Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm moving!

Not houses ... just blog platforms :)

You can find all my old posts + lots of new ones coming up at the Wordpress-powered Little Farmhouse in the Big City. Here's the new RSS feed, too:

If you're one of my email subscribers, stay tuned for a new email subscription option coming soon.

See you there!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

carrot soup and apple cornbread

I tried the most divine roasted carrot + coconut soup at a dinner party last month, and was inspired to try recreating it when I saw a beautiful bunch of carrots at the farmer's market. I ended up roasting the carrots in coconut oil, then sauteeing onions and adding the carrots plus coconut milk and chicken broth, simmering until the liquids reduced. A few spins in the blender and I had a delicious fall soup to go along with a new cornbread recipe. Feet up, candles lit and Revenge on Sunday night TV ... it's a beautiful evening.

Recipes courtesy of Bon Appetit: Carrot and Coconut Soup (adapted) + Apple-Thyme Cornbread

apple thyme cornbread sauteeing onions roasted carrotscarrot-coconut soup and apple-thyme cornbread

Monday, October 21, 2013

these apples, those apples, all the apples

This is called Apple Day at the Farmhouse.

It's a real thing.

These are the adorable mini caramel apple crumbles that Magdalena made without a recipe (she's brilliant at that sort of thing)

This is the most high-maintenance, but delicious, apple pie you've ever met in your life. I went to five liquor stores to find the apple brandy for the sauce.

Aprons are a must.

This is the apple jam that will change your life.

 And this is my distraction from the suddenly winter weather here in Minnesota.


Friday, September 27, 2013

harvest at the farmhouse

It's been both a great season in the garden and a meh season. From a late start planting to another drought, my grass and trees are struggling while my squirrels get the best tomatoes! But this summer's growing experience did convince me it's time to cut down a few trees in the back to allow more sunlight in the garden. And my lawn has looked great most of the summer thanks to the fancy new mower/mulcher! You win some you lose some.

Here are a few pics from this weekend's casual harvest. I got a number of tomatoes and peppers a few weeks back, and a lot of the plants haven't yielded anything (lemon cucumbers, broccoli, chard, brussels sprouts, beets).

nasturtium, oregano, rosemary, lemon verbena, sage, thyme and basil

a great showing for tomatoes and herbs by the back door

poor pathetic lemon cucumber plant (nothing like past years' monsters)

healthy tomato plants but lackluster basil, beets and brussels sprouts

wimpy basil + weeds

patchy spots in the perennial bed -- to be tackled next year

the part of the garden I habitually ignore (and notice that the window box greens didn't make it, either)

struggling hydrangea tree and patchy grass!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

VOLUNTEER | a poem

Not a poem by me, no, I do not write poetry. This was written for me by a dear friend (and a real poet). It is so meaningful to me at this particular point in my life. For many reasons. I just had to share it with you.

And when Kelin was visiting last week, we took a walk around the neighborhood and high-fived the plants. /love/

            for lgm
            by Kelin Loe

What I want out of a vine is a safe place for insects. 
What I want out of a leaf is a high five.
I saw an ant carrying the still body of a smaller ant across my counter. 
What I want out of a flower is a cutlass. 
My friend has a house in Tuscan. 
She gave me a cactus when I picked her up from the airport.
My friend has a house in Fort Lauderdale. 
She has a plant in her yard with leaves so big we sat beneath one.
My friend has a house in Minneapolis. 
We reached through the cabinet doors for wine glasses.
My friend has a house in Cleveland. 
We stretched out on the new carpet while her dog huffed around us.
Bugs die so much that they must be used to it. 
It is my house, and I am not used to it. 
I do not want my friends to move. 
When the plants get their magic right, I will sleep through the night.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prairie Home Summer

The last two summers have been full of weddings and travel -- California, Georgia, Texas, even Hawaii. All the trips made for some great vacations and reunions with friends.

But this, this is the summer of staying close to home. No far-off weddings, no big fancy vacations. Just a lot of camping, gardening and exploring the awesomeness that is summer in Minnesota. So I've declared it to be the Prairie Home Summer. Hey Garrison Keillor, if you're reading this ... thanks. I like your show a lot.

To start it off, we had an epic five-year reunion with my college graduating class at St. Olaf. The two-day extravaganza included karaoke at Froggy's, just like the old days, as well as dinner in the Caf, a reunion with my fellow a cappella group founders from Agnes, a brilliant lecture from a beloved prof, and a slideshow of embarrassing photos that someone pulled from Facebook (a reminder of exactly what we haven't taken down since we posted them 8 or 9 years ago...)

June looked like a road trip to Rice Lake, Wisconsin for a colleague's wedding, with a fun cheese shop stop on the way back ...

... another road trip to the same part of Wisconsin for a cabin weekend on Spooner Lake with college buddies ...

... and a four-day camping and canoeing expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), one of the most remote and beautiful wilderness parks left in the country.

No biggie. Just one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the entire world.

Up next!

1. The obvious ... as many farmers market trips and lake walks as possible.
2. At least one pizza farm visit (Stockholm or Northfield ... choices this year, yo!)
3. Canning, jamming and pie-ing from the garden.
4. A visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove, MN, where you can see the place where they made their sod house on the banks of Plum Creek (ever since I read about it a few weeks ago, I've been certifiably obsessed).
5. Significant landscaping and garden improvements (underway).
6. Reading in the hammock and the rocking chair, and not just a few times. A lot.
7. My first trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, for a friend's wedding.
8. Mini-golf at the Walker Sculpture Garden.
9. At least two golf outings and two waterskiing days.
10. Biking around the Chain of Lakes -- Harriet, Calhoun and Isles (I've only biked two at a time, not all three at once).
11. Check out a few more local Mpls breweries and new restaurants.
12. Lots and lots of DQ Blizzards (have I mentioned there's a DQ three blocks from my house?)
13. The Minnesota State Fair! There are 46 new foods this year ... yes, really.
14. Camping in Detroit Lakes, MN (for a friend's wedding ... yes, really.)
15. My first trip to the Wisconsin Dells (for another friend's birthday).
16. A family reunion out at Lake Minnetonka, including waterskiing, speedboating, dock-sitting, fishing and a dinner cruise from Al & Alma's.
17. My first-ever concert at the famed First Avenue concert club in Mpls.

My parents are coming for a nice long visit this month, so they'll be helping me check a few items off this list :) And I'm taking about half of July off from work, which will be love-ly.

What's on your summer to-do list? And who's coming to MN to help me with mine?

Monday, July 8, 2013

patio 2.0

It took a full weekend of sweaty work, but the patio has gone from this...

to this:

And soon, the grill will go too (it broke last summer).

Otherwise in the garden...

The tomatoes are doing great this year -- much better than last year, by a mile. Other things are coming along a little slower, like the basil and lemon cucumbers. I think they'll catch up now that it's averaging 80 or 90 degrees every day.

I picked up some new flowers at the farmers market this weekend -- marigolds for the side yard tomatoes, and some blue astria ("balloon flower," a perennial). The begonias are flowering like crazy and the nasturtiums I planted from seed are growing up strong ... soon to join my lunchtime salads.