Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Portable Seed Cart

Since we are starting our garden entirely from seeds this year, we needed a good way to get our early starts in and out of the house.  While we could just carry them in and out every day, we wanted something that they could not only be stored on, but something that could be easily moved from the house to the deck.

This was a fairly quick project for Jason and, he had everything except one board on hand for the cart.  He knew that this cart would need to handle a fair amount of weight so since he didn't have any thick boards laying around, he purchased one from Home Depot.  I didn't measure the thickness of it, but I would say it's about 3/4" thick.

This was the perfect size to hold four of the seedling trays we are using (similar ones can be found here). 

Then, he drilled holes into each corner for the legs.  The legs came from an old rotted table that was left at our house when we moved in.  The legs were in good shape and Jason just *knew* they'd come in handy at some point so he kept them around.  He was right!


Once the legs were drilled into the bottom, it was time to get the top "shelf" on.  For this one he used a piece of wood that we already had in the garage.

The top shelf isn't as thick as the bottom so he drilled a piece of wood vertically in between the two to reinforce the top.


And, voila!  It was finished!

He brought it inside and we loaded it up with our seeds and plants.


We wanted something under the trays to protect the wood from any water that may leak out of the cells, so we just laid a few trash bags underneath.

It's working so great and is so much easier to transport the seeds out onto the deck.  Jason does it again!

~ Sara :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pot Pie (Vegetable or Chicken)

Pot pie is a huge hit in our house.  It's something that I can easily make for everyone - vegetarian for me and meat for the family.  It's fairly fast to whip up, full of veggies and so comforting! 

This is one recipe that I get some help from frozen veggies from.  You could definitely use all fresh (and I have, and it's even more delicious), but all the washing, peeling, chopping, etc. just adds a lot more time.  And, this tends to be a meal I make on nights where I don't have a whole lot of time.  This is just my basic recipe - feel free to change it up!  

Pot Pie
Serves 4-6


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced (optional)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more as needed
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
16 oz frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, green beans, and carrots)
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 batch The Easiest Buttermilk Drop Biscuits*


1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Heat a large skillet (I use either a 10 inch or 12 inch cast iron pan that I bake the pot pie in as well) over medium heat and add the butter.  If using chicken, add the chicken and cook until it is almost cooked through.  Add the potatoes and onions and coat in the butter.  Cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium low and allow the potatoes and onions to steam and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just beginning to be tender.

2.  Add in the frozen veggies, thyme, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.  Add another tablespoon of butter and, once melted, sprinkle the flour over the veggie mixture.  Coat all the veggies with the flour and cook until you can no longer see the flour, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the vegetable broth, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer until nice and thick with a gravy-like consistency.  Top the pot pie filling with the drop biscuits (if transferring the pot pie to another baking dish, do so before topping them).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pot pie is bubbly and biscuits are brown.  Serve and enjoy!


*  This pot pie is also great with a pie crust on top - even better if the pie crust is sprinkled with coarse salt and pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese!  :)

~ Sara :)

The Easiest Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

The title of these biscuits is not deceiving.  They really are super easy, super fast, and super delicious.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good old fashioned Buttermilk Biscuit that needs to be rolled and cut, but sometimes, mama ain't got time for that!

This recipe is from one of my all time favorite shows - America's Test Kitchen - if it's coming from them, you know it's gotta be good.  These are great as is, by themselves.  They don't even need any extra butter (although, extra butter never hurts!).  But, my go-to use for them is as a topping for my Pot Pie.

Makes approximately 1 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp sugar 
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 cup cold buttermilk 
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tbsp melted butter (optional)


1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, combine the buttermilk and melted and cooled butter and mix until the butter begins to coagulate.  

2.  Add the buttermilk/butter mixture to the flour and mix until it all comes together to form a sticky dough.  They then can either be scooped onto a parchment/silpat lined baking sheet or, used my preferred way, as a pot pie topper. 

3.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown if baking alone, 25-30 minutes if they are being baked on top of a pot pie.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter if desired.  Enjoy!

~ Sara :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Weekend Recap!

We had another busy, full weekend last weekend!

Friday was a special day - it was Jason's birthday!  Neither of our kids had school (because it was also Good Friday), so we spent the morning birthday shopping for Jason and baking his birthday cake.  Then, we went down to his office, picked him up, and took him out to lunch.  We always love seeing him during lunch on a work day!

Once we got back, the kids and I got busy with coloring Easter eggs - we colored them with turmeric, purple cabbage, onion skins, and beets.  They turned out great!

The kids headed outside to play and I got a few things prepped for Jason's birthday dinner.  Once I was done with that, I joined the kidlets outside to get the first round of our seeds started!

Jason got home, grabbed the kids and took them to a park for a bit while I finished planting and started dinner.  We had a great night with our little family and Jason's parents celebrating his 36th trip around the sun :)


Saturday was a beauuuuuutiful day outside!  Perfect day to get things done on our little homestead. 

One of the more exciting things that happened over the weekend?  We found out we have a family of Gardner snakes living under the deck.  And they keep scaring the shit out of me!  :)


Jason, as usual, did a ton of work outside.  He finished moving sand from around our fire pit, bagging it up and transferring some to the kids' sandbox. 

I put my focus on weeding our small rhubarb bed which, took ten times longer to weed than our larger rhubarb bed did the previous weekend.  It may be smaller, but there are more plants and a lot of baby plants that I had to work around.  Fingers crossed for lots of rhubarb this year!


We've got more asparagus popping up, too!


I then moved inside to do boring things (i.e. - laundry and cooking) and Jason hooked up the trailer and headed to Home Depot with the kids.  He came back with fence posts for our little orchard.

He got all of the fence except for the gate put up before he was done for the day.  He even got our bat house put up!  We are really hoping we get some bats to move in.  From the research we've done, we have a perfect location for them.


Sunday was Easter! 


We started our morning with a very early wakeup call from Redmond ;)  We managed to keep him occupied for an hour and then we let him go wake up Ashlyn so they could check out their Easter baskets and go on the egg hunt that the Easter bunny had left for them.




They were occupied all morning (and, actually are still occupied) with the fun toys (mainly Shopkins) they got in the baskets and from the egg hunt.  We waited for Jason's parents to come over and, once they did, Jason and I went outside to hide another batch of eggs for them to find with grandma and grandpa.




After their last egg hunt was over, it was time for brunch!  You know, we try not to take too many things seriously here at the Hayes Homestead, but one thing we do take seriously?  Our food!


After brunch, we all loaded in the car and headed to Jason's grandmother's house for more family time and a delicious Easter dinner.  No pictures from that adventure, but it was a great time.  The kids had second cousins to play with, there was good conversations, laughs and great food.

Another great, productive weekend in the books! 

~ Sara :)