Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stew Beef and Parsley Dumplings

We find this to be the ultimate comfort food! Slow cooked stew beef with parsley dumplings steamed on top is always a big hit around here. I usually serve with steamed carrots and a salad, all fresh from the garden.
Brown beef in a small amount of butter. Add a medium onion, chopped, and cook a bit longer. Cover with beef stock or water- stock makes for a richer end product. This is one of the dishes that I  like to add the dehydrated Hen of the Wood mushrooms that are stored in my pantry. I grind a few and break a few into small pieces and stir into the beef. Adding these adds a depth to the dish, not to mention adding medicinal properties as well. Cover and simmer until beef is tender. Thicken broth with a bit of flour mixed into cold water if desired.  (I do!)
Thirty minutes before serving, mix the dumplings:
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3-4 tbsp.minced fresh parsley
3/4 -1 c. buttermilk
Cut butter into dry ingredients. Add parsley. Mix in buttermilk and  drop by spoonfuls onto boiling beef. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 more minutes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hotdog & Hamburger Chili

As a rule we don't eat hotdogs, not because we don't like them but because we haven't found one we like that isn't full of junk. We do love hamburgers though and a favorite is one with cheese, slaw, chili and onions!
This recipe has evolved over time changing and adding a bit here and there. My boys also think it makes a great "sloppy joe". I like to use deer because when you boil it the meat cooks up very small. Beef is fine if you don't have venison. It makes a fairly large batch and I freeze small containers for when we want a hambuger with the works!

1 lb gound venison
1 large onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 cups water
Boil until meat is cooked. Then add:
1 small can tomate paste
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsbp. vinegar

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooking Pumpkin

I would love to say I grew this lovely pumpkin but I did not. It did come from the NC mountains though. I only paid 5.00 for it and the amount of puree I get, it will last us all winter! I will freeze it in 2 cup increments since that is what most pie and muffin recipes call for.
I like to bake mine. There are some that boil it but when you bake, you can just put in the oven and walk away.
To begin with, I wash it well and with a large sharp knife cut it in half.
Scoop out the seeds and goop in the middle.

Lay cut side down on baking sheets and cover with foil.

Bake at 375 for 1 1/2 hours or until you can stick a knife through the flesh and it is tender.
Allow to cool and then scoop all the flesh into a colander and let drain in the refrigerator overnight. Once it has drained completely, process in a blender or food processor for a smooth and creamy puree.
Now you are ready for all of your favorite pumpkin recipes!

Our Favorite Pumpkin Pie
2 cups cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 2/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten
Mix all together and pour in a deep dish pie shell.
Bake at 350* for 45 minutes to and hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Top with sweetened vanilla whip cream.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Slow Cooked Beef Roast

Tonight's homestead meal is a slow cooked beef roast. I pulled a chuck roast out of the freezer to thaw yesterday. I love to cook this roast long and slow with nothing but a bit of salt & pepper. The slow roasting makes it extremely flavorful and tender.
Place roast in a large covered casserole dish. Salt & pepper to taste. Cover and cook on 300* for about 3  hours. When almost done, place large cubes of carrots and potatoes in pan along sides of roast. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender. A large salad made fresh from the garden and homemade biscuits complete the meal!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lunch Meats

It is extremely expensive to buy pre-cooked lunch meats not to mention the fact that they are full of junk. The last time I checked roast beef was about $12 a pound! Even if you don't raise your own beef or hunt you can certainly purchase inexpensive cuts of meat and make your own lunch meats at home. We have a slicer that we purchased years ago. Amazon has one very similar for about $50. That may seem like a lot but if you purchase a 3 pound roast for $3.oo a pound, cook it, and slice it you have already saved half of what the slicer cost! We use ours for turkey, chicken, deer and beef. It will also slice bread and cheese.
This weeks lunch meat is a deer roast. I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rubbed it with yellow mustard. I baked it for about 40 minutes at 350* or until the thermometer reached 140*, we like rare, so cook to your own liking. Wrap and chill overnight and slice while cold. You are ready for lunch!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wild Mushroom and Kale Risotto

