Monday, April 10, 2017

Today's What's happening

I have decided instead of doing Sunday Snapshot, I am going to do Today's What's happening. I am so busy on Sundays usually that I find I have a hard time posting this post every week. So we are changing the format, and hopefully I will be able to get these done more often. 

Let's get started!

What is outside my window - So today is a beautiful sunny day outside. As you can see in this picture the church we work at sits right across the street from the parsonage where we live. This morning started off a bit cloudy, but as you can see it cleared up and became beautiful. I was going to stay inside and work on inside projects but this obviously changes that plan. I have a small amount of work to do in the spring garden. I have the potatoes planted in the new raised bed. And that bed and the main garden space need a deep layer of straw mulch. So that will be what I get to today. 

What I see in the mirror - I have no makeup on and my hair is in a braid down my back. This is the look I wear most often. LOL Good thing my dear husband does not care. I have on a black skirt, black t-shirt, my trusty apron, and my tennis shoes. All ready to work!

What is on my needles and hooks - On my knitting needles I am FINALLY after years of teaching myself to knit making my first pair of socks. I only started knitting so I could learn to make socks! So after countless scarves, headbands, and hats I have deemed myself ready to try. This is what the yarn and book I am using look like...
And on my crochet hook I am making these darling granny squares in an African violet pattern out of a bunch of different colors for a bag I want to design and make...(Oh speaking of bags, check out the cute chicken bag my best friend made me!)

What's in the sewing basket - I have six gathering aprons cut out and ready to start sewing together. I love all the calico quilting fabric and muslin I am using for them. I am planning on listing them on my Etsy store for sale in the future. I am hoping to get a few more items on there for sale other than just signs and soap.  

What I am reading - I am reading this book written by Shaye Elliot of the Elliot Homestead. It is called "Welcome to the Farm" and is  a general how to homestead book. It has a lot of useful information in it and is available here on Amazon right now. You can find out such information as how to start plants for your garden, how to raise chickens, and also some of her wonderful recipes. I just love her blog, and her writing style.

And that completes this addition of What's happening. I hope you enjoyed it. Have a great week!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Menu Monday

Well this weekend was eventful and happy. I had my parents over for Sunday dinner and it was so good! I marinaded the steak all day, then I made a potato salad and baked beans to go with it. We had a fresh strawberry pie and home made whipped cream. It was wonderful to get to visit with my parents, and after dinner we watched a movie. It is called "At the Fork", and I purchased it at the Whole Foods store. It is a very informative interesting look at the food industry today and what animal welfare looks like in both the big agribusiness way of doing things and the more humane ways that are emerging. I am happy I purchased it. Here is what our menu will look like this week. 

Tacos - We are doing beef tonight, and all the trimmings. My 14 year old, Lil'bit will be cooking. 

Knoephla Soup (think Chicken Dumpling)
I found this recipe in a magazine at the doctor's office years ago. I will most likely do a salad, and Sis has an artisan herb bread recipe she does that she would like to make for us. 

Pepper Steak - Served with rice and fruit

Dutch Meatballs -  They have a delicious gravy that comes with the cooking of them. Served with potatoes, onion and carrots cooked and mashed together. 

We will be gone late on Wednesday as we are taking my dad to the VA hospital for an appointment. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive from where we live one way. It will be a very long day, and we will most likely eat out that day. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Menu Monday

This week I have a few thing I need to make out of necessity. First of all I made a cake this weekend that took 8 egg whites. Yes, 8! That leaves a lot of egg yolks to be used. I am not into throwing things like perfectly good farm raised chicken eggs down the drain so here is how I plan to use them up. 

Home made Noodles and Chicken - 
This is a German dish my grandmother always made for us on our birthdays. It was everyone favorite dinner to choose. It consists of noodles handmade and cut. A chicken is boiled to produce a lovely broth, the chicken is picked clean and added back into the broth, with the noodles. The noodles themselves have flour on them which in turn thickens the sauce. We then eat them on mashed potatoes. I know, carb overload. But it is ooohhh so good! And it takes 4 egg yolks to make them.

