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~

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lima Beans ~ Random Tidbits

Lima beans are high in iron and also benefit bone growth, hence good for hair growth.  I whipped up a "greek" version of lima beans the other day and they were very good!  Here's how to make them.

Rinse and drain 1 lb of dry organic lima beans.   Place in a pot with enough water to soak them overnight.  In the morning drain, rinse and drain again.  I cooked mine in the crock pot the entire day, drained and cooled them.  The next day I took them out of the fridge and place them in a baking dish.

In a sauce pan, saute one diced onion in a bit of olive oil.  Once the onions are ready, add enough frozen/thawed garden tomatoes to equal about a can of dice tomatoes.  Add 1- 4oz. jar of home canned tomato sauce, 1/4 tsp. organic ground cloves, a few tablespoons of honey, 3 minced garden cloves of garlic, salt and pepper.  Heat until it thickens.  Toss in fresh chopped parsley.

Pour the mixture over the lima beans in the baking dish and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or more until it's bubbling and thick.  


It's my next go-to side dish, and possibly the dish that will be a side at the holidays too. You could also half bake the beans and just add water to the tomato mixture, but bake longer at a lower temperature.

So this happened.  Someone ran into one of our driveway posts and blasted the light off, which landed over 10 feet away from the post.  See the tracks?  It happened just after I returned home from running a form to the school, and before Hubby got home from work (while I was inside preparing dinner).   I never heard it, nor saw it, but the Sheriff came out and looked at the tracks and even questioned our neighbor.  We'll see if we can get to the bottom of this.

We are still seeing some beautiful sunrises here at the homestead.

Friday was a misc sort of day - put stuff back in the camper, cleaned up the front porch, and made a visit to the garden.

I dug up some carrots and beets to see how big they were, and decide to dig or leave them in a bit longer.   Carrots?  Fail.  Popcorn?  Fail.  Beets and Sweet potatoes?  Maybe.  I can leave those two in another month, but everything will get pulled now, but the tomatoes.  Sweet potatoes and beets are small, but there is hope unless we get a frost, then the plants won't grow.  It's too wet to work out there, so the garlic bed has not even been put in yet.

Checked the berry bushes too.  Picked 4 red raspberries.

I got a bit of rosemary into the pantry, but not enough for medicinal purposes.  Will keep harvesting until our first frost.

Thyme harvest has been small this year, as well as green onion and chives.  Parsley did pretty good.  The two new sage plants grew nicely as well.

I started roasting pumpkins.  These were the hardest sugar pumpkins I've ever cut in half.  They are tough.  I kid you not.  The skin was about 1/4 thick.  Any tips on softening them to cut them more easily?  Otherwise the rest may become target practice.

Made some of our delicious Whiskey Bacon pumpkin seeds too.  The guts were treated to the chickens.

I also got some crochet work done (photos to come soon).  Hubby kept texting me all day for a date night out, with a motorcycle ride, and just as I went inside to change clothes, he canceled on me.  He worked over (sigh....).   Daughter went out to a football game, so it was little ol' me by myself for several hours.  I immediately changed to PJ's, and binge watched netflix with crochet work.  That's a lot for a Friday.  We'll see what happens over the weekend now.  Thanks for reading through all of this.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Holy Tomatoes!

We've had a very happy garden moment!  I picked 17.5# of tomatoes on just one picking.  If you've been reading my blog regularly, you know we planted about 100 plants and got under 20# since they started producing.  I wanted to climb the roof and shout it to the world, I was that happy.

How to preserve tomatoes for sauce making.  Rinse and dry tomatoes whole.  Freeze in freezer bags or freezer containers.  Don't forget to label so you know the exact weight.  Thaw and use for sauce making recipes.    By the way, the skin comes right off of these when they thaw.  It didn't help me with my sauce making (I toss them in a pot, and run through a sauce maker), but if you don't have a sauce maker I thought I would share.

Dug this bad boy out for the first time this season.

Such a happy day for me yesterday!!  Tomato sauce!!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

How to Make Onion Powder and Onion Flakes

It's time to re-stock my onion powder and onion flakes.  Here is how you can make your own using a dehydrator (you could also use your oven if the temperature goes low enough).

Simply peel your onions, and chop them up.   You can use a non-electric hand chopper or simply dice them up quickly in a food processor. You can also dry them in slices if that's what you need for future meals, but they are too large to fit into a coffee grinder to make into powder.

