Loveland Oaks

Loveland Oaks

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Homemade Bacon Pesto Mac and Cheese

Hello, Hello!  It's been so very long since I blogged here and I do hope to change that.  There have been many exciting changes around the farm and I want to start documenting the deeper stories for you all.  You can follow snippets on my Facebook page at but there is so much more I know I long to share like this fabulous recipe for Homemade Bacon Pesto Mac and Cheese - Yum!

Homemade Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe

1 1/2 lbs. bacon cut in to quarter in. strips
1 lb. macaroni noodles
8 tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 c. whole milk
1 c. mild cheddar cheese
1 c. mozzarella
8 oz. basil pesto


Step One: In large skillet cook bacon, approximately 15-18 minutes, until crisp.  Use slotted spoon to remove on to paper towel and set aside.

Step Two: Cook pasta, drain, set aside.

Step Three: Use pasta pot and place on burner set at medium heat. Add butter to pot.  When butter is  melted, sprinkle in flour, salt, pepper, and cook - whisking for 2 minutes. Slowly add in milk after two minutes, whisking while adding, and continue to cook until the mixture thickens. This will take approximately 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses.

Step Four: Stir in pasta and pesto.  *Depending on your love of pesto you may want to decrease the amount used.  We went with less and the recipe still packed a powerful punch.  Taste test your pasta to see what you prefer.  I used about 7.5 oz. and we love pesto. 

Step Five: Set aside 1 c. of bacon for a top garnish.  Mix the rest of the bacon in to the pasta.  Garnish the top of the pasta, serve hot, and enjoy!

This recipe was a HUGE hit with my family.  There was plenty for two teens (with hefty appetites) and my husband and I, along with a bit of leftovers.  It was served up alongside of some farm fresh pork chops and veggies. 

Hope you enjoy this and find it just as delicious as we did.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homemade Bone Broth

Greetings!  It's been a while but life starting up a farm can be any number of adjectives beyond just busy.  I'd say joyful and fulfilling are my favorite out them though.  I have oodles to share from our summer adventures and I'll be working on back tracking to catch you all up.  Fall isn't much slower for us as we prepare for Winter but I'm determined to get better at this blogging thing to document our journey.

So this all leads me to the Homemade Bone Broth made from our first round of pastured chicken scraps.  As a homesteader, I am learning how to live a more from scratch lifestyle.  No more buying my stuff the grocery store if I can make it/grow it/raise it myself.

This was the first pasture chicken I raised, butchered, and cooked up for my family.  I must admit I was pretty proud, not only because I did it on my own, but because there was a real satisfaction knowing I was serving my family something that was so healthy for them.  I also felt really blessed to be able to do this, since I know not everyone has the ability.  From this all the bones were saved and put in a bag because I had all intentions of making bone broth with them.

A few days later this chicken was cooked up in the crockpot.  Once it was done cooking the meat was shredded for chicken tacos and all the bones were thrown back in the crockpot along with bones from the other chicken.  Now this is where I wish I would've had the foresight in knowing that some people would've wanted the recipe for this because I would've taken a couple extra pictures. Honestly, it's really simple though, and depending on how many bones you have you can tweak the recipe - you'll see what I mean below.

Bone Broth Recipe
Bones, carcass from 2 chickens (this is what I used - you can use more, just increase everything else too - will only change the yield which is a good thing!)

2 Medium Onions, Coarsely chopped

2 Celery Ribs, Cut in 1-2 inch pieces (keep those leafy tops on)

2 Carrots, Cut in 1-2 inch pieces (not peeled, just wash)

1 Tbs. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (this helps draw out the calcium and other minerals from the bones)

1 Bay Leaf
1 head of Garlic, not peeled cut in half crosswise
Sprigs of Parsley
1-1/2 tsp peppercorns
Salt to taste after broth is made

Combine all the above ingredients in your crockpot or a large stockpot, cover contents with water, and bring to a simmer.  You want to be careful not to allow this broth to boil or it will become cloudy and full of sediment.  I was not as mindful of this and therefore have a bit of sediment.  Thankfully I caught it in time.  What is ideal is just a little bubble pop here and there.  I learned this thanks to a client of ours that is also a chef. ;)  

I allowed my broth to simmer for 12 hours.  Some people go for as long as 24 and others go for 3-6.  The longer you go the richer the flavor you'll have.  I think 12 was a good time frame for my broth, as the color on it was good and the flavor was delicious. 

Since this was a chicken bone broth and had already been seasoned in the crockpot.  I held off on salting until after my broth had simmered and cooked fully so it wouldn't be overly salty.  I found it didn't really need much in the way of salt being added and decided to hold off and add it when it was used in recipes down the road.  You'll need to try your broth to see what it needs.
Strain your broth with a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into your containers and you're all set to go. 

Here is my finished product:

 There are a couple options you have when it comes to storing this.  You can either can it in freezer safe mason jars and store it in your freezer or you can pressure can it.  If you pressure can it just follow along with the canning instructions and then it will be shelf stable for your pantry.  Since this was my first batch and was only three jars I went with freezer safe jars.  I know we'll go through this broth fairly quickly.  The next round I'll be pressure canning to put up in the pantry. 

The benefits of Bone Broth are vast and the fact it's highly flavorful only makes it that much better!  I highly recommend you giving it a try and saving those chicken bones, or other meat bones since it works for those as well, to make your own batch. 

