Thursday, September 6, 2012

S&P easy as 1,2,3!

So my theme for meals these days has been ' the easier the better' and sausage and pepper is as easy as it gets. No dishes, no heating up the house and all fresh ingredients!

You can eat this deliciousness as a sandwich or freestyle or even over some penne with a little evoo... The sky is the limit!!

Start by slicing up a variety of bell peppers, whatever mix you like but definitely a mix. I use 5 peppers. Then slice one medium onion ( I like to do red and yellow to keep the flavors interesting) a couple cloves of minced garlic and you're set!

Into the grill basket! Now, I generally sprinkle this with some red pepper flakes because I use sweet Italian sausage. If you choose spicy, I'd skip that step. The goal is to have a sweet and spicy combo.

A little drizzle of evoo, salt and pepper and a good shake! Throw your grill basket and one packet of sweet Italian sausage on the grill. Veggies over med-high. Sausage over medium.

Meanwhile, throw a loaf of bread in the oven if you'd like.

Once cooked; layer sausage, peppers, a slice of mozzarella on the split loaf and broil till cheese is melty

Bon appetite!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Because Maui wants you to !

And honestly, who could resist that face!  This year, Hoag and I are running in the 5K to support our local no kill shelter, Wayside Waifs.  We're not much for running but for a cause as good as this one, we're willing to suck it up! 

I dont normally do this, but we'd love your support so we can support them.  

On behalf of all the animals who find love, care and a temporary place of respite at Wayside Waifs, I am excited to represent this incredible organization by participating in the 22 Annual Strutt With Your Mutt on Sept. 22.  I am proud to run/strutt in support of Wayside Waifs, Kansas City's largest no kill pet adoption center.  I hope you will consider making a gift on my behalf.  

Did you know:

·  Wayside Waifs is responsible for placing 1/3 of all animals adopted from Kansas City area shelters
·  Wayside Waifs offers 10 Humane Education programs to children in schools from all over the metropolitan area, including No More Bullies, an anti-violence program
·  25% of the animals at Wayside Waifs are purebred
·  Wayside Waifs has a FEMA certified Animal Rescue and Response Team, trained to respond to natural disasters, hording situations, and puppy mill rescues on a regional level.

We will all be running the 5K September 22 in brookside and we'd love your support! Please visit our donation page to help us reach our goal! No gift is too small ( or too big for that matter!)  

Thank you for your help in supporting those who take on the task of housing KC's homeless pets. And be sure to check your local shelters before visiting the breeders !

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lil Hoagie

Well, he's finally here.  Actually its been 7 weeks... but for those of you who have kids, you understand how those first weeks are a total blur.  Hoagie arrived on July 11, 2012 leisurely in the afternoon.  Hoag and I have been totally enamored with this little guy every second while still trying to maintain some sort of work ethic.

I realized, a few days ago, that the whole concept of this blog is going to change.  Seeing how I've barely been involved in the ranch since he's been here ( more involved with avoiding the pee sniper, blowouts and mastering the art of doing everything with one hand) I feel like I've almost lost touch with the outside world.  I know, with time, things will kick back up again and I'll be involved.  With a little more head control, a lot of confidence from me and the understanding of our cows returning from the hills... things will be at a different pace.

I want to share with you the experiences of a ranch mom and how I'll be coping with it.  I fully intend to still educate and inform, hopefully humor and wet your taste buds a bit; but I'll be finally adding to the sad and empty tab on the blog known as Hoag's Kids.

I'm sure that you understand, whoever you are out there, that there will not be many pictures of our precious baby's face.  I can assure you he is every bit as cute as your imagination is leading you to believe he is.  But, the sad truth is there are some people out there that don't read blogs to learn, laugh or dream and they are why I have to take this route.

I can't wait to get back to photographing our daily lives, exploring from a child's eye, and teaching our little Hoagie how to be a wonderful keeper of the earth and her animals.  And even more importantly, I can't wait to share those stories with you.

In the meantime, please let me know if there is anything this year that I can teach, clarify, or defend for you.  And if you must see our little man and you are not a facebook friend, please feel free to email me!

All the best,
The proudest and happiest mama in the world.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's blue green water and it ain't the sea

It's no new info that we are in a serious drought and with the lack of rain and excessive heat, we are all facing a multitude of new challenges.  We all know it takes rain to grow crops, crops to feed cattle and cattle to feed the consumer. But the challenges our consumer doesn't think about is how hard no rain can be on the cattle from the get go.

The natural cycle for the 94% family owned and operated ranches is generally the same.  Cattle go out to pasture in the spring where they are fed by grass all summer long and then sold to the feedlot somewhere after labor day.  For our operation, we send both our beef cattle and our registered cattle out to the flint hills in the spring where they feed on the wonderful natural grasses and are watered by the natural springs and ponds that are in each pasture.  Problem is... you need rain to keep those ponds full and the springs running.

Without the rain to fill our ponds, the water level is low, warm and stagnant creating the perfect environment for Blue Green Algae.  This algae is the latest threat to the nations cattle herd and is prominent in the areas most affected by the drought.  

The blue green algae occurs naturally in most ponds but when the conditions are right, it can multiply and take over small bodies of water. The rain is what normally breaks up the scum and continues the natural cycle but without our rain, this algae is growing in abnormally high concentrations.   Not only does this kill the plants and organisms living in the water by sucking out all the oxygen but it also is highly toxic to all animals.  "Livestock affected with the nervous system toxins may
show signs including muscle tremors, decreased movement, and difficult breathing.  They will collapse and go into convulsions.  In the field, many cases show no signs except sudden collapse and death." according to South Dakota State University

So, as you can imagine, everyone is on high alert.  As if the lack of water and grass wasn't hard enough on us all, now we have to take special care to keep an eye on the water we do have.

Bottom line? Start doing the rain dances because our consumers may not think this affects them but it will take a toll on the supermarket prices!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remembering what's important this 4th of July

Now I love America more than the next guy! And being a red blooded American, what better way to show our appreciation than to blow a bunch of stuff up.. am I right? Right? Wrong.

This year, we need to take care of our current America... and she is thirsty, dry and ready to light up with the smallest match.  According to National Drought Mitigation, 72% of American is categorized as "Abnormally dry" or worse.  This is compared to last year, with what we felt was a terrible year, where 32% of the country was in this category.  The fear is this drought is going to rival or surpass the drought of 1988 which put the agriculture business back $78 million.

Now were all painfully aware of what the residents of Colorado are currently facing.

There is no doubt that these fires are uncontrollable and fueled by dry lands, high winds and excessive periods of  no rain.  How is that any different than any of the midwest?

Besides the obvious effects of the land burning under our feet, this drought has the possibility of affecting each and every one of us where it hurts even more... our wallets.  With the lack of rain our corn and soybean crops are deteriorating rapidly. With higher corn prices comes higher feed costs, lower margin for error resulting in higher beef costs.

I know this is not my normal cheery blog but I want us all to be painfully aware of the situation were in.  It's not to be taken lightly.  Some big cities have banned fireworks which is great for this year but for those of us that live outside the city limits, rules seldom reach us or are enforced.

So please, use your heads, play with snakes and smoke bombs.  Keep a hose close by in case something does spark and be mindful of your neighbors.  Some of us are trying to grow food for the nation and we need every blade of grass we can get!

Happy Birthday America.  We'll do our best to take better care of you from now on.