Monday, June 28, 2010

The ongoing battle between good and evil...

Slimy, nasty, did I say slimy? potato bugs

Each morning I get up, get dressed, take scraps out to the chickens, and get ready to face these guys.
I spend just a few minutes knocking each and every one of them into a small bowl of water, where I watch them slowly sink to the bottom and DIE!
Even the chickens won't eat them.
Repeat the next day.
And every day after that until they are all dead.
I think it might take all summer.
I'm committed.
Or, maybe I should be.
Don't answer that.

Oh, the nasty things you CAN"T see!
Weeds. Weeds. And more weeds.

"In or out....make up your mind!"
A double minded man (or woman!) is unstable in all her ways!
My own mom, and then later I, used to say this on a daily basis when the kids were young!

Cement star with a background of weeds.

This is out by the hen house, so the weeds make a pretty backdrop, eh?

Constance Spry in bloom.

She only blooms once a year, but isn't she a beauty?
We bought her cause of her name...Constance was my mom's name.
Sweet, eh?

What are YOU battling right now?

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Cast of characters...
Milk, culture, rennet!
That's it!

I have been wanting to try my hand at a basic soft cheese for quite a while now and with a little kick in the pants from my friend Wendy, I finally did it!

Pouring the curds after 24 hours on the counter

I found the basic recipe HERE, so I won't bore you with the details!

Tying the curds in double cheesecloth..
First one side....
Then the other side...

Tie it up tight, pretty close to the curds, and let it drain in the colander over a big, stainless pot for 24 hours

Gently untie knots and slip onto a clean plate

Season as you wish...
Mine has fresh, cracked black pepper, granulated garlic and salt

Use as a spread on crackers, bagels, or thin with a bit of milk and use as salad dressing or sour cream!
Or how about little chunks of it over fresh tomatoes and a bit of chopped basil?


This fresh cheese will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, but I don't think it will last 2 days let alone 2 weeks!

Stay tuned....
Next up is some lacto fermented salsa!

Have a MOST blessed week...

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Saturday, June 19, 2010


Hamburger buns!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by my neighbor/good friend Michelle to come over and have a lesson in bread/bun making.
She has an awesome grain mill for grinding her own flour, and a Bosch mixer thingy, that can knead, I don't know, about 6 loaves of bread at a time.
I don't have anything near that powerful, but I DO have a nice, sturdy Kitchenaid mixer which will knead a couple loaves at a time.
Which suits me just fine as there is only 3 of us at our house, as opposed to 10 of them at Michelle's house.
She KNEADS (get it?) to make that much bread at once!!!
She sent me home with nearly a dozen buns which we ate that night with our grassfed burgers.
SO good!
She graciously passed on the recipe which I am now passing on to you!
Ooh....go back into her archives a couple of weeks and see her demo/video 3 different ways to making your own mayo!
No excuses NOT to make your own after you see what she does!

Makes 1 dozen large buns

Preheat oven to 400F

Place in mixer with dough hook:
2 cups warm water
1 TBL sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup white vinegar
1/8 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1 TBL vital wheat gluten (in flour section, near "Bob's Red Mill" stuff)
1 TBL powdered milk (I used non instant from health food store)
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (I used bread flour)
2 TBL yeast

Mix until moistened. Let rise( sponging) in bowl until it reaches the top of the bowl.

Add 2 teas. salt

Add enough whole wheat flour until the dough pulls away slightly from the side of the bowl.
I think mine took another cup of wheat flour. Add a bit more water if it seems too dry.
Knead 5-8 minutes, depending on the texture of the dough.
Using olive oil, spread a thin layer on counter....laying dough onto oil.
Divide dough in 12 pieces, oiling your hands when dough becomes too sticky to work with.

Form into large balls---6 per cookie sheet (use parchment paper or silpat)
Let rise till doubled. (this took less than 1 hour for the 2nd rising)

Bake for 20 min. at 400F until golden brown. Watch carefully!

Brush with butter while still hot. (I forgot)


These are now another item I do not ever have to buy from the grocers again.
And did you check the list of ingredients?
Nothing weird.
Nothing unpronounceable.
Just goodness through and through.

Enjoy your weekend and give all those fathers/daddies an extra big hug!


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Lemony Chicken and Greens
One of many variations on the stir fry

A stir fry is one of my "go to" recipes for a busy night.
I can put on a pot of rice and have dinner on the table in around 30 minutes.
30 Minute Meals!
Where have I heard that before?

The "How-To's"

I had a package of organic chicken tenders in the freezer and had them deforsted in no time.
Cut them up in bite sized pieces and tossed with about 2 TBL of dry sherry and 2 TBL soy sauce and set aside.
You could also do beef, shrimp or pork.
Or no protein at all.
It's all up to you!

Cut up my greens in fairly uniform pieces, with the leaves just sliced in about 1" strips.
Cut a medium onion in 8 chunks.
Clean and quarter a few mushrooms.
Or not.
You can add nearly any fresh veggie to a stir fry.
Carrots, celery, chinese cabbage, pineapple....
Your choice!

Chop 2-3 cloves of garlic and about a 1" piece of fresh ginger.
Set aside.

Stir fry sauce
Oh, the possibilities!
I chose a lemony sauce, which I think pairs very well with chicken or shrimp.