The way I make risotto is a quick and easy side if you cheat like I do!
I had some hen of the wood mushrooms in the fridge and a basket of kale and made this yummy dish.
First saute onion and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add 1 cup arborio rice and cook until browned. Add kale and cook until wilted. Add several cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Next add 2 quarts of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is creamy. Remove from heat and add a large handful of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken & Spinach Quesadillas

It's good to have a plan "B". This morning when I went to pull the corn tortillas out of the freezer for our soft taco casserole, they were unrecognizable. Yes, they were freezer burned and pathetic. The chickens were glad to get them, me, not so much. Still wanting a bit of Mexican flair for supper, I pulled some precooked and seasoned chicken from the freezer from the last time I fixed quesadillas and headed to the garden to harvest spinach.
When I cook my chicken I usually simmer several legs quarters at a time with garlic, onion, cumin and chili powder. I shred the chicken and freeze what we don't use, which is good when you need a plan "B" supper. Strain and save that broth! It is a wonderful addition to white chicken chili or a pot of beans.
To put together the quesadillas, I saute onion slivers until almost done and toss in the spinach. Cook until wilted. Brush flour tortillas with a bit of butter. Layer 1/2 tortilla with chicken, spinach and onions and your choice of  grated cheese. Fold wrap over chicken filling and cook over medium low heat until cheese is melted and tortillas are brown. Serve with salsa. Plan 'B" is good!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Baked Beans

Homemade yes, baked no. I once again used my trusty crock pot to create these yummy beans. These were a last minute "that sounds good side", so I used my pressure cooker to help get them done for supper. In addition to my regular crock pot (that already had white beans in it for soup) I have a Living Well Pressure Cooker. Not only does it pressure cook, it stews, browns and slow cooks as well. I love it!
I used cranberry beans in my recipe because I think they cook up creamier but you could certainly use pintos, white beans or even baby limas. After using the quick soak method for my beans I pressure cooked for about 30 minutes. I then added the remaining ingredients, pressure cooked another 25 then slow cooked  for the rest of the day, about 6 hours or so. Slightly sweet and smokey tasting from the bacon, they were delicious served with the pork roast my husband had smoked. Slaw and deviled eggs completed the meal~

Homemade Baked Beans
2-3 cups dried beans (soaked overnight or using quick soak method)
water to cover
Pressure cook for 30 minutes.

1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
5-6 pieces bacon finely chopped
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
Stir into beans and pressure cook another 25 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook about 6 hours.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal- Mega Meatballs & Spaghetti

During the summer I canned a basil marinara sauce that is perfect to serve over the mega meatballs and spaghetti we are having tonight. I am using venison that my son hunted and our farm raised lamb, but you can use ground beef or even turkey. This time of year I add spinach from the garden but during summer months I toss in grated zucchini to add some vitamins and fiber. With a salad freshly harvested out of the garden and a slice of flax seed bread our meal is complete. 

Baked Mega Meatballs
1 lb. each ground venison and lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion. finely diced
1/2 -3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups wilted spinach
1 tsp Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
Wilt fresh spinach in butter and let cool. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and add spinach and mix well. Make meatballs in balls that fit in a muffin pan. Bake @ 350* for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 14.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cream of Celery Soup

I can't take full credit for this recipe. A friend of mine created it and I just twisted it a bit. Her original can be found on her website Homestead Letters. The link is on Life on the Homestead.
Part of eating from the homestead is not wasting food or running out to eat fast food, it is using what you have. I ended up with 2 heads of celery this past week and the first needed to be used quickly. With the exception of the celery everything in this recipe came from the farm. My original thought was to add cream at the end but it was so delicious as is, I left well enough alone. Enjoy!
                                                         Cream of Celery Soup
                                                   1 whole head of celery, cut up
                                                   2 heads of roasted garlic (yes whole heads!)
                                                   1/2 large onion, chopped
                                                    crumbled dried sage and parsley to taste
                                                    dash of white pepper
                                                   1 quart chicken stock
Put all ingredients in a pot, cover and simmer until tender. Process in blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to check to make sure the strings are fully ground, I had to process twice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hen Of The Wood Mushroom

