Friday, November 29, 2013

Busy Times


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!! For me, on my homestead, we have not had our Thanksgiving meal yet. Leanne arrives home tomorrow so we will be celebrating on Sunday. I will have all but one of my children here and grandchildren and friends will be joining us as well. 




Leanne arrives home tomorrow evening and our family plans on meeting her at the airport. There is a whole lot of excitement in the air for our family right now. Her welcoming at the airport will be filled with family and friends. Afterwards we are having a little welcome home party at our house. I have goodies to serve and we look forward to just spending the time with her. Then she can get some sleep (it is a very long flight time for her) and enjoy the holiday on Sunday. 


  

For now I’m cooking and cleaning and preparing all I can ahead of time. I even plan on cooking the turkey and making the gravy the day before. I want to enjoy my family time with them, not be busy in the kitchen. 




Today I plan to put up the Christmas tree. I’ll wait to pull out extra decorations until next week. I wanted the house to be festive. We’ll put on some Christmas music and enjoy the preparations today. My French daughter (I mentioned her in a previous blog post. She is a friend of my daughters and has come back to spend time with us. She fits in so well with our family that we now call her our French daughter) is here and has been a big help to me and Sierra in all our planning and preparations.


Due to this busy family time for me I may not be back to blog for a few days. But I’m sure I’ll have pictures to share next time of our reunion with Leanne.




Have a blessed weekend in your home!!

 
 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to Roast a Turkey


 
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 usually take advantage of these great prices and buy another turkey or two for the freezer. A mini Thanksgiving dinner at another time of the year is actually kind of fun.   A couple of years ago I bought a fresh turkey from Costco and it was good too.   

If you buy your turkey frozen you will need a few days to let it defrost.  Do not sit it on the counter to defrost.  The outside of the turkey will start to spoil before the center has completely defrosted.  This is especially true for bigger birds. I put my turkey in the refrigerator to defrost.  Two days ahead of time for a small turkey (say 12lbs or under) and three to four days for a bigger turkey.   

The night before Thanksgiving I open the turkey up and wash him and remove the giblets.  I put those in a bowl and put them back in the fridge.  The next day I boil those with some salt and use the broth for my gravy as well as cutting up the giblets to add to the gravy.   I rinse the turkey off in cool water making sure he has defrosted completely.  I put him in a large roaster pan, cover him up with plastic wrap and put him back in the fridge until the next day.  

I also make up my stuffing the night before.  Don’t put the stuffing in the bird the night before to save time.  This can once again cause spoilage.  After I make the stuffing I store it in the fridge.   

On Thanksgiving morning I pull the turkey out, preheat the oven, remove the plastic and stuff my turkey.  I find the easiest way to do this is to set the turkey in my clean sink and use a big spoon (or my clean hands)  to spoon in the stuffing.  Then I set the stuffed turkey on my roasting pan.  I melt a cube (we call them cubes here in my parts.. some call them sticks) of butter and if it is a big turkey I melt 2 cubes.  I take a brush and brush the top of my turkey with this melted butter.  Cover the bird with foil and put him in the oven to start baking.  

After he has baked for about an hour I use my trusty turkey baster and baste him with the melted butter that has drizzled to the bottom of my pan along with any other juices that have also accumulated. 

I continue to cook and baste for the required amount of time.  The closer I get to the finish time the more frequently I baste.  I also take the foil off for the last couple of hours so the turkey can brown nicely.
 
Now for some specifics: 

Temperature to Bake a Turkey:  
 
325 is what I have always done
 
How Long to Cook:
 
If your turkey is stuffed:
8 to 12lbs  about 3 hours
12 to 15lbs  about 4 hours
15 to 18lbs about 4 ½ hours
18 to 24lbs  about 4 1/2  to 5 hours
 
If you don’t stuff your turkey you can subtract about anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour off the above times.  
However my experience has been that this is a rough estimate. I have had it take longer or shorter..  Your very, very best guide will be your thermometer.   

The temperature of the whole turkey, no matter where you put the thermometer (but not touching bone) should read a minimum of 165 (and that includes taking the temp of the stuffing).  I actually like it when the temps are a bit higher than that say..  180.   

I also wiggle the drumstick and it should move very easily.   When the turkey has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let is sit for 15 to 20 minutes.  This will give you time to make the gravy and mash the potatoes.
 
I hope you all have a wonderful day of good food, family and much thankfulness.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Striving for a Heart of Gratefulness

 
 


Thanksgiving always means to me a time to stop and give thanks. I’ve seen many lists on the things people are thankful for in their life. I have my own list as well. But I have really been contemplating something beyond this. I’ve been contemplating and thinking about a heart of gratefulness.

 


How is this different you might ask? Well I’ll share my thoughts. In my mind a true heart of gratefulness goes beyond my list of what I’m thankful for. It is a deeper meaning that I am going to strive for in my life. I looked it like this.. if you were walking through a desert of heat you would be so thankful, deeply grateful for every drop of water you had. If you stood next to a huge lake, water would be taken for granted. How many things in my life do I take for granted? 

 


It’s not about looking at those less fortunate than I am and realizing my blessings. It is choosing every day to be honestly grateful for all my blessings. I remember something from several years ago. I was driving with my van full of children to Walmart. Now, I live in a beautiful area. It is so beautiful that is considered a National Scenic Area (The Columbia River Gorge). I’m driving to Walmart and my kids are being noisy and my mind is focused on my trip to Walmart, what I need to do after I get home, food to prepare and chores to be done. Then it hits me. It is a completely beautiful July day. The sun is shining, the sky is an intense blue, the trees and mountains beside me are a deep, rich, vibrant green and brown the Columbia River to my left is stunning in its colors and calmness. If a tourist was driving through they would have been in incredible awe by the beauty of it all. But on that day for me, up until that point, it was just how I got to Walmart. I realized that in the hectic pace of my life, I take things for granted. The beauty of God’s creation right in front of me goes unnoticed due to focus on other things. 


 

How many other things go unnoticed in my life? The laugh of a child, the quiet of an afternoon, the noise of a houseful of grandchildren, a cup of coffee shared with a good friend, the rain making my area so green and beautiful, the hard work of my husband to provide for us, a load of clean and folded laundry, the wood stove simmering and keeping us warm, the work of my husband and sons who gather the wood in and stack it and bring it into the house so I can make a fire and keep us warm and toasty all winter long, a pot of soup on a cold winters day, the blessings of being a stay at home wife and mother, a clean kitchen, dirty dishes (as they say it shows I have someone to cook for), a child who learns a hard concept in his/her school day, a quiet evening spent with my hubby, new toothbrushes, dirty windows that show the handprints of little grandchildren who’ve been at my house, a barn full of hay to feed my goats for the winter, and my list could go on and on, the big stuff and the little stuff. Lord may I never take any of it for granted. 


 

So many things go way beyond my list, it is a daily heart that wakes each morning and says, thank you Lord, I am alive today, and I have so much to be thankful for that it can bring me to tears. If you’ve ever lost a loved one or been close to losing your own life, then you know how incredibly grateful you can be to simply wake up in the morning and step into the day ready to tackle whatever God has in store. Let me live daily with a heart that is truly grateful to Lord and chose not to take my life for granted. As a Peanuts cartoon I saw the other day said, “What if today I was just grateful for everything”. That is my desire, to strive towards a daily heart of true gratefulness to my Lord and Savior. Not all days will be great days, some will be hard, some will be sad, some will try my patients, but every day there is beauty, there are blessings and there is a Lord that has blessed me with so many beautiful simple things. Lord may I never take any of it for granted.
 
 

Menu Monday

 


I have a busy week ahead! I especially need my meals well planned. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, but my daughter Leanne arrives home on Saturday so our family decided to wait and celebrate the holiday with her. So we will be having our big feast of thankfulness on Sunday.


