Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! Part 2

When Cowboy and I get home, I immediately took the mozarella sticks out of the freezer. As I feared, they were frozen... solid. I popped them in the oven on 150 for about 10 minutes.


As I said in Part 1, I threw these together really fast so I didn't have time to take pictures. To get to the picture above you take 16 string cheese sticks and cut them in half. Dip them in flour, then egg and milk mixture, then parsley and Panko mixture.

Before you start all the cuttin' and dippin' I suggest heating your oil so it will be nice and hot when you get ready to put them in.

Once the time comes to cook them, test the oil by sprinkling a small amount of Panko crumbs in the oil. If they bubble and fizz, it's hot enough. The tricky part is keeping the oil hot enough to brown/cook the sticks but not hot enough to make the cheese bubble out, as shown below.


I never really found the perfect temperature. I stayed between medium and medium high heat. Even though the cheese bubbled just a teeeeny bit out of most, they were still delicious !


I found it easier to use a spatula instead of tongs when getting them out. When the sticks got hot and the cheese melted, they tore more easily.

Once the sticks have browned (you may have to carefully roll them in oil to acheive a complete brown) place them on a paper towel lined plate.


I promise the oozing cheese isn't as messy as it looks. Once they sit there a minute the cheese sets .

Heat some marinara sauce in a bowl and you're set!


On to dessert. Thank goodness I made them the night before (minus the dipping you will see in a minute).

First bake a cake. Whatever flavor cake you like. I chose yellow because Cowboy's favorite cake is yellow with chocolate icing. Now for the fun part, crumble it up in a bowl.


Next, take a container of icing and mix it in with the cake. I chose cream cheese.


Mix it together with a spoon or your hands.

Once it's all about the same consistency, take a mini ice cream scooper and scoop out small balls.


To make the balls more round, I scooped some out then rolled it in my palm.


Place these on a baking sheet with wax paper.

Now you can either put them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to flash-freeze them or refrigerate them for several hours. This helps firm them up before you dip them in chocolate. I made these Sunday night and left them in the refrigerator over night.

I might or might not have taste tested one or two JUST to make sure the over night refrigeration didn't take away from their taste. It could happen.


I chose chocolate almond bark to dip the balls in. I started by melting half of the block. People it's a miracle this BLOCK OF CHOCOLATE sat in my house for almost 2 weeks and remained in uneaten. Just sayin'.


Put it in a small saucepan over low heat and watch it melt.


Don't turn the heat too high because the chocolate will burn.


It's really hard to keep from sticking your finger in and tasting it. So don't hold back, just do it. It's the right thing to do.


Once it's almost completely melted, start rolling the balls! Carefully drop a ball or two in, roll it around and drizzle some on top then spoon it out. I used a fork so the excess would fall through.







Carefully place the balls back onto the wax paper. See that rather large one on the bottom right, that's Cowboy's. He made sure to be around when I made them so he could make a BIG one.




While they cool you can add sprinkles or other toppings.


The good thing about this dessert is you can combine any cake mix and icing to your liking. The possibilities are endless. Hope everyone had a good Valentine' Day !


*On a sad note, little Valentine didn't make it. He did make our first Valentine's Day an unforgettable one though !

**Here are links to the two recipes.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! Part 1

Our first Valentine's Day didn't go exactly as planned. When you live on a farm, you never really know what to expect. Cowboy and I decided to go with our traditional meal we ate all the time while we were dating. Steak, green beans and macaroni and cheese, except we had salad instead of green beans. I decided to add an appetizer and dessert I've been wanting to try. Mozarella sticks and cake balls. Here's how it all went down...

Heading home I get a all from Cowboy.

"Get your workin' clothes on."

"Why?..."

"My dad called and said we might have to help him pull a calf."

"OK!!"

I was excited because I've never seen them pull a LIVE calf. One problem, mozarella sticks. I was afraid I wouldn't have time to get them at least ready to be cooked before Cowboy got home. As soon as I got home, I flew in the kitchen and literally whipped these things up in about 15 min. Prep time on the recipe is 30 min. I was movin'.

On the recipe you are supposed to pop them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before cooking. Cowboy got there, honked the horn and I threw them in the freezer, figuring it wouldn't take that long.

We arrived at Cowboy's parents' house, hop in the truck with Cowboy's dad and set out to find the cow. Cowboy's dad said the calf was coming backwards (breach) and he didn't know how long she had been in labor. Normally Cowboy and his dad would rope the cow, get it on the ground, tie up one leg so it couldn't get up and pull the calf. Cowboy's dad decided not to take that route this time. Instead he chose to traquilize to cow.


Here she is with the tranquilizer in her flank. It's that long silver thing. (I'm still working on night time picture taking)

We left her alone for about 10-12 minutes to let the medicene kick in. She finally laid down and we thought we had her. Look at those eyes, she's get verrrrrry verrrrrry sleeeeppyyy...


Here's Cowboy's dad showing us how it's done.


Good throw!


Now the cow will politely put one foot through the rope so it won't choke her. She wouldn't listen to us. Sister took off running and when we finally got back to her, the rope was round her chest, which does us no good.

