Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reprint - HEARTH AND HOME - 7/17/03

(This is a reprint of an issue of HEARTH AND HOME that I put out in July of 2003. As I read through it, I got tickled. I was amazed at how much our diet has changed, and improved, over the past 8 years...most of the recipes I wouldn't even make now, but at the time they were a huge improvement! And it was nice seeing a little something from my mother in here. I hope that you enjoy it! ~Rebecca)

Greetings Dear Sisters,

Hello! How are you? I feel so blessed to be able to sit down and share another afternoon with you! Grab a cup of tea and let's get started!

How has your summer been? Ours has been very busy here, but the Lord has been so good to us! He has provided us with many opportunities to share His love with others and has graciously allowed us plenty of days to spend making precious memories with family and friends both near and far. How we cherish those

The weather here has been very hot...upper 90's with the heat index registering in the 110's. Despite the hot weather our garden continues to produce. We're eating all the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and potatoes we could ever want! (In fact, as I'm writing this to you I'm also in the process of putting up the two bushels of tomatoes that sit on my kitchen table at this very moment!)

Between the bounty of summer and my own efforts to improve my health through diet and exercise...this issue of HEARTH AND HOME features the many wonderful, flavorful, low-fat recipes that I have been dishing up in my own home over the past few weeks. I pray that you enjoy it!

Here we go!


*Place plastic lids from coffee cans under the bottles of cooking oil to keep cabinets clean. When the lids get dirty, just throw them away.

*Make garlic cloves easier to peel by mashing them slightly with the edge of a knife.

*To keep bugs out of your flour canister, put a stick of spearmint gum in the flour. It will stay bug-free!

*Mark plastic bowls and their covers with the same number, using a permanent marker. Then you won't always be looking for a matching cover for the bowl when you're putting away leftovers. All you have to do is match the numbers.

*To speed up baking potatoes, simply put a clean nail through the potato. It will cook in half the time.

*Adding about 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of lemon juice to a cup of rice while cooking will keep the kernels separated.

*To eliminate spattering and sticking when pan-frying or sauteing, heat your pan before adding butter or oil. Not even eggs stick with this method.

This tip was sent in by Rosalie Wood. She says:

" is something I do when I make potato salad. Just sprinkle apple cider vinegar over the hot potato chunks and stir in. What a flavor it adds! And it protects you from food poisining. Vinegar is good for killing bacteria."

(Thank you for sharing, Aunt Rosalie! God bless you!)

And this tip was sent in by Marge Brown. She says:

<Rebecca, you know all those plastic cards that come in the mail that we cut up and throw away? Well, I have a couple of uses for them. The first is for the kitchen....just cut them in half, cross wise, and then use them as scratchers to clean stuck up pans, bowls, etc. when you do dishes. They don't scratch your items, but do a great job of removing stuck on goo.

The other suggestion is for those of you who may have a guitar picker in the house. Each card can be cut into three or four guitar picks, depending on the size pick preferred.........and if the card has the proper name on it, you can even cut it so the pick has the name of the owner on it.>

(Thanks for sharing, Mom!)

"A woman is like a tea bag...only in hot water do you realize how strong she is." ~Nancy Reagan


In many areas keeping cool in summer can cost more than keeping warm in the winter. Here are some things that you can to to hold down the cost:

#1. Watch your degree of comfort. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or above. A setting of 78 instead of 73 saves 20 to 25% of your AC operating costs.

#2. Keep the cool air inside. Close doors and windows. Check the weather-stripping. Seal up cracks. Insulate. These measures will help cut heating costs in the winter as well.

#3. Don't block vents. Move furniture away from vents and window units. Trim shrubbery outside, too.

#4. Close drapes or blinds. This helps keep the sun's heat out. Solar screens and shades can also effectively block a large amount of the sun's heat before it enters your home. (We go so far as to cover our windows with foil in the least the top half...and shiney side against the glass. It completely blocks the sun.)

#5. Check your filters. Do this once a month during cooling season. Vacuum or replace them as necessary.

#6. Grow deciduous trees. Plant them where they will shade your house from the sun's hottest rays in the summer and let warming sun through in the winter.

#7. Check the EER before you buy. Some systems use less energy than others...sometimes only half as much. Find the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) on the yellow energy-guide label. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. An EER of 10 will consume half the energy of a similar unit rated at 5.

(These tips were taken from Emilie Barnes' 15 Minute Home and Family Organizer.)

"If you're unhappy with your lot in life, build a service station on it." ~Corrie Ten Boom


*Be sure and "burp" your hummingbird feeders occassionally by tilting them sideways a few times to release the air bubbles. Sometimes air bubbles build up, thus preventing the birds from being able to sip nectar from them.

*After sizing up old mini blinds, don't throw away the lefover slats! They make wonderful plant markers to help keep track of perennials and bulbs in the fall.