Burnt Cream - 
Next to use up the last 4 egg yolks I will make what we call burnt cream or in fancy terms, creme brule. This is not a meal, but it definitely, deserves an honorable mention as it is a favorite dessert of mine. 

Chili Verde -
This is a dish made with pork and green salsa I canned last year from my homegrown tomatillos. It is served on homemade flour tortillas along side oven fried potatoes. 

Hot Pockets -
These individual sized pockets are made using my pizza dough recipe, and filled with ham and cheese. I will serve this with salad.

BBQ Steak
The dear husband has had a hankering for a good ol' steak! So that is what he gets, with baked beans and a new lemon herb potato salad I am going to try. I got the recipe here.

That's about it for the week. We will eat leftovers to catch up a couple of times so we don't waste anything. Have a great week!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Homestead update

I have not really posted much lately, but it is not because I have had nothing to post about. I have actually been really busy with lots of spring tasks here on the homestead. Some of the reasons I go to the trouble of these tasks are to save money, to supply myself with resources to use in other homesteading tasks, to spare the environment in some small way, or because I just like whatever the resulting product is better than what you can purchase at the store. So I thought I would give an update with some of what we are doing around here...

Every night when I first get into bed, sometimes I read, sometimes I knit or crochet, sometimes I go to sleep when my head hits the pillow. But first I always start a list of what I need to do the next day. Of course I always forget somethings and have to add to my list through out the day, but it always gives me somewhere to start. To me there are few things as satisfying as marking a big black line through a task on a list, showing you got something done! This is the day that I was canning turkey stock, making butter, and making ice cream all at the same time. Haha! I had to snap a picture because this is how things usually go around here. My husband LOVES homemade ice cream and I was finally able to find a recipe that uses whole milk instead of whipping cream or half and half. Both of which cost to much money to make ice cream every couple of days. With this recipe I can make it using our raw whole milk and eggs we buy locally. 

Another us for those eggs and milk, this from scratch baked white pudding cake with apricot filling and Apricot buttercream frosting. It was very good. Yes, that is extra filling dribbling down the side, don't judge me...

I also was fortunate enough to have a break in the rainy weather last Thursday, and I got my whole spring garden planted. It was a long day, but it was also very satisfying. I just need to get some straw to mulch, get my greenhouse up at the other end, and then just wait for the salads to come rolling in! Here are some pictures, and a list of what all I planted...

Shelling peas                                             
Red acre cabbage
Green Acre cabbage
China rose radishes
Easter Egger II radishes
Green bunching onions
Dwarf blue kale
Romaine lettuce
Criphead lettuce
Iceberg lettuce                        
Red Iceberg lettuce
Victoria Butter-head lettuce
Snow peas
Potatoes, 4 varieties

I am so excited to see what happens in the spring garden this year. Last year I grew tons of shelling peas to freeze, and a few green onions and radishes. This years garden is much more aggressive. I really wanted to be able to grow salad stuff without having to buy it. 

One of the things I like to do to stretch my food dollars is to take advantage of sales, and use the same cut of meat for several meals. For instance when I bake a ham, it will become ham dinner, scalloped potatoes and ham, potato and ham soup or Chinese noodles. But usually at least 4 meals come out of one ham. In this case back in November at Thanksgiving I was able to pick up an extra turkey at a buy one get one free sale. So this month I got it out, roasted it for dinner one night with mashed potatoes and gravy. I picked all of the meat off that we didn't eat that night, cut it in cubes, and froze it in 2 cup portions. With the leftover carcass, skin, and little bits of meat, I put it into my Instant Pot, with some carrot, onion, celery and spices, and turned it into bone broth. I then used my pressure canner to can it for future use without using any additional freezer space. From these I can make turkey noodle or rice soup with the meat and broth. I can also use both to make gravy to eat on biscuits. Or I can use the meat to make turkey salad sandwiches or eat it on Chef salad. Regardless, it will make for some easier meals on days where cooking is not my focus but I still want to feed my family from the homestead. 

Well that is it for now, keep watching for other posts on what has been happening on the homestead. I am planning a post for when I rendered tallow from our grass fed beef we had butchered in January. I am planning on using the tallow for soaps and other natural beauty products. I will also be posting about picking cottonwood buds I will use to make into suave to use for burns, cuts, scrapes, diaper rash etc. So stay turned there is more to come.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Baking Days

So usually on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I bake. But since it is raining today, Saturday, and I can't get out into the garden to plant, I am going to bake. 

