Saturday, January 30, 2010

Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

This is the second time I have made this recipe....I have yet to take a picture, but this is what my daughter looks like after she eats it...

And that smile is worth me deboning chicken parts which I don't get very excited about.


1 3-1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut up, or 2 1/2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (I used one package of  Chicken backs and 1 package of Chicken necks)
8 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped carrot (2 medium)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1-1/2 cups dried egg noodles (I actually use a whole bag of egg noodles)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley


1. In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven combine chicken, water, onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 1-1/2 hours or until chicken is very tender.
2. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Discard bones and skin. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; set aside. Discard bay leaf. Skim fat from broth.
3. Bring broth to boiling. Stir in carrot and celery. Simmer, covered, about 5 minutes. Stir in noodles. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes more or until noodles are tender but still firm. Stir in chicken and parsley; heat through.

4. Makes 8 servings (10 1/2 cups)

Great for the winter months and super easy... or else I wouldn't make it.

Have a great Weekend.


Friday, January 29, 2010

FRESH the movie....

Are you looking for something to do Saturday night. We are showing this movie at Little Flower Church.


The movie starts out with Joel Salatin calling his pigs, PIG PIG PIG, (much like how Chris calls his babies) it is a great movie and it is free.  Here are some more details on the movie FRESH the movie.  It is a great movie, and pretty much is all about how we feel as farmers and consumers.

If you saw Oprah Wednesday, you saw Michael Pollan, another person in the movie
Fresh!  Come check it out.
January 30th, 7pm
Little Flower Catholic Church
54191 North Ironwood Road, South Bend, IN 46635
The film “FRESH” is about food and food production. It shows the creativity of individuals devoting their lives to producing food differently. There are problems with our food system but what about solutions? FRESH is a vibrant, creative look at efforts underway to renovate the way we grow food and feed ourselves.

The film will be shown in the Parish Center (Upper Parking Lot) on Saturday, January 30, at 7 p.m. and a discussion will follow. A few local food cooperatives will be present sharing their visions as part of the discussion. The film is approximately 90 minutes.

If you need more information, contact Chris or Michelle at or 574-340-2648.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pictures...aren't worth a 1000 memories if you forget to take them...

I am a huge picture fact I am not in many pictures since I am always the one behind the camera.  After the barn burned, I realized I didn't have any pictures of what the barn looked like before.  So many times I don't realize I never took a picture of something until it is gone.  Or when a loved one passes, I realize that I didn't have that many pictures of them. 

For one of my Christmas presents to farmer Chris I gave him a poster with farm pictures and our logo "Family Farms Cooperative".  We brought it tonight to Purple Porch Coop, one of the places we sell our food (meat and eggs), which was nice to show our customers who hadn't been at the farm yet.  Many of the customers asked about the fire and as we were showing them pictures we realized that we didn't have any of the actual barn...sure now I have them after the fire.  But Chris recalled a time back when my first son was only one and we visited.  This was before we were farmers, but my father in law had his horses there and I believe my brother in law was just starting to farm.

So guess what I had to do when I got home... you guessed it, I had to find the pictures....

And then I remembered I had ridden on a horse before, wow is my memory bad.  Please remember this was back in 2001 (farmer Chris made sure I wrote that), so be nice.  They had made changes to the barn since this picture.  This is me riding with Kyra, farmer Chris holding the horse and my nephew Gid in the back.  Our son Jackson wasn't even one yet, I am pretty sure he is sitting on a hay bale somewhere.

I am more aware of the pictures I take, I don't leave the house often without a camera...I hate the feeling when you lose something and you don't have a picture.  Especially for the kids...

While I was looking for the pictures the kids got to see things they don't remember doing...and then I got asked why I took them to Florida when they were babies, and don't now when they would remember it.  Well some day they will appreciate them...right?

Have a great night...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Old Time Beef Stew...

If you know me, you would know it is very out of character for me to cook...but doesn't eating home cooked meals make people feel better.  Well I thought with all that has been going on in our house...a little more home cooking might be nice. 

I had some Stew meat thawed and found a good recipe from Paula Dean...the results...of course, the Farmer loved it, oldest daughter rated it her top 10, which is a huge compliment - so today I make her favorite Pad Thai, the yougest daughter, I am pretty sure she liked it in between her dancing around the table, the boys not so much...but my goal is to please half of us and that definetly happened last night.

Old-Time Beef Stew


2 pounds stew beef
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
5 small red potatos cut in wedges*
Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch


Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.  *I added in five red potatos cut in wedges and added them when I put in the carrots and celery.

Have a great day!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winner Winner Meat Loaf Dinner...

