Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's ALL about the Pumpkin!

Well, one more week til Halloween, so I thought I'd share a few tried and true Sweet-Tooth recipes featuring Pumpkin. The first recipe was given to me over 25 years ago by my friend Rachel. It is scrumptious, and as she noted on her original recipe card, it contains 100% of vitamin A and 10% of iron per serving! My children used to love this with whipped cream straight from the oven!

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13" X 9" pan. Place the following ingredients in a large bowl...
3 1/2 cups Flour            2 cups Sugar
1 cup soft Butter            1/2 cup Molasses
1/3 cup Water            4 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups Pumpkin Puree            2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt            1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger            1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cloves            1 teaspoon Vanilla

Beat well and pour into prepared pan. Bake for about an hour or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!
(I think I'll head to the kitchen and make a pan of this when I'm done here!)

I always laugh at all the jokes regarding Fruit Cake, but I love the stuff! I never met a Fruit Cake I didn't like, and this one is delicious!

Pumpkin Fruit Cake
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, combine
1 cup soft Butter            2 Eggs
1 cup Pumpkin Puree            1 cup Sugar
2 cups Flour            1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar            1 teaspoon Vanilla
Mix batter together til well-combined. Then add
2 cups dried, chopped mixed fruits... whatever you like.
(This can be an assortment of any combination of dried fruits or the pre-packaged typical fruitcake citron mixture that's available at your grocer's)
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or whatever you like)

Pour into either one large loaf pan (bake this for 1 1/2 hours) or smaller mini-loaf pans. (Bake these for 50-60 minutes) til a toothpick comes out clean.
When cooled, brush about 1/2 cup of rum or flavored brandy over the loaves, if desired. Wrap in plastic wrap and let set for a week or two in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Roll Cake
(A must-have for Sunday dinner dessert or Thanksgiving around here!)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a jellyroll pan or large cookie sheet and dust with flour. Dust a clean dishtowel with 1 tablespoon Confectioner's Sugar, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients...
3 Eggs            1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Flour            2/3 cup Pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon Cinnamon            2 teaspoons Ginger
1 teaspoon Nutmeg            1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Cloves            1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
Beat thoroughly and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes; carefully invert onto dishtowel. Sprinkle cake with 1 tablespoon Confectioner's Sugar, roll up with towel and let cool completely. Meantime, prepare icing by creaming together
1 cup Confectioner's Sugar
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Unroll cooled cake, frost with Icing and re-roll without towel! Sprinkle with Confectioner's Sugar.

Well, that will do for now lest we have a sugar-overload. Hope all is well with you and yours as November nears. I've been trying to catch up on things, and am pleased to say I finally got around to picking the Concord Grapes. I made two batches of jelly. I got the barn cleaned for winter... and just in time. My friend Martha called me the other day and needed a home for 5 laying hens... two were just old biddies past their prime, but what's two more mouths to feed? They're sweet little things, and followed my grandson and I about the barnyard and didn't mind being petted and carried. My daughter and my mom have given me a hand peeling off wallpaper from two bedrooms upstairs. I suppose I'll have to rent the floor sander again and re-do the floors in the upstairs hallway and three adjoining bedrooms. And we've been trying to find time to get my workshop together. And I need to get the tractor out and get the frost-blackened gardens tidied up and cleaned out in preparation for winter snows. And so on! I must go bake some Pumpkin Gingerbread now, so til next time! xox ~Laura of Wildenblue Farm
PS: My daughter wanted Pumpkin Roll instead!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Roger's Rock Trail... NOT the slide!

If you're not up to another post of another hike... just skip this one! I promise I'll be back in a few days with a recipe or two and more farm-related chitchat! But a girl's gotta take advantage of a beautiful fall day before hunting season keeps her away from the woods...

This picture shows the trail about a half-hour into the hike. We started off on a pine needle-covered path that headed uphill, and came suddenly to an abrupt steep climb over and between rocks!
My ol' hiking buddy & I headed up north for a little jaunt up the trail at Roger's Rock to check out the view of the northern part of Lake George. I will tell you straight up that we did not rock climb up the slide. Here is a link to that venture posted by someone much younger and more agile than I.... bless their heart. (I am not a spring chicken and I am afraid of heights!!! These folks are not....

Looking back down from where we just came from (before I got scared!)
Needless to say, we did have to manuever between, up and over many rocks on the trail we took. And I am not going to lie and say I was not afraid when we hit one steep spot in particular, and I realized that I could not retrace my steps back down on account of the fact that it was almost impossible and too steep to go backwards.
My friend told me NOT to look down, and I listened... but I really wanted to snap a picture to prove  my point. However, I daren't let go of the vise-grip I had on two rocks to reach for my camera! I was frozen briefly with panic, but quickly realized how much more humiliated I would feel when I visualized myself having to be plucked off the side of this climb via a helicopter! So the only thing I could do was keep pulling myself up! I was very relieved, and very proud of myself, when we reached the overlook!

