Category Archives: Food

My RedBarn Followers Love Pound Cake!

Many of you asked me for my cake recipe!   I love you friends who share my passion for the really important things in life.  Like CAKE!!!   Every single ‘food group’ comes together in pound cake. . .not a dietary worry in the world:)

This recipe is from the kitchens of Land O Lakes.  Now wouldn’t that be a dream job?  Baking and testing the day away!                                    http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/543/glazed-lemon-pound-cake

There it is. . . .the last little piece of Lemon Pound Cake.     Gulp!
There it is. . . .the last little piece of Lemon Pound Cake. Gulp!
It's so much fun having college kids home for holidays .  Mine has gotten so smart(wink).  As I'm exclaiming about spotting the first spring fly in the house he reminded me NOT to swat it.  Could be a drone on assignment.  Sounds like a real good reason to swat it.
It was so much fun having my college kid home for Easter.  In four years of classes he’s gotten so smart(wink).   As I was exclaiming about  the first spring fly in the house he reminded me NOT to swat it.  Could be a drone on assignment.  Sounds like a real good reason to swat it.
Another delightful spring recipe from my Land O Lakes spring cookbook.  I'm totally making these.  Who wants to come over for coffee?
Another delightful spring recipe from my Land O Lakes spring cookbook. I’m totally making these. Who wants to come over for coffee?

I Can’t. . .

Early morning  wake up time with a large mug of French Vanilla steaming from a cup in my left hand and a magazine of ‘happy thoughts’ half rolled in my right.   The kids are grown.  My lumber-guy is up and out early on a mission to put  another dent in his work truck.  That man!  There’s this morning feeling that’s become a part of my life.  I’d say it’s a desire for a bit of direction or inspiration along with the need to breathe deep and prepare my inner most self for the next  24 hour journey.    Some of us wake up slower than others.

Today’s morning interlude set my eyes upon just the right saying to put me straight.              “I can’t do this but I’m doing it anyway.”   Words wide open for meaning,  words that bring on a  smile and give off some sassy  country-girl confidence if that’s what is needed.  What  incredible power these seven, nothing very special, words take on when they tag along after ‘I can’t’.    Starting the day with a little ‘brave’ in my heart.

I know the world is full with people who have had to jump into situations and say these words under their breath.   Sometimes serious. . . .sometimes creative. . . .often  yucky.   I’m sure I said these words when they passed out the specimen trays and instruments in high school biology.    Sorry kids, I’m sure I said it while holding my breath over diapers.  Speaking in front of a large group and shaking in my high heels?   Leading a jumpy 1200 pound horse for the first time!  Cleaning the chicken coop!  Driving a car?

I promised my girlfriend Kathy I’d bring two dozen sweet rolls, fit for public consumption, to an Easter breakfast.   I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my last yeast bread attempt. . . .kneading, rising, baking to perfection.   Didn’t quite turn out that way.   I can’t make yeast breads. . . .but  now I’m doin’ it anyway.

Better practice!  Love that great little saying in the morning happy magazine and guess what?  It works!

Notes to self: slow down, hold back on the flour, buy fresh yeast, don’t kill the yeast with too hot of liquid like you most likely did last time, cover half way through the baking time, doubling the recipe works well.

Not perfect, but they look like you want one, right?
Not perfect, but they look like you want one, right?  I ate one and sent the rest  of the practice run along to work with my man.  No will power in this RedBarn kitchen with rolls on the counter!

RedBarn Grandma Needs a Cranberry Recipe

The date is nearing for the Clinton Women’s Taster’s Tea and guess who needs to submit the recipes she is going  to serve that evening and share in this years event cookbook?  Now here’s a local food event that is worth putting  on your holiday sweater  and heading out into the gets-dark-early evening for.  Festive décor,  happy folks,  tons of new recipes to taste and the perfect way to enter into a glorious holiday mood.  (Monday, November 25, 5-7 p.m. at the Clinton, Minnesota Memorial Building, $6 per person)

Daughter, Gina, and I  took a road trip to Door County, Wisconsin.  Heaven(or surely kind of close)! One of our favorite stops was to buy locally grown cranberries.   Pull off the road by the homemade sign,  bag up what you want out of the beautiful wooden boxes full of freshly picked produce, smile back at the dear farmer who was thankful to have us stop, pay the $8 for a huge bag and try to control our excitement. . .that’s how it went.   Oh the beauty of cranberries; both for their taste and rich red color.

My dear little granddaughter, Drew, was kind enough to share her latest kitchen creation.  Perfect recipe and perfect timing, Drewsibell!  I’m going to cook up my own cranberries, instead of use the canned, and serve it over chicken bites as an appetizer for the Taster’s Tea.  What do you think of that?

A sweet keeper for Grandma's 'favorites' recipe folder.
A sweet keeper for Grandma’s ‘favorites’ recipe folder.
Loving my locally grown and beautiful berries!
Loving my locally grown and beautiful berries!
Look at the amazing visitors in the cranberry bog as I bagged up my bounty!
Look at the amazing visitors in the cranberry bog as I bagged up my bounty!
Love at first sight!
Love at first sight!
Little Miss Drew
Little Miss Drew

 

What Did YOU Have For Lunch?

Someone, somewhere needs to know; I worked hard today!  I’ll concede, no one needs to know.  I’m stretching out my sat-too-long spine, looking at my pile of newly created holiday greeting cards(heavy on the recycled side) and feeling like I accomplished something in my creative biz!  Maybe I need to toot my horn!  Toot,toot!

Also having a little laugh.  We creatives are able to design and manufacture on our dining room tables if we choose to.  I did today. . .in my white, fuzzy, University of North Dakota bathrobe.    Silence is good and then so is a break for listening to music or talk radio.   This afternoon I found myself listening to a talk show host(not my dear radio personality friend, Julie) jabbering on about  how she dislikes people who are already talking ‘Christmas’.  From there she moved on to discussing her dislike of bloggers who literally share what they are eating for lunch.   This one way chatter is starting to feel a little personal, Honey!!  I’m in the club who likes to think about Christmas all year ’round and I enjoy seeing what other bloggers are serving up for lunch!  In fact, MY homemade lunch today was worth talking about.  Here, let me show you:)

Yellow tomato, potato, onion and red pepper. .all garden gifts from friend, Liz. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme(go ahead and sing) from my little herb box in the backyard.
Yellow tomato, potato, onion and red pepper. .all garden gifts from friend, Liz. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme(go ahead and sing) from my little herb box in the backyard.

 

Me playing with my Sony! The bottle of Alamos, Red Blend?  Came to the RedBarn by way of the wine-tasting dinner at Buffalo Ridge in Gary, South Dakota.  Really, it started out in the high mountains of Argentina.  It's divine!
Me playing with my Sony! The bottle of Alamos, Red Blend? Came to the RedBarn by way of the wine-tasting dinner at Buffalo Ridge in Gary, South Dakota. Really, it started out in the high mountains of Argentina. It’s divine!
Saute vegetables in 2 teaspoons of olive oil for 10 minutes, add 1/4 cup of already cooked sausage, 2 fresh eggs,  1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs  and cover  until cooked through. Top with some ground pepper!  Makes a generous, healthy 'scramble' . . .for anyone working on Christmas projects!  Wink!
Saute vegetables in 2 teaspoons of olive oil for 10 minutes, add 1/4 cup of already cooked sausage, 2 fresh eggs, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs and cover until cooked through. Top with some ground pepper! Makes a generous, healthy ‘scramble’ . . .for anyone working on Christmas projects! Wink!
Just so I don't get accused of making things too pretty, here's the evidence!  My rule-never use more than 10 pieces of cook/serve ware to make a dish.  That way we can clean up in less than 2 minutes and get back to the fun, creative things in life!
Just so I don’t get accused of making things too pretty, here’s the evidence! My rule-never use more than 10 pieces of cook/serve ware to make a dish. That way we can clean up in less than 2 minutes and get back to the fun, creative things in life!  Cheers!