Monday
Enchiladas, chips & salsa, salad – I have extra people in the house so I’m making 2 pans of enchiladas. I’m filling them with hamburger & rice and covering one with a red enchilada sauce and the other with sour cream enchilada sauce.

Tuesday
Chicken noodle soup, french bread, salad

Wednesday
Teriyaki meatballs, coconut brown rice, salad

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Lasagna, french bread, salad

Saturday
Horderves for Leanne’s “welcome home” party – after picking up Leanne from the airport my family will gather at my home to give Leanne a welcome home celebration.. the horderves will consist of little smokies in bbq sauce, hoagie roll sandwiches cut in thirds and put on a platter, veggie platter w/ranch dip, bacon cheddar stuffed mushrooms, crab dip and chips – my daughters will be helping to make all these as I’ll be working on preparations for Thanksgiving dinner! :)

Sunday
Thanksgiving Dinner w/family

 
 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Breakfast Week! Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal



I’ve wanted to try cooking oatmeal in a crockpot for a long time now. I’ve read mixed reviews on this recipe. One thing I learned was that if you use regular cooking oats you will end up with a gooey porridge mess. So I made this using steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are basically the oat grain, also called groats.

To make rolled oats, which most are more familiar with, the groats are put through an oat roller. The thinner they are rolled is what determines if your oats are regular cooking, quick cooking or instant. Steel cut oats are the oat groat that has been cut into small size pieces. They take longer to cook than rolled oats. That is why they work well for crockpot oatmeal.

You can find steel cut oats in some grocery stores, health food stores or online.

This was super good and my family really enjoyed it.  It seems to be showing up on my breakfast rotation weekly now because it is so easy to make.  There's nothing like waking up to a hot breakfast ready to serve.  


Now for the recipe….
 
 


Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped up
1 cup steel cut oats
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups water
3T brown sugar, Sucanat or honey
2T butter
½ t cinnamon
¼ t salt

Grease a 3qt crockpot (I use coconut oil for this). Add all ingredients. Stir. Cover and set on low. Let this cook for 7 to 8 hours. If it cooks longer it just gets a little more crusty around the edges but won’t be a problem otherwise. Enjoy as you would a bowl of oatmeal adding extra milk or sweetener to your desired taste. 

This recipe can be doubled and cooked in 6qt crockpot pot.

 
 
Print This Recipe:
https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/crockpot-apple-cinnamon-oatmeal?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1
 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Breakfast Week! Peach Coffee Cake



One thing I like about this recipe is that it uses canned peaches. If you regularly keep canned peaches on your pantry shelf it is easy to put this coffee cake together for yummy breakfast. I recently served it with yogurt and bacon for a delish meal!
 




Peach Coffee Cake
 
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, pack the flour down slightly if it is freshly ground
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1 cup butter – 2 cubes or sticks, softened
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 15 oz. can of peach slices, fruit juice packed preferred, drained
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside. In a large mixer bowl beat butter and honey until well blended. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mix again. When this is mixture is well blended, add your dry ingredients and mix until it is well combined. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and pour batter into pan. Now take your drained peaches and layer in an attractive way over the top of the cake and sprinkle the cinnamon over the top. Bake this cake at 350 for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean..
 
 
 
Print This Recipe:

https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/peach-coffee-cake?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Breakfast Week! Brown Rice & Oat Blender Waffles

 
These are really enjoyable. I first learned of making waffles with whole grains and a blender from Sue Gregg. This recipe is an adaptation of her recipe that can be found here: http://www.suegregg.com/recipes/Starter%20Recipes/Blender%20WafflePancakes.pdf  I think blender batters such as this is a great way to enjoy a variety of grains in your diet.

 
Note: make sure the batter never gets too thick. The mixture should always be flowing around. I burned out a motor on my last blender by letting the batter get too thick while mixing. 
 


