Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's been cookin' in our kitchen today.

Whew, I don't remember doing that much cooking in a LONG time but we did make some of my favorite stuff for a trip to the cabin this weekend.

I made chicken salad with whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken breasts, red grapes, apples, green onions.

We made lemon curd and sugar cookies. Oh my how I love lemon curd. This would also be really good in a pie shell with a little whipped cream or even angel food cake.

Lemon Curd
6 large lemons, zested and juiced
2 cups sugar
8 eggs
1 cup butter, melted

Put zest and sugar into food processor and combine. Add lemon juice and eggs. Slowly add butter. Cook in double boiler until thick and sugar has desolved.

This will make 1 quart and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. I have read that you can process lemon curd in a presser cooker for 10 minutes. Haven't tried that but might if I find a good deal on lemons this summer!

Texas Cavier

1 15 oz. can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 15 oz. can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 10 oz. cans Rotel tomaotes (I use one with green chilies and one with line and cilantro. You could also use fresh tomatoes and add a little cilantro and lime juice)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cups frozen can
Italian dressing to coat

I usually make a day before because it's even better when
everything has sat together for awhile!

My mom gave me this recipe for rhubarb bars which typically
I don't like but these are so yummy! I made this for church but didn't get a picture before I dropped it off.

Rhubarb Bars

3/4 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar

Crumble, put in 9" x 13" pan and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

5 cups rhubarb
5 eggs yolks
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk

Mix and pour onto crust. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

5 egg whites
12 tsbp. sugar

Beat egg whites, add sugar and spread on top of baked mixture.
Bake 15 minutes or until gold brown.

I also made banana bread and banana muffins and we had homemade baked beans for dinner with chicken salad and short ribs on the grill. Oh heavens did I have to have a long walk tonight!!  :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The ruffled swimsuit

***If you're looking for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, scroll down to below this post.***

Even though my sewing machine and I are not on speaking terms right now, he did stop his stubborness long enough to let me sew Em's swimsuit this morning (and yes, I believe my sewing machine has a stubborn male personality because of course a woman would never be so least not when it comes to crafting). Although if you look closely you can see where he spit at my stitches several times. He did start to behave somewhat when I dug old Bertie out of the attic and threathened to replace him.

Remember my post where I quite possibly overreact? Yeah, I have the same reaction to children's swimsuit. Last year, the mister and I went to four (4!!) stores before we found a swimsuit that did not include being a bikini or have cut outs down the front, back or sides. So anywho, I thought I'd save myself the headache of swimsuit shopping for a little girl and make the swimsuit.

This is that fun ruffled fabric that I have for the top and spandex for the bottoms and bias tape. Since the ruffled fabric can be a little thin, I did line it with spandex. I will have to make another pair of bottoms because I got the legs a tad tight but we can always use these as backups. It was really quite simple (besides trying to put on spandex bias tape...ack) and I will definately be making her swimsuits from now on.



make it wear it

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rhubarb Chutney

Spring brings another wonderful vegetable, rhubarb and yes although it is often treated like a fruit, it is a vegetable. Rhubarb is one of those things that you can often run out of idea for. I typically make rhubarb/strawberry jam and also rhubarb/pineapple jam (which is oh so good-I'll share the recipe when I make some). There's rhubarb desserts to which I have a realy good one I'll also share this week. You can freeze it. But if you're like me, you forget out it. So I did some looking to find some more stuff I can make with rhubarb and made some chutney today.

Rhubarb Chutney
1/3 cup apple cidar vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. ginger
1 tbsp. garlic
1 tsp. cumn
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (you could always add more if you like really spicy but this does have a nice kick)
1/4 tsp. ground yellow mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup orange juice
5 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup dried currants
1/2 cup rains (one recipe called for dried cherries and I might make another batch with cherries)

Combine all ingredients except rhubarb, raisins, and currants. Simmer over low heat until brown sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb, onion, and raisins and currants and cook until thickens and rhubarb is tender (About 10 minutes).

Ladle into half-pint jars and process using boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Serve with pork (roast or chops) or I had some on toast (crusty french bread would be good).

Makes 6 half-pints!


Linking to here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?
With sunshine and rain
And Kisses and Hugs.
That's how my garden grows.

At least that's how Emily and I have been singing it.

Good thing that since it's almost summer, spring has decided to come around. Thursday the kids and I bought plants for the garden so we could plant today. However, it rained and we had graduation parties to attend so planting will have to wait until tomorrow.

Summer in Wisconsin also means garage sale season and the kids and I did that yesterday. I had some great finds. One lady had two girls a couple years older than Em and boy did we score the summer clothes! Em and I also found a dollhouse (with furniture!) for $15.

I picked asparagus this afternoon and since we've been eating some fresh already, I decided to freeze some for this winter. It's such a lovely treat to have with omelets when it's cold and snowy in January!!

I also had some strawberries and Em helped me make strawberry sauce tonight. I told her we could have some for our pancakes in the morning. I have a feeling I'm going to have to make a lot of this!

