Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Taco Salad

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the wonderful taco salad I made last night. I ate it all before thinking about photographing it. It was so easy to make I hardly call it a recipe, but here are the instructions all the same. Give it a try!

Taco Salad
1 lb beef stew meat (grass fed!)
1 1/2 C pico de gallo or salsa
2 C water

1/2 head cabbage shredded
1 C shredded cheddar or other cheese (can leave this out of you don't eat dairy)
olives, avocado, or anything else you like to put on your taco salad

Mix meat, pico de gallo and water in a slow cooker. Cook on high for about 3 hours or until meat is tender. Fill plate with shredded cabbage, top with meat mixture then the cheese and other toppings. You can also use tortillas to make tacos from the meat and other goodies. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Hate Raccoons!

The nights around here have been anything but peaceful lately. It seems like at least once each night I get woken up by the chickens going crazy. Several times I've spotted a raccoon or two wondering through the yard looking for a the buffet line. I usually wake up Hubby who grabs his whacking stick and runs outside to scare the raccoons up a tree or out of our yard. So far we've gotten up in the morning to find at least 2 piles of feathers that used to belong to a chicken. About a week ago one of our duo of hens I like to call Lucy and Ethel got nabbed. RIP Ethel. Then just yesterday I go to check on our hen who is desperately trying to hatch out a couple of eggs only to find a pile of feathers and some egg shells. RIP Mommy-to-be. And the one that's bothering me more than the others is the fact that Mommy hen now only has 2 chicks following her around. I'm certain raccoons must have grabbed a few of the 10 missing chicks.

So needless to say I'm really hating raccoons right now. I bought a raccoon trap at Home Depot yesterday and Son and Hubby baited it with some bacon. Son was up, dressed, fed and out the door in record time this morning to see if we'd trapped a raccoon, but the trap was empty. Hopefully the raccoons will either stay away from our remaining chickens and out of our yard or we'll catch all of them in the trap. Now what we'll do with them once we catch them is the question of the day.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there. I'm lucky enough to have had several dads in my life including my Daddy (all southern girls call their dad Daddy forever!), my Papa, my Pa, my Father-in-law (aka Poppy) and my awesome Hubby who is a wonderful father to our kids. I hope all of the Dads out there have a wondeful day full of hugs, naps, good food and lots of laughs!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seasoned Sirloin Tip Steak

I love steak! Fortunately we have a lot of it in the freezer thanks to the 1/4 cow we bought. I had a Sirloin tip steak thawing in the fridge the other day and went looking for a steak rub to put on it before cooking. I remember finding one a while back but couldn't find it again this time so I decided to make one up myself for the fun of it. The results were very good and it's a lot easier to make than the missing one I used last time.

To to along with the steak, I made some mushrooms and onions for a topping and some steamed broccoli. It was a hit with 3 of the 4 family members and the 4th did eat some but was negotiating the amount he'd have to eat right down to the very last bite. :)

Seasoned Sirloin Tip Steak with Mushrooms and Onions
1 lb Sirloin tip steak
1-2 C sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion sliced

Rub (put into an old spice bottle and shake)
1 t salt
1 1/2 t chili powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 t Italian Seasoning (can make this from oregano, parsley, and basil)

Pat dry then rub about 2 tsp of seasoning mix into each side of meat. Coat a cast iron skillet with butter or bacon grease then place meat in pan. Cook on medium heat for 6 minutes on each side, turning only once. This gets you medium rare meat. Cook longer to your desired doneness.

Remove meat from pan to a cutting board to rest while you put more butter or bacon grease in the pan then add onions and mushrooms. I also added all of the blood that was in my steak package to this mixture. Add about 1 tsp of seasoning rub to mushroom mixture and stir occasionally until everything is tender. Serve on top of meat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

There really are  no words to describe how annoying this week has been. Luckily Hubby seems to have walked away from the mess that was his car completely unscathed! He was the squished jelly in a car sandwich on his way to work on Monday. Apparently the lady behind him "just looked down for a second" before she slammed into his car forcing it to slam into the one in front of it and the one in front of that. But it's just a car and can be replaced and I'm thanking my lucky stars that's the only thing we lost that day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

First garden harvest

We've had another really wet cold spring. As a result the garden is quite a bit behind where I'd like it to be.  Granted, the Pacific Northwest's weather is at least a month behind the rest of the country in a good year. Our summer doesn't really start until the 4th of July. But nevertheless, I've been able to harvest a couple hand fulls of spinach and enough rhubarb to make a crisp. Most of the rest of the veggies have sprouted and are growing slowly, but I expect their growth will take off once we've had a few warm least I hope so.

The girl scout garden has also been planted. The plot was in really rough condition when we started, but it's looking pretty nice now. We planted cukes, peas, carrots, green beans, yellow squash, radishes and zucchini. Hopefully the full sun location we have this year will yield us a lot of veggies to donate to the food bank!

Before and after of the Girl Scout Garden!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Seafood Skillet

I'm a sucker for seafood! I love shrimp, scallops, squid (calamari), fish of all types, even octopus (although I'm the only one in the house that likes that one). When I was a kid I loved going to the catfish houses where they had every type of seafood...battered and fried, but I'm from the south where everything is battered and fried.  So, when I saw the frozen Seafood Blend at Trader Joe's the other day I had to get a couple of bags for my freezer. This evening I decided to  make a sort of seafood and veggie one-dish meal with lots of garlic. I wanted to call it a scampi, but apparently what I made is not a scampi, so I'll  just call it a "skillet" and be done with it. The resulting dish was very tasty and would be good over pasta, if you eat pasta, or good with some cauliflower rice, but I just ate it with a spinach salad and a Mango Milkshake for dessert. Yum!

