Thursday, August 25, 2016

Freezing Peaches for Future Fruit Smoothies

    Here we go! Our three boxes of peaches are now ripe and ready to be frozen. We used to can our peaches, but the only one who likes them that way is my little brother and he still has all of last year's to eat so we froze and pureed them this year.
     We get our peaches form a little Amish bulk food store, not five minutes from our house. We get a lot of our produce there because it's fresh and always top quality.

    We have a large pot of water on the stove and a metal basket we can lower into it when the water starts to boil. NOTE OF IMPORTANCE: It takes no more than thirty seconds to blanch the peaches and loosen the skins. Much longer and the peaches start to cook and become mushy.
    As soon as the thirty-second timer rings, I lift out the basket and rush it to the cold water. There the peelings are easily pulled off.

From the cold water, the peaches go into a bowl of water and 
lemon juice so they won't start to go brown.

Like yellow sunshine in a lake.

    My little brother was in charge of slicing each peach in half and cutting out the pits. From there they were either sliced into fourths and tossed in Ziploc bags for the freezer, or tossed into the blender for puree. We used the puree to make peach raspberry jam the next day. I took pictures of that process too and I'll post those  soon.

Yummy Goodness!
We use the peaches mostly for breakfast smoothies. They add a 
subtle sweetness that is perfect for a smoothie,

Saturday, August 6, 2016

French Toast Sticks

     My little ten-year-old brother and I are the early risers of the family. This morning we got up with enough time to finish our chores and cook a special breakfast. We wanted to do something unusual, but easy and yummy. After a short Google perusal, we decided to make French toast sticks: easy, good, and fun simply because we used sticks rather than slices of bread.

It's basically the same egg-milk-vanilla-cinnamon mixture that you use for regular french toast.

Whip it together. Dip in the bread. Fry up some breakfast!
My little brother set up an assembly line where I dunked the bread and he set the sticks in the pan and managed the spatula. 
    Did you know that in Pennsylvania Dutch (the language that the Amish speak) there are two different words for the spatula you use to scrape the batter out of a bowl and the one you use to flip pancakes? One is called a rubber-scraper and the other is called a shafle. 
    I wish there were two different words for these tools in the English language :)

We had two pans. 
One with butter and one with coconut oil for my brother who is lactose intolerant

And, in no time at all, you have a plateful of toast.
I discovered that I appreciated the sticks better than the slices because I didn't over eat. If, after a helping, I felt like another one or two sticks, I could easily take one or two--I didn't have to commit to a full slice. 

  8 pieces of thickly sliced spelt bread (or any kind)
  4 eggs
  1 cup milk
  1 TB vanilla
  A good sprinkling of cinnamon
  Butter or coconut oil (for frying)

   Cut your slices of bread into sticks about an inch wide and mix together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a shallow baking dish or pie pan. Dunk the sicks of bread into the mixture and fry until they are golden brown. The cinnamon will float to the top and coat each piece of bread as it is dipped so don't be shy about adding more cinnamon as you go along.  
    These French toast sticks can be used as dippers: eaten with the fingers and dipped in little bowls of syrup. Our they can be eaten with a fork like traditional french toast.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Take Me Down the River

    Time for a kayaking trip. This is our family get-away-go-to. I've blogged about our past kayaking trips, but this is the first time in a long time that we've had the family all together. My brother is headed off on his mission soon so it might be the last time for a while. 

    We took two little friends with us today. They spent the day with us while their dad was at work and their mother and sisters went shopping. Having them along made it twice as fun.

Most of us wanted sit-in kayaks this time. We did have one canoe, but it was basically to carry our lunch in the cooler and any kayaker that needed a break.

The river was rather low today, due to the dry-spell we've been having. We got stuck a couple times in the shallows, but that just meant you had to get out and push yourself out of the gravel.

We found the log that we always swim out to and climb on.
This time we got everyone on it for a photo.

