Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This blog is moving…


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Over the past year or so, this space has done quite a bit of changing. I still LOVE to sew, but my interests have expanded tremendously, and the metamorphosis around here has been evidence to that effect. I will leave this site intact, as I know many beginning seamstresses are visiting daily, but I will no longer be posting here.

I will continue my adventures in blogging, sewing, cooking, gardening, soap making, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I would love it if you’d follow me over here:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

An Idyllic Spring Weekend


When it finally stopped raining, we promptly headed to our local Farmer’s Coop. We came home with several varieties of onions to plant and… We are now the proud owners of 18 (EIGHTEEN!) baby chicks. Much fun was had this first day of spring.


Sammy didn’t know what to think of all the chirping. One thing’s for sure… We’re going to have to watch her around those chicks!


Just so you know, when the sun finally made an appearance late Thursday evening, after being cooped up in the house all week, we didn’t hesitate to get out there in our pajamas!


Eww… Worms! I don’t hate ‘em. I just don’t want to touch them.


Fish were caught.

My Crocs

Crocs were worn.


We laughed.


My littlest love picked me many flowers.


Chalk pictures were created.


Isn’t she adorable? My little climber bit the dust this week. Ended up with a strawberry across that sweet little cheek. Poor baby.


I started 100 seedlings. Whew! I’m glad this was something I could do sitting down.


A front porch swing was a welcome addition to our little farm.


Ground cherries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and celery were all seeded.


I love to use Jiffy Peat Pellet Greenhouses. They make starting seeds easy and they are inexpensive. I always save mine to use the next year because you can buy refill pellets. You can get them anywhere that sells seeds or plants.


I use seed starting mix for the transplants I want to allow to get larger before transplant, like tomatoes. And I like to wet it before I add the seeds. Much easier that way.


I was glad to have a garden helper today. Thanks, Daniel!


When our work was done, we gave the swing a little test drive.

It’s a keeper!


After Sara Lynn fell, and hurt her cheek, I asked her what would make her feel better. I was thinking of the boo-boo bunny (a clever little ice pack) or maybe a kiss. Nope. She wanted pretty toes… That’s my girl!

Garage Mess

This is what we should have been doing this week. Cleaning out all the odds and ends from the garage. I mean, really. We’ve been here 6 months!!!


All in all, I’d say this was a wonderful Spring Break. I hope your first day of Spring was as fabulous as ours.

Just a note, I may be a little scarce around here over the next week or two. I’m having surgery again Monday. I have another ruptured disc in my neck. Please say a little prayer for me that I will be healed of this pain very soon. I have so many things that I want to do! And many things that I need to do.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Um… lots and lots of local heirloom seeds!


Well, first of all, this man of mine really does love me. I’ve spent the last year or so looking for local heirloom seeds. I haven’t had any luck. At all.


Imagine my surprise when he came home yesterday with three very large boxes packed full of local heirloom seeds!


He even found heirloom seed potatoes, but couldn’t remember the name of them. I’ll have to give them a call later to find out.


Oh, how happy those Christmas Limas make me!!! For those of you who live near Montgomery (I’m thinking of you, Mary Frances) head on over to Wetumpka, Seed Processors, Inc. You will be so glad you made the short trip. It’s only about 10 minutes outside of Montgomery. These are the medium size packets, and most of them cost $2.00 or less. Sigh. That sweet man of mine bought me one package of everything in the store. Not all of them are heirloom varieties, but they are all locally grown, which means they should grow well for us. Yay!

Here's my list of seeds: (the ones not marked local came from Seed Savers)


Blue Lake (pole) green (local)

Blue Lake (bush) green (local)

Kentucky Wonder (pole) (local)

Kentucky Wonder (bush) (local)

Rattlesnake (pole) green (local)

Contender (bush) (local)

Dixie Butterpea (bush) (local)

Cangreen Lima (bush) (local)

Jackson Wonder Lima (Bush) (local)

Christmas Lima (pole) (local)

Fordhook Bush (local)

Florida Butter Bean (pole) (local)

Henderson Bush (local)

Willow Leaf Lima (pole) (local)

Roma II Italian (bush) (local)

Good Mother Stollard (pole)

Cherokee Trail of Tears Black (pole)


Detroit Dark Red (local)


Romamesco spiral


Copenhagen Market


Hale's Best Jumbo (local)


Honey Dew (local)

Rocky Ford (local)

Planter's Jumbo (local)


