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Sunday Dinner: Cauliflower Alfredo Pizza

This weekend seemed strange, just because I have the week off, so I am all goofed up. I went to my very first cattle sale! It worked out that since I was off, I could come with and experience it all, from taking the cows up to sell and the entire sale! It was a pretty long day, and by the end, I just wanted to go shopping! haha! I got in some quick grocery shopping at Target! If there is one store that I miss shopping at, it’s Target! I told Taylor, now with working at my new job, we need to make it a priority to get to Fargo or Bismarck more often!

Since starting back on track on literally the 26th of December, I have lost 3 pounds! SERIOUSLY! I am proud of myself for taking no cookies or chex mixes home and digging deep and getting back on track so quickly! So that is why this week, I was really craving pizza, BAD! So, I caved and made myself pizza with cauliflower crust!

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I was amazed at how the crust “transformed” in the oven! My mind was blown!

I had always heard that the cauliflower crust was awesome, but I never had tried it or made it myself. This week, I decided that it needed to be done. My biggest concern was a crust from cauliflower? How? But the crust actually turned out quite nicely! I think I was just scared to follow all of the steps of making the crust, but in reality, it was easy! You could definitely make it any style of pizza, I just did alfredo, because that is what I was craving. This recipe is by far (BY FAR!! just had to add more emphasis) one of the best “healthy” recipes I have made and needless to say, I will be making it again! It’s an added bonus that it also reheats nicely as well!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, Steamed (should yield about 2 cups if grated first)
  • 1/2 Cup of Almond Meal
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. of Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 1 Tsp. of Italian Seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash – no salt)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roughly part the cauliflower and chop for faster cooking.
  2. Put a baking mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet and pray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, steam the cauliflower chunks in water until soft. Drain.
  4. Put the eggs, hot cauliflower, almond meal, coconut oil, and seasoning all in food processor or high powered blender, until creamy.
  5. Pour out mixture on to baking sheet and spread into a round, pizza crust shaped circle. Spread evenly.
  6. Place in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Do not let the edges burn.
  7. Take out of oven and let cool while you assemble your toppings.

For my alfredo toppings, I used precooked chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic power. Store bought alfreado sauce (I tried to find a natural, organic brand with lower calories), cheeses, an onion, and bacon bits. I just used what I had on hand, but I think a red pepper and mushrooms would have been great additions! Next time…

 

 

 

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Fall/Spring Cleaning Check List

I pretty much grew up in a family of neat-freaks and I am a proud one myself, to a point. I love coming home or being in a clean, organized home. I sleep better at night knowing my house is clean. I like cleaning when I can take my time and somewhat “enjoy” it. I am on an every-other-week cleaning schedule for my household cleaning, like dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing my floors (yes, I do it by hand) and do touch-ups when needed. I actually schedule my cleaning, otherwise it would never get done!

However, spring and fall cleaning are not my strong points. I HATE cleaning out cabinets, closets, flipping mattresses, cleaning windows, cleaning the oven, and ALL of the above. These are things that I do when they are absolutely needed or else they are so dirty/unorganized I can’t take it anymore! Therefore, I created a schedule to get cleaning when they need it throughout the year and check them off as I go.

Feel free to print and edit the list as needed! Post it on your fridge or even laminate it, so you can use a dry erase marker on it!

Happy Cleaning!!

Cleaning Check List

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Why I Love Octobers

Octobers are filled with pumpkin spice everything, Halloween candy, and for my fellow farmers, harvest. If you read my blog at all, you’ll probably notice, I love my fall posts. I never used to love fall so much. Let me tell you a story…

Fall to me was like death. I hated fall growing up. All the leaves dying, the brightest green grass turning brown, flowers freezing up and dying, and when the whole planet of North Dakota turns a grayish, brown. I am not quite sure why I didn’t like fall. Maybe because I lost my first grandma in October, when I was 16, then a few months later my paternal grandmother, and another few months, my great grandmother. I’m just not really sure, but now…

I love the autumn season! To me, becoming a farmer’s wife changed me. Autumn is now filled with excitement, primarily because after harvest, my hubby will be in the house more and be home just about when I get home. To me, having someone there when you get home from work, to greet you at the door or help with groceries is the greatest gift. It’s a short lived gift, but still one of the best.

For farmers, harvest means we get our first pay check in close a year. Depending if you have cattle or not, harvest is about the only time farmers are brining in some sort of income, even if it does all go back into their farm operation. About 99% of the time, farmer hardly sees the money they just sweated, worked, and prayed for because it goes directly back into the farm operation. Have you ever filled diesel in a tractor before? Or bought a “new” (used but new to you) piece of equipment before? Do you know how much those guys at John Deere charge for servicing a truck or tractor? You know what I am talking about!

