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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


It's that time of the year again and someone graciously gave us a deer.    So last night, Carpenter and I went to get it and we got it cut up and into the fridge last night.  Today, my job was to cut it up and trim it. 

I have a crockpot full of stew meat, a roaster full of roasts and a pan of the trimmings for the dogs.

I also have four bowls of meat in the fridge for cooking after these things cool off. 

I am planning on making meals just as I would if hubby brought home a bunch of pork or hamburger.  So tomorrow, I will be making meals from the meat I have brought home. 

I will be making 4 recipes of each:
  • Easy Sauerbraten
  • BBQ Beef
  • Philly Beef
  • Beefy Enchiladas
and 1 recipe of each of these:
  • Beef Bordeaux
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Osso Bucco
  • Middle Eastern Stew
  • Southwestern Stew
  • Oriental Stew
  • Orange Beef and Rice
  • Swiss Steak
All of these recipes are out of the cookbook "The Occasional Cook" by Cyndy Salzmann.  I haven't tried most of them, but I'm anxious to try them out.  They will be different with venison instead of beef. 


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken

8 pcs chicken thighs

½ c soy sauce

½ c brown sugar

1/8 c red wine vinegar

½ Tbsp oil

1 ½ tsp minced garlic

1 ½ tsp minced ginger

1 gallon bag
Place 8 thighs in each bag.  Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and oil.  Pour over chicken. 
Put 1 ½ tsp minced garlic and 1 ½ tsp minced ginger in each bag.  Seal and label.
Label with this label:


Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Place chicken in an ungreased baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 180°F. Turn pieces once or twice during baking. The longer the cooking time, the thicker and stickier the sauce will be.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another meal from our cooking day - Sweet Asian Chicken

We just had another cooking day.  It went so much better this time.  There were only 15 recipes.  We did 7 of each one, and the ladies were finished by 3.  j

Here's a recipe that we like:


1 recipe
3 lbs chicken breast
½ c brown sugar
½ c soysauce
1/8 c lime juice
¼ tsp curry
1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 gallon bag

Cut up chicken into chunks.  Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, lime and curry together and pour over chicken.  Add 1 t crushed red pepper and 1 ½ T minced garlic into each bag.
Put this label on the bag:


Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, serve with vegetables and noodles or rice.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Homemade pork and beans

Homemade Pork and Beans Ingredients

2 pounds of dried Great White Northern beans
1 onion
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 pound of pork
1 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon of mustard
1 Tablespoon of syrup
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

Directions for Making Homemade Pork and Beans

1. Start preparing your dried white beans a day ahead of cook day by soaking them in water for at least 24 hours.

2. Shred 3/4ths of your pork and cut the remaining 1/4th pound into small cubes.

3. Chop your clove of garlic and onion finely.

4. Place your prepared beans, pork loin, vegetables, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, syrup, cayenne pepper, dark brown sugar and vegetables in a pot, then cover with water.

5. Cook your homemade pork and beans for at least two hours on medium low to allow the flavors to meld with one another thoroughly. Keep it bubbling.  Add water as necessary, being careful not to add too much.  Test your beans to see if they're done before you turn off the pot.
6. Allow to cool, and put 2 cups in each bag.
Price for these Beans
$3.98 for Great Northern Beans
$2.00 for one pound of pork
$1.02 for spices
Total $7.00
This recipe made  7 bags with 2 cups in each bag

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mixes - specifically brownie mix

I found an awesome site for brownie mix - you make it yourself - so you know what's in it.  I just have to go to the store to get cocoa.  And if you time it right and take it out at the right time, the brownies are moist and yummy.

Here's the link:
Brownie mixes etc.

And for tomorrow - pork and beans - homemade.

Keep pressing on

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vegetable soup

Frozen spinach from garden
Frozen broccoli from garden
Taco meat
Frozen zucchini from garden
Frozen corn from garden
Beef bouillon

and as I'm working in the kitchen cooking up the meat and making freezer meals, I just put the scraps into a pot with water to cover.  After it boils, I strain the peels and scraps out, and then use the liquid in my soup.

In crockpot all day on low.  Yum.  And super inexpensive. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Refried beans

I am going to try this recipe today.  I plan on freezing it in package that contain about a can's worth.  So I can use it in exchange for recipes.  This recipe seems like it will be rather easy.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Adapted from


• 1 onion, peeled and halved

• 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed

• 1 fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• ¾ teaspoons salt

• ½ teaspoon black pepper

• 1 tbsp cumin (sometimes I like a little more)

• 6 cups water


1.       Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. 

