Tuesday, December 30, 2014

When Stressful Days Feel Overwhelming

I usually like to keep some foods in my pantry that I don’t use regularly but, when I come home late or supper is still 40+ min till done, I have an option to go with. Who doesn’t love instant mashed potatoes? We live in such a quick paced world where we are always running around, working, and going to this activity and that event it is almost an addiction. Especially in the holiday season it is very easy for this to happen without even trying. I find my kids and I both do better if we keep a regular, low-key schedule and save the running for special events. My daughter loves grocery shopping, and looks forward to every Friday when we go. Like daughter like mother; it is soothing to my soul to go grocery shopping, always has been.  Yes, I am a little odd J Anyway with all the rushing I easily get flustered and loose sight of my goal of living intentionally for the Lord and become impatient. In my goal to complete my daily work, I sometimes miss out on the little daily blessings of seeing my little girl sooth her crying 10-month-old brother and say a sweet little prayer for him. Or see my little son reach his chubby arms up to me and give one of his sweet dimpled smiles. Simple, small things that help me to realize the work I do as a wife and mother are eternal.  The Lord is so gracious even when I am not. It is like in the story of when the angels of the Lord visit Abram and Sari in Gen 18. Were the angels of the Lord like, “Come on Abram and Sari! Did you have to go and kill my beef and make those flat breads from scratch? I am hungry, what is taking so long!”  No, and they did have to go out butcher a calf, dress it and prepare it and make some bread to go with the meal. Definitely not fast food!  Can you imagine something like that happening to you? Some special guests come by and your husband invites them in for dinner then turns around and tells you, “You have to go out to the store and buy your chicken, come back, make some breads and roast your meat, oh and make some butter for that bread too. “ This would not fly for most of us, myself included.  Sari did do that, and was gracious in extending hospitality on short notice. The Lord in turn was gracious to them in that he then blessed them with a child after they had long given up on having children of their own.  It is a good reminder that good things take time and waiting on the Lord is better than doing all we can in our own strength.  Having to wait for things in our lives, like owning a home, having a child, starting a business, getting that job or promotion or even a late meal are all good reminders that patience and being gracious to the people around us have greater, longer lasting value. 

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Perspective is so important. I need to be reminded to keep my mind focused on honoring my Lord, and then those hectic days will not get the best of me. Then is when I find the joy in my every day, and peace even in the craziness of being a momma to two little ones. 
Keep calm and have a box of instant potatoes at all times! You never know who is coming for dinner!

The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Polish Christmas Eve!

Growing up we always went to my Dad's parents house for Christmas eve. There we did things a little bit differently as my Grandma is part Polish and we celebrated with the traditional polish Christmas eve dinner or "Wigilia" as the Polish people call it. I have fond memories of gathering around the table and getting my pretty wafer with pictures stamped on it of the manger, or as Grandma calls it the "oplatek", and braking off pieces from everyone else's and wishing them a merry Christmas. We had white and pink oplatek, I always wanted to be the one who got a pink and now I just found out that the pink was to be given to the animals, guess we never did that part. Grandma lights the candles, and then Grandpa prays and their is an empty table setting for baby Jesus or a wanderer that should stop by. We enjoy a meatless meal, as traditionally they fasted from meat till Christmas. Dinner was started with a mushroom soup, but Grandma makes split pea as well because some family members will not eat the traditional mushroom ;) we also have home-made sauerkraut peroghi and potato perogi. We usually had lots of different cookies for dessert and then before we all go everyone gets to take home a nut roll to have for breakfast on Christmas day. My mom and I have made the nut roll for a few years now to help out my Grandma with some of the preparations. They can be a little bit tricky to handle but it is something we look forward to.  I make mine with Spelt flour so I can enjoy it too. The others we made with regular un-bleached flour so what ever you have on hand feel free to use.

Grandma Sophie's Recipe Nutroll


  • 1 1/4- 1 3/4 Cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1 Tbs yeast
  • 1 Egg (plus an egg white before baking)
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange rind
  • 2 Tbs butter 
  • Dash of salt
Scald milk and add butter.

When it melts add the salt, sugar. wait till mix is just warm.

Dissolve yeast in butter mixture.

Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored, add to the mix, then add sugar, orange rind, salt, and flour.

Knead well, if too sticky add more flour.

