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~

Monday, July 31, 2023

Happy Homemaker Monday

 We had a very bad storm come thru last Friday.  The wind was so bad, that it broke some of my tomato stakes at ground level.  Thankfully, the plants were not up-rooted, but those all had to be re-staked and tied again.  The tomatoes are starting to turn red here.

Several tree limbs came down, so those need taken care of soon.  Thankfully, no other damage here.

Surprisingly, the ground was, what I call "walkable" Saturday, so I have been able to pick vegetables daily.  It rained quite a bit, but with this heat, the ground really soaked it up.

We are eating green beans almost daily here.  I whipped up a one pan dinner with ground beef, green beans, seasoning, and some cheeses.  

I canned a new dill (sliced) pickle recipe from my BHG canning cookbook.  I'm done with pickles for the season.

I tried a new Greek cucumber salsa recipe, and we love it!  I had to buy the grape tomatoes, but yesterday I got one ripe tomato from the garden later in the evening.

I used zucchini, yellow squash, and green bell pepper from the garden to make a sheet pan dinner.  The zucchini  plants have slowed down a bit.

Thankfully, I put laundry on the line over the weekend, so I don't have to deal with that for a few days.  I have not seen much of my husband, as he worked 3rd (night) shift all weekend.  Today will interesting.  He'll be home sleeping, and I will want a radio on for kitchen work.  

I tried zucchini chips in the dehydrator.  We are not fans of it.  Maybe if they are cooked in the oven?  I have found yet another way to utilize our zucchini.  Once I have a bit of free time in the kitchen, I will share if it all works out and tastes good.  

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

I will link up when she posts today.

The weather . . .

80's all week.  Sunny.

As I look outside my window . . .

The sun is shining, and I am running later than normal.

Right now I am . . .

Drinking coffee to get this blog post posted.  

Thinking and pondering . . .

Thinking of pulling my pickling cucumber plants, and the zucchini and yellow squash.  I have put up enough, and I think it's time to retire the plants, or some of them anyway.  I'm also considering pulling some green bean plants.  I have put up what we need, and stilling harvesting them almost daily.

Listening to . . .

80's rock n' roll

How I am feeling . . .

Good.  I am starting week 4 of my intentional exercise.  It's been an adjustment, but so far so good.

On the breakfast plate . . .

I have no idea yet.  I do have a green bell pepper from the garden to use.

On my reading pile . . .

Nothing.  Any evening free time has been knitting or crochet (and that time has been limited)

On my TV this week . . .

Anything on Netflix.

On the menu . . .

Lately, the menu is based on whatever is harvested from the garden (eating what is in season, including breakfast).

-chicken teriyaki with homemade sauce, green beans 

Looking around the house . . .

Saw horses and the drop cloth are still in my living room, awaiting to paint doors (not happening very soon ha ha!)

I have zucchini, cucumbers and corn to take care of.  The kitchen is a hot mess right now.  I have two more dozen ears of corn to shuck (after I freeze the first batch).

On the to-do list . . .

-Freeze corn off the cob
-Make a breakfast
-Yank all National Pickling cucumber plants from the garden, we are done with them for the season
-Check the garden for anything that needs picked
-Check library due dates
-Figure out what dinner will be
-make more cucumber salsa
-water flower beds
-water porch pots
-water house plants

All outdoor building projects are on hold.  All extreme clean indoor work is on hold.  House renovations are also on hold.

From the camera . . .

Yesterday's garden haul.  I brought in one red tomato later.  I also brought in fresh dill for the cucumber salad dressing.

Prayers . . .

Thank you for your prayers for Daughter K.  She is on medication, and monitoring her blood pressure, but no explanation on why it spiked all of the sudden.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Quality Measuring Kitchen Tools


I tossed out my plastic Tupperware sets, as the dogs got ahold of some and chewed on them (when the kids lived here).  I then purchased some from the Amish Kitchen store I believe.  The quality is terrible.  I cannot scoop to measure without bending the handle.  I have another sturdier set, but it drives me nuts, that I don't have all the measuring cups I had with my Tupperware set, and I can use several of these tools in one day.

I like to have all the sizes, such as 2/3 and 3/4 measuring cups.  I have a set of measuring spoons that include 3/4th as well, which I do like.  Lehman's is my go-to place for good quality to last a lifetime.  However, they want $46.99 for the measuring cups.

I see that OXO brand has a set, but does not have the 2/3 or 3/4 measure cup.  Anyone have a nice sturdy set with all the measures, but not that expensive?  I saw a few sets on Amazon, but the reviews on some say the measurements for the tools are not accurate.

