April 17, 2014

Visiting Hilton Head Island

We LOVED Hilton Head Island! It was the first time for both of us to visit any island, and we weren't sure what to expect. My cousin and his family are wonderful hosts and guides, so we really got to see a lot in the short time we were there. 

The weather was perfect the entire time we were there. Of course to us, perfect means above freezing, and no precip. And that is how it was! Not a single rain drop (or snow flake), and temps were well above freezing. At night I would have to throw on a light jacket, but that is how I love my temps. Warm days and cool nights! Perfect!

We visited the Stoney Barnyard Ruins. This was part of the remaining structure of the plantation house.

The buildings here were made of Tabby. So amazing to see this close up.  What's Tabby you ask? Well, it's oyster shells!  Click over to Coastalguide.com for their definition.

My Truckin' Man LOVED this plant .  Every time we walked past one (which was often) I had to convince him there was no way this would ever survive winter in Wisconsin.

Harbour Town Lighthouse was so interesting. While you climb the stairs to the top, you get to read and see all sorts of historical information because it is a museum!

 To those of you who know me well... Yes, I did indeed walk to the top! Even walked outside! 

 nat the top of Harbour Town Lighthouse! For once, my fear of heights didn't kick in and I got to enjoy an amazing view!

The next segment of the series will be from our wedding!

April 13, 2014

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

I originally shared this recipe for Revolutionary Mac & Cheese way back in 2011. It was my 5th ever blog post. I wanted to share this again for two reasons... One, it really needed a better photo. Second, this recipe has become such a go to recipe in our life, it really needed to be shared again!

I love to cook!  I love to eat!  I was such a picky eater for so many years, I really don't know how my parents handled getting me to eat.  Then something happened years later, I started trying new things and found out how many good foods were out there that I had avoided unnecessarily.

With our love of food, I am continually trying to get away from processed foods and make what we are eating better for us.  Sometimes that is a challenge, but I am learning more and more, that it really is simple.  It's just a matter of having your pantry stocked with the right foods.  We love macaroni and cheese.  Who doesn't, right??  Either you make the box with the packet of powdered cheese and who knows what else... I am sure there is corn syrup in there too, but we will get into my hatred of corn syrup another day.  You can also make the box with the cheese you squeeze out of the packet. Probably better, but is it? I haven't read the ingredient label on that, and will probably just skip that.  Especially after this amazingly easy recipe I have found!  I can't believe how simple it is, and how good it is!!

My search for a macaroni and cheese recipe, led me to a blog named Macaroni and Cheesecake .  Seemed like a good place to start??  5 Ingredients, and 25 minutes for homemade goodness!  I had to try it! The first time making it, I tried the oven finish.  The second time, I skipped the oven finish and loved it even more. 

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

2 cups dried pasta
2 cups milk (I use 2 %)
1 cup loosely packed shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard or stone ground

In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, until pasta is soft, stirring frequently.  Be sure milk does not boil.

Turn heat off, add cheese & salt.  Stir to combine.  Stir in the mustard a little at a time to taste. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes, then stir again and serve. Add a tablespoon or more milk to your desired creaminess level.  Gently stir.

Oven Finish (Optional)
Place in a baking dish and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until cheese has melted.

Sharing this at:
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April 10, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

I am back! It feels like I have been away from all of you for so long!
What's been happening in my world? Well, we left Wisconsin, and headed for the ocean.

We went to Hilton Head Island in Southern South Carolina. While we were there, we got married. 
On the beach. Yup, it was perfect! Perfectly amazing!

After leaving the island, we went to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, just up the coast in Charleston, South Carolina. This garden was so amazing, I can not fully express to you how beautiful it was. 
If you ever have the opportunity to visit, please do so. You will not be disappointed!

We headed up the Blue Ridge Parkway to spend a few days in the mountains. 

There are so many things to see in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
All you need is time to see it all!

We finally returned home to all of our "kids" that missed us so. 
As wonderful as our time away was, it is good to be home.

March 21, 2014

Random 5 Friday

After a conversation this week with Carla, from The River, about morels,
 I am so excited for picking season to get here!

Yesterday,  we went to meet with all the powers that be, and the farm is finally in our name!

