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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 12.31.2020

Getting Close to Christmas, a Crochet Star Garland, a Winter Bucket List, and DIY Sleigh Bells from Old Belts are this week's featured posts!

 Hello and Welcome!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Funtastic Friday #313

DIY Glitter Old Fashioned Christmas Light Bulb Ornaments,  How to Reupholster Dining Room Chairs with Velvet Fabric, DIY Snuffle Ball for Dogs, that you can make, Almond Joy Bark Recipe, and a Happy New Year Banner are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Fudgy Chocolate Pudding Cake, a slow cooker recipe

Today we are offering a Fudgy Chocolate Pudding Cake that is long on delicious flavor and short on beauty! But then again most homestyle chocolate desserts do not win beauty contests, only taste contests! And this Fudgy Chocolate Pudding Cake is exactly that, a big winner in the taste category... 

This delicious Fudgy Chocolate Pudding Cake will look like a dried-out mud puddle when you go to serve it, but I ask you kindly - don't let that stop you from enjoying every single bite! Once served up in your favorite dessert bowls, no one will be able to resist it, it is that good! 

People seem to love chocolate in any form regardless of what it looks like. You can find many recipes in cookbooks and on the internet called various names like Chocolate Mess or Chocolate Tornado, and even Chocolate Earthquake because many times chocolate desserts are not attractive in any way to look at, but always taste heavenly! 

Delicious warm or chilled, Fudgy Chocolate Pudding Cake.


This is a recipe just like that...
Thursday, December 24, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 12.24.2020

Our Favorite Holiday Books, How to Make a Fabric Basket, Choosing One Word for 2021, and Chocolate Star Shortbread Cookies are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Funtastic Friday #312

Friday Favorites included an Elf on a Shelf, DIY Repurposed Candlesticks with Sheet Metal Shades, A Repurposed Violin Case Shelf, Reindeer Treats, A Simple Christmas Table Setting using Holly, and Galvanized Tin Trees are this week's featured posts! 

Hello and Welcome!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Cottage Apple Salad

Cottage Apple Salad, simple to make, delicious to eat, and perfect for busy days. This is one to keep in your memory for a quick salad to enjoy, it is that good...Cottage Apple Salad, yep, you will want to make this.

This salad of apples, cottage cheese, and a dusting of cinnamon borders on too simple to be an actual recipe. But on the other hand, it is too tasty to leave it a secret and not share. The creamy cottage cheese gently coats the crisp sweet apple pieces, using cinnamon is the perfect spice, it is zesty without being overpowering in flavor. And we all need more ideas like this one for busy days, and let's be honest, life gives us busy days...

Cottage Apple Salad, apples, cottage cheese and cinnamon!
Friday, December 18, 2020

Funtastic Friday #311

Grinch Cookies with a Printable Tag, Pesto Quesadilla Kid Fun, Easy Hot Chocolate Mix, DIY Gum Machine Snow Globe, and Giant Cardboard Christmas Ornaments are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

Fresh Pear with Gorgonzola, Balsamic Vinegar and Toasted Walnuts

Fresh Pear with Gorgonzola, Balsamic Vinegar, and Toasted Walnuts is a delicious way to start a festive meal. And what a perfect time to enjoy this, right now winter pears are at their prime in the marketplace. Fresh Pear with Gorgonzola, Balsamic Vinegar, and Toasted Walnuts is light, fresh and a perfect starter to serve to family and friends.  

Winter brings its own challenges for festive cooking. Depending upon where you live your marketplace may be filled to the brim with delicious foods from all over. Or if you live in a more rural community, you may find your selection is a bit more limited. We are rural, yet just outside of a larger community. Our market is fairly well stocked with beautiful produce displays, many of which are from neighboring farms. Plus we have access to a wonderful local farm offering a winter CSA share we are enjoying with a continually expanding love of vegetables!   

But from time to time we have lived where food in the marketplace was a bit more scarce and did not include a large variety. Especially while volunteering with the National Parks System. As a volunteer we often found ourselves with over an hours drive to the nearest market, only to find a very limited selection. The upside to a limited selection? That it is definitely the time to turn up the creativity in your kitchen for meal planning. 
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 12.17.2020

Christmas Home Decor 2020, Starbucks Copycat Gingerbread Loaf, Raspberry or Peach Ragulech, and a Gumball Machine Christmas Snow Globe are this week's features!

Hello and Welcome!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

How to Make Sugar-Free Snipped Dates. Naturally sweet and delicious!

How to Make Sugar-free Snipped Dates, naturally sweet and the perfect topping for oatmeal or even cold cereal in the morning. Easy and delicious, Sugar-Free Snipped Dates sweeten without adding refined sugar to your morning. 

I love dates, not only are they sweet and delicious, but very healthy with a number of minerals delivered in each serving. Dates are the perfect natural ingredient for sweetening other foods, with their caramel sweetness. The only problem is that they are very very sticky! Commercially prepared snipped dates are sugar-coated to keep them separate and easy to crumble over the top of oatmeal or other foods. Convenient yes, but I don't want or need the added sugar...
Monday, December 14, 2020

Good Old Raisin and Peanuts Honey Cookies

Good Old Raisin and Peanuts Honey Cookies are delicious. Who else remembers GORP (good old raisins and peanuts)? The energy treats everyone took along when hiking. These Good Old Raisin and Peanuts Honey Cookies are just as delicious, but you don't have to be out on a hike to eat them!