Honestly, fall gets so crazy and busy at times. It’s almost like holding your breath. In the middle of harvest, right before rain is coming, and you have a day and a half left, the combine breaks down. Then, the cows decide that now would be a good time to get out. Sometimes that grass really does look greener on the other side of the fence…

Fall is also just the start of the holiday seasons. The holidays that are spent with family and friends, laughter, and so much love. Here on the prairie, we look so forward to family time because family is SO important. In most cases, we run our businesses with our families and work side by side our parents and grandparents. Family time spent relaxing on the farm are days that are few and far between, but well deserved! Just talking about it, gets me excited to spend time with both sides of our families. By the way, I am hosting Thanksgiving this year… Pray for me!

Now that I am a married farm wife, autumn to me took on a whole new meaning. I am so thankful that I live on the North Dakota prairie where there are 4 seasons in a year. Especially, when the air turns crisp, the leaves are a beautiful golden, orange-red color, the sky is the deepest blue  you’ve ever seen, the harvest is close to done, and our prairie hearts are full. In every way possible.

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One Year of The Life of the Dakota Farmer’s Wife

Can you believe it? One year ago TODAY, I started this blog. I started out not really knowing what to post about, share, or what this whole “blogging” thing was really about. All I knew is that I loved writing and I needed a creative release outlet.

I can remember the day I created my blog! I remember being over-whelmed by setting everything up and not knowing what to write at all. Looking back, my first posts were well, tough but good. I enjoy looking back. It’s so emotional and biter-sweet, remembering feeling the exact emotions I was feeling when I was writing each and every post.

After one year, I have actual, real life followers, a like page (two actually!), and one year under my belt as a blogger. I seriously LOVE writing and being able to share it creatively with all of you is just mind-blowing.

When I first started, I had no idea how many people my blog would reach or touch. This past year, has been amazing. Today, I am sharing with you some one year flashbacks and stats of The Life of the Dakota Farmer’s Wife/ The Fit Farmer’s Wife!

Views: 73,747

Most Popular Posts:

  • A Letter to the Future Wives of Our Farmer’s (over 47,000 views in many different countries like Canada, South Africa, Germany, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Japan, China, many countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. (Seriously, WOW!)
  • What I Learned Growing Up as The Farmer’s Daughter – over 12,000 views

Likes: 34

Comments: 119

Followers: 1,364

Finally, I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you so much to all of you who shared, liked, and commented over the past year. It means so much that people actually read what you write, and more than anything it has meaning to you! I just can’t believe it has been a year.

Here’s to MANY more years!

As a thank you, I am going to be giving away a VERY special and the BIGGEST prize EVER worth up to $130!!!! To win, please 1.) Share your favorite past blog post, 2.) Share my Fit Farmer’s Wife Page, 3.)Leave a comment on this blog post! I’ll be announcing it this weekend! Good Luck!

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Have A Happy Weekend

I am trying out a new series for my blog! FIRST POST Alert!! 🙂

Every weekend, hopefully Saturday mornings, I plan to share with you 10 things or pictures that make me happy. I think pictures bring out a side in us. They make us feel emotion, whether that be happy, sad, cozy, angry, or  blissful.

The pictures that I will be sharing you weekly (hopefully!) will be what makes me happy. Of course, by now, you should know that fashion, working out/fitness, shopping, cooking, farming, being an introvert, and coffee make me happy. So let me ask you, what makes you happy?!

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Beef, Chicken, crockpot, crockpot recipes

My Tips and Recipes for Harvest

Harvest season is soon upon us, which means fast meals, fast part runs, and pretty much fast everything. I love fall and harvest, but not the busy, fast paced part of it. This year on our ranch, will be extremely busy because the way things are going, soy bean and corn harvest will run together. It’s an early harvest this year, which is okay by me. Then, my hubby will be done sooner, cows will be home in a few months, and time will move more slowly.

  
As a farm wife, every spring and fall is a battle to find fast and easy foods that are filling and make great left-overs. I don’t know how you do it at your farm, but with me working in town full time, I don’t bring food out to the fields. I just make sure I cook enough over the weekends so that, in the evenings if and when Taylor comes in and he is hungry, he has something he can warm up. For the most part, he packs a cooler for his entire day, but he does like something hot late at night when he gets home.

  
That’s why crockpot meals are great! I seriously love my crockpot!! I actually have two, but I could have three or four! Maybe that is a little over kill, but you get the point! So today, I am sharing with you some of my favorite crockpot meals, along with a few tips for us farm wives to survive harvest!

  1. Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings:
  • 2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 2 packages of Pillsbury Biscuits
  • Frozen Veggies like corn, carrots, and peas

Put everything in the crockpot starting with the chicken on bottom. Combine soups with frozen veggies and pour on top of chicken. Top with biscuits. Cook on high for four hours or on low for 6-7 hours.

