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~

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Burger-Potato Slow Cooker Dinner

(the start of cooking it)

Brown 1 lb. of organic ground beef and drain.

In a bowl, mix 1 cup of water and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar.  Slice 6 potatoes thinly and toss in the water mixture and drain.

In another bowl mix:
1 onion diced
1/4 cup organic all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup shredded organic cheddar cheese

In a crock pot place browned ground beef and top with a potatoes, then top with onion mixture.  Dot the top with bits of organic butter.

Top with one "can" of homemade mushroom soup (or 1 can organic mushroom soup).

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup organic shredded cheddar cheese about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Preparing and Restocking

I've been spending rainy/cold days on theter putting orders in to restock and preparing for canning season.  Brazil nuts help my hair and nails stay healthy.  These are not sold in our stores, and I haven't found them at the health store 40 minutes from home either.

I use this for a few canned items, but I also use Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar for many other canned items.  The organic white is not sold in stores (non-gmo).

This corn syrup was in very limited supply last year.  Two years ago the grocery store carried it.  I'll probably order more to be prepared for the holidays, without worries of limited supply.  I also use it to make homemade teriyaki sauce.

Restocked the einkron flour as well too.

I also made a batch of homemade dinner rolls for our "Christmas" gathering with my side of the family. It's more like an Easter get together now.

I love bread making days.  It's sort of relaxing.

I am writing up a few recipes that I'll post soon.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Surprise Mail and other tidbits

I was shocked to get this in the mail the other day!  So happy!  I also received a bag of yarn, left tied up in a bag on my door handle from another person.  Yay!

My new truck. It's really for the both of us, but it'll be my daily set of "wheels" so I don't have to keep asking the kids to rescue me to get out of the house anymore.   Remember I said we had "big ticket" jobs/purchases this year?  Well, this one is one of them. Tinted windows and 4 wheel drive.  No massage seats though, ha ha!  Oh my gosh, the gadgets in this thing?  Oye.  Big Red (the old truck) will be sold.  

Something funny to share about the truck.  We took it out to dinner the night Hubby brought it home.  Daughter was in the back and wasn't getting out.  She told us she couldn't get out, it was locked.  Later Hubby left to get in the truck first to let her drive.  He headed out before us.  When we got out there, he was yelling at us to open his back door, ha ha!  He was locked in too.  We need to deactivate the child lock, ha ha!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Good Weather Day!

My husband found the truck he wanted.  It was 3 hours away from home.

Luckily, my step-daughter drove him there for me.  Youngest was home sick.  She had donated blood at school and came home very tired and feeling sickly.  I knew she wasn't going to school when she got up and asked for "tea" yesterday morning.  

First tea I made was a ginger/thyme tea.  Her throat hurt, she had a nasty cough now and then, and she was dealing with fatigue from giving blood.  Second, I made a nettle tea infusion, cooled it and gave it to her over ice (good for blood circulation and fatigue).  As the day went on though, she lost her voice a bit, so it was some sage tincture followed by more medicinal teas.  Poor thing.

Meanwhile, while he went to check out the truck, the weather was good enough to work outside.  I spent 2 hours on another flower bed - only 7 more to go.  The garlic bed has to wait.  Some are not up enough to fix what the wind damage did to my plastic.  We are to get loads of rain for the next 3 days here.  I got myself a good dose of vitamin D and boy it felt great.

I also made the call to check on that propane.  More money to spend, but decision is needed.  We'll now decide what we'll do.   We are told that if you have a buried tank, they have to now do a soil test that costs $250.00.  Not sure if that is per year, but they already started doing it for some, so it would be best to have it dug up and removed.  Updates on that later.

I embroidered a kitchen hand towel for us.  I've been so busy crafting for others lately, it was nice to take time for myself.  We need new towels in the kitchen, so I'll be making more.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Random Tidbits

All of my seeds are up but my peppers. Sigh.  They should be up by now.  I am getting concerned.  I saved hot banana pepper seeds too and even those are not up.  I can't find organic hot banana pepper seeds either.  Only Hungarian Wax.  Those are much hotter, so my question is are they (hot banana) even a real pepper?  A hybrid? Hm.  I may be using Hungarian if these don't come up and I have to resort to buying plants (which will cost me dearly).

