Beginning Frustrations

Howdy folks!

Here in Alberta it has been slipping into fall (haha…I made a joke). In fact, today, I pulled out my fall decorations for the house. I have bits of orange and yellow all over the place; ranging from leaves, to pumpkins, to candles, and my own home grown sunflowers are sporting their last colors in a vase on Josh’s lifelike truck on my kitchen table!

Heading into fall in September seems ridiculous to me! This Arizona, born and raised, girl is used to high temperatures through September and even the first little bit of October. So the act of getting ready for winter this early, and a harsher winter at that, is completely foreign to me! But with plants already dying, or climbing back down into their roots, I cannot deny the cooler temps anymore.

We do not have any animals yet here on the homestead so it is a little bit less to do to get ready for the coming cold than say, for my sister in law and her animals. She has so many different kind of animals and all require wintering prep. So while I envy her in the fact she has a set up homestead, I am relieved that for our first real Alberta winter I do not have the added stress of making sure animals survive the cold.

However, that being said, there are some things we do need to get done before those below freezing temps stick around. All the plants I had planted for the season need to be rooted up as I did not plant perennials this year. Then all the fallen leaves and branches need to be cleaned up outta the front lawn so there is no worry of spring cleaning.

I am actually looking forward to winter this year. It will give me extra time to be indoors and be able to work on this blog. Winter will also give me a longer time to train our dog and get a home established before the dog gets to be free outside. There will be sooo much extra time during the cold months I will be able to focus a bit more on the making things from scratch portion of my homesteading dream. Expect lots of breads, soups, and the like, during the next few months.

Currently, I am working on several income bringing projects that I can do from home. I have about five main ideas to go off of. If you guys work from home and are able to bring in a somewhat (seasonal depending) stable income, would you mind commenting and letting me know what it is? Would you guys be down for a bit of a collabaration?

The title of this post is accurate. There are so many frustrations that you come into while trying to upstart a homestead. I was expecting to be somewhat frustrated with maybe like prices and not being able to find exactly what I wanted for the chicken coop. I was even expecting a bit of trouble with getting the hubby on board with all I wanted to do! The single frustration that I did NOT account for, was the frustration that comes with our online presence! Instagram has been my favorite outlet for our homestead journey. I have shared recipes, tips, photos, and life experiences on there. But recently, instagram has decided to sideline my account for some reason. So for now, I am sticking to stories on there and posting a little more frequently on here! I do enjoy writing on word press, however, my favorite is still instagram, and I am hoping to resolve the issue without having to make a new account.

Bottom line ya’ll, be praying for me and instagram to reslove this quickly!!

God bless and hopefully, I will come up with a slogan before long!

How difficult is a name???

Just a quick little note!! So it will usually be me, Abby, writing our homestead blog posts but Josh may occasionally pop in and say hey too!!

As a couple, we have been dreaming together of one day owning and operating our own little hobby farm\homestead. I think we never really thought we would get to live our dream as we are now. Over the course of those years spent in Langley we dreamed big and prayed we could get to live out the dreams we planned. Every day coming home to our little town house was actually a blessing! Instead of being thrown into all this on a whim, we were able to plan out a bit of what we would eventually like to do, without having the ability to do it at that moment in time. All the research we did during that time, without being able to just jump in, probably will end up saving us both time and money on things that we may have otherwise jumped into too quickly.

We have planned out a good majority of what the next five years, Lord willing, will look like for us here on the homestead. A few different types of animals will come eventually to the stead. The garden situation will be better organized hopefully sooner rather than later. Josh will be building a shop some where on the property. There are a few things in the house that need to be updated or just refinished. Landscaping will be high on the priority list. Expanding the orchard will take a few years to establish but it will get done. But although we have the majority of things planned there is one important detail we have yet to decide on….WE DO NOT HAVE A NAME FOR OUR HOMESTEAD!!!!!!

Most of our downtime on the weekends is spent discussing the possible names for our little slice of heaven! We do not really want to use our name in the name but would rather have something a little unique. It seems like a lot of hobby farmers and homesteaders find their name relatively easy but not us! But it does seem like one is going to be claimed before too long! We will have a name before any business sales start going from here because we will need a distinguishable name for people to tell others!!

In the comments please tell me about your homestead name, and how you came to that name! Have any suggestions on how to narrow it down in choices??

One Next Step

Have any of you every started walking down a path in life without knowing where it is gonna end up? That is what we did when we moved here!! We knew we were supposed to move here but we had no idea what would come when we did. It was like God was holding a lamp for us, and it didn’t show where we would end up like we sometimes would like, but rather it showed us the one next step He wanted us to take.

Each step we would take was a step of faith.

Even then, the world decided to try to make us doubt our Lamp’s Light. Covid hit the world stage four weeks after our move, two weeks after Josh got a job. We were still living with his sister, praying that God blesses them a little extra this year for putting up with us, and we had only received one paycheck since we had been here.

