Saturday, December 27

Hearty Beer Bread

A rich thick hearty easy bread to make, this is I think the best beer bread I have made so far.  
There is no kneading or rising needed so it’s super easy to make. 

Beer adds its own unique flavor and because it's a product of fermentation, it also adds its own leavening agent.

The bread will take on what ever character or flavor of beer you use, so the bread can and will taste a little different each time you make it.

I like using Imports, stouts or stronger flavors of beer.  
But a domestic beer will work just fine too.
And in case putting beer in bread is of concern for you, a great percentage of the alcohol evaporates during the baking process.




There are many debates as to whether beer or bread came first in early civilization. But one thing is certain; both have been in the human diet for thousands of years.

Wednesday, December 24

Vacation Ornament

Beach or Vacation Ornament

Here's a cute idea for a last minute ornament or one to commemorate a vacation.

Recently we took a trip to Orlando and St. Augustine, Florida and spent a few days on the beach.

While shopping around St. Augustine's historical downtown I saw similar ornaments like these going for $10.00 to $15.00 a piece!

Mine cost approximately $1.00 a piece for the clear bulb. The sand and shells are free to collect on the beach.








Beach Ornament


What You'll Need:
  • Clean sand from the beach
  • Small shells or other interesting beach items
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Funnel
  • Wire

Monday, December 22

Coconut Macaroons

Here's another of our favorite Christmas cookies: Coconut Macaroons.

These are easy cookies to make, have just a few ingredients, but pack a big punch of flavor.

Adding a little almond extract gives the cookie just enough extra flavor, but not enough to over shadow the coconut.  
If almond is the flavor you wish to dominate add a little more extract.

These store well in a sealed air tight container.
These can be made Gluten Free, just use GF flour.

COCONUT MACAROONS

Ingredients:
I use Bakers sweetened coconut
  • 1 -14 oz package (5 1/3 cups) Flake coconut
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/8   to 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Friday, December 12

Lemon Bars

I usually bake cookies to give out as gifts during the Holidays.  Some years I have made as many as 50 to 60 dozen cookies!
Each year I get the most requests for this cookie recipe.  And I have to say it is one of my favorite cookies too.

Many Lemon Bar or Lemon Cookie recipes call for lemon zest or grated lemon rind added to the cookie.  I have found that the zest or rind added makes the cookie slightly tarter.  Without it, the cookie is a perfect delicate lemon flavor with a delicious crust.

These cookies are best kept in the refrigerator but after tasting them they may not last long enough to worry about it.  If giving as gifts, I suggest you wrap each individual cookie bar in Sarah Wrap so they store better, do not stick together and do not absorb the odor or flavors from other cookies.

Wednesday, December 10

Vintage Paper Ornaments

Vintage Christmas Ornaments

I have been making homemade Christmas ornaments and decorations for years, going back to my childhood.  My sisters and I would make paper chains to hang on our family Christmas tree and I still have wooden Charlie Brown ornaments I painted when in my early teens, and a beaded boot ornament from my late teens.

Many years I made ornaments for each of my children, and then as they got older, married and had families, I sometimes made an ornament for each of the grand-kids.

Recently a few of my sisters, my daughters and a couple friends and I have been doing ornament exchanges.


Monday, November 24

Fall Leaf Place Cards

Fall or Thanksgiving Place Cards made with leaves.

I use the few days leading up to Thanksgiving to pre-bake desserts, dry the bread crumbs for stuffing, set the table and multiple other tasks to cut down on the work load on Thanksgiving Day.  

One of the things I made ahead is place cards.  I started using place cards a few years ago more for fun than actual assigned seating.

Along with these leaf place cards another of my favorites for fall is my Scrapbooking Place Cards.

These leaf place cards take only a few supplies are easy-peay to make and look beautiful on the table.

