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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cookbook Giveaway From Gooseberry Patch!!!!!...

 This giveaway is now closed.  The winner was Tanya who commented:
I work in town and I like to have Mississippi Roast in the crock pot waiting on me when I get home.

Tanya @ stpribb@ptsi.net
Thank you to everyone who participated!
If you've been following my blog the last few weeks, you have probably noticed that I have been sharing several recipes from Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super Easy Slow Cooker Recipes- ...
The title definitely doesn't lie.  Most of these recipes are very easy to make and they call for basic ingredients that you may already have stocked in your pantry.  I love cooking in my crock pot and there are so many other recipes that I haven't made from this cookbook yet, that we could eat out of our crock pot for weeks!
There is a picture for every recipe in the book.  I don't know about you, but I'm a visual person and I like to see something before I make it!  Gooseberry Patch has also divided the cookbook into different "chapters" based on the length of time needed to cook, such as 1 to 6 hours, 6 to 8 hours, 8 to 10 hours and make-ahead meals.

 The index is also separated by the type of dish it is, such as appetizers, desserts, and mains separated specifically by the type of meat in the dish...pork, poultry, veggie and seafood.  I also like how the cook book is spiral bound which makes the book lay flat when you are cooking.

If you have several crock pots, you could easily make a whole meal just out of this one cookbook!

Here are some of the recipes that I made from the cook book...

Sweet and Savory Beef Sandwiches...
Tex-Mex Taco Joes (a family favorite!)...
Smokey Hobo Dinner...
Roasted Cajun Pecans...

Now let's get to the good stuff!  How would you like to win a copy of Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes?  Well, I have one to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Here are the details:
1) Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite thing to cook is in your crock pot.  Make sure to include your email address because that is the only way I have to contact you if you win!  

2) The giveaway ends on April 28th at midnight EDT.

3) A winner will be chosen at random.  I will notify the winner via email and the winner will have 4 days to reply.  If the winner doesn't reply in that time frame, I will draw another winner at random.

Gooseberry Patch did provide me with a cookbook, but all photos, reviews, and opinions are my own!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Craft Time {Easter Cross Paper Plate}...

While I love having my girls create Easter crafts that reflect the commercial side, I still like to incorporate crafts that reflect the true meaning of Easter.  This craft was easy and involved painting, which my girls loved, and it helped cure that crafting "itch" they've been having since I haven't felt real motivated to do the whole craft gig lately.  Luckily, their Aunt Lauren gave them a gift from Kiwi Crate for Christmas so a craft shows up in our mailbox every month and all the supplies are included!  So, even if I don't plan one, the girls get to make at least one craft every month!
 The first step is to paint a paper plate.  You can paint it using whatever design you choose!

 This was the first craft that I let Jo participate in.  Usually craft time is during nap time!  She started out painting bright beautiful colors...
 and then it turned to brown!:)
 Of course you always have to feel the paint with your fingers...
 and then wipe it on your shirt!
Once the paint is dry, cut the crosses from black construction paper and glue or staple them to the plate.

Jo's is on the bottom, B's in the middle, and Mel's on the top.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Girls Can Farm Too {Part 3}...

 This is the last post in a series.  You can find part one here and part two here.

I have a feeling that there are some people in the world that still picture farming like this...
Whereas on most farms it actually looks like this...

I mentioned in my first post that we went to a dinner and Dr. Jay Lehr was the guest speaker.  One of the things he said was, "Farming is the most technologically advanced profession in the world."  Now to some people this may come as a shock and, I'll be honest, I didn't realize this either.  Farming has evolved so much over the last 10-20 years.  The technology on our farm has advanced drastically just in the last 5 years.  The technology that we use allows us to be more productive and cost efficient.

We add additional tile to our fields or repair broken tile all to improved the drainage in our fields because if a field is too wet, it affects the crop yield.  On this tractor is a GPS device that allows us to map exactly where we have placed tile.  

