Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beef It's What's For Dinner!

Catherine and I have been on a mission to cook as many meals as we can at home. One of our favorite recipes is a slow cooked roast recipe that we found in a cookbook put out by one of our local churches. Everyone knows those church ladies know how to cook and this wonderful recipe shows just that. So tonight we tried to take pictures along the way so we could share this easy and delicious meal.

The ingredients you will need are:
  • 1 Beef Roast (we have tried different cuts, but haven't found one we like more than others)
  • 1 packet Onion Soup Mix
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup or Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 1 soup can full of water

Here is what you need to do.

First brown your meat. We put some Season Salt, Pepper, and flour on the meat and then put it into a dutch oven with a little oil in the bottom. Once one side is brown (about 3-4 mins) turn it over and hopefully it will look like this.

Once the roast has browned remove it to a plate.

This step is optional, but we poured a little red wine into the pan to loosen up all of the wonderful brown bits stuck to the bottom.

After you get all those pesky bits off the bottom of the pan, add the mushroom soup, can of water, and onion soup mix. we also added a few sliced mushrooms to the mix.

Next put the roast back into the pan. Like this.

Then push the roast to the bottom of the pan and make sure that the roast is covered in what will soon be the most wonderful gravy you have ever had.

Put this in the oven at 300 and cook for as long as you can, at least three hours. You can also add some vegetables into the pan during the last hour of so of cooking. We added some sliced new potatoes to ours.

For many this would be all they would want for dinner but we also had some cornbread and Catherine's amazing dump cake. This is another great recipe that only has three ingredients. 1) one box yellow cake mix. 2) your favorite pie filling. 3) butter, and a lot of it. All you do it put the pie filling in a pan, the put the dry cake mix on top, and finally cover the top in little globs of butter. Then cook at 350 until the top is brown.

The cornbread as it is baking in the oven.

The dump cake with a big scoop of Blue Bell Vanilla right on top!

If any of you readers out there have any good recipes that you would like to share, please comment and leave us your favorites.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A lazy Saturday

Here it is 4:30 in the afternoon and I just got out of the shower. I am pretty sure that is about as lazy as you can get on a Saturday. Our morning consisted of catching up on our TiVo and then watching random reality shows. It is possible that I could still be sitting on the couch flipping back and forth between Food Network and some fishing show, but I have very exciting news to report. Last night Catherine's grandpa called and asked us if we would like to join them for dinner at...(drum roll please)...Swingin' Door BBQ in Richmond, Texas. What is so special about that? Well the Swingin' Door just happens to be the same place that we had our rehearsal dinner for the wedding.

A little bit of a back story on this place. Lesli (our wedding coordinator at the place we got married) recommended this place to us after we told her that we just wanted a casual, laid back dinner that had some Texas flair to it. Since I am from Indiana (and still lovingly referred to as a Yankee after almost 5 years of being out of the great North) I wanted to share some Texas food with my other Yankee guests and who doesn't like good BBQ. So my parents booked our dinner at the Swingin' Door and Catherine and I had every intention to go to the restaurant and try the food before we had our close friends and family there for our rehearsal dinner. Well as many of you know, the closer your wedding gets the less time you have to go out and try new restaurants - you are just struggling to get everything done before your guests start to arrive. With that being said, we never got the chance to go eat. So the night of the rehearsal came and I was a little nervous about the food.
No one in our group had ever ate at Swinging Door... but we were pleasantly surprised with how awesome the food and atmosphere was! My parents had reserved an entire private room for us and arranged for us to be served family style, where each table got their own dishes to share. It was great! We had a wonderful time. Of course, Catherine and I had a pretty big day the next day, so neither of us ate too much. The day of the wedding, we had a pretty fancy meal including prime beef tenderloin, mushroom risotto, crab cakes, empanadas, wedding cake, grooms cake truffles, southwestern egg rolls, chicken tenders (Cat's favorite), imported cheeses and fruits,... etc. We had a real spread! But all of us in the wedding party kept mentioning how great the barbecue was from the night before and how we couldn't wait to go back.

Well... now we'll get our chance! We're just about to make the thirty minute drive over to Richmond and have a fun night out with Catherine's grandparents and mom. Just another rockin' Saturday night in our life!

Hopefully we'll get some pictures to share from our meal tonight.

Here's some pictures I took this week on some of my adventures.
Just down the road from our Brahman showbarn there is a house that always has an assortment of animals, both large and small. I was driving to Wharton to meet Catherine and Larry's for lunch and when I drove by this place the goats and mini horse were close to the fence so I took a quick picture.

Right next to Larry's restaurant there is a little park and the Wharton Art Club has painted some really cool flowers on the side of a building. I have not noticed this place in all the time I have been in Texas, but the other day I drove by and saw this neat place.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our Winter

We live on the gulf coast in Texas, about 40 miles from the ocean. I've lived here my whole life so I'm used to mild winters. But my dear husband, born and raised in west central Indiana, is used to cold ones.

That's not to say we haven't had our share of cold, icy, and snowy in Boling, Texas this year. We were blessed (yes, I believe blessed!) to get 4 inches of snow the first week in December. The only downfall of the snow for us was the fact that our huge bottlebrush tree (or bush?) that we received as a gift from my grandparents ended up dead. The weight of the snow literally split this already struggling (from the transplant from their house to ours) 8 foot tall bush right down the middle. I was so happy to get such a thoughtful gift as this... my grandma had been growing it for 5 years so it was truly spectacular. We couldn't wait for it to bloom. Then came the snow... and down went the bottlebrush.

Then it warmed up to above freezing, and rained... and rained... and rained. The ranch truly turned into a nasty mudpit for about a month.

About three weeks ago, we had about 4 days of hard freezing. This was all new to us! Lucky for us, Luke is an ol' pro at winter animal care. As soon as we woke up on the first morning of the hard freeze, we realized we didn't have hot water at our house. But Luke wasn't worried about that. He immediately said, "I bet the cows don't have water either because of the freeze." We spent every morning the next few days riding around with our garden tools (because of course, we don't have any real ice tools) and breaking the ice off the troughs around the ranch. Boy, I never realized how many water troughs we have on this place.

During the winter, we spend a lot of time every day putting out round bales for the cows. Luke takes that duty sometimes and anytime he does, if it happens to be on a weekend so I'm at home, he wants me to ride with him in the tractor for company. It's pretty much an all day job as we always have to put out about 15-20 round bales over the whole ranch. I don't mind going along but I really wish the buddy seat in the tractor was more comfortable. I just bounce along and it is not pleasant! Luke's drivers seat has these springs so he ends up with a smooth ride. I take pillows and sit on but it is still pretty rough! We have lots of good times though riding in that tractor, just visiting and laughing hoping that no cows hook us when we get out of the tractor to cut the strings.

Also the month of January brings lots of calving. Calving in the winter here means that the heavy cows get moved to the heated calving barn. There was about two weeks of 2 times a night checking... midnight and 3 a.m. The first few nights of checking I got up with Luke for the 3 a.m. check - but I'm ashamed to admit that towards the end, I would pretend to not hear the 3 a.m. alarm, and Luke would let me sleep. My Dad is the calving barn professional checker - he has done it by himself for 30 years. I just made it through our first winter of sharing the middle of the night checking duties, and boy, I have a big appreciation for what he's done for so long. And... I'm glad we're a full 11 months away from next January!

Anyway, here's some pictures of our winter in Texas.

These Brahman babies look like they're enjoying winter in Texas!

Some Brahmans taking a drink at the big trough in the "front pasture" in front of my parents' house.

These are actually flowers in OUR flowerbed.

The story of the past few months around here... mud!

Our neighbor and good friends Russell and Lacie Sciba's chicken named James Brown. We want our own chickens, but in the meantime, we admire theirs!

Burn pile!

This recip looks like she's ready for her round bale to be delivered!

One of our Shorthorn babies.

Luke says he calved this one out!

The calving barn... where all the magic happens at 3 AM!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buttons and Beans

This summer we became the new owners of two of the best porch cats ever. We found both of these cats when they were just a few months old. Actually they found us. Both of them ventured onto the porch and it was a hard fought battle to get them to not run off when a human appeared. Now these two cats are the most appreciative animals in the world.

The first cat is a long-haired grey and white kitten we named Buttons. Both Catherine and I think that we should take him to a cat show because his conformation is impeccable. We think that if he were a show steer he would win Louisville or Denver hands down.

The other cat came along about 3 weeks after Buttons and the vets told us he is about 2 months younger. We have dubbed him Beans. Beans is another long-haired kitten, but he is yellow. If I would have paid a little more attention in Genetics I would be able to tell you if he was Agouti or Tabby, but I skipped those labs. Anyway, unlike Buttons who is the clubby show steer cat, Beans is like a Longhorn. His hocks rub together and he is not very muscular at all. However, he is quite the assassin. He constantly is killing mice or lizards and bringing them to the porch.

On of our favorite things to do with the porch kittens is to come up with different names for them based off of Beans and Buttons. Here are some of our favorite ones.

  1. Beaners
  2. Frijoles
  3. Refried
  4. Borracho
  5. Bean Bag
  6. Beanie


  1. Boo-tones
  2. Pasta Butanesca
  3. Encyclopedia Buttanica
  4. Boutenierre
  5. Hopper (Ok, this isn't based off his name, but he jumps up to be pet. Hence Hopper)

As you can tell, we are just crazy over these two cats. Below are a couple of pictures of these two fine felines. Hope you enjoy them!

Beans sitting on the porch.

Buttons poses for his close-up.

Beans laying on the flower bed.

Buttons strikes a pose.

Beans attacking a rose bush.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Welcome, Howdy, Whazzz Up, and Hey There!

Welcome to our blog. Catherine and I are always wishing that we had some sort of way to record all of our adventures out and about. I am looking for a way to keep up with my family back in Indiana and a way for them to know what is going on with their Texas family. We are not into scrapbooking or keeping a journal, so we decided that we needed to start a blog so we can tell all about what we do. We have been working on setting up this blog for a while tonight and we both have big days planned tomorrow. Catherine has to head to her job in the city and I will be working with the V8 crew putting in embryos.
Some of the favorite blogs that we like to read feature some really neat pictures that aren't necessarily professional, but are fun to look at and enhance the stories people tell. We were lucky enough to have a professional photographer ( come to the ranch and take our engagement pictures. She seemed to think that our Brahman cattle were good photo subjects. We will be providing photos of our own once we get started blogging, but in the mean time here are some cool photos that Lauren took of our cows.

More coming soon from us. Until then.

This is our favorite Brahman show heifer from V8 Ranch, Miss V8 858/6, Catherine's Duchess

This was a new baby calf born the day Lauren was here.