The Rescue

Meet Hunter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sorry the photos are so blurry, He was really excited).

I do not own Hunter. I don’t know him. Then what is he doing in my car? I “rescued” him. He was running down the middle of the road and heading toward a very busy highway. So… I picked him up. In retrospect, I probably should have been more careful. I don’t know this dog. Does he bite? Will he ride okay in my car? He ended up doing fine. I called the number on his tag and called the owner. No answer. I looked at his tag again and got his address. I decided to drive him home. Hunter lives in a big, beautiful home on a hill that has a wall of windows and glass doors facing West so they have a gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains. I approached the house cautiously and was puzzled because I couldn’t find the front door. WHERE is their front door. The entire front of the house was glass. Were those glass doors that open to a beautiful deck the FRONT door? There is no doorbell. Hmmm. I decided not to approach the house.  I let Hunter out of the car and he ran immediately to the deck and into his dog house. No fence. No front door or doorbell. Nothing to keep Hunter at the house or alert someone at the house that Hunter was home. I called the number again. Still no answer. I left another message and told them I was dropping off their sweet dog… and drove away watching in the rear view mirror to make sure that Hunter didn’t follow me. Mission accomplished.

As I drove home, I thought about the look on Hunter’s face when I first saw him. He was running full-force down the middle of the road with a wide grin and ears flapping in the wind. He was completely free. He was happy. He did NOT need rescuing. But, as I thought about it, Hunter was blissfully ignorant that he was approaching an extremely busy highway crossroad. The encounter would probably abruptly end his happy jaunt… and probably his life.

All of this made me think about my own life. Aren’t we all like this sometimes? We trek along in our life… blissfully ignorant…. not knowing of any danger ahead.

Let me explain ….

Since we moved to the farm, I make a 60 minute round trip to Taylor’s school each morning and evening. We leave at 6:45am (as long as Taylor’s hair and clothing is perfect by that time), drive to school and I pick her up at 6pm after drama rehearsal. To say the least, I am usually just ready to be home on these trips. I time myself and see if I can beat my last time, without speeding, by taking a slightly different route. The other day, I was heading to pick up Tay and got caught by EVERY red light on the way. I was extremely irritated. THEN, the two-lane road that I usually drive was blocked. It was closed. There were two police cars blocking the road and the officers were directing traffic to turn off onto a side road. I didn’t WANT to be on the side road. I want to just go about 3 more blocks so I could get to Tay. I found myself frantically trying to understand where I was in relation to the theater building at the school. I finally arrived at the school 16 minutes late. I ended up having to go almost to the next town to get around the blocked street. I was not happy… in fact I as angry. I HATE being late. AND I had used up more of my precious gasoline that has now become like gold to us. Grrrr….

I found out the next day, that there had been an accident on my usual road and someone lost their life. There was a drunk driver speeding down the road at nearly 70 miles per hour (mostly residential area) and someone, who was not delayed by traffic lights, ended up in the path of this out-of-control car. Then there was the realization that my being delayed by red light might have actually saved my life. It took my breath away. WOW… talk about a change of attitude.  Without getting too preachy… I believe that I was being watched over that day.  I couldn’t get it out of my head that I needed rescuing… but I had NO idea. I was blissfully ignorant. God intervened… and probably saved my life. I am supremely thankful. So, next time you are caught in traffic, or delayed by red lights, or your teenager can’t find the “perfect shoes” and you leave late… remember Hunter. Nothing happens by accident. There is a reason… and the reason just might be that you are being rescued.

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Seasonal White Knuckle Grip and Support for Orphaned Snack Food

They announced on the news this morning that we are expecting snow tomorrow night. SNOW! I know that, here in Colorado, we expect our first frost in the days surrounding the end of September and the beginning of October… but I’m totally not ready for snow.  Besides the fact that we’ve got a ton to do on the farm before winter, I LOVE Autumn and want to hold on to it as long as I can. The infamous “death grip” would be more like it.  I like crisp days and chilly nights. I love seeing the leaves change to deep red, orange and gold. I love apple picking, corn mazes, and the sun bright in the sky that seems to call you outside to play.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I  like snowy days and cooking cozy dinners of soup or stew with a crusty homemade loaf of bread. But, there is  something about being able to enjoy outside venues like the Fall festivals and farmers markets. I definitely miss football games in central Texas… but, it never seemed to get chilly enough there for me to be completely happy. I mean, wearing shorts and flip flops on Halloween is just wrong.

