Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flying the Coop

Our first newly hatched chick of 2012!!! We had one lonely chicken left that refused to get caught when we gave away the other chickens we had. She used to lay me an egg a day 6 days of the week.

Then, she got broody and that was the end of my daily egg! So I let her lay on the two eggs she had under her, looking for some fertilized eggs because we had no rooster anymore! Well, we ended up getting some eggs from some friends and I was pretty sure they had a rooster so I switched her two eggs with two eggs of similar size and shape of the ones she laid herself. That was about 3ish weeks ago and here we are! A freshly hatched chick that happened sometime yesterday or today!!! I'm guessing bright and early this morning. 

She has one egg she is still sitting on so I'm hoping that will hatch yet today. If not I'm sure it will be quite soon, as long as it was also fertilized. 

Our two hen ducks are both sitting on nests that were bred with our Khaki Campbell drake. After getting a few pictures of the hen and her chick I went to go check on the hens and their nests. It will be about another week-two weeks before the duck eggs start to hatch. Well I go to the Mallard's nest first and I find her dead next to her nest. I was SO sad. It happened last night because I saw her last night, well it could have happened very early this morning too I suppose but it wasn't any longer than that. I'm hoping it's not too late for the eggs. I was really looking forward to seeing what our new crossed ducklings would look like. I'm looking for an incubator so hopefully those eggs will still hatch when I get them into an incubator (hopefully) today. Well anyway the Pekin's nest is RIGHT next to my garden so I'm hoping that will be safe. I had to move the garden fence so when the eggs hatch they wouldn't be stuck inside my precious garden! HA! Wouldn't that be something! Good thing I noticed where the nest was before I got the fence all the way put up!

Well, off to get some more laundry done! That was my little break for the day! I just love living in the country and seeing baby animals! Can't wait to show my kids after their naps!!!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Rhubarb Goodness Part2

MaryJane's Rhubarb Coffee Cake! This is THE rhubarb coffee cake recipe. I will make no other, ever. There is no need too because this is the best rhubarb coffee cake recipe I have ever tasted. Plus, it is a super consistent recipe and it turns out fabulous every time. I even tried a version of this gluten free and added some yogurt to it and it STILL turned out wonderful! Here is the recipe I got out of MaryJanesFarm magazine.

MaryJane's Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups rhubarb, finely chopped

Optional Topping:
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (I like using dk. brown personally)

~Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter and 8x8 glass pan. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, stir in egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. 
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the rhubarb. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. If using the optional topping combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over cake. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

After the Rain

Last night we had a strong thunderstorm! I love sleeping through storms, I wake up feeling so much more rested! I can't imagine how the ground must feel after a good thunderstorm too if I wake up feeling so much better!

I found this little patch of moss on an old stump in the yard when I went to go pick some fresh rhubarb for my Rhubarb Goodness Part 2 this morning! It reminded me of a little fairy forest fit for Thumbelina! 

Thanks to the storm the soil is packed down BUT on the very positive side that the soil is thoroughly drenched! All I have to do is to a quick light tilling to break up the soil again before planting. I already have the row stakes pounded in the ground so I will just skip over them and I will get to finish the garden planting today because it is going to rain tomorrow. 

Normally I don't work on Sunday's as I consider that my day off to go to church and spend with family but since tomorrow is Memorial Day I am going to consider that my day of rest as I can't go to church today because we have a sick kid in the house. 

In other news, yesterday I was photographing my gorgeous spring irises (oh how I need more colors!) and I just about got hit by a zipping hummingbird! Wow! Do those birds sure zip around at what seems light speed! I think I scared it so much when it came around the cedar hedge for the irises, it almost fell out of the air! Then it recovered up in a tree, the poor thing!

Then I thought how neat it would have been if I was able to get a photo of the hummingbird and the irises... If only I had not jumped at the big buzzing noise and this thing flying towards my head! Oh well, maybe next time! I'm sure I will get more photo ops because they love my petunias and I have a few planted in some hanging planters already! 

Well, off to finish Rhubarb Goodness Part 2! May post later today on it but it depends where the day goes!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Asparagus Etiquette and Organic Prices

I won't lie. I am quite frustrated at the greed and selfishness of some people in this world. In fact, it also saddens me. 

