Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Cracker Recipe

      As promised, I am writing out the cracker recipe! It passed the Skylar test so I will share it with you.

Copied from the
Makes about 100 crackers

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (any oil will do)
1 cup water

Topping: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.

3. Add the oil and water to the flour mixture. Stir until a soft, sticky dough is formed. Add more water if necessary.

4. Divide the dough into two halves and set one half aside. Sprinkle work surface lightly with flour. Pat dough into a thick square with hands.

5. Working from the center of the dough out, roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8 inch thick. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes, then continue rolling.

6. Brush the surface of the dough very lightly with water. Combine the seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle half of them evenly over the surface of the dough. (I used about double the amount of seeds, focusing on sesame seeds.)

7. Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, or sharp knife, cut the dough into individual crackers roughly 1-inch by 2-inches.

8. Transfer the crackers to the baking sheet using a metal dough scraper or spatula. Crackers may be crowded very close to each other. Prick each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent them from puffing during baking.

9. Bake the crackers for 12-15 minutes, until edges are browned. Thinner crackers will bake more quickly than thicker ones.

10. Transfer the baked crackers to a wire rack to cool completely. The crackers will crisp further as they cool. Store crackers in an air-tight container for 3-5 days. 

Note: If you want cheese crackers, mix in 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese to the flour mixture. Pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles course cornmeal. Proceed with adding the oil and water as directed.

      Ta-da! In between putting temporary tattoos on the girls arms, I guess I did pretty good! You definitely need to put some homemade pimiento cheese on these crackers. I grate a block of cheddar, mix in about a third cup of mayonnaise, (I love mayonnaise so I probably use a lot more than this!) about 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and a small jar of pimientos, drained. You may mix in the food processor, but I just use a spoon.

      I hope the recipe is as good to you as it is to us! Let me know if you try them! Blessings from Bama!

Aren't these crackers pretty?

The girls sure do love their Uncle Randy! And he loves them too!

A shirt I'm working on for the girls. I procrastinated with them last year so I'm finishing them this year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Still Sweltering in September!

      But hopefully by the end of the week, things will begin to cool off a bit! I am absolutely soaked as I sit here after my walk! The green juice I'm drinking sure is refreshing on a day like this! Is it still hot where you are or has the temp cooled down? I hope you are comfortable, wherever you may live!

      As the days are beginning to shorten, I seem to have less time to get things done outside. I guess it's because I have to wait until evening to do any digging because of the heat. I dug a few potatoes last night and it was still so hot! I don't know if potatoes are worth growing here. I will have to talk to Randy about that for next year. It's usually hot when I have to dig the trench to plant them, and hot when we harvest them. They did seem to do well where they were planted, but if I rotate the garden, the rest of the dirt is not soft like that. I may choose to plant something else, like more okra. Ours didn't make this year because of the cooler first half of the Summer. Okra likes long, hot days. It does well with less water. It is usually the easiest crop to grow. I wonder if next Summer will be like this?

      I am so looking forward to Fall and cooler weather! I never thought I'd say that because of the long, cold winter we, and everyone else had. I don't want it to be like that again, but sources say it will be; and maybe even worse! I sure hope not! The Polar Vortex was more than lots of people could handle! I don't know if we can take another one here in the South! But as I was saying about Fall, I am getting in the crafty mood again. I am so glad! Crafting makes me about as happy as gardening! I just need to take time to craft all year! I take time to cook and garden; what's one more thing? I think I was getting out of balance with some things. I'm so glad when God gets me back on track! Life is so much more joyful when we trust and follow Him! 

      We went on a camping trip Labor Day weekend. It just happened to be the day after I made the peach freezer jam. I had my hands in those delicious peaches all day, so I ate peaches all day. Stomachs don't set well when fed too many peaches. You'd think a grown woman would know this! I suffered the whole camping trip with a bloated stomach and much discomfort! I still managed to enjoy most of the trip, in spite of that! I learned an important lesson: Don't eat too many peaches while making jam! We got back Monday in time to host the family cook-out. I was so glad to see my girls! They are growing so much! They are coming again this weekend and I can hardly wait! The weather will be a little cooler so we can spend time outside, hopefully without getting eaten by mosquitoes and see-me-nots, and chiggers! Chiggers will always be a problem, but if we wear the right clothes and shoes, we will have less chance of getting them.

