Monday, September 21, 2015

Guacamole Mountain Recipe

I finally tried this recipe that my friend, Stephanie, submitted into the La Grande MOPS Cookbook. I've changed it a bit to my tastes.  It has been my new "go-to recipe" for potlucks and get-togethers this summer. I made it very plain because I'm nursing, but you can spice this up all you want. It makes enough for a crowd. 

Guacamole Mountain Recipe

1.) Blend together in a food processor:

4 large, ripe avocados 

1 cup sour cream

1/2 to 1 cup prepared ranch dressing

salt and pepper to taste (could also add hot sauce if you want it spicy)

2.) Mound this mixture up in center of a platter

3.) Layer on top of guacamole:

Two cups of grated cheese (examples: Mex blend, cheddar, jack, queso fresco, pepper jack). Make sure there is enough to cover all of the guacamole mixture. The cheese serves as a barrier to keep out the air, which prevents the mixture from turning brown.

Two cups of small chopped tomatoes

1 cup sliced olives

Garnish with sliced green onions or cilantro (optional)

4.) Serve with tortilla chips either on the side or if your platter is big enough it is fun to make a ring of chips around the dip. 

Warning, there won't be any leftovers ;)!!!


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Eastern Oregon Celtic Festival 2015

The fourth weekend of August brought out Celtic tradtions once again. This was our 4th Celtic Festival we've attended. We enjoy going back to La Grande to see many of our good friends. It feels like a family reunion! We had the "Littlest Lamont" with us this time. How fun to introduce her to everyone. 

I was really happy my sis and her kids were able to join us this year. She was a big help to me! 

Some friends of ours gave Rina her first kilt. It was adorable on her. 

Hanging out under our Clan Lamont tent's awning with homeschool friends. Do we know how to have fun or what?  

Josiah and his cousins kept very busy selling agates they had collected at the desert, homemade milk soap, fire starters, hand-dipped candles and arrowheads they had made. They made over $70 and then split it all up evenly. They learned a lot about salesmanship that weekend. Was very proud of them, plus it kept them out of trouble ;)

I didn't get a lot of pictures of the events because of baby, but I managed to get a few. We had jousters come in this time and compete. What a fun event to watch!

The WWI 15th Scottish Division Reenactors came again this year and made camp. 

Josiah's 15th Scottish Division buddy.

My friend, Cora, got her turn to hold Rina. 

Rina was taking a respite in her daddy's arms amidst all the fun.  

I loved the tough girli look of this Highland Games sheaf tosser. 

We marched with our family in the clan parade.

 Announcing of the clans and honoring the Chieftain of the Day.
Hailey was one of the flower girls for our friends who got married at the Celtic Festival. 

 Enjoying good company while waiting for the wedding to start.
Our friends, Charlie and Connie, newly married, walking into the sunset. It was a beautiful ceremony, full of Scottish and Native American traditions. 

The final hoorah!!! 

What a great time we had. We look forward to next year! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How to Make Lard and Cracklings in a Crockpot


All that day and the next, Ma was trying out the lard in the big iron pots on the cookstove. Laura and Mary carried wood and watched the fire. It must be hot, but not too hot, or the lard would burn. The big pots simmered and boiled, but they must not smoke. From time to time Ma skimmed out the brown cracklings. She put them in a cloth and squeezed out every bit of the lard, and then she put the cracklings away. She would use them to flavor johnny-cake later. Cracklings were very good to eat, but Laura and Mary could have only a taste. They were too rich for little girls, Ma said.

(LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS - by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Our first week of reading the Prairie Primer had us making cracklings in cornbread as an activity. What are cracklings, you ask? Simply put, they are the connective tissue of the fat of a pig after the lard has been rendered. I wouldn't dream of doing this with an industrial farm-raised pig, but I have no problem eating/using the fat off a pig raised on a small farm or homestead. 

Rather than render the fat on a stove (I don't enjoy the smell), I put my fat in a crockpot, put the lid on and turn it on low, stirring occasionally if desired. I put my crockpot outside so I don't have to smell it. I cook it until all the lard is rendered out and the connective tissue is crispy. Overnight works in my crockpot. This is what it should look like after you've drained the lard off, pouring it through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. I use the lard for making easy homemade milk soap using a blender.   

