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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Easy Bratwurst Burgers

I was making bratwurst the other day for dinner, and the thought crossed my mind that they would make one excellent burger.  I came up with this recipe that is super easy and makes some yummy burgers.

1 Package Bratwurst- your favorite flavor
1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1/2 tsp. Garlic
1/4 tsp. Parsley
1/4 tsp. Seasoning Salt
2 Tbs. Finely chopped onion

1. Remove the Bratwurst from the casing.  It is easiest to do this using a sharp knife and cutting along the side. 
2. Place Bratwurst in a large bowl with the other ingredients. 
3. Mix all ingredients together and form into patties using about 1/2 cup of mixture.
4. Grill until cooked through or no longer pink.
5. Serve on your favorite hamburger rolls and top with your favorite hamburger toppings.
  I like the onion kayser rolls with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard for a fantastic burger!

A Big Goodbye to the Ultimate Blog Party 2010!!!

I met some amazing ladies (and a few pretty cool dudes) during the Ultimate Blog Party this year. I can’t believe it went by so fast. There was so much to learn and discover and I’m so glad I could be a part of it. I have lots of fun blogs to visit still and I am going to be checking the mclinky from UBP10 all year long. Here are three of my favorites, I decided to just pick in random order since there were too many to pick from.

http://musingsofamanicmama.blogspot.com/ Can you say “Oh my George”? Alisha is raising THREE boys and wrangling a husband in her spare time. This girl is seriously surrounded by testosterone. Her little maniacs are just too cute and always up to some antics. This blog is definitely a great mom blog and you can find lots of useful information and fun books to read. Plus, I think Alisha is almost as crazy about the Pioneer Woman as I am.


http://www.onjustacoupleacres.blogspot.com/ It is truly amazing what this woman does with a few acres of land. She raises chickens and pigs and children. She grows vegetables and herbs and flowers and children. She home schools, she cooks…really, this woman is Supermom (I bet she even sews her own cape). This is definitely a quality blog and worth reading for all of us girls with not-so-green thumbs.

http://whodoesntlovecoupons.blogspot.com/ This site is definitely a great source for saving money. It is packed with new deals and coupon match ups every single day. There are tons of free samples with easy links and great explanations for how to get stuff. Check it out for all of your couponing needs!

I am sad to see the UBP 10 come to a close, but am blessed to have had the opportunity to spend it with so many great people.  A big thank you goes out to those who checked out my blog and decided to follow me on this crazy adventure.  A giant huge extravagant THANK YOU goes out to http://www.5minutesformom.com/ for hosting this crazy party for us all.  I have no idea how 2 women could pull off such a huge event, but I am super glad that you did it.  Thanks to happypandababy for taking care of all the prizes and thanks to all those who contributed prizes.  I hope to see you all throughout the rest of the year and I can't wait for UBP11 for more blogging fun!!!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Backyard Stroll

This evening, I took a little stroll in my yard to see what I could see.  There were lots of flowers and buds of every kind popping up all over the place.

I have a huge lilac bush full of these beautiful little purple flowers in the front yard.  It smells so amazing, very sweet and floral.  I love when the wind blows the scent in through my front window.
This neat ivy is growing beside my flower bed.  I didn't plant it and I'm pretty sure it is just a weed, but it is pretty and I like it so I have just been trying to keep it contained to a small area instead of mowing it down.

I found these peonies growing right there in the grass by the fire pit. This part of the yard hasn't been mowed yet since my riding mower belt decided that it was tired of working and snapped the other day when we were cutting the grass.
This Azaela Bush is one of the prettiest spots in my front yard.  The feeder is empty, but usually it is full and there are all kinds of little chickadees and other small birds peeping and eating.  The cardinals also love to perch in this bush, it is about 8 feet tall!!!

Here are some more "weeds" that I think are just beautiful.  The little yello flowers are so cute and I always see a lot of honeybees flitting on them in the summer.
 I forgot what these pretty bulb plants are called, but this is the first year that they have flowers growing on them!  So exciting, I didn't kill something!
After my walk, I took a few of the pretty flowers that I picked up along the way, and made myself a pretty flower arrangement for my living room.  It smells so good and makes me happy everytime I look at it.  I love Spring!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Is it vacation time yet?

