Monday, June 30, 2014

Menu Monday!

Hamburger broccoli rice casserole, watermelon, salad

Pizza & Sushi (take out), egg rolls, veggie platter & dip

Bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, salad


Bbq burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, fruit salad, chips & dip, s’mores – we’re having a 4th of July family & friends bbq at our house


Spaghetti, french bread, salad


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Homemade Strawberry Jam!!

I was a little late in the season or getting my berries. It is the tail end of strawberry season here and the raspberries are now coming in. But I really wanted to make a few jars of jam. Nothing says summer sweetness like homemade strawberry jam. So my girls and I headed out last week to find berries. We found a produce store that still had them! So I grabbed a couple boxes…

That night I made my family strawberry shortcake for dessert (recipe here ) and the rest were used to make jam. While I was out I also grabbed a ½ flat of raspberries. The kids kept snacking on them (which is ok with me!! Need to enjoy them when they are in season). I used the remaining raspberries in some of my jam as well the next day.

If you’ve never made any kind of jam or jelly I have step by step instructions on my website for making a few different types of jam. You can find those instructions HERE. My son took a few pics while I made the jam.

I started by washing jars…

Then measuring and crushing berries. I used store bought pectin and followed the directions on the package as to how many berries and how much sugar.

I put the crushed berries on the stove and added my package of pectin…

Stirred this and brought it to a boil. Then when it was boiling I added the sugar…

Stirred again and brought it to a full rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down) and let it boil for 1 minute. Then removed from the heat and began filling my jars, and wiping the tops, putting on a new lid and then ring…

Into the canner it goes. Jam is canned in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

After that I put the jars on a dishtowel to cool…

And that was it! I repeated the process a second time with my strawberries and the third batch was half strawberry and half raspberry. The measurements and amounts for strawberries and raspberries are the same.

It probably won’t last too long, but at least we can enjoy this summer sweetness a while longer.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Motivation and Inspiration

Do you ever struggle with these? I think we all do. Maybe for me it is my changing season of life. I see my purpose in life shifting… moving, changing. Some days I lack motivation. Some days I lack inspiration. I’ve prayed about this, seen answers to my prayers and know God has a plan for me. God is good all the time!! He has a plan for all of us. It may not be children anymore, but it is something amazing. I’ve spent a life time dedicated to my children and raising them. As that has begun to wane for me I still see them needing me but not in the way they have needed me in the past. I’m fine with that as quite honestly I’m tired! I’m ready for a slight change in purpose. ~smile~

If you are expecting answers to it all, I apologize as this blog will not answer those questions. But God can and will. Life is about seasons. Life is about fulfilling God’s purpose in our life. I have faith as these years change that He will continue to show me the path He has planned for me.

In the meantime I was watching a YouTube video and was incredibly inspired by this woman. Not because I see her mission in life, my mission… no, I don’t .. but what I see in her is passion. I see motivation. I see her inspired. My prayer after watching this amazing video was… Lord, give me this passion for the next mission in life you have planned for me.

May this video be a blessing to you as well. She is an amazing woman…. God bless everything she is doing…

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Refrigerator Pancake Batter and Homemade Buttermilk

My older children living at home all work and have schedules that are all different. Breakfast can be a challenge for them. Sometimes I make a meal for them, but usually they take care of their own breakfast. I wanted to give them something easy as an option so I made up a pancake batter that can sit in the fridge for a week or so. When someone wants a couple pancakes they simply pull it out of the fridge, stir it up, cook up a few and put the batter back in the fridge. So far this is working great and they are enjoying this easy breakfast option.

Refrigerator Pancake Batter

2T yeast
½ cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 ½ t baking soda
2t baking powder
6T sugar
2t salt
6 eggs
½ cup olive oil
3 cups buttermilk

In a small bowl combine yeast and warm water and let this sit for a few minutes to activate. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar & salt. In a medium bowl beat eggs and add oil and buttermilk. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk/egg/oil mixture to the flour. Stir to combine.

Cook these pancakes at a slightly lower temp and a little longer cooking time than regular pancakes.

The batter can be stored in the fridge for a week or so. Make sure to store it in a bowl or container that allows room for the batter to expand in size.  Because it has yeast in it, it will bubble and grow.  Give it a stir before using each time. 


I bought a quart of cultured buttermilk for this recipe. After making it I had a cup left over. I put it in quart size jar…

Then added milk to the top…

Put a lid on in and let it sit on my counter overnight and .. voila! I now have another quart of buttermilk! I’m not sure how many times this can be recultured using store bought buttermilk.  I typically make buttermilk from powdered buttermilk cultures.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Menu Monday!

