Monday, October 29, 2012

Three Country Acres

You'll notice I've personalized the blog header. It's no longer the generic Blogger header.

Since we've settled into a house that I don't intend on ever moving from (queue the realtors and potential purchasers), I'm changing my blog name. I'll be renaming my blog to Three Country Acres. The web address will be
You shouldn't have to do anything except update your reader feeds. I'll be slowly working through posts to make sure the links still work.

Meals week of 10/29

This week, I went out of town for a conference for work for a day and a half... I knew I would be gone for part of the Hub's birthday, so I made his cake on Sunday. His cake was carrot cake with coconut pecan icing.

For dinners this week:
Tritip roast on the grill
Tortellini with asparagus
Pinto beans with Ham (crockpot)
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Crockpot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions

My lunches:
Sauteed kale and mushrooms with carmelized onions, roasted chickpeas and white cheddar. Make this chickpea recipe!!! I could eat this instead of popcorn!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

About last night's dinner.... I meant to photograph the ribs, but we ate them all. I had about a 2 lb package from the half hog we bought awhile back. The original recipe may be found here.

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 rack spareribs, cut in half as needed to fit in crock pot
  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1-1/2 c water


In medium bowl, mix all the ingredients.
Add the ribs  to the crockpot  and top with the sauce, turning them to coat. Cover the crock and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

I added water to the recipe because I knew I would be away from the house for 12 hours. Last time I made fajita chicken in the crockpot, I didn't add water, and the chicken was really dry and almost burnt. I didn't want that to happen with ribs!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chicken Fricassee

I made this recipe for dinner Sunday night.The original recipe may be found here.

Chicken Fricassee

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 handfuls of baby carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
chicken organs: liver, gizzard, heart, diced
2 Tbsp flour
2/3 c dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
4 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large egg (original recipe called for 2 egg yolks)
1/4 c half & half (original recipe called for heavy cream)

Season the chicken pieces with the spices.

Melt the butter in a large dutch oven. Then place the chicken pieces in the butter until lightly browned. Remove chicken and put on a plate; you may need to cook in batches depending on the size of the chicken and pot.

Add the veggies to the dutch oven and saute until tender. Stir in the flour until incorporated. Stir in the wine and cook until evaporated. Stir in the chicken broth, chicken organs and spices. Bring to a boil.

Add the chicken pieces back in and simmer for 25 minutes, or until chicken reaches correct temperature (165).

Remove the chicken pieces to a plate again....

In a heatproof glass, or a coffee mug, mix together the egg and half & half. Stir in 1/4 c of chicken liquid at a time, until mug is full. This is to prevent the egg from scrambling when it hits the broth in the dutch oven! Slowly pour the egg mixture into the veggies, stirring constantly. When all egg is in the pot, add the chicken back in.


We ate this on top of mashed potatoes.

You'll notice the original recipe included mushrooms, which I forgot to buy even though they were on the grocery list... How does that happen?

I used one of our freshly butchered roosters for this meal. The rooster was one of those that ran wild in the cow pasture eating bugs and grass all day, and he had the darkest "dark meat" I've ever seen! Very tasty though!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Freddy Fred Fred

Friday, Freddy's registration papers arrived!!!
I've never had a registered dog, so this is all new and exciting to me. The papers show his lineage for four generations back, including the dog and owners' names.

Freddy is getting pretty big, but not too big to get carried around by my brother, or to sit in my lap.

He'll be making a vet visit soon to get his rabies shot and to get neutered. Which I almost feel bad about since he's registered. If we weren't going to neuter him, we'd need to identify a female border collie for breeding...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

The original recipe for these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins may be found here.

The recipe makes 12 muffins. 

Cream cheese filling:
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sugar

Mix together with a fork or hand mixer and put in the fridge until needed. 

3/4 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1-3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Mix together the sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs. Then mix in the flour, baking soda and spices. 

Place 1-2 Tbsp of the batter in the bottom of a muffin pan, either lightly oiled or lined with paper cups. 

Then place about 1 Tbsp of the cream cheese in the muffin pan. 

Then cover with the remaining batter, about 2-3 Tbsp per muffin. 

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meals for week of 10/22

This coming week we're having:

Chicken fricassee - made from one of the roosters we butchered last weekend
Enchilada casserole
BBQ ribs in the crockpot
Goulash - made by the Hubs
Chili - if we need another meal - we need to perfect our recipe so we can win the chili cookoff next year!

Anniversary #5

Saturday, October 20 we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Did you know that the fifth anniversary's traditional gift is wood?

We didn't know that until after the fact... Last weekend we planted 9 fruit trees.
This weekend, we staked an additional 3 of those trees (there are still 3 needing staked, but Lowe's only had 3 more staking kits...)

