The apple butter time of the year! Last week we canned 19 pints of apple butter.

Here it is cooking down....

...and after we added the spices...

Doesn't it look delicious?

Tardy Turkey Day Greetings

Despite my tardiness in posting, we had a nice thanksgiving. Our main course was gumbo & french bread (here's the gumbo cooking)

I made delicious bean dip from Foodie Farm Girl's recipe. (It's not terribly photogenic in this picture, but we ate it before I remembered to get a better picture!

We also had pecan pie, squash pie, and soybean pie (yum).

(I ate squash and soybean for breakfast and lunch for days afterwards....)

...More Fall Colors

What's keeping me busy...

I haven't been posting too much over the past few weeks. Why? I've been busy.

This is Shaylee (she doesn't like cameras much). She's the newest member of the family.


There are quite a few recipes out there for making your own mozzarella. I don't remember which one we used, but I don't think it's terribly critical, since it was wrong. :-)

Basically we added some rennet, (found at grocery store), citric acid (found at health food store), and milk together in a pot, and heated it up. The instructions that I found bookmarked on my phone (best guess as any, but I think we ended up combining several recipes) say to combine 1 gallon milk and 2 tsp citric acid and heat to 88 degrees F. Then, add 1/2 tablet of rennet (dissolved in 1/4 cup chlorine-free water), and heat it up to 105 degrees F. The directions then said to turn off the heat and large curds would appear in a sea of clear-greenish whey. This did happen for us, but we had to wait several hours before the curd was firm (slice-able), and the whey was clearish.

Now the fun begins! We drained the whey off, and pressed the curd to get as much whey out as possible. (it was hot!)

(I saw a recipe on the insert that came with the rennet that said you can make a different type of cheese out of just you can always save it! My thought was you could maybe sub for liquid in bread... could be sourdough-y?) At this point, we followed the recipe to microwave for 30-second or so increments, pressing and draining the whey out in between.

After about 3 of these, we could start kneading the curds. It was tough going at first with the kneading, as the curds really didn't want to stick together, but we kept at it.

The curds actually got rather bouncy, like pizza dough. (we had to reheat the whole mess several times to keep kneading--otherwise the curds stopped sticking to each other).

When it felt and looked like a ball of mozzarella, we figured we were done.

We formed the ball of curd (now cheese) into two balls, put them in a container of salt water (later we learned that a little goes a long way and mozzarella soaks up whatever you keep it in--note if you go too far with the salt just soak it in plain water for a while) and stored them in the refrigerator. According to what I read, the fresh cheese will only keep about a week.

I promise I'll take more reliable notes next time! (cheese-making is messy)
So a few weeks ago, we made our characteristic pizzas (this time one on sunday and one on friday)...but there was something different....

Are those slices of fresh mozzarella? They are. (but that's not the best part...)

You want to know the REALLY special part? (I feel like I have to leak it, since I haven't gotten that post written yet........) We made it. :-) Yummy. Home-made. Mozzarella. (Post to come...I promise)

What're you lookin at?

Are you looking at me??

Oh. That's ok then. I AM rather proud of my looks.....  :-)

Happy Halloween

Fall Foliage (III)

It might be time to get the leaf blower out...

Fall Foliage (II)



S. has been busy chopping wood for the past month or so (this is only about a third or less of it...the rest is under a tarp). Doesn't it look warm? :-)

More Sedum


Comfort Foods

The leaves are starting to change color (partially from cold, partially from drought...), and there's a chill in the air. This can mean only one thing:  it's time to haul out the comfort foods.

Venison Chili
(inspired by two recipes from a game cookbook that was a gift from my parents)

Yeast-free Pizza

Several weeks ago, S. and I had a craving for homemade pizza. We had everything we needed: tomato sauce, toppings, and mozzarella (this is usually the ingredient we forget about...) The only thing we neglected to check....was yeast.

So, what about a flatbread pizza? It's flat. It doesn't use yeast, does it?? Um, yeah. Turns out it does. Leafing through a cookbook, it turns out most "flat" breads do, in fact. Ok...... how about google? Success!

After reading several recipes, and several more recipe reviews, this is the one we settled on. The dough was definitely different to work with, but not too weird. (We had nightmares of pizza on crackers at this point). And it baked up pretty stinkin' well.

This wouldn't be my pizza dough of choice, but I think we'd definitely give it another go if we were out of yeast. It was a little crisper, and a little drier than I prefer, but it was pretty good.

Egg Muffin Breakfasts

A few weeks ago, we decided to stray from our regular breakfast options (crumpets, bagels, etc.) Instead, we decided to give the many (many) eggs in our refrigerator a try....egg sandwich style.

First we toasted some english muffins, and put a pat of butter on each. Then, we put a fried egg in the middle.

See that cool ring the egg is in? S. unbent a cookie cutter to make that. Brilliant! (and it works perfectly).

Then we put some bacon on top, and some muenster cheese......and into the freezer they went.

5 minutes in the microwave, and these things make a delicious breakfast on-the-go.
I've been doing my best to keep track of how many eggs our hens and ducks have layed in the sidebar of the blog. About half a week ago, S. asked me why the 2010 chicken egg counter said "204". Um. Oops.

I'm not sure what it should be, although I know it was up around 1000. I also know that with about 10 eggs a day, we're probably several hundred off whichever way I look at it. So I've made the executive decision to restate the count as "approximate", and set it as 1000 when we noticed it was off (about a half week ago, when I had already spazzed on adding a few days worth.)

Here's to close enough. :-)


So, apparently when they're about 18 months old, laying hens have their first molt. According to what I've read, they basically stop laying during the molt, to put energy into feathers, and then ramp back up the spring after their molt. (As counter-intuitive as it seems, most molts apparently take place in know, when it's starting to get colder...?)

Either way, they look awfully pathetic... We only have one molting, which seems odd to me, since we have 4 of that age. I guess we'll just have to see if the rest follow suit.
Our pet birds love their mixed veggies, so we decided as part of our frugality efforts to make our own. So we have frozen corn left from last year, and frozen green beans. Peas, we decided, are too expensive if we have to buy them to freeze them, so next on the list was carrots. Despite our successes this year, there's no way there were enough from our garden to we hiked off to the store and bought a 5 pound bag on sale.

On to chopping....

(Thank you S. you make a lovely hand model... :-) 

Here they are, all chopped. (yes, this is how we should have tried to chop the cucumbers for dill relish...)

Chopping the carrots was, by far, the most time-consuming part of the process
(but we wanted our cute little dices)

(Is "dices" a word?)

Next, we blanched the carrots for 3-5 min

Note the crazy scary orange foaming water....

We froze them flat on a cookie sheet, as we did the green beans. That works really well for not ending up with one block of iced veggies. Isn't that color crazy?

...and here it is all bagged up (it barely fit...I probably should have used two bags....)

State of the garden

As of the first weekend in September...

We still had tomatoes setting... 

Pepper plants still in flower.

Eastern Box Turtle

I'm not sure what he's looking at...

He let me get really close to him, though!
Related Posts with Thumbnails