Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LAPBOOK: Chemistry

 We took over a year to make this lapbook.  The unit study and printables can be found HERE.  We went through the book Christian Kids Explore Chemistry and as we came to appropriate sections, would complete the section and mini book from the unit study.  We also did some extra experiments, took photos and did a mini book on them.  Some of our mini books we made up ourselves but most are from the free one online.  Once we were done with our chemistry study, we had an envelope full of mini books to put into the lapbook.  We also printed off several photos, charts and graphs to include.  This is the biggest and most complete lapbook we've ever done. It was lots of fun and is now a great tool for review for ClaireAnna.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

This middle section contains several mini reports of important chemists.
On the right is a time line of their lives and a map showing country of origin. 

We learned about molecules, atoms and nano particles.

We learned what every bit of information on the periodic table stands for. 

We learned all about the different sections of the periodic table. 

 This pocket contains pictures of molecules made with this molecule kit.
On the back is the name of the molecule in words and symbols. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

RECIPE: Fruit Smoothies

You can make fruit smoothies a million different ways.  Sometimes I use yogurt.  Sometime I don't.  Sometimes I use ice, sometimes, just the frozen fruit.  I always save the juice from canned pineapple and canned peaches in a container in the freezer for smoothies later.  Here is a typical fruit smoothie that I make.

1 cup fruit juice (I like grape and pineapple the best.)
1/2 container of yogurt, any fruit flavor
1 capfull of lime juice
1 T sugar (totally optional)
1/2 bananna
3 or so cups of fruit
  pineapple, canned or fresh
  peaches, canned, fresh or frozen
  strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, fresh or frozen

In a high speed blender, blend juice, yogurt, lime juice and banana first.  Then add fresh or canned fruit and blend.  Last add frozen fruit.  You may need to add some water if the mixture is too thick.  You can add shaved ice if you like.  This amount makes 2 large smoothies.   Trying to make 4 smoothies at one time in my blender is too much for the machine.  I just do this twice.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Goat Working Day

 Back in the middle of December was a goat working day.  This means attending to regular goat maintenance, something we do several times a year.   First, we put them all out of the goat pen and bring the stand in.  Then, everybody takes a turn up on the stand and is let go into the goat pen when they are finished.
Some does in the barn alley way, waiting their turn to get back into the pen. 
Romeo was first on the stand.  What a monster!
You can see in the background, ClaireAnna is feeding Shani
some hoof trimmings. 
Munching away!
Dogs LOVE hoof trimmings of any kind.
Shani wouldn't miss goat working day for anything! 
We love this goat stand we bought used from a goat farmer going out of business. 
 It saves a lot of wear and tear on our backs! 

Every goat got a hoof trimming, a CD & T shot (vaccinations for disease), a selenium shot (to prevent deficiency in the kids) and finally, dewormed. 

One of ClaireAnna's jobs is to crank up the stand. 

Trimming is not easy only because the goats don't like it and
they pull their feet out of your hand quite a bit.
Some are worse then others.  Kate's pretty good at it. 

Claire is learning to trim the goats' feet. 

I give the shots.
Job's all done.  Time to play. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

RECIPE: Potato Pack

We've been making this for many years and it is still a family favorite.  And so easy!

3 large Potatoes
3 large Carrots
1 med Onion
Salt and Pepper
Dried or fresh parsley
Butter or olive oil
Non stick cooking spray

Tear off a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil about 2 1/2 feet long. Spray the foil with non stick cooking spray.  Wash potatoes and slice thinly, about 1/4 inch thick.  Lay down slices flat in a layer in the middle of the foil about 12" X 12" and then add more layers on top till the potatoes are gone.  Peel carrots and slice very thinly.  (I use the slicer blade on the Microplane grater pictured. You can also use a mandolin.)  Place carrot slices on top of potatoes.  Peal the onion, cut in half, and then slice very thinly.  Sprinkle onion slices over carrots.   Salt and pepper the whole thing and sprinkle with parsley to taste.  Now, if you want to, you can place some dabs of butter over the vegetables or drizzle them with olive oil.  Once your 12" X 12" pile of vegies is just the way you like it, fold the foil over it and seal all the edges.  Then place the pack on the grill.  For my gas grill, this takes 12 - 15 minutes on almost high heat.  Yours may vary.  You want to cook the potatoes fast enough to get a nice caramelization on the bottom.  This amount serves 4.  We also sometimes add zucchini, but be sure to slice it think enough so it says tender-crisp.  You can also make these in individual sizes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Not Enough

