Lazy J Bar C

Lazy J Bar C

Monday, October 31, 2011

Easy Mead - Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is the start of the Holiday Season to me! You know, sort of like Memorial Day is the start of summer? Anyway, my mother's birthday was on Halloween which is another reason it is my favorite holiday! I'm a bit dismayed, however, by the blatant commercialism of this day that was once set aside by the ancient Celts to honor and remember our ancestors and to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Oh well, kinda the way Christmas has become over commercialized!

I started making this yummy concoction back in my days of "playing" with the SCA. I tried making traditional mead once but it didn't come out very good! LOL!! Mead is simply honey wine and will knock you on your bu** if you drink too much because of the high sugar content! I usually get requests from all the girls to bring this to Thanksgiving dinner. ;-)

Five 12-ounce bottles of hard cider (I like Hornsby's Crisp Apple)
One orange sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup good honey

Add one bottle of the cider and the honey to a half-gallon container and mix well. It will fizz up so don't put too much cider in before mixing (sounds like the voice of experience, huh?). Add the rest of the cider, the orange and the cinnamon sticks and mix again, gently.

Put into the back of the refrigerator for five days; stir once daily. On the fifth day, remove the orange slices and the cinnamon sticks. Don't forget to eat the booze soaked oranges, yum! Now, you have a choice to strain out any little bits of pulp if you want to, I usually just leave them in. I also like to use this lovely, handmade goblet when I drink my Easy Mead, it was a gift a few years back with a candle in it. I didn't think I would ever burn that silly candle up so that I could use the goblet for it's intended purpose! LOL!!

You can see that there are a few bits of pulp floating in the mead but that way I feel I'm getting more fruit in my diet, right?!? Of course, this would also be a good summertime drink but I only ever seem to make it during the winter.

Happy Halloween everyone! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Seemed like an appropriate title for this pre-Halloween post! ;-)

I took this picture of the neighbors' very cute fall display out by their front gate one day last week.

This is what it looked like this morning!! Oh, the horror!!

What, you ask, could possibly have caused such destruction to such a beautiful arrangement?!? Well...let me tell you the story...we were sitting watching TV last night when I kept hearing a strange noise out the front window. At first, I thought it was the deer walking across the gravel. Finally, I went outside and activated the motion light in the carport thinking that the light would make whatever was out there run away...but...the...noise...didn't...stop!! Jerry decided to take the flashlight (and his .45) and go see what was out there. He told me it sounded like something chewing on something! What?!? Chewing?!? I told him to be careful because it was probably the Chupacabra!! He was practically on top of the noise before he could see that it was...the stinkin' javelina! There were three of them having the best old time eating the pumpkins and the cornstalks!

This is the first time in the six years we have lived here that we have actually seen any javelina; we have seen signs of them but not the actual "little darlings"! Anyway, they finally ran off when Jerry got right on top of them and yelled at them! I couldn't believe how much they had torn up that cute fall display! Ah...the joys of life in the high desert! :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sausage Potato Kale Soup

I had some fully-cooked sausage left over from making the Jambalaya and some opened chicken stock in the fridge that needed to be used up. I had the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden awhile back and man was it good! Living out here in the country, we don't get to the city very often to eat out so I have to try to make my own version of recipes I like. I Googled for recipes and came up with several and married them together to suit our tastes and what I had on hand. I was VERY pleased with how this came out! YUM!! The kale actually came from our garden! :)

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1/2 pound fully-cooked smoked sausage cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 to 2 garlic cloves minced
1 quart chicken stock
3 to 4 red potatoes quartered and cut into 1/8-inch slices
2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves, discard the ribs
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream, or more if you want it creamier

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and sausage and cook over medium heat until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.  Add the chicken stock, potatoes, kale, red pepper flakes, salt, oregano and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes and kale are tender. Stir in the heavy cream and heat through.

Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House. Come join us!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Toffee Brownies

Back in June, I posted the recipe for my Brownie Mix and the basic brownies that I usually make with it. I just love having premade mixes around to save time and money when the urge hits to whip up something delicious or, heaven forbid, the Goody Plate is empty!

Yesterday, I was going to make our regular brownies but noticed a bag of Heath toffee bits in the freezer that needed to be used up. I thought that they would probably go pretty good in some brownies and ya' know what, I was RIGHT!! :-)

2 1/4 cups Brownie Mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Heath toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. Combine Brownie Mix and toffee bits in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan. Mmmm...look at all those yummy toffee bits in the batter!

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until edges separate from pan. Makes 16 brownies.

These are so moist and rich that I never frost them but feel free to add your favorite frosting or topping!

There, the Goody Plate is happy again and so is Jerry! ;-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Farmgirl Milk Bath

Here's a different recipe for a change...milk bath! The weather is getting to be colder and drier and we could all use a little pampering bath that also helps soothe and soften our skin. Don't forget to light a candle, put on your favorite CD and shut the door! ;-)

2 cups powdered milk
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup finely ground oatmeal
1/2 cup organic lavender flowers
12 drops lavender essential oil

Mix all together in a bowl. You could also make this with organic rose petals and rose essential oil.

I usually put 1/2 cup of the milk bath in large press-n-brew teabags from Moutain Rose Herbs but you could also use an old knee-high pantyhose or even some cheesecloth. The teabags only hold 1/2 cup but I would recommend one full cup if using the pantyhose. You don't want to put it directly into the bath though because the lavender flowers and oatmeal could clog up the drain. Just toss the teabag or stocking into the tub while filling with warm water. Squeeze or swish around a few times to release all the skin soothing properties of the oats and lavender.  

Another thing to think about is what a nice gift this would make! Just put the milk bath into a pretty jar (prettier than this one! LOL!) and give with usage instructions.

This post brought to you at the request of Mooberry Farmwife who asked for the recipe for the milk bath that I had included in the Bath Basket she won! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seed Saver Journal from Larkspur Funny Farm and Fiber Arts Studio

Grace at Larkspur Funny Farm and Fiber Arts Studio had a giveaway for some of her beautiful Seed Savers Journals a couple of weeks ago and I was one of the lucky recipients! YAY!!

She makes each journal by hand and decorates them using some of her handspun yarn, wool felted from her sheep and lots of little extras that make each one special!

There are envelopes containing plastic bags and smaller envelopes to put them in for saving different kinds of seeds. There are cards for keeping notes too. There are even some sticky notes that can be used to keep track of the seeds as you collect them!

Grace sells these beautiful journals on her blog! You can find them here: Seed Savers Journals Now For Sale and see more designs here: Win A Seed Journal. For those of us who don't spin but like to knit and crochet with handspun yarns, Grace also spins and dyes the most GORGEOUS yarns and sells them on her Etsy site, Larkspur Funny Farm And Fiber Arts Studio!!

Thanks Grace for this beautiful Seed Saver Journal! Now I need to get out there in the garden and start collecting! :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Buttermilk Wheat Dinner Rolls

I love the way these rolls look baked in the 9-inch cake pan but of course you could just shape them into 12 rolls and bake them on a sheet pan. They are a consistent seller at the Farmer's Market because of the presentation and, of course, the taste! ;-) These are a nice, rich dinner roll incorporating some buttermilk and whole wheat flour. I tried using all buttermilk initially but they didn't seem to rise as nicely. This recipe uses 4 1/2 cups of flour instead of my normal 4 cups so that the rolls fill up the pans.

Buttermilk Wheat Dinner Rolls               **Click here to print this recipe**

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast (If using active dry yeast, dissolve it in the warm milk before combining with the remaining ingredients.)

Mix, knead and let your dough rise until doubled using your favorite method; bread machine, manual or stand mixer. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and shape into balls.

Place 8 balls in each cake pan seam side down.

