Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Updates from the Homestead


This week is flying by. Today we are celebrating my FIL’s birthday. His actual birthday is on Valentines day, but that won’t work for our schedule so we are doing it today. The dinner menu consists of Shrimp Scampi, Green Salad, French Bread with Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert.


Emily made the cheesecake yesterday and I had a big bread baking afternoon and got a loaf of French bread made and I think one loaf will be enough. If not, I can always decide later this afternoon to make up a batch of dinner rolls.


Tobin has an ear infection so he is headed to the doctors this morning. I will go along on the trip and pick up a few last minute food items while he is seeing the doctor. 


The kids are applying themselves to their school assignments at the moment and when we get home it will be house cleaning and cooking time.


I mentioned my bread baking afternoon.. so I thought I would share a picture of it. I made a 6 loaf batch of my bread and made that into 4 loaves of bread and large pan of cinnamon rolls. Then I made a batch of my Italian Pizza Crust and divided the dough in half. I used one half to top last night’s dinner, which was Delicious Italian Casserole, and the other half I made into a loaf of French bread which we will have tonight. 




The sun is currently out and I love the warmer days! Could be close to 60 by the end of the week. I am looking so forward to spring.. I could swear when I was outside yesterday that I heard a frog..  


On Monday Jacob cleared out the front yard of all the downed tree limbs from the storm and then yesterday Tobin got them all cut up and the kids stacked the wood and then they all cleaned up and raked up the front yard. It looks so much better now. We took down our trampoline for good. One very large tree limb came crashing down during one of our snow/ice storms and went right through the trampoline. I am not too disappointed about this.. maybe the younger two are, but after 10 years I am ready to be done with the trampoline phase of our life.. LOL.. 


That is all from my homestead.. hope you all have a great Wednesday

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Lotion Scents!


I have new lotions scents stocked in my store




Vanilla Crème, Awaphui Seaberry and Sweet Pea



Menu for the Week



Mashed potatoes












Father in Law’s Birthday Dinner

Shrimp Scampi over pasta

Cooked veggies of some sort


Cherry Cheesecake for Dessert






Carrot sticks




Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday on the Homestead


I am home now after a nice little mini vacation to the Oregon coast. Tobin and I left on Monday and returned yesterday afternoon. We had a great time away and the kids “held down the fort” and did a super job of it all..  In fact when we arrived home yesterday Leanne had made dinner: chili bean soup, salad, served with tortillas and salsa with peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert…  plus the house was beautifully clean and my favorite Kenny G CD was play and a couple candles were lit.. it was such a nice homecoming!


I am happy to say that the weather is warming up! When we left on Monday there was still a lot of snow everywhere but by the time we came home most of it had melted and our driveway was clear. Tobin had to put chains on the car just to get up the driveway last weekend.. what a difference a few days make.


I still have a lot of details to work on this weekend.. products to make for my store, book keeping to catch up on, emails and web work to do, homeschooling papers to correct and books to print.. and the list goes on.. 


Dinner tonight is .. well.. I did not plan dinner.. so we are just eating up leftovers. That is another thing on my to do list.. plan my menu! 


Hope you all have a great weekend on your homesteads.. 

Monday, February 4, 2008

Crockpot Lasagna

I have had a few requests for this recipe.. it turned out really yummy..  It lasted us 2 nights, so be aware that it makes a LOT of lasagna, so if you don’t have a big crowd to feed it to, you can serve it a couple of nights in a row like I did or freeze the leftovers for another meal in future or cut the recipe in half.


Crockpot Lasagna
Crystal Miller


3 cups cottage cheese

2 eggs

2 t dried parsley

8 to 10 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Spaghetti sauce, see recipe below

3 to 4 cups mozzarella cheese


Spray a large 5 or 6 quart crockpot with a non stick spray such as Pam. In a small bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs and parsley, set aside. Put a layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom of the crockpot, breaking them if needed to fit. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the noodles. Then spoon 1/3 of the cottage cheese and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese over this. Repeat layers 2 more times. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Before serving, turn off crockpot and remove lid and let it sit for a bit to cool down and firm it up for serving.


Spaghetti Sauce

1lb. hamburger

1 onion, chopped

1 green or red pepper, chopped (or any type of peppers, I use mini peppers and use several of them)

4 to 5 large mushrooms (or more small ones), chopped

2- 14oz cans diced tomatoes

1- 8oz can tomato sauce

1- 6oz can tomato paste

1 ½ T Italian seasonings

2 t salt

1 T cane juice crystals

small amount of water to thin sauce



In a large frying pan or sauce pan cook hamburger, onions, peppers and mushrooms until meat is no longer pink and veggies are tender. 


