A Grand Carrot Harvest

A Grand Carrot Harvest

We had a fun day working in the garden and cleaning out the chicken coops today but my favorite part of the day was collecting about a 1/3 of a our carrot harvest.

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Visiting The Vanderbilt’s Homestead a.k.a. “The Biltmore Estate”

The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate

This past fall my husband and I visited the humble Vanderbilt Homestead called Biltmore for our 23rd Wedding Anniversary trip.  This was my first time ever visiting the Biltmore Estate and I have to tell you I was in awe of this beautiful home located in my favorite part of the mountains Asheville, North Carolina.  I would love to go see these grounds in the spring as they were amazing in October!

We also got our apples to can and dry for the year while we were up in the mountains but we had an absolutely amazing time I am so glad we went so I am going to take you on some of our adventures at Biltmore….kind of a pictorial tour and January is such a great month to plan trips for the Spring and Summer anyway.  You will not believe the gardens or the grounds and we had an extreme fascination with the farm grounds…wonder why 😉  I was in heaven!  By the way I have so many more photos there is no way I could share them all with you but just know I would return again and again and the staff is phenomenal they will answer any question you have!  I will be following up with a Part 2 of this trip and how we kept things on the “Cheap” for a frugal vacation!


We started our tour of the Biltmore Estate at the Barn Yard and look at this proud rooster we ran into!

laying box

They had these clever egg collection boxes that angle away from the nesting boxes…just genius!

the viking on the tractor

What can I say men and tractors…right?

KarenLynn and the goat

We both loved playing with the goats! Note the sign that says Do Not Feed The Animals!

goat nipping at KarenLynn

Note that there is not a sign telling the animals not to eat or bite us…ha ha LOL!

the viking and the goat

My husband got very cozy with this one goat! They were pals!


There were many examples of espeliarded trees and shrubs.

biltmore grounds

The Biltmore grounds were just beautiful!

biltmore statue

Art and Statues were everywhere

biltmore water lily

An example of the beautiful flowers all over the Biltmore property.

biltmore grounds

The Biltmore grounds are quite expansive.

biltmore walkway

This walkway ends however if you go to to the left you head towards the gardens and the fishing pond.

Edith Vanderbilt's car

Edith Vanderbilt was a woman after my own heart in many ways and she loved to drive her car!

a different view of Biltmore

A view of the Biltmore from the first level of gardens.

the viking and I in the greenhouse

The Viking and I had our photo taken in one of the many greenhouses on the estate. Isn’t it fantastic?

A photo of me with the ornamental grass in the lower gardens.

A photo my husband snapped of me in the lower gardens. Look how tall that ornamental grass is!

Waterfall at Biltmore estate

This waterfall is located near the bass pond.

a different view of the Biltmore

This is a different view of the Biltmore I snapped this while we were eating our tailgate supper!

I hope your enjoyed our tour of the Biltmore estate and grounds and hopefully I can share more pictures with all of you soon!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


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The Home Apothecary – Onion Cough Syrup

onion cough syrup

You know Grandma did know best….the natural ways are the better ways.

There is something quite satisfying about having the ability to ease your loved ones pain and suffering while they are sick.  Because we are a family that is no stranger to sickness and because medicine is so expensive the more natural ways you can heal yourself or your family the better.  In our case this doesn’t always mean 100% natural;   some medicines you do need to take from your health care professional and since I am just a Mom and by no means an expert I always go to my Doctor for medical advice.   I am very much for trying homemade remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation though and we will try them because their was a reason these recipes were handed down.  I did not grow up on this cough syrup but I stumbled on it and it does ease symptoms of coughing, provides aid for a sore throat, and because it has honey, lemon, cinnamon and onions in it; it also has anti-inflammatory properties but read below on the breakdown of these powerful ingredients:

Onions are a cancer fighting food and in one study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute , eating onions (as well as other members of its family like garlic, scallions, chives, and leeks) significantly lowered their risk for cancers.    Onions contain powerful antioxidants and they are a source of quercetin is a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory properties click here for more info.