2.       Cook on high for 7- 8 hours. Drain the excess liquid & reserve.   

3.       Using the immersion blender, add back liquid a little at a time and blend until you reach your desired consistency.  Be sure to taste and add more cumin, salt or pepper to your taste!

4.       That's it!  Easy peasy slow cooker refried beans....they are AMAZING!!!  If you don't own an immersion blender you can always use a potato masher or regular blender to break down your beans. 

I did a full 4 lb bag of beans which is 5 times this recipe.

Cost was about 60 cents for 2 cups of beans.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dilly Bread - hamburger buns

Oh, wow!  My stepmom was saying that she made her own hamburger buns, so I asked her for the recipe.  It can be made into rolls and into buns for hamburgers.   Delicious!!!!! 

My husband and kids (and I)  loved them so much that they didn't eat much supper.

Here's the message I got from my mom:

Dilly Bread
(my favorite for hamburger buns - and makes great bread for sandwiches, too)

  • 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 T. dried onion
  • 1 T. soft butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 T. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 2 1/2 c. bread flour
Mix up and knead like you would any bread recipe. Let rise, shape into loaf or into 8 to 10 hamburger buns (depending on how large you want your buns to be). Let rise again. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes for the loaf or 14 to 16 minutes for rolls. Can be frozen or kept in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Don't let the dill scare you away, it was so yummy!!!  Thankfully, I stashed a couple of bags in the freezer (in the basement).  So now, I can pull out a bag when I think we need some bread for supper.



Friday, October 18, 2013

Homemade hashbrowns

I would say that I spent $1.50 on 4 lbs of homemade hashbrowns, while I spent $4.00 on 4 lbs the other day.

It really wasn't too hard at all, and took me about an hour and a half total time, but during that same time the kitchen got cleaned, and quite a few other necessities - you'll see why.

First I washed the potatoes.  Scrub 'em good!

Then I started a pan of water to boil to blanche them. 

Sort according to size.  A regular size potato should take about 5 minutes in the water, but the little ones, maybe not as long.  I spent a lot of time using a meat thermometer on the potatoes.  It should be about 160 degrees in the center. 

Now that I know a bit better, I won't always need to use a meat thermometer, but it helped me figure out how soft/firm the potato should be.  It can't be fully cooked or you'll have mush, and yet it can't be undercooked or you'll have black hashbrowns.

This by far took the longest time.  But I set the timer on my microwave to keep track of how long they were in there.  That helped me a lot.  During that time I was cleaning up the kitchen, putting stuff away, etc. 

When they were cooked through, I put them in a big bowl and then in the fridge overnight. 

The next day I grated them with my hand grater, after I peeled them.  If you have a food processer, it would take a lot less time.

Have fun trying this!

Update:  when I took my hashbrowns out of the freezer, they turned brown.  I would make them into cheesy potatoes or some other recipe.  If the potatoes have fluid on them, they don't turn brown.  One of the recipes I use, uses raw potatoes in a freezer bag and as long as the potatoes are covered with chicken broth, they don't brown at all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Egg noodles

What I'm looking for is noodles that might freeze well.  I would like to put the effort in and make a bunch of noodles, and then freeze them for when we need them. 

What I found on the internet is that if you make noodles, making a large batch is more desirable, and they will last in the fridge for 2 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Yahoo!!!!!

So yesterday, I tried two batches of a recipe I found on the internet.  I asked my mother-in-law for her recipe and she, as always, willingly gave it.  It was very similar to the one I used.

  • Combine 1 beaten egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons milk; add 1 cup sifted flour or enough to make stiff dough.
  • Roll very thin on floured surface; let stand 20 minutes.
  • Roll up loosely; slice 1/4 inch wide; unroll spread out and let dry 2 hours.
  • Drop into boiling soup or boiling salted water and cook uncovered about 10 minutes.
  • Makes 3 cups cooked noodles.   

I made one batch of egg noodle-size and the other the size of lasagna noodles.  After I let them dry, I placed them in some light storage bags I have (I would have used waxed paper, but I didn't have any) and then rolled up the lasagna noodles to keep the bag between the pieces and placed it in a labeled freezer bag.

I'll try to update with pictures, as soon as I can find the camera.  It doesn't seem to be where it is supposed to be. 

