So What’s Up. . .

Yeah. . . So. . . I’m never conditioned enough to sit down and write when I’m composing posts in my head!

ANYWAY!

What I wanted to talk to you about today is yet another, likely, empty promise that I’ll be back up and running soon!

Recently I’ve been working way too hard for other people and not placing enough focus on my own personal goals. This is quite frustrating on many levels. As it turns out one of the places I worked at has closed it’s doors, and that was official on March 31st.

It’s such a blessing in disguise, because even though money will be tight, I now have quite a lot more “free” time to start working the things I want to do!

I want to:

-Start a Youtube Channel (But I am so scarrrred)

-Start a Podcast

-Start playing more music

-Write more here!

-Work diligently on the start-up my sister and I have been building.

-Homestead. (which, if I would have just gotten out my damned camera the past few months, I would have lots of content for you on that front.)

That’s a lot of ambition! Somehow I know there is a way to make it work.

In the past, a lot of what has held me back is the jealousy (is that the right term?) factor. So like – I used to be really good at being excited if someone else I knew was trying to head down a similar path to what I want, but I’ve let a few things negatively influence me the last couple of years (in that mindset) without even realizing it until it was too late. So many of the people I surround myself with don’t allow for the sharing of experiences. If someone is into history that is *THEIR* thing, or if someone likes to grow tomatoes that is *THEIR* thing. That entire mentality caused me to hit a brick wall in creativity and ambition.

And you know what? I call bullshit on that one!

I was letting that hold me back and now I’m not going to. We can learn and grow together or not talk about it at all, but I’m going to do what I want. Dammit.

RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE

Anyway! I’m glad to be back. I’m glad to be freed up with my schedule. I’m excited to push forward and grow and I hope you all will be excited to join me!

TTFN

xoxo

-S

Waddle We Do About All These Ducks?

Just to warn you, some of these pictures will be bloody. . .

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This time of year the deer has been harvested, processed and in the freezer. A significant portion has already been eaten and the freezer is getting low. My dude got his turkey just in time for Christmas dinner and since the limit is one on fall turkey’s, all that’s left are ducks. Geese, too, but where we are at, they are more difficult to get. They are there, but they are high fliers and hard to find on the ground or water.

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Neither one of us have had wild duck prior to this winter (though I do just barely remember when I was really young we had some ducks), yet, they are plentiful and they have a daily bag limit of 6 per day. (It’s a little more complicated than that such as what species, how many can be hens, and your over-all possession.) So, we figured, it gives my dude a lot of enjoyment and if they are even somewhat tasty and easy to clean, it would be more than worth it to harvest ducks for the next couple of weeks (until the season ends).

Well. They are tasty little buggars. Favor of duck meat is well, and odd duck. “Duck is greasy.” “Duck tastes fishy.” “You can’t take a bit of duck meat without biting into bird shot.” WHAT? Okay, I’m not here to tell anyone what they should have an affinity for, but the last one? What are you doing? I’ll tell you – you’re killing them wrong for one, and b.) you’re not cleaning your meat!

Thank goodness you have me. I’m here to tell you just what to do.

Step 1: Have your dude go out and get you some ducks, because it’s better to let him handle the neck wringing. That part is too sad for me.

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Step 2: Once you have your duck-load of water fowl, you need to pluck the feathers away from their breast. (We are going to focus on harvesting the breast meat only, because there isn’t much more to a wild duck that is worth going after, however someday I’d like to clean a duck and leave it whole to put in the smoker and see what that does for me. Also, next year I’m thinking I will save the down.) Anyway, you want to hold the duck on it’s back with it’s head away from you and pull the feathers towards the head. This is extremely easy as they come off very clean. (I save a few wing feathers from each duck as a little prize because they are beautiful.) The second part of this step is not needed, but at first we would torch the skin to get rid of the pinfeathers, but since it is terribly stinky to do this and also we don’t leave the skin on, we stopped doing this.

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Step 3: Lay your freshly plucked duck on the hood of the pick-up. It’s okay, you’re a hunting family. Ah, I jest, kinda. Ideally I would have some sort of processing station, but right now I don’t so we do use the hood of the truck. Grab a pan or tray. Place your finger at the top-most spot of the plucked area in the center and find the breast bone. Pinch this and lift it up and give it a little pierce with your knife. This will separate the skin from the meat. Now hold the skin away from the meat and [CAREFULLY] cut towards the tail, opening the skin only, not the meat. Now you can pull the skin towards each wing and the breast meat is exposed.

Step 4: Find that same spot where you pierced the skin and run your finger along the breast bone. This will be your guide. Run your knife along that same spot taking care to stay as close to the bone as possible. This is easy to do as the meat will come away from the bone with little effort. *Remember that the muscles have their own map.* Once you find the end of that muscle, without lifting your knife, bring the blade around underneath the breast and follow your map along the wing and back up to the spot where you started. The breast meat should come right out. If it doesn’t, you may need to filet against the rib cage a little more. No worries – it takes a little practice to get it down. Put that breast into your pan and repeat on the second side.

