About this site

Welcome! I created this site to share what we've done, talk about what we plan to do, and exchange ideas with other folks who are on the same path as us. Join us in the fun of living at Chickaree Hill Farm!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Early Snow!

Our pumpkin got a little snow hat!
We were blessed to have dodged the first winter Nor'easter of the year! The forecast called for 3-7" but we only ended up with about 1 inch. Enough to make everything look beautiful but not cause any damage ... and it was almost all gone by noon!

Una, Eli, and Oliver pretending that it is
December, not October!
As an added bonus, I got our Christmas card picture done too! Usually we take it in front of our Christmas tree, but the early snow gave us a new opportunity.

I think they look beautiful - what a blessing!  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Little Boy is Growing Up

Stewie the Rooster
Our little rooster, that is!  Stewie is our first rooster and he is just over 4 months old.  I was wondering when he was going to start crowing, and then yesterday he did!  He crowed three times and I haven't heard anything since then.  Guess he was just trying it out!

I first wrote about Stewie in August when we first realized he was a "he."  At the time, he had nipped at me and I was hoping that he wasn't going to be nasty (as many roosters are).  As it turns out, he seems to be a sweetheart.  If anything he is very timid and skittish.  Some of the chickens are more comfortable around us than others, and he is definitely one of the timid ones - he is even jumpy around some of the hens!

He's a good little boy and I hope he stays that way.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Who knew Swiss Chard tasted so good???

I kept reading about how healthy Swiss Chard was, but to be honest, chard is one of those vegetables that I walk past in the grocery store thinking "what do I do with THAT?" I bought seeds this year but didn't plant them until later in the season because of that same mentality. Finally, I planted them in some pots and they grew! Then every time I walked past the pots I would think, "guess I should do something with that ..." but never got around to it, until tonight.

I've already talked about this great book called The World's Healthiest Foods.  It is fantastic - for each food, the author discusses the healthiest way to prepare it. For Swiss Chard, 3 minutes of boiling is recommended to reduce the bitterness while preserving the vitamins. After boiling, combine with a simple Mediterranean dressing and it is really amazing! Tim loved it and even the kids ate every bite.

Three-Minute Mediterranean Swiss Chard

1 lb Swiss Chard
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
Sea salt and pepper to taste

  1. To prepare the Swiss Chard:  Stack the leaves on top of each other.  Slice leaves into 1-inch slices and slice white stems into 1/2-inch slices.  Yellow and red stems are tougher and should be discarded.  
  2. Prepare Mediterranean dressing:  combine olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper.  (The author notes that garlic should be crushed 5-10 minutes before using to get the most health benefits from the garlic.  Read the book to find out why!)
  3. Bring water to a rapid boil.  Boil the Swiss Chard for 3 minutes, then drain.
  4. Toss the dressing with the chard and serve hot.
We were pleasantly surprised by how great this simple yet healthy recipe is.  Can't wait to plant a lot more of it next year!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Eggplant Rolletini

One last eggplant recipe!  We love eggplant parmesan but rolletini is the favorite.  Not as healthy of course, but so, so good!

Post image for The Protected Cultivation of Eggplant1-2 medium eggplant
3 eggs (well beaten in large bowl)
2-3 cups of flour OR breadcrumbs
canola oil (for pan frying)
your favorite tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley, fresh or dried
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan or romano cheese, shredded or grated

  1. Peel the eggplant and slice very thin, lengthwise.  (the thinner the better!)
  2. Bread the eggplant slices.  If using flour: first coat in flour, then dip completely in egg, and then dredge again in flour.  If using breadcrumbs:  dip first in egg, then in breadcrumbs.  [I believe that flour is healthier because the breadcrumbs soak up a lot of oil while frying; both are delicious!]
  3. Heat the canola oil in large skillet on fairly high heat.  There should be enough oil to completely cover the skillet and it should be about 1/4" deep.
  4. Fry each eggplant slice in the oil until lightly browned.  As you take them out to put in the next batch, blot them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
  5. Make the cheese filling by combining the ricotta cheese, parsley, black pepper, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  This is a basic filling and you can vary the amounts to taste as you wish.
  6. In a 9"x11" baking dish, lightly coat the bottom with tomato sauce.  Take one slice of eggplant, add a spoonful of filling and fold the slice over.  Continue with the rest of the slices.  Once they are all filled, spoon tomato sauce on each one, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining parmesan cheese. 
  7. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F until heated through and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.  Bake for the first 20 minutes with aluminum foil to prevent the cheese from getting overdone.  If you are freezing for future use, you don't need to bake it now - just tightly cover and freeze.  You can bake it later thawed out or frozen (just allow longer baking time if frozen, of course).
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