Monday, February 27, 2017

Menu Monday!

Where did this month go? February ends and March begins and a new month of menus to plan.

Today I'm heading into town to run some errands so dinner tonight will be simple, lasagna from the freezer, french bread (also in the freezer) and a salad.

I'm trying to find ways to add more vegetables to our diet. I do add fresh veggies often with salads, but I wanted more variety with other veggies. So this week's menu is a reflection of trying to do this.

Baked Chicken
It will be simply baked chicken with spices on it. I'll be serving vegetable enchiladas with this. I plan on cooking up a variety of vegetables and spices and use this as the filling in corn tortillas, and topping with green enchilada sauce. I'm not using a recipe so I'll post this if it turns out, later this week. I'll have chips & salsa on the side.

Pot Roast
I'll make a pot roast in my Instant Pot with potatoes and cut up sweet potatoes. I'll serve garlic bread and a salad too.

Tuna Melts
Simply tuna mixed with mayo, put on toast, topped with cheese, and put under the broiler to melt. I found this recipe for cream of asparagus soup that I want to try, and serve with the tuna melts. I'll serve carrot sticks & ranch dressing on the side.

That should do it for the week!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday in the Kitchen

Not sure this will be a weekly series or not.  Just testing it out :) 

Today I have a few things to share with you that I've done recently.


I make a lot of salads. We enjoy them, and it is a great way to get many multi colored veggies into our diet. I do like to add various things to my salads to keep them interesting.

While on Pinterest I found this recipe. It is called Cucumber Salad, but in the end it is more like sweet pickles in taste. I made a batch and we enjoyed them quite a bit. I used them as a topper to our daily salads. It was nice to have the onions and peppers added in. It was easy to make as well.

I cut up all my veggies (I used regular cucumbers from the grocery store as pickling cucumbers are not available this time of year and it turned out fine), put them in a large bowl and sprinkled the salt over them. Then made my brine, filled a 2 quart canning jar with the veggies and poured the brine over them...

Super easy and they lasted us a couple weeks before we had finished them all up.

If you are looking for a great lunch salad, or light dinner salad, look no further than this recipe. It is for Chicken Bacon Salad. And it is wonderful!! I cooked my chicken and my eggs (at the same time) up in my Instant Pot and while that was cooking, I fried up the bacon and assembled the rest of the ingredients. I plan on making this again, very soon. It was so good.

Instant Pot

I'd planned on a meal that needed cooked hamburger in it. But, I'd forgot to take the hamburger out of the freezer. Not a great thing to remember an hour before dinner time.. :) What to do? Use my IP of course! Did you know you can defrost and cook your frozen hamburger up at the same time? You can.. and here is how I did it..

Put the trivet or a steamer basket in your IP. Add 1 ½ cups of water and put your frozen block of hamburger (this was 1# of hamburger) on top.

Close the lid, set the sealing knob to “seal” and set the IP on “manual” for 20 minutes.
When it is done, do a quick release of the pressure. This is what you will have..

Now remove the hamburger with tongs and put in a bowl. Use 2 forks to break the meat up and it is ready to use. The meat is moist and cooked through completely..

If you are doing more than 1#, you made need a little extra time. If your hamburger has not cooked completely, simply put the lid back on and give it a few more minutes to finish cooking.

That is all from the kitchen for today.. :)


Wednesday, February 22, 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).. 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
It's been a very busy but very enjoyable week. My niece and her husband came for a visit. They arrived on Saturday and left this morning. It was the first time we had met her husband and we liked him so much. They are such a cute couple and recently found out they are expecting their first baby. So soon I'll be a grand aunt (I know it's actually a great aunt but I like grand aunt better :) for the first time.

On Sunday I had my son and his girlfriend here for the day to visit as well. And yesterday my daughter Hannah came with her kids to see her cousin. I snapped this pic of 2 generations of cousins (my niece and Hannah's youngest)..

This morning we were up bright and early and heading to the airport. We got a picture of us all before we left..

After dropping them off we got a cup of coffee at Starbucks and did our grocery shopping (which is why Wednesday Snap Shot is late).

