Wednesday, March 20, 2019

SHRIMP BOIL SHEET PAN RECIPE

This sheet pan recipe does from Tasty.co (we love those videos that we see everywhere on social media).  I changed it up just a bit.

When I made it a couple of weeks ago for dinner after work and it was ready when 2nd Man got home.  In the blast of a cold evening we both said this was like having a Summer dinner in Winter.

Ingredients after these step by step photos:

Sheet pan shrimp boil
Here are the ingredients...shrimp, Old Bay seasoning, corn, onion, red potatoes, garlic, Andouille sausage, butter, lemon, parsley.

Chopping the ingredients
Chop the onions, mince the garlic, shrimp should be peeled and deveined (I bought them already deveined, so I just had to peel them), slice the sausage, and cut the corn into pieces. 

Boiling red potatoes
Boil the potatoes for 7 minutes in water.

While they are boiling...

Butter, Old Bay, and garlic 
Melt the butter in the microwave, add the garlic and the Old Bay, stir and set aside.

Boiling corn and potatoes
After the seven minutes of boiling the potatoes, add the corn (a little sugar, per Colleen's suggestion) and boil for three minutes longer.  What this does is par cook the two ingredients that would take the longest to cook.  At the end of the ten minutes total, take them off the heat and drain them...


Put them out onto the baking sheet and add the sausage, onions and shrimp.  Pour the butter sauce over all and toss to combine.


Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until shrimp are pink and corn is tender.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a few squeezes of lemon and plate it up.  

Sheet pan shrimp boil with corn, potatoes and sausage
It's SO good and tastes just like the best shrimp boil you'd have in July or August, but instead of boiling a giant pot of water outside over the fire or grill, you can whip this up in about 30 minutes, prep to table, when you get home from work.  It also works well to prep everything the night before and then all you have to do the next day is make the sauce (you want it fresh) and toss it all together.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb of small red new potatoes
  • 3 ears of corn, cut into pieces (3 or 4 each, depending on length of ear)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb of Andouille sausage, sliced into pieces
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


Enjoy!

Monday, March 18, 2019

APP FOR MOWING

When I posted last week about mowing and included a track of my mowing stats, several of you asked about the app both in comments and via email to us.  I realized I had never shared this on the blog.  It's an awesome app and I love having it.


It's called MowerPlus in the App Store.  It's free which is even better, ha.  Now bear in mind, it's designed for and is branded "John Deere" but it's not tied to your mower, it really just works with your phone which you have to carry on you while you mow the yard.  I keep mine in my shirt pocket because I'm usually listening to music on my earphones.


As you can see here on the app home page, it shows the weather for your location which is nice.  It also shows how long since your last mow and how much rain has fallen since the last mow (at the rain station the weather app uses of course).

It also tells you at the top "today looks like a good day to mow", ha!  What you do is when you get on your mower, you start up the app and touch the "mow now" button and it counts down ten seconds...































 ...then it uses the GPS on your phone to track you while you mow (since you have the phone with you while you are on the mower).  This is why really, even if you don't have a John Deere, it will work using whatever mower you have.  It will track all sorts of stats and then compile all of them into the app and create a really nice history of your mowing.  

Above are a couple of screen grabs of mine.  You can toggle by year, see all the months and then within the month see how many mows that month had and the length.  Then when you click on a specific mow...

...you get the details for that particular mow.  For example, on the left above is a mow from last June.  I mowed on June 30, it took me 1 hr and 49 minutes, I covered the equivalent of 7.2 miles, 3.9 acres and had an average speed of 3.5 mph.  There is a pause button for breaks of course if you have to stop.  Oh and the picture portion at the top?  It's a google satellite view of where you mowed with an ANIMATED path showing everywhere you mowed in your yard.  I blurred it out for our privacy of course but it's really neat to see all the paths you mowed around.

The other screen shot is a stat to keep track of how many hours are on your mower engine and if you have a Deere, it reminds you when it's time for various maintenance items on your particular model.  You can tap on the maintenance section and keep track of oil changes, etc.



There may be other apps for mowing, but this one is pretty neat and useful.  Of course since we have a Deere, it works all the way around for us.  I've been using this for about 3 seasons now and it's nice to compare previous years and see how weather changes mowing habits, if things take longer in certain months, etc. 

Hope this helps someone!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS


2nd Man has a birthday!!!!!


CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!

Yep, he's 50-something years young today. We're off to run errands and just make it up as we go along...those are the best days aren't they?

Love you!

Will check in later tonight!


Friday, March 15, 2019

END TABLE TRASH TO TREASURE

Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock, where people can put the things they don't want.  

I've found several cool items so far.
Here is the latest!


So I went downstairs as usual, on the hunt for anything good.  I found this.

Someone put this small table with a sign that said "free".  If it had been particle board or something similar, I would have ignored it.  But this is a solid wood end table (I think it's oak) and it is very sturdy.  There is nothing wrong with it other than a few superficial scratches. Oh and it has some sort of hook mounted to the side. 

