Thursday, August 20, 2009

What a wonderful time of year. I am sure everyone is busy harvesting their gardens. We have plenty of cucumbers, squash, green beans, onions. I tried my hand at garlic this year, I love the fresh garlic. Being able to walk out to the garden and get what I need is wonderful. My chiles are about two weeks behind. Hopefully I will get a good crop starting the first of September. I get goosebumps just thinking about the smell of chiles roasting. We got several boxes of fresh Colorado peaches this weekend. My goodness, I think I go to bed with visions of peaches in my head. They are so good.

Jam and jelly and more jam is where I seem to be this week. First it was strawberry, now peach. The grapes should be ready to harvest in about a week then hopefully plums will be ready the week after that. There is nothing to compare to homemade jam and jelly. I feel like it is opening summertime in every jar.

When I was younger, my grandmother, mother, sisters and I would make jam and jelly. We would make homemade bread every time we made jam or jelly. There is nothing like that combination. Even though my grandmother and mother have passed away and my sisters do not live close by, I feel like they are here with me every time I make jam. It is like a trip down memory lane. My husband and sons get the reward of my trip.

I hope you are enjoying this time of year as much as I am.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We extended our time off to include last week also. We came back with a new attitude and totally refreshed and caught up on everything on August the 10th. It took some time, but we went through every closet and drawer in the house. I can't believe we keep so much stuff! We filled a dumpster! All the clothes and shoes that were too small and in good shape went to a clothes and school supply giveaway sponsored by our church.

The only thing I do not give away is cowboy boots. Over the years, we have kids and even adults that come to visit that do not have or wear boots. They decide to ride horses with my kids(or me) on the spur of the moment, but don't have any boots. We have a good selection of used boots in the closet. Problem solved!

We also got all the school supplies we need for school. With two high schoolers, it varies with the class loads. I have a senior this year. Does this mean I am getting old? I have already had one graduate, so I guess so. Oh well, I just hope I get to grow old gracefully.

We also had everyone's eyes checked. All good. We did change one from glasses to contacts. That way he gets to show off his gorgeous eyes to the "ladies". We were very fortunate to only need a few pairs of new jeans and two pairs of tennis shoes and two pairs of football cleats. I got off very lightly compared to past years.

Good luck with all of your back to school endeavors. I have been there and know how it goes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We are taking a break for the next week. We need to catch up on some things at home, go to a few doctor appointments, get new glasses, etc. I will be back, hopefully totally refreshed and ready for action on August the 3rd. I am not sure how I will handle being away for that amount of time, but I guess we'll see.

See you on the 3rd!

Friday, July 17, 2009



We have had a week of high temperatures in the triple digits. For all of you that don't understand, 100+ temperatures. There have been some severe thunderstorms coming across our country. This is a picture I took of a thunderstorm at sunset. Luckily, we have not had much hail. My garden is just going good, I would hate to lose anything to hail damage. The storms have been very spotty, so some people are getting some, others not much. We have not gotten much, as you can see by the grass.

It is Friday!! We are ready for the weekend. Everyone needs a little time off now and then. We can go the country and relax in the peace and quiet. That is if the kids and animals will keep it down! Somebody is gonna have to shut up the rooster that crows at least fifty times a day if we are going to have any peace! Have a great weekend yourself!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apparently my husband thought I was giving away too many of his secrets. Writing about his hand mixed steak rub was just going too far. Maybe he thinks he will make his secret rub and sell it across the U.S. So you are not going to get his secret recipe for steak rub. I can tell you that it had a lot of different seasonings in it. It was very flavorful and not hot.

Anyhoo, back to the farm. We will move along. Everyone has a basic hot roll recipe, so I won't bore you with another one.

This last weekend we had some friends that came to visit that like to camp. We have the perfect place to camp. There is a stand of mulberry trees that have been there since the homestead days. There are some large tree stumps underneath that are used for seating. We have dug a nice fire pit surrounded by rocks. We can then put a grate over the rocks and cook most anything. This time we had a campfire breakfast. We made biscuits with sausage gravy and scrambled eggs. I did cheat and make the biscuits at home. I took them along in disposable pans covered with aluminum foil. That way I could heat them up on the edge of the grate and not have the cooking time of a dutch oven. I always make gravy over the campfire with canned milk. I don't have to worry about carrying milk in the cooler. Just make sure you have some water.

