Monday, June 27, 2011

Farm Fresh Egg Recipes

If you raise chickens, you probably have quite a few eggs to go around, right?  Eggs are a high quality source of protein and a great source of vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids.  Don't let your additional eggs go to waste and trim your grocery budget at the same time by utilizing them in meals besides breakfast!



Below are some recipes to get you started:

1. Egg Salad

8-10 eggs
1/3 cup mayo
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 small dill pickle, chopped
1 tbsp sweet relish
2 stalks of celery, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp tarragon

Hard boil eggs.  Peel and chop eggs. Mix all other ingredients together. Add eggs last and combine well. Great on whole wheat bread for sandwiches or whole wheat crackers.

2. Spinach Quiche

1 bunch Spinach (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup grated cheddar
prebaked 9-inch piecrust
bacon crumbles (*optional*)

Cook spinach and onion in olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. In a bowl, beat eggs with the half-and-half; season with salt and pepper. Mix in the spinach mixture and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and cooked bacon crumbles. Pour into piecrust and bake at 350 degrees until set, 40-45 minutes.


3. Baked Eggs with Cream and Herbs (recipe from Real Simple)

(Ingredients per individual serving)
butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 large eggs
salt and pepper
chopped herbs
toast

Coat four 4-oz ramekins with butter. In each ramekin, place 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Crack 2 large eggs into each ramekin; season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees until the whites are set, 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve with toast.


4. Poached Eggs with Tomato Sauce Over Crispy Marjoram Toasts (recipe from Martha Stewart Living)


olive oil
1 small onion (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 very large can of peeled Italian plum tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp white vinegar
8 large eggs

Four thick slices country bread
freshly grated parmesan
1 1/2 tbsp fresh marjoram, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

(Serves 4)
Cook onion and garlic in hot olive oil until soft and browned, add oregano and cook for about a minute more. Cut up tomatoes white still in can into 1 inch pieces, add to pan and stir well. Cook on medium-high heat until juices thicken slightly, about 10 minutes season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Fill another large saute pan with 1 inch of water. Add vinegar, cover, and bring to boil. Break eggs into small cups and slip gently into boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer. Poach until whites turn opaque and yolks are set, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to tomato sauce. Poach remaining eggs. Serve two eggs over one piece of the marjoram toast.

For parmesan marjoram toasts: Prepare oven broiler. On ungreased baking sheet, toast each side of bread until crisp, 1-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with parmesan, marjoram, and pepper. Return to broiler until cheese melts, 1-3 minutes. Serve warm.

5. "Breakfast" Burritos (yummy for lunch or dinner!)



3-5 eggs
salsa
black beans
shredded cheese (I like Mexican or cheddar)
onion
peppers
hot country sausage
fresh oregano
sour cream
white corn tortillas

Cook sausage, onion, and pepper until tender or browned. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper, and cook until set. Top with salsa, black beans, fresh oregano, shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Serve hot over tortillas.




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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Table

I love eating meals during the summer on the porch....we are fortunate to have one screened-in off the side of our house. Thank goodness it has a ceiling fan to make the Carolina heat tolerable! I can't think of a better way to celebrate summer than to casually dine in vintage style!





My kind of summer table setting is a relaxed one: piles of plates, napkins, utensils, and food spread out in the potluck fashion. A wire basket holds beverages. I'd rather save the fancy place settings and elegant vignettes for more formal Holidays during the colder seasons and for hosting special occasions. During the summer I'd rather be eating meals surrounded by nature and with our chickens close by to keep an eye on (you gotta watch those little stinkers when they are out free-ranging by themselves!).



I like to pair my green vintage-inspired porch furniture with my great-grandmother's casual green and white table linens. The vintage scale was a gift from a friend of ours and is labeled,  "Old Kentucky Home," from a manufacturing company out of Louisville - how perfect! Of course, I had to throw the limes in there for aesthetics and to enhance the effect of the summery greens.  








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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Organized Linen Closet

Don't you love it when your linens and towels are freshly and beautifully folded right where you can see and easily access them? I used to drool over the Martha Stewart images of colored coordinated linens all nicely pressed, folded, and tied up in a bow.

Well, I'm definitely no Martha Stewart when it comes to domestic perfection, but I'll certainly make my best attempt at creating a beautiful and organized linen closet. I'm not sure about you, but I need my linen closet to store as much as possible because I always seems to be out of space to store things (I'm still working on that simplifying thing...).



I decided to keep sets of sheets and towels folded and exposed for easy access. Same for the toilet paper--I just simply stacked the rolls and keep them to one side of the shelf. I used my "Derby Foods" vintage box for storing soaps, green cleaning products, and other bathroom toiletries when not in use during Derby time. Lastly, I hung a home-made curtain with a tension rod to hide my husband's beer-brewing equipment in the open space underneath.



a home-made curtain hung by a simple tension rod
provides valuable hidden storage space

Ahhh, a fresh look for my linen closet!  If you don't have the luxury of a linen closet (we used to not have one when we lived in our apartment just a few years ago), you can create one either by using a free-standing book shelf or cabinet that will adequately hold your linens and bath necessities. Try adding baskets or decorative boxes for pretty storage for things that you don't want on display.




