Monday, February 28, 2011

Sprouting Seeds

Calling all smart seed sprouters.....what is the most economical seed sprouter? I would love to hear your tips? And where do you recommend getting seeds and what are the most nutritional seeds? The best healthy bang for my buck?


There are so many different kinds out there that I feel overwhelmed and I really don't know much about it except that it's fairly easy and good for me.


Thank you all for your input!

~Marie


Okay well I was reading around the awesome Morristribe blog tonight and I think Kelly answered a lot of my questions about seed sprouting, check out her youtube tutorial if you would like to learn too!!! Thanks Kelly




You can also visit her blog by clicking the button below:


The Morris Tribe


Here are the lids she was referring to:





And organic Alfalfa seeds


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meaningful Mondays (LINK UP) Week #6


Join us for the sixth week of Meaningful Mondays.

I adore poetry, going to share a couple poems here from 'The Book of a Thousand Poems'.
I feel this one is very appropriate with the time of year approaching!

(a recent sunset here at the Cottage Homestead)


Spring Work at the Farm

What does the farmer in the spring?
He sows the seed that harvests bring;
But first he wakes the earth from sleep
By ploughing it well and harrowing it deep

And busy must be the farmer's boy!
To care for the lambs that leap for joy.
To feed the calves so tender and young
He rises as soon as the day's begun.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thanks to the Prairie Homestead I will be trying out these
Soaked Buttermilk Biscuits too!! I'll you all know how they turn out!!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And Mondays here always require lots of "washing-up" after a busy weekend and the day of rest.  Love this little poem below.

The Washing-up Song

Sing a song of washing-up,
Water hot as hot,
Cups and saucers, plates and spoons,
Dishes such a lot!
Work the dish-mop round and round,
Wash them clean as clean,
Polish with a dry white cloth,
How busy we have been!

~Elizabeth Gould

I also want to share that my family grain mill arrived Saturday, looking for tutorials or youtube videos on how to use it, etc.  
We also lost a chicken this weekend to a raccoon. So sad!!! Her name was Tina and we loved her, it is always very heartbreaking when we lose one of our dear sweet ladies. She was a Polish hen.








Friday, February 25, 2011

Simplicity Saturdays (LINK UP) #3


Welcome to our third week of Simplicity Saturday.

A couple of years ago I took several photos using scrabble letters with phrases like simplicity, love, and more....never knowing that one day it would be a button for Simplicity Saturdays.  In-fact as I was going through my photo albums I spotted that picture and it sparked the idea for this link up.

This week I wrote in my 'Farm Journal' of some things we are wanting to do this Saturday.

1.  Call a local farmer for free poop (found on craigslist)
2. Call and set up time to get some barred rock chicks
3. Call two farmers here locally, I found selling chemical free chickens to eat. :)


Healthy Breakfast

This morning I made my favorite whole wheat oatmeal pancakes, recipe found here.

I served them without syrup, I usually make homemade syrup but I am trying to cut out the sugar.  They topped them with peanut butter, and I didn't get too many complaints. :)


I'd like to tell you about my cheap kitchen island. I purchased an antique sewing machine cabinet for $8 at a thrift store, the machine doesn't work. My hubby bought me a Paula Deen dough/cutting board and it fit almost perfectly. I have a super small kitchen so this is the perfect size for an island. I've always wanted one. The kids keep a little chair by it to help me cook.


~*~*~THE SCOTTS REEL MOWER~*~*~


IS HERE!!!


We have yet to assemble it. Hubby is showing if off here for you...ha ha ha.  It's not a John Deer but it's green. :) We cannot wait to use it!!!


It has an easy adjuster to set the height you want to cut the grass!!!