Let rise till double in size, about 4 hours, we keep our house on the cooler side :)

Punch down dough and roll out to a rectangle, and spread nut filling leaving a space all around the edge.
Roll the roll fro one side to the other and pinch the edges together folding the ends in.

Let rise again fro another 2 hours.

Prick with a fork and whip an egg white and give the roll a egg wash before putting the oven.

Bake 350 degrees for 35 min.

Nut Roll Filling
1/2 lbs Walnuts
1/8-1/4 Cup honey
2 Tbs Butter melted
2 Tbs Milk
1/4 tsp Vanilla

Grind walnuts in the food processor till mealy. Scald milk add butter, vanilla, honey, and nuts and mix.

May you and your family enjoy the special traditions passed down, as we remember our Lord this season.

The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things!

So now we are in the swing of things again and enjoying our family time during this month to make memories and remember how our Lord came as a child to die for our sins and give us the free gift of salvation. What a glorious gift that is! We don't get into the commercial side of the season; but I do have fond memories of all the baking, singing carols, and spending time with family and friends. So that is what we are enjoying at the moment, especially the baking :) Growing up there were so many different neat kinds of cookies that we only made this time of year, it was something I really looked forward to as a child. There is nothing like time spent in the kitchen with your family, it is a bonding experience.

Now if you know me at all I am not a fan of giving children sugar. We don't buy pre-made foods and if I make a dessert at home it is usually with honey, maple syrup, stevia, or coconut sugar. So the low to no processed options, and I try not to do that too often either. We do draw a very firm line on the high fructose corn syrup, we absolutely do not allow that for our kids. However I do let my children have an occasional "regular sugar" cookie or dessert. Because treats should be treats and enjoyed as something special and occasional. So I made our ginger bread with unrefined raw sugar, and for a batch it is a 1/4 cup for 2 trays of cookies, for a cookie not too bad in my book. Phoebe had a blast helping me make and decorate these cookies and she loved eating one too! She practically danced around the kitchen while they were baking, and that was priceless. This recipe is the one my mom used and I think it is perfect balance of spicy and sweet.

Grandma Rosner's Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 Cup raw sugar
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs whole milk
  • 2 Cups white spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon & cloves
Heat the molasses in s sauce pan till it comes to a boil, add sugar, butter and milk.
Remove from stove.
Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Stir in the molasses mixture into the dry, mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.
Set oven at 365 degrees
Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface. You will find as the dough warms it becomes sticky and you may need to add more flour if you are like me and roll it out too thin too many times.
Cut with cookie cutter, and place on a greased cookie sheet and decorate.
Bake for 10-12 min. These cookies taste better with age, so I like to leave them for at least a week to age. If you are worried about them getting stale or too hard just put a pice of bread in with the cookies and they will be as soft as the day you baked them.

Gingerbread is just one of those flavors of the season. Take time to slow down, have fun with your family, make memories and remember that Jesus came so that he could give us the ultimate gift that nothing in this world compares to, eternal life with Him!

The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When Sickness Hits Home

So this week has been a hard one for us physically. My little girl got the virus that was going around and she sick with a fever and sore throat from monday till Friday and my little boy got it on Friday till Saturday :( Nothing tears a mommas heart apart like having sick babies! As a mother, I had to not only think of my little ones health, but mine as well so I can take care of them properly.  So as soon as I realized that my little Phoebe was not doing well I started her on elderberry syrup and liquid propolis to help her immune system fight off the virus and get stronger. I also gave her warm baths with lavender essential oil to relax her and help bring down her temperature. She is really good about drinking her water and without me telling her she drank a 12 oz water bottle daily, but sometimes to get more fluid in, I have given her plain coconut water to hydrate her. She just loves it! I do have to put a pull up on her when I give it to her, and she has been in big girl pants for a while now, because it seems to go right through and she is usually just as shocked as I am poor thing! At night we put Vicks on her feet with socks and some on her chest to help with the congestion. We had lots of snuggles, book reading and waffles for breakfast(and lunch sometimes!) We made it though and Josh and I managed to pass throughout the fire without getting it.
 I was taking the propolis and elderberry syrup too, but in addition to that I was also taking 400 mg of Echinacea and 500mg Vitamin C as well as ON GAURD capsule every 4 hours. I wasn't taking any chances! Also lots of rest helps, so we all had naps ;) I think Boaz was getting a lot of the immune boosting additives in my milk and that is why his battle was shorter duration and less sever than Phoebe's. I really wouldn't wish this on anyone but it does helps to be prepared, this is a bad year for the flu so everything helps! I would highly recommend taking the Elderberry syrup to boost the immune system as it seems to shorten the duration of the virus and who doesn't want that?
It is very simple to make and if you don't have elderberries on hand you can do what I did and order some dried ones off amazon pretty inexpensively. One cravat, since it does contain honey it should NOT be given to infants 1 year or younger.

