Friday, December 19, 2014

A Spicy Gift

Spice mixes can make the cook's job so much easier.
With ingredients already combined,
just a pinch or two of favorite seasonings
can change a dish from blah to brilliant!
Even better is when those spices are homemade.
That's why we are working toward creating a pantry full
of delicious and easy-to-use seasonings for our everyday scratch cooking.

How about preparing jars for holiday gifts? 
How fun to give it as sand art and have the recipient shake the contents to get this:

Anyone who enjoys time in the kitchen
will appreciate this thoughtful offering.
It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Every time they use it, they'll think of you.
They may even be inspired to generate their own pantry full of homemade goodies!

House Seasoning
(Paula Deen)
1 C sea salt
1/4 C ground black pepper
1/4 C garlic powder
Add ingredients to a glass jar and shake!

Or try:
seasoned salt

Simple Saturdays Joey

Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thrifty Thursday-Christmas Star

Being the scrapper that I am, I knew this old gate that a neighbor had thrown out
was coming home with me to be repurposed.
Although at the time, I wasn't sure exactly what it would become.
Then it hit me.
We'd make a Christmas star for our holiday decorating!

The first step was to disassemble it.
We didn't bother to sand or paint it,
instead favoring the rustic look.

With just a few supplies,

and one 14-year old helper with a power drill, 
we managed to get it apart.
(Guess who's keeping the "no trespassing" sign for his room?)

The boards were different lengths, but we chose the ones
with similar widths.

It was laid out until we found a shape we liked.
It's not symmetrical because we want to showcase the rustic feel.

Holes for nails were pre-drilled,
 which made it much easier to pound them in.

It took us a few hours to complete the project,
and cost us not one dime!
We then strung rope lights around it
and used tie wraps to fasten them to the wood.
This star turned out so well,
we're planning on hanging it from our future barn!

Can't wait to see what folks throw out this week!

dare to deck the halls

Simple Saturdays Joey

Homestead Barn Hop

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 59

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
Thanks for linking back to Maple Hill 101.


This week we thought we'd share an update on Faye & Lynn's garden.
If you're unfamiliar with these fine folks,
you can read all about them in our Farm School series
located just under the header.
Their 4,000+ square-foot container garden is nothing short of amazing.
They have been gracious enough to share what they know with this farmer-wannabe.

Every weekend for almost two years,
we've spent time together nurturing this ever-expanding garden. 
Of course, it's a full-time endeavor for them,
but I get to partake in the magic once a week.
Let's take a look at what they've got growin' 
this week before Christmas.

Fall is the perfect time to grow so many scrumptious things to eat.
Case in point, broccoli.
It thrives in our mild climate.
The heads are starting to fill out now and will soon be ready for harvest.
The bonus is that once the main head is picked,
side shoots provide us with tender morsels of deliciousness for months to come.

Sugar snap peas don't mind the cooler temperatures one bit.

The rows of peas in G2 (garden two)
are loaded with blooms.
We know it's just a matter of a week or so until we are bursting with these juicy lil' gems.

The goodness starts right here.

This gorgeous specimen is tatsoi.
It's an Asian green used in salads or stir-fry dishes.
This is a new crop for the farm.

Dinosaur kale is one of the best sellers at the farmer's market.
Loaded with vitamins, folks can't seem to get enough.
Faye and Lynn also grow Red Russian kale.

A multitude of herbs do quite well this time of the year,
including rosemary (l) and cilantro (r).
Also cultivated here are basil, dill, oregano, parsley, and thyme.
We recently transplanted lavender, another new crop this season.

Believe it or not,
late fall is one of the best times to grow tomatoes.
As long as the frost stays away,
they savor scads of sunshine and bugs are not as prevelant.

 I'm ready for a tomato-mayo sandwich.

How 'bout a bit of lettuce with that tomato?
Several kinds of lettuces are grown,
including Red Sails, Amaze, Simpson Elite and Buttercrunch.
Each week I'm able to get a delectable mixture of greens for my daily salad.

 We checked on the pineapple plantation,
and there were a couple of beauties almost ready for picking.

I hope you enjoyed this update on Faye & Lynn's garden.
It's such a blessing to be able to spend time there.
Looks like this holiday season,
we'll be eating well.

What's happening where you are?
HOP on!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Frigid Friday (or "Fridged" Friday)

We've been enjoying temps in the 40's each morning,
with highs during the day in the 60's and 70's.
Perfect weather this time of year, if you ask me.
We wanted to bring a little of the chill inside.

This should probably be a "Thrifty Thursday" post,
but I'm a day behind.
I spotted some of these cute refrigerator makeovers while internet cruising
and we just had to participate.

So easy, yet it adds so much punch to our holiday decorations.
We'll be doing this every year!

 We have a white fridge, but since it's a side-by-side, 
decorating the front didn't work so well.
We simply moved our artwork to the side facing the rest of the kitchen.

 I made up a bow using some holiday ribbon,
cut out a few stars with a paper punch
and free-handed a few coals for eyes, the mouth, the hat,
and the all-important organic paper carrot for the nose!
The fun thing is to mix and match what you have to customize your snowperson!

A simple, cheery addition to the kitchen this holiday season.
Mix up a scratch batch of cocoa mix and have a toast!

simple saturdays

Homestead Barn Hop

dare to deck the halls