      I made some delicious crackers today to go with a homemade chicken chowder I made last night. The chowder was made with corn I froze this Summer and potatoes from our garden. So it was semi-home grown! The chicken was left-over smoked chicken from the night before. The chowder is really good! I kind of went by a recipe, but mostly added what we like. I hope the crackers will compliment it. If Skylar likes it, I'm O.K.! He's quite picky about food. I guess I've spoiled him that way. Like the biscuits I make are more hard than fluffy. They're still better than store bought though.

      When the temps cool down, I hope to get back to writing more. Hopefully, soon! Ya'll take care and have a good day! Blessings from Bama!

The making of peach jam.

Relaxing at the campground.

It rained a lot while we were camping so we had to caddywonker the awning.

Relaxing with my honey.

A fawn lying just out from the camper.

The deer were so tame.

The campground where we stayed.

Five of my favorite people!

A typical Southern breakfast with grits and homegrown fried egg! 

My little poser!

The bat looks like he's going to take a bite out of something!

The beginning of a wreath.

Two rows of potatoes, one more row to go.

Can ya'll believe I used this by myself?

Yummy cracker dough!

I was inspired to make these after eating some at a Guntersville restaurant.

They are not even, but for my first time, they turned out pretty good. They are going to be candy corns.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sweet (HOT) Summertime!

      It has been a typical week in the South, weatherwise, with hot, muggy temps! We are actually getting a little rain, as I type this. It is so welcome as we have had a very dry August! My pepper plants are drooping as if they will fall over any second! I harvested the peppers from them today in hopes that they won't! The bean plants are turning yellow and unless this rain helps, there may not be any more green beans. Same with the cucumbers and squash. I didn't know I'd still be harvesting from these vines this late in the Summer! Pleasant surprise! Are ya'll still harvesting beans, squash, and cucumbers?

      I think the pumpkin vine finally has a pumpkin on it. I hope it will grow to maturity before a frost! Surely so, since our first predicted frost isn't until November 11! I can't see the melon vines, as the grass has grown so tall around them! I don't want to venture into that tall grass and get chiggers again! I think my chiggers have finally died off! But the poison ivy is another story! I didn't know I could get poison ivy from handling my goats! I touch them before I realize it and then I suffer from extreme itching! It' so hard not to pet the precious little darlings! They always jump on my legs like they're trying to climb up them! I hope to find buyers for them soon! I hate to see them go, but they will not be of use here as their purpose is for breeding. I would not breed them back to their Moms! If they were for meat, that would be different, I guess.

      It was so nice to see the girls home from Morocco! We got to spend a few days with them before they went home to Birmingham. They had to get started in school. I hope to see them again soon. Winterlynn and Riley came too. We got to spend a few days with Winterlynn when her Mom had a virus. She is such a sweet girl! They're all sweet! Never a dull moment when they are all here! They will be sad not to get in the big swimming pool again! We had a mole poke a hole in the bottom of the liner we had just purchased last Spring! I don't know if we'll patch the hole or sell the swimming pool! I'll let you know next time. They enjoy the little pool almost as much.

      I hope ya'll are having an enjoyable Summer! I have enjoyed all the harvests from my garden, and others! I'm also looking forward to next week when I get another box of peaches from Chilton county! They are the best! Thanks for reading and commenting! Blessings from Bama!

A bat was in the top of the umbrella when we opened it!

Don't tell Uncle Randy she's sitting on his mower!

Lulu wants to drive the golf-cart!

The 'Princess' opening her presents! She's such a Momma's girl!

After a long day of play!

Having fun in the pool!

Such a pretty thing!

Got to get over!

I'm glad she was brave enough to get on the float!

They got still long enough so I could get this shot.

I can't look at you Aunt FeFe cause the sun's in my eyes! They found a turtle on the side of the road and had to bring it to me.

I can never get them to look at the same time!

Winterlynn likes my green juice!

Can you believe these potatoes were harvested from our garden? And this is just from one hole!

The angel trumpet looking so pretty!

Me, my Mom, and sister having a girls day!

My last batch of sauce until fall.