I go to pick the asparagus I found by my mailbox and I was ecstatic! It was too small to pick so I decided to give it a day so I could let it grow another day. . . 

Then it happens. 

Some people that I have not seen before (in other words NOT our neighbors) came in their little truck and picked MY asparagus at the base of MY mailbox! 

That is not all they did. 

I have a nice sized patch of asparagus on the fenceline about 4-5 feet off the road. In other words you actually have to walk past the beginning of the fence and onto our property to pick the asparagus. 

You guessed it. They cleaned out my patch. 

So here lies my topic: Asparagus Etiquette. When picking "wild" asparagus and it is close to or ON someone elses property (off the town/village/city/county roadside clearance) please, please, PLEASE be polite and ASK.

How hard is it to ask the people if you could pick asparagus in front of their house when it is CLEAR they have been harvesting from a patch on their property off the village clearance line. Seriously people?!?!?! 

How rude. Don't be rude. Ask first. I was going to serve fish and steamed asparagus. Instead we just had fish sans asparagus due to selfish rudeness. If you have the money to drive a gas guzzler around go and buy some organic asparagus from someone. Don't go picking on someone's property. 

As for picking in the roadside clearance and the asparagus is actually at the BASE of someone's mailbox it would be nice to ask if they mind if you pick it. Most likely they know it's there and possibly planted it there. Who knows. Ask first. 

If you are out in the country on the back roads and you stay in that clearance of roadside that is the county/village/town property then pick away! Just remember proper, polite, asparagus etiquette!

Now on to Organic Prices. More specifically I would like to mention organic body care and make up prices. Okay, even more than that let us just throw in the majority of organic products that are not food products. 

Is it just me or are things extremely overpriced? I was thinking last night as I looked down at my conventional nail polish, thinking of all the awful chemicals sitting on my nail. I was thinking about the chemicals I breathed in while painting my nails. Then I started getting frustrated. I would love to buy more natural nail polish. I LOVE nail polish. I just simply can't afford upwards of $15-$20 a bottle!  I love the new shade of purple on my toes which I paid $3 for instead of triple or quadruple that. 

Then I got to thinking about organic shampoo and conditioner. I already use a high end shampoo and conditioner but the organic is even more expensive and half the size. Then I started thinking about my facial care products. Eye cream, face cream, cleansing cream... Then I started doing a little research on making my own body care products and I realized how much cheaper I could do it not to mention how over priced the other stuff is. Plus I can use food grade organic ingredients. . . 

I understand why organic is a little higher than conventional but this is just ridiculous. With the local, organic food movement the way it is and the internet then it should be somewhat easier to get organic, products (local or not) out there without tripling the price. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying organic people are extortionists trying to get every dime, nickel and penny out of people wanting to buy organic. I'm just mulling over this thought inside my head.

What if more local people joined together to create a co-op of sorts to get their organic, natural and local products out to consumers wanting to go organic but can't afford the super high prices otherwise. What if by creating a co-op the cost for these amazing items could be more comparable to conventional items which should be a no-brainer for someone trying to be healthy. With all these tv shows touting healthiness, the slow food movement, organic and conventional awareness there are so many people searching but the prices are turning them away. 

Sure, we all need to make a living. So what if your total profit is, for example, $1 instead of $3. We should start to Pay It Forward for the people in our community. 

I'm not just going to preach here, I'm going to start practicing what I preach. After I preserve what my family will use (without going hungry or creating waste) I'm going to give away the rest of what my garden produces to people who either can't have a garden and/or can't afford healthy, organic produce! What if more backyard gardeners did that? What if we looked out for the well being of our family and our neighbors instead of just  pushing them on government aid? 

We are such a young country compared to other countries in the world. A majority of other older countries have more vacation, less stress and live better AND longer than us. (Okay, a little off topic here but it will tie together in the end) Is it their government? Healthcare? People? Climate? I think it's the people. I think it's the fact that there is this knowledge because of the age of their country and it's passed down. We just work ourselves to the bone and die stressed, diseased and in horrible shape. Sure not what I want to pass on to my kids. I think it's time more people start to pay it forward. Do one small thing each day to help out someone else. Even if all you can do is smile  and wave or just open a door to an elderly person or busy mom. You just have to start somewhere.

