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Nov
05
2014

Good morning fellow farmgirls!

Happy Wednesday!  Is it really November 5th already?

I’ve been thrown for a loop the past couple of weeks.  As many of you know, my husband works in a land far, far away.  Exotic and warm 365 days a year.  With beautiful scenery and unusual foods. And now he is in the process of moving even further away for work – or is it now closer since he was already half way around the world.  Now he’s headed to another beautiful exotic land of 56 separate ethnic groups and of those people currently has 5 major different language families and 129 different languages excluding dialects and sub-dialects. His rig is moving off the cost of a beautiful island with gorgeous beaches and 5-star hotels.  Oh never mind.  I was trying to make it sound romantic. The truth is, his rig will be off the coast of Sanya, Hainan Island, China. Yep. That far. It looks absolutely amazing. But I venture to say I will see it only in pictures. When he gets off work the very last thing he wants to do is stay where ever his rig is. He wants to come home and sleep in his own bed and eat food we cook and see his family as much as possible. We talk about me meeting him in some of these exotic locations but truth is, I don’t want to travel that far by myself and he wants to come home. And frankly, I am happy to see most things from a distance. I told him once how thrilling it would be for me to travel over to Malaysia and us go into the jungles and actually see a tiger in the wild. He quickly pointed out that when I finally saw the tiger, it had been watching me for quite some time. Valid point.

I said all that to say, he will be later coming home than we expected.  Not sure when and neither of us are terribly happy about that fact.  But it what it is and we will celebrate his homecoming when he arrives.  And treasure the time we have as we always do.

So that might never get crossed off my bucket list. HOWEVER, one thing I did get to cross of my list was absolutely thrilling and brought me to tears several times in a short period of time. And if you stay with me for this little story, you will find a recipe from Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butters at the end of this post. :)

I want to preface my report from the night of 30 October 2014 by telling you all how very much I respect President Jimmy Carter, farmer from Georgia. I know all the things people criticize him for. Well aware of them. But here’s the thing about that: he is a fine, benevolent, charitable, honorable man. That is so much more important to me than 4 years of his life (and ours) trying to run a government like he ran his life. Trying to bring the environmental issues we were facing into the light. Brokering a peace treaty between two people who no one ever thought would sit down together much less discuss peace. Plain and simple he was too good a man for the filth that is Washington. There should be no shame in that. None. So if you have a criticism, keep it to yourself. It will fall on deaf ears here.

President Carter is why am a card carrying Democrat. Not that I have never voted for a Republican because I have. More than once. But he and people like him are the reason I have not lost hope for the human race. No one used their post-term life to more of an advantage for the good of those who need the most which is in turn for the good of all.

He is the kind of person we should all want to be.

From his Wikipedia page: a concise list of his post-presidential accomplishments and works:

Carter has been involved in a variety of national and international public policy, conflict resolution, human rights and charitable causes. In 1982, he established The Carter Center in Atlanta to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. The non-profit, nongovernmental Center promotes democracy, mediates and prevents conflicts, and monitors the electoral process in support of free and fair elections. It also works to improve global health through the control and eradication of diseases such as Guinea worm disease, river blindness, malaria, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis. It also works to diminish the stigma of mental illnesses and improve nutrition through increased crop production in Africa.

A major accomplishment of The Carter Center has been the elimination of more than 99 percent of cases of Guinea worm disease, from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to 148 reported cases in 2013. The Carter Center has monitored 96 elections in 38 countries since 1989. It has worked to resolve conflicts in Haiti, Bosnia, Ethiopia, North Korea, Sudan and other countries. Carter and the Center support human rights defenders around the world and have intervened with heads of state on their behalf.

In 2002, President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development” through The Carter Center. Three sitting presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Barack Obama, have received the prize; Carter is unique in receiving the award for his actions after leaving the presidency. He is, along with Martin Luther King, Jr., one of only two native Georgians to receive the Nobel.

The night of 30 October 2014 was surreal for me. It was a pleasure to be able to take Ben with me and have him hear the inspirational, generous nature of this man who even in his 90th (90????) year still works and teaches and gives not only his money but his time. Public service is a noble thing to pursue.

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As he stood on the stage of the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, President Carter talked about all the things he has helped implement in his home state of Georgia. How he promised a huge change in the lives of Atlanta poorest residents before he realized that those residents numbered 500,000. Instead of backing out and not following through, he put things no one else had tried into motion. Divide and conquer. He divided the 500,000 who lived mostly in South Atlanta into 20 sections and went out and got corporations and educational institutions to join him in making the needed changes. Mrs. Carter was leading one group and when she went out into that community she found that these people, the poorest of the city, were actually paying more for necessary products than those that could better afford things. Shame on the corporations who do such things.


He brought to light so many things that I had never considered. It is so easy to look away. So much easier. He could have retired to his ranch, hosted bar-b-qs and rode horses. But that’s not the person his mama raised. His mama Miss Lillian, who joined the Peace Corps at age 68. Yeah. I know right?


