Pancakes to make you Smile!

Morning came as usual with my two cups of coffee, and then I was ready to eat. I knew pancakes were the item of the day but I wanted something different, a bit more Holiday and Fall like so I made two batches of wholesome pancake batter and divided it up so I could have multiple flavors for the morning.

The first flavor was new for me. I took ½ cup of prepared batter and stirred in ¼ teaspoon of fresh dried lavender buds and ¼ teaspoon plus a pinch of citrus zest. (I usually combine my Orange and Lemon Zest into one jar for keeping.)The lavender and citrus is a great combination and the floral came thru without any bitterness. This would be especially good for a holiday brunch or Ladies Day, although my husband really liked it.

Well, that wasn’t enough so the next cup of batter was waiting. I mixed approximately 1 teaspoon of the new Autumn Spice Blend into that waiting batter. Now this one was the favorite of the morning! So full of flavor! A great way to warm you up on a cold Autumn or Winter morning or to make Christmas morning breakfast a bit more special. You could add a bit of pureed pumpkin or sweet potato and serve with our Infused Cinnamon Honey, delightful.
Tasted delicious, don’t let the picture fool you.

Another batch was waiting. More Autumn Spice Blend with Blueberries added; cooked up fluffy and hot and served with pure Maple Syrup.

Crispy (really crispy) bacon, my husband, grandson and Amanda (here to work in the greenhouse) all shared in the pancake variety breakfast. They agreed I could cook these again anytime.

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Lavender Cookies

So today I am sharing some yummy recipes for Great Holiday Treats, Cookies! I’ve put together a collection of a few fun and simple recipes using our Wonderful Culinary Lavender, which I think you’ll be sure to enjoy and make again and again!

Lavender Cookies

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Ingredients

½ cup shortening

½ cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. almond extract

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp. C & J Farms Dried Lavender

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine the flour, lavender, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonful’s 2 in. apart onto baking sheets lightly coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 7 dozen.

Biscotti with Lavender & Orange

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Ingredients

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter, softened

1 ½ tbls C & J Farms Lavender

½ tsp. grated orange rind

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat until blended. Stir in almonds and vanilla.

Using floured hands, shape dough into a 10-inch log on a lightly greased baking sheet, and flatten to 1-inch thickness.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.

Cut log diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 300° for 20 to 25 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Lavender Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients

3-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/4 tsp baking soda

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

1-1/2 tsp salt

¼ cup C & J Farms Lavender

2-1/2 sticks (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened

1-1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

10 ounces (1 bag) dark chocolate chips

C & J Farms Fine Grain Sea Salt

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and lavender buds. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a mixer, beat sugar and butter until completely combined and smooth.

Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until creamy.

Slowly incorporate the flour/lavender bud mixture into the wet mixture and mix just until the dough forms and ingredients are combined. Add in the chocolate chips and mix.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. This step is crucial if you want the Best Of…if you’d rather have instant gratification, skip the refrigeration but expect different result.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop mounds the size of dough the size of golf balls and space evenly on a lightly oiled or parchment –lined baking sheet. Sprinkle dough with coarse sea salt. Don’t roll the dough into balls…rolling makes the texture of the cookie turn out to be dense and not as wonderful as unrolled mounds of dough.

Bake in the oven for 11 to 12 minutes (or up to 14 minutes if you prefer crispier cookies) SEE NOTE

Repeat until all of the Best Ever Dough is all baked up and you can taste the smell in your house. Unless you’re a dough eater like me, in which case, grab a spoon!

Lavender & Honey Cookies

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Ingredients

½ butter, softened

½ cup C & J Farms Lavender & Vanilla Bean Raw Honey

(This recipe is also exceptionally good with our Lemon & Vanilla Bean Raw Honey)

1 egg

1 tbls C & J Farms Lavender

2 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter in a bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Beat honey, egg, and lavender into the creamed butter until blended.

Drop spoonful’s of batter onto prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake 15 mins. or until cookies are browned on the bottoms, enjoy!

Leftovers ReCreated!

