Baking, winning and selling. A good week.

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My favorite little neighbors came over for our bi-annual cookie baking! This year their skills really hiked it up a few notches. Then we experimented with some mini caramel apples.

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It was a fun, but rather sticky afternoon. Perhaps not the healthiest of fair, but the kiddos, my daughter and I all had gooey good fun!

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In other news, I WON this! $100 of local foods!!! This was super fun, all such good food, all so healthy and delicious. I answered a question on the Co-op’s Facebook page and names were drawn. How did I get this lucky?! All local, all wonderful!

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Another unusual thing that week was that hubby decided to part with his 1949 International Pick up truck. I listed it on our local buy and sell Facebook page and in 4 hours there was guy here with a big stack of hundred dollar bills. The money comes at a good time, since we have money tied up in a house flip and we are waiting on the sale. So in the last few weeks, I have sold 159 pounds of Mangel beets, a pick up truck and a 1 year old Highland. I am definitely on a roll!

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Oh yes, and I additionally sold our first 4 chickens! Sold them off the farm, and it felt really good to know we raised it from a chick, and sold it to someone who understands the care and work that went into them and bought them for her dinner table. November 4th we have our first beef going in and will be loading the beef into our freezer in mid November. All of this is very exciting and bringing us to a whole new place. It’s been three years since we started our mini herd, and now we will have beef each Fall.

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These are tiny GOJI BERRIES! I didn’t think I would see one this year. We planted 2 Elderberries, 2 Red Currants, 2 Plum trees and one Goji Berry this past Spring. I am hoping that next year we will have lots of blossoms on all of them. Not really sure what we will think of the taste of Goji berries or not, but my goal this past Spring was to add more fruit to our farm. Fruit in the Midwest is a very limited engagement and so stocking the freezer with enough fruit is harder for us. This year in the freezer we have local blueberries, local strawberries, our rhubarb, peaches from a couple hours north of us and loads of applesauce and plenty of apple cider, although we wished we had done more cider. This was our first year doing it and hoping next year for a whole lot more! It is delicious. We did a wild apple cider with mixed wild apples and then one with our pears in it. Oh and in the pantry we have lots of dried apples, some dried peaches, dried watermelon and dried pears.

Finally….

WE GOT OUR FIRST EGGS FROM OUR NEW LAYERS!!!!! So proud of the little girls.

A little less kitchen, and a little more garden…

The garden is really looking like Fall. The tomatoes are wrapping up with a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few San Marzano’s each day.

fall garden

parsley

No matter how much Parsley I dry, I can’t keep up, lol!

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I did manage to accumulate enough for two more trays of roasted tomatoes with garlic, basil and olive oil. This time though I pureed them and, because of the skins being in it, it made it super thick and it could be sauce for a pizza or a when cold it is thick enough for to be a roasted tomatoes ketchup. I have 12 small jars of this in the freezer, not bad seeing how I thought the tomatoes were almost done! The dill shown above will all get dried into dill seed and dill weed. My dehydrator has gotten little rest this season.

red beet mangels

This was cool! We grew these Red Beet Mangels for our Pigs we were getting in May. Ummm then we didn’t get Pigs this year after all. We had enough going on this year! So what to do with the Mangels. Each one weighs close to, or more than a pound! I decided to get in touch with my friend who raises goats. When I can get over there I barter with her for milk and eggs too, while our girls are in their molt. I asked if she was interested in some Winter feed for her goats. She said she really did need fresh feed for them for the Winter, apparently you can bury them and cover them with loads of straw and they last through the winter. She came over and we dug up loads and loads and stuffed boxes of them into her small Toyota and off she went. I was left with 3 dozen eggs, 1 gallon of goat milk and a giant credit for milk and soap. It was a win-win-win. The third win was for the goats!

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Here are some of her beautiful eggs that Hubby was cooking up with some chives. There really is a remarkable difference between farm eggs and store eggs. 🙂

As long as I seem to have found my way back to the kitchen I will show off my exciting new venture into fermenting. I have made kimchi a few times but now I have these awesome fermenting jars!

