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Showing posts from December, 2011

French Green Lentil Soup

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I get a little nutty after Christmas, I have to clean everything, scrub everything, start the New Year off right.  Along with cleaning the house comes cleaning the body and the mind.  Our house is mostly vegetarian, if you can really use the term "mostly" connected to vegetarian.  We eat meat, milk, or butter about once a week; instead of "Meatless Monday" we have "Meat Sunday".  The rest of the week, we are dedicated vegetarians and we sometimes actually err closer to vegan than vegetarian.  No animal products, mostly raw food, and whole foods.  Don't get me wrong, I don't have the energy to really commit to being vegan, but we try to get as close to it as we can.

With all of the post-holiday cleaning and madness, I always get hungry for soup, and I really love lentil soup.  It is easy, vegetarian, wholesome and I always feel great after I eat it.  It's not raw, but on cold winter days, I really gravitate to soup.  It's great with a sli…

Frosty...

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I had to share these, they are so cute!!!  I made them for our bonfire tonight.  Frosty the snowman sugar cookies, bundled up in a blue scarf, ready for the celebration.  I had so much fun making these.  Give me a tube of butter and sugar with an array of colors to play with, and I can be happily occupied for hours!  Really these only took about an hour of my time last night.  These would be so cute for a New Year's party!


His body is piped with a large round tip, his hat used a slightly smaller round tip.  Eyes and mouth are done with the same tip as the hat.  Buttons are done with a small star tip.  His warm blue scarf is piped with a flat 1/2-inch tip and his nose is squiggled on with a very small round tip.  Really easy and the design is so uncomplicated, even I can do it!!!  That should tell you how easy it is!!!

Hope you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  Be sure to tell those around you how much you love them...that is what the season is all about!

Homemade Marshmallows

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Every Christmas Eve, we make a big bonfire and sit around it telling Christmas stories, reading the scriptural account of Jesus' birth, roasting homemade marshmallows, eating sugar cookies, and sipping hot chocolate.  We stay up as late as the kids want, then it's tub time and off to bed so that Santa can come.  We started this little tradition a few years ago.  Everyone in our extended family either has to work or has some kind of Christmas party on the 24th.  We were always alone on Christmas Eve, so we created something that we could do to have fun and be together as a family.  I love having a unique family tradition, and I hope that my kids grow up to remember Christmas Eve as something that was always fun and really special.


Since we are talking traditions, have you ever had a homemade marshmallow?  These are a tradition at our house every Christmas.  Ohhhhhhhhhh.......baby!!!  They are incredible!  These are soft and literally melt in your mouth.  (***Excuse me, I am w…

Gingersnap Palmiers

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I don't know what I would do if I couldn't give at Christmas.  Really, there is nothing more meaningful or joyful than giving something of yourself to those you love.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about, LOVE? I think so.  
Since we are on the topic of love, I love these simple and fantastic cookies.  Gingersnap Palmiers are so easy to make, they are crispy, and full of sweetness and spice when you bite into them.  These really couldn't be easier!


GINGERSNAP PALMIERS Modified from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 tsp coarse salt 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground allspice 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 14 ounces good quality thawed frozen puff pastry
Method:
Bring brown sugar, molasses, ginger and 1/4 cup water to simmer in a saucepan, whisking until sugar has dissolved.  Simmer until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Pour …

A Little Farmgal Christmas Fun in Photos

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I have been working so hard (12 and 13 hour days at the hospital), Christmas has kind of crept up on me, and I am realizing that I need to prioritize and spend some extra time with my two farmhands.  After a day of delivering cookies and gifts to friends and family, we decided that it was time for a little Christmas spirit, something special and fun.  

Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City gets lit up with millions of tiny sparkling lights.  Every year we go to see it, honestly it is gorgeous, with all the architecture in the background of the lights.  Everyone is in a holiday kind of mood and the place buzzes with energy.  Last year we went on a night when it had snowed 2-feet throughout the day.  I have never been downtown when it has been so quiet.  Hardly anyone was there and we seemed to have the place to ourselves.  We took a horse drawn carriage ride and loved it so much, we decided to repeat it this year.  I think that my little farmhands really enjoyed sipping hot chocola…

Allison's Honeyed Almond-Cherry Shortbread

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Okay...can you say, "divine"?  Yep...these cookies are just that.  They are so earthy but complex at the same time.  Shortbread with bits of honeyed almonds and cherries macerated in marsala.  Good bye diet!!!  No, not really goodbye, just turn your head while I take a bite.  These really are one of my new found favorite cookies and they bring some bright fruity flavors into my holiday cookie mix.  Yum!!!  The best thing about these is that the dough can be made a few months in advance and then frozen.  Just bring the dough to room temperature before you slice it.


