What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

No-grocery November: week 3

My kitchen helper

~ onions, peppers. homemade cheese, sausage, cherry tomatoes skillet
~ homemade macaroni and cheese with diced ham, peas, and using homemade cheese
~ creamed spinach with potatoes and cauliflower, tender pork roast, home canned applesauce
~ eggs or oatmeal for breakfast
~ tuna wraps
~ peanut butter blossom cookies (I had a bag of hershey kisses from the discount store packed away in a goodie bin.) (Yes, I store candy!)
~ storebrand frozen chicken tenders and fried cheese
~ blueberry scones
~ Mesquite dry-rubbed chicken slices, leftover stuffing, pan of sauteed onions/fried cheese/spaghetti squash.  Homecanned applesauce.  Canned green beans.
~ tomato soup and homemade bread
~ sirloin tip steaks, fried potatoes (homefries we call them around here), acorn squash and a hot vegetable side dish of pickled beets, green beans, sauteed onions topped with feta cheese
~ cinnamon raisin bread
~ pizza night! Three cheese, one with bacon and onion and one with bacon, onion, jalapeno
~ chorizo with peas and roasted vegetables (delicata squash, broccoli and cauli)
~ two batches of caramel ice cream with chocolate flecks (one sweetened with stevia, the other with sugar)
~ leftovers smattered throughout


~ My 60% Ghirardelli chocolate chips are no more.  Who's DUMB idea was this no-grocery shopping thing anyway? 

~ I am running precariously close to being out of harvested mint for iced tea.  Someday I hope to harvest enough mint to never have to buy peppermint tea bags ever again.  (I make peppermint iced tea by the gallon and all year round).

~ Matt ran out of hot sauce so I made him a new batch from homegrown peppers, vinegar, garlic and some xantham gum.  (Too much xantham gum!  I ruined it and had to make a second batch.)

~ Made homemade ketchup (it's not the same.)

~ Cleaned out the pantry/dry goods/snack cupboard.  I discovered some nastiness in there (I'll spare you the gross details!) so I was glad to have deep cleaned it.  I also discovered one more container of stevia tucked way in the back- just what was needed since I ran out of my bag!  Good-for-you ice cream and sweet tea can still be in my life! yay!

~ Made bread and queso blanco, mozzerella, ricotta cheeses and butter

~ I've been grinding wheat berries to supplement the flour situation.  I discovered one gallon jar of them had been sitting so close to the freezer that it had been warmed and the condensation over months developed into mold.  Another gross find.  The chickens had a feast that day- an entire gallon of wheat berries!  Anything they don't eat, maybe will reseed their space?

~  I have gone to the grocery store three times so far this month to do errands for homebound neighbors.  A couple times to pick up some things for them and one time I took a neighbor so she could get everything she needed.  I say this only because I was tempted thrice so far this month (and once for 45 minutes straight of wandering around a grocery store!) to buy goodies and ruin the no-grocery challenge- but I didn't do it. That's determination, right there!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

No-Grocery November: Week 2

Days 10-16


~ Chicken Pot Pies, whole wheat artisan bread
~ cinnamon apple bars
~ chicken and rice with delicata squash, peas and homemade cheese
~ Loaded Nachos with taco meat
~ lasagna
~ spaghetti with meat sauce  (pasta for kids/ spaghetti squash for Matt and I)
~ Mustard Brown Sugar Pork Loin, Stuffing (using leftover WW Artisan bread), delicata squash and onions, homecanned applesauce
~ Stir fry and brown rice
~ Oatmeal raisin cookies
~ eggs, sausage, peppers and homemade cheese for breakfast
~ cheesy broccoli, and cauliflower using homemade cheese soup
~ homemade pizza night- garlic, three cheese and ham/pineapple/onion
~ homemade ice cream with chocolate freckles


~ I used a package of venison from the freezer marked '13.  Yes.  I did that.  And yes, it was great.  (Foodsavers are awesomesauce.)

~ Two whole chickens, roasted at the same time, allowed me to make several meals all at once.

~ we used the last of the storebought sandwich bread which means that homemade bread from henceforth is not a luxury but a necessity.  And guess what...

~ I am running out of all purpose flour!  I have only one 10 pound bag left- which is pretty much nothing in our family.  I have wheat berries I can grind but they produce a much more dense product and that won't be ideal for Adele's birthday cake at the end of the month.  I have to start rationing that.

~ I also ran out of breakfast sausage.  Matt isn't too thrilled about that.  Guess we should get some pigs then, amIright?!  I made that last little tube stretch into three different meals.

~ Finished all the sweet peppers, lettuces, celery and carrots (!!) off.  No more carrot sticks to go with pizza night.  (sob!)   That's okay.  We ran out of ranch dressing for dipping anyway.

