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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Severed hands, puking peppers, and creepy spiders - oh my!

Well, I was laying in bed last night and I suddenly realized that I had nothing fun planned for Halloween dinner.  I always slightly envy those families that have all those fun traditions on holidays and then I realized that if I want a tradition, I need to start one!  Well, here's my first attempt at a traditional Halloween Dinner. :)

Does it bother anyone else that the pictures in the link only have 6 legs? I mean it's a spider people! I also got to use my zucchini relish juice to make these and Oh My Goodness are they good!!

Main Meal:
 These are going to be my new go to breadsticks! WOW!!!

We just had meatloaf last week but I wanted to do this so badly, so I decided to make a sloppy joe loaf. haha. Also, I didn't have a hand mold just laying around, so I broke out my obviously well used sculpting skills. haha

Yay for the spaghetti that survived left over night and for the reclaimed free green peppers, they aren't orange, but who cares? I
 I wanted to do these stuffed roaches, but I figured the apples plus candy would be more than we could eat and I figured, I'd leave something fun for next year. :)  

I can't believe that for all my procrastination, this came together so quickly.  I had the eggs and the hand done before Te-Man woke up this morning and then did the bones and the caramel apples during his nap and the peppers during his lunch.

Happy Halloween!!

Melon Balling Skills = :(

So, I'm not sure if you've seen posts for these beautiful little mini caramel apples.  I've seen them everywhere and I decided that my family needed them!
Well, this time, I decided to actually read the ENTIRE recipe before I got started (novel idea I know).  Uh I have a melon baller?  Not that I know of - I've never "melon balled" anything.  Well I got to searching because you never know what could be lurking in the drawer of weird kitchen tools that never gets used.  Ah Ha! I think I found one...or maybe it was a cookie dough scoop - I've never used one of those either.  Oh should work....I think....

What's In It:

What To Do With It:
What kind of skewers?  I used shish-ka-bob sticks that I cut in half.  Maybe sucker sticks or fancy what ya feel.

How many apples you ask, well that depends on your melon balling skills.  Mine are terrible, embarrassing really, so it took me 4 apples.  But the original site says you should be able to get 6-8 apple balls out of one apple.  Not sure if they are using super freak mutant apples or I am just not being hard enough on myself.

I used 3 little bags of caramel flavored chemicals from Target.  I couldn't find a big bag and I hated the fact that I was buying the stuff in the first place, so I just grabbed and dashed.

Coat the inside of your pan with a thin layer of butter and then melt the caramels slowly over super low heat.  I actually have a melt setting on my stove, so I used that.
While the caramel is melting, give your melon baller a try.  There was cursing during this step, so it's a good thing Te-Man was asleep. :)
Place the apple balls into lemon juice, toss, and set aside.  I skewered each apple ball with a stick, be sure to skewer through the skin side.  At this point, I cut off a bit from the bottom of each apple ball to make it flat so they didn't roll all around my plate.  Dry each ball really well before dipping into the caramel.

The caramel will not stick if the apple is too wet.  Or in my case, wouldn't stick to the apples at all. :(  So, I just did the next best thing, line them all up on the plate and poor the caramel on top!! :)

Oh...and then the sprinkle adventure better get those sprinkles on ASAP if you want to use them, do not wait until the caramel is too cool because then you are setting of a sprinkle bomb in your kitchen and will be finding sprinkles until Easter.  I would know.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We're In Business

Honey Bee Bottoms is now officially open for business on Hyena Cart.  

You can visit us here:

You can also find us on Facebook 

Be sure to take advantage of the discount code MULTI when you purchase 2 or more diapers.

Thank you for your support and let's get some cloth diapers on those baby bee bottoms!

Mmmm Mmmm Good

My poor family was stuck with a left over's night and I wanted to make it up to them by giving them a little something special.  A few weeks ago when I made the pumpkin pie, I was at the store and didn't know if I was going to need evaporated milk or condensed milk, so I bought both.  Turns out, I need evaporated milk and now I had a can of condensed milk in my cabinet and it was driving me crazy.

