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.
"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~
Thursday, January 31, 2019
First: Thaw a quart of homemade onion soup from the freezer. To make the soup, see the blue ball book for the recipe. I make this when onions are harvested, and I use a mandolin to slice all of my onions. This soup comes in handy to use for a soup start as well, for corn chowder and other dishes.
Add the quart of soup to the crock pot, and add the following:
2 lbs. of stewing beef, cubed and tossed with 1 Tbsp or so of flour
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced*
1 tsp. salt*
1/2 tsp. marjoram, dried
1/2 tsp. thyme, dried
black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups burgundy wine
*(Salt if your soup hasn't been salted)
Cover. Cook 8-10 hours on low.
I like to thicken this a bit with arrowroot powder, but it's up to you really.
I boil my homemade noodles, drain them and simply toss them into the crock-pot just before serving. I have also found non-gmo/organic noodles at our grocery store.
We serve it over mashed potatoes (3 lb. of organic white, with 1/2 cup homemade yogurt, 1-2 minced cloves of fresh garlic, and salt).
*for mushrooms, if you don't have fresh on hand, you could use 2-3 cans of organic mushrooms, drained, or re-hydrate some dehydrated mushrooms as well.
Our beef was very tender. The photo is store bought noodles for this meal. I use homemade noodles more often than not, but Non-GMO/organic noodles are available in most stores now. I really need to restock my noodles.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
I also made the Beef Burgundy, so a post will be written soon to share.
As for the weather? Nasty. Surprisingly, the car started, so Hubby is off to work. I was hoping he would be home, but there are many cars on the road today. So many businesses, schools etc. are closed today. Including restaurants, the postal service, Amazon delivery trucks and more. But no, my husband is essential to where he works, so I am praying the guys and gals there are not outside today.
I crocheted Jesse a new scarf, since his Mom lost his first one. It's essential to keep him covered today, and it won't be a fun day. I have to wait for daylight so I can make sure his booties stay on. It's pitch dark out there and our pole light is not on (too cold).
My only job today is to keep the pipes following and the fire going. Stay warm and safe, for those experiencing the same weather as us. We will have wind chills at a record breaking low. Right now at 6:45am, our wind chill is at -22°F.
I keep hearing noises outside, but like I said, it's pitch dark. I will try to look around on my way to the barn later. The barn door froze shut yesterday, but I squeezed into another door. I'm praying I can get in there today. It's gonna be a very rough day here today. And tomorrow.
It cracks me up when family, who lives in the city gives me advice (living in a farm house out in the middle of no where) on how to prep for this weather....bwahahahahahaha! If they only knew.....like to bring in the barn cat and advice on burning wood in the wood stove when they don't even have one. Oh my land...ha ha ha ha!
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Of course the Mom in me, took to calling some of the kids to be prepared for frozen pipes. The apartment complex that two live in, has this problem.
Barn kitty Aurora hanging out on the sofa with Jesse. They all get along, even with Tiger.
To keep warm, I am cleaning and tidying and just organizing where it's needed. The movement will help warm this gal.
On the hooks:
...and getting marked off my "bucket list" for crochet/knit projects. I am finally, finally getting these cup coasters off my list. I think they are gorgeous, and can't wait to get them all made. I've had this pattern on my list for a few years now, and this winter weather finally gave me the chance. There is hope for more on the list.
There have been some positive vibes from this cold weather:
1. getting more inside work done
2. getting more crochet/knit items done
3. getting more time to write and read
Oddly school is not even delayed, however Michigan has declared a sate of emergency for tomorrow.
Monday, January 28, 2019
We got more snow, so the wood is buried. We will forever, never forget to stock up this summer. We both agree, last year was very tough on our family emotionally, and physically we just went into hibernation with grief. We do realize now that maybe staying busy would have helped us much more in more ways than one.
We made a call, fired up "Big Red" with a jump (too cold out to work on her), and headed out for a road trip. Back home with a load of wood. We will have the worst cold weather here in 4-5 years they said. It's also the anniversary of the blizzard of '78 when we had 1 inch of snow and 10 foot high drifts due to the wind that year. I do remember some of that. Mom filled the bathtub with water and a boil advisory was on.