After a fun filled weekend of chicken nabbing and garden building (not to mention window breaking and sunburn getting), it is back to work for me.  I am working for the next 3 days, 12 hour shifts each day.  But I was just sitting here at work in between chaos thinking about vacation.
Vacation for my family is probably a little different than for most families.  Vacation is the one time each year that me and my husband actually get to see each other for more than 2 days at a time.  If you have read my other posts, you know that my husband is a truck driver and is away for long periods of time each week. 
This year, we are going to take a closer to home vacation due to the econimic crisis that is ongoing in my neck of the woods.  We will be visiting A few islands in Lake Erie off the shore of our great state of Ohio.  It really is quite easy to find a nice vacation that doesn't cost a fortune close to home if you are creative.  We will be camping out at the campgrounds located on each island.  Sure a nice air conditioned hotel would be nice, but a lakefront campsite with a cool little tent/cabin contraption isnt bad either. I thought I would share with you, my faithful readers (all 3 of you), some interesting things about the places we will be visiting this June.  So grab a seat on the boat and lets begin our adventure into the Lake Erie Islands!!!
Put In Bay  is the most popular of the Lake Erie Islands.  It is also known as South Bass Island.  It is accessible only by boat, ferry or plane. Put-in-Bay has been a summer resort for more than 100 years. Today Put-in-Bay is a vibrant tourist resort complete with bars, hotels, boating, fishing, a monument, caves and much more.  My favorite way to get around the island is by golf cart.  There are several rental places when you get off the ferry that offer bikes, golf carts or scooters, they even have their own taxi on this little island.  There is lots to eat and a nice state park where you can camp and do other water activities.  Put In Bay is a pretty exciting island with a lot of nightlife.

Kelley's Island is a more serene peaceful island.  It is the largest island in the western basin on Lake Erie.  It is home to a very impressive site of some Glacial Grooves.  This island is full of beautiful lakeside houses and also has a nice state park with camping.  There are lots of outdoor activities and of course, the best part is the Golf Carts! 

There are lots of other cool places to visit at Lake Erie.  One of my favorites is Cheesehaven.  It is a giant store filled with every kind of cheese and smoked meat imagineable. 

The more I dream about it, the more excited I get about the getaway that we have planned for the Lake Erie Islands this summer.  Stay tuned for more information!


You can build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

I have been thinking for a while about building a raised vegetable garden.  After last year, when my garden would hardly grow due to all the rocks and clayeyness (definitely not a word), I decided that I would elevate and use some bagged dirt.  I found out that it is really not so hard to build a raised bed.  The hardest part was fitting all the wood into our little Explorer Sport SUV.  But we managed, and after breaking the drivers side window (not related to the wood) and patching it up with some super fancy and ultra cool plastic sheeting that makes lots of noise in the wind, we were started on our garden.  Here is a tutorial-a-la-Mary, filled with non-technical terms and lots of thingies.

A toolbox filled with all kinds of items, except the ones you actually need.
*A Drill
*8 2"x4"x8' pieces of lumber
*8 Fasteners (see picture of flat silver things with holes) 
* 2 packages of Corner Braces (4 in each)
* A box of long wood screws (3")
* The Sunday Paper
* Love

The first thing that we did was take the lumber 2x4's and lay them out on the picnic tabe to make sure they were all mostly straight. 
Next we took 2 boards and drilled pilot holes that matched the holes on the fasteners. 
Next we took 1 fastener and put 2 boards together so that the sides will be 8" high.
The picture below is how the boards will look when all the holes are drilled and the sides are fastened. 

Repeat that step with all of your boards.  Ta Daa!!! You have walls!  Give yourself a pat on the back and get a drink of lemonade.

 Next we fastened all of the boards together in a square using the Corner braces. Be sure to brace both the top and the bottom of the wood so that the box will not move.

Fasten all those sides together and you have a box!  Not just any ordinary box but a garden box.  One that you can fill with dirt and compost and plants and love. 

One last thing that I did tonight.  I filled the box with newspapers, after I removed all of the coupons of course (Sunday papers are so thick and awesome).  After I got the whole thing covered, I wet the newspaper with the hose to keep it in place.  I also had my cute little husband throw the bags of dirt still in the plastic on top of the papers to keep them from shifting.  The newspapers will kill the grass underneath and keep any new weeds from forming.  Also, you don't even have to remove the newspaper when you add the dirt.  I saw on a garden website (I have seen so many I can't remember which one) that newspaper makes great compost.  You just put your dirt right on top.

