Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Mister & Missus Go On a Date

A few years ago, my Mister & I discovered that we had gotten old.

I know, it was a surprise to us too.

It was almost too much for us to take when we found we couldn't stay awake during an evening movie at the theater. Of course, the movie we napped during was the Woody Allen movie, "Hannah & Her Sisters", so age may not have been entirely to blame. But then we discovered that we could no longer have a coffee after 11 a.m., eat anything spicy after 4, or have any liquid after 6 p.m. without some serious nighttime consequences.

It put a real crimp in our date nights.

Now we have date days. Other people might call them errands, but add a little lunch, some classic rock on the radio, and a lot of laughter, and we call it a date.

We just happen to get home before dark.☺

Typically, we grab a latte, swing into a local burger shop, then head to the dump. But not today. Today was special. We left the work gloves and the garbage cans at home and headed south.

First we had a little impromptu photo shoot~Because I was wearing make-up & the Mister was nice & scruffy...just the way I like him.

No, he was not whispering sweet nothings...he was actually saying something about peri-rectal abscesses. Have I mentioned that he's an emergency room nurse?

After stopping for a Peppermint Mocha latte, we ended up at the Mill that is Red. Bob was NOT in the building today.

This is what 50#'s of rolled oats, 50#'s of white flour, and 25#'s of hard white wheat, and 25#'s of pastry wheat look like. Now we need to find a place to stuff it until needed. This is where the real fun begins!
After loading up with enough wheat berries and beans to last the whole winter long, we found out that there was a bee supply store a mere 4.5 miles away.

Let me just mention here that while I have a weakness for wheat berries and beans, my Mister has a weakness for anything related to beekeeping.

Beehive #2

Actually, this is the future beehive #2.

He also likes to save money, so it looks like he'll be spending the rest of this winter putting this little beehive puzzle together.

Not to worry...I asked for an instruction page just in case it's not done by March.☺

The kids were busy while we were gone too.

Chocolate cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting~emphasis on peanut butter.
They also got out the Christmas lights, just in case we were relaxed enough to put them up when we got home.

It may take another cupcake before that happens... 
This post is linked to The Homestead Barn Hop.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Practical" Gifts for the Homeschooling Mom

One of the questions that I start hearing this time of year is, "Mom, what do you want for Christmas?" Since it's apparent that my family does not pay me any attention when I'm oohing and aahing over every little piece of junk mail catalog eye candy, I thought I'd do a little tongue-in-cheek series on what Mom's really want.

Because apparently the highlighted, circled-in-red catalogs that I so meticulously placed in all of the high traffic areas of the house are not obvious enough.

Today, it's about The Homeschooling Mom.

~The 3-Ring Binder~

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a brand new, flaps intact binder, with the front still attached to the spine. Not only do I use these for school, they come in handy when I have to prop the edge of the table up to keep the dinner rolls from falling to the floor.

They also make me look smart.

Unless they're under the leg of the table. 

~A large box of red correcting pens~

When the kids start getting on my last nerve of the day, I pull out my trusty red pen (when I can find it!) and start correcting their math. Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of my children like the red correcting pen.

Especially when I ask them to please get me another one because I ran out of ink.☺

~A bullhorn~


Because "selective hearing" is NOT a recognized impairment.

No matter how many "signed" doctor's notes the kids produce.

~How-To Books~

Because if they see Mom swinging a hammer, or knockin' down a wall, she must be able to build treehouses.

In a 50 foot fir tree.

~Clear acrylic boxes...with lids~

These are to hold all the creepy crawlies that little boys find under front porch lights and have picked off of pick-up truck grills.

That may only be stunned.

And that they want to keep FOREVER.

~A Get Out Of Jail Free card~

And finally, a freebie that allows a do-over for a less-than-perfect parenting day.

