15 April 2014

Trim Healthy Parisienne Farmgirl???

So...
I bet you know someone who is on the Trim Healthy Mama diet thing.

I know a good handful.  They are shrinking.  Seriously shrinking.  And so, though full of suspicions since I have my last batch of weight to lose I thought I would download the e-book and see what the fuss was about.   (DON'T bother.  I asked for my money back.   The e-book is not user friendly.  My sister bought the actual book and she loves it.)

You know I am NOT a dieter.

I believe strictly in a whole foods diet.  Or better stated an "old fashioned" "can you make it yourself" diet.  I've seen people on THM start shopping for low carb this, low carb that and stevia, stevia, stevia.  It seems so fadish.  And stevia freaked me out.  It just seems weird.  What's wrong with a little sugar every once and awhile? 

Well, I skimmed the book.  Learned a bit.  I had always wondered if some of my favorite foods were being converted to sugar... leaving it VERY difficult for me to lose the last bit of weight.

So, I'm giving it a try - sort of - I don't really have a desire to learn a bunch of new recipes with substitute ingredients or weird stuff I have to go to a bunch of different stores to get.  I rather LIKE the way we eat, I like my own recipes and frankly for the most part the recipes look gross unless you start using food that you have to BUY and can't make yourself (stevia, Dreamfield's pasta, Laughing Cow cheese, Whey powder, etc.)  I know Mercola says Stevia is OK but I just can't get over how it creeps me out.  And to add to it, I've noticed it doesn't settle well with me.  It gives me serious cotton mouth, a sore throat and diarrhea.  I won't be buying it again. 

THM has helped me understand some things about my hormones, given me a better understanding of how a good portion of my daily food was being converted to sugar and I did lose six pounds in about a week.  (WHAT?!)

But I am still really skeptical.  Not that it "doesn't work" but just that it's a diet.  A mon avis.   It's not REAL eating.  A mon avis.  I mean I can't have my homemade pasta with my homemade pasta sauce???  No honey on my toast?  It seems strange that they refer to the Bible for their ideas about food but then they poo-poo honey.  Honey is all over the place in the Bible.

I will still apply some of what I learned because hey- six pounds in a week after a four month plateau - that really got my attention!   But I am not down with a bunch of cauliflower pizza crusts, low carb, processed tortillas and all that.  Eww.  I don't mind incorporating what I learned but I'll do it my way.  Mais bien sur.   I have to be pragmatic too - I sure won't be making separate meals for me.  Because it's VERY IMPORTANT to me that my daughters don't think "mom eats a special way" or that "momma is obsessed with loosing weight, measuring food, denying herself butter while we all enjoy it" -- they are told that I work out to "be strong" -- I NEVER grumble about wanting to lose a couple pounds in front of them.  All they know about is HEALTH.  They will NOT grow up to be terrified of food or thinking at ten years old that their thighs are fat.
And for the love of my skinny jeans - I don't want to talk about if some meal is an "s" or an "e" when we sit down at a meal.  That is 99% of the reason I don't subscribe to the latest diet trends (South Beach, Atkins, Paleo, etc) because it leads to neurotic dinner time conversations that no self respecting Parisienne would ever have.  One should be concerned with the quality, taste and art behind ones food - not with it's carb or fat content.

So, what do you think?  Are you a Trim Healthy Mama?  If you are, do you see what I am saying or did I just pick a fight with my own Mama, Sister and half of Blogland?  I'm gonna still tinker with it - I was unknowingly eating WAY too many things that convert to sugar in one sitting.  Sugar is a breeding ground for cancer.  So, no special foods.  Less sugar.  And I am eating a LOT more food than I was so it's refreshing to not be constantly thinking "is this meal going to sabotage my workout".  But with my luck everyone will lose fifty pounds and I will be standing around with my self-righteous opinions about stevia.  HA!!

But hey - at least I can eat my homemade pasta and sauce :)

I would say, if you are interested in health - read Nourishing Traditions FIRST ad THM second and incorporate THM into your families Nourishing Traditions.



I'll keep you updated.
Angela
-Parisienne Farmgirl


11 April 2014

How to Compost Chicken Manure - Our Back to Eden Garden






  



I've got so many videos... if only I would take the time to upload them  Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Happy Gardening.
Angela,
Parisienne Farmgirl

02 April 2014

The Painted Cupboard

So-

You long time followers know the scoop.

