Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pepper Steak

 I've been making this for 20 years or so. The original recipe came from Taste of Home, before they became 'new and improved'. It was a Crock-pot recipe, but I usually make it on the stove in a saute pan because I don't always think far enough ahead to allow for the 6 hour Crock-pot method and I really like to brown my meat first because I think it gives it more flavor. That also means this would be great in the Insta-Pot. 

We always have a ton of beef in the deep freeze and I have the round steak tenderized when we have our beef processed. This is one of the ways I like to use it although I also have an amazing chicken fried steak recipe from a friend that I need to share with ya'll one day. It makes a huge mess, but if I make it for the crew in a few weeks when we brand, I'll write up a post.

I made this last week when I needed to throw a quick meal together. I've been spending so much time outside that I lose track of time and before I know it, it's time for dinner. Dinner is our noon meal around here and this time of the year, I use the grill more than the stove and oven, but this quick meal has stood the test of time and you can really throw any vegetables in and just call it a stir fry.

Pepper Steak

2# tenderized round steak, thinly sliced. It's so much easier to slice when it's still partially frozen.

1 Tbsp cooking oil

1 Tbsp butter

salt-pepper-granulated garlic

2 Tbsp Worchestershire

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 large peppers. cut into strips (I usually use a combination of colored peppers)

1/2 tsp ground ginger (or fresh grated if you have it)

1/4 C soy sauce (I use Coconut Aminos)

I can petite, diced tomatoes, undrained

1-2 Tbsp cornstarch (I really like using Tapioca Flour for a thickener too ) + 1/4 C water

Cooked rice (I use brown rice)

*I will often grate a carrot and top this with shredded carrot.

*In a large saute pan, brown sliced round steak in oil and butter, seasoning with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and Worchestershire. Toss in your chopped onions,  garlic, peppers and ginger - continue cooking for a few minutes. Add Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce) and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Make a slurry with cornstarch and water and stir into pepper steak. Simmer until thickened. Serve over rice. This time I served it with fresh green beans - they've been so nice in the produce department lately.

And I can vouch for the fact that this is equally good without the tomatoes because I didn't have any. πŸ˜„

Monday, May 16, 2022

Farmhouse Flannels Quilt

 When I made my list of quilts I hoped to finish this year, this quilt wasn't even on it. I guess I just forgot to add it so I'll just call it a bonus quilt. πŸ˜‰

A few years ago, I stopped at Front Porch Quilts in Benjamin, Texas and one of the things I bought was this Layer Cake

I loved that little quilt shop, but we ran into the owner at a quilt show in Dimmit last month and she said she closed the shop in January. Her business partner had some health issues and the shop was just too much for her to handle on her own. Plus she had a really good cash offer from the county as they wanted it for a county building. 😞 I didn't pass through there often, but when I did, I left a lot of money there!

These fabrics are SO soft! When the 2nd coordinating collection hit store shelves, I waited for a sale and bought a companion Layer Cake and then they sat. And waited. 

For inspiration. When this quilt popped up in my Pinterest roll, I knew it was the one:

I loved the simplicity and the fact that it leaves the fabrics big enough to enjoy the prints.  I also like that there is no waste although I think there were 2 pieces I didn't use because I didn't need the extra blocks for my setting. According to my records, I started this quilt in April of last year. I couldn't find any pattern information, but if anyone knows of any, please let me know and I'll edit to include that information here. I don't want to infringe on any copywrite, but I made mine without a pattern. It was easy enough to figure out - I simply cut 2 strips :


Then I stacked them and moved the bottom fabric in the second stack to the top:

Then it was time to just sew and in no time, I had a stack of blocks and then a top. I am always in need of rustic, masculine quilts and these classic, neutral colors, are perfect

It sat again until I found this flannel on sale for the back (I had my heart set on a plaid) at a vender at a quilt show and I added this print for the binding:

Jackie and her daughter, Sandy, chose the perfect quilting's called Mesa

It's 70" x 84" and as I sat and worked on the binding in the evenings, DH kept asking, "You're not giving that one away, are you?"

We don't have a flannel quilt, but now we do! 

πŸ˜‰Alas, it'll be a good 6 months before we're ready for flannel around here, but you can bet we'll be grabbing it first chance we get!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spring Days

 And they didn't last long because last Saturday, May 7th, we had our first 100° day. Sigh.

But I know it's Spring because we've had weeks of nonstop wind. There's nothing to stop it out here in the desert. It's relentless. Now if it would only blow in some rain. Not a drop since September and our dew points are consistantly negative. Much of NM is on fire, but thankfully we haven't had to contend with any of that yet. The closest was about 20 miles from us, but it's horrible for those who are in the path of the flames. Some of you have checked in on us and I am touched by your thoughtfulness - thank you. We're drying up and blowing away, but we're safe. Seems that praying for rain is something we do on a daily basis out here. Right now those prayers are for all of those in the path of the fires as well as for the firefighters and folks out there battling the flames.

But the fact that I haven't been posting is proof that winter is behind us! I've been spending my days outdoors. I planted a small garden and am eagerly awaiting the first tomatoes:

Gardens are hit and miss here. I water at dawn and at dusk, but without rain, they grow, but they just don't grow the way they do when God does the watering. I planted tomatoes (both cherry and regular), jalapenos, red-yellow-green-orange peppers, squash, zucchini, onions, radishes, and carrots. It's too hot for lettuce and spinach, but I'll plant those in the Fall. I wish I could find some rhubarb plants, but I may have to start those from seed if I can't find any. I should have done that a few months ago. Yesterday I found some information about starting some from store bought rhubarb so I may have to give that a shot.

I bought a white Crape myrtle to try. Around here, plants have to be hardy. They need to be able to weather 120° in the summer and sub 0° in the winter, not to mention 40-50 mph sustained winds on a regular basis in the Spring. That's asking a lot of a plant. 

I also splurged on a desert willow. Nurseries are a weakness for me, but for the most part, I've learned to be strong after spending too much money just to watch plants wither away. I have spent good money on beautiful hanging plants, watered them faithfully twice a day, and taken them down day after day to protect them from the wind. and just watched them struggle. 

The Cosmos I planted a few years back seem to be faithful though - they're not blooming yet, but they are growing quickly and soon I'll have a 20' flowerbed filled with happiness. I friend once told me they were God's gift to ranch wives because they thrive in these brutal conditions.

The other hardy plant that seems to have established itself here is Vinca Major:

Our girl gave me some elephant ear bulbs a few years ago and I have one spot where they are protected from the afternoon sun and they do well here:

I've also spent 4 mornings fortifying the chicken coop:

I talked to a fella that works at the Farm Store last week He grew up out here. His family moved here in 1961 when he was 8 and he said the chicken coop was here then so that explains why the poor thing looks so dilapidated, but my chickens are plumb happy so I just keep mending:

The baby chicks are growing fast and yesterday was moving day - it was time to introduce them to the chicken coop:

A few years ago we cobbled together this pen to keep the babies separate from the older girls until they all acclimate to each other.

 I'll keep them in here for a few weeks and then set them loose, but still keep them shut in the chicken yard for a few more weeks so they'll know where home is. My older chickens will not be happy because they are used to running free.

Mowing and weed eating has begun as well and I always have a sprinkler going somewhere - our yard, the bunkhouse yard, and trees out at the barn, as well as trees by the chicken coop, and around head quarters are always being watered so that's a lot of hose hauling. I have multiple 100' hoses, but am forever moving sprinklers.

Doesn't leave a lot of time for sewing, but I love playing in the dirt and my trusty assistant is always on hand to keep me on task:

This has been my most recent project:

We've been going pretty hard and  between unloading 50# sacks of feed, hauling 40# water bottles, and all of the coop, garden, and yard work, my back reminded me that it's no longer 20...or 30...or 40...and it's closer to 60 than 50 so I stretched out on the floor this afternoon to give it a rest and Skeet trotted in and promptly plopped down next to me. Sometimes when he runs with DH or tags along when he's horseback, he comes back limping so we give him a Carprovet (an anti-inflammatory medication for dogs). I think we both need one today.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Gingham Baby Quilt Finish

 A few years ago I made these 2 little quilts for a friend's sweet set of twin granddaughters:

Gingham Baby Quilts

And while I was at it, I also pieced one in purple:

I think I found these prints at Hobby Lobby years ago and often they have the same prints forever, but I never did see see these again. They came in these three colorways and I thought they were very sweet. I love the simplicity of gingham and I think these prints were just right for this pattern:

I had a little extra of the purple so I added another couple of rows to this one, making it 40" x 48":

I pieced the back with the last of the paisley and added some gingham to finish things up 

before handing it off to Jackie to let her do what she does so well - bring my quilt tops to life:


I pulled a solid purple from my stash for the binding

Then I waited for my lilac bush to bloom because I thought it would make a pretty picture, but we're in desperate need of rain and although I water it, I think it's waiting for rain  so no lilacs this year. Even the little apricot tree didn't want to bloom:

Another sweet baby quilt 

waiting in the wings for the arrival of a little girl this summer:

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Peep! Peep!

 This week we had our usual Monday sale on Tuesday so folks could enjoy Easter. If the sale's on Monday, the sale barn crew has to work on Sunday, receiving cattle. It was a short sale, as holiday sales generally are, and we were finished at noon. That gave me time to run a few errands and bring home a dozen of these

Every 3 years or so I replenish my flock as the older chickens move into retirement:

This year I brought home 3 Red Sex Links, 3 Black Sex Links, 3 Red Productions, and 3 Easter Eggers.

I hauled an empty water tub into the bunkhouse and set up a little brooder to welcome them home

Hard to believe these little fluffballs will devour a 50# sack of starter in a matter of weeks.

 but they eat nonstop:

You can't even see the feeder when they converge upon it

They are fun to watch - this little one looks like she's praying. LOL

I am easily entertained

I don't know why baby chicks bring me so much joy, but they do!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Baby Sails Quilt Finish

 Yes, I am sharing a lot of finished quilts lately. I'm not finding much time to sew, but quilts have stacked up at Jackie's for a while. I've picked up 6 in the last few weeks. I always let her know that I am not in a hurry to have them back unless it's something I really need soon and in those cases (twice in 12 years) she zips them out in a day or two.

A quilt top might hang around here for a few years before I hand it off to her so from start to finish, my quilts usually go through a proofing season...or two. 

I do not sew in the evenings because I prefer to spend that time with DH, but I DO generally have a quilt to bind so I will often stitch on that as we visit. 

I bought a fat quarter pack of On Deck fabrics from Craftsy back in2017:

And I paired it with this pattern:

I love having a few baby quilt on hand and I needed some little boy quilts to fill in the gaps and I thought this one fit the bill nicely. I still love all of these prints and this was a quick one to piece:

The little appliqued boats are such fun

I bought 2 of the offered backing pieces and used one for this quilt

Jackie's daughter, Sandy, quilted fun rollicking waves across the quilt and I bound it with a blue from my stash:

At 42" x 48", it's going to be a perfect little quilt to welcome a new baby boy. 


I am ready to empty this bin and I still want to add to my baby quilt supply so I cut the leftover prints into 5" squares and set about making HSTs. I needed some more light background fabric so I added this little print  on the right to finish out the HSTs

And I left a stack of rectangles for a possible piano key border. I am pretty sure there are 2 more quilts hiding in here:

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