~ Have to start rationing the cheddar cheese now too- not much left of that!  Homemade cheese is making that less traumatic though.

~ made homemade cheeses, butter and bread again this week

~ Precariously low on my chocolate chips and stevia.  I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

No-Grocery November: Week 1

I tortured my children and gave these away as a thank you for borrowed bee gear

The first week (Days 1-9) of the No-Grocery November had quite a scare!  I realized that I couldn't find any more salt!  SALT, of all things!  In my life, salt is super important.  And not just for seasoning...  I bake bread, yes, but the reason I can't live without salt is for my cheese-making!  It is absolutely essential in this house!  I started using some canning/pickling salt I had left in a box but even that was almost gone!

 I thought I would have to break my no-grocery challenge the very first week until I frantically searched an out-of-sight pantry nook (the one with extra spices and pastas) and found, in the very back, a box of salt!  PHEW!!!  So excited!

I meant to take pictures of the foods I made but the lighting is so bad in the house now that it gets dark so early, the pictures just aren't pretty.   I forgot to write all the meals down but these are a few of the ones I remember:

~ eggs for breakfasts
~ molasses cookies
~ lots of homemade bread
~ cheesy corn chowder
~ mexican chicken pasta
~ cinnamon rolls
~ homemade cheese
~ sweet pan chili
~ kielbasa and cabbage saute'
~ homemade ice cream: vanilla with dark chocolate freckles
~ pizza with peppers and onions and pepperoni, three cheese pizza

There were a few leftover meals mixed in there too.

A few things: 

* I added water to the BBQ sauce to extend it since I have no more after that bottle.

* I cut the pepperoni into quarters because I only had about 15 more slices instead of just plunking them on- and it really DOES extend the pepperoni quite a lot.  (Plus- it was a good job for Ineke- who always wants to help.)

* Made homemade queso blanco cheese, mozzerella and ricotta

* made homemade butter

* cleaned out the (storebought) canned foods area.  A friend often shares with us canned goods on Sundays and because I am often a lazy bones, I dump them in the stairway without any thought.  This area happens to be a stairway down to the woodstove which means I was basically endangering my life everytime I tried to precariously walk down the overflowing steps.  (I only slightly exaggerate.)  I not only cleaned it out (yes, some cans were BAD!)- but organized it by food type and put the closer to expiration cans in the front.  It is very helpful to have everything sorted and inventoried in my brain.  Now I know exactly what we have and what I have to work with.

A frequent sight- a tablet and speaker on the island.   Whenever I am planning to be in the kitchen for a while, I try to put on a sermon or podcast to listen to while I work.  My favorites are these:

Sermons from https://www.christkirk.com/sermons/
Crosspolitic show
What Have You podcast
Apologia Studios 
Hillsdale College
Or I will go on youtube and search for my homies Jeff Durbin, Voddie Bauchum, R.C.Sproul, Greg Bahnsen or Doug Wilson.

There is always SOMETHING super interesting to listen to. I miss 90% of what I hear because I (happily!) don't live in a tiny, clean, quiet bubble...but that's okay. 

I'll take 10%.

Do you like to listen to podcasts?  What are they? I want to know!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Lazy and Gluttonous (a.k.a. No-Grocery November )

I've done it before and it is time to do it again.

Fact is, I've gotten lazy and gluttonous.  (As opposed to glutenous, though that would also apply)

This month I have challenged myself to not buy any food for the whole month.

November is a perfect month to challenge myself to a No-Grocery challenge.  The cupboards are full.  The freezers are full.  I still have lingering garden produce (though it is fast diminishing!).  I have bushels of apples and winter squash hanging out everywhere.  The cow is milking.  Time is needed to devote to h'learning-not running uptown for shopping.  The month is short.  And we need to eek all the extra cash we can from the hidden corners of the budget for the upcoming expenses of too-much-to-think-about.

  Our freezers are jam packed with food that just keeps being stored, month after month.  Cupboards have random, weird cans and boxes gathering dust because what do you do with expired mushroom broth and that lone can of pickled artichoke hearts?  Not exactly inspiring.  Food is cluttering my life!  I haven't been budgeting as well as I ought and so wind up splurging on foods that we don't need (and shouldn't eat anyway.)   I don't utilize the resources we have available to us as much as I ought.  We have a milk cow and I often buy dairy products like butter, for goodness' sake. I have even gotten lazy about doing cost-saving things I have always done; I don't wash and reuse Ziploc bags as fervently as I used to, for example.

