Friday, December 31

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Let's end the year with cake!

I love it when cake and fate come together.

Back in October, I tried a recipe in The Little Big Book of Comfort Food (this is such a cute book) for a 9"x13" pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. The name of the recipe was actually pumpkin bars, but it seemed like cake to me. It tasted good, but it wasn't fabulous, and I was pretty sure the reason was the lack of any butter or oil in the batter (it had a cup of applesauce instead).

A few weeks later I came across two forgotten cans of organic pumpkin in the pantry and thought about making the cake again, this time with some butter, but decided not to. About an hour later I found myself at Beauty that Moves, where Heather was raving over her friend Cathleen's incredible pumpkin cake with orange cream cheese frosting, and taunting me with a mouthwatering photo.

I had all the ingredients, including the orange. (Dashing out to the grocery store for one or two ingredients isn't something I do these days since it requires an 80 mile drive). Like I said, cake and fate.

Wednesday, December 29

Sunday, December 26

Sunday Dose of Cute: No Matter What the Weather. . .

You Can't Fence In a Farm Cat
You still can't fence in a farm cat.

©, the may get down to zero degrees tonight foodie farm blog where I've been out sick for the past week (finally on the mend—yay), so my hunky farmguy Joe has been doing all the farm chores. And apparently he needs some supervision, because today Sarah Kit Kat Kate decided to accompany him into one of the chicken coops while he fed, watered, and checked for eggs in the snazzy new nesting boxes the girls got last week for Christmas and have so far been afraid to lay in (until today!). Kit Kat reportedly had a great time leaping from perch to perch, and the chickens took this furry surprise visit very well.

Friday, December 24

Thursday, December 23

Holiday Recipe Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond: Muffins, Scones, & Quick Breads

Whether you're looking for something to serve on Christmas morning, New Year's eve, or for afternoon snacks inbetween, these seven recipes from the Farmgirl Fare archives are sure to bring smiles to the table. They're some of my most popular recipes, and all of them can be baked ahead of time and frozen. Click on the 'read more' link below to see the rest of this post, and click on each title to go to the recipe. Happy holidays!

Cranberry Christmas Scones
I named these Cranberry Christmas Scones the year 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.

Wednesday, December 22

Easy Holiday Recipe Ideas for Dessert: Ten Sweet Treats

Feeding a crowd? There's nothing like a little homemade love for the holidays. I hope these favorite recipes from the Farmgirl Fare archives will inspire you to turn on the oven and share something sweet. The baby shortbread bites, crunchy biscotti, and little molasses ginger spice snaps keep well and make great stocking stuffers or gifts. The other cookies and bars—and even the apple pear crisp—all freeze beautifully so you can bake them whenever time allows. Click on the 'read more' link below to see the other nine desserts, and just click on each title to go to the recipe.

For more easy holiday recipe inspiration, check out these three roundups I put together last month. They say they're for Thanksgiving, but everything would be right at home on the Christmas or New Year's table, too. Or, like us, serve them on any day of the week just because!Recipe Ideas: Appetizers and Snacks
Recipe Ideas: Vegetable Side Dishes and Salads
Recipe Ideas: Quick Breads, Rolls, and More

baby shortbread cookies with mini chips and toffee bits
Baby Chocolate Chip and Toffee Shortbread Bites (these little cuties literally mix up in about five minutes)

Monday, December 20

Saturday, December 18

Saturday Dose of Cute: Hard at Work

Kit Kat Holding Down the Tarp
Holding Down that Tarp

Our Kit Kat Kate is always busy:
12/3/10: Moving In

©, the feeling lucky foodie farm blog where a farm cat's work is never done—and that's just the way they like it.

Thursday, December 16

Thursday Dose of Cute: Chicken Crossing

Chicken Crossing

©, the crawling with critters foodie farm blog where I've decided that what this place needs is more signage. We still have this one (which I love), there's a little sign in the barn that says SHEEP COUNTRY, and last year I couldn't resist a round metal sign that says MANURE MOVERS OF AMERICA (I can't even imagine life without my marvelous sheep manure), but now I'm thinking CHICKEN CROSSING, SHEEP CROSSING, TREAT ROOM, BIG DOGS ON DUTY, STOCK DOG AT THE READY, WELCOME TO DONKEYLAND, and of course at the entrance to the barn during lambing season, WARNING: SERIOUS CUTE OVERLOAD INSIDE. Is 20 degrees too cold to cut up a few pieces of wood and get out the weatherproof sign paint?