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On the left is Sauerkraut and on the right is Kimchi. I can’t wait to taste these. I also made some vinegar pickled Kohlrabi and beets shown below.

pickled kohlrabi:beets

soap dishes

Finally, I finished this tiny little project that I started forever ago. These are my new soap dishes for my goat soap. I cut it into chunks and will put one by each sink in the house. When the jars get soapy and messy then I just rinse them clean. Hubby drilled the holes, in the wood, I didn’t trust myself to learn how to use a new tool on something that was so small and could so easily split!

High Bush Cranberry Jelly – It’s definitely Fall

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I watched these beautiful High Bush Cranberries change all summer, from green to yellow to orange and finally this beautiful color red. It is finally time to make jelly, and this year there were a lot more berries than last year! I picked them in the evening, and it got dark quickly. I came in and made the juice and I thought I had picked them all but the next day I saw a section I missed, so I had even more juice than I thought.

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hbc jelly

I read that Cranberries are one of the higher pectin fruits so I thought I would skip the pectin. I ended up with lovely syrup, so I processed again and used some pectin but not much. Then it became the consistency of honey. So it is messy on toast but delicious and will be great on French Toast. When I made the next batch I figured I’d just make actual syrup for mixing in sparkling water, for homemade soda or to compliment a cocktail, but ironically this set beautifully and is not jelly but thick jam. The flavor is magically delicious, and forget any notions of a cereal eating leprechaun, this is actually magically delicious, unlike that little fellow’s cereal.

going as a guest

Hubby was helping our daughter do some back splash tiling in her kitchen and we had a collaborative meal and BBQ’d on her patio. I took one of my corn relish jars out of the pantry and mixed it with some pinto beans and a few tablespoons of fresh salsa for a cold salad. The other dish I brought was simply green beans sauteed with re-hydrated Shiitake Mushrooms. I brought her some of the apple pear cider we made as she and her other half were here helping with it earlier that day. The cherry tomatoes were just to share, they have helped in the garden and are the lucky recipients of garden grabs when they are here.

The next day we had company so I made the corn salad again, and here were other appetizers and salads, all homemade: fresh pico de gallo, a cucumber tomato salad, a tomato bruschetta, dilly beans and some salmon from a local fishery and this became a spread for crackers with a bit of mayo, lots of lemon juice and dill.

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I purchased some local beef (counting the weeks till we have our own first beef, which will be in mid November) and we had mini burgers on some very small buns that I made. All in all a tasty meal and nice to see some friends we had not seen in years!

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We have been enjoying so many wonderful veggies, well technically I enjoyed the Zucchini pancakes above, I didn’t bother making those when Hubby was around, Zucchini and Hubby are not friends.

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Although this veggie dish looks like it has pasta in it, those are actually Zucchini noodles:)

pot pie prep

It was time to use our last stewing bird from last year. This was stage two of my first chicken pot pie from scratch. I started by putting the whole bird in the crock pot with water and once it was cooked I had a lot of chicken meat and loads of broth. The veggies above went into the pie with the thickened broth. I used our mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic to fill the pie, along with all the chicken.

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This was delicious!!! Once the chicken was cooked, hubby got a sandwich out of it, then the next night we ate the pie, the next day we had it again for lunch and then we had yet another lunch out of it when I turned the broth into a chicken veggie soup, and served it with grilled cheese for both of us. The one bird served us each a dinner and each two lunches, plus an extra lunch for hubby. It’s amazing how many meals can come from one bird!

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It sure is looking like Fall is setting in, at this point. This morning it was 45 when I went to let the birds out. It seems too soon for a fire in the house, so as I sit in the cool kitchen (63 degrees) with a sweatshirt and a hat on, with my favorite radio programming, I am keeping warm with lots of coffee.

morning coffee