Mini Gluten-Free Meatloaves

After such success with my mini frittatas, I started thinking of what else I could make in my muffin tins.  Meat loaf.  Who doesn’t love a good meat loaf?! And when they are packed with veggies and in miniature form (aka forced portion control), they are even better.

First, I gathered all the veggies I would need – three carrots, two zucchini, one red onion and three cloves of garlic.

I stuck them all into my Kitchen Aid and really pulverized them.  I know it looks kind of nasty, but oh well!


Put them into a big bowl and add in 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 pound of sausage….

Two eggs… these ones are from our hens out back.

About 1/2 cup of ketchup….

And 1/3 cup of gluten-free flour; I love my Cup4Cup.  And 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Next, you mix it all together.  And there’s really only one way to do it – with your hands!

Next, scoop the mixture into your muffin tins – don’t forget to use cooking spray or olive oil or something on the muffin tin before you drop the meat mixture in – and top with a little more ketchup.

And stick in the oven at 350* for 45 minutes.

So freaking good.  These freeze really well, too… which makes them great for quick weeknight meals. Enjoy!

Hooray for Pancakes!

I have a big crush on General Mills.  I know, I know it’s a food company and it sounds weird, but I really do.  I mean, have you heard about their commitment to all of us who are gluten-free?  It’s pretty awesome.  They’ve got a kick ass gluten-free website and have come out with gluten-free versions of Chex, Betty Crocker brownie mix, cake mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, and tons of additional gluten-free products

The latest of which is gluten-free Bisquick.

I decided to test out the pancake recipe on the back of the Bisquick box, and   You need to try this.

All you need, besides 1 cup of the Bisquick mix, is 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 egg.

I still can’t get over the fact that we get our eggs from our backyard, courtesy of these girls.

You just follow the recipe and voila — delicious (no joke!!) gluten-free pancakes!

P.S. You apparently can make a ton of different things with this handy Bisquick mix. I can’t wait to try some other stuff!

Garden Updates

At long last, a new post!  Sorry, sorry, sorry. I promise I’ll be better. We’ve had a few things going on these last few weeks that have been keeping me busy, but I miss giving ya’ll updates — so here goes.

The weather has been crazy bad these last few weeks, and so this weekend we are cleaning up from all that the wind and rain has done.   It ain’t pretty.  Our veggies haven’t died despite the cold and crazy weather, so I’m grateful for that.

I got a hankering to take out a shrub I’ve long hated in the front.  Nothing feels quite as good as destroying something!

And in the back, remember the potatoes we planted in garbage cans? They’ve totally taken off and have almost grown out the top!   We’ve been adding dirt as they grow, since that’s what I read you’re supposed to do, and so far they are looking super healthy.   I am going to be so excited if we get a big crop of potatoes later this summer.  And from a garbage can, craziness!

And you know how I planted my lettuce in hanging baskets a few weeks ago?  They are doing great.  In fact, we need to start eating salads this week as they are ready to harvest!

The chicken veggie bed we planted for them with chard, arugala and lettuce is coming along, too.  We’ll have to let the girls at it soon. 

Our snap peas keep growing up, up, up the trellis and the broccoli and cauliflower in front of them are hanging in there.

We’re super excited about the brussel sprouts we planted this year — we haven’t done those before. They are doing well, too.

The bed with part of the garlic, radishes and carrots is doing great.  In fact, I was able to harvest a big bunch of radishes today!

And I pulled up one carrot, but they are still teeny tiny.   But so cute!  Gotta wait a few more weeks until they are ready to go.

I’m working on my menu plan for the week tomorrow, and promise to post a recipe or two soon.   Happy Memorial  Day, everyone!


Lots of people ask us “How do the dogs and the chickens get along?” when they find out we have three doggies and four chickens.  God, we’re totally out numbered!

Pictures might be a better answer than any I could give.  

When we first got the chickens, the dogs were *very* curious.  But we kept them at a safe distance.   Here’s Rose checking them out on their first day in their coop.  Look how small the chickens are!  And the photo below is of all the dogs looking out the sliding glass door seeing the Girls for the first time – they were dying to get out there.

And now, they could care less about each other.  They seem pretty happy to share their common backyard and just go about their business.

First Harvest

Spring has been a little finicky around here this year — started off with super sunny weather that tricked us in February and then the last few weeks have been super chilly and rainy.  The seeds and starts I planted in early March have gotten off to a slow start …. but today, we had our first harvest! 

A big bunch of radishes!

Lots of arugula and spinach!

And the carrots are coming along.

The snap peas are making their way up the trellis.

A few little buds are starting to appear on the blueberry bushes.

The potatoes are sprouting in their garbage cans.  Remember when we planted those?

The girls are going strong with their 3 – 4 eggs a day.

And the most beautiful blue flowers are blooming all over our rock wall.  Aren’t they just stunning?  We love them.

We’re going to have a big yummy salad tonight with the goods from our harvest.  After I cleaned all the spinach and arugula and chopped off the tops of the radishes, the girls got a salad too from the leftovers.   They loved it!

Happy harvesting!  Hope your garden is being good to you!

Happy Spring

Spring officially arrived over the weekend – yay!   70 degree weather enticed me to take a few photos of the yard, and some of the things we’ve done over the last few weeks.