Long story short we once had a rockin' rather successful painting/faux finishing biz.  Enter 2007 and POOF!  Phone stopped ringing (as it did for so many across the country).
Struggle, struggle, struggle.
Late 2009 phone rings.  It's a large midwest grocery delivery company wanting to hire Joel.  He learned to drive a 25 foot truck, learned his way thru every nook and cranny of downtown Chicago.  We learned to live without him from noon til midnight five days a week.

He developed bags under his eyes.
I sprouted way too many gray hairs.

Paycheck to paycheck with painting on the side.

Well.  We are entrepreneurs at heart.  Praying for a way for him to get back to something to make him feel respectable and something to bring him back home to the dinner table with us.  We miss him so much.

Going back to manual labor wasn't inspiring either of us.  Before we know it Joel will be fifty.  He's been in the trades since he was sixteen.  It wears on the body.


Back and forth.  Multiple conversations, until suddenly it came to us.  Why not re-open the business with a new name and a new game... a new modus aperandi if you will...

The thing he does so well... it allows him to work 50% from home... it's not back breaking... 
Painting kitchen cabinets.  And not just painting them but tricking them out to look like something out of a magazine!!!  He is SO good at it!!!   After all, that was his handywork too that appeared in those all books and magazines I was featured in a couple of years ago.

So, I give you:



He's gonna tear it up on Facebook, Craigslist, we are tricking out the vehicles, spreading the word and we're even going door to door with the kids once the weather suits. 











We've done SO many kitchens in the past years - can you believe this is all the photos I can find since we've moved??? Grrrrrrrr!!!!

We are pretty pumped.  And I feel relief coming for Joel.  He will give his notice as soon as we have a certain amount of jobs booked on the calendar.  (He will still do "regular painting" as requested but our MAIN focus will be cabs.)  We are praying this was his last winter driving and delivery as it's grueling work in the snow.  In and out of a truck, carrying boxes of groceries up three flights of stairs, 6, 7 and 8 times per delivery.  It was a blessing when we got the job, it bailed us out but we've outgrown it.  The time has come.

So.... if you are in the following areas we'd love to make over YOUR kitchen cabs:
Southern Michigan
Northwest Indiana
Chicagoland  and
Southern Wisconsin

For those out of state jobs Joel will bid your job via email and he'll make up a sample and send it out for you to approve.   For now, if you'll go "LIKE" his new business on Facebook that would be SO appreciated.  (I'll be back to Facebook after Lent).  And spread the word.  He's got a generous referral program too:)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Painted-Cupboard/520943814685249

I'm excited for him.
I'm excited for the kids to have him tuck them in again.
Shoot - I'm excited for ME!  Just to sit with him in the evenings again.  To watch the sun go down together.  To have that relief of another adult around during dinner, bath and bedtime.  Sigh...  This will help me be able to think about getting back to my magazine too!

Some of you pray for us so we appreciate your prayers and anything you can do to help us spread the word. 

On the gardening from we've got four loads of mutlch for the "Back to Eden" style gardening.  Greenhouse is in full swing and it's 43 degrees here today.  We're getting somewhere aren't we???

-Angela
ParisienneFarmgirl




17 March 2014

Waiting for Spring

We are chomping at the bit for Spring.
Serious.

The other day we ran out to Tractor Supply and stumbled upon the John Deere clearance aisle.  How could I resist matching t-shirts for my girls???



Momma got one too.  Turquoise with John Deere in glitter!!!

I can't wait to get outside with these sweet babies.  Amélie is itching to plant her potatoes and she and Juliette finally cracked open the dried pea pods for this years pea seeds.  Now, if the snow would just melt.  

Wait - FIRST it has to stop snowing!!!

I am a little nervous.  Wondering if we will be able to til the ground before JUNE!  Joel built me a greenhouse right of my kitchen (I can't wait to show you) and I have been playing.  Getting my hands dirty.  On sunny days it's 90 degrees in there.  I have 1,500 onions just sitting here.  Trays of started seeds ready to germinate.

But for now - we wait.

I think I may go buy some ducklings today.  Maybe that will spur Spring on.