 

 

 

Snapdragons, Oregano and Asparagus

For all of us who enjoy planting, growing and picking. . . .there are plenty of experts to help us succeed.   Should we follow along and do things by the book?   Nah!  Slap you knee, and shout, “It’s my little spot of dirt and I can do anything I want to in this garden.”   It does take my bravado down a level when overnight visitors stop by and. . . .eat off the plants in my garden.    Marigolds, Rudbeckia and Petunias; I picked the plain, but pretty, plants that I thought no one would want.  Wrong.

Among these longed for, stretched-out days of  late June in Minnesota RedBarn countryside,  it takes more than that to get me down.  Live and let live, eat and let eat.    Here’s my own little rule; every time I walk out into the flower beds I am going to  pick something.    Something that I can hold high, create with, eat or at least smile about.   It’s my garden and if I say it’s beautiful. . . . .it is, right?  I’ve always liked green.

Rogue asparagus spears popping up among the Day Lily.  That’s a nice surprise!   White snapdragon ready for snapping. Ok.  The clump of Oregano.   I’ve  tried to dig it out three years in a row and it doesn’t want to leave my garden.  Must mean I am supposed to let it be and start to love it.   I am happy with my nontraditional bouquet. Just right for celebrating the gift of a sunny, warm day.   Thank you, Mother Earth!

Asparagus soup with only three spears?   I’ll try.

SONY DSCWashing up while she decides what she is going to do with us!

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The surprise asparagus popping out of the Day Lily patch reminds me of the movie, ‘ET’.  An unusual being that’s out of place?

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‘Cheers’ to one lovely day in the countryside!

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A dash of RED goes well with green-all year long.SONY DSC

New Energy at the RedBarn

Really, there is so much energy bouncing around in our countryside universe when the March sun shines and the deep snow packs start to shrink.  My measuring stick(the bird baths, fall flower stalks and garden ornaments) tell me that we had some deep snow this past winter.  This little exciting energy that I am talking about today happens inside of my house on that favorite spot where I mix up things in the big bowl.

Last fall I had a wonderful time when my young friends Eliza and Kate came to visit for the weekend.   Kate brought me a gift of homemade ‘energy balls’.  Don’t you love this name way more than ‘no-bake frozen blob of ingredients that are good for you’? I assured her that they tasted marvelous and she in turn assured me that I could make them myself with kitchen items I most likely have on hand.  It’s a flexible recipe and Kate was right!  Wanting something tasty, and not having a desirable morsel in the house, caused me to keep thinking about the little wonder balls that Kate had brought.   Ok, time to start digging for the healthy ingredients and see what I can create.

Here is what went into my bowl, it is my day for self promotion. . . .as I must say, “They taste so fantastic.”  Keeping them in the freezer, out of sight, is one of the best ideas about this whole energy ball craze.  Maybe a little baggy of two tucked into a jacket pocket to enjoy with a friend a half hour into a spring hike?   Can’t wait!

1 cup of dry oatmeal

1/2 cup of ground flaxseed (thank you to the grower of this fine flax near Golva, North Dakota)

2 Tablespoons of dark chocolate chips, or chunks cut into small pieces

1/3 cup of honey (thank you for this lovely dark Buckwheat honey from near Brandt, South Dakota – past mmmm)

1/3 cup of peanut butter

1/2 cup of dried pumpkin seeds

2 Tablespoons of dried cherry chunks, cut small

1/4 cup of chopped pecans

Simple, mix everything together until blended(just your arm with a big spoon attached), roll a gob around to make a ball about 1-1/2 inches across.  My recipe made 16 energy balls.   Easy on your budget for sure.  I doubt that I have $5.00 worth of goods dumped into the bowl and you can easily spend $2.00 on a three-bite health food bar. . . I did it on vacation.    This is a story problem with a nice result, “Honey, I saved you $27 bucks today by making homemade energy balls. Woo-hoo!”