Raw unprocessed honey as you know is that precious golden elixir I just adore and it is a powerful healing substance it has flavonoids that are known for their powerful antioxidant activity.  Honey is just starting to get the recognition it deserves but I have read that it has been shown to lower blood sugar and its an anti-inflammatory as well.  If you don’t raise your own bees buy raw, local, unprocessed honey you won’t be disappointed.

Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices and it has this amazing ability to help keep blood sugar stable not only that but it is loaded with powerful antioxidants as well as anthocyanins which improves blood flow besides cinnamon tastes wonderful!

Not only are Lemons a great source of Vitamin C, an anti inflammatory, and they have powerful antioxidants but they also have anti cancer properties from a group of chemicals called limonoids.

ingredients for cough syrup

pouring the yummy honey in

pouring the lemon juice in

Onion Cough Syrup By Karen Lynn

  • 2 medium onions or one large onion thinly sliced (I used one large onion)
  • 3/4 C. honey (we use raw unprocessed)
  • 1 or 2 tsp. cinnamon (go by your preference)
  • Juice of 1 lemon I used a little more than 1 TBSP.
  • 2 tsp. vodka (optional-Adults Only!)

I layered all of these items in a small bowl and flipped over the onions a couple of times and then covered with plastic wrap.

Let sit overnight in the refrigerator in our case it was very cold in our kitchen so I set it out on the counter overnight.

The next day strain out all the liquid and transfer to a bottle and cover tightly.  This will keep one week in the refrigerator.

and like my son says “It’s not that bad….really!” 😉  Here is a photo of the finished product! This Onion Cough Syrup is a home remedy that is packed with ingredients that are powerhouses loaded with healing properties……Try it’ you will like it and besides it is much less expensive and healthier than many of the options at the drug store.

Honey Should Not Be Given To Children Under The Age of Two!


*****Herbal Remedy Disclaimer******

A note regarding Herbal Remedies or Home Apothecary Segments

Any herbal remedies I share are just that….Yes I use them….but any items I post in regards to Home Apothecary or Herbal Remedies should be regarded as folk lore and not replace any information you get from your Medical Provider. To be a healer in ancient days took much knowledge and learning and any herbal remedy used improperly or without proper knowledge can cause an adverse reaction, mix improperly with other medications or even cause death so please always consult a medical provider.


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Inflation, Recession, The Fiscal Cliff Deal – When Will The Levee Break?

levee breaks

It has been a while I have had one of my money talks conversations here at Lil’ Suburban Homestead and the reason they are few and far between is because while I am good at being frugal, and I’m a great bargain hunter I am by no means a financial expert or a finance enthusiast but I do have friends who are!

But I do have thought, opinions, and reflections……and one of my opinions is because our government doesn’t want to make any decisions at all. That decision is the portion that affects me is that for every $50,000 middle america makes we give yet another $1000 back to the government(this is how our local news reported it).  I don’t like it and while I am all for team work when appropriate I believe our government does not want to roll up their sleeves and do the real work that needs to be done.  It makes me angry and for many of us in America it will mean we don’t get to on vacation this year or we will cut back on important services such as our veterinary or dental care by the way both are services that people typically drop when things get tough financially.

Many news reports shared, “Well this is better than the fiscal cliff actually happening”.  First of all I’m a big believer in things that I cannot see, so just because I did not see the fiscal cliff doesn’t mean I didn’t believe it was there but I am a big believer in things I do see and I see people struggling financially and frustrated with our current economy everyday and the sad thing is the problems are bigger than we can fix.  We keep hoping that we will elect officials into office that can fix things but I believe big government is too big and too huge for any one person to fix unfortunately.