I want 1/8th, 1/4th, 1/2, 1/3, 2/3, 3/4 and 1 cup.  Not too much to ask for huh?  Ha ha!  

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Heat Index of 95 degrees ~ Garden Updates ~ What was I thinking?

 The heat arrived in our area.  So hot, that they asked people to "conserve" energy.  Although I have been using our clothesline, the humidity is so bad, my laundry doesn't dry.  I have resorted to drying racks and my small indoor clothesline (in my utility room).

I have a rechargeable fan for my treadmill upstairs, so I keep that charged in case of a power outage (we have one in the camper too), which reminds me I need batteries for the portable radio.

Zucchini is still coming on.  I gave up trying to give it out for free.  No one stops to pick it up.  I just send the extras with my husband when he goes to work.  They are greatly accepted there. In fact, I hear they are fighting over it, ha ha!  I have tried to barter for other produce, but no one wants to do that either.

I continue to experiment with new recipes, but we are not fond of anything baked with almond flour (but still trying recipes).  I I do like any recipes using einkorn flour.  I am still putting some zucchini in the freezer.

Our green bell peppers are finally being harvested.  Red are on too, but not red yet.  So thankful for these.  They smell amazing when sliced.  They are not like the ones you buy at the store either.

Cucumbers are still producing.  Although, I am close to pulling the pickling cucumber plants.

I picked another 5 plus # of green/wax beans.  They are doing great this year.

My "what were you thinking" moment!!!  We were on our way to do errands, and we found out a produce stand changed locations, so we stopped.  She was about to close for the day, and offered a bushel of corn at a low price of $20!  My husband and I got to taste the corn first.  It was okay, but first picking, so they are smaller.  I have no idea what I was thinking, but we came home with that bushel.  I'm hoping the kids will come for a visit, so I can share.

We are both hobbling around with sore backs.  My husband tripped on the water hose a few weeks ago, and fell.  I think mine hurts just form all the bending in the garden, but it's been a bit rough lately. 

I'm sort of feeling like everything here, is happening all at once.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Laundry/Dish Day ~ Garden and other tidbits

 It's been pretty "busy" here lately.  So busy, that I baked a Georgia Peach Crumble with the oven off!  Multi-tasking at it's worst ha ha!

I kid you not!  I thawed the last of the peaches in the freezer, and turned the oven on, but forgot to hit the "start" button (which is required for it to actually turn on).  How I didn't notice it when I put it in the oven, is beyond me.  Other than I have been up to my eyeballs in garden work, harvesting, and then when it comes inside, it of course has to be dealt with.

(full of stems, leaves, etc.)

It was another race-against-the-clock sort of day.  Hurry and get the bedding and laundry on the line, so it will be dried and put away, bed made etc. before my husband got home.  Hurry and get the dishes washed, dried and put away, so I can take the blueberries, that were flash freezing, out of the freezer and bagged.  Hurry to process some green beans and freeze, and hurry all of everything to get out to the garden for a look-see (which we all know there will be zucchini and cucumbers).  Oh boy!

In the midst of busyness, I pulled several canning recipe books from my cabinet, and finally found a recipe for sliced dill pickles.  It's on the to-do list.  I also found a recipe for pickled green beans.  It's on the only-if-I-have-a-ton of green beans try it list.

The race was on, so we could pick up more wood for the new coop.  Ha!  We totally got off track with that, and did not bring the wood home either.

Still on the to-do list.  It's held up by the branches themselves.  However, it's towering my lilac, so I have no idea how we'll take care of this without  harming my lilac bush.

Quick question before I forget:

Have you ever made zucchini "chips" in your dehydrator?  Were they good?  What seasoning did you use?  

One thing I am not canning this year - hot pepper mustard sauce.  It has way too much sugar for our diet plan this year.  I'm on board to support my husband, in his goal to get off his diabetic medication.    The recipe is on my blog, and it requires 36 hot banana peppers, and 6 cups of sugar.  Here is the recipe:  Hot Pepper Mustard Sauce.  I am not even sure I planted enough hot peppers this year to make hot banana pepper relish.  I guess we will find out soon enough.

It's going to be another very hot day in the 90's.  Hot and humid.  Rain and thunderstorms are also in the forecast, and today they are forecasting them earlier than predicted.  It's so hot here, they are asking some towns/cities to conserve energy.  

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Garden and Storms ~ Air Fryer Zucchini Fries (low carb)


Yesterday's pickings.  Even though I picked the day before, and I obviously missed some cucumbers.  Those larger ones went to the chickens.

In lieu of a severe storm threat yesterday afternoon and evening, I tied up the last 35 tomato plants, hit the stakes again (best I could with a dry ground), and found another worm.  I accidently slammed the side of my thumb while hammering stakes in (not the first time for either of us).

I could barely bend my thumb to cook nor do dishes, so I whipped up a comfrey poultice, and today there is barely the sight of a bruise, and pain is about zero.

We have been enjoying our homegrown green/wax beans.  We don't eat potatoes like we used to, but last night was just the right time.  So good with bacon.  

My husband is my entertainment lately.  He is coming up with ideas for the extra zucchini, and last night made these in the air fryer.  Blech.  Coconut oil with an egg dig and seasonings.  

We got a laugh, and then I took over and looked up some recipes.  Almost everything involves breadcrumbs, but we adapted a recipe.

It was a winner recipe for air fryer zucchini "fries" for us.  The original recipe calls for either almond flour or panko.  We are not fans of panko (it contains high fructose corn syrup).  

During a shopping trip, I had picked up a healthier version of panko at our grocery store.  It's called Aleias Panko Bread Crumbs, but gluten free, soy free, corn free, low sodium, non-gmo etc.  Otherwise we followed the recipe and these were delicious!  I good replacement for french fries when we have walleye or perch for dinner.  The recipe is online at Gimme Delicious, Air Fyer Zucchini Fries (Keto - low carb).  If I remember correctly, they do give instructions for oven baking them as well.

We did get our storms and rain last night.  I know the garden needed a good soaking, but I will have to wait to venture out.  It could be too wet to walk in, and I know I will have something out there to pick. The ground doesn't look that wet from looking out the window, but I'll be finding out soon enough.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Ha! No Quick Garden Days!


I finally found the other tomato worm, while I was tying the tomato plants up again.  By the way, the plants are as tall as me , and have gone way above their stakes.  I am a hair from being 6 feet tall, if that tells you anything.  We will be watching end of summer sales, for 6 foot metal (sturdy) tomato cages for next year.  I  don't know that they'll work, as our plants are fully loaded, and very heavy when the tomatoes are on. 

I don't know what I was thinking.  I went out, thinking I'll just quick pick green beans and be back inside for inside work.  Ha!  Not only did it take an hour to pick beans, but I had more zucchini, and cucumbers to pick.  I had no yellow squash, but the plants are once again loaded with blossoms, and the bees are a buzzing out there.

I sent more zucchini to work with my husband, and I will be taking any other extra to the library staff next.  I am still freezing some for us, but it is coming in daily here for us.  I am okay with that, as it is such a versatile vegetable (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner).

The hot peppers are on, but not ready, as well as the bell peppers.  I have quite a few spaghetti squash on, for just one plant, and as well as pie pumpkins.  My acorn is just not coming on.  We have plans to put the pea fence back up soon, and fall plant some vegetables.  

We are enjoying the garden goodies daily here.  Every meal actually.  I even thawed some of last years frozen corn (off the cob) to make our favorite recipe with zucchini, and chopped cucumbers for our absolute favorite orzo salad.  We have talked about trying the salad with added black beans too.  I may try it with quinoa vs. orzo too, but we really love the flavors, and it's perfect for a hot day meal.  I cannot find the source of the recipe, but will post it soon. 

Although these einkorn flour "muffins" were delicious (and used 1 1/2 cups zucchini), they tasted like a cupcake.  I am not on the hunt, per my husband's request for a muffin that uses coconut or almond (or both) flour that are not chocolate. I may look for other einkorn muffin recipes, but the last einkorn/zucchini bread we tried was too dry for our taste.

Thunderstorms may roll in early today, so I'm getting this posted.  I need to tie more tomato plants up, to secure them again.  The heat is here for sure!  In the 90's now.

I think I asked last year, but does anyone have a healthy cucumber salad recipe?  I found one with sour cream, but I'm looking for a delicious low fat, low carb, zero sugar recipe for us.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Rain and Heat ~ More Squash! ~ Motherhood Moments


(this was a few days ago)

Me to my husband:  Sure looks like it's about to come down out there.

Husband to me:  Oh great!  Another 1000 green beans (ha ha ha!)

We have been getting rain off and on.  We are also getting heat.  We canceled our first camping trip as fast as we booked it due to the heat.  What's the fun in camping, if you can't enjoy a campfire meal?  Not only will the heat be here this weekend, so will thunderstorms.  

I decided to only freeze shredded zucchini, and not diced this year.  I prefer to be able to squeeze the water out prior to freezing.  

