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Pantry Update

We are really working hard to become as food independent as possible.  We know that we will still need to buy grain products; flour, rice and chips. As well as, baking products, like baking powder and chocolate.

Here is an update on what we are doing this week to get closer to that goal.

The tomatoes and peppers are producing great which mean salsa!  We have put up several batches of salsa.  As of today we have 28 jars.  My boys love salsa so I am estimating that we will need 48 quart jars for the year.  This will be made up of 24 jars of HOT salsa and 24 jars of mild- medium salsa.

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So far we have canned 7 jars of beets.  This is no where near enough.  We are praying for a strong fall beet harvest.  We need at least 15-20 jars of beets for the year.

Peaches are in season.  We work with a local family owned orchard for all the fruit we do not grow on the farm, or we do not grow enough of.  We will have to plant several more blueberry plants to not have to buy those.  Peaches, back to peaches, free stone, yellow peaches are the only way to go.  They are amazing.  The only problem is while I am canning I believe I ate at least 5 peaches one slice at a time.  We canned 7 jars of peaches with two can in the fridge to get us through the week till we go to the farm again.  I see a peach coffee cake in my future! We also froze blackberries.  Can you say ice cream and smoothies!

Our onions did not do well so we had to get a bushel of onions.  I have been using them for salsa as well as freezing chopped onions for the winter. I have frozen 12 pounds of chopped onions.

Peppers have been doing so well that I have been freeing them as well as adding them to salsa.  We have frozen 5 gallons of chopped green peppers.  These are great in the winter for chili, omelets, sloppy joes, and pizza.  We easily can go through 10 gallons in the winter.

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Okra!  This is a new one to freeze for me.  I put away 2 gallons of chopped okra.  I am hoping to use it in stews, soups and sloppy joes for the winter.

There are at least 4 months that we do not milk the goats. So we freeze milk during the summer. Whole milk for winter yogurt.  As well as spun milk for drinking.  The cream from the spun milk gets turned into butter.  I have frozen several pounds of butter.

The summer squash is slowing down. So I am freezing some yellow squash for winter muffins.   I will freeze about 8 cups, which is four batches of muffins. I already froze zucchini for bread.  I may try to freeze zucchini noodles, but I am worried that they will be mushy.  I also froze some zucchini tortillas for tacos.

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Alright, back to chopping!  Happy Harvesting!

 

 

Menu for 5/3-5/9 and Farm Update(Sorry I never hit publish)

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Thank you to all our Front Line Workers!

Soup Sunday:  We had a very lazy day and I made a big pot of soup.  We had not electronics, other than church online and a book on tape while we played cards as a family.  A pot of soup seemed fitting.

Monday: Burgers.  The rest of the week it looks like we are going to have rain, so we had a fun night of burgers and fries.

Tuesday: Cinco De Mayo falls on Taco Tuesday!!!!  We will  be doing a taco feast!  Tons of extra veggies, like carrots and radishes, to add to the tacos just to take them to the next level. Homemade chips!!  It will be wonderful!  I can taste the lime and cilantro already!

Wednesday: This is suppose to be a cold day.  Turkey and gravy over rice with pan fried radishes and kale salad.  If you have never had pan fried radishes you have to try them.  Just a little butter melted in the pan. Half all your radishes or cut them up however you would like.  Top with pepper, garlic and onion powder.  Just let them cook in that heaven till they are soft and slightly brown.  It is really just heaven. One of my favorite things from the garden.

Thursday:  My daughters night to cook!  I think she is planing something with steak!  I told her to work in a ton of veggies.   If I had to guess, I would say she is going to do hobo packets on the grill with cabbage, potatoes and steak.

Friday: Breakfast for dinner.  Sausage, kale, onion and cheese quiche.  I make this recipe with kale or chard.  Goat cheese or cheddar.  This is such a flexible meal.  It takes the pieces that I have in the fridge and turns it into an amazing dinner.  I will probably make baked apples to go with this.  Just a simple farm dinner.

Saturday: Fried Chicken.  We save all the drum sticks when we butcher the chickens and we put them to the side.  We use them sparingly throughout the year to make them last.  Fried chicken is such a treat.  We only eat it every couple of months.  We savor every bite!  I am going to break tradition and make Brussels spouts instead of cabbage, might even make sweet potato fries.  I’m hungry!

