The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


Cake in St. Louis

I wanted to share the photos I had from Federhoffer’s bakery in St. Louis.  Unfortunately everything was behind glass or in a refrigerated case, so my photos aren’t great.  Here you can see some of their decadent offerings.

Raise your hand if you’ve made a Barbie cake.  Yes, I made a few when my daughter was little.  I still have the pan for it just in case one of my boys wants to have one.  It could happen!

How do you all feel about shaped cakes?  Like that communion dress, it sort of gives my an eerie feeling…like, what happened to the baby?

How about a T-bone?  Or a grill with a gray colored hotdog and burgers?  These cakes don’t exactly scream EAT ME! But, they’re fun.

How about sugar cookies?  I love these, but wasn’t tempted to buy them, because the butter cookies were calling my name.  Guess what?  I don’t have a picture of them, but they were scrumptious.  They are sold by the pound.  We bought two pounds and ate them in two minutes….or less.

This cake epitomizes St. Louis.  There is nothing like a baseball game at Busch stadium….but then they tore it down and built a new one and I guess it’s okay, but I liked the old one, I could actually sit through 4 innings before asking, “How much longer?”  The new stadium is so full of glitz and glam that I felt like I was in a 5 star hotel room instead of a baseball stadium and the ticket prices are outrageous.  I went once and decided I didn’t need to see another Cardinal game from the stadium, listening to them drone on in the background of my house was sufficient….and free!

We bought a black forest cake (not my choice) and butter cookies to take to my friend’s house for dessert.  I miss this bakery.

Day one of Juicing

Dear God, help me.  I made coffee to serve to a friend this morning, but I couldn’t drink any of it.  Shouldn’t coffee be considered a fruit or vegetable?  I think so.

I started testing juices a few days ago and already I’ve noticed a difference in my skin.  I did just buy a thermal scrub and new moisturizer, so the softer, clearer skin might be because of that too.

I’m doing the Reboot Standard Program and I’m using a Green Star Juicer that a friend has let me borrow as long as I teach her how it works.

I know, I know you all still want to hear about St. Louis, but my camera is still waaaaaay over there on the kitchen counter and let’s no forget it took me two months to write about my big birthday saga.  I’m thinking I’ll get around to writing about the meet up in, oh…four to five years.

Okay, off to drink some kale and pineapple…CHEERS!

Wait!  That reminds me of this story.  We went as a family to purchase produce from our local mercantile, as we pulled in Ellen, who is not at all excited about juicing,  asked, “What are you buying here?”  I replied, “Kale.”  and she said, “Well if Kale isn’t a hot cowboy then I don’t want it!”   Which caused her father and I to crack up because that is so NOT something Ellen would ever say.  Apparently, there was a cowboy at the camp she attended this summer that was rather cute and voted the “Hot Guy” by all the campers and his name was Kale, but I’m thinking it was spelled Cale.  Either way, Ellen is not impressed with the green leafy version and I don’t think I’ll be attempting to juice hot cowboys anytime soon.


Let’s Make a Pork Crown Roast

Okay, you ready?  First you have to raise one pig to weigh 1,000 pounds…give or take a hundred pounds.  The pig weighs more than expected because you couldn’t find the time to get him to the butcher when he weighed 400 pounds.  It may rain the morning you decide to take him to the butcher and you might get muddy.  Then the giant pig might push his way past the gate your holding and run around your farm.  You might wonder why the HELL you ever wanted to raise pigs in the first place after you’ve spent the good part of an hour chasing the half ton pig around in the rain.  You also might stand in the rain staring at your mud covered husband who is standing in the rain staring back at your mud covered self not knowing what to say because the half-ton frickin’ pig just got out of his pen and is running around the farm and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it….did I mention there might be two pigs?  Actually, there were three.  Okay four, but who’s counting.

Somehow, you manage to get two of those pigs loaded and off to market and a week later the butcher calls to say your pork is ready to be picked up….all 700 pounds of it.  Of course you have to pick up your meat on the same day your putting together a big fundraiser for 400 people and you know all that meat isn’t going to fit in your freezer.  Your parents might be in town visiting, so you look at your father and say, “Hey Dad…wanna pick up our pork?”  You purposefully leave out a lot of the details, like how much pork it is because your father is a perfectionist and you know he’ll figure out how to deal with 700 pounds of pork.  And when he calls you for the third time to ask where you specifically want the pork placed in your freezer because it’s really important to him to have it put away correctly, you kindly give him the directions to a friend’s house where he can store it instead of telling him where to shove the pork.

Now, the fun thing about growing your own meat, actually, right now I’m thinking it might be the only fun thing, is deciding what cuts of meat you want.  You can get bacon sliced thick, thin or medium, sausage in links with or without casings or leave it in bulk packages.  Then there’s the roasts and how big do you want them.  Pork chops, thick or thin and how many to a package.  The same thing for hams, pork steaks, ham steaks, ribs and loins.  I love getting to custom order my pork just the way I want it.  Let’s take a look at a diagram, shall we?  And let’s stop talking in second person, mkay?

I decided out of one of the beastly giants I wanted a crown roast.  A crown roast comes from the shoulder and back of the pig and contains the top half of the ribs, it’s number 4 on the chart where it says loin.  Look at that cutting chart, isn’t it fun?  Just so you know, I’ve never come home with the feet, those stay with the butcher.


Here is how the crown roast came home from the butcher.   I had no idea it would be this huge.  My dad stuck it in my freezer and there it sat for a year while I contemplated which holiday we would be eating 7 billion pounds of pork roast.  I decided this Christmas, since there would just be eight of us eating, to pull out this massive meat slab that would feed 90,000 people. Sounds perfectly logical, right?

