Lazy J Bar C

Lazy J Bar C

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday's Tails, #3

We are currently boarding two horses for a friend. He is going through a divorce and is in Texas working. The horses weren't getting fed regularly (Grrrr!!) so he asked Jerry if he would board them until he gets a place and can come get them. They have been here for over a month now and look a LOT better than when Jerry went and got them!

This is T-Bone, he is about 15-20 and has a pretty good temperament. Our friend's 11-year-old daughter was riding him. He's finally getting where you can't see his ribs so much. (Grrrr!!)

This is Flash, he is 14 months old. I had Jerry take a picture of me, at 5'3", with him so that ya'll could see how little he is, he should be bigger than that. We figure he wasn't fed properly and it stunted him. His mom was on the smaller size but still....
Also, he hasn't been gelded yet! (Grrrr!!)

I call him Shorty. He is just as sweet as can be, very friendly and isn't afraid of anything. Unfortunately, nobody has worked with him other than getting him halter broke. He has absolutely no ground manners! (Grrrr!!) If I had more time to spend outside (stuck in the house baking bread ya' know) I would try to work with him some so that he at least understood to back up and get out of your face! LOL!!

Of course, Paco couldn't be left out of the photo shoot!

The End!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chicken Stir Fry

I love making stir fry for supper, it goes together quickly and is jam-packed with good for you vegetables! :) For just Jerry and I, I only need to use one large boneless skinless chicken breast. I used to buy frozen stir fry vegetables and bottled stir fry sauce but decided it probably made more sense to use as many veggies from the garden as I could; after all, look at all the hard work that went into growing them! ;-) I also decided to start making the stir fry sauce to control the amount of sodium. One of the seasoning mixes I make is a Chinese one that I like to use to season the chicken. If you can find ground star anise where you live you are fortunate, I buy the whole ones and I have a little pepper grinder that I grind it up in.

Chinese Seasoning
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground star anise
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery seed

Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks or thin strips, season with some of the Chinese Seasoning. Let it sit while cutting up the vegetables.

Cut veggies into chunks of approximately the same size. This time, I used carrots, celery, broccoli, green beans, pattypan squash and some swiss chard. The nice thing about stir fry is that you can use whatever you like and whatever is in season! :)

Heat a small amount of sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and cooked through. Add veggies and mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are desired doneness. I also put a lid on and let them "steam" a bit because we like ours a little more tender. When the veggies are done to your liking, add swiss chard and stir until it wilts in.

For my sauce, I usually just mix up some soy sauce, a little sugar and some cornstarch and stir it in at the end. We like to add some crushed red pepper flakes too! You could also add some orange juice to the sauce or maybe a little ginger.

I hope this has inspired you to whip up a quick and easy stir fry sometime soon!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Let's Make Mayo!

I just started making my own mayonnaise recently, mainly because I didn't own a blender! I bought one earlier this year specifically to make mayo and that is pretty much all I use it for! LOL!!

This recipe for Blender Mayonnaise is adapted from the Joy Of Cooking 75th Anniversary cookbook.

Put in a blender:
     1 large egg at room temperature
     1 teaspoon dry mustard
     1 teaspoon salt
     1 teaspoon sugar
     Dash of ground red pepper
     1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
Cover and blend on high until thoroughly combined.

 With the blender running, slowly add:
     1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
and then:
     1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
     1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
until thorougly blended.

 Slowly add:
     1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
and blend until thick. You may have to stop and start the blender occasionally to scrape down the sides.

Homemade mayonnaise isn't as white as store bought and the flavor is just so much better! It is nice and thick and actually gets thicker after being chilled in the refrigerator.

For me, the worst part is cleaning up the blender, it takes longer than actually making the mayonnaise! ;-)  

Okay, now that the mayonnaise is finished we can have a turkey sandwich from the Thanksgiving leftovers! Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autumn's Splendor at the Lazy J Bar C

Kieffer Pear
That's it!! The mesquite trees, yucca, prickly pear and cholla cactus just don't do much in the way of fall color displays!! LOL!! 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Tails, #2

We had to move the Peeper People the other day, they had outgrown the little pen we had them in. We took down some fencing that was in the garden used as trellis for beans and cucumbers and fenced off the back part of the Big Chickens' yard.

We moved the little house in there too and made a little lean-to off of one side to provide some more protection from the weather.

The first thing they did when we let them out of the cage was to run back and forth across the yard flapping their little wings! I was really glad we moved them!

