Showing posts from September, 2012

Making Salsa

I’ve been busy making salsa! I used 40lbs of tomatoes to make 2 double batches. I made one batch in my 14qt pot …

And the second batch in my roaster oven…

It was a long day of chopping, pureeing, simmering and canning but I ended up with 31 pints and 14 quarts. I made 31 pints a few days ago, so I do believe we have plenty of salsa to last us for the year!

I still have lots of tomatoes and more to pick. I plan on making tomato sauce with the  remaining tomatoes that keep coming.

This is a super yummy salsa recipe that my friend Leah shared with me a few years ago. I make it every year now. You can find the recipe here:

Homeschool High School Elective: Photography

My daughter Sierra is in 11th grade. She loves photography and takes amazing pictures and has an incredible eye for picture taking. I can’t even begin to understand how she sees what she does, but I would say it is a gift she has. My new fall blog topper picture was taken by her along with some other very pretty pics. So this year for high school we decided to make photography her elective.

Not finding a lot of online curriculum guides for this topic and not wanting to turn this into another set of workbooks and tests (who wants to kill the joy of something someone loves to do and turn it into a chore? :), I chose to do this on my own. I want the study to be hands on, educational and enjoyable.

I will be having her research various topics about photography (photo taking techniques, different types of lenses, F-stop, Macro settings, etc), research & discuss some on the history of the camera, taking lots of pictures, creating several photo projects and in the spring our …

Spaghetti Sauce Using Fresh Tomatoes

I wanted to make spaghetti for dinner on Sunday. I was not ready yet to open my home canned sauce.. don’t ask me why, I just like to wait until canning season is over first… ~smile~ I had over 70 pounds of tomatoes that my son & I had picked earlier in the afternoon….

Yep lots of tomatoes for sure. I have big plans for them (more salsa, tomato sauce and maybe some pizza sauce) as well as enjoying them now. So I decided to make spaghetti sauce for dinner with a few of them.

I began by chopping up an onion, 3 large mushrooms, ½ of a red pepper and some celery…

I heated a pot on the stove and added some olive oil. When it was hot I added the veggies and let them cook until they were soft.

While the veggies were cooking I pulled out and washed 3 pounds of my tomatoes..

I pureed them in my food processor (I did not peel them). I then added them to my veggies along with Italian seasonings, oregano, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. I let this simmer for about a half hour..


First Day of School

Today my son, Isaac, and daughter, Sierra, had their first day of school for the new year and I had my 25th first day of homeschooling. On Sunday we sat down and reviewed schedules, goals and plans for the new school year. We discussed a few field trips and activities they wanted to do. The house was cleaned up and the school area (my dining room & adjoining sunroom) was organized and ready to go. Previously I had loaded all computer related school onto the school laptop. There is something fun about starting a new year. We were all looking forward to getting back into a routine. As much as I love summer and the lack of steady routines there is something comforting about the familiar routine of the school year.

My daughter was up early and began by getting coffee, then going out for a run, coming back to shower/dress, eat and take care of her chores. Then she hit the books. My son got up a little later than her, but still before he was actually required to and got hi…

This Week’s Menu

Monday Leftovers Tuesday Sautéed sausages w/zucchini, onions, mushrooms, peppers & garlic,  brown rice pilaf, salad Wednesday Butternut squash soup, meatloaf, garlic roasted brussel sprouts  (Sierra’s menu & cooking night) Thursday Crockpot beef pot roast, roasted sweet potatoes & potatoes, salad Friday Chicken parmesan (still have not made this.. been on the menu for a couple of weeks now.. let’s see if I can get it made this week!), french bread, salad Saturday Chili, tortilla chips & salsa, salad Sunday Cream cheese chicken enchiladas, chile relleno casserole, brown rice pilaf, salad

Roasted Broccoli

I have found my new most loved way to cook veggies… Roast Them!! Oh my.. it makes any veggie taste divine! I bought a big bag of broccoli from Costco. I decided to see how they would turn out if I roasted them… fab is the word… :) I put them in a bowl and drizzled them with olive oil and salt. Stirred them around and laid them out on a tray. Baked them at 400 for about 20 to 25 minutes. My family devoured them and asked me to make them again soon… I highly recommend it..

This Week’s Menu

Monday Thai coconut soup (made by Leanne), salad (hot dogs for those who can’t handle this kind of yummy-ness – LOL! )
Tuesday Pineapple pork roast, black beans, brown rice pilaf, salad
Wednesday Cajun chicken, leftover black beans, leftover brown rice pilaf, salad
Thursday Chicken parmesan, zucchini pesto pasta, salad
Friday Leftovers
Saturday Sierra’s night to cook – she’s still planning this one
Sunday Hamburger & gravy over baked potatoes, salad

Canning Chili

On Saturday I had a nice burst of energy and decided to make and can up a big batch of chili. Oh how I love home canned meals ready to heat and eat on the shelf. They have made life so nice .. now if I am ever in a pinch for a meal due to life not happening the way I thought it would.. I head to my canning shelves and pull out a quart or two (depending on the need) of something yummy. Heat it and add a salad and some crackers or whatever I have available and it is dinner in 20 minutes or less.. nice :)

Currently I’ve been focused on garden canning and my ready to go meals were getting pretty slim. I decided that a few jars of chili would be good. I made the recipe by adapting my crockpot chili recipe and my regular chili recipe and combined it all into one recipe for canning.

