Winter Days

News from around the farm…
Well, not really because we have no animals other than our fat cat named Jack, who is always free to a good home since he’s not technically ours but rather the neighbor’s, but I would give him away anyway!ย  Now wasn’t that a great run on sentence to start out with?! As far as news, I don’t know… January was fairly relaxed and rolled into the next month that has the weirdest spelling. This month has been crazy. All kinds of things happening at the same time. Too many things.

feb-17-8

Monday was butchering day… does that interest any of you? ๐Ÿ™‚
I know some people just perish at the thought of butchering, but it really doesn’t bother me. It was something we did every winter when I was a kid so it has good memories.

~~~

Food wise around the farm….

feb-17-3

Madison continues to bake.
Not everything turns out perfect and this was one of those times. ๐Ÿ™‚
The macaroons were not growing feet! ??
Don’t ask me.

feb-17-1-honey-dutch-blend

This stuff.
Oh, my word. Make it. Eat it.

It’s called Honey Dutch Blend. It’s not my recipe, it comes from my friend Anna and I think it came her way from someone in our big Miller family, never the less, make and eat. If you are a health nut, just skip over this recipe and keep reading. If you appreciate all things sticky, ooey, gooey and good, just turn a blind eye to the ingredients and enjoy it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Honey Dutch Blend

1 box Honey Combs – 1 box Rice Chex -1 box Corn Chex – 1 bag of Pretzels
Mix together in a large bowl.

1 c. Honey
1 c. Karo
2 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
4 sticks of Butter
Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes
Add 1/2 tsp baking soda
Stir and quickly pour over cereal mixture.
Spread on wax paper until dry.

It makes a huge batch and it can be cut in half if you wish.

We also made Mocha Brownie dessert the other night.

feb-17-2-mocha-brownie

This has got to stop, though!
When there is all this good food in the house I have no self-control. none.
Thankfully, we took this to a family gathering and only had half of it left to tempt me. With a crew like mine, that was only enough for one round of dessert.

~~~~~

Do your kids like to listen to stories?
Go HERE and listen to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.
Reagan loves them! I think she was born in the wrong era.

~~~

School Days for the kids…
Our teachers do a great job keeping the winter months exciting. Every week there is one or two days with something happening.

They had “clash day” in January but those pictures make me shudder!
One day was “Missionary Day.” The top activity for that day was when the kids smuggled Bibles into the school and hid them. The teachers spent quite a lot of time searching and declared that next year they will bring in reinforcements because the kids are getting better at it every year.
There is cozy-day, popcorn day, exchanging lunches, snack day and more. One day every family is supposed to bring a gallon of milk… hot chocolate day?

Last week we celebrated 100 days of school. They were supposed to dress like a 100-year-old person. I wasn’t home that morning but they needed very little help! One of them especially loved this day.
feb-17-7

I told Dakota to just wear sweatpants because if I were a 100-year-old, I would sit in my chair all day like that. ๐Ÿ™‚
Reagan happily dug through a box of old lady dress up clothes I had for other occasions.
Madison didn’t know what to wear so I told her I would stop at Goodwill. I did, and there it was in all its glory for only $4. I took it up to check out and the two little old ladies working the register picked it up and started exclaiming. I opened my mouth to tell them why I was buying it when one says, “This is just beee-u-tiful!” I quickly closed my mouth without speaking and left grinning.

feb-17-9

Yesterday we spend 3 hours on the tubing slopes with the honor roll kids. It was a lovely, bright and sunny day and the kids quickly warmed up! To say they were hungry for lunch after 3 hours of this was an understatement.

~~~

The princess and I have been busy.
feb-17-4

Her room was always just leftover colors from Dakota and she dreamed of having a pink room. Well, her mother is not a lover of all things pink, but oh well, it shouldn’t be too hard to repaint when she is done with pink.

I did my usual painting thing. Started the day by planning to clean the room. Oh well, may as well paint a coat of pink, ah shoot, while it’s drying we’ll do a little gray. Hey, the pink is dry, let’s give it another coat, and by now I would hate to mess up another day, let’s just finish it all! And so by 4:30 we were done. She says, “I didn’t think we were going to do it all today!” Well, neither did I.

feb-17-5

She was happy, happy, happy that night!

~~~

feb-17-6

When you have a birthday and can almost not get to your gift because everyone else wants to see it too.

The princess has a birthday coming up too. She is all concerned about me going to town alone sometime or else she won’t have a gift for her birthday!
Unknown to her it’s already in hiding.

~~~

feb-17-10

Psalms 91:1-2
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting in Him.

What do we need in a storm?
shelter. rest. refuge. safety.
Where do we find that?
In Jesus.

