Creamy Potatoes and Ham Au Gratin

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner. Lots of great food and wonderful laughs with family. Cleanup even went quickly with lots of helping hands. But then we are always left with the inevitable leftovers. This year I needed a fairly quick, but still wonderful, recipe to use with leftover ham. Ree Drummond to the rescue! I found this easy recipe on her site Pioneer Woman and also on Food Network. Of course I had to make it. I mean, how can ham, potatoes, and cheese not be good, right?

Simplest Cranberry Sauce (with pictures)

What kind of Thanksgiving meal would it be without cranberries? For years I used that jelly blob looking stuff that comes in a can as my Mom fully expected some sort of cranberry sauce on the table. But then I discovered how wonderfully easy it was to make my own from fresh cranberries, and it is soooo much better tasting!

Southern Style Collard Greens

One "must have" side dish for any of our fall or winter holiday meals is collards. If you have never eaten fresh collards, cooked by someone who knows collards, then you need to try them at least once. It can be difficult to cook them correctly if you don't know what the end result is supposed to taste like but I have done the best I can here to walk you through it. BTW, this is my way of cooking collards, there are other ways out there and I am sure they are equally delicious, but this is how I was raised cooking them.

Why I Don't Have a "Martha Stewart" Thanksgiving

Table barely got set that year, ended up with everyday dishes. No one seemed to mind.
I love holiday meals, I really do. What I love the best is the family all gathered together in one place, laughing and telling old family stories. My family is great at teasing in a loving way with no one taking offense. Most holiday meals are at my house and I love that.  But I confess there have been years where I was a total stress mess getting it all together and ready. Over many years of doing this I have developed a few "rules" for myself to help insure we all have an enjoyable meal.

Pumpkin, Honey, and Spice Spreadable Butter

I had just made some Spreadable Butter, the last tub went really fast for some reason, and had thought about making some honey butter too. Then I had a spark of pure genius! There in the refrigerator was some pumpkin puree. I had used part of a can for for some Pumpkin Lattes and there was the rest of it begging to be used in...what else...whipped butter!

My Little Memory Stick

This is really just an update to an older post with one big improvement. Awhile back I shared a post about my Rosemary Remembrance Balm. Rosemary is known to improve memory, cognitive performance, improve overall recall and attention. Who couldn't use that?

Pumpkin Pie Spice, Coconut Oil, and Craisins Granola

Granola...the word makes us think of nuts and oats and wholesomeness. But is it really healthy? Well, it should be and that's why I'm making my own. I love granola, either as a cold cereal eaten with milk or just like it is. But when you read the labels of many granola bars and cereals you see lots of questionable ingredients. And its expensive! Really, this stuff is so easy to make your gonna kick yourself for not making your own before now.

DIY Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent (No Grating!)

"Woman Hands" by africa
I kept seeing those posts for homemade laundry detergent and to be honest, I just had little interest. They looked like a lot of work to me, all that grating and mixing in water until the grated soap liquefied. I mean, its just myself, my husband, and two dogs so I don't go through a lot anyway. But then I started paying more attention, and actually I do a fairly good amount of laundry a week. I especially do a lot for the dogs! Blankets, beds, and as they have gotten older there is the occasional "accident" on a scatter rug. Scatter that term still used? They are those little rugs you "scatter" around the house. lol You know, like in front of the sink, or by the back door, or maybe next to your bed.

Hot White Russian

It's unusually cold here this Friday evening, and supposed to get colder. But it's still the weekend after all, and some sort of hot mixed drink would be good. Something hot and coffeeish but with a little kick. Hummm, I know just the thing. 

Using Frankincense to Remove Moles

"Beautiful Girl Face With Clean Skin" by stockimages
We all want beautiful flawless skin but sometimes nature plays odd tricks on us, causing various warts and moles to grow in all sorts of unsightly places. I find this particularly true as I get older! This is how I tackled one such imperfection.