Sunday:  Mother’s Day!  I am the Mother and my favorite food is pizza!  Or kale soup.. it will depend on the weather.

In the kitchen: Made Greek Yogurt, make cheese, churn butter, freeze butter milk and feed whey to pigs. Freeze kale for future soup.  Yogurt starter.  Kale chips.

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Garden:   In the garden we are harvesting kale and radishes.  Last week we planted potatoes.   We have planted the tomatoes and peppers outside under plastic.  The seeds we have sown so far in the ground outside are: beets, radishes, lettuce, carrots, peas, chard, kale, and onions. In the high tunnel we have started carrots, beets, radishes, peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and kohlrabi. Please feel free to jump in where we are!  Go out and plant the things we have planted outside!!!!   There is still frost to be careful of, know when the last frost is in your area and plan around that.  We are a zone 6.  We could still get frost for another 2 weeks.

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In the Barn:  We have 9 bottle baby goats.  They are all little cute jumping beans and keeping us very busy.  The vet visited today, took care of the goats and drew blood.  It was a routine visit.  We have 10 turkeys doing well in their new outside turkey yard and house.  We have 28 sustainable meat bird chicks in the brooding pen.  These are meat birds that will hopefully be able to provide our family with meat for a very long time into the future.  The chickens are not liking being locked out of the garden and they have stopped laying.  The ducks do not currently like the goat roommates.  We still do not have piglets but we keep hoping for a miracle.

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Menu Plan April 26-May 2, 2020

Today has been a crazy day.  I am thankful for the moment to sit at the computer and type out my menu plan for the week.   I also plan daily to-do lists, cleaning plans, (I follow FlyLady) and any farm projects.  I am a box checker, just in case you did not pick up on that yet.  Friday, I made a grand check list of everything I wanted to get done all day, went out to do farm chores and found a goat in labor, whole day took a different turn.  I like checking boxes better than “hello emergency!”  but farm life does not always work that way.

Sunday: Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and beets.  Don’t judge me, we all have our thing, mine is turkey, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.  They have to be made together.   It was fabulous.  I stuffed the bird with apples and onions.  It will be lunch meat for the next two weeks and I will get three more meals out of this bird this week.  I have no idea how big it was, maybe 15ish pounds.

Once I finish cleaning and picking the bird, I will put carrots, onions, celery, water and the bones into the crock pot. I cook this down for at least 24 hours, adding more water if needed.  I can or freeze the turkey stock when it is done, I get about 4 quarts.

Monday: Turkey sandwiches, chips or turkey on salad.  I cooked all day yesterday.  Today I am keeping it easy.

Tuesday:  Tacos.  When we make tacos we cook dry beans in the InstaPot.  Rice in the rice cooker, saute onion and hot peppers and cut up lettuce and tomatoes.  We also fry our own corn chips.  It makes the night extra special. This is also a night the kids cook and clean up.

Wednesday:  Pork Loin in the InstaPot, roasted acorn squash and Brussels sprouts. The pork loin is a complete cheat.  This I got on sale, it is not from our farm!  Gasp!  However, it is an easy night. The loin is fully seasoned and it goes in the InstaPot for 15 mins.  I cut up the acorn squash in slices and half the sprouts.  Roast 350 for about 10-15 mins. The squash depends on how thick I cut it. Easy prepare and easy clean up.

Thursday: Turkey enchiladas.  I take more of the leftover turkey from Sunday, cut it up really small and mix it diced onions, bean, shredded cheese and a little salsa.  Wrap in a gluten free wrap and lay the wraps into a baking dish.  Cover the wraps with a spicy white sauce and salsa.  Bake 350 for about 25-30 mins. Serve over rice or quinoa.

Friday:  My daughter is cooking, it is going to be a surprise she said.  Wants to make up a complete menu and present it to me tomorrow.  It will have beef on it, that is the only hint I was given.

Saturday:  Turkey drop biscuits soup with sweet potato gravy.  This is like chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie but with whatever veggies I have around, and the left over pieces of turkey.  I will cook a sweet potato in the InstaPot to make a nice thick gravy that has that something special.

This week I will bake something with apples in it for breakfast or a treat after dinner.  I have a feeling the kids are just going to want the baked apples, like the filling of an apple pie with no crust.  It goes great on yogurt with almonds for breakfast!

