Monday, September 27, 2010

Recipe: Sour Cream Apple Squares

Don't you love fall?  Getting back into routines, wearing flannel pajama's, chilly mornings and evenings, and making lots of apple recipes like this one. 

These squares were so quick and easy to make.  With a nutty shortbread crust, and soft apple topping they are a delight to the senses.  I love the contrast in textures and how well the cinnamon-apple and buttery-nut crust go together.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used 1 tsp Saigon Cinnamon)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher salt)
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 eg
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples

Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly.  Stir in nuts.  Press 2-3/4 cups of crumb mixture into ungreased 9x13" pan.
To remaining mixture, add cinnamon, baking soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla, and egg.  Blend well.  Stir in apples.  Spoon evenly over base.  Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cut into squares.  Yields 12-15 servings.

from the book
"Take Sky, More Rhymes of the Never Was and Always Is"
by David McCord
drawings by Henry B. Kane
1962, Litte, Brown & Company Ltd.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recipe: Paprika Beef Stew (Slow Cooker)

Fall is in the air and everyone is looking for some good slow cooker recipes.  This is a busy time of year with school in session, fall sports, and after school activities.  Coming home to a healthy warm meal, all ready and waiting, is a treat for the whole family.

While we don't eat red meat that often now, this stew is a nice treat and lamb stew meat would be a tastey substitution for beef.  The sauce is a blend of tomatoe, paprika, and caraway seeds which gives it robust flavouring with a hint of sweetness. 

from Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book

2 pounds bonless beef chuck pot roast (I used stew beef)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (3 medium)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups of water
1 6-ounce can tomatoe paste
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped green and/or sweet peppers (about 2 large)
1/2 cup sour cream

Trim fat from meat.  Cut meat into 3/4-inch pieces.  In a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker combine meat, onions, garlic, broth, the water, tomatoe paste, paprika, carawy seeds, marjoram, and black pepper.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or high-heat setting for 4 to 4-1/2 hours.  Stir in sweet peppers for the last 45 minutes of cooking.  Top each serving with sour cream.  (I served mine on top of whole wheat egg noodles).

Printable Recipe


A fallen leaf is nothing more
than a summers wave good bye
author unknown

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last of CSA After An Unsettling Growing Season

Is there hope?

I received the letter below today from our farmer, Tammy, whom we bought our CSA from this year.  It's been a terrible and unusual growing season and even she, who's been farming naturally for over 25 years, is at a loss of what's happening.  This is unsettling to say the least. 

My own raised-bed first year vegetable garden didn't produce much but our pumpkins are doing great.  It did seem unusual to me to have so little come from our garden, but I found it hard to tell as it's my first year.

Has anyone else been having difficulties with growing your produce this year?  Any theories on what's happening to make the crops suffer this year?

September 21, 2010

CSA Members,

It is difficult for me to announce that the rest of this growing season’s shares are cancelled.

For the first time in twenty –five years I have not preserved any food for my family. What little food we have and may be able to produce will go to restocking our pantry.

All across the nation and globally gardens have severely under produced this year and we have not been immune. We have had beautiful plants and thousands of blossoms and little to no fruit. Even zucchini that usually explodes in production failed. We planted potatoes three times, sweet corn three times, beans four and five times. The 375 tomatoes plants produced ¼ of what they normally do. Late August we started planting our fall crops in the high tunnels and other beds. I’m at a loss. The seeds are germinating at about ½ the rate they normally do and are just sitting there . . . . . not growing. Even what our goats, cow and chickens generally produce has not been normal.

This is causing me great concern.

I have been in communication with other growers here in this area and nationally and theories are flying as to what is causing this phenomenon. The most troubling part is I feel strongly that we have not seen the worst of it. I believe we could be facing food shortages very soon on a global scale. Many share these same thoughts.

I suggest you do your own research. I also strongly suggest that you store extra food that will keep for several years. Don’t be fearful . . . . . just be pragmatic and prepared. Look around you and observe what is happening with the weather patterns and how this extreme weather will affect almost every aspect of your life. Also, do research on what is causing this extreme weather, earthquakes and volcanic activity. I can voice my own opinions and thoughts but the most powerful truth is the truth you determine on your own.

