Archive for November, 2007

30
Nov
07

Santa Fe Chicken & Ro-Tel Chicken

Both of these are really good.

This one is very easy to throw together in the crockpot!

Santa Fe Chicken

Combine the following in a crockpot:

1 can or 1-2 cups black beans or chickpeas

1 can corn

½ c. salsa or Ro-Tel

After stirring, add:

4 cups cooked chicken, diced

½ c. more salsa or Ro-Tel

Cook on low for 3 hours.  Then add:

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese

Cook one more hour on low.  Serve over rice with whole wheat flour tortillas.

Chicken Rotel

2-3 cups cooked chicken, diced

1 can cream of mushroom soup (make your own)

1 onion, chopped

1 can cream of chicken soup (make your own)

1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes or 1 jar home canned Ro-Tel

½ c. grated Cheddar Cheese

Tortilla chips and/or Whole Wheat Tortillas

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.  Spread chicken over the bottom.  Mix the soups together and spread over chicken.  Layer Ro-Tel, onions, and cheese.  Bake until bubbly or lightly brown, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with warm tortillas or tortilla chips.

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29
Nov
07

Hunters are here…

 

Deer season has arrived here in Kansas.  My parents have always been against the idea of leasing ground out to out-of-state hunters, getting big money for hunting, etc, etc.  In fact, my dad never allowed ANYONE to hunt grandma’s ground (except one older man who hunted there when my grandpa was alive), and grandma has always respected his wishes.  My cousins from California began to show an interest in hunting, so Dad allowed them to come out and hunt.  Well, then other cousins wanted to hunt and cousin’s spouses wanted to hunt and it kind of snowballed from there.  So, Dad decided if he was going to go to the trouble (and expense) of tents, blinds, vests, and all the fun hunting stuff he might as well make a little off of it.  So, he has started buying out-of-state licenses (it’s a raffle, so there are not guarantees you will get the number you apply for or any for that matter.  Because these hunters pay top dollar for their license and a chance to hunt in Kansas all hunting is now prohibited in an effort to not scare the deer away before the paying customers arrive. 

Although the hunters that come in are absolutely fantastic people, hunting season is a dreaded time for us.  Lots of illegal hunting goes on.  My parent’s neighbors hunt dad/grandma’s ground illegally.  They even had the nerve to confront the hunters dad had in and then call mom to make sure it was okay.  Our hunters said he was in camouflage and on Dad’s property.  Hmm, why would he be traipsing across our property, in camo, during the prime hunting time of the day?  Interesting.  We have seen people spotlighting from their trucks on our way to work.  Dad said our neighbor and a friend of his stand on his own property (they own 3-5 acres, not exactly prime hunting ground) looking out onto dad and grandma’s ground and lay their guns down whenever they see dad drive by.  Hello, they are in camo sitting on the boundary of their property.  I love it!

Mom had a big dinner last night since the hunters who are here are friends of the family.  They are from Texas and absolutely wonderful guys.  We could listen to them talk for hours with their Texas accents.  Today is their last day here, so we are really hoping one of them (or both of them) get what they are looking for.  I think one of the guys is coming back later in the season, but it would still be nice.  Dad’s neighbor took the liberty of telling them there isn’t any bucks on the piece of ground they’re hunting.  How would he know, he isn’t allowed on the ground, nice of him to volunteer that information, but the hunters told Dad they saw some smaller ones and there are rub marks all over the trees from the bucks.  Basically the neighbor was trying to get them off the ground, so he could get back to his trespassing.

As I said before hunting seasons is splendid.  The littering is one of my favorites.  Could there be a filthier thing to do?  To come out to the beautiful countryside and throw out your city trash, soda cans, beer boxes, and McDonald’s bags.  I have a huge, and I feel well deserved stereotype for people who litter.  I’ll keep it to myself though. : )

Randy and I saw two very small does (just lost their spots a week or two ago, small) on our way to mom and dad’s for dinner last night.  They were confused and alone and couldn’t get over the fence to safety and looked so scared.  It was so sad.  I have a special place in my heart for animals.  They just don’t have room to live anymore.

