Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Glimpses...a Week on the Farm


A week just flies by...doesn't it?
This time of the year brings busy days, longer outside time, and kids happy to be out on the fresh air.
We have had some absolutely gorgeous Spring days in the last week, as well as drizzly afternoons, giving us much needed moisture.
It's such an enjoyable time of the year.
Fresh, happy, and all new and shiny.
Here is a glimpse of our week...


Boys doing morning chores together.

We had a sick little bull calf ....but he is doing much better now.
No more droopy ears.

My chickens are enjoying their last few days of freedom.
I'll be making them stay in their pen soon, as they enjoy ALL of the new green shoots coming up in the garden.
I think they already wiped out a whole row of peas!
Naughty.



I found a little surprise in my garden while taking out some invasive Soap Wart.
My Grandpa Jack had given me garlic the year we moved in...which sort of disappeared...and I found over 100 starts buried in the invasive plant!
I am hoping to have a good crop this year.
P.S.: If you plant Soap Wart, give it LOTS of room to spread!



Tim has been giving Lily riding lessons.

The boys are involved in shooting sports 4-H this year and competed last week.
They were awesome!



Coloring Easter eggs...







Easter morning the littles awoke early to find their baskets.

The big boys slept in :).




After church we had an egg hunt!
Even the chickens joined in.





It was serious business :).
Easter was just lovely and we just stayed home.
Don't you love just being home?

 Heirloom tomatoes given to me by a sweet friend.
I am just starting to harden them off.
 Jack's sweet potato experiment.
Hopefully we see roots and shoots soon.
He loves science!
 Merry little daffodils cheer up the table.
I have so many dancing in the wind outside.
It's been so fun to have fresh flowers in the house again.


My Green Gage Plum tree is in bloom.
I love this time of year.


Just planting the garden. 
It looks so bare, but soon it will be full!

 Peas are just starting to emerge.
Can't wait for crisp pods to eat raw off the vine.
So far, we have planted swiss chard, peas, onions, spinach, lettuces, radishes, kale, and leeks.
Potatoes are next.
I love getting my hands in the dirt and looking forward to the generous rewards down the road.

Hope your week is going well!

~Julia


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

{Spring} Sunday Supper: Ham, Asparagus, and Pasta Skillet, Lemon Curd Pie

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.
I apologize for The Sunday Supper series being put on hold during this busy family time.
Here I am, though, with a late {but timely} post that gives you a great reason to use up leftover ham.
Easter brunch just isn't right if we don't have ham...and I always have plenty left in the refrigerator!

This lovely recipe was gobbled up by even my prudent non-asparagus lovers.
It is creamy and filling. Ham gives it just the right touch.

And for dessert {because Sunday's should be the day you splurge} a dreamy Lemon Curd Pie.
It is light, the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and a perfect end to the day.



>>>>>>>>>>Ham, Asparagus, and Pasta Skillet<<<<<<<<<<
{serves 8}

8 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked
1 pound cooked ham, chopped into small cubes
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
4 TBS. butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 TBS. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
3 TBS. all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese {shredded or grated}

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add ham. Cook until ham starts to brown.
Add onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add flour, stir to coat. Add milk. Stir and cook until thick and bubbly. Add macaroni, basil, Parmesan, and asparagus. Cook for about 5 more minutes until asparagus is slightly tender.




And onto dessert...


>>>>>>>>>>Lemon Curd Pie<<<<<<<<<<
{serves 8-10}
Recipe originally found in The Romantic Prairie Cookbook.
Of course, I put my own spin on it.

1 prepared pie crust

For the Filling

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1 TBS. butter

For the Topping:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Bake the pie crust in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, until it is golden brown.
Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare the Filling:
Over medium heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, eggs, vanilla.
Mix well. Slowly add in the lemon juice, lemon extract, and boiling water.
While constantly stirring, cook until it comes to a boil and thickens.
Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat. 
Pour in sour cream and butter and cover in a bowl.
Place in refrigerator for about 2 hours. 
When thoroughly chilled, place in pie plate.

Prepare the Topping:
With a hand mixer or stand up mixer, whip cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on high speed for about 3-4 minutes, until here are soft, fluffy folds.
Place on top of pie and smooth with a spatula.
Keep chilled until you are ready to dish up!





Enjoy!

~Julia

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Restless by Jennie Allen: A Review of a Truly Inspiring Read

Throughout this Lenten season, I have been reading and praying through a beautiful book, Restless, by Jennie Allen.

 She is a wonderful author who speaks candidly and with graceful words that flow seamlessly, as though chatting with a friend. Although Restless is an 8 week, DVD based bible study, I found it just as thought provoking on my own. Jennie Allen gently challenges us to live a life of purpose and contentment...a life that God calls us to right where we are at this moment. I believe many of us feel like God has called us to do more, but we lack the bravery to take a step towards fulfilling that dream. Jennie steps out in faith, using the story of Joseph to gently lead your heart down a path of deep reflection and prayer...showing you that God has a perfect plan for each one of us and to take fear and combat it with biblical truth.
Restless: Because You Were Made for More  -     By: Jennie Allen

She states, "Our places are not an accident. Your gifts and stories will be used in many different places over your lifetime.....He just wants you to participate in His story wherever you are and with whatever you have."

