Meatballs … Mmmmmmm …

May 30, 2007 at 2:07 pm | Posted in cooking | 4 Comments

MEATBALLS

I love to make meatballs. I’ve tried them a lot of different ways, but I think I have perfected the recipe now. Every time I make them I am reminded of the birth of my first daughter because a very dear friend brought over yummy meatballs and mashed potatoes and green beans. So guess what? Every time I make them I make them with mashed potatoes and green beans too! So here’s how I make them. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I!

  • 1 pound ground beef (I usually use ground chuck, and it’s ALWAYS natural beef with no added growth hormones or antibiotics – you can find Laura’s Lean Beef almost anywhere)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (again, always natural and organic here!)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 TBSP Parsley (dried usually, you can use more if it’s fresh)
  • 1/2 TSP each: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Place a baking cooling rack onto a jellyroll pan or baking sheet that is larger than the cooling rack. Spray the cooling rack with Olive Oil (unless yours is non-stick). Set aside.

In a medium to large mixing bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until absorbed, usually about 5 minutes. Then add parsley, seasonings and egg. Mix. Next add ground beef and blend ingredients together with hands. One KEY: do the blending gently, never squeezing the meat – this helps it to remain tender. Once the meat is blended make into 1-inch meatballs and place on rack. Bake in 400F degree oven for approximately 15 minutes (don’t overcook or they’ll not be as tender and juicy). Baking the meatballs makes them a bit leaner than fried on the stovetop. I love to hear the sizzling juices while they are cooking! This makes about 24 meatballs.

Yum!

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DIPPING SAUCE

And I make a dipping sauce to go along with the meatballs. You can smother the meatballs if you’d like, but we prefer to dip here. Here’s the “recipe” if you’d like to try it out:

  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 TBSP hot pepper vinegar (we made ours by pouring boiling red wine vinegar over hot peppers and we store it in a jar in the pantry)
  • 1/2 TSP Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/8 TSP each: Onion Powder and Garlic Powder

The reason that I put “recipe” in quotation marks is that I am trying to remember how I do it and estimate the amounts. I made this dipping sauce up on my own and it’s a bit spicy, so you might want to vary the amounts of the seasonings.

Mix all ingredients together and bring to a simmer. Pour into ramekins and serve … yum! This makes enough for my husband and me (the kiddos just like plain ketchup).

If I hadn’t just made these last night, I would make them tonight!

Thanks for coming on over …

May 29, 2007 at 9:34 pm | Posted in misc | Leave a comment

I know it’s silly, but I just can’t get the look that I want with blogger without spending some money, which I don’t want to spend right now.  So here I am …

Wall Clothesline

May 29, 2007 at 5:30 pm | Posted in decorating | 2 Comments

This was so cute I can’t stand it! Now I’m trying to decide just where I am going to try this out …

Nursery Art – Wall Clothesline from Martha Stewart Kids.

(HT: Courtney @ Two Straight Lines)

Twirly Skirts and Baby Leg Warmers

May 29, 2007 at 11:39 am | Posted in sewing | Leave a comment

I saw this fabulous Twirly Skirt Tutorial on another blog that I read – House on Hill Road. Check it out — Isn’t it the cutest thing? I’m trying it out this week … I think

And these — Easy Homemade Leg Warmers for Baby  …. too cute! (HT: Shauna)

Strawberry Jam

May 26, 2007 at 6:30 pm | Posted in canning | 8 Comments

Since we picked tons of wonderful strawberries yesterday I decided that we would make strawberry jam today. A few years ago my sweet mother-in-law gave me a great book – Blue Ribbon Preserves. It’s fantastic with great advice, practical information, and, of course, wonderful recipes. Because the recipe that I used is from a book that is copyrighted, I won’t post it here. Just know that it is G~O~O~D, as is her Caramel Apple Butter recipe (*mouth watering now*)…. perhaps you should go and buy a copy!

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I documented our jam making this morning to share with you …

Here are the jars sterilizing

(I know you don’t have to sterilize them when canning for longer that 10 minutes, but I do it anyway just in case…)

 

And here they are waiting patiently for the yummy strawberry jam …

This is the stirring process …

And the crushed strawberries are finally coming to a boil!

The full jars of jam in the water bath canner during the canning process…


And the final product …

I love the sound of sealing jars (*ping*) and the sight of them sitting on my table and cooling. MMmmmmm … can’t wait to dig in and to share with some friends and neighbors!

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Why share all this? I’m hoping that you might be inspired to do a little canning of your own this year. I always wanted to try it and a few years ago my sweet mother-in-law bought me everything that I need for water bath canning. Can I tell you that I love it? I don’t do it very often, but I do enjoy it. If you’ve not tried it, give it a try. Water bath canning is not expensive and it’s simple.

The Ball Blue Book is an excellent source of information, as is Blue Ribbon Preserves (not just fruit preserves, mind you, but canning information and recipes in general). You can find out more information at your local extension service (so glad these are still around!) and various websites such as homecanning.com and backwoodshome.com.

Since I’m growing a new garden this year I think that I will be purchasing a pressure canner (NOT the same thing as a pressure cooker!) and canning come green beans. They require a pressure canner because they are low-acid foods. Most fruit (if not all, I can’t remember off the top of my head) is a high-acid food and requires only a water bath canner. I’m even going to try my hand at pickles! Now if my happy plants will remain happy and grow, grow, grow …

Peace…
~Heather

Strawberries, Soil and Sun

May 25, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Posted in family, gardening | Leave a comment

Ahhhhh … it’s been a good day. I’m wiped out, but it’s been a good day. First, my dear hubby got up this morning to finish getting the ground ready for my late-but-oh-well vegetable garden. Here are a couple of picture of him from yesterday tilling up the area…


Isn’t he just the best husband to do all this for me? I think so! I love you! Anyway, …..

