Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twilight...Minus the Fangs

Austin and Grandpa

***First of all - my apologies...one of the downfalls to living in the country, means having a sllloowww dial-up internet connection. Blogger and I are having "issues" at the moment, so this post/pictures are pretty disorganized...stay tuned for a 2nd installment of more pictures!***

We were presented with a plaque

Four generations being introduced, all have lived and worked on the farm.
Dreamer and Classy watched from a distance.
Angela and Amber, overseeing the festivities.

Pull up a bale and grab a plate!

Cars and trucks lined the laneway, and filled the barnyard.

Fun was had by all generations.

Come on in! glad you got here early, it'll be hard to find a parking spot soon! Don't worry, the only vampires likely to make an appearance are the mosqitoes; hope you brought your bug spray, they're nasty this year!

A while back, I mentioned that the farm would be hosting a big event...after months of hard work and preparation, the big evening finally arrived! On July 9th, we hosted the annual "Twilight Meeting" for our county's Holstein organization. The get-together is appropriately named, as it begins when the sun starts to fade...not because it has anything to do with the popular book/movie series. As the colours of the sunset brightened, the farm became host to approximately 200 guests - fellow dairy farmers and their families from throughout the county, as well as some visitors from surrounding areas. All gathered for an evening of food, friends and fun - a great opportunity for us to showcase our cattle and facilities! We are proud of the hard work that is put into the farm and our herd, and it was nice to be able to share with everyone. The evenings activities consisted of a generous BBQ dinner, musical entertainment, farm tours (including a tractor/wagon ride!), "Farmer's Olympics" for the 4-H kids, and we finished off with both a silent and live auction; where else could you expect to buy "the champagne of semen"?! Yes, that's right - I said semen. I was sure to wander around and take some pictures - from what I could tell, fun was had by all and the evening was a great success!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coming for Dinner?

When I first started this blog, I promised to share a few of my recipes - I figured it was time I passed on a few of my favourites! I originally planned to post a new recipe every week, but we all know how I lose my train of thought and forget...so, I'll aim for a weekly recipe ("Foodie Fridays", maybe?), but it will probably end up being more of an occasional entry - no promises attached this time!

Since moving out into the big wide world (ie. out of my parents' house), I've learned that I love to cook - which works out great, because I just so happen to love eating. I was a bit intimidated at first, because after living with my parents for the first 22 years of my life, I had never HAD to cook - both of my parents are great in the kitchen, meaning I never had to prepare anything that didn't come from a box, package, or can. Dinner was cooked for me, and I ate it. Spoiled? Absolutely. I had also never done a load of laundry, and I STILL have yet to ever mow the lawn...but that's another story for another day. So - all of a sudden, I not only had to cook to feed myself, but also my hubby - and soon a child; which meant whatever I cooked had to actually be "edible". Survival depended upon it. Fortunately for all of us - I have always loved to bake. Cookies, cakes, pies, you name it - I was willing to try it, as long as I had a recipe in front of me. Hey - a recipe! Maybe if I had a recipe to follow, I could cook meals as well....cookbooks soon became my best friend. I have developed a pretty impressive collection, and am always looking for new additions! My favourites are those with lots of pictures (I have to *see* what I plan to make), and those that are compilations of recipes passed down through generations - they type you buy for fundraisers and such. I'm also a HUGE fan of Rachael Ray - her recipes are not so figure friendly, but are always delicious. I sometimes have to refrain from licking my tv screen...though I'm sure no one would notice for all the finger prints and lick-marks left by Abigayle. Cookbooks, however have been like "training wheels" in my kitchen - eventually I gathered enough confidence that I could let go and try things out on my own. There were a few "wobbles", but I quickly learned how to balance the different spices and flavours. I certainly would never claim to be a master chef, but I think I've come up with some pretty good stuff!

This recipe is an adaptation of one I found in a magazine - it's one of Ted's favourites, when I ask for his input on our weekly menu, it's always on the top of his list! One of my favourite things about it, is how flexible it is; it never tastes exactly the same because I play with different seasonings every time. It's fast, simple, and filling. Let me know if you give it a try, hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

Jackie's Chicken Pot Pie
You will need:
- one or two frozen pie shells, thawed (depends if you want a double crust, or just a top crust)
you could also use homemade pastry, if you prefer.
- a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. You could use chopped fresh seasonal veggies if you'd like, but the frozen makes for less prep and is much faster. The amount you use depends on the size of the casserole/pie dish you need to fill, but I usually use 1-2 cups for a 9" or 10" pie.
- 8oz container/brick of cream cheese
- chicken stock
- seasonings of your choice; I like to use poultry/provencal type spices, and usually add in onion powder, garlic powder (or minced fresh garlic), salt + pepper, sometimes some "Old Bay" seasoning. This is really all based on your preference! You could use basil, oregano, fresh parsley...play with it a bit!
- 2 or 3 chicken breasts, diced

Put it Together...
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Dice your chicken and brown it in a large skillet. If you'd like to add some extra flavour, try cooking the chicken in a vinaigrette-type salad dressing (like Italian) instead of oil.
- Once the chicken has pretty well cooked through, add the cream cheese to the pan and melt it in with the chicken. Add a bit of stock as well, to keep the cheese from drying out and sticking to the pan. The stock and cream cheese will be your sauce, so add enough stock to form the consistancy you'd like. If you accidentally add too much liquid, you can always thicken it up with a sprinkle of flour.
- Add in your seasonings
- Add your veggies and simmer until everything has heated through
- If using a double-crust, pour everything into one pie shell. Remove the pastry from the second foil tin, turn it upside down and set it on top of the filled shell. Press the edges together (I like to rub a bit of oil or butter around the inside edge to help the shells mush together). Cut a slit to let the pie vent - I like to use a cookie cutter and make it look pretty :) If you'd prefer, you can pour the filling into a casserole or pie plate of your choice (instead of a bottom pastry), and cover it with your pastry/a thawed pie shell.
- bake in a 350F oven for about 30mins, or until the pastry turns a nice golden brown.

It doesn't always look pretty when you serve it, it can be a bit sloppy - but it sure tastes good!