Gratin Dauphinois- A Fancy Name For A Flat Out Good Potato

The humble potato!

The humble potato!

You could call these scalloped potatoes, but Gratin Dauphinois has so much more flair!  It is hard to go wrong with potatoes, they are a humble food from the earth that need only a little dressing up.  You will be hard pressed to find a menu that can’t be complimented with a potato dish.  With the pototoes cooked in the oven with milk/cream, butter and a little garlic, the simplicity is deceptive.  This taste is subtle but engaging, the texture is smooth, and the experience is wonderful.

This dish complimented the Beef Carbonnade the family greatly enjoyed at our Christmas Dinner.  There was not a bit left after dinner, always a compliment to the cook!  Unless of course there is none left because the cook did a poor job of planning for her guests, but that was not the case- this time.




Gratin Dauphinois

3 pounds of boiling potatoes– peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (the food processor works great for this)

1 cup of whole milk – I like to mix 3/4 cup whole milk with 1/4 cup cream- adds to the richness and wonderful texture.

1 clove garlic– pressed and spread on bottom of a buttered flame proof baking dish- I prefer a deep dish 9 inch cast iron skillet

3 tablespoons of butter plus more for greasing the bottom of the dish.

Once you have buttered the cast iron skillet and spread the pressed garlic, place the potatoes in the skillet spreading in layers.

Season the milk with salt and pepper, pour over potatoes.  Add more cream until the milk is 3/4 of the way up.  Place on burner and heat just to a simmer- this is a very important step so that the liquid and potatoes come together in the oven.

Distribute 3 tablespoons of butter (real butter, not margarine) on top of potatoes.

Bake in a 425′ oven for about 25 minutes- until the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender.


Serve and be happy!  That is some flat out good food!  Great food does not have to be complicated to be wonderful.




Beef Carbonnade- Flat Out Good Food

This beef in beer stew is just flat out good.

This beef in beer stew is just flat out good.

I have a thing for cookbooks.  Some people have a hard time passing up a great pair of shoes, I have a hard time passing up an appealing cookbook.  More often than not, I only try a handful of recipes but if I find one outstanding recipe that makes the book purchase more than worth it.  Two years ago I picked up a cookbook, The Food Of France.  The book was worth the price just for the pictures. However, I found many good recipes in this book and one of them I choose for our Christmas Dinner- Beef Carbonnade.

Beef Carbonnade is a simple dish with only a few ingredients.  What makes this just so good is that the beef is cooked slow so that it is so tender it melts in your mouth with such deep flavor coming from the onion, garlic, herbs and beer.  You need to have the beer to make this recipe taste so good you remember it for a long time.  If you must, you can switch the beer for beef broth, but this will give you a dish that, while still good, is not really all that memorable.

Following is the recipe, however, not exactly like it was in the book.  I know, I am not even French and I am tweaking their recipes- I just can’t help myself.  However, what I changed was the amount of food.  This recipe will feed 6 were as the one in the book will only feed four.  I did also change the amount of garlic.  One clove is never enough. The recipe below calls for 6 onions- these are medium size onions.  If you have been to the Farmer’s Market and have come home with onions the size of large grapefruits you can use 4 of those if you want.  The onions cook down in to this thick sauce that is just mouthwatering good especially when soaked up with some wonderful french bread.  So, the more the better.  I use a cast iron dutch oven, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen.

Beef Carbonnade

1 oz butter (real butter, not margarine)

Cubed Beef- so glad I have kitchen help- Jonathan- for this step

Cubed Beef- so glad I have kitchen help- Jonathan- for this step

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

5-6 lb beef rump roast or chuck roast- cubed 1 inch in size

6 onions

5 garlic cloves – crushed

2 tsp of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of plain flour

4 cups of beer (one of the large single cans of a malt beer works great)

4 bay leaves

a small bunch of thyme sprigs

1 loaf of really good french bread

Preheat the oven to 300′    Melt butter in a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil.  Brown the meat in batches over high heat and lift out onto a plate

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, reduce heat to medium.  Add onion and cook for 10 minutes. Add garlic and sugar and cook for another 5 minutes, adding oil by the tablespoon if necessary.  Lift onion out onto a second plate.