So now to tie everything together here, if we can make some craft out of our own home, then yes, we can make money off of it and we do need to make money to buy what we can't make or barter for or maybe don't want to make or barter for. Whatever the case we all need to make money to pay for certain things. So we need to make profit off things we sell. At what cost do we make our profit though? At some point in time will we sabotage ourselves a profit by charging too much forcing frugal or poor consumers to stick with products that are necessary but not healthy for them because of price? Oh there are many arguments that could be made on this for sure but I just don't have time to digress on all the different points so take it for it is. 

Well I have to get to gardening because the rest of the weekend will be too hot and I'd rather spend it enjoying family then slaving in 90 degree weather in the sun. It can wait a few days whatever I don't get done today. 

So my summary is to be polite and pay it forward even if "just" a smile!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rhubarb Goodness Part 1

Made the ol' family recipe for Rhubarb Custard Bars last night for dessert! And all you readers are lucky enough that I am going to share it with you!

This recipe is just too good to keep in the family anymore. It must be shared. It must be made, savored and loved!

The Family Recipe for Rhubarb Custard Bars

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) COLD butter

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 eggs, beaten
5-6 cups finely chopped rhubarb (I've used both fresh and frozen with equally good results)

8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped 

~Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, sugar and the cold butter together until the mixture resembles crumbs. Press into a greased 13x9in pan. Bake about 10 minutes until the crust is just starting to lightly brown and it's "set".

While the crust is baking mix the sugar, flour and whipping cream together, add eggs and mix well. Add the rhubarb. When the  crust is done, pour the rhubarb custard over top and bake for about 45-50 minutes until browned on the edges and the custard is firmly set. Let cool completely.

For the frosting mix the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Whip the whipping cream then slowly fold into the cream cheese mix. Spread over the bars and chill to let the frosting firm up (not totally necessary if you need to consume immediately!) 

Store leftover bars in fridge! Enjoy!

 This is a hit recipe and you will surely enjoy it! I'm going to experiment with it to make a gluten free version so my daughter can enjoy it as well!  Just  because we will have to eliminate a small part of the food from her diet surely doesn't mean she can't enjoy food! I want to make sure that we can find fabulous alternatives and enjoy the great majority of food she can eat which also means a lot less processed foods for the whole family. 

At any rate this is Part 1 of my Rhubarb Goodness! I will have more amazing rhubarb recipes coming up as fast as the rhubarb is coming up! 

This weekend we are getting the garden in so I better get myself and the kids outside and get to putting up the rabbit, chicken and duck fence up so when I get those precious seeds in the ground they don't become dinner to our little friends! 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Updates from the previous week!

Here is the pillowcase dress I whipped up for my daughter. Just after I took this picture she started singing and twirling around while my son just ran around the room dancing too! Ha! Kids are so much fun!

We have all been outside lots since the weather has been nice! I finally was able to get some fuel for the garden tiller so I've been scrambling getting the garden ready. Yes, it will be a hair late for some of the gardening things I am planting but I'm sure they will grow just the same. Next year I should be able to get everything in on time when they should be planted but as for now I will just make do with what I have to work with here! 

After tilling yesterday the soil is looking just about right for planting! I will till it again Thursday then probably once more a day before planting. I am planning on planting it this weekend.

Our riding mower's started belt broke so I was sitting here in knee high grass wondering what to do because we live in an area very high in deer ticks... I sure didn't want our kids playing in it. Then I remembered we have that push mower in the shed. So, I got some fuel for that and mowed where the kids like to play the most. It was like trying to mow a hay field with scissors! But I did it! Now the kids have a nicely mowed area to play in. The rest of the yard will get done eventually but for now at least the kids have a play area to actually play in! 

