Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Calico Potatoes And Hickory Smoked Spam

I made these tasty potatoes for breakfast and they were a hit. They were easy to prepare and cook...

I had already taken a few bites when I realized that I had not taken
a picture of the finished product, sorry...

Ingredients: 3 medium peeled and grated potatoes,
2 peeled and grated carrots
1 small grated onion
can of corn, drained
oil for frying
(I used bacon drippings)
salt and pepper

Mix up everything up and
add to a hot skillet.

Salt and pepper to taste and cook covered until tender on low-medium heat
turning potatoes occasionally to keep from burning.
Remove lid and finish cooking until brown.

Slice Spam 1/4 inch thick and fry...
We really like Hickory Smoked Spam. Slice it thin and fry, it tastes just like bacon. Slice it thicker and fry for sandwiches. You can grill it too...

1940s House

I had the opportunity to watch this (PBS) BBC video yesterday on YouTube. It's is about 2 1/2 hours long, but well worth the time. It depicts what wartime was really like on the home front.

War wasn't just sending soldiers off and forgetting that you were in a war because you were not affected, it was real sacrifices. In your backyard kinda stuff. I recommend this video to everyone.

Plot Summary for"The 1940s House" (2001) More at IMDbPro »

Reality show. A couple, their daughter and two grandchildren volunteer to spend several weeks living under wartime conditions. That includes clothing, learning to live with rationing (12 ounces of candy a month, 4 ounces of ham a week etc) and digging up the back yard partly for extra vegetables and partly for an "Anderson" air raid shelter. Several historians and "experts" formed a War cabinet to direct events, and push the family went through 6 years of war in those weeks.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bixby Letter

This is the letter that was sent to a mother who lost five sons in the Civil war. The sacrifice of a soldier does not rest entirely on him or her, but is also endured by the soldier's loved ones...

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

Thanks to you, soldiers, present and past for your service to our country. Thank you for your great sacrifice for our freedoms that we enjoy today. Thanks to your family and friends for their endurance. May God bless you all...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Back Home, Again...

It is so awesome to come home after a long trip. It's hard to be gone for 7 days straight. I miss my own food, my own bed and my own stuff.  I really get sick of sandwiches, actually, I don't eat them unless I absolutely have to. I'd rather do without. I don't like eating out either. It's unhealthy and makes you fat. I carry as much homemade food as possible, but on a long trip we run out and have to resort to eating sandwiches or eating out.

I am grateful to God for our work and I'm grateful for my time at home. I'm seeking a balance between the two. There has to be one...

Jack decided to sleep under the solar panels today. His normal
home, under a trailer, must be getting a lot of wind.

We had to go to town this morning to get water, some green stuff to eat (salad) and
42 lbs of split chicken breast that we picked up for .76 lb. My freezer is full, so my yard birds are safe until we use up what we just purchased. We had to get a rain check a couple of weeks ago for the chicken and since we were out of town they were kind enough to extend the date. They have done this for us on several occasions. It's always a pleasure to do business where the customer is valued.

While we were out we stopped at one of our favorite places to buy used items and found this wonderful hand grater with three different cones for grating and slicing. This grater is by far the easiest and fastest that we own. ( I have several) Clean up is a breeze. Don't get me wrong, I love my Kitchen Aid, but for small projects this is the way to go.

Sorry, it's a little blurry.

This had 6 other cones that were with the grater, but they actually go to a Kitchen Aid, so now I have additional cones to use with my Kitchen Aid. Number One picked up a tin cup with a handle to use in my flour bins. I'm always leaving my measuring cups in the flour bins and then I can't find them when I need them.

We used the grater this morning to make hash browns. I always dreaded making them with the triangle grater because it takes so long to grate the potatoes and it's a knuckle buster. They were delicious and Number One was happy. I like that...

I made some coleslaw with it this afternoon...
It turned out wonderful...

Fresh and raw vegetables is just what I needed. I made a
big green salad too.

Smoke, Smoke !!!

I woke up this morning a looked outside to find we have been inundated with smoke. Well, where there is smoke there is usually a fire. We immediately start trying to find out where all this smoke is coming from. It turns out it is from an 82,000 acre fire in New Mexico. I just knew it had to be close since it was so dense, but I was wrong. Praise God!