Here is the recipe I came up with…

Chili for Canning
10 cups dried red beans (or a combo of your favorite beans, I like to use half red and half black beans)
2 ½ gallons water
10t salt
4lbs hamburger
3 l…

Fall Updates!

I know it is fall time here.. made the apple butter (as shared on my last blog post). And my tomatoes are ripening! I’ve picked about 60+ pounds so far. The first 40lbs have been turned into spaghetti sauce. I made and canned up 10 jars a few days ago and did another 10 jars last night…

The next batch will be made when my current 20lbs have ripened up a bit more. I have them sitting in a sunny window right now..

You can find my spaghetti sauce for canning recipe here:  I still have lots of tomatoes on the vines and as they ripen up I will be moving onto salsa. I’ll need another 40 to 60lbs for the salsa. After that if there are still tomatoes coming on I plan to can tomato sauce.

On Thursday Tobin and I went and got our winter hay for the goats. With only 3 goats now I don’t need a whole lot but none the less it felt good to get it purchased and in the barn.

There is still wood to gather in but we currently hav…

Making Apple Butter

My Gravenstein apple tree was full of apples this year. Sadly I did not take advantage of as many as I could. I have an issue.. we don’t eat applesauce (I buy fresh fruit, which is preferred by my family) and the apples are way too small to be made into apple pie filling .. so what to do? I wanted to take advantage of some of them and the deer will enjoy the rest of them. I ended up making apple butter. I know we will eat that and I have enough jars now to give away as well. A few days ago my daughter Leanne and I picked about 25 pounds of apples. I turned them into some delicious apple butter!

I began by searching for a recipe for apple butter. I found one that looked pretty good:  I ended up using 20#’s of apples which was 5 times the recipe.

I cut the apples in half and discarded bruised areas and such. I put them in a big pot with the water and apple cider vinegar called for in the recipe. I put this all in my big ca…

This Week’s Menu

Monday Sierra’s night to cook - Lasagna, French bread, salad
Tuesday BBQ – steaks, garlic roasted potatoes, macaroni salad, salad
Wednesday Breaded pork cutlets, brown rice pilaf, broccoli
Thursday Chili, chips & salsa, salad
Friday Leftovers
Saturday Bbq meatballs, mac & cheese, salad
Sunday Chicken Parmesan, zucchini basil pesto pasta, salad

Happy Birthday Leanne!

Happy Birthday to my daughter Leanne!! Leanne turned 21 yesterday. We had a quiet day, which she liked.. she is not big on fanfare. We will have a couple people over in a few days to have a belated celebration. She had to work on her birthday and so did my husband.

Leanne is my 4th daughter (5th child) and is such a blessing to us all. She is sweet, incredibly kind, friendly, helpful, hardworking, goal oriented, dedicated, always has a smile on her face, loves to spend time with her siblings and nieces and nephew, always willing to lend a hand at home be it cooking or cleaning or running errands for me, and she is very loyal to those she loves. She is a champion of the shy, lonely and those with special needs. She has a true gift in being able to reach out and show genuine friendship to those who are the most in need. Someday she would like to work with special needs children.

Leanne earned her BA in English in 2 years, 10 months. She did this while working full time. Thi…

Salmon Stuffed Zucchini

I had this on my menu for later in the week but decided last minute to make it last night. I had zucchini that needed to be used and another cabbage to be turned into coleslaw. This was soooo good!! My family really enjoyed this meal.

I started with a few large size zucchini .. the ones with too many seeds to use for muffins or other baked goods. I also had a few yellow squash as well. I made a double batch of my salmon patty recipe:  I cut my zucchini (and yellow squash) in half the long way and scooped out the seeds. I used the salmon patty mixture to stuff them. I put them on a large tray and baked them at 350 for about 45 minutes.

While they were baking I cut up 3 large sweet potatoes, 2 medium size potatoes, the leftover ends of the zucchini and yellow squash and one large onion. I put them in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper. I spread this out on a tray…

After th…

This Week’s Menu

Monday Hamburgers w/all the trimmings, potato salad, coleslaw
Tuesday Sierra’s night to cook
Wednesday Coconut chicken, baked sweet & regular potatoes, salad
Thursday Spaghetti, french bread, salad
Friday Leftovers
Saturday Salmon stuffed zucchini, oven roasted veggies (potatoes – both sweet and regular, mushrooms, onions, garlic), salad
Sunday Pineapple pork roast, black beans, brown rice pilaf, salad

September Newsletter & Menu Planning Calendar