Thursday, April 30

Toinette's Limoncello

I met Toinette, (Antoinette) through our friend Larry whom Toinette was dating.  Not only is she a great cook, but she’s fun to be around and a good conversationalist.  We used to meet for lunch once or twice a month. And oh, did I mention smart?  
She was a college professor at a local college here in central Ohio but took position in another state, so with our busy lives we don't get to see each other like we used too.  
I do have a few of Toinette’s recipes, like her Shrimp Salsa, (a fav) but I never got a chance to ask her for her Limoncello recipe.  Toinette makes beautiful little bottles of this delicious adult citrus beverage to give out as gifts during the Christmas holidays.

Recently because the weather is finally improving and summer is right around the corner, I started thinking of a drink we could enjoy on hot summer days after a hard sweaty day working in the garden and around our little farm.
Toinette’s Limoncello came to mind so I looked up a few recipes. I plan on mixing my Limoncello with lemonade and serve over ice. Maybe I’ll add a few frozen strawberries or raspberries!  Doesn't that just sound like a cool refreshing summer drink? This will also be nice to serve to dinner guests

Sunday, April 19

Building a Greenhouse (Part One)

A greenhouse has always been on my list of things I want to help with gardening.  
When we lived in the burgs (city) our house had a 3 seasons room (sometimes called a Florida Room in this area), which was the closest to owning a greenhouse I have been.  
Because of all those windows it was easier to get my seeds going in early spring.  Having an actual greenhouse will give me a head start on planting and will also extend my growing periods. 

How a greenhouse works is simple. Sun streams through the windows and warms the surfaces inside. The glass or glazed panels trap the heat, keeping the temperature inside the greenhouse warmer than outside. 

Because the sun is key, it is best to build the greenhouse on the south – southeast side of the house and away from the shadow of other structures or large trees.

Wednesday, April 15

Strawberry Jam (No Canning Required)

Strawberry Freezer Jam in 30 Minutes

My future daughter-in-law's mom Terri recently made a batch of strawberry jam and I can't wait for our berries to get ripe in our region! Strawberries are ripe here in central Ohio around the first week in June.  I originally posted a recipe on here when I first started my blog but thought it time I updated the recipe!

I started making Strawberry Freezer Jam in the early 1990’s  and now my kids will not eat (or even like) commercially produced jam. Every year we go to a “Pick Your Own” farm to pick the strawberries fresh. 

When choosing strawberries, home grown or farm fresh strawberries produce the best jam.  Store purchased lack the intense sweet strawberry flavor. 

I have taken photos every year of us, me and my kids in the strawberry patch picking berries.  My kids are all grown now, so the photos are like a time lapse.  A bitter sweet thing for me to look at, which sometimes brings me to tears and causes me to long for the days when they were still little.  I told them recently that I hope they take their children and their grandchildren berry picking long after I’m gone.

Tuesday, April 7

Chicken Spaghetti (Tetrazzini)

What ever you call it; Chicken Spaghetti, Chicken Tetrazzini or Chicken Noodle Casserole, it doesn't really matter, this stuff is delicious!

My husband’s family, (particularly his cousins) seem to have a lot of good recipes.  And although I only have a few of them, the ones I have are great like this super moist Banana Nut Bread
On one of our trips to visit my husband’s cousin Krista in Illinois, Krista made two big casseroles of this stuff and we were hooked. 

This recipe can be easily adjusted to your family’s tastes so here's a few tips before beginning:
  • I reduced the onion to half and added an additional stalk of celery. 
  • We love cheese, so I added a little extra.
  • Krista’s recipe called for cream of chicken soup, instead of chicken stock and flour to thicken the sauce.
  • You can add fresh sliced mushrooms, just cook with the celery and onions.  
  • I added thyme for more flavor.
  • You can add parsley for a nice splash of color.
  • For spicy add a little cayenne pepper.
  • I added a cheese and bread crumb topping. Yum!
  • If you're out of bread crumbs, just use mozzarella cheese as the topping.
  • Use turkey instead of chicken.
  • This recipe is even better with a fresh slow cooked chicken and homemade chicken stock!

Thursday, April 2

The Carnton Plantation and the Battle of Franklin

My husband and I like to tour Civil War historical sites and have been to quite a few. The Antietam Reenactment, with 13,000 re-enactors was the largest, most dramatic and the best one we have been too.  
Recently I picked up a book called The Widow of the South, written by Robert Hicks.  The book is part true story and fact with other parts created to fill in the gaps.  It’s a book about the Battle of Franklin and one family’s home being turned into a field hospital.  

“Mrs. McGavock - later to become known as the Widow of the South - is in mourning over the death of three of her children during a typhoid epidemic. She spends most of her time in bed letting Mariah, her Creole slave, (Mariah Reddick) run the household. But the days of mourning her children come to an abrupt end as she must come to grips with the death of 9,000 soldiers in a single day, and care for the wounded that blanket every square inch of her home and grounds.”

Driving home from a visit with my daughter and her family in Texas we stopped to tour the Carnton Plantation, the battle field and the Confederate Cemetery.  Nearly Spring, the day was chilly and raining off and on but it was still worth the stop.