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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lemon Layer Cake

Another recipe from the Usborne Card Collection, is this Lemon Layer Cake. This is something that Phillip and I made together, love those "working together" times. It was delicious, I only had a tiny slice as it does have gluten and dairy in it.

Here is the recipe:
Cake:
1 lemon (use juice and rind in the cake)
1- 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup and 2 Tbsp sugar

Lemon filling:
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 lemon
1/4 cup butter

Lemon icing:
1 lemon
1- 1/4 cups powdered sugar (I used more)

The recipe calls for 3 round layer cakes, I used 2 as that was all I had. No problems there, bake at 350 for 20 min or until done.

For the filling I used 1/2 the recipe since I only had the 2 layers. Use a double boiler add eggs sugar, lemon rind and the juice of the lemon, plus the butter cut into chunks. Stir the mixture until butter melts and the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes, (a lot quicker for us as we had 1/2 the recipe). Let it cool just a bit then spread 1/2 on top of one layer of cake, add the second layer of cake on top of that and spread the last 1/2 of the filling on top and add your last layer of cake.
For the icing use the rind and juice of the lemon (the recipe says juice from 1/2 the lemon but when we mixed all the icing up there wasn't much...so we used the whole lemon and even added about 2 Tbsp of lemon juice from the bottle I had in the fridge). Add the powdered sugar and stir. I used more powdered sugar than the recipe called for. I just found that the icing the recipe made was not enough to cover the cake and drip down the sides, so I think I about doubled the recipe to make enough, but I didn't measure the powdered sugar, I just added until it was the consistency I wanted.

The cake was delicious but the boys wanted me to mention that the cake itself does not have a "strong" lemon flavor, only slight. The filling and icing DO, so that really makes up for it. Personally I think if the cake itself tasted more like lemon it would be overpowering.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vegetable Goulash

Dallen made supper the other night, delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe.

The original recipe is from an Usborne Card Collection called 30 Healthy Things to Cook and Eat, but we adapted it to fit our needs.

1 onion, diced
2 carrots diced
1 medium cauliflower cut into small pieces
2 medium potatoes diced
Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp paprika
4-6 cups vegetable broth
1- 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
S&P to taste

Cook up the onion and carrot in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add everything else except potatoes. Cook for 15-20 minutes until Cauliflower is almost cooked, add potatoes and cook another 5-10 minutes until everything is cooked. Serve hot.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunrise on the Farm


Peeking through branches

A new dawn enters my life

with warmth for my soul

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Growing Family

I know our family keeps getting bigger and bigger, but when you see the pics of our newest additions you will know why, how could anyone resist these little cutie pies. The are from an all breed rescue organization in South Carolina, Canine Shelter Rescue. These people do amazing work, and Barbie, she was the foster mom for our pugs, is just the best. With a house full of dogs she manages to keep everyone under control and happy.

These two are around 8 weeks old, sisters. The black one is Violet and the fawn one is named Penny. Their personalities so fit their names. :-)

We are really enjoying watching them play, and roll around together, they get along great with our current dogs. Ellis has made it his job to keep an eye on them at all times, making sure they aren't getting into trouble. Just a joy to have in our lives.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cantaloupe

OK so the garden is bursting at the seams. It is so wonderful to be back with a huge garden full of delicious goodness. Here is some cantaloupe we harvested yesterday. I had intended to take a picture just after I cut it in half, but got carried away cutting and realized, as I finished, that the camera was still on the table beside me.
But here is a picture of all the juicy goodness. So delicious, I love it warm, fresh out of the garden. Right now we have an abundance of melons, and I thoroughly enjoy melons so I am in bliss this time of year. Yum Yum.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cinderella

OK so this is our adopted addition, Ellis aka Cinderella. When I am working in the dining room he loves to be in the fire place, maybe it is just cooler in there on the brick. Too cute.


Monday, July 12, 2010

New Additions

Here are a few pictures of the new chickens we added to our farm. Some are very CUTE, some not so cute, 5 are roosters (so far). All seem to be happily adjusting to our place. They have their own coop and hen pen now and hopefully in another week or two we will start letting them free range during the day.
Yesterday Jackson heard a lot of dogs barking on our property so he drove down to the corner of our field and saw a pack of about 10 dogs all barking at *something* he guessed they had cornered an animal of some sort, although he could not see anything. These were not hunting dogs and had no collars on, but were like some wild pack of "former" pets. He said he was glad he drove down there and didn't walk as he started out. They were just really scary looking and not "friendly".

He is going to talk to animal control today to see what can be done, if anything, about them. We have never seen them before but we have a good deal of woods by our house. So we aren't sure if they are passing through or "here to stay". They were not out there last night so we will see what happens. But it makes me nervous to let my animals out. I hate to fence in our field with electric fence, I don't want to keep out other critters, but we may have to. Time will tell.

