Saturday, September 30, 2006


This is Albie Mae, short for "Albino Mae West". She is one of our 3 Aracaunas.
We know she is not really an albino, but Ave decided to call her that anyway. I recently added "Mae" to her name, as I felt she was quite sassy, bossy, and Mae West!
It fit's.

This is one of the 7 Isa Browns. Not sure which, as they look so much alike.
These girls are the opposite of the 3 Aracaunas, which are ever so slightly schitzophrenic.
The Isa's are friendly, inquisitive, and quite frankly, much nicer to be around.
The Aracaunas are more like the "popular clique" from high school.
Unapproachable, stuck on themselves, rather nasty to all the others.

We have had so much rain lately, the grass is doing nothing but growing. And it's been so wet, that no one can mow the lawn. The girls don't care, tho.
Here, they are out for their evening foray into the gardens. I generally let them out around 6pm or so, for a couple of hours of real freedom. I lure them in around 8pm with a pan of kitchen scraps. They come running after me, as only a chicken can!

Here is my "other" girl, Kissy Face. She is around 11 years old.
Still my best mouser.
She sleeps with us every night till around 5am, then she paws me on the shoulder and meows.
That is her sign to me to let her out. She does NOT use the indoor kitty litter box. She must go outside.
It is typically a circus here in the mornings as cats and dog are wanting in and out. Pete has his coffee and bible/prayer time right in front of the slider, so he is the designated "doorman"!
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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Start with 1/2 bushel apples. Mine happened to be MacIntosh.
Wash apples in sink full of cold water and perhaps 1/2 c white vinegar.
Hopefully, this will remove most of the pesticides.
Cut apples in 1/4's, removing only the stem end, and the little butt piece at the other end. NOTHING ELSE GETS CUT OUT!
I tossed all the apples in my electric roaster, set on around 200 F.
Add maybe 1/2 c water, initially, to keep apples from burning before they lose some of their own juices. Cover roaster.
If using your stovetop, simply put apples in large pan with the water, and stir every 15 min or so.

Cook apples till all have softened, stirring every 15 min or so.
This took approximately 3 hours.

Put mushy apples thru a food mill, cleaning out the skins and pits every time you add more apples.
Now here is where the fun begins!
Joy, from, makes her applesauce sweet and pretty pink by adding 3 small packages regular strawberry jello to the sauce. I did that to my first 1/2 bushel, and boy, it was good!
This time, I added no sugar or jello, but added perhaps 1 Tbl or so, of cinnamon.
You could add sugar, or not. You could add nutmeg. Your call.

The final product, headed for the freezer. Approximately 12 pints.
As much as I like the pretty clear/blue containers, the frugal side of me opts for old yogurt and cottage cheese containers. I ran out with my last batch, so had to buy the blue ones.
All this applesauce, and I can't even eat it!
Apples of most any kind give me a tummy ache. Cider. Pie. Applesauce.
C'est la vie!
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I've been tagged by to list my top 10 favorite articles of clothing, so here goes

1. black peasant skirt
2. white peasant skirt
3. denim jacket
4. running shorts/bra/shoes
5. my new Audrey Hepburn black pants w/ black ballet flats
6. little black dress
7. "wooly mammoth" sweatshirt
8. crisp white shirt
9. blue jeans
10. pj's, around 6pm

Anyone care to join in?
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Did I say I was into FRENCH cooking? This dish is definitely not French!
It is Polish!
My mothers side of the family is Polish, hence my love for kielbasa baked in beer, and galumpkis! This kind of weather, cool, damp, and dreary, brings out the "comfort" food side of me. And stuffed cabbage rolls is definitely comfort food!
My twist on the "cabbage rolls"?
Layers. Not rolls. Too much work.
1st: in a 9x13 pan, a layer of cabbage which has been boiled for several minutes to soften.
next: a layer of cooked rice mixed with raw ground beef and ground pork (which Cyn had to grind herself in her trusty Cuisinart, as the local grocer does not carry ground pork, and REFUSED to grind me a pork roast!!!), a chopped onion and a couple of eggs.
Next: a layer of canned, chopped tomatoes to which a bit of garlic, apple cider vinegar and raw sugar have been added. Repeat the layering process, ending with the cabbage, covered in the last bit of tomato mixture.
Bake: 1 hour or so, till meat is cooked through.
Serve with: here is where the French side of me comes in....a crusty loaf of French baguette! So yummy, and fabulous the next day, reheated for lunch, after one has been busy for several hours running one's stepfather back and forth to physical therapy appointments. And paying his bills! And listening to him fuss over my lack of weather info for the next 48 hours. And my lack of driving skills. And my....well, you get the picture!

