Emmy and Apple in the Snow

Hamburger Buns

Hamburger Buns

3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional flour for kneading
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lard, butter or coconut oil

Place 1 1/2 cups each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, the toasted wheat germ, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, preferably a heavy-duty one with a paddle attachment, briefly mix together the ingredients.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the lard, butter or shortening. Add the milk and sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is very warm, but no hotter than 120 or 130 degrees. With the mixer at low speed, slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture until blended. Increase to medium speed and beat mixture for about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup each white flour and whole wheat flour and beat 2 minutes more. Add 1 cup white flour and beat until dough comes away from sides of bowl.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (Use very little additional flour.) Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until double in volume, about 1 or 1 1/2 hours.

Gently punch dough down and divide dough into four equal portions. Divide each portion into fourths and allow dough to rest just 5 minutes. Form the small portions into balls and with fingertips fold edges under to form even circles. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, about 2-inches apart and with fingertips flatten each bun to a 3-inch circle. (If you prefer the sides of the buns to remain soft, place them closer together. Then as the buns rise the sides will touch.) Cover with a towel and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Adjust rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees at least 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped lightly. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. (Or cool and freeze, well-wrapped, for up to 1 week.) Makes 16.

To form hot dog buns: Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll out each portion to a rectangle about 14 x 5 inches. Cut about eight 5 x 2 inch strips from each rectangle. Between the palms of your hands, roll each portion into 6-inch long buns. Place buns, about 2-inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with a cloth towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake as directed for hamburger buns.

Hamburger buns made with whole grains need to cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing and eating, because whole-grain flours hold moisture longer than white flour.

(Picture of buns rising before being baked.)

Just Pictures


If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.........

................then I would say Ben is not too happy with his current arrangement. He has to wear this collar to keep him from biting his stitches from his surgery this week when he was neutered.

Poor Ben.

That Poor Chicken

Just look at the size of this jumbo egg! I put it on my quilting mat and it measured over three inches long and two inches wide. I took a picture of it next to one of my extra large eggs to show the size difference. Definitely a double yolk!


Burrito or Soft Taco Shells

My friend Carol in Alaska gave me this recipe many years ago. We would often eat Moose burger tacos on these shells. Tonight, I am making these shells and we are going to have beef fajitas for supper.

3 cups flour (I use 1 cup wheat and 2 cups white)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil (lard or butter)
1 cup water

Mix/knead/ pinch off in balls. Let stand 10 minutes. Roll out. Fry in hot oil.

Vacuum Sealed Dairy Products

Mozzarella and butter balls vacuum sealed and headed for the freezer.

Spencer's Perch

Farm House Cheddar

From the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carol:

Farmhouse Cheddar

This recipe is a Cheddar shortcut. It's great to use when you want to have a Cheddar type cheese but save time in the process. Farmhouse cheddar can be dry and flaky, but is flavorful after only four weeks; therefore, it's a satisfying experience for your first hard cheese.

2 gallons whole milk
1 packet direct set mesophilic starter of four ounces prepared
1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool water
1 Tablespoon Cheese salt

1. Heat the milk to 90 degrees. (If using goats milk, heat it to 85 degrees) Add the starter and stir thoroughly. Allow the milk to ripen for 45 minutes.

2. Add the diluted rennet and stir gently with an up and down motion for one minute. (If you are using farm fresh cow's milk, top stir for one minute with the flat underside of the ladle no more than 1/2 inch deep to blend the butterfat that rises to the surface.) Cover and let set at 90 degrees (85 degrees for goat's milk) for 45 minutes until the curd gives a clean break.

3. Cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes.

4. Place the pot in a sink full of hot water and slowly heat the curds to 100 degrees, increasing the temperature by no more than two degrees every five minutes. This will take about 30 minutes. Stir gently to keep the curds from matting. The curds will shrink noticeably in size as the heating continues and you stir gently. The yellowish whey will grow in quantity as the curds shrink.

5. Cover the container and let the curds set for five minutes. Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag in a convenient spot to drain for one hour. Do not hang in a drafty spot as the curds need to stay relatively warm.

6. Place the drained curds in a bowl and break them up gently with your fingers into walnut size pieces. Mix in the salt.

7. Firmly pack the curds into 2 pound mold lined with cheesecloth, then neatly fold the cheesecloth over the top. Apply ten pounds of pressure for ten minutes.

