Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mom's Lemon Bars

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Happy May, my friends! I am happy to say the sun is finally shining, and things are looking more and more spring like here in Wisconsin. 


I missed out on last months Fill the Cookie Jar, and absolutely could not miss again. The theme for this month is Mother's Day. So, I was thinking about my mom and what cookie or bar she was famous for. Two came to mind that are what I would say were always "her bars", that my sister and I always looked forward to back in the day, and still do!

  
Mom's Lemon Bar recipe is what I decided to share with you today.  She even had the recipe in our local church cookbook from 1975!  Now, that being said, I have tweaked one aspect of my mom's recipe. I always loved this bar, but in today's world where bigger is better, I just need more filling in the bar! You can certainly make these to my mom's liking, which are completely delicious. But, I find with lemon bars, I just want more, so I keep her crust recipe as is, but I double the filling. 



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!


Lemon Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup lemon juice
Additional powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix together butter, powdered sugar, and 1 cup of all-purpose flour.  Press into 9x13 pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix together eggs and granulated sugar.  Blend well. Add baking powder, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and lemon juice.  Mix until completely combined.

When crust is done. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Pour filling over baked crust. Bake for 25 minutes, or until set.  Cool completely, lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Store in airtight container for one to two days.


Below are the other #FillTheCookieJar Bakers who baked delicious treats this Month. 
Stop by, say hello and pick up a new recipe or two.

Mexican Chocolate Bizcochitos by Palatable Pastime
Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Black Pepper Shortbread by Feeding Big
Almond Orange Cookie by A Day In The Life on The Farm
Galaxy & Nebula Cookies by Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Mom's Lemon Bars by Big Rigs 'N Lil' Cookies


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Sunday, April 30, 2017

What Grabbed My Attention This Week

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There was a time before living here on the farm, when I lived in a small town across the river, in Iowa. That town is Lansing. Lots of great people in that town.

Kristi is one of those people. I haven't seen Kristi in years, but we are still friends on facebook so I see what she is up to. She has a problem with feral cats in her neighborhood, or more specifically on her property.  Rather than just getting mad, or doing worse things, she is doing amazing things and helping these cats.

Kristi started a Gofundme page. I am not asking you to donate, just to check out her bio on what she is doing. I think she's pretty awesome for her efforts.  Spaying and Neutering is something I believe in 100%, and every cat and dog we have fixed. 

So here's a warm fuzzy to start your week. 
One lady, taking the time and love, helping the cat population.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

It's the Morel Time of Year

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We had some snow showers over night and this morning, so I thought my plans to go find some morel mushrooms would be cancelled. I don't really know how much snow or when it happened, as it was melted by the time I was up and moving. No, I wasn't sleeping in that late, fortunately it melted that fast! When I saw the picture of my neighbors truck covered in snow, 
I was glad I slept through it all!


I did go to my parents for a visit. As close as they are, they escaped the winter precip. My dad and I went out for a tour of the projects he has been working on, and while out we did check for the tasty little morels. I have honestly never looked for mushrooms while wearing a stocking cap and gloves, but guess what?? We found a few! Definitely not enough for a meal, but I am not one to turn down a taste of these little guys!

Do you hunt morels?  What's your favorite way to prepare them?
Here is a favorite recipe from last year, Morel Asparagus Frittata





And, here is a tasty recipe we need to try from my friend Shabnam at Flavor N' Spice for 




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Addition?

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What's new on the farm? 2 new chickens!  We (well mainly just me) are so excited about adding these two new chickens to our flock. They are Black Copper Marans


They will grow up to be a dark colored bird. Why am I so excited? Because they lay the most beautiful "chocolate" colored eggs. While I have never seen these eggs myself, I have seen lots of photo's of them, and I am sooo excited. We are hopeful that both of the chicks are hens.


If you want to see what color of eggs we are hoping to add to our collection, 


In the mean time, the rest of the ladies are keeping busy. 
Enjoying the green grass and bugs that were out of their reach all winter long.
(And the kitchen scraps I just gave them!)