 

 

 

Farm Life

We are halfway through our kidding season! It has been an exhausting emotional rollercoaster.  We have had the joys of new life and the sadness of death. It is paralleling what is going on in the world right now.

We had a kid born this week with an intestinal defect. We did the best we could to save him but he passed in our arms. His twin brother was just not up to normal bouncy kid behavior so we took him to the vet. A low grade fever was easily treated and he is back to a normal hyper baby goat. The vet recommend pulling him off Mom, which as a dairy we normally do at about a week, so he is now an indoor bottle baby. Once the weather warms up he will go to goat daycare with one of our older does.

Sleeping baby goat! Nothing cuter.

Our family was very upset about the death of the kid, but life had to go on the other baby needed us. There are a lot of times in farming where you have to push your emotions aside and just keep going. The other animals on the farm need you and there is no time to sit around feeling sad.

This week we also received chicks for a new sustainable meat bird flock. We are going to start breeding and maintaining a meat bird flock so we don’t have to continue buying Cornish crosses. With the events happening in the world right now we are doing everything we can to be sustainable. That means we probably are going to add some sustainable turkeys as well. However, we are still researching the perfect breed.

Indoor chicken brooder.

Two of our does are due to deliver any day now. We know it will happen in God’s perfect time. Once kidding is over we can take a deep breath and transition into milking and bottling. It does not mean less work, just different. This time of year keeps us very busy!

I pray this post finds everyone healthy. Let me know how your seedlings are doing. They should still be inside and the cardboard outside on your garden plot creating perfect soil. Feel free to ask questions about this process in the comments below.

Baby Goat and Garden

This has been a busy week.  Spring is coming in with a long to-do list.  With the added stress and to-do of working from home, educating the kids and other COVID-19 stresses the farm is a source of stress relief.  We have been taking advantage of nice days and working inside early in the morning or when it is raining, in addition to having a modified “Spring Break”.  Many friends have asked, “what’s going on down on the farm?” I think this has just been a conversation starter to talk about anything other than the virus, but I promised to do a blog post with pictures of what we have been up to.

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I’ll start with the cutest thing first!  This is Captain Crunch, Crunchy for short. He is the baby boy born to Cherrio today!  He is super cute!  He arrived right on is due date.  My husband when back to check on Cherrio this afternoon and there he was, not a peep out of Mom.  The baby was all dried off and happy as could be.  Mom did a great job taking care of him.  We have about 9 more babies coming this week.  This is based off the ultrasounds at the end of January.  God willing, we will be posting a lot of baby goat pictures this week.  This also means there will be new babies for sale on our Sale page!

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In other goat news, we have a new milker on the stand.  We sold her kid so she is ready to join the milking ranks.  She did not think this was a good idea.  She does not want to be milked so she just sits down.  We have to train her with positive reinforcement that the stand and milking is a good thing.  It normally takes a week and lots of patience.   A stressful process for us all.

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Inside the high tunnel things are growing well.  We still have another week or so before harvest, but the kale and radishes will be right on time.  There is a hard frost warning for Friday night, so we will be waiting till Saturday to transplant tomatoes and peppers.  The average daytime temp in the high tunnel without the sides open is about 120 degrees.  With the sides up it drops down into the 80’s.  At night the low is about 40’s.  That is a huge temperature swing, we are looking forward to some warmer nights soon.

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Outside, we are shaping garden beds, mulching isles and laying down row covers when they are needed.  The garlic bed is at the bottom of the picture, all the logs and wood around it is holding down the wire we have to use to keep the chickens out.  Chickens are a huge frustration when we start moving dirt around in the garden, they are overly helpful.  We spent a whole day this week, re-fencing the chicken yard with 6 foot chain link.  This is in hopes to keep them out of the garden while we prep the beds and plant the crops. We are keeping our fingers crossed.  Until we know for sure we can keep them in, I will keep my garlic covered!

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When I am not working on the farm, cooking, teaching my kids, teaching for school or cleaning the house, I am making masks.  The Governor issued an order that everyone must wear a cloth mask when they go out in public.  This is like a step above “cover your cough”.  Other teachers at school have helped me gather supplies and now it is time to cut and sew.  I’m happy to be able to contribute to my community and help maybe slow down this virus.  The link to the pattern I am using is below.

https://tianascloset.com/index.php/2020/02/06/face-mask-against-the-coronavirus-epidemic/

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Lastly, I will leave you with this strange photo.  Can you figure out what we were doing in the kitchen this week?  We roasted the peanuts from last years garden.  I know we should have done it a long time ago, I normally roast them before Christmas, but I just never got the chance.  They still turned out great!  Growing peanuts is one of our favorite things.  There is nothing like the taste of a home grown peanut.  We all look forward to the day we can grow enough to make peanut butter.  Until then, we eat them plain, on yogurt, and in ice cream.  We roasted these in honor of all the baseball games we are missing.  It seems weird to be working on the garden without the soundtrack of baseball in the background.

So many things right now seem different.  We are trying to cherish the blessings, like the time together and online concerts.  We are praying for hospital employees and the sick.  Life is uncertain and seems like it is out of control, but we will hold tight to the truth that God is in Control.  We pray God’s will be done in our lives and that he guides us to be His hands and feet.  I hope you all have a great week.  Thank you for catching up with us.

Seed Starting

I hope that everyone has had a chance to order some seeds, grab some at a local store or save some from the food in the fridge.

I have been doing all of the above.  We placed an order for seeds last week from Southern Seed Savers Exchange and the seeds came this week.  Orders are still going out and they appreciate your business and patience.

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These are onions, celery, romaine and ice burg lettuce bottoms.   All of them will regrow.  Eventually, you can plant them or you can just continue to harvest them from your kitchen window. In this picture below, you can see the celery we have transplanted from the bottom of celery that we bought at the store. We also planted lettuce in this glass aquarium for the winter.  It stays warm, we can harvest when we need it and it reminds me of warmer weather.

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Okay now, back to starting seeds.  March and April is the time to start tomatoes, herbs, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, kale, etc.  All of these seeds need to be started inside.  We use our master bathroom.  It gets great sun all day, it is warm and we do not forget to water them.  When we put the seedlings in the basement I always forgot to water them.  In the bathroom they are a part of my everyday life.

You can start your seeds in seed starting mix or you can start them in just dirt from outside.  We have done both.  The seed starting mix is better, we use something called Jiffy Plugs.  However, in a time when we are all asked to stay home, just use the dirt from your yard. Bring it in and allow it to warm up before planting for better germination. Empty yogurt cups, and old egg cartons make great containers to start seeds in. You will want to poke a hole in the bottom of the yogurt cup before putting dirt in it so the extra water can drain out.   Place your dirt filled yogurt cups or egg cartons on an old cookie sheet with a little bit of a side to help you control the dirt and the water.  Place a couple seeds in each cup, find a sunny window, water well and you are off to the races.

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The most important thing with all of this is to try!  I always remind people the first year we planted a garden we had nothing that we planted grow.  God was generous and some of the seeds from our compost grew, but none of the seeds I planted grew. There is no time like the present to take control of some of your food supply.  Look at what is happening in the world today, things will get worse before they get better. Now is the time to learn!

 

Grow Your Own Food

During World War I and World War II families in the United States planted Victory Gardens to help lessen the food shortage as a result of the war.  Over the years from 1942 to 1944 during World War II, Victory Gardens grew 8 million tons of food for American Families.  As I watched grocery store shelves empty this week, I could not help but think about those Victory Gardens.  What if instead of hoarding TP Americans planted gardens?  As the effects of this virus spread across the nation, food shortage is going to become a problem. According to Modern Farmer, the average age for the American Farmer is 58.  The age group that is being affected the most is 50 and older.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  If the population that is growing our food, is the population that is becoming sick, what is going to happen to our food?

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Bonnieseeds.com

I don’t know the answer to that question, however, I can tell you I am not going to stand around and wait to find out.   We all need to take some accountability for our families food supply.  So how do we do that?  First of all, the next time you go to Walmart for your 100th pack of TP grab some vegetable seed packets and seed starting soil mix.  All of the Walmarts have them out right now  in the garden sections. Most grocery stores have them available as well, along with Dollar Tree and Dollar General.  If you are staying home and not going out at all, I recommend online suppliers like Burpee Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Annies, Johnny Select Seeds and Southern Seed Savers.

Okay, so you decided maybe you would take a try at this farming thing, what do you do first?  The good thing is that it is not too late.  Spend one of the days you are home watching your backyard.  Where do you get the most sun?  Think about trees that will cast a shadow in a month when they are full.  Ideally, you would like 7 solid hours of sunlight in one spot.

