Friday, February 17, 2017

Paper Trout

Although I'm not a vegetarian anymore,
I still don't eat beef, pork or poultry.
It was always a struggle for my mom 
to get me to eat meat when I was a kid.
The last time I remember eating steak (not ordered by me),
I covered it in ketchup
and my mom finally decided to give up on the idea of me being a carnivore.
It has just never felt right for me
so I embraced a meat-free diet for a good, long time.
For the last 15 years or so, I have eaten fish regularly,
and feel fortunate to be able to find a good selection at our local grocery store.

As we are trying to eat as locally as possible,
this North Carolina trout seemed to fit the bill.
I bought the whole fish so that I could keep the bones
to make my homemade bone broth.
(I'll tell you about this magical elixur soon.)

Cooking the whole fish is not something I've done before,
but I remembered a trick my mom had used.
Parchment paper is the secret ingredient.

The technique is known as "en papillote"
or "in paper", 
and it's one of the easiest ways to cook fish.
The bonus is that clean up is a breeze!

The fish was rinsed, dried and seasoned with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
Any choice of your favorite seasonings would work.
They were wrapped in the parchment and the ends were twisted tight.
This helps the fish to steam and keeps all of the juices inside.

They were placed on the same baking sheet as some veggies 
I was cooking for a soup base.
After about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven, 
they were done.

Open the package carefully, as it is extremely hot!
The fish comes out moist, tender and delicious.
The bones are easily removed 
and can be added to my stockpile in the freezer.

The same technique can be used with chicken, turkey 
or cooked beans for a vegetarian option.
I haven't tried it, 
but I imagine this would work on the grill too.

Each package is like a small gift for each diner to open.
Who wouldn't enjoy a tasty token? 

Gluten Free Fridays Sharing glutenfree recipes for all

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Farm School Visit

This past weekend, we took a trip back down south.
Big K had a ham radio event in Orlando,
and we had a few things to pick up that were left behind when we moved.

We had time to stop by and visit with Faye and Lynn.
It was bittersweet, as I miss these two generous souls,
but it is always good to spend time with them.

Of course, I got a tour of the farm.
Things are hoppin' and it was good to see
how well they are faring.

The mustards were exploding out of the containers.
Folks in this part of the south love their greens.

The eggplant was abundant.
Lynn said it is the best crop he's had in years, maybe ever!
(On Friday, I'll show you what I did with these beauties.)

The banana peppers numbered more than I could count.
The secret's in the sauce 
(turkey poop).

Tomato town was overflowing with gorgeous globes.
These plants look like the best crop I've seen since I've known Lynn.

Unfortunately for me,
they weren't ready for the pickin',
but it was good to see how vibrant and healthy they were.

This is the first time that Lynn is growing juicing carrots.
They were a request from one of his steady customers.
We were gifted with a couple to try them out.

There are plenty more where those came from!
Every pot was just bursting at the seams with juicy goodness.

Hootie the Owl supervised our tour.
It did my heart good to spend time with Faye and Lynn.
It's always a "hoot" 
and we enjoy talking about all things gardening.

They gifted us with a truckload of produce,
which, somehow, 
we managed to fit into the car for the ride back.
Oh, how I've missed Farm School.
But it remains forever in my heart.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Hope you get to spend it with someone special.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday Sister!
May this new year take you where you want to be!

We are SO glad you were born.
daisy & crew

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Safe Winter Travel

Being new to a wintry climate as a driver,
we got some great advice from Faye and Lynn
about what to keep in our cars through the colder season.
Having lived in Wisconsin for most of their lives,
they are veterans of the worst that Mother Nature has to offer.
Although they now reside in sunny Lake Wales, Florida,
they shared with us their "hit list" of necessary items.

Even if you don't have a huge trunk,
these items can be stowed away.
Making room for them is well worth the trouble.

Jumper cables are a staple on our safety list,
and make a practical gift for car owners,
whether they buy new or used .
Even if you never need them yourself,
you could help a motorist whose trip may have been sidelined. 
Most cars come equipped with a tire iron and jack
in case of a flat tire.
It's a good idea to test the jack once a year,
to make sure it is in good working order.

 An ice scraper (not pictured) and a squeegee
are essential to keeping your windshield clear.

 A basic screwdriver set
can mean the difference between being stranded
or getting safely to your destination.

 A socket set can be used to tighten nuts and bolts
and get you on the road again.

 An ABC fire extinguisher should be at the ready
in case of any emergency.
Coolant should be changed out for the season.
There are different formulas for winter and summer conditions.

 This standby is great for home or for the road.
Check out this list of unusual uses for this glorious grease!

An emergency blanket is always a good idea.
Should you get stuck in the middle of nowhere,
at least you can keep warm until help arrives.
Keeping a few non-perishable snacks
and a couple of gallons of water is advisable,
especially before a long road trip. 
And make sure your cell phone is fully charged! 

A folding shovel can be very handy to have
in winter,
when unexpected storms could leave you stranded.   

Where in the name of Mike
would this world be without this miracle of creation?
Duct tape can assist with everything from 
repairing hoses to securing a skewed tail light.

Most of these items are imperative for road trips,
but some are specifically needed in the colder months,
even for trips around town.
Make sure you are prepared for emergency situations.
Safe travels!  

"It is better to travel well than to arrive."

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Friday, February 3, 2017

February Friday Fotos

Where in the world did January go?
Oh my stars, it just all goes too fast.
Are you with me on that?

Anywho, nothing major is happening here at the moment.
We are continuing our search for the perfect homestead.
Big K got a temporary job and started this week.
We are enjoying seasonal living as much as possible,
but didn't expect temperatures to fluctuate as much as they have.
 It's all rather random.
So, an aimless post of recent pictures seems in order.

Each morning, these bushes in front of the east facing porch
treat us to an array of birds.

We have placed some bird seed on various parts of the porch,
and get to witness their feeding through the front window.
Several nests have been found in these bushes
(I don't know what they are because all the leaves are gone).
Birdwatching is a fabulous way to start out a cold winter day.

A compost pile has been started on the entrance to the woods
in the side yard.
I just gathered some twigs and branches from surrounding trees
to use as a frame, and will fill in with kitchen scraps, leaves and other materials.
We have been using direct composting around the shrubs since we got here,
but I really wanted to get a good compost pile going
and see if it will decompose enough before our lease is up.
Garden experiments are a wonderful learning tool.

How much am I diggin' that we have dead grass-
and nobody cares!
Having lived in an HOA community for the past 11 years,
this is really something to celebrate!
We have plans to burn the HOA papers in a bonfire sometime in the near future.

I have a lot to learn about the plant life here.
This grassy edging around some of the trees has stayed green
through cold and snow.
It's nice to have a bit of color out there on the yard.

 Signs of spring?
This bush has been budding already for a week.

 A few goodies were left behind by the last tenants.
This spade, the tomato cages and some potting soil
will all be used come springtime.

 Cans have been saved to be used as planting vessels,
so that seedlings can be started just after Valentine's Day.
That's when tomato plants are started around here.
It won't be that long!

The winter has its own rhythm,
as do all seasons.
We are happy for the slower pace of life,
as we find the True North in God's plan for us.
Good things are awaiting us.
I just know it.

"Only with winter-patience can we bring
The deep desired, long-awaited spring."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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