Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lentil Chili

I made this last night for dinner and it was good tasting, easy and fairly quick to put together..  can’t ask for more than that in a healthy meal!


Lentil Chili

Crystal Miller


3 ½ cups lentils

8 cups water

1 T salt

1 lb hamburger

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, optional

4 t chili powder

1 t cumin

1 can Rotel tomatoes


Combine lentils, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until lentils are soft.


While lentils are cooking fry hamburger, onion and jalapeno pepper (if using) until hamburger is no longer pink and vegetable are tender. 


When lentils have finished cooking add hamburger onion mixture and remaining ingredients.  Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread a nice tossed green salad for a yummy dinner.



Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday on the Homestead


Today was a regularly scheduled day.  Housework, school work, laundry, food preps.. I have had two business as usual days after my nice birthday weekend…   It sure did feel good to get so much pampering from my family!! My girls really went all out to make the day special for me and to allow me to just sit back and enjoy the day…  My husband brought me home some beautiful flowers and a mushy sweet card..  Gotta love that man!!!    I especially appreciated the phone call from my wonderful sister in law, Debbie..  we had such a good time chatting..  usually we email but now and again a phone chat is just so nice..  Thanks Debbie!! Love Ya!!  


Ok back to Tuesday… my kitchen and baking loving daughter Emily was at it again today.  She made a delicious short bread cookie that I enjoyed with a cup of herbal tea this afternoon and right now is working on come chocolate crackle cookies..  I am pretty sure she will be posting the recipes to that soon..


The sun finally made an appearance this afternoon and that was all the encouragement the goats needed to head out of the barn and enjoy some warmth.  My kids are growing so fast!


I have been calling my son Jacob the “Mad Scientist” lately..  he has discovered how to make rockets out of 2 liter pop bottles and a bicycle pump.. I will have to get pictures of his creation.. 


Dinner tonight is Lentil Chili..  my own creation..  I will post the recipe later on.. it smells and tastes sooo good!!  I am serving that with tortilla chips, salsa and some type of veggie.. ..  dinner is going to be on the late side tonight because we have all been busy!!


Hope you all had a great Tuesday on your homesteads!!


This Weeks Menu


I have had a busy couple of days and just now am getting around to posting my menu for this week…



A great birthday dinner prepared by my kids!!



Clam Chowder and homemade bread



Lentil Chili, tortilla chips, salad



Goat stew, veggies and dip



Homemade pizza, buffalo wings



Red Bean and Sausage Soup, homemade bread or rolls, coleslaw



Chicken noodle soup, bread, veggies and dip


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday on the Homestead


Well more spring cleaning was done today!!  The kids tackled their bedrooms, closets and the hallway.  All the kids have their rooms upstairs so it can get kind of scary up there every now and again.. LOL..  Actually it was not too bad, I just did a major clean out of the upstairs in January; so this was just clean and purge recent clutter.


Tobin and I went and took some recycling to the local recycling center and then went and got some more hay, not quite a ½ ton..  hopefully that will last awhile as the new green leaves and grass are just starting to grow and that supplements the goats for the spring and summer.


The day was just wet, wet, and wet again.. yuck..  I talked with my oldest daughter today and she said it was sunny and nice in Monterey CA..  awwww…  I would love it!!  I told her to enjoy some of it for me..  They get their orders next week so we will see what the next move will be for her and hubby and baby.


I also talked with my oldest son today.  He is currently in Ft. Bragg NC.  He is doing lots and lots of training right now.  He will be deployed to Iraq in July so for now it is all about pre-deployment training for him.  He will be taking leave before he goes so we will get to see him in a few months. 


Both him and my daughter called to wish me happy birthday..  my birthday is actually tomorrow but they were both going to be busy and did not want to forget..  That made me feel good to be remembered by my kids..  :)  My other kids have been plotting and planning our dinner and get together with family tomorrow..  Makes turning 43 a little easier!  LOL..  They have a nice menu planned out for me.  Emily made a nice cheesecake (my favorite thing!) and they are getting fresh strawberries for it while they are out. 