Supplies Needed:

Wednesday, November 19

Family Stories


My parents,
Aprox late 1930's
Remembering stories told by my father, Arthur Seymour

Growing up my father Arthur (Art for short) used to tell us stories of the adventures in got himself into as a kid growing up in the country.
I remember asking and begging for him to retell the stories to us. I also remember waiting up for my father to come home from work.  He worked a full time job but also was always working in his spare time.  He had a quarter acre garden every year, built the house we lived in and all the outbuildings, hunted and had a firewood selling business on the side. Many nights he would come home late.  One of my fond memories is him chasing us littlest kids around the house, catching us and rubbing his chin whiskers on our face.

My father passed away many years ago, way before my youngest children got to know him which saddens me.  He was not perfect, in truth he had many flaws, but the good times were the best!


Monday, November 17

Homemade Vegetable Soup

This soup can be made with garden or farm market fresh vegetables, vegetables you canned during summer months, leftovers or store purchased.

Making a large pot of soup at one time leaves enough leftovers to heat up on a cold snowy day when you are short on time.  
Canning the soup will be even handier to quickly heat and serve for a quick meal after a day playing in the snow or hiking. 


Tip:
Here’s a great tip a friend gave me.  Anytime you have leftover vegetables from a meal, simply store them in a Ziploc freezer bag.  Keep adding different leftover vegetables until you have enough to make a pot of vegetable soup!

And don’t be afraid to add different types of vegetables like squash, cabbage, peas or lima beans.  Each will add their own distinct flavor to the soup.

Saturday, November 15

Thanksgiving Place Cards

Place Cards Using Scrapbooking Paper

First, for those of you who have never used them before, you may be wondering what exactly is a place card?  
A place card is a card or something similar bearing a person's name and used to mark their place at a dining or meeting table.
It’s really anything you wish to use with a name tag on it, placed on the table for assigned seating. 

The placing of the place cards are usually never set in stone at my house. As guests arrive they like to rearrange where they and others are sitting.  Some guests wish to sit next to other guests (or far away from them), so they just move their place card. 

My kids like to keep their personalized place cards as a keepsake each year and we have fun making them. 
Some years I purchase place cards and just embellish them, but most years I make them myself.

Monday, November 10

Indian Tacos

Indian Taco (Sioux, Cherokee or Navajo)

My husband and I and our kids have a love for South Dakota and the Black Hills.  We have made several trips out West and always discover something new, beautiful or amazing (sometimes all at once) on each trip.

This last September just my husband Bill and I made the trip.
When planning the trip, we made sure to reserved a couple days to drive the back roads off the beaten tourist routes, through and around the Badlands National Park and into the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with a stop at the Wounded Knee Massacre Site. 

Thursday, October 16

Fall Decorated Christmas Tree

Decorating a tree for Autumn or Halloween

I got the idea for this tree a few years ago after seeing one in a home I was visiting.  I loved it!
I took the idea home with me, changed it a little and made it my own.

I have a bay window in my kitchen and since purchasing our farm, have had a Christmas tree in that window decorated for Christmas to match my kitchen.

I started out with the 3 foot tree for an autumn themed tree for October and have since purchased a 4 foot tree to hold all the wonderful fall and Halloween decorations I have found.

Wednesday, October 8

Halloween Costume Ideas, Part 2

This is the second blog post on Easy Halloween Costume Ideas.
Click here for the first blog post:  Halloween Costume Ideas, Part 1

Army costumes and a football player
Who doesn't love fall and Halloween? Around our house, we get really excited thinking about the coming pumpkin recipes, fall leaves, corn stalks, stews, college football and all things autumn. We even have an annual Fall Party

When the kids were little I made all their costumes.  Most years the costumes were made by hand and accessories purchased to go with them.  As they got older I started creating some of the costumes from clothing I found at thrift stores or second hand stores, then made or purchased the remaining items needed. 


Was I especially crafty?  No, not especially, not really.  I taught myself as I went along, learning from a lot of mistakes.  Looking for parts and pieces to use for Halloween costumes made it much easier and saved lots of time and sewing.

Pattern Savers


Pilgrim costume
Storing and Protecting Patterns

I know there are not as many people who sew as there use to be, but for those of you who still do this might come in handy.