So, because I am wanting to suck the last bit of pleasure out of  the outdoor days this year, I’m sharing a simple recipe for you to make while tailgating or at Market Days (if you’re from Wimberley.) or any other outdoor activity in your town. It’s “Walking Tacos”. Now, I started making this recipe a long time ago when I used to buy those big variety packs of the little bags of chips for school lunches. The ones at our house that are ALWAYS left in the bag are Fritos. Not sure why, but nobody wants those. They fight over the Cheetos and Sun Chips and abandon the rest. Poor forgotten Fritos. Well, this is a way to stick up for the underdog! And, of course, keep you from feeding your corn chips to the birds. 😉

This recipe has been passed around a million times and is nothing new. But, sometimes I need to be reminded of those easy meals that the family loves. Maybe you do too? The fun thing about this recipe is that you can whip it up in a flash and be out the door in just minutes. (Though it’s a bit too chilly in the mountains here to camp anymore, these are great for camping too!!)

photo courtesy of the Dallas Observer

 

AUTUMN Walking Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • canned pinto beans rinsed and warmed
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix or one of your own
  • chopped tomato
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa
  • grated cheese
  • sour cream
  • guacamole, chopped onions, olives, jalapenos, etc.
  • individual lunch-sized bags of nacho chips or corn chips

Directions:

  1. Brown and drain ground beef…add taco seasoning and prepare according to directions on package.
  2. Prepare and arrange all toppings on a tray…next to the hot meat sauce.
  3. To serve…crush an individual bag of corn chips slightly…then open the bag by slicing along the side… OR, if your spoons are long enough,  just open the top. Start adding toppings as desired…beginning with the meat, and adding whatever you desire on your taco salad. Stir up your taco salad …then eat it right out of the bag! DELISH!!!

Now, you should know something. I cheat a little when it comes to the meat in this recipe. I know, I know… shocking, right? Well, cheating might be a strong word. You see, when I get home from the grocery store, I think about how I’m going to be using my ground beef or ground turkey. If the recipes I want use browned ground meat, I go ahead and brown the whole batch with salt, pepper, and garlic. I, then, drain it, cool it, and put it into a freezer container. (Sometimes I put it into half-pound portions and put them in individual freezer bags. Then, when I’m making a dish (like this one) that needs browned meat, I pull it out and heat it up. It takes me like 3 minutes instead of 20. SUPER SIMPLE! The other reason I do this is that I HATE (notice the all capital letters??) wasting food. Have you ever bought meat and stuck it into the fridge to use later that week and, because something came up, you didn’t use it and it went bad?  I vowed to never let that happen again! I do this with lots of different meats… like bacon and sausage, etc. I wouldn’t do this with steak or chicken… just the ground stuff.

Now, want to make this REALLY easy? Same recipe. Leave out the meat and beans. Open a can of chili with beans and heat it up. Ta-da! It’s a walking Frito Pie! 🙂
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Maybe you already make this at your house. I will be sharing some wonderful AUTUMN favorites at our house in the next week or so. You won’t want to miss these! So, go to a fair, watch a football game, hit a corn maze… and enjoy time with your family this Fall while giving a much-needed nod to the Frito! 🙂

TTFN! (Ta-ta for now!)

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Second Thoughts, Well Aged Dirt, and Lobotomized Sharks …

What have I wrought?

Anyone out there a second guess type person? Is that really a “type”of personality? Type SG Personality? I am afraid that second-guessing myself and my decisions is something that permeates my very existence on a daily, if not hourly, basis. At 17 I enlisted in the Navy, and then thoroughly questioned that decision when I was first categorized as a “magot” by my Company Commander, upon my arrival at bootcamp. Around my 19th birthday, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and on that day I came before my Commanding Officer, demanding (respectfully of course) to be on the first boat crew that was deployed to the Gulf. A month later, while “hanging out” off the coast of Iraq, I began to question that piece of brilliant decision making. Even at the tender, innocent age of 4, having my kindergarten class picture taken, while sporting the ever popular plaid turtle neck and hand-me-down Toughskins, I began to question my sense of style. Where am I going with this, you ask? (Although I am pretty sure that you, my brilliant and astute readers, already know where this is headed.) I find myself periodically looking out over the farm, seriously questioning my current mental state. Some days I have all I can handle with work, commuting, and the odds and ends that seem to gobble up my time at an alarming rate. Honestly, it is a stretch to call this place a farm at this point. It is 3 acres, zoned “Ag”<insert random hand gesture> (Street-cred again! Hollar!), with a house and garage. That’s it. Well, that is not entirely true … this little slice of heaven came with extremely generous portions of both Grasshoppers and Genetically-Engineered House Flies. What in the world am I doing here??

