Friday, May 17, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Shrimp Salad

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


Although this recipe card clearly reads “Shrimp Salad Dressing”, it should probably just be named “Shrimp Salad”. It is a little similar to a plain chicken salad. The dish can be prepared fairly quickly with few ingredients and would make a fast, easy lunch.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Chili Sauce

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


This recipe for Chili Sauce was handwritten in pencil on an index card that had been darkened with time. It was found in a small red metal recipe file box worn with age. The recipe is dated “7-28-39”. The reverse side of the recipe card has a canning recipe for “Uncooked Tomato Relish“.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Community Garden Update - May 2019


I was able to get 5 of the planting beds done using the stain that was donated by a neighbor. But I  eventually ran out and had to purchase more. So, at the tail end of April, after a month of salvaging and re-using, I made my first purchases for the garden - a 5-gallon bucket of solid stain, some staples (I had been using my own stash and had finally run out) and some painting supplies.

It's a good thing I brought it all home with me because later that same day, someone (or a group of someones) vandalized our little community garden.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, May 3, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Swedish Meatballs

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


I have been making Swedish Meatballs for awhile, ever since a trip to IKEA where Mr. LH and The Boy were found hovering around the meatball samples.


This recipe for Swedish Meatballs is easy and tasty. I was able to make 36 meatballs (about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4″ size). They are usually served with a sour cream sauce over noodles. There were no ingredients or directions on the original recipe card for a sauce so I have included the sour cream sauce recipe that I have always used.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Onion Crisp Chicken

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


I made this Onion Crisp Chicken for dinner with a side of Carol’s Corn Casserole. The chicken is a homemade “shake it and bake it” type meal. It does not call for a specific quantity of chicken, though you are limited only by how much chicken your “shake” recipe will coat. If you have a lot of chicken, you may want to have ingredients on hand for an extra batch of coating. I used 6 large chicken thighs and could have coated a seventh piece with the mix I had.






DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Beef Stroganoff

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


I’m no stranger to Beef Stroganoff. The first time I made it from scratch (and not from a Hamburger Helper box) was almost 20 years ago as a newlywed. It turned out so incredibly wonderful! But alas, the recipe disappeared somewhere between 3 children and even more moves. I have been trying to find one like it ever since so this recipe went straight to the top of the “try” list.





DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Community Garden Update - April 2019


Work continues on the community garden. I've been working in the garden for 2-4 hours a day, five days a week  (it would be more but the weather forces me to take a break). I've gotten sunburn and splinters and have been coated in a layer of thick dust, but I absolutely love it!

In the last 2 weeks, the beds have been cleared out and the majority of the dead weeds raked from the property.


I've been removing the tattered landscape fabric from the planting beds and trimming it to salvage the pieces that are still good.

Some look better than others. When it's patched like this, at least it's doubled up in some places. This is just one way I'm trying to extend the garden budget.
Progress has slowed a bit because the entire neighborhood is getting new roofs. Remember that huge hail storm last year? Hail can do some serious damage.

Anyway, the roofing company has designated the community garden parking lot as their staging area.


At least there is a little room on one side to walk...
Since the parking lot is taken over and everything nearby is considered a tow-away zone, I have to carry in all my tools from a couple blocks away. NOT fun. I think I'm now looking into getting a garden cart to use.


So things are still moving along, just with a little more effort.

A local Boy Scout troop has been coming in once a week do do some work to earn their service hours. I REALLY appreciate the help! It would take me several hours (or days!!!) to move the dirt from all those planting beds!

Remember this tall planting bed that was falling apart?




It was disassembled and its soil was moved to other beds. The one that was leaning has also been taken apart.

The lumber was saved and they will both be rebuilt at a much shorter height. I plan for these to be used for planting herbs for community use.

I didn't realize the garden beds were made from privacy fence slats until I started taking them apart.
By reusing the materials available so far, I have been able to complete 5 of the smaller square planting beds with lining and soil.

The bottoms of the planting beds are lined with cardboard.
The exposed wood has been scrubbed down to remove old stain, splinters and dust. I'll be staining them this week (weather permitting) using donated stain.


