Calving Prep!

Hi all,

With two calves on the ground, we are officially calving at the Bradley Ranch! This is my favorite time of the year – I love Christmas, and my birthday month, but really, calving is the best. All these calves running around, being cute, the joy on my daughter’s face every time she sees a new one, the smell of spring in the air, you can’t beat it.

Unfortunately, it is also our busiest time of the year, and with the two of us outside all day taking care of all these babies, there’s no one INSIDE to take care of us. SO, this year I bit the bullet and did what I’ve been trying to make myself do for ten years now – I PLANNED AHEAD.

I bought a couple Tuna Helpers, some frozen lasagna, frozen pizza and I spent three hours preparing freeze-ahead crock pot meals so I won’t have to work so hard inside after working all day OUTSIDE! Mind you, all these meals that I planned ahead will only last about two weeks, but we also have a lot of easy meals like steak and potatoes and MACARONI AND CHEESE in between.

Pinterest is a wonderful, magical place. I found SO many crock pot freezer meals it would make your head spin. The trick, my friends, is to find recipes for things you would actually eat. I am not picky, but my family is pretty limited on what they’ll put in the their mouths. So, here are the recipes I prepared. We haven’t eaten them yet, so I can’t guarantee that they’re delicious, but they LOOK good. 🙂

Sweet Barbecue Hawaiian Chicken

This recipe makes one bag.

4-6 boneless chicken breasts

1/3 cup bbq sauce

1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, undrained

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 TBS corn starch

Write recipe name and instructions on freezer bag. Add ingredients. Seal bag, mix ingredients, lay flat and freeze.

Directions to write on the bag: Thaw overnight or for 24 hours. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.

Black Bean Taco Soup

This recipe makes two bags, so split all the ingredients evenly.

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 16 oz bag frozen corn

2 16 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes

2 8 oz cans tomato sauce

1 4 oz can diced green chilis

1/4 cup olives, sliced

Brown meat and onion, drain. Let meat cool for a minute, then dump into two freezer bags with other ingredients and mix together. Let the excess air out, zip and lay flat.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-3 1/2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo

This recipe makes one bag.

4-5 chicken breasts

2 cups fresh or 1 cup frozen spinach, drained

1 16 oz jar Alfredo sauce

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 4 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained

Write recipe name and instructions on freezer bag. Add all ingredients, seal and mix. Lay flat and freeze.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw overnight or for 24 hours. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with noodles, salad and breadsticks.

Crock Pot Beef and Mushrooms

This recipe makes two bags.

4 pounds stew meat, cubed (I used round steak)

4 10.75 oz cans cream of mushroom soup

4 4 oz cans sliced mushrooms, with liquid

1 cup apple juice or red wine

2 1 oz packages dry onion soup mix

Divide the stew meat and add to two freezer bags. Add two cans or mushroom soup, two cans of mushrooms, 1/2 cup juice or wine and 1 packet of onion soup mix to each bag. Zip closed, lay flat to freeze.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw overnight or for 24 hours. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes or noodles.

Hearty Beef Stew

This recipes makes one bag.

1 pound stew meat, cubed

4 carrots, sliced

4 red potatoes, cut into large cubes

1 package dry onion soup mix

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 10 oz package frozen peas

Place all ingredients in freezer bag. Mix and zip closed. Lay flat to freeze.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw in fridge 24 hours. Cook on low for 7-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

Sweet Teriyaki Chicken

This recipe makes one bag.

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup sugar

1 tsp garlic salt

1/2 onion, chopped

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts

Mix together soy sauce, sugar, garlic salt and chopped onion in freezer bag. Place chicken inside the bag and zip closed.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Serve over rice.

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes

This recipe makes one bag.

1 1/2 pounds pork chops, boneless (about 4-6 chops, thick sliced)

6-8 medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 1 oz packages dry Ranch dressing mix

1 cup milk

In a bowl, mix together the soups, milk and ranch dressing mixes and pour into a freezer bag. Combine all other ingredients and zip closed.

Directions to write on bag: Thaw in fridge 24 hours. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Use the extra sauce in the slow cooker as a gravy for the potatoes and pork chops.

If you have any to share with me, please do! I’m always on the look out for something new and fun!

Until next time,

Trina Jo

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2015….and so it begins.

When Trina says she hopes I’ll post at least once a week, she means “I hope I don’t have to sit here and hit Sus with this stick until she posts.”
So I’m posting. Have a bit of news……we sold all our cows (except two) in the Fall (of 2014). It was a decision long in coming, but apparently a very good one, as we have no regrets at all.
We sit and have our coffee in the morning, and just smile as we watch the snow get higher and the temp get lower.
This Winter has started a lot like last Winter…..windy, cold and lots of snow. Was a tough calving season. That’s when the decision to sell first came up. I was watching my husband doing something and just said to myself, “This is it; we can’t do this anymore.”
Then we had an unexpected little flood the end of February – yes, a flood in Feb.!!!! – and the water was rising so we started moving cows and calves to higher ground. The last two calves were really young and kept trying to run back to the last place they saw their mamas.
Every time you stopped to catch your breath, they’d run back across the water. I thought my husband was going to have a heart attack, and actually wasn’t too sure I wouldn’t too.
He said if there was ever any question that we were selling, there was no doubt now! So we finally got the calves with there moms, we didn’t die, and the water started going down!
I did keep two cows; a pet and another one to keep her company. So I still have cows, so I’m still a rancher! Notice I said “I” kept two cows. The husband didn’t support this choice, and said he wasn’t having anything to do with them. I have yet to have to feed them in all this crappy weather. He says I’d break something. It’s always best to let the husband think he’s right, Hahahahahahahaha!
Trina just hit me with the stick and said I’m getting too wordy, so better go.
See you next week!  Sus

A New Dawn, A New Day

Wow. My last post was almost a year ago…I really need to keep up on this!!!
Here’s an update – we finished calving, got everything branded, got our cows out to summer pasture…the summer was a BLUR. I still haven’t caught up and now we’re weeks from calving again!
Some exciting things from my year:
Our daughter, Shayna, is having a baby at the end of February! I am both excited and horrified to be a grandmother…excited because, well, obviously…horrified, because I’m 35…but, I’ll be the cool, young grandma and that works for me.
Our daughter, Kadence, got a sassy Shetland pony in July named Salsa – and boy is she spicy – and she and Kadence have become great friends. Kadence and Salsa will start barrel racing this summer – which also excites and horrifies me!
I got a new horse a couple weeks ago – a beautiful, gentle red roan named Jim. I am working on putting some weight on him now, and I think by spring he’ll be ready for some long hours. I sure have missed riding, so I am working hard to get myself in good shape by then so it won’t hurt so bad!!!
We made it through fall – gathering, preg testing, shipping, and then we had a nice month of November where we basically did nothing.
So here’s my new year’s resolution – I will do my best to post at least every other week, and Sus will do the same – I hope…
If there’s anything you want us to talk about, please feel free to ask!!! We’re here for you. 😉
Until next time….
Trina Jo