Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grilling using the Freezer Challenge

I am still going thru the freezers and cleaning them out. I did have to buy sugar, tea, corn meal and flour besides the milk, eggs, and butter for this week. I also decided to save energy and grill meat for 4 meals at one time.
On the Grill there is a lot of meat. When I lifted the lid my husband just smiled at what he saw. There is a pork roast for sandwiches, pork chops for dinner, deer tenderloin for jambalaya, and neck bones for bean soup. I had the smoker chips on on side of the grill. I had that one side on low. I slow cooked this for several hours. the pork roast took longer than any thing else but it is three times the size of everything else too. This is all out of the freezer. I made a dent in the small chest freezer, The large chest freezer will take a while.
We used sausage out of the freezer for biscuits, gravy and sausage for breakfast. The kids have found Popsicles that have fallen down in the freezer, candy that I stash back every holiday. (Still finding that) Wesley found waffles in there for breakfast one morning. I figure I will have to get can goods before running out of meat and some vegetables out of the freezer.
We are also eating out of our garden. Tomatoes, okra, corn and a few green beans are coming it. We actually got two eggs today. The chickens have boycotted due to the weather.
If you do a blog post regarding the freezer challenge please let me know and I will link it to a post.
This post was inspired by the Sears: Grilling Is Happiness Ambassador Program at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cleaning out the Freezer and Pantry Challenge

This month is a tight money month for groceries. So I decided to do something that needed to be done any way. I decided to clean the fridge, freezer and pantry. I bought milk, eggs and butter every week. The rest came from the garden and what I already had. I was surprised at what was stashed in my freezer. The kids had so much fun going thru the freezer each day to find something to cook. They even found some Frozen Easter candy.  I am close to having one out of three freezers cleaned out.

Tonight I found one pork loin, one deer loin, and one deer roast. I did not want fried meat again so I decided to smoke them on the grill.
I found a chicken carcass  that I had cut the meat off of that I am using for a stew. Frozen pumpkin that I roasted to make pumpkin bread with. This week I will have to buy flour, sugar and cornmeal too but I still have about two weeks left to go on the freezers. The kids found some fish today that I threw on the grill while cooking the deer and pork. They wanted more fish so I think they will go freezer diving this weekend to find if I have any more.

Also we are studying Earthships. Hubby is looking into building one in the next few years. Now I just have to talk him into building it like I want. I want one like the Phoenix with the fishpond and big growing area. He said we will talk about that part. He said that Wesley would be fishing in the pond everyday. I just want to be able to grow things indoors and have fresh food. I also want the no heating bill, no water bill, and the warmth of the sun heating my house. This way we would be totally off grid and I would not have a $122 water bill each month. (We water our garden and livestock from rain barrels. That is just for 4 people.) Or have to live in a house with AC that kills my sinuses.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crispy and Creamy Corn Bread

I recently got the Publix Family Style Magazine in the mail. I always go thru it and read the recipes at least. I found a definite keeper in this moths issue. I have not tested any of the others yet because I have not gone shopping for the stuff to make them but I always have this stuff on hand.

This is a great corn bread. It is not dried out and has a great crust on it. I hate normal corn bread because it reminds me of eating sand. This has a very moist center. The first time I cooked it Hubby said it was to cake like. I made a few modifications and  tonight when I cooked it I had no left overs. There were not even crumbs in the pan.

Crisp and Creamy Corn Bread
Prep:15 minuets Cool: 10 Minuets Bake: 30 minuets Oven: 375 degrees

3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1.2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 8.25 to 8.75 oz can of cream corn

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with non stick cooking spray. Set apart.
In a large bowl combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl combine egg, milk and butter. Pour milk mix into the flour mix and stir until just combined. Fold in the cream corn mix. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 30 minuets or until the top is lightly golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.

They say this makes 6 servings but to take two servings and cut them up, drizzle them in butter and bake them for 18 minuets. This makes croutons for a salad.

My modifications: I used self rising flour the second time and left out the sugar, baking powder and salt. I also took whole corn in a can, drained and rinsed it, Put it in a blender with a little milk and purred it to make my cream corn. I do not like the can creamed corn because it has high fructose corn syrup in it. (I am diabetic and can not have It)  I also had Bekka fry a few cubes in butter. They also make great croutons.

Wesley's suggestions (Well the ones besides for me to get back and let him have the whole pan) is to add some jalapenos and cheese.