Stirring in the flour after the beef and onion have been cooked.

Stirring in the flour after the beef and onion have been cooked.

Reduce heat to low and pour any juices that have drained off of the meat, then stir in the flour.

Remove from the heat and stir in the beer a little at a time stirring well, the beer will foam.  Return to heat and let the mixture gently simmer and thicken.  Season with salt and pepper.

layer meat and onion in a dutch oven, tucking the bay leaves and thyme in between the layers. Season with salt and pepper as you go.

Pour liquid over the meat, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is tender.

Serve with the sliced french bread toasted lightly on both sides.

This main dish goes great with potatoes of any kind, green beans  or sweet peas.

Peter Peppers- A Garden Favorite

Tasty Peppers

Tasty Peppers- the large ones are Peter Peppers

Late this past spring while buying herbs from a grower, I picked up a couple of plants called “Peter Peppers”.  I brought them home and planted them, really too late for planting, but they were free and I thought I had nothing to lose.  I am so glad I did, these turned out to be one of my favorite peppers.

I was drawn to these because I thought the name was cute.  Petter picked a peck of peppers… you know that tongue twister you learned as a kid, I thought this was how the pepper got it’s name.  As the plants grew and began to produce prolifically, I noticed the unusual shape of the peppers.  It was then that I realized that these were named because someone was simply observant- it had nothing to do with a nursery rhyme.  As a matter of fact, if you toss a whole red pepper into a pot of chili, the red bleaches out to a fleshy pink color.  If you don’t remove this before the guests arrive you could have some embarrassing explaining to do.  On the other hand, if your wiring is a bit eschew, you could pull off some wicked practical jokes!

All joking aside, despite the vulgarity of the peppers shape, it is great.  The heat that comes from this pepper is very warm but not painful.  The flavor is wonderful.  Even my kids who do not like really hot stuff ask me to put these in the beans and chili.  If I am bored with regular scrambled eggs, I will remove the seeds and chop these peter peppers and banana peppers up, saute them a bit in butter then add the eggs- that is good!

Not only does this pepper taste great, it grows great. As with all peppers, it likes full sun and water once a week.   The plant itself is not that large, only about 18-24 inches tall, making it good for small gardens or container gardens.  The production slowed down in July & August with the really hot temps, but even then it was still producing.  I harvested peppers from June until December.  I have lots in the freezer to make my food tasty until summer rolls back around.

I have also dried a lot of these Peter Peppers with Fish Peppers to grind for chili powder.  Drying peppers is easy, simply slice the peppers in half and place them on a cookie sheet.  Set the oven to 200′ and let the peppers dry in the oven till there is no moisture left.

So as you make out your seed order, put some of these on your list, you will be glad you did.  If you like to buy seedlings instead, come see us at The Farm On Holly’s Hill, we will have plenty for you starting in March!

bean and pepper harvest- nov 2012

What is your favorite pepper to grow in the garden?

Peppers in the pan and ready for drying.

Peppers in the pan and ready for drying.

Monday is Here & Chicks Are On The Way

Our newest farm members- Barred Rock and Easter Egger Chicks

Our newest farm members- Barred Rock and Easter Egger Chicks

The quiet pastures and dormant trees passed along as our old truck headed down Highway 19.  The winter landscape is a lonesome one, I miss the green fields and wild flowers along the road.  Tony and I made the trip to Palestine this morning to pick up a load of vintage and antique doors.  A peaceful quietness filled the cab as I sat in the middle next to Tony.  That is one reason I like his old truck- it has a bench seat and I get to set next to him like we were in college.  I had brought along my computer and phone so that I could do some work along the way, but that didn’t happen.  I just enjoyed being next to him and listening as he sang along with the radio.