What you will need is

  • 1/2 Cup dried elderberries 
  • 2 Cups water
  • 3/4 Cup raw honey
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  1. Place the elderberries, water and cinnamon stick in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer uncovered for about 45 min till reduced to about 1 cup liquid
  3. Strain out berries and cinnamon stick and let cool.
  4. Mix in the honey and store in the refrigerator.
To good health and happy families this winter,
The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Cup Overflows!

With Thanksgiving over and the holidays in full swing now I am remind how faithful God is to us. I have found that whenever I am completely satisfied in my current place the Lord has me in, and I am trusting in His plan for my life, amazing things happen and it is far better than my own plans could have ever turned out!

An example of this is a desire my husband and I have had for a while now. I married a conventional farmer and I had never even thought that was going to happen, I mean farmers only make up 1% of the population of America so they are not very common. What we really wanted was to farm organically! Now in order to farm organic you must not use sprays or chemicals for 3 years before the land can be considered organic and you may sell the products as such. There is a lot of loss in that time and no compensation for the extra work put in. In short it is not done very often. The easier way is to get land that has set un-farmed for enough time and start farming that using organic practices. So long story short we came across some land that had been left alone for long enough and the owners did not want to farm it alone so we were able to work out a plan that satisfied booth parties and now we are organic farmers! Our first crop of ancient grains, Spelt, Black Emmer and Einkorn Wheat is in the ground and we are so excited to see where it goes from here!

It is like the prayer of Jabez where he asks the Lord to Bless him and enlarge his border (1 Chronicles 4:10), sometimes we just have to ask, wait and see what the Lord does. We are so blessed to have this opportunity and I just can't believe the Lord opened the door and made it all work out, it could only happen with the Lord's help, we are so grateful for how He is guiding and leading our family in the way He wants us to go. I hope you are experiencing the peace and blessing of being in the Lord's will during this season of your life, there is no better place to be!

With a thankful heart,
The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Immune Boosting Thanksgiving Snack and Decoration!

I love thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday! I love the family time, the coziness, the gratitude that floats throughout the air and the smells of delicious food too of course. I also always struggle with what I should make to take along to the meal and how healthy it should be. With all the sugar and cold weather, and germs it can be an immune system bomb, holiday colds just waiting to happen. I also like my food to be pretty for the holidays, a little more fun than normal, it just makes the whole holiday more special to me. So this year I made these immune boosting apple chips that also double as a table decoration! Killed two birds with one stone this time around. The smell when you dehydrate these is just wonderful it just diffuses the whole house with immune boosting essential oil. Plus, the are really good to snack on, can't stop at just one!

You will need:

Take your apples and slice them horizontally on your mandolin

Mix your coconut sugar and 6-10 drops of essential oil together

Now you can use the optional, but very cute, cookie cutter to make a bigger hole. You will want to make sure there is at most a little hole to make it into a decoration later :)

Dunk the apple slices in the lemon juice mixed with some water to fill a bowl half way. This step prevents extra browning and helps the sugar oil mix stick better

Place the apple chips on the dehydrator trays and sprinkle with a little of the oil and sugar mix

Now set the dehydrator for 140 and let it go for about 24 hours

When they are dry to your liking carefully take off the trays and string them on your ribbon

Tie the ends of the ribbon together and cut off or tuck the excess into the apple ring

Now take your cinnamon stick and place in the center and you have a little apple pumpkin that you can take apart and eat for pre or post dinner snacking!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tasty "Pickles" or Sauerkraut the Better Whey!

