February 2018

Things have been wonderfully slow around here. I’ve been spending time working out, cooking, and reading and really enjoying the quiet of the season and my new lack of stress. I just have Miss Judgey here to deal with 😀

I did my annual seed shopping on Johnny’s website this year. Before I purchased I hit my local stores to see what varieties are now carried locally and got those for less than half the price. The ordered the “special” things I had left on my list, like sun gold tomatoes, some edible flowers, and cut flowers.

I also organized all of my audible, kindle, and physical books so I know exactly what I have in inventory to read yet and consolidated all of my wishlists. I can tell you it’s all going to keep me very busy. But I’ve been reading two books a week so far this year so I’m well on my way.

I even thought to download an audio book for my road trip this week. It was my first year attending MOSES Organic Farming Conference. I enjoyed myself and was impressed by the variety of topics. I did sessions on berries, food safety, weed control, fruit tree grafting, organic dairy, and cut flowers. They even gave you the option of eating all 3 meals there, all organic and delicious so I ate unusually well compared to my usual travel fare.

Their bookstore was amazing and it was very hard not to come home with anything. But I took pictures of ones I was interested in and added 19 books to my wishlist when I got home. I’ll try doing library or kindle versions to keep spending and clutter down. In exciting news, my library even lets you borrow kindle books now through overdrive!

I did come home with some a soil test since I never actually bothered to do one and some wine cap spawn which should be very happy in the mulch below my front yard fruit trees.

Starting 80 Day Obsession

This time of year I usually have a home improvement project planned. I just picked up some laminate flooring to put in the gym to finally finish updating the room. We also had a couple day warmup so I got out into the sunroom to clean up. It’s where I’ve been parking some of the items I’ve decluttered just in case I regretted removing one of them from the house. I also strung up come cafe lights so it’ll be a nice place to hang out come summer. I happened to get my first shipment of Black Rifle Coffee on the same day the lights arrived, which explains the photo.

I’ve lost 4.1 pounds so far this year and tomorrow 80 Day Obsession starts so I’ll be knocking up my workouts a notch. I’m having a lot of fun trying new recipes like this fabulous Chicken Caesar and Pasta Fagioli.

And I’ve started bugeting for a cruise next January so I’ll have a great reward if I’m successful with my year of transformation. I think I’d consider becoming a coach as well.

Looking ahead at 2018

Happy New Year!

Last year I had tried to focus on simplifying my life 🙂 I decluttered and minimized and destressed! I left my old position that had turned into doing 4 peoples jobs and found a lower stress role that pays more 😉 I finished my Certificate for Sustainable Food and Farming with a 4.0 and completed a third year as a workershare to make progress towards my farming/homesteading dream. I finally had a chance to visit a water park and found its my happy place and already return trips planned for next year. And…I lost 37 pounds in 5 months to make progress towards my weight loss goal 💪

This year’s goals are already planned!

❤️ Get sunburned on the lazy river
❤️ Go on at least 4 hiking/backpacking trips
❤️ Do at least 4 Beachbody programs
❤️ Put my Bowflex dumbbells to work with a strength training routine
❤️ Read at least 20 books
❤️ Save the first $10,000 towards my dream homestead
❤️ Complete another season as a workershare

On the 15th, I start 80 Day Obsession with a challenge group. I’ve already started doing the diet side, which for Beachbody is Portion Fix. It’s pretty good and focuses on fresh real foods with lots of protein and veggies and lower carbs. I’ll be doing occasional snapshots of my days food for accountability. This one was a Portabello and Goat Cheese Omelet, Turkey Chili, snacks of Peanut Butter Toast, Cottage Cheese and Fruit, and a Caesar with Chicken Enchiladas. It’s actually more calories than I’m used to and can be broken into 4-6 meals, so I’ve been super full.

It’s -8 right now with a -18 windchill so not much is growing. My farmer lost half a hoophouse of carrots because of the extended period of subzero temps which eventually froze the ground, which is a real bummer. My season ended earlier in December this year for the same reason and I’ll be off until April. The only thing I have growing right now are sprouts, and they are in full production and helping with my diet 😀

Lets get ready to rock this year! I’m looking forward to sharing my food, farming, and homesteading adventures with you again.

School is out!

I spent most of my time this week finishing my research paper on hoophouses for season extension for my class on organic vegetable production.  It was submitted today to finish up the class and with that I’ve completed all of the requirements for my Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming!

Now that things are slowing down and I’ve only got two more shifts left at the farm, I’ll have more time! I’ve just started paging through this years seed catalogs and I’m starting A Week of Hard Labor tomorrow so I can play with my weights.

My first batch of sprouts for the season is done! I got pitas and salad fixings this week so I can eat plenty of them. My first experiment with microgreens should be ready to harvest by the time I finish up the sprouts.

Easy Beef Enchiladas

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups shredded cheddar
20 oz enchilada sauce
8 flour tortillas

Brown ground beef. Mix in 1 cup enchilada sauce and 1 cup cheese. Spoon mixture into tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down in 9×13 pan and cover with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Winter Project

At the farm, the winter carrots are now ready to harvest and are gorgeous! This is what I harvested for myself this morning after spending time weeding and thinning beets.

Back home, I rescued my forgotten dry beans from the fence line. The Cherokee Trail of Tears have a fun new pixalated version joining the rest of the plain black beans. I brought in 2 quarts of them, plus just shy of a quart of the Hidatsa Shield.

And I juuuuuust got started on my winter cross stitch project 🙂

Crockpot Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
12 oz cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
12 oz lasagna noodles, uncooked
16 oz shredded mozzarella

Brown ground beef, onions, and garlic.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, and oregano.  Cook until warmed through.  Layer meat sauce, double layers of lasagna noodles, and cheeses in crockpot, ending with a layer of cheese.  Cover and look on low for 5 hours.

Chicken and Stars Soup

1 lb chicken
1 Tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoonblack pepper
1 cup dried stelline pasta
Precook chicken and finely dice. Heat oil in a large stockpot and saute onions until transparent. Add carrots,, celery, and garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add broth, chicken, and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender. Add pasta and simmer 7 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes about 6 servings.

Balsamic Chicken with Corn and Swiss Chard

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP dijon mustard
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 2 cups)
2 TBSP butter
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (stems and leaves separated)
3 scallions, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk EVOO, vinegar, ketchup and mustard in a small bowl. Brush over chicken and grill until cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or dutch oven saute bacon until crisp. Add corn and swiss chard stems and cook until tender. Add butter, chard leaves, and scallions and cook several minutes until chard is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve with chicken.

Turkey Noodle Soup

2 TBSP butter
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb cooked turkey
64 oz broth
1 TBSP parsley
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
8 oz pasta

Sauté onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in butter until softened. Add turkey, broth, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes. Add pasta and simmer 10 minutes.