Thursday, August 30, 2012

Featured blog: House-broke Cowgirl

There are a few blogs that I check occasionally, and then some others that I read as soon as they have something posted. Jerri Joy's House-broke Cowgirl is one that I follow closely. I really enjoy reading her posts. I love her outlook on life, and I think that she is doing some pretty neat things. I also enjoy reading her philosophies on things.

Besides all this, I feel that I have a few connections with her. We both love the outdoors, but have come to truly appreciate being homemakers. Not only that, we're both writers. Another connection is a love of horses. Although I'm not a great horsewoman, and have never really had the money or time to really pursue it as a passion, I sure love them and hope to always learn more about them.

Speaking of horses ... she recently had a great post about a horse that she likes to ride. It's a great story. Click on the link below to read it.

Clop, thump, clop, thump

Monday, August 27, 2012

Zucchini Carrot muffins

I really like these muffins that I found in one of my family cookbooks. They are so tasty! I did cut down on the sugar, but they still taste just as good! They're one more amazing way to use that incredible vegetable, zucchini:

Zucchini Carrot Muffins

2/3 c. oil
2 large eggs
2/3 c. sugar or honey
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c. shredded zucchini
1/2 c. shredded carrots

Beat oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, the add to the wet ingredients. Don't stir much--just until barely moistened. Fold in zucchini and carrots. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 min.

Makes: 12 muffins

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cabbage and cheese soup

I can't find a lot of cabbage recipes that my husband likes, but he definitely likes this one. I really like it, too. It's not heavy, and it has a wonderful flavor. Besides, it uses cabbage, a vegetable that often gets overlooked. I made it a lot last fall, and I'm looking forward to making it more often this fall as we can harvest fresh cabbage.

Cabbage and Cheese Soup

6 slices lean bacon, coarsely chopped
1 med. onion, coarsely chopped
3 c. chopped fresh cabbage
1 lb. potatoes, chopped
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. milk
1 T. finely chopped fresh dill, or 1 t. dried dill weed

In a 3-quart saucepan, cook bacon until almost crisp. Add onion and cabbage and saute for 5 min., stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Puree 2/3 of it in your blender, and return it to the pot. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Don't boil. Just before serving, stir in milk and dill. Enjoy!

Makes: 4 servings

Here is the cabbage and cheese soup, served with toasted garlic bread. Yum!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Food storage is a big dill ...

The canning season is upon us! This is a picture of what I was doing this past weekend:
Pickling cucumbers!!! In this picture I have the 10 quarts of bread and butter pickles that I did on Monday. On Saturday, I did 20 quarts of dill pickles. So now we have 30 quarts of pickles. It should be more than enough to see us through till next year.

But on Friday, I did more than just pickles. I also blanched and froze 9 quarts of broccoli, and grated and froze about 10 quarts of zucchini.

With the drought frying the crops in the U.S. this year, food prices are going to go up. But, "if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30). I've been blessed to be able to have a friend that allows me to pick in the huge garden that he oversees, as well as to have the money to be able to buy supplies to preserve what I pick. I know that the Lord wants us to be physically and spiritually prepared. I discussed this in another post here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oatmeal cake

I really like this recipe because it uses leftover oatmeal from breakfast. In my family growing up, we always had oatmeal leftover. The funny thing is that Brian and I usually have oatmeal leftover, too, even though I only make two servings. Over the course of a week or two, I've usually accrued enough to make this recipe:

Oatmeal Cake

Scant 2 c. of leftover oatmeal
1/4 c. butter
2 c. sugar or honey
2 eggs beaten
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. soda
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. flour

Mix all ingredients together. Bake 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

I have a butter-based frosting on these here, but you could do cream cheese, caramel or coconut frosting, too.

Recent articles

I've recently had a couple of articles published. I didn't post the link to one of them because it was a temporary link, but if you ever see the July 20th issue of Intermountain Farm and Ranch that the Post Register puts out, I have an article on page 6 about BYU-Idaho's small grains and forages field day.

But here is the link to an article that I wrote late last winter that was published in the most recent issue of Progressive Forage Grower:

Entrepreneur brothers start farming businesses

Thursday, August 9, 2012

One of my favorite love songs

I just had to share this song! I was listening to it as I washed dishes today. I first heard it when I was dating my husband, and I have to admit, it expresses a lot of the feelings I had at that time. It's very special to me! :)

Altruism vs. narcissism and politics

My dad wrote this letter to the editor of the Idaho State Journal, and my mom sent it to all of us in an e-mail. I really liked what he said, so I decided to post it here for others to read and consider. 

