Friday, May 24, 2013

Skillet Dinners

So if you come by for dinner on any given night you will probably be served a variation of on of my skillet dinners.  I love these because they are so versatile, easy, and quick. 
So I really don't have a real recipe because like my granola this turns out different every time which is why I can serve it so often... Here's a picture of the one I made the other night.

So obviously start with a skillet... This can be cooked on the stove as I did or over the campfire.  It makes a great camping meal..
Here's what you need.
Starch- potato, pasta, rice, ect..
Meat- pork, beef, chicken, turkey, goat, elk, you get the idea. Probably anything but fish will work well, Ground or cut into bite sized pieces. 
Veggies!  just about anything you have on hand. fresh, canned, frozen however you have it.

The one above was made with Pork chops cut up and because you are using so many things in it you can get a way with 1 pork chop to feed a crowd.  The above fed my family of 4 with leftovers. 
Cook your meat first and add potatoes next if your using them.  Pasta or rice can be added later or cooked separate to add at the end. 
So back to what I made above.
I used
1 pork chop
2 potatoes
1 onion
1 can corn
1 can spinach
1 can green beans
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano all to taste.

I always cook the meat, potatoes, and onion good first then add the veggies until it's all hot.  Sometimes we top with cheese.  Serve alone  or with a bread and you have a meal! 
This is truly a use your imagination!  I've put pasta with tomatoes, veggies and Italian seasonings to make a great dish.
When using pasta I tend to use spiral, macaroni, or rigatoni types that I add toward the end with extra water cover and let cook.
This is really a healthier hamburger helper type meal!
The cost varies depending on what I use but really it never costs me more than $10 to feed us all.
Get creative and let me know what you come up with. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pretty vs. Functional

      I started this post months ago and as usual life took over.  My days haave been super, super busy!  When I'm not working at the new job which I have decided is really my break time as I work at home a whole lot harder than I do at work.  :)  This week we have planted the garden which included 20+ tomato plants, 5 varities of greens, herbs, cucumbers, beans, and more!  Plus we got the garden fence up, mowed which is really a chore, and spent a small fortune on supplies to get our water running.  I have new blisters and cuts on my hands and tired muscles!

  So this post has been on my mind for some time as with many others I have in the works.  It's just going to take me a bit to get on a new habit with added jobs.  Plus with such pretty weather who wants to be indoors on the computer?
 I really wanted to get a picture of our land this year to compare to last year's picture.  I am hoping to show our progress.  So.....

Here is a picture from last year after we got here. 

        This is about a month in. Now I wouldn't say we have a pretty home by any means.  But does that matter?  The world seems to tell us it does.  I disagree!  My home in and of itself may not be beautiful but it works.  It does what it is supposed to which is keep the rain off our heads and provide warmth and protection ftom the elements. I even have a comfortable bed with lots of fluffy blankets.   I have power to relax in front of the TV if I want or play on a computer.  We have food and water to sustain us. 

1 year later....

This is today.  Not as much has changed on the outside but we've made great progress.  We have the chicken coop now and the dirt plot next to the coop is the garden.  We have the well dug and solar panels up.  We still have alot of work and are working diligently so it will get done and in the mean time we are enjoying the fruits of what we have accomplished.

None of this is to say we don't like pretty.  We do and have dreams to beautify things as we go. But at the moment funtion takes precident to making things look pretty. While we may not have beauty in our home we are surrounded by God's great beauty in nature. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where is Spring?????

I am ready for spring to come in full force! Anybody else??

This picture was taken almost a month ago in April.  It was our first swimming trip to the river nice beautiful 80 degree day, although the water was still pretty chilly it didn't stop my kids from swimming to the favorite rock. 
Since then we have had lots of cold rain, sleet and several freezing nights and cold days.  Winter just seems to be hanging on a little too long for me. Last night it froze again getting into the high 20's.  Good greif it is MAY already we need some sun and warm weather, please!

