Last Friday, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins. Rich’s family planted a whole field of pumpkins this year and some were rather small. I took a couple of them and made puree from scratch.
I just cut it up into chunks, removed the innards and baked on a rack in the oven at 350 until the pumpkin “meat” was nice and soft. I also find that if you add a little water to the pan, it prevents everything from drying out too much.
Once I removed the skin by scoping the pumpkin off with a spoon, I reserved everything into a bowl. While it cooled, I started looking up some recipes online. I happened to stumble across this one: Pumpkin Muffins and decided I would give it a try with some slight alterations.
Instead of adding in pumpkin puree and water, I assumed (yeah, I know…shame on me) they were using canned pumpkin which is much thicker. Instead, I decided that since the homemade puree was a little more watery I would just add 3 cups of pumpkin. In addition to this, I also added 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Everyone who had any gave rave reviews. They were moist and very flavorful. I will be making more in the very near future. I may even try some with cheese cake frosting too.
When you open the link, you will find all sorts of alterations that can be done as well. If you make some, feel free to share your results!
Okay…so I’m a day late. Been some issues around here with our furnace and our dog. They were more important than a blog post but I’m still here today.
Today, I want to share a recipe for something that we all know and love! Noodles! You can’t make chicken noodle soup or chicken alfredo without them.
I don’t have any photos but will get some the next time I actually make some.
My recipe comes from an old Fannie Farmer cookbook. It was originally published in 1896 and is hands down my favorite cookbook. You can get new prints used through Amazon for around $5 and it’s well worth it, especially if you like old fashioned recipes with grandma’s home cooking tastes.
The recipe is called Homemade American-Style Noodles.
Directions: Beat the yolks and egg until they are light. Beat in the salt and 3 tablespoons of cold water. Using your hands, work the flour into this mixture to make a stiff dough. Cut into three equal parts. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest a few minutes. Dust a board or pastry cloth with flour and roll out one part of the dough as thin as possible. Cover with a dishcloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat with the other two pieces. Sprinkle one sheet of dough very lightly with flour and roll up like a jelly roll. With a sharp knife, cut across the roll into 1/8″ wide strips for fine noodles and 1/2″ wide for broad noodles. Open out the strips and hang over a broomstick or chair to dry. (I use wooden spoons over a stock pot).
They will be ready to cook when they have lost their surface dampness. About ten minutes should be enough. Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil and drop the noodles in. Boil vigorously until just tender, roughly 5-10 minutes depending on how thin the noodles are. Pull one out with a fork to taste and determine doneness.
Following this recipe in the cookbook is also a recipe for Alfredo’s Noodles.
1/4 pound noodle, 1/4″ thick
1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream, warmed
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Have a large cowl warmed and ready before you cook the noodles. Drain the cooked noodles and put them into the bowl. Quickly add remaining ingredients, tossing briskly to coat all the noodles, and serve at once.
There are about 20 different recipes for these noodles with a multitude of variations. You can also flavor your noodles too. Instead of adding cold water, you can use cold carrot or spinach puree. I’m thinking of trying some with pumpkin and the alfredo topping, just to see what it tastes like as a nice fall alternative.
If you try any recipe shared, we would love your feedback and to hear of any successful alternatives or even failures! Just leave a comment or a link if you repost!
Everyone seems to be buzzing this year on social media about milks in Lattes at certain coffee houses. In an effort to demonstrate the ingredients used and give you a choice an how to make your own at home, I did some research and some taste testing.
I used fresh, raw milk straight off the farm but you can use any milk, so long as it’s whole milk. I’ve read where others have used substitute items like coconut milk but I don’t keep those on any trees in my lawn.
I will tell you that I like a little vanilla flavoring, so I did a splash of extract to both the tea and the milk. This was especially delicious when I used peach tea instead of black tea.
I would love your feedback and recommendations on anything you try! Here is the base recipe I used:
Ingredients for Tea
• 2 cups water
• 2 black tea bags (add additional from stronger tea flavor)
• 2 whole cloves
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
• 2 tablespoon maple syrup
Ingredients for Latte (Milk mixture)
• ¾ cup whole milk
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• Pinch of ground cinnamon
• 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (or other fruit if you desire flavoring)
For tea, bring water and spices to a boil. Turn off and steep for 5 minutes. Turn heat back on, add tea bags and maple syrup. Return to a slight boil. Turn off again and steeping for an additional 5 minutes. Remove bags and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Use ½ cup (per serving), reserve the rest in the fridge.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and any optional fruit puree (whisk this in milk as it heats) to a slight boil. Make sure to stir often. Remove from heat and use a submissersion blender until milk is frothy.
Pour tea to use in a mug, slowly add the frothy milk to the tea. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon and serve hot.
