Wednesday, February 11, 2015

BBQ Potato Slow Cooker Meal

What's Cookin'?

BBQ Potato Slow Cooker Meal:  This was a big hit with the kids and I!  Note to self: Original Woodstock BBQ sauce is way too spicy for us (but DH will probably like it!).


2 lbs organic red potatoes (1 smallish bag)
1/2 jar BBQ sauce of your choice (we choose organic and are careful even with organic ones)
1 C sweet peas (optional but I wanted a complete meal with some greens)
1/2 pound pre-cooked grass-fed ground beef
1/4 stick butter
3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese


1. Wash and quarter the potatoes.  Put in crock first.

2. Add the peas on top of potatoes (if using), spreading them around as a layer.

3. Layer the ground beef on top.

4. Dollop the BBQ around all over the top. 

5.  Add pats of butter (we were able to get some Minerva Amish butter for grocery store prices, yum!).

Cook on high 4-6 hours until the potatoes are tender (I stirred it up to test the ones on the bottom and ended up just stirring everything up together).

Layer the shredded cheese over everything and turn off slow cooker.  Serve once the cheese has melted.  Since we accidentally used a very spicy BBQ sauce, I added 1 pint of milk and stirred it into everything like chunky mashed potatoes before adding the cheese.  THEN we also put a bunch of sour cream as garnish when serving.  Can you say dairy overcompensation for the spice??? :)

By the way... the leftovers are reheating as I type for lunch today!

This recipe is part of Real Food Wednesday.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Senior Frenzy!

What's Schoolin'?

Yes, I seem to have fallen off the face of the Earth lately!  Between still living at my mom's, having unpredictable access to my computer/internet, and... our senior frenzy - Please be impressed that we are actually on target with college apps and such! :)

So, that's pretty much it in a nutshell for school for my senior the last month-ish.  We are finally pretty much done with the applications (except for one that came up the other day so we need to get SAT scores and transcripts to them) and have already gotten those much awaited letters for almost all of them.  Phew!

We are also in the midst of moving and setting up in our rental.  The timing could not be more perfect because she is ready to jump back into her school work for the last stretch.  They will each have their own space again which will create a more peaceful working environment.

Plans?  This week I'll have one-on-one conferences with each child to set up fresh schedules, plans, and to prioritize.  We'll also visit new 4-H clubs.  We have MISSED cooking from scratch!!!  My daughters and I can't wait to make bread and such again.  That should also help with the budget...

I have a transcript template to share with you all and just some senior ideas to share, so stay tuned... :)

Easy Pretzel Sausages

What's Cookin'?

This made a very hearty lunch!  The recipe made 4 servings and cost just under $3/person.  If you think about the cost of a fast food burger (and the fact that I used high quality grass-fed sausage) then it seems like a bargain!  We added fresh fruit and avocado along with some chip choices for sides.  Oh!  And it took about 3 minutes to prepare :).


Grass-fed Sausages  (my package had 4 good-sized sausages)
1 Can Pretzel dough (homemade dough would be best!)

[Update:  *I just carefully read the ingredients (after we bought and ate it, of course) and I can't personally recommend this pretzel dough in the photo at this time because of several ingredients.  However, I LOVE this company's products (many are Non-GMO Verified and they don't use trans fats) and hope to be able to recommend this product in the future.  Plus, if you are going to buy a pre-made pretzel dough anyway, this may be a better option.]


1. Divide the pretzel dough with 2 strips together, forming 4 strips instead of the 8 (they are perforated)

2. Wrap each sausage with a "2-strip strip" in a slanted fashion until it is covered.  Place about 2 inches apart on a pizza pan or cookie sheet (in the picture mine is covered in foil - I don't recommend foil, but it's not my cookware, so...).

3. Bake approximately 15 minutes at 350F.  If any stick together you may need to separate and cook just a little longer.

4. Ta-da!  Serve with condiments/sides of you choice.

Sorry, no photos from out of the oven - everyone was circling the kitchen for lunch!

Friday, December 26, 2014

St. Stephen's Day Soup

What's Cookin'?

