Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday #7

{one} if you won a trip to Disneyland/world, who would you take with you?
Would have to take our girls and the hubby

{two} when was the last time you listened to a CD?
Got one rolling right now and just about every time in the car

{three} what spice/seasoning is your favorite?
I love them all! Just depends on what I'm fixing.

{four} if you were in a band, what kind of music would you play?

{five} if you could have personally witnessed one historical event, which one would it be?
Do I have to pick just one? Will have to get back to you on this one.

{six} if you could go back to school, what would you study?
Well since I'm in school currently to get my teaching degree I will say education.

{seven} if you could go to one sporting event, all expenses paid, which one would you see?
Final game in the Stanley Cup finals... love me some hockey

{eight} do you drive an automatic or a manual?
We have both, just depends on which truck I hope in to go to town

{nine} are you comfortable speaking in front of people?
Yeah, as long as they are shorter than me, probably why I'm okay with elementary kids.

{ten} have you ever experienced an earthquake?
Yeah, 4. something when I was in college in Flagstaff Az. Never want to go through that again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Monterrey Tortilla Casserole

Week nights in most houses are busy times and let's be honest most of us do not have time to cook the kind of meal that we would love to serve to our family. That is why this recipe is great, it can be fixed ahead of time and then frozen for up to a month before cooking it. This can also be split into individual portions to put back for a time when you are gone and the hubby or the kids need a good dinner and no idea what to cook.

1 bag tortilla chips
2 cups cooked chicken shredded
1 cup frozen kernel corn
1 16 oz salsa verde (you can use regular salsa, but the green salsa tastes best I think)
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro (if you don't have it you can skip it and don't worry)
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese (or any mix of cheese) I always end up needing more cheese

The first step is the same no matter if you are fixing individual servings or one big one or plan on freezing it or cooking right away.

1) Combine the chicken, corn and salsa in a bowl. Stir together the sour cream and flour until well combined and then add chopped cilantro. Stir the sour cream mixture into the chicken mixture and stir until combined.

To make the casserole in one large dish, spray a 2.5 qt or larger casserole dish and layer with tortilla chips followed by the chicken mixture and some shredded cheese. Repeat the layers once more. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 or until the mixture is bubbly. Take off the foil add another layer of chips and the last of the cheese and bake uncovered until the cheese is melted.

Top with your favorite Mexican style toppings and enjoy.

The only change for individual servings would be to split the ingredients into four 10 to 12 oz oven safe dishes. Layer the dishes the same and cook the same also topping with chips and cheese the last 5 -10 minutes.

To freeze either the large casserole or the individual ones complete the recipe up to the point where you would put it in the oven, then freeze the casserole for up to month.
To cook the frozen casserole bake it covered at 350 degrees (do not preheat the oven as this lets the pan heat up gradually rather than quickly if it is glass) for 25 minutes. Uncover the casserole and cook another 20 minutes until bubbly, then top with the chips and cheese and cook until cheese is melted.

Hope you enjoy and as always change what ever you need to in order for your family to enjoy!


Finally found my cord for my camera and was able to down load the pictures that I have been taking of some new calves and our trip to the zoo and the new baby chicks so here are some and the rest will be in my pictures on Tales of a Rancher's Wife page on Facebook.

This little one was our first calf this year, born back at the start of Feb.

Here he is again, taking a rest by the water tank

Momma had to bring hers by the house to show off. She will bring every calf to below the barn every year.

Another little one out in the pasture

There are two calves in the picture, one so little you can only see a tiny bit of his back in the high sage brush.

The girls at the aquarium in Albuquerque

Finally got to see the polar bears swimming this trip

The latest addition to the ranch, my next batch of chickens. Some are for meat(yellow ones) and the rest are new egg layers

We are off this afternoon to get two young new bulls for the place so of course I will get pictures of them and share also. Haven't forgotten about the request for new recipes and casseroles that will freeze well are on the list, in fact that is what I'm working on next.
If you enjoy these pictures check out Fresh from the Farm and her Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday for more pictures of babies, farm life, ranch life and all things country.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday #6

{one} what was your first job?
Baby sitting for the neighbors across the street. Of course they are now grown and married

{two} have you ever seen a stand up comedian?
No, unless you count the funny things that are said around our kitchen table over dinner

{three} when was the last time you played mini golf?
I honestly could not tell you

{four} what was the last picture you took?
Took pictures just last Friday at the zoo and yes I will post them

{five} burnt food: yes or no?
Depends on how hungry I am

{six} if you have a pocket full of change, what do you do with it?
Put it in the change can when I get home.