Which really translates to this...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meal Plan 11/27/11

One of the two fresh-from-the-farm turkeys we roasted, ready for carving.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to start thinking about Christmas. But before I can start thinking about that, I first must think about all the other things going on this week. And because this week is shaping up to be as busy as it will be unpredictable, I'm going to keep the meal plan simple.

Very simple.

Last week I had some tests to check out a growth that was found on my thyroid. In addition to an ultrasound, I also had some bloodwork done. The tests came back positive for an auto-immune disease, most likely Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Apparently my thyroid has been partying like it's 1999...and now it's tired. And worn out. Come to think of it, so am I. Coincidence? I don't think so. So what's next for my under-achieving thyroid? For starters, a biopsy set for this week so that the doctor can look at the cells and determine the best course of action. I'm sure there are some other things to do after that, but I can't seem to get past the whole needle in the neck thing. It's wiggin' me out. And I don't have a lot of wiggin' room.

I started to lose it a little the other day by crying, "What am I going to do?" My daughter, Heather, put things back in perspective for me by saying, "Well, how long's your bucket list?"

I'm going to have to keep my wiggin' confined to the closet...a 15 year old's perspective can be more frightening than reality!

Here's what's cookin' this week...

Chili, tortilla chips

Egg & Bacon Breakfast Sandwiches (on English muffins)

Steel-cut oats w/ bananas & toasted walnuts

Homemade granola, yogurt, and frozen berry parfaits
Minestrone Soup, European Peasant Bread

Teriyaki Chicken, brown rice, steamed broccoli

Swiss cheese & green onion omelettes

Deer steak, french fries, broccoli salad, Raw Cranberry Relish

This post is linked to Menu Mondays.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From Me to You...

Wishing you a very happy, have-to-unsnap-the-jeans kind of Thanksgiving day!

And don't forget to give thanks...

...for the lack of sound on this blog...

...and that you're not at our house for hors douvres!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratituesday~Fear, Faith, Family, & Friends

This post is going to be a little different than my normal, dorky posts. Instead of sharing a recipe or another picture of my granddaughters, I thought I'd share a little of what has been going on for the past couple of days.

Besides this...

And this...

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.☺

As those who have been reading my ramblings for any length of time know, I had strep throat this past summer. It hit hard & fast, leaving me sick enough for a trip to the emergency room. My Mister is an RN in the ER, and was a little surprised to get the page that his wife was in one of the rooms. Because I was so sick, a CT scan was ordered to make sure I didn't have an abscess in my throat. I didn't care one way or another, I just wanted to die. Literally. (I'm a little bit of a baby, just so ya know.) The Dr. came back with some good news~"No abscess!"

Those who know me also know that I am an optimist by nature...with life experience, so when the Dr. says "Good news!", I say, "But...?"

This was no exception. I called it.

The "but" happened to be a growth that was discovered on my thyroid, one that would probably not have been caught if it weren't for the strep throat. That said, it took me 4 WHOLE MONTHS to get up the courage to follow up with an ultrasound.


Because I was afraid.

Only a few people knew that I needed an ultrasound because I didn't want to worry anyone. I didn't want to appear weak, and I didn't want it to be anything bad. Not that my procrastination would change the outcome, but it would just prolong me having to deal with it. Make sense? It did to me.

Last week I finally got up the courage to make the appointment. And I told no one except my Mister and a couple of my older girls.

And then I stayed awake for 4 days straight. Well, almost. I looked and felt like death.

And I felt alone.

I also don't remember saying a single prayer during those 4 days. I didn't want to acknowledge that I wasn't in control of this situation. I wanted only to wallow in my misery, expecting the worst, but hoping for something "not terrible".

My faith was non-existent.

