Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Down at the Farm

When Matthew and Josie came for their time with us, we had a hoe-down throw down here at the farm. It was a kick in the pants, getting our musician/actors makeup and wardrobe gathered, and we had a blast "shooting" our "muvee".

Matthew helped me put pictures and music together, and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately our original version had many of the pictures in yesterday's post, plus more. It was so long, I couldn't post it or email it to anyone. That night working on it, we lost computer power, and much of our work, so after everyone went to bed, I set out to restore it. When I got to the hoe-down part, it was after midnight, and I was afraid I was going to wake everyone up. I was punchy, and I got so tickled at it, just cracked me up! Jim is suuuuuch a good sport. Don't you agree? He's always been so good about playing along and having fun. Down at the farm....He's the Hoot.....I'm the Nanni.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break

There were lots of little boots running around the farm last week for Spring Break.

There was cuddling and movie watching....

Egg gathering....
Enjoying Cousins, and playing Wii....
Drawing pictures

playing outside....

catching hailstones in hoodies, frolicking in a hailstorm....
Playing with Bella....
Making a movie.....
Eating..... Eating.....Eating.....

salmon & asparagus & rice

banana splits

hot dogs & chips

applesauce waffles

fish 'n chips

banana splits

popcorn & red vines

egg "Mc Muffins"

Super Nachos

root beer floats

Instead of the Freshman 15.....I have a feeling we've gained the Spring Break 17!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Yes I am....

giving a chicken a bath.
She was sick and I thought perhaps she was eggbound. I'd never heard of treating it by relaxing them in a warm bath before; but that's what a number of people recommended on-line.
You've heard the expression madder than a wet hen? Not even. She really did relax, it was amazing. She acted like she was in her own back yard spa. Unfortunately that, palpating, and a lubricant, did not help any, as she was not eggbound.
It was much more serious. I did additional on-line studies and performed an "autopsy" upon her death, revealing she had Ascites (fluid filling the abdomen) from EYP Egg Yolk Peritonitis and her organs had suffered a lot of damage. Sarah and I were talking about it on the phone last night, and she said I had my own C.S.I. .........
I guess that stands for Chicken (Sickness or Science) Investigation.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Jim brought me home pansies from town the other day to:
*note to Martha*
Chin up! That abominable snowman has got to take a siesta soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bella out for her afternoon walk yesterday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Celtic Fare

The weather outside was very cooperative and set the mood with the gale winds a blowin'.
Inside, lively Celtic tunes were playin' and hearts were merry.

Little Farmgirl and I made oatcakes from a cookbook my cousin, Martha gave me years ago. It's called Company's Coming: Cookies. It's well worn now. This is another rolling pin Dad made me, pretty too, huh? We tried the first batch on the silpat and that was a mistake. They do better on just a lightly greased sheet, get more crispy and tasty. They are a very bland, not sweet cookie that goes sooooo good with a nice strong cup of Irish Tea. I made Grand Central Bakery's Irish Soda Bread. The silpat worked nice for them, but soaking our homegrown currants before using them to soften them a bit....huge mistake. The teensie seeds worked all through the dough, and I hated that texture. Thank goodness my chickens love it when I make kitchen flops. Thinking about currants, I remember back in the early 80's in Colorado, I needed currants for a Tasha Tudor Christmas recipe. There wasn't a single market in the city that carried them. Bless Jim's heart, he took me way out of town to a hotsy totsy shopping mini mall to get some.
Beginning the first year we were married, I started doing a corned beef and cabbage dinner every year for St. Patrick's day. I'm not sure why exactly, as I don't remember that being a tradition at our house growing up. But we have always enjoyed it. Last year with just the 2 of us, we just had reubens. This year, I made Beef and Irish Stout Stew and mashed potatoes. We LOVED it.
I used this recipe, but added 3/4 cup well chopped pitted prunes during the last 1/2 hr. of cooking. I read in a different recipe for the stew that they help the stew to not be bitter from the Guiness, and it's true. Also true: "you don't even know they're there."
What do you do with a leftover cup of Guiness if you don't want to drink it? Our local morning news showed a famous local restaurant that was serving dessert of Guiness chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's Icing. I made the cupcakes and thought I would serve them unfrosted with a spot of Baileys' icecream. I had just came across a little Haagen-Dazs container of it when I cleaned the freezer. Talk about a rude surprise! New Orleans Shrimp Gumbo??!! May 2009, when Dot and I went to the coast, we wanted to bring home leftover gumbo. The only containers we had to put it in was a washed out water bottle, and a washed out icecream container! I guess i just tossed it in the freezer when we got home.
Good gravy, is this place a comedy of errors or what?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stormy Weather

The power went off Sunday afternoon and stayed off til about 2:30 am. Being the electricity dependent culture we are; there's never necessarily a great time for that, but it was sort of the pits, because I was trying to do launder multiple changes of bed linens and pj's from a little one's flu session during the night. She and Papa took a long nap in the snug, and big sister and I took turns reading to each other from Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter". It was peaceful with no motors whirring, just the crackle of the fire in the toasty warm woodstove. In the evening, we moved to the table and played chinese checkers by oil lamp light.
We were really blessed to not have any problems with the tall trees around our house....at one point, I did have the girls go play in another room. There was heavy rain and wind gusts of 60 miles an hour and many people had damages to home and property.
Monday night/Tues. it was big sister's turn to battle the flu bug, and Tuesday Night/Wed. Anna and I's turn. Does anyone know a good fumigator?!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pray for JAPAN

Our hearts are saddened for the people of Japan.
They are in our prayers.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I miss being able to hear Sarah play her flute. Even our neighbors used to enjoy hearing her play it outside. She had a gift for it....so pretty.Yesterday, I sat in the snug, listening to the rain outside, and a James Galway's flute CD playing . A nice cup of brisk tea, and a baby sweater on the needles. When March rolls around, my eyes always get greener, my feet start dancing a jig and my head reels.