Dear Editor,
     As I view the political theatrics of this presidential year and see the deception used by both sides to either gain or maintain power, I wonder if we realize it is each individual who will determine whether we succeed or fail as a nation. This isn’t a political battle between Republicans and Democrats, or any other group. It is a battle that has always existed within us. It is altruism vs. narcissism.
     Since the majority who read this paper will claim to be Christian, and those who are not will likely have tenets which are comparable to the Ten Commandments within their religion; I would like to point out these principles if followed, promote a civil, respectful, and free society. I also recognize that the basis of a free society is the ability of the individual to earn, own, and control property or wealth; with a government that protects this right. As I consider this, a few questions come to mind about the direction of our nation. 
     Do we, as individuals, so covet our neighbor’s property that we will elect those who would use the power of government to steal property from one to give to another? In the midst of this process, those we elect glut themselves with power and our wealth. Does this love our neighbor as ourselves?
     How did the people of this nation exist prior to the new deal, the great society, and the government programs that have come into being? The answer lies in self-reliance, making do with what you have, and individuals helping individuals with the only motive being love. This nation is great because those who built it had these attitudes. Are we destroying what they lived, suffered, and died for?
As a Christian, I have been taught to follow my Lord and be willing to suffer or die for my fellowman. We will either do this to preserve and protect freedom and our God-given rights or we will suffer or even die for the poor choices of our fellowmen. We as individuals need to follow the principles of love and raise our nation to greater heights for our posterity.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Menu planning

Wednesdays are rather busy days for me. I do all my menu planning, shopping, and some record-keeping on top of all my regular duties. I have to admit that menu planning is my favorite part. I have so much fun doing it!

Planning a weekly menu can be very beneficial. It saves a lot of money, keeps our grocery bill within our budget, and saves me time in the kitchen throughout the week. It usually takes me 1-2 hours, but I have found it's worth it. It takes 2 hours when I'm lacking inspiration or we have a tight budget, but it usually doesn't take me longer than an 1 1/2 hours. This is what I do.

 I always start by taking an inventory of what's in my fridge and cupboards. Then I pull up the online ad for the local grocery store. I make sure that I have my cookbooks by my side, and I plan dishes for all my meals for the week. This takes the most time. I write my plans on little slips of paper--one for each day. This helps me to use up what's in my fridge (nothing wasted!) and it helps me take advantage of what's on sale that week. It also encourages me to find and try new recipes that use up ingredients.

 As I go along, I add up the cost of each item. I make sure that everything fits within the budget. And I make up a grocery list. I try to use coupons, too, although I'm not the biggest "couponer." I even include tax at the end (I multiply the total by 1.06) so that I know for sure I don't go over my limit.

And then I pin my little slips of paper onto my menu board and go shopping!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chocolate milk: the drink of champions

I don't normally post this much in one day, but I was reading the news and came across this cool article that reminded me of a post I did at the beginning of June.

Chocolate milk? At the Olympic pool, it's the drink of champions

Cabbage n' onion burgers

I made one of my favorite recipes tonight. My roommates from a couple of years ago shared this recipe with me. I have really liked it ever since. It's a great way to extend hamburger, to use up cabbage, and to get some more veggies in your diet. It's really simple, and it tastes so good! I can't remember exactly how they taught it to me, but here is my version of it:

Cabbage n' Onion Burgers

1/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4-1/3 of small head of cabbage, chopped small
salt and pepper
1 recipe of basic breadmaker rolls

Brown hamburger, onions and cabbage together. Salt and pepper to taste. Pinch off large balls (the size of large rolls) and flatten them. Put meat mixture in center of flattened dough and pinch ends together to form a roll. Put on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees.

Makes approx. 12 large rolls.

Menu boards for your kitchen

 A while ago, for a Relief Society activity, I made a menu board. I was pretty excited! I did mine a little different from everyone else's, since I don't just plan my dinners. I plan all my meals so I know just what to get at the grocery store.

 I made it out of scrapbook paper, a cookies sheet, wooden clothes pins, and modge podge. I like it a lot, although, if I were to do it again (which I might do someday), I would probably do something a little different.