This book is about our passions {we may have put on hold}, our gifts and places in this life that are not by coincidence: rather that God has placed us right where we are to use our gifts for His purpose. Jennie takes you through an inner study of who you really are and how you fit into this beautiful plan that God has for you. Your gifts, the suffering in your life, your passions, where God has placed you, the people that He has placed right in front of your nose...you have a purpose. Restless urges us to follow God's plan for our lives and how incredible that path can be.

"We ache to be part of something great, and it makes us nervous at the same time. We were built for this, but we all fight hundreds of mixed motives and fears. Jesus said of us, "Whoever believes in Me...they will do even greater things than these."(John 14:12).....Our souls are restless until they rest in God. We were made for Him and He gave everything so that our souls could finally and forever rest in Him."

 On a personal level, this book resonated that you don't have to see and plan everything out in your life. God has the master list and good plans for each of us. The unknown is a difficult thing to conquer...and one of my own personal fears. What we don't know will be revealed in faith. Relinquishing every action, thought, and word to God...all day, everyday....knowing that He is going to confidently lead you in the right direction is a comfort. 

"God doesn't change the world though grand visions; He changes the world through surrendered people hungry for His glory."


I highly recommend this book. It will cause you to think, pray, and challenge you to a higher calling in your life. You will come away celebrating that God created you infinitely unique and that He wants to use your gifts to share His joy with those around us.
It will refresh your spirit.


If you would like to purchase Restless, you can do so HERE.

Meet Jennie Allen HERE.


And a little clip about Restless...

A big thank you to Sara for asking me to review this lovely book.
It was such a treat to enjoy it through the Easter season and I found my faith strengthened!

~Julia

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Great Heirloom Seed Sources


Have you started planting yet?
Here in the north, near the mountains, we are just beginning.
I have a love for heirloom seeds and thought I would share some of the best resources out there.
There is just something about knowing that the seed you are planting has sustained for hundreds of years.
That delicious and mouth watering tomato could be the same one your great-grandparents enjoyed.
The heirloom varieties tend to have exceptional flavor, are more nutritious than newer varieties, most have wonderful stories about how they came to America, and because they are open-pollinated, you can save your seeds from year to year.

Here are a few of my favorite companies...

What could be more authentic and heirloom than Thomas Jefferson's gardens at Monticello?
You can purchase seed directly from them.
Click HERE.
Monticello Birds, Bees and Butterflies Seed Sampler


This company has some of the most diverse heirloom and organic seeds.
Their selection is impeccable.
Northern Large Package


Seed Savers has been dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds since 1975.
They have an amazing variety as well as stories behind each seed.
I use their seeds every year.



A Bee's Garden Organic Seed Collection






Southern Exposure Catalog Seeds 2014




Gift Collections

{My local favorite!}
Irish Eyes Garden Seeds

Hope you are enjoying this last week of Lent and have a lovely Easter!

~Julia

Sunday, March 30, 2014

{Spring} Sunday Supper: Gluten Free~ Fresh Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup, Chopped Cobb Salad, and Gluten Free Coffee Cake

I just felt like a good bowl of soup this week.
Creamy and fresh with a lovely head of spring broccoli.
I think you and your family will love this recipe!
Pair it with a crisp Cobb salad and a gluten free dessert, and your meal is complete.

Hope you are having a lovely Spring so far!



 Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup
{serves 6}

4 TBS. melted butter
2T. olive oil 
1 med. chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups half and half cream
4 cups chicken stock
1 head fresh broccoli, cut fine
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese {can substitute 1/2 cheddar and another favorite cheese, like Gouda.}
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, saute onion and celery in butter and oil until translucent. Add flour and whisk over medium heat until a rue is formed. Add the 1/2 and 1/2 and chicken stock. Stir well, then add broccoli and cook on low for 25 minutes. 
Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Don't skip the nutmeg....trust me...it makes the soup!
Add the cheese and heat until melted and creamy.




Chopped Cobb Salad
{serves 6}

½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
½ head romaine lettuce, chopped fine
handful of fresh spinach
2 oz. blue cheese or feta, crumbled
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into ½" cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½" cubes
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into ½" cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into ½" cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. minced chives

Combine all ingredients and toss in a large bowl.
Serve with your favorite dressing.


Gluten Free Coffee Cake
{serves many}
*original recipe from New Every Morning...with my own adjustments :). 

1/4 cup ground flax
1 1/2 cups almond flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. maple extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup stevia blend

Topping
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 TBS. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 TBS. stevia blend
1 tsp. molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine first 3 ingredients. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, extracts, and stevia.
Blend and then add to the dry ingredients.
Mix well.
Pour into a 9x13 greased dish.

Mix topping ingredients together and then pour on top and swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Enjoy!!






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