Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soup for winter (and summer)

And speaking of which, here's my secret weapon for surviving the holiday aftermath: Soup, capital S! Make a big vat of it and have a bowl before meals to get in your nutrition and take the edge off of hunger. Studies show soup eaters way less than non-soup eaters, woo hoo!

Leanne's Basic Veggie Soup
Serves 12

2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes -- undrained
1 large onion -- chopped
4 cloves garlic -- pressed in a garlic press
2 tablespoons olive oil -- divided
2 large carrots -- chopped
2 small celery stalks -- chopped
1 medium turnip -- chopped
2 cups green beans -- cut in 1" pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 head cabbage -- chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 small russet potatoes -- peeled and chopped

In a large soup pot, heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook till nearly translucent, now add the garlic. Don't let the garlic brown and saute another couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the chopped veggies, sauteing for just a couple of minutes. You're not cooking them, just sauteing for the wonderful flavor this quick step will infuse in your soup. Add the thyme and salt and pepper while sauteing.

Now put the veggies in the crockpot, add the tomatoes and broth. Cook on low 7-9 hours (depending on your crockpot) or high 4-6 hours. Just before serving, gently mash some of the potato chunks against the side of the crockpot to thicken the soup, give it a stir, correct the seasoning if necessary, and serve

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Grilled cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread and a spinach salad.

Quick Fixes for Variations on the Basic Veggie Soup

Now remember, don't do this to the whole pot of soup! Just the little bit you pull out to fix yourself for lunch, etc.

Quick Fix #1: Tex Mex Veggie Soup. Add some (eyeball it?how much do you want?) canned black beans (drained and rinsed), a little bit of cumin and chopped cilantro. Top with some tortilla chips and cheese, or serve with a quesadilla.

Quick Fix #2: Tuscan Veggie Soup. Add some (eyeball it again) canned cannellini (white kidney beans) or white beans (drained and rinse), a little bit of Italian seasoning and some chopped kale. Cook till heated through and the kale is tender.

Quick Fix #3: Minestrone Veggie Soup. Add some cooked pasta, a little dried basil and top with a fresh grating of Parmesan cheese.

Quick Fix #4: Autumn Veggie Soup. Add some diced acorn squash or butternut squash, some cooked brown nice, a sprinkling of nutmeg and some chopped parsley

Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva from
Saving Your Dinner Since 2001
Come and Get It! FR*EE week of Menu-Mailer when you get our Daily Dish

Thursday, April 21, 2011

important repost

Why You Should Fight BSL (and Encouragement for the Battle)
Posted on April 20, 2011
by Bless the Bullys| Leave a comment
I received an exasperated message yesterday from a blog reader. She was frustrated by breed specific legislation and angry that city officials – through arbitrary and discriminatory laws – could force responsible, loving dog owners to give up their dogs. She was discouraged and on the verge of giving up her hope of winning the battle against BSL.

This is for Sandra…

Encouragement for the Fight — The Tide is Turning
By signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, our forefathers adopted and gave birth to a new nation, an independent nation, a nation free from oppressive rule and tyranny. The desires that our forefathers laid out in that Declaration set forth so well why we have not only the right, but the obligation, to fight breed specific legislation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence, adopted July 4, 1776)

Unfortunately, all men [and women] are not created equally. The situations in which our freedoms waiver vary from community to community. Discrimination eats at our freedoms based on our gender, race, religion, community “status”, choice of life partner and, lest I forget, choice of canine companion. Under these circumstances – and so many others – all men and women are not equal in our “free” country.

As stated above, one of the main goals of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was to create a nation free of oppressive rule and tyranny.

Tyranny: arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power. (Random House Dictionary)

Let’s face it, tyranny exists in many governments across the U.S. We are now at the point where local officials are legislating how far below the waist people are allowed to where their pants. I must admit, it is beyond me why someone would want to wear their pants so the crotch hangs down to their knees, but don’t our local governments have better things to do than use OUR tax dollars to create laws that require police to enforce city-wide dress codes?

