Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Fresh Broccoli Salad

4 or 5  years ago, a lady brought this to our annual safari club summer picnic and we loved it. She said she's expected to bring it to every gathering. She was sweet enough to share it with me and it became an instant family favorite. The ingredients seems a little odd, but somehow, it all works and it's a nice change of pace in a summer salad lineup. I was craving it last week, but it was just the 2 of us so I made a smaller batch. 

Broccoli Salad

1 1/2# Broccoli crowns, cut into bite sized pieces
8 pieces bacon, cooked and diced
1/8 C Sunflower Seeds
1/2 C grated Cheddar Cheese
1/4 C Dried Cranberries
1/4 C Red Onion, diced small

1 C Mayo
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
1/8 C Sugar (I probably use 1/2 of that)

We grill a lot out here and it's not just a summer thing for us. I grill year round, but since it's been over 100° here, I've been grilling or smoking something every day. I served this salad with grilled pork chops I marinated overnight, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and the first garden tomatoes of the season.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Scrap Dance Waltz

 Today I'm sharing another UFO that's been hanging around for a while. In 2016, I stumbled upon a quilt along over at My Carolina Home and I thought it'd be a good opportunity to use some of my 30's fabrics and I paired them with Kona Snow. Heaven knows I've got a healthy stash of 30's! I wonder how many quilts I need to make before the bin will close. LOL.

Well I gave it the old college try with this quilt. The blocks were such fun to make:

I can't believe it's taken me 6 years to finish this quilt. I made 81 blocks and finally finished the top in 2018. It's impossible to be grumpy when sewing with these happy fabrics

I was so delighted when I started laying the blocks out that I'm pretty sure I stood back and clapped my hands. LOL. 

Carole, you knocked it out of the park with this design! 


I backed it with one of Lori Holt's wide prints 

and pulled an orange from my stash for the binding. I rarely use orange, but it worked well with both the front and the back although with a scrappy quilt, anything goes.

Jackie laughed when I dropped it off because I told her I had enough big quilts, and this one is 92 x 92. She quilted it with another perfect design called Chantilly Lace in a white thread:

As I was stitching on the binding, I realized what happy fabrics these are. I haven't made a quilt with these fabrics since and I think it's time to make more quilts with them. My bin does close now, but there's nary room for a 2 1/2" square.

But as for now, I get to enjoy this one! I love the movement the combination of blocks creates throughout the quilt:

I checked Carole's blog and it looks like the Quilt-along posts are no longer available, but she has converted the Scrap Dance Series to patterns and Scrap Dance Waltz is available here:

Scrap Dance Waltz Pattern

It feels good to be celebrating another happy, finished quilt


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Feather and Fur Update

Before I get to today's post I wanted to address a question I've been asked frequently. 

How do I subscribe to your blog? 

Good question and I'm afraid I don't have a good answer. I am challenged when it comes to technology. I started this little blog 14 years ago here. It is free. I don't have any costs associated with it, but I also don't have a tech team behind me. From what I understand, Blogger has done away with the 'follow by e-mail' option. There is a link on the right side of my posts that allows you to follow via Bloglovin'. I also have a Feedly account and I follow blogs via that platform so you may consider that as an option. I hope that helps.

I'm also not receiving e-mails notifying me of your comments so I'm not able to reply to your comments. I'm trying to find a solution to that. I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

Today I thought I'd give you a feather and fur update.

The chicks are big enough that I moved them into the coop and they have been released from their little cage

But my feed tub brooder didn't stay empty for long:

I picked up 24 Guinea Keets from the seed store a few weeks ago. 

They are even smaller than chicks, but chicks are much gentler. Guineas are wild - at least the ones we've had always have been, but I love having Guineas. They are good insect and snake deterrents as well as excellent egg layers. They will stay here for about a month and then move into the coop for another month before I release them to free range.

When I walked past the sage bushes one morning I noticed this baby Oriole nestled within the branches:

It was practicing it's new flying skills

I was on my way to feed Oliver

For those of you asking about him, he is now fat and sassy

And fully reunited with his littermates

I'm grateful we don't have any doggie calves this year because my baby dance card is full

Monday, June 20, 2022

Oatmeal Scotchies

 Saturday we had the Annual Safari Club Picnic out at the Skeet Range. The meal was catered, but Board members brought desserts. I just baked cookies since whatever we brought had to sit out on a counter. I made Oatmeal Scotchies the night before

I've been making these for a long time. I don't  know when they came out with the Butterscotch Chips, but that's about how long I've been making these. I just use the recipe on the back of the bag, but I add a little more flour because we like a cookie that's a bit more substantial and not so flat. I doubled the recipe and this time I used 1/2 quick oats and 1/2 old fashioned oats.