Ah ha! I can turn it into caramel!  But's so hard....I don't know if I'd be able to ever find enough time to get it done. This will be, hands down, the hardest recipe I ever tell you about.   *notice the extreme sarcasm*

Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel
What's In It:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

What To Do With It:
Put it in a crockpot, cover the can with water, and cook on low for 8 hours. 

SERIOUSLY, that's it.

Now, you can take it a bit further if you want to and use a plate, bowl, or cup to prevent any rust spots from forming on your crockpot bottom.

Or, you can be super crazy like I am and pour the milk into jelly jars.  
I did this for 2 reasons.  1. I am crazy and like I use my jelly jars for everything. Seriously, I will dice pepper and onions and store them in the jars. It's so pretty!  Which leads me to number 2.  I wanted to be able to see when the milk actually turned to caramel.  My crockpot is we'll say temperamental, and I wasn't sure how long it would actually take.
Now, you might run into an issue like I did and those darn cute jelly jars were floating! ACK! What do I do?  Well, I found the shortest "bowl" and wedged it between the lid of the crockpot and the top of the jelly jars. :) I just showed you jelly jar!!! 

Then, dip apples or graham crackers or a spoon or your finger......mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Finally I've Found It...

So, the other day, when I was talking about pumpkin pie and how I wanted to like it, but didn't really.  And then I proclaimed that I LOVE pie....well I'm starting to think that I was lying.  Maybe I don't actually love pie, I just love the idea of pie, and I want to love pie.  Well, maybe I am on a pie adventure and I will learn to love pie at a time.

Most of the time I don't like strawberry pie because the strawberries are either too raw or too cooked.  I feel a little like Goldilocks, but that's just the way it is.  This pie has the perfect mix of both!

Strawberry Pie
What's In it:
1 9" baked pie crust
2 1/2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 c white sugar
3 T cornstarch
3/4 c water
1 t vanilla (optional)

What To Do With It:
Crush roughly 1/3 of your berries with a potato masher.  Mix all the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and water together in a pot and boil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then pour into your baked pie crust.
This pie crust clearly isn't baked yet, but I wanted to include the picture.  It makes me want to play that crazy connect the dots into squares game....too many long car rides as a kid I think :)

Refrigerate until completely cooled or at least until pie is set, typically about 1 hour.  Serve with cool-whip...or without.  You know my feelings on that! :)

P.S. These strawberries were free!  How awesome is it to fill my family's tummies with delicious home-cooked food that would have otherwise gone to waste?! :)

Perfect timing!

So, produce guy has been giving me some great stuff lately!  I know beggars can't be choosers, but once I got a taste of that cantaloupe a few weeks back, I'd been dying for some more fruit.  And guess what - this week was the jackpot!!

On Sunday, I picked up all of this beautiful produce
I'm not sure if you could tell, but I was jumping up and down like a little kid when I saw those berries! :)
Also, look at all those green beans!  I had enough for a crockpot full, a gallon freezer bag, and enough to give to a friend. 
The mushrooms were phenomenal in a salad and I made some more scrumptious pickled jalapenos.  
But what did I do with the'll see.

Stop's bad for your keyboard!

Monday was another score - not that you could tell from the world's worst cellphone picture.  Don't even get me started on this droid2's camera. ugh. might not be able to tell, but there are three bags of sliced apples there in the top left next to the eggplant! Sliced apples! That's incredible.  It's fate.  Just yesterday morning I was feeling guilty that I was subjecting my poor family to left-over night.  Hey, when you run out of storage containers, you know you have a fridge full and it's time to clean 'em out buddy! Anyway, back to the I was thinking that since I picked up 80lbs of pink lady apples the other day, I could spare a few from the endless applesauce and dried apple sweatshop routine I've been running, and we'd have some with some homemade caramel dip for a surprise dessert.  Well, now I don't even have to do any work because the apples are already sliced and everything!  And talk about no work, I made a crazy easy and amazing caramel dip. :)  

I'm so excited to turn that broccoli into some more veggie patties - even Te-Man eats them and that boy has a serious green food-phobia.

