Sunday, August 30, 2009

This Weeks Menu


 

Sunday

Leftover lasagna

Soft bread sticks (also leftover from yesterday’s dinner)

Garden salad

 

Monday

Fried brats and cabbage

Corn on the cob

Garden salad


 

Tuesday

Zucchini hamburger sauté


Garden salad

Watermelon

 

Wednesday

BLT sandwiches (or bbq burgers)


Watermelon

 

Thursday


Corn on the cob

Garden salad

Whole grain crackers

 

Friday



Garden salad

 

Saturday




 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Freezing Corn on the Cob


Leanne and I picked the corn in our garden yesterday morning and got it into the freezer. I only planted 1 ½ rows of corn but was pretty happy with the amount of ears I have ended up with. We have had corn on the cob for dinner a few times now, plus I ended up with 5 gallon size bags of corn (each bag holds about 7 ears of corn) and there is still some corn on the stalks that should ripen up here in the next week or so and provide us with another couple of dinners worth.

I took some pictures to show how I prepare corn on the cob for the freezer. Leanne and I went down to the garden early (before the yellow jackets were out.. we have had a terrible year with wasps around here!). We picked a laundry basket full of ears….




Leanne and Isaac laid newspapers on the dining room floor and started shucking the corn (the goats got all the corn husks and they loved the treat! :).


 

While they did that I cleaned up the kitchen, got my large pot out and started water boiling so we could blanch the corn.




Fresh veggies need to be blanched first before freezing. Vegetables have enzymes in them that will cause them to go soft while in the freezer. Cooking them for a short period of time and then cooling them off quickly before freezing is how you stop this enzyme process and keep your veggies in good shape while the sit in the freezer.

I also pulled out my little blanching basket. I have had this for years, not even sure where I bought it at, but love this thing. The basket part of it collapses. You set it in a pot of water and add your veggies or fruit so they can sit in boiling water and when the time is up you pull them out by the handles. I have used it to blanch all kinds of veggies and used it to dip peaches for peeling and canning, tomatoes for peeling, etc.. I placed the basket inside my pot of water that was heating up.





I also washed the sink and got out a bag of ice. I filled the sink with ice water.





And got the zip lock bags out…




By this time the kids had enough corn ready for us to get started…




If the ears of corn are on the longer side I break them in half because I found long ago that I could get more pieces into a gallon size bag this way. So here is the first batch ready to go…




The water was boiling and it was time to add the corn…





I waited until the water was boiling again and then started my timer for 7 minutes. When the 7 minutes were up it was time to pull the corn out and put it in my sink full of ice water to cool down quickly….





I let them cool for 8 to 10 minutes and then bagged them up….




We just kept the process going with the rest of the corn and in no time we were done!!



 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bulk Pancake Mix


 

This weekend Leanne and I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen. We made 8 loaves of bread, 2 zucchini coffee cakes (1 1/2 of them are now cut up and in the freezer for an easy breakfast), peanut butter oatmeal cookies and my latest adventure was to make my own bulk pancake mix. As the cooler weather is approaching I am thinking more about hot breakfasts but also quick ones too.  Mornings are busy around here.   We tried out the pancake mix for Saturday’s breakfast and it worked just fine! The kids are looking forward to having pancakes more often!  Here is the recipe..

 

Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

 

25 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 ¼ cups baking powder

¼ cup salt

6 2/3 cups powdered milk

 

Combine all ingredients very well in a large bowl. Transfer to zip type freezer bags, label. Store in freezer to keep flour fresh.

 

To make one batch:

 

3 cups mix

2 eggs

¼ cup olive oil

2 cups water

 

Combine mix, eggs and olive oil. Add half the water, stir and only add enough of the remaining water to achieve the consistency you desire. Bake on a hot skillet. Serve with butter and real maple syrup! Yum!!

 

Variations:

 

Banana Pancakes:

Add:

1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 large bananas) to one batch of pancake batter.

 

Blueberry Pancakes:

Add:

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries to one cup of pancake batter.  

 

Chocolate Chip Pancakes:

Add:

½ to 1 cup chocolate chips to one batch of pancake batter.

 

Pumpkin Pancakes:

Add:

1t cinnamon

½ t ginger

To dry mix. 

Add:

1 cup pureed pumpkin to one batch of pancake batter. 

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

School Work and House Work

  

I had another question on my last blog post on school work and house work… 


Chrystal,
how long do you make the kids work? I do 30 min, take a 5 min break or so if they need it and then 30 min.
one lady does 15 min of school work, 15 min of play, 15 min of school work.
with your experience, what works the best?


