Category Archives: FAMILY

Bourbon Meatloaf from WSJ

My son was required in one of his classes at uni to take subscription of the Wall Street Journal.  We had taken it for years, but it had gotten so expensive we’d dropped.  However, as a student, he could receive it for $50 a year!

Once in a while a fabulous recipe which meets my criteria is published and i nab it and usually tweak it just a bit. Here’s one i found just last week.

The original version is pictured far below, but here’s what i did:

MEATLOAF INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic

Sauté these in a medium hot skillet with 2 tablespoons butter, then add mushrooms and lettuce until softened – all in all about 6 minutes.  Don’t let it burn!

1 cup diced mushrooms

2 cups snipped fresh spinach

Add these items to the above skillet until softened

2 lbs grass finished ground beef

1 cup finely ground bread crumbs (i used what i had leftover from a failed baking experiment)

2 egg yolks from farm fresh eggs (save the whites for scrambled eggs in the morning)

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brandy (i discovered that brandy is a substitute for bourbon)

2 teaspoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Mix together, by hand, all these ingredients to make the loaf.

FOR THE GLAZE:

While the meatloaf is cooking, whisk together 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, 2 tablespoons unprocessed organic sugar like Florida Crystals, 1/2 cup ketchup, and 4 tablespoons farm fresh milk in a small bowl.  After meatloaf has baked about 6 minutes, remove it from the oven and brush glaze over top.

Return pan to oven and bake until meat is just cooked through, or internal temperature reads 145-150 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Making a 2-lb loaf, mine cooked for about 30-35 minutes in a 400ºF oven.  Remove  from over and let cool slightly.

Bourbon Meatloaf - WSJ (1)
Chopped onion, grass fed butter hasn’t melted yet.
Bourbon Meatloaf - WSJ (2)
Home grown garlic

 

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Didn’t have any celery, but spinach is a substitute for just about everything!
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I use scissors to cut the spinach in smaller pieces – add to the onion/garlic mix to saute.
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i keep these mixes in the frig pretty year round unless i happen to grow enough for us to use in the spring and summer.
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Separate the eggs – i keep the whites of course to use for scrambled eggs later.

Bourbon Meatloaf - WSJ (7)Bourbon Meatloaf - WSJ (8)

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Gather it up and roll onto the jellyroll pan.  Mine is 9×15″
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My loaf is far too great a diameter to be finished cooking in 26 minutes, so adjustments are to be expected.  This is using 2 lbs ground beef.
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This is absolutely NOT what the glaze is supposed to look like – i forgot to add the ketchup!  Grrrrrr!
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Without the ketchup the glaze is far too runny…….
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….resulting in this burnt mess on the pan around the loaf.
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My loaf was far greater diameter than the recipe, so i cooked it an extra 15 minutes which was just right.  Also gave opportunity for the glaze i messed up to burn a bit more.  😦

 

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Yup, it’s done.
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Thank you to my sister-in-law, Shawna, for this perfectly sized Pampered Chef mini spatula she gave me for Christmas.
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Restaurant quality meal (except for the glaze i screwed up).  The meatloaf has a delightful texture and flavour.
Bourbon Meatloaf - WSJ Recipe (1)
Here’s the original recipe by Chef Lee as published in the Wall Street Journal
Bourbon Meatloaf - WSJ Recipe (2)
This is the whole article with the featured chef.
Salad (1)
These prepared lettuce or spinach mixes in a clam shell container are just the handiest things!
Salad (2)
Shredded Carrots on the salad.  Add whatever you are hungry for – sliced hard cooked eggs, mushrooms, olives, cheese, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

 

Enjoy!

tauna

Getting Into the Cattle Business: Buying a Ranch and Making it Pay

Solid figures to help me decide whether or not to pursue any land purchases should any come up for sale. Farms in Linn County, MO rarely change hands.

Land & Livestock International, Inc.

By Dr. Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume, President & CEO, Land & Livestock International, Inc.

What and Why?

First, do you want to own a ranch or do you just want to be in the cattle business? Did you know that you can enter the cattle business without owning either land or cattle?

"Waiting for a Chinnook" Also known ...
“Waiting for a Chinnook” Also known as “Last of the 5000”

You are already thinking, “This guy has lost his mind!” But seriously, you can. You can lease land and take in pasture cattle–i.e. you can pasture someone else’s cattle on leased land for a monthly per head fee. Once you get a reputation for paying your bills and taking good care of other peoples land, ranch lease opportunities will come to you. You won’t have to look for them.

