Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A New Adventure: Selling the Homestead

Yes, it's true. We have put the homestead up for sale.

"Amy, are you insane? What are you thinking?"

Well, there are a few reasons actually. And it's not something that we just decided to do on the spur of the moment. It's been a topic of conversation for several years in our home. In fact, we had it on the market 3 years ago, but decided to stay and plow through some challenges. But the Lord has clearly shown us that He has another plan for us.

1. Downsizing. Our family will only get smaller in the next few years, not larger. When we built this house, our family was in a period of expansion. That time is over and has come to a close. This home is definitely an asset for a large family.

2. Health. If you've been a reader here for a while, you know my husband has a chronic health issue that makes keeping a large home a challenge. I'm no spring chick either! And as our own chicks fly the coop, it's just more  house than we'll need. The garden is big, the coop is big, the property is big. Perfect for a bunch of kids to conquer or a young couple to develop. I had wanted to plant a small apple orchard out back, build a gazebo at the top of the hill, add a barn, etc. While the zoning doesn't allow for commercial businesses to operate on the property, one could still harvest an apple crop and take it elsewhere to trade or sell.

3. Debt. We are just one step away from being totally 100% debt free. Yes... we can smell it!!! And we want it. Our mortgage is the last thing to pay off. We are very blessed NOT to be upside down in our house - we built when the market was down and not inflated. So by selling and buying or building a smaller home, we can pay cash.

So, I look at this as a new adventure. An opportunity to try something new. We're not giving up on homesteading. Not in the least! But it will be smaller in scale... otherwise, not much will change. In fact, we plan to stay in the area because we love it so much here!

It would totally bless my heart to see someone with a passion for homesteading living in this house. I'm sure it would make the transition so much easier, knowing Sweetwater Farm would have the same love and attention. If you're looking for a homestead you can sink your roots into, perhaps this may be just the place! (See more photos and specifics HERE; for Farmhouse Tour Photos click HERE; for more on Bear Valley Springs visit the site at http://www.bvsa.org/)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Welcome, Little Ones!


Sunday, August 18, 2013
Shadow Hills Frieda

Two DARLING bucks!

Momma and kids are doing great. More cute-ness to follow soon, I'm sure! But here's a few more for now... because I can't resist!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Gluten Free Lasagna

Ever since I was fifteen I have been put on different diets to try to fix some medical issues. In the last year I have been cutting out gluten which has helped, but as usual my options have become limited. Most restaurants, family recipes, and entire food groups present a problem for me and many others. Because of this, I have been compiling healthy, filling, and delicious recipes that my entire family can enjoy. 

What is Gluten?
I get this question on a regular basis. Gluten actually comes from the Latin word for glue. It is part of the protein that helps dough stick together. It is in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It also contains protein. 
There are several different types of medical issues related to gluten which are usually divided between sensitivity and allergy. Celiac disease is one of these medical issues that is relatively well known. Those who have this or other brands of gluten intolerance can not even eat food that has been cross contaminated. It can make someone a little paranoid. 

  • 1 eggplant 
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 summer squash
  • 1 1/4 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes or 4 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 container (15 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Peel off and feed to chickens thin slice from sides of eggplant. Cut eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash crosswise into thin (1/8 - 1/4 inch) slices; set aside. 
I find the best way to do this is by using a long serrated knife like a bread knife and start by slicing through the middle. This give you an even flat surface to work with. This is a great midsummer recipe, but we are still harvesting the last of our zucchini so we get to enjoy it into November. 

2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef; cook 8-10 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally to break up meat. remove from skillet; drain fat.
         This is the best time to get your layering station set up with the grated cheeses, a spatula, and  enough room to maneuver your meat sauce pan. 

3. Add bell peppers and mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Return sausage to skillet. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices, and herbs; cook and stir over medium- heat 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
        The first time I made this I used cubanelle peppers which gave the dish a little more zing. Early in the bell pepper season my boss sent me home with two bushels of cosmetically challenged bell peppers, so I chopped them up and froze them. Bell peppers are a more dry vegetable, so even when they are frozen they break apart from a block of peppers easily. 

4. Layer one third of eggplant, zucchini and summer squash in 13x9 inch pan. Spread half of ricotta cheese over vegetables and the mozzarella . Top with one third of tomato sauce mixture. Repeat layers once ending with final layer of vegetables and tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; cover pan with foil.

      Ricotta cheese is a little tricky. It is very wet, so put a little olive oil on your fingers to help you spread it out evenly over the veggies. Fortunately it melts, so even if you don’t get cheese everywhere, the oven will fix it. 

5. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake, uncovered, 10- 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

There will be a lot of residual liquid, so just make sure you don’t lose a layer of goodness at the bottom of your pan. Serve and enjoy!


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