ClaireAnna and I counted round bales today to see how we're doing with our supply for the rest of the winter. The numbers aren't what I'd hoped.  We're going to have to find some bales somewhere and I know it will cost us a pretty penny.  The summer was so hot and dry that hay is very scarce in Arkansas this year and overpriced when you can find it.  I do not like being in this situation.  You can bet that next year, we'll not be selling our excess, just in case this ever happens again.  We've always just trusted our hay fields to provide what we need.  They've done that and much more for eight years.  This year, they did not and it has been quite unnerving.  We've learned the hard way that one must prepare for the lean times during the times of plenty.   From now on, we'll carry over a supply of hay from year to year and only sell the extra when we've got next year's supply in the barn.  Lesson learned.

In the mean time, a farm girl can still have fun in the hay barn.

What is that black thing up in the rafters of the hay barn?
It's a kid! 
After evening chores, she takes a break to cuddle her cat, Ricky.

Sniper At Ten Weeks

 Today, Sniper is 10 weeks old.  He's grown quite a bit and is getting very handsome and manly! We still can't tell what mix he is.  If you have a guess, leave it in the comments below this post.  I'm getting a DNA test done on him and we'll see who's right!

Shani is finally willing to play with him a little bit. 

Here's a little perspective.  Shani weighs about 75 lbs.
Sniper is 10 weeks old.  
 Yes, that's Claire in the back ground, sitting in the wheel barrow, cuddling with her cat.  She doesn't care that that thing is used mostly to haul manure.  Farm girl.

RECIPE: Crock Pot Beef With Rice

Any kind of beef roast or steak
Salt and Pepper
1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 onion, thickly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T A-1 steak sauce

You can make this several different ways, leave the roast whole or if it's round steak, cut into bit sized chunks.  You can brown the meat on the stove first if you have the time, then deglaze the pan with a little water and add it to the slow cooker. Otherwise, just season your meat, put it and the onions and garlic in the crock pot, mix up the other ingredients and pour on top.  Double the tomatoes, soup mix and A1 if you need more sauce.  Cook till beef is tender and falls apart.  Serve over rice or a baked potato.

RECIPE: Not Really Shepherd's Pie

My mother in law made a version of this dish for her family for many years.  She placed the filling in a baking dish and spread the mashed potatoes over top and baked it.  I took it apart to make it simpler after realizing there was no point to the baking process.  It's not what is traditionally considered shepherd's pie but that is what they always called it, so we do too.  It is very quick, very simple, nutritious and delicious! We have this several times a month.

1 lb ground beef.
1 small onion
1 clove garlic (optional)
salt and pepper
1-2 cana tomato sauce (depending on how much sauce you like)
1 cup green beans or 1 cup cooked spinach
(we often use both)
prepared mashed potatoes, instant or homemade

Brown the ground beef, onions and garlic in a large skillet.  Drain.  Add the tomato sauce and vegetables and simmer till vegetables are done.  Season and serve over mashed potatoes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

RECIPE: Beef Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 lb any type of beef roast or steak, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (or left over beef roast)
Olive Oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 cups beef stock or broth, canned or homemade
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 cups left over tomato juice or V8 if you've got it - optional
salt and pepper
1 tsp rosemary
1 can beans - any kind
Vegetables - any of these in any amount and variation to taste
  yellow squash
  green beans
  carrots (thinly sliced)

Brown meat in batches in olive oil in large dutch oven.  (If you are using left overs, skip this step.)  Remove beef and saute onions and garlic in same pot till translucent.  Add stock, tomatoes, juice, beef and seasonings and bring to a simmer.  Be sure to scrape the bottom clean of the brown bits.  Add longer cooking vegetables (carrots, green beans, mushrooms,) and simmer till near tender.  Add softer vegetables (peas, corn, squash, spinach) and canned beans and simmer longer till all are tender.  I often precook my squash in the microwave or steamer and add them to the soup last because we don't like them too soft.

Better Than KFC Coleslaw

Well, I think so anyway!  I LOVE KFC coleslaw! But I came up with this recipe that I like even better, and now I've adapted it to my clean eating plan with only whole, natural ingredients.  It's the sour cream that makes it different and the lemon juice that gives it a pop! I can eat   this whole recipe myself in one day.  :)  
1 package coleslaw mix
1/3 cup coconut sugar or 1/4 cup raw honey
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
¼ cup milk
½ cup home made mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ T white vinegar
2 ½ T lemon juice

Mix all ingredients except coleslaw mix in a large bowl with a whisk till sugar is dissolved.  Add coleslaw mix and toss.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. 

RECIPE: Ted's Favorite Cookies

These bars were originally called "Special K Bars" and made by my grandmother Milbauer and my mom every Christmas.  One year, I decided to try making them with crisp rice cereal instead of Special K and we all liked it better.  These are not only Ted's favorite cookies, but all of our favorite cookie to have at Christmas time.  They are chewy, peanut buttery and delicious! 

6 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 package milk chocolate chips

Melt corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter in large pot on stove over low heat.  DO NOT BOIL!   When sugar is well dissolved and mixture is shiny and smooth, remove from heat and add cereal.  Stir well and turn onto cookie sheet (with sides).  Spread out evenly.  Pour entire bag of chips over top and pop into oven on low just to melt.  Spread melted chips over entire pan of cookies.  Cool and cut into bars. 

RECIPE: Rotisserie Rice

This is our favorite way to have rice.  It's easy and yummy and ClaireAnna loves it!

Jasmine Rice (Always use Jasmine)
Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning
Chicken Broth or bullion cupes

Make the rice according to the package directions except that if you are using stock, substitute it for the amount of water called for.  If you are using bullion, just add a cube for each cup of water used.  Add rotisserie chicken seasoning according to taste and the amount of rice you are making.  We like quite a bit in ours and use a couple of teaspoons full.  You can make it lightly seasoned, or down right spicy.  Either way, it's delicious!

RECIPE: Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is how my grandmother and my mother made this dish.  It may seem plain, but it is really delicious.  I like to break open a pepper and plop a dollop of butter right in the middle.  Yum!

1 ½ lb ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups white rice cooked only 10 min. 
6 bell peppers
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can petit diced tomatoes (optional)

Cook rice only 10 minutes and set aside.  Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in a skillet.  Drain.  Combine rice and beef in large bowl. You want about 50% of each. Cut tops off peppers, rinse and scrape seeds and white from insides.  Stuff each pepper full with beef mixture, pressing it into pepper.  Pour tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (if desired) into large crock pot.  Set stuffed peppers in sauce in crock pot, crowding them toward the middle if there’s room.  Set tops back on peppers.  Cook on low for several hours until peppers are tender.  

Variation: I often make them this way 
Cook rice according to directions.  Brown beef, onions and garlic in large skillet.  Add tomato sauce and tomatoes.  Slice peppers into strips, add to beef mixture and simmer till desired tenderness.  Serve over rice.  (So much easier! Tastes the same!)

RECIPE: Shredded Beef For Sandwiches

Any kind of beef roast
 1 or 2 envelopes of Au Jus mix
Some water, a cup or so
Chopped Onion
Minced Garlic

I just pop my beef roast into the slow cooker, add water, Au Jus mix, onion and garlic, salt and pepper.  Let it cook till fall apart tender.  Remove beef from crock pot, remove any bones, gristle, fat etc. and shred the good stuff with two forks.  Put the shredded beef back in the juices.  We like this best on the cheep hamburger buns.  If you want “Italian Beef” just add an envelope or two of Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix.  The amounts for everything depend on the size of your roast(s).  I make as much as will fit in the crock pot because we want leftovers.  It is even better the next day or frozen for later.  If you want to make this for a crowd, put several roasts in a large roasting pan, cover well with foil and bake at 325 degrees for several hours.  