Let rise in a warm place until doubled. (Oops, forgot to take a picture!) Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. I have to rearrange my pans after about 8 minutes to get them to cook evenly. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Don't forget, the holidays are right around the corner and nothing beats homemade rolls for Thanksgiving dinner! Bread freezes incredibly well so these could be made ahead of time and then thawed on Thanksgiving morning, wrapped in foil and re-heated for dinner.

Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Kateri at Dandelion Haven posted a recipe for Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup the other day that sounded so good that I just had to try making some pumpkin soup myself! Thanks Kateri for inspiring me! :)

I have never made pumpkin soup before and Jerry was a little skeptical when I told him what I was doing. I said "Trust me, it will be amazing!" He said "We'll see." Such confidence he has in my culinary skills! I forged ahead anyway! I used some of the Pumpkin Puree I had frozen from the fresh pumpkins I roasted recently. I chopped the onion and garlic very fine so that I did not have to blend the finished soup.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter with oil in a soup pot. Add onion and cook over medium-low heat until soft. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes. Stir in chicken stock, pumpkin puree, salt, curry powder, cumin and coriander. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook until heated through.

 I liked the texture but you could always blend it with an immersion blender until smooth or blend in batches (carefully, it's hot!) in the blender if you like it creamier. I have only just recently started cooking with curry powder and I like it! :) We had this soup with a grilled ham and goat cheese sandwich on homemade onion rye bread, YUM!! After dinner, Jerry said "Okay, you can make that again," which is high praise indeed! LOL!!

Great Giveaway At Farmgirl Fare!

Farmgirl Susan at Farmgirl Fare is hostessing a cool giveaway of a $100 Visa gift card! She posts the most amazing recipes and stories and pictures from her 240-acre farm in Missouri. Check out her giveaway here: Quick and Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Falling into Autumn Food and be sure to check some of the other posts on her site; I have gotten some really good recipes from her and I always get a chuckle from the antics of the sheep, donkeys, chickens and dogs! :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Me And My Shadow

The ravens were hanging out down at the barn early yesterday afternoon. I have been wanting to post about them here for some time so I headed out with the camera. Little brats, when they saw me coming, they took off! They usually just sit and "talk" to me. I wonder if they thought the camera was a gun?!? Hmmm...

Anyway, I was trying to take some pictures of the horse, Paco, but they weren't coming out like I wanted. Then, I noticed his shadow...

So I decided to get the goat girls in on the fun! Madeline says she knows she's beautiful! Check out the shadow of her udder!

I kept having to back away from Nike, she thought the camera was treats! Looking at her shadow, she doesn't need any more treats!

Run away Abigail, run away! Heaven forbid someone should be trying to pet you! Hmmm...don't think she needs any more treats either!

I figured I should include myself in the shadow game...

Okay, no more treats for Candy!! Yikes!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

It's getting to be that time of the year when I start thinking about holiday type cookies! I made these the other day using my Baking Mix, I love coming up with new recipes for the Baking Mix! :) They would be good anytime of course but dried cranberries and white chocolate chips always evoke the holidays for me and, to me, the holidays start in October! LOL!!

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups Baking Mix
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add Baking Mix, dried orange peel and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in oats, dried cranberries and chips; mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for one minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Linking to the Fall Harvest Blog Hop hosted by Heidi at My Simple Country Living.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Carrot Cake Conserve

A few weeks back, Michelle at  Michelle's Little Piece of Heaven posted a recipe for Carrot Cake Jam that sounded so good that I just had to make some myself! Thanks Michelle for a great recipe! :)

I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves and called it a conserve! I made conserve for the first time last year with plums from our plum tree and was hooked. A conserve, to me, is basically jam with nuts added in and I'm all for anything that includes some chopped nuts! Please visit Michelle's blog at the link above for the complete recipe! I cannot even begin to tell you how good this is and it really does taste like Carrot Cake!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

Okay, nothing original here, this is PW's Chicken Fried Steak recipe from her beautiful cookbook, storybook, photobook "The Pioneer Woman Cooks." Here is the link to the recipe on her website with GORGEOUS photos and all the directions! The Pioneer Woman's Chicken-Fried Steak.

