Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cranberry Orange Bread... Good Anytime!

I woke up this morning with a craving for Cranberry Orange bread!  It is one of my favorite quick breads to make; so easy and so delicious.  Obviously it is really wonderful around Thanksgiving and Christmas time; but seriously, I love it all year!  I buy cranberries when they are inexpensive during the holidays and throw them in my freezer and they always taste fresh!  

Since I couldn't manage to get the craving to pass (smile!) I decided the best thing to do was just make the bread.  I thought since I am WAY overdue on a blog post, this would be a great thing to share with you today!    Here we go.... 

In a large mixing bowl place:
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar

Mix with a whisk.

Whisk together:
2 beaten eggs
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons hot water

Make a well in your flour and pour the egg and orange juice mixture into the well.  

Grate the peel from one orange and add to the dough mixture.  

Mix the flour mixture and egg mixture together with a large spoon.  Don't be concerned if all the flour isn't mixed in.  This is a stiff batter.

Add to the batter:
2 cup raw whole cranberries

Gently mix in the cranberries until all the flour is incorporated.

Grease and flour two loaf pans and spoon half the batter into each pan  The batter will not pour.  It is very thick and very stiff.  

Generously sprinkle raw sugar crystals over the batter in each pan.  

Lots of sugar crystals are very good!!!  

Bake one hour at 325 degrees until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  These loaves of bread will not rise more than a few inches.  Remove from pans and let them cool.  

Slice, butter and serve when warm!

Or my favorite? Butter the slices, broil under a broiler just until bread is lightly toasted and eat for breakfast.  Or lunch.  Or snack.  Or just whenever you are craving it!

This bread will freeze excellent!  

For my printable recipe, click here and enjoy!  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Cutest Little Pig!

This darling little pig moved into my sewing room today!  I've been on the look-out for a sweet little vintage animal planter for a fun little pin cushion project and this darling little pig was just the one!  I though I'd share the project - it's easy and such a great gift for someone.  Or to brighten up your sewing room!

You will need:
Vintage ceramic planter (found on eBay or antique store)
Fabric scrap
Small felt scrap
Needle and thread
Pillow stuffing
Glue Gun

Cut your fabric scrap into a large circle and hand sew a gathering stitch around the edge of your fabric circle.

Pull the thread, forming a pocket.

Stuff the little pocket with pillow stuffing and close the pocket by pulling the thread tight and tying a knot to keep it closed.

Take the small piece of felt, cut it into a circle and glue that on to the little pocket to close off the opening nicely.

Set aside the little pin cushion and run a bead of hot glue along the top of the planter.  

Quickly stick your pin cushion in the hole and you're done!

I just think this little pig pincushion is the sweetest little addition to my sewing room!  

Happy Sewing and Crafting, friends!  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Always Tacos! Even Shrimp!

I recently shared a picture on FB and IG of my lunch on a cold dreary day... shrimp tacos.  I had numerous comments, private messages and even emails asking if I would share my recipe.  I don't really have a recipe.  This is one of those things that many  years ago on the quest to make the "perfect" shrimp taco I came up with this.  It has been a hit in my family ever since.   So, today because it sounded good, I made more shrimp tacos and here's my little tutorial for you!

Start out with your ingredients which are:

1 ripe mango, diced
2 cups shredded cabbage 
Plenty of large raw (frozen) shrimp, peel on (you'll need four shrimp per taco)
1/2 cup coleslaw dressing 

And... last but definitely not least.... 

corn tortillas (do NOT buy the pre-cooked shells)

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive and 1 tablespoon of butter in a stainless steel skillet.

Add your peeled, washed and dried shrimp to the skillet.

Cook just a very few short minutes until the shrimp is very lightly pink.  It is okay if some of the shrimp are not fully pink yet.  Put a lid on the pan and remove from the burner.   (Do NOT overcook the shrimp.  They will get rubbery and will lose their flavor.)

Add the dressing to your cabbage mix.  I like my cabbage to be well moist with the dressing but definitely don't use as much as you would in making coleslaw.  You don't want it to over-power the shrimp and mango flavor.  Set aside.

Place oil in a hot cast iron skillet.  (Use vegetable oil, grape seed oil, or coconut oil.  NOT olive oil.)  Place a tortilla in the oil and let it fry on one side until the tortilla bubbles up a tiny bit.  This will only take 10 - 15 seconds in a hot skillet.   

Using a couple forks, fold the tortilla in half and let it fry on each side for a few more seconds.  Watch it closely, you don't want it to burn.  

Remove your tortilla from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate and turn it upside down to drain all the oil out of the tortilla.   

Once you've fried all your tortillas (approximately 3 - 4 per person), line up your ingredients and get ready to stuff your shells!

Open up your taco shell and place four shrimp inside.  (I usually cut one of them in half just to make it fit more uniformly, but you don't have to!)

Add a heaping tablespoon of lightly dressed cabbage mix.

Then a generous tablespoon of diced mango.

And there you have it.  Perfect shrimp tacos!  (And yes.  I can eat four of them!)

