Sunday, January 29, 2012

This and That...

Well, it's been pretty quiet around here. Not much to blog about, but in case you're wondering what has been up in my neck of the woods, here's a summary.

We got all that snow a week and a half ago, and some bright Rhode Is. Red got the bright idea to sneak out of the barn. We have no clue how she got out, but she did. I saw her outside the back door last weekend, and found her tracks around the house, and then saw her tracks in the snow from the barn to the house. She took up residence under the front porch has been living underneath the front porch for a week now.  She comes out and squawks but then runs back under the porch. I don't know what to do with her. I can't catch her and I don't think she will venture back to the barn until the snow thaws. Snow just does something weird to chicken brains, they can't figure out how to function in it. In the meantime, she is attracting magpies and rabbits.

It is Spirit Week at my school and tomorrow I get to go to school in my PJ's. Tuesday is twin day and I am blessed with wearing yellow all day. I will have to tally how many people ask me if I am feeling okay, as yellow makes me look putrid. Wednesday= wild and crazy day, Thursday is sports day and I will dress up like a basketball sports star. I didn't think it would be appropriate for anyone to see me in volleyball attire. And Friday is an all schools mass in the morning and then I'm off for the rest of the day!

One thing that has been absorbing much of my time is that we are making a change in our faith. It has been an educational and stressful endeavor the past couple of months, but I know that we are doing the right thing. Gosh, it's just one of those times where I can't think of much to say. I will blog about something more interesting later. I hope everyone has a good rest of the weekend and an enjoyable start to their week.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Prepping for Another Storm

We're in the process of digging out from our PACNW storm from the last couple of days and getting ready for the next. Depending where you live in the PACNW, you either have snow and ice, or rain and ice, both of which can wreak havoc. Our roads have a buildup of snow and the county and city are not keeping up. Over in the Seattle area, they are having rain and ice with lots of thawing and flooding. Our neighbor is a pilot and made it to Portland yesterday. There were no flights out to Seattle, so he rented a car and drove to the SeaTac airport in Seattle and to get to his car. He chipped his car free of 2" of ice. He finally got his windshield wipers free and his car dug out, so he headed over the mountain pass and persevered through the snow and ice. He made it all the way to his driveway, but his son, who was supposed to have plowed it out (he barely plowed earlier in the day, but it continued to snow), hadn't fulfilled his duty. Yep, he got stuck in his own driveway. He angrily trudged through the snow to his house. He was so mad he went and got his son up out of bed at midnight to plow the driveway and get his car dug out.

This was on Thursday afternoon.

DH got the driveway plowed, so now he is on to  getting the barn cleared and a path through the field for the horses. We haven't bought hay in years. We just fence off our front field and then in the winter when it snows, we just plow a path for the horses. They just paw through and eat what's in the field.

Here he's plowing out the barn. It's really more of a loafing shed and it's also the hen house. The chickens, by the way, are too chicken to venture out into the snow once it's more than a 1/2  inch deep. So we just open up both sides of the hen house so they have room to stretch their legs a bit. We normally just have them in the right side of the barn.

And here he's blazing a path for the horses so they can eat.

While he's plowing, I've got 3 1/2 pints of sausage in the canner, and 3 quarts of bacon. I allowed one package of bacon per qt., but you know, now packages are only  12 oz. and not a pound, so my quarts of bacon are a little lean. Next time, I will buy some more and add 4 more slices per jar so I have a whole pound in each jar. I got 7 patties per jar from 2 pounds of sausage and I have 2 patties in a 1/2 pint jar. Since I mixed jar sizes, I will process for 1 hour and 30 min. I don't usually mix sizes, but I was bored and needed to can up the meat, so, that's what I did.

And a big welcome to Carolyn! She has a nice blog at the  neighborly place.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Belated Welcome

I would like to say thank you and welcome to my newest readers. I hope you can find some useful information on my site and share in our ups and downs. Welcome Rob, Mandy Farmer, Amy, Hollie B, The Simple Woman, Terria, and Matt, Janice, and North. I hope I haven't forgot anyone. I may be a little late with my welcome but I really do appreciate all of you and your comments. Please feel free to leave comments or email me anytime.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More Dry Mix Ideas

I had a reader ask for the recipes for my other dry mixes that I put up in quart jars. I've included some more below. First, though, I have a recipe from my friend  Herdog for Vegetable Bouillon Mix. I haven't had time to make it yet, but it will be easy and very flavorful. Here's her recipe:

Vegetable Bouillon Mix
4 carrots
3 celery ribs 
1 leek, white part only, sliced
1 small onion, peeled & quartered
10 sun-dried tomato halves
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms 
2 cloves garlic
generous handful of fresh parsley, including stems
Salt 1/4cup (or leave out)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns 
Put into a food processer and pulse into a wet paste. spread onto the fruit leather dehydrator sheets (or round).Dry at 125 for about 10hrs or so depending on how thick you make it. When dry it will come off in flakes which can be powdered or just crunched up in a bag. I put mine in the coffee grinder for a nice fine powder then into a canning jar. Use in soup, mash spuds, popcorn topping, meatloaf. Anything or everything its the best! Maybe not fudge. Any kind of vegis can go into this and its never turns out the same. I've used cilantro and that was to die for. Fun to play with the recipe so have fun.