On My To-Do List
Most of what I wanted to get done today has been done. I cooked so much food while they were here that we are eating leftovers tonight. So, no cooking on the to do list.

When I'm done getting this post out I still have a few things to do...

~2 loads of laundry
~stripping the guest room sheets and washing them (3 loads I guess :)
~vacuum the living room
~swish through the bathroom

Projects I'm Working On
One thing I did not have time for this week was working on my blanket. Hopefully the rest of the week will afford some time for me to sit and work on this.

Today's Weather
It has been rainy all week, but this morning we woke up to a lot of fog. On our trip home I took this picture..

It was taken around noon and shows the sun trying shine behind all the fog.

It has now mostly burned off and it is a dry day.

High of 45, low of 27

The View from my Deck (or window)

What I'm Reading
Again with all my attention going to my guests I made very little progress on my reading.

What I'm Listening To
The washing machine going and my hubby outside raking the driveway

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I thought I'd share some of the deals I got today while grocery shopping. Costco had a great price on pork shoulder roasts. They were $1.79 a pound. I purchased a large 12 pound roast...

When I got home I cut the roast up into 4- 3# roasts, bagged them and put them in the freezer.

I always pack my hubby's lunch for work (as I've shared) and I use plastic containers for this. Costco also had a good deal on the containers. I needed to replace some of mine so this was great timing. I got 12 new ones for $9.74..

Fitness and Health for the Week
Now that it seems the snow and ice are done for the season the rain has moved in more days then not. I've never been a big fan of walking in the rain but I'm getting desperate to get out and get fit. I also saw at Costco a light weight rain jacket. It seemed the perfect answer for me. Now I have some motivation to walk in the rain knowing I won't come back soaked to bone.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Menu Monday!

Menu Monday!

Currently I still have family here. My niece and her hubby are visiting so I had my menu planned out ahead of time before they arrived. So far it's been smooth going with keeping every one fed. I've also had some of my children up here to see their cousin so it's been a busy house.

Last night I made meatballs with grape jelly & chili sauce, potato casserole and salad for dinner.

Here is what the rest of the week is looking like...

Kalua Pork
Made in the Instant Pot. I'll serve macaroni salad and broccoli with this meal.

Chicken Pot Pie
I'll make it easy by using drop biscuits on the top instead of making pie crust. I'll serve a salad with this.

I had this planned last week and never made it. So it will be a good one to serve for company. French bread and green beans will be served on the side.

Beef or chicken? Not sure yet. I'll serve with all the usual sides.

That should do it for the week for my main dish meals. Since I have company here for a couple more days I've also planned breakfast meals and lunch meals as well. Here is what I planned for those meals ..

~Crockpot sausage potato egg casserole, fruit, juice, yogurt
~Waffles, scrambled eggs, fruit, juice, yogurt
~Breakfast sandwiches, fruit, juice, yogurt

~Sub sandwiches, tomato soup
~Chicken bacon salad
~Baked bean soup

Wednesday, February 15, 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).. 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
This week has had its ups and downs for sure. The ice storm that was coming in last week when I wrote my WSS post was not fun. It was not as bad as the one that knocked our power out for 3 days. But there were casualties none the less.

My son was driving to work on Thursday morning and said the roads were ok, he was being cautious. But he rounded a curve and there was 4 inches of sleet and ice on the road. He spun out, hit the guard rail and was facing on coming traffic that was also struggling on the roads. It was very scary for him. It broke one head light, but that was the extent of the damage.

My daughter went to head out to work and brushed the snow off her windshield only to discover a big tree limb had dropped right on her car. The damage was bad. She was afraid to drive the car. The next day my son, bless his heart, took the morning off of work and let her use his car. He then took her car, carefully, to town to be repaired. Then drove it to her work and they switched cars. I told him he needed the “Best Brother Ever” award!!

After that the sun came out and things warmed up quickly. The snow started melting and life went back to our normal hum again.

On Saturday my son and his girlfriend came up for a visit. I loved that, so much fun. His girlfriend is the sweetest and we just love her. She and I get along beautifully and any time spent with both of them is a blessing to me.

