Recipe Review: Pressure Cooker Beef & Broccoli

I’ve been experimenting with pressure cooker recipes.  Last night, I made Pressure Cooker Beef and Broccoli Recipe, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

image of beef and broccoli

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IN Cottage Food Law: Cream Cheese Frosting Without Cream Cheese?

The other day, a TSPN Zello friend from New York mentioned the sale of baked goods from her homestead, and it got me thinking.  Could I do the same thing here in Indiana? If so, what are the rules?

chef apron and hatAfter a little research, I determined that Indiana has fairly reasonable cottage food laws.  I can sell most baked goods, produce, jams and jellies, and even lacto-fermented pickles at farmer’s markets or at a roadside stand.  A commercial kitchen is not required because cottage food production doesn’t occur at a “food establishment”.

My research triggered a myriad of questions though.  What constitutes a “roadside stand”? Are there other regulations specific to my county? Can I combine the sale of products covered by the home based vendor law with other items like crafts, livestock, eggs, etc? Continue reading

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Sesame Orange Chicken & Rice in the Power Pressure Cooker XL

With still more inspiration from Pressure Cooking Today, I discovered another recipe that’s definitely a keeper! Here’s what I did.

sesame orange chicken on rice

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Taco Chicken in the Power Pressure Cooker XL

After being inspired by a recipe I found on Pressure Cooking Today, I improvised some taco chicken with my Power Pressure Cooker XL.  I was very pleased with the outcome.taco chicken on a tortilla

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Rabbits at the Homestead — Goal or Dream?

cartoon brown bunnyI once remember hearing Dr. Phil say something along the lines of, “The only difference between dreams and goals is timeline.” In the case of the Wittekind homestead, that sentiment definitely holds true, so I’ve decided to set goals rather than dream when it comes to rabbits.

Some folks might remember me discussing last year’s trip to the PermaEthos flagship property for a TSPN Zello meetup.  One of the fine folks there let me “help” with the butchering of a rabbit.  It was at that point that I realized that raising rabbits for meat would be doable, but I didn’t have a solid plan.  I had a dream though. Continue reading

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Civil Air Patrol Adventures in Cheap Boots

Brig. Gen. Myrick and C/TSgt Abby Wittekind

Brig. Gen. Myrick and C/TSgt Abby Wittekind

At this weekend’s Civil Air Patrol Indiana Wing/Great Lakes Region Conference, I learned the most valuable lesson of my CAP career.  Cheap boots and my feet are a terrible match for one another! Continue reading

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My Daughter, Budding Photographer

homestead chickens foragingI’m so proud of my daughter.  She seems to really have an eye for photos, and she’s able to do a lot with her tablet and a simple app.  Maybe I’m biased, and I’ll confess that my opinion probably doesn’t mean much since I’m blind, but I’m comfortable with that. Continue reading

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Spring Chickens Laying Easter Eggs

egg carton with brown and green eggsThere’s nothing like the taste of farm-fresh eggs, but when you don’t have to dye them come Easter time, you end up with some serious function stacking.

Easter Eggers aren’t high production birds by any means, but they’re pretty fascinating.  And unlike brown eggs, the eggs that the Easter Eggers lay are the same color throughout the whole shell.

Perhaps I should learn how to blow eggs.

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Warmer Temps Inspire Big Ideas

deer netting strung up on white step-in postsNow that the barrier fence is up, I can’t help but think about other outside projects that I’m just itching to get started.  The weather is taunting me, and the wheels are turning for sure!

It seems unseasonably warm for mid March in Indiana.  For me, those warmer temps mean big dreams, big plans, and a sense of urgency to “get stuff DONE!”

Now that the barrier is up, I can get back to planning and doing.  Because of some issues we’re having with one of our dogs and allergies that almost killed him, I’m determined to start rabbits this year.  There’s a huge learning curve for me there, but I’m fortunate in that I have access to a lot of really switched on folks who’ll mentor me.

The kids and I need to clean the chicken coop and get a good compost pile started, and I need to decide what we’re growing outside this year.  Since we’ve excluded the chickens from the back yard, I won’t have to worry about them getting into my garden unless I want them there.  but that garden spot is far away from water.  I’d like to take advantage of my housemate’s green arm though; maybe I’ll just do some little pallet gardens.

I need to get organized, I need to make a plan, and I need to start ticking things off the list.  This is such an exciting time of year, but it’s also a very tricky time of year.  I have a feeling I’ll have plenty of indoor time to ponder my outside projects (which might include the building of an ark.  That’s just the way it does int he spring here in Indiana.)

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Blind Lady Chicken Drama

So picture this.  You’re driving down a rural highway in Indiana, and you see a white-haired old lady hobbling along the shoulder followed by a blind lady who’s carrying a dog food bowl with grain falling out of it.  Behind the blind lady, you see a line of chickens busily pecking in the grass.  Lastly, you see a police officer who appears to be involved a slow-speed chase.  After all, chickens, a blind lady, and an old lady are such a threat to the safety of our county.

No, this isn’t the start of a good joke.  It was the story of my life two weeks ago.  Yes, I wish someone had recorded it for posterity because it was pretty funny, but today, I’m not laughing.

Why did the chickens cross the road? Mine didn’t.  They weren’t even in the road.  They were in the ditch alongside the road, but apparently, that earned me the honor of a fine from the county.  That’s right! Apparently, the PD for the town I don’t even live in decided to call Animal Control.  Now, the folks who showed up at my door were really nice and understanding, but I still ended up with a $20 fine for “livestock running at large”.  That’s right! The blind lady’s chickens COULD go onto the roadway and someone MIGHT swerve to miss them and there MIGHT be an accident.

Now, I admit that we have a fence problem here.  A neighbor altered our fence without providing proper anchoring and tension for the fence that remained, so as a result, the fence fell over during a bad wind storm a couple weeks ago.  (We didn’t know until Fred looked at the fence after the chickens had escaped.) Fred tried to fix the fence temporarily, but it just fell again, so there is a problem that we have to address.  But really? Is our little town so boring that you have to pester a blind lady about her chickens? They don’t seem to care when dogs are running at large killing my chickens, but they call Animal Control immediately to come handle me.  I guess I’m a local menace.

So now I’m left with a bit of a dilemma.  I have to figure out how to keep free-range chickens from going anywhere near the road.  With previous flocks, it wasn’t an issue because those chickens never went within 200 feet of the road.  These chickens, on the other hand, discovered the awesomeness of the ditch when we’ve had lot of rain, so they keep going back.

Our first stop-gap will be the use of safety fence to make visual and physical barriers.  We’ll exclude them from the back yard so they can’t access the damaged fence, and we’ll run barriers along the highway on either side of our driveway to try and exclude the ditch.  This definitely wasn’t in the plan for this weekend, but apparently local law enforcement had other ideas for us.  I’m still shocked!

“Wings up! Don’t shoot! Chicken lives matter!”

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