Farmer Fannie

Family, Food, and Farm.

Here in Tejas, and the majority of America was hit by a random winter blast. It’s almost surreal to think that happened. I won’t disclose how many years I have enjoyed here, due to the fact I’ve always lived here (therefore you’d know my age), but I have never seen such a thing. Let’s just say the farm-ily will be restarting the whole greenhouse again, bummer. Kevin has also had to fix several water pipelines out to the barn and garden, but luckily nothing too serious. I pray for those that had pipes bust and electricity out. Oh nightmare, uuugghh. I’m so sorry to those that were hit. TRUE TRAGEDY. Let’s feel better with some Potatoe Leek Soup?!!

Let’s get started!

Gather yer ingredients.

Here they are! Grab cookware, including a stockpot, colander, and skillet.

Get yer ‘taters chopped. The smaller the faster it will be to cook. Chop the leeks and soak them in water. This cleans them well.

Go ahead and cook the bacon. Takes 20 minutes, so might as well get ‘er started. Drain and dry the chopped leeks.

Get the cookware hot.

Heat up the pot and sautée the leeks and onion. Add sage and salt. Smell that great fragrance? I want to jar it.

Sautée until slightly translucent and place on a plate to the side.

Add potatoes to water. Boil until fork tender or a knife can run smooth. Drain. Then, put potatoes back in the stockpot and add broth. Puree with a blender or immersion blender (my favorite) until desired thickness. If you like a thinner soup you can dilute more with more stock. Add salt and pepper to taste after puree.

Use the right side of the pepper container; the open side didn’t work out so well for me. Haha. Whoops!

Let’s plate it!

Place the sour cream on the bottom of the bowl, pour a scoop (or 3) of the soup over the sour cream, and top with bacon and chives. This will give you a “Welcome home” feel. Better than a no electricity havin’, pipe bustin’ situation. Y’all stay safe!



Potato Leek and Bacon Soup

Lisa Bryan
Savory potato soup with crumbles of bacon and chives on top and a sour cream base.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 8 people


  • stockpot
  • colander
  • skillet


  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 6-8 strips peppered bacon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 stalks leeks
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 ½ tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 4-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • sour cream and chives (chopped green onion) optional


  • Set your oven to 350 degrees. Put bacon on a sheet rack (lined with aluminum for easy clean-up). Cook for 15-20 minutes.
    Chop the leeks into rings. You don't want to cut too far into the root or the hearty top green leaves. Chop the center of the leek and place rings into a bowl of water to clean.
  • Heat skillet on medium heat with olive oil, let it get warmed up. Get stockpot full of water and bring to a boil. Drain leeks and dry them. Place chopped leeks and onion in skillet and sautee for 5-7 minutes. Add sage and a dash of salt. Place on a plate and set to the side.
  • Boil potatoes in water until you can run a knife through them when boiling. Drain. Put back in the pot and add broth (this takes the starchiness out of them). Start with 4 cups and add more later if it is too thick. Add salt and pepper, maybe more if needed.
    Cool and use an immersion blender or blender to make as smooth or chunky as desired. I prefer smooth. When your done making smooth, add onions and leeks.
  • Put sour cream on the bottom of the bowl. Scoop soup into bowl and top with crumbled bacon and chives. Enjoy!!

Well, I guess Hell has frozen over. Covid Hell that is. Who would have thought it definitely can get worse?! What’s next?! A tsunami? Not funny.

Full disclosure, it’s my fault. I’m sorry. I have been praying for snow all December, and, all of January I prayed for a trip to Colorado. So, there it is. The truth.

But really, what a winter! I’m still in shock that we are having a Winter. Ready or not here we are. Plus, if you didn’t like life during Covid quarantine, this puts it all back to the test. Anyone else fearing that this may be like last Spring Break? You know, the one where they never actually went back to school. Nooo, no, no, no!! I can hate the government all day long for their rules, but hating Mother Nature for a delay doesn’t seem productive.

So what is a mom do that is ready to hear her own thoughts again? Send them outside…

Then, make them spend enough time that this happens…

Anyone else notice the yellow snow? I guess the dogs had to have their part in the snowman.

