Toby and His People

There is nothing that brings more warmth in my heart than a loving dog.  Toby is just that.  His parents- Tammy and Jarrod decided to have a photo session featuring their favorite goofy fur kid.  We managed to have a great time on a really beautiful fall morning out on the family farm.  Toby managed to stay out of the water and puddles and be the star of the show. Good Boy Toby.

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This corner of the world

I have been wanting to get out into the woods a lot more lately it seems.  My house needs some major attention in the cleaning department, but I keep finding really important things that seem to take priority. There are plenty of wet days ahead to take care of the “have to’s”, so I plan on taking advantage of the less rainy days to enjoy what is outside in this corner of the world- the Pacific Northwest and my backyard.

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Cast Iron Apple Crisp

I’ve officially given in to autumn!  It has been such an unbelievably beautiful summer in the PNW, it is hard to think we have to trade it all in for our  grey and rainy usual. Today was sunny and crisp, so I thought I would honor the idea of autumn with a fresh apple crisp. I recently stopped by one of my favorite produce stands in Yakima Valley- Imperial’s Garden to pick up a few fall items this week and stumbled upon some lovely left alone apples for pennies on the dollar. They were just asking to be made into a delicious treat.

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Here is what you’ll need:

  • Cast Iron Skillet

For Filling:

  • 6 medium apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon salt

For Topping:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter (cold/firm)
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in skillet on medium low on cook top, adding sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, & salt. Once combined, add apples and allow to cook on medium for about 8 minutes or until apples show signs of softening.

Mix together topping ingredients using a food processor or a knife.  Take skillet off cook top, sprinkle topping mix evenly over the apple mix.

Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold- preferably with a caramel sauce or vanilla ice cream.

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Plum Fresh

Or should it be more appropriate to call it “Fresh Plum” today?share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce1

I obtained a large basket of perfectly ripened Italian Plums this week from a colleague. To avoid the inevitable fruit flies that have run havoc around my kitchen this summer, I opted to make plum sauce.

Plum jam was really on my mind, but then I realized I was plum (ha!) out of my main canning staples. Enter Plum Sauce.  It just sounds decadent over vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, scones, goat cheese toast, or even as a glaze on a slow roasted turkey breast- doesn’t it?

Here is what is needed:

  • 4 cups of washed & halved Italian Plums
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon/lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice

In a large non reactive sauce pan, pour plums, sugar, spices and lemon juice. Simmer on low-medium for about an hour and a half while stopping to stir and to make sure the mixture doesn’t over boil.  220 (f) degrees should probably do the trick.  Your house will smell amazing. Meanwhile, prepare your jars for canning.  While the jars are still hot, spoon the sauce into each jar, and process using a water bath. Lick the delicious leftovers off the spoon and swoon at the late summer taste of beautiful Italian Plums.

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Fresh Eggs

We have this saying around our house that has us always in project mode- “why not?”.

We’ve had this corner of our suburban yard that has long housed a large purple rhododendron that was adored by me and despised by the Handsome. An agreement was made that it could be removed upon the addition of something really cool that doesn’t require pulling weeds.  Enter the chicken coop. (Why not? Remember?)

Crafted with our own four hands and a bunch of amazing reclaimed fence materials, in three (maybe 4) weeks after work and on weekends, we made this little gem.  It houses nesting boxes for three chickens, a roosting ladder, a window, garden space, and a small, self-contained chicken run. A friend had more than her share of mature hens and was happy to re-home three lovely ladies.  I will be introducing them in the future, one by one, as they allow me to hold and take their photo.

After getting them settled last night, we woke up to a beautiful brown egg this morning, only to be followed by two more by noon. We can’t wait to see how we do on the daily with this backyard flock, but if the eggs keep looking this beautiful, I think we will all get along just fine. Why not?

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