, I encourage you to check out any of her books at your local library.  Her book titles:

Knitting Without Tears
Knitter's Almanac (my personal favorite)
Knitting Workshop
Opinionated Knitter

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ball Blue Book Winner!

Drumroll, please ......................................

The winner is SARAH FAITH!  I hope you find this book helpful with preserving your hoped for bumper crop of tomatoes later this summer.  =)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

V.I.P. Day

Do you remember Grandparent's Day when you were in elementary school?  Well they still have it but it's now called VIP Day.  Since all of the grandparents are in Michigan, Abigail decided to take Mr. K as her Very Important Person. 

This is Mrs. Veenema, Abigail's teacher.  Her daughter Julia and her three children (Elizabeth, Peter, and Mark) were visiting so they came to school for the day.  Can you tell Abigail and Elizabeth are best buddies?!?!

Peter Boy is checking out the aquarium.  Handsome little man, don't you think?  He's going to be tall like his daddy and is a potential for Abigail ... but not until she's 25!  LOL =)

The kids learned a special song with motions to sing for the V.I.P's. 

It was a great day, enjoyed by both the students and visitors!!  Thanks Mrs. Veenema, for all your hard work.  =)

Seasoned Oven Roasted Potatoes

This is one of my favorite side dishes!  It's easy to make, goes with lots of main dishes, and the leftovers (if you have them) can be served with scrambled eggs the next morning.

You will need 6-8 medium sized potatoes.  I like to use the red variety because they are my favorite color.  =)  Cut them in quarters the long way and then chop them into 1/4 inch-ish slices.  Check out my pretty new knife ... it's so shiny and pretty!

Get out your big or little jug of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and jar of  potato seasoning mix.  

Put the sliced potatoes in a bowl.  I like to use a stainless steel Farberware-style bowl with a plastic lid but any big bowl will do.  Add 1/2 cup potato seasoning mix and 1/4 cup EVOO.

I snap the lid on tight and hand it to my darling domestic diva-in-training so she can shake, shake, shake it.  She loves this job ... can you tell??  

Dump the well coated potatoes onto a cookie sheet and pop them in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.  I forgot to do that, so I turned the oven on as I put the potatoes in and added 5 minutes to the baking time.  =)  If you feel so inclined, give the potatoes a turn at the 15 minute mark.  They still taste good if you don't.

Thirty minutes later, you open the oven to find this ... Yum-Yum!:


1 cup flour
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme

Mix together and store in canning jar. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Favorite Strawberry Jam

Last summer I made my very first batch of canned strawberry jam and it was so YUMMY.  I fully embraced the concept of "stocking up" and made over 50 jars of jam!!  Three dozen small jars like you see in the picture to have on hand as gifts and the rest in pints for the pantry.  Yeah, I know ... crazy woman.  =) 

I used Ball No Sugar Needed Pectin and the jam making tutorial found at the Pick Your Own website.  Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.  I'm by no means a jam-making expert, but I'll try to answer any questions you have. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monday - Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Oven Roasted Potatoes

Tuesday - Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Buttercrunch Lettuce Salad

Wednesday - Homemade Pizza (2 of them)

Thursday - Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Bread

Friday - Marinaded Chicken on the Grill with Sauteed Vegetables

Saturday - Wet Burritos

As a side note, Mr. K has been riding his bike to work (5 miles each way) since the weather has been nice.  He really, really enjoys the exercise as he sits at a desk all day long.  It's an added bonus not paying for parking.  However, he is like a teenage boy and gets ravenously hungry, so I'm beefing up his lunches with extra sandwiches, cheese cubes, and fruit.

Check back later this week for the Chicken Noodle Soup recipe with pictures.  It is so yummy and hearty!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Ball Blue Book of Canning

My first introduction to canning was as at the age of 7 or 8 years old.  Grandma and Grandpa Mellema had a canning kitchen set up at one end of their basement.  Every summer, right after school was let out, the canning season would start.  Peaches ... pears ... applesauce.  I must admit, I was not so keen on helping because I found the whole process very hot and sticky.