They are predicting 3-7 inches of snow today, but Daughter's school was not delayed or closed. I'm predicting the let them out early today.
They are now saying we'll get wind chills of -39 to -50°F in our state. I'm so worried about the chickens right now. We also haven't seen the stray "Leo" that would come to our house to eat. I am worried about him too. Wednesday will be our worst day yet. We literally just thawed the pipes and woke up to the hot water frozen, so doing dishes today will be oh so fun. Not. Meanwhile our electric bill is skyrocketing. Lord help us all. We may purchase a propane heater (aside from the one we borrowed) as a back up.
Yesterday I got my very first manicure. Daughter is being trained in school and I was her practice person. I'll admit it feels strange to have polish on (I only use non-chemical polish and not very often due to the work I do around here). She was pretty proud of herself, and I found out I can book appts. with her at her school.
On the breakfast plate. . .
Bagel and Coffee
The weather outside . . .
I think I covered this in my intro...ugh
On the to-do list . . .
-sweep floors, vacuum
-Clean one bathroom
On the menu . . .
In no particular order-
-Beef Burgundy(Crock pot, recipe will be posted soon)
-Biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs
-Meatballs and hot pepper mustard sauce, quinoa, broccoli
-Tuna and noodle, steamed broccoli
-homemade sloppy joes and sweet potato fries
-spinach/parsley pesto pasta and a veggie
-waffles (for this weeks breakfast), sausage
Snacks - hummus, deviled eggs
Reading . . .
Same book - Snow, Stars and Wild Honey
On the TV . . .
We finished The Ranch, as well as You (which by the way was very creepy). Now we are stumped on what to watch next.
What I am Creating . . .
Pot holder set and more bookmarks. Pictures to come soon I hope.
From the camera . . .
Prayers . . .
To be honest - for my chickens/rooster and our stray cat Leo (and our entire state we live in). We have never had these predicted temps.
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Although not the best photo, I whipped up a dozen flourless brownies (from Family Circle - Flourless Brownie Sundaes online). I don't make these to avoid flour, they just taste wonderful with....
A glob of ice cream and drizzled with homemade whiskey butterscotch sauce.
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Tiger is feeling better now. In fact, the day we took him to the vet he got a shot and when we got home, he was running around the house chasing nothing, ha ha! Then later I found a ball of yarn that was dragged all down the hallway, ha ha!
Every year we joke about what will get left out, after putting all the Christmas decor away. I did it again this year! Ha! While pulling dried clothing off the drying rack, I noticed all the stocking holders sitting on the breakfast bar. Hmpf! Guess I'm digging out a tote to fit them in.
I finally got around to locating a Tupperware dealer. I have lots of items that are cracked and need replaced. I just have to pick up the phone and call her now. Then go around and collect all the cracked stuff.
Has anyone used psyllium husk powder in a recipe? I have a new recipe I want to try, and wonder if this stuff is available in most stores? It's the "glue" in a recipe I want to make, but un-assure that I will be using it all before it goes bad.
It was another crock pot day, and we love this recipe, but it's adapted to using organic ingredients. Organic smoked sausage is a thing, but hard to find. In fact, we have plans to visit some health stores after this nasty weather breaks.
Here is the recipe (adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook)
Note: I have used cooked dry beans for this before as well. I do have stores close to me that sell BPA free canned organic beans, but supply is limited.
1 can organic Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can organic butter beans, rinsed and drained*
1 can organic red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups home canned (homemade) ketchup*
1/2 cup organic diced onion
1 organic green bell pepper, diced*
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
2 home grown cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce*
1/2 tsp. organic dry mustard
1/2 tsp. home canned hot sauce (or Tabasco sauce)
1 lb. organic smoked sausage, sliced into bite size pieces
Place everything in your crock pot and cook on low for 9-10 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.
Plan ahead during gardening seasoning, and freeze your green bell peppers to make this recipe even easier. You can dehydrate your onions and re-hydrate them also. Of course you can also dehydrate your garlic, but our supply of fresh is still providing. I am getting low on home canned ketchup, so I am praying for a good garden year this year. I may give it a try to grow black beans along with our usual pinto beans this year too. Maybe even lima beans.
