Friday, November 30

Friday Farm Photo & The Wise Woman Council (I'm In!)

Morning over the hayfield -
Morning over the hayfield—breathing it all in.

The World Wide Web is an amazing thing, isn't it? It's so incredibly vast, and expanding so fast it's hard to even fathom, and yet in some ways it feels really small. So when Lisa Claudia Briggs and I finally connected last month, we were both kind of wondering the same thing: How come we hadn't found each other sooner?

E-mail started flying back and forth as we realized how much we have in common (she even lives on a farm), and we've quickly become fast friends. Lisa is an intuitive, a psychospiritual therapist, and a sacred streetfighter helping women keep their promises to themselves. She describes her work as mystical-meets-practical-meets 25 years of psychotherapy experience, and she's all for getting rid of that whole pesky perfectionism thing (yes!).

Lisa has a very special website called Intuitive Body (don't you just love that name?), which includes a blog and is all about simple, sacred solutions to living beautifully in your body. One of her Intuitive Body projects is The Wise Woman Council, which she describes as a kind of online gathering at the well for women to quench their thirst. In Lisa's words:

More below. . .

Wednesday, November 28

Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute

Gus demonstrates the donkey chin rest -

More wordless cute? Here and here.
More Gus? Here.
More donkeys? Here.

Tuesday, November 27

Recipe: 100% Whole Grain Ginger Pear Bran Muffins Made with Honey (and Rave Reviews)

100% whole grain ginger pear bran muffins sweetened with honey
Moist and healthy bran muffins made without bran cereal, sweetened with honey. Going whole grain never tasted so good (recipe here).

I bought six pounds of pears during a recent shopping trip, so the other day I whipped up a quick batch of these 100% Whole Grain Ginger Pear Bran Muffins. The trick is to wait until the pears are so ripe and sweet they look bruised and battered and pathetic.

My foodie mom and I came up with this scrumptious variation of my super popular 100% Whole Grain Bran Muffins during one of her eat-a-thon farm visits a few years back. They're moist and flavorful and are made with hefty portions of both soluble fiber (oat bran) and insoluble fiber (wheat bran). They're sweetened with honey (although there is some sugar in the candied ginger) and they don't call for any store bought bran cereal (a pet peeve with me and bran muffin recipes).

This recipe makes 12 large muffins which taste even better the second day and freeze beautifully. I just toss them into a two gallon zipper freezer bag (these are also great for storing big loaves of homemade bread, like Farmhouse White) and pull out one or two the night before so they're defrosted for breakfast the next morning. They make a filling and wholesome snack and are the perfect thing to have on hand during the busy holiday season.

Need more convincing? Here's what Farmgirl Fare readers are saying about (and how they're adapting) this recipe:

More below. . .

Monday, November 26

Monday Dose of Cute: Long Weekend Recovery Mode

Daisy and Bert in weekend recovery mode -

Did you eat well this past weekend? We sure did. There was apple streusel pie and vanilla ice cream for breakfast (three times), champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches on freshly baked bread for lunch, roast chicken, rice, and gravy with garlic and lemon thyme from the kitchen garden, bacon and fried egg sandwiches (the hens are laying again!) on homemade onion rye rolls, homegrown grass-fed cheeseburgers on onion rye rolls, freshly picked raw kale salad, open-faced toasted chicken and Swiss sandwiches, honey ginger pear bran muffins, hot buttered popcorn. . .

Bert finally caught a rabbit (I think it's the one he's been tracking for about a year and a half), and after eating his fill, while growling menacingly the entire time, he kindly shared his catch with Mr. Midnight, Kit Kat, and Bear (although Mr. Midnight usually gets his own rabbits in the garden).

Celebrating is always fun, but re-entry can be a little rough:

©, the well balanced foodie farm blog where our usual day to day menu includes a lot more vegetables, a little less champagne, and hardly any gravy.

Sunday, November 25

Sunday Farm Photo: A Peaceful Sunday Afternoon

Pregnant ewes grazing in the hayfield -
Sunshine, blue skies, and some fresh green grass for these pregnant ewes.

When I was a kid I used to love the board game Payday. I remember one time when I was probably about ten, a friend who lived around the corner and I were both home sick with the flu for several days, so our moms let us hang out together on the big sofa bed in their family room. We played a continuous game of Payday that lasted so long we had to make our own extra money.

