Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Recipe: How To Make Your Own V8 Juice (Easy Homemade Vegetable Tomato Juice)

Bye bye, V8 juice! This healthy, homemade V4 version will blow you away (recipe here).

For the first time in ages (decades?), I actually managed to get some of my tomatoes planted early on time in the kitchen garden this year. And although it's been a strange tomato season so far (for one thing, I've plucked off more massively destructive—and totally creepy—tomato hornworms this year than in the last 20 years combined—yuck) a couple of reliable varieties have done really well, and we've been enjoying them on everything from BLTs and tacos to big dinner salads and frittatas.

And yet at last count I still have eight big colanders and bowls of tomatoes in various states of imperfection (cracks, big bite marks, just plain rotting) covering every flat surface in the kitchen. What to do?

Make a batch of this easy homemade tomato vegetable juice! It's a refreshing way to drink your garden veggies and keep up your stamina while working out in the heat, plus it'll help you quickly use up all those overripe, imperfect, or just plain ugly tomatoes.

This flavorful, rejuvenating juice is like Campbell's V8 juice but much better, and it's been one of the most popular recipes on Farmgirl Fare all year round (hello readers in the southern hemisphere!) since I originally shared it back in 2008. Did you know V8 juice is mostly made from water and tomato paste, plus a frightening amount of salt?

Technically my gardener's delight version is only V4, though you could certainly add more vegetables, such as beets, spinach, carrots, or sweet peppers, if you like. Either way, the homemade version will blow that V8 away.

To make it, all you do is chop everything up and toss it into a pot, simmer until soupy, then put it through a food mill.

This juice will keep for at least a week in the fridge, or you can preserve it in glass jars (canning instructions are included in the recipe) to enjoy the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes on a deep winter day, when the heat and sweat of summer are nothing but a distant memory.

P.S. Quick and Easy Gazpacho (totally refreshing chilled tomato vegetable soup) and Pasta with Easy Sun-Dried Tomato, Fresh Tomato, and Artichoke Pesto (I love this stuff).

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Homespun Weekend.


Any plans this weekend? We're looking forward to the arrival of a big thunderstorm that's supposed to bring a couple inches of rain and some sweet relief from this sweat-drenching heat. I realize it's the middle of August in Missouri, but we're all pretty tired of hearing that it's 96 degrees outside but feels like 109. Bring on that cool rain. Please.

Rainy day plans include bottling three cases of home brewed beer, baking a Mexican Monkey Cake (which freezes beautifully) with some really flavorful organic bananas, and searching through way too many containers of seeds in the freezer (this is after emptying out at least seven or eight containers last winter) for all the fall crops I probably should have started a couple of weeks ago. But it was way too hot.

I think it's too late in the season for the Maxibel and Masai haricots verts we love so much and that I never got around to planting in the spring (I haven't had good luck growing fall bush beans in the past), but I have high hopes that Swiss chard, tatsoi, mizuna, kale, arugula, broccoli, and several kinds of both heat and cold tolerant lettuces will soon be feeding us into the winter. That is if I can find any space to plant in the overgrown jungle that used to be my kitchen garden. Summer rain is always welcome (anything for a respite from watering) but boy, do the weeds go crazy after it. I can hear my hunky farmguy out there weed whacking now, so there's hope.

The weekend menu will be featuring freshly picked tomatoes, tomatoes, and tomatoes!

P.S. Greek Style Panzanella Salad with pan-fried olive oil croutons and Easy Italian Countryside No-Cook Tomato Pasta Sauce with basil, capers, and kalamata olives.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Recipe and Rave Reviews: Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pesto Pie with and Easy Cheesy Biscuit Crust

Scared of pie dough? This easy biscuit crust is perfect for beginners (recipe here).

It wouldn't be summer on the farm without a shout out for this longtime favorite recipe from the Farmgirl Fare recipe archives. Enjoy!

Do tomatoes and basil say summer to you? Do you love pesto and savory pies and melted mozzarella cheese? Then you'll want to celebrate the bounty of summer with this Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie.

