Hello dear friends! Hope you all are doing well! Finally! We had some warm weather. It was so nice to go outside with just a sweater. I tell you one thing, if you live in the North, you better be wise in your choice of winter coats, because you will be tired of them by the time April rolls around. The rising temperatures couldn't come at a better time either, because on Saturday we awoke to discover that our furnace wasn't working. The plumber discovered that the motor had malfunctioned. We had a top of the line all-American," from a good company", furnace installed three and half years ago, but I guess there are no guarantees in life. Well at least it can be fixed. Also, on the same day our credit card company called to tell us that there was suspicious activity on our card. So they stopped all transactions. Turns out the suspicious activity was that we had used it. We rarely do. When it rains it pours! Some days I'm ready to go back to the horse and buggy days, or maybe become a hermit. Anyway, just spending a few days heating our home with wood and boiling our water for washing up, makes me realize that I will always be grateful to whomever invented furnaces and indoor plumbing. So this month is yet another month of lean, as now our food budget is nil so we can pay for the plumber. I'm always so glad that we have a well-stocked pantry, even though I take a lot of teasing from friends about my prepping. You know the old saying, "Those that fail to prepare, prepare to fail."
While we are using the wood stove to heat our house, I took advantage of the radiant heat from the stove top to make Schmierkase, which is a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for a soft cheese. It's really the easiest cheese you can make and taste like a cross between cottage and cream cheese. You simply combine 1 pint of whole milk with 1/2 pint cream and put it in a warm place (like you would for yogurt) until it thickens. Once it thickens, drain the cheese curd in a cheesecloth over top of a fine mesh strainer. Put this over a bowl. You can use the liquids for baking. Once the liquid is drained add enough cream to make it a creamy consistency. Stir in a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. There you have it, your own cheese. I used 2% milk and half-and-half, because that is what I had on hand and it worked out fine. Schmierkase with a warm scone and a dab of maple pear butter is a fine thing, indeed.
As always, I try to use recipes that use basic pantry items. These Oatmeal Cinnamon Scones fill the bill.
Oatmeal Cinnamon Scones
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. oatmeal
1/3 C. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine these ingredients in a large bowl and stir in :
1/3 C. melted butter
1/3 C. buttermilk
Stir together and pat dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. Score the dough into eighths. Sprinkle top with additional sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
There you have it, a nice simple and easy scone. Perhaps it doesn't look as grand as a fancy one from Starbucks, but it serves its purpose. Which leads me to:
THE BIG BANG THEORY OF HOME ECONOMICS
First to all that have never heard of the phrase "bang for the buck" it means getting the most value out your money. Every time you purchase something, you should ask yourself,. is it worth it? If it isn't, leave it on the shelf. Every person is different, so I cannot tell you what those things will be for you, but here's some things that I don't find it is worth spending my money on: store made bake goods, fancy restaurants, the latest fashions, expensive jewelry, the latest technology, cable TV, a big house, expensive hotels (or travel for that matter), and the list goes on and on. Conversely, there are some things I think it is well worth spending money on, such as; quality cookware, my All American pressure canner, my husband's guitars, good quality tools, walking shoes (we walk 3-6 miles a day), wool rugs, non-gmo seeds. You and your family have to decide what's on your list but you'd be amazed at how much you can save just by asking yourself this question. Sometimes I will go to the store fully intending upon purchasing a food item just for its convenience (like a frozen pizza), then I look at the price and what I get for the money and leave it on the shelf, it's just as easy and convenient to fry up some eggs or make a quick vegetable soup.
DO IT YOURSELF
This week reupholstered one of our living room chairs.
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Heated our home with wood (of course)
Made a cabinet for our guest/storage cottage from scrap lumber and found objects.
Reupholstered our living room chair.
Knitted a pair of baby booties from some thrifted yarn (more on this next week).
Harvested our Glass Gem corn seeds for planting this spring.
Dried our laundry by the fire.
Gave several bagfuls of things to charity.
Made all our meals from pantry items.