Friday, January 9, 2009

New skills! Back to Basics... and coffee cake

Getting Back to the Basics?? Having a "simple life", "back to the basics", and "frugal" are all the rage right now (a lot to do with the current financial crisis)..... I even have a blog titled Choosing Simplicity! For goodness sakes though, being "simple" can be a lot of work (and even costly when my adventures don't work out so well)!!!!! I LOVE my ever becoming more simple life... wouldn't want it any other way. However, I have a lot to learn. The "simple" country life has a whole set of skills required. There is a definite learning curve.

One should never feel that they have to know everything all at once. Learn something new, do it for a while and then learn something new again. I have made it a life mission to learn something new (big or small) everyday of my life. One way I like to learn is by reading (and then doing). I have been devouring this Reader's Digest book I checkout out at the library. It covers skills of all kinds, from making soap to digging a well. From tanning hides to brewing beer. The learning phase will save you a ton of money in the long run. Talk to others, watch others, take a class, read a book, ask questions. Learn first, jump second!!! Then build on your new skills to do more. For example we now have the ability to butcher pigs since we have mastered butchering deer.... My sister and I upped our canning this year and canned things we hadn't canned before. I have discovered that we like canned applesauce as much as the frozen version we have made for years (thanks to my Grandma for teaching me to make applesauce).

I have found that the more I learn the more I want to learn! The more things we have learned to do our selves or make the more I want to make and do.... Then there is always the "re-doing", but that is for another post!!! Don't be afraid of failure!! Learn from every mistake (and trust me, I have had many.... just ask my family about my attempt to make home made corn tortillas this week! YUCK).... KEEP TRYING! I am going to try flour tortillas next, I haven't given up! Keep learning, keep growing. Today my "new" thing worked: Coffee cake tastes GREAT cooking in a cast iron skillet. I made this favorite recipe for the "Mom's Group" Bible study that meets at our house. We enjoyed it! Here is the frugal (easy) recipe (of course it can be baked in a regular pan):

Overnight (or not) Coffee Cake
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Stir in:
1 cup sour milk (1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice with the milk)
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Crumb topping:
Cut the following together with a pastry cutter or with two knives until well blended.
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix and refrigerate overnight in a 9*13 GREASED baking pan. Top with crunch topping in the morning. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until tooth pick in center comes out clean. You can also just bake it right away without refrigeration. If I am going to make it the night before I prepare the crumb topping and just store it separate till morning. ENJOY!!



tammi said...

What an awesome-looking book!! I'm not sure how BASIC I'd like to be, but I know I'd love reading through that book!!

Unknown said...

This summer we want to have laying hens and grow an herb garden. MN can be a difficult state for that. Try and keep things warm.