Thursday, January 28, 2010

Confessions Don't Always Come Easy

This past week Flower Girl was "Star Student." Over the weekend she had the privilege of bringing home a "special" bag filled with goodies. One of the items was a stuffed frog. Upon awakening one morning we discovered that Mr. Frog was missing an eye most likely by one of our naughty dogs. The eye was no where's to be found. FG was devastated, big tears and all! I told her that I would buy a new one to replace it, she declined. I offered to make a fancy little eye patch, she was all set with that. Last minute Monday night Maine Man opted to do some repairs of his own.
FG was to scared to tell her teacher what happened so this morning I wrote a letter to her teacher to ease the pain of FG's confession.
Dear Mrs .........,
This weekend when FG had the "star student" bag the frog sustained and injury loosing on of his eyes. (? the dogs) FG's dad found a donor and performed a transplant. The color doesn't quite match but he has nearly perfect vision. If the transplant fails we will be more than willing to replace the frog.
Respectfully, The ........
P.S. Sorry for the mishap

Now I am just hoping she has the courage enough to give it to her. She was scared she'd "get in trouble". Then I told her about a story when I was in first grade. I was at the chalkboard and I peed my pants. Sr. Rita asked who had done it and I didn't dare admit. She went around and felt every one's bum until she discovered I was the guilty one. I was humiliated in front of the entire class! Had I only admitted my fault initially. The kids were quite entertained by that story.

Face your fears baby! Can't wait to see how she did.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In creating, the only hard part is to begin.

After discussing my recent adventures of bread making (3 failed attempts : 1 good loaf) Maine Man thought he'd give it a try. He even went as far as bringing along my bread baking book ice fishing. So he studied up....
Said "it will be easy!"

and showed me up

He hadn't proved his point enough ;)

he proceeded right on to bagel making

and you know it

he was successful
He even took this picture. Impressed?....I was!
He has since made another batch of bagels. Nothing like it!
P.S. that is homemade butter in the bowl

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making Butter

What's a girl to do when someone gives her a few pints of heavy cream? My initial thought was to recreate a vanilla bean ice cream I made a few weeks back. Well at 236 calories per 1/2 cup I opted to give butter making a try since I won't eat that by the bowl.

It was quick and easy! Here are the steps I followed:

1) Pour the cream in the mixer, start on low.

2) As it starts to thicken (a few minutes), increase speed to medium.
3) Mix for a few minutes then increase speed to high.

After a while the cream eventually turns into whipped cream.

4) At this point you want to watch it closely as it turns to a crumbly butter-type texture.

5) As soon as you start to noticing liquid accumulation, drain off into a bowl. After that I mix a bit then drain liquid, repeating this cycle a couple times. Then form the butter and rinse the remaining buttermilk off.

The buttermilk can be used for cooking.

I made a batch of plain butter adding approximately 1 teaspoon of salt per pint.
Then I made cinnamon honey butter using 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of local honey.

My all time favorite was garlic/dill. A couple crushed cloves and 2 Tablespoons of dill.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bread Making in the New Year

Last year I declared to be the year of fruit. We planted apples, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and grapes. This year I proclaim to be the year of bread. I initially planned to title this post "A Year In Bread" but then remembered coming across a blog with a similar title a while back. I googled the title and sure enough... I found the blog "A Year in Bread". 3 bakers initially to post recipes for 1 year but since decided to continue to share their adventures and recipes in bread making. A good resource for newbies like me!
So with a little help from my friends I have made a few things. These pictures are from a recent first time adventure in hamburg roll making. Last year I dabbled a bit with breads: white, oatmeal, wheat, and egg bread. Mostly with a some assistance from my bread machine. Mostly for the purpose of mixing, kneading and initial rise time. Then I'd baked the bread in the oven. This year I have vowed to do without the bread machine.

Instead of the bread machine mixing and kneading the dough I use my kitchen aide.

Maine Man called these "Jesus Rolls". He said something like... "these are like the bread they made back in his time". They tasted good warm but after they cooled they hard as a rock.
MM is my biggest critic. When he says it was "this is the best .....I've ever tasted " I know darn well to save the recipe.

Instead of using the bread machine for the initial rising phase I instead use the heat from the wood stove.

