Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving was at the Brown's house and as always, the youngsters were tortured with anticipation as the smell of roasting turkey filled the kitchen. There were many rides on the bike, writing, reading, helping, and visiting. As Tyler said in his prayer, "We all have a lot to be thankful for" and Ryan said in his blessing at the table, "Thank you for all of the good things we have to eat and to be together." Amen ~

Monday, November 28, 2011

Seasons Changing

It is such a gorgeous time of year in the valley as the leaves have made their full color change and the first snows have drifted down on the mountains. It is time to stoke the fire and make more hot chocolate!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall Decorations

It's Nuts Around Here!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Farmer Man!

It is birthday Apple Pie for dessert instead of cake for Farmer Man!

Tyler, the co-conspirator is ready to dig into the apple pie with Papa!

It wouldn't be a birthday party without twinkling Irish eyes of mischief!

The Three Little Leprechauns sitting on a bench...Tyler, Aiden, and Ryan.

Everyone all together to celebrate a very loving, kind, and happy Irish Man! We feasted on BBQ pork meatballs, rice pasta with spinach, garlic bread, applesauce, eggnog, and apple pie! Happy Birthday to the most wonderful man~ xo

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Walnut Pickers

There are so many nuts on this farm! We are scrambling to pick them all up, so we brought in reinforcements to help with the harvest. Anna and Aiden were just the help we needed!

The kids were eager and helpful and each chose a colorful bucket to fill. Then the hunt for hiding nuts in the leaves began.

Aiden has his hands full with walnuts. He was such a big helper. When there were 5-7 nuts in his bucket, he would deliver them to Papa's bucket and then return to the work of finding 5 or 6 or 7 more!

Anna was intrigued with finding the tiniest nuts of all, but also managed to fill her whole bucket by counting to 100. You never know how much math is used on the farm!!

Aiden was nearly overworked and took a break on the tire swing. It was the perfect reprieve for the grand finale!

Anna had an amazing genetic connection to her mama and auntie with tortured phrases of "How much longer are we going to do this?" or "Do you really like picking up walnuts, Nana?"...I finally had to ask Anna if Mama or Auntie told her to say those things, as I know I heard them in the past!!

Finally all of the counting and diligence paid off and the time for the grand finale of pouring the buckets of nuts into the crates to dry was here. Obviously, Aiden was impressed!

As soon as the buckets were emptied for drying, our new recruits turned quickly to the barn. I am assuming the walnut collection was all they hoped it would be and they were off for more fun.

Aiden and his pals, Dutchess and Marial watched the little Nigerian Dwarf goats in the pasture. They said a few words, and chased each other at the fence line.

Anna continued with the chores and egg collecting. She loves to find the eggs in the barn in the nesting boxes and in a few surprise places. Production is down at this time of year, so there were only enough eggs to fill four little hands.

The geese overhead signaled it was time for dinner. We call them Honkers, so Aiden called "Honk, Honk, Hhhhhonkers" all the way back to the house.

For dinner, the hard little workers ate cheeseburgers and tater tots. Aiden wanted a 'whowe' cheeseburger and Anna said we should really have tater tots the next time they come to visit for dinner. It was a celebration dinner and the very last tomato from the garden was sliced and eaten on the burgers. Pumpkin cakes were ready for dessert.

The little farm workers were tuckered out and fell fast asleep as visions of sugared walnuts danced in their heads! It was a perfect day to work on the farm~

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Gardening

There is so much to do on the farm in the fall. We were so fortunate to have a long, warm, dry October. The apples were late to ripen, but so, so sweet and ready for sauce, drying, and syrup. The walnuts are dropping and dropping like an erratic hail storm and with the nights freezing and temperatures dropping into the 20's, they will begin to fall with great enthusiasm. The summer garden harvest was completed and the squash, pumpkin and some spicy peppers have some time to cure or dry. The winter garden is planted with broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard, onions, spinach, cabbage, and bok choy. There was one more row that didn't get included in the picture. Now that the rain has started, we will gather in as many walnuts as we can by the end of the month ~

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Caramel Apple Dutch Baby Pancakes

I called this yummy weekend treat a caramel apple Dutch Baby pancake because it was caramelized on the bottom and so creamy and yummy! I could eat them every morning I think! Now go preheat the oven to 425 degrees for at least 15 minutes.

Here is how to make them:
4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
a pinch of two of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 C. milk
Blend these ingredients together.

This batter mixture needs to sit for 30 minutes. It helps activate the gluten, the eggs become magical, and the anticipation is unmatched! Just cover the batter with a clean dish towel and begin the rest of the breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner preparations.

I made a Pumpkin Spice coffee from Trader Joe's. I made a regular pot of coffee and add 1-2 spoonfuls of this delicious coffee on top. That makes the special flavored coffee last much longer and it is the right strength for our tastes.

Slice up a whole apple into thin wedges. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over them on a saucer and set aside.
Now combine 1/2 cup sugar (minus the tsp of sugar above), 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and stir.
Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter in a cast iron or other oven proof skillet. Tip the pan so the butter coats the edges too.

Once butter is completely melted add the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Do not stir. This makes the caramel apple effect! Now add the apple slices. Over medium heat let the mixture get bubbly then add the batter mixture.

Again, it is not necessary to stir this delicious smelling egg mixture on the stove top. Simply slip the pan into preheated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees for another 10 minutes. Then go set the table, pour coffee, some folks like syrup on their Dutch Babies and others like lemon and powdered sugar on top. I will serve it with some apple syrup next time for Tim that we made, but I liked the pancake just the way it came out of the oven.

They taste like a cross between French toast, pancakes, and of course caramel apples. The creaminess of the egg mixture creates a true comfort food too!

This was our prelude to the working weekend and a winter garden plot that we managed to plant just before Halloween. It is best not to work too hard on a full stomach, so after this meal you may need to sip some more coffee by the fire or woodstove! Enjoy ~