Zucchini-Egg-Sausage Casserole

It’s zucchini season and time to pull out the plethora of excellent recipes to use this bountiful summer squash.  If someone secretly leaves zucchinis in your car or at home, be thankful!!

A bountiful number of bread and dessert recipes are found in cookbooks and internet and i will share a couple of our family favorites, but i’m focusing more this year on casseroles and main dish recipes.  Here’s one i just developed sort of combining two recipes I already have.  It turned out fabulously!!!  Not like pizza or anything, but definitely ranks high enough that it can remain in the regular lineup of meals.

ZUCCHINI-EGG-SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

From the kitchen of Tauna M (Falconer) Powell

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • ½ lb cooked beef sausage or beef brats* cut in small pieces
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325˚F.  Layer half the zucchini, onion, sausage, and cheddar cheese in a buttered oblong baking dish, 11 x 7 x 1 ½ inches; repeat.  Mix eggs, milk, mustard, pepper, and salt very well, then pour over the layered ingredients.  Sprinkle over top with Parmesan cheese.  Cook uncovered in oven until set, 45 to 50 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes then cut into squares for serving.

Note: Once assembled, this casserole can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours before cooking.

*I use all beef brats from Coleman Farms grassfinished beef.  However, it will also be good with my own home made beef sausage.

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I cut the brats into small pieces using scissors, then cook gently in a cast iron skillet.

Zucchini Egg Cheese Sausage Casserole

Zucchini Egg Cheese Sausage Casserole
I accidentally put the Parmesan on before i poured the milk and egg mixture over top. Oh, well…..
Zucchini Egg Cheese Sausage Casserole
Out of the oven after 50 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before cutting into serving sizes. YUM!

 

Start Somewhere

Paul Marchant hits it out of the park with great story telling to address the current issues from a ranching perspective.  Rural United States and perhaps rural worldwide is more concerned with carrying on, building, and improving lives vs destroying lives.

Irons in the fire: Start somewhere

Paul Marchant for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 June 2020

Way back when I was in grade school, one of the biggest events of the year was the science fair for the fifth- and sixth-graders.

Every kid in the school walked through and watched and listened to the presentations one afternoon during a designated school day, and parents and the public attended that evening. From the time I was in kindergarten and walked through my first science fair, I knew what subject I wanted when I got my turn in what seemed to be the far-off future.

Beef cows were always my passion, so when I got my chance as an eager and geekishly charming sixth-grader, I put my whole heart into the project. I had my script memorized and my presentation technique as polished as a northern Arizona turquoise necklace. (If only I’d had such zeal as a less-than-stellar college student.)

It was back in the day when Herfies still ruled the world. I could tell you all about Warren Gammon and how he developed the Polled Hereford breed. I loved the story of the King Ranch Gerts and how they laid claim to the title of first true American breed. Continental cattle were just starting to make some real noise, and I was enthralled with the novelty and the variety they offered. But perhaps the philosophy which most intrigued me was that of Tom Lasater as he worked to develop the Beefmaster breed, with his “six essential” traits and the proclamation that hide color doesn’t matter when the T-bone is on the platter.

To this day, I still haven’t been around a lot of Beefmaster cattle, but we did have one Beefmaster cow that came with a load of cows we bought out of southern Utah 25 or so years ago. Coincidentally, one of her calves was the first 4-H show steer of my oldest son, the first of somewhere around 100 4-H and FFA steer projects we went through. (I haven’t done all the math, but the first part of the equation is five kids.) He was a moderate, stout, square-made chunk whose solid color and lack of any extra sheath, ear or brisket belied his bottom-side pedigree and thus spared him any prejudice which he may have otherwise been subjected to in the show ring. That particular steer ended up fourth place overall in a big, competitive county fair show, and he was at the top end when he hung on the rail, as well.

I always figured the relative success of that little black steer kind of validated old Tom Lasater’s philosophies. But frankly, with the way the world’s spinning these days, I think I’m just confused. Who would have guessed a simple ranch-raised calf out of an average old Beefmaster cow and by a nondescript Limousin bull would admirably compete in the beauty contest and still hang a high-Choice, Yield Grade 2 carcass? If that little steer had shown a little more of his mama’s heritage in his hair color, his ear or his dewlap, in all likelihood he would not have stood at the top end of his class. Would that have diminished his value, regardless of what was under his hide?

