Thursday, July 20, 2017

GUINEA PIGS

We just purchased 2 guinea pigs.  I'm trying to learn as much as I can to give them a long and happy life.  Below I am going to post my favorite links that I've found so far so I can easily find them and read when needed.

Fleece lining for inside piggy cage:
http://www.calicavycollective.com/2014/03/guinea-pig-101-fleece-bedding-guide.html

Guinea Pig advice and support Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/228367380635385/

C&C cage are best
https://www.guineapigcagesstore.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

DUTCH BABY


3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 milk
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of nutmeg
1 or 2 tablespoon(s) butter - I used 2 and it seemed like too much
toppings: syrup, preserves, powdered sugar or cinnamon & sugar

Put 8" cast iron skillet in the oven and then preheat to 425*  Once oven has reached temp pull skillet out of oven and put butter in it to melt.

While butter is melting whisk together eggs, flour, milk, sugar and nutmeg.  Use an electric mixer, a blender or lots of elbow grease to really get the butter aerated - need lots of bubbles!

Pour batter over melted butter and bake for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes lower oven temp to 300* and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Once cooled a bit add toppings and enjoy!

*Do not open oven to peek it'll make it deflate!
*Double recipe if using a larger pan - make sure you melt enough butter to cover bottom of pan

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

So you want to take a DNA test...

I have been asked by so many family and friends about my journey after taking my DNA test.  Several are curious about their own family and don't know where to begin.  I am no where near expert level but I decided to share my experience and my opinion with the companies I've tested with and give a little info to help assist you in your own journey.  This article will most likely be all over the place because that is how my brain works but hopefully you are able to pull some helpful tidbits out here and there.  

WARNING:  I have seen several cases on online forums of where people take this DNA test and they find out that one of their parents isn't really their biological parent, they've been lied to, they have siblings they didn't know about and some of their family members procreated with other family members.  You must prepare yourself that this is a possibility because I cannot tell you how many people get a shock after taking a DNA test...

First I'm going to list the DNA sites that I am on and then give my feedback about each site.

1. www.ancestry.com
2. www.23andme.com
3. www.familytreedna.com
4. www.myheritage.com
5. www.gedmatch.com

1.  I cannot say enough good things about ancestry.com.  They've really made their site user friendly with endless amounts of information that I have thoroughly enjoyed learning from.  I still have not mastered navigating all of the tools they have available but that's only because I've been so focused on building my tree I haven't ventured around much.  If you're going to take a DNA test and you cannot decide which company to go with I would say ancestry hands down based on the fact that you get more info IMO and their database is much larger, meaning more people are testing with them than anywhere else so you will get more info and matches.

With ancestry you get an ethnicity estimate which breaks down your ethnicity into percentages.  Mine looks like this:




















There's a genetic community section that shows you what part of the world your ancestors came from.  It shows you on the map where those places are, gives you lots of historical information on those areas and then even shows you who on your DNA match list also have ancestors from those locations.  Mine looks like this:








Then the best part (I think) it gives you a list of relatives that you are related to by DNA who have also tested with ancestry.  To give you an idea of how many people you could be seeing...  each page has about 50 people on it and I have currently 185 pages of cousins.  The number grows weekly as people test.  Your matches can add photos of themselves and information and you can see the trees they build provided they make them public.  If they are private you can ask them for permission to view their tree.  An important note, some trees are wrong, people start copying others research thinking it's correct when it's not and that was my biggest mistake when I first got started.  Do not trust what others have on their trees without confirming and doing a bit of your own research.

When you start building your tree, if you and a cousin have the same set of grandparents on both of your trees ancestry will tell you!  It'll say this match has a shared ancestor hint and show you the direct path on how you're related. I love that feature as well!

*Keep in mind the only matches you will see are those who have also tested with ancestry!  You will have to use those people and your immediate living relatives to do your own research while building a tree.

Another feature is DNA circles, that just tells you watch matches have several other matching relatives with you in their tree. 

2.  I did not like 23andme at all.  First off I found it isn't that compatible with mac computers.  Their site would often show up as a jumbled mess and I had a very hard time registering my kit off the bat.  I still get a million error messages when I try to log in so I don't even go over there much at all.  Most of my matches have chosen to remain anonymous which was disappointing to me.  I guess they did the test just to get the health report and weren't interested in learning about their ancestors.  I tested because I was searching for someone and all of those anonymous matches was useless to me.

Here is my genetic break down from 23andme


















I have 1,244 DNA matches on 23andme.  Compare that to ancestry's whopping 9,250...  that's a big difference.  Then like I mentioned the majority of those 1,244 are anonymous and I can see nothing about them.  Those who aren't anonymous on 23andme share their name and some of them list surnames in their family.  There are no trees, no other info to assist you.  Definitely wasn't the test site for me.  However, the big appeal with 23andme is the health report they give you telling you what percentage chance you have of getting some type of disease or cancer, to get this report it's going to cost you around $200 with 23andme.  I paid $100 through ancestry and an additional $5 with https://www.promethease.com to get that same health report...

The only positive I have to say about 23andme is if you are adopted or searching for someone I would 100% test with both ancestry and 23andme because they are two completely different databases and you will receive two separate match lists.  

Raw data:  If you test with companies 1 and 2 listed above you can download your raw DNA data from either company and upload it into the last 3 companies listed.  This means - I would not pay to test with numbers 3 and 4 on the list (5 is a different story, you don't test with them) because you can upload a test from numbers 1 and 2 and be put in their database for free.

3.  FTDNA had some neat tools but I really didn't find any of them that useful.  If you test with numbers 1 or 2 and you upload your raw DNA for free you will only get a list of matches.  If you want to be able to use any of their tools they have to offer you will need to pay $19 to upgrade your account, this is a one time fee and isn't too bad but like I said I felt like I got so much more info from ancestry I sort of ignored all these other sites.

Here is my genetic background according to FTDNA




















Currently I have 94 matches on FTDNA.  I had 88 for months.  It was a neat site to play with and a bonus it was free.    

4.  My heritage is awful.  It's new and I've read nothing but complaints about it. I uploaded my raw DNA for free and only did so because I heard that a lot of Europeans were using this company and being that a large percentage of my DNA matches were from Europe I was hoping to locate some that were still there.  I received 3 DNA matches on my heritage.  I definitely wouldn't recommend paying for this service at all.

5.  GEDmatch is amazing.  Not to many people know about it except for those hard core searchers who are adopted or are really looking for someone.  There is so much to learn about GEDmatch and I haven't even begun to understand it all.  There are websites with tutorials and info but I haven't read them all yet.  You can download your raw DNA from any of the companies above and upload into GEDmatch.  With GEDmatch you can compare kit numbers with people and see if you're related and how much DNA you share and on what chromosomes.  Most of the people on there have their names listed and you will get that email address.  I've heard this is a great resource for getting started with GEDmatch: http://smithplanet.com/stuff/gedmatch.htm  

That's all I have for now, as I think of stuff to add I will and if you have questions or comments please add them at the bottom of this post or message me privately.  If you are an adoptee or searching for someone I also found these two sites to be very helpful.  One is a website and the other is a Facebook group with loads of info.  Good luck in your search and feel free to let me know how it goes!
http://dnaadoption.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNADetectives/
SaveSave

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR ONE


1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter
3 tbsp milk

Mix all ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. *You can transfer to a mug before cooking.

Frosting:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
splash of milk or coffee or creamer

Mix until desired consistency and pour over cake.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

HAM & BROCCOLI MAC

I've decided to start adding mix ins to our favorite macaroni and cheese casserole recipe.  These dinners are perfect for us because the entire family loves them and it makes enough for 2 nights!  I really dislike hamburger helper so I'm aiming to make my own versions.

16oz elbow mac
16oz sharp shredded cheddar 
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
16oz cubed ham
12oz frozen broccoli florets
5 slices bread, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted

Boil macaroni for 10 minutes, throw frozen broccoli in for the last 4 minutes, then drain and return to stock pot.  Add cheese, milk, flour and ham to stock pot and stir until well combined.

Pour into a greased 13x9 casserole dish.  Top with bread pieces and drizzle bread with melted butter.  
Bake for 45 minutes at 350*

Thursday, January 19, 2017

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI


2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts 
large onion, chopped
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 (4oz) cans diced green chills
3 cans great northern beans, undrained
4 cups chicken broth
16+8oz shredded monterey jack cheese
sour cream for garnish

Heat olive in a stock pot over medium heat, sauté onion until translucent.  Add garlic, clove, cumin, red pepper, green chilis and oregano, sauté for about a min.

