Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Farm Girl Christmas


Farm girls are not like other girls. The gifts that touch our hearts are not jewels or furs. A new chicken coop, muck boots or a cider press are far more precious than gems. This weekend my wonderful husband drove six hours to pick up two beautiful dairy goats, an Alpine and a Sable, for me. They are due to kid in just three days. Think of those beautiful bouncing babies and fresh winter milk! That trip meant far more to me than any trip to the jewelry store ever could. I've been musing over the fact that I got a 'Sable' for Christmas. Most women would think it was a coat not a goat. Thus I was inspired to rewrite the 'Santa Baby' song so that it would apply to all us farm girls.

Santa Baby

Santa baby, slip a Sable under the tree, for me

I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, an Araucana laying hen, eggs -light blue

I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the animals


Think of all the time not spent at the malls
Next year I could be oh so good
If you'd check off my Christmas list
Boo doo bee doo

Santa honey, I wanna sheep and really that's cheap


I've been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, there's one thing I’d really dig, a pig


and he’ll need a pen too
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, fill up my Christmas socks with some tools for my box


Oh, that would be so fine
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and plant my orchard trees


With heirloom verities bought at nurseries
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one thing here, a Deere


I don't mean from the woods
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Saturday, December 3, 2011

And the Winner of the Goat Milk Laundry Soap is....

There were a total of 94 entries and with a little help from random.org We have our winner. Congratulations to:

 Gina Simpson!!

I really appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time to enter. I enjoy reading your comments and getting to know you all a little better. 
I'll have another giveaway sometime after Christmas and I can't wait to show you what it will be. 
~Have a Blessed Holiday Season~

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fresh Pumpkin Pie


I like old, tried and true recipes that use whole food as ingredients. I've been making this delicious pumpkin pie for nearly 20 years. It is remarkably simple. If you have never made a pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin puree you are in for a real treat!

Pumpkin Cream Pie
Makes 2 pies

Pastry for two 9 inch pies
6 cups fresh pumpkin puree
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 tea salt
1 tea nutmeg
1 tea ginger
2 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F
Prepare pastry in pie dishes
Combine all ingredients, mix well
Pour into pies, bake 40min or until set
Serve with fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

100% Pure Goat Milk Laundry Soap Giveaway





 Finally a chemical free, fragrance free, all natural goat milk laundry soap! Store bought detergent can be irritating to the skin and harmful to the environment. This is a wonderful alternative that leaves your clothes soft and clean


Natural, Handcrafted, Eco Friendly, Low-Sudsing 
100% Pure Goat Milk Laundry Soap
Directions:
1 Tbsp: High Efficiency/Front load Washers
2 Tbsp: Regular Washers
Use an extra Tbsp for heavily soiled laundry
Contains: Goat Milk Soap, Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda
For hard water we recommend using 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle
 32 Loads/1lb

Enter to Win!
I would like to give away a FREE pound of laundry soap with a wooden measuring scoop 
as the first in a series of Holiday Giveaways

There are three ways to enter, choose one or triple your chances by doing all three!
1. Comment on this blog post
2. Comment on my Facebook Page
3. Visit my website goatmilksoapandlotion.com 
and sign the guest book located at the bottom of the About Us page

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What do I have in my Hand?


What do I have in my hand? It is a beautiful old expression often heard around the farm. It is meant encourage us to look at what we already have in a more creative way. There is so much around us! Everywhere we look there are common items that can be brought to new uses or perhaps brought back to their original purpose. What do you have in your hand? Look around you.

So what do I have in my hand? This time of year the answer is pumpkins! Although the thick fleshed pumpkins cultivated specifically for culinary purposes are wonderful, many people don't realize that decorative, jack-o-lantern pumpkins can be used the same way.

Pumpkins are easy to work with.
Cut it in half, remove seeds, place cut side down on a sheet pan and bake at 375F until soft


Cool, scoop out the flesh, puree in a food processor, then drain for a few hours in a colander set over a large bowl.


Once the puree is sufficiently drained it is ready to use in any recipe calling for canned pumpkin or you can freeze it to use later. Now you will never have a shortage of pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin butter... You get the idea!



