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~

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Sheet Pan Dinner Fail ~ Well Sort of


I've made this twice now, and the second time remembered why the vegetables don't cook.  I even cooked the veggies for 20 minutes before adding the chicken.  The recipe is online, but seriously it has it's flaws.  I was in a hurry, so I just looked it up to check bake time on it.  

It's a balsamic/honey recipe, but it doesn't work, as the recipe states to coat the veggies with the mixture.  They will not cook with the vinegar (my duh moment).  Even if you cook the veggies 45 minutes.

So, to remember what not to do, I'm posting to remember on what to do.

Cook the chicken on a separate pan.  The mixture of the vinegar and honey makes the chicken so tender and delicious.  Cook the veggies on a different pan do do not coat in the vinegar sauce.

I personally, like rosemary on roasted potatoes, and a bit of parmesan or other herbs on the carrots.  

Sauce recipe states 1 cup balsamic vinegar with 1/3 cup honey, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and reduce by half.  I will cut the recipe in 1/2, maybe in 1/4 amount for just the chicken and season everything as I wish.  Bake time was 20 minutes for veggies at 400°, then add chicken, but next time the chicken will be on a different pan, but bake for 20-25 minutes or until you have checked internal temperature on the chicken.

We loved the chicken, just didn't like the almost raw carrots, and the potatoes were semi-soft.  Sometimes getting recipes online is great, and other times not so.  I think the seasoning for the chicken was garlic powder, basil, and thyme.  I'd have to double check, but that sounds about right.  You can season however you like.

The same goes for crochet patterns.  Sometimes it's great to get patterns free online, but sometimes not.  I will share on that later.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Whipped Feta Dip Trial #1 ~ Asparagus ~ Mexican Breakfast Skillet Tidbits


We really liked the flavor in this first recipe we tried, for Whipped Feta Dip.  The recipe stated to heat the hot honey with the red pepper flakes.  First, this recipe used sour cream, so it whipped up to a very light dip.  We prefer a thicker dip, so we will be "whipping" up (ha ha) a trial #2 soon with another recipe.  If you want this recipe, it is online with Greens and Chocolate - Whipped Feta with Honey Honey.

Results:  Very good flavor!  Just not thick enough for our liking.  We did top it with chives from our herb garden.

Tip:  Make the dip at the same time you heat the honey, so it is room temperature.  Otherwise the honey will harden on the dip.  Also, we felt this was way too much for 2 people, so consider cutting the recipe in half, unless you are entertaining.  

We are still getting asparagus from the garden.  We are thankful for that, but I still need to dig up the raspberry sprouts in that part of the garden.  It's just been to dry to dig them up.

The recipe for the Mexican Breakfast Skillet is online at The Kitchen Magpie.  I used garden tomatoes we froze last year, as it needed to be used.  I did not can stewed tomatoes, so I created my own, with the thawed tomatoes.  If you canned stewed it would be a perfect way to use them.  Very good!  I added some jalapenos.  It would be great for lunch or dinner too.  It reheated nicely.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

I've created a "on the back burner" to-do list now.  Sigh.  It's just reality for right now.  I've just accepted it.  By accepting, I stress less.  With the list, at least there is a future plan in place.

We have had a long week of cold nights, dry and very windy weather.  It has been an issue with the garden, and now we head into very hot weather.

Today I am joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  I will link up later after she posts.  I have to get this day started early.

The weather . . .

80's/90's with lows in the 60's

As I look outside my window . . .

No traffic, as it's a holiday and most normal people have the day off.  Not my husband though.

Right now I am . . .

Listening to the weather, making coffee, and getting ready to water the garden.

Thinking and pondering . . .

Considering cutting back on how many times I write a blog post.  Do you read blogs daily?  Every other day?  Once a week?  Once a month?  

I still haven't decided on a cordless stick vacuum.  I haven't had time to venture out either.  Gardeners would understand, as it is a busy time of year.

Listening to . . .


How I am feeling . . .

Pretty good.  Just feeling a bit frustrated getting behind with the garden.  

On the breakfast plate . . .

Enjoying reheated leftovers of this Mexican Breakfast Skillet.  Delish!

On the reading pile . . .

I'm still reading Atomic Habits.  Some parts are very interesting, and a few a bit over the top, but still enjoying it.

On my TV this week . . .

Well, not the news.  We were subscribed to YouTube TV, but they raised their price.  We will stick with what we can stream via our wifi for now.

On the menu . . .

-Mom's Dried Beef Casserole (using quinoa pasta), and crock pot root vegetables

-Burgers, with lettuce/tomato/home canned pickles, and roasted rosemary asparagus

-not sure on the rest

Looking around the house . . .