Gettin' old people.  Gettin' old. 

OH - BTW - I am off Facebook for Lent in case you missed my Mardi Gras sign off.  Have some more blogs in the works so check back in in a day or two :)

21 February 2014

Today in the Kitchen - Delicious Homemade Pasta (Flower Pepper and Gramma's Chicken and Noodles too!)

Sometimes I wonder if you ever lived until you've been to Paris... lived on a farm... eaten homemade pasta.   I highly recommend all of those things of course but making homemade pasta is the easiest of the three.
I bought attachments for my miracle mixer last year and the girls and I are totally addicted to making noodles.  The rest of the family is completely spoiled and now they complain if I make pasta from a box.

Donnez-moi une break!

You may find that you need to tweak my recipe.  I am NOT a big
"measurer" so I leave some things to the eye.  Trust yourself.  It's just pasta - it's not a chocolate soufflé.  

We make spagetti, linguini, and even homemade ravioli (pumpkin with sage and clarified butter... oh my heaven!!!).  My favorite meal so far is my Gramma's chicken and noodles made "my way" and I've include that recipe down at the end of this post.


You will need a mixer with pasta attachments (the lasagna noodle and linguini attachments) - you probably can use my recipe making it by hand and cranking the noodles out with a manual pasta maker or even with rolling pin and sharp knife but I have never done that.

You will also need:
-organic white flour
-four of the best eggs you can get your hands on
-two tablespoons of high quality olive oil
-3-6 tablespoons of water
-1 teaspoon of salt
-lots of homemade flower pepper (Calendula, lavender, nasturiums and black pepper in a grinder)  I grew all this in our Potager last summer and made my own but you could use freshly ground pepper of course (pepper of course is optional... I'm just obsessed with it)



Mix your eggs in a small bowl and put your flour in your mixer's bowl.  Add your eggs, salt and pepper to the flour and mix just slightly.  Use your basic mixing attachment - the one that looks like a peace sign.  Add olive oil and then the water; adding the water tablespoon by tablespoon.  Mix it a bit... I count to thirty.  You don't want the dough to be watery but you don't want it dry and dusty either.  You can see in the photo below that it's not a perfect dough, it will be slightly crumbly at first - I personally don't care to work with it if it's terribly dry.  (As you make your pasta more frequently you will get the feel for what you like.  You may want to add more olive oil, less water or visa versa.)    Then switch to your dough hook and mix for a couple minutes.  Two or so.  Don't over mix.

 

You will then remove the dough and form it into a ball.  Get your muscles ready and kneed it on your floured countertop, as the gluten does it's thing your dough will get smoother and easier to handle.  Keep working it!  Place it in a zip lock bag and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.  No longer.
After the allowed time, divide it into four pieces.

Take one chunk and leave the others in the (slightly opened) zip lock so they don't begin to dry out.  Form the first piece into a sort of rectangle about 5x3 inches.  And now the fun part.
Install your lasagna attachment and set it to setting number 1.  Turn on your mixer and begin to feed your dough through.  If your piece is about a half inch thick it should grab, if it won't grab you may want to flatten one of the three inch sides of your rectangle so it does.  Just give it a little pinch along the edge so it will catch in the rollers.  Run the piece through one time and then fold it in on itself as seen in the photo below.  Run it through one or two more times.  Each time your dough is going to become more and more compliant.  Dust very lightly with flour in between each step.
Next switch the setting on the attachment to level two and run your dough through once or twice.  Continue in this fashion until you have run it through twice on level four.  This is my preferred thickness.  Stopping at level three makes a fine noodles too.  Just look at the thickness of your dough and determine if you want to keep going.  I like a hearty noodle but you may want to continue to level five or even six.  (You can have the speed on your mixer set on two so that it doesn't take foooooorever.)  At this point you will have a flat piece of pasta that is 24-36 inches in length.  Lay your dough out on a flour dusted surface and repeat this process with your next three pieces. 