I love my family. It's so good to be home.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Blueberries in the Morning

Blueberry Picking!
    Usually, the blueberry season is over before I can get home from college each year. Last year, the family took pictures for me to post, but this this year the season is late because of the dry-spell we are having. It is pretty hot, but we got up at 5:30 and were in the thick of the blueberry bushes before six AM.

    The dry spell also made the blue berries just a little smaller this year and there were fewer of them. We still got about six gallons though, which isn't bad for this late in the season. Besides, there isn't much of a demand for them at my house: we basically use them in our morning fruit shakes and once in a while in pancakes.

We tried to find out brother for this group photo, but he was deep in the patch somewhere.
Besides, he prefers to take the pictures rather than be in them.

The rear-hatch on our sequoia is jammed so we have to stick everything through the 
back window. Gotta love those small inconvenience that spice up every day.

One more blueberry morning gone by. 
    Now we get to spend the rest of the day washing, sorting and freezing them. That's my favorite part. It's just a lot of sitting around on the laundry room floor, listening to epic soundtracks, and talking while our hands are busy. 
    Oh The Simple Joys of This Life!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Trip to the Amish Furniture Store

    One of our good Amish friends owns a furniture store. He took me on a tour today since I hadn't seen it since I'd left for college. It was beautiful. I especially loved his dining sets. Those tables are as smooth as silk and the chairs mold to your back perfectly.
    If you want to order from them, you should visit their website.

    Besides dining room furniture he also sells bedroom sets, couches, chests, mirrors, pulpits, pews, desks, bookshelves, couches, rocking chairs, porch furniture and MORE.
    All of it is the finest quality and priced fairly. 

We enjoyed sitting on the couches and deciding which ones were our favorites.

This bedroom set was gorgeous -- but can you find my brother in the picture?

Fun with mirrors
This mirror was unique because it slid open to reveal a jewelry chest

    What a great tour!
    When I move into my first home I know where I'm going to get all of furniture from. Everything is custom made down to the size, stain and handles, not to mention beautiful (have I mentioned that already?) Oh the joys of living in Amish Country!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Friendly Quilting

  This weekend we all got together for a quilting. It's a fun tradition. We piece and hand sew a quilt for each of our school teachers. We done this for two years now and made two quilts. It's a tradition that I personally love. Quilting is a hobby of mine.
   After the quilt is pieced together we set it up on a huge frame in the school room to finish it. Everyone helps, even the young school girls and boys. There's always a variety of stitches, which makes the quite a precious gift.

Even my brother helps out. He's actually pretty good at it. 
He's an even better conversationalist so, a couple hours on a bench goes by quickly.

I Love my Brother to Bits!

   Quiltings are just a fun time to get together and talk about everything. The conversation is interspersed with "Can I have the thread" and "Where are the scissors?" The quilt is so large and the thread and needles and scissors always end up in the middle so we keep a yardstick on the quilt to use as a bat. We enjoy using it to hit things to one another.
   Well, two quilts down and who knows how many more we'll make. Lots I Hope!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Amazing River Adventure

    My cousins are in town for only a couple more days so we decided that one of the last things we wanted to do with them was go canoeing and kayaking down the river. So today we borrowed two kayaks from a friend and rented another two kayaks as well as two canoes and made a day of it.  
    Truly -- it took the whole day . . . a whole wonderful day.

    The river wasn't terribly busy today -- despite having lovely weather so our trip downstream was really nice. I had to relearn how to steer a canoe, but everyone finally got the hang of it about an hour into the day. We all took turns in the canoes and the kayaks.   


One of my cousins found this tiny frog. It was so small it didn't feel real.


My mother loves times like these.
There's nothing like being all together, in nature.

    We packed a lunch and found a bank to stop and eat.
We did some wading and swimming and just enjoyed the break.

    It is so good to be back in my home state.  I have missed the trees, the tall grass, rivers & streams, the humid air and I especially have missed my family. It's so good to be home.
    What an awesome life I have!