Anyway here are some pictures of our adopted chicks:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Additions

Over the past weekend we picked up some new additions to our family. 14 chickens from a friend that was moving out of town and needed to rehome them. And 5 sugar gliders that were rescued by an employee of Chimney Rock Park, they needed a new forever home as well. My hope is to take more pictures as we go along but here is the first instalment of "Our New Additions".

This is a female sugar glider. She is very friendly and has taken a liking to Phil. He loves playing with them. Isn't she just beautiful. We also had out the daddy of the bunch, also a handsome boy but not as friendly, he does love grapes though. And we took the baby out for just a minute or two, to find out he was a "he" and just hold him for a minute. They are so cute. We stayed by the cage with the baby so that mom and dad could see him. And they just kept looking through the wire at their baby boy. Then when we put him back in his "nest", all 4 other sugar gliders went running in to make sure he was OK, before they came back out to eat.

More from the Garden

We have been harvesting so much from the garden this year. Living on fresh veggies is such a delight, and I feel like we live in such abundance when I can put so much into the freezer for winter. Pictured are just a sampling of what we are harvesting. I also have a huge box of tomatoes I am working through. Already have some spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce in the freezer.

Tonight I think I will make some of Phillip's favorite, eggplant sauce, so yummy over pasta.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Organics in the news again

I know I have blogged about the word organic before and how, in the US, it is becoming a less than trustworthy label. For me, I have stuck to buying foods that have been labeled organic, produced, manufactured, by companies that have been organic, for years. With all the changes in the regulations of the word it seems like every company now has an "organic" line. Am I supposed to believe that they have changed their purchasing, growing, manufacturing policies overnight....I don't think so.

Anyway here is just more proof that the word "organic" is meaning less and less every day. I am not going to post the whole article, in hopes you will visit the original source to read. I do not want to steal the authors thunder in any way. So visit the site and read the complete text and listen to the audio available.

"...The organic label is meant to signify that a food is relatively environmentally friendly: Organic producers are forbidden from using many synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. When that organic food comes from China, that label may not mean much.
"When I see organic food from China, I question," environmental journalist Michael Pollan told PRI's The World, "how organic is it?" Organics are a $26 billion industry in the United States, and an increasing amount of that is coming from China. Pollan points out, "organic is a very big global business now. People don’t realize it.
"In 2006 alone, China added a staggering 12 percent to the world’s organically farmed land," Global Post reports. With the market growing that quickly, regulations are lax at best. A Chinese grocery chain owner who spoke with Global Post estimated that "maybe 30 percent of farms that put the organic label on their food produce the real thing."..."

Friday, June 18, 2010

How Does the Garden Grow

It grows by leaps and bounds. This year has been the best gardening year. I have the weeds totally under control, the whole garden is mulched with grass clippings, making it so soft to walk on in bare feet. And I am thoroughly enjoying spending time up there. Everything is growing like crazy, we have plenty to eat and plenty for the freezer. Right now we have cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, greens, a couple of peppers, beets, and radishes. So many squash ripening on the vines, and huge tomato plants with so many tomatoes. I can't wait for those to ripen so I can begin making sauce for winter. YUMM!!!

Here are a few pics of our harvest and one of Jackson's last pizza creation. It was so delicious, gluten free, dairy free crust with lots of herbs and greens from the garden.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Radishes

Jackson's birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and he loves radishes, so I decided to try a couple of new radish dishes, just for him. (none of the rest of us are that fond of radishes) with radishes from our garden. I made a radish salad, simple, shredded radishes, chopped cauliflower, cooked, diced potato, celery seed, S&P, a little dill, and mayo. It tasted heavy of radish, not my favorite.

But the dish that was fabulous was radish top soup. I read about using radish tops, the greens not the root, in a soup and adapted it to our dietary restrictions and it was so delicious. Who new you could eat radish tops, they are almost prickly when picked, but so nice and tasty in soup. I think you could make this soup with any green and believe I will be making it this weekend using collards that are ready to harvest fresh from our garden.

Recipe:
Dice up an onion and cook up in a little olive oil.

Add 3 diced potatoes, 3 large hand fulls of radish tops (just clean them you don't need to cut them up or anything) and about 4 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and simmer until everything is cooked and potatoes are mushy.

Now use a blender or I just used my immersion blender, and blend all of this up. Add more vegetable broth if you need it. Then add a can of coconut milk, S&P to taste, thyme and chopped parsley. Let it all heat up, you should have a nice creamy soup. And it is delicious. I did add a little shredded radish on top of the soup for garnish, without the shredded radish it does not really taste of radish at all.
You could substitute cream for the coconut milk and butter for the olive oil if you like.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Goodness

My first dish with ingredients from the garden. Greens, so far that is what I have that is ready for harvest, Kate and Collards. YUMMY!!

