Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rhonda's Honey Nut Energy Bars

Rhonda's Honey Nut Energy Bars
 Because we love healthy energy bars, and because I happened to look at the ingredients on a box from the store...I decided we could do better using all natural ingredients.    Here is what I came up with.

Mix all in a bowl:
1 cup oats
1 cup Rice Crispie Cereal
1 cup chopped mixed nuts
2 T Choc chips if desired
1/4 cup peanut butter (natural)
1/4 cup raw honey (I added a bit more until the mix stuck together well)

Press into a loaf pan, which should be lined with foil to help lift out.  Bake for 30 min at 350. Let cool and cut into 8 pieces.  

265 cal. each, 15  G fat, 6 G Protein, 31 G Carbs   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Carmel Apple Pizza

Caramel Apple Pizza

We love pizza...even for dessert!

Basic French Bread dough

Canned apple pie filling (I use my own homemade filling, but you can buy canned filling)
Butter and Brown Sugar and chopped nuts on top

Bake at 350 deg. until golden and bubbly, top with caramel apple topping and nuts.  Serve with vanilla ice cream for an awesome treat!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Honey Mustard Turkey with Roasted Potatoes 
 This recipe originally called for Chicken thighs, but all I had 2 lovely large thighs in the freezer from a tom turkey I grew last summer.  Since harvesting our honey I was looking for some good savory recipes to use it in and ran across the chicken version online.  I tweaked it a little....

   1/2 cup brown mustard
   1/3 cup honey
    2 T olive oil
   a couple fresh sprigs of rosemary
    6 or so nice potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large pieces

Mix the mustard, honey and oil. Place thighs skin side up in cast iron pan, coat tops with mixture, arrange potatoes around the meat and stick rosemary between and on top meat.. Put into preheated oven 400deg. on roast setting if possible, cover with foil for 1 hr, removed foil, brush the drippings all over meat and potatoes, continue cooking for 30 to 45 more minutes until brown on top and juices flow when pierced.  Drizzle the sauce in the pan on the meat and potatoes when serving.  I also recommend buttermilk/lard biscuits with butter and honey.  Delicious! sweet it is!

 I was so hesitant to take any honey this fall...simply because the swarm was installed in early July. Most hives are started in early spring, to give the bees time to build comb, increase their numbers and store honey for winter.  But...after opening it up and inspecting it I found that the whole top box was full of honey, pollen and some brood cells...and the bottom box was starting to build comb and fill with brood and honey around the edges.  I made the call...I took 3 frames of capped honey off the top hive box.  Leaving them 7 full frames and some in the bottom.  I guess if they need supplemented before spring, I will make some sugar cakes and slip in the box.  

 I was able to harvest 9 pints of glorious, sweet, sticky honey, and then rendered the capping's and comb wax to get a nice little 3 oz cake of wax for candles, soaps, balms...whatever.

 I plan on sharing a little with family...and keeping the rest to hold us over until the spring nectar flow.  In addition to the gift of honey...we saw a huge increase in our garden yield.  The bees worked hard all summer pollinating the tomato, cukes, berries, corn, beans and everything else.  We had 11 watermelons on 2 plants!  We were covered up with tomatoes and corn...and the biggest red peppers I have EVER seen.  God sure made a wonderful little helper for mankind when he made these honeybees.  Love having them here...and looking forward to another growing season with them doing their thing!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Handy Dandy Milking Stanchion...for short cows, who may or may not kick 

After we sold off Bossie's calf, she became nasty toward me in the milk stand. She would kick every chance she got, and as fast as I try to be...she clipped my knee good.  Then if she really wanted to take me down, she would go sideways and push me into the corner and kick at me.  I'm not one to back down from a fight...and I'd like to think I can outsmart a dumb cow (she's really not dumb and that's the problem!) .  I didn't have it on her in the photo, but I tethered a strap to the wall and ran it to her ankle she was kicking with and snapped it around it. (That proved dangerous Ash held her tail up while I snapped it on) . I went to Lowes and got a 10 ft. 2x4 to run diagonally from the stanchion...but I didn't have anything to fasten it to...then I remembered an old shipping pallet base.  It worked like it was made for it.  I do need to push her out from the wall a little so I don't have to reach so far to hook up the milker.  I don't know if it will break her of kicking...or if she will eventually calm down and forgive me for selling her baby.  BUT, if she doesn't behave, I will get rid of her.  I want a cow that I can teach my kids to milk...and one I can relax and enjoy milking...and dodging hooves ain't relaxing any way you look at it! 

