Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Enjoying Frozen Fruit from Summer

As well as blanching and freezing vegetables from our garden last summer, we also froze a good amount of fruit; raspberries, peaches, blueberries, cherries, and rhubarb.  The peaches and blueberries both came from U-Pick-It orchards.

We've been using the peaches and blueberries to make fruit smoothies and they are delicious!


To make the smoothies I use 1 cup of cranberry juice, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, approximately 1 cup frozen peaches and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries.  Combine all this in a blender and blend until smooth.  It makes 2 servings and needs to be served at once.  This recipe is versatile in that you may use any combination of juice and frozen fruit that you have available.  If it is too thin, add some more frozen fruit or an ice cube or two.  If it is too thick, add a little more juice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Newest Afghan - Finished!

     My daughter asked me to crochet an afghan for her.  She chose the colors and the yarn.  The yarn is Lion Brand, "Hometown USA," which is a super bulky yarn.  It is very soft and it has a bit of a shine to it; quite lovely.  She chose the colors Dallas Grey and Washington Denim.  I used a size N crochet hook.  She wanted the chevron pattern of crochet.  I just followed a pattern I had used before, substituting the larger hook and bulkier yarn, and made it the width she wanted.  I crocheted three rows of each color before changing to the next color.  It's all done in the double-crochet stitch.  As I progressed, she decided I needed to keep going until it was long enough for her bed so she could use it as a blanket or bedspread.  It's very heavy!  I'm sure it weighs at least 10 pounds.  I don't know exactly how much yarn I used.  The yarn came in 5 oz. skeins and it took almost 1 1/2 skeins per 3-row color stripe.  Ridiculous.  I'm thinking I would not do this again!




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.

BEST OF EVERYTHING MUFFINS

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.


GREEN TOMATO RELISH

 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!