Monday, August 31, 2020

Lemon Cowboy Cookies

Today I'm sharing another Pinterest (more detailed information here) recipe...another cookie recipe...another lemon recipe...another keeper recipe. πŸ˜‰ I made these a few weeks ago. DH was out working with his horses and came in mid-morning for a quick cup of coffee. After the first bite of cookie, he proclaimed, "Now, THAT'S a good cookie!"

Now, I know you're probably thinking, "She's sure posting a lot of lemon recipes. Just how many lemon recipes does one need"? 

The answer?

One more! πŸ˜„

Lemon Cowboy Cookies

1/2 C softened, butter
1/2 C shortening
2/3 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon extract
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 C Rice Krispies
1/2 C unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 C candied diced lemon peel
1/2 C rolled oats

*Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (sometimes I do - sometimes I don't). Have been making cookies for over 30 years without parchment paper and haven't had any complaints from cookie recipients, but maybe it keeps them from browning too quickly underneath.

Cream butter and shortening. Beat in brown sugar and sugar. Add eggs and lemon extract - mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt. Beat into butter mixture until everything is incorporated. Fold in cereal, coconut, candied lemon peel, and oats. Scoop onto cookie sheets. My cookie scoop is a staple in my kitchen. Bake 10-12 minutes.

The day before I made these it was 109°...too hot to turn on the oven. If I can't fix it on the grill or in the Instant Pot, it's not getting made, but I'm making another batch of these cookies as soon as it cools off just a bit. Around here that means anything under 100°.

Edited to add a link to the lemon peel since lots of you have asked about it. Some of ya'll may have access to stores that offer it, but we're limited here although I'm thinking I've seen it around the holidays.

Candied Diced Lemon Peel

I took some of these to my in-laws and they loved them. My MIL has already made them and sent some to her sister in Nebraska and my SIL has requested the recipe. I'm also making them again and sending some to Oklahoma and Arizona. I'm doing my best to spread the cookie love.

But I promise to step away from the lemon least for a while. πŸ˜‰ 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Retreating To My Sewing Room

DH was saddled and loaded before 6 this morning, headed to the north side of the ranch to pick up some bulls. 

He headed out after breakfast:

And I started laundry:

The daily watering commenced:

Cookies were baked:

All before 7, and yes, I was feeling productive and truth be told, just a little smug.

Result: Burned cookies.

Lesson of the day: When you get a little too big for your britches, the good Lord will bring you back down a notch.

I figured I'd retreat to my sewing room in order to lick my wounds:

Wounds licked. πŸ˜‰ More sewing coming soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Men Under Trucks

 Some days, ordinary days, turn into unexpected adventures. I got up at 4 a.m. on Wednesday and had every intention of being in Lubbock for an 8 a.m. appointment. It was just a followup at the dermatologist but one must cross times zones during the 2 1/2 hour jaunt, thus the road beckoned at 4:30. I decided to stop at a truck-stop about 100 miles out for some mints and a pack of gum. Jumped back in the truck and was serenaded with an awful whirring sound at the turn of the key. What in tarnation?! WHIRRR. Good gravy! WHIRRR. Sigh. Look under hood. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my knight in shining armor was planning a morning horseback on the north end of the ranch, picking up bulls. However, he was just loading his horse when I called and attempted to describe my dilemma. Maybe I was out of diesel additive. However, I was certain the truck had not thrown me any codes alluding to such. So I sauntered back into the shop and pulled a box of Blue Def that had been mocking me from the window display and added that. 

The truck DID throw a code in the form of a little yellow thing-a-ma-jig so I pulled the manual and looked that up. Something about the onboard diagnostics system has detected a malfunction and something about the emission control system and contact your dealer. Not helping. Thank you.

The truck answered: WHIRRR. 

I replied: GRRR. Two of us can play this game. 

