Mom’s Baking Powder Biscuits

What is better than Mom’s home-cooking?!

This is a recipe I grew up on and still love making to this day!

These tasty biscuits are great with butter, hot out of the oven.

Or you can add fresh, homemade jam…

… or you can make biscuits and gravy…

… ooor, you can use the dough to make Pigs in a Blanket!

This recipe is the foundation for so many yummy options.

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Start by mixing the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then cut in cold butter using a pastry blender.

Depending on how flakey you would like your biscuits, you can add anywhere from 1 – 3 tablespoons of butter. The more butter, the flakier the biscuits.

Pro Tip: Using cold butter helps make the biscuits fluffier and flakier.

Next, add the milk and gently mix until the flour is fully incorporated.

Make sure not to overwork the dough.

Then roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into biscuits.

This recipe makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits, which I find is a perfect serving size.

I use my biscuit cutters from Amazon to get perfectly shaped biscuits with pretty scalloped edges.

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Pre-heat your oven to 400º and bake your biscuits on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper so I have as little clean-up as possible.

You can cover the biscuits and allow them to cool or serve them hot!

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Recipe

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cold butter (up to 3 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

Directions

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in cold butter.

Stir in milk and incorporate ingredients (do not overwork dough).

Roll out dough on floured surface.

Cut & bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 – 2 1/2 inch biscuits

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Be sure to join my mailing list to get my recipe for the gravy I make for biscuits and gravy as soon as I publish it!

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What is your favourite way to eat biscuits? Drop a comment below!

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Arched Garden Trellis DIY Build

During the long, cold winter months I tend to binge-watch DIY YouTube gardening videos – everything from how to grow blueberries, to composting, to building a greenhouse!

This past winter I came across the idea of expanding growing space by building an arched trellis using cattle panels.

I was intrigued!

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I love mixing “functional” with “decorative accent…” if you follow my blog, you’ve already seen the DIY garden arbor we built this spring for that very combination!

An archway in the middle of my garden, covered with vining foliage and flowers sounded like such an elegant, whimsical idea.

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First, we started off by building two matching raised beds as the foundation of our arched garden trellis.

Once they were in place, stained, and filled with a combination of compost and soil, we drove 4 metal t-posts into the ground so they were good and solid.

I wanted to have about 6 inches or so on the inside of the trellis so I could plant bush beans inside the archway and runner beans on the outside to vine upward.

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Next, we gently curved the cattle panels into a consistent arch and secured them to the t-posts; in some of the YouTube videos people used zip-ties to secure them, however we found they weren’t sturdy enough and used wire instead.

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The cattle panels were about $65 CAD from our local farm supply store, which was more than we had hoped they would cost but decided that it would be worth it in the end.

We added sand between the raised beds to avoid ending up with a muddy walkway when we got a heavy rain.

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(The archway seemed nearly invisible as just bare wire)

I planted bush beans inside the archway, as planned, and scarlet runner beans & purple runner beans on the outside of the trellis.

Check out my blog on how to grow green beans here.

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The raised beds were large enough that I had space to plant zucchini, summer squash, patty pan squash, and small rows of lettuce, spinach, kale, & arugula in the part of the beds away from the trellis.

And then the long wait began!

Slowly, I could see progress… vines crept upward inch by inch as I trained them to wind around the wire.

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By late July the beans were almost as tall as me – and by mid-August some of the vines had finally grown all the way up and over the trellis!

The whimsical tunnel of lush foliage, covered in flowers and peppered with fresh green beans was everything I had envisioned!

As far as the functional part of this DIY build, the cattle panels gave us an additional 128 square feet of vertical growing space!

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And as everyone knows, extra growing space = extra production!

(yes, we live on an acreage where we have plenty of space to grow veggies, but keeping everything as compact as possible makes weeding, watering, and harvesting easier)

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Over the last few months, we have had more than enough green beans to eat with every meal if we wanted AND lots left over for canning & pickling.

What innovative garden builds have you done? Drop a comment below!

Don’t forget to check out our DIY rain barrel that was *almost* FREE!

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Bagel BLT

We don’t usually have sandwiches for dinner, but when I have a fresh batch of bagels straight out of the oven it is definitely a tasty option!

Quick and easy dinners are a welcome thing when we have projects on the go, and bagel BLT’s hit the spot!

If you don’t know how to make your own homemade sourdough bagels, check out my recipe here!