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Thursday, June 16, 2011

My, how they've grown!

My sweet little chicks are quickly turning into adolescents! In April one of our hens, Rosemary, hatched out seven chicks. One of the chicks hatched a week later than the others and she rejected it, so inside it went soon to be joined by a Partridge Rock chick. The Partridge Rock was supposed to be a pullet, but we are afraid it might be a roo. You can read about this chick's story here. We primarily raise Dominiques, the oldest American breed and an endangered one at that, but now that we have a Partridge Rock, I am toying with the idea of bringing more of their breed into the flock.

They are nearly ten weeks old. It's amazing how fast they change...

exploring the great outdoors

taking a dust bath together
checking out the lavender

"Little Bit" and the Partridge Rock chick

this Partridge Rock, whether it turns out to be male or female, is the sweetest
chick ever....lets me hold and pet and doesn't fuss much- and it has the sweetest little cheep noises too :)
noooooooo the chicks aren't friendly at all....not at all...
ok, just kidding...the females actually love
to fly up on our shoulders to roost


Soon we will be giving away three of the chicks to some friends and getting rid of two of the males. We have yet to name the ones that remain. To continue with the herb/spice name theme, I'm considering the names Basil, Tansy, Coriander or "Cori" for short, and Peppermint or "Pepper" for short. What do you think?


Monday, June 13, 2011

Day Trip of the Month: Sequoia National Park, CA


Greetings from the Sequoia National Forest! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on any “day trips,” so I thought I’d slip one in for you from the giant Sequoia trees in the mountains of California (although it’s more like a “week” trip than a “day trip for sure!). 


My husband and I are here with our family for his sister’s wedding, and it couldn’t be a more beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony. Since our arrival we’ve enjoyed hiking, family meals, sightseeing, fishing, and catching up with loved ones we haven’t seen in a while!
hiking to Tokopah Falls

Wuksachi Lodge
one of the many breathtaking views on our hike
to Tokopah Falls

The giant Sequoia trees were one of my favorite things about the park.  I also loved the lime green moss that grows on the trunks of the spire top Sequoias. We even spotted a bear in one of the meadows!


The General Sherman Tree, the world's largest tree by volume and
one of the "monarchs" in the Giant Forest


That's me on the far left of the tree trunk- just for scale to demonstrate
how enormous the trees are! 

We couldn't have had more breathtaking views and a more perfect setting for the wedding day! 



We will be traveling home tomorrow back to our little homestead, grateful for our chicken sitter who watched our flock while we were away (can you guess that I've missed my chickies?).  Until then, have a wonderful week and enjoy the great outdoors!




Thursday, June 2, 2011

Home Office Progress and Desk Transformation

Remember that desk I found off of Craigslist for only $25 a while back?? Well, I finally got around to working on it as well as getting the rest of the home office in order! Due to the rough shape of the desk (1951 Lester Bros.), I decided to paint the bottom rather than refinish and instead refinished the top. I cleaned and sanded the top, stained, and finished it with a coat of polyurethane.

the "before" picture of the desk;
although I like the original finish, it was in horrible shape


I decided to try out the Annie Sloan Chalk paint everyone has been raving about and was pleased with the results. It covers very well and doesn't require any sanding or priming. I used the color "Cream." The bottom of the desk is finished off with a coat of paste wax.

The transformation is certainly not complete, but I thought I'd share with you our progress so far...


For the tutorial on the slipcover for my $5 office chair, click here



The top didn't sand down very well for an even finish due to all of the deep
scratches, but that's ok with me :)

I found this vintage filing cabinet for $30 at my
local university surplus store. I love the brass hardware.


a basket for papers and bills


I can't get enough of old books




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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Brick Pathway


The way our house is situated on the sloping front yard, there is a slight drainage ditch just before the brick steps that lead to the front porch. Since we park our cars on the circular gravel drive leading to the house from the road, the sunken ditch stands between our cars and our front steps, making it awfully muddy and not very pleasant to cross when its been raining outside. To my delight and surprise, over Easter weekend,  my husband and his parents who were visiting  decided to build a brick path with pavers and stones found scattered all over our property. 

With a lot of digging and hard work, we have a new curved brick pathway leading to our gravel drive with the only purchases required being some pebbles and sand. We eventually hope to transplant more of our perennials to line the edges of the pathway.

To finish off the pathway, we added some stones that were found around our property. The final touches were some perennials and mother-of-thyme planted on either side for some visual appeal and practical use in the kitchen!








And there you have it, a new walkway welcoming folks to our home without having to step through the mud!