Goodbye, Daylight Saving Time. I will miss you so.

Today  was a nice lazy day with a few moments of productivity. We stayed in bed until around 9 or so and only finally got around because neither one of us could breath. Stinking allergies. I have found that my best mornings are Saturday mornings.  Getting lots of sleep and getting to wake up when my body is good and ready definitely gives me less nausea.  So today has been a pretty decent day as far as that goes. Hopefully the extra hour of sleep tonight will help me out tomorrow. As much as I hate to see Daylight Saving Time go and it depresses me to drive home form work in the dark, at least I’ll get a little extra sleep tonight.

We made a run to our local healthy pet food store to get dog and cat food and found that they aren’t carrying Luna’s dog treats anymore. All of the ones they do carry are pretty expensive since they are made with high quality ingredients and are considered “specialty” treats. Part of that is just that the demand isn’t high enough for them to be making huge amounts like the brands they sell at Walmart so they don’t get the bulk production cost savings and part (probably most) of it is that people are willing to spend more if they are the type of people worried about the ingredients in their dog biscuits.  I’m definitely worried about our pets’ food and treat ingredients but, as we all know, I am also a giant tightwad. So I decided now would be a good opportunity to try making homemade biscuits for Luna.

As it turns out, you can make them from pumpkin and it’s really good for dog tummies. Luna is kind of a barfy dog AND we had a Cinderella pumpkin getting soft that needed to be used.  Win/Win. So I baked up a pumpkin today and tomorrow I’ll be making some dog biscuits from scratch.  If it ends up not being too much of a hassle and Luna likes them it will be much cheaper than buying them from the healthy pet store and healthier than buying them from Walmart.

Wish me luck!

How to Make Your Own Butter: And Avoid Manual Labor

A few nights ago I came home from work knowing that I really needed to mow the back yard. It was starting to get out of control.  Daniel mowed the front yard the week before and then he was sick as a dog for several days after. He used to mow my lawn for me sometimes when we were dating and never say a word about it making him sick. The things boys will do to get a girl to make out with them! He waited until I had promised him in public that I’d stick around in sickness and in health and then he started blowing his nose and moping about his head exploding with abandon. Now, because I love him, I keep our medicine cabinet stocked with good drugs and I usually mow the lawn.

Last Thursday night I knew that I needed to mow the jungle in the back yard before I started losing the dog in it when she went out to pee. I stood in the kitchen after work, my husband away at Guy’s Night, and I thought about changing into my mowing clothes while I scanned the fridge for dinner. There, on the top shelf, was a brand new carton of heavy whipping cream.

I found myself thinking, “I definitely need to make some homemade butter. NOW.” So, instead of mowing, I made butter in my Kitchen Aide Mixer.  I knew in theory that this was possible but I had never tried. It is so easy!

Here is my really difficult and detailed tutorial.

How to Make Your Own Butter at Home From Scratch Just Like Laura Ingalls Wilder if Laura Ingalls Wilder Had a Kitchen Aide Mixer Instead of a Butter Churn

Buy some heavy whipping cream. You can get it from the grocery store.
I don’t remember what kind I got but it was not organic or from grass fed cows. I think it might have been store-brand. Nobody was out back giving these cows massages and reading them daily affirmations. (I assume, but who knows) My crunchy friends are probably gagging right now. That’s OK. You could also probably buy whole milk with the cream still in it if you know a dairy farmer. I don’t know any dairy farmers in Arkansas.  I might in Missouri, though.  Once we had some dairy cows on the family farm my Aunt lives on.  I helped her with milking a couple of times.  You have to get up really early in the morning. Every. Single. Day.  I will never be a dairy farmer. Instead I buy store-brand heavy whipping cream at IGA.

Step 2
Pour your whipping cream (non-organic or otherwise) into your mixing bowl. Don’t use the biggest container they have at the store. I used the middle one and I think it would have made a big mess splashing if I used the big one.  I probably should have told you that when I told you to buy some.  If you already bought the giant one, just don’t use it all at once.