There are many examples of government exceeding its boundaries but, to be perfectly honest, my biggest concern revolves around responsible dog owners being denied the right to own the dog of their choice because of arbitrary decisions based on nothing more than a dog’s physical appearance.

Obviously, we do not create laws for dogs – we create laws for people. Laws are meant to deter behavior and to punish people who continue to participate in those behaviors. Before we go any further, let’s make one thing perfectly understood…DOGS DO NOT VIOLATE THE LAW…their owners do. However, when it comes to breed specific legislation (BSL), that is not the case. BSL targets dogs. More specifically, it targets dogs because of the way they look. Think there’s nothing “arbitrary” about that? Think that the breed of a dog can be easily determined? Well, read on.

Before his forced “retirement,” Tom Skeldon was the dog warden in Lucas County, Ohio. While his name is synonymous with unadulterated ignorance and bias in the canine community, he was considered an “expert” in breed specific legislation by those who support such laws. In this capacity, he testified on behalf of the City of Toledo, in the matter of Toledo v. Tellings. Regarding breed identification, Mr. Skeldon testified as follows:

[t]here is really no way to tell if a dog is or is not a pit bull, and the determination is made by animal control officers’ subjective judgment. (Toledo v. Tellings, 2006 WL 513946 (Ohio App. 6 Dist) (March 2006))

Ok class, time for a quick grammar lesson… The word “subjective” is defined as “particular to a given person, i.e., personal discretion. “ The word “arbitrary” means, among other things, “contingent solely upon one’s discretion; based on or subject to individual judgment or preference.”

In a nutshell, dogs are being singled out and killed for no other reason than someone made a subjective decision, based on their own personal experience – which, quite possibly, could be no personal experience at all, that the dog is dangerous simply because it LOOKS LIKE a “pit bull.” Not because of the dog’s actions. Not because it has done anything to pose a danger or threat to the community. Not because he or she belongs to an irresponsible owner. Dogs are dying because they have physical characteristics that certain people – who may or may not have any experience whatsoever in dog breed identification – have assigned to “pit bulls.”

Nevermind that a minimum of 20 other breeds possess the same physical characteristics of bull breeds. Boxers, labrador retrievers, mastiffs, and a host of other breeds are affected by breed specific legislation and so-called “pit bull bans” because they were born with certain physical characteristics that an uneducated group of people have decided deem a dog dangerous.

It is simply preposterous to decide that any given dog poses a danger to society based on nothing other than its appearance – yet it happens every single day in our country that is supposed to be free from arbitrary governing.

In the past few years, it seemed to be the trend for government officials to turn to arbitrary laws to “cure” their dog problems. For a while, it seemed more and more cities were implementing breed specific legislation. Despite this, the number of reported dog bites in the United States has remaied the same for the last several years. In the U.S., an astronomical 4 million+ dog bites are reported every single year – this is IN LIGHT OF the many breed bans that have been implemented across the country. It certainly makes one wonder – if BSL is truly the key to ensuring safer communities and preventing dog attacks, why haven’t these statistics decreased?

You may ask, “How can this be?” The focus of local governments has been to enforce laws against dogs instead of people. More specifically, these laws do not even focus on dogs who have proven themselves to be dangerous or problematic to the community. These laws condemn dogs because of the way they look. “Problem dogs” are a direct result of “problem dog owners.” You can remove every single “pit bull” from the United States, and if the issue of irresponsible dog ownership is not addressed, communities will experience the same “dog problems.” While those problems will involve different dogs, they will most certainly involve the same problem dog owners.

Every dog in every community has an owner. Moreover, dog ownership is a responsibility, and dog owners – not the dogs themselves – owe a duty to their communities to be responsible. Breed specific legislation leaves our communities more vulnerable as they give the sense of false security to residents. After all, all the “bad” dogs are gone…right??