This is one of my most popular recipes, and men seem to especially like it. My friend Susan in Vermont once said to me, "I'm making your tomato pesto pie for dinner tonight. I made it last week, and my husband fell in love with me all over again." You'll find more rave reviews below.

When my pal Finny, who has been known to live by the motto All pie, all the time, first tried this recipe back in 2006, she added a layer of insurance for her meat loving husband—cooked and crumbled Italian sausage. How brilliant is that?

If you want to try adding some, too, you'll find my easy recipe for homemade Italian sausage here (no casings required!), and there are helpful step-by-step photos of Finny's version of this pie here, which she makes every year with Brandywine and Better Boy tomatoes from her garden (warning: Finny uses bad words).

If you're scared of pastry crust, you're going to love this recipe. The  biscuit dough is practically foolproof, and the pie itself is easy to make but looks impressive and tastes delicious.

Don't believe me? Below is a sampling of rave reviews from the comments section. Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to come back and report on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest too!

Read the Savory Tomato Pesto Pie reviews below. . .

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Easy Blueberry Bonanza Bars with Streusel and Oats — Recipe and Rave Reviews

Celebrate a blueberry bonanza with this super popular triple layer, anytime sweet treat (recipe here).

Got blueberries? These scrumptious Blueberry Bonanza Breakfast Bars are my favorite way to celebrate blueberry season. They can be made with either fresh or frozen blueberries, and they don't have to be eaten for breakfast. I originally wrote about them back in 2006, and they've been one of my most popular recipes ever since.

Don't let the three separate layers scare you away; they come together quickly and you only need to dirty up two mixing bowls. They also freeze beautifully. With the oatmeal crust and streusel topping, these bars remind me of an eat-with-your-hands cross between blueberry pie and blueberry crisp.

If you only have a small blueberry haul (maybe because you ate half of them in the car on the way home), you could try the Just Peachy version or the Apple Blueberry version, which call for just two cups of blueberries each. Or use your imagination and what you have on hand; Farmgirl Fare readers have reported delicious success making these bars with blackberries, black cherries, frozen cranberries, stewed apricots, and raspberries.

Still not sure? Maybe the sampling below of rave reviews will get you on the blueberry bonanza breakfast bar bandwagon.

Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to come back and report on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest too!

Read rave reviews for Blueberry Bonanza Breakfast Bars below. . .

Friday, July 01, 2016

Recipe: Nigella's Big Chocolate Chip Cookies

These scrumptious cookies offer 'tender chewiness with an edge of crisp bite' (recipe here).

Nigella Lawson may be British, but her oversized version of the all-American chocolate chip cookie is one of the best I've ever tasted.

I'll be bringing my expected batch to a 4th of July fireworks bash at the river Sunday night, and if last spring's potluck with the same group of friends is any indication, the plate will be empty in minutes. Any time, any occasion, you can't go wrong with giant chocolate chip cookies.

Wishing you peace, joy, and freedom this American holiday weekend, no matter where you live.

P.S. Easy Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake (wonderful with strawberries or blueberries!) and Big, Soft, and Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies (plus how to hug a sheep).

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Recipe: Confetti Crunch Coleslaw with Creamy Lemon Caper Dressing

A healthy, crunchy slaw that's made with cabbage, scallions, carrots, and sweet peppers and tossed with a tangy lemon caper dressing (recipe here).

If you like coleslaw but are tired of the same old mayo-heavy recipes, this colorful, flavor-packed Confetti Coleslaw with Creamy Lemon Caper Dressing will liven and lighten things up.

Made with yogurt, lots of Dijon mustard, and much less mayonnaise than many traditional slaw recipes, it goes well with all sorts of summer meals and is perfect for bringing to potlucks, picnics, backyard barbecues, and buffet parties. I like to keep it on hand in the fridge for a healthy snack or the fastest dinner salad ever and have even eaten it for breakfast. It always gets rave reviews whenever I serve it.