Spread the chopped onions on parchment paper lined dehydrator trays, and dry in your dehydrator according to the instructions it comes with.

When the onions are dried, simply break apart your diced onions for "flaked" onions.  Place the remainder in a small coffee grinder and grind until it becomes a powder.

Store the onion flakes in airtight glass jars in your spice cabinet.  These will also collect moisture, so you may want to store them using my next tip.

Store the onion powder in your freezer to keep it dry and prevent it from hardening.  If you place it in your cabinet it will quickly harden, unlike garlic powder.  You can also put some white rice, a few beans in it, but I typically don't shake mine out.  I measure with a measuring spoon, and it's much easier for me if I don't have anything in the onion powder.  Shallot powder also hardens over time.

I recycled a jar the size of a half pint to store my onion powder, using a screw top lid.  My canning funnel fits in it perfectly to pour it out of the grinder easily.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Random Tidbits

I walked right into an orb weaver and it's web, while walking from the garden to the house (shiver).  The good news, is when I looked back, the spider was still in the web.  The web was hanging under one of my clotheslines.

Bought another peck of hot banana peppers and canned more hot pepper relish.  We love this stuff.  So glad I tried a new recipe this year. 

I've had more requests to sell these again, but wonder what price you'd pay. It requires 20 yards of netting.  I think I used to sell them for $3/each but wondered if I'm shorting myself.

It's pretty thick too.  I just haven't made any for about 2 years.

On a funny note, Hubby and I bought a plastic black rat.  The first time we tried to scare our youngest it failed.  She brought it downstairs so I put it in a wall cabinet in her bathroom, where she keeps her toothbrush etc.  We got her good!!

Once again they warned us severe storms were rolling in, and even tornadoes.  Woke up to a slight wind and that was it.  So glad we didn't get it, but I'm starting to doubt the weather forecast (again).

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Homemade Organic Vanilla (Madagascar) Wafers

I recently became frustrated with locating organic/non-gmo vanilla wafers.  I read the ingredients on the "organic" labeled box and it has "soy lectin" in it and other non-organic ingredients.  Another box I read had "palm oil" (not an organic, non-gmo ingredient) in it. What is labeled "organic" or just "non-gmo" may not be all what it's supposed to be.  Be sure to read your labels. 

In frustration with locating these wafers, I finally decided to mix up a cookie batter that suited us.  Here is the recipe.

Use an electric beater to blend butter, shortening (or lard) with sugar.

Blend in the egg and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well, then cut dough in half.  Roll out two long logs about 1 inch in diameter (in parchment paper).  Place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Slice and bake 10-12 minutes.  Time depends on how thick you cut the dough.  Remove from oven when edges start browning.   Cool on wire racks.

Homemade Vanilla (Madagascar) Wafers
1 1/3 all purpose organic all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder*
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup organic butter
1/4 cup lard* or organic shortening
1 farm fresh egg, organic fed
1 Tbsp. homemade madagascar vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Instructions are above recipe.

*lard from an organic farmer, not the processed lard you find sold in grocery stores.

Here's more help for an organic baking powder substitute as well.  You may need to buy online to get these organic/non-gmo (or try a health food store).  Our grocery stores do not sell this, but I am able to find a few items about 3 hours from our homestead.  

Homemade Baking Powder
2 Tbsp. non-gmo baking soda
4 Tbsp. cream of tartar, non-gmo 
2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder, non-gmo

Mix and store in airtight container.
Tip: 1 part soda, 1 part arrowroot powder, 2 parts cream of tartar (to mix any amount).

Monday, September 24, 2018

What's been going on . . .

Thursday we had a high of 90°F, Friday we were told by numerous weather sources that we'd get very bad storms, and winds of up to 60mph.  I was out early to pick tomatoes


. . . lost my phone in the jungle of a mess and thanks to a call from my Mom, found it.

I then prepared for a Tsunami, and battened down the hatches.  I took hanging plants down, flags down, etc.  Then nothing happened.  We got a bit of wind, but absolutely no rain whatsoever.  We are thankful about that and thanks for all the good vibes and mojo you sent.

The least amount of dishes to be washed one day.  What a shock that was.  Made the best crock pot soup with the last of our garden potatoes.  

