Thursday, December 30, 2010


This entry is an oldie that I ran across, I just forgot to post it.  Thought you might enjoy!!  Santa brought us Internet way out here in the woods.  I think i might finally be able to keep up with my blog!!  Stay tuned!

"For man, Autumn is a time for harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad."

~Edwin Way Teale

Our tomatoes decided to take their sweet time growing this year, so we ended up with an abundance of green tomatoes. What can you do with green tomatoes you ask? Well besides the obvious choice: fried green tomatoes there are other options. My mother-in-law made a big batch of salsa verde substituting the green tomatoes for the tomatillas. I did some research and found this recipe for mincemeat on I love this website. I have found so many good recipes there. We adapted the recipe quite a bit using what we had on hand. It is so tasty!!!!!


If you find yourself with a bunch of green tomatoes hanging around here is the recipe:

Green Tomato Mincemeat

make 15 pints

4 quarts of green tomatoes minced

4 quarts of apples minced

3 oranges

2 lemons

2 cups golden raisins

2 1/2 cups raisins

2 cups crystallized ginger

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 stick butter sliced

1lb brown sugar

2 lbs turbinado sugar

2 tbs cinnamon

2 tbs cloves

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tbsp freshly ground nutmeg

Trim and de-seed the fruit (tomatoes are really a fruit!) leaving the peels on. Then cut them into quarters.

Grind quartered tomatoes, oranges, lemons and apples, in a food mill. (If you did not have a food mill you could whizz in a food processor or mince with a knife. )

Next grind the dried fruit.

Mix these together and add the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a roasting pan and cook at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Ladle into sterilized jars leaving about 1/2 inch at the top. Wipe any drips off of the lip of the jar. Then screw on lids and rings.

Place jars in a canning rack. Fill a canner with enough water to cover your jars and heat water until hot but not boiling.

Slowly and carefully lower the rack with the jars into the canner.

Bring water to a boil and can for 10 minutes

As for uses for this said mince meat. Well you can make muffins, layer it between cookie bars, make a pie , add it to a curry, fill little tarlets with it, or spread it on some homemade bread toast. It is quite delicious.

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving weekend filled with great food, good conversation, family memories, and grateful thoughts.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Magic School House Goes on a Field Trip

"Do or do not, there is no try"

Hello friends.

Violet and I went to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History yesterday, and had a most magical time. There were some things (samurai armor and the old west town replica) from my childhood visits that I missed, but they have done such a great job of providing children a real hands on experience. I think that is their mission, it really encourages parents to engage their children and play with them.

Upon arrival, I presented Violet with the map and made her the tour guide. She led us right to the Dino Exhibit. This exhibit is very much geared towards children and provides lots of learning opportunities.

Violet was totally inspired and decided to make some sketches in her journal of the Palukskysaurus Jonesi.

We hung out in the Innovation Studios. This place was so inspiring I was ready to move in! From the artistic decor, to the music, to the activities they have available, they totally immerse you in the experience of their museum.

We were constructing a structure with these awesome building straws when I looked up. Can you imagine my delight when one of the quotes dangling from the ceiling was by one of my personal heroes?Yoda!

We spent some time in the Dream Time Exhibit which was a seamless creation of art and science.

The designer, sculptor Warren Muller, uses found objects and junk to illustrate different scientific concepts. There is a beautiful junk sculpture on the ceiling outside the exhibit that is just amazing.

We were so excited to see what awaited around each corner. We had such a marvelous day, and can't wait to go back. Thank you to The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for providing us with another generation of magic.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


By Cicely Mary Barker

My berries cluster black and thick
For rich and poor alike to pick.
I'll tear your dress, and cling, and tease,
and scratch your hands and arms and knees.
I'll stain your fingers and your face
And then I'll laugh at your disgrace.
But when the bramble-jelly's made
Your find your trouble well repaid.
Today I made my first attempt at jam making. We picked blackberries over the weekend, and at Violet's request they were turned into jam. I found a recipe for mixed-berry jam on Epicurious.
We made one jar of blackberry jelly, and one jar of blueberry blackberry jam. The mixed berry set up a little better and was my favorite. I think Violet prefers the blackberry jelly in which we strained off the seeds. We made sure to get it up to the jelling temperature (220 degrees F) as was recommended in the comments section.