I got on and looked at some of the menu boards that they have.

The one above was a lot like the other Relief Society sisters in my ward did. They had clothes pins instead of clips, and two pockets instead of one, but that is the general idea. I kind of like how it has a note pad on it.

Here is another that is similar to what they did, except it's in a frame:

I like this one where it's magnetic:

I think that the one above is more like something I would make if I were to make one again. If I used chalkboard paint, it could be magnetic so I could put recipe cards up on it, or I could just write on it with chalk.

What do you do for you're menu planning? Do you have any special tricks to keep things organized? Please feel free to comment and share below! :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Frittatas ... another egg dish

Since Brian will only eat eggs in their scrambled form (no quick over-easy eggs or simple boiled eggs, unfortunately), I often keep my eyes open for breakfast egg recipes that are beyond just scrambled eggs. You can't eat scrambled eggs every day.

I tried this one on Sunday, and we both liked it. I like how unique it is. And it's pretty easy.


6 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 can diced green chiles or 1/2 c. chopped green onions
1/2 c. cooked bacon bits

Blend the flour and baking powder together and whisk half of it into the eggs at a time. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12 frittatas.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Applesauce-banana bread/muffins

Ok, I may have to learn how to be a food photographer if I start doing this very often, but I don't have the hang of it quite yet. But at least you get the idea!

I made these yesterday, and we get to eat them for breakfast today. It's a recipe that my mom used to make all the time growing up. We loved it. It was definitely a staple around our house.

Applesauce-banana Bread/Muffins

1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. honey or 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 medium banana, mashed
1/4 c. sour milk or buttermilk
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder

Cream oil, honey and eggs. Add enough applesauce to the mashed banana to measure 1 cup. Combine with creamed mixture. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add milk and dry ingredients to egg mixture. Mix just until moistened. Pour into 3 lightly greased, 5-3/4 in. loaf pans or into a muffin tin.

You can just use 1 cup of applesauce and omit the banana if you need to.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Barbecue bean pot

I tried this dish on Sunday, and Brian told me to chalk it up as a favorite. I thought it tasted pretty good, too. It's a good summer dish ... it's barbecue and it's a crock pot recipe. That way you don't heat up the house so much with cooking. It's a large recipe, though, and I halved it when I made it. It fed three of us with half the recipe.

Barbecue Bean Pot

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. barbecue sauce
4 T. mustard
4 T. molasses (or brown sugar)
1 t. chili powder
2 15-oz cans red kidney beans
2 15-oz cans pork and beans
2 15-oz cans navy or great northern beans

Brown the ground beef, bacon and onion together. Combine the remaining few ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Our "babymoon"

Since it was our wedding anniversary last weekend and Brian had just graduated, we felt it was time to do something fun. Besides, the baby is coming, and it's hard to camp with a young baby. So, we decided to take a "babymoon" and go camping!

We went out to Beaver Dick Park, just west of Rexburg. You can camp for free overnight there. Since it was the weekend after the 24th of July, we were worried that it would be busy. There were people there, but it really wasn't too bad.

When we got there, Brian set up the tent and I gathered firewood and built the fire. We cooked hot dogs together and had a pretty good dinner. Since the park is by the river, there are lots of mosquitos sometimes. But we were lucky. There was just enough breeze the whole time that the mosquitos didn't come out. It was perfect!

As it got dark, we sat in the tent and read Wind in the Willows to each other. I  didn't think about it at the time, but we were camped right by lots of willows and a river. The next day we even saw muskrats and ducks! :)

My parents-in-law had lent us an air mattress, but when we tried to pump it up with the bike pump that we brought, we realized the mattress valve was too big and needed a special pump. So we ended up sleeping on the ground. That was a little difficult. I did sleep some, but I kept waking up because the hard ground was really hurting my hips. Otherwise, I was quite comfortable.

We woke up at just after 5 the next morning. We were just going to go back to sleep, but then I got really hungry. :) So I got up and ate breakfast, and Brian soon followed suit. We read our family scriptures and went on a long hike. That's when we saw the muskrats!

The whole weekend was a ton of fun! :)

Brian standing in front of the tent he put up.

Here I am the next morning next to the fire pit. No fire now! :)

Part of the road we hiked.

Some shots of the muskrats. We didn't really get any good pictures of them. The ducks flew away before we could get the camera out.

Another part of the road we hiked.