September 2013 – A Month Of Photos From The Red Double Wide

Peppers

Happy Fall Everyone!

The last days of summer went out with unusually hot temperatures, and the first days of fall came in very wet (for around here anyway).  September brought lots of changes with me going back to teaching at our local Christian School, and the girls going back to school there.  My poor garden has been severely neglected, (it’s more like a jungle than a garden) but as you can see we are still harvesting the benefits of our early summer work.

Onions

Harvest

Bread
Whole wheat bread and hamburger buns.

Saturday has become my, baking/laundry/blogging/gardening/chicken coop cleaning day!  I am trying to learn how to plan meals ahead of time and get as much done on the weekends as i can.  I want to keep cooking real food from scratch as much as possible with this new schedule.  This is a big challenge for me, as my organization skills are MINIMAL! (just ask my husband)  Good thing my girls are big enough to help and the men in the house are patient. 😀

Peppers

Eggs

PumpkinI have learned that gardening is all about NEXT year.  So many things I want to change and do better next spring. I guess that’s part of the excitement of a garden. 🙂

StinkyThis past month I posted about butchering our Cornish Cross chickens and then I wrote a story about Stinky going to the fair.  After that post I had several people express concern about Stinky someday ending up in the cook pot.  I want to assure everyone that Stinky will live out her free range life here at the Red Double Wide with no fear of ending up in the cook pot! 😀

Thanks for visiting and have a good week!

Baked Whole Wheat Pancakes

Baked Whole Wheat Pancakes

One of my sisters sent me a baked pancake recipe the other day via Pinterest.  What a brilliant idea!!  As I mentioned before in my German Puff Pancake post I really dislike standing at the oven flipping pancakes FOREVER….while half of the family eats and the other half waits for a pancake.  There are times though that you just need a good ol’ fluffy  pancake and we’ve been loving my Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.  As I slowly bounced this idea of baked pancakes around in my brain…I thought, why can’t I bake my own pancake recipe?  That would be the best of both worlds, a pancake that I already know we like and no flipping or waiting involved. 🙂

So I mixed up a batch of Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes.

Baked PancakesPoured the batter into a greased 13X9 inch pan.

Baked PancakesBaked it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Whole Wheat Baked PancakesWho says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Baked Whole Wheat PancakesThis got a thumbs up from everyone around here, including Uncle Tom.  😀

Homemade Spiced Pear Butter

Spiced Pear Butter

Spiced Pear ButterI’m a big fan of apple butter, so when I had a box of pears that needed to be used up quickly, pear butter kept coming to mind.  I looked up some recipes and then mixed, matched, and tweaked until I had a recipe I was happy with.  I have never made apple OR pear butter before and I was a bit skeptical at first.  But when I smelled that pot of yummyness bubbling on my stove I knew I had a winner!!

First peel and cut up 8 pounds of pears.  This was about 16 medium sized pears.

Spiced Pear ButterAdd just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan to keep them from sticking. About 1/2 a cup.  Cook on medium heat until they are soft, about 30 minutes.

Pear ButterLet the soft pears cool off a bit and then blend until you have a smooth consistency.  You could use a stick blender or a regular blender.

Pear Butter 1When you have a nice smooth “pear sauce” add the sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, orange juice, and almond extract.  Cook on medium heat until it reaches your desired thickness, stir often so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  It will take about an hour.  I let it cool then ladled it into clean pint size mason jars and put them in the freezer.

To can it: Ladle hot pear butter into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Seal with lids and rings.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal.   This made a little over 4 pints.  The recipe could easily be doubled or cut in half.

Spiced Pear Butter 2NOTE:  This recipe uses about half the amount of sugar that all the other recipes for pear butter call for.  It was PLENTY sweet for us but you could add more if you like.  The only thing I will do differently next time is cook it for longer, I would prefer it to be a bit thicker.

Stinky Goes To The Fair

Stinky 4

This is a post for all you Stinky fans out there.  If you’ve never heard of Stinky and want to know how Stinky got her name and why she is so special to us, click here.

When my girls picked out the hens they wanted to take to the fair.  Stinky was an obvious choice.   She is the most docile of all our chickens (given her history) and very easy to handle.

Over the past few weeks Jo, has been packing her around, singing to her, and training her to stand on the picnic table.  When you show a chicken they should stand on the table in front of you without being held there.

Stinky 1A few times while Jo was “training” Stinky  I would hear her firmly say “Stinky, you stay right here, I’ll be right back”.  She would leave the chicken on the table, run in the house to tell me something “exciting” or grab something “important” and then run back out.  That darn chicken would stay right where she was told every time, and Jo seemed to have absolute confidence Stinky would be there when she got back every time!

