Home and Family, Organization, Uncategorized

One evening of work is worth it!

In the past week, there have been a number of reminders to me of why I do some of what I do-such as:

We had apple pie with our Sunday dinner that took me a matter of minutes to put together. How? Bottled apple pie filling. Our family spent one evening last autumn working and have enough pie filling for the entire year ready to go! We use it for pies, crisps, empanadas, etc. So yummy!

Last evening we took an hour and a half and bottled hamburger and beef chunks (I found a great sale and stocked up on each). I now have around three dozen bottles waiting for upcoming meals. Gravies, tacos, enchilladas, spaghetti sauce, soups and chilis, all kinds of things. Quick. Tasty. No sweat.

I realized I was out of carrots for the chicken stock I was making (from the carcasses from Sunday dinner), so I threw in a handful of dried carrots we have in our storage. Easy. No worries.

Our grandson needed a geography assignment for the day. Not all the planning for March was done, so we grabbed a reproducible book of maps and orienteering off the shelf and made a quick copy. Done.

As crazy as my life is, it would be so much more complicated if I didn’t have food storage, a library, and other tools to keep life moving and melt-downs to a minimum. Next…!

Cooking, Home and Family, Uncategorized

Easy meals

The wedding is over!  Yeah!  We all got through it, and are so glad to have had a day where the entire family was together.  The bride and groom were happy with how things went, so I am considering the entire affair a huge success!  (I realize I have said that before, but I just have to crow.  It really took over our life, and will be in my thoughts for days to come!)

Back to real life.  I noticed the day after the wedding (Saturday) that I have tomatoes turning red in bulk.  The first planting of dried beans is ready to be harvested and shelled.  And there are three rows of corn that are ready.  The peaches should be ripe on the tree any day now.  And the beets are becoming rather colossal.  Time to take on a different aspect of “keeper of the hearth”.  Canning/freezing will continue for the next eight weeks or so.  Time to fill the food shelves, and prepare for the coming cold weather.  (I love autumn and the feeling of “circling the wagons” that comes with it.  And the food is yummy in January!)

Now to the title of this post.  What do you feed your family when you have all been in the kitchen all day, and everyone is tired of food prep?

Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Tacos- bottled black beans, spiced bottled chicken or hamburger, grated cheese, warm tortillas (from the store.  This is no time to make your own.), and whatever produce is ready from the garden.  Try them with tomato, cucumber, corn, and thinly-sliced pepper.
  • Grilled cheese and garden veg.  Easy comfort food that uses minimal dishes and allows for easy clean-up.
  • Mac-n-cheese and spam.  Slice the spam thinly on a mandoline, or cut into chunks, brown and then add to the mac-and-cheese.  Add applesauce and whatever veg you have to your plate, and chow down!
  • Stuffed tomatoes.  If I serve them for dinner, I don’t have to bottle them later.  Use tuna, egg, ham, or chicken salad.  Add cucs for crunch.  Yum!
  • Quesadillas.  A different take on grilled cheese.  Add meat or refried beans before you cook, and they can be filling and yummy.  Dip in sour cream, or salsa.
  • Now is the time to pull the chicken patties out of the freezer.  Serve on a sandwich, or with pasta and sauce for a quick chicken parmesan.
  • Turn bottled beef chunks into stroganoff or just a quick gravy, and serve over noodles, rice, or tater tots.  Add veg or fruit and it cooks up in a jiffy and feeds a hungry crew.

There are so many wonderful things to eat!  What are your favorite quick meals?


Cooking, Gardening, Home and Family, Homemaking, Organization

The right tools for the job

This evening, I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and happened to look around at the beehive of activity at my house.  I had both ovens going with food for dinner.  I was using various pans and Pyrex dishes for meal prep.  There was the immersion blender for mixing milk, and the spoons made of various materials for stainless steel and non-stick pans.  After we eat, the dishes will go into the dishwasher to get clean.

My husband and son-in-law were outside with the weed-whacker, mower, and tiller in use as they cleaned up the lawn, and prepped three grow-boxes for the corn and beans to be planted tonight.  Three loads of laundry are on the clothesline drying.

Downstairs were the washer and dryer helping me complete the days laundry.  (I don’t hang underwear, socks, towels, or wash cloths on the line.)  My daughter is teaching her five boys.  Some academics.  Some cleaning skills.  And sorting as she goes.

None of this would be possible without the correct tools for the job.  No tiller would mean a full day of amending and mixing soils before we can plant.  No immersion blender could result in lumpy milk.  Doing laundry with modern appliances just doesn’t bear thinking about at all.  And without the ability to plan and the correct supplies, raising and teaching children is tough!

We don’t have the “ideal” world of years gone by in which to rear a family, but we don’t have to go plow the “back forty” with a horse and plow either.  I will take the 21st century anytime!  I will use my curriculum, my scriptures, and lots of time talking with the young ones as I use the wonderful tools at my disposal!  We are so blessed!