Saturday, April 30, 2011

This is a neat idea!

I just read this-from a link in another blog I follow.  Sounds interesting so I thought I'd share.

Bartering Bloggers
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Ah, Fresh, Raw, Homemade Yogurt!

We sure missed this dietary staple the last month or so!  One of my pregnant and milking does was ready for her dry time before I could get the new mama into good production, so we've had an extended period of no milk.  Last summer I froze about 3 quarts in a gallon jar and we used that when we entered the "dry" period, but it only last a week.

Finally, the doeling of another goat was big enough to go to the buck, thus giving us the milk she refused to give up.  It's only been a week, and only about a pint at a time, but that finally went up to 24-26 ounces and I was able to accumulate enough to have 2 quarts for yogurt making.  mmmmmmmmmmmm

I used about 6 ounces of store-bought yogurt with active live cultures and this is one of the thickest batches we've ever had.  It's all Nubian/Boer cross milk which has a higher fat content than our Alpine milk.  We're back on probiotics!!  Thank you, Belle!
This is from last June, shortly after Yodelady was born.  She should have been weaned by October, but neither was willing to give it up and separating them didn't work, they always found a way to get back together.  She finally gained enough weight to go hang out with Boots the Buck, so we have raw milk again!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So Tired

That's how I always feel.  Even two years after discovering the reason behind it-adrenal fatigue.  Recently I sent saliva samples in for testing.  My chiropractor ordered the tests and I spoke with him this morning.  My progesterone levels are low and DHEA is high.  Now it's being suggested that I have a serum Vitamin D test, fasting glucose and insulin levels checked. 

I've been doing a little reading about low progesterone and one site had this to say,
"progesterone is an essential raw material from which your body makes many of the other hormones vital for good health"  Its this simple fact that helps anyone appreciate just how wide ranging the effects of a progesterone deficiency can be.
I've not come to any conclusions yet, but it's helpful to learn there are other things I can do to get over this.  I took the questionnaire and scored 63.  It says if your score is over 10 you're likely to need progesterone support!  However, this is the first site I've read and I'm not inclined to blindly follow the first thing I read.  If I find corroborating evidence, then I'll consider it.

Now about those high levels of DHEA.  It's confusing me.  From what I'm reading, high DHEA levels don't seem to coincide with low levels of progesterone.  I have more symptoms that go with not enough than I do with too much.  One statement made a bit of sense though,
Because having too much DHEA, or converting DHEA into too much of one hormone and not enough of another, can be as upsetting to your body as not having enough.
So maybe the extra DHEA is being converted to estrogen instead of progesterone and causing an imbalance?  I don't know.  What I do know is I need a referral to a good homeopathic, naturopathic doctor in my area.  I need answers and viable solutions.  I need to overcome the funk that has become my life these last few years.  I'm ready to return to a life of joy and peace, not distress and upset.  With that, I think I'll go take a nap!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Making Meatballs

We just put about 110 meatballs in the oven. I wish I could say that we cranked 'em out, but it didn't go that fast. We had a glitch with the grinder (aka not following directions for proper assembly) but once that got fixed the grinding went quickly. I then mixed in the seasonings and eggs and had already decided to leave out the breadcrumbs based on past experience with meatballs that tasted too little like meat. Well guess what? No breadcrumbs means gooey wet mixture, so I stopped in the middle to go buy breadcrumbs.

This is where the rabbit trail starts. I don't recall ever buying breadcrumbs, so had no idea where to find them. My first hope was with the natural foods, so they'd be short on ingredients. Nope, none there. Baking aisle? Nope, not there either. Maybe with beans and rice? Unh-uh. Stuffing mix? Wrong again. I finally found them with the instant mashed potatoes. Have you ever read the ingredient list on breadcrumbs?? It was 4 inches long! I didn't even need to read each item to know that if it's that long there's surely at least 1 item in there that I don't want to put in my HOMEMADE MEATBALLS that I'm making to AVOID those ingredients.
Plan B. Wait, I don't have a Plan B. Crackers? Could I smash up crackers and end up with something like breadcrumbs? It'd be worth a try. Even in the natural foods section it was a challenge to find crackers without soy lecithin or corn starch. I did finally though, so I headed home and engaged my cracker smasher (5 yo son). One more round of running my hands thru all the gooey mess and then on to production!