Thanks for stopping by and take care!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Honey Vanilla Goat Milk Ice Cream

Its summer time and that means hot days, cold treats!  Homemade with fresh ingredients preferably, right? Right.

Meet Dische (pronounced Dish). She is our Nigerian Dwarf currently in milk.  She is a first freshener and while we are both still getting the hang of this milking thing she has blessed our family with a lot of milk.  So beyond drinking it fresh I wanted to make some food with it, specifically ice cream, per my teens requests.

I'd been looking for some ice cream recipes to try using our raw goat milk and I finally came across this post via Facebook.  The four recipes included were perfect because:
  • they required no cooking
  • had minimal ingredient requirements
  • offered variations
  • I could use goat milk!!!
 Honey Vanilla Goat Milk Ice Cream

  • 4 Fresh Eggs
  • 6 Cups Goat Milk
  • 1 Cup Honey (we did use a bit less and it is still very sweet)
  • 4 tsp. Vanilla
Yields: Around 2 Quarts
Pre-prep: Place a 9x12 stainless pan in the freezer to chill while you gather ingredients and prepare the ice cream mixture if not using an ice cream maker.

Step One 

Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and honey in a stainless steel bowl over an ice bath. 

Step Two
Whisk ingredients together until thoroughly blended.

Step Three
Pour ice cream mixture in to stainless pan that has been chilling in freezer.  Place pan in freezer and set timer for 20 minutes.  Take pan out, stir vigorously to break up portions beginning to freeze.  Place pan back in freezer, set timer for 30 minutes, remove, stir, and continue this process until ice cream is set up to the consistency you like.

This mixture can also be placed in an ice cream maker if you have one, we don't so we used the above option - patience is hard! LOL. 
*Note - If you use an ice cream maker this recipe yields 2 quarts, be sure your machine can handle that much before making it or reduce the recipe.

We found this to be the most delicious ice cream we've had in a very long time.  I love that the ingredients were fresh and there was no sugar used! I know this will be a consistent recipe used and we can't wait to try some variations of flavors.

Friday, July 11, 2014

It All Started With the Chicks...

Isn't that what every homesteader says? LOL!  It started with just a "couple" chicks and from there it launched in to a full blown obsession with acquiring more chickens, of course.  I kid, but on a serious note along the way it becomes so much more in the process, it becomes a way of life.

These lil' gateway cuties work their ways in to your heart and help you discover a longing to get back to the simpler times.  When getting up early to the rooster's crow was a beautiful thing, not something to dread and cover your head up for (and yep the above lil' guy is a roo in the making ;) ).

You see this is what I've loved getting back to as we've started our homesteading journey here on the farm.  It all did indeed start with the chicks a few years back when 6 of them were given to us.  They were pure delight and while I didn't know exactly what I was doing back then, we made it through.

 They grew well with the TLC I gave them, made it through winter, and even gave me fresh eggs!!  Oh golly you can't even imagine how giddy I was when the first eggs arrived.  But then things took a turn come summertime.  A fox was seen in the area and at first my kids and I were in awe of his beauty, thinking how nice it was to see wildlife in its natural setting.

I never put two and two together of how this one little scraggly fox could be the demise of my little flock.  You see we free ranged our chickens since it was the best way for them to get lots of natural nutrition and I'll admit I loved seeing their little booties run around the yard happily scritching and scratching away.  Then one day I saw feathers scattered about and was down a chicken.  I wasn't sure what happened at first but knew one of my girls was gone. :(

  This pattern continued as the culprit - I believe the fox - was bold enough to come and help himself to meals (in a gluttonous manner) during the day and I lost all my girls, leaving just my rooster.  He did this in a matter of of two days.  Two days!!  I was so upset and heart broken.  I knew my rooster did what he could to try and protect the girls because the fox had no desire to come back and face him, plus my goodness he had to be full. 

We kept rooster for a bit after but then took him to a new home.  After all he deserved to be with some new ladies. He was a Welsummer roo, just like the handsome fella above. A couple years passed and my coop stayed empty.  I still felt heartbroken, I felt defeated, and I felt mostly like perhaps homesteading wasn't for this city girl finally gone country.  Even though this had been my dream since I was a little.  I had livestock growing up, only to have it taken to an uncle's farm when city ordinances changed.  I gazed out car windows as we drove up north every summer wishing I lived on the farms we passed and now that I finally had land of my own, I failed. 

The longing of seeing chicken booties never went away though.  I'd sit in my chair and wish their little booties would magically appear again.  So here I am, 2014, with 34 chickens on Loveland Acres Farm.  What I have realized through my time away is running a farm and homesteading is hard work.  I'm up for it and was made for it.  Its in my heart and blood, the longing will never go away.  There will be failures and sadly losses along the way.  Those are lessons to be learned from and you keep on going.  Chickens are definitely the gateway animal and they seem to multiply quickly - ha!  Once you have them, you also find yourself thinking what other livestock can you bring on the farm?  And find  other livestock you will. ;)  Most importantly this is my life, getting up early to fill water and feed buckets, covered in dirt and yes sometimes poop, and I love it.  Every. Single. Minute.  I am blessed beyond measure to have ability to be moving toward self sustainability for my family little steps at a time.  Its all about the journey and I hope you come along for the ride.