Yesterday, A Birthday Celebration

Yesterday was Xi’s dollies’ birthdays.  Baby Xiola and Phillipa apparently share a birthday but are a year a part with Baby Xiola being 2 and Phillipa 1.  So what do you do when you have a birthday to celebrate?  Make cupcakes of course!  And not just any cupcakes, but these cupcakes.  The best recipe ever!  I found it while looking for some knitting patterns to be honest.  Totally stumbled upon it and when Xi wanted to have a party I was so glad that I did.  We used all organic ingredients, including eggs from the chickens given that morning.  So yummy! 

After the party, I was treated to a fashion show featuring Xi and our little friend A.  It was a great celebratory afternoon for all!  Enjoy the fun…

Peace!

The Summer Garden and a Day Out With the Girls

So I thought I’d share what the front garden is looking like right now. I’ve been keeping things watered, but was concerned about wasting so much water from run-off, even without sprinkler use. My father-in-law has been guiding me on drip irrigation and how to set it up, and yesterday brought me 3 big bags full of supplies. The only thing I need is the starter kit with the main 1/2″ poly tubing and we’ll be set. Yay! That will be a project for the weekend and I know the garden will love it. Until then, it’s watering by hand but that’s okay if it keeps looking alright. I’ve lost a couple plants in this heat, 2 lavenders which I am kind of bummed about actually. I have no idea why they up and died…too much water, too much sun, I don’t know. But I’ll try again. The white rocket isn’t looking too happy either and I may be pulling that soon. The zinnia seeds are all sprouting away though and I think I’ll end up with a decent zinnia bed finally. It’s small, but I’ll expand it after the tomatoes are for sure done and I can pull the one plant that is in the middle of all those zinnias. The shade garden is looking good too and I’m hoping will fill in nicely with the coleus, periwinkles and yarrow in there. And I saw my first Swallowtail in the yard yesterday! There are caterpillars on the proper host plants out there too, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more.




Friday we took a day off and went into town. We decided to eat lunch at Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que. So much fun! They have great food, great beer and super laid back atmosphere. The girls took their scooter and bike so were able to play on the patio until their food came. The trike that Xi is riding has a story behind it, which I’ll share in a different post, however this was the first time it had been put to the test and we think it passed with flying colors.






After lunch we made a snap decision to go over to the Alamo Drafthouse and see Transformers 2. Yes, my girls love action flicks and the Transformers is one of their utmost favorites. And to get to see it at the Alamo with ice cream and treats, too much fun! The Alamo is such a cool theater, they have tables in front of the each row of seats and a full menu. You can literally have a gourmet meal, drinks and dessert all while watching the movie. It really is alot of fun!

After a long day of sun, fun and good food we headed home and milked Kubra for the first time. Much easier than June (our old goat), but I still need help so tonight I am going to get J to help me as her utters are full and I don’t want the poor dear to dry up or feel bad. I am sure that once she gets used to it she’ll be fine, I just need him to hold her steady and feed her flax seed chips while I milk. The excitement just continues around here.

Hope you all are fine, staying cool and not as bummed as I am about the storm completely missing us. Rain is much needed as we all know!

Peace!

Can’t Beat This!

Happy kids!! A is our friend who comes to play everyday and X is, well my little baby who is growing too fast. They were very happy this morning and I just couldn’t help but snap a shot!

Link

Speaking of A, her family owns the most awesome coffee shop here in Austin by the lake. The Java Dive is an organic coffee shop that serves up alot more than just coffee. They have full breakfast and lunch specials, the most amazing pastry case I think I’ve ever seen (oh the glory of an organic chocolate confection!), an organic market section that is much needed out here, gluten free food, homemade ice cream and bulk fair trade coffee beans plus a whole lot more! Totally family friendly with activities for the kids all ready to go. My little X LOVES the new train table. Hah! Sounds like a plug huh? That’s because I truly believe in this place and what they are trying to provide for the community. I love Roni and Romy so much and their little A has become another one of my own. I encourage anyone in town already and those of you who will be visiting to give the place a try because you won’t be sorry!

And lastly, I’d like to thank my poultry friends for the generous offerings I’ve been receiving lately. We’ve been averaging about 9 eggs a day with some days seeing a full dozen or more! Thank you ladies!

Peace!

