Skip Takeout! Make This Easy & Healthy Beef Broccoli


yield: 4 SERVINGS prep time: 5 MINUTES cook time: 6-8 HOURS total time: 6-8 HOURS


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha, or more to taste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs Rural Roots Ranch Beef Stew Meat


  1. Place frozen stew meat in crock pot 6-8 hours before planned meal time.
  2. Add ½ cup of water and cook on low.
  3. 30-minutes prior to serving the meal: In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, chicken broth, honey vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, Sriracha, ginger, red pepper flakes and ½ cup water.
  4. Stir into stew meat in crock pot.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened.
  6. Serve over rice and steamed broccoli.

Adapted from


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The Secret to the Most Light and Fluffy Biscuits

You know what makes the most light and fluffy biscuits?


Most of the biscuits I ate growing up came from a Bisquick box. They were good, but the recipe I’m gonna share with you is great!

Biscuits were a go-to breakfast in my husband’s household growing up. It wasn’t uncommon for them to be served three or four times a week.

And why not? They’re easy, quick and filling. Perfect for sending your four teenagers out the door fueled with brain food for high school.

IF, and that’s a big IF, there are any extras, they’re also an easy to grab snack as you rush them to their after school track practice.

Or your could make a double batch, fry up some eggs, slice some ham and add a little cheese. Wrap in tin foil and place in the fridge: Breakfast on the go for those early morning meetings at work, a nice change up from a breakfast burrito.

My family prefers a more buttery flavored biscuit, so I split the lard in half. 50/50 lard/butter.

Most biscuits turn out dry and flat. These won’t if you follow my simple tips.

One tip is to roll them out thick! Biscuits don’t double in size. They actually only rise about 30% more than the height you cut them.

Also they only need just a hint of golden brown on the tops when finished baking.

Think of all the delicious toppings you could put on them?! I love a good triple-berry jam. My husband and kids dress ‘em up like pancakes with maple syrup.

How about sausage and country gravy? I’ve got myself drooling now.

Don’t worry. There is an amazing gravy recipe included.

You could always mix it up a little? Turn them into a sweet treat for breakfast or dessert by adding a little sugar and strawberries.

Ready to make your own?

What’s your favorite biscuit topping?



yield: 8 BISCUITS prep time: 30 MINUTES bake time: 15 MINUTES total time: 45 MINUTES
Serve this rich and creamy gravy over warm fluffy biscuits.
You can make homemade biscuits or serve store-bought, we’ll never tell!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup Rural Roots Ranch Pastured Pork Lard
    or ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup lard
  • ¾ cup milk


  • 1/2 lb Rural Roots Ranch Pork Sausage
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 to 2 2/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl or stand Kitchen-Aid mixer.
  3. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or blend in with your mixer until butter and lard form small pea shaped balls.
  4. Warm milk slightly to about 100F.
  5. Add milk to flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  6. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a couple times until smooth.
  7. Roll out dough to about ¾ inch thick.
  8. Dust biscuit cutter with flour. Cut into rounds with a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter. You can use a cup dipped in flour or any cookie cutter shape about the same size that does not have a lot of detail.
  9. Place cut biscuits on a cookie sheet slightly touching each other.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until a light golden brown on top.


  1. Brown the meat: Using a small skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain if needed.
  2. Make a roux: Add butter to skillet and heat until it is melted. Sprinkle in the flour, salt and pepper. Whisk and cook until incorporated and slightly browned.
  3. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, continuing to stir until the mixture thickens.
    Tips: To make this recipe dairy-free, simply use pastured pork lard or nondairy butter and milk. For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free flour mix and certified gluten-free biscuits.
  4. Serve over warm biscuits: Once the gravy thickens to your desired consistency, serve immediately over biscuits.

Biscuits are also great for dessert. Add 1 cup of sugar in with the flour in Step 2. Slice some ripe strawberries and top with whipped cream.

Adapted from Clabber Girl and Taste of Home


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A little late, but still tastes great: Strawberry Pizza for Valentines

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

I know!  It’s almost March.

Here at my house, there isn’t much hullabaloo about it and I finally got around to making a dessert for my family.

We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day.

My husband calls it the “Hallmark Holiday” and feels your spouse, children or family should know everyday how much you love them.  It shouldn’t take a holiday for you to remember to tell them.