The game board is a calendar month, and you drew various cards, etc. depending on which day you landed. Nothing ever happened on the Sunday squares, they were simply all labeled Sweet Sunday, which always seemed so boring. Now it sounds just perfect.

More sheep? Here.
More farm landscapes? Here.
More totally peaceful farm moments? Um. . .

©, the seven day a week, Sheep Working Sunday foodie farm blog where life is not a board game, but it's still a lot of fun to play.

Thursday, November 22

Thursday Dose of Cute: Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us to All of You

Daisy posing with part of her flock -

What are we so very thankful for? You.

Farmgirl Fare Thanksgivings past:
(click here to see all these posts on one long page)
11/22/07: Enjoying a Feast
11/27/08: Gobble Gobble
11/25/10: Post Feast Nap

©, where it can be so hard to get a decent holiday family picture.

Wednesday, November 21

Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute

Daisy, Bear, and Bert heading down the driveway -

More wordless cute? Here and here.
More farm dog photos? Here.

©, the stay at home foodie farm blog wishing all of you who are traveling this Thanksgiving a safe and pleasant journey. If you find yourself in need of a little farm fix, we're planning to be around and posting all weekend. Of course you never know what's going to actually happen around here. Sticking to the plan isn't something we're very good at, which is why, at this point, all we're planning to have for sure tomorrow is homemade apple streusel pie and ice cream. As soon as I head back downstairs and finish making it.

Tuesday, November 20

Tuesday Farm Photos: This Morning

(1) Drying whites and hungry hens -

There were pictures everywhere this morning. Care to join me as I check on things around the farm?

19 more photos below. Descriptions at the end, or hover over each image. . .

Saturday, November 17

Recipe: Easy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Onions, Apples, and Hint of Orange

This pretty & healthy side dish would be perfect for Thanksgiving (recipe here).

For years I prepared sweet potatoes the same old way: cut into chunks and then steamed, mashed with a fork, and sprinkled with lots of salt. I loved them, but this scrumptious roasted sweet potato recipe requires only slightly more effort and yet is ten times tastier.

This dish is nice enough to serve to company, though I usually devour it all on my own. The roasting does take a little time, but it will make your kitchen smell marvelous.

More Thanksgiving recipe inspiration from Farmgirl Fare:
Easy, Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic
Kohlrabi Purée (I love this stuff)

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

©, where if you're like me, you make these vegetable recipes every other day of the year, because on Thanksgiving it's all about the stuffing and the gravy—and dessert. Oh, and the turkey.

Friday, November 16

Recipe: Easy, Creamy Mashed Cauliflower (Cauliflower Purée) with Garlic

Easy Creamy Mashed Cauliflower 1 - - Copy
This easy mashed cauliflower makes a healthy Thanksgiving side dish, but I enjoy it all year round (recipe here).

Several years ago I fell in love with kohlrabi purée, and from there I went on to discover a whole delicious world of puréed vegetables. One of the most popular puréed vegetables is cauliflower, which is often called mashed cauliflower.

Recipes for mashed cauliflower abound, calling for everything from chicken stock and Greek yogurt to a stick of butter and a cup of heavy cream. My simple, healthy version, which has just 2 Tablespoons of butter and 2 Tablespoons of milk or cream, is low fat, low carb, easy to make, and really hard to stop eating. You can dress it up in all sorts of ways—with sour cream and dill, cheddar and chives, even lemon juice and baby arugula—or just enjoy it plain.

Mashed cauliflower is usually touted as a low carb substitute for mashed potatoes, especially around Thanksgiving. But this really isn't fair to the cauliflower purée, because it tastes so good it shouldn't be considered a stand-in or alternative to anything.

If you have trouble eating enough fresh vegetables in autumn and winter, try puréeing them. I had no idea it was so easy to devour an entire head of cauliflower.

©, where you'll always get a healthy dose of good food and cute critters.

Thursday, November 15

Thursday Dose of Cute: Chase me, Gus! Please?

Bert trying to get Gus to chase him (1) -
Bert, Gus, and Daisy in the front field

Beagle Bert is by breed a hunting dog, which means he happily spends several hours each day tracking (but rarely ever actually catching) rabbits through the woods and across the fields. There's nothing like the sound of an excited beagle on the trail, especially when it's echoing through a narrow little valley. After 15 years of living with a beagle (first with Robin for 13 years, and now with Bert), that unique canine call still cracks me up.

Bert loves doing all the usual beagle things, but what he loves more than anything in the world is being chased—by anyone he can get to come after him. The other morning he had me chasing him around and around the pickup truck in the farmyard. He was too fast for me, and much better at taking the corners, so I tried to fake him out, turning around and heading the other way to ambush him as he raced around. He quickly got wise to me and starting darting right under the middle of the truck instead. We both had a great time.

A few hours later Bert, Bear, and I walked out to the front field to check on the sheep and the donkeys, and while we were out there Bert somehow convinced two-year-old Gus to chase him around the grass (the green grass!). After surviving a slightly terrifying game of chase the beagle out in Donkeyland not long after we adopted Bert, he laid off the donkeys for a while, but now he's back to the challenge.

Gus only made a half-hearted effort, and the game didn't last very long, but it was still the highlight of Bert's afternoon.

Eight more photos below. . .

Monday, November 12

Recipe: Jamie Oliver's Traditional English Cornish Pasties with Beef, Onion, Potatoes, and Carrots

These classic-style British meat hand pies (with updated ingredients) from Jamie's Great Britain are perfect cold weather comfort food—portable, filling, and they freeze beautifully.

Jamie Oliver's Great Britain is a neat cookbook. Laid out like Jamie's America, it's a 400-page hardcover packed with color photos of people, places, and mouthwatering food, along with commentary and interesting tidbits. I've already spent a couple of hours just leisurely reading through it.

The chapters range from Breakfast, Pub Grub, and New British Classics to Afternoon Tea, Pies and Puddings, and Sunday Lunch. There's a section on wild food that has me thinking about cooking rabbit—either the Honey-Roasted Lemon Rabbit or the 12 Hour (!) Rabbit Bolognese—for the first time ever (my mother won't believe I just said that). The short Condiments chapter at the end tells you how to make things like Curried Mayonnaise, A Quick English Mustard in Seconds, eight kinds of flavored vinegar, and The Best Piccalilli.

Some of the recipes I've bookmarked include Bubble and Squeak (a quintessential classic that dates to the early 1800s), Minted Zucchini Soup, Quick Fresh Tomato Soup with Little Cheddar Soliders, Epic Roast Chicken Salad with Golden Croutons, Shredded Rainbow Salad (you just throw everything into the food processor), Kate and Wills's Wedding Pie with Beef and Beer Filling, Guinness Lamb Shanks, Speedy Butter Beans with Tomatoes and Swiss Chard or Cabbage, Sour Cranberry Bakewell Tart, and Rainbow Jam Tarts.

Recipe below. . .

Sunday, November 11

Sunday Dose of Cute: Looking Out

Mr. Midnight on the kitchen windowsill -
Toward a brand new week.

Wishing you a beautiful one.

More Mr. Midnight? Here.
More of the hayfield? Here.

©, sleek, black, and able to easily see long distances (thanks to the pair of binoculars we keep in the kitchen).

Tuesday, November 6

Tuesday Dose of Cute: This is Not a Political Post

All seven donkeys in the front field -
Because everybody knows that cute is nonpartisan.

Get out and vote!

More donkeys? Here.
More politics? Nope.

©, where we had a record 100% turnout for the farm vote, and the results are already in: 80 to 2 in favor of a lot more treats.

Saturday, November 3

Recipe: Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter Made in the Oven

Really easy low sugar pear butter made in the oven -
This flavorful pear butter really is easy to make (recipe here).

Pears are in season, and there's nothing like homemade pear butter. This Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter recipe I shared a few years ago is so simple, and it tastes divine. There's no peeling or coring required, and because it cooks in the oven instead of on the stove top, you don't have to babysit a simmering pot for hours. It's also a great way to use up bruised and battered pears, which taste extra sweet.

Pears are plentiful and cheap right now, and in many places they're available locally grown. Unfortunately pears are also high on the Environmental Working Group's list of Most Contaminated Produce (apples are #1), so it's especially important to seek out organic pears if at all possible.

A good mature pear tree can literally produce several hundred pounds of fruit each year, so ask around. You might discover that a friend or neighbor would love for you to take a bushel or two off their hands. You can also search for fresh pears near you.

If you're facing a mountain of ripe pears, making pear butter is the perfect way to use them up. You can process jars of pear butter in a simple waterbath canner, but it will keep unprocessed in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks (I never have any around longer than that). Homemade pear butter makes a wonderful gift, and if you don't want to bother with the canning process, simply tell the recipient to stick their jar in the fridge and enjoy it right away.

©, where even the donkeys love pears.