Tuesday, July 5, 2011

we've moved!

Liz is now posting here on a regular basis. Check in for farm & family news as well as lots of new recipes to come!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

vacation... hopefully!

One of the blogs I read regularly is having a contest... usually I don't get sucked into these re-post thingys but I just couldn't resist.
check it out!!


can you say P-A-R-I-S???

J and I haven't taken a vacation together since our honeymoon!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

rice pudding... yes, I like 'old people' desserts.

This is the rice pudding I made for the party I went to last week. Since I left the house in a wild rush fretting over granola and pudding, I didn't take any photos. Thankfully, someone else did! And yes, I brought individual ramekins. Pudding is so much nicer this way, rather than spooned out of a big bowl of gloppy sloppy-ness. (I just read about 27 pages of Shel Silverstein to Andrew... can you tell??)

Anyway, on to the recipe. I've gotten three requests for this over the past week, so apparently I'm not the only one who liked it!

Rice Pudding:
1 cup of brown rice (I used Hannaford brand organic long grain brown, any type would work I think but I wanted the nuttiness of brown, plus the whole grain nutrition)
2 cups of water

Boil the water, add rice and a dash of salt. Cook at a simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Almost all of the water should be absorbed.

1 cup of heavy cream
4 cups of whole or 2% milk
1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar, depending on how sweet you want the pudding to be (I think I used 1/2 cup then threw in a little extra. That's how I generally do things which, unfortunately, doesn't translate well to written recipes! Sorry!)
the scraped out 'caviar' of one vanilla bean. Or maybe 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract. But, really, I recommend the real thing. It costs a fortune but tastes so different and SO much better. Plus those little black flecks make it so pretty. If you are using extract, wait until you are done cooking the pudding to stir it in, otherwise it will all evaporate out. Extracts are alcohol based, alcohol evaporates at a much lower temp than the boiling point of most other common edible liquids... sorry, the Food Scientist in me escapes once in a while!

Now, you have Rice Soup. Don't despair (as I did!), it WILL turn to pudding. Cook over medium to medium low heat (maintain a gentle boil) for at least 30 minutes. Stir (almost constantly) as often as you can stand to being sure to not burn the bottom or wait so long that a film forms on the top. I hate to stir constantly, so I took the bare minimum route here, which may have been why my pudding took almost 45 minutes to pud' up. When the soup has reduced to a nice thick porridge looking mixture its probably a good time to stop. The pudding will set up just a bit more as it cools, and if its over cooked, you will lose some of the texture of the individual rice grains against the creamy part. Spoon or ladle into individual bowls or ramekins. I recommend letting it sit at room temperature for an hour or so, then topping with fresh whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream whipped with about 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar) and maybe some fresh berries... I actually had these for the party but left them at home in my haste that evening. Haste makes waste... or fresh berries with yogurt for breakfast the next day! You could also refrigerate the pudding. I did with the leftovers and ate some 4 days later. It was just as good, so I can say with confidence that it should keep for 4 days.


btw, I would not recommend making this for the first time when you are on a schedule. Rushing, fretting and bad hair at a social function may result.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

sewing for eleanor

I've been inspired by several of the sewing b l o g s I read on a regular basis. Also, I've been watching the "kids" portion of our budget so that we can get a playground for the yard this summer (yeah, that's my excuse for sewing for hours each night and I'm stickin' to it!). As a result of these two things, I have been doing a LOT of sewing for Eleanor's spring/summer wardrobe. I'm talking an average of 3-5 finished garments/outfits a week for several weeks now! One of these days I will get them all clean & together to document my work but for now here are a few action shots of the little lady.

her "spinning skirt" made with fabric leftover from another project, apparently inspires her to RUN

oustide - finally!! - in a tunic made from some Amy Butler I've been stashing for a while... actually used a pattern for this one too, which is a rare occasion, and it has pockets which she loves
this is a cheater "homemade" as I sewed a skirt onto an existing shirt that didn't match anything and never got worn

As you can see the she does not like to be still for photos or much else (other than eating!) but she is so stinkin' cute I can't help but keep making things for her!

Monday, April 25, 2011

regular granola

So last Friday I attended this party. I wasn't sure what to expect. My friend (well sort of... we don't know each other well but always seem to run into each other and have tons in common to talk about - one of these days I think we may actually hang out instead of just waiting for the next happenstance meeting!) Leslie writes her own food blog and contributes to the blog that hosted the party. Anyway, at this party there was the option to participate in a food swap: bring four containers of a homemade food item (bread/soup/jam/whatever), form groups of five swappers, swap, take home four new items to enjoy. I decided to make granola bars but thought I'd be smart and triple the batch so that I could bring 6 or 8 bars for each person in my group (like you'd get in a store bought box of bars). Unfortunately, when I decided to throw in a little extra of this and a little more of that, I didn't adequately increase the sticky gooey stuff that holds the bars together. SO, when chilled and cut the just crumbled. This was at approximately 5:15pm and the party started at 6pm about thirty minutes away. AND I was making vanilla nutmeg brown rice pudding (recipe post to come - it was awesome!!!) which had yet to pud' up so I was kind of freaking out about that at the same time. Thankfully Ashley was there to man the pudding situation and I went to plan B, smush up the bars, call it granola and throw it in mason jars. Turned out pretty OK after all. And I got lucky in the swap - I scored carrot spread, preserved summer squash, butterscotch bars, meringues, dilled carrots AND a bonus palak paneer which was nothing short of delicious. I hid that in the back of the fridge and have been eating it in stealth mode for lunch every day!

But, back to the point of this post. The granola I gave out in the jars was obviously not my regular granola - it had far more sugar, nut butters, fruit, etc. More of a "decadent" than "regular". So, I figured I would share my normal granola recipe here as well, since its the kind I don't feel like a total glutton eating on a daily basis. The other stuff surely is a treat!!

Regular Granola:
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup or a bit more chopped nuts - I like walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc. mix it up!
1/2 cup or a bit more dried fruit, chopped to raisin size or smaller - I always use some coconut and maybe raisins, cranberries, currants, apricots, etc.

In a medium bowl, zap the coconut oil, sugar and honey for a minute or so. Add the cinnamon (a pinch of nutmeg is good here too), salt and vanilla and whisk/mix until smooth. Add oats and mix until all the oats are coated evenly. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 325 for 10-15 minute, stirring once or twice at 5-7 minute intervals. The idea is to gently toast, NOT create brown spots. Add the nuts and stir in, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, again stirring once or twice. Remove from oven, cool, and stir in fruit.

Notes: this recipe can be doubled/tripled, whatever - but make sure you increase all ingredients accordingly and measure! Also make sure to use multiple baking sheets so that the granola has plenty of exposed surface area to dry out sufficiently and get nice and crunchy. AND whatever you do don't bake the dried fruit. Your teeth will thank you for remembering this. You can also switch out the vanilla for other extracts. One of our favorites is to use almond extract, almonds as the only nut and cranberries as the only fruit. Yum!