All of this data is loaded onto a flash drive in the tractor cab that we then plug in to our computer and download it.  First it looks like this, which just looks like a bunch of lines so really it doesn't look like much at this moment...
 but you then download it to Google Earth and it is automatically mapped to the exact field it was installed in the exact location...
 All of this can be done from the comfort of our living room...
We have monitors in our planting tractor that monitors each seed box to make sure it is working properly because even if just one row quits working and you don't realize it until you are at the other end of the field, your profit decreases substantially.
This year we have added something new through Precision Planting called Fieldview and I don't quite have it all figured out yet..nor do I think I will EVER have it all figured out.  Luckily that is Brad's job!
This is an app on the iPad which is connected to the planter.  The iPad sets in the tractor cab and allows you to see a constant picture of the planters performance.  The above picture is just an example,  but the green strip is what has been planted and the white line with the arrow is supposed to be the tractor and planter. As you plant it moves.  "Every planter pass, every row, every foot of seed information is plotted on an Apple map."  It also tells you what the current spacing and population is because, again this effects the yield.

I've seen some predictions on the internet that explain the future of technology on the farm and it is unbelievable.  I don't know if it's from a trusted source, so I won't quote any of them,  but we are definitely moving forward.  And let it be know that my farmer husband got an iPad before I did;)  He's becoming quite the techy!  I am confidant all these advances will allow my girls to farm, if they so choose!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Smokey Hobo Dinner...

Growing up my mom used to put smoked sausage, potatoes, carrots, onions and butter in a 9x13 pan and bake it.  It was one of my favorite meals growing up.  Sometimes she would put hamburger patties on the bottom in place of the smoked sausage links.  I know of some people who make foil pouches and place these same ingredients in the pouch and toss them on the grill.  When I saw the recipe for this Smokey Hobo Dinner in Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Cookbook, I immediately put the ingredients on my grocery list!  This recipe is simple to make and tastes just like I remember!  Stay tuned next week for a Gooseberry Patch giveaway!!!

Smokey Hobo Dinner 
5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
16 ounce package baby carrots
1 onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
14 ounce package smoked pork sausage, sliced into 2-inch pieces
1/2 Cup water

1) Spray a slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray.  Layer vegetables in slow cooker in order listed, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper.

2) Place sausage on top of vegetables in slow cooker; pour water over all.

3) Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.  Serves 6.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Susan's Slow-Cookin' Ribs...

Another marvelous recipe from Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Cookbook .  I don't know who Susan is, other than what the cookbook tells me, but Susan is one fantastic lady for inventing this recipe.  I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry and it was just a little spicy which got the OK from my family!  Susan's ribs will definitely be making more appearances in This Farm Family's kitchen!

Susan's Slow Cookin' Ribs

1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds boneless pork ribs, sliced into serving size pieces
1 onion, sliced and divided
1/2 Cup water
2 Cups hickory-flavored barbecue sauce

1) Combine seasonings in a cup; mix well and rub over ribs.  Arrange one-third of ribs in slow cooker.  Place one-third of onion slices over top; repeat layering 2 more times, ending with onion.

2) Pour water over all.  Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.

3) Drain and discard liquid from slow cooker.  Pour barbecue sauce over ribs.  Cover and cook on low setting for an additional one to 2 hours.

Serves 6 to 8.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Project 52 Week 13 {Blue} and Week 14 {Radiate}...

Well, I'm late in posting these...again!  Sometimes more important deadlines and life in general get in the way of posting my photo a week.  While I was looking back to see what week I was on, I realized I don't have a picture for week 12.  Oh well!

The theme for week 13 was "blue."  I couldn't figure out what I could take a picture of that could fall under the blue category.  I was thinking blue sky with white puffy clouds, but Mother Nature didn't cooperate that week.  Then I thought about taking a selfie because of said weather, I was feeling a little "blue" myself, but then one day this happened.  This little miracle...
 She never falls asleep on her own except in her own bed.  She must have been extremely tired from such a busy morning.  Or wait...it was from keeping Mom and Dad awake all.night.long.  I blame the teeth even though I really don't know if she was teething!

The theme for week 14, last week, was "radiate."  Jo is always on the move and I have found that she is a lover of the great outdoors.  She could spend hours out there just wandering around exploring.  Her smile is "radiant" when she is outside!