Sausage Gravy

2 lbs. pork sausage, mild or hot
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cans evaporated milk
2 cans water
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in deep skillet breaking up all large pieces. Do not drain fat. Add flour to sausage and fat in skillet. Cook until all sausage is coated with flour. Add milk and water. Bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over split hot biscuits.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For the seafood boil, we put about 1/2 cup of Old Bay Seasoning in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Add smoked sausage, about 1/4 lb per person, and boil for 15 minutes. The sausage will help flavor your water. We added two small new potatoes per person and boiled for another 25 minutes. Then we added an ear of sweet corn per person, broken in half, and boiled another 15 minutes. Then we added easy peel shrimp, 1/2 lb per person, and boiled 5 minutes. The trick is to make sure everything else is cooked before adding the shrimp. They do not take long and will turn to rubber if overcooked. We then dipped a strainer into the water and removed all the contents and served large trays in the middle of each table. You could add any kind of seafood you would like. We served with butter, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and ketchup (mainly for the kids that don't like cocktail sauce).

We covered our tables with newspaper for easy cleanup.

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dessert is first this week. I am behind. I am posting the recipe for a flag cake. That is sooo last weekend. I'll try to move forward.

Flag Cake

1 1 lb. pound cake
1 6 oz pkg red gelatin of your chosen flavor (cherry, strawberry, mixed fruit, etc.)
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
16 oz. Cool Whip
1 container fresh strawberries
1 container fresh blueberries

Dissolve gelatin in 1 1/2 cups of hot water. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water. Place in refrigerator until partially set. Spray a 14 x 10 x 3 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Slice pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Lay in a single layer in bottom of pan. Pour gelatin over the top of the pound cake. Refrigerate until set. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread this mixture over the top of the firm gelatin layer. Refrigerate until serving time. Right before serving make a square out of blueberries on the top left hand corner of cake. Slice strawberries in half and make stripes for your flag out of the strawberry halves. Cut into 24 squares to serve.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I just wanted to tell you how great the seafood boil went at our house on Saturday night. Before the thunderstorm hit, that is. It was one of the best picnics we have ever had. We had about 25 people over. We had enough food for about 50, of course. We served cajun rubbed steaks, shrimp, smoked sausages, potatoes, corn, hot rolls, handheld peach pies and flag cake. We will go one recipe at a time this week. So, the best first, dessert.

Handheld peach pies

2 cans sliced peaches, drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
2 9 inch prepared pie crusts

Finely chop peaches. Mix with marshmallows into peaches. Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Add 2 teaspoons to peach mixture. Roll out pie crusts. Cut each pie crust into 6 triangles. Spoon a small amount of peach mixture onto each triangle. Dip finger into water. Run along edges of pie crust triangles. Fold each triangle over. You can either leave the top open and fold back to reveal filling or completely cover all filling. Use a fork to seal edges of triangle. Sprinkle with more sugar/cinnamon. Place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Makes 12 pies.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I can't believe the Fourth of July is already here again. I collect cookbooks and one of them was written by Paula Deen. Of course we have different things available here than she does in the South. Be that as is may, we have decided to do something different for our family get together over the weekend. How about a Low-Country Boil. We thought that sounded like a lot of fun. Sausage, shrimp, potatoes and corn. We will still make homemade ice cream and handheld peach pies. It would not be a summer holiday without the kids making ice cream. It keeps them out of trouble. We have one of the old fashioned hand crank versions of ice cream maker. They all get involved and then get to eat the fruits of their labor. It is a win-win for everyone. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In My Cookie Jar this week are Gingersnaps. These are great to have in the morning with coffee. Or in the afternoon with milk. Or, gosh, just about anytime.