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Saturday, September 23, 2006



I met Joy( around 1988, in a small fellowship of believers in Michigan.
We had a LOT in common, and a sista-bond was formed.
She moved to the Chicago area around 1991 or so, but the ties have remained strong.
We have been thru a lot together. Too personal for this blog.
Thru it all, we have remained close.
Sometimes painfully close.
Like, confrontational close.
Iron sharpens iron, close.
Still....we remain the best of friends.
Happy birthday, dear friend.
As always,

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Friday, September 22, 2006



If anyone knows what FarmgirlCyn's latest craze is, it would be her local librarians!
Two years ago, when I took up running, there were books coming in weekly on, say, for instance: Running After 40, Run the Distance, Run for Your Life, etc. You get the idea.
Then last winter: KNITTING
And we had: Knit and Bitch Nation, How to Knit, Knit on the Run, Knit for Fun
and so on
When I was looking into the best French language course recently, the librarians became my greatest source of info. Pimsleur, French in a Day, W hy on Earth Would You WANT to Speak French?, etc.
Get the picture?
And now: my latest craze: French cooking
And once again, the librarians can read me like a book (HAD to say it!)
I am getting daily phone messages concerning books coming in that I have ordered thru our on-line library system. And when I get there, they inevitably try to speak with a French accent. Very funny, if you have ever seen my librarians!
And they try to get invited over for dinner.
The library: gotta love it.

ps: I STILL run 4x a week, still knit, am just beginning my Power-Glide French Course, and plan on cooking up a French storm here in the midwest!
Geez-Louise, there is STILL a lot to learn, and a library full of anything I might need to do so.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I saw Rachel Ray, of Food Network's "30 minute meal" fame, make this italian soup last year, and she made it sound so delicious, I just had to try it. It is a family recipe, I believe she said was made in her home as she was growing up. She pronounced it "mi-nest". (short "i")

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/8 pound pancetta, chopped fine
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large bunch escarole, washed and coarsely chopped
2 (14 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 QT chicken stock
A couple pinches ground nutmeg, or fresh grated nutmeg
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for topping
Warm, crusty bread, for mopping

In large, heavy pot over med. heat, saute garlic and pancetta in olive oil for 3 min. Add onions and cook 1-2 min longer
Add the greens and wilt down slightly. Add beans, broth, and nutmeg, s & p to taste.
Cook on moderate to high heat for 12 min., or until greens are no longer bitter. Serve with shaved cheese, bread, and good wine.

Here are my ingredients, just waiting for me! I did switch out the white Pinot Grigio here in the photo for an exemplary red wine:
(recommended by my butcher as a "fine' wine under $12)

Here is the pancetta (italian bacon), sauteed with the garlic.
May I tell you the smell is incredible?

Minestre is simmering, wilting down the escarole.
You will never know the sheer joy I had when seated in front of this steaming bowl of one of my all-time favorite soups. (the wine helps!)
After I prepared this last year, Ave and I were smitten. We simply could NOT stop eating this soup.
The beans, mixed with the bitter greens and the garlic, makes for....well, you know what.
Suffice it to say, we did not venture out for approximately 24 hours.
If you know what I mean.

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Monday, September 18, 2006


French father. Polish mother.
What can I say?
I don't wear a babushka. I don't care all that much for Polish food. (except for kielbasa baked real slow with a can of beer)
I DO like scarves. LOVE Chanel. And Champagne???
So this year, my 14 year old (homeschooled) daughter and I will be taking our 1st year of French, via Power Glide.
And we will be re-creating some authentic French food.
Thanks in part to the inspiration of
And I will dream of one day travelling to Paris.
Hey, it could happen!!
The above photo is Julia Childs "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Vol. 2 (1970), purchased at a tag sale last year. I am looking at e-bay to purchase Vol. 1. I know from my "French cookbook" reading that her potato leek soup is French simplicity in itself. Potatoes. Leeks. Water. Parsley for garnish. What could be easier?
So, first re-creation.