Update: Oct 8, 2012   Bossie has indeed calmed down as much as she probably ever will.  No kicking on the stand, although I don't want to trust her, so I have fitted her right back ankle with a heavy duty nylon dog collar with a ring to clip her leg tether to. That works so well, as it is permanent, and all I have to do is quickly snap the strap clip to it and she can't kick if she wanted to. I just have to remember to UNHOOK if before excusing her from the stanchion. (did that once..but she remained calm until I unclasped her).  We moved the 2x4 guard over toward her so she doesn't have as much wiggle room. It's working great.

Way Too Easy Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

(also use for Buckeyes)


1  18 oz Jar of Creamy Peanut Butter

1 Jar Vanilla Icing

2 Cups Powdered Sugar.

Mix well, spread in Pan, or form balls and dip in Chocolate for Buckeyes

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rhonda's Ground Cherry Pie

2 1/2 Cups Ground Cherries 
1/2 C packed Brown Sugar
2 T  Flour
2 T Water
1 tsp Cinnamon if you like Cinnamon
 Toss all the above together and mix well, pour into a pie crust

3 T Flour
3 T Brown Sugar
3 T Butter  
Mix until crumbly and put all over the top of pie

425 deg. oven, bake 15 mins, then reduce to 350 for 30 more mins.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bossie's Safety Gear

Not cool...but practical, and better than dehorning!

Rhonda's Homemade Laundry Soap


2 T. Original Dawn
1/3 Bar Fels Napa Soap (I sometimes use up slivers of my goat milk soap instead), shredded fine (I use a cheese grater blade on my Kitchenaid grinder attachment, or the food processor, unless you love to use the hand grater)
1/2 C. Borax
1/2 C. Washing Soda (not reg. baking soda)

  1. Mix soap w/ 6 cups hot water, heat and stir until melted
  2. Add soda and borax, stir until thick like honey.
  3.  Pour hot tap water in to equal 2 gallons, and add your scent now if desired. I use 1 oz of scented oils per 2 gallons of the laundry soap.  You don't need to use any, as the soap will smell nice and fresh anyway...but your clothes won't retain the smell of would be like using unscented laundry detergent.  Stir , cover , and let set overnite. You will see that it has somewhat jelled. I use my hand blender to even the consistency out and make it easy to pour into gallon jugs with a funnel, and also to dispense better in the washer.

Tip for softener.  I use white vinegar instead of store bought softener.  I just fill the dispenser in my front loader that takes softener.  If you don't have an automatic dispenser, I'd use 3/4 Cup to 1 cup.  I works great!  So now you can do laundry for a few pennies a load vs. the expensive store stuff.

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Bossie...the Irish Dexter House Cow

    Meet Bossie (and she is very Bossie indeed). She is a 4 yr old  heritage breed miniature cow. She is well suited for our small barn and barnyard, and reminiscent of our ancestors cows...small and compact, not huge milkers like today's breeds.  As you might notice she has horns.  I was not crazy about that...but tune back in to see my unique solution to this dangerous situation.  Miss Bossie is very cooperative, but not really a love bug...yet. She is all about the feed. You get a scoop of feed or a bag of bread, and she will follow you anywhere.  She is fine with being milked, by hand or with the machine. I prefer the gets finished in 1/4 the time it would take me to hand milk her.  Her milk is very white and creamy. Once it sits in the refrigerator for 12 hours or will see a thick white line at the top.  This is the wonderful cream that I use for ice cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese...well, I would make all this if she gave 5 gallons a day like a Jersey. As it is now, she is giving us 1 to 1 1/4 gallon a day being milked once per day, and feeding her bull calf too.  As time goes one, perhaps she will give more once he's weaned.  I love her compact size, and she eats 1/2 or less than our Jersey did, and stays nice and plump.  I highly recommend this dual purpose breed for a family milker...and the calves for beef.

