Wednesday, December 5, 2012

beyond pinned

This craft would have made my canning and crafty grandmother proud.  It also stands as proof that I not only "pin" things, I make them--and my time spent on Pinterest isn't such a bad thing.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I am enjoying, once again, the warm light of these candles.  It has been too long since I have used them and they are a beautiful addition to the living room in the new place that I call home.  There have been many reasons lately to have these candles lit--they are lit for the loved ones of mine and friends who need our healing thoughts.  They are especially lit for my littles ones as they adjust to their new surroundings.

Friday, July 20, 2012

{this moment}

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual:

A moment that I will cherish, a chance meeting with this majestic animal.

Happy Friday friends!

Friday, May 25, 2012

{this moment} onstage

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual.  This is a moment that I want to remember and reflect upon with such joy and excitement:

Wishing you a wonderful Friday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

{this moment} dig

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual:
Coloring page compliments of my 3 year old--I think she did a great job staying in the lines!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

pine mulch

I anxiously await the taste of our first strawberry this year.  I have switched to pine needle mulch this year as I read that it helps to produce a "wilder" tasting strawberry.  And, unlike the straw mulch used in years past, it's free and gathered from our land.  Regardless of any taste difference, I will probably proclaim these berries as the sweetest.
My oldest daughter was excited to learn of the wild strawberries she found in the asparagus patch and potted them in hopes of tasting the tiny berries.  I just love kids in the garden.

Monday, May 7, 2012

multigrain banana muffins with chocolate chips

The promise of warmer weather has not yet arrived and so my baking continues.  Hot muffins fresh from the oven are what I like to serve my little ones to help them start the day (it helps this mama too).

As you can see above, I baked some of the muffins with paper liners (I like using these) and others without.  These muffins have such a tender crumb that I would advise the use of paper liners.

My recipe is adapted from the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins by King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup melted butter or cooking oil of your choice
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe banana, about 2 medium of 1 1/2 large bananas
1 large egg (preferably free ranging)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk or half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
1 cup Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup rolled oats
Streusel topping, if desired

1.  Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and stir with a whisk.
2.  In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar for approximately 3 minutes.
3.  Beat in the mashed banana, the egg, vanilla and the milk.
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat to combine.
5.  Stir in the chocolate chips and oatmeal.

At this point, you could scoop the batter into your muffin tins, top with streusel (if desired) and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven.  I like to make the batter up the night before and store it covered, in my refrigerator.  The next morning, I bake and serve these delicious muffins.

Do you have a favorite muffin or breakfast recipe?

Friday, May 4, 2012

{preserving} Rhubarb Chutney

With the arrival of 5 pounds of rhubarb (that's what happens when I comment on the lushness of my dad's rhubarb plant), it was time to start canning.  The last month has found me gathering my canning equipment, marking pages in my cookbooks, and trying to come up with a plan.

Rhubarb Chutney
 Adapted from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich

2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 3/4 pounds rhubarb, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Grated zest of 1 orange
One 4-inch cinnamon stick
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup currants
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1.  In a non reactive pot over medium heat, heat the vinegar and sugar, whisking until the sugar dissolves.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Simmer about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.  Remove the cinnamon stick.  Scoop the chutney into seven half-pint mason jars, and close the jars with hot two-piece caps.  Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Remove jars and listen for jars to seal.  Any jars that do not seal, store in refrigerator.  There may be a small amount of chutney left in your pot to enjoy immediately.

Makes 3 1/2 pints of a tart, sweet and spicy chutney.

I enjoyed this chutney last night with roast chicken and it will be a great addition to my Thanksgiving table this fall.

What recipes do you enjoy making with rhubarb?

{this moment}

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual:

Rhubarb Chutney

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

4 lovely new hens

Our flock has four new members~

Black Beauty
(Black Giant)

Miss Hallobride (at least that's what I think that my almost 3 year old daughter was yelling from the back seat on the ride home from getting these hens)
(Rhode Island Red)

(Barred Rock)

(Araucana--the first all white one that I have seen)

These new gals are still adjusting to their new home and "coopmates".  Our youngest rooster, Feather Feet (a very large Brahma), has been keeping them company in the coop as some of our new hens have not ventured out to the chicken yard.  

We added these hens to our flock because we've had a few losses this spring--possibly to an owl or opossum or both.  Our flock will not be free ranging for a while as we are starting to plant in our gardens and they would feast on our efforts.

