Monday, October 30, 2017

Menu Monday!

We got home today (Monday) later in the afternoon and I realized I had not posted my Menu Monday. Which is understandable, after being gone all last week I really had no idea what I was cooking this week. On our way home we stopped and did a little grocery shopping at Costco and my mind was kicked into gear thinking about what to eat.

I'll be sharing more about our adventures on Wednesday Snap Shot, but for now.. here is what's cooking on the homestead this week...

Monday night was simple, sandwiches with some clementines and potato chips. Can't beat that for easy and quick. Perfect after a day on the road.

The rest of the week's meals..

Turkey Breast
I bought a turkey breast at Costco and was planning this meal a few weeks ago. For whatever reason I did not get it made. I will this week as a pre – Thanksgiving dinner is sounding good. I'm going to make stuffing, green beans and a salad along with this. I plan on cooking both the turkey breast and the stuffing in my Instant Pot.

Tri Tip Roast
I plan on rubbing the roast with seasonings of my choice (most likely garlic, salt & pepper, seasoning salt, basil, oregano, etc), sear it on the stove top, roast in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes a pound. I'll serve this with mashed potatoes, and a salad.

Sweet Pork Tacos
This is an IP recipe and it is yummy. I've made it a few times now. You can find the recipe HERE. The recipe is for tostadas, but we have it as tacos. I usually make refried beans to go with this meal.

All three of these meals should give me lots of leftovers and should be plenty of food for us to eat this week, and maybe some for the freezer, we shall see.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Soup Week: Tomato Soup


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 the 2 cans of milk, stir and turn heat to medium. Add cane juice crystal’s and butter and warm the soup until the butter melts. Do not let the soup boil. Taste and add salt and pepper. Then add the baking soda. Stir and serve warm.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Soup Week: Sausage Potato Chowder

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 this to the potatoes. Add corn.

Add milk and mix gently. The amount of milk you add depends on how thick or thin you prefer your chowder. If you add too much milk, simply mash up a few of the potatoes to help thicken. Taste and add salt & pepper as desired.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Soup Week: Cream Cheese Chicken Veggie Soup

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 until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add cream cheese and stir to combine and mix in well. Add salt if desired. Serve with cornbread and a salad for a super yummy meal!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Soup Week: Crockpot Hamburger Veggie Soup


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:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Soup Week: Making Stock & Pot Roast Soup

I'm taking a break from my regularly scheduled posts.  Hubby and I are off on a little adventure for the week.  I'm reposting a series I did on Soup Recipes a few years ago.  Fall and soups go hand in hand!  :)  

I'll be back next week with my regularly scheduled posts.  I hope you all have a great week!


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 pot and filled with water. I added one onion, garlic and salt. I let this simmer for 24 hours, divided it into 1 quart jars and then put it in the freezer for about 1 hour so the fat would congeal on the top so I could remove it. Two jars of the stock were used to make last night’s dinner, Pot Roast Soup. The other quart and a half jars are in the freezer.

This soup came as in inspiration to me based on the fact that I had a chuck pot roast in my freezer and wanted to make soup! Plus I know how fast a pot roast goes down in one meal and thought if I made soup with it I could stretch the meat out for 2 meals. The roast I used was about 3 ½ lbs. I put it, frozen, into the crockpot the night before I planned to make this soup. I put it on low and let it cook all night (about 12 hours). By that time it was falling apart tender. I removed it from the crockpot and cut chopped it all up. I put half in the freezer (for a future meal) and used the other half in the following soup recipe.