After multiple attempts (keep in mind mozarella sticks are freezing away oooh for about 45 minutes now) at running over the rope with the truck to stop her, we FINALLY get her down. Within 5 minutes Cowboy and his dad had the calf out. I'll spare you the pictures, they're rather graphic.

After some vigorous rubbing and nose cleaning the calf was breathing! Happy Birthday Valentine !!


For those of you that remember Milo, this calf was as big as Milo when she came to my house. It was a BIG bull calf. After getting him breathing a little better, Cowboy's dad noticed the calf wasn't moving his back legs real well. Diagnosis: since the calf was breach, he possibly could have breathed in fluid. This causes him to not be exactly right in the head meaning he may never walk.

After they got the calf breathing a little better, they needed to give the mama cow the tranquilizer reversal. The reversal takes about 2 minutes to work. By the time we got everything and ourselves back in the truck, she was laying up normal and alert. She got up, smelled her calf and started licking away.

(Actual dinner in part 2...)

Monday, February 14, 2011

14 Facts

I got this idea from another blog. In honor of Valentine's Day, here are 14 facts about Cowboy and me.

1. Cowboy and I met at a summer job. This is now where he is currently working.

2. He proposed on the river while we rode horses. And YES, he rode the entire time with the engagement ring in his pocket.. loose.. if I had only known.


3. Cowboy's favorite dessert is yellow cake with chocolate icing, mine is any kind of cake with any kind of icing, and Junior Mints!

4. Cowboy likes to sneak up behind me and scare me. He gets me everytime and I'm starting to believe he always will.


5. Cowboy could eat meat at every meal. I've eaten more steak since we met than in my entire life.. and I love every protein packed piece of it.

6. Cowboy loves math. I'd be happy if I never did another math problem. Cowboy, what's the probability of that??


7. Cowboy told me he loved me after 5 dates. I finally told Cowboy I loved him back after 8.

8. For a gift one year I told Cowboy I wanted a cow with a bow on it. I got a cow with a bow on it, only it was stuffed. I still want a cow with a bow on it, just a live one!


9. We always get each other 2 cards for every occasion. One funny and one serious.

10. Cowboy talked to my dad for 3 hours before he proposed. I talked to my mom about Cowboy proposing for 3 months before he proposed (or maybe more..)


 
11. Cowboy has a hidden love for overflowing bubble baths. When did I realize this? The honeymoon!! I'll stop there.

12. Cowboy loves agriculture, farming and cows. I love playing with cows and horses.

13. We both love hunting and fishing.

14. Cowboy wears Wranglers almost every day of the week. I like when Cowboy wears Wranglers almost every day of the week.

Happy Valentine's Day !!

*The flowers above were sent to my office by a special someone this morning :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2-9-86

I'm so thankful for this day 25 years ago. Today is Rob's birthday. I can't believe he's 25!!


We are not only brother and sister but best friends.


It's fun growing up having a playmate all the time. I think Rob would agree we had an amazing childhood. I enjoyed having him to grow up with.


I never realized how close we were and how much I depended on him until he left Auburn after my freshman year to pursue his advertising degree at Alabama. He's still the biggest Auburn fan.

We understand each other and look at situations almost the exact same way. There's definitely a special bond shared only between brothers and sisters.

This past weekend since Rob was in town we celebrated his birthday.

Salad, with Jayne's famous homemade dressing,


mmm, Beef - It's What's For Dinner....


asparagus with pecans and some other kind of amazing Jayne seasoning,


and we also had twice baked potatoes and key lime pie for dessert. YUM.



Cousin Emily made the party too.


Happy 25th Birthday Rob !!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lucky # 10

Last fall Cowboy bought 50 cows. Some came with calves and some were bred to have babies later in the fall and spring. All the calves were sold a few months after we got them.

Usually, a cow has one calf a year. Cows, like humans, are pregnant for 9 months.

Cowboy keeps a carefully documented piece of paper with all of our cow's numbers and other information such as: age, how far along they are if they're bred, the sex of their calf, zodiac sign, favorite ice cream.. just kidding about the last two. So far, we have, or THOUGHT we had, just 2 more cows left to calve. Saturday we got a surprise. Lucky # 10.


While we were so diligently finishing up the catch pen, we noticed #30 away from the herd. Since #30 came with a calf last fall we weren't expecting another calf until NEXT (2011) fall. (In other words we got an extra calf... sort of.)

She was not a happy mama when Cowboy snatched up her new baby to give her some new ear jewelry.



This early after birth, the calves usually have no clue what's going on so they're easy to catch. Cowboy first separates the mama from the baby, usually with his truck, then jumps out and grabs the calf by it's leg. Still keeping an eye on the mama.


Then he tags the calf. The blue device is the tagger. Usually the number corresponds to the mama's so we know which calf goes with which cow. Obviously we didn't have a #30 tag...


Cowboy then nudges the calf with his foot to get him up and back with his mama.


"Where am I and what just happened??"


Sometimes it takes a little more than an ol' nudge of the boot.


Now we're moving!


Mama cow was very glad to have her baby back. Just had to do a smell check to make sure it was hers. It is very sweet to see a mama and baby calf. They are very protective of them and know exactly which calf is theirs.


"What a rough day!!"


Shortly after, the rest of the girls had to come see what all the commotion was about and to meet the new member of their herd.