Healthy in Hooterville

Here in Hooterville, I came to realize that whole foods and whole products are so much better for me.  I took the plunge and invested in some high quality essential oils and other products for the 'overall good'

On another point, I am not necessarily a meat eater, but a high quality raised chicken or beef is okay to me, I like a good steak every now and again,  I like butter from organically raised, grass feed beef, I find it produces a higher quality product and my food taste better too.  I will soon have my hens again, I know what they are fed.

I am not off the scales crazy here... but for me, I have had to realize that eating the proper balance of quality food is important to my body and overall health.  Processed food is not good for us!   I don't care how organic or 'healthy' the label states!  If you don't make it, don't eat it.

I started making my own extracts for baking, buying local products, such as butter, honey and cream/milk to to feed my family.  I even started to experiment on foods made without 'sugar'.  Once you purge this devil, things taste pretty darn good. 

I am making my own beauty products -  just for me, cause I think I deserve it!... I know what is in them, and most of the products I use  - I can grow.

I have always made my own bath salts, there is nothing I love more... sitting in a warm bath and the scent of my salts warming my soul.   I grown my own lavender... so making this salt, is perfect... I get my inspiration from Pinterest and other sites....on how to decorate my jars of joy.

Hooterville wants everyone to stay healthy - whatever this means to you.

Events In Our Lives - Making us Who We Should Be - In Hooterville

My gift this year (to me) and beyond - is to be kinder, more compassionate, understanding and forgiving.

My very good friend called me today upset and in tears, her in-laws sent a holiday card to their home yesterday, but did not include her, only her husband and the grandchildren were named, wishing Robert and the kids the best of the Holiday Season; between sobs, she said that a few years back, they (she)  quit sending out cards due to the cost and since both their kids were in college they could not afford this.  Becca told me that she will send out a letter for those that did not live close to update them on their lives etc….Well,  she says her in-laws ‘noticed’ this card in their other Son’s home that lives in Ohio and made a comment about Becca no longer sends them a card.  I know ridiculous right?

Becca told me that she is sad and mad about this - that her in-laws that go to church every Sunday, donate to Charity (they make sure they tell her this) and pray at every meal could be so... like "unGodlike" to her.   Becca and Robert have been married many years and they have not always been welcoming to her.

My Lesson, outside of not being like Becca's in-laws, or my brother in-law  IS TO be kinder, show more compassion, help more, criticize less, pray more, be more thankful for all things .....and most of all try and show Christ through how I live, what I say - and in some cases - don’t say.  

Happy Merry CHRISTmas from an imperfect person who is in training and needs to pray more.

Happy, Thankful and Grateful in Hooterville

It has been a rough year.   It is far too easy to get caught up in the nonsense of the World, to let hate creep in.  I recently read a post and I was reminded that our heavenly father has things under control. (I do have to remind myself daily, not perfect I tell you!)  - Attitude is what matters, things happen to us all, we have to choose to remain positive, have faith and trust, and most important --- do not comprise biblical values. - enough said!

I  love this time of year, family, friends, and most important: "The Reason for the Season" - SO I do what I know how to do, I can't sew very well, but I can bake... so to make my family and friends have some holiday cheer and to remind them they are appreciated -  I made my usual cookies and candy and sent to a wider audience, made extra jam, homemade vanilla, even tried a few new candy recipes. (below is toffee, Oh YES, easy too)   Baking makes me happy, and I love to share treats with everyone.  One of the favorite things I remember as a kid was getting my older sisters box of goodies - It was a true gift, the time and energy to make candy and cookies, this is something I can appreciate and is a big influence on my giving homemade gifts at Christmas.


Wildflowers in Hooterville


they bring such a wonder to the yard –  I love to take the pictures and review them in the darkness of winter.. Which is why I blog them – I search out new ideas and plants so I can cultivate a new flower each spring. 

This is June 2015 – not all have come to bloom yet.

Homemade in Hooterville

I am not a crazy person with regards to prepackaged foods – heck, I love my Lays potato chips, Frito's, Cheetos!  But I know I feel better – my husband does too.   For me, it is time to reclaim our lives, and bring it home - HOMEMADE!

I have a new appreciation for the women of the past, taking care of your family is no easy task.   I have read a bit on the net, posts from other farm girls, homesteaders, and ladies that want to provide the very best for their families. I am so happy that you bloggers post your helpful hints on healthy, and cheaper living - and those recipes you share!  Thank you!!!

Convenience is what it is - convenient, not better, and in my opinion not good for you.  It takes no more time to whip up the seasoning for a skillet dish, making homemade nuggets and, taco seasoning etc….  

Over the past few years, I have gone away from packaged convenient frozen food and veggies.  I make my own bread, when we eat it – I have my own hens – fresh eggs is such a blessing – I love my girls.

I tend to not use anything that has any chemical in it or eat anything with an ingredient I can’t understand what it is.

I don’t eat as much, perhaps having whole foods is the key here.

