"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Monday, June 25, 2012

His Chicks

No, I am not joking.
This is my husband...

...cuddling with one of his chickens.

Him and 'Henny' have bonded. She leaves her flock to walk around the yard with him. They check out the apple trees, stroll the gardens, and make me gag!

Though he loves them all - and they hate that he does these things to them!
Chickens, anyone?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan: June 24, 2012

It was a hot one this past week so I had to get a littler creative [aka, hubby cooks on the grill] so I didn't have to heat up the house with the stove!

Monday: Ground Beef & Mushroom Lasagna (We had a cold spell on Monday, so I fired up the oven!)

Tuesday: Pork Chops & mixed veggies on the grill

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers and Broccoli with Parmesan

Thursday: Homemade Egg McMuffins and Hashbrowns

Friday: Salmon on the grill & baked potatoes

I also wanted to share a few frugal ideas for lunches if you have to pack yourself, your kids, or your significant other a lunch on hot days during the summer. Here are a few things I have been doing.

- Homemade fruit salad - whatever fresh fruit is in season by you, cut it up into pieces to make your own fruit salad for lunches. This week in ours, we have watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and blueberries. Obviously, the only thing that is fresh and in-season right now for our area is the blueberries. I purchased a half of each melon at the store as well as the grapes.

-Fresh Veggies - I have been cutting up pieces of fresh green peppers, carrots and celery and packing them up for lunches with homemade ranch dressing.

-And, one more frugal, time saving time you'll love yourself for when you have nothing to take for lunch! Burritos in the freezer. I just cooked up six burritos left over from a chicken we had for dinner. TOO EASY. Sprinkle some mexican seasoning on the chicken and put it in a tortilla with cilantro, cheese and tomatos (or whatever you like), roll, bake at 375 degrees for 10 min, wrap in wax paper and throw into a ziploc in the freezer. Grab one for lunch when you have no other options!

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Garden Update

We've had some decent rain over the past few weeks and things are taking off like gangbusters!
I'd love to show you a picture of our tomato plants, but they are resembling an amazon at the moment!

But check this out - my Copra onions are BULBING!
I am seriously excited about this!

Here is one side of our Cucumber patch and some of our beans.
The wooden trellis in the background has Black Turtle Beans at the bottom of it.

This is our 'Squash' garden this year.
From left to right, Bush Acorn Squah, a Zucchini and Yellow Squash.
Then, what you can't see to the right are some pepper plants and some broccoli plants - broccoli which will probably get ripped out because 1.) I think it bolted on us and 2.) the hens had a feast on the leaves!

Some Basil in a 'pot' with the herb garden behind it.

And of course, a photo of the apple crop :) They are coming along!

How is your garden growing?
We are about done with our Alaska Shelling Peas. As we pick the last few pods off each section, we rip out the section and throw it to the hens - they LOVE it!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice & Faerie's!

Today is the Summer Solstice!
The first day of Summer.
The longest day of the year.

It is said that, aside for Halloween, Midsummer is a prime time to catch a glimpse of a faerie. Do you believe? According to a past article I read in the Farmer's Almanac by Jamie McLeod, anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of a faerie can gather fern spores at the stroke of midnight and rub it onto their eyelids. You have to be careful, though, because the crafty faeries often led unwary humans astray, getting them utterly lost, even in familiar territory. This condition was known as being “pixie-led,” and could be safeguarded against by turning your clothing inside out, or carrying a small a few leaves of rue, a strong-smelling evergreen, in your pocket. :)

If you have little ones, make some Lavender wands for them to carry around while they watch for faerie's!

Midsummer, the Summer Solstice, is also said to be a time fo fertility for your crops.

And since it is the one day of the year with the longest amount of sunlight, get out and get your Vitamin D :)

How are you celebrating the Summer Solstice?

Photo Source

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recipe: Caprese Meatballs

I took my go-to meatball recipe and altered it to what I had on hand - FRESH HERBS!
Pow - what a difference, a lovely difference, it makes!

I served them over Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara :)

Caprese Meatballs
Slightly adapted from my go to meatball recipe, which is slighly adapated from Jessica's recipe!

1# ground chuck (Mine is sometimes a tad over a pound)
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 - 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 basil leaves, chopped
3 sprigs of oregano leaves - I left mine whole :)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
...and your marinara sauce of choice. I used homemade or jarred whole san marzanos doctored up!

Mix all ingredients except the sauce - form into meatballs, place in a baking dish. Cover with your marinara sauce and bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs.

Leftovers are great the next day as is, or on a sub bun :)


Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan: June 18, 2012

This past weekend was a busy one with cook-outs and birthday parties! This coming weekend will be our first CSA pick-up and I believe this time around, it will be two chickes - yahoo! I can't wait!

Sunday: Shrimp Sauerkraut Eggrolls

Monday: Grilled Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower

Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas on the grill with leftover chicken from Monday night :) And fresh Cilantro from the herb garden.

Wednesday: Caprese Meatballs & Spagehtti (recipe coming this week!)

Caprese Meatballs & Spaghetti

Thursday: Burgers on the grilled with steamed broccoli & parmesan cheese

Friday: BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Saturday: Hot Ham & Cheese

I am trying to be creative with meals since it has been so hot and I don't want to turn on the oven in the house. We are doing a lot of grilling - and clearly, this past week was chicken week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father & his Son!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there.

Dad's wear big shoes too, you know!
They stand tall and have a little shadow. 

A shadow that watches their every move. Listens to their every word.

Learning from everything they do!

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Link Loitering, June 15

Sorry, but Subway isn't good for you either!

Do you  have Chard growing like gangbusters in your garden right now? Because I sure do! I found this interesting recipe from Renee's Garden that I want to try!

This chick is whack!

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Take a moment to help improve the Farm Bill!

Image Source

Tell me this dosen't make you laugh :)



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Packing a Real Food Lunch for an 'Almost Toddler'

Today I am guest posting over at Bamboo Magazine again.

This time, I am sharing with you things I pack in my sons lunch. I consider him an 'almost Toddler' - he is 15 months!

Check it out here and tell me what you think?
Do you pack a lunch for your young ones?
What ideas can you share?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recipe: Chicken & Beet Salad

This is too easy to probably even qualify as both a blog post and a recipe. But it is too good not to share.

First, I apologize - no photos. I tried 900 ways to take a photo of this salad that didn't make it look like cat vomit - sorry, no luck. Have you lost your appetite now too? Bummer! But really - try this!

Here is what I use:
Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing from this salad
Romaine Lettuce from the garden
Leftover chicken from the previous nights dinner, sliced/shredded/chunked...whatever you prefer!
Roasted Beets left over from the previous nights dinner!
Cheese - I like some shredded Mozzarella and some Blue Cheese - what a combo, I know!

If you are going to make this to take to lunch the next day, I put the dressing at the bottom of a jar, then dump everything else minus the lettuce. In the morning I add the lettuce on top. At lunch time, I shake it all up and 'ta-daaa'  - salad that isn't soggy! I have pinterest to thank for that trick ;)

Give it a try, I bet you'll like it. And if you tell me you don't like beets, I am going to ask you - "Do you know you don't like beets, or do you just think you don't like beets?" :) Because when they are roasted, they are nice and sweet!

This post is linked up at the Pennywise Platter!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Simple Shrimp Eggrolls...with Sauerkraut!

This recipe happened kinda by accident.

I needed to make something for lunch on Sunday. A few thoughts I had didn't work because I was missing ingredients. I had some mini frozen shrimp still in the freezer from when I made Fishmarket Salads. I had some frozen eggroll wrappers leftover from a previous eggroll adventure. And I had some Sauerkraut fermenting on the counter in my Ferment-O! Duh, Shrimp Eggrolls, right?

Don't expect precise measurements here. For one, I rarely follow measurements to the 'T' ...drives my sister nuts :) For two, I threw these together with what I had on hand.

1/2 bag of frozen shrimp
egg roll wrappers
soy sauce

Defrost the shrimp and then let it sit in a bowl of soy sauce for a little bit in the fridge.
Chop up your sauerkraut fine enough to be stuffed into egg rolls.
Make sure your wrappers are thawed.
Preheat your oven to 400* F
Mix your Shrimp and Sauerkraut together, place a dab onto each wrapper, roll them up and place them seam side down on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat. Brush the tops with some olive oil and bake for 10-12 minutes.

When they are done, give them a few minutes to cool and dip in soy sauce!

Other ideas for filling - some shredded carrot. I was going to add bean sprouts but I figured the kraut was enough!

Other dipping sauce ideas: add some sriracha to your soy, or some wasabi!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Harvest Monday, June 11

This past week we have been harvesting Alaska Shelling Peas like mad. We also continue to harvest our Chard and Crisp Mint Romaine. It is so frequent now I forget to grab photos! Herbs too -- don't forget all the fresh herbs! I need to start drying some out.

We picked the scapes off our hard neck garlic this week!
We pulled a few bulbs too just too peek. Not bad...not looking too bad!

This post is linked up at Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday! Check out other gardeners and what kind of harvest they are blogging about.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - June 10

Sunday: Mongolian Beef in the crockpot
I also made a batch of Strawberry Baked Oatmeal that was packed in lunches for the babe and I during the week!

Monday: Pork Chops in a Cream Caper Sauce with Rice and Broccoli

Tuesday: Taco Crunch Wraps
Extras were great for lunch the next day! Just not quite as crunchy ;)

Wednesday: Homemade Belgian Waffles with cream cheese and my homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Though this may sound exotic or intense, I was looking for an easy out for dinner. All I had to do was whip up the batter, which took a whole 5 minutes, and the waffles cooked right in my waffle maker. Warm some cream cheese and spread it on with your jam and you are good to go!

Thursday: Portabella Garlic Scape Pasta
Another 'wing-it' type of dinner. I had 'bellas that needed use, we just harvested our garlic scapes and I had some cream in the fridge and whole wheat rotinis in the cupboard! I added some onions in the pan with the mushrooms and some parmesan cheese in with the cream and there were barely enough leftovers for me to take to lunch!

Friday: Grilled Steak Cobb Salads with Garlic Scape Dressing and lettuce from the garden!

Saturday: Grassfed Kabobs on the grill with fresh veggies from the farmers market and a homemade pasta salad!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

15 Months - the Babe

These photos are from throughout the week, but I can't believe today my little man turned 15 months old!

This was him just last June! 
*gasp* He is so tiny!

Now look at him! He 'rides rollercoasters!' 

He walks all over the place...
No really, like, wherever he wants to go. I just follow!

And he is already practicing his seat for when he is able to get on the his own real horse!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Link Loitering; June 8, 2012

Top 10 GMO foods to avoid

Another reason I say NO to teething gels for the babe! [We use Hyland's Teething tablets and they seem to work well.]

Shopping at Farmers Markets make you feel better!

Check out the HLN interview with Lisa and her family, from 100 Days of Real Food !

'Corny - I know!'
But you know you laughed! LOL
Happy Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

8 Week Update: Chickens

The girls are 8 weeks now.

They are becoming more and more adventurous.
Every day they come out of the coop, they stray further and further.
Yesterday we couldn't find them! They were out in the orchard, buried in tall grass under one of the trees.

They are quite to particular compost'ers too!
They don't like pineapple and they pick the chard leaves off the stem. No stems for these ladies.
But berries, oh berries, they'll take those any day of course!

We are at the halfway point, I hope, until they start laying eggs. Maybe a tad longer than halfway depending on how soon they decide to do so. As I understand it, they can start laying anywhere between 16-20 weeks of age.

What's that old saying?

'Birds of a feather flock together'

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whatever Wednesday

It's Wednesday and I am just trying to get through this week!
Here are some more photos of happenings as of late on the farm.

Squash/Pepper/Broccoli Garden

Onions & Cabbage

Carrot Harvest

Making Vension Jerky on a Sunday Morning

Beet Picker!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mossy's 'Meet & Greet'

These photos are from Saturday, when the chickens were almost 8 weeks old, and when I almost had a stroke! Quite the elusive little ladies, no one was interested in a photo shoot.

It was time to walk the dogs and they were rather anxious about it. 
Since I didn't feel like wrangling them to get out the door [yes, they are bad dogs! I take full accountability], I opened it to let Mossy run out to my husband. 

Err...bad idea. I also forgot the chickens were out loose in the yard :/

Jay if you are reading, they love to roost on your 4-Wheeler ;)

One minute everything was fine, the next minute, Mossy is b-lining it to the coop where all the ladies had already ran for cover. And into the coop barn he darted, with hubby running after him yelling things like "MOSSSSYYYYY" and "THERE GOES MY CHICKENS!!!!"

I stood, as did the little man, in a dumbfounded horror. I was sick to my stomach. 
Shit. Now we were going to have to put one out of its misery because of a careless mistake on my behalf. Damn. I felt so bad.

Next thing I know, Mossy comes running out of the barn with a mouth full of feathers. *gulp*
Hubby is in the barn, assess his ladies. Mossy's been thrown back into the house with a stern NO - as if that helps! I am slowly creeping towards the barn with the little man in tow!

I call out and ask hubby if they are all ok. He doesn't know, he is still checking them. But at least that means no one has been blatantly slaughtered. Whew...

After a thorough checking, we determined everyone was safe and simply shook up. It was hard to even tell who shed the massacre of feathers!

So, this will be harder than I had expected trying to create a harmonious barnyard where everyone can enjoy it together. I already know Savannah is going to be a challenge. I wasn't expecting it from Mossy - but then again, I guess I should have.

They have all had 'supervised' visits with the chickens. Clearly, we need to do more.
Anyone out there have any suggestions on how to get your dogs, barn cat and chickens to live harmoniously together?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Harvest Monday, June 4, 2012

Harvest has been all about the lettuce this past week! And I am quite ok with that.
We planted Crisp Mint Romain and we're loving it.

Along with lettuce though, we pulled our first few beets and 2 carrots to see how they were doing.
The beets looked great in my opinion - it is our first time growing them so it's been trail and error in choosing when to harvest.

Hubby doesn't remember which carrot seeds he planted. We pulled an orange one and a reddish one, so I am guessing at the least, he planted some Atomic Red carrot seed I had left over from last year.

The beets were roasted with dinner and the leftovers went into my lunch salad the next day.

We're so nice, we even let the horses enjoy the first carrot harvest of the season, greens and all. And of course, you know the spoiled ladies of the coop took away with all the beet greens!

Later, over the weekend, we pulled more beets and the rest of the carrots. We plan to plant a new patch.

These were the Detroit Red Beets.
We still have Bulls Blood Red Beets in the ground.

Beet & Carrot Harvest

The Chard is growing in nicely and we picked our first big harvest of it on Saturday.
Hubby holding part of the Chard harvest

More Chard!!

And we have begun to pick our Alaska Shelling Peas. Someone may or may not have been trying to steal them right out of the colander before they were even shelled!

This post was linked up for Harvest Monday over at Daphne's Dandelions. Hop on over to check out other bloggers harvest from the past week.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday: Grilled Quesdaillas - told you we liked these!
I also soaked black beans to be used on these with extra into the freezer.

Monday: The Fishmarket Salad

Tuesday: Spaghetti with the last jar of canned roma's from last season *tear*
Want to kick up your 'sgetti? Add capers to your marina - you'll love it!

Wednesday: Breaded cube steaks with roasted beets from the garden, baked potato & rice
I also roasted a chicken in the crock pot while we were away at work so the babe and I had chicken for lunches the rest of the week. Mine went onto salads, his went with some rice :)

Thursday: Burgers on the grill with salads - lettuce fresh from the garden!
Boring I know, but I wasn't home until late and it was easy for hubby

Friday: Venison Backstraps on the grill, leftover chicken from Wednesday & Sweet Potatos

Saturday: Pork Chops in a Cream Caper Sauce w/ Rice, Chard from the garden cooked down with bacon
It's been longer than usual since we've had these pork chops!!

This post was shared at Pennywise Platter

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Berry Stealer & A Winner!

Looks like a little indulging going on here!
Yep - he ate every single one his daddy picked! EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.

And the WINNER of the Tattler Reusable Canning lids are....

Sierra Brown!

Congratulations, Sierra :)
Email me your mailing address and we'll get the lids out to you!

And thank you to Tattler for sponsoring the giveaway!