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Showing posts from March, 2011

April Menu

It’s that time again!  Time for the monthly menu.   Here is the list of meals I plan on making for my family this month.  If you would like a monthly calendar for April to write your own menus on you can find it here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/menuplanningcalendars.htm

1st – beef & bean burritos, salad
2nd – beef pot pie (no crust) w/cheesy biscuit topping, salad
3rd – beef chili, cornbread, salad
4th – chicken chow mien, egg rolls, salad
5th – homemade pizza, salad
6th – tuna patties, garlic roasted potatoes, salad
7th – spaghetti, French bread, salad
8th – garlic parmesan chicken legs, buttered noodles, salads
9th – leftovers
10th – Italian pinto beans, dinner rolls, salad
11th – leftovers
12th – easy crockpot beef stew, dinner rolls, salad
13th – potato sausage chowder, dinner rolls, salad
14th – leftovers
15th – cream cheese chicken enchiladas, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
16th – yummy pinto beans, biscuits, salad
17th – split pea soup, pepperoni br…

More Updates from the Homestead..

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Well there are many other things going on around our homestead lately. Funny how quickly life can change.. Last November my daughter Emily left to go to Denmark to be an au pair for a year. She has been there now for almost 5 months. She enjoys her work as an au pair and has a super nice host family and she is happy.. a bit homesick, but happy and not ready to come home yet. Since being in Denmark she has met a few other au pairs and she has enjoyed that quite a bit. She has also been able to do some traveling. She has been to Budapest, Paris, and this last weekend she went to Hamburg.. she stayed with another au pair that she had hosted a few weekends ago. There is quite a community among au pairs! :) But she is dying for some connection with home. So this weekend Leanne made reservations to go and see Emily next month. My daughters Emily and Leanne are SUPER close they are best friends for life.. they relate and connect with each other and honestly I think Emily probabl…

Updates from the Homestead

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Life has been busy the last week or so. Hard for me to believe but my baby boy turned 13! Now it is official, all my children are in their teens and 20’s.. strange feeling! Isaac had a sleep over with a few of his friends; they played games, xbox, and ate junk food. Everyone seemed to have a good time. The next day we had a party for him with pizza and cupcakes for dessert.








I am so ready for some spring like weather. I am happy to see that spring will be here this weekend.. now for the spring like weather to match!  The weather man said normally for March the city gets 3.71 inches of rain for the entire month. As of yesterday 4.75 inches had fallen! Where we live we get even more rain than the city (city gets 30 to 35 inches a year.. we get 75 to 100 inches), so I am sure we have had even more rain fall.. and it feels like it .. wet and gray and muddy.. On the bright side.. my garden seeds arrived in the mail today. I can’t wait to get my tomato seeds started! I guess that…

Super Easy Italian Tortellini Soup

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I have made this recipe a few times now and each time my family just loves it.  It is so easy I almost feel guilty.. LOL.. well not really ;) 
I buy cheese filled tortellini noodles from Costco.  I am sure they are sold in other grocery stores too.  But they are a little over $4 a bag at Costco and that is enough to make this recipe at least 3 to 4 times.  Other than the noodles you will need 1 pound of hamburger, 4 cups of beef broth(veggie broth will work too and if you don’t have a stash of broth in the freezer this recipe is a good reason to start!  But you can also buy it in a can, although not as healthy or you can sub 4 cups of water and a couple bouillon cubes), a tablespoon of Italian seasonings, and a jar of spaghetti sauce (I used one of my home canned quarts of spaghetti sauce, but you can also buy a jar at the store or make your own)… 
Start by cooking up your hamburger in a soup pot….
While this is cooking you need to get some water boiling to cook up the torte…

Making it S-T-R-E-T-C-H …. (Part 3 :)

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Day #3
Potato Beef Hash is on the menu today!! 
Another flexible meal for the number of people you are serving.   I was serving 5 today and I used 3lbs of potatoes.  You can use more or less depending on what you need.  I typically figure about ½ lb of potatoes for each person.
The ingredients for this recipe are simple…  Potatoes, 2 cups leftover beef roast, 1 onion, salt and pepper.   Begin by scrubbing and cleaning and cutting up your potatoes and your onion (so they fit in your food processor)..
then using a food processor grate your potatoes.  While you are grating your potatoes also grate up your onion with them..
Put this into a large bowl and add your meat and salt and pepper and stir it up…

Heat a large frying pan or griddle to medium high.  When it is hot coat it with s olive oil.. 
Spread out a layer of the potato/meat mixture and let it cook until it is nicely browned..
I put a lid on it and cook it for about 5 minutes…
Then I turn it over and continue cooking it for…

