G.F. Ranch

The beginning of His vision

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons

I may be souped out by next week, but it’s okay.  We are eating for now plus have some in the freezer for a no-cook meal!  As I said before, Bug does not like tomatoes.  I will always fondly remember when he was around two; we stopped at a local corner store to get some local honey and they had a big display of tomatoes as you walked in the door.  As I was getting the honey, I hear’ewwwww’ and the sound of spitting…profusely.

The tomatoes were such a bright red that he thought they were apples.  Thankfully he was so young, otherwise I don’t think the clerk would have been as understanding about my child spitting all over the floor.  I cleaned the floor, paid for the honey…and tomato, then headed home.

I thought perhaps Bug would like this Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons (Pioneer Woman) since he will eat ketchup and spaghetti sauce, but nope, he didn’t like it.  So he chose to have a salad and some leftover Cheesy Cauliflower soup for dinner.

I on the other hand, very much enjoy tomatoes.  I was that crazy kid in elementary who had 13 stewed tomatoes on their tray because no one else liked them.  And my ex-Mother-In-Law looked at me weird as I would ask to have a jar of  stewed tomatoes she & Nannie canned.  She would ask what I wanted it for and I would say, ‘to eat of course!’ And I love me  some homemade tomato soup.  It is just delicious!  I followed the recipe for the most part with the exceptions of using dried parsley rather than fresh and I added some parmesan rinds I had into the soup as it simmered.  That was a tip I learned years ago about getting all the flavor out of them before throwing them away.


I tried taking a picture of my bowl of coup topped with shredded parmesan, a leaf of basil and parmesan croutons that did not turn out nearly as pretty as Ree’s. But the lighting in the house is lacking and the pictures looked horrid.  Don’t know if I could have even photoshopped them to look decent. So, here is one of Ree’s pictures.  She is definitely better at blog photos than me.


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Still Using Them

Even though my cooking has improved TREMENDOUSLY over the past decade, I still turn to  recipes to inspire me and at least get me started.  I say that because I do not very often follow a recipe 100%, unless it’s one of those that if you don’t, it will be a complete fail.  Often when looking for a recipe for a particular item, I will compare 2 or 3 recipes and then create my own somewhere in the middle.

As I said in a previous post, I have been craving soup and since we have the Daniel Fast going on, figured it was perfect timing.  So now I have recipe reviews for you beyond just cleaning products.

The first day Bug and I made 7 Can Soup that I found over on The Pioneer Woman website.  I could have let Bug made it by himself and it would have probably came out better.  I added extra spices (cumin and chili powder) that was probably completely unnecessary with the rotel and green chilies.

Of course, we had to adapt the very first ingredient. Daniel Fast = NO MEAT!  So we used 1/2 of a large can of refried beans I had on hand.  Bug & I love them, Hubby not so much (or any bean for that matter), so it was a good thing he is offshore.  I also didn’t have any kidney beans ready for use and not in the mood to wait so we substituted a can of regular corn in addition to the mexi-corn.


Via The Pioneer Woman

Bug didn’t enjoy the spiciness, but other than that he liked it.  I put a large dollop of sour cream in mine, as well as 1/2 an avocado.  Some fresh diced tomatoes would have finished it off for me perfectly.  Bug hates tomatoes (but likes spaghetti and pizza sauce & ketchup????) so I don’t normally get any tomatoes beyond what a recipe calls for.  And lucky for him, I’m making homemade Tomato Soup tonight!  The joys of being the cook!!!

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Daniel Fast

Our church is doing a corporate Daniel Fast for the next 3 weeks.  That means 3 weeks of no meats and sweets. Hubby is offshore so it is just Buggy & I.  My niece and 2 great-nieces will be visiting during it as well.  Hope Mak loves my veggie chili as much as she loved my regular chili (for a little girl who eats like a bird…she went back for thirds).

I love soup and have been craving it.  Haven’t been impressed with the taste of canned soup for a long time so I went hunting for recipes.  My first go-to site is almost always The Pioneer Woman. I have yet to make a recipe of hers that I haven’t loved.  Her ingredients are ‘normal’ and they are easy to create. And can’t forget the adjective ‘hearty’.  Maybe it’s because she lives on a ranch too.  Would love to sit and have a cup of tea with her.

So, I have printed out my recipes, made my shopping list and now trying to figure out when we will go to the store. When you live 30 minutes from town (including the one you live in, lol) it takes planning.  It takes 15 minutes just to get to the ‘corner store’.

I’ve already told Bug he will be helping to cook many of these soups.  I love to incorporate real life experiences to his school days.  I remember seeing a thing on Facebook about the best test to see if you’re a control freak…bake with your children.  LOL, I FAIL!!!  I conclude I am a control freak.  I do tend to just do it myself and get it done quicker BUT my son also deserves to learn how to cook.  And as a parent, we often have to put aside what we like or what is easier for ourselves and do what is right for our children.  At least, that’s how it should be.

Just wanted to give you a heads up of what you can expect to see in the upcoming recipe reviews.

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Smells like Boy

Our house back in the Magnolia State had more carpet than not.  Even the dining room had carpet until we tore it up and laid tile eight years later.  So when we found the ranch, Momma was happy that there was only carpet in 3 of the bedrooms.

I do remember growing up and my Mom buying carpet fresheners and I have bought them a few times in my adult life.  Maybe it just happened to grab my attention as I walked down that isle?  Just not something I bought or even thought of buying very often.

The older section of the ranch is a bit older.  Somewhere around my age I think and the carpets look they aren’t much younger than the house.  And our Bug is hitting his tween years….and tween smell! I would say ‘Ughhh, this room smells like….like….boyyyyy!’,  almost every time I went in there.  Bug would be like ‘duh!’ and hubby would laugh.

It’s kind of like dogs…I love dogs, but do not enjoy the smell of wet dogs one bit!  Perhaps, his room smelled more like a mix of the two?  Just picture my face with my lips curled down and my nose scrunched up.  Smelled worse than that, lol.

Thinking more about it, I would say I didn’t buy carpet powder because my hubby had gotten me the Oreck Orbitor dry carpet cleaner.  That was one of the best things he got me.  But he was tired of watching me spend 6 hours on my hands & knees cleaning old, beige carpets.

Recently I came across a recipe for Homemade Dry Carpet Cleaner For Fresh and Clean Rugs on POPSUGAR Smart Living again.  I love it!!!! I can walk into Bug’s room without my face going all askew.

Not sure what the makeup of Borax is, so am not sure if it can be described as ‘all-natural’; and the recipe does call it optional. I will probably look it up at some point, but for now I have other things to do.  I will say as I was looking for the recipe I used to link for you, I found another recipe that just called for 2 cups corn meal and 1 cup borax.  Hmmmm, starting to wonder if these were the main ingredients in the $50 carpet cleaning powder I use to buy from Oreck?

For some reason, it seems I’m never able to (or maybe just don’t want to) follow a recipe to the T. I didn’t have any whole cloves, but I had picked up some mulling spice mix right before making the powder the first time and chose to use that.  Mulling Spices is a mixture of cinnamon, allspice, orange and lemon peel, star anise, cloves, fenugreek and ginger.  Which I do like to put in the processor to powderize before i add to the mix.

Do I have any complaints?  No, I would call it more of a downside than a complaint.IMG_3926  I made a big mess.  But I am a messy person and could make a mess of a non-messy recipe.  It’s just one of the things that make me me. And it is an easy mess to clean up, but I did go ahead and make a double batch today.


While I am not a fan of carpeting, I am also not a fan of cold floors.  So I really do need to find some area rugs for Hubby & my room.



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Laundry Booster Recipe Review

Over a year ago now, I made my own homemade laundry detergent for the very first time.  Pretty sure I have at least another 3 months to go before I need to make any more.  Yep, loving’ it!  And it cost me under $25.  I even gave a quart mason jar to my daughter-in-love and that lasted her a long time.

I have had no problems with it.  I will mention that we do have a top-load, HE washer.  I add the detergent into the soap dispenser and no problems…no back up or build up.  My DIL has an older washer with no dispenser.  And she did have issues of the soap not fully rinsing off black clothes.  So she just added water to hers to make it a liquid and then she said it worked great.

But that really isn’t what this post is about.  Here in central Texas we have red clay….LOTS of red clay!  And I highly doubt any detergent is going to hold up to red clay.  So I found a recipe on POPSUGAR Smart Living to Brighten Clothes With This Awesome Dry Laundry Booster. My brain said what it often says….that’s worth trying.  I will say I like it.  Not that I would call it ‘all-natural’ as it uses washing soda, but I would say it is economical.


My biggest complaint is it dried hard as a rock in my jar.  I actually just made another batch before writing this blog post and I spread it on a cookie sheet to dry out first.  Then I will put it in the processor to break it up and then put it in the jar.  Thinking this will be easier than spending another 15-20 minutes with a mallet and sharp instruments to break up the rock to put in the processor.

My only other small complaint is the smell.  Not that it alters the smell of the clothing, but when I open the jar it can take my breath away.  I will also note that I used beautician strength peroxide we had left over from a science experiment.

So for $3.97 for the washing soda and $0.97 for peroxide,  I estimate it cost approximately 20 cents per load. Let me know what you think 🙂

UPDATE:  as soon as I finished this post, I went and checked on the booster.  It had already dried and since I laid it on the cookie sheet, it was thin and easy to break up to put in the processor.  Much easier to work with a powder than a rock.


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