Saturday, January 31, 2009

BBQ Bacon Chestnuts

I know it is not Friday, but hey better late than never-right?! Gayle is again hosting her Recipe Swap which is on Fridays. Join in the fun or go check out the other great recipes from fellow bloggers.

My recipe this week would be perfect during your Super Bowl party or any other big game. These pack a lot of flavor in a small appetizer bite.

BBQ Bacon Chestnuts
2 cans of whole chestnuts
1 pound of bacon
Cut bacon strips into thirds and wrap around each chestnut securing with a toothpick. Place in a 9 x 13 and bake in a 350 * oven for 30 minutes. While baking, make the sauce.
Combine in a small saucepan. Heat through.
2 cups of ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
dash of worcestershire sauce
mustard to taste
When 30 minutes are up, drain fat from pan. Pour sauce over chestnuts and cover with foil. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thanks Miriam!

This is the Lovely Award. I received it from my blog friend Miriam. How neat is that? Thank you Miriam. Here is a description of the award from Miriam's blog. Which I think is really nice because I really like reading Miriam's blog. Go check it out! If you like reading my country stuff, go check out Miriam and her Country Cupboard

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers
aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in
self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons
of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.
Please give more attention to these writers."

If you check out this blog leave me a comment, and let me know what you would or would not like to hear about!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hi Mom

and Amy or somebody else I know. I noticed on Feedjit you were popping in...Berlin, WI I guess that's close enough for me. When I go onto the blog, my location comes up Mukwanago...isn't that by Milwaukee??

Leave a comment! Such as...your hair is pretty. Thank you.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday-Chicken Parmigiana with spaghetti, garlic bread or breadsticks, and salad

Tuesday-Hamburger helper and green beans (I'm feeling lazy, tired, cranky, stressed, etc : ) )

Wednesday-We will be coming home from my cousin's funeral so we will eat on our way back from the Dells.

Thursday-I have no inspiration this week...ahhh...Pork chops in golden mushroom sauce? Scalloped potatoes...looks good.

Friday-My version of Sweet n' Sour Chicken (no recipe, it's freestyle!) with rice

Saturday-Broiled haddock, oven fries, and coleslaw (did not have last week)

Go check out more menus at OrgJunkie

Friday, January 23, 2009

Snow Drifts

I was thinking of posting a summery recipe for the Recipe Swap, but who am I kidding. It is January in Wisconsin. We had our heat wave (mid to upper 20s) but now it's suppose to get pretty cold, again. Three of my friends and I had a cookie/candy exchange before Christmas and this was one of the candies made. I think they are appropriate to make this time of year. Plus they would fun and easy to make with kids.

Snow Drifts
24 oz white chocolate (chips or bark)
1/2 cup peanut butter
Mix in a large bowl:
3 cups Rice Krispies
2-3 cups mini marshmallows
2-1/2 cups Chow Mein noodles
Melt white chocolate and peanut butter together. Pour over the other ingredients. Mix well. Put on wax paper by spoonfuls. Cool and Enjoy.
Go check out the Gayle's Blog for more recipes!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Picture Day

Today we needed to picture four calves. It's not a big deal and it does not take long, but we have been putting this off for about a month. It is a matter of doing it because it is something extra. Oh and the best (I mean worst) part of picture day is the calves are dehorned. We have to get a picture of the calves for identification purposes. The picture is sent in with the application for registration with the Holstein Association.

Kurt got to do the dirty work and dehorn them. I helped move the calves back to their pens. I am so helpful! The extra work in the barn is not my thing. I'd rather be vacuuming, mopping, folding laundry, etc. My extra time in the barn means less Meghan time. I have complained to Kurt that he gets to come in the house and do whatever he pleases and I have work to do. I think it finally sunk in because he emptied the dishwasher and put the dishes away for me. Yesterday he cleaned the bathtub and shower. I can't complain too much, but sometimes a girl needs to whine a little.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Early Valentines Day Present

My present came early but I don't actually get it until the week after. If that picture is not showing up. I got tickets to go see Toby Keith February 20th. I have not seen TK, but the last time he was here we were busy...having a party in the barn. I'm not kidding. Every seven months our cows are "classified" (structurally given points and each area is worth a certain percentage the most a cow can get is 100 points-not sure if that has ever happened there are a few 97 and 96 point cows I know of) and we get them looking real pretty. The highest scored cow in the barn was 91 points. Classifying is a pretty big deal around our county and we are actually scoring February 5th. TK must like to come here when the cows are looking pretty or something.