While I was getting ready for my appointment, the words, you're not alone kept coming to me. While raising a large family has been the most fulfilling thing I've ever done, it doesn't leave much time for a social life. Because we are an adoptive family, we took on not just the present and future of our children, but also the past. And some of their pasts aren't pretty. For the last 10 years we've been a little too preoccupied to nuture relationships with people who aren't depending on us for their care. And those few relationships that we do have, they understand. Probably because they've seen first-hand what our lives are truly like. Needless to say, in order to keep in touch with family and friends, I depend a lot on email and Facebook. (Rarely do I have a real telephone conversation~there are just too many crisis' that happen when the phone rings!)

Before my appointment, I posted on Facebook that the Dr. had found a growth on my thyroid, and I could really use some extra prayers. And then I headed to town. I didn't expect anyone other than my sisters to comment, and even then I was expecting to get my butt chewed out for telling them on Facebook! Oops.

While the radiologist was performing the ultrasound, I started to panic. I'm not prone to panicking unless company is coming and the floors haven't been vacuumed, but there I was, lying on a flat metal bed, icy cold, barely able to breathe. The radiologist asked me several time if I was okay, to which I replied with a croak and a nod.

Then it happened.

Warmth. Calm. Steady breathing. Peace. For 40 minutes I laid there, in a semi-comatose state, feeling like I was under a warm blanket on my cozy bed.

Then it was over. With my Mister driving, we headed home; he to tinker around with a vacuum cleaner, and me to play with my granddaughters.

Later, when I checked my email, I had an entire page of Facebook notifications. Curious, I opened FB. While I was lying on that hard bed in the hospital's imaging clinic, unable to breathe, there were people praying. Twenty three to be exact. The bible says, "Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there am I." (Matt. 18:20)

And He was.

So today and always, I am grateful for my family and friends who pray me through the hard stuff. Because of their faith, I have mine again. No matter what the test results reveal.

And...I am not alone.

(I'll let you know the result when I get them!)

This post is linked to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Thanksgiving Week Meal Plan

I don't know if I've mentioned this here before, but my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Without a doubt.

It is the one day of the year that I have to be thankful for my family, no matter how they're acting.

Even better? They have to be thankful for me, regardless of how my hormonal mood swings & hot flashes affect them!

I think it's some kind of unwritten Thanksgiving law. And we're law-abiding citizens, so...

Today was a really tough day here at the farm.

Tanner holding a no-name turkey whose pardon was denied.
This hen's day started out good.
I will name them Dinner & Leftovers.
Last year's bird weighed in at [a whopping] 6#'s. This year's tom topped the scale at 15#'s and the hen's all hit the 9# mark. (Bourbon Red tom's can hit 18 #'s and the hen's can tip the scales at 12 #'s.) They were only 5 months old, so next year we'll start incubating in March. We butchered 4 this year, selling 2 and keeping the other 2 for ourselves.

I think the turkeys would be agreeable to a couple more months of green grass and bug buffets!

Are we turkey farmin' yet?☺

Besides the obvious main dish of Thursday's dinner, we are also having Creamy Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Stuffing w/Mushrooms, Candied Yams, Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls, Raw Cranberry Relish, Green Bean Casserole, Lime & Pear Jello (kids' request!), Mocha Hazelnut Cheesecake (new), Pumpkin Pie, & No-Corn Syrup Pecan Pie. (The crusts will be made with our newly rendered lard...yes, I'm excited!)

Here's what else is cookin' this week...


Simply Soaked Oatmeal w/ blueberries
Navy Bean & Ham Hock Soup, European Peasant Bread, green salad w/ Green Goddess dressing (new!)


Steel-cut oats w/ toasted hazelnuts & dried cherries

Thanksgiving Dinner!


Toe-Warming Chili, Kim's Kornbread 

This post is linked to The Homestead Barn Hop and Menu Mondays.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fancy Schmancy Mac & Cheese

Please do not adjust your screen. This is indeed another recipe.

Because it's raining. Again.

And because it's raining by the bucketfuls, I am in need of some good old-fashioned comfort food, followed by a good old pair of comfortable sweatpants.

Because yes, I over-ate. Again.