29
Nov
07

A day in the life of me!

 

This is what a usual day “off” is like for me:

5:00 am

  • Wake Up with Randy (Monday he got up at 2:00am to go into work and yes I was up and at ’em with him.)
  • Make coffee, breakfast, pack his lunch, and see him out the door

5:30 am

  • Breakfast for the dogs
  • If I make/allow myself I do yoga or just some relaxation time before beginning my day.
  • Begin kitchen duties:  this includes baking bread, making cheese, etc.

On Monday this included cleaning and freezing pumpkins, making pumpkin bread, yogurt, ww bread, and toothpaste.

7:30 am (Sun-up)

  • Outside Chores
  • Cats:  let them out of the pool house, turn off their heater, food & water
  • Chickens:  let them out, turn off their heat lamp, food & water
  • Sheep:  turn off their lights, let out of sheds (we keep them locked inside during lambing season), break ice on water, look them over well to check for illness or signs of labor, check salt & mineral

8:30 am

  • Back Inside:  once the sun is up and temperature is above freezing I can start laundry (sometimes our pipes freeze in this area of the house).  I always use my clothesline to dry my clothes whenever possible.  If weather doesn’t not permit me to use my clothesline, I hang up all shirts and only dry what I cannot hang on a hanger.

10:00 am

  • Frisbee with Ash (Australian Cattledog) and playing chase with Koal (a rescued mutt), he’s not into Frisbee or fetch.  I have to put the cats back in the pool house before this can take place.  Koal has a cat fetish and not a good one.  We just play until Ash takes her Frisbee to the backdoor to let me know she is tuckered out and ready to quit.

11:00 am

  • Lunch:  leftovers or egg sandwich (love my little Banties)

11:30 am

  • Back to Work:  menu planning, prepare the week’s dinners in advance, tea time (RRL, Cinnamon, Chai, etc.), fill bird feeders (4) with sunflower seeds, spend time with my cats outside (all my animals need some individual attention), hang up laundry, fold, and put away

2:00 pm

  • Start preparing dinner

3:00 pm

  • Another round of Frisbee and chase to wear down the dogs before Randy gets home.  Ash is a yipper (any of you who have Blue/Red Heelers can probably feel my pain), and if she has energy she makes sure we know about it.

3:30 pm

  • Evening Chores: 
    • Grain sheep and water sheep
    • Check chicken’s feed and water, collect eggs, turn on their heat lamp, and lock them up for the night
    • Feed and water the cats, lock them in the pool house, and turn on their heater

 

4:30 pm

  • Finish up dinner and have it ready when Randy gets home.

5:00 pm

  • Feed the dogs.  They eat near us while we eat dinner because Ash (aka Alpha) tends to steal Koal’s food if we don’t keep an eye on her.
  • Eat dinner and spend the rest of the evening relaxing and paying attention to each other and our two dogs.

 

That is a typical day “off” for me.  Sometimes I am ready to go back to work, so I can sit at my desk/computer and rest, haha.  I love being home, but it does get lonely without another being that walks upright there with me, someone who can talk back in a language I can understand.

Have a great day and a great weekend.

29
Nov
07

And you can see forever…

It is 19 degrees this morning.  Randy and I leave the house between 4:00am-5:00am so it is still dark outside.  This morning I could see the city I worked in 45 miles away, and he could see his 50 miles away.  The air is so crisp and clear (and Kansas is so flat) you can actually see the lights and even some buildings.  Crazy!

