Catching Up and Greenville Honey Company

Wow! I can’t believe that so much time has passed since I last wrote a post!! We have been super busy around here getting our honey company up and running that the blog has been sadly neglected!

The most important news is a new grandson! Precious little Milo Joseph joined the family on April 22! He is a little sweetie!

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In March we said, “See you later” to our second Blue Star. He is on the other side of the world for awhile, so he is constantly in our prayers for safety. Soon we will be saying, “See you later” to our 3rd Blue Star.  When he heads for the other side of the world we will have 2 of them gone at the same time for a while. Being a military mom is hard, but I am super proud of all 4 of our Blue Stars!

Much of our time is spent getting our honey business running. Since we lost our cleaning business last summer, we have taken the hobby of bee keeping and made it our new business. Be sure to visit our website here. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

We have been selling most of our products at the Greenville State Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and the Mauldin Farmers Market on Tuesday evenings. We have some of our products in several local small businesses, and we have sold some on line! We are excited about this new venture and are always adding new products to our line! Check us out!

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Easter Memories

I can’t believe that we are at the end of March and preparing for Easter weekend again! Last year 3 of my 4 kiddos were able to be with us for Easter. It was a special time with all three of the grands together for the first time! This year I will have only 2 of them plus a sweet daughter-in-law and 2 of the grands.

Recently I found a few pictures taken during my college days…senior year to be exact. I was a Home Economics major, and at the time, we had to spend 6 weeks in the Home Economics Residence. I happened to be assigned during the spring…including Easter. This picture was taken on Easter Sunday 36 years ago! I have been able to reconnect with 2 of my housemates through social media! We all got along very well and have lots of happy memories of those 6 weeks!

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If you’ve been ready this blog for any length of time, you will know that I got my love of baking from my dear mother. I also was the recipient of many of her small kitchen gadgets when she decided she needed to give up her own kitchen. I know that kitchen gadgets are not meant to last very long. They are items we often receive as gifts for bridal showers and are often replaced before too many years of marriage have passed. However, I do still happen to have a few items that belonged to my mother years ago. They were very well made way back then (early 1970s) and have withstood the test of time. Mom bought these two particular items from a very dear friend of hers who was a school teacher during the year, but needed work during the summer. At least one summer she sold kitchen items…Pampered Chef, perhaps?  I have no idea what company made these amazing tools, but they have lasted and lasted and lasted…like the Energizer Bunny, maybe? It is time for me to replace them, though, because they are finally wearing out. You can see the crack in the spatula to the left and the broken handle on the one on the right.

IMG_2831 For several years, our Easter dessert has been pavlova. This year will be no different! I have all the ingredients written on my grocery list! You can find the recipe here. Be sure to give it a try! Your family will love it!

Bone Broth and Catching Up!

Here we are in the second week of March! I can’t believe that it is Spring Forward weekend already! Seriously! Where is time going? My last post was before Christmas! Yikes!

Here is a little bit of what’s been happening in my life:

  1. We spent Christmas with our girl, her man, and the little man. I loved my time there! Looking forward to getting to return next month (next month already???) for the birth of the newest little man!
  2.  We said, “Welcome home!” to son #1 from his deployment!  Yay!!!! So happy that the family is together again! You can see Little Miss Mia welcoming her daddy home here.
  3. We said, “See you later!” to son #2 whom we now won’t see again until after his return from deployment.
  4. We experienced a very, very cold spell back in January which lasted longer than usual. Here’s to hoping it killed all the yucky bugs!
  5. We experienced a very, very warm spell in February which brought out lots of blossoms on the trees and flowers and allowed the honey bees to begin their search for pollen.
  6. Now March is here with its bi-polar weather…we actually had frost the other morning which may have killed some of those blossoms that opened up in February!
  7. We are in mid-March and we have not gotten the flu that seems to be hitting about every household! Other than colds/coughs in late-November and into early December, none of us have been sick…no fevers, no chills, nothing! We are truly blessed!
  8. I haven’t done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen recently…no excuse…just haven’t done it.
  9. We have Borrowers in the kitchen again. This time I can’t find 2 of my half-tablespoon measuring spoons and one of the knives from my fairly new knife block. Seriously?? I am the only one who does any baking in my kitchen, and 3 of my most-used items are missing? It definitely must be the Borrowers. If you are unfamiliar with Borrowers, give the books a read! My kids loved them when they were young!