While my older kids were growing up, one of their favorite side dishes was macaroni and cheese that I made with Velveeta "cheese". I now know that Velveeta is a pseudo-cheese, being mostly made up of hydrogenated oils and some other stuff, but we loved it. It was like lying on a heater vent under a heavy quilt while watching "The Goonies" kind of comfort.

Don't ask.

I've since tried many different recipes for mac & cheese, but nothing has compared to the Velveeta dish of our past. Until now. Made up by yours truly while dancing around the kitchen to "I Love Rock & Roll", this one was declared a hit with the entire family...

...Just before they ran off to change into something a little more comfortable.

I guess this would be considered sweatpant worthy. I kind of like that rating system. ☺

~Fancy Schmancy Macaroni & Cheese~

~The Players~
1 lb. brown rice elbow macaroni
8 slices good bacon, chopped
1 large, sweet onion, sliced thin
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 C. brown rice flour (or white)
2 C. whole milk
1 C. light cream
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
sea salt & pepper, to taste

Cut and cook bacon in a medium-sized cast iron pan. Go ahead and throw in an extra piece to make up for all the pieces that I know you'll be sneaking.

No? Never mind. Must have had you confused with me.☺

Cook the bacon until it's done, but not crispy. Remove bacon from the pan and let drain on paper towels.

Quarter the onion, then slice each quarter into thin pieces. Using the leftover bacon grease, saute the onions on medium heat for 3 minutes.

Add the spices and saute another 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Boil noodles according to package instructions. When done, drain in a colander. Return pot back to stove and melt butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2 minutes while whisking. Slowly add the milk and cream while continuing to whisk.

Add the cheeses and stir. (You'll want to lose the whisk and switch to a spoon~less messy.) Once the cheese has melted, add the cooked pasta, stirring well. Add the onion/spice mixture and bacon; stir. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serves 8.


*This is gluten-free, but if gluten isn't an issue for you, regular macaroni and flour can be used.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Red, White, and Orange Baked Oatmeal

One of our favorite go-to breakfasts is baked oatmeal. We've tried many different recipes, but the key ingredients remain the same.


And some fruit.

Because it's close to Thanksgiving, or because I'm just thankful to have a freezer full of cranberries (living near the coast has its perks!), or because I currently have 30 lbs. of apples and 50 lbs. of walnuts cluttering up my kitchen floor, I came up with this festive little rendition on an old favorite.

I hope you love it as much as we do!☺

~Red, White, & Orange Baked Oatmeal~

~The Players~
3 tart cooking apples (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, etc..), peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced thin
1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries
zest from 1 orange (no pith!)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tb. sucanat, divided
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
juice of zested orange plus enough whole milk to equal 1 cup
2 t. baking powder
1 t. sea salt
3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
optional: real maple syrup, raw honey, cream, half & half, or milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 x 13" baking dish.

Layer the sliced apples in the bottom of the pan. Add the cranberries and orange zest.

In a small cup, mix 1 Tb. sucanat with cinnamon; sprinkle over fruit.

Combine butter, remaining sucanat, and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Stir in milk/orange juice. Add baking powder, salt, walnuts, and rolled oats and mix well.

Pour the oatmeal mixture over the fruit and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the oatmeal begins to brown. Spoon into bowls and serve with milk or cream, and maple syrup or honey.


This post is linked to The Homestead Barn Hop.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meal Plan for Week of 11/14

Confession time: I only make lasagna twice a year. I know, in some homes this could be considered child abuse, but in ours it's a special treat reserved for special occasions.

Like the birthday of a son-in-law.

Specifically this one.

♫Happy Birthday Ben!♫

One of my granddaughter's favorite songs is from the movie "The Lion King". I'm sure you all know  the song, "Hakuna Matata", but you've never heard it sung quite like a 3 yr. old can.

"'s a probwem fwee, with yots of peas...a tuna matata..."

