Monday, July 30, 2012

This Week’s Menu

This week I am relying a lot on my crockpot.  I also have a few of my cabbage plants ready to pick so I incorporated cabbage into the weeks menu as well. 

I have a couple new recipes to try out and will post them later on in the week..  providing they are a hit with the family..  :)

Chicken salad, deviled eggs, strawberries & grapes,  (Sierra’s making dinner and this is her menu plan)

Crockpot beef pot roast & cabbage, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Crockpot Mexican chicken over brown rice, chips & salsa, salad


Sautéed cabbage, onions, peppers & hamburger, mac & cheese, watermelon

Lasagna, french bread, salad

Crockpot pineapple pork roast, brown rice pilaf, black beans, coleslaw

Breakfast meals will be mostly smoothies, muffins, eggs, and fruit.  Lunches will be leftovers with sandwiches as a backup if we run out of leftovers. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Green Chile Pork

I made this meal a few days ago. It is good .. but be warned it IS spicy.

Here is the recipe:

Green Chile Pork

3 to 4T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3+ pounds pork cut into bite size pieces
1T lime juice
1T chili powder
2t minced garlic
2t cumin
2 4 oz cans green chilies
16 oz Salsa Verde )
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large frying pan or dutch oven and add olive oil. When the oil is hot add onions. Cook onion for a few minutes to soften slightly. Add pork and cook until pork has browned nicely. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes. If you are not using a dutch oven the transfer to an oven proof pan, cover with foil or a lid and put in 325 oven. If you are using a dutch oven put lid on and simply put the pork into the 325 oven. Let this cook for 2 to 3 hours or until the pork is tender.

Here it is in pics…

Chop up the pork ( I used 3lbs of boneless pork loin roast) and onion. ..

Heat oil in a dutch oven (or frying pan) and cook onion until softened slightly. Add add pork and cook for a bit more…

Add salsa verde and green chilies…

Add spices…

Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes. Cover with lid if using a dutch oven (if not put pork into an oven proof pan and cover with a lid).

Put in 325 degree oven and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours until meat is tender.

I served this yummy spicy pork with brown rice and topped it with the Avocado Tomato Mango Salsa that I recently posted and a green salad. Hope you enjoy!!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Avocado Tomato and Mango Salsa

I made this today to go with our dinner which was Green Chile Pork (another post to come). This salsa is amazing! It tastes so fresh and good. I plan to make it again and again. I ran out of my canned salsa from last summer’s garden and thought it was time to experiment with a few fresh salsa recipes and this one tastes so summery .. :) Perfect this time of year.

Here is the recipe…

Avocado Tomato and Mango Salsa

1 mango - peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix up well and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Gather together ingredients (I made a double batch of the above recipe) …

Chop and put all ingredients and put in a bowl ..

Stir it up….

Refrigerate for 30 minutes (at least) to blend flavors. Serve with tacos, chips, meat, or anything that suits your fancy.. it is yummy….

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canning Navy Bean & Ham Soup

Over the weekend I canned up some navy bean & ham soup. My canning shelves are looking pretty bleak now as most all of last summer’s canning has been consumed and I have a few jars of chicken noodle – less soup left. I love the convenience and economy of good food ready to go on the shelf. Here was my recipe…

Navy Bean & Ham Soup for Canning

8 cups dried navy beans (aka small white beans)
1 ½ gallons water
2 T salt
2lbs ham meat cut in bite size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup molasses
1/3 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
1t pepper
extra water, as needed
salt to taste

Begin by cooking the beans. Put the 8 cups of dried beans in a large stock pot (I used a 14 quart pot) and add water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 2 hours.

When beans are done cooking add the ham, diced tomatoes, molasses, Sucanat or brown sugar, and pepper. At this point you may need to add more water to make sure you have plenty of soup broth. I added another 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil let it cook for a few minutes to blend flavors. Taste and add salt if it needs it.

Fill hot quart jars with hot soup leaving 1 inch of head space. Put lids and rings on. Place in canner. Can soup (quarts) for 90 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure and pint jars for 75 minutes at 10lbs of pressure (if you live at higher elevations be sure to check what pressure you need for canning ).

