Homemade Guacamole

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If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my post last Sunday about the awesome deal I got on bargain buckets of fruits and veggies at a local grocery store! In case you missed it, I got a bag of red potatoes, 4 tomatoes, 16 avocados and 10 apples. And you would never guess how much I paid for all of this…Only $6!!

Fruits-&-Veggies

So, of course, with all of these fresh and very ripe avocados, I had to put them to good use! We decided to make a huge batch of guacamole! We used some of it fresh on tacos and tortilla chips, and the rest of it we froze in freezer containers.

Like most recipes that I share, this recipe for guacamole is very simple and of course, delicious! I had a lot of avocados when I made this batch, so I actually multiplied everything by four!! So, if you have a lot of avocados or find a good deal on them at the grocery store, this is a very easy recipe to multiply! It’s also great if you like making large batches of things to freeze!

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Homemade Guacamole

3 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
Juice of 1 Lime or 2 Tbsp of bottled lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup diced onion
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

Combine the mashed avocado,  lime juice and salt in a bowl and mash together. Add the additional ingredients and stir together well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend.
Then, enjoy this delicious guacamole on your favorite dish: tacos, quesadillas or just with tortilla chips! It is tasty anyway you decide to use it!!

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Well, I hope you enjoy this recipe! What is your favorite way to serve guacamole? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Healthy, Crunchy Kale Chips

Healthy, Crunchy Kale Chips

Our garden has officially hit the productive stage! We were off to a little bit of a slow start due to a few issues we ran in to, (more about that in my upcoming garden planning post.) However, it seems that we have “recovered” from that stage and we are now starting to see some good production from our plants! It is so exciting to come in from the garden with a bowl full of fresh vegetables to put on your table for dinner that evening! It is always such a good feeling to know that I grew that food myself and am now enjoying the rewards of my hard work!

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I currently have an over-abundance of kale. So, of course, I’m having lots of fresh salads. But I also wanted to try something new to mix it up a little bit because I know that this is only the beginning of lots and lots of kale for the rest of the summer! I’ve been wanting to try kale chips but hadn’t yet. I whipped up this extremely simple recipe and fell in love with them! This will definitely be a regular snack around our house! My husband and I ate them all the second they came out of the oven-they were absolutely delicious!

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Kale Chips
*Preheat the oven to 275

2 cups Kale Leaves-Wash and Remove stems
1/2 tsp olive oil
Course Salt

Toss the kale leaves with the olive oil.
Then lay them out flat on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are crispy.
Enjoy!!

Variations: Sprinkle the chips with your favorite seasoning: garlic salt, barbecue powder, ranch powder, or whatever else sounds good to you!

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What are your favorite ways to use kale? Share your ideas below in the comments!!

Healthy, Crunchy Kale Chips

My 2-Week Meal Plan {The July 10th Edition}

My 2-Week Meal Plan 7-10

Hey Friends! Today, I’m sharing my family’s meal plan for the next 2 weeks! My hope is that my ideas will inspire you in your own meal-planning adventure! You know from my previous posts that I am pretty passionate about meal-planning. It has made such a huge difference for our family. It brings so much peace and order to our evening routine and makes my life so much less stressful! And who doesn’t like less stress-I know I do!!

If you haven’t already, check out my methods and tips for meal-planning here!
What’s for Dinner? The Reason I started Meal Planning
Tips for Successful Meal Planning

Week 1
Sunday-Grilled Cheddar/Bacon Burgers, Potato Salad
Monday-Tacos, Salsa Rice
Tuesday-Halushki
Wednesday-Hot Ham Sandwiches
Thursday-Venison Hamburger Steaks, Mashed Potatoes
Friday-Pizza, Tossed Salad
Saturday-Grilled Pork Chops, quinoa, vegetable

Week 2
Sunday-BBQ Chicken Quarters, Baked Potatoes
Monday-Breakfast
Tuesday-Chicken Tenders, Fries
Wednesday-Pierogies
Thursday-Grocery Night-We always grab something while we are out for $10 or less
Friday-Basil Pesto Pasta & Sausage
Saturday-Venison Stroganoff

If there is a particular meal that you would like to see the recipe for on the blog, let me know! Also, if you have any questions about my meal plan or need advice on making your own, please feel free to comment below or send me an email! I always love to hear from my readers!My 2-Week Meal Plan 7-10

May/June 2016 Homestead Update

May/June Homestead Update

First of all, I am sorry that I missed the May homestead update! But as they say, better late than never! To make up for it, I’m combining the May & June Updates! Be sure you read the whole way to the end for an exciting and special announcement!

With the cold and rain of spring now in the past, we can finally get outside and get to work! I have been waiting for this weather to come for what seems like an eternity! May was definitely a busy month around our little backyard homestead with a to-do list that seemed like it would never end! Overall, I am very satisfied with our progress and we accomplished everything that we had planned to get done in May.

Annual Flowers

Goals we Achieved in the Month of May:

  • Planted our blackberry & raspberry patch. (We were lucky enough to get some plants from a friend that was thinning their patch!)
  • Drew up the garden fence plans & list of supplies.
  • Purchased supplies for building the garden fence.
  • Purchased seeds and vegetable plants for the garden.
  • Built the garden fence.
  • Tilled & prepared the soil.
  • Planted the vegetable garden.
  • Finished running water out to the shed for the hose in the garden.
  • Had our driveway paved.
  • Back-filled and seeded along the newly paved driveway.
  • Planted annual flowers.
  • Added some herbs to the herb garden.