We had a coyote come very near our sheep lot in broad daylight Saturday.  Koal started barking when he saw him out the sliding glass door, then Ash chimed in (but I’m not entirely sure she knew why she was barking).  I ran outside to holler at it and to get Randy to check the sheep.  Then I yelled for Hank, our llama, he had his head buried in the hay bale and turned around to look at me with a mouth full like, “hello, I’m eating here what do you want.”  Good guard llama!  I’m sure if there was a threat he would have do something other than eat, but apparently the coyote was outside of his jurisdiction this time. haha

 

This is the end of the week for me.  Yea!  We are hoping to have one or two guys trucking in hay for us on Saturday.  We don’t really use massive amounts of hay to constitute “trucking hay in,” but my Dad goes through it with all of his (500+/-) sheep.  I will feel a lot better with the assurance of our hay setting behind our house safe and sound and knowing we have enough feed to get our little woolies through the winter.  We have a protein tub out for them right now, but have to pull it and rotate it around from pen to pen because a couple of the girl literally live with their head buried in it.  One of our yearling ewes actually rubbed her little chin raw from eating it.  So the little oinkers are having their protein tub rationed.  They have free choice hay (and we were surprised at the quality of the bale once it was opened up, so it’s not like they are starving.  They just have the winter blues and eat out of boredom like I do : )

 

Again I will have a couple of posts today, so sit tight!  Have a great day!

21
Nov
07

A New Menu Plan…

Here is my plan for mealtime at our house.  Randy and I made up a list of two weeks worth of meals we really like and don’t think we will get tired of for awhile.  I went shopping with my mom and stocked up on all the ingredients I will need to make the meals so we can rotate this two week menu a few times before changing it up and going again with a new menu.  I hope we can rotate through this menu at least three times before we are ready for a change and before we run out of supplies.  We will use what we have on hand and only what we have on hand, except for our weekly trip to the dairy for raw milk.  Here is the menu:

Monday:  Chicken Tetrazzini

*this makes two batches, so you can freeze one for the next time around

Tuesday:  Taco Soup with Cornbread

*again, plenty of soup to freeze for next time

Wednesday:  Tuna or Chicken Casserole with Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Thursday:  Lentil Soup (from N.T.) with Homemade Bologna or Roasted Chicken Sandwiches

Friday:  Bierocks with leftover soup or veggies

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza

Sunday:  Roasted Chicken with a veggies and Homemade Whole Wheat Bread or Rosemary Breadsticks Twists

**After dinner I will remove the meat and throw the bones into the crockpot to cook over night for broth.  The chicken will be frozen for future meals.

Monday:  Lasagna with Garlic Bread

Tuesday:  Navy Bean Casserole with Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Wednesday:  Hamburger Stroganoff with veggies and Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Thursday:  Sloppy Joes and Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Friday:  Mexican Night

Saturday:  Grill-from the freezer (Hamburgers, Venison Steaks, etc.)

Sunday:  From the Freezer-Pork Roast, Lamb Roast, etc. with a side of Broccoli Soup

We are going to try alternating our breakfast with Steel-Cut Oats (soaked in kerfir) and Oatmeal now that it is cold here in Kansas.  I also want to start sprinkling flax seeds on our oatmeal (and brewer’s yeast and flax on mine).  I’m working on an adrenal/thyroid issue diagnosed by my kinesiologist, so I’m incorporating brewer’s yeast and kelp into my diet instead of the expensive meds he offered.  I want to be healthy, but I have to stick to some sort of budget also.  The flax seed and flax seed oil is an attempt to balance our omega 3s with our omega 6s to prevent dry skin and dandruff which always seems to be a winter problem.  Our omega 6s tend to outway our omega 3s which causes dry skin conditions among other things.  See Here!  That is why grass-fed beef, chicken, pork, wild game, and free-range chickens are so much healthier for you than the feed-lot variety.  They are proven to have higher levels of Omega-3s from all the green leafy vegetables they eat.  It’s a little more expensive to eat healthy, but if you add up the money spent in the doctor’s office caused by an unhealthy diet, I think you will see you are actually saving money in the long run by eating healthy.

I used to do kefir smoothies for breakfast, but it’s a little too chilly for those this time of year.  On the weekends I do a bigger breakfast (pancakes, eggs, sausage, etc.), but during the week when we are working it has to be quick and easy (but still nutritious).