Have you ever cringed while throwing out perfectly good food that no one wanted to eat just because they were leftovers?! Well we have a huge family, but unfortunately once the 4 kids have eaten it once, they usually are less than thrilled to eat it again. Enter mommy with the Great Leftover Reinventions! Here’s a great picture diary of a few of my Meal Remakes! They will never know!

I made some great Baked Chicken using our C& J Farms Herbs de Provence Blend (originally I served it over white rice with salad). Here I just took the leftover chicken and put it a roasting pan with some green beans and potatoes, I sprinkled a bit of our C & J Farms Hickory & Herb Sea Salt over the veggies and baked in the over until the potatoes were soft! Cooked some rolls and serve! Easy and Simple and they had no idea they were eating a Re-Made Meal!

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Here we had a bunch of leftover sliced tomatoes from a Hamburger Night. I sprinkled tomatoes with a bit of our C & J Farms Italian Herb Blend, layered fresh grated Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese on top, and then added a couple shakes of our great C & J Farms Chives! Baked in the over just until cheese melted. Awesome snack! The kids were putting pepperoni’s on top and loving it!

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Got Leftover BBQ? How about Crockpot BBQ, pot roast style?! Leftover Smoked Sausage, Steaks, and Some Chicken Breasts were all originally grilled with our C & J Farms Hickory & Herb Sea Salt Blend, Here I just cut it all up, threw it in my big 15qt. crockpot in the morning after breakfast with some random veggies and some extra BBQ Sauce, turned it on and left it. About 8 hrs. later we had some of the best BBQ Pot Roast we’ve ever tasted! I served it over some buttered egg noodles with biscuits on the side for mopping up all the juicy goodness!

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Remember those leftover hamburgers? Well I turned them into delicious breakfast burritos! Originally made by kneading C & J Farms Hickory & Herb Sea Salt Blend, Garlic & Onion Pieces, and about 1 cup of A1 into around 3 lbs. of Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef. (From our own Cow raised right here at the farm)! Well I took the leftover burgers, crumbled them up, browed the pieces in a frying pan to heat, removed them from the heat, and then scrambled some eggs in the same pan. Put all of it in a flour tortilla and sprinkled shredded cheddar on top! They were oh so good! Another great way to elaborate this recipe would be to add some diced bell peppers, onions, or maybe even some of our great C & J Farms Jalapeno Jelly!

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So Mondays Spaghetti night turned into Friday Night Food Fun when we let the kids get creative with the leftover Meatballs and some wooden skewers. My Meatballs were originally made by blending C & J Farms Italian Herb Blend, Marjoram, Rosemary, Garlic & Onion Pieces, 1 egg (beaten),& 1 cup of Organic Bread Crumbs, with about 2 ½ lbs. of Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef.

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The possibilities are endless, and we encourage you to try some new ideas with all your great leftovers too, and please share!

Cows ~ From the City to the Country

Who would have guessed that I would be living on a farm with cattle, goats and growing herbs? Life is awesome!

One of the things I have enjoyed is having the opportunity to grow out our own beef. I would never have thought this would be something I get excited about.We didn’t start this adventure into the country with cattle but I’m so glad we have them.

Discoveries about cattle along the way are numerous.They seem to have long memories and recognize each other.We can move some cows to other pastures, separating those who were raised together as babies, reunite them after a year or more and they seem to celebrate when that cow’s voice is heard again. I have seen them running to join each other with actual leaps in the process.

When babies are moved from their mom’s it is hard on both of them.Some of the cows (by the way a cow is a female that has had a calf) cry out for days calling for the calf and listening for the calf’s reply.The calves seem to adjust a bit quicker. We try to keep a small herd of the same age young ones together because they need each other.If we leave the calves with their mom to long, we have found many of the calves will continue to nurse way past what is required. So we must move them off of the cow mom.

A bull stays with our cows all of the time, allowing for the cattle to become pregnant quickly.If a calf continues to nurse and the cow is pregnant it causes stress to the momma cow.

Cows, heifers (a female that has not had a calf) and bulls will gather together in the evening at dusk and groom each other.I love being out in the pastures with the cattle at this time of day.