I’ve been waiting anxiously for our first tulips to make their appearance, after having planted a ton of bulbs back in October.   And just in time for spring, they finally came out to say hello!

So did some little beet sprouts, from the seeds I planted about a month ago. It’s still like a tiny miracle to me every time something pops out of the ground.

Same with the carrots.

The radishes are looking good!

The arugala and snap peas are really coming along.

And our garlic, spinach, onions, and even more peas are hanging in there.

The blooms are starting to come out on the azaleas all around the yard.

And on the pussy willow tree.

The camellia tree is now in full bloom, up from just one little flower a few weeks ago.

The hostas are poking through.

And the leaves on the Japanese maples around the yard are just starting to bud.

We did tackle two small projects — first was adding more stone and rearranging the stone pattern on the path along the side of our house. Whaddya think?

And just for fun, with some of the leftover wood from when Jason built our new raised veggie beds, we built a mini veggie bed just for the chickens.

We still need to fill it with dirt and get some yummy beets, kale, and chard to grow in there — all stuff the chickens love.  Here’s Cluck checking it out.  They are going to be so excited when their very own veggie patch gets finished.

How’d you celebrate the beginning of spring?

Homemade Chevre Cheese

Most of my good friends know I’m dying to have one of these.

But until we move (if we ever do), it’s just not going to be possible — even though apparently backyard goats are the next big thing according to Willamette Week.

I guess the next best thing to having one of my own little goats, it making some homemade chevre.  It’s super easy with the help of a little kit from Urban Cheesecraft, a local homemade cheese enthusiast.  You can get the little kits at the Urban Farm Store in Portland or online at her etsy shop.

Aren’t they cute?

And here’s what comes inside.

Following the simple instructions, I first stirred together some water and citric acid.

After searching around and only finding ultra paturized goat milk, I finally found just plain pasturized at Trader Joe’s.  Gotta love TJs!

You heat it up in a stainless steel pot until it reaches 180 – 190 degrees.  And then you add your citric acid mixture — which makes the curds come out.

Next, you strain it into a cheesecloth lined colander.

Then you let your curds sit for 15 or so minutes to fully drain.  While they were draining, I chopped up some fresh thyme.

Rolled my cheese into a little log.

And rolled the log into the thyme – pretty!

It was delicious on a simple roasted beet and arugala salad.

And what about all that extra whey that was left over?  Well according to the instructions, you can feed it to your chickens.  Ours went absoultely nuts over it. They loved it!

What’s Up Chicken Butt

Never in a million years did I think I would clean a chicken’s butt.  Oh, the things we do.

For the last few weeks, Dolly’s bum has been looking kinda nasty but today it really looked bad.  After consulting the folks at Backyard Chickens, I reluctantly sumbitted to the fact that I was going to have to get down and dirty and up close and personal with Dolly’s bum.

It was way more traumatizing for me than for her, I can tell you that.

Before I started, her behind looked like this (super duper nasty!).

So I gathered my tools — dish soap, hot water, a bucket, rags, and of course, gloves.

After chasing her around the yard, I got her to hold still long enough for me to clean her up.  It wasn’t pretty.  And Cluck, her trusty companion, squawked to high heaven. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t hurting Dolly.

After all was said and done, I was glad to see there wasn’t any big injuries under there.  She’s all cleaned up, her feathers are still wet, and she’s feeling vulnerable.

She’s already looking back to normal – here with Cluck her protector in the background.

She’s back to feasting on little treats.    Phew! I don’t want to do that again. Yuck!

Crowd Control

The chickens like home grown veggies as much as we do.  And since we aren’t into sharing with them – I know we’re so mean – we had to devise a way to let them roam the yard but keep them out of the veggie garden. 

Luckily, we had some leftover materials from when Jason built the coop fence last year and we just used that.  A series of little mini fences on hinges did the trick.

Here we are working together to make them.

And here they are set up and in place.

So far, so good – it’s working!

The girls even like taking their little sun bath right in front of one of them.

Mission accomplished!

Spring Cleaning

You would have thought it was May around here — either that or we lived in California.  The weather was gorgeous this weekend, and when Oregonians see sun like that in February we leap outside.  I can’t tell you how many people I saw out for a jog, mowing their lawn, or wearing shorts. 

We couldn’t resist being outside, either.  After the success of last year’s garden, we decided we wanted to add two more raised beds to the yard — one in back and one in front on the side of the house.   This weekend was the perfect time to get those in place. 

Handy husbands are sexy, don’t you think? 

Here are the two raised beds he made all ready to go in the ground.

The chickens had to inspect the new one we put in the backyard.

The big new raised bed for the front is looking good, just needs soil and it’s ready to go. We’re thinking zucchini and other wild growing veggies in this one.

No need for the gym when you have mowing.

And weeding!

And power washing (my absolute favorite thing ever!).

I even got some veggies started!  Carrot and radish seeds, along side the garlic I started last fall.

Some snap pea and spinach starts — again with some earlier planted garlic.

And finally, some arugala in the middle with some snap pea seeds in the back and some golden and red beet seeds in front.

We got the entire back leveled and cleaned up and ready to go.   It’s looking good!