Step 5: Come into your kitchen (or somewhere with running water) and turn the tap on high with COLD water. Food safety is very important, especially with poultry. ESPECIALLY with wild game, so please do not use warm water – if there is any contaminant in your meat, the warm water will accelerate the growth, but this whole process from bird to freezer should only take 1hr 20min, so you’re probably okay. But just don’t risk it please. Anyway, run the cold water over the meat while you get down a cutting board and a clean pan. Fill the pan with cold water and about two tablespoons of salt. Set this next to your cutting board. Next, thoroughly rinse the breast meat to be free of any feathers or other debris that may have gotten on it and lay it out on your cutting board. Cut away any blood-shot meat, excess fat, and membrane. Give the meat some good pinches and pokes to see if there are any bird shot pellets in the meat. A good clean shot should not result in bird shot in the breast meat, but it can happen. If you do find a hole where a pellet may have come through, remember that the likelihood is high that the pellet went through at an angle, so try to follow that down to find any potential pellets. Once the breast meat is good and clean, place it into the pan of salt water and let soak for a minimum of one hour.

Step 6: Once that hour has passed, drain the meat and pat dry. Now you are ready to wrap. You want to wrap the meat tightly with plastic wrap, pressing out as much air as possible as you go. Then you repeat that process with freezer paper. I like to make sure I put the date and the amount of breasts in the package, for our ease, but also just in case there would ever be an issue with the game warden.

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Now I’m going to tell you how to cook a duck breast that will be better than any steak you’ve ever eaten. The secret here is my new little passion, a cast iron skillet.

You will need:

  • 1 Duck Breast (per person you are feeding)
  • Bacon Grease (save you bacon grease, really. If you’re not now, you really need to start. You’re welcome)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Dill
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cast Iron Skillet

Over medium heat, melt the bacon grease in the skillet until it is hot, hot, hot. You want to do this slowly, don’t do this on high heat, it will be a disaster. Rub your duck breast with the garlic, dill, salt and pepper and place into the hot skillet. Don’t mess with it, just let it cook for about 6 minutes, then flip and cook the second side. I have read that the internal temperature should be 170 degrees. The USDA requires a minimum internal temperature of poultry to be 165 degrees immediately upon probing with a thermometer. If you’re there, you’re good. If 165 degrees can’t kill it, it can’t be killed. Remove the duck breast from the skillet and drizzle the pan drippings on top. I promise you, you will be impressed.

I want to leave you with one more recipe.

The other day I was in baking mode for sure and I developed a no-knead molasses wheat skillet bread recipe that is very good. It’s not like my mom’s bread, but it is quite delightful. (I was disappointed with it as first because it didn’t do what I had intended, but I think it’s because I wanted it to be like my mom’s bread. It’s not. It’s more the consistency of an airy focaccia bread. It’s delicious.)

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Saho’s Molasses Wheat Skillet Bread:

  • 2 c Warm Water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 c Molasses
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 4 1/3 c Wheat Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • Dill, Rosemary, Garlic, Minced Onion, or any other herb or spice you’d like to rub the top with. (I used Dill this time. We enjoy Dill.)

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the warm water, yeast, and molasses and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Sift together salt and flour and add to the water mixture 1/2 c to 1 c at a time, fully incorporating before adding more flour each time. Form into a tight ball and place into a cast iron skillet rubbed generously with olive oil. Cover with a damp flour-sack towel and leave in a warm place to raise for 1 hour. Punch dough down into the skillet and cover and allow to raise for an additional 30 minutes. Brush with olive oil and herbs/spices and place in to a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Hope you liked this post!

xoxo

-S

Farewell 2018

I jumped back into this blog last year (or possibly in the fall of 2017, prime example of me not doing my research. . .) because of a New Year’s resolution I had made.

Resolutions are funny, man. I make them every year but never, ever stick to them. It seems to me that I’ve made some kind of resolution ever since I knew what they were. So maybe since the age of 8 or so.

Here are my resolutions from last year:

  • Blossom [as a person. . . I’ve spent the last six or eight years repressing who I am instead of being who I am, to the point of actually losing who I am for a while.] I accomplished this to an extent now that I think back, but there is a long way to go.
  • Work from Home – Okay so. . . I haven’t nailed this one yet, but I’m quite close. More on that at another time.
  • Remove Negativity. . . both internally and externally. So, the fact of the matter is that this is never fully achieved, and that’s okay. It’s about minimizing this. I’m not where I want to be, but it’s better than when I made this resolution.
  • Truth. . . that’s all it said. What I meant by that was that I needed to focus on the true intentions of those around me and of myself. I have no idea where I am with this. Taking a note from JOB, I do, generally, stop and think before I speak on something of importance. Maybe that’s what this means all along.
  • Weight. Yeah, what I did was gain. I posted a while back about my efforts, which sadly fell away as we approached the holidays, but since December 26th, I’ve been making an effort. 
  • Sugar Addiction. I think I forgot about this one entirely. The thing is that once I can make myself give up on sugar I do well, but as soon as I re-introduce it at all, I’m a full blown sugar addict again.
  • Smoking. I don’t want to, though. I mean I do, and I should, but I love it so much. Disgusting, I know.
  • Homesteading. Okay, okay, I did some of this too. It’s not like it’s just a switch you can flip, I suppose. There are a lot of obstacles to be dealt with here as well.

