Monday, December 22, 2014

2 Soups for You!

With Christmas around the corner and winter weather here, there have been parties and soup has been the main course. I have had a few requests for these recipes (Tomato Basil Parm Soup & Stuffed Pepper Soup)  They have been adapted from a variety of recipes and made to fit what I like.

 Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (14 oz) can Italian style diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup flour
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used the kind already done, that you put on spaghetti)
½ cup butter
1 cup half and half, warmed
1 c. milk
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and  leaf to a large slow cooker (Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hour) or in a stock pot and cook until carrots, celery, and onions were tender.
At this point I added all of the vegetables to a blender and blended until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier texture you can leave it as is or even blend just some of it. Return blended veggies back to the slow cooker.
About 30 minutes before serving prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add the flour. Stir roux constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

 Stuffed Pepper Soup

FYI!!! For this soup I used the leftover Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup to thicken and in place of some of the tomato products suggested


1-2 lb (however meaty you want it!) lean ground beef
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion chopped (1 cup)
1 can roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with onions
1 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5) can beef broth
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 cup uncooked long grain white 
Cheddar or mozzarella cheese, for serving (optional)


In a large pot heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, once hot add beef to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally while breaking up beef, when beef is nearly browned at  onions and garlic until browned. Drain beef and return to pot.

Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth and add parsley, and oregano  then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a light boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.This is where I added in the leftover soup.
While soup simmers, prepare rice according to directions listed on package, then once soup is done simmering stir in desired amount of cooked rice into soup*. Serve warm topped with optional cheese and garnish with fresh parsley.
*For a thinner soup don't add all of the rice and for a thicker heartier soup add it all. Also, if you plan on having it for leftovers the next day then don't add the rice to the pot of soup, just add it to each individual bowl, then reserve the rice in a separate container in refrigerator to add to the soup the next day (otherwise it would turn into mush).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

101 Update

I see quite a few bloggers doing updates for there 101 in 1001. I have never done an update,  since mine will end in 1 month and 1 day I thought I better get to focusing on checking a few more off the list!

Some will be done by Jan 17, others won't happen, and then there are a handful that are no longer applicable.

Here is my recap:
I have fully completed 27  and have another 8 in progress. I plan to finish those, bringing me up to 35 done at a 34.6% success rate. If this were put into terms of treatments for an illness, % of tread left on my tires or a test score I would have a huge problem with it.

With that being said, I have to knock of a few more. Here are 10 that WILL HAPPEN!!!

End Date: January 17, 2015
15. Eat at 10 new restaurants and blog about them ( I am at 4/10 with about 6 sitting as drafts)19. Complete 10 Pinterest projects 5/10 34. Save $5 for every goal completed (as of now that would be $135)
35. Write 20 thank you cards 13/2037.Send 12 birthday cards 5/12 49. Maintain blog for 1 year.69.Make a T-Shirt Quilt ( I am hosting a class series at work starting in Jan and ending in April)91. Arrange 6 ladies nights 3/698 Read 5 books 4/5 (1/2 way through #5)101. When this list is complete start another one

10 That won't Happen
3. Attend K-State vs Baylor football in Waco (its already passed, I could have gone, but made the conscious decision not to!)6. Travel to Vegas for NFR(its already passed,)17. Go snow skiing21. Tile kitchen22. New carpet in the living room24. Redo the bathroom42. Read the Bible ( highly unlikely to read that much in 31days)45. Have 50 attendees to 3D (30, but close)(its already passed,) 53 Run a 5K54. Get to my ideal body weight, and maintain for 6 months

Here is the hope.....I have 54 hanging out there in limbo, I get really serious and knock out 1/2 of those. Lets be honest, its December, its Christmas time, its the Holidays!  We shall see.
Come back on Jan 18, 2015 to see what I completed

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for Agriculture

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may you be blessed and have a full stomach.

 I am so thankful for my family that makes up those Farmers & Ranchers that help feed us everyday, not just on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas in the Country 2014

Last year I was seeing all of these posts about great locally bought or handmade gifts other bloggers were receiving as part of the Christmas in the Country 2013. Since I missed hearing about it in '13,  I hoped that the ladies who hosted last year would do it again in 2014.....and they are!!

This year I am not going to miss out on the fun! 
To sign up, hop on over to one of the following blogs:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: $142 savings

Have you ever been to a Goodwill Outlet? Well, I had quite the experience at one, 2 weeks ago while in Oklahoma City. Let me tell you about this crazy venture.

Just ask any of my friends, I like a good thrift store. There is always some treasure. The group of us were driving along in OKC and saw a HUGE Goodwill, so we decided to stop. All thoughts were that this was a typical Goodwill....we were WRONG, big time wrong.