Add chicken broth and chicken, bring to a boil and cook chicken for about 15 minutes or until done.  Take chicken out and chop into chunks.  Add chicken, beans and 16oz of cheese to pot, simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with  remaining cheese and sour cream.

This recipe was given to me in 2005 by a neighbor and we loved it!  I lost the recipe and went years without making it.  12 years later I contacted my friend and she still had the recipe!  We are so happy to have it back in our lives again! Here's an old photo of my husband and daughter making this chili and we reenacted it today in 2017!  LOL!






Sunday, January 8, 2017

SWEET AND TANGY MEATBALLS


1 jar grape jelly
1 bottle sweet baby rays BBQ sauce (or sweet & spicy BBQ sauce)
1 package frozen meatballs

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and mix well.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

CHOCOLATE CRINKLE COOKIES



1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar

Mix together cocoa, sugar and vegetable oil.  Mix in 1 egg at a time.  Add in the rest of the ingredients except powdered sugar until well combined.  

Wrap dough in saran wrap and chill for 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350*  Put a generous amount of powdered sugar on a mat.  Use a scoop or spoon to shape 1" balls, dip your fingers in the sugar to help keep dough from sticking, pat the tops of cookies down in the sugar and lay on cookie sheet.  

Bake for 9-10 minutes.

Recipe from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/9861/chocolate-crinkles-ii/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%202

GINGERBREAD MEN COOKIES AND/OR SPICED MOLASSES COOKIES

These are the best gingerbread cookies I've ever had, they are packed with spice and so flavorful!!!  We really love them with the sugar on them!

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses 
decorating sugar crystals

Cream together shortening and sugar.  Add egg and molasses, beat until fluffy.  Add remaining dry ingredients (not sugar crystals) and mix until well combined.

Wrap dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.  This step is for making gingerbread men, if only make molasses drop cookies you can skip chilling.

Preheat oven to 350*
For Gingerbread Men Cookies: flour your mat and rolling pin.  Divide dough in half and roll out until about 1/4" thick.  Cut shapes out and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes.

For Molasses Drop Cookies: Pour sugar crystals out onto a mat.  Roll dough into 1" balls and press top of cookie into sugar crystals.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes.

Thanks to one of my derby wives, Kate Yeager, for this amazing recipe!   





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

CREAMY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP


1 tablespoon olive oil
6 chicken thighs 
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk
1/3 cup flour
1 cube or packet of chicken bullion
garlic salt & pepper
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream (or go ahead and throw in the whole pint ;)
16 oz rotini noodles
1/2 cup froze pea and carrot mix

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.  Sear chicken for 3 minutes each on both sides.  Add onion, garlic and celery.  Saute for another 3 minutes until onion and celery are soft.  Add flour, bullion and garlic salt.  Mix and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pour in broth, increase heat to a boil and cook for 4 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Transfer thighs to a plate and discard bones and skin if necessary.  Shred chicken and add back to the pot with milk, cream and noodles.  Bring to a boil and cook for 6 minutes.  Add pea and carrot mix for a couple more minutes.

Taste soup and add garlic salt and pepper to taste.




SaveSave

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

POKE' BALL CROCHET PATTERN

Poke’ Ball Beanie

Materials:
Worsted Weight Yarn (ex. Red Heart Super Saver) in red, white & black
US I/9 5.50mm
Yarn needle 

Gauge:  6 stitches and 5 rounds = 2 inches
CHECK YOUR GAUGE.  Use any size hook to obtain gauge.