On My To-Do List
Today is grocery shopping day. I plan to get on out of here as soon as possible. I need to get home and take care of other things. My niece and her husband will be here for a visit in a few days. I washed the sheets in the guest room but it still needs some dusting and vacuuming.

I need to also spend a little time doing some menu planning for when they are here.

Other than that I hope to have a little time in the evening to work on my baby blanket.

Projects I'm Working On
I'm almost half way done with baby blanket #2. I've been a little slow going on this project.

I wanted to share something with you if you crochet. I read a lot of websites as I search for patterns and I kept seeing people mention Clover Crochet Hooks. I was curious because they said the handles are designed to be ergonomically correct for your hand. Well, ever since my hand infection a few years ago I've had issues with my hand. Crocheting can cause my fingers and hand to feel kind of crampy when I've been crocheting for a time. So I purchased one. I love this thing. It is so comfortable to hold. Even if you don't have any hand issues you would most likely find this to be much more comfortable to hold than the typical crochet hook. 

Below is the link to a set of them but you can also find them individually if you want to just try one out and see what you think.

(affiliate link)

Today's Weather
It's 35 outside right now and rainy.  There was a predicted ice storm that was suppose to hit last night.  Thankfully we woke up to just rain.  

High 42, Low 33 

Anything above 32 makes me happy! :)

The View from my Deck (or window)
As you can the snow has melted a lot 

What I'm Reading
I'm almost done with 2nd Kings.

What I'm Listening To
It's one of those quiet, peaceful mornings.  I hear the clock in my living room ticking, the fire going and my hubby getting his morning coffee

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I'm not really able to think of something new this week that I've done. I do a lot things are just my norm that are frugal. As you know I make a lot of bone broth. Whenever I serve chicken for dinner I have a large freezer container that I have everyone put their bones in after dinner. Usually there are not enough bones after a single meal to make broth. So I just keep saving them. When the container is full I make bone broth. I like to think I'm getting maximum value from the chicken I buy.

Fitness and Health for the Week
I did not lose any time when the weather warmed up to get out and take a walk! :) it felt so good to be out and walking and moving and not slipping and sliding. I'm hoping the weather continues to make walking possible.

As far as health I wanted to share something that may only be a help to my lady friends that are going through the menopause process. I've been battling it for a bit now and a friend of mine made some suggestions to me that I decided to try. One of them is the herb Black Cohosh. It is used to help balance hormones and deal with hot flashes. I've had wonderful success with it. I take one a day and that has been enough to make me feel much better.

The other is Gaba. It is a natural neurotransmitter. So if you deal with depression, anxiety/stress, and foggy thinking that can plague some of us as walk through this process of life you might find it helpful. They are chewable and I take one day.

Of course I encourage you to do your own research. I'm not a doctor but just letting you know that I have found both of these to be very beneficial to me.

(affiliate link)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Menu Monday!

Hard to believe we're almost halfway through February. Seems like this year is flying by. I turn around and it's Monday again! :)

Yesterday I made pork enchiladas which was an additional meal for the week. I've had extra people here, family & friends, and was in need of another meal. I took a pork roast (shoulder, about 3#'s), cut it up into 4 pieces and put it in my Instant Pot. I added several cut up green onions, a few mini peppers, 2t salt, 1t granulated garlic, 1t cumin, 2t chili powder and 2 cut up canned chipotle peppers. I added 1 ½ cups water. Put the lid on, set to sealing, and let it cook for 50 minutes. When it was done I shredded the meat and let it simmer for a few minutes. Then filled flour tortillas with the meat, rolled them up, put them in a 9x13 pan and poured green enchilada sauce over them (canned from the store) and sprinkled a small amount of cheese on the top. I baked them for about 30 minutes at 350. They were very good. I also have enough leftover for tonight's dinner. 


The rest of the week is looking like this..

Lasagna, french bread, salad. All just yummy.. :)

A family favorite. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans.