This is an excellent way for young prospective ranchers to get into the business without having to…

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Biscuit Topped Italian Casserole

Sometimes a stumbled upon recipe in a catalogue or magazine or flyer  really resonates with your family and it becomes part of the regular menu lineup.  This casserole is one such that i found probably 20 years ago.  The beauty of it, is that it is easily modified to accommodate your own tastes and whatever you have on hand (within reason of course!)

The original recipe is pictured way below, but the one i made yesterday included my home raised green beans and home grown grass finished ground beef.  For chopping the vegetables i use a mini food chopper and even chop the green beans if i’m preparing for Sunday’s meal with Allen’s 98-year-old Aunt June.  She has lost her teeth and can’t keep track of dentures – so it is what it is.

Family sized version:

2 lbs grass-finished ground beef

1 medium sized onion – chopped

3 medium sized carrots – chopped

1-2 cups Asian long pole green beans – chopped

1 24 oz jar of Eden Organic tomatoes  (normally i use my home raised tomatoes, but i’ve already run out!)  Eden’s brand is excellent, but, honestly, to open them, i either need my stout son, Dallas, to do it, or i go get my long handled Channel Lock pliers.  It’s really ridiculous.

2 cups of your favourite cheese, divided – 1 1/2 cups to stir into veggie/beef mix, 1/2 cup to top off the casserole.  Or stir in 2 cups of cheese to melt – whatever your choice!

Brown the ground beef in a 4 quart pot and add all the vegetables, including the tomato sauce, throw in maybe a tablespoon of salt (check your tomato sauce – it may already have salt in it – i try to use straight tomatoes) and a teaspoon of black pepper -whatever suits ya, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so.  Add 1 1/2 cups of your favourite cheese and stir to melt.

Once the mix is ready, pour into a 9×13 inch pan, level it off, then top with biscuits.  I make my own, but you can buy some to use.  Then sprinkle about a cup of shredded cheese on top.  Then add a sprinkling of parsley, basil, or oregano if you like.

Bake in a preheated oven of 375 F for about 28 minutes until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden brown.  This makes 6-8 servings.  Takes about an hour to make and bake, but if there are leftovers, it’s still a time saver.  What does it cost?  that will totally depend on the quality of ingredients you purchase.

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i mix my own biscuits up, then roll the dough to 1/4 inch and use this small juice glass to make 2 inch diameter biscuits.  But you could make larger ones, just not thicker- remember the heat to cook the casserole is reduced so thicker biscuits may not cook through.
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After pouring the beef/veggie/cheese mix into a 9×13 inch baking dish, top it with the biscuits.

 

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Then add about 1 cup of shredded cheese
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Sprinkle on some parsley if you like, then bake in a 375 F oven about 28 minutes.
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Finished casserole – YUMMY!
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Here’s the original recipe i cut out of a magazine a couple decades ago!

Buon Appetito!

 

tauna

Meal Kit Services

Lots of ship to home meal kits out there on the market.  Anyone using these services?  What do you think?  i’m thinking of ordering one just to try for fun and see what they are like.

Here’s a link to a comparison article from Money, but there are several comparison checks on the internet using different companies and services.

This Is the Best Meal-Kit Service on the Market Right Now

 

Cheers!

tauna

Written Tradition, Part 1: Clyde’s Truck

Son, Nathan, still blogs occasionally. Gotta share his; his are much more interesting to read than mine.

Enter Wonderland

Everyone has a story. The one that makes your eyes light up when you tell it. The one that makes you wheeze with laughter before you get to the punchline. The one that makes you hold your breath until the end. The one that isn’t quite the truth. Some people have several. Some people have one good one they tell every time they see you. But we all have one.

In the past, these oral traditions were passed from generation to generation. They were modified slightly, but were recognizable. The very best became legends and myths. Now, though, many of these tales are lost with the passing of a generation.

This series is my attempt to capture some of the tradition of my family and those around me. I will try to make monthly updates, but no promises!