    My Favorite Soap Recipe

    1 lb of lard, just melted enough to become liquid

    3/4 cup fresh goat's milk (whole cows milk will work also) partially frozen

    2 oz lye (household drain cleaner lye works)

    fragrance or essential oils to taste (don't use cheap oils from Walmart etc.)

    First I put the lard on the stove in a pan on very low.
    Use rubber gloves when working with lye. 
    Measure the lye and set aside. measure the milk into a glass measuring cup and slowly, very very slowly add lye should take 10 mins or so of slowly adding it and constant stirring, using a hard plastic spoon.
    You can just dump the lye into the milk if you don't care about the color of the soap. The slower your pour and stir, the lighter and creamier the soap with be.  Also, if you allow the lye to heat the milk to fast, you will get a burnt milk odor to the soaps and the color will be dark yellow or  brown.

    I watch the lard melting while I stir the lye/milk mixture, and quickly remove the melted lard from the stove as soon as there is not solid pieces left in the pot.
    After the lye is completely dissolved into the milk, pour the melted lard into a blender and slowly add the lye/milk to it and stir with the spoon. Then turn the blender on low and bring the mixture to trace and then pour into molds...(if you want fragrance or dyes you add them at the trace and stir them to combine, or just mix a few seconds on low) (Trace is when you turn the blender off, and the consistency is similar to instant pudding before setting up. )

    Let the soap set in the mold for 12 to 24 hours. Unmold and cut into bars.  The soap will be cured and ready to use in 2 weeks.   I line my soap mold with a kitchen sized trash bag to avoid leaks.  Any small box will do, according to the thickness you want your bars to be.

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Great Grandma Alma's Berry Joe

    This recipe goes back at least 100 years in our family. My Great Grandma who was born in 1900 had it handed down to her from her mom, and who knows where she got it.  I will share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  It's good alone, or of course topped with vanilla ice cream!

    Berry Joe
     For the Sauce:
    3 cups of water
    2 cups of sugar
    2 pints berries
    Boil and pour over the cake batter in a cake pan (9x13 works well)

    For the Cake :
    2 cups sugar
    1 Egg
    4 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp melted butter
    2 cups milk
    1 T. real vanilla
    1 pinch salt
    3  1/2 to 4 cups flour (add flour and mix until batter is thick like cake batter)

    Butter the pan, pour the cake batter in, gently ladle or slowly pour the sauce and berries all over the batter. I put my pan on a cookie sheet to catch any spewing over. Bake at 350 , check after 30 mins or so, until a knife comes out clean and the top is lightly golden brown.  Let cool and eat.  As it cools the sauce will thicken, and if you refrigerate it the sauce will be like a nice thick pudding on the bottom. 

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Hagar and Misty May the mini donkey

    Hagar, an English Shepherd (also known as Farm Collie) is ultra protective of all our livestock. But Misty May was a special case for him. You see when she was born to her little mini donkey mommy, the pony decided she was going to donkeynap her and raise her as her own.  A fight broke out between the mommy donkey and the pony, and it was a dangerous situation for the new wobbly still wet baby donkey who was caught in the middle of all that kicking and running.  Hagar saw the problem and took action. He barked viciously and chased the pony away from the baby and mommy, and even threatened to bite her if she came near.  Once he separated them, he stood guard over the baby for days in the field. (We moved the pony to the barnyard, but he was still worried and wouldn't leave her alone.  He laid in the field near her day and night. They bonded.  He is the most wonderful...smartest dog, and doesn't need much instruction.  He senses what you need and does it. He has helped me catch loose rabbits that somehow always manage to escape their field pens.  He catches and holds down the meat chickens on butcher day so I can put them in the carriers, all without hurting anything...and he keeps vermin out of the barnyard and groundhogs out of the pastures (he does tend to "hurt them".  We love him to pieces! And he loves us more!

    Roxie...such a "face, and those EARS!"

    Roxie...all grown up  Weighs about 12 lbs.  Her ears dropped!
    Roxie, a PapiPoo Pup

    This is where I sit to watch for intruders outside!