Now you will want to attach your desired noodle attachment.  To make the noodles you see here I used the linguini attachment.  Make sure your big, flat noodle is lightly dusted and run that piece through, holding the right side up.  If you let it hang the pasta will stop feeding thru because of the weight of the dough.  I hold my right hand up, holding the pasta that is being fed through and I hold my left forearm under the out-coming noodles after the first twelve inches or so.  I then transfer them to a plastic hanger if I am going to dry them or to a bowl as seen below if they will be made right into our dinner.  Note:  I make two batches to serve 6 people with some leftovers.  This takes me thirty minutes start to finish.  NOT counting the actual cooking of the noodle.  You can make little "bird's nests" and freeze your noodles in a zip lock freezer bag or after they have dried you can use old cardboard oatmeal containers for storage.  Make sure your noodles have properly dried before dry storage so that no mold develops.  I love to use my McCann's steal cut oats containers after pealing off the label.  It has a cool black lid and I love to use them for giving pasta gifts.
If you'd like to make Gramma's fabulous Chicken and Noodles, toss a farm raised chicken in a big kettle of water in the morning.  Adding celery, garlic, onion, salt and herbs de Provence.  By dinner time you will have killer stock.  While your noodles are cooking fish out the chicken and remove all the meat, nicely shredding it and setting it aside in a bowl.  In a small sauce pan mix a half-stick of butter, homemade or KerryGold is the best and a 1/2 cup or so of chicken stock.  (Freeze the rest of your stock for a million different uses!)  Serve noodles cooked al dente mixed with the shredded chicken with your butter/stock sauce poured over the top.  Hold on to your socks.  It's amazing.

You CAN make pasta without the fancy equipment.  There are plenty of tutorials on line where you mix by hand and roll out with a rolling pin and slice with a knife - so don't be discouraged.  The only reason I have my mixer is because of a very, very kind blog reader some years ago...  I've been so blessed by my readers.

You will truly become addicted to homemade noodles.  It's fun to take an afternoon and just make a TON of them for use over the coming weeks.  What a treat for your family, guests and yourself!

I hope you enjoy.
I'd be happy to answer any troubleshooting questions.

It's on my to-do list to try this with GF flour.  I have lots of GF friends and family - if you do, please share your results!

Bon apetit.
-Angela
Parisienne Farmgirl



20 February 2014

La Cherité - A Midwinter's Love


Ire Épitre aux Corinthiens 13:4-7
La charité est longanime; la charité est serviable; elle n'est pas enviuse; la charité ne fanfaronne pas, ne se rengorge pas; elle ne fait rien d'inconvenenant, ne cherche pas son interêt, ne s'irrite pas, ne tient pas compte de mal; elle ne se réjouit pas de l'injustice, mais elle met sa joie dan la vérité.  Elle excuse tout, croit tout, espere tout, supporte tout.

If I have a favorite thing about winter it's the annual two hours we spend as a family making Valentines for each other.   For two hours the chaos comes to a calm and there is some serious L-O-V-E flowing between us.  It is very endearing.  Even Big Daddy get's into it and customizes each of his Valentines.  It's his one surge of creativity, we don't know where it comes from but it won't appear again until next year.  

This year our love notes were placed on the kitchen Christmas 
garden tree.  We took off the ornaments after New Years and replaced them with miniature galvanized garden tools and dried hydrangea.   After we take down the Valentines Aidan had the idea to clothes-pin last year's seed packets the tree.  My little buddy.  I can't bare to take down the tree because of how much I love that blue concrete that it's in.  The lights are still a cozy touch on these horrid, gray days even though the holidays are thankfully well behind us.

I am humbled by what God's word says about love.  Though apparently never humbled enough.  Every other minute I fall pathetically short whether it's my horrid, selfish attitude or failing to love others the way they need to be loved at any given moment.  The description is telling us how we are to love each other but we mustn't forget that is is more importantly telling us how God in fact loves us.  
I fall short every day in loving the way he tells me to and yet because of his Son Jesus He loves me anyways.

THAT is Love.

C'est la Cherité.

Happy late Valentines Day.

I'd love to know how you and yours are passing the time until the grass begins to show.









1 Corinthians 13:4-7

New International Version (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.





17 February 2014

MSG Poisoning - Our Scary Story!

So, remember when I was trying to do a post on health every week?  52 Weeks?  

Ugh.  I hate it when I can't stick to my own ideas.  Alas, I find motherhood always calls.  I have a post written in my drafts about MSG but I think this one will scare you into avoiding it more than my original idea.

