Monday, July 30, 2012


Even though Freddy hasn't been on the blog in awhile, he is still around on the farm. He seems to grow daily!

He loves to play fetch and chew on sticks. With the recent storms here (yay for rain!), there are plenty of sticks for him to chew on.

Look Mom, I brought you a stick bigger than me!
Saturday, after these photos were taken, Freddy got stepped on by a momma-cow. He was chasing her and her calf in the field and the cow didn't appreciate it. Freddy was underfoot and got stepped on. His right front leg is a little scratched up - the skin was all intact, but the fur was all scraped off. So I put Burt's Bees Farmer's Friend on it. Then this morning I noticed he had scratched it open, so out came the rubbing alcohol and another round of Burt's. (I noticed that Burt's Bees says it isn't tested on animals. It seems to be working on Freddy, except he thinks it tastes good so he licks it all off.) I'm not sure if a wrapped bandage is a good idea since it's so wet/muddy outside right now.

P.S. My brother was supposed to be watching Freddy. I was watering the chickens...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Daniel"s dinner

My brother made dinner last night. I helped prep the veggies and then went outside (where it was cooler) to play with Freddy.

Here's the "bag of goodies" he used for making his homemade alfredo:
Chicken breast
3 kinds of cheese - asiago, parmesan, mozzarella
3 halfpints of heavy cream
cream cheese
two peppers
I diced the veggies while Daniel sliced up the chicken. He sauteed the chicken and a little garlic in olive oil, then removed the chicken from the pan. He added the veggies to the pan and cooked until tender, then added in the cheese (not all of it, but most of it) and heavy cream, stirring to melt the cheese. Then added the chicken back in. 
Daniel's homemade alfredo is one of my favorite dishes, especially because I don't have to cook anything!

These last couple weeks, I've come to really understand, appreciate, and long for a "summer kitchen". I completely understand why there was a kitchen separate from the main house. It's too hot to cook in a house in the middle of summer when it's 100+ degrees, that doesn't have air conditioning.

Don't worry too much, the Hubs and I have a small air conditioner in our bedroom window that we use at night. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Two days

Two days ago, I harvested two big bags of tomatoes. Most of them were Romas, with quite a few yellow and a couple Beefsteak.

Yesterday evening I harvested 5 summer squash. This may be close to the end squash season. I keep finding a lot of of squash bugs and squishing them. And a lot of squash bug eggs. I wish they would stop fornicating!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Southwest salad

It's summertime, which means a lot of fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden. This week for several lunches, I put together a quick salad, which can be eaten warm or cold. (I chose warm, so I could melt shredded cheddar on top.)

Southwest Salad
about 14 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 onion, diced
2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed
a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

In a medium skillet, saute the onions, jalapenos and corn in about 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender. 

In the meantime, mix together the tomatoes, celery, black beans and cilantro in a bowl.

Add the warm mixture to the bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

This made about 3 servings, which I topped with about 2 Tbsp of shredded cheddar and nuked at the office. 

I chose not to saute the celery because I wanted a crunch!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Poe-tay-toe, Puh-tah-toe

Last night we dug potatoes. This year, we planted a half row of Yukon Gold, a half row of Superior, one row of Kennebec and two rows of Cobbler. The best producers? Kennebec. We got almost as much from one row of Kennebec as two rows of Cobblers!
 Dad said next year we should just plant 6-8 rows of Kennebec. We are a meat and potatoes family, you know, since we live on a beef cattle farm...
 After we dug potatoes, Dad even staged the potatoes for a photo. How thoughtful of him?!
 We almost always use the Ford tractor to dig potatoes, but usually dad hooks up a different blade behind it. This year, we used a different tractor and a different plow-blade. I believe Dad said this one was off of a tiller and he wired it to the sub-soiler he made.
Of course, I drove the tractor and then hopped off at the end of each row to help put potatoes in crates.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Putting Food By: Tomatoes

We've had a really dry summer here. Last week on the news, the weatherman said we were 12 inches behind in rainfall, compared to an average summer. That's a lot of water.