Chantenay (local)


Imperator (local)


Snowball (local)


Georgia Collards (local)

Morris Heading (local)


Hickory King Yellow (local)

Hickory King White (local)

Trucker's Favorite White (local)

Trucker's Favorite Yellow (local)

Golden Bantam

Country Gentleman

2 inch Strawberry Popcorn


Spacemaster Bush (local)

Marketer (local)

Pickling (local)

True Lemon


Aunt Molly's


Siberian Improved (local)



Southern Giant Curled (local)

Florida's Broadleaf (local)


Dwarf Long Pod (local)

Clemson Spineless (local)

Hill Country Red


Yellow of Parma


Pinkeye Purple Hull (local)

English Peas/Early Alaska (local)

English Peas/Sugar Snap (local)

English Peas/Little Marvel (local)

California Blackeye

Mississippi Purple Hull (local)

Black Crowder (local)

Knuckle Purple Hull/Brown Crowder (local)

Zipper Cream Peas (local)

Top Pick Cream Peas (local)

Mississippi Cream Peas (local)

Mississippi Silverskin (local)


Nepalese Bell (4)

Tobago Seasoning (3)

Alma Paprika (1)

Buran (0)


Scarlet Globe (local)

Sparkler White Tip (local)


Rutabaga (unknown) (local)




Bloomsdale (local)


Acorn/Table Queen (local)

Cornfield Pumpkin

Dark Green Zucchini (local)

Yellow Crookneck (local)

Yellow Straightneck (local)

Butternut (unknown) (local)



Green Zebra

Gold Medal

Cherokee Purple



Shogoin (local)

Purple Top (local)

White Egg (local)


Black Diamond (local)

Crimson Sweet (local)

Desert King Yellow Meat (local)

Congo (local)

Charleston Gray (local)

Jubilee (local)

Sugar Baby Icebox (local)

Moon and Stars (Van Doren)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Homemade Whole Grain Pizza Crust


You may have noticed that I’ve been consumed with bread making this month. It was a big part of my commitment to the Real Food Challenge over at Not Dabbling in Normal. It’s also been nice to make all of our bread. I’ve even made noodles and tortillas, which I’ll share later. But for now, I wanted to share this wonderful whole wheat pizza crust recipe with you. It’s easy and delicious.


As usual, I used a 1/2 spelt, 1/2 wheat mix in my dough, but I’m sure it would be delicious with all whole wheat. And I topped it with pizza sauce, cooked and crumbled ground beef (seasoned heavily with minced onions, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper), thinly sliced zucchini and bell pepper, and lots of mozzarella cheese. I always use whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand to top our pizza, and this week we had zucchini in our Grow Alabama vegbox, and I scored some semi-local Florida bell pepper at the health foods store.

It’s raining, again, but if it ever stops, I’m planning to start seeds for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and onions this week. I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into some fresh tomatoes!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It’s raining, it’s pouring…


And the kids are NOT snoring. This Spring Break is quickly turning into a wash-out. I enjoy a good rainy day now and again, but this is a bit much. It was nice out yesterday, and we did get out and do a bit of garden shopping. Asparagus, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, kiwis, and raspberries were purchased. But, poor Sara Lynn just declared that this day was boring.


This is the second rainy day this week… and it’s just Wednesday!We had such high hopes of spending this week outside getting the garden beds planted, doing a bit of fishing, and jumping on the trampoline. Oh, well. It’ll all have to wait.


We’ve had fashion shows…


Played more video games than I usually allow…


Baked some Apple Oat Muffins


Enjoyed a tea party or two…


These muffins are really good. And good for you, too.

Go make some already! They’re super easy.


I love the way rain looks coming down across the water.


And I’m ecstatic now that the pear trees are in bloom. Now, if only the sun would make an appearance, we could get outside and enjoy this delicious taste of spring. Meanwhile, I’m off to do some puzzles with these antsy kids of mine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

4:00pm… Spring Break 2010


Well, no one seemed to mind that our first day of Spring Break was spent indoors. The weather was overcast, misting rain at times, so the day was perfect for this…


and this…


and even this…


While everyone else was busy catching a few zzz’s, Mama spent the afternoon in her kitchen happily trying new recipes. I have more delicious goodness to share with you soon.

Yep. It was a good day.