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Apple Puff Pastry

Autumn calls for all things apple in the desserts around here.

I have recently discovered puff pastry and how easy it is to use.

apple-puff-pastry-5

It is found in the frozen section of your local grocery,
by the deserts and pie crusts.

apple-puff-pastry-1

Let it thaw for about 40 minutes, spread it out on a floured surface and give it a slight roll to smooth the seams. If the seams break, use a little water and pinch them back together before rolling.

After you’ve smoothed and flattened it a bit, cut it down the center.

apple-puff-pastry-2

Spoon your pie filling onto the center of one half and brush the edges with a beaten egg.
Place the second half on top and use a fork to press the edges to seal them.

apple-puff-pastry-3

Brush the top with the rest of the beaten egg.
Cut about 4 small air vents in the top.
(which I forgot to do in the photo above)

apple-puff-pastry

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Cover with a glaze and eat them warm!

~~~

Now, for the filling, you have two options.
The easy way or the hard way. ๐Ÿ™‚

First choice, the easy way.
Go buy a can of apple pie filling and spoon it on.
Done.

The second choice is to make an apple filling.
It’s a lot more work, but goodness, I just wanted to eat all the filling
before I got the pastry rolled out.

You can use a filling recipe of your choice or the following recipe.

~~~

Apple Puff Pastry

Appleย  Filling

4 large apples
(app 4 cups, finely sliced)
8 TBS butter
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Melt the butter and dump sliced apples into the pan.
Stir until lightly browned.
Add cinnamon and sugar.
Simmer for about 15 minutes.

1 box Puff Pastry.
Thaw 40 minutes, roll out and cut down the center.
Place apple filling in the center of half.
Whip one egg and brush the edges of the pastry.
Top with the other half and use a fork to seal the edges.
Brush the top with remaining egg.
Cut 4 air vents in the top.
Bake at 400* for 15-17 minutes or until brown.

Cover generously with a powdered sugar glaze.
Serve warm and enjoy!

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Oreo Cookies

There are few things in life that can fix common problems like a good cookie.
Add a cup of coffee, and it’s even better.

When it’s a kid with the problem,
they are always happy to have a cookie to help the hurt!

When it’s me, with or without a problem,
well, I am just always happy to eat!

Oreo Cookies (1)

My Mom found a recipe for homemade Oreo Cookies
and they have been a hit around here.

We like them tiny, you can eat more that way.
We started scooping them out
and than cutting each scoop in half to make them smaller.
It makes more cookies and they are so cute!

Oreo Cookies (2)

About two or three bites and it’s gone
and you can justify eating another one because they are so small!

Oreo Cookies (3)

Oreo Cookies

2 boxes Devil’s food cake mixes
4 eggs
1 1/2 c Crisco

Mix together.
Bake the cookies for 8 minutes

(time may differ with ovens)

Filling:

8oz Cream cheese – softened
1 stick of butter – softened
2 tsp vanilla
4 c powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese, add butter and mix.
Add vanilla and powder sugar.ย  Mix until creamy.

Place a spoonful on half of the cookies.
Top with the rest of the cookies.
Taste a few while working.

Oreo Cookies (4)

I experimented with different brands of cake mix but this one turns out the best. The cookies are a little flatter with the Betty Crocker brand and work well to put filling between them. When I used another kind, they were more like fat little nuggets.

vanilla cookies

We did try other flavors too.
These are butterpecan, but I wasn’t so fond of them.
My sister tried a yellow cake mix and said they were good.
I guess your options are only limited to all the kinds of cake mixes.

Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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Caramel Mocha Ice Cream

I love ice cream.
Ice cream desserts full of caramel,
coffee, pecans and all good things like this,
just makes it even better.

Mocha Caramel Ice Cream (1)

I could eat a whole boat load of dessert like this if I had no self-control.
As it is, I have very little self-control around it.
I waffle between letting the kids eat a bunch
so there is less for me to sneak
or hoarding it away in little bowls and telling the kids it’s almost all gone.

This batch really is almost all.
I and I alone know where the last little bit is hidden.

One thing about making this dessert, it is time-consuming.
Each layer needs to be frozen well before adding another layer.
I actually made this over a few days time,
when I had a minute I would get it out and add another layer.

{Actual recipe at the bottom}

Mocha dessert (1)

Start off by layering graham crackers on a cookie sheet.
Melt butter and brown sugar and stir in pecans.

Mocha dessert (2)

Pour that mixture over the crackers and bake 10 minutes

Mocha dessert (3)

This is how it looked when it came out.
Not sure how to keep that bottom from getting too brown.
I might spread everything out a bit more next time.

