Thursday, June 27, 2013

Noodle Day

Another hot and humid day in northern Illinois!

One of those days you can almost hear the corn growing!

I am gearing up for Saturdays first Farmers Market.

On the Thursdays before I usually make my noodles to sell .

I was up early this morning to begin.

First I mix up the dough.

Flour, eggs, olive oil and a few tablespoons of water go in the food processor.

The dough comes out a little lumpy.

I give it a few shakes of flour, knead it a couple of times and put it in a plastic bag to rest for and hour or so.

While waiting today I began pitting cherries.

The birds didn't get all of mine this year!

In fact, the tree still has quite a few left.

My secret weapon for getting the pit out,

Just a regular old bobby pin!
Poke the rounded end into the cherry and pull the pit out.
Works like a charm!

After that job was done I got my pasta machine out for noodle making time.

The dough had rested enough to give it the right elasticity.

I cut it into thick pieces and roll those in flour.

Then I roll  the dough thru the machine at its widest setting.

One pass at its widest and then the next time through at the 2nd smallest.

Then its time to cut the noodles.

My machine makes a wide fettuccine noodle or a thin spaghetti noodle.
I sell more fettuccine, so that is what I usually make to sell.

The noodles get hung on a cloths dryer rack to air dry the rest of the day.

I learned this trick from an older Amish woman that made the best egg noodles I have ever tasted!

Tomorrow I will bag them up. 

Put an ingredient label on them.

And they will be ready for market on Saturday!

I still haven't decided yet what to do with the cherries.

My grocery store is out of fruit pectin for jam.

They will either be turned into hand pies to sell.

Or I might just treat the pipeliner to a fresh cherry pie for dessert tonight!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Projects and Rain!

This past week has been spent working on a few projects.

The first one was getting my strawberry jam put up.

The berries were big and juicy when I picked them!

They made some nice jars of jam!

Now all I need to do is get the labels on and they will be ready for the Farmers Market.

I found these wonderful labels here:

My next project has been what to do with all of the infant formula cans that we used while the grandson was here.

I think I have over 20 of them!

I painted up some for  the 4th of July.

Ribbons will be added to a few for wind-socks.

 The rest will probably become flower holders to decorate our picnic table.

I have also been working on a banner to decorate my Farmers Market tent.

This heavy muslim fabric has been stashed in my closet forever.
 I knew I would find a great use for it!

The banner pattern can be found here.

Between rain showers I got all of my tomatoes caged and mulched.

You can see the water still standing in the field.

My cherries and mulberries are still coming fast and furious.

Our plan was to head to the farm yesterday for some fruit pickin, but that never happened.

Darn thunderstorms rolled thru just when we were getting ready to leave!

My intentions were to be up and out the door early this morning to mow at the farm.
 Weed the garden.
 I am sure with all of the rain they have about taken over.
Then finish picking what ever cherries the birds left behind.

But the sky is full of thunderstorms again!

My morning coffee spot is soaked!

Rainy days and Mondays, they are beginning to get me down,


Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Wow, its been a week since my last post!
I sure didn't mean to be gone this long.
Things just got busy.

My daughter is finally out of the Army!

She is back home with her little guy!

I got to tag along for his check-up.

He is so darn funny!

Then we ended up with some wicked weather rolling thru the end of last week.

Somebody sent me this picture of a tornado touching down near our farm.

Thankfully it was a few miles away.
The only real damage it did was to some trees in a nearby state park.

When I left for the farm to check out the storm damage I decided to stay out there for a few days.
And I never even bothered to pack my laptop!
It sure felt nice to be away from the internet for awhile.

I spent most of my time working in the yard.
Pulling weeds in the garden.
Weed wacking around the house.

Sunday night the grandson came out to enjoy some time with grandpa.

He already loves golf cart rides!

Today I am headed back out to the farm to start picking cherries.
But my first stop is going to be at the u-pick strawberry patch not far from us.

Tomorrow let the jam making begin!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Little messes!

Everyday, without fail,
these are the 3 messes I deal with!

Mud crumbs from where the pipeliner takes his boots off at the front door.
Yes we have a mud room, no he doesn't use it!

Bits of dog food left on the floor because one dog only likes certain pieces of kibble.
 And she leaves the rest behind!

A messy bed.
 How can one man leave the covers in such a tangle?

Oh these little messes never bother me!
Annoy me, maybe.

But they are made by a few of the loves I treasure most in this world!

My pipeliner,

And my puppies!

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

It was a quick weekend around here!
The pipeliner worked late both Friday and Saturday.

We did spend Friday night at the farm because we had an early showing of our house in town on Saturday morning.
No news about how it went.

Sunday we went to an estate auction. I had a hard time not bidding on anything!
Pure torture I tell you!

Sunday night we had a few passing rain showers, but I did manage to do a little bit of grilling.

This is one of my favorites!

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

I marinade the chicken breast with 1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing.

I let the chicken breasts soak up the flavor most of the day in the fridge.

Place a large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate. 
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Remove chicken from marinade.
Grill chicken on uncovered side of grill 6 minutes.

Meanwhile combine 1 tomato finely chopped, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves and 2 tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomato dressing  in a bowl.

Turn chicken over and place cook-side up, on the foil that has been placed on the grill.
Top evenly with the tomato mixture.

Close the grill lid.
Cook for an additional 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (170.F)

Serve with grilled veggies on the side!

Here is the complete recipe!

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tomato finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing.

Marinade the chicken breasts in the dressing at least 2 hours prior to grilling.
Place large sheet of heavy duty foil over half of grill grate.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Remove chicken from marinade.
Grill chicken on uncovered side of grill 6 minutes.
Meanwhile combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and 2 tbsp of the dressing.
Turn chicken over, place cook side up on foil side of grill.
Top evenly with tomato mixture.
Close grill lid.
Continue to grill for an additional 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked. (170.F)

Makes 4 servings.

Have a great Monday!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Things at the Farm

I finally got my garden planted!

I still have a few more rows of green beans to put in the ground. But I always space them out a week or two.

My gardening buddy!

He didn't last long watching grandma.

A peach on our new tree we planted this spring!

A peach on the big tree.

The cherries continue to grow!

I can see fresh cherry pies for the Farmer Market this year!

More concrete getting poured today.

Another mess to clean up!

We have a  showing on the house today!

Have a great Wednesday!


Monday, June 3, 2013

English Muffins

The first week of June, how did that happen?

And 2 weeks until the first Farmers Market in our town.

I am still working on bread recipes, cause lets face it, I am not going to have anything ready from the garden.

Only a row of spinach planted so far!

This weekend I tested out English Muffins.

I found a simple, yet tastey recipe.

English Muffins

1 cup milk
 3 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast.
cornmeal for dusting the dough

I mixed mine in my bread machine on the yeast cycle.

When the timer went off, letting me know the dough was ready, I dumped the mixture on my counter, that was lightly dusted with cornmeal.

I rolled the dough out to a 1 inch thickness and used my sandwich cutter to cut out circles.

You need to put the circles on a baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 20 minutes.

They get nice and poofy!

On a hot griddle, preheated to 350 F. you can begin cooking your muffins.

They take 6 to 7 minutes per side to cook.
They brown up nice!
They puff up even nicer!

I smooshed some of mine because I thought they wouldn't fit into my toaster.

I got a dozen muffins out of this batch!

And they were delicious!

I am off to the farm today to finally plant the rest of my garden!
I think its going to be a little muddy, but the stuff HAS to go in the ground today!

More rain expected from Wednesday thru the weekend!

Oh this darn weather!

Happy Monday!