You seriously should ask your local grocer for some of their left over produce to feed to your "chickens". Our chickens eat so well, 3 families of "chickens" have been getting more produce than they can eat from just one store!!! :)

Monday, October 29, 2012


So for anyone that has never had Super Mom's Oyster heart bleeds for you. Seriously, they are messy and whoa do they make your breath stink, but I dare you to stop eating them.
I decided that until I can try out and perfect a homemade butter cracker recipe, it was unacceptable to deprive my family of this culinary delight.  In comes the perfectly timed, sized, and amazingly delicious pumpkin seeds.

What's In It:
2 1/2 c pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed
2 T butter, melted
pinch salt
1 1/2 T ranch dressing powder (homemade or Hidden Valley will work)
1/4 t garlic powder (scant)
1 t dill weed
1/4 c oil (scant)

What To Do With It:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Toss seeds with melted butter and salt.  Spread onto a large baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 45-60 minutes.  Stir them about every 10-15.  You want them to start looking tannish, but not brown.  Also, try one to make sure you like the texture.  If it is too chewy for you, pop them back in for a few minutes.  Allow the pumpkin seeds to cool.

Mix ranch dressing, garlic, and dill weed together.  Whisk powders into the oil.  Add your pumpkin seeds and mix.  This is easiest if you use a large lidded container and shake the begesus out of it, but if you want to be boring and use a spoon, that works too. 

Note: I let my pumpkin seeds dry on a towel overnight, not because the recipe calls for it - how could it...I'm making it up haha - but because snuggling up on the couch with my Wolverine was far more important last night after the mini super heroes were off to bed.  

Pumpkins and Patron....

FINALLY!  Yesterday we got around to carving some pumpkins. :)

I would like to pose the question of why on earth I am the one that has to scoop out the insides of these poor  squash?  Why then am I also the one to sift through the orange stringy brain mess to find the precious little kernels of tastiness?  AND then I am also the one to cook them?  But I digress.....
So, Ze-Ra had quite the accomplishment was the first time she carved her entire pumpkin by herself!!!  I was so proud of her - she didn't get upset or frustrated once!  YAY for patience!*

Wolverine took charge of carving the Te-Man's pumpkin )while I made us some pineapple juice and patron with orange slices- YUM).

I'm not sure if it was intentional, but Te-Man's favorite (out of the three he has seen) movie is Finding Nemo.  Doesn't the pumpkin look like the Marlin face the moonfish form?

Great Job Wolverine and Ze-Ra!

I'm trying something new with the pumpkin seeds - they are in the oven right now!  I'll post the results in a bit.  I need to get a pot of applesauce cooking first.

*Just for giggles, whenever Ze-Ra is being a little bit low on calm and patience, I always tell her that I have a pocket full of patience and she is welcome to have some.....she never takes me up on my offer.  I guess I should start using some of it myself. :P

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Momma needed one to match! :-)

Hooded Scarf? Yes Please!!!

You know how my middle name is procrastination....well - here were are 4 days before Halloween and we are just now working on costumes.  Ze-Ra has decided she wants to be a Ninja.  Easy costume!!!  Black shirt, check.  Black pants, check.  Black shoes, kinda check.  She has some shoes with black on them, but I'll have to make a felt slip cover for them.  No problem.  Black Mask, check.  Ninja swords, half check.  I'm going to take some of those wooden sticks I got to turn into garden markers and spray paint them black.  Black Hood....nope.  Gonna have to make one.  No problem!  I saw this amazing post for a hooded scarf over on Baby Center the other day and I have been dying to make one (or 7).
So, I took a bit of microfleece that hadn't yet been turned into a diaper and whipped up a hooded ninja scarf for Ze-Ra.

What You Need:
Length and Width of your favorite Scarf
Your favorite hoodie hood

What You Do With It:
Fold your fleece in half, right side in.

Using your favorite scarf as a guide, trace and cut out your scarf with the fold of the real scarf on the fold of the fleece.