The only thing I did differently was to only dip the meat in the egg mixture and then the seasoned flour mixture once each, I just couldn't HANDLE the mess! LOL!! I also used extra light olive oil to fry in, (that's all I have) and I used some of my homemade Seasoned Salt and Seasoned PepperThis was SOOO good, the crust was crispy and the mashed potatoes and gravy were perfect! Actually, I could make a whole meal out of just mashed potatoes and gravy! :)

I hope you get a chance to try this, it's just the thing now that the weather is getting cooler!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am a lucky girl!!

I want to publicly thank two wonderful ladies out there in Bloggerland for hostessing a couple of recent giveaways and for choosing ME!! YAY!!

First, I won a delightful cookbook given away by Carolyn Renee over at Krazo Acres called "The Treasury of White Trash Cooking"! It is filled with pictures and recipes and each section has a little story to start it off! It is really a fun book to sit and read!

Although now I think I might be white trash because my mom used to make this recipe for us when I was young! ;-)

Then, as if that wasn't enough, Michelle at Michelle's Little Piece of Heaven did a giveaway for a bag of Creme Brulee Coffee that she picked up on a recent trip to Yosemite and she was nice enough to grind it for me since I don't have a grinder! Thanks Michelle!!

It is SOOO good and the aroma is just heavenly! We have been enjoying it immensely!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Carolyn Renee and to Michelle for being so generous! Please be sure to check out their blogs if you haven't already! :) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Olive Oil

The only type of oil I buy anymore is olive oil. I use the extra-light-tasting for all my baking needs and for frying tortillas and stuff, whenever I don't want the rich, olive taste of good extra virgin olive oil. A few months ago, I saw this "new to me" brand of extra virgin olive oil in the market and decided to give it a try.

I liked the fact that it was "made in America" and that I would be reducing my carbon footprint somewhat. :) It isn't organic but it is "sustainably grown" and "contains no genetically modified ingredients."

Wow, is this stuff tasty! It has a deep green color and a fresh fruity aroma and taste! This is the oil I use for making salad dressings and croutons and anytime I want the oil to be the star of the dish!

Nope, I don't get any money for this, just wanted to share what I feel is a great product that is made right here in the good old U.S. of A.! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Last week, I attempted to make some Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. The recipe came from Annie's Eats. Of course, I made some changes! LOL!! I used my Baking Mix and I used some chevre made from the goat's milk. The muffins themselves were REALLY good but the cream cheese filling kinda melted away, maybe because I used my homemade chevre.

I dearly love anything pumpkin so I was determined to try again. This time, I just made plain muffins and sprinkled a little brown sugar and chopped walnuts on the tops. Next time, I think I will put 1/2 cup chopped nuts in the batter and make a simple cream cheese frosting for them. These are very spicy, just the way I like them! :) If you don't want them quite as spicy, just use the pumpkin pie spice.

2 cups Baking Mix
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combing baking mix, sugar and spices. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, butter, milk and eggs. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Divide batter between 18 greased muffin tins or use paper liners (I made jumbo muffins). Sprinkle tops with a little brown sugar and chopped walnuts; press the topping lightly into the muffins.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until muffins test done. Let cool slightly, then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Radishes

I love growing radishes! Other than Growing Your Own Sprouts there is no crop that gives such quick gratification. And they taste good! And they're good for you with lots of vitamin C (don't forget to put some of the greens in your salad)! And they're easy to grow! What's not to like? I picked these from the garden yesterday afternoon. I bought a nice big bag of lettuce for $1 at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, there are a couple of cucumbers from the garden still in the refrigerator and I am picking cherry tomatoes almost daily. Hmmm...I think I see a big salad for supper in our future! :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Relief for cracked, dry hands