The city has "free mulch" days and one of them is coming up this weekend. Although I can't bring in a whole truckload (or three) of mulch until June (when the roofers clear out), I plan to get several large containers of mulch every time there is a free day and use it to top off the planting beds. The soil dries out so quickly in this dry climate and the mulch really helps to keep it moist for the plants.

The rock pile just keeps growing. It's amazing how much rock was in the soil!

My winter sowing is coming along. I'm not sure where we would be able to have a plant sale now that the parking lot is fenced off, but if nothing else, there will be LOTS of plants for the garden!!!

I have several herbs spouting...

Winter sown cilantro.

Winter-sown dill...though what is that large leaf in there???

I've planted cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, chives and mint. All but the oregano have sprouted already (but I just planted the oregano last week so it probably just needs more time).

The "Red Siberian" tomatoes (from Botanical Interests) and "Early Jalapeno" (by Burpee) are also coming up...unusual since tomatoes and peppers are usually the last sprouts to appear. Perhaps it's because of the varieties I've chosen.

Some Red Siberian tomato sprouts.

I had to cover them last week for a blizzard/snow/freeze (I brought some inside, too) and they all pulled through just fine!

Slowly, slowly, slowly, improvements are happening...





DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, April 12, 2019

5 Clever Ways to Use Vinegar


This magazine clipping was found among a bunch of old recipe cards in a recipe file box. Judging from the reverse side ( a sweepstakes entry), it dates to the mid 1990s. However, the advice given here can certainly still be used today.

5 CLEVER WAYS TO USE VINEGAR

  • Give bean or vegetable soups more zip: Just before serving, splash in red-wine vinegar (1 tsp. at a time to taste). This gives the soup a lively tartness. 
  • Make “buttermilk”: In a pinch, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk; let stand 5 minutes to thicken. 
  • Extend the life of cut flowers: Keep them in 2 Tbsp white vinegar, 3 Tbsp sugar and 1 qt warm water. (At least 3 inches of stems should be underwater.) 
  • Serve fluffier white rice: Add 1 tsp white vinegar to the boiling water just before stirring in the rice. 
  • Give ripe strawberries a sweet, mouth-watering tang: Gently mix 1 pint sliced strawberries with 2 Tbsp 
I use the buttermilk tip quite often to make homemade “buttermilk” salad dressings. I also dilute white vinegar with water for some household cleaning and add a generous splash (or "glug") of white vinegar to my waterbath or pressure canner before processing jars to keep the white hard water film from forming on the jar sides.

What are some of the ways you use vinegar? I know there are a lot. Comment with your vinegar tips and “secrets”.




DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Free Irises For The Community Garden

Back in early April I ran across someone in the neighborhood who was changing up their landscaping and had a lot of irises to give away.

I already have a lot of beautiful irises lining my front walk, but the community garden could sure use a pop of color. And "free" works great with the budget! I wound up with a huge bag of rhizomes for the garden! I brought them home, cleaned them up and planted them in planters to keep them safe until we were ready to move them to the garden.



The next day, I got a message to pick up another box with some HUGE clumps of rhizomes! I needed to work a bit to separate them but when I finished I had SIX big planters full of irises!


They don't look like much here, but just underneath the soil there are iris rhizomes packed in there laying back to back. I just needed them to be taken care of for a couple months until I have their spot ready in the garden area.

I plan to use these to line the entire front space along the community garden fence. Maybe space them out with some annuals in between. I'll have to think of some way to thank this generous neighbor!




DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


This recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake was handwritten on both sides of a decorative recipe card. It was found in an old large recipe file box. The age of the recipe card is unknown.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Vintage Recipe: German Oven Pancake (Dutch Baby)

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


If you've been around cast iron for very long, you've probably heard of, seen or even made an Oven pancake similar to this one (also called a Dutch Baby or German Pancake).

Some of the recipes I've seen have sugar added. This one does not. You can make it sweet simply by topping it with powdered sugar, jelly or jam (as suggested in the recipe), berries and whipped cream, or maple syrup.