Tell me about your Simplicity Saturday, be sure to link back here.. please. I have a beautiful button on the right with the code underneath so you can easily add it to your post. :)

Blessings,

Marie





Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tonight I planted seeds

I enjoyed a wonderful day today and ended it burning the midnight oil. However I was planting seeds so maybe you could say I was turning the midnight soil....okay okay I know, that's corny! :)  This is the first time I have started my seeds indoors in my own home.  When I was a teenager I worked in a greenhouse but it is a bit different in my own house.  I don't own any special peat pots, so I just used my egg cartons, and I suppose if I need to transplant to a larger pot I can do that.


Tonight I planted onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes. As I have mentioned before I purchased  these heirloom seeds from Baker Creek, found here.


Shipping was very low only $3.00 and they ship out very fast!  Even though I am only an hour or so away I had them delivered to save on time and gas. :)

It was tempting to try so many different varieties, but I really wanted to keep my cost down....I'll share with you a few of the varsities I am trying out.


The Earley Jersey Wakefield Cabbage..........according to Baker Creek "Introduced in the 1840's, with tasty 2-lb. sweet and flavorful conical heads. This very early variety was sold commercially by Peter Henderson in the late 1860's."

and a reviewer said the heads were incredibly sweet and made wonderful slaw....that is was sold me! :)


Baker Creek says..."A tasty old favorite that sets medium-large, yellow onions with a good, pungent flavor. This variety is among the best keepers and produces well. Plant some of these for winter eating and store them clear through to next spring. "

The fact that these store good sold me on this one!!!




 An Italian heirloom variety that provides many more shoots after the main head is cut.....looking forward to eating this soon!!! I truly cannot wait.


 Another Italian variety as well and it caught my eye because of its bright apple green heads, baker creek says that it is a vigorous plant.....my friend makes a wonderful chicken, cauliflower, rice dish that I cannot wait to try this in!!!


I only wanted to purchase one tomato variety this year, I just want to keep it simple. So I asked my intelligent neighbor what she would recommend and she said she always goes with the Amish Paste from Baker Creek. This one is perfect for paste or canning, comes form an Amish community in Wisconsin. I pray my tomatoes make it this year, I have had issues with blight in the past.

So there you have it, this is what I am starting out with.  I can always do more but for now I want to start small and work my way up. I don't want to undertake more than I can handle either.  In a week I will place another order for my beans, pumpkin, sunflower, and corn seeds.  Looking forward to trying out their strawberry popcorn variety. It looks beautiful!

What are you planting this year?






Tuesday, February 22, 2011

3 things on my list

I got several magazines in the mail this week and have been drooling. My Lehman's catalog and the newest catalog from the Bulk Herb Store, I always learn so much every time I look at their website or read their catalog.
There are three things on my list that we are planning on getting soon, these things will not only save us money but help us prepare for simple living.

1. The Big Berkey water filter......we have a well with hard water and the berkey is going to save me a lot of money, it is so convenient, and most importantly...healthy!  The berkey removes E. coli, pesticides, aluminum and so so much more. That's just what I remember off the top of my head. The berkey is also used by missionaries in foreign countries.  It's ability to filter "raw" water is absolutely amazing! So I'd love to know..."Do you have a berkey, do you love it"?  I have a friend on facebook that has had one for 12 years and LOVES it! Cannot wait to get it!!!




2.  A hand crank flour mill, I know there are hand crank mills out there for up to $2500. That is NOT in my budget, I really can't even afford the ones for $100-$500.  I have seen the Victorio and the Back to Basics mills......I have read some good reviews and some bad ones.  Can I get by with one of these that run around $69?  Please comment if you own one, or tell me about your flour mills, I would love to hear!!! Personally I really want to go with a hand crank to really be prepared for living off the grid!




And then there are these ones as low as $19.99....I can't help but wonder if they really make a fine flour.  Several reviews I have read say they are good for cereals or cracked wheat.


3. The next thing is a wood stove, my dream stove is found over at Lehman's, the baker's oven wood stove, oh my what a dream that would be, but the price tag is $2500.  This wood stove not only heats your home, but has an oven rack in the bottom and is large enough on top for 4 large stock pots!