I just finished sewing the parts I need for my Halloween costume to wear to our annual Fall Party
This year my husband and I are going to be Pilgrims!

I have been making the kids costumes (and my own), along with curtains, pillows, doll clothes and various other sewing crafts for quite a few years now, so I have a stockpile of patterns.

One thing that always seems impossible for me is getting all the pattern pieces back into the tiny little envelope they come in.  
I just don't think the envelope was that small when I took the pattern out!


And repeated use of one pattern usually always ends up with the pattern envelope torn and useless.

Monday, September 29

Moist Banana Nut Bread

I really adore bananas and use them in many dishes, try to eat 4 to 5 of them a week and even make my own homemade Banana Cream Pie.

There are many banana nut bread recipes out there and many are pretty good. But of all the Banana Nut Bread recipes I have tried, (and there have been many), this one is my absolute favorite.  It turns out moist and delicious every time with lots of banana flavor. 

I also like that it makes enough to eat now and enough to save a loaf for later.  This recipe makes perfect mini loaves for gift giving around the Holidays.

This recipe came from my husband’s cousin’s wife Casey Elder.  She posted on Facebook in 2010 about how wonderful this bread was and something like her whole house smelled divine from baking banana nut bread.  (Maybe that part I envisioned in my own head, lol)

Friday, September 26

Broccoli Salad

Retro Recipe: Broccoli Salad

This is an oldie but still a favorite with my family and great to serve at parties, potlucks, holidays and barbecues.

I actually do not remember where I first tasted this salad but think it was either in the late 1970's or sometime in the 1980's.  Yea, that long ago!  
Years pasted and one summer after having a nice crop of home grown broccoli I decided to once again look up the recipe.
Broccoli Salad is simple to make, has ingredients you may already have on hand and is delicious. 
And a great way to get kids to eat broccoli!

Sunday, September 21

Pumpkin Martini


Hosting a frightfully fun Fall or Halloween party this year?  Since pumpkin has long been a favorite for fall, why not serve a pumpkin adult beverage?

I served this at our annual Fall Party and it was a hit. This could also be served to guests before Thanksgiving dinner.

This Pumpkin Martini is ideal for autumn, but is delicious any time. It blends the flavors of vanilla with pumpkin and spices, and has a maple and graham cracker rim to push this drink into taste perfection.
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin beer...... the recipes are endless.  And now that it's finally pumpkin season here's a pumpkin drink recipe, yea!
Another reason to celebrate Autumn!

Monday, September 15

Sleepy Hollow, New York

Autumn weekend in Sleepy Hollow, New York

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by name of Sleepy Hollow ... A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere.
Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


It's nearly autumn and time to start planning a few weekend trips for Fall Festivals, haunted houses, pumpkin picking and peak leaf-color drives.  I am a fall fanatic, I just love everything autumn.  So of course Washington Irving’s book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorites.

Monday, September 1

Canning Hot Peppers

Most years we go through our garden fresh peppers pretty quick and never seem to have enough peppers. We use them on sandwiches, to make appetizers, on pizza and subs and as the main ingredient for Stuffed Hot Peppers.

So this spring I planted extra pepper plants.  Now, near the end of summer, I have such an over abundance of hot peppers I decided to can them so we have a supply this winter.

Peppers are also great as added heat or flavor booster in many dishes, soups, stew, in breakfast eggs, on a relish tray and in salads.  Their great on hot dogs too, along with this Homemade Pickle Relish!


Tuesday, August 26

The Mothman Festival

The Mothman Legend, Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Older Mothman Fest Poster
Need something a little different, strange even, to see and do in September?  How about visiting the area that made the Mothman famous?

How It Started

The Mothman is said to be a moth like creature seen in and around the area of Point Pleasant, West Virginia from November 1966 to December 1967. 
The first reported sighting was on November 12, 1966 by five men digging a grave at a cemetery near Clendenin, WV.  They claimed to see a man like creature fly down from a tree and over their heads. 