So last night I made a frittata with local eggs, creamy goat cheese, Collards from our garden, S&P, and onion. It was delicious, everyone loved it, even my pickier eaters.

I think in another week I will have beets to harvest, and of course the radishes are ready. Those are for Jackson, he is the radish eater in the family.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chicks and Spring

Ahhh it's spring, the garden has come alive and the chicks arrived in the mail. They are just so adorable and in a few short months we will be eating our own fresh organic eggs, YES!!

Second best is the local organic eggs I have been buying, very good indeed but not from our own hens. I can't wait, they are all doing well. We ordered from McMurray Hatchery again this time. And we purchased; Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Black Australorps.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garden 2010

I am a little behind in posting pics of our garden this year, so I better get started. Things are growing so fast but let's start at the beginning. My Aunt was chatting with me on the phone a month or two ago about gardening. I mentioned how I wished I lived closer and I would come haul off her horse's nice manure for my garden. Just seems like here in the south the soil is so hard, clay, and depleted of nutrients. We have used different things to try to loosen up the soil, as well as amend it with organic ingredients. BUT a nice heaping of manure would really be useful.

Then it clicked in my head, I DO have a friend, that lives close and does have horses, so I contacted her and she was very happy to get rid of her composted manure. So Jackson and I hauled about 8 trailer loads of manure and mixed that into our garden this year. The soil is already looking darker and richer. Here is a pic after being tilled and one as we are starting to plant.

We do have another garden down in the field a bit. The plan is that after harvest this year we will lay down another layer of composted manure, and the leaves from fall, and see if we can amend this soil a bit.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rhubarb

I meant to post about this last week but was so busy time slipped away, a weekend at the beach with friends and now I am back and yumming up the rhubarb. I grew up with rhubarb but it seems to be taking to North Carolina nicely. The plants I have are from my grandmother's yard.

Last week I harvested our first batch or rhubarb. But I can see so many small stocks and leaves that this will be the first of many. My oldest son Dallen helped me and we managed to get it all inside. I had enough to make a rhubarb crisp and freeze enough for 12 more crisps (or whatever I decided to make with it) in the future. I love seeing my freezer filling up over the summer it just gives me such a feeling of abundance and accomplishment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Asparagus

Our asparagus is doing so well, we planted a small square of asparagus maybe 4 or 5 years ago, and it has seeded itself so we get more and more each year. This is the first of our harvest this year, although when I was mowing yesterday I saw maybe 7 or 8 more stalks waiting for me, so today I am going to go pick some more and see what we can make with it tonight. YUM!!! Gotta love asparagus. This isn't something that I grew up eating, never tried asparagus until I was probably 24 or 25 in North Carolina.
Also so lucky to have a husband that loves to cook, so usually he cooks at least one meal on the weekend. He is very good at just winging a meal with what we have in the house, me...I need at least a vague idea in my head before I start cooking. So this is our asparagus and what Jackson decided to do with it, can you say YUMMY!!! It was delicious.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Potato Bake

I am not sure about a name for this dish, I kind of winged it from ingredients I had on hand, for a pot luck supper we were heading to. So I am calling it Potato bake. Actually I boiled the potatoes first.

-however many potatoes you want, cubed and boiled until knife tender....do not over cook or they will be mushy.
-an onion chopped
-O Oil
-1 1/2 cup soy milk
-1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
-4 ounces (approx) goat cheese
-2 tsp corn starch
-1 can organic green beans, or a couple of cups of chopped zucchini, or chopped cauliflower, whatever veggie you would like to use.
-S&P
-dill about 2 tsp

First cook up the onions in the oil, add to a casserole dish with potatoes and cooked vegetables. In a sauce pan add the soy milk, vegetable broth, goat cheese (sometimes I will use a nice herb goat cheese if I have it on hand), corn starch and whatever herbs you would like. I just use some S&P and dill, but feel free to improvise with your favorite herbs.

You want to heat this dish until it comes to a boil, it will thicken a little and you are done. Add the sauce to the casserole dish and mix up all the ingredients. I put some goat cheese crumbles on top but you could use any goat cheese or no cheese on top. Then I cover and put it in a 350 degree oven for just 20 min, to give everything a chance to work together. Once everything is nice and hot you are done.

I think next time I am going to add in some fake chicken chunks but you could add in real chicken, multiple veggies, try it with sweet potatoes, add in green peppers.....you get the picture. It is delicious!! Dairy free, wheat free, sugar free and meat free.

