Thursday, September 22, 2016

Great Idea's That Weren't So Great

We thought we were on to the greatest idea this year. We wanted to have a second crop of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. We were so busy with veggies when the first crop was ready, we just didn't get to enjoy them the way we wanted to. It was just a matter of getting everything prepped and frozen for the winter months.

Since we started everything from seed over the winter, we would just do it again, right? We loved the idea. We had talked about this previous years, but you can not find any veggie plants for sale after mid-June. So, off we were. Truckin' Man got the seeds started and those little buggers were just growing right along. 

We had some perfect weather days, so he even moved them outside to get them some natural sun. It was about that time, I had to take over their care, because the 18 wheels were calling. The day I went into our makeshift greenhouse room and found this, I could have cried!

I immediately assumed one of the cats snuck past us, and got in there and chewed up our beautiful plants.

Nope... Then I found these.... In the end, I picked off 27 cabbage worms from 8 plants! 
Apparently in the plants short time outdoors, the cabbage moth found them, and laid some eggs.

I guess there is a reason you don't have second crop cabbage plants around here. Well, without sprinkling them with protection dust anyways!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fancy Ketchup (AKA Tomato Jam)

I am loving the fact that I am officially a "Canner" now. Just a novice, or beginner, but I can vegetables that are coming out of our garden. Such a sense of accomplishment when I look at what is in the pantry that we get to enjoy during the cold winter months. 

I follow a couple of canning blogs, am friends with some amazing ladies on facebook that share their canning expertise and recipes, and am part of a canning group on facebook.  Between these media's I kept hearing the ladies mention Tomato Jam. Tomato Jam? Eh. Not interested. But then one day, one of the ladies referred to it as "Fancy Ketchup". Now that got my attention! I was sold on trying this.

And, the rest is history. I am in love. It's sweet, tangy, jammy, ketchupy goodness. We have used it in several different dishes, and even used it to dip tater tots in. Today, I was dipping Bread Cheese in it. Sooooo good. Give it a try with most any thing you would use ketchup for, or just as a new dipping sauce. 

I debated not sharing this recipe, as I can not answer any questions about the canning process. I simply am to much of a novice to do that, but I can not risk losing this recipe.  And I really think if you have tomatoes and like to can, you should try this recipe too!

Fancy Ketchup

5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp grated ginger (fresh)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp red chili flakes

In a large non-reactive pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently, until jam has reduced. Once you have reached the consistency of thick jam, remove from heat.  

Fill jars with jam, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.  Wipe rims, cover jars with lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  Remove jars from canner, and let set on towel on counter top for 24 hours undisturbed. 

Store jars in pantry up to 1 year.

Source:  Food In Jars

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Around the Farm


The season is starting to change.

Corn is starting to turn, here on the farm.

With that change, we have to start getting firewood ready for the cold months.

It looks as though some of the hens will be starting to molt.

Meanwhile, the Morning Glories are doing well.

I love the colors of the blooms.

There is a bit of a story behind the Morning Glories. Truckin' Man did not want me to plant them. He is highly opposed to ANY type of vine because of how thick and dense they grow here. I convinced him it was fine. It's only a Morning Glory. 
They don't get that out of control.

Guess who was right? He was. 
As the vines are starting to pull the fence of the chicken run down, he just shakes his and and says 
"I told you so".

So, until the vines die back and he can repair the fence, Queen of the Farm will have to do her best to protect the ladies.

As much as she just posed pretty for this, and isn't much of a flock guardian, she has stepped up on occasion and saved them when a predator was near.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day, and are as excited for the change of seasons as I am!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Southern Pound Cake

A little over a year ago, I introduced you to a new cookbook, "Deep South Dish - Homestyle Recipes" by Mary Foreman.  Back then I had shared with you her recipe for Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.  If you haven't tried it yet, you should. It's one of my favorite salads!

Since then Mary's Southern Pound Cake recipe has become a "go to" recipe for me. I don't even have to look it up in the index. The book will fall open to the page for me. That's how many times I have made this cake! I've wanted to share it with you before, but we gobble it up so fast I haven't been able to get a picture of it before!

You can serve this cake however you like. It's great with a scoop of ice cream ( Truckin' Man's favorite), with a nice berry sauce, or just a simple glaze. There is no wrong way to serve this.  

Southern Pound Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp orange or lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare bundt pan by greasing, then flouring (be sure to get in all the grooves of your pan). Remove any excess flour. Set pan aside.

In medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  In large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy.  Add sugar, half cup at a time, until mixture is fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture, half cup at time, alternating with milk, on low speed. Start and end with flour.  Mix until flour and milk are completely incorporated.  Add vanilla and orange extract.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Level top of batter with spatula so that it is smooth.  Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake for 20 minutes then turn cake out to wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Deep South Dish: Homestyle Southern Recipes

Powdered Sugar Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp half and half
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp orange extract
Milk, as needed

In medium mixing bowl, sift powdered sugar. Add melted butter to sugar, stir until combined. Add half and half, and vanilla mix well. Add additional milk if needed, to reach desired consistency. Once cake has completely cooled, pour or drizzle glaze over cake.

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