I am on the lookout for a good recipe anywhere, and I do mean anywhere. I was walking through the gift shop at the Flavel House Museum in Astoria Oregon a few years ago when I found a sweet little cookbook that had this wonderful, honey peanut butter cookie recipe inside. I knew right away that I wanted to make these cookies, and sure enough, they were just as good as I had thought they would be!
Friday, December 11, 2020

Funtastic Friday #310

Our Favorite Gadgets for Baking Cookies, Christmas Trees Made from Scrap Molding, Easy Egg Nog Cookies, Candy Cane Sugar Cookies, Pastel Colors Whipped Soap DIY, and How to Make Personalized Embroidered Ornaments are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

My Favorite Super Delicious No-Bake Cookies

I love these cookies, My Favorite Super Delicious No-Bake Cookie, are fudgy, crunchy and everyone loves them! But I don't make them all the time. The reason? They are my secret weapon...

Yes, this is the recipe I pull out when I need something delicious and need it NOW. Need is an interesting word, so maybe I should clarify, I don't need them personally like a craving (but trust me, they are definitely crave-worthy!). No these are the cookies I save for those times I need something for the family to enjoy and I just don't have the time to invest in a complicated recipe.

My Favorite Super Delicious No-Bake Cookies are easy to make, taking just minutes, and require no oven time. They are a saucepan cookie recipe which means only one pan to wash. Once they are dropped onto the wax paper to set up into little fudgy mountains of deliciousness, you are done. They do need about 30 to 45 minutes to set up and cool completely, so plan ahead if you need to package them as a gift. And yes, they do make a great gift to any chocolate-loving cookie eater!
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 12.10, 2020

Family Traditions when your Family isn't Traditional, English Toffee Cookies, Chewy Choco Chips, and Nuts Cookie Bars, How to Make A Beret (with free pattern), Homemade Marshmallows, and Quilted Star Ornament are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Bananas in Orange Caramel Sauce

Bananas in Orange Caramel Sauce is perfect to make and enjoy this time of year! Fresh oranges have flooded the market place and green-tipped bananas are never a problem! This is one fruit dessert that will not leave you looking for something else, once you leave the table...

Bananas in Orange Caramel Sauce, what a delicious way to end your meal while enjoying the virtues of eating fruit (or mostly fruit) for dessert. I have been making this on and off for over 20 years and it is always refreshing. This is one of those recipes just for the two of you, but if there are more diners at your table it is really easy to double and even triple the recipe!
Monday, December 7, 2020

Mashed Potatoes, no drain and Instant Pot easy!

These are the easiest Mashed Potatoes ever! That's what you can expect from this Instant Pot recipe for Mashed Potatoes, no drain, and Instant Pot easy! By the way, this method also works in your stove-top pressure cooker with a minor adjustment for time...


Each time I drained my cooked potatoes preparing to get them mashed, I struggled with all the nutrition going down the drain! Often I would save the potato water and use it for baking because it makes great yeast bread as well as biscuits and savory muffins. But for those busy times when baking was not in my immediate future, the potato water went down the drain. 


Then I came across this no drain recipe, and from there it was a different story! I knew I was about to change the way I made Mashed Potatoes forever! And the best part? This method is completely available to accommodate your kitchen needs. That's right when you are ready for mashed potatoes. Like right after making the most magnificent gravy to drizzle over the top...

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Funtastic Friday #309

First Frost Theme Tablescape, White Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, Crafting with Postage Stamps, English Toffee Cookies, and Faux Snow Christmas Ornaments are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

Encouraging Hearts and Home 12.03.2020

Holiday Gift Ideas for Teen Boys and Girls, Cranberry Bread Pudding, Buffalo Plaid Placemat, and A Christmas Home Tour are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Whole Wheat Cottage Cheese Yeast Buns

Whole Wheat Cottage Cheese Yeast Buns, are delicious, tender, and only require a bowl and a spoon for mixing.  This recipe is so easy, making it perfect to stir together with your favorite young helper by your side! And by the way, Whole Wheat Cottage Cheese Yeast Buns, make great sandwich buns too!


Friday, November 27, 2020

Beef Stew from Provence, a pressure cooker recipe

This Beef Stew from Provence is delicious. Rich with flavors from red wine, bay leaves, and thyme. While Beef Stew from Provence does require a rest in the red wine marinade, feel free to start this dish one day and cook it the next! The orange zest and black olives round out the flavors and compliment each other. 

Beef Stew from Provence was one of the first dinners I made in the pressure cooker. The success of this dish made me want to learn to use this wonderful and time-saving appliance even more! And while I am not an expert, I have become proficient in pressure cooking. Enough for me to say; don't let it frighten you, because if I can pressure cook a meal, so can you... 

Often meat labeled for "beef stew" can be a challenge. While the beef is of good quality, it can be tough. And no one wants to serve a delicious main-dish, that is tough. The truth is, all that delicious flavor can not take away the toughness of the meat. Making what would have been a delicious dish into one no one will be able to enjoy. 
Thursday, November 26, 2020

Funtastic Friday #308

25 Homemade Gifts, a DIY Wall Mount Gift Wrap Organizer, Christmas Gift Bag Wall Art, Fall Dried Fruit Potpurri, An Acorn Tablescape, and a DIY Dollar Tree Candle Stand (made from skewers!) are this week's featured posts! 

Hello and Welcome!