Three days later, on November 15, 1966 two young couples from Point Pleasant told police they saw a large white creature whose eyes glowed red when the car headlights shined on it.  The couples, visually shaken,  described it as a large flying man like thing with approximately  10 foot wings following their car while driving in the TNT area.  The TNT area is the site of the former World War ll munitions plant.

Sunday, August 17

Canning Tomatoes


Easy Home Canned Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of the first things I canned well over 20 some years ago as a beginner canner.  I read it was one of the easiest things to learn as a newbie canner and they were right.

There is nothing better than a fresh tomato straight off the vine, but I think the second best thing is a jar of home canned tomatoes in the middle of winter!

I use canned tomatoes in chili, spaghetti sauce, soups and casseroles and many different recipes.  If I run out, I also make salsa or tomato juice from the tomatoes I canned. 

I can so I can preserve my garden harvest but also because I can control what's in my food.  I grew it and I grow organic. I know what's in each and every jar. 

Canning is the process in which foods are placed in jars and heated to a temperature that destroys microorganisms and inactivates enzymes. This heating and later cooling forms a vacuum seal. The vacuum seal prevents other microorganisms from recontaminating the food within the jar.

Wednesday, August 6

Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween Costumes: Part 1

Who doesn't love fall and Halloween? 
Around our house, we get really excited thinking about the coming pumpkin recipes, fall leaves, corn stalks, stews, college football and all things autumn. 

We host a Fall Party every year and encourage everyone to come in costume, it's great fun. 
We also wear our costumes to Fall Festivals and our local Circleville Pumpkin Show, no really, we do.

Every year since the kids were little,  I have made their Halloween costumes, and every year I started in August. 
Now I know some people are not very organized, or don’t want to think about Halloween costumes in August.  But for us we have found it is less stressful to decide on a costume in August. We then spend the next few weeks gathering together the needed items or props.

Monday, July 28

Easy Banana Cream Pie

I usually keep bananas on hand just to snack on and as one of my staple food items.  Besides just eating them, bananas can also be added to fresh fruit salad, cereal, yogurt, on a sandwich with peanut butter and added to ice cream.  
When they start getting a little too ripe I use them in homemade Banana Nut Bread or Banana Cream Pie.  
Click here for the best Banana Nut Bread recipe ever!

I love easy recipes that taste fabulous and look as if you spent a lot of time on preparation! And this is one of those recipes. It also comes in handy for last minute company or if you need to take a dessert to a dinner party, book club or church pot luck.

Wednesday, July 23

Canning Green Beans

It’s great to preserve some of your garden's bounty to use during the cold winter months.  There is nothing like pulling a jar of preserves from the pantry shelf while the snow’s falling and the wind’s howling and getting a little whiff that takes you right back to summer.

For the best green beans, pick fresh tender pods first thing in the morning. Growing and picking from your own garden is always best, but purchasing from a local farm market will be just as good.
You will need about 1 pound of green beans for each pint jar and 2 pounds of beans for each quart jar.

Please Note: 
When canning green beans you must process them in a pressure canner.  There is a higher risk of botulism when canning low acid foods, such as green beans.  Pressure canning is the only recognized safe option. Dilly Beans, which are pickled green beans, are preserved in vinegar so can be water bathed. 

Thursday, July 17

Restoration of Original Chicken Coop

Tobacco Barn July 2014, exterior repairs finished
Restoring The Original Farm Coop
Our little farm was once a much bigger property with a white clapboard farm house, a hand well pump and many outbuildings and barns.  The original old farmhouse burnt down in the 1950’s and the property set neglected for many years. 

In 1967 the property was divided up and sold at auction.  A builder bought the current property and built a custom brick ranch on the exact spot where the old white clapboard farm house used to be.

The new house overlooked a large pond and pastures. He also built a large pole barn and raised cattle.
After 25 years, the builder divided up the property a little more and sold more land and then sold the house too.  The second owner stayed for approximately 20 years.  While here he drained the pond and built another pole barn for horses.  We are the third owners.

