Archive for October, 2007

31
Oct
07

Handy candle trick…

For those of you who don’t know this already; when candles have burned themselves out and all you are left with is a stuck on pile of melted wax, place the candle holder in the freezer for a few hours (I do overnight) and the wax should pop right out of your candle holder with a little tapping.  It works!

It is the time of year we like to burn candles at dinner and use our oil lamps.  The lamps put off a decent amount of heat and light and the candles provide light and create a calming atmosphere.

Have a great day!

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31
Oct
07

…from the weekend

 

I had a really great weekend at home.  I spent Friday in the Kitchen working on some new recipes and some old favorites.

I whipped up: 

Salsa (NT p.103) we thought this was really good

Toothpaste This was a little salty for me, so I cut the salt a little bit.

Butter Spread (NT p. 150) We love to use this instead of the hard butter straight out of the fridge.

I tried and failed at making my Sourdough Starter (NT p. 489).  This is my second attempt/failure.  It always smells horrible after 2-3 days.  Ugh!

Soaked Oats (NT p. 455) Tried rolled oats, but they were a soggy mess.  I just bought steel cut oats to try instead.

Ricotta & Mozzarella Cheese  This is a great tutorial!

Hot Cocoa Mix  I didn’t make this much since there is just the two of us, but this is good on those cold and windy Kansas days.

Friday: Taco Soup with a Taco Seasoning from mommaofmany (this soup is so good) w/ cornbread

Taco Seasoning:

1/4 c Dried Onion Flakes, chopped fine (I just used Onion Powder)

4 t. Cornstarch (arrowroot)

4 T. Chili Powder

3 t. Ground Cumin

3 t. Garlic Salt

2 t. Red Pepper Flakes

2 t. beef bouillon (I crushed these with my coffee grinder)

1 1/2 t. Dried Oregano

Mix well and store in an airtight container.  To use:  add 1/4 cup spice to 1 1/2 lbs hamburger and 1/2 cup water or so.  Mix well and cook until most of the water has evaporated. 

On my days off I try to spend some time loving on my pets since they are by themselves throughout the week.  So, without further ado:

All rules have fled our home in the following (incriminating) pictures of our dogs.

They aren’t really supposed to be curled up on our leather furniture, but I just couldn’t kick them off.  Our blue heeler was a tad heavy at her vet appointment over the weekend, so we have started two-a-day frisbee playing mid-morning and mid-afternoon to try to get her slimmed down.  We have 6 months until the vet wants her weighed again, so she will be an exercising machine in the meantime.  LOL

Once again I have a nice sized “to-do” list for the weekend; however, I have to run errands in town on tomorrow.  My least favorite thing is going to town on my days off when I just want to be tucked away at home, but it has to be done.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. 

25
Oct
07

Why don’t people take care of their animals?

Everyone is passionate about something, right?  I just feel like we as humans domesticated dogs so now it is our responsibility to take care of them.  Last night on my way home I saw a stray dog along the highway.  I have seen this dog on this same stretch of highway before.  It looks like a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd type of dog.  This time it happened to be daylight when I saw the dog, so I did what any rational person would do.  I pulled over!  To make a long story short the dog would not come to me.  So, I went home, told dh about the dog, and he insisted we both go and try to catch the dog.  The dog was already two miles from where I had seen him earlier and on the move.  No luck catching him.  We are going into winter here in Kansas, and it breaks my heart to think of him out there trying to survive in the cold.  Not only this, but people are forever dumping dogs in our area because it’s in the country and no one will see them do it.  However, what they don’t understand is that these dogs (IF they even survive) will eventually join another dog(s) to form a pack; this pack will not only kill for food, but will kill for pleasure.  This is a huge concern for anyone with livestock because they can destroy chicken flocks, sheep and baby lambs, goats and kids, and even baby calves.  People have kicked responsibility to the curb on a number of issues.  This is just one I was faced with yesterday and it totally broke my heart.

 

 

 

 

Moving on……

 

On the agenda for this weekend:

 

Make toothpaste

 

Bathe our dogs and wash all their bedding

 

Work in the garden

 

Fill our oil lamps (in preparation for the time change)

 

Regular cleaning (dust, vacuum, mop, etc.)

