Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Monday, November 21, 2011

Counting on...

Oh, the gifts!  Autumn joys and twinklings of light and smiling love.  In the midst of pain and loss, so very many gifts arrive to restore me.  Thank You, precious Lord!

- my heartbeat, my love, my umbrella shielding me from the worst of the storm

- so many to-doings keeping me busy

- stuffed acorn squash

- photos, windows into each memory

- the truest care from the truest friends

- turkey, a glorious bird from a sweet local farm family, a bird that was nurtured and not manufactured

- cinnamon ornaments filling our home with a wonderful aroma

- preparing our hearts, anticipating His arrival

- blue skies and fiery leaves

- waking rested and smiling for the first time in a long time

- a set-aside day for giving thanks... a whole day just for counting the gifts... a whole day to offer up gratitude to the God of gifts

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Images of Autumn

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Apple Butter

So... remember those lovely Virginia apples pictured in my last post?  They've been canned!  (Not like 'fired' but put in jars as apple butter; some of them, at least)

I got out my trusty mini canning kit, found a recipe for apple butter, and got to work!  First I had to weigh the apples...

Then there was the peeling and chopping and cooking.  As the apples cooked down, our home filled with the spicy aroma of Autumn. 

Once cooked and blended, the hot apple butter was put into 1/2 pint wide mouth jars.  The jars were sealed and put into the water bath, and came out beautifully.

Apple butter is one of my favorite things.  I love it on toast and English muffins and biscuits.  But my favorite thing, when I slip in a little naughty non-vegan item, is a cottage cheese and apple butter sandwich.  Pure delight! 

Here's the recipe...

Sweet Apple Cider Butter

4 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 1/4 cups sugar (I used less)
1 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/8 tsp. ground cloves

1.  Combine apples and apple cider in a large stainless steel saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
2.  Transfer apple mixture to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, working in batches, puree just until a uniform texture is achieved.  Do not liquefy.  Measure 9 cups of apple puree.
3.  Combine apple puree, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a clean large stainless steel saucepan.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon.
4.  Prepare stockpot/canner and jars.
5.  Ladle hot butter into jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Remove air bubbles, re-measure headspace.  If needed, add more butter to meet recommended headspace.   Wipe rim, center lid on jar.  Screw ban until fingertip-tight.
6.  Process filled jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove stockpot/canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.

This recipe is from the Ball Beginner's Guide to Canning & Recipe Booklet.  
This recipe made 8 half pint jars for me, with a bit left over for supper that night!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumn Fun...

Wanting to feel like myself again, I told my husband about the Fall Festival at Five Points Community Farm Market and traveled to Norfolk for an afternoon of fun... a time to let go of the mourning for a bit and breathe the crisp, clean air of Autumn.

We saw so many delicious local and organic goodies, listened to a talented ensemble playing beautiful instruments, sampled Virginia wines and beers, savored a warm and yummy lunch, and just enjoyed being together.  Here are a few of the sights...
Saunders Bros. Virginia Apples

Breads from Sugar Plum Bakery

Bright Beets

A Little Music with Lunch

Cookies, Brownies, Marshmallows... yum!

Five Points' Get Fresh Cafe was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!

Virginia Wines

Tom had the Pot Roast, I had the Acorn Squash