    I hope they don't notice that shredded toilet paper in the bathroom!
    Well...I'm just over 5 months old now...and I know how to go potty outside (I ring a bell on the door handle to let the family know I gotta go!).  I get to pick who I want to sleep with each night (mom and dad are the best, but I love Haydens fuzzy lion blanket to curl up on, and Rachel tends to flop around too much so I avoid sleeping on her tall bed in case I get pushed off, I could get hurt).  I have to have something different to eat each day...sometimes mom fries an egg for my breakfast, or I get some meat from dinner, or maybe I'm in the mood for my regular old crunchy dog's all up to me because I'm so cute, I mostly get my way, mostly. I hate staying in my dumb cage when the family goes somewhere I'm not Church or the grocery stores. I don't see why I can't go...I'm a good girl and just want to be included. I pout and cry in's pitiful and I know how to make them feel bad for leaving me.   I weigh 4 1/2 lbs, and I am probably almost done growing. I am getting an operation Friday so I can't have puppies.  I heard mom say she is scared for me to have puppies, because I'm so tiny.  That's ok by me...I am going to stay a puppy myself and get all the attention...this way I won't have to share!  My ears look huge, but really it's mostly hair you see...everyone makes fun of them, but mom loves them.  They make people smile for some reason.

    First Fresh Milk of the Season

      After finding homes for all but two of the babies this spring...which we are keeping to build my herd...this is what I milked from Dilly and Lena (both mini alpines), and just a little from Sandy, who is very small and is just in milk stand training. She is so cooperative, and even if she isn't, I can literally pick her up and plop her up on the stand.  This isn't much, but once the other 2 babies are weaned, we will be getting twice as much or more.  Bring it on! I am ready to make some yummy cheese and fudges!

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Goat meets Chicken...Warm Buffalo Dip

    I know that there are tons of recipes out there for warm Buffalo Chicken dip.  I wanted to make some for my son's birthday party, but didn't have regular sour cream or cream cheese on hand. Since I use goat milk and cheese for most everything I cook...I decided to give it a try and substitute those 2 ingredients for the goat versions.  I have to say...this is the best warm dip!  Here is the recipe, and if you can't, and we all know you won't, find goat sour cream anywhere, just use regular (not low fat) sour cream.

    I had a crowd coming so I made a big can cut it if 1/2 if you like.  This recipe filled a 8 x 13 baking dish.

    3 Cups diced cooked chicken in baking dish

    mix in a bowl the following:
    1/2 cup goat milk sour cream
    3/4 cup mayonaise
    3/4 cup bleu cheese dressing (ranch can be used if you don't like bleu cheese)
    3/4 cup Franks Red hot wing sauce
    3/4 cup mozz. cheese shredded
    1/4 cup parm.cheese
    3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

    pour the above sauce over chicken and mix well.  Bake in a 350 deg. oven for 20-30 mins until bubbly and getting golden on top.  Serve warm with crackers, bread rounds, pita chips, Frito Scoops...whatever you prefer!  It's delicious!

    "Treehog" (formerly known as Groundhog)

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    There's "Butter Days" Ahead!

    With the new baby goats arriving, and the weather feeling like spring, I got the urge to make some fresh butter. Since I'm not milking yet...I did the next best thing...bought a quart of heavy cream at Sams Club for $3.69 and used 1/2 of it to whip up some fresh butter and some buttermilk for ranch dressing.  If you've never made your own butter, you really need to try it just for bragging rights alone. Plus the taste is far superior to ready made butter. Here's all it takes...

    Pour your heavy cream into a Kitchenaid mixer (or any other mixer with a whipping beater), set it on medium high, when it becomes whipped cream you are almost there! Keep mixing until it begins to separate into clumps of butter and separate from the buttermilk.  Once it does that, pour off the liquid into a jar and keep for dressings and recipes.  Now I like to add a pinch on salt, but you can leave it unsalted. Work as much liquid out of the butter by pressing it with a wooden spoon against the sides of the bowl, draining the liquid as it drains out of the butter. Try to get as much liquid out, as it will keep longer without going rancid if you do.   It's not going to save money to do this...,but it's very interesting and delicious!  

    The amount shown in the photo represents using 1 pint of cream. You will get twice that amount using the whole quart of cream.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    After 14 years...we have a housepuppy!