Since Maddie decided to give an impromptu concert during the meal planning process, we'll be having fish a couple of times this week.

With peas.☺

Here's what else is cookin' this week...

Pancakes w/ blueberry syrup
Cream of Broccoli Soup, 7-Layer Salad (carried over from last week)

Lasagna, French Bread, Caesar Salad

mashed potatoes & gravy, baked pork chops, Spiced Applesauce

Macaroni & Cheese, Salmon Patties w/homemade tartar sauce, steamed broccoli


Blueberry Coffeecake (new)
Venison Stew, European Peasant Bread

This post is linked to Menu Mondays.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Christmas Giveaway!

Dear Mister,

I really, really, really, really would like to have one of these. Actually, it's not even really about me. You know those unmentionables that are hanging from the ceiling rack you devised in our family room? The ones that every Christmas dangle right over Grandma's head?

Yep. Those would be the unmentionables that no one mentions, but all see. They try not to look, but can't help themselves~they have to make sure those previously unmentioned items don't fall on their heads while they're sippin' on a glass of nog.

It's time for a new plan. A new way to dry our laundry. A new way to keep your socks out of Nana's teacup.

It's an act of kindness really.

So, I'm going to head on over to Forgotten Way Farms, where they're giving away one of these lovely drying racks!

And I promise, if I win, I will wrap it up with a big red bow and sign the card,

"Love, Santa".

Love, The Missus

This giveaway ends at midnight, November 14, 2011, so hurry and enter!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

♫You Take the Good, You Take the Bad...♫

If you've followed my blog for very long, you'll know that we try to adhere to a whole foods diet. This doesn't mean that we do it well, but we try to do it the best that we can. I've been very candid about my struggles with food, both in the over-eating department and in my addictions to Reese's, Starbucks, Frito-lay, and favorite uncle's, Ben & Jerry.

I still struggle. Daily. Sometimes more than once.

What I won't do though is give up. That's not to say that I don't think about giving up, but it's not in my nature to do so. I see the same advertisements for skinny jeans, string bikini's, and push-up bras that you see. I see the tiny-waisted, uber-tall runway models sporting the latest fashions and I think to myself, "Self, it's time to get physical, eat some lettuce, (iceburg only because it has 0 calories), grow your brunette hair blond, and pamper yourself with acrylic nails and a nice painted-on tan. Then you too can strut yourself on that runway."

When I hear my family laughing hysterically, I realize that I've said this out loud and they are giving me a true reality check. It doesn't matter how many hours I exercise because at the age of 44, I will never have less wrinkles and stretch marks than I do now. My growth spurt happened at the age of 5 and I've been stuck looking at belt buckles since, and my hair isn't completely brown, but flecked with "blond" highlights. (Or gray, if you want me to be honest and accurate.) Acrylic nails are perfect breeding ground for the chicken poop that will eventually get under them, and a spray-on tan in Washington state is just begging for a puddle of brown water pooling up in my shoes. And face it, there's nothing that can be done to iceburg lettuce to make it even remotely appetizing, especially when you know how good baby romaines and spinach are. I need to focus on  better health and activities that involve my entire brood such as, biking, hiking, snowshoeing, etc... I need to stop listening to what Hollywood deems as the "perfect body", and stop comparing myself to the touched-ups, photo- shopped, and surgically-enhanced crowd.  

That's not my reality.

Sometimes I would love to have somebody that's not related to me, understand. Someone who gets why I have 5 gallons of beef tallow and coconut oil in my pantry. Someone who understands why my freezer door is loaded with jars of rendered pig fat. Someone who understands why I buy my avocados in bulk, and always have hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for quick snacks. Someone to validate that what I'm doing isn't so crazy because there's science to back it up. Someone who...

