Monday, July 30, 2012


I love to go on vacation! (Except for packing and unpacking, I don't love that part!) Our family just arrived back home after spending 5 fun filled days at Bear Lake. We have the tradition of staying at a family owned beach house right on the shore of this local Utah lake. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue, backed by beautiful mountains and refreshingly cool in temperature! (I prefer a little warmer water temp., but it's still fun to play in.) We had the luxury of having friends with ski boats join us and we got to water ski, tube, knee board and spend many fun filled hours on the lake. I even had my first snorkeling experience! I always worry a bit about leaving the farm and what might happen to it while we are gone. But it's so nice also to get away, relax and play! Upon our arrival home everything was in perfect order, animals all safe and healthy, garden dry, but not dead! Squash bugs only got one plant while I wasn't looking! (damage in previous years has been a lot worse!) This time we also got to have the man of our house with us the entire time and that never happens! We (the kids and I) usually go up all week and he joins us on the weekend, (he's kind of our family's indentured servant, always working so hard so we can play!) But this year it worked out that we could all go up together! We had a mu+ needed time of rest, relaxation, play and much delicious food!! I think we all gained about 5 pounds from all the fantastic meals we shared there! So there is a reason for the slowing of blog posts lately, (I've been stuffing my face, LOL!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What to do with all those Jalapenos!

If you are like me and grow tons of jalapeno peppers, don't fret! I have an idea!! I did this last year and it worked fantastically! I use lots of jalapenos for my salsa and canning, but I always have lots left over and they would go bad if I tried to eat them all fresh. So last year I decided to freeze them, it was lovely. My husband and I both love jalapeno poppers. I think it just reminds us of a super fun time we had on a friends trip to Lake Powell together! On this trip some of our friends made these poppers of which I will include the recipe/instructions to make. We loved them and I make them at home often, but it seems I want them in the winter too when the jalapenos just aren't in season. So what I did was... on one day I picked all the extra jalapenos, washed them, removed all the stems and seeds and left them cut in halves (lengthwise), then I froze them. So whenever we got a hankerin' for jalapeno poppers I just had to pop them out of the freezer, fill them with the good stuff and bake. Easy Peasy! It can seem like a lot of work to stem, cut in half and remove all the seeds of many peppers at once, but then you are done in one day and the rest is fast/easy! So when my friends did these, they cut the top off the pepper and then filled the pepper with cream cheese, stuffed a Little Smokie down inside and wrapped in bacon. The only thing I did to modify their recipe was I prefer a smaller bite, so I cut the peppers in half then fill with cream cheese, Little Smokie and wrap with bacon. Works for me! Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 min. (also I prefer the pre-cooked bacon instead of the raw stuff, it takes less time and crisps up nicer!) Another thing I like to do sometimes is brush them with a little bit of my favorite BBQ sauce, mmm!

Jalapenos, stems and seeds removed and cut in half lengthwise
Cream Cheese
Little Smokies, sausages
Pre-cooked bacon
Toothpicks to stick through, to hold together
Your favorite BBQ sauce if you want


Cut off stems, cut in half (lengthwise) and remove seeds and veins.

Fill inside of hollow pepper halves with cream cheese.

Wrap bacon slice around and tack in place with toothpick. (because these were small jalapenos, I used a half of a Little Smokie and a half a slice of bacon.

Ready for the oven. (These took 11 minutes on 400 degrees, you may need to increase baking time for larger peppers, I would say not to exceed 15 min.)

Hot lovin' from the oven!
MMM...hubby must have smelled them cooking from a mile away, he's here just in time!

Remember to either wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers or wash hands with soap and cold water immediately after cutting to avoid burning your hands/fingers. And don't get the juice in your eye, ouch!! Never wash with hot water, it will burn worse! The majority of the heat in these peppers is in their seeds and veins so if you don't like too much spicy heat just remove them and they will be quite mild. Leave them in if you want the fire!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kacey's Dresses, an update on a work in progress!

If you are following me on my dress making adventure, here is an update. Today through email my trusty mentor at Shabby Apple and I discussed colorways for my dresses and made a few minor adjustments to sleeves. We will make the ultimate decisions on colors when we get the fabric swatches from the manufacturer. They will get back to me today on costs for making the first sample dresses. We are really doing this!! It's so much fun I can't stand it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Follow Up...To Risk or not to risk that is the question.

