Welcome Friends!!!

I am a scientist at heart, and my kitchen often looks like a laboratory with all kinds of jars and containers fermenting and brewing on the counters. I love to share my recipes, my herbal remedies and health tips, and I really LOVE to save money! We have a large extended family....two sons, their wives, eleven grandkids (and often a friend or two), my sister, Lanny's brother, and my parents that come over every Tuesday night for dinner...kind of a family reunion, only weekly instead of yearly! That adds up to from 17 to 22 or more people here every week. So I have to cook big, and cook economically!

So here we go! For all my friends and family that have been encouraging me to put all my recipes and ideas in one place like this....if you don't see what you are looking for, and cannot find it by using the "Topics" or the search field below right, just let me know and I will be sure to post it as soon as I can.

Be sure to check out our African Mission Adventure - we traveled to Malawi in August 2014 and you will find photo's and stories about our trip! LanDebLewAfrica.blogspot.com!!!

Lanny and I also have started devotional blogspots that you might enjoy:

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Artisan Bread

My friend Wendy gave me a wonderful book... "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I love baking bread but this is SO easy that I may never make bread any other way!! No kneading, no machine needed. Couldn't be easier.

You will have to get the book (or go to their web site, linked at the bottom of this post) to see the hundreds of variations, but I will share the Master Recipe here and probably, over time, share many of the other ones that I try.

All you need is a large plastic bucket (I bought a 6 quart rising bucket). Before I bought the rising container I used a one gallon plastic ice cream container and just halved the recipe.

Master Recipe

3 cups lukewarm water (under 100 degrees F)
1 Tbs Yeast
1-1 1/2 Tbs salt
6 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Add the yeast and salt to the warm water in the container. Don't worry about it dissolving. Add your flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it is all moist. If it gets difficult you can use your hand to mix it but do not knead it. This should only take a minute or two. The dough will be wet and loose.

Cover the container with the lid but not tightly... leave it loose on one side. Allow to rise at room temperature until it starts to collapse on top...two hours or so. Then refrigerate the dough up to two weeks to use as you will.

When ready to make your bread you simply flour your hands a little and scoop up a ball of dough. You can flour the surface a bit and even use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut out the dough. 

Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides. The bottom will be a bit messy like a bunch of loose ends but don't worry, that's fine. The entire process should take you less than a minute. Remember, you are not kneading, you are simply smoothing out the top with a gluten "cloak".

Now you can put your dough in a bread pan (lightly oil the pan) or free form. If you free form you can use a pizza peel and do it on a pizza stone or use a cookie sheet and parchment paper. 

Let your dough rest for about 40 minutes...longer if your kitchen is cool. Turn on your oven so it gets good and hot. 

When the rest time is over you will want to slash your bread so it can do the majority of rising in the oven as it bakes.

Bake your bread at 450 F for 35 to 40 minutes.

You can buy these buckets online...

The dough is quite wet and loose...

After a couple of hours your dough will be very high and airy...once it starts to flatten on the top it is ready to cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks...if it lasts that long! You will be baking a lot!! :-)

I took this photo right out of the book. The dough is sticky but easy to work with. Don't use a lot of flour, just enough to keep it from sticking to your hands.

I ordered this bread lame but if you have a very sharp serrated knife or even a razor blade (this lame utilized a sharp razor blade), you can slash your loaves.

As you can see, the bread is not fully risen when you slash it and put it in the oven...most of the rising occurs while baking.

If you want to see recipes and tips from this book please visit

Friday, October 2, 2020

Rendering Lard

 It's that time of year...time to render some lard. My friend Wendy gets the best fat at the Farmers Market and brought me 10 pounds this time. I made 9 pints of the prettiest, whitest, tastiest lard ever!

I love this fat...this farmer cuts it in just the right size for my grinder...

I use my giant Instant Pot...

...melt it all down..

..strain it, fill the jars, and


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Greeting from "Walden's Mountain" on Johnson Gap!!! Our new home!

Thanksgiving is upon us again...this year may be a bit different for a lot of people, but because so many of our family live up here on the mountain together we will probably have about the same family gathering that we always have....(for those of you that do not know: we now live on a 64 acre "farm" with my parents, my sister, and our oldest son Robbie and his wife Molly...our youngest son James and wife Tasha will come up when their daughter graduates HS, in the next couple years...go to our newest blog,  Johnson Gap Chronicles to learn about our growing Family Compound on "Walden's Mountain... many of our grandkids are also already planning to join us up here on the mountain in the not so distant future...).

I'll be posting our latest recipes and homemaking progress soon...we have been so busy moving in and building so many of the residences that we've had little time for anything else...but we still have chickens, have added horses and goats and see lots more farm animals in our future. It's going to be quite the adventure!!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Thanksgiving Dumplings

Thanksgiving Dumplings:

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1 tbs melted butter

For dumplings, in a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk milk and melted butter until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside.

You will need a couple quarts of stock...you can use chicken or turkey broth, homemade or store bought. I've done both! 

Bring your broth to a boil and start dropping your dumplings in a few at a time so they don't stick together. Don't stir but do move them gently around so they stay separate. You will need to simmer them for 15/20 minutes...gently move them with a long spoon to keep them from scorching on the bottom of the pan. I often add milk at the end to make "gravy" out of the thickening stock. I also taste a dumpling or two to be sure they are done. They are like tiny chewy biscuits when they are done. They initially puff up real big and then seem to disappear into the broth...but don't worry, they are still there and very yummy!!

You can also buy canned biscuits or use frozen biscuits cut into small pieces. I know several people that do that but I never have. It would certainly save time!

Of course you can double, triple, quadruple (I actually use about 10 cups flour for our big crew) and still get the same yummy dumplings!!