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You can also find my homemade sourdough starter recipe here.

Sourdough bagels have the perfect flavour and chewiness to add something a little extra to a sandwich.

My personal favourite kinds of bagels to use for bagel BLT’s are jalapeño cheddar or sesame seed bagels.

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Slice a fresh bagel in half, then spread mayo to the bottom half and old fashioned mustard to the top half.

The old fashioned mustard adds a little extra crunch and I personally love the tangy flavour.

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Next, layer a generous amount of crispy bacon, then tomato, and lettuce.

(If your veggies are homegrown, all the better!)

You can even add a thinly sliced layer of red onion.

And viola! A classic sandwich is ready in a matter of minutes!

Sure, this is a pretty straight-forward meal to make – so why add it to my blog?

Lunch & dinner ideas! It is easy to get stuck in a rut of making the same few meals each week and it is nice to be reminded of outside the box options.

You’re welcome! 😉

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Loaded Stuffed Potatoes

If you’re anything like us, you’ll been firing up that grill all summer long!

On a hot summer day, there is nothing better than the smell of the BBQ wafting through the yard… except for the tasty food that comes off the grill!

Baked potatoes make a great side for steak or chicken, so why not try this loaded version that takes it to the next level?

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The creamy inside is packed with flavour, the crispy bacon adding that “WOW” factor, and the gooey cheese topping it all off… YUM!

As with most of my recipes, this is easy to make and bound to impress next time you host dinner on your patio.

Baked potatoes typically take about an hour to cook fully, so you will have to plan ahead a bit.

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First things first: choosing the right potato!

Russet potatoes are my first choice to use for baking because of their thick skin and starchy insides.

I have used Yukon Gold potatoes for baking as well, but the skin isn’t quite as thick and doesn’t get as crispy, which is part of the beauty of a baked potato.

I start by poking several holes in the potato in a few spots to help keep it from exploding while it cooks and allows steam to escape the skin.

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Grill on medium heat (or bake at 375º) on the top rack for about an hour.

Some people say to wrap them in tin foil, however I just pop the potatoes in by themselves; this helps with that crunchy skin.

Check the “done-ness” by stabbing a fork or knife through the centre; it should slide easily into the potato with no hard parts left inside.

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Once the potatoes are fully cooked, cut them in half long-wise and scoop out the insides (making sure not to damage the skins).

Next, whip the insides with cream cheese, garlic (you can use Garlic Plus or, as I prefer, roasted garlic), and crispy bacon (or bacon bits).

Salt and pepper to taste, then fill the skins with the mix.

You can top with your cheese of choice – I use cheddar as it browns so beautifully!

Place the potato halves on the top shelf of the grill again and allow the cheese to bubble into a nice golden-brown.

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Once you remove the potatoes from the heat, garnish with green onions and/or fresh parsley for an extra-fancy presentation.

Enjoy!

Stuffed mushrooms go well on the side or as an appetizer.

Pro tip: These also freeze well to be pre-made and thawed before hosting dinner; just allow enough time so they are fully thawed and place on the grill long enough to heat them thoroughly and finish browning the cheese.

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Recipe

2 large Russet potatoes

1/4 cup cream cheese

2 slices of bacon

2 roasted garlic cloves *or* 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Plus

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

Green onions (garnish)

Parsley (garnish)

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Directions

Pierce potatoes with fork or knife in several places, then place on pre-heated grill at medium heat (or in oven at 375º) on top rack for 1 hour or until tender in the centre.

Cut potatoes in half long-wise and remove insides, making sure to leave skins intact.

Mix insides well with cream cheese, bacon, salt & pepper.

Spoon mix back into the skins and top with cheddar cheese.

Place back on grill (or in oven) until the cheese has turned golden-brown.

Remove from heat and garnish with green onions and parsley.

Enjoy!

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Makes 4 halves

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DIY Rain Barrel *Almost* for Free!

Did you know that rain water is much better for plants than tap water?

It contains nitrogen, which actually feeds the plants!

That is why things seem to grow like crazy right after a good rain (of course the thorough watering helps, too).

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Plus, rain water doesn’t contain chlorine and the tepid temperature is far easier on your plants than frigid water from the house.

And then there is the water bill. Yuck. Who needs more bills in their lives?!

Living in the country with well water, we don’t have to worry about a water bill – however a lot of people do have to take that expense into consideration.

