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~

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Pie Pumpkins Done~ Pumpkin Waffles

 I have roasted and preserved all of our garden pie pumpkins now.  I saved some puree for baking/cooking.  I typically freeze the puree in containers, but I ran out of them, so I froze the rest in ziploc bags, and froze them flat on a baking sheet to save space, and store more easily.

New recipe tried - White Bean Turkey Pumpkin Chili (SkinnyTaste online).  There are no tomatoes in this chili.  We found this to lack flavor, so I added more chili pepper and some diced jalapenos.  

I have also saved some fresh puree for making pumpkin waffles.  There may be some cookies, muffins or other baked this coming week.

Tip:  Did you know you can use pumpkin in place of eggs, butter and oil, depending on what you are making?  There is a good article about it HERE.  I am thinking of trying the Pumpkin Alfredo recipe shared on that article.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Kitchen Catastrophe ~ Medicinal and Winter Prep ~ Playing with Herbs ~ Preserving Lemons Question

 We have had non-stop problems with the pipes leaking under the kitchen sink.  When the kids lived here, they would shove stuff under the sink and bump the pipes, hence the leaks.  No kids, and now we have a leak?  I took everything out, and took assessments.  Not to mention, clean everything off, and wipe the cupboard dry.  Not the worst kitchen catastrophe, but I use my sink several times a day.

Once the pipes are all fixed, I will be replacing the cheap dollar store placemats I had in there, with this . . .

It's washable too!  If we spring another leak, at least it will protect the wood.  The absorbent fabric is USA made.  I found it on Amazon.  I'm not sure if stores have this or not.  I wasn't very patient for looking for a better solution (for keeping things dry).

I am late to the game so to speak.  I got one jar of Four Thieves started.

I got about 3 more trays dehydrated of sage, more thyme, and rosemary.

I am gathering a shopping list to make Fire Cider too, but my recipe in the book I have does not say how to properly store it after you add the honey and cayenne.  It's been many years since I have made it, and I cannot remember?  I just want to make sure I have a variety of "medicinals" on hand this winter/spring.

Is there a way to keep lemons fresh longer, or preserving them?  I like to have lemons and limes on hand all winter, but I am wondering about a tried and true method to preserving them.  Juice them and freeze the zest and juice?  Like freeze the juice in an ice cube tray perhaps?  

Friday, October 27, 2023

Another Warm Day ~ Trampled Chicken Run Fence ~ Have Dehydrated Mushrooms?


Although fall is here, we had another odd warm day.  I took advantage of it again, and washed all the towels and put them on the clothesline.  There were lots of bugs again, but a good shake before tossing them in the basket did the job.  The weather is all over the charts, making coop building the most difficult job (more like the job not getting done).

Woke up to find that a deer had trampled my chicken run fence.  Looks like it got in by jumping the fence, and could not get out, so it took down the other side. By the size of the hoof prints left behind, it was a small one. I finagled the fence back up, but it won't last long.  Deer season has been very bad this year. 

I took advantage of one rainy day.  I caught up with shredding bills, and started unpacking more boxes from the renovations over the last year and a half.  We will probably be unpacking, sorting and purging for another year around here, ha ha!

I had enough potting soil to dig up, and bring in one of my rosemary plants.  I'll attempt the other one after I buy more potting soil.

Need ideas for your dehydrated mushrooms?  Well, there are so many ideas you can use them for, and I love to be able to just toss them in and let the crock pot do it's magic.  The last time I made this recipe was in 2020.  I was shocked that I had not made it again.  Well, I made it again, and the funny thing is, I roasted asparagus, just like I did back in 2020 (see blogpost).  Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole.

Rosemary Roasted Asparagus - I simply drizzle my asparagus with olive oil, add salt and pepper, then grind the dried rosemary a bit and toss over the asparagus.  I roast at 400°F, and bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how thick it is).

Note:  Next time I will add more garlic powder to the chicken dinner.  I may also just mince fresh garlic and add it to the shallot and celery prior to adding the rest.  It lacks flavor.

I've been baking us this breakfast a lot lately.  It's just so easy to mix together and bakes while I'm zipping around doing laundry or house work.  Cheddar and Chile Egg Casserole.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Thanksgiving Cactus ~ This and That ~ Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (new recipe tried) ~ More Roasted Pumpkins and Seeds

 The weather is all over the map.  We recently dipped to 35°F, and yesterday we hit 80°, but then rain moves back in later this week.  They predicted the next weekend to be very cold, and that changed quickly.  Friday they are saying we may hit the 80's in our area.  It's literally crazy weather.

The Thanksgiving Cactus is blooming more blooms right now.  I will definitely be re-potting the plant.  It has more blooms this year than last year.

We have been so busy with just about everything here lately.  The AC units have been put in in storage for winter, and we started back on the new coop (very slow going, always running into an issue).

Heck, I still have to take down the hanging porch plants that have died off.   

I am contemplating putting any Christmas lights outside this year.  They are sitting in the kitchen awaiting my decision.  I'm just not into it this year (yet), and I believe it's due to all the unfinished projects around here.

I tried a new recipe and we love it!!  I used home roasted garden pumpkin of course, and made homemade pumpkin pie spice.  I had some GA pecans left, so I used those, and this recipe is a keeper!  It's online with The Real Food Dietitians - Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal.  

