Sunday, October 27, 2013

Around the Farm - The Perfect Fall Day

So many days of the past week have been so cool.
The winds have been blustery. 
There have even been snow flakes spotted.
Today is perfect.
Sun is shining.
Winds are gone.

I love the look of the hillsides when harvest has begun.

One of my projects while the weather had been blustery, was sorting through recipe cards that my mom cleaned out of her recipe box. Many written up by her, and others in each of my grandma's hand writing.

My recent hauls from the orchards has me so inspired with apple recipes. 
Truckin' Man's all time favorite dessert is Apple Pie. I rarely make it, because apple pies are a challenge for me. But, yesterday, I was inspired. I had 3 recipes waiting for me.
I decided on this recipe (click here) from Joy, at Yesterfood
Look at this pie! It's gorgeous! 
I even made the crust from scratch!

If you want to see what's up next on the apple baking list, check out these two.
From Mandy at South Your Mouth, Mama's Apple Cider Pie
From Anne at From My Sweet Heart, Cinnamon Applesauce Tart

Have a great week and watch out for those goblins!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cider Baked Beans

So, I have been sick. Nasty cold. Then enter seasonal allergies. Then laryngitis. This has all left me with a LOT of time on my hands. Scrabble, Words with Friends, Candy Crush. Uh oh... Did I just admit I play Candy Crush. Ok, move on, lets just forget that. I did finally get our Netflix going again so I could watch tv in the bedroom with my new vaporizer going. Yup, that's been the great excitement going on around here!

You would think this would leave me with a lot of time in the kitchen, but my energy just hasn't been there. And, I really don't want to be germy around all the food. BUT, I did test out a couple new recipes that didn't need a lot of hands on from me. And, ooooh my. Are you going to love 'em.

Since it is apple season, and I am lucky enough to be surrounded by apple orchards, apple recipes are the focus of my attention. This was the first time I ever made baked beans out of dried beans. It was not labor intensive, but did take a fair amount of time. Worth it? Oh, yeah. The flavor in these was amazing, and I liked having a bit more texture to the beans than what you get with canned kind.

Cider Baked Beans  (Adapted from:

16 oz dried pinto beans
3 cups apple cider
6 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 strips thick cut bacon ( or more if you like!)
1 yellow onion

Pick through the dried beans and remove any stones or broken beans. Rinse beans. In large pot or bowl, cover beans with 3 inches of water. Cover and let set overnight, or 10 hours.

Drain beans, and add them to dutch oven. Add apple cider, and slowly bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and gently boil for thirty minutes.  Stir occasionally. After thirty minutes, remove from heat, and drain.  Reserve your cooking liquid.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In small saucepan, combine molasses, mustard, and salt.  Cook over medium heat until salt is dissolved.  Add black pepper to molasses mixture, set aside. In bottom of dutch oven, lay three slices of bacon. Cut ends off of onion, then cut in half. Lay both onion halves on top of bacon. Pour beans over top of bacon and onions. Pour molasses mixture over top of beans, and now lay remaining bacon slices on top of beans.  Pour reserved cooking liquid over top of beans, adding hot water as necessary to completely cover the beans.

Bake for 3 hours. Check beans to see if they are dry. Add water as needed. Return to oven and bake for another 2-3 hours. When beans are tender, remove from oven.

Enjoy :)

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Around the Farm

It's been a quiet week around the farm. In battling this cold, I ended up loosing my voice. Makes for a long frustrating week, when I am such a chatty person. Work involved a lot of projects that normally take a back burner, but I am grateful that I was able to keep working through it all. Now just to get my voice back!

Onward to what's been going on around the farm. 
We bought my grandpa's tractor, and it made the trip to the farm this week. 

Good thing we can move the firewood, since the wood stove got fired up this week.

And, here is the last in our series of introductions.... Please meet Butterscotch.

Just a random shot of one of The Rosie's hanging around in the barn.

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Around the Farm

It's a busy time around the farm, and I am on my third week of fighting a cough and managed to lose my voice this weekend. Not exactly good timing, but when is there a good time to be sick.
I've spent most of my time on the couch, watching tv, drinking tea, drinking juice, 
drinking water, enjoying cough drop after cough drop.  
I walked a little bit today to see what it going on outside that I have been missing out on.

Harvest time has arrived.

Some of our chicken issues have been worked out, and we are finally enjoying eggs!
I love the assortment of sizes and colors our mixed flock is producing!

Another introduction for you this week. This is Sue. We had a lot of debate whether or not she was a rooster. Thanks to growing up listening to a LOT of Johnny Cash, I named her Sue..... just in case.

