2/13/18

A small group this last week, 8 adults, 1 tweenager and three toddlers.  In celebration of Valentines Day, we had an apple cider pork roast, heart-shaped roasted butternut squash, roasted potatoes and of course delicious homemade bread. And the pièce de résistance individual Neopolitan Napoleons.

It was determined early on in the conversation that we are not big individual celebrators of Valentines Day.

(But the girls all got their Valentines socks and the oldest got a how to draw horses book.)

Because if they do it because they have to get you something does it even count?

My littles actually ate their way through their dinner… and a few other peoples plates, they weren’t picky whos lap they were sitting on.

So can you tell what I did differently with the roast?  I’m looking for feedback.

Well, it would make terrible stew, but probably amazing BBQ sandwiches.

We talked about job interviews, hockey games, puppy classes and farm animals.

Hey, do you want to take the sled and go off the roof?

Umm, no…

Don’t ask the other one,

She’ll do it.

Dessert was presented, my oldest passing out the confections Mom was creating, and everyone waiting quietly in awe for theirs.

What do you call these?

Neopolitans.

Well technically they are Napoleons

Because they are small?

I guess they are actually Neopolitan Napoleons, they are strawberry, chocolate, and the vanilla pudding.

Which is the most amazing pastry cream.

About this time my husband showed up… as the baby was helping herself to his potatoes.

Better fluff that up so it looks like there is more food there.

Hey, I tried!

What happened?

Dad got stranded on the side of the road, had to go rescue him.

Meanwhile, over in the living room, my middle girl is literally standing on a pedestal declaring herself THE BEST QUEEN EVER! While her little sister was doing her best to dethrone the self-proclaimed queen.

Which of course inspired conversation of the Royal family’s pending wedding, the succession of royalty, Mary Queen of Scots and various other royal considerations.

It also resulted in my little Queen knighting the neighbor in order to fight dragons.  He wisely declared fidelity to her and was spared being slain with the lincoln log.

And yes Mom, we all loved the strawberry roses!!!

 

 

Beef Stroganoff with Homemade Egg Noodles

I am not really sure why it has taken me so long to post this recipe.  We seriously eat it every opportunity I get.  Beef Stroganoff has been my favorite, forever.  Not until recently, however, have I started making my own noodles.  The noodles are easy, taste great and the kids can help me because it’s pretty hard to screw up!  If you don’t want to make your own noodles, store bought noodles are just fine.  I have used everything from NoYolks to tri-colored whatever I had in the pantry…

 

Beef Stroganoff

1 steak (about 1 pound) very thinly sliced*

1 medium onion thinly sliced (any variety is fine)

1/2 cup mushrooms thinly sliced (optional)

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup flour

2 cups warm beef stock**

1 Tbsp mustard

1/3 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper

In a large skillet (I like my 9 inch cast iron) melt 1 tablespoon of the butter.  Add the steak, onions and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Brown over medium heat until all the juice is gone and the veggies are tender.  This takes about 15 minutes, depending on how thinly sliced the meat is.

Remove meat from pan and keep warm.  Reduce heat to low, add remaining butter and flour to make a rue.  Using a whisk cook the rue for 3-5 minutes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Gradually add the warm beef stock, whisking constantly to create a smooth mixture.  Blend in the mustard and sour cream.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  If the sauce is too thick a 1 Tbsp water or stock at a time until the desired consistency is reached (it’s easy to make it thin, hard to thicken it again).

Add the meat back into the sauce and stir to coat.  Serve warm over noodles.

*If your steak is slightly frozen when you go to slice it, it will be easier to make thin cuts.

**I use beef bullion base, following the directions to make stock, this allows you to adjust the “beefiness” if so desired.

 

Egg Noodles

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

about 1/2 cup warm water

Mix first three ingredients together with a fork.  Gradually add water until a dough ball is formed.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Allow the dough to rest covered for 15-30 minutes.  Roll to desired thickness (about 1/8 inch) and cut into strips.  For best results allow the noodles to dry 30-60 minutes before cooking.

