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Another Convenience Food-Farm Style

Sweet Pea and Calendula soap ready to be cut into bars

I know I talk about this all the time but here I go again. Some times I don’t feel like making a huge mess or spending lots of time cooking. There are other fun things to do but everyone has to eat right? And everyone like good home cooked meals over some boxed stuff, right?

Last night was one of those I don’t feel like cooking nights. So our fast food was a hot bowl of pea soup, corn bread and for dessert we had peaches. I had exactly 2 pans, 4 spoons, 4 glasses, 4 bowls, 1 knife and a wooden spoon to clean up. I warmed up a jar of pea soup I had frozen last fall, a quick corn bread recipe that took all of 5 minutes to measure out, and I stirred together right in my cast iron frying pan then baked and popped the lid off a jar of peaches I put up. The corn bread recipe could have been even faster if I had the recipe minus the liquids and eggs premeasured in a container with the recipe written on the side.

gardener's soap with cranberry seeds

The secret to these meals is that it all started months ago when I purchased a nice smoked pork shoulder. We had a wonderful family meal with close friends the night I cooked it. I saved the left over meat in small packages and froze for things like quick omelets, mac and cheese and even toasted ham and cheese sandwiches.

Meal two came with the ham bone a few night later, I made into a nice large batch of pea soup. This was a don’t even think about it meal. I put the ham bone in the crock pot and covered it with water, set it on low and forgot about it until the next day. After it was cool I removed the bone and other undesirable pieces, leaving the loose ham bits in the water. To this I dumped in about 4# of dried peas and a few well diced carrots. I turned the crock pot back on low and forgot about it again until later in the day when it was dinner time. Turned out perfect. A quick batch of corn bread and a fresh salad from the garden and dinner was served.

To freeze the leftover soup for another quick meal, I used regular quart canning jars and lids to freeze meal size portions in. These were not new lids, this is okay because I didn’t pressure can the soup I froze it. Make sure to leave plenty of head room as this stuff does expand when it freezes. No pressure canning needed, I simply put the band and lid on and put it in the freezer. I sometimes use other sized jars and their lids in place of the canning jars, it depends on the size I want to freeze.

After dinner last night I stopped into one of my favorite Blogs, to say hello to Rhonda Jean over at Down To Earth and was quite pleased to see she too is talking about pork shoulders and how handy and economical they are. You can read about it from her, here. Her photo of her dinner makes me hungry all over again for another cooked roast.

will be in our Etsy shop soon...Smells like spring to me...

So now on to the corn bread, like I said I was in no mood to spend lots of time cooking so I mixed my corn bread right in the cast iron frying pan and tossed it in the oven to bake. My recipe calls for corn meal, I decided to use up some I ground last fall while preparing for our 7 months of eating from our pantry. The recipe also called for a small amount of white flour, I used ground oats and a bit of bran flour. There is also a small amount of “liquid fat” my recipe calls for so I used flax oil with a splash of sunflower oil. It turned out yummy. * here is another little Karyn is not into cooking tonight tip…the recipe needed a cup of milk. Since I am doing my baking with powdered milk to cut back on the fresh milk ($$ & running to the farm down the road) I didn’t bother mixing the milk first I tossed about 3 TBS of the milk powder right in the flour mix and added a cup of water with the oil and egg.

20 minutes and very little dishes later we were stuffed full of our convenience food…farm style. Now to decide what is for dinner tonight. I think it will be a “farm house buffet”  (leftovers for those of you who are wondering). We have some Shepard’s pie, pea soup, potato salad and fresh spinach that need to be used up. Almost forgot the brownies and chocolate chip cookies…

So whats for dinner at your house tonight?


A cold Winter’s Day

After almost a month with no new snow, it’s snowing. We managed to miss the last 2 big storms that hit the North East. It’s sort of warm 32 but very damp feeling. For me it’s one of those days I just feel off. Partly because I spent half the night at the Emergency Room with our client who fell and injured himself, partly because I couldn’t sleep well and partly just because I feel cold with a chill today.

I wandered over to the soap shelf and picked one of these pretty bars of salt scrub soap to take with me. This one is Cottage Rose and is one of my favorite scents, with the lilac a close second. There is a whole new batch sitting on the shelf here and they are listed in the Country Farm Store. I like the label very much, I was playing around with my paper supplies the other night and rubber stamps. Cute isn’t it?