If we celebrate, it’s not with lavish gifts. 

I usually make the kids heart shaped pancakes that are colored red.  

When my husband was a child, my mother-in-law always made Strawberry Pizza.

I made it for the first time just two years ago (we’ve been married for almost 21 years). There are some things, no matter how hard you try and perfect you think it is, will never be as good as Mom’s.

Strawberry pizza reminds me of cheesecake on a sugar cookie, but you don’t have to stress over getting your cream cheese and egg cooked just right.

You don’t have to use strawberries on it either.  You can substitute with your favorite berry or fruit.

Strawberries make it fun for valentines day because you can cut them to look like little hearts.

Try it yourself!


yield:  16 SERVINGS  prep time: 15 MINUTES  bake  time: 15 MINUTES   total time: 30 MINUTES



  • 1 cup flour
  • ½  cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter (softened)


  • 1 cup mashed strawberries
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl with a mixer. 
  3. Combine flour and powdered sugar with creamed butter. It may appear dry and crumbly, but if you use your hands and shape it into a ball, it will come together nicely. (When I used my Kitchen-Aid Mixer, it balled together nicely)
  4. Roll dough out on a piece of parchment paper into approximately a 12 inch circle.
  5. Place on a pizza pan or stone and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Let cool completely.


  1. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with sugar.
  2. Smash the strawberries.  You can use a food processor or mash them with a potato masher.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the mashed strawberries with the cornstarch and sugar mixture.
  4. Cook the mixture on medium heat until it thickens and becomes glossy.  It will look cloudy at first but will become more glossy/clear as it thickens.  It will take about 5 minutes or so.  Stir constantly so it does not burn.
  5. Let cool.


  1. Cream sugar, cream cheese and vanilla together with a mixer until smooth.
  2. Spread frosting on crust like you would apply pizza sauce.
  3. Spread cooled strawberry glaze on top of the frosting.
  4. Add sliced strawberries for decoration.

Adapted from Joanne Keerins &


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Get the “Skinny” on the Good Fat: Why You Should Render Your Pastured Pork Lard

Who has pork fat taking up space in their freezer?

(Hand raised) Yep, that’s me!

There are SO many great things that you can make with rendered pork fat, and contrary to popular belief, it’s actually GOOD for you!!

Render?  What is that?

Rendering is where you cook pork fat very slowly, at a low temperature until it turns to liquid. All the water evaporates out and then you strain out all the leftover solid pieces.

After it cools, it becomes a soft, spoonable buttery white fat that is pure, relatively odorless and perfect for cooking, baking, candle making, soap and don’t forget skin care products!

So why render fat into lard?

#1: Excellent for Cooking & Baking

  • Lard is 100% pure. There’s no added ingredients. 
  • It has one of the highest smoke points (370*F), making it great for frying.
  • It does not oxidize easily. Less oxidation = less free radicals in your body. Free radicals = higher risk to disease or cancer.
  • Lard is usually the “secret” ingredient behind the most light and flaky biscuits and pie crusts.
  • Try it for:
    • frying foods – chicken, pork, steaks
    • cornbread and breads
    • seasoning cast iron
    • frying eggs
    • the perfect pie crust
    • sautéing vegetables
    •  biscuits and scones

#2: Get Your Vitamins from your Food

Who wouldn’t want to get more of their vitamins from their food? 

  • Lard is high in the fat-soluble vitamins like:
    • A : needed to maintain good vision, build immunity, body & hair growth, & reproductive health
    • D: maintains strong bones & immunity
    • E: an antioxidant, protecting you from free radicals, and
    • K: blood clotting & bones
  • Lard is the second richest source of Vitamin D, the “Happiness Vitamin, BUT only if it comes from pasture raised pigs. One tablespoon of lard from a pasture raised pig could contain 500-1,000 IU of Vitamin D!
  • Pork fat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
    • Omega-3s are a family of essential fatty acids that are a key component of your brain, the retina of your eyes, and many other body parts.
    • They provide you with energy! I think we could all use more energy!!
    • Can only get omega-3 fatty acids from what you eat!  Your body does not make these!

#3: High In the “Good Fat” (CLA)

CLA is essential to our bodies. It’s been shown to:

  • reduce cancer
  • lower body fat, and
  • improve brain function. 