Mocha dessert (4)

After it cooled, I chopped it all up with this little stomper thing.
Next time I would chop it into even smaller pieces.
It was good but some of the pieces were a bit large.

Chop it well and put 1/2 of it in a 9×13 pan.

Mocha dessert (5)

Now, here’s a part I missed a picture of.
I couldn’t find caramel ice cream to save my life
so I bought vanilla and a bottle of caramel.
I put about half of the ice cream on top of the crumbs,
dumped a large amount of caramel on it and finished off
with the rest of the ice cream.
It worked, but I’m still going to look for caramel ice cream.

Now freeze it solid before trying to add anything else.
This stuff cannot be rushed or you’ll end up with
Caramel Mocha Soup.
Don’t ask me how I know.

Mocha dessert (6)

An entire jar of hot fudge is next.
Me, the great disliker of all things chocolate,
didn’t quite scrape the jar clean before throwing it away.
I know, I hear the cries of outrage already.

Mocha dessert (7)

Follow that with the rest of the crumbs.
Freeze again!

Mocha dessert (8)

Now let’s stop and take a moment in honor of
the most loveliest food in the world.
Coffee Ice Cream, ahh, how I love thee.

Coffee ice cream is the next layer
and I read a trick that worked marvelously.
Thaw it just a bit, tip it over and then let it slide out.
If it doesn’t slide out, just rip the carton, that works too.
Now slice the ice cream and layer it on top of the crumbs.
(I sliced the first layer of ice cream too,
just didn’t take a picture)

Mocha dessert (9)

It was getting pretty soft until I was done
so I smooth it around with a spoon after layering the slices.
Or I tried. Now you may lick the spoon.
Freeze again.

Mocha dessert (10)

Next is the Cool Whip mixed with instant coffee.
As you can see, my bowl was too small.
I couldn’t even put all the Cool whip on
because it was oozing out the sides of the lid.
I have a pan that is just a bit bigger than 9×13
that I will use next time.

Mocha Caramel Ice Cream (2)
Eat and be happy! Oh, so happy!
Your taste buds will thank you.

~~~

Caramel Mocha Ice Cream

10 graham crackers
1ย  c butter
1 c brown sugar – packed
1 c pecans

Arrange crackers on a cookie sheet.
Melt butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Cook 2 minutes.
Stir in pecans. Pour over crackers.
Bake 10 minute @ 350*. Cool and then crumble.
Spread 1/2 in a 9×13 pan.

1 quart caramel ice cream
Slice and place over crumbled crackers. – freeze.

1 jar hot fudge
Spread over ice cream and sprinkle rest of crumbs on top.
-freeze

1 quart coffee ice cream
Slice and place on crumbs. – freeze.

1 box Cool Whip.
1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp hot water.
Mix coffee and Cool whip and then spread on ice cream.
– freeze.

Get out of freezer 10-20 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake (3)

Occasionally the craving for a sweet treat hits
so we go looking for something to bake.
This is a favorite coffee cake of ours from
my sister in law Lisa.
It’s simple, easy to make and so delicious.

Blueberry Coffee Cake (1)

It calls for blueberries,
but we substitute other fruits sometimes.
This time I used wild raspberries that the kids picked.
I’m planning to make it again this week
with some blueberries I have in the refrigerator.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1/2 C butter- softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
-cream together
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sour cream
-Mix well.
1-2 C blueberries
add & stir
Put in a greased 9×13 pan.

Topping:
4 TBSP butter – melted
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C flour.
-mix and crumble on top of batter.

Bake @ 350* for 25-30 min.

Blueberry Coffee Cake (2)

Enjoy!

Sour Cream Twists

Madison went through my stash of recipes
last Friday. When she was finished she had a list of
things to bake, much longer then my eyes could believe.

On the top of the list was Sour cream Twists.
She claimed she didn’t remember me ever baking them before.
I know I have, but it may have been many years ago.

Sour Cream Twists

They make a good breakfast food,
or a snack with coffee any time.

Sour Cream Twists (1)
Mix the dough, divide it in half and roll it out.
Sour Cream Twists (8)
Layer butter, and cinnamon sugar on half of it.

Sour Cream Twists (2)
Fold the dough over, seal the edges and cut into strips.
We had lots of help, as you can see.

Sour Cream Twists (3)
All twisted up and ready to rise and bake.

Sour Cream Twists (4)
The baker on the other side of the table was collecting scraps of dough.

Sour Cream Twists (5)
She created her own little pan
of all shapes and kinds of things.

Sour Cream Twists (6)
Once they are baked, give them a good healthy helping of frosting…
Sour Cream Twists (7)
… and try to keep the boy away from them.

Sour Cream Twists
Treat yourself for all your hard work!