A few years back, a friend gave me a gift certificate for a manicure. While there, the lady noticed that my fingers were dry and cracking. I was working in the nursery at our local ACE Hardware store at the time and had my hands in the water and dirt quite a bit. She told me to soak my hands in plain white vinegar for two minutes (and only two minutes) every day and that they would heal up. Ya' know what, she was right!! Every winter here in the desert, Jerry and I both get dry cracked hands, sometimes to the point of bleeding, and no amount of lotion helps but when we soak them in the white vinegar, they heal right up. The lady told me that the vinegar helps to restore the pH balance in the skin. I take a wide-mouth quart jar and fill it about half full of vinegar and just stick my whole hand down in it. You can reuse the vinegar four or five times before you need to change it. Now, I will tell you that it stings quite a bit, especially when you first start but it DOES work! Jerry's hands are too big to fit into the jar so we have to pour it into a bowl for him.

The reason I'm posting about this is because the weather has turned colder and drier here and my fingers hurt and I need to go soak them! LOL!! I hope this helps someone else suffering with dry, cracked skin this winter. It also works for dry heels! :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Peeper People Update

The Peeper People are a week old today! They grow up so fast! (sigh) When I went out this morning to give them food and new water, I noticed that they are growing little tail feathers! I KNOW they weren't there last night! LOL!!

Then I noticed that little roo boy does NOT have any tail feathers...hmmm.

He is also built different than the girls. The girls are taller and leaner, he is still round and shorter. I also noticed that there is another Peeper who looks like little roo boy...hmmm; no tail feathers yet and short and round. I was thinking before that perhaps "she" was a runt but now I'm wondering if "she" isn't another roo!?!  Do any of you Farmgirls who are wise in the ways of chicks know if this is a way to tell the hens from the roosters? I have heard that the Buff Orpingtons are broody by nature and I am hoping to hatch our own chicks next year and it would be neat to be able to tell them apart at a young age!

Linking to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House! :)

Pumpkin Custard

My internet was down ALL DAY yesterday! GRRR!

Here is the recipe for the Pumpkin Custard that I made the other day. It was so quick and easy to put together on a busy day! Jerry wasn't too keen on it, said it tasted like bread pudding to him. He likes his puddings, cobblers, pies, etc. cold rather than warm too. Harriet and I both enjoyed it though! I didn't put any whipped cream on it but that would have been divine! I even liked it cold from the refrigerator the next day! :)

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a whisk to blend all ingredients well. Pour into a well-buttered 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

I sprinkled a little brown sugar over the top when there was about 10 minutes left to give it that creme brulee look! ;)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Puree

This is only my second year of roasting and pureeing fresh pumpkin. Last year, I used the puree for my very first ever "totally" homemade pumpkin pie and it was SOOO much better than anything I have ever made!!

This year, I bartered a loaf of 100% Whole Wheat bread for two pie pumpkins at the Farmer's Market. Jeez, I just love bartering! :) I got this pumpkin and a smaller one. The vendor told me that the best pumpkins for cooking/roasting are the ones without deep ridges on the outside. I think maybe it makes it easier to scoop out the flesh?

To make your fresh pumpkin puree, first cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff. Don't forget to save those seeds for roasting!

Put the pumpkin halves in a baking dish, add about a half an inch of water, cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until the rind can be easily pierced with a knife.

Let cool until they can be handled and scrape all the pulp out of the rind.

Now, you will need to puree the pulp in the blender. I needed to add a little water to each batch to get it to puree as my pumpkin was a little dry.

I ended up with over 8 cups of pumpkin puree! Not bad for a loaf of bread huh?!?

Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it messy? You bet. Is it worth it? TOTALLY!! This tastes SOOO much better than the canned stuff from the supermarket! You can make pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, mashed pumpkin with butter as a side dish, etc., etc. Tomorrow, I will post a recipe for baked Pumpkin Custard! YUM! Soon, I will also post a recipe for pumpkin muffins using my Baking Mix and my so-so attempt at cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins.