Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

How many of you have already planned out your Thanksgiving menu?  Are you taking advantage of great sales prices to stock up.  Butter, cream cheese, turkey, ham, and cranberries are just a few of the items I have been finding at great prices right now.

This year my oldest daughter, Lauren, has decided to host Thanksgiving dinner at her home.  They also live out in the country and have a nice lake just out their back yard.  I'm sure some canoeing and shooting will be going on as well as eating lots of good food and chasing little ones.  I am so thankful that both of my married daughters live close enough for easy visits and we can still be together for one of our favorite holidays.

Our Thanksgiving menu rarely changes through the years.  I'll be baking a turkey and ham, a sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and a dessert that my food allergic boys can eat.  Devin will be making our sweet and sour beans and another dessert.  Lauren is going to try her hand at dressing this year.  She called yesterday wanting the recipe.  Does anyone really use a recipe?  Years spent watching my mamaw and my mama make dressing and being the taste-tester taught me how to make it.  I made a few changes here and there, but we love our dressing.  She'll have to get experience and make it her own.  She also mentioned a caramel apple cheesecake.  Oh, my!!  Grandmother will be bringing rolls and our traditional cranberry/apple casserole.  Here is a link to some of our favorite holiday recipes.  I would love for you to share some of yours with us!!

Chocolate chess pies, blueberry cream cheese pies, sweet and sour beans and cranberry apple casserole recipes are here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Menu for November 11-17

A little late, I know!!  I'm trying to reduce some of our meat consumption on a daily basis while adding in more vegetable dinners.  Some of my guys are not liking the changes....and I am not surprised.  I suppose I have been changing things up a lot with our foods, but for years I have cooked almost two seperate meals at times trying to make sure my food allergy kids had plenty to choose from.  Now I pretty much cook one main dish that all can eat and fill in with sides.  That means most of our dishes no longer have any dairy, egg or wheat products.  We still consume dairy and egg, but not in our main dishes for the most part.

Breakfasts this week are baked oatmeals (I do make two with no dairy or egg and one with)...this morning's has some blueberries added in.  GF DF EF pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs and grits.

Lunches are leftovers or soups....beef stew, French onion soup, potato soup, chicken soup.


Sunday-after our small group book study we headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant

Monday-lentil rice casserole, roasted root veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabaga and turnips), roasted red potatoes and onions, green beans and turnip greens

Tuesday-white bean chicken chili with tortilla chips and salad  (making a few variations with the recipe...using a whole shredded chicken, dry beans and homecanned chicken stock)

Wednesday-ground beef hash and green beans

Thursday-stir fry beef and broccoli with rice, egg drop soup

Friday-homemade pizzas and salad

Saturday-chicken pot pie, English peas and salad

Sunday-pinto beans topped with chopped onions, shredded cheese and sour cream, corn cakes and salad

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Few Wedding Snapshots

We are trying to get back into a normal routine with school and home.  Devin and Justin are back home from their honeymoon and both will resume teaching today.  Here are just a few snapshots from the wedding.  Hopefully we will have some more by the end of the week.  We had two great photographers taking pictures and are very pleased so far.

Mr. and Mrs. Justin Treadaway

Devin and the wedding ushers, Ben Riley, Jordan, Devin, Aaron and Nathan Bagget

bridesmaid bouquets made by Lori Corbin, my dear friend down-the-road

wedding cake made by a lovely church member, Sandy Morris

Jeff and Devin before the ceremony

Jordan giving Devin a good-bye hug after the wedding

Jordan, Aaron, Lauren, Jackson, new son-in-law Justin, Devin, Kaelan, Caedmon, me and Jeff

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan for October 29-November 4

Well, here we are in our final week before Devin's wedding.  As you can imagine we are finishing up final details,  putting on final touches to our wedding attire, hauling decorations, food and more to the church, decorating the sanctuary and cleaning the house.  I'm trying to make our meals as simple, but as nourishing as possible as I don't want anyone coming down sick.  I did buy a boxed cereal for our breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday morning.  My family couldn't believe it!  We needed something very quick for those two days, so there you go!!

b-sausage, eggs, grits
l-cheese pizzas and raw veggies
d-vegetable soup, flatbread and salad

b-baked oatmeal
l-cheese cubes, sliced meat, fruit and chips
d-baked chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions and butterbeans

b-cinnamon bread, sausage and eggs
l-leftovers and popcorn
d-baked potatoes with trimmings and salad

b-baked oatmeal
l-spaghetti and salad
d-pinto beans, sweet potatoes,  corn bread, raw veggies and apple crisp

b-pancakes and bacon
d-rehearsal dinner

Saturday (wedding day)
l-meat and cheese tray, raw veggies, crackers
d-ordering pizzas

