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, December 31, 2023

Homemade Granola Bars

 I have had homemade granola bars on my to-do list for months, and have not gotten around to making a batch.  A daughter had requested the recipe, but I have made a few different ones over the years.

My Mom gave me a recipe for peanut butter granola bars.  They require a cereal, but when I made them, I found an organic non-gmo cereal variety that worked with with them.  I have no idea if the cereal even exists anymore, but the recipe for those can be found HERE

I do roast the nuts and oats in the oven, but it's not necessary.

I use one of my measuring cup bottoms to press the mixture down into the pan, and fold the parchment over a bit to press down the edges.  Otherwise, it will stick your spatula or hands.

Another variety of homemade granola bars, uses a bit of butter, and we do love this one too (more of a fruit/nut bar).  The recipe is posted HERE on my blog, but it does contain sugar (brown sugar).  I have not tried making them with monkfruit, but I will be giving it a try next time.

Cut, wrap, or put in sandwich bags.  Store in the fridge.

Homemade Granola Bars © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Back on Track ~ This and That ~ Cashew Brittle

I hope you are enjoying the recipes lately.  I am sorry I am posting them after the holidays, but maybe it will spark motivation for next Christmas season.  Or for that matter, any time of the year.

No, I am not turning my blog into a cooking blog ha ha!  It's winter, and there is not much going on that is "news" worthy, so you get to see some new or older recipe posts.

(Before a weeding day, and they grew almost 6 feet tall!!)

...... and yes I do miss my garden shenanigans.  Oh man, this last season was a good one, and I will not forget how I would start my day with a good laugh.  Every time I went out to work in the garden, I would just laugh and laugh about the enormous squash plants we had.  Not to mention the enormous bounty we got from them.

Something ate the tops off of a few of my bunching onions, that are in my herb garden.  Hm?  I will have to put a deer camera on it if it continues to come back.  The herb garden is very close to the house too.  

 * * * * * 

The outside Christmas lights are all taken down, and put away.  The tree decorations are off, the holiday bedding washed, dried and put away, and other decorations collected to be boxed up as well.  Another Christmas all wrapped up and put away for a year.  The tree will be put away this weekend.  Believe it or not, my husband is the one pushing me to keep it up longer (it only has lights on it right now).

Lists are back in action.  I have a goal for each winter month.  Trust me, when I say we will not be running out of things that need done around here.   I've already cleaned out one shelf in my refrigerator.  The holiday season baking/cooking really put a toll on my organization.  The fridge is a hot mess, so the plan is to finish that job first.

The warmer days have spiked the egg production here at the homestead.  I guess we can't complain about that.  

We had some leftover "innards" from omelet making, and I did not want to waste them.  I decided to whisk up 9 eggs, and make a small-ish sheet pan egg dish using all the leftover omelet bacon/bell pepper mixture.  

I harvested some bunching onions from the herb garden for this too.  I cooked up some sausage patties and made it into a sandwich.  I'll be doing this again, but adding some greens too.  Gosh, you could eat it without the bread, jazz it up with flavor etc.  

Tip:  I save my bacon grease, and greased my pan with the bacon grease.

The weather otherwise, is still damp.  However, we are starting to cool down again.  The current chicken coop run is a muddy mess.  

Detox for the win!  

I'll admit the holidays get us off track of every day meals, and life in general.  By the way, I am still waiting on my holy basil to arrive.  In the mean time, we are using what tea we have on hand.  

I forgot about our traditional Christmas Cashew Brittle recipe.  I did not make it this year, only due to the lack of time.   I do have the recipe already posted on my blog, and it makes a small batch (I use my metal round baking sheets for this).

You can get the recipe HERE.

Back on Track ~ This and That ~ Cashew Brittle © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Friday, December 29, 2023

Angel Cookies ~ A Recipe that I found reading a library book!


Angel Christmas Cookies.  Recipe is online, but I found this recipe in a book I read years ago - Aunt Dimity's Christmas, by Nancy Atherton.  We use the recipe for our traditional cut-out cookies at Christmas, but Christmas has passed, so I made them "winter" themed this year - snowflake cookies.

