Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crustless Chicken Pot Pie w/Cheesy Biscuit Topping

As promised I took pictures of my meal preparations yesterday. This is a fairly simple recipe to put together. I served it with a tossed green salad and watermelon.

Crustless Chicken Pot Pie w/Cheesy Biscuit Topping
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped green pepper (I used several mini peppers)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 ½ to 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces
4T olive oil
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 cups broth – this can be homemade chicken, beef or vegetable broth. If you don’t have homemade broth you can substitute 4 cups of water and 2 to 3 bouillon cubes.
2 cans green beans, drained or 1 quart home canned green beans, drained
1 recipe cheesy buttermilk biscuits (recipe follows)
1+ cups grated cheddar cheese

In a large frying pan over medium high heat sauté veggies and chicken in olive oil until veggies are soft and chicken is cooked.

Add the flour and stir.

Add broth all at once and stir to make sure there are no lumps in the flour.

Bring to a boil and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Add the green beans..

Pour this into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Set this aside and make cheesy biscuits...

Cut out biscuits and arrange them over the top of the chicken/gravy mixture.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top ...

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until top of casserole is lightly browned and biscuits are done.

Cheesy Buttermilk Biscuits
2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg
¾ cup buttermilk

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. With your clean hands, combine butter into flour mixture until crumbly like cornmeal. Stir in cheddar cheese. Blend egg and milk together. Add to flour/butter mixture. Mix until combined and knead until dough is soft and workable. Be cautious not to over-knead. On a lightly flour-dusted counter top, pat dough until it is approx ¾ to 1 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass dipped in flour, cut dough into circles and put on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Arrange on top of beef pot pie. If baking these by themselves, bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy!! :)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday on the Homestead

Today is going to mostly be a home-keeping and garden day. The house needs some attention. I have had some busy days and the house is showing it.. I will also need to run to the post office to get a few orders out. By late afternoon if we actually get to see some sunshine I may spend a little time relaxing by my pond.. we will see how the day goes!

My to-do list looks like this:

Load/unload dishwasher
Wipe down kitchen cupboards
Clean out fridge and wipe down
Laundry (about 3 loads)
Pick up clutter
Vacuum/Sweep/Mop floors
Weed garden
Make dinner

My menu got a little turned around this month so I do believe tonight’s dinner will be a crustless chicken pot pie with biscuit topping. This is a favorite of my family’s and I don’t think I have shared it .. so will take some pics to share soon.

My all time favorite days are the ones where I don’t have outside obligations and can simply focus on my home.. and thankfully this Wednesday is one of those days.

Hope you all have a great day on your homesteads!! 


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cooking with Brown Rice: BBQ Ham & Cornbread Casserole

This is another yummy recipe using brown rice. On Friday I baked a large bone-in ham and we had it for dinner on both Friday and Saturday. By today it was time to deal with what was left of it. I put the bone and juices and some of the meat in a zip type bag in the freezer to make soup later on. Then I chopped up the leftover meat and put some in the freezer and used some of it to make tonight’s dinner. This was a yummy meal and my family really enjoyed it. You can also buy a boneless ham and cut it into pieces to use in this recipe.

BBQ Ham & Cornbread Casserole

2 to 3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ½ cups cut up ham pieces
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup sliced olives
2 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ cups bbq sauce
1 cup water
1 recipe cornbread (you can find the recipe here: )

In a large frying pan heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add chopped onion and cook until onion is soft and transparent looking. Add ham, corn, olives, brown rice:

Now add bbq sauce. I wanted the recipe to fairly moist so I added 1 cup of water. If your bbq sauce is thick you will need the whole cup of water, if your sauce is thin you may need less. You want it moist, but not soupy.

Pour this mixture in a 9x13 pan (I sprayed mine with non stick spray). ..

Mix up one recipe of cornbread mix and spoon/pour this over the top..

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a knife inserted into the cornbread to make sure it has cooked all the way through.

I served this meal with a green salad and fresh strawberries…


Friday, July 22, 2011

Lessons from the Garden

After 2 days of rain the sun came back!! And so did the weeds in my garden! I spent hour and half in the garden weeding today. My son Isaac helped me as well, so together we made great progress and I think the weeds are under control (at least for right now :). 