I sent a large bag of squash with my husband to work.  I also picked more, and reduced the numbers by about 10 of them with some baking and cooking (and freezing).

The muffins are delicious, but a bit sweet.  I may make them again and swap the honey for maple syrup, and only use half amount.

Although we recently got a small bit of rain, it was not enough for the garden.  I will be watering this morning, so I must get this posted and get busy.  We are getting into the 90's this week, and it heats up pretty fast out there.

I did not get any answers regarding the cucumbers, so the chickens are getting the treats for now.  I will try and do more research today, but I have very little free time right now.

I was talking to a friend, who travels to upper MI to pick blueberries.  I told her I have never purchased a box with so many un-ripe berries, stems and leaves.  She said they may have switched to machine picking them due to lack of help.  My husband and I are not happy with them this year.  We are unable to grow them on our property due to lime stone sadly.

On the motherhood front, we are worried about Daughter K.  She has a doctor appt this morning due to high blood pressure.  If you get a moment, please send prayers for her.  It is not normal for her to be experiencing this, and the doctors so far have not (even with an ER visit) treated her with any medication.  

Monday, July 24, 2023

This and That

 These are the days of my life.  My day ends like this and starts like this.  I am just so tired at the end of the day lately.

Kids came for a meal and a visit over the weekend, and I was thankful that I had help to clean beans.  On the other hand we did not get any work done regarding the new coop, nor any painting done.

Our green beans are doing so well, I may be giving some to family and friends.  We'll see as I get mine put up in the freezer.

Picking from last Saturday - 5.5#

Picking from Sunday - 5.8#
Grand total so far this year is 17.59 pounds.

We are eating them, gave some to the kids, and the rest blanched and froze.

A few strange double growing veggies.

I only planted National Pickling cucumbers and one other for salads/snacking.  Do you think the National Pickling is too sweet for canning dill pickles?   I'm told they will be too "sweet" for that.  I don't want to waste ingredients or time.

We have been making zucchini boats, using all sorts of concoctions.  This one is with chicken.  I'm sure we'll be making zoodles, and whatever other creative way to eat zucchini around here.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Garden Explosion!


Everything came to halt for a few days.  The truck is fixed now thankfully.  The car has been delivered to the repair man (local man we used before).  There is no extreme cleaning going on right now, nor painting.

It's been impossible to focus on "one thing" and finish it, on a daily basis here.  Canning/freezing season is here, and with a bang.  I can't complain, but boy it's really putting me in a sour mood some days.   I hate that feeling of being overwhelmed.  I told my husband, I would gladly grow the garden and pay someone to can in.  He laughed.  Yeah, who has money for that, ha ha!

I've been taking advantage of the good weather days, and ,keeping the electric bill down.  I'm am retiring those crocheted rag rugs.  They will be moved to the garage for when my husband needs something to lay on under a vehicle.   The rugs have lasted about 12-13 years, but have faded in color and are ready to move on to another use.  I don't have time to make new ones, so I'm buying new ones on my next errand day.

Considering we did not get half of what we wanted planted in the garden this year, we are getting a lot for what we did plant.

We are getting enough rain, that I have not had to haul my 200 feet of garden house out to water the gardens.

I'm not freezing as much as I normally do, but some squash is going in the freezer.  We are trying to eat as much fresh.  I mostly add it to breakfast casseroles, but it made them "watery" (when thawed) so I will try adding them to pasta sauce and soups this winter.  Squash is mushy when frozen and thawed.  I do squeeze the water out of shredded zucchini before I freeze it.

Zucchini are still coming in too.  The nice part, is that I can slice it to use in place of pasta in a meal.  

I froze some more shredded zucchini, and at the same time made another round of zucchini hummus.  I have three different types of shredding/slicing devices for this.  It shreds the zucchini very easily.

Green beans are coming on.  First picking was 6.12# this year (it took an hour to pick them all).  I had so much going on in the kitchen that day, I had to put the bowl on a kitchen chair.  We are eating these almost daily as well now.  They are delicious!

Sweet pickle relish  and bread and butter pickles were canned.  I did not can sweet pickle relish last year, as we had some in the pantry.  I am super busy this year.  We use this to make homemade tartar sauce for fish, homemade thousand island dressing, and we add it to quick meals like tuna or chicken salad.  It can be used for a cold pasta salad or quinoa salad as well.

In the midst of it all, I purchased our yearly blueberries.  I am crazy to do it again, but I am putting up a 10# box, but sharing them with one daughter.