Pot Roast Soup

2 to 3 T olive oil
1 medium onion
5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2quarts beef stock
1 can (14/15 oz) green beans
2 cups sliced carrots
1 can (14/15oz) diced tomatoes
1T Italian spices (or a equal mix of basil & oregano)
8oz pasta of your choice or cut up red potatoes ( ½ to 1lb )
1 ½ lbs beef pot roast meat, cooked, cut up

In a large stock pot heat olive oil and add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft. Add beef stock, green beans, carrots, diced tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until carrots are soft. Add pasta or potatoes (whichever you choose), bring to a boil, cover, simmer until pasta or potatoes are cooked. Add pot roast meat, taste and add salt & pepper as desired. Serve with garlic bread, cornbread or crackers and enjoy!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pasta Salad & Sunday Brunch

This week in Friday in the Kitchen I'll be sharing an easy and yummy pasta salad that I made and a fun little impromptu brunch I made for the hubs and I.

Pasta Salad

First the pasta salad. I wanted to serve a pasta salad as a side dish to one of our meals last week. I just followed my own recipe and was very pleased with out it turned out.

I started by boiling 8oz of pasta. I used seashell pasta but any shape works well. I then cut and sliced up a tomato and some olives. I opened a can of black beans and drained and rinsed them. and I pulled out a large handful of baby spinach leaves.

For the dressing I made a batch of Italian Dressing. You can make your own or use store bought. 


I combined it all and tossed in a little parmesan cheese in the end. 

I let it sit in the fridge a couple hours to allow the flavors to combine well. It was very good!

My recipe amounts are my approximate amounts. You can add more or less depending on your taste preferences. It's a pretty flexible recipe.

Italian Pasta Salad

8oz pasta, your choice of shape, cooked
1 roma tomato, cut into small pieces
½ cup sliced olives
1 cup drained & rinsed black beans
1 large handful baby spinach leaves
½ cup (approximately), Italian dressing this can be your recipe, or store bought dressing
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, approximately

Combine tomato, olives and black beans and spinach. Add dressing and toss to coat everything evenly. Add cheese and stir it in. Put in fridge for a couple hours to allow flavors to combine.

Sunday Brunch

The other morning was a rainy cloudy cool morning. It wasn't actually Sunday morning, as my hubby works that day but it was his day off.  He got the fire going and did a few things around the house. I was puttzing around with a few chores as well. Typically neither of us are big breakfast eaters. Around 11:am my hubby said he was feeling a bit hungry. So I went to the kitchen to pull something together for us to eat. I decided on waffles, bacon, eggs and fruit.

I used Bisquick to make the waffles and added 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the batter. I contemplated adding a little pureed pumpkin but decided not to because I would have had to open a large can of puree and then figure out what to do with the rest so it would not go to waste. The pumpkin pie spice was perfect and gave the waffles a nice little autumn like taste. You can add the spice to your own homemade waffle batter if you don't use Bisquick.

I cooked up a few slices of bacon and fried us up some eggs. Then washed a few grapes and some strawberries. When I set the table and we were getting ready to eat I snapped a picture because it looks so pretty and perfect quite cozy for a dreary fall mid morning.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

If you'd like to join in on my Wednesday Snap Shot.. copy and paste my post, add your answers (you can also copy the pic..BUT Please download the picture to your computer first.. do not just directly copy and paste.. otherwise you are using my bandwidth..thank you! :).. link your post to my blog and then come back and let me know you shared your week. I'll come and visit you and read about your homemaking week!! :)

So Far This Week
Good morning everyone! I've had a good week. I've mentioned in a few blog posts that this year I've had some vision issues. I've been to several doctors, had multiple tests which have all come back normal, so it's been a long journey. Finally last week I saw a specialist and he was able to tell me what the problem is. I felt a huge weight of relief off of me as I walked out of his office. I now know what I'm dealing with and have an answer to solve it. The solution will be surgery and now I wait for the surgeon's office to call and schedule and appointment to meet him and go from there. Everything medical seems to take time, so I don't have any idea how long it will be before this is solved but at least I finally have an answer and I'm very thankful for that.