Once I got it on the counter I stared at the darn thing wondering why in the name of Jesus, Joseph and Mary I wanted a crown roast.  Then I did some tribal dancing before I started hacking away on it.  Again, all about the logic.


Do you want to know about my knives?  Yes?  Okay…that thing I’m cutting with is a Cutco knife, it’s the sharpest knife I own, it’s not meant to be used like I’m using it, but it’s sharp.  Cutco knives are sold by cute little college girls that come to your house to practice their sales pitch and then you can’t help but buy something from them because they are very cute and poor.  You buy one of the cheapest knives because you are also poor and not so cute anymore.  That’s all the information I have on my knives, thanks and have a nice day.

By the way, in case you haven’t figured this out yet, Coal Creek Farm is not one of those blogs that you’re going to learn how to do anything correctly.  This is a blog that you’re going to learn how to do something with what you got in your dadgum drawer and maybe some duct tape and bailing wire, because there is nothing in the world that can’t be fixed with duct tape and bailing wire.  I see you all nodding in agreement.  You know you’ve duct taped stuff and now you’re wanting to go get some bailing wire or wondering what the heck is bailing wire.

Okay, back to the meat.

You have to cut away the meat from the top half of the ribs.


This is what the world’s largest pork chop looks like.


You’ll need a pan for all the meat scraps that will be flying off as you carve like a maniac.


At this point I decided the crown needed to be a bit smaller, so I cut off three of the ribs.


Off they go.


Into the meat scrap pan.


Now we can start working on taking out all the extra meat between the rib bones.


It’s starting to look a bit more like a crown, right?   I had to look up a few references online, but I couldn’t find any step by step processes, so I was winging a lot of this.


My photographer put her own spin on the documenting of the giant meat carving spectacle of 2010.


Ermph, hurumph…errrrrmph.  Those are the sounds I was making when I thought I’d be able to just fold the meat in a nice little circle, tie a little bow around it, wipe off my hands and say, “Okay, that’s done.”  Yeah, that didn’t work.


“We must…we must…we must increase our bust!”  Yeah that exercise never worked for me either.


Moving on.  At this point I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fold the meat in a circle so I cut it in half.


That left me with two hunks of meat to mold into a crown.  It’s right here in this post that I hit a wall.  I’m writing about meat…meat!  Who writes about meat?  I do.


Clay came into the kitchen and confirmed that there was a giant hunk of meat on the tray and picked out which part he wanted to eat.  Actually, I have no idea what he’s telling me, I just know that he was no help, he likes to think he’s helpful when I’m cooking but he usually just ends up asking me a lot of dumb questions and then offers to wash the dishes so I won’t throw a pan at him.

In other news…that cute man/boy over there just has two more inches until he’s as tall as me.  The kid is constantly aching and walks like an old man, growing pains suck.


Is this post at all interesting?  It’s about a giant piece of meat for crying out loud.  Should I cut my hair?  I think I need a new style.  I’ve been wearing my hair like that for years, like five or six or ten years.  I’ve become one of those women that never changes her style.  Every time I get a new haircut I come home with it all fancy schmancy and the next day…I swear to Gordon…my hair looks the same.  Oh well, what was I doing?  Oh yeah…the longest meat post in the history of meat posts.

The big end of the meat was still too frozen for me to bend it, so I stuck it in the microwave blah, blah, blah…


blah, blah, blah…..


cut meat, cut meat, cut meat…..blah, blah, blah…


Pile up the meat scraps, blah, blah, blah…


Scrape the meat off the bones, blah, frickin’ blah, blah, blah…


Do a little dance….make a little love….get down tonight…..get down tonight.

The hair, honestly…it looks like a hay stack.  Please somebody give me a new style and then come over and fix it for me everyday.

Do you think I can scrape away the fat on my body like I did with that pork loin?  Would that not be awesome?  April, whatcha doin’?  Oh, ya know…just scraping the fat off my own pork belly.

How many of you are getting irritated because I’m not giving you specific instructions on how to make a crown roast?  Welcome to life with April!  You will need to pay close attention and read my mind.  Oh, and ask your butcher for some cotton string, he’ll give it to you for FREEEEE!  And you know how much we all love free things.


Now let’s tie up this puppy so we can get to bed.  Round and round it goes and out pops a red, red rose.  Who remembers the commercial?


Guess who got to help hold the meat together while I tied it?  And I said he was no help.  Look at how helpful he is, let’s give that big guy a hand.  Who loves the Claystor?  Who does?  That’s right we all wuv da Cwaystor wes we do!  Ugh…how much longer must I write about this meat?  It’s sucking any brain cells I had in reserve right out my nostrils.


Meat is tied top and bottom and the end bones.  Got it?


Here’s another view just in case you’re one of those people that can’t read a blue print.  Dear Holy Mother, those people are always the ones that want to build a house and no matter how many drawings you put in front of them they still can’t figure out where the front door is.  I’m married to an architect, I get to hear all the fun stories.


This is what I did right before I went to bed.  Put the meat scraps in the crock pot, cuz why not?  Might as well cook them now,  shred it tomorrow and then freeze it for bbq sandwiches.  And we’ve already eaten it…not a week later, it’s gone.


Christmas morning 2010…starting it off with a swig of white wine because the kids drug my tired butt out of bed too early and I had a day of cooking ahead of me.


She didn’t turn out too bad, eh?  I rubbed it down with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, pepper and a herb I grew in my garden that smelled good.  Seriously, I have no idea what it was, but I like it.  Then I put an onion, two carrots and some celery in the pan.  After an hour I poured about a cup of dry white wine over the veggies and the roast.


There we go.  I think I roasted it for maybe 2 1/2 hours.


Slung it on a plate, added apricot dressing and drizzled it with the sauce from the bottom of the pan.  That’s it.  That’s how you make a crown roast.

Oink Oink