My angels

My angels

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Precious P

This summer is in full swing here in Hanover. Most days its feeling over 100 degrees and our garden is producing lots of tomatoes and peppers- as usual.  My squash and zucchini were a no go and the eggplant is looking a bit on the frail side.  We've had a lot of fun tending to our gardens and harvesting veggies.  After a target trip for school supplies for our soon to be kindergartner today, we hung out mostly in the house.  I took advantage of using up some fresh veggies and fruits that were in the refrigerator.  I made tomato sauce with sausage from our friends at Dragonfly Farms, and of course Greenhearts Farm signature seasonings.  We also baked up some cereal bars that i saw on Blue Sky Confections blog.  They are delicious! The boys also helped me decorate a letter P that i cut out of plywood.  My husband had been giving me a hard time because i had to get the jigsaw "right now" a few weeks ago to cut out a P.  After i impulsively cut out the letter it sat in the shed for weeks until i got around to decorating it today.  He just informed me that the picture doesn't do the "P" justice- it's much prettier in person he says.  At any rate we used spanish moss and glued it on. We all had a good time and the boys were great helpers.  Our mess was minimal.  I need to invest in a better camera so that these fantastic foods will look more appealing.

Friday, April 29, 2011


The boys and I went Strawberry picking the other day at Mt. Olympus Farm in Caroline County.  It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun.  We picked 12lbs of strawberries.  I made lots of popsicles, froze a bunch of berries and tried my hand again at making strawberry jam.  We got syrup again.  It's ok now we have toppings for pancakes, oatmeal, ice cream and to use in smoothies.  So I just wanted to share this quick and easy recipe. My dear friend Carol McDaid shared this recipe with me.  She had us over for an Easter egg hunt last week and pulled these pops out of the freezer, they are amazing and oh so good for you too!


2-4 cups of fresh (or frozen) Strawberries (cut into halves or quarters)

1/2 cup cane sugar

2 Tablespoons (a little more if you use 4 cups of strawberries) of Lemon juice or OJ (i used OJ)

put them in the blender or food processor and then puree them for about 30-60 seconds.

pour into popsicle containers OR (like Carol did which is brilliant) pour into little paper dixie cups and place a large popsicle stick in the middle.

place in the freezer and within a few hours you have some yummy SLAMMIN' STRAWBERRY POPS!
Hugs and love. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The dream is ALIVE

ok friends so i haven't posted since before Christmas! i feel like i'm finally getting out of the cold dark days of winter and getting back into my groove.  i am loving this sunshine.

so, i have had this dream of making lip balm.  i am totally addicted to lip gloss, chapstick, anything to ease the dry lips (since the 6th grade).  i am not a fan of putting petroleum based substances on my lips, if i don't have to.  now is the time to make the switch for good!

if you don't know i am a sucker for homemade, local and all natural stuff, so i gave a shot at the lip balm making myself.  after much research and waiting for all of my precious ingredients and supplies i have finally begun making one of my many dreams come true.  i've been making batch after batch trying to find the perfect cocktail.  the first one was a little too hard, the second one was just pretty good, 3rd try definitely too soft- it has felt a bit like Goldylocks and her adventure.  i think today is the day that i created the perfect one!  i am so excited i can barely stand it.  i thought i would post the few pix i took while the process was taking place.  please join me on this journey. i'm so excited about all the possibilities!

here are the ingredients i've been using.

beeswax -from our neighbor beekeepers  Sandridge and Sons Honey
organic olive oil
organic coconut oil
sweet almond oil
cocoa butter
vegan shea butter
vitamin E oil
orange oil

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brunswick Stew and Bread in a Jar (recipes)

Here a couple of recipes that by far beat those cupcakes I posted earlier.  I probably shouldn't have even shared that recipe because the frosting isn't that great so you will be better off making your own.  hee hee.  For the record I use mostly local and Organic ingredients for the sake of my family's health.  I am trying really hard to buy EVERYTHING organic but you know Cinnamon Toast Crunch is sooooo good.  Ok enough already let's get to the good stuff.... This is for you Rachel Kinsey!

Canned Pumpkin Bread or Bread in a jar
(this is a Southern Living Recipe)

9 wide mouth pint jars

2/3 cup butter
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs (room temp)
2 cup canned pumpkin- or you can use 2 cup shredded carrot or 2 cup shredded apple instead
2/3 cup water 
3 1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup nuts (i omitted these)

Grease wide mouth pint jars thoroughly.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a very large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Then add pumpkin and water, mix well.  In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Gradually add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.   

Pour mixture into greased jars filling half way (the 200 mark).  Bake for 45min. 

When breads are done, remove jars one at a time.  Wipe off rim and place lid and ring onto jar and let cool on the counter.  Place a towel over them to prevent a draft.  You will hear your jars pop one at a time that means they are sealed.  Store for up to 6 months. 