Leftovers! Have a few things from last week so this night is a leftovers buffet

Ranch chicken tacos w/all the trimmings, tortilla chips & salsa

Pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, watermelon

Italian chicken soup, french bread, salad

Garlic brown sugar chicken, pesto pasta, green beans

Hamburger/rice enchiladas (using sour cream enchilada sauce), chips & salsa, salad



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Not in the sense of “condensed cream of mushroom soup” used for cooking. But rather a soup.. for eating.. that is very yummy!! I had about 16oz of mushrooms that I did not use up as fast as I had thought I would. I could have given them to the goats or tossed them in the freezer to use in my next batch of veggie stock, but instead I wanted to make them into soup; which I did last night to go with our dinner. It was delish and my family ate it all up. I served it along with sautéed sausages & cabbage, cornbread and a salad. It would make a great simple lunch or an addition to your dinner meal. 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

16oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter
6T flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 ½ to 2 cups half n half
1t salt
dash of pepper

In a large stock pot melt butter. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Sautee until all veggies are soft. Add flour and stir it in. Add chicken broth and stir to remove lumps. Stir and bring to a boil. Let the soup boil for a minute or two to thicken up. Remove from heat. Add 1 ½ cups half n half. If you want your soup thinner, and the extra ½ cup of half n half. Add salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!!

This recipe can easily be cut in half.

To print this recipe click on the blog post title and you will find a “print” button on the bottom of the page.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Canning for the Pantry


My selection of convenience home canned meals was running low. I decided to can chicken cacciatore. Since I didn’t have a recipe I ended up with more ingredients than I needed and I so I used the rest to make soup and can that. In all I ended up with 14 jars of yummy home canned easy to prepare food.

My plan was to make chicken cacciatore and I started out with 12lbs of chicken, 2 - 67 oz. jars of Prego spaghetti sauce, 3 large onions, 3 green peppers, 2 ½ quarts of chicken broth and about 15 cloves of pressed garlic.

The picture shows everything but the chicken broth…

I poured both jars of spaghetti sauce into my 8 quart stock pot and added 2 cups of chicken broth so the sauce was not too thick.

While my sauce was heating up I put 7 quart jars in my sink and filled them with boiling water, I put my canner on the stove and let that heat up and got my lids soaking in hot water. Now I was ready to start filling up my jars.

I filled about half the jar with the veggies and then poured a little spaghetti sauce over them (because the sauce is thick I wanted to make sure that it covered the veggies and there were no air pockets.

Then I put the chicken meat (boneless thighs, not cut up) on top of the veggies/sauce. I added more sauce to cover it all.

Wiped the rims clean, put on a lid and ring and set in the canner and proceeded to do this to the next 6 jars.

I canned this at 10lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. This can NOT be done in a water bath. It must be pressure canned.

All the jars sealed which made me very happy!!
A few days later I used one jar to make a small meal for hubby to take to work. I poured the contents of the jar into a sauce pan and let it heat up. I kept it warm while I cooked a bit of spaghetti. It tasted delicious!!

When I had filled all of my jars I still had about 8 cups of sauce left, 5lbs of chicken and lots of veggies. So I decided to make the rest of it into soup. I added 2 quarts of chicken stock, cut up the remaining chicken and added it, plus added all the remaining veggies. I brought this to a boil and let is simmer while I waited for my canner to finish with the chicken cacciatore.

I filled another 7 jars with boiling water and when the chicken cacciatore was done I canned the soup. I had 7 quarts of soup I was able to can and all those jars sealed as well. As far as the picture is concerned the jars look about the same. I made sure to label them before storing so I would know which was which.

But in all it was a productive day in the kitchen and I ended up with 14 jars of convenience food in my cupboard!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Menu Monday!

After a nice long stretch of warm days the weather has cooled down, so soup is on the menu this week! Also I realized I have a large amount of mushrooms that I’m not getting used up like I thought I would so I’m experimenting on Tuesday to make my own cream of mushrooms soup. If it turns out, I’ll share the recipe.

Spaghetti, french bread, salad

Homemade cream of mushroom soup, fried kielbasa & cabbage, corn bread, veggie platter

Homemade Pizza, salad

Cream cheese chicken veggie soup, dinner rolls, salad

Spanish rice w/hamburger, chile relleno casserole, refried beans, salad


Tuna patties, buttered pasta, salad


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day!!

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dad’s out there… Give your hubby an extra hug today for being an awesome father; hug your own dad as well. I sure wish I could hug mine. He passed away several years ago and I miss him very much.

Don’t miss an opportunity to lavish your father in love and encourage your children to do the same… it’s a great opportunity to remind your children of your husbands most cherished traits and all he does for the family.

Bake him up his favorite treat today as well! My kids at home are making him up a batch of peanut butter oatmeal cookies.. his favorite..

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter (peanuts only), the kind without added sugar and oils
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2c. oats
2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt

In a mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best) cream butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Now add flour, oats, baking powder, soda and salt and beat well. Place rounded teaspoonful’s on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for about 12 minutes. Makes approx. 6 dozen

Friday, June 13, 2014

Blog Updates

Please excuse a bit of disorganization while I make some changes to my blog!  My blog has been in need of an update for some time now. Hopefully the changes will make it easier for my readers.

I’ve added a few extra pages to my blog. The “About Me” , “Recipe” & “Family” pages are what I’ve accomplished thus far. My desire with the “Recipe” page will be a place that lists all of the recipes that are here on my blog. This is a BIG job as I have been blogging for about 9 years! :) But many of my older recipes (that I still use) can be found on my website The Family Homestead. I will continue to add recipes to this blogs “Recipe” page. I realize also a little more organization is in order on that page… one step at a time.. It’ll be under construction for bit…

There is also now a little tiny Pinterest button at the bottom of each post. Some ladies have written and asked about that, it is now there to share.