You see I don’t mind being frugal and eating our meals at home most of the time I prefer it because I know the quality of the food is better than what most people are eating out.  I also love to go camping which means frugal vacations are some of my favorite and fun but if gas continues to rise that may be another option we don’t have.  What I do mind is that the government or the powers that be felt like that was the fix let’s let folks sweat it out some more I mean they are doing good so far.  I hope that the powers that be aren’t just trusting what they are seeing on the surface thinking that Americans are just some fat cats soothed by McDonalds and Netflix because there are some major undercurrents and lots of anger and tempers flaring right now I read it in some of the blogs I read,  I see it on Twitter, and  I hear it from friends and even strangers while I am out shopping.

The sad part is that this is a quick fix not mean to really fix anything but to put a band-aid on things financially and it kind of reminds me of levee soon that will break.  I try to be optimistic most of the time but I’m not feeling super optimistic right now.  How are all of you feeling?  What do you think of the fiscal cliff deal?  Do you think like I do that we are back in a recession?  If you think the fiscal cliff deal is a good thing from your perspective please share with me why you do think that.

I am solution oriented so I will be posting some ideas I have on saving more money in a world where prices are continuing to rise and raises are few and far between.

Just musing this Sunday evening…..Have a good week everyone!


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A Walk Through Our Winter Garden

The gals layed some beautiful eggs today.

It has been chilly here in coastal North Carolina lately…..I even went out to my car this morning and it was icy all over my car and my car doors were sticking that is such a rare occurrence in our area so I bundled up in my sweater, socks, and coat and headed on to work.  I have learned it’s best too just keep moving on colder days because my office is quite chilly too this time of year.

our carrots are being stored perfectly in the ground

This afternoon while I was collecting the eggs I decided to snap a few pictures of what our garden is looking like this time of year…..we do have a few cold weather loving plants!  The carrots featured above absolutely love just being tucked into our raised beds for safe keeping…it’s built in storage in the garden!

Bunching Onions Loving The Cool Weather

The onions are loving this cool weather too I have to start making some Quiche soon!

The Gals enjoying some treats!

The gals are enjoying some treats during our cold January!  This time of year the gals actually enjoy oatmeal and left over bread this time of year.

We have Pak Choy and Bok Choy in the garden

The kale absolutely loves this cooler weather and all of our greens have just been delicious!

1-4-2013 11-39-22 PM

I really can’t quite explain the freshness of our greens but I will tell you I don’t like to buy greens from the grocery store because they just don’t taste as good in my opinion!1-4-2013 11-40-54 PM

The other day I served Pak Choy with our pork chops and black-eyed peas for New Years day instead of the traditional southern collards and it was amazing but as far as I’m concerned all of the food we serve from our back yard is amazing because its superior to anything that you can get from the store because when you grow food in your own garden you can control the quality of the ingredients and you know what is on your dinner plate!  I hope all of you enjoyed taking a walk through our winter garden!


Posted in Eating Whole Foods For Health, Keeping Chickens, Le Jardin (French For The Garden if your not sure ;)...), The Suburban Homestead Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Lazy Macaroni & Cheese

lazy crock pot mac and cheese

Even though we are all back to the daily grind or at least I am I know some of you never left but I just had to share this new macaroni and cheese recipe I tried over the holidays.  The one thing I want to do over the holidays is relax….and in my case there is not much lazing around and relax time to go around so I definitely embrace and love recipes that are super easy and in the case of this slow cooker mac and cheese you can’t get any easier!  The other wonderful thing about this recipe is that it tastes so much better than the boxed version trust me you will be absolutely delighted with this recipe….I sure was!  I personally cannot stand boxed processed macaroni and cheese….my daughter always laughs at this and says “Mom you love cheese and you love pasta but you don’t love macaroni and cheese!” and I have to say “I love macaroni and cheese when it’s the real deal!” and this is the real deal!

milk and eggs ready to be whipped up

For as simple and easy as this dish is this is a great one to break out when you are entertaining….”Less Stress!”

