Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring chickens!

This is the latest adventure that we're working on. We picked up a dozen chickens 2 weeks ago and have been enjoying watching them grow and all their crazy antics. I never knew chickens were so playful! We are taking our next step toward having our own small homestead (and being more Amish like!) We're going to try and keep some to lay eggs year round and butcher a handful for meat in a few months. Cheers to a new adventure!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


This is what Ryan and I would love to do someday...this couple and their kids bought a 40 acre Amish farm, off-grid and are farming it and living the simple life and blogging about it. I would love to do this someday, with electricity though!

They are having a give away for canning lids. Go here for more info: Maple Valley Farms.

Peanut Butter Biscuits for man's best friend

I am trying to make more from scratch this year, including dog biscuits for our pups. We go through a lot of dog treats since we have 3 of them and I try to buy more natural treats at the store to avoid giving them lots of preservatives and artificial coloring, etc. I feel our dogs deserve that :) I found this recipe in Country Wisdom and Know how and it was very easy to make and the dogs really seemed to enjoy them. The peanut butter with essential fatty acids should help your dog feel energized and give them a nice, shiny coat.

This recipe made a ton and I used a medium size dog bone cookie cutter. If you use something smaller you'll be set with dog treats for the year! Freeze excess biscuits for up to 3 months.

Peanut Butter Biscuits From Country Wisdom and Know How
4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (no sugar or salt added)
1/4 cup carob chips (find at health food store...I omitted since I didn't have any and the dogs loved them anyway. Make sure to NOT use chocolate chips since dogs are allergic to them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it is firm. If too sticky, add warm water, 1 T at a time, while continuing to knead. Roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with the cookie cutter of your choice. Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the biscuits stand in the oven until hard, 1 to 2 hours.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creamy Pasta and Sausage

This dish was so easy to make and it tasted like something you'd get at Olive Garden. It takes little time to make and is very yummy...with a little zip to it!

Creamy Pasta and Sausage From The 'Hood magazine
1 lb sausage, casings removed (or bulk sausage)
4 c dry penne pasta
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 1/2 c. half and half
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic during the last minute. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on the box. Drain the pasta and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium/low. Add the tomatoes, half and half and red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to the skillet. Add the pasta and stir until thoroughly mixed and heated through.

Manwich Sloppy Joes

Looking back and seeing that I only posted about 2 recipes this year I realized I have to get in gear and add some more of the yummy things I'm cooking up in my kitchen. Since a lot of my time is now taken up by my little one (she's a joy!) I have been looking for dishes that are relatively simple to throw together and don't take too long to cook. I have a lot less time at night to get dinner together, but I still don't care to reach for boxed or processed food. It happens once in a while, but mainly I've been finding some pretty easy recipes that have been turning out pretty tasty. If all else fails and I have no energy or plan for dinner, I have pizza dough in the freezer and can whip up some kind of pizza pretty quickly!

Ryan actually made this sloppy joe recipe one night. Since he has Mondays off, he has taken to cooking a little more. Usually I find the recipe and often it is something made in the crockpot, but it is really helpful nonetheless. This is the mock Manwich recipe which tastes great!

Manwich Sloppy Joes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 c. ketchup
1 T. minced onion
1 T. green pepper, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder

Mix in bowl. Brown 1 pound of ground beef. Drain the meat and add the sauce. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Dijon-Crusted Fish

I made this when my parents were here the other week. It was fast to put together and very tasty!

Dijon-Crusted Fish From Taste of Home Healthy Cooking

3 T mayo
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp horseradish
4 tilapia fillets
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tsp butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, 1 T Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, mustard and horseradish. Place fillets on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Spread mayo mixture evenly over fillets. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, butter and remaining Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over fillets. Bake at 425 degrees for 13-18 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.