Wednesday, March 30, 2011

65 degrees

Yesterday the sun was shining and I had the day off. I took the day off because I had to take the horses to a vaccination clinic and the shoer was coming. I figured since I had the rest of the day off and I had just spent a considerable amount of cash on the critters that I deserved a little me time. I took Ms Lily and we went for a little trail ride. Taking Ms Lily anywhere can be an experience. She is cranky in the trailer. She is quite the "looky lou" on the trail and she can whirl with the best of them. But yesterday she must have needed the day out as much as I did. She was a perfect partner, sure footed and forward. It was a great ride. I took my Iphone so that I would have a camera and I am so glad I remembered to do it. I want to share pictures of my "back yard" with you.

I live about 7 miles from the tallest earth filled dam in the United States. I believe that Pakistan has the largest and Egypt has the tallest. Since we have had so much rain the lake is filling rapidly and they have started to release water from the spill way. Last week they were releasing a lot more than what is in the photo above but it is still very impressive. They don't release very often so it is quite an event when they get a significant release. The spillway at maximum allowable release is 150,000 cubic feet per second. If I remember correctly they can actually release over 200 CFS but the river can't handle that flow. Pretty impressive amount of water.

I saw so much wildlife. Ducks, honkers, turtles, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys and even a few wild flowers were starting to bloom. I guess they were all out enjoying the sunshine too. There is 160+ miles of trails to ride in the recreation area. This particular section is always rideable. It is the old train tracks (they removed the rails) they used when they were building the dam to take the rock and earth to the site.

There is an old tunnel that you have to go through. When I was much, much younger there were no lights in the tunnel and we used to ride through it in the dark. Of course we made up all kinds of stories about the bats that lived in there.

We did come across a couple of downed trees. We had to go up and around this one. The state is very good about clearing the trees so the next time we go they will all be cleaned up. We also have some of the nicest horse camps that I have ever seen. They have pipe corrals, a round pen with wash racks. The restrooms and showers are first class and very clean. The only thing they don't have is RV hook ups for power and sewer. The link below will take you to the state parks site for more information.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into my back yard.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday night drill

At our lesson last night we did a drill that TL had me do before but I had forgotten all about so I am writing it out for my much dementia'd (is that a word?) brain to remember.

I wanted to work on moving the shoulders around. First start out walking a quiet counter arc circle. Nose tipped to the outside slightly - so I am walking a circle to the right, nose and arc to the left. When you have that going, stop, take a couple of steps back, and roll back to the left. Pick up the right shoulder and counter arc to a left circle. Fix the back up if it isn't fluid. Don't lean. (boy do I need work on that one) Don't ask for a fast or hurried roll back. It sounds easy enough but to make it fluid without making it hurried is a little challenging.

I rode Little Bit last night and I have to say it was one of the nicest rides I have had on her to date. She was quiet and willing. I know that I painted kind of an ugly picture of her on a recent blog. I took a picture of her a couple of days ago so here it is. I took it with my Iphone - it was rainy outside so I tried to get an indoor shot - forgive the quality.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tasty Kitchen

I added a badge! Yippee for me. I look at Tasty Kitchen everyday and a lot of nights we dine on a meal that I saw a recipe for that very day. I like to cook. I like cooking even better when someone else tells me what to cook. I like it even more when they tell me what to cook, compliment me on how good it was and then they clean up the mess. I am often disappointed when it comes to the last item.

My friend Jennifer calls me on occasion and will ask me questions about how to prepare something and I enjoy talking to her about recipes and food. She is kind of a health nut so her idea of good food and mine are a little different. I like butter, heavy cream, butter, whipping cream, cream cheese, butter, and meat. Pre-WLS meat would have been at the top of the list but since I had WLS meat is one of those foods that just doesn't set my world on fire anymore.
Jen had a baby. He is the cutest little guy. But as babies do, they can kind of turn your world upside down. Jen was stressing over how to get dinner on the table with a new born at home. I tried to be helpful but I am several hundred miles away. The whole need for putting butter and cream in everything that I like to cook kind of got in the way too. I knew that I was really in trouble coaching her when she called and asked... what is "whole milk". I told her it was regular milk. She said "vitamin D milk?" I said yes. She says but it doesn't say whole milk. I tell that all milk has vitamin D in it, whole milk just doesn't have a reduced fat content. She sends me a picture from her cell phone making sure she had the right one. She did. I hope she drank a glass of whole milk so she knows what she has been missing. Just a footnote... I hate milk - whole, reduced fat, low fat, or non fat. Yuck. But if I am going to cook with milk, it is going to be whole milk.

I had just tried a recipe for Beef Drip and it worked out for a couple of meals so I typed up the recipe and some left over ideas and emailed it to her. I also sent her a copy of The Pioneer Womans Cookbook for Christmas. It is a beautiful book and even if she didn't cook out of it, I knew she would love the pictures and stories.

So in honor of the new badge that I figured out how to add in one try, I am going to share the recipe ideas with you. These are some of the best beef sandwiches that I have ever eaten. Recipe is off Tasty Kitchen / Pioneer Woman.

