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, August 31, 2016

Tincture Time ~ Bilberry Vinegar

(sorry for the blurry picture)

I strained the two tinctures I made recently - mullein, and bilberry.    Now I'm ready to make one that I feel will be good for varicose veins.  

It includes:

Barberry Bark
Bilberry leaf

However, after I got my herbs out, I started wondering if an infused oil (to make a rub) would be better?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Malfunction Junction

We've had a very busy week and weekend.  First Hubby arranged a 1st birthday party for our grand-daughter (mid week of all days).  Then we had a ton of tomatoes to deal with, and then a family gathering on my side of the family, which required me to cook.

Hence the tomatoes sat still, the garden was still worked, on, but I gotta share this ditty.  It only happens in my family.

I was so busy I forgot to pay a few bills and poo, one is late.  I'm never late.  People just need to leave me be in August anymore.  I don't even have time to think right.  My brain is not functioning properly during this ever so, full speed ahead gardening season.

Garlic, Fresh Tomatoes and Green onions

Easy Layered Dip
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced
1-2 Roma tomatoes (or your choice) chopped
Green onions, snipped
Mozzarella cheese, finely shredded

Set cream cheese out to soften.  Once soft, cream it with the minced garlic.  Spread it onto a serving plate (I use a regular dinner plate).  Top it with chopped tomatoes, and green onions.  Add shredded cheese to cover, to your taste.

Refrigerate for several hours for the garlic and cream cheese to infuse flavors.  Serve with crackers of your choice, and set the dip out for a few minutes to soften again (or it will be difficult to "dip" your crackers).

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ketchup, Pizza Sauce ~ Tomato Explosion

Every day the tomatoes are being brought in now.  I am canning daily, and exhausted (but have zero problems with falling asleep).  The sauce maker is in full swing.

Ketchup takes 10 pounds of paste tomatoes.  One batch made so far.  Pizza sauce requires 25 pounds.  One batch made so far.  The table is covered with more tomatoes.  I am thrilled for such a good harvest, but my posts will be short this week, ha ha!  As of yesterday, we have brought in 120 pounds of tomatoes.  Some canned, some frozen, and some eaten.  There are more to can yet today, but dishes must be tackled first.  The "guts" from all the sauce making is being fed to my chickens.  The goats will eat a few bites, but they are still young.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Garden Visit ~ Tornado Season Starts

Yesterday, I had to put my lavender heat pillow on my neck.  I'm spending many, many hours at the kitchen sink these days.  I picked another 21 lbs. of tomatoes, but left them sit on the table overnight.  I prayed that King would not be able to get to them, and tackled the other day's pickings.

Swiss chard, rosemary, comfrey, calendula, a tiny bit of fresh thyme for a tea infusion, and some wild growing dandelions.  It was all put up, dried, or blanched. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Whole Lot Goin' On

Beets are finally filling up my freezer this fall.  

We have a good supply of shredded zucchini, so the next ones went in the freezer sliced.  I know these sometimes thaw watery and softer, but I just drain the water and cook.  We use these mainly in our teriyaki dish over winter, but have added them to other casserole dishes and mixed vegetable sides.  I'll be honest, I'm surprised my zucchini is still producing.  It looks terrible right now.  I doubt I'll get much more, but would be blessed to get a few more.

I purchased some large head garlic (organic) at the Farmer's Market, which is much easier to slice and dehydrate than my homegrown this year.  It's much smaller (in fact there were farmer's selling the smaller size for $.25/each as well).

Monday, August 22, 2016

Island Escape

Well, I'm here to say, Hubby whisked me away again.  It was all spontaneous.  Very spontaneous.

It all started with taking the Harley in for a tire change.  Pretty soon, we were picking it up and going out for a ride, only for him to tell me we were leaving the next day - our first overnight motorcycle ride. Panic set it since I had 36 hot banana peppers to deal with.  However, you can see I got that done before we picked up the newly tuned up Harley on Thursday.

We literally went to bed Thursday night without reservations on our favorite island.  The next morning, he pulled his typical magic, and we had a room.  

Off we went.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hot Banana Pepper Mustard Sauce

My restocking mode is really kicking into full drive here.  I got one kiddo to cut up my hot peppers, so I could zip up to the "big city" and drop off a motorcycle tire.  We wore it out already and we needed a "tune up" and new back tire.
When I got back home, the peppers were ready for me.

 I actually weighed my 36 peppers and they weighed bout 2 1/2 pounds.  

Since I gave you all too long of a blog post yesterday, today's is super short, ha ha!  The first batch of mustard sauce has been made.  Whew! I took the photo when it was still bubbly hot, and right out of the canner pot.  8 pints of goodness.

Recipe is posted here:  Pepper Mustard Sauce 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

If you give a Mom a dip to make.....

You know that poem about "if you give a Mom a muffin" and how she gets side tracked?  Well, after I did my morning routine exercise, I headed out to see what needed harvested.  The zucchini looks pretty bad, and I have ants chewing away on them now.  Cucumbers look oh-so, not good either (sad about that), and only one yellow squash to bring in.  

One daughter reminded me upon entering the kitchen, that I bought organic cream cheese to make a cracker dip we like.  So, I returned to the herb garden, where I could not even see the green onion I needed. 