You know I use to hate weeding with a passion, so much so that I rarely did it and my garden always ended up a jungle by the end of the season. Then one year I decided it was important to me have a well tended garden. My dad use to say, “Any job worth doing is worth doing right”… that may not be his original saying, but that is where I first heard it. So I took on a new attitude with weeding.. what good things come from it? For me this is the list.. I get some quiet time to think! Weeding is mundane work and it provides a great moment in my day to just think. I can also pray! I can be productive, have solitude doing this homemaking chore and spend a little time talking to the Lord. I am one who loves the sun and what a great time to enjoy it. Again I can be productive and soak up the rays and a little vitamin D while I am at it. Weeding and hoeing a garden my size takes a bit of physical strength. I do feel those muscles having been given a workout when I am done, so I get some exercise as well. Each time I spend an hour or two in the garden I always say when I am done, “Who needs a gym membership when you have a garden!”. 

During that time I also decided that doing anything in my home required me to do it well. That is also when I realized I had way too much on my plate. So I started downsizing and not taking on new projects. I had these goals… I wanted a home run well, I wanted a home that was neat and orderly (as much as is realistic with a house full of children), if I was going to have animals or gardens or any other project or diversion in my life than they needed my utmost attention. Well, I am not super woman by any means so I got rid of a lot of goats, I don’t have chickens any more either.. I currently buy my eggs from my friend/neighbor and am happy to contribute to her efforts. I also wanted to give more to my homeschooling. I have been homeschooling now for more than 20 years and it gets tiring.. but I realized .. I had to press on as I am not done yet! I wanted to make sure my hubby was getting the best of my efforts in his life as well. 

So I scaled down the farm animals, I did not start any new projects in my life, I made curriculum choices that worked better for me and gave me a little inspiration while still giving my children a good education, and I worked to keep my home in better shape. I figured when I had this all under control then I could take on more if I wanted. 

Jump forward a few years and I am still pretty much in the same place. I guess it taught me what my strengths are and what my limits are. I can now easily say yes or  (more importantly) NO to other things in life because I know I have found the equilibrium for my life that works. I also know my tendencies to take on too much and so I have to watch this all the time. The results of this so far are.. my house has not looked better in a long time, my goats are doing great, my garden not only looks pretty but provides us with a lot of food each year, my kids are doing well in their studies and staying focused (a focused mom = focused kids I have discovered), my hubby is happy (he was always happy but appreciates all my efforts over the last few years even more), and I am more content and less stressed. 

It all started with a garden and time taken to weed and think and pray and make better choices overall for my life and the life of my family!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday on the Homestead

As I was contemplating a variety of subjects to blog about this morning I thought to myself.. I should be blogging about summer related things, such as surviving a heat wave, cooking in the summer, staying cool type posts.. and honestly I wish could. However we here in the Pacific Northwest are still waiting for summer to arrive. Oh we’ve had a day here and there that was nice and gave the hope that summer was on its way. But many days have been just like yesterday. Cloudy, cool, rainy at times, highs in the mid to upper 60’s. Yep.. kind of depressing for someone who loves everything about summer.. the hotter the better (except humidity.. which is something we don’t deal with here.. hot AND humid is not that great). Anywho.. imagine my surprise when I woke up to sunshine this morning! The weather man told me different and he was wrong.. at least this time and I am thrilled that he was wrong! :)

So this morning I had to go outside and sit for a bit to enjoy my cup of coffee and thank the Lord for this blessing. I took a few pictures from my deck of the beautiful sunshine .. just in case it doesn’t hang around today I wanted to remember what it looks like!

Pretty.. :) One thing my garden does not show from this view is all the weeds that have cropped up in the last few rainy days. So my plans today, if the weather stays nice, is to go down and soak up as much sun as I can while I weed and tend to my garden.

Before I do that I plan to get my house picked up a bit. I did a thorough upstairs to basement cleaning on Monday so today is just pick up the clutter, do a little sweeping, tend to the kitchen and swipe the bathroom clean. Plus dinner preps. I looked at menu and saw today was supposed to be beef stew, but I am feeling more like bbq chicken and potato salad.. something more summer like!