I hope this Monday finds you well!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

{this moment} honoring

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual (a day late):
Honoring our ancestors.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2012

a lovely spring dip in my favorite stoneware and a giveaway link

At this time of year, with warm summer-like days and cold temperature nights, I feel torn between the substantial meals of winter and the fresh tastes of spring.  The BA Foodist delivered the perfect mix of substance and freshness, all the while writing about one of my favorite places to eat when I lived in Atlanta--Houston's restaurant.  My version of Andrew Knowlton's Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip (Bon Appetit April 2012) includes my almost spring offerings from my garden:  over wintered leeks and garlic chives:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Add 1/4 cup sliced leeks (which have been rinsed well to remove any sand) to 2 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium low until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
Add 2 Tbsp of white whole wheat flour (use AP flour if that's what you have on hand) to saucepan and whisk while the flour cooks for approximately one minute.
Add 1 1/4 cups of whole milk, 1 tsp sea salt, and cracked black pepper to taste to the saucepan and whisk while mixture simmers and thickens slightly.
Add one package of frozen, chopped spinach (which has been thawed, drained and squeezed to get most of the water out), one 14 ounce can or jar of chopped artichokes (drained), 1/2 grated sharp white cheddar, 1 tsp garlic chives and 2 ounces of goat cheese to the saucepan and stir well.
Place mixture in your favorite 4-5 cup baking dish (mine is stoneware) and dot with 2 ounces of goat cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and slightly browned on top.
Sprinkle with an additional 1 tsp of garlic chives and let rest for 5 minutes.
Share with a friend.  Serves 4-6.

Rhonda is my source for my favorite stoneware and more benefits of cooking with stoneware can be found here.

I also want to share today a wonderful giveaway from HerbalRootZine.  Make sure that you visit their website for a chance to win the April 2012 issue!

How's does this Monday find you?

Friday, March 9, 2012

{this moment} learning

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual:
Learning that this is not the best way to boil down our maple sap, but we are committed to use what we have on hand.

I hope this Friday finds you well!

Monday, March 5, 2012

in the mail ~ seed+art

My seed order arrived from Hudson Valley Seed Library today.  I had to share its' beauty:
Isn't she radiant?

It's important to me to wisely spend our money to support businesses that have similar values to my family's.  I splurged on two of the "art packs" and can't wait to frame them for our kitchen.

For the seeds that will not be sown directly once things warm up (a lot), they will join those seeds we saved and taken to Kelly, our local greenhouse owner for starting.

I welcome the arrival of spring--the return of our lovely garlic chives, our asparagus, and our black raspberries.  I am not wishing for spring to arrive earlier than it should as I am busy with a new seasonal task--that of making our own maple syrup from the trees that grace our land.

I hope that you will visit the Hudson Valley Seed Library website (or in person--that would make a great field trip!) and enjoy the art and variety of seeds.

What new garden resources have you found?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

25 gallons

Filling a 5 gallon bucket.

This post was originally titled "15 gallons", but that was before I checked 3 of the 6 maples trees that we are tapping for sap.  I have run out of 5 gallon buckets (used to receive sap from the 2 gallon tree buckets) and am busy cleaning other containers in our home so that we do not lose some of the sap from the trees.  One of the 5 gallon buckets has already been emptied into my large kettles on my stove.  Clearly (ahem), the initially boiling of sap is an outdoor activity--my hair is a little wavier, my indoor plants love the balmy atmosphere that the sap boiling has created, and I am now left with the task of wiping ceilings and windows down.  In the works for this weekend is an outdoor fire pit to boil down the sap.  I am on the hunt for a suitable kettle to use outdoors and hoping for good weather, no blizzards please.

Unrelated, be equally important:  my seed orders have been placed and Kelly (our generous greenhouse owner) is awaiting our seeds for starting.  We're coordinating our efforts to avoid duplication and I am eager to try some new varieties from Sand Hill Preservation and Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Hope this Leap Day is treating you well!

Friday, February 24, 2012

{this moment} Dazzle

Linking to Soulemama for a Friday ritual:

Wishing you and yours a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soule Spile

Our first season of sugaring has begun.  My husband purchased a variety of spiles from our local hardware store and we spent a few hours over the weekend selecting, drilling and tapping our maples trees.

We are enjoying these books:

Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell

Sugartime: The Hidden Pleasures of Making Maple Syrup with a Primer for the Novice Sugarer by Susan Carol Hauser

And enjoying these online resources:

edible Grande Traverse  ~ this resource discusses the health benefits of maple syrup and has beautiful pictures.  ~ they have a lovely post on the Sap Moon.

My mother recently gave me her beautifully kept 7th edition of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (circa 1942) and I was delighted to see many recipes that use maple sugar.

I like how Will Weaver describes maple sugaring in his forward to Sugartime:
"It is more than the work of one night or one week; its rhythms are measured in sunlight and shadow, in the tilt of the earth's axis and in the ancient memories of trees."