We also made the Basic Bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. I found out about this whole foods cookbook over at SouleMama. It is filled with lots of delicious recipes. The Basic Bread makes a wonderful loaf, perfect for slicing. For the flours, we used a mixture of Golden Buffalo Wheat, Whole Wheat, and a small bit of unbleached white flours. This was the ticket, as it made a lovely light and wholesome loaf. The Golden Buffalo Wheat was recommended by the head baker at Serenity Farms Bakery in Leslie. They sell flour by the pound. It was a very satisfying way to buy flour, and I have been very happy with the results.
They went together beautifully. Warm bread and fresh jam has to go on the list of simple luxuries.
Enjoy Your Weekend!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010


"Beautiful soup, so rich so green
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening beautiful soup!
Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth of Beautiful soup?
~Lewis Carroll, 'Alice in Wonderland'

Ever since I read this post I have been craving kimchi soup. I have been unable to make said soup because I live out in the boonies and do not have access to these particular ingredients namely the miso and the dumplings or mandu. What is one to do in my situation? Make it all from scratch.

I am sorry but I do not have a picture for this one...but take it from me this is a comforting, and yummy soup!

I found a couple of food blogs that provided recipes in which I based mine off of. I had to improvise because we did not have miso or kimchi. What is kimchi you say? Truthfully I had to look that one up. What would we all do with out Wikipedia? Well kimchi is a mixture of spiced fermented vegetables mostly cabbage. It is a staple in Korean cooking, much like sauerkraut is to the Germans.

I spent the afternoon of our Independence day crafting the soup and it came out quite tasty. You definitely have to set aside part of a day for this whole thing...but it is soooooo worth it.

There is a very descriptive tutorial over Aeri's Kitchen for the mandu dumplings. She even has a YouTube video illustrating how to fold the dumplings. There is also a good recipe at My Korean Kitchen. This is where I got the basic idea. I definitely used the "Make Do" philosophy here. You could use any combination of vegetables or meats for the dumplings and soup.

So for anyone out there who lives in the sticks or just wants to make this soup, here is the recipe.

On-the-Fly Kimchi Dumpling Soup

Mandu Dumplings:

dumpling skins (I used wanton wrappers...actually had those on hand believe it or not)
1 small head of cabbage
1 med onion
1 lb sausage
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce

Cook sausage in skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Finely dice onion and cabbage. (I did this while sausage was browning) Strain grease and remove sausage from pan. Allow to drain on paper towel. De-glaze the pan with the rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. You can use water if you don't have this on hand. Cook until tender.

Squeeze the cabbage/ onion mixture out in a dish towel. (see Aeri's tutorial if you are unsure how to do this) Reserve this liquid in another bowl to add to your soup stock for extra flavor.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Add 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste. You can add more or less of all of these according to your taste.

Construct your dumplings. Check out Aeri's tutorial for in depth instructions.

I lined the bottom of a steamer basket with a couple of chard leaves and placed my dumplings in the basket. I then waited to put the basket on the soup pot until I added the chard at the very end. See below instructions.


about 2 qts of chicken stock

***Note I made mine by boiling a whole chicken until cooked through. I then removed the chicken and strained the broth to use for the soup. I will use the chicken later this week.

1 medium onion sliced in strips
1 head of shredded chard (save a couple of leaves to line steamer basket)
2 carrots sliced in half moons

Pour the chicken stock into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add onion and carrot and cook until tender. Add the chard and place steamer basket on top of soup pot.

Cook about 10-15 minutes until chard is tender and dumplings become sort of translucent.

Place 2-3 dumplings in soup bowl and laddle soup on top. Enjoy!