Hope you are having a great day on your homestead today!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sourdough Pancakes

This month has been busy in my home and my sourdough starter was forgotten in the fridge. It had been a week or two since I had fed it and wondered if it had survived my harsh treatment. I took it out of the fridge and poured off a very thick and dark layer of hooch (the naturally occurring liquid that forms at the top of the starter. You can pour this off or stir it in. Since I had quite a bit of starter I decided to just pour it off). I fed my starter some flour and water and let it sit overnight. In the morning it smelled fermented and was bubbly. I was happy to see it was still alive! That day I made 2 loaves of sourdough banana bread and a batch of sourdough pancakes.

The banana bread recipe is here: 

The sourdough pancake recipe follows…

Sourdough Pancakes

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1T cane juice crystals or white sugar
1t salt
½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
2 eggs
3T olive oil
½ cup sourdough starter
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk

In a bowl combine the flour, cane juice crystals (or sugar), salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. In a small bowl combine the eggs and olive oil. Add egg/olive oil mix and sourdough starter to the flour mixture. Slowly add the 1 cup buttermilk. Depending on how thick or thin your starter is you may need all of the 1 cup or you may need less. So add about half the buttermilk and stir and slowly add what you need to give you a pancake batter consistency (should be thin enough to pour into pan, but not spread out too much).

Preheat a frying pan to medium heat. Sourdough pancakes take a little longer to cook so you don’t want your frying pan temp to be too high or they may burn before they have cooked. Put a little butter in your frying..

Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Let it cook until you see bubbles forming on the top.

Flip pancakes and cook on other side.

Serve with a bit of butter and real maple syrup or homemade syrup for a yummy breakfast!

After I was done baking I fed my starter again and put back in the fridge with a note on my fridge that reminded me of the date I need to feed it again (next week).

If you would like more information on how to make a sourdough starter you can find that here: 

You will also find other sourdough recipes on that page.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cooking with Brown Rice: Brown Rice Lasagna

Another brown rice recipe inspired by a family favorite recipe. We love lasagna and so I thought.. how about using brown rice instead of the pasta? It was delish!! My family really enjoyed it. Here is my recipe.

Brown Rice Lasagna

1lb hamburger
½ a large onion, chopped
1 jar spaghetti sauce (approx 28oz or 1 quart home canned sauce or the equivalent – about 4 cups- of homemade sauce)
16oz cottage cheese
1 egg
2t Italian seasonings
½ t salt
4 to 5 cups cooked brown rice (5 cups if you want to stretch the dish to feed more people)
3 to 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

In a frying pan cook hamburger and chopped onions until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are soft. Add spaghetti sauce, stir and let heat up then set aside.

In a bowl combine cottage cheese, egg and Italian seasonings and salt. Set this aside.

Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Spread half of cooked brown rice on the bottom of the casserole pan. Spread half the hamburger/spaghetti sauce over the rice. Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture next and then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Repeat layers once more. Bake casserole dish at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly and the cheese is well melted.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Updates from the Homestead

Wow.. July has been a super busy month on my homestead. It started with hubby & I celebrating our 27th anniversary.. which I already posted about. A few days later we had good friends that we have not seen in 10 years stop by to see and visit with us. It was soo great to see them and to see how their kids have grown! Why is it that your own kids can grow and mature but when you see your friends kids grown and matured it is so surprising?! :)  During all this time our niece Megan came to spend a week with us. She is Tobin’s sister’s oldest daughter. We LOVED her visit. She is a full of life 25 year old and it was great to have all that energy in our home. Leanne kept her busy with trips to town and meeting up with all the cousins. It has been 5 or maybe 6 years since she has been here to visit us. (in the pic below... Sierra, Leanne and my niece Megan)..

On Tuesday Tobin tuned 50! We had a big 5-0 birthday party for him. We bbq’ed salmon and I made potato salad, green salad, watermelon was served  strawberry's with a homemade angel food cake.. it was a great time..

