Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Can See The Finish Line...


In less than a week, The Homestead will be open. My stomach just did numerous flips typing that. I have moments of pure exhilaration and excitement as I see all that we have accomplished in such a short amount of time and on such an incredibly tight budget (if I can even say that...really there was no budget/money to begin with so its all glory to God on that one. I also have moments of total panic ~ the whole "what were we THINKING taking this on?" But those moments don't happen often and when they do they are quickly dispelled when I remember that really each step has been laid out before us to get to this point and although Mike has continued to look for work, in this economy ~ in his profession, it just hasn't happened.
So The Homestead has happened. And its great...


(our own shop sign is still to come...)
Although we started this venture only 3 months ago, it really started 12 years ago when Mike and I got married. We have always dreamed of this. We planned for this. We spent hours on long car rides discussing business plans, driving to little towns to look at abandoned building to restore for the shop but always coming up short on executing the plan.



Which in retrospect was how it was meant to be. The hours of writing business plans gave us a clear vision for what we hope will work and won't work for us as a family. The years of penny pinching and thrify-ness has allowed us to maximize everything to its fullest and get creative in making some quick money (gotta love Craigslist and Ebay) to buy what we have needed.



So this time next week Mike and I will be shop owners. The Homestead, which cannot be summed up in just one word, is a place to get baked goods and a plate lunch each day. There will be bluegrass shows (our first one is scheduled for Saturday June 4th), homesteading classes (summer ones are already enrolling) and events (a homeschool mom's breakfast is on the calendar thus far.) We will sell local artisan crafts and Kentucky Proud food products as well as grass fed beef from the farm we are located on and a few antiques here and there.

Canaan will make marshmallows from the kitchen (his business is booming!) and Ezra has hopes for a cookie company called "Ezra's Famous Cookies"...we may need to change that one. Famous Amos may not be too happy about the similarity. For now, Otto enjoys trying out his new walking ability around these beautiful hardwood floors.

**the kitchen and other side of the shop are near completion. When they are done, I'll post pics of the finished space. Here are a few more photos if you'd like to take a look.
Furthermore, we're trying to get on this whole social media bandwagon, so if you want to find us on Facebook and "like" us ~ that would be great ~ and tell your friends about us. We can use the word of mouth marketing. Here is a link for that page.
And of course our website can be found here.
Ok...the plugs are offically done.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Flourless Pizza ~ better than the original?

This past month has been a crazy one for my sinuses. I have had a continual problem with them and have been pretty much miserable all day every day. At first I thought it was just the spring blooms causing me some allergies but it is beyond that.
There are many suggestions out there...neti pot - tried that, apple cider vinegar drinks - yep, tried that too. I have tried half a dozen recommendations and nothing has cleared it up.
In the midst of one of my middle-of-the-night, can't sleep because I can't breathe episodes I remembered that when Mike was first laid off and I went flour free for 40 days. During that time I had no sinus issues whatsoever. In fact, I had remarked to Mike several times during that time that my sinuses were behaving so well!
So this week, in a desperate attempt to clear up this mess I am going flour free for the next month.

I am not up on all of the gluten free terminology and to be honest, I don't want to research it too thoroughly (I love my bread and pasta and am not ready to give it up completely). But while I am riding this flour free wave I figure I'll see what recipes are out there.
Pizza is just one of my most favorite foods EVER. Oh how I love pizza. Thick, thin, loaded, just cheese...it really doesn't matter.
This weekend I was craving pizza and headed to the internet to find something that would resemble pizza without me having to go buy a bunch of crazy GF ingredients.
I landed on this recipe and as they say...the rest was history.

It was amazing. Uh-ma-zing. I didn't even miss the crust. It tasted like a thin, crispy wood fired pizza, and did I mention it has no flour...at all? The original recipe sounded divine but I was limited on ingredients. I made the crust and then adapted the toppings with what I had in the fridge; some banana peppers, corn on the cob from the previous nights dinner, mozzarella, crumbled bacon leftover from breakfast and shaved Parmesan.
Maybe not necessarily any healthier than normal pizza ~ I like to think this pizza is healing my sinuses one slice at a time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Logos, Goldendoodles & Curry

A totally random post heading your way...you've been warned.



We have a dog. Wilson is his name. We rescued him from a farm (the owner gave him to us --AKC papers and all). He was malnurished, full of matted hair and sores, and in overall sad shape. He has been with us for almost a month now and is doing remarkably well. He has the most calm, sweet and gentle disposition of any dog I have known. He still occasionally has to wear his plastic cone on his head while his sores continue to heal but he is putting on some weight and seems to be acclimating quite well to his new home and family. Whether or not the boys are acclimating to a dog is another story, but they'll come around.



The Homestead will be opening at the end of May. Can you believe it?? A family dream is coming true.

And finally...this was breakfast. My new favorite curry. I have a love/hate relationship with Indian curry. This is definitely a love. I added peas to ours and seared our chicken in the pan before browning the onions. I also omitted the garlic (not a huge fan since the last pregnancy) and the red pepper (none on hand).


Mango Chicken Curry Recipe
From Simply Recipes
3 Tbsp (or more) of vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 mangos, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup heavy cream (can substitute all or partially with coconut milk)
Salt and pepper
Cilantro for garnish

Method

1 Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and another tablespoon of oil, cook for a couple more minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin, cook for a few more minutes. The spices will absorb some of the oil, so if anything begins to stick too much to the bottom of the pan, add a little more oil to the pan. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for one minute more.

2 Add the vinegar, water, and a 1/2 of the chopped mango to the pan. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Scoop the sauce into a blender. Purée the sauce, pulsing until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.

3 Add chicken pieces and raisins to the pan. Return to a low simmer. Cover the pan and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be just cooked through. Use a knife to cut open the largest piece to check.

4 Add remaining mango pieces to the pan. Stir in the cream. Let cook at a very low temperature for another minute or two, uncovered. Do not let boil! Or the cream may curdle. Adjust seasonings. If a little too sweet, add a little more vinegar. If not sweet enough, you can add a dash of sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 4.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Champagne Mangoes



Have you ever eaten a champagne mango...or as we call them, thai mangoes? Or maybe you know them by yet another name? Well whatever the name, these little gems are amazing. Typically we find them at the Asian supermarket and eat them diced over a steaming bowl of sticky rice and sweetened coconut milk. Last week I was amazed to find them at the local Sam's Club for a little over $7.00 a box (13 or so per box). I diced them and froze most to pull out for the next thai meal but I also made a mango curd to be layered between a homemade angel food cake this week.



I found the mango curd recipe here and adjusted the sugar/acid amounts a bit to suit our taste (less sweet, more tart).



I also have been keeping mason jars in the fridge filled with cut fruits and vegetables to munch on during the week. I have a horrible habit of buying fresh produce, sticking it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator and letting it rot. Its terrible. I always intend to get to it but it wilts or dries up or molds before I do. I find that if I immediately wash, cut and store the produce when I first return from the store, we actually eat it...imagine that. Not to mention it keeps me from munching on bad things like Easter candy and homemade cookies too.