Wednesday, December 15

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Nibbling on Cedar Trees

Eating Cedar Trees
It's a Holiday Tradition!

©, the tippytoed foodie farm blog where some people decorate trees for Christmas and others prefer to eat them. (Joe refers to all the animals as people—but don't tell him I told you.)

Tuesday, December 14

Book Recommendations: Gifts Cooks Love, Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers, & More

If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know that I'm a huge fan of giving books, especially cookbooks, as gifts. They're fun, informative, inexpensive, and—slow, spine-breaking death by loving overuse aside—will last nearly forever.

So what's the only gift better than that? One that lasts a very short time because it's edible.

Speaking of gifts and cookbooks, in case I don't get around to writing more about them anytime soon, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love ($18.15) by New York Times columnist Melissa Clark and Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home ($17.50) by Nigella Lawson are wonderful—especially if you like reading about food as much as cooking and eating it. They both make me laugh out loud each time I pick them up. Nigella's oversized chocolate chip cookies received rave reviews (you know we love big cookies around here), and Melissa's Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croutons is awesome.

I realize I'm a little late suggesting Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving in time for this holiday season, but it seems like things have been even crazier than usual around here lately. And besides, you know I rarely do anything on time—although I did actually manage to get my garlic in the ground on schedule this year for a change. Woohoo!

Anyway, Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving (hardcover; 192 pages; full color; cover price $25, available for $16.50 at amazon) is the latest book from national kitchenware retailer Sur La Table (Can you believe I've never been in one of their stores? I'm so deprived.) and the fourteenth cookbook for co-author Diane Morgan. Previous Sur La Table titles include Things Cooks Love: Implements, Ingredients, Recipes (hardcover; 352 pages; full color; cover price $35; currently in the bargain section at amazon for $14.00) and Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts that Will Make You a Better Cook! $10.20 (paperback; 384 pages), a perfect little stocking stuffer or host/hostess gift, especially for a budding cook.

Saturday, December 11

Saturday Dose of Frustration and Cute: Slowing Way Down (and Not by Choice)

Daphne Doesn't Like to Share
Daphne Defending Her the Treat Barrow from Little Gnat

Out here in the middle of rural nowhere, high speed Internet service isn't an option. Instead we rely on satellite, which runs a lot slower and costs a whole lot more. For a full time blogger, this can be pretty annoying, but I make do with what I've got and try not to complain. Until now.

Wednesday, December 8

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Patiently Waiting for Santa

Patiently Waiting for Santa
Smudge, who loves leaves, takes a laid back approach to the holidays. (Mr. Midnight, on the other hand, is a little more impatient.)

©, the no fear of heights foodie farm blog (well, except for me, Miss Terra Firma) where that ladder lives against The Shack so my hunky farmguy Joe can climb up on the roof to sweep the leaves off (which helps keep the rain in the kitchen down to a minimum)—and so Smudgie can get up there more easily.

Tuesday, December 7

Recipe: Big, Soft & Chewy Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies with (or without) Raisins

Big, Soft, and Chewy Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies
An old-fashioned, inexpensive treat that brings back memories—and creates them.

There's no doubt about it—big cookies make people happy. I started baking and selling oversized cookies 25 years ago, and everyone from little kids to big men goes crazy for them.

Bite-sized cookies, like these addicting
Baby Chocolate Chip and Toffee Shortbread Bites, are perfect for serving large crowds or filling holiday goodie boxes, but the rest of the time I always circle back to the big ones.

What's especially nice is when one cookie batter will give you two completely different cookies, just by changing the size. My 2-inch Molasses Ginger Spice Snaps are cute and crunchy, and one batch bakes up 12 dozen cookies that store really well.

But stir in some raisins and portion them out with a large scoop instead, and you get two dozen soft and chewy treats that make me think of ice skating and red mittens and crackling fires and early Christmas morning—and are always greeted with smiles even bigger than they are.

Sunday, December 5

Sunday Dose of Cute: When All Else Fails. . .

Evie and Dolores Looking for Treats
Head on out to Donkeyland

And if that doesn't do it, bake yourself a quick chocolate cake, because it's definitely a chocolate emergency.

©, the wide eyed foodie farm blog where petting donkeys beats working on html blog code anytime—at least if you're as technically uninclined as some of us around here. Thank goodness for the loving distractions of those longears.

Friday, December 3