All posts by Brittany

Reuben Pinwheels

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With St. Patrick’s Day only a few weeks away, I’ve been trying to find some festive meals to incorporate into our meal plan. When I’m thinking of Irish food, corned beef definitely comes to my mind. One of our favorite ways to have corned beef is in Reuben sandwiches! I am always looking for a new way to put a spin on this classic recipe. We have made the sandwiches, casseroles and now we have a brand new favorite way to have this meal!

And don’t forget to print your Free Printable Recipe Card for this delicious recipe!

Ingredients

2 tubes of crescent roll dough
1/2 lb corned beef, chipped
1/2 lb Swiss cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained & squeezed dried with a paper towel
3 tbsp Thousand Island Dressing
1 stick butter
caraway seeds

Lay out crescent roll dough side by side on a greased 13×18 baking sheet.
Pinch together all seams and gently roll out dough to the edges of the pan.
Top with sliced corned beef.
Top with Swiss cheese.
Top with sauerkraut.
Tightly roll up like a cinnamon bun.
Cut into slices, approximately 1 inch.
Place rolls in a greased 9×13 pan.
Melt butter and add thousand island dressing.
Whisk together until smooth.
Pour over top of the rolls.
Sprinkle caraway seeds over top of the rolls.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Enjoy this delicious meal and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

My 2-Week Meal Plan {March 4, 2017 Edition}

My 2-Week Meal Plan March-4-17-Edition

Hey Friends! Today, I’m sharing my family’s meal plan for the next 2 weeks! I know that it has been quite a while since I shared a meal plan. However, I will be starting this back up! I will be posting my family’s 2 week meal plan every other Saturday! 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-Hobo Beans, Rice
Monday-Tacos, Corn
Tuesday-Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes
Wednesday-Chili, Cornbread
Thursday-Tuna Noodle Casserole, Peas
Friday-Pizza, Salad
Saturday-Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts, Rice, Green Beans

Chili 4

Week 2
Sunday-Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Squash
Monday-Breakfast (Eggs, Toast, Corned Beef Hash)
Tuesday-Venison Hamburger Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Peas
Wednesday-Homemade Chicken Potpie
Thursday-Grocery night-We always grab something while we are out for $10 or less
Friday-Pizza, Salad
Saturday-BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

BBQ Kielbasa & RIce

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 March-4-17-Edition

4 Winter Homesteading Tasks

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You may think that when the frigid temperatures of winter have set in and the snow is piling up outside your windows that there isn’t much you can do to be productive on your homestead. On the contrary, the cold months of winter are the perfect time to buckle down and be productive. The blustery days of winter can prove to be very long, so what better time to get busy planning and preparing for the upcoming season.

Here are a few ideas on how to stay busy…

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#1 Plan Your Garden

What better way to bring some brightness and cheer to your winter day than to sit down and let your mind drift away to the warm days of spring, when you will be tilling up the fresh soil of your garden and planting the seeds that you will nurture throughout the summer. Spend some time thinking on what you picture your summer garden looking like for the coming season. Put some thought into what kind of preparations you need to make. Do you need to add compost or fertilizer to your soil? Are you thinking of expanding your garden or increasing the variety of plants this year? Write down any tasks that you need to complete in advance to prepare your garden for planting. After all, you need to have a solid base in order to have a thriving garden. Then comes the fun part, compile a list of each vegetable that you would like to plant and decide whether you want to purchase plants or seeds for each type. Any time you are making plans or setting goals, it is important to put your ideas to paper. Make a rough sketch of what you picture your garden looking like and map out where you plan to plant each vegetable. Make sure that you are allowing enough room for each type and don’t forget to leave enough space for paths in between the vegetables-you want to be able to get in to weed and to harvest!

