Matriarch of the King Farm!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Grandma's Yeast Sponge, Part 2

Making bread and rolls from the sponge 

Preheat oven to 170*F, then shut it off for use as a proofing box.  To make a loaf of bread from the “finished” dough, I simply removed approximately half of the dough from the bowl, lightly kneaded it on my counter with just a slight dusting of flour, and formed it into a loaf-like shape.  I then placed it into a well-buttered loaf pan, with the ugliest side down.  Brush the loaf with melted butter, cover the pan with plastic film and put it in the oven.

Further ingredients for caramel rolls:

½ c. softened butter
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, I prefer freshly grated
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup flour

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
¼ cup cream

Optional:  approximately ½ cup nuts of your choice

To make caramel rolls, dust counter top with flour.  Turn out dough and knead lightly, just to ensure that any large bubbles have been removed.  Use hands to form dough into a roughly flattened rectangle, and then use a rolling pin to further shape dough into a rectangle that is approximately 10 x 14 inches.  I usually flip the dough over a couple of times during the process, which seems to make it easier to roll it out.

Blend filling ingredients together until it is consistent throughout and forms a paste; spread on dough, making sure to leave a one-inch wide margin along one of the long sides of the rectangle.  Starting on side opposite of where you left the margin, roll up dough.  Use clear margin to pinch and seal the edge, roll so that pinched edge is down.  Allow to rest while preparing pan and caramel.

Coat inside of 9 x 13 inch pan with butter; blend caramel ingredients in pan, then spread evenly across the bottom.  If using nuts, sprinkle them evenly over caramel.

Using a sharp knife, cut dough into approximately one-inch thick circles.  Place in pan on top of caramel, leaving approximately one inch in between rolls.  Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter, cover with plastic film and put in oven with the bread loaf to rise for 30 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and preheat oven to 350*F.  Remove the plastic film from both pans; score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.  This allows the loaf to rise without the sides cracking.  Once oven is preheated, return the pans to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the tops of the bread and rolls are golden brown.  The loaf will sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle. 

Turn the bread out of the pan onto a cooling rack and brush top and sides with melted butter.  I also like to brush the rolls with butter again, and then turn the pan of rolls into a larger pan, so that the caramel is on top. 

It is tough to do, but allow the bread to cool at least 20 minutes before attempting to slice, otherwise it will crush and you will lose the “loft” of the bread.  The rolls should cool at least 10 minutes before attempting to eat – hot caramel will burn skin very deeply!

No-Knead Bread Attempts

My first attempt was a fly-by-night affair and ended rather bleh.  I removed half of the dough from the refrigerator, placed in a well-buttered bowl, and allowed it to come to room temperature.  I preheated my oven to 450*F and placed a square cake pan half full of just-boiling water in it.

I then lightly rolled and turned the dough on my well-floured counter and placed the dough into a well-buttered one quart casserole dish.  I baked it for approximately 50 minutes. 

The result?  It looks good on the outside, but was still doughy, even after all that time in the oven.  It had not risen very well, the crust was very dense and hard.  Very disappointing, especially as it smelled SO good.

The second attempt at no-knead bread was made after I had done some research online.  I used the last portion of the bread dough, allowing it to come to room temperature, which took approximately an hour.  I again heated my oven to 450*F, but this time I put my covered casserole dish into the oven as soon as I turned it on.  Do NOT grease the casserole or it will burn!  Set your timer for 30 minutes.

Tear off an approximately square piece of parchment paper and lightly flour it.  Turn out the dough onto the parchment and roll and turn the dough to slightly smooth it out and form a rounded shape.  Allow to rest on the parchment until your timer goes off.

Remove casserole dish from the oven and remove the lid.  Gather parchment around the dough by bringing up the corners and place dough, parchment and all, into the casserole dish.  Use a scissors to cut the parchment paper down enough to place lid back on the casserole.  Return to oven and bake approximately 40-45 minutes until rapping on it sounds hollow.  Turn out onto a cooling rack, brush with butter, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Fresh out of the oven with the parchment still around it
This loaf turned out perfectly and had good sourdough flavor without being overwhelming.  It rose nicely, even after having been stored in my spare refrigerator for 19 days.  If you keep your dough in your “regular” refrigerator, I recommend placing it in the bottom of the fridge and at the back – don’t forget it there! – so that it is exposed to less variations in temperature from the door opening in the course of the day.