Encouraging Hearts and Home 11.26.2020

How to Make a Clothespin Bag, 12 Books on Yoga that will Inspire, Sausage and Root Vegetables Sheet Pan Dinner are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

Happy Thanksgiving from Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving Day!  Thank you for your visits here at Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household, we appreciate it more thank you know!  
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Kale Apple and Carrot Slaw

Kale Apple and Carrot Slaw, the perfect way to introduce a raw kale salad to the family! Plus this salad is so good, you don't need to be worried about anyone NOT liking it! Kale Apple and Carrot Slaw, not too sweet, and everyone I know loves it...my guess is, so will you.

I am not shy about my frugal beliefs and ways to manage creatively, and this salad is proof that frugal can also be delicious. The act of frugal food management is preparing and enjoying food while using what you already have on hand, in a timely manner. This may include a bit of a trial and (possible) error. But I will tell you right now, this is also a fun and delicious way to let your creative juices flow! 

Just a few ingredients needed for Kale Apple and Carrot Slaw.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Whole Wheat Jam Crumble Bars

Bar cookies are a baker's best friend! These Whole Wheat Jam Crumble Bars will become your new best friend because they are quick to assemble, delicious and whole grain...plus they can be made in any flavor (thanks to the jam part!) you prefer. 

A pan of Whole Wheat Jam Crumble Bars makes a great snack for after school as well as a fun dessert to enjoy after dinner. It is also the kind of dessert you can whip up at a moment's notice if you want because, including the jam, there are only five ingredients! Yep, only 5 ingredients...


Friday, November 20, 2020

Sugar and Spice Snickerdoodle Bars, whole grain delicious!

Sugar and Spice Snickerdoodle Bars. Delicious made from whole wheat and a spicy treat the whole family will love. Bring healthy and delicious back to the table, enjoy Sugar and Spice Snickerdoodle Bars today!

Sugar and Spice Snickerdoodle Bars, whole grain and delicious!
Sugar and Spice Snickerdoodle Bars
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Funtastic Friday #307

Chocolate Rolled Oat Cookies, a Vintage Turkey Collection, a Christmas Garland from a repurposed sweater, Mini Burlap Trees, a Paint by Number Craft, and a Pie Take-Home Container with Tag are this week's featured posts!

Welcome to this week's Funtastic Friday link-up! 

Thank you for joining us, and sharing your wonderful ideas!



The Life of Bread, from Sea Level to 4000 feet!, updated.

Imagine my surprise when all the perfect loaves of bread we enjoyed while living at the beach, were now nothing more than bricks! That was my our sad reality, as we settled into our Montana home...only one thing to do, it was time to back to school! And learn to bake bread at this altitude...


Encouraging Hearts and Home 11.19.2020

Amazing Cranberry Apple Pie, Honey Whipped Cream, Gingerbread Pear Muffins, and Keto Chicken Broccoli Casserole are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

While I am feeling better (about 50%) this cold is still in charge...I have managed to get a few of the highlighted recipes from the last two weeks, up and running, with posting dates scheduled. With a couple of the recipes still waiting to be written up. Since I am running behind in recipe writing, I thought I would share a bit about this fun topic.

Are you a Yellowstone fan? Where we live in Montana, the Yellowstone television series is filmed in and around the valley. My husband and I want to (someday) watch it, hoping we can identify all the different places used in the filming process. Currently, we do not subscribe to Paramount Network. But I did get to be involved with Yellowstone at my seasonal job...

My employer ABC Acres partnered with Yellowstone Productions to make RIP'S Huckleberry Heat. And I got to be part of the cooking process! You can see the ABC Acres Facebook post here. But I thought I would share some of the photos also...those peppers are beautiful and hot! And yes, the huckleberries do grow wild around here. 

I have enjoyed my time at ABC Acres, learning a lot along the way. Proof that no matter how long you have been cooking, there is always something new to learn!
My brush with Yellowstone fame! I made RIP'S Huckleberry Heat!
In the kitchen at ABC Acres, busy making RIP'S Huckleberry Heat, hot sauce!

#yellowstonetvshow
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Simple Baked Cabbage

Simple Baked Cabbage, if you are a cabbage fan, you will love this baked cabbage dish. Cabbage has become one of my favorite vegetables! It stores well and can be used in a huge array of various cooked and raw preparations. 


Classic coleslaw was never my favorite in previous times. With the traditional mayonnaise-based dressing. And then one day my daughter made coleslaw with a light oil and vinegar dressing and the addition of dried blueberries and chopped almonds...I was hooked on coleslaw from that day. 


But cooked cabbage, now that was always been a cabbage of another kind. I have enjoyed eating cooked cabbage in so many ways and so many times through the years! This recipe for Simple Baked Cabbage is the perfect way to get more vegetables into the family meals and can be made with standard cabbage and the textured Savoy style. 
Friday, November 13, 2020

Chocolate Cheesecake, a simple yet elegant offering

Chocolate Cheesecake, after those two words, not a lot is needed to get one's attention! This easy to make dessert looks quite impressive and your guests will love it. Chocolate Cheesecake, it is the go-to dessert for the chocolate lovers in your family...

While I prefer whole grain, naturally sweetened baked goods, every now and again, my dear husband requires a dessert that is a bit more indulgent. This Chocolate Cheesecake is just such a dessert. It is rich, chocolatey, and cheesecake, all his favorite flavors in one spectacular dessert! And let's be honest, a dessert this delicious doesn't need a lengthy introduction to convince you to make one, so let's just cut to the chase! You must make this!
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Funtastic Friday #306

Repurposed Alarm Clock (so cute!), What's your favorite Halloween candy?, Wood Burned Chargers,  How to make Tartan Trees, and DIY Leather Ornaments are this week's featured posts! 