Sadly, the types of food that are high in CLA like raw milk, beef, butter from grass-fed animals, and yes, lard are typically ridiculed by conventional diet “wisdom”.

Every cell in our body needs fat.

  • If you render your own, lard has NO trans fat.* 
  • Lard contains less saturated fat and ⅓ less cholesterol than butter.
  • Lard is a healthy fat that is soothing and healing to your gut.

I bet you’ve heard saturated animal fats, like lard, are bad for our health? That’s why they created supposedly “heart healthy” vegetable oils and crisco?? Vegetables don’t make oil. Think about it.  Have you ever heard of lettuce oil? Or carrot oil? Oil comes from grains, fruits like avocado and nuts.

“Vegetable” shortenings like Crisco, are made from cottonseed oil.  Cottonseed oil must go through a refinement, bleaching, and deodorization process to remove gossypol — a toxic compound. Gossypol is linked to infertility, pregnancy problems, liver damage, and respiratory distress.

Unrefined cottonseed oil (the oil with gossypol) has even been used as a pesticide.

How is this good for us again? It’s not something you want to be putting in your body. 

*Commercial pork lard is typically hydrogenated to add shelf life (Hydrogenated = trans fat). 

#4: The most Amazing Soap & Skincare Products

No you’re not going to walk around smelling like bacon, but come on, is that so bad?  Who doesn’t love bacon. LOL!

While the idea of rubbing lard on your body may not sound very appealing, think about this:

  • Almost all commercial skincare products are made with some sort of animal fat.
  • Lard locks in the moisture, but it is also high in the vitamins that help keep your skin healthy.
  • Lard is incredibly gentle on skin.
  • Lard has been proven to:
    • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
    • Tone and firm for a more youthful look.
    • Even out color and reduce redness associated with rosacea.
    • Reduce dryness associated with conditions like eczema
    • Even out texture for a smoother, softer feel.
    • Improve acne and reduce pores.

#5: Pasture Raised Pork is Sustainable & Good for the Environment

Raising pigs on pasture produces a sustainable source of meat while improving the health of the environment.

These happy animals enjoy a high quality of life bathing in the sunshine, grazing and foraging all while helping to aerate the soil and naturally fertilize the ground.

As opposed to factory farmed pigs who live their entire life inside metal buildings, on concrete floors, never once stepping foot outside.

It’s less wasteful. Using every part of the animal makes our food go much farther and honors the life of the animal.

Lard is typically more affordable than coconut oil, olive oil and other healthy fats. 

Why Should I Use only Pastured Pork Fat?

Ever heard the phrase, you are what you eat?

Your animal is what it eats and the fat stores the worst of it.

Toxins such as antibiotics are stored in the fat that are fed to factory-farmed pigs.

So Let’s get started!

Plan a day for rendering your lard. It’s a simple process and doesn’t take a lot of concentration, so put on your favorite mystery series you’ve been dying to catch up on and get started.

How to Render Lard in a
Slow Cooker

yield:  4-5 QUARTS  prep time: 1 HOUR  render  time: 5-8 HOURS   total time: 6-9 HOURS


Rural Roots Ranch Pasture Pork fat


  • 6 quart slow cooker
  • wooden spoon
  • jar funnel
  • fine mesh sieve, small bottle size & larger
  • Colendar
  • 4-6 quart mason jars, 1/2, pint, or quart
  • 6 qt yielded 4 quarts lard
  • 8 cup glass measuring bowl
  • 20+ cup large heat safe bowl


  1. Grind your pork fat or cut into ½ inch pieces but no larger than 1 inch. (If your fat is slightly frozen this is much easier). 

    If there is any skin or meat in the lard, you’ll want to cut as much out as you can.  You want lard that is snow white in color and has little to no pork flavor. Leaving these bits could discolor your lard and make it smell/taste like bacon.
  1. Put the ground or cut fat into the slow cooker with the temperature  set to low. Add about ¼ inch of water to the bottom of your crock pot to keep the fat from burning until it begins to melt. Don’t worry!  This water will evaporate out.