I roasted two smaller pie pumpkins at the same time, so I have extra pumpkin to bake/cook with now.  I put two more pints in the freezer.  I roasted the seeds, and saved some seeds (drying on a screen).

I have more pumpkins to roast, but gaining on that task.  I don't have a proper storage area for them, so it is how I put them up for the winter.

Just when I think I will have some free time, I do not, ha ha!  I took advantage of our Indian Summer, and washed up all of the camper bedding, and put it on the clothesline.  However, the bugs were terrible.  I could not even sit on the porch, the bugs were that bad.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Freezing Apples ~ Apple Crisp ~ Baking Powder ~ Local Sage Sausage Trial


I finally got around to freezing some of our apples.  They are keeping fresh pretty well in the fridge.  By the way, when the directions say to bang your baking sheet on the counter, it really works.  It freed up the frozen apple slices right away, making bagging it easy.

While the apple slices were flash freezing, I baked us an apple crisp.  A different recipe, and one that was actually in my recipe box.  We haven't baked a lot over the years with apples, due to lack of harvest, but this was good.  No brown sugar oddly.  My husband said it "tastes like apple pie."

I made biscuits a few days ago, and realized they did not rise as usual.  I opened my cupboard to check the expiration date on my baking powder and it literally expired the same day.  I have not been using it as much lately.  Note:  be sure to check your label when buying baking powder, as one popular brand contains bio-engineered ingredients.  It's easy to miss when you are shopping.  Our closest store only had two left on the shelves (of non-gmo), and a bunch of the other two brands they carry.

I decided to taste test the local sage sausage, by making us biscuits and gravy.  I have not made it in a long, long time. Anyway, it tasted wonderful!  We are lucky to have a local butcher.  It is more expensive, but it's not like we eat sage sausage every week.  We will be back to stock up on it for winter.

On a side note, the same grocery store was sold out of the organic butter we buy regularly.  I typically freeze some for winter.  I don't know if any other stores carry comparable butter, but I'm now on the hunt for some.  I start my sausage gravy using butter vs. oil.  What do you start your sausage gravy with?

Update on the butter - 2nd store had one box of organic butter, unsalted was sold out.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Homemade Condensed Mushroom Soup ~ Freezer Friendly

Shallots, Organic Baby Bella Mushrooms

 I have been making homemade condensed mushroom soup, for the freezer.  The link still works on my older blog post, but I do not add the thyme to mine.  I never know what I am going to use it for, so I leave that out, but the link for the recipe is on this:  Blogpost.

The original recipe calls for cremini mushrooms.  I used to find them in the stores, prior to covid, but all I can locate here, are organic white or baby bella (so I buy the baby bella).  I did some research and baby bellas are basically the same as cremini mushrooms.

Mushrooms are very healthy for us, and I love this recipe, as it uses butter.  Organic store bought condensed soup contains soy oil and other soy products.  The recipe does contain a bit of flour, but I adapt the entire recipe using all organic/non-gmo ingredients.  There is no corn starch in this recipe.

It smells so good when it's being made.  The link goes to a recipe site, and she had recipes for cream of chicken and cream of celery too.  If I want a comfort meal, it typically involves homemade mushroom soup.

Another repeat for most readers, and oddly, I seem to have re-stocked the same time last year.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Sunrise ~ Stormy Weather ~ Roasting Pie Pumpkins ~ Nothing Wasted (Our Motto)

 Winter is on the way.  These very short beautiful snippets of a sunrise are coming to an end.  We enjoyed one, mostly likely the last, grill out on the porch.  

Stormy, rainy days moved in here and there, and the camper was finally cleaned out for the season.  Leaves are starting to change color around the area now.

I use my melon baller to remove the seeds/stringy innards.  I use it for all of my squash.  It works great.

We got 9 pie pumpkins this season.  One rotted before I could bring them inside, and we gave one to the chickens for a treat.

I line my baking pans/sheets with parchment paper and roast at 350° for 60 minutes.  I typically check them, and continue roasting if necessary.  The above pie pumpkin (Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkins from Baker Creek), weighed in at a little over 5#!  Not all of them are that large, but wow!  Save those delicious seeds to roast.  Here is our favorite recipe:  Whiskey-Bacon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I have also used Sherry in place of the whiskey, and they tasted great.  You can simply roast them too, but flavoring them is fun and delicious.  I bake these at 275° for 1 1/2 hours, stirring during the baking time.

I remove the baked pumpkin pulp with a spoon, and puree it all in my food processor.  I put it in freezer containers by the pint, cool it, and freeze it.

The chickens get the last bit of what's left after cleaning out the seeds.  Nothing wasted.  You can compost the skins.

Sorry if this is all a repeat from all the previous years.  I feel like it is, but sharing again.  I will be trying some new recipes with pumpkin.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Dehydrating Mushrooms ~ Freezing Rutabagas


I had a handful of mushrooms to dehydrate.  I used my smaller "Dash" dehydrator.  It has 5 trays, and I can dehydrate with how many trays I need.  They only thing I don't like, is no way to set a time on it.  I set and watch it, shutting it off when they are dry.

Do you make mushroom powder?  I am reading up on that, but what I'm thinking, is why powder?  I just rehydrate for meals.  How would powder come in handy?  Thoughts on this?

I didn't really get a definitive answer on blanching rutabaga or flash freezing, so I opted for blanching this time around.  We do love them, so I will be doing this every year.