I used the medium scooper from PC to size them and Tony rolled them into better balls. Ours were a bit bigger than the recipe called for, so we cooked them for 20 minutes, then switched to broil for a few minutes to really brown them up. Here's how they look:

They taste pretty good too!  We'll eat a few today, some Monday night for a spaghetti pot luck and freeze the rest for quick lunches, and maybe those nights when I just don't feel like cooking.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spinach Salad with Wasabi Dressing

I made this for dinner last night, with a couple of tweaks.  I found it thru a list from with ideas for 20 different spinach salads.  I bookmarked a number of them to try out this spring.
I added a variety of greens, plus tomatoes, but left off the sesame seeds.  We don't use them in other recipes and I didn't want to buy some just for this.  It made a good dinner.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Parmesan Squash Cakes

I don't recall where I found this recipe.  Given that it's typed out on half a sheet of paper, my guess is I picked it up at the Farmer's market last summer.  I wouldn't bother cutting the paper, so it's not something I found online and printed.  I'll copy it here, with my additions/suggestions in purple.

1 large egg (I used 2)
2/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion (I didn't have that much, but it was plenty-maybe 1/3 cup)
1 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley (I used dried)
1/4 t salt (I didn't measure, just added)
1/4 t pepper (same here)
2 cups shredded summer squash, 2-3 medium (I used 3 that I considered small and ended up with way more than 4 cakes, as the recipe indicates)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (once again, I didn't measure, I had a small chunk and used it all)
1 T extra virgin olive oil (I needed more)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Beat egg in large bowl-I started with one, it wasn't enough for the amount of squash I had.  Stir in onion, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Place shredded squash in clean kitchen towel and gather up ends and twist to squeeze out as much water as possible.  I let my son do this part, only I told him to simply press on the towel to get the water out.  I didn't explain that the goal was to squeeze out water, so he felt the job was done when he had flattened out the mound.  I should have checked.
  4. Add the squash and cheese to the bowl, stir to combine.  This is where I realized I needed another egg, so beat one and added.
  5. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Pack a 1/3 cup measuring cup with the mixture and unmold into the pan.  Gently pat it down to form a 3 inch cake.  Repeat, making 4 cakes.  I now see the flaw in the recipe.  If you start with 2 cups of squash, and just use 1/3 cup scoops, you will get 6, not 4.  I got 9, so I guess I had more than 2 cups of squash!
  6. Cook until brown and crispy on the bottom, 3-4 minutes, then gently turn over and transfer pan to oven.  Bake for 10 minutes and serve immediately.  I don't have a skillet that can go into the oven, so I oiled a cookie sheet and transferred them to that.  As the water didn't all get squeezed out, they kinda fell apart, but they tasted good!
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Blog.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tuna Quesadillas

The other day I wrote about making a Mexican spiced version of tuna salad.  Tonight we're having it on quesadillas.  Here's how I made them:

To a dollop of mayo I added 1/4 tsp each of cumin, onion powder and dried cilantro leaves, stirring to combine.  I then added 2 5oz cans of drained tuna and mixed well.  I made it less moist than if I were making tuna salad-just enough mayo to hold it together.

I then assembled the quesadallas with a layer of tuna, freshly chopped green onion and shredded colby jack cheese and toasted in the toaster oven until the cheese was melted.  That'd be dark toast on mine.  We ate them with salsa, but sour cream, guacamole or sliced avocado would be wonderful too.  They're kind of like tuna melts with a twist!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mexican Tuna Salad and Then Some

Anyone ever had it?  I was making tuna salad for lunch and saw the can of diced green chiles and thought they might be good in it, so along with them I added onion powder and cumin.  It was quite tasty.  We all agreed though, that it'd be even better in a quesadilla with green onions!

I made deodorant this morning.  I used the recipe from Passionate Homemaking.  I won't need to try it until tomorrow morning, and then it'll take a day of activity to see how it works.  Oh, I added lemon and lavender essential oils, just to give it a nice fragrance.

