view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: February 2012

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Naptime at the Ranch!

Sometimes naptime requires the Cow Boss, books, and a rat!

My boys are getting so big!  <3<3<3

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Valentines day!

Granted we live pretty close to town these days, I've opted to cook our Valentines day dinner instead of finding a baby sitter, fighting traffic to town, finding a restaurant that isn't packed, but has good food and so on and so forth.  Besides that, who wants to pay $50 for a not so romantic dinner?

My menu:
Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Peppers and Onions
Spicy Shrimp with pasta
Green Salad
Boiled Potatoes
Corn Bread
Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cupcakes

We all know the quickest way to a man's heart is through his chest with a sharp knife. The second fastest way is through his stomach.  What cowboy (or Cowboss in my case!) doesn't love meat and potatoes?  In our house, it just isn't a meal unless there is lots of meat (preferably beef, fried) and potatoes.  If you don't have both of these, I guarantee you I will find the Cowboss hiding in the pantry 30 minutes after a meal eating potato chips.

So, our main dish will be Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Peppers and Onions (recipe and pictures courtesy of

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt
1 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-pound skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut into wedges
Freshly ground pepper
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for serving

Combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, the instant coffee, cocoa powder, mustard powder, chili powder, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl; rub the mixture between your fingers until fine. Season the steak with salt, then generously rub with the coffee-spice mixture.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, sear the steak, 3 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest; reserve the juices in the skillet.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon brown sugar and the onion to the skillet. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and 1/4 cup water; cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the steak against the grain. Divide the steak, bell pepper, onion and the juices from the skillet among plates. Serve with lime wedges and cornbread.

I love shrimp.  I have ever since I was a little girl.  I would eat shrimp all day everyday.  Alas I live in a land lock state, and would be broke within a week if I did!  Also, shrimp does not fall into the meat and potato category according to the Cowboss, and he would starve.

This is a super simple recipe for Spicy Shrimp (and picture) from the Pioneer Woman (
■3 pounds (more Or Less) Unpeeled Shrimp (21-26 Count Or Larger)
■1/2 cup Olive Oil
■Salt And Pepper, to taste
■3 whole Lemons (juice of)
■1/4 cup (to 1/2 Cup) Worcestershire Sauce
■1 stick Butter

Preparation Instructions
First, thoroughly rinse raw shrimp w/shells still on. I use 21-26 count (that means 21-26 shrimp per pound) but I’ve certainly used bigger. Any smaller than this, and it’s difficult to peel, so stick with 21-26 or bigger. Place the shrimp in a large baking pan in a single layer. Over top of the shrimp drizzle about ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Generously sprinkle black pepper over top of the shrimp. Be very generous! Now sprinkle generously with salt (I use kosher).
Squeeze the juice of about 3-4 lemons over top of all of the shrimp. Now GENEROUSLY drizzle Worcestershire all over the shrimp, about ¼ to ½ a cup. Drizzle Tabasco sauce over the top to your desired temperature. Some like it hot.
Now grab your stick of butter and cut it into pats. Place the pats of butter on top of the shrimp as evenly spaced as possible.
Place the pan of shrimp under the broiler in your oven for just about 10 minutes until the shrimp are no longer translucent. Serve with a roll of crusty French bread because you need something to absorb all of the glorious juices.

Dessert!  The most important food group!  I found these cupcakes on Pinterest (yes I am addicted!).  They came from:

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cupcakes
•4 ounces cream cheese, softened
•2 tablespoons granulated sugar
•1 ½ tablespoons lightly beaten egg (break egg, mix with fork, measure)
•1/4 teaspoon vanilla

•1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
•2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup vegetable oil
•2/3 cup granulated sugar
•1 teaspoon vinegar
•1 large egg
•1 tablespoon red food coloring
•3/4 teaspoons vanilla
•3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8 (I needed 9) muffin cups with paper liners.

Prepare filling first. With a mixing spoon, beat together softened cream cheese and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a second mixing bowl, stir together oil, sugar, vinegar, egg, red food coloring, vanilla and sour cream. Mix very well, then add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Measure out approximately 1/3 cup red mixture and set aside. Divide remaining red mixture among the 8 muffin cups – each cup should be a little over 1/3 of the way full. Spoon cream cheese mixture over red mixture, dividing evenly between all cups. Drop small spoonfuls of reserved red batter on top of cream cheese mixture, making a bulls-eye pattern.

Bake for 20-23 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Carefully remove lift muffins from cups.

Best served slightly chilled. – Makes 8-9  I doubled the recipe so we would have enough!

As far as the cornbread, I follow the recipe on my Alber's Cornmeal Box, and boiled potatoes pretty much speak for themselves. Boil potatoes until tender, drain, add a little butter, salt, pepper, and if you want to dress them up parsley.

I hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day!