Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Now that you've made your vanilla for the upcoming baking season, have you ever made boiled cider? This stuff will change your life! Also known as apple molasses, boiled cider has become a autumn tradition at my house, we love it on biscuits, pancakes, warm bread from the oven and it's a must drizzled over apple pie! Super easy to make too, start off with a small batch and once you get a feel for the process, you will be boiling a whole gallon down, like I did over the weekend. Patience is key, it does take a couple of hours to cook down and be sure to stir it now and then so it won't stick. Just put 8 cups apple cider in a stock pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until it's boiled down to a thick sauce, once cooled store in the fridge where it will thicken up some more. A gallon of cider makes one quart of apple molasses, and a little does go a long way. It's the best thing since butter, I promise!
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 2:28 PM
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
I'm cheating today and repeating a annual post because it's that time, time to make your own vanilla extract for the upcoming baking seasons! So, if your one of my loyal followers, this is just a gentle reminder for you, and for the rest of you, welcome to the "make your own" club, I promise once you make your own vanilla and bake with it, you won't go back to the imitation or store bought stuff!
This is super easy too, so don't stress but do have patience because the longer you allow this to steep, the richer your vanilla will be, that's why I like to start now or earlier so I have it ready, it's my secret ingredient in all my baked goods, but don't tell anyone, pinkie swear!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
There really are no recipes for this, ok, there are if you do a search but once you figure out your favorite ratio it's a piece of cake. The budget comes to mind here too, because your source for the vanilla beans might change your mind, but shop around. I get mine from a local health food store that sells them by the pound, but since I only use 4, it only costs me $3.50. And I know, to some, that is alot for vanilla beans, but believe me when I tell you, it makes a HUGE difference in your baked goods. And if your like me who bakes for other's and gift giving, it all adds into it. And if you price the real vanilla, you will see this way is much cheaper and you'll have a big bottle that usually lasts me till the next fall, depending on how much I bake.
Ok, this part isn't my favorite so I usually have my hubby do it or I'll add to my groceries one week. You will need a big bottle of vodka (750 ml) or brandy, both work well, but I think the vodka is cheaper, here anyways. Now, just slice your beans down the middle length wise and you can either scrap out the seeds or leave them in. I leave them in adding to the flavor and if some gets included in a recipe, they will never know. Just place the split beans into the bottle of vodka or you can put both into a pretty decanter like I do. Then, just shake it up daily for the next 2 months, keep in a dark place while the vanilla beans mix with the vodka to become vanilla extract.
This makes a lovely gift for those bakers on your Christmas list too, wrapped in a pretty bottle or jar with a vintage printed label, tied off in a festive ribbon or bow! This is one of those finer things in life, so spoil your taste buds and make your own in time for the best baking season ever!!
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 2:25 PM
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
It's finally October, but time won't be slowing down for me until the new year, but I'm not complaining! Our youngest is getting married Nov.1 so there is alot to do yet, plus our annual fall fun nite here at the homestead is next weekend, complete with pony rides this year! Personally, I'm growing and I've taken the advice of a few and I'm working on going dot com with a website that will combine my newspaper articles, so that is exciting, frustrating too, I'm doing all by myself! I've always said I like a good challenge and this may be it! But, you know, if you don't take a risk, you may never know and I don't want to wonder or miss a opportunity to go global. I'll keep this blog and will try to get more posts up, I do have some re-runs coming soon, those seasonal posts that are always a good reminder, for me too! The shift has begun, in more ways than one but it's all, life is good and needs to be celebrated, every chance we get!!!
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 2:22 PM
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 8:22 AM
Sunday, August 17, 2014
The kids are back to school and summer is heating up, after a mild reminder that life does have a way of equaling it's self out! The garden is a hot mess, how quickly the weeds can take over if you miss a weeding or two...maybe three? But, it's been very productive, and the summer has been one of my favorites by far! Made another batch of salsa yesterday and picked a good pound of elderberries too, those got picked over and placed in the freezer for a flu syrup this fall, there are more to ripen and I hope to get to them before the wasps do. Spaghetti sauce and ketchup has also been made from our tomatoes, my basil and dill are both huge, great crops this year, must be all the rain and milder temps. Yummy corn and tons of potato's have feed us many meals so far, with more to dig, then sweet potato's will be ready! Harvest of happiness to say the least! It's been the best gardening season ever! Even the wild flowers have been blessed by this summer's weather and reprieve. I've been using basil and cilantro in all my cupboards since I have so much, I just cut a bunch and throw it in the back of each cupboard, it's been keeping the country mice at bay. I love those scents of summer!