Meanwhile, several kind strangers stopped to offer their help and advice. 4 of them suggested I contact the mechanic down the road a piece so I called. No answer. So I trudged down the road a piece to said mechanic and peeked inside. No luck. Sigh. 

At some point I had called DH again. He unloaded his horse, unhooked the trailer, and was headed my way. It takes a few minutes to drive 100 miles. He pulled into the mechanic's lot and picked me up, drove to the truck-stop / convenience store and began his assessment. At the turn of the key, he said, "Starter's not engaging".  He crawled under the pickup to take a look-see.

I happened to glance over and see a truck pulling into the mechanic. We popped over there and DH and he had a quick visit before we popped back to the truck. DH hooked me up and towed me over to Thomas. In a tiny West Texas town, first names come with the territory. In fact, Thomas can expect a batch of fresh baked cookies next time I'm driving though. πŸ˜‰

So man #2 climbs under and around the truck, removing a frightening number of bolts. 

Yes, it's the starter. He located one in another tiny West Texas town 20 miles away and he ought to have me on the road after dinner. I told DH to head back home and I'd occupy myself. I told Thomas to give me a job. I'm a good broom pusher. But he and DH visited and continued to peek and poke and prod into the problematic issue at hand. Thomas fetched a handy dandy camera that allowed him to view the flywheel and low and behold flywheel teeth were broken or missing or just not doing what flywheel teeth are designed to do. Which if I understand, they actually allow the starter to engage and move your vehicle. Kind of important. We've never had this problem before and really should not have it at all in a 5 year old truck. Thomas said he's never seen it in a truck that has only 70,000. It's a diesel so 70,000 miles is not much. He could order parts, but it'd be pert near next week before it'd be ready.

DH said we'd just run it to our local mechanic, even though he was impressed with Thomas, because this little town was quite a ways from our home turf. But if you're gonna have truck trouble in the middle of nowhere, this is a pretty good place to have it.

Thomas was able to turn the flywheel just enough that the starter engaged and the engine purred like a kitten at the turn of the key and we were on our way. 

After being privy to a number of conversations between DH and friendly mechanics, I've come to realize that sometimes progress is not progress. Used to be you could actually work on a truck, and you didn't have to go replacing parts on a 5-yr old truck that cost more than my parents' first house. 

So, once on the road and 130 miles later, we left the truck at Mark's (more cookies) where Austin (man #3) was fixing to crawl under the truck.

Each day has it's bumps and blessings. Today my bumps turned into blessings. When it comes time to pay the bill, I'll have to look a little harder for said blessings, but today, I'm thankful for men under trucks... and an oven that works because I'm going to be busy baking cookies.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Summer Road Trips

My in-laws live 2 hours away from us and lately, DH and I have been making more of an effort to spend time with them. They live in a beautiful spot where their summers might top 90° for a week. It's not really an 'effort' to make the trip, it's just that tending to a ranch this size is pretty much a 7 day a week gig. 

His Dad turned 83 a few weeks ago and I'm so glad that we were able to spend a little bit of time with him on his birthday:

Added bonus was that our boy was able to join us as well. Here they are discussing and downloading a hunting/land owner app on Grandpa's phone:

Food is always front and center when we gather:

After all these years, I have still not gotten them to lighten up and not look so somber when I ask for a group photo. I suggested they hoist Granny up horizontally, but alas, she was not having it. 

The next week, we were up at 3 and out the door before 4 - headed back, so DH and his Dad could make a circle and scout for elk and then DH shod his Dad's horses.

So nice to watch afternoon summer showers move across the mountains

This is a nice spot to visit and work on a quilt binding:

The deck was filled with hungry hummingbirds:

I am fascinated by these busy, little birds:

May you find great joy in the little things that dart in and out of your day

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Instant Pot Barbecue Swiss Steak

Chiming in with another recipe I want to share with ya'll today. If you don't have an Instant Pot, I'm sure this will work just as well in a crock pot )although you'll have to cook it longer) or in a regular saute pan. The crew loved this when I made it a few weeks ago. As usual, I made a few changes. The original recipe calls for diced tomatoes and I tossed in a can of Rotel instead and I added some Worcestershire. I can hear ya'll saying, : Of course she did! πŸ˜„Those of you that read here on a regular basis know we like to spice things up in the kitchen. πŸ˜‰And I increased the meat to 2#.