Well, I have my daily chores all written out and divided by the days of the week.  You can see them HERE.  Before we start school we all spend about 45minutes to an hour working through as many of the chores as we can.  I like to have my house in order before we start school.  Usually with all of us working on the jobs together we can get just about everything on the list done in that time.  I think better and can concentrate on other daily activities when things around me are in order and I know my kids do too. After the chores are done then we move onto school.  If there are any big cleaning jobs that did not get done or are extra chores we do those in the afternoon after the school work is finished.   


I also find that once my kids start working on their school work they really don’t like to stop and then go back to chores (they don’t like the break in concentration) so it is better all the way around for us if we just get them out of the way. 


Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday on the Homestead

 


Today is an exciting day!  This will be Jacobs first day of school.  He is eager to get going so is starting early.  Plus he has a little trip coming up next month and wanted to get a jump on the school year so he would not fall behind.  Last night we went over his school subjects, text books and DVD’s for this year and wrote up his first weeks assignments on our school schedule.  Since he is pretty independent in his school work I find making weekly school schedules for my kids a way of keeping them accountable. They turn in the completed schedule on Friday and we go over their finished work and prepare the next weeks schedule.   I will start Sierra and Isaac next month sometime.. after my curriculum arrives in the mail! I ordered it last week.   


After Jacob is off and running with his school work I (with the help of my children) need to run through the house and get it picked up and cleaned up.   Then it will be deciding how to use the next bunch of zucchini I picked yesterday.  One thing I have done a lot of lately is sautéing it in butter and olive oil with onions and garlic.. yum!   I want to get some zucchini bread made and maybe grate and freeze some for later on this winter.   


The weather is supposed to be warming up over the next few days and I am very happy to hear this.  I have tons of green tomatoes and they really need some heat and sun to ripen up.  I am also ready to pull out my green bean plants as they are done now and do some weeding.  We have had rain and unseasonably cool weather lately and my garden has burst forth with a fresh crop of weeds! LOL..   


Today we also need to go into our local town and pick up Sierra’s art work that she entered in the fair.  It was a black and white pencil drawing that one first place!  She was thrilled!  Her drawing skills are getting better and better as she gets older.  This pic was very detailed.  I will scan it and post it when we get it back. When her room is done she will be able to hang it on her wall.    


Dinner tonight will be..  something yummy..   Usually it is weekend leftovers..  but there were none left over..  so I will come up with some clever..    


Hope you all have a great Monday on your homesteads!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Making Pizza


I received a question from “anonymous” about making pizza after posting my weekly menu….


Crystal,
how much sauce do you put on the pizza. I am trying to make home made pizza with your dough recipe but I can not achieve what we buy at the store. I wonder what I am missing.
I just flat the dough, put 1 can of pizza sauce and 1 pound of mozzarella shredded.
What should I put?
thanks
 


I have never measured out how much sauce to use.  I just put on what looks right which I guess comes from experience in making pizza.  You may just have to try different amounts each time you make pizza until you reach your preference.   


I also do not use canned sauce, I make my own.  Occasionally I have purchased a can of pizza sauce from my food co-op but have never really cared for that as much as home made.  Here is the sauce I made for our pizza this last week.. 


3- 8oz cans tomato sauce
1- 6oz can tomato paste
1T Italian seasonings
1t minced garlic, heaping
1t salt
pinch or two of cane juice crystals (or sugar) - according to your own tastes


I heated this up on the stove on low until it was hot.   


This was enough to put on 3- 14” pizzas.   


For dough I used this recipe:  http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/wwpizzacrust.htm  


Lately I have been pre baking the crusts.  I roll out the dough, put it on the pizza pan and bake it (at the temp in the recipe) for about 6 min.  Then I pull it out and begin assembling the pizza.   


We have never made just a cheese pizza.  We always add lots to ours.  This last week our pizzas had: pepperoni, salami, olives, pineapple, onions, peppers and fresh tomatoes.  You can add whatever your family likes to your pizza. 


I few years ago I took a pictures of my kids and I making pizza so if you would like to see it being done in pics you can find that HERE.   


Hope that helped to answer your questions!! 


 


 


 


 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Zucchini Plant

 

I had a couple people ask me what the variety of zucchini squash I planted.  Here is a pic of some I just picked….


 


The variety is called “Bush Baby Squash” and I purchased the seeds from Territorial Seed Company.  Here is a direct link: http://www.territorialseed.com/product/9909/220


 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Updates from my Homestead


Rain!  I woke up to the sound of rain this morning.. not the “light showers” that were forecasted but ‘rain’…  oh well.. I guess the garden can use it and our springs around here could use the boost..  so I won’t complain..  too much..     