Sunday (Jordan's 20th birthday)
l-garlic lime chicken, baked sweet and white potatoes, green beans, English peas, sauteed squash and onions, sweet potato and chocolate chess pies

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ramblings for October 23

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-Audio books are our friends.  Jackson teared up when we came to the end of My Side of the Mountain.  He didn't want it to end, so I put the CD back in!  ; )  I came across a free My Side of the Mountain Project Pack by Hands of a Child that I think we will work on next semester and we will read the two sequels together as well.  They are not as good as My Side of the Mountain, but this will definitely fit into our planned study of the KONOS Attentiveness unit.

-This morning the little boys were listening to Kipling's Just So Stories.  The reader has a strange voice and Caedmon was scared.

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-We have pumpkins....lots of them....80 large pumpkins to be exact.  Yes, we will use them to decorate for the wedding, but I am also putting some of them up.  One pumpkin made about 15 cups of pumpkin puree yesterday.  It's in the freezer now.

-We have become relaxed homeschoolers or maybe even unschoolers.  Why?

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-We've been getting very crafty lately.  Saturday three fall wreaths were made as well as 11 boutoneires.  This week we need to make sugar scrubs, salt baths, 7 bouquets and some other items as well.

-Our church is doing a study on Thomas Watson's All Things for Good.  Jeff is leading one of the small groups on Sunday evenings.  As we have a 30 minute drive to church on Sundays some of us redeem the time by reviewing the chapter on the way to church.  Daddy sometimes reminds the children to redeem this time.  This Sunday we were surprised when Jackson asked to read the book.  He is doing very well in his reading and will finish up level 2 and 2 1/2 of Explode the Code this week.  Thomas Watson was a Puritan.   It's a big stretch from Dr. Seuss to a Puritan writer!

-There are eleven days left until Devin's wedding!

-I need breakfast help.  Some of my family members are not happy about our wheat free diet.  Some of them are out of the home every day and are NOT on a wheat free diet. at. all.  I need some ideas for wheat free breakfasts.  My very spoiled family is used to homemade biscuits, pancakes, muffins and cinnamon rolls...every day!  Help!!

-Please share some of your favorite bread free breakfasts and/or a favorite audio book or series for the under 10 crowd in the comments.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Plan for October 22-28

We made it through a crazy busy week!  I don't think we were all home for dinner at the same time last week and there were two nights that there were only four of us sitting down at the dinner table.  Praying that this week is a little slower as we relish Devin's final days at home with us.  Less than two weeks to go before her wedding.  We made some great progress in wedding prep last week and I hope to have pictures of some handmade items we will be using for the wedding soon.

Here is my menu plan for this week....minus lunch!  Lunch will be leftovers, homemade pizzas, popcorn, fruit and salads.

b-apple/cranberry crisp, bacon, eggs
d-little saucy meatballs, rice, roasted broccoli

b-corn meal mush with syrup and sausage
d-pork fajita nachos with sauteed peppers, refried beans and all the trimmings

b-baked oatmeal
d-homecanned chicken soup for Caedmon and chicken tortilla soup for the rest of us

b-apple oat muffins
d-fried steaks, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

b-corn meal mush with syrup, sausage
d-chicken pot pie, baked sweet potatoes, pinto beans and corn bread

b-breakfast in a bowl--country style potatoes with sausage, eggs and cheese
d-grilled chicken, rice pilaf, grilled corn and broccoli

b-baked oatmeal
d-vegetable beef soup and corn bread

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apples Apples Apples

We've been enjoying lots of apples around here lately.  I buy them by the forty pound case at our local fruit and vegetable market.  Last year we started making our applesauce in the crock pot and then canning it. We still love our applesauce muffins in that post, but now we are making them gluten free.  We've been experimenting with gluten-free baking and as two of the boys are deathly allergic to eggs our baking can be a challenge.

I have also been dehydating apples which I used to make fried apple pies before we went gluten free.  They were absolutely delicious.  We also snip the dried apples up and add them to our homemade granola.

For breakfast and dessert we are enjoying apple crisps.  Sometimes I toss in a cupful of frozen cranberries for a wonderful fruity combination.  For the breakfast version, I decrease the sugar.

I have also been making fruit leather with our applesauce and with pureed strawberries and peach butter.  All natural with no added sugar, Caedmon loves the apple fruit leathers while my grandsons and son-in-law are partial to the strawberry.  It's so rewarding to see them enjoy a good healthy snack that is so good for them!

Here are a few other apple recipes that we have enjoyed through the years.   Do you have a favorite apple recipe you wouldn't mind sharing?  I would love to add some more variation to our apple menu!

*words in bold print are links to recipes

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Menu Plan for October 14-20

It seems that we are back in order here at Busy Hands Busy Minds!  For the past few months I was not able to access the blog due to some changes our internet provider made, but we recently made a switch to a different provider and now we are back up!   I'll save the highlights of the last three months or so for another day.  If you have followed Busy Hands Busy Minds on FB (see the link in the right side-bar) you will know that our second daughter, Devin, will soon be married.  In fact, we have less than three weeks to finish all the wedding prep!  Yikes!!  More highlights another day!

This week seems to be like the rest of our weeks in this season....busy, busy, busy!  Wedding prep, wedding shower, shopping, music lessons, school and a visit from Jeff's out-of state brother and his family late in the week.  One thing that keeps me sane during our crazy busy days is having a menu and shopping list made out before the week starts.    Here is what we'll be cooking up this week:

b-baked oatmeal
l-at Grandmother's...taking apple cranberry crisps for dessert
d-chicken enchilada casserole, refried beans, chips and salsa

b-applesauce muffins, sausage and eggs
l-leftovers, popcorn, fruit
d-panfried chicken breasts topped with garlic creamed spinach, roasted carrots and broccoli and rice cooked in chicken broth

b-apple crisp, bacon and eggs
l-we'll pick up something in town
d-crockpot beef roast with potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions, roasted garlic

b-baked oatmeal
l-roast beef hash and green beans
d-taco soup or chicken soup

b-blueberry muffins, sausage, eggs
d-butter beans, stove top potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, corn, corn bread, deviled eggs

b-pancakes, bacon
l-chili with beans, shredded cheese, chopped onions, sour cream and tortilla chips, peach and blueberry cobblers, homemade ice cream
d-baked potatoes with toppings

b-breakfast in a bowl--crumbled sausage cooked with diced potatoes, eggs and shredded cheese
d-poppyseed chicken casserole,  English peas, green beans, carrots

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paper Dream Winner

Janelmartin, you are the winner of the Paper Dream DVD.  Please email me at with your full mailing address.  Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Busy Hands and Minds....Really!!

We've been keeping our hands busy by moving chicken tractors and constantly watering and feeding 90 Cornish Cross chickens several times a day.  These chicks eat! And with the temps in the 100s this week, watering is extremely important.

I wish watering the garden would insure a good crop, but it seems that our soil (even in the raised beds) and the heat are taking a toll on our garden. I think Jeff has decided that buying fresh produce from friends or farmers' markets would be cheaper for us in the long run.  Despite our meager yields we have been canning green beans, blueberries and making various jams and jellies.  I've dehydrated onions and made caramelized onions that I'll be canning today.  This brings us to the end of a 50 pound bag of onions that we purchased for only 5 bucks.  Yep!!  Good deal!!

We've also bagged up gallons of blueberries and strawberries for use throughout the year.  Today I'll be  making up cranberry applesauce in the crockpots to can later.  I recently bought 40 pounds of apples for about 16 dollars and have lots of cranberries in the freezer.  We love a combination of cranberries and apples, so I am going to use them up!  The cranberries have been in the freezer for 2 years when I found a great deal on them after Christmas and I am diligently trying to use up the frozen fruits and veggies in the freezer so we will have room for those 90 chickens that will be slaughtered in a couple of weeks.

In the dehydrator I've been drying sage, oregano, zucchini and blueberries.  I'll do some of those apples as well.  We love having dried apples on hand for granola and now a new favorite, fried dried apple pies...Oh, My!!

For school, we've been doing at least two days worth of math each day, working on grammar and studying Egypt which involves lots of reading, research and writing for my 15 and 13  year old children.  The 7 year old is working along at his math and phonics and has enjoyed a light bird study this summer.  He is excited about a family trip to the beach next month so he can see some sand pipers and other water birds.  We will also get to visit an Audobon bird sanctuary which is on the island we will be staying on.  We've been reading the Childhood of Famous Americans biography about Audobon for the last few weeks.