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In May, we accomplished a lot of our “Big” projects for the summer. So for the rest of the summer we will have some smaller projects planned and finish up some that are halfway done.

Flowers in Stump

During the month of June, things calmed down quite a bit. We have spent a majority of the time maintaining what we accomplished in May! We have been spending most of our evenings and weekends weeding and watering the vegetable garden. This past weekend, my hubby built a trellis for the snap pea plants. They were getting pretty tall and were grabbing onto each other for support, so we figured we better give them something to climb. We have already harvested a lot of herbs. They are doing exceptionally well and are growing like crazy! I have already harvested Lemon Balm, Peppermint, and Tarragon. I have a feeling that I am going to have a huge amount of dried herbs by the end of the summer! As far as the vegetable garden goes, we have also gotten a handful of tart, little strawberries! Now we will continue on the “maintain” mind-set by keeping up with the garden and enjoying the harvest later on in the season!

Tomato Flower Jalapeno Pepper

I know I’ve said this a million times, but I really am so excited about our vegetable garden this year! I am looking forward to sharing with you the step-by-step process we followed to plan and prepare our garden. We have had a few bumps in the road, but I know that we are learning as we go and already have some ideas in mind to improve on our garden next year.

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So….the exciting announcement and the reason that I have been absent from the blog so much lately….

And Baby makes 3...

We are expecting our first baby!!!

So needless to say, over the past several months I have been really feeling less than stellar. My time on the evenings and weekends that I typically dedicate to blogging I have spent resting and napping. So, now that I’m entering my second trimester I’m starting to feel a lot better and regaining my energy. I will be getting back into my blogging routine and back to a more normal posting schedule. Thank you all for sticking around and being patient with me through this transition time!

I really look forward to this new adventure that we are embarking on and I’m sure that it will lead to a new variety of topics for me to write about!

Vegetable Gardening Basics

Vegetable Gardening Basics

As I’m sure you already know, I love planting a vegetable garden! My husband and I both grew up in gardening families and it just runs through our veins! I hope to pass on my love for gardening to our children someday too. Sometimes, I get so excited about talking about all of our homesteading plans that I forget that some of you may have never planted a garden before. So, today I’m sharing how we do it at our house! I’m going to break it down to the basics and if there is anything that I miss or don’t cover, let me know! I’d love to hear from you and know what you’d like to hear more about!

Seeds

Gardening is not for the faint of heart friends! It takes a commitment, not only of the time and money that you initially put into it. But an ongoing commitment of time and effort throughout the summer months. You must spend time pulling weeds, dealing with pests, and of course, keeping up with harvesting your fruits and vegetables as they ripen. That is of course my favorite part! Then, harvesting your crops isn’t even the end of it. Finally you must decide how to use your bountiful harvest. Whether you are serving up your veggies raw or cooked, canning or dehydrating, the important part is having a plan! It would be a shame to get to the end of the growing season, have a pile of tomatoes, and nothing to do with them! I would hate to see my own vegetables go to waste, so that’s why I plan, plan, PLAN!!

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One of the most basic things you need to decide is what you’re going to plant in your vegetable garden. Choose a variety of vegetables that your family enjoys eating or that you can make into something that your family likes (like salsa, tomato soup, pickles, etc). Once you decide what vegetables you are going to plant, you have to decide “how” you’re going to plant them. Are you going to plant seeds or plants?

I don’t know why, but we have always struggled with starting seeds indoors prior to garden season beginning. This is just not a talent I have acquired yet. So typically we like to stick with buying plants at a local greenhouse for a few vegetables and the rest we sow directly into the garden.

Brocolli

Veggies we plant as seeds:

Carrots
Beets
Beans
Peas
Squash
Pumpkins
Lettuce
Spinach
Radishes
Cantelope

Veggies we plant as plants:

Tomatoes
Peppers
Kale
Broccoli
Herbs

Here are a few other things to consider…

Soil Quality: In our past gardening, we never paid much attention to soil quality. We had raised bed gardens and when we first made our garden, we got a load of top-soil when we first began our garden. Every few years we would add peat moss and manure to enrich the soil. Now that we are setting up a bigger garden, we plan to pay more attention to the quality of the soil. We bought some soil testing kits that we will use to see what we need to do to get the best results out of our garden. I know that our soil has some clay in it, but we also have a good layer of topsoil over it. Once we test our soil and see what the different levels come back at, then I plan on researching what I should add to the soil to make it more fertile.

Composting: We haven’t started composting yet, but I plan to over the summer this year. Composting has many benefits. First of all, it is a great way to put your scraps to use. I always like to make the most out of everything we have . So, putting an additional use to something that would otherwise be getting thrown in the garbage is definitely a huge plus! Another wonderful benefit is that it adds a variety of nutrients to your soil which in turn feeds your plants! It also continues to slowly release nutrients as the materials continue to break down and decompose.

Beets

This really is just scratching the surface of gardening! I could go on and on for days! But this is just a little food for thought for those of you thinking about taking the leap into vegetable gardening. In the coming weeks I will be sharing our step by step process of getting our new vegetable garden set up. From building our fence to preparing the soil, planning the layout of vegetables and actually getting everything planted. I will be sharing it all! So make sure you stop by the blog often to check on my updates!

Happy Gardening!!