Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy Crockpot Chicken Chili – New Video!

Today's video is on making on of my favorite, easy, go to meals, Easy Crockpot Chicken Chili. I love this meal because it is so easy to throw together. My most loved crockpot meals are ones that don't take a lot of prep ahead of time and I can have the basic pantry ingredients on my shelf ready to go. These types of meals are perfect for busy days at home or when you just need to get dinner started before you head out for the day. 


You can find the recipe for this meal here:

Also if you'd like to sign up for my YouTube Channel you can do that here: 

Hope you find the video helpful!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homemaking Challenge for November!

Well.. November is still a few days away.. but, with my hectic October I did not get one posted.. and now I'm ready to tackle a few thing around my home..

So my 'Homemaking Challenge” for November is a little fall cleaning and some organizing.

My windows need some attention, so window cleaning is on the list. 

Dust & cobwebs. I don't know about you but with my doors and windows open all summer long I see dust and cobwebs. I'm going vacuum them up, move some furniture around and vacuum the hidden spots and prepare for the holidays! 

And finally.. I have a few kitchen cupboards that need a little organizing. My baking cupboard, while not horrible, is in need of having everything pulled out and wiped down and organized. This will make fall/holiday baking much easier!

So.. are you with me girls? A little fall cleaning and getting the kitchen organized for holiday baking!!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Menu Monday!!

Another week seemed to just fly on by here on my homestead and now it's time for the weekly menu once again. How is your menu planning going this week?

Easy crockpot chicken chili, tortilla chips & salsa, veggie platter (this did not get made last week)....

Teriyaki pork riblets, grilled veggies, rice

Chicken bacon chowder, biscuits, salad


Homemade Pizza

Crockpot french dip sandwiches, creamy onion soup, carrot sticks

Bibimbap (Korean meal that Leanne will be making)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Braid a 6 Braid Challah Bread - My 1st Video! :)

I decided to wade into the video world. On Saturday Leanne was making some delicious soup for our dinner and I decided challah bread would go great with it.

So my first video is on how to braid a 6 braid challah loaf. In the video I do not show how to make the bread itself. (if you'd like a bread making video.. let me know.. ;)

I've posted the recipe below so you can make this bread as well.

I enjoyed making the video and would like to do more of them, if anyone would be interested. If you have something you would like to see me do a video on, please let me know!

I'm new at this video making thingy and have a lot to learn.. so excuse all the little mistakes.. Ha, ha, ha... ~smile~

But for now.. here is my first video..

Challah - Makes 3 Loaves
Crystal Miller

1/3 cup warm water
2 T yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
¼ cup butter
¼ cup olive oil
1 T salt
½ cup sugar
4 eggs
7 to 9 cups flour (white, or half white/half wheat)

In a small measuring cup combine the 1/3 cup warm water and 2T yeast. Let that sit to foam up a little. In a large mixer bowl combine 1 ½ cups warm water, butter, olive oil, salt and sugar. Mix for a few minutes. Add eggs and mix well. Add yeast and water mixture.

Add flour starting with the smallest measurements. Mix until well combined. Add more flour (a little at a time) if needed so there is no dough sticking to the sides of mixer bowl and the dough is not sticky, but not too stiff.

Knead for 7 to 10 minutes in a Kitchen Aid or 4 to 5 minutes in a Bosch. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Mix dough down again, and let rise a second time.

Then mix it down again and divided dough into 3 pieces. Braid each piece, put on a jelly roll pan, cover and let rise until doubled in size.

When ready, bake bread at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pizza Night

I know I've shared recipes in the past on making pizza. Somehow homemade pizza never gets old!! We are not weekly pizza people. I have a few friends that serve it weekly. I've never done that, but do see the appeal!

Not long ago we had a pizza night. I have young boys in the house and to them it's not pizza unless it has pepperoni on it. So I made 3 pizza's. Two were pepperoni for the boys (and my hubby) and the other my daughter and I called.. the girls pizza. It was bbq chicken, bacon, feta with a white sauce. It was amazing!!

I began by making 3 pizza crusts. Here is my recipe..