Won't the dark colored eggs look beautiful mixed in with these?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Grabbed My Attention This Week

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Welcome to the second installment of  What Grabbed My Attention This Week! I hope you enjoyed the Cajun Gumbo from last week. I am making it today! I'm really looking forward to trying it.

On to this week. Pentatonix. Have you heard of them? They are an a cappella group. I have heard several of their cover songs, as well as some of their Christmas songs. They never cease to amaze me. 

The first song I knew from them was Dolly Parton's, Jolene. I'm not all into awards, and award shows, but they even won a Grammy for this as country duo performance.

This week, I learned of a new cover release.  Bohemian Rhapsody. 
I just love watching them perform.  



If you enjoyed that, check out more on their Youtube channel.
And, really, if you enjoy country music, give Jolene a quick listen.



Just for fun, if you prefer more the old school version of Bohemian Rhapsody, remember this?



Have a Happy Easter!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring Confetti Cookie Bars

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I missed this month's Fill the Cookie Jar, with everything we had going on.  I was going to let it go and jump back in next month. But, when I heard my young foodie friend "Up North" was looking for the cookie of the month, I knew I had to get back to the kitchen!  


These bars are going to be a house favorite here. They are perfect for Easter, or any potluck you want to take a fun dessert bar to. You could change this up seasonally with sprinkles and M & M's for whatever the holiday or season is. 


This is a soft chewy bar topped with the soft layer of puffed marshmallows, your sweet lovers will be asking for one more bar!


Spring Confetti Cookie Bars

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, divided
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup M&M's
3-4 tablespoons sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking power, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside. 
In large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Mix until light and creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix just until combined.  Add dry ingredients, mixing only until combined. Add 1 cup of white chocolate chips, mixing until evenly distributed.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread as needed to have mixture even through pan. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until edges are just turning golden.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with miniature marshmallows, and then M&M's. Return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until marshmallows are puffed. Removed from oven and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup white chocolate chips and sprinkles evenly over top. Let cool completely.  

Cut into bars and store in air tight container. 



Adapted from: Chelsea's Messy Apron

Sharing this at: Weekend Potluck

Saturday, April 8, 2017

What Grabbed My Attention This Week

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First off, let me apologize for my absence. We have gone from having the flu, to colds, and just can't seem to get caught up!  This week, things seem to be turning around. We are finally getting healthy. We have some of our energy back. That flu bug just took every extra ounce of energy to be found.  And, Truckin' Man is getting back to work. Not a full week, but the lay off is offically over. Yeay!!

While hanging out around the house, not having much to share with you, I had an idea. There is always something I stumble across online that inspires, impresses, or amuses me. I want to share this with you. Just once a week. 
I think it will be fun, and I hope you enjoy it!

What grabbed my attention this week? A food video on facebook.  Yeah, I know, video's are everywhere on social media. But, I really dislike most of them and don't watch many. I could really get on a whole rant about facebook making everything have to be a video, but I will spare you hearing what I REALLY think about all that!  

This video, was a true video. A tutorial. AND... it inspired me!  Watcha Doin Derouen has a Youtube channel with some fantastic recipes!  What was the one that got my attention? Chicken and Sausage Gumbo!



I will be trying out some Cajun recipes this week! I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.
Click over to his channel and you'll also find the video for Beignets. This food is all so different from Midwest fare, it was fun for me to see how it is made, and how it should look when it's done!

Enjoy, and stay healthy my friends!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Whole 30 - Fail

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A couple weeks ago, my husband and I decided to try and do the Whole30.  I have other friends, and bloggers who have done it. And, we have some friends that are currently doing it, reaching day 30 tomorrow! 

We gave it a try. We failed. I would have kept you all in suspense a little longer about how we did, but anyone following my instagram, and facebook has probably seen the birthday cake we had yesterday and knew that was not Whole 30 approved! 

What is Whole30? Eating only real "whole" foods for 30 days. Meats, fruits, veggies, eggs, seafood, and good fats. No foods with added sugar. No dairy. No grains. No legumes.  If you want to see the complete list of what to eat, or not eat, check out the rules.

