Ham and Cheese Pockets

A harvest time and cattle work day favorite around the Dietrick house has always been hot ham and cheese pockets. I originally got the idea from these hot sandwiches the cafeteria at school used to make. They were always my favorites, so I started re-creating them.

They’re so easy to mix up and change up to whatever your own tastes are.

 

 

Recipe

bread dough—(my go to dough recipe here)  or 4 cans Pillsbury artisan pizza dough

deli meat- your choice (I use ham, obviously)

Cheese slices- your choice

1/2 stick melted butter

make dough according to recipe or open cans (I’ve been known to do both depending on what time and energy allows.)

roll fairly thin because the dough will rise while cooking.

Cut dough into apx 4×2 rectangles

place meat and cheese into dough (works best if you roll them together)

Roll dough around meat and cheese like a burrito and pinch ends closed

bake 350* until bread is a nice golden color

brush with butter as soon as they come out of the oven

serve hot or cold.

(Can roll in foil and pack in an insulated bag and they’ll stay warm for hours)

 

makes about 20 rolls.

 

 

 

 

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I’m Back. -With a Little Humor

I’ve been MIA from here for a while, so I thought I’d welcome myself back with a little humorous story.

(Did I mention I started raising sheep? Hah. Well, yea, I have.)

During lambing season everyone is sleep deprived, grumpy, cold probably, did I mention tired?

So it’s no surprise that Saturday night I was trudging to the barn for my 2:00 am baby check. As I approach the barn I hear a bit of a ruckus, my initial thought in my sleep deprived trudge is “ope, ole girl I’ve been watching is finally doing it.”

The closer I get, the more it sounds less like birth being given and more like the barn trying to implode on itself.

I open the door to a scene that is best described as a bar(n) room brawl. 11 heavily pregnant ewes beating the ever living crap out of each other. I rub my eyes trying to wake myself up, because surely, SURELY this is a dream.

But alas, I’m not dreaming.

The closest Scenario I can come up with is this- they were all laying around gossiping about whatever sheep nonsense they gossip about at 2:00 am when Stephanie the sheep casually mentions how dearly she misses Dorset Don and the grand few weeks they had together, which fires Patricia up, because SHE and Dorset Don also had a grand time that EXACT SAME few weeks. How dare these hussies be messing with HER man.

Now the old gals, they’ve been around the block a time or two and know the drill.

They all share the same few men once a year. So they watch on in amusement at Patricia and Stephanie beat the hell out of each other.

Well things start getting out of hand and one ewe hops up and in an attempt to get out of the way of the original brawl, steps on Francis, who pretty much already hates everyone and everything… and so would begin a chain of events. Now all but 2 ewes are fighting.

Peacekeeper Pam is in the middle yelling “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Please stop, love your neighbor! This really is silly!”

When all of a sudden that glutton Gertrude who’s passed out in the corner (presumably grain drunk) the entire time wakes up, sees the action and wants to join.

She comes barreling through the crowd right into peacekeeper Pam.

This light’s Pam’s fire and she’s out to shank every black headed, black footed, gnarly, heavily impregnated fluffball in the building. Literal fire comes from her nostrils as she takes aim for any soul who dare come near her.

The two in the lambing room can only hear the commotion, their pawing the fence and chanting “fight! Fight! Fight! While secretly thankful they’re in those tiny lambing crates one more night.

Enter me. Standing there in amazement. Praying to the Lord above this is not an omen for the rest of my day (by the way, it was, but that’s a story for another day) and trying to develop a plan to stop this madness I have walked in on. After I separate everyone into 4 pens, I trudge back to the house still halfway thinking my real alarm is going to go off and I’m going to come back out to a completely normal, quiet, sleeping barn of ewes.

It didn’t.

While I’m not sure what caused those girls to go into such a frenzy, I did walk into a barn full of 11 angry ewes… and that was just the beginning of my Saturday morning.

I’ve never been so happy for a Monday in all my life.

In The Field Meal- Homemade Pizza Pockets

I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple days and just haven’t got around to it…

As my last post was about harvest- what better thing to follow up than with an “in the field meal” recipe? If your crew is anything like mine- handheld, easy to eat while still being able to drive equipment- and NOT a plain old ham and cheese sandwich is ideal. (tall order, huh?) I’ve had to get kind of creative with some of the meals I take.

This Pizza Pocket was the perfect handheld! They took around an hour and a half to prepare start-finish (that includes time for dough to rise)

 

I use the same bread dough recipe that is used in my strawberry sweetrolls (Stick around and you will see I use this recipe for basically everything.) but I’ll go ahead and give it again.

 

Bread Dough: 

ingredients:

2 tbsp active yeast

2 cups warm milk

2 large eggs + white of one more egg (if you’re using farm fresh that are much smaller go ahead and use the entire third egg)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

5 tablespoons salted butter, softened

6 cups flour

instructions:

  • Combine sugar, milk, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes (should be frothy when you check it)
  • Mix in eggs, salt, and butter until well combined
  • add flour one cup at a time up to 4 cups. Dough should be tacky, but not sticking to the edge. add 1/4 cup flour until you reach the consistency you want.
  • Move dough from mixing bowl to a large greased and lightly floured bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
  • After that hour is up, dump dough onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly. (only 3-4 times)
  • Roll out and cut into rectangles (apx 4×7 in) (or to desired size)

dough

Meat Filling

Ingredients: 

1 lb hamburger

1 package mini pepperonis

Seasonings to taste (I used oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, red chilli flakes, basil, and package of italian seasoning.)

2 small cans tomato paste

1.5 of those tomato paste cans of water

2 pkgs McCormick Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning

Shreddded Motzerella cheese

Instructions:

Brown the hamburger with your seasonings, add pepperonis, tomato paste spaghetti sauce seasonings and water. Cover and let simmer 5-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

put mozzarella cheese (however little or much you like, my bunch likes their cheese) and the meat sauce mixture (I used an ice cream scoop as my measurement) onto one end of the dough, leaving enough space to fold it over and close up. seal edges and use a fork to press (mainly it’s just pretty, not necessary)

pocket

Bake for about 10 minutes or until light golden browned. brush the tops with garlic butter and serve. (Or wrap in foil and take to the field)

…and I forgot to take a picture of the cooked product. I’m blaming pregnancy brain.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Ice Storms, Fires, Blizzards, and Hail- Heartbreak in the Heartland

This first 5 months of 2017 has taken its toll on the 5-State area surrounding the Oklahoma Panhandle. With a devastating ice storm hitting right in the thick of calving season. “Dark Monday” and it’s 1 million (+ or -) acres burned across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, Southwestern Kansas, and Eastern New Mexico and Colorado- which destroyed thousands of acres of grazing lands, scorched hundreds of miles of fence, multiple homes, stole 6 human’s lives and burned thousands of head of cattle and wildlife alive. A crippling April 30th blizzard which left hundreds more cattle dead in Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle. The most recent a hail storm which carried with it baseball-softball sized hail that tore through the Oklahoma Panhandle and Northwestern Oklahoma killing calves, destroying crops which were only a few weeks shy of being harvested, as well as countless homes, vehicles, and other buildings.

But you won’t hear much about this on the news. 

The recovery process is still taking place- and will continue to take place for months. Our hearts are so full for the help and love we have received from so many agriculturist across the nation. But I would be lying if I said that each day isn’t still a challenge to keep our heads up. It’s hard to watch your life’s work go up in smoke-literally. Or watch the wheat that you have tended to and prayed would come out of damages caused by ice and and snow coupled with 60 mph winds survive just to be pounded into the ground by hail just before harvest. It’s so hard not knowing how you are going to make the equipment payment. It’s hard to have to walk through your pastures and see and even have to put down suffering animals who couldn’t escape the flames, or to pull up to your pasture ground to find your cows and calves had looked for shelter in a draw which is now covered in snow- and those mamas and babies have all suffocated- or the babies who couldn’t weather the baseball sized hail who had been literally beat to death in the night. It’s hard. It’s heartbreaking- loss of profits aside.

So today, while you go about your life- while you go to your 8-5 job with a guaranteed paycheck and little risk to your livelihood, when you go to the grocery store and notice the price of food slightly higher, remember, the places where your food comes from has been ravaged this past year. There will be a shortage- not in the “oh my gosh we can’t feed everyone and we have to ration” sense, but as compared to years past. The ranchers and farmers will struggle harder than usual to make their payments this year.

We are strong, we will rebuild, we will continue to raise our cattle, we will continue to plant our crops. We will wake up every day and continue to go to work- just like you. But our hearts and our land will take some time to heal. Remember us in your day to day activities too. 



“A farmer has to be an optimist- or he wouldn’t still be a farmer” 

Will Rogers

 

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.”

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

Mamas, 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, support each other even when you disagree.