Last weekend, my sweetheart and I drove over to Blowing Rock and had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, a British styled pub called Sixpence. Have you ever been there? Great food & atmosphere! On our way home, we picked up a half bushel of mountain apples and a bag of chestnuts. Chinquapin; I believe that is what the old timers called the type of chestnuts we bought. They will be a tasty snack after we roast them. The variety of apples that I purchased was Winesap, and I was very busy this week making them into apple butter. Have you ever made apple butter? It is sinfully easy. Apple Butter doesn’t have butter in it; it get’s its name from the smooth texture that occurs after a lengthy cooking time. The old fashioned way of making apple butter involved cooking it outdoors over an open fire and usually in a copper pot. I couldn’t manage to procure a copper pot without shelling out a ton of cash for it, so I opted for an easier method and a cooking vessel that most kitchens have; a crock pot. To make apple butter, you need a large crock pot, enough apples to fill it, sugar, vinegar and apple pie spice. Begin by peeling, coring and slicing up your apples, fill the crock pot full of them and add 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Add two heaping tablespoons of apple pie spice and let it cook all day on high. You will need to stir it on occasion to break down the apples. Be careful, the mixture will be very hot! Next week, I will tell you how to preserve your apple butter by canning it in a hot water bath. I wanted to remind you of our Herbal Workshop at Sweet Harvest Homestead on October 8th. It is not too late to sign up. This is going to be such a fun and informative class! We are privileged to have Dr. Partick Ess as our guest speaker. Janice Efird will be our guest demonstrator and show us how to make an effective earache remedy. The workshop starts at 10:30 and we will make tinctures, herbal salves, and an herbal body cream as well as The Master Tonic ( a natural cold and flu remedy). A delicious lunch will be provided. The class is limited to 12 people, and your spot is reserved upon payment. Cost is $99. You will go home with three tinctures, a jar of The Master Tonic, handouts, a jar of body cream, salve & a full belly. These classes fill up quickly! Reserve your spot now. For more information, you can email me at Lindy@LindySellers.com or visit my website www.sweetharvesthomestead.com. That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.
Early this morning I went outside to my herb garden to gather Comfrey to make a healing salve. Herbs are best gathered in the morning after the dew has cleared, but before the heat of the day sets in and draws off volatile oils.
While I was out there, I noticed that the persimmons on our tree are big and fat and have a muted peach tint to them. After the first frost, they will make a delicious persimmon pudding.
The pumpkin seeds that we planted in the summer have many bright yellow blooms on them, and a few tiny baby pumpkins are beginning to form. You have to get out in the garden very early to even see the flowers opened because by 10 am, they are closed up tight.
This time of year makes me think of good soups. I like to make up extra and freeze it so that we can have a fast and nourishing meal for busy weeknights. This is one of our family favorites, and I hope it will become one of yours too.
One tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 lbs of your favorite BBQ pork
3 (14.75 ounce) can cream style corn
3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the onions until soft. Mix in the pork, corn, tomatoes, broth and BBQ sauce.
Cook, occasionally stirring, for 2 hours, or until thickened.
Enjoy with hot cornbread.
This Friday, September 9th is our Grand Opening of the Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead. We will be open from 10 – noon and will have your favorite fragrances of handcrafted soap, an assortment of seasonal jams and freshly baked homemade bread.
Hope to see you there!
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!
“Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum…”
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Even though that passage was written over 50 years ago, it is still fitting right now on these humid, sweltering, summer days. A great way to cool off in this heat is with a bowl of home-made ice cream.
I remember when I was about 11 years old, my granddaddy bought an electric ice-cream maker. He let me go to the store with him and choose the ingredients and flavors that we would need to make ice cream. I chose mint chocolate chip. We set to work making it for the whole family on his front porch. I remember my brother and younger cousins eating the rock salt, and I was worried that all of that salt would get down inside of the container that held the rich, creamy goodness. Thankfully, no salt got in the ice cream. When it was finally finished, all of the cousins gathered around the machine and watched as my granddaddy pried the top lose. We all held our breath in anticipation of the treat, and when the lid was finally off, it exposed a deep green ice cream (because I was a little heavy handed with the food coloring). The chocolate chips were too big and hard to eat because they were frozen, but that memory will live forever as the best ice cream that I ever tasted.
