Make your own vinegar (all kinds)!


How to Make Vinegar

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How to Make a Skin-Nourishing Herbal Salve

Helpful SHTF tip!

herban lifestyle

If you have a yard, chances are you are growing the ingredients for a skin soothing herbal infusion without even trying! Plantain (Plantago major) is considered a weed, but it also contains natural constituents that are wonderful for your skin. Violet (Viola odorata) leaves are in the same category (not to mention that the flowers are delicious in salads or syrups!).

Violet is moisturizing, toning, healing, and great for sore nipples. Plantain is good for eczema, acne, minor cuts, stings, insect bites, poison ivy itch, and diaper rash.

The basis of a skin-nourishing herbal salve is an herbal oil infusion. Gather about 4 cups of plantain and violet leaves, making sure to choose ones that are fresh and green looking, with no major brown spots, rotten areas, or major insect damage. And make sure that they have not been sprayed with chemicals of any kind.

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Soups – Tips and tricks to making the best soup you ever had!

Soups – Tips and tricks to making the best soup you ever had!

Soup is one of those foods that everyone should know how to make!

Food historians tell us the history of soup is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was inevitable. This made it the perfect choice for both sedentary and travelling cultures, rich and poor, healthy people and invalids. –

But it isn’t the history of soup that makes it great. Soup is a wonderful way to make BIG flavors with modest ingredients. As a kid, I hated soup. I found it salty, or mushy, lacking in yumminess. But since I have been cooking for my family, I have formed a little love affair with the stuff. I make some sort of soup every week and it couldn’t be easier. For you, I have gathered some handy tips you can do to take your soup from just OK to slurptastic! Continue reading

Red Berry Cream Cheese Sponge Cake

Red Berry Cream Cheese Sponge Cake

First, we make sponge cake.

This is how I make like to make it . It is another great way to use my favorite kitchen tool, my handy immersion blender with my whip attachment for this fluffy sweet treat.

4 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter (lightly salted)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two bowls.

2. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. (with your stick blender, this step might take 3 minutes, think soft whipped cream. Do not skip this step!

3. Add sugar to the yolks and beat until pale and fluffy.  Add vanilla and stir on low until just combined.

4. In a third bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Add to egg yolk mixture until just combined. (I use the whisk with no power for this one)

5. Add milk and softened butter, beat just until combined.

6. Fold in whites, small batches at a time until fully incorporated. (I use the whisk with no power for this one)

7. Pour into two greased and floured 8″ round cake pans or one large bunt cake mold.

8. Bake at 325 until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling racks and cool completely.

Hint: Cakes are close to being done when you start to smell them.

While the cake is baking you make the frosting.


  • 2 ounces butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange/lemon juice
  • 4 ounces whipped cream or coolwhip type topping.


In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Add 1 teaspoon orange/lemon juice. Fold in the whipped cream.

After you ice your light and airy Sponge-o-riffic Cake-o-rama! Top it with mixed berries of your liking. I had these frozen strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry melody garnished with a sprig of mint from our garden! ENJOY.

Beautify your eggs in the morning

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Every-Veggi Spaghetti Sauce

There is no good reason to stick to tomatoes alone when making homemade spaghetti sauce. In fact, the more the better, IMHO. Make a large batch and save some for later. This recipe will cover three pounds of pasta or about three jars worth or three meals in my house.

You need to grab hold of my very favorite kitchen tool for this one, an immersion blender.

Grab your goods:

  • 3 cans tomatoes (any kind you like-fire roasted, stewed, crushed, whole, etc- about 6 large fresh would work too)
  • 3 cups chopped veggies (Choose: carrots, zucchini, eggplant, cabbage, celery, onion, beets, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, etc)
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • swig of red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cooked Italian sausage, ground beef (you can add more; this is optional but adds so much flavor)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt (you will be reducing this sauce, so wait till the end before adding additional salt to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I use turbinado sugar, use whatever you have on hand)

Combine all the ingredients (except the meat) in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for an hour. Whip out that immersion blender and blend until smooth. Add the meat and cook for another hour or so. Taste the sauce! If it tastes a little bitter, add a bit more sugar. Salt and Pepper to taste. and serve over cooked pasta, use on top of your pizza or in any dish that calls for tomato sauce.

I pour out two jars full and put them in the fridge or freezer and use the remaining for the meal of the day!

This is a great way to eat your veggies, plus it makes your house smell awesome.

Zucchini Carrot Piña Colada Bread

Zucchini Carrot Pina Colada Cake

Zucchini Carrot Piña Colada Bread

by me, homesteadhacker!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut (you can find this in the mixed drink/hard liquor section of the store)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained ( Reserve juice for frosting. btw, I used pineapple chunks)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded carrot

Continue reading