All of my meat birds are heritage breed, Buff Orpingtons.
The males get to be about 10 – 11 pounds.

Urban chickens.  They have become such a part of our lives that I really can’t imagine not having them or their fresh eggs right in my backyard.  I’m going into my second year of keeping 7 hens for eggs and this is my first year raising 15 birds for meat right in my backyard.  My meat birds are about 6 weeks old now and much bigger than what I have pictured above.  My husband built me a chicken tractor for the meat birds which I move from one spot of my yard to another every day. 

Backyard Chicken Tractor

I could go into detail but I thought it would be easier to show you my backyard setup and birds with a video update.  My son Nehemiah helped me film.  Let me know what you think and if you have any questions at all about raising backyard urban chickens feel free to comment below :)

(Note: My dog Boaz may look a bit strange right now.  He’s a long haired German Shepherd and absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, his hair got so mangled this year after the winter and rain, we found it way easier to give him a buzz and let it grow back in.  Poor baby!)
 This post is a part of Simple Lives Thursday and Two for Tuesdays.

spaininiowa
I’m excited for another edition of Simple Lives Thursday.  Below you’ll find the linky to add your post to.  Remember you can add your link on any of the four hosting blogs.
As a reminder:  If you are going to be linking to this blog hop, please add a link to this post at the end of your blog post entry.
Your Hosts
  1. A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
  2. Sustainable Eats
  3. GNOWFGLINS
  4. Culinary Bliss
Wherever you choose to post, it will show up on all 4 sites!  As a reminder, this blog hop is a way to share with many people your posts on what you are doing to live a simple life. Whether that’s gardening, raising urban chickens, homeschooling, sewing, making your own deodorant, or cleaning supplies… we want to know about it!  If you’re into homeopathy, ways to save $ by conserving energy or other ways to live frugally… we want to know about it!   If you bike, cook real food, homestead or farm… we want to know about it!
So let’s do this thing!

Dianas--Spain-2010-596
I am so excited!  Next May, I will be leading a culinary tour through Andalucia, Spain!   I am collaborating with Epicurean Ways in order to set up a fabulous 6 day culinary adventure through the heart and soul of Spanish culture and cuisine.
We are still in the very beginning stages of setting up this tour.  As more info comes to fruition I will be posting regular updates.  There will be a cooking class, an olive oil, wine and jamon iberico tour.  I will also be guiding you to local places of interest.  Places like the farmers market, fisherman’s dock and the best in local Spanish bars for tapitas and cervecita!  Since I’m from Spain and visit frequently I will be guiding you to the best places that locals visit!  Sardines by the Rio?  Why of course!

I invite you to join me in An Intimate Tour of Spain!  If you are interested please comment with an email address or email me at diana@phileodesign.com.  I will be setting up a special email list specifically for this tour.

I hope to see you in España!

roastedpotatoes_greenbeans
It’s the season for green beans!  As sad as I was that I didn’t plant any beans in early summer I was blessed to have been given the opportunity to harvest 7 pounds of fresh green beans right off the plant from a friend.  So what does one do with so many green beans?  I blanched and froze about 5.5 pounds and made a few recipes to share with you in the coming week.  One is a ferment that I’m hoping tastes great!

During the summer when I’m busy outdoors I try to spend as little amount of time as possible in the kitchen.  A great way to use seasonal green beans is to roast them right along side potatoes and red onions.  Throw in a couple of scrambled eggs from the backyard and there you have a nourishing and easy summer meal.

Roasted Garlic Potatoes with Green Beans and Red Onions

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb of fresh green beans
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp celtic sea salt
  • a variety of fresh herbs (I used thyme and tarragon)

Method:

  1. In an ovenproof dish combine all ingredients.
  2. bake at 425 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes.

Easy!  Buen Provecho!

It’s Two for Tuesdays!  I’m sure many of you already know and participate but for those of you who haven’t you can click here for the details.

As a reminder

  1. Create a post featuring real food… something traditional, made from scratch, made with love.

  2. Include the badge or a link to this page in your post  (you don’t have to use my badge, you could also go to either of the other 6 hosts pages and include their badge/link).

    24TNewerSpainInIowa

  3. Go to any of the 7 hosting blogs on a Tuesday and add a link to your post (post specific URL, not your home page URL).  Leave a comment once you’ve linked up so that we’re sure to see your entry.  Your entry (in thumbnail form) will then appear on all seven blogs!  The linky for each particular week will stay open until the following Tuesday, so if you’re running a bit behind, no worries!  You can link up later.
  4. Have fun!  You don’t have to link up every week and we don’t mind you sharing the same post on other carnivals or hops :)

Let the fun begin!  Link up those posts :D

Your Hosts:


Sweet Potato Bean
Burritos

Asian
Coleslaw

Chicken and Cheese
Burritos

Twice Baked
Potatoes

Feel the Bees Sting – Habanero
Honey

My Iron Skillet Love Affair @
frugalcrunchychristy

Pineapple Cooler–Made from
Pineapple Rind! at Kahakai Kitchen

butter milk &
butter

Roasted
Salsa

Old-Fashioned
Poundcake

A Moderate Life Roasted Corn in
Chiminea

Beth Stedman (Salad
Inspiration)

Raspberry Ice Cream
Sauce

Real Food on a
Budget

Hot Fudge Ice Cream
Sauce

~SUMMER PEACHES IN A VANILLA,
THYME, and BRANDY SYRUP!!!~

Blue GF
Cornbread!