When I reach the point of dousing myself with a combustable liquid and look for an open flame (think human torch) I come full circle. We want to transform this blank canvas … restoring the fauna and flora, raising chickens for organic eggs, goats for environmentally friendly soap and delicious cheeses, and vegetables, brambles, and fruit trees that are toxin free (as much as possible). While a nobel pursuit,  it is not enough. While becoming self-sufficient is certainly appealing, I need more purpose, the kind of purpose that isn’t quite so “self-centric”. It is at these times that I remember our real goal … feeding and aiding those in need. Providing healthy, organic food to those who may otherwise not have access to that type of sustenance.  I endeavor to keep that foremost in my thoughts while tacking this part of my life.

Old as Dirt …

If you read Deena’s latest blog, then you know that I am not a huge fan of birthdays, well, to be more specific, my birthday. And it’s not because I am in denial about aging, although that level of ignorant bliss does have its appeal! However, I did get the best email this week titled “Relief for Senior house owners”. Really? Are there little evil minions out there that monitor birthdays, so they can start spamming you with “Senior-based” email and snail mail, once you hit that certain, special age? There is definitely something about hitting a particular age, when it becomes a convenient scape goat. That sore back from slouching on the couch too long watching TV suddenly becomes “Man I am gettin old!” The sniffles that come with common allergies become an urgent trip to a specialist and reviewing your last will and testament  My favorite is masking my nightly ice cream ritual by stating “I need the extra ‘calcium’ in these advanced years”. (Note: If that isn’t plausible to who I am talking to, I quickly switch to the old stand-by, “I am not quite sure how much time I have left.”) I am sure this is where I am supposed to have yet another life changing epiphany, where I share something inspiring with you, and you go forth with that little nugget to do great and amazing things. However, this old boy is just too dog-on tired, and needs to wrap this up so I catch Hee Haw, work on my bunions and turn in before 8.  🙂

The Sharks Thing …

Honestly, I just tossed that little ditty into the title on a whim. It is Friday night after all and I needed a snazzy title to convince you to blow 10 minutes of your life that you will never get back. (That’s asking a lot, come to think of it. Now I have shame … dang.) On another note, I hope to survey the property this weekend and get an accurate drawing put together and posted. I also hope to get a building plan and blue prints for the chicken coop published for your reading pleasure. No need to thank me.

Have a great weekend!!

K&D

Posted in Brambles, Chickens, Farm, Garden, Giving, Goats, House, Orchard, Renewable | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Paint and a Painting Disaster… And Keith’s Un-Birthday Cupcakes

We’ve still got SO many things to do on the farm before Winter. Lots of those chores are ones that I can’t really do by myself. Keith is TOTALLY the “Mr. Fix-it” around here. But…. If it’s not a bad pain day for me… I can PAINT! And BOY, do we have painting to do. So, today, I painted the entry, the hallway and did some touch-ups in the family room. (Well, “family room”, “Living Room”, “Great Room”, “Not-so-Great” room… whatever you want to call the main gathering room in our little farm house.)

Anyway, I was feeling pretty proud today… UNTIL I decided to paint the front door. Now, something you might not know… I certainly didn’t… is that you have to figure out if your door has been painted with oil based paint or with latex BEFORE you decide to paint over it. You see, if your door was painted with exterior latex paint, then you can paint it easily with latex paint in any color you want. HOWEVER, if your door is painted with oil paint… your latex paint will not stick to it and you’ll end up with a big GIANT mess. Are you getting where I’m going with this? Yep! You guessed it! My door had oil paint on it… and I painted over it with RED latex paint. Take a moment and just imagine me painting and then, as I go over the place I just painted… and the paint peeling up and wrapping up around roller. Oh yea… it was awesome.  😐 I finally just tried to cover the door with one coat and  made plans to buy our new door at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore this weekend.  I would have showed you a photo of  my handiwork on the door… but I’m just too embarrassed!

