Archive for November, 2010

Thanksgiving Treats

November 24, 2010

The kitchen’s getting steamy and overheated—the food marathon has begun. First up: Pumpkin-Toffee-Pecan Cookies. It’s a variation of a recipe from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Victory Garden Cookbook. I hadn’t planned to make cookies as we’re already having an over-abundance of desserts in the way of pies tomorrow, but I had an extra cup of pumpkin puree leftover so decided to put it to good use. I’m glad I did, yum!

These puffy cake-like cookies are very special with a strong hint of orange combined with toasted pecans and bits of crushed toffee. They’re almost like mini cakes with a large dollop of cream cheese frosting on the top. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. I just have to remember to put some aside for our Thanksgiving guests or we may just nibble them all away.


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Buttery Giant Biscuits

November 13, 2010

Great news: My book, Chicken and Egg is available for pre-order online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders Books. It’s also available from the Good Cook Book Club and Home Style Book Club. It looks like the earliest you’ll be able to get it will be January 26th. The official release date of January 15th that I mentioned in my last post is apparently the date the book ships to all of the stores. (I’m slowly learning about the publishing world.)

For anyone who wants to pre-order the book and give it as a delayed Christmas present, I have good news as well. Chronicle Books, my publisher, will be printing up cards with an image of the book on the front and a recipe from the book on the back. You’ll be able to wrap up the card with a note that the book will be coming soon. Just drop me a line or give me a call and I’ll be happy to send you as many cards as you need. Also a big thank you to everyone who has already pre-ordered!

The chickens are worrying about the ominous weather report for this weekend. A possibility of a foot of snow in some areas.  Hard to believe it was 70ºF on Monday! The chicks are trying to figure out a way to follow the 3 trumpeter swans I saw flying overhead this morning. Beautiful graceful birds running before the storm.

We’re ready for whatever happens this weekend as the last of the deck furniture got put away yesterday and all the leaves have been swept aside. A big pot of soup is cooking and I’m planning to make my favorite Buttery Giant Biscuits. (Recipe below.)


Buttery Giant Biscuits
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Chicken and Egg

November 04, 2010

I’m so excited! My book Chicken and Egg, A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes is over in China being printed as I write and will be officially released on January 15, 2011.

What a New Year’s present! It’s strange to think that after all the cooking, testing, writing and hard work that went into putting this project together, that I’ll soon have the actual book to hold in my hands.

I’m a little nervous, although I know it’s going to be beautiful. My publisher, Chronicle Books, has done a fantastic job of melding my recipes together with stories of my first year of raising backyard chickens to create this unique cookbook memoir. I hope you’re going to love it.

As more details become clear, I’ll let you know where you can purchase it, if you can pre-order, whether I’ll be signing books and all sorts of other fun things.


In the meantime, the chickens are oblivious to their upcoming fame. Cleo’s in a terrible mood as molting has given her a bad hair day for a month now. She’s only 3 but acts 13 and truly embarrassed. Roxanne, who molted in June, is beautiful but bossy. She hasn’t laid an egg since summer causing me to wonder why we put up with her.

The two little ones make up for the quirkiness of the older two. They laid their first eggs 2 weeks ago and haven’t stopped. Ruby has laid 14 eggs in a row! I think it’s a record. The older girls always take a break every couple of days, that is when they’re laying at all, but not Ruby our tiny runt of a girl. Hens are born carrying the entire number of ova that will develop into eggs in their lifetime. I hope she’s not using up her stash too quickly. Coco has laid 8 out of 10 days so she’s also doing her part. It’s great fun to be back in the egg business. I was beginning to wonder if it was all worth it.

Look at the posts below for some of the new recipes I’ve been making. I don’t have room to post them here so thought I would share them in individual posts. Also, I’ve finally updated the tabs About Me and Recipes. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

November 04, 2010

Zucchini is one of the few vegetables that’s not good for me. Which is surprising considering it’s extremely low in calories (13 calories in a half cup), has a considerable amount of vitamin C along with good amounts of folate, potassium, and vitamin A. My problem is, when I see zucchini I think of zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, and zucchini bars. I do not think of steamed zucchini, stir-fried zucchini, or raw zucchini.

So, the other day when I had a couple of zucchini to use up, I immediately thought of the Zucchini Bars my mother made when I was growing up. They’re moist, fragrant, filled with spices and raisins for extra sweetness.

The girls ate the leftover shredded zucchini thereby getting all of the good vitamins without the added fat and calories. But I know I enjoyed the bars more than they enjoyed the raw zucchini.

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Trout with Maple-Cider Glaze

November 03, 2010

Our backyard is currently like a Norman Rockwell painting with the chickens rooting through the gold and red leaves, pumpkins stacked and hay bales ready. The sun is out and the weather’s mild; we know winter’s coming, but today we don’t care.

I’m using the grill a lot while I still don’t have to put a jacket and gloves on to turn the food, and I recently made a fabulous dish using steelhead trout. In an effort to eat more fish, as well as a variety of fish, I bought the special of the day, steelhead trout. It’s related to rainbow trout but is an ocean fish that returns to freshwater after 2 to 3 years to spawn. Its color and size is more reminiscent of salmon than rainbow trout but its flavor is mild and delicate. I grilled it simply with salt and pepper then served it with a maple-cider glaze. Simple yet perfect for this perfect time of year.

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Spiced Grape Jelly

November 03, 2010

I was congratulating myself the other day on having homemade jelly tucked away for winter. I felt like a real homesteader using the backyard grapes my friend Joni the gardener had supplied. But as I reached for the jar I realized my stock was dwindling – fast. The problem with homemade preserves is they are too good. It’s hard to keep them around to sustain you through the winter. If you’re in the mood for real grape jelly, and believe me this is nothing like Welch’s, try this recipe. Trust me, it won’t last long.

If you’re wondering where I got the unique custom labels, click over to Lelo’s site on Etsy.

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