Perhaps you noticed my use of the past tense when referring to the number of places proposing BSL. Alas, the BSL tide is turning. We are seeing fewer and fewer BSL alerts issued and more government officials enacting common sense, effective generic dangerous dog ordinances that focus on human responsibility and behavior and not canine appearance.

Why the change? Because more and more responsible dog owners like YOU are speaking out against ineffective and arbitrary laws and offering suggestions and input to their local governments. Owners of dogs targeted by BSL, as well as those that are not, are speaking out for laws that make our communities safer as opposed to knee-jerk reactions that only put a band-aid over the gushing wound of personal and owner accountability.

Our forefathers have vested in us the right to be free from arbitrary government and laws. It is our duty to make our voices heard when local governments attempt to take some of our freedoms based on arbitrary and subjective decisions. Breed specific legislation is arbitrary governing at its most basic level.

Please do not be silent.

Breed specific legislation is NOT a “pit bull” problem. Dogs with certain physical attributes – and the responsible owners that love them – need you to stand united with them and fight breed discrimination today and every day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 23 - Snow Day for Our School = Crockpot Day

From a Friend on Etsy (Lona @ ShadySideFarm)
Pinto beans for supper. Will have them in tacos with gound beef. Yum!

3 cups pinto beans
9 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped fine

Cook all day in the crockpot. Check for doneness--fresh beans will cook quicker than old beans. cooked mine 5 hours on low, but they're as fresh as can be. Then I added:

1/4 tsp. cumin
4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

You can mash them for refried-style beans (drain excess water) or just eat whole with chips and cheese and salsa and corn or on tacos... Use your imagination.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

Saddle up and continue on with the day!

You know how much I love photography, right?! Well I came across this cool website named PhotoFunia that is a total blast. I just had to share.

It's free and it's fast and easy to use. And you're not required to download the program onto your computer! This is my kind of program. . .

My kids will be so excited with this website.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Make It: Egg Bouquet
1. Cut out individual egg holders from an egg carton.
2. Paint the outside of about 10 egg holders in a variety of colors using acrylic paint. Blend colors as desired. Allow at least one hour to dry and then paint the insides.

3. Twist together two different-colored pipe cleaners to make the stem.

4. Poke a hole in the bottom of each "flower" and pull the pipe cleaner through. Make a loop at the top to secure.

5. Place flowers in a clean, glass jar. Wrap a scrap of fabric around the jar to add more detail to this timeless, recycled bouquet.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I (with my needle felt) will be at Shady Side Farm's Shearing Day

Info here

FolkArt Fish Pin Cushion

Friday, February 4, 2011


A special gentleman ordered this for his sister, giving me artistic freedom to create something interesting. This solidly felted 6 1/2" tall bottle can be used laying down or standing tall.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cruiser tried to taste a flying helicopter tonight and buzzed his tongue. . . he is giving it a Pit Bull Evil Eye. . . it stays on it's side of the room and he stays on his side of the room. . .LOL

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I, so love the idea of homeschooling and actually have 2 kids that have asked to be homeschooled (out of 4, 1 NEEDS to learn to work with others and the other, my only girl, I really, really perferred to be alive to reach majority, step-son was the one that needed homeschooling but that wasn't my call at all). So all of my kids have gone or go to public school, the last two go to a school where my oldest neice is Principal.

But as a Public School parent, I totally believe that schooling doesn't end when the school bell rings or the bus doors close on their behinds. We raise & train animals for 4-H (not for my fun either), public speaking and demonstration events, horse judging, Pit Bull Education, Anti-Breed Specific Law events, go the library several days of the week (not just when I work there, LOL), tween club, chess club, lego club, anime club, and my Jared is dragging me kicking and screaming into the Middle Ages. . . with PVC sword in hand. LOL ( )

At the end of 4 kids and multiple animals, what I have to impart is. . . what works for one doesn't work for another and each Child is a learning event.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Always a farm kid. . . when viewing animals (livestock & pets) I start catagorizing them according to use, breed, coloring and conformation without even thinking.

