Low Fuel Cooking: Flowerpot Hoppin’ John and Solar Gluten-free Cornbread

On Monday, I told you all about the ways I cook without using my stove. Here are two of my favorite recipes, which I make with only minimal use of stove and fuel. I can put dishes together, and let them develop for hours. It’s been really warm and sunny here, so my main motivation is to keep the house cool. But I use these methods in the winter too! Today, let’s talk about Flower Pot Hoppin’John and solar cornbread.  Here’s how it’s done. Continue reading

Cooking with the Earth and Sun!

Brown Gas Range at Lehmans.com

The Brown gas ranges at Lehman’s in Kidron are truly power-free! Learn more at Lehmans.com.

There is a gas stove in my kitchen.  It runs on propane.  If the power goes off, a match can light the burners.   The oven is a different matter.  It has something called a glow plug that uses electricity (and a lot of it!) to maintain the temperature in the oven.  It doesn’t light with a match and cannot be used in a power failure.  I’m not fond of it.

The stove that was in the house when we bought it was a mess.  The oven door was propped up with a stick and I was afraid it was going to blow up at any moment.  Besides, there was some rather disgusting stuff stuck all around the oven.  (I don’t mind a dirty oven, but only if it’s MY dirt.  At least I know what it was.)  When I raised the cooktop to examine the gas jets, I found mouse dirt. Yes, mouse dirt!  That stove was one of the first things to go.

Continue reading

Have Your Ice Cream (and Top It Too!)

Another set of great family ice cream recipes to share during National Ice Cream month! Hope you’re enjoying these as much as we are.  –CountryLife

Ice cream freezers

Heirloom quality with today’s technology. Choose 4, 6, 8 quart freezers from Lehman’s in Kidron or from Lehmans.com.

When it comes to taste, texture and downright nostalgia, you can’t beat 
homemade ice cream. Of course, part of its deliciousness comes from the effort part – yes, the cranking, and the waiting part – that is, until it’s sufficiently frozen 
to eat. It’s a summertime tradition here in Ohio, no doubt about that.

Amish, non-Amish and everyone in between, we all love ice cream. In fact, my in-laws (from whom the next two recipes came) used to give their dog his own special bowl of the stuff each and every time it was made. He’d patiently sit right beside the freezer as we all cranked, and cranked, and talked, and laughed, and cranked some more. Mix these two tried-and-true recipes in your own hand-crank ice cream freezer, and see below for some unexpected and delectable topping ideas. 

Grandmother’s Heirloom Vanilla Ice Cream (Grandmother’s recipe) 

4 eggs, well beaten 
2 Tablespoons vanilla 
2 cups sugar 
1 pint whipping cream 
6 cups milk 
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Mix together and freeze in freezer. Makes 1 gallon.
Please note: This recipe requires raw eggs. Please be cautious. Children and persons with reduced immune systems should avoid eating raw eggs. See previous July–National Ice Cream Month posts for alternate recipes that do not use raw eggs.

Heirloom Lemon Ice Cream (Great-grandmother’s recipe) 

1 quart thin cream OR 1 cup milk plus 3 cups heavy cream 
2 teaspoons lemon juice 
1 cup sugar 
dash of salt 

Scald cream with sugar, salt and lemon juice. Cool and freeze. 

Charming retro bowls are perfect for sundaes. At Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, and Lehmans.com.

Charming retro bowls are perfect for sundaes. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, and Lehmans.com.

Six Luscious Homemade Ice Cream Sundaes 

1. Berry Shortcake Blast – Crumbled vanilla wafers (or other favorite 
vanilla cookie), sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and/or black raspberries. 

2. Cherry Crisp – Tart cherries, your favorite granola, chopped almonds 
and a drizzle of molasses 

3. Candy Bar – Milk chocolate chips, chopped nuts and drizzled caramel 

4. Red and White Delight – White chocolate chips and red raspberries 

5. Salted Caramel Sundae – Crushed Pretzels and coarsely chopped caramels 

6. Tropical Treat – Crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, chopped 
maraschino cherries and flaked coconut 

*The above toppings are best with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Tip: For cookouts and parties, portion out ice cream into bowls 2-3 hours ahead of time, cover and freeze until ice cream is completely firm. Add toppings and serve immediately. 

