Sunday, January 30, 2011

Todays Kitchen

and tomorrows lunch box
yellow butter cake, chocolate frosting

brownies and apple crisp

chicken dinner

View Out My Window

The What Not Shop

Yesterday I visited a little shop in Kennebunk Maine, on Rte 1.The sign out front references Antiques, but it is more honestly a "what not shop" (Bob would say "look at my junk").The shop has multiple rooms of stuff, most without price tags. The owner encourages shoppers to look around and make an offer, no reasonable offer refused. I like this shop because whether I have 4$ or 40$ I can find something. I went to the shop looking for ice or hay hooks for a spring project , I found two. I also picked up a quilt that will be kept in the tack room, and used for wagon rides and some other stuff...
a cotton calander/dish rag 1964

a cowbell with a leather strap

an old sleeve ironong board

a huge "Pyrex" jar ( about 4 gallon) good for pussy willows

another boot jack (the white one)

Saturday, January 29, 2011


We just finished a meal,that calls for a nap!
I made homemade beef stew, and it was yummy.
I started the stew at 6:30am(yes this morning.)
I was too lazy to go with the recipe I had planned,so I winged it!
This is how it went: I went to the pantry and gathered my cast iron dutch oven and
12 small onions, peeled and quartered, placed in the pot over med. heat with olive oil and butter, sauteed
added 1/4 c brown sugar and sweat some more.

Brought the Belgians in, fed the dogs and horses. Removed from pan and cooked Bob 3 pcs french toast and sausages.


3lbs stew beef , a "family pack"(less6 raw pcs for Larger)
1.5lbs sweet sausage(again one pack) removed from skin. Browned meat all over, then added
2 Table spoons flour and the put the onions back in.
added 1 lb. peeled sliced carrots
hearts of one pack celery, sliced
2c beef stock
2 bay leafs
1 can kidney beans , do not drain
salt and pepper covered and moved to oven set on 200 baked
 for 3 hours.
 Cleaned stall's, met with the horse dentist,went to an estate sale.
 Bob went to Dicks, went to the dump and got more hay.
 We cleaned the front paddock together, and dumped manure.Shut of oven, but left dutch oven inside.
 Made bread, preheated oven to 350, cooked bread, set rice steamer with rice and beef stock

served over rice with fresh grated cheese

Lager and Bob are napping, time to bring in the Mini's and The Hounds.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Good Stuff

A couple of things I have been enjoying, wanted to share
Devine Twine (I ordered the red) perfect for wrapping Bobs favorite fillet of beef.
Heather Bullards Blog , who has the best chicken coop I have ever seen
and King Arthurs Flour

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Weeks Menu

We have had more snow and the weekends weather report , is again calling for another dip in tempatures, so the menu is all about comfort.
Friday : Mussels in wine, and crusty bread for dipping
Saturday : Blueberry strudel
Beef  and Sausage  Stew in cast iron , with crescent rolls,178,155174-255203,00.html
Sunday :Baked Pancakes , sausage
Fried Chicken and Gravy
Apple crisp
Monday: Ravioli Soup,1648,133180-240193,00.html
Tuesday: English muffin pizza ( English muffins are buy on get one)
Wednesday : Loaded Baked Potatoes with Ham and Cheese

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pies,1-00,chicken_pot_pie,FF.html

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

counting the days and the hours

It is 7:17 and seven degrees.I have read every seed catalogue, seven times.The sap will be running soon, and I will have a new goal to work on, tapping trees.Every day Bob watches the news and reads to me the increased,daylight. February 3 at our latitude is when we're back to 10 hours of daylight, everything is better with more day light.  Tonight I made the Big Boys wait at the gate a bit longer,before dinner.The Belgians are very much regulated by the sunlight,or lack their of.