We have planted new blueberry bushes and strawberry patches so we can harvest and freeze our OWN berries, along with our Pear and Apple trees -they are not pretty – but they are chemical free! – Snap, we freeze them anyway!

When it is just you and your hubby, canning, freezing and preparing your food is more of a challenge for just two.  I am up for this challenge and I welcome any input on making smaller batches of biscuit mix, cake mix etc..

This year I made my own Extracts, Meat Jerky (courtesy of a Blogger), Spice Mixes, Homemade muffins, yogurt and I prepare and freeze my own “convenience” meals.   It is a start.

Having in all in Hooterville, is having your health, a home big enough, but not too big.

Yummy, Healthy Muffins from L. Bird

Many of us get to the end of a bag of nuts, cranberries and raisins - sure we can add them to oatmeal - but I found a new home for these left overs.

My current boss provided me with his - "GO" to muffins - quick, easy, filling and packed with nutrition.  You can switch it it up too!  - I like the carrot/apple ratio, but he will make it with pumpkin, bananas, chocolate chips.

Note:  the first time I made these I used date sugar, and I loved the muffins.  Today, I made them with brown sugar and I could not taste a big difference, so I will continue to use the date sugar

I also add additional spices, feel free to personalize to your preference.  Next time I may add orange or lemon zest.

With spring and summer here, these muffins pack nicely, don't need to be refrigerated and would be a great addition to a potluck or an outside BBQ, camping and hiking.

Respectfully Hooterville Cooks  - Enjoy recipe below:

Bird Muffins (named after the person who provided me with this recipe)
Bake 350 for 18 – 22 minutes (I like moist muffins - I bake about 15 - 18)

Makes 24 muffins..

Weight Watchers 3 points –I freeze them for breakfasts with yogurt

1-½ Whole Wheat flour
¾ cup Oat Bran
¾ Ground Flax Seed
1 cup Nuts of your choice (or you can omit) I like pecans
¾ Cup Brown Sugar (I used Date Sugar) – With brown sugar it is sweeter – but date sugar is GREAT too!
2 tsp soda
1 tsp Baking Power
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
 (note I add a pinch of nutmeg, ginger and allspice) not part of original recipe
2 cups shredded carrots
2 apples (cut into chucks – this time I shredded with the carrots)
1 large egg
¾ cup milk (I used almond milk the first time I made these)
2 Tsp Vanilla  

Hooterville Hens Spring 2015

Having adequate distractions for free range hens can be a challenge, we tried to relocate the girls to the back yard where we had more room for them, but the temptation to fly over the hounds was costly for Grease Spot – Miss Mabel, our hunting hound snatched her out of the air.  So I put them back in the front yard, and I am trying to create areas for them to keep busy.  I covered my flowers so they won’t get them, I open the area in the winter – but until then they are prevented with netting – they don’t like it, as it was their prime dust bath area – they keep trying to find a way in, they will soon give up. … Anyhow – I have a tire filled with fresh dirt, and I will use my front yard container garden as the other dust bath area which is bigger.  I also left my hay bales in the front too, and I put a flat gate across so they can roost, I also have running water.  Having the hens eat their way through the pest is helping maintain the front yard fruit trees.  I have to keep them in the yard, so we are adding higher fencing that is bent slightly so they can’t fly up and over, as we are on hill, flying up and over is a challenge.

For those that can free range  you know the benefit and harm the hens can do, I focus on the benefit


I am a semi-urban homesteader - only got me some hens y'all!

Homesteading – and what it means – Really?

When I hear ‘homesteading’ I think of  clearing the land, building your own home, having livestock and large gardens for substance etc….. but for me in, in my semi-urban mountain existence, it is moving away from processed food, making my own cleaning supplies and relying on natural pest control; this seems to be my main focus these days.  At first, the move away from the convenience of store bought broth, noodles, and hash browns was difficult, but I as work my way through learning ‘how to’ prepare and store my own items -  I feel better, not only am I saving money, the real pleasure comes from knowing ‘what is in my food and cleaning products’ -  I have fulfillment that I am providing for husband, my dogs and chickens – a good, clean healthy environment.

I find I am more sensitive to buying plastic – I don’t if I don’t have to – when I run water, waiting on the hot to come, I keep a bottle nearby to collect the cold water – I use this water to rinse the dishes – fill up the pets water – I don’t waste it.

As I plan to grow more garden items to preserve, I find that real food actually tastes better when you grow it yourself.

Unfortunately I don’t have the time to post all I have rattling around in my brain, thoughts on food, baking tips, house cleaning ideas.  I am in envy of the folks that are afforded time to devote to posting on the internet, and keeping up with their blogs. I’d be lost without the help of those with more experience on baking, sewing, cleaning, tips on how to be more self-sufficient.  Whatever did I do before the internet?

Quality bakers and blogs – simple things that make my day

New bakers and blogs – you gotta love em y’all.  I once thought only paper cookbooks would satisfy me... oh but no more;
I have switched to the dark side of the internet!   – A good cooking blog and especially on baking - make my day. 