I’ve been itching to do a little sewing lately, but to be honest, it’s just too hard on my neck to stay at the machine very long. I’m having what I hope will be the last surgery on my neck Monday. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do all the things I want to do very soon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Favorite Whole Grain Sandwich Bread and Cinnamon Rolls (or Sticky Buns)


The secret to really good whole wheat sandwich bread that is moist and soft is allowing it to rise properly. I allow this dough to rise four times. It’s also important to knead your dough long enough. This can take quite a while if you’re kneading by hand.

When I knead by hand, I knead for 15 minutes, allow my dough (and me!) to rest for 10 minutes, and then knead for 15 minutes more. These days, I prefer to use my KitchenAid’s dough hook attachment and allow it to knead for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough appears somewhat smooth and elastic.

For the 1st rise, place the dough into a bowl with a tablespoon or two of EV olive oil. Turn the dough to coat all sides, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

For the 2nd rise, punch dough down gently, turn it over, cover, and allow it to rise again until doubled. This usually takes half the time of the first rise.


For the third rise, punch dough down gently once more, divide and shape as desired (above I used half the dough for a sandwich loaf and the other half for cinnamon rolls), and place in pans, again covered with a towel, to rise until almost doubled, about 20 minutes.

The forth rise happens during the first 5 minutes of baking.


You can see here what a difference it makes in the final product. Mmmm….


I try to keep my cinnamon rolls somewhat healthy by not using too much sugar, and the sugar I use is organic evaporated cane juice. I usually use 1/2 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon for the filling, and 8 ozs. of cream cheese whipped with 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar for the topping. Sometimes we drizzle honey over the top instead.

Feel free to experiment with your own ideas. More ideas here.


Oh, my! These are sooooo delicious!


Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!


Here’s the recipe I adapted from Sue Gregg’s Whole Grain Baking Cookbook:

Whole Grain Dough

1 cup hot water

3/4 cup plain yogurt, whey, kefir, buttermilk,      ~ or 1/2 cup lemon juice (I prefer Stonyfield Creamtop Plain Yogurt)

4 cups whole wheat flour, spelt, or kamut  (I substitute 1/2 cup of soy flour for extra protein, and use half spelt/half wheat mix)

Mix above ingredients, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to stand overnight. (This is optional, and I sometimes forget to do this the night before. The bread is still delicious when prepared the same day. Soaked grains are easier to digest.)

1 cup warm water

1 TBSP active dry yeast (or 1/4 oz packet)

1/2 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. baking soda (added after mixture bubbles)

Mix above ingredients and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes, until frothy.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp. sea salt

Mix above ingredients and add it, flour mixture, and yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. Knead by hand (or machine) until well blended. Turn out onto floured surface (if hand kneading) and knead for 20-30 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If kneading by machine, knead for 10-15 minutes.

1-2 cups whole wheat, spelt, or kamut flour

You may add up to 2 additional cups of flour to dough as needed to prevent sticking while kneading. I usually add about 1 cup of flour, only adding enough to allow dough to pull away cleanly from sides of mixing bowl. If you add to much flour, your dough will be dry and tough!

***Follow the directions at the top of this post for rising.

This recipe makes 2 loaves, or 1 loaf and one pan of cinnamon rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (or until the loaf sounds hollow when you thump it) for loaves, and 20-25 minutes for cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!


TIPS: If you need instructions on assembling the cinnamon rolls, try here. Instead of cutting with a knife, I use a piece of string (fishing line or dental floss work best!) slid gently beneath the log of dough, and then pulled crosswise across the top. It makes the cleanest cut. And I cook all my bread in stoneware pans. It cooks more evenly without allowing the bottom to become too brown. Don’t forget to spray or grease the bottom of your pans!

How to knead

How to shape loaves

Understanding yeast

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Decision made: Canon EOS Rebel XS


It’s a done deal. I am now the owner of a Canon EOS Rebel XS. It came with two lenses, bonus Canon bag, and an in depth instruction manual (which I will rely heavily upon!) I’m excited about learning to use this DSLR camera, but must admit that it is a bit intimidating. So, if my shots around here over the next few weeks are less than perfect… you’ll know why!


Tonight, I’ve folded my favorite quilt, put away my flannel pajamas, and settled  into my favorite chair wearing springtime pajamas. The windows and screened doors are open, and it feels so good to have a comfortably cool breeze blowing through the house. This amazingly beautiful, 75 degree day has motivated me to learn to use this camera in record time.


All of the trees show visible budding, and I can hardly wait to plant my spring garden! I’m ready, are you?