I figure it's a good time to shake things up.  I am trying to get myself out of those same-old meal ruts that I get into, time to re-invigorate my cooking with creativity and time to use good old ingenuity and hard work to make things happen.  It's time to be a better steward of the riches we've been given.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on the abundance that is all around us.  And frankly, it is a perfect time to reflect on the lack of certain provisions that will no doubt happen by the end of the month.  After all, the Pilgrims showed gratitude that first Thanksgiving even as many of them were struggling with sickness, hunger, exhaustion and still mourning the losses of those they loved.  That is just as important a lesson to learn.  Maybe even more important

The Lord provides. And all it, should be received in gratitude. So abundantly, in fact, that we have lost sight of the fact that mustard is a gift.  Cheese and bananas are totally unnecessary for our survival.  We are not promised cookies- and yet we often have them!

This month I am going to work hard to be grateful for both the abundance of provisions in our lives and, as it happens, even the lack of those things I am used to having.

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 08, 2019

Still a Baby

Huh.  A few weeks before birth and a few weeks after birth...and he is still a baby!   Looks like a few more weeks never did make Moses more human.   Abortion is murder.  And I live next to a state that says that the baby in the ultrasound can get murdered, legally. 

A tiny human is still a human.  And humans bear the image of God.   Just like people stood up and protected the lives of slaves- but took too long to get it done!- we should have been ON THIS forty years ago.

We must work to protect innocent humans, no matter their size.  OR location.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Crafty Halloween and a Yarn Along

Halloween this year was a wash-out.  We made it out to ONE place, the Grandparents' church, before heading home, sopped and shivering.  

When you live in the country, though, that just won't cut it for the neighbors.  So the next day, after schoolwork was done, we dressed up again to go a-visiting all the neighbors who request we come every year.

And now you can see the crafting that took place last week:

Halloween night we got to have a good-natured Beekeeper with us.  Good thing, too, that bumble bee of his looked ready to sting us at any moment.

(We borrowed the beekeeping garb from a beekeeping neighbor.  I paid him in cinnamon rolls.)

I used the free Bitty Bumble Bee pattern and some stash yarn to whip up Moses' costume.  The yellow yarn was the perfect color but a weird, fibery type of yarn that I think was pretty itchy.  He didn't love wearing the hat. 

I joked that when wearing the hat, he wasn't a bumble bee but a Grumble bee.  It worked well enough for a one night costume.  And it was FREE!

The perk about trick or treating twice is- daylight photos of costumes the next day!

Judah was a Roman soldier.  I originally was going to crochet him up this hat but time got away from me and cardboard had to do.  (I hope to revisit the crochet version soon.)  I used stash yarn for the red feathery thing on top though!  I *almost* got rid of that yarn SO many times because I thought- "WHEN AM I EVER GOING TO USE THIS STUFF?!"

Man, am I so glad I ignore those inklings right around costume-making time.

Same with the red fabric for the cape.  There was a piece big enough to make scarves for the girls and Judah's cape.  That fabric was a makeshift Christmas tree skirt for Matt's and my very first Christmas!

Andrew was Indiana Jones.  His was the easiest costume ever to put together!    Especially when I found that leather jacket at Salvation Army for $6.00 the day before Halloween.  Lucky us!  We had practically everything else he needed already on hand.

I told Andrew to have an authentic Indiana Jones pose:

Apparently, Indiana Jones is a bit of goof.

That five-o-clock shadow though... now THAT'S authentic!

Matroyshka (or...Russian Nesting) Dolls.  It was my idea to be Matryoshka dolls with my stair step girls.  Some girls went along with it with enthusiasm. 

And SOME I had to coerce (cough cough, CORYNN, cough cough).

I guess she thinks warrior elf princesses are more fun costumes. WHATEVER.

(More fabric from the stash used for apron sewing.  This stuff was given to me by a friend.  I wonder if you think I am a hoarder by now?)

The littlest Matroyshka, in all her glory.

(Makeup!  She got to wear MAKEUP!  If you don't know this about her- she has an affinity for such things.)

And look what I found on the tablet:

It seems, from the looks of these selfies, that Corynn had a better time being a Matroyshka than she originally thought she would!

I attribute it to the dollar store eyelashes.  ;-)

And that was last weeks crafting  Another Halloween, in the rearview.

Now I can resume my regular reading and knitting schedule:

A horribly lit photo, but fitting, since it's the horribly lit truth of when I can actually sit down to knit. 

October Things


Soups.  Breads.  Candles at suppertime.  Hayrides. Sweaters and hats, inside and out.  Homemade cider.  The last of the flowers and the last of the baby that fits in a dishpan at bathtime.  A bazillion socks to wash after a summer of bare feet.  Reading and schoolwork.  October things.

Take special note of the donuts.  These photos weren't taken all on the same day.  Oh NO.  I have made three double or triple batches of donuts since Moses has been born.

SINCE MOSES HAS BEEN BORN.  The boy is just two months old!

Hmmm....  I wonder why the baby weight isn't coming off as quickly now...)

In fairness-  neighbors have been happy recipients of donut plates too. 

(My love handles don't care about that fact though.)