8. Remove the cheese from the mold and gently peel away the cheesecloth. Turn over the cheese, re dress it, and press at 20 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes.

9. Repeat the process but press at 50 pounds of pressure for twelve hours.

10. Remove the cheese from the mold and carefully peel away the cheesecloth. Air dry the cheese at room temperature on a wooden board until a nice rind has developed and the surface is quite dry. This can take 2-4 days depending on the weather. Turn the cheese several times a day so moisture will not collect on the bottom.

11. Wax the cheese.

12. Age the cheese for at least one month.


Ben Found Time To Write!!!!!

For all of you who have fallen in love with Ben, he was able to send us an update today!

Thank you, Ben! We love you!

What a week I’ve had! Started out OK with a class at the Old Town School for Dogs. Last week, I learned how to heel. Kinda fun! This week, was “Sit and Stay.” Ridiculous! I don’t mind sitting, but having to stay put is just too much to expect. Even so, I had fun and got lots of treats and “Good Dog” stuff. That was the end of the fun.

Right now, I’m at the Old Town Veterinary Clinic. Been there since yesterday, and nobody’s come to visit, not even Larry. First time in my whole life I’ve ever slept alone. I didn’t like that very much. They’re pretty nice at the Clinic, at least they were until this morning. First of all, there wasn’t any breakfast. Then they gave me something to put me to sleep and, when I woke up, I was missing some stuff. Do you think it was some kind of transplant scam? Apparently, I’ll never be the same again.

Anyhow, Dr. Maclean says I can go home tomorrow after ten o’clock, but I’m not supposed to jump or be too active for a few days. Maybe I’ll try to watch TV or something. My favorite so far is Pigeon Impossible. I think you’d like it. (http://www.flixxy.com/pigeon-impossible-animated-short-film.htm). Larry showed it to me on his computer, and I watched every second. When the pigeon finally got it, I was so glad. Well deserved! I can never catch the birds outside. They always fly away rather than staying to play with me.

I’m really getting in to playing ball. Larry wants to play “throw and fetch.” He throws and I’m supposed to fetch? The heck with that! I mostly play by myself and invent lots of little games. I hide the ball under the furniture and in corners. I bark and growl a lot and then go get it. Sometimes, the ball gets under the radiators or the stove where I can’t get it. Then, I bark as loud as I can and don’t stop, no matter what Larry says (or yells). He’s not very nice about it, but he always ends up laughing until I do it again.

My friend Margaret is back from Key West . She’s a really big black and white Katrina dog that barks every time we walk by until Tom, her human, let’s her out. She won’t play until she cadges a treat from Larry. Then, we have a good time. I have to move really fast to keep away from her paws, but she likes me a lot. I hope she still likes me when I get back from the hospital.

Well, it’s time for me to rest for a bit. This letter writing is really hard. I have to get through another night sleeping along, and then I get to go home.

Pet the next pup you see and tell the lucky little monster that I asked you to do it.

Your little Ben



We Now Own Lake Property

Well, not really. The truth is that between the two feet of snow that melted and all the rain we have had, including last night's torrential downpour, we now have two lakes in what is our hay field. This picture was taken from our front deck this morning.

I kept saying that I would keep the snow and freezing temps over the mud if I had the choice. I wish we had that choice. The mess we are dealing with is unbelievable.

My husband and father-in-law always say, "Nothing pays back like the weather." After dry conditions for the past two years, we are certainly getting paid back.


Marinated Feta

Feta cheese
Olive or Canola oil
Your choice of herbs

Cut or break cheese into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks.
Layer herbs, cheese, herbs, cheese until the jar is full.
Pour oil over the cheese and herbs. Make sure cheese is completely covered. Wipe the rim of the jar clean and screw on a clean lid. Air won't be able to get in, so the cheese won't spoil.
Place marinated feta in the refrigerator. Enjoy this feta cheese straight out of the jar, on crackers or crumbled onto your favorite salad. The cheese gets better with age and will keep for two months. The leftover oil can be used to make salad dressing.

*Suggested Herbs: rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, marjoram, basil, oregano, fresh cloves of garlic, peppercorns. You can add dried tomatoes, hot peppers or onions. One favorite is a combination of dried tomatoes, garlic cloves and fresh basil leaves.

From the book: Cheese Making at Home
Homestead Craft & Skills Curriculum
PO Box 869
Elm Mott, Texas 76640

Hamburger Cabbage

Ok, I know it really does not SOUND appetizing but I promise you, it is really, really good! I don't even know what the proper name for this dish is. I just remember eating it as a kid and started making it again when I was able to harvest cabbage from the garden.