Brown Rice & Oat Blender Waffles

1 cup brown rice
½ cup oats
1 ¾ cup milk
2T olive oil
1 egg
1t vanilla
2t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt

Put rice, oats, milk, olive oil, egg and vanilla into blender. Blend on highest speed for 5 minutes. Stop blending and add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend for 3 minutes.

Make waffles according to the directions on your waffle iron.
 
I like to make up 2 or 3 batches at once and freeze extra waffles.  Makes for a quick and nutritious breakfast on busy mornings.  

Print This Recipe:

https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/brown-rice-oat-blender-waffles?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Breakfast Week! Baked Oatmeal


I use oatmeal a lot for breakfast. It is inexpensive and healthy. Over the years I’ve tried to vary how I use this breakfast food so that not every morning is oatmeal porridge. This has been one version I’ve made for a long time now and it is always a family favorite. If you are dairy free you can use a substitute for the milk such as rice or almond milk.

We eat it hot out of the oven with a little milk poured over it. You can add extra sweetener if you’d like but it is sweet with the honey already added. If you want to do any preparations the night before you can mix up everything except the baking powder and salt in a bowl and the next morning add the baking powder & salt and pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake according to the recipe.

 



Baked Oatmeal

½ cup light olive oil or melted coconut oil
½ cup melted butter – 1 cube
1 cup honey
4 eggs
6 cups quick oats
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tbsp. salt
2 cups milk

In a large mixing bowl combine your oil, melted butter, honey & eggs. When this is mixed add the milk. Now add in your dry ingredients, oats, baking powder, salt. Pour this mixture into a 9x13 pan and bake for 45 min. at 350
 
 
Print This Recipe:

https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/baked-oatmeal?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1
 
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Breakfast Week! Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole


Now that fall is here I try and make more hot breakfast foods for my family. I thought I would share some of my favorites with you this week.

I LOVE this casserole! Sweet potatoes are in abundance during the fall/holiday season and this is another great use for them. I like the simplicity of this recipe: you don’t have to let it sit overnight, does not use any cream soups or other packaged food and best yet, it tastes delicious!! It is a great one to serve to company as well. The other reason I like it is that is so versatile. If you are gluten free and/or dairy free it is also excellent. I’ve made this casserole many times without the cheese and it is still wonderful! You can add other veggies or subtract veggies you don’t care for.

A tip for peeling sweet potatoes… I’ve heard many people say how difficult sweet potatoes are to peel. Well I’ve found a way to peel them that takes very little effort. I use a cheese slicer that looks like this…



Makes the job very simple and easy…


Now for the recipe…



Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

1 sweet potato (medium to large size), peeled and grated (grating it with a food processor makes it easy)
2T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ of a red or green pepper, chopped
3 large mushrooms, sliced
½ cup (or so) sliced celery
1 lb sausage (such as Jimmy Dean)
12 eggs
½ to 1 cup grated cheese of your choice, optional (I’ve made it with and without cheese, tastes good either way)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Lay grated sweet potato on the bottom of a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Heat a large frying pan on medium high and add butter. When butter has melted add veggies. Stir and cook until veggies begin to soften. Add sausage and cook until veggies are tender and sausage is completely cooked. Spread the veggie/meat mixture on top of the sweet potatoes.

In a large bowl crack eggs and mix well (like you would for scrambled eggs). Add grated cheese and mix. Add salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over sweet potato/veggie/meat mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes until eggs are set. Serve with a bit of salsa on top and a breakfast smoothie to go along with it for a delish meal that will keep everyone happy and full for a very long time!


 
Print This Recipe:
https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/sweet-potato-breakfast-casserole?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Monday!





Last week was one of those weeks where not a whole lot went as planned with my menu! I had a couple days where I planned to feed more people than I actually did which meant a couple extra nights of leftovers and one night that was a complete change of menu due to special requests, which I was happy to make.. So some of the meals are repeats from last week as the food is sitting in my freezer and pantry ready to be used..
 

Monday
Crockpot pantry soup, french bread, salad

Tuesday
Baked ham, maple roasted sweet potatoes, coleslaw

Wednesday
Laurie’s mac & cheese w/ham (using leftover ham), coleslaw

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Ham salad hogie sandwiches (using leftover ham), tomato soup, coleslaw

Saturday
Lasagna, french bread, salad

Sunday
Crockpot roasted chicken, roasted potatoes & sweet potatoes, salad

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Couple Recipes to Share



I wanted to share a couple yummy recipes I made this week. On Friday I made pizza. It was not on my menu for the week but my daughter Emily & her hubby were coming for a visit and requested pizza. So I could not refuse the request! :) I made gluten free pizza crusts (my son in law is gluten free). We made 2 regular type pizza’s with tomato sauce and then experimented with a new type of pizza sauce. Sierra and I enjoy trying different things with pizza every now and again. So we made Pesto Pizza Sauce. We loved it!! My daughter and her hubby loved it.. my sons, well, in their mind, it just was not “pizza” ha, ha!! We topped the pizza with sausage, bacon, tomato slices, onions, mushrooms, spinach and of course, cheese. If you like gormet type pizzas (and you like pesto sauce) you will like this one. I’m sorry to say we did not get a picture.. too much time enjoying family and food to remember to take a pic. But here is the recipe:

Pesto Pizza Sauce
1 cup pesto sauce
¼ cup ranch dressing

Mix together, spread on pizza dough and bake according to your recipe. Very easy and very good!

Print this recipe:
https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/pesto-pizza-sauce?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1



The other recipe I have to share is Coconut Brown Rice. This was a fantastic match to our Teriyaki chicken (another recipe I’ll be sharing soon).




Coconut Brown Rice
2 cups jasmine brown rice
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
Water *amount in recipe
1 ½ t salt

Put rice in stock pot. Open coconut milk and pour into large measuring cup. Add water until you have 4 ¼ cups total amount of liquid. Pour into stock pot with rice. Add salt. Stir and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


 
Print this recipe:
https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/coconut-brown-rice?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Updates from the Homestead





November is really racing by! In fact I’m finding it hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. In just a few weeks we will be embracing a new year. But oh so much excitement before that happens. I love this time of year. The holidays are always exciting to me. However I will confess that I’ve not done any Christmas shopping yet and the thought of that is a little overwhelming, LOL! How are you doing on your Christmas shopping? Do you plan ahead, make homemade gifts, be prepared as early as possible? Wait until the last minute? :) I will say as a last minute shopper type I do almost all my shopping online. Between Amazon, Target and Walmart I can get most of it done rather quickly. And I’m thankful for UPS as well! LOL!!

 


The countdown continues with Leanne! She will be home from S. Korea in 2 weeks! We can hardly wait. She has been gone one year now and it seems like forever! She is super excited too. She has been busy preparing to leave. She has household items to gift to other teachers. This seems to be how it is done. Anything acquired that cannot be taken home is given to other teachers. Items like crockpots, coffee makers, extra pots and pans, and even furniture. She can bring home 2 suitcases and that is it. Not worth the cost to bring those items home. Despite her excitement she has to still stay focused on her job. She works right up until the day before she boards her plane home. She plans to come home and regroup and decide what her next step in life will be. She is not sure she wants to continue teaching and is considering looking into writing/editing type work. I’ll be interested to see what her plans will be. In the meantime the holidays are upon us and she will relax and enjoy family time. Since Thanksgiving is on the 28th we decided to celebrate our holiday on the 1st, the day after she arrives home. She missed last Thanksgiving and we wanted to be able to celebrate it with her.

 


I’m very proud of my son Jacob. He recently took his biology CLEP and passed with a fantastic score! He now has acquired almost 3 years’ worth of college credits in about 1 years’ time. He plans on enrolling in Thomas Edison State College in January to finish getting the needed classes for his degree. He is working towards a degree (nontraditionally as his sisters have done) in computer systems and analysis. He also works 30 hours a week delivering pharmaceuticals to nursing homes at night. He has paid for all his education to this point and saved money as well to finish his degree. I’ve written a few articles in the past on earning a degree nontraditionally and was thinking of writing about it again as it is timely subject with so many kids today being saddled with incredible debt from college loans.

 


As I write this blog post I’m waiting for my daughter Emily and her hubby Brandon to arrive and spend the night with us (although I probably won’t get this post up until tomorrow morning). We so look forward to their visits and I’ve made pizza for us to enjoy. My daughter’s job is very demanding (staff account for a firm in the city and in the midst of corporate tax season) and she so values time to sit back and relax and I’m happy to make her time as relaxing as possible. They enjoy coming up to our place for a weekend visit every now and again, and some of mama’s home cooked food and a leisurely morning of coffee and breakfast together.

That’s all from the homestead for now!! Hope you have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ranch Chicken Tacos

This was a new recipe I tried this week. It was yummy! My family ate it up with only a handful of leftovers. 



Ranch Chicken Tacos

3lbs chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I cooked mine in the crockpot all day)
1T chili powder
1T cumin
1 cup ranch dressing
Salt & pepper, to taste
12 to 15 flour tortillas (you could also use taco shells)
Taco trimmings: tomatoes, lettuce, chopped onions, sliced olives, salsa, cheddar cheese

After chicken has finished cooking use 2 forks to shred the meat. Sprinkle with seasonings and mix. Add ranch dressing. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Use this as your filling for tacos.

*NOTE you can use other types of chicken such as thighs or even a whole chicken that has been deboned.

Print This Recipe:
https://sites.google.com/site/homemakingonthehomestead/ranch-chicken-tacos?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Planner


 
3 weeks ahead of time
 Figure out how many people will you be serving and how big of a turkey you will need.  To calculate this, you need to figure about 1 ½ lbs of turkey per person.  So if you are feeding 8 people you would need a turkey that was about 12 pounds.  I usually buy them bigger so I will have leftovers. 
 
Write out guest list
 
Plan out menu
 
Gather recipes
 
Write out grocery list
 
2 weeks ahead
Buy turkey (if buying frozen ones)
 
Make dinner rolls and freeze.  I like to freeze them before baking.  I shape them into rolls; lay them out on a tray and flash freeze them.  On Thanksgiving Day I bring them out in the morning to defrost and rise. 
 
If your guests are contributing to the meal let them know what you would like them to bring.
 
1 Week Ahead
Clean out your fridge to make room for the added food items
 
IF you have not bought your turkey yet, they should be on sale this week. 
 
Do your grocery shopping of staple items you will need for the meal

 
4 to 5 Days Ahead
If your turkey is frozen you need to put it into the fridge to defrost now.  A turkey will take anywhere from 2 to 6 days to defrost depending on its size (figure one day for every 5 pounds of weight). 
 
Buy any fresh and perishable items you will need
 
Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate
 
Make salad dressings and refrigerate
 
3 Days Ahead
Clean your house
 
Get out and ‘good’ dishes or bigger serving dishes and get them washed
 
2 Days Ahead
Wash table linens
 
Get out your roasting pans, thermometer, turkey baster and make sure they are clean and ready to go
 
Wash and chop up veggies for stuffing and side dishes and put in refrigerator
 
Make pie crusts, roll them out, and put in pie plates. Cover each one with plastic wrap and put in fridge

 
1 Day Ahead
If you are making mashed potatoes for the crockpot you can make those up now and store in fridge. Tomorrow you take them out and put in the crockpot on low in the morning.
 