Even though contractually this would be considered a “crop failure “and therefore we would share the monetary loss I feel moved to return at least 1/3 of your membership fee.

It will take me two or three months to return everyone’s portion. I will return in the same order I received the contract and fee.

I am not giving up. I will continue to experiment with seeds and procedures in growing. If the high tunnels begin to produce I will share what I can.

Thank You for being a part of the farm and even though I’m very aware this has not been a favorable experience, I hope you will not give up on supporting local growers.

Faithfully, Tammy Crandell; Foxfire Farm

Friday, September 17, 2010

Recipe: Amish Cook's Banana Muffins

These muffins are perfect for breakfast or snacks on the go.  They're moist, sweet, and dense with a golden crust.  We had these everyday for breakfast this week, and had enough to send one for the school bus driver each day.  I liked how long they lasted in the cookie jar, as my Banana Oat Mini Muffins need to be eaten within a few short days.

This delightful recipe comes from one of my new cookbooks "The Amish Cook's Baking Book" which is filled with back-to-basics baking, and gorgeous photography.  Each recipe is simple, and the book includes a section for Children's Baking.  Our daughter is old enough now to try a few recipes on her own and this book would provide a good start.

from The Amish Cook's Baking Book

2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour 12 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.
I made a double batch.  Just rotate trays halfway through baking.

In a large bowl, stir together the baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg until evenly blended.  Add all the remaining ingredients, mixing only until the dry particles are moistened.  Fill the prepared muffin cups 2/3 full and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Happily submitted to
Family Friendly Fridays over at Mommie Cooks!
Frugal Fridays over at Life As Mom
Cookbook Sundays over at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen


Monday, September 13, 2010

Are You As Excited As I Am?

No I am not being paid or anything to say this, but I AM SO EXCITED about the new Martha Stewart line-up on Hallmark Channel!  How am I going to find time to watch all these shows?  She'll have the Martha Stewart Show, followed by Everyday Food, then Mad Hungry which is a new show based on Lucinda's new cookbook, Whatever Martha and more.

The Season Premiere's start today on Hallmark Channel and I've set our DVR to record it all.  Here's the link for local TV listings.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Impending Storm - Need Help With Meal Planning

So, I've been cooking and baking from scratch for just over a year now and have developed a good skill set and lots of great recipes to go from now what?  I still struggle with having the ingredients I need on hand, or am left with a great supper but no snacks or goodies in the cookie jars and no ideas for lunches that need to be prepared for the next day.  Last night I wanted chicken soup but would have to make some from scratch as I don't buy the convenience mix anymore.  Something has got to give.

Solution - I need to begin meal planning.  I've known this for a while now but still can't bring myself around to doing it.  I participated in the Eat-From-The-Pantry-Challenge at Life As Mom in January and LOVED it.  It got me outta my seat to inventory everything in the deep freeze and to find matching recipes to go with it all and to put it into one folder - perfect!  I need a more permanent solution though and need advice.

I do have some goals like making meals ahead to go into the freezer such as cookie dough, pizza's, casserole's, breakfast sandwhiches, chicken pot pie, more chicken broth, and more.  I would also like to get my spice mixes in order and have them ready when I need them such as homemade turkey sausage, meatloaf mix, etc.  Oh dear, I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Please share with me how you do your meal planning.  You can include links and any tips you like as I need all the help I can get.

Have a great day :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wedding Following Hurricane Earl

My sister was married last weekend immediately following Hurricane Earl's direct hit in Nova Scotia.  You can find their beautiful engagement photographs over at Inspired Images and I'll link their wedding photos once they're posted.  She was married at Oceanstone Inn and Cottages an hour after the hurricane hit.

Day before the wedding the resort was building a sea wall.
The beautiful bride's hair and make-up is done.

The beauty salon finished our wedding hair
then closed as the hurricane was upon us.

It took us 4 hours to drive 1 hour away during the storm. There are only two roads to get to where we were going and 1 was blocked by downed trees, the other by ocean water that came up over the road.

The staff at Oceanstone was able to pull off a full ceremony, five course gourmet meal, a wedding reception, followed by pizza, all with no power, on generators, immidiately following a hurricane.  Not bad at all!

After the wedding festivities we spent a couple days here and enjoyed the ocean, family and lots of seafood.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

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