How The Garden Grows

I can’t believe it has already been 10 days since we got the garden planted!

After my weekend of planting I said we had rain in the forecast, and it came through!  Over the last week we got about 2 inches of rain coupled with some warm, sunny days.  Absolutely perfect weather to get my seeds going!  Most of the bulbs that I planted are really starting to take off, our corn and pumpkins are up and just about everything in the vegetable garden is starting to germinate.

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A Meet and Greet with The Golden Girls

If you took a peek at my “about” page, you may have caught the snippet where I told you that our 4 breeding cows are named after the Golden Girls.  Well, I think it’s about time for a formal introduction!

Back in June of 2010 we started our herd by purchasing a cow/calf pair from a local breeder.  Here is a photo of them on the day we got them:

We got lucky because that cow was also pregnant, so the following March we had three cows!Read More »

How To Form Hot Dog Buns

It’s summer which means it’s time to grill!

Who am I kidding, we live in Wisconsin, we grill when it’s 20 below and snowing!  The warm weather just means you don’t need to wear a coat while standing at the grill.  Brats are the grilled fare of choice here in Wisconsin, which of course means you need buns.

Even after I started making my own hamburger buns and attempted to swear off store-bought bread altogether I found myself still buying hot dog buns.  My attempts at homemade always looked, well, just plain bad.  They tasted fine in and of themselves, but it’s hard to eat a brat or hot dog when the bun bulges in one area with hardly enough to surround the meat in another.  Not to mention the two inches of excess bun on the end.

If you read my post where I shared THE Bun Recipe I said I was working on some ideas on how to make hot dog buns that don’t look wonky.  Well, after a few tries I think I found a pretty easy method.  Rather than rolling it play-dough style into a lumpy snake with tapered ends, I took some cues from a few batches of french breads and cinnamon rolls and flattened my dough before rolling my dough up cinnamon-roll style.  However, rolling them out one by one would still lead to some unevenness and tapered ends, and I was looking for a result that was consistent and could be easily replicated, and here it is!Read More »

Planting Weekend In Review

As soon as the snow melts each year we look forward to this weekend with anticipation and excitement… because… IT’S TIME TO PLANT THE GARDEN!!!

I went to the greenhouse early Saturday morning to beat the rush.  I got there about 10 minutes after it opened and there were already a good number of people there.  I picked out my flowers (not too many, remember the 150 or so bulbs I planted) then I scoped out the herbs and picked out a few of those for my “tippy herb tower.”  I got my tomatoes, peppers, brussels sprouts, and cabbage and not long after I was on my way home!

My husband had tilled up the garden a few weeks ago and put up the trellis for the cucumbers (at the far left) so it was all ready for me:Read More »

Grandma Mae Jule’s Fruit Salad

I typically only have fruit salad for special occasions.  And quite honestly, if I’m hosting and you ask what you can bring there’s a good chance it’ll be fruit salad.  It’s not that I don’t like it, I just have a hard time using up all the fresh fruit before it goes bad.  This recipe is a little different in that it is a creamy, fluffy fruit salad that uses canned fruit cocktail.

This one is a family recipe of my grandma Mae Jule’s, my mom’s mom.  A huge bowl of this fruit salad was on the table at every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter that I can remember (and likely long before that).  Grandma was such a great cook, and everything on the table was so good!  Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade stuffing, green bean casserole, this fruit salad…. There was only one issue:  How to heap everything on your plate without the gravy invading everything!  Read More »

Potato Salad with Egg and Dill

A few years back I made potato salad for the first time.  I browsed through a number of recipes and couldn’t find quite the right one.  I had an idea of how I wanted it to taste, so I pieced together different components from a bunch of recipes and created my own.  As I made it more and more it evolved into the recipe I used today.

You can definitely make your own potato salad for cheaper than you can buy it from the deli counter and you probably have most, if not all, the ingredients on hand.  It will taste better too… the potatoes in those salads just never seem right, you know?

We like our potato salad to have lots of big chunks of egg.  We also like dill, especially when it is fresh dill from the garden (but dried dill will do – bonus points if you dehydrated it yourself!).  If you’re lucky enough to have some homemade pickle relish in your pantry it really works great in this.  Or, if a few years ago you planted 15 mounds of zucchini in the garden and have a whole bunch of zucchini relish in the pantry, this is a good opportunity to get rid of some of it.Read More »

Raspberries, Apple Blossoms, and Cedar Apple Gall Rust

A week’s worth of garden updates to share!

I’ve been wanting a raspberry patch for quite some time now but I couldn’t decide where to put it.  I finally decided the south side of our shed is a good spot.  It’s a spot we couldn’t do much else with because the summer sun beating down off the metal isn’t favorable for many other types of plants.  Also, with driveway on two sides and a shed on another it will hopefully help limit their spread.

My husband prepared the garden bed – again using an ample amount of manure.  The plants themselves were easy to come by.  It seems as though if you know someone with raspberry plants, you know someone who is happy to give away raspberry plants.  I got them from my parents when the kiddos and I made a trip home last weekend.Read More »

Woodpile in May

When I started this blog I asked my husband if he had any ideas as to what I should write about.  He recommended I give the ongoing status of our firewood pile.  So, here we go…

A little background:

Our first winter in this house we spent a ridiculous amount of money on propane while keeping the temperature at 63 degrees.  After spending the winter layered in three shirts and two pairs of pants, we took our tax return the following spring (Hooray, first time home buyers credit!) and had a wood burning furnace installed in our basement.Read More »

Peanut Butter Blondies

My husband likes all the cookies I make – as long as they’re peanut butter cookies.  I like making cookies, but Little Dude, a/k/a “Mr. I Just Need To Be Held,” doesn’t make it easy for me.  Usually by the time I get the first batch in the oven he’s had enough of sitting in his chair and makes sure that I am aware of his discontent.  At least for now, brownies and bars are my baked goods of choice.  Just mix up some batter, spread it in a pan, and after one stint in the oven I’m done, as opposed to switching out sheet pans every 11 minutes or so.

The first time I made this recipe I asked my husband how it was and if it was an adequate substitute for peanut butter cookies.  He said they were good, but commented that they didn’t have the fork marks.  So, of course, the next time that I made them I grabbed a fork and scraped the tines across the batter right before it went in the oven.  I believe they were served with a helping of “you got your fork marks so no more complaining.”

This recipe can’t get much easier – one bowl, no mixer required, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand.  To make these awesome bars gather up a stick of butter, light brown sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, peanut butter, salt, and flour.  Start preheating your oven to 350 degrees, get your butter melting, and head on over here to Gal on a Mission for the full recipe!