Here is what you need:

a crock pot

some non stick cooking spray

1/2 lb. elbow noodles

4 C. milk

2 eggs

4 cups cheddar cheese (I used 2 cups medium cheddar and 2 cups sharp cheddar) but you could play with this part of the recipe and change things up if you like

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. mustard seeds ground up in your mortar and pestle

layer the elbow noodles in the crock pot

Here is how you make it:

  1. All you do is spray your crock pot with non stick spray and plug it in on high
  2. Then you mix up 4 cups milk, 2 eggs, salt, pepper and the ground mustard and I just used a whisk and mixed it up thoroughly
  3. Place the 1/2 lb. elbow noodles in the crock pot
  4. Place in 3 cups of your grated cheese into the crock pot on top of the noodles
  5. Pour in the milk, egg, spice mixture over everything
  6. Let cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on your crock pot and stir occasionally.  You will keep thinking it won’t turn out but then magically it will all come together.  Just when you think its done go ahead and spread the last cup of grated cheese on top and wait about 5 to 10 minutes and serve up!

layer cheese in the crock pot


Wishing you all a wonderful month of January filled with more Crock Pot Meals and more time for you to relax and enjoy your loved ones!


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Happy New Years From The Gals At Lil’ Suburban Homestead

Happy New Years From The Gals At Lil' Suburban Homestead

The Gals and The Viking and I would like to wish all of our readers a prosperous and healthy New Year for 2013!

We have been so thankful to share with all of you our hopes, our dreams, our successes and our failures….

We have shared some of our best homesteading moments and some of our worst homesteading moments…..

We have shared some funny family moments and some of our favorite family recipes….

But it’s because of all of you that I share you are the ones who continue to inspire me and my husband “The Viking” in my life!

We are so looking forward to spending 2013 with all of you!

It’s because of all of you we continue to be motivated to share our stories and our lil’ suburban homestead moments!

Thanks so much for keep coming back!


 The Viking

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New Years Eve Ham Rolls

yummy ham rolls

First of all I have to start this blog post off saying this isn’t my recipe I give my sister-in-law credit for this recipe however in her email to me when she sent me the recipe she doesn’t take credit for the recipe either.  That being said since she is the one who introduced me to the recipe she is the one I give the credit too.  These ham rolls are absolutely delicious but as you know I never leave any recipe completely alone I have to tweak it to make it mine so I will share with you my version of how I make these but know that I only wish these ham rolls were my idea.

ham rolls ready to go in oven

These are the perfect appetizer, starter or meal for the holidays especially if you have leftover ham because you know whenever we eat leftovers we are eating from the plus side of the column which since this will be our year of following our budget you will be hearing more about this year!  I have already downloaded some budgeting tools from Canadian Budget binder for FREE!

You simply start with the smallest rolls you can find I used the Martin Party Potato Rolls but you can use the smallest party rolls you can find…..the cheaper the better as long as they taste good!

rolls ready to be filled with ham and cheese

We slice them in rolls with a serrated knife and then I fill with ham as shown below:

rolls layer with ham

All you need is little slices of ham they don’t even have to be that neat….my husband “The Viking” in my life sliced those up and he likes things to be just so!

Lastly I layer some low-fat shredded mexican cheese on top…the original recipe I think recommended swiss but we always have low-fat shredded mexican cheese in our house so this was easier for me.

rolls layered with cheese

While this is all well and good the magic is in the secret sauce that you spoon into each roll on top of the cheese and then I also spread it around on top of the rolls.

The Secret Sauce Is:

one stick of butter melted and then add the following:

1 1/2 Tablespoon of Poppy Seeds

1 tsp. of worsterchire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. onion powder or you could use 1 TBSP. of onion flakes

1 1/3 Tablespoon of dark spicy mustard (the recipe I was given calls for regular mustard so you can use that too but I prefer the dark mustard.

Stir it all up and spoon into each roll and on top.

Then cover all the rolls with foil and bake on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. They are amazing and if you bring them to a party you will never have to worry about bringing any back home.

I have loved all of the extra cooking and baking over the holidays but soon it will be time to go back to my healthy lunchtime routine and breakfast routine!

Happy New Years Everyone!  Here’s wishing you all of the best in 2013!



