Category Archives: FAMILY

Friday Night Homemade Pizza

A tradition in my family growing up was to have pizza on Friday night.  I’ve carried that through to my family and seldom do we miss having home made pizza on Friday evening, even though the children are adults now and two live away from here.

Growing up, home made pizza was Chef Boyardee from a box.  No matter; Mom doctored up so it was great!.

Here’s my recipe.

For the dough be sure to allow at least 2 hours. (this makes two large crusts, so before the second rise, i stick 1/2 into a Ziplock Freezer bag and pop it into the freezer. Just bring it out of the bag enough time ahead for it to thaw – don’t leave it in the bag because it will rise as it thaws)

Pizza Dough - Wall Street Journal

PIZZA DOUGH

THE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all purpose or bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoon sea or Real salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water

THE STEPS

Add flours, honey, yeast, and salt to the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer and process to combine  (i just put it in the bowl of my Kitchenaid Artisan bowl and mix by hand briefly).  Add water and 2 tablespoons olive oil and continue to process until dough forms a ball.  If dough is sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.  If dough is too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a smooth elastic ball, about 5 minutes.  I use my Kitchenaid Artisan mixer.

Form dough into a smooth ball and place in a large bowl greased with olive oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.  Cut risen dough in half.  Knead each half briefly and then shape into a ball.  Place the two balls on a lightly floured surface and cover loosely with a clean towel or plastic wrap.  Let rest 1 hour at room temperature or in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.  If refrigerated, let dough come to room temperature before continuing.

Use a rolling pin to roll out and your hands to stretch each ball into a circle or whatever size your pizza pan.  If dough becomes too elastic, place it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to relax before continuing.

The toppings:

That’s wide open and just your favorites.

If you want stuffed crust – Usually, but not always, i roll out the dough large enough that i can place thin slices of cheese along the edge of the pan and cover with dough for stuffed crust.

I top the dough with home made pizza sauce (still perfecting it, but it’s pretty good) or whatever commercial product you like.

Top with Parmesan or Parmesan mix shredded cheese.  I use 4C Homestyle Brand Parmesan or Parmesan/Romano Mix both of which i buy at Wal-Mart.

Next on is previous cooked, drained, and cooled 1 lb of our home raised ground beef (or i plan ahead and turn it into beef sausage – i don’t eat pig).

Thick sliced Portabella (Babybella) mushrooms and sliced natural olives.

Shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese, but often i add Cabot Extra Sharp White Cheddar in the 2 lbs package which is also available at Wal-Mart. 

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

 

 

 

 

Comfort Food

Wowzer!  the wind has been blowing like a banshee all day and temps dropped from 75  to 45 in about 2 hours this afternoon.  Will spring ever arrive in earnest?!  Vina’s Brownies to the rescue.

VINA’S BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cream together the softened butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time.  Continue mixing and add remaining ingredients then bake in a greased 9×13 inch pan.  Bake about 40 minutes at 350°F oven.

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I sprinkled some dark chocolate Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking chips on top this before baking.  Turned out pretty good!  Chips available at many venues, i got mine online at Wal-Mart.

 

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Diets Galore!

With the Feast of Unleavened Bread (one of Yah’s commanded feast/festivals for His Set Apart people), it brings to light His enduring love for us.  There are many specialty diets out there, but the one i focus on is the one YHWH defines for us in Leviticus 11.

Many scholarly types wish to change the dietary laws by twisting Scripture in other parts of the Bible (and some even use extra biblical passages as ‘gospel!) to support their ideology.  But honestly,  if God says, why manipulate and contort to in your own mind justify your man-made habits and traditions.

In the popular vernacular – ‘What would Jesus do?’  the answer is for sure He would not eat ham!  Are we to follow Jesus (Yahshua) or not?

Today’s menu includes salmon patties, so i’m replacing crushed crackers or breadcrumbs with rice and smashed sweet potatoes.

Israeli Salad would be another great side dish, but it is too much chewing for June (Allen’s 99 year old aunt) so my sunday lunches tend towards very soft.

On the side are new potatoes tossed with sea salt, olive oil, and rosemary and baked for 40 minutes.  Lettuce bed.  Dessert is our home raised, canned apples warmed with honey from Nebraska, butter from Ireland, and a good dose of cinnamon from somewhere.  Topped with fresh sweetened cream.

Yummy!

