I will admit it, I am that one mom.  I am the mom that makes everything from scratch and brings the good treats to school for birthdays.  I would love to say it is by choice.  Most of the time it is, but in reality, our kids are spoiled by a lifetime of great food and a Mother that is completely freaked out by ingredient lists on "foods".  Plus, they know if they ask then I will make it.  Food=Love.  Period

I am an organic, local foods, lover and also a pretty hard core budgeter when it comes to groceries.  I can usually feed our family of four with all my paper supplies for $100 a week.  Yes, we usually eat organic and yes we usually have elk, deer, chickens or grass fed beef in the freezer.  This is Montana after all and I am a wanna be farmers wife.

A few of my friends have been asking for recipes and "how to"tips lately so I thought the easiest was to post them here.  I have not taken the time to figure out how to incorporate cutie recipe cards into my blog yet so, sorry, maybe some day :)

Crock Pot Refried Beans without the refry

this picture is weird but you get the drift

Our family will devour bean and cheese burritos.  Sometimes we fancy them up, they are taken to school and work regularly and I would rather make 25 of them once than 3 a day throughout the month.  I have a hidden fear of canned food and know it is cheaper and better for us to make it (all of it) myself. Now, my very picky eaters prefer these over the canned one.  Plus, it won't plop out in a blog!  Score one for the hippy mom!

The good stuff inside

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked in water overnight
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • some cumin
  • 2T minced garlic
  • some salt (about 5T)
  • some pepper
  • some diced chilis (fresh or a small can)
put everything in the crock pot, cook on low for 10 hours, drain and reserve the liquid.  With an immersion blender or mixer or food processor or whatever, blend the bean mixture adding liquid as necessary.  Throw in some cream cheese and that will put them over the edge awesome.  

This is totally freezable.  Make some burritos for the next couple weeks and then freeze the rest.  It will be ready the next time you need them!

Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes 
(no eggs, no baking, pure bliss)

This recipe came from an issue of Mary Jane's Farm Magazine.  Love!  Emma took them to school for her birthday in March.  It makes eight  4 ounce jars (the little tiny cute ones).

The good stuff inside

  • 1/2 cup ground graham crackers
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 1 tsp. sugar

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
side note: if you want them to be chocolate, peanut butter, use chocolate grahams and add 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter to your cream cheese mixture.

1)  In a small bowl, combine ground graham crackers butter, and sugar.  Divide crust evenly between eight 4-ounce canning jars; press into bottom of jars to compact.  We used the top of an ice cream scoop to press down.  Worked great.

2)  In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.  In a separate bowl, or in my house, the KitchenAid mixer, whip cream until stiff; gently fold into the cream cheese mixture.  Divide filling evenly between jars and refrigerate 2 hours to set.  

3) After they are set, top with berries, fruit or a yummy syrup.  If you want to know how to make your own berry syrup, shoot me a message!

Making Your Own Yogurt in the Crock Pot

We go through a lot of yogurt and my sister goes through obscene amounts.  Seriously, my 3 year old niece can put down 5 of those big containers a week.  I like the organic kind and wanted to find a more economical way.  Here it is.  It will take about 30 minutes of hands on time but it is worth it!  Do this at night and it will be ready for the fridge or warm over granola in the morning.

I found this on a fellow mom's blog and tweaked it a bit.  Works flawlessly every time.

The good stuff inside

1/2 gallon of milk (2% or whole works best.  Not ultra pasteurized is an added bonus if you can find it)
1 cup of plain yogurt with active cultures (check to be sure)
1/2 cup dry milk powder (not totally necessary but nice)


honey, vanilla, syrup that I put on my cheesecakes or jam

Let's get started...

pour your half gallon of milk in your crock pot and turn it on high. Go watch t.v, put your kids to bed, read a book, whatever.  Most nicer crock pots will heat the milk to about 180 degrees after about 2 hours.  Mine, not so much.  After a couple hours, I pour it into a pot and heat it the rest of the way.  

Once it reaches 180 then put the pot in an ice bath or pour it back into your crock pot and let it cool down to between 113-115, doesn't need to be exact but in that area is great.  It is usually when you can put your finger in it for 10 seconds and not scream.

Dump your one cup of plain yogurt and your dry milk powder into the pot and whisk it smooth. 

Put the lid on, wrap the whole thing in a towel and slide it into your oven so that it is draft free and can retain heat.

Leave it all night and in the morning you should have creamy yogurt. Take out a cup of it and either freeze it or keep it in the fridge for your next batch and you won't have to buy another container of plain yogurt.  Add whatever you want, put it in containers and enjoy!  We use freezer jam containers or mason jars.  It doesn't last long in our house!

It will thicken in the fridge but if you want it to be more of a greek style then strain it through cheesecloth.  It will look like this:

Don't throw out the liquid though, it is amazing over granola.  

If you want our healthy granola recipe, shoot me an email :)

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