Thursday, September 9, 2010

Updates from the Homestead

It has been a few days since I updated my blog. I have been swamped with online time. I opened up membership on my message board for one week. I got 115 new members! That is a lot of new faces to get to know! I hope to open it again in a few months, but for now that is all the overload my moderators and I could handle! :)

Between approving new members and dealing with life at home I managed to do so freezer cooking. I spent a few days this last week stocking the freezer. I was pretty much completely out of my typical freezer stash. I can’t say enough how convenient it is to have meal starters in my freezer. I love the ease of putting together a meal on a busy day when I have food ready to go in my freezer to create a big variety of meals. I tend to like meal starters better than whole meals in the freezer as there is so much more flexibility. A meal starter is a part of a meal that is already cooked and ready to go. I wrote a whole ebook on this very thing. You can see more about that here: http://crystalscountrystore.com/freezercookingebook.htm  . I also put a couple of meals in my freezer that were already to go.

So here is what I have in my freezer so far…


6 qt’s hamburger mix
3 qt’s ham mix (remember the ham sandwich post? Well this was what I did with the rest of that ham :)
9 qt’s bean mix
2 qt bags cooked brown rice
32 cups of veggie stock – I had a gallon size bag of veggie scraps in the freezer plus I had some sad looking carrots in the crisper to use up. I also found about ½ cup peas and about the same amount of broccoli in the freezer that I tossed in. I added a couple overgrown summer squash from my garden to the mix as well.
3 qt’s cooked chopped chicken meat
5 bags of chopped cooked chicken for hubby’s sandwiches for work
4qt’s chicken broth from the bones of the two chickens I cooked
3 qt’s of hamburger potato chowder (made a double batch so I would have some for the freezer)
5qt’s chili (made a major big batch so I could put some in the freezer)

I still want to add a few more items.. but first I need to go and organize my freezer better so all my packages of food are easy to find! :)

My son finally officially finished drivers ed! He just today took his final drive and passed! I am relieved to have that over with. Now for a little more driving practice to get a few things clear and then he can make an appointment with the DOL for his final test and get his license. Then I get a break. It will be over a year before Sierra is ready to get her permit.. I am looking forward to the break! Teaching two kids to drive in one year is enough for this mom!!

The weather here has turned cool and cloudy and rainy. My corn is not ready to pick yet and only a few of my tomatoes are just now turning red. I am praying that the veggies ripen up before fall officially begins. However my pumpkins are doing fantastic and I still think I should have a nice windfall of cabbage!

Speaking of fall, I have to say I am really sad to see summer coming to an end.. :( .. I am a summer loving girl all the way. I love the heat, the long days, the warm evenings. I love not having to start a fire each day and deal with the months and months of seemingly never ending rain. So I embrace fall with a bit of sadness. There is a lot of things I love about fall.. the leaves turning color (which in my part of the country is truly beautiful!!), pots of tea, baking, anything pumpkin from candles to soap to muffins! LOL.. but there is also a little bit of bittersweet that comes with it. It means that winter is not far away, and that is the one season I truly could do without. I tell my husband that someday we need to retire somewhere warm!!! :)

I will leave you with a new recipe. I made this today. I wanted something new and different and this is what I came up with. I did not get a picture because, well, the family dived into the meal and pretty much ate it all up with rave reviews.. so it is definitely a tried and true meal!

Italian Chicken Casserole
2T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups cooked chopped chicken
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ t minced garlic

1T Italian spices
½ t salt
1 cup milk
3oz. cream cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
8oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained

In a large frying pan heat olive oil until medium hot. Add onions and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the cooked chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices and milk. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the cream cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the cooked spaghetti noodles and gently stir.

Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Spoon chicken noodle mixture into pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese on the top has melted.

Serve with French bread and a large green salad.

NOTE: If you have my Freezer Cooking with Meal Starters ebook this would be an excellent addition! Use one bag of chicken mix for the chopped cooked chicken called for in the recipe.

That is all from the Homestead today!! :)

 

9 comments:

  1. mmm, as always, excellent blog post! :D I'm sorry your summer is coming to a close. Maybe we'll be surprised with beautiful weather over the weekend! I am looking forward to Fall.. but partially it's pulling out those ol' winter clothes. :P

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  2. Crystal, thanks for the tip for the overgrown squash. I'm gong to get serious about vegetable stock next summer. Sounds like your veggie season is longer than ours this year. All we have going now are some tomatoes. The fall garden is a disaster. We don't know what happened this year. Most everything just quit a week or two ago. Strange.
    Blessings, Liz

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  3. Crystal,

    I am up north from you near "sunny" Seattle.:) I have found..through the years..taking a vitamin D supplement really helps my mood in the winter. I buy a big bottle at Costco and make sure I take 2000 or 3000 IU's every day or other day. Last year was the first year I did this and couldn't believe how much better I felt. I am getting ready to get back on the regiment again. I figured it doesn't hurt to try it.
    Tracy

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  4. Sorry Crystal...I meant to say that I have had trouble through the years and just started Vit D last year.
    Tracy

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  5. Okay...I don't normally drool over freezer contents...but wow, you really know how to pack it full. I was amazed at all the yummy goodies you have at the ready for quick meals!!! Is that something that a two-person household can copy, too? I'm trying to convince my dad to go more that direction, especially now that we're working again...at least till December. We don't always like cooking after a long day.

    You've got lots of exciting things going on and I really enjoy reading your blog!!!! Oh, I LOVE pumpkin and pumpkin soap? ...never heard of that till now. Please post a photo when you make a batch of pumpkin soap :) :)

    Congrats on your son finished Driver's Ed. I hope he passes the big test!!! That will be great and then you'll have a nice break for awhile :)

    It's turning colder here in Oregon...lots more rain coming this way. We have a heater, so that's a good thing. However our apartment is two stories...Bedrooms on the second floor, everything else on the ground floor. So heating the upstairs is a real challenge!!!

    Anyway, have a great weekend!!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

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  6. Tracy, thank you for the vit D tip! I may just have to try this. I have heard a lot of good things about vit D.. worth some research! :)

    Heather.. I would think a two person household would greatly benefit from having food ready to go in the freezer. You could freeze smaller portions than what I do, so there is enough for a meal for two of you. And pumpkin soap.. I have been making and selling it for some time now.. it is one of my favorite scents. I love to bring it out in the fall. I need to make soap for my family's use and was thinking it was time for some pumpkin! I will post a pic when I get it made!! :)

    Crystal :)

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  7. I'll bet you do enjoy summer where you live. It is absolutely miserable here in Georgia. The humidity makes the heat index in the triple digits. I used to love summer but the older I get, the hotter it feels and the more I am ready for fall. Enjoy the rest of your summer at your beautiful home and pond! :)

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  8. Thank you for the recipe, it sounds really good. I needed a meal for Sunday dinner before church. And I have a whole chicken thawing now to boil later. Do you think medium cheddar will work as a substitute for the mozzarella cheese?

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  9. Medium cheddar will be just fine.. :)

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