Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmastime ~

Christmas has come and gone here at the Smith Homestead once again. We're still reaping the benefits of sugary goodness, handmade decor and new gifts to enjoy. We have so much to be thankful for this year~ especially Mike's new job as we've just coming off an exhaustive two year layoff. Someday, I will share with you all the journey that those two years took us on. It still seems a little too fresh to completely process and put into words but someday it will come~

Here are a few highlights from the day~

First photo of the morning...typical pose for all.


The boys saved to buy each other gifts this year.

His favorite....of course. The .99 gift

His older brothers saved to buy him a new pair of kicks.


4 layer Whiskey ganache cake with whiskey buttercream

The earrings Ezra bought me

Best part of the day~ dinner with friends followed by a dance party. Life lived to the full.


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Friday, December 21, 2012

This is Trent Loos

Our downtown Starbucks is a crowded one. And on one recent Friday morning, even more so. Lots of out-of-towners clamoring for their morning jolt before heading back to the convention center and businessmen having their first meetings of the day. On this morning, I was joining my dear friend for coffee. We cozied into a booth and spent time talking through the weeks events.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man slowly approach our table. I did a double take. This was not just any man. He was a larger-than-life-kind-of-man with a handlebar mustache and wide brimmed black cowboy hat. Not the usual suspect in downtown Lexington. This man, Trent Loos, was coming to meet my friend (his friend,,,,she's a popular girl) for coffee.

He sat down to chat for less than an hour and then was off to the airport and I to my next meeting.
Leaving, I had a feeling of amazement. I had just met somebody amazing. Little did I know how that morning would have such a lasting impact. Isn't it funny how life does that?
In that span of time, Trent Loos (I can't help but call him by both names...he's really THAT larger-than-life), broadened my view of rural America, raised my awareness of the issues facing the AG industry and challenged my sense of responsibility to be a part. It wasn't just the words he spoke that morning but more so what I've come to learn about his mission since that time.
Trent Loos, a sixth generation United States farmer raising livestock in rural Nebraska, with his broad smile, humble demeanor and sparking eyes is unlike any farmer I've ever met. Trent Loos is an anomaly. A trailblazer. And an advocate for millions.
With nothing more than vocalizing a dream to have his own radio show (I'm a huge believer in stating goals and dreams to see them come to fruition!) and a passion for the truth, Trent Loos launched Loos Tales in 2001. Today, his radio show airs on over 100 stations throughout rural America and is heard by more than 4 million daily. Over the years he's added other show titles and his audience and platform continue to grow exponentially. Trent Loos, while still farming the land he loves with his family, spends much of his time on the road, educating, advocating and wreaking a bit of havoc surrounding controversial issues of animal agriculture and food production. Its impossible to do any justice in a blog post about how this man with a dream, a passion and vision is transforming farm life not only in rural America but around the globe...so I won't even try. You'll have to go see for yourself.


I'm talking about this sparkling eyed cowboy today not just because he's challenged me to learn about the issues affecting agriculture and food sustainability in our country but because you need to be challenged too. Listen to his daily shows, follow his advocacy trail through his updates and event schedule and support the efforts of those he aligns with, like the All-American Beef Battalion~ a downright amazing organization made up of members from the US Beef Cattle Industry doing some inspiring acts of kindness to support our troops.

I hope I cross paths again someday with Trent Loos. I think that Husker farm boy might have a few more things to teach this Buckeye city girl about real American life.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bourbon Bacon Blondies~ and an Applegate Giveaway

You may notice, I rarely "plug" brands on the blog. Its just a matter of personal preference. But when I feel confident about a product and its one we are already using here at The Smith Homestead, I am happy to shout it from the rooftops~ because I believe in it. Applegate is one of those products I have happily made mention of before and am honored to do again today. We eat Applegate foods....lots of it, in fact, thanks to my three little carnivores running a muck underfoot. Read up on the company and their amazing natural and organic meat products~
Oh...and leave a comment on this post because Applegate is giving 3 lucky winners coupons for free product!! You'll have until Sunday December 23rd at 9pm to get those comments in. I'll post the winners on Monday morning.

And now onto the recipe...


It's the holidays~ so lets put on the yoga pants, leg warmers and sweatshirt and cozy up next to the Christmas tree with one or two of these indulgent treats.


Bourbon Bacon Blondies
These are thick. You could half the recipe and spread them thinner but I find a thick brownie or blondie cut into smaller squares is more my style. Sprinkling the top with course sea salt makes these really "pop" with flavor.


3 cups AP Flour
3 cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
4 Eggs
3 tsp Vanilla
3 sticks melted Butter
1 cup Chocolate Chips (optional)
1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

Topping
2 packages of Applegate Sunday Bacon
Course Sea Salt
1/2 cup good quality Bourbon (I used one of my favorites~ W.L.Weller)





1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 by 9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
3. Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar in a bowl or stand up mixer until combined. Add eggs (4 of them...not just the 2 pictured) and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, or on slow speed,fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture~ just until combined. Don't over mix.
Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using and turn the batter into the prepared 13 by 9 pan, smoothing out the top with the spatula. Set aside.
4. Fry bacon until crispy and chop into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle the bacon on top of the batter and use the palm of your hand to gently press the bacon into the batter. 
5. Sprinkle with course sea salt. 
6. Bake until the top is cracked and the middle is no longer wet (around 35 minutes). 
7. Using a pastry brush, immediately brush the top of the blondies with the bourbon, using the entire 1/2 cup (or more if you're wanting the ultimate boozy blondies)
8. Cool completely on a wire rack. I like to then chill them but you could eat them without that step.

Enjoy!! And don't forget to enter the giveaway by Sunday night~


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Monday, December 10, 2012

Sausage and Potato Frittata












Sausage and Potato Frittata

Ingredients
  • Fully Cooked Sausage (amount up to you...my boys are carnivores)
  • 2lbs of peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Soak sliced potatoes in the beaten milk/egg/salt/pepper mixture. 
  3. Lightly grease 2, 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Place parchment paper in the bottom of each pan.
  4. Begin removing potato slices from the bowl and layer them, covering the bottom of the cake pan. Top with cooked sausage and sprinkle with cheese. 
  5. Continue to layer until both pans are full and all ingredients are used up, ending with potatoes.
  6. Pour egg/milk mixture over the top and cover with foil and place in the preheated oven.
  7. Bake until eggs are set, approx. 30-40 minutes.
  8. Uncover; transfer skillet to broiler; broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly.Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Buying Local at Christmas




Between Louisville and Lexington, we have some really great, independently owned shops~ Here are some of my favorites and a few new ones that have come across my radar.....happy holiday shopping~ and if you live outside the Bluegrass state~ I'd love to know where you're shopping this year!
This shop is a bit of heaven on earth. The owners are simply amazing and the items continually surprise me.
This sweet coffee shop/bakery has it all.....

...including a sound room with a record player.

This shop had an abundance of fairly priced gift giving goodies...and a big ol' red door that screamed "photo op"  

He really could spend hours reading the labels in this shop.

I, for the life of me, can't remember the name of this shop. Anyone? Regardless, it was pretty dreamy.



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