Sunday, February 19, 2012

Garden Update

I took off work early Friday afternoon so I could get some rose bushes and a flat of daisies planted before the expected rains.  We did get a very nice slow soaking rain Friday and Saturday.  Late Saturday night the weatherman predicted a beautiful week ahead with very mild temperatures - no freezing nights and highs near 70 every day through Friday!!!  As promised, Sunday morning arrived with a sunny sky.  I was feeling a tremendous urge to plant some I missed church and got a lot done in my garden. Farmers have to work when conditions are good and today was nearly perfect.

Since I had tilled a month or so back, I was able to work with a rake and hoe carefully to get some seeds in the very soggy ground today. Brody and I also installed 2 - 50 feet rolls of chicken wire around the bottom perimeter of part of the garden. I have caught a baby rabbit in my garden and he and possibly his siblings have been munching on my chard and cauliflower.  Momma rabbit can't fit through the holes of my fence.  I plan to do a few more rows of chicken wire next weekend to protect the entire perimeter from these furry little pests!

Things planted this weekend:

Friday afternoon - 10 Red Knock-Out Rose bushes (double-bloom ), 2 white peonies, and a flat of Shasta daisies. The peonies I purchased at Wal-Mart and planted in January are up and doing well. The peonies transplants from my own bed have not sprouted yet, so as a back up I am crowding a few more store bought roots in the row.  I'm cautiously optimistic about the beginning steps of this layered design. The rose bushes are at the front of the garden on the right side. The peonies are planted behind the roses.  You have to walk in the garden to see the peonies.  I hope as the roses mature they will provide shade from the oh so hot Texas afternoon sun.

Sunday -  (From seed)  kale, romaine lettuce, muscaline lettuce (mixed gourmet blend), sugar snap peas,  peas (bush variety),  beets and onion chives.  I also planted two onion chive transplants.

My legs are already sore from a few hours of squatting (installating chicken wire) and hoeing.  I shutter to think what this will mean tomorow and Tuesday...I have a few doctors appointments Tuesday, but hope to get home in time to get a few potatoes in the ground. I'm actually a little late on them!! More exercise will help ease my soreness, right?

Have a great week and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

To Lubbock and Back (real fast)

Last weekend James and I flew to Lubbock to see our youngest daughter, Heather, join her new church.   She's having a blast in Lubbock and has made some really good friends.  Our trip was fast because Heather was in the midst of assisting with interviews for summer camp counselors (Tech Students) and didn't have a lot of free time to spare. She and her friends were definitely working hard planning and making decisions to ensure this year's camp will be special for the incoming freshmen students at Texas Tech. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the short time we had with Heather.  It was nice to get a glimpse of what her life is like as a college student/young adult. Since her roommates were all out of town, we stayed at her place.   It was nicer and cheaper than the Holiday Inn I've stayed at before.  In spite of her busy schedule, she was a very gracious hostess.  We are truly blessed to have such a sweet daughter!!

Here are a few pictures from our weekend:

Heather's home. It was so darn cold there that day!!!

Nice and clean living room.

A very modern and spacious kitchen.

Heather in her room. 

Heather has lots of friends at her church.

Heather and Caroline (a very special friend)!

Proud parents with Heather

Heather in the baptistry.

A renewed commitment and new church member.  Amen!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cheap and Easy Goulash

This is recipe has served me well through the years. When I'm in a bind and need to get supper on the table fast, I often make this recipe.  You could substitute white rice for pasta if you like.


1 pound elbow macaroni
2 pounds ground beef
1 diced onion
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
3 - 15 oz. cans of salt-free tomatoes (I use diced tomoatoes)
1 tbsp. chili powder (to taste)
1 tsp. ground cumin (to taste)
Kosher salt (to taste)
Pepper to taste
*Optional - cooked pinto or red beans could be added if you like, or 1-2 cups of cooked white rice instead of pasta.


Heat EVOO in  a pan then add diced onion and saute.  When onions are translucent, add minced garlic and cook about a minute more.  Add ground beef, sprinkle with some salt and cook until completely brown.   Now, add the canned tomatoes (with juice) to the meat mixture.  Then add the chili powder and cumin. Simmer this mixture for 8-10 minutes or enought to let the flavors fuse together.   Taste and adjust seasonings.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add Kosher salt to water and then add pasta and cook about 10 minutes (al dente).

When the noodles are done, carefully dip out 1-2 cups of the pasta water and set aside.  Drain pasta - enjoy the pasta steam (free facial).  Add the pasta back to the pot you cooked it in. Pour the meat mixture over the pasta and stir. I add a little of the pasta water to the mixture and stir until I get the consistency I like. 

I tend to cook things on the weekend then put in the freezer for future meals. The picture above shows a bag of already cooked ground beef.  I pull out the meat when I need it and just reheat --- a big time saver.

The finished product.  Yum-o!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Meet Primo!

James and Brody drove to Decatur last Sunday and purchased a solid black boer goat named Primo Rider.   He is rather handsome and he definitely stands out in our herd.  He is almost 11 months old and already able to breed successfully with our female goats. James wanted a black "billy" so we can produce white goats with black heads.

Mr. Primo made friends with the ladies quickly, so it's likely that we will have baby goats later this summer. Their gestation period is about five months.
Meeting the herd and acting like a "Billy"

Headed for the water trough.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

About three years ago, I tried roasted cauliflower and developed a love (maybe an obsession)  for this fabulous vegetable.  If you haven't ever tried roasted cauliflower, I encourage to give it a try soon.   It's low in calories, high in vitamin C (an antioxidant),  contains anti-cancer photo-chemicals, a good amount of Vitamin B, and is a good source of several minerals (i.e. copper, magnesium, iron, calcium, etc.)  Boring stuff, but good to know.

**This is a kid and adult approved recipe at my house, and I never have leftovers.  You can use cauliflower as a potato replacement without feeling deprived, and without overloading on carbs.

About a week ago, I found a great deal on cauliflower  ($1 a pound) and made a batch.  Here's the recipe and pictures.


Fresh Cauliflower head(s)
Kosher Salt to taste (1 tsp or so)
Pepper to taste
*Shredded Parmesan Cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   While oven is heating, cut cauliflower into florets (pictures below show steps).  Once cauliflower is cut into florets, you can proceed in one of two ways (maybe more).

  1. Place some florets on a sheet pan, drizzle with EVOO (2 tbsp or so). Sprinkle with Kosher Salt to taste, and toss with a spatula so that cauliflower is just lightly coated (not drenched) in the oil. 
  2. Or, place florets in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with EVOO (2 tbsp or so). Sprinkle with Kosher salt to taste, and gently toss so all pieces get lightly coated with oil (not drenched). 
*** Make sure florets have a little space between each piece so they will roast and not steam.  Place sheet pan in hot oven for about 20 minutes.  Check at 10 minutes and toss/turn pieces with spatula.  Cook until pieces are brown around the edges (to your liking) and tender when you bite.

If you want to impress guests or feel indulgent, you can sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese over the top.  Cheese is a divine addition, but the cauliflower is really wonderful without it.

Enjoy this wonderful vegetable. 

This is a huge and inexpensive cauliflower - 3 pounds for $3.00!!!!

Cut the cauliflower in half and then remove the core out and green leaves.

Once you cut out the core, it will be easier to cut into florets.

Keep cutting and trimming.

3 pounds cut into florets. What a pile!

Look for browning around the edges to your tastes.  I like lots of brown!!

Roasted cauliflower with a ribeye and pepper poppers --- Delicious!!!