yep, we did, we went full tilt boogie, took the leap and bought a second home. we bought a nifty hundred years plus old clapboard farmhouse on 26 acres in mathews, va. this and my new job, which unexpectedly came together at the same time, has been a huge source of stress for me the past few weeks. i am grateful for the help of a wonderful realtor, financier and title agent to pull it all off, even if it was right down to the wire. they kept me sane, well, the best they could, but it is not over, yet. we still have renovations and they are about to begin. ick. i know it will be all worth in the end, so i keep telling myself. bring it on. i got my paint samples, baby.
here are just a few pics to give you a little peek at our newest adventure. i will post more following the redos. enjoy.
btw, it is a three bedroom, one bath/half, living room, family room, kitchen and what we call a mystery room.
so yesterday was my first day back to work after having a seven year break! i wouldn't really call it a break since two children, hundreds of loads of laundry, hundreds of meals and so on were involved. anyway, i was pooped. i was also later than i thought, so i quickly made a pot of pasta, sauteed some chicken and made these little ruby gems. we are getting fresh roma tomatoes from the garden everyday, now, so what a delicious use of them. i had seen the original recipe on the pioneer woman long time ago, but this is my quickie version with what i had on hand.
beth's ricotta stuffed roma tomatoes
you need: roma tomatoes, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, garlic(fresh or dried), bread/cracker crumbs and olive oil
wash, split lengthwise the number of tomatoes you want. now clean the seeds out completely, i used a spoon. sprinkle a little kosher salt on the halves and lay cut side down on a paper towel to dry a bit. meanwhile heat your oven to 400F.
in a bowl, add approx one tablespoon of ricotta for every tomato half you have. to this add some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. the following all ingredients would be even better if fresh: basil, italian parsley and garlic. i happened to have the parsley, so i chopped roughly a teaspoon fine, a hefty shake of both garlic powder and dried basil. if using fresh, i would say depending on the amount of filling, half to a whole garlic clove minced, but same amount of basil as to parsley. it really depends how much filling and tomatoes. taste it and decide what you need.
now fill you halves, nice and packed. smooth off the tops.
now get some bread crumbs or in my case, ritz crackers. smash fine. dip each cheese packed side into the crumbs. place on a cookie sheet, hit with a smidge of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes.
yum, yum, yum.
oh, you could easily add some parmesan cheese to the filling or on top. yehaw.
my fluffy cheeked rosie chicken, the little green egg layer and.....
my lovable little mildred chicken(closest to the door) the newest welsummer......
killed by this man!
despite extra water and shelter the chickens just could not take it. chickens body temperatures run in the low one hundred's, so you can imagine what the heat wave does to them. i have now hooked up a fan blowing into the coop, so i can only hope that it won't scare them and they will go inside. silly birds.
what is freecycling you ask? well, according to the net it is "also known as free recycling, is the act of giving away usable unwanted items to others instead of disposing of them in landfills." it is so much fun! it has allowed me to give away items i don't use or need any longer and in return find things i do need or just plain want. i love it. for example, just today i was freecycled this fantastic comforter set for travis.
it is made by olive's kids and included sheets, shams, valances, comforter and even a matching room sized rug! he loves it and i am so appreciative. other things i have picked up included shoes for travis, tops for caroline, decorative knick knacks and even this lovely antique sofa.
it has not been all take on my part, i have also been freecycling back quite a bit, giving bags and bags of kids clothes, pairs of shoes, pictures, seasonal decorations and more. i just gave away a huge bag of crafting goodies yesterday. the old saying "one man's junk is another man's treasure" is so freaking true!
if you think you might be interested in freecycling check it out here. you enter where you live and join that particular yahoo group. you will get emails with offers, wanteds, founds, etc...
they are my two new adopted welsummer hen sisters and they seem right at home, already. i named these girls ada and mildred in honor of two old sisters that i knew as a kid. you see, both of my folks were from lynchburg, virginia and on our many trips to see family we would stop at ada and mildred's rambling old farmhouse. i have no idea how my parents came to know these two women, one widowed and one a spinster, but i remember their house was green, old, smelled of body odor, bacon grease and full of beautiful antiques. they also produced the most tasty sweet and butter milks, as well as the most adorable boston terrier pups ever. my parents bought it all, the antiques, milks and puppies. what characters these two wonderfully large bosomed, shift wearing ladies were. they were the most eclectic coupla of old hens i have ever met. we loved exploring their old farm as kids on our visits. heck, my brother kevin even manage to rack up a few foot stitches courtesy of one of their rusty pitchforks on one trip! ow! can you say tetanus shot?
sadly, they both passed sometime in the 1980's. here are my ada and mildred....
this is ada, right in the front, next to rosie. i think both of the welsummers look very similar to my rhode island reds.
mildred and rosie hanging with dottie.
the two new sister wives making themselves at home in the coop. they figured it all out immediately. this was the easiest chicken integration i have ever done. wanna see what their eggs might look like? look here and scroll down. oh baby, come on ada and mildred. i have faith in you. hmmmm...faith...that would make a nice chicken name. hey jamie....