Most of you know that I have been following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating for several years now. I just love this eating style! I can’t get over how much better I feel when I leave the sugars and starches out of my diet.

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of bone broth, but I had never made any until last night. You can read all about bone broth here.

I had purchased a whole chicken at the store the other day, and cooked it in the Instant Pot for dinner. Once supper was over, and I was cleaning up, I decided to take the remaining meat from the bones and begin a pot of bone broth. After reading up on several ways to make it, I experimented and came up with some pretty great tasting stuff! And I love my Instant Pot!!! I just put everything in it before going to bed last night. This morning, it was finished! Here is how I made mine.

  • bones from one whole chicken
  • broth from cooking that chicken (maybe 3 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 4ths
  • 2 carrots, cut in chunks
  • several cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • other veggies that you happen to have in the fridge: some celery, bell peppers, etc.
  • herbs such as basil or oregano (I used about 1 tbsp basil)

Add everything to your Instant Pot and give it a few stirs. I added the ACV last, but I don’t think it would matter. Add just enough water to cover everything that is in your pot.

Set your Instant Pot on high pressure for 240 minutes. (Yes, you read that correctly!)Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally. Since I did this before I went to bed last night, it was all done by the time I got up this morning!

Strain all the bones and veggies out of the broth. If there is a lot of fat with the broth, you can separate this. Pour it into jars or individual serving sizes. Drink a hot cupful every day! I got 3 quarts plus one cup once I had strained it and removed the fat. I drank the one cup before breakfast! It was very delicious!

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Baklava!

Wow! I can go for weeks (months?) on end without a single blog post, and here I am writing a second one in as many days! I actually have several recipes that I can share. I  just haven’t gotten my priorities right to put “write blog post” near the top of my to-do list! And my recipe yesterday along with this one are definitely not THM approved! Yikes!

Hubby had been asking about making baklava in recent weeks since we now have our own honey. I kept putting him off because I knew the other ingredients would have a cost higher than I was willing to pay. However, a friend of mine shared her recipe (with a picture) of her baklava and I knew that I simply just had to make a batch.

It was not nearly as hard as I had envisioned. Time-consuming, yes, but hard, no. As per my usual, I did not follow the recipe exactly. I used more cinnamon than the recipe called for. I also did not make a sugar syrup to mix with the honey. I used honey only. And oh, the flavor! It is amazing!! I took some to our church fellowship dinner on Sunday evening and received quite a few complements on it! I think that the only thing I would do differently next time is cut the pieces smaller since it is so rich!

  • 1/2 pound chopped pecans
  • 1/2 pound chopped walnuts
  • 2-3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound package of Phyllo dough
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, melted
  • 2-1/2 cups honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Mix nuts together in a large bowl and toss with the ground cinnamon. Set aside.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of prepared dish. Brush generously with melted butter. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all the nuts, butter, and phyllo are used. End with about 6 layers of phyllo on the top. If you still have some butter left, brush it over the top layer.

Using a very sharp knife, cut through all layers of the baklava. Cut 3-4 sliced length-wise. Then make diagonal cuts to make diamond shapes. Bake in heated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until golden and crisp.

While baklava is baking, heat honey in a sauce pan until close to boiling. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest.

When baklava is done baking, immediately pour the honey mixture over the top. Let cool completely in the pan.

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Cranberry Gelatin Salad

It’s hard to believe that we are just 1 week away from another Christmas! It seems to me that 2017 has flown by faster than any other year!

My family has been scattered all over the world this year, so we have had no opportunity to get a family picture taken. I made this picture from ones we took throughout the year so that you can see how the family has grown.

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Last night we had our church’s annual service of Lessons and Carols. I think that it is one of my favorite services of the year. I needed to take a dessert and a salad for the fellowship meal afterwards. My family has always enjoyed a cranberry gelatin salad at Christmas time, so I decided to make one for the meal. As usual, I didn’t follow a recipe, but just made it up as I went along. Many people liked it and asked for the recipe! I was shocked that it was really that good!  🙂

I think the trick to the flavor came from the wassail that I used in place of the cold water when I made the gelatin. It added an extra burst of cranberry flavor which did make it a delightful salad.