Using your favorite hoodie hood as a guide, trace and outline approximately an inch away from your hoodie, and then cut out your hood  

Sew the top and back of your freshly cut hoodie together.
Fold the front (face area) of your new hoodie to the inside about a half inch (doesn't have to be exact), pin if you desire, and sew all the way around the face of the hoodie to create a hem.
Open up your scarf, and place it right side up.  Open up your hood, and place it right side down on top of the scarf.  Line up the bottom edge of the hood with the edge of the scarf.  Pin if desired.  Sew the hood to the scarf (right sides together).
TA DA!  

 I started at 1030 and between dodging the Te-Man and sips of my coffee, I finished just before 1050.  Not bad for a first time making an item!  It's now 1130 and Ze-Ra hasn't taken it off. :)

Now...since that took less than 20 minutes, I guess I have extra time to go online and search for some microfleece for more hoodie scarves!!! :)

Who Needs Sonic with Chili Dogs like these?

Chili Dogs were on the menu Friday and WOW were they amazing!

We had left over Venison Chili from the night before and Super Parents gave us some hot dogs from a meat market in IL and it was Kismet!  But wait....I didn't have any hot dog buns.  Wouldn't it be easier to run to the store to get some buns?  Sure it would, but wouldn't they taste like card board and fall apart in your hands? Sure they would.  How could I subject such delicious chili and hot dogs to such a dismal fate?  I could not. 

These phenomenal dogs were topped with chili, onions, smoked cheddar, mustard, and this surprisingly fantastic zucchini relish from One Hundred Dollars a Month.  

I yet again proved, in my procrastination and subsequent haste to quickly make a recipe, my reading skills are sub-par.  Here is the recipe that I found: Homemade Hot Dog Buns.  You should definitely go check it out for the pictures.  I have included the actual recipe below and then my notes about the changes I made - some purposefully and some accidentally. Ha Ha

What's In It:
1 1/4 c lukewarm milk (1 1/2 c lukewarm buttermilk)
1 lrg egg, beaten
6 T softened butter (more like 4T because that's all that was in my butter dish)
3 T sugar
4 c bread flour (I had All Purpose Flour and to compensate for the extra liquid I added, I used 5 c)
3 T intant potato flakes*
1 T vital wheat gluten (I didn't use this becuase I didn't have any, though I might get some to keep on hand)
2 t kosher salt (I used morton's regular salt)
2 t instant yeast
1/2 c buttermilk for brushing buns.  

What To Do With It:
Put all ingredients except the buttermilk into a mixer  Mix on low speed with a dough hook, for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. (I only needed to mix for about 5 minutes) 
Allow to rest in the mixer bowl, covered with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.  (I was rushed for time and I only let it rise for an hour, next time I will plan ahead, and let it rise for 2). 

Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with a silpat or parchment paper. (I needed 2 baking sheets)
Divide dough into 3 equally sized pieces and form into logs.
Divide each log into 5 equal pieces for standard sized rolls or 4 equal pieces for larger Italian sausage or hoagie rolls.
Working with one piece at a time, pat and stretch each piece out into an oval.
Press an indentation down the length of the center of the oval.
Roll the dough up around the indentation.
Pinch the seam together lightly.
Roll the pieces gently seam side down until about 6-inches in length.
Transfer to the lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between the pieces, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush the puffy dough generously with buttermilk.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
Cool the rolls on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

These were so good!!!  I think because of my recipe alterations, they turned out a little skinnier than the ones on the original sight, but that didn't stop us from downing them and using them to mop up any chili that jumped ship from the dog.  

Saturday, we used the left over hot dog buns as bread sticks with our spaghetti.  We brushed them with garlic butter and warmed them in the oven - why did dinner take so long to get here?!

They were delicious!  I'll be posting about them early this week. :)

*This was the first time in my life that I ever used instant potato flakes.  I bought them about 6 months ago for a camping trip and was too grossed out to even open the package.  I had to run out the camper to get them - and now I don't know what I'm going to do with a whole box of potato flakes...guess we'll be eating a TON of hot dog buns! Man life is HARD! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cast Iron Christmas!