So the truth of the matter is, here in the country we ALWAYS are the first to be without power the SECOND the power lines feel the breeze. Therefore, it’s typical I have candles ready, firewood stocked up, and extra food supplies. HA! Sooooo…what actually happened was I only had candles and firewood ready. I ran out of groceries and didn’t wash clothes before the storm hit. I feel brilliant. We actually have been so fortunate to not have had a power outage (how? I have no idea) but, what did happen was… the drain to my kitchen sink froze and my clothes washer froze (with frozen clothes in it). Kevin has spent two days trying to defrost the washer and unclog the nasty slush frozen in the sink drain. It’s a long story but those pipes were exposed and despite covering them with towels, they still wouldn’t drain. I think the pipes themselves laugh at us when we are crouched down looking at them, trying to outsmart the situation. I would laugh at us too.

Meet (below), our saving grace. This practical Potbelly stove has saved our rears more days than I can count (it pipes out heat that makes Haiti jealous). I’m not sure if Allstate is real excited about it but, heck, we are!!

I love how every blackout we have I suddenly think, oh! Let’s make popcorn and watch a DVD. Oh, ok never mind although DVDs are now ancient they still require electricity, duh. Ok, how about a nice hot shower. Oh, ok that won’t last long, never mind. What about I get some chores done? The washer doesn’t work, oh, waaaaaaaaaa (as I throw my head into my hands wanting to cry). Hmmm, maybe I’ll read a book. Hahahaha…there are 5 kids in the house, good luck! I can never grasp how we rely almost everything we do on electricity. Maybe I’ll just rock myself in the corner. Nah, snap out of it! I have been watching “Anne with an ‘e'” and I find myself paying more attention to how they lived rather than the story. I have absolutely loved the series, highly recommend it! Especially if you ever read the book. But really, no electricity, no central air, no running water…how did life go on?! I’m mesmerized by it, and the joy of simplicity. I feel surprisingly jealous they don’t need any DVDs to be content.

So here’s what we typically do during blackouts: eat pantry snacks, play games under candlelight, argue, then realize we can either get along or go to sleep. So, we usually make food together and then go to sleep. This is a great time to snuggle up with your warm husband 😉

So, I put together my no-bake cheesecakes that requires no other material than some cold and a little bit of elbow grease if you can’t use appliances.

Cheesecakes in the snow? you betcha! Here is how you do it…

Put the graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a ziplock bag and smash it into smithereens. Pour melted butter in and shake it around to coat the crackers well. If you can use your food processor it’s easier but maybe not as much of stress relief (I may have cheated and used mine, sorry, not sorry).

Bust out your cupcake pan (24 ct) and liners. Liners aren’t totally necessary but helpful.

Have your sweet, unusually busy pre-teen come smash the crackers down. A shot glass works well smashing down the crackers.

Have your cream cheese at room temperature, blend it well in a bowl with the powdered sugar until it is smooth like this:

OK! I cheated again. I used a mixer (sorry, but not sorry).

Using a small scooper, I used 2 scoops to fill 2/3 the way to the top.

Cover and place out in the freezing freakin cold outside. I mean, it’s gotta be good for something y’all!!

(I fear predators like my dogs or birds will get it so place it somewhere safe out there)

And ta-dahhhh!!

Open up a can of your favorite topping (don’t use the electric can opener, haha) and pile it on for a little piece of heaven. 🙂

And, maybe some for the wild ones in the house…use your resources. It’s nice to put those forgotten can of cherries to work.

See, there is something good that can come out of this blizzard.

Love y’all! I pray you all are warm and safe.


Graham Cracker Crust

Total Time 5 mins


  • ziploc bag
  • hammer


  • 2 packages honey graham crackers or 10-12 crackers
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 sticks butter melted and cooled


  • Place crackers in a ziplock bag. Smash to smithereens. Add cinnamon and sugar, shake well. Drizzle cooled butter into the bag and shake. Place in the designated holder and press down firmly. For cupcake pans try a shot glass to press evenly into the bottom or a pie pan for larger cakes.

NO-Bake Cheesecakes

Total Time 10 mins


  • mixing bowl


  • 16 oz room temperature cream cheese (2 blocks)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam (optional to taste)


  • In a mixing bowl, cut cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Use a whisk to mix well with little to no chunks. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Add jam if you want to make it into a strawberry cheesecake. Chill for 3 hours to overnight.

  • Potato Leek and Bacon Soup
    Here in Tejas, and the majority of America was hit by a random winter blast. It’s almost surreal to think that happened. I won’t disclose how many years I have enjoyed here, due to the fact I’ve always lived here (therefore you’d know my age), but I have never seen such a thing. Let’s just …

    Continue reading
    Well, I guess Hell has frozen over. Covid Hell that is. Who would have thought it definitely can get worse?! What’s next?! A tsunami? Not funny. Full disclosure, it’s my fault. I’m sorry. I have been praying for snow all December, and, all of January I prayed for a trip to Colorado. So, there it …

    Continue reading
    I love an easy “Valentine’s” themed goodie for after school. This is not only delicious but quick! Cherry-Almond -hey you can’t go wrong with that, AND I can’t mess it up. The more imperfections the better! Just the way I like it. HOW IT’S DONE: Full disclosure: I have worked my pants off on perfecting …

    Continue reading
  • The Banana Bread Debate: Granny’s Vs. Me!
    As if we really need another debate or impeachment, I felt like a good bake-debate was a good idea. I mean, we don’t have to worry about Congress or ballot counts with this one. No send-in votes please, haha, only comments. I feel that the best way to settle such profound times is to have …

    Continue reading
  • Easy Weekday Pot Roast!
    I have a passion for working moms. I’m one myself. Whether your a stay at home or an 8-5 mom we all are doing our best. Wouldn’t it be great if dinner just showed up and was homemade? This pot roast is great for the ending of winter. It’s warm and cozy, perfect next to …

    Continue reading

I love an easy “Valentine’s” themed goodie for after school. This is not only delicious but quick! Cherry-Almond -hey you can’t go wrong with that, AND I can’t mess it up. The more imperfections the better! Just the way I like it.


Jump to Recipe

Full disclosure: I have worked my pants off on perfecting my pie crust recipe. I lost count after 7 revisions, but, I assure you the fam was enjoying every “redo” and “ehhh…not-right-yet” recipe. Also, I will NEVER go back to canned pie filling ever again. Sorry, but not sorry this was a game-changer.

I’m guilty of saying this jar had been in my pantry for uuhhhhhhh…a long time. I was waiting for a day to put them on ice cream or in a fun drink for the kids. They obsess over cherries. You know, I think of them as homework motivation. For now, it is the new pie filling recipe experiment.

Put the whole jar, including the juice in the saucepan.

Gather the sugar, corn starch, salt and almond extract.

Bring to a boil. Then add the sugar…

Add corn starch and a dash of SALT. Salt will cut the sweetness just right.

Reduce the heat to low, let it cool. It will start to thicken, then stir in the almond extract.

Roll out your pie crust. If it tends to stick, then use a sharp knife to gently work it off in one piece. Of course, you don’t have to make this yourself. There is always store bought crust waiting to be devoured as well. Although if you have time, it is totally worth the effort. You may never go back to store bought pie crust again for this either!

Put room temperature filling in the center of the dough. Fold the edges, make into a heart shape. Hint: the edges will need to be strong or it will leak out the side. Use the top indention for one of the strongest sides.

Cook at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Ta-dahhhhhhh!!! good luck only having one slice. hehe.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! The next batch I do will add a cream cheese filling. And, I can’t wait. AH!!


Cherry-Almond Galette Filling

Lisa Bryan
a quick slice of pie
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 6


  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper


  • 1 large jar Maraschino cherries (I used dark cherries) or 2 of the small jars
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract


  • In a small saucepan, dump the whole jar of cherries. Bring to a small boil.
  • Mix in sugar and corn starch. Reduce heat to low. Add a pinch of salt.
  • When cooled, fold in the almond extract. Add to the pie crust when room temp.

Pie Crust

Lisa Bryan
makes two 8-10" single-crust pies
Prep Time 5 mins


  • food processor or pastry blender
  • plastic wrap


  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup shortening


  • Layout two long stretches of plastic wrap on the countertop that crosses like a "t", about 2 feet long each. This is what you'll be putting the crumbly dough into.
  • In your food processor (which makes it all much easier), add flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse a couple of times to blend.
  • While blending add small pieces of cold butter and shortening until it turns into a sandy consistency.
  • Add up to ½ cup of ICE water (measurement does not include the ice) while blending. Go slow, you may not need to use all of it. You are looking for a coarse crumble. To test when it is ready, you should be able to pinch it and make it into a ball. Do not over blend.
  • Turn the dough into your plastic wrap. Pull the sides of the wrap and shape into a flat ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • When ready to use, lightly flour a surface. Divide dough into two, make two dough balls.
    With your rolling pin, start in the middle of the dough, and work your way out. Turn the rolling pin to evenly flatten making it into a circle as best as possible. You want it 1/4th inch evenly thick.
    Gently lay into the pie pan or tart pan your using. If you are having trouble getting it off your surface, use a sharp knife to gently scrape it off.
    If you are needing to precook it, cook at 375 for 15-18 minutes.
  • tips: make sure your butter and water are cold, cold, cold when blending. Also, it will need to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Over 2 hours is ideal.

Check out more to love!

Potato Leek and Bacon Soup
Here in Tejas, and the majority of America was hit by a …
Well, I guess Hell has frozen over. Covid Hell that is. Who …

As if we really need another debate or impeachment, I felt like a good bake-debate was a good idea. I mean, we don’t have to worry about Congress or ballot counts with this one. No send-in votes please, haha, only comments.

I feel that the best way to settle such profound times is to have a bake-off. What else should we do in this situation? So let’s do this: Who’s banana bread should be impeached?? This is serious! I am going to make my recipe of banana bread that was discovered through many trials and tribulations (over many years), and, also make Granny’s original that I found in the depths of my mother’s keepings. (Side note, I would have never even sought after my own if I knew there was a family recipe in the first place, duh 😒 .)

I do need to disclose that in this bake-off, no recipe would actually be impeached, it would only go to the (waay) back of the book. Also, there may have been a breach of security after the making, appearing as starving children, showing NO liking to any manners (complete rabid animals). I’ll refer to them as the “aborigine”. Humph, sometimes I think the real aborigine acted better than we do today. They probably had more bake-off challenges to keep them occupied,ha.

(above) Is Granny’s recipe. Noooootice all the detail? She really went overboard in detail. That’s ok, most all quick breads are made the same. I prepared and mixed it like mine (below) yet with her ingredients.


I think when you trial a recipe so many times, you end up with a million ingredients thinking it’s adding something else. But is it?

The dough may seem brighter than yours but I also use my hens eggs. Their yolks are to-die-for rich and creamy!  I love them so much I feel the need to check my lipid panel this year. Well worth it.

For her recipe you can see the folded in whipped egg whites. The dough consistency was about the same but hers did taste just right. But how will it cook?


Mine (on the right) was a bit thicker.

Ta-da!! The end results… they look the same but the smell brings in the aborigines out quickly. But, do they taste the same?

Granny’s has pecans in hers. The aborigine typically do not like nuts. Surely this will deter them. Yes, I’m am playing fair!

Drum roll please!!!!!

The winner is.

(Based on a panel of aborigines.)


GRANNY!!! She won with a landslide. Every one of us agreed that my recipe was dry (how dare I?) and crumbly. I’m sure crazy 2020 passed a law against dry banana bread. How else could we go on?!

Stay healthy and happy!