Last night I had the dilemma of having five types of meat thawed and no idea what to cook. Either way what I cooked, someone would not be happy. It was between Taco's, Meat Loaf and Breakfast! I called the person who actually brings home the bacon and asked what he wanted...he is the most important person to keep happy! He said it doesn't matter and then he said Meat Loaf...

Did you hear the moans from my house last night?

The kids always complain about Meat Loaf. Well...they ate it all but one slice.. which made daddy upset because he won’t have any leftovers this week. I take a recipe and use Hamburger and Italian sausage, I think the Sausage makes a big difference and of course I use our meats that you can get from us directly at (Family Farms Cooperative (FFC) or Purple Porch Cooperative (PPC).

So I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Meat Loaf


2 eggs, beaten (FFC or PPC)
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or 2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage, basil, or oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef (FFC or PPC)
1 pound lean Italian sausage (FFC or PPC
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard


1. In a medium bowl combine eggs and milk; stir in bread crumbs, onion, parsley, salt, sage, and pepper. Add ground meat and italian sausage; mix well. Lightly pat mixture into an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan.
2. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until internal temperature registers 160 degrees F. Spoon off fat - not needed if you use our meat. In a bowl combine ketchup, sugar, and mustard; spread over meat. Bake for 10 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into eight slices.
3. Makes 8 servings

Its great for this time of year!

Have a wonderful weekend....


Friday, January 22, 2010

They love their farmer...

Our pigs come and greet Chris when he walks up to the they love him or what?  This obvisouly wasn't taken now, but it is one of my favoite pictures... and the man behind the camera is just as excited to see them!!!  The mama pigs come right up to him because they know he will rub behind their ears...should I be jealous?

Have a great day!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, Wednesday... I love my Wednesday's!

I have to say Wednesday's are probably one of my best days of the week... I get to spend time at the Farm and get to see my husband more on this day since he is building his brother's house on the farm...just knowing he is in the next building is comforting.

Jorja May and I start our day heading to the farm to pack eggs.  I actually made a trip to see the barn (or what is left of the barn), I saw it the first time on Sunday, but made it up so late that really couldn't see how incredible it was... and got to take some pictures yesterday.

Mostly metal is left, Chris, his dad and Jackson are doing the clean up on the weekends!

And pigs that weren't in the barn fire were taking naps...

After we are done packing eggs we finish packing orders for Purple Porch Cooperative (PPC), we go to PPC every Wednesday, as a family to sell our meat, eggs and many other goodies and we are surrounded by sometimes up to 20 vendors doing the same.  The pickup location is at Good Shepherd Montessori .

The kids this summer during PPC
We have been blessed to be a part of this Coop - Chris is on the board.  Back in September 2009 I thought he was crazy put one more thing on his plate....but wow this is one time I am glad he didn't listen to me.

PPC is a group of people exactly like us...who believe it is important to know where your food comes from, how it is grown and help our your community by keeping the money in the community.  We have made many wonderful friendships with the producers, in fact it is hard to get Chris out of there.  Someone once said he is very chatty, well any of you who knows him, knows he doesn't say much unless he is passionate about it.

We get to meet the people who eat our food, they are like extended family to us.  In May it will be a year since PPC took off...and it is awesome for us as a family and for the Community.  We have many many producers all within 60 miles that make/raise their own goods, from meat, bread, cookies, vegetables, pizza, soup, spices, and many other you won't find a banana at PPC. 
It was overwhelming the response we got from losing our a community reacts.  The day we lost the barn, we went that night to sell our food...because that would give us a couple more normal hours before letting the kids know what had happened. 
In the future I will get better pictures...we are always selling and forget to do it.  Each vendor has their own table and the member orders online the previous weekend or you can also pick up extra's that day.  You walk in the door a volunteer gives you your invoice and you walk around and get to talk to your local farmer.  How many times have you gone in Martins and the vegetable producer knew you by name and asked you how your broccoli was last week or did the butcher ask how was your Roast? You get the first two weeks of membership for free...check it out PPC!

Sorry for the rambling...I have had been wanting to post this and had to get it done so I could focus on other my little boy who is home sick...but he is chasing his little sister around the house so I am wondering if perhaps he needed a mommy day.

Hope you have a favorite day of your week.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Marinated, Breaded Lamb Chops

Chris doesn't ask for much...he is pretty laid back, and I don't like to cook, no scratch that I am lazy and hate remembering to buy the ingredients, or I hate planning, I like to pull something out of the freezer that morning and have the ingredients to cook it in the house because with four kids, the idea of making a special trip to the grocery store is not fun.  But I figure with all that he does for our family he deserves some good food every once in a while and that usually happens when some of our good meat (ends up in our home freezer.  And I found this recipe and I had all the ingredients in the house.

Sometimes we get the meat when a seal is broken...we have just switched Butchers - so I won't be getting many broken seal packages -- if you buy from us you will see a difference in the packaging and how good it looks.   I ended up with a package of Lamb Chops after some confusion with a customer, so I thought I would try a recipe.

