A Handmade Life Part 12–Sourdough Cookies, or Herman’s Babies

For those who have followed the saga of Herman, he’s had children.

They’re sweet little things, fat and fluffy.

Now, before you think “what in the world is she talking about!!!”, let me explain.

Herman is a sourdough starter made from a cup of flour and cup of water and fed well.  He’s very prolific.

Herman has been in my home now for nearly 3 weeks.  He’s so far made 12 loaves of bread, 110 cookies, went to visit a new home and made bread and cookies there too.  He’s filled the refrigerator freezer and also lives in the chest deep freezer.  And he’s half way filled a stock pot in the fridge.  He’s a growing boy.

Herman’s children here are cookies.

Now, I’ve never been good at making cookies.  Mine always looked like sweet tortillas.  Flat bread at the most.  Never ever ever a cookie.  So, when I started on this project, I expected it to be a sweet sourdough tortilla.  Hint: use parchment to bake on!!!  It works!

To make these, I stirred up ol’ Herman and got him all bubbly and happy.  Then I put his part (the 1 cup) first into the mixer bowl, followed by all the other ingredients, and mixed him all up.

Herman in the stock pot all happy and bubbly

Herman got along very well with his friends Baking Soda, Powder, eggs, vanilla, etc.

 He even behaved while I rolled him out and cut him into rounds.

I used a biscuit cutter and made lots of rounds, and put them on a pizza pan covered in parchment.  I then put some butter on them and sprinkled them with sanding sugar.

They went in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, and came out looking like sugary biscuits.  I evidently didn’t roll them out flat enough, as they poofed.  Or it could have been the water pan I keep in the oven full of water to help things rise well.

They tasted like a sugar cookie tho!  Light, fluffy, sweet, YUMMM!

I did find that with this recipe, the little Hermanites will puff, so space them a ways apart to let them spread and poof.  If you don’t want them to look like biscuits, break out your cool cookie cutters!

I LOVE how they taste, and hubby had a bunch of them despite his intestinal issues.

My friend Jennifer took some of Herman and made sourdough oatmeal/almond/chocolate chip Hermanites.  They are SO GOOD!!  Take an oatmeal cookie recipe, substitute a cup of Herman in for a cup or so of flour, adjust your liquids a little, add in nuts and chocolate chip and you’ve got a winner!!

Can you tell I liked them?

Below is the cookie recipe, with credits.  Enjoy!

via Cultures for Health

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Rapadura or Sucanat (I used good old cane sugar)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Fresh Sourdough Starter
  • 2 tbsp. Water

Preheat   the oven to 375 degrees.  Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and the   vanilla extract.  Gently mix in the water and sourdough starter.  In a   separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  Combine the wet and   dry ingredients.  Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Drop the dough   onto a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle the cookies with cinnamon and sugar if   desired.  Bake for 12 minutes.


Shared Joyfully with:

A Mama’s Story


This Handmade Life Part 8: Homemade From Scratch Bavarian Cream

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh doggies!  I love Bavarian cream almost as much as sweet milk chocolate!  (sorry, had to let my former Southern side out)

Bavarian cream is the absolutely heavenly cream found in bismarks, cream horns, danish, etc.  It’s a pudding consistency, and I am sooo addicted to it, I only allow myself some once every few years so I won’t overindulge.  Yes, to me, it’s that addicting!!

I just learned how to make this wonderful treat, while testing out recipes to make fried pies.  I just have to share!!

I didn’t get pics while making my own, but thought I’d share the process!  Yes, the pics are borrowed.

Ok, down to business!

First, grab yourself some milk.  You’ll need 2 cups at first, then another 1/2 cup.

Put the first 2 cups in a sauce pan.  Then, sprinkle over it 1/2 cup (or more if you like realllly sweet) sugar.  I personally put the heat on low, as I use a gas burner, I set the fire on pretty low.  This gives time for the rest of the steps and doesn’t scorch the milk.

In a bowl, put the 1/2 cup of milk in, add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Whisk it into the milk until there’s no lumps.

Then, add 3 tablespoons of butter.  Your choice on kind.  Margarine works, real butter is nice, I used spread (it’s what I had on hand).

