view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: January 2014

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beans Beans Beans

The boys bought me a pressure canner for Christmas.  I've been wanting one for a couple of years, but hadn't shelled out the money for one.  I finally got around to trying it out yesterday.  My first project pressure canning was beans.  Not overly exciting, but I like to keep some canned beans on hand.  They come in pretty hand in a pinch for a quick lunch or dinner.  I like to mix canned beans with some ground beef and canned tomatoes for an Indian Taco or warm meal on a crazy day.  I thought my beans turned out kind of pretty.

I had a couple cups of dry beans left over so I decided to soak them last night and cook for dinner today. My bean recipe is pretty simple.  Throw soaked beans in the crockpot, at seasonings, meat, and tomatoes and cook until beans are tender.  You can add as you see fit.

This is what I did today:

Before leaving to feed cows, I drained the liquid from the beans I soaked over night.  I added them to the crockpot and covered with a couple inches of water and turned on low.  Around 2:00 this afternoon I browned 1 pound of ground beef until cooked through.  Remember, ground beef needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 160* to prevent food born illness.  I like to cook my ground beef to death, but not burned.  I think it gives a better flavor.

Who doesn't love cast iron?  I have 3 cast iron skillets that I use almost daily.  I read somewhere that they are actually better for you because they can add iron to your diet.  Who knows how true that is.  This skillet is my favorite of the 3, and is older than me.  After my ground beef was cooked to my liking, I added about 3/4's of a cup of onions and cooked them as well.

Forgive the blurry cell phone pictures!  I added the meat mixture, 2 medium sized cans of canned tomatoes, a bunch of garlic, and seasonings to the beans in my crockpot.  

I love crockpot liners.  They make cleaning up so much easier!  I cranked my crockpot up to high so everything will be warmed up by the time we eat later tonight.

I really like Chorizos in my beans, but didn't have any today.  If I'm feeling ambitious, I will make a pan of cornbread to eat with the beans for dinner.  Beans are super easy, a little go a long way, and you can add anything you want to them!  Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Goals

I read somewhere that most New Year's Resolutions are broken within 2-3 weeks of setting them.  I am thinking that if I wait until mid-January to most my goals for this upcoming year, the odds will be more in my favor for success!  We shall see.  Keep your fingers crossed for me just in case!

My first goal is to write for 30 minutes everyday.  It doesn't have to be blog worthy.  It can simply be brainstorming blog and writing ideas, something that has been weighing on my mind, a grocery list, or even an email to a friend.  It just has to be 30 minutes of writing (or in the case of e-mail typing!).

Second, I want to write 2 handwritten letters a month to send snail mail.  Before internet, I had several friends that I kept in touch with through letters.  I anticipated the mail almost daily for letters from Becky, Tilly, Jamie, and Andrea.  In college my best friend Marva and I both looked forward to the beautiful letters her grandma Charlene would send her or the notes and cookies my grandma would send me.  It is just so nice to get something in the mail that isn't a bill or credit card application!  So, if you would like to receive a handwritten snail mail in 2014, email me at and I will send you a note!

Thirdly, I want to cook more.  My boys and I eat every meal together at our kitchen table.  I think it would be better if more of those meals were made from scratch, and less convenience foods. Unfortunately some days it is too easy to whip up some Hamburger Helper or a frozen pizza instead of actually cooking something and I want to get a way from that.  I really need to make a stronger effort to make better meals for my family.

Lastly, I want to do more to promote Agriculture and to tell my story.  I want to use social media to promote my lifestyle in a positive manner.  I don't need some animal rights activist telling the world how I take care of my animals.  I need to be the person doing that.  I know better than anyone else how my cows and horses should be treated.  I also need to do a better job explaining why I am doing things the way I am doing them.  Most importantly though, I want to share my passion for ranching and my way of life.  I know who I want to tell my story, do you know who you want to tell yours?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hot Dogs

I'm sitting here trying to plan out what to cook for dinner tonight.  I have to be in town on Wednesday, so I really don't want to run to the store today.  Pickings are getting kind of slim around here!  I hate to go to the grocery store more than once a week, and I never really plan my meals more than like 3 hours in advance.  So often (like today) I am craving something food wise and lack half the ingredients I need to prepare it.  Terrible I know.  