This is a Martha Stewart Recipe, not really modified.  The original recipe macerates the cherries in sherry, I simply didn't have it and I wasn't going to the store for two tablespoons of sherry.  Instead of sherry, I had a very nice bottle of marsala, so I used that.  They were fantastic.  I never have great luck with the Martha recipes, there is always something a little off about them, they never turn …

Healthy Granola as Teacher Gifts

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Teacher gifts are hard.  I think that the teachers always get bombarded with a slew of unhealthy things, made with big hearts and good intentions.  I always try to give something useful or healthy to our teachers, and it seems to be a bit harder every year.


I have this fantastic granola recipe that is amazing over yogurt or with almond milk (or regular milk...I just happen to be an almond milk junkie...).  It's healthy, it's loaded with nutrition, it's pretty, and fits in any cute jar.  Tie it with a ribbon and a cute homemade tag, and you have a healthy, and hopefully appreciated gift.  You can include a gift card to a teacher supply store or a ream of paper tied with a ribbon and it would surely be a hit.  I know that my children's teachers spend a considerable amount of their own money for classroom supplies; supplies are always an awesome gift.


This is an easy recipe for kids to help with, so they feel like they made a contribution in giving back to their teache…

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Christmas means cookies to me.  I always make oodles of cookies for my favorite people, friends that I adore, and my family that is so dear to me.  It has become a tradition at our house, two weeks before Christmas, the baking frenzy begins.  I start with the cookies that I can most easily freeze (to save my sanity), and work up to the delicate little bites of sugar and butter that have to be made the day before delivery.  After everything is made, unthawed, and the final touches applied, I wrap them all up in a box with a gorgeous ribbon and deliver to those most special people in my life.

The recipes that I use vary from year to year.  Some years are bright and colorful, some years are recipes from around the world, other years are earthy and simple, and last year was grown up and sophisticated.  I guess that my baking mood changes from year to year.  This year's list is looking very humble, earthy, and simple.  Somehow, I think that the cookies I make are a reflection on my l…

Farmhouse Whole Wheat Flax Bread

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I guess I needed to feel at home today, plus my neighbor still doesn't have power and I think he needed his spirits lifted a bit!  He loves homemade bread.  So, I got up early and started in on the bread making right away.  Making bread is something that I have been working on learning, it's not something that comes easy to me.  My first loaves of bread, my husband swallowed with a gallon of milk, just to get it down.  A big cheesy smile followed by, "yeah, it was really (pause...pause...) chewy (...awkward pause...) and good".  Some loaves you could chew for a week and still not be able to swallow.  Other loaves were like rocks...David could have slain Goliath with one of them!!!  Really, it has taken a long time to learn how to do this.

I ran across a website called FarmgairlFare, this is a great and very heart warming site filled with fun pictures of a 240-acre farm (if only I could be so lucky) and all of the fun animals on the farm.  There are also some great …

Howling Wind and Picking Up the Pieces it Left Behind...

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If you are unaware, the last few days in Utah have been quite difficult.  Thursday morning, we woke to the worst East wind that we have had since I have been married (that's almost 12 years).  Wind speeds at over 100 miles per hour and pieces of our neighbors houses and trees flying all around us.  If you have never experienced wind that strong, it is a very powerful force.  It swept me off my feet on the way out to our chickens here at the house, and you can hardly breathe while you are standing in it.  The force of it is astounding.  I have experienced worse winds as a child living in Taiwan during typhoon season.  The wind and rain would pound our windows, and our apartment building would actually sway under the force of the wind.  The streets would flood, and since there were open sewers in the 1980's, flooding was not just flooding, if you know what I mean...eeew!  I feel very grateful that there was no flooding and even more grateful that we have a closed sewer system h…