Category Archives: Recipes

  • New year rambles, goals, pigs, writing, walking and more

    It’s January 2nd, 2016, er, .. I mean, 2017 and we’ve done so much already. I’m tired just thinking about it.
    But in a good way. In a “I’ve got my list, and I’m getting things done” kind of a way.

    Speaking of lists, in the back of my prayer journal this morning I made up a list of goals I’d like to accomplish each month. I’m not real big on ‘resolutions‘, but I’m very big on goals. Not just on New Year’s day though, all the time. I actually LOVE Monday’s even, for this very reason. Monday’s are a chance to start a whole new week with a whole new set of goals!

    This year I’ve decided to break up my big goals into smaller monthly goals, which are kind of like bite sized pieces. For example, I’ve been wanting to write a book for some time now.  Pretty much my whole life really. The type of book I would write was never totally clear in my mind. I knew it would either be nonfiction, or some time of ‘self help’ book, as that’s simply the way my brain tends to be geared. But I wasn’t totally set on exactly what. The past while an idea kind of fell into my lap, or maybe slapped me in the face would be more accurate, so I’m running with it, and my goal is to write a new chapter each month. By the end of the year, I will have at least 13 chapters (I’ve already written the first one) and this is a very realistic goal for me. I work a lot of hours with my two home businesses (HomesteadEmporium.com and doTERRA) so I feel I need to set small bite sized goals, rather than one big goal of simply – Write a Book.”

    My other goals are simple too, and designed to help me end the year off on a better, less rushed, slower pace of lifestyle than I normally tend to run at. I always AIM to live a slower paced life, but biting off more than I can chew causes a “rush hour”  panic much too often in my life. My whole list of monthly goals are:

    1 ~ Write one chapter each month
    2 ~ Make one homemade gift each month (these will most likely all be for Christmas, I never have enough time in the fall to finish them in time for Christmas!)
    3 ~ Sew myself one article of clothing each month (I have all the fabrics, and even the patterns, sitting here just waiting for me to finally sew for me!)
    4 ~ Learn how to cook/bake/create one new food each month (so much food stuffs that I want to learn, such as yogurt (made that today!), pasta, all types of breads, fermented foods, and foods from other countries, the list goes on and on…)
    5 ~ Walk 20 times each month (this is a big one for me, even though it’s the most simple! I LOVE being outside, yet if I don’t get out first thing in the morning, I tend to procrastinate and get busy with everything else. When I’m outside here on our prairie homestead, I honestly feel rejuvenated and refreshed every time. It always makes me feel a little like Eve in the garden of Eden. We are blessed with so much greenery, space, and even fruit trees and wildlife. I love walking, and talking with God. The gorgeous vast prairie views and silence are just the icing on the cake. When I spend too much time behind the sewing machine and not enough time outside, I feel it in my whole being. I must make walks a priority!)

    And that’s it, that’s my list. Pretty simple really. I think these bite sized chunks are doable. I know they are as long as I stick with them!

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    Below is a photo from my walk this afternoon (just 19 more walks to go this month! lol).
    It’s cold in them these here parts, I tell you!

    I do love these types of winter days though, when the skies are bright ice blue, the hoar frost is on the trees, and the snow sparkles like diamonds in the bright sunshine!

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    Before my walk I had been wrestling deer carcass in my freezer. I had to move it from one freezer to another, and it wasn’t co-operating…
    When you have many dogs (and cats, too many cats) and you let everyone know that you feed all those many dogs and cats a homemade raw food diet, you tend to have people offer you all sorts of things. Carcasses (is that even spelled correctly??) being one of those things. Deer, moose, antler, even a buffalo. We’ve dealt with them all. Not to mention the beef and pork bones we get on a yearly basis as well when it’s butchering time. One day we’ll do our own butchering, but that day will have to wait until hubby and I are not both working 50-60 hours a week.

    After my walk, and before I could make it back inside, I got coerced sidetracked into helping move pigs in the barn. We’re getting close to butcher time, and we’ve started breeding our sows, so it seems moving pigs from one pen to another is a weekly ordeal right now. Warmer weather would be nicer for this work, but you do what you have to do, when you have to do it. After getting coerced sidetracked from my leisurely stroll outside, into helping move pigs, I then was coerced sidetracked into pig poop scooping…

    By the time I got back into the house my legs and butt were numb… I had a numb bum…. yes, I said it. My kids will die of embarrassment now… we’ll call it payback.

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    Anywho… here’s the yogurt I made!
    For over 20 years I’ve been wanting to make yogurt. My mom made it when we were kids, and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. I’ve tried different ways several times over the years, and never had success. The last time I tried about 18 months ago, I ended up with absolutely perfect… cottage cheese! Who knows what I did wrong each time. lol But this time, I used my brand new Instant Pot, and had success, finally! Here’s the recipe/instructions that I used: http://www.homemademommy.net/2016/02/how-to-make-homemade-yogurt-instant-pot.html

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    One last photo from my walk. It’s almost time for bed, I can hear it calling me now…

    How about you? Have you created any goals, or resolutions, for yourself this year? I’d love to hear about them!

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    For the love of homemade soups

    When I was first married, I was quite terrified of making soup. Can you believe that?
    My husband grew up living close to both sets of grandparents. I often heard his stories of his grandmothers wonderful homemade soups, her cookies, and not to mention her pies, which I have yet to master…

  • Does what we eat matter most?

    I was reading a blog post this morning.

    God cares a lot more what’s in your heart than what’s in your fridge.

    When our eldest children, now 20 & 22, were babes it seemed the main concern of ‘social’ groups/mom groups was that our kids looked good and behaved. Today it seems that how we feed our family, and if we do or do not agree with vaccines, is forefront. What’s forefront often changes, yet while it’s ‘popular’ it can make and break friendships between mothers.
    No matter what is forefront, most often it’s just a distraction from what we should really be focusing on.

    Ourselves. Our behaviours. How we treat one another. Being good role models for our children.

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    The truth is, who we are, who we are raising our children to be, and showing Christ’s love through it all (as Christians) should be foremost.
    And what another does, how they eat, how they raise their children etc. should not be the most important thing. We don’t need to agree with each other 100% to be a support to one another.

    For our family, we eat the way we do because of a simple scripture that has been a favourite of ours for over 16 years. It’s taken just that long to finally live it out too!

    1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
    Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
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    I’m not concerned so much about winning respect, but I desire to see ‘good fruit’ as proof of our lifestyle being right for us. Our children are our fruit. Part of our goal of a country lifestyle has always been to benefit our children, and aid us in raising them to be aware of the world around them. Nature, animals, people. Loving and caring for them all while seeking God’s will for their lives.

    We raise as much of our own food as possible because it is an important part of leading our quiet life and working with our hands. (I emphasize ‘our’ because I feel ‘our’ way need not be everyone’s way!) Growing/raising our own food has simply evolved through our desire to live the lifestyle we have chosen. It’s not just about eating better and being healthier. What good are those things if we do not live ‘right’? If our attitudes stink or we get ourselves so busy making healthy food that we ignore our children?

    Eating healthy homegrown foods is simply a side benefit. A wonderful side benefit, as we raise these six children of ours. Our heart, our attitude, our behaviour, and how we love one another while living this lifestyle is what determines how our children will thrive as good persons.

    Not the food we eat.

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  • DIY Vanilla Extract & Vanilla Cane Sugar

    Can you guess what I’m making today?

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    Homemade vanilla extract!
    I’ve been wanting to make it for quite some time, years actually, and today is finally the day!
    I’m hoping some of my beans are not too old. It took us forever to finally get to a liquor store and buy some booze. lol It’s quite ironic actually. In our first years of marriage we probably spent as much funds at the liquor store each week as we did at the grocery store!

    But that was a life time ago…

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    We contemplated whether I should use vodka, or rum, for the vanilla extract. Hubby figured rum would be a better flavour in the long run, and I tended to agree, so we went with that. It was pretty much the same price as the vodka and for whatever reason, vodka didn’t seem appealing to either of us.

    Making homemade vanilla is really quite easy. I simply googled and found LOTS of recipes which all said basically the same thing.

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    Take some vanilla beans, aproximately 3-4 beans per cup of alchohol.

    Slice them down the middle, leaving about the top inch of bean intact.

    Place the beans in a container.
    I was planning on just putting them straight into the rum bottle but was a little short on the beans for so much rum. Instead, I used these starbucks iced coffee bottles. I personally don’t like starbucks, but my eldest, Alesia, loves these coffees and when she treats herself to a coffee, she brings me the bottles. They are my go to bottle for my DIY Elderberry Syrup too!

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    Once the beans are in the bottle, simply add the alcohol of your choice.
    I’ve read that vodka, rum, and even bourbon are good. One site said you can actually use any alcohol. Most sites said 80 proof was best to ensure that your vanilla wouldn’t go bad. So we used 80 proof.

    Now all I have to do is leave the vanilla extract for a month or two, shaking it about once a week, until I deem it ready! Not sure how long that will take exactly, as this is my first time. I’ll share a photo and info as I go through the process.