All kinds of things, bread, cookies, brownies, pie take shape in the warm kitchen on baking day. I also will bake other days if the need arises. We are trying to help out our budget by not buying candy at the store. Now to some this may seem easy, but in our house, my Dear Husband, LOVES candy. We even have a "candy drawer" in the kitchen that used to get filled every month with tons of candy. Chocolate, gummies, licorice, caramel, any and all candy was allowed we held no partial feelings to any one kind. But one thing I noticed was that we were spending way too much on candy. So I agreed to make treats and keep them available for my husband instead. I can make all kinds of things myself, and he is happy with the trade. I made THIS fudge for him the other day, and he loved it!

Here are pictures of a few other things I have baked lately...

Our go to bread recipe. I never buy bread at the store, this is what we eat for sandwiches. It is a mix of whole wheat and white flour.

Pretzels - we love to dip these in our home canned pasta sauce or I make a cheese sauce.

And these pretty cupcakes. We made them purple for my momma who loves purple.

We love to create and bake on our homestead. If you have questions about these or other recipes just ask in the comments section. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Menu Monday


Well my life got crazy again, and I went dark for a couple weeks. I will try to get back at it now. We plan on starting work on the chicken coop today. So dinner will be simple tonight. Here is the menu I plan for the following week:

BBQ Chicken in the oven
I will serve pasta salad, and baked beans with this meal.

Pork Roast with Plum sauce
In the summer when plums are on my tree I make and can our plum sauce. It is delicious with all kinds of meat. I will cook the roast with red potatoes and carrots.

Tater-tot Casserole
While this is not a favorite of mine, the kids requested it to be on this months menu so here it is. I will be served with peas and cheesy garlic biscuits.

Yes I am cooking a turkey in March. ":) I got a buy on get one free deal in November so since I needed the freezer space last week when I packaged 120 pounds of chicken breast from Zaycon I took it out to cook. We will have it with mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn. I will not do stuffing as that is a bit of overkill for a normal meal. (Did I really just say that??)

This will be served with baked potato, and broccoli

Tacos with all the trimmings
Mexican rice in the Instant pot, and refried beans.

Oven fried Chicken
Served with baked squash, Salad and bread.

That rounds out my meal plan for the week. While it may seem like a lot of food, and we do have leftovers from most meals, leftovers is what we mainly eat for lunches. So I cook breakfast most days, and dinner most nights, than we heat up leftovers for lunch. This saves money and time for me. Have a great week!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes

I love a good pancake. You know the ones that puff up, and are fluffy without sucking up all the syrup and falling apart? Well this is an awesome buttermilk pancake recipe I got from my big sister. She has anywhere from 4 to 13 kids at a time. I know that is a bit confusing, but for the last oh I don't know 20 or 25 years she had done foster care. She has however committed to raising 12 children permanently. She had four biological children who have all grown up, and moved away to have families of their own. But while she was raising those four she adopted eight more. No she is not crazy, well not really, she just has a heart to love on and help children. Needless to say she is a busy mom who has to cook everything in huge amounts in VERY large pans. You should see her idea of a potato masher. Anyway, like I was saying this is a very good buttermilk pancake recipe and you won't be sorry at all if you try it. No really I am serious....go do it now.

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 eggs
2 1/2 cups of buttermilk (I use my own cultured buttermilk)
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons sugar (I use turbinado)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups of flour

Stir all liquid ingredient together until well incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients, except flour, and stir well.

Then add the flour and mix. It should have a few lumps left.

I then cook them on an electric griddle like this one:
I drop them on the griddle from a 1/2 cup measuring cup, and when they get golden brown on one side, I flip them over to the other side. When you flip them over is when they will puff up, and get all delicious looking...see!

Then the only thing to do is eat them. I ate mine this morning with homemade butter and some huckleberry syrup I made last year. So GOOD!

Now its your turn. Let me know if you try the recipe and what you thought of it. Have a great Thursday. I am off to do my weekly home blessing.