If you try out this method, I’d love to hear your results.  If you find easier ways or have other end uses for the dough, I’d love to hear what they are.  I’m always searching for more yummy foods to cook, especially when they are bread!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Grandma's Yeast Sponge, Part One

When I was a girl, I would stay with my Grandma over the summertime. Her Sunday night ritual was to set her yeast "sponge" just before going to bed. In the morning when she got up, she would proceed with the sponge as her starter and would make 10 loaves of bread.

She would put about a cup or so (I don't know if she measured and this is a more-than-40-year-old memory) of warm water to her huge wooden bowl, then sprinkle one packet of yeast over it. Once it was softened, she whisked it into the water, then added about a quarter cup of sugar and enough flour to make a thin slurry. A tea towel covered it and the whole went into her gas oven, which was only warmed by a pilot light.

Grandma was a single mom during the Great Depression and learned to live very, very frugally. I sure wish I'd been smart enough to take notes and ask a LOT more questions than I did.  At any rate, I am now going off my memory to try to duplicate what she did.

The first batch I made only slightly more than doubled a usual 2-loaf bread recipe, so not much of a “success” toward trying to truly re-create her recipe, but it was a good learning experiment.

I began the second batch on November 22nd, taking pictures of the steps along the way, and actually measuring out the ingredients so that I could share it all here.  I finally baked the last of the dough 19 days later for dinner, keeping the dough in my spare refrigerator.  That fridge rarely gets opened – maybe 3 times a week – so the temperatures in it are very stable, and I’m sure that had something to do with the longevity of the dough.

Grandma’s Yeast Sponge Bread Dough Recipe

2 cups hot tap water
1 packet active dry yeast OR 1 Tbsp bulk active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 cups flour

Next day ingredients:
3 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt
3 large eggs
4 cups flour

To make half into bread products:  
Additional 2-3 cups flour

Because our house is quite cool in the late fall/early winter, I use my oven as a “proofing” box.  I preheat it to 170* F (the lowest temp it will go), then turn it off while I am prepping my sponge.  I use hot tap water to pre-warm my largest metal bowl and then put measured hot tap water into the bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over the water and allow it to soften and absorb water.  This is an important step in the process.  If you just whisk the dry yeast into water, there will be globs and pockets of dry yeast clumps.  As Alton Brown would say, “Not good eats!”

When the yeast has softened, whisk in some sugar and flour  and then cover with plastic film and place in turned off oven and shut the door.  Leave at least 8 hours or overnight.  This time allows the yeast to multiply enough to make several loaves of bread.

Remove sponge from the oven and preheat to lowest setting again.  The batter will have risen, then fallen, and there will be a spongy mass on top of a whey-like liquid.

Stir sponge and liquid together into a homogeneous batter. 

Milk is the next ingredient to be considered.  If using raw milk, it must be scalded:

 “In bread making, scalding the milk serves a more scientific purpose. The whey 
protein in milk can weaken gluten and prevent the dough from rising properly. 
Scalding the milk deactivates the protein so this doesn't happen.” (Reference:  http://www.thekitchn.com/scalding-milk-is-it-really-nec-112360) 

I would also scald if using low-temp pasteurized milk, as it takes approximately 180*F to break down the proteins.  Most modern day pasteurized/homogenized milk is heated to high temps at the same time as homogenizing, heating and aerosolizing it in one step, so those proteins have been destroyed.  If using such milk, simply warming it is enough.

To scald milk, heat to 180*F, then allow to cool to no more than 115-120*F.  Any hotter than that can kill the yeast.  I add the butter for the recipe to the milk to help it cool down more quickly. 

I temper the warm milk with some of the sponge batter, as is done for egg custards.  I sure don’t want to overheat my carefully multiplied yeasts and kill any of them off!

I then add more sugar, some salt (for flavor and to keep the yeast from overgrowth), and three eggs (amounts listed in the "Next day ingredients).  I like the body and color that eggs add to bread.

I then stir in the milk/butter liquid alternating with flour.  The alternation of the additions makes it easier to manage the dough without getting lumps.  The dough/batter will end up in a consistency like pancake batter – just right.

Because my largest SS bowls would be rapidly over-run once this amount of dough starts rising, I divide it in half into both of my biggest bowls.  It then is covered with plastic wrap and goes back into the oven to rest and replicate the yeast some more.  Anywhere from 2 hours and up is just fine, as this method is SO forgiving.  I was gone 4 hours that day.  