I'll have to remember to update it when we eat them. :)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tortillas - a repost

Before my cooking day, I plan to try to make all the tortillas I need.  Hopefully, I can find someone to help me roll them out etc.  I have some who like to shape them.  It truly does save a bunch of money.  I think I spent $3 on 8 12-inch tortilla shells the last time I bought them. 

Making Tortilla Shells

This is a great way to keep costs down.

Remember, not every one has the time to do the things I am finding time for right now.  I've had my super busy seasons and this one is too, but mostly because I'm learning how to do things that take a bit more time, to help our family's budget.

If you're trying to emulate Steph, you're missing the point.  The apostle Paul said, "Follow me, as I follow Christ."  That's what I want for you.  But just because I'm following Christ in my household by making tortilla shells, instead of buying them, doesn't mean the same for you and your family. 

Each household runs differently.  What I want you to see is that I'm trying to follow my husband's lead, but doing the small things he asks of me.  Obviously, he doesn't mind if I don't make tortilla shells, just don't buy them - make something else.

So walk in the Spirit, and do the things that would bring God glory in your life.

Keep pressing on,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A series of sorts - homemade items for my freezer meals

Since I've started helping out with Cooking Days at our church.  We just had our first meeting the end of September but we're planning on meeting monthly to prepare meals for freezing for our homes.  I don't participate and that may sound weird, but it's mostly because the cost of the meals we do on those days is still beyond our budget.

I do it myself at home, but I am organizing it for the big church Cooking Day.  I can come that day then and participate for a couple of hours but don't have to stay the whole day because that's usually our family work day.  Also there is a different person who doesn't have time during the week to organize, but can definitely run it on the actual day.  She is the initiator of the whole idea.

But for me, in order to make this freezer meal thing (which I love) work, I need to find out if there are some recipes that we love that I can make cheaper.  I try to avoid canned foods as much as possible, but on our massive cooking day (6 or 7 families) cans are easiest and still cheaper for most of them, who are two-income families. 

When a momma comes home at the end of the day, the last thing she wants to do is figure out what's for supper.  This way with a load of meals in the freezer she can pull something out in the morning and turn on the oven when she gets home, and then snuggle with that baby she's missed all day, or if she doesn't have children, spend time with her hubby.

The two moms I babysit for are the starters of this whole thing, but though they can give a Saturday once a month, they don't have a lot of time to organize stuff. 

We found that we have to have a list of meals, and then cook all of them.  For example, last month I had 38 meals, and let everyone pick which ones they wanted.   That did not turn out so well.  Figuring the receipts was a challenge, but mostly we were making 38 meals and it took a day and a half.

So now, we have a list of 15 meals, if someone wants a full month, they just double their recipes.  In two weeks, the last Saturday of the month, we will be making 7 recipes (two families want double recipes, 2 want one recipe of each, and the last one is two people splitting the recipes (1 takes 7 and the other 8 or they could divide each recipe in half)).

There are quite a few things that I want to experiment with and see if it's possible to make it.  The reasons are two-fold: 
  1.   saving money
  2. healthier eating
So here's a list of things that I want to learn to make:
  • refried beans
  • egg noodles
  • pork and beans
  • baked beans that freeze well
There will be more as we go.  I also want to make 3 or 4 standard freezer meals lists - one each for pork, hamburger, chicken and ham.  So that when there is a sale on one of these, I can make freezer meals right away from the meat.  I think it will be a more efficient use of my time, as I won't first freeze, then thaw the meat and then refreeze it.  I will make it straight into the meals.  But I'll have to know what my shopping lists will be for each one.

All of this is to bring glory to God by providing for my family and having time to serve Him as well.

Keep pressing on

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Columbus Day!

Today, I am home alone with my five-year old boy and we are getting some things done. 

Already, I have re-picked up the bedrooms and swept the stairs. 

The dining room is swept and the chairs are up on the table for an opportune time to mop.

 I've been emptying the freezer downstairs to make a list of what we have and organize my freezer more.  I'm thinking meals for the week and a few vegetables upstairs and all the rest organized downstairs.

And while I was downstairs I remember that I really need to clean (thoroughly) my husband and older boys' bathroom.  I never (hardly ever) use it and don't get down there to see how bad it gets and therefore it gets forgotten.  All the walls got wiped, the shower scrubbed and baseboards and floors got a thorough hand-washing.

The tomatoes are on the stove and I'm thawing the last (I hope) bag of frozen tomatoes for I'm not sure what yet,  I'm thinking chili.

I also want to dig into the attic and get out the bins of clothes and bring out the winter clothes. This week anyway, it looks like we'll need them. 

