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~

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday

It's been too long since I joined the Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, and Happy Homemaker Monday.  I hope you enjoy today's post.

The weather outside is. . .

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Random Tidbits ~ Fall Cleaning

I'm adding more chives to meals.  Eggs are not just eggs anymore.    I read that chives work like garlic does, when it comes to "heart" health.  I'm adding red onions more often to meals then before as well.

Hubby's snack at work is a combination of non-gmo nuts - walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews and raisins.  In moderation of course.

Friday, October 28, 2016

More Chutney ~ Sweet-Hot Caramelized Onions

Yesterday was a busy day again.  I can see more of the kitchen table top, and we can actually sit and eat there.  Some of us anyway.  I had two crock pots going, while another batch of green tomato chutney (the one with raisins) simmered.  

 ...and all while the laundry went on the line.  It was still a dark, dreery, cold day.  However, it was windy. 

We tasted the chutney on the turkey breast that was cooking with sweet potatoes and onions in one crock pot.  Delicious!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pumpkin Butter ~ Random Tidbits

I had my own sous chef yesterday, so I got a lot done by 2pm.  Hubby was my chopping helper and enjoyed it actually.  I told him he needs to hurry up and retire. I kind of like having him at home.

I roasted the last two pumpkins for making pumpkin butter - delicious!!!  One container for the fridge, and two went into the freezer.

We'll use it to top waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, biscuits, toast and more.  Maybe use it in a dessert if the need arises. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Green Tomato Chutney ~ Green Tomato Relish.

I brought in 17# of green tomatoes before our frost, so I canned a simple green tomato chutney.  

There are so many recipes, I just wanted to try a simple one first.  It filled 6 half-pints (tripled recipe), so I hope it's tasty.  This came from the book "Foolproof Preserving."  It appears I could have thickened it just a bit more, but it was already sticking to the pan.

What was next?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Frost Warning ~ Puttin' Up Herbs

 A frost warning was set for last night, so I moved into high gear and worked on what should be brought in first.  I Cut the last of the parsley my herb garden could give me (while canning)

 ...a few more comfrey leaves

 ....the last of the calendula flowers.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pie Pumpkin Puree

I purchased 8 pie pumpkins so far, and roasted them all for puree.  The first 6  weighed in about 15.71 lbs. 
I typically cut them and clean them all, and roast them all in one day.  This time I roasted two a day, until I was done.  I have a dog that likes to steal food, so I made sure I didn't have a lot going on.  Funny how all the dogs don't touch the tomatoes.  Anyway...

I used parchment paper this year.  I usually add water and cover, but not this year.  It works pretty well too.  Parchment paper isn't cheap, so I buy it at our dollar store for $1 a box.  It gets me through the holiday baking season on a dime as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Crushed Tomatoes ~ Goodbye Tomato Plants

Saturday was pretty productive.  I boiled and ice bathed the last 11# of tomatoes I picked on Friday.  Yes, there were more, even after I let the hens at 'em.  Grand total of tomatoes has moved up to 511#!

I got 8 1/2 pints of crushed tomatoes canned.  Not bad for the last bit of tomatoes.  Ripe ones anyway. 

While the canner boiled, I started washing down the kitchen cupboards.  The fall cleaning has started.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bug Catcher ~ Tidbits

We have had an ample amount of tomatoes in the house lately, and the gnats are horrible.  One daughter found this idea on the internet and it works.  Simply put fruit in the jar and add a piece of paper.  They can get in, but not back out.  I added a drop of dawn soap down the center to kill them.  Today the jar has twice as many in it.  Best thing that has worked so far.  We even caught a fly in it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hope and Hard Work ~ Appreciation

The other day, our Army daughter stopped in for a porch visit.  She told me, "Mom the only thing I want for Christmas is a jar of pickles."

It's the thing a hard working, gardening, self-sufficient mother wants to hear from her kids - an appreciation for home grown food.  

The problem with health issues today, in my opinion, stands on the fact convenience kills (when it comes to food).  I can only hope that my kids will understand the importance of eating real food.  Even if they have to buy it vs. grow it.

I should have done this with the tomato soup (much chopping involved), but I'll entertain some folks with the art of making tomato salsa.  Mind you this is only one thing to can with tomatoes.  Imagine all the work into our 500# this year.  This shows you how crazy us homesteader/self-sufficient nuts are, ha ha!

First:  You have to prepare the garden, till it, weed it, plant it, weed it some more, then wait for the bounty.  Then harvest those beauties and wash them first with a vegetable scrubber and cold water.  Then fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.....oh and for me it involves planting, weeding and harvesting of the hot peppers, garlic onions, pre-making the tomato paste from our tomatoes, and growing the cilantro.

Moving on:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What to do with all those tomatoes?

I faced another 8# of ripe tomatoes yesterday, and will be today.  In fact, I told Hubby dinner will be very late.  I'm on a mission to put up all of my ripe tomatoes.  Ha!  

I took time, after the tomatoes were all boiled and ice bathed, and draining, to eat breakfast on the porch.  It was nice to get some Vitamin D.  Then it was back to the sink and stove.  By the way, that was leftover sweet potato/black bean frittata (Mmmm!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

500.8 pounds of tomatoes this year!