Oatmeal Scotchies

1 1/2 C flour and I usually add just a little more. (the original recipe calls for 1 1/4 C, but if I don't add more flour, my cookies turn out too flat.)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 C butter, softened (not melted)

3/4 C sugar

3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

 1 tsp vanilla 

3 C quick or old fashioned oats 

1 12 oz bag Butterscotch Chips

*Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, Set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture, Stir in oats and Butterscotch Chips. Drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes, but this really varies, depending on your oven and if you prefer a soft cookie or one with a bit of a crunchy edge/tender center.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Melting Pot


Welcome to the melting pot. Not fun. The older I get, the more I struggle with intense heat like this. We're 25 miles from town and we're generally a few degrees hotter. We're praying for rain, but I can't recall ever NOT praying for rain.

My poor chickens are panting

We eat a watermelon a week around here and I stash the rind in the deep freeze for them for a treat:

 and I spray down their yard under a big tree to give them a cool place every day.  We've had several days of this

40-60 mph sustained winds that turn our usually brilliant blue skies, dirt brown. So in between the wind, and before the heat descends, I've been beginning my days like this

I've been moving hoses and sprinklers in an attempt to keep trees and grass and the garden alive and mowing at 6 a.m. 

I've been harvesting Zucchini, lots of radishes  - I'm afraid I'm going to have to replant much of the the garden


I've been graced with the first Cosmos of the season

The Crepe Myrtle is blooming up a storm although it looks a tad forlorn after another round of brutal wind

And the Willow is showing off some pretty pink flowers

We've had a plague of Tarantula Wasps take up residence in the yard, searching for the damp, cool places

I would love a wildflower garden, but it's a challenge to grow anything out here, thus, every single bloom brings me great joy

As does my trusty sidekick!


Monday, June 13, 2022

Ranchers Potatoes

 25 years ago I met a young ranch wife in Abilene at the Western Heritage Classic. She had written an article in Western Horseman that really spoke to me. She was carrying her small daughter and her young son was shadowing her as she moved among the booths at the trade show. We bonded over a love for this lifestyle, family, reading, and our children's education. We instantly became pen pals and LONG letters flew between us for years. She held my hand through the early stages of our homeschool adventures and became a treasured mentor and friend. We exchanged ideas, books, daily routines, ranch life adventures, child rearing tales, homeschooling concepts, Scripture, and recipes. We speculated over how to stretch pennies on cowboy wages. We brainstormed theories and concepts - discussed learning and teaching styles and shared stories of sweet things our husbands did and said and about the times they were grumpy. We shared, consulted, and encouraged each other. She pushed me to think outside of the box. 20 page type-written letters every week were the norm, and when the electricity was out we handwrote them. I fairly danced out of the post office when the mail included a fat, brown envelope from the Panhandle.

All that to say, I'm grateful for those days. She now lives and ranches in Arizona and has worked hard to realize her dream of becoming a writer. She paints beautiful, authentic pictures with words when her pen meets paper. I'll link to her website here: Amy I wish I had kept all of those letters (I literally had a banker's box full) because she was a talented and gifted writer long before she was ever published. 

So, today I'm sharing one of our favorite recipes from those letters. Thank you, Amy -I think of you every time I make them!

Ranchers Potatoes

6 potatoes, scrubbed

1/2 C water

1 can, chopped green chilies (I use fresh, roasted green chilies because we love it in everything!)

5 bacon strips, cooked and diced (Someone is going to ask so I'll add a note here: I don't care for the bacon bits in the grocery store. Convenient? Yes, but bacon is just better when it's cooked on the stove or in the oven, but I won't judge you if you use them. 😉)

8 oz sour cream

3/4 C Ranch Dressing

1 1/2 C grated Cheddar Cheese (I like to grate my own cheese for more flavor, but I have used the pre-grated cheese in the past.)


*Scrub and cube potatoes and place in casserole dish. Add 1/2 C water, cover with paper towel (if using the microwave) and cook until almost done. Combine all other ingredients and add to potatoes, stirring well. Bake in oven at 350° for 30 minutes.

Note: You can either partially cook these in the microwave or in the oven. Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2022

New Baby Quilt Project

 Our girl asked me to make a quilt for a sweet friend expecting her first baby. She said they are decorating in a soft color palette, reminiscent of Peter Rabbit. I have a lot of fabric, but for the most part, pastels are  lacking so when I saw this Bramble Patch collection I thought it would be perfect. I initially bought a Layer Cake

Such sweet prints!

but once I settled on a design, I purchased a fat quarter pack on a 30% off sale as well as a few different cuts to finish things off. I cut everything into 5" squares in order to make the best use of the Layer Cake and I am alternating them with pinwheels. I hope it turns out the way I am picturing it. 

