Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Nachos - A Quick Meal or a Hearty Snack

It's been a crazy few weeks for me. Trying to finish up a proposal for a new series so I can get it submitted before I head off to RWA, and then getting ready to travel to New York for the conference. So quick and easy meals have definitely been my go-to and this is one of my favorites. Now, granted, if you don't have air conditioning and it's hot, you probably don't want to turn on your oven, however, you could do these on the grill, too. Or the dashboard of a hot car if the sun. And I'm not even kidding on that one.

So the first thing you do is look in the refrigerator to see what kind of leftover meat you have lurking. I scored this night because I had both steak and chicken.
So now we're talking supreme nachos.

Line a large sheet pan with foil, parchment paper or a silicone mat to make cleanup easier. Then spread a layer of your favorite tortilla chips.
Top with a thin layer of grated cheese. Use whatever type you like. My favorite is a mixture of sharp cheddar and Monterey jack. Though occasionally I will add some pepper jack.

Now add your meat and a final layer of cheese.
I try to make sure there's some meat in every bite.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, or just until it starts to turn golden. Serve with salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, or guacamole. 

Sorry, we were hungry, so I forgot to take a picture of the baked nachos. But you can take my word for it that these are really good.

Do you remember the orphaned twin fawns I told you all about a few weeks ago? Well, they have made their way around to the back of our house and they are regulars now. 
I like to imagine the doe in this picture has adopted them, but I don't think that's the case. Note the three fawns on the left.

And here the twins are by themselves. They're so cute.
I feel like they need names. I don't know if they're male or female, though. Then again, Bambi was a boy and yet Bambi is a girls name. That has always baffled me. So what do you think? Any ideas for naming these two?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more a mindyobenhaus.com.

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Morning of Bird Watching

Jan here with a moving update.

Do you remember last week's boxes?

Gone. All gone. The furniture, too. And the rugs. Packed into a storage locker on the south side of the city.

We're on hiatus for the next month, and four weeks from today we move into our new home.

Meanwhile, we're staying with friends - a week here, a couple weeks there.

This week our spot is in Mel and Mike's beautiful home in the Hills.

Yes, the house is up there. It was built to blend into the forest.

We were pretty wiped out when we arrived here on Friday afternoon after days...weeks...months of preparing for this move. The deck has become our favorite place to chill out in the mornings and evenings...and a perfect place for bird watching.

Even Maggie-Cat has made herself at home!

Here are some of our bird sightings:

The wild turkeys roost in the trees behind the house at night, then stop for breakfast under the bird feeders before heading into the woods to forage for the day.

A pair of western bluebirds have a brood of young ones in the bird house. The father flies back and forth endlessly to feed the hungry babies. Once in a while the mother comes out, but not for long. She flies to a nearby tree to grab something for herself, then it's back to the nest.

I caught this trick with my camera on Saturday morning:

The father bird perches just outside the opening of the house, poking the moth or worm that he brought into an open mouth, then flips and plummets toward the ground. Before he reaches the grass, he swoops up and lands on a nearby branch before heading off to find more food.

Other frequent visitors to the feeders are red crossbills. I was able to get this picture of a female. In this picture you can get a good view of the crossed beak.

They use that specialized beak to pry open pine cones to get to the seeds.

The nuthatches are frequent visitors, too, both white-breasted and red-breasted. They love the seeds in the bird feeders and the insects under the bark of the Ponderosa pine trees.

This one is a red-breasted nuthatch - even though this particular one has a white front. You can tell which one it is from the black line across its eye.

Here's another one, hunting for his breakfast.

To get extra oomph, they do this fun move:

We've also seen chipping sparrows...

...and chickadees!

My camera has certainly been getting a workout!

We've also had fun watching these two on Saturday morning:

This mule deer doe was waiting for us to go inside the house so she could hide her fawn for the day. We all know where she hides it, but we let her think it's her secret. :-)

On Saturday evening, mama deer came back and the fawn ran to meet her.

There's nothing more relaxing than watching nature, is there? What's your favorite way to enjoy watching the world around you?

Jan Drexler spent her childhood dreaming of living in the Wild West and is now thrilled to call the Black Hills of South Dakota her home. When she isn’t writing she spends much of her time satisfying her cross-stitch addiction or hiking and enjoying the Black Hills with her husband of more than thirty-seven years.