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The next step is to pull out your stack of seed catalogs that I know you have been collecting. January is typically the time that I begin to have seed catalogs showing up in my mailbox. I love to flip through the pages, read the descriptions of each delicious variety, and choose the exact variety that’s right for my garden. My first time through the catalog, I mark each variety that I think I might like to plant. Then on my second time back through, I read and re-read the descriptions to narrow down my selection to what I am actually going to order. It’s important to pay attention to what type of soil each plant thrives in. Also, ensure that the flavor, size of fruit, color, and time to harvest are all within your desired outcome. Then I place my order and look forward to the day that the seeds will show up in my mailbox, and ultimately the day that I will be planting them in my garden!

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#2 Set Homesteading Goals for the Year

If you haven’t done this already, now is a great time to reflect on all that you accomplished in the previous year! I like to write these thoughts down in my gardening & homesteading journal. I have a simple notebook where I keep track of what we planted, what the harvest yields were and also how much this resulted in our canning & preserving. What accomplishments are you really proud of? Where did you fall short?

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Now, look to the coming year. What do you want to accomplish this year in your garden and on your homestead? Are there any home improvements you want to make? List them! Do you want to expand your garden or do you have specific goals for gardening yields? List them! Whatever your goals and aspirations are-write them down! Now, take a look at that list, make a plan and put it on paper! Break it down by month and choose specific tasks to be completed each month. If you want, you can be even more specific and break it down by week. Keep this list somewhere where you will see it often-place it on a bulletin board or in your homesteading binder. Just be sure that you don’t leave it in your notebook or stash it in a stack of papers, never to be seen or thought of again. A plan is no good if it isn’t put into action!

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#3 Read & Learn New Things

I don’t know about you, but when I think of winter, I picture myself curled up on the couch with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee while the snow falls outside the window. So of course, this is the perfect time to pull out that stack of new books and get caught up on my reading! I like to choose books that remind me of the warm days of summer and also that are going to be beneficial to me. Some topics that I like to choose from are homesteading, gardening, handmade crafts, canning and a variety other useful skills.

Reading & learning doesn’t need to stop with getting caught up on your stack of books though. Head to the internet to have an even broader selection of topics and reading material. I typically have a list of topics and tasks that I would like to learn more about. Of course, my favorite online resource is Pinterest! If you can think of a topic that you want to learn more about-you will find it on Pinterest! From there, choose several blogs on your chosen topic to visit regularly to continue expanding your knowledge on the topic.

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#4 Learn a New Task

This is also the perfect time to spend learning and practicing a new skill. Choose a new activity or hobby and dive in! Maybe you have been dying to dust off your sewing machine and really learn how to use it. Or, maybe you have a new cookbook and you want to learn how to bake your own bread from scratch. The possibilities are endless!

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What activities do you like to fill your winter days with? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below! I always love to hear from my readers!

Planning and Preparing our Vegetable Garden: Part 3

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Today, I will be sharing with you the next set of steps in the process we followed to ensure that we set ourselves up for gardening success! This is the third post in a series of four total, sharing our experience-From the planning stages through to the finished product, trouble-shooting throughout the season, and improvements we plan to make next year. So, make sure you continue to check back so you don’t miss any posts in this great gardening series!

If you missed the first post, check it out here!

If you missed the second post, check it out here!

So far we’ve covered the planning process which included planning out our garden, choosing the best location and what supplies we needed to be successful. Next we covered how we got our garden plot ready, including building our fence and preparing the soil….Now what’s left? In my personal opinion, the best part of the whole gardening process-choosing and planting our veggies and seeds!!

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This is the largest garden we have ever planted, so we had the opportunity to plant a lot more variety than we have in the past. We have a “core” group of vegetables that we like to plant every year which include tomatoes, bell peppers, kale, beets & carrots. This list also usually includes green beans-however, we still have quite a stock of these canned from previous years, so we decided to skip them this year. When you are choosing what to plant in your own garden, be sure to consider what your family likes to eat. Make sure that you choose foods that you use a lot of and your family loves to eat. Also keep in mind the quantity that would be fitting for your family! Sometimes, you can be very surprised by the quantity that even a small garden produces over the course of the summer. If there is going to be more harvest than what you can eat fresh, make sure that you have a plan in place for what you are going to do with the surplus. You can store root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, etc) in a cool dark place like a root cellar or even in your basement. Other vegetables can be preserved by canning, freezing or dehydrating. It’s important to have a plan, so that your harvest that you put so much time and effort into, doesn’t go to waste!