Right now my house is empty.. the kids all left to go to Wal-Mart and Tobin is out in his shop working on organizing and cleaning up his stuff.  I thought it would be a great time to blog.. sat at the computer and  turned on the country music (Trace Adkins) and will just enjoy the kidless house for a little while!!


Dinner tonight is leftover spaghetti.. we are varying from the menu just because spaghetti sounded better yesterday and I made a big pot of it so we can enjoy it again tonight. 


Hope you all had a great Saturday on your Homesteads..

Friday, March 23, 2007

Orange & Fruit Smoothie and Spring Cleaning


Emily and Leanne made everyone smoothies after our afternoon of spring cleaning.  We managed to get the major rooms of the house torn apart, cleaned and put back together this afternoon!!! Amazing what team work can do!  Emily and Leanne started the living room while I was at swim lessons with the kids.  After we were home and had lunch we each started in different areas and managed to tackle the dining room, sun room, kitchen (actually we still have work to do in the kitchen but a lot did get done) and the laundry room.


Yesterday I picked up my Azure order and in my order I had a 38lb box of organic oranges!!  Soooo needless to say we are eating lots of oranges and finding good uses for them. One of those uses was making a whole fruit smoothie, using oranges instead of orange juice like we often do. 


2 to 3 whole oranges, peeled and separated into pieces

2 cups frozen strawberries

1 ½ bananas

1 apple, peeled, cored

½ cup yogurt

½ cup milk

Sweetener of choice, to taste, if desired


Put all in blender (you need a good heavy duty blender, we are using our Bosch blender) and mix until all is smooth. We let it mix for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then we added a little bit of pure maple syrup.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday on the Homestead


Well this is the end of what has seemed like a long week.  Tobin had to work 6 days this week and we are both looking forward to our weekend. 


Yesterday I did grocery shopping and went to the feed store for the monthly animal feed trip..  sure does fill up the back of my van! 


I had all the kids with me and that was enjoyable.  After we left the feed store we stopped at Starbucks and the older girls and I had a coffee drink..  well mine had coffee in it theirs was strawberries and crème.. 


Then we went to Winco and then onto Costco where I bought everyone a polish dog and drink..  can’t beat a $1.50 per person lunch..  then we dropped off the boys cameras (finally.. I forgot to take them on the last trip).. soon we will get to see all the Disney Land pictures.. 


Finally we ended our afternoon at Wal-Mart, picking up a few things and then a beautiful drive home.  The sun was shining and Columbia River Gorge was just awesome to see..


Today I was hoping for a day at home but I need to take the girls to their cleaning job, and will take the younger three kiddos to the library for awhile.  They like that.


When we come home I have some housekeeping to do.  We want to do some deep cleaning this afternoon..  when the sun came out this last week it all of a sudden brightened my house up enough to reveal some winter time cobwebs that need to go!   I have company coming on Sunday (mostly family) and we wanted to get a head start on making the house look nice.


Dinner tonight will be either leftovers (need to see how many leftovers I have first) and if not enough for a meal then we will be having navy bean soup and salad.


When we got home yesterday Emily went outside and got a few pretty spring time pictures from our homestead.  I thought I would share them with you:

Have a great day on your homesteads!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This Weeks Menu

This weeks menu.. posted kind of late!!



 Hamburger Noodle Soup


salad w/ hm ranch dressing


Chicken, rice and broccoli casserole



Pork roast

Laurie’s macaroni and cheese



Tacos (lentil taco filling) w/all the trimmings


Navy bean soup

cornbread or biscuits

carrot sticks and dip


Ashli’s 5-way Cincinnati Chili over potatoes or pasta



Salmon or clam chowder


rosemary bread sticks

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Snuggly Soft Baby!

Baby Products are in my Store!




