Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow, Food, A Cookbook and a Baby Calf

That pretty much sums up our January so far. We've had snow. More snow. And more snow. I'm really starting to feel like a bear, and I would love to sleep this winter away. Emily has been happy about the snow. And I'm thankful that the snows seem to come around the time I have a few days off each week. So I don't really have to drive in the snow, unless I want to. Which I usually do not want to. What I do love about the snow, is when Emily has a snow day. I love it! She don't, but I do! I'm glad she loves school, but I do enjoy hanging out with her all day. Yesterday, she had a snow day, so what did we do? We sat in the kitchen and each had scissors and colored paper and we made paper snowflakes. I've put them in our windows and on our doors. It makes the house look so much more cheerful. We had fun!

Of course, being snowed in is a wonderful time to experiment in the kitchen. Well, I figured it's either dig out the cookbooks and cook, or organize the house. Cooking sounded a lot more fun...and I guess I did do a little bit of organizing too. My favorite recipe that I have made this past week comes from the Gooseberry Patch cookbook Speedy Suppers. We ended up having breakfast for lunch. It was yummy! Too bad Emily was in school and didn't get to enjoy it with us...yeah..too bad. More for Daddy and I! hehe...

Cheesey Sausage Bake

8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb. ground pork sausage, browned and drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
5 eggs
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Spread crescents in the bottom of a greased 13x9 inch baking pan; press together. Top with sausage. Sprinkle with cheeses; set aside. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper together; pour over cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 6-8.

January is not my favorite month. I don't care for the cloudy gray days. But, I have to say that when I received my free copy of Gooseberry Patch Homestyle in a Hurry cookbook, I didn't really mind the weather being nasty. I love getting a cup of coffee and sitting back with a new book and looking through it. My recipe, Renae's Taco Casserole, was picked.

Our farm work is much more involved this time of year. Things seem to break a lot easier when the temperature drops. Last Friday night into Saturday we were at -18. Not the coldest our farm has seen, but cold enough! I had to work at the Diner that morning, so it was Al and Emily who made their way to the barn to do morning milking. Emily went into the milkhouse first,and then came back out to inform her dad that it was "raining in the milkhouse". Never something you want to hear! The cold temps caused a water line to bust overnight. That was actually an easy fix. Unfortunately, the water spraying all night drained our cistern dry. Our cistern is our water source for our cattle while they are in the barn, and the water we use to wash up the milk lines with. We contacted the fella who hauls our water for us, and he brought some in the next morning. Until then, we had to haul water from our house well to keep the barn going.

We also had our first baby calf born for 2011. It was a bull calf. And mama looks like she will milk well.

Since I had the camera at the barn, I couldn't resist snapping a few more shots! Cows are perfect, they are so curious about the camera. Or they wonder why I have something that flashes light at them.

Hope that everyone is keeping warm and safe with all the crazy winter weather! And have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I Just Love "Almost-Homemade" Recipes!

I have to admit, I love recipes that are "almost-homemade". You can take a convenient, simple main ingredient, add more stuff to it, and it's so much yummier! I've got several cookbooks that are along those lines, and a cupboard full of cream soups to go with those recipes. 

Tonight I was looking through the GBP cookbook "Comfort Foods". It's a favorite this time of year especially. I ran across a Tomato Soup recipe. We love tomato soup, but I confess...I usually just add milk to the canned tomato soup.  Yum.... well...a little less than yum, but we eat it in a pinch. 

This recipe is called "Almost-Homemade Tomato Soup". Very fitting! Had it all ready in no time, and even Emily at her bowl clean, and she's picky about her tomato soup, since she's the one in the house that thinks the old way (soup and milk) is the best.

Almost-Homemade Tomato Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. margarine
8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. paprika
1-1/4 cup milk
2 (10-3/4 oz. each) tomato soup
2 (16 oz. each) cans whole tomatoes

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in margarine for about 2 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, basil and paprika. Cook until creamy; gradually whisk in milk and soup. Stir in tomatoes. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until heated through. Serves 4.

Hope everyone has been having a good year so far. We're not too far into the new year, but I'm already getting the hang of getting the right year on our checks. That's a huge accomplishment!

As far as other stuff going on here at our farm, it's busy as usual! We've had some snow the past few days, and today's "flurries" were actually pretty good snow showers that left us with a few inches of snow. The cows are happy to be in the barn, where it stays almost 60 degrees all the time. Makes for comfortable milking for us too. 

Our vet was in on Tuesday for our regular "herd check".  We check cows for pregnancy (palpation), and the last of our heifer calves were calfhood vaccinated.  It has to be done by a certain age. Out of 26 cows, all were confirmed bred except for 5. It's good to know, and the vet is usually able to tell when she will be due, based on the date(s) we have recorded in her file of where she would have been bred. Typically with our milk cows they are bred by AI, or artificially insemenated. We occasionally have a bull, but at 2 yrs. of age they get mean. 

Work has been going very well for me. Although it is still a challenge some days to get into the swing of working away from home.  At least I'm not feeling lost and confused at work. I've got the hang of it.  I'm now in the process of learning how to do pizza's and subs. Which makes me very hungry! So hungry in fact, on Tuesday night I brought home a pizza and cheesy bread to munch on while we watched the Sugar Bowl.

Emily has gone to the barn with I think this is a wonderful time to get a few things done around the house. But, playing around on the computer is a lot more fun! :) 

Have a great weekend!

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