Farmtastic Recipes

Farmtastic Recipe – Trude’s Stuffin’ Muffins

In honor of my Gram’s birthday this week and with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I thought I’d share one of her recipes, which is probably our family’s absolute favorite.  When it comes to stuffing, we all know the debate of in or out of the turkey, well Gram solved  the debate in the best way possible – stuffing muffins.  She whips up her famous stuffing and then bakes them in individual muffin cups.  Why is this so amazing?  Because it gets crunchy on the outside while staying fluffy and perfect on the inside.  Who doesn’t love that?

Gram has now passed the torch of stuffin’ muffins over to me, and Cowboy and I are expected to show up at the holidays pans in hands.  Even Cowboy’s sister is a convert.

The Recipe: Trude’s Stuffin Muffins (makes 12)

The Source: My Farmtastic Life


  • 1 loaf of white bread
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 6 to 8 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp. water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Recipe Photo - Ingredients for stuffin' muffins
Ingredients for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish.


  1. The night before, lay bread out on cookie sheets for it to get stale and crusty over night.  (If you have cats who aren’t supposed to get on the counter, but let’s be honest we all know the truth, cover the cookie sheets with clean dish towels. No judgement here!)

    Recipe Photo - Bread prepping
    Bread all laid out and getting its crunch on.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cut bread into half-inch cubes.  Place into a large bowl for mixing.  I use a large pot.

    Recipe Photo - Bread cut into cubes
    Cut bread into cubes. This is when that bread knife comes in super handy!
  4. Add in bell pepper, celery, onion, salt and pepper.  Gently toss together.  This is where the fluctuations in measurements start to come in, as it really is by feel and what you like.
  5. Add about half of the butter and water.  You won’t want to add it all just yet.  Using your hands start blending it together, like your are working dough.  Keep working it and add the remaining butter and water if needed, until the mixture can be formed into muffin sized balls that will hold together.

    Recipe Photo - Butter pouring over  stuff in' muffin ingredients
    Pouring in the butter. Who doesn’t love butter? And for the holidays, we’re sure it’s calorie free.
  6. Place stuffin’ muffins into a muffin pan.  You should have 12 muffins, perfect for one pan.  You won’t need to grease the pan, due to the butter in the muffins.
  7. Cover with tinfoil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes until golden brown.  Let cool for five minutes.  Spoon each muffin out of the pan and serve with your favorite gravy.

Farmtastic Notes:

  • We usually double this recipe for family gatherings.  We plan on at least 2 muffin per guests.  Of course you can always make more as they are great as leftovers.
  • If you have leftovers, wrap muffins in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe, so give it a try and share your thoughts.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Patience Is the Name of the Game

I often feel like God teaches us great lessons through our critters.  One of them is to be in the moment, which is inherently hard for me as my brain is constantly on the go (just ask Cowboy).  And the second most frequently needed lesson around the farm is patience, as it just makes everything run more smoothly. Now my mama always said, “Never pray for patience, because you never know what you are going to get to teach you that one.”

However, God always finds a way to teach us whatever it is we need to be taught.  Enter our dear donkeys, Mama Rose and her baby, Sweetie Pie.  When they arrived four years ago, we had no idea what we were in for.

From the start, Sweetie Pie lived up to her name.  That donkey thinks she is a dog.  She loves people.  Everyone who comes to the farm hugs on Sweetie Pie, and she inevitably ends up with her pic posted all over Facebook.  She’s even been known to chase a car or two down the driveway.  I often think she’d just climb right in and sit down with you if you let her.  Mama Rose – not so much.

When our friends brought us the donkeys, they had let us know that Mama was stand-offish.  However, they hadn’t had the pair long and hoped that with constant care she would follow Sweetie’s lead.  Mama would take carrots out of your hand, but that was it.  If you moved too fast or didn’t’ have food, forget it.

Well this fall with Sweetie Pie’s hoof injuries, we were forced to keep her up several times.  And this pair can’t be separated, so where Sweetie goes, Mama goes.  Every time we would enter the stall, Mama would run away as if we were out to eat her, although with the confines of the stall this was a humorous jaunt.  We’d simply let her do her thing, running around like a crazy.  And the usual refrain around feeding time was always, “Oh, Mama!”

One night at dusk, I was  hanging out in the stall just enjoying the night air, and low and behold Mama Rose started to approach me.  I stayed perfectly still and held out my hand.  Could this be the moment? She started sniffing, no doubt hoping I had a carrot.  My fingers tickled her nose, and she started trying to nibble my hand.  Not unusual, but this is as far as it usually goes.  Once she’s certain there are no goodies, she’s usually done with me.

But somehow that night was different. I kept playing with her and working my way up her nose.  She took it.  And when I’d take my hand away, she’d take one step closer.  On my goodness, she actually wanted to be touched.  I wanted to scream out with joy, but clearly that would have ended our encounter in two seconds flat.

