G.F. Ranch

The beginning of His vision

Cravings

Let me start off with….NO I am not pregnant.  But a few nights ago I got hit with a sweet tooth and a craving for a candy bar.  As I’ve said before, it’s 13 miles to the ‘corner store’ plus it was about 8:30 at night and they close at 8.  I tried to focus on the TV show we were watching but mentally I was trying to figure out what I might have in the cabinets that would satisfy my craving.  Ohhhhh, I had an idea.  I was pretty sure I had the fixin’s to make Almond Joys.  Everything except the almonds, so I made Mounds.

This is where I would normally insert a photo of what ended up being extra-large Mounds, except, honestly, they looked like bug turds. But they tasted wonderful!!! I will share the how I made them with you though.  Because seriously that is more important than the picture!

2 1/2 C unsweetened flaked coconut (I just used the whole bag)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I just pour, but it should be somewhere around 1T)

pinch of salt

20 oz (about 1 1/2 bags) of semi-sweet or dark chocolate.  Use the good stuff!

7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (I had a 14 oz can and used 2/3 of it.  Might be because I used a whole bag of coconut. But felt that’s what I needed to hold it together)

In a bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Stir in the unsweetened coconut. The mixture will be thick. Placing the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes makes it easier to work with.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and remove the coconut mixture from the freezer. With clean hands shape one tablespoon of coconut (or more if you want to make bigger ones) into a small log about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. Press the logs together tightly so they stay together when dipped. Place the logs on the lined baking sheet and continue until the coconut mixture is gone. Your hands will get VERY sticky, but it’s so worth it.  Just rinse them off as needed. I put the baking sheet back in the freezer while I melted the chocolate. Ha!  I forgot to put chocolate in the ingredients; I need to correct that!

Place two inches of water in a  medium pot and bring the water to a simmer. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water. Stir the chocolate as it melts and turn the burner off once the chocolate has melted but keep the bowl over the hot water.

I had to mix and match a few things of chocolate and didn’t have much of the good stuff.  What I really was hoping I had was dark chocolate, but sadly did not.  But it is on my shopping list.

Bring the coconut logs from the freezer. Place a coconut log on a fork and lower the fork into the chocolate to coat. Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate. Scrape the bottom of the fork along the side of the bowl and place on the lined baking sheet. A toothpick may be handy to help get the candy off the fork. Repeat with all logs. If the chocolate thickens, just turn on the burner on and heat slightly.

My chocolate mixture was thick to begin with.  I even added just a small amount of coconut oil to it in hopes it would thin a little.  I also knew my family would not mind a thick coat of chocolate.

I put the baking sheet back into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  It’s as long as I could wait.  Note to self…do not give an extra-large Mounds bar to your 12-year-old at 9:15 pm! After leaving the rest in the freezer for about another 20 minutes, I transferred to a pint size bag and put back in the freezer.  I like my candy bars frozen (Hubby, not so much), but if you don’t I would suggest maybe using waxed or parchment paper to separate the layers and store in the fridge.

I will definitely be making these again, in about 5 weeks.  Hubby is getting ready to go back to the rig and I really need him home to share the calories with me!

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Carrot-Thyme Soup with Cream

I think Bug is officially souped-out!!  Pretty darn close to being there myself.  But at least he can say Momma cooked more than usual while Hubby has been gone, lol.  This was by far the easiest soup to make.  But it wound up in the category of ‘it’s good, but not our style’.

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Picture via The Pioneer Woman

I will probably serve it as a side dish to a main meal rather than as a meal in itself.  Perhaps I will get motivated to make mini bread bowls to serve it in.  Ha! Perhaps.

Yes, this is another recipe from the Pioneer Woman herself.  You can find the recipe HERE.  If you like this style of soup, I would bet you will love it.  Perhaps it’s just that we miss meat and are getting veggied out?

I know this is short, but waiting for the plumber to get here.  I won’t go into more details as it isn’t a pretty situation.

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Corn Chowder with Chilies

Bug and I finished lunch shortly ago and all we can say is “YUMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!”.  Going through our recipes from The Pioneer Woman, I decided to make the Corn Chowder with Chilies before the corn-on-the-cob went bad.  Super easy recipe, especially since we had to skip the bacon step again.  Ohhhh, just stopped for a minute to imagine how much better it will be when we can add bacon.

My cobs were a bit on the small side and decided to add a drained can of kernel corn to it.  There is definitely a different taste between fresh and canned.  But I was shopping for them at about 10 p.m. while exhausted.  Didn’t think to get more fresh ears.

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The only other difference was I left out the can of diced green chilies.  After the 7 Can Soup fiasco, I wanted to play on the safe side.  The chipotle peppers did a fine job adding a little kick (but not too much), and I love the smokey flavor of them in the adobo sauce.

Bug really liked this one!  And I believe hubby will too, so this is definitely going into my recipe binder!

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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.

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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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Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

I just made a couple of no sew beanies for my great-niece’s birthday presents and the fabric adhesive I used has given me a heck of a headache!  So to take my mind off of it, I decided to do another blog post.  That is if I can keep focused.  If not, I’ll go play a game and come back in a little while.

A couple years ago I found The Pioneer Woman.  I like her!  She’s simple, funny and I can just relate to her. I would also love to have her kitchens and cookware! Although I’m sure much of what you see was set up as props for filming, I have heard many complain it makes her seem unreal.  Why do we feel the need to find negativity to complain about????

Matter of fact I had recently purchased a couple items from her new line.  I LOVE my measuring cups!!!!  The only thing that would have made them better was if I could have gotten them in turquoise rather than red.  But I still love them! I also received a box of kitchen gadgets from Bug & Hubby for Christmas.  It was a very sweet surprise! And a few of the items were from her line too.  They know me so well!

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The next piece I want is her 7 quart dutch oven!  I think it’s adorable how she includes 2 knobs for her lids.  A plain boring one and an adorable butterfly one.  The pretty one would definitely be on my lid!

 

Our second soup we made during our fast was her recipe for Cheesy Cauliflower Soup.  Sadly we had to skip step one!  Everything taste better with bacon….okay, almost everything.  But I followed the rest of the recipe.  I also used my immersion blender and blended it 2/3 the way as she suggested.  However, neither Bug or I liked the texture of the soup.  We ate it, enjoyed the flavor but choked down the texture.

After it had cooled most of the way, I put it in the blender (in batches.  Heed her warning about not putting too much in at a time.  My last batch had a hair too much and it spit out the corners.) to get it smooth.  Much better!!!  Even Bug liked it way better today too.  I put a small amount back in the fridge for leftovers and put 3 quart sized bags in the freezer.  Along with 3 bags of the 7 Can Soup as well.  I really love cooking big and having some to freeze so I don’t have to cook to eat it later.

Really not sure if I would make it again though.  Maybe with some sausage or bacon in it, just maybe Hubby might like it.  Will find out in 3 weeks!

FYI…I made it through the post without running off, but my head still feels lousy.  Thinking a big glass of water and head to bed.

 

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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.

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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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Eco-Friendly Dryer Sheets

You will find that Momma can be ‘too’ honest at times; perhaps sometimes I’m just misunderstood.  For example, how do you take it when I say I don’t really care about eco-friendly or organic? Are you with me or ready to linch me? Do you chose to just react to what I said or do you ask questions to understand what I mean by what I said?  Wow, not sure where all the ‘deep thoughts’ are coming from.

Do I care about the earth? Of course.  Do I prefer no or very minimal chemicals used?  Of course.  Do I like to reuse things rather than just throwing them away?  Of course.  But I’m not going to go crazy over it and those terms make me think of the people who go way over the top.  Perhaps they are just over used words.

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Bet you can’t guess which website I found out about these dryer sheets!  Haha, yes, POPSUGAR Smart Living.

 

 

 

I love the idea they are reusable…but that’s where anything positive I could say ends.  I just can’t do this recipe.  My hands stink terribly when getting out the sheet, the smell gives me an instant headache and I had also used a jar like this and the rubber seal began to dissolve on me.

So in the meantime, I guess we will be stinking to Downy.  Am open to any suggestions you may have.

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Goo Gone

When I find something I like on a blog, I tend to check out the rest of their blog for more great ideas.  Often I either find nothing else or maybe one or two more things.  Occasionally I hit pay dirt!  Am sure you already expecting this recipe for Homemade Goo Gone to come from POPSUGAR Smart Living.  And you will not be disappointed.  Both, because you are correct and also because this is a great recipe.

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I questioned how well a 2-ingredient Goo Gone would work and I was pleasantly surprised!  Various glues are used on different items and differ in ease of removal.  There are occasions I have had to repeat two or three times.  But to not deal with the horrendous smell of Boo-Be-Gone, I do not mind one bit.

I also found that by spreading a thin layer over the glue area first,  then adding on a bit thicker of a layer and leave to set or dry, makes the job even easier!  I now make this recipe in double or triple batches as I love to save bottles, jars and even some plastic containers.

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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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