Monday, January 28, 2013

This Weeks Menu


I’m going to keep it real simple this week. Cooking and working in the kitchen is still a challenge for me. Thankfully my 2 youngest children have been great helpers. I try and do what I can because I know it is good for my hand to use it as much as I am able. It just takes me a lot longer to do basic things. I decided to utilize my crockpot as much as possible. I figured each meal will last the 4 of us 2 nights. So there are 3 days of leftovers.

Crockpot pork roast made w/ my home canned pickled cabbage (this is a super easy one that I will share soon), mashed potatoes ( I bought dehydrated instant mashed potatoes from Costco for the first time in over 20 years! LOL .. the ingredients on the box were simple: potatoes, butter and salt.. I figured in times like these it is nice to have ), salad


Crockpot Island Chicken (this recipe is floating around in my head… if it turns out I’ll share it :), brown rice, salad


Crockpot Italian sausage and peppers (this is a freezer meal and the recipe makes enough for 2 meals, I’ll have my daughter do this one as there is too much cutting of veggies for my hand at this point and we will put one meal in the freezer), buttered noodles, salad


Tomato soup (I make it with my home canned tomato puree), ham & veggie wraps

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Healing Hand & Crockpot Beef Veggie Chili

Slowly but surely my hand is making improvements. However it is not without a lot of effort on my part. I spend a good portion of my days bending, flexing, and stretching and exercising my hand to regain use. I’m not there yet but am encouraged with the progress I see. I can type with much more ease now so I figured it was time for a recipe. ~smile~

I made this the week before I went into the hospital. Yum! It was delish and my family ate it up. It goes together quickly and can simmer all day in the crockpot. I served it with tortilla chips, salsa and a salad.

Crockpot Beef Veggie Chili
2lbs stew beef
2T olive oil
onions, mushrooms, peppers, celery, chopped equaling about 6 cups
2 cups carrots,sliced
2 cups corn, canned or frozen
2T chili powder
2t cumin
2t salt
1T hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco, optional if you want a little kick
Pepper to taste

Put stew beef in crockpot. Saute onions, mushrooms, peppers and celery in olive oil until soft. When cooked add to beef in crockpot. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or until meat is nice and tender.

Here it is in pics:

Put stew meat in crockpot (mine was frozen)…

Chop up veggies and slice up carrots…

Sauté the veggies...

Put carrots & sautéed veggies over beef…

Add corn (and spices), cover and cook for 10 hours on low or until meat is tender….

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of salsa and enjoy!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I’ve Been Missing in Action

What a week I’ve had. I went to the doctor last Tuesday morning because I had a very swollen and painful right hand. I literally could not use my hand at all. The doctor took one look at it and said I needed to be admitted into the hospital immediately! I knew it was bad just had no idea how bad it was or how serious the situation was. I ended up in the hospital for 5 days. As I found out infections of the hands are very complex and very serious.

I had a staph infection in my hand. Over a week prior to this I cut my thumb on a piece of glass. I cleaned it up and figured it would heal. The thumb was a bit sore and red but nothing that caused me any great alarm. I washed and used hydrogen peroxide on it. Then the cut healed shut. In less than 36 hours I went from a slightly sore and swollen thumb to an entire hand that was VERY swollen, unusable, bright red and extremely painful. Apparently as soon as the cut healed it basically locked the staff infection inside my hand and it spread rapidly.

These types of infections can quickly move to the bloodstream, bones and joints. The doctor’s put me on IV antibiotics and morphine for the pain. They did a CAT scan that showed it was in the tissues only, praise God. But it took almost 2 days before the infection started to show signs of responding to the antibiotics (We were so thanking God when it did start responding as the news is full of stories of bacteria that is unresponsive to antibiotics… MRSA, flesh eating types :::shudder:::). I almost needed surgery to flush out the infection, but the antibiotics finally kicked in and thankfully I avoided the surgery. Eventually they put me on 2 more types of antibiotics which also seemed to be helping. Finally they did an MRI to see if the infection was in my bones & joints, and again, praise God it was not.

On the 5th day they let me go home with prescriptions for 2 antibiotics and pain meds. According to the orthopedic doctor I’ll likely need physical therapy to regain the complete use of my hand. I have found doing just about everything I do a challenge (as I’m right handed ), but on the positive side I’m seeing improvements every day in the functioning of my hand. I have use of 2 fingers and my thumb so that has helped me to at least be able to type! :) I still have pain (but nothing like I had) and very little strength in the hand… picking up a spoon is difficult..

For now my goal is to rest and recover. I will be back to blogging as soon as I’ve healed and get past this ordeal.

Monday, January 14, 2013

This Week’s Menu

I did pretty good last week as far as planning goes. I am still adjusting to just 4 of us. I ended up cooking 3 times, leftovers 3 times and one night Sierra and I were the only ones home so we just made ourselves a sandwich and salad. This week I’ll aim for 4 meals and see how it goes.

Leftover beef and veggie chili (recipe post coming soon). I made a large crockpot full of this on Sunday and have enough for Monday’s dinner as well. I’ll be serving it with tortilla chips and a salad

Chicken parmesan, french bread, salad – this was one of those meals from last week that did not get made

Salmon patties (I may be making some for the freezer which is what the link shows), brown rice pilaf, garlic roasted brussel sprouts – another meal from last week that did not get made


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

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



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Korean Pork

This recipe is amazing!! My daughter Emily gave it to me. She does a lot of Asian cooking and said this was soooo good. It is really just a marinade. For the pictures in this I used thinly sliced pork ribs (riblets is what the package said). I have also made this recipe using chicken and today bought some beef to use for next week.

