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Welcome to BullFrog Springs. I hope you enjoy your time, get a coffee and relax for a minute.

Meal Plans

January 29, 2012

Homemade Vanilla

Homemade Vanilla easy as 1,2,3.

1 cup vodka or spiced rum. (it doesn't have to be top shelf).
1-2 vanilla beans. The long brown pod

Pour vodka in a mason jar or bottle. Slice open the pod and scrape all the beans out. Add the beans to the vodka then add the rest of the pod. Place the lid on and sit in a cool dark place for 2 to 4 months and wait.

See as easy as 1,2,3.

This is the first time I have made it and it is looking great. It has been sitting for about a month and is smelling like vanilla and a little vodka.
You can find vanilla pods at most health or bulk stores. I have paid from $2.50 (which is high) to $0.69 a pod. I also have heard that sams has pods.


January 27, 2012

Fridge Pen Holders

Look what I did in a share 5 minutes I had this morning.

Use an old garlic/onion powder tin or any spice tin that you like. I love red in my kitchen, so I was very happy with the Krogers tins. Add magnet tape to the back. Remember you will be putting pens in it so add enough to handle the weight.

Then add pens/pencils and place on the side of the fridge. You will never be looking for a pen when you are on the phone again.

What a great way to upcycle.

3 Minute Cookies

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
In large saucepan, combine sugar, margarine, milk and cocoa. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Continue boiling 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Stir in oats.* Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let stand until firm. Store tightly covered.
*If using old fashioned oats, cool mixture in saucepan 5 minutes.

Where to Start

I have so many friends ask me, how do you recycle, how do you have chickens, how do you decorate a cake, how do you cook. The list goes on and on........

Where do you start. I think everyone changes their lifestyle for different reasons, for me it was about moving back to the country, having more land for my kids to play and neighbours not so close. Don't get me wrong, I love people and neighbours, I just wanted land and no one watching me.  Believe it or not I was sewing at 4 (crazy I know) and cooking about the same time. I would not call myself great at any of it but, I had a great Mum/Mom who let me do this stuff.  As time goes on, I kept wanting to learn more. I think there is always something to learn, something I can be better at.

As for everyone else, I think it is about what you really want to do. I want to be able to take us off the grid. (I hope one day it happens).
  • If you want to recycle and pay for a trash man. Stop him coming and work it out.
  • If you want to learn how to cook. Buy a cookbook and read the recipe. If it doesn't turn out the first time, keep trying. I have made many mistakes.
  • If you want to learn to decorate a cake. Keep following me, I want to help you all out.  (just need to work out the best way online).
  • If you want a garden, through some seeds in dirt and see what happens. (Ask all gardens, sometimes things don't grow). We don't give up we keep trying and please don't use sprays.
  • Chickens, well I just love them and want more. They are so much fun, but take time and work. You need a place and you need to know what you are wanting.
As I said there is so much I want to do and learn and it is all baby steps. I would love to write again and say we are living off the grid. BUT I'm not there and not sure if I can, but I'm going to give it my all.

Thanks for reading and just give it a try. We all make mistakes and we all love what we do. I love putting good food on the table and living simple.  One step at a time.

January 25, 2012

Oatmeal Bar Cookies

I wish I remember whos blog this came from so I could give them credit. However I changed the recipe some and you can too.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar (you could use less)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup soften butter
1 pint jam flavor of your choice.

Stir flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.
Cut in softened butter until crumbly.
Press 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2 inch pan. I have a stoneware bar pan that works perfectly for this.

Spread with your Jam. I used a jam that was very thick and put in the mirowave first, makes it very easy to spread. The crust wants to come up with the jam as it is spreads. But with a steady hand it can be done. A few bits of crust mixed in won't hurt.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust begins to brown. Let cool and cut into bars.

I sent these to school with the kids and they both came in asking that I put them in their lunch tomorrow. I love that they are very happy to take their lunch and not worry about buying.

January 24, 2012

Vanilla Coffee Cream

I had dinner parties for years with two of my dear friends. We would go to each others place and one of us would cook all the dinner. Three courses, we loved it so much it was hard to move away and know that was coming to an end.  One of my friends would always have store brought coffee creamer, until her Mothers doctor told her not to use it any more.  So we all stopped. Well last night I was reading someone's blog and found this great recipe. She can take all the credit for it, I will just pass it on to everyone. I made it this morning and it is wonderful.

Vanilla Coffee Cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a pan over medium heat. Once cream starts to simmer, turn off heat, cover and let cool. 

Store in refrigerator
You can change out the maple syrup and vanilla to tailor to your taste. Almond flavor would be wonderful. Also you can use light cream and milk or organic.
Make it the way you would like and enjoy.
One more thing you can make easy and doesn't have to be processed.

January 21, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes

What a great dinner at BullFrog Springs tonight.  So before I forget I wanted to let you all know about a good recipe for cheesy potatoes. I have made them several ways before but the has to be the best so far. 

Add a smoked ham and a glass of wine and you will be one happy cooker.

                                                               Cheesy Potatoes

5-6 med potatoes
2 tablespoons of flour
salt and pepper
2 cups hot milk
2 cups sharp cheese. I'm thinking you can use any cheese you had on hand.

Peel and cook potatoes. Cut cook potatoes into pieces and put one layer in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of flour.  Keep making layers untill all the potatoes are gone. Add hot milk and place in the oven covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and stir in cheese and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.


Add some smoked ham

January 17, 2012

An Apple a day - Unknown paper clipping

So when I get a package from my Mother she sends all these newspaper/Mag cuttings. Anything from gardening, crafts, kids stuff or just things that make me want to live better. She is what inspires me to be the way I am. As we always say she was doing composting and growing organic food, before it was cool.

