Thursday, October 24, 2013

Preserving Tomatoes

Today I finished processing a bunch of tomatoes, and although it was a bit of work, it felt very good being able to put my quarts of tomatoes onto my pantry shelf.  My family goes through a lot of tomato products.  We eat pizza, we eat spaghetti, we eat lasagna.  We like tomatoes on our tacos, we like tomatoes on our salads, we like tomatoes in our soup.  My kids would eat ketchup on pretty much anything.  They even dip their carrots into it. With all these tomato based foods, how do you decide how much to make of pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce to last you?  Simple, you don't. 

Pizza Crust recipe

We eat a lot of pizza.  What true American family does not?  But we can easily drop $30 to $40 on a pizza night.  In efforts to keep things simple, cheap, and still be able to eat high quality foods (because Papa Johns is considered high quality, dontchyaknow?) I started just making it like pretty much everything else we eat in this house now.  Oh, and check it out...  I already had all the basic ingredients.  So, shhh- I am about to spill a family secret.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sweet Cinnamon Walnut Bread recipe

We love, love, love, LOVE sweet bread at our house!  Particularly when they are fresh out of the oven on a cold snowy day.  MM-mmm...  Did I mention how much we love it?  I have been putting up pictures on our Facebook page, and people have asked for the recipe, so here I am to deliver the good news!  I'm giving you the recipe.

Hot Cocoa Mix recipe

What is better in the winter than a hot cup of cocoa on a cold snowy day?  At our house, our kids LOVE hot cocoa.  And the stuff in the box is...  well... eh...  it's missing something.  Try to give it a lift by adding a few simple ingredients to it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dark German Rye Bread recipe

Around here we have a lot of people from German descent, my husband's family included. So dark breads, like this next one are pretty up there on the list of YUMMY things to eat.  Just as a word of advice- don't give your kids a spoon of molasses and tell them it is syrup.  They won't appreciate it as much as you will.  

Multigrain Bread recipe with variations

There is just NOTHING better in this world than hot, fresh out of the oven, homemade bread.  Oh, oh, oh---  I make a LOT of bread.  Between trying to keep up with eight mouths to feed, and making a whole lot more than that for the Farmers' Market, I make a ton of bread.  My family's favorite (or should I say one of them, they aren't picky) is Milk and Honey Multigrain bread.  I've made this SO MANY times, that I do not even have to look at the recipe anymore.  I have had quite a few people ask me for the recipe, so here it is!

Planning for Your Pantry

I’ve been asked by several people to write about how I figured out how much to preserve for our family for one year.  Or two years, or however many years you are trying to preserve for.  Personally, our ultimate goat goal here is to grow and preserve enough to last two years.  That way, if we have a bumper crop one year and a dud the next, it won’t be as big of a deal because we worked ahead to make up for a crop failure. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chapter Six: Rolling with the Punches

It is already fall here.  Where did summer go?  Summer lasted like all of three days.  And let me tell you something…  I was sucking for those three days without air conditioning.  People in Minnesota, apparently do not use a lot of AC.  Which makes you kind of wonder, how DID people survive before freon!  It was 90 degrees inside our house on those days.  But it lasted only three days or so.  That may be a bit of an exaggeration.   It may have been a week.  I have heard some people complaining of the short summer and as far as I am concerned- GOOD RIDDANCE!  After having spent the majority of my life in an ALMOST perpetual summer-like state that exists without real fall, winter, or spring…  I was not sorry that it did not stop for supper.  Ask me my opinion next year.  Although, I am not sure it will change.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chapter Five: Home Again

The fun just never stops here.  We are currently in the final days of the building project.  Our house is ALMOST finished.  The floor is finished, carpet-wood-the whole nine yards…  Trim-done, doors-done, appliances-done.  We have even bought the closet poles and a few shelves for places like the pantry.  Those have to be put together, but easy enough, I say!

About the only thing that is left to do is the siding outside, which has been totally weather dependent, and the counter tops inside, which we are still waiting on to arrive.  Oh, and tile a shower- no big deal!  Other than that- DONE, SON! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chapter Four: The LONG Winter

“Let’s move to Minnesota” Keith said.

“Don’t worry, it will be fine” Keith said.
“Oh, it barely ever snows anymore” Keith said.

Apparently, we are having an unusually long winter, even for Minnesota standards right now.  When you hear the meteorologist on the radio say the ten day forecast with a sigh of exasperation…  you know it is serious and even the weather man is feeling the strain. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chapter Three: When South meets North

When Keith and I first met, there were some obvious points we had to work through before it became apparent that our relationship might work out.  One of the biggest problems was honestly the whole north versus south thing.  He was from a small town in northern Minnesota, and I was from a small town on the southern Mississippi/Louisiana state line.  We were both in the Army stationed in Colorado, and I was pretty set on returning home after my time in the Army was up.  He had some reservations about living in Louisiana.  Why wouldn’t anyone want to live in the great state of Louisiana in the heart of Cajun culture???  The food, the music, the ambiance???!!!  I really missed home and as much as I loved the Colorado mountains and seeing other parts of the world…  it was just not N’Awlins. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chapter Two: Heading North

We quickly realized after we started packing that maybe we have severely underestimated the amount of things that we had.  It didn’t seem like so much when it was packed into all those nooks and crannies.  Now that we were being forced to pull it all out…  well, it became almost embarrassing as to how much stuff we had.  I’d always hated the materialistic side of American life that focused on name brands and fancy items and while we didn’t have very much of that at all, we did have a lot of the stuff that I liked to refer to as “purposeful.”  Can’t leave the apple peeler behind!  Or all the canning equipment and jars that I’d stocked up on several years back!  We had to have had at least 10 dozen empty jars that we’d collected in anticipation for the hot bath.  Because…  you know…  mason jars are absolutely essential to a homesteader! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chapter One: It started with a Homebirth

I knew (obviously) that December would be a busy month.  I knew that if everything went as planned, that I would have our sixth baby and then hopefully move just a few weeks later all the way from South Carolina to northern Minnesota shortly after Christmas. 

December 10th was the first milestone.  I wasn’t technically due(ish) until the 17th, but I figured number six would come at least a bit early.  Besides…  number five had been born early.  Our other son’s (we were about to have our second son) birthday was the tenth and I had thought that it would be cool to have the baby on that day.  Remy, who was about to turn four, also considered it to be a cool possibility.  I am not entirely sure if he would have thought it was near as awesome when he was fifteen…  but it didn’t matter, because the tenth came and went with nothing.