    So my husband has come around after 14 years of saying "NO!NO!NO!" to a house dog, or any house pet for that matter. He has welcomed an outside working farm dog, Hagar the English Shepherd, numerous goats, some that fainted dead away when we startled them, some that give us milk and cheese. Rabbits, (for meat and resale), ducks, chickens, mini donkeys, a pony...and a few rodent killing barn kitties. But when approached (pestered) over the years about a little buddy for the kids (me) in the house, he would not have it...period. (I forgot to get the pre pup-uial agreement) I went out on a flimsy limb and I brought little Roxie he's smitten.  She can do no wrong...well she can, but he doesn't seem to get bent outta shape like if one of the kids would poop on the floor beside his bed....go figure.   I just am so tickled to have her here, and wanted to post some of my favorite shots. She is 14 weeks, and weighed in at 2.5 lbs yesterday at the vet. I suppose she will double her size...but she is still  a wee thing.

    Healthier &" Not Gross" Chicken Bites or Nuggets

    My 2 kids are nutty about chicken nuggets, bite, strips, fingers(where do these even come from?), anything resembling the dreaded fast food and frozen mystery nuggets. I can't bring myself to feed them those gross things...they are the hotdog of the chicken industry.  Anyhooo...if you want to taste a REAL chicken nugget, I have come up with my own version of what I think tastes alot like my FAVORITE chicken restaurant, Chic-Fil-A's nuggets.  I grow my own chicken so I know what it eats and whatnot, but you can find some organic, free range or pastured chicken if you look hard enough.

    First cut up 2 nice big ol breasts into the size pieces you want (we do the bites so they cook fast and are great to dip in sauces) Sprinkle with some salt and let sit a few minutes whilst you mix up the following:
    Mix dry ingredients in a bowl or pan:
    2 cups flour,
    1/4 cup corn starch
    1 T. Rosemary
    1 T Rubbed Sage
    1 T. chili powder
    2 T. Salt
    1 T. Pepper
    1 T Onion Powder
    1 tsp. Garlic Powder

    In a separate bowl, mix 2 eggs with a cup of milk and 2 T. Vinegar. Soak 1/2 the pieces in this mix for a few mins and coat well, then transfer the pieces to the dry mix, coat well and fry in preheated cast iron pan in shallow oil (just enough to fry but not cover the pieces over) turn when golden and don't overcook! Repeat with the other 1/2 of the pieces. Fry until crispy and golden brown, drain on paper towel and serve hot with various dips.

    You can also do patties for sandwiches using this same coating.

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Our little 14 week old Papipoo puppy playing ball and keep away or the first time in our kitchen. She caught on really fast to the concept.
    So far we have had 5 new babies born since Thursday...and it's only Sunday! The mamas are taking great care of them, and the babies are already playing games and napping together. The first little guy is my favorite so far...he is sweet, ornery, and has that classic nubian look with the long floppy ears and roman nose. The others have the airplane ears and dished noses, which are so cute. Baby goat lips are the cutest things!

    Some Busy Mama goats...

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    The weather here is amazing...more like the Carolinas than Ohio! We are really loving not being buried up to our armpits in snow this time of year. BUT when baby goats start showing really messes with our minds! It's February 23...and one of our mini nubians had her first baby today...all on her own with no assistance. He is a cutie and very sweet!  We are expecting 8 or so more in the 4 to 6 weeks.  It won't be long...the milk pails will be overflowing again...and cheese will be dripping from bags hanging from my cabinet knobs in my kitchen.  Can't wait!

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    For anyone with a bookworm in the will want to take advantage of this awesome FREE online book site for kids! You can't download them, but you can read them with an IPad, Kindle Fire, or phones would be too small of a screen.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    I'm getting with the program...I'm blogging!

    I have been thinking of blogging for a while now...but never thought I'd do it. Mostly because, honestly, who is that bored that they want to read what I have to say!? But...maybe I can be of some help to some other frustrated farm gal/homesteader who wants to learn to make some goat cheese, or figure out how to can something from their garden, or want some unbiased advise when their kids are driving them nuts. I'll do what I can to be helpful...and not too terribly boring!  Thanks for thinking of me!