We have been traveling and just got back home yesterday, so I have no idea about this fire, but I'm sure it has done some damage. Please pray for the safety of the people who are in it's path.

The Rockies have disappeared in the smoke...

This was my first view this morning. I thought it was fog, but I knew that it was too
warm for fog. Then I got a wiff of the air outside.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yard Bird Association Update

The chicks have arrived! They were picked up by a member of the Yard Bird Association from the feed store, all 100. Sadly, only 99 lived through the shipping process.

I went to visit my 25 chicks yesterday, since I won't actually take custody for five more weeks. They were all locked up securely in a stall in the barn with all sorts of protection measures all around them, including two large cats. I didn't dare try to open the cocoon up for fear that the cats would loose all self control and leap into the stall killing as many as possible.

I could hear their loud little chirps outside the barn as I walked up. I'm sure this was driving the killer cats mad which was driving the crazed border collie to do circles outside the barn as she hoped that one of the cats would appear, so she could give chase. What a scene. If they made movies about phsyco ranch animals instead of vampires this definetely would have been a " two thumbs up" kind of flick.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take any pictures. I was barely able to peer through a small gap in the fencing to see our new additions to the ranch. I am so excited. Number One, not so much. He is still trying to figure out what type of coop to build. Tick tock, tick tock, the clock is running out.

I did come up with some new ideas last night whle trying to fall asleep. I will share my new ideas with Number One in hopes of relieving his stress and getting my coop built.
The next animals to add to the ranch...Goats ???

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stretching A Chicken

We haven't been able to grill at all lately due to the weather and when I say "we" I mean Number One. He does all the grilling at our home. I do most of the prep work and all of the clean-up. I layed out a whole chicken to thaw a few days ago and this was the first day Number One was able to fire up the grill.

I cut the chicken into three sections. I used the back and giblet portions with some veggies that I really needed to use up to make a rich broth. Number One grilled the rest with a few potatoes and a couple of hamburger patties.

When the chicken came off the grill I felt like a cave woman eating that delicious chicken. I used salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to season the chicken.

To make the broth, I boiled the chicken pieces (that were not grilled0 with the veggies that needed to be used up for about an hour. (snow peas, carrots and onions). I seasoned the broth with salt, pepper and bay leaves.

Once the chicken and vegetables had cooked for a while, I strained the broth, picked the bones clean and added the meat back into the broth. I made some homemade egg noodles, dropped them into the broth and continued cooking for an additional forty minutes.

The dogs and I ate the vegetables...
Egg noodles: 1 c flour, 1 egg, pinch of salt and enough water to
make a stiff dough.

Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.

I use a pizza cutter to cut the noodles.

Drop into boiling broth a few at a time to keep the noodles
from sticking together.

Cook until noodles are done.


While I enjoyed my cup of coffee this morning on the porch I decided to stretch that chicken a little more, so I made Smoked Chicken Enchiladas. I frequently change the ingredients of this recipe depending on what I have on hand. This time I used corn tortillas instead of flour, cheddar cheese and jalapenos instead of pepper jack. You can also freeze these with or without baking. They freeze wonderfully.

I used some of the smoked meat from the chicken Number One grilled yesterday to make these yummy enchiladas. I like to buy whole chickens because you can make so many different meals from just one. I still have a large breast and wing to put into a pasta salad. 

Ingredients: Chopped smoked chicken, chopped jalapenos
24 oz sour cream, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, tortillas and 2 cups
shredded cheese.
Add all ingredients(except tortillas and cheese) into a pot,
heat on medium until hot.
Fill tortillas with mixture, add some cheese and roll. You will use about
half of the chicken mixture and cheese on the top of the enchiladas, so plan accordingly.
I rolled eleven, that's all that would fit in my pan.
Spread the rest of the chicken mixture and cheese on top of tortillas
and garnish with jalapenos. Bake at 350* until cheese begins to brown.

While I was preparing the enchiladas, I also decided to make a Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad. Simple and easy to make. If I can't get a box of Suddenly Salad at the Dollar store for $1, I just boil some pasta(drain and rinse), add spices (your choice) to a cup of mayonnaise, chop some chicken and veggies, throw everything in a large bowl and viola!

