Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dark Days Challenge - Week #6

After 2 weeks of Holiday madness, I am back with week #6 of the Dark Days Challenge. As I was planning out the Christmas meals, I realized that my traditional Christmas breakfast would adapt perfectly to the Challenge. Each year I make a breakfast strata for us to enjoy. It is hearty and comforting, yet isn't so filling that you aren't ready to indulge in the main Christmas dinner hours later. I especially like that this is assembled the day before, so on Christmas morning the cook just has to pop it in the oven and isn't in the kitchen missing out on any fun with the rest of the family. I hope everyone had a Happy Holiday Season and that 2010 is filled with peace, joy and many local, delicious meals.

-Breakfast Sausage - 3 Miles/Sweet Briar Farm
-Eggs - 3 Miles/Sweet Briar Farms
-Wheat Bread - 27 Miles/Cottage Grove Farmhouse Bakery
-Milk - 13 Miles/Lochmead Dairy
-Cheddar Cheese - 102 Miles/Tillamook Creamery
-Swiss Cheese - 102 Miles/Tillamook Creamery

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past,
courage for the present, hope for the future.
It is a wish fervent wish that every cup may overflow with
blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.
~Agnes M. Pharo~

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Frozen Creek

This last week the temperatures in the Southern Willamette Valley have been well below normal. The week started with lows in the twenties and by Wednesday morning the low was 8 degrees at our house and the high never got above freezing. It is very unusual for us to have temperature this low and for the cold to last as many days as it did. The cold finally broke yesterday around noon and today is much warmer. As I was taking a walk around the property I noticed something in the creek. I quickly realized that the extended period of cold had actually frozen the surface of much of the creek. While some of it has melted in the last 24 hours, much of it is still frozen. I never remember it doing this before. It was quite beautiful !

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A hard frost and cold, cold nights

This morning we awoke to yet another hard frost. The temperature has been in the low twenties for the past few nights and the forecasters are calling for low temps in the teens the next few nights. It took until 1 PM today for the fog to burn off and the temperature to rise above freezing. This morning I took a very brisk walk around the property.

Everything was covered in white and my footsteps crunched as I moved along. Nothing missed Jack Frost's touch.

Both birdbaths were frozen solid. Brrrrr!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Dark Days Challenge - Week #3

I started Thanksgiving morning working out on my treadmill ...and watching the Food Network. Hmm, maybe not the best combination! But Emeril Live was on and Emeril was fixing a Thanksgiving meal for New York Fireman. What really caught my attention was his starter, a Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Wild Rice Soup. Suddenly my week three meal was set in motion.
  I already had the Butternut Squash from my garden and knew where I could get most of the other ingredients locally. But the challenge for me was the wild rice. I thought I remembered buying a locally grown wild rice once so I began with a search on google. Sure enough, up popped Oregon Jewel. A trip to Cappella market and I had my wild rice. What I learned through my research though, was pretty neat. The rice is grown just outside Brownsville, Oregon on converted conventional farm land. The Willamette Valley clay soil that has challenged home and professional vegetable farmers for generations has proved to be perfect for growing wild rice. The clay soil holds water, which in turn eliminates the need for irrigation. The water keeps the weeds down and eliminates the need for herbicides. Native grasses and trees have returned, growing up next to the paddies. And with the return of this food and shelter the biodiversity of the region has reemerged. In fact, the Audubon Society lists the farm as a birding site. Pretty great stuff! And I haven't even mentioned the fact that we have a great source for a locally grown whole grain.

But back to this weeks meal. I followed Emeril's recipe but cut it in half and eliminated the parsely and corn. I think it would have been great with the addition of corn, but I didn't have any frozen away to use. Next year! So here is my "shopping list" -
- Butternut Squash - O miles/ My garden
-Chicken Stock -92 Miles/ Pacific Foods
-Yellow Onions - 16 Miles/Hey Bayles! Farm
-Wild Rice - 20 Miles/Oregon Jewel
- Linguesa Sausage - 3 Miles/Sweet Briar Farm
-Half-in-half - 13 Miles / Lochmead Dairy
- Exceptions - Oil, Salt & Pepper