I could see Cowboy watching and smiling in the distance, and I mouthed, “Look at me. I’m petting Mama Rose!!!”

After four years, I was finally touching Mama’s head for the first time.  I was actually rubbing her fuzzy forehead!  Honestly, I had long ago given up hope that Mama and I would be any more than feed buddies, but as I said, God has a way of teaching us things.  There is always hope.  Things that seem as if they will be that way forever can change.

This reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses:

6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7)And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

So we continue to learn our lessons from our four-legged friends.  And I love this lesson.  Give up the anxious, and bring on the grateful.  Mama and I continue to work on our friendship daily.  She loves her morning scratches.

Farmtastic Recipes

Farmtastic Recipe – Roasted Vegetables and Wild Rice

I’m always in search of great side dishes, something to shake Cowboy and I out of our potato-and-grean-bean rut.  This recipe has some of my favorite veggies, which when combined with wild rice make the perfect mate to grilled chicken, pork, or steak. This is a one-and-done side dish, meaning simply add your protein and you are good to go.  While it takes 40 minutes to cook, that gives you plenty of time for the rest of dinner prep and clean up.

Here are my notes on this all-in-one side dish.

The Recipe: Roasted Vegetables and Wild Rice

The Source: Southern Living and My Recipes (click here for the official recipe)

Farmtastic Notes:

  • I altered this recipe in order to make just enough for four people as a side dish.
  • For the rice, I used Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Original Recipe, one 6 ounce box.
  • For the veggies, I used 1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, and 1/2 medium white onion.  All chopped into bite-size chunks.
  • For the nuts, I used a heaping 1/4 cup of raw slivered almonds.  I’ve used up to 1/3 of a cut, depending on what you like. I did not roast them or add more salt to them.
  • For the olive oil, I used extra virgin.  I mean, really, is there any other kind?
  • For the seasoning salt, the rice comes with it’s own spice mix, so you might want to reduce the seasoning salt to 1 1/2  to 2 tsps., depending on your preference.  This will keep it from being too salty when you add the veggies to the rice.
  • For the pepper, I never measure. I just get my grinder out and eyeball it.
  • When roasting the veggies, heap them onto the cookie sheet.  If they are in too thin of a layer, they will burn.  I like to mound them (see photo).  Also, on their second set of 20 minutes in the oven, keep an eye on them.  They can start to char, and sometimes 15 minutes will do you.
  • You’ll want to start cooking your rice after the veggies go in the oven.  It takes about 25 to 30 minutes to cook down.
  • Finally, this dish is not only delish, but it’s super colorful, so it’s great for company when you want to dress things up and have your guests say, “Yummy!”

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I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe, so give it a try and share your thoughts.

Adventures Away From the Farm · Farmtastic Stories


To quote L.M. Montgomery, author of one of my favorite books, Ann of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And here in north central Texas, that means that festival season is in full swing.  With a reprise from the heat, blue skies overhead, and a cool breeze in the air, our wacky and wonderful small towns put on their best show-and-tell in celebration of fall.

Today, Cowboy and I had one of our farmtastic adventures away from the farm.  We took a stroll through the Clifton, Texas Fall Fest, and oh my, my how it made us smile.  It was everything that makes a fall festival great, with the perfect dose of Texas tossed in. Here are our top picks for what makes a perfect fall festival.

  1. Classic car show – You guessed it.  This is one of Cowboy’s requirements, but it’s super fun to take a step back in time and dream.  There’s nothing like the style of old rides.

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  2. Live music – The trio of GypsyBelle put their harmonies to work with toe-tapping favorites and their own originals.  Young and old sat around smiling and clapping. Just plain fun.
  3. Corn dogs – Yep, another cowboy fave.  However, I must admit he’s turned this farmgirl into a lover of the corn dog as well.
  4. Pumpkins and plants – Nothing says fall like displays of pumpkins and gourds.  Carved, painted, decorated, Charlie Brown was right, the pumpkin is simply great.
  5. Beautiful old buildings – As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for a town square, and  Clifton doesn’t disappoint with their old movie theater, rows of old buildings, and even an old jail that has been turned into the Cell Block Hotel.

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  6. Crafts and vendors – Admitedly, Cowboy refers to this as the “arts and crap” portion of any festival, but I love to see what creative ideas people bring.  Today brought tons of cute wood working, jewelry, and even the amazing street artist, Martin Martinez of CosmoUniversalArt.  Folks stayed huddled around Martin all day watching him create his amazing paintings in real-time.  (Even Cowboy was fascinated.)  And to make it totally Tex-ified, the Texas Farm Bureau had their wagon out showing us all why agriculture is critical to our future.

Before October escapes us, be sure to check out your the small towns where you live, and let us know your favorites.  We love to support local and small business, and that includes all things that make small towns and home towns great.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to the Vet We Go

With the herd of critters we have around the farm, going to the vet is just part of what we do. The goal of this little visit was an annual check-up and shots for Dixie Doodlebug and Goober.  However, the playful and mischievous Maybelle has never been left home alone, i.e. sans her pooch siblings.  So you guessed it, we loaded up all three for a farmtastic adventure.

Poor Cowboy drew the short straw.  Since his truck has fabric seats, it became the pooch mobile.  So we folded up the back seat in his truck, laid out the blankets and towels, and got it road worthy.  (Just FYI, as I’m sure you can probably guess, this farm mama does not approve of pooches riding in pickup truck beds.  It’s just too nerve wracking for me, and I’m convinced not the safest for our four-legged friends.)

Now the next challenge – how do you get the big guys in the truck?  Cowboy’s farm genius was in full gear, and he got out the horse steps. (For my city friends, horse steps are for shorties like me to make it easier to get on up on the equines.)  Amazingly it worked beautifully.  Goober and Dixie Doodlebug hopped up the steps and into their chariot.  Meanwhile, Maybelle had it easier as a medium-sized gal and got her princess paws lifted into the back seat.

Farm Photo - Horse steps
Cowboy’s farm genius. Horse steps to help the dogs into their doggy coach. (Cowboy’s shadow patiently waiting for me to take the photo. Pooches in the truck waiting to get out.)

All loaded up, we headed out for the short trip to the vet.  It’s about a 20 minute drive (yes, in the country that is a short trip).  Unfortunately, our fur balls can’t sit still.  All were panting and bouncing from window to window.  Maybelle, being the littlest of the bunch, found it easiest to walk under the big guys, so she had her own personal little highway for roaming back and forth.  Meanwhile, Goober thought surely there was something more interesting in the front seat and challenged Cowboy’s arm, the guard gate, for a chance to get at it.  Cowboy won.

Dog Photo - Maybelle and Goober in the truck
Woohoo! Maybelle and Goober angling for a front seat.

Once at the vet, we filed in like the circus had come to town.  At which point our wonderful vet exclaimed, “I thought you were just bringing two?”  We explained that Miss Maybelle had not been home alone, and because we wanted to come home to a sofa and doors still in tact, she had to come along for doggy moral support.  He cracked a smile and immediately understood.

Everyone checked out well and got clean bills of health.  And bonus, Dixie Doodlebug, who is a bit round and has been on a diet, lost nine pounds. Woohoo!  Now if this farm mama can just figure out how to follow suit.

Dog Photo - Dixie in the truck
Dixie Doodlebug – her new svelte self.


Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Punky Brewster, anyone?

Okay this post absolutely must start off with a photo.

Farmtastic Photo - Mismatched farm shoes
My customized farm shoes, a la Punky Brewster.

Yes, these are my shoes, and yes they are on my feet.  You see, these are my favorite around-the-farm tennis shoes.  However, at one point I did have one of each pair.  (I’m not totally crazy).  But alas, Maybelle strikes again.

After one of my business trips I arrived home to hear Cowboy say, “Maybelle is very sorry.  I can get you a new pair, but she was nice enough to leave you a left and a right shoe.  It was cool in the ’80s to wear two different kinds of shoes, wasn’t it?”

To which I quickly replied, “It is NOT the ’80s.”  Which, let’s just be honest, was not my best fashion decade.  I mean I had hair bows galore, among other lovelies.  So my initial thought was, “Just dandy, two more new pairs of shoes to buy.”

But then I got to thinking, “Hey, I loved Punky Brewster at one point in my life, and for the farm, these could be fun, so why not?”  Y’all do remember Punky Brewster, right?  Quirky girl in colorful clothing all mismatched and always smiling played by Soleil Moon Frye.  As usual, I digress …

Now, for those of you keeping count, Maybelle is getting close to two years old.  One would think puppyhood, or puppydom as I’ve been known to call it, would be nearing an end.  Nope.  Not for our dear, sweet Maybelle.  When we had our first cocker spaniel, Madison, I remember reading that the breed could keep their puppy-ness for up to three years and was one of the breeds that took the longest to exit puppyhood into adulthood.

Oh how I forgot about this when we brought our little Maybelle home, but oh how my shoe collection is reminding me now.  The dog can chew, chew, chew.  I feel like I keep Nylabone in business just trying to keep her mouth busy.  It’s a good thing she is about as adorable as they come.

Anyway, these are now my farm shoes.  Great for all those chores like scooping stalls, working in the flower beds, feeding horses, you name it.  The million dollar question is will I actually remember I have them on my feet when I decide to quickly hop in the car to run to town to go to the post office or grocery store?  I’m praying so, but if I know anything about how my brain works, I am destined to sport this little fashion statement at least once in public.  You’ve been warned.

P.S. – In case anyone is wondering, the shoes are Keen’s Coronado style.  The are my absolute favorites, and unfortunately these lovely fabrics aren’t available right now.  But I do keep watching for fun new ones to add.