*This has nothing to do with Publix Grocery store. They did not contact me in any way to do this post. Yes I have a mind of my own. The modifications are made to suit my family and not because the first recipe was messed up. I am from the South and it is a crime in my house to put sugar in anything corn bread related. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Composting and Lard

This weekend was a bit odd for us. We decided to redo our cast iron. This required fresh lard. Yes I had pork fat in my freezer. Why you ask? I keep it on hand for things like making sausage, meatloaves, cooking deer and cracklings. We raised our own pigs. When we had it processed we asked for all the fat back. But if you do not raise your own hogs you can ask a butcher for some pork fat. We have a meat market and they will save us some if we call ahead.

Hubby cuts it into small square pieces. He takes his cast iron kettle and puts a cup of water in it. Places his pork fat into the kettle. He then stirs it constantly until the fat has given up all it is going to give up. You now have cracklings. These are good for corn bread, or just for snacking. We now have lard also. We have what they call a lard stand. Which is a small metal trash can. That is what we store the lard in.

To redo his cast iron he painted the inside of his clean cast iron with a thin coat of lard. He then puts them into a 250 degree oven and bakes it low and slow for a while. Then he puts another coat of lard on them and recooks them.

We are also working on a composting project since our other one was taken over by the peach trees that came up. I am not complaining about the peach trees but they were not supposed to come up where they did. This time Hubby took the old trampoline frame and placed it by the garden. He is going to put hog wire around the bottom. We are composting in it. That way when the water runs down to the garden it will get the compost. It made a much larger space for out compost. So today we composted cardboard boxes, vegetable scrapes, grass clippings, and dog hair.

Here is a list of what you can compost:
 Paper napkins
Freezer-burned vegetables
Burlap coffee bags
Pet hair
Potash rock
Post-it notes
Freezer-burned fruit
Wood chips
Bee droppings
Lint from behind refrigerator
Popcorn (unpopped, 'Old Maids,' too)
Freezer-burned fish
Old spices
Pine needles
Matches (paper or wood)
Seaweed and kelp
Chicken manure
Leather dust
Old, dried up and faded herbs
Bird cage cleanings
Paper towels
Brewery wastes
Grass clippings
Hoof and horn meal
Molasses residue
Potato peelings
Unpaid bills
Gin trash (wastes from cotton plants)
Weeds Rabbit manure
Hair clippings from the barber
Stale bread
Coffee grounds
Wood ashes
Tea bags and grounds
Shredded newspapers
Egg shells
Cow manure
Winter rye
Grapefruit rinds
Pea vines
Houseplant trimmings
Old pasta
Grape wastes
Garden soil
Powdered/ground phosphate rock
Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
Jell-o (gelatin)
Blood meal
Winery wastes
Spanish moss
Fish meal
Aquarium plants
Beet wastes
Sunday comics
Harbor mud
Felt waste
Wheat straw
Peat moss
Kleenex tissues
Milk (in small amounts)
Soy milk
Tree bark
Starfish (dead ones!)
Melted ice cream
Flower petals
Pumpkin seeds
Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
Expired flower arrangements
Elmer's glue
BBQ'd fish skin
Bone meal
Citrus wastes
Stale potato chips
Rhubarb stems
Old leather gardening gloves
Tobacco wastes
Bird guano
Hog manure
Dried jellyfish
Wheat bran
Guinea pig cage cleanings
Nut shells
Cattail reeds
Granite dust
Moldy cheese
Shredded cardboard
Dolomite lime
Cover crops
Quail eggs (OK, I needed a 'Q' word)
Rapeseed meal
Bat guano
Fish scraps
Tea bags (black and herbal)
Apple cores
Electric razor trimmings
Kitchen wastes
Outdated yogurt
Toenail clippings
Shrimp shells
Crab shells
Lobster shells
Pie crust
Leather wallets
Onion skins
Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
Watermelon rinds
Date pits
Goat manure
Olive pits
Peanut shells
Burned oatmeal (sorry, Mom)
Lint from clothes dryer
Bread crusts
Cooked rice
River mud
Tofu (it's only soybeans, man!)
Wine gone bad (what a waste!)
Banana peels
Fingernail and toenail clippings
Chocolate cookies
Wooden toothpicks
Moss from last year's hanging baskets
Stale breakfast cereal
'Dust bunnies' from under the bed
Pencil shavings
Wool socks
Artichoke leaves
Leather watch bands
Fruit salad
Tossed salad (now THERE's tossing it!)
Brown paper bags
Soggy Cheerios
Theater tickets
Lees from making wine
Burned toast
Animal fur
Horse manure
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Coconut hull fiber
Old or outdated seeds
Macaroni and cheese
Liquid from canned vegetables
Liquid from canned fruit
Old beer
Wedding bouquets
Greeting card envelopes
Dead bees and flies
Horse hair
Peanut butter sandwiches
Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
Fish bones
Ivory soap scraps
Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
Produce trimmings from grocery store
Cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
Grocery receipts

I even compost my bills after I tear out the little plastic windows. Do not use cat or dog poop. They can carry disease. Also weeds that have gone to seeds. They may not die during the heat your compost goes thru.