The tangy lemon caper dressing can be quickly mixed up a day or two ahead of time, and it also makes a tasty dip. The coleslaw can be fully assembled a day in advance and refrigerated, or you can keep the dressing and prepared vegetables separate, then toss everything together before serving.

Hit the farmer's market for fresh homegrown vegetables and this easy recipe will really shine. You won't believe how much flavor plain old raw cabbage can have.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Freshly Picked Weekend.


Any plans this weekend? Summer has already arrived in full force on the farm, with sweat-drenching humidity and temperatures predicted to stay up in the 90's for the next week, so I'll be spending a lot of time watering the kitchen garden and eating mixed green salads.

I also have my eye on the new little gravel-bottomed swimming hole Tractor Joe carved out of our beloved and refreshing wet weather creek, which has been running steady for several weeks thanks to over eight inches of rain in May, though it will probably dry up in the next few days. Tall glasses of fresh mint sun tea that we brew in half-gallon canning jars (we use these jars with plastic lids for so many things), plenty of ice. The spearmint patch is going nuts. Maybe a batch of homemade coconut almond granola, with raisins and organic apple slices I dried last fall and fresh Jersey milk from down the road. A cool and easy, no-think breakfast.

Then there's all that catching up to do in the laundry and dishes department after five days of having no hot water, which actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, probably because it isn't the middle of winter. But it sure is nice having the hot water heater working again. Such a luxury we so often take for granted. The cold showers were tolerable but with the amount of cooking and baking I do, heating up vats of water on the stove to wash dishes got old real fast.

My hunky farmguy will be spending the weekend tackling the never ending spring/summer tasks of mowing grass and weedeating around the farmyard with breaks for woodworking, bottling beer, tractor maintenance, and hopefully installing the final new oak step on the staircase. It looks beautiful! The dogs, cats, chickens, sheep, and donkeys will be hoping for treats and chilling out in the shade.

Garden notes: We've slowly been replacing the rotted wood on my fifteen-year-old 4' x 8' raised beds with 12-inch wide fake wood decking boards from Lowe's. (I'm sure there's a real name for this stuff, but I just always call it fake wood.) The cost is about $100 per bed (verses about $2 in local rough-cut pine boards for each of the original 21 beds which started falling apart years ago), but they should theoretically last forever.

We built the first ones a few years ago, and I love them. The height is great, and it also makes it easier to yank garden hoses around without having them jump onto the plants. (The raised beds all supposed to be filled soil, but some of the new ones were put in place last fall around beds that were already planted.)

The metal hoops are made from inexpensive 1/2" EMT (I think it was about $2.50 for a 10-foot piece), shaped using the handy dandy bender we bought last year from Johnny's. Before that Joe had rigged up a homemade version from plywood, but this one works so much better. You can make the hoops taller or shorter depending on how far you push them into the ground, and they also worked fine in a couple of beds that didn't have any sides on them yet.

We have the EMT on eight garden beds so far, and over the winter I covered them with 6 ml thick clear plastic to make mini hoophouses. Then in early spring I removed the plastic and draped old sheets and frost blankets over the frames at night to protect the plants from cold. And when it started to heat up during the days, I clamped old sheets over the beds to shade the cool season lettuce, arugula, and spinach. Both the clear plastic and the old sheets are attached to the hoops with those little 1" quick-grip metal clamps that are so useful around the farm.

The greens in the closest bed are Swiss chard (except for a lone lacinato kale plant), overwintered as tiny plants and now handling the sweltering heat with no problem, which is more than I can say for myself. Plus unlike kale, which I also grow nearly year round, the ravenous cabbage worms (who are out in force) ignore Swiss chard. Unfortunately the striped cucumber beetles (which pretty much decimated nearly everything in my garden last fall during a freak invasion) and the nightmarish blister beetles do like it. Grass clippings make an excellent weed-suppressing mulch.

