Thursday, October 17, 2013

Raising the Meaties

We've had the new chicks for almost two weeks and I can't believe how fast they are growing! It's definitely been a learning experience for us. I did a lot of reading about raising chicks, but I think I underestimated some of the advice! Here are the top 7 things we have learned:

7. They eat....a lot
6. Temperature is very important with chicks, but it's pretty easy to tell if they're too hot or cold. We spent the first two days constantly adjusting the height of the heat lamp to make sure they were comfortable.
5. They drink a lot
4. Ventilation is key, but can be tricky. We opted to go with a large livestock bin with chicken wire over the top. This kept the heat in, but still allowed lots of air circulation.
3. They eat....a lot
2. They are very curious and at some point, they will try to leave the brooder. Bungee cords are excellent tools to hold the chicken wire on!
1. They eat....a lot

The new chicks shortly after we got them. I took us a while to get the temperature right. 

The second lesson we learned was these guys eat....and eat....and eat! It seems like every time we turn around the feeder is empty again. 

 This one poses for the camera! It's so cute! 

Soon, their feathers started coming in. It looks painful to me, but I guess they don't seem to mind. 

My husband can't resist picking them up and holding them. I keep telling him not to play with his food, but he doesn't listen! 

Yep, posing for the camera again! 

It's hard to believe how fast they are growing! 

See what I mean? I can't get a picture with the feeder full. They attack it as soon as we fill it up! 

I see you! 

In under two weeks, they have nearly tripled in size. That may have something to do with the constant eating! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New Chicks!

So after we got through our first culling, we decided next year we would try raising meat birds. Well, next year came a little early. Rural King opened a new store nearby, so of course we had to check it out! After making our way down to the poultry care aisle, we saw baby chicks! I was able to walk past at first because the ones on the side were labeled as Ameraucanas, and we don't need any more layers right now. But then I saw the other bin, and they were Cornish Cross. After walking around getting together all the supplies we'd need for the little ones, we picked out eight to take home.

We found a large bin to keep them in for a couple of weeks and a heat lamp to keep them toasty.

The husband accidentally got the white light instead of the red, but it will work for now. 

We're still working on getting a coop for them, so for now they are staying in our spare room. Hard to believe, but in about five weeks, they will be fully grown and ready for the freezer!

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Reality of Raising Chickens

**Warning: This most contains pictures of processing a chicken. Proceed at your own risk!**

If you disagree with our choices to eat the birds we raise, please run away now-just like these guys. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What the Heck is a Cushaw?

While browsing through Hoosier Harvest Market, trying to decide what to order, I saw this squash:

I had no idea what it was, or what to do with it. I've never heard of a cushaw, but I figured I'd give it a try. 

After googling for a bit, I found out that it's similar to a pumpkin in taste, but a little sweeter. You can substitute it for pumpkin in just about any recipe, but you may have to cut back on the sugar. I found a recipe for cushaw pie, and decided to try it. You can find the recipe here

This big squash was a little intimidating at first, but I figured I may as well dive right in. I started by cutting off the neck, slicing into rounds and cutting away the rind. 

Next, I cut it up into chunks and began cooking it down. I read several websites about cooking it down. Some suggested roasting, some in the microwave (in small batches) and other said on the stove top in a large pot with water. All of them said that the neck pieces were firmer and would take longer, so I went ahead and threw them in a pot of water on the stove and began working on the rest of it. 

I used my cookie scooper to clean out the insides. Side note-that's the best way to clean out a pumpkin for Halloween too! 

You can clean off the seeds and roast them like pumpkin seeds, but I decided to toss them out to the chickens. They loved it! It was so much fun to watch them chase each other around and steal pieces from each other! 
I finally realized cutting off the rind would take forever once I had this sliced up, so I decided to peel it with my vegetable peeler. Much easier! 

After the whole thing was peeled, chopped, and cooked to fork tender, I pureed it down. It took me two rounds in my food processor. 

The recipe I used only calls for two cups, so I bagged the rest of it up and tossed it in the freezer for later. 

With the rest of the squash stowed away, I made the pie. The verdict? Delicious! I ordered another one from the market for next week. I can't wait to try more recipes with cushaw!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Family Fun Night at Victory Field

Earlier this week, Indiana's Family of Farmers gave several Indy area bloggers the opportunity to attend an Indy Indians game.

