Most of us are looking forward to spring. This time of year usually after being cooped up like the chickens all winter makes us all a bit restless. Plans are being made for this years garden and livestock. We have been living off of last years foods that we raised and processed. We’ve been trying to cook out of our freezers to free up room and figuring that the canned stuff will last. With grocery prices rising, you can bet we’ll be re-doubling our efforts on this little farm.
I finally got my own way………we butchered all of the geese. They may be pretty to look at but they make a mess around the farm. Seven geese are now cooked down, shredded and frozen into family sized servings. They have been used for salad topping and sandwich filling so far and they taste delicious. I pressure cooked them in stainless steel Presto and all of the yucky goose-grease dripped down into the waste water.
We also butchered all of the remaining rabbits on the farm. The kids saved all of the pretty fur and I’m not sure what will become of them, but for now they are in the butcher shop. One in particular now graces the 10 point buck rack, looking almost as good as deer fur. You can be sure I am saving all of the now frozen rabbit meat for when Nonna, Anet and Uncle Gino come out in May!! Mom can turn a rabbit into a gourmet meal.
The following are some photos of the food we are consuming here in the wintertime. Most of the good quality foods we’d never be able to afford, having a large family and all. That’s why growing so much food is so important!
Not all of the pizza toppings are home-grown:) We put a large amount of my homemade Mozzarella on these pizzas. The eggplant, Frenchy had in her freezer. Other toppings were the Sweet Baby Bella peppers from Peter’s mother, Stackers, olives, artichoke hearts, pepperoni, onions and garlic. Seasonings are always the same, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and our own dried jalapeno peppers. Parties are a time to splurge though right?
Whole wheat pizza crust is so easy to handle and press out into the pans.
You can make Mozzarella and use it the same day! This stuff tastes as good as the cheese we used to buy in Nazareth, PA at the cheese factory, yum!!
As the days become a bit longer the hens have been laying better. Isabella gathers around 12 to 15 eggs a day. This keeps us happy with enough to eat and bake with.
Believe it or not one, of the favorite vegetables on our plates is our own frozen green beans. The kids request this often. We freeze the beans without blanching. I was always taught never to do this but as long as you eat them within six or eight months, they taste as good as the day they were picked. Just lay the beans on a cookie sheet and freeze until stiff and then remove them from the freezer and package in pint or quart freezer bags. This way they don’t stick together. The method for preparing the beans shown, below is to rinse the frozen beans in hot water. Then place them in a pan with an inch of water and steam boil them until they are just barely cooked. Or if you have any meat broth use the broth in place of the water for an even better flavor. Next, drain the juice and add some butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Top with parmesan cheese and serve. A great side dish for a meat and potato meal.
Okay who’s getting hungry now? Grow what you eat……….and eat what you grow:)
I just got the recipe to make a very good granola from Jessi. THANKS JESSI!! Today I made up four batches and Fred wants me to have it on hand every day from now on. There is honey and butter in it and I think that is what makes the difference. If you know me, you know I try to make things as easy as possible. I hope Jessi isn’t reading this too closely, but I had to simplify the amounts and ingredients. I also replaced the wheat germ, which I don’t have on hand, for coconut. Here is how you do it in my easy terms:)
7 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup of shredded coconut
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil if you prefer)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. vanilla extract
You can mix and match the nuts and other additions. If you don’t have nuts use more oats; if you have nuts use them, just make sure you have 10 cups of something:) Frenchy made some today and used Raisin Bran as one of her additions. Pumpkins seeds are great, sunflower seeds too. Wheat germ is another option. Add raisins or any dried fruits after it is baked and cooled. You decide how many you like.
Mix together in a large bowl the dry ingredients. Melt the butter, then at the last-minute add the honey to soften and the T. of vanilla, stirring well. Pour over the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix well and divide out over two large cookie pans, no grease necessary. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 to 350 degree oven depending on your own oven. Then remove to mix around and bake a bit more till golden brown……..approx. 5 or 10 more min. This recipe fills a large coffee can.
If you don’t have the money to spend on all the extras, you can make granola with just the oats and a cup or two of coconut. It won’t taste as good, but it may go over better than oatmeal:)
As sweet as our honey is and delicious I have one more sweet “thing” to share with you. See below and feel your heart melt. I couldn’t resist…..He looks just like his daddy, Peter! All the grandchildren are just as sweet, by the way, but I just received this photo tonight and had to post it. See for yourself!