And then in the last two weeks, we've gotten over 1/2" of rain. It's still dry, but at least the tomatoes reddened.

Friday and Saturday, between me and my mom, we picked almost two egg baskets of tomatoes. I pulled all our onions - about 2 gallons maybe of onions? And I pulled the rest of the beets. We've been eating beets as they've been ready this year.

This morning, after Grandma finished listening to the church service on the radio, we started canning. We have 8 beautiful quarts of tomatoes, and 4 pints of pickled-spiced beets.
We would have had 9 quarts of tomatoes, but there was an accident in the canner. One of the quart jars exploded, leaving floating tomatoes and glass chards...

Want to see the process for canning tomatoes? Check out the last two years of tomato canning posts here and here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Michelle's turkey burgers

I've made these burgers a couple times. The Hubs loves them. Here's the version from last time I made them. They are out of Food and Wine magazine, from July 2010. There are several components to these burgers: the meat itself, the lemony mayonnaise, and the sauteed onions. I make the mayonnaise first and then stick it back in the fridge to keep cool. Then I saute the onions on low heat while I'm compiling the burgers. 

Lemony mayonnaise
1 lemon
1/3 c mayonnaise

Zest the lemon and reserve for the burgers. 

Juice the lemon into a bowl. Fish out seeds and then mix in the mayo. Refrigerate. 

Sauteed Onions
1 onion, thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Saute the onions on low heat in a skillet. Stir occasionally. You want the onions to be soft and translucent, with some brown, but not burnt.

Turkey burgers
2 lbs ground turkey
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 granny smith apple, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped (I froze the leftover ones I had from making chorizo last week...)
2 Tbsp cilantro (the recipe called for parsley, but we're fans of cilantro in this family...)
Lemon zest from one lemon
Salt & Pepper

Mix ingredients together. Form into patties. 2 pounds makes 7 pretty good sized burgers. The Hubs grilled them. 

Serve on buns with garden-fresh tomatoes. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts

This is yet another recipe from Bon Appetit June 2012. There was an entire article on grain-based salads last month. This one I tweaked a little bit, because I couldn't find black rice at our local grocery store (that's what I get for living in the middle of nowhere where the largest near city is 35,000 people. Not as many specialty shops as  in a city of 150,000 people!)

The recipe says it is 6-8 servings, but I think that means side servings. I am eating it for lunch 2-3 days as the main course.

Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts
2 oranges, peeled and each wedge cut in half.
juice from one lime
2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups rice (I used Bob's Red Mill Wild and Brown Rice Mix), prepared per package instructions
about 1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
3 handfuls of roasted, salted peanuts, plus more for garnish
2 scallions, sliced thin
2 jalapenos, seeded, julienned and minced

Prepare the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare the rice. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients.

AMAZING. The perfect crunch, salt, sweet and spice.

The original recipe called for black rice (couldn't find it here!), vegetable oil (in lieu of olive oil), fish sauce (mine is really old and not sure if it's even good anymore!), a second mango (which I forgot to buy) and a diced red onion (was on the counter but I forgot to prepare). I am glad I didn't add the onion. It also only called for 1/2 c of peanuts, but as I'm eating this as a main course, I increased the amount for protein's sake.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Zonta's Murder Mystery

Also known as "eat so much chocolate-covered fruit, pretzels and marshmallows that it hurts".

I'm a little behind writing about this fundraising event, but it was a fun event so I wanted to share.

A couple weeks ago, several friends from work and I went to the Zonta Chocolate Murder Mystery held at Buckner's Brewery. The event was held on the second floor, in a room that overlooks the Mississippi River and floodwall.

Zonta is an international organization that "seeks to advance the status of women worldwide by improving the legal, political,economic, educational, health and professional status of women at the global and local levels through service and advocacy."  (from the international website) I won't lie; when I first heard about this organization I felt it was pretty sexist. Then I heard more about their mission and how the organization helps women gain financial freedom by teaching them new skills, and improving their access to healthcare. See more on the flyer below. Zonta not only helps women in other countries, but also women here in the local area. 

