Cooking on the Woodstove

I love cooking on the woodstove. It is a wonderful stove top and saves on running the conventional range-top burner. I have a step-top woodstove and after some testing, I have found the heat levels for cooking on it. If I have a gentle fire going as shown in the photo, the lower level is medium to high heat temperature. This is a good location for starting a pot of soup or stew to get it boiling. Check your pot often as the heat can be very hot and you don’t want to burn your food or boil over the pot.

Once I have my pot of soup hot, I move it up on top for low heat cooking. I can leave my pot of soup simming here for hours. Do check the heat if you build up your fire as it can still get pretty hot on this top shelf of a woodstove.

I find if my soup pot gets too cold, I can always move the pot to the lower level to get the pot hot again and I do this also before serving the soup.

All woodstoves vary and cooking on them takes some time and testing to perfect your skills. My main advice is to Continue Reading →


Split Pea Ham Soup

After a recent potluck at work, there was a leftover ham bone with lots of meat on it. I asked and no one seemed to want it so I cut off the leftover ham from the bone. The result was about 2 cups of cut up ham perfect for making split pea ham soup. Here is just half of the ham I saved from the potluck

My homemade split pea ham soup recipe is very basic and easy. Here is my recipe.

One large pot filled with 8 cups of water
Add 1 cup or more of cut up ham leftovers
Add 1/2 lb of split peas which have been washed and sorted
Add 1 small diced onion
Add 1 carrot diced (about 1/2 cup)
Add one peeled potato
Add salt and pepper as desired and more as it cooks as needed

Bring to light boil and then cook for 2-3+ hours on low-medium heat. I actually put the covered pot on top of my woodstove to let it sim for hours before I served it. My recipe makes about 4+ large bowls of finished soup.

Soup just starting with all the ingredients added.

Soup cooking and you can see my potato got so tender that it split in half. Continue Reading →


Recycled Christmas Decorations

Here are some useful ways to recycle and reuse old Christmas cards. One idea to reuse Christmas cards is to craft them into new Christmas ornaments. I love to take the old cards and crochet around the edges with yarn. Here are a few examples of recycled Christmas ornaments.

Here is the tutorial with step by step instructions how to make your own recycled ornaments from old Christmas cards.

If you don’t want to crochet around the edges, you can always just stitch around the edges with a needle and thread such as this ornament.

Another idea is to make gift tags from the old cards. You can either use a template to cut out the tags using scissors or use a store-bought tag maker to punch out the tags. Here are some gift tags I punched out using a tag maker.

Here are more examples of recycled Christmas ornaments made from old cards. Continue Reading →


Halloween with less Trick-or-Treat Trash

Halloween is a fun time for the kids and adults too. It is also a holiday filled with lots of trash. Leftover trash includes everything from plastic candy bags, pumpkins, paper banners, candy wrappers, other decorations and costume castoffs. So as another Halloween approaches, here are a few useful ideas for making Halloween a bit greener.

Use a reusable bag for Halloween candy. Kids can choose to use a recycled or reusable candy bag such as one made from recycled plastic bag like this one from MyRecycledBags. Here is the link to the pattern and details for crocheting this cool orange candy basket.

Party favors can be made by recycling things like yogurt cups into little candy holders. Let the kids decorate the items and have fun with the crafting project.

How about all those plastic bags that candy comes in? Well that plastic can be recycled so don’t throw it in the trash. Save it and either drop it into your curbside recycle bin or a nearby store’s plastic recycle container.

Same goes for those paper decorations and banners that you either can’t or won’t be reusing next year. Recycle them in your paper or plastic recycle bins so they don’t end up in the landfill.

What about those leftover pumpkins? If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has a Zoo, Continue Reading →


Potato Bacon Soup from Home Food Storage

I have been enjoying potato bacon soup that I make from my home storage food reserves. I thought I’d post about using Augason creamy potato soup mix. I have a few #10 cans of this soup mix and love using it to make my potato bacon soup. This is not a paid review for Augason’s but rather just my unsolicited opinion of the product.

They say you should use and perfect your cooking with home storage foods and that’s just how I discovered my version of this potato bacon soup.

I use 1-1/3 cups of the soup mix, along with the recommended 4-1/2 cups of water. But then I add several dashes of Worcestershire sauce, several dashes of pepper, at least a cup of cut-up potatoes, and finally about 4-5 slices of cooked bacon.

Chopped up the bacon into small bits as shown.

I throw it all in my crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours and then just on low until ready to eat.

Results are outstanding and makes enough homemade soup for at least 2 meals for hubby and I.



Just wanted to share a photo of my tomatoes that I harvested today. I have several containers of tomatoes growing this year. The tomatoes are starting to ripen and here is today’s little bounty.

These homegrown tomatoes have just the best taste. Not like some of the plastic-tasting tomatoes you buy in the store. Anyway, we are just loving our tomatoes and still have more green ones on the vines that hopefully will ripen soon.