~~~

Sour Cream Twists

1 C. Sour cream
-heat until almost boiling.
remove from heat and add

3 TBS soft Butter
3 TBS Sugar
1/8 tsp Soda
1 tsp Salt
-mix well and cool to lukewarm.

ย 1 egg
Add and beat well.

1 TBS yeast
1/2 C. warm water.
1 tsp Sugar
Mix yeast and sugar in water and let stand a few minutes.
Combine with the sour cream mixture.

3 C flour.
Mix well and let stand for 5 minutes.

Filling:
2/3 C Brown Sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
-mix together and set aside
2 TBS melted butter

Divide the dough in half,
and roll out about 6-8 inches wide.
Spread melted butter on the top half of the dough
and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Fold the bottom half over the top and
seal around the edges.
Cut into strips and twist them twice.
Place on a greased pan and cover.
Let the twists rise to double.

Bake at 350* for 12-15 min.

*I’m not sure why, but my dough was too sticky
and I ended up adding an extra cup of flour.
Next time I’m considering cutting back
on the amount of water I use since
I found another recipe that only used 1/4 C water.
I also double this recipe because 1 batch just
doesn’t go very far here.

Caramel Frosting
(if you choose)

1 C Butter – melt
2 C Brown Sugar
– add and bring to boil
1/2 C milk
-add and bring to boil again.
Remove from heat and add:
4 C Powdered Sugar
-beat well

Enjoy!

Of Cooking With Menus

Dear Menu-Planning-Cooking-Woman,
I have a few questions for you today.

Do you ever have days when it’s 5pm and you still don’t know
what to make for supper? Yes, I say supper.
{No.}
Please tell me how in the world that is possible.
{Plan a menu far in advance}
Far in advance, hmmm, like a month? Wow.
I can’t even plan 1-2 days in advance.

How do you make that menu and stick to it?
{Just write it down and then cook it on the appointed day.}
Alrighty then, sounds easy enough, but that always leads me to this…

I have always had this burning question about your kind of people.
Are you always, really, truly, hungry for the meal
jotted down for Thursday night?

{Absolutely. If that is what’s on the menu, that is what we eat.}
Seriously? If I plan a menu, I never feel like eating tator tot casserole
on the night tator tot casserole is jotted down for.
I want Chicken Alfredo that’s slotted for Fri night
or the pizza scheduled for Sat night.
Anything but tator tot casserole.
Who wants tator tot casserole anyway?

Can you really manage to go grocery shopping
only once a month? (Your husband must be very proud)
{Yes. You just buy everything you need on that trip because the menus are all planned. You should never need anything extra because when you stick to your menu, you always have the correct ingredients.}
Wow. I was in town yesterday and we are already out of butter.

Do tell, how do you manage to get this done all the time?
{Organization. Perfect planning.}
Guess I missed that ingredient on the cooking boat.
If you haven’t figured it out already,
cooking is not my first love,
eating is.

Thank you for your time. I will give this
menu thing a shot and see if it works.
{No problem. Just remember to cook what is on the menu,
never veer to the right or to the left for Alfredo or Pizza
when it’s tator tot time.}

blog 2-11-15 (2)

Now I’m sure somewhere out there is a working woman,
reading this and thinking,
“You my girl, have no idea how nice you have it.
Stay at home mom, nothing to do but take care of a few kids.
How can you not figure out what is for dinner before 5pm?”
Yes, I know, that is precisely my question too.

And I know somewhere out there is a farm wife on Wed afternoon
planning her third meal of the day, 12th meal of the week, thinking,
“You have no clue. Not a clue whatsoever what real cooking is like.
You have no idea what life is like when there are 3 meals a day to make.
You have nothing to complain about when all you have to do
is come up with 1 meal each evening.”

Meekly whispers: I know.

I also realize there are people out there starving.
A mama in Africa would probably tell me I have no business
even asking such questions because at least I have food with which to cook.
I know. I know.

But today, this is my problem.
Or every day this is my problem.
And I can’t quit thinking about it.
And wondering how to fix it.

So now that I have been set in my place and have organization on my brain,
I am off to browse cookbooks, make grocery lists and try to figure out
what is for supper for the next 37 nights in a row.
And after I do all this organizing and whatnot,
I guarantee you I will not be hungry for whatever is on the menu for that one specific night and all my work will be down the drain.
Make it anyway you say, she says, ugh, good diet plan I guess.

Knowing me it will be 5pm tomorrow and I still won’t know what to cook.

Then I’ll call you and we’ll go out to eat.

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