So many other things to do, so Happy Columbus Day! 

Keep pressing on!

Friday, October 11, 2013

BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce

Makes 28 cups of BBQ Sauce

3 cup of onion, pureed

28 c ketchup

3 c brown sugar

20 T mustard

20 drops of Liquid smoke

4 t salt

Mix together onion, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Liquid smoke, and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Cool. 
The nice thing is you can add more ketchup if it's too sweet to your liking, and you can put in other flavors.  I generally make my own all the time, and it never comes out the same because I use what's in my fridge.   Generally I don't make this much at a time, but for cooking day we needed a lot of barbecue sauce for putting with meatballs and pork chops and chicken.
Keep pressing on

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wounding a friend/sibling

Have you ever heard your kids quietly whisper "Brat" to their younger sibling because you said they could do something, and the older sibling didn't feel that it was a good idea. 

I overheard it the other day and so I pulled the older sibling aside and talked with them about a scar I have on my shoulder. 

"Do you see this scar?  Do you know how I got it?"  The head shakes back and forth - no.  "A knife did that to me."  Eyes widen.  "It's from a surgery, actually. But what you did downstairs to your sibling was somewhat the same.  You took a knife to your relationship and you stabbed them. 

The wound was there after the surgery.  We had to bandage it and put medicine on it.  But the skin will never be the same.  The same thing with your words to your sibling, you can say sorry and it will heal up more quickly, and it is the right thing to do, but your relationship will still have a scar.  Thankfully, your sibling is young still and if you work at it, you may be able to repair it and help them forget, but you will have to work hard at it."

Today I heard more words.  It seems that it's too hard to let "dumb" comments go - to let a different younger sibling say something totally off the wall and not get in their face about it.  So I simply and quietly said, "A knife wounding a friend."  We talked about it on the way to school as another older sibling thought he was exempt from it all.  You did well today, maybe, but you have gotten on their case as well. 

I think the example is effective for today to help them see what they are doing.  There is nothing visual when we use harsh words, except maybe a tear or two, but nothing to stop us short.  Nothing to hold us back the next time, like if we'd seen blood. 

Even as an adult, I forget that my words sting as much sometimes as a slap on the face.  My words need to be tempered with grace and love, and yet I need to remember sometimes as well that, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

Keep pressing on,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cleaning the fridge

It started with a spilt cup of coffee.  Dumb me put it in the fridge with no lid.  I was thinking iced coffee today.  Well, not anymore.   I opened the fridge door and found it all over the bottom of the fridge. 

So when I got home from dropping the kids off at school, I got the little ones playing and started on the fridge.  Finished up the dishes and started on the fridge.  It didn't take long to disassemble the fridge and wash the pieces. 

When I finished that I thought I would work on the outside and just finish it up.  As I was doing that, I noticed some cobwebs behind the fridge. 

That ended up with me pulling the fridge out to clean underneath and behind and the walls. 

This all took less than an hour.  And I'm thrilled it's done.  Now, I emptied the freezer and took notes on what is in there. 

2 pans of Chicken Divan
10 32 oz of spaghetti sauce, made from the tomatoes in our garden
1 gallon pkg of spaghetti sauce
2 gallon packages of Ham and Vegetable Soup 
2 gallon packages of Chili
3 bags of sour cherries for our kids' favorite cherry mousse (have no idea how to spell it but it sounds like 'mose' not 'moose'.
2 gallon package of diced bell peppers
1 quart bag of diced bell peppers
1 gallon bag of habaneros
13 bags of shredded zucchini (perfect for zucchini bread or to throw in a soup or spaghetti sauce)
4 1-lb packages of cooked hamburger
1 1-lb package of cooked hamburger with taco seasoning
2 Beef and Bean Burritos

I really would rather have more meals upstairs in my freezer than downstairs in the deep freeze.  So as I work through what is down there I will bring more stuff up and take my packages and packages of spaghetti sauce down there.

Once again I will put my list on the fridge, but in a sheet protector, so I can use a dry-erase marker to keep track of what I take out.

Keep pressing on.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken White Sauce

I decided that I would rather make my own cream of chicken soup, as opposed to putting all that sodium and preservatives into my kids and me.  So I've been working to see what the best way is to do it.

Here's what I have come up with:

1/2 cup of margarine or butter (either of them seems to work equally well)

Melt margarine in saucepan ( a big one if you need a big batch)

When it's melted add enough flour to make it thick and somewhat lumpy.  I use a nylon whisk.  It will take about 1/2 cup of flour.  Add 2 T chicken granules and 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper.  Mix together.  You can't leave the stove or it will burn. 

