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Back in the saddle again…

I started this blog with the intention of treating it like a farm diary. Since then my 17yo begged for a way to make extra money so I let her take up the feeding/watering chores. It literally takes only about 30 minutes if you do the chores with a purpose.

The teen is away this week she’s volunteering as a camp counselor for the 6th graders Outdoor School. Sunday the tween and I drove her an hour into the mountains for camp.

Monday morning I let my insomnia do it’s thing. I rarely sleep past 3:30 or for more than 5hrs. Not by choice.

Last night I actually got 7hrs of sleep but I was ready to do chores 15 minutes before sunrise.

I’ve always been one to get chores done at daybreak. It’s such a peaceful time of the morning being awake before the chickens are off their rafters.

Oh and the tween is an awesome teammate. She mostly just walks along but she does it enthusiastically without complaint. Pretty cool for an 11yo.

Now we’re talking about keeping the farm chores and find a new way for the teen to make money. 😁

On the downside the newly installed bees disappeared. That was sad and $160 tossed into the wind but maybe it was a mistake getting bees that weren’t in an established 5 frame nuc. I thought I would save money just getting 3lbs of bees. I knew better. It’s never worked for me in the past.

I made the tween biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Of course I forgot to take a picture. I’ll probably make her more tomorrow so I’ll give you a recipe and picture then. Promise! I had some V8. I’ve never been much of a breakfast person.

It’s almost 7:30. I better get back to it. I need to build a couple of rabbit yards. The 5 baby buns are almost as big as the adults.

I need to work on the meat shed too. My garden is depending on it.

Have a great day!

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Dinner $5 per person!?

Being someone who cooks mostly from scratch I attract the attention of skeptics. The short conversation usually goes something like, “I can eat out cheaper than cooking at home.” which generally has words like McDonald’s, whatever Chinese food restaurant and Denny’s or whatever cheap food is available around town.

Last night I was approached with the idea that dinner can’t be made for under $10 therefore eating out is cheaper. If you’re a home cook you know it’s not true unless you just don’t watch your numbers or portions but if you do then hands down it’s cheaper to cook than to pay someone else to cook.

I’m seriously considering doing some copycat meals of popular fast-food just to prove a point. I haven’t bought fast-food in a couple of months and generally don’t but it might be fun to see what I can do in the kitchen. We’ll see.

This post is one fantastic meal for 4 that is less than $20 to make. It’s not beautiful but it was pretty good. I’ve never been great at technical names for food but from a short spell on google I’ve come down to it’s either a veggie and beef ragu or ragout. I call it a ragu but I also call my pancake flipper Jack. So…

If you follow the slide show, I just saute a few sliced up veggies then put them in a bowl while I brown the cubed chuck roast. When the chuck is browned on all sides I toss the veggies back on top with a can of tomato paste some dijon mustard and a little wine and let the flavors stew for a couple of hours on low heat. When the meat is fork tender I remove it from the veggies and put them in the blender to make the sauce. I like leaving the meat chunky but a person could blend that also.

Then serve it on your favorite pasta. I used spaghetti but it would work with just about anything. The veggies are easily switched up also. Even the pickiest eaters will be eating vegetables without knowing it.

 

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Picture not-so-perfect food

As a wannabe food growing/creating blogger I realize that I fall short in one big area. My food isn’t beautiful. I rarely cook with a recipe so it’s hard to translate also. I guess that’s two areas. This is one reason for the lack of blog posts. I cook 2-3 meals a day from scratch and sometimes dessert if my teen doesn’t beat me to it. Each meal is a little bit of a work of art inspired by ingredients available, cravings and a lot of love. 9 times out of 10 we have six thumbs up in our family of three. I’m not afraid of failure and certainly create a few dishes we all vote out or vow to try differently. Brussel sprouts was one of those dishes that I tried 5-million different ways before I found a method that everyone loved. And that’s who I am as a lover of almost all things food is a desire to master each major component so we’re never bored with our food and I can toss together a good meal with few options.

This mornings breakfast was a fantastic example of yummy food that was less than picture perfect. I’m pretty sure there is no proper name for it either.

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Last night for dinner I made pork meatballs (homegrown pork) with what I’d like to call a “sweet n sour” inspired sauce/salsa of purple onions, bell peppers, pineapple, diced tomatoes, fennel and some ginger beer. I served it up on rice, also made with ginger beer.

What does that have to do with breakfast? I chopped up the left over meatballs in a pan, put the rest of the chunky sauce/salsa in the pan with it, got it bubbly and hot then poured dutch baby batter on top and stuck it in the oven to bake.

The above is what came out. It was definitely worthy of seconds. But like I said, it’s not beautiful. Over the years I gave up on taking pictures of the food that I made except for the rare dish that I thought was pretty enough to lock the memory away in my shoebox.

Here’s some of my other not so fabulous dishes that look like they could earn me a place in America’s Worst Homecooks. I promise they all tasted amazing though.

On the other hand the main stars of my dishes I love taking pictures of! Here’s a few.

I suppose my goal should be to cook prettier food and build recipes that I can share with you all.

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Got eggs?!

We do! Out of 13 hens we average a dozen eggs a day. Egg dishes are an easy, cheap and delicious way to go when eggs are showing up in abundance.

One of our favorite breakfasts is a Dutch baby.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1tbsp butter

Oven 400°

Prep 5 minutes

Bake 30 minutes

Devour ???

My favorite method is to use a cast iron pan but I’ve made this dish in a square glass baking pan as well as put it in a muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 400° with the pan and butter.

When the butter is melted pour in the batter and set the timer for 30 minutes.

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March n to the garden!

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Vegetables, herbs and flower seeds, oh my!

 

The business of gardening and kitchen yumminess (is that a word?!) has begun. Admittedly I like to start tomatoes, peppers and other summer/fall deliciousness at the beginning of the year, however this year I had to think on a larger scale. With the birth of Garden N Kitchen monthly club, the online store and future blog give a ways I’ve had a lot more planning to do which meant patiently (or not so much patience) for my extra large order of gardening products to arrive.

Yay! So excited!

Follow me into the garden and kitchen through mudroom diaries and see what’s to come!

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Just a Mom?

For about 18 years I’ve been a mom, homemaker and potentially significant to an other. Naturally, with kids I’ve gravitated towards cooking or at least learning something about it, about 14 years ago after acquiring my little piece of paradise I’ve become intrigued by the process of growing the food that I cook. This is the basis of the blog I’m attempting to set up. I would like to think that I appeal to the average housewife/husband. I watch a little too much TV, my house could use a little more attention, I could stand to lose a few pounds or at least exchange some of this fat for muscle, somewhere in the back of my mind I figure if I have a Bachelors degree I will somehow be able to achieve a higher status so I’m back in school. I have bad habits and guilty pleasures. Mostly I live vicariously through my kids and whatever is streaming through my Ruko stick. I am single which adds a bizarre twist to the whole thing. Mostly though, hopefully, I’ll share my love of growing and making food.

In the past 14 years I’ve gotten familiar with growing, processing and cooking some livestock and garden produce. I’ve yet to write about it, maybe because I was so new it was a lot of trial and error or maybe the lack of sit down time. This year I will be experimenting, practicing and perfecting a lot of rabbit, lamb, chicken and quail dishes as these are the primary livestock on my little piece of property along with garden produce. I want to add on a couple of pigs and turkey after I hang up the lambs which will give me a little more room. If ambition plays a role in all of this I hope to train my two miniature horses to pull and help out on the farm. I like the idea of avoiding buying another tractor though it would definitely make some of the heavy lifting easier.

I’m in the process of making a meat locker so I can butcher animals year round without worrying about meat spoiling. I’m moving my garden this year with the goal to build up a partially washed out pasture and improve upon it. Three small livestock barns with a winter’s worth of compost should help with that project along with digging out a fish pond that’s been on my to-do list since I moved here and an abundant garden should have that pasture looking pretty good by the end of this year. I’m also going to be selling garden “kits”, salsa garden with tomatoes, peppers and such, salad garden with a variety of lettuce, carrots and peas, so on and so forth with the hope to help fund my growing and cooking adventures and get my kitchen remodel finally finished.

With all that information coming at you I hope you will follow along my little venture, maybe I’ll teach you a few things about the kitchen and garden that you don’t know and maybe you all will teach me a thing or two. This is my last full summer before my teenager heads off to college so I guess maybe I’m hoping to teach her a few more things in the kitchen to help her avoid the college diet of ramen and mac n cheese.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention we have honey bees coming in mid-April. So much fun I’ll be sharing with you this year.