I'm glad I went searching for the book on my blog, because the link does not work anymore, and the recipe has been changed over the years.  

In the book, the recipe is called "Angel Cookies" because she makes them all angels.  I make all sorts of cut out shapes with the dough.  Very easy to make and you can make it the day before to chill the dough.

The recipe states that if the dough is sticky to chill it, but every year we've made these cookies, we chill the dough.  I take half the dough out, cut the cookies, and take out more chilled dough as we bake them.  You can also chill this dough overnight.

Did you know that if your dough is cold when you cut your cookies out, they are more likely to keep their shape vs. puff out when baked?

Over the years, I have only used the frosting recipe that comes with this cookie recipe.  I noticed the only change in ingredients was the amount of butter in the frosting.

Recipe from the book says:  1/3 cup butter
Recipe online says:  1 cup butter 

All other ingredients are the same.  I used one stick this time, and had enough frosting for 38 of these snowflake cookies.

TIP:   I use parchment paper.  My notes (on my own recipe card) stated that I used air bake baking sheets and did not grease my sheets, but that is not the case.  I have no idea why I wrote that down ha ha!  These cookies will not come off the sheets without greasing them or using parchment paper.  I highly recommend using the parchment paper (original recipe states to lightly grease your baking sheets).

A little "ditty" about the cookie recipe. . .

The cookies were so popular with my kids, that one year a daughter took all of my recipe cards out and copied them.  However, when she filed them, she did not put them in the right place in my recipe box.  I had to go on my blog and find the recipe again for these.  Later I found the recipe card filed in my box under something else.

Another year, our youngest wanted to make this recipe.  She rolled the dough and cut the cookies, but forgot to grease the cookie sheet.  They all stuck to the baking sheet and she cried and cried.  I felt so bad for her that year.

Angel Cookies © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Egg Soufflé (aka Christmas Morning Casserole)


Sharing one of our favorite Christmas morning breakfast dishes (again).  However, I have made it for other occasions.

The recipe is on my blog HERE.  I have made this with homemade bread, and it still turned out delicious.  Homemade sage sausage is good with this too.

The best part of this breakfast recipe, is it is made the night before, covered and baked the next morning.  You could also use leftover ham, or bacon, but we've always made it with sausage.

The recipe was given to me by a co-worker, many, many years ago.

The weather here is still rain. It's also causing a muddy mess outside.  It's definitely been a warmer December this year.

Egg Souffle © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Anniversary Lunch ~ Rosemary Update ~ Back to the Grind ~ Garlic Fermented Honey Update


My husband and I had one last day to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, so we drove to the lake for an island lunch.  We dressed up for the occasion.   I will admit, it was a messy burger, but good.  The fries were "truffle" fries.  They are fried in mushroom oil.  I have never heard of that.  The garlic aioli was for dipping the fries.  The whipped feta hot honey dip is our favorite.  The menu was limited, as the larger part of the restaurant was closed at the time.  I wasn't a fan of the drink, but overall it was a nice lunch. 

We have planned a few hikes for the future, as we could not do them due to the muddy conditions.  

It's back to the "grind" as they say it.  December is a busy month for us, in the way of celebrations, and we are back on track with projects and regular good ol' housework.

I did my best to keep my rosemary plants alive, but one is dead, and the other is hanging on by a hair.  I cannot, for some reason, ever dig them up and keep them alive indoors for the winter.  Honestly, I should have left them outside, as our weather has been in the 50-60's this month.  Anyway, I tried.  I even used different soil for them.  On the other hand, the propagated rosemary is doing fine.  It's just not very big.

Although the weather has been much warmer for a winter here, it brought a lot of rain.  Any outdoor projects, including the new coop, are all put on hold until the rain leaves us.  I think everyone in the area is looking forward to the rain ending.

Are you doing anything just for you this busy holiday month?  I was gifted some shower fizzers, and have enjoyed the lavender.  I am now on the hunt for peppermint (septic safe) ones.  I think peppermint would be a nice pick me up in the morning.  Don't forget to do something nice for yourself every week.