Quick and Easy Pumpkin Cake

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Combine all ingredients, stir well. pour onto a buttered half sheet. Bake at 350f  for 25 min. until done.
When the cake is cool sift powdered sugar over the top and serve.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Old Fashioned Goat Milk Lye Soap


Virtually unchanged throughout the ages, this is soap in it's purest form. The early pioneers of alchemy, mostly women, worked hard collecting rain water, filling leach barrels, and rendering trimmings in order to produce lye soap. Not only was this soap used to clean their families, homes and laundry it was also used to treat poison ivy and chiggers. The practice of adding goat milk to soap appears to be as old as the soap making process itself. Goat milk greatly improves the quality of soap, making a creamier bar with better moisturizing capabilities. If you thought lye soap was too harsh and irritating for your skin, try goat milk lye soap!

Old Fashioned Goat Milk Lye Soap
This recipe is by weight
16 oz lard
2.25 oz lye
6 oz frozen goat milk ice cubes

Equipment
Scale
Stainless Steal or heavy plastic bucket
Large Pyrex measuring cup
Thermometer
Spatula
Stainless steal or silicone whisk
Gloves
Goddles
Apron
Soap mold -your soap mold can be a simple plastic utility box

Lye Safety
Please read the following safety information regarding lye.

Keep children and animals away from lye. Lye is very caustic and can cause serious injury or even death if swallowed and can cause blindness if splashed into the eyes. 
Be very careful not to splash or spill the lye solution. When handling lye wear goggles, rubber gloves and long sleeves and an apron. Please be careful! 

With glove, goggles, long sleeves and apron on you are ready to begin
Weigh all ingredients
Warm Lard to 110F add to soap bucket, set aside
Place goat milk ice cubes into the Pyrex measuring cup
Carefully  add the lye and stir until the goat milk has melted
Carefully pour the lye/milk mixture into the melted lard
Stir with the whisk until the soap begins to thicken like cake batter
Pour soap into the mold, cover and allow to sit undisturbed over night until hardened
Remove soap from mold and cut into bars
Cure for 4-6 weeks
Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Goat and Oat Fudge Drops

This is a goat milk version of a classic cookie favorite!

Goat and Oat Fudge Drops (No Bake Cookies)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup goat milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar

Combine is a sauce pan over medium heat, boil three minutes

Add,
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oats

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper, cool completely before eating. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Make your own Curd Draining Bag

Artisan quality curd draining bags can be expensive. Even though you can use a pillow case to drain soft cheese it is nice to have professional equipment. These curd bags are easy and inexpensive to make.

Make your own Curd Draining Bag

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.36” wide Bleached Muslin (or a looser weave fabric if you prefer)
Cotton Draw String Cord
Single fold 7/8” Bias Tape


1. Cut 13 ½” of muslin. Fold is at the bottom, salvage is at the top.
2. Sew a ¼” seam on each side. Turn and press

3. Sew a 5/8” seam on each side enclosing the first seam.

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4. Cut 2 12” lengths of bias tape

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5. Open and press ends
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6. Sew top of bias tape to the top of the bag, turn bag wrong side out
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7. Fold the bias tape down and press

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8. Sew the bottom edge of the bias tape

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Repeat with the other side

9. Cut 26” of cord

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10. Thread the cord through the bias tape

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11. Turn inside out to finish

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Finished size 12 1/2" X 17"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rustic Cranberry Pecan Boule


This is my Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe with the addition of dried cranberries and toasted pecans. Perfect shared with good friends on a crisp fall evening with aged farmstead cheddar and a big glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rustic Cranberry Pecan Boule
This recipe is done by weight, not volume
Day 1
12 ounces Rye Starter
34 ounces bread flour
18 ounces cool water
1/2 cup whole grain flour (rye, wheat, spelt etc. or a combination)
2 Tablespoons sea salt

Combine all ingredients, knead 5 minutes, rest 20 minutes

Add 4 1/2 ounces lightly toasted pecans and 4 1/2 ounces of dried cranberries

Knead 5 minutes

Turn into an oiled bowl, cover and ferment at room temperature 4 hours

Shape boules, turn into floured basket cover with plastic wrap retard overnight in the refrigerator

Day 2

Remove baskets from the refrigerator and replace the plastic wrap with a proofing cloth to avoid condensation

Proof at room temperature 6 hours of until internal temperature of the dough is 66F