I had spent a few months prior to the New Year sorting out what I wanted my goals to be, mentally preparing myself for the changes that needed to be made, and focused a few Pinterest boards on these changes to get myself psyched. I’ll detail why the train wreck happened in a few paragraphs farther down.

It’s funny how we break our time lines down by year and measure what our time was worth that way. This is exactly why I have an issue with resolutions. We tend to set absurdly unrealistic goals for ourselves and then beat ourselves up when we don’t reach our goals. OR we don’t educate ourselves on how to accomplish said goal. It’s one thing to want something, it’s another to put forth the effort to see that through.

Yet, something inside me finds importance in reflection of the year and setting new goals. Some of that comes in how I was raised. I wouldn’t say that our family values were necessarily old-fashioned, but they were/are deeply rooted in tradition. (This is something that sticks to me like flies on shit, my friends – i.e. anyone that knows me knows I don’t handle change very well, et cetera.) Specially regarding New Year’s Day – my family has always eaten a fairly superstitious meal of Ham (for plenty), Cornbread (because it’s good, fool), Collard Greens (for green-backs), and Black Eyed Peas (for coppers). We’ll be having that meal tomorrow. Perhaps with Sweet Potato Pie, perhaps not. c’est la vie.

That all having been said, upon reflection of my previous resolutions, I believe I will keep the same list. I’ve made a lot  more progress than I had anticipated and clearly my values have not changed.

Over the past week or so I’ve seen quite of bit of bologna on Instagram and Youtube of people whining about how 2018 was such a bad year. But you know what? Those same people thought 2017 was bad, 2016 was bad, and so forth.  2018 wasn’t good or bad it, just was. Here’s why I think that way:

I started out 2018 ready to conquer the world. This was going to be MY year – and it was for the first couple of weeks, and then, out of literally no-where my dude broke up with me. As he had several times before (another topic, I’m not complaining here, I know that I am the one who continually chooses to stay. . .) via text message, with no warning, while I was at work. Nobody takes break-ups well, but I take them to the next level of pathetic and it was extremely hard for me to deal with this. I completely shut down and gave up on everything, which is quite counter intuitive. Meanwhile, we still lived together. This happened the end of January and lasted into March. Then something happened and it was like he realized he’s an idiot and we were back together. This is an odd dynamic to explain because there is no clear point of when it happened and it’s not like we had a big sit down (other than me laying out my boundaries on if this were to ever happen again. Which I’m nervous even posting about for fear I’m putting that out into the Universe and it will happen again. Pathetic.) Now we are better than we ever have been. [WHAT?! Big Edit Here!!!! I absolutely cannot believe I failed to mention this part of January/February that had a significant impact on how I handled the rest of my year and really how I go forward. I got pulled over on New Year’s Eve, and this will be the cliche “dude was looking for an excuse” but hey, dude was looking for an excuse. It was 8:30 at night on New Years Eve on a snowy road back highway and he thought he was going to land a DUI. Joke’s on him. I don’t speed and I don’t drink, so he was just hoping. However, the real joke was on me. . . Unbeknownst to me, though that was purely negligent on my part, I had a suspended driver’s license that had been suspended for quite some time. To not get into too much boring detail, I thought I had taken care of the situation a few years prior, but I didn’t do my homework at the time and was still suspended. So I got a ticket that basically said “you can’t pay a fine, you gotta go to court, son.” So I went to court and sat there with a bunch of meth users and petty crime punk asses who argued with the judge and got sent to jail, but the compassionate judge that I had waited until everyone else had been dismissed and sat and had a one-on-one conversation with me. He heard my story and my reasoning and was sympathetic, even later stating he wouldn’t have given me any sentence at all if it weren’t for the statute that requires a minimum. So. . . he gave me the smallest possible fine he could, I believe it was $350, 6 months unsupervised probation (which ended July 25th and was super easy for me considering I don’t do bad stuff. I know, I know, I’m boring. . .) and 7 days in jail. :(. :(! That made my heart sink, but he was very kind and told me I could go to the jail and make arrangements with them to serve weekends. However, you can’t do time in less than a 48-hour period, so I had to do three days, two days, and two days. This happened on a Thursday so I chose to go in the very next night and stay through Monday and then do the next two weekends. It sucked, but I’m not saying that I was “innocent”. Learned my lesson though. I could write a whole post on those three weekends. . .] Then, in April I received two very good job offers, both of which I accepted. So I went from making a lot of money and moving back to my hometown to struggle, to having two well paying jobs. This is putting me back on my feet. Again, not quite there yet, but getting there. I hate and love both of these jobs and it is a tremendous struggle most of the time for me, but, until I get truly rolling on the work-from-home endeavor, that’ll do, pig. This summer I got to garden and really get my hands dirty with my homesteading goals. September came. On my sister’s birthday (also my best friend’s birthday) I had to put my little Gato dog down. It. Was. Devastating. I made the decision in that moment that I, personally, would never have another dog, as it was becoming something I was clearly  not cut out for. My dude has a husky that he got about the time we got together so there is still a dog in my home. Scratch that. My best friend/boyfriend’s sister-in-law surprised my dude with a Treeing Walker Coon Hound puppy right before Thanksgiving. Christmas time came and I was actually able to give presents to those that I loved. It had been years since I was able to do so, and I know that’s not what Christmas is about, but being able to do so brought me so much joy. And now we’re here! So not the most impressive year. I didn’t make millions, loose 100 pounds, or win the Presidency, but I am content and satisfied. That is all that matters.