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And I can’t tell you how many times I have seen notices in the city for “odd/even” watering schedules, which cuts down on how much water folks can use to keep everything green.

With all these factors in favour of a bit more self-sufficiency, rain barrels have become increasingly popular.

(Yes, I am aware that there is controversy in some States trying to regulate people collecting rain water – but thankfully that is not the case up here where I live)

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Did you say this DIY rain barrel was almost FREE?

Yep. You read that right.

We repurposed an old water softener barrel, weathered wood planking, leftover stain, and only had to buy some hardware for the tap!

The repurposed materials were things we already had on the acreage, however they wouldn’t be difficult to get for free (or cheap) for someone who doesn’t have these items sitting around their yard.

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Obviously this project required tools, which were not free, but with all the renovations we have been doing on our huge house we have accumulated many tools that will last us a lifetime.

(Check out our laundry room renovations here!)

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Where to start

Once you have collected a barrel, some wood planking, and hardware for the tap – and perhaps some rope as a decorative accent, you can get started!

Some people use an adhesive like PL Premium to “glue” the boards to the barrel, while others will use that rope as more than a decorative accent and have it tie everything together – literally.

For our rain barrel, we used drywall screws (once again, supplies we already had on hand from other projects) to secure the tongue-in-groove planking together at the top and bottom (making sure not to puncture the barrel).

We drilled a hole near the bottom of the barrel for the tap.

Installing the tap, the hardware had to have a good seal on the inside of the barrel so it didn’t end up losing water with a leak.

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A nice stain finished the look nicely; we used stain left over from the greenhouse, which makes the rain barrel look like a perfect accent piece in the garden.

The hole in the top of the rain barrel should only be large enough for the waterspout and protected with a fine screen to keep debris from getting into the rain barrel and clogging the tap.

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Once the rain barrel is in place and get your first good rain, you’re set!

No more relying on a mandated watering schedule and extra cost on your water bill!

And of course, enjoy the added benefit of water perfect for feeding your plants!

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Do you already have a rain barrel or want to get one? Drop a comment below!

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Luxury Chicken Tractor on a BUDGET

A luxury chicken tractor on a budget?!!

I know, those two words don’t seem to go together.

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“Budget” and “luxury” aren’t usually something you can combine, right?

My husband would certainly agree!

While this project turned out to be more time invested that he had banked on (and turned out much nicer than many chicken tractors we have seen on YouTube or Pinterest), it still WAS a budget chicken tractor!

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So what makes it “luxury” AND “budget” at the same time?!

Well, the fact that we repurposed so many materials to create this “tiny house” for chickens is a big factor for the budget argument.

The luxury part? How many chickens have such a sharp looking condo…

… opening windows, a spacious interior, and fresh greens to chow down on daily?

Yep! For chickens that is as close to luxury as it gets!

Let me back this train up a bit and explain why we are even working on this project in the first place.

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The year is 2020… Enough said!

Just kidding… We had actually talked about getting chickens well before COVID-19 was ever a factor (that being said, trying to buy eggs and the store being sold out at one point early in the pandemic confirmed our decision was a good choice!)

I grew up with chickens – I must have been so young when we first got them that I can’t remember a time in my childhood without chickens and fresh eggs.

Sure, the hens weren’t always laying consistently during the winter months, but we still had some fresh eggs even then…

We had Barred Rock hens that were nicknamed the “Hornet Sisters” because they dug up and killed an entire wasp colony – after I got stung multiple times when I accidentally stepped on their nest!

As children, we also had one bantam hen each that would come when we called and sit on our shoulder for treats (yes, sometimes they would poop on us… But not that often).

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And YES! We named them.

But we also learned to respect and appreciate where meat comes from at a young age.

And of course, the work that goes into keeping animals was a lesson learned first-hand.

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It certainly isn’t all fun and games; it takes consistency and diligence.

I learned the hard way once or twice as a young girl that shirking chores has consequences, and those lessons have lasted me a lifetime!

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Now, fast-forward back to 2020.

My husband, Jake, and I have been working hard on our acreage to become more independent and have a healthy lifestyle – so fresh, free-range eggs fit right into that plan.

BUT the big debate was where the chickens would live; would we go super cheap and fab a freezer or fridge for them to live in?

No!

So would we sink the money into the full-on chicken coop and run that I drew up – that would cost us about $4,000?!!

Also, no!