We went out for dinner yesterday.  Lunch rather, after meeting up with my sister, her hubby and my niece at Home Depot.  

We never go out to eat.  
Seriously. 
Never.
 
There is a fun place in the Chicago suburbs; dark, cozy, good burgers and the kids love it.  As we sat down my sister and I made snarky conversation pretending to ask the waitress if their beef was grass-fed and organic, Yeah, cause we won't eat conventional beef or GMO filled beer... but we'll mow on your MSG laced popcorn all afternoon.  I joked.  My sister bursting into laughter.

Turns out.  Not so funny.

We got home, spent the evening as a family and commenced the tuck-in hour during which I began to feel dizzy, just slightly; so that I wondered if I was imagining things.  But it began to get worse.  I almost asked the family if they thought there was an earthquake.  Then I felt a flutter in my heart as I leaned over the baby to change her diaper but again, I brushed it off and thought, Surely my heart did not not have a palpitation.  I must really be imagining things.  Then I noticed I was stumbling as I walked.  I then actually tumbled down in the hall way.  Not a hard fall, but I ended up on the floor.  I went into Aidan's room where all the action was happening and told them what was up.  Joel confessed he felt a little weird but he didn't expand on it.  It was just so odd and I expected it to go away at any second.  I then laid down with the baby to nurse and the room began to spin.  Like when you are drunk.  (Yes, sadly, I've been drunk.)  Seriously.  The chandelier was just zooming by over and over again.  I laid very still, praying for it to stop and nursed her into oblivion.  Then I went back into the kids' quarters to pick out the next day's clothes and kiss them goodnight.  I felt a little better but standing at the girl's closet I felt it again.  I stumbled over to their beds and quickly sang and kissed them goodnight.  I fell over onto Juliette's bed and began to get a bit nervous.  I scared Amélie.  What the heck was wrong with me?  

The baby woke up so I went back into her and again the ceiling just went round and round in circles.  It was a ride and I wanted OFF.

Finally everyone was asleep and Joel went with me down the stairs.  I went to the couch and slumped down and things began to get worse.  The room wobbled and my legs got really heavy.  My arms did not want to function, my heart fluttered again in my chest and I slouched over, very tired, to one side.  I actually had the thought, I wonder if I am going to die?  Joel then told me that when he woke up from snuggling with the boys he laid there thinking he was going to have a panic attack.  He said he could hear his heart in his ears and his hands were swollen.  He had pressure across his forehead.  He took my pulse which was barely there and then would surge.

What the hell was going on?

We prayed for each other and Joel asked, Do you think it's something we ate?  As he got up to dial my sister to see how they felt I exclaimed, The popcorn!  That popcorn had to be covered in MSG ridden flavoring.  They served it before the food and we ALL munched on it.  I noticed while sitting at the table that there was this goober on the roof I my mouth.  It was so disturbing that I stuck my finger in there and scraped my nail across the roof of my mouth to get rid of it.  I mentioned this to Joel as he began to google "MSG poisoning" and he said he did the SAME thing!  

My sister said they felt fine but she confessed that perhaps it's because they go out to eat a lot more than we do.  Perhaps they were more used to it or not as sensitive.

Joel found a list of MSG poisoning symptoms.  Here's what we read on NaturalNews.com:
The following are some of the symptoms you may develop from eating food laced with MSG. Headaches, numbness, dizziness, burning sensations in the neck and chest, tingling nausea, palpitations, elevated blood pressure, difficulty breathing, panic attacks, sleepiness, depression, confusion, cognitive disorder, and food cravings are common symptoms for sensitive people.


I have always noticed my heart racing in the middle of the night if I have MSG which is why I avoid it like the plague at all costs.  I don't know why my judgement lapsed so poorly yesterday but I sure paid the price.  


We took the recommended cream of tartar cure and just quietly watched an episode of Sherlock waiting to feel better.  I finally began to drift off and went to bed.  Slightly dizzy.  Joel stayed up.

This morning he felt better.  I was horribly dizzy when I woke up and my face was terribly puffy.  It's now 4:06 and I finally feel like myself with the occasion woosh of disorientation but as fast as it's there, it is gone.  

Our sweet Hoolie woke up in the night twice screaming from neck, face and shoulder pain.  She's only four so we can't figure out if she hurt herself out in the snow yesterday or if she too is suffering the affects of the neurotoxin.

So here's the deal - MSG is in SO MANY THINGS and it doesn't have to be labeled MSG which is why you need to steer clear of so many, dare I say most packaged foods.  MSG is a NEUROTOXIN and is VERY dangerous.  If you suffer from migraines I would ELIMINATE this from your life... I would eliminate it anyways!!!  Here is some information I am cutting and pasting from a post I have in my drafts.  I am sorry - I do not remember the source.  It's probably Mercola.com.  We made these changes years ago which is why I think this time affected us so strongly.

To be on the safe side, you should also know what ingredients to watch out for on packaged foods. Here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:
 Autolyzed Yeast  Calcium Caseinate Gelatin 
 Glutamate Glutamic Acid Hydrolyzed Protein 
 Monopotassium Glutamate Monosodium Glutamate  Sodium Caseinate 
 Textured Protein Yeast Extract Yeast Food 
 Yeast Nutrient
       
These ingredients OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing:[10]
 Flavors and Flavorings Seasonings  Natural Flavors and Flavorings  Natural Pork Flavoring Natural Beef Flavoring 
 Natural Chicken Flavoring Soy Sauce  Soy Protein Isolate  Soy Protein  Bouillon 
 Stock  Broth  Malt Extract  Malt Flavoring  Barley Malt 
 Anything Enzyme Modified Carrageenan  Maltodextrin  Pectin  Enzymes 
 Protease  Corn Starch  Citric Acid  Powdered Milk  Anything Protein Fortified 
Anything Ultra-Pasteurized 

One last comment regarding the exposure of infants to processed free glutamic acid (MSG): the presence of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in infant formulas.
We have found that major brands of infant formula, if not all infant formulas, contain some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). The hypoallergenic soy formulas contain very high levels of MSG. See www.truthinlabeling.org/formulacopy.html for further detail.

Look at that list and see if most of your pantry doesn't end up in the trash!  Geesh!  I know this was a long post but I hope it can help you and your family.

Blessings and stay healthy.
Angela,
Parisienne Farmgirl


11 February 2014

Today in the Kitchen - Chai Tea Concentrate


I love a hot beverage.
Hot coffee.  Hot chamomile.  

I hate hot wine... like at Christmas.
Ick.

But I love Chai Tea.

Awhile back my sister gave me Shaye Elliot's cookbook and it's full of great "whole foods" recipes.  Her recipe was my "inspiration" - I tweaked it just a bit to suit my spice rack and preferences.  Shaye is a very knowledgable homesteader, did I mention gorgeous?  She has a great facebook page and blog too! Girlfriend has mad homesteading skills and tons-o-knowledge!

I insist that you order her cookbook!  If you are wanting to start a whole foods lifestyle it's full of everything you need to get started from Kombucha to Chocolate  Mousse! 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1484076230?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1484076230&linkCode=xm2&tag=theellihome0d-20

The great thing about whole foods recipes is that you can't hardly ruin them and you can change them up to suit your needs like I did with this one...

You will need:
Black peppercorns
All spice berries
10 Cinnamon sticks
Vanilla Bean
Whole Nutmeg
Cloves
Cardamon (10 pods or one tablespoon ground)
One inch chunk of gingerroot
10 bags of Oolong Black Tea (I use Bigalow) 
Raw honey to taste 
10-12 cups water


Slice open your vanilla bean and scrape out the contents.  Add contents to your water (it will look like a blackish goober).  I use my garlic press to slightly crush open the peppercorns, cloces and all spice berries.  Then I add everything but the tea and raw honey.  Steep for about 30 minutes then add your tea bags and steep for another thirty.  Strain and pour into a half gallon ball jar or container of your choice for storage.

To enjoy simply prepare 50% milk with 50% concentrate and add raw honey (or honey, or cane juice or your sweetener of choice) to taste.  Hot or cold - Oo, la, la... banish away the winter dull-drums.

A votre santé.
Angela
Parisienne Farmgirl



29 January 2014

The Home Dairy - Gettin' the Creme!


This is a super lame post but it may come in handy for someone.
I've been asked this question a few times recently so here goes...