One challenge Tobin has this morning is getting drywall.. can’t do that while it is raining.  We are remodeling Sierra’s bedroom and he had some areas to drywall.  Yesterday he got them framed in and today’s plan was to hit Home Depot just as the opened to get what he needed, come home and keep working.   After he does all the drywall and such then Sierra and I will paint.  Then Tobin will lay carpet.  Sierra has picked lime green walls and purple carpet..  When she told me the color scheme she wanted everything in me said.. no, no, no..  haa.. haa..  but ever wise Dad said.. it is her room.. let her have it..  so lime green and purple it is.  I have no idea how we are going to match curtains and comforters.. but we will cross that little challenge when we get there!   


I have finished the green beans in my garden and now my zucchini are really growing.  I planted a mini zucchini that is ready to be picked at 6 inches.  I really like these little guys.  Something about dealing with HUGE zucchini’s just does not thrill me.  Those usually end up as goat food.  So I thought if I planted the small one it would be more manageable.  And so far it has.   


Tobin had quite the experience last week.  He was cutting wood on our property and cut down a tree and was chunking it up when he realized that there were a few yellow jackets circling him.  Then started getting stung and realized the tree he just cut down had a yellow jacket nest in it!  He made a mad dash for the house but not before he had been stung 12 times!!  Thankfully he is not allergic to bees and wasps!  He is now dealing with the itching part, which is no fun.   


This week is county fair week in our little town.  Sierra entered one of her drawings but that is all we did this year.  I remember years past where we entered tons of stuff.  I am happy for the break.  Tomorrow evening is the big talent show and my girls want to go and watch.  Hannah asked if I would watch Elizabeth so she could go with the girls..  of course I said.. YES!!  I have been to sooo many talent shows and told them that I would much rather play grandma than go another year!    So I get grandbaby time and they have some fun sister time.   


Monday night my best and dearest friend, Sarah, called me at about 11pm from a town that is about 30 minutes east of our home.  She had been with her sister in law who was having a baby and wondered if her and her kids (she had 5 of her 6 with her) could spend the night at my house so she would not have to drive the 2+ hour drive to her home.  I said, yea!!   They came and went right to bed. But yesterday we were able to spend several hours together and the kids got to visit and play.  It was a very nice break in the week.  


Today my plans are to take Jacob to the Department of Licensing so he can take the written test for his permit.  He wants to learn to drive.  Now I will have 2 kids to teach how to drive at the same time.. ugh..  this is NOT my favorite thing to do!!   


Then it will be grocery shopping and home.  My menu got jumbled around a bit so pizza and buffalo wings are the plan for dinner tonight.  When I get home I will get pizza stuff assembled and work on laundry and do some house keeping.  


That is all the updates from my homestead.. time to get moving this morning! 

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Week’s Menu:

   
Monday

Homemade pizza


Watermelon

Salad



 

Tuesday

BBQ burgers

Watermelon

Homemade peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream


 

 

Wednesday
Grilled chicken salad


Melon



 

Thursday

Pot roast

Baked potatoes

Green beans

Salad


 




Salad


 

Saturday


Chips & salsa

Salad


 

Sunday



Salad

 

 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Green Beans!



The kids and I just did the third picking of our green beans yesterday morning.  I only planted 1 ½ rows so was not expecting a huge amount.. but it was enough to have to stop and deal with!  J   I made a double batch of my 3 Bean Salad and canned it and Leanne helped to get the rest of the green beans blanched and in the freezer.   
 


Here is the recipe for the 3 Bean Salad: 


3 Bean Salad
Makes 6 qts.


 


6 cups green beans
6 cups cooked red beans
4 cups cooked garbonzo beans
2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced thin
2 large green peppers, seeded and sliced
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 t canning salt
5 cups water 


Wash green beans, snap off ends and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces.  Blanch and cool immediately.  Prepare and set aside all other veggies.   In a large stock pot, combine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and water.  Bring this to a boil and remove from heat.  Add the oil, and salt, mix well.  Add beans, onions, and green pepper to the mix and bring to a simmer.  Marinate for 12 to 14 hours in the refrigerator.  When marinateing is over, heat entire mixture to a boil.  Fill clean jars with the mixture.   Add any amount of the hot liquid necessary to bring the level of the jars to ½ inch from the top.  Put clean lids and rings on and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. 
 


Blanching Green Beans 



If I am not looking at huge amounts of green beans I find it easier to freeze them instead of canning.  Blanching is the process of putting veggies in boiling water for a certain amount of time and then putting them in ice water when the boiling time is up.  This stops enzyme growth which would otherwise make your veggies soft as they sat in the freezer.   


To blanch green beans you need to boil water and set a basket strainer in the water.  Add green beans and wait for the water to come to a boil again.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Pick up the strainer filled with beans out of the boiling water and dump into a sink full of ice water.  Swish them around until the cool down completely.  Put in zip type freezer bags, label and freeze.