Granny's Banana Bread

Juanita Lewis
The perfect recipe that will not need any alterations.
Servings 8 slices


  • mixing bowls
  • whisk to beat egg whites
  • loaf pan


  • 1 stick oleo (or salted butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (beaten well)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-3 mashed very ripened bananas
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 2 egg whites (softly stiffen)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan with butter.
  • Cream the sugar and oleo (or butter) together. Add beaten egg yolks and mix well.
  • Sift together flour and baking soda.
  • Alternate slowly a little of the flour mix and buttermilk into the sugar mixture until blended well. Add bananas. Add pecans (can add toasted pecans).
  • Fold egg whites into mix. Pour into pan. Bake 55-60 minutes until a butter knife will dip into it smoothly without batter.

Lisa's Banana Bread

Servings 6 slices


  • mixing bowl
  • flour sifter


  • 4 tbl unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup margerine
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup vegtable oil
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • tsp salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 3 ripe mashed bananas


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the loaf pan.
  • Cream the sugars and the butters together (different butters give different flavors). Add eggs and mix well.
  • Sift flour, salt, and soda together. Blend a little at a time, alternating flour and buttermilk into the sugar mixture. Add bananas.
  • Pour into loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes or until a knife runs through it well.

I have a passion for working moms. I’m one myself. Whether your a stay at home or an 8-5 mom we all are doing our best. Wouldn’t it be great if dinner just showed up and was homemade?

This pot roast is great for the ending of winter. It’s warm and cozy, perfect next to a cracklings fire at night. I could fall asleep just thinking about it. Remove the bread (I may cry) and potatoes and it can be considered KETO. I would replace them with more carrots or celery. I’m trying to stay away from sugars but wow, it’s hard!

Nonetheless, let’s start this day with an easy evening!

Confession: I have tried in the past skipping the browning of the meat to save me another pan to wash (and 10 minutes) but, unfortunately, you can’t. It’s necessary for good crisp taste.

Throw it into the slow cooker BEFORE WORK, browned with all the fixings. Literally, just throw it in and GO.

Add carrots, potatoes, onion. Mix it up however you feel, with celery or cauliflower too.

Add spices and chicken stock.

I feel strongly that all pot roast must have a crusty piece of sourdough with it. I like to make a roast sandwich, mmmm.




Hearty Pot Roast

Lisa Bryan
Total Time 6 hrs


  • slow cooker
  • pan


  • 3 lb Chuck Roast or Butt Roast
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 can beef consomme
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 4 large carrots cut medium length diagnoally
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 2 large pinches red pepper
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper


  • In a warm skillet, heat oil. Braise sides of roast. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Sides will be done when you see seared marks.
  • Place roast with fat side up inside crock pot or insta pot. Add bouillon cubes, consumme, tomato paste, carrots, potatoes, and 4 cups of water.
  • Stir in onion powder, sage, and red pepper. Add salt and pepper. Cook for at least 6 hours. Add a crusty piece of bread 🙂


If you’re not a dog person, you don’t understand. It all may seem crazy, but dog-people crazy is definitely normal. What’s not normal is my dog being human. I swear, he’s part-dog, part-human. If he was fully a person, he would be an overweight and lazy dead-beat teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I love teenagers, but they do have an interesting disposition.   What does this have to do with mashed potatoes? not much, but I do have a to-die-for ‘tater recipe, and it’s two great topics!

Don’t be fooled by these dreamy eyes…he has secrets. Rocky (above picture) is a two-timer. Yup, he has two lives. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. He has a friend about a MILE away as the crow flies. He has to tromp through woods, a creek, flood plains, and a steep hill to get there. YOU’D THINK IT’D BE OVER A SEXY LADY! But no…he goes and visits a good friend of mine’s older male dog. He’s super sweet and must be fed well. I can’t explain it. He goes to his OTHER family about once a week to two weeks. Funny pup.


This is Jimbo (yes, we are Aggies, gig’em!). We have his sister too, she’s a runt, but she doesn’t do picture time. This guy is amazing all around. He protects our house day and night, keeps all accounted for, and loves to snuggle.


Life is hard. Especially when you have to share a chair.












This is Rocky. He gets so excited when we pull up that he grabs my arm to assist me out. Does it make sense? It really doesn’t. There is no making sense of him. We love him for him.