Hello and Welcome!


  It's time for Funtastic Friday 
Link Party#306

But first, let's welcome Melynda from 
as a new co-host.


Show her some love by following her at the links below.

Encouraging Hearts and Home 11.12.2020

Three Ingredient Nutella BrowniesClassic Pumpkin Bread, Easy Tabletop Turkeys, and Preparing and Using Chicken Feet are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

Yesterday I had no choice but to realize that while I thought I was getting away with avoiding the cold that has been sweeping our shared home, I did not. You know you have lost when that familiar scratchy spot begins growing at the upper part of your throat. 

Later when I did a check-in with friends, they too were getting a cold...so I called into work and for a couple of days it will be rest, tea, and healing for me. Of course, with all that there is to do, I would like instant healing, but alas I will have to be satisfied with the regular old fashioned kind, done in due course...

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Charred Beef

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Charred Beef is a favorite around here! It is not only delicious but spiced just right, not too hot, and not too boring! Perfect for anytime you want delicious food, made fresh, and served with love...

The first time I made Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Charred Beef I was pleasantly surprised, you see, chili is not my favorite dish. Whereas others in our family love it, so much so, we keep cans of chili in the pantry and they are pulled out when the cravings start. 

But this chili recipe is different! Spiced with a warm touch and backed up by the sweet potatoes for a lifting of all those spices. In effect, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili is warm without being over-spiced, and heavy which is how I had viewed most chili recipes. But this is no wimpy chili, and you can add more chili powder if you prefer because the best part about any chili recipe is that they are a cinch to customize for your own preferences! 
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Easy Oven Baked Whole Wheat Pancakes

If you want the whole family to sit down to breakfast at the same time, these Easy Oven Baked Whole Wheat Pancakes are for you. Start the day right with breakfast with those you love!

We often have pancakes for breakfast because they are a favorite of my husband's. But even with just the two of us, I was at the stove while he ate breakfast...not horrible, but definitely not a shared meal.

Then one day while we were volunteering as National Park Service support staff, I got the idea to pour the batter into a small pan and give it a quick bake in the oven. As it turned out, it was just the technique we were looking for! We each got to enjoy fresh hot pancakes, together

Encouraging Hearts and Home 11.05.2020

A day in the Life of Virtual Learning, Paper Christmas Trees, Ultimate Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and Easy Quote Art using Maps are this weeks featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

With work slowing down a bit, it is time to think about cooking more for my own family! I am excited to get back to it and here is a sample of the recipes that we will be enjoying again and of course shared, right here for others to enjoy! We have enjoyed these dishes multiple times through the years and while I love finding new dishes to try, we enjoy old favorites like these time and time again...

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Charred Beef, new recipe coming soon!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili with Charred Beef. I do not make chili often, but this one is delicious and that touch of sweet potatoes is perfect!
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Blackberry Cranberry and Pink Grapefruit Preserves

Cranberry harvests are happening now! Soon the garnet-colored berries will be in the markets, and when they arrive do pick up a bag or three so you can make these delicious Blackberry Cranberry and Pink Grapefruit Preserves.

 Winter jam making has its own rewards. The kitchen is not already hot from the summer heat. The overall sense of hurry hurry hurry, there is more to do, is absent. And this recipe actually calls for frozen and thawed blackberries along with their juices. This means no berry picking to fit into your day...

Cranberries have a high pectin content, naturally. So no packages or packets of pectin are needed. Blackberry Cranberry and Pink Grapefruit Preserves have four simple ingredients that come together for a uniquely delicious flavor. and a jar of this tucked into a gift basket will give you a new best friend for life!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Pear Creme Pie

Pear Creme Pie, with only four large pears, and a handful of other ingredients create this delicious creamy pie the whole family will love. With the fall crop of pears in the markets, now is a good time to bake this pie! 


This pie is delicious! I have taken the liberty to give it a slight rename, from Pear Pie to Pear Creme Pie. However, it not have any cream. But like many pies from years ago in frugal times, sugar and eggs formed a creamy filling when combined with fruit. And this pie is no exception.
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 10.29.2020

Best Keto Mug Cheesecake, Coffee Milk Buns, British Style Pub Pickled Onions, and Simple Life Gift Ideas are this week's featured posts! 

Hello and Welcome!

We were in the path of the storm that came south from our neighbors to the north! 

Our first snowfall of the year!

We got a foot of snow about a week earlier than our usual, but from what we have been told, there is always a pretty good snowfall before Halloween. When I looked back on my memories feed on social media, it turns out that we did get a sizable snowfall last year before Halloween...

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Meat Loaf, a slow cooker recipe

Everyone needs a delicious, family-favorite meatloaf recipe, to turn to. Melt-in-Your-Mouth-Meat Loaf is just what you need. Easily the one meatloaf to serve the family, time, and time again! You will want to keep this recipe handy...


For so many years I made meatloaf in the oven and while it was good, it was also dry. The outside was crusty and often hard to cut, not just for dinner but thinly for sandwiches the next day. Then one day when I got home from work, this delicious meatloaf was waiting. To be honest, I would have not chosen this recipe, thinking that it might be bland, but I would have been wrong!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

How to make Carrot Top Pesto, fresh and delicious!