    Leave the lid off to allow the moisture to evaporate off.
  1. Depending on your slow cooker the rendering process will take roughly 6 to 10 hours.
  1. Within the first couple hours the lard will begin to melt, at this point make sure to gently stir the fat occasionally, breaking up any chunks into small pieces with a wooden spoon. 

    The slower, gentler you stir the fat, the more neutral in flavor and smell it will be. Stirring the fat pieces allows the fat to melt evenly.
  1. When the liquid fat turns clear and no longer has a cloudy appearance, the fat has rendered down. This could take anywhere from 5-8 hours depending on your crockpot’s size, temperature settings, and how much fat you placed in the crock.
  1. Turn the crockpot off.  Let it sit about 20 minutes to cool.
  1.  Carefully strain the lard with the colander into a large, heat-proof bowl. Do NOT use plastic — it may melt! (In the pictures, I use my heavy duty Tupperware bowl and it works great!)

    The bits of pork fat you have left are called the cracklins. Because the ground fat is so small, you may not have cracklins leftover.
  1. Next, strain the liquid lard again using the larger fine mesh sieve into an 8 cup glass measuring cup, such as a Pyrex. 
  1. Now, Place another small fine mesh sieve on your jars.  It may be helpful to use a funnel depending on the size of the opening of your jar.
  1. Slowly and carefully, strain the lard from the large glass measuring cup into your glass jars leaving 1-inch of headspace in your jar.

    At this point you should have strained your lard a total of three times.
  1. DO NOT put the lids on!  Simply place a towel or paper towel over the tops of the jars and allow the jars to sit and cool until the lard has solidified. If you put the lids on the jars, you will trap moisture in which will make your lard spoil. If your house is very warm, the lard may not totally solidify. That’s ok. Just make sure it’s cool before storing.
  1. Clean the rim well, using a dishtowel dipped in distilled white vinegar to kill any bacteria and allow for a clean tight seal.

Storing Your Lard

Well-strained lard that has no bits of perishable fat remaining in it is shelf-stable. You can store it in a pantry, cool basement, root cellar, or in your kitchen cabinets without refrigeration.

Lard is still susceptible to rancidity due to exposure to air and light.

For best storage, I recommend storing in the refrigerator, or at least in a dark, cool place.

In the refrigerator where it will last virtually forever. Lard in the freezer will last for ages!!

You can also pressure can it with 10 pounds of pressure for 100-120 minutes.


  • Rendering pork fat correctly ensures the lard does not contain a pork-like taste.
  • Rendering lard slowly and evenly without over cooking it will create a clean, white color lard. 
  • Lard which is yellow in color is safe to eat; it just does not look as pretty and may have a strong pork flavor. Use this for frying.
  • If you find a small amount of brown meat particles at the bottom of your jar, use cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter in your small mesh sieve and strain again.
  • If all the water was not evaporated out or small bits of fat remain, black mold can grow in areas underneath, around the sides, or on top where water may have been trapped. If black mold appears, throw it out.

How to Make/Use the Cracklings

Place your leftover lard bits that did not render down in a frying pan.

Fry them until they are crispy brown.


You’ll learn why they are called cracklings!  Hot lard cracks and pops everywhere.  I would make sure to wear long sleeves.

Use the cracklings as breadcrumbs on your salad, use them in place of breadcrumbs for coating your meat or add them into your favorite cornbread recipe.

Think of them as an alternative to bacon bits! Great for topping salads and vegetables.

Store in the fridge until needed, then heat, crisp, and season with salt.


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Quick & Easy Chicken Alfredo

I honestly think my favorite thing about roasting a chicken is the quick, easy meals that come from the left overs.

Especially on these hot summer days!

The less I have to run the stove or the oven, the better.

FIRST MEAL: Start with a farm fresh roasting chicken, about 5-7lbs that is thawed.

Place it in a crockpot on low, sprinkle a little garlic salt, onion powder and pepper on it.

Don’t forget to place a sheet of tinfoil over the top before placing on the lid.

This really helps to lock in the moisture.

Then whaa la! Six hours later you have a delicious meal.

MEAL TWO: Quick and Easy Chicken Alfredo

Make this great Alfredo Sauce from the recipe below, boil some linguini noodles, and add your chicken.

