I like hot pockets, but am just not really into doing a lot of foods from the freezer section of the grocery. So from time to time I make these as a treat for the kiddos. These are very simple to make with a little planning. They are especially nice if you have family members with different food allergies. These breakfast hot pockets have red pepper, green pepper, eggs, cheese, sausage, hash browns and eggs in them. I used a bread recipe that makes 2 loaves of bread. After rising, divide your dough into the two loaves, then divide evenly into 12 balls per loaf. Cook your sausage, (we use a hot sausage for more flavor) sauté your onions and peppers then add your eggs to this. When everything is cooked, mix it all up in a bowl and add your cheese and potatoes. I used grated leftover baked potatoes. If using frozen hash browns, cook them first to avoid soggy hot pockets. Roll out each of the balls and put a scoop of the egg mixture on it then pull the sides up, pinch and flip it over onto a cookie sheet. I was able to get 12 hot pockets on a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown. (I’m not good at times and temperatures! ) I’d say 375 until they look golden….maybe 25 minutes. These can be very versatile. For my child who is allergic to eggs, I mix everything up except the eggs, make a few for him then add the egg mixture in with the rest to finish them off. I avoid dairy, so I leave some of the mixture aside without cheese. To make this even easier, use frozen bread dough or rolls instead. We also make pizza pockets from time to time. Mince your pepperoni and add the sauce, cheese and any other toppings you like in a bowl then continue to fill each piece of dough with the mixture and bake the same. Options are endless! These freeze well. I wrap 4 in one sheet of foil, take them out the night before to thaw and bake or microwave in the morning.
Feed a cold, Starve a fever….wise words you may have heard your mother say before. But is their any truth to them? My thoughts are YES!! When you have a fever, your body is frantically in fighting mode to fend off the infection. Your army (The White Coats a.k.a white blood cells needs all the energy they can get and when you eat….the good soldiers have to leave the front lines to go digest your food. Help them fight!
When you have a cold, eat things that are going to support your army. Things such as clear water, herbal teas, chicken broth, cooked veggies full of vitamins and minerals, are all great things to give your body when sick. Avoid sugar, caffeine and things you just simply know are not good for you. Trust the common sense the Good Lord gave you! Below are some of the home remedies I use for my kiddos when sickness comes knocking.
Honey : When you are looking for honey with heath benefits….you really need raw honey. This is not the honey you get in your grocery isle most the time. That stuff has been heated to kill any bacteria (even the good kind) that might be present. You want a honey that has come right from the comb, into the jar. It has the most health benefits. And when you are making things to help with colds and illness…you want the good stuff!
Lemons: Fresh, organic lemons. Please don’t use the lemon concentrate for this. Remember: Health Benefits = Fresh!!!
Olive Oil: For the applications I have here, the cheap stuff would do just fine.
Earaches: For earaches I make garlic oil. Put a small pan of boiling water on the stove. Cover it with a small saucer. On the saucer pour 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil. Then add about 6 cloves of finely minced garlic. The water will gently heat the oil. You don’t want the oil to get hot…this will kill the good stuff in the garlic. Once the plate is getting somewhat warm, remove it from the stove and let is sit for awhile. When this is cool….be very careful here….make sure it is cool before you put it in your child’s ear. Use a dropper and put a couple of drops in each ear, then put a cotton ball in the ear. Now you can have the child hold a heat pack or cool pack over their ear, whatever is more comfortable. I just try to keep them laying down for a good while. Pour the remaining oil AND garlic in a dropper bottle and keep in fridge. I have kept this for up to six months with no problem. When needed again just get a glass of hot water from the tap and put the dropper bottle right in the glass of water to reheat it a bit before putting in the ear.
Cough: Squeeze a fresh lemon then add enough honey to make a syrup. For added antibiotic benefits add crushed garlic. I usually leave the garlic out for my little ones however. Give by the spoonful as needed.
Sore Throat: Pour a cup of boiling water in a cup as for tea. Add the juice of one whole lemon, a large spoonful of honey and as much cayenne pepper as you can tolerate. This should be a sweet, spicy, tangy drink that burns as it goes down.
General Sickness: Garlic is your friend. If you can tolerate it, eat it raw. Usually a glass of milk right after will help with the burning in the stomach. Add fresh garlic to a salad dressing or a dish after it is already cooked. Heating garlic weakens the good stuff so try to increase your intake of the fresh stuff.
Onion Soup is another help when sick. My mom used to make this when we were sick. Slice thin several onions as well as several cloves of garlic. Put in a pan, add a bit of water or chicken broth and boil til they are soft. Add salt, pepper and 2 Cups of milk. Eat this all day….you’ll feel better. I promise.