Step 3
Use the whisk attachment and crank ‘er up. Don’t be afraid to bring her all the way up to 6 or 8, she’s a Kitchen Effing Aid Mixer. She’s tough. Ten got a little splashy for me, though.

Step 4
Grab your phone and check your Facebook. This is going to take a few minutes and you might get bored. Sometimes I read a book during these short bursts of waiting when it’s not enough time to complete some other task.

Step 5
Pretty soon you’ll have whipped cream. It’s at this point that I realized I have never made whipped cream from scratch either and I’m definitely going to make some for strawberry shortcake this spring once we harvest enough strawberries for a batch.  If you bought the huge bottle of heavy whipping cream you can use the other half to make some whipped cream next.  Just start from the beginning and stop at Step 5.  But we’re making butter here.  So keep whipping.

Step 6
Post something nice to someone on Facebook. You might just make their day.  If you are in a Vintage Fellowship Small Group right now it’s part of your homework anyway. While you are doing that you will start to hear a slappy/splashy sound. That is the butter separating form the butter milk! It will look like this.

See the buttermilk left over?

Step 7
Pull the butter off the whisk and rinse it thoroughly, making sure to squeeze out all of the excess milk.  You can do this in a bowl squishing it with a wood spoon or just your hands under cold running water like I did.  This is actually an important step if you don’t plan to just eat that awesomeness right off the beater (you’ll be tempted).  The butter milk will make your butter go rancid more quickly if you don’t get it rinsed out.

So beautiful.  Daniel might tell you I married him so I could get this gorgeous piece of machinery.  It gives me a happy.

Step 8
Taste your butter and try not to drop dead because it’s the BEST FREAKING BUTTER YOU HAVE EVER TASTED. Vow to always make your own butter from now on. You can use it right away (I’m guessing if you baked your own bread right before you made the butter and then covered a slice of that bread in your butter the world might crack open from the awesomeness and the Mayans will have been right all along) or you can pop it in an airtight container in the fridge to harden up for later. You can also flavor it with honey or chopped up fruit or garlic or just whatever tickles your fancy.

Strain the butter milk into a mason jar because it’s cuter than a glass and you can seal it up.  I tasted it and it’s pretty yummy, not like the butter milk you buy at the store, which is cultured and tastes sour.  You can’t use this as an exact substitute for that but you CAN drink it or use it in your coffee or make ice cream with it.

This is definitely getting turned into homemade ice cream.

Daniel was sufficiently impressed with my pioneer woman skills when he got home from Guy’s Night and then I mowed the lawn on Sunday and counted it as a workout.  Lesson of the day?

Procrastination Always Pays Off

An apple a day

Last week I got a half a bushel of apples on clearance for $10 and decided it was time to make some apple butter. YUM. I found out recently that you just make it in your crock pot! Easy as apple pie. You DO have to make the apple sauce first, but that’s no problem. Unless, of course, you don’t have a food mill. I just assumed I’d be able to pick one up at our local wholesale kitchen store on Saturday morning. Not so much. They only had little tiny ones or big giant electric, restaurant style $300 versions. I can order one for fairly cheap online but the apples needed to be used now. I finally resigned myself to pealing a half a bushel of apples because you CAN make apple sauce without a food mill if you peal them first since the purpose of the mill is to separate the fruit from the skin. You just have to put them in the food processor or blender after they’ve softened up on the stove. I was saved only 4 apples in by a friend who had her grandmother’s old Foley Food Mill and offered to let me borrow it. The old ones your grandma had work so much better than anything new, I swear. And I REALLY didn’t want to peal 1/2 a bushel of apples.

So I have a crock pot full of apple sauce in the fridge waiting to start cooking tomorrow and turn into delicious apple butter. My house is going to smell DELICIOUS tomorrow! Then I’ll can them and have lovely jars up on the shelf next to the strawberry jam I canned in the spring. Like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Cause I’m a pioneer girl.