Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicken Poppers...

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. My husband and I had a lovely one. I love when any weekend comes, because that means time with my honey!  Like many people, Memorial Day weekend means barbeque time, so this past weekend that's what my husband and I did. 

Today, I would like to share a recipe with you that has become very popular in our family. As a matter of fact, it is the first thing requested at every family function.

Chicken Poppers

You will need... (amounts depend on what you desire) 
boneless chicken tenders
bacon
pepperoncini peppers
cream cheese
toothpicks

The first thing you need to do is soak your toothpicks in a dish of water. This will prevent them from burning up too much when you grill the poppers.


Drain a jar of pepperoncini peppers, cut the stems off and take out all the seeds.



Fill each pepper with cream cheese. Then set aside.


Cover a cutting board with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound your chicken tenders to 1/8 inch thickness. My husband also covers the chicken with plastic wrap before he pounds it.


Cut each tender in half lengthwise.


Now you are going to wrap your filled peppers with the pounded chicken tender.


Cut bacon slices in half and wrap it over the chicken...


...and secure with a toothpick.





Now they are ready for the grill.



Let them cook until they are browned up. You want to make sure the chicken and bacon are well cooked.



Mmmmm! Don't they look delicious? I hope you try them. I know they'll be a hit at your next gathering. Just be careful, because if you make'em once, you'll be making them all the time. Enjoy!


Blessings,
Julie


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Old MacDonald had a Farm...

As a young child, I grew up on a farm with lots of animals...cows, pigs, one horse, chickens, rabbits, cats and dogs. Although it was a lot of work, looking back I really loved it. My brothers and sisters and I would all say that it taught us many lessons. We had very smart parents.

Along with the animals, we also had a huge vegetable garden. Between the two, we were able to raise most of our food for the long winter months. I remember my mother spending long hours freezing and canning tomatoes and other veges from our HUGE garden. Well, it probably wasn't that huge, but as a small girl, it sure seemed like it. When it came time to send the animals off to the butcher, we all pleaded on their behalf, only to find them served to us anyway, in the form of bacon and eggs, roasted chicken, baked pork chops, or grilled hamburgers.

After growing up, getting married, and having 3 children of my own, I thought the farm life and huge gardens were far behind me. Clearly I was wrong! First of all, we have always had a garden. Some were bigger than others over the years, but I have to say, I really love a nice vegetable garden. As far as the animals go, our oldest son, Matthew, has an unbelievable love for all animals, and growing up he was always trying to bring some critter home to live with us. We went through hamsters, tree frogs, mice, rats, turtles, fish, rabbits, dogs and cats. Needless to say, only the cats and dogs lasted. Thank goodness snakes weren't something that made their way in...not that he didn't try!

Our 3 sons have all grown up and moved out on their own, but after 2 1/2 years in the Army, Matthew has come back home with his own family. He is actually taking over the farmhouse that we are currently living in. Well, let's just say he is making himself at home real fast! In an earlier post I told you about Billie, our goat. Well, just last weekend Matthew brought home a baby pig -Shirley B. Goodeatin, 3 ducks - Huey, Luey, and Duey, and 5 unnamed chickens. Yup, I think we are living with Old MacDonald. 

I never thought I would ever be raising farm animals again, but I will say it's kind of nice. Our grandchildren love them, and I love the thought of the many lessons they will learn from growing up on a farm...just like I did.



Shirley B. Goodeatin


Billie the Kidd



Huey

Luey and Duey


Blessings,
Julie

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Liquid Gold...


Have you ever looked out your window at all the dandelions and asked yourself if there was something more you could do with them? Our dog Hollie uses them for camoflauge from the cat. LOL!

I was visiting my friend's blog, The Blessed Hearth, (again), and found a great recipe for dandelion jelly. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it with you. I have never heard of dandelion jelly. Have you? Well, I thought it would be a fun thing to try, so yesterday my granddaughter and I went out and picked some dandelions.


Then we plucked the yellow part out until we had 4 cups.


My husband even helped us with the plucking. Many hands make light work!



Such concentration! She loves to help.