Do you love fresh carrots with soft green tops? Good because I am sharing how to use not only the carrots but the tops too. This recipe for Carrot Top Pesto is the perfect way to enjoy all the beautiful carrots coming from your own garden or the local Farmer's Market! 

Carrot Top Pesto, make the most of the carrot harvest!
Carrot Top Pesto

Carrots are coming off in the garden right now, and this Carrot Top Pesto is the perfect way to use the lovely green tops! I love making my own pesto, and it is easily made with more than just basil. Carrot tops, radish tops, even fresh parsley all make a delicious pesto. Each has its own flavor personality and that is part of the appeal. 
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 10.22.2020

Almond milk or juice, Coiled Paper Coasters, DIY Fabric Rose, and Pork Loin with a Baked Applesauce are this week's featured posts.

 Hello and Welcome!

Tonight we got our first snowfall! That means that summer is really, really gone! I say that jokingly because we were away so much, that I did not get many of the outdoor chores done, that I had wanted to get done this summer, I guess there is always next year! 

We interrupt this yard work for a brief snow fall!

I have been working on a solar lighting/flower garden at the end of the root cellar in our side yard. It is almost complete and I will share it next week. Walking to our door at night proved to be a bit of a problem. There was a light in the driveway, and a light at our door, but nothing in between. Then I got the idea for solar lights between the flower pots. I love how far solar lights have come in the last couple of years. Making it easy (and economical!) to be creative in your yard.   
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Scalloped Potatoes and Rutabaga with Pork Chops Thyme and Cheddar

Are pork chops on your menu often? And are you looking for something new to serve family and friends? Scalloped Potatoes and Rutabaga with Pork Chops Thyme and Cheddar is a delicious one-pan meal! Even for those that only think they don't like rutabagas...

Scalloped Potatoes and Rutabaga with Pork Chops Thyme and Cheddar
Scalloped Potatoes and Rutabaga with Pork Chops Thyme and Cheddar 

I have become very fond of rutabagas. And they shine in this casserole of Scalloped Potatoes and Rutabaga with Pork Chops Thyme and Cheddar. Tonight we had our first snowfall. Colder days means heartier dinners, and this is one we love. Root vegetables find their way to our table often. And for good reason, root vegetables keep well, are nutritious and they taste great. 
Sunday, October 18, 2020

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

If you are looking for a true fix-it and forget-it recipe for Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese? One that calls for everyday ingredients from your pantry and minimal preparation time, then stop here! This is one easy recipe to toss in your slow cooker and serve.


This is a great recipe for those times you want creamy, cheesy Mac and Cheese, but you don't want to spend all day cooking it! It is also perfect to serve alongside any entree with, dare I say it, no gravy for those mashed potatoes!


Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese, is also easy to toss together when you are making BBQ burgers, Baked Beans, and Cole Slaw. Because one thing holds true, everyone loves Mac and Cheese, especially the young ones running around who say they are not hungry, but you just know they are.


The name says it all! Easy Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese, served with Fried Green Tomatoes!
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 10.15.2020

Cheesy Ditalini, Fermenting Food in Mason Jars, A Family Time Capsule, and, Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Carrot and Apple are this week's featured posts.

Hello and Welcome!

Breakfast is on my mind. Our weather here in Montana is changing and the mornings are quite cold. They are also dark. I for one look forward to daylight savings time and getting back that hour of daylight, just as we need it most, for coming home!  

If your family is a hot cereal kind of group, you may enjoy the following:


If you are more a grab it and go, group:


And for those who prefer their oats in a cold form:

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Granola, featured at Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog Hop!

Inspired by Pop-Tarts! Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Granola.

Options! It is always nice to have options in life and at breakfast...
Thursday, October 8, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 10.08.2020

Pumpkin Cheese Ball, Using Salt in the Laundry Room, How to Make Christmas Tree Napkins, and Self Sufficient Living are this week's featured posts. 

 Hello and Welcome!

I cannot believe another week has gone by. With my job working at the organic farm and canning for our own household in the evenings after work, I am amazed at how much I am getting done. I never planned out exactly how I wanted my retirement years to go, but I think not working, after so many years of working was a bit harder on me than I thought it would be! I do believe we feel best when we are accomplishing things important to our heart's desires. Feeding my family (and apparently another family as well) healthy organic food is part of what I hold dear. 

Encouraging Hearts and Home Link up and Blog Hop. Stop by and say hello! Check out the great links to visit @ Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.
Home-canned plums from our own trees!

The jars you see in the sink are plums I canned from our own plum trees! This is exciting only because when we purchased our property last year, the fruit trees had not had any care or maintenance in many years. These jars are quite gratifying! I canned 28 quarts of plums, and will also fill the food dryer, plus there should be enough for a batch or two of jam. Now to have that kind of luck with the apricot tree!
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 10.01.2020

New recipes from Slices of Life, Apple Oatmeal Cake, Brown Paper Bag Flowers, and Easy Instant Pot Pumpkin Oatmeal are this week's featured posts!

 Hello and Welcome!

I have to say as I write these words that I am so glad September is over! Not because of anything bad that had happened, or horrible weather, or even that I gain some weight (I didn't it was a thought of what COULD make for a bad month, LOL!). 

No, I am glad that  September is over because we are done working 7 days a week! This coming Friday will be our first weekend off in four months, and we have a lot of catching up to do. There are pears to can, a cat to pet, complete the installation of the woodstove, a couple of cords of wood to stack, a bit of weeding, and of course, those pantry shelves need to be replenished. 