Here is one that I would love to share and will do as time goes on.
We all know the cliche, but new research shows there may be more truth to the old saying than previously thought. Apples - or to be more exact, apple peel may decrease muscle wastage assciated with ageing and illnesses, a recent study by the universtiy of Iowa found.
It would seem that ursolic acid, the waxy substance found on apple peel, promotes muscle growth and increases muscle strenght. The benefits don't stop there, either. They also found ursolic acid could reduce body fat and lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Previous studies at NY's Cornell University show that apples may help protect against Alzheimer's disease and help stave off liver, colon and breast cancer.

My Mother has always eaten an apple a day, she even eats the seeds. But I will say she is very healthy. So maybe there is something to be said in this.

January 14, 2012

Homemade Pretzel Bites

 I found this homemade pretzel recipe on a friend’s blog, it is so good I had to make it two days in a row. The first day friends stopped by and loved them so much. I had to make more for my son. Like almost everything else I make, I know what is going in it so I’m finding it harder to eat out.


1 1/4 cup warm water
1 T. plus 1/4 tsp. yeast
3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. + 2 T powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 c. warm water
1/4 c. baking soda

Mix water/yeast let sit for 10 minutes

 add dry ingredients, knead for 8 minutes in kitchen aid,
Not sure by hand as I’m not the best at that.

raise until double.

     Ready for salt bath.

When dough is done, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Make a bath for the pretzels by combining the baking soda with warm water and stir until soda is mostly dissolved (it won't dissolve completely).

Roll out dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut into small 2" sections. Dip each dough square into the water/soda bath and place on a greased baking sheet. If you are making salted or garlic pretzels, sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 4 minutes, then rotate pan and bake another 4 minutes.

Always brush with butter when they come out of the oven. There are so many ways you can make these. Garlic and salt,  

 For cinnamon/sugar pretzels, brush with butter AFTER baking and then roll in cinnamon/sugar.

Sorry I didn't get a photo of them finished, they are gone so fast. Maybe next time.

January 13, 2012


Woke up this morning to a wonderful snow fall.  Hope the chickens are okay and staying warm in the barn. Waiting on my first cuppa and then I will make my way up there.  Would be a great day for sewing, however I have some cleaning to get done first.

I posted this the other day on FB. But if you don't have power to one of your out buildings, try using solar. We have solar on our barn. (just a light at this stage) and it makes all the difference and at no monthly cost. Also if you lose power and have solar lights in your garden, bring one it. They make great lights when the power is out.

Off to have fun in the snow, yes I'm a big kid.

January 12, 2012

Well we lost our first chicken (Boss) to a wild animal. They were out playing for the afternoon and when I went up at night to lock them up she was gone. The kids and I looked everywhere for her. I then decided to let my Lab out (she always plays with them, not in a good way) and she went right to you.  So my son is checking it all out and telling me what animal did it and my daughter is sitting crying as she loved Boss.

A very sad night as they are my outside babies, I know it goes with living in the country..............I will have to get use to it as I like the fact they can run all over the place.

On a happier note, I'm cleaning up my spice rack and working out what herbs I want to plant this year. I also made home made pretzels that were wonderful. Everyone loved them I had to make more.

Hubby came back from hunting and we are moving onto spring projects, (well the list anyway). So far we have more work in his pole barn. My raised beds, fence in the garden, understand canning better and do more of it. Sewing projects need to be completed. The list goes on

January 9, 2012

Root Beer

I was looking for vanilla beans the other day and couldn't find them but I did see Root Beer. Well that was interesting to me. Now I don't like root beer, but my kids do and like everything else the store brought has stuff that I don't like in it.  So I thought I wonder if I can make this, what does it take. So tonight my kids had their first homemade root beer and I even liked it.

                                                                1 3/4 Cups Sugar
                                                                2 1/4 Cups Water
                                                  2 Tablespoons Root Beer Concentrate
                                                        Club Soda or Sparkling Water

Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Heat and stir until mixture starts to boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.

Add root beer and mix. To serve, add 1/2 to 1/3cup root beet syrup to 5 oz club soda or water.

Makes 3 cups root beet syrup.

January 8, 2012

Ginger Snaps

I have had some requests for this recipe. Ginger is really good for the stomach, so why not eat some ginger snaps.
¾ Cup Shortening, you could use butter but I had shortening
1 Cup Sugar
1 egg
¼ c molasses
2 Cup flour
2 teaspoone Baking Soda
1-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses, Combine flour, Baking Soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape teaspoonfuls into balls. Dip one side into sugar, place sugar side up on a baking sheet. Bake 350 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crinkly. Remove to wire racks to cool. 3-4 DZ

Enjoy, let me know how they turn out.

January 7, 2012

Homemade Brown Sugar

So I was reading that brown sugar has only two ingredients and very easy to make. Being the dork that I am, I had to try and see if they were right.

One cup sugar and one tablespoon molasses, blend with a fork or mixer. I did both.

This is half way through. It took a while to get it blended and I used a fork to finish it off. Make sure you get all the little balls of Molasses blended. The finish product is brown sugar. Store.

It really works and is brown sugar. One more thing I can make and one less processed food in my kitchen. Plus how many times were your going to make something and you out of brown sugar.
Have fun.

African Beef Curry - Slow Cooker
I made this recipe years ago as the ingredients interested me and I wanted to see what it tasted like. We love it.

1 Ib extra-lean ground beef, browned (I always buy local)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, peeled and diced (I have also used canned if you don't have fresh)
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1-2 tsp curry (I use more as we love curry)
4 cups prepared rice

1. Add all ingredients except rice in slow cooker and mix well.
2. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.
3. Serve over hot rice.

I make a yogurt or sour cream dip, with parsley and cucumbers to go on top. It is also great with a side salad. Now this is what I'm having tonight and I can get some projects done while it is cooking away.