Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple Pie

2 pie crust, 9, unbaked
8 apples; peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Grease pie plate and line with one pie crust. In a large bowl combine apples, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Mix well.

Place apple mixture in pie crust and dot with butter.

Cover with remaining pie crust, flute the edges and cut several vents into the top.

Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F and bake 30-40 minutes more, until the crust is slightly browned.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream, if desired.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Using Straw Instead of the Lawn Mower

Bales of Straw
I really hate to mow. It seems like such a waste of time and gas to me; finish the job and it only has to be done over and over again.

We have pastured out a lot of our land, but anytime I can come up with ideas to cut back on mowing I am happy.

Our gardening is all done in raised beds but there is all the space between the raised beds that has to be mowed every 4 days or so all summer long (we have the most amazing grass that never stops growing.) I have been complaining about it for quite a few years and have even, in past years, stopped mowing all together. This only causes problems in as far as we can no longer see the raised beds and then have a big mess.

This year my husband is working for a local farm helping with the hay. They do a few fields of oats, and then straw. One day he brought me a bale of straw to use on the strawberries. It was a lot more straw than I needed for the strawberries, so I decided to start using it between the raised beds. I put it on very thick and have been quite happy with the results.

Straw in Garden Path

He has since brought home 2 more bales, so I should have plenty to finish and have some leftover to start the spring with. I am hoping this will be the solution we are looking for. It sure does look nice!

Straw Around Raised Beds

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Raspberry Vinegar

Making flavored vinegar is surprisingly easy. This raspberry vinegar has turned out to be one of our favorites.

Raspberry Vinegar

Simply fill a jar about 3/4 with fresh raspberries (I have never tried it with frozen, so not sure how that would work). Then fill with a vinegar of your choice (we use homemade apple cider vinegar, but a white wine vinegar would be very good as well) leaving about an inch head space. Be sure that the raspberries are completely covered with vinegar.

Let sit in a cool, dark place about a month and taste. Ours has been sitting about 2 months and has gotten a wonderful raspberry flavor.

Use on chicken, pork, stir fries, fruit desserts and salads.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Firewood, Tree Lenght
Fall is my favorite time of year; the air is crisp, sunny days are abundant with vivid blue skies and the smells of all things fall are unbeatable. This includes the smell of freshly cut firewood.

Each year we say we are going to start our firewood early, and we never do. “Next year will be different,” we always say. However there is something about cutting wood in the cool days of fall that can’t be beat.

And now here we are, almost at the end of September and we are just getting trees out of the woods. They were cut down over a year ago and have gotten a good start on drying. We haul them out of the woods tree length (well, some are cut in half of thirds, depending upon the size) and we will cut them up and split them here in the yard. Six cords used to get us through the winter, however now we use the wood cook stove much earlier and later in the season so now we need about eight.

While I don’t enjoy the entire firewood process, I do enjoy stacking it. I love to see the empty wood shed getting fuller and fuller, stick by stick knowing how snug and warm we will be all winter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Easy Baking Recipes, Desserts: Apple Crisp

It's apple season here in Maine and therefore time to bake, bake, bake! I love the smell of anything apple while it cooks; such a nice "fall" smell!

Apple Ready To Be Picked
Apple Crisp

butter, for greasing
apples; cored and sliced
2 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup butter; melted

Preheat oven to 375°F

Butter a pie plate.

Fill pie plate 3/4 full of cored, sliced apples (OK to leave the skins on if they are organic).

Drizzle the maple syrup over the apples.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, honey and melted butter. Mix well.

Dot flour mixture on to the apples, covering as much as you can. Don't worry if all of the apples are not covered.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired

Friday, September 11, 2009

Easy Baking Recipes, Desserts: Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies

Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies

An easy to make cookie for the peanut butter lovers in your life.

Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir well.

Using a tablespoon shape the dough into balls.

Place on a lightly greased baking pan about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 12 minutes, the cookies will be soft to the touch.

Place on rack to cool.

Yield: 24 cookies

Flour-Less Peanut Butter Cookies

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Use For Old Lace

lace curtain cut-off
In the interest of "reusing and recycling" we are always trying to come up with clever ideas for unwanted items. Last night I was hemming some lace curtains and I had about an 8" piece that I cut off the bottom. Usually I save things like that for my crafty mother to use, but as I was folding it,I noticed the rough texture and wondered how a piece would work as a pot scrubber. So, I cut off a square of lace and scrubbed some dishes (actually I was cleaning my stove and used it on the burner covers). It worked really well, so I cut up the rest, folded them and put them in a stoneware bowl. Now I have some great pot scrubbers that look lovely until they are ready for use.

pretty pot scrubbers

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cooking With Zucchini: Zucchini and Cream

We are always trying to come up with recipes for using all our zucchini. This one was a big hit....something a little different.

Zucchini and Cream
Zucchini & Cream

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound baby zucchini; sliced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
salt and pepper; to taste

Combine dill weed and sour cream or creme fraiche. Set aside.

In a large skillet melt butter over high heat.

Saute zucchini until tender and golden.

Remove zucchini from pan and lower heat to medium low.

Add vinegar to de glaze pan. Add the cream mixture and mix well.

Stir in zucchini to heat.

Serves 4.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Animals On The Farm: Photos

Some days I could spend hours watching the animals do their thing, be it humorous, or just down-right cute.

Ivan. Ivan is a 4 year old Call duck. He is our only male duck.
Ivan Takes A Bath

Annabelle and Clifford. Annabelle is about 4 months old (the brown one, she is a Scottish Highland) and Clifford is 3 months old.
Annabelle and Clifford

Casandra, an Indian Runner duck.


Killmouseski. Killmouseski was dropped off at our house a few weeks ago. She has made herself quite at home.

Killmouseski Behind Bars

Jasper, The Ruler of the House
Jasper & Friend

Rebecca. Rebecca is a 7 year old Khaki Campbell Duck

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recipe For Making Sauerkraut

We use a gallon size glass jar for making our sauerkraut, and a potato masher for packing the cabbage.

Be sure the glass jar is throughly washed and rinsed.

It will take about 4 heads of cabbage to fill the jar, depending upon the size of your heads of cabbage.

Trim off the outer leaves of the cabbage, quarter and remove the core.
Slice the cabbage into thin slices.

Layer some canning salt in the glass jar, then some cabbage,(tamper with the masher between additions)a bit more salt, more cabbage, more salt etc. until the jar is full to about 4 inches from the top.

Using the potato masher, tamper down your cabbage after each addition. You will need to really pack the cabbage into the jar. You will be able to draw enough juice from the cabbage to cover it.

Wipe away any pieces of cabbage from the top of the jar. Place a food storage bag inside the top of the jar, fitting into the cabbage the best you can to keep air out of the jar. Put water in bag. This will keep air out of the sauerkraut.

Place the jar inside a pan (the juices will leak out) and keep an eye on the level of the juice in the jar. Add more water as needed.

Keep at room temperature and taste after 2 weeks. If the taste it to your liking, put on cover and refrigerate. If the taste is not sour enough, let sit longer, tasting every week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easy Baking Recipes; Breakfast: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Muffins

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Muffins
Here is an delicious, easy baking muffin recipe using no sugar, only honey!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
4 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a muffin tin.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.

Pour into muffin pan, filling each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, immediately remove from pan.

Makes about 10 muffins

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Muffin With Raspberry Jam