Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winter Update

So it's been a while since I have been able to find time to make a post. Things have sure been busy but why is it when you've been busy, you can't really explain what's all been going on? Rather than bore you with all the details, I'll share pictures! Everyone likes those, right?

We've been ice fishing out on Mille Lacs lake and sharing the pictures with our friends from the southern states, freaking them out.

We have adopted a new puppy that we renamed Ginger. She's an Alaskan Malamute mixed with something else. We're guessing a lab of some sort. She's absolutely gorgeous and a very well manured dog.

Recently, we've started making vinyl decals. I love these so much. They have absolutely no background and look so much more professional than other decals I've seen. They come in a variety of colors and lasts at least 6 years outside.

We also ventured into making aluminum signs that won't rust or fade. We bought a new press, upgraded our papers and inks and these turn out SO NICE! Of course I focus on our chicken/duck/farm/homesteading peeps. I know what my yard is going to be decorated with this spring.

Christmas was crazy busy but we managed to survive.

I found that I love making projects with clay. Mom loves wood burning.

 Most important - all the dogs are still spoiled rotten, healthy and happy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Homemade Almond Butter Cups

"One of my favorite candies of all time has be Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! I can never just eat one! I found myself really wanting one yesterday in the line at the gas station. I stared for a minute at the bright orange "EAT ME" packaging and I was met with this:

Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, PGPR) peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ
Now, I'm not entirely well versed on what different ingredients are in processed food (I'm working on it, but I still use Google quite a bit) but my general rule of thumb is that if I can't tell you what it is, I probably shouldn't eat it. Google did, however, tell me this:
PGPR, which began showing up on the ingredient list of drugstore chocolate several years ago, is short for polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a goopy yellowish liquid made from castor beans that reduces the viscosity of chocolate. Since 2006, big chocolate manufacturers such as Hershey’s have been replacing the expensive raw ingredient cocoa butter with PGPR in their recipes. (Source plus more info : Progressive Charlestown )
Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ as it is more commonly referred to as, is in fact a chemical preservative which is a form of butane. It is used in foodstuffs to delay the onset of rancidness and greatly extends the storage life of foods. (Source plus more info: Natural News )
Both of these just sound super ick, and I don't need Google to tell me that corn syrup solids sounds like an icky item! Definitely decided to put the pretty orange packaged candy back on the shelf and try my hand at my own delicious version at home. I tend not to have peanut butter on hand (nothing against it, we just tend to use almond butter) so I thought that I would try it with almond butter instead. I'm very glad I did, because it was delicious. GOODBYE REESE'S CUPS!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blackberry and Lemon Mascarpone Galette

"With a huge pile of blackberries and a blanket of lemon scented mascarpone under them.  This Blackberry and Lemon Mascarpone Galette is everything you would want a galette to be."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Natural Way to Rid Chickens of Lice & Mites

"It is not unusual for chickens to have a few mites on them, but just like anything else, mites and lice become a problem when there are too many of them trying to feast upon your birds. If your birds’ combs and wattles are looking pale and dull, if your birds are always scratching at their ears, shaking their heads a lot or if you see mites, lice or nits on your birds, you may have a real issue."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sweet Cucumber Relish

4 cups finely chopped or course ground cucumber ( seeded ) 
2 cups finely chopped or course ground green peppers (seeded) - can also use banana peppers
2 cups finely chopped or course ground carrots 
8 stalks of celery finely chopped or course ground 
3 large onions 
1/4 cup canning salt 
2 cups white vinegar 
3 1/2 cups sugar 

Finely chop or course grind all you vegetables with a cheese cloth squeeze as much liquid from the vegetables as you can in a kettle add vegetables , vinegar , salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, let simmer for 15 minutes. Fill pint jars 1/2 from top. Using the handle of a wood spoon remove the air pockets.Wipe rim of jar clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place flat lid on top of jar. Place the twist cap on jar, tighten by hand. Process in a water bath canner for 15 min. 

**Makes about 5 pints**

Monday, September 8, 2014

Louise's Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

12 cups Rhubarb
8 cups Strawberries
6 cups Sugar
1 4.7 oz Instant Pectin
1 pouch Liquid Pectin

Cook rhubarb, strawberries and sugar until rhubarb is tender. Mash with potato masher. Add pouch of liquid pectin, return to boil. Remove from heat. Slowly add container of instant pectin, stirring constantly. (We used extra pectin to make sure that this big batch thickened)

Fill pint jars 1/2 inch from top. Wipe rim with damp cloth. Put lid and metal band on and process in water bath canner for 15 minutes.

**Makes 8 Pints**

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homemade Fondant

"Fondant has always frightened me.  During my brief period owning a bona fide bakery I always claimed to be a ‘fondant free’ environment.  Not only was it scary but it tasted bad.  And taste was, and still is, of utmost importance to me.  Then about 2 years ago I was prompted to attempt a fondant cake.  And I’m so glad I did!  Fondant is a little tricky, can be frustrating but when homemade does taste pretty darn good and looks really pretty!  I have by no means mastered fondant, I still get aggravated but learn a little more each time I make it.  And I do have the basics down.  So I wanted to share what I have learned with you!  I was asked to make a baby shower cake in teal with red polka dots, I thought it was cute!  And now  maybe you can make your own fondant too!"