Next add alternately by one cup (3 cups of water and 3 cups of milk).  Then stirring very often or continuously stir until it thickens up.  If it's too thick add another cup of milk or water.  If it's too thin, take a cup of water and mix in some flour (about 2 T) and then pour it into the pan. 

After it cools you can take 1 1/4 cups and put it in freezer bags.  That would be the equivalent of one can.  I like a bit more sauce than most recipes call for, so I would put in two cups per can of sauce.

Now if you want cream of mushroom, just add beef granules instead of chicken and some sliced mushrooms. :)  Also if you are cooking up chicken or hamburger just take 1/2 cup of broth and skip the granules and the butter. :)

It works so well, and it's yummy. 

Keep pressing on.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Meal #6 - Chicken Curry

2 recipes
4 lbs of chicken breast
1 cup onion
3 Tbsp curry
1 1/3 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/3 Tbsp minced ginger
1 1/3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/3 Tbsp chicken bouillon
1 ½ tsp salt
2/3 c flour
2 2/3 c water
2  2/3 c milk
1 1/3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 gallon bags

Cook chicken and divide (when cool) into 2 bags.  Sauté onion in butter till onions are cooked.  Add curry, ginger, garlic, sugar, bouillon, and salt.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add flour whisking constantly, 2 minutes.  When thickened, remove from heat and add lemon juice.  Cool and pour over chicken.  Seal and label.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Meal #5 - Chicken Broccoli Bake

Chicken Broccoli Bake

1 recipe
2 lbs of chicken breast
3 Tbsp butter
1 can mushrooms
¼ c flour
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp curry
½ tsp pepper
2/3 c water
1 1/3 c milk
2 tsp lemon juice
2 c broccoli
2 c cheddar
½ c bread crumbs
2 gallon bags
1 quart bag
6 recipes
12 lbs of chicken breast
1 cup margarine
1 can mushrooms
1 ½ c flour
2 Tbsp chicken boullion
2 Tbsp curry
1 ½ tsp pepper
4 c water
8 c milk
4 Tbsp lemon juice
12 c broccoli
12 c cheddar
3 c bread crumbs
12 gallon bags
6 quart bags

Cook chicken. Cool and place in gallon freezer bags. Saute mushrooms in butter for about 5 minutes.  Add flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.  Then add bouillon, curry, and pepper.  Gradually add water and milk.  Continuing stirring as sauce thickens.  Once it thickens, remove from heat and add lemon sauce.  Pour over chicken in bags, dividing equally.  Place 2 cups of broccoli in each bag. Place 2 cups of cheese and ½ cup of bread crumbs in the freezer quart bags.  Place one gallon bag and one quart bag in another gallon bag.  Label.


Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Place chicken and broccoli mixture in an ungreased baking dish and sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Meal #4 - Chicken Manicotti

This is 6 recipes worth.

3 T garlic powder

3 pound boneless chicken breast

48 uncooked manicotti shells
9 jars (24 oz) of spaghetti sauce

3 pound Italian sausage, browned and drained

3 can of mushroom

12 cups mozerella cheese

2/3 c water

Sprinkle garlic powder on chicken

Cut into strips.  Stuff chicken into manicotti shells.  Spread  about 1 cup of sauce in two greased 9x13 pans.  Place 8 stuffed manicotti shells in each pan.  Sprinkle with sausage and mushrooms.  Pour  sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Drizzle with water.  Cover with wrap then foil, and freeze.


Chicken Manicotti

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 375° for 55-65 minutes or until chicken and pasta are tender. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
 Update on this meal:  my "testers" and I ;) have found that it needs an extra 1/2 a jar of sauce per recipe.  It was too dry otherwise.   I changed the recipe to reflect our findings.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Meal #3 - Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Potpies


8 cups cooked chicken

8 cups hashbrowns

2 pkg mixed vegetables

4 cans cream of chicken

2 cups of milk

2 cups of sour cream

4 T flour

¾  t salt

¾ t pepper

2 t garlic

8 pie crust

4 pie pans

Cook chicken. Place one pie crust in each pan.  Layer chicken, hash browns and vegetables.  Then mix together soup, milk, sour cream, flour, salt, pepper and garlic.  Pour over pie.  Place a crust on each one.  Cover with foil.  Label
The label is below:

Chicken Potpies

Remove 30 minutes before baking.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes then uncover and bake at 350 for 50 minutes.