I remember, as a little girl, when my family would get together with the extended family for new years never wanting to eat my "good luck" portion of sour kraut. It smelled funny, looked funny, and it couldn't be all that lucky for you if you ate it, right? A lot changes as you get older and one of those changes for me is I actually like sour kraut now, in fact that is the part I look forward to! My little girl and I both eat it like it is going out of style right now and I couldn't be happier that she enjoys it. Why? Because turns out that sour kraut, prepared the traditional manner, actually has beneficial enzymes that aid in digestion and assimilation of food. So it really is like a portion of "good luck" for your gut! In fact it is beneficial to eat some fermented food every day to help with your digestion.  It is super simple to make and I have never had a batch fail which can sometimes happen with other recipes. It is also another good use for that leftover whey from making yogurt or cheese ;) Oh and did I mention it is an arm workout too! Let's go make a batch and have some ready for a lucky new year!

Things you will need:

  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 1 Tbs of sea salt
  • 4 Tbs whey
  • 1 Tsp caraway seeds (optional, my husband dislikes the taste of caraway so we will not add them)
  • 1 wide much quart jar with lid
  • A sturdy bowl
  • Something heavy to beat the enzymes out of that cabbage! I am using a marble rolling pin. 
  • Food processor (optional)
Start by shredding your cabbage, you can use a knife and do it by hand or, I just like to throw mine into the food processor and get it over with. Sharp knives and me have a bad history.

Now put your shredded cabbage in the bowl and put the salt and whey in too. You may add the caraway seeds at this point as well if you are using them. 

Pull up your sleeves and pound that cabbage! You want to pound it for about 10 minuets straight till the cabbage looks wilted and it has made some juice too. (My pounder got tired and told me it was too "hebby" for her :)

Pack the cabbage and it's juices into the quart jar. Pack tightly, so their is just the juice about a half an inch above the cabbage. 

Screw lid on jar and place in a warm spot on your counter for 1-2 weeks on a plate because it may ooze some juice. 

After about one to two weeks it is done and may be used or stored in your refrigerator for future meals. The jar on the left is just made and the one on the right is aged with caraway seeds for me. 

So there you have it, (my 2 year old daughter calls it pickles!) If you are like me when I was younger, just give it another try, it may surprise you how good it tastes and it is good for you too!

To good luck in the kitchen and good gut health,

The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Miracles and White Teeth go together like fall

I love this time of year, the air is cool and smells of burning wood and dead leaves. The colors on the trees are amazingly beautiful, like the hills are blazing. The harvest is coming in and there is plenty of natures bounty to be had and this is the time for black walnuts! I really had no interest in them until I learned about the beneficial properties they have for tooth remineralization.
Why would I be worried about remineralizing my teeth? Well for those who don't know, when I was two years old my Father worked in the York Galleria Mall on the second floor. My mom and I were leaving from visiting him, and were waiting for the elevator to take us to the ground level. Being two and all I decided to play hide-in-seek with my mom and backed into the corner beside the elevator, behind the large plant there. I squeezed back so far that I slipped though the guard railing and fell from the first story to the ground, smack on my face. It was really the working of the Lord, where it happened and when, because EMT's were right at the bottom of the elevator when I fell and I was taken to the hospital and cared for immediately. With all the possible life altering things that I could have taken away from my accident, all that I have is poor enamel on my teeth from them all being pushed back in my mouth. The Lord is so good! I have often thought that the Lord is not finished with me yet, I have been given another chance! October 11 is the anniversary of my fall and it also happens to be around the time when the black walnuts are getting ready! Pretty neat.
My Farmer and I have taken this tincture to help re-mineralize our teeth, we also think it whitens them too. Although I have had to take a break because of having babies and nursing (as it is not recommend during that time.) And you should not use it regularly for more than 6 weeks at a time, with out taking a break for a few weeks. It is really easy to make and has a variety of other uses as well. It is good for fungal infections (applied topically) and cleansing from parasites (taken internally.) All you do is use a tablespoon of tincture and swish in your mouth and swallow can be taken up to 4x per day. Gently brush teeth after use.

Black Walnut Tincture
You will need:
 Black walnuts, around 12 to fill a quart jar
Vegetable Glycerin
Quart jar with lid

First you want to make sure that the black walnut hulls are completely black, NO GREEN! The green could be toxic so do not use the green ones.

De-hull your walnuts an put the hulls in a quart mason jar, pack them in tightly.

Now fill the jar half way with vodka, and fill the the rest of the jar with the glycerin, to make a 50/50 mix.

Put the lid on and place in a cool, dark place for at least 2-4 weeks.

Strain out the hulls and bottle the tincture for future use.

Do be warned: your teeth may look black/gray when swishing! It will brush off though :)

To happy healthy smiles this holiday season!

The Farmer in the Dell