So what was the middle ground that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, but still get the job done?

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When we settled on the idea of a chicken tractor, we didn’t plan on it to turn out quite so… wellfancy.

It was supposed to be a quick, easy project to get the “cheeps” as they have been nicknamed (aka “cheep-cheeps” or “cheepos”), outside to eat grass.

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The push to make the build happen

Let me tell you – when chicks are 1 day old they are so cute!

They are fluffy and tiny and just adorable…

2 or 3 week old chickens in the house – well– they SMELL! Yuck!

We needed to decide on our plan for these cheepsFAST!

So we went with the chicken tractor.

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Personally, I think the plan turned out quite well…

The design is top notch, the color scheme is vintage barn red with white trim, and the cheeps love to stretch their little wings flying up and down their little yard space.

One of the biggest differences we made compared to many of the chicken tractors you will find on YouTube or Pinterest is the fact that we built their ramp on an angle and attached the bottom of the ramp to the frame of the run.

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Why is this an innovative idea?

Most chicken tractors have the ramp sitting on the ground and have to have the ramp lifted before transporting the chicken tractor to the next part of the acreage for new grass…

… Moving parts make for more work and more chance of breaking!

(Plus extra hardware costs more money)

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Having the ramp on an angle means that we do not have to worry about moving it up and down each time we move the chicken tractor.

One concern that was brought up was whether or not the chickens would fall off the ramp or if they would be able to figure out how to use it properly…

Well! Let me tell ya, they only use the ramp half the time at this young age.

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At this point, they are flying down from their coop door – and flying back up again!

Once they are fully grown we will see if they still do this, but for now I am happily amused by watching them try to fly.

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We installed treads along the ramp to make sure the chicks wouldn’t slip off when they were coming up or going down.

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The features

Laying Nests

The next highlight of this luxury chicken tractor (on a budget) is the laying nest setup.

As with many chicken tractors, the laying boxes open from the top on the outside so I can collect eggs easily.

If any of you have ever had to walk through a dusty chicken coop (or worse yet – one that needs to be mucked out) to collect eggs, you will know how nice it is not to have to step foot inside!

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Some of you are looking at the photo below thinking that we have a few eggs to pick… while others of you are wondering why on earth there are GOLF BALLS in the nesting boxes?!

Yep. Golf balls.

WHY?

They are there to help teach the hens where to lay. Weird, I know, but it works.

Also, if there are “egg breakers” in the flock, this will help cure them of the habit.

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Easy Cleaning

Another nice feature is the fact that there is no lip on the coop door opening, so I can simply scoop or sweep the dirty wood shavings directly into the wheel barrow below.

Easy coop cleaning is a must!

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Roosts

Chickens love to roost, especially at night!

This is an addition we still need to make at the moment, but once we do, they will have that much more space inside their coop to hang out comfortably.

We will be going with natural wood from small trees around the acreage for both the “budget” factor as well as the fact that it is supposed to be easier on the feet for the cheeps.

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Chicken Door

Obviously a sliding door to close them in at night is a good security feature…

Most nights they put themselves to bed around nightfall and are ready to simply have the door closed.

The first day we let the chicks into the chicken tractor, we put them directly into the run so they could enjoy the grass and figure out the ramp from down below (rather than fall out of the coop from above).

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That first night we had to catch them and put them into the coop, but since then they have gotten their new home all figured out!

Some people will even go as far as upgrading from a manual chicken door to one set on a timer to open and close at dawn and dusk!

But remember, we are doing a BUDGET chicken tractor here, right?!

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The window & vent

Chickens need natural light to lay well.

During the darker months, they often will not lay as consistently if they lack light.

While we could add a light to mimic sunlight, at least having a window to give them natural daylight helps a lot.

The vent is needed to keep fresh, clean air circulating in their coop.

Even during cool months, chickens need sufficient circulation to keep them healthy; if it gets too damp and musky in the coop it will cause problems!

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Height

The height of the coop is a HUGE benefit!

It is tall enough to allow the chickens to eat and play underneath the coop, offers shade, and is easy for me to clean out (remember the wheel barrow fitting right under the door for cleaning?)

It also allows easy access so I can reach in to fill their feeder, check their water, and open the nest box without having to bend down (or get a ladder) if we had gone with a shorter (or taller) height.

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Flooring

The flooring is a sturdy, plywood floor.

We painted it to help with the ease of cleaning.

