Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

We stayed home this weekend and putzed around the farm. Bryon went Dove hunting with his Dad, the Huggler Men and our neighbors and cleaned and stripped the back deck. I made homemade meatballs (about 40 of them) and froze them for future dinners and homemade chocolate syrup for Grace's chocolate milk and hot cocoa.

The deck looks GREAT and Bryon is going to stain it and seal it a cedar red maybe next weekend.



I got lots of those little piddly things I'd had on my to do list for a long time done and marked off my list. It was a good weekend. Now I just need about 51 more of them.

The last bag of frozen meatballs I bought I told Bryon that was the last one because the list of ingredients on that bag was LONG and complicated. The recipe I found online was not and they turned out GREAT and were easy to make. I used two pounds of the grass fed beef from Real Food Farms in Norwood and I plan to make stroganoff sometime after this coming week.

Here is the meatball recipe and the link to where I found it. She has lots of recipes to use the meatballs in and I plan to try several of them.

MILLIONS OF MEATBALLS

(this makes a lot -- at least four dozen, depending on size)

* 12-ounces tomato sauce
* 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
* 4 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped
* 1 teaspoons salt, optional
* 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
* 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
* 4 pounds ground beef

In a large mixing bowl, combine first eight ingredients. Add ground beef and mix well. Shape into meatballs (use a small cookie scoop if available) and place on boiler pan so grease can drain while cooking. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Divide into meal-sized portions. To prevent from freezing into a solid meatball-mass, freeze individually on cookie sheets and then place in freezer bags. Label and freeze.

To serve meatballs, thaw completely and reheat with your choice of sauces.


I made a half batch and it made about 40 meatballs. The Link is http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf115251.tip.html you'll have to scroll down for the other recipes.

The homemade chocolate syrup was thanks to Rachel at Small Notebook, a blog I love to read. Her link is http://smallnotebook.org/2009/07/10/homemade-chocolate-syrup/ if you are interested and here is the recipe:

Amy Dacyczyn’s The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Mix the cocoa and the water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the salt and the vanilla. Let cool. Pour into a sterile glass jar, and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for several months. Yields two cups.


I made the biggest mess EVER making it though. I left it for a minute to walk around the corner and it boiled ALL OVER MY ceramic stove top and then proceeded to BURN into the top. I worked about three hours scraping if off with a flat razor. It's still not all off. The good news is the syrup was and is GREAT and lasts several months in the refrigerator in a glass jar. Eat your heart out Hershey syrup. I used Hershey cocoa but at least there isn't any corn syrup in it. Of course, two cups of sugar is probably only negligibly better. Oh well. It's yum.

The broilers got to see the light of day for the first time today and feel the grass under their little chicken feet. They were pretty happy. This will be there first night outside. They are 20 days old. Three more weeks before butcher day.



Bryon altered the chicken tractor for me so I won't have to crawl halfway in the thing and risk spoiling my clothes and getting my eyes pecked out by crazed birds.

I'm pretty happy about that.



I also wandered out to check out the rogue ornamental gourds. We did not plant these. They are squash gone wild and of course the squash bugs don't even seem to know they exist.




Bryon, Grace and Gary are out with the dove hunting gang again this evening. Grace is the dove retriever. Bryon made a big old pot of deer stew which is simmering on the stove and the buzzer just went off on my homemade dinner rolls.

Life is good.

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