Isn't she beautiful???

But for now I have a simple wood stove, we just need to purchase the steel pipe and my Dad is going to help us install it, we are so excited!!! It will be such a good feeling to know, that if the power goes out I WILL have heat!


P.S. I'd like to also add that my seeds came in today from Baker Creek, and I will be planting away indoors tomorrow, cannot wait! This is my first year to order from Baker Creek, and I love the fact that I am supporting a local business!

P.S.S. This year we will also be trying out a reel mower. After reading several reviews we settle on this one...the Scotts 20".  With free shipping it was quite a steal!








Monday, February 21, 2011

Meaningful Mondays (LINK UP) Week #5




Sorry for the delay, because I am posting this so late, I am leaving it open until Wed. have fun.

My Monday is very meaningful today because I'm spending it with my sweet Mother. We always have soooo much fun together, laughing till we cry usually!!


We are going to make my favorite brownies EVER today!! :)

This recipe comes from my favorite Betty Crocker:


To view Betty Crocker Cookbook click here: BETTY CROCKER'S COOKBOOK



Best Brownies EVER
(my version below) Source: 1971 Betty Crocker


12 Tablespoons Cocoa
2/3 cup oil plus 4 Tablespoons oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Mix all ingred. together. Heat oven to 350. Spread in greased 9 x 13. Bake 25 minutes, do not overbake.

Sometimes I add a handful of choc. chips or white choc. chips to the batter. But they are divine even without it, fresh from the oven with hot butter on them....




Please kindly link back to here, tell your friends, fb, or twitter. I have a lovely button on the right for meaningful mondays if you would like to grab! Blessings

~Marie

This is also linked up to Fat Camp Friday

and




Saturday, February 19, 2011

Simplicity Saturdays (LINK UP) #2

Welcome to the second week of Simplicity Saturday



I am also linking up to the awesome Barnyard Hop over @ Homestead Revival



I hope you'll join us....here in the Ozarks we have had some extremely nice weather and it has me thinkin', and a plannin', and getting oh so excited for Spring!!! :)

Today I am planning things to make my life run simpler.

1. Planning a simple menu for two weeks worth of meals, that is frugal and uses several same ingredients.
2. Planning my garden: my goal is to can and freeze enough fruits and vegetables for my family for the entire year, while I may not reach this goal, I am going to aim for it. Looking forward to the garden this year (even if though it may be a smaller one) and checking out my local farmer's markets!!!

(Cleaning out the chicken coop for the garden, Maci is overseeing the whole process!!!)

3. As you know and have seen on my earlier posts I do not use our dryer much (only for towels and Steve's work rags), so I am enjoying hanging laundry on the line with this unusually pleasant weather.

(I know it's crooked :), I got this for $10 on craigslist, thankful for my clothesline!!!)

How are you enjoying a Simple Saturday, please share with the link up below, include a link back to here (I really appreciate that), tell your friends, FB, twitter to your hearts content. 

Above all, have a blessed day my friends!

(This is our cat Chipmunk, I think it's funny how cats think your doing things just for them, oh they crack me up!!!)

Don't forget to grab my button on the right!!! :)





Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meaningful Mondays (LINK UP) Week #4


What are you doing to make your Monday meaningful???

Will you be doing something special for Valentines?

Something unique for your children? A few years ago we bought ingredients for everyone to make their own Ice cream Sunday.........it was so much fun and the kids still talk about it!!!

This Monday I thought about making a special meal and having the girls put on apons and pretend to be hubby and I's waitresses, have them make out little menus, etc......I mentioned it to them and they really want to do it, so maybe we will. :)

Share with me on the inLinkx below what you are doing to make it a meaningful day, rather that be read a new book, do something special for someone, make something new, or study a new Bible verse!! I'd love to hear, I'm needing ideas today!!! :)

I have a button on the right for you to put on your post, feel free to grab the code underneath and kindly link back to here, tell your friends!!! :)


My love print available in my etsy shop







Friday, February 11, 2011

Simplicity Saturdays (LINK UP)


Welcome to Simplicity Saturdays.  A link up dedicated to simplicity, feel free to share a new quick recipe, tips on cleaning, books, or whatever you are doing to simplify!!!!
Be sure to link up with the inlinkz below and tell your friends!!!