"How do I separate the creme from the milk?"

I've got a, dare I say, a bitchin' source for organic raw milk.  
$3 a gallon!!!
(I'll be breeding Coco this spring so in the meantime...)
I get about 5-6 gallons a week as I am an official "cheesemaker" now.

Yogurt.
Feta.
Mozzerella.
Butter.
Gouda. (in the works)
Camembert. (in the works)
and yes, if you love me and I love you and all goes right you will receive an (ten-month) aged wedge of of Parmesan next Christmas.

WOOT!  WOOT!

Hubby loves cream in his coffee so I like to have it fresh for him each weekend.  Weekends are ALL about good food for us.  More on that some other time.
I never seem to want to spend the twenty bucks on a glass lemonade dispenser thingy so here's my trick for now...

Using a water jug (so you can see inside easier) with the lid on,
let your milk settle so the cream can rise to the top.  Once it has (this takes awhile it if been shaken) put it somewhere where it can hang over another container.  I use my counter and a stool about a foot lower. Then I take a pointy knife and jab a hole in the bottom so that the milk can drain out.  If you loosen the cap the stream will increase.  As you get to the bottom, tighten the cap a bit to control the flow but you will notice a BIG difference when you hit the cream line.  In fact it may clog up totally.  When I hit the cream line I flip the jug over and empty the cream into a ball jar.

Et voila.

Simply funnel your now "skim" milk into another container and as use as needed.  I get about a half quart of cream from a gallon of milk but this will vary slightly depending on the type of cow.  Remember, you can't do this with store bought milk as it has been homogenized.

There you go.
I made creme brulée with mine this week and had plenty leftover for Joel's "café creme".

I'd like to continue with a "Home Dairy" series.  I've been wanting to make cheese for YEARS and finally got off my butt to try it.  It's lots of fun and not NEAR and complicated as I imagined it would be.

What do you think???

-Angela
Parisienne Farmgirl
 

23 January 2014

Moms Be Encouraged

Allow me to prattle.

I keep saying how much I miss my blog and yet I can't seem to find this time to get my fingers on these keys.  It's been a long couple months.  Baby girl is putting me through the ringer.  Sleep?  What's sleep?  It seems to only occur if I am laying next to her.  Alas, by the time I FINALLY get her calmed down it's anywhere between 9 and 11pm.   By then I've lost my mojo or any blogs I had written in my head while rocking her.

I'm trying to hard to be what the kids need me to be.  I vacillate between doing fine and freaking out - like any Mom I am sure.  During the freak out moments the self doubt kicks in.  What am I doing wrong?  Are my kids getting a proper education with all the time I spend with the baby?  How long should I let her SCREAM?  Even now, after a 45 minute soothing, nursing, calming down session I've been at the computer (IE: away from her) for ten minutes and she is screaming.

Be right back:)

The days dishes are half done and the sink is still full.
I'm tired of being on my feet.

Champagne please.

It's easy to wonder if you are having an effect isn't it?
All your hard work and nothing is ever perfect?  

Confessions of a type-A who doesn't have the time or luxury anymore of being a type-A.

Sheer mental torture.

Fear not.
This too shall pass.
And yes, you are having an effect.

It's awkward for me to share this cause no matter what I say, some will fine me boastful but that is not my heart - my heart is for encouraging you.

It's come to my attention recently from a good handful of different people that our little family does in fact impact lives (by God's grace and for His glory).  See, I get to believing the lie that those that come into our home can't really be ministered to if my floors are dirty, if Joel's forgotten to take the garbage bag I put on the porch out to the dumpster?  How could anyone feel God's love if I didn't get to wash my hair after my workout? 

Little lies.

I've had the privilege and encouragement of being told lately: how comfortable people feel visiting in our living room, how I've encouraged them in their motherhood, how the kids are enjoyable because they can interact with adults, how the food I offer my guests makes them feel loved...

These gracious words at times were too much and I'm afraid I didn't know how to receive them but the allowed me to see that it's not all in vain.  That the ministry that I hope comes from our family, from this farm is actually happening.  

And I would wager it's happening on your end too.  Perhaps you just haven't been told.   So I am telling you.  You Mom's who are on your knees for your kids, who Mom's who are trying to change the world one patient moment at a time - it's working.  I have to believe that.  You have to believe that.  