The wood is in great condition and would be easily ready for some primer and paint after some sanding.   Or maybe a fresh stain after some sanding.  Since I'm (hopefully) going to have a bit more free time this year without worrying so much about the house and the flowerbeds around it (since the house will mostly likely be replaced in the next two years), I'd like to begin enjoying my barn/workshop and start doing some projects like painting, refinishing some things, building a few items, etc.   

Now, what to do to THIS to make it something fun and cool...?  Decisions, decisions.



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

STOVETOP MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

Leaving this post up another day...

OK, sorry for delay.  At long last here is the stove top mac and cheese recipe we use.  It's not entirely ours, we found it online a while ago (Martha Stewart?) but we have tweeted it and adjusted over time.  It's a permanent addition to our recipe box now!

Cheese for mac and cheese
It takes three kinds of cheese.  Nothing like the ones that have five or six or even eight kinds and you have to break the bank buying exotic cheeses.  This comes out just like old fashioned simple creamy mac and cheese.  This is American yellow cheese (from the deli, not Velveeta), Parmesan and sharp cheddar.

Mac and cheese ingredients
Here are the other ingredients (amounts listed at end of post).  Mustard powder, milk, 1 lb dried pasta, butter, and flour, along with the cheeses shredded up (to make them melt easier and quicker).

Here is where I missed a photo (and the reason I had held off on posting but darn if I didn't forget again the last time we made it, ha). 


(next time we make this, I'll take a picture of this step and add it to this spot in the post)

Over medium heat, add butter and let it melt.  As soon as it starts to foam, add flour and whisk it until slightly darkened (about 2 minutes).  Add the mustard powder and whisk again to combine.

Slowly whisk in warmed milk.  You can warm the milk in the microwave for about 2 or 3 minutes.  It helps it come to temperature in the pan much quicker.


Heat the milk to boiling and then reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring often until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.  This takes about 4 minutes.

Boiling pasta
Boil the pasta according to package directions and after it is done, drain and set aside but keep about one cup of pasta water in case you need to thin it down when it is all done.

*you should always do this with any pasta sauce to give you a back up way to thin sauces that are too thick.  An easy way to add some starchy thickening.  

Adding American cheese
Turn the heat down to low/simmer and add the cheese in batches.  First up, the American cheese.  Stir until melted into sauce...

Adding sharp cheddar
Add the sharp cheddar next and stir until melted and incorporated as well...

Adding Parmesan
Lastly, add the Parmesan and stir it until melted...


Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir...


Add salt and pepper to taste.  At this point you could also modify it any way you desire, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, etc.  Whatever flavors you like.  We keep ours just old school mac and cheese. 

Old fashioned stove top mac and cheese
Stir to combine it all.  If it seems too thick, you can add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up. This also works if it has to sit for a bit while other food is prepared.

Macaroni and cheese
Here it is on the plate.  It's just so creamy and tastes like a good old fashioned macaroni and cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta 
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) American cheese (chopped)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar (grated)
  • Salt/pepper/other spices to taste
See step by step instructions in photos above.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

FIRST MOW AND A MYSTERY HOLE

Well it finally happened!  I was able to MOW for the first time since October, ha.  I went to the farm, not expecting much because it was gray and overcast, looked like it might rain, and in Houston there was on and off rain most of the week.  There has been standing water for weeks.  I even told 2nd Man to stay in town as I wouldn't be gone long.  I was mainly going to check on things after the freeze earlier last week.

I got there and it was dry!

And sunny!

And there was a cool breeze!


I went into the shed and dusted off the John Deere.

I filled it with gas...

I rolled it out...

It fired right up...

I was back on the Zen Machine!


Here is a before.  It looks pretty but believe me, it was overwhelming.  I really thought if I couldn't mow for another week or two (heavy rain expected this week) I'd have to hire it out.  In spots it was more than ankle deep.


But it was dry and I was able to mow without a problem.  I left the clippings down, I always do with the first couple of mows of the season as it helps the new growth coming in.


Here is the side yard, before...


And after...ahh, much better!


As an example, here is one of the heaviest spots.  You can see how tall it was.  Now mind you much of that is not grass, it's a longer weed that we get down here in these parts, and while it looks green and fluffy, it's a pain to deal with, ha. 


Of course, I was so "in the zone" while mowing, I didn't think to stop to check the fuel level like I usually do.  So of course I ran out of gas...and had to walk two acres to the shed to get the can and then carry it back two acres to fill it up.

At least it was cool!
  

Here is an app I have on my phone that maps my mowing in real time and records the history of each mow.  Saturday I mowed a total of 4 acres and covered a distance of 7.4 miles.  At two hours, it was a longer than normal mowing session (probably why I ran out of gas) but I did cut some new areas.

All in all, it was SUCH a satisfying weekend.  I really feel like I accomplished a lot.  I didn't get to edge yet but I think with the still cooler temps, it won't grow much and this coming weekend I can do that. 