It’s a good thing that we live way out in the sticks…. our old HOA would have had a hayday with this. We used to live within a VERY strict HOA. It was so strict that, if you wanted to paint your house, they gave you a diagram of the shape you had to paint your selected colors on your garage so they could approve it. Oh yea… good times! *Blech! Let’s just say that I will be leaving the painting of the new front door to Keith. Lucky, lucky man.

Monday was Keith’s birthday. I love birthdays… Keith, on the other hand, does not. He’d rather just forget that he even has a birthday. I always want to make a big deal of it even though he tries his best to push it into the shadows.

Last year, I threw him a little surprise party at work. I worked with his teammate, Andrew,  and we secured a meeting room and an “important meeting” that Keith had to attend in that room. I was thrilled that we pulled it off… though Keith made me promise that I would never do that again. Hehehe.

As I prepped for the party, I baked lots of little treats. But, one of the favorites, turned out to be my Chocolate Cream-Filled Cupcakes. They were like a delicious, homemade version of the famous chocolate cupcake with the little white swirls on top that we used to bring in our lunches. Well… I never got them, even though I really wanted them and all my friends got them. *tear.

Here is the awesome recipe for those little special cupcakes. Everyone loved them and I think you will too!!

Keith’s “Don’t Ever Surprise Me Again” Birthday Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Cream Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light corn syrup

Vanilla Cream Filling: With an electric mixer, beat together the vegetable shortening and butter until blended. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Turn the mixer back up and beat a high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With a drizzle, gradually beat in the vanilla and corn syrup until the filling is the consistency of mayo, about 2 minutes more. Scrape the vanilla cream into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip.

Ganache Frosting:

  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Ganache Frosting: Put the chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the cream just to the simmering point. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and, working from the center out, gently stir with a whisk to melt the chocolate and blend until smooth.

Directions

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Using either mini or regular muffin tins, fill pan with cupcake liners.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together three times. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at high speed for 15 seconds, until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes more. With the mixer on its lowest setting, beat in a third of the flour mixture. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla, then another third of the flour. Beat in the coffee and then the remaining flour. Fill the cups of the muffin tin two-thirds full and bake for 15 minutes, or until the centers spring back when lightly pressed and a cake tester comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool.  Fill with vanilla cream. No need to cut a hole in the cakes… just stick the tip into the top and squeeze. Be sure that there isn’t a lot of filling sitting on top of the cakes. If there is, just use a butter knife and take off any extra.  Chill for 15 minutes. Dunk the cupcakes into the ganache to coat, then place on a rack, frosted side up. Transfer to the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set before serving.
I hope you enjoy these treats. They are absolutely delicious! Happy Baking!!!

-Deena

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Fresh, Fluffy Biscuits… and the “Heebee Jeebees”

After Keith worked SO hard finishing the floor on Saturday, I decided to slave away in the kitchen and make a “Farm Fresh Breakfast.” Okay, okay… I didn’t actually, SLAVE away. As much as I’d love to tell you that I worked as hard in the kitchen as Keith did on the flooring… but I didn’t. (shhhh… don’t tell)

Actually, I’ve been making these homemade biscuits for a while now and they are really delicious AND easy to make.

Brambleshire Biscuits

  • 2 cups biscuit baking mix (like Bisquick… that’s what I used)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup 7 up soda
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Start by mixing the sour cream with the bisquick in a bowl. Once it’s combined, add the soda. It will come together as a wet dough. Now sprinkle a clean surface with more biscuit mix and drop your dough ball into the middle of  of the mix. Lightly fold your dough just until it is no longer sticky. (It will be very soft) Now shape it into a thick square like this…

Now take a biscuit cutter or a glass and cut your biscuits. (My cutters are all still packed, so I just used a glass this time…. really anything will work. I used to make mine square, just to be different)

Keep cutting biscuits until you have no more dough. You can just keep kneading scraps into another thick flat square… or circle or amoeba… whatever it turns out to be) and keep cutting!

While you’re doing this, melt your butter and pour it into your pan. (I use a glass pan so I can pop the whole thing into the microwave to melt the butter. ) Then, put the biscuits into the butter-coated pan. I make a little indention in my biscuits with my knuckle. I’m not exactly sure why I do it. Again, it’s just what I do to be different. Bake the biscuits at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Set it for 10 and then check on it. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes… sometimes it takes closer to 12. It just depends on the oven… and the day.

