Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Turkey & Cranberry Won Tons


I had a dual goal in coming up with this recipe: to use my Thanksgiving leftovers and to make an appetizer for a pot-luck dinner that I was going to.  I came up with this!

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 can of whole cranberry sauce
3 cups diced turkey
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 package Won Ton wrappers

Blend the cream cheese and the cranberry sauce until smooth and well blended. Dice up the turkey as fine as you’d like it. It can be shredded or I used my Pampered Chef food chopper. Add to the cream cheese mix with the almonds and salt and pepper to taste.

Using a spoon (or Pampered Chef small scoop), place some filling in the middle of the won ton wrapper. Use water around the edges so it will seal, then close.

I baked mine at 375 for about 30-40 minutes. You can also fry them. And we all know that fried is always better.

Serve with any remaining cranberry sauce that you might have as a dip.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Ornament Exchange & a Contest

I absolutely love the holiday season.  One of my favorite things is shopping.  Not because I *LOVE* shopping, but because I really enjoy findOing the right present for each person.  I love knowing that I have found something that they enjoy.

Often, as parents, we get caught up in the craziness of the seasoI wn and focusing on the kids.  I love Christmas morning because I love to see the faces of my kids as they light up with excitement.  Sure, I love opening presents - but the true joy for me comes in the giving to others.

I wanted to start a fun tradition: an ornament exchange.  Some friends and I have done this in the past, and it is so fun to pull them out each year and remember who sent them to me.  It creates some great memories.

SO!  Click this link to sign up for the ornament exchange.  The website that coordinates this is very secure, and only the person who gets your name will see your information.

Also - invite friends to join!  Respond to this thread with how many invites you sent.  I will be awarding 2 prizes.  One for the person who invites the most.  And one for the person who has the most friends sign up.

Winners will receive a VERY special "Brainy Farm Wife" ornament.

I am extending the deadline to sign up until December 3rd.  However, since the exchange requires you to send an ornament that represents your hometown, feel free to find it anytime and then send it when you receive your name.

Let's have fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Celebration Cookie

I developed this recipe as a way to have a special Fall cookie with some of the best flavors of the season.  The best part, none of the flavors overwhelm any of the others, and it creates a great blend.

3 cups pumpkin butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
5 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray.

Cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla and orange extract.

Add flour, salt, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Blend into sugar mixture. Add rolled oats, cranberries and chocolate chips.

Use a small scoop, and drop onto prepared cookies sheet.

Bake 9-11 minutes. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

These make a thicker, chewy cookie.  My kids adore them, I hope you do too!

Pumpkin Butter

1 (29 oz) can Libby’s pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 box dry pectin
5 cups white sugar

Mix solid pack pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and dry pectin in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil.

Mix in sugar all at once. Stirring constantly, return to a full boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Transfer immediately to sterile containers. Seal and chill in refrigerator until serving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Ham and Bacon - Crock Pot

32 oz bag of dried split peas

3 cups diced cooked ham
1 ½ cups cooked carrots
1-2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 bay leaves
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs pepper
Boiling water
2 cups heavy whipping cream or milk
1 package bacon, cooked and diced

In a slow cooker, layer peas, ham, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves and seasonings. DO NOT STIR. Cover with enough boiling water that it covers all ingredients and about a 1/2 inch to inch above.

Cook on high for about 3 hours.

Stir, add in cream or milk. Cook for about another 1-2 hours. Add water or milk for desired consistency.  Add in bacon last 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pumpkin Hummus

2 cans Garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced

Drain cans of Garbanzo beans and reserve liquid, place into blender. Add enough of the liquid until beans are covered then blend until a paste forms.

Add other ingredients, blend again. Add extra reserved liquid for desired consistency.


* I didn’t have any tahini paste, which is a typical ingredient in humus. If you have it and want to add, you will add 1/3 cup. Otherwise, it’s great without it.

* Also, you can substitute 1/2 tsp of each cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice for seasoning

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Gold Cords

While I have always loved learning, I have never placed a strong focus on my grades. After a couple of experiences in high school, I realized that the grades never really reflected my learning. The only time I cared about my grades was when I had to bring them up to a certain level in order to get my driver’s license.

This philosophy pretty much held true in college as well. I was busy working full-time and school was just something to get through in order to get the degree. It felt like hoop jumping many times, taking 2 years of general education courses that were just a little bit more than repeating high school.