This little sweater is for Kate's wee babes. Kate and Chris share my enjoyment of Celtic music and aran sweaters.

Sorry the photo colors are sort of funky. I took them at night without a flash.
I've done regular style cables before, but not celtic knot cables, so this was a new challenge.

It's all ready to put on, to go for a walk with the Fam.
PATTERN: Presto Chango by Valerie Wallis
SIZE: 6 months
YARN: Red Heart Aran in Aran Fleck

I really wanted to try a celtic knot cable design, so I switched Valerie's pretty front panel design out for a version of my own. It's a combination of the seed stitch border from her panel and a celtic knot graph I had in my inspiration binder.


We decided to make pancake pictures. I poured the shapes, they did the embellishing.

Minnie Mouse

Marios Mushrooms

We need to make a special one, sans the chocolate for Bella!

A dog bone treat. She liked it.

This little sweater pattern's flat construction method, really reminds me of the back side of jigsaw puzzle pieces. The graph pattern I used for the front panel was like a puzzle too...I finally was able to quit using the legend for it a couple of rows before finishing! Jim couldn't do his Sudoku in the same room.....
Him, out loud: 3? no. 6? 9? No that goes up 1 square.
Me, reading graph out loud: II-II ?
Me, Reading legend out loud: Cable 5 right : Place the first 3 sts on cable needle, hold to front, purl next 2 sts on left needle; slip purl st from cable needle back to left needle and purl it:knit 2 sts from cable needle.
You get the picture!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Palak Paneer & Puri

Making Paneer Tutorial

6 cups of milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water

In a heavy bottomed saucepan boil the milk on medium high.

Stir, as it heats to a boil. (about 10 minutes)

Mix the lemon juice with the water

Slowly pour it into the milk. As you stir it, you will begin to see the milk start to curdle/or separate.
If it doesn't seem to curdle much, you may need a few more tsp. lemon juice.
The cheese curds will rise to the top.
Continue cooking a couple more minutes.

You will need a large bowl, or you can just go directly to the sink.

With a large colander
lined with

a clean flour sack dishtowel, muslin, or cheese cloth

Pour the curds in, to drain the water off.
Let it cool off a bit, so you don't get burned.
Wash under cold running water to remove the lemon taste.
(It will smell and taste pretty lemony at this point)

The little farmgirl LOVED washing the curds. (Yes she washed her hands first!)

Squeeze the paneer into a ball, removing as much water as possible.
Place on a plate and open to inspect:

Try to form a little ball out of it, to check the consistency. It should stick together, but not be too mushy. knead the little ball...(it should be like silly putty) Roll it back into the large clump of cheese.

FlattenInside the towel, on a plate, place a heavy pan on it for an hour or so.
To use in your recipe, cut the cheese (no rude remarks please)
into the size of cubes desired. Refrigerate, or do like we did...we made these a couple of months ago and froze them.
thaw and use when you're ready for them. (If you're like us and it's quite a drive to get to our closest Indian Store, this proves to be pretty handy.) Heat oil in a skillet and brown the paneer lightly, and drain, to use in your veggie dish.

We made ours into Palak Paneer. (There are many recipes for it on-line)
The creamed spinach consistency is not my favorite texture to eat,
but the flavor was great

We also made puri to go with it, like Kanta Patel taught me so many long years ago.

Making Puri Tutorial
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix together into a dough. Your particular flour will make a big difference in the flour/water ratio. You may need to add more water, or flour as you go.
You want a firm play-doh consistency.
Oil your palms with 1 tsp or so of oil.
Knead the dough until it is firm, but smooth.
Let it set under a damp paper towel for 10 minutes or more.
You can make your puris whatever size you desire. this will make about 1o-or more.
Don't roll them all out at the same time or they will dry out.
  1. roll them into small balls
  2. flatten
  3. roll out into flat circles
Fry in at LEAST 1 1/2" hot oil.
I use a ladle and press down lightly on the top of the puri, and spoon the hot oil over it.
This is what causes them to puff up. If you just put it in, and let it sit,
it will be more like a frisbee. After it puffs, turn over. Brown just golden.
Remove with a skimmer onto paper towels to drain.
These are my favorite Puri making tools.
The ladle, the skimmer (from a thrift shop---It's great)
The silpat is awesome for rolling them out, and not sticking.
AND THE BEST thing of all ......
My talented Dad, made me a custom chapati/puri rolling pin!
Sooooooo wonderful! I absolutely love it!
It's Rosewood, and He made it absolutely smooth as silk!
Isn't it beautiful?! Puffy golden Puri.

On our thrifted snug coffee table..... it was spotted being placed outside a shop while we were eating lunch inside , a 1/2 block away, at the coast..
I could hardly eat fast enough!
Palak (Spinach) Paneer, Subzi (curried summer squash) from the freezer, rice and puri.
Doesn't look that appetizing, but flavors? Yum.


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