Boom! Another delicious meal in just under 30 minutes.


yield:  4 SERVINGS  prep time: 5 MINUTES  cook  time: 20 MINUTES   total time: 25 MINUTES


  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 package of linguini noodles


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth.  (Mine always looks like cottage cheese and turns out great).
  4. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps.
  5. Stir in Parmesan and pepper.
  6. When Parmesan is all dissolved and smooth, stir in chicken.
  7. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency.
  8. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long.
  9. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Keep your eye out, and make sure you are on our mailing list to find out when we will have fresh roasting chickens available in September.


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Meet our Feline Fur Babies on the Farm

You can’t have a farm without cats, right?

I’ve always thought myself a dog person.  Growing up we had cats on the farm, but I really didn’t pay much attention to them.  Most weren’t friendly.  I always had a dog.

Now that I’m older, I’ve come to like the independent nature of a cat.  I love being able to snuggle with the cats when I’m around, but it is also nice to know you can leave on vacation and they are perfectly content hanging around the barns and house.

I may be a bit bias, but our cats are awesome!

My earliest memory of having cats growing up was a pair of black cats, we named ketchup and mustard. LOL!  I have no idea where we got those names for black cats.

But anyway, I used to walk around our farm with Mustard draped around my shoulders like a fur stole.  That poor cat just loved it!

We got our first two cats as a family, Skippy and Jones, when we lived in Homer, AK. Our little barn that doubled as a chicken coop was getting overrun with mice.


The intent that these guys would stay in the barn only lasted for a few months.  They quickly learned to lounge in the house during the day and be loved on by the kids and hunt outside during the night.

These two cats are the most talkative things.  I’ve been told it’s because they are half Siamese.

They meow back to you when you call their name, they love to follow us through the fields, ride in the tractors, and practically get smothered everyday by the two littlest.  They could easily scratch the kids or get up and leave, but they just lay there purring.


When we settled on the farm in Oregon, we added another cat to the farm.

Her name is Bashful.  She is a small framed calico and loves the kids just as much as the boys.

This spring, Bashful had her first litter of kittens.

The kids were excited to name them.

Bashful didn’t get much of a break before she was visited by a stray and will be having another litter of kittens here shortly.

 We were hoping to get her to the vet to get spayed before it happened.


Rietta, our oldest daughter had a dose of motherhood early this summer.

Her Gram’s cat had kittens, but did not take care of them.

Rietta jumped in and started bottle feeding them.

She feed those little things every two hours, even through the night for almost two weeks. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it.

But it was definitely not from her lack of love and determination.

We don’t think they got enough, if any, colostrum to give them a good start.

I’m sure she’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Do you have feline fur babies?

Or is a dog better suited for you?


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You Gotta Have THESE Grilling Gadgets

Camping in Kodiak, Alaska

We don’t get the grill out much at home, but we sure do when we go camping or boating.

We’ve had many fun adventures with friends camping over the years.  Mostly in Kodiak, AK. 

My friend Julie and I would load our cargo trailers with all the camping gear, buckle the kids in, and take off every opportunity we got.

Hopefully, they all remembered to put shoes on.

We’d hang out on the beach or hike into the woods.

The guys would join us on the evenings or weekends.

One of my favorite memories is of Julie using a rake to handle the pots in the fire.

This was her ultimate grilling gadget.

I want you to be prepared when you plan your next adventure.

There is still plenty of time this summer try out some of these great gadgets. 

Granted, these aren’t really all gadgets, but they sure make things easier and delicious when it comes to grilling!


You’d LOVE this stainless steel grill!  It’s small and portable. But not too small. I’ve had one for years, it’s falling apart because we’ve packed it on SO many camping and boating trips over the last 20 years.   Think of the great food you can quickly cook up.  Meals will be a breeze when you throw this in the back of your pickup for the next time you head to the lake or the cabin in the mountains.

Photo courtesy of Camping World

This basket is perfect for enjoying all the wonderful fresh veggies that summer has to offer.  Just toss them with a little olive oil and season.  Don’t walk away from your grill, at 400*, it won’t be long until you’re eating.  It is lightweight and easily stores inside your grill.

Photo courtesy of

When we lived in Ketchikan, AK, we’d go boating frequently, pulling over on one of the many islands in the Inside Passage to camp.

One summer, we helped a couple build a fishing and hunting cabin.

We were camped out on the beach with porpoises surfacing out in the distance.