I spread the tops with melted butter when they come out of the oven.  Serve them up with bacon and eggs… butter and honey… ham and mustard… whatever floats your boat… and soak up the praise! Seriously, these are SOOOO yummy and easy enough to make on a school day. Try them! You’ll be happy you did!!!   Happy Baking!!

Oh! I almost forgot the “heebee jeebees” part of the blog.

So… you should know that my sweet husband is the bravest man I know. He takes charge in a very calm head when there is any type of emergency. If someone is lost or in danger… he’s there ready to help in any way. He can stitch up a cut, protect you from the boogyman and fix just about anything no matter how dangerous. That said… I’ve got to share this. On Sunday, Keith and I found ANOTHER black widow spider in the shop. (If you’re counting… that makes 6 so far.) Keith picked it up with a piece of scrap wood.

After he … um… “disposed” of the icky spider, he got a SERIOUS case of the heebee jeebees. He danced around like he was covered with spiders, squealing  and totally creeped out.  He was all “AHHHHHHH!!! THAT IS SOOOOO GROSSSSSSSS!” I laughed so hard I almost couldn’t breathe. I snapped a quick pic…

He’s got a terrific shirt that Taylor and I got him for Christmas. It says “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself…. and spiders.” ROFL!!! Seriously, Keith has to be the funniest person on the planet! He makes my life SO wonderful. 🙂

Okay… that’s all from the farm tonight.  Sleep well… oh! and be sure to check your shoes for spiders in the morning. *wink.

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The Stairs of Cirith Ungol and Morning Rituals … 

Risky Business …

Did you know that posting to your blog on the weekends almost guarantees that it won’t be read? It’s true … I read it on the Internet. Actually that is a lie, sorry. But it does seem that weekend posts aren’t read quite as much as the ones posted during the week. I am guessing that this is due to people having “lives”. Yet again, the self-centered nature of humans is astounding. “Oh … I need to spend time with my kids”, “I need to go to the grocery store”, “I need to clip my toe nails” … good grief!

And yet, here I am posting, on the weekend. But hey, I live dangerously and on the edge!

VERY Risky Business …

The latest Black Widow, playing Possum oddly enough.

Not the best picture, but since she is still alive at this point, I knew she was waiting for me to get too close, so she could spring onto my face to suck my brains out. “You SNEEKY spider!”

So apparently Colorado is the Black Widow capital of the world! Wait, that isn’t true either. I am having integrity issues today. I will work on that … I promise. (/wink)

“Honesty” aside, we have come across many Black Widows. In the last few weeks, we have come across 4 different ones. If you have ever seen one, then you know there is no mistaking them for a different species. Spindly creepy legs, huge disproportionate black abdomen, blood red hour glass underneath, beady eyes that promise to drain you dry while you sleep tonight. Creepy right? /shiver

I must confess that I kill them as I come across them. Normally, I don’t kill spiders, they are super beneficial. But the Black Widow is too dangerous to keep alive in my opinion. If I am bitten, likely the worst thing that will happen is some abdominal cramps and tissue damage around the bite. But with Deena’s compromised immune system and three little dogs barely topping 10 pounds each, I just can’t risk it.

So I terminate them while using my best Arnold accent and giving them my best Terminator glare.

Interestingly enough, I have the Heebie Jeebies for an hour or two afterwards, certain that the relatives of the deceased arachnid will be seeking revenge on me and my family. The worst is when a house fly buzzes your ear and you jump, yelping like a teenage girl … spinning in circles with eyes as big as saucers, desperately seeking the avenging spider, vigorously shaking out your hair, certain that the spider is perched there enjoying the entire spectacle. Not that this happened to me or anything … I think I read about it or something. (I wonder how many of you are checking your hair for spiders right now?)

Update: As I was typing this, Taylor noticed yet another Black Widow right on our steps (below) … crazy.:

Playing Possum again, must be a self-defense mechanism. SUPER creepy, I keep checking my hair and shoulders and the Gummy Bears I was munching on have taken on a whole new texture … /bleh

Morning Jaunt …

Like I do every weekend morning, I took the pups out for a walk. For these little guys, the 3 acre property is humungous! They have such a great time, bouncing around like puppies do, running way ahead of me, then sprinting back to ask me if I am coming or not. Pretty cute!

This morning we came across some pretty cool spider webs on the brush (What is with the spider theme today?):

 

And while I am sure many of you grow weary of seeing pics of the dogs, this picture of Gus having a great time this morning reminded me to enjoy every moment and squeeze every ounce of fun from life:

Gus reminding us what life is all about …

Until next time … here is to Love and Life … and … checking your hair for spiders …

-K&D

This blog has been brought to you by the letter “V” and this stump:

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Avalanche Days and Foodie Ways

Today I had planned to do nothing. We’re talking NOTHING. It was one of those days where you contemplate whether or not to change out of pajamas. One that, even though your hair makes you look like Einstein’s twin, you’re totally okay with it. Of course, it didn’t turn out like that. (You saw that coming, didn’t you?)

For some reason, Keith got a wild notion that he was going to finish laying the floor in the closets. I know, right? It’s CRAZY talk!  I was like “Hun, are you SURE you want to do that today?” He was like, “Well, it needs to be done… so I’m going to do it.” Ugh. Sometimes I hate that he’s so responsible.

What you might not understand are the implications of this insane proposition. You see, by finishing the flooring, that means that Keith can relocate his power tools and supplies from the spare room (we call it the bunk room) to his shop. When that happens, I need to move the boxes from Taylor’s room that go in the bunk room so SHE can finish unpacking her room and make it liveable. I can also move some items from our office nook in the master to the bunk room closet where they will live. Since the office will be open, I can move the office supplies and computers so we can claim our dining room table. I would love for us to be able to eat at the table like a normal family and not continue to eat on t.v. trays in the living room like hillbillies. (“Maw… Bring me some more beanie weenie!”) … I digress.

As you can see, it’s a virtual avalanche waiting to happen here at the Brambleshire. Once one thing is moved… a long list of things can be done. I wish I could tell you that I’m such a great wife that I jumped right in and got busy. Well… um… not exactly. I DID get some boxes unpacked in the kitchen with Taylor. Of course, when I finally got those items put away, I decided that I probably should whip up something wonderful in the kitchen to be a comfort to everyone and bring them happiness. I mean, really, isn’t that what foodie mom’s do? We make things in our kitchens to nourish and comfort our family and friends… NOT to get out of the chores that we really don’t want to do.  (Just go with me on this one… lol.)

SO… as I looked around the kitchen, I found a few things that I thought I could use to whip up something yummy.  I decided to make some pizza bites of some sort. I didn’t have a recipe for anything, but, I’m all about experimentation.

I’m happy to report that my yummy and cheesy experiment turned out great. It’s good enough that I thought I’d share it with you so YOU can try it and be the hero at YOUR house. 🙂 Plus, they are SO easy to make. You can pretend like you worked really hard on them and get lots of Kudos. (Remember that old Rice Krispie Treat commercial where the mom puts flour on her face to make it look like she has slaved away in the kitchen making them? Yea… it’s like that!)

Image

Cheesy Pepperoni Bites

  • 1-2 cans crescent rolls (depending upon how many people you are serving)
  • garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • sea salt
  • pepperoni slices
  • mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Open the crescent rolls and seal edges to make two large rectangles. (Did that make sense?You know they come in two rolls with 4 triangles each. Just squish the seams together and it will make a large rectangle for each of the rolls) Then use a rolling pin on a floured surface and roll the rectangles so they are all an even thickness. Set aside.

Dice up the pepperoni slices into small pieces.

Back to the dough, sprinkle each large triangle with sea salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Just make a nice even layer of each of the seasoning.  Sprinkle the dough with shredded mozzarella cheese and then the pepperoni pieces.

Now. starting at the short end, roll the dough in a “pinwheel” fashion until it makes a log. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the log into 1.5 inch slices…you’re making pinwheels. (Oh, a hint: If you use a very sharp knife and “saw” back and forth to cut your slices, you won’t squish your rolls)

Now, Lay the pinwheels flat on a greased cookie sheet or a glass pie plate or something like that. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top of each pinwheel.