The Cowboss pointed out that we do have hot dogs.  I hate hot dogs.  I really don't like most sausages either, but love chorizos.  Go figure.  In fact, I very rarely, if ever buy hot dogs.  Unfortunately I made the comment to QT the other day that it was his half birthday, so for the last week he has been planning his birthday party (in June mind you). He wants a camping birthday party, complete with friends sleeping over, hot dogs, and roasting marshmallows.  I thought if I made him hot dogs he would forget about it, but no such luck, and I still have half a package of hot dogs left over....I just might cook them tonight!  Waste not want not, right?

Did you know:

The average American eats 50 hot dogs a year.  (Except for me, I'm way below average apparently)!

Hot dogs were the first food eaten on the moon.  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin j.r. ate them on their 1969 Apollo flight.  (Really?  If I just landed on the moon, hot dogs would not be on my list of culinary delights)!

Hot dogs were served with bread for the first time in 1893.  (About time)!

President Franklin Roosevelt served King George VI of England hot dogs & beer during a White House visit in 1939. Mrs. Jimmy Carter served hot dogs at a White House picnic in 1977. Queen Elizabeth II served hot dogs at a royal banquet held for the American Bar Association.  (Our tax dollars at work.  Man we sure know how to impress people, don't we)?

7-Eleven sells the most hot dogs annually.  Also, people in the south eat more hot dogs than in the north.  I also learned that socioeconomic status makes no difference when it comes to hot dogs.  (Who would have thought)?!

If I had a fully stocked kitchen though, I would really love some Barbecued Spare Ribs. Pork ribs are one of my absolute favorite foods in the whole wide world, and my grandma Ada Rose shared with me one of the best recipes for BBQ Sauce.  I came across it today while trying to figure out what to cook.  I can actually smell it right now and taste it.  I think it would be pretty good on pork chops, or even chicken.  Reminds me, I need to add ribs to the grocery list!

Barbecued Spare Ribs:

Boil or brown spare ribs, drain, and cover with sauce.

3/4 c. catsup
1/2 c. water
1 T. dry mustard
1 T. celery seed
1 1/2 T. vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper

Mix together and pour over ribs.  Bake at 325* until done.  Stir if necessary.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Favorite Porkchops

Hello Happy New Year!  I feel like I haven't visited with you in ages!  I hope every one enjoyed the holidays.  QT and I were sick Christmas, so it wasn't the merriest of days, but Santa came and left lots of gifts so everyone was happy.  (Except for mom who got to clean up everything afterwards)!

I'm sharing with you one of my favorite recipes.  It is another one I got from my mom.  I just call it pork chops.  I'm sure it has a really cool, fancy name worthy of the spectacularness of this meal.  Heaven in your mouth.  Trust me, you will get marriage proposals over this dish.  It is that good.  But more importantly it is easy.  In fact, this is the first dish I ever prepared for the Cowboss, and I burned the pork chops, but it was still magnificent.

When I met the Cowboss, I was bach-ing it.  It was just me and my dog and if I wanted something other than ramen noodles or a sandwich, I went to my moms for dinner.  See, I could cook, but I didn't see the point of cooking a 3 course meal for only me.  So I was a little rusty when it came to cooking anything that didn't come out of the microwave, but I invited the Cowboss over for dinner anyway.  I lived about an hour from the nearest restaurant, so I didn't have any other options.

The day for the big dinner date came and I survived school, just to get home and have my dad call and ask me to help him move some cows.  Shouldn't take long, I will be back in plenty of time for my date.  Even though, I left a note on the door apologizing for not being home but get comfortable, there's beer in the fridge.

True to form, moving cows took longer than expected and the Cowboss was sitting in my driveway when I got home.  On top of being nervous (like second date nervous, cooking for a guy that I really like but don't know very well just yet) to cook for him I was a wreck because I wasn't prepared and showed up late.  I had planned to have everything ready to pop in the oven when he got there.  Now I had to do all of my prep with him there.  Awkward!  I was so flustered I burned the pork chops while I was browning them.  Oops!  Everything worked out ok though, and I can now joke that the Cowboss didn't marry me for my culinary skills.  =)

So here goes.

Pork Chops


21 oz Apple Pie Filling
1 pkg. Stove Top Stuffing, prepared per box instructions
4-6 Pork Chops, browned.

Preheat oven to 350* and layer in this order:  Pie filling, pork chops, and prepared stuffing.  Bake, covered for 35 minutes, uncover and cook for another 10 minutes.  Enjoy.

This meal takes less than an hour to prepare and serve.  I like to serve it with a nice green salad or steamed veggies.

What are some of your favorite "man pleasing" meals?