Mix in a small bowl and set aside....
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon 2 TBL soy sauce
a bit of sugar to balance the lemon juice, maybe 1 TBL

A glaze simply thickens the liquids in the stir fry sauce and pulls everything together.
I use about 1TBL of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of water or chicken stock.
Set aside.

OK....let's begin!
Drizzle about 1TBL oil in deep fry pan or wok.
Let it get wicked hot.
Drop in 1/2 of your protein.
Leave it alone.
Don't move it around yet.
Let it caramelize on the one side then give it a toss.
This is REALLY important.
You WANT those bits of brown....they add flavor!
Usually takes 3 min or so.
When cooked through, put in a bowl.
Repeat with the rest of the protein.
Set aside with 1st batch.

Drizzle a bit more oil in pan. Maybe 2 TBL.
Add the onion first and brown for a couple of minutes. Add the next crunchiest veggie and stir fry for a minute. Lastly add the greens and continue till all the veggies are tender yet still crispy.
This does NOT take long, so watch carefully.
I then, and only then, add my garlic and ginger.
Stir fry an additional 30 don't want to burn that garlic!

Return protein to pan, add your stir fry sauce (lemon, in this case), and toss around with veggies.

Lastly, add your cornstarch glaze mixture and stir to coat. Let cook for another minute or so to lose the raw cornstarch taste.

Serve with rice or noodles or all by itself!

I told you!

The above "demo" will be repeated at our CSA farm this Thursday.
I'll be set up with a couple of fry pans and all the ingredients (minus the protein) and be demonstrating how easy it is to put together a delicious meal, using the bok choy, chinese cabbage, and scallions from the farm, plus some carrots for a bit of color.

Are these instructions simple enough?
Let me know if there's something I've missed, eh?


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Thursday, June 10, 2010

One CSA membership...

Infinite possibilities

Hon Tsai Tai

Something new this year at our CSA!
An Asian green similar to Bok Choy...
and there's no eat the whole dang thing!
Flowers, leaves and stems.
Watch out Euell Gibbons!

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

1 Dead Chicken

She was alive and running around one minute...

And dead the next.
(not an actual photo of MY dead chicken...who had the heart to go in and take a picture of her?)

I dread going out to the hen house this morning.
What will I find?

Yesterday was a day like any other.
All the chickens were out running free for the better part of the day.
I went in the coop around 4pm to gather eggs and a couple of hens were in there squawking and carrying on.
Nothing unusual there.
Around 9pm I went out to lock them in for the night and found her lying directly below the roosting bars.
I thought she might have fallen and broke her neck.
Farmboy says not likely.
The roosting bars are fairly low to the floor and a fall would not do any real damage.
She was probably sick and fell off after she died.
We'll never know as the rest of 'em aren't talkin'.

The circle of life.
I don't much like it.


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Saturday, June 05, 2010

NEVER too old to learn

Pink Peonies!
Just because.....

Folks, we are NEVER too old to learn.
There are so many things I have tried the past few years.
Things I never thought I could do.
Things I never even thought OF doing!
Just this week I made some kefir.
Kefir is similar to yogurt...full of good bacteria and other good stuff for your tummy.
Got some kefir grains from Michelle and off I went.
Asked a lot of questions, snooped around the internet, and got 'er done!
Today I made ice cream using some of the kefir.
Kefir Apricot ice cream.
Mmmm....SO good!
Sweet, yet tart.

And how about our spirits?
Is that still teachable?
Let me tell you, tho I have been a Christian since 1978, I am still learning.
Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.
The things that don't necessarily come easy for me.
Yet...If I cannot forgive others, He cannot forgive me.
If I cannot show mercy to others, then HE cannot show mercy to me.
And by nature, I am NOT a mercy oriented girl.
I would say, "They deserve what they got"!
And He says, "YOU deserve hell, yet I came and forgave YOU."

Thank GOD I am not too old to learn!

Amazing Grace....
That saved a wretch like me.
I was once SO lost, but I am now found.
I was once SO blind, but now I see.
And because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Whatever tomorrow may bring.
Thank you, Jesus.
My Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Homemade, sourdough english muffins

Not particularly round, not particularly pretty, but...
They are tasty!
These cost me mere pennies.
At least a couple hundred pennies.

I figure, if it's on the grocers shelves, I can likely make it better at home.
And now this is true of my 100% whole wheat english muffins!
I found the recipe HERE, so I won't bother with repeating it.
let me assure you...

And MY list of ingredients is short!

Sourdough starter
whole wheat flour
baking soda
cornmeal for dusting

Thomas' list of ingredients for their 100% whole wheat english muffins:


Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Honey, Farina, Cornmeal, Salt, Cracked Wheat, Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid), Grain Vinegar, Calcium Sulfate, Soybean Oil, Wheat Starch, Mono- and Diglycerides, Datem, Natural Flavor, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Wheat Sour, Dextrose, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Lactic Acid, Molasses, Fumaric Acid, Whey, Soy Flour (Trivial Amount of Soy Flour), Caramel Color, Acetic Acid, Sucralose, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natamycin (a Natural Mold Inhibitor), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Nonfat Milk.

Several of these ingredients are genetically modified.

I know.

I looked it up on Google.

I love Google.

Google has an answer for just about anything.

Hmmmm.....tough decision?

My hens eggs, pretty much straight from the hen house to the fry pan

Homemade english muffins!
The perfect vehicle for my morning eggs!

Have a most blessed week!
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