Chicken Vegetable Soup
It's becoming one of my favorite things to make in my IP. I make it for lunches often. This week it will be dinner. I use chicken legs (inexpensive), and any assortment of veggies I have on hand or purchased for this. I cook the chicken legs in water and salt and I add garlic and onions for flavor. Then release the pressure and add the veggies. Cook for a few minutes more. Season to taste. I'll serve biscuits or muffins to go with this.

That should do it for the week. :)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Making Kefir from Cultures

I like making kefir. It has a taste similar to yogurt, with a bit less tang. It is thick but more of a liquid then yogurt is. It is much easier to make. You don't need any appliance such as a yogurt maker to make it. You can drink it as is or it makes a great addition to smoothies.

You can make kefir two ways. One is from kefir grains and the other is kefir cultures.

Kefir grains are left in the milk and daily strained out. The grains multiply allowing you to continue to make more kefir. They require daily maintenance.

Kefir cultures are in a powdered form. You make it by heating up milk and adding the cultures when the milk is an appropriate temperature. You can reculture many times. Meaning you add milk to a portion of the kefir and it will make more kefir.

I chose to use the cultures because there is less maintenance and the end goal of having cultured dairy in my diet is achieved.

Below is how I made my kefir..

This is the brand of kefir I used. It comes in a box with 6 packets of culture in it..

You begin by heating up a quart of milk to 180 degrees...

Then allow the milk to cool to about 75 degrees. If you don't want to wait for the milk to cool you can speed up the process by putting the pan in some cold water (ice can be added) and stirring until it has cooled down.

When the milk is ready, open the packet of cultures and put them in a small bowl.

Take some of the hot milk and pour into the bowl of cultures and stir them.

When they are dissolved pour back into the pan of milk and stir...

Pour the cultured milk into a canning jar and put a lid on the jar.

Set the jar on the counter for 24 hours.

When it is done it will be fairly thick...

You can stir or shake the jar and it can be poured out..

To reculture is simple. Take about ¼ cup kefir and put it in a quart jar. Top the jar with warm milk (75 degrees). Let it sit on the counter for 24 hours and you have another quart of kefir.

Each batch of kefir can be recultured several times.

Here is a link to the Yogourmet Freeze-Dried Kefir Starter -- 1 oz I purchased (affiliate link)

Wednesday, February 8, 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).. 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
The weekend was busy with another snowstorm and plowing the driveway again. My son did make it up on Sunday as roads were better. It was a good visit. I gave him a haircut while he was here. I guess he still appreciates the frugalness of mom's haircuts :).

My youngest daughter came home on Friday night from work feeling poorly. She got steadily worse over the weekend. I felt like it was a flu bug. But she could not eat or drink and was feeling pretty weak by Monday. I took her in to the doctors and they gave her some meds to calm her tummy. Today she was able to go back to work and is slowly feeling a bit stronger each day.

Yesterday hubby and I had an enjoyable day with a few of our grandchildren. Hannah came up for a visit and it was fun.

On My To-Do List
Today is grocery shopping. We have, once again, another snow/freezing rain predicted for tonight and tomorrow. So I need to get to town while I can and pick up some supplies.

When I get home my plan is...

~vacuum & sweep floors
~make dinner
~clean & organize laundry room
~clutter control

Projects I'm Working On
I have not made as much progress on my recent baby blanket as I had wanted. Seemed like I was busy with other things. So I'm hoping for some quiet time this week to make some progress.

Today's Weather
Winter has us in it's grip. Every time I think that things are starting to get better we get more nasty weather. Today the forecast is calling for freezing rain. Our 5th freezing rain storm. This makes things difficult. My kids and hubby trying to get to work, my hubby trying to keep things moving around here. The county is working on keeping the roads deiced and salted but at times it is a loosing battle and driving conditions are frightful.

Today's high 38, Low 29 with snow and freezing rain.

The View from my Deck (or window)

What I'm Reading
I finished 1st Kings and have started reading 2nd Kings.

I have not found a new book to start yet. Still trying to decide what book I want to delve into next.

What I'm Listening To
The sound of freezing rain hitting my windows.