 

Make hot chocolate mix

 

Weigh our chickens (we should be one week away from butchering)

 

Start our cats on their natural wormer

 

Prepare a plot to transplant boysenberry bushes (from my grandma)

 

Prepare weekly menu and meals

 

Katie’s Cook Along (sauerkraut, soaked oats, and salsa) I’m a little behind and want to work a little ahead.  I have a lot of tomatoes to use up, so I thought I might try the salsa this weekend.

 

There are some other things I will try to get done, but these are the high points and the most important to me.

 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

 

 

When we lived in Alabama my dh and I saw at least one stray dog on our way to and from work every single day.  We’ve even seen litters of puppies along the side of a road before.  What kind of person can stop the car (if the dog is lucky), set them out on the shoulder of the road (again if they are lucky), and drive away?  Apparently a lot of people.  One of our dogs, Koal, was dumped as a puppy along the side of road we take to work.  One morning we stopped and picked him and his brother up, took them to our vet to get shots and examined, found a home for the brother, and kept Koal.  We can’t save them all, but I would love to try!

23
Oct
07

Cold Weather has arrived…Chili time

It is definitely cooling off here.  Not sure how cool it got last night, but they were predicting 35 for our low.  Out came the Carharts, stocking hats, and gloves.

Friday, I spent the day cooking and cleaning.  I try to get my house cleaned on Fridays so it’s presentable and comfortable for the weekend.  I also made, canned, and froze some homemade tomato soup.  My camera was on it’s last leg in some of these, but on Sunday we purchased a new one so this first one is not-so-good.

All the other photos were terrible, so this is my tomato soup, haha!

Friday evening we were invited to dinner with some friends/neighbors of ours.  They cooked the most incredible meal for us.  Dh and I couldn’t believe how wonderful they both cook.  I even had a couple of bites of steak.  I haven’t liked steak since I was a child, but I must admit he prepared it so well. 

Dh and I have a difficult time finding people (our age) who we can relate to, talk to, and share common interests with.  This couple is probably as close as we have come in a very long time.  She enjoys cooking and does a lot of “from scratch” cooking.  They both tend to their garden and livestock and hope to grow a majority of their food themselves.  They have two adorable little boys to help them along the way.  He is also a great mechanic (as is my husband) so they have traded back and forth in helping each other with projects and mechanical problems.  We will hopefully be spending more time with them and learning from each other as we all strive to take a step backwards in the rat race.

Saturday, we spent the day cleaning out the floors of our chicken coop and one of our sheep sheds.  Yuck, is the only word to describe this task.  Sunday, we ran to get a camera and few other things in a nearby (30 minutes each way) town.  When we came home it was back to shoveling the shed out.  We are estimating it was about 20 years of sheep manure compacted one foot deep.  Some of it looked like we were ripping out OSB or particle boards from the floor of the shed.  The flowerbeds will be appreciative of the new fertilizer come spring.

We HAD to have a camera this weekend because we were supposed to send in a picture for an article being ran in the Texel Times.  A newsletter for Texel sheep breeders.  My mom was in charge of the photo taking.  She does not like to take pictures nor is she very good at it :  )     Everyone has talents and her’s is just not photography.  For example, it took her so long to take each picture the camera would automatically turn itself off (powersave or batterysave mode).  Then, she wouldn’t know how to get it back on so I would have to turn it on for her and run back to my spot.  Funny!  She was great to do it for us though.

This is Randy, one of our rams, Cash, and me.  Cash has a bit of a fence climbing issue we are trying to break, but it came in handy for a photo.

I have corn in my hand, so Miss Piggy is trying to steal a kernel or two.

This is the same ewe as the picture above.  She is so tame and lovable.  We have another ewe we call Ma (like from the movie Babe), but she must have been having a bad hair day or something because she wanted nothing to do with pictures.

Monday, I was up at 4:30 to get dh off to work.  While I was waiting for it to lighten up outside I spent some time organizing our front porch area and closet and also my husband’s closet.  I have morning chore duty on the days I don’t work, so once it was light out I headed out to do those.  After chores were done I had some errands to run in town which always starts my day off bad.  I didn’t get home until 10:30, so I had to hustle to get everything done I intended to have done. 