But, THANK YOU Grandpa and Grandma for planting the seed of food preservation.  The seedling became a full grown plant last summer when I did my very first pressure and water-bath canning.  I won't deny it was hard work but very fun and very fulfilling!  There is nothing as pretty as a shelf full of jams jars.  =)

The Ball Blue Book of Preserving was my road map and I'd like to share one with one of you!!  It's chock full of colored pictures, step by step instructions for both water bath and pressure canning, and lots of recipes.  I will do the drawing next Wednesday (April 28th) and there are a couple different ways for you to enter:

Leave a comment telling me the first thing you'd like to try canning = 1 entry.
Become a follower of Dutch Girl Diary = 1 extra entry.
Already a DGD follower?  Link to this giveaway on YOUR blog or Facebook page = 1 extra entry.

Check back tomorrow when I post the recipe to my favorite strawberry jam recipe!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Newborn Wool Soaker Pattern

I knitted and sold LOTS of these wool soakers for my cottage business and they were loved by the mama's who bought them.  So I decided to share the pattern with you (newborn size only).  You are welcome to knit as many as you'd like for personal use or gifts.  If you think you'd like to knit them to sell, like I did, that's fine.  Just link back to this pattern.  =)  Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments.  I'd love to see finished projects, too!

Size Newborn - up to 8 or 9 pounds

Supplies Needed:


Cast on 64 stitches with the #5, 16" circular needle.  Join to knit in the round, placing a marker between the first and last stitch so that it is easier to count rows.

Knit in K2, P2 ribbing for 4 rows.
K2, YO, P2tog around this row to establish an eyelet row for the drawstring.
Knit in K2, P2 ribbing for another 4 rows
These ribbing rows should equal approximately 2 inches.

Place hip markers so that there are 32 stitches in the front and 32 stitches in the back - one on each side with the beginning of the round marker in the center back.

Switch to the larger needle - #8, 16" circular needle.  It will be a little snug but  will loosen up within a couple rows.  

Increase 4 stitches in the back section, using the very simple increase, M1.  Just space them out evenly.  There will be 32 stitches in the front section and 36 stitches in the back section.

Knit around until the piece measures 3 inches from the cast on edge.

Starting at the beginning of the row, place a marker after the 9th, 12th, and 15th stitch.  The hip marker already marks the 18th stitch.  Go back to the beginning of the row, and count in the OTHER direction and mark the 9th, 12th, and 15th stitch.  Again the hip marker already marks the 18th stitch.  You are now set up do add short rows to the back of the wool soaker so that it will fit comfortably over a cloth diapered bottom.

Starting at the beginning of the row:
  • Knit until you reach the FIRST marker (9th stitch).  Drop the stitch marker - wrap and turn.  Purl to the beginning of the row.
  • Purl until you reach the FIRST marker (9th stitch).  Drop the stitch marker - wrap and turn.  Knit to the beginning of the row.
  • Knit until you reach the wrapped stitch, pick up the wrap, and knit it and the stitch together. 
  • Knit until you reach the SECOND marker (12th stitch).  Drop the stitch marker - wrap and turn.  Purl to the beginning of the row.
  • Purl until you reach the wrapped stitch, pick up the wrap, and purl it and the stitch together.
  • Purl until you reach the SECOND marker (12th stitch).  Drop the stitch marker - wrap and turn.  Knit to the beginning of the row. 
Continue in this fashion until the 15th and 18th stitch have been knitted in both directions.  Keep the stitch markers in place after the 18th stitch as hip markers.

Short rows are easy to do when you have someone sitting next to you to walk you through each step.  If you are getting stuck, take a look at this short row tutorial.

Continue to knit in the round until the soaker measures 4 1/2" from the FRONT.

Bind off 5 stitches after the first hip marker and 5 stitches before the second hip marker.  Knit to the beginning of the row.  There should be 22 stitches in FRONT and 36 stitches in the BACK. 

You'll now be working with the back stitches and decreasing on both ends to form a flap.  You may find it easier to put the front stitch on a piece of waste yarn or on a stitch holder.

Starting at the beginning of the row marker, knit until there are 3 stitches left, K2tog, K1.
Turn work and purl until you have 3 stitches left, SSP, P1.

Repeat these 2 rows until 16 stitches remain.
Break yarn leaving a long tail.  Weave it in loosely (1 inch stitches) so that your knitting won't unravel. 

Pick up the stitches from front flap with your #8 circular knitting needle.