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We typically plant a variety of both plants and seeds. Some plants, I just find harder to start from seed because we would have to start them inside. 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.

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Let’s get right down to the details…here is what we planted…

Plants

12 Tomatoes
8 Bell Peppers
8 Kale
3 Jalapeno Peppers
Strawberries (a whole bunch!)*

Seeds

Arugula*
Swiss Chard*
Lettuce
Cucumbers*
Cantaloupe*
Delicata Squash*
Acorn Squash*
Butternut Squash*
Pie Pumpkins*
Turnips*
Beets
Carrots
Peas*
Sweet Corn

All of the vegetable listed above with an asterisk beside them are ones we were planting for the first time. As you can see, there are quite a few vegetables that we were planting for the first time this year.

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We did run into some soil drainage issues so unfortunately we did not have luck with some of our seeds. Our greens (arugula, Swiss chard and lettuce) did not come up. Our root vegetables (beets, carrots, and turnips) did not do well either. They started to come up, but then the seedlings did not survive. We planted a second round of root vegetables later in the summer. They did grow, however they did not produce very good vegetables. Even though we ran into some issues, we were still very happy with our overall results! Take a look at our garden yields…

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Tomatoes: We picked well over 14 dozen red tomatoes from our 12 tomato plants. This isn’t including the ones we picked to eat fresh, this is only counting the ones picked for canning. These were made into stewed tomatoes and tomato soup. We also picked a large quantity of green tomatoes before our first frost (not included in the total count). We made these into salsa verde.

Bell Peppers: I didn’t keep as close of a count of these but my estimate is 40-50 peppers.

Jalapeno Peppers: We picked 105 peppers from our jalapeno  plants. A portion we pickled and canned. And the second portion we smoked and ground into chipotle powder.

Potatoes: Our potatoes didn’t do extremely well, however we had enough to can some for the winter. And we also enjoyed one meal of fresh roasted potatoes! They were delicious!!

Squash: Overall, our squash plants did not do well because we got a bad case of powdery mildew pretty early into the season. I had never had issues with this before, so by the time I realized there was something wrong with my plants, it was too late and it had already destroyed the plants. This caused quite a hit to our squash yields, but we still have enough to enjoy throughout the fall! Here are the individual numbers for our squash…

Butternut Squash: 8

Acorn Squash: 2

Delicata Squash: 2

Pie Pumpkins: 2

Sweet Corn: We got 37 ears of corn! This was our first time planting corn, so that was an exciting result!! Some of them were pretty small but we still harvested enough to have one fresh meal of grilled corn and some to freeze for the winter!

Kale & Peas: These I do not have an exact “harvest” amount on. We just cut these as they were ready to eat and had a pretty steady supply throughout the entire summer!

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Check back soon! Part 4 will be covering how we resolved the issues that we ran into throughout the season. I will also share what improvements we plan to make next year to have better results!

What are your favorite fruits or vegetables to plant in your garden? What are your tips & tricks for planning & preparing your vegetable garden? Share your thoughts in the comments below-I love to hear from my readers!

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Bringing Home Baby: 4 Tips To Make Your First Week Easier

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It has officially been 1 full week since we brought home our first baby from the hospital! It has been an incredible week filled with both highs and lows, and I wouldn’t change a second of it. Our first week has truly been a week of learning and adjustment. But overall, I feel like it has gone smoothly, without too many bumps in the road! Today, I want to share what I’ve learned and my advice to any first-time expectant moms on their journey to motherhood in the hopes that it may make your first weeks a little bit easier!!

#1 Ask Questions!