Wait. What's this? I remember "The Fats of Life"! I loved Tootie! (You'll only understand this if you  have as many wrinkles and stretch marks as me.☺)

The 4th column is for Trans Fats, which incidently, are not recommended.
Does this mean that I no longer have to smuggle my red palm oil out of the store in a cloth bag, while wearing a ski mask, hoodie, and sunglasses and answering only to the name of George?

The "Four Foods to Consider" are considered staples in my kitchen!
Yes. Yes it does. My favorite part of this article that ran in our local newspaper is this:

Saturated Fats
Sources: Meat and whole milk dairy as well as coconuts and palm.
What they do: Raise bad cholesterol levels, but also good cholesterol.
The debate: Reductions in saturated fats have not produced better cardiovascular health but have coincided with a rise in obesity. Since many have swapped saturated fats for refined carbohydrates, experts are debating the wisdom of continued reduction recommendations.
Daily recommendations: 10 percent of calories or less

(Underlined emphasis is mine.)

Okay, we haven't arrived, but we're getting there.

And I no longer feel so alone.

*I tried to find the article online but was unable to locate it. The original article ran in The Chicago Tribune and was written by Monica Eng. If anybody searches and finds it, I'd appreciate the link so I can include it here! ☺

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creamy Turkey & Rice Soup

Now that it's officially turkey month, I've been on the lookout for some new recipes that will use up any Thanksgiving leftovers we might have. Of course, that's assuming there will be leftovers, but just in case, I need to be prepared.

Leftover turkey without a way to use it is the equivalent of Ben without Jerry, chips without dip, movies without popcorn, books without pages...wait, forget about that last one, Amazon already did that. But you get it, right?

Recently I attended a Pampered Chef party where Turkey & Wild Rice soup was one of the featured foods. As a turkey farmer (ha!) and food connoisseur, I feel I am qualified to give an opinion on this very special soup.


~describing any quality that is so indescribable that you have no real word to say it with~

I should be a food critic because I know what I like. And I can spell big words like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I also know what I don't like, so this recipe that I'm sharing is my version of the Pampered Chef soup. Even though the original was good enough to bring out my inner Julie Andrews (or is it my inner Dick Van Dyke?), I needed to change a few ingredients to make it more whole foods friendly. And because I have 2 huge cabinets full of spices, I added a few of those too.

Because that's how I roll.☺ (Mmmm...rolls.)

~Creamy Turkey & Rice Soup~
adapted from a Pampered Chef recipe

~The Players~

2 large carrots, shredded
8 oz. package of fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1 cup soft wheat pastry flour
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk (or half & half)
4 cups cooked blend of wild & whole grain brown rices (I used Lundberg Wild Blend)
2 cups diced cooked turkey (I used more!)
1 t. dried tarragon
1/2 t. dried thyme
fresh ground pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste (This will depend on the broth/stock used. Taste first!)
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Melt butter in bottom of a dutch oven or large soup pot. Add carrots, mushrooms, celery, and onion; cook 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in flour. Gradually add stock, and milk, whisking until blended. Add tarragon and thyme. Bring to a soft boil. Stir in cooked rice and turkey. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 5 minutes.

While soup simmers, toast slivered almonds in an oven or a cast iron pan on the stove. Just toast until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Watch closely because they will burn quickly! (Or so I've heard...) Stir almonds into soup just before serving.

Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!

*Unless you're allergic to nuts, the almonds make this soup extra special. You'll have to trust me on this one!☺

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meal Plan & Prep Work 11/7/11

I receive a lot of comments about my meal planning. I've heard my share of, "I could never be so organized", "I would spend more money than I need to", "It takes too much time and thought", and my personal favorite, "Are you OCD?"

So, here's my answers. Yes you can, no you won't, depends on the current noise level in the house, and my middle name is Monk.

Okay, not really, but meal planning doesn't have to be so difficult. I find that if I have a plan in place, I'm more likely to use up what's in the fridge, pantry, and freezers, I can better utilize my limited supply of thinking time for the greater good of mankind, and it gives me extra time to do the important things in life.