Some people choose to use off-sale laminate or linoleum flooring; this makes the dirty wood shavings sweep out of the coop that much easier.

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You remember how I said this was a “budget” project?

Let me get into that part!

We used a window we had removed from the 3rd story when we ditched the old windows and replaced them with high-efficiency ones.

It would have ended up in a landfill if it had not been repurposed, therefore it is not only cost effective for us, but also more environmentally responsible.

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(Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people worried about cow farts contributing to “climate change,” but I HATE people littering and I hate to waste resources)

Some other ways this was a “budget build” is the fact that we used a lot of scrap wood we had left over from other house projects.

LIKE A LOT!

We used so many small pieces of boards that would have been useless on most other projects, plywood, and even used shingles we had left over from roofing our house last fall (yes, they were still good strips that could be used to patch the roof later, but the point is – we had extras on hand)!

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What did we spend money on?

Wire

This was likely the largest cost for this project; quality wire is not cheap!

What they call “chicken wire” is okay for keeping chickens inside an enclosure, however if you need to worry about keeping critters out (foxes, dogs, etc) you need something much hardier!

Also, adding wire to the top of the chicken tractor was necessary to keep the chickens inside – AND keep the hawks and eagles OUT!

I have seen large birds of prey take out a few chickens over the years, so this was a big concern of mine…

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Lumber

With the scrap lumber on hand, we still did have to buy 2×4’s and plywood to finish the project.

Paint

Paint was something that we did not have on hand – at least not in the exterior variety that would hold up to our harsh weather.

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Hardware

We had hinges on hand from other projects, however had to purchase a latches for the run and coop doors.

Wheels

Well, as you can see from these photos we haven’t installed wheels yet… That is a purchase we still need to make at this point, but it will be a cost when all is said and done.

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Feeder & Waterer

You would not believe how hard it can be to find some of the basic items needed to raise chickens during prime-time in the spring!

I searched everywhere for a feeder and waterer when we were getting the chicks – only to find a feeder, but NOT a waterer that the tiny chicks would be able to drink out of!

I ended up making a homemade waterer using a Tupperware and a flaxseed oil bottle to mimic the “self-watering” capabilities of a store-bought waterer… And it worked!

However, when the chick were large enough, they got to start using a proper waterer.

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All in all, having a mobile chicken tractor to move around the yard has been a great choice!

Yes, it took time and thought to build, but we don’t have any dead patches of earth where the chickens have demolished their run (the way they do in a stationary chicken run) and I personally like the idea of fresh eggs that are truly “free range” quality without the worry of a chicken mysteriously disappearing due to a hungry animal!

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Now all I need to grab is a good ol’ fashioned metal egg basket for when our chickens start laying and I’m set!

I can’t wait to make my first batch of devilled eggs or potato salad with fresh, home-raised eggs!

(before wheels below & hardware installation on the coop door)
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Are you raising chickens for the first time? Drop a comment below if this post has been helpful for you!

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Peanut Butter and Banana Pupsicles

Looking for a way to help your dog beat the heat this summer?

This frosty recipe is a great way to reward your loyal pup!

Warning: it does melt fast, but your dog is faster!

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Oh! Did I mention that it only takes 3 ingredients?!

And they are ingredients you likely already have in your house; a banana, peanut butter, and plain yogurt.

They are quick and easy to make – the time they take to freeze is the longest part of making these pupsicles.

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Begin by mashing one ripe banana, then combine the yogurt and peanut butter so the mixture is a smooth, even consistency.

There are some really cute dog paw or dog bone forms out there, however you can also use an ice cube tray to form the treats if you don’t have anything fancy to use.

Fill the forms to the top, trying to minimize any air bubbles in the batter.

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Place in the freezer for 2 hours or until fully frozen.

And let the treat-earning-tricks begin!

The first time my dogs tried this recipe, they took a few slow licks before digging in – and the treats disappeared like magic!

As with all snacks, I don’t recommend giving your dog more than one or two per day because they still will make your pup chubby even though they are homemade.

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Recipe

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 cups plain yogurt

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Directions

Mash banana well, then mix in yogurt and peanut butter.

Place in ice tray or form of choice.

Freeze for 2 hours or until fully frozen.

Let the pups enjoy!

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Banana Oatmeal Dog Treats

Here is another favourite homemade dog treat recipe – rated 10/10 by my dogs!