President Carter toured projects in Shreveport-Bossier City and spoke about the things he saw and the changes he’d been made aware of. He gave us all a lot to think about. There is so much work to be done and much of it isn’t the kind of thing you can just throw money at. That’s the easy part oddly enough. Many of the needs require people with time and patience and talents and a willingness to share.


President Carter and people like him are why American is still the great place it is and why people are still dying trying to get here.
So I didn’t cry the WHOLE night. But yeah it was a very emotional night for me. One I will never forget. I feel so privileged to have seen him speak in person.
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There’s no doubt that usually a president’s public image is enhanced by going to war. That never did appeal to me. ~ Jimmy Carter

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As promised for your patience here is a great recipe from Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butter.  I will make this recipe for supper tonight and give you a follow up tomorrow.  Best part – GLUTEN FREE!!!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Crust

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Toppings

  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzarella. shredded
  • 1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water. Cut cauliflower into florets and add to pan. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain.
  2. Using a cheese grater or potato ricer, finely grate cauliflower. Place cauliflower in a thin dishtowel and wring out any extra moisture.  After removing excess water there should be about 2 1/4 cups grated cauliflower.
  3. Preheat oven to 450. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper.
  4. Combine cauliflower, mozzerella, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Spoon mixture onto pizza pan and spread out evenly, forming a raised crust at the edges.
  5. Bake pizza crust for 20 minutes
  6. Spread pesto over the crust; top with mozzarella and tomato
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.

WOOT! Sounds so good.  And it is a rainy dreary day so this will be filling yet light at the same time.  I’ll give you the low-down tomorrow.

Here are the links to the previous recipes and posts for the  Milk Cow Kitchen Give-Away:

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Sweet Corn Casserole

Scalloped Potatoes

Four-Cheese Macaroni

If you haven’t read the interview with MaryJane here’s your link to that: Meet MaryJane Butters

maryjane.b

You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:
RaisingJane.org
MaryJanesFarm.org
HeritageJersey.org

Peace out peeps.

Oct
28
2014

Music Memories & Blueberry French Toast Casserole from Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJaneButters

Good morning all you happy people!

What is my mantra for today?? The weather is not going to kick my hiney.  The weather is not going to kick my hiney.  The weather is not going to kick my hiney! Why? Because I have much to do! If any of you suffer with fibromyalgia or some other autoimmune disease, even migraines, you know what a change in the barometric pressure can do to you.  It can be rough.  I had one doctor tell me: You just have to work through it.  If it had been another doctor or someone else, I might have been peeved but he meant it with the best of intentions.  And the look on his face let me know he was sympathetic and just trying to be encouraging.  And he’s right sometimes you just do have to work through it.  Right on through it – until you can’t.  So my best intentions are before me today.

MaryJane’s morning post over at Raising Jane brought back some sweet memories.  Music memories.  I was not blessed with a good singing voice.  Whatever the opposite of that is, is about my level of singing ability.  Oh, never fear, it hasn’t stopped me from singing.  It has made my little grandson ask me to STOP singing LOL. See, Sam’s maternal side of his family is talented.  SO talented.   Seriously, seriously talented.  Sing like birds, plays every instrument you would ever need to play. My first introduction to Jen’s (Sam’s mom) music was Sons of William band.  They are no longer together.  And, I for one, am still sad about that.  :( This was one of my favorites: Smile She’s now a member of Identity Crisis.  Check them out here: Meet Identity Crisis.  AND Zach (our oldest and Sam’s dad) is very musically inclined as well.  Loves music and plays guitar.  And preciously a piano virtuoso as you will see by photographic evidence later in this post. Yeah, I like to brag about my peeps – what??? are you new here ??? LOL

My earliest memory of listening to music voluntarily was from when I was about 3 years old.  My dad got paid on Friday (didn’t everyone  in 1962?) and when he got home on Friday afternoon while mom was cooking, he and I went to Sears to pick out two 45’s which likely cost less than a dollar with tax but when you made maybe $500 a month that was a pretty significant splurge on a weekly basis.  I spent most of my late afternoons in my room listening to “my music” and dancing like a maniac! Those are some of my earliest childhood memories.  Oh to have those records would be amazing.  But where they wound up I will never know.  8-tracks and cassettes and later, CDs, took their place long before I had sense enough to hang onto them.

Consequently, I love all sorts of music.  Really I do.  Now, I am not a big fan of ‘crying in my beer, my woman done me wrong, took everything but my dog, and my pickup truck’s got a flat’ country nor do I like violence in some rap music or when any music is derogatory towards a particular group, especially women.  But I listen to ALL kinds of music from Bach to Bennett, rock to rap, oldies to orchestra.  I love it all – or some of all of it :) I grew up listening to old country – Merle Haggard/George Jones kind of country.   My dad loved music and was a gifted self taught string player – guitar, fiddle, flat-top and a little banjo even. I was also allowed to pick my own tastes as well.  It started young.  My mom filled my early days with big band and swing music along with a heavy dose of classical.  Yep, on a turntable.  My first real musical liking was Beatles music.  And Elvis Presley.  Who, by the way, my Mom saw at the Louisiana Hayride and went “meh, he’s okay” LOL  You would have had to know my mom.  Not easily swayed by public opinion.  They both encouraged me to like music period. We watched American Bandstand and Lawrence Welk and listened to the Grand Ole Opry.  Later came Soul Train and Austin City Limits.  Long car trips, after we had an 8-track player were filled with Henry Mancini’s Country and Alice Cooper.  The deal was we traded off – Dad’s music, then mine, then Dad’s, then mine.  He knew all the words to Billion Dollar Babies and I gained a keen appreciation of orchestra music. We both benefited LOL.