We are late on buying seed potatoes too, but I am on the hunt this week.  We should have had them by now.

We are considering replacing our pellet stove with a propane heater for next winter.  Two years there has been a shortage of wood pellets (this year included).  We had plans to buy up all they had on sale, but they are either sold out or sold by a limited amount, and $5 a bag.  I much higher cost than previous years.  It's been a concern for years now, and I would never rely on a pellet stove for a heat source.  Even finding dry corn has been an issue.  Either way, we like to have 2 sources to rely on considering how cold it got this winter.  Solar panels are an option, but not in the near future.

Also in preparing for changes, I've called around to propane companies.  We are looking to change businesses.  Our current supplier quoted 199.9/gallon.  What a rip off.  I called another that services our area and was quoted 145.9/gallon. Updates on that to come soon.  If I also purchase a double oven in the future, the stove will be run on propane (not like the current electric), so that is kept as an option too, as to what size of tank we'd want.

Speaking of propane, our tank is a buried tank (previous owners did this).  I was told by one propane company that people with buried tanks will soon be charged a $250 test.  They are doing away with buried tanks.  So, we plan to have it dug up and replaced with an above ground tank with a new company.  We also heard that you cannot own your own tank anymore.  Not sure if that is true yet, but a tank with the new company is just $1.00/year, but you can only buy from them, so we are smart is asking if the quote to fill it now is a "new customer" rate and if next time the rate will be hiked like our current propane company (which has always been high).

I got an order for another "f" bomb.  I'm putting the final touch on it now.

Yesterday and today are crock pot meal days - love those!  Organic roast, potatoes, carrots and onion one day, and two crock pots today - Burger Slow Cooker dinner in one, Glazed veggies (carrots, turnips, parsnips) in the other.

The "big city" has been doing road construction for a year now, and last year busted a water line closing stores and restaurants.  Two days ago they busted another water line and there is a boil advisory until Thursday.  I had to call the kids and let them know.  Yesterday, the workers busted a gas line and downtown was evacuated.  Geeze.  They will also be closing the Interstate overpass at the main exit for a month soon.  Yeah, we avoid that area as much as possible for now.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Our favorite granola bars, and freezer friendly.  Excellent for a snack, for car trips, camping, motorcycle rides (minus the chocolate since it can melt), school lunches and more.

Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.  If you do not have parchment paper, you may be successful lining it with foil and lightly oiling it (I have only used parchment and it works great).

In a rimmed sheet pan, place 2 1/2 cups organic oats and 1/2 cup chopped organic nuts of your choice.

Heat oven to 350°F and toast oats and nuts for about 8 minutes.  If you chose to add seeds (read below for the additional 3/4 cup of your choice), I like to add them to the sheet pan and toast along with the oats and nuts.  I use hemp seeds often.

While that is toasting in the oven, in a small pan heat:

1/4 c. organic butter
1/4 c. organic honey
1/3 c. organic brown sugar

Heat on low until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add:

1/2 to 1 tsp. homemade vanilla.  I like to use 1 tsp.  Stir.

Pour toasted oat/nut/seed mix into a mixing bowl, and add:

3/4 cup of your choice of dried fruits, seeds, coconut etc. If adding chocolate bits, do not add yet.

Pour the heated honey mixture over the oat and fruit/nut mixture.

Mix well until everything is coated.  This will prevent anything crumbling off when you cut it into bars.  

*wait for mixture to cool before adding any chocolate bits to this.  

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and press down.  I like to use the back of a measuring cup to do this step.  Place in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Remove from the refrigerator, and turn upside down and remove parchment paper.  On a cutting board, slice the bars as you prefer.

Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Note:  I do not add any salt to this.  I use salted organic butter and the taste is great!  

Monday, March 25, 2019

Fun and Food

Sunday was the continuation of fun planning.  We have the hall and band booked for our big 20th Anniversary party.  We are working on food now.  Our honeymoon has already been planned and we are very excited.  It will be simple - loud music, food, friends and family, and of course drinks.