I think of his statement as my family adds a new venture to our path of living mindfully and enjoying these moments on our land.

Have you tried sugaring?  Do you have a favorite maple recipe to share?  I would love to read about it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Uncommon Weather

I am usually not one to complain of mild temperatures.  I enjoy the winter daylight and being able to take photographs of objects that would be otherwise snow-covered.

Darth Vader and his hens.
 I am sure that the chickens enjoy free ranging during a time where normally, we do all we can to keep them warm.


We have done a lot to prepare for this winter, which was forecasted to be quite severe.

My concern, as I surveyed the fruit trees in our orchard and children's garden, was--do they think that Spring will soon arrive?

2011 planting in apple orchard.

How is winter treating you?

Friday, February 3, 2012

{this moment} crafting hands

Joining Soulemama:
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

Happy Friday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

{this moment}

Linking to Soulemama for :
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."
. . . . . . . .

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ferment: Sourdough Starter

I am joining Tara Austen Weaver in her Sourdough Challenge found on her blog, Tea + Cookies.  My house is kept at a balmy 67 degrees in the winter, so I used her oven light method for my heat source.  I kept checking the temperature of my empty, light on oven throughout the day and was worried that I couldn't keep the starter at the recommended 70-80 degrees.  As seen in my photo above, I gave the starter a jump start in my open slow cooker, using the "warm" setting to get the starter to 80 degrees.  My meat thermometer is pierced through the plastic wrap, which is loosely covering my canning jar filled with starter.  I moved it to my unheated oven, where the light for the oven has kept it at 80 degrees.  I used 1/3 cup of rye flour and 1/4 of reverse osmosis water from our tap.  Let's hope this works!

 I have been reading about making a special sourdough starter, Biga, which uses grapes as part of the starter.  Our grapevine produced very well last summer and I hope to create my own biga this year.  I really like the thought of having a flavorful sourdough uniquely made by the fruits of my labor, so to speak.

Winter grapevine

Pizza will be the first use of my (hopefully) successful sourdough starter later this week.  I've placed my order for more spelt flour from our local coop and like spelt's multi grain aspects without being too heavy.  Other recipes that I hope to try:

Berkeley sourdough bread

Sourdough Black Forest Cake

Cranberry-Oat Sourdough Scones

Are you tempted to join the sourdough challenge?

Friday, January 20, 2012

{lemon love}

Lemons are playing a prominent role in our dishes these days.  This time of year really needs lemon's spark and it's cleansing abilities.  I keep one on the cutting board most days to add slices to water, tea, salads and fish dishes.

Here are some of the dishes that we hope to try soon:
::  This drink by Leon via Simply Cooked because we've had a rough weak, healthwise
::  Lamb Stew

I can't think of the last time that I made lemon bars and I'm looking for an interesting new recipe (maybe with a gluten free shortbread as it's base?).

What ingredient is prominent in your cooking these days?

Friday, January 13, 2012

{this moment}

Inspired by Soulemama:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Warming Soup

I have been drawn to soups with spice and substance.  For me, the task of toasting whole spices and then grinding them makes a meal feel even more homemade.

This recipe called for toasting the cumin and for that task I use my grandmother's cast iron skillet.

Black Bean Soup with Chili, Coconut Milk and Lime
Adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

2 tablespoons sunflower seed or olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile or minced chipotle in adobo, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus a little extra for garnish
Two 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans, preferably organic  (I used these)
1 can coconut milk (about 15 ounces)
Sea Salt
Juice of 1 to 2 limes, to taste

1.  Heat the oil in a wide soup pot, then add the onion, cumin, chile, and cilantro and cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, for about 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water, lower the heat, and continue cooking until the onion is soft, about 12 minutes in all.

2.  Pour in the beans plus their liquid, 2 1/2 cups water, and the coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

3.  Puree a cup or so of the beans and return it to the soup.  Or puree all of the beans if you prefer a smooth soup.  Season with salt and stir in the lime juice.  Serve garnished with a pinch of chopped cilantro.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Day Eggs

Our first eggs of the year.  My photography does not do justice to the brilliance of the blue egg that was laid by one of our hens.  One of the lovely eggs was used for the Sweet Potato Caramel Cakes by One Haute Plate.  I substituted one whole baked sweet potato for the canned sweet potato called for in the recipe and also used my vanilla scented turbinado sugar for both the cake and the caramel.  They are delightful little cakes (shown below, dressed in -- yes-- a princess cupcake liner) and I think they would pair well with a stabilized whipped cream topping, as they are tender and light.