If your family loves the “good kind” of yogurt like mine does, but your pocket book doesn’t, then try making your own! My family loves the Maple flavored yogurt by Brown Cow, but it can be almost $4 for a small tub that three of my kiddos can eat in one sitting. Making your own is quite simple and can taste just as flavorful and creamy as the expensive cadillac kind. I get twice as much yogurt as the $4 tub for around $4.89 (the cost of the milk). Now you can use regular whole milk by the gallon and make it even cheaper. The nice thing about the yogurt starter is that you don’t have to use a packet every time you make yogurt. You can save a cup of your finished yogurt and use that as a starter in the next batch you make in place of the commercial starter, bringing your cost down even further.
So to get started:
I use the yogurt maker from Yogourmet but I have known people to make it in the oven, on a heating pad, or in a old yogurt maker they have picked up at the thrift store. Check out your options. I think my maker cost around $50 but in the long run I have found it to be worth it in the amount of yogurt my family goes through. Next you need your yogurt culture. I have a yogurt culture and kefir culture both shown here. You also need a yogurt thermometer and whole milk. I like using Organic Valley whole milk the best. It makes a very thick, rich and creamy yogurt very similar to Brown Cow Yogurt. If you like your yogurt extra thick you can also get a package of knox gelatin and add in at the appropriate time.
Following the instructions on the Yogourmet package heat a half gallon of whole milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature is very important here so be exact! Then remove the milk from the burner and let it cool down to 110 degrees fahrenheit, again being exact. At this point, pour 1-2 cups of the cooled milk into a bowl and to this add in 10 g. of culture (two packets) and stir it very well until dissolved. Stir it more even after you think it is all dissolved. This would also be the time to add the gelatin if you want a even thicker yogurt. Once everything is COMPLETELY dissolved, pour this milk back into the pan with the remaining milk. Again, mix the two together really well, then pour the whole think into your yogurt maker.
Incubate for 4-5 hours. Mine takes closer to 5. Now you put the canister in the fridge and let it completely cool before serving. It will thicken up a bit more as it cools.
We like to add homemade jam (supplied to us by my mom and sister…..love those girls!) Or you can add some real maple syrup…..so it tastes just like Brown Cow Maple Flavored Yogurt. Try some today….your kids will love you for it! And so will their little bellies…..with all that good bacteria you are putting in there!
Now if you don’t have a yogurt maker and don’t feel quite brave enough to try the heat pad thing then try making Kefir. You can do this with a glass bowl right on your counter top, no special equipment needed besides the thermometer. Kefir is great to drink alone or add to smoothies and also full of all those good bugs your tummy loves!
Every year, a few weeks prior to Easter the kids and I head to the thrift store to find small baskets for our Spring Baskets we make. We tote them home and begin our planting. We usually buy enough for each child to care for two baskets. Over the next week we carefully mist them down a few times each day with water and watch them begin to sprout. The real fun comes when they need a trimming, which is usually every other day after they really get going. Some years we put little nests with a momma bird glued to the side of the basket. Other years we have put small silk flowers or a few little candies inside, or a plant poke with a Bible verse on it. The kids then get to pick who they are going to give their basket to and we take an afternoon to make deliveries. Wouldn’t you love to get a basket of fresh green grass when it is still wintry brown and blustery cold out doors?
Last year (right after Easter) my sister sent me a link to a similar idea she found. It came from the blog The Encouraging Home. The author calls it a Easter Resurrection Garden. What a great way to bring a daily reminder of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to your family table! We tried one this year but it has not sprouted yet. If I can get to the store again in the next couple of weeks and find a larger clay saucer, I will. I think you need the largest saucer you can find so you can get as much dirt as possible piled on the smaller pot. The dirt tends to wash away over the tomb opening as you water it. Just another fun craft to do with your kids during this special season.
Here is one with a cross we made out of twigs from our yard. I have even seen these done very elaborate with little round mirrors tucked in the grass to look like a pond. Ducks floating on the pond, miniature trees added. You could really have a lot of fun with this project! I never did get to the store for the bigger saucer but was able to make it work with the one I had. This is how it turned out….
I am going to give this “blogging thing” another shot. I tried a couple of years ago but was overwhelmed with learning all the lingoand “how to’s” of creating a nice blog. So bear with me for awhile as I stumble through learning how to add photos, hyperlinks, and widgets….whatever those are! : )
Today I am enjoying a couple of hours while Brett took the kiddos swimming at the local pool. Cole is taking lessons now and loving it, so the extra practice with dad on weekends is always a good thing. I am waiting for a batch of bread to rise. A recipe I am tweeking a bit to my own taste. I also made up another batch ofthe 5 Minute Artisan Bread today. I just love this bread! So easy and always ready during the week to use for pizza crust, rolls or sandwiches. You have to try it! And it always looks so good. I am going to try to bake this batch in my cast iron dutch oven this time.