It’s been a rough week around here with freezing cold temperatures, massive sinus issues (Doreen) and major organization (aka spring cleaning with a twist). Since Mr. Farmer had Monday off from work for MLK day, I decided to make an extra treat this week full of goodies that I’m not really meant to have in my diet.
It’s rare that you will have me share recipes that include so much of these ingredients, but these are too good to not share!
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp dry active yeast
2 cups all purpose flour (actually you will want slightly less and I recommend starting with about 1-1/2 cups then add a little until you get the right consistancy of “sandiness” when mixturing with butter)
3 tbsp of sugar
1/4 stick of butter at room temperature
Oil enough to cover a few inches in the bottom of a deep pan or a deep fryer.
In a large measuring cup, combine milk and boiling water. Add in one teaspoon of the sugar and yeast. Stir gently to combine and then leave in a warm place until the yeast mixture foams.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry blender until it looks like crumbles.
Add in the egg after a quick beat (I do this with my finger or fork right in the flour butter mixture prior to mixing it in) and add the yeast mixtures. Mix until dough is smooth. This could take a little time, so be patient.
Turn the dough onto a light floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes. You will notice a springy texture and air bubbles forming in the dough when it is ready. Place it back in the bowl, allow to raise for about an hour or it’s double in size in a warm location. After it has doubled in size, you can either flatten the dough to cut into round donuts or just form balls for holes. Once you have the desired shapes, set them on a baking sheet, again in a warm location and cover with a towel. Let donuts raise while you are heating the oil to 375 degrees. Fry for approximately 2 minutes per side.
I use powdered sugar and a liquid (I will discuss the further in just a second) until it forms an running sauce for applying. There really is no need to measure this. Start by adding powdered sugar into a bowl, add a little bit of liquid and stir with a spoon. Keep adding a little liquid until the mixture is able to be poured from a spoon.
For the liquid to go into the glaze, you can add just about anything. To give your donuts a little pick me up kick, you can use orange juice or lemon juice. Want a little alcohol, you can add in a little tequila (works perfect with lime zest inside the donut and all you have to do is mix it in with the yeast) or even bourbon. You can even use melted butter for a creamier glaze.
So there you have the treat this week. Granted it’s not all that healthy but hey, it’s homemade! Hope you enjoy!
For a little background, I found this amazing recipe over on Give Recipe while doing an internet search for ravioli. Boy am I glad I did!
She calls it Thimble Soup or it’s called yüksük çorbası. It’s actually a popular wedding dish in Turkey according to her blog. We sure didn’t celebrate a wedding but the marriage of ingredients made my mouth very happy. I did have to change up the ingredients from her original recipe due to some dietary restrictions…so here is what I came up with.
Dough for dumpling wrappers
4 cups flour
2 cups water (I need WAY less, so I recommend adding about a 1/2 cup and then a little at a time until it balls together)
2 tsp salt
Mix ingredients, by hand mixing and kneading (wet hands to prevent sticking) until the dough doesn’t stick to you hands. Divide into 4 big equal parts.
1 lb Ground Beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
Mix all ingredients together.
Now flour the counter and place a dough ball. Flour the top and flatten with your hands. I used a rolling pin to roll it out, dusting with flour to prevent sticking until I got it very thin. I could almost see through it at this point. You can now use a knife or pizza cutter to cut squares or you can use a small 2″ biscuit cutter. Now place a small bit of the meat filling into the center. Pull up edges and combine corners. There are many different methods to choose from. I like the referenced one in the link above or even small half moons. I actually have a tart crimper that would work perfect for this task! One sealed, set aside on a tray with a small space around each one.
Now that you have your dumplings built, it’s time to boil them in broth. Use a large stock pot for this.
2 cups beef broth
2 cups chickpeas (I used home canned sweet corn instead)
1 lemon (juiced)
4 cups water
I actually did 6 cups of beef broth instead of the broth and water since I also altered away from the chickpeas.
Bring to a boil, slowly add the dumplings. As they begin to float, in roughly 10 minutes, remove from heat and add one cup of cold water.
*Since I had several pots full because I made all of the dough and filling instead of cooking them in the oven for a later date, I would pull them out of the broth bath and submerge into a bowl of cold water with just enough to cover them until the pot was refilled. These have very good flavor at this point and could be topped with just about anything or eaten plain, as is (I had to taste test them at this point). I then added them into the sauce base after draining the water.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pepper paste (I used 1 tsp of red pepper flake)
1 tsp dried mint
Paprika powder to taste
2 grated tomatoes (I used stewed tomatoes we had canned up this last year)
Once the sauce is heated and the tomatoes are just pulp, remove from heat. This is the stage that I just added the boiled dumplings. Once all of your dumplings are cooked, then go ahead and add in 1 cup of water to the last batch of boiling dumplings after removing from heat. Stir in your sauce base and pre-cooked dumplings and it’s all ready to be served.