So, my Monday began.  Not a bad start.  I did get work done once we arrived back home and checked several items off of my week’s very long to do list.  The chicken chores were rather simple, the birds have been let out early for the past several days and they have not spent nearly so much time in their coop making messes.  Eggs are still flowing, we average 18 per day.  That is without any extra light.  Chickens are sensitive to the length of day and will only lay at the top rate when they are getting 12 or more hours of light per day.  You can supplement this light during the winter and keep the egg laying up.  I do this when needed, but right now there is no need.  There are also 3 dozen eggs in the incubator that should hatch on Christmas Day.  Which means, that this weekend I will need to take them out of the egg turner on Saturday.  You remove the eggs from the automatic egg turner so that the chicks can get into hatching position.  You can imagine how hard this would be if the eggs were continually moving back and forth.  However, I know from past experience that the chicks can do it.  Once I lost track of the days and didn’t realize it was time until I heard chirping  from the incubator.115

A few weeks back, we provided a petting zoo for the Sulphur Springs Chamber of Commerce, they host a huge Christmas in the Park event next to their courthouse.  It was great fun and we purchased 12 day old chicks to take there.  Those chicks all survived all the love one could imagine and are doing great.  A big red hen kept getting into the brooder house and I would promptly run her out thinking she might be mean to the chicks and eat all their food.  Well, she does eat their food.  But being mean is not her mission- unless you threaten her adopted chicks.  The evening I went out there and found her in the corner nestled down with chicks tucked up under her was the last time I gave her harming them any thought.  The Red Hen eating their chick mash is a small price to pay for such a good mother hen to take care of them.  This evening I saw our cat looking longingly through the door and I thought that being a smart cat he would not choose to take that hen on.  I was right, she puffed up at him and he trotted on his way.

Dinner was simple, just a vegetable beef soup with garlic toast.  We still haven’t quite recovered from our feasting over the weekend.  I would think that Tony’s sweet-tooth would have been satisfied, but that would be a stupid thought.  His sweet-tooth is never satisfied.  Sierra takes after him.  He wanted something sweet tonight so I made a pound cake.  I love pound cakes, this one was made with sour cream and lemon extract.  Pound cake is an easy cake to do, very straight forward.  I only ate a small piece, my sweet-tooth is not nearly so large as Tony’s.  Sierra took after him, she once went on a streak of sneaking sugar into her room and eating it with a spoon.  That has been stopped, but I still check her drawers ever so often.

Christmas Break is nice, the kids are doing their own thing and I am planning for next semester.  Tuesday is almost here and I look forward to another day.

A Merry Christmas – What A Great Weekend

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

My daily posts have been delayed since my Thursday post because me and my little nest have been celebrating our Christmas together.  You may find this odd, but then my family is odd in a sense (or more than one sense) but it is odd in a good way.

For long before I entered this world, my mother’s family have been celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve so that the children could go to the “other” side of the family on Christmas Day.  In all my 41 Christmases I have only missed one, when I was 7 and we lived in New Mexico.  So, for my whole life I have spent Christmas with all my aunts, uncles, cousins and extras (our family is open and if you need a family to share, we have one).  This is a highlight of my children’s lives as well.  For all their lives, we have to my grandmother’s for the day then go to my parent’s house to spend the night and all wake up together on Christmas morning and eat breakfast.  Then we pack up all the kids and gifts and head to Tony’s (my fabulous husband) family.  As you might imagine, I am beat at the end of all this merriment, but I would not trade it for the world.  When I went to college, I realized how odd my family was in the fact that I knew more than one set of grand parents and great-grand parents, knew my cousins and aunts and uncles.  I had a very large safety net and support group.  In this day of most families being far flung and fragmented I had a great rock.  In that way, we are odd.  I am so glad.