*Recut the stems of the flowers you're arranging before placing in water.

*Remove leaves that are below the water level to minimize bacteria.

*Add flower preservative or a clear soda (such as regular 7-Up or Sprite) to the water. Add each time you change the water.

*Keep arrangements in a cool area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

*Even if flowers are arranged in floral foam, be sure to add water to the container daily.

*If a rose wilts prematurely, remove it fromthe arrangement, re-cut the stem underwater with a sharp knife and submerge the entire flower in warm water until it revives. This may take as long as two hours.


"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8


Dear Rebecca,

Thanks for the Hearth and Home issues you work so hard to put out. Many times it has ministered to me in a simple way.

I have a tip for the canning issue, which I'm sure you may have already received or thought of. But here it is anyway. Last fall a friend of mine had her pressure canner explode. It blasted right through the ceiling and threw shards of glass and tomatoes into the next room. This gal has 7 children and it is a miracle that none of them were hurt or in the 2 rooms that the glass blew around in. Although they had to replace cupboards, carpeting, and all of their living room furniture (not to mention a new roof), they praised the Lord for taking
care of them. My friend did not have her pressure guage tested in years. So, my tip is to have your pressure guage tested now and again to make sure it is accurate in order to prevent too much pressure in the canner. The Presto canner company will test the guages for free, as will many county extension offices.


(Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Rita! Praise God for His protection over your friend and her family! The tip that you have offered us is probably the most important tip that any home-canner could ever receive! Thank you! And God bless!)

Devoloping family traditions in your family is important. It may be something as simple as a certain sign, a kiss on the nose, a pinch on the cheek, or one of countless other things and it is something that sets you apart as belonging to a very special and unique family. Here are some ideas for starting some new family traditions in YOUR family...

*Try inventing a special handshake that only your family and your closest friends know.

*Invent a silent symbol of your family's camaraderie. For example, a thumbs up, a wink, or a tug on the earlobe.

*Tell your children that you love them at least once every 24 hours.

*Once a month, surprise your family by announcing double-dessert night.

*Encourage your child to try new things...taste unusual foods, enter contests, write for information on subjects that interest him or her.

*Make up a jar of 150 questions that are great for the family to answer in a constructive way during mealtime. This is fun when company comes to visit!

*As the children get older, don't drop those pet names, but use them privately to avoid emarrassing your children.

*Participate in regular family worship.

*Designate one night a week as family night. Rotate among the family members who will choose the activity for that evening. It might be ice-skating, bowling, roller-skating, frying hamburgers, got to the beach to swim, going out to  dinner, etc. These can be very special times when people in a family get to know each other better.

*To get the children or grandchildren to help wash the evening dishes...try dropping some pennies in the bottom of the sudsy water. The children will be thrilled to find those copper treasures.

*Somewhere near the diningroom table have a fun box that contains slips of paper listing activities for the family. The box can be plain or decorated however you like. Make sure that the box has a lid, but make an opening that allows room for a hand to reach inside. On slips of paper, the family can write down various activities:

-renting a video
-going bowling
-going to the movies
-reading a book together
-going for a walk
-singing favorite songs
-making cookies
-popping popcorn

When things drag around the home and you need to pump a little life into the day...have a family member reach into the box and draw out a slip of paper. Enjoy whatever activity is drawn together as a family!

*Create special occassions for your family. Plan them...organize them...make them memorable!


6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tabelspoons unsweetened apple juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 bone-in pork loin chops (8 oz. each)

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients; mix well. Pour 2/3 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add the pork chops. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.

Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Drain marinade from pork. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 6 to 10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Yield: 4 servings.
252 calories per serving.


6 medium green peppers
1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
3 cups cooked rice
1-1/4 cup salsa, divided
1 Tablespoon chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese

Cut tops off peppers and discard; remove seeds. In a Dutch oven or large kettle, cook peppers in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside. In a nonstick skillet, cook the beef, onion and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the rice, 1 cup salsa, chilies, chili powder, and salt. Spoon into peppers.

Place in a 13-in. x 9-in x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup water to dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and top with remaining salsa. Bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 servings.
334 calories per serving.


4 medium potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 small onion, sliced into rings
3/4 cup skim milk, divided
1 1/2 pounds whitefish or cod fillets
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water; bring to boil. Cook until almost tender; drain. Slice 1/8 in. thick; place in a shallow 2-qt. baking dish coated with nonstick coooking spray. Sprinkle with flour. Top with onion; sprinkle with pepper. Pour half of the milk over potatoes. Place fish on top; pour remaining milk over fish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika.

Yield: 4 servings.
277 calories per serving.


