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Showing posts from September, 2011

Food Journey and Confusion

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I get confused. I am trying to change the way my family and I eat. This has been, and still is, hard. I am still trying to figure the best way and make that way work for my family. I know we make many mistakes. I know I can't control what my teens eat outside of the house. I know school lunches are not the healthiest meals. (Some day I will post about what the school calls turkey.)

What is a person to do? 
What is best?
I had to figure some guidelines. I know there is a lot of preservatives, additives, chemicals, and whatnot that food companies have added to foods to extend the shelf life of the food as well as improve taste. One of my biggest struggles is with sugar. I know I need to cut my sugar intake waaay down. Food companies do not help this struggle when they add "high-powered" artificial sweeteners to foods that do not need them. In turn, we crave those foods more because they have these sweeteners in the food that create a chemical effect in our bodies to fuel thos…

Working through Cookbooks - Easy Swiss Steak

I have a lot of cookbooks. So much so that I have almost quit buying them unless they have something related to whole foods cooking or food storage cooking. I am still wanting the Food Storage cookbook by Peggy Layton.

Right now, I am working my way through 101 Things To Do With A Slow Cooker by Stephanie Ashcraft and Janet Eyring. I am a total devotee of the slow cooker. It ensures we have supper at our house at least once to twice a week.

We have already had Roast Chicken in the slow cooker Monday night and tonight's supper was Easy Swiss Steak.

Easy Swiss Steak

1.5 lbs. round steak, cut into serving-size pieces
1 lb. baby carrots
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

Place carrots in bottom of greased 3.5 to 5-quart slow cooker. Top with steak. Combine soup mix, tomato sauce, and water. Pour over other ingredients. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. To serve the steak, ladle over plain or garlic mashed potatoes.

Makes 4-6 servings.

This w…

One of Our Favorite Ways to Eat Potatoes!

We love potatoes!

Maybe a little too much.

They are so simple and easy, but I am not a fan of frou-frou potatoes. I like them in their simple state. My kids feel somewhat the same way. One would prefer no skin on the potatoes and to have them mashed/pureed into fluffiness. One doesn't like them mashed at all. The last two are not nearly as picky about their potatoes (or food in general).

This is one of our favorite ways to eat them! Beware of the extremely non-frou-frou recipe!

Oven Roasted Potatoes

1-3 lbs. of potatoes, unpeeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
Italian seasoning to taste
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Use the amount of potatoes appropriate for the hoard you are feeding. I like to use small potatoes from my garden, but if not available I will substitute organic yukon fingerlings. Any potatoes, however, will do.

Wash and cut up your potatoes. Put into a bowl. Toss with olive oil so it coats the potatoes. Toss with the Italian se…

Drinking Your Own Drinks

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I was taking a long, hard, cold look at my budget a few weeks ago, knowing I was going to have to tighten the whole thing. An anticipated rise in my car insurance and a car payment for the next six months was going to take a big bite out of my budget.

I am already a frugal living kind of person so where do I trim up next? Ack!

I knew where. My "little" trips to the convenience store. A coffee here, a soda there. Add in a candy bar or granola bar or a little ice cream. Yeah, you get the picture. I didn't do this everyday, but 2-3 times a week. That adds up in a hurry.

I will guess-timate for you:

$4.00 (high estimate) x 2 times a week: $8.00
$8.00 x 4 weeks: $32.00 a month
$8.00 x 52 weeks: $416.00 a year

What would the figures look like if you did this every work day?

$4.00 (again, high estimate) x 5 times a week: $20.00
$20.00 x 4 weeks: $80.00 a month
$20.00 x 52 weeks: $1040.00 a year (Yikes!!!)

Not much you say? Yes, it is when you are trying to live a little more ch…

Failed Pear Jelly

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I tried to make Pear Jelly on Sunday while I was making Pear Sauce. I knew you could make apple jelly with the cores and peels of apples and I was pretty certain I could do this with pears. 

I had found a recipe on the internet for Pear Jelly that stated that pectin would not be necessary for this jelly because of the natural pectin in the pear. I had never heard of pears having pectin. I should have listened to myself at this point and did more research. I did not. The original recipe for Pear Jelly was this:

Pear Jelly
4 cups of pear juice
3 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

This sounds suspiciously like my apple jelly recipe so I should have been more suspicious. I was not. My mistake.

I cooked my pear peelings and cores, minus the stems and blossom ends, in two cups of water to have more than 4 cups of juice.


To the juice I added the sugar and lemon juice. I heated the juice mixture up to boiling and continued cooking.   It appeared to be thickening so I took the pot off of the he…

Weekly Update Of Our House and Pear Sauce

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We have been a busy crew! I didn't get as much done on the farm as I would have like, but I am content with what got done. I just need to take more pictures!

Thursday night, I was at an interview. I was asked to sit on the parents committee for interviewing the superintendent candidate for our schools. I found it to be very intereresting and somewhat hard!

Friday night, Shali's and her classmates had a steak sandwich supper to raise money for their class. Excellent meal! Friday night was also parents night for football and since Shali is a stat girl for football, we were in the line-up to be recognized.

Saturday morning we watched this:

Jordan line judging during the volleyball game 
 Shali in motion (in white jersey)
Shali waiting for the ball 
In between games, we had Rob's birthday! He turned 40 on Wednesday and was trucking on his birthday. He came down Friday and Saturday to watch volleyball. Saturday morning I made him apple crisp. He would rather have that than birthda…

Freezer Tomato Sauce

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My good friend, Jessica, gave me some tomatoes, basil and peppers! What to do, what to  do...hmmm...Monday night I made a sauce that I could have eaten raw before the freezer! Yum!

