Archive: February 2015

Calving Season and Slow Cooker Meals


First calf of the season. We’ve had calves born in snow, rain and wind this year, but fortunately the weather has been getting warmer again.

What does calving season have to do with slow cooker meals? Well, seeing as 2 to 3 baby calves are coming each day, having a slow cooker meal ready for dinner makes at least one part of the day a little easier.

Not only is my hubby busy checking for baby calves each day and night, but we’re also still feeding cows as the grass is getting greener, but not yet tall enough to provide all the nutrition the cows need right now. Our bull sale is a little over a month away. Many other ranchers who produce seedstock or purebred cattle, are also prepping for the bull sale season. This is when commercial producers purchase their bulls to use for the next breeding season. We’ve been gathering the pedigree information and taking photos for the catalog, putting together advertising, and going through the checklist of must-dos before sale day.


All the Hamburger (Ground Beef) Stew ingredients combined into my slow cooker.


Ready to eat!

Kids’ activities keep us on the go as we have one playing basketball and one in wrestling right now. Not to mention homework sessions each night. Our busy days and evenings give me reason enough to keep the Crock-Pot® filled. Dinner is much easier when I plan ahead and spend a few minutes prepping in the morning while cleaning up breakfast dishes. I love slow cooker meals because they are little mess and provide a healthy, hearty meal for my family at the end of the day. I guess the only downside for me is smelling the yummy goodness all day long and it makes me hungry, ha!

I tried several new beef recipes during the holidays and this new year, so I’ll be sharing them with you here. This one isn’t a new one, but actually a tried and true recipe from my mom—it always reminds me of home. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s become one of my kids’ favorite meals too. I’ve included some helpful hints as well.

Hamburger Stew


A yummy bowl of Hamburger (Ground beef) Stew. A perfect end to a busy day—easy, hearty and healthy!

1-2 pounds lean ground beef (Brown and cook thoroughly. Drain and rinse with water if necessary to remove extra fat if not using lean ground beef.) *Helpful Hint: Buy ground beef in bulk and brown all at once, divide into 2-4 cup servings, and place in freezer gallon bags. It makes it super easy to prepare a slow cooker meal or a quick dish when some of the prep is already done.

1-2 cans diced or stewed tomatoes (I use one can per pound of beef.)

*Helpful Hint: I fill the empty tomato can with water to add liquid to the stew. You can also use one can of beef or vegetable broth.

1 small can tomato sauce (I use no salt added as I like to be in charge of my seasonings.)

Vegetables (This is where you can get creative and use what you have on hand.)
-Cubed potatoes (You can peel or leave peel on, whichever your family prefers.)
-Diced carrots, celery, bell peppers, onions (I cut up in 1 inch pieces.)
-Frozen, fresh or canned corn and green beans (I use frozen as that’s what I keep on hand. They are just as nutritious as fresh, and great during cold months when fresh aren’t in season. I usually put them in during the last 30 minutes to hour of cooking.)

-Salt and pepper to season (I used fresh ground pepper and Lawry’s Garlic Salt as my go-to seasonings of choice. Mrs. Dash is also a great choice of seasoning if you want a salt-free spice blend. I usually season at the beginning of cooking, then taste before serving and add a little more if needed.)

Put all the ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours. I love to serve with Beer Bread or crusty rolls to sop up some of the broth, but truly it’s excellent all by itself.

*Helpful Hint: This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, depending on how many you need to feed. It also freezes well, and makes a great meal to take to neighbors or friends.

For all those busy nights when you don’t want to worry about dinner, I hope you consider this easy, hearty and healthy hamburger, ground beef stew!

~ M

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Crock-Pot®, Lawry’s or Mrs. Dash, but we wanted to give credit to these brands as they were mentioned in the post.

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life, Recipes

Learning to Sew

I have been dabbling in the art of sewing…. like with a machine.

My first set of towels....that is suppose to be a lady bronc rider

My first set of towels….that is suppose to be a lady bronc rider.

The darned dollie quilt!

The darned dollie quilt!

Second set for Mesa's sitter, they raise Herefords.

Second set for Mesa’s sitter. They raise Herefords.

I had hand stitched a few things in my youth, but that needle pounding up and down at lightning speed is a whole different basket of fruit! I am starting out super simple and as I continue to keep my fingers, I plan to advance.

My grandma gave me a really nice sewing machine so I had her show me a little about how it worked. From then on I have been blazing my own sewing trail. I started with some rice heated pads, then I sewed some shapes onto towels. I am rating these as the most fun so far. The latest project that caused me the greatest amount of grief was a small blanket/quilt for my daughter Mesa’s dollies—although I think she has claimed it for herself.

Sewing was all fun and games until the quilt! I picked out the cutest, softest plaid flannel for the back…..big mistake. It squandered around and bunched up so bad while feeding through the machine that it had me in a fluster. Based off the words I was muttering and the flying fabric, the ordeal probably wasn’t a PG experience. I learned I need a whole lot more practice at cutting, measuring, choosing fabric, sewing…..well about everything. For now, I am doing what any prideful person would do and blame it on the material.

Have you tried to learn anything new lately? How did it go?

~ Diana

Diana and her husband grew up farming and ranching. Now they own a crop and rangeland spraying business, and their own herd of cattle. Diana is a busy ranch wife and mom to a two-year-old little girl. When not helping with their spraying or cattle, she travels throughout north Idaho discussing feed programs with ranchers as a full-time feed consultant.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life