Friday, December 31, 2010

The FarmWives Cook...

A new year is upon us. A new year to stick to those good old resolutions, a new year to be more thankful,  a new year to follow your dreams??  I'm not sure what this year holds for me...but I know that I will be a trusting servant to the Lord and I will be grateful for every day I get to hold my baby boy and be with my family. I know that I will be cooking and canning LOTS:) I also have a few friends who I love and admire, these girls share in a passion of mine, and together well lets just say everything tastes and looks pretty darn good.  So here's to a new year!!!  And here's to The FarmWives....

The FarmWives is a fitting name for the 3 of us. We all have some farm girl in us, and we all have small little farms we love and have big dreams for.  One  of the main things we all have in common is our love for cooking and serving. So while I'm still the canning wife, I'm also a farm wife:)


Meet Angella, a wonderful cook and very talented writer,

Meet Meghan,  a fun loving  and a very "tell it like it is" kind of gal. Everything she makes is amazing so when you get an invite to dinner at her house its a good thing:)

Each of us is very unique and different in our own special way, but I have to say that's what makes us an amazing team. So while we know we love to cook and serve, we also know that every time we cook together it's a huge blessing to each of us and a chance to learn from one another. 

Did I mention we taste everything we serve?? Its a very important rule... most rules I detest but this one is a keeper:)

So while this new year holds many things I know one thing is for certain. I can guarantee lots of canned goods taking up space in my house that I don't have, lots of fun new recipes to try and test, and most of all, venturing out into the unknown...and no matter what, I am going to be smiling because everyday God gives me, whether good or bad, is another day and another chance to love, laugh, cry, and most of all learn.

Just a few more pretty food's the fresh eggs that give this potato dish it's amazing color.

This bread recipe is really to die for. It's so simple and we are still debating on giving away the secret...
I can say that you spread that amazing mixture all over fresh bread and broil till bubbly perfection.

These are Ange's creation and they are so delicious I am getting so hungry writing this!!
Check out her lovely blog for the recipe.

A tasty pasta dish we've served for two of our FarmWives dinners...

This salad is a family favorite, and now almost everyone we serve can't believe how good it is...yes it really is that good.

So Happy New Year's to all and here's to a new year of new and fun adventures!!! CHEERS!!!!  Check out this post for another introduction to the FarmWives:)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Dinner On The Farm...

This year I had the privilege of having all the holiday dinners at my farm. I normally have a very organised and planned out menu that I think about constantly until the day  has come and gone. Usually, I spend most of the time in the kitchen and by the end of the day I am spent. I miss out on visiting with the family too.. So this year I did things a bit differently and honestly I think it worked out quite well....

Of course I had to treat myself to a cute apron for all the cooking I have done this month.

I always set my table a couple days in advance so I can keep adding to it and just admire. This year my name cards were my canning gifts, each person got a different jar of cheer to take home.

This year  the gifts were the champagne jelly, cranberry butter and a cider pomegranate simple syrup which was awesome in my Christmas champagne.

This prime rib was simple and delicious, I got it from  Its Prime rib Au  Poivre.
I knew I would love it since I make steak Au Poivre for Jason and I on special occasions. This is just Dijon, garlic and crushed black pepper corns.

This is the only time of year I wish I had 2 ovens. With this beauty in the oven it was hard to get the other 3 items done at the right temp, but it all worked out. Maybe one day I will  have a canning kitchen in our garage we plan on building.


I made a  Cognac shallot sauce to go with the prime rib. I also made a twice baked potato casserole from Emeril which is amazing. Super rich:)

These are yorkshire puddings which were a cinch to make. Good too.

So in the end I mingled with my guests, sat down to a wonderful meal and really enjoyed the good company. The house was a complete mess about 5 seconds after my guests arrived and that was fine. Wrapping paper went flying and the kids were happy as could be. This day was a success and a blessing to remember. Once again I am incredibly thankful for the gifts that I get to have on a daily basis. Big and small I love them all.
I just couldn't resist a not so perfect(that's putting it nicely) but very real picture of my beautiful new pressure cooker!! I can't wait to start using her.
Today my family and I spent the entire day in our Jammy's and ate really good leftovers. I think for dinner red velvet cheese cake will just have to do. So from our little farm to yours, Merry Christmas and here's to safe and happy canning!! xoxo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Champane Berry Jelly...

I was saving the best for #3  Anyone who gets this as a gift will definitely have a Merry Christmas!
I always save a little jar for myself to test and I can't even tell you in words how absolutely incredible this tasted. So come on get the water bather out of the closet and make this. You still have time. Oh, and a bonus, even with doubling this recipe there was just enough champagne left for me to enjoy a glass while I waited for my ten minutes...

This was super fun and easy to make.
I doubled my recipe to get 12 half pints.
 The recipe calls for 3 cups bottled raspberry juice, I couldn't find any so I used 100% natural mixed berry juice. 1/4 cup lemon juice. One package powdered pectin, 4 cups sugar 11/4 cups champagne.
All you do is pour the lemon juice and berry juice in a large stock pot, stir in pectin and bring to a boil.

Add your sugar, stirring til dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard one min.
Stir, stir and keep stirring. Remove from heat:)

Now just add your champagne. Skim foam of the top if need be.

Ladle jelly into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process in 10 min water bath.
( I have said before I love Ball Blue Book, if your new to canning I recommend grabbing a copy. It has all the directions and safety guidelines you'll need. I feel like I'm canning my way straight through this book and I'm loving every min of it)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas spending time with their loved ones. Have a safe and happy new year!
Happy canning!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Canning..

I came across this adorable website  and decided instead of making cranberry wreaths with fresh berry's, I would can cranberry butter. Any excuse to can:) I followed her recipe, sort of, but I like my butters on  the sweet side.   So I added some of my own little touches...


I love cooking with cranberries simply because they are breathtaking.

So I did 12 cups  cranberries with 2 cups cranberry juice. Simmer on low heat about 20 mins.

I then added 2 table spoons pumpkin pie spice and 2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract.
Then 5 cups sugar, and 1 can of my apple maple jam which turned out to be more of a honey. Let simmer on low another 45 mins or so just until you get the right consistency. Be sure to stir on occasion. Ladle into sterile jars, seal and cap, water bath 10mins. ( Always check safety guidelines for canning)

Look at how beautiful these look! I got 8 half pints:)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

This month has been non-stop for me and my family. A whirlwind of gatherings and functions which I have been so happy to have been a part of. Unfortunately it has left me with little to no time to get done all the things I have on my "to do list" before Christmas.  I haven't really even gotten any Christmas shopping done! Tonight in fact I actually went online to get a few things for my son. In doing so I actually found out what my husband was getting me...he had left his cart full at a certain store online and all I did was take a look wondering what he had gotten Parker. We were not doing gifts this year for each other so I thought it to be harmless.  Wouldn't you know my hubby was planning on surprising me with the best gift of all...for me anyway, a huge beautiful stainless steel PRESSURE COOKER!!!! I heart him so:) Of course there was also the big book of preserves ...I am so excited I can't wait to use it.
With that said and Christmas right around the corner I have decided that today I was completely 100% devoting my time to getting some Christmas canning done. With the exception, of course, to stop and  attend to my sweet little guys needs, A-K-A Chocolate milk,  Thomas books, and chasing mommy around the house saying "Get you!!! Mommy Get You!"

Homemade Gift #1  Cranberry Cider Jelly.

My kitchen is most happy when the stove top looks something like this..

I doubled this and got 12 half house, as usual when canning smelled so good!
This recipe from Ball Blue Book.,

This was easy breezy beautiful....Canning girl:)

Love these cute jars but would prefer little glass chickens on them...just saying.

I pulled these out after 10 mins, and before I could even place them on the towel...pop,pop,pop!! I counted all of them popped, like a beautiful choir instructed by their teacher. Pop the Harold angels singing pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.
Okay you get the picture.

Gift one  down and on to gift two tomorrow.

This is one of my twin silkies who is a very sweet but loud girl. I just had to take of pic of her soaking cute.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm dreaming of a beautiful Christmas....

It's that time of year again and the house is buzzing. Christmas music is non-stop and the train around the tree is always running thanks to my son Parker. Plus my oven is never resting. The house is bombarded with green and red things, and it seems as though every weekend is full of fun themed party's and Christmas dinners. How am I ever to get anything done?? I have a  very large family and ALOT of  Christmas canning to catch up on. I promise I will soon.

For now though I think I'll leave you with some yummy green food and a few "easy on the wallet" decorating ideas that anyone can do:) Oh in case I forgot MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Living in a small little farm house with little storage I often have to be really creative with our space, and it usually works out well.
I have quite the collection of serving platters and one of these days I am going to hang them all up on my dining room wall, but for now I use them as decorative accessories. Cute!

I love bringing the outdoors in, so I just go and collect items outside. Leaves in the fall, flowers in the spring and anything green in the winter. I haven't had time to make the wreaths I 've wanted to this year but this is just as fun and alot easier.