At the suggestion of Mavis over at One Hundred Dollars A Month, I purchased a 5qt dutch oven. 

 My 7qt was a little too large for the bread I'd been baking and I wanted to give the smaller version a try.  For $30, I almost bought 3 of them! :)  

Here she is, ready for her close-up! 
I've been collecting my cast iron skillets for about 10 years now.  This dutch oven is, obviously, the most recent.  Wolverine had a few when we met, and some of them were given to me by Super Mom for Christmas quite a few years ago.  Still others I received as hand-me-downs from my MaMaw.  

Here is my cast iron family all snuggled up together - the newbie fit right in!

How blessed I am to be able to cook meals for my beautiful family using the very same skillets that were used to cook meals for my MaMaw, Granny, Super Dad, and everyone around them!  There are days when I am cooking a delicious meal and I am almost overcome with gratitude for the amazing family I have and for the strength of love that flows within it.


Friday, October 26, 2012

When You Have 8lbs of Okra.....

Slice and Freeze it! :)

A few weeks ago, I found myself knee-deep in Okra.  You won't hear any complaining here, but I also didn't want it to go to waste.  I thought it would be best if I found a way to freeze it.  I did a little online searching and found that it is recommended to blanch, slice, freeze.  So that's what I did.

What's In It:

What To Do With It:
Trim stems from Okra.  Be sure to trim as closely as possible to the stem.  You'll want to try not to cut into the seed cavity.  This helps to reduce the release of the okra ooze.  Notice I said reduce....

Drop the okra into boiling water for 3 minutes.  I would do this in batches to prevent too drastic a drop in temperature.

Remove from boiling water and immediately plunge into an ice water bath for at least 5 minutes.

Once they are cool enough to touch, slough through the okra ooze and fish out the okra.  Really this works best to just pour it into a colander.

Slice the okra in to 1 - 1 1/2" slices.  Whatever size you like best.

Arrange the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze.

Once frozen, place okra in a freezer safe container or bag and sit tight till you are ready to enjoy it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sour Cream to the Rescue!

How did it come to this!?

I'll tell you how...Super Dad has struck again!

While in the Smokies this past weekend, the Super Parents were true to form and sent us home with 5 grocery sacks full of peppers picked from their garden.  Bell, serrano, habanero, jalapeno, and garden salsa.  What a score!!!  So today, I set out to preserve them in a few different ways.

The bell peppers were sliced into rings and frozen in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  They were then sealed into freezer bags and I can use them whenever I need.  I got 2 gallon freezer bags, plus what I used to make venison chili for dinner, and 2 entire peppers that the Te-Man devoured - ate them like they were apples!

The Serrano peppers are currently nestled into my dehydrator and will be used to spice up everything from pizza to general Tso's chicken. The habaneros will be finding their way into the dehydrator soon.

I see lots of Nachos in my future! I took 7lb of jalapenos, and turned them into 12 (ok...really 11 1/2) pints of pickled jalapeno slices. 

Pickled Jalapenos
What's In It:
7lb Jalapenos
10 c White Vinegar
10 c Water
10 T Pickling Salt

What To Do With It:
Mix water, vinegar, and salt in a large pot.  Boil.
Prepare canning pot, jars, and lids.
De-stem and slice the jalapenos.  If you are looking for them to be a little less spicy, remove the seeds.
Pack tightly into prepared canning jars.
Cover with brine mixture.
Wipe rims, place lids, and bands on jars.  Process in a boiling water bath for at least 10minutes.
Wait 2 weeks to allow time to cure and the flavors to develop.