It is so fast and easy to whip up a quick batch, and BOY does it make for some happy pups!

I personally love recipes that have simple ingredients that I typically have on hand, rather than having to make a special trip to the grocery store.

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These treats only take banana, peanut butter, yogurt, egg, and raw oatmeal.

Start by mixing the wet ingredients into an even consistency (smoothing any out any lumps in the batter).

The riper the banana is, the easier it is to get a nice creamy consistency without lumps (frozen bananas work well, too)!

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Then add the raw oatmeal and mix.

The consistency should be dry enough that it is easy to work into balls with your hands, but not so dry that it crumbles apart.

If you have a cute cookie cutter, you can roll the dough out and cut into shapes.

For a faster option with less clean-up, I usually form the treats into balls by hand (about the size of golf balls).

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Bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool fully and let your pup enjoy the tasty treat!

As with any treat, you don’t want to give your dog too many at a time; I don’t give my dogs more than one or two of these a day.

And of course they have to do a trick to earn their treat!

PRO TIP: I feed these treats outside as they tend to crumble while being eaten.

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Recipe

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 egg

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 cups raw oatmeal

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Instructions

Combine wet ingredients and mix well until there are no lumps.

Add oatmeal and stir until well blended.

Roll out and cut into cookies or form balls by hand.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 350º for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool fully before feeding to your dog.

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What is your dog’s go-to trick to earn their treat? Drop a comment below!

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Carne Asada Tacos

The smell of well marinaded meat sizzling on the grill makes my mouth water – instantly!

While doing a good, long marinade tries my patience, it certainly is worth the flavour and tenderness it gives even a mediocre cut of meat in the end.

Sure, you can spend big bucks on the highest quality meat…

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…but sometimes it is nice to have an option to turn the more affordable cuts into a melt-in-your-mouth delight!

Hence the 24 hour marinade time for my carne asada recipe.

I often buy a bulk cut of round steak to cube for round steak and gravy, slice and tenderize for chicken fried steak or keep a good chunk to use as a slow cooker roast.

However, it also makes for a delicious alternative to skirt, flap or flank steak for carne asada.

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I clean all the fat off and cut long slabs of meat with the grain, about an inch thick.

Then the marinade process begins!

Some people prefer to place meat in a glass pan with a lid, however I tend to simply place the meat in a large zip-lock bag; this method makes it so easy to make sure the marinade is mixed well and equally proportioned across the meat.

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To start this marinade, I zest a lime, then squeeze all the juice into the bag.

The citrus is an amazing tenderizer and adds flavour that makes all the others really pop.

Next, I add cayenne powder (I LOVE a bit of spice), cumin, and garlic.

Spices are what really kick an ordinary recipe up a notch!

So do herbs, hence adding a bunch of chopped cilantro (even if you are not a huge cilantro lover, trust me on this and try it this way at least once!)

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The drizzle of avocado oil helps the steak sizzle on the grill.

The splash of soy sauce, along with my secret weapon – Worcestershire sauce (and no! I did not spell that correctly the first time, but I sure know how to use it in cooking) – come next.

They bring a ZING of WOW!

Sometime I will add a few drops of liquid smoke for that amazing smokiness.

And finally, some brown sugar.

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If you have never marinaded meat before, you might be surprised that there is sugar in this recipe.

The sugar helps give a carmelized finish to the meat as it grills and enhances the flavours.

Have I mentioned that flavour is my #1 focus when cooking? You can probably guess, given how much I mention it!

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Close the bag, leaving as little air as possible. This helps make sure the meat is evenly marinaded.

Then, give it a good mixing by working the marinade into the meat with your hands (make sure you don’t accidentally open the zip-lock – it makes a mess!)

This method is a win-win for me; less dishes to wash is always a win plus it is a fast, easy way to fully mix the marinade.

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Now throw that bad boy in the fridge for 24 hours and try not to drive yourself crazy, thinking about how amazing it is going to taste – TOMORROW!

Sure, if you want to rush things you can get away with marinading it for 4 hours (or even 1 hour if you are in that much of a hurry), but the 24 hours gives it amazing, deep flavour that you just can’t beat – not to mention the tenderness!

Once your countdown has hit about 1 hour left to go, prep time starts!

If you like chips and dip as starters or sides, this is the time to whip up some guacamole and chunky salsa.

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Next, thinly slice the cabbage, red onion, and cucumber.

