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.

Umm....Menu Monday?


Boy I really suck at this game! I totally forgot to post on Menu Monday. I mean good grief! How hard is it to set an event reminder in my phone? I guess remembering to post the reminder to remind me to do something is beyond my capabilities. Oh well, we will just pick it up from here, shall we?

This weeks menu has/will look like this:

Monday - Pizza

Tuesday - Ham dinner at church for Valentines Couples Dinner

Wednesday - Meatball Stew, with rolls

Thursday - Chicken Alfredo, with homemade pasta, broccoli, salad

Friday - Beef Pot roast, potaotes, carrots

Saturday - Bacon Cheeseburger Roll up, salad, fruit

Sunday - Scalloped Potatoes, dessert (Pot luck at church this week)

That pretty much sums up the week. I have a recipe post I am going to give you today also. Hope you check that out too! See ya again for Menu Monday, hopefully on Monday. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Snapshot Sunday

Hello all! Another Sunday has come to my little homestead. And it has been a great and busy week. I have done many projects, spent time with family, and enjoyed a sunny bit of change in weather. Today my Dear had his week come up in the rotation for teaching the Sunday sermon, and he taught on having a pure heart. It was such a blessing to hear his words from the Lord. I am so thankful to have a husband who is so willing to follow the Lords leading. Another thing I was thankful for was the rest of my seeds came in the mail!! Whoooo hooo! I just love going to the mail box and seeing a big ol'package of seeds. It just made my day. Well that and these beautiful cupcakes I made today that Sis decorated beautifully with definite flair....

So on with my Snapshot!

Outside my window: It was cold earlier in the week, with temperatures in the 35 to 39 degree range. But a couple of days have had the most stunning show of sunshine. It is like your body goes into withdrawal after days of just nothing but overcast skies, and your mood seems to drag down with the clouds and mist. Then when the sun shines it just feels like a weight has been lifted. At least that is how it feels to me.

 Inside the house: Again it is quiet, I hear the dishwasher running, Sis laughing at a video she is watching, and the dog whining because no one will throw her baby (her toy) for her. Today Lil'bit went over the hill to an audition for a talent show. She has a true love for singing, and we are really hoping she got in, and will get to preform. We should know by Wednesday. My Dear is relaxing after teaching this morning and watching videos. 

In the mirror: This morning for church I wore my hair up in a big messy bun, and very light makeup. I wore dark blue jeans, a peach sweater, and a very light tan pair of knee high boots. Now I am sitting here in sweats, a dark green sweatshirt and these slippers, they are VERY pink, fuzzy, look totally ridiculous, and are very comfortable. 

On my needles, and hooks: On my needles, I am knitting This head warmer or headband for myself. I purchased the pattern from Heidi May at the Velvet Acorn from her shop on Etsy. I love all of her designs. She does almost all of her patterns in both knit and crochet so everyone can do them doing whatever their preferred method. This is a brown wool yarn I had left from a scarf I knit my son for Christmas one year.
I still have not started those socks but I am going to someday. Of course I have been saying that since I started knitting, and I have not gotten around to it. I also have a hat that I have finished but still need to stitch up the final seam. I will put some pictures of that later. 

On my hooks I have a dishcloth in this creamy white color. It is 100% cotton Peaches and Cream by Lily yarn which is the only thing I use for my dishcloths. It is a very simple pattern, and I like the pretty look of it. Who ever said dishcloths can't be pretty?

In the sewing basket: I finished this quilt for Sis, and put the borders on it. I love this material line, I believe it was by Moda, and was called "Kimmie Doll" or something like that. It has an Asian theme, and is red, white, black and taupe. Sis loves it, and is excited to put it in her living room when she moves into her own place.

What I am reading: I am continuing my journey through the bible and I am still in Genesis and Matthew. The schedule I am using, has you reading in the old and new Testaments at the same time. I actually like this. 

I am also reading this cookbook. I am hoping to get into more of the artisan type breads and this book has a great way to incorporate that without it taking a ton of time. I like the way it is laid out, and it is a good read. 