Gingersnaps

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
4 Tablespoons molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger

Mix shortening, sugar, egg and molasses well. Add remaining ingredients. make into balls the size of walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place on cookie sheet sugar side up. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Who has more roasts in the freezer than me? I have got to get a handle on this problem. An easy solution is USE MORE ROAST. Duh! Why didn't I think of that?

We are having several of my sons' friends over this weekend. Me thinks me has an idea. BBQ sandwiches. Perfect for a bunch of teenage boys. Put the roast in a crockpot for about 8 hours. Shred the meat. Put barbeque sauce on meat. Place on a bun. Tada! Barbeque sandwiches. Add pickles, onions, baked beans, chips and drinks. Sounds like a plan to me.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I am trying to be more health conscious. This means adding more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to our diet. This is hard for me, since I have been cooking and baking the same way since I was in grade school. The easiest way I have found is to substitute half of the all-purpose flour in my recipes with whole wheat flour. It has worked well in my breads, biscuits and rolls. I'm going to start with cookies and see how that goes. Then, I'll start on desserts. Baby steps, that's what I'm taking. With fruit in season, it isn't hard to add. Vegetables are pretty easy, also. I seem to get stuck on salad too often, but have been making salad with varying lettuces or spinach and toppings.

With the large garden we grow every year, we usually have fresh vegetables about the first of July. I can hardly wait until it begins producing. We always put the extra, canning and making pickles. Each year we learn how much we eat fresh, how much we need canned or frozen and plant accordingly. It never comes out exactly right, but I like to think I am constantly working to make it come out even.

I had so many bar cookies left from last week's branding, I didn't make cookies this week. I made pie instead! This is an easy pie to make ahead and refrigerate.

Easy Cheesy Pie

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
1 can pie filling of your choice
1 graham cracker crust

Make sure cream cheese is a room temperature. Mix cream cheese and sugar in mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved. Fold Cool Whip by hand into cream cheese mixture. Spread into graham cracker crust. Chill for 2-3 hours. Put pie filling on top. Refrigerate until serving. Serves 8. Refrigerate leftovers. This is great with cherry, blueberry, strawberry or peach pie filling. If you use peach pie filling, chop the peaches so the pie will be easier to cut. I usually make two pies, use one large can of pie filling and use half the can on each pie.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2009















I got caught up this morning reading a lot of different blogs. I think I could read blogs all morning and not get anything else accomplished. There is so much information out there, and I keep thinking that I could be missing something if I don't read another blog, then another blog, then another blog... Anyhoo, after all that, someone will still have to make lunch, then dinner, and the cycle gets repeated, daily. When I am under time constraints, I have a tendency to make recipes with ground beef. By adding a few ingredients that I usually have on hand, I can have lunch or dinner on the table in a flash. Here is one of my standby recipes. It makes a great lunch, especially for summertime in the heat.

Taco Salad

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can, 15 1/2 oz. Ranch Style Beans
1 small bag tortilla or corn chips or 1 box taco shells, crushed
1 head lettuce, chopped
1 tomato, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with guacamole, sour cream and hot sauce. Serve with additional chips.

You can also make your own chips out of corn tortillas. Since I live in the country, I am the reigning queen of substitutions. Cut your tortillas into 8 equal triangles. Fry in oil until light brown on one side, turn and brown other side. Remove to drain on paper towels. Lightly salt. This picture is with homemade chips.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Branding

The branding went well this last weekend. It is not uncommon for us to have extra "hands" that help. We had one extra this weekend. His name is Mike. We had a lot of fun. We even had him branding with the iron. I thought you might enjoy the video of his first brand. My youngest son was pushing the calves down the alley, my middle son is running the head gate and squeeze chute and my husband's uncle is supervising. I was in charge of ear tagging and shots, but you missed it because I had to run the camera. Next time, I'll have to have everyone dress the cowboy part. It's hard to get them out of their caps and t-shirts. Enjoy!


video

Friday, June 5, 2009

We have come to the end of another week. I will be making the following cookies to put in My Cookie Jar early. We are branding again this weekend, so I need something portable to take along for dessert. I can make two pans and have enough to fill my cookie jar. That's a bonus for me!

