Are you a dog lover? As we stock our pantries let’s not forget about our four legged friends!  We have two dogs in our household; Riley, a Boston Terrier:

Boston Terrier, dogs

Riley by the river.

Boston Terrier, dogs

Riley, the Boston Terrier










and Purtie, a pug.

Pugs, dogs

Purtie enjoying the sun

Pugs, dogs

Purtie, our pug

Neither of these dogs were ours to begin with but they have made their home with us. Purtie was originally our daughter Katie’s dog. However Katie settled on the west coast and Purtie didn’t. Riley belongs to our oldest daughter, Jessica. She and her husband moved to London for two years and Riley came to live with us. Both dogs love their treats. They will often go outside on the coldest nights just because they know they will get a treat when they come inside. With trying to get back to basics and have a healthier lifestyle I decided to look into recipes for dog biscuits. Figured it couldn’t be too difficult.  I found a very simple recipe and decided to give it a try.

They smelled delicious as they were baking!

4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups oatmeal
½ to ¾ cups chunky peanut butter
2 ½ cups water

Mix all the ingredients, adding more hot water if necessary.

homemade dog biscuits

Whole wheat, oats and peanut butter

Knead well.

homemade dog biscutis

Dough just about ready to roll out.

Roll out to ¼” thickness and cut into shapes with small cookie cutters.

cookie cutters, homemade dog biscuits

Dog biscuit cookie cutters.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

homemade dog biscuits

Biscuits ready to bake.

Turn off heat and let cool in the oven overnight.

I have to say they were a big success!

homemade dog biscuits, prudent pantry

Finished dog biscuits

A sad note: I made these dog biscuits last weekend with the thought of writing about them today. Purtie, our pug has had some health issues recently and yesterday she took a turn for the worse. We think she suffered some sort of stroke. She spent the day quietly in her bed and passed away late afternoon. So this post is in honor of Purtie, she was a wonderful addition to our family and will be greatly missed.

Pugs, dogs

Purtie 8/2/02-3/7/12

Linked to: NourishingTreasures, RealFoodForager, CallMePMC, GooseberryPatch

The Morristribe’s Homestead Blog Carnival #2

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival

Last week I started my first batch of seeds. In just a matter of days there were green sprouts showing through the dirt!

Here are the onion seedlings:

seeds, vegetable gardening, seed sprouting

Onion seedlings

The broccoli seedlings:

seedlings, seed starting, prudent living

Broccoli sprouts

And the lettuce:

seedlings, seed starting

Head lettuce

Today I will start some more. Pretty soon my kitchen will be filled with flats of green growing plants! Just wanted to share the progress. for those of you that haven’t seen my little video clip for Prudent Living, I’ve attached that as well! There may be snow on the ground here in Vermont but spring is coming!

[hana-code-insert name=’Seed Starting’ /]

Staying healthy is important. We try to take precautions to stay healthy. We always tried to avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office. Shortly after moving to Vermont a friend sent us the recipe for “The Master Tonic”. At first I was a bit skeptical but made a batch and figured whenever we started to feel under the weather we would take a dose. Whether or not it was a coincidence we managed to stay very healthy! I even had several friends who asked for the recipe! I share it with you today exactly as it was shared with me. Beware when you chop fresh horseradish the fumes are quite powerful and when you chop hot peppers DO NOT rub your eyes, and be sure to wear gloves! When you gargle and swallow with this tonic I swear you can feel fire coursing through your veins!

Master Tonic: A Natural Antibiotic

Pro biotic: antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitical.

Important note: As required by law, this information is provided by the right of free speech for educational purposes only, as natural or non-pharmaceutical remedies or therapies are in some nations today now often deemed illegal. We must therefore insist that if you are ill or have any disease or healthy problem that you contact a medical doctor immediately and ask their advice before trying any formulae, or suggestion given in this material.