{seven} can you touch your tongue to your nose?
No, but I can roll my tongue. Drives my oldest crazy as she can't

{eight} do you scrapbook?
Lord, no I have enough to do.

{nine} do you buy lottery tickets?
No, drives me crazy. Put a dollar in a jar for everyone you buy and see which one will get you more money faster....Sorry told you it drives me crazy

{ten} do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it?
Behind...that would explain why no pictures of me on my blog!.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ranchers and the Weather

Growing up and living in the city I never really gave much thought to the weather other than what the temp was going to be so I knew what to wear and if I needed a jacket or umbrella. Living where your livelyhood is dependent on the weather has changed my outlook on the weather.

Now the first thing I watch upon waking up in the morning and the last thing I watch before falling asleep is  the Weather Channel so I know what the day will bring. In the winter that means watching the radar to see if snow is coming, how much and for how long. Depending on how much snow is coming and for how long and how cold it will get determines how much extra forage food we will have to put out for the cows. Too much snow at once with extreme cold and we may have to bring the cows in closer to the house in order to even get food to them. Cold wet snow and cold weather during calving season can spell trouble on a ranch if it catches you by surprise. The one pay check a ranch gets a year is all based on the number of calves you are able to send to market. That means that even the loss of one calf in a snow storm effects our ability to pay for such things as food and clothes for our family and needed supplies for the ranch itself.

Winter isn't the only time of year that we watch the weather and worry about what it will bring. Spring in our neck of the woods means wind. I don't mean a nice little breeze that welcomes warmer weather to the area. I'm talking about winds that howl around 30- 35 mph steady and can gust up to 60-70 mph for days on end. Now I grew up in West Texas and Flagstaff, Az and if you have ever been through those areas in spring you know that I'm no stranger to wind. So what is the big deal with wind and a ranch in spring? Well two years ago at the end of winter and after all the snow melt had filled all the water tanks on the ranch full to over flowing, two months of constant wind dried them out completely. Not a drop of water was left in a tank on our entire spread by the end of April and the wet summer season would not start until July if we were lucky. That left us having to pump and haul water twice a day to drinkers set out all over the ranch. It takes time and money to run a well pump and a water truck all over so that our girls had water to drink. It is still hard to think about all that water, given to us during winter, was just gone in the wind. You don't get it back, it's gone.  That year was extra hard as the summer rains that could have helped out never came. Summer was spent watching for rain clouds that just never came.

Summer here can be feast or famine for water, as it is for many ranches in the southwest. This last summer we were blessed to be floating away for most of it, and I will tell you that we never complained once about the muddy roads or cloudy weather. For a rancher the idea that "Rain is a Good Thing" is not just a title to a song but the saving grace after a year of drought. Sometimes I think waiting and watching for the weather in summer is sometimes the hardest for ranchers, at least I know it is here. That is because while you want the rain after a long dry spell what you don't want is for a dry thunderstorm to come rolling in. Thunder and lightening and dry grass with no rain is not combination you want. But when that rain does come... it is magical. There is something about that first heavy rain after waiting so long for it to come. The smell of the rain on the dirt is stronger and sweeter, the coolness of the rain drops on your skin and the cleanness of the air after the storm has passed is so much sweeter for all dryness that came before it. Yeah, rain is a good thing when it comes, a very good thing.

Fall for us is the one time of year that it is quite on the ranch. The calves for that year are raised and have been sold. The heifers we are keeping are weaned off their momma's and back with the herd and the next crop of calves are months away from being born and safe inside their momma's still. As much of the world looks to fall as the end of seasons, for us it is almost a time of renewal. It signals the start of another cycle of growth and renewal. It is also the one time of year that we are not looking to the weather on a constant daily basis worrying about what it will bring. If we are lucky summer has left us with full tanks of water and winter has yet to make a grab upon the land.

While I grew up just looking at the temp for the next few days now I look at what is our chance for rain or snow, is the wind going to blow and just how cold is going to get overnight. No longer do I look to the weather for my own comfort and knowledge but for the comfort, survival and knowledge of the cows, calves, bulls and horses that put their care and lives in the hands of my family. So the next time you look at the weather report and wonder if it is warm enough to wear shorts outside, take the time to think about the farmers and ranchers watching the weather and wondering....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday #5

Okay, it is almost 5 in the evening and I just realized that it was Wednesday and I needed to do my Wee Bit of Me. So here it is.

{one} scruffy or clean shaven?
Scruffy, which is a good thing since the hubby has a long mustache and never shaves two days in a row..

{two} what’s your favorite sundae topping?
Um, not a huge fan of ice cream so I would say hot fudge as chocolate makes all things better.

{three} do you own slippers?
Yeah, our floors are cold in the winter and if you want to say warm slippers are a must.

{four} did you ever have a tree house?
No growing up in the military you aren't in one place long enough for that.

{five} how you do relieve stress?
Spring and summer I garden, fall and winter... well?

{six} what’s your favorite dr. seuss book?
Green Eggs and Ham... just don't ask me to eat them

{seven} have you ever taken dance classes?
No... I have two left feet and no sense of balance

{eight} which do you use more: the thesaurus or the dictionary?
thesaurus, hate using the same word over and over in my  papers for school.

{nine} what’s your favorite form of exercise?
Not a huge fan of exercise, I figure I'm busy enough as is without it, but if you call riding an exercise then that would be it.

{ten} what’s the longest you’ve ever waited in line?
30 minutes at the check out in Wal-Mart on payday weekend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday #4

{one} what color is your kitchen?
The walls are cream, cabinets wood and the little things are all red.

{two} do you have a good luck charm?

{three} do you prefer to write with a pen or pencil?
I'm just happy to find anything to write with! I swear we have a pen and pencil gnome in the house.

{four} can you use chopsticks?
Yeah, it's fun to watch the hubby try and use them though

{five} do you prefer baths or showers?
showers, who has time for a bath?

{six} what is your favorite salad dressing?

{seven} can you sing the alphabet backwards?
No, I'm lucky on a good day to remember it forward HAHA!

{eight} do you have any allergies?
Thankfully no

{nine} crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

{ten} have you ever hitch hiked?
No, I would like to live thank you very much.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Porcupine Meatballs

Okay, let me just start out by saying that this recipe is not made with Porcupine. It comes from my littlest ones description of the meatballs and the sauce. She was 3 at the time and it just stuck.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 envelopes Onion Mushroom Soup mix
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tablespoon flour

Egg noodles, mashed potatoes or your choice of pasta

Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and milk. Form into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan brown the meatballs. Combine soup mix, tomato paste, flour and water. Pour over the meatballs and finish cooking in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Serve over your choice of noodles or mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday #3

{one} do you wear holey jeans? if so, do you buy them that way?
Yeah I wear holey jeans, just try not to wear them into town, but that doesn't always work out. No I don't buy them like that, as they get there on their own fast enough.

{two} do you get a full 8 hours of sleep per night?
Depends on what time of year it is. If it is calving season, snow storms, branding, shipping or gathering I'm just thankful for what I get.

{three} what’s your favorite way to eat an oreo?
I will admit that I hate Oreo cookies. Never liked them even a kid.

{four} do you wear shoes in your house?
Yes other wise I would be taking off and putting on shoes all day long.
{five} who would you call first if you won the lottery?
an accountant!

{six} have you ever been in a food fight?
no and do not care to as I would probably be the one to clean it all up!
{seven} do you snore?
I have been told I snork… but no snoring. No I'm not even sure what the snork thing is about

{eight} do you know how fast you type?
Around 50 wpm, which is a good thing as I'm writing papers for school all the time.

{nine} can you do a headstand (without using a wall)?
no, even with a wall

{ten} how do you like your popcorn?
as long as it did not come out of a microwave and has butter I'm all over it.