  

  1. Tip One: Plan Ahead. Make sure to have your freezer well stocked with meals that can be reheated in the crockpot. Make sure to have grocery lists ready for unplanned store trips, when you go to town for a parts run. Keep extra snacks, cookies, crackers, and fruit snacks on hand at all times. Put the snacks and other food items in a specific drawer or cabinet so your farmer has easy access to it and doesn’t have to search the house for his Snack Pack Pudding cups! Plan ahead with other things like cleaning and doing laundry! When you have a spare moment, which is probably not too often, get household things done!
  1. Crockpot BBQ Beef Brisket:
  • 3 lb Beef Brisket

For the Rub:

  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Celery Seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

For the Sauce:

  • ½ cup Ketchup
  • ½ cup Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Dry Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp. Liquid Smoke

Put in crockpot and cook 8 hours on low.

  1. Tip Two: Make time for each other. No matter how busy it gets, always make time for family or an occasional date night, even if that means a combine date! Plan a quick family game night on the weekend or even a home movie night. Something quick and easy, just as long as you are able to spend time together. I know harvest gets crazy and busy, and sometimes both at the same time! It’s important to stay connected as a husband and wife and as a family. It helps everyone work together better and everything run more smoothly!

  

  1. Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken on a Bun

 

  • 6-8 Skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Your favorite BBQ Sauce

Place in the crockpot and smother chicken with bbq sauce. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Place chicken in electric mixer bowl and mix on low until chicken is shredded. Place on bun and serve with potatoes and corn.

  1. Tip Three: Be prepared for anything and everything to happen. Always keep first aid kits on hand and plenty of band-aids. This is the time of year when so many of us are on the go and it seems like things happen when we are in a hurry and not fully paying attention. Be prepared, you just never know if a paper-cut or a full on stab wound will be coming through your door!

  

  1. Crockpot Mac’n Cheese

 

  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Grease the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.

Combine milk, evaporated milk, butter, eggs, and salt in slow cooker and whisk until smooth.

Add the Italian cheese and macaroni and sprinkle with pepper to taste — stir gently to coat evenly.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to low and cook for 1.5-2 hours, until center does not jiggle and pasta is tender.

Place this cheesy goodness in a bowl and eat like you’ve never eaten before.
Have a wonderful and safe harvest!!

  

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Paleo Hot Cocoa

One of my favorite things about cooler weather is enjoying a hot cup of hot cocoa! I love my hot chocolate! Now that I have made the change to go paleo and part-time vegan (with the right meats and proteins), I chose not to have the not healthy, SwissMiss Cocoa Mix.

Last year, I shared my Grandma Hess’s dry hot cocoa mix recipe, which is amazing and I still have some in my cabinet! It is a staple here in our home! This week, it was a mission on mine to figure out the perfect recipes for hot cocoa! I have tried other healthy recipes, and they just don’t taste creamy or as sweet. I know, I know, I am asking for a lot, but I am very picky about my hot cocoa! Without further or due, here is my Paleo Hot Cocoa Recipe!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Makes 1 serving!

  • 1 Cup of Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Truvia, or add in by teaspoon by teaspoon and taste
  • Mini Marshmallows, optional or you can make your own!

In a small saucepan over high heat, mix the milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, and truvia and whisk continually until no lumps. Bring to a full boil, stirring continually. Add in marshmallows, if desired. You can also top with full-fat coconut milk for a substitute! Pour into a mug and enjoy with a good book!

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Autumn Decorating Basics

It’s officially fall here on the Z Ranch. Autumn has grown to be one of my favorite seasons. It’s when I can get my fill of pumpkin everything, flannel, leggings, boots, and fireside coziness. And not to mention, one of my favorite things, DECORATING!!

I LOVE fall decorating! This year, literally half of my garden was designated for pumpkins and squash! I am now blessed to have a variety of green, white, and of course the most beautiful orange pumpkins you’ve ever seen. It’s so fun to have a variety of fall colors to decorate with!

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For fall decorating, I love to start with the interior of the house, to get me in the mood to move to the outside, if you will! Today, I am sharing with you some great tips that I use personally to decorate my own home for the fall season!

  1. Candles! If you don’t, load up on great fall scents like pumpkin spice, autumn leaves, apple pie, caramel latte, and crisp air! Sent helps set the mood of your home and it is inviting and welcoming to your family and guests. I get most of my candles from Walmart, Bath and Body Works, and Yankee Candle. I also, recently purchased some great fall soy, wax beads from Pink Zebra! If you haven’t heard of them, all of their scents are amazing! I personally love, Toasted Marshmallow, Pumpkin Bread, and Farm House Cider.
  2. Pumpkins! Whether real or fake, you need a good combination of both! I use both inside and outside of my home. They accent the fall colors and the entire “Pumpkin Everything” season. I love being able to grow and raise my own pumpkins! If I could, I would have an entire garden dedicated to pumpkins!

