Sunday, March 17, 2013

Eggs for my friends - Yay for bloom!

I took this picture last night as I was washing eggs for a friend at church.  She caught sight of the blue and green eggs I gave someone recently and came straight to me to ask for some.   My friend bragged to her girlfriends about them and they didn't believe her.  So, I promised to bring her proof.

I really like my colorful egg basket.  They range from brown with dark flecks, light brown, cream, white, olive to blue.  All from different chickens.  I can tell which girl laid which egg.

I don't usually wash eggs.  Why?  They're covered in a "bloom" that protects them from bacteria.  Egg shells are porous, and the bloom keeps the bad stuff from getting into those pores.  Eggs you buy in the store have been washed so they don't have the bloom any longer.  They go bad much faster than my farm fresh eggs.  Mine may last 6, 7, 8 weeks or longer.

There you have it, that's why the eggs from the farmers market have a little mud on them.  Be grateful for it.

Yay for bloom!

I linked this to... 

Deborah Jean's Dandelion house

The Self Sufficient Home Acre

The Homestead Barn Hop

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Recipe: Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

My mom grew up in Florida and every so often we like to go back down, stay in her childhood home and hit the beach.  We just did that a couple of weeks ago and took the girls to visit the chocolate factory one afternoon.  They were making a line full of these babies - and selling them for about $9 per 1/4 pound!  I sure couldn't afford that, so I decided to make them on my own.

They are so simple, I didn't even take pics of the process.

Ghiradelli make a new product they call a "Candy Making and Dipping Bar".  I found mine at Sam's Club.  They make it in dark and white.

Get a box of the dark.
Get a bag of ridged potato chips.

Melt the chocolate per the instructions.  Basically, chop it up, put it in a microwave safe dish and microwave it in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each time, until it's smooth.

Select whole chips and dip each one at a time into the chocolate.  Using a fork, lift them and tap them until you can see the ridges nicely.

Place them onto wax paper to cool.

Try not to eat them all in one day.  Sharing is always good, your friends will love you even more than before if you do.

(sorry the picture is so bad.  I snapped it with my phone and didn't plan to share it, but they were so yummy!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Creme Pies

I made these the other day to take to our friend's bonfire.  I had seen a couple of ideas on Pinterest and combined a few to come up with these.  Actually, I made one I found but my husband didn't like it and asked me to change it.  He has an exceptional palate, so I did.

Please, try these.  They're simple.  You'll be glad you did.

Chocolate Chip Creme Pies


1 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits

Heat the oven to 375*F.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set it aside.

In your mixer, combine the butter and sugars.  Mix them until they're fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing them well after each one.  Add the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, just mixing until they're combined.
Add the chocolate chips and toffee bits and mix them in well.

Scoop them into scant teaspoon sizes onto a cookie sheet covered with a silpat or parchment paper.  Bake them for about 8 minutes or until they're brown on the edges.

Remove them from the oven, let them sit on the cookie sheet for about a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Creme Filling

1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 jar of marshmallow creme
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the butter and powdered sugar in your mixer.  Beat them until combined.  Add the marshmallow creme and vanilla.  Taste it, adding more sugar or vanilla if you need to.

Take one of your cookies, spread it with the creme and top it with another cookie.

They store best in the refrigerator, but taste best at room temperature.

Seriously, make these.  Take them somewhere to share.  Prepare to be loved for your yummy treats.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Chili

I'm still here - don't worry.  I'm just enjoying my life.

I don't have a lot of time.  Especially on Wednesdays.  I teach at my girls' school all day, then we have soccer practice.  We usually get home around 6pm.

I love cooking healthy for my family.  I don't have time when we get home on Wednesdays to cook a meal.  I hate having to pick up pizza on the way home.

I decided to start using my crock pot again.

But, what to make in it?

I am well known for my regular chili.  Although it's never the same way twice, it's still good each time.

I recently came across a couple of recipes that convinced me to try to change my recipe.  And, it turned out so good that I decided it was time to blow the dust off the old blog and share it.

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Chili
1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Tbs. Coconut Oil, (or you can use Olive Oil)
1 Green Pepper, chopped
2 Stalks of Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
4 cups of Chicken Broth
2 Large cans of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cooked and cubed Chicken Breasts
1 15oz can Pumpkin Puree, (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 large can of Diced Tomatoes, (I LOVE fire roasted ones)
1 pkg. Chili Seasoning mix, (yes, I cheat)
1 Tbs. Dried Oregano

In a skillet, melt the coconut oil, add the onions, green pepper, celery and carrots and cook them over low heat until soft.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add this mixture to your crock pot.
Cook the sweet potatoes in a small pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes until slightly soft.  Drain and add to the crock pot.
Add the chicken broth, black beans, chicken breast, pumpkin puree, diced tomatoes, chili seasoning and dried oregano to the crock pot.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours.