On the page I pulled this recipe from, I noticed that she also tops with a yogurt and garlic cream. It’s 1 cup of yogurt with three mashed cloves of garlic combined. I think sour cream would work just as good or maybe even a cream cheese and garlic. For those that can’t have dairy, I recommend using mashed cauliflower and garlic.
So there you have it. The best overall meal I think I have ever experimented with. Not too overly spicy and perfect for subzero temperature days!
It’s snowing like crazy here in Upstate NY today. The roads are slick and I sure don’t have any desire to brave the snow, the cold or the wind to go anywhere. I’ve spent the day preparing myself to get better organized for 2014, so I can stay on top of things and give myself some budgeted time to blog more often.
As part of that “planning”, I decided to add in a menu planning section too! You see, someone is HORRIBLE at remember to take food out of the three full stocked freezers to prep for the evening meal. Oops. I’m going to explore some new recipes in these age old cook books I have and maybe throw a little of my own flair in there too. Since almost everything I cook comes from scratch, I decided that maybe it would be good to share my favorite recipes via this blog page. Once a week, I will share my favorite recipe or food good I made! Tasty Thursdays we will call it!
So for my first Tasty Thursday, I’m going to share my good old chips! This year on New Year’s Day, these were a huge hit and I couldn’t make them fast enough!!! Ahem, I was the only one eating them but hey, they were good!
I just used regular white potatoes. I scrub them clean and use a mandolin to slice them nice and thin.
Next I put them into the fryer at 350 degrees for about three minutes. Flip them a couple times with a slotted spoon. Once they start to brown (do not brown them all the way this time), remove from oil. I preheat the oven to about 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with a paper towel. Place the sheet into the oven to keep them hot. I do a couple of batches this way (about two whole potatoes). I turn the heat up on the fryer to about 375 degrees and refry the chips. Keep flipping them until the center of the chips turns a nice golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. I like to sprinkle a mixture of salt and garlic powder on as quickly as possible. Shake them around and dump into a bowl. Serve hot or cold! Simple, easy and delicious. I’m sure that you can mix up 1,000 different things from the spices you have that would taste excellent.
They say the life of a farmer slows down in winter. I beg to differ. Winter time is usually the time we catch up on reading, sit through forage classes and plan out for the coming year. This year isn’t much different for me other than I am reading more on Holistic Land Management and taking some additional business and financial planning classes online. The extra course work, which takes a couple hours per week per class, really isn’t that much but it still takes time.
I have some other classes that I am taking too. Ones on the food system in the US and another on human nutrition. Why am I taking these classes you ask? Looking at from my perspective, I feel as a farmer who works extensively with consumers about food production, it’s my job to be as informed as possible about how food impacts choices when it comes to how you eat. It’s also important for me to know and be able to express how food moves and travels because you never know someday we might be selling our goods all across the US. As for the business and financial planning classes, no matter how you want to look at farming or agriculture in general…it’s still a business where we need to make sure that we are planning and spending funds appropriately but also ensuring that we are making enough money to stay afloat too.
Farming doesn’t have the profitability of many other jobs but it is rewarding in other ways. That’s one reason why it’s important to look at management from a Holistic standpoint since those methods also take a look at lifestyle too.
On top of classes, I am still doing all of the same stuff…dealing with frozen water, cold stress in cattle, feeding hay bales, changing bedding, filling water jugs several times a day, gathering eggs, feeding chickens, caring for calves, keeping the fires going, cooking the old style home cooked meals and still trying to keep up with laundry, dishes and housework.
Life doesn’t slow down for much on the farm. Sometimes we are forced to take breaks from the daily routine due to illness (and believe me, I have to be SUPER ill to keep me away from the barn) but it isn’t often. Even if we aren’t doing the manual labor involved for the farm, there are still other things we do. Research, reading and formulating crop charts, rotational grazing map or looking through seed catalogs…there is always something that can be done.
I have been down and out for a couple of days with one of those illnesses that prevents me from standing too much…but I still didn’t miss the birth of the first calf of 2013. I even managed to capture a video!
I didn’t get to stay out there too long and I am thankful for a cow that is awesome about birthing. I missed the first steps and the first suckle, which happen to be some of my favorite moments on the farm. It’s rather depressing to miss such moments too but, sometimes we have to take care of our own health first or we won’t be any good for anything at all for a very long time, if ever again. So for now, I will deal with my winter blues the best way I know how…learning, researching and communicating via books and the internet. I have to say, I have had some awesome conversations over the phone too about our grazing plans, the success we have had and why I think it’s important for others to consider rotational grazing. Being down isn’t all bad…it just takes some adapting.
I will write more soon about extreme animal care and welfare. I want to give some details about how we cope with winter months when temperatures hover around ZERO with freezing cold wind chill factors, what we do to ensure animal safety during winter, and how grazing has also been incorporated during the winter months. I may have to write up a series of articles but, I think it’s important that people see just how much care and planning goes into animal care during extreme weather.