The event was a murder mystery. Think of the board game Clue acted out. And there was chocolate. Lots of it. There was a chocolate fountain and chocolate candies, cookies, cakes, and items to dip in the chocolate.
 This was just one of my plates...
This was just one of the tables...

I'm glad our table stopped downstairs for salads and appetizers prior to all the chocolate!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Farm happenings

 Freddy is starting to get the hang of this whole "sit" command...Unless he is distracted by chickens or kittens and then you might as well pick him up and remove him from the situation.

 The chickens (and roosters) are getting huge!

Yesterday I harvested a couple cukes, 3 Cherokee Purple tomatoes, about a cup of blackberries. Also about  10 sweet 100 tomatoes that I gave to Dad for his lunches (not pictured).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chorizo Taco Night

Last night for dinner, I tried another recipe out of Bon Appetit magazine. This one was from the June 2012 edition, from an article about several different types of taco fillings.

My recipe is slightly different from the magazine recipe; I didn't find any dried New Mexico chiles, so I used about 1/3 of a chile in adobo sauce.

Homemade Chorizo:
2 lb ground pork
8 garlic cloves, smashed and finely diced
3 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
about 1/3 of a chile in adobo sauce, or more depending on how spicy you want the chorizo (Grandma doesn't like anything hot, so this version of chorizo was VERY mild. This was enough chile to have flavor without the heat.)

Mix all together and cook in a skillet until cooked through. Make sure to keep separating the pork so you don't end up with a big pork patty.

On the side we had fried corn:

5 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1/4 of a yellow onion, diced finely
about 1/4 c cilantro, diced
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste

Saute the onion  in about 1 Tbsp olive oil until translucent. Add the corn and cook for several minutes, until tender. Then season and eat.

We also had (semi)homemade refried beans:

1 can of pinto beans, including can juice

Smash with a potato masher in a small skillet. Cook on medium heat until sauce reduces. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

And homemade pico de gallo:

2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 of a yellow onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded, julienned and diced
1/4 c cilantro, diced

Mix altogether and refrigerate until ready to eat.

The tacos were eaten on storebought corn tortillas (someone convinced me at the last minute not to make those homemade, even though there's a recipe in the magazine and I had masa...) Grandma fried garden zucchini on the side.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lunch time

For lunches this week, I decided to incorporate fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden, along with a few storebought items.

The first recipe, I adapted from the July issue of Better Homes & Gardens. It is Fresh Corn Salad.

Here's my recipe (for 2 servings):
1/4 yellow onion
about 6 jalapenos, seeded, julienned and diced
2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
2 roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2" dice
about 10 basil leaves, sliced thinly
about 10 kale leaves, leaves cut in half and then sliced thinly
salt & pepper
1 small cucumber, diced finely

Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate. Eat.

The second recipe hasn't been made yet. It will consist of fresh basil leaves, Cherokee Purple tomatoes and mozzarella. Probably with a side of chickpeas or some other bean for protein.

Sunday harvest

Yesterday I harvested:
2 Cherokee purple tomatoes
a TON of jalapenos (well maybe a pound or so)
green beans

And I came to the realization that if I want to eat fresh veggies and preserve some for winter, I need a bigger garden. And rain. 

This year I planted 17 tomato plants. I probably need twice that many.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yesterday's harvest

It's been really dry here the last several months. And this week the highs have been over 100.
The kind of temperature and humidity that leaves you drenched when you walk from the house to the car, even at 7:30 in the morning.

Yesterday, I harvested several squash, a couple pounds of cobbler potatoes, a couple cukes, a beefsteak tomato, several Romas and a handful of Sweet 100s.

This week for some of my lunches, I'll be having Caprese salad with garden fresh tomatoes and basil, and (store bought) mozzarella.

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