This really was an easy project as far a wooden things go.  I am not handy at all, but me and my husband were able to whip this up in just a hour or two.  I am excited about my new garden.  Rest assured, I will be blogging about the funness of this garden all season long.

Stay Tuned!!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

FUN FILLED FRIDAY!!! Party Edition

ImageChef Sketchpad - ImageChef.com
Happy Friday Friends!  This week is the Party Edition of Fun Filled Friday!!!

This week we are partying like rock stars at the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 sponsored by http://www.5minutesformom.com/!!  Make sure you stop by and add your blog to the list so that you can get lots of partygoers to visit you.  This is sure to be a fun filled week of blogginess.

This Weeks Recap
This was the very first week of Mary's Country Life and I think I will call it a success.  The blog had over 150 views in the first week!  A big thanks goes out to each and every one of you who stopped by to give me some words of encouragement and read my crazy musings into this country life.

This week we made some fantastic food including:
Yummy Yummy Sticky Buns for breakfast on Easter Sunday, Sizzlin Salsa sure to please those spicy taste buds and Easy Fiesta Potatoes, the perfect quick and easy side dish to go with any meal.

I spent some time talking about my first ever herb garden, and wrote a very silly letter to my poor neglected kitchen.  This week was all about getting to know the blog and figuring out how things work.  I am super excited to see what the weekend holds and how next week's blogging will go.  It is sure to be full of fun, especially with the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 going on!

My Fun Filled Friday
This evening my parents came out and we had a nice little bonfire here on my property. 

My dad tending the fire.

We had a lot of fun sitting around talking and playing with the silly cats.  My cats do the funniest things sometimes, like walking down the runway for a big cat fashion show.

The cats sure are silly, but I love them to pieces! 

This weekend my husband is coming home from another long week on the road (did I mention he is a trucker?), and we are going to the swap meet here in my town.  The swap meet is a HUGE flea market and is held in the fairgrounds each spring and fall.  I plan on buying some hens that lay eggs, I had a chicken when I was a little girl and I loved it.  If anyone has any good chicken raising tips please do let me know. 

That is all there is to report on this Fun Filled Friday!  Please enjoy your weekend and dont forget to laugh and have fun!  Laughter really does make the world a better place.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Easy Fiesta Potatoes

Since today is FUN FILLED FRIDAY and we are beginning the Ultimate Blog Party 2010, I thought I would share a recipe that is super easy to make while still being fun and festive. 

Fiesta Potatoes Ingredients
1 can of Whole Peeled Potatoes
1/4 of 1 Medium Onion
1 T. Butter
1 T. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
A Zip and Steam bag from Ziploc
Sour Cream (Optional)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Optional)

1. Chop the potatoes into quarters (the smaller ones can be cut in half).
2. Add all ingredients to the Zip and Steam Bag.  A medium sized bag works fine for this dish.
3. Jiggle the bag around a little bit to make sure that all of the potatoes are covered.
4. Pop the bag into the microwave for 5 minutes.  The bag will be hot and steamy so be careful when you remove it.
5.  Serve on a pretty platter topped with Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream (Optional).

Pretty easy huh?  And they taste fantastic!

Fun Filled Friday is coming to Mary's Country Life!!

I have seen a lot of blogs that dedicate each day of the week to a theme.  I am a busy working woman and am not always able to blog every day.  But I did want to try to dedicate at least one day a week to something, so I came up with FUN FILLED FRIDAY. This will be a place where we can share all things fun for the week.  It will be a kind of summary of what I blogged about for the week and what is coming up for the weekend.  We could all use a little more fun in our lives so lets feel free to let loose, put on our silly glasses and funny hats and fill our day with  FUN!!!

Welcome to my friends from the Ultimate Blog Party 2010!!

      Hi Ya'll I'm Mary!

I am so excited to be a part of Ultimate Blog Party 2010.  My blog is a place for me to share the joys and frustrations of being a young lady living in the country with my cute husband. 