Once we had the 4 cups of dandelions all measured out, we put them into a bowl, poured 4 cups of boiling water over them, and let them sit overnight. In the morning I strained them through a coffee filter into a large pot, until I had 4 cups of dandelion juice. You'll need to squeeze REALLY hard to get all the juice from them. I was able to get 3 2/3 cups. You can add up to 1/2 cup of boiling water to get all 4 cups of juice.  





 

I added 8 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the dandelion juice, and brought it to a full rolling boil for 2 minutes.

 

Then I added 2 packets of liquid Certo and boiled for another 2 minutes.


You'll need to skim off the foam that forms on the top.

 

Then pour the liquid gold into clean, hot jars, place lids on, and seal.



I know that everyone has the dandelions, but if you have the time to make this jelly, you really should. It's so delicious! I may have to make another batch to give as gifts! 

If you enjoy this recipe, please be sure to visit Faye at The Blessed Hearth for more. I don't know where she gets all these great recipes, but she is brilliant! Thank you, Faye!

Blessings,
Julie

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Red Jewel of Spring...

Rhubarb is one of my favorite things about spring. I look forward to all the wonderful things I can make with it. Last year we froze quite a bit, so we had it to use all winter long. We also canned some strawberry/rhubarb pie filling, rhubarb jam, and rhubarb sauce. It's always so nice to be able to pull out a big jar of homemade pie filling and make a tasty pie, or crumble in the middle of winter.

Just recently I was on a friend's blog, The Blessed Hearth, and found this wonderful recipe for rhubarb jam. It calls for strawberries and pineapple, so I decided to make some. I had made rhubarb jam before, and even strawberry/rhubarb jam, but I never thought about putting pineapple in it.

Before I could start the jam, I had to pick the rhubarb from one of my big patches out back.




I remember eating rhubarb from my grandparent's rhubarb patch when I was just a little girl. My sister, brothers and I would dare each other to see who could eat their stalk the fastest. It was so sour!


This jam is so delicious! It is definitely one of the best jams I have ever eaten. It tastes great on toast, biscuits, or in a bowl of oatmeal. I even used it as the filling in my fruit square recipe.




Make sure you stop by and visit my friend at The Blessed Hearth. She has lots of great recipes to try. Thanks Faye!

Blessings,
Julie

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Raised Bed Gardening

For the longest time I had been wanting to do raised garden beds. I just loved the idea of being able to extend the growing season just a bit longer. We have such short summers up here, and for us a garden means food for winter.

Last year my husband and I decided to try our hand at raised garden beds, so we built 7 of them. Each is 4'w x 8'L x 12"h. It was a lot of work, but worth every bead of sweat that we put into them. As you can see, they turned out pretty well. They are much easier to weed, too!



Normally we don't start our garden until Memorial weekend or later, but this year we were able to start it on April 20th. We planted some peas, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, and rutabagas and then tented them with some garden fabric specifically made for this purpose. This keeps the beds warm and protected, but still allows them to receive sun and rain.


My husband and I love our raised beds and highly recommend them. If you're thinking about doing raised beds, it's not too late to get them done this year. It's still early enough in the season. There are lots of videos on YouTube that show you how to build them, if your not sure how.


Last years carrots and beets



Last years potatoes


Last years peas


I hope I inspired you to start your own raised bed gardens. I think you'll love the results...I know we do!


Blessings,
Julie

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beef & Coconut with Fiddleheads

A wonderful lady, named Noi gave this recipe to my husband a few years back. She loves to cook for people and is always sharing her recipes. This recipe didn't actually call for fiddleheads, but Noi changed it a bit and added them in. I just can't imagine it without them.

Beef & Coconut with Fiddleheads

1 can of coconut milk
1 medium london broil steak, sliced into thin strips
2-3 tsp. green curry paste
1 quart of fiddleheads
1-2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 lemon leaves
2 tbsp. white sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Heat 2 tbsp. of coconut milk in pan. Stir in curry paste and beef strips. Saute till meat is cooked. Meanwhile boil fiddleheads in large pot and drain. Add remainder of coconut milk to fiddleheads and then fill coconut milk can with water and add that, along with meat mixture to fiddleheads. Then add remaining ingredients. Gradually heat till warm. Serve over rice or Thai noodles. Enjoy!