It's a simple meal to make and tastes great with southern corn bread on the side!

You can use fresh cabbage or frozen. I blanch my cabbage from the garden and freeze so that I can have cooked cabbage in the winter.

Cook your cabbage and salt to taste.

Cook you hamburger and salt to taste.

Make your cream or gravy by melting 3 Tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add about one teaspoon of salt, some ground pepper, three tablespoons of flour,  stir until melted and well mixed. Then add two cups of milk slowly while stirring over medium heat. Continue to stir until the gravy begins to thicken and bubble. Continue cooking for approximately one minute or until gravy is thick. Mix cabbage, burger and gravy. Delicious!

Homemade Cheese Cave

We have an old, white freezer that we picked up along with an old green freezer a couple years ago. I think we paid $50 each for them. The green freezer we have filled with veggies and beef right now (along with several more freezers) but the white one is sitting empty and has not been used recently.

Needing a place to properly age my cheese and not wanting to spend a lot of money for a cheese cave, I have decided to buy an external over-riding thermostat. The thermostat will plug into the outlet and the freezer will plug into the thermostat. Then, I will be able to set the temp in the freezer to the correct aging temperature for whatever cheese I am making. I did a search online for one, and found one for $80 through a cheese making supply site, but after researching a little further, I found one through a brewing store that does the same thing for $58.99 plus shipping.

I made a number of cheeses last winter but did not have a good place to age them so I used my refrigerator where the temperature setting was actually too low. I have since read that it is better to age cheese at a higher temperature (such as a cool room in the basement) rather than to age them at too low of a temperature where the flavors won't develop properly. (Caution: Temps that are much too warm will cause the cheese to have an off flavor and not be pleasant to eat. It's a delicate balance and thus the importance of having a cheese cave!)

On a side note, I stopped to consider with the nine to ten gallons of milk that I am now getting a day, I have around 63 - 70 gallons of milk going through my kitchen in one week! And, it's still not enough! I am still not to the point where I have enough to feed the hens the several gallons a day of clabbered milk that I was feeding them. They are lucky to get the buttermilk left over after I finish making butter!


Say Cheese!

Today was a lovely day. Joelle, Cassandra, Anastasia and Carol came from West Virginia for the afternoon and allowed me to share how I make cottage cheese and Mozzarella. We had a fun afternoon with good food and good companionship. They brought a wonderful fruit salad which was a delight in the middle of winter, orange punch and a birthday cake to celebrate Joelle's birthday. I had made zero mile chili and we whipped up some cheese spread to go on some crackers as well.

I finally got my Derby cheese waxed today as well!


Zoie Girl

Today was a big day. After breeding Dachshunds for the past four years, that era officially ended today. This past June my dear, sweet momma dog, Hope, passed away due to a sudden illness complicated by giving birth to seven puppies.

I kept the only female in the litter and named her T. Cupp's Hope Remembered but I call her Zoie. I struggled long and hard with whether to have her spayed because I love breeding dogs and I would have love to have seen Hope's line continue through Zoie. However, after losing two dogs this year, I just could not bring myself to put Zoie through the whole birthing process and take the chance that I might lose her or lose some of her offspring due to any complications. So, I felt good about my decision, but at the same time, it was bittersweet.

Darling girl is home and doing fine after her surgery but is still pretty drugged up and sleeping it off.


French Bread

From the book Stillroom Cookery by Grace Firth:

An unconventional but delightful bread.

Preparation 3 hours Makes two loaves

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBS sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS oil (Butter)
4 cups flour

Work dough with a spoon by scraping down the side of the bowl, up again across the top and cutting through the center. The dough should always be worked with a large spoon, not kneaded. Work the dough for about one minute at 10 minute intervals. Do this five consecutive times. Cover dough between workings to keep it warm. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in to two balls, roll them back and forth in the flour, cover, let them "heal" on the board for ten minutes, then roll out into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. With your hands, roll the dough tightly the long way to form an elongated jelly roll type loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet, score the top diagonally six times with a sharp knife, cover with a towel and let rise 1.5 hours. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. You can brush lightly with egg whites or butter when the loaves come out of the oven to give them a glossy finish.

Cool slightly and pull apart to eat!