Spring is here, but not the frost free time yet.  Farmer's Almanac online shows my area frost free after the 21st of this month, so we'll wait until next weekend to plant our seedlings.  A friend has also given us several sunflowers to plant and another thing I think he said was a red hyacinth, but I don't recall.  This friend is an older gentleman from church that is always working on the grounds there.  One day I felt the urge to offer him a dozen eggs each week, so I asked him.  He was grateful and I could sense that he longed for more interaction, so I mentioned it to Tony, who had been interested in helping maintain the grounds too.  They spent a couple of hours that afternoon hoeing weeds.  Tony could tell he was glad to have some help and some company.  A day or two later Don shows up with a truckload of tree saplings and trimmings for the goats, and a bag of grapefruit for us.  Two days after that he came by asking for goat manure.  Obviously we have plenty and shared with him, and I was intrigued once again by God's economy.  We simply gave a dozen eggs from our excess, and got a new friend that brings treats for the goats (he even saved a bag of watermelon rinds for them) and plants for us!  Don is 82ish and works part time at the hardware store and is always at church doing some kind of physical labor.  His motivation is that if people think the outside looks nice, they'll be more likely to try coming inside.  Can't argue that.  Now we want to pick a night to invite him to dinner to find out more about him and learn from his life experiences.  What a treasure we've been given, and all because we're overly blessed with eggs too!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Next Phase

Of our house hunt, that is.  I'll get to that soon enough.  It's been weeks since I've posted an update about anything, or read my favorite blogs!  I've been trying to limit my screen time, no computer after 8 and since we don't have TV and that's son's get-ready-for-bedtime, no movies after that either.  I think it's helping me fall asleep a little better, but I'm not really sure.

This has to be at least the 3rd post I've made about our house hunting adventures, maybe even the 4th or 5th.  I wish I could say it was a done deal, but not yet.  We did, however, make an offer on 8 acres of irrigated land, near the river, in town.  We have a verbal counter offer that we've agreed to, but the property is owned by a family trust that's managed by a management company and the decision has to be approved by the board.  The board meets every Thursday, so tomorrow they should be making their decision.  The rep is recommending it be approved, so hopefully that's all it takes.  Our offer is 40% less than asking price, but it's what listing agent recommended, so we're praying this is a blessing from God.

Yesterday we even paid a deposit on a manufactured home we like, so we could lock in the sales prices.  We have a contingency that the land deal be approved or the offer is void and deposit is refunded.  We can make any kind of change we want prior to finalizing the contract, including a totally different floor plan/model.  Shouldn't a daughter of the King live in a Royal Manor?  Check out the kitchen and bath....floor plan is basically same as the first, slightly larger, but with upgrades.

Tony went over to the property this morning to take pictures.  The upper portion of the 8 acres are quite nice-mesquite trees and grass.  The lower portion is, well, a junk yard.  At first glance it seems overwhelming, but as Tony took a closer look he found lots of usable building material-steel, wood, etc, for barns/sheds and a workshop for his business.  So, here we go-pictures.  Some will have caption/explanation, many don't even need it!

Wide angle view of part of the junk yard.

The mobile homes aren't livable, but a lot of the material is salvageable.

Lots of steel!

This is insulation-he doesn't know if it can be used or not, or if it's even safe to sort through it.  This "building" it's in is 10x30 and he says there are 15 in various states of assembly.

This (above) is the inside of the building (below).  I'm thinking garden shed, hen house, play house, green house (there are foot wide by 9 foot tall windows on the property that could be used along one side)

Largest collection of Chevy Chevettes in the country!  LOL, there are about half a dozen plus a few other cars.  The stuff in the building is ceiling tiles.

If only it had an engine, we'd have our very own dump truck!

Sawed off school bus complete with overhead lighting!

Now for something useful-barbed wire-can you see how many rolls of it there are?  Could come in quite handy!

Small gauge field fencing.

Ah, and this scene makes it all worthwhile!  This is the upper portion and what it could all look like someday.  Even better according to my visionary husband!  Fortunately for us, the trees will hide the junk from our view once we get a home on the property.  It isn't on the river, but we have access.  It's a great price for land around here, but we have to bring in electricity, add a well and a septic tank, and run a ditch from the irrigation canal to the property.  Could be in by mid summer if the offer on land is accepted.
In this video you can see a good portion of the southeastern portion of the property.  I forgot about the old fashioned wagon (flower planter?) and the farm implement.  The trailer at the end could be fixed up and used to haul things away.  The white bus is on the property south of us (owned by a family member of the current owner of parcel we want to buy).