Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finishing up Summer Projects

It sure feels great to finish a few projects this summer. I finally finished the crocheted t-shirt rag rug for my SCRAP Web site. I love the rug and it's perfect for our simple country bathroom. I can't wait to start one made of recycled cotton sheets.

Our oldest earned his driver's license this morning so that is one more thing to check off the summer to-do list. Hooray to him!

I working on another recycling article for the Scrap Web site and creating more Christmas ornaments. Things are looking pretty good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Goods from the Garden today

Beets anyone? I just printed off a new roasted beet recipe and will try it tonight. Yum!

Cucumbers anyone?

Preparing for the start of another school year

It's that time again. When we search for the best prices on school supplies, clothes, and save up for school fees. This year however, two kids will be eliminated from most of those expenses. I'm so excited for one daughter to give on-line school a try. All of her needs are supplied by the school, no fees, no special clothes, and no extra purchases such as Ziploc bags, paper towels, Kleenex and wipes. It's so nice not to have those inconvenient and expensive purchases.

The oldest is attending a career center school, so the largest expense is for a uniform. Which in the end helps cut my cost of school clothes tremendously.

The last three however will need the monotonous list of supplies, clothes, fees, and those pesky added purchases of wipes, Kleenex and so forth. This year we were ahead of the game by buying some supplies at great prices the year before. There are a few things that we could not, such as glue sticks, which dry up when not being used.

Living in the country now, the kids found ways to entertain themselves outside of the house. We still had our summer of indoor activities, but we all prefer fresh air. I love to sit on the front porch in my wicker rocker and read my Bible.

I am already dreading the kids being gone from the house. As opposed to most parents, I enjoy my kids being home. We've had a good summer even though we could not have a family summer vacation. There are still quite a few days to have some time together before school takes over our lives. I may even sign up for college again and school right along with them. Journalism is sounding pretty good right now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recipes that use Zucchini and taste great!

In my search for new recipes I have decided to post the links or book titles of where I find recipes that use zucchini. Since my vegetable garden, and most likely many others, have a lot of zucchini to cook with this summer. Here is an ongoing list as we try them. Of course I am only listing the recipes that the kids have declared tasty. I asked the kids to rate the recipes from 1-5, with 5 being the best tasting.

1. Asparagus-Zucchini Frittata (also uses fresh dill from your herb garden) ~ 4 star
The adults loved this dish, but the kids thought the fresh dill was over powering, so consider cutting the dill back just a bit.

Note:  I now add zucchini to almost any frittata.

2. Zucchini Bread (Mayo Clinic), rated 5 star
This bread recipe does not hold a real sweet flavor. If you are used to chocolate chips in your bread, you may be rating this lower. However, we really enjoyed this healthy recipe.

3. Zucchini-Banana Squares, definitely rated a 5 star overall - Yum!
4. Zucchini Linguini with Walnuts, from The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 7th edition, ISBN: 1-4000-4826-5, page 349 - 5 stars all around! This was a very inexpensive dish to make because we had oregano from the herb garden, and zucchini from the vegetable garden. Next year will will be growing large onions as well. This also tastes good with spaghetti noodles if you don't have linguine. We used whole wheat.

I found a link on-line for this, but they eliminate the mushrooms in the recipe. We do not leave the mushrooms out and we love it. Of course we double or tripe the recipe and add loads of zucchini to it. YUM!

Link to Zucchini Linguini with Walnuts

5. Eggplant-Zucchini Casserole, 5-star! This is also from the New American Heart Association Cookbook, 7th edition. I also found the exact same recipe on the Internet (click on the highlighted recipe title to get there).

I like this recipe, because you put the dry spaghetti noodles right into the pan and bake it. You don't have to boil the noodles in advance. Yum!

6. A variation of Quick Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole, I made this variation, however I did not use the wine, doubled everything but the cheese, and added cooked sliced potatoes to it. I also added basil and oregano and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I did not have tomato paste on hand so I used one can of Healthy Request Tomato Soup. One of the kids had thirds! What a creamy dinner!

7. Zucchini Brownies, 5 star! Yum! The family devoured these. It took everything to save one for my Mom.

8. "Casual" Vegan Zucchini Pancakes, 5 stars definitely! I did not have Soy milk on hand so we used fat free milk and the texture and taste was delicious! We even added fresh blueberries! You have to make these if you grow zucchini!