My Basic Pizza Crust
Makes 3 crust

2 Tbs yeast
¾ c warm water
6 ½ to 7 cups flour
1 ½ c warm water
1 TBS salt
4 ½ T olive oil

In a mixer such as a Bosch or a Kitchen Aid add yeast and warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve and activate. Add 2 cups of flour and all remaining ingredients. Mix dough well adding the extra flour until the dough will not stick to the sides of the bowl. Knead for about 4 minutes in the Bosch and 6 to 8 in the Kitchen Aid.

If you made this dough in a Kitchen Aid then let the dough rise for 1 hour. If made in a Bosch, skip this step.

Punch down dough, divide into 3 pieces and roll out to fit a 14 inch pizza pan. Either grease the pan or put parchment paper down first, this is my choice.

Par-bake each crust for 6 minutes at 475. Remove from oven, spread sauce over all and then top with desired toppings.

Bake an additional 15 to 18 minutes until the cheese has melted and the pizza is looking a nice golden color. Serve and enjoy!!

They both had the typical (at least for us) onions and peppers. I added olives to the “boys pizza”.

The pepperoni pizza was pretty basic.. sauce (I used spaghetti sauce that I had in the fridge, from a jar, that needed to be used up) and then topped with onions, peppers, olives and mozzarella cheese.

I took 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cut them up into bite size pieces. I cooked them in a little coconut oil in a frying pan until they were no longer pink. I then poured bbq sauce over them to coat them nicely. I also fried up about ¼ pound of bacon.

To assemble the pizza I used ranch dressing for the white sauce. I spread this over crust, and topped with the chicken, bacon, onion slices and pepper slices. Then put mozzarella cheese over the top and sprinkled some feta as well.

Both pizzas were baked for about 15 minutes. And we thoroughly enjoyed them!!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Menu Monday!


It was a busy week last week for me!  Hubby and I got away for a few days, my son has recovered perfectly from his surgery..  and my blogging was neglected..  This week should be back to normal for me!!  :)  How is your menu planning going this week? 

Asian sauced meatballs, brown rice pilaf, salad

Fish sticks, mac & cheese, green beans

Kalua pork, garlic roasted potatoes, coleslaw


Easy crockpot chicken chili, tortilla chips & salsa, veggie platter

Cheeseburger soup, dinner rolls, salad



Monday, October 13, 2014

Menu Monday!

Our weather is cooling down a lot this week!   So a little soup and chili is on the menu.

Tacos, chips & salsa

Fish sticks, mac & cheese, salad

Turkey burgers, potato salad, fruit


Navy bean soup, crackers, veggie platter

Chili, cornbread, salad

Crockpot chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans


Friday, October 10, 2014

Update on my Son's Surgery...

So many of you were so very sweet to tell me back in July when he had his ruptured appendix that you were praying for my son. I thank you for that!! The final step in this was surgery to remove what was left of his appendix. They no longer operate right away. My son spent 5 days in the hospital in July on antibiotics and got rid of the infection. Came home and spent a couple more weeks on antibiotics and then surgery was scheduled 6 weeks later (plus a little longer to fit in the doctors surgery schedule).

My son had his appendectomy this morning. It went very well, very straight forward, no complications. They originally told us he'd have to spend the night. However 2 hours after surgery he was up and eating a cheeseburger.. Ha, ha!! So his surgeon wanted him to stay until the evening and if his pain was under control and he wanted to go home, he could. By 6:00 he was sleepy (due to pain meds), but ready to come home. They discharged us and currently he is snuggled up in his jammies and sleeping. And very happy to be in his own bed.

We had some time to wait this morning in pre-surgery... we were having some fun and I took this ''selfie” of the two of us... I'm NOT a selfie person.. ~smile~ But this was a good reason for it...



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Baking!! Apple Crisp

Ooohhh... this was yummy!! Nothing says fall to me like a hot apple crisp smothered in vanilla ice cream. What a yummy treat.. my family loved it... and it was easy to make...