Soaps, Lotions, Talc Free Herbal Bath Powder 

~All Snuggly Soft Baby products are mildly scented~ 

Choose between Light Lavender Scent made with essential oils only or a nice Baby Powder Scent

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How to Easily Gather Fabric: Sewing Tutorial


This is a tutorial from the March issue of my newsletter, "Homestead Happenings".  If you are not familiar with my newsletter you can get more info and sign up for it if you would like (it is free):  


How to Easily Gather Fabric
The traditional method of gather fabric has you sew a large strait basting stitch across the fabric and then pull the bobbin side to gather in the fabric. What would always happen to me is the bobbin threads would break or the task was just painfully time consuming.

I learned this trick a few years ago from a friend of mine.

You will need some cotton crochet thread:

Set your sewing machine to a large size zig-zag setting with a long stitch length.

Set your presser food on the very edge of the fabric and put the crochet thread between the feet of the presser foot.

Now slowly begin to sew a zig-zag stitch with the cotton crochet thread in the center of the stitch. This is what it will look like:

If you are gathering something large then it will be helpful to do the gathering in 2 places. For the skirts we have used the side seams as the start and stop points.

Then pin your fabric to the piece that you are attaching the gathered edge to. I like to pin side seams together and then center seams together.

Now carefully begin to pull the crochet thread and gather the fabric up to the correct size.

Secure the end of the crochet thread to a pin in a figure 8 to hold it.

Continue to do pull the crochet thread and gather the whole piece of fabric.

Now pin everything in place.

Now smooth out the fabric and sew a 5/8" seam all the way around.

Remove your pins. You can easily now remove the crochet thread by finding the end and pulling it out. The only evidence left behind is the zig-zag stitching which you can also remove with a seam ripper if you would like, but I rarely do this.

Turn right side out, iron and Voila!! You are done!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Isaac’s Birthday Cake Recipe

(a.k.a. Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake)

Crystal Miller



3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 T baking powder

1 ½ t baking soda

½ t salt

1 ½ cups honey

1 ¼ cups mayonnaise

1 ¼ cup water

1 T vanilla


Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl Add remaining ingredients and mix with a hand held mixer or stand mixer until everything is combined well and very smooth.  Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.  Bake 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.


Frost with frosting of your choice.   We used Honey Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled m & m’s over the cake. 


Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Isaac!!


My baby is 9 years old today!!!  Wow!!  Where to the years go??  He is growing up to be such a nice boy..  Very thoughtful and helpful..  he is always trying to figure out what I need before I need it!  Always wants to please his mama...     He will always be my baby.. 





Sunday, March 11, 2007

Yea!!! More signs of spring…


Since I have whined so much about winter I thought I would share about some wonderful signs of spring I am seeing and hearing… 


Frogs croaking in the pond

Birds singing in the early morning

Visiting ducks in my pond

Weather warming up


All this happened just in the last few days.. 


This Weeks Menu



Creamed tuna over pasta




Pizza (Isaac’s birthday)



Goat stew

Homemade dinner rolls



Crab alfredo over pasta

Spinach salad



Cider Spiced Corned Beef (crockpot)


Baked potatoes



Baked chicken legs

Rice pilaf




Potato corn chowder


Homemade dinner rolls

Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday on the Homestead and Italian Beef Recipe

Well today was a busy productive day..  I got some soap made, lotion made and more lotion bars made..  Those lotion bars are pretty popular!  Now I need to get some items labeled and I still have more soap to make..  but I am feeling good about my progress today.


Hannah did take the kids to swim lessons and then took the girls to their cleaning job that we could not get to yesterday due to the dead battery.  Hannah is such a helpful daughter.. and she does it all willingly and with a smile on her face..   


I did not get to my baking..  Instead I made the above items.  Leanne made bread and it is baking right now..  smells nice.  I have Italian beef in the crockpot and we are going to have that over brown rice that was left from last night (I made a double batch so I would have enough for tonight)..  Hannah wanted some broccoli instead of a salad.. I thought that sound good too..  so dinner time is right around the corner.


I am happy to say I see the first signs of spring..  crocuses coming up! Now if we could just have some sunshine I would really feel like spring is close..    Today was another wet, cloudy, gray day..  very Northwest like..