Someone once told me that whatever you are doing when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve is a reflection of what your year will bring to you. I’ve always taken that to heart and went out of my way to make sure that whatever the situation, I was surrounded by positivity (I just want you to know that this word is being flagged as misspelled, with no suggestion for fixing it. Am I crazy? I have I lost the ability to spell? I mean, I already have a hard time dealing with not putting two spaces after punctuation. . .) This year will be no different. My dude and I will be hosting a small gathering at our home. I’ll cook good food and we will play poker and enjoy everyone’s company.

I will leave you in 2018 with a playlist. It has no deeper meaning than these songs are making me feel my happy glow within today.

I hope you all have a happy and blessed New Year and you can look back on 2018 with satisfaction and an eagerness to top it in 2019!

Catch you on the flippity flip!

xoxo

-S

Saho’s Farewell 2018 Mix-Tape

A Side:

1.) Shakey Graves – Word of Mouth

2.) Ke$ha – Spaceship

3.) Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining

4.) Chis and Thomas – Broken Chair

5.) Feist – My Moon My Man

6.) The Shins – New Slang

B Side:

7.) The Unicorns – I Was Born A Unicorn

8.) Architecture in Helsinki – Do the Whirlwind

9.) Langhorne Slim & the Law – Changes

10.) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Gone, Gone, Gone

11.) Lou Reed – This Magic Moment

12.) Scanners – Baby Blue

Deer Butchering and a Recipe

!!! I’m warning you right now there are going to be images of a dead deer in this post!!!

So the last time I really gave you an update I had decided I was calling it the Non-Farm and I find that really fitting.

Gah! Getting this post out on time as been a struggle. I’d like to offer you lots of images, et cetera, yet, even though I’m super into photography I don’t have many pictures of what I want to write to you about and I didn’t know I was going to write about these things at the time.

Maybe a listicle? Idk. . . these tend to be about half list/half novel as it is. We’ll see where we are when we are done, eh? Nah – I think I’ll talk about hunting and give you a recipe. Tune in next Wednesday for more Non-Farm things. . .
Hunting:

The growing season is over, and I already told you how well that worked out for me! Monday I talked about my ethical views on food, and I will need to explore that a little deeper, but today is not that day! Today is reaping the rewards of hunting day.

My dude gets us a deer every year for our freezer. Say what you will. I’d even love to see your perspective in the comments below, but if it’s hateful, ignorant trash I won’t entertain it.

As I said – my dude gets us a deer every year. He hunts. I butcher. I’ve done it for a living, that’s our trade-off, and I really enjoy it.

This year he got a BIG, beautiful White-Tail and has such a great story about how he got it. On the last day of the season even (Halloween!)! But that’s his story to tell so you can just use your imagination here. You could put your version of that in the comments below, too. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Head

This guy is sitting at a taxidermist right now becoming a European Mount.

Back to the deer. We live far enough out of town that we have deer in our yard all of the time (even this morning, there was a Mule-Deer buck and a doe by the barn just hanging out. It’s the rut right now. (Mating season)) Yet they tend to be elusive when it’s hunting season. They really are intelligent creatures. . .

This year my dude also got bird licenses and I’m so very excited for that to be fruitful.

First off was Sand-hill Crane – the Prime Rib of the Sky – there are always a few in the field across the road from us, but they are high fliers and not as dense in population as other parts of the country. The season ended on November 11th, so we’re passed the window this year, and unfortunately he didn’t get any.

It’s turkey season right now and he’s been going out every morning trying to find one (our limit here is 1 in the fall) and hasn’t had much luck yet, but he has some time still.

He can also hunt doves, geese, and ducks.

But so far just the deer. It’s okay. I can be patient.

As I said he got himself a White-Tail Buck. His uncle runs a non-profit, chair-bound hunting organization that is so very wonderful, thus, we were able to utilize his refrigeration facility to hang the deer.

Normally we would just hang it in the garage for a couple of days, but this year Mother-Nature had a sick sense of humor and it was nearly 60 degrees outside, which is unfit to hang a carcass in.

