Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When Perfection Overwhelms You...

I will be the first to admit that I so struggle with perfectionism.
It can be a wonderful thing...at times...but often it overwhelms me.
 Especially when life gets amazingly busy...
I read this by Anne Voskamp this morning and it was such a comfort to me.
We are headed for Fair this week.
A week of total fun, great memories, and a little chaos.
A week of praising God in gratitude for each wonderful moment with a peaceful heart.

Crockpot Garden Stew


I know it is still Summer, but stews are something we eat year round because we can use vegetables straight from the garden.
 Shopping fresh from a Farmer's Market would be a lovely option, too:).
I wait for a cooler day and then pop everything in the crockpot in the morning.
I am not sure who invented the crockpot, but they deserve a big smooch:)!
I LOVE knowing dinner is taken care of and I am free to get other things done.

Making a simple stew in the crockpot allows the flavors to meld and makes the vegetables oh so savory.
Pair it with bread and a salad and you have a hearty, healthy meal.

Crockpot Garden Stew


2 pounds beef stew meat, tip or round roast cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion chopped into quarters
4-5 potatoes cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped into 2 inch pieces
anything else from your garden....turnips, bell peppers, green beans, etc
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
4 TBS. Worchestershire Sauce
1 tsp. salt...more if desired
pepper to taste
3 cups water
1/4 cup flour



  1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire Sauce, onion, water, potatoes, carrots, and celery, and other vegetables.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on high setting for 4 to 6 hours.



Serve with crusty bread and a salad.
Enjoy!



Friday, August 26, 2011

A Garden Tour

My garden is where I love to be. 
It is just my place to unwind, get a little exercise, enjoy the fragrance all around me, and gather things for dinner.
I am also a HUGE garden snoop when visiting others.
I have been known to stop on the side of the road to check out someone's garden ...to the embarrassment of my poor children:).
So, since I love to snoop, I thought I would give you a little peek at my garden:).



It is slightly untamed, but the weeds can't poke through!
I love the cottage look: chock full of little surprises and a mix of colors and textures.



 I have a lot of Echinacea growing along with Bells of Ireland, Cosmos, and Feverfew. They compliment each other so well.


 Sedum is also one of my staples and "David" phlox.
  
I have 4 raised beds in my picket garden, as I call it, and planted 24 tomato plants this year...mostly the Roma variety.
They are doing really well.


 Don't you just love Hollyhocks?
They are so delightful and I love the way they dance in the wind.
 The huge plant in the center is Lovage, an herb and celery substitute.
I have Cilantro planted in the boxes. So far, my escapee chickens have not eaten it.
I planted lettuce and spinach 4 times....and it seemed to be better than chocolate to those chicks!
 Does anyone know what this pink flower is?
I have planted it everywhere and it is so prolific, but have no clue what it is called!
This particular plant I transplanted last year...it fit in a 4 inch pot.
No joke:).
 My row garden is coming along!
I love to plant Zinnias and pick them weekly for my kitchen table.
They are so bright and cheery.
We are starting to harvest onions and potatoes, raspberries, basil, and green beans.
My sweet friend Beth came over for the day and helped me pick all of them!!
Thank you Beth:).