"Hi nice lady, did you bring us some treats?"
It's kind of a pain getting in and out but I figure, at the rate they are growing, it will only be another couple of weeks and I can take the barrier fence down. One of the little roo boys ended up on the wrong side of the fence the other day; luckily I was still down there and heard him carrying on! He was running back and forth along the fence trying to figure out how to get back on his side! LOL!! The Big Chickens were totally uninterested, I was afraid they would be pecking him!

What nice little Peeper People you guys are!

Oh, I see how it is, you guys just wanted your dinner!!

Right now, we are feeding 22 chickens, 11 Peeper People and 11 Big Chickens and I just had to send Jerry to town to buy eggs so I can finish my baking for the week! Hmmm...just doesn't seem right somehow! LOL!! ;-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Apron

Susan at e-i-e-i-omg challenged us to an Apron Sew Off awhile back and, well (deep breath), today is the day we are all supposed to unveil our new aprons! I can't wait to see what everyone has come up with!! This has been so much fun, thanks Susan! I have enjoyed reading about everyone's progress and challenges!

This is my second apron using this pattern called Flirty Skirty, the ties are extra long to tie in front which makes it easier to put on (for me anyway!). I made the first one to wear at the Farmer's Market and I will probably wear this one there too, after Thanksgiving of course! Well, here it is. The apron looks good but, jeez, I can't believe how OLD I look! Wait, maybe that's because I'm on the far side of 50?!? ;-)

This was so much fun, what in the world shall we do next!! LOL!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

DIY Seasoned Rice Mix

Everyone loves convenience foods, right? Me too, I just don't like paying the extra money for them and I REALLY don't like what is in some of them! I have this seasoned rice mix in my cupboard at all times ready to use when time is running short on getting supper ready. I use Uncle Ben's whole grain brown rice and chicken bouillon but you could use any type of rice and whatever flavor of bouillon you like.

3 cups uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
6 teaspoons instant chicken flavor bouillon
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a storage container with a tight fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Stir well before each use.

To use, bring 2-1/4 cups water and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of the seasoned rice mix. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Makes 6 (1/2-cup) servings.

We had some last night with baked salmon and steamed broccoli! YUM!! Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Financial Freedom

I am thankful every day for this wonderful life I have! All the critters, the garden, my little bread baking business, and especially my dear husband!

This week though, I have a really big thing to be thankful for! We paid off the house!! WAHOO!! I had an annuity mature last week and it was enough to pay off the house (with just a little left), so we cashed it in. We got the electronic funds transfer a few days ago so off Jerry went to the bank in the city and gave them a check! Our house payment wasn't huge but it will make a difference and we will be able to put more money in savings every month. Now, I won't stress if I happen to have a so-so week at the Farmer's Market. At this point, our only financial obligations are taxes, insurance, utilities and of course groceries and the critters! :).

We have become more frugal since moving to the country. It is no longer important to either of us to have the latest electronic gadget, a bigger TV, the latest fashions, etc. Since I prefer we eat "real" food and since I LOVE to cook and bake, we don't eat out very often either. We have found that we live VERY comfortably on what some would consider a modest income, mostly because we don't have any debt. We don't have any credit cards either, if we want something, we save up for it. I guess we aren't living a typical American lifestyle but it suits us just fine! ;-)

What are you doing to achieve financial freedom and live more frugally?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tails, #1

I thought I would try something new. Mama Tea at A Farmish Kind of Life has her Sunday Scribbles, the discussion on roundabouts was a riot this week! Susan at e-i-e-i-omg has her Monday Musings, I always look forward to them and the comments are sometimes just as entertaining as the post! And there are several people who do Wordless Wednesday and Thankful Thursday and don't forget the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! I thought I would try Tuesday's Tails and feature the animals around the Lazy J Bar C, both domestic and wild. If this sounds like fun, please feel free to start your own Tuesday's Tails! :)

For this week I thought I would share some pictures I took out the kitchen window last week.

What you can't see is just to the right of the picture is my little 4-foot tall extra dwarf peach tree! He is helping himself to some the fallen leaves. Of course, he also helped himself to a few that were still on the tree but he didn't do too much damage! ;-)

See ya! Thanks for stopping by and letting me take your picture!

And on a totally unrelated subject, Mary Beth at Oklahoma Pastry Cloth had a great post yesterday about taking advantage of produce that is currently on sale, like celery and sweet potatoes, and dehydrating it for future use. Check out her post here, it inspired me to look for good buys on my next trip to the grocery store!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monster Cookies

Okay, I realize I've probably been living under a rock or something but these are THE BEST COOKIES I HAVE EVER MADE!! :)
I wanted to put something homemade in the Halloween treat bags for the neighbor boys and thought Monster Cookies would be appropriate. I found this recipe in one of my really old grocery store checkout stand cookbooks. They called them Giant Confetti Oatmeal Cookies but that was too much of a mouthful! Here is a picture of the neighbor boys in their Halloween costumes!

Caden is a chicken farmer and little brother Landon is the chicken! Their mom made that adorable chicken costume! :)

I didn't take pictures when I made these for Halloween because I had never made them before and wasn't sure if the recipe would be worth sharing. Sure was a great excuse to whip up another batch this morning! By the way, this recipe uses my Baking Mix.

Monster Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups Baking Mix
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups plain M&Ms
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; mix well. Add Baking Mix and stir well. Stir in rolled oats, M&Ms and raisins.
Drop dough by 1/4-cupfuls about 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. I use a cookie scoop and put two scoops on top of each other and then flatten them out.

 Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy your Monster Cookies with an ice-cold glass of RAW goat milk!! ;-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Soup Mix In A Jar

I love giving handmade gifts and I love giving food as a gift! People always need to eat, right?!? :)
I have been making these Soup Mix In A Jar gifts for a couple of years now. I was even selling them at the Farmer's Market last year. Not only are they pretty but they are tasty too!

This is one of my favorites; it is pretty to look at, tastes great and is fairly quick to cook up.

Love Soup Mix

1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried split peas (I like to use green and yellow but couldn't find any yellow)
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils (I used red and regular)
1/2 cup rice (I used brown rice)
1 cup tri-colored spiral pasta or enough to fill jar

Layer the ingredients in the order given into a 1-quart canning jar. Pack each layer in place before adding the next ingredient. Attach a gift tag with the cooking directions.


Love Soup
1 jar Love Soup Mix
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Remove the tri-colored pasta from the Love Soup Mix and set aside. Place the balance of the mix in a large soup pot. Add 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tri-colored pasta and ground beef and simmer 15 minutes more.

This recipe is adapted from the book "Gifts in a Jar - Soups" which I have had for a LOONG time! LOL!! It's a neat book because there are six pre-printed gift cards that you can use with each recipe.

Here are a few of the others that I did up today, aren't they pretty?

These make a really nice gift by themselves and are even more special when paired up with a loaf of homemade bread or some rolls. You could also include a beer bread mix like my Dill Chive Beer Bread or Onion Caraway Rye Beer Bread.

Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meet Andy!

This is Andy, he is here to visit with Abigail for a few days! ;-)

What a handsome fella he is! Of course, Abigail wanted nothing to do with him for the first couple of days and he was actually afraid of her and would run away whenever she came near! LOL!! He really does have a sweet temperment. Jerry went and picked him up from some friends of ours on Tuesday morning. He got right in the trailer in spite of the fact that he hadn't been away from home since they got him as a baby a couple of years ago. Jerry backed the trailer as close to his pen as he could and then wanted me to lead him in because "He STINKS and he might get on me!" All was going well (despite the horses being out and coming over to see who the new guy was) until Buddy came around the corner and startled Andy!

I'm sorry mom, I didn't mean to scare him!
Andy is a big boy and outweighs me by more than 50 pounds so when he decided he was going somewhere else, I ended up on my rear! Luckily, only my pride was hurt! Jerry was able to lead him into the pen after a few minutes of letting him calm down (and me making Buddy leave the area!).

Poor Andy, he missed home and all his "girls" and did nothing but cry every time he would see one of us for the first two days! I really felt bad for him. Yesterday, I put Abigail in with him and, like I mentioned, he was afraid of her and was crying even louder! I thought about it last night and had decided that if things didn't start happening by today, I was probably going to have to take Andy home and try to find a different buck.

This morning, when I went down to milk, Andy was NOT standing by the fence crying but Abigail was waiting to be fed. My first thought was "Oh man, I hope he didn't die!" I walked down towards the pen calling for Andy and he stuck his head out the door, whew! I was glad he had quit crying too.

After I was finished milking Madeline, Jerry came down to help me feed and I noticed the first signs of "love" between Abigail and Andy! YAY!! There was much wagging of tail on Abigail's part and Andy was definitely no longer afraid of her!

Don't they make a lovely couple as they waltz around the goat pen?!? I figure I will leave them together until Sunday morning and then take Andy home. I'm sure his girls all miss him!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blogger Luv - Pass It On!

I was recently the recipient of some blogger luv and I thought it would be appropriate to pay it forward! :)
Michelle over at Michelle's Little Piece Of Heaven is hosting a really fun giveaway of a Mystery Christmas Box! But, it's not your usual giveaway, she has made a game out of it! Michelle posts clues to each of the five gifts (yep, five!) every Monday and Thursday and we get to guess what the items are. For every right answer you get an additional entry in the giveaway, giving you six chances to win. Pretty cool, huh?!? Hop on over to Michelle's blog and check it out, it's not too late to get in on the fun! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sweet Potato Rolls

Last week, I was trying to think of some type of bread or roll I could make for the Farmer's Market that was kind of "fallish." A couple of years ago, I was making a Fall Harvest roll that contained pumpkin puree, ginger and pumpkin seeds. I knew I had a can of pumpkin in the cupboard from last year but I didn't have any pumpkin seeds. A trip to town is not something to be taken lightly here in the country! ;-) Also, in our small town, finding shelled pumpkin seeds is a bit of a challenge! LOL!! Anyway, in front of the canned pumpkin was a can of sweet potatoes. Hmmm....wouldn't that make a nice fall roll! I started looking for recipes and found several. Most used cinnamon and similar spices but I didn't want to go that route. I finally found one at Pinch My Salt that used buttermilk that sounded interesting. Since I'm always looking for ways to use up my goat milk products I decided to adapt the recipe to fit my needs and give it a go! I'm getting pretty good at this, they actually came out right the first time! LOL!!

The sweet potato gives the finished rolls a lovely golden color. They are a bit sweet, which is how a dinner roll should be in my book. They are very tender since it is a potato bread, and they taste great! I used canned sweet potato because that is what I had on hand but you could also use fresh, cooked sweet potato. Wouldn't these make a nice addition to the table when the family gathers together for Thanksgiving!  

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast (If using active dry yeast, dissolve it in the warm milk before combining with the remaining ingredients.)

Mix, knead and let your dough rise until doubled using your favorite method; bread machine, manual or stand mixer. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place balls onto baking sheet seam side down.

Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled. Just before baking, dust tops lightly with flour (it's a potato bread thing).

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.

These have become one of our favorite rolls here at the Lazy J Bar C. We are having some tonight with homemade turkey noodle soup! YUM!!

Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chunky Apple Cake

I love apple cake and the bigger the apple chunks the more I like it! I got this recipe for Chunky Apple Cake from Heidi at Frantically Simple yesterday and I just had to try it! Well, all I can say is WOW! YUM! and WOW some more! :)

This recipe is deceptively simple and amazingly good! I only made half a recipe since it is just the two of us and I baked it in my 10-inch cast iron skillet. I added just a touch more cinnamon, because I like it :), and left the walnut pieces pretty chunky to complement the apples.

I baked this up early this morning, before getting started with my bread baking for the day. I had a little sliver still warm from the oven, plain, after coming in from milking the goat and was highly impressed! I had another piece drizzled with a little maple syrup after Jerry and I came back from our walk. The apples, walnuts and whole wheat flour just called out maple syrup to me! ;-)

If you are a fan of apple cake, like me, I highly recommend you check this recipe out over at Heidi's blog! She graciously agreed to let me link back to her for the recipe and, besides, you will get to see her pictures which are WAAY better than mine! LOL!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Peeper People Update Two

The Peeper People moved outside on Friday. They had outgrown their second box in Jerry's workshop and he said it was starting to smell in there! They are all feathered over nicely and we have a spell of very nice weather coming up so I figured they (and Jerry) would be happier if they moved to the "juvenile" chicken pen. Can you see the perch I made for them to the left of their house? It's their very own Indian cliff ladder made from yucca stalks and tied together with twine!

We usually only get 6 or 7 chicks at a time but there are 11 of them this time...not sure how long before they outgrow their new digs!

The big girls checking out the Peepers and vice versa!

I told you guys there were two roosters! The one in the back is the one marked at the hatchery, the one in the center is the one I suspected to be a roo, looks pretty convincing to me!

That first night, I went down to check on them after dark to make sure they knew to go in their house. Well, of course they were all standing in the corner of the pen in a big huddle! Silly chickens! I put each one in the house but some kept trying to get back out so I had to put a board across the opening to make them stay in.

The second night when I went down to check on them, they were all in the house like good Peepers! They seem to be settling in very well. They had a little treat of stale bread and kale from the garden this morning, they went right after the bread but they weren't too sure about the kale! LOL!!