view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: August 2011

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


One of my wicked indulgences are blogs.  Most mornings (children permitting!), I like to spend a few minutes reading what other people are doing.  I particularly like food blogs, and craft blogs.  The other morning I came across this recipe for Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos on Our Best Bites.  The name alone had me!

Here is what you need:
Flour tortillas
Chocolate Chips
Whipped Cream

First, you need to preheat your oven to 350*.  I always overlook this step, then have to sit and twiddle my thumbs for 10 minutes waiting to put something in the oven while it heats.

Next, spread melted butter on your tortilla.  I melted it in the microwave and used a pastry brush.

Then, you sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  I keep a shaker on the counter with cinnamon and sugar already mixed together because TR and QT love Cinnamon toast!

After sprinkling the cinnamon and sugar, take a pizza cutter and cut into wedges.  I cut mine into eighths because I thought they looked pretty.  Imagine though, for valentines day you could cut them into hearts with a heart cookie cutter!  Wouldn't they be fun as cactus?  I'm just going to toss that one out there.

I think I did 4 tortillas, and I probably should have made more.  Put all of the tortillas onto a cookie sheet.  I think it is best to do them in a single layer, so think about multiple cookie sheets, or in batches.  I didn't, and some of the chips weren't as crisp as I would have liked them.  Be sure you place them sugar side up!

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until crisp.  The edges will start to turn up.  I made the accident of leaving mine on the stove to cool after coming out of the oven.  15 minutes later my boys (and I'm not naming names here, Cow Boss included), had half of the chips ate.  See why I should have made more than 4 tortillas?!!

I diced the strawberries and added some fresh mint from my garden to make it look like salsa.  I also added some sugar to sweeten it a little.

This is 30 minutes after being in the fridge.  I like to let the sugar dissolve and let the mint and strawberry flavors mesh. 

These are all the chips I had left. 

Sprinkle strawberries over the chips.

Melt about chocolate chips in the microwave.  I used milk chocolate chips because that is what I like.  I also added about 1 teaspoon of Crisco to the melted chips to help them drizzle better.  Drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries and chips.

Finally, add some whipped cream and enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Winston Churchill said:  "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."  I think that counts for kids too.

He also so said: "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle."  Which is good, because we spend a lot of time there!

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~William Shakespeare, Henry V

"As he was drifting to sleep his thoughts were of horses and of the open country and of horses. Horses still wild on the mesa who'd never seen a man afoot and who knew nothing of him or his life yet in whose souls he would come to reside forever."  ~Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses.

God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses. ~R.B. Cunninghame Graham, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

Friday, August 12, 2011

Two Posts in 1 week!

Am I on a roll or what?!!  Two blogs this week!  The Cow Boss brought the pairs home today.  They come good, and it's only about 8 or so miles, but they leave about 5 in the morning, and the crew is pretty hungry by the time they get back to the house around 11.  Normally I would be horseback, but I had a house full of kids today, so I cooked lunch instead and thought I would share with you.  =)

We started with some BBQ'd pork ribs.  I like to cook them low and slow on the grill, and try not to turn them too much.  I BBQ'd 2 racks of ribs for about an hour, seasoned with Garlic Salt.  While they were grilling, I made the sauce:

1/4 c. chopped onions (I used Vidalia)
1 clove garlic, minced (I cheated here and keep some already minced garlic in the fridge, we like garlic, so I used 1 tbsp.).
2 tbsp. cooking oil
3/4 c. Ketchup
1/3 c. Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. grated Lemon peel
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
2 tsp. Sugar  (I used more because I like sugar).
1 tsp. Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Hot Pepper Sauce (more or more if you like it spicy)!
~First you cook the onion and garlic in oil until tender.  Then add everything else, tasting along the way adding more or less depending on your preference.  Simmer about 30 minutes.
~I baste the ribs on both sides with the sauce for the last 10-15 minutes of grilling, then coat generously before serving.

The Cow Boss is from Idaho, and no meal is complete with out potatoes of some sort!  I found this recipe in the Taste of Home magazine in 2009, and it is one of our favorites.  It satisfies the Cow Boss's need for potato salad, and my taste for something a little different.

4 c. cubed Red Potatoes (Definitely don't use Russets or Baking potatoes, the texture of these Red Potatoes makes the salad)!
1 c. Chopped Onion (I used Vidalia, just like the taste of them).
7 Strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more, who doesn't like bacon?)!!
2 tbsp. Parsley
1 1/3 c. Mayonnaise
3 tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 tbsp. Ranch Dressing
4 tsp. Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
~Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or tender.
~In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, bacon, and parsley.  In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients. 
~Pour over potato mixture and toss to coat.
~Refrigerate 1 hour or until chilled.