Congo Bars

2/3 cup shortening
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

In a saucepan, melt shortening over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Cool slightly. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add gradually with eggs to shortening mixture. Stir in vanilla, chips and nuts. This batter will be very stiff. Spread into a greased and floured 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cut into squares while warm.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I am so excited. I just received my cookie plate from Nestle. Now I have to decide who to give cookies to. There are several people in my life that could use a little bit of chocolate lovin'.

If you don't know what I am talking about, Nestle did a promotion to receive a cookie plate. The requirements were UPC symbols from Nestle Toll House Morsels. You sign the plate, fill with cookies, visit Pleasesendcookies.com to share your story about the plate, and send it to someone. You can keep up with where the plate went after you sent it. Hopefully, it keeps going for a long time. I think it will be very interesting to see where it ends up going.

Obviously, I will have Chocolate Chip Cookies in My Cookie Jar this week.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

We have started our branding season. We always brand on Saturday, since that is the day most of our help is available. They always enjoy a day in the country after a long(or in this case, short) work week. After dealing with people, it is great to work with animals. There is no talking back!

After gathering the cattle on horseback from the pasture, they are driven into a set of corrals. We then separate the cows from their calves.

We have one person running the head gate, one on the squeeze part of the chute, one person branding, one person doing innoculations and ear tagging. When we have extras, we split up the work. Even the youngsters get in on the fun. The boys take turns bringing the calves one at a time up the narrow alleyway to the chute. I am sure that if and when we get girls into the family or somebody finally has daughters they will get in on that action, too.

Somewhere around noon to 1 o'clock we break for lunch. This year we had brisket sandwiches, baked beans and chips. Of course no picnic is complete without iced tea and lemonade. Then we have brownies for dessert.

The brisket was covered with Claude's Brisket Sauce and baked in a 300 degree oven for about 4 hours and then turned up to 325 degrees for another 4 hours. This was a very large brisket. It probably weighed a good 15 pounds or so. I didn't think of weighing it. Of course when you have your beef processed, it doesn't come with weight stickers. You would have to adjust your cooking time for a smaller brisket. We then sliced it and poured pan juices over the meat. We served with barbeque sauce, cheese, sliced onion, pickle, tomato and lettuce leaves. It makes the best sandwiches and the recipe is so easy.

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Living in the middle of cattle country causes me to cook with a lot of beef. I seem to use the hamburger from the meat we have processed faster than any other cut. I mix in steak, roast, ribs, brisket and stew meat. I seem to have a lot of roast left. So, I have resolved to make the effort to use more roast. This is a great way I have found to use a roast, without always making a pot roast. In fact, I would call it an Easy Peasy way to use a roast!

Roast Beef Burritos

1 Beef Arm or Chuck Roast, 4-5 lbs.
1 Can (15 oz.) Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chiles
1 Packet Fajita Seasoning
12 Flour Tortillas
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce

Place Roast in crock pot. Pour can of Rotel over the top of roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until roast is tender. Take the roast from the crock pot and shred. Discard any fat or bones. Skim any fat from drippings left in crock pot. Return shredded roast to crock pot. Add fajita seasoning and stir. Serve on Flour tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and hot sauce.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wow! What a great time of year to have an extra day off! I get so much accomplished with an extra day. It sure helps to have the kids out of school. Adding two extra pairs of hands makes the work go by much faster. My two teenage sons are at the perfect age to be a great deal of help. One of their favorite cookies is in My Cookie Jar this week. They are perfect for bribing teenagers! They enjoy being paid in cookies and milk!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins

Mix butter, sugars, milk, egg and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add to butter mixture. Mix well. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A miracle occurred

