iloveafarmer

so I can pretend someone is listening

One of my favorite times of the year…

MARSHMALLOW HARVEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now where did I put those Hershey bars?

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May 16, 2010 Posted by | Farm, Fun stuff | 1 Comment

Dear Lily,

Happy 12th Birthday! 

Today my youngest, Lily, turns 12.  Wow!  While part of me is waxing a bit nostalgic that my baby is 12, the rest of me is saying “Wooooohooooo!  My baby is 12!!!!”  Lily, I love you so very much, and you are growing up into a lovely young woman.  Be strong, be sweet, be smart, and be yourself.  You don’t need to be anyone else. 

In honor of your birthday, I composed a little message for you: 

Love and smoochies,

Mom

 

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Family, Fun stuff, Kids | , | Leave a comment

Baking Day – Oat Bread

I was going to try to post recipes only on Sundays, however, if I don’t tell you about this bread I just made and stay away from the kitchen, I’ll just eat the whole darn batch.  “My name is Judy and I’m a bread-a-holic” *Hi, Judy*  Here’s what we’re making:

Don’t you wish you were here to smell it?  If you were, I’d make you clean up and do dishes, so be careful what you wish for.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 2-1/4 Cups lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 Cup honey

I put these in the bowl of my Bosch mixer with the dough hook, put the LID on (I absolutely positively ADORE the lid!) and mix these three things up.  If you don’t have a Bosch mixer, don’t hate me because I do.  You see, I am the kind of cook who needs a lid on my mixer so I actually have some dry ingredients left in the bowl after I turn it on.  I’m also a bird magnet with my car and they run into me left and right when I’m driving.  That’s a whole other topic that I probably shouldn’t go into.  After the yeast has gotten happy and thrown a party with the water and honey, it will get foamy.  Then you’re ready to add the next ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 Cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1/4 cup canola or light olive oil

With the Bosch, you just dump it in, put the lid on and let ‘er rip.  I mix it on “1” until it all comes together and then check the dough. Turn off the mixer and take off the lid and feel the dough.  If it is really sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.  If it isn’t the least bit sticky, add lukewarm water, again about a tablespoon at a time.  Your dough should be slightly sticky without leaving much on your hand when you test it.  Today I had to add a bit of extra water once it came together, last week I used exactly the same recipe, exactly the same amounts but had to add a bit of flour to make it juuuust right.  Once it is the right consistency, put the lid on and turn the mixer to “2”, and let it work for about 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, take the dough out and put it in a large, greased bowl, turning to coat the dough.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and leave it in a warm place to rise.  I put my bowl next to the coffee maker to keep it warm.  Let it rise about an hour, or until you stick your finger in and it leaves a dent without springing back.  The rising time is really dependent on your yeast and your kitchen temperature. 

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it in half.  Today I used one half to make a loaf, and the other half to make Pioneer Woman’s Buttered Rosemary Rolls.  To make a loaf, spray your counter with non-stick cooking spray.  This works way better than flour because floured dough won’t stick to itself and you’ll end up with big air-holes in the loaf.  Put the lump of dough on your sprayed counter and turn it over.  Grab your favorite rolling-pin (mine’s marble – love it!) and roll the dough into a rectangle about 10″x15″.  Roll it up, not too tightly but not too loosely, starting at a narrower end.  Pinch the end of the roll to seal it, turn it so the seam is at the bottom and then gently karate chop the ends of the roll and fold under toward the middle of the bottom, pinching again to seal.  Place in 9″x5″ greased loaf pan, cover with that same clean towel and let rise about 30-45 minutes. 

For the rolls, I divided the remaining dough in half (2 pieces), divided each of those pieces in half (four pieces), divide each piece again in half (8 pieces), and again (16 pieces).  I’ve found doing it this way gives me much more uniform-sized rolls.  I rolled them on the counter until they were nice and round, and put them evenly spaced to give them room to rise in a well-oiled 12-inch cast-iron skillet.  Let rise 30-45 min.  Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with rosemary.  I only had dried rosemary but I’m going to use fresh next time, hopefully.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and then more butter.

Bake the bread @ 350F for 30-35 minutes.  I usually have to put a foil tent on mine for the last 10-15 minutes so it doesn’t get too brown.  Bake the rolls @ 400F for 15-20 minutes or until beautiful golden brown.  If you only have one oven, you can put half of the punched-down dough in the refrigerator while the other half is being formed and rising, then when you put the first part in the oven, take the dough out of the fridge, form it and let it rise while the first batch is baking. 

When you take the bread out of the oven, turn it out of the pan right away onto a cooling rack or the bottom crust will get soggy.  Same with the rolls.  I’m not sure they’ll last long enough today to get soggy. 

These rolls are amazing.  I’m almost sorry I made them because I’ve already eaten two. 

