Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Apple Fritter Bread

I love the Archer Farms Apple Fritter Bread, but can't find it at my local Target anymore. For that reason I've been looking for a recipe to make my own. This is what I came up with. It is a mash up of a couple different recipes, and my family seems to like it a lot.
If you decide to make this bread, be advised that the dough is very soft and not really good for kneading by hand. I just mix it in a bowl and pour it into the mold when I am ready.

Ingredients (makes one loaf):

3/4 c milk
1/4 c butter
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c water
1 egg

2 apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon

Make the dough first. In a large plastic container, heat the milk in the microwave for one minute, add the butter and heat another 30 seconds. The butter should melt into the milk, but the milk should not boil. After the butter is melted, add the rest of the dough ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well mixed together. Let it rise in a warm place for one hour.

Make the filling: mix all the ingredients in a frying pan and cook until the apples begin to soften (3-4 min). Let it cool.

After the dough rises, it is ready to assemble. Grease a loaf pan and alternate layers of dough and layers of filling. The dough will be soft enough to be poured from the container into the loaf pan, and the layers will mix together a bit.

Let it rise in a warm place for one hour.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Let it cool before taking it out of the pan.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A little table runner from scraps

I had a bit of time to myself on Friday and used it to finish this table runner. I had the blocks sitting around for more than a year, since I pieced the train quilt. These were my practice blocks when I first tried the pattern. All little scraps from the scrap pile in blues and yellows. It finally occured to me to put them together and make a table runner.

I added a simple blue backing fabric and did a binding from strips of denim that I had leftover. I quilted it myself and couldn't be happier with the result. I know that the seams are perfectly straight, and that it has many mistakes, but I love the way it turned out, and that makes it special to me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The bean cube

My dad brought us some beans from his little town in Spain, and I was so thrilled to plant them at home that I had them on the ground by March 15th. It helped that this was a very mild winter, that Daniel hand-watered them all by himself, and that it rained for a couple of days after planting them. Using a mixture of homemade compost and Miracle Grow soil on the top didn't hurt either. By the end of the week we had a bed full of beans!

Since we knew that these were pole beans, I asked Craig to help me by building a support trellis for the beans. My dad thought that we were crazy, and that a few sticks on the ground would suffice, but it is clear that my dad has not been around our garden enough :) A few days later Craig had a three-dimensional trellis made of scrap wood and twine all in place. The beans loved it! The vertical spaces were taken over first, and then the horizontal ones. As of right now, just two months later, we have a solid cube of beans in our garden. It looks like this:
The front of the bean cube has more leaves than the back, mostly due to sun issues, but all the vines are now covered with bean pods.
I can't wait for all the pods to get fat and filled with beans. There is nothing quite like fresh beans, and these historied beans should taste all that much better!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A picture of all the small (and not so small) farmers

We haven't had a family picture taken in a long time. Three kids with widely conflicting schedules might be to blame, or maybe it has been lack of planning on my part. Wait, no, it couldn't possibly be that! :)

This Easter Sunday I figured that all kids were still reasonably clean (some were barefoot, but not dirty) and my dad had his camera handy, so we got a picture of all five of us. It is not perfect by any means, but we're all in it.

I can't help but wonder when did Victoria get so grown up. When did Nicholas get so tall? Why does it look like Daniel is almost bigger than me? And why on earth do I have to carry such a big boy?

I love to have all of them in one single picture. I think I will put it in my office and share it with all my friends. It's amazing what one single little picture can do to cheer you up when you're at work. It makes me think of all the great times we've had together in our little farm. And it makes me dream of all the great times to come.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The cutest horse ever

Although I have made my peace with the fact that we will not be moving out to the country to live in a real farm, there is a tiny hurt in my heart because that means that we will never be able to bring our horse, Padji, to come and live with us. I have never mentioned Padji here on the blog, but he is the one and only horse in my heart and, without a doubt, the cutest horse ever!

We got Padji for Victoria, and she rode him for several years in pre-childrens and childrens classes. He is a Selle Francais, and a ham (in case you can't tell by looking at the pictures) :) They are beautiful together, and I am very proud of all their accomplishments as a team. With Victoria preparing to go to college in the Fall, Padji will be leased out, which means that I won't get to see him much. I am really sad about this, but I can't bring him home, and he will be happy to have a dedicated rider. Or so I hope.

In past years I spent a lot of time at horse shows and horse-related events. Thinking about a future that does not include horses feels a bit strange, and very bittersweet. On one hand, I will have time for reading, gardening, and cleaning my house. On the other hand, I will miss the love of the horses, which is like nothing else I've ever experienced. And I will miss my horsey friends. And I will miss the wonderful compost :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Paris-themed quilt

Victoria's bedroom is decorated in pink and black and has a Parisian theme. I wanted to make her a soft, fluffy throw for Christmas so she could take it with her when she goes to college, something that would remind her of home.

I got the fabrics a bit at a time, just cottons that made me think of the theme, and finally found a Michael Miller pink fabric with Eiffel towers that was what tied it all together. I pieced the top in a fairly simple way. All rectangles are 6x12", and I staggered them while keeping the order constant (I am going to have to branch out and do a random pattern one day, but I am just scared of randomness!).

Once I had the top put togheter, and I found the fluffy fabric that I wanted to use for the backing, I sent it all to Linda at Long Arm Quilting and she did the rest. She searched for an Eiffel Tower quilting pattern and made the whole thing look just perfect. The throw was quilted with no batting, to keep it from getting stiff. It is beautiful, and it drapes so well.

Victoria has mentioned that the throw is a bit on the small side. I think when she goes to live in the dorms she will appreciate its compact size. I know its nice and warm just the way I wanted it. I hope she will grow to love it too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The littlest farmer is two!

Our newest addition to the smallest farm may have been a surprise, but we can't imagine life without him now! I can't believe he is already two years old! We celebrated with friends and neighbors, and then we celebrated some more at day care with all his peers. As you can tell by the picture, the boy loves cake, and the more colorful the frosting, the better!

We got him a Thomas the train cake from Harris Teeter, the obvious choice, which made him very happy. Not only did he get to admire the cake and eat it, he got a train and a caboose to play for. Can't argue with that deal.

It didn't take him long at all to understand that all the fuss was about his birthday, and he was a most gracious host for the most part. He even shared his new toys with all of his friends. Of the toys he got he really didn't seem able to pick a favorite. The Thomas tent was a big hit (and it's thankfully not hard to fold at all, because it sure is big and bulky!). Rocking Elmo was, well, rocking! It is really amazing that Elmo can recognize his instruments and pretty much carry a conversation. And the doctor's kit that he received means that now instead of calling him Mr. Daniel we will have to call him Dr. Daniel. Not bad for a guy who is just two years old!