Brunswick Stew- Payne Style

1 package chicken thighs
1 package chicken legs (you could use a young chicken or any other cut of chicken with bones)
1 package frozen Lima beans
1 package frozen corn
1 large onion chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic
3 or 4 large carrots chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped  
1 1/2-2 lbs potatoes cubed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small call tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon pepper

In a large pot cover chicken generously with water and bring to a boil.  Cook on med heat until meat is tender and falling off the bone, about an hour.  Take the chicken out and place in a colander to cool.  When cooled pulled meat off the bones and place back into the broth.  Add all ingredients to the broth.  Be sure to stir in the tomato paste.  Cook on medium for about 2hrs.  Don't forget to take the bay leaf out before you serve your stew.  This makes enough to feed an army of 8. 

Enjoy! Hugs and love....

Back to the grind....

Well I am back on it.  We have had a house guest and contractors in and out of here since we got home from our trip to Bristol for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Yesterday was the first day I felt like I was back to my routine.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We hiked, took a  Christmas lights tour, enjoyed our out of town family and ate lots of Candy Canes.  On our way home we went to White Top Mountain and picked out a Christmas tree, these nice men who worked on the farm cut it down for us.  It was so beautiful and peaceful to see miles and miles of Christmas trees atop a beautiful snowy mountain.  The tree is by far the most purdiest one we have ever had.  I also picked up a couple of freshly made wreaths- all for a steal.  We hope to make this a tradition each year.

Today I resumed  baking.  I made some cupcakes after watching cupcake wars last night.  I wanted to use some of my strawberry jam/syrup that I jarred in hopes of reusing the jars for another go at  Strawberry Preserves.  If you don't keep up, I tried making Strawberry Preserves and it turned out to be more like syrup with chunks of strawberries.  So low and behold I whipped up some cupcakes using what I had.  Here is the recipe to try.  Let me know what you think, the contractors laying our walkway loved them. Hugs and love.....

Strawberry Cupcakes 

2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup strawberry preserves
2/3 cup milk
Fresh fruit for garnish ( i had blueberries so that is what i used, strawberries might be more appropriate though)

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and spices together.  In a separate mixing bowl cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy using a mixer.   Beat in eggs one at a time and then add preserves. Mix well.  Slowly add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk until the batter is smooth.  Pour batter into paper lined cupcake pans and bake @ 350 degrees for 25-30min.  Makes about 20  regular sized cupcakes.


1 8oz package cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
cream together butter and cream cheese using a mixer.  add vanilla and mix well.  add confectioners sugar and cocoa until smooth. lather those cupcakes up!!! 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Bursting Blueberry Muffins

Here is my tweaked version of a recipe I found on  I have tried many different blueberry muffin recipes and this is my favorite.  It tastes most like a bakery muffin to me.... I'm taking these on my Thanksgiving trip.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/14 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease (REALLY GOOD) muffin pans or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, cram butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time- blending between each addition.

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add flour mixture, alternating with milk.  Mash 1/2 cup blueberries and stir into batter.  Fold in remaining blueberries.

Fill muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and wait 20 minutes to remove from muffin pans.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clove Studded Oranges and Project With Love!

Thanksgiving is approaching fast and I am so excited to be spending it in the mountains of VA.  I love to decorate and prepare for the holidays.  I have been dying to do some clove studded oranges like my mother did when I was a kid.  We had an impromptu dinner party the other night and of course I was excited because I had a reason to deck out my oranges.  They make for a rustic centerpiece and add a wondrous scent to any room.  The dinner party was lovely and the topics of conversation were natural to say the least.  

Our dear friend prepared a turkey breast and beef tenderloin and I made some sides, roasted potatoes and a salad.  We used my homemade apple- cranberry relish, it was better than I hoped.  I made a pumpkin roll for dessert and it was demolished within minutes.

I finally got to tie-dying the last batch of donated white T's for project With Love!  Jack and Gabriel helped me, they were excellent assistants.  They twisted up the shirts with a fork and dropped them into the hot water.  It was a lot of fun.  I will keep you posted on which shelters this batch goes to.  If you are reading this and have not donated any gently used white T- shirts to project With Love!, please dig through your closet and lets brighten the day for many needy people with a refurbished white T-shirt and bag of homemade granola.  All you have to do is donate your shirts and we'll do the rest.  You can search With Love on Facebook for more details.  If you have donated, God bless you and thank you.

It's been a long day and I'm going to watch the Eagles vs. Giants game on the couch with my husband.  The boys actually went to bed nicely tonight! Whoo hoo!  GO GIANTS! I hope to share more recipes tomorrow.  Hugs and love.....