New Seasonals
New Seasonals

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Manly Man
Manly Man

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Orange and Sandalwood
Orange and Sandalwood

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New Seasonals
New Seasonals

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  • Tina

Welcome once again to Foodie Friday. In my effort to keep recipes seasonal, today, I will share with you my recipe for Zucchini Stir-Fry. We were gifted two large zucchinis, and not one to allow things to go to waste, I had to find something to do with them. The Bibbed Wonder is the one who gave me the idea for a zucchini stir-fry. Eric is very food oriented, so I often receive texts with ideas of what to feed him. Sigh, he’s exhausting.

I added chicken to my stir-fry, but one could easily make it vegan by eliminating the chicken. Extra firm tofu is a nice addition if one is looking for a way to add meatless protein to your recipe. Yes, even The Bibbed Wonder will eat tofu on occasion. I believe I would enjoy this recipe more if I had added crunchier veggies like carrots, onions, green peppers, and fresh peas. The key is not to cook the zucchini too long, or it gets mushy. A quick high heat works best.

I have an all-purpose teriyaki sauce I use for almost all stir-frys. It’s a simple recipe that works well with nearly any combination. I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s a fast fix.

Zucchini Stir-Fry

2 lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Baking Soda

1 Large Zucchini, Peeled, Seeded, and Chopped

1 TBLS Minced Garlic

1 TBLS Minced Ginger

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Place chicken in a medium bowl and cover chicken with baking soda. Allow chicken to sit in baking soda for 15-30 minutes. Place the chicken in a colander and rinse well until all baking soda is washed away. Allow the chicken to drain and set aside. Soaking your chicken in baking soda tenderizes it, and it tastes like the silky, tender chicken from a Chinese restaurant.

Add oil to a large skillet or wok and allow to warm. Add the chicken to the hot skillet, frequently turning until cooked and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and set it aside.

Next, add zucchini, garlic, and ginger to a hot skillet, stirring frequently, and cook just until tender-crisp.

Add the chicken back to the hot skillet, give it a good stir and add teriyaki sauce to the skillet. Cook the mixture until the sauce is thickened. Serve hot over hot cooked rice. I also served creamed cucumber salad to round out the meal.

Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1 Cup Chicken Broth*

1 TBLS Cornstarch

2 TBLS Rice Wine Vinegar

1 TBLS Sugar

2 TSP Sesame Oil

1 TBLS Canola Oil

Add the soy sauce, chicken broth, cornstarch, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil to a large bowl, and whisk until everything is completely dissolved.

I hope, dear reader, you enjoy this simple, easy recipe. I also hope you have a wonderful weekend. As always, stay safe, be smart, eat seasonally, and keep washing your hands.

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When I began this soap-making journey, I was pretty much a one-woman show. I sat for weeks, even months, and researched the soap-making process. I researched and took notes on all the different oils available. I categorized essential oils for their skin benefits and their scent. I spent hours of trial and error on soap recipes. I logged hours of research into the small, woman, or family-owned suppliers. I was able to do this because my favorite little bean was in school, and Eric worked away throughout the week. My passion for soap grew as I learned more and more about the process.

In the beginning, I had the attitude that nobody could do anything but me. I took ownership of this very seriously and put my all into it. I was stingy about sharing my knowledge, even with The Bibbed Wonder. As I took small steps toward turning my passion into a business, I was reluctant to give up control of any aspect. I decided upon the scents, the recipe, the process, the packaging, and the details. I felt like I was not just making soap; I was putting part of myself out there for scrutiny, which is intimidating.

Eric supported my endeavor one hundred percent. I believe initially; he felt it was good for me to have a focus and a passion. However, he soon saw real potential for a business opportunity. He worked so many hours that he had little time to devote to my “side hustle.” He made the time to help me problem solve, build a website, and build gadgets to make my soap making more manageable and efficient. However, he never wanted to step on my toes and allowed me to do this alone. If I’m being honest, I liked it that way.

I admit I dropped the ball in the areas of business I don’t enjoy, like social media, record keeping, and manufacturing precision. I enjoyed making beautiful soap; all my focus was on learning swirl techniques, blending scents, and color schemes. I was/am horrible at keeping receipts. I still struggle with record keeping, and if it weren’t for my anal retentive husband, I would reinvent the wheel every time I make soap. We balance each other. At the time, I never imagined I would partner with my husband to do this full-time. The fact that we balance each other so well was foreshadowing what was to be our future.

Fast forward to 2019. Our family suffered an unimaginable blow, and to add insult to injury, Eric’s company closed his department. We were reeling from all aspects of our lives. We had some tough choices to make. Through a lot of thought, seeking guidance, and prayer, we decided as a family to try to make this soap thing work for us full time. I liken the first years of working together to the first years of marriage. I struggled with relinquishing control of almost everything to do with soap. We locked horns, battled, and raged over minor things. Correction, I battled and raged over the smallest details. The Bibbed Wonder remained annoyingly calm and steadfastly patient.

I slowly learned that I could not do everything myself. If I’m candid, some aspects of what I was doing weren’t working for our small company. Eric is a certified math teacher and a genius with numbers. We agreed he would take over the record keeping and the finances. He’s a witty, albeit smartass, but his wit works well on social media. He, too, took over the social media posts. Most accurately, he actually began posting on social media. I almost always wholly ignore this medium because I am not comfortable with it. I maintain creative freedom within reason. I blend and decide upon scents, colors, and design. I take the lead in packaging, write the blog, check for grammatical errors in posts, and head new product development. We are now making one hundred twenty bars at a time. I no longer make soap solely on my own. Eric follows the recipes and my designs but handles the making and the heavy lifting. I get to create the swirls and design the tops. We balanced each other, and it worked for us for a while until it didn’t.

