Thankful – Always

It’s November (actually mid-November) and I’m doing a daily post on social media about one thing I’m thankful for.  It’s not hard, not even challenging, to come up with one thing to post daily.  I try to be a thankful and grateful person year round, but feel it’s important for the month of Thanksgiving to show the rest of the world how easy it can be to develop that attitude.

A thankful heart is a happy heart.

This year has been challenging on many fronts.  From the weather being chaotic much of the year to failing beef markets.  From family members facing health challenges to shifts in job responsibilities and schedules.  From friends fighting tooth and nail to keep their families intact to those picking up the remaining pieces and regrouping.  I may have said more than once this fall that I’m ready for 2020 already.  2019 has been tough – but not as tough as it could have been.  We’re exiting the year with more blessings than we can count.  When we stop and look at the rough spots of the year, I pause and asked what the worst case outcome could have been.  And you know what?  As of today, not a single one of those worst cases have come to pass.  And that, my friends, is well worth giving thanks.

A thankful heart is a happy heart.-2


So, can I issue a challenge to you?  We’re just a tick less than 2 weeks from Thanksgiving. How about we all flood all of our social media feeds with thankfulness.  Let’s see what kind of change in attitude that can bring about.




Father – A father is the male parent of a child. Besides the paternal bonds of a father to his children, the father may have a parental, legal, and social relationship with the child that carries with it certain rights and obligations.  Really?  That’s the definition I found online of a father.  That’s like saying a father is no different than a bull being a sire.


Thankfully, I’ve always been surrounded by men who are dads instead of fathers.  Dads, the guys who are there for the early morning feedings, the middle of the night diaper blow outs, the temper tantrums of a toddler, the holding and snuggling of the little one who’s sick in the night.  The men who lead by example, teaching their children to live, love and laugh.  The men who work hard day after day to provide financially for their families.  The men who take their families to church and worship their Savior throughout the week.  These are the Dads.


And today, I’m thankful for the one who raised me, the one who accepted me into his family when his son brought me home, the one I’ve parented with, and the two that we raised.  Happy Dad’s Day…..because each of you are so much more than a Father.

Pizza Party on the Ranch

I know I haven’t given you any recipes in the last few days.  We have finally caught a break weather wise and the guys are getting weeks worth of work done in days.  That means that the girls and I are picking up some of the slack around here and cooking anything other than the basics really hasn’t been a priority.

BUT, I’m off from the town job today and my calendar tells me it’s Pizza Party Day.  So, I’m giving you a few different pizza dough recipes.  Then we’ll get down to how we sometimes do pizza a little different.

Regular Pizza Dough

2 packets dry active yeast ( I actually buy mine in bulk in a jar, but it tells you how much to use on the side of the jar)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup hot water

2 Tablespoons oil or melted butter

2 teaspoons salt

2 to 3 cups flour (enough to make a good dough)

Combine yeast, sugar and water.  Allow it to rest about 5 minutes.  Add in remaining ingredients and combine well.  I like to use the KitchenAid Mixer to knead the dough a bit.  Roll out and place on pizza pan.  Add toppings and bake at 375 until crust is done.


Monster Pizza Dough

1 cup water

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

3 cups bread flour

3 Tablespoons powdered milk

1.5 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in order in the bread machine.  Set on dough cycle.  Go do dishes, laundry, book work, whatever you want.    WARNING:  This makes a BIG batch of dough – think 15 inch thick crust!  I made this fairly regularly when our boys were younger.  They’re the ones who decided to name it Monster Dough because it kept growing on us!

Keto pizza crust

6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (roughly 1 1/2 cups)

3 ounces almond flour (roughly 3/4 cup)

2 ounces cream cheese (4 tablespoons)

1 large egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare a baking sheet large enough for an 11-inch pizza, and line with parchment paper.

In a heatproof mixing bowl, stir together cheese, almond flour, and salt. Add cream cheese. Microwave until the cheese is melted, about 1 1/2 minutes, pausing halfway to stir. After microwaving, stir until the mixture forms a smooth dough.  Add the egg, stirring it in until absorbed and well-mixed.  Place the dough on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic cling wrap. Use your hands to spread out the dough to form a thin and even circle. Toss the plastic wrap. Poke holes with a fork to prevent air bubbles in the crust.  Bake the crust at 425 F for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.   Add toppings of your choice and finish baking until cheese is melted.

Now, how do we do pizza differently?  Well, of course we use beef.

Supreme pizza – hamburger, sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, peppers, mushrooms, onions, cheeses

Meat pizza – hamburger, sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, regular bacon, cheeses

BBQ Beef Pizza – I use bbq sauce in place of marinara, leftover roast, caramelized onions, banana peppers, and mozzarella cheese


So, there you go.  A whole bunch of choices for your next Pizza Party Day!


To All the Farm Wives and Mommas

The time we have all been waiting for and anticipating has suddenly arrived this week.  Spring like temps and dry weather – that means field work is going full force as well as hay and silage production has started.  And I see you all….the mommas of littles trying to keep some kind of normalcy in your kiddos lives, the young wives who don’t get to have more than a passing conversation with your husbands for days or weeks at a time, the older, more seasoned wives who watch their husbands carefully – fearful that the stress may be too heavy a burden to bear.  I want to encourage you to keep on.