So I blogged back in May about my decision to risk to manufacture my first women's dress line. I am happy to announce that the bank has decided to grant me the loan! After much time, effort and expense, I signed my life away today and am off on a new adventure. Sure...I am nervous and a little scared, but I am so excited!! I have designed about 15 dresses total and will start with the manufacturing of 6 of those designs to make about 1,400 dresses total in my line to come out next Spring 2013. They will be sold on consignment on the Shabby Apple website. They accepted me into their emerging designer program and are mentoring me through the manufacturing process. I am happy to be embarking on this new venture and with a company with such great dress making success.  I will be blogging a lot about this new adventure. Right now the dresses are sketches. We are in the process of making them into actual patterns and then the first one of each style will be made (a sample) and we will make any changes to that if needed before making about 200-400 of each dress. Stay tuned for updates on Kacey's dresses!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My dreaded battle with the squash bugs...and so it begins!

And so it begins for another battle with the dreaded squash bugs! We have been mortal enemies for many years now. They are devil bugs and for some reason, where I live they are terrible! If you have never encountered these creatures, count yourself lucky. They have made many a lesser gardener shrink and shrug in dismay! You don't know they exist until a plant is just mysteriously dead! You can be happily gardening along and then BAM, all your squash plants are wilted and dying! It always happens about mid July and if I don't get a handle on the situation, they will destroy every squash and pumpkin plant I have. You might say...quit being so dramatic and just spray them! But as an organic gardener I choose not to. (I tried spraying them with some hefty insecticide in my early gardening years and the huge amount I used didn't even make them duck for cover, let a lone kill them, so I decided to try other ways of destroying them. Now I don't usually think of myself as such a cold hearted person, but I must say I really like disposing of these blasted things. (I'm like a squash bug hit woman!) In my garden I'm usually okay with a few insects eating my fresh veggies, as long as I get teh majority of the food, but when they are killing my plants before I even get a single squash...I find that unacceptable! So what do I do? Search and destroy! They are stealthy bugs, are super egg layers, and really good at reproducing in ridiculous numbers. They are fast, great at hiding and hard to kill. My favorite is to hand pick them and drown them in vegetable oil. I know this might sound heartless, but you must understand, we have a long history of them utterly destroying my endless hours of tilling, planting, weeding in a single day. So when it comes to squash bugs, I have no mercy! I feel like the Sensai from the original Karate Kid movie!! I hand pick the adults I see and drown them in oil, (I would get more satisfaction from smashing them, but I have heard that this will only attract more squash bugs because when you smash them they have a very strong "squashy" smell and I am taking no chances of inviting more!) I look for eggs and remove them too. (Greatly reducing their future population.) I let my chickens forage through the squash, I have found them to be the best eradication program, however you must know that this has it's own problem, (chickens like tomatoes and other yummies in the garden so keep them confined to the squash!) So you may ask, do my efforts work? Well usually, if I keep at it and not relent, I can get the squash I so desperately desire, but get complacent or ignorant and the poor squash plants pay the price! Sorry, I must go, I have squash bugs to kill!!

The culprit, my mortal enemy on a zucchini! (I know you expected them to be bigger, uglier, scarier and carry swords!) 

Their dreaded spawn!

The complete and utter destruction!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gift idea, themed aprons!

I like to give personalized gifts to say thanks to a person who has done something nice. One of my favorite things to give is a personalized apron. I have done many like camo if they are hunters, holiday themes such as Christmas or Thanksgiving (maybe for those who are hosting all those parties/dinners), whatever the person is into, that's what I try to make. The latest one I did was a cabin themed apron for my grandmother to give to her friend who is hosting their class reunion at their cabin. I thought this was a great idea to show your appreciation with a cabin themed, handmade gift! When I was picking out the fabric at the local quilt shop, the lady behind the counter said "I would have never thought of making an apron out of that fabric" and I thought to myself "why not?" I think personalized or theme aprons are so fun! Here's the one I made for my grandma, it has bears, moose, fish, trees, deer, cabins, fly fishing gear, canoes and I'm sure it will be worn for lots of yummy food fixed at their cabin for many years to come!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Recipe: Kacey's Thai Larb Chicken Salad

I love, love Thai food!! Some friends introduced us to it a few years ago and I'm hooked! There is a great hole in the wall place to get good Thai here in Payson, and I frequent it. But one of my favorite things to do is experiment with food and try to create dishes that I get at restaurants or potlucks. So I decided to try to make one of my favorite restaurant Thai dishes, they call it Larb. I'm sure you could Google larb chicken salad recipe and find one, but where's the fun in that?! This dish is light, flavorful, quick, easy, healthy and you control the heat. I like heat, but sometimes my idea of hot is not the same as the person making it in a restaurant and my lips about burn off! The flavors sing in your mouth and the iceberg lettuce and water chestnuts give it a satisfying crunch. So here's my version of Thai Larb Chicken Salad. Hope you love it!!