Speaking of breakfast and eggs, look what Randy found in our chicken coop last night.  We have one adolescent hen, so I’m not sure if this was her first attempt at egg-laying or what happened here.  I didn’t crack it open, sometimes I think it’s safer to just deem an odd egg inedible and not see what’s inside of it.  LOL

Our lunches are always leftovers, even on the weekends.  Sometimes, as unhealthy as it is, we are so busy working outside we miss lunch and just do the big breakfast and an early dinner.

We’ll see how the rotating menu works, but it’s so nice to just know what we are eating every night.

Have a great day!

21
Nov
07

Freezing Sweet Potatoes

This is a really great way to preserve sweet potatoes to use in casseroles or pie if you do not have a cellar.

Wash sweet potatoes that have been cured for at least one week.  To cure sweet potatoes: store the fresh potatoes in a warm room in the house for 14 days. Curing develops the flavor and allows for longer storage.

Peel and cook the sweet potatoes until almost tender in water, steam, a pressure cooker, or the oven. 

Let stand at room temperature until cool.  Cut into chunks, slices, or mash.

To prevent darkening, dip whole sweet potato or slices for 5 seconds in a solution of 1/2 cup lemon juice to 1 quart water.  To keep mashed sweet potatoes from darkening, mix 2 tablespoons of orange or lemon juice with each quart of mashed sweet potatoes. 

Pack into containers, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Make sure all the air is squeezed out of the bag.  Seal and freeze.

 

21
Nov
07

Re-Soaping

 

I saw this on another lady’s blog, but her blog has been closed since so I cannot link it.  So, I typed up the directions and thought I would pass them along. 

Re-Soaping:

This is a fun way to make soap without the worry of using lye.  You can adjust the herbs and vitamins to meet your family’s needs.

Ingredients:

4 (4 oz.) bar IVORY Soap

1 ½ cups Water

6 Chamomile tea bags (or ½ to 1 cup favorite dry herbs)

3 oz. Olive Oil

1 oz. Vitamin E Oil

2 T. Vitamin A

Essential Oil for fragrance (optional)

In a stainless steel pan, bring water to a boil then add tea bags and steep, covered over low heat for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate soap.  I use a food processor.

Remove tea bags and squeeze well.  Add grated soap and stir gently.  Over stirring will cause suds.  Melt soap, covered on low to medium heat while folding melted portions in every few minutes.  This process may take awhile.  This allows you to do other things around the kitchen while your soap is melting.  You may need to add small amounts of water if bottom of pan gets too hot.

When soap is melted, fold in oils and vitamins.  Continue heating over low heat and covered while folding occasionally, until soap is smooth.

Turn soap out into an 8 inch square pan lined with plastic wrap.  Shake pan vigorously to even out mixture and bring any air bubbles to the surface.  Smooth the top with the back of spoon if necessary. 

When surface skims over, you can put the pan in the freezer to speed up the firming process or just let it set for about 4-6 hours.  I let mine set overnight.

When soap feels firm turn it out onto a board and cut it into bars with a sharp knife.  You can chop up the trimmings and squeeze them into soap balls if you like.

Set soap on end and let dry 2-6 weeks, depending on how much water was added.  Turn bars halfway through the drying process.  This soap is ready to use at any time, but the less dry it is the faster it dissolves and will crumble easily.

*not the greatest photo of the soap, but you get the idea : )

Use this soap for gifts or just for your family.  Enjoy!




Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change.

I am the wife to my wonderful husband and joint care giver to the many animals we have acquired on our small farm here on the prairie. This is a bit about our life on our farm. We are striving for simplicity and self-sufficiency, determined to become debt-free, trying to live in tune with the natural cycles of this earth, and challenging ourselves to transition to a diet based on traditional foods. It isn't always easy, and we don't always succeed, but it is a fun learning process. Join us as we stumble through learning how to provide for ourselves, get off the treadmill, and work toward a simpler way of life.

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