Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Harvest TIME!! YUM

We made it thru Spring planting, no drought or excessive heat and am now in the midst of Harvest time!  I am SOOo sooo thankful to have a garden to enjoy.  I don't know why we waiting so long to have one.  My hubby is an awesome farmer and the time and space was never 'right' until last year.  Along with our garden this year, we got more chickens, and some rabbits.  We lovingly call our corner of the small village we call home "The Higbee Acre Farm"..  We only have ONE acre you see, and Higbee is our street name. It just fits.  Along with our many eggs we get every day (we have 51 chickens total, we believe at least 4 are roosters) we have quite a variety in our garden.  I am trying to preserve and share as much of it before it goes to waste as possible.  We have a LOT of yellow summer squash this year.  Was surprised to find a spaghetti plant that grew from last years scraps and some pie pumpkins growing rouge in the corn.  Celery is amazing!!!  I dehydrate as much of it as I can and use it in everything.  Potatoes are not ready yet, but they are doing well, we also tried some sweet potatoes.  It's a first so we shall see how they turn out.  Tomatoes, peppers, swiss chard, beets, radishes, parsnips, onions, carrots, corn, watermelon, winter squash..  What am I forgetting?? We have quite a variety and everything has done very well.  Our cucumbers and zucchini both got a fungus and died for some reason.  So here are a few pictures and for all my friends new to the canning, here is a great website with tons of ideas and even some videos.  If you ever come across a Blue Ball Canning book..  GET IT.. it is an awesome book to have full of every food items and many ways to preserve it!


Our youngest with her chicken friends

God's amazing eggs!  One farm many sizes

Canned 41 qts of green beans from our garden

The Higbee Acre Farm


Getting the garden planted this spring

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Whole grain Jam Squares aka Granola bars

It's amazing how many names a recipe can have.  I have this recipe in my cookbook as "Wholegrain Jam Squares"  but I have seen it in other places as granola bars.  So which ever you call it, here is a family favorite and best of all, it's very versatile!

2c. Oatmeal
1 3/4 c Flour
1 c marg
1 c. Br Sugar
1 t cinn
3/4 t salt
1/2 t soda
1/2 c. nuts (opt)

3/4 c. jam, jelly or other filling (see bottom for more filling ideas)

combine all the dry ingredients and mix.  Add the butter and mix until crumbly.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 8x13 pan, reserving 2 cups of the mix.  Spread the filling over the mixture evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining mix over the top, spread a press loosely.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 min.

Filling ideas

Jam is an easy filling.  Just loosen it in the jar (mix it up a bit to break it up) and spread it out..

Add 1/4t nutmeg, 1/8t cloves to the mix and use 1c. applesauce and 3/4 c raisins as filling.

Any fruit can be made into a filling.  I have made frozen apples into an apple sauce and spread it.  Just put it into a sauce pan, add some water, cook them down, sugar to taste and that's pretty much it.  I found a really good filling for Plums online

Plum filling:  2c chopped dried plums, 1/2 c brown sugar, 1 1/3 c water, 1 c chopped walnuts, 1 T lemon juice.  Boil and simmer till thick.  I didn't use all of this mix in one batch.  I used about 2/3 of it, than made another pan full and mixed it with my apple filling.  BUT you could use it all at once, and have a thicker filling.  My kids LOVE this mixture, they actually asked me to make more..

So tell me what you try and how you liked it!  The fun of baking is making it how you like it..


Monday, January 14, 2013

New recipes, I LOVE new recipes! Scones!

This past week has been a busy one, well all my weeks are busy (I like them that way).  On Saturday I hosted a Pampered Chef show at our home, and of course the weather had to do a short warm up and makes some mud, but it was a beautiful day in the end.  I had a great group of ladies come over and we tried two new recipes.

I LOVE new recipes...  

I LOVE finding recipes that I can change too.  I don't look at a recipe as a definite set of rules to follow, I color outside the lines and mix it up.  Recipes are more for a general idea of what spices and amounts work together, but add your own. Go where the flour takes you lol.   I do the same thing with sewing, grab some scraps and see what they inspire.  Makes me sound a lot more relaxed than I really am..  I do like a routine and schedule, I like things in order and done right, but I also see the benefits of creativity.

So I thought I would share the current craze at our house SCONES!!!  I first seen some at a local coffee and sandwich shop and they gave me a free one, can't remember what the reason was, but it was good.  It was some sort of cheese scone.  I filed that away in my brain to try some day.  Than while I was getting acquainted with our Direct TV I seen a few cooking shows, one of those was The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, I have followed her on facebook for a while but hadn't watched her show yet.  Well good ole facebook to the rescue!  She said there was a marathon of her shows...and one was about making some yummy mouthwatering Vanilla Scones.  So we watched her and than tried them... and so it began....

So far we have made Ree Drummonds vanilla ones that were REALLY sweet (I mis-read the sugar amount, than the dog ate them :-(... 

We than tried the Pampered Chef recipe which works really easy with the stones..  Their Fruit N' Oat Scone recipe is SO fast and easy and it takes no eggs (which happens to be a huge plus for me)..  I have made them with Raisins, with PB chips, and today with craisins and choc chips.  I also used the icing idea from the Vanilla scones and made an icing with some home made apple Jelly..  YUM

I than searched online some more and came up with a base recipe that you can add to and change for different flavors. 