RECIPE: Zucchini or Yellow Squash Casserole

2 pounds zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced thickly
¼ cup chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
½ cup shredded carrots
1 package herb seasoned stuffing mix, 8 oz
            (Pepperidge Farm is the only brand we like for this recipe, it is crumbs, not cubes)
½ cup melted butter

Cook sliced squash and onion in boiling, salted water for about 3 min.  Squash must still be a bit crisp.  Drain.  Combine chicken soup and sour cream.  Stir in the carrots, squash and onions.  Add salt to taste.  Combine stuffing mix with melted butter.  Spread half the stuffing mix on the bottom of a baking dish.  Spoon vegetable mixture on top of stuffing, then sprinkle the rest of the stuffing mixture on top of the vegetables.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Note:  This dish is our must have at Thanksgiving.  We use a mixture of squashes or sometimes broccoli and cauliflower.  You can add chopped chicken or turkey and have a complete dinner.  

RECIPE: Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is my daughter, Jes's recipe.  It's heaven. 

2 Pounds - Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Cooked and Shredded
1 Can - Diced Tomatoes
2 Cans - Crushed Tomatoes
1 Can - Black Beans
1 Can - Whole Sweet Corn
1 14 oz can - Enchilada Sauce
2 Cans - Chicken Broth
1- Small Onion, Diced
2 Cloves - Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons - Lime Juice
3 Tablespoons - Fresh Cilantro, Finely Chopped
3 1/2 Teaspoons - Cumin Powder
2 1/2 Teaspoons - Chili Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons - Salt
1 Teaspoon - Black Pepper

Approximately 1/4 cup - Vegetable Oil
1 Package - Flour Tortillas

Sour Cream (Optional Garnish)
1 or 2 Avocados (Optional Garnish)
4 Cups - Shredded Chihuahua Cheese (Shredded Cheddar cheese can be substituted if Chihuahua cheese is not available.)

Put all soup ingredients in slow cooker.  Allow soup to cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours.

While soup is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush both sides of the tortillas with a light coat of vegetable oil.  Cut into thin strips.  Place strips on cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and crispy. 

To serve, top soup with crunchy tortilla strips, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and an avocado wedge.  

RECIPE:Chicken Vegetable Soup

I cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker for dinner the night before.  I put the stock in the fridge and the next day, remove the solidified fat from the top and use it in my soup along with the chicken meat picked from the carcass.  (The stock.  I use the stock in my soup - not the fat!) 

1 lb cooked chicken, cut up
2-4 cups chicken stock or broth, canned or homemade
1-2 cups left over tomato juice or V8 if you have some - optional
1 can petit diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped, sautéed
Salt & pepper
1 tsp rosemary
1 can beans (any kind you like)
Vegetables – any of these, in amounts and variations to taste
                Green beans
                Yellow squash

Put the broth, tomatoes, chicken and seasonings in a Dutch oven and bring to a simmer.  Add onions, carrots (I slice very thinly on my grater), green beans and mushrooms if you are using them and simmer till all are near tender.  Add canned beans, peas, corn and spinach and simmer a little longer to heat.  If you are using squash, cook separately to desired tenderness and add before serving since they can get mushy very quickly.  (Or just watch them carefully as you simmer the soup.)

Variation: Add 3/4 cup barley to soup and let simmer for 20 min. 


This is our family chili recipe.  It's the only chili we all really love.  It's the only chili I even like.  I think the oregano is what makes it so great.  Ted makes it the best. 

3 lbs ground beef (or goat)
2 med onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 ½ cups tomato juice
1 can tomato sauce, 15 oz
1 can, any kind, diced or stewed tomatoes, 16 oz
2-4 T chili seasoning mix, to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cans of plain beans, any kind, not in sauce,, rinced 15 oz.

Brown beef, onions and garlic in a large Chili pot. Drain if needed.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer slowly 1-2 hours.  (You may want to add the beans after the first hour to prevent them from becoming too soft.  If you are in a hurry, this can be eaten in 30 minutes!  Serve with chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and cooked gluten free elbow noodles  or cooked brown if desired.  You can also make this in the slow cooker.