My daughter Hannah and children came to see us last week and we had such a nice visit. My hubby is known to the grandchildren as the snack grandpa. Whenever we go to their house, he brings a snack. Whenever they come here and he is home, he has a snack for them. These are very simple snacks sometimes it's a little container of nuts, sometimes it's a small amount of potato chips or fruit. The kids love mostly the ritual of snack time with grandpa more then anything else. When they see him the first thing they will ask him is if he has a snack for them :).

While we were out shopping a couple weeks ago my hubby saw some Bugles. It brought back memories from our own childhoods. As a child I remember putting them on our fingers to make witches nails as we called them. So he bought a small package of them. When they were here last week he brought them out and they all had some snack time fun..

The kids do love it when Grandpa is just as goofy as they are!  :)

On My To-Do List
Today is a cool, rainy, wet, cloudy day. All it really makes me feel like doing is snuggling up with a cup of something warm and yummy and a book! :) I may do that later on in the day but before that I have a few things to do..

~laundry.. I have a load going and another one to do after that
~vacuum the living room
~make dinner... I posted on Monday the recipe for Crockpot Steak & Veggies. I'm going to get that started soon. I have the meat defrosting now.
~make lemonade... I send lemonade to work with my hubby each day. I make it up ahead of time and fill bottles with it. I usually make a couple gallons at a time and then have it ready to go for quite a while.

Maybe by late afternoon/evening I'll be ready for that book, warm drink and snuggling up for the evening.

Projects I'm Working On
I had a friend come over last week and we made soap together. She had never made it so I let her make a small batch to learn the process. That was a lot of fun. I made a bigger batch and still would like to make some more. As soon as my children hear I'm making soap they stand in line to get some! Ha, ha.. I think I love giving it away to them as much as I love making it.

After I finished doing my round of fall cleaning I decided a little decorating would be a nice finish on a clean house. I'm really not much of a fall person, but I try each year to get into the spirit of it all. I was happy with my efforts when I was done and it does make the house feel more cozy..

Today's Weather
Wet and rainy and cool..

High, 64 Low 52

The View from my Deck (or window)
I stood out in the rain to get this picture. One thing is for sure, with the rain we've had it's made everything  green, pretty quickly!

What I'm Reading
I finished reading Joel and Amos in my Bible reading. I started reading Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four. Then I saw a freebie on my Kindle called, The Girl with No Name by Diney Costeloe that peeked my interest and I started reading it. I've been reading classics all year, which was my goal, but I may either read both, switching between books or pick one and finish it, then finish the next.

What I'm Listening To
My washing machine going, the rain falling and my hubby dealing with our resident frog.. Ha, ha..

We had a frog in our basement, not sure how he got there and every time we'd hear him croak we'd go in the basement to see if we could find him, only to have him stop croaking. Finally this morning my hubby was in the basement, heard him.. and found him.. I think he just released him into the great outdoors. Hopefully he will not come back.

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
Found a few regularly used items on sale and stocked up, strained out another batch of vinegar orange homemade cleaner, brought coffee with us on our day in town to save $$$ instead of buying it.. I do love my Starbucks, but have decided it needs to be an occasional treat, not a weekly thing (we only buy coffee when we are there, not the drinks, but I'm shocked to see how much the coffee has gone up in price this year). And made excellent use of my leftovers. I challenge myself to see how little food waste I can have each week. The goal would be zero and some weeks I actually meet that goal.

Fitness and Health for the Week
I had a couple 6000 step days this week. I know as soon as I get my vision issues taken care of, walking will be much easier.

Continued to eat lots of fruits, veggies, and grains..

That is all for this week!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Menu Monday!

The weather has been cooling down. We're starting fires each morning to take the chill off the house. I came across a few crockpot recipes and I decided to try a couple of them this week. Having the crockpot going in the kitchen helps to warm it up a bit. It's definitely feeling like fall here.

However, tonight I'm making the shrimp ravioli w/pesto sauce that was on my menu last week. I was going to make it last night but still had leftover soup.

The rest of the week is looking like this...