And we built a compost bin.
It's a 4 foot cube. The slats on the front side of it are removable for when I need to flip the compost over or remove it to put in the garden. My husband is genius.
In addition, I also received flowers, that were delivered in the middle of the night by the "anniversary mouse" and placed beside my coffee pot. I also received a rain gauge/thermometer combo. I'm not sure where to locate it, so it is inside the house still.

I got up early and made cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins. I'll share the recipe this week. They were good, but I was expecting the cream cheese filling to be gooey-er.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baked Pasta with Spinach and Sausage


Tuesday night for dinner, I made Baked Pasta. The original recipe may be found here.

1/2 c ricotta or cottage cheese
1 c Italian cheese blend, shredded + 1/2 c more for topping
1/2 box of pasta
4 Italian sausage links
10 oz frozen spinach
1 can tomato paste
1 pint tomatoes, I used home canned
Italian seasoning
handful of fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

Preheat the oven to 350.

Remove the sausage from its casing and saute in a skillet. Add the spinach and cook until warmed through.

Prepare the pasta per package instructions.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta/cottage cheese, Italian cheese, Italian seasonings and parsley.

In a medium saucepan, simmer the tomato paste, tomatoes and garlic. Cook until slightly thickened.

Once everything is cooked, mix the pasta, spinach/sausage mixture, the cheese mixture, and half of the tomato mixture together. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish.

Cover with the remaining tomato sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chicken Marsala

Monday for dinner I made Chicken Marsala. The original recipe may be found here

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 c marsala wine or white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • c 5-minute brown rice
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. 

Saute the mushrooms in the butter until tender. 

Mix in the flour and cook for about a minute. 

Then mix in the wine and cream and cook until slightly thickened. 

Stir in 2 cups of water, the parsley, salt and pepper and chicken and cook until chicken is almost done. 

Spread rice in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.

 Pour the chicken mixture on top. Bake for about 25 minutes. 

Sprinkle the top with parmesan then cook for 5 minutes longer. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The orchard

We now own three acres in the country. I love gardening and planting, and for as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of an orchard. An orchard so plentiful that I could eat fresh fruit, preserve some for the dead of winter, and still have some left to give away. Saturday, that dream started coming true.
We came home with an orchard...

This month at Sunny Hill is garden bucks month. All throughout the year, for every $10 you spend, you receive $1 in garden bucks. In October, you get to spend the garden bucks. They were a little low on trees, but I purchased an apricot and a pie cherry.
Then we went to Lowe's, where we found their fruit trees were 25% off. You all know that discounted plants are dangerous to me.... We left with another 7 trees: 2 peaches, 2 plums, 2 apples, and a pear. For the pear to produce, we really need to get one more. Next year, or next week after we've planted the nine trees we bought yesterday, I would like 2 sweet cherries and some pecan trees.

Here's the varieties we planted:
Elberta Peach
Red Haven Peach
Santa Rosa Plum
Bruce Plum
North Star Cherry
Granny Smith Apple
Golden Delicious Apple
Ayers Pear
Early Gold Apricot

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

There's a blog I read, KERF, and the author blends pumpkin puree into her oatmeal. I'm a huge oatmeal fan, and a pumpkin fan, so I tried it. It is pretty delicious, especially with cinnamon mixed in and almond butter on top. However, a 15 oz. can of pumpkin goes really far when you only use 1/3 c. of pumpkin every morning. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat the whole can before it went bad, so I searched by cookbooks for a pumpkin bread recipe. I found on in Joy of Cooking.

Pumpkin Bread
(makes a 9x5 loaf pan)
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your loaf pan.

Whisk together (in your medium sized glass Pyrex bowl):
1-1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

In your small Pyrex bowl, combine:
1/3 c milk
½ tsp vanilla

In your large Pyrex bowl, blend with a mixer until fluffy:
6 Tbsp (1/3 c) shortening or butter
1-1/3 c sugar

Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture.

Beat in on low speed, 1 c. pumpkin puree

Add the flour and milk mixtures in two-three parts, alternating, until smooth.

Then mix in with a spatula:
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/3 c raisins

Bake in the loaf pan for about 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.

As expected, our oven is off. I bought one of those thermometers that hangs from the oven rack. When the knob is set at 350, the thermometer only reads 325. It's a bit of a pain in the butt, because higher settings, like 400, read closer to 425 on the thermometer....   

Monday morning I expected to have a piece of pumpkin bread with my breakfast... but the pumpkin bread mouse a.k.a. the Hubs finished off the pan in the middle of the night! And he doesn't even like pumpkin!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan

The original recipe may be found here. You'll notice the original doesn't contain salmon. But while I was preparing this, I thought the flavors would go well together and it would sneak in some Omega-3s. This really tastes like spinach artichoke dip.

Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan  

3 cups cooked brown rice
10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 oz container crumbled Feta cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
7 oz pouch boneless/skinless salmon
1/2 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook enough brown rice to make 3 cups cooked brown rice. (I used 5-minute rice and needed to cook 1-1/2 c rice with 1-1/2 c water.)

Put thawed spinach into a colander, then use your hands to squeeze out as much of the water as you can.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then mix in the milk, sliced green onions, thyme, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. When ingredients are combined, mix in the drained spinach. Then mix in the crumbled Feta and Parmesan, followed by the brown rice and salmon. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Then sprinkled about mozzarella on top and bake for another 10 minutes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meals for week of 10/15

In addition to the below meals, we'll also eat a rooster that Mom, Grandma and I butchered on Saturday.

Leftover chili from the Chili cookoff at the Hub's work
Brown Sugar and Soy Sauce Salmon w/ veggies
Sausage and spinach casserole
Marsala chicken casserole

My lunches:
Spinach, Feta, Brown Rice casserole

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meals week of 10/8

Grilled meats w/ leftover veggies: last night we had a beef rib roast rubbed with salt, pepper, Chicago Steak seasoning, brown sugar, and grilled to rare/medium rare, and cheddar brats
Enchilada casserole
Chicken w/ rice and broccoli
Chili- the Hubs is entering a chili in a competition for his work on Friday

Corn chowder

Breakfasts: oatmeal!!!

Corn Chowder

Something about cool weather makes me hungry for corn chowder. This recipe is loosely based on a recipe from a cookbook I borrowed from Mom awhile back, The Daily Soup. As usual, I tweaked the recipe, so only my version is below.

Corn Chowder
5 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2" strips
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
3-4 small sweet peppers, or 1-2 regular size sweet peppers, diced
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 chipotles in adobo, diced
2-3 small potatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces
16 oz bag of frozen corn
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 to 1 c of 1/2 & 1/2
handful of cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thinly

Fry the bacon in a large soup pot. I used my Lodge Dutch oven. If there is a lot of grease, drain it, otherwise leave it in there to saute the veggies.

Add the celery, onion, sweet peppers and jalapenos and cook until almost tender.

Add the potatoes, frozen corn, potatoes and vegetable stock. Simmer until potatoes are tender.

Add the chipotles, 1/2 & 1/2 and simmer for a couple minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro and scallions.

Notice I forgot to add any other seasonings, even salt and pepper... But the chipotles made additional seasoning unnecessary!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


 This weekend we had a family reunion with my mom's extended family. I haven't seen most of these people since my uncle Will's wedding four years ago.

 There was a ton of good food, as always. I forgot to photograph my dessert plate, but it had almost as much food on it.
 Cousin Donnie built a playhouse for his children, complete with a zipline!!!
 They have a little dog named Moose; I think they breed is Teddy Bear? And a golden retriever that smiles on command. I'd love to teach this to Freddy.

While I was gone, the Hubs installed the dishwasher. (Yay - if you only knew how much I hate doing dishes...) He also uninstalled the garbage disposal (why on earth would you have a garbage disposal when you have a septic tank, if you can have a compost bin and put it in the garden?)
He also installed the door handles on the upper cabinets.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Super Shrimp Salad

This recipe is loosely based on one found here. The original recipe is packed with "superfoods". This is the first time I recall ever eating a pomegranate. 

Our internet was not cooperating Sunday night, so I had to wing it. 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and veined
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Seeds from one pomegranate
15 oz can black beans, drained
handful of cilantro, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup quinoa cooked in 1 to 1-1/2 c water
juice from one lime

If you look at the original recipe, you'll see I forgot the red onion and corn, and some of the dressing ingredients. 

Saute the shrimp in butter and season with salt and pepper, garlic and chili powder. 

In the meantime, prepare the quinoa in a sauce pan and prep the remaining ingredients. 

Once the shrimp is cooked, add in the remaining ingredients and stir. 

Makes about 3 lunches.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dinners week of 10/1

Last week, I was a little busier in the evenings than I expected. One evening, I had an after-hours work event. Another night I signed up at a local gym and worked out. Friday evening/Saturday I spent with my parents and brother to/from/at a family reunion. I didn't get to cook as much as I planned. So, this week, we still have Shake & Bake Chicken to eat.

Dinners this week:
Shake and Bake Chicken with mashed potatoes and corn
Stuffed Bell peppers
Tilapia with wild rice and broccoli/cauliflower
Crockpot BBQ pork

My lunches:
"Superfoods" salad

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