It’s a tricky question, one you’re probably a little leery of answering, especially if you’re unsure of who may be listening. It can be answered in more than one way. Sure, his value is diminished to the exhibitor if he’s buried at the bottom of the class, gets a red ribbon and sells at the end of the sale order. But wait, there’s more. To the floor buyer who gets that calf at a dollar or two below market and sees the premiums add up because of a superior carcass, he’s worth a lot more than the winner of class 3 that turned out to be a Select dark cutter.

Now, kids, ladies and gents, there’s much to be learned here. For starters, if you want to learn how to handle disappointment, jump into the world of youth livestock shows on any level. It’s more frustrating than golfing with a stick. The good ones can win and the good ones can lose. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It’s fun to win and it’s good to know you can survive losing.

I wanted this to be about more than a cute story about my grade school science fair or my kid’s first steer. I wanted it to be more than a quaint life lesson about winning and losing and handling disappointment. I wanted to sum up human sociology and race relations and what’s right and what’s wrong with the world in a neat little 900-word package by simply telling you it’s what’s inside that really matters, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and we can overcome what ails us.

But I can’t. I couldn’t do it in 900 pages or 900 volumes of 900-page books. I, like you I suppose, am angry and confused and tired and overwhelmingly sad over so many things and so many people. Such times can make us prone to despair. But please don’t give in to despair. I can’t fix Chicago or Minneapolis, but I can fix the gate in the north 40, and I can be decent to my family and my friends and those in my corner of the world. I can start somewhere. So can you. end mark

Paul Marchant is a cowboy and part-time freelance writer based in southern Idaho. Follow him on Twitter, or email Paul Marchant.

Paul Marchant

Cooking With Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

Our daughter introduced us to chia seeds a couple years ago, but then we did without since she left again, this time for Hanoi, Vietnam.  However, I’m creating some protein bars made without toxins, preservatives, etc, ad nauseam, and needing some additional protein.  Flax seed fits that bill, but flax also has a laxative affect (that’s right, you do not need to consume synthetic harsh laxatives) that is  not comfortable for some people, (though they are higher in protein and lower in carbs).  SO, chia to the rescue!  (Chia seeds are also absorbed by the body unlike whole flax seeds which generally pass through which is why they need grinding before ingesting for best results).  Both flax seeds and chia seeds are good for us, they have different nutritional values, making neither better than the other, so i include both in our diets.

Sure, we knew of chia seeds, but primarily as a novelty!

Incredibly (and thankfully), i discovered that chia seeds are grown here in the United States, though they are native to Mexico and Guatemala.  This one producer is Heartland Chia – seeds are grown, harvested, packaged in Franklin, Kentucky.

Here’s a link to the published Pumpkin Chia Granola Bars.  But for now, since i have an abundance of home canned unsweetened applesauce, i replaced pumpkin with it.  (Until this fall, when my winter squashes should be ready and i’ll make these with pumpkin)

Applesauce Chia Granola Bars

INGREDIENTS:

*purchased through Amazon at Grandma’s Cupboard

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with olive oil
  • In a medium bowl, add applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract.  Mix well.
  • Fold oats and chia seeds into batter, mix well.
  • Place dough in greased baking dish. (i spray mine with Bertolli Olive oil spray)
  • Press down until entire sheet is evenly covered.
  • Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, test consistency with toothpick
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before cutting into 8-10 bars.

ENJOY!

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Rolled oats from Grain Millers in St. Ansgar, Iowa, Welter Honey from Onslow, Iowa, Heartland Chia from Franklin, Kentucky, McCormick Pure Vanilla from Madagascar.
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Press firmly into the pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.  I cook mine for 25 minutes.  Seems to be a good balance between chewy and crunchy.

 

Chia Bars
These easily lift out of the pan.
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Allow to cool completely.  I use a raised cookie screen to aid in cooling.  Since they don’t have preservatives, I will individually package and stick them in the freezer.  The guys have a quick and healthy snack to take to the field.  (see how beautiful even these bars are. HA HA).

 

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Bagged and ready for freezing!

My Soul Thirsts

Enjoy this lovely Shabbat and the delightful rest our Father in heaven has given His children.

My Soul Thirsts By Shimrit Hanes of Zemer Levav

A song of praise in Hebrew and English featuring vocals, guitar, harp, and hand percussion, and beautiful desert scenery.

Music Video by Covenant Records LLC

My Soul Thirsts by Zemer Levav

Young Ranchers Meet in Wyoming!