A tree topper goes great in an unused vase. Add some of your Christmas tree trimmings and you've got the sweetest vase filler. The brick I found outside the first year we moved here and I just love the fun rustic touch.

So now for the yummy green food I promised:) I love this cook book and love trying her very tasty and very rich food..

Cream of Spinach soup. I also love her Cream of Watercress they're both so amazing!

1/3 cup onions slowly cooked in 3 tbs butter. Stir in 4 cups fresh spinach, sprinkle with salt, leave alone for about 5 min's then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir and let cook 3min.

Turn off the heat and pour in 4 ( she adds 5 1/2 cups but I prefer a thicker consistency) cups boiling chicken or veggie stock. Blend with a hand blender.

Fresh eggs are amazing and if you know someone with chickens ask to buy some, they are way fresher than the market's, and believe me they taste BETTER!

 Then in a separate bowl you will need 1/2 cup of cream and 2 egg yolks( this is different I know but the eggs make this soup silky smooth) Beat the eggs and the cream.

Beat a cupful of the hot soup in the mixing bowl then gradually add the mixture back to the soup pot. Turn heat back on and cook only a min or two to cook the egg mixture. Then add 2 tbs of butter to the soup and stir.

Oh YUMM!!! I wish I had some leftovers...

Of course I always love a hot loaf of bread with my soup. I just bought some freshly made ciabatta drizzled with olive oil and added some fresh thyme, parm cheese and finely minced garlic. Heat in oven and serve.

May your days be Merry and Bright and may all your Christmas's be Beautiful!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dream Big Or Go Home....

I really had no idea that eleven little words could open up so many doors, but I guess anything is possible if your being called toward your purpose, whatever that may be...

This was just one of the 4 Costco carts and 2 big  orange things we filled up.
  "I have a passion for cooking and a heart for serving"....that's all I said. Then I was asked to cook a meal for 350 people. My first instinct was to say "YES!!! Of course!!!" Then I would probably get nervous later.
Funny thing, I never really got nervous, just excited. This just felt right.

It turned out that we only needed to cook for 250, but we had LOTS of extra just in case...So the Friday before the "big night", my friend, her daughter, and I started prepping. First we thawed the chicken then washed and dried it. Next was salt, pepper, and olive oil for all 250 chicken breasts!!

Then we roasted and shredded....all day.

Lots of chopping, 60lbs mushrooms and about 80 large onions. Oh and I almost forgot the 300 or so cloves of garlic.
We hand chopped all of it...I didn't even think about my food processor until we were almost done!! Live and learn.


Finally the big night had arrived. ( it actually started about noon for us) Thankfully, today I had lots of help. Still, if my  friends had not volunteered their time to spend hours with me prepping before hand this dinner wouldn't have happened. Thank you Cassie, Candi and Alison:)

I can't tell you how awesome it was to have more help in the kitchen, especially  all of these girls. Everyone sort of just took on a roll and everything ran smoothly!

What a blessing it is to work with your hands, and to prepare food for people who volunteer their time to help others.

Well, almost done, just bake and dress the salad...oh and serve! Did I mention we only had 3 working ovens and around 60 loafs of bread to cook too? Along with all of those casseroles? And I thought we would run out of food!

I just had to add a touch of cuteness!! This sign was at the beginning of the buffet line. At the end by the drinks was a little chalkboard rooster that said enjoy!
 Time for the moment of truth...did it taste good??

Of course it did!! We made it:) And I made sure we tasted each pan that came out of the oven.
CHEERS!! Thank you ladies from the bottom of my heart...I couldn't have done it with out each of you.
All in all it was a huge success. I was so happy to have taken on this challenge and prove to myself that with a little determination and a few good friends almost anything is possible. I'd say we were the perfect team.
This was the mess we were unfortunately left with. Our clean up crew  never showed. I wasn't looking forward to this part, I was exhausted and ready to leave. But the coolest thing happened, some of the volunteer's we cooked for came back and offered to help. Even the pastor of the church and his wife rolled up their sleeve's...people were in semi-formal wear doing the dishes! It just made me feel even more honored to be able to cook and serve people like this.
 Last night I was lying awake in bed thinking about this dinner and thought, "if I can do this, then whats next?" Was I being called towards a purpose greater than me? Was this dinner the stepping stone to a different path?
Maybe...I guess I will just have to wait and see. After all,with God anything is possible.
So for now I think I'll dream big.