Friday, December 10, 2010

Homegrown Green Chili Sauce

I love homegrown foods. I am reading a book called "The Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball. If you want to have a better understanding of the emotional ties behind the local food movement I suggest reading the book and although I don't entirely agree with every statement made in the book (which by the way I haven't finished), reading her descriptions of cooking with homegrown foods reminded me how very lucky we are. Most kids raised in the agriculture industry are raised on homegrown foods. Whether that's the spare calf you raised as a 4-H project, or the garden you tended with your Pappa, homegrown foods abound on farms and ranches across America.

One thing that I love most about gardening is the canning. This past summer I had the chance to be home and took advantage of Momma and Daddy's garden. I put up peppers, cherries, pesto and dried basil. Unfortunately most of the produce was not in full when I left in late July. There is nothing like cooking with those ingredients knowing that they came off the land of my home.

Another thing that I have come to realize is a major blessing is giving away produce. Dear friends of my grandparents live in Crow Mountain, Arkansas and they have a huge garden every year. Mary loves to take produce to church for to give to whoever wants it. She sent jalapenos and squash with me in August and just the night before last I again enjoyed delicious butternut squash. (you can freeze almost anything!)

Homegrown foods from friends are always delicious. This past weekend I visited a friend in New Mexico and his mother sent us home with a few sacks of homegrown, fire roasted then frozen green chilies.

Amazing. I used them to make a green chili sauce that and I'm going to share that recipe with you right now.

I used frozen fire roasted chilies. If that is your situation too, remove the skins and dice them. You can also used canned chilies that you get at the store already diced.

In a large bowl combine the diced chilies with a few tablespoons of lemon juice.

Using your potato masher mash the green chilies until the mixture is relatively smooth.

Add a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, a touch of garlic, and a pinch of love. Mix well.

You can use this thick sauce on steaks, eat it with chips, burgers, eggs, really just about anything you can think of.

Wonderfully out of the ordinary and very budget friendly. ***Using store bought chilies will cost about $2.00***

America's Ranch & Farm families provide us with an abundance of delicious, safe and quality foods.... we certainly are blessed.

Until We Meet Again,


For The recipe that is pictured visit my other blog,

Anna's Quick Tip: To help frozen vegetables maintain their bright color steam them instead of boiling them!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homemade Holiday Swags

I love homemade Christmas decorations. When I was a little girl, my sister and I had the task of going in the pasture behind our house to pick the mansanita, cut the pine and collect the pine cones that Momma would use to decorate the house. Currently I find myself in a place that is absent of mansanita and certainly absent of pine. So my first winter here I decided to make my own version of Momma's classics and I created this swag that will hang in my house for years to come.

The steps to creating your own are simple and budget friendly, get out your toolkit and get to creating!

You will need:

3 Strands of Green Swagging from the Dollar Store)
Pine Cones (You can find them at any WalMart or Dollar Store)
Fake Red Berries (Also at the Dollar Store)
Floral Wire

Step 1: Braid the 3 strands together loosely to make the swag look full and not so cheap! Tie the ends together with floral wire.

Step 2: Stick red berries throughout the swag, staggering them so there isn't very many bare spots. You can attach them with floral wire for additional security as well.

Step 3: Place the pine cones throughout and attach them with floral wire.

Step 4 (Optional): I found this cute berry star and wired it to the center of the swag. You can choose to leave this out!

Hang them anywhere in the house using small screw hooks. You know the kind that come with a picture hanging kit? They don't do much damage to the wall and they work great cause you can just hook one of the strands of swag on there and it will stay up beautifully. I have hung them over doors, over entryways and this year it hangs over a mirror in my living room!

Hope you enjoyed this homemade hint!

Until We Meet Again,


Anna's Quick Tip #23
: To add a holiday homey feel to any table just put some pine cones in a basket as a centerpiece. You can thread ribbon through them or even mix in some Christmas bulbs. Super easy, really cheap and you will love it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Make the World Stop

You look out the kitchen window as you are preparing coffee, and you notice one of the close up heifers laying down to calve. She looks as though she just started so you continue about your morning fixing breakfast and preparing for the day. Nearly 30 minutes later you realize that she hasn't calved yet. Suspecting something is up you head out to check out the situation. You realize that she isn't going to calve on her own because the calf is too large.

You call for help and slowly ease her into the corner of the pasture where you can keep her still while you help pull the calf. When help arrives with your tools and a bucket of warm water/disinfectant, you carefully loop the calving chains on the feet of the calf; above the footlock with a half-hitch at the pastern, double looping them to take the pressure off the bones. You tug one foot at a time with the slightest pressure helping the heifer to push her calf out. She's not real pleased that you are up in her business during the process, but as the calf comes out a sigh of relief comes over all those involved. For those few moments in time nothing matters but ensuring the safe arrival of the calf and the health of her momma. The world stops for a while and then seems refreshed.

Cattle ranchers care for their cattle every day. One very important time to care for cattle is when cows are giving birth to their calves. This is an important time because should something go wrong with the birth of the calf, those problems could endanger the life of the mother. We call this dystocia. Because I grew up in the cattle industry, often I compare happenings in my life to the life cycle of cattle. The one thing in my life that I can relate to helping a heifer give birth to a calf is sitting in church every week.

As I walked up to the little church building on Wednesday night I experienced something very similar. I was in a panic because after services I was expecting a house full of guests, my house wasn't anywhere near clean before I got home that evening with only an hour to clean it before church. The pumpkin bread that I had baked for my guests was not all the way done baking when I left the house, flying to church and running late. I was so late that I didn't realize until I was nearly there that I had dried pumpkin bread batter on the side of my face. Classy right?

Never the less I made it to church and as I walked up to the church building the sound of my church family singing hymns stopped the world in the same way as helping a struggling heifer calve. For that moment in time, nothing else mattered, I realized that I was at church walking in to be fed by the Lord's word and the guidance of our church leaders. The world stopped as I spent an hour sitting in the pew and when I walked out those doors I felt refreshed.

In life it is the little things that matter, those moments the world stops. For me those moments not only include the birth of a calf, or an hour in church, but also a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a crisp fall morning horseback or sharing a delicious Sunday dinner with loved ones. What are the things that make your world stop?

Until We Meet Again,

~ Anna-Lisa

Photos via