Y’et Yet Chilli Pork Salad- Easy weeknight recipe

So, I’m the master at “winging it” when it comes to cooking. 9 out of 10 times I have no idea what I’m going to cook- I’m the worst meal planner. That being said- I almost always have a fairly nutritious and edible meal on the table every night. I also hate grocery shopping. I hate it. Which means, a lot of times I have a lot of varying ingredients that may or may not go together, usually they don’t.

I had set a pork shoulder out yesterday morning, not fully knowing what I was going to do with it, but figured I’d wing it when I got home. Ya’ll this was one of my best improvised meals in a long time!

The Pork Shoulder was thin sliced, so I seasoned in with Serendipity brand seasoned salt, cumin, and pepper then browned it just until there was a nice sear on the outside. Then pulled it out of the pan and let rest for a few minutes (mainly because my toddler was screaming for a drink, but it sounds better to say it was intentional.) I then sliced the pork into thin strips and put in a baking dish with a touch of olive oil and about 1/2 cup of Y’et Yet Chilli blend (see photo) covered and baked on 350 for 30 minutes. The pork shoulder was so tender and juicy!

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(picture from amazon)

While that was baking I sauteed sweet peppers in olive oil with red pepper flakes, minced onion, and minced garlic, warmed up a can of pinto beans and some rice I had left over from the previous night’s meal. I also chopped some lettuce and grated some cheese.

Once the pork was ready, I put the lettuce, beans, rice, cheese, peppers, and meat in a bowl and served. My husband topped his off with sour cream and salsa as well. I have one picky eater of a husband, and even he loved supper. It was a win-win for all

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Recipe

Pork Shoulder

1 lb pork shoulder

1 tbsp Serendipity seasoned salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp pepper

1/2 cup Y’et Yet Gourmet Chilli Mix

1 tbsp Olive oil

Season raw pork shoulder with Serendipity, cumin and pepper and brown in skillet (about 3 minutes on each side on medium high heat)
Remove pork from skillet and slice into thin strips (think fajita meat strips) and place in an oven-safe dish with the olive oil and chilli mix. cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sweet Peppers

7 sweet peppers

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red pepper flakes (give or take according to your tolerance to spice)

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp minced onions

pour olive oil, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and minced onions into pan and heat up just a little, add sweet peppers and saute until peppers are soft.

 

Serve 

Serve over lettuce with pinto beans, (black beans would be good too) rice and cheese, add sour cream and salsa as desired.

total time spent cooking: apx 45 minutes

 

 

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A Pinterest Recipe Review (or fail)

Okay, ya’ll, I apologize for the lack of photos- I just couldn’t with this one.

Chicken and broccoli spaghetti squash.

SO… Here goes. Yesterday evening I decided to try out a new recipe I found on Pinterest a couple weeks ago-Chicken and Broccoli with spaghetti squash (instead of rice.) I have been so excited to try this out, so, so excited. That excitement slowly died through the evening as I was preparing my meal. To be clear, I rarely follow recipes just exactly to the tee- as such was the case on this fateful evening. (don’t judge-usually it works for me.)

I have had spaghetti squash in the past and remembered really liking it, and I love chicken and broccoli- so what could possibly go wrong? A lot, that’s what.

To begin with- I cut my squash in half longways- just like the instructions said. I scraped out the seeds and rubbed the inside with olive oil, salt and pepper (I also added a bit of garlic) placed the halves face down on a baking sheet and set the timer for 45 minutes- as the instructions read. about 15 minutes in I started to smell an odd scent- I thought “surely it will get better as this cooks”  and continued on to prepare my chicken and broccoli- as I always do- and just the way I like it. As the squash is roasting, the smell keeps getting stronger and stronger. I kept hoping it was just my nose having been stuffed up for days due to allergies that my sense of smell was off.

