My 5 favorite ways to use kefir

We’ve been making kefir in our home for about a year. I first started making kefir to add to our smoothies, but then quickly realized how delicious it is in so many other foods. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy kefir.

  • Pancakes – Replace milk with 1/2 kefir and half water in your favorite pancake recipe.
  • Biscuits – Replace buttermilk with kefir in your favorite biscuit recipe.
  • Smoothies – I usually like to add about 1 cup of kefir to frozen fruit, shredded coconut, and water, then blend. Add more kefir if you enjoy a tangier taste. The best part about using kefir in smoothies is that the kefir stays in its raw form for the greatest health benefits.
  • Oatmeal – Once you’ve added all the mix-ins like nuts and fruit to your cooked oatmeal, top it off with a couple of splashes of kefir for a nice creamy oatmeal.
  • Kefir cheese – Another great way to enjoy kefir in its raw form is this delicious soft cheese. It’s similar to a cream cheese or ricotta, with a mild flavor. Our favorite way to eat kefir cheese is to spread it on a bagel or toast with jelly.

Follow along and check out more kefir inspiration and recipes @homesteadonlakeside

Masa Tortilla Chips Recipe


I was recently researching traditional foods in countries such as Costa Ricca and Mexico and came across masa flour tortillas. Masa flour tortillas are a staple with almost every meal and the corn is processed differently than regular corn meal or corn flour. It goes through a process of nixtamalization. This process involves the dried corn kernels being soaked in an alkaline solution such as water and calcium hydroxide (pickling lime). The outer part of the kernel is removed and the inner part is made into flour. Cultures have been making masa flour this way for hundreds of years and for good reason! The nutrients are so much more available for your body to utilize increasing vitamins B3, calcium, and niacin absorption. I always feel our ancestors knew how to make foods the healthiest.

Masa flour is delicious too! I have always cooked with regular corn flour or corn meal. When I opened to bag of masa flour for the first time I was blown away at the fragrance. It almost smelled like a roasted corn, delicious! I have tried several different brands and colors of corn. They are all pretty similar. The King Arthur organic white corn masa flour was the finest ground, making very soft tortillas. Costco currently has the best deal I could find on masa flour. They have a 10 lb bag of organic blue corn mass flour available.

Masa tortilla chips recipe

Start by making your tortilla dough. Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, form the dough into approximately 2 inch balls. You should get 14 to 16 dough balls.

Preheat the oven to 350°

Melt about 1/4 cup of coconut oil.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the coconut oil on the side of parchment paper that is facing up.

Press 4 to 6 tortillas, the amount that will fit on on your baking sheet, and place them, not overlapping, on the oiled parchment paper. When pressing your tortillas for making chips, make them extra thin by rotating the tortilla a quarter turn and pressing again. Repeat this process turning the tortilla a quarter or a turn and pressing, until back at the start of the tortilla. This will help your chip be thinner and crispier.

Brush the tops of the tortillas was a generous amount of coconut oil.

Sprinkle with salt.

Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut each tortilla into quarters.

Place in the oven and bake for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. I start checking them at 30 minutes for crunchiness. If they don’t break easily, continue baking and checking every 5 minutes for the chip to break easily and not be bendy. Be careful not to burn.

You can repeat this process on another baking sheet to make the process go faster. You’ll have two batches in the oven at a time.

Once crunchy, remove from oven and cool on a wooden cutting board or plate with a paper towel to help absorb any extra oil.

They are ready to eat! Enjoy!

For more masa flour recipes follow along @homesteadonlakeside

DIY Armchair Slipcover

We moved this old chair while cleaning out our boys’ playroom to make room for more bunk beds. The bright yellow flowered fabric didn’t fit with the decor in our home anymore. I couldn’t bring myself to send this chair to the curb. One because it was still in pretty good structural shape and two because I have so many wonderful memories of nursing and cuddling with my boys in this chair when they were babies. So I decided to make a slipcover with fabric that fit our decor. Here is the process I used to revamp this cozy chair.

Step 1: Find an upholstery fabric you like and estimate how many yards you’ll need to cover each section of the chair. This chair took approximately 5 yards with some scraps left over. Buy a matching upholstery thread. I made fabric covered buttons and used piping for this chair. I’ll link the materials I used.

Step 2: Drape the fabric over each section of the chair, follow the existing seams of the chair and cut with a 1 to 2 8 inch seam allowance. When cutting the fabric for the back of the chair, you’ll cut two pieces. Allow them to over lap significantly.  This will give you the opening and flexibility to take your slip cover on and off. 