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Christmas Morning Scones


Oh my!

I absolutely love scones…..I love how heavy, creamy and how they crumble just so if they are made correctly and they are certainly filling so when I found a recipe for them that looked simple enough I decided to give it a go it had been a while since I had made scones.  I actually can’t remember the last time I made them and after having them I don’t know why I waited for so long.

getting ready to cut the butter in the dough

Here I am getting ready to cut the butter into the dough until it resembles crumbles.

For the past couple of years I have been ordering a frozen pre-made pastry from a friend of mine because her daughters have been having fund-raisers to raise money for various events and these came in an array of flavors such as cinnamon and blueberry cream cheese so on Christmas morning we have been having these as a special treat as they are not inexpensive.  This Christmas however she was not selling them and I wanted to make something special for the family along with the Crockpot Breakfast Casserole I made.  (Blog post coming soon!)

whipping the cream, eggs,

Whipping the cream and eggs together

These were so easy to make and I did tweak a recipe I found on the internet but not by much but I want to share how I made them with all of you.  I was also very excited to use my vintage pastry cutter which by the way works like a charm.

cinnamon flour mixture

I decided to make these cinnamon scones.

Do not be intimidated by using a pastry cutter you can do the same job with a fork and I think I found my pastry cutter at a yard sale for a buck or so.  Your kitchen tools do not need to be expensive they just need to be functional!  The Recipe I tweaked is this one here “Simple Scones Recipe”.  It was so easy to follow the instructions without too many pictures.  I like a few pictures placed appropriately in a blog post however too many pictures and I start losing track of what I was doing in the first place 😉  The only thing that I did different with their recipe was instead of adding currants I added cinnamon but you could really add anything you wanted.  You know my motto…”Keep It Simple!”.

cutting the scones

Time to cut out the scones!

To cut out the scones I am using a fluted biscuit cutter that my Mom purchased me a couple of Christmas’s back however you could do this same job with the end of a drinking glass.  I do like the effect though of the fluted lines…..you could also use some nice cookie cutters found at a yard sale or on sale at the store.

scones almost done

They are almost done!

The scones pictured above are almost done and almost ready to come out of the oven.  I should also mention in addition to tasting very luxurious they are so  much more inexpensive and frugal than going to the bakery to pick up an item for Christmas morning.  The only item I actually purchased for this recipe that I did not already have was the heavy cream which I used in several other recipes.  Total cost of this recipe was probably around $1.80.  I served them up with lemon curd and some whipped cream but you could purchase clotted cream as well.

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season!



PS – I chose a bunch of scone recipes listed below for you to peruse mine were rather plane but their are some listed that look quite delectable!  But don’t let the simplicity of the recipe I chose fool you they were absolutely delish!

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The Best Things Are Made With Love

vegetable hod

I love Pinterest and this past year I found a vegetable hod for gardening that I wanted this was the inspiration “Vegetable Hod” and when I showed it to my husband he said “It’s a shame I don’t have time to make this for you.”  I had pretty much planned on not getting one this holiday so I was absolutely thrilled!

vegetable hod

So here is a close up picture of my beloved Gardening Vegetable Hod…..the handle is made with old rake handle and the Viking even tucked in all the wire he actually tucked the wire into a groove unlike the inspiration one that is stapled either way will work but he did this so I would not get poked by the wire and he sanded down all of the sides just beautifully.  I’m such a lucky gal!

Also making this yourself with scrap lumber you have around the homestead is a much more “Frugal” adventure as a typical hod online costs about $41.95 but if you make it yourself in this case my husband had all the materials around so it was FREE with the exception of his labor which you never get back out of any project.

I am so appreciative that he took the time to make me this thoughtful handy gardening gift!  So it may be a project you try your hand at as well for the gardener in your life.  The instructions are at the inspiration hod link they are a little different from the one my husband made me.

Merry Christmas Everyone!



Posted in DIY, Homesteading, Le Jardin (French For The Garden if your not sure ;)...), The Active Homesteader, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments