Friday, April 6, 2012

Pico De Gallo Chicken!

Pico De Gallo Chicken
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Mrs. Dash's Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

I used a prepared pico de gallo from Wal-Mart (Marketside brand) found in the produce section.  You can make your own, it's very simple.  I will post the recipe for it at the end of this post!

  • Start by heating the oven to 375 deg.
  • Lightly brush olive oil over chicken.
  • Sprinkle Sea Salt to taste

  • Sprinkle Mrs. Dash seasoning. The more you sprinkle, the spicier it will be.

  • Bake in oven about 25-35 min. depending on the thickness of the breasts.  Juices will run clear when done.

I also cooked some organic brown rice (found at where else, Wal-Mart) with dinner, and a side of steamed spinach. 
When the spinach was done, I added some Light Balsamic Vinegar and mixed well.

To plate the dinner, I first put the desired amount of rice on plate, then the chicken on top....and topped the chicken with the Pico De Gallo.
Spinach with balsamic vinegar on the side.

Super Simple Homemade Pico De Gallo

Equal parts of:
  • Roma tomatoes , chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
Then add in:
  • Chopped jalapenos, 1 or 2 (scrape out membrane and seeds, unless you like it HOT)
Mix all 4 ingredients well, then squeeze in juice from
  • half of a lime
Sprinkle with
  • Salt

The kids loved this meal, they were topping the chicken with extra pico de gallo and ate most of the spinach...which is a huge achievement in itself!
Anytime I can come up with a healthy meal that the kids will not only eat, but goes in my "keeper" recipe binder.  The boys told me this one was a "keeper"!!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent with Scouring Power

I finally went to the store last night and got the remaining ingredients for homemade dishwasher detergent.  We ran out of the regular store brand detergent yesterday afternoon, and I decided now was the time.

I've experimented in the past with vinegar as my rinsing aid in the dishwasher, so I knew that was going to work well....and CHEAP! 

I've scoured the internet for recipes and combined several ingredients to make my own.  I needed something a bit abrasive, like a scouring agent, because one of my boys' chores is to help load the dishwasher.....and let's just say he doesn't always get them rinsed off properly beforehand.

Alrighty roo, so here is my recipe, and I'll also list alternative ingredients you could use.

Ingredients before mixing

Dishwasher Detergent with Scouring Power
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt (scouring power)
  • 5 single serving packets or .70oz  SUGAR-FREE Lemonade (ONLY LEMON)
  • Vinegar (White)
  • Dawn Dish Soap

Combine Borax, Washing Soda, Salt, and Lemonade together in a container.  I used a shatterproof jar with a locking lid (found at Wal-Mart) since my boys help with the dishes!
When you're ready to run a load of dishes, put 1-2 TBSP in the dispenser, depending on whether it's a full load or super grimy.  Also put 3 (and only 3!) drops of Dawn Dish Soap in the dispenser with powder ( put too much in, and you might have an overflow problem!) Lastly....put vinegar in the rinse-aid dispenser or splash a little in the bottom of dishwasher.

The Salt is not only awesome to use for scouring, but if you live in an area with hard water, it helps soften the water. The vinegar , as a rinse-aid, helps leave your dishes spot-free. 

I tried not using the Dawn Dish soap and and was left with a little cakey powder around dispenser and few streaks on plastic ware.  I think the soap helps suds up the powder better. 

*I made a double batch because I had  bought a large container. 

Alternative Ingredients
  • Sugar-Free Lemonade=1/4 cup Citric Acid or Fruit Fresh or 2 packets SF lemonade (kool-aid)
  • Dawn Dish Soap=Any Dish Soap will Do
  • Washing Soda=Baking Soda
I used the Sugar-Free Lemonade only because it was what was available to me in our small community.  But, it does have the citric acid in it to help clean your dishes.  Just make sure if you do use the lemonade that it is SUGAR-FREE! 

Math Break-down

76oz = 4.29

Washing Soda
55oz = 2.19

Kosher Salt

48oz = 2.14
4oz = .17/batch

Dawn Dish Soap
24 oz.=2.83
3  Drops=?

Sugar-Free Lemonade
1.41 oz=1.74
.70 oz.=.87/batch
Total cost for 24 oz batch= $1.81

Comparison with Store Brand
Palmolive® eco+ gel 75 ounce detergent – $3.79 – 28 loads = $0.14 per load

Homemade powder 24 ounce detergent – $1.81– 48 loads = $0.03 per load

Rinse-Aid Comparison
FINISH® JET-DRY® Rinse Agent 4.22 ounce solution – $3.99 – 1 fill = $3.99 per fill

White Vinegar as a Rinse Agent 1 gallon solution – $1.79 – 1 fill = $0.06 per fill

Homemade Detergent and Vinegar Rinse-Aid Vs. Store Brand Detergent and Brand Name Rinse-Aid
.09 cents per fill VS. $4.13 per fill!
Not only is this a much cheaper way to wash your's more natural without added chemicals!
Time to wash another load!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Old Fishin' Hole

This is it.  The old fishin' hole!  One of several ponds we have on the farm....but according to hubby, this one is the best for fishin.  And me, being an awesome fisherwoman that I am (HA!) would have told you the same.....Umm, Yep!

This is my #2 in the procession of boys.  He is so warm hearted and kind.....He wants to catch a fish, but doesn't want to hurt them...can you feel his dilemma?

My #1 boy on the right and #3 on the left....ha, just noticed he's wearing a shirt with a #3 on it.  Spooky!  My oldest, who thinks he's a professional his mama, of course, is giving his little bro some unsolicited advice.

I think #2 , in the orange shirt,  has caught something.....we caught a lot of moss that evening....  See that nifty atv on the far right?  That's where I assume my position while they're fishing.   After all, there always has to be a supervisor, right?

I'm trying to explain to him, that fishing takes lots of patience....maybe that's why I don't fish?  Good thing hubby likes to fish, otherwise the boys would never get to experience this.  Looking at this picture, it looks calm, serene, peaceful....but if you were there, you would have known otherwise.  Constant chit chat, "where's all the fish", "I have to pee", "Mommy, where's the muskrats?", "Do the fish eat cow poop?'   They love to discuss bodily functions....sorry.

"Mom, you gotta quit talking to're going to scare the fish".  Hmmm....maybe that's why I've never had any luck in the past.

This is our old girl, Hershey, who is/was hubby's pointing dog when hunting.  Jake, in the background, is our cattle dog, who loves to get cows off the fence, police any goings on, help move cattle, and  steal and rough up the kids' basketball.  When we came back up to the house, the dogaloos were so happy to see they haven't seen us in days. 
Caught a glimpse of the sunset before heading inside....wouldn't have traded that evening for anything.

Love to all,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter is Coming!

Ok, so it was a couple of days ago when I realized that Easter was THIS WEEKEND!
Holy bananas! It was then I grabbed an envelope from a bill I just opened (cause I'm organized like that), and commenced to writing out my to do list on it in order to be ready for Easter.  

My List
  • Buy Easter Candy (Have hubby hide it, so I don't eat it!)
  • Find Easter baskets
  • Buy annoying plastic shredded grass for baskets
  • Buy egg coloring kit  BONUS!  Found an extra from last year!
  • Buy eggs. (This may seem odd since we own laying hens...but we only have brown egg layers.  Ever try to dye brown eggs? Ya, not so easy.)
  • Figure out Easter breakfast and dinner menu
  • Figure out Easter craft with kids. (Geode Easter Eggs?)

Our regular routine for Easter is: Night before Easter, we color eggs, and then watch Peter Cottontail, you know the old version, I loved it growing up, and now it's our tradition.
Wake up at the tiniest crack of dawn, to kids squealing and piling in our bed, hubby crawls down the hall to the kitchen to make a survival pot of coffee. 
Me, holding kids back , literally, so no one spies the "hidden" Easter eggs before the "Great Hunt" begins. (We have to hide the eggs of the downfalls of living on a farm...otherwise the cats, dogs, possums, and coons would have themselves a tasty Easter treat.  And, well, I'm just not that nice). All the while I'm yelling at hubby to grab the camera on his way back from the kitchen.  Kids then run down the hall to the kitchen, spy their goodies in their baskets on the kitchen table, ooh and aah for a moment before they dump goodies onto said table, shove a piece of candy in their mouth, and take off with their basket to hunt for the eggs that the Easter Bunny hid during the night. 
I would then make some sort of egg concoction (scrambled, frittata, omelet, etc...) with bacon or sausage, call it good, and try to keep the kids from going into a sugar coma.
About noonish, I usually start on a ham, special scalloped potatoes, corn pudding, asparagus, rolls, and some sort of fruit pie. 

Well, this year, I'm gonna change just a few things up a little bit.  Night before activities will stay the same....going to get the coffee ready the night before and set the timer.....put my camera on my nightstand....and this year I'm going to make....drum roll please.....HOT CROSS BUNS!!  It use to be a tradition in my house growing up.  But, I've looked for those babies high and low.... everywhere, and nobody sells them anymore.  I guess maybe, if you went to a special bakery or pastry shop, you might find them, but not in these parts!
Well, this year, I'm going to make them!  I'm so excited....just wish my mama was here to eat them with us. 

My Easter links:

Hot Cross Buns Recipe  This is The Pioneer Woman's recipe! (Love that woman!)

Geode Easter Eggs


What are your family's Easter  traditions? 

Tomorrow, I'm going to post recipes for my Easter dinner......

Off to find my bunny spirit,

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We are Bald Eagle Watching!

Hey all!  Just wanted to take a minute a share with you what the boys and I have been obsessed with lately.
We've been watching a male and female bald eagle, in Iowa, take care of their eggs by way of a live feed camera mounted by their nest. 

Well, the chicks have hatched....and they are ridiculously cute! 

There used to be four of them, but mom stepped on one of the hatchlings and killed it , I think she may have sensed something was wrong with it...still heartbreaking.

Anyway, here's the link if your curious!  What an amazing, spring miracle!

Bald Eagle Web Cam


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