i know. how are you? there is so much going on in my life lately that i have not had the time or motivation to post. some things i can talk about, some i will talk about later. i guess right now i am dealing with school ending and jamie's surgery. he had carpal surgery four days ago and all i can say is thank goodness he didn't get both hands done at the same time! they offered. he said no thanks. thank ya lord. he is actually making good progress and already sees signs of improvement, actually, almost immediately. it was a good decision and incision.
school is ending. oh....now the constant entertaining begins. i don't want to think about it. moving on....
then there is something else going on, but i can't talk right now, but it is a good thing, so don't worry. although for me it is a scary, hair pulling, nail biting, skin breaking out.....good thing. hang tight. announcement soon.....or not.
okay, just because you know you want to see it, here is jamie's six stitches of relief. enjoy.
i know this is a horrible picture, but i assure you the chocolate pudding is not. i was craving chocolate today, jumped on the web and found this recipe for microwave chocolate pudding! it is delicious. it only took four minutes total to something yummy, sweet, smooth and decadent. this is tonight's treat. travis will love me forever. enjoy.
well, after i came home from the grocery store, with my list, i still manage to forget a few things and pancake syrup was one. oh well. i still had the old bottle, so looking at the ingredients i just figured i could make it. i quickly found a recipe online, changed it up a smidge and i got the easiest and tastiest pancake syrup for practically pennies. now, i have only made one batch, but you would definitely need to double or triple to fill your typical ain't yo'mama bottle. this is thick, sweet and downright yummy.
here is what you do...
bring to a boil the following:
one cup of packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
boil seven minutes. it should be nice and thick. now, let it cool a few minutes, add a teaspoon of real vanilla extract and a splash of butter extract. taste the elixir to see if need to add more. also, you could add maple flavoring if you want. i didn't want.
cool and enjoy. viola! you have just made your very own pancake syrup. i poured mine into my empty bottle and popped into the cupboard. i am off thrifting today in hopes of finding a new, cool syrup dispenser of some sorts. yeehaw.
cook's illustrated recipe for carrot cake and cream cheese frosting is my new go to, gotta have, can't do without recipe. i baked this for easter sunday and it was a hit! it was really a hit with my husband, so it is a true keeper in my book. it baked tall and moist, frosted with a delicate cream cheese frosting that is not overly sweet or thick. i just loved it....all. i just ate a piece for breakfast. shhhhhh. enjoy.
simple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting-cook's illustrated magazine 2003
makes one 13 by 9-inch cake
you can add walnuts and raisins, both or neither, if you do both, add about ten minutes onto your baking time. i added one cup of toasted walnuts. delicious!
cream cheese frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1. for the cake: adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. spray 13 by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
3. in food processor fitted with large shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. wipe out food processor workbowl and fit with metal blade. process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. with machine running, add oil through feed tube in steady stream. process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. scrape mixture into medium bowl. stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.
4. for the frosting: when cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. add confectioners' sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.
5. ice cake and store in the fridge. i think it tastes best served cold. yum.
i have been on such a rice pudding kick lately, well that and jello salads! i grew up on the dry and sometimes not so tasty baked rice puddings, but really love the cold, creamy ones made on the stove top. this one is perfect. it is simple, quick, hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, not too sweet and chockful of raisins and dried cranberries.
let me tell you how to make it.
in a large saucepan, bring a cup and a half of water to a boil. add in 3/4 cup of long grain white rice. simmer covered for about 20 minutes. now add two cups of half and half, two cups of one percent milk and a half cup of sugar. once the sugar has dissolved, taste it and see if you want it a tad sweeter. if so, i would add it in a tablespoon at a time to get it where you like it. now let this cook for about forty minutes, over medium heat, stirring often. it will get thick almost like porridge. don't let it get too thick or when it cools, it will be a solid mass. now, the last ten minutes or so of cooking i add in a good shake of cinnamon, a few grates of fresh nutmeg, a big pinch of sale, a huge splash of good vanilla extract and about a quarter cup each raisins and dried cranberries. you could do all of this, just some or none. i have even had rice pudding with pineapple tidbits folded in. i would that once it cooled. okay, take it off the heat when done, cool just for a few minutes, transfer to a bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. place it directly on the pudding touching it. this will prevent a skim as it cools. plunk in the refrigerator for several hours and then devour. it is great warmed slightly with some butter or ice cold topped with whipped cream!
i am going to try my hand or thumb with a little gardening this year. i suspect it won't do too good considering...it is me. i am going to attempt to grow some veggies in raised beds rather than a plowed row garden. here are a couple of pics of how i have done so far....
how have i done? i have done very little, that's how. i do have then lined with weed block and that is about all. those mums you see in the last box, compliments of travis. they won't stay.
it is suppose to rain this weekend, so i expect i will get done even less....more. i will keep you posted. enjoy.