Who doesn't like Jello?  I personally love this Pretzel Salad, but don't make it often because I didn't think the Cow Boss liked it.  Every time I make it, I end up with tons of leftovers that I eat by myself.  Let's face it, if it tastes that good, it probably isn't very good for you!  At least not for me...goes straight to my hips!  Turns out the Cow Boss really likes it (long story learning that!), so I made it for him.

My mom found this recipe years ago and it goes something like this:

2 c. Crushed Pretzels
3/4 c. Melted Margarine (Margarine is nasty, I use Butter)!
3 tbsp. Sugar
~Combine all 3 ingredients and press into a 9"x13" pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Cool.

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened  (I use Neufatchel, pretty much the same, just a little better for you, funny huh?).
3/4 c. Sugar
1 tub Cool Whip (or similar, I go with the small tub).
~Combine all 3 ingredients and spread over crust.  Chill

1-6 oz package of Strawberry Jello (I use Raspberry, because I like Raspberries).
2 c. Boiling Water
32 oz (roughly) Frozen Strawberries (Once again I have to be different, and generally go with Raspberries.  That is until the other day when I came across a triple berry blend (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries).  Talk about heaven)!
~Dissolve Jello in boiling water.  Stir in frozen fruit until thawed and separated.  Chill until almost set.  Pour over cream cheese layer and chill.

Last but not least....CAKE!  Burnt Sugar Cake to be exact, my great grandma's recipe.  The recipe is kind of hard to follow, but once you get it figured out, it is well worth it!

~Burn 1/2 c. sugar; add 1/2 c. water-boil to syrup, let cool.

~1 1/2 c. Sugar                                         3 c. Flour (sifted 7 times)
3/4 c. Butter                                              1 tsp. Soda
2 Egg Yolks                                              1 c. Cold Water 

~Add 1/2 the flour and water to the creamed sugar, butter, and egg yolks; beat real well and add balance of flour, 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 beaten egg whites last.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes in layer cake pans.

~Burnt Sugar Frosting
1 1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Milk
1/2 c. Butter
~ Cook in pan used to burn sugar for cake.  Cook to soft ball stage; cool to warm stage; stir to spreading consistency.  Frost Burnt Sugar Cake!

Enjoy!  I hope you have a great weekend.  The Cow Boss and I are headed to Eureka tomorrow to rope in the Coed Branding Contest...Wish us luck, we will need it!  =D

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day Working For Wages

I have been a little remiss in my blogging this summer.  Honestly, I don't even know where July went.  One day it was here, then the next thing I knew it was the middle of August!  These last 2 weeks have been pretty good.  The Cow Boss's "helper guy" as TR calls him went to California for 7 days, so yours truly has been filling in for him.  I've spent most of that time in the saddle (minus a wedding) helping doctor and take care of the yearlings.

I have to admit I've enjoyed the heck out of it.  Reminded me of the days when We first got married, before having kids and I was on the cowboy crew full time.  Waking up early this morning to not get on a horse was kind of depressing!

The highlight of my week hands down was yesterday, and would you believe me if I told you we didn't even rope anything?!! 

The reason it was so great was because I got to take TR with me.  It was the second solo ride he's made pushing cows, and he did awesome!  I can't even begin to describe the emotions I went through watching my little man sit a horse and go.  Of course there were lots of bad guys that needed shooting, and a mom that needed rescuing more than once, but to hear his maniacal laughter and look back to see him trotting for all he was worth made my heart so happy.

At 4, his feet don't quite reach the stirrups, and from a distance you can't even tell there is a boy in the saddle.  We are very fortunate to have a good old horse for him to ride.  "Marty" is a pretty good babysitter.  I did have to take the romal off of his reins, and wont let him have any spurs yet, but he thinks he's ready to start day working!  You know, he just may be.

Proof I was there horseback!  That's my little cowboy turning the bulls off the fence.  Such a trooper, he never complained once, and when we got back to the trailer he told us we could "drive the pickup home and I'll just ride Marty."

I looked up at one point, and there he was pushing the bulls, just like he did it every day.  Mom better be careful or she may not have a job here before too long!

The Cow Boss didn't get to ride with TR like I did, somebody had to work!  Every time we met up with him he had a big grin on his face.  He's been waiting as long as I have (more patiently I might add!) for TR to be big enough to ride with us.

The only thing that would have made my day more perfect would be to have another kids horse and QT riding on the other side of the Cow Boss!