SOOO all that blabbering to get to this!!!  A base recipe for Scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
3 c of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt  (if you use unsalted butter, use 1t salt instead)
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup milk

Here are the flavor tricks: 
1/2 cup diced mixed dried fruit (raisins, baking chips, nuts etc)
Sprinkle with a Cinn/Sugar mix before putting in the oven


Cheddar Bacon Scones:
add 4 slices of cooked and chopped bacon
1 c shredded cheddar
1/2 c sliced green onion
1/2 t pepper
up your milk a bit if it is dry with all the cheese.  

Some recipes call for heavy cream, many of them seem to use about twice as much heavy cream as they would milk, OR 1/2 c sour cream plus 1 egg instead of milk.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine the dry ingredients.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in your fruit, bacon, cheese or whatever your adding.  Add milk; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.

If you are using a large enough bowl you can knead gently in the bowl or if you need to put it onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it about 10 times. Dust a little flour on your pan (A large round stone works well, but a square would work as well)..  Put the dough onto the pan and using your hands gently press it flat into about a 7" circle or square.  Using a rolling pin finish rolling it till it is about 1/2" thick.  Dust the top with flour if needed.  Using a pizza cutter, cut them into wedges or squares and carefully separate with a spatula.
Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Top with a drizzle of icing or eat as is!

Here is the link to the Pampered Chef recipe

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Halloween, Good or Bad?

I will start by saying, this is going to be frank and to the point. You don't have to continue reading if you don't want my strong opinion on Halloween!!

As you probably know or at least guessed, we don't participate in Halloween. Not participating means, we want nothing to do with it! I make no apology for following my convictions. If you don't agree, that is between you and God, if it offends you, take it to prayer. If you hold the Bible as your guidebook in life, ask God for understanding and peace in your heart. If you have peace with the choices you follow, than God is with you. If you don't have peace, than take it to prayer. I'm not laying judgment on anyone for their own beliefs and traditions, i'm just stating why I believe the way I do. I feel it is of the utmost importance to not just follow along, but to KNOW in your OWN heart why you believe like you do, in everything. (The underlined type means it's a link to more information)

In case your not sure what participate means, here's the definition from

1: to possess some of the attributes of a person, thing, or quality
2 : to take part participate
s in class discussions> b : to have a part or share in something

The History channel has some great videos on the history of all the holidays. They are not religious based, just the facts!! I love using their videos as research. Even if you don't believe the Bible, you can see clearly where todays traditions originated.

Here's a quick synopsis:
"Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today." It's been changed to include kids in on the fun, now that those kids are grown it includes adults again. It's the second largest holiday after Christmas for sales and marketing.

Those cute kids all dressed up in innocent costumes are symbols of the wandering spirits roaming the streets on the night when the spirit world and real world are intertwined. Those "Trick or Treat"'s used to be people who went from door to door asking for a treat in exchange for saying a prayer for lost souls in purgatory.

The Pumpkins carved with lights, originated from turnips that were carved (and later pumpkins because they were easier to carve and easier to find) to scare the evil spirits away from the houses..

A simple search will pull up all the proof you need as to the origins of all the traditions surrounding Halloween.

So why do we still view it today as it originated?? Well for many reasons, mainly because it's STILL IS celebrated as it was originally. Halloween is still the most coveted days of the year for Wiccans, Neo-Pagans and Celts, it's not some ancient tradition that has no relevance now.

Here is another link to some good info


Well, well....  I am BACK!!  I took some time of from blogging to do the Working Mom thing.  I learned alot from the experience, about myself and about life in general.  I am very thankful to be able to be back at home with my kids full time.  Very thankful my hubby has found a job that will allow us to pay the bills, not in an extravagant shopping spree kind of way, but in a, we can make it if we are careful kind of way.  Paying off our truck was our goal and we accomplished that, saving us over $300 a month!!  So I have time to blog again, time to share our recipes and our gardening experiences.. 

In an effort to not get to bored with being home instead of at a high energy job every night, I have made myself some goals.  One for the winter is starting some herbs indoors.  I do have many plants inside and do have a green thumb, but herbs are something I have not that is one goal. Another is to get this house whipped back into an organized fashion WOW, the clutter and stuff that gets forgot when mom doesn't have time to deal with it.. January's goal is my office/sewing room..  My kids rooms and kitchen are on that list as well. 

One last goal my daughter and I made together is to get involved in Relay for Life.  We have cancer in our family, it is a scary reality that we all must face and we want to do what we can to make a difference.  SO we are VERY excited to be going on Friday to sign up with a local team and finding out where that takes us..

My goal for this blog is to get on here at least Once a week and update you all on the progress, recipes we have tried and whatever else we need to share!  I am excited to be back in my kitchen again trying new recipes!  and since my hubby installs Direct TV we also can now watch FOOD NETWORK again :-) 

So come along with our journey!

Talk to you again soon, it's time to go check my granola bars in the oven!! MMMmm