I made croutons over the weekend to go with our salad. I rarely buy salad makings during the winter as I prefer to just eat what we have on hand canned or in the freezer rather than buy the lettuce that has been shipped in from California. However, I do crave a good salad in the middle of winter.

Croutons are simple to make and delicious. In fact, you don't' really need the excuse of having a salad to eat them!

You can use up "old" bread that is drying out or start with fresh bread. Cut the bread in bit size cubes. You can use olive oil, butter or a combination of the two. I use butter (of course). Melt enough to lightly coat the bread cubes and then sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. My personal favorite is to use onion powder, garlic powder and an Italian herb mix. Sprinkle with a little salt and mix well, coating all the bread cubes. Bake these cubes in a 350 degree oven using a spatula to turn several times. When cubes are dry and hard, remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered, Parmesan cheese.


(You can try different types of bread to make the croutons. I usually make it using french bread or white bread. I have tried 100% whole wheat bread (homemade) and found it made the croutons "heavy" and they also burned easily. I think a bread of 50% whole wheat and 50% white flour would make a nice crouton. I imagine rye bread would be good as well. Experiment!)


Familiar Favorite~Original Toll House Cookies

Everyone has this recipe, right? Wanna make it even better? Use free range eggs, real homemade butter and real Madagascar vanilla! Delicious!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz pkg of Nestle's semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I mix the butter and then throw all the ingredients except the flour in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I mix thoroughly and then add the flour and mix again. I then dump in the chocolate chips and sometimes walnuts or pecans and mix. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Yields about 100 2 inch cookies.

Note: If the cookies are to soft and spread out too much, try adding a little more flour and/or put cookie dough in the refrigerator for a while before making the cookies.

I usually make a double batch and freeze some of the dough for later.


Pictures of Zoie

Zoie's official name is T. Cupp's Hope Remembered. She was the second puppy born in a litter of seven and the only female. She is completely spoiled and completely adorable. She brings me so much joy. Fitting that her grandmother was called Joy and her mother's name was Hope.



Tonight we will be having anther zero mile meal. New York Strip Steaks, Yukon Gold potatoes seasoned and baked in real, Jersey butter and yellow summer squash that was vacuum sealed and frozen made into a squash casserole. Everything grown right here on our farm!

(Pictured: New York Strip Steaks from our pastured beef ready for the broiler)

Mild Feta Cheese

Mild Feta Cheese

Makes 1 1/2 pounds

Feta cheese is a tangy, crumbly cheese used most often in Greek cooking. It is traditionally made from sheep or goats milk which results in a sharper flavor, but cow's milk will work too.

1 gallon milk
1/4 cup cultured buttermilk (Or you can use clabbered raw milk)
1/4 tsp. rennet dissolved in cool water
3-4 Tablespoons coarse salt (You can use table salt, but use less)

* Warm milk in a pot to 86 degrees F and stir in cultured buttermilk. Cover pot. Let sit one hour to ripen.

* Stir dissolved rennet into milk. Cover pot and allow to sit one hour more to coagulate. Don't stir or disturb. The milk will become a solid mass. You can check to see if it is ready by sticking the tip of a knife into the curd. If you get a clean break, the milk has set up. If the curd is yogurt consistency, you should wait longer.

* Cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes. Allow to rest 5 minutes to expel the whey. Stir gently every few minutes for 15 minutes keeping the curd at 86 degrees.

* Line a colander with butter muslin (I use plyban cloth) and set inside a big bowl if you want to save the whey. Drain the curds. Tie the four corners of the cloth together and hang to drain for 4-6 hours. The curds will form a ball.

* Slice the ball in half and lay the slabs of cheese in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle all the surfaces with 3-4 Tablespoons of coarse salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temp for 24 hours.

* After 24 hours pour off the whey, salt all the surfaces and let sit 2 more hours. Place cheese in a covered dish and refrigerate. Use immediately or allow to age 5-7 days to sharpen the flavor. Use within two weeks or freeze for future use.

I thought I had posted my recipe for Feta cheese but I can't seem to find it on my blog. So, if this is a repeat, please forgive me! (When I started out my blog, I was not using labels for the posts. I need to go back and label all the older posts.)

Pictured: Chunks of Feta waiting to be salted.


Congratulations~ It's a girl!

My brother, Jimmy Holbrook, had a little heifer calf born on New Year's day. In honor of her birthday, they named her "Happy". Her dam is a Senepol and her sire is an AMJA registered Mini Jersey.