So that sums up my Sunday snapshot. I hope to post a recipe this week, and a link to a great video on a quick baby blanket project that makes a great gift. Until next time, have an extraordinary Lord's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Slow Friday afternoon

Today was a bit of a slow day here around the homestead. I putted around, you know what I mean when I say "putting" right? Those times when you are really just not very motivated, but know you really should be doing something. So you just kind of slowly make your way through the day doing "stuff" but nothing really big. Like I did not clean the storage room and pack up all the empty canning jars, nor did I organize in the studio, or wash the mini blinds. All projects that need done. But I did make my bed, cleaned and straightened up all the rooms in the house, did a couple loads of laundry, and paid some bills. I also baked up some honey wheat bread. I made up this recipe today because I did not want to make my same old white bread recipe. My family and I thought it turned out really good. I am calling it honey wheat because I used a combination of white and whole wheat flour so I can't really call it honey whole wheat. It did make a beautiful loaf that had a good rise, and made excellent sandwich bread for our grilled cheese today. 

Our little kitty, Jericho, thought it was a lazy day too. He is making a permanent indent in my bed where he lays all of the time. But he is really cute, so I don't fuss about it too much. 

And I also worked on a couple of new signs for my Etsy store. If you are interested there is a link to my store in the side bar. I also love to do custom work so if you ever see a sign you like somewhere but its not for sale, or you have an idea you would like to have done, just give me a holler. 

Last night I made my momma her birthday dinner. She wanted real old fashioned fried chicken, pasta salad, and baked beans. I also made her a white cake, with huckleberry filling and cream cheese frosting. 
She came over early and just sat in the kitchen with my two girls and I and visited while I cooked. It was a great time and the food was pretty good too. Here are some pictures of the chicken, and what was left of the cake after we ate. There was not much left. It was just that good! Well that is all for today. See ya on Sunday for the Sunday Snapshot. Let me know in the comments if you ever fry chicken and what your method is.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

That your joy may be full!!

I know, I already posted today but...Yay!!!!! I am so happy on this rainy snowy day I received some of the seeds for my spring garden! It just makes spring feel so close and just around the corner. I am still expecting another package with the rest of my seeds but this is enough for today. And I just could not wait until tomorrow to share. 

Have a blessed day!!

Menu Monday...on Wednesday

Well I know, I know it is actually Wednesday, but I am happy to say we got to town yesterday to pick up our beef. It was A LOT of beef! In the end it was 670# of beef, and it took this many coolers to get it home...
The brown boxes in the forefront of the picture are the 60 lbs of whole chickens I picked up from Zaycon Fresh. We have all of our beef and pork raised locally. The beef ended up costing us $2.79 a pound raised, cut & wrapped, and in the freezer. You can not buy good grass raised without a bunch of chemicals beef in the grocery store for that. And that price is for all cuts from stew meat to hamburger to T-Bone steak. So while it is a large out of pocket expense at the time, in the long run it is so much cheaper to do it this way. We hope to raise future beef on a friends property so we will have an even lower cost. Also we are looking into taking a pork butchering seminar to do that ourselves also. But back to the menu, here is what my cooking week looks like...

Monday - Tacos, with all the trimmings

Tuesday - I got burgers for the family, and I ate leftovers. We rarely  eat out.

Wednesday - Pepper Steak, rice and green beans

Thursday - Fried Chicken, pasta salad, baked beans. My momma's Birthday Dinner

Friday - Stuffed Pork Chops, fried potatoes, peas

Saturday - Homemade Pizza, salad

Sunday - Hobo packets  (I will post on this one, a real easy meal my family loves!)

That is it for my week of cooking. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WELCOME Tuesday!

Whew! I am glad to see Tuesday! I realize that I did not post "Menu Monday", but that was because I had a CRAZY Monday. Like the kind that makes you wonder why you got out of bed Monday. Here let me just share a one minute realization with you from yesterday...

At one point was trying to home school my sweet little one, (or more like Napoleon Bonaparte), my other daughter was upset because her computer had died, (she does online college), the phone was ringing because my mother turned subtitles on on her TV and could not get them off, on my cell phone was my pastor's wife was calling because she needed me to pick up her chicken in town, the dog was barking because my shadow kept moving, we had water POURING out from under our shower so my Dear was under the house shouting things he needed to me, the cat was running all over the house throwing up, and I was trying to make muffins...seriously, you can't possibly make all this up..