However, my life took a detour when I quit a good job/career, moved across country to be closer to family, and then ended up divorced with two small children. I decided to go back to school to get my teaching credential and master’s degree. At this time, I made a decision: I was going to get straight A’s and graduate with honors.

I’m not sure exactly what prompted this decision, I think it was mainly to show that I could. That I had always been capable of doing so, I had just chosen not to.

I remember once telling my mom that school was a lot more stressful when you cared about your grades. I even joined the honor’s society as soon as I qualified and ordered my gold cords that would represent my academic achievement at graduation.

Three years after beginning my classes, changing programs, getting married, moving from California to Washington and beginning a new career path and master’s focus – it was finally time for graduation.

My family and I flew down to California so that I could walk in the ceremony – a day all graduates live for and are excited to share. However, upon driving from the airport to the hotel I had a sickening realization: I had left my gold cords at home. Safely packed away in my cedar trunk. I was devastated.

I knew that no one else would really recognize their lacking, or even know what they meant. After all, it was just a piece of rope. But, to me, it was a symbol of my decisions, my dedication and my focus. It showed that I really COULD accomplish anything that I desired.

My husband had a solution – we would attempt to replicate the cords so that I could wear them at graduation. We borrowed a set from a good friend of mine and colleague and set out to find a fabric store. After hunting through the areas, we finally came up with an idea: we would dye a piece of white upholstery cording and add some dyed tassels to the end. The color wouldn’t be exact, but it would be close.

It was almost comical to see my husband dying the pieces in the bathroom sink at the hotel and putting them together for me. But my appreciation was far greater.

I then wore them in my graduation ceremony as I walked across the stage.

Now the homemade gold cords with the tassels having fallen off and the ends unraveled hang on my memory board on the wall in front of my desk. My official cords have never been removed from their protective package.

One represents the academic accomplishment.

The other represents a love attained – and that is the one that I will hold tight and remember forever the love my husband has for me. That he was willing to support me with my goals, my dreams and my plans.

It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness and plans of life.

We need to focus more on our relationships with those around us and hold tight to the things that are really important.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies

I work with a lot of people who are a lot more health conscious than I am.  It's good for me, as I experiment with healthy versions of favorites. Plus, I love to find ways to use up all of the zucchini from my garden that I shred and freeze.  It is so great to bake with it all winter long!

I made these for a team meeting once, and it was a huge hit.  You wouldn't know they were 'healthy' unless someone told you.  They make a very fudgy, yummy brownie and even my kids adored them! 

For those of you have been asking, sorry it took me long!

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1 cup Splenda blend for baking
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups frozen, shredded zucchini – thawed, with its water.*
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Add zucchini with its water, applesauce and vanilla; mix until well blended. Mix in chocolate chips.

Spread evenly in a 9x13 inch baking pan or in a bar pan (I use my Pampered Chef one, it is PERFECT).

Bake for 25-30 minutes and let cool completely before cutting. They are very fudgy and yummy!

*If you haven’t stored any zucchini, or don’t want to use it in the recipe, then substitute 1 cup of water.

Makes 16 servings at apx 187 calories a serving.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Granny's Fried Chicken

So, a couple years ago my sister-in-law started a great recipe blog to collect recipes from friend's and family.  My dad, ever the creative one, added one of his favorite recipes from his childhood.  Here is a direct quote, and a link if you'd like to find it.

As most of you know, I grew up on a ranch. Not the cool kind, like horse ranch, or cattle ranch… a chicken ranch. And let me tell ya, there is nothing romantic about a chicken ranch. But they do have chickens! We would get a few hundred chicks every couple of months. They were two days old and were supposed to be all hens, since my dad was an egg producer. Well along about 4 or 5 days old it was always apparent that they missed a few roosters. These were destined for the fry pan. Now I don’t remember how old they had to get before they became dinner, but here is the "recipe".

*Find an old galvanized pipe about 4 feet long.

*Grab your "dinner chicken" out of the cage and hold by both legs.

*Hike up your dress to just above your knees and spread your legs with one foot on one end of the pipe.

*Bend over and insert chicken’s head under the pipe so the pipe lays just across the neck.

*Place other foot on other end of the pipe, bending at the knees.