Now here is the mystery...

This is an old wheelbarrow that we have under a tree.  It was going to be one of my refinishing projects this Spring/Summer but as I was mowing near it, I noticed a lot of dirt.  I thought that was weird, I didn't remember any dirt piled up next to it.  Then I looked around to the front of it.

I saw this hole.  A very LARGE hole (you could easily roll a soccer ball into it).  Um, yeah, no, I didn't stay around to see what was inside.  I thought about tossing a stick or pebble in it but then I imagined something charging out and my imagination took off from there.  I'll wait on that. 

When I got home and showed 2nd Man he said "why didn't you put one of the trail cameras near it?"

Arrgh!

I can't believe I didn't think of that.  Sigh.  I'll do that this coming weekend and then we'll have to wait another week after that to see "what lies beneath".  Armadillo?  Opossum?  Fox?  Werewolf?

Stay tuned!

MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE COMING WEDNESDAY!



Sunday, March 10, 2019

SPRING IS BLOOMING OUT ALL OVER

Was at the farm yesterday (more of an update on all that tomorrow).  Today it's about to rain.  

But while I was there, Spring was definitely blooming out all over!

Plum blossoms
Plum blossoms on both trees!

Peach blossoms
Peach blossoms on one tree (the other tree had already bloomed earlier this season).

Pear blossoms
Pear blossoms on both trees!

Apple blossoms
Apple blossoms on one tree (the other tree is a later blooming variety).

It's nice to see things happening.  After our blast of Winter earlier this week, upper 20's Tuesday morning and upper 70's Friday, we figure Winter is over for us so things will finally start budding out all over.

Running errands today!  Hope you are having a great weekend wherever you are!


Friday, March 8, 2019

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

For those that "do Instagram", we have set up an account there.  We actually set it up a couple years ago but I've recently started to post there regularly.  


Don't worry, this isn't replacing the blog.  It's just a supplement to it, a place for us to do "extra" stuff that won't fit on the blog and maybe gain some new friends along the way.

I take a lot of photos.  But not all of them would make for an entire blog post.  Thankfully, that's what Instagram does best.  It might be closeups of something, food pics for sure, random thoughts about an object or something we see, decorating ideas, maybe a lunch thrift store find, a view we like, a picture of crazy weather, etc.

So if you are so inclined and would like to keep up with us this way too, it's super easy.

Our Instagram account is @SedaBolsaFarm

You can just go to Instagram and put that in the search field.

To make it easier, we also have a clickable link over there on the sidebar ----------------->



Of course we'll still be 1st Man and 2nd Man there and we'll always be here!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

BRICK BIRD BATH INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Our property has some bricks scattered around.  I think "Ma" (the previous owner) had a project she was going to do and amassed some bricks.  We don't think anything ever came of it but of course when she moved, she didn't take her bricks, ha.  They are scattered around, in fact, most are in one area under some brush (and yes, I'll be aware of snakes and spiders, ha!).  

There are not enough to build a fence, not enough for a brick patio, so that's why have just sort of been left alone.  That's why when we saw this online a few weeks ago, we knew right away this would be a good use for the bricks.  Easy, looks nice and would not require a huge amount of work.  Plus the birds would be happy, that's a win win! 

Be inspired!

p.s. Don't forget to check out yesterday's recipe post

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

CASHEW CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES SHEET PAN RECIPE

Here's a quick and easy sheet pan meal... 


Here are the sheet pan main ingredients. 
4 cups broccoli florets, 2 green bell peppers, 1 red bell pepper,  2 lbs boneless skinless breast cut into cubes, 1 cup cashews (plus a few extra for garnish).


Chop it all up into fairly uniform pieces, about 1 inch cubes.


Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients on the stovetop in a pan.  Soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, brown sugar and water. 


Mix over medium low heat until simmering. Stir while this is heating so that you dissolve the cornstarch into the sauce.  Above is after it has heated and thickened a bit (the bits you see are the minced garlic and ginger).  Remove from heat and set aside.


Take the chicken pieces and mix with about 1/3 of the sauce mixture.  Turn to make sure coated.  Put it all in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Place into a preheated 425 degree oven.

Cook for 10 minutes.  


Remove from oven and add the broccoli, red and green bell pepper and the cashews to the pan.  Pour the remaining 2/3 of the reserved sauce over everything.

Sheet pan cashew chicken
Toss it all around to coat everything with the sauce and put the pan back in the oven.

Sheet pan cashew chicken and vegetables
Cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is done.  Remove from oven and serve!

Cashew chicken and vegetables
We served it over rice of course and garnished with a few hand crushed cashews.  2nd Man said two or three times while eating "wow this is really good".  It's always nice to surprise him with some good food.

Ingredients:

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2  1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water

For the chicken and vegetables

  • 2 medium skinless boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs cut into 1" inch cubes
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste of course
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 2 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup roasted cashews

I took leftovers to a friend and she said it was like something from a restaurant.  Aww, thanks!  Enjoy!