Here it is in pics…

Put beans in large stock pot. Add water and salt…

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat,  and cook for 2 hours…

Chop up one large onion and add to soup along with ham, diced tomatoes, molasses and Sucanat (or brown sugar), and pepper. At this point I found I needed to add more water. I added another 3 or 4 cups of water, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of soup broth. Bring to a boil and it let simmer for a few minutes (taste and add salt if you like)…

Fill quart (or pint) canning jars with soup. Put lid and ring on…

Place jars in canner….

Can soup at 10lbs pressure for 90 minutes (quarts) or 75 minutes (pints). This recipe gave me 7 quart jars and 6 pint jars.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This Week’s Menu

Chicken curry over rice, salad, watermelon (Sierra’s making dinner and this was her choice)

Tacos w/all the trimmings, watermelon

Green chile pork w/ avocado mango salsa, sweet corn muffins, salad, grapes & strawberries

Baked chicken legs, fried brown rice, salad, grapes & strawberries



Salmon patties, baked potatoes, salad, watermelon


Friday, July 20, 2012

Kids, Chores and a New Book I’m Reading

I’ve always had my children do chores. My mom was the type of mother who found she could do things faster, better, easier and consequently she did just that. I did not do my first load of laundry until I was 16 years old and then felt I was somehow being punished when she decided it might be a good idea for me to know how to do this. I did not know my way around the kitchen much at all, had no clue how to organize a closet, dresser, shelves, let alone an entire house. I was a bit of slob but really did not know it. If I left my clothes lying around my room by the time I got home from school they were gone. Having been washed, dried, folded and put away. I never thought a thing about the fact that my dresser drawers always had clothes ready for me and were neatly organized. My mother was an amazing housekeeper and homemaker. She just did not pass this on to me.

When I got out in the real world with my own home I was woefully unprepared. I remember how I struggled to clean and organize a little tiny 2 bedroom apartment and the difficulties I had trying to just keep 2 of us fed daily. Frozen pizza got boring very fast.

Of course I learned quickly out of necessity but it was a struggle. I still struggle with certain things in life (like closet organization :). Then I had 8 children… one by one of course. But as each child entered my life so did the level of work and organization needed to keep the wheels turning and the plates spinning around my home.

I knew two things.. 1) I did not want my children to walk away from home unable to prepare meals, clean a house, pick up after themselves, do their own laundry and so much more. And 2) I could not do it all without their help. Besides I’m not a fan of maid service for children who are old enough to make their own beds, pick up their own clothing, pick up their own clutter from around the house, put their dishes in the dishwasher, etc.

So I taught my children how to do the basics in life and my children learned how to work. As my adult children have gone out in the world to jobs and life they have, on more than one occasion, come back to me and said, “Mom, thank you so much for teaching me how to work!” .. they appreciate it because real life takes work. It is not always about play time and fun time. They got to see the whole picture. Work, clean up, play & fun… a nice honest balance of real life.

Now here is my current situation. I have 4 children still at home. One works full time and is not here most of the day, one works part time (nights) and sleeps a good part of the day. That leaves me with 2 full time children. And I realized a few months ago that there has been a shift in my own thinking. With only 2 full time kids I really can keep up on things without their help. And I started doing just that. Then I saw what happened… they began to accept the fact that I was going to clean it up, put it away and take care of it and instead of jumping in and saying “Oh Mother, please, let me do that” (ha, ha, I say that tongue-in-cheek I hope you know :), they just let me do it. That is when I realized I was walking down the totally wrong path with them.. I forgot those 2 important life lessons I wanted ALL my children to leave home with: 1) they need to be prepared for real life and 2) I’m not a fan of maid service for people who are totally capable of doing it themselves.

Now for the book I’m reading and highly recommend if any of you with children find yourself in a similar situation: Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement  by Kay Wyma.

I started reading this and saw right away where I was going wrong. ~smile~ I find her writing enjoyable and her information just right on. The first thing I remember doing was going to my 18 year old son’s room and telling him it was time to clean it up. He had a number of excuses, “but I’ve worked all week” was his biggest.. and true he had, worked a lot, but then again doesn’t the rest of the world? And then they have to come home and take care of their messes… hello son, welcome to real life. I see quite a few changes in store for the youngest children of the flock… and this book has been very nice motivation for the process and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Almond Butter Brownies

I tried a new brownie recipe yesterday and it was soooo good!! It was also very different! I basically followed this recipe:  only made some changes.  Here is what I did..

16 oz almond butter (I had a large jar of almond butter and weighed out 16 ounces), my favorite brand is Maranatha
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups honey
1T vanilla
½ cup cocoa powder
½ t salt
1t baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Almond butter separates as it sits on the shelf. I started by first stirring it up real well. ..

Measure out 16oz of almond butter (you can buy almond butter in 16oz jars if you don’t have a scale) and pour it into a mixer (I used my Bosch with the cookie paddles, a Kitchen Aid will do the job as well). Mix it for a bit to make sure it is smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Add honey and vanilla and mix again. Add the cocoa powder, salt and soda. Mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes.

These were a big hit with the family… 

Note: I am pretty sure peanut butter could be subbed for the almond butter, I may try that next time!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Watermelon Lemonade

I made this over the weekend for my family and it was so yummy! And so easy to make.

You will need some watermelon, lemon juice (from the bottle), honey and water.

I started by cutting up 4 generous cups of watermelon chunks..

I put this in my blender and pureed it until very smooth…

Next I made 2 quarts of lemonade. I measured into a one gallon container a ½ cup of honey….

I put in a little boiling water so the honey would dissolve and stirred this up. I then added 1 cup of lemon juice..

Next, I added water until it reached the 2 quart mark on my pitcher..

Finally I added the pureed watermelon and mixed it up well. I divided the mixture between 2 2-quart jars (because this fits better into my fridge)…

Pour over a glass full of ice and enjoy a nice refreshing glass of watermelon lemonade!!

Note: the lemonade can separate as it sits in the fridge..  just shake it up a bit before serving. 



Monday, July 16, 2012

This Week’s Menu


Sausage links (I use organic chicken sausage from Costco) sautéed with onion & pepper slices, brown rice pilaf, salad, brownies for dessert (I don’t make dessert often but occasionally plan one for a treat)
Buffalo chicken salad (found this recipe and it sounded so yummy..  so I’ll give it a try!), deviled eggs, watermelon & cantaloupe
Yummy pinto beans, tortilla chips & salsa, salad
Lemon garlic pork chops (a new recipe idea..  I’ll share if it turns out good :), potato salad, watermelon
Ham & cheese wraps, potato salad, watermelon

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Berry Smoothie

Summer is smoothie time!! Well, honestly I love smoothies all the time.. but they do seem more fitting on hot summer days. I have lately been making a delish berry smoothie. I enjoy them for breakfast the most. My kids enjoy them for lunch along with brown rice cakes spread with peanut butter.

Here is my recipe…

I start with 1/3 cup coconut milk. This is coconut milk from the can…

I open the can and use a fork to gently mix it all together as coconut milk separates. I add the 1/3 cup coconut to the blender…

And then add milk to make 1 cup..

Then I add 1 cup frozen berries. I am using frozen berries from Costco…

But any type will work (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries ). Add to blender…

Then add a big handful of spinach leaves, trust me you won’t taste them and neither will your children  but everyone will enjoy the nutritional benefits! ….

Finally add a little honey, (a tablespoon or so).. this is optional… (sorry for the blurry picture)

Blend until smooth….

Serve and enjoy!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Homestead Garden Update

This evening I spent an hour or so in the garden. I watered and weeded and took a few pics. My garden is growing nicely thanks to the warm days we have had. Several days ago my youngest son and I hooked up the watering system. I shared about how I water my garden in a past blog post here: .

Here are a few pics I took this evening of the garden…

This one shows the pumpkins way in the back then the tomatoes, yellow wax beans and green beans…

Here’s a better shot of the pumpkins and winter squash…

The corn…

My cabbages are doing fantastic!! I am super excited about this…

Zinnias and sunflowers that I planted back in May when I planted the cabbages..

Zucchini .. I planted a lot of zucchini and yellow squash and very few of them came up.. which is a little disappointing.. I love my zucchini!!

Up close shot of my tomatoes.. they are really growing great…

Garden from the back view (or at least most of the garden)….

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