I found this recipe my mom gave me for Freezer Tomato Sauce! This recipe was taken from the American Profile insert of the weekly newspaper and submitted by Teresa Blackburn. I have seen several similar recipes and wanted to give it a try.

Freezer Tomato Sauce

16 medium to large ripe, but firm, heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
6-8 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 Tablespoons white balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. *I also used a muffin tin because I used Roma tomatoes in this dish.

2. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and place on parchment with X side up.
3. Roast tomatoes 20-30 minutes, until skin begins to pull away from meat of tomato using a sharp knife. Work over a large …

Food Storage and Preparedness Plans

I might have to abandon Preparedness Mondays and talk about being prepared more often. Self-sufficiency and preparedness have always been passions of mine and now has become a mindset for me. I love to share with you all what I have learned as well as my mistakes.

I wanted to introduce you to a resource that will lay out food storage and planning for preparedness for you. This guide will take you step by step for what you need to be prepared for: emergencies, weather, job loss, less income, end of the world, economic collapse, etc.

The LDS Preparedness Manual is simply amazing with the content that it provides for anyone getting started in preparedness as well as someone already doing preparedness. This manual talks about water, food, mental preparation, security, household preparation, shelter, and emergencies.

By no means the best thing about the LDS Preparedness Manual, but one that I can appreciate. You can print this manual for FREE. Yes, I said FREE. It is 220 pages long and is …

Preparedness Monday - The Start of Food Storage/Stockpiling

Preparedness Mondays are back! I miss writing about this because I find that prepping and being self-sufficient is becoming the life for me. This week and the following weeks we will be concentrating on food storage/stockpiling with a few detours.

Without food, we would not last long. I have read that a person can not last more than three days to three weeks without food. How to plan and go about your food storage is not an easy task. The easiest way to start is this:

1. When you go to the grocery and you have a little extra in your budget, buy two of an item instead of just one item. If you are going to buy one jar of applesauce, buy two jars of applesauce and put the second jar in your food storage.

2. Watch your loss leaders (front page of the grocery store ads). If there is a super deal of something that your family eats or can be easily eaten, shop the sale and buy extra. Put the extra in your food storage. For example, a five pound bag of potatoes is ninety-nine cents. Great dea…

Dehydrating The Bounty

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We have been dehydrating our garden produce as well as what I bought from the Farmers Market lately. I love having dehydrated vegetables in my pantry. I have been doing a lot of onions with plans to do more as well as basil and all kinds of peppers. This was my progress so far:


Hard to believe the middle jar was 4.5 onions at one time! Left jar is dried peppers and the right jar is dried basil. The first step to dehydrating your vegetables to get out the dehydrator. My dehydrator is a old style kind! (Update 2015: I have a new to me dehydrator that does more!)


As you can see, the way I put these steps in order is not necessarily the way I did this. It is the way I should have done this. I get my vegetables ready by washing and drying them. Then I chop them so they are uniform size. I don't like to waste any vegetables, however, so I will put the little ends on the trays too.



I used green and red bell peppers, jalapenos, and a salsa pepper. On the trays I used parchment paper so the d…

Far Above Rubies: Single Moms Speak

Great article! I am blessed to have the great support to help me, but other single parents are not so blessed. This article shows some great ways that you can come along side and support single parents without being intrusive and counterproductive. Thanks!
Far Above Rubies: Single Moms Speak: My sister is a single mom with twins whose husband abandoned them when the boys were toddlers. I remember walking into my sister's small apa...

Computer will be here today!!!

My new computer will be here today! Hooray! Hooray! 
I want to get back to regularly posting on this blog during the week and I miss doing so! I would have had it yesterday, but the Fed Ex guy needed a signature and no one was home. Go figure! Hopefully I will have everything set up tonight and will be ready to go. I have so much I want to share with you all and I feel better about doing that at home and not at work!

Thanks for reading this short, but happy post!

Great Giveaway at The Healthy Home Economist!

Click on over to a great giveaway at The Healthy Home Economist! To quote her words:

"The Giveaway

Cultures for Health, one of my sponsors, has generously agreed to provide the starter culture of choice to 3 lucky winners as part of this giveaway.   The Cultures for Health website offers over 300 products to support the Real Food Lifestyle.  If you need a starter culture of any kind, this is the place to shop online. That’s right – you get to choose which culture you want if you win and it will be promptly shipped right to your door!" Some of you might be wondering what a culture is. Cultures are used to start wonderful tasting foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, kombucha, and sourdough. I am really excited about this giveway as I have been wanting to try these foods!  Here is the link for you to check this giveaway: The Healthy Home Economist. Also check out her blog as she has really great information on healthy eating and the good things you should be putting into your bo…

Back to School Routine

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We are back in school again! I usually have mixed feelings about the kids going back to school, but despite my feelings, we have to get into a routine! This helps simplify our lives so much.

To help our mornings, we like to have our things together the night before. These are things we do to simplify our mornings:

bookbags are packed and ready to go clothes are laid out for the next morning shoes are found, accessible, and ready to go by the front door  showers taken for those who don't worry about their hair or own a flat iron for their hair
In the mornings, we get ourselves ready for the day. Since younger two kids have to be on the bus at 7:00 am, they usually get first priority in the bathroom. Paige wakes up at 6:15 am to get into the shower. She showers, dresses, brushes hair and teeth, and is downstairs by 6:45 am usually. She will also make her cold lunch if the school lunch is heavy on dairy that day. Dane wakes up by 6:30 am if not earlier. He usually gets dressed, brushes h…