I'll stop with a link to a great post by Amy at Homestead Revival.  Some great information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paper Dream Giveaway

Late last summer American Family Studios began filming a short movie that has a wonderful message...a message that we don't hear much in today's world. The message?  That God IS sovereign.  That He created all and He is all.

Psalm 73:  25-26  Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail;  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

My husband and oldest son both worked hard on this project.  Jordan was the second assistant camera while Jeff was the producer and also composed the original soundtrack minus one or two pieces.  I have to say that when I watched this for the first time a couple of months ago I was pleasantly surprised.  I wasn't sure about how the story of a barren woman would apply to me, but as it unfolded I could see my own barreness....not of the womb, but in other areas.  I alternately laughed and cried as we watched this short film.  I think you will as well.

Today this film premiers locally and the proceeds will benefit a local adoption agency.   I have one copy of this dvd to give away to a blog reader.  It also includes two other films, both nominated as finalists in the San Antonio Independent Film Festival.  Jeff also produced and wrote the soundtrack for  one of them, Divorcing God. 

If you would like to recieve this copy of Paper Dream, leave me a comment and will have a drawing early next week.  I think you will be blessed!

  • To order Paper Dream for your own home DVD library or to watch the trailer, click here!

Paper DreamChristy had a dream...
For as long as she can remember, Christy Davis has wanted to be a mom, but things haven’t worked out the way she imagined them. When hopes of getting pregnant fall through, she and her husband Matt turn to adoption, but will that be enough to fill their longing for a child?
American Family Studios is proud to present a story of hope in the midst of difficult circumstances. Do unfulfilled dreams define who we are, or is God enough to give us fulfillment?
Runtime:  Approximately 40 minutes  Start a Paper Dream Event or bring to your church
BONUS: The Paper Dream DVD also includes American Family Studios
original documentaries "Flame On" and "Divorcing God"
Flame On: A True Story of Hope in the Midst of Great Personal Tragedy 
How would you react when tragedy strikes? Would your faith in an all loving God waver? Would you turn your back on the Lord? Flame On was filmed just months after the extreme loss of a loved one, and follows the Jasper family through the true heart wrenching and faith stretching question of "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" Watch and marvel at how a strong Christian family deals with the emotions of shock, loss and grief from a Biblical perspective. Flame On illustrates the struggle between the sovereignty of God and human responsibility while examining how faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can take you from the very bottom of despair to victory through tragedy. Flame On s a 'must see' for those grieving the loss of a loved one and will leave you with the peaceful knowledge that we serve a gracious, loving God who gives us light through the dark moments of life. "There are no words to describe how we hurt," says J.J. Jasper. "But God's sovereignty and His character do not change. He is still a good God. We knew that intellectually and now we know it experientially." 
Runtime: Approx. 40 minutes 
16 x 9 widescreen 
For more information visit: 

Divorcing God: Secularism and the Republic 
Divorcing God is a look at what the Founding Fathers believed about morality and religious faith as the pillars of our government and nation, and the dangers posed by secular humanism. Divorcing God also explores the historical patterns of the lives of nations and empires - from birth and growth to prosperity, weakness, decay and death. The film is not just about doom and gloom, however. “Divorcing God is a hopeful presentation of the power of our Christian faith and the power of renewal,” said AFA president Tim Wildmon. “The film represents AFA’s very reason for existence: We believe Christians should get informed about what’s happening in our country and get involved.” 

Interviewees include Hadley Arkes, professor of jurisprudence at Amherst College; Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute; Daniel Dreisbach, professor of public affairs at American University; Michael Farris, constitutional attorney and chancellor of Patrick Henry College; Matthew Franck, professor of political science at Radford University; Robert George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University; George Grant, author and founder of King’s Meadow Study Center; Peter Lillback, professor of historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary; Judith Reisman, visiting professor of law at Liberty University School of Law; and Matthew Spalding, director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at the Heritage Foundation 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Work Week

We've been really busy concentrating on some heavy school work the last few weeks and things are really progressing in that area.  However, my house is a mess and I have lots of kitchen work that needs to be done this week.  I'm thinking we may be taking a much lighter school schedule this week so we can get some home blessings accomplished!

Here is my to-do list broken down for each day.  And yes, the children will all be working with me or by themselves on some of these.


