About Me

My photo
Baker. Cook. Gardener. Animal Lover.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Don't Be Fooled

It's not what it seems. John and I were both burnt out on poultry. So he says...why don't you make some enchiladas. We had some really good avocados that I had gotten up in Templeton at Nature's Touch..and they were perfectly ripe. So mexican night sounded good. Just so you know, I make the worlds worst enchiladas and have vowed time and time again to NEVER make them again. But I had a long Saturday alone..everyone was gone..and thought..why not..I'll give it another shot. So I asked myself..just why are my enchiladas so bad. The sauce. That's it. I use that canned stuff. You know the one. The Las Palmas Sauce. It is horrible. So, I thought...I'll cruise Epicurious and see how to make the real red chili sauce. Found a recipe from Gourmet..said you need dried red chilis. So I loaded up and headed to New Frontier..our local health food store.Got the dried chilis..came home..toasted them...soaked them in water..then boiled them to soften them for about 20 minutes. Got out the blender. Puree..puree..puree....whiz..whiz...whiz.. 3 batches..press it though the sieve..got out another cast iron skillet..made the roux of flour and oil...heated and thickend the sauce..and you know what..the sauce was good....but I still have the enchilada challenge ahead. So I grated a mountain of monterey jack cheese..the good stuff...heated another pan of oil..dipped in the tortillas..drained..rolled up the cheese in the tortilla..and they looked great. Ta Da...I think I did it. These look really good. John comes home all excited for his mexican night supper. We build a fire, picked out a nice wine..slipped the enchiladas in the oven..bake...bake...bake.. take them out..uh oh...pure mush...looked like a pile of cornmeal mush...Really, really bad.....so that's it for me..I'm done with 'em....next time we are going to Taco Bell.

Candy Cup Garland

I saw these paper garlands over at Katy Elliot and she saw them from blogger Pam Garrison. Things were quiet around Farmhouse on Thanksgiving Eve afternoon, so I got out some candy cups, some were white and some were silver. I had picked them up a few days ago just because they were so cute. Had no idea what I was going to do with them. Got some string and a crotchet hook, punched a hole in the flattened out paper cups and started stringing. I have them over the windows in my window seat downstairs here in the kitchen. They look cute at night when the lights shine through them. Would be a fun holiday project to do with kids. It's easy...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve Greetings From Farmhouse

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, dear friends. I've made the cranberry sauce and am off to pick up a few last minute things for Thanksgiving. I couldn't leave without wishing all of you a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends. All of you have given me so much pleasure over the past few months with your visits and inspriation. When I started this blog last July I had no idea how much it would open my world to meeting so many wonderful new friends from all over the world.But it has. I am so lucky to have met all of you and I look forward to the Christmas holidays. I am thankful for each and every one of you and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Most of you who read me know I wish I was in New England...so yesterday for me was not my favorite sort of day.I'll just say it. It's hot out here in California.We took Buddy to Burger King for a double cheeseburger. He loves the drive-thru down in Arroyo Grande. Then we drove along the Pacific into Pismo Beach..checked out all the surfers, beach goers,and assorted dog walkers in the sand. After that we made our way to Avila Beach. Buddy loves the little playground there. I however do not. But I do it for him. People were actually laying out on the beach. On Thanksgiving. And they love it...but to tell you all the truth, it was putting me in a really bad mood.Where are the falling red maple leaves,the woodsmoke curling from chimneys,big overstuffed couches piled high with wool plaid blankets, apple cider simmering on the stovetop? It was smoothies and sunscreen here.KSBY T.V. was on early this morning. Did he just say we will reach a high of 81 degrees on Thanksgiving? He did. I heard him. 81 degrees. As I write this all the doors and windows are wide open and Buddy is panting. I may have to get the fan back out. And I wanted to put on my flannel Santa sheets today. Maybe not today.

