Five Things Friday

  1. Hurricane Ian is upon us in North Carolina. This is a huge storm and we have actually been experiencing some of the wind and rain for the past 24 hours. Luckily, we have not lost electricity or internet yet (9pm).
  2. Both the school districts and the Community college all declared remote learning days today.  Everyone was able to spend time working on school and work assignments. I am actually excited to have the time to get my paperwork caught up!
  3. I am loving my new electric canner. I have been able to do a bath of pear sauce, a batch of kidney beans, a batch of navy beans and a batch of mix kidney and navy beans.  I had one can not to seal!  This is awesome. I am planning to make some split pea soup next.  My goal is to get really comfortable with the canner, start to empty out the freezers a little so that next year, the canner will be used for all my spaghetti sauce.
  4. Because I was at home, I actually prepared three meals today. Bacon and biscuits for breakfast, pigs in a blanket for lunch and homemade tomato soup for dinner. Kendall made a pumpkin cake which with grilled cheese was dinner to remember.  I tripled the recipe for the tomato soup, so we have lots for future use!
  5. Because of the storm we decided to leave the chickens in the coop today.  I purchased a second feeder. Zach has been to check on them twice.  Braxton also decided to spend the night.  This is the first time he has asked to spend the night so we are all so excited!

Saving On Saturday

Today was a very rainy and dreary day.  The perfect time to catch up on some meal preparation and food preservation.

  • Matt and I took 2 packages of cube steak from our previous cow purchase, breaded and deep fried them. They will be used for steak biscuits for breakfast for the next 6 months or so.
  • I went ahead and meal prepped for the week. Stuffed green peppers, grilled chicken and bacon cheddar burgers are all ready to go.
  • Sorted through and combined items in the freezers in the house as well as the chest freezer. The plan is to purchase as little as possible over the next 8 months and use the food we have in our freezers and pantry.
  • Soaked and cooked a bag of black beans that Matt can use in his chill. (We have 2 cans of beans so this should last awhile.
  • Packaged up gravy from breakfast into can size bags for use with breakfast pizza. I purchased a single can of gravy to use and it was $2.09…. our breakfast left-overs saved us $5.

We debated but decided against turning off the a/c. The humidity is still really high, and it feels sticky outside.  I will continue to watch the weather and as soon as we are below 80 degrees consistently, we will open the windows.

The kids all caught up on laundry, which means less stress for me.

Remember it is the small things that add up!

This is the first full week of school for all the kids and my second week of work. Last week seemed to work well and we managed to eat at home every night!  So we are doing a repeat with different food. I am thinking that some of our weeks will start to look very similar due to use the food we already have on hand. I have even thought about going back a couple of years and doing repeat menu plan.  Just might be fun to see if our taste and preferences have changed.

Breakfast- Saturday-BLT. Sunday- Made to order omelets Monday- Homemade everything bagels Tuesday- Zucchini bread Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-leftovers Sunday-Christos   Monday-left-over Tuesday- chicken salad Wednesday- left-overs Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out.

Dinner- Saturday-Chips and dips Sunday- Youth group dinner Monday-country style steak, mashed potatoes, fried squash and green beans Tuesday Taco Pasta Wednesday- Chicken fried rice Thursday- Hamburgers and FF Friday- Genghis grill for Zach’s birthday

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. Things are busy and crazy, but I did manage to get a couple of things done. This is likely the last week of preservation as most things are slowing way done. The goal is to continue to harvest and use items as we can!
Tuesday August 23rd frozen bananas
Wednesday August 24th Salas
Thursday August 25th- shredded zucchini
Friday August 26th-
Saturday Augst 27th-
Sunday August 28th-Dinners prepared and tomato soup for lunches
Monday August 29th- Froze a gallon bag of tomatoes. .

Thursday Thoughts

  • The chickens have officially moved outside!  We made the move yesterday. We did install a temporary door that has to be manually opened and closed. I actually went out at 6:28am this morning to open the door. Lily also went down and helped them exit the coop this morning.   We did decide to order and install an automatic door that should arrive in the next couple of weeks.  This will allow us to open and close the door remotely once the chickens have learned to go into the coop each night.  The expense of the chicken has finished increasing, I hope. I did use a gift card to order the outdoor chicken feeder. I spent $32 on a watering container and the door was $99.   Again, this confirms that these are pets.
  • Today is my last day of summer break.  I did a couple of errands, including having the Tahoe cleaned and attempted to mow the yard but managed to get the mower stuck. We all have haircuts this evening as well.
  • My plan is to make a couple of batches of stuffed peppers today. One for next week and one will be placed in the freezer for future use. I also want to try a batch of tomato soup just to see if it will turn out.  I also have a couple of new recipes for dinner as well. Sounds like a lot of cooking so we will see how it goes.  Yesterday after cooking most of the summer, I ordered pizza for the first time all summer.
  • I am actually kind of excited to go back to work and get in a regular routine again!

Monday Menu Planning and #Everybit counts Challenge

The back to work countdown is in the single digits… like 3 single days. This week I am focusing on keeping up with the garden and doing so heavy preserving each day. I also have to get the oil changed, cars washed, glasses ordered and a final grocery stock up as well.  In the area of menu planning. I decided to try a new to use recipe each day until Friday when sloppy joes are on the menu!