Saturday, July 12

Sauerkraut In Mason Jars


Cabbage History

Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables and is believed to have been grown in gardens as far back as 3000 years ago. 

The Roman writers Cato and Columella are the first to mention preserving cabbages and turnips with salt. 
It is believed to have been introduced to Europe in its present form 1,000 years later by Genghis Khan after invading China.

Sauerkraut (sour rout) is chopped cabbage that is salted and then fermented in its own juice. The word, which in German means "sour cabbage," was first mentioned in American English in 1776.  
The dish has long been associated with German communities in the United States.

Monday, June 30

Canning Rabbit Meat

Rabbit is quickly becoming the new white meat.  Prices in stores vary greatly but I have seen prices range between $10.00 to $18.00 per pound!
Rabbits are efficient meat producers meaning they provide good meat without high cost or much waste.  Also efficient in that rabbits, using the same amount of food and water that a cow needs to produce a pound of meat, can produce six pounds of rabbit meat.

Rabbit meat is mild flavored, tender, high in protein, low in fat, low in cholesterol, low in sodium and low in saturated fatty acids. 
And, comparing it to beef, pork, lamb, turkey, veal and chicken, rabbit has the highest percentage of protein, the lowest percentage of fat and has the fewest calories per pound, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Remember, rabbit meat can only be pressure canned.  Water bath method does not produce high enough heat or pressure to kill any and all bacteria that could lead to botulism and food poisoning.  Make sure to read the directions that came with your pressure canner before starting.

Thursday, June 26

How To Make Grape Juice

Ripe grapes in Michigan
Homemade Grape Juice
A few years ago my daughter's mother-in-law Julie gave us 2 cases of grapes.  I decided to come up with something to do with all those grapes besides just eating them and making grape jelly, so I made grape juice.

Recently I have been getting grapes from our neighbor’s vines for free but I noticed this spring they removed all their vines and the trellis they were hanging on.  My heart sank. 

To have our own supply I have planted 5 grape vines in the last 3 years. Three are doing very well; two are struggling, but hopefully we will have our own grape harvest.

Wednesday, June 18

Lemon Ice Box Pie


An old-timey favorite, simple to make and simply delicious. This is a great summer dessert to share at BBQs and gatherings.    

Fluffy and creamy smooth with a refreshing hint of lemon and the tropics, this will become one of your summer time favorites.

Lemon Ice Box Pie is considered by many to be a southern dish, but I can remember my mother making the most wonderful Lemon pies when I was little in central Ohio.  

Ice boxes date back to the days of ice harvesting which ran from the mid-19th century to the 1930s, or until refrigerators were introduced into the home. The Ice box had hollow walls and were packed with blocks of ice to keep food cold. It is most likely this pie recipe was created around that time.

Sunday, June 8

Strawberry Schnapps


Homemade Strawberry Schnapps
Its strawberry season in many regions and sometimes we pick more than we know what to do with.  And we’re not the only ones.  On a couple blogs and pages I follow there is always a question posted as to what to do with all these strawberries!  The usual answers are posted; make jam, jelly, flash freeze for desserts, and use in smoothies.  I added why not make Schnapps?  I got many replies asking me to please post the recipe, so here it is.
This schnapps has a delicate, aromatic taste and a beautiful red color.
For the best results and flavor, use fresh fully ripe strawberries. You can use store purchased strawberries, but farm fresh have a richer sweeter flavor and aroma and just produced a better end product.

Wednesday, June 4

Thomas Jefferson and Monticello

Thomas Jefferson,  circa 1800
Recently while driving the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway my husband and I stopped to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  

Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.  He was a public official, historian, philosopher, inventor and plantation owner.

He was born on April 13, 1743, at the Shadwell Plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, and had five siblings. 

His father Peter Jefferson was a successful planter, surveyor and cartographer who produced the first accurate map of the Province of Virginia.   Having inherited a considerable estate from his father, Jefferson began building Monticello (pronounced “Monti-chello” like the musical instrument) when he was twenty-six years old.