Step 3: Lay the fabric right side down and begin pinning two sections together using the existing chair seam as your guide. I like to pin one or two sections at a time and then sew it rather than pinning all of the sections before sewing. This will be easier to handle instead of a mess of fabric and pins. For example, here are three pieces of fabric pinned together. The piece for the front of the chair and the two back pieces. You will also pin and hem the back flaps. This will most likely be your starting place and first seam sewn for your slipcover.

Step 4: Continue pinning and sewing together. After sewing a section together,  I turn the fabric right side out and place on the chair to make sure everything is fitting correctly. That way you can make adjustments along the way if needed.

Step 5: If your chair has piping, you’ll want to replicate this same look by adding piping to that section before sewing.  Use a foot for your sewing machine that allows you to to sew closely to the piping. This way your piping won’t be floppy.

Cotton piping:

I decided to add buttons to the back of the chair to keep the back flaps closed. I used the fabric covered piping to make button loops and sewed these on by hand with a large needle to get through the thick fabric. I made the buttons using a button making kit. I added hot glue to the button closure before pushing the button closed to help keep the button together with the thick upholstery fabric.

Fabric covered buttons kit:

This was a reclining arm chair, so the cushion you sit on is connected to the whole chair. Therefore, I left the seam where the back of the seat cushion and the bottom of the back cushion meet unsewn and simply tucked the longer seam allowances into the crack of the chair. This allows give in the fabric when someone sits down on the cushion. If this was not a reclining chair. I would recommend sewing the bottom seat cushion separately from the rest of the slip cover. I finished the chair by putting a simple hem around the bottom. Here is the finished product! Follow along our journey @homesteadonlakeside .

Sourdough Waffle Recipe

We often eat pancakes because it takes one extra step to take out the waffle maker. But every time I make waffles, I wonder to myself why I don’t do it more often. These sourdough waffles are so delicious with the perfect crispness.


  • 2 cups of fed room temperature sourdough starter. (If you need a starter, check out my post on How to Make a Sourdough Starter)
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of baking powder


  • Preheat your waffle iron.
  • Preheat oven to 250°.
  • Mix ingredients.
  • Grease waffle iron. I just do this once before the first waffles.
  • Use 1/4 cup to measure waffle mix and add to each waffle square.
  • Once the waffle is crisp and golden brown, place the waffle on a baking sheet and keep warm and crisp in the oven until ready to serve.
  • Serve with warm syrup or a warm berry compote.
  • Enjoy!

For more sourdough recipes follow along @homesteadonlakeside

Strawberry Apple Jam

It’s strawberry season in Florida and we love to go strawberry picking. I’m always looking for delicious recipes to make with our fresh picked strawberries each year and jam is a staple. I love this particular recipe because it uses honey to sweeten instead of white sugar and has no pectin. The pectin in the apple skins and the citrus juice will help thicken the jam. This jam is so good on anything, but I particularly love it on homemade sourdough English muffins.


  • 8 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 2 large apples peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp of honey
  • The juice from 1 orange


  • Peel and chop apples. Remove the peels in large pieces to be used later.
  • Add strawberries to large stock pot or Dutch oven.
  • Add chopped apples and large pieces of apple peals to the pot.
  • Simmer on low to medium heat until strawberries and apple begin to fall apart. I cooked mine for about an hour and a half.
  • Remove apple skins.
  • Continue to cook the fruit mixture down until it begins to thicken.
  • Add honey and and orange juice, incorporate well and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Blend well.
  • Return blended jam to pot and simmer on low, stirring often, for another 30 minutes to reduce extra water released from the berries after blending.
  • Add jam to Mason jars while warm put lids on the Mason jars and as it cools on the counter the lids will pop and seal.
  • The jam with thicken as it cools.
  • Store jam in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy!!

For more recipe inspiration follow @homesteadonlakeside

Peanut Sauce Noodles with Garlic Roasted Vegetables

Everything is better with peanut butter according to my husband. While I don’t fall into that camp, I do make the exception for a good peanut sauce. This peanut sauce recipe has such a nice balanced peanut flavor that isn’t overpowering and works perfectly with roasted vegetables. This recipe fed our family of five. Hope you enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of coconut aminos (you can substitute soy sauce)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock (you can substitute water)
  • 2 to 3 tbs of sesame oil
  • 2 to 3 tbs of garlic oil
  • 2 tbs of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs of honey
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper

Sauce Recipe

  • Finely chop 1/2 onion and saute in sesame oil in medium sauce pan until onion is translucent.
  • Add 3 cloves of minced garlic, saute until softened.
  • Add 1/2 cup of coconut aminos
  • Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter, stir over medium heat until well incorporated.
  • Add 2 tbs of honey
  • Add 2 tbs of rice wine vinegar
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the noodles of your choice according to their instructions. Drain water and add the noodles to your sauce. Stir well to coat all of the noodles with the sauce.

