Saturday, December 31, 2022

Closing Out 2022

I thought I'd pop in here one more time before we close out the year. Seems as if I've done a lot of 'catch up' and 'hodge podge' posts this year because apparently I can't manage to find enough computer time to get things written down. 

I cooked all day on the 23rd - Loaded Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beans, Butterhorns, Cranberry Sour Cream Pound Cake, Chocolate Pecan Caramels, and Gingerbread Cowboys. I added a ham and we packed it all up on the 24th and drove 2 hours to spend the day with my in-laws.

DH and I spent a quiet Christmas Day together feeding cows:

Christmas or not, cattle still need tending to so we made a 5 hour feed run together:

We had 14 water troughs delivered (which translates to 10 water troughs that need to be plumbed in - 4 are going to another ranch)

We had a fella come and pick up 2 retired ranch trucks and a flatbed

And we're finally getting some washed out/impassable ranch roads re-worked - this project will probably keep this equipment operator busy for a few months

Our girl and her fella drove in on the 26th - this is why I didn't want a console in our loveseat - LOL

Our girl was armed with clippers for a much needed haircut 

And she and I ran off for pedicures when we took DH into town to have the ranch truck rewired so he could add the feeder

A puzzle

And a fun Charcuterie Board were put together

Making memories around the table

Our girl has become a Sourdough aficionado and she gifted us a beautiful Chocolate Espresso and Cinnamon Raisin Loaf

That Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough may very well be the best bread ever baked in the history of the world


My sourdough has been sadly neglected in the fridge for a few months, but our girl was determined to revive it and revive it she did! I'll try to be a better Sourdough Steward from now on.

Lots of research ensued as Operation Wedding Plans were implemented:

We took them out to eat one evening to celebrate their engagement

And today we're celebrating a special Birthday! - Yes, he's a New Year's Eve Baby -

So incredibly grateful for life with this Birthday Boy! It's always 
 the best way to close out the year!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Cozy and Cold

We're not fighting the wintry weather that so many of you are, but it was 10° this morning and we'll probably stay below freezing today and tomorrow. No moisture to contend with, but lots of 30-40 mph wind and DH has been out and about as he always is. He's got heat lamps set up in the well houses across the ranch and spends much of the day running the feed truck and checking water lines. I went with him yesterday, but I'm feeling pretty spoiled staying tucked inside a cozy home. I do still trek out to chore and tend to critters with him and I did haul 4 loads of hay from the floor of the barn to the chicken coop yesterday.

 And no, there's no heat in there. The closest electricity is 50 yards away and honestly, they are fine. They free range all day and are busy running around and still laying eggs every day. We get so much sun here that they really lay eggs year round. 

On Tuesday morning, DH and I hauled our old sofa and loveseat out - is it strange that I am sad to let it go? I loved it, but after 25 years, it was completely worn out and it was time to let it go

And our new Flex-Steel set was delivered

It doesn't photograph well because it's dark brown, but it feels so good. 

I love the coziness of the house during the pre-dawn hours

This is the first year I did something different with our Christmas tree. I love a real tree. I found these balls on a stick in the dried floral department at Hobby Lobby and loved them. They only had 9 so I'll look for more after the first of the year. I found the little wooden snowflakes online and stuffed some frosted branches with pinecones  and some cranberry sprigs in spots. Simple and natural - just right for us:

DH asked for Posole last week so I made that yesterday - no recipe because this is the first time I've made it and I just kind of threw things together. The gal that cuts my hair told me how she makes it so I just started there. I smoked my pork shoulder though. 

DH also suggested Hot Ruben Sandwiches one day and those were amazing. I'll post that recipe soon. 

We won't have a houseful for Christmas this year. My MIL doesn't want to come down so I am making Christmas dinner here at home tomorrow and hauling it up to them on Saturday. They're just 2 hours away so we'll spend the day with them, attend Christmas Eve services and then drive back to the ranch.

Our son has to work so they won't be able to be here and our daughter is coming after Christmas and will be here through New Year's and we always love when we get to spend time together. This year we are celebrating this with them - we're thrilled! So I know what we'll be planning next year!

I probably won't pop in here again until next week so I'm wishing ya'll a Blessed Christmas from the ranch

Monday, December 19, 2022

Chicken Noodle Soup

 We love soups and stews - especially this time of the year, but although we like Chicken Noodle Soup, it's not one of the soups we crave...until we're sick...and until I found this recipe. 

                                        Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup - Jo Cooks

I made this a few weeks ago when I brought home Sale Barn germs. I don't think we had the flu - just a cold - but it hung around for a good week and we felt pretty cruddy. We had a few 18° mornings, but even sick,  DH still headed out to build fence. I can't slow him down, but I can keep the home fires burning and have a hot meal ready and this sure did hit the spot. I think the little bit of added spiciness helped ease our symptoms because we felt better. I'm sharing the ingredients here for simplicity for our kiddos, but the link above will take you to all the details. Jo shares lots of good recipes!

Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 medium carrots chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp Herbs de Provence (I didn't have any so I used Italian Seasoning)

1 Tbsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco) - a tsp might be better if you aren't a fan of heat

2 Tbsp soy sauce (I used Coconut Aminos)

1/2 tsp pepper

3 C cooked and chopped chicken

2 Tbsp fresh dill

1/4 C fresh parsley

8 C chicken broth (low sodium)

3 C dry egg noodles (I had a partial bag of bowties in the pantry so I used that)

green onions, chopped for garnish

*Saute onions, celery, carrots, red pepper flakes, and Herbs de Provence for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute. Add hot sauce, pepper, dill, parsley, and chicken. Add chicken broth and noodles. Simmer for 30 minutes or so and then spoon up a bowl of comfort.

*To speed things up, you can use a rotisserie chicken (our Sam's has them for $5.00 and they are ginormous - I pick one up every 3 months or so and we get 3 or 4 meals out of it), but since our Sam's is 30 miles away, I just cook 5 or 6 lbs of chicken at once, dice it up and keep it in the deep freeze. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

Blue's Clues Quilt

When I was talking to our boy one day, he said that our granddaughter loved Blue's Clues. They don't really let her watch television much, but Blue's Clues is one show they'll watch with her so when I ran across some Blue's Clues fabric, I decided she needed a quilt under the Christmas tree this year. So fabric arrived and the cutting began:

I pulled coordinating fabrics from my stash 

And decided to make pinwheels

Once I pieced the top, I handed it off to Jackie and Sandy added a fun, playful swirl

I backed it with a blue Minky

And bound it with a blue sketch print from my stash

It finishes at 55"x55" 

not too big and not too small, but a perfect size for the adventures of a special 20 month old 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Peanut Clusters

 Have ya'll started your holiday baking? When the kids were still home, it was hard to begin baking early because all the goodies would disappear before Christmas. DH has a sweet tooth too though so it's still a gamble. However, I had a small crew to feed  for 3 days last week. One day I made Buttermilk Pie, one day I served apple pie with ice cream, and one day I made these Peanut Clusters. 

This is one of the first recipes my MIL shared with me when we were first married because they were one of DH's favorites so I've been making these for 35 years. I haven't made them in probably 4 or 5 years so I thought it was time I add these to the cookie plate this season. These are fast to make and they freeze well so I figured I could hide them in the deep freeze after the crew had their fill and hope there are still a few left for Christmas. 😉

Peanut Clusters

12 oz chocolate chips

1 C peanut butter

1 C powdered sugar

2 C Red-skinned Spanish Peanuts

*Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter over low heat on a double boiler. Stir in powdered sugar. Stir in peanuts. Drop onto waxed paper covered cookie sheets. I pop these into the fridge to set up. 

I don't have  double boiler so I just add some water to one pot and then nest another smaller pot inside. And that's it! Fast and easy and a seasonal favorite around here. This batch has disappeared so I'll be mixing up more and hiding them in the deep freeze. 😉

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Swiss Vegetable Medley

 I mentioned this side dish recently and referenced this text with our girl

One of my readers commented, asking : "Do we have your Swiss Vegetable Casserole? If it's worth a riot, maybe we should?" 


Ceci, your comments show up as anonymous and I am wondering if you receive my replies when I email you in return as I don't have your email address. 

So, today I am sharing this Thanksgiving side dish that has been a Thanksgiving tradition in our family for more than 30 years. 

Swiss Vegetable Medley

16 oz package of California Vegetables (Broccoli-Cauliflower-Carrots) - thawed and drained

1/3 C sour cream

1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup

2 C shredded Swiss cheese

1 small container of French Fried Onions

1/2 tsp Pepper

*Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, mix soup, sour cream and pepper. Add 1 1/2 C Swiss cheese, 3/4 of the French Fried onions, and vegetables. Mix together and pour into baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with the remainder of onions and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

We always double or triple this and I forgot to take a picture so I'm borrowing one from Google because I can't post without adding a photo and I probably won't be making this again until next Thanksgiving.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Playing Catch Up

 Goodness! How is it already December? I'm losing track of the days so after almost 2 weeks, you get a hodge-podge snapshot of what we've been up to. 

I brought germs home from work a few weeks ago and shared them with DH so a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup was in order

Loved having chiddlers home for Thanksgiving for 4 days

We smoked the turkey, but I had to improvise when I wanted to truss the bird and didn't have any string: DH brought me some feed sack twine from the barn:

I made everything else the day before - Butterhorns are a Thanksgiving tradition

Our girl pitched in as we took down all the Fall decorations: seeing it all in one place, makes me realize I have too much!

And we welcomed the Christmas season

Feeding season is also upon us

We had another skiff of snow and ended up with an inch of moisture in the rain gauge

Enjoyed a Christmas gathering at a friends' home

DH brought home a nice deer and jerky making has commenced

And I am spending some quiet evenings binding a quilt during the NFR performances for 10 nights

Today I'm at work at the sale barn - expecting to sell 2300 hd - that translates to about 11-12 hours if all goes smoothly so it's going to be a long day and I'll be cross-eyed by the time the last bovine is sold:

So, all is well, just dropping the ball when it comes to posting. I'll try and pop in a bit more, but that's a peek into life at the end of the dirt road lately. 

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