Monday, February 27, 2012

She's Still Setting

Our Buff Orpington (BO) is still setting. She looks awfully serious, don't you think. I don't think she took kindly to me taking a snapshot of her, especially since she has been dieting and not able to get off her nest to groom or do much else but grab a quick bite to eat and a sip of water. I'd be cranky, too. I actually have noticed, really though, that she looks fuller and better than the other hens. I think it must be that motherhood glow that makes her so pretty right now.

You can see an egg peeking our from under her chest and that egg off to the side, well, I think she rejected it. Hopefully, it will just be another day or two and we'll have chicks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

As Seen at a Local Coffee Shop... view at your discretion

**Warning, view at your own discretion.

Should we have a caption contest? What label will you give this?

Not my usual genre of posting, but funny, especially since we think we know who it is!

BO Pics

When I went out to feed this afternoon, I was hoping to capture a picture of my beautiful BO on her clutch. But as soon as she saw me, she knew it was feeding time an got off her clutch so she could grab a few grains of food and water for sustenance.

Here is her clutch of eggs.

And here she is front and center (the blonde) grabbing a quick snack before she sits back on her eggs.

I hope to be posting chick pics soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Freezer Clean Out

Okay, so I know I am like many of you and I have things in my freezer that for some reason were never labeled or dated, and fortunately, some items are labeled and dated which makes guessing less stressful. I decided about a week ago that I need to be using up what is in the freezer. You know, stuff from 6 months ago (14 months ago?) before freezer burn and freezer taste robs the food of all its deliciousness. So, I found a container of pasta bake that we used up last week. For me, a pasta bake is pasta, meat, sauce, cheese, cottage cheese and leftover mushrooms and olives, that is thrown together and baked. They are never quite the same, depending on ingredients. Last night we had sausage gravy over an old bag of frozen hash browns. Tasted just fine and no freezer burn. Yay!

For dinner tonight, I am thawing 2 packages of ground beef from last fall and am making a couple of meat loaves. Yeah, you guessed it, I'll freeze one of them. LOL, and no, we haven't gotten sick yet. I always check the food and if in doubt, throw it out! I am thawing in the fridge some cabbage rolls for tomorrow night, and I have bags of shredded zucchini, so I am going to bake some zucchini bread this afternoon.  I did come across what I think is a turkey breast that is in a net and it looks like I smoked it. It is now thawing as well, and when I figure out what in tarnation it is, we will eat that up, too.

I not only need to be using what we have stored up in the freezer, I need the freezer space for fresh items. I have not had a freezer nightmare, yet. But I know that if I don't get on the ball and get my freezer sorted through, I will be finding food from more than a year ago. Yes, it's happened before and I hate to throw food out to the chickens that we spent our hard earned money on to buy for our consumption in the first place. I know I need a better system. Problem is, when I put something in the freezer, I just stick it where there's a spot. So, no rhyme or reason to my freezer, just food everywhere. I am hoping that once I get some decent space in the freezer, I can maybe come up with a rational system where I can rotate and use food in a timely manner. How do you manage your freezer storage?

Just Good Eats

DD17 wasn't going to be home for dinner Friday evening because she was going to be working at a local restaurant so I decided to but some shrimp for dinner. Problem was, I didn't know what I wanted to make with them. I love that seafood goes on sale in winter when it is Lenten season, so shrimp meat was $3.99/lb. I had some corn tortillas in the freezer to use up, not to mention a can of cream of shrimp soup that had an expiration of 2008. That's never stopped me before because I know that under proper storage, the canned soup  should still be good. So, I made Shrimp Enchiladas. DH says they're a hit. Here's what I did:

Shrimp Enchiladas
1-1/4 lb. shrimp meat
1 can condensed cream of shrimp soup
2 TB sour cream
3 TB softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced black olives
8 corn tortillas

Mix soup, sour cream, cream cheese, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper. Mix about 1/4 C of the soup mixture with the shrimp meat. Lay a tortilla in baking pan and put about 1/4 C of shrimp mixture on the tortilla, then top with a TB or two of shredded cheese. Roll up and set in pan. Continue until all is used up. Spread the tops of the enchiladas with the remaining soup mixture, covering all the edges. Top generously with shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle with sliced olives. Bake at 375 for 25-30 min. Enjoy!

You might also like a dessert to go with dinner. Here's an apple dessert recipe:

Apple Dessert
1 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 C flour
1 TB shortening
1/2 C evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
 1/2 C chopped nuts, if desired
3 C chopped apples
Mix sugar, baking powder, flour, and shortening. Stir in milk and vanilla. Add nut, if using and apples. Spread in a greased 9-in. square pan.
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB butter
1/3 C flour
Cut butter into sugar and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apple mixture and bake at 400 for 30-35 min. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. adapted from Simple Recipes Using Food Storage 

For those of you who are interested, our BO is still brooding! She got off her clutch yesterday afternoon when I went out to feed and I counted 22 eggs. We have about a week-week and a half to go. I will let you know how things turn out.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nothing but Mud

Most of the snow around here has melted, and that means mud... and lots of it. On top of that you can add the rain that has been falling this week. I can't keep our floor clean no matter that we take off our shoes and boots, stuff still gets tracked in. And Cooper, well the only time he doesn't understand "bed" when we let him in the house is when it's wet and muddy around the place. Usually, we let him in the front door and there are 2 entry rugs that lead directly to his coveted bed where he lays down and amuses himself with paw sucking or snoozing to his hearts content. But the paw tracks in the house are never ending! He somehow steps off the rugs on the path to his bed leaving muddy marks. Then, he somehow sneaks around the house and leaves muddy paw prints everywhere. Argghh.

The sun is out today after heavy fog this morning. The chickens are happy and running about, free from their mud hole. We couldn't throw scratch out for them in their pen because it just got lost in the mud, so I threw it into the loafing shed where it was dry, but you know, our 2 horses saunter over and try to nibble up as much of it as they can. Oh, and that Buff O is broody again. She has been setting for about 5-6 days now. I will keep you up to date on her mothering progress.

I went to the store this morning and was just amazed at how many people were out shopping and buying big ticket items. One man had a huge flat screen TV in his cart and most shopping carts were full of food, clothes, and just stuff. I had TP and bananas in my cart and I had bought milk yesterday, so my cart looked a little pathetic. I'm on a whole milk kick now after reading Whistleblower's (WND) article "The Oiling of America" about how whole foods, especially animal fats, have been demonized and how unhealthful, synthetic foods have been enshrined over the last 100 years. I used to buy 2% milk (you know, to save 40 calories per glass) and found out that low fat milks have powdered oxygenated milk in them to give them mouth appeal. I'll buy raw milk if I can find it somewhere. It's true if you think about it. You always see very heavy people drinking diet coke and eating non-fat sour cream, and reduced fat cheese, and baked potato chips. But they're still overweight. I have noticed that ever since I started buying whole foods ( sour cream, cheese, butter, mayo), about 10 years ago, I am more easily satisfied when I eat since I am not still hungry after eating all those chemicals and empty calories. I still could lose a few pounds, but I can maintain my weight more easily. I remember when I have tried to lose weight (after children and again after the death of my parents) and bought all that non-fat and reduced fat stuff and it was so hard to lose weight. I have only served real butter, real sour cream and so forth in my house for over 10 years. I find that I eat less because whole foods fill you up. I had a friend that went on a whole foods kick and eliminated all hydrogenated products from her diet. She lost almost 30 pounds in just over a year without trying. It just makes sense.