I just wanted to explain why I haven't been posting since April 29. I can't believe it's been that long. My last post was about having a positive attitude. I also spoke about my son's accident last year. While I thought I had been through it all, I was wrong. My husband came down with a flu bug. You know the kind, coughing, congestion, aches and pains. He was sick for two weeks and went to the doctor. He was treated for a bacterial infection in his sinuses. A week later he was still having a hard time breathing. I came home one afternoon to find him still in bed and he was confused. I called his doctor, thinking is was the medication. They sent a lab person to our house. When they tested his blood, his CO2 level was very high. He needed to be in the hospital. We took him to the hospital. After one night, his level had dropped, but gone back up again. They transferred him to a larger hospital 110 miles away. He was taken straight to the ICU. On the 3rd day there, the doctors were preparing us for the worst. His lungs were failing, causing his heart to overwork and fail. He was hallucinating and had several bad days. On day 7 he started getting better. On day 8 he was moved to a regular room. We were on our way home on day 14.

I do believe a miracle occurred. On the sixth day in the ICU, he told me that a man had come in and talked to him about God. He told the man that he had been raised and raised his family in the Church, but admitted that he had not gone as often lately as he should have. He strived his whole life to be honest and truthful. He believed that he was ready to go to Heaven. The man told him that it was not his time, that God was not finished with him yet. At the time, I thought it must be another hallucination. I had been in the room most of the time, only leaving when the nurses made me and at night. How had I missed this man? Then, the following day, he started getting better, quickly. He gained ground so fast, the doctors were astonished. They came to a decision after two weeks to send him home. They could do nothing more for him there. Who was the visitor in the hospital? I do not know. I did not see him, but I believe he was there.

I will continue my positive attitude. I will strive to be excellent everyday. I will continue to have the best days of my life.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

These are the best days of my life! I am going to have a positive attitude and not let anyone tell me any different. I have gone through many trials in my life(too many to mention) and the last one was one of the most difficult. My oldest son was in an auto accident last June. He had severe head trauma, a broken jaw, broken eye socket, broken cheekbone, cracks at the base of the skull, nerve damage to the right arm, a dislocated knee and multiple lacerations. But he lived! He is only 22 years old, and was not finished with his life yet! The fixing of his problems is too long to mention. It has taken 10 months to get him from the previous state to a functioning level today. He has permanent brain damage, but has overcome a lot of his problems. I was at the hospital, about 500 miles from home, for a month before I left to come home. Being away for that long gave me a new appreciation for my family and home. One of the things I remember the most is my husband being so calm during the entire ordeal. To him being faithful was leaving our son's life in God's hands. We got him to where he needed to be and he was being cared for by trained people. There was no more that we could do for him at that point but pray. We were bombarded with concerned phone calls. All we asked of everyone was for prayer and to add him to their prayer lists at their churches. He was on prayer lists in six states. We are not done yet. There is physical and cognitive therapy, numerous doctors, medications, insurance companies, etc. But the worst is over.

One of my other sons, 15 years old, has a favorite song by Rodney Atkins. It has a great chorus. "If you're going through Hell keep on going, don't slow down, if you're scared don't show it, you might get out before the Devil even knows you're there. If you're going through Hell, face that fire, walk right through it, you might get out before the Devil even knows you're there."

I firmly believe that being strong emotionally was the way we made it. Tight reigns on thoughts and tongue had to be kept. There was no time to fall apart and have a pity party. It would not have helped anyway. That does not mean that there were no tears. We just kept thinking positively and dealt with everything as it came. It was not fun or easy, but I guess there was no guarantee that it would be. I realize that life can be difficult. I also realize that there are people out there with worse problems than I have. The difficulty is being thankful always, no matter your situation.

These are the best days of my life, I may not realize it yet!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today is Monday, again. I got up this morning pushing everyone as hard as I could push. It seemed to me that no matter how hard I pushed, nothing more was getting done. My husband finally told me, "Quit pushing, it will get done." When I quit pushing, things went smoother. I guess the more I pushed, the more resistance I was getting. He was right, everything got done and everyone got to where they needed to go. My whole family was happier. That is my lesson learned for today.

My thought for today comes from an unknown author. I watched a TV program last week that dealt with this same theme.

"He who says 'tomorrow I will do my best' has already wasted another day."