Crockpot Healthy Chicken Tacos
This recipe looked good, easy, and healthy! It's the perfect combination. I've not tried it yet, but will share the recipe with you. If we like it.. I'll update you on it.

Crockpot Healthy Chicken Tacos

2t cumin
2t oregano
½t paprika
1t chili powder
½t pepper
1t salt
1 onion, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic
juice from 1 lime
6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
Corn or flour tortillas, your choice
Toppings for tacos, salsa or pico degalo, guacamole, sour cream, your choice

Combine seasonings (cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper) and set aside. In crockpot add onions, corn, diced tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and lime juice. Lay chicken thighs on top and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the seasonings. Stir to combine ingredients. Cook on “Low” for 6 hours or “High” for 3 hours. When cooking time is done, remove chicken and cut into pieces. Add the chicken back in and cook on low for 10 minutes.

Serve on tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Meatloaf with Macaroni & Cheese
I have a couple meatloaf's in the freezer. Last shopping day I decided to whip them up before putting the meat in the freezer. I'm going to make macaroni & cheese in my IP and serve this meal with a big green salad.

Crockpot Steak & Veggies
I have some sirloin steak in the freezer and this recipe seemed like a good use for it. Again, I've not tried it but it looks good, easy and healthy! Another win/win. I'll be sure to give a review of this after I try it. For now, I'll share the recipe

Crockpot Steak & Veggies

2lbs top sirloin beef, sliced thin
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
1T minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1lb brussel sprouts, cut in half
1 red pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced

Put steak in crockpot. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Pour over steak and add onion. Stir it all up. Cook on “Low” for 3 hours. Then add brussel sprouts, red pepper and carrots. Cook on “Low” for 1 hour. Serve with rice.

That should do it for the week!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Snap Shot

Wednesday Snap Shot is a quick peek into my week.

If you'd like to join in on my Wednesday Snap Shot.. copy and paste my post, add your answers (you can also copy the pic..BUT Please download the picture to your computer first.. do not just directly copy and paste.. otherwise you are using my bandwidth..thank you! :).. link your post to my blog and then come back and let me know you shared your week. I'll come and visit you and read about your homemaking week!! :)

So Far This Week
I've had a nice week. I made progress on my fall cleaning and finally got my refrigerator & freezer cleaned out and organized. That inspired me to give the floor a good cleaning and wipe down all the cupboards.

I had a fun day spent with a neighbor/friend and taught her how to make soap. She just wanted me to let her know when I was making soap because she wanted to watch me do it. But I know if you want to learn to do something you learn much better by actually doing it rather then just watching. So I got my little crockpot out and she made a 1lb batch as I was making my 4lb batch. She was happy to be able to have soap to take home and we had fun visiting and doing a project together.

I'm writing this post on Tuesday evening and will be setting it to go out in the morning. I have a very early appointment that is in the city. It normally would take me close to an hour to get where I need to go, but add in rush hour morning traffic it a few different areas it will take longer. My hubby is going with me so we decided to get a very early start.

On My To-Do List
After my appointment we are going to run a few errands and go grocery shopping. We figured we'd just combine everything into one day. So it will be a long day. I doubt I'll be doing a whole lot more when I get home. Dinner will be leftover potato soup that I made last night.

Projects I'm Working On
I'm making slow and steady progress on my fall cleaning. My kitchen is done, my sun room is almost done. The only other area I want to hit is my laundry room/pantry.

Today's Weather
Our weather is really changing now. Nights are getting cooler, more cloudy days and more rain. I think the rainy season may be starting. And for us the rainy season lasts about 8 months.. ha, ha..

Today's High 47 Low 42 and rainy

The View from my Deck (or window)
No picture this week, since I'm posting this the night before

What I'm Reading
I finished reading Daniel and Hosea. I also finished Dracula. What a great book, I'd give it 5 stars for a great story, plot and creativity of the author Bram Stoker. Now to find my next classic book to read (my classic reading year :)

What I'm Listening To
My hubby is listening to some music, the rain falling, the fire crackling.