2 pounds round steak (1 inch thick), trimmed
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 carrot, grated
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Cut steak into serving-size pieces. Combine flour, mustard, and pepper; pound into steak. In a skillet, brown steak, half at a time, in oil. Place meat in a large baking dish; top with onion. Combine tomatoes, carrot, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; pour over meat. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat to a serving platter and keep warm. Simmer tomato-onion mixture until it is reduced to a thick gravy; pour over meat.

Yield: 8 servings.
282 calories per serving.


6 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, green pepper and onion. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard and salt; bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over vegetables. Let stand until mixture comes to room temperature. Stir in cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.

Yield: 6 servings.
153 calories per 3/4 cup serving.


16 plum tomatoes
2 cups cubed crustless French bread (1/2 inch cubes)
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Peel tomatoes and cut into 1/2-in. cubes; drain. In a large nonstick skillet, cook bread in oil over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, sugar and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and basil. Pour into a 1-1/2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 6 servings.
103 calories per 2/3 cup serving.

2 pounds small unpeeled red potatoes, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated iwth nonstick cooking spray. Mist potatoes with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with garlic, rosemary and pepper; toss gently to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 20 to 30 minuts or until potatoes are golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork.

Yield: 8 servings.
91 calories per serving.

3 yellow summer squash, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
8 fat-free saltines, crushed
Pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

In a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, saute squash and onion over medium-high heat until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat; stir in chilies, crackers and pepper. Spoon into a 1-1/2 qt. casserole coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.
145 calories per serving.


3 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
Egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups diced peeled apples
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Light whipped topping and apple wedges, optional

In a mixing bowl, cream margarine, sugar and egg substitute. Stir together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture (batter will be very thick). Stir in the apples, nuts and vanilla. Spread into an 8-in. square baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with whipped topping and apple wedges if desired.

Yield: 9 servings.
216 calories per serving.

...favorite weightloss tips and success stories! If you don't mind me sharing your tip or story in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME just send it to me at: Please put "WEIGHT-LOSS" on the subject line. Thank you!


Friendship bread is the name of a starter that must be fed or stirred daily. After several days you will have a starter to use for bread or cinnamon rolls and one to share with a friend.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast


2 cups milk, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups sugar, divided

Initial starter: Place 2 cups flour, 2 cups warm water, and 1 package of yeast
in a one-gallon resealable plastic food bag. Seal bag and squeeze to mix. Leave
bag on counter. (DO NOT REFRIGERATE!) Note that this is Day 1 and begin
counting days.

On Days 2, 3, and 4: Squeeze the bag to mix ingredients.

On Day 5: Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Seal bag and squeeze the
bag to blend.

On Days 6, 7, and 8: Squeeze bag to mix ingredients.

On Day 9: Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup sugar. Seal bag and squeeze the
bag to blend well.

On Days 10 and 11: Squeeze bag to mix ingredients.

On Day 12: Measure out 1 cup portions of batter. Place each portion in a
one-gallon resealable plastic food bag to keep as your starter or to give to a
friend. Use a one-cup portion in the bread or 2 cups in the cinnamon roll
recipes that follow. For the portion you use as a starter, begin again on Day 2
squeezing bag then follow sequence of squeezing bag and feeding as directed.


Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves

1 cup starter
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
3 t. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped

Lightly grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place starter, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat well. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Fold in nuts and apples. Pour batter into loaf pans. Bake 50 minutes or until golden. Allow bread to cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.

For muffins: prepare batter as directed. Spoon into 24 greased muffin cups. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

(Makes 15 to 20 rolls)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2 cups starter
3 cups flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 t. baking powder
2 eggs, beaten

Stir until well blended. Leaving dough in bowl, knead with floured hands for a couple of minutes or until mixture is smooth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch down and place dough on a floured surface. Pressinto a 10x20-inch rectangle.


1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
3 t. cinnamon

Sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle with raisins or chopped nuts if desired. Starting on long side, roll up dough, jelly roll fashion. Cut 1-inch slices and place on a 14-inch pan. Let rolls rise until doubled in size. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.


Well, dear friends, that's it for this month. I pray that you're having a wonderful summer. God bless you, your family, and your home. Until next time…

Love and Hugs,
(wife, homeschooling mom, and homemaker)
Proverbs 31:10-31


  1. I loved that! I especially love the hints on how to keep the warmth *out* of your house.... I just can't quite get my head around this! As I write, we have had a day with around 48F. I am sitting in our family room with a quilt around me (to save putting the heating on). No kidding - I'm frozen!

  2. Oh, my friend! I envy you right now! Our highs have been right at the 100 degree mark for days and it's supposed to stay this way for weeks to come. Not fun!!! Now...if we could just figure out a way to share the temps and balance things out we could be be sitting at about 75 degrees right now! Wouldn't that be nice? Stay warm! <3


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