Turn basket onto a cornmeal dusted baking sheet, score the top of the boule with an X

Bake in a 400F oven for 35-45 minutes until well browned

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Folklore and Fancy


One thing I look forward to in the fall is collecting hedge apples in the woods. The brilliant chartreuse color looks like something found only in a fairyland. Hedge apples are the fruit of the Osage Orange Tree. The large grapefruit sized inedible fruit has been placed in households for ages. Folklore touts the hedge apple as a holistic way to ward off spiders and creepy crawlers through the early winter months. The Hedge apple's average lifespan is about 3 months when gathered fresh off the tree. Even though they lose their scent after a few weeks fresh ones smell like oranges and pine.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Goat Parmesan

Goat Parmesan Aged 10 Months

Since the early middle ages Parmigiano-Reggiano has been the pride of Italy. Prized as highly as gold, today there are Italian banks that have temperature controlled vaults specifically designed for aging Parmigiano-Reggiano. Huge 80-85 pound wheels stacked 33 feet high are cared for by specially trained bank employees for up to two years. No wonder the banks are willing, Parmigiano-Reggiano retails in the U.S.A. for $26.00/lb so each wheel is worth approximately $2,000. Artisan cheese makers offer up to 25% of their cheese inventory as collateral to keep cash flowing while the cheeses age. So you see, cheese in the cave is like money in the bank!

Goat Parmesan

Warm 4 gallons of fresh goat milk to 90F

Sprinkle 1/2 tea of thermophilic DVI culture onto the surface of the milk, allow it to rehydrate a few minutes then incorperate it into the milk

Cover and ripen 40 minutes

Dilute 1 teaspoon of rennet in 1/2 cup of cool water add it to the cheese milk, stir well

Maintain temperature for 45 minutes until clean break is achieved

Cut curd to 1/4 inch, rest 10 minutes

Stir curd with a large whisk while raising the temperature to 125F over an hour, let curds settle

Drain curd, place in a cheese cloth lined press

Press at 5lbs for 15 min, remove from press, flip and redress
Press at 10lbs for 30 min, remove from press, flip and redress
Press at 15lbs for 2 hrs, remove from press, flip and redress
Press at 20lbs for 12 hrs, remove from press, submerge in a 20% brine solution 20hrs

Dry at room temperature for 3 days turning daily, when dry coat with olive oil every few months
Ripen at 53F for 6 months or many years,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bohemian Rye

It really hasn't been until resent history that baking ovens could be found in every home. In fact the village oven can still be found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. For centuries the village oven was fired every other day and women would come from outlying hamlets bringing their baskets of dough ready to rise on the hearth. Gypsies and vagabonds would join the townswomen bringing news from afar. Baking was a festive, social event. This rustic loaf has its roots in ancestry such as this!

Bohemian Rye

Day 1 ~ Preferment
1 cup Rye Starter
1 cup luke warm water
1 cup bread flour
1 cup freshly ground rye

Combine and ferment at room temperature overnight

Day 2 ~ Final Dough
Proof Yeast ~ add 2 teaspoons of instant yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Add:
     2 cups  freshly ground Rye
     2 cups  bread flour
     2 Tablespoons brown sugar
     2 Tablespoons oil 
     1 Tablespoon salt
     1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
     Preferment from Day 1
Knead for about 7 minutes adding more bread flour as needed to achieve a light elastic dough that is not too sticky.
Rise 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size
Divide into three round loaves, proof in basket about 30-40 min
Turn basket onto a cornmeal dusted baking sheet
Bake at 375F for 35 min.
Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dolly Freed: One Awesome Possum!



The summer I graduated from high school, in the shop-till-you-drop era of consumerism and Reaganomics, I read a book that saved me from the yuppie expectations and showed me how simple life could be. The timing was magical.

Though it might be difficult to present Dolly Freed as an artisan she is so inspiring that I can't help but mention her. Dolly wrote Possum Living in the rescission area of the 1970's. She was18 and had left school in the 7th grade at the age of 12.

This is a survival guide, but not for the reasons you might think. Dolly's brand of survival is of the 'Bloom Where You're Planted' sort. It posses the question, if you were to strip away all the trappings of your life who would you be? Could you survive? Could you be happy?