Today I was gifted with a couple of pounds of Hen of the Wood mushrooms. Also known as Maitake, it is a highly medicinal mushroom known to have immune boosting properties and to fight cancer. Last year I froze a lot of this mushroom but plan to dehydrate the bulk of them this go round. First though I had to make a soup with some of the fresh ones! I started out by sauteing them with lots of onion and garlic until tender. Then I added a jar of my home canned beef stock. Seasoned with thyme, salt and pepper and let it cook for most of the day in the crock pot. Right before serving a splash of cream skimmed from the goat milk from yesterday. Yum.
To dehydrate them I washed the mushrooms really well, which you can do because of the thick flesh, and placed them in my dehydrator for several hours. Once dehydrated I put in canning jars to store. I will use these re-hydrated in pieces or grind them and add to soups and stews for added flavor and health boosting properties.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal - Meatloaf


I'm sure everyone has their own version of meatloaf. Ours here at the homestead is pretty basic. Farm raised beef, onions, eggs, fresh bread crumbs and seasonings.I usually use Italian, salt & pepper. Form into a loaf and bake. Most people overcook and dry out their meatloaf so keep an eye on it and bake just until pink is gone from the meat.
For the green bean casserole I will open a jar of french style green beans canned earlier this summer and mix with my homemade cream of mushroom soup. (Recipe follows) Served alongside the pan fried okra it makes a comforting and delicious meal. Unfortunately my camera is on the fritz so you will have to take my word for it. It looks and smells awesome ;o))
                                            Cream Of Mushroom Soup:
                                             1/4 c. chopped mushrooms
                                             1 tbsp. finely chopped onion                                             
                                             3 tbsp. butter
                                             3 tbsp. flour
                                             1/4 tsp. salt
                                              1 c. milk
Saute mushrooms and onions in butter. Blend in flour and salt and cook until bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook until thickened. Once you use this you will never buy another can of Campbell's again!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Smokey Chicken Stew

This week's soup of the week is a smokey chicken stew. It is one I created using leftover chicken carcasses. Really! The flavor is outstanding and oh so satisfying.
A couple of times each month we smoke a whole chicken on the grill. That usually makes 2 meals and then I freeze the carcass for the soup. I usually wait until I have two and that gives the soup a lot more flavor and more meat. You can also use roasted chicken or turkey as well, but you won't have the smokey flavor.

Cover the carcases with water and bring to a boil. Let simmer covered an hour or so. Remove chickens and let cool. While the chickens cool add 1/2 large onion, chopped and 2 carrots, also chopped to the stock. You can vary the veggies to use what you have on hand, but I never use more than 3 or so. Today I had fresh crowder peas and butter peas from the garden, frozen corn and canned green beans (drained). I added these to the pot along with the bits of chicken picked from the bones. Simmer until carrots are tender and then toss in a couple of large handfuls of pasta. Continue to cook until pasta is done and .. enjoy!  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Homemade Granola

Every Sunday I make a batch of granola. I have a basic recipe that I use and change it up with the use of different nuts, fruits and sweeteners. This is a breakfast staple around our house when mixed with yogurt or milk but also makes a great afternoon snack when energy is lagging. Use any combination of nuts and dried fruit. I like to use walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and pecans. I have used pistachios and Brazil nuts as well. Dried fruit additions might be raisins, currents or dried apples ~ the only limit is your imagination!
                                                     Basic Homemade Granola
                                                        4 1/2 cups oatmeal
                                                        2 tsp. cinnamon
                                                        1/3 cup organic canola oil
                                                        1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
                                                        1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
                                                        1/4 oat or wheat bran
                                                        1/4 cup sesame seeds
                                                        1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, chopped
                                                        1 cup dried fruit
Toss all ingredients except fruit together ans spread on baking sheet. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool and add dried fruit.Store in air tight container.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rich and Creamy Potato Soup

Our soup of the week is a rich and creamy potato soup. Most of the potatoes are in the basement but I have one boo-boo basket in the kitchen that I am using up first. These had small sprouts, green spots or a spot that wouldn't allow them to hold long. I also had some celery and a couple of onions that needed to be used up and together they all became soup!