I also started fixing up my gliding bench. The wood was starting to deteriorate and probably beyond what I did to it. With the cost of lumber I decided to go ahead and sand, stain and then urethane it anyway. I didn't take the boards off like I should have so I just went ahead and stained it on the frame. It looks gorgeous like I had envisioned it would look! This afternoon I'm going to put the urethane on it. It took me a few minutes to decide what I wanted to do with the bench. At first I was just going to sand it all down and spray paint it a textured hammered metal look on the frame then spray paint the boards an aqua color. Think of all those pretty brightly colored wood lawn furniture. I was concerned that it would look cheap though, like the 70's plastic lawn furniture. I had wanted to keep the frame green and have the lumber a deep cabernet cherry type color. Well, I picked up the spray paint and as I walked down the aisle there it was! Cabernet cherry stain!!!! YAY!!!! Then I looked at the price and if I stained and urethaned the lumber instead of spray paint it I would save over $12!!! So I put the paint down, picked up the stain then I went to look for the urethane. Wow. Do they have something for everything. Satin, Matte, Satin Matte, Satin Gloss, Semi Gloss, Gloss, Oil based and Water based, Interior or Exterior or both. Yipes. So I decided I wanted Exterior, Gloss, Clear (which meant water based). So from the shelf I took what I wanted and got home and I accidentally grabbed semi-gloss. Oops. It will still look gorgeous at least I got the exterior water based home! HA! I didn't want to use an oil based as it has that "warm glow" look and I didn't want to take away from that gorgeous deep cherry look. SO I am excited to get that thing urethaned so we can use my re-vitalized gliding lawn bench! YAY!!!!

I also have to work on getting my garden fence up so the ducks and chicken don't eat my seeds or my precious little plants! Especially since all the birds are sitting on nests!!! BOTH duck hens and the chicken are sitting on eggs so it will be interesting to see how many they actually hatch and how many we can keep alive considering all the predators around.

Well, time to get some bills ready to get down to the mailbox to get sent in and then start work on my garden fence! Happy summer time!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thinkin' it's a Tuesday!

I needed some inspiration this morning to get myself going. Looking at this picture of the Mackinaw Bridge from Mackinaw City brought back some wonderful memories! It was our kids first camping trip. It was my first camping trip as a pregnant mama. The day I took this picture I had just finished a ginormous cinnamon roll from a fabulous little bakery in Mackinaw City. They also had locally roasted coffee which was absolutely wonderful! They also sold these absolutely delicious cookies and huge donuts called "Big Mac's"! I went over there with my Grandpa and we ate the goodies and drank some coffee at a nice little park over looking the bridge. My kids had an absolute blast- as did we all! I remember first getting up in the morning it was overcast, clouds threatening rain so it was pretty humid yet cool. All I wanted was a cup of coffee but that was the one thing I had forgotten to bring. The rest of the family wasn't up yet and I dare not wake the kids so I could run to town... So I waited until we all got ready to leave for the City and shopping and oh, was it worth the wait! I just love locally roasted coffee beans. Each is unique!

Well today I ended up going grocery shopping although I do need to go to a different store in order to pick of the remaining items left on my list.

Today I made a wonderful smoothie that I heard about yesterday on Dr. Oz. It was sooo good and gave me that little boost of energy I needed to get back up and get back to house chores and dinner!

This week I am hoping to get my sewing supplies back out and start working on a few smaller projects that I have been wanting to make... I also need to get some more fuel for the garden tiller so I can till it up again. I'd like to till it again then once more a day before I plant it. Which is going to be in the next two weeks so this week I should really get out and till it again. Maybe the kids will cooperate with me so I can get that done this week.

The kids have been having an absolute blast playing outside so much. This winter was mild but still too cold for me to take a newborn out so the older kids can play outside. It's wonderful being able to enjoy the sunshine and wind again! I've already got a light tan started! We have a wedding to go to this weekend so that will be a fun way to kick off the Memorial weekend week. (You know, the week before Memorial Day weekend?!). Yep, sweet summer time is upon us! My little family is just lovin' it!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Recap

I got a dozen orange roses with some purple accents! LOVE!!! My husband had a great eye in picking out flowers for me this year! Plus it was the very first dozen roses he has ever gotten me! I was absolutely ecstatic he got them for me!!!! He also got me a super nice card too, it's going on my bedside table!