To cook:  Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a pinch of salt if desired.  Add noodles and bring back to a boil, cook for 3-5 minutes until tender.  Drain.  (To prevent sticking after draining add 1/2 tbsp butter or olive oil and stir).

 

 

Peach Pie Cinnamon Rolls

I am so excited to share this recipe!  While perusing Pinterest, this little charmer of an idea came into my crosshairs.   Having quite a few cans of peaches left from this summer, I figured it was worth the shot.  Well, it was!  I can’t claim this to be an original idea, but this recipe I am sharing is my own!  You will have extra filling, which is delicious over ice cream or pancakes (my husband refers to them as “crack peaches”)

 

Peach Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Filling:

Prepare a little ahead of time and allow to cool.

1-quart canned peaches, reserve the juice (I use a heavy syrup)

1 TBSP butter

1 TBSP brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

tiny pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch*

In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the butter and add the peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch.  Stir to combine, and then stir frequently until mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Allow to cool.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

*If your peaches are extra juicy and not thickening, mix another 1/2 tsp of cornstarch with 1 TBSP reserved juice and add to mixture until thick.

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Rolls:

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup butter

In a large bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and un-dissolved yeast and egg.  Combine milk, water and butter and heat until very warm (about 120’F), the butter doesn’t need to melt completely.  Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and beat about 2 minutes on a medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.  Add 1/2 cup flour and beat again on high speed for 2 minutes.  Add enough flour to form a soft, almost sticky dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Making the rolls:

Divide dough in half.  Prepare 2 round cake pans with grease and flour.  Pre-heat oven to 375’F.

On a well-floured surface roll out the first half of dough into approximately a 16 X 12-inch rectangle.  Move dough frequently to prevent sticking!

Leaving about 1-2 inches of edge spread 3/4 cup of filling across the length of the rectangle, do not spread over entire rectangle.  Starting with the filling side, roll the dough into a tube shape and cut into 8 equal pieces. Place into prepared pan.

Repeat with second half of dough.  Cover and allow to rise for 15 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, or until the rolls are golden and set.

Allow to cool slightly and enjoy as they are, with the extra filling, or caramel or vanilla ice cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2/6/18

Deep Dish Pizza!!!???!!!  Yes, folks, it happened, my parents made pizza for dinner, something they said would never happen.  Being a little busy trying to get my kids in some sort of order to eat I did not get an exact count of the pizzas but I believe there were at least 6 on the table.  My favorite was the Spinach and Meatball, followed closely by a mild Italian sausage with green peppers and onions.  Rumor had it there were also pizzas laden with spicy Italian sausages, spinach, olives and other such delicious toppings.  Oh, and there were breadsticks and salad to decorate the plate around the pizza.

The littles also feasted on noodles and tiny meatballs, but  I know mine at least ate a few bites of a slice of pizza too!

There were 14 adults, 2 tweenagers, and 5 toddlers feasting on pizza.

Book any craft shows for the year yet?

Not yet, since my milk source is gone, not sure what direction I am going with the soap yet.  How about you?

Got a few in the books so far.

Dinner started with a bit of a baby brawl when my youngest climbed into her cousins’ high chair and declared her self Yurtle the Turtle, Queen of All She Sees.  My niece was not impressed and gave a fantastic performance of injustice, nearly turning purple.  After a few (like 10-15) minutes of playing musical chairs, all the children were situated in a semi-agreeable arrangement.  Including the one toddler playing contently on the floor with the quacking ducks on a string

Say prayers, please!
Bless this house, Lord we pray, keep us safe by night and day Amen!

Hey, even the ducks were quiet for prayers! Good job buddy!

Mommmmmmmaaaaaaaa!!!!

Yes?

I HAVE TO GO POTTY!!!!

Ok, well go! Run!

I’m going to sit with my friends and eat dinner.

Good idea baby.

Inquires were made over the varieties of pizza, and plates and dishes were passed around until everyone was settled with a variety of their choosing.

Adorable little Valentines envelopes decorated the place settings, handmade by one of our Tuesday Dinner family members.

