Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shiitake Mushroom Ravioli


Yesterdays weather was exactly what you think of when you think of Autumn,, Cool, rainy, windy, dark, and dreary.. A perfect day to make something delicious in the kitchen..
Our shiitake mushrooms logs produced and abundance of mushrooms last week. We "shocked them" ( which is soaking them to force them to fruit) but they were not ready in time to sell at the market, but alas, the day after ( I think the cooler weather takes them longer to full open)

So anyhow, here I am with all these mushrooms; these delicious, healthy , nutrient dense, vitamin packed mushrooms ....I've canned enough for winter, I've dehydrated some in the sun oven, and still had quite a few left... what to do? I came across a few different recipes for mushroom ravioli. I looked at a few recipes, and then do what I Usually do, make  up my  own version ;)

*** See recipe at the bottom of the page

We ended the day with a fire in the Cookstove to take the chill out of the air.
Full bellies, warm house,, feeling grateful..
Our pup was pretty content too ;)

Shiitake Ravioli


3 Cups Flour
4 eggs
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Add eggs;one at a time to flour. most recipes said to use a dough hook, but I just used a fork.
Add olive oil.. mix and gather with hands to form into a ball. Wrap up in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes ( on counter)

15 oz Ricotta cheese
5 oz mozzarella
2 eggs
 approx. 2 cups sliced or diced Shiitake mushrooms

in a bowl mix ricotta cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, and eggs.

Sautee Shiitake Mushrooms in butter for about 10 minutes on low

Roll your dough out until it is about 1/8th inch thick, or thinner.. Its tricky, you don't want the dough to thick or you will have meaty ravioli but you don't want it too thin so they break and you have filling in your water when boiling them ....
Better to err on the side of caution and not roll them out to thin...

You will need some sort of circular cookie cutter, to cut the dough once it rolled out. I use one that is about 3" in diameter. I cut then roll out the dough a little more.

Place a tsp or so of filling in the center and then a tiny dollop of mushrooms on top.. Place another piece of dough on top..Start on one side and gently seal the the pasta all the way around..push down sides,, then take a knife and cut off access dough( forming a square shape) you can push down on the edged with a fork to seal better and it looks pretty :)
This takes some practice, but you will get the hang of it.;)

Place raviolis in boiling water and boil about 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015



What an absolutely beautiful morning here in the hollar. The Solstice has arrived, and with that , comes change..... The mornings are cooler, and leaves are starting to cover the ground a bit. I am picking peppers and peeked in on a few sweet potatoes which will be pulled In the next couple of days, but after that summer crops will be finished for the season.
The bees are  frantically collecting what pollen and nectar , storing up food stores for the cold winter ahead....
Not to mention the squirrels in a frenzy collecting nuts for the winter , and my dog on a mission to catch one.. ;)
Robb has been diligent in hauling wood and we can all breath a sigh of relief for the time being,, feeling confident in our supply. Its a lovely sight indeed! And of course, we are ever so grateful for him keeping us warm through the winter.

Me? I am delving into something new this winter... Quilting.. I've been sewing for nearly 2 decades and have never attempted a quilt.. I have spent most my years making clothing and its time for a change...
This will be Norah's quilt...I am moving right along on it and it feels good to create something a little different. I am enjoying this, indeed...

Change is good .............

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Norah Files; Lucy the Snake

*The Norah Files*  For a couple of years I have been sharing stories via Facebook, on the many adventures of  my curious, nature loving, precocious, 8 year old Daughter.. Whether she is a product of her off grid life and backwoods atmosphere or is just wired this way, let me tell you, she is something else ;) . The response to these stories  has been wonderful, so I have decided to start sharing them here ... enjoy!

Lucy The Snake

Norah now  has  a pet snake, well we have a pet snake.... No, we didn't buy it at the store...
The way this all came to be is funny to say the least.

Let me start by saying that we live and are surrounded by a whole lot of nature.. We are surrounded by National Forest and miles and miles away from any real civilization.  One thing we do have here that we aren't too crazy about are snakes.. and quite a few of them.  Black snakes, water snakes, garter snakes, and yes even Timber Rattlers and Copperheads; and we have seen our share of all of them

What you don't expect or hope to never happen is to have them in your home.

