Monday, May 31, 2010

Just Can't Wait

Our calf is going to be born in the next several weeks.

I go home in three and a half weeks.

My baby chicks arrive in two weeks.

My little sister arrives in one week.

My ice cream maker arrives tomorrow.

My husband is coming home tonight.

How can I live with such happiness?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Last Day of School

This was yesterday:


This is today:



This is me today:


This is me tomorrow:


ALLELUIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bring on the nap, pink lemonade and lute player.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Self Back Pat

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1. After browsing Amazon, I called a (gasp) real store to price an item. For the first time ever, I found something cheaper in a store than on Amazon.

2. Didn't complain (or pout) when I had to fly solo for our late night Holy Hour and come home alone (husband was working really late). Especially since the burglary, I don't like being by myself late at night, but I figured either way I'd be going to see God.

3. With two doses a day, I haven't missed taking my prescription even once this week! (Now vitamins on the other hand...)

Check out others' small triumphs and share your own at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fiat

Want to do today: Make bagels, granola, make and freeze English muffins, bake bread, make and freeze tortillas, clean bathrooms, do laundry, work in garden, watercolor a landscape, watch a movie with my husband and have a scrumptious dinner.

Need to do today: Go to the parish office and work. Plan tonight's youth group meeting; the last of the year. Finish paperwork. Send off contracts.

I see a great disparity between the two. At times like this, "Fiat" means a lot more.

Ecce Ancilla Domini (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Tasty Tuesday
Grab the button here and come join us, or just link to another site with a recipe you're going to try... or post a recipe in the comments!


I'm not terribly fond of blogging in the afternoon (I'd prefer to post in the mornings), but we're in the final week of school and I can't type up a post while the girls are doing work -- they need me to be totally present.

But I hope this recipe will be worth the wait.

Yes, it's another of Annie's from Annie's Eats. What can I say, the girl and I have identical taste! If she posts it, I pretty much love it.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars
(Image and recipe from Annie's Eats)

Ingredients:
For the crust:
23 Oreo cookies
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. sour cream, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil.  To make the crust, place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor.  Process, pulsing, until the cookies are finely ground.  Add in the melted butter and pulse until the cookie crumbs are moistened.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.  Press the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside and prepare the filling while maintaining the oven temperature.

To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the sugar until well combined. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium-high speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature.  Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
To cut the bars, pull the cake from the pan by lifting the foil up out of the pan.  Place on a cutting board, peel away the foil, and slice into bars.  Clean the knife blade between each slice to keep the edges neat.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Musings

It's not morning anymore, but I was working this morning.

Right now... it's 4:45 in the afternoon. I'm in the midst of updating the cherry harvest computer program. I've hit a wall and can go no further. So I'm dreaming up meal plans for this week instead.

This past weekend... was spontaneous but amazing. During Mass the (visiting) priest said he'd give a steak dinner to anyone who could stand up and recite the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. My husband starting poking me in the ribs, elbowing me and loud-whisper chanting "do it, do it, do it." Amongst the 700+ people in attendance, no one else would (I certainly hope I wasn't the only one in the congregation who knew them!) so I volunteered. After Mass we went out to dinner, complete with appetizer, drinks, steak and dessert! If my Theology degree has done nothing else (but it has), at least I got an amazing dinner amidst delightful company.

Afterwards my husband surprised me with a trip to a secluded hill in the area that overlooks the whole region. It's a notorious teenager make-out place, but no one was there! The view is quite breathtaking. The plan was to stay until sunrise, but spontaneity met reality when, at 2:30am, we were freezing and quite uncomfortable due to lack of pillows and blankets. But it will be remembered as one of the dearest, sweetest, most lovely evenings of my life.

Some plans for this week:  I will go grocery shopping. I will. I must. Running out of food is one thing. Running out of toilet paper is another.

If I can find some time for myself, I want to... paint. It's a skill every accomplished young woman should possess. I don't have talent but if I keep working it might become a skill.

Special prayer intentions: For my sister-in-law's woes. And for a glorious and profitable cherry harvest.
 
Something that makes me smile: Sweet memories. And steakhouse leftovers for lunch.

This post is graciously hosted by Patch O' Dirt Farm.

Friday, May 21, 2010

We Have a Winner

There were 22 entries for the No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy giveaway.