                                               Rich & Creamy Potato Soup
Finely dice a medium onion, 1 or 2 celery ribs and a large carrot. Saute in butter until soft. Add 4-6 cups chicken stock and a large bowl of diced potatoes. No need to peel if not blemished. If stock does not cover potatoes add more stock or water. Cover and simmer until potates are tender. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk, stir and continue to simmer. Soften 2 tbsp. of butter and make a paste with flour. Stir into soup and continue to cook until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded cheese if desired.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chocolate Syrup

We all have our vices. Around here it happens to be dark chocolate. Years ago I searched for a syrup that didn't have a bunch of junk in it and of course found none. There were a few organic ones on the market but I found the taste to be bland. This is a wonderful dark chocolate syrup. It is perfect for making a large glass of chocolate milk, served on a bowl of homemade ice cream or drizzled over spring time strawberries.

                                                        Dark Chocolate Syrup
                                                            1 cup water
                                                            1/2 cup sugar
                                                            2/3 cup cocoa powder
                                                            1/4 tsp. salt
                                                            1 tsp. vanilla
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Whisk in cocoa powder and salt. Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

White Chicken Chili

The second meal from the large pot of white beans I cooked earlier this week is a white chili. Once the beans are cooked this is a quick easy meal. If you raise rabbit, it is a great substitute for the chicken!

                                             WHITE CHICKEN CHILI
                                               4-6 cups of white beans
                                               1 quart chicken stock
                                               1 med. onion, chopped
                                               1 can chopped green chilis
                                               3 cloves garlic, minced
                                               2 cups chopped cooked chicken
                                               1 large palm full of cumin
                                               salt & pepper to taste
Simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, pepper jack cheese and minced cilantro.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal -Cube Steak


Eating from the homestead this time of year is easy and quick when the garden is producing. Fresh picked okra from the garden, sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe made a lovely plate beside the farm raised cube steak.
                                                   EASY FRIED OKRA:
Wash and slice okra and place in a large bowl. Toss with flour, salt and pepper. Heat a few tablespoons of oil to high heat. Put okra into pan and toss to coat. Reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and continue to cook until brown and crispy adding small amounts of oil as needed.
                                                  PAN FRIED CUBE STEAK:
Heat a small amount of oil in frying pan. Dredge steaks in flour, salt and pepper. Pan fry until brown and crispy on each side. Move to oven to keep warm while okra is cooking.

Serve with sliced tomatoes and chilled cantaloupe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crockpot Beans

I love using my crockpot for cooking dried beans. One reason being, that I tend to get distracted and forget about anything that cooks longer than an hour ;o) but the biggest reason is the convenience of having a meal ready at the end of a long day.
If I think about it the night before, I let the dried beans soak overnight in cold water. If not, the morning I plan to cook them, I bring them to a boil and let them sit an hour or so. I then drain off the liquid, cover them with either chicken or vegetable broth by a couple of inches and turn on high.You can always add other goodies to the pot, but we prefer plain. At the end of the day you will have a delicious, healthy meal waiting for you. Our favorite sides are either cooked cabbage, slaw or homemade sauerkraut. Leftovers are excellent for lunches or used to create another meal, soup or bean burritos.
Tonight, for example, we are having fajitas with farm raised beef and chicken, peppers and onions from the garden and refried beans made from the leftover cranberry beans cooked earlier this week. To make these I fried a couple of pieces of bacon, warmed the beans with a bit of extra water and mashed them then tossed them in the bacon fat to finish heating. Delish.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Greek Meatloaf

Tonight's homestead meal is Greek meatloaf. When we have a lamb processed it seems we get back a lot of ground. Not sure what to do with it all, I tried recipes like moussaka, which I found extremely time consuming and not worth it (IMOHO). So I have created a few recipes that use just the ground lamb. I also use it with beef and deer to extend in recipes like chili and spaghetti.
                                            GREEK MEATLOAF
                                              2 lbs ground lamb
                                              1/2 cup chopped onion
                                              4-5 cloves minced garlic
                                              1 cup fresh bread crumbs
                                              1 egg
                                              1-2 tsp of Greek, lamb or Italian seasoning
                                              salt & pepper
Mix ingredients well and form into loaf. Bake at 350* 45 minutes. Serve with fresh cucumber sauce.

