Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cookies in the Freezer

As a farmer's wife, you never know when company will be stopping by or when the guys might want a snack out in the field.  I try not to give the guys candy bars, but rather cookies that they can keep in a Ziploc bag with them in whatever piece of machinery they are driving.

This week, I made almost 12 dozen cookies and put them in the freezer in quart size bags.  Then all I  have to do is pull them out when needed, let them thaw (usually 30 minutes to an hour) and use them as needed.

The great thing about homemade cookies is that they will usually stay fresh for up to 90 days in the freezer if they're stored in a Ziploc freezer bag and then put in an airtight container.

Always be sure to label the items you put in the freezer with what the item is and the date you are freezing it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

They Call Me Libby!

Libby watching Bill out in the garage.

Many of you know that I can't have children, so my pets instantly become my kids.  Sadie, my black lab mix is almost 8 years old and I wanted to get her a friend that she could run around the farm and play with.

After looking for several weeks, a friend of mine approached me about possibly taking her 4 year old lab/terrier mix Libby.  Libby came to our house this past weekend and has been a ball of energy ever since.  Sadie is still a little unsure about her new younger sister, but they seem to be getting along well.  When Libby does something bad, like chase the chickens, Sadie just sits back and looks at her like "I told you not to do that." 

Sadie and Libby like to take rides in the gator - Sadie in the back and Libby in the front.  Bill has already bought treats for both dogs to enjoy when they are good.  After an exhausting first day on the farm, Libby crawled up in the back seat of Bill's truck and went to sleep.  He told me she was even snoring!  I think she is enjoying farm life already.

Libby on the left and Sadie on the right hanging out on the front porch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel

One of my all time favorite breakfast sandwiches is the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel from McDonald's.  I don't get it very often because of the price.  So, I decided to take a stab at it and make my own at home.  Although the taste isn't exactly like McDonald's I think it's better because I made it in my own kitchen with fresh ingredients. 

If you're like me, I'd rather sleep than eat in the morning, so this is a perfect way to make sure that I don't skip breakfast.  I can make my coffee, grab one of these out of the freezer and heat it up when I get to work.  Give them a try!

First thing I did was purchase a bag of plain bagels, a package of bacon and American cheese.  I have eggs of course:)

I put the bacon in the oven on 400 degrees to cook for 20-30 minutes.  While the bacon was cooking, I sliced all of the bagels in half and toasted them.  Laying them out on a piece of wax paper when they were done.

I added a slice of American cheese to one side of each bagel.  If you prefer more cheese, add a slice to the other side as well.

Then I fried up my eggs.  It is very difficult for me to break the yolk on the eggs as I grew up learning to make eggs over easy, but for this one project, I fried hard eggs.

Once all of the eggs were fried and cooled, I added them on top of the cheese.

When the bacon was done cooking, I patted each peace with a paper towel to get rid of any excess grease.

I then cut each piece of bacon in half and added maybe a little more on top of each egg - hey, it's bacon! 

Then I assembled each bacon, egg and cheese bagel, wrapped each one individually in aluminum foil and put them all into a gallon Ziploc bag. The guys in the field loved them.

If you want to add a sauce to them, I would suggest going ahead and adding a sauce of 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of mustard mixed well to each bagel! 

Here's a cool tip:
Instead of throwing out your empty eggshells, RECYCLE them!  Let your eggshells dry out, then use your blender to finely crush them to make a type of bone meal for your plants!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I love pasta, which is probably half the reason I am overweight.  It does nothing for my metabolism, but tastes so good!  Over the weekend, I made this recipe for my guys out in the field.  It's something warm for them to eat and is super easy.


1 egg
2 packages of cream cheese
2 bags of 8 oz Mozzarella Cheese
1 bag of 8 oz Parmesan Cheese
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 box of Manicotti noodles

Cook noodles, rinse and cool.  Soften cream cheese and mix with the egg and 1 and 1/2 bags of the Mozzarella Cheese.  Next, add 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese and mix well. Once noodles have cooled, slice them open and fill with the cheese mixture.  Place the noodles, seam side down, in a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Cover noodles with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with the remainder cheeses.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Serve with garlic bread!

These are the Manicotti noodles that I use. 
Stick them in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.  Drain and let cool.
Soften cream cheese and mix with the egg and 1 and 1/2 bags of the Mozzarella Cheese.
Next, add 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese and mix well.
Once noodles have cooled, slice them open and fill with the cheese mixture.
Place the noodles, seam side down, in a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Cover noodles with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle.

Sprinkle with the remainder cheeses. 

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Serve with garlic bread!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Article for HER Magazine

Several months ago, I was asked by Donna Cronk, the editor of HER Magazine, to write an article.  HER Magazine is a local magazine distributed by our county newspaper once a quarter.  It features local women and their talents.

When Donna asked me for an article, we were gearing up for our county 4-H fair...just the busiest time of the year for me, but I was flattered to come up with something for her.  Donna is such a wonderful, caring and talented pillar in our community and I didn't want to let her down.  Below is the article I submitted.  I hope you enjoy it!