Ideally you would want your ambient temperature to be around 30 degrees to inhibit any bacterial growth, but definitely not above 41 degrees (these are Fahrenheit) because between 41 degrees and 135 degrees is the ideal temperature range for bacteria to thrive. Meat does not freeze until it is 28 degrees.

Also, as I have a hectic schedule and Halloween was on a Wednesday this year, I was not able to butcher until the following Saturday. It’s best to hang your animal for a few days and doesn’t actually hurt it. This is called dry aging. It allows for the blood left in the animal to evenly distribute and makes the meat more tender and flavorful. There’s more to it than that, but you get the gist. There is also a process called wet aging that I may go into if I decide to wet age anything he may want to put in the smoker.

This time around no organ meat was saved, but next year, I think I’d like to save the heart and liver (you need to check the liver for spots because that indicates disease) and possibly kidneys? And the call fat.

My dude and his dad skinned the buck and I de-boned it while it was hanging. I then took the larger pieces and broke them down, cleaned them, and cut the entirety into steaks and trim (to be frozen and ground at a later date.)

Skinning

Deer are small, but I’m a little out of practice, so I think it took me about 2.5 hours to complete. I just cut mine in the dining room. It’s perfectly acceptable to cut your animal in a warmer environment so long as you don’t let it get above 41 degrees for a period of 4 hours. (This is known as time and temperature control. I think I should write an article about food safety. . .)

Breaks

My mom does NOT like that I did this in my dining room. haha!

Cuts

Last night, actually, we ground the deer meat. I do not currently own a grinder, so I had borrowed my dad’s. I thawed the trim, which I had split between 8-1.5 pound bags, to a state where it was still slightly frozen in the middle. Deer does not have a lot of fat, so it is easier to get a good grind that isn’t mushy when it is still partially frozen. My dude trimmed some fat off of a few pounds of bacon and we mixed that in with our grind. A better fat to add would be bear, ideally, or beef kidney fat, but we had bacon and that’s what we used.

It’s important to note that unless you have a reliable vacuum sealing system, the best way to wrap your meat for long term (1-2 year storage) is the wrap it in cling wrap, tightly, pushing out as much air as possible as you go, then wrapping it with a wax coated freezer paper, again, pushing out as much air as possible. Then simply secure it with some tape and make sure to write the species, cut, and date on the package. This will help you when you go back to your freezer to determine what you’re going to make for dinner!

Would you like me to write an article on how to butcher a deer?

One more tip: Make sure you love your knives. I’m terminally particular with my tools. I have a Forschner Boning Knife and that is all I use. If it were a larger animal I would also need a Butcher’s Knife. I also have a Forschner Skinning Knife that I adore. I like this brand because they are well balanced, the handle has a great grip, and the blade holds an edge for a long time. The blade also moves with the cuts if needed, but is not so thin that it is flimsy. You want something that will be an extension of your dominant hand, but also can be precise. Know that these knives are pricey, but you really should be willing to invest in your equipment.

Nowwwww. . . . On to the recipe(s).

Stew: (This stew would work with any red meat, but I used Lamb and Venison this weekend and it was phenomenal.)

  • 2 lbs Red Meat
  • 1 lb Bacon
  • 4 large, waxy potatoes (Golden is my preference)
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large onion (I don’t EVEN want to hear that you don’t like onions. You do.)
  • Fresh Mushrooms
  • 1 Bulb Garlic
  • 1 16oz Beer (I always feel the darker the beer the better, but PBR is what we had and I really love cooking with that beer as well.)
  • 3 T Flour
  • 1/2 C Barley
  • 2 sprigs Sage
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary

My dude recently got me an 8″ cast iron skillet (I used to have a bad-ass set my parents got me and I don’t want to get into why I don’t have them any more because I am STILL pissed.) That would be ideal to cook this recipe in (for starters), I wish I had a dutch oven, but I don’t. Either way, you will want a larger pot with a heavy bottom.

  1. Cut up the bacon into small pieces and fry in skillet or bottom of pot. Dice the meat into bite sized pieces and sear in the bacon grease. Remove bacon and diced meat from pan and set aside.
  2. Dice your veggies into bite sized pieces and fry in the bacon grease, I always save my garlic until last so that it does not burn. Potatoes and carrots should be first because they take longer to cook, then add celery and onions. Then garlic. 🙂 Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. De-glaze the skillet with a bit of the beer, and pour the grease and beer de-glaze into your pot. Add your meat, veggies, and the rest of the beer and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is hot, take about a cup or so and shake it in a shaker with the flour and add it back to the pot. (Instead of de-glazing you could make a roux if you are ambitious.)
  4. Add your barley and seasonings and simmer on low, covered, for 2.5 hours. If it does not thicken enough, repeat the flour and liquid slurry process until it does thicken. Don’t you dare add cornstarch. Creep.

While you’re waiting for that to cook down you can make your. . .

