Monday, November 14, 2011

you can't take the country out of the girl

i've been living in a small ohio town for a little over two years now.  in feb. 2010 m and i finally were able to get a place of our own.  not everything we wanted but nice and affordable.  but my point in this post is this that i finally feel i've turned our home and primarily my kitchen into what i wanted it to be while still integrating m's whimsical nature as well.  you see, he is the one primarily responsible for what has become a chicken theme.  i was just going for that homey, country feel. it took me awhile (until recently, actually) to find the perfect and affordable pieces: the primitive writing table, the antique sideboard, etc.  in the meantime, over the course of the past two years, we have somehow managed to accumulate a large quantity of chicken decor.  but, it works!

welcome to my humble abode.

i love this old writing table.  the drawer gives me a handy place to stash my journal, grocery ads and lists.

clem. he's a cocky old bird.

about everything in our home is secondhand/previously loved.  nothing new here. even my curtains, the baskets, etc. are thrift store finds.  it's just a small kitchen, but i love that it's an eat-in kitchen rather than a galley kitchen with a separate dining area. someday, before we are too old, we hope to be in a more spacious apt. or home with a place for a small garden. but we are here for now and have made it work.

i can't homestead like i used to due to apt. living and the fact that both m and i having physical limitations, but i still do my best to keep my life simple, sacred & sustainable and i can make it feel like country.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

apples, apples, apples!

i miss going to the local orchards in the fall and picking my own apples.  these days it's seldom you find a roadside stand selling locally grown apples by the peck or bushel.  many of the places you find are selling fruit and produce that have been shipped in from someplace else. 

fortunately a week or so ago, mark and i were heading home from a fall drive (just to enjoy the beauty of the season) and on old route 66 just south of new bremen, we found a place.  since i had already purchased enough apples for a few pies at the supermarket, i picked up some acorn and butternut squash.  can't get enough of those!  while there we also got to visit the farm's animals; a miniature horse, leghorn chickens, a very friendly sheep and a variety of goats.  i do love the goats!

anyhow...since it is the season i thought i would share this list of apple types and their best uses.   enjoy the taste of the season!

NAME Best Uses Flavor Characteristic, Appearance
Braeburn Sauce Tart, sweet, aromatic, tall shape, bright color
Cortland Pies, Sauces, Fruit Salad Tart, crisp, larger than 'McIntosh'
Fuji Baking Sweet and juicy, firm, red skin
Gala Dried, Cider Mild, sweet, juicy, crisp, yellow-orange skin with red striping (resembles a peach)
Granny Smith Baking Moderately sweet, crisp flesh, green skin
Jonagold Pie, Sauce Tangy-sweet, Yellow top, red bottom
Jonathan Sauce Tart flesh, crisp, juicy, bright red on yellow skin
McIntosh Sauce Juicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh, red skin
Newton Pippin Pie, Sauce, Cider Sweet-tart flesh, crisp, greenish-yellow skin
Rhode Island Greening Pie Very tart, distinctively flavored, grass-green skin, tending toward yellow/orange
Rome Beauty Baking, Cider Mildly tart, crisp, greenish-white flesh, thick skin
Winesap Sauce, Pie, Cider Very juicy, sweet-sour flavor, winey, aromatic, sturdy, red skin

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

hello & crockpot chili-spiced beef

to those who've been with me from the beginning and those more recent followers, hello, hello, hello.  life has been a ride the past couple of years and although no longer on the homestead i am still and always will be a country girl at heart.  lots of change since 2009 for sure. some good, in fact wonderful.  some not so much, in fact heartbreaking.  but all in all i have survived and chosen to carry on despite circumstances or influences. 

it's been my desire to start blogging again for some time.   i missed it, i missed you and i also knew that i needed to recreate some routine in my life through a form i enjoyed.  that would be writing. so, i began recently when i became inspired enough to begin writing poetry again.  as they say, one thing leads to another! so i am back and you can expect to hear from me from time to time.  now...with what kind of ramblings or information it's hard for me to predict.  :)  however, for today i wanted to share this tasty recipe that uses a simple chuck roast in (for me what was a) new and wonderful way.  if you like spicy, you will love this.  i love spicy but not take the hide off my tongue hot.  this recipe, when served over rice was very spicy (as in warms the back of your throat quickly) but not unbearably hot.  if the heat/spice factor is an issue, then you may want to cut down or eliminate the jalapeno.

i found this recipe in an issue of a womans day mag.  of course i can't seem to leave a recipe alone most times, so i made it my own by a tweak here and there.    hope ya' all enjoy it.  mark and i did and decided it was a keeper because we both love spicy. i love the fact that it's a slow cooker/crockpot recipe that you can put together and ignore for the most part and because it uses ingredients that i usually have on hand or aren't hard to come by or terribly pricey. just remember to buy your beef on sale!

enough talk, here's the recipe. enjoy!

chili-spiced beef  (with a hint of sweet)

2 lb. boneless beef chuck trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2" chunks.
4-6 cloves garlic minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (fresh or canned)
1 large onion chopped
2 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
optional dried basil (1-2 Tbsp.) according to taste. increase amount if using fresh basil.

 in a 5-6 qt. crockpot/slow cooker combine beef, garlic, pepper, onion, lime or lemon juice, chili powder, salt and basil.  cover and cook until you have a broth formed.  add sugar and cook until beef is very tender, 4-5 hours on high or on low 7-8 hours.  serve over rice or noodles or couscous.  we like it best over rice, num, num.