When you are surrounded by all of your family and having a good time on your grandparent's front porch, everything tastes good.
I’ve been experimenting with different flavors of ice- cream, and I think I have hit the mark with this one. It is flavored with cardamom, and the texture is more like the old fashioned Ice milk, instead of ice cream. Does anyone remember ice milk? That was my daddy’s favorite; haven’t seen it in years, but I digress.
Cardamom is a spice that is used in Scandinavian and Indian cuisine. We also use it a lot here because I am nuts about the flavor.
To make Cardamom Ice Cream, you only need a few items.
2 quarts light cream
½ cup sugar
1 TBS freshly ground cardamom.
One fresh egg
8x8 metal baking dish
Mix first three ingredients together in a large saucepan and warm up. In a separate bowl, crack the egg and temper it ( add a little of the hot cream, a tablespoon at a time and stir. This prevents the egg from cooking in the hot liquid) When the egg mixture is tempered, add back to your pot of heated cream and mix well. Pour mixture into baking dish and set it in your freezer for several hours. The shallower the pan, the faster the cream freezes. After the mixture is frozen, scoop out and enjoy.
Cover with plastic wrap or convert to a lidded container and store in the freezer…that is if there is any left.
I have been thinking of adding a new segment to the podcast about books. I consider myself a life long learner and I have at least three books going at once, all of the time. Truth be told, if I went to a doctor for a diagnosis, I would probably have ADD because I flitter and flit from one topic to another all of the time- I like to look at that as an asset instead of something that needs to be medicated out of me.
If I stumble upon something that really resonates with me and is game changing or just helps me to think differently, I want to share it with you. Some may be fictional but most will be non-fiction.
I have recently been re-reading a great book by Claude Bristol called the magic of believing. Written in 1948, the magic of believing can change your life if you follow the steps that Claude Bristol lays out. Now, it is not new age fluff; Even well-known Christians like Norman Vincent Peale have said this is a great inspirational book - Set a goal in your life, visualize yourself moving toward that goal and see the steps involved.
It is a positive approach to self-improvement that works for many. It is a matter of positive thinking and believing that better things in your life are due to come to you. You can find the book at the library or buy it on Amazon but you can also listen to an abridged version on you tube for free! Give it a listen; I think you’ll really enjoy it!
Speaking of you tube, you can listen to my podcast on you-tube right now. I have a new channel there. I have avoided you tube as a platform for so long now, but I bit the bullet and uploaded my podcasts as well as a couple of how to videos. More videos will come so stay tuned.
Now, I wanted to ask a favor of you dear listeners, If you enjoy listening to the sweet harvest homestead podcast, would you do me the honor of leaving a review on iTunes or subscribing to my you tube channel and giving me a thumbs up? Reviews help get the podcast noticed so that others can enjoy the show too.
Thank you so much for listening and for your support.
That’s’ the news from the homestead, see you next week.
Pork Roast with Sweet Potato & Glazed Kale:
I fixed this for supper last week, and it was a huge hit! The pork roast was so large that I planned on using the leftovers for lunch the next day. Well, that wasn’t happening. After my boys and husband had finished supper, there wasn’t any left.
This was easy to make because the Dutch oven did most of the work.
1 Naked Pig Pork Roast (mine was about 5lbs)
1 TBS Naked Pig Lard
One medium Onion
3 Sweet Potatoes
½ cup vegetable broth
½ teaspoon brown mustard
½ Cup Sweet Harvest Homestead Roasted Peach and Rosemary Jam
Two large handfuls of fresh chopped kale
In a Dutch oven, heat the lard on high. Sprinkle salt, pepper and sage over both sides of the roast and brown in hot lard.
Chop up one onion and add to the pot.
Add half cup of vegetable broth along with the fresh rosemary.
Put the lid of Dutch oven on the pot and simmer on low for 3 hours.
After two hours- chop up two sweet potatoes and add to the pot
Remove roast and sweet potatoes from the pot after the roast is fall-apart tender and sweet potatoes are sufficiently cooked.