The problem that arose was with Tony’s work schedule.  As a flight medic, he worked a 24 hour shift and the medical field knows no holidays.  If your schedule falls on a holiday too bad.  Then there was the issue that we wanted to make Christmas memories with our family at our home.  What to do?  There is only so much time in a day…  Well, we decided that with the population increase and all that Santa might just need to divide up the delivery days.  So, Santa began to  hit our house on Christmas Eve morning or which ever morning fell closest to Christmas Eve and Tony was off.  This has worked great for many years, but this year posed another hitch.  Cheyenne, our oldest, had moved out and now had adult responsibilities, she can’t just come home and stay for a week on end so that we can all celebrate.

So, this year we moved the celebration all together.  Really, it is not about the day specifically, it is about the celebration of Christ our Savior being born.  That our salvation entered this world- that is the point.  So, to honor God and His gift we celebrate with our family.  The Hobbit was also coming out this weekend and we thought this would be a fun part of the celebration as we were all looking so forward to this movie.  The movie did not disappoint, it was wonderful.

And what a wonderful weekend it was all the way around.  I spent Friday preparing and Saturday cooking.  Jonathan helped me with every dish I made.  I am so grateful for his help.  We ate by candlelight on the fancy dishes, gold-ware, gold- rimmed stem ware and Damask tablecloth.  Of course, there was a small quarrel about who would light the candles- guess you never get too old to light matches.  Food just tastes better on a finely set table.

Because I believe that my children are destined for greatness, I have made certain that they know table etiquette and will know what to do should they find themselves at a table with more than one fork.  My older two daughters have done their share of setting the table and serving dinner, but this night was Sierra’s turn.  Sierra is a bit different from my other children.  It is as if she were born knowing that she should have servants, since we don’t have any servants, her father and I will do.  It has been quite funny to watcher her.  We do, on occasion, have hired help working on the farm and in the nursery and it never has occurred to her that she was either too young or too short to give them orders.  One young man in particular was 6 foot 4 inches tall and I walked around the barn to see her at a whopping four foot 2 inches and 10 years old telling him what he needed to do (her chores of course) for the day.  It is hard to describe the air with witch she carries herself, it was not a bossy or bratty way, just one of authority- apparently because he went off to do her bidding.

So, because of this she was not so crazy about some aspects of being the hostess.  When Savannah asked her for more potatoes- the food was served in courses so this was not a family style meal with the food on the table- she looked at her with such a “you have got to be kidding me’  look, it cracked us up.  She then got up and took Savannah’s plate.  Just before she returned, Savannah said, “she had better not bring me just one potato”.  Well, these two might just know each other pretty well because just as she spoke Sierra returned with her plate with one lone slice of potato on it.  Sierra then proceeded to tell Savannah that she needed to go on a diet.  The whole family cracked up!  Of course, if you have ever seen Savannah you would know that last thing she needs is a diet.  Anyway, it was a great meal and we made some great memories.

Dinner 2012

Christmas Dinner 2012

Our Menu:

First Course: Mushroom Soup

Second Course:   Beef CarbonnadeGratin Dauphinois, and Sweet Peas

Third Course: Pistachio and Chocolate Delight

Recipes to follow…

Christmas Gifts All Around!

Christmas Gifts All Around!

Sierra learning to be a good hostess.

Sierra learning to be a good hostess.

Jonathan won out and lit the candles.

Jonathan won out and lit the candles.

Now, on to the rest of the Christmas celebrations.  I thank God for blessing me with so much.

Thursday, Another Week Is Drawing To A Close

With Tony home again today, we slept in till 9:00 am.  How nice to be able to stay under the warm covers on a cold morning!    Without hardly a word spoken, the kids got up and went about their chores.  Savannah was trying hard to be quiet, but her dog, Jade, backed up to our door and wagged her tail with great enthusiasm.  It cracked us up.  Once up, we walked our 2 miles at the park and ran the errands for the day.  One fun errand was to go by the Chamber of Commerce and set up the appointment to get our picture taken for the paper as our float in the parade won “Best Youth Entry” !

Californians-Beautiful Bunnies, great for meat and pets.

Californians-Beautiful Bunnies, great for meat and pets.