We are making other vacation plans and fun happenings too.  Garden plans and more.  The year is starting out pretty good.

Although we had a tough garden year last year, the garden still provides, along with the chickens and my ability to prepare freezer foods.  I still have a small amount of garden sweet potatoes, jalapenos in the freezer as well as dandelion greens, and some pickled garlic.  Oh, and I found one more container of frozen green onions from the garden, and tossed in herbs I dried from the garden.  It was delicious.

Plum jam.  There is always a good supply of jams and jellies to enjoy too.

Meals have been planned for the next few days too, including a crock pot veggie glazed medley that includes turnips and parsnips.

I pulled a pint of frozen pumpkin puree from the freezer for pumpkin-sage macaroni, which was our dinner last night for our guests.  I also made a crock pot of homemade sloppy joes.

But....guests didn't come over.  Sigh.  Via a group family text, a cook out was being planned at someone else's house last minute.  The weather warmed up to 54 by 2pm and 56°F by 4pm.  Was I mad or glad?  Both.

Guess what we did?  We got the Harley out and got our ride in to their place, minus the crock pot and other dishes I baked.  No worries on the dinner tonight - lots of leftovers.

March is still "flu" season, and with the temps going up and down, I am on germ patrol daily.  Anti-ill sprayed everywhere, homemade "lysol" wipes etc. and of course daily dose of probiotics, greens, nuts/seeds and healthy food.  One restaurant closed Sunday due to flu, and many schools have been closing.  Keep washing those hands!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Exhausted Husband

Our weekend started out with a very exhausted husband.  Thursday he worked 1st shift, leaving at 6:20am and returning 4:20pm-ish.  We had to drive the 33 minute drive to the school for the talent show, and then home, where he barely got a nap.  He returned to work (forced overtime) for the night shift, followed back to back with the day shift on Friday.  Yeah, I didn't expect much to get done over the weekend.

We returned to cold weather on Friday.  It rained and snowed - windy, cloudy and a low of 22°F.  Brrr.  I think we've learned that in our state, you won't know the weather until you wake and and check it.  It changes that often anymore.

Saturday we had a high of 48° and sunny.  Hubby announced he was also working Sunday.

Today it will be a high of 54° but Hubby also announced we were hosting a dinner when he got home.  Hmpf.  

Friday, March 22, 2019

Random Tidbits

A rainy day didn't keep me down.  I had lots of indoor chores to do.  I was a bit sore from outdoor work too, so a break was a bit nice.  I puttered around, refilled the chili pepper, refilled homemade foaming hand soap, etc.  

I made Einkorn chocolate chip cookies.  Although I only had their "all-purpose" flour, and not the Whole Grain whole wheat flour, they turned out delicious.  Just not as thick, but so good.

Here's what our menu has been for the week so far:
Sweet potato chili
Breakfast for dinner - blueberry pancakes, eggs, sausage
Lima bean soup

The weather forecast for the weekend changed.  We were so pumped to have a 60-70° day, but that has now lowered to a high of 53° and cloudy.  Time will tell if we get our ride or not.

The bathroom remodel is still on hold until next week or later.  The truck shopping continues.  Hubby joked that he'd have a massaging seat installed for me, after giving me a shoulder rub after two days in the herb garden.

A friend has told me about a local shop that rents out space for consignment.  I am a bit hesitant.  The cost is a bit high, plus they take 10% commission, and 2% for credit card sales.  The garden work has started, so I have less time to do handiwork, so this is on the back table for now.

Our Youngest was the MC for the school's talent show, so we went and watched that in the evening.  She was hilarious too.  She announced one student like a boxing match announcer would announce the boxer entering, so funny!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fresh Air

I had another successful day in the herb garden.  I think after another 1-2 hours of weeding, I should have it cleaned up.  Then I start in on the rose bed and flower beds.  Daffodils are popping up and spring is arriving finally.  I dumped my weeds just before the rain was due.