and lots of it especially when you have chickens, so i want to start composting. i want to not only compost the chicken poop, but all my kitchen scraps, etc.... so i want, scratch that, need both a compost kitchen pail and a compost tumbler. now, the kitchen pail ain't cheap, but i found one at lowe's reasonably priced. i like it. it is plain, but pretty.
there are fancier ones out there, but this serves its purpose, i just need it to haul my egg shells, coffee grounds, veggie scraps to the tumbler outdoors. it beats the old cool whip and coffee containers i had been using. now, the tumbler, dang, those puppies are expensive. the few we looked both at the local home store and online were over $150!! each. i don't think so. jamie's wheels started spinning and he got to making me a homemade jobbie.
first he rounded up a scrap barrel, wood, saw blades, steering wheel, pvc, etc... to get it going. so far, cost=free!
i think i might need a horn on that sucker....beep..beep!
then he bought two bearings=$16 not bad.....
awww, he tried to personalize it, no not really, it is part of an old road sign he used on the inside for support.
then he bought two cans of special plastic paint, in black, to draw the heat=$12, still not bad, so $28 later i get this!
i love it!!
it beats $150 any day! thanks honey. now we can churn some black gold for our raised veggie gardens. what? raised veggie gardens, wait till you see what he is cooking up for that one. stay tuned. meanwhile....
you girls get to pooping!! yea, like you need my encouragement. enjoy.
cheater's chocolate cake is what i like to call this super moist, easy and delicious treat. cheater's because well, because you are simply taking a boxed cake mix to new heights and it will also blow you diet right out the water! chocolate, well, because you start with a devil's food cake mix and add chocolate pudding and dark chocolate chips! cake, well, because it is cake! let me tell you this is sooooo good. i mean dang tasty, especially after sitting over night. it needs no adornment , no frosting, glazing, sprinkling, nothing, unless you have a dollop of good vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream. oh how that would be scrumptious.
okay, here is the stupid easy, but stupid good recipe. yes, i know it is full of not good for you kind of stuff, loaded with calories, not to mention fat, and so on, but what is your point?
cheater's chocolate cake
preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan
in a bowl mix a devil food's cake mix( duncan hines), one cup semi-sweet chocolate chips(hershey special chips), one box of instant chocolate pudding(store brand, small box), one tbsp of instant coffee crystals(folgers), two eggs(backyard birds), one tsp of good vanilla extract and 1 3/4 cup of water. that is it. mix till mixed. pop into your pan and bake for about 45 minutes. if you do the toothpick test, don't be fooled by the melty chips in the cake, so don't over bake. use your nose to smell and look to see if it has pulled away from the pan.
or old minty as i like to call it. oh how i love you. oh how i hate you. i love that you are beatiful, historic, spooky, green and surrounded by lovely sunflower fields and sparkling water. i hate that i can not even afford a single nugget of your soil. ugh.
timber neck farm is a 600 acre historic estate in gloucester, virginia being developed for rich folk by the parent company of jamie's employer. oh my gosh is it ever georgous and chocked full of history. we went over to play on saturday. i took a few pics, mostly of the house and the point of land it sits on. there are hundreds of acres of beautiful fields encircled by lots fronting the york river. if you are on the yorktown side of the river, you can actually see this house from the colonial parkway. i definitely have a love hate relationship with timberneck. i cry when i see it and when i leave it. it hurts being poor.
this cheesecake is so good, so different, so easy, so, so, sew your buttons on delicious. it is light, slightly sweet, airy, spongy, custardy, eggie, lemony and soooo not like your typical heavy, dense fat, calorie laden version that we all are familiar. i am so making this again, but this time it will be soooo smothered in fruits, such as macerated strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and more. i hope you will give this cheesecake a try, but remember, it is not a cheesecake as you know it. here is the recipe. oh, i so added a splash of real vanilla extract to mine. enjoy!
now that i have your attention....i am talking chickens and eggs. teehee. you see my rhode island red, lucy, has been on hiatus to have a mini-molt and just starting laying again two days ago. i just now went to the coop for a visit, share some grapes and i got to see her lay. although i have had my chickens for almost a year, i have yet to see one lay an egg. i go out there and the eggs are waiting for me or a girl is on the nest, but i never get to see mother nature in action. i mean to be there, right there, when it falls out of her bottom, that is until a few minutes ago. i quietly watched her as she turned around, scratched the bedding, turned around again, again, and again, threw a few pine chips on her back, stood up, sweetly chirped and plop! that beautiful egg hit the bottom of the nest box like a golf ball bouncing on wood. it was so coooooool. i know, i know, i am not right, but you knew that already. here is a picture of it minutes old, perfectly clean and warm.
i know some of you don't get it, but i think is fascinating. man, if only i could lay an egg like that without any expensive drugs, then maybe i would not have had such a hard time getting pregnant. way to go lucy girl!
who am i? i am a forty-something married, stay-at-home mother of two. i am overweight, in dire need of a good dye job and have been left way too long with my thoughts. i live in historic yorktown,virginia. i love to eat, cook, and bake. wife to big j, mama to c and t....
the pic, that is me in the early 1970's with my grandma in walt disney world. she passed away in 2007 at 96!