Ranch Management Consultants, with an acknowledged huge amount of other support, hosted 48 youth from 17 states in Sheridan, Wyoming for 4 days!  If even half those become true ranchers and not serfs on the land, the livestock industry will be in good shape.  However, given the financial/investment outlook in our country, none (unless they are already incredibly wealth) will be able to build a legacy.  Our economy has been moving in this direction for years, but is now accelerating into something unrecognizable.  Too bad.

young ranchersLast week, in partnership with Wally Olson and the Plank Stewardship Initiative, we hosted the first ever Young Adult Ranching for Profit Workshop. We had 48 youth from 17 states in Sheridan, Wyoming for an incredible four days! The energy, enthusiasm, and passion these young people have for ranching and agriculture was contagious. Several times during the week the instructors and I caught ourselves in awe of the group that was assembled. Just thinking of the amazing things they will accomplish, gets us excited for the future. The format of the days involved morning discussions on topics ranging from economics, grazing, to succession. Then we grabbed a sack lunch and headed for the ranch tour that made up the afternoon. We were able to visit three amazing and welcoming ranches where at each stop, we found hands-on activities and intense discussions with management. The workshop ended with participants having small group meetings where they offered peer advice and developed action plans for moving forward. This multi-day workshop wasn’t something we at RMC could do alone. Enormous thanks goes out to the partners, instructors, and hosting ranches. We anticipate making the Young Adult Ranching for Profit Workshop an annual event.

One thing that became clear to me was that these young people are eager to take on additional responsibility and assume a more prominent role in the businesses they are involved with. It is easy for Junior to say “get out the way…. I’m ready to run this!” but it is significantly more difficult for the seasoned manager with battle scars of past mistakes, to know when and how much control to relinquish. At the Ranching for Profit School, we teach the importance of developing clear expectations for each position in your operation. Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People expands on that with the DR GRAC acronym of Desired Results, Guidelines, Accountability, and Consequences as a thorough way to delegate important tasks. If Junior is going to take over the grazing planning what are the results and specific targets we need to achieve? It should be written down how and when we are going to measure these. Targets for the grazing manager might be:

  • Every pasture has a monitoring transect by 2022-monitoring report due Nov 1
  • 75% cover by perennial plants- monitoring report due Nov 1
  • Decreasing bare ground- monitoring report due Nov 1
  • SDA/1” precip reported monthly- Monthly WOTB meeting
  • Target rest periods achieved 90% of the time- Grazing Plan reviewed Dec 1

If Junior wants more responsibility, then management should identify where the business is currently failing to produce the desired results. From there you can develop a shared understanding of what a quality result for the business would look like. Junior might need some support on how to be successful in creating these desired results. Maybe there is a neighbor that has this figured out, that Junior can talk with or perhaps there is a class or training on the subject that they can attend. Writing down the guidelines and deadlines for this task on a flip chart and taking a picture of it will help everyone remember the agreements next time the subject comes up.

I don’t buy it when I hear that no young people want to be involved in agriculture. After spending four days with 48 youngsters pulling at the bit, ready for a shot, you wouldn’t either. Those of us in the leadership roles need to create opportunities for them to develop themselves into the people they can become.

One Response to “The Next Generation of Passionate Ranchers”

June 10, 2020 at 2:58 pmMark Hollenbeck said:

You are going to be challenged to meet the demand for this school. There is just nothing for young people that want something real dealing with ranching.

Just A Bit of Cleanup

On Jun 6 a year ago, daughter, Jessica took me to a manicurist in Chillicothe because my hands and nails were a disaster and my son was to be married in a couple days.  We walked in and i sat down – the young girl took one look at my hands and commented ‘you must be a farmer.’  no exclamation, no criticism intended — just stated as a matter of fact what she saw.  Nevertheless, she commenced to work magic on my hands and nails in time for a very important day in my life – the marriage of my youngest to a wonderful new daughter.  

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My typical look – farm hands.
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And after a fair bit of scubbing and polishing. (And, yes, i did that by myself!)

Moving a Protein Tub

These supplemental protein/energy tubs for cattle are 200 lbs!  Obviously, i can’t pick it up to move as i shift cattle to new paddocks.  Here’s my solution using stuff found around the farm.

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Even half eaten, it will weigh over 100 lbs.  Although i can tip it on the side and roll it onto the sled, I found that i can just leave the sled under the tub; the cattle don’t tear it up.  I just hook on and move.  The black plastic is old plastic from a destroyed bunk feeder, the white pipe is actually the G2 plastic post from Powerflex Fence which i cut to length.  
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Full, these weigh 200 lbs.  Leaving the sled under the tub means just hooking on and going.  No more tipping, lifting, rolling, and handling in general.  The older i get, the more important this is.  In fact, i design my work around my bad back, hips, shoulder.
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When done,  very lightweight for easy pick up and storage.