That quote spoke to me. I will quit saving my best days. I can do my best every day. I think I am going to try this and see how much difference I can make in the lives of the people around me by doing my best every day. I have to live every day anyway, why not make it one of my best days. I'll let you know how it goes.

Have a "Best Day"!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Spring has sprung. With the coming of spring, new life abounds. Here is a picture of some of our new babies.

In my Cookie jar this week I have one of my favorite cookies. When my oldest son comes home from college, he requests these to take back and share with his roommate. He claims he shares them with his roommate (lol). We brand cattle at five different locations each year. Luch is served for 10 to 15 people at each location. These are a good cookie to pack in my coolers to take along.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups oats
1 2/3 cup butterscotch chips

Beat butter and sugars in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla, blend thoroughly. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Mix well. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes approx. 4 dozen.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Every now and then I come across a great buy. This time, our local grocery store came through. We live outside of a small town of approximately 2000 people. So, yes, there is only one grocery store. One of their specials this week was a 10 lb. bag of chicken quarters for $2.99. The bag contains 10 to 12 leg/thigh quarters. Wow! This is how I use chicken quarters:

Baked Chicken Quarters

10 lbs. chicken quarters
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup all purpose flour
4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place half of butter or margarine in each of two 13 x 9 x 2 baking pans. Place pans in oven to preheat until butter is melted. while pans are preheating, mix flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in flour mixture, coating evenly. Take pans out of oven, place chicken, skin side down, in melted butter. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Turn chicken over. Bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes until chicken tests done. This serves 10 to 12, one full quarter per person. This recipe can easily be halved for 5 to 6 servings.

Cost: Less than 50 cents per serving.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

beef recipe

We live smack in the middle of beef country. We raise cattle and feed out our own beef. I know it's tough, but we somehow make ourselves eat prime grain-fed beef (lol). We are willing to make the sacrifice :). Along those lines, I would like to share one of our favorite recipes. This is easy and economical to make. It is also great made ahead and refrigerated. You could make several pans if you are serving a crowd or freeze one for another day.

Red Enchilada Casserole

2 lbs. ground beef
2 cans, 10 oz., Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce, your choice of mild, medium or hot, I use medium
1 can, 10.5 oz., tomato soup, undiluted
10 corn tortillas
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown ground beef. Drain. Add Enchilada Sauce and tomato soup to ground beef. Mix well and reheat. In a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish, spread half of beef mixture. Layer corn tortillas on top of meat layer. Spread the remaining beef mixture on top of the tortillas. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Traditionally this would be served with spanish rice and beans. Add some corn chips and salsa or guacamole to the table, and consider it a Fiesta!

Enjoy!
It's another manic Monday! With the start of the new week, I needed a little extra inspiration. Maybe this will help you as much as it helped me.

The air we breath. A gift. The lungs to breathe it. A gift. The involuntary muscles that keep us breathing. A gift. Our waking to a new day. A gift.

Ken Gire

Now, take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another. Slowly release. put a smile on your face and greet the new day. Let's all greet the new week with a positive attitude.

My Cookie Jar contains these cookies this week:

Fast and Easy Peanut butter Cookies

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Egg

Beat egg, then add peanut butter and sugar. Stir until thick. Roll into 1" balls, press flat with a fork dipped in sugar, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Easter Bunny doesn't have anything on my laying hens. I have several that roam outside of our animal pen and corral area. Most of my flock stay closer to the barn and nest in the hen house. One of my sons and I were trying to get the tumbleweeds out from under a row of pine trees and discovered a nest with 25 eggs in it. Talk about hitting the jackpot! I was then informed by the poultry judge(my 17 year old who participates in FFA judging) how to check and grade my eggs. When he was one with his judging, I did the old fashioned sink or float in water test. We both had the same answer, toss the one that floated. So then, what do you do with two dozen extra eggs? You have a Ready Made versus Home Made Challenge, of course.

Here come our contestants in the Breakfast Sandwich competition.