Hope you are all staying warm…and I will leave you with a photo to contemplate for the next blog! Have a blessed day!
Well, yesterday was the last time those Texas girls came for farm camp…not to work but for photos with their favorite animals on the farm. I have to admit, I was delighted, shocked and surprised when the chose the calves over new chicks, chickens and the turkeys.
The whole farm camp experience has been both rewarding and fun for our farm. We got the opportunity to share part of our daily lives with two teenage girls who didn’t know, understand and were fearful of many things on the farm. Granted they were Mr. Farmer’s nieces but being one generation and part of the family removed from farm life doesn’t mean they had any idea what farming is/was like.
Having them come to learn about the animals, how to care for them and just spend time around the farm was an eye opening experience. It demonstrated to us just what type of seperation the younger generation sometimes have with the origin of 1)how people in the olden days used to survive, 2)their food and 3)the different methods of achieving the end result of milk, butter, cheese, meat, etc.
I am so very proud of them, even though they hated getting up early to be at the farm by 6 am. They learned to not be afraid of the chickens pecking them while gathering eggs. They learned that calves will not bite (too hard anyway) if allowed to suck on your fingers. They learned that just because a cow is bigger than you it doesn’t mean that you need to be scared all the time but that it is okay to have a healthy respect for the size of the animal. They learned that flip flops are really not good options for foot apparel on the farm, no matter what the farm manager does. They learned that farming can actually be fun and animals are really kind of funny with their antics. They also learned that sometimes normal chores like checking fields can be fun too…especially when you detour with the four wheeler into the woods to get stuck in the mud! They also learned that once you start adding up all that the land and the animals can provide for you, it’s actually a lot of work but very enjoyable too.
The whole thing has actually inspired me to dedicate sometime every summer to a few kids that would normally not have the opportunity to spend time on a farm to at least be able to spend an hour or two learning about what farmers really do. We, as a farm, have decided to use a funding raising method through the sale of t-shirts to raise money to cover for some of the items that would be supplied to the kids. Those t-shirt designs and logos will be given to all the kids that come to learn. They will also receive a portrait photo for them to keep too. For the younger kids, maybe a coloring book and some crayons. For the old kids, we still are thinking…so ideas are very welcome for that teenage group!
As we progress through with the shirts, I will generate a special post for here with color options. Adult shirts will retail for $15, kids shirts will retail for $10. Below are the farm camp version of the shirts, along with the farm logo and a couple of portrait shots as examples.
Well, this morning was the last morning of farm camp for the visitors from Texas. I am so proud of how much change I have seen in these two young ladies from Monday morning until today!
The first day they arrived, they were scared of all of the animals. “The cows are big, the calves are going to bite, the chickens would peck and the turkeys would attack” were just a few of the statements made by these two ladies. It almost made me think that the whole experience was going to be tough because their mom MADE them come up for morning chores at SIX am. What kid wants to get up that early during summer vacation? Most adults don’t…at any time of year!
By Wednesday, they were actually asking to come up to assist with nightly chores, letting the calves suck their fingers and were not afraid to gather the eggs! I feel blessed to be able to share the farm with them! They have come so far in such a short time! I have to say…I will miss them now during my morning routine.
I have some of the photos up on our facebook page…and will get some up here soon but I need to wait. They will actually be included into a special post that they will be the contributors for!!!!! You will get to hear from them all about the experience. I can’t wait to see what they have to share and I promise to share, no matter what they have to say.
And…since they don’t actually read the blog, I will share now what I have done for them. During one of the conversations this week with Mr. Farmer, it was decided that we would do something special for them. So, I sat down and designed up a logo for the back of a shirt! Much like an event T-shirt! Here is the design.
We will have them all ready for them when they return on the 29th of this month. I still need to do some adjustments but this will be close to what the back will look like. I will get photos of the finished products once they are completed and in hand. Oh and by the way…on the front it will say “Farmer Ashley” and “Farmer Autumn”. Kind of like getting a certificate of completion! If anyone else has some ideas on things we could do for them…send a shout out and let me know! These are all ideas that we will start incorporating for all of the kids that come to visit! Farm camp will be reserved for kids who come 2 or more consecutive days for a whole experience type of thing. But since we do have visitors and repeat visitors, I would love to be able to come up with something for them to take home with them as a reminder for the whole experience.
Any ways, I must run and go do errands today…so I need to get my butt in gear or I won’t have the time to finish it all!
Since many have been asking….”how’s the chive vinegar doing?”
Here’s the answer!
We still have one more week to go. I will be posting another update sometime around the 20th of the process of straining and making of the actual salad dressing. I am excited to try it! I have been tempted to pop open a jar now, just to see how flavorful it really is…but I am TRYING to be patient! 🙂