The HUGE tress of the Tongass National forest looming behind us.

Our friend grilled the best grilled pork chops I had ever had.

I don’t know if it was the experience or the marinade, but they were basted with a 50/50 Worcestershire sauce and bourbon mixture she had in a spray bottle.


Everyone in my family has their very own roasting stick.  Of course, mine is the pig.  These are great for both roasting a pork kielbasa and helping you get your marshmallow the perfect golden brown shade for your s’mores. I prefer to just eat the chocolate.  They telescope out and the little black doodad spins the rod without having to rotate the handle in your hand.

Photo courtesy of
#5.Tupperware Season-Serve Container:

I have two different sizes of these containers because they are so great!  The unique grid design on both sides of the container allow the marinade to travel through the container and marinade every inch of your meat or veggies.

Photo courtesy of

It’s overwhelming the options out there!  You can go for a simple dial meat thermometer to a completely wireless that sends notifications to your phone when your food is ready.  A meat thermometer can save you from torching the burgers or drying out a roast.

What adventures do you have planned this summer?

So you have a favorite grilling gadget or accessory?


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Our Favorite Yard Games


Summer is finally here!

Who wants to spend time indoors when there is so much fun to be had outside.

Although I prefer the cooler weather, it’s sure nice to spend the time outside.

My favorite phrase is, “you can always put more on to get warm, but you can never take enough off to get cool.”

My kids thought it was summer back in April when we had a couple 60 degree days.

They drug the stock tank down near the house and filled it up, hoping it would warm up enough for them to swim.

Around here, our stock tanks double as the swimming pool.

It is supposed to be in the 90’s the start of the week and I’m pretty sure I’ll find them splashing away.

Did you stay out till dark on summer solstice?

We did!

Not because we realized it was summer solstice, but because summer on the farm here is busy!

I was outside stacking rocks on my rock wall for my future yard and rotating the sprinkler around the garden.

There is still months of summer left, but it seems as it will blow by.

I started cutting the fields for hay on Tuesday. 

If all goes planned, we should be finished stacking the bales by the 4th of July.

It’ll be SO nice for the 4th to chill with a family BBQ and fireworks!

As soon as it gets semi-warm, the kids dig into the storage room and pull out badminton.

It’s our favorite!

We always get a good laugh when we swing and completely miss the birdie. 

We love yard games.

Try a few this summer.

Here are some of our favorites!

  • Cornhole – easy for all ages, from my three year old to my 88 year old grandma.  The goal is to get the bean bag in the hole.  We called it the bean bag toss when I was a kid and we used hula hoops as the hole.
  • Yardzee – just like Yahtzee, but with large oversized dice you get to roll across the yard.
  • Flickin’ Chicken – We haven’t played this yet, but I can only imagine the laughter coming from hurling a rubber chicken at a target.  The birds bounce and roll all over making it difficult to get them into the bullseye.
  • Wooden Toppling Tower – Giant, outdoors version of Jenga.  They even make a glow-in-the-dark version for fun into the night.
  • Croquet – an oldie but goodie!

What’s your favorite yard game?

I can’t wait to hear how you spent your fourth hanging with family and friends.

Stay cool and enjoy the summer!


INCLUDING: Instant Pot Pulled Pork Nachos

Get the gang together for an evening of games! Prepare a few of these GAME NIGHT GRUB recipes to keep your friends fueled for when the competition gets fierce.

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Fabulous Farm Raised Fried Chicken

Courtesy of Taste of Home

Fried chicken is my favorite dish! 

Bar Harbor Restaurant in Ketchikan, Alaska makes the best fried chicken EVER!!.

Well…at least that I’ve tasted.

Tomorrow is International Picnic Day.

What a great and convenient excuse to get away and spend time out doors with family and friends.

I found this cute snippet from a book written by Mrs. M. W. Ellsworth in 1900 about choosing the perfect picnic spot.

                “If the party is to drive or ride, let not the distance be too great.  There should be a stream or spring of pure water, materials for a fire, shade intermingled with sunshine, and a reasonable freedom from tormenting insect life.”

Steens Mountain Loop

It reminds me of the kids’ story The Berenstain Bears, The Picnic.

Papa Bear leads his family all over bear country trying to find the perfect picnic spot only to be deterred by loud noises, lots of people, mosquitos and rain.

