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Showing posts from October, 2013

Homestead Moments

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In the midst of daily busyness I’ve found something that I think is valuable as a homemaker. Every now and again give yourself a little reward. Something that makes you smile when you see it. I’m not talking about anything huge. In fact small and simple sometimes brings me the most joy.

I love mums. I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago and saw a pretty pot of mums for $2.99. I bought it and it now sits on my back porch. I enjoy seeing it as I walk in and out of the house.



Another one: these pretty candles. My daughter Sierra made them for our table using items we already had in the house. Very simple: wine glasses, coffee beans, tea lights. 



Find joy in the small things in life!

25 Things to Contemplate When Turning 18

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As my Father in Law once said to me, "Life is not a race to the end, it's a journey".  As my children grow up and one by one begin their journey I think about how prepared they are for it.  My youngest daughter is turning 18 next month. She is my 7th child to hit this landmark age. I've been thinking about when my older children turned 18 and the life lessons I had/have hoped they understand as they begin their journey into adulthood. I decided to start writing these things down. I’d like to think the things I’ve written are basic character traits I’ve instilled in my children over the years. It is a list of advice I’ve tried to pass on to them. It’s not a comprehensive list and I’m sure not everyone would agree on the best advice to give an 18 year old, but this is just my own personal list. I wrote this list down as it came to me; they are not in any particular order.

25 Things to Contemplate When Turning 18

1. Becoming 18 does not automatically make you…

Menu Monday

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Monday
Crockpot chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, green beans

Tuesday
Crockpot sloppy joe’s over dinner rolls, coleslaw

Wednesday
Fish sticks, fried rice, coleslaw

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Crockpot chili, chips & salsa, salad

Saturday
Salmon patties, crockpot mac & cheese, roasted broccoli

Sunday
Beef & rice enchiladas (using the leftover pot roast from last week - the link is for chicken & rice enchiladas and I will sub the pot roast meat for the chicken-- scroll down to the last recipe on the page), chips & salsa, salad


Soup Week: Tomato Soup

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This is the last of my Soup Week posts.  I still had Chicken Pot Pie Soup on my list to make but ran out of time and space in the week to make it.  I plan to make it soon and when I do, I'll share the recipe.  When I stopped buying Campbell’s soups years ago the one soup I missed the most was tomato soup. It was a family favorite for lunch time. The MSG in the soup would really throw my hubby for a loop so it had to go. I was on a quest to find my own recipe that was simple to make and tasted delish. I figured it out. This is a standard soup I now serve often for lunch or a light dinner. Goes great with sandwiches or wraps.


Easy Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup

2 15oz cans diced tomatoes
2 cans (the ones from the tomatoes) whole milk
1T cane juice crystal’s (organic sugar) or regular white sugar
1 T butter
1/8 t. baking soda
Salt and pepper to taste

Open the cans of diced tomatoes and pour them into your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into soup pot. Add…

Soup Week: Sausage Potato Chowder

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This is one of my favorite soups to make. To me it’s like comfort food. When the temps drop outside, the house is warmed by a fire, and the family is hungry it’s time to serve up a pot of this chowder. The soup goes great with French bread or dinner rolls and a nice green salad. This hearty chowder is sure to satisfy everyone’s appetite. If you try this recipe I hope your family enjoys it as well.



Sausage Potato Chowder

4lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1t salt
1 to 2lbs ground sausage (I used Jimmy Dean brand)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans corn, drained or 4 cups frozen corn
Whole milk, as needed
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pot (6 to 8 quart) add chopped potatoes. Just cover with water. Add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Drain almost all the water off and set aside.

In a frying pan cook sausage with onion until the sausage is fully cooked and onion is soft. Add thi…

Soup Week: Crockpot Hamburger Veggie Soup

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This is an easy, hearty and delicious soup to make for a cool fall day. I’ve made it many times. I have the recipe posted on my website and will share the link. I made it yesterday and it was nice to get it into the crockpot early in the day. I spent the rest of the day finishing up all my fall cleaning projects and dinner was simply making a quick salad and serving the soup with some rice crackers.

The recipe uses cream of mushroom soup. I rarely use cream of anything soup, but on the few occasions I do I use the organic brand, Pacific. The ingredients are good and it adds a lot of flavor to this soup. If you don’t want to use it, you can skip it. Or you can make your own white sauce or your own homemade version of cream soup instead.

One change I made from the original recipe was to us my own veggie stock in place of the water and bullion called for in the recipe.



Here is the recipe: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/easycrockpothamburgerveggiesoup.htm

Soup Week: Cream Cheese Chicken Veggie Soup

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Last night’s dinner was delish!! This soup was sooo good! It was super easy to make as well. I used my homemade veggie broth that I talked about yesterday for this recipe instead of chicken broth. I served it with cornbread and a salad.
One reason I like veggie stock (other than it’s super easy to make) is that it is very versatile. It can be used to replace either beef or chicken stock in a recipe.

If you try this recipe I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!



Cream Cheese Chicken Veggie Soup

4T butter
1 large onion
2 cups sliced carrots
4 stalks celery, sliced
2lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut up
1 ½ lbs red potatoes, cut up
2 quarts chicken or veggie broth
2 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large stockpot melt butter. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until onion is soft. Add chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or unt…

Soup Week: Making Stock & Pot Roast Soup

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Over the weekend I made a couple small batches of soup stock. I made veggie stock and beef stock. Making your own soup stock is not that difficult. I’ve shared how to do this in past posts and on my website.

