Sunday, October 23, 2011

making applesauce

Yesterday, my sister and I were able to spend the entire day together canning applesauce and apple pie filling. It was a successful day and I wound up with 14 quarts of applesauce and 5 quarts of yummy apple pie filling.
It was my first time canning and it wound up being just so much fun :)

We had three bushels of apples.

We started off by cutting them into fourths and taking off the stems. We then put them into boiling water to soften them.
The next step was to put the softened apples into the musher/strainer thing that I have no clue as to what it is called.
Gideon was our big helper. He also liked eating bites out of lots of apples.
He also really wanted to put all of his cars down the musher.
All the yucky stuff-seeds, skins, etc...
Aaand, I had a picture of the applesauce, I just forgot to upload it. But we had a ton :)
We then started on the red apples for the apple pie filling.
peeling and slicing...
Gideon loved the sliced ones as well as the freshly made applesauce that was cooling :)
Then we made the syrup to put in the jars and we packed the jars tightly with yummy apples.

Stephanie was very talented...pouring the syrup WITH a baby in the other arm.
yay! Apple pie filling almost done!
the actual canning process :)

And we are done! :) It was so fun!
It was a good day :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

making bread

I made bread for the first time by myself in quite sometime. I got a recipe from my friend Hannah last night for making soft wheat sandwich bread and I really wanted to try it out-but I wound up googling a recipe and decided to try that one out first.
It was such an easy recipe and I was able to use our brand spanking new Cuisinart Blender that we got at Bed Bath and Beyond just the other day. It has a dough attachment that kneads your dough for you. It worked beautifully and I just loved watching it knead the dough. It is quite fun to watch :)

I only made one loaf because I wanted to make sure I didn't waste my ingredients one a recipe that stunk.

While I baked the bread I worked on chopping up several red bell peppers that a farmer gave to us, as well as all of our celery and froze it. I just love being able to pull whatever veggies I have cut up and froze out of the freezer and dumping them into a soup. Super convenient.

Yay! The bread actually looks like a loaf of bread! :)
The finished product.
It isn't completely whole wheat because I am still learning what ingredients I need or don't really need to use when I come across recipes that have different things that you have to use for when you make an all wheat loaf.
I will post both variations of the recipe that I used.
(I also read, that if you put lemon juice in with your dough, that it helps keep your bread soft/sandwich that true?)

Enjoy :)

1 loaf
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see additional notes for a 100% whole wheat version)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast (active dry yeast will work also; get more info on active vs. instant active dry yeast here!)
1. *Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
3. Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover. [more info on loaf pan sizes] Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm! (Easier-slicing tips here!) Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.

This recipe also makes very delicious 100% whole wheat bread. The bread in this picture was made with Prairie Gold hard white wheat. Follow the recipe as written above, adding these dough conditioning ingredients to this recipe for better texture and softness:
  • 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (replace 3 tablespoons of the flour called for in the recipe with this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy lecithin (we use granules of lecithin, and add it to the water at the beginning)
  • a pinch of citric acid (use sparingly!!)
  • a sprinkling of ginger
You could also purchase pre-mixed dough conditioners, which contain some of these ingredients but are more costly. We found our citric acid, soy lecithin, and wheat gluten at a bulk foods store. A little goes a long way!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

i love candles

Today I went to go light one of my many candles I have above the fireplace...and I found this.

It leaked...

I see you...

Candles are just so homey. I love them.

Monday, October 17, 2011


My sister took a few pictures of us this past weekend when we were out for my nephews birthday :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Greenhouse

The day we got home from our honeymoon-we had a job offer. One that we had til the end of the week to pray about.
We apparently didn't even have that long. Monday comes around and the decision had to be made that day.

There is a greenhouse up the road from us that we are now basically running.

It was owned by a lady who just got a full time job and can no longer spend the time needed at the greenhouse to make it function-and to provide local restaurants with fresh greens. So she needed to find someone to take over very quickly. So our neighbor-Hannah, Brandon and I are taking over the business.
Every single part.

I love the work inside the greenhouse and the packaging and the sorting. It gets tedious at times, but it's something that is really enjoyable and I just know God has blessed us with the job opportunity for now and I welcome learning new skills.

We have only worked two days there so far-but we have sold stuff already! It is alot of work, but having the fellowship of my new neighbor is such a blessing. She is around my age, has two young children (she is super busy!) and plays the violin :) We have been having such fun just playing in the dirt.
There are 36 beds in the green house.
we are growing a salad greens mix, a lettuce mix, arugula, mizuna, and I think something else. 
Every week there are supposed to be 6 beds harvested. We did alot of harvesting and sorting and packaging today, mainly because the lady didn't have enough time recently to keep up with the whole business. 
Happy little baby. 
The beds under the white sheet type things are the ones I planted today. 
Mr Potato head toys-a must for a toddler :)
This is how we keep track as to what has been planted in each particular bed. And when it was planted.
We wash and sort in this room.
And then, let them dry off enough.
And then package and label them! they are ready to be sold to restaurants, farmers markets or individuals. :) 
Taking a moment (Hannah) to deal with both kids. 

Next post-the house :)
We are now nestled in the valley of the beautiful Blueridge mountains where we are making our home. Fall is in full swing right now and looking out the window you just see mountains of color. It's really picturesque.

Our honeymoon to the Shenandoah Valley was so wonderful and super relaxing. The last two days is when the leaves started to change so driving on Skyline drive was such a treat during those two days. We went hiking and did a zipline tour and walked around the town and played tennis. The resort where we were staying was basically a huge golf course-we just didn't play golf. It was neat seeing everyone else there so enthused about it though! We got back on Sunday and picked up Brandon's car and all of the wedding gifts from his family's house and then headed home for the first time. It was all so very exciting. I love having a place of my "own"-even though the house isn't completely ours, we are both striving to feel at home and make it feel home to us. I can already tell I won't EVER want to leave this valley. It's just too beautiful :)

This was atop a little hike we took when we were driving on Skyline Drive- It's called Little Stony Man. It was the most phenomenal view! 

Monday my sister and her husband and two kids came over to help us open all of our wedding gifts :) That was quite fun and it was great having the company and lunch provided! My dad also came to visit us that day and he brought us Blue Collar Joe's donuts. Yum.

Since then, we have been busy on a new adventure the Lord has blessed us with. But I will share that in another post.
God has been incredibly good to us so far and we have been so enjoying married life. I especially like cooking and figuring out meals together. Lots of soups-beacause they are yummy and cheap :)

Hopefully I will get some more posts up on here...I know people are dying to see the house and land. Maybe this weekend I will take photos of the house and land and do a post on that. :)

(All the pictures on this blog for a while will just be from my iPod and Brandon's phone-I don't have any cord to get my pictures off my camera onto his laptop... :P )