Watermelon Pickles

Summer is for making watermelon pickles… Sound odd to you? Well, before I met my father-in-law I would have agreed with you. But he often waxed nostalgic over the crunchy sweet goodness of the watermelon pickles his mother made for his family when he was little. They called it watermelon candy, if I recall the stories correctly. The large family was hit by the effects of the depression and migrated to California, living in a manner akin to a Steinbeck novel. In fact I remember a story about his mother using old newspaper stuffed between layers of the children’s clothing in an attempt to keepRead More →

My Shopping Tactics There are a limited number of stores that receive my family’s food business. Ranking the choices based on how much money is spent in each store the list goes like this: (1) Walmart and Costco; (3) Safeway; (4) Grocery Outlet ; (5) Trader Joe’s. We are fortunate living in an urban-ish environment in that there are four Walmarts and three Costcos with easy access along the fifteen minute commute to and from work. There is a Safeway within walking distance of my office. Finding someplace that either has standard low prices (Walmart, Costco) or that often has good deals (Safeway) on somethingRead More →

Why I Started Tracking Expenses I began keeping records of our food expenses after a conversation with a co-worker that left me wondering, “How much does it cost to feed my family?” As with many people I had seen the news and other stories how difficult it was to feed a family with the resources provided by the SNAP program. You know the ones, “I can’t afford my daughter’s favorite kiwi fruit with the money they give us.” Given that I have stood in line behind people using SNAP cards to purchase more and much more expensive food than I ever do, I was genuinelyRead More →

I love gumdrops with a passion. And yet in spite of our exploration into bread baking and soap making and our family’s general abandonment of all things processed food (initially driven by the financial constraints that come with homeschooling), I never tried making candy. Until last weekend. My son absolutely loves cooking and baking and making chocolates, so he was an obvious choice to help me try gumdrops. The process is really simple and we immediately developed our own recipe. The only caution is that the molten gumdrops really are hot and probably not a great activity for little ones. But getting the cooled confectionsRead More →

Cookie art is a great way to spend some relaxing and fun time with your kids anytime, but especially during the holidays. Here is a German sugar and butter cookie recipe I grew up with. It is well, well tested and ever so delicious. Also the dough is robust enough that kids can do the mixing and kneading and rolling and cutting and the cookies will still taste great.   German Sugar and Butter Cookies: 2 large or 3 small eggs (or 6 yolks) 200-250 g Sugar 500 g Flour 250 g Butter (2 1/2 sticks) 2 tsp freshly-grated Lemon Peel 1 tsp Salt TraditionalRead More →

So this morning I woke up and it was chilly. It was also early so I took a bit longer to wake the children and made a steaming cup of coffee and my Harvest Apple Cake. This is my own recipe, adapted after years and years of baking. I am basically lazy so that if I can bake up a tasty treat quickly, without the tedium of looking up ingredients, I am a happy camper… and that is why I use my own recipes. This is a perfect recipe for sharing with your kids and incorporating into a homeschooling morning in the kitchen! Harvest AppleRead More →

Perfect Pancake Pockets 2 cups flour 2 tbs sugar 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 tbps baking powder 4 tbps buttermilk powder (optional, but yummy) 2 tbs melted butter 2 eggs 1 cup milk (may have to add more depending on humidity, egg size, and whether you have an overeager child helping measure out the flour. You want the batter to be the consistency of hand lotion) Instructions: mix dry ingredients in bowl first add milk and eggs and whisk whisk in melted butter fill muffin tin 2/3 full (I use paper liners because I really hate buttering pans, but they would work just as wellRead More →