 We are under our first Frost Advisory tonight. Days of seeing pretty blooms will soon be ending.

 Hope ya'll have a great week!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blueberry Cream Muffins

Do you ever lose groceries? I lost my fresh blueberries for more than a week. I bought them from a roadside vendor and was so excited to make some yummy baked good with them. After getting them home, and putting all my groceries away, I saw the berries sitting on the counter, and decided to put them away, baking wasn't going to happen right away.  Fast forward a couple days... I remembered my berries, I was inspired to use them! I could not find them anywhere! Fridge and freezer searched, cupboards and pantry searched. Where in the world? Check with Truckin' Man.. Did he take them in the truck? Nope. Did we accidentally feed them to the chickens? I don't think so. I finally gave up. I would find them when they spoiled and my nose led me to them. Amazingly they still never surfaced. At this point, I assumed I had accidentally thrown them away. Then... One day.. I spied that tupperware that had the swiss chard from the garden, I should just throw that away, it's old. Open that tupperware up, and no swiss chard, but my blueberries! I have no memory of this, but obviously I had done it! Amazingly, the blueberries were still good.

After all the waiting to share these, I hope you enjoy them. This is the first time I made a muffin with with cream cheese, and they did not disappoint! Moist and creamy, and full of blueberries!

Blueberry Cream Muffins (Source: Taste of Home)

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk (I use 2%)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tins, and set aside.  In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and  salt. In another bowl, beat eggs. To eggs, add milk and butter. Stir until combined. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir only until moistened, do not overmix. Fold in blueberries. Drop 2 rounded tablespoons into prepared muffin tins.

In small bowl, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and salt until combined and creamy. Spoon a tablespoon onto top of muffin batter in the muffin tins. Top each muffin with remaining muffin batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan.  Makes 24 muffins.


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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Around the Farm

Welcome to the second week of "Around the Farm".  Last weekends premier of "Around the Farm" was well received, and I enjoyed sharing it.  My intentions are to try and make this a regular feature here on the blog. 

Today, I have 3 more of our pullets to introduce.  

This is Red.

Meet Cocoa.

And, this is Pepper. She hadn't cleaned up yet from her yogurt treat.

When I am with the girls, Hazel is always close by. 
She is always hopeful that she too, will get a treat.

The raspberries we planted last year did so much better than we could have hoped for this year.
Then of all surprises, we are getting a second round. 
I love surprises like this that keep summer around a little bit longer.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Witches Broomstick Cookies


Halloween. How do you celebrate Halloween? Do you bake? Decorate? Have parties? When I lived in the cities, I would decorate and hand out candy. In the 'burbs, we would have so many trick or treaters, there was never any risk of left over candy, it was just a matter of how much candy you wanted to buy! Back here in the sticks, I decorate for fun, mainly just for us. We get one or two trick or treaters each year, children we know.

This month, the cookie bakers from "Fill the Cookie Jar" were assigned a Halloween or "orange and black themed".  This was a bigger challenge than I thought it would be for me, and I almost backed out. The extent of Halloween cookies for me is typically sugar cookie cutouts, decorated in sprinkles.  But, I wanted to see if I could handle the challenge. I paged through ninety percent of my cookbooks with nothing that grabbed my attention.  Onward to the online search. I found some fun ideas, but not really recipes I would typically make. Finally, thanks again to Betty Crocker, I found the cutest Witches Broomsticks.  I think these would be super fun for some little gobblins to munch on. In our opinion, these did not have a long shelf life, so gobble them up with in a day or two of baking!

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.  We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Witches' Broomstick Cookies   (Source:  Betty Crocker)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
10 pretzel rods, cut in half to about 4" in length
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. shortening (Crisco)

1/3 cup peanut butter chips, melted with one teaspoon of shortening
Halloween sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brown sugar, butter, water and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt. Shape dough into twenty balls, about 1 1/4 inch.
Lay pretzel rods on ungreased cookie sheet. Press ball of dough onto the  cut end of each pretzel. With a fork, press the dough to get the bristle look of the broom.  Bake about 12 minutes, until set but not brown.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely; about 30 minutes.

Place brooms on waxed paper. Heat shortening and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth; remove from heat. Carefully, spread melted chocolate over brooms, covering bottom portion of the pretzel rod, and the top portion of the broom.  Drizzle with melted peanut butter chips or cover with sprinkles
Let stand until chocolate is set. 
Store in airtight container for 1-2 days.

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