Blend it all together and then pour into the pan with milk and sugar.  Add in a cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of vanilla.

Then add in 2 eggs, and stir or whisk well.

Let all this good stuff come to a boil.  I cranked it up to high flame and let ‘er rip.  When it starts boiling, turn the heat down low and stir stir stir.  It will start thickening and you also don’t want the whole thing to burn.

Turn it off and move it off the heat to a different burner.  Let it cool a bit.  I stirred a while just for grins.  I’m odd that way.

It will thicken up nicely, and when cooler, take a taste. 🙂

To make this chocolatey, add in 2 to 3 tablespoons of chocolate powder (I used Hershey’s), and an extra half cup of sugar, and follow the same directions when preparing.

The kids are drooling, as I made this in chocolate and vanilla.  Then, I took some limes I froze (in the skin), boiled them, took the juice and flesh along with some cornstarch, and added some vanilla bavarian to it, and created lime bavarian.  YUM!  Oh…add some more sugar if you do that!!

This ends another segment of “This Handmade Life”!
Linked to:PhotobucketTip Junkie handmade projects

This Handmade Life Part 7: Meatloaf Burgers aka Budget Stretchers

It is time again for the next segment of “This Handmade Life”!  (listens to the thunderous applause)

Today, we are doing Meatloaf Burgers.  I also like to think of them as budget stretchers.  You’ll see why in a minute.

I discovered this a year or so ago, when my hubby wanted meatloaf but the kids won’t touch it.  Go figure–kids not wanting something that the parents think is good…and budget friendly.  So, I tricked em.

I used the same fixings (minus the ketsup), and whipped up these burgers.

In a bowl, add in burger (I use something called “Boston Burger” from our local non-chain grocery store, which is a combination of beef and pork), crackers (or bread or oatmeal or whatever you have that will suffice as a filler–I’ve used all 3 mentioned and all of them turned out just fine), and 4 or 5 eggs (this is for 3 pounds of burger).



From there, I added in to this batch a spoon full of Spanish paprika.

A spoon full of dill weed.


A spoon full of ground rosemary.

Mix this all together, using a wooden spoon or your hands or whatever.  I prefer hands, as it’s easier to get all the ingredients mixed into the meat.

Break out a large frying pan and spray it down with pan spray or a bit of oil, as this will stick due to the crackers soaking up fats.  Brown them like you would regular hamburgers.

Serve like regular hamburgers, with all the ketsup, mustard, pickles, etc that you like!

I like doing these rather than full meat hamburgers, as with the cost of meat going up, and with kids to feed, one has to find a way to make the meat stretch a little farther.  By doing this, I can make a family package of meat, at $2.59 to $3.59 a pound depending on the type of ground meat,  stretch to last up to 2 meals instead of 1, with everyone able to have seconds at the first meal as well.  Pair this with a tater tot or veggie and you have a nice filling meal. 🙂


 Tip Junkie handmade projects

This Handmade Life-Part 6–Made From Scratch Biscuits

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm the smell of a fresh, made from scratch biscuit right out of the oven and buttered….mornings don’t get better than this!

I don’t know about you, but I was brought up on those canned nasty cheap biscuits that explode and fly across the room.  Can I hear an “eeeeewwwwww”?  Momma wasn’t much into baking, especially from scratch, but I had an aunt and cousin who showed me how rewarding (and tasty) it is.  Now, my family enjoys (well most of the time) the yummy hot from the oven breads and biscuits.

If you’d like to try out my “cloud” biscuits, which rise very well and make excellent monster sized very filling biscuits, keep reading!

First, grab yourself a good ol’ mixing bowl.  Doesn’t matter if it’s plastic, metal, wooden–whatever suits your fancy.   Then grab a heavy duty wooden spoon or a metal one that’ll hold up well.  No wimpy ones here!!  Locate a baking sheet of some kind.  I use my 16″ pizza pans and fill em up!  Then turn your oven on to 350 to 400 (your choice, I use both).