Then you gather up the cracklings in a cheese cloth and press the rest of the lard out using a spoon against the side of the crock pot. Do this until as much of the lard is squeeze out as possible.

Strain the rest of the lard for other uses. I freeze my lard until I'm ready to make soap.

If you are going to eat the cracklings, fresh is best, although my daughter loves to snack on them any time. They can be chopped fine and used in cornbread. If you want to use them later, cover then tightly and store in a cool place. 

Once again the Prairie Primer is stretching our culinary skills. So fun to try something new and find a new use for things. Talk about using every part of the animal! 

Blessings, Jackie

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Homestead Happenings, Aug 2015

Rina loves to get a ride in the laundry basket when I'm taking the clothes in from the line. Our busy summer continued on into Aug. Hailey, our now middle child, turned 8 years old. Rina is is 3 months old now.

 I had a chance to go yard saling one weekend and I picked up two heart shaped cake pans and made my first two layered cake. I put fresh strawberries and homemade lemon curd for a filling and slathered it with homemade butter cream frosting. Yum!!! While, not entirely healthy, it was fun to do something different.

On our way to Michael's National Guard unit's family picnic, Michael spied this square rigger tied up at the dock in The Dalles along the Columbia River. Turns out it was used in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. We didn't get to go for a tour as they were making repairs on it, but we got to talk with one of the crew members for awhile. Michael LOVES old tall ships.

 Michael's National Guard unit. They all got to dress in their civvies for the picnic.
 Some of the kids got to stand with their dads during the closing ceremonies. Hailey was excited about that!
 I hadn't been to a family picnic in probably 10 years, and we all really enjoyed ourselves.
 We got to reconnect with some of our old friends. It was great fun!
 Michael was even able to take the kids out fishing in kayaks that were provided for free by a local company for the soldiers and their families.
 On our way home, we stopped by the Vista House. It was a wayside stop when the Old Columbia River Hwy was first built a hundred years ago and it is still in use today. Gorgeous place with a lot of history behind it and an outstanding view. We hadn't been up there for years.
 My precious family. Am I blessed or what?
 I was doing laundry one day and Champ kept dropping the ball at the base of Rina's seat. He kept doing it over and over and I realized he wanted her to throw it for him. He finally gave up and just put his head on his ball, laid down and went to sleep. Someday soon, Champ, someday soon...
 This summer has not been without its challenges. We had to put a new/used motor in the Subaru because we broke a timing belt and then two weeks later the head gasket blew on the truck. We were out of town when the Subaru broke down, so we had to have it hauled to the nearest Subaru mechanic and have it repaired to the tune of $3500. Luckily Michael is able to work on the truck himself, which will save us a lot of money. We are thanking God that we were faithful to build our emergency fund up this spring, because boy did we need it this summer. NOT what we wanted to spend it on, but at least we didn't have to go into debt.
August just wouldn't be the same without attending the Eastern Oregon Celtic Festival. We had a great time seeing many of our old friends at the festival in La Grande, OR. Our family has grown by one member since last year and it was fun to get to introduce the "Littlest Lamont" to our Celtic family. (I'm hoping to do a separate post soon about the festival).
Some friends of ours gave Rina her first kilt. She looked so cute in it :) She got spoiled rotten at her first Celtic Festival.
We started homeschooling last week and decided to do another round of the Prairie Primer (curriculum based on the "Little House on the Prairie" books) this year with a couple of friends out of our home. Our first co-op meeting was last Friday and everyone had a great time learning together. I will try to post on these meetings throughout the year to chronicle them for our children. Hailey is now a third grader and Josiah is in sixth grade.

 Michael has begun bow hunting, so it continues to be very busy around here as sometimes we go camping with him. Hoping he gets an elk soon so we can slow down a bit.

Whew, feeling more caught up! As we turn summer's corner and head towards fall, I can't help but be thankful that this hot, dry summer is almost over. We've got plenty of wood cut and stacked for our fireplace and our pantry is getting stocked. Hopefully the freezer will be stocked with good, healthy elk meat soon, too!

Have a wonderful day, my friends.

God Bless,


Related Posts with Thumbnails