3. Twinkle Lights! For my buffet table in my dinning room, I have a fall garland that I delicately wrapped and intertwined battery operated twinkle lights. The lights add a sense of coziness and warmth, especially on those cool, crisp fall evenings!

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4. Vintage Items! Nothing screams fall like something vintage! I love finding thrift store, cheap, vintage items. They are unique and personal and some, one of a kind. Even something that looks “old” will work! Hobby Lobby or your local thrift store is sure to have something funky and vintage for your fall decor needs! I have a vintage cream can from my mom-in-law that I love using to put my dried sweet corn stalks in! Perfect fall look!

5. Natural Items! Natural items like drying corn stalks, Indian corn, mini pumpkins, gourds, straw bales (yes, there is a difference between hay and straw) and squash are perfect additions to fall decor, inside and out! Plus, it adds warmth.

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6. Baskets! I love decorating with metal, wire, wicker, or wood crates or baskets! You can add in some decorative pumpkins or fall fillers and add a burlap bow and you are set! It’s a perfect way to make it cozy and seasonal at the same time.

7. Autumn Flowers! I love the look and feel of autumn flowers. Plus, it’s the last call to have some fresh flowers to decorate your home with before the winter! I got multi-colored Mums to decorate inside and out with! They are the traditional fall colors and super warm, cozy and add that added POP of color!

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8. Handmade Items! Last year, I had my dad make me a wood sign from a wood palette. I saw something similar on Etsy for almost $100! I knew I could make my own for a lot cheaper! For under $10 (with some painting supplies), I made my own! I hand stenciled my own lettering and mixed paint colors to get the perfect fall color palette! After I sandpappered it to make it look rough, tough, and tattered. It’s perfect for our front porch!

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9. Seasonal Soaps! I take my fall decor seriously to the point of even having seasonal scented soaps in our bathrooms! I love the Bath and Body works foaming fall soaps! They are anti-bacterial and are the perfect scents for our master bathroom and guest bathroom! Guests also love the fall smells!

10. Wreaths! The last and final great fall decor is a handmade, burlap wreath! Burlap wreaths are easy and fun to make! You can add small signs and other fall decor! It looks great on your front door to welcome guests for that fall dinner party!

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There! You have my fall decor ideas and tips for a great autumn home, inside and out! Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

XoXo

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When the Amazing Life Together Team Came to Visit

Last week, my blogger and fellow farm wife friend, Jenny Rorich told  me she suggested Taylor and I to the Amazing Life Together project, I had no idea what it was or what was going to happen. Jenny and her husband, Mark were going to be gone the dates that the Amazing Life Together Team was going to visit their farm, so she passed them on to us! I had to do some research…

I had never heard of Our Amazing Life Together or the journey their team was on across American to promote “life after the wedding”. The more I looked into it, the more excited I got! Ryan and Liz are professional wedding photographers from Baltimore, Maryland and they made it their mission to travel across the US to challenge, promote, and document marriage after the wedding, because that is the most important part, right?! They are then, publishing their travels, adventures, interviews, and photographs into a book! How AMAZING is that?!

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Throughout the week, Liz and Ryan and I were emailing back and forth. Taylor and I had to fill out an online survey of “our love story”. We really didn’t know what to expect when their team got to our farm. I gave them directions to our little farm out in the middle of no-where, literally.

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Saturday morning at 9:30 AM sharp, a brown RV with Maryland plates showed up in our driveway. Liz and Ryan interviewed us for about 45 minutes and we got to ask them a few questions as well about their journey thus far. Then, we showed them around our farm and they captured our love in photographs! (I can’t wait to see them!)

North Dakota is the 32nd state that they have been to. Hawaii is going to be their last. Liz and Ryan started in January on their amazing journey across America documenting love stories. They pick one or two couples per state to meet, interview, and photograph for their project. It was such an honor to be “suggested” and picked for their project! Of all the wonderful farm couples out there on the North Dakota prairie, they chose us!

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They asked us about how we met, fell in love, our wedding day, and married life now. It was fun to open up and tell our love story and know that it will be soon in paper form for us to always treasure and keep! I can not wait to see our pictures, and snuggle up with my hubby and read our love story with a good cup of coffee!

Liz and Ryan, it was a pleasure to meet you and have you at the Zenker Angus Ranch! We wish you safe travels for the rest of your journey across America. We love what you are doing and your passion for couples after the wedding. You were great to work with, kind, fun, and sweet! We are so honored and happy  you gave us this opportunity and look forward to hopefully seeing you again someday! If you travel across south central North Dakota again, you are always welcome! xo

*All photos are from Liz and Ryan’s Instagram account*