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Showing posts from June, 2009

Bulk Taco Seasoning Mix

  We are having taco salad for dinner tonight.   I always cook up my hamburger and add taco seasonings to it before adding it to my salad.   I realized this morning I was out of taco seasoning and it was time to make more.   This is another product that I make myself now.   We are not real big fans of the taste of the taco seasonings I use to buy from my health food co-op and I wonder about MSG in it as well (the grocery store stuff definitely is full of yucky things typically).   I recently was reading an article (wish I could remember where now.. maybe Dr. Me rcola? If I find it I will give the link).   It said that if a product lists “spices” in their ingredient list and they purchase bulk mixed spices from a supplier that adds MSG to their spice mix then the company that uses the spice mix does not have to claim that it contains MSG. So basically something can say it is MSG free but still may contain MSG if they have the word "spices" listed in the ingredients.   If you h

This Weeks Menu

  Monday: Leftovers Salad Banana Cake   Tuesday: Taco salad Chips and homemade salsa Homemade vanilla ice cream (I will post the recipe soon.. :)   Wednesday: Our 25th wedding anniversary!!  (we are going out.. kids are handling the kitchen on their own)   Thursday (our holiday bbq): Burgers on the grill On homemade buns Watermelon Potato Salad Homemade ice cream (vanilla if there is any left.. if not we will make something else!)   Friday: Baked chicken legs Baked beans Baked potatoes Salad   Saturday: Tobin works so no holiday bbq for us.. already had it! Crockpot chili Chips and homemade salsa Salad   Sunday: Macaroni and Cheese w/ham Salad Fresh fruit    

New: "Managing a Home" eBook from The Family Homestead

New eBook From The Family Homestead! Managing a Home: Tips, Organizational Advice and Practical How-To’s from a Mother of 8     This 60+ page eBook is packed with helpful information laid out in an organized manner on how to manage and organize your home. Click HERE for more information! The cost of this ebook is $12.00 and is an automatic download.      

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

    We made chocolate ice cream this week and it was delicious!! I promised to post the recipe so here it is!   This is a variation of my Strawberry Ice Cream recipe (recipe link at the bottom of this post).  As I try out new flavors I will post them here..  Chocolate Ice Cream Makes 1 gallon    6 eggs 3 cups cane juice crystals ¾ c cocoa powder 1 T vanilla   (only the real stuff) 2 c. whole cream Whole Goat Milk, as much as needed to fill ice cream maker container (whole cow milk will work too..   :) 1 T arrowroot powder (helps make the ice cream smooth.. but this is optional if you don’t have any)   In a big mixer (like a Kitchen Aid or Bosch) mix together (with the wire whip) the eggs and cane juice crystals until light and lemony colored.   Add cocoa powder and vanilla mix again.   Add cream and arrowroot powder (if using).   When all of this has mixed together completely pour it into your 1 gallon ice cream maker container.   Add whole milk until you reach the “fill line” on your

Saturday on the Homestead

  Today has been a fairly quiet day.   The weather turned cool and wet so I have had a break from watering and weeding the garden.   I am sure the next dry day I can get in the garden I am going to find that the weeds have grown twice as fast as the veggies! LOL..   I also need to get the unplanted area rototilled this next week.      I was able to check several things off my to-do list today.   I packed orders, paid a bill online, started a batch of beef stock, caught up on my Quicken, made dinner and packed hubby’s lunch and got him out the door to work, did some laundry, and did a little writing.   Emily and Leanne were working today so it was just me and the younger kids.   I had them clean their rooms; they were a bit of a mess to say the least.   Now I am getting a little computer time and listening to Tim McGraw.      Emily had mid-terms this week from her online college courses.   She had the tests proctored by the library so it was very convenient. But it was a bit of a stre

The Cost of Making Ice Cream

  I had a comment on my last blog post on making ice cream and how expensive it is.   Perhaps some of it has to do with the ingredients you choose to use and the type of ice cream you make.   I think it is also important to note that the recipe makes a whole gallon of ice cream and that would be like buying 2 typical containers from the grocery store.   Ice cream is one of those foods that are so full of garbage ingredients and chemicals it is not funny.   It is hard to find really good quality ice cream.   I was even looking the other day at the ice cream my food co-op sells and was disappointed to see that it contained natural flavors (another name for MSG) and gums to help make it smooth.   And the cost was ridiculous.   So this morning I roughly calculated the cost in making a gallon of homemade strawberry ice cream with better quality ingredients.   I personally think that even if you used less than excellent ingredients (like sugar instead of cane juice crystals) you could cut th

Strawberry Ice Cream

    Strawberry season is in full swing here in the PNW.   I have been buying them every week now and the kids eat them as fast as I buy them!     I have been making a lot of strawberry shortcake.   But the other day a friend of mine was making ice cream and that gave me some inspiration to make some for my family.   I remembered that one of the treats we love is strawberry ice cream and that was something I had not made yet during this wonderful strawberry season.   I made some on Tuesday.   It was delicious!   I pureed the strawberries and found that it was more enjoyable to eat than when I have just chopped them up.       If you would like my recipe and detailed instructions on making ice cream you can find that here: I have a pretty basic 4qt ice cream maker made by Rival.   I have had it now for several years and made a whole lot of ice cream with it.   This basically is the ice cream maker I have (my bucket is round, an old