                                             CUCUMBER SAUCE
                                             1/2 c. sour cream
                                             1/4 cup mayonnaise
                                             1/3- 1/2 c. finely diced cucumber
                                             2 cloves garlic, minced
                                             1/2 tsp garlic salt
                                             1/2 tsp. dill weed
                                             black pepper

Monday, August 8, 2011

Homemade Salad Dressings

Homemade salad dressings are inexpensive and easy to make. You can vary the taste by changing herbs, vinegars and adding other ingredients. Here are a couple of basics-

 Creamy Ranch Style
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp each dried chives & parsley
OR 2 tsp each fresh
1/4-1/2 each salt & pepper
Put all ingredients in blender. Makes about 1 cup.
Variations- like avocado ranch? toss in some mashed avocado. Spicy? add a chipotle pepper. Smokey jalapeno? add a roasted jalapeno or how about roasted red pepper. The options are endless.

Basic Vinaigrette
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Italian seasonings
Mix well or put in blender. Play with this one too. Different vinegars, maybe balsamic? Spicy red pepper flakes, fresh basil and lemon, roasted garlic and chives... For a creamy Italian add a couple of tbsp. of sour cream.     Now wasn't that easy AND delicious!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal - Cheeseburgers


Burgers are a great easy, go to meal. Tonight we had them with homemade french fries and  fresh grilled zucchini. No lettuce here today so we used large Malabar spinach leaves and tomatoes!

 This morning I made buns. So easy and good and the cost for 12 was only 99 cents! I froze half for another time.  
                                               Homemade Hamburger Buns: 
                                                 1 1/2 cups warm milk
                                                 1/3 cup melted butter
                                                 1/2 tsp. salt
                                                 1 tsp yeast
                                                 1 egg slightly beaten
                                                 2 tsp. honey
Mix together in a bowl and let stand until frothy. With dough hook attachment add  4-5 cups flour until smooth dough forms. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Let rise covered until double. Divide into 12 pieces and form into balls. Flatten slightly. Let rise again 30 -45 minutes. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake at 350*  30 minutes or until brown. Let cool on wire racks. We like using 1/3- 1/2 wheat or spelt flour for a heartier bun.

Easy Homemade Fries: Cut potatoes in sticks, chunks or slices.  I use the large julienne plate on my mandolin. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake at 400* for about 40 minutes.
Grilled Zucchini: Thinly slice and toss with olive oil and garlic salt. Lay in layers in a grill basket, grill until desired level of doneness.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal - Lamb

                            CHERRY TOMATO & FETA SALAD

Tonight was a feast fit for kings and queens. Farm raised lamb chops were rubbed with a rosemary and garlic paste and grilled. Fresh eggplant dipped in farm fresh eggs and homemade bread crumbs lightly fried and served with a fresh tomato sauce and a salad made with black pearl cherry tomatoes, homemade feta and fresh basil. Eating from the farm need not be boring. Simple, yet elegant a perfect meal to end the week. The only store purchased items were the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a local friend's dried Italian herb mix.

Fresh Tomato Sauce:
Peel and chop 4 medium tomatoes.Add 4-5 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp minced onion, a drizzle of olive oil, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Let simmer while preparing the rest of the meal or at least an hour. You can puree for a smoother sauce or leave chunky, adding fresh basil at the end.
Fried Eggplant:
Make bread crumbs by pulsing homemade bread and Italian seasoning in your blender and place in a shallow bowl.. Set aside. Lightly beat 1-2 farm fresh eggs in another bowl. Peel eggplant, dredge in egg and dip in bread crumbs. In a cast iron skillet heat olive oil and lightly fry eggplant until tender.(take care not to overheat olive oil!) Keep warm in the oven. Top with tomato sauce just before serving.