We talked about scrapbooking, personality quizzes and kids.   How the young man was doing on his mission trip (he joined the local soccer team already!)  We talked about possible promotions and haircuts and hiding food that had spilled onto clothing…

As we started to clear the table, maybe like 3 pieces of pizza were left.  The kids all ran off to play, and happily, there were very few outbreaks of tears.  I think the two big sisters helped keep the peace amongst all those toddlers.

We talked about taking the little kids grocery shopping versus using home shopping services (in case you are wondering, this mama takes her show on the road some days I know we are a sight to be seen!!!).  We talked about scrapbooking or rather the lack thereof, and the pictures my mom had been unearthing recently.

Dessert started making its way to the table, a Lemon Pudding cake that was light and airy and oh so lemony tart! Paired with fresh blueberries it was very tasty!

My little-assumed niece was happily having it spooned into her mouth, which made my heart happy to see a little girl love lemons as much as my oldest did and still does!

Because we are related right?

Absolutely.

As everyone was finishing up and getting ready to head out my mom showed me this picture that she had recently found.  This is the day my first horse Mysteri cam to live with us.  I was about 10 and a half, just about the same age my oldest is now.  Needless to say, I was crying while reminicing.27540894_1997518297179612_8096353031125264778_n

 

 

Happy Birthday Lily and Moira!

It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since these little girls joined us!  I don’t think I can correctly refer to them as babies anymore since they are now both toddling around with great enthusiasm.

To celebrate their birthdays, their mom’s collaborated with my parents to create dinner.  My sister made a Chicken Alfredo casserole with cherry tomatoes, and dinner sister made a lovely salad.  My parents filled in the blanks with Oatmeal Wheat bread and sauteed asparagus with bacon.

Their celebratory cake was my mom’s famous carrot cake, which she decorated.  I don’t think I have mentioned my mom is an outstanding cake decorator and I will have to find her book of some of the amazing cakes she has made over the years.  This was a sheet cake featuring two adorable little owls, also made of cake.

The headcount was a little all over the place until we actually sat down, in the end, we had 13 adults, 2 tweenagers, 3 toddlers, and the two birthday girls.

Can you say prayers, please?

Oh! Do you mind if I do?

Aww, go right ahead!

Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful family, this beautiful day, these beautiful little girls we are celebrating that bring us so much joy.  Thank you for this beautiful meal.  And the wine.  Amen!

Amen!

Did someone write that down?

(I didn’t and I don’t know if it is exactly right but it was beautiful :))

We talked about the tennis tournament competitors that were staying at one of the couples home for the next few days and the tournament itself.

We talked about how much all the littles have grown.

We talked about the new skywalk at Whiting Forest and how the glass broke when bumped by a rock, leading to the contemplation of the PSI of a rock.

My aunt was busy keeping all the littles in line (there was plenty of tears and roughhousing to go around).  We talked about incubators and what types of chickens to raise.

Reminiscing about old jobs and why they are not missed.

My middle child was offended to no end that the birthday party was not for her, and consoled herself by eating one of the owl heads…

A best cake in town competition and why mom would win hands down…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Cake

As I mentioned in my last Tuesday post, we have been having a lot of birthday cakes (much to my daughter’s delight and my thigh’s detriment).  Today she requested a strawberry cake.

Strawberry cake has always been a touch scary for me, giving me flashbacks to the only truly bad cake I recall my mom making, for my birthday, after a somewhat brief internet search I came across this little gem at Sallysbakingaddiction.com.  I haven’t taken a bite yet, and I improvised on the frosting (which is tasty), but I am very optimistic about the outcome.  Even though the directions were scarcely followed by my two tiny assistants.

Updates, and hopefully specific recipe to follow soon!

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Happy Safe Travels to You!

This past Tuesday we had a very small group, only seven adults, one tween, two toddlers and one newly walking baby.

For dinner, we had Beef Enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce, shredded beef, and all of the toppings you could want.  This was served with white rice and white bread.  Dessert was one of the most decadent apple pies you could ever eat, Southern Praline Apple Pie, delicious apple pie piled high with a cream cheese and pecan topping.