I wasn't always so excited about living in the country.  In fact, not too long ago, I thought about buying a house in the city and leaving the stresses of endless grass cutting and bug busting and rodent deterring behind forever.  As I was looking in town for houses, I realized just how much I really do like living in the country.  There is a peacefulness and serenity that comes from havng a rippling stream in your backyard.  At that point I went from reluctant wannabe city dweller to experimental country girl. I have only begun to embrace the country lifestyle and I will blog all of my trials and tribulations for my readers to share in.  I am a pretty funny person and always try to inject humor into my day to day life.  Laughter really is great for the soul! 

I hope that you enjoy reading my experiences as I try to tackle this life away from the big city!  To (mis)Quote the wise and witty author Dr. Seuss,
"Oh the places we will go!"

♥ Mary

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

[USC 61, USC 44, USC 39, 112, 108, 88, 79  Prize List]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sizzlin Salsa

In celebration of the start of my herb garden, I thought I would post my favorite fresh salsa recipe. This recipe is SUPER SIMPLE and tastes awesome. You can add any kind of pepper that you like, the hotter the pepper the hotter the salsa!!

The Ingredients
3 med. tomatoes (I like roma for this, they are nice and strong) chopped

3/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
1/4 c. chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. lime juice
1-2  jalapeno peppers(depends on how hot you want it)seeded and diced

In small non-metal bowl, combine all ingredients.
Mix well.
Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors.
Store covered in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Makes: 3 1/2 cups.

Oh you dirty dirty little kitchen!!

Oh kitchen, how I have neglected you.  I am so sorry for mistreating you and stuffing your cute little cabinets full of unwanted little things that I don't need "right now."  How was I to know that I would never find the lids to those 25 tupperware bowls that were crammed into that tiny little cabinet?  I had no idea that spices went bad after just 2 years, I would have thrown them away if I would have known the pain that they caused your poor little spice rack self.  I know it is just me and my husband, but I am just positive that we need 15 dinner plates and a whole pile of bowls.  Also, that silverware drawer has to have at least 30 forks and 30 spoons or I am simply unprepared for mass food disaster! 
Please forgive me for splattering all that grease on the range hood while frying some of my (delicious) chicken.  I can always clean the grease and grime tomorrow right?  That chicken sure did taste good though. 
Cleaning the garbage can?  Why would I clean a garbage can?  It holds garbage.  Oh you poor plastic garbage can with paper and liquid stuck to your bottom.  I always put a bag in you, how was I to know that on the inside you were a mess?  I didn't take the time to clean your lid the way I should. 
My old faithful refrigerator.  I love you dearly, you keep my lettuce so crisp and my tomatoes red and plump.  Whenever my throat is aching for a cold drink, you are always there to help me in my moment of need.  Because of you I am able to prepare wonderful dinners for my little family.  I am so sorry that I let you down and neglected you the way I did.  I let those cucumbers turn into mush in that bottom crisper drawer.  I am so sorry that they spilled icky gooey green stuff all over your pretty little white bottom.  I had no idea that American Cheese had an expiration date.  It got very sticky and Im sure it hurt when I pried that stuck on cheese off of your thin plastic shelf. 
Oh little kitchen of mine, I promise to scrub you up good as new.  I will perform a miracle cleansing and you will be looking good and feeling great.  Don't give up on me dear kitchen, I will scrub you clean with every ounce of fight I have left in me.  I promise I won't let you down. 
Now where did I put that bleach...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To grow or not to grow... That is the question.

OK I will admit it.  I just started Mary's Country Life blog recently.  Why did I start it recently you ask?  Well, After 4 years of "grudgingly" living in the country and "dealing with" the day to day grind of pulling weeds and mowing grass and trying to make things live in my icky rocky clayey (is that a word?) soil, I have decided to embrace country life. 
My first real endeavor into the life of a country girl came this week when I purchased my very first herb seeds.  I keep hearing about how easy it is to grow herbs, and I love love love to cook.  I thought I would share some of what I learned about herbs with you and hopefully you can help me out with any tips or tricks that you might have to grow super herbs!!!

Cool Herb Benefits
♥ Some herbs attract beneficial insects to the garden, reducing the need for insecticides.
♥ Most herbs can be grown from seed or by transplant and can be used fresh or dried.
♥ Herbs add variety, beauty and fragrance to your garden.