But it is Thanksgiving..and I have alot to be grateful for. So I told John I'm done complaining.The weather should be the least of my problems... so now I feel greedy and petty for ever even saying anything. There is so much worse that 81 degrees. Way worse.So I am letting it go. I am thankful for the turkey in my refrigerator, the big sack of brown russet potatoes on my drainboard,the bakery box of rolls,the fresh green beans,the cranberries and the little carton of cream,my bag of walnuts from farmers market and the Limbertwig apples from Gopher Glen. My crock of fresh butter with sea salt.My soft warm bed upstairs,my garden, my kitty Whiskey sleeping happily in that red plaid chair,getting to take Buddy on his walk, what was left of my walnut bread to have toasted this morning with my "JOY" tea.The goldfinches tweeting at the feeder, my family....and all of you, my dear friends. I am thankful for you... Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Walnut Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I decided to start a new tradition this year here at Farmhouse. The weekend before Thanksgiving I thought it would be nice to bake some breakfast bread to have in the morning with our coffee and tea. So I got out my "Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart and flipped through the pages the other night. That's it. That's the one. The Walnut Cinnamon Raisin bread. Had to make a quick run to Scolaris in the morning for the raisins, but other than that I had everything in the pantry. I mixed all the ingredients in the morning..it has yeast so it needed time to rise. After it rose in a couple of hours I flattened it out and pressed on the cinnamon sugar, rolled it up,placed it in the pans and let it rise again.It was getting late in the afternoon and my kitchen was getting dark, so I turned on the oven and in went the bread. While it baked I went outside...Christmas music playing....and got out my outdoor lights.I had John move a Christmas Tree that I have had in a big clay pot for years by the french door going out to the garden...and this year it will get lights. Later this afternoon John and I are going out to Baywood Park for farmers market...there is an italian man there that has the best old variety grapes. I want some for Thanksgiving and some for my cranberry and Limbertwig salad.It felt so Thanksgiving this morning on our walk with Buddy. The liquid amber on the corner of Church and Morro Street is bright red now. We call it the Thanksgiving tree. And it did not dissapoint...it was stunning this morning as the sun rose over Terrace Hill, the cold late November winds blew and the dark clouds floated through the sky.

Late this afternoon we are going to take Buddy for a walk. Saturday evening we hit the Motherlode of nature world. 2 barn owls. High up in a cedar tree. One took flight soaring quietly off towards that sliver of a moon against the dark inky sky. The other one stared at us...and Buddy. Big flat white face...orange eyes..and then, we heard them..hoooo hoooo....hoooo hoooo....going at 5 tonight to see if we can see them.....I'll let you know.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Helen - Entrepreneur Age 5

Her name is Helen, isn't she cute? Yesterday my sister-in-law and I loaded up and headed over the hill to make a run at Target. As we were leaving the neighborhood, we rounded the bend..and there she was. With her little Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale. How could we possible pass her by. So we pulled to the curb, opened the door and surveyed the offerings. She had a nice selection of cookies, brownies and even some chocolate dipped marshmallows.She said it was a fundraiser for Heifer.org. A worthy cause indeed. So we bought some cookies and headed out on our way. I wonder how she did?

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Dreaming of This

There it is...My dream....isn't it adorable? It is here in San Luis Obispo. I can't stop driving by it. We (John) is going to TRY and see if we can come just a LITLE bit close to this here at Farmhouse. He is going to put on the little shed roof and we are going to plant a Virgina Creeper to grow over it. I have it bad for that vine-covered cottage thing. When we moved here 2 years ago the garden was a concrete driveway..the downstairs, well, I can't even talk about it, it was that bad. We pretty much have the inside done...( 2 years of living in a remodel with 2 cats and a blind dog, thank you.)Now for the outside. We need to plant some trees. Turning the whole thing into a vegetable garden was just too much.
We are going to get some liquid amber trees and plant, plant, plant. I don't know how close we can come to this dream..but we'll try. Wish us luck. We're gonna need it.

Eggnog Scones...The Recipe

I love collecting old books...these are a few I have gathered along the way...now...wondering to do with some of that leftover eggnog...well, make eggnog scones. These are perfect for Thanksgiving morning. You can make them the day before and freeze them...then in the morning just put on a pot of coffee or some tea and pop them in the oven to nibble on while you cook and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The colder they are before you bake them the better.

Eggnog Scones
Farmhouse Kitchen

Recipe adapated from King Arthur Flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees


2 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup cold eggnog

1 Tablespoon eggnog
2 Tablespoons sparkling white sugar or cinnamon sugar


In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Work in butter till crumbly.
In a seperate bowl mix together egg, vanilla, and eggnog.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix together till moist and holds together.This dough is easy to work with.

On a parchment lined baking sheet place dough and pat into a 10 inch circle. Score it in wedges like you were cutting a pie. (Mine never scores very well.)

Brush with eggnog and sprinkle with sugar.