Seafood Skillet
1 lb mixed seafood thawed (could use any favorite type of seafood)
1/2 C diced or thinly sliced carrots
2 C button mushrooms sliced
2 t chopped garlic
2 T olive oil or other oil of choice (I had some white truffle oil and used that.)
1 T butter
2 large hand fulls (about 2 C) fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Saute carrots and mushrooms in butter for several minutes stirring often until mushrooms start to release their water and mixture gets a little browned (this took about 5-10 minutes for me). Add oil and toss to coat in the pan. Then add garlic and seafood mixture along with any water that's in the bag (if you're using fresh rather than frozen seafood, you may need to add a little water at this point), cover and cook until seafood is no longer translucent. Add spinach to pan, stir then cover and cook just until spinach is wilted. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mango Milkshakes

I was wandering around the kitchen this evening looking for something desserty but something that still fit into the Primal/Paleo way I'm eating now and decided to try making a Mango milkshake. I remembered a post by Stephanie at My Mental Amalgam a while back with something similar, but didn't remember the details and didn't want to go look it up. (turns out hers is the same as  mine!) The results were so good the kids were fighting me over who got the last dregs from the blender! I hope you like it as much as we did!

Mango Milkshake
1-2 C frozen mango chunks (I used Trader Joe's brand)
2-3 C coconut milk (can sub regular whole milk or almond milk)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth adding more milk as needed if blender stops turning.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Baby chick video and we found another nest

This weekend we did a lot of playing outside in the sunshine! The Pacific Northwest on a sunny day is the most pleasant place to be in the whole world. The temp was around 75, the sun was shining and we enjoyed every minute of it. In the course of wondering around the yard I happened to notice something behind our greenhouse and water barrels. Upon closer inspection I realized it was a new nest of white eggs. Maybe this is where the White Leghorn is laying her eggs...or maybe it belongs to another feral chicken. Maybe at some point we'll find all of these nests around the yard, or maybe once we find one the chicken stops laying there and moves somewhere else. Who knows.

I also started feeling sorry for our broody hen that sits in the corner next to the house. She's there ALL THE TIME, and she's not even sitting on any eggs. So I grabbed a couple of eggs from the coop and put them in her nest. If she's going to be sitting there anyway she may as well have some eggs to sit on, right?

I followed our mother hen and chicks around a bit this weekend, too. The chicks are getting much braver and venture farther from mom as she walks around the yard. I think this may have caused an issue with one chick, though. On Saturday morning when Son went out to feed the chicks the mother hen almost attacked him trying to get at the food and then ran at full speed over to the feeder when he replaced it. When mommy hen ran away one little chick got left very far behind and started peeping for rescue, but mom was too busy eating to go get him. So he started wondering around trying to find her and ended up in the brambles rather than at the feeder. I wanted to try to help him find his way back, but couldn't go into the overgrown brambles. The next day I noticed that she only had 11 chicks following her around rather than the dozen she had before, but it's been warm at night and hopefully that little guy will find his way back to the flock...or maybe I'm counting wrong and he's already there. I hope so.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

I was reading some new posts from my favorite blog list the other day when I ran across this post for "Spaghetti" in creamy tomato sauce at Everyday Paleo. I liked the idea of using zucchini strips as spaghetti and just so happened to have some in my fridge. I didn't have all of the other ingredients, and as I'm apt to do I made quite a few changes before arriving at my own version of the meat and veggie dish I served for dinner.

I had some chicken sausage thawed and had some frozen shrimp in my freezer. So I thought I'd combine those 2 along with some veggies I found in the fridge to make a primal/paleo version of Jambalaya. The result was quite good and I'll definitely be making it again. My zucchini strips were a little unwieldy when eating the dish; so next time I'll probably just chop them up and throw them into the pan with everything else. It wasn't like I was fooling anyone with the "spaghetti" anyway since I made real pasta for the kids. But it was an interesting experiment and maybe when the kids get older they'll think it's fun to eat zucchini noodles.

Traditionally Jambalaya is supposed to contain rice. So I suppose you could add riced Cauliflower to the dish at the end instead of adding the zucchini noodles. I can see lots of possibilities with this dish. The sausage and shrimp combo was really good but could be changed up by adding different veggies.

Zucchini spaghetti and the Jambalaya before adding zucchini.

Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya
1 T bacon grease or butter
1 lb chicken or other sausage
1 C uncooked shrimp (frozen or thawed)
1 large onion chopped
1 C chopped tomatoes
1 C pico de gallo or other salsa
3 small zucchini cut into "spaghetti"

Brown sausage in bacon grease then brown onions. Add tomatoes and pico de gallo. Cook uncovered until bubbly. Stir in shrimp and zucchini then cover and cook until shrimp are pink and zucchini is just al dente.

Wacky Wednesday

We are in the middle of a master bathroom remodel. The drywall is down, the tile floor is up and the shower is in pieces in my garage. All of this happened over this past long weekend. After a day of Hubby and I banging away, the kids wanted to help. So on Monday, in their PJ's,  they put on their dust masks, grabbed a hammer and got to work on the remaining drywall. They soon realized that drywall is dusty and the dust irritates your eyes. They didn't like the safety goggles I offered them, but thought of a pretty good idea to solve the problem. The resulting picture was too funny not to share.

Yes, those are swim goggles.

Here are a couple of pictures of our gutted bathroom.
 This was 3/4 through the tile removing process. Turns out the way to remove floor tile is to beat the dickens out of it with a hammer until you can sweep it away. Who knew?

There used to be a shower here.


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