Couch assistant.

Where do I start? He is who he is. Guess we won’t be reselling the baby bouncer.


This is a moment where we got up to get something from the kitchen just to come back to him joining us. He must have some things to talk about. I feel like he is really needing to be the center of attention.


Phoenix found him in her bed. I swear he was already covered up. Can a dog get a break around here?

Living in the country makes for a lot of hard work. Rocky isn’t one of those hard workers. He let’s the German Shepard’s keep tabs of the place while he sits down and supervises. I think that makes him TOP DOG. I can’t get enough of him.


On to the ‘tater business…

Boil the ‘taters until a knife can smoothly run through them. Drain and put back in your warm pot, cause I believe in less dishes to do.

Butter them and put the milk in. Blend until smooth. I like them smooth, Kevin likes them a little chunky. Blend it to your liking. Add all the magical ingredients, and feel welcome to go heavy on the garlic sea salt and powdered ranch. I believe it’s almost impossible to over season mashed ‘taters.

I leave the peel on. Leaving it on, WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! You’ll never turn back. It brings a salty, hearty taste to the dish. Doesn’t ruin the texture either.



Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 8 people


  • stock pot
  • hand mixer or potato masher


  • 3 lbs russet potatoes (6-8 potatoes) chopped
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp powdered ranch
  • salt and pepper
  • homemade bacon bits optional
  • chopped green onion optional


  • In a stock pot, bring half a pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat, then have your chopped potatoes ready and gently put in the water.
  • Boil for about 15-20 minutes until a knife can run clean through the potatoes. Drain.
  • Put butter and milk in and combine with a potato masher. Gently mix with a hand-held blender until desired texture.
  • Add chopped garlic, granulated garlic, powdered ranch (be liberal) and salt and pepper. Garnish with bacon bits and green onions.

Love to you all!


Every year I plan December: I have gifts bought, menus planned and the lists checked off by the beginning of the month. Could you imagine how ugly this would get if it wasn’t organized? Ha! Probably just fine, and just as much fun.  Yet, no matter how well l plan or how much I’ve saved, it still feels like chaos and I always go over budget.  This year I lived in the “week-behind” schedule.  I wonder each year why we break our backs to have it perfect when it’s never going to be perfect. If there wasn’t chaos during the season, would it feel right? Yeah, probably so, probably pretty great :)) Luckily there is steak to make it all right in the end.

There’s never a dull moment getting it started, you can feel the excitement in the air. Christmas music is playing on repeat and spirits are high. Ahhhhhh….

These are moments I live for.


I was one of the lucky nurses able to get a Covid shot. What a blessing. I can’t wait for it to get out in circulation so we can all get immunization. I’m ready for some lives to be spared. I can’t handle it anymore! Never seen such widespread sadness and fear in the world like we have today.

I’m starting to ignore most things related to nursing, Covid, health. I need a break. I need joy, life, and revival! Can I get an AMEN?!

I love this picture. Not only does it have all cinco of them but look at ALL the personality. They keep me laughing, a picture really can say a 1000 words. I may force matching pajamas as a Christmas Eve gift EVERY year, but luckily I have kids that entertain my enthusiasm for this yearly and predictable madness.

There is truly nothing better than toddlers opening gifts. They bust at the seems with excitement, and so do I.

Where there is attention, there is Rocky–begging for the center. I think he’s a mute human with fur and four legs. I swear he talks. 


The whole farm-ily for my side. Missing the well loved Bryan family here. Notice Jimbo, the German Shepard? He loves photos. He’s working on his dog modeling career.


Now down to business. (Drool…)

We garlic buttered them on both sides and grilled them on a cast iron skillet on the grill. Key is to make sure your pan is hot and to not over cook them. These will melt in your mouth with savory flavor.  I served them with my ranch mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and roasted Brussel sprouts.  Nothing too fancy this year, I had to go simple, clean, and savory.

I love you lil steak bite.


