Welcome to American Homestead. I'm happy you have found my blog. Make yourself comfy and see what's been happening around here. I write about the things that interest me ~ creativity, travel, food, nature and a happy life. I'd love to read your comments.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My New Book!

Yesterday I had a fun surprise!
I was helping a customer and went to the website
of my publisher, C&T Publishing and saw the cover
for my next book is already on their website.  The 
book is not due to be released until July but it is 
available for pre-order right now, right here.
It is filled with lots of projects for wool felt, felted 
wool and quilting.  The book is a Christmas book 
but change up the colors and you can use the projects
for any time of year.  I hope you like it!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Elle's Kitchen: Bundt Pan Meatloaf

Comfort From the Storm

I was scrolling through facebook the other day and saw
that yet another snowstorm was going to hit our area at
the weekend.  A few posts later I saw this recipe for a bundt
pan meatloaf.  I have not had meatloaf for 22 years, the last
time was when I was pregnant with Brennan.  Our Mum 
used to make meatloaf as we were growing up and I always
enjoyed it, especially the next day when we would have 
meatloaf sandwiches.  Since we would have to stay home
due to the snow, I thought this would be a good stick to the
ribs sort of meal.


1 box Stove Top Stuffing mix
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a non stick bundt pan with bacon
strips.  (Does anyone else think of My Big Fat Greek
Wedding when they see a bundt pan?)

In a bowl combine stuffing mix, onion soup mix and
water.  Set aside until water is absorbed into stuffing.

Add the 2 eggs and ground beef and combine.

Press meat mixture into bundt pan and top with
bacon slices.

Bake for 1 hour and test to be sure to have an
internal temperature of 160F.

I served it with mashed potatoes and gravy and 
mixed vegetables.  It was delicious!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from American Homestead.
Wherever this day may find you, I hope you are
happy and filled with love!

~ Ellen

Friday, February 13, 2015

Is Mia A Hovawart?

And what is a Hovawart?

Image from Google Images

This is a Hovawart.  Until this morning I had never even 
heard of this breed of dog.  It is a German breed but they
are in the United States.  The name means estate guard dog
 and they are from the Black Forest.  When I saw the photo 
I thought ~ huh, that looks like my Mia the Wonder Dog.  

This photo is Mia.  We found our princess in a shelter
and they told us she was a Black Lab/Shar Pei mix.  We 
couldn't see any Shar Pei in her but that's the info the
shelter had.  When we took her to the vet, Dr. Sean said
she was a Black Lab/ Golden Retriever mix and that was
when I found out the dogs from the same litter can have
two different fathers ~ I never knew!  As time went on 
and her hair grew so long we just figured she was an All
American mutt, we thought there must be some Irish
Setter in her because of all her fringe.  She is an absolutely
striking animal, when we hike people are always telling me
I have the most beautiful dog.

From Google Images

This is a Hovawart puppy.  

This was my baby on the day I brought her home from
the shelter when she met her neighbors Max and Chessie
and they let her play with their toys.

I think she could be a Hovawart.  It only took me 12 years
to figure this out!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Neat to Eat (or drink): Mexican Hot Chocolate

Recently, Mr. Wonderful and I headed south for a visit
with our southern neighbors in Mexico.  For the past few
years this has become an annual visit for us.  We love
the beauty of the country, the kind and friendly people 
and the food.  We were hanging out in the seaside town
of Playa del Carmen which has become a tourist hot spot
of late but still retains the charms of the fishing village it
once was.  When in Mexico, I go local ~ I go by the name
Elena Maria, my skin turns brown and I work on my
Spanish, though to be honest, most times it is more
Spanglish where I come out sounding like a mix of Salma
Hayek and Sophia Vergara when they speak English.  (I
find that Wonderful quite likes that...)

I love learning about the Mayan culture that once 
thrived in this area and who can't love a culture that
loved chocolate.  The Maya created hot chocolate over
2,000 years ago.  Chocolate was a New World discovery,
Cortes brought it back to Europe where it became a 
luxury item for royalty.  I had never had Mexican Hot
Chocolate in Mexico and I was determined to find some.
It was a wonderful surprise to find out that a one minute
walk from our apartment brought us to Ah Cacao ~ a
Chocolate Cafe.  I wish I had found this on day one of my

Dinners are quite late when we are in Mexico so 
we had a pre-dinner dessert as the sun began to
fade.  We sat out on the sidewalk to watch the 
world go by, Wonderful had the Chocolate Maya 
made with honey and hot spices and I had the
Chocolate Traditional made with cinnamon and 
vanilla.  The cute, Mexican guy at the next table
was reading Kerouac's On the Road en espanol.
It was the oldest looking copy that I had ever seen,
I asked him what he thought of the book and he 
said he was enjoying it and planned to read Henry
Miller's The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy next.

In the cafe I bought a molinillo, a tool for frothing the
foam of Mexican Hot Chocolate.  In days of old, and 
perhaps not so old, a girl was judged to be acceptable
as a mate by the amount of foam she could produce in
her hot chocolate.  The future Mother-in-Law was the
one doing the judging...  I also picked up a bar of chocolate
soap because who doesn't want to smell good enough to eat?

Up the street, the pilgrims were gathering for 
their walk to a local shrine to honor Our Lady 
of Guadalupe.  A man named Eduardo told us
about the tradition of the pilgrimage to honor
the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of 
Mexico.  He asked us about our plans during our
visit and it turns out he works at the place we 
will be staying next week ~ small world.

At this point, Wonderful headed off to the mercado
to pick up some ingredients for his dinner creations
and I went to the beach to catch the sunset.

And the following week when we were in another
city hanging out with Eduardo we found another
chocolate cafe.  My drink was the cute bear, I think
the barista made it special for me because I ordered
en espanol even though I messed it up.  I ordered a
medium but said medio which he corrected me and
said it was mediano.  Medio was half whereas mediano
was medium.  When I looked it up half was also mitad.
So, the Spanish lessons continue...

And on a snowy day like today, I can still enjoy
some Mexican Hot Chocolate at home at Avalon.
In our grocery store in the Mexican section of the
International aisle, we can get powdered mix or a
cake of chocolate and spices.  I (surprisingly) enjoy
the powdered to the cake.  I found the cake to be a
bit gritty even after I frothed away with my molinilla.