Make stuffing and refrigerate. If you are stuffing your turkey do not do that now, wait until right before you put the turkey in the oven
 
Assemble side dishes
 
Assemble any jello type salads
In the evening pull out your turkey, clean it and make sure it has defrosted and put back in fridge. Remove giblets and refrigerate
 
Set the table in the evening if desired
 
Assemble and bake pies
 
Thanksgiving Day
Put some Christmas music on (this is our little tradition ~smile~)
 
Stuff turkey and put in oven at appropriate time (or if you have a roaster oven you can bake the turkey in there leaving your oven for heating up side dishes and baking dinner rolls)
 
Put the giblets in water with a little salt and let those simmer. You can use the broth for gravy and the cooked and chopped giblets can also be added to the gravy
 
Pull out dinner rolls and let them defrost and rise
 
Set the table if you did not do this yesterday
 
Put the mashed potatoes in the crockpot
 
If you have a second crockpot you can put the stuffing in there to warm (if you are not stuffing your turkey.  I always stuff the turkey and have leftover stuffing in a second crockpot)
 
When the turkey has finished cooking, pull it out
 
Put the side dishes in the oven to bake (if you did not bake the turkey in a roaster oven)
 
Bake dinner rolls
 
While the side dishes are heating up and rolls are baking, make gravy
 
Take a deep breath
 
Light some candles
 
Freshen up
 
Greet your guests
 
Enjoy your meal and give lots of thanks the Lord for his blessings and bounty in your life

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photo Credit!!





My daughter Sierra has been a huge blessing to me. She is an up and coming photographer and enjoys any opportunity to practice and improve her skills. She has been taking many of the pictures here on my blog (all pics on my blog topper where hers). You can tell the difference between her pics and mine.. hers looks really great! Ha, ha!! :D

Seriously though she has an eye for a picture.. I’ve been able to tell her what my blog posts are about and she creates the picture for me. I’m ever so grateful to her.

She has started a Face Book page to post her work on; both her photography and her art. She is a wonderful artist as well. If you’d like to see more of her work you can take a peek at her FB page and give it a 'like' if you are so inclined..

Coyote Free Art & Photography: https://www.facebook.com/coyotesiphotography 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Monday




This week I’m having a few family favorites and easy meals. I’m also trying out a few new recipes. I’ll share the ones that pass the ultimate taste test with my family! (smile)..


Monday
Spaghetti, french bread, garlic roasted green beans

Tuesday
Chicken ranch tacos w/trimmings, chips & salsa

Wednesday
Teriyaki chicken, coconut rice, broccoli salad

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Hamburgers w/trimmings

Saturday
Baked ham, maple roasted sweet potatoes, coleslaw

Sunday
Laurie’s mac & cheese w/ham (using leftover ham from Saturday), coleslaw


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finding Joy in Homemaking: Part 6


Today’s thought is: Remember what it is all about



On day 1 we talked about homemaking being a ministry. In the midst of it all take time to remember what it is all about, your family. Hug your babies and as they grow, keep hugging. Nothing I appreciate more today is when my 30 year old son walks into the house and gives his mama a hug. Sit and read to your children, cuddle with them, make cookies with them, listen to them laugh and listen to them when they have something to say.

Treat your husband each day with love and kindness. Thank him often for all his hard work. Make him a priority in the day, not the last thing to “deal with” at the end of the day. Cuddle, talk and enjoy him and never stop nurturing your marriage.

When all is said and done the job of a homemaker is about the family, not the house. The house is important, but we do it all for them.. our husband and our children.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Finding Joy in Homemaking: Part 5


Today’s thought is: Never stop learning



One thing I have loved about being a homemaker is how much I have learned about so many topics in life! Spend time reading books! Read on topics that interest you and topics that will benefit your family. Over the years I’ve read and learned about many things: cooking, baking and nutrition, herbs and herbal medicine, sewing, how to save money, make homemade products and live frugally, how to garden and can, homeschooling, childbirth and homebirth, and so much more. Learning new things is fun and exciting and brings joy.


 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Finding Joy in Homemaking: Part 4



Today’s thought is: Take care of yourself



As the one who manages the home and the hearts of those around you make sure to take care of yourself. As much as you are able to, get a good night’s sleep. This is more difficult if you have babies up in the night but do your best to nap when you can and get needed rest. Start the day with a shower, get dressed down to shoes, and take care of your hair, etc. I feel more energy to start my day when I’ve taken care of the basics of taking care of me. As a homemaker I’ve found it important to not allow myself to neglect these things. I know it can be depressing to spend the day in my jammies (other than during illness and such) and with depression comes lack of joy. The caregiver of the home needs a little basic care too.


