Sunday, November 30, 2014

Still a bit of November Weather

Last weekend we had a bit of a thaw.  The temperatures rose, and the snow melted. 
It was really nice to take a walk outside without all my layers. 

I took a stroll out back to check our wood supply. 
Not nearly enough, so Truckin' Man is going to be spending some time cutting this week.

Hazel loves to follow along with me, and always stops to scratch on a slab of wood.

 Then chickens were THRILLED to be out and not have the winds pushing them around.

This young lady is so beautiful. She has an attitude though, and I am NOT allowed to touch her. Someday I will convince her it's ok to be nice to me :)

 This young lady must have been rolling around in the mud?

I found this last bit of color out by the berries. 
A raspberry slipped past me, and will now be a treat for a bird!

Hope you enjoyed today's walk around the farm!  What kind of temperatures do you prefer? 
Hot? Cold? Or like me, somewhere in between?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chocolate Bliss Cake

It's been a long time coming, but we finally bought a new stove last week. We desperately needed one, I just couldn't make up my mind on what features we should have. After looking at tons of stove, at tons of stores, weighing all the options, I finally narrowed it down to "the one". Just had to wait for Truckin' Man to have time to go shopping with me, and make sure he agreed. No debate from him, as long as I was happy, it was all good!

Of course, once it was installed I HAD to bake. So, chocolate cake it was. This cake was so freaking good, I couldn't believe it. Was it really that good, or had it just been that long since we had chocolate cake? Based on what my co-workers had to say, it's really just that good! It is such a moist cake, and the perfect amount of chocolate.

I had to make it twice, just to be sure I loved this as much as I thought I did! Truckin' Man isn't going to be happy about this, but I already have half of the second cake packed up and ready to go to a friends house. We don't need to eat that much cake! Besides that, I need to bake some cookies!

I'll share this frosting with you another time, I need to test it a bit more. Trust me though, it will rock your world!

Chocolate Bliss Cake

1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, plus one egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9 x 13 pan, and dust with flour (or extra cocoa), set aside.  In small saucepan, whisk cocoa into water. Bring to boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add white sugar, mix well. Add eggs, salt, and vanilla. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add cooled cocoa mixture, mixing until completely combined.

In small bowl, mix sour cream with milk and baking soda.  Add milk mixture to batter, alternating with the flour. Mix well after each addition.

Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Frost or decorate as desired.


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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Road Trip to Peck's Market

The things you learn online, even on facebook, are amazing. Back in October, one of my online friends from the UK, shared some pictures taken at Peck's Farm Market in Spring Green, Wisconsin. That's about an hour away from my house! How did I not know about this place, and what are the odds I would learn about it from my UK friend? Strange, but we now had a weekend roadtrip lined up! 

Truckin' Man has driven by Peck's Farm Market like a bazillion times, but he really didn't think of it as more than a place to pick up vegetables, and a traffic hazard because of all the traffic and accidents he unfortunately see's there.

I LOVED this place. I will be waiting to see if they get all decked out as much for Christmas as they do Halloween! AND... I have since learned that they have two locations! Next trip down maybe we will go to the other market.

I loved the creativity of the different squashes to make these horses!

Aren't the hay bales cute?

Garden of Eaten? Clever! They had so many varieties of squash, I loved this shopping trip!

I have never seen so many varieties of popcorn. We decided on Apple Blossom, it's a new favorite!

Biggest pumpkin I have ever seen!

 I won't tell you how many years since I have been to a petting zoo, or I will be giving away my old age, but it has been a LONG time! 
It was so much fun seeing all the animals! 

I wanted to bring this little miniature cow home with us!!

 The goats were so clever, they knew how to work their stuff to get as many treats as possible!

I don't know if this ol' gray goose was as ornery as he looked, but I certainly wouldn't try to pet him/her!

Geese everywhere!

I loved the colors on this lil' goat.

So many rabbits!
 Do you see the shape of the pond?

 Look at those eyes!

Guinea's are such a unique bird. Honestly, they scare me a little bit!