But by the grace of our benevolent Lord, I survived...or at the very least I still woke up today. And I did get these beautiful pumpkin cream cheese muffins done..

And I made Banana Chocolate Chip also. Unfortunately our bathroom floor is trashed! We had just put in new flooring in the house when we moved in May of 2015, but the problem was going long before that and just finally showed its ugly self. So now my bathroom floor looks like this...
 UGH! And it smells and every thing. So upsetting, but we will get it dried out, then replace the sub flooring if needed, and reinstall the flooring. At least upon examination there is not structural damage which could have bee a problem so we are thankful for that. Today I am off to "town", it is an hour away and we have this going on outside..

But I have to go because I am picking up over 700 lbs of beef that we had butchered, and also some chickens from Zaycon. Zaycon is the only place I still buy meat that we do not have raised. I will post on that later. I really am going to get to that Menu Monday post....but it will have to be when I get home from town.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Snapshot Sunday

Hello all! It is Sunday here on my little homestead. And I am going to start doing what I am going to call Snapshot Sunday. I have done similar posts in the past, and so I decided to make it a regular post. I also saw a post like this from a fellow blogger over at Homemaking on the Homestead, and she invited her readers to copy her post and use it as a template, fill it out and link back to her page. You can find one of her snapshots posts hereI am going to make my categories a bit different so as to fit more of what I do. I am also going to do mine on Sunday, as that is my day of rest and relaxation, and I will be able to recap the week and what the happenings were. 

Outside my window: It has been overcast and wet today. We have had a LOT of snow around here this winter. Much more than is normal for our area, kind of like everywhere else in the country. Day before yesterday we had 2 feet of snow accumulation in our yard but the warmer temperature, 37 degrees, and wet weather has melted half of that away. 
 Inside the house: Sunday is the only day during the week that I tend to just sit and relax, it is very quiet in our house. Sis is working on homework, Lil'Bit has a migraine, and is laying down. I am at my desk writing, with my dog at my feet. Candles are burning making a sweet smell in the air, and I can hear the furnace running keeping us toasty warm. 

In the mirror: Since it is the Lord's day, and I attended church earlier, I was wearing gray leggings with knee high gray boots. I wore a long cowl neck mauve sweater with silver earrings. Today's makeup was powder, mascara, a little blush and chap stick. I wore my glasses instead of my contacts, and my hair curled just at the ends and all down to my waist. Now that I am home, I threw my hair up into a messy bun, put on my Oregon ducks pj pants and t-shirt, and slippers.

On my needles, and hooks: On my needles, I am knitting a hat for a friend of my son, Coco, that has been fighting breast cancer. It has been so cold here where we are from, and with her having had chemotherapy, she has no hair to keep her head warm. This hat should help to do the trick. Her favorite color is purple, and I found a cute basket weave brim pattern. 

I am also knitting a couple of dish clothes from a pattern book I have, and I am getting ready to knit some socks for the first time. I will let you all know how that goes. 

On my hooks I have been working on crocheting dish scrubbers using Red Hearts Scrubby Yarn. So far I have not had any problems with using it, and I have finished one in green and I am starting one in the rainbow color. The pattern was the one on the back of the yarn packaging. One thing I will say about it is that the solid colors are 3.5 oz packages and the variegated ones are 3 oz, but cost the same price. I purchased mine from Walmart. And it was about $4 per skein. 

In the sewing basket: I am making some gathering aprons for my sister, my niece, and myself. I am using a pattern I got off of the Reformation Acres website. The pattern and a detailed tutorial with pictures can be found here. I just LOVE her blog, and you can find such wonderful inspiration and information there.

What I am reading: I started reading through the bible in a year with Connie over at Cosmopolitan Cornbread, here is the post where she provides her link to a printable schedule if you would like to join us on the journey. 

I am also reading this cookbook. And while that might sound weird to say, this cookbook has stories all through it, and some of the most beautiful pictures I have seen. If you watch the show and are a fan at all, I highly recommend the cookbook. It is really great. 

So that sums up my Sunday snapshot. I will continue to post each week and keep you posted. Have an extraordinary Lord's Day!