He finished that and then went off to work. I proceeded to get my daughters ready to go strawberry picking with some new friends from a homeschooling Yahoo! Group. It was great fun. We went to Washington Farms and had a little presentation from the guy who owns the farm (who happens to homeschool also!), picked some yummy strawberries and went on a hayride. Then we had a picnic lunch with our new friends. I wish we would have been able to stay longer, but we had to run. Here are a few pictures of my strawberry-stained Baby Buttercup – she just couldn’t resist the red, ripe berries!


Okay, so then we drove over and met my husband to buy the plants for my vegetable garden (a wonderful Mother’s Day Gift!). We bought tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers and zucchini. And then when we got home I began to plant my garden. Having never done it before it took me a while to get it figured out in my mind just what I wanted/needed to do. But once I got it all layed out right and made my simple bamboo trellises I set to work. I’m quite pleased. Below is a picture of my humble garden…

And close-up of a pepper plant that looks happy to be out of his cup and into the soil …

I wanted to share our great day with you. I think that I sunburned my face :-O …… Oh well, I’m off now to rest and read (now that I am truly inspired) my gardening catalogs. And the strawberries are so incredibly yummy that I think that I might have them for dinner!
Peace…
~Heather

Progress

May 24, 2007 at 5:38 pm | Posted in quilting, quilts | 1 Comment

I started my quilt today that I talked about in my last post. I am excited. I was able to cut out all the pieces for the quilt top today and I began piecing them together about an hour ago. I wonder how long it will take me just to piece the top together? Anyway, I thought I would show the progress …


The picture above shows a close-up of the wrong side of the fabric that I am using for the focal point. If you look carefully at this picture, and the 2 following, you can see the template lines and the cutting lines. Always cut 1/4″ from the template on all sides to allow for sewing seams.


The picture below shows my supplies that I have aquired so far :) … I already know that I will need a bigger cutting mat and acrylic ruler for sure. Also you can see all the pieces cut and ready …


And below is a close-up of all the quilt top pieces cut and ready to be joined toger. I like this picture…


And so far I have sewn 3 strips of the 9 patch for the quilt. More to come, of course ;) …

I will post more progress as I get further along …

Peace…
~Heather

Commence Quilting!

May 23, 2007 at 6:10 pm | Posted in quilting, quilts | 5 Comments

I’ve never done this before … ever … but here goes …

I was at JoAnn’s today with 2 giftcards in hand and wondering what in the world I wanted to buy. More painting supplies? How about embroidery patterns and threads? I got Little Buttercup’s hopes up when I thought I would make her and Baby Buttercup matching PJs. But I changed my mind and went to the quilting supplies. I bought a rotary cutter, self-healing mat, acrylic ruler, needles, template plastic, a thimble (like I don’t already have one!) … I think that’s it.

Then I went on a quest for the right fabric. Since I had already been in the store for an hour I didn’t spend quite as much time looking through the fabrics as I would have liked, but I did find the 3 over to the left. I want my quilts (should I like the process and take it up as yet another hobby) to be artwork and to represent me. And I was feeling springy, so I chose those 3. I will be making a Single Irish Chain lap quilt for my first project. And I got the pattern and instruction from a book that I recently received – Your First Quilt Book (or it should be) by Carol Doak. It’s an excellent book IMHO :) … very practical and I like practical when I’m trying to figure out how to do something.

So now the fabrics are swirling and whirling in the Kenmore sea … I’m sure they’re done now and ready to be dried and ironed and cut to bits :)

Peace…
~Heather

Laundry

May 23, 2007 at 7:50 am | Posted in laundry | 1 Comment

ClotheslineI love the look of fresh laundry hanging on the clotheline, blowing in the breeze. That’s why I used such a picture for my header. I’ve come to enjoy the laundry. Really. And let me tell you why … I do it every day. Yes, every day I do laundry. Then you would think that I hate it, right? But no, I don’t.

Why? When I do laundry every day then it’s just a small amount that needs to be done and it’s very manageable. My mom told me this a long time ago, but only recently have I heeded her advice and done it. You know what? She was right … again :)
Anyway, I’m thinking of trying some new things. Mainly, T-Wave Activated Cleaning Capsules. I read about them in the Urban Homemaker catalog and they are intriguing … anyone ever use them or something similar? I tried a natural powder last year and proceeded to break out all over, so I’m back to All Free-n-Clear. But I really hate using chemicals.

And I want to hang my laundry out on my own clotheline, I do … but I haven’t ventured there yet. For much inspiration visit Project Clothesline!
And one more thing ….

A laundry tip:
Spin Twice, Dry Once

(Picture – Title: Clothesline, Artist: John Jones)

Farm Girl is a Conditon of the Heart

May 22, 2007 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Okay, so am I a blog addict or what? Really, I am an internet junkie and blogs sort of help me with that addiction. I used to design websites and the like, but they’ve become so complicated with all the CSS and XML and the like and I just don’t feel like learning all the new coding. So blogging is my “out”.

Anyway, I am a purist and I like to keep things separate. So now I have my thinking/reflection blog – free heart reflections, my homeschooling blog – Good Soil, and now my homemaking blog – Heart Condition.

Why the name “Heart Condition”? Well, I like the above quote: Farm girl is a condition of the heart. And that’s me. A farm girl at heart. I even embroidered that saying last year and framed it and it’s sitting on my kitchen counter. What does farm girl mean to me? Well …

vegetable gardening, slamming screen doors, kids playing outside all day, sewing and quilting and knitting and embroidering, cooking, cleaning, laundry, fresh air, chickens (wish I had ’em!), and so much more!

Won’t you join me as I endeavor to learn more about keeping my home and making a place of peace? I promise to share my journey with you …

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