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Now that you know where you are going to plant your garden all you need is a box.  Lay the cardboard out on the grass as big as you would like your garden to be.  Put bricks, dirt, rocks anything on it to hold it down.  Let it sit there.  The cardboard over the next couple of months will kill the grass, warm up the soil and bring any earthworms to the surface to start aerating the soil.

In my next post, I will talk about starting those seeds you are going to work on getting your hands on.  If you can not find seeds, start now saving the ones you have in your house.  Do you have that last lonely tomato in the bottom of the fridge?  Cucumber?  Dried beans?  Organic potatoes? Butternut?   Think about what you have around the house now that has seeds in it.  You might be able to us those, make sure the seeds have never been cooked. Raw vegetables only.

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This slice of tomatoes has seeds in it that will grow more tomatoes

Also, to plant a “seed” for future thought.  Most Tractor Supply stores have baby chicks right now, you could control your own egg supply too!  More about that and starting seeds in my next post.

 

This Week’s Meal Plan

Well it is Sunday night again, I am writing my meal plan for the week.  I would love to say that I will blog every Sunday night, but I know myself better than that.  It is a good dream though!  The nice thing about blogging the menus is that I can look it up when I forget what I am suppose to be making or if the cat ate my menu.  It also helps because when people find out we raise our own food, they always ask me what we eat, well read on my friends.

It is winter and what is fresh is limited.  In the garden we are still harvesting fabulous sweet carrots.  They are simply covered with a single piece of plastic and they have survived all the unusual weather so far. We will continue to harvest them as long as we can.  I prefer fresh carrots to frozen or canned.

In the high tunnel, believe it or not, we still have lettuce, chard, kale, radishes and some spinach.  I will be using these throughout the week.

Our freezers are massive, which is a blessing.  However, to be able to get anything out of them I feel like I need a safely line so I don’t fall in.  That being said, my husband does the “shopping” from the freezers each week.  The only requirement is that he picks the oldest meat first and chooses a variety.  This week he choose; Round steak, 2 half chickens, pork butt, frozen peppers, corn and green beans.

We do go grocery shopping at the store, but we try to only buy things we can not produce on our own.  Our family has a horrible addiction to chips and gluten free pretzels, so we buy massive amounts of those.  We also purchase condiments, rice, gluten free bread, some dairy products like cheese, butter and sour cream.

OK back to why I am here, this weeks menu!

Monday: Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli.

First, because we raise all of our own chicken, I never use boneless, skinless anything.  We do not have any sun dried tomatoes, so first thing is I am going to turn the oven up to 400 and pop some frozen tomatoes on a cookie sheet and have them roasting.  Season the chicken with pepper and throw in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil cover with foil and throw in the oven. Mince 4 gloves of garlic, gather, butter, a pint of stock, 2 cups milk (ours is goats), 1 1/2 cup parm, 1 1/2 cups spinach (rough chopped), Italian herbs, tbsp of flour or cornstarch, your potatoes and the broccoli.  Peel and wash your potatoes, make mashed potatoes how you like.  Steam broccoli.  Pull your chicken out of oven and remove it from pan.  Put pan on stove top, on med heat. De-glaze pan with butter and garlic, cook down spinach. Slowly add in your stock and bring to a boil.  Add flour or corn starch to milk pour in pan. Heat milk till small bubbles appear, add parm and herbs.  When everything starts to thicken, add back chicken and the roasted tomatoes.  Plate up and serve.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, with Taco Soup!

We had roast beef on Sunday night, I will cut up the leftovers and make a taco soup in the crock pot.  I will add a quart of stock, some frozen tomatoes, frozen green peppers, corn, green beans, onions, cooked beans, and taco seasoning. Serve with chips, cheese and sour cream.

Wednesday: Swiss Chard and Sausage Quiche, Hash Browns, and Frozen Fruit.