Here is just a snippet of what I was working on, and how bad the weeds were last fall.  I left it in disarray.

The cabbage seeds I started are from Baker Creek - Brunswick Cabbage.  I received them free, so I thought, why not?  I have read they are huge and easy to grow.  Crossing my fingers.  

I also started watercress seeds indoors.

I ripped the plastic off the outside of the chicken coop and let them run free.  They were pretty happy.  I had to hike over their run fence to let them out and put them in, sigh.  My back barn door was stuck in the mud.  One more job to do....

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Gettin' the "Itch" and other random stuff

Yesterday I totally went bonkers.  I had the itch to get outside and get flower beds, and the herb garden tidied up.  That itch to get outside was raging like a wild fire I tell ya'.

I yanked on my muck boots and got an early start in the very weedy herb garden.  Two buckets of weeds and 1 hour later I felt replenished.  Next visit will require a wheel barrow.  What a mess I left it in, but boy it felt so good to get a start on it and be outside in the dirt.  Green onions and chives are already coming up.  I timed it just right too, and got some sun.  Shortly after, the clouds covered.

Aside from regular chores, I dug into the baking mode. I made homemade granola bars.  I couldn't find my own recipe, so I resorted to the internet, adapting with what fruits, nuts and seeds I had.  They were very good too.  Soft and delicious.

I got my heirloom cabbage seeds planted.  I so wish I had more space right now.  I really need my green house, but we'll see what goes right this summer for now.  My green onion starts are up too.  Last year, most had died off in my garden, so I purchased an heirloom variety to replenish my herb garden this year.

At two weeks old, the chicks are growing their neck feathers.

I purchased a subscription with this magazine.  Now say a prayer, send me good mojo.  I'm bad about sitting and reading anything lately.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Feel Good Moments

Seeds are sprouting.

Sold 2 more dish scrubbies.

Have enough cut barn beams to last the season.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Weekend Updates

The craft/vendor show was a flop.  I sold all three dishcloths I posted the day prior, some scrubbies, one mug/coaster set and one necklace.

We sold very little, and after covering the cost of the tables, get this...made a whole $7.00.  Sadly.  It's the last one until fall, although there may be one in late April, I am declining.  I have gardening, motorcycle rides, wood cutting and other projects to be done.  Not to mention the bathroom remodel

Sunday Hubby cooked us breakfast.  Youngest Daughter did hair and makeup for another school's musical (gaining required hours for cosmetology).  

Our 21 year-old moved back in.

The boys came out to dig out some barn siding to build a horse shelter.  They helped cut beams for us to burn.  It was cold.  Snow moved back in late evening, but we see another warm up next weekend. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

from the handiwork journal . . . set of pot holders are finished.

. . . these 3 knitted dishcloths are now finished.

. . . got netting cut and crocheted, to restock a few scrubbies.

. . . a few hemp dish scrubbies.

. . . finished the blue rose cup coasters, making progress on the yellow rose cup coasters (I ended up finishing a set of 4 yesterday).

Woke up to snow again today.  It's hard to believe we had a 67° day this week.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Diggin' Tomatoes Out . . .

Thursday the wind kicked up about noon, but not too bad and it was raining.  I dug out a few more bags of frozen garden tomatoes (frozen whole), and . . .

...simmered down some freshly made spaghetti sauce (seasoned with home grown garlic, herbs etc), dug out some frozen homemade meatballs and wah-la, dinner.  A side of steamed broccoli (organic from the store, but organic).

If they were expecting a dessert, they were wrong.  By then I had already washed dishes 3 times.  I was ready to throw in the towel so to speak.  Youngest had the day off from school, and I never saw hide nor hair from her until way after noon.  

Instead of tornadoes they predicted we had a repeat of rain showers followed by sunshine and rainbows.  It repeated all night.  This morning, it's very windy and the cold returned.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

This and That

The bathroom remodel is ongoing.  Just trying to find a shower to fit to replace the old one, and someone to install the flooring (we may do it ourselves). 

Go figure.  I finally get a 60-70 degree day today, to clean the over loaded chicken coop, and the winds are expected at 45mph with the risk of bad thunderstorms.  