Harvested today.

I've been harvesting figs quite often. When my bag in the freezer gets full, I'll make some jam. I'm hoping to make chipotle from the jalapenos. Those are two of six pears on my pear tree. I just picked apples from our tree I'm going to make into a cobbler.

From our garden.

Chicken cooked in the sun oven.

Freshly picked from the garden.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer is for Making Sauce!

      Hey ya'll! Hope ya'll are enjoying the hot August days! Yes, it's gotten hot here again! 90's and almost 100 yesterday! Whew! What a change since the last post I wrote! It's muggy too! We did welcome some much needed rain last night since we haven't seen any in a couple of weeks. Our garden is drying up and so are the raspberries! Hopefully it will perk up after the rain. More rain is predicted for the weekend and next week. I always welcome rain! The only time I hope it doesn't rain is Saturday for Lulu's birthday! They are back from Morocco and we will have her party here then. She turned 4! She and Yasmine will be going to the Muslim school in Birmingham starting Monday! Yasmine will start kindergarten and Layla will be in the pre-school class. They are growing up so quickly!

      I purchased more tomatoes last week. I also got a basket of peaches. The peaches were so wormy; plus I had to wait a week for them to ripen. They tasted good so I made a couple of cobblers. (No worms in my cobblers, however!) The tomatoes took that long to ripen as well so I made sauce this week. I'm really getting the hang of using the Vitamix to make the sauce and cooking it in the Nesco. So easy! Then I just waterbath can them. Using the Vitamix, there is no waste of the tomatoes. The whole tomato, sans the bad spots, is used. I like not having all the waste with the peels. The sauce cooks up nice and thick. The sauce I made this time separated. The sauce I made before didn't separate. I wonder why?

      I tried to milk the girls. FAIL!!! They did not want to be touched! I'm going to keep trying but I don't know how to be successful without a milkstand. Have ya'll got any advice to share about milking? I sure would appreciate it!

      After going some time without laying, the hens are laying again. I love gathering eggs from their nest! I don't love opening the door and seeing a snake devouring the eggs! I caught one in the action again yesterday! I get so mad when that happens! One day, I'm going to learn to shoot that gun!

      I'm anxiously awaiting the time when I can sow fall seeds! I'm giving the fall garden a shot this year. I think I'll use the raised beds for some of the planting. I will utilize the greenhouse for later plantings. I'm going to grow all kinds of greens and beets. I'll keep ya'll updated when I get started.

     I hope ya'll are staying cool! School has started here already, what about where you live? Poor little kids! Riding the bus in this heat! Oh yea, school started the first day of the longest yard sale! They said there were major traffic jams because of the school traffic, buses, and yard-sale goers! I'm so glad I didn't get in that mess! We may go to the sales Sunday since most of the traffic will be cleared out by then. Then again, maybe not. I've found that those sales are much higher priced than regular yard sales. So unfair, taking advantage of people that way! Oh well, if you like that kind of thing, go see what it's all about. It will be hot, so be prepared! Thanks for reading the blog! Leave a comment and let me know you were here! Blessings from Bama!

These tomatoes are from our garden.

I only made three jars of sauce this time cause there weren't enough tomatoes ripe enough to make more.

I love making pickles, and this bag of lime has the recipe on the back that I use. They turn out great every time! You can add hot peppers to make a sweet-hot pickle. I did that, and man are they good!

The guys went deep-sea fishing while we were at the beach. These are some of the red snapper they caught. Randy cooked them on the grill after he put way too much Duck Commander seasoning on them. They were spicy!

Homemade buttermilk in the making. One cup buttermilk to three cups regular milk; let sit on counter for 24 hours. Done!

Thirteen more pints of these delicious pickles! Made from our cucumbers!

Marinara sauce in the making! It gets better with each batch!

I always hate to open the door on this! I watched in amazement as it wrapped its head around the egg before running in to get the camera!

This was a much larger snake than before. Unless it just grew since then.

The rest of its body trailing down inside the hen house.
Peach cobblers: one for me and one for Randy!

My sauce separated this time.

Sir Henry sure has grown!

Sir Malcolm has grown too!
I'm still picking these rattlesnake beans, about a bag a week! Yummy!