Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gram's Buttermilk Pancakes

One risk I have run into with raising our own chickens, is serving eggs to often for breakfast! Truckin' Man is pretty good at letting me know when he needs a change up in our menu plan! Today, was one of those days. He wanted pancakes, so I got out my Grandma's recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes. She gave me this recipe about a year ago when I was complaining about always being out of pancake mix when the mood struck to make them. I haven't bought a mix since. 

These are so simple, you don't need a box mix. Don't have buttermilk on hand? You can make a buttermilk substitute in just 5 minutes with milk and vinegar or lemon juice!

Grams' Buttermilk Pancakes
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk**

Mix dry ingredients.  Add eggs and buttermilk to dry mix. Mix until combined,there may be a few lumps.

Bake on hot griddle.

Buttermilk Substitute: For two cup of buttermilk, add two tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measure cup. Fill cup to equal two cups, with milk.  Let set for 5-10 minutes. Add to recipe as needed. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Three Pepper Pasta Salad

Where has the summer gone? It seems to have flown by, and I know that fall is approaching as we were below 40 degree's last night! I am looking forward to our first frost. It has been near all I can handle to keep up with the vegetable garden, the flower garden, working... Where is my time to cook, bake and have fun in the kitchen??

With how busy things have been, I have been getting by on quick and easy recipes. I LOVE pasta salads. As much as I hate to admit it, I do like the Suddenly Salads that come in the box. The seasoning blend they use is just a favorite of mine. My Three Pepper Pasta Salad uses a mix, but you can add your own fresh peppers. Since, I use Penne Pasta for this salad, I cut my ingredients to match. Kind of like a thick julienne cut.  My mom just laughs at this salad (and other dishes I make) since I like to keep my ingredients in similar shapes.  I don't deny having my "issues", I can't be the only one that likes their food shapes to match.... Can I??? Tell me yours!

Three Pepper Pasta Salad

13 oz. box Penne Pasta
1 - 1 oz. package Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. olive oil
1 medium size green bell pepper
1 medium size red bell pepper
1 medium size yellow bell pepper
1 medium red onion
6 oz. cheddar cheese.


Cook pasta according to directions on box. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix dressing mix together with water and oil. Combine well, and set aside.

Cut peppers, onion and cheddar cheese into thick julienne strips. 
Rinse pasta in cold water.  Add dressing and toss together until thoroughly combined.  Add vegetables and cheese. Toss lightly. Add additional olive oil, if needed.

Let chill for 4 hours.  Serve and enjoy!

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Farm Fresh Eggs

It is so hard to believe that today is the 6 month anniversary of when I brought our little fuzzy baby chicks home! Where does the time go?!?! We went from the cute fuzzy chicks, to the ugly dorky stage, to beautiful birds that have become pets for us. I am going to skip over the part of the 6 chickens we raised for butchering, for now. Still not sure how I feel about that ordeal, and if I will do that again.

We have 6 ladies with us still that are laying perfect eggs daily. On a normal day we are up to 5 eggs. One of the ladies, "Crooked Comb", is still struggling with laying and doesn't always get us up to the grand total of 6 eggs.

Even before getting our own hens, I had been eating farm fresh eggs for some time. I couldn't even remember what a "store" egg was like, so my parents brought one over for me.  I finally got to do an appearance and taste test. Sad part of that is that I had let my parents run out of eggs. . .  I shouldn't have let that happen!

See how the yolk on the left is more orange? That's from my ladies and thanks to the great diet they eat!

As far as the taste test, what I found was that the egg, fresh from my ladies, had flavor. 
In comparison, the store egg really didn't have any flavor. At all.
It really did make me feel that what we have done raising our own chickens is worth while and we are getting a better egg for the work! And bonus... I have egg customers! Only 3, but that is really an ideal number of customers for how many eggs we get. 

The only disadvantage I have found to fresh eggs is hard boiling them. They are hideous in appearance after you boil them! When I would try peeling them, at least 1/8" inch of the white would come off with the shell.  After a lot of research, there are many tips for getting your eggs to turn out. I just tried one for the egg's I had planned on making this weekend. I had to let them age. So, I pushed a dozen to the back of the fridge for 3 weeks and forgot about them. I boiled them last night and thankfully they turned out beautifully! I had my fingers crossed on this one since they were destined to become deviled egg's for a potluck today, and everything was a success.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Hoarders - Vegetable Hoarders, that is!

I am finally feeling that the garden is starting to slow down a little tiny bit, but it is still producing more than I can keep up with! Sweet Corn is done. . .  Yeay! It really didn't do well, but considering the poor growing conditions this year, I can't complain. We had plenty to eat, as well as some put away to enjoy later this year. I have harvested all of the onions. They did soo poorly this year, I am disappointed. I will have enough to get half way through the winter, if I am lucky. I can't get an accurate count, since I picked some during the growing season to go directly into dishes and salads, but my guess is that only 50% grew.  Only a handful made it to the nice baseball size. On the plus side, what I am lacking in quantity, I made up for in quality! They are delicious!

The stars of the shows... Walla Walla. Biggest in size and super sweet!

 The Candy Cane's pulled through in 2nd place.

The Texas 1015's apparently did not like my growing conditions :(

Still plenty of other veggies to keep me busy.
 I am begging to feel like we are hoarders, of vegetables anyway!

Lessons learned this year:
#1 Stay on top of the weeds! I was spending so much time watering, I let the weeds go. I am so paying for that choice now. But overall, I suppose the watering was the best use of my time.

#2 Just because you are offered tons of free broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage plants in the spring, you do not have to accept them all, let alone plant them all!

#3 No matter how amazing it is to watch your pumpkin vines spread everywhere . . .  cut some of them off so that they do not monopolize your garden. 

Happy Labor Day! Enjoy and Stay Safe. I have to get back to the veggies now :)