These delicious recipes are on my list to get my home kitchen back up to speed after four months at camp!

Maple Pecan Granola, one of my favorites! No refined sugar with plenty of whole foods to get the morning started right. 

Honey Almond Granola, perfect for breakfast, or snack anytime of the day.
Honey Almond Granola. 

Honey Almond Granola, because it is always a good idea to have a choice first thing in the mornings!

5 Ingredient Banana Bread, so easy to make and delicious too!
5 Ingredient Banana Bread.

It is time to make another batch of Whole Wheat Self-Rising Flour! The perfect starting point for pancakes, banana bread, brownies, and a whole lot more! 
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 09.24.2020

How to make a face mask, DIY Gifts in a Jar, How to make Ginger Beer, and Coconut Cream Pie are this week's featured posts!

Hello and Welcome!

We have been busy with the installation of our woodstove for winter use, and have hit a bit of a snag, the pipe! With delayed shipments going to stores, sometimes what you need, simply is not available. We have not moved on to plan B, ordering it online and hoping it is shipped out as promised! 

Next weekend will be our last at camp, and while I will miss the serenity of the forest, there are so many chores waiting for us right here at home, it will be a pleasure to get to them. 


At work, I have been canning applesauce (so far 75 quarts) and making Peach and Lime jam (24 6oz jars). Tomorrow will see me making a Pear Caramel Sauce to can and a few trays of Peach Fruit Leather to use up the last of the peaches. 

And wouldn't you know it, as soon as is possible, I need to get started canning for my own pantry...and with that, how has your week gone? Getting to the end of season chores that seem to be waiting for us all? 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Green Bean Soup, this soup tastes like summer time.!

Green Bean Soup, might sound unusual, but...it is easy to make, delicious, and light! Also perfect for the warm autumn days ahead as well as the cold winter on the way. This delicious recipe uses green beans from your own garden, or from the local Farmers Market!

Green beans are so easy to grow! This means I am always looking for new green bean recipes. This summer soup caught my eye but trust me, it can be made year-round. This soup is perfect for the green beans now safely tucked away in your freezer too. 
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 09.17.2020

A beautiful Apple Torte, Remedies for 9 common ailments, DIY Japanese Knot Bag, and Apple Oatmeal Bars are this week's featured posts.  

Hello and Welcome!

We have been busy around these parts! My husband has also been working hard to get the wood stove installed before winter arrives...


The heat shield is made of Hardy Board covered with corrugated tin. The platform base is set to be covered with a layer of Hardy Board, then a layer of tin. From there the stove may be set in place. Once the stove has been placed, the piping can be installed. We also have 2 cords of wood coming, there simply was not enough time to cut, split, and stack wood.....
Thursday, September 10, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 09.10.2020

DIY Bottle Cap Pumpkins, Instant Pot Potato, and Leek Soup, Grace Tinley Scarf, and How to Dry Hydrangeas are this week's featured posts.

Hello and Welcome!

As it turns out, we will have a very busy few months ahead of us! We have been asked and have agreed to continue hosting at the campground weekends only for the month of September. We also have to get our little wood stove that has been purchased, cleaned up, and installed! Plus take delivery of two cords of wood, and get it stacked and covered...And with the added expenses to get this final project completed we have taken on temporary jobs for the next few months. 

That is our strategy, to work additional job(s) in lieu of payments for needed items. We were very lucky, each of us found a job on the same day. Plus our new employers were understanding of our weekend schedule for the month of September. When September closes, there will be fruit on our trees that will need to be processed and a few gardening and yard chores to get done, like I said a busy few months for us...

How about you, how do you handle the need for extra funds in your household? 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Oven Roasted Delicata Squash and Onions

Got squash? Oven Roasted Delicata Squash and Onions are easy to prep, taste delicious, and are adaptable to whatever temperature you might need to cook the main dish or other side dishes. Plus it tastes good, even the kids will enjoy this dish. Don't let this recipe pass you by...

Roasted Delicata Squash, caramelized with onions.
Easy Oven Roasted Delicata Squash and Onions

I did not like Delicata squash the first time I cooked it because quite honestly I cooked it with the wrong method. I view this delicate vegetable in the same light as other winter squash. I cut it in half, scraped out the seeds, and gave it a roast in the oven. Only to be disappointed, and vowing to not bother with it again.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Braised Green Beans with Tomato Garlic and Thyme

When it comes to dinner, you can never go wrong with a vegetable dish. Or even two. Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes Garlic and Thyme will become a new family favorite! Plus this dish practically cooks itself, always a plus in a busy kitchen...


As summer comes to a close and the long days begin disappearing, make sure to enjoy as many meals with family as is possible. And trust me here, it is not the food that makes these gatherings so memorable (although good food is never the wrong dish!) it is those around the table, that make the meal special. That was true at the beginning of time and is still true today.


We were given a picking of green beans from the daughter and son-in-law's garden, those beans will be on our table tonight. Braised with tomatoes, garlic, and thyme. The only thing that would make them taste better, would be if we were sharing with family.


Food from your garden, cook with what you have!
Tomatoes combine with green beans from the garden make a delicious braised vegetable dish.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 09.03.2020

Dear Homeschooling Mom, What's Up Wednesday, Easy Black Bean Soup, and 13 Ways to Preserve Herbs are this week's featured posts.

 Hello and Welcome!