The garden salsa peppers are when things get tricky.  Upon receipt of the bounty of peppers I was excited about the possibility of pickling some of them to eat as snacks or with cheese.  I asked Super Dad if any of them were mild enough to just eat on their own.  He assured me that the garden salsa peppers fit that bill.  Me, being the trusting daughter, didn't think twice and took my father's word.  Well then, today I used the left over 6 cups of brine from the jalapenos, added 4 crushed cloves of garlic, and 4 T of sugar.  My plan was to make these tasty little peppers quite the sweet and spicy snack.  I decided to give them a try as I was prepping them.  Just a little taste....HOLY MOLY those bad boys are HOT!  I hadn't even closed my mouth and it was on fire.  My lips were almost numb.  In comes the sour cream - any attempt to pull the capsaicin from my skin.  It worked - a little.  I definitely made for some giggles. :)
Ha Ha, well, I added another 1/2 c of sugar and hoped it tamed the heat enough to make them edible, and canned them anyway.
I guess we'll know in a few weeks. :)

To cap off the Pepperific Day, we had Venison Chili and Homemade Brownies.  I think I earned every bite! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On the NC Candy Roaster......

On the NC Candy Roaster,There's a Squash that's Pink and Bright
Where the pumpkins all are tasty and the pies are nice and light.

Would you like to hear the story about not only the very first pumpkin pie I ever made, but also about the most delicious pumpkin pie I have ever tasted?  It starts with me not liking pumpkin pie.  They are boring, the texture is weird, and any pie that I have to cover in chemical filled cool crap whip is - in my opinion - not worth eating.  But I hear about all these people getting pie pumpkins and roasting them and turning them into delicious pies - and I am jealous....I want that pie happiness....I LOVE pie!

So the quest begins.  I had some friends keep an eye out for some pie pumpkins at a local patch.  They weren't able to bring any home, so I took matters into my own hands.  I headed out to the nearest patch that I felt was actually about pumpkins and not about swindling/guilting parents out of money.  This little pumpkin patch, Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm, fit the bill!  They offered hay rides, but they were only $5 and you got a pumpkin!  They also had TONS of pumpkins to choose from.

Te-Man and I did 3 laps and I did not see a single pie pumpkin.  I was looking specifically for those little ones you see in the luck.  I asked the lady behind the counter.  She was super sweet, but she just "worked there" and couldn't help me with the pumpkins except hand me a pumpkin magazine.  It did have a great list of pumpkin varieties and their uses, and even named some for pies - none of which they had.  She suggested we wait for the owner to get back with the next load of hay riders.  I wasn't about to let a beautiful day go to waste, so Teagan and I wondered about the farm, finding blackberry bushes, raspberry bushes, strawberries, and tons of rides/toys.  We will be spending a lot of time there next summer!

So - I finally found out that NC Candy Roasters are supposedly very popular for pie.  They were in fact developed here in NC and are descendants of the banana squash, which can grow up to 100lbs!  The NC Candy Roasters only grow to a much more manageable 10lbs or so. :)  I was also told, repeatedly, that "People come down from the mountains to get these Candy Roasters.  From the Mountains!"

So, I am so excited to make this pie, I get home and set straight to work.  First, I slice up the squash into manageable pieces that fit onto my baking sheet.  The baking sheet was lined with a non-stick mat.  

*Note, the squash in the picture is skin down only to show you the beautiful yellow of the squash.  It should in fact be cooked skin side up*

Roast the squash for about an hour on 375 degrees F.

Once it is cool enough to touch, use a spoon and scrape the insides out of each squash piece into a bowl.   If you feel it is a bit stringy, you can blend it up with a food processor or I just took a quick spin of my immersion blender through it.

Here, you can measure out however much you need for any recipe you may like.  You can also freeze this squash puree in any quantity you'd like.

I chose to do 2 cup portions.  I got seven 2 cup portions out of the 2 squash.

Here is the recipe for the best Pumpkin Pie I have ever eaten.

Candy Roaster Pumpkin Pie
This pie is light and airy and has just the right amount of sweetness and spice.  Will be making it again soon!

What's In It:
2 c pureed NC Candy Roaster Squash
1/3 c sugar
2 eggs
2 T flour
1/2 c evaporated milk
1 t vanilla
3 T butter
1 pie crust

What To Do With It:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine all ingredients (except pie crust) and mix in mixer until creamy and thoroughly combined.  Pour mixture into favorite pie crust and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  

I would also like to point out that for the record, the cool whip on this pie was not mine and I in fact ate mine without it.  Thought it wasn't too bad with it either. :)