*Hold tight to the chicken legs, straighten knees, straighten your back, look up, and pull on chicken legs.

*When head pops off swear softly under your breath and toss chicken away about 5 feet.

*When chicken stops running around (yes, they do this) go gather him up.

*Cut around the "vent" and pull out the innards with one clean jerk (I think this is an Olympic event in some 3rd world countries).

*Toss the innards on a sheet of newspaper, pick out the gizzard, liver and heart and discard the rest.

*Cut off the legs at the knees and discard. (Except in Africa where they are saved for the cooking pot… yum, right Tyler?).

*Dip the chicken in a pot of boiling water to loosen the feathers and make it smell really good (NOT!)

*Pluck off all the feathers, even the little bitty ones. (Granny didn’t always follow this step very well).

*Cut up chicken in various pieces.

*Roll the chicken pieces in some whipped up eggs.

*Roll the chicken in some flour that you just kinda dump on the counter top.

*Fry the chicken for a while in some Crisco in an electric skillet at a pretty hot temperature.

*Salt and pepper to taste.

Now some suggestions: If you’re frying up white leghorns (pronounced "leg-erns") you will need about 1 chicken per person. There ain’t much meat on them, they are bred for laying eggs, not for eating. Second, and perhaps most important, don’t forget to clean up the flour on the counter right away. If you don’t, some young boy is likely to come along and slap it with his hand. This is very entertaining as Granny lets out a delightful yelp and chases the boy around the house. This could happen several times if you don’t clean it up right away. So be sure to do that. I’m not sure you will be able to find the boy to help clean it all up. He usually doesn’t come back until it’s time to eat the chicken.

That’s the recipe I grew up with. If I recall right, it’s mighty tasty. And Granny loved cooking it. Even the young boy part.

Pop J.

I love my Granny!  She was an amazing inspiration and role model for me.  I wanted to add a picture I put together composing one of her quotes.  Towards the end of her life as she was battling Alzheimer's, she had periods of amazing insight.  This is one of them.

Friday, November 6, 2009



It’s a word we’ve heard a lot lately in the news. Change in politics. In healthcare. In finances. In education.

When things aren’t going well – we want CHANGE! But preferably change for the better, right? Not just something different or worse.

But today I want to talk about a different kind of change. A monetary change. Literally – the change in your pocket.

You know the stuff. The pennies that get casually tossed into the bucket at the cash register or sucked up into the vacuum. You spend it without thinking. It’s casually dropped or lost without a care.

So I tried an experiment. I saved up the change I was getting and didn’t spend it for a month. Then, I poured it all into a gallon-size zip lock bag and ONLY used change for my daily purchases for one week.

Here is what I learned:

• Most people have never seen a 50 cent piece or Susan B Anthony dollar.

• Some have seen the Sacagawea dollar.
• It is much easier to shop with just change in Oregon where there is no sales tax

• It’s also easier when you know what you’re getting ahead of time and can count it out and show up prepared

• Many business are grateful when you give them change – because they are often running out

• The bus driver, however, will look at you a little annoyed when you drop 300 pennies in the counter for your bus fare

• This takes approximately 1:22 minutes.

• It makes me unrealistically happy to do it

• Again, count it out ahead of time so the bus driver won’t look COMPLETELY annoyed

• You actually think about what you’re buying a little bit more when it takes some effort to pay for the purchase

• Some people behind you in line act a little confused when you pay with change and may feel sorry for you, thinking you’re completely broke

• Cashier’s at drive-ups often don’t know how to add mixed change

• Some can only count in Spanish (or Russian)

• It’s not as convenient to carry change, and your pockets look funny

• Don’t try it at an airport

There are a couple of things I determined I would not pay for in change:

• Rent

• Gas

Overall, it was a fun experiment. It almost felt like I was getting everything for free this week, because it wasn’t coming out of my normal budget!

Next change experiment: Saving up enough that one day I can go into my utility company and pay the bill in change. I may roll it first, though.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

To everything there is a season

Fall has always been my favorite season.  Ever since college when I would drive through the mountains of sourthern Utah through Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks with the windows down and the heater up.  The beauty of the mountains, the changing seasons, the crisp Fall air. 

Then I started my gardening.  As much as I love Fall, it was very hard for me to see the end of the garden.

Until today.