My one daily pick, for my extreme clean progress - two craft containers to purge.

To-do list . . .

In no particular order

-wash bedding and put on the line
-install new toilet seat in master bath
-clean master bathroom
-trim rose bushes
-water garden
-boil eggs
-cook a pound of breakfast sausage
-dust entire house

For the week:
-take donations and drop them off 
-finish painting Kilz on upstairs larger floor

From the camera . . .

Looked like Christmas cooking onion with red pepper and home grown asparagus!  I just "winged" this dinner.

I used some herbs from the herb garden, home canned tomato sauce, organic ground beef (that I pre-cooked and froze thankfully, which saved me time), and added some garlic.  I topped it with cheese, and more herbs.  So good!  Oh, and I finally mastered at making half of what I used to make ha ha!  Oh, another thing!  I baked with with green lentil pasta (100% organic green lentil flour).  It was pretty good.  More dense of a pasta, but healthier, and didn't fall apart like chickpea pasta.  The downfall?  It's not sold in our stores.

Devotional, Prayers, Quote. . . 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Pity Party for One ~ A Little Baking to Break the Blues

 It's probably a good thing I didn't have anyone around me this holiday weekend.   I'm a depressing, oh' poor me, kind of person.  

The garden fence is not up, and I've lost 6 bell pepper plants, and all of my blazing hot peppers.  It's not our fault other than the fact work hours prevent the fence getting up.  I can't do it alone, and everyone else is having backyard barbeques, out on motorcycle rides for Bike Week, or camping.  It's not just me either.  My husband came home and said the same thing.  He's feeling very depressed. 

Also depressing is the weather pertaining to the garden.  It's dry.  I watered, but the ground is so dry it's cracking.  I'm glad we didn't plant any annual flowers right now.  I'd literally be watering daily for weeks.

I tried to perk myself up with some quiet reading on the front porch.  Nope.  Bees were attacking all over the place, and the bee removal has not come out, not even called or emailed as to when they are coming out.

On a happier note. . .

I managed to get some rhubarb macerating (for homemade rhubarb vodka), and I baked a rhubarb/strawberry crumble.  It was a new recipe, but it required you to use a food processor to finely dice the topping with cold, unsalted butter.  When I make my peach crumble, I add melted butter and stir the topping until it's in crumbles.  I may try melting the butter next time.  It would reduce the amount of work, and the amount of dish washing to be done.  Anyway, it was good!  I used frozen strawberries we froze last summer, and thawed them.

I finally tried a new recipe, that I have had printed for almost or more than a year.  It's whipped feta dip with hot honey.  I have the dip made, and just need to heat up the honey mixture to drizzle over it later today.  If you are interested in the recipe is is the website Greens and Chocolate.  She uses sour cream in her recipe.   There are other recipes online too, and I plan to try the one with greek yogurt next.

We had the feta dip at a restaurant about a year ago, and went straight home to find a recipe online.  I think it would be great for when you have company, and/or need an appetizer.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Sprout Jar/Rack/Tray Kit Update


You can go to my post HERE to see the jar/rack kit I purchased.  I bought it on Amazon, but can't remember the brand etc.  Anyway, I love this set!  The jar lids are wide lids, and fit any wide lid 1 quart jar (came with 2 as well).  The lids have groves to hold the jars sideways, which is needed to keep the jars drained between daily rinsing, and the tray underneath is perfect to catch any drips.  I had been using a kitchen towel.  Anyway, this was the next day after soaking and rinsing day 1.  Works perfect, and no hassles trying to balance the jars on the counter.

This was 2 days after initial soaking.  By the way, I soak for the first day, rinse and drain for the night.  I rinse daily.  I will be sprouting some microgreens for us soon using these.  Current sprouts are lentils, I sprouted for the chickens.  I take the black out cover off to rinse, then wipe the jar and cover again.

Day 3 after the initial soak and drain.  

Day 4.  All ready to feed to the chickens.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Garden ~ Herb Garden

I've gotten, what I can, planted in the garden.  Not sure we'll get the raised beds built in time for the rest I wanted to plant.  My husband is working 16 hour days with little time in between to rest/sleep between shifts.  I need last few rows tilled, and can plant the last of what is actually getting planted in the larger garden.

I'm sort of worried about what has been planted in the way of a plant start right now.  Today we woke up to a chill factor of 42° (feels like), with an actual temperature of 44°F.  It's been pretty cool for nights in May this year.

I've finally added some dill seeds to the herb garden. Again worried I planted too early with the temps here lately. 

Speaking of herbs, I need to mix up a batch of "fire it up" mixture again.  The recipe is on my blog post HERE.