I remember going to a little store in the middle of nowhere growing up with my Uncle and Aunt. They would get worms for fishing. The man that owned the store put out the coffee grounds to attract the worms. I save mine to put into my compost pile and Wesley's Worm tote. I always make sure they are not watered down when I put them in his tote. You can buy worms to get your compost started if you have a closed system or a bottom on your compost bin. Mine is on the grass so I do not need to do either.

We are also working on our rain barrels. I am having a frog problem. I have been over run by tree frogs in the back of my house since I put the 6 barrels up this year. They are laying their eggs in the barrels and living on my windows and eating the bugs that the house lights attract. I love my frogs. We have tons due to the creek in front of our house. The problem is trying to figure out how to make them stop laying their eggs in the barrels. We use the water to water our plants and animals. I do not want to hurt the baby frogs. If I put screen over the barrels it might deflect the water. The mosquitoes have not been a problem this year with the tadpoles, bats and the barn swallows we have on the property.

For our rain barrels hubby took 50 gallon barrels he got at work and took the lids off of them. He washed them and put them on the edge of the roof line so he can catch the water from the roof when it rains.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tortilla casserole

 First off I had to show off my smoked pork shoulders from last night. I did not know Bekka took a picture until I uploaded photos for tonight's post.

Tonight Bekka and I tried to get a little creative with dinner. We made a tortilla casserole. We rolled ours up but you can also layer it like Lasagna.
 We started off with flour tortillas. You can use corn but Hubby likes the flour ones better. Yes he is my most picky eater so we cater to him most of the time and when he is at work we eat what he doesn't like.
 We dipped our tortillas into tomato sauce. You can use enchilada sauce but I did not have any so tomato sauce won out since I did not feel like going to the store.
 Here is Bekka stuffing our tortillas. We used taco seasoning, hamburger meat, pinto beans, fresh corn and onion. We cooked this together before stuffing.  This would also be real good with sauteed vegetables.
 Rebekka rolled them up and put the seam side down.
 We got 9 into our long casserole dish.
 Here we put the rest of the filling on top, the rest of the tomato sauce on top and covered it with cheese.
 We then baked it at 350 until the cheese was nice and bubbly.
Here it is on a plate. Let me just say it was great.

I mentioned earlier that you could make it with vegetables. The Mexican restaurant here uses broccoli, zucchini, onions, peppers, and mushrooms in their vegetarian dishes. I would love to eat a whole casserole of vegetable stuffed tortillas. There are no left overs. Smokie got the last spoon full of hamburger meat. I say that is pretty good for this house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eating Locally and Organic

Every one reading my Twitter feed under @waylandcook is probably wondering why corn and taters are on the menu almost every night. And there had been a lot of pork over the last few month. That is what we raised this year. We have only 2 1/2 acers so out space is limited for livestock. We grow gardens every year. Some years certain things do good and others not so good. This year are potatoes did ok. The corn was ok too. The tomatoes are finally taking off.  The okra is slowly taking off. The beans did not do good at all but I am not the only one with problems with them. Some people I know have planted them 3 times to get them to take off due to the weather. I did not have any luck with the broccoli this year. It did what they called bolted. It went from a plant to blooming with out having much of a head on it to harvest. The cabbages did ok but I did not plant a whole lot of them.

The pork we grew in the barn lot before the flood took the fencing. We have not put the fencing back up due to budget issues and family health issues. It is on the list to do. We will raise our own pork again.

We have chickens. I have them for the eggs. I have tried to kill them and eat them but after the long process I just do not want to do it. I took the pork to the butcher so I was not there for any of it. Just picked it up in little wrapped packages. My turkeys and ducks are for eggs and pets more than any thing.

The Goat we just got is for milk. When I was offered the goat to pick up I did not know she was half milk goat nor did I know she had to be milked. I don't mind at all. We have gotten into a nice routine and I get some where near a quart a day. The kids drink it, we have made cheese from it, and given it to a neighbor to feed some kittens she had.

