Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Hooves

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

We have now added another equine member to our family. Through the help of a friend, I was able to get him for a steal of a deal. He has been very sweet, laid back, and is a super fast learner! He is not quite a year yet, so it will be quite a while before he is ridden.

Over much debate about names, we settled on the name Rafferty. So here is a pic, and stay tuned for further adventures, as our horse family has grown from one to two!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chuck Wagon, revisited.

Winter White Chicken Chili

1 whole Rotisserie Chicken
4 cans Great northern beans
1 can white corn
1 can chicken broth
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 large jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 whole white onion, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 packets white chili seasoning mix
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Shred rotisserie chicken, set chicken aside.
In a large skillet, combine green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, and onion with olive oil. Add one seasoning packet. Simmer until tender.

Put rest of ingredients other than wine into crock pot. Add chicken. Drain peppers/onion mix when done, add to crock pot.
Add wine to crock pot. Stir well.

Allow to simmer until hot and bubbly.
Serve with crackers and Monterey jack cheese on top.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Friends of a feather, flock together...

Recently my beloved horse , Legend, suffered a serious tendon injury and has had to be confined to a stall for weeks on end. Horses really dislike this sort of thing and I was worried about him becoming anxious or depressed while being kept away from the herd. I even considered purchasing a goat or a miniature donkey to keep in the barn with him until his recovery was complete.

Meanwhile, during the coarse of the previous summer and fall, the flock of ducks that reside at the barn has slowly dwindled down to one lonely duck. Since I was at the barn everyday taking care of Legend, I decided to make it my mission to try to keep this duck alive until spring. I feed the duck when I arrive at the barn, and she comes running when she sees my car!

A couple weeks ago, my brother-in-law and I agreed to try to keep her close to the barn in a better effort to ensure her survival through winter. I tried my best to keep all of the doors closed, but noticed that whenever a door was left open, she would only leave for a few moments and then quickly return. The duck, named Philadelphia, would always fly back into the barn and stand closely to my horse.

At first I thought maybe she liked not being out in the cold, maybe she is sticking close to the food, but in the end, discovered that where Legend went, Philadephia went. I was so worried about Legend needing a buddy that I overlooked the fact that he already had one. Philadephia stays the night every night in Legend's stall, of her own free will, keeping him company. His attitude is great, he is not distressed at being kept away from his herd at all.

My animals teach me new things all the time, and today I was reminded that it is possible to make friends in the most unlikely of circumstances. And to realize that sometimes while you search for something, it could be right in front of your face!!

Chuck Wagon

Suburban Cowgirl Chili Recipe

2 lbs ground beef
1 packet chili seasoning, original
1 packet chili seasoning, hot
1 serrano pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 whole white onion
2 cans tomato sauce (same size cans as beans)
2 cans mexican chili beans
2 cans kidney beans
1 cup dry red wine (pinot noir preferred)
black pepper
garlic powder
sea salt
cayenne pepper

Cook ground beef in a large skillet with original chili seasoning and chopped up onion.
While meat mixture is cooking, dice serrano pepper, and bell pepper.
Pour tomato sauce, beans (drain kidney beans), and diced serrano and bell peppers into large crock pot.
Add hot chili seasoning packet to crock pot. add black pepper, garlic powder, small pinch of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of sea salt to crock pot.
When meat is cooked, pour meat mixture into drainer to drain grease. put mixture into crock pot, stir all ingredients together well.
Add one cup dry red wine to crock pot. stir well.
Simmer in crock pot as desired, for best results allow to simmer atleast 4 hours.

Top with chopped fresh onion and shredded cheese, serve saltine crackers on the side.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ponchos!! Oh Yeaahhhh!!

I have always been a summer girl. I was so in love with the summer sun that I had not enough room in my heart for any other season. Since riding has become my primary passion, however, I have begun to understand the allure of fall.

I hear people say this is the end of riding season, but to me, this is the best time of year for riding. But we do live in the midwest, and the weather can become even more unpredictable during fall months.

Once when I was a teenager I went to Silver Dollar City with my family, and I remember that it started raining and we wore plastic ponchos. I was completely mortified to be seen wearing a plastic teepee draped over my body!! And somehow ever since then have been opposed to ponchos. Until recently.

I have managed to have Mary-Poppins like saddle bags, out of which I may pull anything that is needed. And while on a Saturday afternoon ride recently, it started thundering, so out came the little red plastic poncho. The thought did cross my mind that I probably should have practiced unfolding the large sheet of plastic and putting it over my head when I was not seated atop a 1,000 lb skittish animal. But, thankfully, Legend did great and did not seem to mind the fluttering, flapping, crinkling sheet looming above him while we rode home. We stayed dry, and the rain was actually kind of nice! I will never pack my saddle bag without a poncho again. I have officially become a fan. The poncho rates a 10 for functionality, but gets a solid 1 for aesthetic appeal. It was bright red and kept getting inflated by the wind. Melanie was riding behind me, and said I looked like the Kool-Aid guy. Hey, Kool-Aid!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Suburban Cowgirl's guide to Gently Trespassing.

Ah, a nice afternoon ride. Fall weather. Sun shining through the trees, a nice breeze blowing by. Leaves crunching underfoot, and a trusted friend carrying you down the road. Is there anything better?

Of course, after riding the same area for a couple years, a change of scenery is nice. We have been so lucky to have "found" some awesome nooks and crannys with some hidden trails in our riding area. To be more to the point, trespassing has become our friend.

Let me stress that I like to call this "Gently Trespassing." We just seem to discover these hidden gems, and in some cases, end up getting permission from the land owners to ride on their property.

Here are a couple tips for successful Trespassing. I must include here that I am not recommending this to anyone. But if you find the exploration bug nagging at you, like it has at me, be careful and use good judgement.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints. This goes for every place you ride, not just private property. Part of being a responsible equestrian and enjoying nature is preserving it, as well.

If you see a posted No Trespassing sign, then respect it. Or you may come across a sign that says "If you can read this, you are within range." I speak from experience!

If you come upon a person or land owner while riding on new ground, be friendly! Ask them if they know who owns the property, get to know them. It can't hurt, and they may give you riding permission.

If something feels wrong or unsafe, then it probably is. Listen to your gut and don't explore any further.

Happy Trespassing !

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Boot Consultant Extraordinaire!

I have recently found yet another way to combine my newfound countrified-ness with my former passion of shopping. And to add icing to that cake, it's not even spending my own money. I know you are asking yourself "How is such a thing possible, Suburban Cowgirl?!".

I have successfully become the Boot Consultant Extraordinaire! Yes, there must be an exclamation point after the end of that title. Sort of like, Wham!. Only , with less frosted tipped hair and tight white shorts. I digress, back to the subject at hand.

Recently I have helped a few people shop for and find the perfect pair of cowboy boots. What some don't understand is that the perfect pair of cowboy boots is much like finding your soul mate. You may search and search, and think that you will never find the right ones, or that you might not know when you find the right ones, but when you's magical.

One of my recent victims, (er, I mean, clients) was my brother-in-law. After I got down to work and was shucking boots at him left and right, he asked "Were you a shoe salesman in a former life or something?" I replied, "No, I'm just REALLY good at shopping." :) He was so happy with our selection that he wore them home from the store.

My dear Aunt found her boots/soul-mates after a particularly long, grueling search. Seeing her happy smiling face while modeling them for myself and my Grandmother confirms to me that I am the Boot Consultant Extraordinaire! She definitely had that "boot-purchase-glow". Do I really neeed any more proof than that?