It is so neat to be able to eat fresh and organic.
~~~~~~~
I HAD to include puppy pictures.
They are three weeks tomorrow and just a bundle of fun!
For those of you who don't know, they are a Border Collie/ Golden Retriever mix.
There were 10 of them...we lost one:(.



 This is Spanky. 
He is super smart and a little naughty...haha.
 He can climb out of anything, does not like to nap, and barks at everyone to wake them up.
He also waves.




Aren't they adorable?
I hope you are enjoying these last days of Summer!
We are gearing up for a big week at Fair with the pigs and the kids are so excited !

Have a lovely day!!

~Julia


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anderson Family Farm Give Away

Pop on over to Homestead Revival  for a really wonderful give away from Anderson Family Farm!


I am in love with everything they offer and you will have the chance to win one of these products:
• Goat Milk Lotion
• Goat Milk Salt Scrub
• Goat Milk Lotion Bar, Pure
• Goat Milk Soap


Their products are simply fresh, luxurious and have the most nourishing natural ingredients!
If you are local, Anderson Family Farm will be at the Farmer's Market. You can check timing and location on their site.

Have a lovely day!

~Julia

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Simple Pesto

Basil is one of my favorite herbs of all time and I use it in so many recipes.
This year I grew a 25 ft. row of Genovese Basil. 
It is so fragrant and we have been enjoying it fresh on grilled sandwiches with tomato, Jack cheese, and turkey.
It has also been wonderful on pizza with soft Mozzerella.
Yum!
And who can live without Pesto? Not me:)!
Here is my super simple, super delicious recipe... courtesy of my sweet friend Kimberlee.
She and her family are amazing cooks and their blog is so fun to visit!

So, start by washing your basil really well.

You will need:
 enough basil to stuff your food processor{ I am estimating about 8 cups}
1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
3/4 cup Olive Oil
a clove of garlic {optional}


Really pack your food processor with the fresh basil.

Next, add the cheese, garlic, and Olive Oil.


Pulse until you have a fine paste.


Now, you can use it fresh or freeze it!
Today, I think I put away 17 cups of Pesto in my freezer!
To freeze, I lay out a piece of plastic wrap and put 1/2 cup portions in the middle.


Simply make a little bag by twisting the top really well.


Put in a freezer bag and you have fresh Pesto all winter!


Enjoy!

~Julia

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cornbread Taco Casserole

This lovely recipe is an adaptation to a 1950's version I found.
It is fairly quick, healthy, and cheap to make.
Best part? It fills tummies to the brim:).

Is anyone else struggling with food prices like I am? 
It is ridiculously expensive to feed our family right now. 
I am so thankful we have the garden!
I am going to try and post a few recipes that are family friendly and economical over the next month or so. 
I really want to get to the heart of eating well and spending less.
Maybe we should have a link party and share recipes? 
That way, we could print them out and have a whole collection of ways to save money on meals.
 I am totally not trying to be a pessimist...just prepared...because I have a feeling things could get worse before they get better.

So far, I have canned jams and frozen 15 pounds of blueberries, 2 quarts of raspberries from our garden, peas and beans. 
Our garden is really late this year.
I am hoping to:
can 30 quarts of beans
 freeze about 200 ears of corn
 put up 40 quarts of applesauce
 15 prepared pies
20 quarts of carrots
 40 quarts of peaches and pears
20 quarts of frozen peas
20 quarts of tomato sauce
AND 
50 quarts of salsa

It's a big list, but I am trying hard to accomplish it!


Here is the recipe!

Cornbread Taco Casserole
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ cups Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1 can (15 Oz. Size) Crushed, Or Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can {or equivalent} kidney beans
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package (8.5 Oz. Size) Jiffy Cornbread Mix, Or Your Favorite, Prepared
  • {Or make your own....recipe HERE}

Ground beef and add onion and peppers until they are translucent.
Add 1 cup water and taco seasoning.
Add tomatoes and kidney beans, drained.
Pour into a 9x13 inch dish and top with prepared cornbread.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown.


It's delicious served with green beans, a salad, and applesauce:).


~Julia

I am sharing HERE!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Poppy

The puppies are all doing great and we are sure enjoying them.
They really aren't handled that much during the first two weeks, but we have had to move them to clean their bed and just look them over everyday.
Nine of them are absolute pork chops with round little bellies, silky coats, and energy to spare.

 I am loving their colors!
The pups are half Border Collie and half Golden Retriever.
We have gray/white mix and black/white and they are all so adorable.

On Sunday, we left for the day and my parents took over caring for the puppies.
A litter of 10 is huge and I was watching two smaller pups. 
One of them seemed to find enough to eat, but this one wasn't thriving by day 2.
Meet Poppy....named after Poppa {my Dad} who helped to save her life, along with my sweet Mom.
We have been feeding her a special puppy formula that I am making with whole yogurt, a little Karo syrup, and wonderful raw goat's milk from our neighbors the Anderson's.


Poor Poppy is about half the size of her other litter mates.
We are doing everything we can to save her:).

She eats like a pro.
 We wash her afterwards and stimulate her little tummy.
Then she rests on a heat pad next to a little stuffed dog.
We also bring her in several times a day to be with Daisy and the rest of the pups.
She has been nursing a little.

And even though it is a lot of work....it is worth it in my opinion!
The kids are learning so much and enjoying every minute!

~Julia

*We brought Poppy to the vet and found she had a {not so bad} cleft palate.
The vet thought it may heal together, so we ended up tube feeding to give her a chance.
Poppy didn't make it....but we gave her a good run for her money!
We are all sad, of course, but it is a part of life and we learned so much through her brief time here:).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Our Newest Farm Additions

Daisy, our Golden Retriever, had 10 beautiful puppies!


Everything went so well and she is the perfect Mom.
We were lucky to be able to watch 8 of them being born.
The kids were really excited....so was my Dad:).



They are cute as a button and not one of them is golden like Daisy.





This guy is a total pro.
 He can nurse on his back.
No problemo.

The sire is "Hank the Cow Dog" as we affectionately call him.
He is a darling Border Collie from a neighboring ranch.
He's a sneaky one....
but a wonderful working dog who lives with a neat family who love him:).
These puppies are bonafide farm pups and are going to the best family dogs:).



I am so grateful to my friend Monica for helping me to make sure everything was done just right.
 She raises the most amazing dogs and is so knowledgeable!
We are excited to be able to raise a litter of pups to be wonderful and loving family dogs.



~Julia
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