Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Harvest

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

This Thanksgiving I felt like a real pilgrim. So very thankful for the bountiful harvest and the warm autumn season that has allowed me to continue harvesting for so long. Thankful for bell peppers that I had harvested a couple weeks ago to go along with the corn that I had frozen from summertime.

Thankful for root and tuber veggies. Some from my fall planting that actually produced enough to harvest. 

Thankful for swiss chard still kicking it.

Oh and thankful for the free range turkey, even if it did come from California. 

Thankful for the bounty of choices and big plates to put it on.

Thankful for my advisor, boss, and friend that made this pecan pie. Retail value = $50. Even more thankful for his wife that keeps him humble.

Such a great day spent with my family and friends. Always worth the effort and time in the kitchen for a great meal, even with frozen bread!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Today my father and I went to a sustainable agriculture conference put on by the Kansas Rural Center.
Connecting Cows, Carbon, and Carrots. Making Sense of Our Food Future.

I was actually quite impressed with the conference and although not all of it was worth my time it was encouraging to know that there is a large group of Kansas agricultural producers that get it. They get the fact that commodity agriculture they way we know it right now is not sustainable and if production continues the way the majority does today we are in for a great deal of trouble. Our finances, our environment, our political sphere all play a huge role in this. With my recent travels and experience working on small organic farms in other parts of the country I just thought that Kansas was missing the big picture. We live in the land of plenty and it is often difficult to see past our own pasture gates; however, Kansans are too thinking about the future.

I went to a couple of different workshops, one focusing on school and community gardens. This link between children growing food, being physically active, eating healthier, and overall leading a higher quality of life is so evident! I would love to be able to take part in this growing educational tool in my area. I also heard from a couple in Lawrence that have recently purchased land together and are starting several projects as a joint effort. It makes so much sense for two individual farmers that both need more space to purchase land together, own one tractor together instead of two, share work, and work together to do what they love. Collaboration people! My father was pretty excited to learn more about putting up hoop houses and starting a grass-fed beef production. Add that to the hundreds of articles he's read and the numerous speakers he's already heard about such topics. I told him he should quit wasting time gaining more information and just do it. So all in all, a great day hearing from other producers, local food enthusiasts, and even those political EPA people talking about climate change. There is hope for Kansas agriculture!

I thought I would share just a few kitchen productions from my week. I decided to conduct an experiment and make that green tomato relish with the spare tomatoes I accumulated right before the freeze. It was actually quite tasty and the kids in bake lab ate it up! I guess next year I shall have to pick more of them at the end of the season. After adding sugar and vinegar to the mixture one cannot tell the difference between green tomato relish and cucumber relish.

Oh and just a few more, 10 cups, of frozen pumpkin in the freezer.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010


It was a great day in the Bake Lab! 
Four different breads all made with pre-ferments = lots of quality flavor. 
Because it was such a special day, I went to google to find a few quality quotes.

My favorite of the day included a Multigrain artisan bread. Complete with three different flours and four different grains/seeds.

Right after final shaping.

Ready for the oven.
Finished product.

A little bit of whole wheat goodness. See above quote #3.

Pretty Prairie Paesano

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Preservation

All I want for Christmas is a pressure cooker. We have three freezers in this house, two attached to refrigerators and one deep freeze. They are all full and the majority of the contents are vegetables. It's been a bountiful year and for this I am very thankful, but I could remedy part of this full freezer problem if only I had a pressure cooker to preserve more of the bounty. Until then, I shall continue cooking and eating.

This fall I had fun at the pumpkin patch picking one of each different kind of pumpkin for my decorating and culinary delight.
After serving their decorating purposes, they are now ready for my culinary purposes. Must cook and freeze them for really great pumpkin treats all year long.

Step one: Cut open pumpkins and remove the insides.

Step two: Place open side down on a baking sheet and slide into the oven.

Roast those suckers until they are nice and soft. I added a bit of water to the pan to help with a bit of steaming action and to keep them from burning on the pan.

See how the skin just bubbles up as the flesh becomes nice and soft and begins to cave in?
Just peel away the skin and save the super nutritious flesh. 

Mashed up and packed away into freezer containers. Properly labeled and dated and into the deep freeze they go!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's been a while..

  1. Since I last blogged. Our rural route internet service decided to stop working for about a week. Then I proceeded to contract the common cold and was not really feeling like talking about life, only felt like sleeping. Then I decided maybe I'd just stop spending so much time talking about myself, but then again I remembered I kinda like hearing other people respond. 
  2. Since I ate 3 donuts in two days. This would be lab number 10: Functionality of Flour in Yeast Doughnuts. Life is rough frying up the dough for educational purposes. I'm really glad I didn't eat 7 in one lab like a student did today.
  3. Since I last ate bacon. Yes, the students really did make maple glazed bacon donuts. Not gonna lie, I had to try it. It was quite tasty.
  4. Since I've exercised. Sickness = zero motivation to move more than absolutely necessary. Even more rough to get back in the routine of exercising after taking a good 10 days off.
  5. Since I wore a stocking cap. Definitely got one out last weekend and anticipate using another this weekend. I'm ready for cold weather outside, winter jackets, many scarves and hats. Now if only I had somebody to snuggle with on a cold evening. Just keep praying, just keep praying.
  6. Since I thanked my God for all His blessings on my life. Even though I struggle with direction and purpose with where I am at, I know that He is faithful and good!