The end of a very long day...for both of us!

Now you know the real reasons. I'm an over-achiever.

Meal planning is especially important if you prepare foods in a traditional way. And I'm not talking about popping the plastic tray into the microwave either. Sometimes, in the busyness of everyday life, I forget to do some of the prep work required for whole foods cooking. Forgetting to soak the beans, make broth, start the sourdough sponge, or put together the breakfast casserole the night before can throw a real kink into the plan. With 11 hungry people in the house again, no food could mean the end of my life as I know it.

They're a vicious bunch I tell ya.

So, here's what's cooking this week, with my side notes. Fortunately for you, the computer doesn't scribble them into the side bar like I do...


Lunches~Planned leftovers

Cincinnati Chili, roasted brussel sprouts

*Soak black beans~pm


*Grind cornmeal~am
*Start pot of chicken stock~am
*Put prime rib roast in fridge to thaw~pm
*Start sourdough sponge for bread~pm

Prime rib, roasted potatoes, green beans, salad w/ Citrus Vinaigrette, Sourdough bread (traditionally prepared with no yeast)

*Cook turkey breast~am
*Prepare dough for European Peasant Bread~pm

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup (new!), European Peasant Bread

Pasta Bolognese, Caesar Salad, Garlic European Peasant Bread

*Start sourdough sponge~pm

Chicken Noodle Soup, Sourdough bread

Sloppy Joes on homemade buns, Salmon dip (Hmmm...thought I'd shared this recipe, but I can't find it~will share it next week!) chips

*Make buns~am

We are also roasting pumpkins, canning pears, making apple butter, and rendering the last of the lard.

See why I have to plan?

If you're new to meal planning, visit Menu Mondays at I'm an Organizing Junkie for more ideas.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Long Walk Down the Green Mile

Warning: If you believe your food comes from a grocery store, factory, or a box, you may want to skip this post while I share with you the other side of farming.

The part that not even the farmers want to talk about.

Butchering day.

While grass-fed meat is always a better choice, raising one's own beef (or any other meat!) comes with a price. The animals have faces. And if you have children, the animals also have names. 

Angus was born on August 1, 2009, beneath the shade of a large maple tree. We knew that Bailey was "with calf", but had no idea as to her due date. In the past, we've named our calves; Meatball, T-Bone, Big Mac, Stella, and Liberty. (Stella & Liberty were heifer calves, so they got the cutesy names.) Because the little bull calf was destined to become a steer, we named him Angus, just to keep things in perspective.

From the beginning, Angus was a real charmer.

Bailey loved him. In fact, she loved him so much that she continued to allow him to nurse until we finally sent her to the "Swingin' Singles Spa"...last week.

Did I mention that he was two years old?

As people who raise our own meat, we do NOT look forward to butchering day. We try not to think of our meat animals as pets, but it is inevitable when you are responsible for their food and well-being. It is difficult to not become attached to a 2,000 lb. animal that stands at the garden gate waiting for produce that is past its prime. It is near impossible to not feel some kind of affection for an animal that stands vigil by your side, while you repair the very fence that just minutes before he broke through.  

Because we made the decision to raise a steer for meat, we had to finish what we had started.

It was the responsible thing to do.

And while it is with great sadness that we look out into a field that Angus is no longer a part of, we are thankful for the time we had to enjoy him. Without knowing it, Angus is helping us move away from the grocery store mentality, and put thought into each and every decision we make on our little hobby farm. We were able to observe the butcher as he skinned, gutted, and eventually quartered our beef. We saw the mistakes that were made by our poor planning (too much fat), and the areas that we did exactly right (The marbling is perfect!). With every animal that is processed from our farm, we see ways to improve. And we know that even when it is difficult, we're doing what is right for our family.

Even when butchering day inevitably arrives.

Thank you Angus.

This post is linked to The Homestead Barn Hop.