Soda Bread

  • 4 C flour
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F), lightly grease a baking sheet
  2. Sift together your dry ingredients
  3. Cut in 1/2 C softened butter
  4. Whisk egg into buttermilk and add to your mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.
  5. Form into a round ball, and place on baking sheet. Say a prayer for your family to be nourished by the good food they will be eating and whatever else you’d like to pray for while you score a cross into the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
  6. Mix remaining butter and buttermilk, brush loaf with mixture.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, then brush with mixture again every 10 minutes until done. This is usually at the 50 minute point. You can check for a golden crust and, much like you test a cake, if a tooth pick comes out of the center clean, you’re set. Pretty much, if you go more than 60 minutes, you’ve gone too long.

Set the table, gather your family, and enjoy a fantastic winter meal!

Hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what you think of the recipes and if you tried them! Let me know also if you need any trouble shooting for those recipes!

xoxo

-S

P.S. – My dude’s sister-in-law got him a Treeing Walker Coon Hound puppy the Tuesday before Thanksgiving!

Ruger
Meet little Ruger ❤

Much A-Do About Skin Care

Sadly – I don’t have any before and after references for you. . . I know, I know. I need to get better about taking pictures. I’ve been getting told for years “Pics or it didn’t happen.” Not like I don’t have a tiny camera attached to me at all times or anything. . .

So yesterday I mentioned that my skin is clearer on my cleaner diet.

This is true. Eating garbage is known to wreak havoc on your skin. It also probably makes you part Billy-Goat and you don’t really want to have to explain to strangers which one of your parent’s is a pet of Satan do you?

Ahhhh. I’m so funny.

So I just wanted to give a little break-down about what I consider to be the problems with my skin and what else I have been doing to improve the condition of that big ol’ organ.

  • One problem I have is Acne and the awful scarring (but minimal and only really seen by me.) I have other scars on my face. Chicken Pox (hard to see anymore) and a good sized cut on my left occipital bone from a hockey injury. I am not concerned about this scar because I love this scar. Boom, bitches. (Let me know if the comments below if you want to see pictures of the fresh cut or hear the story. OR what kick-ass scars you have that you totally earned!)
  • I’m getting old and getting wrinkles and I’m just vain enough that I am FREAKING OUT.
  • I have extremely sensitive ginger skin, which is always getting sunburned, I have tons of freckles, oh, and my jewelry and clothes cover me with rashes.

First of all, you went to science class at some point in your life so you must know that your skin is an organ. No? It is:

Alas! The truth as told by the internet!

Skin
Source: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-the-skin#1

Okay – now that that is out of the way. . .

As with every human over the age of thirteen is – I am deeply concerned about acne. “The hell?” you say, “You’re thirty-three years old. You’ve got twenty years on that hypothetical pre-adult. You don’t have acne!” Piss off. Yes I do. Kind of.

To understand how to craft your own skin-care routine, you should have a basic understanding of two things: Pores and Acne.

An abridged summation of pores:

A pore is a teeny-tiny little opening on your skin that allows sweat or oil (sebum) to be excreted. You need this to happen because this is one way your body cleans out toxins (think about the world we live in, you are constantly exposed to toxic crap you don’t want residing in your body) and a very handy cooling system so that you don’t die when you’re running from bears. Or kickboxing. Who am I to judge what you do for cardio?

  • Oil Pores – are associated with your hair follicles. These are the pores that become comedones (keep on a-readin’). This sebum that is excreted is important because it keeps your skin healthy and hydrated, allowing it to function properly.
  • Sweat Pores – these guys are so teensy you can’t see them with the naked eye. Because they are not connected to a sebaceous gland, they do not get blocked, therefore, do not cause acne.

There are 8 types of acne that I’m going to detail for you here:

