Monday, October 31, 2011

Proverbs 31: 26


Proverbs 31: 26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness”

According to the Free Online Dictionary wisdom means: The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.



Wisdom comes from our relationship with God and the study of His Word. It comes from time and experience living a godly life. I find it interesting to note that this is the only verse in this section on the Proverbs 31 woman that is directed at how she speaks to others. The other verses are about what she does in her life as a godly woman. I think there is a connection between doing and working the tasks of our daily life the Lord has called us to and the wisdom this produces in us.

I think of all the foolish things I have said over the years and how I have had to learn, sometimes the hard way, the wise thing to say in my communications. I’m still a work in progress. What comes out of our mouths is a reflection of our heart .. "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" Matthew 12:34. Our relationship with God is what changes the heart.



Can you really ever go wrong by being kind to others? The word law (again, according to the Free Online Dictionary) is: A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. And our authority (and example) is the Lord… Isaiah 54:8 … But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, Says the Lord, your Redeemer and Psalm 36:10 Oh, continue Your lovingkindess to those who know You.



My desire is to continue to have a heart for the Lord and to grow in wisdom each day as I serve and bless my family, to learn more and more what it means to be kind. To speak wisely and kindly to my family and those around me and show them the love of Jesus.
 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Updates from the Homestead

Well.. Thanksgiving is just one month away! So today my daughters and I got together to plan this years dinner. Wow, is all I can say about having grown daughters.. I love it!! Looks like I won’t be doing all the work to make it happen.. LOL.. so we planned the menu; everyone has their favorite dishes.. then we planned who would be making what.. then it was table settings, center pieces and so on..

Besides planning our Thanksgiving dinner we also celebrated Hannah’s birthday. She turned 23 yesterday. She is a super lady. She was my first homebirth so that is very memorable. Today Hannah is an awesome mommy to two lovely young ladies (Elizabeth is 3 and Rylee is 5 months) and she is a homemaker and just loves it. I am very proud of her!! :)

Some pics of our little planning/birthday party..


Hannah & Emily






Little Miss Rylee..





It is not to early to start thinking about planning Thanksgiving Dinner if you are hosting. I have a webpage that has info on getting organized in this planning process.. http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/thanksgivingplanner.htm 




 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beef & Veggie Meatloaf

This meatloaf recipe is a great way to add some extra vegetables to your meal. The meatloaf comes out super moist and delicious. My family enjoys it very much. I have even used the same recipe and made them into meatballs. I served buttered spinach fettuccine noodles and a salad with this meal. The recipe below makes 2 meatloaves. If that is more than you need you can cut the recipe in half or freeze one for another meal.


Beef & Veggie Meatloaf

2 ½ to 3lbs hamburger
1 onion
3 medium to large mushrooms
1 large carrot, peeled
2 eggs
2t minced garlic
1t salt
1t pepper
½ t seasoning salt


Put hamburger in a large mixing bowl. Now take the onion, mushrooms and carrot and puree them in your food processor. Add them to the hamburger in the bowl…




Now add the eggs and spices…




Using your hands mix everything until well combined…




Divide between two loaf pans..




Optionally, if you would like you can drizzle a little bbq sauce over the top before baking…





Bake at 350 for about 1 hour. There will be more juices than you would have normally for meatloaf. I carefully pour them off before serving. ..




Enjoy!! :)
 

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Favorite Website

Are you an avid reader? I am! And while I love the library it is not always convenient for me to get there. So I have purchased a lot of books online over the years. I typically purchase them used through Amazon.com. I had quite a large collection of books accumulating when I came across a great site! It is called Paperback Swap. I have been using Paperback Swap now for about a year or so and love it!

The basic idea behind it is that you create an account with them, list the books that you would like to give away. Then when another member requests one of your books you mail it to them, with no shipping charge to the person who requested it (you pay media mail shipping rate and can even print out the shipping wrapper w/postage on their site) . This will give you one credit. 


Now with your credit you can request a book from another member, they pay the shipping to send the book to you. You will get two credits for joining the site to begin with so you can request a book right away to get a feel for it. You will want to start your book list right away (entering in the books you have to give away) so other members can begin to request books from you. It is really easy to use and the site is big with a huge amount of books available to choose from.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Putting the Garden to Bed

We had a nice string of dry days and it allowed my garden to be dry enough to rototill. My son Jacob came and spent a few days with us and while he was here he helped me (along with Isaac & Sierra) get the garden cleaned up and ready for winter.  It took the 4 of us 3 hours to get it all done.