I made it to Day 8.  While we were not successful, some good did come of it. Since moving to a lower carb diet, I have apparently become very dependent on dairy. And, I live in Wisconsin.. we eat dairy, it's what we do! But, I am going to put some attention to how much dairy we really do consume. 

Next is that with Truckin' Mans job, the food he takes with him needs to be portable and cold. This means a lot of sandwiches. He does get tired of all the bread he consumes, so we found some new things to send with him. And, some other idea's that we are still going to test out while in his off season.

Label reading! I thought I was pretty good at reading labels, but when I found that I couldn't eat a lot of the sausages and bacon we normally eat because of the added sugar, I was shocked! Honestly, I had never read the ingredients on bacon before. I mean, come on, it's bacon! So, note to self... Read all labels!

Would I try doing it again? Yes, but I want to try it when our garden is producing. It would be more fun, and interesting. Plus with my husband working more hours, it would be easier for me to eat a more strict menu.

If you would like to read about some who have successfully done Whole30, my friend Stacie  at Sincerely Stacie was successful. Stacie even did this with holiday foods around! Brown Eyed Baker was one of the first blogs where I read about this plan.

Have you tried Whole30?

In closing, here is some cuteness for you :)




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wild Rice 'n Ham Soup

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I originally shared this post for Wild Rice Soup back in 2012. I've wanted to get a better picture of this and update the post, but it seems I always make this on a weeknight, in the middle of the winter, and its just dark, dark, dark! This soup is still a favorite, and even my husband who insists soup is just an appetizer, not a meal, can eat this soup as a meal! 

This is not a "fussy" recipe. Just eyeball the ingredients. Do you have one sad little carrot left in the fridge after you grated your 1/2 cup?  Make that last carrot happy and throw him into the pot.  Just have a chunk of ham left over from the holiday dinner, skip the measuring and just add what you have.  A little extra, or a little less will be just fine.




It's hard to explain, to people that aren't from the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, how my favorite soup comes from a grocery store! Byerly's was always that higher end grocery store that had foods that were just a step above the rest.  Of course, they had all the normal foods as well, but they had the super yummy ones that you just craved. Waaaayyy back in the day, when my friend Stacey and I had our first apartment, we were in walking distance to Byerly's so we were fortunate enough to do a lot of shopping there.  In more recent years, I would love stopping there on my way home from work and picking up special meats for grilling.  Now, it is just a treat to stop at when I am in the cities, and get their pasta sauces, bakery treats, soups....  this list goes on, but you get the idea.  I guess they don't go by the same name anymore, I think they were bought out by the store from the other side of town. I believe their name is Lunds now.  Ahhhh....  the memories!



One of the best soups found at Byerlys', locally famous, is their Wild Rice Soup.  You could order it in their restaurant or purchase several different size containers in the store.  I would always try to have a container on stand by.  Feel a cold coming on?  Wild Rice Soup. Bad day at work?  Wild Rice Soup. Raining out? Wild Rice Soup.  See how I am?  I got even more spoiled the year that my mom bought the Byerly's cookbook.  Oh, life was good! Mom would always make a big batch so she had enough to share with me.  She still makes it often, and she usually serves it for Christmas Eve when we celebrate at their house.  

When making this, you can use Half and Half in place of the milk for the most indulgent version of this recipe. Just to lighten it up a bit, I use milk. 



Wild Rice Soup

1/2 c. finely diced onion
6 T. butter
1/2 c. flour
4 c. chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 c. finely grated carrots
1 c. minced ham
3 T. chopped slivered almonds
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole milk (Half and Half is the rich way to go)

In saucepan, melt butter; add onion and saute till tender.  Blend in flour; Cook for two minutes.  Gradually add broth.  Cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to boil.  Boil while stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in rice, carrots, ham, almonds, and salt.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Blend in milk.  Heat thoroughly.  

Serve with crust bread and enjoy :) 


Sharing this recipe at:
Weekend Potluck

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cherry Kiss Cookies

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I really wanted to make these Cherry Kiss Cookies for Christmas, but since we already had so many cookies in the house I decided to hold these over until Valentine's Day. And, what a perfect cookie to Fill the Cookie Jar for February!