There is always a leader of the herd.Ours is number 19 and she is quite the talker.She is physically very large and very vocal.She will call out as if to say “We are changing pastures now” she will begin walking and everyone will follow along.

All of our cows are very docile so I feel so comfortable in the pastures. They are typically very curious animals and their curiosity will get the best of them, if your patient enough.I will stand very still in the pasture and some will come up very close to me to check me out, especially the young ones.As I stand there I will lift my arm slowing and one of them will get brave enough to come and lick my hand.That experience is not for everybody but I kind of like it. I like watching as the others, standing close behind but not brave enough to approach that close, react when I don’t move when licked.Then those shy ones will begin to approach. If I stand completely still, I will have them gathered all around.

Occasionally, we will get one that can be aggressive; they don’t get to live on our farm.

So back to the beginning, best of all, we constantly have one being raised for our freezer. All of our cattle are grass fed only and they have plenty of property to graze. We do have to supplement hay in the winter but only hay.It is the best beef we’ve ever had not to mention the health benefits.Amazing!! We eat red meat now without concern or guilt because we know what went into the steer (a bull that has been neutered) and what the health benefits are.

If you get the opportunity to purchase a grass feed steer try to purchase it for processing.The processing of the meat will come to less than @2.00 a lb. At this price it is definitely worth buying a freezer for.

Goats- Our Beginning

Upon coming to the country from the city, we had decided we wanted to raise goats. Now, that’s not so far-fetched for me considering I have had an Ostrich Farm in the past; so goats that should be easy.

We did our research (we thought we knew enough) and went about the business of buying meat goats, Boer goats to be exact.We don’t do much of anything half way so 50 does (female goats), 2 bucks (male goats) and 5 LGD (livestock guard dogs) came to live at the farm.

Jim (of C & J) still traveled out of the country a lot at this time.We were in the goat business and going to have a bunch of kids (baby goats). Events unfolded. Who knew goats can get out of 4” spaces in the fencing? They were docile (except for the bucks). There is a lot of illness, worms, not to mention birthing problems.

Goats are interesting and complex animals. Contrary to popular belief, they do not eat anything.

Move months into our goat adventure – we learned an immense amount about their diet, the illnesses and how to help with birthing. It’s common for goats to have two kids at a time.The next big learning came while Jim was traveling for 2 weeks. I would sit out on my porch daily and watch the goats. I really did enjoy being with them. I named some of them and would mingle with them daily while feeding, watering and just making sure they were all ok. It was a daily routine to free a goat hung up in the fence by its horns.

Back to while sitting on the porch… I saw a goat go into labor. (I got really good at being able to tell when a doe was going to kid.) We had separate pens set up in the barn where I liked to put the doe until kidding had happened and I knew the kid had nursed. So, I got up and helped her to the pen in the barn.Over the next couple of days, this became a routine; I was seeing does going into labor right and left.Most are kidding fine but now I’m getting concerned… I realized all the does in the pasture together had become pregnant about the same time. Who knew that could happen?

I called a family friend to come stay with me because I was thinking things were about to get out of control. It did! I had two to four does kidding daily. Some having twins as expected, but some having triplets and even quadruplets.We worked for days. Helping does having trouble with delivery (4 is uncommon), having to bottle feed babies because a single doe was having 3 and 4 kids at a time.Unfortunately, 3 -4 kids is normally too many for a doe to feed.

We in the barn down on our knees watching these babies to ensure they are nursing and working to determine which ones will be bottle fed.Within 10 to 14 days all fifty does had given birth. Unbelievable!!!!

By the time Jim got home. I had decided we would sell ALL of the goats we had and start over. He didn’t argue because he had listened to me every day for two weeks.Then we had the best experience ever when we purchased our Black and Spotted Boers and had a herd of 12. They were young, beautiful, healthy and manageable. It was a great learning experience for the years we had goats. We had great success after learning so much the hard way.

Now we have one Black Boer doe who is a pet named Ebony and two Nubian Dairy goats, Goldie and Silver. All of which are delightful.