When first poured into the bowls: 

And four hours later:

Stir down bubbles and re-cover one of the bowls with plastic wrap.

From the uncovered bowl, I removed 1/2 of the batter – approximately 2 cups of dough – and placed it in my stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attached.  With the mixer on low speed, I added flour ½ cup at a time until the dough pulled from the sides of the bowl.  

From this point, I added flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough was no longer sticky, occasionally stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  It took a total of about 2 1/2 cups of flour to achieve a good texture.  I then allowed the mixer to knead the dough another 5 minutes or so. 

Grease a large, clean bowl with butter.  Remove dough ball from mixer bowl and turn it in the greased bowl several times to coat well with butter.  Cover with plastic film.

Repeat above steps with other half of batter from the uncovered bowl, but add the dough ball to the buttered bowl holding the previous dough ball, rather than dirtying another bowl.  Allow dough to rest approximately one hour.

At this point, the dough is ready to be used as you would any other bread dough.  On that day, I used one half of the finished dough to make a loaf of bread and the other half to make caramel rolls.

While waiting for the finished dough to rise, turn your attention to the rest of the sponge.  Sit in ½ cup of flour at a time until the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl, but is still very sticky.  Brush melted butter in a clean bowl and turn the sticky dough into the clean bowl.  Brush the top of the dough with butter, making sure to coat all exposed surfaces, then cover the bowl with plastic film.  Refrigerate for later use.

My next post will include my recipe for caramel rolls and further reporting on what I did with the other half of the dough.  While I did not fully re-create my grandmother’s efficiency of making 10 loaves of bread from one packet of yeast, I am very pleased with my results.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mrs K's Creations: Photos and Full Product line

Following are descriptions, pricing, and photos of the products I am currently offering.  All of my products are handcrafted in my home.  I only use essential oils, because I have not found good quality fragrance oils with ingredients I can trust.  I responsibly harvest herbs in woods, meadows, and my garden.

A listing of essential oils (EO’s) is included at the end, along with popular scent blends of EO’s.  I love to be creative, so if you want something you don’t see, contact me by pm or e-mail and I’ll work with you on it.

I do not use preservatives, so it is important to keep the products clean and dry (soap excepting).  With the salves, it is recommended that you use a clean cotton swab or other implement to remove the required amount.  With the other products, wash your hands with soap and water before touching the contents to prevent introducing molds and bacteria.

Regarding the balms and body butters, these are made from whipped tallow, which incorporates air, much like whipped cream.  If they are exposed to heat, the tallow will melt a bit and the product will not be as fluffy.  It is still just as nourishing to the skin and good to use.

Most products are made to order, however, soap making is a three-week process.  With soap, if you desire a custom blend, there will be a surcharge of $3.00 per bar, unless you order at least 7 bars (a half batch).

Measurement is by volume, not by weight.

Shipping costs:  ½ oz containers fit into the small flat-rate boxes, which ship for $5.95.  Most other orders will ship in medium flat-rate boxes, at $12.65.  These are the priority boxes, which are usually delivered in 2-3 business days.

Payment is through PayPal and is required before products ship.

Balms and Salves:
Wilding Salve ½ oz $2.99  2 oz $10.49
Named for the herbs that are mostly wild harvested, this salve combines the best that nature has to offer when you run into biting or stinging insects, poison ivy, or skin infections (impetigo and herpes cold sores), and other rashes and skin irritations.

Country Garden Salve  ½ oz $3.49  2 oz $11.49
Made with herbs and flowers gathered from my garden, augmented with essential oils, this salve is beneficial for bumps, bruises, and scrapes.  It helps encourage circulation, reducing swelling and promotes more rapid healing.  Use to support mostly healed cuts, scars, and burns, but never on open wounds.

Black Drawing Salve  ½ oz $3.99  2 oz $12.99
Made with activated charcoal, French green clay, raw honey, and essential oils known for their antimicrobial action, this salve is good for drawing out splinters, slivers, and skin infection such as boils and pimples.

