Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

So…my kids LOVE hotdogs. L-O-V-E them. They’re pretty expensive, though, so we don’t eat them very often.

And…as I like to buy bread in bulk and throw it in the freezer until it’s needed, I’ve just not had a lot of success with hot dog buns. They always seem to be either really dry or really soggy. I’ve thrown out more than I’m comfortable admitting. /blush  😦

Enter Life as Mom‘s Good Cheap Eats blog and her Homemade Hamburger/Hot dog bun recipe.  The bread maker does all of the hard work, so all you have to do is shape, wait, and bake.  (For the record…I’ve never added vital wheat gluten and this last batch was made with unbleached, all-purpose flour instead of special bread flour.)

They were absolutely delicious!

Homemade Hot dog buns, fresh out of the oven

Don’t believe me? Check out my taste testers!

Cassie giving a thumbs up

Mom, are you seriously taking my picture again?

Sarah votes yes!

I like them, too!

Rafe giving a "thumbs up"...or not.

Hey, he’s two. He gets props for trying. 🙂

What did I think of them? See the tasty “breadstick” below. I, ahem, had two.

I think that next time, I’ll make six buns and about twelve breadsticks!

Mama had breadsticks!

Cut in half with some butter and garlic salt, it served as an out of this world breadstick!

These were super easy and we will definitely be making them again! 🙂

Gotta favorite bread machine recipe? Please share!


Crannana (Cranberry Banana) Ice Cream – Dairy free

Cranberry Banana Ice Cream

When the bags of cranberries were flooding the local grocery stores last fall, they all said the same thing:

Buy Two! Use one, freeze one.

That, said I, is a good idea. So…while it’s the middle of July, since we’re eating down our deep freezer, we now have lots of cranberry desserts popping up.

One of my favorites is Stephanie’s Cranberry Apple Walnut Cake. But, it’s summer time…it’s ice cream time. And, since I found that ice cream maker for $3.50 (Can we tell that I’m still extremely stoked about this?), we’ve been making (and creating) lots of ice cream.

I went to look for a Cranberry Ice Cream recipe and didn’t like any of the ones I saw. 4 cups of sugar?!? 2 cups of sugar? Uh…no.

So…doing what I like to do, I made up my own.

Cranberry Banana Ice Cream

Naturally pink, Naturally sweet

3 c. cranberries, fresh or frozen
2 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 can coconut milk
1/2 c. real maple syrup
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


Put cranberries, bananas, and coconut milk in the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add everything else. Pulse to blend. Pour into ice cream maker canister and follow the machine’s directions.


Thoughts for the next go ’round:

Nathan and I both thought the banana taste was a little too strong, so I’ll probably back down to 1 1/2 bananas.

I’m also wondering about trying to puree the cranberries separately and strain out some of the seeds. It wasn’t bad, it just seems like that might help make it a little smoother.

All in all, though, we liked it. I think I will definitely be making this again, if only to tinker with the recipe. After all, there are three more bags of cranberries in the deep freezer, begging to be given a purpose…  😉

What’s your favorite ice cream?


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Kiwi Ice Cream – Yes, it is just as yummy as it sounds

Smooth. Creamy. Light. Delicious.

Oh. My.

This stuff was a-MAY-zing! (In your mind, imagine that with a bit of an operatic trill…)  😉

So…the recipe was a modification of this one. I’m sure that would have been great, but I didn’t have an hour to wait, nor did I have heavy cream. What I did have was a food processor and coconut milk.

A Scoop of Kiwi Icecream

A scoop of kiwi and a scoop of strawberry = YUM!

Kiwi Ice Cream

6 Kiwi Fruit, peeled and chopped
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 scant cup of sugar
1 can of coconut milk

Add kiwi to food processor and pulse until pureed. Add all of the other ingredients and pulse until mixed thoroughly. Dump the mix into your ice cream maker’s canister and follow the normal directions. For us, this involves layering ice and rock salt, plugging it in outside (it’s super loud!), and waiting about 30 minutes for soft serve perfection.

N. said this is his new favorite ice cream. Excuse me for a minute while I fistpump.

Now that that’s out of my system, what’s your favorite kind of ice cream?

Until next time!


This recipe was shared at Life As Mom‘s Ultimate Recipe Swap.


It’s Here! My Apple Valley Natural Soap Order

My Apple Valley Natural Soap Order

Did I tell you that I recently won a $50 gift certificate from Apple Valley Natural Soap? Yup…I was very excited!

I placed an order on the last day of the giveaway – which is how I found out about it. I learned about this company from reading Keeper of the Home and was very interested in their soap bars that could also be used as shampoo. I knew that KotH’s Stephanie had really liked it and I was getting tired of reading label after label of the shampoos in the health food store (!) and finding chemical after chemical known to be cancer-causing agents. (Curious where your personal care products fall in toxicity? Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database and find out if your health is unknowingly being compromised.)

Apple Valley Natural Soap has an ingredient list on each product’s page and they’re short lists full of good stuff. You can order sample bars for $2.50 apiece to try them out before you commit to a full-sized bar. They also send a free sample with every order – which is what led to me getting the full-sized Lavender Buttermilk bar shown here. (It’s got a lovely, muted smell.)

So…what all did I get? The Grapefruit Peppermint Luffa Body Bar, a Lime Spa Salt Body Bar, a Green Tea & Nettles Shampoo Bar, a full-sized Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar, two of the Man 2.0 bars (they can be used for shampoo, body and shaving!) for my husband, and one of their lovely beechwood soap trays.

I also ordered a bottle of their bug spray – the recipe that I followed hasn’t been working so well for us, so I’m very interested to try this one out – as well as the Himalayan Pink Grapefruit Tea Tree Pedi-Scrub and the Cucumber Lime Facial Masque. It all sounds so very neat – here’s hoping for time to try it out soon! 🙂

Any unexpected blessings pop up in your life recently? I’d love to hear about them!

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