Horse care options




Here is a question to any other horse owners out there...
My horse has always been boarded and now I may have the opportunity to have him home with me. What do you think the pros and cons are for each situation? Since I have never had him at home I am really curious to hear from those of you who have moved your horses home and how that compares to having them boarded.
I have boarded at a variety of barns and know first hand the downside of barn gossip, injuries, and bad barn management from owners more concerned about taking your money than caring for your horse. On the plus side boarding offers me the opportunity to go shopping after work, sleep in late, and take an occasional vacation.
Anything I should or you would look for when moving your horse? either to a new barn or to your own? What is the most important issue when taking care of your own horse?
My horse is going to be 25 this year and I really feel like I miss so much having someone else care for him.
PS the photo is not my horse but a very close resemblance if you add some mud!

BYOB: Wheat Thins

Since I am easily influenced by large images flickering across a screen I have decided to make some changes in my grocery shopping habits.If you have not seen Food Inc. I highly recommend you check it out. I think the most eye opening part of the movie for me was the realization that packaged food really is not healthy and it barely resembles the food it tries so hard to imitate once you start reading the ingredient declaration. As a result,  I have been trying not to purchase store bought crackers in 2010. Somewhere in 2009 I joined BYOB and began baking my own bread when are where I could. Now that I have gotten comfortable with yeast and actually turned out a few good looking loaves of bread I am ready for a new challenge- yep Crackers!  One of my favorites due to my belief that they are healthy are Wheat Thins.
Well everyone take a look at these!
 

 I found a cracker recipe in King Arthur Whole Grain Baking. The ingredients sounded just strange enough for me to book mark the page for later consideration. This week as a cracker craving came calling I returned to the bookmark and said to myself... Vanilla in a cracker?
The resulting cracker is very light and crisp with a salty sweet note melding well with the whole wheat flour. The recipe comes together quickly and the dough rolls out like a dream! So no excuses! Crackers are super simple to do yourself.

Homemade Wheat Thins
Courtesy: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
YIELD: About 13 dozen crackers
BAKING TEMPERATURE: 400 degrees F
BAKING TIME: 5 to 7 minutes
*1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
*1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon paprika
*4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
*1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
*1/4 teaspoon vanilla
*Additional salt for topping (optional) I would definitely add the salt topping for a more wheat thin like taste!

1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor. Combine the water and vanilla, and add to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
3. TO ROLL AND CUT THE DOUGH: Divide the dough into 4 pieces; keep the other pieces covered while you work with one at a time. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle, which should be at least 12 inches square when trimmed. Keep your pin and the surface of your dough evenly floured. Flip the dough frequently to keep it from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing, at least 1/16 inch thick. Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2 inches wide.
4. Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together, as they don't expand while baking. Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt, if desired. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and re roll them all at once just one time.
5. TO BAKE THE CRACKERS: Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely - even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast! Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a plate; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.

The Cake Slice Bakers - Red Velvet Cake



This month the Cake Slice Bakers chose a Red Velvet Cake recipe to tackle from our current cook book selection  Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Nancie McDermott
Whew!


This cake is the reason I bought this book. I have never had nor have I ever baked a Red Velvet cake but boy do I want to photograph one! They really are one of the most photogenic cakes I have seen on the internet.  I figured a book full of southern cakes would have the most authentic recipe. Since I have never had Red Velvet I don't really know how this one compares so be sure to check out the rest of the Cake Slice Bakers and see their reviews. My only hesitation with the cake is the fact that it calls for a whole bottle of red food coloring. I did find a reference to a very early recipe that says beets were used to get the red color. I enjoyed the cake. I rarely meet a cake I don't enjoy. The real test for me is how many slices will I gobble up before I realize I have a problem and call a friend to remove it from my house. I only had one slice of this cake and I did not call for it's removal.
Do you have a favorite recipe for Red Velvet Cake?

On the plus side I had a great time decorating this cake. The edible red heart glitter is so much fun! When I first started baking along with the cake slice bakers I used to dread decorating my cakes. Now it is my favorite part!  



Devil Corn by the Amateur Gourmet


 
I have been a little under the weather so my baking adventures have slowed a bit. With all this new found spare time I stumbled upon a really great food blog while looking for caramel corn recipes that is so funny you should check it out! It is my first blog crush of 2010. The blog is called Amateur Gourmet and the recipe was done in 2005!  I had no idea food blogging went that far back.
Through Adam's search for the perfect Caramel Corn recipe I was able to skip right on to Devil Corn and can say - after burning my first batch due to color blindness, I mean what is amber vs caramel color?- that this recipe is a winner. I will not be tempted to try any other recipe! This is my kind of caramel er um Devil Corn. It is salty sweet and has a very crunchy texture. The tip to oil the bowl you are mixing in really does work.  The only change I made was to half the amount of popcorn. I use an air popper and found the amount called for did not get enough of an even coating of caramel.
  
Be warned that this IS addictive!

Key Lime Pie


  I grew up in south Florida. My mother planted key lime trees every time we got a new house. Kind of a nice gift to leave behind to new owners once we moved. On a recent trip home for my sister's wedding I asked my mom to make a key lime pie.


 She had key limes freshly picked and ready to go.




She pulled out this recipe and told me to go for it... thanks mom! This is an original family recipe from my godmother.



As with most older recipes these directions are more of a suggestion. My family never makes this pie with the meringue topping guess the Florida humidity is hell on that sort of topping.
This guy would surely like a bite of pie! He followed me all around the yard. I have to tell you it is a bit eerie being  stalked by a bird.

 
Then after days of lurking around the house trying to photograph this elusive Florida resident I found one trapped in a garbage can! Ha!

 
He still has his tail too! They usually drop off part of their tails when you catch them. You end up with this wriggling appendage in your hand  e-u! just sayin'.
There really is no place like home.