I hope you give this recipe a try and really love it. It's just another way to enjoy a little green fern that has truly become a delicacy in Northern Maine.

Blessings,
Julie


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good Morning


The sun is trying it's best to shine throught the clouds today, and the wind is gently blowing. It's a beautiful day!

Billie has been fed and watered, so he is now taking a nap in the warm spring air.


Hollie is lounging in her favorite place. She's not spoiled is she?


And I am sitting at my computer contemplating my day. Hmmm? I think I will freeze fiddleheads today. My husband brought a big bag of them home last night, so I really need to get them in the freezer. There is nothing more delicious than a big bowl of fiddleheads! Do you like fiddleheads? Do you have any special recipes? I have a great one. Come back tomorrow and I'll share it with you!

Blessings,
Julie

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hillbilly Apple Cobbler

I don't know about you, but rainy days just make me want to cook.
Everyone who knows my husband and I, knows that my husband is a super cook, but that I love to bake. Probably because I have a sweet tooth. So anyway, I'm always looking for some new recipes. Today I'm going to share with you a really great recipe that someone once shared with me. It's called Hillbilly Apple Cobbler. It is so delicious, you just have to try it!

2 crescent roll tubes
2 granny smith apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 sticks of butter
1 cup white sugar (can also use a sugar substitute ie, splenda...)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups mountain dew

Preheat your oven at 350*. Grease 9 x 13 pan. Peel and quarter apples, then quarter again. You will have 8 slices each. Wrap a crescent roll around each slice and place in pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in sugars & cinnamon. Pour over the wrapped apples, making sure to cover each one. Then pour mountain dew into the pan last. Bake for 45 min. & Enjoy!

I just know you are going to love this recipe, and you're not going to want to stop at just one, either. It's super delicious!


Enjoy!


Blessings,
Julie




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Rainy Day

Good Morning, it's just another rainy day here in Aroostook County. I was up early to let Billie out of his pen and get him fed. Billie is our pet goat. He is 3 1/2 months old and very spoiled. Our son brought him home while we were away. The last thing we needed was a goat, but I have to admit, he's been very easy to become attached to.


The very first thing I had to do was make him a little sweater, because I was sure he was going to be too cold. He was only 9 weeks then. We had a heat lamp in his pen, but in my mind he was still just a baby. Babies need to be warm.


I think he really likes his sweater. Isn't he cute? Hollie, our 2 year old boxer just loves him. They've become best friends. I thought Hollie was going to be a bit jealous, but I don't think Hollie let's too much bother her.


Until tomorrow...

Blessings,
Julie

Monday, May 14, 2012

And So It Begins...

Well, I promised to take you on our adventure with us as we build our new home, so here is where it all starts.


In early March we met with our builder and the man that is doing our blueprints for us. This was one of the most exciting days for us both. Scary, but exciting. I can't believe we are finally going to do this! 



Then we had to have a soil test done. I have to admit that this one really had me worried, because if the soil doesn't pass, you have to find an alternative building site. We were already on Plan C, and we knew we didn't have a Plan D, so this had to work. The soil test took place last week, and after lots of praying...it passed!



Now, on to checking the ground site for ledge, which we found a lot of.  We had to move the house site a few feet in one direction, and then a few feet more in another, due to all the ledge, and I'm sure we'll be moving it again before it's all said and done.

If you have ever built a house before, which by the way we haven't, then you know all about the ups and downs that accompany the whole process. Somebody told me the other day that if your marriage can survive building a new home together, then it can survive anything. My response was that we can all survive anything through prayer. Lots and lots of prayer!

I have been dreaming of this house since 2003. In 2010, my husband finally realized that I was serious about it and hopped on board. Now that we are together in this dream, we are going to enjoy every bit of the process. I will admit, though, that I cannot wait for the interior design part of it!

Well, I have some bananas that are ready to make into banana bread, so until tomorrow...

Blessings,
Julie