This morning we put Megan on a flight back to Chicago.. and I came home and cleaned house, made bread and dinner and worked on getting life back into our normal hum.. :)

My garden has been slightly neglected during all this activity so tomorrow I plan to get out there and do the weeding. Tobin has been working on getting the winter wood in and is almost done! We need about 6 cords of wood to make it through the winter and we are almost there thanks to a couple of very big trees that came down during this last winter.

That is all the updates from the homestead for now..  :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cooking with Brown Rice: Beef & Rice Chile Relleno Casserole

The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favorite casserole recipes, chile relleno casserole. I added rice and hamburger to it and it was really good! My family enjoyed it very much. I served refried beans and a salad with it.

Beef & Rice Chile Relleno Casserole

1 lb hamburger
½ onion, chopped
2 – 7oz cans chopped green chilies
5 cups cooked brown rice
3 to 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
2T whole wheat flour
4 eggs
½ t salt

In a large frying pan cook hamburger and onion until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add the chopped green chilies and brown rice. Stir to combine ingredients. Spoon hamburger rice mixture into a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top.

In a bowl combine with a wire whip the milk, flour, eggs & salt. Pour this mixture over the casserole. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

Enjoy!! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

27 Years!

On July 1st Tobin and I celebrated 27 years of marriage!  We have known each other for 31 years.  I was 16 and he was 18 when we met.  Life with my husband has been a wonderful journey.  With any journey there are ups and downs and smooth sailing and bumpy waters.  I don’t think anyone has a perfect marriage..  but marriage is not about perfection.  It is about growing, learning, loving, sharing and staying connected.   And we certainly have enjoyed the process..  :)

I love my hubby and it has been a great 27 years!  I thank God for His blessings in our lives..

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July Menu

Better late than never!!  :)  My menu for July!!  If you would like a calendar to write down your meals for the month you can find that here:  I post a new calendar every month! 

1st – organic chicken sausage w/onions, peppers, mushrooms and pasta, salad
2nd – leftovers
3rd – Italian rice casserole (recipe coming soon), salad
4th – bbq chicken, potato salad, sourdough French bread, deviled eggs, salad
5th split pea soup, pepperoni bread, salad
6th – leftovers
7th crockpot chili, cornbread, salad
8th homemade pizza, watermelon
9th - Chicken Cacciatore, French bread, salad
10th – leftovers
11thyummy pinto beans, dinner rolls, salad
12th – bbq salmon, potato salad,french bread, watermelon, salad, homemade ice cream & angel food cake with strawberries(hubby’s bday )
13thhoney glazed chicken legs, potato salad, salad
14th – leftovers
15th – crockpot meatloaf, brown rice florentine, salad
16thbaked ham, macaroni salad, fabulous baked beans, fresh fruit, salad
17th navy bean and ham soup, dinner rolls, salad
18th – leftovers
19th – beef & rice chile relleno casserole (recipe coming soon), refried beans, salad
20thcrockpot beef stew, sourdough biscuits, salad
21st spaghetti, French bread, salad
22nd – leftovers
23rd – crustless chicken pot pie w/biscuit top, salad
24thcheesy ham casserole, cornbread, salad
25th – sub sandwiches, fresh fruit salad
26th – leftovers
27th – Chinese chicken fried rice, egg rolls, fresh fruit, salad
28thquick beef stroganoff over brown rice, salad
29thwhite bean chicken chili, chips & salsa, salad
30th – leftovers
31stranch house chicken casserole, chips & salsa, salad

Friday, July 1, 2011

Laundry Soap Kits Are Back in Stock!!

A couple of months ago I ran out of laundry soap and laundry soap kits. Life has been crazy busy for me this year and soap making went to the end of list as I reorganized my homemaking and daily life. But the month of June was a soap making month for me. I am slowly getting back on track once again. In the meantime I have had tons and tons of emails asking me when I would have my laundry soap and kits back in stock. I am very happy to say that they're finally back in stock!!

If you are interested in purchasing the laundry soap or the soap making kits you can find ordering information here: 

Printable order form (if you don’t have PayPal) is here: 

FYI – I have also gotten tons of emails on Shampoo Bars… and I have made them. They are currently curing and will be back in stock in a week or two.. I will post here on my blog when they are ready for sale..