I left my cabbage plants and a few pumpkins. Not sure if either will produce much, but we’ll see. I also left my cosmos flowers because they are in full bloom and looking so pretty.


The goats got the corn stalks and were quite happy about it!! The rest went to the compost pile.


Here are some pics from yesterday’s garden clean up…










 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Soap Scents!

I have my country store stocked with my favorite and popular fall goat milk soap scents!! 
 


Brown Sugar & Spice is a combination scent of brown sugar with a hint of spice and vanilla


Oak Leaves & Acorns is a great combo of rustic pine, wild violets and fall leaves!


I love these two scents and look forward to them each year at this time!!


Check them at Crystal’s Country Store



 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Recipes!



One thing I do love about fall is pumpkin!! , I love to light pumpkin scented candles, use pumpkin spice soap and of course I like to bake and cook with it! I wanted to share a few recipes I have made recently.

The first is pumpkin muffins. The other night I made a big pot of chili and thought having some pumpkin muffins to go with the chili sounded yummy. So I made 2 dozen of these muffins and my family said they were delish and went great with the chili. 


Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1t baking soda
½ t salt
1t cinnamon
½ t ginger
¼ t cloves
1/8t nutmeg
¾ cup dark brown sugar or sucanat
3T molasses
¼ c olive oil
2 eggs
1 c pureed pumpkin
¾ c soured milk or buttermilk

In a small bowl combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and brown sugar or sucanat. Set aside. In a mixer bowl combine remaining ingredients. Mix until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix until all ingredients are just combined.

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup fill each muffin tin. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.



I love coffee and years ago I use to buy those flavored coffee creamers. When I became more health conscious I realized these had to go. But sometimes I really miss them. So, instead of giving in and buying them I decided I could come up with a flavored coffee creamer that was healthier and tasted better! A couple of years ago I came up with what is now our fall favorite, must have, coffee creamer… Pumpkin Spice. 



Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer
1 cup half-n-half
½ cup cane juice crystals (can use white sugar instead)
3T canned pumpkin
½ t vanilla
½ t cinnamon
¼ t ginger
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t cloves

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat until cane juice crystals dissolved and ingredients are well combined. Enjoy in a hot cup of coffee. Store in refrigerator. 



My good friend Erica posted this recipe on her blog ( http://www.thesierramama.com/2011/10/paleo-pumpkin-smoothie-recipe.htm  )
and let me tell you, it is fantastic. And it is an easy treat or breakfast to make. I made it yesterday and my daughter’s and I enjoyed it for breakfast..

Pumpkin Smoothie (makes 3-4 smoothies)
Recipe by Erica
 
2 cups vanilla coconut milk (I use the So Delicious brand)
3 dates, pitted
2 frozen bananas (you can use one banana and add ice if you like to get it to the right consistency)
1/2 cup organic pumpkin (I used the Farmers Market brand today but I have pureed pumpkin in the freezer that I will use too)
dash of cinnamon (it was probably about 1/4 tsp)
dash of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)

Blend and enjoy!

Stop by and visit Erica’s blog!! http://www.thesierramama.com/ 

 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Updates from the Homestead & Fall Cooking

I’ve spent the last few days dealing with some website issues. I needed to move my website to a new server. It was supposed to be a simple thing. But without going into a lot of boring detail.. it was not! But I do have it up and running again. Yea!! ~smile~ Now maybe I can get back to semi normal around here.

The days are getting shorter and cooler in my part of the world! I’ve had a fire going off and on. Yesterday was a beautiful fall day, sunny and mild. Rain is in the forecast for today and the next few days. With my attention being diverted to my website I am off my menu plan. So today I did something simple and made a pot of hamburger veggie soup. It was another “off the cuff” recipe. I also made a couple dozen carrot muffins for my family to enjoy with the soup.

My house has also suffered this weekend. So this afternoon I am working to restore some order and plan for the upcoming week. One item on my list for this week will be making another large pot of veggie stock. With all the soups I’ve made in the last couple of weeks I am almost out of stock. I like making veggie stock( http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/ttbveggiebroth.htm ) the most because it is simple to make and does not take as much simmering time as beef or chicken stock.

Now for the recipes from today’s cooking..