I have used Annie's organic Worcestershire sauce and personally do not like the taste at all. For the amount used, I use a regular brand. I cannot buy organic butter beans in any store close to me, so I stock up when I get to a store, or it can be ordered online as well. I have substituted other organic white beans for butter beans, so feel free to mix it up.
The link to: Homemade Canned ketchup
The link to: Home Canned Hot Sauce
Friday, January 25, 2019
Thursday was pretty much close to a Monday for me. Due to weather I was delayed on laundry, chores etc. I have been feeling a bit discombobulated.
It was time for another scramble too. The garden sweet potatoes still provide. I added dandelions, green pepper, onion, and jalapeno to it later....along with sausage. I wanted swiss chard, but we got zero put into the freezer last summer/fall. I still have beet greens and other greens though.
I baked a loaf of banana bread with organic spices, flax seed, homemade vanilla and locally grown walnuts.
My ham bone and organic (soaked) pinto beans went into a crock pot for soup beans and homemade cornbread.
After all that cooking and baking, I finally did the dishes. Lots of dishes. I still manage to dirty quite a bit making everything from scratch. And for only 3 people too. That was only one pile of dishes. I had them on the table and another counter.
Finished another bookmark.
Read a bit, and even journaled a bit. The more I read, the more creative I get with my writing (although I'm not working on much right now).
I'm still having a bit of trouble replying to your comments. Hopefully blogger will fix the blip soon. It seems to happen when I try to reply early in the morning, but not in the afternoon. I guess I'll be trying afternoons for now.
We are at a wind chill of -5°F this morning.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
I've had a request for patterns for the items I make. Here are a few of them.
The pattern for the heart cup/mug coasters is online and free at Red Heart yarn: Valentine Heart Coaster
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
....my new crochet hook arrived, so I'm about to start a new project.
My routine is back with a mountain of dishes to wash. The weather is more than crazy. We just plowed and now it's strange to see so much rain. School is delayed. The driveway is a sheet of ice right now. How is your weather?
Monday, January 21, 2019
I'm pretty sore from cutting wood Saturday. We cut large barn beams in pieces, loaded them up and cut them. Then loaded them to them to the house. Heavy stuff, but burns and heats great. My knee is just feeling it though.
Here are some snow pictures from yesterday:
The snow drifted from 2-4 feet all across our driveway.
I sent ham, rolls and cheese for Hubby Saturday, and the guys working with him too. I'm sure they needed it working in the brisk wind and cold. By 8am, we got up to 4°F.
Just to get Jesse to a flat spot, we had to go through many drifts and way out of the way. We only lost one bootie that trip out. His Mom didn't send his scarf, so I may crochet one.
Since I baked that ham, I whipped up a pan of scalloped potatoes and ham and carrots.
I also baked cheesy potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and corn casserole. Hubby had to work such a long shift I wanted to be sure he had an awesome lunch today. He was so tired this morning. Combine a full 6a-12a shift with working outside in this cold - you get full blown exhausted.
I also brought in a bunch of wood when it was 10°F, so I would get it inside during the warmest time of day in the next two days.
It's a frigid -9°F (wind chill -22°F) this morning, and our pole light is not on (a signal is too cold to step outside). We are still not plowed out yet as of today. I am hoping we find someone so Jesse will do his business and Hubby can pull the car all the way into the drive. Jesse is so confused. It's like a maze out there to get him to an area large enough for him to do his business, and at these temps he's gotta do it fast or deal with his booties. He hates me putting them on, but will walk with them.
Tiger is getting along with barn cat Aurora though. I couldn't believe how long she spent at the water bowl. At these temps the animals can't find water. We keep water and food outside, but she has been one thirsty cat. I'm just glad I found her to bring her inside. Speaking of inside, a mouse joined us.
Tiger has been on mouse alert, and hanging out where I saw it last. I wouldn't be surprised if he caught it.
I'm tempted to stay in PJ's all day, but I need more layers to take care of the chicks and Stud Muffin Sparta. I'm taking a pry bar just in case my barn door is froze shut. I hope this nasty winter means a full blown, awesome garden year.