This is a modern-day version of a recipe for an extremely powerful natural antibiotic originally used to fight infection like the Bubonic Plague that killed over a third of the world in the 1300’s. Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics it fights both bacteria and viruses, and is effective against pathogens that have developed immunity to existing drugs.

hot peppers, horseradish, garlic, ginger, vinegar

Master Tonic Ingredients

Master Tonic:

1 part fresh chopped garlic cloves (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral anti-parasitical)

garlic, master tonic, prudent living

Chopped Garlic

1 part fresh chopped white onion, hottest onions available (similar properties to garlic)
1 part fresh gated ginger root (increases circulation to the extremities)

ginger, master tonic

Chopped Ginger

1 part fresh grated horseradish root (increases blood flow to the head)
1 part fresh chopped Cayenne Peppers, the hottest peppers available, i.e. Habanero, African Bird, or Scotch Bonnets etc. (A great blood stimulant)

hot peppers, master tonic

Hot Cherry Peppers

1 bottle raw, unfiltered, unbleached, non-distilled apple cider vinegar

Fill a large glass jar ¾ of the way full with equal parts of the above peeled, fresh, chopped or grated herbs.

garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, hot peppers

Ingredients layered in a large glass jar.

I use a ½ gallon glass-canning jar and add a cup of each of the above ingredients. Then fill up the rest of the jar to the top with raw, unfiltered, unbleached, non-distilled apple cider vinegar. (It should look milky) shake jar at least once a day for two weeks, and then filter the mixture through a clean piece of cotton (an old t-shirt) or cheesecloth, then bottle and label. If possible make sure all the vegetables and herbs are fresh and organically grown if possible, use dried herbs only in an emergency.

natural antibiotic, master tonic

Master Tonic

This tonic stimulates maximum blood circulation while putting the best detoxifying herbs into the blood. It strengthens the good guys (probiotic) in your system that helps define against infection that broad-spectrum pharmaceutical antibiotics kill. This formula is not just for the sniffles; it has helped to turn around the deadliest of infections.

The dosage is ½ to 1 ounce, two or three times daily (1-2 Tbsps. a time), gargle and swallow. Don’t dilute with water. For ordinary infections, a dropperful taken 5-6 times a day will deal with most conditions. It can be used during pregnancies, is safe for children (use smaller doses) and as a food is completely non-toxic. Make up plenty; it does not need refrigeration and lasts indefinitely without any special conditions.

(I believe the friend that shared this with me got it from The University of Natural Healing, Dr. Richard Schultzs’ adaption of Dr. Christopher’s’ original anti-plague tonic)

Linked to: MindBodyandSole

This recipe is from a much-loved cookbook, which is my husband’s. He has owned this book since 1980 and we have enjoyed numerous recipes from it. The cookbook is called Pei Mei’s Chinese Cook Book Volume 1 and is very unique as one page is in Chinese and the other page is in English.

chinese cooking, Pei Mei

Our beloved cookbook.

Miss Fu Pei-Mei was a celebrated television chef in Taiwan and at the time the book was written had over fifteen years of experience demonstrating the art of Chinese cookery. This book is a collection of more than one hundred traditional dishes. We have made many of them and have never been disappointed. The book was originally published in 1969. You can still find used copies online. This recipe feeds about four and is easily doubled. It works equally well for pork, shrimp or fish.

1 lb of boneless chicken
2 peppers (sweet)
1 cup pineapple chunks

½  Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water
1 egg yolk

Seasoning Sauce:
3 Tbsp Vinegar
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp catsup
3 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil

In a medium size bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Slice chicken very thin. Best if done while the chicken is still fairly frozen as you can slice it thinner.

chicken, slicing chicken

Thinly sliced chicken.

Soak in marinade for at least ½ hour.

Cut peppers into halves, remove seeds and membranes, and cut into 1” squares. Set aside.

peppers, chinese cooking

Red and green sweet peppers.

In a small bowl, combine seasoning sauce ingredients. Stir and set aside.

Chinese cooking, seasoning sauce, prudent living

Seasoning sauce ingredients.

Heat a few teaspoons of peanut oil in your wok. I use a non-stick pan, shaped like a wok with a flat bottom. When the oil is hot, stir-fry the chicken until it just starts to brown.

chicken, cooked chicken, stir-fry

Sautéing chicken.

Remove to a bowl. Add peppers and pineapple to pan.

sweet peppers, pineapple

Peppers and pineapple are added to pan.

Stir constantly until just tender but not soft. Add seasoning sauce and chicken. Stir until thickened and serve immediately. Delicious served with rice.

Chinese cooking, prudent living, recipe box

Sweet and Sour Chicken


Peanut Butter is a staple in our house. Now that our children are out of the house we don’t use it as often as we used to but it is still a staple I like to have on hand. According to the “best by” date on jars of peanut butter, and from what I read on the Internet, the recommended shelf life is 18 months. Beyond that date the product does not spoil, but may develop off-flavors due to age. The end of the recommended shelf life is noted by the “best by” date stamped on the jar.peanut buter, peanuts

Both opened and unopened jars of peanut butter can be stored at room temperature. It is best to store peanut butter with the jar tightly closed and in a cool place. You can store peanut butter in the refrigerator if you want. Refrigeration may help to retain optimum flavor, particularly if the room temperature tends to be warm. Keep in mind that colder storage will make the peanut butter firmer and not as easy to spread.