Those of you who have been visiting here a while know much I love delicious, nutritious, easy-to-grow-from-seed Swiss chard, and that for years I've been on a one farmgirl mission to convince everyone to try growing it. Fordhook Giant (pictured), which makes me think of Jurassic Park because the leaves get so big, always does well here but I especially like the prettier and smaller (and probably more nutritious) red, yellow, and orange varieties.

Our chickens love to eat Swiss chard too, so excess bounty or bug-ravaged leaves never go to waste. In fact I just fed them a 5-gallon bucket full direct seeded spring thinnings from another bed.

Wondering what to do with Swiss chard? Simply toss young leaves in salads, saute chopped stems and bigger leaves in olive oil, or try some Swiss Chard Tuna Salad with Scallions and Kalamatas, Swiss Chard and Artichoke White Pizza, or Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzos and Cottage Cheese.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recipe: Make Ahead No Mayo Tuna Sandwiches with Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Lemon, and Fresh Basil

Make Ahead Lemony Tuna and Artichoke Pressed Picnic Sandwiches with Fresh Basil (recipe here)

These Lemony Tuna and Artichoke Pressed Baguette Sandwiches are perfect for summer—and they aren't just for picnics. Tuna and olive oil are combined with marinated artichoke hearts, lemon, and fresh basil on crusty baguettes (homemade perhaps?) for a flavorful tuna sandwich made without mayonnaise.

They travel well, taste delicious, and can be made several hours ahead. I even like them the next day, when the lemon flavor is more pronounced. They're perfect for toting on picnics or hikes, to work, or just out to the backyard. You can pack them in the bottom of the cooler so that the weight of the other contents compresses the sandwiches and allows the juices to soak into the bread, or simply set them on the counter for about 30 minutes with a cast iron skillet on top.

They're also the perfect way to celebrate the first homegrown basil of the season, especially if it's just a little harvest. Enjoy!


© FarmgirlFare.com, the sandwich happy foodie farm blog where somebody just realized she still hasn't seeded any basil for the kitchen garden. Oops.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Peaceful Weekend.

Any plans this weekend? Joe is finishing up replacing the ratty pine construction stairs we've been living with for nearly five (!) years in our "new" house with the locally made oak boards that have been beautifully finished and sitting around for nearly five (!) years. What an upgrade.

I'm hoping to transplant about 40 heirloom tomato seedlings into larger containers since I don't have space for them in the kitchen garden yet. I also need to figure out where to put several pounds of seed potatoes and at least a couple of rows of haricots verts. All that fall/winter bed prep I'd planned to do never happened!

Meanwhile I'm listening to far off thunder rumble and waiting for some much needed rain to start falling any minute (this photo was taken yesterday) while planning meals of eggs, eggs, eggs, and salad greens, salad greens, salad greens (spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, three kinds of kale, six kinds of lettuce, and some very happy arugula that I'm pretty sure is getting bigger by the hour). I've been craving yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, and it's time to bake some more hearty loaves of sourdough sprouted rye.

The still very woolly sheep and the donkeys will (finally) be eating grass, grass, and grass. More decluttering and spring cleaning (two year round pursuits) are on the agenda as well; not my favorite things, but it always feels so good once you're done. I'm hoping for a quiet, cozy, and productive weekend at home on the farm, which is just the kind I like.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Easy Recipe: Really Lemony Lemon Bars (Low Sugar)

These easy, creamy dessert bars are made with less sugar and more lemon flavor. Delicious with either regular lemons or Meyer lemons! (recipe here)

I always try to keep a good supply of organic lemons on hand because their fresh juice and zest are such a great addition to so many recipes. We also use lemon juice in homemade cleaning products and have been drinking lemon water every day as an easy, natural way to help alkalize our bodies (I drink mine through a glass straw to save the enamel on my teeth). But our favorite way to use lemons is in these simple yet scrumptious Really Lemony Lemon Bars.