For best texture and highest rise place scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered while oven is heating. Bake at preheated 425 degrees for 20 mintues or till golden brown. I had to really watch the last of the cooking. Make sure a toothpick comes out clean before you remove from the oven. Scones are best served warm with jam or butter. They can easliy be reheated.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

While Visions Of Drumsticks Danced In Our Heads

Aren't those sheets just the cutest? I got them years ago from Garnet Hill. I have never seen them since. I put them on my bed every Thanksgiving. Reminds me of Grandma Moses. The oak tree sits right outside my bedroom window and at Thanksgiving it turns the color of gold. I wait for it all year..the way the early morning sun coming up over Terrace Hill catches the light on the leaves just right. The little wood stove is called "Squirrel" because on both sides it has squirrels.It is so cozy when John makes me a fire in it upstairs at night...while the cold winds blow through the old oak tree. The little ladies rocker is from Castine, Maine. It used to sit in the Castine Inn. Life is very strange...I got the rocker many many years ago, and by chance I have become friends with the lady who ran the Castine Inn. She now lives in Santa Barbara...about an hour and 15 minutes south of me here in San Luis Obispo. Julie and I were lucky enough to stay at The Castine Inn when we went to New England. I wonder if they have room for us at the inn this year for Thanksgiving?

Let's Talk Fruitcake...Or Not

Well dear friends, we are one week away from Thanksgiving. I have the wreath on the door and have been staring at a box of Christmas lights all morning. Do I dare? Maybe just on the little tree outside the garden door. It would make me very happy. Got some of my yelloware bowls out for Thanksgiving. And I got into RED PLAID to get out Bessies Fruitcake recipe....I know, I said it...Fruitcake. But I am thinking of taking Bessie's recipe..which calls for candied fruit and using dried fruit and nuts instead. You know, like dried cranberries and raisins..dried apple and apricot.And english walnuts. It is so good toasted in the morning with tea.

Rain is forecast for Friday, so I am on my way to the market to get all the ingredients for making french onion soup. I did the one out of my beloved Vincent Price "A Treasury Of Great Recipes" last time which is made with chicken stock.And it was good. But this time I am going to go Julia's way and make the one of her's with beef stock.

The Christmas music is on..the gold finches are at their feeder, Pixiegirl is laying right outside my door getting all that good November morning sun, firewood is stacked and the Thanksgiving grocery list is being made.Only one week to go.Let's enjoy every minute.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Around The Farm

On The Door

Here is the Rose Hip Wreath on the door. The little brown socks hanging on the other side of the door are a pair of Amish doll socks....a gift from a friend.


When we moved to Farmhouse one of the first things I did was plant 2 roses...and I'm not much of a rose fan. But when we left Cambria one of the saddest things to leave behind was my Soaring Spirits rose. It was a rose named after 9/11. And I loved that rose.It grew over an arbor that I had painted yellow. I heard through the village grapevine that the lady who bought the house had torn out my New England garden...yellow arbor, picket fence and....yep....Soaring Spirits went too. Heard she paved it all over and added a gas fire pit. How perfect is that? I don't want to see it. I have never been back by the house since the day I loaded up Buddy and my kittys and headed South down Highway One to San Luis Obispo. So this summer my rose was really beautiful. I couldn't find another Soaring Spirits at my local Farm Supply...so I got Berries and Cream instead. The picture of the rose is one of the very last of the season. All the rest have gone to rose hips. So yesterday I clipped the rose hips and made this wreath for my door for the Holiday Season. The base is just a styrofoam one I picked up at Michaels and wrapped it with green floral tape.I waited till late in the afternoon when the sun was starting to sink and the temperature dropped. Put on my Christmas music, got out the old glue gun... and made the wreath. It's on my french door as you head out to the garden... An early Christmas gift...from my friend...Berries and Cream.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eggnog Scones In The Kitchen

We woke to another frosty morning today. All of the rooftops were covered in white frost. And it was cold. We could see our breath as we headed out the door in slippers and scarves to take Buddy for his walk. When we made it back home John built a fire and I headed into the kitchen to make eggnog scones and tea. We had a fire last night too. I made cheese fondue, sauteed some sausages, boiled a few white rose potatoes and diced from french bread. We sat in front of the fire nibbling on food dipped in cheese just like two mice. We wrapped up in wool blankets with Buddy between us, played Christmas music and had a wonderful early winter supper.