Do you wonder if peanuts can be stored longer? According to, nuts (in shells or not) can be stored in the freezer for 24 months.

If you are interested in having peanut butter as part of a long-term storage plan the best thing to do is purchase peanut butter powder. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, you can plan on a storage life of 4-5 years at a stable temperature of 70 degrees. It should keep proportionally longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

Provident Pantry, peanut butter powder

Peanut butter Powder

These are all interesting facts! For the time being I will plan on having just an extra jar or two on hand.

I also thought I’d try making my own peanut butter. How hard could it be? I had some peanuts on hand and decided to give it a try.

peanuts, raw peanuts

Raw peanuts

The peanuts were raw, so the first thing to do was roast them. This was easy. I just placed them in a shallow pan and set them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

peanuts, prudent pantry

Roasted peanuts.

After roasting is done remove them and let them cool for a short while.

Once the peanuts were cooled off, I placed them in my food processor.

processing peanuts, peanut butter

Processing the peanuts.

I added the salt and honey and processed for one minute. I continued to process while slowly drizzling in the peanut oil until the mixture was smooth.

peanut butter, homemade peanut butter

Looks like peanut butter!

I then placed my peanut buyer in an airtight container and stored it in the refrigerator. Was that ever easy, and the result is so tasty!

natural peanut butter, prudent living

Homemade Peanut Butter

Here is the simple recipe:

15 ounces of shelled and roasted peanuts
1 tsp kosher salt (I used sea salt)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut oil

Place the peanuts, salt, and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in your refrigerator.

Yesterday I picked up my seed order from the local co-op and today I am going to start a few seeds indoors. I tend to get carried away when reading the seed catalogs and if I had the room I would start twice as many as I do. However I only have one simple growing table with two grow lights so my space is limited.

seed starting, gardening

My grow lights and simple table.

grow lights, seed starting

Seed starting set-up.










I have a chart where I have written down what seeds I will start and when to start them.

vegetable seeds, gardening, seed starting

My seeds and my list!

seeds, gardening

Seed starting charts










There are several resources available on line. I have made two downloads to help me stay organized this year. Little House in the Suburb has a little booklet you can put together. By determining your last day of frost you work backwards to determine what you should plant and when. I also downloaded a seed-starting chart from Martha Stewart. It is basically the same information just on one sheet. The booklet I’ve used before, I want to see which works better.

Today I am going to start my leeks, onions and broccoli. I will start the broccoli in a small box and for the leeks I will use a different type of container. In the smaller containers I usually put a paper towel in the bottom to keep the soil mixture contained. By the time I need to transplant the paper towel will have dissolved.

seed starting, planting containers.

Seeds and planting containers.

seed starting, gardening, prudent living

Paper towel is used to contain the soil mixture.










In a previous posting you may recall that I made my own seed starting mixture, I have filled the containers with this mixture and moistened them slightly.

seeds, planting seeds

Container for the leeks.

One rule of thumb is to plant the seeds 2-3 ties as deep as the seed is wide. Leek and onion seeds are rather small and are pretty much sprinkled on the top of the soil.

Once my seeds are planted I make sure the soil is moist. One way to do this is to fill a plastic bin with water and float the pot in it until the surface is damp. I then label each container with the date and the name of the plant. This will help me keep track of how many days it took the seeds to germinate and will also help me when it comes time to plants the vegetable plants in the garden. I may be able to tell leeks from broccoli but it is very important to keep track of the variety of peppers and tomatoes.

Cover the seeds with a plastic or glass cover to create a mini greenhouse.  You need to keep the seeds warm; a heating pad may be necessary. You do not need a grow light until the seeds sprout. Once you see the first seed sprouting remove the cover and place under your grow light. Keep a close eye on the seedlings, as you don’t want them to dry out.

greenhouse, plastic greenhouse, seed starting

Creating a mini-greenhouse.

It’s a wonderful feeling to finally have some seeds planted. I will continue to plant more as the weeks go by. Won’t be too long before I’ll be able to be outside working in the garden!

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