We are still truck shopping.  Hubby has a knack for this, so I am not a bit concerned.  He knows what needs fixed on our one daughter's car, so that's ongoing as well.

Hubby announced he may be forced overtime on the day I booked the next craft show.  If he works, I have to be a no-show, and that is bothersome.  But....his income is far more than I could ever make a craft show.  Time will tell.

We almost went on a motorcycle ride last night - high of 54°F, but the driveway was pretty wet yet.  We stayed in.  We won't be going on one today, unless the weather prediction is incorrect.

We are on the search for some old clay field tiles.  I found some, but it's quite a drive.  I'm hoping we locate a farmer around here with some laying around.  I need some for the garden this year.

Not much else going on here right now.  I should have some handiwork photos to share soon.  Garden seeds are started, and I received free heirloom cabbage seeds from Baker Creek. I will be starting those today to see how those do in the garden.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Here comes that word again - Prepare

I'm finally getting around to researching some poultry travel crates for meat birds.  If you have purchased any, and have reviews, and prices, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

It's time to prepare seeds for this year's garden.  Sending up prayers and goof vibes we all have a grand one this year.

Hubby's cousin found free maple (dry) for us.  She and Hubby (or with myself) will either team up to fetch it, or she'll deliver it so we just have to split it.  It's 2 truck loads of wood.  So thankful for that, and helps us stay ahead of splitting wood this spring.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  We are making plans for some building projects with the old barn wood. I am just hoping I can keep Hubby motivated and that we have the time to get them done.  I'll link up after she posts.

Although a bit chilly, laundry is going out this morning.

On the breakfast plate. . .
Bad photo, but it's a scramble with just a bit of bacon, sweet tades, white tades, collards and jalapeno.  Youngest dibbed into my prepared bacon, so Momma wasn't happy this morning when she grabbed the container to find 3 lousy pieces.  GRRRR!

We are still enjoying garden sweet potatoes and jalapenos.

...and a clementine.

The weather outside. . .
Feels like 22°F.  Much calmer than yesterday.  Winds were 30-some mph, and finally died down.

Right now I am . . .
Struggling to adjust to daylight savings time.

Thinking . . . 
I better not forget to spray down the kitchen with anti-ill oil.  Of course after I get the cleaning done.  The kids at schools are getting sick.  Youngest did volunteer work at another school to gain hours for National Honor Society, and said there were kids leaving the set to go to the bathroom sick.  Ugh.  Germs be gone!

On my reading pile . . .
Nothing.  No time to read.  Too much to do.  Crafting more often than not.

On the TV . . . 
Movies I gifted Hubby for Christmas.

On the menu . . .
In no particular order
-Tuna and Noodle, roasted rosemary potatoes, asparagus
-Spaghetti and meatballs with freshly made sauce, roasted brussel sprouts
-Roast, carrots, potatoes, homemade rolls
-Hamburger gravy, mashed tades, steamed broccoli
-something using zucchini
-Breakfast scramble for the next few days, using bacon

On my to-do list . . .
-blanch and freeze dandelion greens 
-sweep and vacuum floors
-make breakfast scramble
-cut netting for scrubbies
-get seed starter supplies set up
-label and put canned pizza sauce away
-crack walnuts
-dinner prep
-cook chicken for homemade dog food

Looking around my house . . .
It's in semi-chaos until this remodel is done, and the wall has been fixed with a closure (still not done).  The toilet and shower in that particular bathroom are in usable shape, but the floor is still ripped up, covered in old rugs for the time being.  Patience, patience, patience......

What I am creating . . .
Cup coaster set with blue roses.

On the camera . . .
The baby chicks are growing fast, and try to escape.  I remember one year, one of the kids said, "um, Mom? There is a chicken walking down the hallway."  Ha ha!  I have chicken wire over the tote they are in, and they'll soon graduate to another home, then finally into the coop with the rest.  It's too early to tell what I ended up with yet.

Something fun to share . . .
Fun for me - we may get a motorcycle ride this week.

Prayers . . .
Kids, us.