Thank you for your recipe, Herdog!

3 C. macaroni, or other hearty pasta
Put it in a Qt. jar and seal lid with vacuum sealer, or put in an oxygen absorber and put on lid.

1/4 C. + 2 TB. dry milk
2 T. + 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. chicken or beef bouillon
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. dried minced onion
1/2 C. tomato powder
Put above ingredients in a pint jar.  Seal lid with vacuum sealer, or put in an oxygen absorber.

To use:
Cook and drain pasta. Add contents of pint jar to the pot the pasta was cooked in. Add 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese and 2 C. water, whisk over low heat until it starts to thicken. Add 1 more C of water and simmer stirring often, until thick. Add 1 pint jar (2 C.) cooked ground beef, or cooked ground beef ( or a mixture of beef and sausage) to the pot. Stir and heat through. Top with shredded cheese. 
Adapted from Dinner is in the Jar, Clark.

Tortilla Soup

2 C. crushed tortilla chips
Put in Qt. jar.

In a baggie put:
1 C. long grain rice
2 T. chicken bouillon granules
2 tsp. lemonade powder w/sugar
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C dried minced onion
Put the baggie on top of the tortilla chips in jar. Seal with a vacuum sealer, or put in an oxygen absorber and put on lid.

To use:
Add 8-10 C. water, contents of baggie and one 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, or tomato sauce, to  pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 min. You can start with 8 C. water and add more if you want the soup thinner, we like ours thicker. Turn off heat and add tortillas, stir and let sit 5 min. Top each bowl with sour cream and shredded cheese. Adapted from Dinner is in the Jar, Clark.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

BO Update & Jar Mixes

Our beautiful BO has decided that motherhood is not for her, at least not for now anyway. She stopped brooding a few days ago and has been off scratching and pecking with her hen pals. I hope she gets the urge again this spring, and sticks with it. It is such fun to have little chicks running around, and the young cocks cook up wonderfully. They are very tender and tasty. They have dark meat that is so flavorful the store bought chickens don't hold a candle to home grown. I will again, keep you posted.

On another note. I have been busy putting together quart jars of dried meals. You just layer the ingredients in a quart mason jar and seal. You have a quick meal with little prep that is filling and delicious. Here is one that I put together. You can also halve the recipe and put in a pint jar, just adjust the amount of liquid and meat accordingly when you go to prepare the soup. I do this for my oldest daughter who has recently moved out and the smaller jars are great if there are only two to cook for.

Pasta Soup

1 3/4 C macaroni or other hearty pasta
3/4 C dried lentils
3/4 C dried mushrooms
1/2 C parmesan cheese
2 TB dried onion
2 1/2 TB chicken bouillon granules
1 TB Italian seasoning
1 TB parsley
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TB dried vegetable flakes (optional)
Layer in a quart jar. Seal. (I use my vacum sealer wide mouth lid attachment). Or put an oxygen absorber in and cap.

To use: Boil 10 C water. Add soup mix and 1 pint cooked chicken with liquid or 2 C cooked chicken (you can use cooked ground beef as well). Reduce heat and simmer 40-50 min. until lentils are tender, stir occasionally.

I also made Chicken and Rice, Skillet Lasagna and Tortilla Soup, which is one I haven't tried yet. And I  made another jar of Scalloped Potatoes which are way better than the store bought boxes, not to mention cheaper  more frugal. I will need to dehydrate more potatoes next weekend as I have almost used all of mine up. I just love them and would use them all the time if I had more. If anyone is interested in any of the other jar mixes I made, let me know and I will post additional recipes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Random Pics

Here's some pics from the last couple of weeks.

Downtown in Leavenworth, WA

The Pretzel Tree.

Lake Chelan is hugely popular in the summer months, but quiet and peaceful in the winter.

Another view of a cool old barn.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Flagrant Fouls

If you're a basketball fan or have children playing ball, check out this footage shot at a Connell High School vs. Cowiche High School game in WA state. The flagrant fouls will seriously injure of kill someone. The coach and refs should be fired, and the students banned from basketball.

If someone can tell me how I can actually add the youtube videos to my blog, rather than me posting the link, I would greatly appreciate it.