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This Week’s Menu

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We had a lovely Christmas with our family. It was fun and memorable in so many ways. Here was a group shot of everyone on Christmas Eve …
I’m a few days behind on posting my menu due to the holiday celebration. I posted my Christmas Eve dinner in my last post and we ate the leftovers on Christmas Day and had enough food and goodies for more family that came on Wednesday. So today brings a new menu to cover the next few days…

Thursday
Tacos w/all the trimmings, chips & salsa

Friday
Turkey veggie soup, crackers, salad

Saturday
White bean chicken chili, garlic cheese biscuits, salad

Sunday
Leftovers


T’was the Week Before Christmas..

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… or should I say the day before the day before Christmas.. ha, ha.. wow this week is flying by and has been busy (the reason for my lack of blogging).. We also had a little unexpected snow storm.. wreaked some havoc for a bit but did make things look so pretty…


As for Christmas preps… I have made food ahead of time and it is in the freezer, lots of gifts have been wrapped but still I have more to wrap. With as many family members as I have it still equals a lot to assemble and wrap! My daughter Sierra has been so much help this year! She loves to wrap gifts and so she has helped me to get much done.


I’ve been cooking and baking too. Here is my Christmas Eve menu:

Ham
Lasagna
BBQ meatballs
Coleslaw
Brussel sprout salad
Spinach salad
Potato Casserole
Dinner rolls
Cookies for dessert

So far I’ve made Cranberry Bliss Bars (using this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-bliss-bars-starbucks-copycat-203229 )

I also have my lasagna and meatballs all made and all of the…

This Week’s Menu

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I know I’ve been absent in blogging this last week. Life has been busy for me with holiday preps. But we must eat! So here is my menu for the week.

Monday
Chicken & gravy (I’ll be using my canned chicken for this) over brown rice, cooked carrots, green salad

Tuesday
Beef stew (my home canned), dinner rolls, salad

Wednesday
Korean pork (I’ll be sharing this recipe soon), egg rolls, brown rice, salad

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Spaghetti (using my home canned sauce), french bread, salad

Saturday
Chicken & bacon crockpot chowder (another recipe I'll share if it turns out good), dinner rolls, salad

Sunday
Leftovers


This Week’s Menu

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Monday
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, salad

Tuesday
Chicken enchiladas (using my canned chicken), tortilla chips & salsa, salad

Wednesday
Bbq beef sandwiches and tomato soup (using canned beef and canned tomatoes) & coleslaw

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Lasagna, french bread, salad

Saturday
Beef & veggie soup (using my canned beef ), dinner rolls, salad

Sunday
Leftovers

Canning another Round of Beef Stew

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Earlier in the year I canned up some beef stew. It was so good and we ate it all up in no time. Last week I decided to get some more stew canned up. I use my canned foods so often that I’m inspired to continue canning convenience foods. It has been fantastic to have quick and easy option for feeding my family lunch and dinner.
You can find my step by step instructions for canning beef stew HERE.

This time the only changes I made to the above recipe was to add peas instead of the celery. I forgot to buy the celery when I was shopping and had some frozen peas in the freezer. I used about 3 cups of frozen peas between all the jars. I just let them sit on the counter to defrost a bit.

I started the day by making a batch of veggie broth. I had frozen veggies in the freezer for just this purpose. I used about 3 gallons of veggies and 3 gallons of water (plus salt) and let this simmer for about 6 hours. You can find my instructions on making veggie broth/stock HERE.

I made 14 qua…

Meatball & Veggie Soup

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I had a box (Pacific brand, 1 quart) of chicken broth that I had bought over the holidays in case I needed it. I was out of chicken stock in my freezer. As it turns out I did not need it. So awhile back I used it make some yummy soup for us.

I started by making a batch of meatballs with 1 pound of hamburger. The recipe can be found HERE. The recipe is for meatloaf but I use it for meatballs as well… I mixed it, shaped the meatballs and baked them in the oven at 350 until they were done (20 minutes or so)….



While the meatballs were baking I chopped up some veggies. I used what I had on hand. But you could substitute any type of veggies you would like. I had about 6 to 8 cups or so of veggies. I used sweet potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and garlic (I also added spinach to the soup at the end). You could use regular potatoes, broccoli, corn, peppers, peas, mushrooms etc.. lots of options on this soup.


Then I heated up some olive oil in a 6 quart stock pot and added the ve…

This Week’s Menu

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Just when I thought it was all going to settle down life was a bit hectic last week. SO.. now I’ll try my hand at our menu for 4 this week and see how it goes.. :)

Monday
Spaghetti, salad buffet, french bread – I have some leftover spaghetti from last week in the freezer and I plan to use it up. But it is not enough to make a full meal from. So I am adding a salad to the meal similar to a chef’s salad or a buffet type salad.. here’s how: Sierra is going to sauté up some onions and garlic in olive oil and then drain a pint jar of my home canned chicken, chop it up a bit and add this to the onions and garlic .. when it is all browned up then it will be used to top our salads.. I will also have other salad toppers like grated cheese, sliced olives, chopped nuts, chopped hard boiled eggs, 3 bean salad, etc.. and homemade ranch dressing ..

Tuesday
Crustless ham and veggie pot pie with biscuit topper (similar to this recipe HERE only I’m using leftover ham from last week), salad

Wed…

Monthly Newsletter and Menu Planning Calendar

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This Week’s Menu

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We had a great Thanksgiving and had lots of leftovers.  We’ve been eating them all up over the weekend and now it is time to change gears and come up with some non- turkey related meals!  :)
Monday Chili, chips & salsa, salad
Tuesday Crockpot pork roast, baked potatoes & sweet potatoes, salad
Wednesday Baked ham, mac & cheese, salad
Thursday Spaghetti, french bread, salad
Friday Leftovers
Saturday Chicken enchiladas, cornbread, salad
Sunday Black bean soup, crackers, salad

Tomorrow’s Cooking Plan and a Few of My Favorite Recipes

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I try and do a good deal of the cooking and prep work the day before Thanksgiving.  I like the fact that it makes the day go smoother and I can spend time with my family and friends instead of all my time in the kitchen.  Here is what I have planned to do tomorrow:
I will be making the mashed potatoes a day early. I make them, put them in the fridge and on Thanksgiving Day put them in the crockpot to heat up and be ready. One less thing to stress about before serving the meal. I also pour a little milk into the bottom of the crockpot before adding potatoes. This helps prevent crusting and burning. If they heat too much a crust along the sides will form. So stir them every now and again while they heat up on low. 

Sweet potatoes: I make up my casserole and put it in the fridge. I heat it up shortly before the meal is served: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/favoritesweetpotatoes.htm

Dinner rolls: make them and reheat the next day: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/wwoatdinne…

How to Roast a Turkey

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I've posted this before and I had a link to it in my newsletter...  but thought I would post ithere on my blog in case anyone needed the information.

I am sure a lot of you reading this already know how to cook a turkey.  But I also know that many ladies have never done it before.  I was in my late 20’s before I cooked my first turkey.  My grandma or mom or mother in law had always done that part.  When I went to cook my first turkey I was reading lots of cookbooks and talking with my mother to learn.  It is not like we have the opportunity to practice turkey roasting too often!  
I thought I would just share from my own turkey roasting experience how I have done it.  There are lots of ways to do this and tips, etc..  and I am sure I won’t cover them all but will share what has worked for me. 
First is the actual buying of the turkey.  I typically have purchased frozen turkeys.  The week before Thanksgiving you can find turkeys at the best price of the year.  In fact I…

This Week’s Menu

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I am beginning my journey into cooking for 4 people.. instead of a big house full..  I suspect more nights of leftovers as I work to adjust my mindset to what it takes to feed a smaller group.  As I said to a friend..  who knew you could make spaghetti with less than 3 pounds of hamburger!!  :)  That was the norm for feeding adults and big teenage appetites.  Of course Thanksgiving is this week as well and I'll be serving up a big meal to family and friends on that day..  So here goes my journey and this week’s menu…
Monday Veggie Soup with mini- meatballs ( I am making a few adjustments to the recipe link, one is I am using this recipe to make the meatballs: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/beefveggiemeatloaf.htm   and I am using my own homemade stock instead of water and bouillon cubes), bread of some sort, salad
Tuesday Leftovers..  soup is one of those meals you don’t mind eating again. 
Wednesday Sandwiches and tomato soup..  I will be cooking all day in preparation fo…

My Daughter Arrived Safe and Sound

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This Week’s Menu

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Monday Bbq beef sandwiches (using my recently canned beef), tomato soup (using this recipe and adapting to use my home canned tomato puree), salad – it was a busy day today and I wanted an easy meal
Tuesday Tacos w/all the trimmings, salad
Wednesday Crockpot chili, chips & salsa, salad
Thursday Leftovers
Friday Lasagna, french bread, salad
Saturday Potato sausage chowder, dinner rolls, salad
Sunday Leftovers

Canning Chicken

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I just can’t let my canner sit idle for too long! :) I actually just love having my canning shelves full of food choices for quick meals, soups, casseroles. It makes life just a bit simpler and still allows me to feed my family good quality homemade foods.

Yesterday I canned about 14 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. A few weeks back I did this with beef (blog post HERE). I have already used several jars for soup, enchiladas and bbq beef sandwiches. I figured it was time to add some chicken to the canning shelves.

I cut most of the fat off the chicken pieces and then cut the thighs into 3 or 4 pieces each. I planned on canning this in pint size jars. I added ½ teaspoon salt to each pint jar..



I began to pack the jars with the meat. I packed them tightly and worked to make sure there were no gaps and air pockets. I did not add any liquid. The chicken will cook and make its' own yummy broth.



I then wiped the rims clean and added a lid and ring…




And put them i…

One Week

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I’m sitting here in my quiet house this morning trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Leanne will be leaving for S. Korea in one week! The time is going by too quickly. I am very happy for her as she is so excited for this adventure to begin in her life.

I’m a little sad to see my sweet daughter leave and know she will be gone for a year. It seems like a long time (and I'm ever so thankful for Skype.. :). I remember when Emily left for Denmark and I remember when my oldest son headed off to Iraq for a 15 month deployment (and when he left for Cuba for a 12 month deployment). It seems like such a long road ahead when it begins. One thing I remember is that life does move forward and time goes by faster than we realize. Before I know it the seasons will change and we will be here at this time of year again welcoming her home.

For now the adventure is just beginning and I have been busy helping her get many last minute needed things checked off her list before she…

The Wedding!

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Wow!! What an experience for our family! Tobin and I and our two daughters Leanne and Sierra flew down to Sacramento, CA on Friday. Our sons and my sister in law Debbie and her daughter (our niece) Megan drove down.

On Friday night we all enjoyed a BBQ at Brandon’s parents’ home, meeting many of his family members and friends. It was a fun time.

On Saturday morning we had the wedding ceremony at Brandon’s parents’ home. It was attended by close family and a few friends. Brandon is Vietnamese and we experienced a traditional Vietnamese wedding. It was very beautiful and a whole different cultural experience for our family. Then on Saturday evening we had the reception. Again, it was full of culture and a glimpse into this amazing family. We were awe struck by the love, devotion and honor to family and the support and encouragement that we saw among the many family members and friends who attended the reception. There was a 10 course Asian meal served that was absolutely de…

This Week’s Menu

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Monday Chicken curry, rice, salad
Tuesday Pork chops, baked potatoes, salad
Wednesday Spaghetti, french bread, salad
Thursday Crockpot rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, salad
Friday Leftovers
Saturday Enchiladas, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
Sunday Breakfast for dinner: waffles, eggs, bacon, fruit salad



This Week’s Menu

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This week’s menu is short.  On Friday my family and I will be heading to California for my daughter Emily’s wedding and will not be back until Sunday. 
Monday Asian chicken, rice, salad (Leanne’s is cooking this night)
Tuesday Sautéed sausages w/onion & mushrooms, baked potatoes, salad
Wednesday Taco’s w/all the trimmings, chips & salsa
Thursday Spaghetti, french bread, salad
Friday to Sunday Out of town..   :)

Becoming an Empty Nest

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A while back a nice lady sent me an email asking me to write a a blog post on how I handled the difficulties of watching my children leave home and my thoughts on the empty nest topic.  At this point I’m not an empty nest yet, but I see it quickly approaching. After raising 8 children the thoughts of soon being down to the last 2 at home makes the empty nest much more of a reality. In this post I’m sharing my thoughts on this subject.

I was 18 when I had my first child and 33 (almost 34) when I had my 8th and last child. I have loved having a big family. I’ve spent my life devoted to raising them, caring for them and educating them. In the years that all of them were at home the thoughts of them someday growing up, beginning their own lives and moving away from home, honestly never occurred to me. I felt like the life I was living would go on forever; which was ok with me. I enjoyed it. Then my oldest son moved out. He had a job in the city and was going to college full t…