Crockpot Season Has Begun

(Image courtesy of amazon.com)

It was 38 degrees on my back porch this morning. Crisp, cold air met me as I went out to feed the animals and get the day started. My favorite part of the year has finally begun! And with the cooler weather, it also means it’s crockpot season in the AmLo household.

I love my crockpot. It is so easy to just throw things in in the morning and have dinner ready without a whole lot of fuss. But for me, it’s always meant soups, some meats, beans, etc.. That is, until now. A friend from my darling mothering site has turned all us gals on to this blog – A Year of Crockpoting. It’s like being given a wonderful gift! Stephanie, who loves her crockpot, has taken it upon herself to make the New Year’s resolution last year to use her crockpot everyday. And she is blogging the recipes to prove it! I haven’t had a chance to go through the entire year’s worth so far, but have randomly looked up recipes and am so inspired. Who knew you could make french toast in a crockpot? Or yogurt? Some of the recipes she even breaks down the costs. And you can totally tailor them to your own tastes. We use mainly organic, all-natural ingredients, and so far I can’t see any reason why they won’t work with Stephanie’s recipes.

What a wonderful blog. Stephanie, you don’t know me, but thank you!! Crockpot season here has officially taken on a whole new meaning!

Peace!

For The Love Of Cupcakes

But first, a little background info…

A few weeks ago the girls and I went out for the evening with our darling neighbor – Rosemary. We went to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where they were having a fossil exhibit for the kids. The girls got to run all over looking for different fossils and learning about where they came from. They had a blast with that and Rosemary and I loved checking out all the local wildflowers and plants! Got some good ideas for the garden.

Afterwards, we drove into town and went to one of Austin’s cool eateries, Hey Cupcake! That’s right, nothing but cupcakes! And not only that, but they serve them out of a polished 1950’s era Airstream trailor. Let me tell you, what a treat! The girls and I each had one of their incredible Vanilla Dream’s with pink tinted vanilla icing. Rosemary had the 24 Carrot (carrot cake with cream cheese icing). So delicious! And quite popular. We got there just ahead of a rush and there were people coming from every direction literally!

So ever since then, the girls and I have been talking about making our own cupcakes. It’s been so hot that I haven’t wanted to turn on the oven, but the last few days have been down in the 80’s, rainy and perfect for indulging in our cupcake dreams. I baked them last night, and today we frosted. So yummy! I used Amy Sedaris’ Vanilla Cupcake Recipe and I don’t think I’ll ever use boxed cake mix again. Even our darling J, who hates all things sugary, liked these! And the girls had fun frosting them, and of course eating!

Bon Apetit!



No Garden Pics Today

As the batteries on my camera are dead. Haha! But we did manage to get the chicken wire up for the beans and peas to crawl up this weekend. Our vegies are coming up nicely as well. I transplanted the tomato starts into pots out by the greenhouse and they seem to be doing quite well! I will keep a few in the larger pots and transplant the rest into the garden as soon as they are about 4 inches tall or so with a few more mature leaves…right now they are just getting their mature leaves and are only about 2 inches tall..;) The baby chicks are feathering nicely and are now living with the Showgirl hen in a separate part of the coop. They are liking the larger space so far!

We had a busy weekend of gardening, family, soccer, bbqing and dinner with friends. It was actually a very full and fun weekend. We needed it.

Here are pics from Lola’s soccer game that her Papa took!


And here is a recipe that my darling mother-in-law sent me today from My Recipes that I’m dying to make:

Garden Minestrone

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped yellow squash
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
4 cups chopped tomato, divided
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

Preparation:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

Place 3 cups tomato and 1 can broth in a blender; process until smooth. Add tomato mixture to pan; return pan to heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup tomato and remaining 2 cans broth; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Add pasta and beans to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

Oh that looks so heavenly!! I can’t wait. Peace!

Cookies!

So we baked cookies today…here’s during:




Fortunately the after turned out pretty good!

Also, a few things growing on the farm:










No Knead Bread


Okay, I may be a little slow on discovering this, but man I’m glad I did!! Jason said this was the bread he’s been waiting for. HA! It was so easy and is so yummy. Once I get this process down pat, I’m going to try a few recipe variations like adding herbs, etc.. I let this first batch sit for about 24 hours and used a bit more water than it called for. Here is the recipe I used, it is Jim Lahey’s:

No-Knead Bread

Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at New York Times
Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Bon Appetite!