rain!

Finally in February it feels like winter has arrived.

The ground is wet.

There are puddles outside waiting to be jumped in.

The grey clouds are hovering overhead.

The fire place is crackling.

And all the lights are turned off in the house while I enjoy the dark light that only cloudy, rainy days can bring.

I love this weather. Sometimes I wonder if I could live in Seattle where most of their days are like this. And then summer arrives and I’m sipping Lime-A-Rita’s on the lake and I quickly forget that idea. What I need to say is I love living where we actually have seasons and I can appreciate the beauty in each season. Unfortunately Mother Nature has been a little mixed up with what season we are actually supposed to be in right now. I am very thankful that for this week she seems to have it figured out.

It’s like your can feel the dust, the dry ground, and all the ranchers and farmers heave a collective sigh and breathe in that beautiful fresh smell that comes with a cleansing rain. Granted, this is hardly making a dent with the current dire water situation we are in; but if anything it gives a bit of hope and sometimes that’s all you need.

The excitement last night in my husband’s voice when he went outside to get wood for the fireplace and realized it was raining was pure excitement: Christmas-morning-as-a-child-kind-of-excitement. We just stood on the back porch last night and listened to the rain gently falling and it was a beautiful thing. Maybe I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: I didn’t know how important rain was until I married a rancher and I realized what it means for our livelihood, our animals, and our life on the ranch.

So what do you do when it’s sprinkling and you have brand new rain boots, rain jackets, and umbrellas you’ve been waiting to use since Christmas? You use them!

puddles

photo2

The rest of the day is going to be spent enjoying this beautiful day from the coziness of our warm house while the crockpot does it’s job and is cooking away one of my FAVORITE crockpot recipes ever. Garlic Beef Stew served over mashed cauliflower — comfort food in a bowl. Plus you get the added benefit of the house smelling amazing while it is cooking.

We just might have to go jump in more puddles so I can appreciate that smell walking into the house . . .

paleo heaven & my new job description.

This was dinner last night and it was seriously delicious. My Instagram photo just does not do it justice nor do the amazing flavors justice but you’ve gotta believe me. This recipe came from Everyday Paleo and we will make this again I am sure. You can find the recipe here. (I used ground turkey instead of the ground pork and no complaints there). I would also highly suggest making artichokes with it so you can enjoy the homemade garlic basil mayonnaise with them. Yum! We ate outside with a glass of wine and it was unusually quiet as everyone chowed down; love when that happens.

Somehow the conversation drifted towards my evaluation as a ranch/orchard employee and it was less than steller.( Although in my defense I am doing an amazing job on the kiddos if I do say so myself.) Apparantly I am not upholding my duties so I asked for a more specific job description which included:

1. Drive through the cows once a day to make sure they have water and that none are laying off by themselves. (And if they are I get the tag number of said cow.)

2. Drive through the orchard once a day and run off every last f**ing deer off that are causing so much havoc!

So, that’s it.  I don’t believe hubby thinks I will do this and believe he said it more out of joking than anything (we have a pretty darn good routine going in the evenings between dinner, kids, cows & orchard)– but he better watch out because it is on! I will now be doing this every day and will be sending him daily updates of my findings, including pictures which I am positive he will appreciate.

We also took a walk through the front orchard and he gave me a lesson on the terminal bud on the trees and why/how our front orchard is struggling so poorly. Between the deer eating the trees and the squirrels eating the irrigation piping we are more than frustrated with the wildlife and their love of our orchard.

By July 1st our trees were supposed to be as tall as the post next to them – most of the trees in front of our house aren’t even a third of the way there and quite a few will not get there and will have to be replanted next year (ouch). This is because the lovely deer have decided that they are a delicious snack and have repeatedly eaten them back and back and destroying the terminal bud that is crucial to the trees growth and development.

We walked by tree after tree and he showed me where the terminal bud had been eaten so the tree sent out another and that was eaten and it sent out a third. Sad. He told me not to post any pictures because he was so disgusted/frustrated/embarrassed that the front orchard looks like it does. On the flip side the orchard that is planted farther from our house is probably 90% better and is growing leaps and bounds so that is much more positive. I loved listening to him talk about the trees and tried remember as much as I could that he explained.  We helped him tie the ones that had gotten a little taller to the pole (did you know they are tied to the poles so all their energy can go towards growing up rather than blowing and fighting the wind?).

Plan for the orchard: continue spraying them with liquid fence (smells NASTY but is somewhat helping keep the deer away) and he is going to be putting up somewhat of a deer fence to combat the deer….hopefully that will help.

paleo chicken salad a la pioneer woman.