Sadly I can not call my garden Organic. I am bordered on two sides by a big industrial farmer that plants GMO crops. This year it is corn. It is a sad fact that our bees will not work there corn. They love working ours.

I think it is important to buy locally and to buy organic. I mean real organic. There is a fine line between certified organic and actual organic. Certified organic is kind of organic and kind of not organic. From the reading I have done and videos I have watched they are still allowed to spray their food with pesticides and such.

We are also not big into processed foods here. With Rebekka and my diabetes, my heart problems, my kidney damage and other issues I can not have alot of processed foods. I cook alot of foods I can not have and you will see me post about it. I normally stick to vegetables (not the starchy ones) and very little meat. Hubby is a die hard meat  and  bread eater. I have to fix these things and try to do so with as little processed parts as possible. I have gotten good at making bread. I have gotten even better at cooking meat. I have one of those copy cat cook books that I use when I need to make something like onion soup mix. It even has candy bars and fast food in it. That also helps with the budget. With gas as high as it is and the fact that I am 20 something miles away from a real grocery store. We have little convince stores and a mom and pop grocery store but they are not as good as the one 20 something miles away.

Hubby and I have been researching alot lately on processed foods. MSG, GMO, and all the other abbreviations and long names for stuff they put in our foods. We are even considering researching the Gerson Diet  It sounds like it works to cure alot of different aliments and with out alot of side effects. It is another one of those that the big pharmaceutical companies do not want people to know about. We have watched documentaries on alot of different treatments for disease that are covered up by our own government and big companies.  Between the big GMO companies and the Big Pharmaceutical companies they are trying to kill us Americans.

So when you get a choice go with local, organic, non processed and non GMO foods. I think your health will be better. we are on the long road to see if this works. I will keep you updated on what we are doing. I can not buy all organic where I live but I do when ever I get a chance. I buy from mom and pop farmers that set the little road side stands up. We even have the Amish but I do not know if they are organic or not. I have never asked.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Smokie

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kashi TLC Pita Crisps

I get food samples in the mail alot. It took me a while to convince my 6 year old son that the Mail lady was not the one leaving him food in that box at the end of the drive way. Today we got a box of Kashi TLC Original 7 Grain with Sea Salt Pit Crisps.

 Here is the out side box.
 Here is the box that was inside. I am guessing this is what they look like in the store.
Here is the nutritional facts. For about 7 crisp there are 120 calories. 25 of those calories are from fat. 3 grams of fat 1 gram polyunsaturatedfat. No cholesterol. Sodium 180 mg. Total Carbs 22 grams. 5 grams fiber, 2 grams sugar and 3 grams protein. The best part is they have 10 grams whole grain.
This is the size and shape of them. They have sea salt on one side. Just enough to get that salty taste with out it being over whelming. They will hold up to a thick dip nicely.

I gave some to each family member with out any dip. Hubby said they had good taste but just a little hard. Bekka said they had a good taste. Wesley did not slow down enough on them to tell me what he thought. He just kept grabbing one. That means he thought they were good. I love the taste. They are a little hard by them selves but they will hold up to a thick dip and that is really what I like about them.  They have recipes on their site at 

I am thinking about using them for a crust on a cheese ball. I think it would give a good nutty flavor and add some nutrition to the party.

* These thoughts about this product are all my own. I was not paid or given any compensation for this blog post.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Salmon Patties

Today we made one of Wesley's Favorite meals. Salmon Patties.

 I started with the whole can salmon. Yes you can buy it already boned in the can. I prefer it with the bones in it because I think it taste better.
 I picked the bones out of it. You can leave the little round bones in it if you like the crunch. I know people that just put the whole thing in  there bones and all. I drain the juice into the patties too. I wasted nothing. The bones went to the chickens in the pen. They were really happy.
 I then added an egg and some self rising flour. Just enough flour to make a paste and do not stir to much or they get a funky texture. You can add corn meal to it instead of flour. Hubby does that when he makes them.
 We fried them in a little butter in the frying pan.
 Here is what they look like when they are done. They make great sandwiches when left over. My mom served these with horseradish ketchup, mashed taters and Green peas. Tonight we served them with fries.
You can also take the batter and roll it into balls and then roll them in corn meal and deep fry them. This is Wesley's preferred way of eating them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Marinated Flank Steak

Today was my first time making Flank Steaks. Yes I was scared it would be tough or to raw for Hubby to eat. But I rocked it. I took two flank steaks, one bottle of bruschetta Italian dressing, and 1/2 cup of oil. I placed the steaks in a tupper ware container and mixed the dressing and oil together. Poured it over the steaks and let it sit in the fridge over night. Turning them two or three times during their soak. I preheated my grill on medium. I placed them on the grill and let them sit for about 10 minuets each side. (5 to 7 is what I was told to cook them but hubby does not like red meat showing) I got medium to medium rare on the thickest one. The other was about medium all the way thru. I also grilled onions and bell peppers in a little oil to serve with them.

