Tag Archives: The Pioneer Woman

Moving Cows in Muck & Chicken Tortilla Soup

The sun is shining again today….hooray!!! It’s a vast improvement over Friday, which was overcast, gloomy, and cold. Of course, I spent the majority of the Friday trailing cows…..that’s just how things seem to work out here sometimes!

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As I’ve mentioned numerous times, we live in the gumbo. If you don’t know what gumbo is count yourself lucky and never try to find out. If you do, then you know the difficulties we face every time any kind of moisture occurs out here. Calving will be starting anytime for us so we decided to bring our heifers in and then move our mama cows to where the heifers had been (our calving pasture). The heifers need to be watched so we brought them in two miles to our corrals where they will call home until they have had their babies. The mama cows (or old cows as we call them sometimes, which doesn’t make sense because our cows aren’t “old”) were brought from one of our far east pastures. It was about a 4 miles trek for them. That normally isn’t a great distance, but add the gumbo mud and it quadruples all efforts of physical movement. In all honesty, when it’s like this we normally leave our horses at home and jump onto our four wheelers or our Rhino. Don’t get me wrong….we could ride our horses, but we don’t have any young guns right now who need to be worn down so the point is mute. Plus, the endless running back and forth in this muck is not fun…..it can cripple a horse. Our horses mean to much to us to do that to them (yes, I baby them….it’s my prerogative). That philosophy may sound strange to some, but until you’ve lived out in this stuff…..don’t judge! 🙂 We use horses a lot, but we like to save them for the dry times of the year (and there are plenty of those coming up).

This is how my windshield looked most of the day….caked with mud and ice. It was a cold bugger out there and I’m truly thankful that I had the windshield to block the wind….even if it was hard to see through it.

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My trusty steed for the day…..here it is:

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Yep, and my trusty little side-kick sneaked into the picture too! He actually stay in the house with Grandma yesterday….I’m so thankful that we have that option when we need it. Stone loves his Grandma so his day was a great one….I think hers was too! 🙂

The run off from the melting snow is just crazy! Our creek is out of its banks in some places. We haven’t had this happen for several years now. We have a huge culvert between my folks’ place and ours. We drive over it every time we have to go to their house or if we have to go to town. It is smack dab in the middle of our places. Of course we had to trail the cows over it too. I didn’t know how that was going to go since it sounds like a freight train with all the raging water going through it. See what I mean:

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It’s quite a sight….and sound to see that much water in a normally dormant creek. My dad was concerned that it might overflow and go over the road. When we finished last night there was about 2 inches of room left at the top of the culvert. I haven’t made it over there yet to see if it went above that or not yet. I will be venturing over there soon though because we will be putting out straw bedding in our heifer jugs (pens) in the shed. We also need to feed our heifers hay every day now that they are at the corral. It’s always exciting when the first baby is born….that should be happening before long. Here are the heifers on their final leg of the journey.

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The weather stayed the same all day….foggy, misty, cold, and damp. There was mud everywhere…..and I’m afraid it will be this way for quite some time. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with moisture out here. Don’t get me wrong….I’m not so self-absorbed that I don’t realize that we need it….and lots of it….it’s just that we pay a high price for it. We endure this greasy, slimy stuff every time it happens…..we stay home….we don’t galavant off to down unless it’s absolutely necessary…..we don’t get to ride for the fun of it…..exercising horses or having fun in that fashion is out….for weeks sometimes. I know we need moisture, but………okay, complaint over…..our cows/horses need green grass so I’ll shut up. 🙂

Thursday night, I decided that I needed to use up some chicken breasts in my freezer. Perfect opportunity to make Chicken Tortilla Soup! My recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, but…..I’ve made it my own. Here is the link to her recipe and I’m posting my version below.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Cheyenne’s Version)

  • 4 good-sized boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp. Onion Salt
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Crushed or Minced
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 32 oz, Chicken Broth
  • 1 small can Tomato Paste
  • 1 TB Cilantro
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans Black Beans, drained
  • 3 TB Cornmeal or Masa
  • 2 cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • Tortilla Chips, used when serving the soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chicken breasts into thinner pieces for quicker cooking. Mix cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil on chicken breasts (coating both sides), then sprinkle some of the spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish as I have.


Bake for 30 minutes, turning once until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Set aside.

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Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and minced garlic.


Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix.


Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.


Pour in Rotel, chicken broth, tomato paste, cilantro, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, covered.

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Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water.


Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.


Check seasonings, adding more if needed – add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. *I always seem to add more seasonings…..we like lots of taste at our house!* Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, stir in cheese.


Ladle into bowls that have tortilla chips crunched up in the bottom, top with a few more chips, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. You can also garnish the soup with diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, etc. The garnishes really make the soup delicious!


So, there you have it! Hope you give either version a whirl….they are both delicious…..similar, yet different. Well, the sun is shining…..I’d better get out there……have lots to do today. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

“Cowgirl Swank” Goodie Bag Giveaway!!

Because it’s before 5 am (I need coffee!) and because I’m going to be offline for a few days…..it’s time for my first giveaway!! I haven’t had a chance to tell you all about “Cowgirl Swank”…..most of you already may know what it is, but if you don’t let me give you a quick overview.