Updates from the Homestead

This last week the weather has been cooler and cloudy.. with a little sun.   But despite that the garden seems to be thriving quite well.   There were enough sunny afternoons that allowed for us to get some weeding, watering and mulching done.   I have found that the stirrup hoe is my best friend!      My mother in law was the one to show me her stirrup hoe several years ago and I went out and bought one (I think I bought it at Home Depot).   It makes quick and efficient work of hoeing between the garden rows.   If you are not familiar with them you can see a pic of one here:   and read a little more about them here:     Here you can see Isaac using it..     And in the above picture you can my little plants have all come up.   The corn and green beans are doing great.   Speaking of hoes..   I accidentally hoed up half of a little section of flowers..    

An Afternoon in the Kitchen

  Yesterday I had a wonderfully unscheduled afternoon and decided to spend that time in the kitchen.   It was productive and enjoyable as well!     I started off by making 6 loaves of bread .   We were completely out of bread and were in crisis mode! LOL..     Then while the bread was rising and baking I started working on making a gallon jar of sauerkraut .   I used one green cabbage and half of a red cabbage and 2 onions.   I thought the addition of red cabbage sure made the kraut look pretty.   Then while the kraut sat in the bowl with the salt and whey I began making a gallon of salsa .   I love utilizing all these fresh veggies and knowing that fermenting means they will last longer and have more vitamin content than if I did not ferment them.   The salsa looked great too.   Here is a pic of both….   For dinner we were going to grill hamburgers and hot dogs.   So after the bread, salsa, and kraut were done I made up a batch of my oat dinner rolls and turned them into 10 hamburger

Make Your Own Salad Dressings

I use to buy all my salad dressing from the grocery store. I thought that was how everyone did it. I felt like making salad dressing myself would just be one more kitchen job to do and I wanted the convenience of store bought dressing… Then I became health conscious and started reading labels and well, most of the dressings I found, were, well, yuck as far as ingredients go. Sugar, bad oils, hydrogenated oils, MSG, fillers, thickeners, etc.. When I try and find better quality dressings (which I can find at health food stores and through Azure) I find them to be very expensive, especially considering the rate at which we consume salad in this house (we eat fresh green salad every day). Sometimes our perception that something is going to be hard or time consuming is just that, a perception. I eventually began making my own salad dressings and found that not only are they a frugal and healthy, they don’t take any time at all to put together. Last night I made a batch of Oriental Salad Dre

Breakfast and Lunch Menu Planning

I received a question after posting my menu yesterday about menu planning with breakfast and lunch. Here is the question with my reply… Just curious. I have big menus for all my meals and I get very tired of cooking all the day long... seems all that I do at times! Just curious what your method for those other meals is...   Well I am pretty lazy when it comes to breakfast!   And.. my kids are older now and have different schedules so breakfast around here is a pretty simple affair.  I don't plan these meals like I do dinners.  During the summer I make granola .   I quadruple the recipe and it fills up 4 gallon size jars.   My 4 teenagers and 1 one pre-teen go through this in about 4 to 6 weeks.   I also have kefir always in the fridge that is used to make smoothies.   I use kefir, fruit, and a little maple syrup to sweeten. My older girls sometimes just like to have a piece of peanut butter toast and a smoothie or a piece of fruit.   My younger ones will eat the granola and fruit

This Weeks Menu

    Sunday BBQ Beef in the crockpot Potato salad Green beans Green Salad   Monday Leftovers   Tuesday Enchiladas Chips & salsa Salad   Wednesday Hamburgers on the grill Potato chips Fresh fruit   Thursday Chili Chips & salsa Salad   Friday Baked chicken Garlic baked potatoes Salad   Saturday Navy bean soup w/ham WW oat dinner rolls Salad   Sunday Baked spaghetti French bread Salad


  The other day I wanted to make an apple pie for our dessert. I made up my Bosch pie crust recipe, which makes 4 crusts. I love that recipe! But I only needed one crust. So the next day Leanne made a peanut butter pie.. oh my that was delicious! I still had 2 pie crusts left. So this morning I decided to make quiche.    I meant to get pictures but everyone ate it all before I had a chance. In any case here are the recipes…   The Bosch Pie Crust that I love so much!     Our Favorite Apple Pie   Peanut Butter Pie  1 cup creamy peanut butter 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened 1 cup cane juice crystals or sugar 2 T butter, melted 1 cup whipping cream 2 T sour cream 1 T vanilla 1 graham cracker crust (or you can use a regular pie crust like I did) Chocolate sauce for drizzling     Cream together peanut butter, cream cheese & sugar. Whip cream until thick. Add to peanut butter mixture with butter, sour cream & vanilla. Pour into crust. Chill for 2 hours. Drizzle some chocolate