Panzanella
Salad

Vegetable
Vindaloo

Buttermilk n Fruit Popsicles @
girlichef

Spain in Iowa – Wholesome
banana split sweetened with raw honey.

2 Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipes
for You! Yummy!

Healthy Sloppy Joes And A
Review By Ashley

Black Bean & Edamame Salad
with Miso-Tahini Dressing

Diary of an Outlaw Farmer:
Rabbit in Mustard Wine Cream Sauce

Roasted
Vegetables

Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean Ice
Cream

Crunchy Fried Fish with
Remoulade and Creamy Cole Slaw

Coupons for Real Food? @ Big
Dreams for a Simple Life

Vegetable Lentil Savoury
Cake

Julie @ Persnickety Palate
(pea gnocchi and fried carrots)

Another (Goat) Kid and
Sourdough Biscuits

Jason @ JLHealthTulsa (GF 5*
Fillet of Sole Almondine)

Luscious Lemons for a Cool
Drink and a Chicken Salad!

Balsamic Roasted Red
Potatoes

Classic Hollandaise
Sauce

Get your soft pretzels
here

Blueberry Jelly – Dina at Known
By Name

Simple Shallot
Vinaigrette

Wheat Berry
Salad

A soup from our
garden

Thrifting Sheets for Sewing
Play Clothes

This linky list is now closed.

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Tools

I am so excited to have Miranda from My Food and Life Encounters guest post for me.  I heard through the grapevine that she was in the midst of creating a post on cast iron.  One of my favorite subjects!  I love my cast iron and could not imagine cooking without it.  I immediately asked her if she wouldn’t mind guest posting at my blog.  I would love for all my readers to not only learn a bit more about cast iron but to introduce you to this wonderful mother of two.  Miranda is such a fun person that has a joy for life, her children, and especially her husband.  You can feel the admiration she has for him through every one of her posts and it’s this joy that reminds me what a gift the Lord has given us in a husband.  She’s a beautiful reminder of what it is to love and stand by your man and how to be an amazing mommy.   Also, this woman is not afraid to cook!  There is always something yummy going on at My Food and Life Encounters.  Thank you Miranda for sharing at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

—————————————————-

This will be my first guest post and I am thrilled it is for Diana. She is the ultimate mother, foodie and friend whom inspires me to grow as a food blogger and person.

I am a foodie, a food blogger, wife and a mother. I am a Stay at Home Mommy for two little amazing girls. I have been cooking for years which is a passion my mother has passed down to me. I have been food blogging at My Food and Life Encounters for a year and half. Yahoo! I love my life!

Oh…Enough about me thats talk about the Cast Iron Skillet…..

The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet was founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896.  Over a hundred and fourteen years ago!  Do you want to know what is even more amazing?  It is still a family run business.  Not only that but the Cast Iron Pans made generations ago are still being used in kitchens today.  They are timeless!

Although I was always afraid to purchase one, I am now an owner of a cast iron skillet.  Not just any cast iron skillet a US made Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.

Why so reserved you may ask?  As I encountered the cuisine of Southern womanhood, each discussion about their secret weapon was intimidating. This was a club no Ohio River Valley Girl should attempt to join.  Besides, their wares had decades of uses to get that “unique” flavor.  Seasoning?  I HAD NO IDEA what a seasoned pan meant.  I thought seasoning meant a little bit of salt and pepper on the pan and assumed it was really difficult to take care of and maintain?

Don’t tell the daughter of a Pipe fitter, raised in the rust belt, that this piece of metal was out of my league.  I have since learned a lot from my Lodge Cast Iron.  Again, this is my experience so please consult Auntie Lou Ann in case I missed something.

  1. Cast iron is naturally non-stick.  But if food begins to stick in a cast iron pan it may need seasoned.

    I have learned that seasoning is a way of maintaining the pan. To season a pan you lightly oil the pan with a neutral oil (that is high in saturated fats) on the entire inside of the pan and flip and put it in the middle of the oven. Put a foil lined baking pan below on the last oven shelf. Bake on 500 for thirty to sixty minutes. Remove. Repeat if needed.

    If a pan is not seasoned correctly food will stick and it will be prone to rusting.

    Seasoning correctly causes the oil to become permeated into the pores of a cast iron skillet. It causes a tough and hard film in the pan. This is the BIG secret of maintain a non-stick and an amazing cast iron-skillet.

  2. If seasoned correctly nothing will stick to your cast iron pan.
     
  3. Cast Iron pans last a lifetime. Many lifetimes. Pass them down to your kids…….
     
  4. The Cast Iron Pan heats and cooks all food evenly!

WHAT NOT TO DO WITH A CAST IRON PAN:

  1. You should not wash it in the dishwasher or like other pans. Cast iron needs to be wiped clean without soap.  No harsh brushes or sponges.  If you have a lot of residue that is hard to remove, boiling water should do the trick.
     
  2. You should not cook foods containing tomatoes, vinegar or other acidic ingredients. This will damage the seasoning that you have worked so hard to create. The best foods to cook in cast iron is high fatty foods. Such as: Bacon, Sausage, Chicken, Beef and Pork.
  3. Never try to cook on a cold pan. ALWAYS PREHEAT!

I love my Lodge Cast Iron Pan. I am not sure how I lived so long without one. In the last month I have made: Chicken Fried Steak, Oven Fried Chicken, and Apple Dutch Pancakes. It is a must have in all kitchens!

Did I do OK Auntie? Now how’s about sharing that that fried mac n’ cheese recipe

Thank you, Diana for the opportunity!

Miranda