Strawberry Sauce
3 quarts strawberries
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cut and roughly mash the strawberries (ours will still quite fresh so I put 3/4 cup of sugar in to help mash).
Put water into saucepan and add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add half of strawberries into saucepan and cook for approximately 10 minutes (I mashed them down some more while they were cooking)
Add remaining strawberries and cook for additional 5 minutes.
Fill half pint jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

These are going to be great over pancakes or angel food cake and Em wants to try over ice cream. See, I'm definately going to have to make a lot more!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gardening with kids

We really want to instill a passion for gardening and farming into our children. But there's a fine line that we don't want to cross so they dislike it. That would be the part where gardening and farming is only about hard work. Don't get me wrong. Both are hard work. Yesterday is was over 80 here in Wisconsin and we got a lot of work accomplished. And I have a sore body to show for it today.

But it's also fun. We want our children to understand the fun part, the beautiful part, the delishious part, the enjoyment from working in the garden or with the animals and that the hard work is worth it.

Our daughter loves colors and flowers and everything a typical 4 year old girl loves. So when we plant, we intermix some flowers and gardening comes alive for her.

One of the tractor tires we planted yesterday with green onions, carrots, lettuce and spinach intermixed with a right yellow gerber daily and some pink flowers.

And the first thing she asked them morning was when she
got to go see her garden she planted yesterday!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Raggedy Ann Pants - In Pink

Why Raggedy Ann? Because they really remind me of the pants on my raggedy ann doll. But of course, these are pink because pink is her favorite color. Thankfully, it's any shade of pink that's her favorite color and not some horror shade of shreaking bright pink!  :)

Bad pics. For years, the girl wouldn't let me take her picture. Now when I tell her I want her picture she says, "I'm ready for my close-up now!"

I'm working on sketching out a summer romper but really didn't want to cut into the material I have picked out for the romper so I made a pair of pants out of this pink material my parents found at an auction. Yes an auction. They find boxes and boxes of material at auctions and pay mere pennies for it. What my grandma and I don't want for our stash, my grandma takes to church and they make quilts out of it.

The bottom is just ric rac with a thin piece of elastic sewn on to create the gathering below the knee.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Sometimes you read things and remember...

Sometimes we get so caught up in going. We know deep inside us that we need to stop, slow down and listen. To ourselves and those around us, especially our children. Sometimes we need a reminder to slow down. I read this poem this morning and it was my reminder that my little munckins are really gonna grow up much faster than I want them too.

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.

~Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"


Mother's Day Handprint Cards

The kids and I went to town this morning to get flowers for the grandma's for mother's day. Very unoriginal but I've always gotten my mom and grandma flowers for mother's day. They picked out gerber favorite!

To go along with the flowers, we made simple cards. They made flower bouquets using their handprints and painted stems and leaves. Then I simply wrote Happy Mother's Day across the top. I may do a little more decoration with the letters across the top but the little man was getting fussy.

I hope all mother's have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!


p.s. I think I might make one for myself every year to records my kids as they grow for my scrapbook.

Linked to Skip to My Lou for Made By You Mondays

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The buzzing of the bees...

The bees are in and happily settling into their new homes. This is what 10 lbs. of bees look like.

The mister putting the bees out. Or maybe it's called putting the bees in since he shakes them into the hive. I hadn't watched it before but he sprays the trays with sugar water and sprays the bees with sugar water so they can't fly and dumps them into the hive. As they fill the trays, supers will be added. The tall hive is our bees from last year. We had two last year but lost one hive. This year we will have five hives.

It really very interesting to watch bees as they start to make honeycomb. I wish I had pictures of the whole thing but I got stung and came down to the house for a tweezers to get a stringer out. When one of the travel boxes was opened, they were already making honey comb!

I also moved the ducks and geese out of their brooder boxes and into a little bit bigger pen. Ducks and geese make sloppy messes because of the amount of water they need. Plus the geese were starting to duck because they were getting too tall!

We've had a productive day and only have one more big task to check off the list today and that's moving the rabbits out of the barn into their pen outside for the summer.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Monday

This morning I received a call from my employer that the restaurant I worked at is closing. As of today. Everyone knew it was coming, it was slowly getting slower and slower. It was still a shock and kind of deflating. I didn't work a lot of hours, never more than 20 hours a week. 

And then there is that loss of income. Fortunately, we don't depend upon my income for the mortgage and household expenses because this job was always meant to give us a little extra each month and for me to get out of the house and socialize with adults. But we did get used to that extra income. So we remember to watch the extras from week to week for awhile. It soon becomes second nature. A loss of income is also easier when you're already living a frugal lifestyle.

But I'm not sad. There are things I've been wanting to do. I can sew more and promote my trainers more. I can finally finish my trainers pattern and get it sent out to testers. I have a couple other patterns that I've wanted to publish as e-patterns but haven't had time. Now I have that time.

I can spend more time kissing my babies and helping them grow. I can spend more time do more things around the farm. The things that get pushed back because we just don't have the time. I can spend more time cooking and baking and cleaning. I can spend more time giving to the church.

So I'm going to do what the little sign above says and make lemonade! (not literally least not until it gets warmer outside).  :)

So I'm off to paint beehives because our bees are coming this week and I have calf pens to clean.
Oh yeah, and three little babies who love being kissed by their momma!