I've got a lot of spiritual reading suggestions now. Thanks, y'all! I think the most popular book was St. Faustina's Diary. I've never read it cover to cover, though I open it at random in Adoration sometimes and always receive solace.

Down to business.

It breaks my heart that there can only be one winner. I was truly rooting for everybody!

If I were Oprah I'd just give everybody a copy. If I were Oprah I'd also give everybody a car. But then I wouldn't be a farmer's wife. I think I'll just give away one copy and stop dreaming of Oprah's riches now.

Randomly selected from Random.org is comment #9.

Which belongs to: Sara!

Congrats, Sara!! (As if winning Jeopardy wasn't enough for you, you had to go and win the City Wife, Country Life giveaway. Some people have all the luck).

Contact me within 24 hours to claim your amazing prize (or else I'll re-gift it).

This was a lot of fun. I think we'll be having more giveaways in the future.

Everybody can get a Free Limeade Sparkler from Taco Bell! So in the end everybody wins.

How egalitarian.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Going Home

FaithButton

1. Bought chick supplies a full three weeks before they're due to arrive! My inner procrastinator is dying a thousand deaths.

2. Bought a plane ticket to go home!! AND a plane ticket for my sister to come here! It takes me forever to commit to buying a plane ticket (non-refundable huge expenses are scary), but June is going to be a glorious month.

3. Am doing my first ever giveaway on this blog. Be sure to enter.

Check out others' successes and share your own this week at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amazing Discovery

I have made an amazing discovery.

If you go to bed early... it's much easier to wake up early.

(Click image to enlarge)

Seriously, I don't know why I don't get paid for this stuff.

Everything after 10pm is more fun, but the quiet beauty of early morning might be worth a lifestyle change.

My lettuce has taken off! I'll be eating salads in about two weeks, I think.

One small breeze and that drop is a goner. But until then it's fun to behold.

This will be a blackberry in a few weeks.

Ooh... lots of blackberries.

I love my life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm Outta Stuff

Tasty Tuesday
Grab the button here and come join us, or just link to another site with a recipe you're going to try... or post a recipe in the comments!

I'd like to post a delicious and tasty recipe for you, but I've got nothing. Totally uninspired. No ideas. No mouthwatering pictures.

Please give me recipes, or my husband will starve to death!

Post a recipe on your blog, or enter a link of a recipe you like, or post a recipe in the comments.

Thank you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It Has Begun


Right now... It's 8:38am. It's overcast and threatening to rain. Today is the beginning of hay baling. I'm praying, for the crop and my husband's sake, that it doesn't rain. I'm also bracing myself for the long days (beginning at midnight and ending around 10pm some days) without a husband. This morning he snuck out before I was awake.

This past weekend... I bought plane tickets to go home for a visit!!

We went to the feed store. We bought brooder supplies for the baby chicks set to arrive next month. My husband also gave me permission to get replacement plants for my epic fail seedlings. I was like a kid in a candy store... besides tomato plants I ended up scoring some squash, okra, basil, oregano, cilantro, strawberry, and parsley plants too.

Yesterday was arguably the happiest day of my married life so far (and that's saying a lot). It was just a beautiful day with no distractions and nowhere (besides holy Mass) to go. It was truly a day of rest, and a beautiful respite before the busy season begins.

Some plans for this week: I want to assemble the brooder so everything is ready for the chicks. I also need to keep re-vamping the computer program for the impending fast approaching cherry harvest.

If I can find some time for myself, I want to... exercise. I'm boundin' with energy and rarin' to go!

Special prayer intentions: That everything will go smoothly (no baler breakdowns, no heavy rain) for the hay harvest. For my dear friend who's going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. For my mom's job. And for a great youth group meeting this week.

Something that makes me smile: My husband's goodness. (Wow. Seriously... just... wow). And the possibility that my younger SISTER might be coming for a 3 week visit!!

More Monday Morning Musings at Patch O' Dirt Farm.

 -------
If you haven't already, don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Ever Giveaway

I was kind of serious the other day when I said of Fr. Calloway's book, "Read it. Buy it. Buy copies to give to others. Buy copies for others to give to others."

I'll follow my own advice. I'll give away a copy of No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy.


As in, it's free. This takes Free Friday to a whole new level.

Winner will be randomly selected next Thursday, May 20th @ 9pm PST (midnight Eastern), and I'll post the results next Friday.

To enter, just leave a comment to this post answering the question:

What's your favorite book for spiritual reading? 

Please enter only once.

Good luck! (Considering the small readership, your chances for winning should be fairly good).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Delight

 The lettuce is up!

 I know it's too thickly seeded. But hey, I like the appearance of abundance.

 The "puffballs" are in full bloom. What are they actually called?

 I'm not the only one who enjoys them.

 But this, by far, is the glory of the yard.

 They're planted on the side of the house where nobody ever sees them.

 But they're so exquisite.

 It's worth walking around the house for no other reason than to look at them.

And inhale the beauty.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No Turning Back

My husband was reading a book out at the farm earlier this week called "No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy" by Fr. Don Calloway. He was so engrossed in it that he would scarcely look up or respond.

Image from Amazon

I had met Fr. Calloway in college -- he was a young, cool, passionate priest who gave dynamic and riveting homilies about the Blessed Mother. Only after graduating did I discover he was a "somebody" in the Catholic world, when I heard him on EWTN. I'd had no idea about his sordid past.

I asked my husband to stop reading so we could enjoy it together later. He twinged a bit, as if to say, "but it's so good! I can't stop!" What a darling he is; he immediately put in a bookmark so I could catch up.

So yesterday I picked up the book. From the very first paragraph I knew it would be good. It took every shred of willpower not to read past that bookmark!

The hours felt like days until he got home last night. I passed the hours by sitting outside and feeling the cool breeze of an impending thunderstorm... the first of the year. But as soon as he walked in I yelled: "Okay! Let's read it!" He'd picked up some goodies from the grocery and we snuggled in for a long night of reading aloud, amidst the glorious peals of thunder. 

We were up until 3am. I will admit that at some points the book begins to get tedious. You wonder how many more drugs he can do, how many more scrapes he can get into, how much more miserable he can become. But the moment at which you think you can't stand it anymore and he's gonna die, all heaven breaks open and floods him with grace. Wow. It's a conversion story to rival Augustine, Ignatius, Francis and... yes, even Fr. Corapi.

Read it. Buy it. Buy copies to give to others. Buy copies for others to give to others. It is a remarkable witness to mercy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coconut Cream Pie

Tasty Tuesday
Grab the button here and come join us, or just link to another site with a recipe you're going to try... or post a recipe in the comments!

For Mother's Day I made a coconut cream pie. I'd made it once before, and was in food ecstasy for weeks afterwards.

(The first time I made it, I used a pastry crust instead of graham cracker, but I liked the graham cracker crust better this time).

Sure enough, it did not disappoint this time either.

It's super rich, so only a small slice is necessary (good for a crowd), but it is fantastic.

If you want to make it easier, you could always use a pre-packaged graham cracker crust and "frozen whipped topping," but I make no guarantees for food ecstasy if you take those shortcuts. Nothing beats homemade.

Today you're getting four recipes for the price of one (toasted coconut, coconut custard, graham cracker crust and whipped cream)! I even made a printable version! You can thank me with $10's and $20's. Or by posting your own recipe.


City Wife's Country Coconut Cream Pie
Printable version

For the crust:

* 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (1 sleeve + a few)
*6 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1/4 cup sugar 
* (1/2 tsp. cinnamon if desired)

Mix ingredients in an ungreased 9” pie plate. Press on the bottom and up the sides. Bake in a 375° oven for 8-12 minutes, or until slightly golden. Cool before filling.

For the filling:

    * 1 can coconut cream (not milk!) + enough  ½ and ½ to equal 3 cups
    * 3 egg yolks
    * 3/4 cup white sugar
    * 1/2 cup corn starch
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * ¾ cup coconut
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half/coconut cream, eggs, sugar, corn starch and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk (it takes a good 15-20 minutes on low heat to get a boil, but it’s necessary to raise the temperature slowly). Remove from heat, and stir in 3/4 cup coconut and vanilla extract. Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm. (infinitely better overnight) Before serving, top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
Whipped Cream:

   * 1 cup cream
   * 2 ½ Tablespoons white sugar

Put ingredients in a cold clean bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Toasted Coconut:

* 1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted

 To toast coconut, spread it in an ungreased pan and bake in a 350° oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Musings


Right now... It's 10:41am. Overcast outside, a little gloomy. I'm at the school table with my nieces. The fourth grader is furiously working on a Saxon math problem set with a half broken pencil. My second grade niece is writing 25 times, in cursive, "I will bring my books tomorrow." Happy Monday!