Garlic Roasted Vegetables

Chop carrots and green beans. Place on roasting pan. Toss the vegetables with garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Add water or chicken stock to the pan to help the vegetables steam a bit before they start to roast. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Top peanut sauce noodles with roasted vegetables.  Enjoy! For more family recipes follow along @homesteadonlakeside

Join us for: The Great Backyard Bird Count

We are so excited to be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year with our Forest Adventure Homeschool co-op. The count starts this Friday February 12th and goes until Monday February 15th. Anyone can participate! All you have to do is take note of the types of birds you observe and how many for 15 minutes a day. Then enter your bird counting data at .

I love that so many countries and people participate!

Great Backyard Bird Count results from 2020:

  • 268,674 Estimated Participants
  • 27,270,156 Total Birds Counted
  • 6,942 Species of Birds Identified
  • 194 Countries

We made pinecone bird feeders to entice birds to our backyard during the count. We went for a nature walk collected the biggest dry pinecones we could find, slathered them in peanut butter, sprinkled them with bird seed, and topped them off with a pipe cleaner to attach the feeders to a tree.

“We all need an incentive to get outside mid-winter and look for birds beyond what we can see from our windows. It’s fun to see the little flashes of light on the map when we submit our counts, among the thousands around the world, and we know our data matter.”

— Barb Gorges, Wyoming, United States

I’d love for you to join us during the Great Backyard Bird Count! Leave a comment if you end up joining in the worldwide count. Follow along with us @homesteadonlakeside

Coconut Curry Chicken

A test of a good meal to me is if my 5 year old gobbles it up without a single complaint and asks for more.

I often hesitate when making dishes with coconut because so many times the coconut is too over powering. Not the case with this recipe. It is the perfect blend of sweetness from the coconut and earthiness from the spices. Serve over white Basmati rice. Enjoy!


1.75 lbs of chopped chicken

1 can of full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup of plain tomato sauce

3 TBS of coconut oil

1/2 an onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 sweet bell pepper, diced

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of cumin

3/4 tsp of coriander

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1/4 tsp of cloves

1/4 tsp of cardamom

Salt and pepper to taste


Melt the coconut oil in the skillet. Sautee the onions until translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper, sautee until softened. Add all of the spices and incorporate well. Add tomato sauce. Add coconut milk and chicken. Simmer on low for an hour to an hour and a half. As the mixture simmers the sauce will thicken. Serve over rice. Hope you enjoy this simple yet delicious dinner as much as we did! For more recipes follow along @homesteadonlakeside

Sourdough Cornbread

You can’t eat chili without cornbread. It’s like cereal without milk. It just doesn’t work. I was an avid cornbread from a box maker for years, assuming cornbread was too much work. I’m so glad I was wrong. Cornbread is super simple and doesn’t take more than 45 minutes from start to finish. Here is my favorite recipe for sourdough cornbread.


1 cup of warm chicken or vegetable broth

1.5 cups of corn flour

1/3 cup of sugar

2 TBS of honey

1 tsp of salt

Mix these ingredients together and allow to cool before adding remaining ingredients.

1 cup of oil

1 cup of active sourdough starter

Check out my post on how to make a sourdough starter

2 eggs

1.5 tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of baking powder

Mix together and add to a greased medium cast iron skillet. Bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes until the center is firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing. Top with honey or crumble over your favorite chili. Enjoy!

For more sourdough recipes follow along @homesteadonlakeside

Homeschool Science with the World’s Most Famous Veterinarian

Most of our homeschool lessons come from literature.  Good literature,  that has stood the test of time. Literature that builds character and reveals beauty.

One of my favorite authors is James Herriot. His stories are heartwarming and embody hard work, kindness, and humor.

We start our lessons by reading one of his many children’s books. Only One Woof, Smudge the Little Lost Lamb, Moses the Kitten, there are so many wonderful ones to choose from.

Then, depending on which animal book we’ve chosen to read, we look up different breeds of that animal. We look this up in the dictionary or kids encyclopedia.  We discuss where the different breeds come from and what they are known for.

Next, the boys draw their favorite breed of the topic animal in their journals. We make a comparison chart. We chart wild cat breeds vs. domestic cat breeds or race horse breeds vs. work horse breeds. I’ll write the chart on the chalkboard for them to copy in their journals. This usually concludes our lesson. We sometimes follow it up with other pieces of literature that discuss the animal if the boys have been particularly interested in the topic. For example, horses are always a favorite and we love reading Billy and Blaze books by C.W. Anderson to accompany our horse lessons.

We’ve also all been enjoying the new PBS Masterpiece family show All Creatures Great and Small where we can see James Herriot’s stories brought to life.

Follow along @homesteadonlakeside for more homeschool activities!

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