I know the bags under your eyes get heavier daily.  I know how hard it is to pull yourself out of bed when the time there was much too short.  I know being both mom and dad for any length of time is taxing, mentally and physically.

So, here’s the deal – let someone help you.  Reach out.  Tell SOMEONE – ANYONE that you need some help.  You need some support.  You need some help. And it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for it.  After all, you and your family are feeding a good portion of the world.  And the profits are small.  The investments are great.  Often the debt loads are great.  And the stress is such that many feel they cannot continue on.  Mental health days are not only optional, they’re extremely needed.    If you don’t take care of yourself, you certainly can’t help those around you.

Much love to all of you.  You are important.  You are valued.  We need you to keep on keeping on.  Thank you for all you do.  And remember, planting and haying seasons don’t last forever.


Happy birthday, Kailey!

A little over 3 years ago, the young adults life group met at our house.  Brittany was on modified bedrest and wasn’t able to go to their weekly meetings so they brought the meeting to her one week.  There was a young teacher in the group and I wondered how she and Chris got along.  Both love working with kids (though in very different aspects) and both have a love and passion for their families.


Fast forward a year and we notice Chris is texting some girl all the time.  We harass him and eventually find out it’s Kailey.  A little over two years ago they started dating.  Nearly a year ago they got married.  And in 8 weeks, they’ll welcome their first little girl.

Kailey, I am so thankful God brought you into our family and into Chris’s life.  You bring out the fun side of him.  Your love for the kids you teach was evident over the last couple of weeks as you made sure each child had notes of encouragement for EVERY day of MAP testing.  They will likely remember those notes the rest of their lives.  The kids at GenKids at church love and adore you.  You are going to make an amazing momma just as you’re a great aunt to Avery, Owen, Wyatt and Mae.


I pray that God blesses you with health and happiness today and in the coming year.  I pray that the love between you and Chris grows right along with your relationship with Christ.  And lastly, I pray that you know what a valuable member of our family you are.  We wouldn’t be complete without you.


Happy birthday!

Mike & Melinda

Happy Mother’s Day!

Did you know this is BBQ Month?  Did you know in certain parts of the country grilling and barbecuing are the same thing?  Honestly, around here we rarely barbecue anything unless it’s in the smoker or it’s pork.  Most of the time barbecue sauce doesn’t come near my meat.  We believe our beef is good enough by itself with just a little seasoning grilled into it.

That being said this is awesome side dish if you do barbecue some ribs or even smoke a porkbutt or shoulder.  It’s honestly good just as a side for any grilled meat to boot.  The recipe for BBQ Coleslaw comes to us from Chef Alli.

BBQ Coleslaw

What you’ll need:

1 bag of coleslaw

4 Tablespoons Spicy Brown Mustard

1/2 cup mayo (I prefer Miracle Whip)

2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt

1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Mix the last 4 ingredients then pour over slaw and mix to combine.

And if you had any brisket left over from the Texas Twinkies, you could always serve this slaw with that deliciousness.  Add a nice tall glass of sweet tea and take your momma fishing.  Easy peasy, Mother’s Day celebration.

Mother’s Day Menu Planning

The feedback I got said you want more quick and easy beef dishes.  And it’s Mother’s Day this weekend, so I have to give you what you asked for, right?

How about Texas Twinkies as a main dish with a chocolate fondue for dessert?  I don’t know what else you want to serve with these, but for me, they’re a complete meal.

Texas Twinkies

What you’ll need:

12 whole jalapenos

1.5 pounds brisket – to make these quick and easy I’m going suggest you buy a pre-cooked pack of Sadler’s Smokehous brisket at Sam’s Club

12 Tablespoons of cream cheese

12 thick cut strips of bacon

2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons of coarse ground pepper

6 oz of your favorite BBQ sauce (my guys love Sweet Baby Ray’s and for a sugar free option I use G Hughes Sugar Free BBQ

How to Make Them

Slice one side of each jalapeño from stem to tip (use gloves when doing this).  Slice across the stem end to make a T.  Pit the inside of jalapeño free of seeds and membranes.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove and place in bowl ice water to extract additional seed oil.  Cover the bottom inside of each jalapeño with a tablespoon of cream cheese.  On top of the cheese, pile 2 ounces of brisket.  Close the pepper around the stuffing and wrap with bacon.  Add a pinch of Kosher salt and pepper.  Place poppers on baking sheet at 350 for 30 minutes.  Remove and paint with BBQ sauce.


Now for dessert one night at the Animal Ag Summit (#AAA19) we went to The Melting Pot.  Last night I made my first recipe of chocolate fondue.  The grandkids seemed to enjoy it as did the husband, so I’m guessing it’ll work here too.

Chocolate Fondue

What you need:

12 oz pack of Semi sweet chocolate or 12 oz pack of semi sweet chocolate and peanut butter  chips (basically any 12 pack of chocolate chips)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon of Vanilla

Stuff for dipping (strawberries, pineapple, bananas, angel food cake, marshmallows, pound cake, pretzels, chips, cookies)

Wooden skewers for dipping

How to Make It:

Melt chocolate and cream in crockpot.  Add vanilla and combine.  Allow to cool.  This will thicken as it cools, but remains dip-able.

Trust me, this meal is so good you’ll wanna smack your momma – but don’t do that, it’s Mother’s Day after all.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there but especially these four who hold a big piece of our hearts.