Comforting Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup

It's a cold rainy day here in eastern North Carolina and Hubby and I are enjoying a nice cuddly day inside. It's one of those days where it just seems fitting to have something comforting simmering on the stove. Today I decided that something was Vegetable Beef Soup. Wholesome, soothing, hot, delicious soup...what could be better on a day like this?

Use Your Kitchen Scraps to Enrich Soil (Without Making Compost)

"Hand Gardening Tools" by winnond
It annoys me to waste kitchen scraps. Every time I put potato peelings or eggshells in a plastic garbage bag I can't help thinking that I'm wasting something valuable. I would love to have a compost pile or bin, but I just don't have the room. So I came up with a very simple way to return organic matter to the soil thus boosting the soil naturally.

MagicBullet NutriBullet, An Unbiased Review

One of my favorite breakfast meals is a smoothie aka NutriBlast made with my MagicBullet NutriBullet. I got mine six months ago and have been using it faithfully ever sense. Let me state, before I go any further, that I am not being compensated for this post, in other words, it is not a sponsored post. It is just a product I enjoy and I wanted to share with you.

How To Make Your Own Spreadable Butter (And Why You Should)

In our house we prefer butter. Not margarine, or vegetable spread, or whatever else looks like butter...but real butter. But those hard sticks of butter can be a pain when you just want to smear some on a piece of toast. Sometimes soft butter is just easier to use. If you look closely, you can find spreadable real butter but they are usually made with genetically modified canola oil with potential health risks. Even the ones that tout that they are made with a healthier oil, like olive oil, may reveal in the ingredient list that canola oil is actually at the top of the list and olive oil at the end (meaning they use mostly canola and a little of the healthier oil). Or, they may be using an adulterated olive oil with very little taste or health benefits. And then there's the cost savings. The tub of soft butter I made today cost me about 75 cents I used store brand real butter on sale).

Nourishing Homemade Cuticle and Nail Oil

When I was working I was fairly diligent about keeping my nails done. But now, not so much. Since I'm home almost every day I'm spending a lot more time working outside, painting (not the artsy kind, the paint the walls kind), crafts, and cooking. So having my nails done is just not a priority anymore. Well, today I purchased the new Sally Hansen Miracle Gel that doesn't require a light. I love acrylic nail polish but have never done them myself at home. I can't wait to try it and will let you know how I like it. 

Fizzies Toilet Freshener Bombs

I really don't clean my toilet that often. There I said it, please don't judge me. You see, there is only myself and my husband, hubby is off at work five days a week, and it just doesn't get that dirty. I find that most of the time our toilet just needs a quick wipe down. But what I do need is a bowl freshener to use between those cleanings. I would think such a thing would be wonderful for busy mom's that have to clean toilets often. Something to just freshen and deodorize and even kill bacteria. Oh, and it would be great if it made the whole bathroom smell fresh at the same time. Well, such a thing actually exists, and you can make it yourself at home in no time!

So Easy Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treat

If you follow my blog you know I love a healthy and easy dog treat recipe. Although this one does contain wheat, it is still much healthier than most treats sold in stores. Even the "healthy" brands are usually not that great and they are soooo expensive! These treats contain pumpkin, which my dogs love, and is very good for them. See my post about the benefits of pumpkin here. These treats are rather soft, perfect for my older dogs.

My Thoughts on Getting Old(er)

"Surprised Old Woman" by imagerymajestic courtesy of

I don't usually write this sort of post, but here goes... I'm getting older, 64, and while there are some things I like, like retirement, there are also a lot of things I don't. (Did I hear a duh?) So many people seem to fixate on a certain age, or seem so concerned about every new wrinkle. Have we really become a society that loathes aging so much? We know we can't actually stay young forever but for some reason many are just obsessed with looking young, no matter their age. Now don't get me wrong, I would love to look as young as possible for as long as possible but its not an obsession, not something I stay awake at night worrying about.

My 5 Favorite Cold Weather Soups and Stews

There is just something soothing and homey about soups, stews, and chowders. I love to have a pot of something simmering on the stove on a cold winter day. There is something almost healing about them. Comforting....