I have a lovely button for Simplicity Saturdays on the right with the code under it, feel free to copy and paste this to your simplicity post.  And be sure to at least included a link back to here, can't wait to see everyone's entries!!! :)


When I start cleaning I always sing that little song on Calamity Jane...."a woman's touch".  So today the girls and I donned our vintage style aprons and are cleaning away.  I don't know why but when I want to deep clean I always rearrange my furniture.  So everything gets clean and a new look! :)




My little Helper


Cleaning away and very proud of it!!!

P.S. I am also excited to share that Joyful Mothering is starting a Homemaker's Challenge every Friday (looks like it's going to be lots of fun, and keep me on my toes!!! :) Click the button to check it out.











Whole Wheat Butter Scones



I took a basic traditional scone recipe and replaced all the white flour with whole wheat. We use the Montana Prairie gold wheat berries. 



I didn't use any white flour at all, I know a lot of recipes do half and half but I just wanted to use all whole wheat, and see how these would turn out.  These scones were good! They reminded me somewhat of cornbread because of using all wheat.  Hubby does not like cornbread so I was worried. He loved them, I think he had 3! :)

We drrrrrenched them in honey. Everytime I say drenched I roll my R's...it reminds me of Mrs. Margaret Harris in Anne of Avonlea, and I always laugh to myself. ;)


Whole Wheat Butter Scones


Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups Whole wheat flour
  • 3 TBS sugarshopping li
  • 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
  • 2 eggs, beaten with
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions:

Mix together flour, sugar, powder, and salt. Cut in butter.  Add eggs and milk. Form into ball and flatten to a 10" circle. Cut into wedges. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  400 degrees if using a convection oven.

Enjoy with jam or raw honey! :)









Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spaghetti Pie, Herbed Focaccia, & Cinnamon Dessert Bread


Are you ready? This post has three recipes in it, but they are easy!!! And I think you are going to love them. Easy on the budget, time, and well maybe not your waistline.  We use whole wheat spaghetti, part skim mozzarella, farm beef, and olive oil so maybe it's okay. ;)

First I'll share the recipe for the  Spaghetti Pie, we make spaghetti  A LOT, and I like the little spin this recipe puts on something we usually make!!! I get recipes from Campbell's emailed to my inbox and this one caught my eye.

My oven is needing some work, so all of this was baked in my Oster Toaster oven, I am super thankful hubby got this for me as a gift several years ago, it has really been a life saver with the oven not working.  Mine is like the one below only retro red. :)


Family Spaghetti Pie

My version below:

1/2 pound ground beef (I had this already cooked in the freezer)
1 cup mild salsa (I was leery, but it made it sooo good!!!)
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Almost the whole package 13 oz.-whole wheat spaghetti pasta
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup ricotta cheese ( I didn't have this, still taste wonderful)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until meat is well browned, stirring frequently to break up the meat. Pour off fat. Stir the picante sauce,pasta sauce, and brown sugar into the skillet and cook until it's hot and bubbling.
  • Stir the spaghetti, egg and butter in a medium bowl. Spread the mixture on the bottom and up the side of greased 10-inch pie plate. Spread the ricotta cheese in the spaghetti shell. Top with the beef mixture.
  • Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes or until it's hot and bubbling. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cut into 6 wedges.


