Friday, November 30, 2012

The Day the Goats got in

"What?"  you say. "The goats got in?"  "Don't they always get out?"   Well, not my goats.   Not all the time anyway.

I was walking to the barn with milk bucket in hand to do my daily milking.    As with every morning I opened the barn doors and said, "Good Morning Girls!"  This morning was different.  The goats were all inside the barn running around.    I guess I should explain the lay out of our barn to you.   It is an old granary that has stalls (what use to be grain bins)  on each side.   The center of the barn is wide open.   The goats all are in the stalls  that are on the right and left of the barn.  The stalls all  have a gates that leads them to the outside.    The stalls also have half doors that lead to the main part of the barn.   The main area of the barn is not for the goats to stay in.     Anyway,  they had gotten the door to the main part of the barn open and were running amok.   So this morning I said, "Good Morning Girls, WHAT the HECK."  (that was putting it nicely)    So I commenced to chase the goats around trying to get them back to their stall.  When I say around I mean around and around and around.  It was kind of like musical chairs without the chairs.   There is me in my farm girl dress and flip flops chasing a wild herd of goats.   To add to the excitement a couple chickens joined is cackling and flapping around wildly.    One of the hens, being a smart chick, jumped up on the gate for a better view of the goings on.    However, she just so happened to be sitting on the gate I needed to open.
 I figured when I opened the gate she would jump down and get out of the way.    So I flung it open to let all the goats run in and instead of jumping down she jumped on my head.   Now I am standing there with a chicken that has no intention of moving.   Not willing to stop and deal with the chicken I commenced running the goats into the stall.   If you have ever been privileged enough to herd goats you will understand exactly how imperative it was to keep the goats moving in the right direction.     You would think that the chicken would eventually decide the my head as a perch was not optimal.  By the time I was done rounding up goats, the chicken had her feet so wound up in my hair I though that she was a permanent hair accessory.    I finally got the chicken removed from my head and went into the milk parlor and started milking.    My daughter Arielle (the daughter who is deathly afraid of chickens)  came in the barn to chat  (something she does every morning in the summer) looked at me and said, "Mom, What happened to your hair?"  My reply was I had a chicken stuck in it.   "WHAT??????????????"  She turned around and left the barn.   I guess she figured all her fears of chickens was coming true.................................

Nebraska Prairie Girl

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nebraska Prairie Fast Food

Fast Food?

Now, really did you think the Nebraska Prairie Girl would do a blog post on fast food?   Seriously,  the only fast food we have around here is when a chicken or goat is being chased by a predator;  now that is really fast food.    We do have chicken nuggets but they come in a box in the mail and look something like this.
And our milk shakes are when our freshened goats(in milk)  take off running. 






The closest fast food restaurant to us is about 40 minutes away.   The closet grocery store is 45 minutes away.   Here on the Nebraska Prairie, if you run out of something you cannot just run to the grocery store.    You learn to stock up, and make do with what you have on hand.   You learn to make many of your food items from scratch.    I am very careful about what I feed my family.  No artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, sweeteners,  etc.    (This is very easy when you make everything from scratch.)

Below are a few examples of healthy alternatives made from scratch.

Ranch Dressing

1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. parsley or dill
1/2 tsp. sea salt , pepper, garlic powder, and paprika

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with wire whisk.

 If you want to make a true batch of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, here is your ingredient list.
Vegetable oil, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, spices, garlic, onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, MSG, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, calcium disodium EDTA, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.

I do not know about you, but I sure do not have any of the highlighted ingredients in my pantry .

Homemade Pancake and Waffle Syrup

1 cup brown sugar or sucanat
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla or natural maple flavoring
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan, heat until the syrup begins to slowly boil and sugar dissolves.

Here are the ingredients for Maple Syrup off of the store shelf.   Yum!
High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, salt, cellulose gum, molasses, potassium sorbate (preservative), sodium hexametaphosphate, citric acid, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors.
The only things on this list that I have in my pantry are molasses, salt and water.  I think I will stick to my recipe.

Guess what the ingredients listed below are from?

Gelatin, Adipic Acid  (for Tartness), Disodium Phosphate  (Control Acidity), Maltodextrin  (from Corn), Cranberry Juice Solids, Fumaric Acid  (for Tartness), Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavor, Aspartame  (Phenylketonurics Contains Phenylalanine), and Acesulfame Potassium  (Sweeteners), Salt, Blue 1, Red 40

 Jello 

Here is my Jello recipe:

Knox gelatin
Juice
Water

That is it, nothing more. Well, unless I add fruit.   Making Jello from scratch does not take any more time than making Jello brand Jello from the box.   And it tastes even better, says my family.

So, when planning your menus for the holidays look at ingredient labels. Choose wisely and give your family the gift of a  healthy preservative free diet.

Happy Holidays

Nebraska Prairie Girl