Just received my King Arthur Spring Baking catalog - leaf through looking quickly, as I know their products well, I see a new recipe  “Joy’s Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl bread” – Oh my goodness golly I thought to myself as I read the recipe,,..heck, I don’t have fresh berries in the house -  not really in season in February in Virginia!  So I went to her blog “joy the baker” and did not see, to my dismay, any recommendation for using frozen berries.  I feel confident I can use frozen as long as they are drained properly - out of the freezer the berries came, but went to store and purchased some fresh too to play it safe,   I also stopped and purchased a new cast iron skillet - I only have one skillet and one Dutch oven, but I want to find one that has higher edges and use for the sweeter items I bake.

This weekend not only did I make the Triple Berry, I also made some healthy muffins as well, using oat bran, whole wheat flour, and date sugar... Yes, they were yummy and no fat was involved.

February in Hooterville

Hooterville has been a bit cold, Very cold – hardly makes it to 30 degrees!  Much like most of the Midwest and Eastern states.  The hardest part of living here on Blue Mountain are the roads – they are so ‘backwards’ so ‘prohibition era’ to bring you to a visual of the moonshiners running the back roads to hide their stash and keep away from the law – Yeah that is really what is like here..

Planning ahead is vital, and knowing how to live without running water, heat and a convenience store are a must.    Of course having front yard chickens is a plus.

I find that being home (stuck home) is a blessing, I get to clean, I have the time to bake that bread, make those muffins and enjoy homemade hot chocolate after working to clear the snow and tending to the hounds and hens.

My hooterville hint for the cold and having to be in doors for any age – make that hot cocoa, have those marshmallows on hand, read a family book together, do a puzzle (which is what we do) – even if it just the two of you, make that time to ‘do something’.  A note on the book, this really is fun, pick a fun classic or a new one – read together even if on an ipad.

Planning for spring garden 2015

February 8th, I heard the birds chirping this morning as I was having my morning coffee,  and felt a tingle of excitement and anticipation of spring and a big got to 57 degrees.  Finally cleaned  out the coop, worked in the yard and decided on the new area for a raised  'hay bale' garden along an inside fence away from hounds and hens, (there was a recent post on bale of hay gardening, I got real excited after reading this blog!)   
Bought some new seeds and planning my new yard landscape.  I did not cook or bake too much this weekend, living off last weeks preparation, for which I am thankful for planning ahead.  My new area of focus is working on food plans, baking mixes and and other preparations for 'just two'.  I like eating whole foods and going back to basics.  With just me and Hubby I can't cook in bulk and  don't want to throw out food, I also decided to remove my microwave from my home, I just have a bad feeling about it, so out it goes,  I will have to post how 'removing the microwave' will impact me if it does?

February 47 Days Until Spring

February started my valentine’s cookie bake day – I tried a new recipe, well not new, but I used salted butter and not unsalted – won’t do that again – what a difference and not in a good way.

It has been cold and icy for most of January so 47 days gives me hope that spring is around the corner.  I received my new seed catalog – and excited to try some new varieties – I plan on planting water cress and arugula in lieu of lettuce this year – I have a nice area under the deck to plant my herb and delicate plants – away from the hounds and hens!

The sugar cookie ice cream sandwiches are for dessert tonight.  Planning on making a pizza and watching the rest of season 5 of LOST on Netflix. – Happy February
Will the Hooterville Hog give us a short winter?  We will find out tomorrow.

Bread Tips from Wimpy

My dad, aka "wimpy", pictured below, gave some tips to my sister in law years ago, who was struggling to make bread, he said, first be kind on the flour, which means less is more; he went on to say that bread requires time and patience -  kneed it - patiently, it will be slightly sticky, this is okay the more you work it, the less sticky it gets.  As for more  patience, let it rise once, twice and on the third he would bake,   Please know humidity plays a roll in bread baking.  My tip is that my best bread has been one that has been hand kneaded, though I love my kitchen aid.   There is no substitution for the hand feel of the dough.  Plus, I know that all flour is NOT created equal, high quality flour is a must if you want to bake bread for your family.

Please note that this recipe requires three rises, yes, my dad was right on!  I call this my Wonder Bread Recipe.

Hooterville Hook me ups for WWW BEST EVER Banana Bread

I decided to use some old bananas and make what the WWW indicated as the BEST ever banana Bread  - I have been craving this sweet dense bread since October, banana's don't last long enough to go bad in my home.  Used some HM Vanilla - not yet ready - but all I had.  – What makes this WWW version the best? I don’t know? had not one spice! I add a pinch of nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon (which is not called for in the ‘best ever banana bread recipe” how can it be good without any vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon? My Hooterville hook me ups do improve this bread to make it the best ever…. Never forget the vanilla, and pinch of nutmeg – you can forgo the cinnamon but the prior two are a must and maybe a mix of brown sugar with the white sugar would be a good idea.