Hamburger Veggie Soup
8 cups stock (or water and bullion cubes), it can any type of stock: beef, chicken or veggie
4 cups thinly sliced carrots (I used my food processor to slice them)
about ½ a cabbage, chopped (I also sliced it in my food processor)
2lbs hamburger
1 onion, chopped
2 t. minced garlic
2 or 3 large mushrooms, sliced
1 quart (or 2 cans) green beans, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1T chili powder
1t cumin
1T brown sugar or Sucanat

Put stock and carrots into a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Add cabbage and cook for another 5 to so minutes to cook cabbage.

While the stock and veggies are cooking fry hamburger, onions, garlic and mushrooms in a large frying pan. When the veggies are done cooking add the cooked hamburger to the soup pot.

Add remaining ingredients, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt & pepper to your liking.
 

Carrot Muffins (makes 24 muffins)
2 eggs
1 ½ c orange juice
1 c butter, melted
1c cane juice crystals or white sugar
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2t baking powder
1t baking soda
1t salt
2t cinnamon
4c shredded carrots

In a mixer combine eggs, orange juice and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Add cane juice crystals (or sugar), and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add carrots and mix in.

Grease muffin pans with non-stick spray. Spoon about ¼ cup batter into each muffin tin. Bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes.
 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soup for Fall Days!!




Since the weather started cooling down here in the Pacific Northwest I’ve started making more soup.  It started one day due to needing to use up some food in my fridge.  So it was just off the cuff so to speak.  I made potato sausage cheese chowder.  My family went nuts over it.  I wish I had a proper recipe to give you but I can give you the basics of what I did. 

I measured out 4lbs potatoes.  I peeled them and chopped them into bite size pieces.  Put them in my soup pot and covered with water.   I cooked them until they were fork tender.  I drained off most of the water.  While they cooked I chopped up one onion and cooked this in my cast iron frying pan with about 1lb of sausage (Jimmy Dean).   After the potatoes were drained I added the sausage/onion mixture and 2 cups of frozen corn and about 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese.   Then I added enough milk to make it the right soup consistency.  Then added a couple tablespoons of butter.  Heated this up until the cheese melted and the soup was hot (tasted it and added salt & pepper until it tasted right to me).  I served it with zucchini muffins and a salad. 

 A couple days later I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner and it was another cool rainy day and thought about soup again.  This time I cooked up 2 cups black beans in 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt.  I let this cook for about 2 ½ hours.  While the beans were cooking I chopped up an onion, a green pepper, a stalk of celery, a few mushrooms and some hot links (similar to kielbasa but spicy).  I sautéed this until veggies were soft.  When the beans were done cooking I added the veggie mixture and a can of diced tomatoes and 4 cups of veggie stock from the freezer.  For seasoning I added about 1t cumin and a little brown sugar (or you can use Sucanat).   I served this with the leftover zucchini muffins.   

I have a couple more to share in my next blog post.. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Menu

Fall had arrived and so has the cool weather and so this month’s menu has a few more soup recipes in it. Nothing like soup and homemade bread on a cool fall day.
  
Due to some technical difficulties which I am dealing with my menu calendar is not posted on my main site but you can find it here: http://crystalscountrystore.com/MenuOct2011.pdf   

1st – bean, sausage & veggie soup, zucchini muffins
2nd – leftover soup and muffins
3rd – creamy chicken & veggie soup, cornbread, salad
4th beef stew, dinner rolls, salad
5th – tuna or salmon patties, garlic roasted potatoes, salad
6th – leftovers
7th – baked chicken, brown rice pilaf, salad
8th sausage potato chowder, dinner rolls, salad
9th black bean chicken chili, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
10th – leftovers
11th – homemade pizza, salad
12th beef & rice chile relleno casserole, refried beans, salad
13th – beef & veggie soup, cornbread, salad
14th – leftovers
15th chicken pot pie w/cheesy biscuit topping, salad
16th baked ham, mashed potatoes, salad
17th bbq ham & cornbread casserole, salad
18th – leftovers
19th lasagna, French bread, salad
20th chicken noodle soup, muffins, salad
21st crockpot potato, ham & cheese, salad
22nd – leftovers
23rd lentil chili, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
24th – spaghetti, French bread, salad
25th – meatloaf, garlic roasted potatoes, salad
26th – leftovers
27th – pumpkin soup (w/sausage), biscuits, salad
28th tuna noodle casserole, salad
29th – tacos w/all the trimmings