Then, put in at least 2 cups flour into your mixing bowl.  Add in a tablespoon sugar (yes, you read it, sugar), and a tablespoon of baking powder.  Add 2 tablespoons of fast acting dry yeast (I’m not sure how that translates to packets, as I buy mine in by the pounds at a Mennonite shop).  Then, I add in hot tap water, just enough to make a sticky dough (1 to 1 1/2 cups generally).  You will see foam from the yeast loving it some sugar…this is a good thing!  Then add a half cup of shortening (your choice of kind) into the mix and blend it up well.  The hot water helps tremendously in melting down the shortening or at least softening it up to make it easier to work with.

Turn this sticky mess out on to a very well floured surface.  I use my dishwasher top (it’s portable and has a butcher block top and a dough board I keep on it as well).  Add as much flour as you need to make this a firm and pliable dough, and knead 1o times, folding and pushing down each time.  The dough will rise as you do this.  Or at least mine does, and grows like I fed it miracle grow and steroids.

Pat out your dough, and grab whatever you want to use to cut out your biscuits.  I use anything from cookie cutters (I have given away numerous Christmas tree biscuits, angels, snowmen, etc), to glasses.  My favorite is a plastic tumbler about 4 inches in diameter.  I pat out my dough to about an inch thick, give or take.  Then I cut out as many biscuits as I can get out of the dough.  Whatever scraps are left at the end make a wonky biscuit and tastes just as good.

They will rise as you cut and place them on your baking sheet.  If your oven is warm or your kitchen is already warm, they’ll grow faster.

Place them in the oven and let them bake.  I allow a good 20 to 30 minutes due to the size.  I also place water in the bottom of the oven, usually in a cheap pie pan or bread pan or something that can hold a lot of water.  The moisture helps the baked goodies rise higher and nicer.  It works well with these yeast biscuits too!

When they are golden brown (as in the first picture), pull them out and butter them.  If they look like the picture directly above, they’re only half done.

My average biscuit runs around 3 to 4 inches in diameter with a 2 to 4 inch height.  No joke!!  One is a filler, especially when baptized with some homemade gravy (or the powdered mix–my favorites to make).  Pull these apart, jelly them up, cover em with syrup (like a pancake), make monsterous bacon/egg biscuits, etc–these will definitely fill you up!

This is definitely a goodie to learn how to make!

Once you get the basic recipe down, you can tweak it to make cinnamon raisin biscuits (think Hardee’s type), or any sweeter treat for a surprise!  My son helped make some over Christmas, and we iced them with chocolate frosting for a very delish breakfast. 🙂


A-Wise-Woman-Builds-Her-HomeTip Junkie handmade projects

The Handmade Life Part 5–Stewed Tomatoes

God is good!  He pointed me to a sale this last weekend of fresh tomatoes, knowing I’ve been craving fresh maters!

I was blessed to be able to purchase a few pounds of romas, and not only have a nice salad, but make some home made stewed tomatoes!

I simply diced up the tomatoes, skin on, and put them in a large stock pot with water.  To this I added some sautee’d onions and bell peppers (in olive oil).

Into the pot I also added some dried basil, parsley, oregano, spanish paprika, dill, rosemary, and garlic chips.  This simmered for a good 2 to 3 hours…

Hubby was hovering over this. 🙂  His nose drew him in from across the house.

This cooled down and went into quart bags and off to the freezer.  This will be a base for spaghetti sauce and soups!

Raising Homemakers



2 c. sugar

1 c. water

2-1/2 c. light corn syrup

1/2 c. light corn syrup,lukewarm

1 c. egg whites

1 t. vanilla

Boil first 3 ingredients to soft ball stage (250 degrees). Cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup lukewarm corn syrup in mixing bowl. Add 1 cup egg whites. Beat slowly till blended, then beat hard till light and fluffy. Beat cooled syrup in a fine stream into egg whites. When well mixed, add vanilla. Beat hard for 3 minutes. Store in jars, but don’t cover until completely cooled.
*If marshmallow creme seems too soft after completely cooled, cook first 3 ingredients a little longer next time. If it seems too hard, don’t cook quite as long.
Taken from “The Basics and More Cookbook” published by Little Mountain Printing, Richland, PA