When fair time rolled around, I was not worried about Stinky. 🙂

Stinky 4Here she is taking her first bath in preparation for the fair.

Stinky 5It must have been an exhausting experience because as soon as the bath was over she had a snooze….. 🙂

Stinky 6We started our drive to the fair with the hens in a kennel.  Stinky however, would not behave herself and kept picking on poor Goldie.  She wound up riding on Jo’s lap…  (I suspect a conspiracy here!)

Stinky at the fairJo made sure Stinky got plenty of outside time and they both met new friends.

Stinky's FriendsMeet two of Stinky’s new friends: Fire and Afro 😀

Show time was a little nerve-wracking for both of them.  But all that “training” paid off!

Blue RibbonsWe always knew she was a blue ribbon chicken!!

Stinky back homeAfter four eventful days at the fair Stinky was VERY happy to be home with the rest of the ladies!

Pear Smoothies – A Healthy Fall Treat!

Fall Smoothies

Fall SmoothiesFall is in the air!

On our way home from a shopping trip my mom and I stopped at a fruit stand.  Everything looked soooo good (I love this time of year)!   After some debating I settled on a box of pears and a box of apples.  The pears were really ripe and by the next morning I thought the fruit flies were going to pick up my kitchen and fly away.  I quickly started a big batch of pear butter (I’ll share that recipe later) and then I froze a bunch to use in future smoothies.  What was left, nicely fit in the fridge and we are still enjoying fresh pears and fall smoothies.  After putting up a couple fly strips, my kitchen is now (mostly) fly free again!

Here are two wonderful, healthy fall smoothies!

Cinnamon Pear Smoothie 

All you need is: 2 pears (cored and quartered) – 1 frozen banana (cut into pieces) – 1 cup of milk (any kind) – 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt1/2 cup oatmeal1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon – a pinch of nutmeg.

Cinnamon Pear SmoothiePut everything in a blender and puree until nice and smooth. This makes enough for 3 of us to have a nice size smoothie.

Apple and Pear Smoothie

You will need: 1 ripe pear (cored and quartered) – 2 apples (cored, peeled and cut into pieces) – 1 frozen banana (peeled & cut into pieces) – 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt – 1/2 cup of apple juice1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pear Apple Smoothie 1Throw it all in the blender and puree until smooth.

 These make a healthy breakfast or snack….it’s like fall in a cup!

The Queen Of The Red Double Wide adapted these recipes from: AllRecipes.com and Good Food Channel

Raising Cornish Cross Chickens – Week 8 – Butchering Day

Butchering Day

I have to admit that after the turmoil during fair week, I was very ready for butchering day.  Out of the 15 birds that we bought, we had 13 make it to butchering day.  The five my parents raised and eight out of ten that we raised.

If you would like to read about the first seven weeks (with lots of pictures) here they are: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7

Butchering DayThe evening before we butchered it POURED down rain while we were packing up at the fair.  By the time we got home they were soaking wet out in their little chicken tractor.  So we brought them in the shop to dry off.  They quickly dried and we kept them in for the night in case of another down pour.

We took the feed out 12 hours before butchering time; this is so the crop and intestinal tract has time to clear.

Rooster Hen CollageI weighed a few of them that morning and they were all around 7 pounds.

We put them in a couple of kennels and headed to my parents house.  They have raised turkeys in the past and have a better set up for butchering than we do.

We don’t have any killing cones so the guys used a chopping block and an axe.  I think next year we will buy or make some cones.  Especially if we have more than 13 chickens.

Scalding TemperatureFor scalding we kept the temperature between 145°and 150° F. and scalded them for 1 minute.  It worked great!  I couldn’t believe how easy they were to pluck!

PluckingThis is me, my mom, and one of my sisters plucking.

SkinningDigger skinned a few of them to see if it was faster than plucking.  Skinning was definitely faster.  Here are a couple pics of a skinned chicken, this was before it was gutted and cleaned.  Check out all that meat!!!

Skinned Cornish Cross

Cornish CrossThis is the gutting, cleaning, and wrapping station.  After they were cleaned we wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in zip lock bags.  They were all around 5 pounds. 🙂

Cleaning and WrappingThe whole process only took about 2 hours for 13 chickens despite the fact everyone was exhausted from the fair.  I was surprised at how smoothly it went and that it didn’t bother me at all.  I was very pleased with the sizes of the dressed out birds.  My parents were pleased too and have decided to stick with chickens instead of turkeys from now on.  Mom already said she wants 20 more next year!  I’m sure we will get more next year too.  I’m thinking I’d like to try some freedom rangers, just so I can compare.

All said and done they cost right at $9.00 each. Not to bad for five pound, pastured chickens!

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