Here is part of the trail heading back down. We had to scoot along on all fours and our backside at some points to meander through the rock passageways, as it was still quite steep in certain areas.
We did find a different way back down the trail, as you could probably have guessed because I'm typing this and am not still up on Roger's Rock! It really was a lot of fun, and I would do it again since I know what's ahead! Well, this is probably it for hiking this autumn, as big-game hunting season opens October 18th and runs til December 7th, so I'm glad we got a few in before the snow flies! Til next time!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Come along for a hike

Yesterday was a LOVELY day for a hike up Sleeping Beauty Mountain! It was cool and sunny, and the foilage was beautiful. The trails were rocky and there were a lot of switch-backs at certain points, but the view at the top was gorgeous. We ate lunch and chatted with other folks on the summit for at least two hours before we headed back down! Here are a few photographs to share...

The trail started off rocky and wet, and continued to be all the way up, with the exception of certain areas that were more or less like walking up a streambed.

Through the trees, you can just make out the peak of Sleeping Beauty.

Here, you can see the switchbacks that the leaf-covered trail makes as it zig-zags up the mountain.

This is a view from the summit looking southeast towards the mountains of Vermont and Massachusetts

And this view overlooks the northern end of Lake George... to the very left across the lake is Bolton Landing... to the right are the beginnings of the High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountain Range.

Looking again towards Vermont and New Hampshire... I believe the pointy peak towards the left is either Killington or Pico in Vermont.

Looking south towards home!

My Happy Feet!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just wanted to share this photograph of my grandson Ryan... hope I'm entitled to bragging rights this morning! I just love this picture that my daughter-in-law sent me. She informed me the other day that he has begun to CROW! I laughed when she told me this! Whenever Ryan and I are out on a hike and we spot a crow flying overhead, I point it out to him, and tell him "Do you see the crow? They say 'Caw, Caw!" and continue on our way. I told his mommy she should be grateful we have no braying donkeys!
I am headed out shortly to hike Sleeping Beauty Mountain with a friend. I haven't done a real hike in probably three years, so I hope we make it! I've been trying to get out and enjoy the fall weather before the snow hinders me! Mom and I went kayaking the other day. It was cloudy and cool, but the colors of autumn were lovely. It looks like another gorgeous day! Hope you all are enjoying the changing seasons!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Congratulations to Leslie of Comfrey Cottages

The winner of the fresh-cut Sweet Annie Bundle is Leslie of Comfrey Cottages in Illinois! If you desire information pertaining to beekeeping, herbs, and a lovely life in general, you will want to visit her bee-yootiful blog here
A heart-warming thank you to all... this was my first give-away, and I will hold others, as it was much fun!
Leslie, your Sweet Annie will be on its way to you in the morning's mail. I hope you are pleased with it! Primitive blessings from Laura of Wildenblue Farm

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Hello again! Happy 1st day of October! It was 36 degrees when I went to bed last night, and I expected there'd be a killing frost by this morning, but I was wrong. The clouds must have kept the chilliest air at bay.
This morning was cold indeed, yet it was trying to be sunny. But the rain clouds have been moving in since my morning walk, and it has just started sprinkling again. I started the fireplace when I got back home, as it was 58 degrees in the house when I woke up. I had every intention of bringing in firewood today and firing up the wood furnace in the basement, but instead I ended up baking to warm up the end of the house not heated by the fireplace!

I started a pot of Cream of Broccoli soup and a batch of Pecan-Onion Bread to have with it. Then I headed out to the Berry Garden to pick raspberries, and to the vegetable garden to plant garlic. My neighbor Gary had given me a strain of garlic developed and grown for many years by his neighbor further up the road, and I planted this along with some garlic I had picked up at the Co Op in Middlebury, Vermont. I put in over 100 cloves; not a lot according to some folks, but I ran out of garlic, so it'll have to do! And besides, it had just started to rain as I was finishing up, so I headed back into the house for some bread and soup! Here's the recipe if you'd like...

Cream of Broccoli Soup
In a large pot, over medium heat, combine 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, a whole bulb of minced garlic and a large chopped onion. Saute til the onion and garlic are softened, then add 1/3 cup of flour. Stir the flour into the onion-garlic mixture til incorporated, then add between 6 and 8 cups of vegetable (or chicken) stock. Reduce temperature to a simmer and add 2 heads of Broccoli that have been chopped into pieces. *Reserve about a quarter of the Broccoli for later if you want a chunky soup. Simmer for about 15 or 20 minutes til the Broccoli is cooked through and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the cooked mixture to a blender and puree, working in batches if necessary. *If you have reserved some chopped broccoli, dump the pureed soup back into the cooking pot and add the remaining chopped broccoli... cook for another 10 minutes. Either way, add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the soup and blend well. If thinner soup is desired, simply add a bit more stock or water. Serve topped with grated cheese if you like.
~Harvest blessings to all from Laura of Wildenblue Farm!~

Here is a rather poor photograph I took a few days ago of a naughty fox that has been snooping around the fields and barnyard. I am sad to say that our cat Luna has been missing for a few days, and with this cold weather bringing wildlife closer to home, perhaps a fox or coyote or owl is to blame...