Or make it a savory dish and serve it with sausage gravy, shrimp in a cream sauce, a blend of buttered veggies, or a poached egg.

The key to getting the "puff" is whipping it a lot which is achieved in a blender. You can also use an electric mixer but be sure to really whip air into it.


You'll see in the recipe, this  oven pancake only calls for 2 eggs. It is fine for 2 people with average appetites, especially when serving it with other other items. However, The Boy could have eaten this whole thing by himself with no problem (and then asked for more).

This recipe for an Oven Pancake, was handwritten on both sides of an index card. It was found in an old large recipe file box. The age of the recipe card is unknown.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Jean's Fish Recipe (Baked Fish)

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 

This is a very versatile recipe for baked fish. You can make a little or a lot. If you use Jean’s suggestion for adding lemon pepper and milk to the bottom of the pan, do not increase the amount for larger quantities. Use only that amount for a full pan.




DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019 Winter Sowing


In order to raise money for the community garden, I'm wanting to have a plant sale. To have plants ready for a late-May plant sale without taking over my dining room table with puny little seedlings, heat mats and grown lights, I plan to winter-sow them.

Winter Sowing is a special technique to grow 'hardened' seedlings. It means I can plant my seeds and keep them outside (freeing up my dining room) and once they sprout, they will be in it's sheltered little "greenhouse" (a milk jug) which will supply sunlight and efficient moisture (if there is no snow or rain then some watering may be required). When it is time to transplant, the seedlings will usually be bigger and stronger than indoor grown seedlings, and they will already be hardened off and ready to plant.

Last year was the first time I had tried winter-sowing and was I was pleased with how they turned out. It really seemed to extend the growing season for me and gave me much hardier plants to work with!

I had already been saving up milk jugs and had 13 of them by mid January, but with the new plan to have a plant sale, I knew I was going to need a LOT more milk jugs.

A request was sent out in my neighborhood (through NextDoor) for milk jugs and/or 2-liter bottles for winter-sowing and let me tell you...my neighbors really through! This is just half of the milk jugs I received! And I still have more to pick up!


The original plan was to start winter sowing in late March (since last year I didn't get sprouts until mid April anyway) but I wound up with so many milk jugs to plant that I figured I'd better start as soon as possible and just do a little at a time until they're done.

It really helps to get the jugs prepared ahead of time. I prepped a bunch of milk jugs in early February (when a bunch of these pictures were taken) and kept them stored in giant bags until I was ready to plant. When a pretty day in early march arrived, I was ready to tackle the planting.

Preparing Your Milk Jugs:

To start, remove the lids. You can toss or recycle the lids. You won't be needing them. Then cut around the milk jug, leaving a space below the handle to act as a "hinge."




Next, poke or drill drainage holes into the base. I use the same drill and 1/4" drill bit for these holes. It makes this part of the preparation go very quickly.


Be sure to have something beneath your jugs so the drill doesn't ruin anything important (like your wood decking or furniture). I just use a piece of scrap wood. It might be time to find a new one to use...


You want make sure you have enough holes so your seedlings don't get too wet and rot in the soil. For a gallon container, I aim for at least 12 holes - 3 in each quarter section. I also put a couple holes in each corner about 1" up from the base.



Planting Your Milk Jugs:

You can plant your milk jugs anytime. It doesn't matter if you have three feet of snow on the ground. This is really nice if you're itching to plant something in the middle of winter. I chose a relatively sunny day to plant since I would be working outside. The sun just made it more pleasant. You could do the work in your basement or garage in the middle of a blizzard if you like and set the jugs outside when you're done.


First, fill the base of your jugs with soil. You want good quality soil here but try to avoid potting soil with fertilizers. Happy Frog is a great soil that is often recommended by winter-sowers. Last year, I used "Roots Organics Greenfields Potting Soil" and it seemed to do just fine. This year, I'm trying "Black Magic" potting soil that was on sale at Home Depot.