Stitches: 
hdc - half double crochet                 sl st - slip stitch
sc - single crochet                            rsc - reverse sing crochet
magic ring

0-3 Months 13”-15” head
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 8 in 2nd ch from hook, join (8)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (16)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (24)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (32)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (40) 4” diameter
Rd 6-8: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (40)
Rd 9: join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (40)
Rd 10-15:  join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (40)
Rd 16 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 5”-5.5” in length

3-6 Months 15”-17” head
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 9 in 2nd ch from hook, join (9)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (18)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (27)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (36)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (45) 4.5” diameter
Rd 6-9: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (45)
Rd 10: join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (45)
Rd 11-17:  join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (45)
Rd 18 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 6” in length

6-12 Months 17”-19” head                                                                                   
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 8 in 2nd ch from hook, join (8)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (16)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (24)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (32)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (40)
Rd 6:  ch 2, *4 hdc, 2hdc*, join (48) 5” diameter
Rd 7-9: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (48)
Rd 10-11:  join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (48)
Rd 12-18:  join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (48)
Rd 19 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 6.5” in length

1 - 4 Years 18”-20” head
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 7 in 2nd ch from hook, join (7)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (14)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (21)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (28)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (35)
Rd 6:  ch 2, *4 hdc, 2hdc*, join (42) 
Rd 7:  ch 2, *5 hdc, 2hdc*, join (49) 5.5” diameter
Rd 8:  ch 2, *15 hdc, 2hdc*, hdc, join (52)
Rd 9: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (52)
Rd 10-11:  join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (52)
Rd 12-19: join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (52)
Rd 20 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 7” in length

4 Years - Small Adult 19”-21” head
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 8 in 2nd ch from hook, join (8)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (16)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (24)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (32)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (40)
Rd 6:  ch 2, *4 hdc, 2hdc*, join (48) 
Rd 7:  ch 2, *5 hdc, 2hdc*, join (56) 6” diameter
Rd 8-11: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (56)
Rd 12-13: join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (56)
Rd 14-20:  join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (56)
Rd 21 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 7.5” in length

Medium Adult 20”-22” head
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 8 in 2nd ch from hook, join (8)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (16)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (24)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (32)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (40)
Rd 6:  ch 2, *4 hdc, 2hdc*, join (48) 
Rd 7:  ch 2, *5 hdc, 2hdc*, join (56) 
Rd 8:  ch 2, *6 hdc, 2hdc*, join (64) 6.5” diameter
Rd 9-11: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (64)
Rd 12-13: join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (64)
Rd 14-21: join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (64)
Rd 22 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 8” in length

Large Adult 23”-25” head
Rd 1:  with RED yarn ch 2, hdc 8 in 2nd ch from hook, join (8)
Rd 2:  ch 2, *2hdc*, join (16)
Rd 3:  ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (24)
Rd 4:  ch 2, *2 hdc, 2hdc*, join (32)
Rd 5:  ch 2, *3 hdc, 2hdc*, join (40)
Rd 6:  ch 2, *4 hdc, 2hdc*, join (48) 
Rd 7:  ch 2, *5 hdc, 2hdc*, join (56) 
Rd 8:  ch 2, *6 hdc, 2hdc*, join (64) 
Rd 9:  ch 2, *7 hdc, 2hdc*, join (72) 7” diameter
Rd 10-12: ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (72)
Rd 13-14: join BLACK yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (72)
Rd 15-22:  join WHITE yarn ch 2, hdc in each stitch, join (72)
Rd 23 (optional): rsc around for a nice finished look
sl st and fasten off - should measure 8.5” in length

Center Ring
Rd 1: with WHITE yarn make magic ring, 8 hdc in ring, join and pull tight, join (8)
Rd 2: ch 2, *2hdc*, join (16)
Rd 3: ch 2, *hdc, 2hdc*, join (24)
Rd 4: join BLACK yarn ch 1 *2 sc, 2sc* (32)
join and fasten off with a long tail
whip stitch to center of hat

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

PUMPKIN ROLL

Cake Ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Filling:
8oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375*
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment or wax paper.

Mix all cake ingredients together until well combined.  Pour evenly onto pan and bake for 14 minutes.  Lift parchment paper off of pan and gently roll cake tightly from one end to the other.  You can roll it longways if you'd like and it'll make a smaller size piece when cut but a longer roll to get more slices out of.  Once it's rolled up tightly set on a wire rack to cool.

Beat all cream cheese filling ingredients together and spread evenly onto unrolled cake once it feels room temp to the touch.  Roll the cake back up tightly and wrap with saran wrap and place in fridge for an hour.

Before serving dust cake with powdered sugar.

Recipe from: Libby's can and http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pumpkin-roll-recipe/