So I brown the sausage and use it for breakfast for the week. I pull some of the browned sausage out of the fridge.  If I had ground beef or bacon I would use that too. I also use whatever cheese I have on hand.  I have parm and cheddar this week, but I have used goat cheese, Italian cheese, and even Swiss cheese.  It is basically eggs, cheese, milk, meat, chard and onions.  It is the ratio that matters.  Sometimes it is crust less, sometimes I use grated potatoes for crust, this week I have left over pie crust frozen from Thanksgiving so I will use that. Heat oven to 375.  Roll out pie crust. In another pan, cook onions, garlic and chard in butter.  Cook till onions are clear and chard is cooked down.  In a bowl mix 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 cups cheese and pepper to taste.  Pour egg mixture in crust, add sausage, chard and onions.  Top with a little more cheese and pepper.  Bake till firm.  Normally about 35-45 mins. While it is cooking my husband will make his hash browns and I will make a fruit salad out of the frozen fruit from the summer.   It is a cool and refreshing treat. Might even throw it in the mixer and make a sherbet type thing.

Thursday: BBQ Pork Butt Steak with French Fries and Pan Seared Radishes.

I am going to cheat this night and cover the pork with a jar of BBQ and hand it to my husband to cook on the grill.  We have a fryer, so I will chop up some potatoes for french fries and pan sear some chopped radishes in butter and garlic powder.

Friday: Cheese Steak Subs, and Salad.

Take the round steak, sear in cast iron skillet.  Throw in crock pot on medium with 2 chopped onions, minced garlic, pepper and a little water.  Cook till done, for me that will be till my husband gets home from work.  He will add sliced frozen peppers and he will slice the beef, then put it back in the crock pot on low till I get home.  We will serve on gluten free bread with provolone cheese and a garden salad.

Saturday: Honey Mustard Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans.

Preheat oven to 375. To bowl add 1/3 cup course mustard, 1/3 cup honey, tsp garlic powder, tsp onion powder, add chicken.  Pour all of it into a cast iron skillet, add rosemary if you like it and bake till done.  Put some nice size baking potatoes in oven on rack and cook green beans on stove top.  I might throw this in the crock pot if it looks like it is going to be a long day. Wrap the potatoes in foil and put them on top of the chicken. I would quickly cook the green beans when we got home.

Sunday: T-Bone steaks, corn and kale.

I will be handing the steaks to my husband.  I will cook the corn and kale on the stove top. The kale is just butter and diced garlic in a pan cooked till wilted. Love easy dinners.

I hope you all have a great week.  Please let me know below what you have for dinner that is in season, or let me know if you like the recipes.  I received some good feedback from last week, let me know what you think. Enjoy your week and I hope to post soon to bring you up to date on the rest of the farm.

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Weekly Meal Plan

This evening I wrote out our meal plan for the week.  Something I do often.  I would love to say weekly, but there are weeks I just don’t have it all together.  My husband suggested I post our weekly meal plan, so here I am.

The method to my  madness is this; my husband chooses 6 different cuts of meat from the freezer.  I have a list of what is growing in the garden or what is in the fridge or freezer that has to be used.  I take the meat and the veggies with the help of http://www.pintest.com, I come up with recipes for the week.  You might not have a garden to do this, but you can do this with a sale flyer from your favorite grocery story  or what is available at the local farmers market.

This Weeks Menu

Monday

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic-Maple Glaze, Apple Sauce and Baked Potatoes.

So take out your potatoes, wash the skins, poke holes in the skin with a fork, place in a 400 degree oven.   Slice brussels sprouts in half and place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven with the potatoes.  On the stove top reduce 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp of maple syrup till you have a glaze then remove from heat. Pan-Seared Pork Chops:  With a little corn oil heat in an oven safe pan to a medium heat.  Brown the pork chops on both sides in a pan then transfer to the oven to finish cooking, goal is 145 degrees. When you put in the chops, turn the brussels sprouts so they can roast on both sides.   Chop up two gloves of garlic and three sprigs of thyme.  Remove the chops from oven, remove chops from pan and set aside, add two pats of butter to the pan, scraping the lovely bits off the bottom, once butter is melted add  garlic and thyme.  When garlic is soft, add back the chops.  Cover with foil and set aside.  Remove sprouts, top with glaze.  Remove potatoes, serve with a side of apple sauce and eat

Tuesday

Taco Night, Beef Taco Meat with Rice, Beans, Homemade Corn Chips, Lettuce, Salsa, Peppers and Onions.

This one is easy,  brown ground beef, (sometimes we use cube steak), drain and add Taco seasoning.  I cut up peppers and onions and saute in a very little oil, cook beans in the pressure cooker, chop up lettuce and fry corn shells.  This is a quick meal for us, the kids help cook and we all look forward to Tuesday!