Now that's a lot of different meals with a lot of servings in each meal. I know that chicken went a long way to feed us this week. If you have more ways to stretch a chicken, won't you please share them here?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review

It has been raining and snowing for at least a week or more, so we have been staying inside a lot. I read three books in a week. If you like Sci-Fi on the edge of your seat type reading, I would recommend The Hunger Games series. One of the members of the "Yard Bird Association" loaned the books to me.

I should have been posting more, but I couldn't stop reading. I also did not want to keep the books too long. If you pay attention, you can see some present day similarities in the books. Kinda freaky...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Job Description And A Note Of Thanks...

I have very fond memories of my Mother as a child. As an adult I have a different perspective.  I have come to realize what a difficult job it is to be a mother.

Mom,  I really appreciate all the love that you have given me and continue to give me. I love you and Dad very much. Thank you and may God bless you...


MOM - JOB DESCRIPTION This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way, no one would have done it!!!! 

POSITION : Mother, Mom, Mama, Mommy, Ma…….

 JOB DESCRIPTION :  Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.  

RESPONSIBILITIES:  The rest of your life.Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

 POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION:  Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

I received this in an email and thought I would share it...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chicken Barley Chili

Chicken Barley Chili
on the back of the Quaker Quick Barley Box
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16oz) jar salsa
1 (14oz) can chicken broth (or use 2 chicken bouillon cubes and 2 cups of water)
1 cup quick barley
3 cups water
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Combine these 7 ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used white beans I had in the freezer)
1 (15oz) can corn, (do not drain)
1-2 (13oz) can chicken or cooked chicken
Rinse and drain black beans.( I do not usually rinse and drain the beans unless it changes the texture, I want the nutrition) Shred chicken in separate bowl. Then add chicken, black beans and corn to the chili mixture. Increase the heat to high and again bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low and let simmer for 5 minutes or until barley is tender. Makes 11 one cup servings.

I added sour cream and cilantro..

Served it with homemade bread...
Tortilla's would be good too...

For dessert...

Monday, May 7, 2012

When I Awoke...

When I awoke this morning, imagine my surprise to find these two little birds playing in the snow. Yes, the snow! The temperature was hovering right at freezing, not that this fact matters at all at 9000 ft. I looked at the calendar and yes, it was definitely the 7th of May. I have been suffering for the past week as the inside temperature hit 77* at bedtime. Way too warm for me considering it only gets to that temp for a few days in August, maybe.  I like to sleep at the comfortable temperature of 57*. If the temperature gets above 70* in the house I'm sweating.

The first annual "Yard Bird" meeting occurred on Saturday. (two girlfriends and myself) We ordered our (100) baby chicks from a local feed store that did not mark up the cost of the birds with the hopes that we would purchase our feed from them. I have purchased dog food from the in the past. They had good prices, but questionable service at best. We will see about buying feed from them. I like to support local businesses, but not if they do not have good service. I will give them another try. Third time is a charm?

I purchased an assortment of 25 brown egg layers with roosters. I will get 25 meat chickens after we get the first 25 regulating their own body heat. (about six weeks). I will butcher all but one rooster from the first batch. I should end up with 20 brown egg layers. I have picked out what I believe to be the best design for our chicken house for Number One to build. He will have about five weeks to get it done before they come home to "roost" so to speak...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vidalia Onion Bake

It's that time of the year when Georgians are picking their delicious Vidalia onions and shipping them to us warm weather poor high mountain Westerner's. I'm sure that other places are getting their share too. We picked up a bag the other day and cooked a batch on the grill last night with hamburgers (chicken and potatoes too) for our Shabbat meal.

Vidalia onions are a sweet tasting mild onion...

Peel and remove the ends of the onions...
(This corer was my Grandma Ruby's)

Core the onion about halfway down.

Add 1 tsp bullion or 1 bullion cube , 1 tsp butter (not pictured) to the center
of the onion. Pack with brown sugar (about 1 tbs).

Wrap in a foil tent and bake 375* or grill until tender.

Number One did a fine job grilling everything last night.
 The Vidalia's went great with our burgers...