Fall Soup

With the weather getting colder, we love hearty soups.  I try to keep the heavy cream and cheeses out of it and always drain the grease, and I know they aren’t super healthy, but they are so good and easy.  I love soups because the kids and I can eat an early dinner and the soup stays warm for DG if he gets home late.  I love tortellini–like I used to eat it at least 3 nights a week in college–so I was super excited to try this tortellini soup recipe.


I do have to say that I used pork sausage rather than chicken because there’s no way that chicken sausage would pass the taste test in our house, but otherwise I followed the directions exactly.  You can find the recipe here.  I’ll definitely be keeping this one!

Have you made any great soups yet this fall that you recommend I try?


A little bit crazy

Life has been just a little bit crazy lately.  DG had the big cattle gather last week which resulted in me driving back and forth either with groceries/things DG forgot or taking BG there to help and then go to school.  I have a hard time letting him miss school when I know that fall break is coming and he’ll have three days off, but he only ended up missing one day and he had the best time.  Also amazing was that his teacher sent home a note yesterday saying that he has been working so hard and that she’s proud of him.  #happymommoment

Over the weekend we weaned the calves.  Weaning day is one of my favorites because I love seeing how the calves grew all summer.  To make it even better, I got to help sort in the corrals.  All of those days when my dad had me running gates in the corral have paid off because I know what I’m doing and actually get to be useful when I’m helping DG.  BG was more interested in playing with his friend building forts to do much helping, but when Eleni came up to visit she wanted right in on the action and cried when it was time to get out of the way. For 28 years I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted it, but the last two falls (one when I was pregnant and last fall when Eleni was still little) were tough for me. I either had to be careful/mostly stay out of the sorting alley and couldn’t ride or I was with Eleni and we’d just come up to visit–it’s hard to go from being hands on to just a bystander.  This fall has been nice because my MIL has been so willing to take care of Eleni for the day and then if she comes to visit, she’s old enough to walk around and gets excited to see everything.  I can’t go all the time because I don’t always have a babysitter or want to pawn her off, but it’s nice to be able to go more often again, and I’m excited to take Eleni more.  Things are just more fun when we have the kids there with us!




Canning Salsa

Last weekend I was ambitious and decided to make salsa.  Okay, maybe the ambitious part is a lie–in all honesty, I was just excited to use my new kitchen!  Since our garden was such a flop this year I bought a couple boxes of tomatoes, peppers and onions from the local “veggie stand” and was excited about my plans.


See those pretty veggies in my beautiful farmhouse sink? Love it!

Now I don’t really have a recipe that I follow because every year the temperature of peppers varies and it’s impossible to consistently have the same size of the veggies.  I’d say I use about 5 lbs of tomatoes to 8 bell peppers, 2 medium onions, 15 jalapeños and 10 cloves of garlic.  I also add in 1 cup of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  The first step is to put all of the fresh veggies in the food processor to chop them.  DG and I like our salsa runny so we process the veggies into a pulp and don’t both with peeling the tomatoes first–I just cut out the top part where the stem was attached and any bad spots.  I take the seeds out of the bell peppers, but leave the seeds in the jalapeños.  Put everything into a pot, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 30 minutes (try not to let the pot overflow like I did or you’ll have a bad mess to clean up!).

While the salsa is cooking it’s a good time to start getting your canning jars ready.


You can also take a break and play with your kids.


If you don’t have kids, maybe start doing the dishes, because you’re going to have a mess.

I highly recommend putting salsa in a bowl and letting it cool before taste-testing.  When it’s hot you can’t really taste it so it needs to cool down.  Make sure you have a bag of chips for this part, obviously!  For canning salsa I always use red wine vinegar rather than a fresh lime, but for fresh salsa I use a lime.  I’m not sure why, it’s just what I’ve read in the past and what I do.  You may need to add more jalapeños at this point to get more heat.  I used a few Anaheim and other colored hot peppers in my most recent batch and got it really hot, but that’s what we like. When the salsa tastes good, you’re ready to can.

Get the bottles hot in boiling water before pouring salsa into them.


The lids and rings also need to be hot, but just in simmering water.  If you boil them, the seals won’t actually seal.


Then you’re ready to pour the salsa into the hot bottle, put on the lid and ring and put the closed bottle in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes.  When 15 minutes is up, remove the bottle from the water and place it on your counter to cool.  You’ll hear the seals “pop” and that’s when you know that they have been successfully sealed and preserved.  The first time I heard the pop noise I was so excited!

I forgot to take any pictures of the finished product, but that’s how I can in a nutshell.  It’s pretty easy, but fairly time consuming.  You have to work quickly when you’re bottling, so this is where having help would be nice.  Don’t forget to label the jars after they cool too.