4 C sliced leeks, white only
4 C diced potatoes, baking type recommended
6-7 C water
salt to taste
1/2 C sour cream, heavy cream, or creme fraiche, optional
1T parsley, minced
Bring leeks, potatoes and water to boil. Salt lightly, simmer 20-30 min.,or until potatoes are tender. Puree soup if you wish. (I used my immersion blender) Add a dollop of any of the creams mentioned to individual bowls. Top each serving with a sprinkle of parsley.

I found the soup to be quite bland, so next time I might add chicken stock in place of the water. Also, I found a sprinkle of crumbled bleu cheese to be just the right amount of salt needed, and added the "oomph" the soup seemed to be missing. (I also added just 1 T. of fat free 1/2 & 1/2 in place of the real deal.) And by the way....isn't "fat free" anything to do with CREAM an oxymoron?????
Do you think Julia would mind?
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006


On September 18, Pete and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary.
I was just barely 18 years old, and he was 21. We had met in August of '69, just as I was entering my junior year of high school. He had just graduated that June and was beginning his first year at the local Junior College. We dated off and on, mostly on, for 2 years before getting married.

After 7 years of marriage, we had 2 precious girls, but our lives were falling apart. We had pretty much gone our separate ways, and divorce was inevitable.
Then God stepped in.
I was born-again in February '78, and Pete shortly after in May.
We have not been the same since.
God has truly redeemed those years the locusts had eaten.

Here we are up at Torch Lake, maybe 7 years ago.
At a "black/white" dinner party nearly 2 years ago.

On a Caribbean cruise my dad took us on 1 1/2 years ago, just 11 months before he passed away.

Fathers Day, 2006
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The last few bits from the garden.
This is a funky little eggplant, which is incredibly tasty when sliced, brushed with olive oil, and grilled.
I don't think I will grow them again as I got two measly eggplant per plant. Kind of pricey!
And in abundance at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

The last of the winter squash. I think these are called "Lil Dumplings", or something like that. It is similar to an acorn squash, only sweeter. I actually poke a few holes in it, and microwave till nearly done. Then I cut in half and seed it. Finish cooking either in the oven with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, or in the microwave.

The Butterfly Bush is the last bloomin' flower in the autumn garden, but well worth the wait! We have butterflies swarming this bush, and it is such a delight to sit on the front porch and watch the wonder of it all.
Now comes some of the dirty work.
I have to clear out all the dead and dying vegetable matter. Then top dress the garden with the dirty straw and poo from the hen house. Hopefully, this will break down over the winter, and I will have incredibly rich,fertile soil to work with come spring.
It is my hope.
The girls are 17 weeks old now, so we should be seeing some fruit from our labor very shortly. Maybe in the next 3 weeks?
I'll keep you posted!
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Sunday, September 10, 2006


Our thoughts and prayers to those who lost family and friends on that horrible day, 5 years ago. May we turn our hearts to the only true comforter, Jesus Christ.

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Bear with me, as I have never done a tutorial before.
First off, let me set the scene.
Yesterday, immediately following the Farmers Market, a dear friend and I headed to the Wealthy St. Bakery to get bread. While there, we lusted, I mean noticed, their soup of the day, Tomato Basil, being ordered...bowl after bowl after bowl. We hastily jotted down the ingredients on the paper bag surrounding our artisian loaf of French baguette, and left the bakery. Visions of my own creation dancing in my head.
So here it is:
In the photo above is simmering cut up tomatoes, left over from the canning the day before. Approximately 14 cups. (by the time it was done cooking down I had 9 cups)

Push the cooked tomatoes thru a food mill. This step will eliminate all of the tomato seeds, and you will be left will a wonderful, pureed tomato sauce.

While tomatoes are simmering, cut up approximately 2 large or 4 small onions. I used yellow, as that is what I had on hand. Drizzle a couple tablespoons olive oil in fry pan, and add onions, cooking on medium till nearly translucent. At that point, I added 4 chopped cloves of fresh garlic. Do not brown, as that will make the garlic bitter. Just continue on med/low till garlic is tender.

I took one of my winter squash from my garden and cooked till tender. Scraped out most of the flesh from this small squash and set aside. Also from the garden, 3 Tbl of fresh basil, julienned. I then added 3 Tbl of truffle infused olive oil to the basil, and let set while tomatoes were simmering. (I would leave out the truffle oil and just use extra virgin olive oil, but since I had some of the truffle oil in the fridge I thought I would try it.) Also, if I hadn't had fresh basil, I would have used perhaps 2-3 Tbl homemade pesto.
I then used my immersion blender and blended ALL of the above (thrown together) in my large pan. Simmer till hot through.