We ended up going to the early service for church because our daughter got us up super early. Ha, our only day to sleep in and she gets us up with the birds! (Birds get up before the sun, for those of you not in the country!) Anyway we got our little family to church and they gave all the moms a little impatiens wrapped  in this thin plastic cloth tied with a string, what a cute idea! Then they gave out a potted flower to the oldest mom, mom with the most kid, and the mom with the youngest baby... Which turned out to be me! I was the only one there with a six month or less baby there! Which actually, when you think about it, isn't all that surprising. I couldn't get up for the early service for the life of me when baby girl was younger! In fact the only reason we went to the early service yesterday was because I knew I wasn't going to get any more sleep anyway! It was worth it! I got potted marigolds! I wasn't even going to stand up because for some reason I was a tad embarrassed but a friend of mine spotted me and told the lady up front I was there and I had a six month old. Thanks to her I got the potted flowers :) That was sweet of her, especially because  I wasn't going to stand up so I didn't miss out on them!

After church we came home and got changed into some more comfy clothes and went for a sunday drive. My husband also took me out to eat at one of my favorite places to eat out in the country! I had just a blast! By far it was the best Mother's Day I have had since having kids (haha, all 3 of them!). The weather was just gorgeous and it was so precious being able to spend time with my husband and kids yesterday. 

I was so involved with everything I totally forgot to take pictures! Oh well, I take plenty throughout the rest of the year so I guess I will be okay, skipping one Mother's Day pictures. 

After that we went over to my in-law's for dinner to see them, then we came home totally exhausted and went to bed! 

What a fabulous Mother's Day. I am so very blessed to have the husband and three kids that I have! I love them all to pieces! 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Busy Mama's Chicken Cordon Bleu

Sometimes I just like to get fancy and have some Chicken Cordon Bleu. Too bad it usually costs an arm and a leg at a restaurant, not to mention usually it doesn't taste the greatest...

So I decided to make a quick "busy mama's" version!

Chicken breasts for how many you are serving
Piece of sliced ham for each chicken breast
Swiss cheese for the top
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
2 cups croutons
1/2 cup butter, melted

~Grease 9x13 pan and place each chicken breast in it. Put sliced ham (I used the sliced sandwich stuff) over the top of each breast - it's ok if they overlap! Put swiss cheese over the top of the ham. I overlapped generously with the swiss as it's one of my favorite cheeses. Mix cream of chicken soup and1/2 cup water together and pour over the top of it all. Melt the butter, remove from heat and mix in the croutons and sprinkle on top the casserole. Cook at 350 for about an hour or until done! Yay for easy and tasty!!

For dessert tonight I came across this recipe from "the vault" (my huge stash of collected recipes from magazines, friends, family, etc).

Wish I had a Mound of chocolate bars

1/2 cup melted butter
2  cups crushed cookies or graham crackers (I used store brand Nilla wafers)
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small bag chocolate chips
1 tsp butter
~For the crust crunch cookies, mix with butter and sugar. Press into 11x7 pan. Combine coconut,condensed milk and put on top of crust. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until light brown on top. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter and spread on top. Let cool and serve.

Now that dinner is ready, time to enjoy it! ~KT~

One Hour or Less Homemade Pizza!

Sorry, no picture today of the pizza- it was gone too fast!!!

It took 20 minutes for the dough to raise then I just rolled it out, put the toppings on and cooked for about 25-30 minutes! Easy peasy homemade deep dish pizza!!!
Quick Crust:
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbl oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a bowl dissolve yeast in water. Stir in salt, sugar and flour. Beat quickly (do not over beat) until all is incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes roll out on floured surface and place rectangle into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Cover with desired toppings and cook at 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until crust is lightly brown.

Here is what I used for our toppings:
Spaghetti sauce, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, black olives sliced, green olives sliced and a ton of mozzerella and colby jack cheese!!!

Now for my critique: This is a perfect base recipe and while I loved how quick it was next time I will make it real chicago style with cheese on bottom, then toppings, then sauce and also make it in my big cast iron pan. (Which by the way you want it pre-heated before you put the crust in!) I will also be changing the recipe slightly and adding some herbs to it to hide the yeasty flavor. At any rate it was a perfect quick deep dish style crust for a busy mama to make a fun yet easy dinner!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Missing Sleep, voting and SPRING has sprung!