Tiger has the right idea. I survived the weekend.

Friday morning I went out to pick tomatoes, and lost my cell phone in my jungle of a mess.  Sigh.  I found it though thanks to my Mom calling and heard it ringing.  Whew.  So glad I found it before the rain arrived.

In  preparation of the Farmer's Market event, I went through my inventory and took notes on what needed restocked, priced and taken out.

More of these kitchen flower scrubbies were crocheted.  The aqua and pink was already in my tote, I made a few more and then crocheted some flower dishcloths to somewhat match for those wanting sets for themselves, or for gift giving.

Here are the dishcloths.

More pig Christmas tree ornaments were crocheted (sold 3 already).

Here is one pair of hand crocheted candy corn earrings I made too.  These take time and patience, as it uses smaller crochet thread, jewelry tools and I added a bead.

Saturday morning was the Farmer's Market event. Not many vendors but I sold the earrings, and all of my knitted dishcloths but three.  I'm already looking to book a holiday craft bazaar and possibly a third.  Saturday night I took a break from crochet work and went dancing.

Sunday we woke up to 46° weather.  Brr.  The sun was shining though.

We were gifted about 10 pie pumpkins.  I'll be busy putting these in the freezer this week.  So happy to get them too.

My kitchen looks like a yarn store right now, so I better get it back in order.  Dirty dishes everywhere as we took Sunday off from just about everything.  The weather is wonderful, so I hope to get the house in order quickly today.  The weather forecast today says we'll get rain later.  They've been pretty wrong lately, so we'll see.  

What's been goin' on in your neck of the woods?

Friday, September 21, 2018


Storms are about to come through our area today, and they say they will bring heavy rain and possible 60mph winds.  Say a prayer, send up good thoughts, and good mojo.  I need to go batten down the hatches and will post updates after this weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Zero Pumpkins ~ Handiwork

There will be no pumpkins this year.  Jack o' lantern nor pie pumpkins.  Such a waste of seeds, time and hard work.  The large one I saw is no longer there. Raccoons or squirrels got to it.

While avoiding the garden like the plague, I've been inside lately.  I'm just not motivated this year.  Whatsoever.  

I was able to get another mug set done.

Made a few cup cozies.

Started on a pair of candy corn earrings and matching necklace.

I'm thinking I may take a blogging hiatus soon. I'm not that perky, I have no comments most of the time (and way less views), and there isn't much to talk about this gardening season.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Camper Cleaned ~ Crochet Time ~ . . . from the handiwork journal

The camper got a good cleaning, but we still need to clean the top canvas.  That's another day for us.

The floor was swept and mopped with my favorite cleaner.
Here are a few photos of some new items I crocheted for the upcoming Farmer's Market.  I've already sold a set of crocheted nesting baskets, and one pig ornament.

Crocheted nesting baskets.  The aqua baskets were sold.

Mug/coaster set, Harley Davidson inspired, with a removable motorcycle charm on the front.

Drink cups with lid and coasters to match.  A few more to make.

More mug and coaster sets. A few more to make.

Harry Potter Inspired Cup Cozies.  Woke up to find one gone.  Daughter stole it. Ugh. Kids.

More cup cozies to make, and possibly some crocheted earrings and matching necklaces.  It's just a matter of time.  The chicken coop needs cleaned, the tomatoes need checked, hot peppers and green peppers and berries need checked, garlic bed needs to be cleaned up and replanted's gonna have to wait until this market day is over (other than picking what needs picking).

I'm looking up info on how to get my tax ID to open my Etsy to the public.  I'm researching how to do the shipping costs too.  You never know, I may be trying it out for a year.  Stay tuned.  I'm a bit concerned on shipping the mug sets, considering I'd have to invest in packaging, so there's a lot to consider in everything.  

Hubby's cousin stopped in for a loooooong porch chat yesterday, so I lost time (although very much enjoyed her visit) with my handiwork progress.  Speaking of handiwork, I purchased a new canopy (ours broke a few years back), and bought a commercial grade one.  It arrived last week broken in two places.  Sigh.  I returned it, and they re-ordered it, with a discount.  We'll be giving it a try after the market day, but really needed it for the market day.  I'll be borrowing one until it arrives.  Then we'll take it camping to see how well it works compared to the flimsy cheaper grade ones we owned.