Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Day of Sunshine

It has been a soggy soggy spring here in Wisconsin. This past week has brought torrential rains, and there has been a lot of local flooding. There have been mud and rock slides as well. I normally only use my own photo's on the blog, but I am going to borrow one from a local news channel just to show you a rock slide around here!

Photo From WXOW

Today, our basement is finally drying out. It's hard to get in the garden, because the mud almost pulls your shoes or boots right off your feet. Hopefully by the weekend we will be out there and get things under control and find what plants are left.

Today, I at least was able to take advantage of the sunshine, and get out of the house, check on my flowers, let the older hens free range for a while and just enjoy some fresh air!

This view is a site for sore eyes! 
Up until two months ago, this was an old trailer site in our back yard, and was just a mess of weeds! The old septics are now filled in, grass is growing, tree's are planted. 

Dwarf Japanese Maple in our newly improved backyard... 
Truckin' Man is in charge of landscaping this area, and I think he picked a great tree!

Crooked Comb is happy to see the sun, too!

 Petunia's.... A sure sign of summer!

Rusty... Guarder of the homestead... With his pillow. His pillow stays in the basement for nights when he needs shelter. Well.... Pillow got wet in the floods, so I threw it outside to get some sunshine and dry out. Somehow, it was moved to the shade!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chicken Taquito's


When you are a household of two and make large quantities of any food, you sometimes have to get creative on using it in different ways. Honestly, when there is a food that I really like, I could eat it meal after meal, until it's gone. That isn't the case with Truckin' Man. He isn't quite so big on leftovers. I suppose it comes from eating so many repeated meals in the truck, so I do try to keep him happy and change things up on the meals as much as I can.

This was the case with my Tex Mex Shredded Chicken. We both loved it, but it made such a large amount, that I had to get creative. I had a memory of one of my old favorite foods from the days when I always had my deep fryer and the huge boxes of "fryer food" on hand.  Taquitos! I LOVED taquito's. I hadn't had them once since I gave up the fryer, and I missed them! So with a lot of yummy chicken on hand, I gave this a shot, and the whole thing was a huge hit! I rocked them out, and haven't been so proud of a meal in a long time!

For my vegetarian friends, I would suggest trying this with some re-fried beans as the filling in these. I think that would be phenomenal!

Chicken Taquitos

Corn Tortilla's
Tex Mex Shredded Chicken
Vegetable Oil (or your favorite frying oil)
Seasoned Sour Cream (See Recipe Below) - Optional
Cilantro, Avocado, Salsa - Optional

Warm corn tortilla's in microwave. Keep tortilla's covered with towel while you are working. (I am slow at rolling, so I heat a few tortilla's at a time. The warmer they are the easier they roll!) Spoon one to two tablespoons of Tex Mex Shredded Chicken down center of tortilla. Roll tortilla's as tightly as you can, and secure with toothpick.

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Use enough oil to to cover pan to about 1/8 inch deep. Once hot, place taquito's in skillet.  Do not overcrowd the pan, you need room to turn these over easily, and the tooth picks take up space! Cook each side 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on papertowel.

Serve immediately with Seasoned Sour Cream, Cilantro, Avocado, Salsa.

Seasoned Sour Cream
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. minced garlic powder

Combine and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creamy Mexican Rice


For Surprise Recipe Swap this month, I headed over to Desiree's blog at SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl.  She had so many recipes to look through, but when I found her Mexican Sour Cream Rice, I knew I had to make it. I have seen versions of this recipe in various cookbooks and always meant to try it and just never get around to it. Thank you Desi for having this recipe, so that I finally got around to making it!

I did make a few tweaks to Desi's recipe, I swapped out the sour cream for Greek Yogurt, just because that is what I do anymore. I always have Chobani in the fridge, but not always any sour cream. I did tweak the cheese also, because of what I had, but I loved it! It was a lovely creamy rice, with a lovely Mexican flavor from the peppers and cilantro.  I will be adding this rice to a regular rotation on our menu!

Creamy Mexican Rice (Adapted from: SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 - 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 - 4 oz can diced green chile peppers
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (Colby or Pepper Jack would also be great)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp Jalapeno slices, diced (the slices you use for nacho's, then dice them)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and Pepper

Saute rice in olive oil in large pot, over medium high heat, for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

While rice is simmering, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease casserole dish.  Set aside.  After rice has simmered for the 20 minutes, remove from heat and add Greek Yogurt, green chile peppers, one cup of cheese, corn, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix until all are combined. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Pour rice mixture into casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, and garnish with additional cilantro if desired.


