Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Wednesday, February 13

chocolate fondue...

If you're searching for a Valentine's food gift to share, this fondue is terrific!

Graphics Source

I have a friend who often gifts me with a jar of this yummy fondue, and, I confess, I've been known to share it with my family only after a significant portion of the jar is missing (yes...secretly enjoyed by me.) Then we giggle about why on earth she would give us a jar that's half empty...but my family knows better!

Anyway, don't delay...this is a chocolate lover's dream!

Simply Wonderful Chocolate Fondue

24-oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 T. light corn syrup
3 to 6 T. orange extract
1 pt. heavy cream

Melt chips in a double boiler. Add remaining ingredients; stir until blended and warmed through.

Spoon into a glass jar and tuck into a basket along with pound cake, bananas, mandarin oranges, or strawberries. Give instructions to simply reheat and enjoy. Be sure to refrigerate leftovers...if there are any!

Tuesday, February 12

homemade crackers...

The temperatures have been swinging back & forth here in the Midwest. Some mornings we wake to find wind frosting the windowpanes and whistling through the tall pines. Single-digit nights mean bundling up for outdoor chores and moving a bit quicker than usual to get back inside the old farmhouse.

Only a few days later, we discover Mother Nature has warmed up enough for the bees in our hive to take a quick flight around after a long winter's nap. Even the girls are happy to stretch their legs outside of the coop and enjoy a bit of a breeze. A breeze that teases of springtime.

Today is somewhere in between...it's 30 degrees and yesterday's icy winds from the high-wind warning have slowed. Still, it's chilly enough for me to think a steaming bowl of soup should be on the menu for tonight's supper.

We almost always have both a loaf of warm bread and crackers on the table when it's soup-time (and maybe even a yummy grilled cheese sandwich!) Recently, a friend shared this recipe for homemade crackers. To my surprise delight, they take practically no time at all to make & bake!

Heart shapes for Valentine's Day!

Quick & Easy Homemade Crackers

1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. salt
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. water
1 egg, beaten
2 T. water
2 t. sugar

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add oil, stirring until mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in water, then continue to blend until a soft dough forms. Place dough on a lightly-floured surface and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Whisk together egg, water, and sugar; brush over dough. Cut out crackers using cookie cutters. Place crackers on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until crackers are golden. 

Amount of crackers depends on thickness of dough and size of cookie cutter.
Sometimes I sprinkle dried garlic and dried, minced onion over the dough right after brushing it with the egg mixture...but you can use anything that's a favorite. Try dill, rosemary, sesame seeds, or coarse salt.

So the next time you're in the mood for soup, try making some of your very own homemade crackers...they're oh-so good!

Monday, February 4

2 to 4 more inches...

A bit more snow in the forecast for today. Inside, it's warm & cozy with a Dutch oven of chili simmering on the stove and the aroma homemade bread baking.

However; outside, it's a bit different...

The beeskep in the herb garden is covered with snow.

 And look hard...can you see the cheery note Sweet Girl left on the chicken run?

(I Heart Chickens!)

But soon enough, we'll be hearing a friendly buzz in the garden...

and watching the first butterflies flit across the yard.

"When the snow is still blowing against the window-pane
in January & February, and the wild winds are howling without,

what pleasure it is to plan for summer that is to be."

-Celia Thaxter

So what are you doing on this winter's day?
Dreaming of spring?

Making Valentines?
Knitting by the fire?
Or maybe you're hauling firewood & filling feeders!

Whatever it might be, let your heart be light!

01 09 10