As our soap business slowly grows, so does our herd of Nubian dairy goats. With a growing herd comes increasing work, care, and responsibility. My bib overall wearing wonder buns soon felt spread too thin and burnt out. It is a lot to manage, and finally, he admitted he could not do it all. Relinquishing control does not come easy to either one of us. However, we have finally built a small family of capable, trustworthy, and reliable soap family members. Learning to recognize when to pass the torch is a hard lesson to learn. With the soap family we have built, passing the proverbial torch is not so scary.

Jenna continues to be an active part of our family. Although she had to join the real world and utilize her impressive education, she continues to be our sounding board for ideas, helps out Eric with all things animal related, and goes to market when I don’t feel well. Jenna is invaluable for more reasons than I can list. I tell her frequently; that she will be running this alongside Jordan someday. Of course, providing that is what they both want. Jenna is family, and it only makes sense for us to pass the torch to family.

Morgan has taken over the social media aspect, and I am impressed with this young woman’s natural abilities. I am confident she has found her calling in marketing. Not only does she take professional quality pictures, but she also has an eye for design, is witty and creative, and the cherry on top is that she is great with people. Morgan has begun to attend in-person shows with me, and this young woman has impressed me to no end. I can confidently say that I foresee Morgan doing in-person events for us soon. Sales came naturally to her. From an introvert’s perspective, this is an awe-worthy gift. Again, if Morgan chooses this path, I foresee a significant role for her in our little company. She, too, has become family.

We are also fortunate to have Abby, our future Broadway Star, grace us with her presence during college breaks. Although soap is not Abby’s passion, she is willing to share her stage talents with us to create TikTok videos and online commercials. I admire anyone who wholeheartedly puts themselves in the spotlight. I am more comfortable behind the scenes, and to watch Abby boldly and bravely perform in front of a camera simply floors me. Eric and I appreciate all the great things these inspiring young women bring into our world and our little business.

I would never have seen myself relinquishing control over any aspects of our soap. However, as time and need necessitate, we slowly accept that we cannot possibly do everything and do it well. Doing it well is what we feel we owe you, our extended soap family. People come into our lives for a reason. I think it is no mistake these three young women are here with us, at this stage, in this time. I trust them to represent us, our passion, and our gratitude. That is no small thing. I hope Jenna, Morgan, and Abby understand how much we appreciate and value them, their gifts, and their input.

As a reforming type-A, anal retentive, control freak, passing the proverbial torch on to capable hands is not as painful as I once viewed it. I hope you can also find peace and balance in your world. Relinquishing control over something you love is difficult, but in the end, it can be so beneficial. As always, stay safe, be smart, it’s okay to relinquish control, and keep washing your hands.

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  • Tina

Monday was a rough one here at the farm. I have written before about our little twin, Flora, aka Little Sick Goat. Flora suffered a bout of listeria four years ago. It was a scary situation, a terrible illness, and could have ended very badly. However, we were able to save our little girl, and she recovered from the listeria with a lot of time, love, and attention. Once she recovered from the listeria, she was never what we considered quite right. Her health was fragile. She suffered from chronic “allergies,” as the vet referred to her congestion, snotty nose, and dry cough.

It was as if Flora’s little body could not fight off infection or disease after her illness. She was delicate and would suffer from anemia, worms, or general malaise. Often, we thought of her as our guide for the rest of the herd. If Flora needed to be wormed, the rest of the herd was wormed as a precaution. We’ve had the vet out several times out of concern for Flora. His diagnosis was always inconclusive. We didn’t know what was wrong with her; we just knew she was delicate.

On Monday, The Bibbed Wonder went to the barn to do the morning chores and found little Flora nestled in the hay, looking like she was sleeping peacefully. He knew she was gone when she didn’t push her way in for her grain. It all came as a great surprise. She seemed a little off the night before. She was not as interested in her grain, and her nose was particularly runny. However, it was not anything we hadn’t seen before. She did not have a fever; she was up and nibbling at her food but slightly off.

Little Flora is the first of our adult goats we have lost. We all have a soft spot for Flora because she was such a lovely girl, we nursed her through a difficult time, and she was outstanding on the milk stand. Eric often says, “if I could clone one goat, it would be Flora.” Her herd and we will sadly miss Flora. Flora and her sister, Fauna, are one of our first nannies born and raised here. Flora, Fauna, Wacko, Yacko, and Dot are all from our first years of kidding. It makes it especially difficult knowing she was one of our firsts.

Our little farm family grieves for the loss of Flora. Her sister, Fauna, is particularly lost. Like people, the goats have friend groups they always hang out with and prefer. Flora and Fauna spent a lot of time together. Although she had a good life and high quality of life, part of me is relieved she passed peacefully. There is no more suffering for our little girl. No more snotty nose, no more feeling not quite right. She’s at peace.

I am not looking forward to my core five girls getting older. Losing this group, in particular, will be hard for me. They are the five girls who started our journey and brought our family closer together. Because of these five goats, we began making soap and working together. If it weren’t for them, we might not be living at my dad’s farm, raising our girl where my dad grew up with his brothers, and spending more time apart than together. Our goats are special indeed.

Eric buried little Flora next to Misti, The Bean’s pony. This is the second significant loss for our farm this year—sleep, sweet dear Flora. We will miss you.

As always, stay safe, be smart, appreciate the time you have with the creatures you love, and keep washing your hands.

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