Not to mention the fact that there are so many that are healthy, easy to fix, and need little clean up. Add a grilled cheese sandwich, some crusty bread, or just some saltine crackers and even the most picky eaters are sure to be happy.

So here are my fav 5! In no particular order. ♥

Black-Eyed Pea and Sausage Stew.

Black-Eyed Peas are a tradition here in the south on New Year's Eve Day. But believe me this stew is delicious anytime. Its made with corn and tomatoes so its a healthy meal. I like to add cornbread to round it out.

Black-Eyed Peas are nutrient-rich. Just 1 cup delivers 20 percent of the daily value of magnesium, calcium and iron, and that's just the beginning of the nutrition they provide. Black-Eyed Peas, or cowpeas, have 160 calories in one cup and 5 grams of protein. They are also a good source of soluble fiber, folate, manganese, and Vitamin A.

Better Than Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

One of the things I hear many people liking about fall is the return of Pumpkin Spice Latte to Starbucks! And I admit, I love it too but I'm much too frugal (some relatives would say tight! lol) to pay out that much money for one cup of coffee. But hubby and I did head out to our local Starbucks to purchase one just so I would have a comparison for this post. BTW, we got sidetracked and our trip for a latte turned into a king size mattress and bed purchase. Another story...

Doggy Deodorizing Powder ~ Fresh & Flea Free!

Our dog Barclay, happily claiming his spot on the sofa.

I love my dogs...I really do, but sometimes our senior beagle Barclay just stinks. Now don't get me wrong, its not the overpowering offensive "get out of the house now" sort of stench, but its enough that you may not want to sit next to him on the sofa. Since he is older and has some stiff joints and various aches and pains, baths can be a little hard on him. So I try to limit baths and just needed something for the stinkified in-between bath days.

Easiest Cinnamon Apple & Oats Wheat Free Dog Treats

I love easy recipes but I want them to be good too. This dog treat recipe may be the easiest one I have ever made, even the clean up is easy, Now I can't tell you for sure if they're good, they sure do smell good, but I'm quite sure my two dogs would tell you they are delicious.

Organizing My Pantry, A Labor of Love

I hated my pantry! There, I said it. I didn't hate the space, I loved the space. It's wonderful to have that space in my small kitchen. Our pantry happened almost by chance, a second thought. We had been doing a little remodeling work, and we were going to be left with this rather awkward space. My DH suggested throwing some simple shelving in there and putting some bi-fold doors in front. Oh overjoy and wonderful! A pantry was born. But since we were already pretty tired from the original remodel work the pantry just existed, never repainted or made pretty, just functional. 

DIY Total Skin Repair Balm (or Make Me Look Younger Balm)

This was one of the first concoctions I came up with when I began using essential oils. Over time it has changed a few times. At first it was just Coconut Oil, Frankincense, and Lavender. I loved the way this formula helped my aging skin and some areas that had signs of sun damage. Then I added geranium, some time later I added Hemp Seed Oil, and as soon as my next order arrives...I will add Carrot Seed Oil. I tend to focus on essential oils that will help my particular needs, the first being aging and sun damaged skin. 

Homemade Antiviral Cough Drops

Have you made your own cough drops yet? Yet another very simple way to move away from chemicals and harmful additives in many commercial products. This formula is quite simple, containing only honey and essential oils. You may want to adjust the Essential Oils to your taste, you can make them stronger or weaker, your choice. Each of the individual essential oils has its own marvelous properties so this formula is not only soothing but I believe it is healing as well.

DIY Quick Drip Pan for Hanging Plants

Okay, here's a Sunday afternoon quick-post. I have this Boston Fern that I rescued a couple of days ago. Someone had thrown it out and well, I just felt the need to save it. lol  I watered it well and hung it on my porch. The next time I watered it the water just went straight through and out the holes in the bottom of the pot. No drip pan..., many hanging plants come without them now and its such a pain. You water and water and it just runs right out the bottom.