While you are in the hospital, take advantage of the knowledge and experience that you are surrounded by. (After all, a few short days after giving birth you are sent home and expected to do this all on your own without the constant 24-hour help and advice of your doctors and nurses.) I am very thankful that I did this and have felt much more confident as a new mom back at home because of it. I asked every single, silly, little question that came to my mind before I left the hospital. There was a wealth of knowledge at my finger tips: from educational videos available for me to watch from the comfort of my bed, to nursery nurses who were willing to teach me one-on-one how to do anything from cleaning my baby’s umbilical cord to how to bathe him, and of course the patient & knowledgeable nurses who answered my one million questions about how to care for both myself and my newborn when we returned home. And to go along with this, remember to take a notebook to write down all of the answers to your questions. You may think that you’ll remember everything, but trust me, those first few days postpartum are a blur and you will be glad that you wrote everything down once you return home!

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#2 Prepare Ahead of Time!

You will be glad that you did! I put quite a bit of thought and effort into preparing ahead of time to ensure that our return home and first few weeks postpartum would go smoothly. Here are a few things that I did ahead of time that I was so glad that I did:

Meal Preparation: If you know me at all, you know I can’t go without talking about meal planning! The month prior to my due date, (with the help of my mom) I prepared a bunch of freezer meals so that dinner time would go smoothly in the first several weeks! I am so glad that I did this! It has made dinner time a breeze and both my husband and myself have really been enjoying having a hot, homemade meal for dinner every night!

Keep the House Clean: In the weeks leading up to your due date, try to keep the house clean and in order because you never know when the moment will come for your little bundle of joy to enter the world! Your last few weeks of pregnancy, you will definitely be tired and exhausted, so don’t overdo it. Pace yourself and just do a few things a day. I don’t know about you, but if I have tasks undone, it stresses me out! It is much less stressful to know that you don’t have anything hanging over your head and everything at home is in good order for you to return home to.

Relax and Rest: Make sure that in your flurry of nesting in your final days of pregnancy that you don’t forget to take time to prop up your feet and rest! After all, these may be your last days to get a long afternoon nap, watch an uninterrupted movie or get a full nights sleep! Take advantage and rest your body for the marathon of labor, delivery and newborn care that is right around the corner!!

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#3 Have Confidence in Yourself!

You can do this mama! Yes, there is a lot to know and so many worries and questions running through your mind, but you can do this!! You are strong and capable and before you know it, you will be a pro! You were made to do this and so much of it will come as instinct to you! But when you have a moment of doubt, call your mom, a mom-friend or your pediatrician to answer those nagging questions!

#4 Accept Help When Offered!

When friends and family offer you a helping hand, by all means, accept their help! Whether it is picking up a few groceries for you or running the vacuum while they are over for a visit, take advantage of your loved one’s generosity. You will be focusing on caring for your baby and your own recovery, so this is one time in your life when it will be impossible to keep up with your normal tasks and errands. Accept other’s help, you’ll be glad you did!

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And one final thought, make sure you take time to enjoy every single second! I speak from experience! This first week has flown by entirely too fast! Treasure & cherish every single second of this experience because you will never get it back. Just consciously pause often and remind yourself what is going on! In the moments of a contraction ripping through your body, you don’t think you will ever be sad that this moment has passed. But, you will be. These moments pass too quickly, so be sure to pause and enjoy! From the first contraction, to the first cries of your little one, to your first night at home: pause, soak up the joy & excitement of each moment, and remember to cherish each and every second with your little one. Because time is so fleeting and before you know it, you will be longing to relive those times!

These are just a few things that I could think of and I’m barely scratching the surface. I’m sure that there are many more pieces of advice that I could give. I am definitely not a professional in this subject but just wanted to share my thoughts after experiencing my first week as a mom! It has been exciting, rewarding and so very fulfilling! I am excited about this journey of motherhood that I have begun and look forward to the many special moments that lie ahead of me!

What are your memories from your first week with your first child? What lessons did you learn? What surprised you most? Share your thoughts and comments below in the comments, I love to hear from my readers!

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