Place in serving bowl and top with the slightest dribble of fresh heavy cream, and perhaps a tiny spoonful of sour cream or creme freche. Top with the teeniest basil leaves for the prettiest presentation. Add some fleur de sal and fresh ground pepper, to taste.I sat down to a bowl of this for lunch today, accompanied by a slice of aforementioned frrench baguette and a glass of the Cotes du Rhone Rose wine from my previous post.
I have nothing to compare it to, as we did not partake in the soup from the bakery,
I thought it was delicious!
Bon Appetit
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Saturday, September 09, 2006


Picture this:
Hormel's thick sliced applewood smoked bacon, fried to a crispy brown.
A very thin layer of Hellman's light (to offset the bacon fat!)
Organic, heirloom "Scorpia" yellow tomato (two, thick slabs)
Six, maybe seven layers of organic sorrel (my NEW fave herb...crunchy, lemony, with a very slight bite)
All set between 2 well-toasted slices of salt-n-hot pepper sourdough bread.

Accompanying my sandwich:
A Rose from a sweet shop on Wealthy St....Art of the Table
No ordinary Rose...this is a Cotes du Rhone from France
Under $12 a bottle
My only question to the proprietoress....
"How do you think this will pair with a BLT this evening?"
She thought it would be fabulous
(I agree)

Alongside my BLT was just a few of these wonderful tortilla chips.
and her hubby brought this crunchy little number from the burbs a few weeks ago.
We later found them in our local Mexican grocer...the ONLY tortilla chip they will sell.

For dessert:
A tiny (and I stress the word "tiny") bite of a new favorite
Vosges Haut Chocolat Exotic Candy Bar
"Red Fire Bar"
Mexican ancho y chipotle chili peppers, Ceylon cinnamon and dark chocolate
This has just a hint of cinnamon, and when placed at the front of your tongue, the slightest bite of heat. As it melts, and leaves your mouth, a bit more heat evolves.
Not much, just enough.
What I cannot show you is a photo of Cyn chowing down on this feast. I can only assure you....
it was not pretty.
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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sept. 7= Proverbs 7

A Proverb chapter a day keeps the devil away!
I try to read the corresponding Proverb to the current date, so today was Prov. 7.
Verse 1 holds a hidden treasure of the Word: My son, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed ] and treasure them. (amplified)
We are to lay up God's commandments in our hearts for use when we need them. If we don't take the time to get into the Word and deposit it into our hearts now, God's wisdom won't be stored there to guide and help us when we need it. We know from Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Initially, God put the measure of faith in our activate that faith and cause it to grow, you have to get the Word planted deep in your heart. You do this by keeping the Word in front of your eyes, in your ears, and in your mouth. If we put that Word on deposit in our spirits, it will be there when we need it! When you come up against a difficult situation, a temptation or a trial, victory will rise up out of your heart through your mouth. You will speak words of faith that will cause the impossible situation to be dealt with in the spirit.
It's just like money in the bank. If you haven't been making any deposits, don't expect to make any withdrawals. You would never expect to write a $20,000 check with only $20 in your checking account. But in the spirit realm, believers make that mistake every day because they don't maintain a healthy balance in their spiritual bank acct.
Spiritual currency works the same as natural currency. If you have an abundance in your natural bank acct., you can enjoy plenty of material things. And if you have an abundance in your spiritual acct., you can enjoy plenty of everything--wealth, health, good relationships, peace and success--because the Bible says: God gives us richly all things to enjoy.(1 Tim. 6:17)
The most important thing we will do each day is to make those faith deposits.
Make them before we need them!
Jesus said:"If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it will be done unto you, [John 15:7]

excerpts taken from:Hidden Treasures by Gloria Copeland
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Steve Irwin 1962-2006

Our family loved Steve Irwin. You could always count on Steve to have clean, good, family viewing.
Our hope is that he knew our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can you say"SALSA"?

This is my homemade salsa. It doesn't really qualify as a salad, per se, however, it DOES have salad ingredients in it.
I'd LIKE to give you the recipe....
then I'd have to kill ya.

It's a, ssshhh..., secret recipe, handed down from, nearly 20 years ago.
Maybe...if you asked real nice, she'll let you have it.
Don't count on it.

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