Today I went out to visit my chickens and there was Fluffy, and her babies, in the garden.  I'm not sure how they got out of their enclosure, but it looks like they needed more space and the joy of the garden.

So, I had to move over their little nest and give them the garden to use for their forays.  I mean, seeing the garden season end is a little less painful when I know an adorable momma Hen is using it to teach her babies how to survive in life.

Enjoy the pictures!

See that chick hiding back behind the zucchini plant.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Food: the same old thing

I'm trying to be more proactive with our grocery shopping.  The best way to do that is to plan for meals and make good grocery lists.  However, I feel like I'm at a rut of doing the same old things for dinner. 

Share your favorite meals.  Post recipes if you have them!  I'm making a list, and will overcome this challenge!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Soundtrack of Your Life

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

~Victor Hugo~

I have always been a fan of music. Not just any music, but the music that speaks to your soul at any given moment. I firmly believe that there is a power in music that we highly underestimate.

Music has the ability to alter our moods, to uplift our spirits, motivate and inspire. It can encourage men in battle and lighten the heavy load of a tedious burden.

Often throughout my life I have started humming a tune that would fit right for the situation. I love to sing and would even make up songs to fit the occasion.

This past week I started off my Monday morning with the Bangle’s tune “Manic Monday” going through my mind as I got ready for the day. So I posted it on my facebook page and then decided to begin Lyric Week.

Basically – if my life was a movie, and there was a soundtrack, I would post random lyrics on my facebook page. To make it fun, I’ve also turned it into a contest. My friend on there will get to guess the source of the lyrics.

However, the point of the post is that we often have songs that are meaningful to us for a variety of reasons. They bring back memories and invoke emotions.

What are some that are meaningful to you – and why?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My first contest!

When I planned my garden this year I intentionally planted veggies and peppers so that I could make some recipes.  One of those that I wanted was salsa.  I absolutely LOVE chips and salsa, and love to lear to make my own stuff. 

So, today I made my first forray into salsa making.  In the same regards, I also canned for the first time.  I was so excited that all of the jars sealed up and want to share it with you.
Become a fan of me on facebook and make a guess on what day I will have my 200th fan.  The winner will be the one on or closest to that date.  I will ship a quart of homemade salsa to the winner!  So, become a fab and reecommed me to your friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Babies for Fluffy

A few weeks ago one of our hens started getting really broody.  She would protectively guard the eggs when I would go to collect them each day. Now, it wouldn't do her any good to guard those eggs, because we don't keep a rooster around.

This may sound silly, but I related her plight to those of many of my friends who have struggled to have kids and couldn't.  Here was a hen who wanted nothing more than to sit on a nest for weeks on end and have some cute little babies to tend and raise and tend.

So, I put an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone had some fertilized eggs that my little Fluffy could sit upon.  I got one response and picked up 5 eggs from her a few days later.

For three weeks Fluffy sat patiently in her little nest (we isolated her from the other hens), and kept those little eggs at just the right temperature. Yesterday we moved her cage/nest and set her up with her own private yard so the big hens wouldn't attack the babies when they hatched and I saw one cute baby fluffy face poking out from under the big fluffy chicken.

Today we head out to feed the chickens their scratch for their evening treat and out pops Fluffy with four little fluffy chicks following her.  It was amazing to watch her teach them how to scratch and eat, and she talked to them the entire time.
Then she climbed back into her nest and called and encouraged her little babies to hop into bed.  They listen a whole lot better than my kids! Soon they all hopped up into the nest and burrowed under the covers (mom) and settled down for the night.
We've been hatching eggs for awhile, but there's something just heartwarming about seeing nature at work - even if she is the adopted mother to those chicks. 
Now I truly understand the meaning of the phrase "Mother Hen"

Mock Stuffed Pasta Shell Caserole

My family loves stuffed pasta shells, but it's definitely not the quickest or easiest things to make.  So, I came up with a substitute and used up some more zucchini from the garden!

1 box medium pasta shells
1 small container ricotta cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozerella cheese
1 medium zucchini
Spaghetti sauce (I use the canned Heinz,  1 1/2 - 2 cans)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Boil water and cook pasta al dente, it's better for a casserole if it's a little under done than if you were to just eat it.

While that is cooking, place cheeses in a large bowl and add diced zucchini.  Add spaghetti sauce and mix.  Once pasta is done strain and mix in bowl with sauce mixture. 