Monday, January 24, 2011

-1.9 cold

The barn is very full, even bunny is inside.
Everyone is very content, Jake is already laying down flat.
Today the low's have gone to -18 and the highs to11. The day has been a crazy dance. Bob went into work late, so the Belgians could have extra in barn time. I came home early to rotate horses and bloodhounds,the hounds were stalled today.
Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to climb, we can hope.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Work

OK It is  really, really cold 11 on the thermometer, feels like 5.
Every weather station is warning of record cold temperatures, we will have a very full barn tonight.
I have baked whoopie pies, pumpkin bread, meatloaf with gravy and biscuits...when it's cold I really prefer to run the oven vs. the heat.
Something happened a week ago that made me think, I ran out of shortening while baking.
I had made the outer shells for whoopie pies, and needed shortening for the filling.
Bob and I took a ride to Target, they had no shortening , so I ended up purchasing it at the corner convenience store, paying a premium.
I feel like I now have a good handle on Menu planning,we are waisting less by planning to re purpose left overs and like ingredients.I am working on my garden plan, and will be adding freezer animals.
When I plan the menu, and the shopping list I usually shop the pantry first.
I have decided the next logical step for me is going to be stockpiling food and dry goods such as toilet paper. Some of the blogs I like have written on the subject:
Building the pantry and stockpiling paper goods,and root  veggies, should help me simplify even more, and I think winter is a good time to start this project .
I see a number of advantages to stockpiling

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Defrost Cycle

Hot Chocolate
One Cup Mix:
4 teaspoons (7 grams) cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) granulated cane sugar

A sprinkle of cinnamon

A small pinch of cayenne powder

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a mug. Add 8 ounces (One cup) of hot milk. Stir to blend. Serve with whipped cream or homemade marshmallows. Enjoy!

Pint Jar Mix:

1 1/4 cups (90 grams) cocoa powder

1/2 cup (108 grams) granulated cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

A sprinkle of cayenne powder

Place all ingredients in a pint mug. To serve, add one heaping tablespoon of the mix to 8 ounces of hot milk. Serve with whipped cream

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cold winter days

I just this minute finished night check, blankets , hay, hugs kisses and prayers. It is 6 degrees outside. I was going to write that it does not feel like 6, but what does 6 feel like? If it feels like a razor knife on exposed skin and frozen nostrils when you inhale, then it feels like six.
I do not believe Lager has any issue with the temperature . I have made a promise to Lager that he can run free and play each and every day he lives on this farm, so he plays and I chill . The video was taken at sun set (16) that should explain the quality.
Now I am going to shower , take the chill off  and read seed catalogs.
Allot of my mail these days are seed catalogues, they are a pleasure to look at on cold days, and I have begun some planning.
Planning for summer and dreaming of spring is helping make the temperatures tolerable. Today's high was 18 , tomorrow we are looking at another storm.
As far as garden plans, this year we will have 8 raised beds , one will be dedicated 100% to kitchen herbs.
I believe seven of the beds will be located along the fence line of the front paddock, in the sun next to the hydrant. The herb bed I am thinking of placing by the back deck closer to the kitchen ( I will have to confirm with "The Lawn Boy").
I plan to have loads and loads of sunflowers, we had lots last year and they were beautiful.
I have must do repairers planned  for the chicken coop , and I have asked for a portable coop. Last year I allowed the chickens to free range and they played havoc in the garden, tasting every cucumber and red tomato. Check out this coop at Life At Cobble Hill Farm,
Is it wrong to covet thy neighbors coop?
It would be wonderful to just add the out door portion pictured here to our current coop perhaps off a back chicken door. (I will have to confirm with "The Maintenance Boy". I am suffering from fresh egg withdrawals, fresh eggs another reason to long for spring.
Books, magazines and cooking is a lot of what gets me through the winter.
I did not get to the store today to purchase additional binders so the recipe organizing is on hold.
I did make and print some labels for the binders, so all is not a loss.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

as I was saying

nothing like fresh air, to slow a toddler down!

Working on 2011 Goals

This week end I have been working to organize some of my recipe collection.
In addition to my need to write menu's and my passion for cookingg, I collect recipes.
I print them from blogs, I rip them from magazines and copy them from books , I have piles.
One of my personal goals this year is to organize my recipes, and perhaps even showcase them.
 I looked at wicker baskets, pretty boxes and I considered using the scanner.

 I decided on clean white binders and wipe able pages, this gives me the option to take the recipes to the grocers and the stove.
 I have made six binders,so far one each for
Breads and Muffins
Soup salad sides
and Desserts/gifts
I need to buy more binders, but it's a start.

He LOVES the snow

Lager loves the snow!
This dog will play in the snow for hours, he loves it.