I always double this recipe and add two extra cans of beans (six cans total).  I use any kind of canned beans, (navy, red, kidney, light kidney, black, baby butter, great northern) sometimes six different kinds in one batch of chili.  I also doctor this recipe up for added nutrition.  The latest batch I made included cooked, mashed eggplant and shredded broccoli stalks.

Variations: I actually love this chili made with shredded, (not ground) cooked, turkey breast instead of beef. 

RECIPE: Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie

This is my daughter's apple pie recipe.  It's amazing. 

by: Jes Harmon

  1 pastry crust for a deep-dish pie 9-inch (homemade or store-bought)
  1/2 cup sugar
  3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1/8 tsp salt
  6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples
  1 recipe crumb topping (see below)
  1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1/2 cup caramel topping

Ingredients for the Crumb Topping
  1 cup packed brown sugar
  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  1/2 cup butter

Directions for the Crumb Topping
Directions for Crumb Topping:
1. Stir together brown sugar, flour, rolled oats.
2. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until topping is like course crumbs. Set aside.
Directions for the Pie
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.
2. Add apple slices and gently toss until coated.
3. Transfer apple mixture to the pie shell
4. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture.
5. Place pie on a cookie sheet so the drippings don't drop into your oven.
6. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil.
7. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 25 minutes. Then remove foil and put back in for another 25 to 30 minutes without foil.
8. Remove from oven. Sprinkle pie with chopped pecans then drizzle with caramel on top.
9. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

RECIPE: Easy Banana Cream Pie

2 ready made pie crusts, gram cracker or shortbread type
2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk, any kind
16 oz. Cool Whip, thawed completely
1 large banana

Slice banana and lay out in a layer on top of pie crusts.  Use a mixer to combine pudding mix and milk.  Beat a couple of minutes till thick.  Fold in 8 oz Cool Whip.  Divide filling evenly between 2 pie crusts and pour over bananas, spreading smooth.  Top each pie with half of remaining Cool Whip.  Chill

RECIPE: Quick Sausage Skillet Dinner

2-3 potatoes, sliced
½ onion, chopped
Broccoli flowerets
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced 1 inch thick on the diagonal
salt and pepper
olive oil

Sprinkle a little olive oil in hot skillet.  Add potatoes, onion and sausage.  Sautee on medium for 5 minutes or so.  Add broccoli, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until potatoes and broccoli are tender.  Add a little water as needed to help steam the vegetables, but let them crisp up towards the end.  Times will vary depending on how thick your potatoes are and how soft you like your broccoli.  The sausage flavors the vegetables to make a really good, quick dinner.  

RECIPE: Dreamy Chocolate Pudding Cake

This cake is so delicious I can't even find the words.  I won't be making any other dessert for at least five years! 

Chocolate cake mix
(You'll only use half the cake for one dessert.)
1 16 oz tub of cool whip
1 ½ cups milk
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
1 bag Heath bar bits

Make chocolate cake according to directions but put only half the batter in a greased 9X13 pan.  (Bake the rest of the cake in a separate 9X13 pan if you want two large desserts or bake it in a 8X8 pan for a small, normal thickness cake left over.)   Let cool completely.

Sprinkle the cake (made with ½ the batter) with Heath bar bits saving some for the top of the cake. 

Mix 1 large box of pudding in a bowl with 1 ½ cups milk for a minute or two.  Fold in about 1/3 of the cool whip.  Spread on top of cake.

“Frost” the pudding layer with the rest of the cool whip.  Sprinkle with remaining Heath bar bits.

RECIPE: Slow Cooker Pork With Sour Kraut

3-5 potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4- 6 pork chops
salt and pepper
1 bag sour kraut

Place halved potatoes and quartered onions in bottom of slow cooker.  Layer seasoned pork chops on top of vegetables.  Drain sour kraut and put on top of the pork chops.  Add ½ cup water.  Cook on low several hours till all is tender.  

RECIPE: Oreo Chocolate Cream Pie

This has been a family favorite for many, many years! 