I have never been so close to a swan before!

So many pumpkins!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pumpkin Bars with Pecan Crunch

 It's time to Fill the Cookie Jar! The theme for November is Thanksgiving.  There was lots of room to come up with idea's on this theme, so it was up to me on how to interpret. Pumpkin is a key Thanksgiving flavor in my opinion.  But when it comes to desserts, pecan is right there, too. So, what about a bar that would bring both of these flavors together? With that, these bars were born.

Just enough pumpkin, but not so much that the pecans are lost. And the crust just completes it all into a Thanksgiving worthy theme!

I am still using my South Carolina Pecans that my friend Missy so amazingly shared from her family's supply.
I smile every time I break into my supply, and hope that some day I have my own pecan tree!

Pumpkin Bars with Pecan Crunch

1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Filling
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pecan Topping
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup roughly chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare crust by mixing softened butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add flour and mix until completely incorporated. Press into 8x11 baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until just turning golden. Remove from oven, set aside.  **Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Filling: Mix together 1/3 cup flour, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, stirring until all ingredients are completely combined.  Pour mixture over top of prepared crust.

Topping: In small bowl, combine butter, brown brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir until mixture is somewhat crumbly. Add pecans, stir. Sprinkle mixture over top of pumpkin filling. Bake at 350 degree's for 20 minutes. Bars are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely. Cut into bars.


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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Turkey Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash

We love squash. Somehow though, we have never had butternut squash. I think I had it once many years ago and didn't care for it, so I have just stayed away from it. With all the amazing butternut recipes going around online, I knew that I had to give it a fair shot, and try it.

To give it a fair shake, we decided to try it in chili, and it was wonderful! The flavor really reminded us of pumpkin, but it has a slightly firmer texture so can hold up well as an addition in chili.

Turkey Chili with Roasted Butternut Squash

4-5 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (See note below)
1 1/4 pound ground turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp plus 2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
2 14.5 oz cans Diced Red Gold Tomatoes
2 cups water
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 t. oregano
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In large baking pan, toss squash with one tablespoon of olive oil, and one teaspoon salt. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. When done, set aside.

Meanwhile, heat one teaspoon olive oil in large skillet. Add ground turkey, chopped red and yellow onions, and one teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until turkey is completely cooked. Drain turkey and set aside.  Meanwhile, add one teaspoon oil to skillet. Add peppers to pan, saute until tender. Remove from heat.

In dutch oven, or large pot, add half of the roasted squash, tomatoes, and water. With immersion blender, puree until smooth. Set over medium heat, and add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add cooked ground turkey, and sauteed peppers.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add black beans, and remaining squash. Let simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes.  Taste to adjust seasoning as needed.

***Note: I cut half  the cubes bigger that were to be pureed, about 1". The other half of the cubes, that would stay whole in the chili, I cut smaller, about 1/2".


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Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Day With the Chickens

I'm back... again!! Once and for all, I have finally found out what it is I am allergic to. Soybeans (no dietary issues) and Asian Beetles. This is why I suffer so badly this time of year. The allergy clinic I am going to does a treatment to develop a resistance to allergens. Hopefully, by this time next year I won't harvesting today, so I should get some relief in air quality soon.

Sooooo... That's where I am at. In the mean time... we did have a good day with clear air, so I wasn't suffering and got to go spend some time with the chickens. They have started laying eggs! Yeay!! It is so exciting bringing in eggs each day.  We are finally getting enough that I will be checking with my former egg customer and see if they are ready for some eggs!

 Our little bantam rooster

 The Buff Orpington hens, are the most gentle and social chicken I have been around yet.

 No eggs from the American yet.
This lady is one of my favorites. Her personality and coloring reminds me so much of my first hens.

  The gang.

 ALWAYS keeping a watchful eye.

 Surprise! After leaving the coop and walking around seeing what all was going on, 
I found a few raspberries waiting to treat me!

Do you like the "filters" on the chicken photo's or do you prefer a more natural light?