DIY Peppermint & Lemon Antibacterial Hand Soap

If you are like so many of my friends you are trying to move away from using commercial bath products due to the chemicals and toxins and their possible connections to cancer and other health concerns. The David Suzuki Foundation reports that,
Some of the ingredients in beauty products aren't that pretty. U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.

Lemon, Sage, and Cedar Deodorant Spray

I am simply falling in love with my homemade deodorants and I love sharing them with others. I have given away a lot of samples to people and so far I am getting great reviews.  Many have asked if they could buy them from me, maybe I'll have to think about making some to sell, or maybe not. lol

I was doing some weeding a couple of days ago and it was hot! When I was done I was dirty and sweaty but guess what? There was absolutely no underarm odor...none! That day I had used my basic formula and have found that one to be my favorite non-spray so far.

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Bread

My husband likes it when I bake, and I hadn't baked in awhile. I saw this recipe in a Facebook post by Racing and Saving Mama and I decided to give it a try. I had everything I needed and actually had some really small apples that I wanted to use up. The result was very very good. I loved the little chunks of apple and the crunchiness of the the topping. I was barely able to get photos of the finished product because he was trying to eat it!

Stay Fresh Natural Deodorant with Personal Review

I am so happy that so many of you are enjoying my DIY deodorants. For one thing it proves to me that people are taking a serious look at the ingredients in most commercial deodorants. Almost all commercial deodorant / antiperspirants contain ingredients that have possible links to breast cancer and Alzheimer's. There are a few out there that are aluminium free (one of the harmful ingredients) but they tend to be very expensive and many don't work very well. So we have a choice here...smell bad or make something ourselves that works.  This recipe is easy to make and, like the other formulas I have posted, they actually work! (See my reviews on each)

Perfect Easy Bacon

We love bacon around here. But to be honest, I hate cooking it. It's the mess it makes...I always end up with bacon grease splattered all over everything! It's all over the stove top, the hood, and me. My husband loves a good hearty breakfast on the weekends of bacon and eggs but sometimes I don't cook it just because of the mess.

Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups

Do you eat a healthy breakfast? I do if I have something all ready prepared, something I just need to heat up or take out of the fridge and eat. If I have to mix, cook, whatever, well forget it, I'll just eat whatever I have. Could be a piece of cake if that's what's handy. Don't judge please. But, if I just plan ahead a little and have something healthy ready, that's what I'll eat. So I'm always on the lookout for easy, healthy breakfast recipes that I can make ahead of time and eat for the rest of the week.

Fresh Breath Homemade Dog Treats

My dogs love dog treats. But so many commercial dog treats are made with unhealthy ingredients and there have been a lot of  health scares and recalls involving them. There are many homemade dog treats that are really easy and economical so why chance it? Just make them at home. 

Make Your Own Effective Solid Deodorant (Baking Soda Free)

Are you ready to try another DIY deodorant?  If your not making your own yet you may want to reconsider. There have been so many links shown between most commercial deodorants that contain aluminum and other harmful chemicals, and breast cancer and Alzheimer's. And yes, you can buy "natural" deodorants that may or may not work and cost a lot! Or you can just make your own.... I have begun preparing and reviewing some basic formulas. You may be interested in this Basic DIY Formula.

Rosemary Remembrance Balm`

The big yellow school buses are back on the roads, and students are back at their desks. Its time to put thinking caps back on and buckle down with the books! Want to give your kids (or yourself) a little memory boost? Using this formula is a great way to stimulate the brain and help with recall and retention. Personally, I feel like I need this everyday! Which brings me to another reason to make it...rejuvenating brain activity! I'm getting up there a little bit in age and doing all I can to keep my memory strong so I'm going to be using this for sure.

DIY Rose Water & Bentonite Clay Mask

We all deserve a little spa treatment once in a while. But most of us find that with time and money restraints, a trip to the spa is just out of the question. So why not treat yourself to this simple, but highly effective, facial at home?