In honor of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, we ate St. Stephen's Day Soup today for dinner.  Mine ended up being more like a "souped" up potato soup because I used mashed potatoes left over from Christmas dinner instead of cut up boiled potatoes- but much better than my planned potato soup.  Also in his honor we made a point to pray for our enemies at our mealtime prayer... [You can read more about Stephen in Acts 6:1-15 and Acts 7:54-60]

Here is the jump-off recipe:

And another:

I used:
1 large yellow onion
2 C leftover roast, cut into very small bite-size pieces
3 Quarts homemade beef bone broth (more or less - I simmered a big pot with a grass-fed beef bone before making the soup)
2 T butter
1/3 flour
1 C leftover mashed potatoes (these were originally skin-on and whipped with butter/milk)

First I made the beef bone broth (super easy - just tossed a big bone in a pot of water with a squirt of lemon juice (couldn't find any apple cider vinegar) and lots of Real Salt.  This simmered for several hours.  30 minutes before serving I cooked the chopped onion in some palm shortening, then added the chopped beef roast leftovers.  When they were ready I scooped them to one side of the pot, put 2 T of butter in the cleared part of the pot, and added the flour to the melted butter.  Once the flour and butter were mixed together I started ladling hot broth in and thoroughly blending it into the butter/flour mixture.  Once all of the broth was incorporated I added the mashed potatoes.  Then I let it simmer for about 5 minutes before serving.

Oh, this is corny, but instead of stones we had scones with our soup... just because it rhymes...

I hope my adjustments make sense!

Garden Planner

What's Gardenin'?

Spring will be here before you know it!  Here is a cool online garden planner page:

When you click and drag a plant into one of the squares for Square Foot Gardening it shows how many you should plant per square.  It also puts planting/care info below the diagram.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Joy

This picture of our dog at the beach during Thanksgiving break sort of says it all.  Unbridled joy :).


Decorative Bread Link

What's Cookin'?

I love this woven apple "pie"!  If you scroll down in the comments there are more ideas.  At least once in life I have to try making the "bread basket." :)


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Native American Studies Resources

What's Schoolin'?

Youngest dd and I have s-l-o-w-l-y been doing a dual study of biomes and Native American tribes.  Yes, I meant to blog it along the way and have been keeping some of the resources/activities to post.  First we study a biome (deserts, for example) and then we study some of the major tribes that lived in that biome originally.

I thought I'd better post these books that we've been using for several biomes/tribes before I return them to the library and forget all about them!  The latent perfectionist in me doesn't want to post this until it's "nice and tidy" or at least better organized, but the realist wants to just share them now :).

Someone put a hold on them at the library so I have to return them (after having them since last school year - yes, I'm spoiled with my library system!).  If I were at the beginning of our studies I would actually buy these books.  However, we should manage to finish with them before the deadline since we're at the tail end.  I don't buy many books anymore so that tells you that we've actually used them throughout :).  I saw several used copies as I was posting this.

Children of Native America Today

Spider Spins a Story: Fourteen Legends from Native America

Everyday Life of the Native Americans (Uncovering History)

Native American Crafts of California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest

We are getting ready to use this one:
Native American Crafts of the Northwest Coast, the Arctic, and the Subarctic

Another in that series (our library didn't have it during those studies so I haven't seen it in person): Native American Crafts of the Northeast and Southeast (Native American Crafts)

This post has affiliate links - I may get a (very) small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through the links.  Thanks!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Homeschool Freebies

What's Schoolin'?

I just downloaded Drawing Around the World: Europe for free.  You can find a link here at Homeschool Giveaways.  There are other goodies and a subscriber option also.


24 Healthy Treats:

Homemade rice krispies:

Healthy corn dogs (so simple but I certainly never thought of it!):

gluten-free "cheese-it" crackers

Garlicky Cauliflower Medallions:

Raw frozen chocolate crust bites (note to self: uses almond flour):

Gluten-free pigs in a blanket [with rice wraps!]

Headache relief roll-on.... I just use peppermint oil in distilled water in a roll-on.  I keep it in my purse and we use it frequently:

Vanilla Almond Granola Cereal

Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal:

Glow-in-the-dark Gummies (could be for any occasion):

Easy Sloppy Joes:

Black bean and corn patties:  I'm going from memory from watching a segment on Food Network until I can find the link... Equivalent of 1 can drained beans, 1/2 cup frozen or drained corn, 1 egg, taco seasoning (homemade would be better), maybe 1/4 C instant oatmeal (dry), fresh garlic...  Mix it up, divide into 4 patties and grill.  Okay, I wasn't tooo far off!  Here is the actual link to the patties.  I still have beans from our last batch so the timing is perfect.