And yes, I'm going to have lots of leftovers, but that's a good thing because I think there a few more baby quilts hiding in here

But for the time being, pinwheel-ing continues!

Monday, June 6, 2022

Breakfast Pizza

 Today I'm sharing another recipe I've been making for a coon's age. I usually remember a recipe's origin, but I haven't a clue where I found this one. These days everything's at our fingertips, but 30 years ago we relied on ourselves, friends and family and old fashioned cookbooks for discovering recipe inspiration. Either way, this one has stood the test of time and I make it whenever I have extras. You can easily add more ingredients if you have more to feed and this heats up beautifully the next morning if you have leftovers. I usually serve it with biscuits, bacon, and fruit. It's also really yummy in a warm tortilla with homemade salsa!

It doesn't have a crust per-say, but it's always been known as Breakfast Pizza around here. 

Breakfast Pizza

1# hot bulk breakfast sausage

1 package O'Brien Hashbrown Potatoes

1/3 C chopped green chilies

8-12 eggs

1 Tbsp Worchestershire


Grated Cheese

*Brown sausage in large skillet. I use a 14" pan. Add potatoes while sausage browns. Once the sausage and potatoes are cooked, stir in green chile. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, Worchestershire, pepper, and salt together. Poor over sausage/potato/chile combination when potatoes and sausage are cooked through. Stir gently until eggs begin to set. Turn heat down to low and cook until eggs are cooked through. Sprinkle with cheese. Cut into wedges. 

Leftover eggs are generally not appealing, but this is good if you've got leftovers!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Cooking For the Crew

 We branded on Tuesday so I fell into bed at 9:30 Monday night and set my alarm for 2:30. 😲 I know most everyone loves the longer days, but this old body is plumb tuckered out with longer days and shorter nights. 

Breakfast for 8 men was at 4 and they jingled in at 10:30 for dinner. And as much as I love taking pictures of the crew when they brand, the pens are almost an hour from the house and there was not a moment to spare between breakfast and dinner. It was forecasted to be 99°  and we try to work cattle before the heat sets in. I fixed biscuits, gravy, eggs, sausage, and fruit for breakfast and then washed all the dishes (remember - no dishwasher in this old ranch house, but I don't have to haul water from the creek or chop wood. 😉), cleaned the kitchen and set about making a mess again:

Chicken Fried Steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, and State Fair Yeast Biscuits with Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert for dessert. I don't make Chicken Fried Steak very often. It makes a HUGE mess, but a few years ago, a sweet lady that used to live at North Camp with her husband shared her secrets for the best chicken fried steak ever and I knew it would make for a very happy crew. I don't even know if I can really share it with you, because it's more of a method than a recipe, but I'll see what it looks like in writing and if it makes sense, I'll post it. 

Then, once everyone shuffled back out the door for a second time, I was blessed with another mountain of dishes and a kitchen that needed cleaning. And yes, I do mean blessed. I'm so grateful that DH has a good crew to help during branding and that I can put a decent meal on the table. And the bonus blessing is that there are leftovers. Grin.

Just after the crew left, the air-conditioner repair fella showed up. Our air-conditioner has been acting up periodically so they made a trip out to diagnose the problem. Looks like the expansion valve isn't functioning properly so if it continues to freeze up, they'll come back and replace it.

He got the last 6 cookies in the deep freeze and the brand inspector was coming out later in the afternoon to inspect some cattle we were taking to the sale barn in Clovis on Wednesday. We've known Justin for years - he was a part of a very fun branding crew for a few years about 15 years ago. So, I was back in the kitchen again. M&M Cookies for him this time, plus a few for my cookie stash

I cooked for the boys again today - 10 this time. Nothing new to share. Breakfast Pizza, bacon, biscuits, fruit, and Honey Bun Cake at 4 for breakfast. Brisket, Hot Links, Cole Slaw, Rancher's Potatoes, Soft & Fluffy One Hour Rolls, and Jalapeno Poppers with Cherry Cheesecake Lush for dessert. 

Oh, wait - I searched my blog and can't find the recipe for Ranchers Potatoes and it is definitely worth sharing so stay tuned! And Cole Slaw is just Cole Slaw, but we kind of like it so I'll share that one too. Hmmm...can't find a post for Breakfast Pizza either. Nothing fancy, but something I make a lot when I've got extras. OK...shake out your aprons!

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