To make the glazed kale:
There will be liquids and roast leavings in the Dutch oven, leave them because that is what makes this glaze taste so good! To the dutch oven add ½ cup of Sweet Harvest Homesteads Roasted Peach & Rosemary jam and one teaspoon brown mustard.
Stir until well incorporated and add two tablespoons water
Add two generous handfuls of chopped kale to the glaze in the pot.
Put lid on the pot and let mixture steam for about a minute
Remove kale from the pot into another bowl leaving behind some of the peach Rosemary glaze. Pour glaze over ham.
I am a little obsessed with these naked cakes. Back when I worked at a catering company, many years ago, we called this the crumb coat. Now, this look is a hot little number.
Last weekend we went to the sweetest wedding but had to leave before they cut the cake. They had the most beautiful naked cake there and I really wanted to taste it.
I made my own yesterday and I have to say, I enjoyed this much more than the traditional iced cake. Icing is too sweet to me. You can fill the layers with a tasty jam and just barely ice the cake to keep it moist. Cover it with beautiful flowers and it's a sweet, simple way to make a wedding or birthday cake!
This is a recipe that I whipped up last week after I left the farmers market with an abundance of kale.
My family loved it. Check it out, it might be a new favorite in your family too!
Fish Stew with Kale
1 –TBS lard
1-Vadilia Onion (diced)
1-12 ounce bag of frozen flounder
1-16 ounce bag scallops
1-small bag fingerling potatoes or 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (diced)
1-can chopped tomatoes
4-large handfuls of fresh kale ( stems torn out)
1-jar clam juice
4 cups vegetable broth
Heat the lard in a large stock pot and add diced onions. Saute until brown. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 30 minutes.
Serve with hot cornbread.
The flowers around our homestead are bursting with a profusion of color. The wild roses down by the stream are in full bloom, and when old Mother Westwind and her Merry Little Breezes pass by, the fragrance is carried all the way up to the house.
When I stand at the kitchen window and wash my dishes, I can look out and see flowers in bloom all along the thorny branches of the blackberry bush. Those tiny, white blossoms will soon turn into deep purple, sweet berries that I will make into cobblers and ice cream, come July.
When I go out to feed the chickens in the evening, I pass by a honeysuckle vine that grows around an old persimmon tree. The vine has started to bloom now and even though I am a grown woman, I must stop and pick a blossom, pull the stamen out from the bottom and taste the sweet nectar.
Honeysuckle will always remind me of my mother. I remember the first time I tasted the sweetness that the flower holds. I couldn’t have been more than two years old, and my mother was barely 21 when she showed me that mysterious treat. I remember the taste on my tongue and her gentle smile at my surprised reaction.
Mother’s day is coming up this weekend. I always made a big deal of Mother’s day for my mother, because she was so good to my brother and me. (It took getting married and leaving home to realize that.) She was raised in an extremely difficult situation, but she and my father never let that show through in our upbringing.
We lost my sweet, kind and gentle mother six years ago to pancreatic cancer, two days after her 56th birthday. For several years afterward, I was terribly sad on Mother’s day because she was gone. What a fool I was, for I am a mother and have three beautiful reasons to celebrate the day. Sometimes we get so busy mourning what we have lost that we forget to be grateful for what we have. Thankfully, I saw the light and no longer feel sad.
For many years, we took my mother to the Walker Sister’s cabin in the Smokies on Mother’s day and had a picnic. We would take along a blanket and fried chicken with all the fixings. It was a great way to spend an afternoon. I will do that with my family this Sunday. We will be bringing some homemade cookies too because after all, it’s not a picnic without something sweet.
Here is a recipe for a great traveling cookie that I make with good old fashioned lard. Yes, I said lard. Everything old is new again, and lard is in that camp. Store bought lard is okay, but if you can find someone who raises pigs and renders their fat, you will have yourself a super delicious treat! I have found the best lard at The Naked Pig in Oakboro.
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup Naked Pig lard
¾ cup sugar
1 TBS Powdered *Real Lemon Brand Powdered Flavoring*
2 cups self-rising flour.