The only plus is we have been so busy with work Super D solar installs and me with my new job we haven't gotten the garden planted yet as we wanted to but with the cold weather it was a blessing in disguise. So not too much new to report here. 
We have been mushroom hunting but the cold weather put a damper on that too.
I pray your spings are going better.  :)  Please send some warm weather this way if you can.  We made the mistake of taking out our wood stove in April when it was nice and warm so we've had lots of cuddle time to stay warm :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring Edibles

Good Morning! Well it's a beautiful morning here in the Ozarks!  The sun is shining, it's the perfect temperature, the birds are singing and the roosters crowing. 

Soooo, yes I have not made my weekly posts like promised. Life just got in the way again!  But really I'm not complaining.  I have a new job to help bring in a little extra $ so we can get things going on the homestead here.  We are in good shape but just not as far along as we'd like to be.  But on to the good stuff......

This meal I made a couple months ago but these things are still growing strong now.  Wild onions and chickweed. 

This is chickweed.  It hasn't flowered yet but has tiny white flowers when it does.  This is a weed to most people and grows pretty much year round here.  It is a tasty green and also used to make teas and healing salves. Once you get this on identified it is easy to find.  Search the images and look at lots of pictures then go hunting. :)  It grows close to the ground but can get tall in some areas.
This is wild onion.  It comes up mostly in open fields in the spring.  It looks just like green onions from the store although usually a little smaller.  This picture I got from Penn state website as I forgot to take a picture of our onions. But they all look the same :) 

Now that you have wildcrafted your veggies lets get to the meal.  (Wildcrafting means harvesting wild growing plants for use)

Burritoes with homemade tortillas

So I made pinto beans on the wood stove on a cool day.  The wood stove and dutch oven (cast iron pot the beans are in Thanks mom!) work much like a slow cooker which is how I would have done them before our move. 
 I soak about 2 cups or so of beans over night or sprout them.  To sprout them soak overnight drain off water and set in a sunny spot with a loose cover.  The next couple days just wet them down once a day draining off extra water until you see little sprouts coming from the beans.  Sprouted beans are healthier and cook faster.  But like most sometimes I don't remember to do that before I want to have a meal with them.
 Cover the soaked beans with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until done.  Or dump them in the slow cooker with water and turn on. Low or high. Low takes 6-8 hour. 
When my beans are about half done or close to done I add:
about a tablespoon or so of...
Smoked Paprika
Garlic Powder
Then a teaspoon of Cayenne.  or more if you want it more spicy. 
Chopped onion (not the wild) is also a good addition.



3 Cups Flour (can be wheat or white or mix, I usually use wheat but use white to roll them out)
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
4- 6 Tablespoons Oil (use olive, a veggie oil, butter, coconut, or mix just what flavor you want? I usually use butter)
1 1/4 Cup warm water

Mix your dry ingredients.  Cut in the oil. Stir in water.  When it's hard to stir knead in any remaining flour.  Sprinkle your counter with flour and tear off a lime size ball of flour and roll out the thinner the better but you don't want it breaking in the middle either.  Get a skillet hot and place tortilla in it. Cook a min or two per side until it starts to look dry and brown slightly.  If you want larger tortillas use bigger piece of dough or smaller for smaller tortillas.  Just make sure you have a skillet large enough for the tortilla to lay flat.
As you can see in the picture above I don't get them perfectly round but these taste sooo good.  They keep a couple days if you have extra. 
Recipe above makes about 8-12 tortillas.   We rarely have extras :) 

Make your burritoes with all your favorite toppings.  Don't forget the Chickweed and wild onions.  We usually brown a little meat to go with ours and I use the same seasoning that I so in the beans on the meat. 
  This is a very yummy and cheap meal for us.  I never pay more than $1 per pound for the pinto beans.  So in all this meal cost me about $7 for my family of 4. 
$1 worth of beans (although I had left overs of beans)
$2 worth of Flour and tortilla ingredients
$1 Worth of Spices
$3 Worth of Salsa. (my family likes salsa, after the garden gets going I'll make my own but for now we buy it and it costs a bit)
Free Veggies! 
 Of course cost will go up with more ingredients but this is what we spent..  I'm estimating all cost biased on what my local store charges for groceries.  I did base it on the name brand stuff that is more expensive than what I actually buy because I figure that is what most will have so you can pull this off a bit cheaper if you look for deals.  But really Under $10 to feed a family is a great deal!!!

Have a good dinner!  Enjoy!