Apple Crisp

5#'s apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
¼ cup sugar (add a tablespoon more if your apples are tart)
1 ½ t cinnamon
½ t salt

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup flour
1 cube/stick cold butter, cut into small pieces

In a large bowl combine apples, ¼ cup sugar, cinnamon and salt. Put this mixture in a 9x13 pan that has been greased. I used coconut oil to grease my pan.

In a smaller bowl make the topping. Combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, and flour. Add the butter and using your clean hands combine until you have clumps of butter and dry ingredients all mixed together nicely.

Put topping over apple mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

When it is done, scoop out servings and top with vanilla ice cream for an amazing dessert treat!! And enjoy!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Menu Monday!!

I had a couple meals from last week that I did not get made.. so they will make an appearance on the menu this week. 

Leftover chicken pot pie, salad

Chili dogs, potato chips, salad

Homemade pizza, salad


Fend for yourself night.. ~smile~ I'll be at the hospital with my son, this is his scheduled surgery day. I'll leave sandwich ingredients and fruit for those at home..

Crockpot chicken chili, chips & salsa, salad

Korean pot roast, brown rice, salad


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute

If you're wanting to make a fall/pumpkin recipe and realize it calls for pumpkin pie spice and you don't have any... never fear.. you can make it easily yourself...

Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute

1T cinnamon
1t nutmeg
1t ginger
½ t ground cloves

Put all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until combined...

Store in an air tight container and use in any recipe calling for “pumpkin pie spice”..


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Homemade Cold Remedy


Well it happened.. everyone in my household got a cold... the first of the season. I have a few recipes that I make when we all come down with the “yuck”... but this year I wanted something that would be simple to take and easy to make. This recipe was my experiment. I took the best parts of so many cold fighting cures and combined them into one remedy.

Gather your ingredients together...

Put it all in a blender...

Blend until smooth.  Store in a canning jar in the fridge. When you need some.. take 1T to 2T as needed.

I found this to be very effective. Helped to clear noses and heads. Our colds seemed to last about 3 to 4 days.. of course I don't know if this was just this particular strain of cold.. or this remedy... but the remedy certainly did help relieve symptoms.

I've only used this remedy on adults. I can't say it would be a good or bad for children, I would just use your common sense. The cayenne pepper in it might make it a little to “spicy” for children, so you may want to omit this ingredient.

Crystal's Kick that Cold!  Home Remedy

1T apple cider vinegar
2T lemon juice
2T honey
6 to 8 cloves, garlic
1 chunk of fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb, peeled can cut up
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup very hot water

In a blender combine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic cloves, ginger pieces, and cayenne pepper. Pour very hot (not boiling, but almost) water over it all. Blend for as long as it takes to combine all ingredients. You don't want bits and pieces of garlic or ginger.

Transfer to a canning jar and store in refrigerator.

To use: take 1T as is or add 1T to a cup of hot water and drink like tea.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall Baking!! Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

The temps are cooling and it's beginning to feel a lot more like fall here in my part of the world. I decided it was time to break out the pumpkin puree and do some baking. I made these pumpkin cookies the other night. They are very good and went just perfect with an afternoon cup of coffee.

They are a soft cookie with a cake like texture. I will say that the frosting made 'just' enough frosting for the 3 dozen cookies. If you want your cookies with extra frosting, be sure to increase the recipe.

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups flour
1t baking powder
½ t baking soda
1t cinnamon
½ t salt
½ allspice
½ t ginger
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned pumpkin)
1 egg
1t vanilla

In a mixing bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice and ginger.

In a mixer (Kitchen Aid or Bosch) add butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and beat again.

Add flour mixture to butter/sugar. Mix until combined.

Drop by tablespoons (the measuring type) onto a cookie sheet that has been greased or lined with parchment paper (my choice is parchment paper.. that stuff just rocks! :D ).

Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and frost.


2 cups powdered sugar
1T butter, softened
1t vanilla
3 to 4T milk

In a mixer combine powdered sugar and butter. Add vanilla and 3T milk. Mix well and add another tablespoon of milk if needed to make it a nice smooth frosting.

Frost pumpkin cookies and enjoy!!

(to print this recipe, click on the blog heading and you will see a print button at the end of the blog post)