Eventually, they end up back home in the big tree at the kitchen table which Brother Bear deems ‘the perfect picnic spot.’

So who says you can’t enjoy a tasty meal of Fried Chicken right in your own kitchen?

How did Fried Chicken become a picnic favorite anyway?

Back in the day, before refrigeration was commonplace, Fried Chicken traveled well in the hot weather or spring and summer.

And before the industrialization of chicken production, only tender young spring chickens would be suitable for the higher heat and relatively fast cooking time of frying making Fried Chicken a luxury of spring and summer.

But you can enjoy this luxury year round!

Many family and friends have drooled over my fried chicken baked from this recipe.

It’s also great for steak fingers or making chicken strips.

And SO convenient, since you mix up a big batch and store in an airtight container.



yield: 4-6 SERVINGS  prep time: 20 MINUTES  bake  time: 45 MINUTES   total time: 1 HR 5 MINUTES


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Rural Roots Ranch broiler/fryer chicken (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds), cut up
  • Oil or Lard for frying


  1. In a small bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Place about 1 cup flour mixture in a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken, a few pieces at a time. Seal bag and shake to coat. Store remaining mixture in an airtight container and save for another use.
  2. In a large skillet, brown chicken on medium-high heat in 1/2 in. of oil on all sides; remove to a large shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
  4. Cut into squares and let rise on lightly greased baking sheets in warmed oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Bake bars for 7-8 minutes or until light golden brown.

Adapted from Taste of Home


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Delectable Maple Donut Recipe for National Donut Day

Did you realize there is a National Doughnut Day?

I thought it was just another one of those strange days where they honor something just because.

But it actually started back in 1938 as a tribute to the Salvation Army volunteers who served doughnuts to soldiers on the front lines of World War I.

Their mission was to provide comforting meals to the troops.

Donuts were their solution.

They were cooking in very dire circumstances, using war helmets as their pot to fry up to seven donuts at a time.

Now we celebrate these brave volunteers who were known as “donut lassies” on the first Friday of June every year.

Courtesy of

Now, I’m curious about the reasonings behind other National days.

May have to do some investigating.

So what are you waiting for?

Enjoy a donut, or maybe two for the day in honor of the donut lassies.

Better yet, bake your own right at home.

My family loves these Maple Bars.

Only we tend to switch it up and make chocolate icing instead.

It’s the most delicious breakfast paired with our pasture raised pork bacon.

Click HERE to get some for yourself!



yield: 1 DOZEN  prep time: 1 HOUR  bake  time: 7-8 MINUTES   total time: 1 HR 15 MINUTES


  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons slat
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 (1/4 oz) packages yeast
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 5 cups flour

Maple Icing

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup


For Maple Bars:

  1. Preheat oven in warm mode, or 170 degrees F.
  2. In a microwaveable bowl, melt butter. 
  3. Add milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon to butter. Microwave until very warm, about 1 minute 30 seconds.
  4. Add yeast and beaten eggs to milk mixture.
  5. In a stand mixer, add half of the flour and milk mixture.
  6. Beat on medium/low until smooth.
  7. Add remaining flour.
  8. Dough will be very soft.
  9. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make it smooth.
  10. With a rolling pin, roll into a ½ inch thick rectangle.
  11. Cut into squares and let rise on lightly greased baking sheets in warmed oven for 20 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  13. Bake bars for 7-8 minutes or until light golden brown.

For Icing:

  1. While bars are rising, in a saucepan bring butter, brown sugar and milk to a boil.
  2. Let simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Add maple syrup and then powdered sugar and blend well.
  5. You can then either spread on maple bars, or I like to dip the top side of the bars in the icing.

If you have chocoholics in the family.  Try the chocolate icing.

Chocolate Icing:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • While bars are rising, in a saucepan bring butter and milk to a boil.
  • Let simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add chocolate chips.
  • Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add vanilla and then powdered sugar and blend well.
  • You can then either spread on maple bars, or I like to dip the top side of the bars in the icing.

Adapted from


Have you been wanting to hang with your friends-play some games, but not sure what to feed them?

We’ve got your back!

Try these GAME NIGHT GRUB recipes!
Keep them fueled for when the competition gets fierce!

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