Then Jerry came into my life and he loved music as much as I did and introduced me to Bad Company, BTO (our first concert together) and KISS.  A few years down the road we had Zach – Sam’s dad and the tradition continued:

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One of Zach’s first toys :)

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Here he has graduated to more serious music.  My friend Robbin was always so great to let him bang on her piano.  He was quite the singer as well ;)

z3

It wasn’t long though until he too found rock n roll – I do believe Joan Jett was singing to him here. And the tradition continues…

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Sam singing along (such a sweet little guy – can’t believe he’s 10 now!)

s2

Early signs of amazing rhythm – and demon eyes! LOL

s3

His favorite thing to do at my moms! He batted his eyes with every beat but wasn’t about to stop till EVERYONE clapped!

Wait…what were we talking about??? OHH YEAH!!! Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butters!! And a recipe for today (and tomorrow).

The recipe I am sharing today is going to be a two day-er.  I am prepping it this evening but want to bring you along on the process so there will be no picture of the actual process and outcome until tomorrow.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

  • 3 cups day old 1″ baguette cubes (I am using gluten free sourdough)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (2 oz cut into 1″ cubes)
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries thawed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup maple syrup
    1. Generously butter an 8 x 8 clear glass baking dish. Or use and 9 x 13 and double the ingredients for 8 servings
    2. In a medium bowl, mix together baguette cubes, cream cheese cubes and blueberries; add to prepared baking dish
    3. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, milk and syrup.  Pour over bread mixture.  Using a spatula, press ingredients down into liquid.
    4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
    5. Remove Casserole from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.  Preheat oven to 350
    6. Remove plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 35 minutes or 45 for 9 x 13.  Remove foil and bake until top is golden and mixture is set in the center, about 15 minutes or 25 for doubled recipe.
    7. Serve topped with maple cream syrup (recipe below)

    Maple Cream Syrup

    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup cream

    In a small saucepan, combine syrup and cream.  Stir over medium heat until thickened, approximately 15 minutes.  Drizzle over French Toast Casserole.

    Until tomorrow here are the links to the previous recipes and post for Milk Cow Kitchen:

    Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

    Sweet Corn Casserole

    Scalloped Potatoes

    Four-Cheese Macaroni

    If you haven’t read the interview with MaryJane here’s your link to that: Meet MaryJane Butters

    maryjane.b

    You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:
    RaisingJane.org
    MaryJanesFarm.org
    HeritageJersey.org

    See all you happy people tomorrow!  Make this Tuesday! a good one!

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    Oct
    22
    2014

    Scalloped Potatoes from Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butters

    These were a hit! But my family’s two favorite things – potatoes and cheese! Well three favorite because we had these with leftover baked ham.  Give these a try – yummy yummy for your tummy! AND super easy to covert to Gluten Free YAY!  If you are new here look at Monday and Tuesday posts as well! And WELCOME! Hope you enjoy your stay and please come back soon.

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    • 1 1/4 cups Gruyere, grated
    • 1 1/4 cups Swiss, grated
    • 3/4 cup Asiago, grated
    • 4 T butter
    • 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
    • 2 T flour (I used corn starch as a GF substitute)
    • 1/4 cup white wine (didn’t have any – used vegetable broth)
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 cup cream
    • 1 1/2 t salt
    • 1/2 t pepper
    • 2 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
    1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking dish
    2. In a medium bowl, combine Gruyere, Swiss and Asiago cheeses. Set aside.
    3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onion  and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes.  Stir in flour (corn starch if making gluten free)
    4. Add white wine, milk, cream, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Remove from heat.
    5. Add a layer of potatoes to the casserole dish, overlapping each slice. Pour about 1/2 cup of the sauce over potatoes, and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the cheese over top.  Repeat with remaining potatoes, sauce and cheese.
    6. Cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

    Makes 12 servings

    For 6 servings prepare and 8 x 8 baking dish and cut the recipe in half.  Bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes and uncovered for 15 more minutes.

    Now everyone here is how to enter to win an autographed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen:

    Super simple! Leave a comment at the end of this Q &A and the other posts that will follow this week (recipes! YAY!!) and consider yourself entered for each comment. So the more you have to say, the more chances you have to win! This book is beautiful! You will love it! And chock-full of not only information but wonderful recipes for you to try. At the end of this week a winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen! Woot!

    book-milk_cow_kitchen

    You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:
    RaisingJane.org
    MaryJanesFarm.org
    HeritageJersey.org

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