I like to use my Mondays to prepare food for the next three days since I will be working and like to have something quick and easy (and nutritious) for dinner on those days.  I ended up making a big crockpot full of chili.  Here is how I made my chili:

Chili:

Soak 4 cups of pinto beans and 2 T of whey 12-24 hours.

Rinse and drain well.

Cook in crockpot, covered with water, salt, and garlic (optional) until tender.

Add two jars of homemade ro-tel, chili powder, and cooked hamburger (and ground venison).

Let this cook another hour on low to blend the flavors.

I usually use red beans, but pinto beans are so easy to buy in bulk I thought I would give them a try in our chili.  We both thought they were great and so much easier than buying different beans for every meal.  We ate our chili with homemade Cornbread with homemade butter and honey or maple syrup.  We also had organic carrot, and cauliflower and cherry tomatoes from the garden dipped in homemade Ranch dressing.  I was followed up with Brownies (minus the chocolate chips on top) straight out of the oven.  Yum!  It was a cold and windy day and my dh wasn’t feeling well, so this was a nice wintery dinner.  Can you tell I like Crystal Miller’s recipes a little?  hee, hee! 

Tonight will be a pan of stuffed green peppers I put togther yesterday to throw in the oven as soon as I get home tonight.

When I make stuffed green peppers I try to use up what I have in the fridge.  These have homemade ketchup, rice, hamburger, venison, pinto beans, and mozzarella cheese.  Easy and healthy!

Wednesday:  Much to my disgust, we will be having Chili Cheese Dogs along with a salad fresh from the garden.  My dh loves hotdogs and since he has been so great about my “healthy” food choices and trying some new things with our diet, I do not ask him to give up the one food he really likes.  Unfortunately, they are hotdogs :  )

Thursday:  Taco Soup (for the most part I follow this recipe, but sometimes use collard green broth if I have any leftover to cook my beans in since alot of the nutrients from the collards cook out into the broth)

For the Taco Seasoning I’m going to give the recipe a whirl.  The one I use is okay, but I’m going to experiment a little.  Here is where the understanding husband comes into play, when I “experiment” with new recipes :  )

 Hope everyone is having a great week!

18
Oct
07

Green Tomato Sweet Pickles, Whole Wheat Bread, & Ro-Tel…

This is a great way to use up those end-of-the-season green tomatoes.  We really only use these on sloppy joe’s, but some of the more creative ladies out there may think of other uses for them.

Green Tomato Sweet Pickles

1 gallong green tomatoes (16 cups sliced)

1/4 c. pickling salt

1/2 T powdered alum

3 c. vinegar, 5% acidity

1 c. water

4 c. sugar (cane juice crystals)

1 T mixed pickling spices

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 T celery seed

1/2 t. ground allspice

1 T mustard seed

Sprinkle salt over sliced tomatoes and allow to stand overnight.  Next morning drain well, but do not squeeze dry.  Mix alum with two quarts boiling water and pour over tomatoes.  Let stand 20 minutes.  Drain and cover with cold water, then drain well, rinsing alum away.  Tie spices in a cheescloth bag.  Combine spices with vinegar and one cup of water.  Add sugar and bring to a boil.  Pour solution over tomatoes, let stand overnight.  On the third morning bring the pickles and the solution to a boil.  Remove spice bag.  Pack into sterilized jars to within a half inch of top.  Process in boiling water bath five minutes.  Yield:  eight pints.

It is just my dh and I in our house, but we tend to use one loaf of this Whole Wheat Bread a week, and we both like it a lot. 

I thought I would also throw in a quick and easy (and yummy) Ro-Tel recipe for those of you out there with a lot of extra tomatoes.

Ro-Tel Tomatoes

1 gallong rip tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 large green bell peppers, chopped

8 hot peppers, chopped

3/4 c. vinegar

3/4 c. cane juice crystals

1 1/2 T salt

Mix together in a stainless steel pot and cook for 45 minutes.  Put into sterilized jars.  Seal and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. 