My newly turned three-year-old was very excited to tell everyone that she is going to be a “Salamander” at preschool, and took the time to tell her aunt about the costume she was expecting to wear!

We all made sure to congratulate my niece of her only hours old accomplishment of walking across the room all by herself!  She promptly started ransacking cupboards and anything else she could, trying to keep up with her cousins I am sure.

But the majority of our conversation focused around a young man, that even though this was only his third dinner with us, we have known his entire life, and his parents are regular attendees at Tuesday dinner but were out of town this week.

The reason for the extra attention being that he was traveling for mission work to Africa on Friday (we have heard he made it safely there).  So, of course, there is a lot of interest in what he would and wouldn’t have while he is there.  What other trips were like in comparison to what he expects from this trip.  Was he packed?  Should we send pictures of food for him to drool over?

We also talked a lot about future places he would like the group he works with to go.  Australia was a big one, and having been so lucky as to have gone twice in my life so far I highly encouraged this! (Seriously if you ever have the opportunity, go you won’t regret it at all!  If you get a free ticket you don’t want, send it to me and I will go for you).

Scotland was a place that was talked about going to and how old places in Europe feel in comparison to other places including Mackinac Island.

When dessert time came, my three-year-old was beyond excited to sing Happy Birthday.  To be clear, since her birthday around Christmas time, we have sung Happy Birthday for nearly every dessert and have even made additional “Birthday Cakes” because she so loves singing and being sung to.  As a compromise, my mom put a birthday candle in the pie and started singing “Happy Safe Travels to You!” and presented the pie to the young man.  My daughter without missing a beat climbed over him to make sure SHE blew out the candle.

Not Yet

I have been debating for quite a while about continuing this blog or not, as may have been apparent from my lack of new postings.  The upheaval in life here last fall really left me questioning everything and wondering if I should continue anything along the path I had started.

Things settled down as they do, but even despite all of the “you can do this” and “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”, and other inspirational posts that I came across, I wasn’t feeling it.   There was a silence on the other end of the line that I just wasn’t used to.

For the majority of my working life, I have had a commute that was at least 30 minutes in either direction. Drives like this became my me time, a time to quite my mind, organize my life and reconnect with God.  Quite a few years ago on one such drive, I heard that quite but oh so clear voice say to me “Be ready.”  Vague as that may be, it has stuck with me as clear as the moment I heard it.  In my heart, I felt it was a call to be prepared to take care of my family regardless of circumstances, to provide food and other essentials without a lot of outside assistance.

Slowly I have been developing these skills, and I thought (and still do) that having our own farm is a big part of “being ready”.  Losing Sugar Dot and so much of what we were building last year really challenged this though, and felt like a big fat “NO!” No, you aren’t meant to be a part of the dairy industry. No, soap making isn’t for you.  No, you aren’t meant to farm.  No, you aren’t meant to garden.  No, you have got it all wrong. No.  And then I heard nothing, for the first time in my life I really felt distance from God.

The last few weeks I have really been pondering this and a very very unlikely TV series pushed me to find a way to hear His voice again.  I have spent time in prayer and working to clear all the negative thoughts from my mind.  Opening room to hear “Not yet,” instead of “No.”  Little crumbs of things I need keep trickling into my path, skills like caring for our sadly neglected apple trees, things like being able to transport our horses by myself, learning more about gardening indoors and out.

I also have learned that the dairy industry is struggling something terrible right now.  More and more small-scale farms are having to sell out due to low milk prices and lack of local support.  Clearly, it is not a great time to be considering this a career choice, but it is a good time to learn more about it.

Am I sure about what my path is ahead of me? Not yet.  But for now, I am going to get back to sharing Tuesday stories, because those dinners are important to who I am and what I want my girls to remember about growing up.  After logging into this website for the first time in a long time, I was surprised to see that I still was having daily traffic, much more than would have ever expected.  Am I going to be a famous blogger? Maybe not yet, but I will keep sharing stories and recipes 🙂