Water the soil. Make sure to water it well and make sure the excess drains out the bottom. I do this before putting the seeds in so I can make sure the soil is watered well without having to worry about the seeds being disturbed by the water flow.

Plant your seeds. You can certainly plant more than one or two, especially if you are planting in a gallon jug. Last year I poked 3 holes in the soil and planted 2 seeds per hole. This year, I'll be transplanting a lot of them to individual containers with 2 seedlings each so I planted 8 seeds in each gallon jug (4 holes with 2 seeds per hole). I'm hoping that's not too many. We'll see what happens. It's all a learning process and they'll only have a couple months to germinate and grow before they are separated.

Label your plants. I put a label on the inside AND write the name on the jug. I use these Rapiclip 6" Plant Labels on the inside. They can be reused again and again year after year assuming you are planting the same thing.



Many winter-sowers have said to use paint pens on the outsides of the jugs because Sharpies don't stay on very well. I used a Sharpie last year and the writing didn't even fade. Perhaps moisture plays a big roll in the "wearability" of the ink. There isn't a whole lot of humidity in Colorado and the snow hasn't affected the ink at all. I also keep the side of the jug with writing facing east so the ink doesn't fade (our afternoon sun from the west is really intense).

Tape the lid in place. Plain grey duct tape will work well for this. Don't use packing tape, masking tape, electrical tape, scotch tape, etc. They won't work. Just use strong, plain duct tape. Some people find it helpful to use small duct tape pieces to first hold the top in place and then use longer pieces to completely go around the jug (you'll see the jugs in the last photo have the tape all the way around the seam). Make SURE the seam is sealed. The tighter the seal, the more your jug can become a "mini greenhouse."



Pack the jugs together right up next to each other so they can provide stability and protection for each other. Be sure the lids are removed so water and air can get in.


Now you wait. Patience is key here...especially if you plant really early. The seeds will sprout when conditions are right. My seeds didn't sprout until mid-April last year. You don't have to check them every day. They will be fine. HOWEVER...you do need to be sure the soil is moist (if there has been no precipitation, you may need to water them). Also, if you have a long warm spell and the seeds sprout too early, you will want to take precautions so they don't freeze if the temperature drops again. Give them extra insulation. Move the to the middle of the group. Cover them with blankets. Do what you can to get them through the freeze.

The first day of winter sowing this year and I finished 23 jugs. Woo Hoo!

Want to watch some videos about winter-sowing and learn how to do it in your own garden? Here is a playlist on YouTube that is FULL of great winter-sowing information!





DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


I grew up with Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake (though it was a different version from this one). Don’t let the word “mayonnaise” turn you away. The mayonnaise makes the cake extra moist. My mom would also add pudding mix and chocolate chips to the batter. She would bake 3 layers and frost the inner layers with whipped cream and the outside with a rich chocolate frosting. It was the only chocolate cake I ever really liked…and I LOVED it. Decadence.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.


Monday, March 11, 2019

DEBT FREE (And Staying That Way)



This is a recent picture of Mr. LH and I on our 20th anniversary. We celebrated it with a rare night out, but instead of it being just the two of us, we took the whole family. The Boy and The Girl (a.k.a. "The Pickles") came along because this was also a family celebration. We were celebrating being DEBT FREE!

That's right! We did it! We paid off our last debt in our debt snowball! A big, ugly student loan.

Full disclosure...our debt snowball did NOT include our house. That comes later in the process.

Our debt-free journey has been a long one. We started it waaaay back in 2012 and went full force for about three years as we followed the Dave Ramsey baby steps word for word. It was incredible how much we were able to pay off!

Baby Step 1: Put $1,000 into an Emergency Fund DONE!
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt from smallest to largest using the Debt Snowball DONE!
Baby Step 3: Save 3 to 6 months of EXPENSES
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income for retirement
Baby Step 5: Save for college for children
Baby Step 6: Pay off home early
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give!

This book changed our lives!
In 2015 we had to move because our landlord was selling the house we were renting. And even though we weren't quite ready, we were able to buy a house because our debt-to-income ratio had dramatically improved. We tried to buy the one we were renting but it didn't work out.