9. Zucchini Salsa

10. Zucchini- Corn Saute

11.  Blueberry Zucchini Snack Cake

12.  Zucchini Muffins.  I personally make my own homemade baking mix, and use a recipe from a fellow blogger - Lazy J Bar C (baking mix recipe is on her blog as well).

13.  Chicken Teriyaki.  I simply cook up a mass of vegetables, including zucchini and yellow squash, add cooked, diced chicken, and top it over rice with homemade teriyaki sauce.

14.  Roasted Vegetables. Simply add the vegetables herbs and spices you want.  

Freeze sliced zucchini - I like to blanch mine for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain, and place in an ice bath for 2 minutes.  Drain well and freeze.  I do this with slices and dices of zucchini.

Freeze shredded zucchini - simply shred and freeze.  I measure out by the cup and label it for future use.  I have never blanched my shredded zucchini, and have never had a problem with it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Zucchini from the garden today

I'm in the process of looking up more side dishes to add zucchini with. Yum!

Photo of the new baby kittens - all five of them and Mom

Here is an updated photo of all five kittens. Two black tiger and three gold tiger. They are absolutely gorgeous and I have no worries about finding them homes.

Turnip from the garden today

Eating from our first vegetable garden ~ Turnips

I just pulled 2 nice sized turnips from the garden to add to my famous heart healthy mashed potatoes. I'm working on getting the recipe published on eHow soon. This is the first year we have grown a vegetable garden and we are loving it so much.

I will also be snipping fresh chives to add when the potatoes are completely mashed. Unfortunately our sweet corn only grew one stalk. We planted it too late I think. We are learning so much and taking note on what changes to make for next year.

We have already pulled several zucchini and added them to so many vegetable dishes and zucchini bread. Some is shredded and already in the freezer. I can't wait to pull some beets and try new recipes. Next year I'd like to add sugar snap peas. I already have recipes for them and most of what's growing in the garden.

I not only feels good to be eating good food grown without chemicals, but it's absolutely fun! The only thing we have put on the garden is organic coffee grounds. I'll try to get some photos posted when I pull more vegetables. I didn't think about it until I cut the turnips up. They were perfect in size and crisp.

Kitten update -

We have 5 kittens! I'll post a photo as soon as I load them. What a good Mom she is being. She purred like a car motor and is "baking bread".

Barn Kitty Gives Birth to Four Kittens Today

Here is an update. After I loaded this photo she started to give birth to a fifth kitten. This photo shows 4 kittens. One is black or dark gray and three are gold. They are adorable.

Barn Kitty is in labor!

It's 11:34am EST here and Aurora is now in labor. She came right to the door to come in to have them, and went right into the box we have prepared for her. If we try to leave the room she follows us, if we stay and rub her belly she purrs up a storm. She's so funny, not like a "normal" barn cat would be, while in labor.

We can see one foot so far, and will up date with photos as she has them. She's such a proud Mom.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Food Tried Today

It's been some time between posts lately. But that is what happens when a family member has undergone a serious heart surgery and needs assistance. Considering I love to cook, I've been trying new recipes and keeping track of heart healthy meals. I've even taken this into consideration with several new articles on the Web sites I write for.

Tonight we tired okra for the first time. I'm so used to flavorful vegetables now, that I'm not sure about this one. The kids like it so I may just leave it as is. We were excited to be able to add zucchini from our own garden too. Our green beans are not doing so well, so I did buy some of those for this recipe.

For the recipe you can look for the book The Cardiac Recovery Cookbook, by M. Laurel Cutlip, R.D., L.N. with Sari Budgazad, R.D., C.D.N., or click on the recipe link below for an on-line cookbook that contains the exact same recipe (page 96 of the cookbook on-line):

Italian Vegetable Bake

I received favorable remarks from the kids with this recipe. I even did some research as to what benefits okra has for our bodies.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Trying new foods again...

Well it was time for a new food to try. Last night it was Yellow Watermelon. I didn't find any of them whole for sale, but found slices in the produce coolers.

It was delicious. It had a slightly different flavor, but delicious. I would love to serve up a bowl of cut watermelon and mix in the yellow with it. It would make a colorful dessert and healthy too.

It was gone so fast I never got a chance to take a picture, but added the link to an Internet image. If you haven't tried it you should. Yum!

Yellow watermelon will be added to our spring and summer Yellow Food Nights!