Saturday, October 23, 2010

Damp Cold Days..,Homemade Soup and JOY

It's a  rainy day here in the North Woods this afternoon. It's dreary..cold and damp. I lift my spirits and bring out the soup pot...cuz nothin' breaks the gloomies like a bowl of homemade soup. It warms the body, satisfies hunger, and fills my soul with

Today I made potato and corn chowder with homemade bread sticks. The the thyme and coriander in the chowder is wafting through the house. The aroma of rising bread has my poor husband acting like a two year old on a car trip...
is it ready it ready yet..
y'all know how that goes.

Is your mouth watering.......are you hungry?  I'll bet you'd like the recipes. Here ya go.

I start off by making the bread sticks. While they rise, I start the soup.

This recipe is for 8 bread sticks. You can double everything if you need  more.

1 1/4 tea. dry yeast dissolved in
3/4 cup 110 degree water with
3 heaping tea. sugar.
( If you don't have a candy thermometer test the water on the inside of your a baby bottle. If you can feel a little heat...that's it!)
Mix the three together well and let stand while you mix the dry ingredients.
Letting the yeast stand in the sugar water, maximizes the yeast.

Mix together in a large bowl
1/2 tea salt
1 1/4 cup flour
Slowly add the yeast mix stirring well before adding more liquid.

Once the wet and dry are incorporated, turn onto a hard surface and lightly kneed...about 10 folds.

Cut into 8 even pieces and roll into 10 inch logs. Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Beat one egg with
1 tea of cold water.
Brush on the bread sticks and top with Italian seasonings, poppy or sesame seeds..our favorite is course sea salt.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Cover and let rise 30 minutes in a warm place.

                While your yummy bread sticks are filling the house with   the most amazing aroma...

Start the soup. This recipe makes about 10 serving...but it all depends on the size of your bowl. :-)
          2 celery ribs
          6 carrots
          1/4 cup sweet onion
For the vegetarian version, Saute (in the soup pot) the onion, celery and carrot in an herb infused oil. I like thyme.
Remove the veggies and set aside. Pour off the remaining oil and de-glaze your pot with one large can of veggie broth. See the bottom of this post for the meat lovers version.
Chop 12 red skin potatoes. I peel half..but do what you like here.

Add to the broth and bring to a boil. Cover.

Check the potatoes after 10 mins. If they're getting soft, add:
1 1/2 cups potato flakes
1 1/2 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup fresh cut thyme
1/2 tea coriander
1/8 tea nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Turn down the fire and simmer.

                                                            If this had timed out right..

The bread has risen and it's ready for the oven.
15-20 minutes at 375.
Remove from sheet to cool.

Final addition to the soup. I use one quart of corn I put up this year..liquid and all. You can also add 2 large cans of corn. No Frozen. The corn starch of the liquid helps thicken the soup and makes it a chowder.

This is the best part.....Plate and serve.
Add a bit of sharp Cheddar to the soup for garnish.
Warning: Consuming more than one bowl of this hearty chowder will result in uncontrollable repeated phrases such as: " Ohhhhhh.. I'm so Full", "I couldn't help myself", "I need a nap" 

I hope you try this beautiful rainy day...liquid (well almost) JOY!!

If you give this a try...I'd love to hear from you.

Bon Appetite

Meat lovers:
In your stock pot brown 10 slices of bacon to well done. Discard all but 1 tab of the drippings.
De-glaze the pot with 1 large can chicken or veggie stock. (both are GREAT!)
Saute the celery, onion and carrot in a non stick pan with the 1 tab of bacon drippings.
When caramelized, add to the broth with the potatoes.
Follow the vegetarian until the soy milk. Add 1 1/2 cup cream instead.
At garnish...add some of the crumbled bacon on top of the cheese.

I love both versions of this chowder. Today..... I added the bacon. :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Has Arrived

Fall has arrived in our little Northern Michigan hamlet. The warm sunny days and the cool...almost winter cold...nights have turned the leaves the most incredible colors!

The Maples with their brilliant reds.....

and bright oranges.

The Oaks and Poplars round thing off with their beautiful golds.

I remember when I was a little city girl...we'd rake up the leaves into a big pile and jump right into the middle. It was like landing in a huge feather bed. Soft and fragrant.
I always loved the smell of fall. My brother and I used to fight for who would rake the leaves. Back then it was a big "Want to Do".

Now that I'm older and... thanks to my loving husband....a country-fied gal, this is what I have to look forward to every fall in the woods.

Older and wiser....we hire someone to rake the leaves now... so we can sit in the hammock and enjoy the glory of Mother Nature and her amazing fall paint brush.

Ohhh I smell cinnamon! Frank must be back from the Cider Mill.
Gotta go!

Enjoy the colors of your back yard today :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010


I love the journey being an entrepreneur has taken me. I have been able to let my creativity flow in every direction...when and where I like. I've also had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people along the way.

I like to share one of my stories with you.

A while back I was contacted by a  wonderful young woman, who wanted to have a very special dress made for her daugnter's first birthday. She saw a dress in my Etsy shop, and the fabric was just what she was looking for, a very sweet bumble bee print. She told me that her daughters nick-name was *Lil Bee Charmer* and could I make one with a few changes. We worked out all the details, size and colors. 
I didn't hear back from her, but the little bee charmer's birthday dress was stuck in my head.

I began...for some serendipitous embroider *'lil bee charmer* on what would become the hem of the bumble bee dress. As I sat embroidering, I was flooded with thoughts of this little girl and her loving family I had never met.

While I still had not heard back from mom to confirm the order, I continued with my embroidery.....knowning on some *other* level...that the dress would celebrate the lil bee charmers birthday with her.

When the last stitch of embroidery was finished, I was contacted by the delightful young mother to proceed with making the birthday dress. I didn't tell her about the project I had been working on, so I asked her if I could add a surprise element to the piece. She said that she didn't know me.... but had a feeling to trust my creativity and agreed.

I finished the dress...with the lil bee charmer embroidered on the hem...and sent it off to it's new home.

After the dress arrived, I recieved the most touching note from mom that brought me to tears.  The surprise I had added to the hem of the little dress....that I was so driven to do...reminded her of a beloved family member she lost unexpectly a short time ago.

We have evolved beyond  business aquaintances at this point, and I'm soooo happy to announce that I have a new little model for my shop!

Isn't she just beautiful! 


I am really looking forward to being a part of this precious little girls life. The little family...that lives so far away from me...will forever be in my heart.

And to think it all began with opening a little shop on Etsy 6 months ago!

Bunny Blessings