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    With the two vanilla beans I had left, I chopped them up really fine to make myself some vanilla sugar!

    I used my favourite cane sugar (favourite because of taste, and cost, I buy it at well.ca when it comes on sale for 25% off).

    I put the sugar and the two chopped up beans into a glass jar and I’ll leave them in the cupboard along with the vanilla extract for the next month or so, until I feel it’s ready.

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    If I find the vanilla isn’t really infusing the sugar, I may consider throwing the jar of sugar and vanilla bean into my food processor to turn it into a ‘powder’ to see if that will help infuse it better.

    For now, I’m just playing around with what I’ve got, and having fun in my kitchen!

    How about you? Have you made vanilla extract or vanilla sugar?
    If not, are you planning to?

    Let me know if you’d like me to share more blog posts like this one. I love to hear from you!

  • Brewing Kombucha

    Kombucha brewing day here on the homestead.

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    The top jar is two brand new baby scoby’s for a local friend.

    I started with one large scoby from Delia at Delia’s Pantry. Now I’m up to eight definite scoby’s. Enough to brew for my family and more!

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    Biggest brew yet. Six jars for us. Should make for 12 litres finished kombucha with enough left over for the new batches next week.

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    I bought a big jar of pickles from Costco this week, because I prefer the bigger jars over the 2 quart size.
    First we need to eat the pickles though! lol

    The large jar shown in the photo is actually my cookie jar!

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    Although I love glass, to keep things simple for my family, that includes four teens, I use plastic 2 litre drink bottles for my second ferment and for storage in the fridge.

    I’m the only one that handles the first ferment, so glass is fine. A couple of our children are quite ‘klutzy’ though, so for their benefit and ease of mind, I use plastic after I’m done with the first ferment.

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    If you’re interested in learning about kombucha and it’s health benefits, google will be your best friend. It’s easy to find ways to make your own!

    Don’t be scared to give it a try!

  • Tea & your health.

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    Like many others, I enjoy learning about healthy options. One of my latest learning adventures has brought me to herbs & berries etc. that I never thought of before. First, I learned about Elderberries, and Elderberry Syrup. I had bought elderberry lozenges when I found them on sale and put them to the test over Christmas. Everyone around me had gotten the flu, but I didn’t. I can’t say for certain it was the lozenges, but I figured it was worth the effort to learn more.
    Through a friend, Delia of Delia’s Pantry, I learned how to make my own elderberry syrup and we now take it often! It’s so easy! I’ll share how on a blog post again very soon. 20130309-130730.jpg Then Delia brought in Stinging Nettle Leaf, and I wondered why? I learned one of its benefits is helping pms. No need to research any further, I was sold and asked Delia to add it to my next order! I also liked what I read about dandelion, and decided to order a little to try also. I’m not one to remember taking a lot of different things, but I’ve found one way to easily
    take all these new things I love. Every morning I make myself a pot of tea! 20130309-130438.jpg I made up a personal blend. I start with my favourite loose leaf tea, cranberry fresh from TeaDesire.com Then I add in some stinging nettle leaf, some dried dandelion root, and dried elderberries. 20130309-131927.jpg My teapot is one of my favorite thrift store scores! I had been looking for a heavy duty glass teapot for years! I steep my tea for quite some time, then add in honey & elderberry syrup, stir well and allow it to cool. Once cooled, I pour it into a very large drink bottle and sip cool healthy tea all day! 20130309-132717.jpg I have a VERY hard time getting enough liquids into me, I don’t get thirsty for water, I don’t feel store bought juice is healthy, and I’m too busy to get in much hot tea, so this method works perfectly for me! 20130309-132914.jpg How about you? What are some Ways you’ve learned to
    add healthy herbs etc. into your life?

    Homestead Emporium now sells
    our own special blend of tea in our shop! You can find it in sample
    size, and larger, here:
    http://hyenacart.com/HomesteadEmporium/mt/269/87287/Homestead-Emporium-Tea-Blend-in-3-Sizes#

  • Easy cherry pitter!

    The kids picked cherries for me this evening and I pitted them with ease!

    I made myself a cherry pitter out of an old small fork.

    I had seen a quick video on YouTube : http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LevzJ7X1A_Q&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLevzJ7X1A_Q

    When I first watched the video, I thought, “How could that really even simplify pitting cherries? How much quicker could it actually be?”

    I mean really? Cherry pitting can’t be THAT hard.

    Well, I found out it’s not that hard, but it is a pain in the rear, and time consuming, with a knife! Not to mention messy!

    So I figured that I should spend a few moments of my time and make a cherry pitter, after trying to cut out about half a dozen cherries.

    So glad I did! The rest of the cherries took me about 3 minutes to pit! Way easy! And nicer looking finished results too, and no real mess!

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  • DIY Elderberry Syrup – it’s SO easy!

    DIY Elderberry Syrup – it’s SO easy!

  • Honey garlic meatballs

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    I promised a photo and recipe for honey garlic meatballs.

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    I believe this came out of a magazine years and years ago and I can not remember which one. I feel bad not being able to give credit where credit is due…

    I have made this recipe so many times that I don’t really follow it, I use no measuring utensils, and just throw it all together as I go, tasting along the way.

    It always turns out the same…DELICIOUS!

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  • On the homestead today.

    I don’t like to use iphone photos all that often for blog posts, but it seems lately I just don’t get to the pc all that often and when I do, it’s for work! So it’s either share iphone photos, or none at all, and then I miss blogging.

    So here you go, a blog post about today with just iphone photos. *gasp*
    I think I may live through this, hopefully you will too.

    I always see a lot of “I hate Monday’s” on my fb feed, but personally, I like Monday’s. It’s like a mini-me of a new year, only it’s a new week! Every Monday we have a chance to do even more, and be even better, then the week before. Yay! A new beginning, every 7 days. In reality, every day is a new beginning, even more reason to celebrate Mondays!

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    I was in the mood to be productive while we did school today. Since the girls are older, once we get our innitial read-alouds done and recap what we’re learning, a lot of their schooling is simply me guiding them, and them working on their lessons without much assistance from me. This is the main reason why no matter how big a house we live in, I always end up right back at the dinning table doing school! That way I can get things done in the kitchen, while still being nearby if they need my help.

    I started out by putting ingredients in the breadmaker for French Bread. I’ve never made it before and a good friend shared her recipe with me last week.

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    This is the view out our dinning-room window while we school.

    Next I put a pot on the stove to make some Elderberry Syrup!
    Over Christmas just about everyone around here got sick, however, I had been taking an elderberry lozenge every day and I never came down with anything. Anything elderberry is EXPENSIVE though, so I was thrilled when a local good friend of mine brought in dried elderberries for her new online shop! Delia’s Pantry!

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    The syrup turned out real nice! I used the recipe linked above.
    I finally have use for my old milk bottles. One day… I’ll have fresh milk in these things!

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    While that was simmering on the stove, I got dinner ready. Bean Slop.
    What a horrible name right?
    However, it’s a recipe I’ve been making for years since my eldest were just little and everyone loves it. We even took it to a potluck at church once and everyone said they loved our ‘chilli’. It’s not actually chilli, but we weren’t going to tell them it’s actually “Bean Slop”. lol

    Basically it’s a pound of bacon, two pounds of ground beef (ours is grass fed beef, nothing like it, hopefully this year the bacon will be home grown again too), 3 large cans of beans, some brown sugar, and some ketchup. Once the bacon and ground beef are cooked, I just throw it all together in the crock pot and let it simmer all day. I thought the French Bread would be great for dipping. It was!

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    While I cooked, Julia helped Elsa when needed. This youngest girl of mine has the patience of a saint.

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    Shaylah & Julia have been learning sign language, so they wanted me to snap a couple of photos of them talking to one another. A video would have been better. 😉

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    They love that they can talk to one another during school time, without speaking a word.

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    The last thing I made today was some more lemon honey. I can’t seem to find the original link I shared the first time I made this, and I don’t really follow a ‘recipe’ anymore. I just cut up lemons, and throw them in a glass jar with honey. I love this stuff. We finished off the last batch within a few months. I think I had made 4 jars. It’s so good just with hot water, forget the tea! Here’s a link similar to the one I originally used: http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.ca/2009/10/lemon-honey-tea-base.html

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    Once school was finished and my hubby was up (he’s working 6pm to 6am this week) it was time to get ready for an early dinner before he had to go to work again. Then it was time to head back down to the sewing studio for some ‘real’ work!

    Oh, and to really top it off, right now my son is over at Delia’s place helping her husband with a buffalo they were given by a local farmer. It’s being used for their dogs, and they are sharing it with us. Just last Friday, I was grinding deer meat given to us by another, again for the dogs. These are all meats that would normally be ‘wasted’, yet we’re able to feed our dogs a top quality raw diet this way, virtually for free, even if it can be a lot of extra work at times. It’s so worth it.

    I’m beginning to feel like a ‘real’ homesteader lately.
    Maybe I should sew us up some bonnets for all us girls before spring! Some gingham dresses too, and maybe some petticoats…