Many parents who see a horse in the field, say to their child "Oh, look a horsey", or "see the sweet pony", my poor kids got from me "Honey, look at the Belgiun, it's a breed that can pull wagons!", "No that isn't a pony, ponies are under 54 that is a small quarter horse type" or "Wow, See the field of Oreo Cookie Cows they are a beef breed called Belted Galoways. Aunt Mary has some Dutch Belted, which is the Dairy breed marked like this. . . ".

I have this website bookmarked on my computers and refer not only my own kids but my 4-H kids to this great resource . . . (Welcome to the Breeds of Livestock resource presented by the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University. This site is intended as an educational and informational resource on breeds of livestock throughout the world. We hope you enjoy the information provided and find it both educational and fun. We see this site as a continually growing resource)

Not only does this website list American popular livestock and breeds but this resouce seems to have most breeds world-wide listed and even lists breeds of Buffalo, Camel, Donkeys, Llama, Reindeer and Yak.

You don't even want to get me started on dog breeds, "Yes, Stevi, ask the owner if you can pet the American Pit Bull Terrier but stay away from the small chihuahu, see how shy it is. Shy dogs can bite in fear. Remember ask the owner first. . . "

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snow. ..

Make it stop

Look, I'm as big a fan of winter as they come. I love sledding, I love the pretty fairyland all that white stuff falling from the sky creates. I'm not afraid to drive in it and as long as the schools don't close their doors, depriving me of my few hours of respite from my offspring, I'm happy to go to work, go shopping, go wherever.

My animals, however, would really appreciate a break. Horses, despite any evidence to the contrary, believe that the moment the snow starts falling that they are going to starve to death. It doesn't matter how fat and shiny they happen to be, how much hay is in the feeder and buckets of sweet feed they get, they are convinced that starvation is just around the corner. The moment they sight you in the window or hear the back door open, they rush the fence, then stare at you with haunted eyes. Its enough to make you lose sleep.

The dogs hate potty time, but since they refuse to learn to flush the toilet, outdoors it is. And the big fella, the nearly 60# pitiful Pit Bull, has gotten it into his brain that he is somehow too weak and fragile to go outside to pee in the snow. He stands at the door, looking at me with reproach in his eyes. I can't go out there. Yes, yes you can. No, I can't. I'll die. I'll freeze. The snow might eat me. Look, buddy, I don't care if your pecker falls off from the cold, you're going OUT THERE to do your thing. You are the meanest human being that ever lived. I know, my offspring remind me of that fact approximately every thirty seconds. Now go. Out. Go. Fine, I'll go. But I'm peeing on your front porch and entry way garden and tires and. . . here.

When is spring again?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Needle Felt version of an ACEO "Art Cards, Editions and Originals"

ACEO stands for "Art Cards, Editions and Originals". These cards have one main rule - they are 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches - the size of a trading card.
The reason for this is, of course, that Art Cards are made to be traded! But while artists were happily trading cards, the general public was left out in the cold, having no Art Cards to trade. A group of artists realized this, and quickly made their cards available for sale at remarkably low prices so that everyone could join in the fun!

Cards are also sold either as originals or editions. Make sure you know which you are buying! If it is a print it should say so, and it should be numbered and signed, usually on the back.

Art Cards can be a riot! Artists from all over the world are creating, and now selling these little gems in different mediums and of different subjects. Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic, Colored Pencil, Pastels, Pyrography, Pen and Ink, Sketching, Collage - the sky is the limit. Abstract, Surrealism, Outsider Art, Impressionism, Expressionism -every style you can think of - and then some!. Every interest and subject is covered! Extremely collectable Pocket Art, you can't stop at just one!