Dulcet Cordial Balm  2 oz $14.99  8 oz $49.99
Made with therapeutic grade essential oils, many named in the Bible, known for their restorative properties, and for renewal at the cellular level.  Can be used for nighttime facial moisturizer.  Massage into dry skin, over sore areas, and inhale the slightly floral, slightly sweet scent for a relaxing and centering experience.
Christmas Balm  ½ oz $3.99  2 oz $12.99  8 oz $21.99
A delightfully scented muscle rub/decongestant made with camphor, menthol, cayenne, and other EO’s that warm & cool to improve circulation and clear upper respiratory congestion.  Use on sore muscles and joints, rub into chest, throat, and over sinus areas for relief.

Body Butter  ½ oz $2.49  2 oz $9.99  8 oz $18.99
Made with beef tallow harvested from steers raised on our family farm, this body butter is light and very nourishing to the skin.  It goes on slightly greasy – use sparingly! – yet absorbs into the skin quickly.  Essential oils make sure it smells lovely.

Sugar Scrub  8 oz $13.49
Made with Morena sugar for its texture, sugar scrubs are a good exfoliant and promote healthy skin.  Essential oils are not necessary to the scrub, but make it a more pleasant experience.  Can be used face to feet. Instructions on use are included in my Product Guide.

Deodorant  2 ½ oz tube $14.99
This deodorant is made with quality essential oils and just a bit of starch to help dry up perspiration, but doesn’t leave a residue.  Contains no aluminum or baking soda.

Soap Average weight of bars is 8.2 oz, they measure approximately 2 ½ x 3 x 1 ½ inches.  $7.49

These soaps are made with tallow and lard harvested from animals raised on our farm.  Enriched with good quality oils and dairy butter, this soap is incredibly gentle to the skin.  Additions to soaps such as oatmeal, specific essential oils, cosmetic clay, and citrus rind specialize each variety of soap.  They can be used for the whole body, face to feet.

Currently available in my Inspired Feminine Collection:  Delicate (lemongrass-lavender), Southern Sass (sweet orange-lavender), and Tomboy (lime-lavender).  Additional fragrances will be coming soon.

Lip Balm   .5 oz tube $3.49
Made with cocoa butter, coconut oil, and beeswax from my own hives, these lip balms are incredibly nourishing.  They are firm enough to stand up well to summer weather and pocket temperatures, yet go on soft and smooth.  Tinted lip balms include fine mica and cosmetic clay and give just a hint of color.  Other flavors/blends available on request..

- Smooth Cocoa: made with natural cocoa butter, so has a light chocolate flavor
- Lime Coconut: with lime EO
- Cooling Citrus: with three citrus EO's and menthol, very refreshing!
- Mint Cocoa: natural cocoa butter and spearmint EO

Animal Care Products:
Sasha’s Oil  2 oz dropper bottle $10.00
Made with a blend of herbs infused in Rice Bran oil, castor oil, and Lavender EO, this oil works a wonder on itchy dog’s ears.  Named for my dog, who no longer scratches her ears, groaning and whining.  Instructions for use are included.

Cayenne/Ginger/Menthol Paste Double packaged in zip-top bags, one cup by measure, $5.00

This is the ground spices cayenne pepper and ginger that have been infused in Rice Bran oil, with menthol added.  Blended by you into lard or coconut oil to make a thick poultice to rub onto a cow’s udder, this paste will encourage circulation and help break up mastitis.

Udder Balm  2 oz  $9.99  8 oz $18.99

Whipped tallow body butter with lavender, oregano, and tea tree EO’s, this is incredibly nourishing and antibacterial, and will help prevent cracked teats by keeping the skin soft and supple.  Can be applied at any time, even with calves nursing, as the ingredients are all edible quality.  If you would like other EO’s added, just let me know.

Essential Oils:

Inspired Feminine Collection:
Delicate (lemongrass-lavender)
Southern Sass (sweet orange-lavender)
Tomboy (lime-lavender).

Barbershop Quartet (lime, cypress, cinnamon leaf, clove)

Or, create your own blend from the following Essential Oils I currently have available:

Bay Laurel Lavender Rosemary
Camphor Lemon Spruce
Cinnamon Leaf Lemongrass Star Anise
Clove Lime Tea tree
Cypress Pine Texas Cedarwood

If you would like something that I don’t already have, pm or e-mail me and I’ll look into it.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Disabled Farming

I had two weeks notice of my knee surgery that was scheduled for mid June this year.  I would be fully on crutches for at least 6 weeks, not able to put any weight on my left foot at all.  So I used those two weeks to prepare as best I could, making things as easy as possible for my dear husband while he was without my help.