Now on to week 15 in the hopes that I can snap a pic and get it posted before next week!  And maybe one of my other two daughters can be in a pic for once!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Roasted Cajun Pecans...

This is another great recipe from Gooseberry Patch's cookbook, 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Cookbook  .
The seasoning on the pecans is a tad spicy which makes them great to serve at Super Bowl Parties, Final Four Parties, Grammy Parties, Tailgating, or just to snack on anytime!  I think they would go great with beer too...just sayin'!  And better yet, you make them in the crock pot.  Who knew you could roast pecans in the crock pot?  Not me!  Well, I guess I never gave it much thought until I saw this recipe.  This was the first thing I made from this awesome cookbook!

Roasted Cajun Pecans

1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 Cup melted butter
1 lb. pecan halves

1) In a small bowl, mix together spices.
2) Pour melted butter into a slow cooker; stir pecans until evenly coated.
3) Sprinkle spice mixture over pecans, stirring constantly, until evenly seasoned.
4) Cover and cook on high setting for 12-15 minutes, stirring once.
5) Remove lid from slow cooker and reduce heat to low setting.  Cook uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
6) Remove pecans from slow cooker; cool on paper towel-lined wire rack.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Girls Can Farm Too {Part 2}...

 This post is part 2 in a 3 part series.  You can read the first part of my Girls Can Farm Too series here.

Who says that girls can't farm?  We have never placed that idea in our daughters' heads.  According to the National FFA blog, the number of farms operated by women in the U.S. have doubled since 1978.  "Across the country nearly 300,000 women serve as principal operators on 62.7 million acres of farm and ranchland, accounting for 12.9 billion in farm products in 2012." (source)
The above quote makes me wonder, were these women actively involved in agriculture when they were younger?  During their most influential ages?  I often ask myself if the love for farming is an inherited trait or something that is learned.  Is it something that will be passed down from my husband and me to our daughters or is it something that they will learn from working beside us?

Brad and I both grew up on farms, so we have been around agriculture since we were babies and we still live and breath it every single day.  Some of the best memories from my childhood were when I would help my dad with the hogs on our farm.  I always jumped at the chance to help him with the hogs. My family also has a dairy farm. One of my brother's responsibilities on the farm was to feed the young calves.  When it was spring or harvest and he was busy in the fields, It was my job to feed the calves.  My family jokes that at this point, I was a "fair weather farmer."   If it was raining, I wouldn't feed because I knew that my brother would be able to do it as he wouldn't be in the fields!;)  

 Brad started going to the farm with his dad at around 2 years old.  He drove a tractor all by himself at 3! This isn't the best picture and he is probably around 9 or so, but it's all I have at the moment.

Most of Brad's younger days were spent working beside his dad and grandpa on the farm.  He may have even played hookie from school to help with field work;)

And that is why I wonder if it is inherited or learned.  Are the things we experienced when we were younger what developed our love for farming?  

We live on a beef and grain farm and currently feed about 150 head of beef cattle.  The process of our feeding is a little to "complex" for our 8, 5, and 1 year olds.  

We try to keep the girls involved in the farm life as much as we can by letting them be involved in "rookie" 4-h.  Last year they had pigs, this year we are trying dairy.  
We attempt to keep them aware of the day-to-day happenings on the farm.  The drought of 2012 took a toll on many farmers including us.  We explained to the girls what was going on and why it affected us.  We didn't want to scare them, but rather want them to better understand why we work so hard for what we have.

Sometimes I wish I could look into a glass ball and see the future of farming.  It's such a scary world out there and farming seems to be the most vulnerable of professions and yet it is something that the world can't live without.  Sometimes it scares me to think about what the future of farming holds for our daughters.
Maybe they won't physically farm, but instead will be advocates for agriculture that speak up for farmers on Capitol Hill.

As much as we would love to see them inherit our love for the farm, we know that it may not always happen.  Whether they inherit the farming "gene" or not, we are trying to teach them the love for agriculture.

Stay tuned for Part three...

I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmer's Table Talk.  While I did receive a gift for this article, all opinions are mine.

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