1 large box raspberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup regular apple juice (no extra sugar added)
1 cup cranberry wassail
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can whole cranberry sauce
Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, stirring until completely dissolved. Stir in the apple juice and the cranberry wassail. Stir in the whole cranberry sauce so the gelatin melts.
Put a layer of the crushed pineapple in the bottom of your dish. Pour some of the gelatin over the top and refrigerate until set. Add another layer of pineapple and more gelatin; refrigerate until set. Keep doing this until you use all the pineapple and the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate for several hours or until firmly set.

Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal

Welcome, October! While autumn arrived a few weeks ago, the cooler weather has just recently arrived. We’ve had temps down around 50 each morning while the afternoon temps are making it to the mid-70s. With low humidity, the days are just glorious! I can easily say that this is my favorite time of year! The leaves are slowly beginning their change to gorgeous yellows and oranges.

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I have been enjoying some recipes found in the new THM cookbook, Trim Healthy Table. I was looking through it the other day wanting something new for breakfast. I found one for baked oatmeal, but realized that I could personalize it by making a few changes. I love anything apple and pumpkin this time of year, and since we still have some apples from an orchard we went to a few weeks ago, I decided to make an apple baked oatmeal dish. I was totally amazed at how moist it was! Absolutely delicious!

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 c. low-carb flour blend (I use my own mix of oat flour; almond flour; and ground flax)
  • 1-1/2 c. almond milk
  • 3 tbsp. pyure
  • 2 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. caramel flavoring
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • plain Greek yogurt

Lightly coat a 9×9 baking pan with coconut oil. Whisk the eggs well in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients except for the apple and mix well. Add the grated apple and stir until just mixed. Pour into greased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cut into 6 pieces. Serve each with Greek yogurt or a squirt of canned whipped topping!

Hurricanes, Family, and Low-Carb Cake

Life has been busy (as usual) this last month. Things settled down to a normal routine after we survived the gazillions of people who descended upon us for the Great American Eclipse. Final child began another year of classes; the weather began a nice cool-down; and we lost our business. That last one there has been a cause of great stress and discouragement lately. We learned in July that we were probably going to be losing our best account because of the required re-bidding process. However, it didn’t totally happen until the middle of August. We’ve had our commercial cleaning company for almost 18 years. Because of the very low unemployment in our area, keeping great workers was getting harder and harder, and those great workers that we did have were wanting higher and higher pay. It is just not worth the trouble any more to keep it going, so we are now officially out of the cleaning business. It has been an emotional few weeks for me, but I need to remind myself that God has not failed to provide for us yet, and He never will. I must trust Him whatever the future holds.

Another event which brought lots of people to our area was Irma, that huge and powerful hurricane that did so much damage to Florida and brought so much rain even here. I have done my weekly grocery shopping on Thursdays for years. On the Thursday before Irma’s expected arrival, I went to the store and discovered this:

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This empty cart corral was my first clue that this would be no normal shopping trip.  I was able to get one from a customer returning his, and continued into the store to do my shopping. Clue #2…no bread. Seriously, there was NO bread! A few other items were completely gone as well. At this point I was seriously wondering what was going on. Then I noticed a very orderly, very long line of people…the check-out line. There were actually 2  (only 2) very long lines of people wanting to check out. These people in line were stocking up for the coming hurricane. I guess they were afraid they would run out of bread and milk while Florida evacuees were in town. All I wanted to do was my normal weekly shopping, and it took me about 45 minutes longer than usual!

Happy family news…Grandbaby #4 is scheduled to arrive next spring!  Little Man will be a Big Brother!

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As many of you know, I have been trying to follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating for about 3 years now. I love the eating plan and feel so much better when I eat right. I am also a lover of cookbooks, so when the new cookbook came out, I was hoping to get a copy. Then we lost the business, and the desire for the new book went on the back burner. Thanks to another THM who is a complete stranger, I now have the new cookbook! It arrived in today’s mail, and I am thrilled! Can’t wait to try some of the recipes.

The THM cookbook that came out 2 years ago has an amazing cake recipe. I discovered it not long ago when I was looking for a dessert to make. I had a few peaches that needed to be used, and I was thinking of an upside down cake. This recipe is perfect! The second time I made the recipe, I spread it in a jellyroll pan and made a fig jam-filled cake roll. It just melts in your mouth! Delicious!

  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low-carb sweetener
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2 tbsp. psyllium flakes
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 large peach, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. butter melted
  • 3 tbps. low-carb brown sugar

Put half the melted butter in the bottom of the pan. Layer peach pieces and sprinkle with brown sugar.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gently stir in the dry ingredients a little at a time until well blended. Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

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