1 package of ground chicken or I have made it by chopping one chicken breast very fine before cooking
1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 Cup water chestnuts, chopped small
1/2 Cup Peppers, chopped (I did a variety of red and green bell, anaheim, and banana, since that's what I had growing in my garden.)
1 Teaspoon shallots, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
3 Green onions, chopped
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped fine
5 Mint leaves, chopped fine
1/2 Teaspoon Chili oil, (available in the Asian section of my groc. store)
1/2 Teaspoon Fish sauce, (also available in the Asian section)
1 Tablespoon Soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
And a couple of dashes of Tabasco and it's the bees knees!! (This is where you control the heat, put some in and taste, then add more if desired.)
Iceberg lettuce, chopped fine, washed and chilled in fridge until ready to serve.


Heat a non-stick skillet with 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, add shallots, garlic and chicken, cook over high heat while stirring occasionally until done (about 5-7 min.), seasoning with salt/pepper while cooking, then add peppers, water chestnuts, green onions, juices of lime and lemon, chili oil, fish sauce, soy sauce and Tabasco, and stir until incorporated, take off heat and add the cilantro, mint, cherry tomatoes and serve over a chilled bed of iceberg lettuce. The chicken/vegetable mixture is warm and the lettuce is chilled, it's a nice contrast. You might think this sounds dry, and needs more dressing, but trust me there is a lot of flavor and the juices make a nice dressing. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Treat Fruit Nachos

As I was shopping at my local grocery store (Payson Market), I passed by the deli where there was a girl giving out samples. I love sample day! It's like going to Costco without the 40 extra minutes of driving, getting ran over by ten zillion people coming your way, as you and your 3 screaming children need to go the other way, (it's like a demolition derby free for all in there!) the cart loaded down with 12 heavy boxes that cost $150 bucks. (Sorry, I have shopping at Costco scars, LOL!) Anyway, on the sample table they had these freshly fried tortilla chips and they had sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. (Yes, I bought a bag, yes...I could have eaten the whole bag myself, but I refrained. I shared them with my kids, and together we polished them off!) They were good enough to eat all by themselves, but they inspired me to create a new recipe. I love nachos! The home made kind, the gourmet kind you get at a restaurant, and I even love the kind with the "fake" cheese you get at the ballpark or gas station! So I decided to top these crispy, sweet, cinnamony triangles with more deliciousness. And turned them into sweet, treat nachos. I think I love them! (I may have to start Zumba again, Oi!)

One bag Payson Market cinnamon/sugar tortilla chips (or I guess you could fry your own and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar if you want to be an over achiever or if you don't live close to Payson Market.)

Top cinnamon/sugar chips with your favorite fruits, chopped small.
I chose: Strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, grapes, blueberries, and bananas.

White Chocolate, melted and drizzled over the nachos.

Blackberry preserves, I over achieved on this one, (I used my home made blackberry syrup, I picked the blackberries myself at a patch here in West Mtn., I removed the seeds, (I hate seeds) made and bottled/processed a syrup that we also love to put on pancakes etc. If you don't have home made blackberry syrup, you could use your favorite jam from the store and thin it down to be drizzled over the chips/fruit nachos, oooowey baby!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Healthy Eating Tip: Try Greek Yogurt!

My kids love ranch dressing, and I'm not sure love is a strong enough word! They want to drown everything in ranch!! And I love the Hidden Valley Ranch Packet that you mix with mayo and milk, it tastes fresher and better than the stuff in the bottle, I think. But, in my attempt to get my children to eat healthier food, ranch had to be improved! I tried using Fage Strained Greek Yogurt (got it at Costco) instead of traditional mayo and I love it! It's tangier and lighter tasting and so much better for you. This yogurt has no fat compared to the 10g of fat per tablespoon of mayo! This greek yogurt has only 9g of sugar compared to another popular vanilla yogurt that has a whopping 33g of sugar per cup. I never realized how much sugar can be in yogurt, wowza! And this Greek yogurt has 23g of protein vs. 10g in the other vanilla. I'm sure there are lots of other ways you could substitute this tangy, thick yogurt, I'm thinking it would be good in the cucumber sauce you make to put on gyros too. I have also tried the Fage individual packaged Greek yogurts with the fruit, very yummy! (And no the Fage people do not pay  me to advertise their products, I just think they are good!) Now...we will just see if the kids notice the difference!