I'm not sure if passing cars saw me throw my hands in the air and started talking to myself...."where do I start?"

Everything was a muddy mess from the rain, and it was hot and humid.  Very humid.
I ended up pulling all the "tall" stuff out.  Then I couldn't stand it, and went around and got more weeds pulled, but had to fight off an onslaught of sweat bees.  Even my homemade bug spray did not help.  I went inside about noon, and had mud all up and down my arms from swatting bees, and never even cut the green onions.  It will take a few more days to tidy up the herb garden.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alfredo Sauce the Healthy Way

I have been in my kitchen for 3-4 days straight now, and well, that's normal for this time of year.  Pretty much all summer and fall.

I had been baking one last zucchini/blueberry cake (hoping not to pack any pounds on), and decided I needed to try a new healthy dinner recipe.

I quickly took a photo before I finished my dinner.  I made an alfredo sauce using cannellini beans, garlic, lemon juice and vegetable broth.  The recipe comes from Clean Eating.  I used some Amish made noodles we were gifted last Christmas.  I really should be rotating out my homemade noodles.  I guess that will be my next project.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blueberry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

I've been cooking with booze (again).  This time it's with blueberries.  When Hubby whisked me off to Kentucky, we visited a restaurant that had the best steaks.  They also served salmon with blueberry bourbon barbecue sauce.  It was delicious.  

I had to try making it myself.  

I thought it would be best to measure all my ingredients prior to starting.  Jalapenos were from my garden, and boy are they hot this year.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Peaches ~ Plums ~ Apricots ~ Blueberries

I'm getting more peach jam put up, and for the first time, plum and apricot jam. All jams are reduced sugar.  These will go fast in my family.  I can utilize the plum and apricot with other meals, not just PB and J's.

The plum jam is delicious! 

So is the apricot!

I'm  starting to put enough fresh plums, apricots and peaches in the freezer to enjoy all winter too.  I'm freezing them until our our trees start supplying us an ample amount.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Glorious Rain! ~ Homemade Graham Crackers

Thank you all for your happy thoughts and prayers for rain to arrive.  It arrived yesterday afternoon.   It poured for a very short time, but it came down hard. I was so relieved.  I think the downpour lasted only 15 minutes, but it was better than nothing at all.  Today, I will be checking for any new squash, and broccoli to pick.  And tomatoes. 

While it rained, I baked some homemade grahams.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Battling a Drought

I've lost track of how many days have gone by without rain.  Yesterday I looked out to see dots on the pavement and got all excited.  In a second, they were dried up and no more rain.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Snack Time! ~ Garden Zucchini and Blueberries

I took an entire morning and afternoon, and reclaimed my kitchen.  I know in a few days it will be covered with tomatoes but I needed order (and a place to sit and eat).

This time, two kiddos helped.  We got it to almost the way I wanted it, but dinner called.

Those same two kiddos, shredded up 8 yellow straight neck squash for our favorite squash patties.  While they were shredding that, I was shredding a zucchini.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Wild Weeds

Due to unfortunate events, our mower has not been mowing.  It was fixed Sunday with new parts, but before that, the chicory was growing everywhere, despite lack of rain.

The color on these photos is very bright due to our sunny days and higher heat.  You can see the grass is brown, yet the chicory is growing vibrantly.  It's growing like crazy along roadsides as well (but you don't that those plants).

I decided to take advantage of this and dig some up.  Chicory root can be dried and made into a "coffee."  It has wonderful health benefits.  We do not use any chemicals, so it's a win-win situation, but the roots are like cement.  

I also see we have a ton of burdock out there, but not sure if I want to add more work to my day yet.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


I've discovered that when you decide to be self-sufficient, a homesteader or simply (ha!) grow a garden for preserving purposes, you have one giant messy home all summer long.

Messy = chaos.  Chaos=headache/stress.  I took the day off (one afternoon) from the garden (sort of), and attacked my bedroom with gusto.  I still had a sweater on the back of a chair, from cool spring weather (Yikes!).  

I told the girls, "I'm finally going to vacuum my room after a month," and the response was "that's gross."  Ha ha!  Ain't that the truth though?  We just can't do it all.  Even with the help from the kids.  Two work and go to school, and two are about to go back to public school (cry).  I'm about the only Mom who doesn't like the start of school.  I appreciate all the help, believe me.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Crazy Busy, but a Good "Busy"

I don't know why I even bother to borrow books from the library during this time of year.  I pick them up, never open them, and have a horrible time finding free time to return them.   It's in a town where I cannot do any errands but get gas in my car and pick up ice.  I returned everything but one book, and decided to leave it at that. 

The 60% chance of rain we were to get on Wednesday just flew off the weather map - "poof" it was gone.  No rain.  I need more hoses and a sprinkler, and I do not have them.  I already have three long hoses put together.  I'll be taking garden notes for next season, including where not to plant my garlic.  

In the 112 bulbs I planted, only 5-6 are as large as the largest one in the photo.  The rest are dinky.  It was like digging in cement, and I ended up with bruised knees (even with a knee pad).  I'll save these (or a portion) for replanting, but will be checking farmer's markets for more garlic (and beets).  I'm not sure fall planting will be a good idea for beets just yet.  I planted beans and peas and every chance of rain they said we'd get, was changed to no rain.  The tree leaves are already turning brown.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016