Friday, January 27, 2012

Farm Girl Friday Photo


Little dogs with big bones. 

Blessings from Wisconsin.

Farmchicks Farm Photo Friday

Cookies Week 4–Double Treat Peanut Butter


For our first Christmas, my mother-in-law, Marlene, gave me a hand written recipe book.  It had all family favorites, stories and advice.  It is really special to me.  This cookie recipe is from her.




Double Treat Peanut Butter Cookies:

2 C flour                              2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt                         1/2 C butter

1/2 C sugar                          1/2 C brown sugar

2 eggs                                1 tsp. vanilla

1 C  chunky peanut butter      6 oz. chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy.   Add peanut butter.   Combine flour, soda and salt – add slowly to mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Bake in 350 oven for 9-11 min.  (I made mine big)  or until brown on top. 

Really good.  Blessings from Wisconsin.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Week of Meals - Chicken

I have a concept of cooking that saves time and money.  My previous post: A week of meals – ham.
Basically, I make my “meat” on Monday, I put it in a Nesco roaster and let it cook – enough meat for the whole week.
This week it is chicken.  In the morning I put 4 whole chickens in the Nesco – FROZEN – set on low and left it all day. 
I like a crispy skin, so I took one chicken out when almost done and put in a roasting pan in the oven. 
Monday’s Menu:  Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and my freezer corn (from garden).
After supper, take the time NOW to debone and skin the other 3 chickens.  This will take time now, but will save you a lot of time during the week.  Save the carcasses and skin and Nesco juices – you will pressure cook these to make a great stock to use during the week.
In the morning the fat will settle to the top of the container of juices and you can throw that away. 
Take the juice and carcasses and put in pressure cooker.  I add carrots, celery, onions and garlic – fill with enough water to cover all and pressure cook @5# till kettle clickity clacks about 30 minutes.  This will give you a great stock and some extra meat to use later in the week.  Strain the stock – reserve in the refrigerator.  I sorted through the strainer and picked out any useable chunks' of meat to use, soft cooked carrots, etc. for “chicken bucket” and some skin and such for the barn cats. 
NOTE:  This is really full for pressure cooking – however, I trust my cooker and know how much it can handle – normally you don’t fill it this full.
Now you are ready for the week.   I did this on Tuesday.
Chicken Quesadillas:
Note:  The bean spread we made last week.
Spread flour tortillas with beans fill with Chicken filling – 1 can cream of chicken soup mixed with 1 C sour cream and diced chicken – makes a lot of filling.  I also added some Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese to these.  Put a little quesadilla sauce on bottom of pan, place rolled tortillas in pan, top with the cheeses, diced scallions, black olives and bake for 30-40- min. 
While baking, mix up a salad with avocados and dress with lime juice and oil.
Easy and tasty.
Wednesday’s Menu:  Homemade Chicken and Spinach Ravioli
Making homemade pasta is on my “leap list” so this is my first attempt – I will be making it again!
I made a simple red sauce using some of my canned tomatoes, some fresh tomatoes (need to use), onions, garlic and to add some sweetness – carrots.  Cook this down for an hour or so until everything is soft and mushy.  Add to you processor and blend it all together – skins, seeds and all!  Makes a really good sauce – extra can be put in the freezer.
For the pasta, I followed a simple recipe:  four, eggs, salt and water.  I mixed it all on my counter (like they do on food network) and kneaded it all together, let rest for 15 min. or so.
Remember the meat that cooked off the bones – you now use it.  Take chicken pieces and put in your processor – blend until small pieces.  Add minced spinach and onion to meat along with some grated Asiago cheese.  Mix together, I added 2 T melted butter to bind it – this is your filling.
Using another one of my estate “buyout” treasures – an old pasta roller – roll out your dough.  NOTE:  need extra hands!
I made some big ravioli – put in salted boiling water – when they float to top, flip them over and basically they are done.  Takes only minutes.  Top with sauce – they were yummy!
Thursday’s Menu:  Chicken Dumpling Soup
Remember the stock we made Tuesday, now you use it.  Take out stock – I divided into 2 kettles (I’m making a soup Friday too – so why not get that started now).  Add some water to about 3/4 full.  I actually added some “chicken base” too. 
You can make the soup with the things you like in it.  I actually cleaned out my refrigerator and added, corn (from Monday), green beans, carrots, celery, onion, S&P, diced sage and parsley.  Add chicken.  I make fluffy dumplings (flour, salt, baking powder and milk).  bring soup to boil and drop by tablespoons into pot.
A real family pleaser on this COLD Wisconsin Day!
Friday’s Menu:
I LOVE Olive Garden’s Creamy Potato Gnocchi soup.  So, I tried to duplicate it.  Stock, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, chicken, heavy cream, nutmeg and grated parmesan cheese.  While this comes to a boil, mix up your gnocchi.  I had some left over mashed potatoes from this week, added them to flour, egg, milk and salt till works up into a dough.  I rolled them in little balls and rolled them off a fork to make those lines.  I then put them on a floured cookie sheet.  Once soup comes to a boil, drop floured gnocchi into soup (extra flour will thicken up soup).  Make a light salad and you are done. 
That’s it for my “Chicken Week of Recipes” 
Blessings from Wisconsin!
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Growing Home

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Week 3 Cookies–Loaded Oatmeal

Still thinking about January being National Oatmeal Awareness month – I made this one up.  I really was just cleaning out partial containers of stuff in my pantry – however, they are really good!


1 stick soft butter                           1 C brown sugar
2 eggs                                            1/2 C applesauce
1 C oatmeal                                   1 C raisins
1 C coconut                                    1 C flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder                   1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and brown sugar, add eggs and applesauce.  Stir in oatmeal, raisins, coconut.  Mix flour, baking powder, soda and salt together – add to mixture.  Bake 375 for about 8 minutes.  DO NOT over bake.  Makes 3 doz.

Blessings from Wisconsin – where it is COLD today!

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Random Hearts Thursday

I’ve linked up before, it seems when I see random hearts, I don’t have my camera.  Here is one from my juicer today – look at those colors!
It’s almost like the heart has wings.  As long as we are on hearts, I decorated my entry yesterday for Valentine’s Day.
I plan to post some of the cute poems from that vintage Valentine book.

Blessings from Wisconsin.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Right Tool For the Job - 2

My husband also reads my blog.  Last week when I posted about having the right tool for the job for Tutus 2sdays.  He laughed and said, “every time I pick up a vise grip, I think what a great sermon.”  I asked him “how so?”  He proceeds to tell me this little object lesson.  Which was pretty good, so I thought I would share with you.

A vise grip is used to grab ahold of a “vice” or problem.  You use this tool to help fix a problem, that maybe you couldn’t use another tool for.    A vice in your life is like a bad habit.  As our savior, Jesus is our “vise grip.”  He grabs hold of your sinful ways, gets a grip on them and “yanks” them right out.  We might have tried our own ways, a doctor’s advise, read a book about it – however, nothing can take away a “vice” like Jesus.

Ephesians 1:7-10 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Read more:

Something to think about.  Blessings from Wisconsin.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Wisconsin’s Winter Garden


Here in Wisconsin, our gardens and gardeners take a little break from gardening – but, not dreaming and planning for next Spring. 

I have to admit, I do love to feed my birds and enjoy watching them in the feeder.  The only problem is that feeding the birds also brings out other hungry critters.   Some of which I DO NOT want to feed in the Summer -


Last night we had 5 white tail deer under this feeder.  I didn’t have the camera handy. 


So, until warmer days….I’m hibernating in my house too.



Blessings from Wisconsin’s Winter Wonderland!

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Do You Juice?


We recently watched a documentary about juicing, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.”  I was so impressed with the information that I knew I wanted to juice.

I’ve always been the “chubby” kid.  I know part is genetics, part learned and part just laziness.  However, for over a year I have been trying to make better decisions about what I eat and to have more self discipline.  

So, I thought I would try this juicing.  We had a juicer, we’ve made apple/carrot juice.  I liked it, but never thought of juicing as a diet alternative.  So, I thought, maybe I would juice for breakfast (later I learned that it is best to drink your juice on an empty stomach), eat a salad for lunch and enjoy my regular dinner. 

To my surprise, I did NOT feel deprived and guess what I actually lost 5# last week.  I would NEVER think I could give up my coffee in the morning – I wasn’t even planning on doing that.  However, after I drink my juice, I don’t even want coffee – I’m so full.

As my regular followers know, I “buy out” estates for resale.  One recent farm estate gave me this minty gift – a vintage juicer – made in PA and stainless steel – works super!!!


From the documentary, I knew I would have to add greens to the juice.  Have you priced good greens at the store?  It was expensive.  So, I had an idea to stop in one of our many Asian food stores.  We have a large population of Hmong in my area.  WOW was I surprised at all the deals. 

I didn’t know what some of the greens were, as they were in bags labeled “greens.”  I am a gardener, but some of the greens I couldn’t identify.  I had fun with the little ladies in the store….”hey, what is this” I asked them….they giggled at me and said “you never had that…”  I think they had fun following me around and my asking them all the vegetables, greens and even fruit.  I would say “what is it like, eggplant, a radish” or whatever I thought the veggie looked like.  They would tell me the name they had for it and then tell me how they cooked it.  Many of the greens were “tops” to plants – you know the stuff we throw to our chickens or put in the compost pile.  I bought pea vines and broccoli tops, watercress, papaya, guava and a variety of other stuff I still haven’t tried.  I actually had a lot of fun and made some new friends.  If you haven’t gone to an Asian food store – I encourage you to go, especially if you want to save some money.

So this is what I juiced today:  kale, broccoli tops, pea vines, apples, Asian pear, carrot, beet, orange and guava.



Look at that color – it has to be good for you right?


Look at the pulp….our rabbits and chickens have had some good treats this past week!

I’m not one of those “health nuts” (I mean that in the nicest way….really I do), so if I can do this – anyone can do this!

If you juice and have some juicing recipes, I would appreciate your comment. 

Blessings from Wisconsin.

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