Wednesday

Crock-pot Rotisserie Chicken, Pan Cooked Potatoes and Chard Au Gratin.

I cheat with this one too. I take a frozen chicken from the freezer and put it in the crock-pot, top with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and pepper.  To the crock pot I add a very small amount of water to the bottom, careful to not wash off my seasonings.  The potatoes are washed and peeled.  I pan fry them in butter and oil, not the healthiest but it is worth it for every once and a while.  I cook them till they turn golden brown. The secret is not to turn them too much.  The recipe for Chard Au Gratin is on my site already.

Thursday

Asia Garlic Sirloin, Noodles, Snowpeas, Carrots, and Peppers.

The sirloin has to come out of the freezer the day before.  Chop it into 1 inch cubes when it is thawed then marinade it in 6 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger, 2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup oil and ground pepper.  Put on skews or pan cook it depending on weather.  Once cooked top with sesame seeds and serve over cooked noodles.  I will cook extra marinade for dipping sauce.  Stir fry the veggies and serve.
Love quick Chinese nights.

Friday

Crock-pot Brown Sugar Pork Roast, Rice, Corn, Salad and Roasted Radishes.

Also you have to take out the roast the night before. In the morning sear the roast on high heat on the stove.  Mix together crushed garlic, chopped sage, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp corn starch, and salt and pepper to taste.  Place roast in crock pot and pour sauce over top.  Cook for 4-6 hours depending on your crock pot. We cook rice in the rice cooker, pan sear some radishes in butter, garlic and pepper. Lastly heat up some corn.  The salad the kids pick and build from the garden.  Love fresh veggies.  This is a veggie heavy meal because not all of us eat all the veggies, and I want to make sure everyone has at least one veggie. Some of us eat them all!

Saturday

A special reward meal for a kid, so Tacos again!

Sunday

Crock-pot Beef Roast, potatoes, Carrots, and Celery with Gravy.

I take this roast out the night before too, sear it in the pan the next morning.  After searing the beef, clean veggies and rough chop.  Leaving them in large chunks.  I add onions and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce to the meat.  Again put 1/2 cup of water on the bottom, not washing away the sauce.  Cook for 4-6 hours depending on your crock pot.  I will sometimes add potatoes wrapped in foil for those kids that don’t want things to touch.  This is a great Sunday meal, left overs for lunches and my husband can pick at it through out the evening.  If I play my cards right it is done about 2 and I do not have to cook lunch or dinner, score!

This is a picture of our week. I am sorry my recipes are not great, but this was a quick post.  I will work on how to write better recipes.  The problem is I do not really follow recipes and I get ideas for meals from the titles and pictures on pintest.  My husband laughs at me because most of the time if I do read a recipe it is a guideline and I do not follow it anyway.  I made sure I copied the names the way the ideas were posted on pintest if you need to search for the exact recipe.   Meal planning reduces stress for me and helps me mid-week when I have lost brain function.  I hope that this helps you too.

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Turkey Bone Leftovers

It is the day after Thanksgiving and you have finally picked all the meat off those turkey bones.  Now what?  Put them in the trash and hope the raccoons don’t get them?  NO!!! Those bones are packed full of vitamins and they still have a use.  Bone Broth!  Take all the bones, skin, turkey neck, whatever you have left over from that bird after you pick the meat off and put it in the crock pot. To the bones add a couple washed carrots, an onion, some celery, and maybe a glove of garlic or two.  Cover the whole thing with water and turn it on high.  Let it cook for at least 24 hours.  Normally, I will let my broth cook for 36 hours.  Then I run the broth through a gravy separator to filter out all the bones, left over veggies and to separate off the fat.  Lastly, I freeze the stock or pressure can it in canning jars.  Preserving the goodness of Thanksgiving to use throughout the year.

This turkey stock or bone broth is an amazing nectar.  When someone in our family is not feeling well, I will make their favorite soup with this broth. It is the base of my potato soup, taco soup, chicken/turkey pot pie, turkey and rice soup, even sausage and kale soup.  My husband and I will drink it plain like tea when we do not feel well.  You can feel the nutrition being absorbed when you drink it.

Our turkeys have spent 6 months eating grass, bugs, and soaking in sunshine.  Below is one of our turkeys helping me harvest tomatoes in the garden.  They are packed with vitamins and I want to respect their life by not letting any of those vitamins go to waste.

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