Check seasoning and see if it needs more spices or salt.  You can season it with chili powder or cumin, those are common ingredients in a pkt of chili seasoning.  Red pepper flakes and more oregano are also nice.

Serve with your choice of toppings.  We like an assortment of plain greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, minced onion, oyster crackers or corn chips.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Unidentified Chicks

Is anyone a chicken expert?

I ordered 38 chicks this spring.  12 Ameraucana, 8 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes and 8 Seramas.

Of the 38, only 20 were shipped.  Of the 20, only 15 made it alive.  Of the 15, only 13 made it past the first day.

Of the 13, only 2 are the breed I ordered.
2 Seramas.

I mostly wanted the Ameraucanas.  They're the breed I want to build my flock with.  But, sadly, their Ameraucanas went broody, (that means they want to sit on eggs and hatch them), when it came time for them to collect for my order.

They substituted the Ameraucanas with Olive Egger chicks.  That means they bred either their Ameraucana rooster or hen with a dark egg layer, probably a Maran.

I received one Wyandotte, but it's black laced red.  This is the second time I've tried to raise BLRW and failed.  boo.

So, I have 13 chicks.  I know for sure what the Seramas are.  I know what they Wyandotte is.

What are the other 10?

5 of them look similar, and of those 5, 3 are roos and 2 pullets.

The others, I can't figure out.

One has a mohawk.  I call him Rod Stewart.

You can't really see him, he's hiding in the back.

I guess it will be interesting to see what these chicks grow into.  In the meantime, I think I'll get an incubator and purchase some Ameraucana eggs and hatch them on my own...

I shared this post at Barnyard Hop

Thursday, March 1, 2012

of seeds and chickens

I've been away.  Far, far away.  From an easy life.

There have been a ton of things go wrong in my life lately.  My best friend's mother passed away.  She was way too young.  We are way to young to experience this.

But, it gave her an excuse to come back home for a week.  She and her family stayed with us.  Her boys are just older than my girls, and they had a blast together.  I wish it were easier to travel long distances faster.

My inlaws are getting ready to be between jobs soon, and they came for a week to work on their house.  They brought my sister in law and her family.  It was wonderful to have them here to visit, they haven't been here since our wedding.

After those two weeks, we needed a vacation.  So, we packed the girls up, drove to Williamsburg, and got the stomach bug.  For the whole time.  Plus, 2 ear infections, 1 sinus infection and another unknown infection.  Came back home and uncovered a UTI also.  Ugh.

But, today, it was a beautiful day.  The sun was out.  The weather was warm.

I started a flat of seeds today.  I plan to hold back on my planting this year, only a couple of each variety.  So, that means only 9 tomatoes, 9 peppers, 3 lavenders, etc.  I am being much more intentional about my garden.  Yay!

The chickens were happy today.  Brady is getting ready to move out - the upcoming Spring is making him very mean.  And, I discovered 2 cracked eggs in the nest boxes.  I hope it's because of the curious new leghorn who laid her first egg today getting nosy, not because I have an egg eater.

Sorry I've been gone.  I promise a few recipes soon, I'm working on some now.

linked to: & Simple Lives Thursday & Homestead Barn Hop

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

30 Minute Yeast Rolls

Today was a beautiful day.  65*.  In January.  What?

So, I didn't spend much time in the kitchen.  I spent it outside.  I cleaned out the front garden, pruned the lavendar, pulled out the old flower stems, swept the mulch back into the beds that the chickens had scratched out.

We went to the science fair at school.  The children had the most creative experiments.  I was really impressed.  I mean, who comes up with the idea to see which color m&m melts fastest in the microwave?

When it came time to plan dinner, I wanted something fast.  We picked up some tilapia, planned it with rice, asparagus and corn.  I wanted bread, but didn't decide this until after 4pm.  Even my fastest breads take a couple of hours to rise.  I didn't want to settle for cornbread or biscuits, so I hit Google and found a recipe for 30 minute rolls.  I couldn't believe it was true.  but, was it???

Yep, it was.  Here they are.  So yummy.  I will adjust the recipe next time, and I've adjusted for my adjustments below.  I'm considering adding some honey, too, but that's an experiment for another day.

30 Minute Yeast Rolls

1 cup + 2 T. warm water
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I may try coconut oil next time)
2 T yeast
1/4 cup sugar (I'm going to add 1/4 c honey, too, next time)

3/4 tsp. salt (this I adjusted.  It may even need more.)
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 cups flour

Mix the first 4 ingredients and let them sit for a few minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble.
Add the salt and egg, begin beating.  A stand mixer is best, of course, but you can do this by hand with a wooden spoon.
Add the flour and mix it until the gluten makes it smooth.  Form it into 12 balls and put them on a silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Let them raise for about 15 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 400* oven for about 15 minutes.  Brush the tops with butter as soon as you take them out of the oven.
Serve with butter and your favorite roll topping.

Tomorrow promises to be an even nicer day.  I can't wait!