Inside were bins of stuff, piled high with clothes, purses, curtains, stuff...more so on the "junk" side of things. You buy by the pound! The rest of the group refused to walk around, they just sat by the door people watching.

No organization, just piles. I was not to keen on this idea, yet it kinda was interesting. Then, there was this wall about 20ft long with shelves that were being stocked with plastic tote tubs chucked full. I went to check it out and was barked at saying "this area is closed!" What?! I am totally lost by now. I decided to ask one of the few friendly looking faces what the deal was. He told me they place about 50 tubs on the shelves then open the area. About this time the staff said, "GO"
All ___ broke loose. People were diving, pushing, elbowing, and grabbing anything they touched. Black Friday has nothing on this folks! I decided to try and check out a box = bad idea.  I was pushed to the side and people started using me as a step ladder.

I retreated quickly, but not before grabbing something that looked kinda cool. I realized I didn't have all the parts, so I went back quickly when people weren't around. Yes, it sounds like I was scared, probably because it was a tad intimidating. Finally, when I thought I had all the parts we decided to get the heck out of there.

Check out time, with what seems to be a coffee grinder.
Total: $1

When I was back home I decided to clean it up and then do a little research.
Look what I found. .............
Retail $143

SCORE! So the stop was worth while. 

Goodwill Outlets won't be a regular stop for me, but definitely something people should try once...while wearing a helmet and football pads!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I moved....

To town that is! I never (again, never say never) thought that would happen. I grew up on a farm, and have always lived in the country until a year ago. Wow, I can't believe its been 1 year this month since I moved to town.

Taking my new job was too far from our family farm (over 1 hour drive) and one of the hiring requirements was to live within the 2 counties I would be working with/in.  I was given 6 months to find a place.

Finding a place to live for one person in a small town is harder than I thought it might be. Growing up near a college town, 1 bedroom apartments were common. I finally (5 months later)  found a studio apartment in a historic limestone building.

I really and truly liked this little place!
 Less space ,means less to clean and less room to fill with "stuff"
This too means, less craft space :(

I was content with my little studio apartment when a duplex closer to work opened. The rent was only $20 more and I would gain an extra bedroom, dining room, and garage. The garage happened to be too small for my vehicle but perfect for crafts & storage. So, I made them move, some days I want to go back to less space to deal with, but I think my duplex is perfect for now.

Things are different in town, not always bad but definitely different. This also explains why my post have been less and the topics are not as "country" as they were before. My job keeps me crazy busy so less time has been devoted to blogging and I am not on the farm daily. However, I am still involved in agriculture on a daily basis. Again, different but not always bad!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Roasted Honey & Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

This is a perfect fall recipe, well actually its just a perfect recipe for anytime of the year! But with fall being around the corner if you need a little help getting in the spirit try these.
I adapted it from Buns in my Oven blog 


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
*All seasonings can be adjusted according to taste, this is what I went with and the family LOVED them!!


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the honey, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
Dump potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crockpot Southwestern Style Chalupas

Last Thursday we had a little cold spell so I kinda started to get excited about crockpots, soups, and all things Fall.

I had been waiting to try a recipe I found called "Southwestern Style Chalupas"
I ended up totally revamping the recipe, starting with the serving size. I really didn't' feel like I wanted to be eating this for a week straight so I downsized the recipe.

1 (2lbs) pork loin
1 can  black/pinto beans ( I used black eyed peas)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1c. water
1 (16 ounce) package corn chips

1.            In a slow cooker, combine pork, chili peppers, chili powder, cumin seed, oregano, garlic salt, pepper, and water. Cover, and simmer on Low for 4 hours.
2.            Shred meat, removing any bones and fat, add beans Cover, and continue cooking for 2 to 4 more hours. Add more water if necessary.

3.            Place corn chips on serving plates. Spoon pork mixture over chips, and serve with desired toppings.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Iowa State Fair 2014

As Kansas is about to kick off their state fair tomorrow it reminded me I should post about my trip to the Iowa State Fair. I am behind (as usual with blogging).

Disclaimer * we went on the last Saturday of the fair,(+) which is held in the largest city in Iowa= packed, crazy, not easy to see anything, etc*

With the way things went that day, we didn't get to the fair until about 5pm, another crazy choice. Parking, well that's a "fun" challenge. After parking on a random side street we walked the 5 block(surprisingly close) to the entry. Hungry, I thought the first thing I wanted to do was get something fried or unique to Iowa's Fair.

How about a Double Bacon Corn Dog!

Next stop of course had to be the livestock barns.
The Avenue of Breeds was AWESOME! End of story, just plain awesome. 
I like unique/heritage breeds to this was right up my Avenue, ok sorry about the lame joke. 
 The draft horses warming up and moving from barns to show arenas was something that made everyone stop and watch. Brought me back to the days when my family had Belgiums
We watched an llama futurity show, checked out the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds,stopped by the largest boar pen, (he weighed in at 1,400lbs),  visited a few western clothing booths, and spent at least an hour in the 4-H exhibits building. So impressed by what young people are making, creative & talented!

The buildings at the fair grounds are very impressive, and even more so to think they were built just for the fair! 
The Ag Building, originally build in 1904
You can check out this picture and others showing the amazing architectural buildings of the fair at Blue Ribbon Foundation.

Of course we had to check out the Butter Sculpture in the Agriculture Building

As we were getting ready to walk out the gate there was the Exotic Petting Zoo. Pretty happy we stopped :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Roasted Balsamic Green Beans with Parmesan

These are quite tasty and a perfect way to use all those green beans in the garden or those frozen ones from my previous tutorial 

Recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen via Pinterest
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (you can use canned)
1 lb. fresh green beans, or frozen 
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450F. Wash mushrooms and let drain.While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces.  Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture. Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Sprinkle with salt & pepper

Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated. 

 Sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Friday, August 8, 2014

National Zucchini Day & Recipe

So, I heard through the grape Zucchini "vine" that today is National Zucchini Day.

It has always been a joke in our family & community about giving away this veggie. When going to church everyone was told to roll up your windows and keep your doors locked, to keep the....... Zucchini out.  I ran across this cute idea and if we had a plant that was producing like crazy  or if I even had Zucchini growing at my place I think I would do this.
Image & idea from Mavis Garden Blog
How fun would this be to come home to???
If you have more Zukes than you can handle or arrive at home with these on your door, try this recipe. I made this with Hubbard Squash in  previous post but works great with Zucchini!

Happy National Zucchini Day!

Friday, August 1, 2014

National Women Farmer Day

The best examples of women farmers I can think of are the ladies in my family (past & present), Thank you to those tough and amazing women who have gone before us and  grandma and mom! You ladies have set a wonderful example for me!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

County Fair Survival Kit

Fair season is upon us!
My mom stumbled upon these adorable "County Fair Drinking Jar" Mason jars.
 Too cute to just leave at the store so we had to figure out something to do with them. I told her to just buy a "few" and we will figure out something. 

Well this came to me......" County Fair Survival Kit"

 Fairly inexpensive and quick to throw together. I had the basic supplies and just picked up the rest at Dollar Tree or Walmart. 

What supplies I used: 
-Brown Craft Filler
-"4-H" Green Raffia

What is in the kit
-Jolly Ranchers
-Binder Clips
-Chap-Ice Lip Balm
-"4-H" Green Mints

I had more ideas but need to save something for next years kit!

Below is the label I created. 

 I was really please how they turned out (especially in the 10min I took to do it all!) the recipients loved them!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pinterest Test: Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Oh My, this is good! I think this would be a perfect 4th of July salad. Especially with county fairs upon us, this reminds me of the grilled ears of corn you can't resist.
Photo and Recipe from here
8 ounces radiatore pasta
1/3 cup mayonaisse
1/3 cup sour cream
zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon chile powder, plus more for dusting top
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus more for serving
3 cups corn cut from grilled corn on the cob (3-4 ears)
1 diced avocado
1/4 cup chopped green scallions
1/2 cup Cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro (or parsley or basil)
coarse salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente in plenty of salted boiling water.
  2. Meanwhile whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and creamy.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and add to a large bowl with a tiny bit of the dressing - toss to coat, cover and refrigerate until cool.
  4. Once cooled mix in the corn, avocado, scallion, both cheeses and the cilantro. Add the dressing a little at a time tossing gently to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve chilled or at room temperature with a dusting of chile powder and lime wedges.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Heifer Watch

I was dragging this morning at work. Yes I had my cup or 2 of coffee, but late nights on calving watch can take it out of you. A few years ago I spent a 2 days with a friend at their place for calving. Not sure how we were so lucky with getting the heifer shift, but we did. Every few hours we were up; in the cold and snow. In that situation you leave your snuggly pjs on and pull coverall over that top. You get a few hours of sleep where ever you can: couch, recliner, floor and then up again to check. Last night really wasn't bad as we only have one more heifer to go. As I was out there watching her progression, I thought to myself how lucky I am to live this lifestyle, even if it means I look and feel tired the next morning.

Not the greatest pictures, it was pitch black last night.
 Heifers spend more time in labor and more time giving birth than mature cows.
Contractions initially occur approximately every 15 minutes. Then they progress to more frequent and longer. I could tell she was trying.
The sign of the second stage of labor is the expulsion of the water bag, as you can see in these pictures. When you see this, she should calve within a few hours.
I decided to go back into the house for 30 min, not thinking she would have it then.....but she did. I was rather disappointed that I missed the whole process, as I was hoping to "document" it for blogging sake.

Here is the little thing this morning, healthy and happy! Momma is licking and caring for her new calf.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Theme Thursday: Easter Tree

A few months back I mentioned there was a tree in my county that is decorated monthly with a theme. This month of course is Easter.

I met the "owner" and decorator this past Friday. I was with a community member headed to visit a local dairy and she said,"Right up there on the left is the dairy."  I exclaimed, "The one by the Theme Tree!?!"
 "Yep, that's the place,"  she said with a chuckle. When I met the decorator, I told her to keep it up and how I enjoyed the changing themes!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Give me a home where the buffalo roam.............

A week ago I helped host a group tour with members from across the U.S. One of the stops was a preserve that has a small herd of bison/buffalo. The herd is cared for by a local rancher and we were told that the buffalo recognize the feed truck the rancher has.  Well apparently its a Dodge. As we started to drive through the pasture the buffalo started running toward us.  
I was a little bummed that I was sitting in the middle and couldn't get as many or the quality of pictures I wanted. 

I think they would have eaten out of our hands, they came right up to the windows....very neat. 

 I mite have been more excited than some of the visitors in our group. 

This picture looks like its straight out of "Dances with Wolves" doesn't it?

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Mexican Bierock

This is like the Mexican version of a bierock. Again, what does my picture not look as good as the original one here with the recipe? Anyway, don't let the picture stop you from making these!

I will admit the filling and folding of the bun was the most difficult part but once you get the hang of it.....

1 package of refrigerated biscuits- I used whole wheat, but I think the corn ones would be awesome. 
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(1) 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temp
4 tbsp melted butter- skipped this to save on a few calories :)

1. Brown the ground beef and crumble.
2. Drain fat from meat.
3. Add taco seasoning and prepare as stated on the packet.
4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add cream cheese and salsa.
5. Blend with with mixer until smooth.
6. Roll out biscuits so they are flat and somewhat thin.
7. Spread 1 tbsp cream cheese mixture onto the biscuit.
8. Add a spoon full of taco meat on top of the cream cheese mixture.
9. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
10. Seal edges and place on a greased cookie sheet.
11. Repeat with all biscuits.
12. Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter.
13. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.
14. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Enchilada Pasta-One Pan Wonder

Wow this is good. I found the original recipe here, and then did some tweeking. My picture doesn't look as good as the original picture, but it tastes amazing and that's what matters. My family wanted to keep eating and eating, but decided they didn't need to over-stuff themselves on this tasty dish.  
It is simple and quick which is great in my life. I partially cooked the pasta while I was browning the meat to speed up the process even a little more. 

  • 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a small onion, diced
  • 1.25 pounds of taco seasoned ground  meat (beef, turkey, pork, your choice)
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 19oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 8oz (about 2 1/2 cups) of dried pasta (any kind works, I partially cooked this to speed up the process) 
  • 1 cups of freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • green onions
  • black olives
  • Optional add ins: corn, black beans, green chili
  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil over medium low heat until softened.
  2. Add ground  meat and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until browned.
  3. Once  meat is cooked through, add pasta, chicken broth and enchilada sauce to pan.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduced heat to low and cover.
  5. Cook on low, with pan covered for about 15 minutes.
  6. Then remove lid and let simmer for additional 5 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce has reduced.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese & salsa.
  8. Top pasta with additional cup of cheese and melt under broiler for a minute or tow, or place lid back on pan and let heat from the pasta melt the cheese.
  9. Garnish with black olives and green onions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words of Wisdom: Hold on!

I have been busy with work , in a blogging slump, and trying to sort out a few things in life..... so I think this is what I needed today, and maybe some of you out there need it too!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A John Deere Green Wedding

I really must blog more, I have so many pictures I have taken and ideas I want to share. I have a feeling it is going to get pretty random.  A friend of mine Kelsey was married in true country style. Here are some fun county wedding and decor items from the big day!

My mom and I were driving to this field wedding, carefully following the included directions. Passed a parked tractor, no biggie,didn't seem too out of place. "Hey, did that tractor have writing on the windows?" "Ya, maybe it did," said my mom. Put the vehicle in reverse....yep sure did. What a fun way to mark the turns to get to location.

My favorite part (the picture does absolutely NO justice) was the bale feeder entrance. 

Then it was off to the reception, same cute country decor. 

Love the brands on the cuts of wood. They also had wood slices for isle decor. 
Soybeans & Corn filled Mason jars...too cute. 

This was my gift to them. I think personalized gifts are the best.
 3-D free standing "P" with their names and date. 

You can check out Kelsey's Ag blog at Blessed to be a Farmer/Rancher