In some cute little terra cotta flowerpots that I found on clearance I planted:


Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb that grows in sun or partial shade from seed.  The entire plant can be eaten and is used in stews, sauces, meat dishes and soups.  The seeds, also known as coriander, are frequently used in Indian cooking.  I love love love Cilantro in Salsa.  Fresh garden salsa is one of my most favorite dishes of all time.  Do you have any good tips for growing cilantro?  I would love to know them.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a perennial herb that grows in sun or partial shade to a height of 12 inches.  The plant has a grassy appearance and lavender flowers that can be eaten. The leaves are also edible and are used to flavor soups, salads, butters and dips.  They are a member of the onion family.  My favorite use for chives is a yummy sour cream and chive baked potato.  Anyone have a good chive recipe they would like to share?

Parsley is a member of the Umbelliferae family, which also includes celery, carrots,dill, cilantro, caraway, cumin, and the poisonous hemlock.  I love parsley in all kinds of italian dishes.  It adds a great flavor.  Do you have any dishes that you love parsley in?

So this is the start of my little herb garden.  I plan on expanding it and even building a raised bed to house some vegetables in later on in the spring.  Hopefully, this garden thing will work out OK.  Cross your fingers (better cross those toes too, I do NOT have a green thumb)!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring has sprung and dust bunnies have multiplied!!

Its that time of year that we all love.  The time when the dust bunnies and pollen begin to blow gently in the breezes that blow in through our freshly opened windows that have been tightly closed all winter.  It is officially time to clean up some of the clutter that has been bogging us down all winter and make the old homestead look all nice and pretty for the spring.  You simply cannot put out fresh flowers on top of a dusty table, the flowers will sneeze!!  In celebration of my joining moneysavingmom.com  on her quest to clear the clutter, and the launch of my brand new blog "Mary's Country Life" I decided to give away a little something to help my readers (do I really have any readers?) make their house squeaky clean. 
Sooooo...without further ado, I am going to give away this WowGreen Starter kit:

The kit includes everything you need to spruce up your abode while keeping the planet safe using all natural ingredients.   It has the following things in trial size:

Window Cleaner
All Purpose Cleaner
Laundry Detergent
Carpet Cleaner
Stain Stick
This kit is sure to help you in your adventures against dirt and grime.

To Enter, just leave a comment with your name, e-mail address, and if you plan on doing any spring cleaning this year.   Thanks for entering and good luck!!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Yummy Yummy Sticky Buns

I decided to take some of my giant stock of pillsbury biscuits that I got when things were on sale and make some yummy Apple Pecan Cinnamon sticky buns for breakfast this fine Easter Morning. They were absolutely DIVINE! So rich and wonderful and they are a snap to prepare.

I promise next time I will take pictures, but they flew out of the pan so fast this morning that I didnt even have time to turn the camera on.
Here is the recipe if you would like to try them for your family.

Sticky Buns
1 Can Biscuit dough
1 Granny Smith Apple diced into small cubes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 T butter (The stick kind is less messy)
1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon water
Dash of vanilla (optional)

Preheat the oven according to the directions on the biscuit container. In the bottom of a muffin pan, place a little of each of the apples and pecans and 1/4 T. butter (cut your stick butter into small cubes about the same size as the apples and put a few cubes in each tin). Sprinkle a little powdered sugar and cinnamon over the apples and pecans. Place a piece of the biscuit dough (I use the precut dough and just place one cut biscuit in each tin, but you can use your grandmother's aunts favorite biscuit recipe if you prefer) on top of the ingredients already in the tin. Now repeat for the rest of the biscuits. Place the entire yummy concoction into the oven and bake according to the directions on your dough. I like to add an extra minute or two to give the yumminess time to really cook well.

While the deliciousness is baking, mix the ingredients for the icing in a bowl, you can use more or less water but you want this kind of runny so it will pour all over your sticky yummies.

When the sticky buns are cooked to perfection flip the whole cupcake pan over and shake to remove the ooey gooey buns from their bindings. The apples and pecans should be on the top at this point. Now take your sugary sweetness (read as icing) and drizzle that all over the top of the yummy yeasty things (read as biscuits). Serve them on a pretty platter, if you can get that far with them.