 Bob and I did chores this morning Lager played in the snow.
You have to see this to believe it, he is so happy rolling, jumping and running.He is truly like a toddler, you have to tell him when he has had enough, then drag him in kicking ( or bribe him with treats). The snow looks fun but do not be fooled it is cold, as low as 8 as high as twenty while chores were being completed, and windy.
I have a feeling he will later miss football Sunday , he will be tuckered out.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Bibs

Priorities change as you grow up, and your opinions change, too. Products  I would of once walked by, I now covet -- like insulated overalls! Today I purchased myself a set of insulated overalls, they were long over due. I own a set of overalls from Rods, with a floral trim and a matching jacket. These however are the real deal, no frill.Living in Maine (or any place in New England) doing farm chores requires the right tool for the job.
I already put them to very good use.
Up early and daily chores done, Bob Lager, and I took a road trip to Tractor Supply.
Once at TS we had a long list of must haves Bird Seed, Pig and Chicken feed, Bunny pellet, horse grain, shavings...on and on. I had in mind if "bibs" were on winter clearance I was buying some. Well as it turned out they were NOT on clearance, however they were 15% off. either way, they were coming home with me.
This afternoon Bob and I went trail riding through the woods, I wore my new "bibs" and I am glad I bought them.
To spite the temperatures, the ride was wonderful. We rode our Belgians through the woods in 18" snow, the trails were beautiful and so were the horses.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sixty Five Days

Till Spring, I think I can make it.
I just placed what is becoming my weekly King Arthur Flour order.

I am confident in saying I am a good cook, however I am honest enough to say I do not bake well.  The products (especially the mixes) are helping me to improve my baking skills. I believe the reason I have less success with baking is you have to be more patient and precise following direction as a rule I like to use recipes more as a suggestion.

This week my daughter Jessica sent me a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, this is right up my alley. Home cooking , real food, beautiful photo's...Hell it even has tips on photography and a good looking man.
It is a perfect fit to my collection, I was already following her blog.

Speaking of books I just, moments ago finished reading ;The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball it was so good. Reading this book I laughed and I cried it was delightful, a story about a couples life together building a farm.

Finishing a book is bitter sweet to me, I don't read many but when I find a good one it is nice to absorb it.
Last week I promised to share a chicken recipe I made, I am going to have to post pone that post.  I decided to enter a recipe Organic Gardening Winter Comfort Foods Recipe Contest with it, wish me luck.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Feeding The Plow Boy

The heading was written as an inside joke.
Bob often refers to himself as my"barn boy", this is a title he has taken on due to the large number of barn chores that always awaits him.
The New England winter storm of 2011 brought the farm 16" of snow before dark and 2+ after dark, so I am temporarily renaming Bob the "Plow Boy".
Yesterday with the driving wind and constant snow fall Bob could not start plowing until 3:00pm then the task was to get a path from paddock to barn. We both have our talents Bob is better with the plow and I am better in the kitchen, comparably so I set out to create food to feed the"Plow Boy".

New England Corn Chowder and Sausage , potato and leak Frittata.

 Corn Chowder

3 Medium-size potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 cups).

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can (11 oz) kernal corn, drained

1 can (8 3/4 oz) cream style corn

1 can (12 oz) evaporated Milk

1 Tablespoon butter or margerine

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Saute onions in OVOO. in large stock pot then add potatoes and water.
Bring potatoes and water and onion to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer 8-10 minutes for flavor to develop.

Frittata is one of those things that I prepare without a recipe because perfect fit for"what's on hand".
This is what I used for this particular frittata:

2 leek ( the white part and the inner leaves of the green part)
2 Baked potatoes (removed from skin)
Grated cheese – I used a mixture of Gruyere, Emmentaler and Parmesan – I used the amount that’s in the photo ??
7 eggs
A dash, maybe 1/4 cup, 1/2 n 1/2
Salt and pepper
Olive oil & butter

I cooked the potatoes in microwave then removed from the skin and added paprika.  I set the cooked potatoes aside and sauteed the leeks ( over medium-high) until they were tender, then browned the sausage, I added the potatoes to the skillet. I also seasoned  with salt and pepper as I was cooking them.

I turned the heat under my skillet down to medium.  Then I beat together the eggs, milk and some salt and pepper.  I added the egg mixture and started to scramble the eggs with the veggies and sausage.  Once curds began to form I added the cheese.  I continued to scramble just until everything was combined nicely and I let the whole mixture sit over the heat until the bottom set.  Once the bottom set, I put the whole thing in the oven and baked until the top was still a bit moist.  I turned on the broiler and broiled until everything was set and golden.  I cut my frittata into wedges and served it with the corn chowder.