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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Few Favorite Recipes and One Mess of a Pup

A friend at work said I needed to post a few of our favorite recipes on my blog, so I’m obliging.  Truth be told, I’m just so darn excited someone actually read my blog and is asking me to share more.  Tee hee hee.

Since hubby and I are both all about planning ahead, we like big batch cooking.  We buy big packages of chicken breasts at Costco and marinade them for several days and then grill them all at once.  We can “feed” off those for several days (talk about a quick, easy dinner – change up your sides or put the chicken on a salad and you have a different meal each night!) or even put some cooked chicken in the freezer for future “convenience” meals.

We have two marinades that we really like, and both produce tender, flavorful grilled chicken that does not get dried out on the grill like chicken breasts have the tendency to do.

KC Farms Chicken Marinade #1

Ingredients

1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix together in a bowl and pour over the chicken in a ziplock or container.  This is good for about three large breasts.   We always double and have even quadrupled this recipe.  Best if it marinades at least overnight, but even better if it has a couple of days.  (We think the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, and cayenne do a good job of “preserving it”.)


Another marinade we have been using that is becoming a household favorite:

KC Farms Chicken Marinade #2

Ingredients

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Sea Salt
Cracked pepper
6 rosemary sprigs (we used dried rosemary because my rosemary plants weren’t big nough yet to take this much fresh and crush it with a mortar and pestle – I don’t know how much exactly…is there such a thing as too much rosemary??)

Mix together in a bowl and pour over chicken in bag/container – just like previous recipe.  Again, this is good for about three large breasts, so we double this one every time too.

One of our favorite go-to meals in the crock pot is Mexican Steak and Beans!  I’ve posted about it before (It Helps To Be Organized When You Live In The Country, May 3, 2012), but I didn’t post the recipe, just the process.  It is really convenient to mix everything the night before and then just put the meat in the crockpot and dump the rest on top of it on your way out the door the next morning.

KC Farms Mexican Steak and Beans

Ingredients

Beef flank steak (we just use about ½ pound for the two of us, and have more beans and rice than meat)
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 small can diced green chiles
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano OR 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Cheese and sour cream, optional

I mix the tomatoes, chiles, onion, garlic and spices in a bowl and them put them in a quart jar the night before.  In the morning, I just put the flank steak in the crockpot (I spray with Pam first) and pour the tomato mixture on top, spread it around, covering the meat and turn the crock pot on.   

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-setting for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (depending on your slow cooker settings).

We have a rice maker with a timer, so we set the rice up to be done at the same time and voila, dinner is done when you walk in the door after work!

Remember when I mentioned before how hard it is to find good help?  Well get a load of this!




















What a mess this little boy is!!! When we’re not growling over the latest piece of furniture he has eaten, he really does make us laugh a lot. J

Until next time, worms rock.
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Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Furry Kids Have Turned On Us! (aka Our Life With a Four Ring Circus)

It seems that our entire house full of furry kids has turned on us!  For a long time, we have had a great debate going on in our house…did our pets end up with us because they’re totally weird?  Or do they become weirdos after they come live with us?   HA! 

So it’s bad enough living with a puppy…it really is like having a baby in the house.  At this particular time, it’s a darn good thing he’s so cute…

We spend tons of time taking him outside to “do his business”.  And some days, no matter how long you spend outside, he won’t go potty outside, but saves it until you get back into the nice air conditioned house.  Thanks mom and dad. ARGH! 

So last night, we got home from work and the pup had mischievously thoughtfully unloaded half of the clean clothes from the laundry basket and spread them around the living room (that was a brand new trick).  He’s also been destroying redecorating other things for us.  We have discovered that in rough-housing with the “middle child” Ellie, he runs, does a flying burrito through the air, launching himself onto the back of the couch and eats lets more light in through the mini blinds.  (We have witnessed this feat first hand on the weekends.) Oh, and did I mention that to get a drink, he dunks his whole face into the water bowl and slops redistributes the water - all over the floors (and our legs, shoes or the furniture, especially right where you're going to sit down, just nano seconds before you do)?  Or that that a corner of our coffee table is no longer with us? 

After three days in a row of rain, we spent yesterday evening trying to set the two corner posts on the backyard fence and get the next post holes started – the ground is wet and therefore much softer than it’s been in months.  Even though the temperature is a couple of degrees cooler than it has been it was still in the upper 80s and the humidity about 80% or more.  Hot, tired, muddy and soaking with sweat from setting the posts, working in the garden and running a puppy that hadn’t run in three days because of the weather, we were ready to finally go inside and have some dinner and sit down for the first time.  Except in the course of rough-housing while we worked, the crazy inmates inside puppy must have jumped on the back sliding glass door and hit the latch – because it was LOCKED!

I’ve gotta tell you, there was a moment of panic when we first realized what had happened!  Luckily, we had the other back door and storm door unlocked and I also had the keys to the sliding glass door in the fanny pack I just happened to have on (I stuck all the sets of keys in that pocket when the house was first delivered and never took them out).  Our windows are double storm windows that can’t be unlocked from outside – we would have had to break two windows to get in.  Guess we need to hurry up and give an extra set of keys to the neighbors like we’ve been planning to do since we moved in.  Ya think?

Of course, all the furry children had been fed long before we finally got to eat.  And naturally, half way through my salad, the puppy needed to go out.  Since potty training has been a slow, painful process, when he goes to the back door (his signal that he needs to go out), we need to respond immediately.  So I set my salad down in the middle of the coffee table and went to let him out.  My husband did the same and came to the back door for moral support.  Mind you, it’s already after nine o’clock by now.  We usually try to start winding down and get to bed by 9:30. 

Now some might think that setting our food on the coffee table was a dangerous move with the other two dogs still in the house.  But you’d have to know our dogs…we have rules, boundaries and limitations in our house.  We have expectations and they meet them.  Really!  We always eat dinner on our couch; we never use the dining table.  And our dogs don’t bug us or stare or try to get in our plates.  If they walk anywhere near, we simply say “go lay down” and they DO. 

So imagine our surprise when we walked back in the door to find the “eldest child” Maggie, who always follows the rules, face-planted in what was left of my salad, not to mention the pile of it spit out on the floor.  So much for finishing my dinner.  There’s just no way to explain how out of character that was.  I finally settled on a half of an almond butter and jam sandwich as a replacement.

Well, by the time I finished my sandwich and hubby finished his salad (which thankfully survived without attack), it was 9:45.  I realized I was out of coffee creamer for the next morning.  So I whipped that together quickly.  And then I remembered that I hadn’t made my smoothie for the next day either.  I didn’t make one the night before and was starving by mid-morning and reluctantly got a breakfast taco from the cafeteria before I started plowing through the entire chocolate stash in my desk drawer.  So I really needed to make my smoothie.  What the heck, we’re already 30 minutes late going to bed - party night on the homestead. 

Finally, after 10:00, we headed to our room to get ready for bed.  Twenty minutes later (and almost an hour late), we’re finally climbing into bed (and I have to read for a while – I have never been able to just lie down and go to sleep).  Hubby sits on the edge of the bed and starts to adjust his pillows, and his hand hits something wet.  Wait a minute, wet and our bed do NOT go together.  Well, it seems that the cat yakked on our bed.  Are you kidding me?  So now we have to change the sheets and of course the mattress pad is gross too – but it thankfully kept the mattress safe and clean.

We just started laughing, almost hysterically, at the comedy of errors that is our life with our furry kids, especially yesterday.  Never a dull moment on this homestead!

Until next time, worms rock.

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Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved.