Monday, August 30, 2010

Out for a Ride

In the spring Elizabeth began learning to ride a bike without training wheels. I'm not sure why I waited so long for her to learn this but oh well, "better late than never".
Soon after learning Elizabeth wasn't able to practice much; this was due to being out of town, mosquitoes and hot weather.
With fall nearing and our evenings being very nice temperature wise I decided Elizabeth needed to begin practicing riding her bike once again.
Just down from our house is a stretch of road just perfect for bike riding; it's flat and smooth.
Elizabeth did surprisingly well as long as she stayed focused....I just had to keep reminding her to "stop talking"!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sort of Back to School

The traditional back to school doesn't really pertain to us since we school year around. However, back to school tends to be the start of our co-op group and our co-op group usually has a monthly field trip. This year the first field trip was to the apple orchard.There were several dogs running around the orchard and when they got hot you could find them wading in the pond. The kids were so excited to play with the dogs.
One of the best parts about picking apples is eating them! Gala apples are my favorite so I made sure to fill my bag half way with them and I also gathered a tart apple so I could make a pie.
It's so fun walking down row after row of trees.
Part of the field trip included a hay ride. There were too many kids to fit on the wagon so we ended up with 3 different hay rides.
We had around 150 people gather for a morning of fun. The kids were excited to see friends they hadn't seen all summer and the parents were able to catch up on visiting as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hummm What to Blog About

Here lately most days have been very routine with nothing interesting to blog when this happens I tend to blog about food. Thankfully some cooler weather arrived and I was able to bake fresh ground whole wheat bread;And a large pan of party mix.
Yummy, I love homemade foods!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cooking an Older Chicken

The old mean rooster turned out to be too big for my pressure cooker; so I had to cut him up. At first I thought I would need to cook half now and half later but when I removed the lower rack in my pan he fit fine. Just look at how dark the meat is!
My instruction book says to cook a chicken at 10-pounds for 30 to 35 minutes. I cooked my chicken at 10-pounds for 45 minutes and then let the pan cool down almost completely before removing the lid.
The broth that came from the chicken is some of the best ever. The cooked meat was so tempting that Pat ate one of the leg quarters right away. Just look at how long the leg bone is; I have never seen a chicken leg this long.
The flavor is wonderful but the meat, as expected, is tough. I'm not sure if cooking the chicken longer would have done any good; the bones break apart pretty well but the meat was hard to pull off the bones.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Morning Chore

This morning we began setting up our work station so we could butcher some of the roosters. I normally prefer to do this in the fall when the weather is cool but our poor hens were having a hard time with the roosters constantly bothering them. Normally we pluck the feathers off the birds while dry but this time we decided to dip them in hot water first. Several years ago we would dunk the birds but I never liked how the meat on the neck would begin to cook so we stopped doing it this way.
It's so much faster removing the feathers after the dipping; the time saved more than makes up for the gross looking cooked neck meat.
And I love how smooth and clean the bird looks once all the feathers are gone and it's nice not having the skin tear which happens often when plucking a dry bird.
One of today's roosters was our old mean one; just look at how big his spurs are! I will be cooking him in the pressure cooker tomorrow.
We are getting better and faster at butchering chickens. It's not my favorite thing to do but I am very pleased at how much we have learned and how much easier it's getting.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Giving Up

My garden is no longer a's a weed patch!I watched this cabbage grow, just waiting for the right time to pick it.
When we got home from Dallas I planned to make some coleslaw with fresh cabbage and fresh carrots; sadly it didn't happen...the cabbage was rotten.
I did find a few cherry tomatoes.
I have decided to give up on the garden this year, even if I had the time to cut down the weeds I don't think it would be worth it. The bugs have taken over and everything is so pitiful looking.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Bit of Summer Baking

Several months ago I was reading a few blogs about Once a Month Cooking. I am not really into it, other than freezing a few choice foods such as taco meat, but what caught my eye while reading was a discussion about Butter Horns.My mom has a recipe for these and I decided to give it a try. Once the recipe is made up you simply place the bread on a cookie sheet until it is frozen solid then store in a large bag.
When you want fresh hot bread set out the frozen sections on a greased pan and cover with clear wrap. It usually takes a few hours for it to thaw and rise and is surprisingly "fresh tasting".
The best part about this frozen bread was the baking; I was able to cook it in the toaster over without heating up the whole house.

Butter Horns
2 cups milk, scalded
2 packages yeast
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 beaten eggs
8 cups flour
Add yeast to cooled milk. Combine shortening, sugar and salt in mixer on low. Add the milk/yeast solution and then the eggs. Add half the flour and mix well for 2-minutes; stir in the remaining flour by hand. Knead lightly and place in a well greased bowl; cover and allow to rise until double in size. Divide into 6 equal sections; roll each section into a 9-inch circles and cut into "pie" sections; 16 sections for small butter horns or 8 sections for large butter horns. Roll each cut section like a crescent roll and place on cookie sheet; freeze.
Bake thawed and risen bread at 400-degrees until brown.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Final Activity

Before leaving the big, big city we took a little trip further east of Dallas to Tyler.
Our destination was the Tyler Zoo.
We met up with Jonathan's friend Curtis and Curtis' son Benjamin.
The Tyler Zoo is very small but so amazing.
It was so pretty with wood walk ways and bamboo plants.
There was water and trees everywhere.
After touring the zoo we headed to El Mejicano Restaurant for a Mexican buffet. The food was amazing! Everything tasted homemade and the selection was the largest I have ever seen; there were 4 buffets set up with everything you can imagine.
Here is Jonathan holding Benjamin, who is so cute and sweet. This is the only picture that came out fine because Benjamin wiggled so much and was blurry in most of the photos.
We are now back at home and totally exhausted. There is so much to do and so much to catch up on but for now I am planning to relax and sleep for the rest of the weekend. I have had enough travel and swimming to last me for quite sometime!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nearing The End

So far my favorite place to see/visit has been downtown Plano; it's so charming. I was very surprised to see apartment buildings everywhere. This building reminded me so much of an apartment building you might see in a movie. I loved how it felt standing near it and walking down the street. It would have been fun to go in and see what one of the apartments looked like.Many years ago, more than 20, we lived in Carrollton; what I remembered the most was downtown. It still has the gazebo with shops outlining the square.
During one of our sightseeing drives I spotted a business with the word "bread" in the title. Hum, bread...yum, I just had to go check it out.
For presentation I give it an A+ but for taste...a big fat F...I was so disappointed! We ordered a cinnamon roll but it had too much cinnamon and wasn't fluffy like I expected. We also ordered an orange flavored scone; it was dry and flavorless. Both items ended up being thrown away...such a waist of money!
We learned about a museum that sounded very exciting. I pictured spending the morning walking around looking at fun old antiques and exploring buildings. Nope, it was very small. While the place had several buildings to look at most of it didn't make since. We spent less than 30-minutes checking everything out.
Our trip to the big, big city is almost over and I am looking forward to getting back home. I have really enjoyed being so close to everything; a quick run to here or there only takes 5-minutes! But no matter how nice it is having so much nearby, I still like country living the most.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Halloween Orange

Last week we learned about the What A Burger 60th Anniversary Free Burger Celebration and wanted to participate. I just happened to have an orange shirt with me but Jonathan and Elizabeth didn't have one; so off to the Goodwill I headed. My mission was to find each shirt for no more than 1-dollar each.First thing I noticed was a sign that said "50-percent off all blue tags" and sure enough I found 2-orange shirts for 1-dollar each after the discount.
On the big day the restaurant was all decorated and everyone was wearing orange. There were so many people the line wrapped around the tables inside the building.
I had ordered large fries, one drink and one water but the cashier charged me for 2 drinks so my total out of pocket was 6-dollars for the food and 2-dollars for the shirts; (I didn't want to get back in line to correct the overcharge).
It still amazes me that Elizabeth can eat such a big burger, plus fries and a drink!
We had so much fun, especially watching how some people were not willing to stand in a long line for a free burger. The teen boy in front of us was not willing to put on his shirt until he was at the counter. I don't see what was so embarrassing about wearing an orange shirt, especially since everyone was wearing orange!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lake Trip

We took a break from the big, big city and drove out to the lake where the kids got to see two sets of aunts and uncles plus several cousins. Swimming was a must, it was so hot.Jonathan added to my gray hair by jumping off the top of the boat house. Elizabeth wanted to do this as well but I said "NO WAY'!
Elizabeth did a little fishing with the cousins and caught a catfish.
Thank goodness Uncle Max was there to take the fish off the hook.
We had such a nice day visiting, eating good food and having fun.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Train

So far our biggest adventure has been riding the Dart Train. It was very much like a bus only faster.
We had fun getting off and on at various stops.
And I loved seeing the sights without having to drive in all the traffic.
We went all the way to downtown Dallas and got out to walk around a little.
One of the first things I noticed was a man selling hot dogs from a push cart. I always see these in movies but seldom do I see them in person. It was tempting to go buy some of his food but the area we were in was a little intimidating so we decided to wait.
After riding the train all morning we went back to our car and collected a lunch I had packed. Then we got back on the train and headed for downtown Plano where there was a very pretty park.
Eating outdoors under a big shade tree sure makes the food taste so much better.
After eating and playing for a bit we headed back to our hotel and spent some time in the pool.
The water felt so good and refreshing, especially since we are not used to humid weather.
What a day we had and the best part was the price...6-dollars! The train was such a bargain.

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