Herbed Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 1  (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 2  to 3 cups bread flour
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1  teaspoon  salt

Dissolve yeast in sugar and water, then add, olive oil, salt and flour.  Knead dough and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes. shaping dough into a ball.. Roll dough into an 11- x 14-inch rectangle on a lightly greased baking sheet. I cover the entire ball of dough in oil and knead it in the oil a bit.  Then I start pressing it into the desired rectangle shape.  Press handle of a wooden spoon into dough to make indentations at 1-inch intervals. Drizzle dough evenly with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning. Bake at 475° for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.


(I filled the bottom of a plate with olive oil and an amazing blend of Italian seasonings from my mother-in-law, owner of Jazz Cafe in Ozark, Mo)


Then today I was thinking about how easy and fun the Italian bread was and decided "Why, I could make a cinnamon dessert bread with the same dough and it would be like those cinnamon bread sticks you get when you order pizza (ONLY BETTER)! :)   WOW, they were amazing, hot and fresh from my little toaster oven, ha ha ha! :) My recipe below.



Maries's Italian Cinnamon Dessert Bread


Ingredients

  • 1  Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1  Tablespoon sugar
  • 1  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 2  to 3 cups bread flour
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1  teaspoon  salt

  • Topping: 
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 to 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

I  dissolved the yeast and sugar in water, then add oil, salt, and flour. Knead dough and let rise for only 30 minutes. I love that it only had to rise for 30 minutes.  After it is done rising I like to knead my dough in a couple tablespoons of oil that I will bake the pan on, stretch out to a 11 x 14 rectangle. As I did this in my toaster oven it makes the perfect rectangle. Then take the end of a wooden spoon and  press into the dough every 1 inch.  

Melt the butter and brush over the bread dough, mix together your sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over butter. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.  Make this better: While this is baking mix up some powdered sugar and a little milk for dipping!!! :) Hope you enjoy, we did! :)










Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Old Fashioned Gingerbread Scones w/Lavender




This summer I started baking with lavender.  It was new to me, something I had never baked with as a teenager, it has taken me long enough to start using it, and now that I am, I'm hooked!

From using it in cakes, cookies, scones, or my evening tea, lavender is sure to soothe.

If you are new to baking with lavender you will want to make sure and purchase culinary lavender that is safe for baking, like the lavender below.




One of my favorite websites, the bulk herb store sells it as well, for a very good price (they ship fast too!!!)


They include some wonderful information about lavender as well!!!

I found this recipe on a website full of lavender recipes, Hood River Lavender

Old Fashioned Gingerbread Scones w/Lavender

     2 cups all-purpose flour “organic”
     2 tsp baking powder
      ¼ tsp soda
       ½ tsp salt
       1 tsp cinnamon
        1 tsp fresh grated ginger
            1/8 tsp cloves ( I didn't have cloves)
                1 Tbsp culinary lavender “Signature Blend” ground (I just used 1 Tablespoon of lavender buds)

Add:

                                                   7 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut up

Mix together with pastry blender,
until mixture looks like fine granules.

Stir in with fork:              ½ tsp vanilla
To form a smooth,          1/3 cup milk
Rather soft dough.          1/3 cup molasses
                                                                          ½ cup raisins ( I didn't have raisins either)

Preheat oven 375’.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and give 10-12 kneads.  Cut dough in half. Knead each half into a ball, turn smooth side up, and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Pat each piece of dough into a 5” circle, and cut into wedges (6-8 each); leave sides touching. Bake 10 minutes – being careful not to over bake. Sprinkle with Lavender sugar. Break apart after cooled.
*Lavender Sugar: *1 cup coarse organic granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp culinary lavender “Signature Blend”. Grind together in coffee grinder, and store overnight. Serve with applesauce, honey, slice of cheddar cheese, and/or whipping cream J Enjoy!

NOTE: I did not have lavender sugar so I covered the top with raw sugar and sprinkled on a few lavender buds.



Speaking of lavender scones, I used my scone pictures to make a new button today, I have three new buttons designed now and are on the right, feel free to grab one before you leave. I will be posting soon information on easily making your own blog buttons.






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