Speaking of waking up, the garlic fermented honey worked great for recovering from whatever bug I recently had.  I can tell you if you grind fresh ginger, and steep your tea first, then add the honey and squeeze a fresh lemon, it goes down pretty well.  There is something about the lemon, that keeps the garlic from being to intolerable.  I was not able to drink it in other teas.  The garlic was too strong.  Anyway, this is my update on that.

Anniversary Lunch ~ Rosemary Update ~ Back to the Grind ~ Garlic Fermented Honey Update © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

This and That ~ Finishing the Unfinished


Although only for one night, we were able to travel a few hours away, to visit a 4.8 million Christmas light display, stay at a Historic hotel (which we loved), and visit some local shops, to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  It rained on us, but we were still happy to travel and celebrate.

Christmas is over with, and we have had the strangest weather.  We hit 64°F I think they said, and today it's rain and in the high 50's.  The nice part of not having a lot of decorations up, is we have very little to put away this year.

Christmas has been much different, with Mom not here to celebrate, so we will need to work on new traditions for next year.  I've come to terms with the fact, it will not be the same, and we will make changes.  It's hard to believe I made it past Christmas, and only baked one Christmas cookie.  I've had a request to make one more, before the month is over.

I don't know how, but I managed to finally finish this book.  I started reading it early in the spring. The garden/other projects keep me busy, with little time to read.  

I finished this one as well.  I know, a bit shocker.  I think this makes book 5 for this year.  I typically read a lot more.

I read most of Leslie Meier Mystery books years ago, but our library did not have some of the series.  I do enjoy them, but would like to venture into other books I have at home.

If you are looking for a Christmas movie to watch, try Netflix movie Holiday in the Vineyards.  We very much enjoyed it.

We tried a new deviled egg recipe, and we really like it.  The recipe says to put the extra filling on crackers, and it would be delicious on a cracker.  We loaded it all on the eggs.  It is a recipe from The Southern Lady Cooks, and the pimentos make it colorful for a Christmas side dish.  

I used my homemade garlic powder for the recipe, and just the small amount adds a good amount of flavor.  They are not low in calories, but I'm glad we tried them.

This and That ~ Finishing the Unfinished © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Friday, December 22, 2023

Crockpot Creamed Corn


A winner in the "tried new" recipe category.  So good!  The only ingredient I did not add, was the red bell pepper, because I didn't have any in the freezer at the time.  I will be adding it and making this again.  A keeper recipe.

The recipe is online at The Southern Lady Cooks - Slow Cooker Creamed Corn.

If you freeze your corn off the cob with butter, you can use that and add less butter too.  I save bacon grease, so I used that, and already had some bacon cooked that was leftover from another meal.  The sugar could be left out too.  I mean, it's only 2 Tbsp, but we freeze our corn with butter and sugar so I can leave it out.

A win-win recipe if you freeze your corn off the cob, and freeze your garden bell peppers.  Saving your bacon grease is always a frugal tip I share often.

Sharing for those looking for a new side dish for your own meals, or for potluck meals.  I've tried other variations in the past, and we really like this one.

I like to try new recipes exactly according to instructions, and ingredients.  Next time I will swap the corn starch with arrowroot powder and see if it makes a difference in consistency or flavor.  I do by organic corn starch, but for us arrowroot would be a healthier option.

Tip:  We cook up an entire package of bacon, and save half for a second meal or use it in another recipe.


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Garlic Fermented Honey

 The problem with winter gatherings with lots of people, are the germs that spread.  I had good intentions of cleaning the house, after the gathering we had here, and I failed.  I love my family, but with them come germs.

By "clean" I mean to disinfect bathrooms, door knobs, and the like.   Not all hands get washed (especially little hands when no one is watching), and I had not gone anywhere other than the library.  My husband said to me, "I don't get it. You haven't been anywhere but the library."  Yep.  Also, he can bring germs home from work (as we have found out back in October).

I caught a bug of some sort, which started with a runny nose, then sore throat and watery eyes etc.  I instinctively took Four Thieves Vinegar, but later remembered I made garlic fermented honey.

