Thursday, April 9, 2009

Friday Recipes: Easter Leftover Ideas

Easter is on Sunday, and many families will have leftover ham and boiled eggs that they will need to use up. We've pulled a few of our favorite recipes to share with you. Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Easter, see you on Monday!

Egg Salad Sandwiches

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chives, finely chopped

Mix mayonnaise with eggs, chives, salt and pepper. Spread each slice of bread with a layer of butter, and then egg mixture.

Deviled Ham Sandwiches

1 1/3 cups finely chopped ham
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Egg Salad with Herbs

6 large eggs
3 green onions thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced lovage
2 tsp. minced parsley
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 cup light or regular mayonnaise to taste
salt and pepper (optional)

Hard boil the eggs, them place in a bowl of cold water to cool. Peel them, place in bowl and mash. Add the green onions and herbs, then add chives, mayonnaise and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on bread or on a bed of lettuce.

Bean Soup with Ham

1 ham bone with some meat left on
2 cups Navy, Northern beans or mixed beans
8 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash beans the beans and add to a medium to large pan on the stove. Cover with water, boil, and turn off the heat. Let these sit about a 1/2 hour. Drain the beans, and place all the ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or so, then switch to low and continue to cook. You want the beans to be done, but not mushy. Add more water if needed to make it a soup consistency as it cooks. Cut the meat off the bone and put in with the beans and remove the bay leaf before serving.

Split Pea Soup

one ham bone with remaining meat
1 cup minced onions
2 tsp. black pepper
1 pound dried split peas, green or yellow
1 cup chopped carrot

Place the ham bone and other ingredients to a crock pot. Just cover with water, and cook on low all day long or high for 4-6 hours. I cook my peas til they are fairly mushy, but you can cook less if you like them less done. We always ate big bowls of this soup with bread and butter. Very simple! If the meat isn't falling off the ham bone, remove and use a fork to remove it and place the meat into the soup. Discard the bone. Season with salt if desired.

These recipes are from our friends at
Alicia's Recipes

Kraft Incredible Egg Macaroni Salad

17 1/4 oz. pkg. Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner
10 oz pkg. frozen peas
1 med. tomato, chopped
3/4 c. Miracle Whip salad dressing
1/2 c. celery, sliced
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
6 hard-boiled eggs

Prepare Kraft dinner as directed on package. Add peas, tomato, salad dressing, celery, onion and seasonings. Chop 5 eggs; add to dinner mixture. Mix lightly. Chill. Stir in additional salad dressing before serving, if desired. Garnish with remaining egg, sliced. Serves 6-8.

Ham And Macaroni Salad

7 oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 whole hard-boiled egg, chopped
15 oz canned peas, drained
1/2 c onions, chopped
8 oz turkey ham, cooked and cubed
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 c fat-free mayonnaise

In a mixing bowl, combine cooked macaroni, peas, ham, mayonnaise, eggs, and black pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.

Ham And Cheese Spread

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 lb. boiled or leftover baked ham,
cut in sm. pieces
4 tbsp. fresh parsley, divided
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. chopped green onion

Combine all ingredients except 2 tablespoons of parsley in food processor or blender and pulse until ham is minced. Do not over process. Roll into a ball; chill until firm. Cover outside of ball with reserved chopped parsley. Serve with a variety of crackers. Yield: 24 appetizer servings.

Ham And Potato Quiche

Vegetable oil spray
3 c. shredded raw potatoes
1-1/2 c. grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 c. turkey, chicken or ham (any leftover meat)
1 c. evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Spray quiche pan with cooking spray. Press potatoes evenly into crust shape and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Remove from oven and layer the following: meat of your choice; then layer cheese on top. In a bowl, beat together evaporated milk, eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture on top of cheese and return to oven. Bake at 425 degrees about 30 minutes. Allow to cool at least five minutes.

Deviled Eggs

4 Hard-boiled eggs
1/4 Cup Grated parmesan cheese
1 Teaspoon Prepared mustard
Dash pepper
2% Milk
Dill weed; or paprika

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise; remove the yolks and mash. To the yolks, add the cheese, mustard and pepper; stir until well combined. Stir in enough milk to moisten the mixture. Refill the egg whites with the mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.

Frugal Tips - A Hodge Podge

Today I want to share with you a variety of different tips that have been collected over the years from the forum members at There's quite a variety here, hope you are able to learn at least one new tip from today's post!

  • Using your favorite recipe, make four meat loaves, three for freezer meals and one for dinner. Just put the ingredients inside of a sealed freezer bag and mix it inside the bag. Store them stacked flat in the freezer. Thaw next time you want meatloaf!

  • Use small containers to make individual servings of Jello and pudding to pack in lunchboxes.

  • Cut down old cereal boxes to use as magazine holders.

  • Add water to all your store-bought liquids. This goes from drinks to cleaning fluids. You won't taste the difference, and it won't dilute anything to an extent that it makes it less effective. Instead, it makes it last longer.

  • Piggyback your laundry loads in the dryer! It will already be hot from the first load, saving energy on the next one.

  • To conserve water and save on your water bill, fill your teakettle while you are waiting for the hot water to reach the kitchen sink. Also keep a bucket in the shower to catch excess water, for watering your garden.

  • To make a free laundry pre-treater, take an almost-empty bottle of dishwashing soap and pour in a free sample of laundry detergent. Shake and keep near your washing machine to take care of stains.

  • To use up free fabric softener samples that you can get in the mail, put one packet in a spray bottle then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Homemade Febreeze with no cost to you! Do a test spot to make sure that it doesn't stain your fabrics.

