It’s Cold Outside, Eat Bread!

I’m a big fan of podcasts and like to listen to them while I’m working on the farm.  This spring, while planting, planting, and re-planting everything that rotted in the ground, I found a podcast that I fell in love with.  Living Homegrown’s “Live Farm Fresh Without the Farm” podcast really speaks to me and I enjoy listening.  Theresa Loe,  discusses the art of canning, growing vegetables in very small spaces, fermentation, making cheese (next on my bucket list), organization and she interviews the most amazing cookbook authors and experts of the food world.

I can remember the day I was listening to Living Homegrown’s podcast #139 “The Magic of No Knead Bread” where Theresa interviewed Alexandra Stafford.  Alexandra has a blog, “Alexandra’s Kitchen”.  She is also the author of “Bread Toast Crumbs“.  The book was one of the top five cookbooks of 2017.  I thought to myself – that bread recipe sounds darn easy and delicious.  I’m gonna try it as soon as I have a little time.  Who doesn’t love bread.  I know, I know, we are all (LOL) trying to keep carbs to a minimum, but bread, especially fresh baked…..  Who can resist the freshly baked rolls that are plopped onto our dinner table when we have an evening out?  YIKES – I forgot (wink, wink) to tell the waiter not to bring bread to the table!

Fast forward four, yes, four months later.  Fall has finally arrived here in South Central, PA – well it went from 85 to 55 quicker than seeing a state trooper on the interstate.  LOL – full disclosure – saw that post on Facebook.  First cool day, and I’m thinking BREAD!  What your subconscious doesn’t do, right?

I re-listened to the podcast and pulled the recipe off the show notes.   Five ingredients.  I like it simple in the kitchen!  Flour, Yeast, Water, Sugar, Salt…that’s it!  I felt nervous, but confident that I could do this.  I don’t have a bread machine and I believe the last time I made any type of bread it was Zucchini or Cranberry bread during Christmas a very long time ago!

After gathering my supplies, I started the process.  The smell of the yeast brought me back to the farmhouse I grew up in.  My grandmother baked every Saturday.  Sunday was visiting day and she always had plenty of goodies to nibble on for those who came to see her.  My mother didn’t have the chance to bake too much – she and my dad were dairy farmers, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time for baking, except for Christmas cookies.  Ahhhhh…..

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This bread is sooo easy to make.  The instructions were easy to follow.  Didn’t take a lot of time at all.  The only wait was a one hour rise, then a quick 20 min. rise.  I was so nervous!  What if my bread didn’t rise!  It did – I uncovered it after the first rise, and there it was.  Beautiful!  I was so excited, that I went onto the next step without taking a picture of my perfectly risen bread.  I snapped a quick one before I punched the bread down too much, but it had already deflated quite a bit…

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After punching the dough down, I used two forks (as recommended) to turn the bread onto itself and divide it.  Again, I was nervous about doing this step; however, it was remarkably easy.  I used a 1 quart pyrex bowl and I had a mini 4 loaf bread pan in my baking stash collecting dust (probably from the Cranberry bread I made as Christmas gifts ages ago).  I wasn’t sure how the mini bread pan would work, so I only used 2 of the 4 pans.  The next time I make this bread, I will skip the pyrex bowl and just use the mini bread pans.  They worked perfectly.

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The bread rose again in less than 20 minutes!  I plopped it into the oven and in no time at all, the smell was incredible!

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My hubs made a killer chicken corn soup with some left-over fried chicken and our very own frozen (thanks to good friends) sweet corn.  What a feast!

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I will make this bread again!  Super easy, my family loved it and btw, I’m muching on it with a slab of irish butter while I’m writing this blog.  Heaven! I would encourage you to listen to Living Homegrown Podcast #139 “The Magic of No Knead Bread“!  The story of the bread recipe is quite cute and Alexandra gives great tips for perfect bread.   Alexandra Stafford’s recipe is HERE.

If you would like to make sure you never miss out on the latest happenings at Family Tree Farm, be sure to subscribe HERE and receive updates, recipes, tips and tutorials delivered to your inbox about once a month.  Just to say “Thank You”, for signing up, you will receive my latest “On The Farm, Farm Fresh Fall Recipes” printable.

Talk to you soon!

Karen

To Peel Or Not To Peel…..

Apple Peel

Do you believe there are more vitamins and nutritional value in the skin of a fruit or vegetable?  I always did, because my dad told me so (insert laughing emoji)!  He also told me if I ate the crust of my bread my hair would curl… (insert hysterically laughing emoji).  Didn’t happen.  Hair is as straight as a pin.

I decided to do a little research on this very matter with apples.  We have a whole orchard full of beautiful, delicious apples. To peel or not to peel, that is the question???

I, of course, went to my favorite resource, Google, where you can find everything you ever wanted to know about apples (and everything else you ever wanted to know or not know – insert rolling eyes emoji).  Some pro peel, some bleh peel.