 I originally got the tickets to take the kids, but in true teen/tween fashion, they all managed to come up with things they would rather do than spend the evening with us boring parents. No worries on our part....we decided to call up my dad, step mom, "sister" and her boyfriend. 

IFOF covered our food and drinks at the Coors Light pavilion. I have to say, I think we had more fun having an adult family night than we would have had with the kids! It was a great way to spend an evening together without anyone buried in their phone (with the exception of our picture taking, of course! )

Thursday, May 23, 2013

3/4 of the World's Population Can't be Wrong

Nearly 3/4 of the world consumes goat as their primary meat source. With that many people eating it, it can't be all that bad, right?

I'll admit; I've been very curious to try it for a while now. I keep seeing it at the farmer's market, but it's fairly pricey. I have no idea how much is costs to raise goats, but $16 a pound seems a bit high. I know; people like me will pay it. But I don't think one time customers is a good business model. Maybe that is a very reasonable price-again, I have no idea what it costs to raise and finish goats.

Anyway, I got a bit sidetracked. Back to my curiosity.....

So the husband and I finally decided to purchase goat chops at the farmer's market. Now that we bought them, how the heck do I cook it? I turned to facebook, where all my foodie friends could give me advice. I got the same thing over and over...."low and slow". Yeah, I figured that part. But what seasonings do I use? And that's why I love Google. I found a recipe that seemed easy enough here. I used white wine vinegar instead of plain white vinegar. I don't know that it really added anything, but I figured it couldn't hurt. The recipe says to marinate for 2 hours-I let it marinate in the fridge for nearly 4 hours. I did flip it after about two hours and gave it another massage to really work in the curry.

I cooked it at 400 for 30 minutes, then at 300 for 2 1/2 hours.

I really should have taken a picture of the meat when it was cut open. It was a beautiful, perfect pink and it fell apart when you cut into it! Goat chops with garlic and rosemary couscous and roasted veggies....delicious dinner!

I was very surprised by how much I like it. I had several people tell me if I like lamb, I'd like goat. In my opinion, the goat was much better than the lamb I have made. I'm not sure we'll buy it again at $16/lb, but if I found it cheaper, I could definitely see us eating more goat! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting Settled in....and Chickens!

So we're finally settled in to our new house....and we are completely loving the new house, new area, and new surroundings!

We had to do a little work to the house, including adding a wall and doors to create a master suite in the former family room.

I'm so glad my dad and husband are carpentry-inclined!!!

Then we had to buy a new stove and dryer.....which were unexpected purchases! But as soon as all of that was done, we were able to dive into the fun stuff! We planted a few fruit trees. 

Then we moved on to the next project.....chickens!

With the chicken coop built, we were ready to pick up the hens, or as I refer to them.....the ladies

We've really enjoyed getting to know their personalities, and of course the eggs!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chicken Helper to the Rescue!

For the last few months, I've been MIA. We've been house hunting, then packing and finally moving! It's been crazy around our place since February, but I'm finally (almost) settled in! Woohoo! During this whole process, most of my kitchen was boxed up and quite honestly, I was exhausted. That's why I was so excited when I received two boxes of Hamburger Helper in the mail from Betty Crocker and General Mills! I received Sweet & Sour Chicken Helper and Parmesan Crusted Chicken Helper. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nailed It!

Pinterest....the virtual bragging grounds that inspires us all to think "I can do that!" I'll be the first to admit I pin things all the time that I think I'll do one day. And then something else shiny and glittery snags my attention and I never think about that wonderful recipe I just pinned. I'm an pinner full of great hopes and dreams....and an empty reality. Yesterday, I decided to start changing that. I went through all the pins I had looked at recently and decided to actually do one!

There are several pins of this going around and I don't know if I have the original post here or not, but here's what I was going for....

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Two problems here....1. When I saw this, I thought it looked simple enough....who needs to read the instructions?! 2. The pin doesn't really have any instructions.
I figured it couldn't be that hard....mold dough over muffin tin and bake. I think I did something wrong....

The good thing is, it's still chocolate chip cookies so we all sat around picking pieces off the muffin tin. Lesson learned....I promise I will read the instructions next time. Well, probably not, but I will not attempt these ever again!