 Notice the outside color. It could have gone a little darker but I did not want to over cook them at all.
 Here is the inside of the medium one. When cutting a Flank steak cut it on a diagonal and not with the grain.
Here is hubby's lunch for tomorrow. One Steak Sandwich.

I am planning on making these again. Some other uses would be fajitas, salads, stir fry, tacos and steak with peppers and onions over rice.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Making Soft Goat Cheese

I did some research and asked some knowledgeable goat people and they told me to wait about 10 days after my goat has given birth before using her milk. So I bought some goat milk from the store today and made my kids some goat cheese. Here is a step by step tutorial.

 Here are the ingredients you need to make soft goat cheese. Cheese cloth, Candy Thermometer, Strainer, Whole Goat Milk, Two lemons, salt, and herbs and a bowl to sit the strainer over.
 Pour your goat milk into a sauce pan. Heat up the goat milk to 180 degrees. Using the candy thermometer to keep check on the temperature.
 Squeeze both lemons until you have 1/4 cup lemon juice. (You may not have to use two or you may have to use more than two.)
 Here is the cheese cloth in the strainer. (We have it 5 layers thick.)
 When the goat milk gets to 180 take it off the heat. Add about a table spoon of salt and the lemon juice. Stir well. You will not see curds as such. This is the time to add garlic, herbs or spices to your cheese. We did plain cheese this time.
 Here is Wesley waiting for it to turn into cheese.
 This is an important step. Ladle it into the cheese cloth. If you go to fast it will not catch the curds. I let it sit and drain until most of the whey was out of it.
 I squeezed the whey out of the rest of the cheese.
Here it is when it has most of the whey squeezed out of it. I tied the cheese cloth tight and put it in the fridge over night. It will become thicker and more whey will come out.

It will be easy to spread when finished.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pumkin the Goat

First let me apologize foe the pictures. My camera was being a butt again today and would not even come on so Bekka took the pictures with her camera.

This is Pumpkin the newest member of the Byrd Family Zoo. She is half milk goat and half boer goat. She is a little strange. She doesn't like to get treats normal goats like. She wants corn and grass and weeds. She is giving milk right now and from what I have been told she will for about 10 months. I get about 2 pints a day. One pint for each side.  This is cool to me and the kids but Hubby said no way was he drinking it or eating any thing with it. We told him that was fine we will just make goat cheese.  She is a needy pet like Smokie. If the kids leave her sight she hollars for them. She is off the back porch steps right now so she can hear them in the house. I am hoping she will get out of that a little bit. It makes her easy to milk but she has horns and I know she knows how to use them.

I am having fun learning how to milk and Pumpkin is having fun learning to let me milk her. Today she decided to drink her milk when I wasn't paying attention. I have been putting a little bit in a pint jar as we go so she doesn't step in it or kick it over. Today  I started milking and she just turned her head and started to drink out of the bowl. I let her have it with out argument. But I will fight her when I get close to having enough to make some cheese. (Yes I will blog the steps and show it off if it works that is.)

The only other issue Pumpkin is having is Handme. He wants to get to know her because he protects all the live stock. She flips out when he walks any where near her. They had a staring contest today and the goat won.

Ok I am going to admit the most redneck thing I have done in a while. I went and got her in my car. Yes you heard it. I put her in the back seat of my car. I only went a mile down the road but yes she could have used the restroom in there, or threw a fit in there. But she liked riding. She stood up in that back seat and surfed. She actually wanted to go further than that. She may take Smokies place in the car. Can you see me riding to town with a goat in my car. I bet no one would steal my car. And Wesley's whole take on the goat besides the free milk. She is a mobile lawn mower, an instant fertilizer, and a green way to do both. I think everyone should have a goat in theirr yard.

Here is a picture of Wesley and one of his chicks. Out of 10 of them about half of them will ride on his shoulder. The others will ride on his arm. He has them spoiled and they hollar for him. He is good with the chickens and ducks and Bekka is good with the Turkeys.