Last night we received a call from a couple that we had met at Living From The Ground Up @ North East Texas Community College-  a seminar on sustainable agriculture and backyard homesteading.  I was there to speak on herbs and composting.  Tony was there to tote my stuff and sell herbs.  We had a great time, learned a lot and plan to go back next year.  This couple shared our desire to produce as much of our own food as possible and were looking to purchase a few rabbits.  When it comes to producing meat without much space, nothing beats rabbits.  Sierra is in the rabbit business and has several that she breeds and sells.  So, tonight 5 rabbits went to a new home .

Sierra really does a great job of tending her business.  Earlier today, she and Jonathan separated out the ones leaving, tagged their ears and shut them up in a pen.  All the dogs were penned up so as to leave the visitors alone- not everyone like to be greeted by 2- 100 lb dogs.  But as such things go, Tony and I went out to load the rabbits when the 4 kids and their mom arrived and behold, there were only 3 rabbits where there should have been 5.  Bella, a yellow lab, had escaped the pen and pawed at the rabbit cage opening the cage and setting 2 bucks free.  We are hoping they turn up but to be honest, odds are not in favor of a white rabbit being able to hide very long.   We had more Californians for these folks so the kids went home happy.

Hopefully, we will have more of these blue bunnies in a week or so.

Hopefully, we will have more of these blue bunnies in a week or so.

If things go well, we will have American Blues born next week.  The American Blues are a rare heritage breed rabbit.  As the name implies, these rabbits are a beautiful gun-metal blue.  Being large rabbits, these are meat rabbits.  That being said, these also make wonderful pets as they are very docile.  I absolutely love these bunnies.  There are also white Americans and we have some of these, too.  As you can see in the picture to the right, in each litter you get a few off color one like the black bunny.  These will not be given a pedigree, but they make great pets.  When you live in the South, you need to choose rabbits with really large ears.  The ears act like radiators and cool the rabbits down.  This breed has performed very well for us over the past two summers and have had very large litters 10-12 kits (baby rabbits) in each litter.  I highly recommend this breed to anyone considering rabbits for food or pets.  A bunny or two will also produce lots of great manure for your gardens, they don’t bark, and require very little care.  Rabbits also fall under the pet category so anyone in town can enjoy these animals.

There were more Mario Kart tournaments on the Wii today.  I get so tickled listening to all of the squeals and giggles as the kids play this with their dad.  We ate leftovers today, so there wasn’t a lot of cooking today.  I did buy groceries for our Christmas celebration this weekend.  We are all so excited.  Tomorrow I plan to prep all that I can and process the dried herbs hanging in the kitchen.  I still haven’t done that- been working on the computer.  A lot of hours have been logged on the computer this week.  Today, I joined several search engines, localharvest, and updated ads on craigslist.


Our Favorite Pancake

We can now eat out without any tears.

We can now eat out without any tears.

I love traveling with our kids.

I love traveling with our kids.

There was a time when Tony and I gave up eating breakfast out while traveling with our children.  The night before we left on vacation I would make up a batch of sausage & biscuits, pigs in a blanket, and breakfast burritos.  Most trips began before dawn and we would pile our four children, my nephew, and often times my cousin- Stephanie, aka the nanny- into the Excursion and a way we would go.  Then we drove and ate as we wanted.

This sounds crazy given how much Tony & I love to eat breakfast, but when the kids were little it was a bad experience.  The problem was that they always wanted to order pancakes.  I would tell them, “Now , these won’t taste exactly like mine.”  They would then swear up and down that they wanted pancakes.  So, Tony would order them pancakes and the food would come.  Then, they would take a bite and cry, “These don’t taste like yours!”  Refuse to eat anymore and drive Tony crazy.  Therefore, we gave up breakfast on the road.  Once at our vacation destination which was usually a house or cabin rental, I would resume cooking breakfast and all would be good.  I guess I should take it as a compliment that no one ever measured up to me.

Below is the recipe for our favorite pancakes.  When Cheyenne, now 19, was a preschooler she would know what I was cooking by the ingredients that I got out.  If I varied the recipes she got very upset.  One morning I decided to add vanilla to the batter and pour the pancake batter over a super then apple slice that I had browned in the pan.  She had a fit and went without breakfast that morning- a very good breakfast I might add.  I never tried to change up the pancakes again.  With her will of granite and flair for drama, there were plenty of battles to fight and the pancake recipe was simply not a battle I cared to fight.

Our Favorite Pancake

1 1/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoon of olive oil

1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Mix the liquid ingredients in a smaller bowl, beat slightly.  Add liquid to the dry mixture and mix.  Batter will be slightly lumpy.

Heat large skillet over medium heat.  Add a small amount of olive oil to pan, once hot pour in batter to make the size of pancake you want.  Once there are lots of bubbles popping on the pancake and the bottom is browned, flip pancake over.  Cook another 1-2 minutes- until center is cooked through.  Repeat until batter is gone.

The batter above make for a thin pancake.  I like them thin so that I can have nice crispy edges that are golden brown.  If you like a thicker pancake, reduce the amount of milk and cook over lower heat.

That is it.  So simple and so good.

So, it’s Wednesday or Maybe Eggsday

Which came first- the chicken or the egg?

Which came first- the chicken or the egg?

With all the eggs we are getting these days, egg salad sandwiches seemed like a good choice for lunch.  While I had a carton of eggs out making pancakes and sausage for breakfast I dropped a dozen in the pot to boil.  Jonathan makes a great egg salad, he also is good at deviled eggs and happily eats them straight up boiled.  Of all my children, Jonathan is the most advanced cook for his age.  Savannah is great at pastries, but that is as far as her interests really go.

You would think with all these eggs stacked all over the place- I have 10 dozen in the fridge at this time- that Jonathan would have been busy making such tasty egg dishes.  However, if you have ever tried to peel a boiled farm fresh egg then you would know what a huge challenge this can be and by the time you get it peeled the only thing the egg is decent for is egg salad.  A few months back I began following a gardening blog- Garden Betty- and she posted the most fabulous post about this very subject.  In it she stated that if you poke a whole in fat end of the egg with a thumb tack that the shell will pull away from the egg itself allowing for easy peeling.  I tried it today and it worked great!  To read all about it click this link- Perfect Boiled Egg.

To those who read this I may sound simple minded, but whenever I am cooking and I reach in the fridge and pull out our eggs it just brings me such pleasure!  In their own right, they are beautiful.  With the mixed flock of hens, I have a very mixed assortment of eggs.  The colors range from white to dark brown, speckled and green, small and large- they are all so pretty.  However pretty the outside is, nothing compares with the beauty of the inside.  The yolk sets up nice and high, the color is bright yellow with some being almost neon orange.  The nutrition value of eggs from free range hens is beyond comparison and the flavor is amazing.  It is a very satisfying thing to feed your family with food that you have produced.

Farm Fresh Eggs

Beautiful Eggs

During the course of the day, Tony and I wandered through the gardens.  It looks pitiful now.  These very cold nights have turned the 4 o’clocks, egg plants, tomatoes, and citronella among others to green mush.  The growing season is officially over.  Now it is time for clean up and prep for spring.  Once things are cleaned up I will feel better.  At that time, it will look like a blank state full of possibilities for next year instead of the ugly mess telling me that this year’s fun is over.  I did find it interesting that the Texas Tarragon did not melt.  Looks like it might not only take the heat but maybe the cold as well, we shall see.  The chickens were busy in the garden.  Scratching up a storm, they are busy eating the bugs trying to take cover under the leaves and the larvae for next year’s pests.  What a win/win situation- the chickens eat the pests in the garden and all that bug protein makes for some really great eggs!

Today was the first day Tony has been off in a while.  Urgent Care in Tyler Texas is experiencing a very busy season these days.  It was quite nice to spend the day at home.  Tony, Sierra, and Jonathan had a Mario Kart competition and then we all played a game of 13.

As they hooted and hollered their way through Mario Kart, I prepped the shopping list for our Christmas Dinner that will happen on Saturday.  Our Christmas celebrations usually run for several days.  Many years ago due to Tony’s work schedule and other family traditions, we moved our immediate family celebrations to another day leaving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day open for the extended family celebrations that we all love.  With the Hobbit coming out in theaters this weekend we decided to move the fun up real early and make the movie part of the day.  So, we are really excited about this weekend.  I am excited to get some really large presents out of my closet I can’t hardly get to my socks these days.

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Chickens cleaning up in the Garden

Chickens cleaning up in the Garden

Blueberry Mega Muffin


If the winter weather gets you blue, a taste of summer will lighten your mood.  This summer we took advantage of the you-pick Blueberry Farm near us.  We had lots of fun picking and eating the fresh berries and now have some tasty goodies in the freezer.  The following recipe is the only blueberry recipe that all my family agrees on as great.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Blueberry Mega Muffin



2 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (frozen are fine)

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk


2 tablespoon flour

5 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tablespoon butter, diced


Preheat oven to 375′

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, in medium bowl and set aside.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over blueberries- this will help keep the blueberries from coloring all the batter.

In large bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well. Stir in vanilla

Add dry ingredients and milk to butter mixture.

Fold in blueberries

Pour into 9 inch cast iron skillet ( you can use a muffin pan for traditional muffins)

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.



My Tuesday

Nothing like a little Mario Kart on the wii.

Nothing like a little Mario Kart on the wii.

I am not really sure where the day went, but it went.  The morning began with my quiet time and yoga, as do most days.  Oddly enough the house has stayed picked up and clean without much effort- I can’t explain it but I am grateful.  Maybe that is why the day seemed to move at a relaxed pace, I just didn’t have as much house work to do.

This morning came with a craving for blueberries.  There is a great muffin recipe that has a strudel on top that we all love.  I, however, don’t make muffins I pour the batter into a cast iron skillet and bake it like one gigantic muffin.  I save steps and energy whenever I can so unless there is a need for muffins, the batter goes into a cast iron skillet. My muffin pan does not go unused, however.  My biscuit recipe makes a wet dough and instead of adding flour, rolling it out, and cutting out the biscuits- I just spoon it into the muffin pan and bake.  Viola!  Easy homemade biscuits.  As a matter of fact, I had a mother of  my daughter’s  friend call and ask for the recipe because her daughter went home talking about how good they were.  That kind of thing thrills my southern soul.  Southern cooks come wired with a desire to feed people well, there is no greater compliment than to have a recipe request.

We have nibbled on the over-sized muffin all day.  Jonathan & I were on our own today as the girls moved the horses down to Jacksonville.  This should work better since the kids visit their grandparents and this will making riding the horses much more convenient.  I worked on the computer all day while Jonathan played video games.  I have learned to use photobucket, to edit photos in a cool way, changed up widgets on the blog, and updated my website.  This computer work is exhausting- I would much rather put in 10 hours in the greenhouses and gardens.  I also had the pleasure of watching Madagascar 3 with Jonathan.  I get so tickled at the way he laughs out loud.  Love those moments.

As I type this, Jonathan just made the comment that hamburgers sound really good.  Tony and I just looked at him and shook our heads- the boy just ate half the meatloaf.  My how a growing boy can eat.  Tonight’s dinner of meatloaf, broccoli and cheese, and saffron rice was quite good.  Dinner had to be prepared around all the herbs I gathered yesterday.  The herbs need to dry and I have run out of room to hang them.  Wednesday is the day I plan to dry the in the oven and get herbs into storage bags.  These days our home-based business takes up a lot of the home.  One day there will be a workroom just for herbs and such but until then we just make do.

Now, to go cuddle on the couch with Tony.  NCIS is calling my name- so is a hot herbal bath.