Also for printing.. if you want to print a page of my blog, simply click on the blog title and at the bottom of the post you will see a print button (two actually, not sure how that happened.. something else to work on ;) .. that should make it easy to print out recipes and such.

Thanks so much for your


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for June


I realize we are more than a week into this month but I figured this challenge won’t take long. This month’s challenge is not actually “in” the home.. but an important extension to my daily for sure and often is very neglected…

The challenge for this month is… cleaning out the inside of our car and giving the car a good wash

The weather here has been nice and warm so it is a perfect time to get out and tackle this job. I know I have a very bad habit of hopping in the car, heading to town, taking care of business and then when I return my mind is on everything I need to still get done in the day and the last thing I think about is cleaning out the car from the day’s activities… so I figured it was the perfect time to clean it out, wipe it down, clean windows and mirrors, vacuum and then give it a nice wash down.

So how about you? Time for some car clean up and love?

We Can Do This Girls!!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Menu Monday!

Crockpot beef roast, crockpot new potatoes, salad, watermelon

Pork & rice oven baked burritos, cornbread, salad

Baked chicken legs, potato salad, carrot sticks, watermelon

Italian chicken soup, crackers, salad

Hamburgers w/all the trimmings, potato chips, fruit platter


Baked pork chops, pesto pasta, cesar salad


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Can we Raise Children without “Professionals” Today?

This may seem like a strange question. The events of last week made me come to some conclusions and ask myself this question. Here is a little about me and the events of last week….

First off, I was raised by a father who was a very independent thinker and taught/showed this to me as well. I learned to think outside the box and how to make informed decisions. Over the years in raising children I made choices that were not the norm. I homebirthed most of my children (and delivered 2 of my grandchildren at home), I homeschooled, I don’t vaccinate my children and lastly I don’t/have not done well-baby or well-child checks. I did not make these decisions lightly. I read for knowledge, I studied each of these decision in depth, prayed (obviously it should go without saying this was in conjunction with my husband) and made the decision as a knowledgeable, loving, caring parent. I do not expect anyone to agree or disagree with my choices as they are just that.. my choices as a parent.

As to my latest events, part of the requirement for Sierra to enter the medical field (she will be going to school to be a dental assistant) are 4 vaccines. We discussed this before she enrolled in the school and felt fine with the decision. I feel her body is much more able to handle them at 18 then as a baby. Imagine my surprise when I called the doctor’s office and was told first she would have to have a well-child check. At 18? What? I’m pretty sure in this country an 18 year old is considered an adult. An 18 year old can join the military and fight and die for our country, they can vote, they are responsible for their own actions and debt. But first has to have a “well-child” check before an immunization? And how about the fact that a 14 year old girl could go and get an abortion in this country without a “well-child” check. In the end we went to a walk in immediate care clinic and they had no problem with our request.

When in the clinic the PA (Physician’s Assistant) was a bit surprised she had not been immunized. She asked me, “Has she had care?” I assumed she meant medical care. I told her I took Sierra to the doctors when she needed to go. She has been very healthy. She has been to the doctor twice. Once at age 5 for a tick bite that was not healing as I thought it should and once at 14 to talk with the doctor about allergy issues. I’m very thankful for doctors, I am not anti-doctor or hospital or any such thing. I believe they have their place in life, for the sick, not the well.

This got me to my current thinking and the questions posed for this blog, “Can we Raise Children without “Professionals” Today?”. As a parent who has been out of the main stream for many years I realized that today things are very different than in the past. It begins with us needing a professional to deliver our babies, and then we need professionals to keep tabs on them as babies, as children, as teens and apparently even as young adults.

I took this thinking one step further; we then need professionals to teach our children. We put them in school (I’m generalizing on society, obviously), we need councilors to talk to them, we need government funded dieticians to tell us what they need to eat, and so on. Goodness, someone as simple minded as a parent cannot be considered capable of raising them and there must be professionals for every step and walk of life. Sadly, I do believe this is where our society may be at this point.

God gave me these children. I’ve prayed for wisdom and knowledge and I’ve read and researched many hours and made choices for my children based on all of this. Part of wisdom and knowledge is knowing, as a parent, when I need a professional and when I don’t. But that should be MY choice, not the societal norms. Not the government laid out programs and schedules. As you may be able to tell I’m not an “it takes a village” type person. It takes parents who pray for wisdom and knowledge, read and research, ask questions, study an issue, and know that they are capable of making informed decisions on their own. 

What I pass on to my own children? You are responsible for your children; you are empowered to make the choices for them. Pray, read, research…


Monday, June 2, 2014

Menu Monday!

Chicken pot pie, watermelon, veggie platter

Marinated chicken, brown rice, salad

Pulled pork sandwiches, fruit

Fish sticks, mac & cheese, salad

Beef pot roast, roasted potatoes, salad

Chicken cacciatore over pasta, french bread, salad

Crockpot chili, chips & salsa, veggie platter