I came home with a Costco rostissire chicken yesterday (probably not the most perfect Paleo item but so easy, cheap, and yummy I had to get one). After the hubby came home and wanted to do a fishing night with the girls at the creek I thought how yummy chicken salad sounded to either take with us or have when we got home  and from there this recipe was born.

The only other time I have made chicken salad was from Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, before we were eating Paleo, but I figuered I could modify it to make it fit – and it was actually way easier than I would’ve thought. Homemade mayo and a little honey instead of sugar was all it took to make this work for us. It was gobbled up by everyone in our house and will make this again for sure. In PW’s recipe she uses half and half mixed with mayonnaise and plain yogurt or sour cream to make the creamy base for the dressing. I just used more mayonnaise and heavy whipping cream to replace that. I am ok with heavy whipping cream – it is the only dairy that I use and the few tablespoons in my coffee in the morning are heaven. If you don’t use any dairy then I’m sure you could leave it out or even just use a little water to thin out the mayonnaise.

I am new to making my own mayonnaise but have been pleasantly surprised how easy it is. I used the version from Everyday Paleo and have learned that using olive oil as opposed to extra-virgin olive oil makes the flavor much milder and the oil flavor is not as strong which in my opinion, makes a much better mayonise.

Try this recipe – you won’t regret it. I ate it on top of a butter lettuce and a red leaf lettuce salad mix – yum! It would be really good in a lettuce wrap too.Image

Paleo Chicken Salad

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (see recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs. honey (or to taste)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced (I didn’t have this so I used a small white onion)
  • 2-3 cups red/green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup silvered/sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a small skillet till golden brown
  • A small handful of fresh dill, minced (I used dried but highly recommend the fresh!)

1. Stir together the mayonnaise and whipping cream. Add the lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper. Taste and decide if you want to add more of anything.

2. Put chicken, celery, onion, and grapes into a bowl.

3. Pour some of the dressing over the top and then add the almonds and fresh dill.

4.  Taste and see if it needs more dressing.

5. Yum!!

Everyday Paleo’s Mayonaise

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • Pinch of cayanne pepper
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup olive oil

1.  In a food processor, blend the egg, vinegar, mustard, cayenne pepper, and sea salt for 5 seconds.

2. Continue blending and slowly add the olive oil.  Once the olive oil is added, continue blending while you again count to five, turn off the blender or food processor, and the mayo is ready.

This would be a perfect addition to any 4th of July BBQ for Paleo/Non Paleo friends!

Happy 4th of July!

paleo journey.

We are almost two months into our Paleo lifestyle journey and it has been such an easy transition for us. When I first describe to people how we eat (no dairy and no grains) all I hear is, “Isn’t that so hard?” “No milk? How do you do it?” “What do you have for lunch?” I don’t think they truly believe my answer when all I can say is, “No. It hasn’t been that hard and we feel great.”  After living this way, eating dinners out, being away with friends for the weekend and sticking to this lifestyle we’ve found our go to foods and ways to make it work. Plus, the fact that we both feel great – have such better energy and hubby has even lost close to 20 pounds without even working out we are believers in this lifestyle.

Paleo Food Chart!

I wish I could explain the science better but since I can’t I am going to link to my favorite blogs that have helped in this transition and have such great recipes and information to share.

www.everydaypaleo.com — I had the oppoturnity to listen to Sarah speak in Redding and started my 30 day challenge  the next Monday. She made it make sense and made it an easy transition for my family. Her story is amazing and this lifestyle has changed her life. She is raising 3 boys and her recipes are all easy and very family friendly.

www.balancedbites.com – This is an AMAZING site and I cannot wait for her Practical Paleo book to come out in August. Tons of information, printables (they are all hanging in my cubbords) and great information as to WHY our bodies need to eat this way. I really, really want to attend one of her seminars when she comes to the West Coast.

www.wellnessmama.com – Another great site with lots of great information, recipes and lots of natural-living ideas.

The girls aren’t totally Paleo yet but all their meals are – it’s the snacks that I haven’t fully made the switch yet. We just haven’t been able to give up the Pirate’s Booty and cracker snacks yet. Each time I buy a bag I say, “Once these are gone, I won’t buy any more.” but just haven’t been able to follow through on it yet. I love that for breakfast this morning they had scrambled eggs and sausage, avocado, strawberries and walnuts. What great food to fuel their growing bodies and brains rather than sugar covered sugar cereal and it makes me feel good knowing they are getting such healthy food at home.

I hope to share some great Paleo recipes I’ve made and show what a day of Paleo looks like to show how easy (and yummy!) it is.