And just like that, August is gone! We are back home from camping and getting ready for the cooler weather ahead. Today we picked up a wood stove to install in our little apartment so we will be warm and cozy this winter. Our first winter in Montana was a bit chilly as we did not have time to get a stove installed before the cold weather came to visit and stayed! 

We are also busy stocking the root cellar with basics we like to keep in bulk and taking stock of the jam left from last year while making plans for preserving the fruit in our little orchard that will be ready to harvest soon. 

Summer jewels, homemade jam and jelly!

This year we have pears on the pear tree. Not a bumper crop but I am hoping to make a batch of my favorite Pear Butter. We will have lots of Italian Plums to get picked, dried, canned, and made into jam. Plus there will be apples to make into applesauce.  

Also this fall we hope to get the gardens set up so we are ready for planting come spring. What are your fall/winter plans? 

Blackberry Cranberry Red Grapefruit Jam.

Do you have jam and jelly favorites you make each year to enjoy and gift to family and friends?
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

How to Cook Beets in your Pressure Cooker

Cooking beets no longer needs to take a long time! Welcome to "How to Cook Beets in your Pressure Cooker."! If you are a beet fan, you will love the convenience of using the pressure cooker. Beets are now a snap to cook and serve.

One of the kitchen promises I made to myself was to master cooking in the Pressure Cooker. You see, I had learned "pressure cooker phobia" as a child, and I wanted to work through the misconception of cooking under pressure with confidence, accuracy, and pride. Along with good food to eat! 

My mother had a stovetop model, but she used it as just another pan, never attaching the lid to cook under pressure. I remember clearly her words of warning, "they will blow up if you are not careful". Bless her heart, but regarding pressure cookers, mom did NOT know best!

Quick and easy, How to Cook Beets in your Pressure Cooker.

Honestly, it took many years and the arrival of the Electric Pressure Cooker for me to even want to get on board with using a Pressure Cooker. And by the time I purchased my first Electric Pressure Cooker, I had owned a stovetop model for many years...I think I had tried to cook stew once, but mostly it sat on the shelf in the pantry and got moved around from time to time when I needed something behind it! 

I had a large amount of pressure cooker desire, but I had a bigger amount of pressure cooker fear...
Monday, August 31, 2020

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream, Pickled Red Onions and Capers

Are you looking for a delicious brunch recipe to spoil family and friends with? Good because, Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream, Pickled Red Onions, and Capers is what you are looking for! And you are right, that is a long name (but delicious!)!

With the busy summer season coming to an end, now might be the best time to get together with friends before the busy school season takes hold! One thing holds true, year after year. We do not get more time, only more creative in how we manage to enjoy as much time with friends as possible. 

Brunch is one answer because often a delicious brunch set out for friends to enjoy is rarely as much work as say a dinner. Brunches also can be as casual or as fancy as you wish. People don't mind paper plates when the food served does not require a knife... 
Friday, August 28, 2020

How to make Pear Butter, easy and so delicious!

Have you ever made Pear Butter? If not, I hope you do soon. With a few simple ingredients, you can make one of the best-tasting preserves ever!  It is a favorite around here and I think your family will love it.

Pear Butter is on my mind! It is quite different from the usual apple butter, which I also love by the way. Pear butter is bright in flavor with a touch of orange and nutmeg. I hope to put a batch or two of Pear Butter into our root cellar right beside the jars of jam we are so fond of. 

We have a pear tree here on our little homestead. It has needed to be nursed back to health after years of disregard. But our first year here, it has a few pears on it right now as I type out these words. Not enough to can up into quarts, but I believe enough for a batch of Pear Butter! I have been making this recipe for many years (30+!), but this will be the first time that I will be making it from fruit from my own tree...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.27.2020

Cheesecake Cupcakes, Z(ucchini) Apple Pie, Bread, and Butter Pickles, Creamed Corn, and How to Grown Strawberries are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

We are ending our full-time camp hosting with the month of August, and going part-time for the month of September before calling it a day! We were happy to help by staying on a bit longer (we had thought 08/19/2020 would be our last day) to be available for those late-season campers. A reduced schedule is coming about in just the right amount of time because we have fall work needing to be done on our property and a heat source to install in our little apartment. Our first winter in Montana was chilly and we had only a small electric heater for comfort!

Richardson Ground Squirrel, eating carrots!

We have also been busy learning about all the local critters at Lake Como. This is a Richardson Ground Squirrel. They eat constantly getting chubby and storing body fat in preparation for hibernation. They have been such fun to observe. They do love sliced carrots, but I think their true favorite was the dried corn we offered daily! They can go into hibernation as early as July, but we had the pleasure of seeing them, and treating them to good eats up until a week ago. 

We have observed the lake level change, the seasons of rain into dry summer heat, and the wonderful little critters in search of food for their long winter ahead. Being so close to nature, it has been a calming slow down of my own schedule. I love how living close to the land helps keep us in synch with the seasons of the year and in a more indirect way, our own lives... 
Thursday, August 20, 2020

Mustard Oregano Chicken or Chops

Everyone needs a meal that is easy to put on the table because we all have busy days! Mustard Oregano Chicken or Chops, is the perfect "freezer pantry" recipe your family will love! Simply thaw, grill, or bake, and dinner is ready. Freezer pantry recipes are like money in the bank, and a great investment of your time... 

We have been enjoying this dish for many years. It would be safe to say this is one of our regularly enjoyed dinners. The first time I made up this recipe, I used pork chops as the directions indicated. But then one day, I substituted chicken thighs and they too were delicious! 