In a blender puree diced tomatoes and add to hamburger/veggie mix. Add the tomato sauce and paste, Italian seasonings, salt and cane juice crystals. You can thin out the sauce with a little bit of water, you want it a little thinner than normally because the lasagna noodles will absorb the liquid. Use the sauce in the above Crockpot Lasagna recipe.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Updates from the Homestead


This last week we battled snow storms and power outages. On Sunday another snow storm moved in and gave us a bit of snow and ice. We lost power for most of the day. Tobin had to hook up a battery and inverter to keep our circulation pump moving water through our wood stove. He hooked the inverter up to the battery on his tractor to try and run the freezers, but the inverter was not large enough for that job. So now he has a bigger inverter on his list of “winter preparedness” supplies. 


The ice and snow were also more than some of our trees could handle and I kept hearing cracking and thudding sounds as tree limbs came down around our property. It looks like we will have some clean up to do once the weather clears and a good start on next years wood supply. 


Thankfully the weather is changing now and most of the snow has melted. They do say on Sunday we might get some more snow and I am hoping that will be all for the winter. I have visions of warmer spring days and gardens in my mind at the moment! LOL.. 


Yesterday was a pretty productive day. I started the day by putting lasagna in the crockpot. I have never done this before and have to say it turned out delicious! I will post the recipe in just a bit. 


Then it was school time and household chores and laundry, etc.. After that was done I ground up about 12 or so cups of wheat. I made a 6 loaf batch of bread dough and made 5 loaves of bread and pan of cinnamon rolls from it. I wanted to get some bagels made but they will have to wait until this weekend.. I ran out of time yesterday..


After making the bread I then made another gallon of instant oatmeal for the kids. They like it, and I like how it makes breakfast time so very easy around here!   Here is my recipe:


Instant Oatmeal Mix

Crystal Miller


20 cups quick cooking oats

2 cup powdered milk

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon salt


Take about half of the oats and run them through a blender or food processor to make them smaller… you don’t want flour though! Then mix with the rest of the ingredients. I put this in gallon size jar for storage. This is much easier to use with a big family than little packets. Little packets of things just do not work at my house! For serving we do not really measure this. We scoop out some and put in a bowl. Cover it with boiling water and let it sit for a minute or so. Then mix in honey, maple syrup, dried fruit, milk or anything that you normally enjoy with oatmeal.



Today the girls and I are headed into the big city to buy groceries and do a little shopping. They both have their own lists and stores they want to stop at.. as usual I am sure we will not be able to get all their shopping dreams packed into one day! .. LOL.. but I will try and hit a couple of places for them and of course no trip to town is complete with a stop at Starbucks for a coffee.. 


Dinner tonight will be leftover lasagna, a salad and maybe a dessert.. we will see how much time and energy we have by then.. 


Have a great Friday on your homestead!

Two Chicken Dinners


I had purchased a couple of organic chickens from Costco not long ago. I wanted to make the most of them when I served them, considering what I paid for them! Here was my menu plan for using one of the chickens to feed the 7 us for two different meals.


On Monday I put a chicken in the crockpot to slowly cook all day. The recipe was very simple, I called it Hawaiian Chicken:


Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs.

1- 20oz can crushed pineapple

2T Sucanat

2T soy sauce

1T minced garlic

4 or 5 chopped mini peppers (you could use ½ of a green or red pepper)

3T cornstarch

¼ c water


Place chicken in crockpot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Let cook on low for 6 or 7 hours. 


I served this meal with brown rice and spooned the sauce from the chicken over the rice. I also added a nice big green salad with homemade ranch dressing. 


When the meal was over I removed the rest of the meat from the chicken and put that in the fridge along with the leftover rice. 


Two days later I made my next meal with the leftover chicken and rice. It was chicken burritos.


Here is what I did….


I always buy and have on hand 3 main things from Costco: a bag of mini sweet peppers, a large container of mushrooms and a bag of sweet onions. I can’t believe how many meals can be dressed up with these veggies. 


For this meal I first began by chopping up a sweet onion, several peppers and a few mushrooms. I heated up my cast iron frying pan and added a little butter and then tossed in the veggies and let them cook until they were nice and soft and starting to brown…



Then I put them in a bowl, wiped out my frying pan, heated it up again and added a little more butter. I put in my leftover chicken that I had chopped up and about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of brown rice (this amount could vary a lot depending on how many people you are serving). I cooked this until it was nice and hot and then added about a 1/2 cup of salsa. I let this heat up a little more and then put it into a serving dish.



For the rest of the meal I pulled out shredded cheddar cheese and whole wheat tortillas so everyone could fill their own burrito. I served extra salsa on the side and added another big green salad to the meal and it was a huge hit with the family. They ate every bit of it! 


I was glad to have been able to turn this one 4lb chicken into two meals for my family.