Category Archives: Blog Posts

Holiday Cooking Shortcuts, Tips & Recipes

by Tammy Taylor~

The holidays are quickly approaching, y’all. This time of year is filled with many gatherings of friends and family, along with lots of good food. In our family we take turns hosting our family celebrations. The host family typically provides the main dish and all the guests bring their favorite side dish or dessert. That means there’s ALWAYS lots to eat during our big gatherings!

So I thought it would be helpful to share some holiday cooking tips & recipes that we typically enjoy during the holidays.

Are you hosting your family's holiday celebration this year? I'm sharing my favorite holiday cooking tips & quick & easy recipes. #TexasHomesteader

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Want A Glimpse Into Our Texas Homestead?

~by Tammy Taylor~

Years ago RancherMan & I started down this winding path to voluntary simplicity. Now I enjoy writing about our lives here on our beautiful NE Texas Homestead. There’s always something going on here! On any given day there may be garden planting or food preservation tasks.  The joy of a brand new baby calf, or the fun of dealing with our quirky free-range chickens. There’s cooking healthy meals from scratch and especially being careful with our precious natural resources. We’re doing more with less!

And of course RancherMan’s filled with inventiveness as he figures out different ways to keep our monthly expenditures low.  Oh, and I love to share the beautiful views around our homestead too.

My hope is that with this site I can inspire others who are also on a simple path.

Won’t you follow along with us?

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I love writing about our lives here on our NE Texas Homestead. My hope is that I can inspire others who are also on a simple path, won't you follow along?


Roasted Vegetables – A Quick, Easy, Healthy Side Dish

by Tammy Taylor~

When I invite my parents for dinner, RancherMan often grills the main entree outside.  There might be grilled chicken, steak or pork. It will be delicious of course, but what will I make to go with it?

This is my mom’s (and RancherMan’s) favorite side dish.  I’m lucky it’s so quick, so easy, yet so healthy. Roasted vegetables.

Roasted Vegetables are a quick & easy healthy dish. Just chop the veggies, add salt & pepper, coat with olive oil & roast until done! #TexasHomesteader

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Homestead Hack: Cleaning A Narrow-Neck Jar

by Tammy Taylor~

Don’t you hate to have a narrow-neck jar that you just can’t reach with a bottle brush to clean? I’ve often wondered how you could effectively clean those wonderful but odd-shaped bottles & jars.  You see, my sun tea is always brewed in a repurposed salsa jar.  It’s the perfect glass jar to use, partially because it’s hourglass shaped.  That shape makes it much easier to grip and safely carry to the picnic table outside to brew our sun tea.

But although I love the shape of the jar, it does make it very difficult to clean.  Of course I rinse it well after brewing my tea. But over time I start to see tea stains on the inside glass. So I sat out to find a good way to get the tea stains out for a crystal clear glass jar, ready to make sun tea again & again. Check out this Homestead Hack, y’all!

Tip for cleaning a narrow-neck jar. This narrow-neck jar was an odd shape so a bottle brush didn't help. But check out this Homestead Hack to get the job done! #TexasHomesteader

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Cute Decorative Pillow Made With A Flannel Shirt

by Tammy Taylor~

Fall is here, y’all! Now I know some folks relish in changing the decor for their homes or porch with each changing season. Although it looks great, seasonal decor changing has never appealed to me. I guess I’m just not a Pinterest-worthy decorator.  LOL

But still, there’s just something about the arrival of cool temperatures after a long, blisteringly-hot summer…  I started getting the hankering for some cute flannel and/or plaid accents. So I thought it would be fun to make flannel-shirt decorative pillows for our guest bedroom.  It was easy, even for my novice sewing skills. And here’s the kicker: I use those decorative pillows in my guest bedroom to store my spare sheets. Clever, no?

I made some cute decorative throw pillows for our guest bedroom from repurposed flannel shirts. And I use them to store our spare sheets! #TexasHomesteader

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Throw-Back Thursday: Baked Apple Pie Tortilla Rolls

by Tammy Taylor~

It’s Throw-Back Thursday, y’all!  So today I’m sharing with you one of RancherMan’s favorite desserts – Apple Pie Tortilla Rolls.  (These days I’m also whipping up my own Cherry Pie Filling and making CHERRY Pie Tortilla rolls too.) Whatever flavor pie filling you like, go for it!

I’ve made apple pie tortilla rolls for dinner guests many times, and I love that there’s really not even a recipe for them.  Prepare – bake – done!  So if you’re looking for a quick, easy, company-worthy dessert that’s so simple it doesn’t even require a recipe, read on, dear friends…

Throw-Back Thursday: Delicious, quick Apple Pie Tortilla Rolls. No recipe is even needed! Here's a quick dessert option for your home too. #TexasHomesteader

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What Working At Home Really Means (And What It DOESN’T)

by Tammy Taylor~

When RancherMan & I bought this little piece of paradise several years ago, we were still commuting to Dallas every weekday for our corporate jobs.  I was finally able to convince my boss to allow me to telecommute three times each week. Sweet!  Hearing the radio drone on & on about the horrific traffic jams that were always present in my typical route, I’d simply grab a cup of coffee & ‘log in’ on my computer.

Commute Time: 2 minutes!  🙂

But I was always super sensitive about the perception to my in-office cohorts regarding my working from home.  I went out of my way to make sure my all my work efforts were very clearly visible. Plus I was always instantly available by office video chat. And I purposely worked many more hours than I was being paid for ‘just to be fair’. Oftentimes I worked well into the night and on weekends too. Still I felt there was a false perception by my coworkers regarding the time I put in for my employer.

Working At Home often gives others the false perception that you have lots of free time. Whether self employed, homeschooler or stay-at-home parent, it's hard work! #TexasHomesteader

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How To Make A Cute Porch Lantern

by Tammy Taylor~

RancherMan & I had a wonderful porch addition built to augment our back porch.  Even before the porch addition, we’ve always spent our evenings out there enjoying that Texas sunset.  And when we have company, we all naturally congregated on the back porch.  But now with the addition there’s even more room to spill outside & visit.  And I’ve landscaped it up (on the cheap though, y’all) so it really is an oasis!

Now living out in the country without city lighting & all, it gets really dark at night.  So a bright light outside will certainly attract every flying bug in sight!  So I prefer a soft, gentle light. Recently I found several cute glass jar lantern lights at various craft & antique shops when we took a fun quick trip to Granbury, Texas.  Of course I thought to myself: “I can make that!”

I used an old broken flip-top jar, some gravel and a small votive candle to make the cutest porch lantern ever. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

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Beeswax Wraps – The Sustainable Answer to Plastic Wrap

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know I shun plastic like a banshee, right? I haven’t accepted a plastic shopping bag from the store in years, much preferring my pretty shopping basket anyway. And I refuse to buy over-packaged items too. I’ve learned that recycling isn’t the answer to our landfill problems – PRE-Cycling is! But what is precycling? Well that’s shunning trash from coming into your home in the first place.

But today I’m talking about cling film. You know the stuff, it’s always sticking to itself and hardly ever sticking to the item you’re trying to wrap. Use it once & throw it away.  But whaddyagonnado??  Well, I’ve started using beeswax wraps!

Beeswax Wraps are the sustainable answer to plastic cling film. I use beeswax harvested directly from the comb in our beehives. #TexasHomesteader


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Important: Make Time To Spend With Family

by Tammy Taylor~

In a continuous push to purposefully spend more time with our family, RancherMan & I always look for opportunities. We have a tradition to drive to one of our kids’ homes once a month to have dinner together & spend the day with them. They fix whatever they’d be having for supper that day, but with two more servings to accommodate RancherMan & me. We bring something to go with the meal such as dessert, a side dish, or maybe a bottle of wine – hostess’ choice!

We also try to drive to Oklahoma when we can to visit my dad, or to west Texas to visit my favorite aunt & uncle. There’s an important message here:

Spend time with the ones you love. If life is busy – make time! Tomorrow is never promised…

But recently RancherMan & I enjoyed a weekend at Surfside Beach on the Texas coast with several family members. What a special time! And RancherMan really loved the beach fishing too. (Always wearing his cooling UV-Protective Shirt of course)

Beach fishing. Make time to spend with family! Life's short and there's no promise of tomorrow. Recently we spent family time at Surfside Beach, Texas. #TexasHomesteader

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