A Simpler Summer Breakfast: Homemade Granola

As a busy (and working part-time) mom, I lack the time in the mornings to create a farmstead feast for my family. However, we have found a way for all of us to eat a filling, wholesome and delicious breakfast before we head out the door: I started making my own granola several years ago and I’ve never looked back! Continue reading

Father’s Day Feast: Easy Homemade Summer Sausage

summer sausage

Have you ever tried your hand at making summer sausage? Do you have extra ground meat (venison, beef, etc.) on hand in the freezer? If you have a hunter in the family or just need a creative way to make space for summer freezing, you can’t beat this recipe – especially as a delicious, impressive way to spoil Dad on Father’s Day. (Hint: Make it Friday at the latest, as the meat needs 24-48 hours to blend flavors.) Continue reading

5 Fresh + Tasty Summer Picnic Recipes

Ready to eat some really delicious food outside? Whether you gather around the grill or relax at the picnic table, it’s finally the season for dining al fresco (and we couldn’t be happier).

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Easy Taco Bake for Cinco de Mayo!

Bring Cinco de Mayo to your table this Friday! This Mexican holiday celebrates Mexico’s victory on May 5, 1862 against an attack of the French army. This victory was said to be hopeless due to impossible odds. Continue reading

Old-Fashioned Easter Feast Menu

If visions of Easter hams danced through your head all winter long, yet you can’t shake the idea of some succulent leg of lamb, we have the perfect menu for you. Let both the ham and the lamb be stars, served with fresh, colorful springtime side dishes. Continue reading

Our Easter Lamb Cake Tradition

For almost 50 years, my wife’s mother made a lamb-shaped cake every Easter. A lamb was the perfect thing for our Easter dinner.

Or (since spring is lambing season), a simple spring celebration! It certainly became an important part of our family tradition. So important, in fact, that it has become a favorite birthday cake for the less-than-5-years-old set.

Our daughter celebrated her first birthday with our famous lamb cake.

How to Decorate the Lamb Cake

Over the years, decorating that lamb cake became a huge highlight of the Holy Week events for my wife and her brothers and sisters. Last year, my mother-in-law, a very special woman I loved as much as my own mother and dearly miss, went ahead of me to a better place. But she left us all with many fond memories of her. And, the tradition of decorating the Lamb Cake has been passed from her kids to her grandchildren to her great-grandchildren.

Along the way, just exactly HOW the lamb cake is decorated has acquired a whole set of its own family traditions. Here is how we decorated the lamb cake.

  • For example, everyone our family knows that the lamb’s nose must always be a
    black jelly bean. The eyes of the lamb, however, are always chosen by the youngest child involved in the decoration.
  • The lamb’s “wool” must be made of shredded coconut. The pan around the lamb becomes a bed of green died coconut “grass.” (Can you tell our family likes coconut?)
  • The bed of “grass” is decorated with jelly bean “Easter eggs” for my in-laws and malted milk “robin’s egg” candy for me. It is acceptable for all the children to snack on the candy “eggs” during the meal. This rule has been specially modified to allow one adult in the room to pick at the malted milk eggs. (Since I am the only one that eats them, I love my in-laws for passing this rule!)
  • Most importantly there must be a trail of black raisin “lamb droppings” scattered around by the tail of the lamb. The pile of black raisins, of course, brings uproarious laughter each time. Our family (both the one I grew up in and my wife’s) has lots of room for laughter. And, every Easter we laugh at that string of raisin “lamb droppings” as if we’d never seen it before.

That lamb cake was such a central part of my adopted family’s tradition that I spent years searching for the manufacturer of the pan it requires. Last year, we finally found a supplier, and I’m proud (now that I finally found the source) to share this spring/Easter/birthday tradition with you.

We think Mom got her lamb cake mold with S and H Green Stamps. Now you can own one, too! (We’ll take Visa, MasterCard, American Express, cash or check, but not S and H Green Stamps.) May it become as special a part of your life as it has been of ours!

Our Lamb Cake Recipe

If you have a “dense” cake recipe, it will probably work. (Cakes that bake light and fluffy may break when you remove them from the mold.) Instructions come with our lamb mold; most cake recipes and cake mixes will work. I thought I would also share the lamb cake recipe we’ve always used, copied from the one my mother-in-law lovingly wrote out for us:

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons for baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 beaten egg whites
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together. Stir shortening in mixing bowl to soften. Mix in dry ingredients.
  2. Add milk and vanilla, mix for several minutes to blend. Fold in beaten egg whites and beat for one minute.
  3. Grease lamb mold well then sprinkle with flour.
  4. Fill the half of the mold with the lamb’s face. Insert a toothpick in the nose cavity for reinforcement.
  5. Put two toothpicks in lamb’s neck for strength.
  6. Cover with other half of mold being sure it is closed tightly.
  7. Place on cookie sheet.
  8. Preheat oven to 370 degrees F and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
  9. When cake is baked, let it cool a little before you take the top off.
  10. Frost with white icing and decorate.

At the bottom of the recipe, my mother-in-law wrote, “You can put a ribbon around the neck, but no raisins under the tail!

Galen Lehman
Galen Lehman, President, Lehman’s

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Real Food, Real Life: City Girl Churns Butter

Alison and her husband Jacob.

Alison and her husband Jacob.

This might be the coolest blog post I’ve written in a long time, if not ever. It’s all about the magical, real essence of butter. Continue reading