I planted just one row of green beans in the raised bed garden, hoping to have figured out the crutches by the time they were producing.  And Frank helped me lay down silo plastic in our 20x30 garden space.  I cut holes in the plastic and planted watermelons in about a third of the space.  The other third was planted with Sweet Meat Squash.

I also planted a couple of tomato plants in pots that were next to the driveway, along with some of my favorite herbs, figuring that I could sit in a chair to care for the plants as much as they would need.

That all worked out quite well.  We bought 2 Jersey bull calves about a week prior to the surgery and they had the "assignment" of nursing the cow so that we wouldn't need to worry about milking.  I wanted to be able to visit the animals - one of my greatest joys in living on our hobby farm - so I built a seat that would fit into the weight bucket on the back of our small tractor.

Here's a picture of me sitting on that seat, from just a week or so ago, while pulling the milking machine up in the garden wagon:

The hope was that the surgery would relieve my pain enough that I could return to work and to a more normally active lifestyle, however, the arthritis in my knee worsened during those weeks of inactivity.  So, my life now is at a more sedate pace and I am learning to adjust.  I am free of the crutches, but still use a cane when away from the house.  If I walk up to the barnyard, I take a walking stick along to help me be more steady on my feet.

While I enjoy milking by hand, sitting on the low stool to do so is very hard on my knees and getting back up from that position is agony.  So I am learning to enjoy how quickly the cow milks out with the machine.  And, frankly, I get a LOT more cream when using the machine.  So, a bonus I wasn't expecting.

I plan on building more raised beds for the garden in the future, as I can sit in a low chair to work.  I will have Frank till up my "intermittent row garden" again next year and I will either sit in the grass to tend it or I will put down the side of the garden wagon and sit in it to do the work.  Here's a picture of the intermittent row garden from a previous year:

I'm moving more slowly now and sit down to work as often as I can.  I plan things I can do while sitting in my recliner with my feet up, as sitting with them down makes my knee ache even more.  Instead of working away from home, I am venturing into selling my body care products online and have been doing some writing online, too.

One good thing about all of this is that it has freed me up to be of service to family and friends who need a bit of help.  I can't do a lot, but I can drive, I can listen, and I can be moral support.  I am incredibly blessed by otherwise good health and having a direction to go now that the path has changed.

Monday, September 28, 2015


I usually make ghee from most of the butter I make.  I guess I just haven't gotten the hang of getting the butter rinsed properly or maybe I don't get enough of the water out because it always starts changing flavor within a day or two of being made.  And I prefer the flavor of sweet cream butter.  I have tried cultivated cream butter and it is okay, but it still turns cheesy in flavor within a few days.

Yesterday I decided to store my butter in the freezer to make it less likely to change flavor on me.  So once I had it shaken up and washed/rinsed, I laid out a piece of waxed paper and made a slight crease halfway down the length of the paper.  The I plopped out portions of approximately 1/4 cup each.  I then folded over the other end of the waxed paper to cover the butter and placed it in my freezer.  It took three pieces of waxed paper to portion out all the butter I made from 3/4 gallon of rich cream and I gently stacked them up.

Once frozen, I placed the butter, waxed paper and all, into a Ziploc freezer bag for storage.  I kept out about a quarter cup of butter in a small plastic container with a lid and am keeping it in the refrigerator.  This morning, I actually remembered to take it out early enough so that the butter was nice and soft when I made my toast.

I'm really hoping that this method works because I can't stomach paying $4 per pound for butter.  Yikes!

A couple of weeks ago, I found some cream I had frozen up and decided to use it to make some butter.  I also had a half gallon of fresh cream, so I made each batch of cream into butter without blending the creams together.  Here's a photo of what the resulting butter looked like:

The fresh cream butter is on the left and has a lovely, deep yellow appearance, which means it has a lot of beta carotene in it.  The cow gets the beta carotene from eating fresh grass.  It is good for us, too!  The frozen cream butter is on the right and was from cream frozen (and milked out of the cow), in March.  Her diet at that time of year mainly consists of hay.  She also gets grain and I grow fodder - grain seeds grown hydroponically until they have a nice root mat and the tops are 3-4 inches tall.  I've found that the fodder makes her milk, thus the cream, even whiter.

I blended the two together to cook down into ghee, and it is as delightful as ever, I'm happy to say.  I took the picture because I've always "known" that there was a big difference between summer and winter milk/cream/dairy products, but I wanted the evidence before my eyes.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Making body care products

Two weeks ago, I spent the day at my friend's horse farm, wandering around with Cathy and picking herbs for making into salves.  It was a glorious fall day with a deep blue sky, and just enough of a light breeze to keep it from being hot.

Our husbands were busy splitting firewood, so we had plenty of time to catch up on family news and just chatter.  The kind of thing that drives the guys crazy, but women thrive on.

So, in the intervening time, I have been extracting the herbs into oils and making salves from their goodness.  Wilding Salve is potent against bug bites and stings, rashes from contact with plants such as nettles and poison ivy, and viral rashes like herpes.  It is filled with the goodness of orange jewelweed, plantain, and comfrey.

Country Garden Salve is very good on bumps and bruises, encouraging circulation with Nutmeg EO.  I also use it on healing sores and scars.  It is rich with calendula, plantain, comfrey and essential oils.  It so pleases me to make these salves and help my friends and family with their healing process.

I've also been making body butters and sugar scrubs per order.  Happy Honeybee is based on two essential oils that make honeybees happy - Spearmint and Lemongrass.  Lemongrass-Lavender is a feminine yet refreshing scent and is very popular.

I only use good quality essential oils in the products I make, never fragrance oils.  I gather herbs in a responsible manner, always leaving plenty to more than replace what I have harvested, scattering seed from those plants that re-seed themselves.  I use high quality oils (mainly organic) from a reputable source to extract the essences of the herbs, and fats harvested from animals raised here on our farm.

Here's a picture of a recent order that I sent out:

Christmas Balm is a combination muscle rub/decongestant that warms and cools with the essences of cayenne, ginger, and menthol.  Essential oils such as tea tree and camphor help open the pores as well as the respiratory tract and I add aspirin to the blend to sooth my arthritic joints and sore muscles.

Body butters and sugar scrubs come in an 8 oz plastic jar.  The scents I described above are available in either one and I can also scent them with any of the essential oils I have on hand:  Lime, Sweet Orange, Lemongrass (combine the three citrus scents - whoo!), Pine, Spruce, Texas Cedarwood, Lavender, and Clove.   Choose a combination of your own, if you like, as there is no extra charge for special blends.

I also sell lip balms in 1/2 oz tubes in the following varieties:
 - Smooth Cocoa:  made with natural cocoa butter, so has a light chocolate flavor
 - Lime Coconut: with lime EO
 - Cooling Citrus: with three citrus EO's and menthol. Very refreshing!
 - Mint Cocoa: natural cocoa butter and spearmint EO

The lip balms are also offered in a lightly tinted version, which gives just a hint of color when applied.

Shipping for combinations of lip balms and the 1/2 oz samples sizes will be a flat rate of $5.95 as they will fit in the small flat rate postal box.

I send a free gift of my choice with each order placed and will also include a product guide with descriptions and usage tips for each of the products I offer.

Stay tuned - I'm hoping to be able to make soap again soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall on the Homestead

I guess today is the first official day of Fall.  We've had many autumn-like days throughout the month of September but today the temps are in the upper 70's and the humidity is almost the same number.  Fall?  I don't think so!

As I drive around the countryside, though, I see that leaves are changing.  Most of the soybean fields are ready to be harvested and much of the corn is turning pale with the ears starting to turn downward.  For West-Central Wisconsin, it is very late in the year to have not had a frost yet.  I'll take it.

I've been harvesting apples for a couple of weeks now and just recently we bought a half a pig, to get us through until our piglets are ready for freezer camp.  I love apples with pork, they just go together.  Although I don't remember my mom pairing them up together, I do remember the episode of the Brady Bunch when Bobby Brady imitated Humphrey Bogart and said they were having "Poa-k chopsss and applesssaucccce" for supper.

One of my favorite ways of preparing a combination of the two is to brown pork chops or pork steaks in a bit of butter, then covering the meat with 3-4 cups of cut up apples, peeled and cored.  Sprinkle with a little ground cardamom, cover with a snug-fitting lid, and turn the heat down low.  Let it cook long and slow for about an hour.  Yum!

After browning, it could be put in a crock pot or slow cooker, if you have time earlier in the day to prepare ahead.

Thanks for joining me!  I hope you come back soon and often.  I plan on giving meanderings about doings on the homestead, share some recipes, and offer some of my bath and body products for sale.  I hope to hear from you soon!