I have been sipping hot teas with the garlic honey, and will report back as to if it helped shorten the length of this said bug or not. 

I'm still finding reasons to get outside to get fresh air.  I'm hoping this bug passes quickly.

Random wise words I recently heard:
"Words come from the lips.  Actions come from the heart."
I have no idea if these are famous, or who said them, we heard them in a movie recently.  I had to share.

Garlic Fermented Honey ~ A Family Christmas Tradition © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Sour Cream Softies ~ A Family Christmas Tradition

 I thought for sure, that I had posted the recipe for these cookies, but so far I have not located it on my blog.  So...

Here is the recipe for Sour Cream Softies, a traditional Christmas cookie, that was passed down from my Mom.

I had no idea where the recipe came from prior to my Mom, but she loved to sit and listen to a radio station, where recipes were shared (definitely a thing in the past that is not done today on the radio). It is possible she obtained it from the radio station, but I am not for certain.

Sour Cream Softies

3 cups sifted all purpose flour (we use organic)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. butter softened (we use organic)

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs (we use farm fresh)

1 tsp. vanilla (I made this homemade)

1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (organic)

Measure flour, salt baking powder, and soda into a sifter.  Cream butter with sugar until well blended.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Sift in flour mixture, alternating with sour cream.  Drop by teaspoonful on parchment paper lined baking sheets (spread each teaspoonful out a bit).  Sprinkle with red/green sugar sprinkles.  Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container.

I never got the chance to make homemade sour cream, when we had Lamancha dairy goats.

Sour Cream Softies ~ A Family Christmas Tradition © Dec 2023 by Kristina at Pioneer Woman at Heart

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tuesday Tidbits


The aftermath of the Christmas gathering has all been cleaned up.  Dishes are washed and put away, the Christmas tablecloth removed and washed, living room debris picked up, floors swept and mopped.....the worst part of hosting is the clean up.  One thing I have learned, when someone says they are coming early to help, don't count on the help.  Two, don't count on people bringing what food they say they will bring.  Hence the dip I made at the last minute.  

I also learned that the day after a gathering is the best morning to have a make-ahead breakfast ready to simply pop in the oven.  We did not, and I did regret not having one ready.  I will definitely remember next time.

Finished!  Off the list now.  My husband's scarf is done.

I mentioned we tried a new dip recipe - Sausage Artichoke Dip (The Southern Lady Cooks, link goes to the recipe online).  It is very good, although we think we may use "hot" breakfast sausage (or homemade) next time we make it.  Everyone loved it.

Bonus:  It's a crock pot dip recipe, and can be thrown together very quickly.  We keep canned chilis on hand for several recipes.

The new gadget I mentioned the other day - a water pump for a 5 gallon water jug (we have well water).   You simply charge it, and put it on the top of the jug.  No expensive water system, and no flipping it upside down.  It works great, but we did notice that not all 5 gallon jugs are the same.  We first got a jug at a farm store, which the pump worked, but did not securely attach.  Other stores sell the jugs that properly fit this, but we love it.  No more filling 10 gallon jugs, and having to make room for them.  

(available on Amazon, and inexpensive, and no I am not an affiliate for this product, as it was just recommended)

Monday, December 18, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

Grab a cup of java this morning!  I didn't mean for the post to be so long today.  Ha ha!  Sorry folks.  Hope you enjoy it anyway. 

No one had any advice on cleaning the tomato stains from the freezer containers.  I have now just accepted they will be future containers to freeze anything tomato.  I can't afford to throw them out and buy new ones (as one of my friends suggested).

Do any of you have a gift in a jar idea for pint jars?  A recipe perhaps that most people in general will like?  I was thinking Mocha Coffee, but I'm still having trouble locating sugar free (non-gmo) peppermint syrup.  I can locate mini bottles of peppermint schnapps however (he he!).  Any ideas would be great, as it is late in the "game" this year. 

Random thought:  I was looking for my stocking shelf hooks, and found one of the kids stockings.  I embroidered each kids name and glued them to the stocking with some trim.  It reminded me of how much time I dedicated to my kids while they were growing up.