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I mentioned above giving my son a haircut this week. I also gave my hubby a haircut as well. I've been giving my husband and my three sons haircuts for years now. I don't really have any savvy when it comes to cutting hair. I know how to give one kind of haircut and that has worked. The money saved over the years is really phenomenal. Nowadays with the internet and YouTube it is an easy thing to be able to learn how to do this.

Fitness and Health for the Week
I was so happy to get my kefir culture and made some right away. I've been enjoying it. I'll be posting later in the week about this.

I wish I could say I've been walking. But winter won't give me a break. With today's snow and freezing rain, I won't be doing any walking other than the quick grocery store trip.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Menu Monday!

Another Monday and a new menu for the week. :)

This week I've got several things to take care of so I'm looking for simple and quick meals.

Tonight we are having spaghetti and meatballs. I have precooked frozen meatballs in my freezer that I'll use. I'll serve this with french bread and a salad.

The rest of the week is looking like this..

Potato, Corn, Bacon Chowder
I made this not long ago but it was so good it needs a repeat. I'll serve crackers and salad on the side.

A big pot of chili to enjoy for a couple days sounds good. Making this in my IP makes this a quick and easy meal. I'll make corn muffins and a veggie platter go round out the meal.

Tater Tot Casserole
The well known recipe, hamburger, green beans, tater tots, cream soup. Not sure if I'll bake it in the oven or use the my crockpot. I'll serve broccoli on the side.

That should do it for the week! How's your menu planning coming along?


Wednesday, February 1, 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).. 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 great week. I had a few days of just quiet and I loved it. I crocheted my baby blanket and listened to my book. It was nice.

Yesterday we drove to my brothers and celebrated his birthday with him. It was a lot of fun. He is 8 years older then I am. It is a sobering thing for us to realize that we are all that is left of our family. Our mother, father, sister are all passed away. It is just me and him. I love my brother and enjoy time with him and his sweet wife. I've come to realize that my family is my husband, my children, my grandchildren. It's just a different dynamic then it was years ago.

Today, with another storm threatening to bring us more snow, hubby and I are heading into town to run errands and restock the groceries.

On My To-Do List
After grocery shopping I have home stuff to take care of..

~cook food
~do a quick run through on the bathroom

Projects I'm Working On
One baby blanket done, number 2 is on the way!! Soon I'll be needing to order more yarn for the next ones.

The finished blanket
The start of the 2nd one..

Today's Weather
High of 35 and a low of 31 and windy. Snow expected tomorrow.

The View from my Deck (or window)
There is still snow on the ground.  A lot of it has melted and we were hoping to warm up more then we have so the rest could melt.  But I guess that will not be the case.  I hoping whatever amount of snow falls this week will be mild.

What I'm Reading
I finished Tenant of Wildfeld Hall.. and so enjoyed it!! I'm now about half way through 1st Kings. Solomon building the temple. How ornate! I'm enjoying this book!

What I'm Listening To
My daughter moving around through the house as she gets ready to leave for work. And the fan that helps move the heat from our woodstove to our upstairs.

Something Frugal I've Done This Week
I made a batch of bone broth using chicken legs this week. Sometimes I don't have enough bones saved to make as much broth as I need. My daughter gave me this idea. It is an inexpensive way to get the bones. The meat, when it is done cooking, does not have a lot left in it. I was trying to think of a good way to use it, other then feeding it to my cats. So I chopped it into small pieces, added some green onions, salt, pepper and mayo. The end result was chicken salad. We've been using it to make chicken sandwiches and wraps for lunches. I felt this really stretched the value of my 99 cent a pound chicken legs.

Fitness and Health for the Week
Fitness is still a struggle with the weather. I guess it's time to pull out my Leslie Sansone DVD's and get serious while I wait for warmer days.

I've been focusing on consuming my bone both, eating more fruits & veggies and getting protein in each day. I find if I am diligent about this I crave less sweets and carb type foods. And I feel better too! 

I also ordered my kefir cultures and they should be arriving this week.  I'm excited to get some cultured dairy in my diet as well.