Making it S-T-R-E-T-C-H …. (Part 2 :)

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Day #2 
Today will make Chinese Beef and Broccoli w/ Noodles from our roast beef..
Chinese Beef and Broccoli w/Noodles 2T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (I bought mini peppers in a pkg that had various colors of peppers)
1 cup sliced celery
16oz of fresh broccoli (or a 16 oz pkg of frozen), cooked and drained
3  cups diced cooked roast beef
2T rice vinegar
2T soy sauce
1T fish sauce (found in Asian grocery stores or Asian section of your grocery store, if you can’t locate it or don’t have it you can skip it.. it adds a nice flavor but is not mandatory)
1 cup  water
1t red pepper flakes (use less or omit depending on how spicy you like your food)
8 to 10oz spaghetti noodles (I use whole wheat noodles), cooked and drained. 
In a large frying pan heat olive oil.  Add onion, peppers and celery and cook until the veggies are soft.  When the veggies are cooked add the broccoli and roast beef, stir to combine and heat up.  Add the remaining ingredients excep…

Making it S-T-R-E-T-C-H …. (Part 1 .. again :)

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Another pot roast!  Here is another installment of stretching a pot roast.   This time I baked the pot roast and made 3 different meals with the meat.  We did not have a pot roast dinner with it (as in pot roast, potatoes, gravy, etc..).  I started with a 3 1/3 pound boneless pot roast.   I baked it in the oven.  You can also do it in the crockpot.  I actually think that would have been easier.  Put the pot roast in the crockpot on low in the evening before you need it.  Let it cook all night and then in the morning cut it up and see how much meat you have to work with.  I ended up with 7 cups of beef (which is about what you will need for the following recipes).   If you get a roast that is not boneless, you will need a bigger size than what I had.  
These are the 3 meals I made with my 7 cups of beef…
Italian Beef and Bean Soup
Chinese Beef and Broccoli
Beef and Potato Hash


Day #1 For my first meal, Italian Beef and Bean Soup you will need to cook up some beans.  Or take the…

Making Salad

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After posting my monthly menu for the last few months I have gotten several emails asking me about my salads. I serve a green salad with my meals almost every night. I think fresh veggies are the best. I like to serve my family salad nearly every night because it is a great way to get a variety of fresh vegetables in their diet and it is easy! I do a lot of cooking and have learned ways to stream line some things and salad is one of those things.

I make a large salad every few days. I have found that if you don’t add vegetables to the salad that perish quickly your salad will last 2 or 3 days in fridge with no problem. So I have salad “system” if you will.. I use romaine lettuce (hearts of romaine), spinach and carrots to make the basis of all my salads.




I begin by chopping up romaine hearts and putting them in the salad bowl…




Then I add baby spinach…




Then I grate up carrots in my food processor and add them…


I mix this up and then cut up any other veggies I want and put th…

Monday on the Homestead

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Monday’s can be a rough day generally.. but for the most part I LOVE Monday’s!  I love getting back into the groove of life again.  Gearing up for a new week has always been exciting.. maybe it is me and my weird sense of things or maybe it is just my attitude..  I will admit that Monday is my hubby’s first day of his weekend so it is something to look forward to, but mostly for me Monday means the start of a new school week with my kids, a new week to tackle the house keeping and keep the wheels at home turning as smoothly as possible and the ability to plot and plan what type of things to accomplish above and beyond keeping the kids educated and the house clean.  

Today my plan is to get my children up in a bit and with their help we will tackle Monday’s Cleaning List (I print out my daily chore lists each Monday so that as we do the chores we can cross them off the list).  When we all work together we get it done pretty quickly.   I already know what is for dinner and …

Dealing with Toys

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My two youngest children are 15 and almost 13, so really we are way out of the toy scene nowadays. But I was reminded about this a few weeks ago when I had my grandson here for a few days. I got out just one big Rubbermaid tote of blocks, wooden train tracks and Duplo Lego’s. And my living room was a disaster in no time at all.. LOL.. My thoughts, “Aw yes, I remember these days well”.

I was also reminded of this when I went to a friend’s house. She has twin boys, with lots of loving and adoring aunts who lavishly spend on the boys. This equals a house FULL of toys and stuffed animals and a constant issue in how to keep it all organized and some sense of order in the home.

I have this philosophy that I have developed after having 8 children and that is, “less is best”. Nothing like too many toys to make a child very confused. If the mess of toys seems overwhelming or confusing to me, you can bet it is even more so for the child.

Here are some of the ways I have dealt with…