This past weekend... I baked bread, made granola, made a coconut cream pie for my mother-in-law, watched as my husband fixed an electric fence where the calves were getting out (we have beef cattle again!). I had a glorious conversation with my mother on Mother's Day. We went for a Sunday morning country drive and stopped by a place we saw with draft horse stallions and rodeo bulls. The guy put them through the paces and showed them off for us. Beautiful, massive, powerful animals!
   

Some plans for this week: I want to start building a chicken coop, weed the garden, and order supplies for milking Ofelia. I've started calling "Lia" or "Leah", which means "cow," after all.


If I can find some time for myself, I want to... sketch or use watercolors.


Special prayer intentions: That I can celebrate Mother's Day next year.


Something that makes me smile: Wild yellow roses from my husband.


More Monday Morning Musings at Patch O' Dirt Farm.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flat on my Back Successes

FaithButton

1. Had 35+ students Confirmed! (Okay, it's not even remotely my success, it's God's. But... um... I made the punch for the party!).

2. I've been bed-ridden much of this week (it's a good thing, it means the medicine is working!). I had two options for the flat-on-my-back time: getting computer work done for the impending upcoming cherry harvest, or Netflix. I chose: both. I can even multi-task when I'm bed-ridden, people!

3. Cleared out my inbox by responding to e-mails. Usually I stare at them, thinking of something to say, until all danger of warranting a reply has passed (a la one of my favorite short essays, "On Unanswering Letters" by Christopher Morley). Then I file them away. But this week I actually blew my friends' minds and replied!

Check out others' small successes and share your own this week at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Anticipation

Several events are going to take place over the next six weeks. There's a great sense of anticipation in our house right now as we shift into high gear. 

#1. The first hay harvest of the year (read: obscenely long hours for my husband).

#2. Cherry harvest (read: obscenely long hours for both of us).

#3. Our first ever 25 baby chicks arrive (read: I'm scared witless... what if I'm a chick killer? So many things can go wrong with that heat lamp!).

#4. Our first milk calf will be born and we will start milking Ofelia (read: I'm scared witless...).

#5. Summer break will begin (read: Alleluia!!).

Stay tuned. I'll blog about each of these events as they happen.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tasty Cinco de Mayo

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Grab the button here and come join us, or just link to another site with a recipe you're going to try... or post a recipe in the comments!

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow! I'm going to try my 3rd attempt at tamales.

Attempt #1 was a total flop. The filling was delicious but my masa never set up. Attempt #2 was a partial flop. The filling was delicious but my masa only partially set up. I'm going for success on #3 with a delicious filling and perfect masa.

Because I don't have a tried and true masa technique yet, I'll just post the perfect filling, which would make delicious taco, burrito or enchilada filling if you want something a little fancier than "fry ground beef, stir in seasoning packet and 1/4 cup water."

Is it authentic? Depends on whom you ask. Is it delicious? YES!

Tamale Filling
Adapted from "Jenn" at Allrecipes.com
  • 4 pounds chuck roast (or pork shoulder/Boston butt roast)
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 6 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef (or pork) broth (cooking juices)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • salt and seasonings to taste
Place beef (or pork) and garlic in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Let simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours, until beef (pork) is tender and shreds easily. When meat is done, remove from pot, reserving several cups cooking liquid and the garlic (smash the garlic into the meat). Allow meat to cool slightly, and shred finely with forks. 

Remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups reserved broth. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and broth to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, set aside. 
 
Heat oil in a large skillet. Mix in flour and allow to brown slightly (stirring constantly). Pour in 1 cup reserved cooking liquid (broth) and stir until smooth. Mix in strained chiles, ground cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, vinegar and salt. Stir shredded meat into skillet and cover. Let simmer 30-45 minutes. 

This is stinkin' amazing. Holy guacamole it's good!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cause of Monday Joy

My husband loves me! I love him!

That is all.

*blissful sigh*