Norah and I were working on her evening fiddle lesson when I heard something hit the ground.. to which Norah Yells " SNAKES.. MOM SNAKES, 2 of them!!!!!"
Of course my first reaction was to get up and move to the other side of the room as quickly as possible.. haha...
I did not see them at first,,,,and wast sure what to expect; huge snakes? poisonous snakes?? then as I got closer,  I saw to little ring neck snakes on my dining room floor.. While Norah was watching them and saying things like "COOL!" and " Can I keep one!?!?!" I was grabbing metal bowls , which were my weapon of choice, in an effort to throw them on top of the snakes and keep them prisoner until my Husband got home..
Welp that didn't work the greatest,, they both slithered out half way,, so I stood on the bowls in an effort to smush them( really I would have just liked to put them outside without hurting them as I realize they are quite harmless, but there was NO way I was letting them get away. I did what I had to do).

Robb returned Home, and removed both injured snakes from the house. Norah's eyes teared up when we told her we had to let them go....

Ughhhh, I dread that pouty face, it gets me every time..
"Ok, you can keep one outside in your Tree House, but the other one we have to let go"

The next morning, Norah woke with her Father , and before me.. She was outside collecting bugs at 7 am for her pet snake. She had found an inchworm, a slug and a cricket,, which she placed neatly in a "bowl".. I worked my way out of bed,, made it about 20 steps before she asked me where she could find some Neosporin or peroxide.. Apparenly I had mad  a pretty good cut on the snake while standing on that metal bowl in an effort to keep him from getting away..

She researched the computer for preferable foods, how to heal a wound, how to build a habitat. and got to work...

So how the next part happened I'm not sure,, I think it went something like.....
"Mom can I bring the snake in the house"
" no"
" come on mom, pleasssssse"
"no! Norah! NO!"
and so on...

and then of course the snake made its way in the house..

Her Name is Lucy and apparently she is our new pet for the time being.....
My only rule is that Lucy is not allowed in her bedroom and I must be able to see the cage at all times ...

Lucy has played an active roll during Norah's Calico Critters pretend play, has listened to many bedtime stories, and even made a trip into town with us ( She had the container , in her purse,, .. don't worry I wasn't surprised as she has stashed  toads in there before..)

so there you have it......

This morning I walked in the house and heard myself utter "good morning Lucy"............So I think I am ok with her , for now.. as long as she stays in her cage...

Norah agreed to let her go as soon as her cut if fully healed...............

Another chapter of the Norah Files comes to an end...............

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Autumn Treats


I am absolutely in love with these cool mornings. We fired up the wood cookstove for the first time , a few days ago. I love the ritual of the seasons first fire.. The cracking of the fire, the ping ping sound of the cookstove as the stove warms up, the slight smell of smoke....... all of it...

The days have been filled with more canning, including my absolute favorite fall treat : Apple Cider!Next to my morning cup of coffee, apple cider comes in close second as my favorite morning drink. And the fact that this is Organic Apple cider makes it even better...
Ive also manage to put up more apples for apple pie, and a bit of apple sauce....

Granola is another sweet treat we love to make with our abundance of honey.

We baked ours in the sun oven, as its our only way to bake in the summer, but a regular ol oven will suffice as well...

Homemade Granola

4 Cups regular or Quick Oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Cup Coconut
1 Cup Slivered Almonds
1 Cup Sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp salt
3/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/2  Cup Bee Kind Family farm Honey ;) or ok any honey will do, but I swear by ours..
1 tsp vanilla ( I did not add this)
1 Cup Raisins

Combine all ingredients, except the raisins; mix well.
Spread on a shallow Baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Stir in raisins

** if you wish to use a dehydrator you may do that as well at 145 degrees for about 3 hours.

Let cool and enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Prepping for winter








I thought I would give you a quick run down of how we prep for winter here......

Prepping for winter at our homestead is a year long process. From the first seedling that emerges from the soil in late winter, to the sweet potato harvest just before frost, it takes a whole year to get to this point.