 Here's a link to the original recipe: Instant Pot Barbecue Swiss Steak


Instant Pot Barbecue Swiss Steak

2# tenderized round steak
3 Tbsp butter
A couple of good shakes of Worcestershire
1 can Rotel
1 diced onion
1 diced green pepper
1 1/4 C Barbecue Sauce (I used Stubbs)
Salt & Pepper & Granulated Garlic

*Cut round steak into thin slices. Season with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Saute in melted butter in bottom of Instant Pot for a few minutes in small batches. Shake in some Worcestershire. Remove to platter. Add onions and peppers. Saute for a minute or two. Add meat back to pot. Give it a quick stir. Pour Rotel and Barbecue Sauce over top. Seal lid. Cook for 20 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then turn to quick release.

I served it over mashed potatoes with green beans, a salad, and homemade rolls.


We all loved this and I added it to my favorites cookbook. I love that I can toss this in the Instant Pot and go mow or make a circle with DH and come back to a hot meal at noon.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Mescalaro Sands Morning

On Good Friday (Yes, it's taken me this long to publish this post), DH and I loaded a couple of horses and trailered just east of the ranch to Mescalaro Sands, an off road recreation area just 4 miles from our eastern border. It's a great place for him to work fresh horses. He hadn't ridden these two since last fall and we're fixing to get busy with Spring Works. If you think about how much effort it takes to really walk out in deep sand, you'll know that you won't have to go as far for a good workout as you would on just a dirt path so DH likes to bring horses here once in a while:


It was balmy and still when we left the house, but it was downright cold and windy when we got to the sand dunes:


35° cold but SO pretty:

Thank you for indulging my obsession with my camera

...and this man. πŸ˜‰


Such a different landscape:

 DH cannot understand my love for photography:


But the light was just amazing


You would think the ocean was just over the next sand dune


I love watching the communication that takes place between them

Whenever he works with his horses

It was a beautiful way to begin the day.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Mesquite Bean Quilt Shop

While navigating the big city highways and byways in San Antonio last month, I stumbled upon a little quilt shop with the best name

How could this quilting - desert rat - ranch wife NOT stop? Mesquite beans are in my blood:

Now, you ought to know that mesquite are NOT welcome plants to a rancher. In many places they grow into trees, but we receive so little rain here that they are only bushes. They are invasive and suck up a ton of moisture that would otherwise be growing grass. Last year we spent the majority of our budget spraying mesquite in a few pastures. However, cattle will munch on the beans in a dry year and at times that has been a blessing although, if they eat too many, it can cause problems. It would honestly cost millions of dollars to eradicate all of the mesquite from this ranch so we make due.

Still, I was enchanted by the name of this cute shop:

It's dangerous to navigate a quilt shop without a plan, but I have been a tad overwhelmed these last 3 weeks and a little fabric therapy was welcome:

Vintage displays:

And all the fabric your heart desires

Every solid 

Lots of fun tone on tone choices

A nice selection of Batiks

A tempting array of Reproduction fabrics

Some pretty collections

Inspiration for Kaffe Fasset fans

Bright, modern prints

Regional prints in Texas means wildflowers and western selections

Here's a pretty way to showcase a panel

They also have a nice choice of pre-cuts and the entire collection of this Safari Life that tempted me:

They also had a complete collection of Grunge and that was my only purchase as I needed a background for quilt project.

Cute shop with friendly employees and lots of tempting prints. Definitely one to put on your list if you're ever in the area.

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