Ready Made: 24 Bacon/Egg/Cheese or Ham/Egg/Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches from a convenience store
Cost: 24 @ 2/$3.00 = $36.00 plus tax of $2.79 for a total of $38.79

Semi Homemade: 24 Refrigerated Large Bacon/Egg/Cheese Biscuits
Cost: 6 boxes of 4 @ $4.99 per box = $29.94 (no tax on food) or $ 1.25 each

Home Made: 12 Bacon/Egg/Cheese and 12 Ham/Egg/Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches
made with 24 large biscuits, 1 pkg. sliced bacon, 1 pkg. sliced ham, 24 slices american cheese
Cost: 24 for $10.32 or $0.43 each

If you had to purchase the eggs, that would change to $12.90 or $0.54 each. You could also vary the meat or go meatless or cheeseless, everything is optional.

Ding!Ding!Ding! We have a winner! In about an hour we had breakfast for our three hungry boys for a week. These could be refrigerated for the week or frozen. Pop in the microwave and have breakfast - fast.

Here is hoping you and yours have a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm getting that spring itch. My fingers are itching to dig in the dirt. It's too early, I know, but the urge is still there. Most of the snow we received during last week's blizzard is gone, with only the deeper drifts remaining. Planning is the most fun. I look back at last year's garden harvest and try to adjust my plot sizes accordingly. Gardening, both flower and vegetable, is something I truly enjoy. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that the time investment is so productive. In a couple of weeks, I'll break out the tiller, grab my hoe, rake and seeds and production will begin. Our climate is dry, so watering is a big factor. It would be too easy just to have rain weekly. I also know, from the get-go, that there will be too much produce for me to handle. Sharing is caring. There is the old joke that about the first of August, even the people at church start locking their car doors, to prevent zucchini from being put in the back seats. My favorite thing to do is leave my extra, no matter what the vegetable, in the foyer of the church, so that anyone that wants or needs it can take it. This works quite well, as there are several of us that garden, and the vegetables vary from week to week. Every year, I also put in one new fruit. This year that will be blackberries. There are some good specials in the seed catalogs for bareroot plants. I would encourage you to plant some vegetables, even if you do not think you have a green thumb. They can be put anywhere. I have grown vegetables in pots on the patio and poked them in my flower beds. You do not have to have a full scale garden to reap the benefits of fresh vegetables. Just a little time and patience.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I do believe the country life is for me! There is nothing more peaceful than watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee and the only sounds are the birds chirping. It starts the day off on the right note. My thought for today is:

Joy is the thank-you, thank-you, thank-you from the bottom of our
hearts that erupts when we are put in touch with what really matters.

Margaret Langstaff

I do believe that hospitality has fallen by the wayside. I enjoy serving something homemade with people that visit. It gives that feeling that you have gone out of your way to make them comfortable in your home. It can be as simple as iced tea, lemonade and cookies. I try not to make it too much work, as there is not enough time to enjoy the visit. I also keep a supply of things in the freezer for when I am out of something freshly baked. Nut breads, from banana to zucchini, freeze well, as well as coffee cakes. You can also freeze or refrigerate cookie dough, then you have freshly baked without the mixing time. I fill my cookie jar every weekend. I work in the baking around work schedules and school events. That way, I am prepared if company comes calling or my kids get hungry, whichever comes first. Here's what is in my cookie jar this week:

Snickerdoodles

Mix thoroughly:

1 Cup Shortening
1-1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs

Add and mix well:

2 -3/4 Cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt

Roll into balls the size of walnuts. Roll in the following mixture:

2 Tblsp. Sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Place 2" apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

We have arrived!

My family decided two years ago to make a lifestyle change and move to the country. We are trying to get back to living a simpler, less stressful life. It has been a joy and an challenge to rediscover things that my husband and I both learned at an earlier age. I would love for you to join us in our journey to get back to the basics. We live in New Mexico, which, to a lot of people, is unknown territory. We are part of the Old West, with cowboys, cattle ranching, yucca and tumble weeds blended with a strong Spanish heritage, with the Santa Fe Trail wagon tracks being out our front door. The mixture is wonderful. Good food, family, friends, along with plenty of fresh air and sunshine makes it a great place to live. The posted picture is from my back door. Please come back and visit awhile.