Breakfast- Saturday- BLTs Sunday- Steak, egg and cheese scramble. Monday- Steak egg and cheese burritos Tuesday- Homemade everything bagels.  Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-Tomato Sandwiches Sunday-Applebee’s Monday- Leftovers Tuesday- Sushi lunch treat for kids.  Wednesday- Left-overs or sandwich Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out as I am back at work.

Dinner- Saturday-Leftovers. Sunday- Left-overs Monday-Big Mac Salad Tuesday Peanut Chicken with rice Wednesday- Beef Lo mein  Thursday- Chicken Quesadilla Tex Mex squash and Friday-Sloppy Joes.

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. This will continue for at least this week if not the rest of August

Tuesday August 9th Nine Breakfast items
Wednesday August 10th Apple Butter
Thursday August 11- Stevia and Squash Casserole
Friday August 12- Diced Tomatos
Saturday Augst 13th- We worked on a new cabinet for the kitchen and repairs to the greenhouse
Sunday August 14th- 1 cup portions of Celery frozen
Monday August 8th- Diced Tomatoes and Salsa

Official food preparation count: 58
Breakfast count:33
Spaghetti Sauce: 25
Salsa: 4 full batches (I would honestly like to make 2 more of these but we will need to wait until I get another batch of Wax Peppers in)
Tomato Sauce: 13 1/2 cup portions and 2 1 cup portions (I would like to have 12 cup portions before moving to diced tomatoes)
Diced Tomatoes- 16 cans- I would like to get 8 more to call it good!

Tuesday Thoughts- Updates

  • I am going to turn off the heat lamp on the chickens tonight. Last night, I heard them several times and they woke me up.  Today they have been sleeping most of the day.  They are around 3-4 weeks old today. I k now they will let me know if they are cold, but I enjoy my sleep way to much to have chickens wake me up!
  • Speaking of chickens, the current topic for discussion/ debate… should I go ahead and purchase 2-3 more older chickens they will begin to lay eggs in the next couple of weeks?  I can buy either a dozen eggs or a chicken at this point for the same price. I already have the everything to support the chickens so they would be the only expense.  I am concerned about everyone getting along up front…….
  • I have spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen today.  I used 2 pounds of sausage and a dozen eggs to make up additional 9 breakfast today. I made up 25 omelet bags and 16 breakfast “hot pockets”
  • We harvest enough apples from our apple tree to make a batch of apple butter!  First real harvest from these trees that we planted several years ago!
  • We have earned 3/4 the money we need to purchase a new sun shade for the beach next year by selling on Facebook marketplace.  I also have several items listed on ebay so hopefully we can easily meet this goal.
  • I have been sent several “free” offers this month. Including $20 at Belk’s, which I used Monday to purchase a sweater and holiday shirt. I have $20 for Lane Byrant which I am going to use either this week or next and $25 at Old Navy.  Hoping for a few more for my birthday!
  • I have been focusing on spending 15 minutes a day in the garden so that I don’t become so overwhelmed.  Between Kendall and myself we have cleared the blueberry bed of weeds again. The garden beds are staying weed free as well. I have pulled up several squash and bean plants in order to clear out space for some fall gardening, I also with the help of Matt added dirt to a couple of beds! My goal is to plant on August 15th which is 2 months before our expected first frost date.
  • Because the house has not had a good cleaning in several month. I told the kids that we are increasing the expectation to 8 chores a day for the next 2 weeks. The goal is to get everything super clean before heading back to school.
  • 9 days of summer break left!

Monday Menu Planning and #Everybitcounts

The return-to-work countdown is on!  I have less than 2 weeks.  I am going to focus on getting as much stored up as possible in the next 2 weeks. I also want to try several different recipes so that I can see if they work. I am also going to be trying to get ahead with several easy breakfasts.  We are putting away a couple of pancakes at a time when we make them. I am also planning to make omelet bags on Tuesday morning while making breakfast!

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes   Sunday- Cheddar cheese sausage balls and eggs. Monday- Homemade bagels Tuesday- Omelets   Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-BLTs Sunday-Don Juans Monday- Sumer lunch Tuesday- Summer lunch which included squash, zucchini, cantaloupe and strawberries.  Wednesday- Eat out as we will be back to school shopping.  Thursday- Leftovers or sandwiches, Friday-salad.

Dinner- Saturday-Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza. Sunday- Baked Potatoes, Monday- KFC bowls   Tuesday Philly Cheese Steaks   Wednesday- PF Changs for my birthday Thursday- Cube Steak and lots of sides Friday-Sloppy Joes.

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related.