  1. Acne Vulagris: this is your common, run-of-the-mill acne. If you have this you get the whole shebang. Whiteheads. . . blackheads. . . pimples all over. AND a crap-ass social life. Go you! Common break-out areas are the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and back. Probably your butt. . . So you big toe might not get a zit, but the rest of you is fair game.
  2. Comedones: this is a group of acne lesions (ZITS) that are a result of hair follicles getting blocked up with oil (sebum, which you need a little of for your giant organ to function properly) and dead skin, as well as other pollutants such as make-up, et cetera. Comedogenic and Non-Comedogenic are terms used in skin-care and make up that refer to whether or not the product will trigger the comedone. (BTW non-comedogenic make up, which does not cause acne itself, can and will STILL block a pore, helping to cause acne, if it is not properly removed. Again. Wash your face like your momma told ya and don’t be a dolt.)
  3. Blackheads: (this is my biggest acne concern these days) So basically what’s going on here is that you have comedones that are open to the air (no skin covering). Contrary to what you’ve heard the other little punk bastards saying, they are not black because of dirt, they are black because of oxidation, much like how rust forms. There is a lot of speculation and mixed research that exists as the whether or not you should use a product like a Biore strip, or whether or not you can actually shrink or completely eliminate these little mother f**. . . s. Personally, and I will cover this later, I don’t believe you should use any form of extraction that involves manipulating your skin because wrinkles. But, for my own peace of mind, I am known to use a strip or two now and again.
  4.  Whiteheads: Effectively what is going on here is that the comedone has been grown over by your skin. So, much like an ingrown hair gets irritated, your little blackhead has a covering over it, now preventing the oxidation process, and making the gunk look white. This “gunk” isn’t actually puss until an infection forms around it. Just lovingly call it sebum right now. (I find it funny that stuff like this, created by your own body, mostly, will piss your skin off, but something like a piece of glass can stay embedded in your skin for years. . . hmm? Shall I write about this? Comment your answer below!)
  5. Papules: So these are the little tiny sore, inflamed bumps you get that are like teeny tiny mean little whiteheads. I didn’t get many of those, but they were the culprit of much of my scarring. Because they are inflamed, which indicates infection, picking at them can spread the infection which causes the outbreak to spread as well. This is also noted as a common cause of scarring.
  6. Pustules: Another scarring culprit, these are the pimples you get that are clearly infected. You can see the greenish yellow puss under the skin and they hurt real bad. Generally the skin surrounding them is red.
  7. Nodules: So I didn’t really have these when I was young, but I do now. These are the deep rooted bumps that you know have a pimple hidden inside. They are firm to the touch and are quite painful. The kicker? Even if you try to pop them, they won’t budge and most over the counter medications aren’t powerful enough to treat them, so you’re stuck waiting it out in misery or going to a dermatologist.
  8. Cysts: These are they stereotypical acne lesions. They are similar to a boil and act like a nodule. They are far more sensitive and considered to be one of the most severe forms. My younger brother was miserably afflicted with these little bitches when he was younger. (One day we will talk about the dangers of Acutane, friends). These tend to leave the red and purple pitting scars that you see on people who had terrible acne as a child. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

There are also terms such as mild, moderate, severe et cetera that I’m not going to get into in this obviously long article.

Fun game – name your zits. . .

Now, why exactly do we have to live with wrinkles? Long story short, according to entirety of the internet, therefore it must be true, (yeah??? You see my theme here? At least I did my research. . .) is that basically collagen and elastin, which is a protein that gives your cells their structure and a fiber that allows your cells to be pliable respectively, begins to break down over time due to UV exposure and simple usage. This leads to loss of moisture and thinning of the skin.

Repeated activity such as squeezing zits, stretching your eyelids to get that perfect winged liner, squinting in the sun, pursing the lips to take a drag of a cigarette, et cetera, speeds up this process. It’s like your cells only have x amount of times they can move in a certain way and if you add to that, you’re speeding up the aging. It’s like you’re depleting your savings account by buying a bunch of bullshit you don’t need. So quit doing the things!

Also – do I even have to say this? Wear UV protection. Just do it and don’t give me any lip.

Which brings us to my terribly sensitive skin. I want to be careful here, because I’d like to save the physically cool weirdness of being a fabulous ginger for another post, but me being a ginger does contribute to my sensitive skin. So right now I will say this about it: being a ginger is a result of a mutated set of genes that affects your skin’s pigment, mainly. Okay so I have freckles and this is a big part of why. But because I have freckles, that means there is very, very little melanin in the rest of my skin to protect it from UV rays and other irritants.  (Side note – I used to absolutely detest my freckles, but I love them now.)

To pan the camera out a little bit here, by all means we shouldn’t be using soaps and detergents with harsh chemicals anyway, but, because my skin is so sensitive, I get reminded of that every time I break down and buy another brand of laundry detergent or wear a piece of jewelry made of cheap metal. I get terrible bumpy rashes that burn and itch. This is called Contact Dermatitis.

I’m having a hard time really nailing down why skin is susceptible to this type of allergy, but yes, it’s an allergy.

Ohhhhhhhkayyyyyyyy – now that you’ve learned your science lesson for the day, let us talk about what I have been doing to combat this.

  • I rarely touch my face unless there is a true need
  • I’ve started using natural(ish) products in all manners of life, be it cleaners, skin and hair soaps, air fresheners on and on and on and on and on. . .
  • I’ve switched my laundry soap to All Free and Clear (which works far better than any other brand I’ve used anyway) and ditched the dryer sheets for those bad ass wool balls you put essential oils in (and sometimes I don’t even add the scents, but I freaking adore essential oils. Also these babies help to dry your clothes up to 30% faster and make your clothes oh-so-soft.)
  • I’ve created the following skin care routine:
    • I wash my face with a blend of castile soap and tea tree oil and only wash my face with this at night.
    • Afterwards, within 5 minutes, I slather on the retinol cream. (The brand I have linked is just what I use right now, I’m sure there is something better out there, but this is what I’ve settled on the start with.)
    • Next I gently pat on some under-eye cream. (Again, perhaps not the best, but it’s definitely not the worst, but I’ve used it for years and I really do like it. Not to mention that I’ve always had a family member in some capacity or another that sells Mary Kay.)
    • I let that set in and then I put on a collagen filling moisturizer and pat on some night cream (this time the brand is a must, because it is. . .) under my eyes (and on my feet and hands for added softness :)).
    • In the morning I wash my face thoroughly with only water and then again with the collagen filling moisturizer and some sunscreen.
    • and above all, DRINK ALL THE WATER!!!!