After buying our house, we weren't quite as intense in our debt paying as before. After all, the driving force behind paying off our debt was buying a house. And while we still wanted to get out of debt, we now had the house.

We still didn't use credit cards, we still did a budget, and we still paid extra on the debt. In fact, we only had one big debt left...that student loan. We had been paying on it a LONG time and it didn't seem to be going anywhere. But we weren't REALLY hitting it hard with everything we had, either, so of course it wasn't going to go away quickly. We painted rooms, bought some furniture, did some landscaping, went on vacation, etc. We did a lot of those things you're NOT supposed to do while you are tacking your debt snowball.

Then in 2018, almost three years after moving into our new house, it seemed like everything started to go downhill. Murphy's Law. "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Dave Ramsey would say "Murphy moved in with us." But truthfully, we kind of invited Murphy to stay a while.

Mr. LH and I took a vacation to Washington while The Pickles visited family in Florida.


We could have stayed home instead and enjoyed a stay-cation. But we didn't.

I loved visiting Washington and I am glad we went, but even after carefully watching every penny on that trip, I can't help but think of the money we spent that SHOULD have gone towards debt. So yes, we did contribute to the problem (although we did NOT accrue more debt from the trip).

2018 also brought some dark time to our family. A death in the family meant we needed to travel across the country on short notice. When something tragic happens, you don't want to sit there worrying about money. But when you have debt, you worry. How will you be able to make everything work?

We couldn't afford the price of last minute airfare for all of us and leaving some of us behind was out of the question. We would just have to drive. But we had to replace a power steering pump on the car first.

A few months later, a huge hailstorm hit. Two inch hail. Maybe larger.


Hail is common here, but this was the biggest hail I had ever experienced.

With the hailstorm came the need for a roof replacement. We needed to pay the deductible for that.

The timing belt went out on the car and did a ton of damage (the same car we just had the power steering pump replaced on). Thousands and thousands of dollar signs went flying out the window.

In the fall, we got news that The Pickles BOTH needed their wisdom teeth removed. We scheduled it during Christmas break so they would have plenty of time to recover.

The thought of another setback made me feel nauseous. We were so close to being debt free but after all of this, I felt broker than I had in a very very long time. We cut our modest Christmas budget in HALF so we could use the funds to take care of some of these issues (and you know, we still had a great Christmas).

Regret sank in as I remembered the vacations and those 3 years of lackadaisical debt-paying we did. If we had just kept up the momentum it would have been paid off by 2017...maybe even sooner!

In early January of this year, we took our cars in for oil changes and received another laundry list of needed repairs. For what it's worth, our cars are old...2001 and 2004 year models, and we don't usually have this much stuff to do to them. It just all coincidentally happened to hit at once.

That was IT. Murphy needed to move out. The debt HAD TO GO. We didn't have much left, but it was going to GO AWAY.

Every dime extra that we had laying around went toward the debt. I avoided going out to the grocery store and instead made some interesting creations from what we had on hand in our freezers and pantry. I avoided shopping of any kind. I spent my time freelancing or working on my Etsy shops trying to earn a little extra. Any tax return we received would be dedicated to debt and car repairs.

For motivation, I borrowed Chris Hogan's book, Retire Inspired, from the library (and realized we HAD to get moving on our retirement savings quickly).

I listened to Dave Ramsey's show while I worked and listened to people do their debt-free screams.

I crunched numbers to see how much we could save this year once we were debt free if we attacked a savings plan as intensely as we were now attacking the last of our debt.

And all of those actions combined to FINALLY push us across the finish line to FREEDOM.

The student loan now has a balance of ZERO. The car repairs have been DONE.

Our dishwasher even broke the same week but I was able to just shrug it off and order the replacement part to fix it myself without too many days in between of hand washing (we go through a LOT of dishes at our house).

If you have debt but haven't started this journey yet, do it. If you think you can't do it for whatever reason, change your thinking. It may take some time, but slow progress is still progress.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.