Barn to Bookshelves

At long last my feeble attempt at building a much–needed bookshelf out of the boards from our old horse barn that was located at the Lamme Farm is complete.  Most of the delay was due to the super cold and long winter.

Horse Barn - Lamme 1-9-2013 (4)
Final portrait before starting tear down of the horse barn at the Lamme Farm. – 2014
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The old barn was past its prime.
Horse Barn - Lamme 3-5-2014 (1)
Salvaging side lumber.
Barn Board bookshelf (4)
Boards in storage.  I did have a bed made from these boards a few years ago, but hadn’t made anything until this bookshelf i recently completed.
Barn Board Bookshelf (1)
Lots and lots of sanding to remove layers of old paint.  My husband won’t let me buy a planer – says they are too dangerous.  Hmmm, but he has no problem with me running a table saw, chainsaw, reciprocating saw, circular saw, jig saw, band saw, and working cattle all day long.
Barn Board Bookshelf (2)
Putting on the final sanding.  Still without a planer, there are gouges which don’t show up until i add stain or other finish.
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I loaded this 6 foot tall unit into and out of my pickup, then into the house and up a set of curved stairs.  Good thing it’s not heavy!  A bit awkward.  The shelves are removable.

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A point of interest is that the Monocoat Pure wood conditioner/stain i used shows the difference between the ‘front’ of the boards (the side that was painted and exposed to outside weather) and the ‘back’ of the boards (shown here and the side without paint and inside the barn).  The back or inside stained darker.  I don’t know why.
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Here is the ‘front’ or outside painted side of the boards – showing a warmer finish than the darker reverse side.
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Not much organization, but it’s gonna hold a lot of books.  i’m encouraged to put another build on my ‘to do’ list once i get all my other ‘to build’ items completed.

Have a great week!

tauna

Horse Barn teardown 5-27-14 (1)
The barn, and later our house, was razed, shingles removed, and the rubble burnt.  Not much left after we salvaged so much from it. (the house was removed in a truck since it is illegal to burn a house – even out here in the boonies)

Meal for the Men

Allen is working his calves today and Monday (mine are tomorrow) – it’s time for their second round of vaccinations and some fall calving cows need pregnancy checking.  Weather is perfect except super windy.  My job is to prepare lunch for the guys for whenever they arrive.  It’s ready now (11:30), and i was notified that they’ll be in probably about 1p.  Hopefully, all will go smoothly.

For lunch:

  • Beef short ribs offered with BBQ sauce
  • Homegrown slow simmered green beans with onions and garlic
  • Paraguayan Corn Bread (this is a new recipe for me i’ve made a few times this week – adding this one to my lineup and will post recipe soon)
  • Deviled eggs laid by our silly old hens
  • Blackberry cobbler
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Paraguayan Corn Bread (Sopa Paraguaya)
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It was a challenge to fill a plate with neatly peeled eggs.  Although i set a couple dozen back, it was still not long enough for them to peel easily.  In other words, they are too fresh!
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Home picked blackberries with fresh ground wheat berries for the batter.  Yeah, and sugar, and honey, and butter, and milk, and baking powder, and cinnamon.

 

What a landowner looks for in a lessee

What A Landowner Looks For in A Lessee

Helpful article in the April 2019 Issue (4) of Progressive Cattleman.

Online article.

 

What a landowner looks for in a lessee

Jenny Pluhar for Progressive Cattleman Published on 25 March 2019
Frank Price (left) and Grant Teplicek

“Is this Jenny?”

“Yes. …”

“This is John Q. Public. I heard you have a ranch available for lease, and I run some cattle. …”

That opening line pretty much guaranteed I was not going to consider that offer to lease. Most likely John Q. had a job in town. He may have been the pharmacist, owned the hardware store or been a schoolteacher. But in my neck of the woods (Texas), “running cattle” is the ultimate sexy, cool, cowboy thing to do.

The mere fact so many think it is easy offends me. That fellow on the other end of the phone hoping to lease from me needs to be managing a complex ecosystem and ensuring sustainability into the future. He is running a business where profitability is closely linked to stewardship of the land. He is not just “running cattle.”

This was not my first rodeo. I have changed lessees for these owners twice before over 24 years. We tend to choose carefully and hope to have long-term relationships. I have been threatened: “I will pay more than John Doe; aren’t you supposed to make the most money possible for the owners?” “You’ll never find someone to go along with all your stipulations.” “If I lease your place, I will decide how to operate it.” “Give me the owner’s number; I will tell him I will pay more.”