2 chocolate flavored ready made gram cracker pie crusts
(If not available use regular gram cracker pie crusts.  This is not as good with the Oreo crust.  Go figure!)
2 large boxes instant chocolate pudding mix
3 cups milk, any kind
16 oz Cool Whip, Thawed completely
Several crushed Oreos

Use mixer to combine pudding and milk in deep bowl.  Beat a couple of minutes till thick.  Fold in 8 oz. Cool Whip.  Divide filling evenly between 2 pie crusts.  Spread smooth.  Top each pie with half of remaining Cool Whip, spreading it over chocolate filling.  Sprinkle Oreos on top of Cool Whip.  Chill.

RECIPE:Mexican Shells

1 lb. ground beef
1 16 oz jar salsa
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup frozen or canned corn
1 can black beans, rinsed (optional)
Jumbo shells, about 28, cooked
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour Cream

Cook ground beef in skillet and drain.  Stir in salsa, tomato sauce, corn, and black beans.  Grease 9 X 13 inch baking dish.  Stuff shells with meat mixture.  Place in a single layer in baking dish. (Stuff ‘em in there!)  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until meat mixture is hot and cheese is bubbly.  Serve with sour cream.

RECIPE: Mashed Potato Chicken Pot Pie

Instant mashed potatoes, made according to directions for 6 servings
            or homemade mashed potatoes in an equivalent amount.
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
2 cups chicken, cooked, chopped
     (or rabbit meat )
1 cup any vegetable you like, cooked
¼ tsp poultry seasoning (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 cup boxed biscuit mix

Make instant mashed potatoes a little thicker then normal and set aside.  Sautee chopped onion in butter till translucent.  Add flour and cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Wisk in chicken broth and simmer till thickened.  Add chicken and vegetables, seasonings, salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper!).   Mix biscuit mix with enough milk to make a pancake-like batter.  Grease 9 X 13 baking dish.  Spread thick mashed potatoes to cover bottom of pan.  Pour chicken mixture over potatoes.  Slowly pour biscuit batter over filling, will not cover all, put some here, some there.  Bake at 350 degrees till filling is bubbling and biscuits are done.

We actually like this just fine without the biscuits.  In that case, I just serve the mashed potatoes separately and add the pot pie filling over them like gravy on the plate.  No need to bake. 

RECIPE: New Potato Pasta Salad

As weird as it sounds, potatoes and pasta really do taste great together.  We LOVE this salad and so does everybody who tries it! 

4 cups new potatoes, diced
12 oz. rainbow rotini
1 lb bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup ranch salad dressing

Boil large pot of water.  Drop in potatoes ( you don’t have to peel them) and cook for 3 minutes.  Add rotini and cook 10 to 12 minutes more until rotini and potatoes and done.  Drain.  You want about equal amounts of cooked rotini and potato.  In a very large bowl, wisk together mayonnaise and ranch dressing.  Add potatoes, rotini, bacon and eggs.  Stir and chill.  This is a big batch for a crowd.  You can half it for a family.  

RECIPE: Mexican Pork (or chicken)

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1" cubes (or any kind of pork, I use chops)
1 cup frozen corn kernels, organic, non GMO
1 can black beans
2 cups picante sauce, or salsa, homemade, (or Pace)
4 cups mixed salad greens
4 ounces monterey jack cheese, I use pepper jack or cheddar, grated

1. Throw it all into the crock pot and cook on low till pork is tender.

2. Serve over a bed of lettuce (or brown rice or low carb, gluten free tortilla), topped with grated cheese, with sour cream on the side.

Servings: 4

Notes: You can use a can of crushed tomatoes and 2 T taco seasoning if you don't have picante sauce or salsa.  I saute onions and bell peppers to add to this version. Tastes different but still good.

RECIPE: Broccoli Cheese Soup

16 oz fresh broccoli flowerets, chopped
1 cup shredded carrot
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup flour
½ cup butter
4 cups half and half
4 cups chicken broth
16 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

Sauté onion and carrot in butter in large Dutch oven till translucent.  Add flour, cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly whisk in broth and half and half.  Bring to a simmer.  Pre-cook broccoli to desired tenderness in microwave or steamer and add to soup.  Simmer slowly and low till broccoli is tender.  Turn off heat, add shredded cheese (must be sharp or it won’t taste the same) and stir till melted.  Add milk to thin soup if needed.  Salt and pepper to taste.  (This soup likes lots of pepper!) This is just as delicious made with cauliflower or use 8 oz of each.  Makes a huge batch, you can cut it in half for a family. 