Fall Gather


It seems like we measure our lives by what stage the cattle are in—calving season (early spring), spring gather (spring to early summer), cows on the mountain (summer and early fall), fall gather (October), preg checking (November to December) and then winter when the cows are on the desert. October 1st was the official start of the fall gather, which means riding to get the cattle off of the mountains. Most of the cows know their way home and when the first snow hits they will start heading down the mountain themselves. This is typically a good thing unless there’s an early snow like we had this year, which required our cowboys to go push the cows back up for another week because we don’t want them to come home too early and eat all of the fall feed.

Different mountain ranges that we run our cattle on have different “off dates” in the fall, meaning that not all the cows start coming home on October 1st. We start with the cattle that have the earliest off date, make a big push to get all of them, then move on to the next group of cattle. We ride the country on our horses, find the cattle and get them in a group to head down the trail. If it’s really hot they usually don’t want to go, but when there’s a little bit of weather they trail down a lot better. Some of the cows are then just left in the lower country for a little while, but others are corralled then loaded onto semis to go onto pasture. Our biggest gather starts next weekend on a mountain permit where we run in an association with four other cattle ranchers. Everyone gets together to ride and gather the cattle into the sorting corrals. It then takes a day to sort everyone’s cows and calves from one another. This is where DG and my father in law being present is really important! If a calf is born too late in the spring and we haven’t branded it yet, it’s considered a “slick calf.” Slick calves don’t have any form of identification so you have to watch the slick calf to see which cow is its mother so it can be sorted into the right group. After all the sorting is finished, the next day everyone trails their cattle their own way because they don’t run in an association the rest of the year. Our cattle get trailed to another set of corrals where we then wean the calves from the cows.

Weaning day is another really important day. DG knows how many calves we need of what weights to make our fall shipping commitments, so he looks at each calf and determines if it’s big enough to wean from its mother or if it should stay with her to grow for a little another month until she is preg checked. The calves that are weaned are loaded onto our truck and taken to the feedlot to start fattening. The cows and any calves that DG doesn’t wean stay out on the range and continue slowly eating their way toward home.

Most of the cattle are usually gathered by the end of October and the big calves are weaned, sorted in the feedlot and start growing. Then we transition into preg checking, which is another post for another day. I love fall gather because we get to ride our horses and it’s always so pretty. I mostly just get to go on the weekends, but it’s something I look forward to all week. I’m definitely in a better mood when I’ve gotten to get out and ride!







Friday Five

I haven’t done a Friday Five post since back in May!  Boy has time flown.  Anyhow, I wanted to get back on the wagon and share with you five of my favorite things right now.



I pretty much love all things Rodan + Fields because I don’t want to look old, but my new love is Acute Care.  Last night was my 4th use of the strip between my eyebrows on my “elevens” and I can already see a noticeable difference.  While I sleep the liquid peptides in the strips are able to fill my wrinkles.  It’s so cool!  Plus, it doesn’t hurt like Botox and it costs far less!  Try it; your face will thank me later.



My hair girls and friends Jesilyn and Morgan both started selling Lipsense over the summer.  I am obsessed.  I’ve never been a huge lipstick girl because it requires liner and never lasts long, but Lipsense stays on for hours!  It doesn’t kiss off, wipe off or get on your drink glass.  They have both been great about helping me find colors and branch out of my comfort zone a little bit too.  I now have some darker purples/reds for fall and I’m excited to wear them!



One of my current “life goals” is to take more pictures.  Not only do I just want some nice pictures (better quality than my iPhone) to have, but I’m hoping that the more I take, maybe I’ll have some great pictures to frame for the new house.  I bought this telephoto zoom lens a few weeks ago and have loved using it to take scenic pictures as the leaves have changed and fallen.



I’ve been going to a weight gym class the last couple months 3 days a week and am loving it!  From March to July I was doing another program that involved a lot of cardio/HIIT workouts/weights.  It was an awesome jump start for me because it helped me get into a workout routine, I learned about counting macros and I got confidence in my abilities.  This new class now though is better for me because it’s small (like 3-4 people) so it’s very individualized and my trainer really watches to make sure I’m lifting correctly to get the most out of what I’m doing.  I can see I’m getting some definition, but my diet has been awful, so I know why I’m not losing weight.  That said though, I’ve done a ton of research on cardio vs. weight training for fat loss and I’m on team weight training!  I think this article gives a good explanation.



If you want shiny hair, you totally need to try this product out!  It’s even hairdresser approved!

Well, that’s it for this week.  Maybe next week won’t be so full of beauty products, but seriously, they are what I love!  I hope you all have a great weekend!