Oh and yeah, our pipes are froze. I had them dripping, cupboards open, but the wind was just too much for this farm house. Since I can't clean etc. I guess I'll be crocheting, binge watching netflix and relaxing all day long. Don't be jealous now.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
I'll admit we laughed our way through it. Layered in 5 layers of clothes, wind blowing and almost getting the truck stuck....we laughed and laughed. What idiots we were for not cutting more wood over summer (again, he does this year after year). Then again, he was a pretty depressed man after losing two nephews. I gave him a pass. Next summer we'll hit it hard. By the way, I much rather prefer dry sawdust than sogging sawdust that sticks to everything. It was everywhere.
After we cut wood we pretty much hunkered in. We parked the car at the front of the drive, and thankfully we did. Hubby has to work this morning and the drifts behind the car are 3-5 feet high. The snow plow has buried the end of the drive and most likely the mailbox.
I was up at 3:42am precisely. I had to check water pipes and the fire. I got both going and opened cupboard doors. I also heard our barn cat Aurora crying on the front porch and brought her inside. It's gonna be way below 0° and there is no way she'll find a warm place. I just hope the chickens do well with their heat lamp. So far, the power is on and the hot water flows. We are just waiting for family to plow us out. Behind the car anyway. The truck is buried.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
We are praying the power stays on. We also stocked up on lamp oil. Both are low. Just in case. We also have a few places we can rent generators from if needed.
The wind is going strong this morning. No snow yet, but today is the day we get it.
While everyone is raiding the grocery store for bread, milk and eggs, we are planning which day and when we'll cut more wood, checking our battery supply, filling more water jugs, double checking chicken feed, pet food and what not. And baking bread.
Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom mentioned sharing our morning routine. It varies with me from season to season.
Right now I rise about 5:30am, let the dog out, stoke the fire and start the coffee. I make sure Daughter is up, get Hubby's coffee poured into his thermos, pack his lunch and watch for the bus. Some mornings I make them both breakfast burritos, and Hubby's wrapped up for the road.
When the bus arrives I feed the dog and let him out one more time before showering (or working out then showering), and start the day. I also make the bed and tidy up.
It typically starts with laundry (winter routine), while I wash dishes from the night before. I do not own a dish drying rack. I have no space, and towels work great. I just dry them by the wood stove. I typically do them in the morning because we get little time together with it being dark early. Then it's out to the chickens and taking care of them.
It all depends on if there is a crock pot meal on the menu for the day as well. Those typically get started early in the morning too.
I get my handy notebook out and look over my list of to-do's of things I want to make or do (outside of chores), and my notebook for my own recipes. I am writing down one I made recently that Hubby raved over. Speaking of journals (not to get off the subject), I am a journal junkie - one for just about anything including wine tasting, a garden journal, and lots more. Journaling has been in my blood since childhood and I LOVE writing. Daughter has that bug too. She loves to write and journal as well.
I also have a magnetic notebook (pad of paper with a magnet on the back) that lists other things to make. Some days is homemade mushroom soups to freeze, some things to dehydrate, items to can in winter and salves/tinctures/lotions that need made.
After that, it just depends. Yesterday I made more dirty dishes early, by making cookies. German chocolate. I also baked a 10# ham to prepare for meals while snowed in too. I'm thinking scalloped potatoes and ham, ham sliders on homemade rolls, ham and bean soup with cornbread, ham/pea pasta, ham for breakfast (possibly a scramble), ham and greens quiche....they all sound good.
How did these cookies taste? Fantastic! They however do not look anything like the photo that is on the recipe site. I didn't care they were light and delicious. Everyone needs a good dose of healthy coconut too. And pecans. I wanted to try this recipe for Christmas, but didn't get the chance. Quite honestly, I forgot about it. It's online and NY Times recipe. I toasted the coconut at 325° for about 5 minutes prior to mixing all the ingredients. Of course I used organic and homemade vanilla. Speaking of vanilla, that is on my list - get out jar and refill the jars. Along with making a jar of "Full Throttle" herb/spice mix.
This was me at 3pm yesterday - PJ's, crochet, a glass of wine, a dog at my feet, and Judge Judy. Hubby worked over so I relaxed.
Friday was a "calm before the storm" sort of day - warmer, no wind, no rain or snow, and cloudy. We have a big day Saturday, so here's praying we get it done before the wind and snow gets too bad.