I pulled the squash out of the oven and let it cool enough that I could handle it then scraped the meat of it out (hey, that was sort of a fun little task) mixed the chicken, broccoli, and squash into a baking dish along with cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream and put in oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

By this time the smell was that of dirty feet- but I thought to myself “it can’t be that bad” and “you have spent a little over an hour preparing this food, you are going to eat it, and you are going to like it!” so, I persevered. I fixed a bowl of this concoction for myself, my son, and my husband. I got my son and myself situated at the table and watched as Gage delved into this like it was the most delicious thing he has ever had in his life and thought “dang, it must be pretty good- I’ve barely got our drinks to the table and he’s finished half of what I gave him” so I get myself a generous bite on my fork and take the bite. WORST. TASTE. EVER. Ya’ll, I’m not a picky eater, I never have been, but this? This monstrosity of a supper? I couldn’t handle. Before my husband even got the chance to take a bite I took his bowl along with mine and dumped it back into the dish which I then carried out to the dogs.

Guys, the dogs wouldn’t even eat it. When I went to work this morning, there lay an untouched pile of spaghetti squash nastiness by the corner of the house- and my dogs eat dead rats and donkey poop and lord knows what else. I don’t know how my son seemed to enjoy it so much,  I really think he was just that hungry from his long day of play. Has to be.

So, moral of the story I guess- when you’re making chicken and broccoli casserole- just stick to rice as your filler. Spaghetti squash is not “where it’s at.”

Strawberry Sweet Roll: Recipe

So Saturday was the annual Spring Fling festival in my community. A group I’m in had a bake sale which I had originally planned to bring cinnamon rolls to. Like many of my projects, I thought I had PLENTY of everything I needed to make my intended recipe. However, once I got home and got started I realized I only had about a teaspoon of cinnamon. 

I live far enough from town that driving back just isn’t feasible. So… I winged it. I had strawberry jelly and strawberry preserves and strawberries (my child as well as myself are strawberry junkies, don’t judge.) 

I followed my normal cinnamon roll/ bierox/ rolls/ everything that involves bread recipe (see below) then, instead of butter, cinnamon and sugar- I had a mixture of strawberry jelly, strawberry preserves, and strawberries. (I’m terrible at measuring so…I’ll get you as close as I can.) topped off with cream cheese icing and fresh strawberries. 

   (I’m not the best photographer) 

Bread dough: 

2 tbsp active yeast

2 cups warm milk 

2 large eggs + white of one more egg

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

5 tablespoons salted butter, softened

6 cups flour
Mix sugar, milk and yeast together. Let sit for 5 minutes then mix in eggs, salt, and butter until well mixed, add flour one cup at a time up to 4 cups dough should be tacky, but not sticking to the edges of bowl. Add 1/8 cup flour until yay consistency is reached. 

Move dough from mixing bowl to a greased and lightly floured bowl and let rise for 1 hour. 

After dough has risen, place on lightly floured surface and kneed 4-6 times (do not kneed too much!) roll out, add filling, roll up and cut into 1.5 inch disks and place in 2 9×13 pans (will make 16 rolls) (I never do anything in perfect dozens) cover and let rise for 45 minutes. 

Bake for apx 10 minutes on 350 degrees F or until rolls are very, very lightly browned. 


Strawberry filling 

18 oz strawberry preserves

(Apx) 12 oz strawberry jelly

1 package strawberries diced 

Mix ingredients together and smear on dough generously 


Cream cheese glaze 

2 packages cream cheese 

5 cups milk

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract 

Mix until smooth, pour in ziplock and cut a small corner off, drizzle over rolls. 
*rolls do freeze well. Once rolls are completely cooled, wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze. To re-heat, place in microwave 25-30 seconds and serve!

It’s “That Time” of Year Again…

This morning as I was getting ready for work, my husband says to me “I’m probably going to be late tonight… and tomorrow night… probably the next night too.” I knew it was coming. It’s “that time of year.” But it never fails- I always get just a slight sense of disappointment- and annoyance.

I know- and knew coming in to this marriage that there would be a lot of late nights and early mornings. A lot of times he would go to work before I was out of bed for the day and wouldn’t be home until long after I had gone to sleep. Deep down I know that’s just part of it- part of this glorious life we live as farmer’s and rancher’s wives. It’s hard sometimes.

As a farmer’s wife with a town job, it’s easy for me to forget just how hard my husband works to make everything work. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to feel like I’m doing more or that my workload is somehow unfair. It’s not. When I’m running late in the morning because I had to get myself and my child clothed and fed and out the door by 7:30 (that rarely happens) to be to work by 8 it’s so easy for me to complain in my head about how if someone would just help like put clothes on the tiny human or something, how I wouldn’t be running this late. Or when I get home from work and there are piles of laundry to be done, a floor that needs swept, mopped, or vacuumed, supper to be cooked, dishes to be cleaned, trash that needs taken out, pets that need fed, a kid that needs bathed, teeth brushed, and put to bed. And not always willingly- do any one year olds actually purposefully fall asleep?  And a million other things that really need to be done- my “poor me” attitude always shows itself. When I fall into bed and shoot him a quick goodnight text and he doesn’t respond before I am ready to go to sleep, it’s so easy for me to take on my bratty self and think to myself “well if I’m not important enough…”

It’s easy for me to forget he’s busy too. While there are days he spends the morning getting the coffee shop gossip- he makes up for it with the days he’s out on the sprayer long before dawn or on the tractor long after sunset. He spends days running here, there, and everywhere because- let’s be honest- if ever a day comes that everything goes exactly as planned on the farm…what witchcraft are you doing, and can you share? He’s planting, or spraying, or checking fields, or working on equipment, or making sales calls, or delivering product, or hauling water, or tending to cattle, or building fence, the list could go forever. It’s easy to picture a farmer as some old guy who just sits on the tractor all day going back and forth, back and forth across the fields or just sitting in their pickup gawking at their cow. It’s easy to forget that as much as farming is something they (usually) enjoy, it’s also their job.

“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man”

-George Washington

So, while I may slip from time to time more often than I’d like to admit I’m doing my best to remember- and be grateful for just how hard my farmer works

Good Friday Ponderings

This morning I grumbled as I got up to come to work- on a holiday. I cussed the county offices for being open on a holy day. I’ve grumbled since I’ve been here about various things that just hacked me off. grumbled about parents who just can’t seem to get it together and about the lady at the bank who didn’t even double check the rather large fundraiser deposit I took today. Grumpy because my husband went on down to my grandparents’ this afternoon and I’ll have to drive there all by myself at 5. It just hit me that today- of all days I am grumpy about everything- I’ve complained at almost every single turn. But if 2000 years ago this day didn’t happen- I might not even be here. The course of the world would have been so much different than it is now. 2000 years ago- My Jesus was beat and tortured and hung on a cross so that I could have eternal life.

It took nearly all day for it to hit me- I’ve been so caught up in my own selfish feelings that I have forgot what today even is. Furthermore, I have let my contempt get in the way of showing basic kindness to those I come across. I’ve been terrible today.

The beauty of all of this, though, is that because of what Jesus Christ went through on this day- I am forgiven. No matter how terrible I have been- how much I have complained, how hateful I have been to those I’ve been in contact with- I am forgiven. Jesus carried every sin I have ever committed and  every sin I ever will commit to the cross with him. He suffered unimaginable anguish- not because he couldn’t escape it- but because he loved me and you so much that he wanted us to someday be with him in Heaven. Wow. That is love.

“My God, My Savior has ransomed me, and like a flood his mercy rains- Unending love, Amazing Grace” 

I can’t change my behavior earlier in the day- but I can for the rest.

Have a safe and Happy Easter, all.

Jesus loves you.

Amber

Mama’s, It’s Time to Get it Together.

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant I have realized how fierce and downright hateful mothers can be to each other based solely the differences in decisions and lifestyles chosen. By differences, I don’t mean neglectful- I mean the decisions each mother is faced with from the point of conception. To have an all natural birth or to be medicated, between vaccinating or not, breastfeeding or formula feeding, to be a working mom or a stay at home mom, – the decisions that each of us has a fundamental and almost moral feeling either for or against, the decisions that divide us.

Personally, I was induced and had an epidural, my little Gage has been in daycare since he was 2 months old, has been (and will continue to be) vaccinated on the CDC’s recommended schedule, and was formula fed. I personally know people who have done everything from the get go exactly the opposite of me- natural births, no vaccines, breastfed, and have never spent a minute in a full time child care facility. I know others who are somewhere in between those two extremes. Our children are all beautiful, wonderfully smart little beings who are developing right on schedule.