Cream together first five ingredients then add flour. Roll into 1 inch balls and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Be sure to stop by and see me at the Locust Farmer’s Market on Thursday, May 5th from 11-4. I’ll have all sorts of goods for sale. Jams, Jellies, Handcrafted Soap, Herbal Salves, Homemade Bread and I might just have some of these Lemon Cookies.
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!
Having good neighbors can add such richness to our lives. We don’t live in a neighborhood- we live down a country lane but that doesn’t stop us from getting to know one another and being friendly to the folks who reside near us.
Our neighbors range from horse trainers to farmers, bakery owners to herbalists, missionaries, quilters and couples who have been married over 50 years (and that’s just a few of them.)
When we first moved to our land, I made it a mission to get to know our neighbors. I prepared tins of homemade hot chocolate mix and my young children and I went door to door delivering them. That simple act introduced us to some of the most wonderful people.
They have come to our rescue by watching our children for us when I had to rush my husband to the emergency room after a painful fall. Another always checks up on us if a strange car pulls up the driveway. Even though our blood relatives are far away in Tennessee, we feel that our neighbors have become an extended part of our family
Upon moving in to our little white farmhouse on Smith Road, we met one kind neighbor who gave us tickets for a fundraising dinner hosted by his church. That church meal was our introduction to a couple of North Carolina specialties- Sundrop pound cake and red slaw. That same neighbor’s mother sent over homemade cookies and a church cookbook with a hand written note to welcome us to the community.
A few weeks later, a large van pulled up to our house and out walk a beautiful family with 8 children. The oldest girl was carrying a chocolate cake that she and her mother baked from scratch, also to welcome us.
After being treated like that, how could you help but to fall in love with this place?
From my herbalist neighbor, I have learned how to companion plant vegetables, use herbs to heal and how to properly use my serger/sewing machine.
From our neighbors who have been married for 57 years, I have learned that a union between two teenagers can, and will endure if they both stick to the commitment they made.
From my neighbor who is a quilter, I have learned how to speed up the process of cutting out quilt blocks and the value of teaching the next generation the art of sewing up a beautiful, warm cover.
They all come from different walks of life but they all have one thing in common, the love for the land, community and for this little patch of paradise we call home.
The recipe that I wanted to share with you this week was adapted from one that my friend and neighbor, Margo Plyler shared with me. I walked into her house one evening as she was cooking this and the smell was heavenly, it tasted even better. I could never get the hang of cooking cubed steak until Margo showed me how.
5- Cube Steaks
3 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
1 Small Onion, halved and sliced
Salt & Pepper
2 cups Chicken Stock
Put your cube steaks on a plate and season both sides with salt, pepper. Coat both sides of steaks with flour. Pour enough oil into your skillet cover the cooking surface with oil, about 1/3-1/2 cup. Heat oil on medium high. When oil is nice and hot, test with a pinch of the flour for the steak plate to see if it bubbles & sizzles. If it does then add your steaks to the pan. Cook at medium high for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove steak to a clean plate. Remove Pot from burner; discard all oil except about 2 tablespoons. Return to heat, add mushrooms and onions and stir to get any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until mushroom and onions start to turn golden, make sure nothing burns. Add 2 table spoon of flour and stir. Add Chicken stock and stir well. Turn stove to low and return steaks to gravy. Let cook and get really tender in the gravy for about an hour.
Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
That’s the news from Sweet Harvest Homestead.
Crunchy Chocolate Eggs
I clipped this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine years ago. We make them every Easter. I have modified the recipe a bit because the original was way too sweet. Let me warn you -they are addictive.
¼ cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups rice cereal
3¾ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1½ teaspoons shortening
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and peanut butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat and add cereal. When cool enough to handle, drop by tablespoons onto waxed paper lined baking sheets. Form into egg shapes. If you find that mixture sticks to your hands, spray a little cooking spray on them to keep from sticking. Refrigerate until firm. In double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening together; stir until smooth. Dip eggs in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper to harden. Decorate with sprinkles. Let stand until set. Yield about 4 ½ dozen eggs.