I use this in my rice to make spanish rice or red beans and rice.  I’ve even run it through a food processor as salsa.  You could add some fresh cilantro when you do this to make it a bit more flavorful.

Over the weekend I hope to make some homemade tomato soup, so I will let you know how this turns out if I get to it. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

17
Oct
07

This week’s menu…

Better late than never, right?

Monday: 

Ham and Beans (Crockpot)

Fresh Salad from the garden with Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing

Homemade Bread with Homemade Butter

Tuesday: 

Meatloaf

Fresh Salad from the garden with Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing

Wednesday:

Sloppy Joe’s on Homemade Bread

and I may try this:  Creamy Noodle Side Dish

All I do for Sloppy Joe’s (usually) is brown ground beef and onions in a skillet and add sucanat, mustard, and ketchup (homemade) taste.  I try to use a 1/2 pound of ground beef and will add some pinto beans from the the leftover Ham and Beans to stretch this recipe a litte bit. 

I have some canned Sweet Green Tomatoes we like to eat on our Sloppy Joe’s.  These are good and just another way to use up those green tomatoes at the end of the season.

I cook the hamburger ahead of time for a quick meal when I get home from work. 

Thursday we are having a rice dinner of some kind.  I just haven’t decided what yet.  I want to incorporate one meal a week without meat in it without totally freaking my dh out.  He’s a sport about the healthy/budget eating thing, so I don’t want to go overboard on him. 

We now have venison in our freezer, so we will be cooking some of it up this weekend.  I’m on a mission to make chili using venison.  Wish me luck!

I made a Kefir Smoothie this morning that was really good:

2 cups Kefir

1 banana

1 cup frozen organic mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries)

1 cup frozen pineapple juice (I used the leftover juice from canned pineapple and freeze it)

1 T Flax Seed Oil

1 T Coconut Oil

1 t Stevia

5-6 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy!

I usually add 1-2 T Elderberry concentrate, but forgot this morning.  At 4:30 my brain isn’t always at it’s best.

A quick request for anyone out there who knows of a good cottage cheese recipe to please send me a link or the recipe.  I have tried two failed attempts at making cottage cheese and would really like to make some over the weekend.  Thank you and have a wonderful day!

16
Oct
07

Roman Lentil Soup…

Here’s the Roman Lentil Soup I made for the Cook Along on Katie’s blog.

Ingredients:

3 Medium Onions (or 3 Leeks)

3 Carrots

2 T Butter

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 qt. Beef or Chicken Stock

2 c. Red or Brown lentils

Several sprigs of Thyme

1/2 t. Dried Peppercorns

1/4 Lemon Juice or Whey

Sea Salt (or Fish Sauce) and pepper

Piima Cream (or sour cream)

First, measure out the lentils and place in a bowl.  One bag is almost 2 cups so you can finish off the bag or save it for your next lentil recipe.

 

Cover with water and let them soak for 7 hours.

In a stainless steel pan combine the butter, olive oil, onions, and carrots and cook for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender.   

Add the chicken stock and lentils to the pan and simmer for another 30 minutes.  I passed on the sprigs of thyme and opted to use a little dried thyme.   

Next comes the stick blender, reheating it a bit, then serving it with a dollop of sour cream on top.

 

Not the prettiest soup you will ever see, but that was dinner for us :  )

We had our soup with a salad fresh from our garden and homemade bread. 

I confessed earlier I wasn’t a huge fan of the soup, however, I took some in my lunch today and it was a lot better the second time around.  I think the flavors blended better as it sat in the fridge.

Not sure what is up next on the list, but I am going to try to devote my Fridays to the Cook Along.  It’s fun and a great way to try some of the Nourishing Traditions recipes.

Have a great week!




Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change.

I am the wife to my wonderful husband and joint care giver to the many animals we have acquired on our small farm here on the prairie. This is a bit about our life on our farm. We are striving for simplicity and self-sufficiency, determined to become debt-free, trying to live in tune with the natural cycles of this earth, and challenging ourselves to transition to a diet based on traditional foods. It isn't always easy, and we don't always succeed, but it is a fun learning process. Join us as we stumble through learning how to provide for ourselves, get off the treadmill, and work toward a simpler way of life.

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