Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I Wish You the "Best of Everything."

I call these muffins the "Best of Everything Muffins," because they are tasty and they are good for a quick breakfast on your way out the door.  Or, they make healthy snacks that are easy to make ahead and store in the freezer.  They have whole wheat flour and oatmeal in them.  They have no oil or shortening, but use applesauce instead.  This version also has raisins and walnuts, but you could substitute craisins and pecans or any other dried fruit and nut combination that you like.


1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg

¾ cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup applesauce
1 ½ cups raisins
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 12-cup muffin tin.

Combine flour & next 6 ingredients.  Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture & stir well.

Stir in raisins & walnuts.  Fill muffin cups about two-thirds full.  Bake 20 minutes.  Cool slightly & remove from muffin tin.  Makes 1 dozen.

Harvest Hill Farm

Mound City, MO

Friday, October 30, 2015

When Life Gives You . . .

green tomatoes, make green tomato relish!  That's what I've been doing today.  It is the end of the gardening season here, so we have a few red tomatoes to process as well as plenty of green ones.  I've been making tomato juice out of the ripest red tomatoes and I have made one batch (7 pint jars) of green tomato relish today.  I plan to make another batch tomorrow.  The other tomatoes that I'm waiting on to finish ripening, we'll eat fresh.  And, I'll also chop some fresh ones and freeze them to use in vegetable soup this winter.  The chickens will get the remainder.  They love tomatoes!

Some people really like fried green tomatoes, but I've never cultivated a taste for them.  They're okay, but I don't like them well enough to take the time to fry them myself.
There are lots of recipes for green tomato relish.  I have included the one that my family likes the best.


 8 cups chopped green tomatoes
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped red pepper
½ cup salt

¾ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water

Grind vegetables coarsely.  Sprinkle with the ½ cup salt.  Let stand overnight in refrigerator.  (Or let stand 3 to 4 hours).

Rinse and drain thoroughly.  Combine sugar, spices, horseradish, vinegar and water; simmer 15 minutes.  Add vegetables and bring to a boil.  Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.  Yield:  7 pints.

Harvest Hill Farm

Mound City, MO

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Market Square Day - Labor Day

Tomorrow is Market Square Day in Mound City, MO.  Our small town has this street fair every Labor Day.  It is a combination flea market, farmers' market, craft sale and book sale.  Plus, there are all sorts of booths selling foods ready-to-eat from breakfast to barbecue to burgers.  Several of the local organizations and churches use proceeds from their booths to benefit community projects and scholarships for students.  It is an enjoyable way to spend a holiday shopping, visiting and eating, especially if the weather is nice.  We're not sure about tomorrow; there is a chance of rain.  The market opens at 8 a.m. and runs through early afternoon.

Harvest Hill Farm's booth will include vegetables, eggs, baked goods, homemade jam and a few crafts.  So, we're all pretty busy today getting everything harvested, bagged, baked, labeled and organized for tomorrow.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Organic" Gnat Trap

This time of year, every year, the gnats show up at our house.  Every year I plan to be sure all food scraps are disposed of immediately, all food is refrigerated quickly, and no food is left out, uncovered.  No matter how meticulous I am, it seems we still have an influx of gnats.  I thought, perhaps, it was just a side effect of living on a farm.  Apparently, all of that has nothing to do with the gnat visits each year.

This week on one of the Kansas City TV stations, they were showing solutions for getting rid of gnats.  I was a bit relieved because that means this must be a wide-spread problem, at least in the mid-west, if it's being addressed on TV.

I tried one of the gnat traps discussed, and it works.  It's so simple.  Start with a jar or plastic/paper cup.  I chose a plastic cup so I could just throw the whole thing out when I've caught the gnats.  Put something in the container to attract the gnats.  I chose some cantaloupe seeds and juice because I was cutting up a cantaloupe at the time.  Fruit juice or fruit scraps of any kind would probably work well.

Make a funnel out of a piece of paper, leaving a tiny whole at the point.  Tape the funnel to hold it in shape.  Then, place the funnel in the top of the container and tape it to the top of the cup all the way around to seal it shut so the gnats cannot escape.  The gnats fly down to get to the fruit scraps and cannot find their way back out.  All the dark spots in the picture are gnats.  It works perfectly!

Gnats are aggravating, but I'd rather have them trapped in a container that I can get rid of easily than flying around all over the house, especially in the kitchen.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Easy Bacon

The tomatoes on our plants are finally ripening now, so it's time for BLTs.  Cooking bacon is generally a time-consuming mess, so when I stumbled on this method, I decided it was worth sharing.  Perhaps the rest of the world already cooks bacon like this, but if you don't, you may want to give this a try.

It's cooked completely in the oven and it doesn't splatter all over everything.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  The oven rack should be one space up from the bottom.  Use a cookie sheet that has short sides on it (2 pans if you want to cook 1 lb. of bacon).  Line the pan(s) with aluminum foil for an easy clean-up.  Lay the bacon strips side by side on the pan without overlapping.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Pour off the grease half-way through the cooking time.  The bacon will be perfectly cooked with little or no mess.

The 15 minutes works for regular-cut bacon.  If you are cooking thick-sliced bacon, you'll need to cook it longer.

The BLTs were delicious!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Peach Crisp

In keeping with the current peach season, I tried a peach crisp recipe.  It's much faster to make than a pie.  It is a lovely dessert and it is also tasty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The sliced almonds add a nice crunch.


5 cups peeled, sliced, fresh peaches
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup regular oatmeal
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together the sugar and the 3 tablespoons of flour.  Pour this mixture over the sliced peaches and stir.  When peaches are coated, turn mixture into a 2-quart square baking dish.

For topping, combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, ¼ cup flour, and nutmeg.  Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the sliced almonds.  Sprinkle topping over sliced peach mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden.  Cool slightly.  If desired, serve warm with ice cream.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Peaches are in Season!

Fresh peaches are so delicious this time of year.  Yesterday I spent the day making peach jam.  Today we worked on peeling, pitting, slicing and bagging peaches for the freezer.  This evening we celebrated with a fresh peach daiquiri.  I had never had one of those before.  It was so tasty; I decided I should share the recipe.


3 large fresh peaches (peeled, pitted and halved)
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup light rum
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 cups crushed ice

Place first 4 ingredients in an electric blender; process at high speed until smooth.  Add ice, and process until slushy.