--make grape jelly (I made the juice on Saturday from grapes that have been in my freezer since October!)
--dehydrate onions
--grate cabbage to make sauerkraut
--get boys' room and bathroom thoroughly cleaned
--get laundry done


--can all the frozen blueberries leftover from last year
--dehydrate more onions
--get dining room and kitchen thoroughly cleaned
--get laundry done

--make strawberry jam from last year's frozen berries
--dehydrate sage
--get laundry done
--get den thoroughly cleaned
--get girls' room and bathroom thoroughly cleaned

--pick blueberries at the local blueberry farm
--make blueberry jam
--freeze blueberries
--dehydrate onions or apples
--no laundry--the boys will be working on the washing machine drain pipe on Friday evening and it needs to be dry
--get school room cleaned...start organizing little boys workboxes

--dehydrate onions or apples
--find something to make with several bags of cranberries
--make a batch of soap
--no laundry
--thoroughly clean master bedroom and bathroom

--dehydrate something
--keep house in order
--lessson plans

Of course, we have an orthodontist appointment one morning this week and I need to do a few other errands as well, but this gives us a plan for the week!

Menu Plan for June 18-24

breakfast-bacon, eggs, grits
dinner-baked chicken with potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage and peas

lunch-artichoke rice salad (see recipe below), raw veggies, popcorn, cheese and crackers
dinner-beef enchiladas, Army Man rice, refried beans, chips and salsa  (using my chicken enchilada recipe but substituting ground beef)  This is Devin's requested birthday dinner.

breakfast-strawberry yogurt smoothies, eggs, granola
dinner-potato soup, cheese, crackers, salad

breakfast-baked oatmeal
lunch-beef and cheese nachos
dinner-lasagna and salad

breakfast-pancakes and eggs
dinner-sauteed squash and onions, corn on the cob, green beans, stewed potatoes

breakfast-beef sausage, eggs, grits
lunch-popcorn, raw veggies, fruit, yogurt or smoothies
dinner-grilled pork loin, onions and garlic, grilled peaches, roasted potatoes and green beans

breakfast-baked oatmeal
dinner-potluck at church...we'll be taking buttermilk pies (Kaelan made a bunch last week and they are ready-to-go in the freezer) and turkey pot pie using my starter from the freezer and this pie crust,1937,148167-226200,00.html

Artichoke Rice Salad

14 1/2 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
12 ounce drained, quartered artichoke hearts
2 chopped green onions
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 t. curry powder
8 oz. drained, chopped water chestnuts
Cook rice in broth. Cover, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes.  Cool.  Stir rice, adding all other ingredients.  Chill for two hours.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Lap is Big Enough

My lap is big enough to hold my oldest granddaughter, Ashtyn Claire, and my youngest son, Caedmon, while grandsons Chase and Eli and my other son Jackson snuggle close by to listen as I read them a book.  You can see the little boys each take turns counting the pirates as I turn the pages.

 Another day the little boys enjoyed homemade lemonade popsicles on the swing.  Poor little Ashtyn Claire wanted one, too!

Chase is at that age where he likes to be a clown.  He'll soon be five years old.  Every time they come the first thing they ask me is if we can "play school"!!  They are coming tomorrow to spend a couple of days with us while their mommy, daddy and little sisters go to the homeschool conference.  And yes, we will be "playing school"!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Freezer Cooking with Italian Sausage and Ground Beef

The other day I came across this post with this recipe.

I thought it sounded pretty good and, as we love Mexican food around here, I thought I would try it out.  And in true ME fashion I changed it much so that it might not be recognized as the original any more!!  I used mild Italian sausage instead of the spicy (I bought 10 pounds at Sam's and divided it up between this recipe and the spaghetti sauce)  And I made it in the crock pot.  I added some Mexican spices, 2 cups of chopped tri-colored peppers and some minced garlic.  I also made this recipe times 5.  And I divided the resulting dish into three quart sized baggies without adding cheese.  So, maybe I didn't really follow this recipe at all!!  Do you do that?  We will try this dish out Thursday evening as a quick meal before heading off to Aaron and Kaelan's piano recital.

I also made up a big batch of spaghetti sauce.  I wound up with 7 bags holding about four cups of sauce each.  I usually triple this batch cooking recipe, but this time I used 5 pounds of sausage.  This recipe is from Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.

 Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound bulk Italian sausage   
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 12-can tomato paste
3 28-ounce cans Italian-style or plain crushed tomatoes in puree (I buy the big cans at Sam's)
2 cups water
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley ( I use dried)
2 teaspoons salt

In a large pot, cook and stir the bulk Italian sausage with onions until the meat is brown;  drain fat.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring sauce to a boil;  reduce heat.  Partly cover, and simmer for 2  hours, stirring occasionally.  Makes 12 cups of sauce.  I then freeze 4 cups of sauce in gallon bags and lie flat on a cookie sheet placed in the freezer.  When frozen I can stack them on top of each other and use my cookie sheet for cookies!!

Devin made up three pans of lasagna plus two mini pans for my mom.  Here is our favorite family recipe from our childhood.  We have since made adaptions as we are trying to stay away from canned soups with their added corn syrup.


1 lb. ground chuck 
1 cup chopped onion
2 large gloves garlic, minced 
2 tsp. oregano, crushed
2 cans tomato soup
 ½ cup water
2 tsp vinegar
 ½ lb lasagne noodles (cooked & drained)
1 pint cottage cheese
 ½ lb mozzarella cheese, grated
grated Parmesan cheese

In saucepan, brown meat, cook onion, garlic, oregano. Add soup, water and vinegar. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. In baking dish, arrange 3 alternate layers of noodles, cottage cheese, meat sauce, mozzarella. Top with Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. I usually double or triple as it freezes well.

Mini Meat Loaves

Years ago, I came across these Little Cheddar Meatloaves.  We loved this recipe...except I put the shredded cheese IN the meatloaf, not on top of it.  And now, when I make this, I totally leave out the eggs and cheese so all of us can eat it.  I top a few of the little loaves with ketchup that is mixed with a little brown sugar and cayenne powder to give it a little sweet and spicy kick.  And of course, you know I make a huge batch of these!  I made one pan with a dozen little loaves and two pans with nine loaves.  I also made up a mini-pan for my mom.

Turkey Tetrazzini

And, because I had a good bit of turkey meat and turkey broth leftover, I mixed up a huge batch of what I call turkey tetrazzini.  I cooked up about a pound and a half of spaghetti and added about 4 cups of chopped turkey, a couple of diced onions, a large package of mushrooms chopped up, some salt, pepper, dried chives and then made a sauce with the broth and flour.  All this was mixed up in a huge bowl and then I added in about 3-4 cups of parmesan cheese.  I'll add in a little cream or sour cream before cooking as I forgot all about it putting the dish together.  I packaged this into 3 gallon sized bags.  The last time I made it, my oldest son commented that it really wasn't all that bad.  Which translates into "It's really good and a very tasty way to use up some leftovers!

Menu Plan May 14-20

This week we did a lot of freezer cooking and I will share recipes later.

b-blueberry muffins, ham, eggs, grits
l-pasta salad, cheese, crackers, popcorn, olives, apples
d-turkey/barley soup or white beans w/ham, corn bread and salad

b-granola with yogurt, English muffins
d-baked chicken, broccoli, lentil rice casserole

b-applesauce muffins, ham, eggs, grits
d-hamburgers, roasted potatoes, raw veggies

b-baked oatmeal
l-grilled turkey/cheese sandwiches, apples
d-queso fundido, black bean salsa

b-pancakes and eggs
l-pasta salad, cheese, crackers, popcorn, olives
d-homemade pizzas, apple dessert pizza

b-biscuits, bacon, eggs, and grits
l-leftovers or sandwich
d-chicken alfredo, spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad and garlic bread

b-cinnamon rolls
l-finger foods at church
d-turkey tetrazzinni, green beans, corn, cookies and cobbler

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Week's Menu and Kitchen To Do List

We had an unexpectedly busy week and some of the planned menu items just didn't happen, so they are being moved over to this week.  I also didn't get any apples dehydrated nor did the grape jelly get made.  I'll try them this week.  I did get ALL the beef broth canned and got all the onions I needed to dry this week done.   So, this is what's going on in the Busy Hands Busy Minds kitchen this week.

b-blueberry muffins, eggs, bacon or sausage
d-French onion soup, sandwiches

b-yogurt and granola and/or leftover muffins
l-leftovers, popcorn, cheese cubes, fruit
d-baked turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fried squash and zucchini

b-baked apple oatmeal
l-pasta salad and green salad
d-bbq pork sandwiches, cole slaw and roasted potatoes

b-applesauce muffins, sausage and eggs
d-lasagna, salad and rolls

l-sandwiches, popcorn, fruit
d-flatbread pizzas, salad, cookies

b-biscuits, bacon, eggs and grits
d-pinto beans with chopped onions and shredded cheese, cornbread and raw veggies

b-cinnamon rolls
l-roast beef with potatoes, carrots, onions and peas
d-sandwiches, fruit, ice cream