I'm getting more handiwork time in my evening, and not by choice.  Last night, however, I was so tired I did not want to work on the blanket.  I tried.  I really did, but out went the light.  I am banned to the living room right after dinner, so my husband can sleep.  Working 16 hours is too much for the both of us.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Something new for us ~ Asparagus

 It's a brisk 44°F this morning.  We are having a much cooler May this year.  Days are in the 60-70's, but yesterday the wind was horrible.  I'm not in a hurry to get into the garden today.  Pretty chilly out there.  Our internet is going in and out for some weird reason as well, so I will get this posted.

One day I had to run into a Dollar General for a funnel for cleaning spray, and saw these cute placemats.  Of course I bought some for us.  They were only $1 each.

I did not get any advice on a magnifying glass for crafting, so I went in search of one, and decided on this one.  It's portable, not too large, and converts to a handheld version, which makes it easy to store.  There are 3 light options on it.

You cannot move the magnifying glass upwards, to make it taller or shorter, but you can bend the lens part to your desired placement.  I will let you know how it works out for small crafting, such as jewelry.  It will come in handy for any small work in the garage for my husband as well.  There are a few light options on it.  I can't remember the price, but it was inexpensive.

I caved and bought us a sprout kit system.  They came with a drip tray and black out covers  (I had been covering the jar with a towel before this).  I will be growing microgreens in these, of which I use smaller seeds.   My green microgreen tray has holes that are too big, so this will work out perfect, and I won't have to buy seed paper or hemp sheets to grow them in my green tray.  These can be washed out and reused.

I can grown lentil sprouts in these for the chickens too.  I love the stand for it, and the covers.  Before, I would prop the jars up on a towel and cover with another towel.  It is more convenient this way.  I'll update on these after I get them in use soon.

We are still getting homegrown asparagus.  It is so delicious!  I'm so glad we expanded the bed last year and this year.

I have no sprouts yet on my spring planted garlic.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Tiller is Down and Hens Being Punks

Today's post is photo free, and short and simple. 

The tiller took a poo.  It's going to take some serious repairs.  I've been hand hoeing out any weeds, that are popping up in the garden.  Not good timing as we just paid a fortune to get the truck out of the transmission repair place. 

Do you ever have one of those days where you are just not into the garden to-do list, and want to "throw in the towel?"  I had one of those days yesterday.  I still got out there, but I know I was not as productive as I should have been.  It's also dry here now, so it's more difficult to dig out weeds.

I have disassembled my garden start rack(and lights), but it has yet to make it's way to the barn.  I'm waiting on the bee removal service to come give us an estimate.  These are not honey bees, before anyone gets upset.  They are big bumble type bees.  Did you know there are actually two types of them?  Anyway, we have a swarm here this year, making it impossible to get to my "garden barn."

My herb seeds are starting to sprout, despite the lack of rain here.  My indoor cilantro plant looks terrible.  My basil is doing great.  I will put it outside later today and see if the good ol' sunshine will perk it up.

My oldest Araucana is being a punk to my littles.  I have to scold her constantly now.    I have had some short conversations with her lately.  She better straighten up.  Today all of the older hens went after the littles.  

On the handiwork front. . .

I finally found some more Heather Grey for the current blanket.  Not that I have time every day, but I really didn't want to buy more.  I'm thinking of making a new project, but for gifting purposes for someone in October of this year.  I have to check my yarn supply on that.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Tuesday Tidbits

 Due to a "stop and drop" that we did on Sunday, so we could go do something fun for ourselves, work rolled into the week full blown.  By stop and drop, I mean stop working, and drop the tools and go do something fun.

We are getting great weather for clothesline drying, so that is a bonus, but it's been one of those weeks.  In order to take the laundry outside, I had to go get the leaf blower and blow all the helicopters (from the maple tree) off the back patio, so I didn't drag them back inside.  It has been a start to the week like that - have to do something before I can do the actual job on the to-do list kind of week.

More spring blooms.


If you own a cordless, rechargeable stick vacuum, with detachable handheld vacuum (with canister on top), which do you recommend?  We are almost carpet free.

I have searched reviews for days now, and I like the black and decker, but the reviews are not good.  I really don't want a Dyson.  I would prefer not to shop on Amazon either.  

I may just have to venture out and check Lowes, Menards, Home Depot and such, and I may have to just buy a good hand held vacuum separately.   Any thoughts?  I am looking for one to handle the whole house and one that can stand up on it's own (no screws in our walls to hold it up off the floor).

2.  Does anyone have a good homemade sourdough sandwich bread recipe?  The kind I can bake in a bread pan not a round dutch oven?

Monday, May 22, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

 The weekend went by pretty fast.  Gardening continues daily, as well as yard work. We are planting less than usual, and making some changes.  We have yet to get the raised beds built, and that is due to life in general.

The weather has been nice in the 50's at night and 70's in the day time.  We won't see rain for a week or so however.

The new chicks have finally figured out the ramp into the coop.  Getting them all inside at night is going much smoother.

Today I am joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.
I will link up when she posts.

The weather . . .
As I said above, nights are about the 50's, with days in the 70's. 

As I look outside my window . . .
The sun is up.

Right now I am . . .
Making coffee, and getting this post up.

Thinking and pondering . . .
So, I am thinking we need a garden bed, or raised bed just for potatoes.  They don't grown well with so many other vegetable plants.  I have some to plant, but they may go in grow bags this year.  

Listening to . . .
Rock and Roll station

How I am feeling . . .
Tired.  I need to get back to my regular work out routine.  Garden work is exercise, but I need my routine back.

On the breakfast plate . . .
Leftover bacon/bell pepper/onion and cheese omelet

On the reading pile . . .
I haven't had time to read.  Between garden work and inside work, it's just not happening.

On the TV . . .
Honestly?  Whatever looks interesting.

On the menu . . .
-Sloppy Joes, Sweet potato baked fries
-Sheet pan chicken and veggies
-Leftovers with roasted rosemary asparagus

Looking around the house . . .
I have a pile of donations to take, but I may be adding to the pile.  There are things that still need finished from renovations, but like I said, life is pretty hectic at the moment, so those jobs remain on a to-do list.  

I'm pretty sure the flower bed expansion job will remain on the list until spring.  We just have too many interruptions, complications, and happenings going on.

On the to-do list . . .
-unload dishwasher, wash and dry dishes
-bake a breakfast (French Toast and Sausage links)
-garden work (all week on the to-do list)
-make a call for a free estimate 
-tear down garden start stand, and disassemble lights, and put everything back in storage.
-water porch flowers
-sweep/mop floors
(this list may be the "all week" to-do list ha ha!)

From the camera . . .
Nothing.  I've been pretty busy with the garden, so no photos.  I did see our finches the other day, but didn't have my camera.  I also had a visit from a red-throated hummingbird, and didn't get a photo either.
Prayers . . .
A co-worker of one of my brothers who is battling stage 4 cancer.  He went through 6 months of chemotherapy, and was doing great, and some tumors where completely gone.  However, he has suddenly gotten sick, and has a rapidly growing tumor on his liver.  Please pray for Jerry.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

. . .from the handiwork journal

Warmer days are arriving, so this may be put on the back burner until fall.  We'll see, I guess.  It's still in progress.

Another wire crocheted/beaded pair of earrings, but this may be the last.  I am donating all the beads I have soon.

On good weather days, I'm spray painting these last small clipboards.  I will add magnets to the back for fridge note paper.  I just wanted them done and ready for gifting if needed.  I should have just donated them, but it's getting done.

. . .still working on the other square doily for the living room.

. . .and lastly (that I know of ha ha!), this scarf is finished!!!  However, I have a bit more yarn, so a matching hat may be my go-to, on-the-go project soon.


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Garden Going In ~ Rain ~ Prayer Request


The garden is going in now, but it feels like slow motion.  So far, I am doing the planting by myself (thanks to my husband's once again eye rolling work hours).  I have gotten all the tomatoes in, but feel we should buy a cherry or grape tomato plant.  I put my tomato stakes in when I plant, as it keeps the animals out.  We don't have fencing for all the gardens this year.  Solar lights also keep the deer out of this garden.

I got all the hot peppers planted.  I'm not sure the habanero will make it, but I guess we'll see.  It never does great starting by seed, as it needs much more heat.

I had planned to get all the bell peppers in today, but the rain arrived last night, and it rained the entire night, leaving everything very wet.  It's a good thing for all that is planted, but will put me behind a bit on the rest of the garden.  We scaled back from 100 tomato plants to about 52 this year.  Next year we will scale back on the jalapenos.  

May is fickle around here.  It was 80°F yesterday and will be a cool 67°F today (but too wet to weed or plant).

Nothing exciting on the extreme clean front, other than I cleaned the air fryer.  First, we never would have had one.  The story is, that Mom had this one from Pampered Chef.  She said it was too big for her, so we bought a smaller one for her and exchanged.  We do not like this one.  We'll most likely look around for something else, but this one is too big.  It also, has trays and not the buckets.  The only nice thing, is that the door comes completely off to clean.

I will be drinking some nettle/ginger tea today.  My allergies apparently didn't like my full blown day outside yesterday.  Do you have a go-to for a natural medicinal remedy for allergies?  

Prayer request:

A co-worker of one of my brothers who is battling stage 4 cancer.  He went through 6 months of chemotherapy, and was doing great, and some tumors where completely gone.  However, he has suddenly gotten sick, and has a rapidly growing tumor on his liver.  Please pray for Jerry.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Dehydrated Oregano


Tip:  I drop my hydrated oregano (and other herbs) off of the dehydrator tray, and onto a piece of waxed paper.  I gently take the dried leaves off the stems.

I hold each side of the waxed paper, and with a canning funnel in the top of a quart canning jar, slide the dried herbs into the jar.

I do not crush the dried herbs.  I wait until I am cooking and then crush what I need.  It helps them retain flavor longer.

Another tip:  Check those lids you get on anything you do buy.  I saved a lid from a jar of organic mayo we bought over winter, and it fits perfectly on my quart canning jar.

It's a task, but I wash and dry all the trays before dehydrating another food in the dehydrator.

Happy Harvesting!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Meal Plan Fail ~ Purged more Craft Supplies ~ First Herbs to go in the Dehydrator

We woke up to a brisk 36°F outside this morning.  I'm so glad I brought in my hanging potted flowers, and all of the veggie plants.  I was worried about getting things planted late, but this year I am glad we are behind.  I even brought in my potted comfrey plant.  Brr.

I failed to write down my meal plan, and discovered I had a pound of ground beef, and a pound of sausage thawing at the same time.  I cooked both up, put some sausage in the fridge for dinner, and split up the rest to freeze for the up coming week.  I guess you could can I made a plan from a failed plan ha ha!

I made us some air fryer stuffed mushrooms for the first time.  These had some sausage in them. They were delicious, but now my husband wants me to try other recipes, ha ha!

No gardening these past few days.  It's been too cold, and my husband was called off to help a family member, so no more tilling either.  I dumped all the grow bags, and every single one had holes in them.  The plan is to replace them with raised beds.

When the kids were in elementary school, I signed up for several holiday classroom parties.  I loved volunteering for the Christmas parties, and I would make a homemade ornament for every kid in the class, and even wrap every one.  I had a lot of ribbon in my craft stash, and some of those rolls had 100 yards on them ha ha!  I have saved any ribbon I use for crocheted baby booties, and have boxed up the rest to donate.  I have 4 boxes ready to deliver, but may need to go through a few more items.  They are going to a center for women.  

I also created handmade ornaments every single Christmas to gift my family.  I did this for years, and loved creating a new one every year.  They probably had enough for several trees, ha ha!  I just stopped making them after a while, but this was the latest purge.  Feels good to unload some things for once.

I harvested my oregano before the frost arrived.  It is thriving this year.

I also harvested some chive flowers.  I plan to make chive flower infused oil.  Chive oil is tasty for frying potatoes, and for any dips.  Did you know you can eat the flowers?  I just read that.  I have not tried them, but have any of you?  Interesting for sure.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Weather ~ Asparagus ~ Organizing Tip for Tall Boots


I took another look at the weather yesterday.  Not liking this dip.  We had to re-till the garden, so that has been started, but the planting will wait until this chill passes.

The roots we planted this year are coming up.  Just had to share how cute they look.

We are still harvesting asparagus from the very first year we planted.  Some are huge!

Tip:  I'm not sure you can say this is an organizing tip, but it worked great for me.  I have a few pairs of casual boots that are not stored in a box.  They were falling sideways.  For a cheap fix, buy a pool noodle and cut it to fit.  Slide that puppy right inside your boots.  Wa-la!  You are welcome.  

The truck went to the the transmission guy.  Sigh.  It will cost us a pretty penny to have it rebuilt.  It almost left me stranded last week.  We both knew it was going to be bad news.  Like $4200.00 bad news.

On top of that the dental insurance we have is not that great.  I went in for a cleaning, only to find out I had chipped a tooth, which required a crown.  I went back to get the permanent, and they have to send it back again for a better fit.  

Double sign.  It's a 35 minute drive to get there, so I was a bit frustrated.  Anyway, I talked to them and after insurance with a filling, our out of pocket will be a grand slam of $1575.00.  I cannot believe the cost of a crown, let alone a filling.   How are people supposed to take care of their teeth at these rates?  Crazy.  No wonder some people just have the tooth pulled.

So, with that bad news, there are projects on the house that may have to wait until next year.  Good grief.

Update on the new chicks - two have figured out how to use the ramp that goes up into the coop.  They are learning and figuring things out now.