The point is, While I may adamantly disagree with people who do not vaccinate their babies, others will adamantly disagree with my choice to formula feed or send my child to daycare from the get go- and we each will defend our decisions with passion. We each made every decision (I assume) based on hours upon hours of on our own research- be it by parenting books, Pinterest or internet searches, etc. –  advice from families and friends, questions to our doctors or midwives, financial reasons, or based off of personal experiences. We toiled for months on how we were going to make every aspect of our baby’s life the healthiest and safest we possibly could. And when it comes right down to it, each of us made the decisions we felt in our heart was the absolute best for our child as well as our family.

By all means, advocate for what you believe to be true and right, share the information you have and the experiences you’ve had. Just, do so with the understanding that we’re all doing our best- we’re all in this together. As long as your child is well fed, appropriately clothed, and most importantly well loved- everything else can be worried about later. We are raising our future together. Lift each other up, love each other, encourage each other. 

Small Talk- Weather in the ‘Handle

I had a lot of things that came to mind to write about today, but I decided to stick to my original plan and talk about the weather. I was just a little too stirred up to be able to write my feelings on the other subjects that came up today in a tactful way. You’ll hear about those soon enough though, don’t you worry!

I thought in order for me to really be able to share my life, you would have to understand weather patterns (or lack there of) in the Panhandle. So, if you’ve made it far enough to read this part, thank you! I will do my best to make it worth your time!

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The picture above is from a little over a month ago. We were headed towards a drought so bad we weren’t sure if we were going to even have wheat to cut or enough grass to graze our cattle. On March 3 the winds came a howling- with approximately 40 mph sustained winds and well over 50 mph gusts that day. we watched as dust turned the sky brown. and listened intently as wildfires ravaged a 4-state area burning just over 1 million acres in total. I could write a whole blog on just these fires, but I will leave that for another day. Now back to the sky being brown with dirt. That happens often here, in fact, a day that the winds are less than 25 mph is generally considered  fairly “calm.”

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You see, people in my little region are praying people. Even if we don’t attend a church service every Sunday or even really know if we believe- everyone seems to pray. After those fires, everyone prayed- not only for comfort and healing for the families, but for rain. We pray for rain out here almost every mealtime and bedtime prayer anyways, but after those fires- we prayed hard, even those who don’t pray often- and, I truly believe God heard. In the past 2 weeks we have received nice, soaking, slow rains a couple times a week. So far my house has received just over 4 inches of much needed rain. Our Wheat is finally popping up from the dirt, our pastures are finally starting to get a little hint of green to them. The spirits of everyone, not just the farm and ranch families are much more jolly- but we all know and understand, that we are just one windy day, one month of little to no moisture from being back in the same boat we were a few weeks ago. It’s our life- and strangely enough, I’ve grown to love it.

 

Now to the fun part. While a month ago we were fighting a losing battle against the elements, 90 degree weather, 40 mph wind, blowing dirt, and terrible fires- and now we’ve been blessed with rain and snow… yes, you read that right. Snow. I know it’s not uncommon for it to snow in April, but where you live is it ever 84 degrees on Monday, snow an inch and a half on Tuesday, be warm enough in the night that all the snow melts before 7:00 am Wednesday morning and be back to almost 70 degrees by Thursday? Well here things like that happen almost all the time.  Living in the Oklahoma Panhandle is kind of similar to living with a pregnant lady (or at least me as a pregnant lady). One second she’s happy and farting rainbows and when she sings the little forest animals gather around and all is perfect- the next second she’s literally the Devil’s wife out to destroy you, your dog, and steal the leftovers you were saving for yourself (If you don’t think that is the work of Satan, I don’t know if you should be on this blog), then the next second she’s crying happy, beautiful gentle tears. Living in the Panhandle is an adventure- because each day you have no idea what you’re going to wake up to (and don’t even rely on the meteorologists- they’re as bad at guessing the weather as the rest of us, they just get to do it on regional TV.) Pictured below are photos of our Tuesday snow and screenshot of today’s temperature.

Continue reading “Small Talk- Weather in the ‘Handle”