Add these to the same bowl, drizzle lemon juice over, add salt & pepper to taste, and stir well.

The crunch this “slaw” adds to the tacos makes for great texture (have I mentioned that texture is a big deal in my cooking, too?)

The crema sauce is my easy go-to for Mexican recipes. I almost always have sour cream, lime, and zest on hand!

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Some people prefer variations of an avocado sauce (there are lots of recipes), which is also so tasty!

You take your pick!

If you want to go with crema sauce, mix the sour cream, lime zest, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now that the prep work is done (unless you are going all out and make homemade flour tortillas, too), get that grill going!

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You want it pre-heated and on high heat.

Sear the meat, turning and drizzling additional marinade over it several times.

The length of time you leave it on the grill will depend on how hot your grill is in addition to your preferred “done-ness.”

I personally like a little pink in the centre, however Jake likes his more well-done.

You do you!

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Well, if you are cooking for the whole family you kind of have to think of them too (in which case, having a couple cuts of meat to cook to different “done-ness” is a great idea!)

Once the meat is cooked as desired, remove from heat and let rest for a couple minutes.

This helps those juices to re-absorb into the meat and keeps it – well – juicy. And tender.

While the meat rests, this is a great time to pull out all the prepped toppings from the fridge and heat the tortillas.

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You want to use small flour tortillas for this recipe.

I put them in a pan (without oil) individually on high heat until they feel hot, then flip them and remove from the heat after they puff up.

Repeat this process with each of the tortillas.

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Once again, this helps bring out the flavour as well as make the tortillas nice and flexible so they don’t break apart.

PRO TIP: you can also do this part on the grill, just make sure the heat has been turned down so the tortillas don’t burn!

Now it the time to slice up that yummy goodness you have waited a full day for!

The key to cutting meat to be as tender as possible is to cut it against the grain – in nice thin strips.

You can also slice the meat into even smaller chunky and fry them in oil like the taco stands in Mexico so.

The choice is yours!

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Plate your tortillas (or serve buffet style) by layering the veggie slaw on the bottom, then the carne asada, then crema sauce.

You can garnish with radishes, pico de gallo, and/or cilantro.

I personally also love an added wedge of lime to squeeze over my carne asada!

YUM! Enjoy!

Oh, and if you happen to have any leftover carne asada (like that’s going to happen!), carne asada nachos and carne asada poutine are totally a thing.

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Recipe

Marinade

2 pounds round steak

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 cup avocado oil

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Salt & pepper

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Toppings

Cabbage, to taste

Red onion, to taste

Cucumber, to taste

1/4 lemon, juiced

Radishes, optional

Cilantro, optional

Pico de gallo, optional

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Crema Sauce

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 lime, juiced

1/4 lime zest

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Directions

Remove all fat from round steak and slice into long, thin strips about 1 inch thick, cutting with the grain.

Add all marinade ingredients into a large zip-lock back with the meat.

Mix well, using your hands (make sure you don’t accidentally open the zip-lock during this process).

Marinade in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Slice vegetables and combine in bowl with lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sear meat on pre-heated grill on high heat until desired “done-ness” is reached.

Plate tacos (or serve buffet style) with sliced veggie slaw first, then meat, then crema sauce.

Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Chews

Pet stores have loads of different treats to choose from, but are they all healthy for your pup?

Probably not.

In fact, there are a lot of snack options I would not want to feed my dogs.

I personally like to know what goes into the food that I eat, so why should it be any different for my dogs?

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Homemade treats are not only easy to make, but they also give me a feeling of pampering my dogs a bit more than if I had just gone out and bought a tasty snack for them.

These sweet potato chews are the veggie alternative to rawhide – and the dogs LOVE them!

PSA – just because they are a vegetable doesn’t mean you should feed your dog more than one or two per day; they will still make Fido chubby if he has too many treats!

So just how do you go about making these yummy chews for your dog?

Easy!

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Simply slice the sweet potato into thin strips, then place in the food dehydrator at 140º F for 4 hours.

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If you do not have a food dehydrator, you can bake them at 250º for 3 hours.

You can peel them, however I usually leave the peel on and the dogs eat the whole treat.

If you have more than one dog, you may need to keep an eye on the one who tends to be the “treat snatcher” like Lady is!

Poor Zeus has lost his fair share of treats to her when my back was turned.

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What is your dog’s go-to treat? Drop a comment below!

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