I made one last visit to the tomatoes.  I promised myself to not even think about getting more harvested, and just pull the darn plants.  I put the last of the grape tomatoes into the dehydrator, and pulled some green tomatoes.  Even the green tomatoes are starting to look bad, so I'm ready to get them pulled.  I pulled one plant and stake today.  It's a measly start on 100-some plants, ha ha!  The grand total of our tomato harvest, as of yesterday, was 500.8#!

I told the kids I'll not do that again.  They all laughed at me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Weekend Fun ~ Fall Foilage ~ Flowers

I took this photo as a light rain was ending.  You can see some of the trees are already turning to beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows.  Hubby and I saw the most beautiful fall colors last night.  We took off on a ride along a river, and the colors were fantastic.   I was on the back of the Harley, hence no photos (very curvy road).

Our weekend started out with a funeral visitation about 40 minutes from home.  Hubby was needing some much needed road therapy and insisted we ride the Harley.  I was hesitant, due to the fact would could not wear nice "dress" clothing, but we went.  It was at night, so he spontaneously booked a room in a historical hotel.  I did not have my camera, so the photos are a bit unfocused (taken with my phone).

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tomato Sauce Leather ~ Tidbits

I just realized, if I run out of pantry and freezer space, I can always utilize my dehydrator.

I can make tomato sauce leather.   You simply spread out he tomato sauce on parchment paper and dehydrate.  This  would come in handy for backpacking trips or camping meals (uses less space to pack food).  You just combine it with equal parts of hot water, and you have tomato sauce again.  Then you can add spices to create pizza sauce, or make other meals using dehydrated ingredients.

The thing with tomatoes, is that you always have something to make with them.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sunrise ~ Pumpkins ~ Dogs and Vet Tech to the Rescue

I'm not sure if it's just this time of year, but yesterday's sunrise was just gorgeous too.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Beautiful Sunrise ~ Garlic ~ Me

Yesterday morning, the sunrise was just gorgeous.  I took this in the beginning.  Then I took this photo...

That was about the time the school bus came.  Then I was getting ready to do laundry, and another dog wanted to go out.

I ran back inside and grabbed my camera before that little bit of rainbow disappeared.  Do you see it?  In the center?  I heard it was a double rainbow, as one of my daughter's saw it going to class. 

A few months ago, I pre-ordered a 1/2 pound of Russian Giant garlic. I counted 29 cloves cloves. This is new to the garden.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Random Tidbits

I snipped a few containers of chives and got them into the freezer.  We plan to add these to every breakfast scramble, soups and whatnot.  Sort of like greens, but a lot more.   As the cooler weather approaches, I go into panic-mode.  We have not even started splitting wood, so I'm madly stocking up the herbs before the first frost.

Today, breakfast was "on the go" as Hubby and I made our first visit back to the gym.  We get up at 4:30am and get about an hour work out.  I pre-made the breakfast yesterday, using my crock pot.  I was completely out of apples, and thankful to have a few straggling pears left from our tree.  I made steel cut oats with pears, organic raisins and locally grown walnuts (which I am about out of).  It's a pity that stores here do not sell organic steel cut oats. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

More Tomatoes. . .

We opened a jar of Cowboy Candy.  Wow! Even I liked it, but you have to like hot peppers to enjoy it.  We tasted it with organic cream cheese and a cracker, but they would be delicious topped on a burger of sorts too.  Hubby topped his chicken with homemade BBQ sauce with them too. 

In one last trip to get a few more items for the homecoming attire, we stopped and picked up 10# of organic beef, and one (almost) 12 lb. organic turkey.  That pretty much emptied the pocket book.

Hubby and I enjoyed a picnic in the park after his second doctor appointment, and was due to return to work today, so we played hookie all weekend.

...which meant I did not go into the garden one iota.    

And this happened.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Been a bit busy....

We woke up to thick fog Monday morning.  School was delayed 2 hours, then eventually closed.  As I took the dogs out, it started to rain.  Urghhh.  Rain.  Like we need anymore. 

 Tuesday the fog was bad again - another school delay.

However, some lovely green peppers were stuffed and

Monday, October 3, 2016

Poof! Tomatoes and Pears have disappeared....Tomatoes re-appeared!

This is how we began our pear wine - pears were seeded and stems removed.  We purchased a wine sieve bag to place in our 6.5 fermenter.  We had just enough pears to fill this half-way, which was about 23-24 lbs. of pears.  We added one cup of sugar for every pound of pears (approximately), then poured boiling water over, with enough water above pears.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Get'r Done List

The list is getting knocked off by just a teeny, tiny bit.  Hubby can only rest so many hours sitting or napping, so I put him in a chair......

 ..gave him a brush and paint....goodbye black, hello red.  His stent was installed through his right wrist, and is healing nicely.  We finally got his first doctor's appointment made for next week.

While he painted the door, we had a good conversation, while I prepared tomatoes for the freezer.  Today we started the pear wine.  I'll have more on that tomorrow.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Random Tidbits

I had 4 mashed potato servings in the freezer from last year.  They had a small amount of ice on each one, but guess what....

 ...we baked them up the other night, and they tasted absolutely fine.  No freezer burn taste.  Just delicious-ness.  They are not yellow, that was the lighting that evening, as it was dark outside and raining.  Oh, the rain fell, and fell and fell and is still falling today.