Our new packaging!

4 chops per package... sealed so good it took me a while to get it open!

Marinated, Breaded Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Garlic


1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised 6 lamb chops (FFC or PPC)
2 eggs (FFC or PPC)
1 cup bread crumbs


1. Mix together Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic and rosemary in a non-reactive bowl. Place the lamb chops in the marinade and turn. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, turning once or twice.

Marinating the chops...

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.

3. Remove lamb chops from marinade and set them aside. Discard the rosemary sprig. Whisk eggs into the leftover marinade. Spread breadcrumbs on a large plate.

4. Dip lamb chops into the egg/marinade mixture, then into the bread crumbs, coating evenly. Place the breaded chops into the prepared baking dish. Discard marinade/egg mixture.

5. Bake for 20 minutes and turn chops over. Bake for 15 more minutes or to desired doneness.

I don't have a picture of the finished came out and it was eaten very fast...but I am happy to say Chris loved it, and so did I.  The flavor was awesome!

Hmmm....perhaps I will find something else in the freezer to try this week!  If I keep doing this, Chris will probably bring something home every week.

Have a great day,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Building after the fire...

While we have a while before we will be ready to build after the barn fire, it feels good to move into a positive direction, especially for the children. We have many people coming to us to want to help...and it is probably the hardest thing for Chris and his father to let happen, it seems crazy since when one of my friends recently had a family tragedy, I jumped up to help them in any way I could, but when it happens to you, you feel why am I worthy of peoples help. So why is it so wrong to allow other to help us.

Someone sent me this...after I told them we would get through it.

"I do not want to pass up the opportunity to allow you to enjoy the gift of giving... I have learned this year that to not allow someone to help you... takes away from allowing another to enjoy the blessings of giving! In other other words, if we are always to proud to ask for help then others cannot give to us. And then others cannot receive the best gift ... feeling like they made a difference today for the better good, above yourself, by the act of "giving"."
Purple Porch Coop had some inquiries from our customers on wanting to help so we came up with an idea to have people demonstrate community with us. We will be building a new facility that requires 6x6 posts. If you would like to purchase a post for the new facility, the Hebrons will be very thankful and place your name on that post. You can provide them with $20-25 per post or give it to the Co-op for this purpose. 

This is the barn Chris drew the other night while we were out celebrating Jorja's bday -- of course it was done in crayons and things may change, but it felt good to see the future. All the kids were drawing cards for Jorja and Cyrus' even included a burning I think Chris thought maybe there should be a better picture in their heads. They were very excited about sounds like him and Tony talk about all of the things they want to do. Cyrus has picked out all of the colors (not sure if they will be the final ones....but I am happy they are seeing some joy).

I ask that you keep one family in your thoughts...our friend (Maryann) who introduced us to Pete (horse) was asked to call the original owners -- Chris nor I could do it. I think the hardest part for us was that we had just gotten him, and I had fallen in love with him...something I never planned --- but it was terribly hard for our friend to call them and I will be forever grateful to her for doing it. God does know that Petey was loved tremendously the time we had him.

Tomorrow after church we are planning a family day up at the farm -- hmmm fire brings you is nice to be around people that understand your loss, or why you can break down crying with out warning. I am actually going to see what’s left of the barn - I have only seen pictures so far and talk to my piggy’s that are still with us....over 50...all of the chickens and sheep and hopefully take some pictures. I hope to share some with you soon.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Jorja May

Three years ago today Jorja May (pronounced Georgia) -- nickname JJ,  was born (January 12th, 2007)...she was born at 7:16 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 19 3/4 inches long.  Of course since this was our last pregnancy, she was the most difficult.  Early on we learned I had placenta previa, so I would need to have a C-section.

On her birth day...

Proud daddy Chris holding her!

Then she started turning stop NICU for 12 days --- what a trip that was, her lungs weren't fully developed...but she is a fighter!

Mommy stayed in the hospital the whole time with baby and daddy handle the home front...with help from friends.  Here are Cyrus and Jackson during one of their many visits.

(Cyrus, Jackson, Kyra and Jorja May)
Happy homecoming --- Kyra was so excited we had another girl...daddy called her after we got out of surgery to tell her the good news, everyone could hear her screaming!

JJ and her bumbo --- what a great invention!

The above picture is of Jorja May on her first birthday.  Grandma Carol used to put a silver dollar, rosary, and shot glass in front of the grandkids on their first birthday.  Whatever they grabbed first would let the parents know what their future holds.  JJ grabbed the rosary... God knows we have done enough praying over her!

This is Jorja May on her second birthday...with her first baby doll!