  • I measured out the amount of macaroni in a box of mac-n-cheese, then added an equal amount of macaroni noodles from a plain box. Used the same amount of milk and butter and it was plenty cheesy enough for the kids. Use the store brand that's on sale.

  • I buy my herbs & spices at the health food store a couple times a year. Instead of paying dollars a jar, I get fresher for pennies.

  • I have been packing "trash free" lunches for my kids and that is saving me money. I am buying large cans of fruit like pineapple chunks or peaches and then putting them in single-serving plastic containers instead of buying the pre-packaged ones.

  • Weigh the heads of lettuce at the store to see which is heavier. If they’re priced by the head rather than the pound, you want the heaviest ones--more lettuce for your money.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reader's Questions: House & Garden

Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless. ~Charles M. Crowe

When should we plant gladiola bulbs in order to have them blooming for my nieces wedding on September 12? I live in northern lower Michigan. Her colors of choice are red and white. Thank you! ~Tina

I have never tried to time out blooms for an occasion, but perhaps this will help:

The University of Minnesota recommends this:
Start planting in mid-May, then again every two weeks through mid-June. This schedule will keep the flowers coming form July through August. You could also choose early, mid-season, and late cultivars, plant them all in May, and still enjoy continuous bloom for much of the summer. The final strategy to extend bloom time would be to plant different sized corms. Larger corms bloom somewhat earlier than smaller corms of the same variety.

Make sure the glad corms you buy are at LEAST 1 1/2 inch big or larger. They shouldn't be shriveled or too dry either. That's not a good sign. I wish you luck, and hope the wedding is wonderful:)

A reader wanted to know about a method of making caramel that involved boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for several hours. There is a method going around like this but it is not safe. Yes, I'm sure it's worked for some, but it also could explode the can and cause horrible burns. I do not recommend this. On the Eagle Brand® site they say this:

For safety reasons, heating the unopened can (old cooking method) is NOT recommended. Instead use one of the following methods.

Oven Method: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into a 9 inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil; place in larger shallow pan. Fill larger pan with hot water. Bake at 425ยบ for 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel colored.

Stovetop Method: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into top of double boiler; place over boiling water. Over low heat,simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel colored. Beat until smooth.

I have a substantial stain on my carpet from candle wax. When the candle was dropped I clean up the wax the best I could, but the stain remains between the fiber. Any suggestions? ~Bernice

One year, my husband had just gotten a new coat-- it was vinyl, but looked like leather, and I knocked over my melt warmer, which splattered his coat. I took plain paper, laid it on top of the spots, then used a warm iron to "iron" the paper, which made the wax soft and the paper absorbed the wax. I think you could try this on your spot, but be very careful, and touch the warm, not hot, iron to the paper only. Take it slow and I think this may work. I used a brown craft paper, and a white paper that I used for packing-- but any white paper would work too.

You can find great ideas for Easter egg hunts on OFL :

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuesday Tips: How to Blanch Almonds

This weekend I was making a recipe that called for blanched almonds. Well of course I didn't notice that until after I bought regular almonds. 

So I went through the fairly simple process of blanching them myself.

Definition: to scald briefly and then drain, as peaches or almonds to facilitate removal of skins, or as rice or macaroni to separate the grains or strands.

How to Blanch Almonds

Bring water to a boil. Add almonds to the boiling water and boil for about 90 seconds. Don't boil for any longer than that or you'll be cooking, not blanching.

Pour water and almonds through a sieve into the sink. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Place almonds on a plate or in a bowl.

To slip the skins off, simply squeeze the almond gently and the skin will slip right off. Be careful you don't squeeze to hard or the almond will go flying across the room! 

Believe me, it happens. :)

As you remove the skins, place skinned almonds onto paper towels to drain. When finished, place another paper towel on the top and gently press down to dry off the almonds.

Done! :)

Garden Tips: Transplanting Seedlings

The lyric sound of laughter fills all the April hills. The joy-song of the crocus, The mirth of daffodils. ~Clinton Scollard

Once your area is free of frost you'll be ready to plant out your seedlings, but first you will need to prepare them for the change from inside to outside.

The New Seed Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel recommends starting your hardening off process inside by placing the pots/flats in a cool part of the house, stop watering or fertilizing too, for about a week before you want to start taking them outside.
IF you are growing your seedlings in a flat or larger container where they don't have a separation then take a knife and cut around each seedling in a cube shape. This will cut any roots that have mingled with roots from the seedling next to it.

After a week or so of this treatment you can start to move your plants outside to a sheltered, shady area for a few hours, then bring them back in. Each day leave them out longer. After about a week or ten days the seedlings should be able to take full sun--but you'll need to watch them carefully so they don't dry out. When it's time to transplant, look for a cloudy day, not a hot, sunny day. Transplanting will cause some shock to the seedlings no matter what, but a calm, rather cloudy day will help.

There are hundreds of different tips for transplanting your new seedlings. Every gardener has their own technique that they've developed through trial and error. Some mix compost into each hole (which should be larger than the root area of each seedling). If you do this, mix it in the bottom of the hole, then replace a little of the soil on top of that before putting in the seedling. Have your hose, or watering can next to you so you can water each seedling as you plant it, rather than waiting for the entire group or row to be planted. Plan on about a quart of water for each one. Either water the plant gently BEFORE you put on the top layer of soil, or gently fill the hole with soil, and leave a little impression at the top. You can then water it slowly so it soaks into the roots.

One more note-- The soil that you fill back into the hole should be clump and stone free. You can even mix in some new top soil to the garden soil if you wish.

Good basic information on going organic: