Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homestead Garden – Tomatoes Planted!!

Yesterday I had huge plans.. I was going to plant my whole garden..  ~smile~  But, as life goes.. I got a late start and had other priorities for the day..  BUT..  I did get a few rows lined up and then got my 52 tomato plants in the ground.  It took me 3 hours..  However it got done!!  Today it rained so I was not able to get back into the garden to finish planting my seeds.   

Hopefully in the next couple of days the sun will be back out and I will get the garden in completely.  But for now, I am happy to have my tomato plants at this point.

Here they were ready to be planted…

And after they were planted…

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Family BBQ

What a fun day we all had yesterday. There were lots of pictures taken but one I really enjoyed was of all of my children. We got out one of my favorite pictures that was taken back in 2002….

Then we put the kids in the same positions yesterday, about 10 years later….

Aww.. yes, they do grow up!!!

Here are a couple other favorites.. they were family shots. The only one missing was my daughter-in-law Lolot. She had to work and we were really sorry that she was not with us….

I never take it for granted that I will have the opportunity to have all my kids gathered together in one place at the same time. I’ve spent years when my children were literally spread all over the world and the chance for us to be together was simply not possible. So these moments are truly a blessing and something I thank the Lord for. Here were a few more pics from our day…


Monday, May 28, 2012

This Week’s Menu

Family BBQ – Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, green salad, deviled eggs, watermelon, strawberry shortcake
White bean chicken chili, dinner rolls, salad
Spaghetti, French bread, salad
Salmon patties, baked potatoes, salad
Nacho’s for a crowd, tortilla chips, salad

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I’m Back!!

I’m back at it a couple days earlier than expected! I’ve been busy getting my home up and running again. Hubby and I took a little vacation to enjoy some sun and heat and my adult children kept the home fires burning. Now I’m waiting for the sun and heat to hit my part of the world. I hope to get my garden planted this coming week. In the meantime I am busy this weekend planning a big family Memorial Day barbeque. It may be in the rain, but no matter it will be fun to have all the kids and spouses and grandkids gathered together!

A pic of me and hubby by the pool on our vacation….

And a recipe to post… On my bbq menu we are serving strawberry shortcake for dessert. My daughter Sierra will be making these tomorrow. This is a very yummy and easy to make shortcake that has been made many, many times for my family…

Super Easy Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
6 T cane juice crystals, divided
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 cup whipping cream

Strawberries, sliced and sweetened if needed
Whipping cream that has been whipped and slightly sweetened to taste

In a bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, 4 T cane juice crystals, baking powder and salt. Mix well (if you want a lighter shortcake you can sift these ingredients together). Add whipping cream and stir gently until it starts to clump. Gather the dough together in a ball, but don’t knead. Divide dough into 6 pieces and form into rounds. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 T of cane juice crystals.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Slice in half and pile on sliced strawberries and cream on the bottom half and lay top half on top of the strawberries and whip cream.


Monday, May 14, 2012



I will be taking a little internet vacation break and will be gone for 2 weeks. I will be back to posting about the 28th of May.

If you order anything from my country store, other than ebooks, your order will be mailed out on the 28th of May.  All ebooks are automatic downloads.  After your purchase (through Paypal) you will receive an email with a download link.

Crystal :)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

This Week's Menu

I’m posting the upcoming week’s menu a little early..
Hamburgers w/ all the trimmings
Crockpot chili, chips & salsa, salad
Homemade pizza (I’ve linked my pizza crust recipe), salad
Crockpot bbq meatballs  (I’m using meatballs made from this recipe: ) , mashed potatoes, salad


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Breakfast Foods for the Freezer

A few weeks ago I was blessed with several dozen farm fresh eggs. I decided it would be the perfect time to put some breakfast foods in the freezer. I made Mcmom’s Breakfast Sandwiches and Breakfast Burritos.

I used 2 dozen eggs, 3lbs sausage, cheddar cheese slices and 2 dozen English muffins for the sandwiches. You can find my tutorial on making these here:

I made a little over 4 dozen breakfast burritos. I used 4 dozen eggs, 3lbs sausage and about 2 lbs of grated cheddar cheese. I scrambled the eggs, cooked the sausage and my tortillas and purchased the cheese already grated. …

A note on my tortillas… I purchase fresh tortillas that you cook up before using from Costco. The brand I use is Tortilla Land…

I did a bit of research on these and found that they are not available at all Costco locations. Mostly they are on the West Coast and a few other states. I like these tortillas because the ingredients are very simple (I think there are only 4 ingredients listed) and taste better than the type off the shelf. However if you cannot locate these then the ones off the shelf will work too.

I make the burritos by putting egg, sausage and cheese on a tortilla..

Wrapping them up..

And I lay them on a tray as I make them. These tortillas tend to stick together so I put a layer of plastic wrap between the rows as I make them.

When they are all assembled I wrap each tortilla in plastic wrap…

And put them in zip lock bags (which can be reused) and put them in the freezer..

To serve, we put them in the microwave to heat up. Takes about 1 ½ minutes. If you don’t have a microwave you can try heating them up in the oven. I have not done this so I don’t have specific directions on how to do it.. so just play around with a method that works for you.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunshine in the PNW = Property & Garden Work!

Today was the second day in a row of beautiful weather. My hubby wasted no time yesterday getting outside and getting the property under control. He drained the pond about half way and the kids cleaned out sticks and leaves and such from around the edges. Sierra pressure washed all the algae off the stairs and the dock (algae, mold and moss are a constant thing to deal with in our part of the world). He did a lot of mowing (to mow all the property takes about 5 hours). Isaac mowed around the garden and raked up broken sticks and made a big pile to be burned. The pond is now filling up again and soon it will be warm enough to swim in..

While hubby and the kids did that I repotted my tomato starts. I ended up with 60+ tomatoes. If the nice weather holds out I will be able to leave some of them outside and they may just make it. I will still put 2 trays (36 plants) under the lights to ensure they make it. If the rest of them make it until the beginning of June then I will be able to give some to my daughter Hannah who is planting her own garden this summer for the first time.

Today the guys continued the mowing and string trimming and manning the burn piles. Here is my hubby and son Jacob taking a break…

And Isaac who was busy string trimming…

I had 12 cabbage starts that I bought from my co-op (Azure Standard) that were waiting for the weather to give me a break so I could get them planted. After Jacob finished rototilling the garden I was able to start my first row. I planted the cabbage and a few packets of flower seeds…

And a pic of the garden after its second rototil..


Monday, May 7, 2012

This Week’s Menu

Leftovers – Somehow the last week did not go as planned.  I had kids with various schedules that were not home for dinner and hubby and I had a couple of days in town ..  so tonight is leftovers of a couple meals I made that have not been eaten up along with a salad. 
Mexican Chicken Casserole (from my recently posted blog), chips & salsa, salad
Italian beef & peppers (again from my recent freezer cooking post), w/pasta, French bread, salad
Peach Chicken (did not make this last week due to the above mentioned reason ), brown rice Florentine from freezer (brown rice pilaf w/spinach recently posted), salad
Crockpot meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
Crockpot chicken & gravy over pasta, salad
Salmon patties (from freezer – upcoming blog post), garlic roasted potatoes, salad


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Freezer Cooking for May Part 2

My second freezer cooking session was chicken. I bought 2 large chickens from Costco (total weight 10lbs). I put these chickens in my large 14qt stock pot, added 2 gallons of water and 2T salt. I let this simmer for about 30 hours. When it was done I strained the chicken from the broth. After it cooled I bagged about 8 quarts of stock..

I deboned and cut up the chicken meat and had 12 cups of meat…

While my stock and chicken where cooling down I made a double batch of brown rice. You can see my directions for making brown rice here:  . ..

The first recipe I put together was Mexican Chicken & Rice. This is basically similar to my Mexican Hamburger and Rice recipe:  For this version I used 5 cups cooked rice, 2 cups (1 pint) salsa, 3 cups cooked chicken meat. I mixed it altogether and put it in a gallon zip lock bag..

On cooking day I will defrost it, put it in a 9x13 pan, top with cheddar cheese and bake at 350 until it is hot and cheese is melted.

The second meal was chicken burrito filling (could be used in tacos as well). I mixed together 4 cups cooked rice, 3 cups cooked chicken, and 2 cups cooked beans (I used a pint jar of my canned beans.. you can use store bought canned beans or your own cooked beans). I also added 1T chili powder and 1t cumin. I mixed it well and put it in a gallon size zip bag.. On serving day, defrost, and reheat for burritos that are served with all the trimmings (lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, etc..)

With the remaining cooked chicken I divided it between to quart size bags (3 cups in each bag). This will be used for soup or chicken casseroles. ..

I still had brown rice left and used it to make brown rice Florentine (pilaf w/spinach added):  I figured it would be nice to have a couple of side dishes in the freezer. I made 2 batches of this and put into zip bags..

More to come....


Friday, May 4, 2012

Freezer Cooking for May Part 1

Another month is here and I have another line up of food for the freezer. When shopping this last week I purchased 10bls of beef roast (sirloin roast). The price was about the same as hamburger so I thought it was a good deal. Here is what I did with it…

I started by cutting it all up into bite size pieces..

I first took 4lbs of it and divided it between 2 quart size zip lock bags to use for beef stew and soup…

With the remaining 6lbs I made 2 meals for the freezer. The first one was bbq beef. I put 3lbs of meat into a gallon size zip lock bag and then added equal parts bbq sauce and jam. I still had some peach/mango/orange jam (from Costco) leftover from making Peach Chicken. So I added that. I had about 1 ½ cups of each the bbq sauce and the jam. I sealed the bag closed and squished it around to mix it up…

When I go to serve it I will follow the directions I have posted here:

The second meal with Italian Beef & Peppers. I put 3lbs beef into a gallon size bag. I then added 1 chopped up medium onion, 2 red peppers and a quart jar of my home canned spaghetti sauce (you can use a store bought or homemade equivalent ). I sealed the bag and squished it all around.

On serving day I will put it all in the Crockpot and cook it 6 to 8 hours (until the meat is tender) and serve it over pasta or rice and add some dinner rolls or French bread and a salad.

More to come….

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This Month’s Newsletter and Monthly Menu Calendar

My May newsletter, Homestead Happenings, has been sent out!  If you do not get my monthly newsletter and would like to you can sign up for it here:

Each month I post a monthly menu calendar to print out and write out your menus for the month.  You can find that here: