Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

For Wordless Wednesday this week I'm showcasing my oldest daughters photography. All these pictures she took around the ranch.
Love the view from this one

This one is my favorite

Good job Bibble! You may just end up with a camera for Christmas after all. Will help keep mine from disappearing all the time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hunk of Meat Monday

 Here is my quest post for fellow blogger Pinke Post and her Hunk of Meat Monday series. Stop by her blog and check out life on the prairies of North Dakota.
Hunting season has hit our house in a big way this year. First it starts with me and dove season and then quickly moves on to archery season and now we are looking to the rifle deer season. This year is extra special as our oldest has her first deer hunting coming up in the next few weeks. Hoping to have plenty of pictures to post a great story to go with them in a few weeks!

 We have been scouting for a good buck for her and she has a few picked out that she wants to go after. So in honor of her upcoming hunt I’m sharing my recipe for Venison Stew which I am hoping to be able to make often this winter. I love nothing better than being able to open my freezer and pull out a package of venison to cook up, done right venison is tender, flavorful and can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Pretty much if a recipe calls for beef you can replace it with equal amounts of venison. The only thing to remember is that venison has very little fat so if you use it in a ground form it will not shrink down like ground beef.
Venison Stew
2 lb venison roast or tenderloin rinsed, drained and trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup carrots chopped
½ cup celery chopped
½ cup onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 potatoes chopped
½ cup red cooking wine
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire  sauce
1 tsp of each of the following spices: Thyme, Sage, Parsley, Oregano, Basil
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) In a cast iron dutch oven brown the venison. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until soft.
2) Add the potatoes, tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, Worcestershire sauce, spices and enough water to create the broth.
(Insert “stew picture” here)
Stir and bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook until the meat and potatoes are tender. You may need to add water as the stew cooks, do not let the broth get too low.

Serve with a salad and a good loaf of bread to use to pick up all the broth in the bottom of the bowl.
Here is hoping that your hunting season is successful. Get out there and take your kids with you, even the girls!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A quick update

Well the steers are all sold, other then the ones we are keeping to put in the freezer, the heifers are weaned and turned out with the cows and the bulls are in their winter pasture. That means that the "slow" season is upon us and that translates to hunting in this house. As I type this the hubby is out on his opening morning hunt for a deer and we are getting everything ready for our oldest daughters first deer hunt in a week and a half. Me I'm just waiting for duck and goose season later in the fall.
I have been keeping busy canning spaghetti sauce, salsa, pinto beans and pork and beans. Nothing I love more than putting up my own food to use through the winter. The weather is turning more and more to fall, with the nights getting cooler and the oak trees starting to turn. This next week will be a trip around the ranch looking for acorns to gather and the start of the search for the perfect Christmas tree. I know that it is still October, but if we start now we can all agree on one before Christmas is here!
Well I'm off for the day, oldest has a birthday party for a friend in town and I'm working on a baby blanket and bag for a friend who is expecting a baby soon.
I have also not forgotten the "after" pictures for the living room re-arrange. I did get the furniture moved and the fireplace partially done, just need to get my curtains up and then I will post pictures. Until then here are some pictures from when we sorted all the calves off back in September (I know I'm behind!)
Getting everyone set on what goes into each pen.

One of our heifers

Some more calves and some of the cows

The young man in this picture is one of our missionaries, Elder Totten that came out to help. This was all new for him as he is from Minnesota, but he jumped right in.

The steer calf in the middle did not want to be sorted so he decided to go hang out with the big boys.

The young man on the left is the other missionary Elder Huntsaker, but he was much more at home as he is from Utah and his uncle has a ranch and he grew up around cows.

All our girls, not happy about their babies being some where else!

Work almost done for the day and just in time for the weather to move in!

Elder Huntsaker helping to work the gates around the squeeze-shoot

Even Elder Totten got in on the action

Letting the last of the cow out.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and stop by Pinke Post on Monday to see my guest post and recipe for Venison Stew.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh my husband so should not have left today!

Okay, it has hit me... I want to re-arrange the furniture in the living room. It normally happens this time of year. I get board of how the furniture sits and I want to change things...and so I do. Well the hubby is taking a horse back to hid dad today so he is not home to complain about the shifting so when he does get back there is every chance that the living room will look nothing like it did before. I come by this desire to re-arrange naturally (Thanks Mom) and it shows no sign of letting up any time soon. Also it is time to set up my fireplace for fall and put up the curtains in the living room for the winter. I can't stand curtains normally but need them up during the colder months at night. So here are pictures of how the living room looks now and I will post new ones when I have all the furniture moved and the fireplace decorated. Wish me luck!
Okay here is the fireplace, my favorite thing in the room, would just love to get ride of the steer head above, but no such luck. He has been there for about 30 years and looks to be going no where soon.

The sofa came with the house and it is still part of the house just for the simple fact that new furniture cost money and it gives no return back. So until I figure out how to convince the hubby that a new sofa is a ranch investment it will stay.

This is the part that I hate, again the chairs came with the house and here they stay. I'm thinking of trying to cover them, but that the least they are getting moved.

I hate trying to balance a fireplace and a tv. Which one do you face or do you split and try to face both? All I know is that the TV is not getting moved.
  Well I'm off to re-arrange and put up my fall stuff. Will post back when I have everything done. Just hoping that it looks different by the time that I'm done!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Well it is feeling like fall here finally. The days have turned cool and damp and there is even a chance of snow on Friday. Not sure that I am ready for that yet, but we will see what comes of it.
With this cooler weather comes my increased need to bake and cook. My favorite things to bake this time of year is anything that contains pumpkin in the recipe: breads, muffins, cookies, pies, soups, you name it. Today was Pumpkin Spice Bars. These are yummy little gems of goodness. By the time they are done cooking your house will smell wonderful and they taste even better. Taking a bite of them is like getting a bit of only the filling in a pumpkin pie, which in my opinion is the best part!
Now this original recipe was not of my creation, but I have changed it over time and think that it is even better than the original. Not to mention, healthier than the original.

Pumpkin Spice Bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 15 oz can pure pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup apple butter (this is a replacement for oil, if you don't have apple butter you can trade out for oil but will not be as moist)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 350. Mix together flour, baking powder, spice and baking soda. With a mixer beat sugar, pumpkin, eggs and apple butter until smooth. Gradually mix in flour mixture until well combined. Stir in walnuts.

2) Grease a jelly roll pan or 15x10x1 baking pan. Spread the batter in the pan and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

3) Cool in the pan and once cool you can top with a thinned cream cheese frosting. To thin the cream cheese frosting, if store bought warm in the microwave. If you are making the frosting, thin a small amount with the addition of milk until it is pourable.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the bars to cool off before frosting and diving right in!