I thought these were just the cutest cookie ever. And, while I do recommend using a Hershey's Kiss for them when you make them, I did use Hershey Hearts. The hearts were a little to much chocolate in my opinion. But, that didn't stop my husband for going crazy for them. We did have Truffle Kisses in the house at the time of my baking, and while they tasted fantastic on the cookie, they melted into a pile of chocolatey goodness. So, unless you are going for the cute factor, stick with the traditional Kisses! 



These are a perfect fun treat for your Valentine. If you want a little more of a cherry "pop" in the flavor, add another half teaspoon of the cherry juice. I think that would be really tasty.

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!



Cherry Kiss Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice***
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4-6 drops red food coloring
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
36 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar. Once combined, add cherry juice, almond extract, and food coloring. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add flour, mixing until completely combined. Add chopped maraschino cherries, mix until cherries evenly distributed.

Using small cookie scoop, roll into 1" balls. Place on lined cookie sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until bottom of cookie is just turning golden. Remove from oven, and immediately press a Kiss into each cookie .  Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

** Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of juice for more cherry flavor

Sources:  Platter Talk & Taste of Home

Sharing this recipe at:
Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thinking About the Garden

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The garden and seed catalogs started making their way to our mailbox over the last couple weeks. 
The perfect time to start thinking about what we want to do with the garden this year. Things we will do differently, things we will do the same, and new things we will try. 



I started by making a list of "everything" we have ever planted in our days together here at the farm. Out of that list, I pulled out what we will not raise again. On that list we have the following:

  • Eggplant - we tried and just don't care for it. Regardless, we try a "new to us" vegetable every year. 
  • Spinach - we try every year and have no success. We'll save that for farmer's market trips
  • Watermelon - Neither of us care much for it, we just wanted to see if we could raise it. Mission accomplished. 
  • Artichokes - To much space, for to little yield.  
  • Brussel Sprouts - Until I learn a way to cook them that we enjoy, they are in the same category as eggplant. 


Then, there is the exciting part of the list. What new things we are going to try.

  • Pea's that aren't a snap pea - Each year we raise pea's, but get a very low yield and really struggle getting them to grow. Every year, we raise snap peas. This year we are going to try something new.
  • Sweet Potatoes. I've looked at the plants at the green house, and think about adding them to the garden. This year we will follow through with trying them!
  • Broom Corn. My friend Carla, from The River, shared some of the broom corn they raised last year, and I am so excited to plant some ourselves this year.
  • Alpine Strawberries. This is a challenge, as we don't know where we will plant these, but Jessica from Oregon Transplant has me so inspired to try these little berries.
  • Shallots. Why not?
  • Beans for drying. Again, why not? Something fun to try for one summer.
  • And...... Fooled You Pepper. For my husband, a jalapeno that isn't hot! Our jalapenos were so blazing hot last year, I couldn't bare them. 



And, what I am most excited about is blueberries! My husband has a lot of research to do on how we need to prepare our soil, but I think this will be fun. My parents tried and were successful, until the deer made the blueberries come to an end. We don't have as many issue with deer, and what we do have, I think Mr. C. is going to be good at helping out with. 

Are you planning your garden yet? Are you trying anything new?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Our New Family Member

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We decided it was time to add a new member to our family. Please say hi to "Mr. C."!



We thought Queen of the Farm needed a friend. Someone that would run and play with her.


An run, and play they do! They have become the best of friends more easily than we had hoped.



Mr. C. has been learning the ropes and getting along with everyone. He accidentally got locked in the chicken coop yesterday, and while he gobbled up all the chicken feed, not a feather was hurt on a single chicken. Good boy, Mr. C.!




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter Scenes

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The weather outside has been frightful! Ever since Christmas Day! We have had these fairly seasonal cold snaps, and then it warms up, and rains.... rain, freezing rain, and sleet. At least one major occurrence each week. 

I have always lived in the midwest, so you would think I would be used to winters. But, after so many years of city, then town life, this country life is another thing entirely. The roads get maintained so much more slowly. It still truly amazes me how long it takes for even the county roads to get cleared. 