Kitchen To Do List

Monday-dehydrate apples, clean out small freezer

Tuesday-Town/Errand Day, make butter

Wednesday-make up several pans of lasagna, organize staples cabinet, dehydrate more apples

Thursday-organize pot/pans cabinet, make meatloaves and meatballs for freezer, dehydrate more apples

Friday-organize canned goods cabinet, make grape jelly

Saturday-make granola in the dehydrator, can sloppy joe mix with ground beef

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Repost: Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

This is another extremely frugal recipe that we have loved for years.  I believe I have combined two seperate recipes to come up with this one and even made some adaptations last night to replace the cream of chicken soup called for in the original.  If I were getting fresh milk I would have used homemade sour cream and I also could have used a homemade enchilada sauce and home grown chilies.

Wednesday I skinned six chicken breasts and put them in a large stockpot with two gallons of water.  I added a chopped carrot or two, a sliced onion and several minced cloves of garlic.  I let this simmer for several hours and then drained all the stock.  I then deboned the chicken and added the meat from one chicken breast to about half of the remaining stock, some sliced carrots, dehydrated onions, more garlic, brown rice and some seasonings to make chicken and rice soup for our evening meal.  The remaining chicken I put in the refrigerator to use for the enchiladas the next day.

First I sauteed one chopped onion and one clove of minced garlic in olive oil.  

Then I added one can of Rotel to the onions.

Next the shredded chicken was added....approximately 7-8 cups was mixed in with the vegetables.

I spooned about three tablespoons of the meat mixture and one tablespoon of shredded colby/monterrey jack cheese on a flour tortilla.  Continue until all the meat mixture is gone.

Meanwhile, Devin made a sauce using 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  After the liquid was heated she removed about 1/2 cup and mixed it with about 2 T. of corn starch.  This was then added back to the pot and stirred thoroughly.  You can use cream of chicken soup (it would take two cans) but this is a much more healthy and cheaper alternative.

To the milk/stock mixture was added two cans of chopped green chilies, two cans of green enchilada sauce and about 3 1/2 cups of sour cream.

The meat mixture was enough for three 9 x 13 inch pans....21 enchiladas!!  

I evenly divided the sauce over the three pans.  ( and why, yes, there are several loaves of homemade bread sittting there as well...we are in renovation mode and everything is a mess!)

And then I sprinkled with more grated cheese.  I covered two pans with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil to add to my freezer.   The other pan was baked in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through and the cheese melted.


We generally serve up 1/2 an enchilada at a time and have  Mexican rice, refried beans, chips and salsa on the side.

Now for the recipe!

Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chili Sauce

one diced onion
1 clove of minced garlic
3 T. olive oil
6-8 cups of shredded chicken
1 can of Rotel
6-8 cups of shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups of milk or cream
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
2-3 T. corn starch
2 cans chopped green chilies
2 cans green enchilada sauce
3 1/2 cups sour cream
21-25 flour tortillas
2 pounds of shredded cheddar, colby, or monterrey jack cheese

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a 4 quart sauce pan.  Add Rotel and stir well.  Add chicken and mix thoroughly.   In a 2 quart sauce pan heat chicken stock and milk.  Remove 1/2 cup of heated liquid and combine with 2 T. corn starch.  Add this mixture to the pan, remove from heat and stir until thickened.  In a large bowl add green chilies, enchilada sauce and sour cream to the cream/stock mixture.

Grease three 9 x 13 inch casserole dishes.  Add 3 T. of meat mixture and 1 T. shredded cheese to each tortilla.  Roll up and place in casserole dish.  Continue until all meat is used.  Evenly divide sauce mixture over the three pans of enchiladas.  Top with a layer of cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and cheese is melted...about 20-25 minutes.  This freezes very well and can be kept frozen for about 3 months.

Army Man Rice from Hillbilly Housewife.

2 tablespoons oil or bacon grease
1 cup long grain white rice
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each oregano & cumin & garlic powder
1 tablespoon dry onion
Dash red pepper (optional)
8 oz can tomato sauce or 1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
2 cups water

Get out a 2-quart saucepan. Heat the oil or bacon grease in the pan, over medium heat. Add the rice and saute it in the hot fat until it is toasty and slightly opaque. If you are using fresh onion, add it now too. When the rice is toasted, add the seasonings, tomato sauce and water. Stir it up and bring it to a boil. When it starts to boil, cover the pan with a good lid and reduce the heat to very low. Allow the rice to cook on the back of the stove for a good 20 minutes. Serve topped with cheese for a main dish, or just like it is as a side dish. This is Tom’s favorite food in the entire world. Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main dish. This recipe doubles easily. Cook it in a 3-quart saucepan if you double it.
If you want to a main dish, you can add a 1/2-pound of cooked ground beef. Another option is to add a 15 oz can of kidney or pinto or black beans (1-1/2 cups cooked beans). Add either along with the tomato sauce and water. Cook as directed.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Work Day: Garden Version

We are really trying to put in a much larger garden, but as you can see in some of the following pictures our soil is very much clay.  What gets planted in the dirt really doesn't do well, so a few years ago we decided to build raised beds and fill them with "store-bought" soil, manure and compost.  We also have a large composting bin that  consists of vegetable scraps, wood shavings with droppings from the chicken coop, manure from a friend's horse barn, sawdust, chopped leaves and more.  This weekend we added more beds to our garden and Jordan built a runner bean trellis tunnel that we hope will be filled with beans soon.

Caedmon is "helping out" at the bean tunnel.  We save cardboard boxes to put in the bottom of our raised beds.  Here we used them in the tunnel.  Later they were covered with dry leaves.  We also use the leaves as compost in the raised beds.  We have almost 9 acres and most of that is woods.  Leaves are free and plentiful around here!

Caedmon at the backside of the bean tunnel.

Jackson unloaded bags of soil from the back of the truck and then emptied them into this bed.  This bed is now filled with basil and volunteer tomato plants that I dug up from my  large mint bed.  That bed is made up totally of compost, so we have had many tomatoes and some squash plants come up in it.

A side view of the tunnel.  Beans are planted all along the base of the tunnel.  Jeff liked it so much that Jordan will be building another one later this week.  I hope all his hard work pays off!

A volunteer tomato

A volunteer squash

A new bed that is now used for lavender.  I started three plants from seed last year and Jeff bought two more the other day.  I hope they do well.  I would love to infuse the lavender in olive oil to use it in soapmaking.

Aaron fills another new bed with soil.  We are so thankful for these children who don't mind some hard work!

This is a new bed with apple mint.  I was inspired by the West Ladies from Homestead Blessings.  They have a beautiful bed full of apple mint that they use to make a refreshing tea.  We love hot and cold teas around here and I  hope to increase our homegrown herbs in order to make our own teas.  In addition to the apple mint, we also have lemon mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, peppermint, sweet mint and lemon balm for tea making.   We've even tried some sage and thyme tea for medicinal purposes.

Jeff is bringing up more cardboard to line a new raised bed.  We keep the cardboard boxes broken down and put in a large plastic box down in the barn.

And, just to keep it real....This is out directions!  Earlier in the morning I had transplanted leeks and peppers, planted lavender, mint and lemon balm and tomatoes and peppers.    I can still feel the burn in my thighs from all that squatting!
Our Simple Farm

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Menu for April 30-May 6 and My Kitchen To Do List

b-English muffins, ham and eggs
d-baked spaghetti, salad

b-yogurt, fruit and granola
l-cheese, crackers, fruit, raw veggies
d-grilled steaks, roasted potatoes, grilled squash, zucchini, onions, garlic and peppers

b-bacon, eggs and bagels
l-vegetable soup and corn bread
d-pasta salad with steak strips, green salad

b-baked oatmeal with apples
d-baked chicken, brown rice pilaf, broccoli and salad

b-pancakes and sausage
l-tuna salad sandwiches, chicken soup
d-flat bread veggie pizzas, salad

b-biscuits sausage, eggs and grits
d-black beans, brown rice, tortilla chips and all the toppings, salad and dessert

b-cinnamon rolls
l-finger foods at church
d-bbq sandwiches, cole slaw and roasted potatoes


Sunday evening-put beef bones on to roast in roaster, put yogurt on in dehydrator

Monday-dehydrate onions, add water, chopped vegetables and apple cider vinegar to bones

Tuesday-strain broth, put on more bones to roast, dehydrate more onions  NO MORE BROTH TO MAKE!!


Thursday-dehydrate either onions or apples

Friday-dehydrate apples, can broth

Saturday-make grape , either apples or onions in the dehydrator
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