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I Love My Reclaimed Wood Coop

In the Fall of 2015 my husband and I made the decision to tear our back porch off the house. We had found  (during a stre...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fried Egg Sandwich - The Fresh Egg Cookbook Recipe #2

So I cooked breakfast for the family this morning, before work and school, for the first time in ages. Everyone has gone their own way in the mornings for so long, but I super wanted to try this one and thought it would be a perfect way to start the day. I was right.

This was super easy, just making a sandwich with the perfect ingredients. Normally I like eggs over easy, but I decided I didn't want these to be that messy. So I broke the yolks as I was frying these eggs, got the bacon fried up, toasted the english muffins and threw a touch of butter on them, then I slapped it all into a sandwich with a slice of cheddar cheese.

Delicious, wonderful, having these as often as possible. Booya.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I Love My Reclaimed Wood Coop

In the Fall of 2015 my husband and I made the decision to tear our back porch off the house. We had found (during a stressful, get the damn cat back in the house moment) that underneath the porch was a concrete patio as well as steps that the previous owner had built the deck over without removing. They never stained or protected the wood properly, so the porch was in horrible shape. We did some work when we moved in, but it seemed to be too little too late. This has turned out to be a wonderful blessing! Not only do I love my little patio, but from the wood we recovered we have built garden boxes, a little library and now our amazing new chicken coop.
First, my husband spent weeks planning, reading and Googling to decide what kind of coop we needed. After he questioned me, then drew everything out, we made a list of what we had and what we needed. Then we hit Lowe's (my daughter is pushing the lumber cart on the left there). We ended up having to spend about $100 at Lowe's, then making a couple more trips for about $25 each. Not bad for an 8x4 coop with a good size nesting box.

The legs, base and some of the framing wood is pulled from the deck. New studs were purchased on our first run to fill in the 2x4s as the deck didn't have a lot of 2x4s, mostly 2x8s and 1x6s. We were able to put the 1x6s to use for the sides and it almost completely covered everything. We picked up a few more 1x6 boards to wrap that up.

One of my favorite parts is the nesting box my sweetie designed and built so I could access eggs from the patio, just my short self.
The lid opens up perfectly from the patio and inside is a 2x8 board separating it into 2 boxes. I plan to hang a curtain giving it a little more privacy.

Inside is the cool roost I built when my sweetie was still in bed in the morning. I'm super proud of it. :-) I also painted the floor with a bunch of sample paints I have remaining from painting the inside of my house. I just tossed them all together, not caring about the color.

We started working on the coop in the Fall of 2015 and didn't paint it until just this week, when the weather would cooperate more. As a result, the chickens chose to sleep in the door to the coop and cracked me up. I blocked them from the old one, putting the new chicks in that one. Two chickens slept in the new nesting boxes and the other two slept here, in the open door.

Once the warm weather hit, I started with the paint sample colors. It took quite a bit, but I finally was able to color match to the super dark blue I wanted.

My husband also added the coolest thing ever, a door that slides up and down so I can easily open it without having to go into the run in the mornings. I love the man so much.

We are talking about adding some white lettering on it declaring it the roost, but I haven't decided exactly how I want to do that yet.

So, here we are. My gorgeous dark blue coop.

*A few of the pics below were taken while I was mid-painting still.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Chili Rellanos - The Fresh Egg Cookbook Recipe #1

One necessary part of a chicken farm is an egg cookbook. At least one, if not many, many. So I grabbed my first one, The Fresh Egg Cookbook by Jennifer Trainer Thompson.

I love it! My husband and I both have been reading all the cool info she shares about breeds and such (I'll share the review of that part of the book soon) and I just love learning new stuff. I made the decision to cook every single recipe, so I can learn as much about the amazing impact fresh eggs have on our health.

So, the first recipe I chose is a variation on a favorite of mine and what I order at every Mexican restaurant, Chili Rellanos. They are so delicious, with rice, yum. This version is more of a casserole and instead of breading for the chilis, has an egg layer that really is a wonderful addition.

The first thing I did was hit the store for some peppers and cheese. It's too early for peppers from my garden, so Kroger it is. I got 3 poblano peppers and 3 anaheim peppers. I thought a comparison on taste would be excellent, since I have never cooked this dish before.

I started with placing the peppers under the broiler, and turning a few times, for about 20 minutes. Then I pulled them out and because I don't have any aluminum foil (I keep forgetting, dammit!) I placed them in the casserole dish with the lid on and let them continue to steam for about 10 more minutes.

In the meantime, I went ahead and mixed together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and flour.

After the steaming portion was complete, I peeled the charred skin off of the peppers (super easy part) and I cleaned all the seeds and such from the inside, cutting them in half. Then I laid half of them across the bottom of my large, Pampered Chef, casserole dish. I love me some Pampered Chef.

I sprinkled most of the cheese over the halves, then added the other half of the peppers, layered the remaining cheese and topped it with the egg, flour, milk mixture, well mixed.

The recipe called for it to be cooked for 25-30 minutes, so I did 30 minutes in the dish with the lid on, then 5 minutes without the lid. 
When I took it out of the oven, it still looked pretty yellow and a little soft, but I was starving and made the rushed decision to dive right in.

Despite my hurry, it was delicious. The eggs really added a lot to the recipe, leaving it a little lighter than the rellanos I buy at the restaurant. And because it was layered instead of stuffed peppers, there was more variety in the flavors. Things were able to mix a little more.

I am looking forward to making this with fresh, garden peppers and the anaheim tasted the better than the poblanos, I felt. They had a little extra bite to them. Lucky for me, that's what I'm growing. :-)

A couple of things I would do differently:

1. I would cook it without the lid until the top was golden and let it sit for 5-10 minutes afterwards. The eggs weren't as set as I would have liked.

2. I would buy a higher quality cheese. I went with the Kroger brand Mexican blend shredded cheese and there was a noticeable residue from the cheese that I was not thrilled with.

And that's it. The recipe was perfect and the addition of the layer of egg mixture was brilliant. I highly recommend this one.