Jorja loves Dora...maybe a little too much.  She loves going to the farm, helping mama counting eggs.  She has to have two binkies at a time, one for her mouth and the other for her nose - she doesn't know yet, but they will be leaving the house soon.  She calls Kyra - sissy, Jackson - Jacky and Cyrus - cy cy.  If it is your lucky day, she will tell you..."you know what... you my best friend".  She screams when daddy walks in the door, she has a wonderful ability to make anyone smile and is always willing to give you a hug.

Happy Birthday day baby...we are very excited to see the person you will grow into!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Sad day...January 6th, 2010...

Wednesday at 3:29 a.m. we got a call from Richard (Chris' brother that lives on the property) that our animal barn was in was too late to save anything.  Chris quickly drove up there and picked up dad on the way.
We lost over 50 animals...we lost our daddy pig (Goggles - named by Cyrus), several mama pigs with all the babies that had been born in the last two months and our seven horses --- which included Pete that we had just given our kids for Christmas and Pixie my nieces horse that she got this fall, and five horses that my father-in-law has had for many many years.

(The barn the next day)
All winter hay for the sheep (they are fine, as they were outside) and feed for the chickens and pigs were also in the barn.  
I think the hardest part was telling the kids. 
We waited until late Wednesday night because we had Purple Porch Coop that night and we knew that we wouldn't be able to keep it together.

RIP Pete (the kids Christmas horse) (when I introduced Pete)

RIP Pixie (Olivia's horse)

The kids are hanging in there....Cyrus has picked out the color red for the new barn and Grandpa, Jackson and Gideon have been out in the woods looking for trees for the new barn.  It will be a slow process, but we had over 50 pigs in another structure with all our chickens so we will survive.  It is just alot of loss to go one lifetime.

We are overwhelmed by all of the people that have offered help and I am glad the kids are able to witness all of the love and support that comes from this pain, while this will forever change us, it can only make us stronger.

Thank you....Michelle

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Last day of winter break...

I have mixed feelings of this being the last day of Winter Break...I have enjoyed spending two weeks with the kids and I have definetly enjoyed Chris being home a little more often this past week.  I wanted to make it fun for the kids. 

Last night they went and saw "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs" with their cousins, while the parents went to dinner. 
Today Chris took a trailor load of pigs to camp (shhhh...this is what Cyrus believes and we are sticking with it).  So I took Ky, Cy and JJ out to have some snow fun!

The snowman makers...Cy is the photographer!

It took a while...the snow wasn't packing, I had to steal the neighbors snow...almost done!

Scarf and all...this is JJ's first snowman!

Ky kissing Mr. Snowman!

And he is done!  On into the house for some Hot Coco and marshmellows!
Not looking forward to waking up early tomorrow and standing at the bus stop with Kyra!
Hope you had a great weekend!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

I have been wanting to make sugar cookies with our Lard for months... I finally thought I should do it before the end of 2009. Everyone has told us that Sugar Cookies made with Lard are the best...and after making these I have to agree. The real test was seeing what Chris said...he said they were the best cookies he has ever tasted. Granted sometimes I think he says that so I will cook more...but I really think he was being honest.

I also put frosting on them, and they were even better. Here is the recipe.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

yield: Makes about 32 cookies

1/2 cup lard (I used FFC lard) or vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar plus additional for coating the cookies
1 large egg (FFC - of course)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl stir together the lard or shortening, the butter, 1 cup of the sugar, the egg, and the vanilla. Into the bowl sift together the flour, the baking soda, and the salt and stir the mixture until it forms a dough. Chill the dough, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll rounded tablespoons of the dough into balls, roll the balls in the additional sugar, coating them completely, and arrange them 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass dipped in the sugar (the edges will crack slightly) and bake the cookies in batches in the middle of the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until they are pale golden. Transfer the cookies to racks and let them cool. The cookies keep in an airtight container for 1 week.

Hope you all are staying warm...


Friday, January 1, 2010

Egg Day...

Wednesday's are egg days on the farm... usually Jorja May and I ride up in the morning to pack eggs with Annette and Richard. We use this day to work on counting with Jorja May. This past week since the kids are off they were also up there helping with other chores. Jackson took the camera outside to take some pictures.

Moo Moo....they don't seem to care about the weather --- if I yell Hi to them they usually Mooo~

Pete the horse loves his new surroundings...I think I have fallen in Love with him!

Jorja May usually takes a nap in Aunt Annette's chair half way through, the counting wears her out!

Jorja May always wanting to help... I break more eggs than she does.

Cyrus on the tractor with his cousin Gideon... his favorite is to ride the they were moving hay bales.

After we are done with the eggs the whole family packs up for Purple Porch Coop where we get to see our friends who love to eat good food! I love Wednesday's since I get to hang out with Chris all day long... we hope you had a wonderful New Year!
Love the Hebrons