Emily is off on a babysitting job this evening.  Everyone else is home. This is Tobin’s day off and he has been busy catching up on things around the homestead. 


Someone saw the Italian Beef on my menu and wanted my recipe.  Here it is:


Italian Beef

Crystal Miller


1 3lb beef roast

1 cup water

1 t chopped garlic, or more if you love garlic like we do

½ medium onion, sliced thin

2 t Italian seasonings

1 t salt

½ t pepper

½ t cane juice crystals

1 jar (12 to 16 oz) greek pepperoncini’s 


The night before you want to serve this meal place roast and water in crockpot and set on low.  In the morning there should be lots of juices.  Using 2 forks shred beef.  Add garlic, onion, seasonings and stir well.  Now add the pepperoncini’s and as much of the juice from the jar as you would like (according to your tastes).


Let this continue to cook on low for the remainder of the day.  Serve on toasted whole wheat hamburger buns or brown rice.


That about sums up my Friday on the Homestead.. 

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Thursday on the Homestead


Well my boys arrived back from Disney Land last night, safe and sound!  They had a wonderful trip and I have 4 cameras worth of film to develop for them.  After I develop their film I will post some pics..  Now life will go back to normal.  I guess this was the kid’s spring break.  Today was just an easy going day of recovery for them.


Emily and Leanne were supposed to go to their cleaning job but when we got in the van it would not start..  the battery was dead..    The back door of the van had not been closed completely so it drained the battery.  Tobin is now recharging it.. 


Lots of laundry was on the list today.  The boys needed all their clothes washed, plus the bathroom towels needed washing, and it was Leanne’s laundry day..  so it looks like my machine got quite a workout today..  actually I still have laundry going… . 


Today is the last day of the work week for us.  I wanted to make some challah bread and maybe cinnamon rolls but did not get to it.. It is on my list for tomorrow, especially if Hannah is not working..  she said she would take the kids to swim lessons and I will stay home and bake!    Dinner tonight was sweet and sour chicken over brown rice and broccoli….  Yummy!


I finally have had to admit I am getting a little older…    I went and bought a pair of reading glasses.  Last year the eye doctor told me it was time and I resisted the thought and continued to squint while at the computer..  this year at my appt.  he said the same thing and to convince me he showed me what words would look like if I did..  and it was a big improvement..  so while in town earlier this week I broke down and bought a pair.  Now I have remember to put them on.. LOL..   but when I do, it helps a lot.  I also thought it greatly helps my grandmotherly look!    Never thought I would want to help that look, but hey when you do have a sweet grandbaby like mine..  somehow you don’t mind anymore!


I sent out several orders today from my county store.  I have procrastinated a lot this week ..  and now this weekend I HAVE to make soap! 


Emily and Leanne made 2 more skirts…. Sierra has been bit by the sewing bug and today she made a rice pad to match her pillow case.  Now she will need a new project for this weekend!  When the girls and I finish sewing skirts we will then move back to finishing our quilt squares. We are eager to keep working on that.


Well that sums up Thursday on the Homestead!! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Sierra’s Sewing Project


Sierra made her first sewing project, all on her own, today.  It was a pillow case.  She bought the fabric at Walmart yesterday and washed it last night and this morning was ready to go!  Since the boys have not been home this week we have had a very lax week..  and I figured a sewing day was perfect for her.  Emily made another skirt.. I made granola :)


Here is Sierra holding up her new pillow case:



I found the neatest Ebook in the Old Schoolhouse Store  (they have a ton of great stuff in there!!)


It was called: Learn To Sew, A Beginning Sewing Book for Girls


The book is not expensive and very fun..  plus with it being an ebook you get it right away! 


The next project in the book is a Bible cover.  Other projects that look fun are: a tote bag, potholder, apron, skirt and more..  Sierra is excited to be able to do these.


The book comes with the needed patterns and very easy and basic instructions..  I highly recommend it!!