After I’ll put on my flannel pjs and wool socks and head to the kitchen to get dinner started. I’m thinking simple burgers with scalloped potatoes and green beans tonight. For dessert we’ll finish up the birthday cake from Daisy’s birthday party we had over the weekend.

Home Made Laundry Soap Revisited

laundry day


I have talked about making my own laundry soap before here, and here. and this is a wonderful recipe and I have had great results for a couple of years now.

A few months ago I started playing around with liquid Castile soap and just love it. I took the basic recipe and modified it a bit with great results. While a bit thinner than the original recipe it is a time saver.

Here is what I do.

In my 5 gallon bucket I add 4 cups of hot water from the faucet. add to this 3/4 cup of liquid castile soap, 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup of borax. STIR until all is dissolve, add enough warm water to almost fill the bucket and let it cool a bit. Then add my essential oils. About 1/2 an ounce works well. My favorite combination these days is tea tree oil and lavender.

Once cool I give the bucket a good stir and let sit 24 hours. The next day give it a good stir again the top will have a thick jelly like surface with water underneath. Then I use a large measuring cup to transfer it into liquid laundry soap container I have collected. I find that the top line on the cap is about the right amount for a load…about 1/2 cup. I the containers I have are the non-concentrated kind so the caps are large. Before each use give the jug a good shake.

For the rinse cycle I use 2 downy softener balls with vinegar. Don’t worry, you won’t smell the vinegar when the laundry is done.

laundry soapI don’t often use the dryer but when I do, a muslin bag filled with dried lavender tossed in works great. Smells great and no problems with static.

I have also discovered the wonders of those foaming liquid soap dispensers. For my birthday I was given a rather expensive bottle of the liquid soap. It was wonderful but sure didn’t last long. I must wash my hand 20 times a day if not more. Any way, I saved the dispenser and started adding about 1/4 cup of the liquid castile soap, a few drops of essential oil and a pinch of borax then fill the container with water. This works great.

So what recipes have you discovered with liquid castile soap?

In the Shop Soon

Rose scented oatmeal soap

Rose scented oatmeal soap


My noticable absence of posting continues here on the farm. I am busy looking for a job and filling out mountains of forms, applications and any thing else that comes along. I did manage to fit some time in over the weekend to visit with my sister.

When I got there she busy was making pickels and of course I joined right in. We ended up making 2 different kinds from her same bowl of sliced cucumbers. She was using a recipe and after looking at the liquid in the pot we decided the recipe didn’t make enough liquid. I have no idea what the recipe was and didn’t want to figure it out. We used her liquid to fill 3 jars and sealed them. I tossed together the recipe in my head for my bread and butter pickles and we continued without problems. She ended up with 9 pints, not bad for a small garden with only 8 cucumber plants in it. I was impressed considering how lousy my garden did.

While I was at it I made a batch of peanut butter fudge. She knows how to make it to but never does because it never turns out well for her. Her family was oh’ so happy I did this. When I picked up Daisy the following afternoon the entire pan was gone and they were asking for more.

Next we made a batch of oatmeal cold process soap. It is made with mostly organic vegetable oils and no animal fats. There is no artificial colorant in this soap just the natural beautiful colors of the oils. The recipe isn’t new, actually my family has been using this recipe since I was very young, but the scent is. I know these bars of soap last a long time in the shower and lather very well. The scent I decided on is a lovely rose to remind me of the passing summer durring the cooler fall days to come. This is also a very moisturizing bar of soap since it has a large amount of cocoa butter in there too, that will be good for the dry flaky skin to come with the cool weather.

Just for you to try

Just for you to try


I cut the bars this morning, and have set them to cure for a week or so. They ended up being very nice and very rustic looking. Something I love.


Now this is where I need your help! I am going to post them over at the farm store. The first 6 people with a U.S. address to send me an email with their address I would like to send out one of these sample bars for you to try, I will pay the postage. Sorry I just don’t have time for any more paperwork to mail them out over seas. Next time okay?

You can find the farm’s email address on the side bar, the same one you would use to place an order. Once you have used it please post your thoughts over at the farm store on the soap post. This is a scent I plan on having available on a regular basis in the store, I like it that much! So head on over there and leave some of your thoughts, I’ll meet you over there later.

Right now I’m headed to town to cross some things off my to do list this week, fencing for the chicken coop is first on the list- yeah….they make it to the coop before snow flies yet!

Have a wonderful day.


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