Now a lot of these products are not natural, and as I find an acceptable natural way to replace these things, I will let you know!

This post is getting lengthy so I will wrap it up today. Next week I will go a little deeper into the WHY of it all and we will talk about hair.

Thanks for sticking it out! I had fun gathering the information for this article and putting it all together for you!

Let me know below if you learned something new and what you do to help your skin!

xoxo

-S

Diet Update.

So I was doing daily posts for about 5 seconds and that’s clearly not going to work, so why not wait until 19 days later to give you an update. . .

Here’s why.

I’ve made some changes, but I’m at a point where I know that it’s doing some good, but I don’t feel/see it.

So I weighed in on my parent’s scale yesterday? Maybe the day before. Regardless I’ve gained 1 pound. Big woop. It’s not even the original scale I weighed myself on, but I think I will continue to use this one because of ease of access. . . So there is a variable for a little bit. That being said, clearly a huge difference in the past month-ish has been achieved. My clothes fit better, my skin is healthier, I have a big more energy, my depression is backing the hell off. We gotta be getting somewhere, right?

I’ve been doing yoga but not cardio because I’m lazy. Straight up this is why. Time to address that I suppose.

(^^^here’s a little yoga treat to just get into it. It’s short, sweet, and soothing.)

I still have yet to charge my fitbit. My goodness it’s like I don’t want to succeed!

My diet – so that is a struggle right now. I had posted that I was going to do the two eggs and a banana thing and I did for a while and it was fine, but, I have a crummy pancreas and that little bitch acts up whenever things are going good.

So – as I had stated previously, I was vegetarian for a while; and since I’m the type to do a lot of research, I had spent the past few weeks looking into diets. (Topics for later -why Keto is junk. Also – change your lifestyle DO NOT DIET). I finally settled on a vegan outlook, which isn’t really as miserable as it sounds. (I’ll link a couple of videos that cover both the health benefits and the ethical standpoint, also an alternative view.) This has really helped my pancreas.

(^^^Ethical Vegan Standpoint – the cow makes me cry every time.)

(^^^This guy can get a bit preachy, but his videos are really thorough and informative. Take it with a grain of salt and form your own opinion like a grown-up.)

(^^^Alternative view point. Also, subscribe to Joe Rogan right the hell now so that your life is better.)

Now here’s the dilemma – I totally understand the ethics of going vegan, and I’m probably a little more sensitive to the issues at hand than most, but I do believe we are omnivores, not carnivores, not herbivores. Ethically speaking – I feel a lot more comfortable getting my meat, eggs, and dairy from an ethically sourced provider. Yes, there is the logic of killing an animal against it’s will is still unethical, eggs are just chicken periods, not-your-mother-not-your-milk, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera; however that is not how I am going to be able to identify.

I do believe that a lot of this comes from me being an adult and now able to make my own choices on what I am comfortable with, ethically speaking, and also the fact that the way I grew up we grew our own vegetables, my dad hunted, we raised pigs, chickens, and even rabbits at one point, goats for milk when I was a wee little baby, and we got beef from 4-h, et cetera.

So – vegan for the majority of my meals, but, my dude hunts wild game (not my dude, but you need some Steven Rinella in your life) – I will eat that. I worked for this amazing bison producer, Prairie Monarch Bison Ranch, I will eat their products. Farm fresh eggs from local farmers? Absolutely. Dairy fresh milk from small time local folks who just have a couple of milk cows? Yep. Farmer’s Market? Well. . . there isn’t one here in the winter time, but again, yep.

So here’s my personal challenge to myself. Get my shit together and gather data for next Monday’s post. I’ll really make a conscious effort to gather some amazing content for you guys!

How are you all getting on with your diet? Let me know in the comments below and keep up the good work!

xoxo

-S

P.S. – for some inspiration, check out this guy I went to high school with! He’s really, really something amazing. I had absolutely no idea about what he was doing until my mom filled me in yesterday. (ahhh the benefits vs. struggles of boycotting Facebook. Ack.)

Consistency. . .

So, my fizzies, I believe that we have established that I’m not very consistent. Boooo.

I have so much that I want to talk about that I overwhelm myself and end up with tons of drafts I’m worried I will never finish. So – I’ve come up with a little weekly line-up of content categories that I’d like to implement. I think this will give me the opportunity to talk about allllll of the things and also push me to remain consistent!

Sunday –  Music

Monday – Weight Loss/Fitness/Diet

Tuesday – Beauty

Wednesday – Non-Farm

Thursday – Mental Health

Friday – Pop-Culture

Saturday – Wild Card!

Let me know what you think! I’ll take suggestions/requests, too! And yes – I still owe you that video. . .

xoxo

-S