Our pantry is chock full of ; Beans, Tomatoes, salsa, pickles, pickled peppers, carrots, chicken stock, all sorts of jam, apples, peaches, applesauce, apple cider, grapejuice, and I am sure I am missing something ;) We will be adding more shelving this winter as well. As you can see I am running out of space!
We have about 70 lbs of potatoes , along with some winter squash, some crazy gourd that voluntarily took over half my garden, and have yet to pull our sweet potatoes(note the empty basket),
All of this is grown right here on our homestead.

We have about 15 chickens in the freezer currently and have 15 more meat birds arriving next week. We may end up canning some of them as freezer space is limited. Being off the power grid we only have a small freezer above our fridge, so processing chickens in batches of about 15 is how we are doing things for the time being.
Chicken sausage is on the to do list as well....

I just finished up canning some  apple cider today ( stay tuned for that post), and we are going to whip up some hard cider next ;)

Hauling, cutting and stacking wood is a constant around here. It seems we fall behind during the summer months as we are so busy with the bees ( busy as a bee?? hehe) that time just slips away from us, and then before you know it we are scrambling to catch up.
Robb is amazing at "catching up" . Every year he manages to haul, unload, split and stack between 9-11 cords..I suppose when its your only source of heat, hot water, baking and cooking, you find a way to make it happen.

We have loads of honey, no shortage there !( that is what all those buckets are on our cookstove)
I believe we have 3 =5 gallons buckets left. Enough for us and plenty left over to sell...

and of course, eggs from our layers.....

Next, I will make a trip and stock up on rice, beans, sugar, flour, coffee and other essentials ..

A batch of Meade from our honey is on the list as well. This will probably happen after wood is done being split and bees  season is completely done.

As summer winds down,and the Farmers market comes to an end next month and our income dwindles a bit our goal  is to be as self sufficient as possible during the winter months while we do not have that extra income coming in.
Having a limited weekly grocery bill ( about 40 dollars/week) and limited bills in general( no electric, heat , water, garbage, cell phone , cable etc) allows us to live fairly comfortably on a smaller income.

Feeling pretty confident in our food and wood stores, ready for the snow to fly.  It was 41 degrees here this morning, time to fire that cookstove up!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summers last days



Its hard to believe fall is almost here. The golden rod is just about done blooming and The Asters and Helianthus decorate the first 12 miles of my gravel commute....
A teeny tiny spot of color here and there splash the mountain side with the leaves changing color... summer is coming to an end.... I even saw a couple of Praying Mantis side by side in my Kale,, I do believe they were getting acquainted ;) as mating season is in fall................

We welcomed September with a visit from my sister and Brother in law. It was a fun 4 day stint, filled with Hiking, fishing, swimming, campfires and just enjoying eachothers company. We were able to show them some of the beauty that surrounds us and enjoy the last of the warm days that are oh so numbered ..
Robb also took his brother in law into one of the bee yards. They checked some nucleus hives and this will probably one of the last inspections before we tuck the bees in for winter..

My Fall garden is planted. I have Broccoli, Cabbage, Peas, Arugala, Kale, Lettuce, Carrots and spinach and radish in the ground.
Sweet potatoes still have some time before harvest, and my peppers have suddenly taken off after a long season of procrastinating, so a bounty should follow soon.... Bouquets are still decorating our tables and we are still getting a handful of tomatoes here and there, and grateful for the 200 lb + bounty we harvested this year. We will still have  *summer In  jar* come winter....

The Cools

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fishing with Dad

 This past weekend My husband decided it had been way to long since he has taken his little bean, fishing!  Being in a National Forest, we are surrounded by miles upon miles of wild scenic river, which is a haven for some of the best fish ever,, TROUT! They didn't have any luck this time around, but that's ok ;) The time spent together is priceless..

and then home to play in the dirt .

This gave me time to do something I haven't done in awhile.. sew! I stitched up some sweet lil pants! It felt good to be behind the sewing machine again.. and I hope its a sign of things to come.. I sure miss creating and hope this winter allows me more crafty time..

but first I have more apples to can, soap to make, honey to bottle, and a fall garden to plant :)

The Cools