Interested in Secret Recipe Swap? Each month participating bloggers get assigned to another blogger and have to pick and cook a recipe from our partners blog!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Garden is Growing!

What a spring this has been! It feels like it was just a few days ago, I took this picture of some of my seed packs. Looking at the date stamp on my photo's, it actually been several weeks!

 Once we were able to get the garden ready, I got in there and got it planted. And then it rained. And it rained. And it rained some more! 
No more!!! The sun is finally here and most things are growing! 
Lots of weeds growing too. I am hoping Truckin' Man will help me catch up on those this weekend.

This tiny little growth is Rainbow Swiss Chard.  I plant something new each year that I haven't tried before. This year... Chard! It's growing, so I hope we like it!

Beautiful Lettuce! I am sooo stinkin' excited to have lettuce from my own garden, I can hardly wait. Truth be told, I really could have pinched off a few of these young leaves, but I want them to grow!

 Onions are growing. They aren't looking fabulous, but I am happy with any sign of growth!

 Beans! Yeay!

Even a few pea's are poppin' up!

Squash and Pumpkins are thriving. 

Here is Hazel. She is always at my side in the garden. She is so camera shy, she refuses to take a good photo. She will sit still and stare at me for 20 minutes. Just when I even think of aiming the camera, she moves!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tex Mex Shredded Chicken

I made a new chicken recipe last week, that I totally fell in love with. Sad part is, I can't share that one yet. With the monsoon season we have been having, I never had enough light to get a decent picture. So, until next time. . . .  But, the other cool part is, I fell in love with chicken thighs in the slow cooker. I see enough recipes and watch enough shows, that I know chicken thighs are really popular.  With dark meat not being the healthier choice, and with chicken breasts going on sale so often, I just don't bother with a variety of chicken pieces. BIG mistake on my part.

I am in love with chicken thighs.. L.O.V.E., love! They have so much more flavor, and they are so moist! So, my new recipe was born.  You really can modify this to what chicken you have on hand. I added some chicken breasts to the mix since I have a freezer full. So, use a mixture, or use all thighs. But please, oh please, use at least half dark meat in this!

You could cut out some of the work and use boneless chicken for this, but I wanted all the flavor from cooking this chicken on the bone. You can enjoy this wrapped up in a tortilla, on rice or any other way that sounds good to you!

Tex Mex Shredded Chicken

5 chicken thighs (skinless)
3 chicken breasts (skinless)
24 oz crushed tomatoes
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place chicken in slow cooker. In bowl, mix tomatoes, green and red bell pepper, and seasonings.  Stir until combined. Pour over chicken, making sure chicken is coated with veggies and seasoning. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Remove chicken from slow cooker. Remove bones. Shred chicken, and add back to cooker juices. Cover slow cooker, and let chicken simmer in crockpot, on low, for 30-60 minutes.


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Monday, June 10, 2013

More Chicks and Less Chickens

We have been working on adding our new chicks in with our 5 hens from last year, and we have had quite the challenge. After weeks of separating, and trial periods, and supervised play times, we found that there were the two hens that were the dominate hens of the flock.  These were the ISA Browns which had more white in their tail feathers. I am curious if the white relates to their personalities or if it was just coincidence?

Thankfully, our friends were able to give the hens a good home, and they are doing fine.
We miss them bunches, but everyone seems to be better off.

Bye, Ladies....
Our friends oldest daughter was going to see if she could get the ladies to do some of the cuteness we had taught them.

We did add a few Cochin Bantams to our flock to make up for some of the chicks we lost earlier. We found a local farmer who hatches some BEAUTIFUL chickens that his children show for 4-H. We will be contacting this farmer if we add any more chickens to our flock next year. 
Between the chick's high activity level, and our less than cooperative weather, it has been hard for me to capture all their cuteness in photo's.

Cochin Bantam

Cochin Bantam

This one, we got from a local feed store, so his breed wasn't known. Just that he was a Bantam.  Through some research, I am pretty sure that "he" is a Rooster, and a Porcelain d'Uccle

One of the hens taking a dust bath on our one day without mud!

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Team Minnesota - Bake Sale Update

I want to thank everyone who participated in our Bake Sale and Fund Raiser! With the combined efforts that we all put into this, I thought you would enjoy seeing some pictures from the event that we were supporting.

Stacey, and Team Minnesota, traveled to Lake Tahoe, and went on their bike ride this past Sunday. What an inspiring group of bikers! With the combined effort of various teams and events, Team Minnesota has raised almost $225,000 and counting, for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

They had time to relax before the ride and enjoy some of the beauty of Lake Tahoe

Team Minnesota

Ready to Ride!!