Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas on the Farm

We're getting ready for's the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nana's Icicle Pickles

Today I'm sharing an "almost homemade" sweet pickle recipe made from kosher dill pickles. This recipe came from my Mother, known as Nana by her grandchildren. I don't know where the recipe came from, but it has been around so long, my Mother used a typewriter to write it down for me. I love being able to make these knowing that it is her recipe. If you like the taste of an old fashioned, homemade sweet pickle, this is the pickle for you! Please note that it takes several days for the pickles to get the full, rich flavor that makes them so yummy, so be sure to plan ahead. I have included step by step instructions with the full recipe at the end of this post. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Easy to make homemade sweet yummy!
Ingredients bought kosher dills, vinegar, sugar and pickling spice
Rinse and drain the pickles
I like to cut them into chips but you can cut them into spears if you prefer
Place the cut pickles into a bowl and alternate layers with sugar. This does not have to be exact and if you prefer, you can just add all of the sugar on the top at the end
Pickles and sugar
Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours. You may need to stir once or twice as the sugar settles at the bottom of the bowl
Be sure to save the jar!
The pickles start to make yummy, sweet juice
Sweet, juicy goodness
Transfer the pickles into the saved jar and reserve the juice
Pour the reserved juice into a small saucepan
Add the vinegar
and the pickling spices
Spices include cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mustard seed and ginger
Warm over low heat until boiling and the sugar is mother used to say that you can tell by the smell when it's ready. The spices and vinegar have a wonderful, strong aroma!
Pour the hot juice and spice mixture over the pickles
Cover the jar and refrigerate for at least 2 days. This is the hard part...I have a problem with this. I am addicted to these pickles and snitch them while they are marinating in their juicy goodness!
After at least 2 days, transfer to a pretty jar and enjoy!

Nana's Icicle Pickles
  • Drain and discard the juice from a 46 ounce jar of Kosher Dill Pickles and save the pickle jar
  • Slice pickles into spears or chips and place in a glass bowl
  • Cover with 2 cups of sugar, either alternating layers with the pickles or all on top of the cut pickles
  • Tightly cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. Stir once or twice if the sugar settles to the bottom of the bowl
  • After 24 hours, place pickles back in the jar without the juice 
  • Pour the juice into a small saucepan and add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1T pickling spice
  • Warm over low heat until boiling and sugar is dissolved. You can tell by the deep, rich aroma that it is done
  • Pour the hot liquid over the pickles in the jar
  • Refrigerate for 2 days before serving...the longer they are refrigerated, the better the flavor. Enjoy!
  • Note - pickles make juice from sugar in the first 24 hours 

My Mother presenting the cake on my 2nd birthday!

 Please let me know how you like them...I appreciate your comments. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Soft Ginger Cookies

Today I made one of my favorite cookies. I don't know where the original recipe came from...I found it years ago. I had it in my recipe box for a long time and when I finally pulled it out and made them, I couldn't believe I had waited so long. They are a perfect cookie....crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does. The Farmer will be very happy to see these in the cookie jar...Enjoy!

Crunchy, chewy and oh so good
Ready to roll!
Gather and measure your ingredients first
Ginger, cinnamon and cloves...
All of the ingredients together...I have sprayed the measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray so the molasses won't stick
Line the cookie sheets with parchment so you don't have to wash them!
Cream the temperature please!
Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy
Add one egg and the molasses - the egg should be at room temp also didn't stick!
Beat well....what a wonderful color!
Add the spices to the flour and combine
Add half of the flour and mix slowly until combined or you will have flour all over yourself...take my word for it!
After adding the rest of the flour, this is how the batter should look...make sure you stir down to the bottom with a wooden spoon before you roll the have to get all of the buttery goodness well combined!
Roll out into a ball around 1-1/4" - 1-1/2"
Place in a small bowl with some sugar
And roll it around until it is covered
Onto the cookie sheet they go
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes
Cool on a rack
Crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the yummy!
After they have cooled, into the cookie jar they go...they won't last long!

Here is the recipe. Let me know how you like them...I love feedback!

Soft Ginger Cookies
Preheat oven to 350

2-1/4 c all purpose flour                                       3/4 c butter softened
1t baking soda                                                    1 c granulated sugar
1/4t salt                                                              1 egg room temp
2t ground ginger                                                 1/4 c molasses
3/4t cinnamon                                                    3T plus sugar for rolling
1/2t cloves

Combine flour and spices and set aside. In mixer with paddle attachment or large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add 1 c of sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat well. Add half of the flour mixture and slowly mix until combined. Add remaining flour, making sure all is combined. Shape into 1" - 1-1/2" balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned and puffed. Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in a closed container. Makes 3 - 4 dozen. **To keep them soft, add a few pieces of broken up bread to the container with the cookies!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Snowy Morn...Good Food

Last night I finally thought ahead and prepared The Pioneer Woman's Baked French Toast. We had this once during the summer when we had brunch for The Farmer's Mom. It is crunchy and gooey all at the same time. As you can see, it's yummy with raspberries or any kind of seasonal fruit. Around here, apples are in season but I chose some raspberries I had in the freezer from our wee farm. The Farmer likes it with just syrup and of course an extra sprinkling of confectioner's sugar! This is the perfect breakfast and brunch dish when making food for a lot of people...and it's not difficult to make! Have a wonderful Sunday!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Divine Appointment

Many times, in ways we never expect, God shows up and reminds us how important it is to stop thinking about our own disappointments and heartbreaks and remember others who may be going through a difficult time. This happened to me a number of years ago...a divine appointment of sorts, one that I've only shared with a few because it is so raw and personal.

A good friends sister passed away and the service was at our church. My friend also worked at the church full time so this was a very personal service and many were pitching in to help with greeting people, serving a meal afterward and showing our love and support for her family. I decided to help and started by passing out programs in the foyer as the mourners arrived. Once the service started, I stayed back to greet any late comers and was the only one who remained in the foyer.
As the service was underway, an older man walked in. He looked a little down and out, a bit shabby in his old overcoat and well worn shoes but certainly a gentleman with kindness in his eyes. I handed him a program and he hesitated. He asked to speak with a pastor and I explained that no one was available, that there was a funeral taking place and everyone was in the sanctuary. He continued to insist and I asked him if he wanted to wait and he said he would. He moved along to another part of the foyer and eventually sat on a bench quietly reading the program I had provided him.

 The service continued for quite a while and after 20 minutes or so the gentleman stood up and walked over to me. He spoke in a soft voice and went on to explain. "I lost my son on Friday, he passed away. I came here to speak with a pastor, to have him pray with me. But you handed me this program and I read it and I prayed for this family that also lost a loved one" My heart hurt...this man who was in so much pain had decided to pray for others in the same situation. As my eyes welled up with tears, I offered to pray with him. We joined hands, bowed our heads and prayed. Nothing fancy, just talking to God, our healer, our comforter, our deliverer. When we were done, he thanked me, turned and walked out the door. I never saw him again. I'm sure he never realized the impact he had on me that day. He came to church expecting to be comforted by others, I came to church that day expecting to comfort my friend and God used us in ways neither of us expected. Isn't that just like God?

2nd Corinthians 1:3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Saturday, August 11, 2012