Nope, yep and nope. By all means, call the owner. He will hang up on you, guaranteed. My goal was to find the right lessee, someone who wanted to manage that complex ecosystem, strive for sustainability, make a profit. The happy ending is: Although I received the above-mentioned phone call probably a hundred times, I had four outstanding candidates to lease the ranch, and another four queued up if the first four opted out.

Serious about stewardship

What to look for in a lessee? How to find the guy or gal who can manage a complex ecosystem and steward the rangeland resource while still making a profitable living for their family? Face it, if we don’t take profitability into account, the goal of stewardship becomes just another buzzword.

Of the calls I received, only one was actually a credible possibility – and only because I had lost touch with the young man. I knew and respected him but was out-of-date on his progression in the ranching industry. The viable candidates were people I contacted, folks I knew from field days, ranch tours, word-of-mouth. I knew them to be serious about stewardship, profitable, eager to learn and progressive-type operators. I had observed them in action, often at Texas Grazing Land Coalition activities, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers School for Successful Cattlemen, local workshops.

My initial concern was that none of them would want to consider this property. It is remote and, frankly, was beat up – continuously grazed, overstocked, infrastructure needing attention, definitely a ranch in rehab. Lucky for me, I had four respectable land stewards who were interested.

After a bad experience with past lessees, the owners and I were determined to make a good selection. We were in no hurry, which was key to a successful process.

I spent a day on the ranch with each potential lessee. We climbed on the side-by-side and attempted to see as much as possible. Thirty-thousand acres is a lot of ground to cover, but I wanted them to see the good, the bad and the ugly. And I wanted to gauge their goals. The owners and I have some specific goals, focusing primarily on improving rangeland conditions.

It is a mighty challenge, and I needed to know if the candidates were up to the task and aware of the degradation of the resources. Those hours on the ATV allowed me to quickly assess their mettle. Did they know the plants? Did they know how much water a cow-calf pair or a stocker needed daily? Were they savvy on stocking rates, animal unit equivalents, grazable acres and harvest efficiency?

Then I turned the tables. I asked to see country each candidate leased – in my book, that’s the “résumé” of a rancher. What does the place you operate look like? So I spent a corresponding day with each of them, riding around, looking closely at how they conducted business.

Following the days on the ranch, I asked each to tell me what they saw. I developed a few questions. What did they see as the shortcomings of the ranch? And how would they overcome those obstacles? What about the advantages? How would we collaborate, communicate? How would they handle the necessary labor?

Why would we care about the labor? The ranch is remote. School is nearly a 50-mile bus ride away with the potential for the ability to transfer to the school district only 20 miles away. Sadly, substance abuse is a real problem among ranch cowboys in the Texas Panhandle. This location is not for everybody. Leasing this ranch and putting someone out there with a young family or a fast crowd of friends is not going to get the job done. “Cowboys” who have limited skill sets and want to drive around or spend aimless time horseback are a dime a dozen. We recognize the need for the labor to be able to manage the resource, not just cake the cattle in the winter and ride a horse all summer.

Up for a challenge

By now you are thinking, “Man, she put these potential lessees through a bunch of hoops just to ‘run some cattle’.” It was exciting to find four candidates who found the opportunity to improve the conditions, something that excited and challenged them. They provided potential solutions to our challenges, grazing and monitoring plans, communication plans and really showed off their eagerness and enthusiasm. Anyone who says there are not young, enthusiastic ranchers wanting a chance to get started or expand in the business hasn’t looked around very hard.

Finally, the owners and I interviewed them together. That face-to-face meeting is important. It also allowed the potential lessees to gauge if they wanted to enter into a challenging ranch rehab and do business with the owners. These things go both ways. Our extensive process allowed for plenty of time for both sides to assess the situation and evaluate the potential.

The best advice for folks looking to lease land is really pretty simple. Think of it as a job interview. What do you bring to the table? How will you work with the landowner? Plan to forge a relationship, stewarding the land for the good of the owner and your own profitability. If you are just looking to “run some cattle,” put that phone down and go look for something else to do.

Ranching is the management of a complex ecosystem, grazing animals all with the goal of economic and environmental sustainability. It’s not rocket science. Literally. It’s way more complicated.  end mark

PHOTO: Frank Price (left) of Sterling City, Texas, explains the improving forage conditions on a lease property to Grant Teplicek of USDA-NRCS. Photo provided by Jenny Pluhar. 

Jenny Pluhar