If you'd like to see more of my photography and this wedding, check out my Facebook page:
Shots by Sue
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 4:46 PM
Friday, August 08, 2014
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 3:22 PM
Monday, August 04, 2014
What a busy summer this has been, not only is the garden heating up, so are the politics here in Missouri! We vote tomorrow on many issues but the one I'm mainly concerned with is Amendment One. We already have the right to farm, but due to the tricky wording on this bill, many will vote yes thinking it will keep that right, but it won't! If passed, big corporations and outside companies can buy up Missouri land, allow Monsanto to take over and control farms. Not only that, but even small family farms will be affected, all the way down to our drinking water that could be contaminated if unsafe meat producers are allowed in. I'm voting no, to keep my right to farm/garden in the way the current bill allows. It's a shame big government has to trick us with vague wording to get us to vote their way! I'm a small voter who will fight to keep my rights to garden and raise chickens!
The garden has been the best one ever, I can't remember a summer that has been so nice with rains just when we need them. The kitchen is a busy room with produce being processed weekly: salsa, sauce, pesto and pickles, alot of pickles! I can't imagine not having a garden, fresh and organic produce for our family is priceless! I can only hope and pray that everyone reads the ballot good tomorrow, and not rush through it! One wrong vote could change everything! Pickles aren't the only thing fermenting!
UPDATE: We lost by half of a percent! But, there is rumor of a recount so were still hopeful. At least this tight margin supports a second look and has made the concern aware and out there!
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 3:13 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 1:28 PM
Monday, July 14, 2014
I sit here, only because I'm grounded from a allergic reaction from a red wasp sting yesterday, but I have been meaning to update sooner than this, I had good intentions! Really! Truth be told, I've been thinking about re-vamping this blog, it turns 10 next year and it may be time for a change? True, I'm busy elsewhere, as we all are and I don't want it to become stale so bare with me, your patience will be rewarded!
A quick update, the summer has been a odd one, we get a couple of days of normal or above temps, followed by a cool front and rain, needless to say, our garden is the best it's ever been here! I've even created a potting station ( above) or should I say, more space to put plants! A lean-to greenhouse is in the works, a birthday gift from my handy man hubby. My photography and newspaper gig are both going well and keeping me inspired. And we have a wedding in the fall, our daughter so there will alot to do there but life is good, busy is good. Thank you all sticking with me, I have the best of intentions!
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 1:49 PM
Monday, June 09, 2014
Here I sit, missing for a couple of weeks in my hectic but wonderful life that I'm blessed to be living and it's almost Father's Day! June is on the same race track as May was, or is it that I'm just getting old and time is speeding up? Your probably wondering about my post title? I'm choosing to write about a subject matter that effects ALL women and most men, yet they don't get the credit or attention, it's menopause, and is your husband man enough to handle it in a loving way? I'm 54 and I first noticed the little signs years ago, things like not having to shave my legs that often, I was cranky for no reason or my eye sight wasn't as good as it once was. Last fall, on a routine doctor visit, I had him check my hormone levels in a blood test, positive! I knew that but wanted someone else to tell me. Then the hot flashes started, nothing too harsh or unmanageable. One day this winter, I woke up and had a pooch of a tummy, not to be confused with my pooch of a gut, that I've always had, it was little and now I don't mind it but this monster under my breasts has to go! It's uncomfortable and unsightly! Now, I'm noticing women my age and older with a belly bump and not of the baby kind, it's almost like were marked! The hot flashes have been upgraded to night sweats that can happen any time of the day or night, paired with this belly bump, I'm miserable!
I'm not completely sure if my husband understands just what I'm going through, but he is patience and keeps apologizing for it, a hug helps too! Were in this together, it's written in our marriage vows but it's not fair! It's called MENopause but we women go through this, it's no journey or curse but as long as my husband continues to be patience, we shall survive this too! My Mother never spoke of it or how it was for her, I wish now I had asked, it seems her's will effect yours, so ask your Mom and take notes, it may come in handy for your daughters too! So ladies, this is where I am, I'd like to think I'm on the other side of this phase but were all different and I'm thankful for that! I'm armed with herbs and natural ways to keep my sanity, doing more sit ups than ever and praying harder! Puberty was a piece of cake!
So, when you wish your man a Happy Father's day this Sunday, remind him of your vows and ask him if he's man enough! Keep him wondering!
Posted by Sue Neitzel at 2:40 PM