RECIPE: Crab Meat Salad

2 lbs imitation crab meat, cut up
12 – 16 oz medium shell pasta, cooked
2 cups Miracle Whip
2 cups sour cream
1/8 cup sugar

Mix together Miracle Whip, sour cream and sugar in a large bowl
Add crab meat and pasta.  Stir well.  Chill.  Some people add 1 cup frozen peas.  This makes a big batch.  Half it for a family. I aim for about 50% crab to 50% pasta.  Delicious!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

All Dressed Up!

ClaireAnna got out The Grinch today and tried on the outfit she got...for him....for her....for Christmas.  Let me try that again - it was her gift, but his outfit.  Follow me? And in case you didn't know, that's just exactly what 10 year old cowgirls want for Christmas - stuff to make their horses pretty!  ClaireAnna decided a long time ago that The Grinch's color is royal blue. So blue it is! Blue saddle pad. Blue bridle. Blue reins. Blue breast plate. Blue splint boots.  Blue bell boots.  (Boots were not tried on today due to muddy legs and hooves.)

Coming up out of the pasture.
For shame.  A red halter.
He does have a blue one....

I love this pony's butt.
It's very appropriate to say that about a horse.
(I only get in trouble when I say it about Hugh Jackman.)
But I digress.  Great job, ClaireAnna! on getting
Grinch's hooves clean. 

Making him pretty.

See Grinch? It's blue! 

PRODUCT REVIEW: Best Friend Western Bareback Pad

We bought this bareback pad for ClaireAnna for Christmas and she was so excited to try it out today on Cindy! This is a very attractive and well made pad.  When I opened the box from UPS, I found the pad to be just what I was hoping for.  We are very happy with it in every way!  I ordered it online directly from the manufacturer after researching several options.  I looked online and in stores and finally decided to go with this one because of the easy girth system and the non slip security provided by the neoprene bottom and girth.  I also did not want a pad with stirrups since I know those are not safe.  The pad comes in seven color combinations and is $69.99.  I found the price to be very reasonable for the quality. There are cheaper pads out there but they just don't measure up.  A more expensive pad would simply be unnecessary.   

ClaireAnna put it on by herself with no instructions and no help. 

The non-slip neoprene bottom really helps this pad stay in place
and is comfortable for the horse.
The girth is made of the same material. 

The pad gives a nice grip and helps ClaireAnna feel more secure
It will also keep her jeans from getting sweated through on longer rides. 

There is just the right amount of cushion to give the rider some
comfort but still keep a close contact feel.  
This girth system is excellent, very easy to use and tighten
 - just a simple buckle on both sides.
The pad should fit almost any size horse.
This is a medium pony and there is quite a bit of extra strap
on both sides, but also some holes left.  
ClaireAnna loves the pocket! 

And the water bottle holder! 

It's easy to get cuddly with your pony when using the
Best Friend Western Bareback Pad!

I know ClaireAnna will have many happy hours riding her ponies in this great bareback pad! We love it! 

FARM TIP: Spigots In Winter

We don't have too many very cold days here in Arkansas during the winter, but we do get below freezing often enough and sometimes have sleety rain that coats everything in a layer of ice.  I've found a simple and free way to keep my "frost proof" spigots free of ice and not so stiff with cold.  Feed bags do the trick! 

We've got three spigots like this in the barnyard.  

I cover each in four layers of feed bags.
 I use a paper bag first, then plastic, paper and plastic again.
The layers of bags are heavy enough not to blow off in strong wind,
but you could loop a bungie around the whole thing if you like.
Also, keep the spigot well lubricated.   

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January Auction Report

I went to the London Auction Barn tonight with my friend Stephanie Jordan.  We stayed for the tack sale and about 5 horses.  Prices on riding horses were actually up.  A couple of them went for over $700 and I was very surprised! 

We each got some great deals on tack.  Here are mine. 
Crops, $3 each. 

12 pack of roping gloves, $5
We'll use them on the farm.

Full cheek snaffle with a copper 3 piece, french link, broken mouth piece,   $8!