It will be so nice to get away. My friend Sara is going to milk for us and everything! She actually milking for us this Saturday afternoon. What a luxury! Haha-not. Kurt thought we should do something fun because this may be the only fun thing we get to do for the rest of the year. Unless you lived under a rock, you know the economy went to hell in a handbasket. The cheese market did too (that determines the price we get for our milk). How many other professions would take a 50% pay cut? Farmers get the shaft about every two to four years. 2006 was the last time the price was rather crappy. Sorry to vent but the losest price we got for milk in 2008 was in December and apparently milk is suppose to get down to half that this year. If we got paid what grocery stores charged, we should get about $44 per hundred. The highest we got last year was $22 and the lowest $18. Yeah 50% of 18 is 9. Anyways, that is crap.

Have a Happy Wednesday : )

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One of Those Days

Since the post office was closed yesterday, I went on a bill paying spree today. Two of the bills I had to provide the envelope. No problem. I set the pile of paid bills near the door. They were all set, stamped and with return address labels.

Later that day after visiting the post office...I sat down at my computer to "work" and noticed something. What the heck...two checks for the envelopes I had to write out myself. Ugh, I don't remember sealing the envelope shut. I mailed out empty envelopes to Kurt's cousin and our bank. Atleast Kurt's name is the only one on return address label.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I honestly do not feel like cooking a thing this week. Last week, Kurt lived it up as I made beef tips with noodles and Swiss steak yesterday. That takes a lot out of a girl especially the dishes! I tried my best to come up with painless (read-not so many dirty dishes) suppers.
Monday-Impossible Cheeseburger Pie (this is a Bisquick recipe that I hear is really tastey)
Tuesday-Ring boloney, saurkraut, potatoes, and sweet corn
Wednesday-Tacos with some chicken flavored rice
Thursday-HHCs (grilled hot ham and cheese) and tomato soup
Friday-Haddock, oven fries, and maybe coleslaw
Saturday-We are having dinner with some extended family so supper will probably be a lovely frozen pizza.
For other super menu plans check out OrgJunkie
Once again it's smushed together...that bugs me if you could not tell....grrr

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Swiss Steak

I need to tell you I finally made the Beefy Lentil Vegetable soup. I don't know about you, but I am hesitant to try new recipes. Especially recipes containing ingredients I am unfamiliar with such as lentils. What the heck is a lentil? I figured it was a legume-like grain. To me they look like a flat soybean with a greenish tint. I noticed Gayle used in lentils in her menus and it peeked my interest because they seemed rather virsatile.

I had Kurt and Mac try this, but I could only get them to eat a spoonful. I still enjoyed it. More for me! I hope you take a leap of faith if you have never used lentils in a recipe. I very rarely make soup recipes because I'm afraid they are not going to taste good or not turn out or something silly.

Back to the recipe at hand. I promised a recipe for Swiss Steak. I will try my best to deliver.

Swiss Steak

Cubed steak or top round steak tenderized


beaten egg (s)

saltine cracker crumbs

Golden mushroom soup

celery and onions

Amount on meat depends on how many servings you would like to prepare, which then dictates how much of the other ingredients you will need as well. This recipe is no fail, honest.

Coat pieces of meat with flour on both sides. Dip in beaten egg then coat with saltine cracker crumbs. In a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil melted together, brown meat on both sides. In a roaster, crockpot, or dutch oven put chunks of celery and slices of onion. This is only for flavor, but may be eaten as well. Layer browned meat over vegetables. Pour Golden mushroom soup over the top. You may need to use two cans of soup or add water to the bottom. There needs to be an ample amount of liquid because this is going to cook for a couple of hours and you do not want it to dry out.

Cook in a 300 degree oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The longer the better my mom says. Or in a crockpot for 4 to 6 hours on low, but the longer the better. I like to put the gravy over mashed potatoes. This is one of my favorite meals that my mom makes and now it is something I can make as well. Kurt and Mac love it too. I think we are going to have it Saturday, I can't wait. I hope you like it as much as we do. Check out more great recipes over at Gayle's Recipe Swap

Monday, January 12, 2009

Life in a Northern Town

What do you talk about? We talk about the weather. It changes and that is a big deal to us. By Thursday, we are projected to see the coldest weather we have had in 15 years. Um yeah, Thursday we have to appointments to go to and probably a store or two. School will probably be cancelled. The high for Thursday is -2. That is the high! Stay put in your warm house that is the smart thing to do. It is dangerous being exposed outside for too long because you can get frostbite or hypothermia quickly.

Last week I did not leave the house and today I went someone where three times. That's farming and poor planning. I had to go pickup a different size of belt for the silo unloader. The unloader is what makes the haylage, corn silage, or high-moisture corn able to get out of the silo so we can feed it to our animals. Kurt was up in the silos greasing them so they work properly in the upcoming weather. Good thing he did because the belts in our big silo needed to be replaced. We are as ready as you can be for the cold.

I went grocery shopping for a few odds and ends. I was going to go tomorrow, but Kurt said go today and gave me the checkbook. That was all the confirmation I needed. I scored a spiral-sliced half ham for 99 cents a pound. I have Kurt's cookies in the oven. I also had to move some food that usually resides in our pantry to the dining room. The pantry is not insulated and I'm not sure the original use of the room, but I made it my pantry when I moved in here. It is on the north side of the house and I started to worry when it was below freezing. Is it okay if canned goods freeze? I'll have to move those in next. I brought anything in a plastic container into the dining room.

I picked up a book from the library today not that I'll have time to read for awhile. I have two months of bookwork to do. Not difficult it is a matter of sitting down and doing it. I think my last sheet of cookies are about done and Kurt headed out to milk. I must get mooooving. Haha, I'm too funny : )

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

My goal last week was to not go grocery shopping and I accomplished that feat. But I went on Saturday and to me the week ended on Friday. I know that's not totally correct but I'm going with it. Besides did I mention I had not left home since Jan 2? Friday I got to make the big trek into town, all 3 miles. I mentioned previously about few resolutions I made. I'm very proud of myself. So far I have not pulled through a drive-thru. Yea me! I have been trying to curb my fascination of going out to eat and drive-thrus by making whatever my heart desires. Seems simple to me. I control the ingredients but I get what I want. I made stir-fry even though my family does not care for it. They had leftovers and now I have leftovers to take care of that craving. I also did not make Beefy Lentil Vegetable Soup because I did not have a key ingredient (vegetable/tomato juice) and I did pick it up at the store.
Omlets or eggs, sausage links or bacon, hashbrowns, toast
Cereal, grapefruit or orange
Waffles, frozen (I bought)
Pancakes, frozen (I made)
Swiss Steak (recipe later this week), mashed potatoes, and corn
Manwhich or hamburgers, baked beans, and potato chips
Tips with noodles and corn
Sliced apples
Granola bars
Cheese and crackers
Not sure why it's all scrunched together again. Sorry it's not very pleasing to the eye. Go check out more great meal plans at OrgJunkie!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kurt's Favorite Cookie

I was not sure what recipe to share with you all this week. This is a favorite with my husband and daughter. I usually double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. The cookies go so fast in our house. I think it is a farmer thing because I have not met a farmer who does not love cookies. Seriously when Kurt and I were married he told me I needed to make sure there were cookies in this house at all times. On occasions the poor baby has gone without, but he deals with it just fine knowing I can easily whip these up. I also have to put some of the dough in a little container so he can eat just plain raw dough. If you are like me and don't care for making cookies, these make great bars in a 9 x 13 pan. Check out other great recipes over at the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cream following together
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Combine in a separate bowl
3-1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine dry and wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 until lightly browned on a cookie sheet. Enjoy!

Cabin Fever It's Coming

I have lived in Wisconsin my entire life and can not remember having such a constant stretch of bad weather in winter. (Last year, does not count-we had a record snow fall=a lot of snow) I'm not complaining but it has been one snowstorm after another. I prefer the ground covered I have not left my driveway since last Friday. Saturday night freezing rain came down and iced everything over.

Kurt made a path on the ice with a mixture of lime and starter fertilizer. Now if you pay attention to cash cropping/commodities you know fertilizer is through the roof. The price is ridiculous. Roughly it's a $1,000 per ton right now, but "normal" cost has been between 200-400 a ton (don't quote me on that). So here we are using leftover starter which burns through the ice to make a dimpled path. The milkman appreciated the path so we would not kill himself getting out of his truck. I told him that was fertilizer and jokingly told him "We are the Rockefellers of farming." Since we could afford to throw it on the ground, which is not true but who doesn't like to live in a dream world-right?!

The cows are finally going to go outside today. Yesterday we got about two inches of snow so it is packed down and they will be able to walk on that. This cow dips her head in a snow bank each time she goes out. Her name is Salena and she had a heifer (girl) calf December 2nd named Sabrina.

Here is what our driveway looked like before the snow. The photo in my header is our driveway and it's a different view. You can definetly tell it is icy in this shot.

Miscellaneous babble...I started taking the ornaments off my tree (finally). I have two months of bookwork that needs to be done in a week. I made peanutbutter balls. Why? Because my husband likes them and I have extra dipping chocolate to use up. I have milk and dark chocolate. I'm not sure if we'll make it to our family's Oyster Stew Potluck Christmas Party on Saturday. We are suppose to get six to eight inches of snow starting around Friday afternoon.

Since I have been trying to use up items from my pantry, I thought I would make homeade macaroni and cheese and add chicken and broccoli to it. Does that sound good? Maybe just the broccoli? I want to get rid of the macaroni noodles since I know I've had them awhile. I usually use spaghetti or egg noodles if I made a pasta. Pioneer Woman's Penne a-la-Besty kicks butt too. Yum! I took some pics of my pantry, not too impressive but it works. I share them with you later along with the before and after painting pics from when I moved in.

Check back tomorrow for my recipe. It's even a surpise to me!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random Thoughts and Photos

Here is my daughter and niece. I swear my niece looks like my brother's best friend. She's too cute to belong to our family. Haha! I'm just teasing she looks different in every picture. I think she's like her Aunt Meghan who was a little moody too when she was a 2-1/2 year old.

Then there is this dimpled, brown-eyed cutie! Have I told you she's my God-daughter? I'm so proud! She is a little dumpling and is only four pounds less than her sister (the 2-1/2 year-old). My first niece was born two months early that is why she's so small yet. She is quite the little meat eater. At Christmas, she kept saying, "More meat Mom." Too cute! When we were getting ready to leave, she was saying, "Bye. See your later. Have fun." Then she had her mom's camera and was saying, "I take your picture." Talk about bad birthcontrol. Being around these two causes me to go in overdrive Mommy-mode. My almost seven-year-old thinks I'm nuts. Enough baby talk...hopefully someone will have a baby announcement this year on their blog. Ahhem! I get so excited about babies. Our milk tester is pregnant, she told me yesterday. Now I'm thinking I must make her something with my sewing machine. Since I have not done a thing with it but get it out of it's box.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday- Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Monday-Spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread (Did not make from last week)

Tuesday-Beefy Lentil Vegetable Soup I have never made lentils before so hopefully I get up the courage to make this. It sounds great.

Wednesday-Leftovers from previous suppers.

Thursday-Cheeseburger macaroni (HH-my daughter's request)

Friday- Generic shake 'n bake chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans

Saturday-Frozen pizza, we have a family gathering in the middle of the day so I'm sure we'll be full from that.

Check out other meal plans here

Friday, January 2, 2009

Crispy Ranch Chicken

We are having this for supper tonight. It is easy and extremely hard to ruin. The recipe comes from my family's cookbook and the original name is Hidden Valley Chicken Bake. I hope you enjoy it. Check out more great recipes at the Recipe Swap.

Crispy Ranch Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
3 tbsp flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 packet Ranch dip/dressing mix
1 cup bread crumbs
1-1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 400*. Coat chicken with flour. Combine milk and eggs in a bowl. Dip chicken in the egg mixture. Combine Ranch mix, bread crumbs, and cheese. Divide this mixture in half and reserve for later use in the refrigerator (or double the recipe). Coat chicken with crumb mixture. In the preheated oven, melt 2 tbsp of shortening and butter in a 9 x 13 pan. Place chicken in pan and drizzle with the remaining butter. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Goals AKA Resolutions for the New Year

Every year I personally set some goals for myself. Normally they are not formally announced or make to paper. I keep it all up this fabulous head of mine. It is a daunting task but it can be done. This year though I thought I would share my list of goals with anyone who finds my blog interesting enough to read it. Thank you! Without you, there would not be a list! You are making me own up to my goals and I will now be accountable to you. I hope you are up to, here we go...

  • Be Healthier/Lose Weight

This has always been at the top of my list. Cutting out the going out to eat will hopefully help this (see next goal). I think this goal being accomplished ties in with the other goals I will tell you about. Otherwise I have diagnosed myself as chronically chubby. After I met Kurt, I slowly gained G-U-L-P 40 pounds. Um yeah, I know!! Was happiness? Or was it eating late at night and usually once a week at a restaurant later at night? All I know is enough is enough. Did I mention I lost three pounds? I had my yearly checkup and I had lost 3 whole freaking pounds. What is that like a quarter of a pound a month? Please don't be jealous of me, I'm a freak of nature. My treadmill and I have come to an agreement too. When we are done milking three times a day, we will renew our relationship and the sparks will fly.

  • Make Meal Planning a Priority

Another conjuncting goal with this is, to use the food I already have in my pantry. When I grocery shop, I buy based on what is on sale. That is the base of my shopping and I buy items we must have today or else besides the normal bread and milk (which is sometimes on sale). Now I have this wonderful stockpile and instead of gazing at it from afar, I need to start utilizing it (so I can buy more, duh jk). Just a side note, expiration dates do not scare me. I use them as guidelines, but I definetly do not trust them regarding eggs. If you want to know if an egg is bad, fill a glass or pan or something that will hold water. If the egg floats in the water, it is bad and if it stays at the bottom it is yours forever (or until floats). This test has never failed me yet.

  • Be More Organized

Milking the cows three times a day limits my "free" time more than it ever did on twice a day milking. I feel like I'm doing alright getting my chores done in the house, but I think I can do more. Business filing has piled up and needs attention soon. I would also like to have a rummage sale this spring (haven't had one in a year and half). Due to my "blossoming" after I met Kurt some of my clothes could be gotten rid of or sold on Ebay (maybe, never done this).

  • Pay Down Debt/Buy only What We Need

This is self-explanatory. I went really nuts after the 2007 Christmas buying clearance items plus I CVSed like a crazy woman. I have over 20 bottles of dish soap, 20 something Electrasol (Target deal), lots of paper towels (we use in the milkhouse), 12 bottles of laundry detergent, and our tolietries are well-stocked. Kurt and I want to buy a different farm and we are working our tails off to hopefully get there. That is why we are milking three times a day incase I did not tell you. Trust me, we wouldn't do it if there was not a reason.

These are my main goals and I'm sure they are similiar to most peoples. I was just looking over my list and my other random goals are to get out of bed earlier. Ahhh what a goal. If Kurt only knew what I was aspiring to be. For the month of January, no eating out. Kurt does not know I have that goal, but he thinks we spend $200 a month eating out. He is nuts. We are lucky if we come close to $75. Hopefully your goals can be attained as well as mine.

Happy New Year

It's a new year and the best way to start it is with a GIVEAWAY! That is exactly what Erin is doing over at her BLOG. She is giving away a SmartShopper and boy is she ever a smart shopper herself. She manages to grocery shop for a year using $800. She is full of great tips, recipes, and ideas. Go check her out and enter her giveaway!

Happy New Year!