Monday, May 12

Mint Jelly


Spring was late arriving here in Ohio but how wonderful it is to finally feel the warmth of the sun.
I am busy preparing my garden for planting and noticed the herbs and mints are coming up.
A few years ago I had mint jelly on Lamb Chops for the first time and loved it.  But trying to find mint jelly in most grocery stores is nearly impossible.

I finally gave up the search and have since been making mint jelly at home, which is easy and just as delicious!

Mint Jelly is mildly sweet and just a little tart, with a wonderful fresh mint flavor.
And guess what?   Mint jelly is not really green. It’s actually a golden color in its natural state. Adding a couple drops of natural food coloring will give it the traditional green color, or just leave it golden.

Monday, May 5

Roasted Asparagus with Feta Cheese

Asparagus is believed to have been cultivated for thousands of years.
It is native to Europe and Asia and is theorize that it grew wild near the sea in sand dunes.  I find it interesting that Asparagus is a member of the Lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and garlic.
Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food, high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
Asparagus also has No Fat, No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium. Yea!
I wasn’t always a fan of asparagus but have in recent years grown quite fond it.  And last week, while visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello I learned that asparagus was cultivated it in his gardens.

I have a small patch of asparagus in my garden but I also buy bundles of it when in season at the grocery store.

Wednesday, April 23

Homemade Vanilla

Making Vanilla is Easy!
Real vanilla is quite pricey but is one of the best flavors to use for wonderful desserts and in treasured recipes.  I myself absolutely love double strength vanilla. Making your own insures a high quality product that is free of artificial colors or sweeteners.  Homemade vanilla also makes a wonderful gift similar to a bottle of fine wine. And like fine wine, vanilla matures with age.

Making your own vanilla is cost effective and has only two ingredients:  Vanilla beans and vodka. Most commercially bottled vanilla is 4 ounces which is ½ cup.  I can't think of many things I pay that much for and get so little.

The first and most important question is: How many vanilla beans are needed to make vanilla?

Friday, April 18

Handcrafted Easter Cards


Easter or Spring Greeting Cards, Crafting with Kids

Here’s a fun and easy Easter or Spring greeting card to make with the kids.
But I must confess.  I made these myself (my kids are grown) and sent these out as my Easter cards.
Hint: saving the larger pieces of scrapbooking paper left over from other projects allows you to make these cards with little out of pocket expense.
I also reuse scrapbooking paper for other crafts such as Homemade Gift Tags.

Tuesday, April 8

Italian Meatballs

Delicious Homemade Meatballs
When you need to serve dinner to a crowd, spaghetti and meatballs is one of the easiest dishes that come to mind.  Why?  Because except for cooking the pasta, it’s a meal that can be made ahead or whipped up on short notice.

Add a tossed salad, bottle of wine and garlic bread and you have an Italian Dinner Party!
I have been making homemade meatballs for some time, well since discovering that commercially made are either bland or have a “frozen” taste, are really small and usually full of preservatives.    I wanted a hearty, tender, flavorful more natural meatball!
I have tried many recipes, all making the “typical” meatball and have also been experimenting by adding different spices, using bread crumb or crackers, with milk and without. 

Saturday, March 29

Growing Your Own Garlic

Growing, Harvesting and Storing Garlic
It’s the end of March and I have the worst case of cabin fever I have ever experienced. We've had an unusually hard long winter here in Ohio, and all across the Midwest, with temperatures remaining well below freezing and even well below zero for long extended periods of time, ugh.  Usually our snow melts after a few days, but not this year. 
Gardening and seed catalogs are arriving in my mailbox nearly every week.  But most days, it’s almost too cold to walk down the lane to the mail box!
I am already planning the lay out of the vegetable garden and what I need to plant, one of which is garlic. We love garlic and I use it in many recipes and dishes.