Happy eating!  I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Monthly Moos {Winter Walking!}

It's been called to my attention that I am WAY behind on my Monthly Moos posts!  Honestly, it is kind of hard to write about the happenings on the farm when nothing very exciting happens!!!

However, one thing that we did this summer that is a very big deal is that we put in a post and rail fence around our house and hilltop.   I thought I had written about it here, but I realized that I wrote about it where I blog for MaryJanesFarm.  (That is the problem in blogging in two places - I never remember what blog I wrote on!) So if you would like to read about our fencing project, you can read about it here.  

However, the update since that post was written is that Eldon painted the fence and it is so gorgeous.  Can you honestly believe that I got out of painting the fence?!  He purchased a great sprayer and it made very quick work of the job.  I was very happy to just stay out of his way!   We love the fence and loved being able to do away with the electric fence around the house! 

So, a little off the subject here.  Our son is a runner and actually does some of the Ultra Marathons that are ridiculous and crazy and so of course it gets Eldon and I thinking about the half marathon that we ran/walked in April of 2015.  It is called the Oak Barrel Half Marathon and is only open to a small number of people so you've really got to be on your game to get in.  Last year I didn't manage to get us entered but this year I did!  Our son is going to fly out for the race in April and run it with us.  So.....  with that in mind I've been trying to build up to some running by doing some major speed walking around the farm.  

 I've been using some of the trails that Eldon has cleared in the woods that allow me to walk the entire perimeter of the farm; according to my Fitbit it is about 2.5 miles to walk the entire perimeter.   I like to do it twice a day.  

So I thought that Belle and I would take you along with us today!

When we head out the yard gate I walk along the tree line down this hill in the above picture.  Pictures never really show how steep the hills are on our farm, but this one is actually very steep and I've been known to slip and slide in the leaves a bit as I head down!

The above picture is partway down the hill looking up to the back of the house.  Those trees are really beautiful in the summer and I named them The Island when we moved to the farm, as that is what they remind me of.  

Once we get to the bottom of the hill we come into this opening in the woods to a trail that we've named The Nut Trail.  There are Hickory and Black Walnut trees lining the trail and so it is covered in nuts.  It is sort of a magical trail.  

Belle loves The Nut Trail.   A couple weeks ago she jumped a Bobcat and ran it right next to me and up a tree!  Usually it is squirrels and deer that we see, so you can imagine my surprise when a little Bobcat came flying past me with Belle in major pursuit.  Needless to say that scrapper dog went home with a bloody face!  

Once again, pictures don't show the incline here but it is a nice steady climb and I'm always huffing and puffing!  I try really hard to not break my speed walking pace!

We come out of The Nut Trail and if you look up the hill next to us you'll see the tip top of the Hickory Tree that is next to our house.  So, if you were to walk straight up this hill (a VERY steep walk) you'd come out to the house.   

A little more walking around the base of the hill and then the house comes into view.

The trail I take continues along the base of the hill where I can get glimpses of the front of our house. In the summertime these trees are too thick to see anything!

I head completely off the hill to our hay pasture down below and walk along our gravel drive.  

We've been having a new road put in to our farm and this is where the new road joins in.  We no longer use the straight road ahead that you see in the above picture.  

Our new road branches off to the right and goes under this big tree...

... and alongside this old pond that never really holds water and has always been kind of gross.  BUT, we had all the trees removed from along the bank, some repairs done to the pond and all the drainage ditches from the road lead right into the pond.  So once the winter rains start it should really change the look of this pond.  Eldon also planted winter wheat all along these areas where the dirt has been moved.  It should be pretty and green all winter! 

 Belle and I continue along the road to the highway where we then follow the fence line around the perimeter of the hay pasture.  That's the least exciting part of the walk!    (Incidentally where you see our gravel road come to the little highway is where we always park our flower cart in the summertime.  We'll be improving that entrance for parking in front of the cart and prettying it up a bit.  I promise to write a blog post on that in the spring!)

After we pass through the hay pasture, through the corrals, and around the cows we come to another set of woods that is great in the winter time but honestly it is super creepy in the summer!

It is really thick with trees and kind of dark in the summer.  And one time I watched a black snake (harmless, but still...)  climb a tree in here and all I can think of are snakes up in the trees as I walk under them!

Then we break out of the thick woods to the upper part of our gravel road.  I always love how the sun shines through these trees. 

Then we start the steady climb up along the side of this steep hill.

And then turn the bend and make the final climb to the back entrance of the house!  The back door is always the door that everyone uses.  I've always been a fan of the saying "Back door friends are best"!  

I'm ready to step up my 15 minute mile speed walk to a 14 minute mile run!  Ha Ha!  Seriously though, I'm so happy that I have the half marathon in April to motivate me!  And happy to have our farm trails to walk on.  At least until the bitter wet and cold days at which point we will join the gym for three months!  I did write about our last marathon experience if you'd like to read about it here.  It was a super fun day and we're looking forward to doing it again.  

We do have numerous projects coming on the farm that I promise to update you about in January or February!  And this week we had rain after weeks and weeks of no rain, so things on the farm are fresher and prettier again!  Hopefully your winter is off to a good start too!