Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Name for the Homestead

So, when I started this blog I never expected to actually name our eventual physical homestead "Knotty Oak", only because it was a name that I came up with and my husband had no imput on it at all. I really wanted it to be a name that we both agreed on and liked and felt fit our land.

Well, after being out to the property a few times and getting a sense of the place, this is the name we came up with:  Rocky Pines. The land is very rocky, in fact the cellar of the house was hand carved out of rock and literally looks like a cave down there. And there are a lot of beautiful, tall pine trees on the property. So, the name seems to fit really well! When I mentioned the name idea to my husband he approved with a thoughtful smile saying, "Yeah... I like that!"

Of course, the land isn't ours yet. We're still awaiting word from the seller on a few things. But it's so close! I hope everything works out. I can nearly imagine us there already. :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cinnamon Butternut Squash Muffins

I've been trying to find subtle ways to sneak some squash into our diet. I really like the flavor of butternut squash, but I have a problem with the texture. Not to mention the rest of my family won't eat squash, even to be polite. So, when I found this recipe for Cinnamon Butternut Squash Muffins, I had to give them a try!

Boy, was I floored with how light and fluffy they were! The sweetness is very light and not overpowering like a lot of muffins out there. They could totally have passed for one of those delicious muffins you get at a bakery. And what a great way to use up butternut squash! Here is the recipe with a few of my adaptations:

Cinnamon Butternut Squash Muffins

1 banana, mashed
1 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash
4 eggs
1/3 cup applesauce*
1/3 cup white sugar*
6 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Optional Topping:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

*I think honey would be a great replacement. You could try 1/4 cup honey and keep the applesauce the same or do 1/3 cup honey and reduce the applesauce to 1/4 cup. I've just found that honey makes the batter more liquidy.

1. In stand mixer or mixing bowl, mix banana, butternut squash, eggs, applesauce, sugar, and oil, until well blended.
2. In separate mixing bowl, combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, wheat flour and white flour.
3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until batter forms.
4. Pour into greased baking cups or muffin tins, and sprinkle with brown sugar-cinnamon topping. Makes 18-24 regular size muffins, 48 mini muffins, or 12 regular muffins and 24 mini muffins.
5. Bake at 350. Regular size muffins for 16-18 minutes. Mini muffins for 13-15 minutes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nearly There Homestead!

Isn't it cute?
The windows are a little small, though.

Last week we put in an offer on a house and it was accepted! This means that the reality of owning our own homestead is nearly within our grasp! Woohooo!!!

It was built in 1900, has a sweet little wood stove and sits on .82 acres. This means that I can have freakin' CHICKENS! And some rabbits and a cat and the sled dog I've always dreamed of having ever since watching "Iron Will" and "The Adventures of Natty Gann" as a teenager...

Okay, I need to slow down and take things one at a time.

The property is half woods and has, seriously, a functional outhouse in the middle of the woods. Seriously. Sure, I wish it had a little more land and another bedroom and a second bathroom would be nice (wait, it has an outhouse, so no big deal! haha!), but we are really excited. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high in case the inspection reveals something too scary.

The thing is, is that as far as I can see there are no oak trees. There are quite a few pines near the house, and I can't tell what the deciduous trees are at this point of winter, but do you know what this means? I can't name it Knotty Oak Homestead. It would just be lame without an oak tree. I guess I could plant an oak tree, but I really want to use the space to plant some fruit trees instead. And lots of red currant bushes. Mmmm. Currants. :-)

So what should we call it? Any ideas out there?


A few nights ago I stitched the last stitch on my French Window Pane quilt. Isn't it beautiful??

......Except for the fact that it is about 3 inches too short on both sides.
* SIGH * I will need to be more diligent  about measuring in the future.

But I won't let that fact put a cloud on my happy horizon of SUCCESS! I accomplished my New Years Resolution in a month. Yippee! (Does it count if I had started working on it last year and was almost done anyway?) haha!

Because We All Need to Know...

Bon Appetit's guide to perfect skillet-fried chicken

The perfect fried chicken secret is within our grasp!

I love you Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mother Earth News Comment

I just found out that MEN published a comment I sent in. Yay! It's so great to participate and feel apart of such a great, diverse, and educational environment! Check it out!

Curing and Canning Your Own Bacon

Are you as surprised and thrilled as I am to find out you can cure and can your own bacon??
I love bacon. A lot. But to get the good kind without junk in it like MSG is kind of difficult unless you live near a health food store that sells bacon or Trader Joe's. And it's expensive! It's actually one of my dreams to raise my own free-range hog for our very own endless supply of bacon. Oh yeah!

Nature's Harmony Farm over at Farm Dreams just posted how to cure and can your own bacon.

Here's how you cure your own bacon - without a smokehouse mind you! (Not that I'd mind a smokehouse...)

And here's how you can it!

Aren't you excited!!!???

*Image from
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