The culprit of my missing sleep at night! Yes, she still isn't sleeping through the night. I have no clue as to why, but some of my thoughts are leading to separation anxiety. She is such a little sweetheart!

On other news today I didn't have much motivation to do anything because I woke up a mama zombie. With missing so much sleep (my other two where sleeping through the night by 6 weeks and 3 months!), waking up with a headache and it being overcast outside I just wasn't motivated to get up and at 'em. Even coffee failed me this morning! Thankfully it got sunny and warm out just before lunch so I sat outside for a few minutes getting some vitamin D with the baby!

We also have to vote for primaries. I understand it's everyone's right to recall someone, but seriously. The guy one by a landslide the first time around. Sure, he made a lot of people from the other political party mad but so what. Now, instead of voting once last year and then of course the presidential election this year. I have to take ALL THREE kids out to vote today. HASSLE anyone?!

My new favorite political sign, sarcasm entirely intended: "Recall Santa: I didn't get what I wanted this year". Amen to that. I send you an e-hug whoever coined that sign. Today we vote to get one person from each party on the ballot. Then there is another election. Then I have to go back for the presidential. What a hassle. Voting is a hassle when you have a flock of little kids to take with you.

Okay, I am done complaining about the hassle of voting with a bunch of kids now !

On a more positive note: WE HAVE ASPARAGUS!!!! I picked some last night, steamed it up and served it with dinner and it was so wonderful to have food from our own backyard again! Fresh from the backyard I should say! I checked my asparagus that I had planted earlier this spring and I have two that are growing! I'm hoping I have more plants that come up, as I planted 6 or 7 of them. My strawberries are coming up as well! Yay!!! Some of the trees are blossoming and it's just so beautiful. I hope the lilacs start blooming soon! I just love the smell of the lilacs floating through the air when I sit outside!

Time to go get dinner started... Until next time!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday's Meal Plan

Today's meal plan includes Ham 'n Noodle Hot Dish:

3 Tbl butter, divided
2 Tbl flour
1 cup milk
1 cup(4oz) shredded processed cheese (like velveeta)
1/2 tsp salt 
2 cups cooked ham, chopped
1 1/2 cups elbow noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried parsley

~In sauce pan melt 2 Tbl butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and salt until cheese melts. 

Add ham, noodles and peas. Pour into a greased casserole dish. 

Melt remaining butter and add bread crumbs and parsley. Sprinkle over casserole.

Bake uncovered at 350F for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I was hoping to have a dessert tonight but I just couldn't think of anything to make. . . Until I walked outside, then it just "happened" upon me! I was walking outside to dump some strawberry hulls into my compost pile and noticed my little rhubarb patch coming up nicely then I thought "I have rhubarb in the freezer from last year yet- I should use it up so I can have room for 'fresh' rhubarb to put into the freezer for winter/spring use!" So that is exactly what I did. My daughter and I whipped up a Rhubarb Crisp!

2 pounds rhubarb,chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour, divided
1 stick COLD butter, chopped
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 tsp cinnamon

To the rhubarb add white sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Mix well and set aside.

To a food processor (or by hand like I do) mix 1/2 cup flour, butter, sugars, oats and cinnamon and mix/pulse until butter is in pea sized bits. 

Put rhubarb into greased 9x13 inch pan and pour topping over. Bake uncovered at 400 for 35-45 minutes until done.

I can't wait to enjoy our dinner tonight! I will serve the rhubarb crisp with some New York Vanilla ice cream and enjoy the dessert my daughter helped me make. 

Cooking with kids takes longer but is sooo much fun and the memories made will last a lifetime!

Take time to cook with your kids!!!

Turkeys in the Tree

Two turkey's flew up in the crab apple tree by the pasture to eat some leftover "apples"!

Here is another shot of the Two in the Tree

There were about 30 turkey's total in my yard.

 After most of the turkey's walked down my driveway and down the road this one was the last on in the tree!