How to Organize Your Photos

We all seem to have them, all those old photos we have in boxes, in drawers, or in odd envelopes stuck all around the house. We may have old family photos, school pictures, sentimental notes we just don't want to throw out. Today's post is about organizing those and putting them in a place where they can actually be viewed and enjoyed.

Removing Photos Stuck To Glass

I have some old pictures that were once framed and now are stuck to the glass. The frames had long since been removed and now I couldn't put them in photo albums or even in different frames without getting them unstuck. I did some research and found three ways most often recommended and decided to give them a try. Here are my results.

Basic DIY Deodorant with Personal Review

Like many others I have started to rethink using most commercial deodorants. Here's the dilemma, I can have an offensive odor and sweat like crazy or take a chance with aluminum and other dangerous additives that have been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's. Or I can find a safer deodorant that works.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I was looking for a healthy snack just to have around the house or maybe to take to work. I came across some of those snack type bars in the grocery store and they were on sale so I indulged. Wrong move....

Homemade Cracker Jack Snack

I had this left over popcorn, and well I hate wasting anything so I starting thinking about what I could do with it. I thought about feeding it to the wild birds but decided against it as I wasn't sure how good it would be for them. I decided instead to look for a recipe for homemade "Cracker Jacks". I mean really, who doesn't love caramel popcorn and peanuts?

Pepper Steak

Ever wondered what to do with round steak? It's often on sale but is a tough cut of meat. Unless first run through a tenderizer, to make what's known as Cube Steak, it has to be simmered for a long time to make it tender.

St Patrick's Day Giveaway

Its been a long cold messy winter but today is sunny and in the 70's! It looks as if spring may arrive after all, and what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway?

DIY Glycerin Soap with Banana, Oatmeal, Honey, & Frankincense

After making my first batch of glycerin soap I was simply in love! My skin felt so soft and silky after using it and I actually knew what was in it! I had given a few bars away and the receivers were already asking for more.  ♥

12 Neat Things To Do With Old T-Shirts

My husband and I practically live in t-shirts. My husband has about 50 at any given time and I have probably half that. From time to time we have to clean them out and get rid of the old and tattered and donate practically new ones that we (for whatever reason) just don't wear.

Well, its time to do that and I decided I wanted to try to make something with them instead. I did a search and found some marvelous ideas that I thought you might enjoy too!

So here ave my no particular order.

Valentine's Layered Jello Squares

I thought a fun desert for Valentine's Day would be nice. This jello layered desert from seemed to fit the ticket well. A refreshing and attractive dish, its really pretty easy to make but does take some time to allow each layer to set up before adding the next.

I was actually able to find fresh strawberries, maybe because of Valentine's Day, after all what says Valentine better than strawberries? Anyway it was delish!

Simple Homemade Soaps that Heal and Nourish

I am a true believer in the wonderful anti-aging effects of essential oils on the skin. I kept thinking I wanted to make a facial or body soap and incorporate one or more of the oils I love into the soap. What I found was that not only could I do that but there are also so many other things I can add to make my soap healthy and nourishing.

Old Timey Egg Custard

Dear Hubby came home yesterday with a recipe for old fashioned Egg Custard. He had actually torn it out of a magazine at work. Well, as it happens this is something I love too and so today I made it.

The recipe was indeed the "old timey" type. Just a few simple ingredients that were staples when I was growing up. Egg Custard is one of those deserts that just takes you back in time, the smell while its cooking and the taste are reminders of days gone by.

Essential Oils for Love! Aphrodisiac Properties of EO's

For centuries people have used flowers and distilled oils on the human libido. Jasmine, peppermint, lillies, and roses were used by the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Aztecs and Sumerians. Yes, all through history sweet smelling scents have been used to attract love. 

The word aphrodisiac is based on mythology from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. An aphrodisiac is a substance used to increase sexual desire or enjoyment. You can use oils in many ways to achieve perfumes, room scenting, bathing, on sheets and pillows in the bedroom, and of course in massage oils

Baked Apple Chips

These are one of my favorite healthy snacks. Baked Apple Chips are so easy to make and of course they are healthy too! Even the cinnamon is good for you!