How to make Mustard Oregano Chicken or Pork Chops
Mustard Oregano Pork Chops

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.20.2020

Chicken Alfredo Lasagne, How to Staycation, Fresh Blueberry Pie, and How to Sew a Zippered Pouch are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and Welcome!

Believe it or not, I have finally made and enjoyed my first "hobo" dinner! While I always thought they sounded convenient (and they are!) the usual ingredients suggested were often a hamburger patty, some sliced potatoes, carrots, and peas. Kind of like a chunky stew in a packet. And while I love hamburgers, I wasn't sure I would care for that combination of ingredients. 

But we have had a great time with the "hobo" dinner craze happening in our little camping circle. It has worked out that Saturday nights are now "hobo dinner" potlucks. We each make up our own preferred packet of food that is cooked over the fire. While the food cooks, we visit, give knitting lessons, or just relax. Then we dine. I have even made a side dish of carrots hobo style, and they were so good. Lightly charred, tender, and sweet from being roasted, with no added sugar. Those will be made again!

Even at camp we usually have chicken thighs ready to cook up, so I started with that in my hobo stack up.


In order stack, a thick slice of onion, green beans, chicken thigh, cheddar cheese, more green beans, and another thick onion. The onion slices cook up tender and offer moisture for the green beans and chicken to cook without drying out. Season generously with garlic salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I prefer to wrap in parchment paper, then heavy-duty foil. 

Tip: double wrapping in foil allows you to take the outside layer off, keeping your hands clean while you open the packet to enjoy your dinner. 

#campfood!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Stir Fried Red Cabbage with Ginger and Chives

Fresh, different, and delicious! If you are looking for a new recipe to try that incorporates these qualities Stir-Fried Red Cabbage with Ginger and Chives is calling out to you! This beautifully bright, crisp-tender vegetable side dish is perfect with just about any main dish you serve. 


With summer coming to an end more and more vegetables will be coming off the gardens and offered at your local Farmer's Markets. Make sure red cabbage is one you offer your family in this delicious Stir-Fried Red Cabbage with Ginger and Chives. Because it is still hot outside, a stir-fried dish is just the ticket to avoid oven roasting or a long simmer on the stovetop. 


Besides being beautiful, this Stir-Fried Red Cabbage with Ginger and Chives is delicious! I was pleasantly surprised at the great flavor combination of cabbage and ginger. Most red cabbage recipes have you cooking the stuff for hours or shredding it for a salad. This recipe is fresh, crunchy, and offers an added bonus, leftovers are delicious eaten cold, as a salad the next day.
Saturday, August 15, 2020

How to Make Homemade Woolen Dryer Balls, eliminate dryer sheets for good!

Do you want to eliminate commercial dryer sheets? The ones full of chemicals and paraffin? We did too. I made the switch and we have never looked back! With Homemade Woolen Dryer Balls you can eliminate artificial fragrance and the waxy residue from your laundry. And your clothes are just as soft when you take them from the dryer...


How to make, Homemade Woolen Dryer Balls, from re-purposed wool sweaters.
Homemade Woolen Dryer Balls from re-purposed sweaters. 

While these Homemade Woolen Dryer Balls will not win any beauty contests, they are excellent in softening your clothes during the drying cycle, without the use of dryer softener sheets. They also work quite well in eliminating static cling in most natural fabrics. However...
Thursday, August 13, 2020

Encouraging Hearts and Home 08.13.2020

Lemon Yogurt Cake, from a milk carton to a Bird Feeder, and Whoopie Pies are this week's featured posts. 

Hello and welcome!

I wish I could tell you that our days are filled with neverending exciting activities, while at camp, but alas...being at camp is much like being at home. There are meals to cook, dishes to wash, a bed to make, and other chores as assigned by the Ranger. But it is an excellent trade-off because we love being in the forest, breathing in the fresh air, and observing the changes in the season as the days go by. The best part? Meeting the hundreds of wonderful people who have come to camp. It is definitely a bonus!

And just like at home emergencies and routine problems come up. In the very early hours of the morning, we had lightning strikes that started a fire high up on the ridge. On the south side of the lake. My hubby got dressed and went down the hill towards town to be within cell range to call 911 and report it. All in all, there were six fires started by lightning in the Bitterroot Valley, all were put out as the day went on. The fire crews are quick to respond and get the job done! We got to observe the helicopter repeatedly flying low over the lake to dip a "bucket" for water and then fly over the fire and drop a sheet of water to put it out. We heard the buzz of helicopters until early afternoon. It was a reassuring sound, to say the least. 

Encouraging Hearts and Home @ Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.
Steel wool fills in the gap on the right side of this cupboard.

Encouraging Hearts and Home @ Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.
Not pretty, but very effective!

And I can also give you some tips on having a mouse (or 3!) in your house...We heard them, they even walked over the countertop each evening searching for food, quickly climbing down into the open space behind the propane stove, the little devils! We learned for our co-host that steel wool is the best material to fill any holes in the trailer and any gaps in from one cupboard to another. Steel wool is the one item they will not chew on! We also were successful in using a live trap to capture and release the mice. We did not want to use any poison as the birds eat the mice...and while it took a few attempts, in the end, we were pleased with the outcome!

If you or anyone you know has an interest in becoming a volunteer for your local campgrounds, national parks, and federal forest lands campgrounds, I hope you visit volunteer.gov, opportunity is calling!