We all know apples are one of the most nutritious snacks available.  According to one article I read in a Huffington Post article, a medium apple with skin contains 4.4 grams of fiber.  Without the skin, there is only 2.1 grams.  Apparently, the cut-off for what is considered a “good source” of fiber is 3 grams.

I read another article from The Washington Post stating that by peeling apples you miss out on powerful nutritional pluses.  Not only does the peel have a good source of fiber, they have 25% more potassium and 40 % more vitamin A.  According to Elaine Trujillo, a registered dietitian nutritionist, the peel contains bio-active compounds polyphenols, pectins and ursolic acid.  I have nooo idea what any of that is, but apparently it’s supposed to be good for us.  I’ll have to “Google” it.

I seem to find more benefits to keeping the peel on, then peeling it off, but do your own research.  Do you peel your apples or eat them with the peel on?

I’m going to stick with what dad told me.  I eat my apples with the peel on!

If you would like to make sure you never miss out on the latest happenings at Family Tree Farm, be sure to subscribe HERE and receive updates, recipes, tips and tutorials delivered to your inbox about once a month.  Just to say “Thank You”, for signing up, you will receive my latest “On The Farm, Farm Fresh Fall Recipes” printable.

See you soon!

Karen

Let It Bee….

Did you know honey bees are not native to North America?  I had no idea!    I first learned of this in a book by Lisa Mason Ziegler, “Vegetables Love Flowers.  Great read! I highly recommend it if you love to garden.

Lisa does a great job educating us about companion planting, what the beneficials are in the garden (even spiders and snakes….oh my), succession planting and the photography in her book is just beautiful. She even has an on line book discussion.  Loved it!

There are apparently 4000 different types of native bees to North America, and they are in danger too – it seem the honey bees get all the press.  We need bees to pollinate our fruits and vegetables.  Believe it or not, native bees can be better pollinators than honey bees. I am in no way dissing honey bees – I love their local honey!!!!

Honey bees came to North American from Europe with the colonists and have been managed as an agricultural resource ever since.  When a farmer needs bees, honey bees are the easiest to bring in and go away when finished.

Honey bees cannot pollinate tomato plants – wow – who knew!!  The humble bumble bee can! Some plants have their pollen on the outside (like a lilly’s anther, you can see the pollen).  The tomato plant’s pollen is inside the flower – the bumble gets in there and shakes the pollen out!

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I’m an avid podcast listener, are you?  One of my favorite podcasts is “Living Homegrown” by Theresa Loe.  I recently listened to podcast # 141 (www.livinghomegrown.com/141 ) where Theresa interviews Lisa Mason Ziegler and podcast # 147 (www.livinghomegrown.com/147 ) where author Paige Embry is interviewed by Theresa regarding our native bees.

Both podcasts are full of educational facts about our native bee problems.  Paige Embry has written “Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them”. This book looks fabulous and is on my Amazon wish list!

Please know that I, in no way, make any $ off of any of the books or podcasts I recommend.  I find the books and podcasts highly interesting, and want to pass on what I have learned to you.  If we work together, we can all make the world a better place! Yes?

If you would like to receive more info about our farm, what I’m learning (you’re never too old to learn, right???), tutorials, etc., please hit the yes, please button on our contact page.  For subscribing, you will receive my little recipe “TASTY” pdf of Family Tree Farm’s Favorite Summertime Recipes

Happy Summer!

Karen Doyle

 

 

It’s Hard To Work The Plan….

My beloved Father-In-Law, Dick Doyle, once told me, “it’s fun to plan the work, but hard to work the plan”. I keep thinking about his words as I’m on my hands and knees this spring planting, planting, planting.  Why did I buy so many plants – YIKES, how many seeds do I have to plant?

Are any of you in the same boat?  This spring has been so unpredictable – one weekend I was wearing my winter coat with three layers under it while watching my granddaughter play lacrosse, the next week I was planting in 80+ degree weather.

The seed catalogs started rolling in just after Christmas.  My spring job here on the farm is to plan and plant our PYO Flower Garden.  I had so much fun picking out all the wonderful flowers I want to plant.  Someone, please make me STOP buying seeds!  Well, no one did. The hubs did roll his eyes at me as soon as the seed packets started arriving in the mail,  but it was too late!!

Don’t get me wrong – I love spring.  I love to plant something and watch it grow, but OH my aching back.   Ah, yes, it’s a labor of love.  I can’t wait to see all the flowers blooming and have folks taking a time out just for themselves, enjoying the garden and cutting beautiful blooms to take home.

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I’m sure many of you will be asking yourselves the same question over the next couple weeks – why did I buy so many plants?  How many zucchini do we really need?  Just remember:

It’s fun to plan the work, but hard to work the plan.

Can you dig it?  Bahhhaaa!

Every year, I get a lot of questions about how we constructed our vertical pallet flower fence at our roadside stand.  It’s so simple – maybe you have an area around your home for something like this.  I made a short video on how we did it…

 

Don’t forget to plant some flowers in your vegetable garden this year.  The flowers will attract beneficial insects and make your garden chores happier!  Check out my list of 5 Easy Annual Cut Flowers HERE.

See you soon!

Karen