After trying this recipe out now a couple of times I know it would make a fantastic freezer recipe (this is my plan with the beef I just bought). You can easily mix it together and put your meat and the sauce in a freezer bag and freeze it. When you want to use it, pull it out the night before and put it in the fridge. Let it defrost and marinade until the following day. The longer the meat is mixed with the sauce the better it tastes. But even a few hours is great.

Korean Marinade
1 cup sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
½ large onion, sliced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ginger
1 T lemon juice
1 to 2 T hot chile paste, (this optional and can be reduced or omitted depending on your “hot” preference in foods)

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and marinade your meat in it!!

I started the night before by putting my pork riblets (about 3 ½ pounds) into a zip lock bag with the marinade and putting it in the fridge..

When it was time to cook dinner I pulled out the pork and laid it on a large (jelly roll size) pan…

I then cooked it at 375 for about 40 minutes (this time could vary depending on the type of meat you use)…

I served it with fried brown rice and egg rolls.. it was delish!! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Using my Home Canned Chicken

I thought I would share one way that I recently used my home canned chicken (I will try and share more as I continue to use the chicken). You can find directions on how I canned the chicken HERE . I don’t have actual measurements for this meal as I just threw it together one evening when we needed dinner rather quick like!

I opened 1 pint jar of chicken, drained it and then chopped it up on the cutting board..

Then I sautéed up some sliced onions, peppers, and carrot sticks. I cooked this until the carrots were soft…

Then I added the chicken and let this heat up (sorry about the blurry pic :)…

Finally I added about 4 cups of cooked brown rice. I seasoned it with soy sauce and a little bit of fish sauce. I just added the sauces until it tasted right to me.. :) .. just go easy on them as you can always add more but can’t take it out if you discover you over seasoned it…

This was very tasty! Since I had the rice leftover from a previous meal (I also keep cooked rice in the freezer for use in quick meals) and I had the canned chicken cooked and waiting on the shelf, the meal went together in less than 20 minutes. I served it with a nice big green salad.

Monday, January 7, 2013

This Week’s Menu

The recipes that have the * next to them indicate that I hope to share the recipe and photos with you soon. Some weeks my menus are my best intentions and they don’t always get made exactly as shown. Sometimes we end up with more leftovers, sometimes our plans change for the day and we need something that is faster to put together (that is usually when I reach for my canned soups, stews and meat).

Hamburger/rice enchiladas, tortilla chips & salsa, salad - This recipe will be made similar to this one HERE only using hamburger . I will use 1lb hamburger cooked with some onion and 2 cups cooked brown rice for the filling. This is enough to fill 12 corn tortillas and maybe a little extra which I’ll spread on top of the finished tortillas This will be cooked in a 9x13 pan.

Korean pork*, egg rolls, salad – this was on my menu a couple of weeks ago and did not get made, I’ll try again!

Salmon patties (I may be making some for the freezer which is what the link shows), brown rice pilaf, garlic roasted brussel sprouts


Chicken parmesan*, french bread, salad

Beef & veggie chili*, crackers, salad


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Updates from the Homestead and the Difficulties of Getting Rid of “Stuff”

Happy New Year!!!  My blogging has been so spotty lately. Seemed like so much going on for the holidays with friends and family coming and going. A few days after Christmas I decided it was time to take the tree down and put all the Christmas decorations away for the season. I always like starting out the New Year with my house in order.

New Year’s Eve was spent with just Tobin and me at home. Our children all had plans with their siblings and Tobin and I enjoyed ringing in the New Year quietly.

I’m currently involved in my yearly basement clean out project. This year I have been rather ruthless and driven when it comes to lightening up my belongings. Oh how many things I hang onto because somewhere in the back of mind I think.. hmm, I MIGHT use this again. 

During my clean out process I also discovered something interesting. I can see why it is people have such a hard time getting rid of things. And to a degree why people hoard. My first task was to clean out my bookshelves. I had a LOT of books from all my years of homeschooling. But, I am nearing the end of my homeschool career. I have 2 high school students and I figure I will be done in another year or two. So it was time to take a hard look at what I had and make some difficult choices. Of course I gave many books to my grandchildren. But most were given away to Goodwill or friends. With each book what I saw was not just a book, but memories of cozy winter evenings with my kids all piled up on my bed as we read book after book after book, I saw in some books the hope of the things that I wanted to do and did not do, I saw the missed opportunities to read this or that to my children (especially my youngest children) and it was now too late. The day after I went through the first set of books I had this urge to go back through them again. I kept thinking, maybe I don’t want to get rid of this or that. I resisted and now the books are gone and actually I feel so much better! But the emotional difficulties were something I never realized I would face when cleaning out books. 

I think the same is true for other things we store, not just books. It can be emotionally difficult to look at items that you don’t use, probably won’t use and even forgot you had until you opened the box and have to make a choice to give or sell them. What you see is not unwanted items but hopes, dreams, plans you had and/or memories. 

On the other hand deciding not to hanging onto to things and making choices to let go of hopes and dreams that most likely won’t happen frees up not only space but the burden of carrying around so much. I am the type of person that feels so much mental freedom when my load of “stuff” is light. Of course if I had concrete plans for using items, I would keep them, but the reality is much of what I was/am hanging onto is no longer used or needed. I guess this is also part of the change of seasons we walk through. 

As my husband said to me when I was wrangling with a few items… “You can’t take it with you.” How true is that? My desire is to keep what IS needed and to let go of items and hand them on to those who may actually get some use out of them and lighten my load at the same time. 

I’m almost done with the clean out and then I think it will be time to paint my basement. It drab and dreary down there and without so much to store it may not be such a hard task to move things around and makes improvements. A clean freshly painted basement will be a nice reward for this job!