Friday, July 2, 2010


"Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
~ Henry James

Growing up during the summer, all of the members of the household would retire to their rooms for a little thing called quiet time. As a child I definitely resisted this ritual, much to my mothers chagrin. After lots of encouragement and possibly a few "firm" words I would be off to my room, armed with a stack of books fresh from our library visit. Now, as a mother I really see the beauty of this idea. (ahem...sorry about all of the grief Mimi) On days when we are home, we have been doing a bit of this quiet time. We have not gotten to the separate rooms part of the deal yet. This is definitely coming.

Today, Violet climbed into my bed and worked on her weaving project while I read. It was quite lovely and for the most part quiet. It just brought back so many memories of my childhood. I remember summer days piled into my mother's (Mimi) bed with my sister, listening to my mother read aloud from the Little House on the Prairie books.

I realized how thankful I am to have these memories and then be able to pass them on to Violet. These are the motherly moments that I truly relish. Thank you Mimi!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


" Okay, he either said, move to the back of the throat, or he wants a root beer float"
~Dory interpreting for the whale in finding Nemo

Every summer our dear friend gathers the children in our community together for the making of root beer. This year was our first year to join in this 30 year long tradition. This delicious elixir is shared by all at our summer solstice gathering.

There was a whole lot of mixing,

and packing of bottles.
Then all we had to do was wait a few days for the root beer to do its thing.
It is timed so it will be ready to consume during the solstice celebration...
It is really quite easy. I am not sure of his official recipe. I normally do not like root beer, but there is something about his recipe that I find quite delicious.
I scouted the internet and found a recipe here. I also found that you can purchase the root beer extract on the Zatarains website.

The children have so much fun doing this, and it gives them so much gratification watching the people of the community sipping on the ice cold root beer.

***Please note the obvious... it is root beer in bottles in the pictures. Recycled Corona bottles are really easy to cap so that is what he uses!!! *****

The festivities continue, after the root beer is crafted, down at the swimming hole on his land. The perfect way to end the day!!

We had so much fun and I am so grateful to our friend for including us and the community in this great tradition!! Happy Summer everybody!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


"Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be."

~Karen Ravn

Well hello there friends!! I did not expect to be away this long. I know I keep saying that..but I really didn't.

School is out!!! I feel so good about this school year with Violet. Our home school cooperative is really working great, and our home study days were productive as well. This year was a success!!

One of my goals this summer is to resume my blogging hobby. I have really missed it. So much so, that when I went to write something, my mind was completely vacant with what to say. A lot has happened over these last months.

This case of writers block sent me onward to the blog-o-sphere to catch up on some of my favorite artsy mama's. I was then flooded with ideas and projects that would be fun to work on over the summer. This was it!!! My next blog post could be a list of all of these wonderful projects. Then my blog friends could join in on the fun if they so chose, or in turn be inspired themselves. So here are some of the things that inspired me:

Rhythm of the Home
:: a great e magazine filled with fun ideas for summer.

Sew a Straight Line :: some fun patterns for skirts. I would like to try my hand at the A line skirt perhaps in a darker color. This buttercup bag is cute too.

JCasa*handmade :: I have been experimenting with cheese and yogurt making a lot lately. This recipe looks like a good one to try.

Lion Brand Yarn :: this is a cute potholder pattern. They have lots of other cute and free knitting patterns to choose from

Sew Serendipity :: While here in Fort Worth I purchased a monique dress pattern from the Cabbage Rose. It is so cute. I love that you can use different fabrics from your fabric stash. This might be a good one to wear to my sister's pre-wedding festivities.

As long as I am making lists...I will include some things that are definitely LONG term goals. Someday I want to go to Mary Jane Butters Pay Dirt Farm School. This dream is coming evermore a reality as I just recently found out my cousin Katie is going to be attending school, oh about 6 miles from her farm. Wahoo!!! I also would love to attend the Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire. Yes, both of these are very far away. This is why they are on my very long term list, but this does not mean that I can not manifest these dreams. Right?

My short term summer goal/dream would be sitting by my freshly weeded and abundant garden, wearing my monique dress after bathing in my outdoor tub (i don't actually have one of these yet but this is a dream should totally check out the link to this photo), nibbling on a yummy batch of broccoli-slaw, sipping a ruby june.