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
This is something I do often. I think before buying. It's so easy to buy things online. So convenient. But also so easy to buy things that are on impulse. What I do is if I'm searching for something on Amazon I put it in the cart and let it sit there. I may think of a few more things I need and add them over the course of a few days. Then before I go and check out, I look at what I have in the cart and ask myself if I still feel I need to purchase each of the items. Often times I find I don't really need what I thought I needed a few days prior. Just a way of keeping impulse buying in check.

Fitness and Health for the Week
More steps are finally happening for me. I'm not at 10,000 yet, but I'm getting there. My new Fitbit will give me a little buzz every hour to remind me to move and I've started by trying to get more steps in throughout the day. I'm building myself back up and it's going great.

That is all for this week!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Menu Monday!

I've been doing a little freezer reorganization and clean up. My refrigerator freezer was long overdue for a clean out and clean up. I found a bag with 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs and a ½ bag of shrimp. I decided to make chicken & shrimp scampi with that. I did that yesterday while I was also cleaning the refrigerator. Felt good to have those chores done and also have dinner for tonight all done. I'll serve the scampi with coleslaw and french bread. 

The rest of the week is looking like this...

Brats & Potatoes
I had this on my menu a few weeks ago and it was a meal that never got made. So it's on the menu this week. I plan to have green beans on the side.

Potato Soup
I have a bag of seasoned cooked ground beef in the fridge. I'm going to make some potato soup and use the precooked meat for this. I'll serve biscuits or french bread and a salad with this.

Shrimp Ravioli w/Pesto
I also found a package of shrimp ravioli in my freezer. I plan to boil them, drain and add pesto sauce to them. I'll serve this with roasted butternut squash & broccoli. Fall and roasted veggies just seem to go together in my mind. :)

That should do it for the week!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Saving Time in the Kitchen

This week in "Friday in the Kitchen" I'll be sharing my afternoon of cooking up a few meals all at once to save me time in the kitchen the rest of the week. 

Last Sunday afternoon I had a little extra time and decided to make a few meals up at the same time. This has been great to have this week and I hope to be able to do it again.

I picked simple and easy to put together meals. I wanted enough for us to eat at home and enough to pack my husbands meals for the following work week.

I made:
BBQ Chicken (for sandwiches)
Mexican Chicken Soup

I used my Instant Pot for these meals because it makes cooking much quicker.

I started by cooking 2#'s of chicken breast in my IP. When that was finished I divided the meat into two bowls and shredded up the chicken. I strained the liquids left in the IP to use in my chicken soup.  While the chicken was cooking I made a small batch of cornbread muffins to go with our soup. 

I added BBQ sauce to the shredded chicken and we ate this on hamburger buns with coleslaw..


The next things I did was wash out my IP and cook 2#'s of hamburger. I added some onions, sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper, and garlic to the meat. When that was done I divided it into two bowls. 


I used 1# to make spaghetti.

And the 2nd to make chili. I loosely followed THIS recipe. The only changes I made to was to use less water, I used 1 cup not the 1 ½ cups she calls for and I used a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

I then washed out the IP and made the chicken soup. I did not follow a recipe for this. I just did my own thing. :) I put the cooked chicken and broth into the IP and added a diced onion, 2 peeled and chopped up carrots, 1 cut up jalapeno pepper, a small amount of chopped fresh cilantro, and one can of corn (I did not drain it). I added a 7oz can of green chili salsa, and salted to taste. I cooked the soup for 12 minutes on "Manual" and did an instant release.  It was a bit spicy, but we like spicy so it was all good. 

I divided all the food into containers and ziplock bags to be able to put it in the freezer.  Then cleaned up my kitchen mess and stood back and admired my handiwork! :) It was a good feeling to have it all done and this week I've been reaping the rewards for my efforts.