What you do does matter.

When you take that extra moment to discipline in the middle of chaos - it matters.
When you come to your babies and apologize for being a witch (as I had to do today) - it matters.
When you make someone a hot meal or send someone out the door with a special treat from your kitchen - in this fast food, microwave world - it matters.
When you crack open the Bible and just go over ONE verse with a child - it matters.  
When you stop nagging and sincerely love on and praise hubby IN FRONT of the children - it matters.

I come from a family where perfection, or the appearance of it matters.  I'm not disparaging them/that but coming to terms that perfection is not something I can hold myself to in this chapter of my life is important for me - I have to do that at least a couple times a week.  Now I could do it, that's just the energy and drive that I have but it would be at my families expense.   Instead I have to take a deep breath and pray for patience and grace constantly and see that perfection is not a ministry.  It might keep ME sane but it's not a real ministry - unless I am worshiping at the alter of myself.  Which alas, is where I often find myself.

Be encouraged.  Thanks for listening reading.
Angela
Parisienne Farmgirl


22 December 2013

My Christmas Present for You and Our Christmas Day Menu

Hello Lovely Ladies.
Snow here.

Ick.

I am so excited about this Christmas Day Meal!
Here is what we have planned at 
La Ferme a Mi-Chemin

 -Hors d' oeuvres -
Fresh Venison Pâté 
Cornichons
Olives
Homemake Mozzerlla
Burratta (Mom)
Chevre with Dried Fruit at Honey
Camembert with Garlic and Pesto

-Breads for the Day-
Crusty Romemary Lemon
Gluten Free Crackers 
Flaky Biscuits

-Main Meal- 
Ham with Balsamic Glaze
Potatoes au gratin (mom)
Green Veg TBD (sister)
Fresh Greens Salad
Herb butter

-Dessert-
GF Pumpkin Pie (sister)
Dark Chocolate Birthday Cake
Creme Brulée

-Spirits-
Champagne
Bordeaux
Sparkling Pomogranite

We are SO EXCITED.
If there is one thing I love to do... it's eat!!!

And now,
I will be printing my menu on my favorite French Menus that I bought in Paris at the flea market years ago and I thought you might like to do the same.  I don't have the scanning software for my new printer installed yet so I just took a photo.  Not the best, but fun, nonetheless.  Drag, drop, print... do as you like.

Dresses are done.
As soon as I wipe the breakfast off my daughters faces I will snap picks - oh, and my dress is pretty sa-weet too!!!!

And now... I go to chop up deer livers! 




18 December 2013

The Parisienne Farmhouse... Noël




Unbelievable--- it's our second Christmas here at la Ferme a Mi-Chemin...
our Half-Way Farm.
Last year was so unreal - one side of the room pretty, one side of the room moving boxes... and me reeling from a surprise pregnancy!

This year we are settled.
We are grateful.
We are FULL of life.

Our nature tree.  All summer the children gathered things from around the farm.  Nests, bark, hive pieces, corn... and to top it off a giant fungus the kids found in the woods. 

Happy Christmas to Momma!  Daddy brought home this AMAZING ancient butcher block for me!  Salvaged from a butcher in Chicago.
The purple marker is a nice touch?  Non?  This weekend I am busting out a staple gun and scrap fabric since the kids have trashed my little bench.

I have wanted to make stockings for YEARS!!!!!!!  Now, everyone's match and I am so excited.  I love the way they turned out.  Someone on FB requested a tutorial.  I will TRY to do that.



What I am really loving on our home these days is the use of old wood.  The salvage window bookcase, the old painters easel, the butcher block, my château sign, the "island" in the kitchen.  It helps bring a little farmhouse to my otherwise "Parisienne" furnishings.





The porch.  Not too much effort this year.  I have a love/hate relationship with it cause the floor needs to be painted so bad.  Hoping to recover the sofa in blue and white ticking, paint the floor blue and bring out a shandy... so many ideas, so little time and money.





LOVE THIS.
Collecting wine crates to display the produce at my farm stand this year.  May put the presents in them.

Hope you enjoyed.  Gotta dash!  Kids are hungry!
-Angela
Parisienne Farmgirl