I am a believer in staying home if you don't need to be out on the roads, so the trucks can do their jobs.  I think during the ice storms, I may not be alone in that practice. The days when I have still had to go to work, I am the only car out there, which is creepy in it's own way.  I am hoping with the big storm on the way for tomorrow, we might get to stay home?!

On to some winter farm photo's....

This first picture was earlier in the season, when we had a nice covering of snow. 


You know it's exciting to get sand  on the road when I text a picture of the sand to my husband!


We have so much ice everywhere, but it's hard to capture in a photo. Except for here by the chicken coop. Believe me, the ladies are not impressed. They will only leave the coop if we leave the big "people" door open, and the temperature meets with their approval.

The snow depth out in the fields is decreasing. 


Just remember, if you end up out in the ice, walk like a penguin!



Be safe out there!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Looking Ahead in 2017

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In November, I had my 5 year anniversary of blogging. It hardly seems possible it has been that long!


It's been a lot of fun along the way. Sharing recipes, gardening experiences, road trips, what our critters are up too.... And more! 
I cherish the friends I have made along the way, you all mean so much to me.


But, it may be time for a change. Some of you may have noticed that I took away the option for anonymous comments. I never used to allow them, but had complaints, so I then allowed them. But due to the quality of some peoples comments, they are no longer allowed. I had such rudeness over the past month or so, I came very close to walking away from all blog activity. But, my sister talked me off the ledge, handled the responses, and all is good again. Thanks... Sis.


But, this does have me wondering if I want to change things up a bit. Since Truckin' Man switched jobs and is local instead of over the road, I don't have quite as much online time as I used to. All of this leads me to wondering... What do you want to see here?  Do you want the same assortment? Or more garden, recipes, farm life. If recipes, anything specific? For two years, I have been following Trim Healthy Mama, which I haven't talked about on here, which has low carb recipes, among many others. Or "Cooking for Two" recipes? Cookbook reviews is something else I have considered doing more of.


If you have a moment, please comment or drop an email and let me know what sounds interesting to you! I want to hear wants of interest to you in your day! Even if it's just to say that you like the mix of what I currently have, I'd love to hear from you!




Hope 2017 is off to a great start for everyone!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Last Part of Our Journey

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Happy New Year!!!
Life has been so busy, I can't believe how long it has been since my last post. I realized I never shared with you the last part of our journey to Tennessee. So, lets get going!

As we were trying to get away from the smoke in the mountains, we just headed straight west, rather than northwest like we normally do. From the passenger seat, I was researching where we should go next. If there was anything we could find spontaneously to do without knowing the area. We decided to just travel for a while without any destination and see what we found. We stopped at several antique stores. Truckin' Man would be happy wandering through these all day long, so he was a happy man.


As we were reaching a point where we needed to know what was next, I remembered a place I had seen on the map. On the Tennessee/Kentucky border, not far from Illinois, is Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. We are so glad we stopped! Since we hadn't researched the area at all ahead of time, we stopped first at the visitor center and took in lots of history about the area.


Since closing time was quickly approaching, we quickly headed out to to drive through the Elk & Bison Prairie. What a treat this was. Since we hadn't planned this stop, we didn't have any expectations, but it sure did not disappoint. With more than 80 Bison, we were enjoying them through the prairie. 


The 72 Elk were a little more elusive, but we did get to enjoy a few.


I had never been so up close to an Elk before. Quite impressive!


We did the motor trail a second time, and I found this guy watching us from afar. I am guessing his family was nearby.


It seemed most other places around Land Between the Lakes (LBL) closed for the season November 1st, so we didn't hang around, but it is a beautiful area that we will definitely visit again!

We made our last tourist stop in the town of Galena, Illinois. Galena is a cute little town FULL of history, stores, and restaurants! We shopped, and shopped, and shopped! We shopped until we could carry no more bags.  All so fun, but one gem in particular was Galena Canning Company. My foodie friends, if you are ever in this town, please stop, taste, and shop! 

Here is one photo I took for instagram while we were shopping. Jars of tasty goodies everywhere!
This is an easy day trip for us, so we will definitely be going back.... soon!


Happy New Year, and thanks for being here with me in 2016!

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