Monday, March 29, 2010

dietary issues

OK I have blogged about my stomach and weight issues before. I have always had an iron stomach, I could eat anything and it would not bother me. But the last few years I have become increasingly bothered by certain foods. It started with carbonate beverages, wow that was probably 5 years ago, it took me a while to figure this out, I didn't drink soda much at all, but I had a soda one day at Taco Bell and I could feel it burning as it went down. That was the last carbonated beverage I had. Next came dairy, so I eliminated all dairy from my diet, well cow dairy that is. And I found that easy, I could still eat sheep and goat cheese and have found cooking with Earth Balance and soy milk equally easy without sacrificing texture or taste.

Things seemed to be going well as long as I didn't slip. If I accidentally ate a tiny bit of dairy, hidden in something it seemed to be OK but any more than a tiny bit and I was suffering, major digestive issues that I am sure you DO NOT want the details of ;-)

Then more things seemed to bother me but I couldn't pin them down at all. For the last 6 months or so I have been very frustrated and confided in a friend of mine, as I sat almost in tears, that I felt like I just needed to stop eating. I didn't know what I could or could not eat, what bothered me, what did not etc. VERY frustrated. I soon collected my thoughts and just plunged myself into a little research. Read online about food intolerance.

My research has led me to a complete change in my life style and my life. What I believe to be true in my case is that the things I crave are the things I eat all the time, which lead to more cravings and more eating. Anyway over time the things I eat all the time have been rejected by my body, I have developed an intolerance to these things.

What I have done over the past month is to eliminate them from my diet, wheat, sugar, dairy. I am also a vegetarian (but that is by choice, not an intolerance). The idea, after reading the Food Intolerance Bible, is that after a period of elimination I can add these items back into my diet on a rotating basis, just not to have them closer than 5 days together, so if I eat something dairy, I have to wait 5 days to have it again. What I am doing is different, I just want to be able to eat when we go out to a restaurant. It is hard to go to Moms Night Out and have a salad with no cheese, no meat, no croutons etc. You get the picture. So at home I have been meat free, dairy free, sugar free and wheat free.

I have tested this once, we went out for Mexican food, and I had something with dairy and wheat. And then went right back onto my elimination diet. NO PROBLEMS, I was so happy. I feel so much better and I have NO CRAVINGS. This is the first time in my life I haven't had cravings. I so love it that my home baked bread doesn't call to me from the kitchen.

All these years I have read and read about weight issues, weight gain. And everything says you need to get to the reasons you are eating, do you eat when you are happy?...YES, do you eat when you are sad?...YES well then I must be an emotional eater. So get to the heart of that. Well I have never felt like there was a heart...sure I have had my ups and downs in life, but that is life. I don't feel like I "hang onto" things. I deal with things and move on, remembering my past but not being controlled by it at all. Now I think for me it is just the cravings, I crave those things I love to eat. I don't think it is emotional eating, it is just eating.

I haven't done any more "work" on the things of my past but the pounds are falling off. My cravings are gone so I am just not eating as much. When I feel hungry now...I have to tell myself, "hmmm I'm hungry, maybe I should eat something". I also look at what I am eating more. It is more about what my body needs instead of what I am craving. I know that might not make sense but in my head it does. And it is working, it will be 4 weeks tomorrow. And I am just so happy right now. I know that if I stay with this diet plan, my stomach issues will continue to stay in check, which is big for me. I don't want to have ulcers or anything, I want to be healthy. I also know that I will be hiking with my boys and feeling good, that is HUGE for me, what I want so much, to just continue to feel better and better and enjoy life to it's absolute fullest.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Garden Excitement

I always get itchy to get into my garden this time of year. It is about time too, seems like this winter was particularly snowy and cold (two reasons I left Maine). But the sun is out and time to get crackin'. This year I will have Phillip helping me in the garden, he is excited to get started as well. We made our planting list this morning and are also planning a double layer deer fence, to keep out our lovely intruders....

Here is our list so far, in no particular order:
-sweet corn
-popcorn
-bell peppers
-jalapeno peppers
-tomatoes
-collard greens
-kale
-carrots
-green beans
-radishes
-beets
-okra
-cow peas
-black eyed peas
-potatoes
-sweet potatoes
-zucchini
-egg plant
-chamomile
-basil
-oregano
-dill
-cilantro
-parsley
-lettuce
-cucumbers
-lemon balm
-watermelon
-butternut squash
-onions

And looking at things we have quite a few in seeds, some we will buy at the feed store as seedlings and I will only have to buy three of four as seeds this year, always a bonus.

My ankle is feeling great so that won't slow me down this year. We are ready to get started!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pizza

Well this is gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free pizza. Long story but I am getting those things out of my system, a one month detox, then will reintroduce them occasionally, I just have to feel better. :-)

The crust I used was recommended by a friend, and it is from the gluten free pantry. It is the french bread, pizza crust mix.

The pizza in the picture is actually the one we made for the boys. Mine is topped with onion, sauce, and sheep cheese. It was delicious.