In my 8 quart stock pot I added a few frozen yellow and zucchini squash, a large onion, carrots, mushrooms, a few handfuls of spinach leaves and 1T salt. I let this simmer for several hours and then cool down. I strained the broth and poured it into quart size canning jars. I currently have the stock in my fridge for use this week. Whatever I don’t use I will freeze. If you make stock and desire to freeze it in canning jars don’t fill your jars as full as my picture shows. You need to give plenty of space for expansion. I fill about ¾ of the way full and freeze them without the lid on. After they are frozen I put the lid on.



The next day I made beef stock. Early in the morning I started by putting a few beef shank pieces and about ½ lb short ribs into an 8 quart stock …

Menu Monday!

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This week I’m making soup on several different days. I hope to be putting extra servings in the freezer to enjoy over the next few weeks. Soup can be economical and healthy as well. With the fall days getting cooler soup is warmly welcomed at the dinner table. This will be the focus on my blog as well… making stock/broth and sharing soup recipes.

Monday
Pot roast soup, french bread, salad

Tuesday
Cream cheese chicken & veggie soup, french bread, salad

Wednesday
Super Easy Crockpot Hamburger Veggie Soup, cornbread, salad

Thursday
Sausage potato chowder, crackers, salad

Friday
Pork chops, brown rice, roasted carrots, salad

Saturday
Crockpot chicken pot pie soup, biscuits, veggie platter w/ranch dressing

Sunday
Leftovers

Updates from the Homestead

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I’ve so enjoyed the last few days!! A friend of my daughters’ from France came to visit. She is currently working in the US and wanted to visit us and see another state while she is here. I love the way Marie met my daughters’, Emily & Leanne. Years ago (back in the Homestead Blogger days for those of you who have been long time readers) Marie’s mother contacted me wondering if her daughter could be pen pals with my girls as they were about the same ages. My girls enthusiastically said yes and the friendship began. Over the years the girls have kept in contact through emails, facebook, postcards and such.


Marie, who speaks English just amazingly, is here doing an internship teaching French to American children at a French school in the Midwest. She had a few days off and wrote to see if she could come and visit and we said, of course!! We were all disappointed that Leanne could not be here. But Sierra and I picked her up from the airport and took her Starbucks (when s…

Frugal Grocery Budget Tips

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How do you save money on the grocery budget and still eat as healthy as possible, especially in this day of rising grocery costs.  One thing I learned from having 8 children and living on one income is that you can’t always eat “perfectly healthy”.  It is often not a matter of seeing where else the budget can flex, but that there simply is not the funds available for a perfect, healthy, organic, etc. diet.    My conclusion was always this:  do the best I can with what God has given me. 
Here are a few of my own ideas I’ve used over the years to help with grocery costs.  If you have any other ones, please share in the comment section!!  It may be a great help to other readers who are trying to keep their grocery budget under control! 
1.  Add more beans to your diet.  Beans don’t have to be the main attraction, especially if your family is not that found of them.  2 ½ cups of cooked beans is about the same as 1# hamburger.   You can mash the beans up and add them to meatloa…

Menu Monday!

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Monday
Leftover spaghetti dinner and chicken dinner from the weekend

Tuesday
Hamburger stroganoff over egg noodles, salad

Wednesday
Chicken pot pie, green beans, coleslaw

Thursday
Tacos w/all the trimmings

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Crockpot pot roast, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, salad


Making use of Bulk Foods to Ease the Budget

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Sometimes it is hard to know how to incorporate bulk foods into your diet if you are not use to cooking them. I remember years ago reading cookbooks and health related books and filling my head with great ideas on how to save money and cook better food for my family. I found a store way on the other end of town that sold bulk foods in barrels that you scooped out, bagged and labeled yourself. I felt so, oh I don’t know, 60’s or 70’s ish! LOL But I loved it! So I brought home my treasures and then thought.. now what do I do with it. I tried some recipes and a few turned out and some did not but in the end most days I went back to what I knew how to cook and the bulk items sat on my shelf. However, slowly I began to learn more, cook more and figured out how to incorporate these cost saving, nutritious foods into my diet. That began my journey into not only saving money (I admit this was my biggest desire when I started) but also I began to see and understand the health bene…

Fall Cleaning List

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Do you do a yearly fall cleaning?  How is it going if you do?  I typically like to attack the cobwebs, dust and such from weeks of open windows and do some reorganizing of shelves, drawers, cupboards.  It’s always a nice feeling to get the house cleaned up from summer and prepare for the holidays.  I started a list this week and slowly been working on it as time permits.  I’m hoping today to make more headway on it.  I have my chicken soup simmering on the stove, the laundry humming away,  and dinner will be simple so I don’t have to worry about it and can keep on tackling the cleaning jobs.  
Kitchen: Wipe down cupboards Clean out inside of drawers and cupboards, as needed Wipe down counter tops Clean stove top, wash vent cover and screen
Laundry room/Pantry: Reorganize shelves Go through shoe tote and clean out summer shoes Move buckets (I keep my bulk goods in buckets with gamma seal lids in my laundry room) and sweep/wash floor Dust shelves
Dining room: Dust and wipe down hutch Wi…

Menu Monday!

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I’m back from my internet break and a few days away with my hubby. Had a great break and ready to jump back into life again. However I came home to a house without much food left (kids will do that.. ha, ha!! ) and today I grocery shopped and worked on getting life back in order again. I have amazing kids, they held down the homestead while we were gone and did a great job in being responsible. I always have to laugh when people we meet are shocked that we left a houseful of teenagers at home alone and are not worried. Nope, I have great kids that have my trust and they know the value of what that means.


Monday
Fish sticks, mac & cheese, green beans

Tuesday
Oven fried pork chops, pesto pasta, salad

Wednesday
Chicken noodle soup, crackers, salad

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Baked chicken legs, fried potatoes, garlic roasted broccoli

Saturday
Spaghetti, french bread , salad

Sunday
Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, salad