 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finding Joy in Homemaking: Part 3


Today’s thought is: Routines, lists and planning keep life flowing smoothly




A routine is a plan of action for your day. Keep your day orderly. Spend time with basic household upkeep and keep clutter to a minimum. Make time in the day for food preparations and plan out meals to prevent stress at the end of the day. Keep a calendar of appointments and activities so you can be prepared ahead of time. Make lists to help keep you focused on what needs to be tackled each day. A life with order can bring much joy.

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Finding Joy in Homemaking: Part 2


Today’s thought is: Homemaking is a Calling




Homemaking is not a job, it’s a calling. With a job you work for a set amount of time and then you are done. At the end of the week you receive a paycheck. If you quit your job, you can be replaced. Homemaking is a calling. God has given you a husband and a family and considered you the most capable of taking care of them, loving them and serving them. Give the Lord 100% of what you have in what He has called you to. It is a ministry of love and devotion. It’s not something you can quit and you cannot be replaced.

Realize that the meals you cook, the laundry you fold, the floors you sweep & mop say, “I love you” and “You mean the world to me” to your family.

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Finding Joy in Homemaking: Part 1


This week I’m going to be sharing ways to find joy in homemaking. A homemaker’s life can be filled with stresses. It is easy to lose the joy. I hope to be able to share some basic practical ways to find joy even amid stressful or chaotic times.


Today’s thought is: The right attitude


Attitude is everything. If you think your job is tireless drudgery it will be and there is no joy in drudgery. Yes, the house will get dirty, the family will need to be fed, and the to-do list is always growing. . Just remember being a homemaker is the opportunity to love and serve your family each day. For me a thankful heart is what always helps my poor attitude. I choose to be thankful that the Lord has called me to this ministry of service and I remind myself I do it for Him and how blessed I am to be my husband’s helpmeet and mama to the amazing children He has blessed me with.

And let’s not forget to start the day with prayer and reading from the Word. The Word of God in our hearts and prayer is the surest way to a joyful attitude. 


Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Monday!


 


Monday
Leftover beef & rice enchiladas, chips & salsa, salad

Tuesday
Baked chicken legs, garlic roasted potatoes & sweet potatoes, salad

Wednesday
Crockpot pork roast, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Tuna noodle casserole, salad

Saturday
Spaghetti, french bread, garlic roasted green beans

Sunday
Chicken pot pie soup, biscuits, salad


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall Decorations

I admit I’m not the craftiest of people. However I’m truly blessed to have a creative talented daughter that is quite crafty! What I’ve admired about her creative side is that she examines what is around her, in the house or outdoors, and uses it for her creations. She loves to decorate for whatever season or holiday we are in. She asked while we were in town last week if she could stop at the Dollar Store. She wanted a few little extras to work with for some fall decorations. I was happy to oblige her on this. I spent $7 for a few flowers and some candles. She took that and items we already had and created a few beautiful decorations that are now brightening up our home. It’s nice to know that making a house a home does not have to cost a lot. If you need a little inspiration on decorating your home maybe her pictures will help give you some ideas on using things around you to create beautiful decorations for your home.


The little milk jug and wine glasses were purchased at Goodwill, dried flowers from the Dollar Store ..



The candle from the Dollar Store, the leaf from outside, the other items were from the home..



Tree branches from outside, the flower from the Dollar Store, the rest from the home…



All of these items were things we currently had (evergreens and twigs from outside) …




The last one is a centerpiece for the dining room table. The ivy is actually real; the wine glass/coffee bean candles I showed you in my last blog post and the plastic flowers were from the Dollar Store…



I hope this may have given you a little decorating inspiration for this beautiful fall season!!