Rather than calling for several cups of sugar like many lemon bar recipes do, this lemon filling (which contains just four ingredients) is made with a can of sweetened condensed milk, which adds creaminess and sweetness while allowing the lemon flavor to really shine through. A generous helping of finely chopped lemon zest bumps up the lemon factor even more.

I like to tell people they're called Pucker Up Lemon Bars and are for serious lemon lovers only. Real farm eggs from happy, free-ranging hens will give your lemon bars a beautiful deep yellow color, and this is the time of year when egg laying is at its peak. Look for fresh eggs at farmers' markets or search on LocalHarvest for an egg farmer near you. 

Wondering what it's like to have your own hens? Check out my Chicken and Egg Farm Tale here. And you can see the Lemony Lemon Bar Whole Photo Shoot here.

We still have several pounds of lemons left from the 25+ pound case we bought a while back (I somehow forgot that I usually only order half a case each winter), so I treated us to a pan of these cheerful bars last week. And when Joe polished off the last one a few days later, I turned around and made a second batch. Enjoy!

More Farmgirl Fare recipes for lemon lovers:
Lemon Coconut Quick Bread (made with unsweetened coconut)

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the constantly clucking foodie farm blog where our 21 hens (including some who are so old they shouldn't still be laying, and some really old girls who aren't laying) are currently giving us nearly six dozen eggs a week. Now if we only had a lemon tree.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday Farm Photo: Irish Line Dancing



Happy St. Patrick's Day from the farm!

More laundry line photos? Here and here.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where everything is greening up for spring, including our wardrobes.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Recipe: How To Make Classic Cornish Beef Pasties

My version of Jamie Oliver's classic British hand pies are a year-round favorite on the farm (recipe here).

I'm not sure why, but this recipe for Homemade Cornish Pasties with beef, onion, potatoes, and carrots has been one of the most popular posts on Farmgirl Fare since I originally shared it back in 2012.

What I do know is that these easy to make meat pies taste delicious and freeze beautifully. I defrost them at room temperature and then reheat them in our little convection toaster oven (one of my most useful kitchen purchases ever), but you could probably go straight from freezer to oven. If you're in a hurry or at work, you can gently heat them in the microwave.

They're the perfect thing to have on hand for quick dinners or hot and hearty lunches and taste especially wonderful when served with brown mustard and cold beer. I'm planning to make a double batch and stash half of them in the freezer so we'll be guaranteed to have something to eat when lambing season starts next month!

P.S. Everybody loves Cornish pasties!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Recipe: Sunburst Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger, Orange, and Carrot Juice


Could you use a flavorful bowl of healthy winter sunshine? (recipe here)

One of the highlights of our winter is the arrival each January of the bulk citrus we order through the friend of a friend. Citrus season is at its peak so the fruit is sweet and juicy, and we've found that eating an orange (or two!) a day is a great way to load up on Vitamin C when it seems like half the people you talk to are sick.

Most of the two cases of organic oranges were eaten straight out of hand, though I did manage to stash a couple of orange yogurt loaf cakes in the freezer. I still have plenty of lemons (partly because my hunky farmguy is still waiting for me to make him some really lemony lemon bars), but we're down to just three little oranges left, and they're earmarked for a batch of Sunburst Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger, Orange, and Carrot Juice.

This cheerful, low fat soup is packed with carrots and bursting with antioxidants and flavor. It's a big dose of happy for both the body and the mind and it even freezes beautifully. The flavor and color from the fresh carrot juice stirred in at the end add a wonderful brightness, but the soup tastes great even without it.

Adapt my easy recipe to suit your taste: try more fresh ginger, more orange zest, maybe extra garlic—or leave any of them out. A little ground cumin is a very nice addition. However you serve it up, cold and flu season won't stand a chance.

Hungry for something more than soup? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where our seven donkeys don't get all the organic carrots, just most some of them.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Recipe: Easy Spinach Soup Made with Fresh Spinach (and Rave Reviews)


This tasty, healthy, dairy-free, gluten-free, low fat soup is packed with fresh spinach and cooks up in about 40 minutes (recipe here).