There is a sad, troubling thing happening between the lines. Aside from Dolly's pluck and cheer there is the underlying truth that she is living in poverty with an alcoholic father who seems at once overly permissive and possessive of his daughter. Dolly fully adopted his desire to live outside the money economy and at times, even the law. She is passionate but still very young and idealistic.

After writing Possum Living Dolly put herself through collage without a student loan and went on to become an aerospace engineer at NASA. When Dolly decided that she wanted a career closer to nature she went back to school and got a masters in environmental education with a specialization in biology. Later, when there was no funding to start an environmental education program she developed a pilot program on a shoestring budget that was an overwhelming success.

In the 2010 reprint Dolly includes an afterward that explains how she moved forward from Possum Living keeping her love of nature and simplicity while living within 'the system'.

You don't need to go the whole Possum, raising rabbits and chickens in the basement and distilling moonshine in the kitchen, to benefit from Dolly's wit and wisdom!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goat Milk Swiss

My Goat Swiss

 The green rolling hills of Emme Valley of Canton Bern in west central Switzerland are home to a culinary wonder. A wild propionic shermanii bacteria settles on the clover growing in the high alpine pastures. Historic cheese mongers would gather the clover blossoms and make a tea to inoculate their cheese milk. The action of the propionic bacteria forms CO2 and as the cheese aged it would swell forming large holes.

Very few home cheese makers can achieve the classic large eye formation. For that, you need to make very large wheels. The bigger the cheese, the more CO2 becomes trapped forming eyes. On small cheeses, the CO2 escapes through the surface without making the classic big eyes. So, while french milkmaids were making their petite soft fresh cheeses in the villages, men of the Alps made huge 200 pound wheels of this hard cheese that could survive the rugged journey down the mountains.

For home cheese makers the Emmental class of cheeses are best made in the spring or fall when the air temperature tends to be ideal for eye formation. Although this cheese is traditionally made with milk from local cows such as the Swiss Brown, Simmental, Fribourg and Eringer, I find it works equally as well with my goat milk. I usually double this recipe but still use just 1/2 tea propionic shermanii.



Emmental (Classic Swiss)

Warm 2 gallons of fresh goat milk to 90F

Sprinkle 1/4 tea of thermophilic DVI culture onto the surface of the milk, allow it to rehydrate a few minutes then incorperate it into the milk

Dissolve 1/2 tea propionic shermanii into 1/4 cup of warm milk, add it to the cheese milk and stir

Cover and ripen 15 minutes

Dilute 1/2 tea rennet into 1/4 cup of cool water, add it to the cheese milk and stir well

Maintain 90F for forty minutes until you reach break

Cut curd into 1/4 inch cubes, rest 10 min

Use a whisk to continue cutting the curd, raise temperature to 120F over 40 minutes

Hold temp at 120F for 30 minutes while continuing to stir with the whisk

Drain curd, place in a cheese cloth lined press,

Press at 10lbs for 15 min, remove from press, flip and redress
Press at 15lbs for 30 min, remove from press, flip and redress
Press at 15lbs for 2 hrs, remove from press, flip and redress
Press at 15lbs for 12 hrs, remove from press, submerge in a 20% brine solution 12hrs at 70F

Ripen at 53F for one week, wash daily with brine
Ripen at  60F-65F for 3 -4 weeks foe eye development, wash daily with brine
Ripen at 53F for 3 months, wash weekly with brine

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Laying Hens for your Farmyard Flock


I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing my chickens, they are so much fun to watch. I used to spend hours going over poultry catalogs choosing  interesting chickens for my flock. I would select rare breeds or those I thought were especially pretty. Over the years I've adopted a few favorite breeds primarily for egg production, ability to forage and longevity. I also insist on birds that don't tend to get scruffy looking and I won't tolerate aggressive breeds that hen peck.

Road Island Red
The Road Island Red is the quintessential little red hen. With deep red plumage, an easy going personality and excellent performance she will lay her dark brown eggs consistently for years. They are cheerful, excellent foragers and one of the most docile hens you will ever meet.

Barred Plymouth Rock
 The Barred Plymouth Rock is beautiful and hardy. They can be broody and are known to be excellent mothers. During WWII  the Barred Rock was the most popular farm chicken. They happily lay their light brown eggs year round and are considered 'the Hereford of the poultry world'.

Black Star
Although I gravitate toward heritage poultry out of principal, I can't help but love the Black Stars. They are a hybrid cross between a Road Island Red rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen. In my opinion they are the total package. Not only do they have a sweet dispossession, they are extremely prolific layers and easy keepers.

This Red Leg is five years old and still laying almost every day!
 The Red Leg certainly bares mentioning. This is another old cross using a Road Island Red rooster and a White Leghorn hen. This plucky  little white flecked hen is an egg laying machine. They are so tame they will follow you around like a pet! I had one that thought she was a goat. No matter how many times I'd put her to bed in the coop the next morning she'd be sleeping on the back of one of my goats. When the goats came in for milking she would come into the milk parlor and proudly lay her light cream colored egg in a coiled up hose! Red Legs are getting hard to find but Central Hatchery has wonderful, hardy chicks and I recommend them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And the Winners Are....



I want to thank every one who entered the Organic Goat Milk Lotion Giveaway!!! I'm thrilled so many of you are interested in my products. Now, to select the winners...

First I assigned a number to each entry, there were a total of 57. Then I went on over to  random.org. I set the integer generator to select 3 random integers since I wanted three winners. I set the value between 1 and 57 in order to correspond with the number of entries. I clicked 'Get Numbers' and voila, the numbers appeared!

#52 Vickie Bell
#40 Leann Lindeman
#22 Paula Bowser

Congratulations to the lucky winners! Please contact me via facebook or at providencehillfarm @ sbcglobal dot net with your mailing address and I'll ship your soap and lotion right away. I plan to do regular, frequent givaways so if you didn't win this time watch for the next givaway during the Holidays!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Corn Chowder


Late summer when the weather starts to cool off my mind wanders to this recipe. An old time family favorite, this recipe is loosely adapted from the New Laurel's Kitchen.


Corn Chowder
Serves 6-8 hungry people

To a large soup pot add,
1 bunch of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cups diced potato

Add 1 tablespoon of salt and water to cover simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked and 2 cups of fresh raw corn off the cob (canned or frozen if you don't have fresh)

While the potatoes are cooking make a white sauce with 1 stick of butter, a half cup of flour and 3 or 4 cups of milk. Add the white sauce to the soup. be careful not to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add diced cooked crispy bacon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Organic Lotion Giveaway


I like to describe the difference between store bought and handcrafted soap and lotion as the same as the difference between a beautifully baked loaf of homemade bread fresh from the oven and a loaf of Wonder bread from the grocery store shelves. Now, if you consider the difference between a home baked loaf made with organic ingredients and conventional home baked bred there is a subtle improvement in flavor but not a remarkable difference in quality. However, your body will receive far more nourishment from the organic one. It is the same with bath and body products.

Many people don't realize that the skin is the body's largest organ. And, as with all body organs, it serves a vital purpose. The skin's function is detoxification. The skin can not function properly if it is bogged down dealing with topically applied toxic chemicals. Only the freshest and most natural subsistence's should be used for skin care. 

Moving to organic ingredients and more eco friendly packaging has been a long term goal of mine. Finally, after months of research, formulation and testing my new organic lotion is ready!
 
Our new organic goat milk lotion is made with;
Purified Water, Organic Aloe Juice, Organic Goat Milk, Organic Shea Butter , Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Emulsifying wax NF, Vegetable Stearic, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Witch Hazel, Natural Vitamin E, Olive Leaf Extract, African Red Bush Extract Ginko Biloba Extract, White Tea Extract, Green Tea Extract, Natural Coconut Derived Preservative,
 Fragrance and/or Essential Oil

 All wrapped up in a snazzy eco friendly aluminum bottle!



For my blog followers I'll be giving away 3 soap and lotion sets.

This giveaway starts today and ends October 10th 6AM
There are three ways to enter, choose one or triple your chances by doing all three!
Three lucky winners will receive a goat milk soap and lotion set!

First entry: You must be a blog follower and post on this thread saying that you want entered! 

Second entry: Go to my website goatmilksoapandlotion.com and sign the guest book located at the bottom of the About Us page

Third entry: 'Like' Providence Hill Farm on Facebook

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Today, Hot Tamale!