The bread makes great sandwiches, it isn’t too sweet and it’s nice and soft.  I’ve got a confession.  It’s not about me, it’s about my kids.  I’m almost ashamed to say it though… I’ll just whisper it.  <My kids like store-bought bread better than homemade.>  Rats, I was expecting catharsis with that admission, and all I feel is shame.  I need a hug.  But don’t hug me if I don’t know you, that freaks me out.  Yes, my children will turn up their nose at homemade bread in favor of the cheapest, grossest white bread.  Must be some kind of genetic throwback or something, but I love them anyway.

So now that I feel all weird about admitting my shortcomings to you, I’m going to drown my sorrows in a Buttered Rosemary Roll.  And go find my fat pants.  C-ya.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Bread, Fun stuff, Recipes | , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Meets Rancher: The Pioneer Woman

Two-and-a-half years ago, my sister told me about this blog-thingy called The Pioneer Woman.  I don’t think I even knew what a blog was, but Sis sent me the URL so I went to check it out.  Here was this crazy woman who lived out on the wide prairie (hmm, that sounds familiar) who had these four kids (also, a bit familiar) and she homeschools (getting creeped out now) her husband is a rancher (mine is a farmer, that’s kinda-sorta close) and has a yard full of cows.  Whew!  Well, there finally had to be a difference!  I don’t have cows in my yard, how silly!  I have parts of cows in my yard, thanks to my dogs, but we prefer not to think of them as dead cow parts but Yard Decor.  I can actually deal with that thought, and it makes me feel so cultured. 

One of my yard decorators

I’ve been a regular visitor to ThePioneerWoman.com since then.  I’ve laughed a lot at her, cried with her when her beloved Nell never came home, and put on 30 lbs thanks to her recipes.  The first day I visited her site she had just posted her recipe for Apple Dumplings (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/02/apple_dumplings/), which I promptly made and then made disappear.  It’s been a lovely ride since then, with many, many culinary adventures undertaken (and added to my hips).    I was so excited last summer when she announced that her cookbook would be coming out in October!!  I went and pre-ordered it immediately and waited forEVER for that book.  Then, in the midst of the longest wait next to the last month of pregnancy, PW goes and announces her upcoming book tour!  Another long wait while the tour page loaded, and the wind went right out of my sails.  She wasn’t coming anywhere close to me.  Sadness enveloped me, then I made a batch of her Yummy, Delightful Mystery Rolls (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/03/yummy-delightful-mystery-rolls/) and pulled up my (now bigger) big girls pants and got on with my life.  The cookbook finally came, and that very night I made my husband the Twice Baked Potatoes.  He proposed to me again, the second time this year and we’ve already been married for 20 years.  They are just that good.  And the earth kept turning.

photo by Emma

Stay...Good Dog

Last month I was just minding my own business, thinking about how in the world I was going to deal with those 30 lbs and my upcoming 25 year class reunion.  Out of the blue, my old friend Jude sent me a note that The Pioneer Woman was going to be coming to Portland!  Hey!  I know where Portland is!  I even had all my kids there!!  And the book-signing was going to be at Powell’s, which is only the most awesome book store in the UNIVERSE.  Or at least the known universe.  I locked that date in on my calendar, told Stu that no farm emergencies were going to be allowed that day because I was going to go meet REE!  He said, “Who’s Ree?”  Once I explained who Ree was, you know, The Pioneer Woman, the one with the twice baked potato recipe, well he was ready to go.  Then the kids decided they wanted to go too.  We made the dogs stay home, they probably had some redecorating to do anyway.

 

 

We got to Powell’s at 4pm.  The Pioneer Woman started at 6pm.  My kids were “positively dying of boredom” in the most awesome bookstore in the known universe.  I still can’t figure it out.  Stu and the girls are all hanging out, and I’m lucky to have a seat while watching the store fill up.  And then it filled up some more.  And then more people came.  And then 6 o’clock came – and went.  Gotta love Portland traffic.  Finally,  in walks Ree.  The crowd squeals like only 500+ women can squeal and I seriously thought about going home right then.  I guess I can’t HANDLE the squealing.  Here’s the only picture I got:

My camera skills have, uh, a lot of room for improvement.  Does this help?

 I was afraid it wouldn’t.  Nowhere to go but up.  Anywho, there was a nice little Q&A and then waiting to have my cookbook signed by THE PIONEER WOMAN HERSELF AND I WAS GOING TO GET TO MEET HER AND now I had to say something and not sound stupid.  Great.  When I got up there I’m not sure I was speaking English anymore and I’m not multi-lingual unless you count pig-Latin.  (Ree, if you read this, I really can converse in complete sentences in clear English most of the time.  Honest!)  I had her sign the Twice Baked Potatoes page for my husband, he thought that was really awesome!   Then the long trip home, kicking myself all the way for representing my area so badly.  Then I ate a piece of Grandma Iny’s Prune Cake (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/12/make-this-cake-today-trust-me/) and all was right with the world, except for the size of my jeans. 

Nice to meet you Ree, from one prairie-living, four-kid-raising, homeschooling, spouse-of-a-rural-occupational-guy to another.  And thanks for all the good food.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Fun stuff | , , , | 2 Comments