Starting from the knit side, knit until there are 3 stitches left, K2tog, K1.
Turn work and purl until you have 3 stitches left, SSP, P1.

Repeat these 2 rows until 16 stitches remain.

Knit in stockinette (knit the right/smooth side; purl the wrong/bumpy side) until the leg opening measures 9 inches.  Try not stretch the leg opening while you measure it with a flexible tape measure.

Kitchener stitch the two flaps together.

Pick up stitches around each leg opening to add a cuff.  See that extra stitch after the K2tog/SSP?  It makes for a neat, tidy edge that is easy to see for this step.

If you'd like cute rolled cuff, pick up 42 stitches with the double pointed needles (DPNs).  Knit 8 rows.  Bind off on the 9th using EZ's Stretchy Bind Off.

If you'd like a charming ribbed cuff, pick up 40 stitches with the DPNs.  K2, P2 rib for 8 rows.  Bind off on the 9th using EZ's Stretchy Bind Off.

Make a Twisted Cord drawstring to thread through the eyelets.  Find a cute baby and put it to use!  Don't forget to lanolize the wool soaker regularly.  =)

Garden 2010

Peas - planted from seed

Bush Beans - planted from seed

Tomato plant has a blossom!

Buttercrunch Lettuc, Red Sails Lettuce, and Broccoli 
I bought these seedlings from a lovely Feed & Seed store near my sister's house in New York.

Marigolds are such cheerful flowers.  They make me smile!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Abigail's Special Day

The birthday loot is wrapped and waiting patiently for a little girl to wake up the next morning.

Morning, Sleepy Head!  Are you excited?

"Mommy, I'm finally SIX!"

Waiting for Daddy so the Birthday Girl can open one present before getting ready for school.

Hi there, Mr. K.  =)

"I think I know what it is!!!" 

"It's a Cinderella Barbie Doll!!!!"

"I need to get her out before she suffocates!"

God Bless you Abigail!  
Mommy and Daddy love you so much and are proud of the way you are growing up to be such 
a sweet Child of the King

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog Content??

Please check out the poll that I added to the sidebar!  I'm very interested in finding out what YOU would like to read about in Dutch Girl Diary. 

Do you like tutorials with lots of pictures on how to do artsy-craftsy things?

 A simple quilt that would make a great tutorial

Maybe you prefer weekly meal plans with new recipes that are Tried and True favorites?

What about ramblings about what's going on in my life with a sprinkling of family photos?

 Abigail's almost 4 - her first night in big girl bed

Perhaps inspirational posts about being a homemaker in our exceedingly materialistic and humanistic world bring you great encouragement?

Maybe you'd like all of the above???

I look forward to your feedback and comments.  =)

I'm Going to Have Fun with my New Freezer

This little darling is being delivered between 11am and 3pm TODAY!

I've been gently asking ((cough-nagging-cough)) Mr. K for one for the last 3 years and he very kindly agreed to purchase one this year.  In honor of our new addition to the household, I'd like to share a couple of my MOST FAVORITE freezer cooking recipes:

Brown together in large dutch oven - drain off extra grease:
3 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion

Add to meat mixture, stirring well to combine:
3/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce

Let cool before dividing between 3 quart freezer bags or freezer containers.

4 pounds chicken legs and thighs
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 bottle beer (1 can Coke optional replacement)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash chicken and divide between 4 quart freezer bags.
Mix marinade and divide evenly between bags.
Seal, label, freeze.

Use in lasagna, with meatballs, or as pizza sauce!
Makes 9 quarts

Saute in very large stock pot in a bit of EVOO:
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 large green pepper, chopped finely
Add and simmer 1/2 hour or until desired thickness:
6 cans crushed tomato (87 ounces total)
12 cans tomato sauce (96 ounces total)
6 cups water
6 cans tomato paste (36 ounces total)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes3 tablespoons salt
1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons cornstarch (mix with a little water so it won't clump when added to pot)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

ETA @ 11:20am - She's here!!!  It's so nice being at the beginning of the delivery schedule rather then the end.  Miss Francis Freezer is sitting next to the fraternal twins Miss Lucy Washer and Miss Gwendolyn Dryer in the Utility Room.  I do hope they play nice.  =)  



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