Since the farm is in our name, Truckin' Mans "Honey do list" just grew by a mile :)

There is still to much snow outside to do anything much out there, but the hens sure think otherwise. It's fun being outside, just watching them stretch their wings.

Our barn cat,s that started living in the basement with all the horrible weather, are finally back outside. I think they are a little sad, thinking they were getting promoted to indoor status. 

Linking up with Nancy at A Rural Journal

March 17, 2014

Hearty Oat Loaf

My parents get to see a lot of pictures of our food. My mom does some proof reading for me. However, much to their disappointment, they don't get to do any taste testing.  They live close, but not that close.  Since they are always wanting to sample, when they call to say they are coming over, I try to make sure I have something on hand.

For their last trip over, I didn't have anything. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.  I don't think well under pressure, so a cookbook was useless. I needed photo's. Pinterest... Save me! Yup, good old Pinterest. I had this recipe pinned. It came together so quick, and it was a lovely moist quick bread. This bread is definitely best the day that you make it!

Hearty Oat Loaf  (Source: Delightful Country Cookin')

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp oats, divided
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2  cup milk (I use 2%)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 inch round baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine all-purpose flour, wheat flour, 1/2 cup oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil.  Add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.  Spread batter into baking pan.  Sprinkle batter with remaining 2 Tablespoons oats.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.  Serve warm.

For best quality, enjoy same day!

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March 12, 2014

Mom's Creme de Menthe Cake

This past weekend we invited a neighbor gentleman over for dinner, and I know how much he loves having a home cooked meal. Since it is such a treat for him, I try to make a full course meal, including dessert, whenever he joins us. 

This past week I knew I had cut my meal prep time to short and was going to need to find a short cut somewhere. I tried remembering some tried and true desserts that would be fast to prepare. Somewhere out of my memory bank, I remembered my mom's Creme de Menthe Cake. It has probably been twenty some years since Mom made this cake, so long in fact, she didn't even remember this recipe. Thankfully, my memory can be sharp as a tack on odd trivial pieces of info, so I knew the exact book where she had the recipe. Mom scanned it, emailed it, I went shopping, and the cake was a hit!

This is so simple. Perfect quick answer to an impressive cake. You know it's good when the neighbor gentleman, politely asked if he might be able to take a little bit of cake home with him!

Mom's Creme de Menthe Cake (Source: My Mom)

1 box white cake mix
4 Tbsp Creme de Menthe, divided
8 oz tub Cool Whip
6 oz Hershey's Fudge Topping
Green food coloring (optional)

Make cake following directions on box, adding two tablespoons of Creme de Menthe. Bake cake following directions for 9x13. Cool cake.
Once cake has cooled, warm 6 ounces of fudge topping. Warm it enough that you can pour and spread it on the cake (you don't want it so hot that it runs off the cake). Spread fudge topping, completely covering cake. Set cake in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add remaining Creme de Menthe, and green food coloring to Cool Whip. I added three drops of food coloring to get the shade of green I was looking for. Spread over top of fudge layer.

Refrigerate until serving.  Enjoy!

Sharing this recipe at:
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March 11, 2014

Adios Old Man Winter

I haven't shared much around the farm this winter, because well.... it was hard to share. It's typically dark by the time I get home from work. On the days I didn't work, it was often so cold it really hurt my face! So, I certainly wasn't very inclined to be out taking many pictures. Plus, I am not sure how good the extreme cold is on camera's. I always mean to research that, yet never get it done.

Finally, spring and warmer temperatures are starting to show us teaser's of what is to come. I am so excited! We could see our driveway for the first time in months this weekend! Funny how such a simple thing can bring so much joy.... and mud! But, the mud will soon dry.

Two of the ladies wondered out over the weekend and braved stepping in the snow.
It's been months since we have seen their fluffy butts wandering around!

 Snowdrifts melting, showing more and more of the drive.

 We had so much snow, this is how far above my bird feeder I am when filling it!

I was SO happy to be outdoors over the weekend, but really there wasn't anything to do. So mucky you couldn't walk much of anywhere. To much snow left to start any spring projects. What else to do but build a snowman! 

Happy Melting!

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