New Name – New Location

I’m shakin’ things up around here and have decided to re-name my little blog and change its web address.  Don’t worry, all the content on here will be on the new blog.  In fact, it’s already there!

I figured I should have a blog name that better reflects what I write about — and one that avoids the creepy people who are searching for something other than gardening and cooking when googling for “Our Peep Show” if you know what I mean.

This will be the last post on this site, so come on over and visit me at my new home at

Yard to Fork

www.yardtofork.wordpress.com

I even have a snazzy new set of my favorite links up and a new bio under “About Me.”    Come take a look!

Spring Round-up

Spring is in the air!

Our first flower of the season — a pretty pink camellia showed up today.

And lots more buds are almost ready to pop!

Our favorite hydreanga is just getting its leaves back.

Tulips are popping up everywhere!

And the garlic I planted back in September is sending up shoots.  Can’t wait to dig it up in June to gather the full garlic bulbs.

Cliff and Rose are even peeking out the door to say hi.

Miss Olivia didn’t want to miss out on the action – she wanted to see what was going on out there.

And how about the Girls?  Well, they are loving running in backyard sun.

And taking sun baths.

Finding tasty treats in the yard.

And giving us lots of attitude!

Valentine’s Fun

Oh my goodness, these Valentine’s Day treats were so easy, and they are so stinkin cute!

I decided to go very low tech and make chocolate dipped marshmallow pops in a kind of ode to the amazing Bakerella and her cake pops  (tell me you’ve seen these, they are AMAZING) and also to Amy Atlas and her ridiculously gorgeous candy bar table displays

These were so easy.   Seriously!

First I prepared my stand — just a gold box I had.  I cut floral foam to fit in the bottom.

Wrapped the foam in pink tissue paper and placed it in the bottom of the box.

Up next was prepping the marshmallow pops.  I took mini candy mold/cupcake wrappers and stuck a lollipop stick (you can get these at Michaels or any candy supply store) in the bottom of it.  Next, I just stuck a store bought marshmallow on top.  It’s best to prepare all the ones you’ll use in advance.

Next, you just melt white chocolate, add some food coloring and dip the marshmallow in the chocolate and then into the sprinkles.  

Stick the finished pop into the foam in your prepared box, cover with M&Ms and you get super easy and super cute Valentine’s treats!

Farm Tour – Abundant Life Farm

I’m still giddy from our little afternoon adventure to visit the farm and family who produces the meat we buy.   Jason and I decided to drive down to Dallas, which is just west of Salem, to visit the Jondle family and get a little tour of their gorgeous 210 acre Abundant Life Farm

We’re part of their “buying club” and get to select the cuts and quantities of meat we want each month, and they bring it up to a drop off location just a few minutes from our house.  It’s really the coolest thing ever.

Even just driving up and seeing their sign and house in the background, we knew this was going to be a fun and special afternoon.

Marilyn was kind enough to take a break from the farm duties to show us around — and was so patient in answering all my many, many, many silly “city girl” questions.

It was so fun to find out they moved up from the Bay Area ten years ago, leaving behind the software engineer gig Scott had, and hear their story about how they studied under the amazing Joel Salatin (you know, the awesome farmer in the documentary Food Inc.) before settling into their routine in Oregon.

They showed us their chicken coop — a little bigger than ours, eh?

And their sweet calf that they use for milk.

And the 80 cows they are raising for meat. 

Marilyn explained that this time of year they stay in the big barn we visited and munch on hay but come spring, summer and fall they move them around their property and let them graze on grass and clover.  No corn fed antibiotic pumped up cows here!

But by far, my favorite part was visiting the pigs!   They have seven right now, and at first they were pretty scared of us and wanted to stay huddled in their little cave (aka a camper top).

But pretty soon they came out to see who we were and what we were all about. 

They have such funny personalities — they were cracking me up!

It was fun to see how they do things on their farm and get to know the farmers who provide our meat to us. It costs a little more, for sure, but the quality of the meat and the way the animals are raised makes it all worth it. 

And now our freezer is all stocked up on farm fresh meat that is from just down the road!

Game Time!

Are you ready for some footbaaaalll?!     With the Super Bowl just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to test drive a dip that would be perfect for the big game. 

I’m participating in the Book of Yum’s “Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger” January edition and decided to make something from one of my all time favorite food bloggers — Stephanie O’Dea.  You know who she is, right?  She’s the one who decided to make somthing in her crockpot every day for a year and write about it.   She got a book deal out of it in the end.  And appeared on Rachel Ray and Good Morning America — twice!  Pretty cool, huh?

What’s really, really cool is that all her recipes are gluten-free!  One of her munchkins can’t eat gluten so she makes all of her creations gluten-free.  And she talks about gluten when she’s on TV — woo hoo Stephanie!

So what’d I make?  I made the very-not-good-for-you-but-insanely-yummy-and-perfect-for-the-big-game Crockpot Cream Cheese Sausage and Rotel dip

Just a few simple ingredients for this one — cream cheese, spicy sausage, tomatoes and green chilis (or Rotel in a can).

Add my all time favorite tortilla chip — Juanitas’s, made local here just up the road in Hood River.

And you’re all ready for game day!

Ina’s Roasted Broccoli

I’ve been trying to eat more veggies.  It’s so hard in the winter to get them all in, at least for me.  During the summer everything is fresh and available but during the winter, it just takes more effort.

My mom has been raving about Ina Garten’s Parmesan Roasted Broccoli recipe in her Back to Basics cookbook, which by the way is one of my most loved and used kitchen tools, so I figured I would try it.

This recipe is just the kind I like — super easy, uses just a few ingredients, and healthy. What could be better?

First I got all the ingredients together — nothing better than cooking an Ina recipe while watching her on TV.  See her there in the background?

Next I chopped up the broccoli and sliced the garlic, and tossed them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper — and then just stuck them in the oven to do their thing.

The key to this dish is what you put on top – yummy lemon zest and parmesan cheese. 

Here it is all assembled and ready to eat.  Perfect for a drizzly Saturday afternoon.  So delicious!  Thanks, Mom.

Peek-a-boo

The middle of January always feels like no man’s land.  The hoopla of the holidays are over, rain is here to stay, and summer feels so far off. 

So that’s why seeing this today was super sweet.

Remember when I planted 100 tulip bulbs all around my yard this fall?  Well this is evidence that spring is indeed coming.  A little tulip sprout peeking out to see how winter is going!

Oh and this makes January a little more fun too — cuddling with Cliff as he lounges in his new dog bed.  Mr. Cliff is so cute, isn’t he?