I made this bread yesterday. I learned about it at Homemakers that Work. It was quick, easy, tasty, and I love the look of braided bread.
Off to bake more bread before the kids get home!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grape Nut Pudding

Going into my third year of blogging I have been thinking about what a resource it has become. One thing that I often do is refer back to favorite recipes to create once again. I never post recipes that are not worthy of cooking again! This is a quick and easy dish that I have dug out of my archives many times before. It is especially popular with older folks. This weekend I made it for the farmer & his wife. The kids and I also brought them down a crock filled with a boiled ham dinner. Can't wait to hear how they liked the custard.

-1 cup grape-nut cereal

-1 quart of milk (4 cups)

-4 eggs

-1/2 cup sugar

-1 tablespoon vanilla extract

-1/4 teaspoon fine salt

-grated nutmeg

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 qt glass loaf pan with 1 teaspoon of butter and set aside. Put cereal into a bowl and set aside.

2) Bring milk to boil over medium heat. Pour onto cereal and let it soak for 5 minutes.

3) Beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt into large bowl. Slowly pour egg mixture into milk mixture while whisking constantly. Transfer into reserved pan, set in a deep roasting pan. Pour enough hot water in roasting pan that it reaches half way up glass loaf pan.

4) Bake until just set approx 1 1/4 hours. Let cool then sprinkle with grated nutmeg

I first posted this recipe in June 08' on at the bottom of my post titled Farm Tour

Now I have two questions for some of my readers.

#1 Any advice on food photography? I took thousands of pictures this past year and as I downloaded my files I notice that the pictures I took of food were the ones I struggled most with.

#2 Has anyone ever downloaded their blog archives into a book? If so who did you go through? After a couple years of writing of our beginning farming adventures I would be devastated if I ever lost this. Not only will this be a keepsake for my children but I have lots of recipes and how to posts that I refer to often.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Blues

Come this time of year I am really missing going out in the back yard and picking some fresh greens for dinner.

So I throw some seeds (alfalfa, broccoli) in my bioset, add a little water...

and I have sprouts to put on my store bought greens and to top sandwiches with.
I bought this a year or two? ago from Johnny's for right around $16. Well worth it! They are up to $20 now or they have a kit that goes for $30 that comes with several types of sprout seeds.
Just a thought....they are not for everyone. I bought 2 of these for my two besties and I've yet to hear of either of them ever using it.
What can I say? So I'm easily excited. In Maine the winters are long and we all have our things we do to help us cope. I have been drooling though seed catalogs and will soon be placing an order and cooking lots. This time of year I could easily convert this blog to a cooking blog and really just enjoying the laziness of winter! Warm wood stove fires burning, playing games with the kids, reading good books, lounging with my laptop and I must admit I've even watched some tv.
What are some things you do to get through the winter blues?

A few links to end with (for my recall and you of course)
Giant Craft Stick Snow Flakes at Crafty Nest - going to make these with the kids sometime soon.
Parmesan Garlic Popcorn from Tammy's Recipes - tasty popcorn the whole family loved, will make again.

Making Lacto Fermented Mayonnaise by Cheeseslave - add to my "I want" to make list.

Friday, January 1, 2010


At the end of every year I download all pictures I've taken. I couldn't help but keep a few out I hadn't previously posted and reflect back a little at life on the farm in 09.

Looking forward to tapping the maple trees in a few months. Last winter was a first for us . This year we will tap a few birch trees as well. Nothing like the taste of fresh syrup!

We only have 3 Khaki Campbells that we kept through the winter. I love baking with duck eggs, everything just seems to be fluffier. Too bad they are not laying right now.

Maine Man spent many hours cutting up meat in 2009. A record breaking year for raising and putting up meat. Loving freezer shopping!

Caught lots of fish. May the ice fishing begin for 2010.

My boy won 1st prize at the local fair with the above photo he took. For 2010 we hope to do a display of our farm at the fair. It should be a lot of fun.

We enjoyed endless hours surrounded by the joys of Mother Nature.

Our second season of garlic. This past fall MM was able to replant with our own cloves.

Lots of meat bunnies. MM has since decided they are just too cute to kill but we do agree they are tasty. We have a few males free ranging in the barn for the winter but for the future we will stick with chicken.