Place in casserole dish and sprinkle with mozzerella cheese.  Bake for about 1 hour.

My kids devoured it, it was a lot easier to make than the stuffed shells, and it tastes just as good.  I've also been known to dice up imitation crab and put it in the mixture. I really want to try this with some pepper jack cheese tossed in with the mix!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Since when is encouraging education a bad thing?

Brainwashing! Indoctrination! Political Agenda!

No, this isn’t a lesson plan about the Nazi regime. These are the words thrown out by parents after extreme conservatives took a spin on President Obama’s intended speech to school children scheduled next Tuesday.

Every day I work with adults who have realized how hard life can be without a college degree. How different would their lives be now if they had a strong conviction of the importance of education and the encouragement to pursue their goals?

According to my research, the concern comes from the resource guides that have been provided online for teachers to utilize stating that they “obligate the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates”

Since when do questions such as

  •  What is the President asking me to do?
  • What is the specific job he is asking me to do?
  • Is he asking anything of anyone else?
  • Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?
  • Teachers could ask the students to share the ideas they recorded…
  • Does the speech make you want to do anything?
  • What would you like to ask the president?
  • Afterwards:
    • Have students create posters of their goals
    • Write letters to themselves about how they can reach their goals
    • Graph individual progress to their goals.
Do we know at this point exactly what President Obama will say? No, we don’t. But as a former teacher and parent, I think it is a wonderful thing that the President of the United States is taking time to discuss with children the importance of education.

Do we want children to stay in school? Yes. Do we want them to be excited about the possibility of learning new things and discovering their individual interests and strengths? Yes. Do we want them to learn to think critically about what others, even the president tells them? Yes! Do we want them to learn how to think for themselves and develop goals and plans on how to achieve them? YES!!
Will I keep my children out of school on September 8th because I don’t want them to hear how important their education and future is to me? No.
Removing children from school on a day they are to hear how important their education and future is for them is a horrible lesson for a child. What will they think when they hear about the speech later from friends or the news? That their own parents do not value education and think it is ok to not attend school if you do not like what you are being taught.
Next Tuesday parents and educators have the opportunity to teach one of two lessons: is education truly important or do my parents simply send me for free daycare and not want me to learn?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lessons from the Quail

My husband and I have started to raise Quail. Ok, my husband and his father were talking about how raising quail and pheseants and then he sheepishly asked my "permission" to start a new hobby. Seeing how giddy it made him, we now have an incubator in our laundry room.

Watching the birds hatch was amazing. Our kids loved the opportunity to watch the tiny baby birds being born. They were surprised and just how long it took for the babies to peck their way through the fragile shell and wanted to help some of them who were struggling.

I had to explain to my kids that a Mama Bird cannot help the chick out of the egg by cracking the shell because it will kill the chick. The strength that is developed by cracking out of the shell is required in order to live and grow up into an adult. The mother hen will often peck at the shell to let the chick know that she’s there, and chirp and encourage the chick – but doing any of the work will actually weaken the chick.

It got me thinking about each of us in our lives. We all have challenges that we wish someone would crack for us and make easier. However, it is by going through these challenges that we become stronger and ready to face the life ahead of us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What would you pay for a memory?

A 21 year old young man sells his beloved car to help his father's business. 26 years later, and a very successful businessman he decides to track down his original car.  Now, I know men have an emotional attachment to their cars, but I don't understand being willing to pay $250,000 to track down a car. Apparently, a replica wasn't even good enough - he had to have his exact car.

So, is this nostalgic or crazy?  I'm sure to this man the money was nothing compared to a special memory he had to his car. However - it's still a car.  An inanimate object. In today's economy and generation, doesn't this seem a little excessive.

What could you do with $250,000?
  • Obtain a Bachelor's degree and MBA at Harvard
  • 6 people can get nursing degrees
  • Provide food and shelter to homeless children
  • Provide free basic school supplies to Elementary schools
  • Provide occupational, speech or behavioral therapy to autistic children whose claims are denied by insurance companies
And the list goes on and on. 

I recognize the value of memories - but how much is too much?  I would love to have back some books that I've lent over the years and not gotten back, ones with notes from when I studied them in school.  There's a case somewhere with a bunch of collectable coins in them that I started collecting when I was about 10.