Steak Garlic Butter

Total Time 5 mins
Servings 4 people


  • mixing bowl
  • (optional) mixer


  • 1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt with parsley (Lawry's)
  • 1 dash finely minced parsley
  • 2 tsp grated parmesean cheese


  • Using mixer of choice- stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer, mix the butter while slowly adding the oil. Don't add too much oil or it'll get too soft and sad.
  • Add minced garlic, granulated garlic, salt, parsley, cheese. Mix until light and fluffy.
  • Rub on steak. Make sure your cast iron griddle is hot and sear on each side for 5 minutes or until desired doneness.
  • If you have extra, it can save for at least 2 months in an airtight container. Great addition to breads, fish, chicken or steak.

Our Blended Family

In case you missed my first blog post about soup, I’m Mary Ann (aka Grammy Ann), married to Lisa’s dad, Bob.  Lisa and I talked about me writing a blog post about our blended family from my perspective. Here are a couple of things we’ve learned along the way about navigating this complex subject. Are we perfect?  Of course not, but I hope that by sharing our experiences and insight, something might resonate with you in your own family.

Know Your Role 

Everyone has a role in the family. Everyone is equally important. Know your role. This is perhaps the most crucial thing to learn in a blended family.  

Wife, stepmom, and GrammyAnn; that’s me.  Linda is Lisa’s mom, and Grandma.  I’m always careful not to cross the line into trying to be Lisa’s mom. While I would certainly claim her as my daughter; she’s not. I’m an extra person who loves her very much.  And I’m good with that!   

Brick and Mortar

A house is just brick and mortar. Whether you live in a mansion or the smallest house imaginable, what makes a house a home is the people who live there and how they interact with each other. When I walk into Lisa and Kevin’s house, I always feel like I’m home. 

Always Remember to Have Fun

As difficult as Covid-19 has been, I believe the virus has brought us even closer.  It has allowed us to slow down and remember to have fun; whether it’s a weeknight dinner and volleyball game, or celebrating a birthday. Laughing, having a great time, and making memories is so important. 

Love and Acceptance

A few years ago, Bob and I adopted a kitty named Elsie. She has quite the history. A compassionate man found Elsie in the bushes near his house. She was very pregnant.  As luck would have it, he is a foster cat-daddy for a rescue organization. He took her in and two days later, she became a mama of 3. A few days after that, the Rescue sent over some orphaned kittens to see if she would accept them as her own.  She nursed and took care of 10 kittens!  After they were weaned, we came along and adopted this sweet girl.  He says that Elsie taught his family about love and acceptance.  That’s what this family did for me.  They loved and accepted me from the beginning. Isn’t that what it’s all about?


Covid-19 is a beast. It is a wild fire in a forest of dry trees. Nobody likes this topic. In fact, when I started this blog I thought this might be a great place to lay out all things health and happiness that may enrich the ordinary into being a pseudo nurse. Then I quickly realized– no one likes hearing about the God awful virus, it’s depressing!


There are some things I’m happy to ignore. In fact I love to be blissfully ignorant. It’s my favorite scapegoat. But there are a couple things I’d like to mention, some items I’d tell my own family and friends. First and foremost, the susceptible. If I had to guess the common denominator between all patients I personally see in the COVID ICU ranging from young to old (with the worst outcomes) I would have to pick obesity. With obesity comes hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes (even prediabetes). There are some that will also be easily susceptible like autoimmune, immunocompromised (cancer), or elderly (who don’t fight infection like the younger population).

You may have noticed certain races with much higher trends in acquiring the virus.  Obesity may be part of the reason. Your race definitely will give you a history of what you may face as well.  For example, the white population tends to deal with cancer and heart disease. Hispanics tend to have diabetes and obesity. African Americans tend to have renal disease and diabetes. No one is safe from a genetic predisposition. Sorry for the bad news. The problem I feel like we are encountering today is OBESITY being a “comorbidity”. Most think, “I’m not old, or have any issues.” Well, you’re overweight, so yes, that IS a “comorbidity”.