“Cowgirl Swank” is my passion. It is the business I started on March 1st, 2007. What do we do? We create custom hand-designed Swarovski crystal designs. We then adhere them to caps, visors, hoodies, tees, tote bags, etc. We are best known for our headwear items. If you can envision it….most likely, we can create it! We love to recreate brands and logos along with all sorts of designs.  See……

Tana Counts Cap Red Rose Pink CO MC Mare and Foal MRA 2012 DSCN4007

Who helps me create these? I have one full-time employee:  Kayla. She has become a wizard with crystal designs (truly…..she is amazing). Here we are last year (yes, we are truly “swanked” out)….Kayla on the left….me on the right. 🙂

Kayla and Me

I also have other part-time gals who help create all the items we offer. We’ve all been together for some time now. I appreciate all the hard work everyone puts in…..these items don’t create themselves. We take a lot of pride in every piece that leaves our shop…..handmade is hard to find these days. We love what we do…..It’s never dull…each day brings something new…..who wouldn’t love that?! 🙂

How can you order a custom item for yourself or for someone else? Go to our website:  www.cowgirlswank.com or our Cowgirl Swank Facebook page. Contact us or shop in our online store….if you need assistance we will walk you through the process with customer service you will be happy with. 🙂

Who wears our items? Lots of folks! Yes, mostly females….from age 2 to 82! We’ve created items for Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, Miss Rodeo America, and……Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman! She is a big fan of our caps….we have gladly created two different orders for her (one for Christmas and one for her production crew). What a thrill that was! We have fans all over the country….we’ve shipped caps internationally (Italy, Australia, Canada, England, South Korea, France, etc.). It’s such a thrill to know our caps are spread across the globe! We love to see pictures of our fans wearing Cowgirl Swank creations……nothing makes us smile more!

I don’t have time right now to go into much more detail….I’ll save that for another day. Like I said, I’m going to be offline for a few days….so…..this is the perfect opportunity to have my first giveaway. What better to giveaway than a goodie bag full of Cowgirl Swank?

To enter, here’s what you do:  1. Make sure you “follow” my blog (you can click the “follow” button down in the lower right-hand corner of this screen….this ensures that you get my blog by email). 2. Like The Native Cowgirl Facebook page. 3. In the comments section, tell me how long you’ve known about Cowgirl Swank. Easy as that!! I will draw a random winner when I get back online…Wednesday morning. Good luck and enjoy your weekend! Be back soon! ~Cheyenne

Pasta & Beef with Whiskey Cream Sauce

The wind is absolutely howling here today…..and we are under a wind warning…what a shock!! Lots of people cuss the wind…..and before I moved here I was one of them. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t love it. However, it dries out something that I despise….gumbo mud!! And it does so quite quickly…..hooray!! The fact that we can barely stand up out there is just something we have to put up with….so, I don’t cuss it anymore…unless I have riding to do….roping to do…..or if it’s dry outside….then I cuss it…..extensively too! 🙂

I am excited to see the number of “likes” growing on Facebook for my blog and it’s nice to see people actually following me…..interested in my ramblings. 🙂 I post a lot on Facebook about what I’m cooking or baking…..it’s fun. I get quite a lot of interaction from folks about it. I’ve been asked about my recipes and I love to share. It’s nice to be able to share recipes in one spot now though. From here on out, I will be doing so right here. I even made a recipe category for my posts. This leads me to my subject today…..Pasta & Beef with Whiskey Cream Sauce. Hold onto your hats…..this is one recipe you are going to want to try!

This recipe is a sort of copy/re-do. As I have talked about before…I love The Pioneer Woman. I use a lot of her recipes. This concoction is actually a credit to one of her recipes. I found it, but since it didn’t have meat in it Shane wouldn’t eat it….big shocker! I had to “cowboyize” the dish so that we could both be happy. Here is PW’s original version: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/08/pasta-with-whiskey-wine-and-mushrooms/.

The name is rather long….I didn’t feel like adding “Beef” to the original name so I made it my own…..”Pasta & Beef with Whiskey Cream Sauce”. It may not officially be a whiskey cream sauce in some cook’s opinions, but it’s what I like to call it…..so there! 🙂

The truth is…when I make this (and a lot of my other meals)….I don’t measure….I just add things until it tastes right to me. If you cook a lot you know what I mean when I say this. Truly good cooks don’t measure everything (measuring has it’s place…for sure…especially when baking). I think a confident cook knows just what to add to make her meals the way she and her family likes them after she has perfected them. So…..it has proven difficult to me to transfer some recipes to share with you all. I’m going to do my best!

Pasta & Beef with Whiskey Cream Sauce

  • 2 lbs. of Steak
  • 1 package, Sliced Mushrooms (fresh)
  • 2 Tablespoons, Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons, Butter
  • 2 whole Large Purple/Red Onions, Peeled And Sliced
  • 1 Cup Cooking Wine
  • 3/4 cups Jack Daniels or Lord Calvert (JD is best)
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • 1 package, Wide Egg Noodles

Prepare the steak by cutting off excess fat and cutting into small bite-sized pieces. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Brown the steak (adding a little salt and pepper if you like). When it is about half cooked, throw in the sliced mushrooms and onions. Saute for a couple of minutes. Pour in wine and whiskey and allow to bubble for a minute or two. Pour in broth and allow the liquid to reduce for a couple of minutes. Stir in cream and reduce heat to low. Add  salt, and pepper, and simmer until sauce thickens. *About half way through cooking the steak, mushrooms, and onions I boil water and cook the Wide Egg Noodles. When all is done…mix it all together and enjoy.* Easy as that! This is one of our favorite dishes at our house. It’s even better left over…..yum!

I apologize for not having step-by-step pictures….kind of got ahead of myself this time. You get the idea I’m sure. This is what it looks like all finished:

Pasta & Beef with Whiskey Cream Sauce

Shane is so funny….he loves this dish, but he picks out all the mushrooms. The best part….I love them so I get them all! 🙂 This is why we work as a couple…..he hates mushrooms and I love them….he only complains a little when I cook with them (yeah, I wish). Opposites attract, right?! Hope you enjoy this as much as we do! ~Cheyenne