Grilled Lamb Chops:
Make a paste of finely chopped fresh rosemary and minced fresh garlic. Brush chops with olive oil and press paste into meat. Grill until desired doneness, we like our medium rare.

Cherry Tomato and Feta Salad:
Crumble feta in a bowl. Halve or quarter cherry tomatoes. Add to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh chopped basil. Lightly toss again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe- Mastering The Basics

I bake almost daily. I love to smell the aroma of fresh bread and love even more to cut a warm loaf and slather it with butter. Homemade bread can be relatively inexpensive to make (at least 1/2 of grocery store prices!) and so much better for you. Here is my basic whole wheat bread recipe~ feel free to play with a variety of grains and as always~ Enjoy!

You can do this small batch by hand or in a machine with a dough hook. I have a Bosch mixer that I have used daily for almost 20 years along with my Whisper Mill grain mill that is used daily as well. If you don't mill your own wheat keep your flour in the fridge to keep it from going rancid.

                                           100% Whole Wheat Bread
                                                Makes 2 loaves
6-7 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp. yeast
1/3 - 1/2 c. oil or melted butter
1/3 c. honey
2 1/2 tsp salt
Mill wheat berries. Put about 1/2 of the flour in your mixing bowl, add yeast, water, honey and butter. Mix and let sponge for about 15 minutes. Add the salt and enough flour to make a smooth dough. Knead for 6 minutes if using a machine or about 10 if by hand. Divide dough into 2 loaves and place in greased pans. Let rise until almost to the top of pans. Bake @ 350* for 30 minutes. Remove to cooling racks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Keeping A Well Stocked Pantry

In order to be able to utilize what you are growing and cook from scratch you really need to have a well stocked pantry. I prefer to buy in bulk as it saves me time and money. I don't have to shop for the basics every week and I don't spend more at the grocery store than intended. You know, you are out of rice, run to the store and said bag of rice cost you $100.00. Sound familiar? Been there, done that.
As I have said I buy bulk basics from a coop. My favorite coop is Something Better Natural Foods and they deliver to this area every other month. If you keep staples on hand you are ready to put a meal together in short time with just a bit of planning.
In my pantry you will find a variety of dried beans. You will also find a several kinds of grains including wheat berries, oats, quinoa, barley, whole corn, rye, spelt and kamut. Brown rice is also a staple, along with a variety of pastas. 
Until my bees produce enough honey for us, I keep a large bucket of that along with sugar and salt. I have lots of spices and herbs as well. Don't forget your baking basics, yeast, baking powder, baking soda and a good quality cocoa powder. Lastly, I keep a variety of raw nuts on hand. Those I keep refrigerated and they are used for granolas,cookies and just plain snacks.

Monday, August 1, 2011

And So It Begins...

Yesterday I came home from the grocery store, muttering and stewing over the fact that I had spent $60 and had two small bags to show for it. How do people live these days?! I ranted to my husband. He shrugged once again as he has done for the last few weeks when I ask the same question over and over. I don't buy meat, milk, bread or packaged things and still spend a small fortune. Now, I must admit that we do eat organically and naturally. We avoid all the junk that is loaded with things we can't pronounce and go with fresh wholesome food. I am not a coupon clipper, finding that most of the coupons are for junk food anyway. I mean, really, when is the last time you saw a coupon for broccoli? We are not purists by any means and do enjoy a night out on occasion, but usually feel quite cheated because restaurant food never meets our expectations!
Over the years we have done our best to become more and more self sufficient, raising all of our meat (with the exception of fish) and most of our vegetables. I have attempted to raise dried beans without much success, so I do buy those along with the other grains we use (wheat, spelt, quinoa, rice, etc ) from a coop every other month. We feel this has served us well as we are rarely sick and feel great. So, with us raising the biggest portion of our food, why is it still costing on average of 100.00 each week? I decided to sit down and figure it out and start this blog with the intention of sharing good homestead recipes and helping cut grocery costs by cooking and eating good food made from scratch, the bulk of which we raise here on the farm. Using what is fresh and in season along with what I preserve I hope to see a significant cut in costs. And besides, it will be like a game~and who doesn't like to play?