Friday August 5th-Salsa
Saturday August 6th- Pancakes and Sausage Balls
Sunday August 7th- Forzen bananas
Monday August 8th- Tomato Sauce

Official food preparation count: 58
Breakfast count: 22
Spaghetti Sauce: 25
Salsa: 3 full batches (I would honestly like to make 2 more of these but we will need to wait until I get another batch of Wax Peppers in)
Tomato Sauce: 13 1/2 cup portions and 2 1 cup portions (I would like to have 12 cup portions before moving to diced tomatoes)


Every Bit Counts

One of the YouTube channels I really enjoy “3 Rivers Homestead” has this challenge for the month of August.  It is specifically for preserving food for the winter. I know that when I return to work in two weeks that this might not be possible, so I started this challenge a week early. For more information read here Monday Musings

Tuesday July 26th- Sloppy Joes
Wednesday July 27th- Taco Meat
Thursday July 28th- Salisbury Steak
Friday July 29th- Made a second batch of Salsa
Saturday July 30th-Shredded Zucchini and Squash
Sunday July 31st- Made protein muffins with remaining ham and eggs.
Monday August 1st- Spaghetti Sauce
Tuesday August 2nd- Additional Chicken pot pie filling- will need to only add crust.
Wednesday August 3rd- 4 dozen ears of corn some frozen with husk on and some off and 2 packages off the cob.
Thursday August 4th- 2 bags of carrots from our garden.

I am very excited with moving forward.

Official food preparation count: 58
Breakfast count : 20
Spaghetti Sauce: 25…… I am going to work on doing a couple of batches of salsa but may also add another batch of spaghetti sauce in the future depending on how the tomatoes continue to produce!

I do have plans for sausage balls and banana muffins this week as well!

Friday Catch-Up

Things got alot crazy around here this week.  I knew that we would be fairly busy with Zach having baseball camp 3 days and Vacation Bible School 5 nights with a pool party for a sixth night.  What I did not count on was adding in the 659 pounds of meat that needed some attention.

I received a text on Tuesday morning that our meat was ready. I was very thankful that Matt had cleaned out and started the old chest freezer on Saturday. After a couple of phone calls I was able to arrange some help and began working on making meals with the meat.

This week I have been able to make and freeze, 14 packs of Salisbury steaks which did not include our dinner today, 2 pounds of Taco meat and 10 packs of taco meat, 10 packs of sloppy joes and 2 additional batches of spaghetti sauce and 2 batches of Salsa.  Here is the official meal total:  I am at least halfway to my goal of 100 meals in the freezer.
Official food preparation count: 45
Breakfast count : 15
Spaghetti Sauce: 20

The other big event of the week was our purchase and bringing home of 6 chickens. The chickens are approximately 2 weeks old and currently hanging out in the living room under a heat lap for the next week. As you realize I have not been able to get the chicken story and how we have prepared for chickens up yet but hopefully I will be able to get this accomplished in the next couple of weeks.

I have 19 days until I return to work.  I will be only working one job so hopefully this will make things a tad less hectic in the fall.

I am continuing to recover from my outpatient surgery. I did overdo things on Sunday and spent most of Monday resting and recovering.  I hope to return to normal activities by next Monday but we shall see as I am currenting struggling.

I was able to spend a good couple of hours working in the garden beds this week.  I have pulled up and replanted one of the beds with pumpkins.  We are continuing to get lots of good tomatoes, several squash, a zucchni and a couple of small cucumbers.  I am hopeful to increase the cucumbers and we also have apples and pears starting to ripen on the trees in the back yard.

Looking forward to a less busy and more normal start to August!


Monday Musing

  • No menu plan for the week. We are all volunteering at Vacation Bible School this week. We are provided a meal each day so that makes life a little easier.
  • One of the you tube channels that I real enjoy is Three Rivers homestead.  She has a challenge starting in August called “Every bit counts.” The idea is that you find time each day to preserve one thing and that way it does not become overwhelming.  I know that once I start working again in August even this will become difficult, so I am going to start this week and end on August 19th. My plan is to share weekly and how I am doing with this challenge. Last week, I made and frozen 15 helping of spaghetti sauce. Today, I put packs of mini applesauce muffins in the freezer. I also made a huge batch of gravy that we ate for lunch. I was able to put 2 smaller containers in the freezer to use for breakfast bowls in the future.
  • On Saturday, we were able to complete the chicken coop and started with the fencing to finish the area.  We will hopefully get our new pet chickens this week. I am going to plan to share all about the chickens in blog post this week.
  • We also have obtained a large 250 galloon water barrel for both the chickens and for watering things in the greenhouse.  We did attach a gutter system to the barrel We need to first fill and empty to remove all the remaining chemicals that are in it. Slow progress but this will hopefully eliminate the need to use county water next year for the garden or chickens.
  • As I mentioned above, we all are involved in VBS this week which runs from 6 to 8:30 Sunday to Thursday. Zach is attending the local baseball camp from 8:30 to 11 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Lily is working Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Yeap we are back to a busy schedule.
  • The garden is continuing to bounce back and we are getting a good supply of tomatoes and yellow squash currently.  I am hopefully to freeze enough spaghetti sauce for the year (24 containers) and make another batch of salsa before the tomatoes slow down to eating and saving as diced tomatoes.
  • I was able to locate enough frozen basil to use in the spaghetti sauce that I don’t think I am going to replant this year. I will likely plan to grow in the green stock planter next year and replenish our supply then.