Thursday, April 3, 2014

My baby's growing up...

So many words and thoughts have ran through my head with plans of writing a blog post the last several months, but finding the time or getting the words to flow when I have time in front of a computer has been harder said then done.  But leave it to my baby AKA Little Sissy to get me back to blogging.  You see today our little girl turned 5.

It is such a bittersweet moment with each child as they grow older, meet new milestones, and achieve new accomplishments.  But I must admit it is even just a little bit harder with the baby.

When Big Sissy was born over 11 years ago, we didn't even own a digital camera.  Flash forward to when Little Sissy was born, 5 years ago today and essentially her entire life has been documented by some form of social media...



From the announcement of her arrival on Facebook




to the sippy cup wars,


her first swim lesson,


her first day of preschool on Instagram,


and her assistance at Farm Girls Freeze.

It is all there which makes access to quick reminders of the memories a little bit easier.



So here's to Little Sissy turning 5 and my hopeful return to blogging to help document the memories!


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Saturday, October 12, 2013

6 ingredient Beer Bread

Some of you may know I have a fear of baking with yeast.  My first experience was in 4-H and not a very good one so I have tended to shy away from baking with yeast my entire adult life even though I love baked goods made with yeast.  So that being said when I found the recipe for Beer Bread in Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest cookbook, I knew I had to try it especially since was recommended for serving with that Fried Corn Chowder we happened to love.



Beer Bread

Ingredients

3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
12 oz. can beer or non-alcoholic beer
2 T. butter, melted

Directions

In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add beer; mix well.  Pour into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan.  Drizzle butter on top.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 40-50 minutes, until golden.  Slice while still warm.  

Enjoy and I may or may not be able to speak from experience when I tell you that this bread is pretty dang good with the melted butter accidentally gets omitted.  (I found the melted butter in the microwave as I was cleaning up the kitchen after we ate our Fried Corn Chowder and Beer Bread.)

We have loved every recipe we have tried so far from Hometown Harvest so don't forget to enter for your very own chance to win a copy of the cookbook!

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

8 tips for meal planning

Feeding a farmer during planting and harvest season is not always an easy task and more than likely every farmer has their own "rules" for eating when they are busy in the fields. Over the past 13 years, I've tried to learn the "rules" of The Farmer and his dad, but even then it isn't foolproof.

However, I will say that these 8 tips usually serve my mother-in-law and I well.

8 tips for meal planning on the farm

  1. Supper will never ever be at the same time every night especially during planting and harvest season so we must be flexible as well as the meals we make and/or buy.
  2. A slow cooker can be your best friend, especially one with a keep warm feature.
  3. Sometimes fast food or carryout from a restaurant are your best option.
  4. Messy is never good whether we are talking about sauces, sandwiches, etc...
  5. Easy to eat is essential.  
  6. Planning is good essentially when it comes to meals, but you must also be flexible that plans can always change.
  7. Never try to guess what they are thinking.  Sometimes they will want to grab their food and go and sometimes they will stop and eat with you on the tailgate of the truck.  
  8. Be flexible, never take it personal, and enjoy every moment as some of our kids' best memories involve taking dinner to their dad or grandpa and sneaking in a ride in the tractor, combine, or semi.
So while following #1, #2, and #4, and possibly #5, #6, #7, and #8, I'd like to share this quick and easy recipe from Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest for Layered Potatoes & Onions.  

Layered Potatoes & Onions


Ingredients

3-4 lbs. potatoes, thinly sliced
3-4 lbs. yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 c. butter, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh chives to taste (optional)

Directions

In a slow cooker sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray, layer 1/4 each of potatoes, onions, and butter; add slat, pepper, and some chives.  Repeat layering, ending with butter and seasonings.  Cover and cook on high setting for one hour.  Turn slow cooker to low setting; cook for 5 hours more.  Serves 10-12 or one hungry farm family.  

Be sure to enter my giveaway to win your very own copy of Hometown Harvest!



Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.

Additionally, I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.  I'm one lucky girl!



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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fried Corn Chowder

The temperatures are starting to drop a little and on days like that soup sounds perfect to me.  So when I found this recipe for Fried Corn Chowder in Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest , I knew we were going to have to try it and we were not disappointed.  Even my normal non-soup eaters liked this chowder.



Fried Corn Chowder

Ingredients

3T. butter, divided
2 c. fresh or frozen corn
2 T. dried, minced onion
2 c. potatoes, peeled and finely diced (this was 4 potatoes)
2c. hot water
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 c. milk
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Directions

Melt one tablespoon butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Add corn; cook, stirring often, until tender.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a separate large saucepan or stockpot.  Add onion and cook until lightly golden, stirring often.  Add potatoes and hot water. Simmer until potatoes are tender.  Drain half of the liquid.