Friday, July 19, 2019

When You're Craving Something Healthy

Missy Tippens

I threw together some ingredients recently when I had a craving for something fresh and green. Do y'all ever get cravings like that? I usually get them after watching a cooking show or seeing an ad on TV for something healthy.

This time, I headed to the fridge and just started pulling things out to sauté and serve over pasta.

Ingredients I used:
Fresh corn on the cobb-- cut off the cob.
Fresh sugar snap peas--diced.
Red bell peppers (You could use jarred roasted ones or fresh ones)--diced
Fresh spinach leaves.
A can of fire roasted tomatoes
Some of the pasta water to make it all a little saucy.
And of course, the best part: parmesan cheese on top!

I started by chopping the veggies.

Then I sautéed the spinach, red bell peppers, and sugar snap peas in some olive oil. 

Then I added the corn (which doesn't have to cook as long), and the tomatoes with the juice (to make the sauce). Look at the colors! It makes me feel healthy now just looking at it. ;)

These are the tomatoes I used. They already had garlic in them which added a lot of flavor without me having to use garlic. But if you love that flavor, you could add some fresh chopped garlic in the beginning.

Here's the finished dish with some parmesan. So yummy, filling and healthy!

And just for a taste of summer in Georgia, here are some photos I took a few weeks ago. Hydrangeas -- some of my favorite flowers!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Easy Shredded Chicken Barbecue!

This is a quick fix with a slow-cooker so not really "quick" but easy!

Use three big boneless chicken breasts...

Clean off any fat or grizzly stuff. You know what I mean!

Cut in half or thirds....

Put in pot of slow cooker.

For the sauce:

1 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite!)
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Pour all of this over chicken.


Cook on high for 4 hours.

Sauce makes itself.... chicken is fork tender and can be shredded for sliders or sandwiches or served over rice.


We make a huge pot of this for Farmer Dave's family reunion every year now, and it's always a popular dish.... a little shift from hot dogs and hamburgers (which I am fussy about, I will admit) so this is a perfect side-dish/main dish for folks like me who like their burgers medium rare...

And their hot dogs uncharred.

I am not a "char" person.

I do not like burnt toast. I don't even like scraped burnt toast... it's just not friendly to me.

So I clearly have anti-char genes. I am okay with that.

And Mandy found me a used SMOKER at a garage sale, and I am so excited! I can't even tell you how excited because I'm going to have so much fun with that!

Unlike the Instant Pot that I have used exactly once.

What was I thinking???? But that's a blog for another day, friends!

And we hurried supper because grandgirlie had a soccer game and I forgot to snag a picture of the delicious pulled chicken on fresh potato buns....

It was marvelous!

We got rain yesterday. Blessed rain. It's funny how rain in May and June, never-ending, was not one bit blessed...

Yesterday's was perfect.

And then overcast so that the plants had time to get a good drink!

That's it from the farm where golf-ball sized pumpkins are appearing on plants!!!!

That's always an amazing thing to see!

Multi-published inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is currently watering a lot of mums because she does not own a mum watering system, but she does own a lot of plastic buckets which hold water, so that's almost as cool, right?

You can follow her on Twitter where she's constantly amazed by the things people say in public... or friend her on facebook.... stop by her website ruthloganherne.com or email her at loganherne@gmail.com. She loves to hear from folks, my friends! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Brooklyn "Yards"

Last week, when I mentioned the front yard in front of someone's house, Missy commented:

You said that flower was sprouted from a crack in the front yard. Do you call the front a yard, even if it's tile/concrete/sidewalk? Small town southerners want to know! :)

Well, yes, we do, but it's not an easy answer because the gardens/yards are as diverse as the population. Some have short stoops and no yards, some have stoops that extend to the sidewalk, some have A LOT of plant life, some have nothing but concrete - and then there's everything in between.

So I figured I'd share some photos with you today.

Some are plain.

Some have a small tree in courtyard/yard

Some are more elaborate.

To give an idea of how things change with various owners - when my daughters were little, one of their friends lived in this building. That back area was an elaborate play spot with rubber pads, sand boxes, climbing toys, plants, etc. Now it's just a place for the garbage.

Some have pine trees.  :)

I think these are gardenias.

As you can see, most have a small concrete area in front that houses trash cans. Some people leave as is, but some create elaborate gardens. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden runs a contest each year for The Greenest Block in Brooklyn. If you're interested, this site has photos of the blocks chosen each year from 1995 - present (except it's 2015). This is last year's winner.  It takes some serious work and neighborhood cooperation!