When I was growing up we would often go to the little A&W and get their taquitos.  It was a great memory for me of time with my family and of a fun treat.  A few years ago I found a little A&W shop and just had to pull in and get some taquitos.  They were no where near as good as I remember, and now the memory was a little bit tarnished.

What is something that you have lost that you would pay to retrieve? And when do you realize that some things are better left as a fond memory?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chocolate Rabbit Zucchini Chili

No, this is not your typical homemade chili with a leftover chocolate Easter bunny tossed in for extra flavor. This is a good, old-fashioned chili with home raised rabbit meat. We have been raising rabbits in our little suburban farm. Rabbit is a very tender white meat that can be used in place of chicken in any recipe.

For this chili, if you don’t want to use rabbit, feel free to replace it with ground turkey, chicken, ground beef or leave out any meat for a vegetarian version.

1lb bag of black beans
3T olive oil
2lbs rabbit (or meat of choice)
1 large onion, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6T cocoa powder
2T chili powder
1T ground cumin
1t Oregano
½t Salt
½t Pepper
3 (28oz) cans diced tomatoes with liquid


1) Place bag of beans in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drain and rinse. Place back into pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour until beans are tender.
2) While beans are simmering, slow boil meat so it’s slightly cooked and you can debone the rabbit (or chicken).
3) Heat oil in large skillet, add diced onions, zucchini and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onions are clear.
4) Drain beans and rinse, place in crock pot. Debone meat, shred/dice and place over beans.
5) Add seasonings, cocoa powder and 1 can of tomatoes. Stir and simmer about 2 minutes.
6) Dump contents of skillet into crock pot, add other two cans of tomatoes. Mix everything together.
7) Cook on high for 1 hour. Simmer on low for 6-8 hours.

This produces a lot, so you will need a good sized crock pot! You can also simmer on the stove for about 2 hours if you’d prefer.

I took this to work one day and was surprised that the entire thing was gone! I hope you enjoy it as much as they all did.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When Life Gives You...


When you plant more than one zucchini plant, you need to be prepared to have more zucchini than you can eat. So, what can you do when you have so much zucchini that you can't even give it all away?

Today I'm going to try to find out how many different ways I can utilize zucchini, and I will be posting successful recipes in the coming week.

Here are some of my ideas for utilizing that abundance of zucchini.
  • Shred up the zucchini as if you were going to put it into a bread recipe. Then pre-measure it into 2 or 3 cup servings and place in quart-sized ziploc bags and freeze to bake with all winter long.
  • Play ding-dong ditch with zuchinni for a variety of neighbors. If you'd like, put a bow on them. Now it's not your worry anymore!
  • Scour the internet for unusual zucchini recipes
  • Bake lots of zucchini bread. Make mini loaves or mini muffins, then freeze those. Great for snacks when school starts for the kids!

What are some of your most creative uses for zucchini??

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tales from the Coop

One of my favorite things about our little farm life is spending some time each day with our chickens and then collecting the eggs. Originally, this was a chore for the kids, but I quickly told them to keep away from the coop - I wanted this chore! (That's the benefit of being mommy, you are in charge of delegating the chores.)

Our second batch of chicks are now laying hens and so with our 14 hens of laying age we're getting a good batch of eggs a day. It's fun to see the different sizes, colors and the great variety that comes from fresh eggs from my chickens.

On Monday I was absolutely shocked to see the size of one egg. I compared it to birthing a 14 pound baby! So, I took some pictures to show just how big this egg got.
Thanks to watching movies on forensics and CSI, I knew that I had to put something in the picture to give context to the size. Hence, the quarter. The egg immediately to the right of the quarter egg is an average size Large egg.

Another picture for context.

The MEGA egg is at the top, the average egg on the bottom. It's about twice the size.

So, I just HAD to crack the egg and count how many yolks would be inside. (When hens first start laying, their eggs often have multiple yolks).

So, upon opening up the egg, I not only see just ONE, tiny yolk.

But also an ENTIRE egg INSIDE the egg.

The shells of an egg are soft and pliable until they are laid, but the inside egg was hard and goey. It was thick, and I couldn't crack it. Yes, I tried.

I have NO idea how this would happen, but I found it just absolutely interesting.

I love the experiences of farm life!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Yeah - here we are!

My journey through education, career world, academia and country livin'.