Clyde Powell was my great-great-uncle. Way back in the day, he bought…

View original post 199 more words

Sell Now or Sell Later

There has always been great debate about whether or not to sell open (not pregnant) cows in the fall at pregnancy check or turn the bull back in with them and see if they’ll breed for another season, then sell them pregnant.  Many trade publications will encourage producers to ‘add value’ to a cull cow, but i seriously question the validity of such endeavor, but then again, i’m not an expert with numbers, i’m just lazy and don’t want to be shifting and handling and sorting my cows more than necessary.

It’s easy enough to simply put numbers to the various practices, then make your favourite decision.

My first stumbling block with the concept of adding value to one of my cull cows has to do with passing off a potentially problem cow to my neighbor.  That doesn’t sound very neighborly or make good business since.  However, one could simply ‘add value’ by pouring the feed to the cow to make her fat and increasing the grade or value for slaughter.  It also could be justified by the fact that my management is super low input and most of my cows would thrive in another producer’s management style.

Let’s compare:

Pregnancy check in the fall reveals 10 open cows.  My cows all have a calf at side or they’d already be sold, so 14-30 days after the calves have received their vaccines, I’ll wean the calf by selling off the cow to slaughter.  She’s not going to be in the fattest condition because she’s nursing a nice calf and a non-fat cow will not bring top dollar.

For example, the different cow classes are as follows:

SLAUGHTER COWS:

  1. Breaking and Boning (75-85% lean) $47.50-$57.50
  2. High dressing $58.00-$67.00.
  3. Lean (85-90%) $44.00-$54.50

Cows in the fall nursing a calf will typically fall in the Lean or Breaking and Boning categories and this year are bringing about $43/cwt (hundredweight).  My cows are primarily Corriente or Corriente cross and will weigh about 800 lbs (by comparison and Angus or other beefier breed will weigh 1200 lbs, although she still may be thin and be in the same category).

 

OR

Keep the cow and turn the bull back with her and hope she gets bred – Let’s say there is 70% chance that she will.  So, we keep the cow until she is in the 2nd stage of pregnancy or about 5-6 months along.

Therefore, if she would bring $875/head as a P2 cow (and this would be a stretch if she is older than 5 or 6).

OR

Leave the bulls in with the cows an additional 20-30 days and hope that another 50% of the potentially open cows actually breed, then sell the bred cows that calved late as well as the open cows in mid-December.

Let’s compare:

10 $105 -$1,050 labor
10 $127 -$1,270 pasture costs
7 $875 $6,125 bred cows sold
3 $400 $1,200 open cows sold
$5,005  keep and sell in June
vs
5 $360 $1,800 open cows sold
5 $675 $3,375 bred cows sold
$5,175  sell in December
($170)

Things to consider.Interestingly, in my opinion, these numbers probably won’t change even if one leaves the bulls in for another 20 days, sort out the cows that have not calved by 10 June and selling them as ready to calve in the last trimester (P3).  In this part of the country (Missouri, USA) a summer calving P3 cow is not as desirable as a fall calving P2 even though i’ve credited her with more value in my chart above.

Leaving the bulls in an additional 20 days is advantage for me in that i avoid having to handle the cattle during ragweed allergy season.  My allergies are so bad, that this is a serious consideration.  However, the reality of bringing in the cows with baby calves and sorting off the one which haven’t calved yet is that it likely won’t happen and one would be right back to a 65 day calving season.  However, those cow numbers could be written down, paired up in the fall and then sold as pairs when animals are mustered in for preg check and calf vaccinations.

The point of changing the time and reducing the length of breeding season was to avoid ragweed allergy season.  However, i discovered that at least this year, i was unable to withstand the debilitating effects of ragweed as late as 1 September.   Also, the longer the calving season, the more inconvenient it is to shift the animals through a managed rotation.

Other alternative is to separate those open cows and a bull put in with them.  Disadvantage is that a separate herd must be maintained for 7 months.  Not really a feasible situation.

So, now that i’ve thought through the pros and cons of the various scenarios, especially solving the issue with allergies i will plan to leave the bulls in an additional 20 days, thereby hauling them out about 20 September.  This means, however, that the following spring that i’ll be dealing with an additional 20 days of baby calves to shift (yes, this is a pain in the butt) and be diligent to write down the numbers of those cows calving late so they can be sorted off during preg check in November.    If half of those late calvers go ahead and get bred, it will add dollars to my bottom line without adding much expense.  Most importantly, it solves the allergy issue.

WOTB – (working on the business)

Cheers

tauna