In a bowl, add flour to milk; whisk until no lumps are visible.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir flour mixture into hot potato mixture; blend well and stir in corn.  Simmer until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.  

Serve hot with Beer Bread and bacon bits if desired (unfortunately, we didn't have any bacon.).  Makes 6-8 servings.  

This chowder was relatively easy to make but my hands were busy so I apologize for the lack of photos during the cooking process.

This was the perfect lunch on a rainy Sunday even if we were slightly depressed since the rain is slowing down the harvest season on our family farm.  

Be sure to enter my giveaway for this awesome cookbook and good luck!


Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hometown Harvest Cookbook Giveaway

Harvest finally started on our family farm last week.  This is one of our family's absolute favorite times of the year.  And although it is not going quite as planned with some rain and fog the last few days, we are so excited for harvest to be here.  So when Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest cookbook arrived a few weeks ago, I was super excited to start cooking some new recipes that are perfect for the harvest season.


So far, we made Fried Corn Chowder and Beer Bread from the Church Social Soup Supper section.




Parmesan Pork Chops (recipes coming soon) from the Thanksgiving Dinner to Remember section


and Layered Potatoes & Onions from the Slow-Cooker Potluck Pleasers section.


And this is just the start.  There are several other recipes marked in the cookbook for us to try this harvest season.

Now besides getting to try new and exciting, yummy recipes with each Gooseberry Patch cookbook I get to review, the best part is that they always send me an extra one to give away to one of my lucky readers.  So here is where you can get in on the fun...

To enter the giveaway for one copy of Gooseberry Patch's Hometown Harvest, all you have to do is comment on this post.  You will have 3 opportunities to comment as follows:

1.  What is your favorite thing to eat/make in the fall?
2.  Which of the above recipes are you most excited to see on my blog?
3.  Which recipe would you rather see on this blog:  Tortellini Caprese Soup, Brussels Sprouts & Shallots, Turkey Noodle Soup?

It really couldn't be any easier.  This giveaway will run through October 14th.  Good luck!!!

Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. Additionally, this post does contain an affiliate link.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Easy On the Go Harvest Granola Rounds


Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day...

This isn't the first time I have said this. Unfortunately, this summer, we haven't seen a lot of it which hasn't been good for our corn and soybeans trying to grow in the fields.  Although it hasn't been quite as dry as last summer, it has definitely been less than desirable which is why rain this time of year is not exactly welcome. Rain this time of year will not help our crops as their growing season is over and harvest season is upon us; however, we can't harvest our crop if the ground is wet.  So after the rain this week, we will wait for it to dry up before heading to the fields and hope that harvest will begin soon.

That being said, I am always looking for quick and easy snacks that The Farmer can take with him when he is in the fields as harvest usually means long hours.  And this recipe is a super double bonus as it is not only quick and easy, but also rather nutritious, and can serve as a snack or breakfast.  I had seen a few recipes for these "health balls" floating around on the Internet, but when our great friend Nancy made some for The Farmer and I this summer, we were hooked and they will be the perfect snack for me to keep on hand during the upcoming harvest season.

Easy On-the-Go Harvest Granola Rounds



Ingredients
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Mix all ingredients together.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer.  Roll into rounds and store in air tight container.  (I made approximately 40 one inch rounds.)  Enjoy!!!!

Tips

  • Store in refrigerator if desired.
  • Pre-package 4-5 rounds in a sandwich bag for a grab 'n go snack or breakfast.
  • Perfect with a glass of milk



I am participating in Indiana's Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kid Friendly Apple Cranberry Pops

Now, I wouldn't have made it through the Farm Girls Freeze event without the help of Big Sissy and Little Sissy so it was only fitting that they decided to whip up their own recipe during the event as well from the same Gooseberry Patch Freezer Friendly Recipes cookbook.


Big Sissy and Little Sissy decided to make Apple-Cranberry Pops


Apple-Cranberry Pops

Ingredients
12 oz. can unsweetened frozen apple-cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
2 c. plain yogurt
2 t. vanilla extract


Directions
Mix ingredients together.


(After some trial and error and few messes, I would recommend adding the ingredients in the order of yogurt, concentrate, and vanilla and use a whisk to mix the ingredients together.)


Pour into small paper cups.


Insert a wooden treat stick into the center of each yogurt cup.  (We also learned through trial an error that they are some tricks to this step too, but you will have to stay tuned for those.)


Freeze overnight.

When ready to enjoy, let stand at room temperature for a few minutes; peel off paper cups.


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