Sounds pretty good huh? Would you like to join me? I hope your summer is filled with plenty of relaxation and inspiration.

Oh yeah. All of the underlined words are links. If one of them looks interesting, all you have to do is click on them and it will take you right to the link.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.
~ Lewis Grizzard

Well spring is here and things are busy in this neck of the woods as usual. HAPPY SPRING EVERYBODY!!! We have been staying busy here trying to juggle home schooling, gardening, house building, and ballet.

Our home school cooperative has been going very well. Violet really enjoys the two days a week that we meet and have group lessons. This week was my week to teach. Our theme for this week was local animals and their tracks. All of our learning for this week centered around this theme.

On Wednesday we headed down to the buffalo river to make some casts and identify animal tracks that we found. The conditions were just right and we found loads of deer, possum, raccoon, turkey, and fox tracks. Kalin who is a great tracker helped the kids find and make the casts of prints. The kids had a lot of fun and they turned out great.

We ate our lunches on the beach down by the river. Then followed up the day by making birds nests from a project that I found on No Time For Flashcards. This is a great home schooling resource.

1. Make a mold out of cardboard that is large enough to encircle the print you want to preserve.
2. Carefully dust any debris away from the site in order to make a good cast.

3. Spray the area with pan spray.

4. Mix plaster according to directions but make it slightly wetter. We mixed ours in an old coffee can.

5. Pour plaster into mold.
6. Let the plaster set up for about 15-20 minutes depending on the instructions on the plaster box.
7. Carefully lift the cast off of the print and tear off the cardboard. This will be a 3 dimensional mold. If you want to make an imprint mold of this the directions are listed on this site. It also has list of prints you can identify. This site also has a great tutorial for making prints.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
~Claude McKay

ice hockey on the pond with Gaffer

S n o w. I love the stillness and quiet that a snow brings. The lovely pace. Forcing you to slow down. We woke up this morning with a thick blanket of snow covering the ground, and it has been snowing continuously all day. This is the second storm that we have gotten in the last two weeks. It has its inconveniences. but I am thankful to have plenty of provisions, heat, electricity, and even a good stock of movies. This comes after two years in a row of week long power outages due to extreme weather. It is nice to be able to sit back and just enjoy.

Friday, January 8, 2010


"Life is unsure, always eat your dessert first."

We are in Texas visiting family. Mimi commissioned Violet and I to make a One Bowl Apple Cake. When we were here back in the fall I made it and it was a hit. It is the perfect way to use up those apples that are on the way out. The recipe came from Maya*Made, one of my favorite all inspiring blogs.

Violet can really hold her own in the kitchen these days...being the almost six-year old that she is. Mimi and Grand Daddy gave her some awesome kitchen gadgets for Christmas and she has really loved using them. My favorite are the knives. They actually cut really well, but are made so that little helpers can't cut themselves. Mimi found them on the Batter Up Kids website. It is definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


"Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true."
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Greetings! Happy New Year! It will be a year filled with new opportunities and growth. I love the cleansing effect that the turning of a year brings.

I have made a few resolutions to live by for 2010:

I will continue my quest for organization.

I will remember to take deep breaths, slow down, and enjoy the simple moments.

I will keep the motto I developed over the holiday season "Peace, Joy, and Family."

This motto came to me in a poignant article. I really wish I could remember who the author was or which magazine it was in. It really brought some things into perspective for me. The author of this wonderful article, wrote that her family adopts goals each Christmas season. She takes the goals that her family sets and posts them on the family message board. This year the family decided on Peace, Joy, and Family. The family keeps these goals in mind through the season. If that means going to one less party or agreeing to do one less deed than so be it. I think this is such a wonderful idea. I realize that it is difficult to do all of the time. Life can be so demanding sometimes. I just want to keep these in mind through out the daily routine.

I shared this with my sweet mama who made me this:

so that I can be gently reminded. I love that the Christmas tree is a pin that used to be my Grandmother's. It is going to be hard to put it away for next year.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and send you the best wishes for 2010!!