I know everyone got hit hard, people lost their jobs, some lost their homes, and some lost loved ones. I pray for those people every time I think of them.

But I can honestly say we have been blessed anyway. God provided Josh with work that was day to day, we never knew if he would get called in again or not. But every day was…just one more step. We were not sure if we should continue to look for a house in the midst of the pandemic….just one more step. We lived in the suite at Josh’s sisters place for a month and a half and we did not know what to do for sure….just one more step. We decided to unpack our last couple boxes in the suite…one more step. Then two weeks after that last box we went to look at a house…we were not sure about it but started the paperwork for the sale anyways…one more step.

Then there was this house, one we had driven by at the very beginning of the year. We were feeling uncertain about the house we had begun the paperwork for so we decided we would go look at this place even though it was slightly out of our price range….one next step.

Sunday morning arrives and we get to go view this house at eleven in the morning….one next step. By two that afternoon we put in an offer. We prayed throughout that day and the next that the Lord would have His perfect will with the house. By Him working in mysterious ways and against all odds….our one next step…He gave us our new home!

Ever since we have been in this house, you would think the “next steps
would have at least slowed down a bit. But they have not. Every day is a new one next step that God is asking us to take. That next step is always different. Sometimes that step is a financial step (free plug here for Dave Ramsey, if you don’t know who he is or what he does ya’ll need to find out!) and God requires of us something in that area. Or there have been a few relationship next one steps that have happened for us too! Each next step can be something different but it is always God leading us in the direction He has for us. All He asks is that we trust Him and obey. It is our prayer that we will always be willing to take that next one step with Him by our side.

So friends, let me encourage you today. I cannot tell you what your life will hold or what the future will bring, but if you know God like we do, be willing to take that one next step. Even if that step is to step out of the boat and walk on water!

Egg and Veggie Ramekin

This is such an easy peasy and delicious dish! I love to prep this Saturday night, that way, it is ready to pop in the oven for a busy Sunday morning! If you use a ramekin, it is super easy to eat on the road too! While making this I used my sis in laws farm fresh eggs, and they happened to be on the small size, so I actually ended up using at least one more egg per dish than the actual recipe. As long as your eggs are medium sized though you should be fine just sticking to the amount here. Enjoy!

  • Medium Ramekin dishes used for this recipe*

Serves 7

14 eggs

2 jalepenos

2 mini bell peppers

1\2 c. white onion

1\2 c. tomatoe

3\4 c. cubed cooked ham

3 large cloves garlic

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

3 Tb. sour cream

1 Tb Chile. powder

1 Tb Paprika

1\2 Tb Coriander

1\2 Tb Cumin

1\2 Tb black pepper

*optional*

*1\4 Tb Spicy Garlic Pepper Sea Salt

*1 tsp. Cayenne

Prep.

  1. Whisk all eggs and sour cream together in a bowl till all yolks are broken. Set aside.
  2. Shred cheddar cheese and set aside
  3. Dice all veggies up and set aside in a bowl
  4. Mince garlic and mix in with veggies.
  5. Cut up ham into 1\2 in. cubes (or however you prefer, as long as they fit in the ramekin:)) and set aside in a bowl
  6. Mix all spices together in a bowl till evenly distributed and then add to eggs and whisk again till evenly mixed.

*If you are prepping the night before, keep the veggies, ham, cheese, and eggs in separate bowls. Add 1\2 Tb of flour to the cheese, mix in well, to keep cheese from clumping together in the morning. Keep the bowls of all the food covered and in the fridge over night.*

**Do not prep and put in ramekin bowls if prepping over night**

***Very Important: DO NOT pull ramekin bowls from refrigerator and put into oven. Ramekins must be room temperature or slightly warmer***

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Butter or oil ramekins so the egg will not stick after being cooked in them
  3. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese (just a pinch really) on the bottom of each ramekin
  4. Split up the veggies and ham, and some of the cheddar cheese, between the ramekins how you like, making sure they are mixed up together in the ramekins.
  5. Pour the egg mixture, evenly distributed among the seven ramekins, over the veggie, ham, and cheese mixed in the ramekin. Make sure the egg covers all of the mix in the bowl.
  6. Use remaining cheese to top the egg in all of the ramekins.
  7. Put ramekins in the oven ( place either foil or a baking sheet below ramekins, as sometimes cheese bubbles over and you don’t want that on the bottom of the oven)
  8. Bake for 25-30 mins.
  9. Serve and eat hot!

*Use any veggies in substitution

*Use any meat instead of ham

*Try a different cheese

*Also could be made in a muffin pan instead of ramekin, but you will need to adjust the cooking time as they will cook much faster

 

Intentional Living

Growing up, we often listened to Family Life Radio. Adventures in Odyssey, Jungle Jam, and other children’s shows were our kids favorite things to listen to on Saturday mornings. Then we would come to listening to The Rest of the Story with Paul Harvey; whose stories, even though he has been gone for awhile now, are still with me. Then there was Dr Randy Carlson who had a podcast about intentional living. Believe it or not, from a very young age, the word he used over and over again had a strong effect on me. Intentional: done on purpose, deliberate or calculated. He would go on about how we, as Christians especially, need to be intentional in our daily lives. Every single moment, every decision, every breath needs to be put towards something. But he was not the first to say these things.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Right there….in all your ways. That is literally every single aspect of your life. It needs to be intentional.

Living an Intentional Life is not only for living the faith but also can be applied to any life. I am striving to be intentional in this blog and with my cooking in my own home. Intentionally choosing the best ingredients, buying from local farms and venues, while also not breaking my grocery budget. I am intentionally writing these posts to be helpful to others and not just a glory ride. Maybe even a bit to share my faith on here to help some one else with theirs.

So anyways, that my weekly non cooking or food related post. Coming up, more recipes and kitchen tips! Next week I will be doing a give away so make sure to be checking here every day to get in asap! Also, make sure to follow joyfulcookin7 on Instagram for even more of a chance to WIN!!!

Stuffed Mini Peppers

1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp onion powder 
1 tsp thyme 
1 tsp sage
6 cloves garlic
A pinch of fennel seeds
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
680 ml tomato sauce 🥫
ground beef (amount is chefs choice)🥩
20 small/medium bell peppers
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1\2 c. cooked rice (I used white rice but you can use whatever you have)

1. Cook beef and mix in half the spices amounts🍳

2. Mix the tomato sauce, cooked rice, rest of the spices, and garlic, into the cooked ground beef. Keep warm until later.🍚

3. Cut tops off of bell peppers and clear out the centers. 🔪🔪

4. Spoon sauce and beef mixture into hollowed peppers🌶🥄

5. Set the peppers up right in a pan (use toothpicks or i put skewers through the peppers and set the ends on the side of the pan)

6. Sprinkle mozzarella over the tops of the peppers🧀

7. Bake at 350° for 20 mins🔥🔥

💥Eat hot!!!💥

🍄🍄For vegetarian version use tofu or mushrooms instead of beef.
Optional: top, after cheese, crumbled bacon 🥓🧀

In the Beginning…

My culinary interests have been with me for as long as I can remember. More than likely my first cooking memory was watching my mom put together dinners for the family. Moms have a tough situation when they have a large family, like ours. There were five kids. The table was always full of laughter and extremely delicious food, however, my brothers were rather picky when it came to vegetables….especially the green ones. But my mom was creative. She would take ingredients and turn them into the most fascinating meals (and the boys never knew there were vegetables hidden underneath the pile of food they were digging into)! Dinners varied from Thai to Mexican to country fried steaks. Always quick to teach us kids when we were around, my mom would often have us help or even cook the entire meal if we were old enough to hold a knife. Even if I could not help, I was always ready to lick spoons and sneak bites when she wasn’t looking. Dreams of one day cooking like her, and having my food taste just as good as hers, has always been on my heart!

I guess I can safely say my Mom was definitely my first inspiration when it came to the kitchen. It was always fun in the kitchen. There is the very old fashioned joke about the woman’s place being in the kitchen, but to my way of thinking everyone’s place is in the kitchen! That’s where the food is!!!

Now that I am married and live quite far from my mom, I have had to change much of the way I cook. Learning how to navigate the picky eater menu that my husband will only eat from, has made me wiser and more careful on what I cook, and how I prepare it. I have taken a few pages from my moms tip book when it comes to hiding the healthy food inside something yummy so my hubby won’t know the difference.

I moved countries a few years ago which meant a good amount the ingredients and portions of things I was used to being able to have back home in Arizona, were not always able to be found at my new local grocery stores. Fry’s Foods was no longer around the corner. Chorizo and beans were not available next door to me anymore. Instead I had to navigate the Canadian Superstore and Save on. Learning a new grocery system and finding out I couldn’t find half the food I was used to was stressful, I’ll be honest. Who puts sour cream in milliliters instead of ounces?? Or how do I know how many liters of milk I need when I need a gallon of milk a week? The first few months of grocery shopping did not go well….especially for portions. As time has gone on, I have found my way around a bit better. So happy that now I know that there is a specialty shop not too far away that is run by a sweet Hispanic familia that is always stocking chorizo, corn tortillas, and lucas pops. Plus, they make fresh menudo and Pasoli every Saturday, which helps when I am longing for home.

So I suppose this is my introduction of myself to you. I am no expert by any means but, I do love to cook healthy and yummy food. Some of my favorite chefs that have helped to shape my way of cooking Chef Bobby Flay and Ree Drummond. I love the spices and chiles of Flay’s dishes, alongside the down home-ness and easy to do foods of Drummond. Hope you find my recipes yummy and my insight helpful!! Feel free to leave comments! Follow me on instagram! Check out my facebook page!