Have you ever grown spinach? It's one of my favorite greens, and there's nothing that compares to freshly picked spinach from the garden. But over the past 20 years of gardening in Missouri I've had much better luck growing Swiss chard, lettuce, kale, and Asian greens, so I tend to focus more on them instead.

I was recently inspired, though, by Margaret Roach's spinach-growing Q&A with Tom Stearns, the founder of High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont, which was full of interesting information and helpful tips. (I love Margaret's wonderful website, A Way To Garden.)

More about growing spinach plus rave reviews for this recipe below. . .

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Recipe: Thick and Hearty Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup

A bowl of hearty and healthy white bean soup is cold weather comfort food at its best (recipe here).

After an unseasonably mild and all around strange last several months (the creek has been running for weeks!), it finally feels like winter on the farm. We've already had a couple of arctic breezy 10°F mornings, and it'll probably get down to zero by Sunday. Time for some homemade soup!

This Roasted Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup, which is so thick it should probably be called white bean stew, has been one of the most popular winter recipes on Farmgirl Fare ever since I originally shared it back in 2006.

It's packed with flavor and is so simple it can be made by nearly anyone. It can also be eaten by nearly everyone: it's vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and fat-free, and any ingredient except for the beans and water can be successfully omitted if necessary.

This recipe also happens to be cheap to make, freezes beautifully, smells divine while simmering on the stove, and is really good for you. But more important than all that? It tastes delicious—and it's even better after sitting for a day or two in the fridge. Enjoy!

P.S. Fast Black Black Bean Soup/Chili and Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the winter loving foodie farm blog where there can never be too many cozy vintage blankets and quilts—or too much homemade soup.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Recipe: Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecorino, Chives, and a Lemony Caper Dressing


This healthy, scrumptious salad—gussied up here with dried cranberries and garbanzo beans—is packed with antioxidants, beneficial ingredients, and flavor (recipe here).

I love this raw brussels sprouts salad even more than I love my Quick Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan, and you know I love them a lot. I came up with it back in 2009 and have been devouring it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks ever since. My recipe notes from 4/15/09 say I mixed up that batch at midnight. You've been warned.

Raw brussels sprouts have a wonderful taste; it's as if the flavor from an entire regular sized cabbage has been concentrated down into each little sprout. And of course they're extremely good for you. It's always nice to be crazy about something that's heavenly and healthy.

The basic version of this salad recipe is wonderful, but I usually gussy it up with a healthy boost of either raisins and roasted almonds or dried cranberries and garbanzo beans. The brussels sprouts are quickly shredded in the food processor (or use a mandoline slicer or sharp knife), and the tangy dressing (which is also tasty on other things) can be made several days ahead.

If one of your goals for 2016 is to eat more cruciferous vegetables, this would also be a delicious way to usher in the new year.

Raw brussels sprouts at midnight, anyone?


© FarmgirlFare.com, where it's all about the food—and the cute. And if craving more than crunch, you'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Recipe: Easy Christmas Cranberry Scones (and Rave Reviews from First Time Scone Bakers)

They're moist on the inside, with a nice light crunch on the outside (recipe here)

A little shout out for another long time favorite recipe from the Farmgirl Fare archives. . .

Beautifully golden brown and dotted with jewel-like dried cranberries (and optional chopped pecans), these cute little scones are sure to brighten any holiday table. I named them Christmas Cranberry Scones back in 2002 when I baked them all afternoon at a kitchen store holiday open house, but they're tasty any time of year.

Buttery and crumbly and rich, try them for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. They also freeze beautifully.

If you've never made scones before, have no fear! This easy recipe is the perfect place to start, as you can see from the rave reviews from Farmgirl Fare readers below.

Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to comment on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest!

Wishing you a joyful, peaceful, and delicious holiday season!

Read the rave reviews below. . .

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Recipe: Really Easy Baby Shortbread Cookies with Mini Chocolate Chips and Toffee Bits (and Rave Reviews)


A scrumptious cross between butter cookies and shortbread, these are one of my all time favorite cookies. Perfect for giving and munching! (recipe here).

Think there's no time left for holiday baking? Think again. These cute baby chocolate chip and toffee cookies are perfect to have on hand this time of year, and the batter comes together in less time than it takes the oven to heat up. I've been making them since 2009 and everyone always loves them.

They keep for several days and travel well, making them a wonderful choice for holiday goodie boxes mailed to faraway loved ones. They also freeze beautifully, so you can bake them now and enjoy them later.

Pile them on a pretty plate and serve them to guests as a light dessert with coffee, or add them to an afternoon tea tray. Pack them in little cello bags tied with a colorful ribbon for handy holiday gifts, perhaps tucked into oversized cappuccino cups.

I'm a sucker for any recipe that calls for English toffee bits, but these cookies would also be good made with all mini chocolate chips, or mini chips and finely chopped pecans. And for shortbread purists, I bet they'd be very nice without anything extra added at all.

Below is a sampling of what Farmgirl Fare readers have said about this recipe. Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to comment on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest!

— Oh, how dreamy and delicious they are - many, many, thanks!

— I made SEVERAL batches of these last week—for dessert for guests, for a church meeting, and then for a bake sale. Of course, I had some here and there and they are marvelous. One of my favorite cookies now.

— I made these cookies and they are awesome! They taste even better the next day. My husband couldn't stop eating them.

— I made these as part of the Christmas cookie assortment that I make for my coworkers. First, they were easy. Second, they came out looking just like yours. And third, they are fantastic! Everyone loves them.

— I made those cookies a little over an hour ago. I think I ate half the batter and thereafter half the cookies. I'm currently typing this out of sight of the freezer so I won't go steal more.

— I just wanted to send a heartfelt THANK YOU for this recipe. I make lots of people happy with it!

— These are now a regular in my holiday cookie baking. They are amazing!

Baking up a holiday storm? These recipes all keep well and make nice gifts:
Christmas Cranberry Scones (tasty any time of year!)
Easy Chocolate Biscotti Cookies (a great recipe for first time biscotti bakers)
Toasted Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti (one of Joe's favorite cookies)
Quick and Easy Raspberry Almond Bars (made with raspberry jam)

Craving more than cookies? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where cute is a way of life—right down to dessert.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Recipe: Easy Chocolate Biscotti (and Rave Reviews)

Easy Chocolate Biscotti Recipe - perfect for holiday gift giving! — FarmgirlFare.com
Homemade chocolate biscotti makes a delicious holiday gift (recipe here).

Looking for a last minute holiday gift idea? Think homemade biscotti! I've been making and giving (and eating) this Easy Chocolate Biscotti for over 15 years, and it's always a huge hit.

Have you ever wondered how to make biscotti? These twice baked, crunchy Italian cookies always look so elegant and perfect, especially when packed up in little cello bags and tied with a pretty ribbon, but they're easier to make than you might think.

This simple recipe is ideal for first time biscotti bakers for two reasons: the buttery dough is easy to work with, and the chocolate makes it dark, so no one will be able to tell if all your cookies aren't the same exact shade of golden brown.

These biscotti stay fresh for several days, making them perfect for gift giving. They also freeze beautifully. The cookies have a nice (not break-your-teeth) crunch that stands up to dunking in coffee, but they also taste great on their own.

But don't just take my word for it. Below is a sampling of what others have said about this recipe since I originally shared it back in 2005. I especially love hearing about all the signature touches. Mint chocolate chips mixed in to the dough? Yes, please!

Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to comment on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest!

More below. . .

Friday, December 04, 2015

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Molasses Spice Cookies (Big and Soft or Small and Crunchy)

Big and Soft Old-Fashioned Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies - FarmgirlFare.com
An old-fashioned treat that brings back—and  makes—sweet memories (recipe here).