This is the first meal from my cooking plan. Like enchiladas, tamales can be pretty time consuming. One overlooked benefit of the 30 meal plan is that you don't just save time by having the food prepared, you save time with kitchen clean up. With the Mexican spiced beef already prepared all I had to do was wrap and steam the tamales and make a side dish.

To make the tamales I soaked dried corn husks is hot water and added enough hot water to a few cups of corn masa to make a workable dough. When the husks were soft I tore one into strips to tie the tamales. Then, with a husk open I pressed 2 tablespoons of masa into a square on the widest upper quarter of the husk. Next, spoon the filling down the middle of the masa, roll over one turn to seal the meat in the masa, fold the narrow end of the husk up, roll the tamale to close and finish by tying is closed with a strip of husk. Once you have all the tamales rolled steam them for about an hour and a half.

To go with the tamales I made a simple confetti rice salad with cilantro lime dressing. It is just cold cooked rice with drained black beans, corn, diced peppers and chopped cilantro. The dressing is oil, lime, garlic, salt, and chili powder. Once a month cooking never looked so good!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Once a Month Cooking Revisited



Wait! Before you navigate away with a 'been there done that' attitude hear me out. I have learned a few things about this meal plan since I first tried it out in the early 90's and I want to share it with you.

First, this cooking plan works best if you give yourself permission to continue to make dinner when it suits you. Just because you have 30 meals in the freezer doesn't mean that is all you can serve your family for a month. Next, don't make more than 2 of any recipe. If you haven't made a lasagna in years then all of the sudden you are serving it every Thursday, your family will be confused and secretly hope that you will lose the recipe again. Don't try too many new recipes. There are a ton of recipes for this kind of meal plan but don't try to use this time for a mass experiment. As a kindness, offer your family some recognizable dishes. Also remember you don't need to live this way. Once a month cooking can be a great trick to pull out of your hat for times when you know you will be busy, a new baby, the start of the school year, canning or kidding season are a few times you might be glad dinner is in the freezer.

I got home from shopping at 2:30 and by 6:00 I had prepared 26 meals for $117! This included the cost of the meat since my fall beef and chickens aren't ready for the freezer yet.
9 Chicken entrees (9 meals)
8 lbs Mexican Beef (8 meals)
5lbs Meat Balls (5 meals)
Pizza (4 meals)
26 meals

For the Mexican Beef I put 8 pounds of ground beef in the crock pot on high with chopped onion and garlic and let it cook while I put the meatballs together. Some ideas for beef recipes can be found on Menus4moms The chicken entrees were of the Dump Chicken variety, super easy. If you are using whole fryers from the freezer just put them, a few at a time, into a stock pot of cold water. Fryers are easier to cut while they are mostly frozen if you have a very sharp knife. Once the chicken was in the freezer I drained the cooked beef from the crock pot and added the tomatoes and seasonings. I didn't premake the pizza I just put the pepperoni and Canadian bacon in the freezer.

I made 7 different chicken entrees, so only 2 repeats. I can do so many different things with the Mexican beef, everything from enchiladas and empanadas to tacos and tamales not to mention super nachos and chili. The Meatballs will be for spaghetti and meatballs, baked rotini, pesto penne with Italian vegetables and meatballs, Scandinavian meatballs and sweet and sour meatballs. Pizza for Friday night Pizza night.

So there you go! Once a month cooking as easy as you please. No huge stock pots bubbling away and no casseroles. If you're pressed for time give it a try :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Upcycled Vintage Aprons



An apron brings a certain charm to everyday work. Something happens when I tie my apron strings, my mind clears and I feel like I can accomplish everything on my endless to-do list . 

I used to barter for aprons with a friend but she has put off sewing for a while with twin toddlers and a new baby needing her attention. I was inspired to try making a few upcycled aprons from vintage linens I found at the thrift store. I whipped these half aprons up quickly and I have some pretty full aprons in the works.



I found a set of curtains with pretty vintage trim

This is what it looked like after I cut it,

and this is all that was leftover.
 
I made two aprons from the curtains, one to keep and one to sell or barter.

 I also bought a few vintage pillow cases which make very pretty aprons.
Grandma's Apron
Author Unknown
I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears…
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men-folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.