NO, not at all. But what I am explaining is more of why some people are dying and others have sniffles (besides the fact some may have higher viral loads). When some get hit so hard with an illness, some people have organs that tend to be weaker in the recovery process, which ends up putting them behind and making it complicated. The whole system has to work like a fine-tuned-machine to get over such an awful and weakening virus.


Here’s how we deal. If you get covid, one of the best things to do is lay prone (laying on your belly). This gives your lungs a great opportunity to open without pressure and expand well. When your’e obese you typically have a belly that may cause pressure making it more difficult to breathe (hence the “apple” shape). Second, exercise. When you get the flu, pneumonia, a cold, sometimes there’s a fine balance with rest and exercise. You have to have the will to keep going even when you want to lay down and die. Sometimes you just have to fake being young and thin. I do it all the time! 😂

Exercise encourages those secretions to be mobilized otherwise it can be difficult to recover and as it settles in your lungs. With covid it’s tricky. You’ll get coughing spells where you can’t catch your breath. In this case you have to be careful not to overdo it. Keeping HYDRATED also helps mobilize and rid of a virus fast. Remember mom giving you pedialyte when you got the flu or a cold? Same deal. Make sure you are urinating often and not swelling. Like any virus, this also will need good hydration.

I hope this helped give some insight! I’m ready to go back to the farm. #the whole world over it. Praying for your safety and health!




Oooohhh Fall! Fall is one of my favorite and most serene seasons. It’s also a season that we spend gettin’ ready for winter. The trees are adorning and peaceful. The air is crisp and dry. It excites me to wake up to gold and red falling leaves. Then, Texas’ winter weather…well, is similar to Jack Nicholson’s swing of personalities. Really makes you think twice about choice of clothes. Wouldn’t it be great to have a big winter?! The kids have been praying strictly for a white Christmas. If they could pray to winter fairies they would do that as well. Whatever it takes, they will do it.

Of course, with a fix-it-up house and land upkeep, the projects are endless. I like to get this stuff done so there is more time for red wine and cheese balls.

Somehow, we have been able to convince the kids to help every bit of the way. I’m confident the quarantine has caused confusion into their obedience. How did it happen? I don’t know, we are all still confused about it too. We don’t ask questions and just enjoy the time together. Gathering wood, feeding animals, and cleaning- it takes all my village people.


Because there is always room for more chickens, I have half a dozen chicks. They out grew the growing pin and now have their own room in the coop, heat lamp and mulch. They are almost ready to be in the coop-dominium with the other ladies.

If these guys could talk…conversation would be endless– endless chirping.

Kevin treated the weeds in our pasture this past season. It left it looking amazing but thinner than normal. You know, not balding but still-has-hair-but-in-denial kind-of-style. Therefore extra bails of hay were needed. Knox (the 2 year old) is always there to supervise Daddy. There’s a lot of supervision of supervision going on here.

We get distracted easily. Don’t worry, the German Shepard and the cat grew up together. They are best friends. They sleep together, wrestle together, and play non-stop.

We made an assembly line of kids throwing hay bails to the loft of the barn. These are to help keep the pigs and calves warm and clean. Clean is a relative word to them. I don’t know why I get frustrated with the way pigs live. Let the pigs be pigs Lisa!

I told the kids to grab their gloves to work with; they came back with latex gloves and masks. Covid has ruined everything. That’s kinda NOT what I meant.


Lucky not only always wants to participate but seems to think he’s the supervisor. Who is the supervisor??

We moved all this stone that was once in a nice pile by the barn, and now since has been trampled by pigs. We relocated it to the other barn until we are ready to start that project.

I call this, Project “Clean Up”. Again, Lucky is overseeing this project as well. His intense stare can really get you moving.


Then there’s gathering firewood and mulch for the season. Hard work but someone like Kevin will do it! (the real supervisor, we will shorten it to R.S.)




As usual, laying down in the job. I’m pretty sure he said, “Is the job done yet? I’m exhausted from watching y’all work.”

A lot has been done the past couple of months, but we are now all (all of us) ready to bare the cold. Com’on Christmas!! Make it be white??

Stay safe! Love to you all!!

Lisa loo-loo


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