Self-Sufficiency is Easier than You Think

Not long ago, as the economy took yet another nose dive and gas prices surged again, I decided it was time to become more self-sufficient.  We don’t live frivolously, but I decided that there was more that I could do at home to help save money and live off the land.   According to an April USDA report, a family of two adults can spend $479 to $745 a month for groceries.  Add some children in the mix and that price could increase to over $1,000 a month just for food.  Of course this expense is on top of your mortgage, electric and transportation costs.  How is the average consumer to survive? 

The level of self-sufficiency that you want to achieve is up to you.  In the beginning, I learned different methods to cut costs and start an emergency food stock pile at home.  These are some of the ideas and things I have done that you can do too:

·         Plant a garden.  Gardening is an excellent family or individual project and if you grow items from seed, there is little cost involved.  Your garden doesn’t have to be big, just enough to provide food for your family.  Don’t have a big yard for a garden?  Try using pots to plant tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs in.  They will look great on your porch or deck and still give you extra food during the summer months.   Rhubarb and strawberries make great additions to yards or gardens as well and can take as much or as little room as you want them too.

·         Can and freeze fresh fruits and vegetables for use later in the year.  When these items are in season, buy in bulk from your local farmer’s market, neighbor or grocery store and can or freeze them for later.  I have to admit that I didn’t know how to can until several years ago, but my mother-in-law took the time to show me and now I love it!  There are many organizations that offer canning classes and your local extension office can provide you with publications on canning and freezing as well.  I recently purchased a dehydrator to dry fruits for cereal, make beef jerky, etc.  The possibilities of things you can do are limitless!

·         Use coupons!  Unlike some of the television shows, you don’t have to go extreme, but each coupon represents a savings to you, the consumer.  Take advantage of it.  My only words of caution would be not to buy something just because you have a coupon…make sure it is something that you need at home and will you use.  Also, find a friend and share coupons.  This is the best way to collect a lot of coupons that you can use at a fraction of the cost of purchasing them in the Sunday paper.

·         When it makes sense, buy in bulk.  There are some things in the home that you know you will need no matter what.  Toilet paper is a great example.  If it’s on sale, or you can buy it in bulk at a good price, stock up.  This will save you trips here and there to the store for items like this because you will always have it at home and you won’t spend extra money on unnecessary trips.

·         Plant fruit and berry trees.  There is nothing better than being able to walk into your back yard and pick an apple off the tree, clean it and eat it!  Berry trees like blackberries, raspberries and blueberries can be fairly easy to grow as well and are a wonderful source of food during the summer.

·         If you can, raise a few chickens for meat and eggs (trust me, you don’t want more chickens than you can handle).  Chickens are great not only as a food source, but can also be extremely amusing to watch.  We have been raising chickens for over five years and selling our farm fresh eggs to clients and it is a very rewarding process.  Fresh eggs also have a deeper orange yolk color than those that you purchase in the store. 

Self-sufficiency is all about you and can be taken to any level you want.  There are even opportunities to make your own candles, butter and soaps.  If children are involved, you can encourage them to help with some of these projects and to make a difference in your household budget by turning off a light when they aren’t in a room and not leaving the water running while they’re brushing their teeth.  Children love to be a part of what we are doing, so be sure to include them.

With the economic uncertainty that we face today, taking little steps in being self-sufficient can go a long way.  By being self-sufficient, you gain valuable skills and knowledge that you can share with others about growing your own food, living off your land, and making useful items for your family. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Easy Potato Salad

Easy Potato Salad

Easy Potato Salad

4 cooked and cubed potatoes
4-6 eggs, boiled
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup pickle relish, sweet or dill, depending on your preference
1 cup (or more depending on taste) of Miracle Whip
1 T of mustard (again depending on taste)
Sugar to taste

Cook potatoes until soft.  You should be able to stick a knife straight through the potato with ease when it is fully cooked.  Boil eggs.  To save time, I cook them together in the same pot.  Let the potatoes and the eggs cool.  Then peel them both.  Once cooled, dice potatoes in a medium size bowl.  Add relish, onions, and eggs.  Then add Miracle Whip, mustard and sugar to your desired taste.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

As you can tell, I cheat to save time!

Dice potatoes.

Add relish.
Add eggs.

Add onions.

Then add sugar, Miracle Whip and mustard to
your desired taste.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

There is nothing better than throwing a meal together in the morning and letting the slow cooker cook it all day for you.  It makes serving dinner a snap and there usually isn't much of a mess to clean up afterwards.

My friend Courtney has me spoiled with her Grandma Hilda's Taco Soup.  Back in 2005, the church I was attending at the time published a cookbook and this is one of the recipes. 


1 onion, chopped
1 (16-oz) can pinto or kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
1 can (28-oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 package, taco seasoning
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 package of shredded cheese


Cook mean and drain the grease off.  Add everything together in a slow cooker.  Do not drain the water from any of the cans.  Stir.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.  Garnish with the cheese.  Serve with sour cream and nacho chips.

Cook meat and drain the grease off.

Here are the ingredients that you will add to the slow cooker
with the hamburger.

If you use your slow cooker a lot, these liners are great
for an easy clean-up.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream and Frito's!