I baked up the season's first batch of these Big, Soft, and Chewy Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies a couple of weeks ago and they disappeared in a flash. It seems there are a lot of molasses spice cookie lovers out there but not a lot of molasses spice cookie bakers!

I've been making this easy recipe all year round for at least 15 years, but they always seem so festive during the holidays, reminding me of ice skating and red mittens and crackling fires and early Christmas morning.

There's something about really big cookies that people just love. I started baking and selling oversized cookies 30 years ago and everyone from little kids to big tough men always goes crazy for them.

Old-fashioned molasses ginger spice snap cookies - FarmgirlFare.com
Even better by the little dozen? (recipe & molasses ginger cookie lore here)

What's especially nice is when one cookie dough will give you two completely different cookies, just by changing the size. These 2-inch Molasses Ginger Spice Snaps are cute and crunchy, and one batch bakes up 12 dozen cookies that store really well, making them perfect for gift giving. I like to pack them up in little cello bags and tie them with a colorful ribbon. Both versions of these cookies also freeze beautifully.

Happy holiday baking!

Can't survive on just cookies? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where it was 19 degrees F this morning and looked like an icy wonderland out there. It's time to fire up the wood furnace and celebrate the coziest, tastiest time of year!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Recipe: Easy Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones with Cream Cheese and Feta (and Rave Reviews)

These simple yet impressive scones are perfect for the holidays (recipe here).

I created these Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones during a 1993 scone craving when there was no butter in the house, and they've become one of my most popular recipes both online and off. I brought them to a big Thanksgiving feast last year and they were a huge hit.

Made with softened cream cheese in place of the butter, they're light and moist on the inside, with a pleasant little crunch on the outside. They're perfect for the holidays, but they mix up so quickly you don't need to wait for a special occasion to serve them.

Offer them warm from the oven instead of rolls: plain, buttered, or with cream cheese, goat cheese, or homemade herbed yogurt cheese. I like to split and toast them in the toaster oven for breakfast, then slather both crunchy halves with butter. They're great for making little sandwiches, and I've even used them as burger buns.

They also freeze beautifully, so you can make them now and serve them later. Defrost them at room temperature and heat at 375° for about 5 to 8 minutes.

Not a feta fan? You'll find the chive and sharp cheddar version here.

Still not sure about this recipe? Maybe these rave reviews from Farmgirl Fare readers will help turn you into a savory sconehead. Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to comment on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest!

Read the rave reviews below. . .

Monday, November 09, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Picturesque Weekend.

Breakfast in the front field.

Any plans this weekend? We're finally getting a little bit of much needed rain and are hoping for more tonight or tomorrow. It's mostly dusty and crunchy and brown out there, and the cool season grasses that the sheep and donkeys usually graze on this time of year simply aren't growing. Fortunately we've reduced the size of the flock so much in the past few years that we—knock on wool—should still have plenty for everyone to eat, plus the moisture from the early morning fog we often get down in our little valley helps a lot. But I think many of the local cattle farmers are going to have to start feeding out their hay much earlier than they'd planned.

I'm also hoping the rain will wash away these unseasonably warm temperatures (after two frosty nights we're back up in the 80s) and the thousands of little yellowish-green beetles with black spots that have been decimating the several beds of beautiful autumn greens in the kitchen garden that were supposed to keep us fed for the next couple of months. In 21 years of gardening in Missouri I've never had any trouble with—or seen so many of—these incredibly destructive bugs. This has been a really strange year in the garden. (Update: They're spotted cucumber beetles, which unlike striped cucumber beetles, feed on over 200 crop and non-crop plants. Crap. Thanks for the pest ID, Candy!)

Meanwhile we're working our way through the several pounds of only-slightly-nibbled lettuce and kale I managed to salvage that are stashed in a giant cooler in Joe's workshop (he's thrilled). Every night is Giant Salad Night! But between the fresh crisp greens and the last of the vine-ripened garden tomatoes, neither of us minds a bit.

© FarmgirlFare.com, home of the half hidden donkey.