Bake your pinwheels for 10-12 minutes.  While they bake, heat up your favorite spaghetti sauce. Serve your cheesy yummy pizza bites with warm pizza sauce for dipping and soak up the praise. 🙂

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This is another very versatile dish where you can change it up to suit the tastes of your family. If you like supreme pizza, add peppers, mushrooms, onions, olives… whatever! If you want, make it with ham and cheese… or chicken and pesto sauce… or even spread the dough with apricot preserves, roll ’em, slice, ’em, and serve them with a vanilla icing drizzle. The possibilities are endless… and SO SIMPLE! Let your imagination run wild!

I hope you enjoy today’s recipe. I know my family loved it… but I don’t think it gets me out of unpacking. Ooooo… UNLESS I can make them some DESSERT!!! Hehehe…

TTFN!! (Ta-ta-for-now!)

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An Introduction, Crunchy Chicken, and My Sanity Outlet

Well, I made a decision today to begin sharing recipes, crafts, and other kinds of random things on our blog.   I am alone for most of every day… so it also gives me a chance to “talk” with others during the day. I’m TOTALLY in need of some companionship! The puppies are great, but they don’t do a lot of talking. I NEED AN OUTLET!! I’m going NUTS being alone all day!! (Wow… what a whiner I am…. oh well… deal with it. It’s me. )
So… let’s start by telling you a bit about myself. I am married to a great guy who has joined me on a crazy journey starting a small farm. The reason for the farm is to share our produce, eggs, and anything else that we make, with others who have less than we do.  It may sound “noble”… but it’s really just something that we feel strongly about it. Also, since there are only 2-3 people living here at the farm at any one time, you would not BELIEVE the amount of leftovers we have. LOL!
Other things about me: I’ve got two great kids (20 and 16). I don’t work because I have severe rheumatoid arthritis. I am waiting to hear back from the social security administration about my application for disability. (Seriously… could the government be ANY SLOWER??) Since I’m unable to walk, drive, or use my hands on some days… think about that and you can imagine how long it takes me to type this blog. lol…… disability seemed like the only way to go for now. I am hoping it is temporary.

NOW…. let’s move on to the business at hand. I thought I’d share some fun recipes, craft ideas, and other kinds of stuff that you might be interested in. At least, I HOPE it’s interesting. (insert uncomfortable pause here.)

Today, I’m going to share with you what I’m making for dinner tonight. It’s a super simple chicken dish. You can use rotisserie chicken from the store or just cook your own and shred or dice it up. (I’ll tell you a secret. I cook chicken pretty often. Since I have lots of recipes that call for diced chicken, I cook a bunch of chicken ahead of time and pop it into the freezer in 1-2 cup pouches. I’ll share HOW I make the chicken soon, I promise.)

This recipe is super easy and can be switched up to match YOUR family’s tastes. I’m not the kitchen police… your house, your rules. Change it any way you want! The way it is written is pretty yummy. I usually change it up depending upon what I’ve got in the kitchen at the time. 🙂

Crunchy Chicken Casserole

2 cups of diced rotisserie chicken {or any other cooked chicken}
1 can cream of chicken soup {can use low-sodium or Healthy Request}
1 cup uncooked rice, cooked {about 2 1/2 cups cooked}
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 c diced celery
1/2-3/4 crushed corn flakes- {today, I’m using crunchy onions instead of corn flakes!}

Preheat oven to 350. Toss the first 7 ingredients into bowl. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. (This will fit in a 8×8 or 9×9 pan… but I like more “crunchies” on the top. I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t?) Stir all the ingredients and put into your pan. Top with your crunchy topping of choice. (Wow… the possibilities are endless: ritz crackers, potato chips, tortilla chips, grasshopppers for extra protein. LOL… just checking to see if you were paying attention) Drizzle the melted butter over the top of your crunchies. (You actually don’t HAVE to drizzle butter on the top if you’re using chips or crunchy onions. I would use it if I was using crackers, panko, or cereal… just my opinion)

Bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

I serve this with a side salad or other green veggie. This next week I’ll share with you my go-to salad recipe. It’s what my family loves. 🙂

Thank you SO much for joining me on this foodie journey. Please spread the word and subscribe to gather and try all the yummy recipes, crafts, and… well… ramblings that I post. 🙂 TTFN! (Ta-ta for now!)

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New Life at The Shire…

Birthday Trees …

With the big 42 fast approaching me, like a run away train from the depths of hell, heralding that yet another year has passed me by and the grey hairs I am seeing in the mirror are indeed “grey hairs” and not paint from the renovation … Deena and I have decided that for birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Talk Like a Pirate Day, etc … we would plant a tree on the farm! Today, we planted two Blue Spruce trees in honor of Deena’s birthday, last June, and my birthday, which is fast approaching like a Capuchin Monkey on Crack, lost on the mean streets of some big seedy town, looking for his next hit, working for some guy with a cheesy mustache and organ grinder, sporting dark green lederhosen, which are entirely too tight to contain his substantial girth, only getting 5%:95% split on earnings! I mean, what the hell happened to equal pay for equal work??

Anyways … we got the trees planted and the small back yard that we have fenced off for the pups is starting to look less like Death Valley and more like the lush, green arboreal forests of northern Canada, where the stars wink gayly at you from the heavens and the Northern Lights paint the sky with their kaleidoscope of wonderment and awe.

Pause for cuteness and a contented sigh … … Oh! And world peace. …

I am starting to notice, that as I approach the, what shall now be known as, The Date That Shall Not Be Named, I seem to wander off on more and more bunny trails. <insert the clever anecdote that demonstrates me getting on yet another bunny trail, like above, but I am too lazy to author right now.>

The Grass Is Greener …

One of the harder things we have struggled with in moving to the farm is the loss of the back yard that the pups frolicked in every day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss mowing all that grass and trying to keep the lawn more immaculate than the neighbor’s, all the while desperately trying to avoid getting a demerit from the HOA (also known as The Nosey Neurotic People That Have Nothing Better To Do With Their Lives Than To Stake Out My House And Measure My Lawn To Ensure It Does Not Exceed The Required Maximum Height). However, I have definitely struggled with watching the pups gingerly tip toe around the thorny brush in the back yard. And even once Deena and I cleared all the brush out, we just felt terrible with the babies running around in the dust, etc. So, we decided to buy a little sod, to get the back yard started and give the pups a bit of an oasis to enjoy! They took to the greenery right away, it was pretty wonderful to watch!

And the Obligatory Pics of the Day …

Look at that 41 year old back work! W00T!!

Look how gorgeous my wife is! She makes shovelin’ dirt look good!

Deena Spruce Bustin’ … she took this little guy down in a respectable 2.37 seconds! Awesome job love!

One of our little guys getting a drink. Isn’t he cute? 🙂

Here is Gus relaxing on the grass, pretending not to be super excited by the new greenery.

What is with this dog? Ever time we see her she has her face in the ground! Weird, weird dog.

And that’s the show folks! I am going to put my feet up, ice my back, put on my reading glasses, a blanket in my lap and enjoy a smooth, delicious Ensure Nutrition Shake … it is #1 doctor recommended and is packed with 24 essential vitamins and minerals … it really is a delicious between meal snack that helps this old boy meet his daily nutritional needs.

Wishing everyone a great remainder of your weekend!

Here’s to Love and Life!

K&D

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Crisp morning …

We got a small cold front yesterday that brought our temps down about 20 degrees! LOVE IT!! I am a Fall and Winter person, and I am very excited about the weather changing. We are headed over to the old house one last time, to do a final cleaning and grab a few last things. While we are scrubbing our already sore hands to the bone today, I leave you with a few more pics from the farm this morning when I took the pups for their walk. SO much potential here!

 

One of our trees that has decided to grow horizontally. Way to go Tree!

 

Even some of the desert scrub we have right now has its own beauty.

 

This looks more like a scene from the beach than in the middle of Colorado. I should start looking for shells.

 

An old bird house here on the property. Someone, at some point put a lot of love into this one. Unfortunately some rowdy birds have moved in since, throwing parties, not taking care of the house,m and generally bringing down the local property value.

 

While a completely random pic, I decided to share this one because I am pretty sure George Washington worked this tree. The whole area has that Colonial/Historic vibe! O.o

 

An old piece of farm equipment. No idea what it used to be for. Harvesting? I need to do some research on it. I looked for a VIN on it to trace it, no luck. 🙂

 

Bindi hunting … Grasshoppers Beware!!

 

Lastly, I leave you with Gus. He is an Equal Opportunity Taster and NOTHING goes unlicked in his realm!!

 

Until next time, safe travels and love to all!

-K&D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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