Thursday, March 20

St. Augustine, Florida

What To See And Do In St. Augustine, Florida

We have taken a few trips to this beautiful little city.  I hope this blog post might help if you were thinking about St. Augustine as a vacation destination.  There is something for everyone in St. Augustine including beaches, historical sites, dining, lighthouses, parks, fishing charters, beautiful sunsets, alligators and shopping to name a few. 

The best way to see the downtown area is on foot but the kids really enjoyed renting bikes for the day and exploring all the back alleys, narrow roads and waterfronts.

We’re from the north so the best time for us to visit is anytime from Christmas until Spring Break, when in Ohio there is snow on the ground and howling winds.  It makes the sunny 80 degree days in Florida seem like heaven.

Thursday, March 13

Irish Colcannon


My Twist On An Old Favorite

It’s March and nearly St. Patrick’s Day.  For our March book club we're reading Angela’s Ashes, which discusses food a lot, including cabbage and potatoes.  (Or more, the lack of them).

Although my family enjoys this dish throughout the year, its most commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day.  Colcannon is a unique and simple potato dish and is unmistakably an Irish comfort food.
It traditionally includes green cabbage mixed with hot, floury mashed potatoes and butter. Let’s not forget the butter.  Potatoes came to Ireland from South America, and by 1688, they had become a staple of the Irish diet.

Tuesday, March 11

Goat Birthing

Our First Goat Birth At The Farm:
We have 2 Saanen does and one Alpine buck to use for personal small scale milk production.  One of my Saanens, Miss Claudia Milkmouth was pregnant and nearly due so I was keeping a closer eye on her than normal.
Her udder had swollen in the last few days and she appeared thinner as her flanks had become sunken. Just as in humans, this happens due to the relaxation of the pelvic muscles in order to facilitate birth.

This morning was typical, with me making the normal rounds, doing the farm chores.  Usually the goats rush the door in anticipation of feeding times but this morning Claudia held back.  She seemed a little lethargic and did not attempt to eat.

I continued with the chores, periodically checking on Claudia and noticed a little while later her standing under a pine tree in a slightly squatting position.  I have had children, and distinctly remember the pressure and urge to push, which seemed to be what she was doing.

Pretty sure she was in labor; I called my husband Bill down to the barn to help me get her into a prepared birthing stall.

Friday, March 7

Cherry Brandy (Visinata)

Bottled and ready to serve
Easy Homemade Cherry Brandy (Visinata)
Vişinată is a Romanian homemade alcoholic beverage made from sour cherries, and since it is homemade, there really is no "official" recipe for it.
This sipping drink is traditionally drank on Christmas morning.

This is a drink I share with friends and family during the fall and winter holidays.  It has a very smooth pleasant taste equally enjoyed by people who enjoy dry wine or people who enjoy sweet wine.

Just a word of caution:  This is a very smooth drink and sometimes is mistakenly thought to have a low alcohol content.  The women at our Crafting Circle Christmas Party got a “snoot full”, as my mother used to say.  There was much singing, gaiety and shenanigans needless to say.

Tuesday, March 4

St Patty's Day Cookies

Mint Sugar Cookies with Green Icing
March 17th, St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.  
We celebrate by dressing in green for the day and going to The St. Patrick's Day parade in our area.
I always have a pot of Corned Beef and Cabbage waiting for us when we return home.  And even the desserts are decorated with green this time of year!

This cookie starts with a delicious sugar cookie recipe; add mint chips and a wee touch of mint extract.  Finish with a green glaze icing for St. Patrick’s Day treat.

Sunday, February 23

Chicken Stock


Easy to Make Homemade Chicken Stock.
At the heart of every great soup is a stock base. Broth is really the same as stock, just with salt added. Commercially made stock is called broth, (salt added) and is convenient, I know. There are now even a few brands that are natural and organic.  But the flavor is lacking, there is just no comparison to homemade stock, and many commercial brands are high in sodium.  And bland tasting, did I mention that?