Enjoying Country Livin'

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Result of Fish Fry Friday

The powerhouse ingredients for an amazing - and I mean amazing!- fish breading! Sometimes simple is more important when preparing some dishes. I tried for years trying to find a decent crispy breading and I honestly think that the secret weapon is bread crumbs or panko. Either one would get you the same result.

All I did was use about a cup of flour to about a cup, maybe cup and a half of the bread crumbs, added some salt and pepper and there ya go! I put the fish filet into an egg wash of 2 eggs to a cup of water first, then put them into the breading and fried in coconut oil. 

Last night was the very first time I fried fish in coconut oil and it was fabulous. There was absolutely no smoke while frying the fish, I didn't burn the fish and it tasted pure and clean like the fish came out breaded and cooked from a fresh spring lake. 

On the plus side I finally found a dish my daughter absolutely LOVES! She loves fish! I ate 2 and a half huge pollock filets by herself! I gave her half, walked into the kitchen for some napkins and when I came back it was gone and she was asking for more! I guess we will have to have fish more often than just on Friday! 

Well here is the powerhouse breading:

Bread crumbs/panko

Use in whatever amounts look good to you and dip in a wash first to help with coating the filet.

I also will add that this was the first time in my life I have ever bought store-bought bread crumbs. Let's just say it won't be the last because this was the exact texture and flavor I had been looking for in a home made breading!

Happy Cooking!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fish Fry Friday

 I've been really frugal with meal plans but decided to change things up a bit so we can live as cheaply but as healthy as possible. In my personal opinion that means switching things up a bit so you have as much variety as possible in your diet.

That being said I just love fish. Don't get me wrong I like meat too but there is just something so nice about fish that I just love. Back in the highschool and college days I used to go every Friday with or without my friends for the local Friday Fish fry. Since getting married I have really missed going out on Friday's not just for the food but for some socialization. You would find about 80-90% of the same people at the same people at about the same time every Friday. Yeah, it started as a religious thing and while I don't eat fish on Friday for religious reasons, I just miss it. It doesn't help my man doesn't care for fish but I am now going to go on a mission to find a breading/batter that he can't help but enjoy! So every Friday starting today we are going to have a fish fry. 

For tonight's fish I am using store bought frozen pollock fillets. I'm going to use flour, whatever seasonings I feel in the mood for and panko bread crumbs. I will be frying them in coconut oil tonight too. I will be serving homemade "chips" and salad to go with it. Oh, I just can't wait! 

Later on this summer once I discover the "perfect" base recipe for breading I am hoping to have fish fry's with friends and family too. I also need to start working on a tasty gluten free recipe instead of a conventional one so my daughter can enjoy friday fish fry's as well. Then, with it being gluten free I won't have to worry about gluten contamination either which, of course, would totally defeat the purpose of having a GFree breading in the first place. 

Eventually I'd like to catch my own fish for frying but with 3 little kids getting time to get out on the water for some serious fishing is kind of hard. It's not just the kids that makes it difficult for some serious fishing. It's a lot of other things like housework, finding a sitter, gardening and yard work. 

Oh do I miss the days I could spend all weekend (as long as I didn't work that weekend) out on the water. 

Oh the days spent out on the lake just listening to nature's symphony. Red winged blackbirds sitting on cattails making their grinding ker-plunk. Crickets in the long grass creaking away. Fly's just buzzing around on the surface of the water and a bass slipping up to eat his lunch. Good bye fly. Crows cackling over head hoping for some leftover minnows or worms. Wind blowing softly, disurbing the once glass smooth service causing your line to bobble and babble in the water and then you feel the soft tug. Was it a tug or just the wind and water playing games? So you tug back and sure enough. Lunch is on the other line. Or is it? Depends on if you land it! Sure enough, one in the boat! Carry on and cast off again. Process repeating until the sun slips behind the trees. Now you hear the swamp frogs peeping, maybe a bull frog in the mud and a few ducks slip into the water from their hiding place in the cattails. You can see them swimming on the other side of the little lake. Okay, maybe not the ducks but you can see their little v-shaped duck wake they leave behind. The mosquitoes are out full force now but there is still plenty of dusk light left to cast out a few more times hoping for one or two more fish. Your stomach is growling. What a beautiful, wonderful day spent out on the lake fishing. Time to go in for your freshly caught dinner and two or three more for the freezer at home. Another fabulous day fabulously spent out on the water enjoying God's creation. Yes, that was a day well spent and not ever forgotten.

