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Part II

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We have a new blog! It is called A Homespun Country Life….Part II.

I know, I know, you think that we should have made up a new name. But we want to keep blogging about the same topics that we blog about now–chickens, sewing, gardening, food, chickens, farming– so we didn’t feel like we had to make a name change. Also, to be completely honest, we ran out of data space on this blog, and right now it does not work for us to upgrade to a better plan. Hence, we bring you a second edition of A Homespun Country Life

It has been very exciting to plan and to create a new blog, and to have a new spot to write at!

 

We will see you over at Part II!

~Elisabeth and Gabrielle

 

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Best Ever Cherry Bars

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Whenever we have unexpected company, or just want a last-minute dessert for a meal, we pull out this never-fail recipe. I first found it in a Quick Cooking magazine when I was probably ten, and over time and much use I’ve adapted it by changing the fruit filling. Besides the classic cherry, we like peach and blueberry flavors best. Sometimes we use store-bought cherry pie filling, like the right side of the pan in the photo above, but what puts this recipe over the top is when we make the filling from scratch. We pulled the peach version from our favorite peach cobbler recipe, and the blueberry version is an adaption of a cherry pie filling that we sometimes make for it, too. Each of the filling recipes below will make enough filling for half of a 15″ x 10″ pan, so be sure to choose two fillings, or double one of them.

If that makes sense to you, please explain it to me. Thank you.

Cherry Bars

Cherry Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, halved
1/8 tsp. almond extract

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice until smooth. Add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Set aside to cool.

Blueberry Filling:

Follow ingredients and directions for Cherry Filling, substituting blueberries for the cherries, and vanilla extract for the almond extract.

Peach Filling:
2 cans (15 oz. each) sliced peaches, with syrup
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.

Dough:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined. Spread 3 cups of batter into a greased or parchment-lined 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Spread with fillings of your choice, half on one side and half on the other. Drop the remaining batter by teasponfuls over the filling. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes, or until dough tests done with a toothpick. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars. Yield: 5 dozen.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin

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Pictures of Marquette, Michigan

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Waves rolling into Marquette Bay on Friday

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The lights of Marquette, MI, with Saturday’s sunset in the background and shove ice on the shore.

The past week the temperatures have been in the 70’s and 80’s, which for Elisabeth and I, is much too warm! We prefer cold temperatures 🙂 I was looking through our blog post drafts, and I was rather shocked to find this post from our vacation in Marquette in February! But I am glad we didn’t post it then, because it seems fitting to post it now, when the temperatures are so horrid and all I want is cold and snow.

These photos are from our weekend in Marquette, MI. It was windy all the way up to Marquette with whiteouts in some areas.  The waves in Marquette Bay were rolling in and crashing against the icy shore. On Saturday, when the wind had calmed down, there were huge icicles hanging from the branches of trees and bushes that grew near the shore. Saturday evening we drove south out of town and around the lake and saw some shove ice. It was a beautiful evening, as you can see.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Gabrielle

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Grain Farming and Chicken Farming

DSCN6981_FotorSince I haven’t blogged for a over week, I thought I’d share some pictures of what has been happening on the farm lately!

The corn is being planted right now; this year Dad is planting the back fields to corn. The picture above is of Dad, Nathaniel, and Gabrielle loading fertilizer into the corn planter before Dad headed out to plant one evening. I love to help with the farm work, but when there is not anything for me to do, I enjoy taking photos 😉 I love the different colors in the above photo– the blue rainy sky with streaks of sun light; the white birches against the dark woods; and, best of all, the Allis Chalmers tractors ready for an evening in the fields!

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In this picture, my brother is disking the back field to make it ready for planting corn. I think disking is probably the funnest of all spring farm work.

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Our second flock of meat chickens arrived last Thursday. This flock has been easier to care for than the first flock was, mainly because the temperatures are warmer.

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The first flock of meat chickens is already 5 weeks old! I like the chickens best when they are at this age, because they are easier to care for. (Their bedding is harder to change though.) Next week we have to call the guy who butchers chickens and set a day to take these chickens to him. It will be a busy time because the week after we butcher this flock, we have a new flock arriving. At least there are two of us to do all the work 🙂

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Elisabeth

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Toad in A Hole (Cooking Challenge: Eggs)

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Gabrielle’s chickens are laying really well right now, and we girls decided to do a cooking challenge that includes either using as many eggs as possible, or making an egg dish. We have done cooking challenges before, but they have been about cookies or cakes, not an ingredient.

The guidelines are simple, and flexible, because we are sisters 🙂

(1) There is no prize, although we do vote for the best dish.

(2) We must use new recipes, or a recipe that none of us have tried.

(3) If the dish doesn’t turn out as planned (if it is a total flop, for example) then we usually let the  person either try it again, or choose a new recipe.

Usually the challenge lasts from 1-2 weeks, or until we all get around to making our food.

I chose to make a Toad in a Hole for my entry in the challenge. Toad in the Hole is a form of Yorkshire pudding, which is generally served as a side dish; but they can also be used as a dessert.  The Toad in a Hole has sausage pieces in it, making it sweet and savory combination for a light breakfast.

I served the Toad in a Hole with butter, syrup, and blueberries for toppings. Next time I make it, I think I will make muffins or a large bowl of yogurt for a side dish since the pudding disappears really fast!

The egg part tastes rather like french toast, and the sausage is sooo good. This dish doesn’t take long to make, and it could probably be even faster if you cook the sausage beforehand.  The hardest part was definitely washing dishes!

 

This recipe is from the December 2015 issue of Taste of Home. Because it is only available to subscribers at tasteofhome.com, I am not sure that I should be sharing the recipe on our blog. (It is worth subscribing for though 😉 )

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Elisabeth