I would race to the school to sign up for the Christmas parties.  6 kids,, 6 classes, and other holiday parties too.  So....I remembered the year I bought those small stockings (ornament size), and hand embroidered each student's name, and glued them to the stocking.  I hand wrapped each one for each student.  

It also made me realize, that during all those years, I put my kids first, and me last.   There were not only classroom parties, sports, band, class events, choir, contests, a lot of volunteering, doctor appts, church events......the list is endless.  Six kids kept me very very busy.  

Today I am joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

The Weather . . .

View from the porch on Sunday - dreary, dark and raining.  I'm so glad I got to see such a beautiful sunrise on Saturday.  If you didn't see the photos, it is in my previous post.

Today?  Windy, snow showers, high of 36°F

Right now I am . . .

Sipping coffee, and getting this post up.

Thinking and pondering . . .

Mountain Rose Herbs has been my "go-to" store for years for medicinal teas, and supplies, but not lately.  I have had to search our new sources, as their products are so often out of stock, and higher in price. Also, the shipping costs are much less elsewhere, or free on Amazon.  I do try to grow and forage for what I can however.

How I am feeling . . .

Better, but the dental work affected my sinuses, caused headaches, and is taking a long time to heal.  

On the breakfast plate . . .

Chorizo/potato, and egg (and cheese) breakfast burritos.  Next up is pumpkin pancakes and sausage patties. 

On the lunch plate . . .

No idea yet.

On the dinner plate . . .


On the menu . . .

I need to write this up today.  I have not thought about it.

On the reading pile . . .

I'm back to finishing up this book.

On the TV . . .

Movie:  Holiday in Handcuffs, a Christmas cabin movie, where a young woman kidnaps a young man to pretend to be her boyfriend (to impress her parents).  

Looking around the house . . .

We are switching from buying gallon jug water refills to a 5 gallon water jug.  We have well water, and although we have a salt softener system, it can cause build up on the coffee pot and other appliances.  So....I have a new gadget to try soon.  I'll be sharing it as soon as we obtain the 5 gallon jugs.  We are able to refill them for $1.00 each.  

To-do List . . .

-make seal and brew tea-bags
-muck coop
-finish up laundry
-empty dishwasher
-paint closet floor upstairs
-return library books
-dust (again)

From the camera . . .

Sour Cream Softies.  A recipe that was handed down from my Mom.  We make them every Christmas.  They are delicious with a cup of morning coffee/tea or just as they are.

Something to Share . . .

If you are concerned about your food containing GMO's, you'll be happy to know that Menard's sells Deluxe mixed nuts that are GMO free!

No added bad oils!  So happy to find them, so I can make holiday treats without having to buy all the nuts and roast them myself.

Also, I found a tea recipe for "stress reducing" on another blog (Backyard Patch), which you can find HERE.  I have two of the ingredients. I need to locate some Holy Basil, and then I can start brewing this delicious-ness.

Christmas DIY's, Ideas, Tips, and Recipes . . .

50 count cake pop sticks, about 58 oz. mini marshmallows, 2 - 12 oz. bags of light cocoa candy melting wafers.

Dipped in melted chocolate once.  Let cool.

Dipped a 2nd time, then coated in mini marshmallows, let cool.

Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks to Gift.  Mint Chocolate would be delicious too!  Gift with Homemade Hot Cocoa in recycled, decorated jars.

Tip:  When using melted chocolate wafers, spread any leftover melted chocolate onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Allow to completely cool.

Break the chocolate up, and store in an air tight container or bag, in a dark cool location until you need it again.

Also, I have a new recipe we tried for a dip (appetizer) for our Christmas with the kids.  I will talk about that in tomorrow's post, as this post has gotten way too long, ha ha!

Devotional, Bible Verses, Prayers . . .
Prayers for a couple that were killed in a 3-car collision recently (locally).  They couple had a infant son that was not with them.  The driver that caused the collision, according to the news, had 60 priors.  The community is gathering to help raise money for their son.