Chicken stock is a must have pantry stocking item because it can be used in soup, sauces, gravies, used for simmering meats, added to casseroles and flavors endless recipes.  
Have you tried it in mashed potatoes? Yum!
And making the stock at home is actually pretty easy.
Anytime you bake a whole chicken, fry a cut up chicken or have leftovers,

Friday, February 14

Chair Rail and Kitchenette

Installing Chair Rail and Creating a Kitchenette:
We purchased our little farm a couple years ago and have been remodeling the house ever since.  We have an area in our lower level (basement) that makes no sense what so ever. This room is off the Man Cave and Mud Room, and has a winding staircase that leads upstairs.
I decided to make it a usable space by adding bookshelves and a kitchenette.
The “new” kitchenette area had to wait until we remodeled our main floor kitchen so I could reuse the old cabinets.

While waiting, I began refinishing the walls of this LL room.  One wall is drywall and 3 walls are finished with wood  paneling, in excellent condition but

Monday, February 10

Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day Cooking, Decorating and Crafts

February is the month of romance.  All across America we celebrate St. Valentine's Day but did you know that Valentine's Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.
Have you ever wondered how this day for Love got started?

The Legend of St. Valentine
Saint Valentine was a real person and the patron Saint of young love and happy marriages.

The Catholic Church recognizes a martyred Saint named Valentine, and records say that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome.  The Emperor thought single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed
marriage for all young men.  Valentine defied the decree and continued to perform marriages in secret. 

Monday, February 3

Apple Cider Vinegar, The Magic Elixir

Why Use Apple Cider Vinegar?


Vinegar is a “staple food” stocked in my pantry and I’ve been using it for various things for years. 

But not until my daughter Alexis developed what looked like a skin rash that later left discolored spots on her skin, did we discover the health benefits and the many other uses for vinegar.

In recent years, Apple Cider Vinegar has once again become popular as we look for healthier more natural ways to heal ourselves without all the chemicals and side effects.  Vinegar is being used as an especially helpful cleaner and as a health and beauty aid.

There are many different types of vinegar on the market.  Some include rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and white distilled vinegar. 

Tuesday, January 28

Raspberry Sponge Cake

Valentine's Day Easy-Peasy Raspberry Sponge Cake


Let me just put this out there: 
I love raspberries and desserts with raspberries. 
I like them on salads and with breakfast cereal or oatmeal. 
But wait, I love them with ice cream too!

This could go on forever……

This is a pretty vertical recipe, meaning you can use many different types of fruit.  Blackberry is wonderful and another of my favorites,  but try apples for autumn, it delicious too. 

And this is a perfect dessert to serve after a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.  Or serve it to guests at a tea party, dinner party, book club or garden party, etc.
But serve it…… all of it…… to other people.
Do not make it,
and then eat nearly the entire thing,
over a two day period.
Do Not……

Friday, January 24

Pantry Stocking List

Easy and Doable Pantry Stocking List
My sister Julie Buskirk is my guest blogger today. 
She emailed me an idea for blog post a few months back about a list to stock a pantry or making a food “staples” list.  She had also sent her email to a local newsletter and they printed it. 
Here is her guest blog post:
Pantry Stocking:

These days, there doesn't seem to be many cookbooks talking about lists of basic "Staple” food items families should have on hand in the kitchen or pantry.  I have a few older cookbooks I started out my young married life with.  

Those cookbooks taught me what I needed to stock up on first, before teaching me cooking techniques and recipes.


Tuesday, January 14

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Delicious Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup.
It is indisputable that the mushroom is a strong contender for the #1 spot as a Super Food! The mushroom provides tons of health benefits and is maybe even better than most vegetables.  Mushrooms are different than vegetables because they provide nutrients in amounts not usually found in vegetables.  For instance,  a single serving of mushrooms provides more than 20% of the daily needs for six essential nutrients: riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, copper and selenium.

We cook with mushrooms a lot and really love Mushroom Soup on cold Ohio afternoons.  Most recipes
I've tried make small single serving batches and most just didn't have that strong earthy mushroom taste I love.