Rock Your Reunion with These New Twist Dishes 

Everyone loves family reunions (ok, most of us do?), but I think we can all agree that sometimes the food turns out to be…pretty predictable. Yes, we all enjoy those heirloom family favorites that are handed down for generations, but personally, I’ve had enough deviled eggs, green bean casserole and gelatin salad to last me a looooong time.

This summer, I’m “wow-ing” my relatives and friends with some new tastes that are sure to complement the old favorites, too. Try them yourself, and who knows? They may become heirlooms, too! Continue reading

Farmer Hannah’s Hoe Doe-Si-Doe

The European-Style Grape Hoe from Lehman's. The blade sharpens easily, and the broad head moves lots of soil.

The European-Style Grape Hoe from Lehman’s. The blade sharpens easily, and the broad head moves lots of soil.

Hoes are marvelous tools.  They come in so many shapes and sizes, and all are useful in their own unique ways!  As a gardener who does not use herbicide sprays, I have to deal with weeds regularly, and I have plenty of other jobs to do related to cutting, turning, and moving soil… so a hoe turns out to be my best friend most days.

A large number of people in this day and age have no idea how to use a hoe, and this has led to more hoes being made poorly, since people don’t know what they’re looking for.  Continue reading

Heirloom Ice Cream Makes For Cool Summer Fun

Lehman's Homemade Ice cream freezers

Buckets of homemade ice cream, all made by my family!

Making ice cream for the 4th of July has been a tradition with our family since my mother’s father was a kid. Even though both my grandparents are gone now, their kids are keeping the tradition alive.
We had to push the gathering to July 5th this year, but my mother and 3 of her 5 siblings plus spouses, children and grandchildren all gathered for a family cookout that, as always, ended with ice cream. Because one of my mom’s brothers now lives in my grandparents’ house, we are still gathering at the same house we have been going to for well over 40 years. Continue reading

Beat Those Bean Beetles Naturally!

Beetle on bean plant

The dreaded Mexican Bean Beetle in its natural habitat.

How Do You Know You Have Mexican Bean Beetles?
Anyone who has grown green beans east of the Rockies has probably encountered the dreaded Mexican Bean Beetle.

It starts in mid-Spring, when you begin to notice holes in your bean leaves. It doesn’t look too bad, so you just keep an eye on it.

Before long you begin to find funny little yellow critters on the undersides of the leaves. With each day they get bigger, and fatter, and your bean leaves are looking more and more lacey. Continue reading

American Gardens: Southern Harvest Starts Up

Our Lazy Housewife beans! We're eating some fresh, putting some up. Thanks, Lehman's!

Our Lazy Housewife beans! We’re eating some fresh, putting some up. Thanks, Lehman’s!

The garden is doing great, and I’m starting to harvest lots of goodies!  Since I’m furthest south, I’m thinking the first American Gardener to harvest.

The Lazy Housewife beans have done really well, despite the June Bugs and Mexican Bean beetles (which I’ve had to really stay on top of this year). I love that the beans can be cooked as green beans, or canned (which I’ve done a lot of!), or you can let them get larger and dry out for shelling beans.  Continue reading

Homemade Gelato: A Tasty Take on Ice Cream

Homemade Gelato

Homemade chocolate gelato . . . looks good, right?

Wondering what to make for your upcoming cookouts and picnics? I was in the same situation when I was invited to a Fourth of July picnic last weekend. I always bring a dessert of some kind, but I wanted something different this time, something that involved no boxed mixes and that would please a crowd. That’s when I turned to gelato.
Continue reading

“Forest Garden” Is Solid Permaculture Step At Organic Farm

In addition to tending our family vegetable garden, I’m keeping my hoe in shape by tackling a new project, my forest garden.

The Holistic Orchard at Lehmans.com.

Interested in permaculture? Check out The Holistic Orchard for a great discussion. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or Lehmans.com

In “permaculture” language, this is an area planted with mainly perennial plantings of differing heights including trees, bushes, herbs and flowers that are arranged so they all benefit each other. The idea is that the grouping provides a good assortment of food, mulch crops, insect pollinators, etc. with minimal outside inputs or on-going planting. I’ve had this project in my head for years and even had an area set aside and cover cropped with rye for two years. Finally, I’ve started in with the shovel to make it into reality.

The area I chose on the farm already had a snow peach tree, a young sweet yellow cherry and locust tree growing so that gave me a foundation to start with. I may add a few more small fruit trees in the future as I see how the space develops. Continue reading