Dinner #1 -
• 1 whole Beef Chuck Roast, 3.5 To 4 Pounds
• 1 can Beef Consomme Or Beef Broth ( I used the stuff in the box – the whole box)
• 1 whole Large Onion, Sliced Thick
• 3 cloves Garlic, Peeled and cut up
• ½ cups Soy Sauce
• 1 cup Sherry (cooking Sherry Is Fine)
• 3 Tablespoons (heaping) Italian Seasoning
• 1 teaspoon Salt
• ¼ to ½ cups Water
• ½ jars (16 Oz) Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice
• Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls
• Monterey Jack or Mozzarella Cheese

You can not do anything wrong with this recipe. You can not screw it up and you will never make it the same twice. If you don’t have soy sauce, who cares, put some Worchester sauce in there, no sherry, dump some wine in…Live dangerously. The main thing to remember is that you want a lot of liquid, it should cover the roast. And it needs to cook, cook and cook some more. It only takes maybe 10 minutes to put together. But it needs to cook for hours.
Put the chuck roast, onion, beef broth, garlic, soy sauce, sherry, seasonings, water and pepperoncini in a dutch oven or crock pot and simmer for 6 – 7 hours. Walk away and just let it go. The longer it cooks the more tender is it. You want it falling apart. Trust me.
Take meat out and shred using a fork. You can put the meat back in the juice and keep warm till you are ready to serve. Use the juice for Au Jus dipping.
Butter and toast rolls, put beef on, then cheese, put in broiler for a few minutes to melt cheese and then serve with Au Jus for dipping and a salad. Your man will think you are a goddess.
Dinner #2 – Because you are NOT going to able to eat all this in one night.
You can either plan the next night’s dinner or you can freeze the meat to be served in a week or two. Just drain meat put it in a zip lock FREEZER bag.
Option #1 – mix left over meat with your favorite BBQ sauce for BBQ Beef Sandwiches – serve on a French roll or hamburger bun. When I do pulled pork - I use a French roll, add caramelized onions, and blue cheese. I know it sounds gross, but it is to die for. To caramelize onions you slice them, and cook them in butter and brown sugar until the are limp and slimy. Devine. It would work with this beef recipe too. Try it - don’t be a big fat chicken.
Option #2 – mix left over meat with taco seasoning or enchilada sauce and make tacos using lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, olives, lime, avocados, etc. and either flour or corn tortillas.
Option #3 - use left over meat to make enchiladas. Dice an onion and cook in olive oil till tender (about 5 minutes) mix meat in and cook till warm, use flour tortillas, put meat /onion mixture in, ( if you want to get a little crazy you can put cheese in, or olives, or the kitchen sink) roll up, pour Las Plumas Enchilada Sauce (big can - mild for you whimps) all over it, put lots of cheddar or jack cheese or both on top and bake for 45 – 60 minutes (or until hot and bubbly) at 350. Serve with sour cream and a nice green salad. Or refried beans if you are feeling really Mexican.

Hope you all enjoy. And if you don't already own the Pioneer Woman Cookbook - get you one. Trust me - you won't be disappointed - like when no one does your dirty dinner dishes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

1st horse show and Semper the Celeb!

We went to our first reining show of 2011. It was on our home turf at SCR. Semper and I had a really good warm up. I entered the Rookie and Green Reiner Classes. In the rookie class we started out really good. He was floating around his circles but he was getting a little pushy. I tried to get him to come back to me and he wasn't haven't it. We did a nice lead change to the left and then a couple more nice circles. Then when I asked for the lead change to the right, he changed but he stuck his head up in the air and got really pushy in the bridle. Wouldn't rate, wouldn't give his face just wanted to go. So I took him two handed and set him into the ground. Backed him off my hands and then asked him to finish the pattern. I schooled the rest. He started to get sluggish in the turn arounds and I gave him a swift kick with my spur and said get over there now! Before our next class I went out and really gave him a good warm up. I made him work a lot harder and wouldn't accept anything but perfection. I gave him a little time to air up before our next class. He was way better in the next class. He did start to get a little pushy but he came back to me. I was happy that he was listening. I finished the class and got a 65. Not a great score. I know each place that I lost points. Our lead departure wasn't as good as it could have been. He was late and ducked a little into his lead change to the left. The roll back to the right wasn't perfect. The roll back to the left was outstanding. The first stop wasn't good but the next two were o.k. The turnarounds could have been better, he acted like he wasn't sure what we were going to do and he was trying to anticipate the next move so he may have taken a few too many steps forward into the turnaround. The good news is that we placed second out of twelve.

On another note...Interestingly enough...there is currently a custody battle going on over him. When I die that is. If I should go before he does. I was telling my BFFITU (best friend forever in the universe - haha... I made that up!) that I was going to put in my will that if anything should happen to me that she is to take Semper. She has the money to care for him, she loves to ride and I know that he would live a good life with her no matter what. My daughter, Trista, was eavesdropping on this conversation and when I hung up the phone, she got really indignant with me. "What the hell do you mean you are giving Semper to Lisa?" she said. I explained that I didn't want to burden her or her siblings with taking care of an old horse - hopefully he will be really old when I die, right?. She wasn't hearing it. I went home and was telling my husband about her getting her panties in a twist over custody of Semper and my older daughter pipes up and starts ranting and raving about "how could you just give our brother away? Semper is part of OUR family" she says. Wow. I don't think that it would have caused this my drama if I had given their real brother to Lisa.