Yes, I will have those days again, once the kids are older and I can introduce them to the wonderful world of fishing!
I can't wait!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Results, Groceries and Prayer

First things first today: Coffee!

Okay, now we are good to go! First thing that I want to talk about today is worry. I've heard it said over and over that worry paralyzes us. How true is that! I get so upset and uptight about things that are not my responsibility or about things that I can not change and what good does it do me? It just takes away precious time with my kids, takes the enjoyment out of the day and makes my mood go south- Not to mention headaches! So after some thought on the subject I decided that I would only concern (not worry) about things that I can 'control' and things that are my responsibility and leave it as that.

Let's just say I'm actually getting sleep at night again and able to spend more time with the kids and catching up on housework instead of being in a bad mood with a headache all the time getting nothing done but worry.  I feel like I broke free from the worry train!

Sure, it's not all sandy beaches and blue skies for me but life sure does seem sweeter now that I'm not worrying about things outside of my control!

I will worry about tomorrow when tomorrow gets here, until then I will just work on today!

With that being said we got the results back from the kids blood tests for celiac testing. Our son, the one who I was most concerned with tested normal. Our daughter, however, tested positive. The soonest we can get into the pediatric gastroenterologist is mid-July. Not to mention I have to keep her on gluten the whole time. I'm hoping to get on the call-waiting list so if there are cancellations I will be able to get her in sooner. At any rate with all the research I've done on celiac and gluten intolerance I'm not so scared about her being positive for celiac. It will be work on my part but I think the hardest will be to dealing with people who think celiac can be outgrown. Yeah, it stinks our daughter has something that she will have to deal with her entire life. BUT we found out early so she won't get the bad symptoms of it and she didn't have to deal with worse pain than she already has! It is and should be thought of as a blessing we found out with her being so young! Especially for her sake! She has lost 2 pounds this year despite her growing taller. There is a sign right there, she also has funny diapers which I thought were normal for her and she complains that her "tummy hurt" or "owwie tummy". I was suspicious that she was saying those things to get my attention because "baby sister" was getting all the attention, or at least most of it. I'm so glad I went ahead and got her tested with our son.

Now that we are on the path to get her to stay healthy as she grows I'm sure it won't be easy, but is raising kids ever easy anyway? Nope, so we will do just fine! I am just so very thankful we found out about this so early, instead of wondering what her problem would be later on in life. That is a blessing in disguise for us, as parents and also for her, as the one that would be suffering physically from it.

Well, here we go on another adventure. God will give us the strength we need for today and gives us hope for tomorrow!

Today is grocery shopping day. This whole week I've been getting my recipes and meal plans done for the next two weeks, organizing them so I can piggy back meals and make the most out of what I buy. Also it gave me time to get some coupons, store deals for the week and I even made my list out in sections such as "dairy", "produce", "Frozen", etc. Now, that I have to go shopping with all three kids and have two carts I will be armed and ready and hopefully streamline grocery shopping somewhat! I should take a picture of me shopping. That would make a good memory for the scrapbooks!

Now to finish breakfast and get ready to get the grocery shopping done so I can prepare dinner tonight!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer Memories

Today is a rainy day, perfect for getting out the old photo albums and reminiscing!  Here is a photo of the kids last year on their first time ever at the beach AND swimming! They had a blast and it was wonderful getting to see extended family that day! I am looking forward to this coming summer to go camping, having cook outs, swimming, playing at the park, making homemade ice cream, and two very special birthdays! (We have two kids birthday's in the summer and one in the fall/winter!) So exciting! 

Today we are catching up on housecleaning, looking at photo albums, and planning ahead for sweet summer activities! I can't wait to start harvesting fresh veggies and enjoying meals upon meals outside! Oh how fun sweet summer time is! Enjoy each day and what it brings, the little things today are tomorrow's fun memories!