Thursday, June 28, 2012

Processing Chickens and a Fried Chicken recipe

Recipe First:

I used a Food Network recipe from Paula Deen, but of course I tweaked it a bit. :)

3 eggs
1/3 cup water
About 4 Tbs hot red pepper sauce 
2 cups self-rising flour (I used bisquick)
1 package of crushed saltine crackers (my addition)
1 teaspoon pepper

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil, but I used Canola with good results

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs and mix with the water and enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is orange. In another bowl, combine the flour, crackers, and pepper. Season the chicken with the "house seasoning". Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.

Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes. With mine, it was dark on the outside before the inside reached temp (these chickens were thick!) so I put them in the oven and baked them until they finished.

We weighed the chickens at 8 weeks old and they ranged from 6-9 lbs before processing and about 4.5 to 6.5 lbs after. We found a grocery sack and a fish scale worked really well for weighing. The last week of their life the 110 chicks were eating about 75 lbs of feed a day! Not to mention they ate so fast it made them hiccup! 

Here are all the posts about this flock (newest to oldest):
One Month Old -Fryer Chick update
Chicks - 19 days old
Chicken update - 12 days old
Chic Pic
Chicks are here!
Waiting on [chicken] Babies

So we finally finished processing our Cornish Chicks. We did 80 the first weekend (6 hours) and 30 the second weekend (3 hours). With all of the families who helped with the cost of the chickens also helping with the butchering, it went pretty well. I can't imagine if we hadn't had all this good help. We found a few things really made a big difference. One was getting the water temp exactly right for dipping before plucking, also the mechanical plucker was a wonderful tool, and a good pair of game shears (heavy duty scissors) worked well for removing the tail, legs, wingtips, etc. Brown paper covered all the tables for cleanliness and easy clean up, but wasn't so slippery as plastic would have been. My hubby is so smart, that was his idea!

After everyone left, we de-boned/separated 11 of my birds before freezing, since I knew I would use them more than whole chickens. When you do that many, it goes pretty fast once you get the hang of it. Here's a video... not amazing, but it will give you an idea.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Computer Difficulties

My computer has been in the shop since last week, and now they tell me that it would be more expensive to fix it than to replace it.

I have a wonderful post about how processing a chickens went, and a great recipe to share also... but it will have to wait until my computer is fixed. I am not able to do very much with my smartphone blogging editor. :p

But I am able to share these pictures with you!

Does anyone know if radishes still taste good when they are going to bloom? I suppose we will find out!

And who can wait until 4 o'clock with these? :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Update, Mid June

The beans are coming up in the field that our neighbor farms for us.

We haven't gotten to enjoy very much lettuce because of our guinea hens eating so much of it. Thankfully they do not like spinach; we have been eating a bountiful supply of that!
This week I put screens up over the lettuce so that the cucumber plants, which I have planted in between the lettuce beds, will have something to climb on, up, and over.

Also this week we had to replant a lot of my green beans. Several plants did not germinate well this spring and had to be replanted.

I am enjoying watching the tomatoes come up well. Also sprouting is the zucchini, pumpkin, and watermelon. For father's day I gave Ben a ghost pepper plant!

An exciting new addition are the two new barn cats! Both are calico girls, but Tabitha is short haired and Fluffy is long haired.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Only In Rural Nebraska

This morning I ran to a neighboring small town grocery store for a couple of things ... It looks like one of the farmers drove in for morning coffee. :)

The clerk told me that, long ago, they had a regular customer who always came in on his tractor, since he couldn't obtain a driver's license. :) Only in rural Nebraska.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hiccuping chickens!

Every Farm Should Have a Fire Pit

Scroll to the end for a sweet snack. :)

We've had little campfires before, but this spring we finally found the perfect spot for a fire ring. The recent onslaught of wind storms keeps our trees shedding dead wood all over the yard, we have plenty of fuel. We've been in heaven grilling hot dogs and s'mores, almost on a weekly basis. While around the campfire, the kids tell fantastic stories. Wyatt can do a pretty convincing pirate impersonation. :)


If you can't do s'mores, here's another snack involving chocolate and graham crackers that will knock your socks off. :)

Homemade Chocolate PB Crunch Bars

  • 8 Graham crackers, broken into quarter size "planks"
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened 
  • 8 oz Chocolate candy coating (I used equal parts chopped up easter bunny -a leftover one from the freezer- and semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Line your baking sheet with wax paper. Mix the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter. Spread the peanut butter mixture on half of the graham rectangles and top the other half and then place them in the refrigerator while you melt the chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl using 30 second increments until melted, stirring each time. Once the coating is melted, use a fork to dip each graham sandwich in the coating, submerging it completely. Set them back on the wax paper and place in the freezer until set. They will keep in a container in the fridge for a week, if you don't eat them all immediately.
For a less sweet snack, I did some with a drizzle, instead of dunking. (above)

You can find a similar recipe here. These were inspired by this one, but we simplified it a lot. 

Sweet Recipe posts:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Comparisons of Home Made Dishwasher Detergents

-edit- 10/23/12 I feel very silly, but in my original experiment with recipe #1, I used Epsom Salt, which is NOT actually salt. Could be why it flopped! going to try it again with regular SALT. :) I hope someone will learn from my mistakes...

I recently ran out of dishwasher detergent before my bi-weekly grocery shopping trip rolled around. I knew I had a lot of supplies on hand to try making my own, due to my recent experimenting in home made laundry detergent.

So where else would a person find a good detergent recipe than Pinterest!?!?! I pinned several, and tried a few. I thought I might share the results with you, and my resulting tweaked recipe for home made dishwasher detergent.

The first recipe I tried was this one:
#1 Homemade Dishwashing Detergent (click through for her blog post)
1 Cup Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Salt (for hard water)
Essential Oils to scent (optionalI skipped this)

I had read a comment on Pinterest that warned that the borax would leave my dishes coated in film. I wasn't worried about that, but my blind faith was soon proven wrong. My dishes came out completely cloudy and the film was almost greasy. ewww. No go. I assumed it was my hard water, so I cut the stuff in half by adding equal portions of salt. The dishes looked better, but still cloudy and definitely not something I would eat off of.

Recipe #2 was this one:

#2 Homemade Dishwasher Soap (not detergent) (again, click through to read. I love Jillee's blog!)
1 teaspoon oxygen bleach (I had oxyclean from a laundry recipe, but there are cheaper versions out there. Read the blog post for more info about that.)
1/2 teaspoon Dawn dish soap
1/2 cup white vinegar (poured into a bowl or cup on the top rack of the machine)
Directions: add these three things directly in each load of dishes, no premixing needed! 

This one turned out very nicely, no clouding since no borax. Unfortunately I still had the hard water spots, and the vinegar in the top rack really didn't help. So here's my tweaked recipe:

My Go To Solution for Homemade Dishwasher Soap:

1 teaspoon oxygen bleach 
1/2 teaspoon Dawn dish soap
2 teaspoons of Lemishine (one in the prewash and one in the main wash compartment, if you have both.)
Directions: add these three things directly in each load of dishes, no premixing needed!  

It got my dishes very clean and with minimal spotting. Although I will admit, that when I can buy it, I still prefer Cascade Complete Gel with my Lemishine added. Absolutely the BEST, and worth the money. (at least with my really dirty dishes and REALLY hard water)

Also, don't forget that dishwasher maintenance makes a HUGE difference too. I do this regularly to keep it all working well.


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