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 Ten minutes will make these little gems and you are set for whenever you need an energy-packed snack.

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Check your cupboards.  You most likely can mix up a batch right away or at least get thinking about it.

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Oh, the fun of looking back through photos!  The day that Eliza and Kate came to visit, with son Charlie, was one of those fine, late fall days that you want to grab onto, pull back and fight to keep forever.  You know the kind; the air was clean and crisp, the joy of sharing time with happy, hopeful  young people was full, and the sun filled the evening sky over the lake with heavenly colors  you could gaze on as long as they lingered.

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Eliza and Kate are friends at Concordia College(Moorhead, MN)  Go Cobbers!  Wonderful kids, wonderful times. . . .those college days!

A ‘Stay In’ Minnesota Day

I did step out onto the porch once today, grabbed Hunter’s green pail, filled it with a dip of dog food and quickly set it back out.  Even he came in and refused to go out again for a long time.   How can we forget, from year to year, what January winter days feel like?  Those thoughts must be stored in the same area of the brain as child-birth, wisdom teeth or falling off  a running horse.  My brain doesn’t let me immediately call those things up and talk to you about them.   Suppression, that’s the mental tool we use to deal with ‘winter’ during the other three sensational seasons of the year.

Turn the heat up, wear a sweater, jog in place, bake, phone a friend?  It’s all about attitude. . . .I have to be done with this complaining.

Whenever I need to work on my attitude I like to pick up a special book that one of my sons bought as a gift for me, ‘The Love Revolution’, written by Joyce Meyer.  The book is a real life call to act. . . .a call to quickly consider who has more need than I do and what I should be doing about it.    I’ve found that if I just ‘go with it’ a clear message will jump off the page.   Today I got the idea that I’m going to be led to help someone who is having a hard time keeping her kids fed.  Wow!   Not rocket science, lots of hungry people in the world.  Still, it’s an exhilarating thought. . .wondering who lives within a few miles of me and needs my help.   Suppressed thoughts aside, I can  easily recall the many times that I have been the recipient of a seemingly random blessing.  Someone was led to show me an unconditional act of love through word, deed or gift.  Those things stay with you over the years.   Now, it’s my turn to be the giver.

The world, and I, get so busy and can easily forget how many people are walking among us; feeling lonely, forgotten or insignificant.  Truly, right under our noses.   An act of any kind of love coming to the person in need  can be an amazing  thing.

Food is a good thing to share so sure, I’m happy to go along with my message.   Good, nutritious healthy food.  I  suppose these kids are going to be hungry!  There’s a meat-and-potatoes meal I make, simple as can be, that  causes my family to say kind, wonderful words as they dish up their plates.  I like that!

A gentle call to action with a lift for my chilly attitude-all without even stepping out of the house and into the cold country air.   Thank you, Joyce!

SONY DSCRemember the campfire meals wrapped in aluminum foil?  Same ingredients.  For each serving you will need one large carrot, one large potato, 1/4 chopped onion and 1/4 pound of cooked ground beef.  I choose to season it well with a sprinkling of dried garlic flakes, coarsely ground salt and pepper, a bit of rosemary, thyme and lots of dried parsley.     SONY DSC These are not your typical carrots.  These taste like my carrots from the garden and are SO worth the extra few dimes they cost over others.   Life is good when you can buy organic carrots from California at Bonnie’s Hometown Grocery store in Clinton, Minnesota.  Pop. 350

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Roast vegetables on an open pan, I like to use the pizza stone, for 30 minutes, uncovered.  Drizzle a spoon or two of olive oil over the mixture before you bake.  Add the browned ground beef on top and heat for 15 minutes more.

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 Here’s a fun linen towel I have hanging on my oven door today.   It’s a photo of my girlfriend’s mean rooster called, The Master.   The day I stuck the camera around the door into her chicken coop I prayed that he wouldn’t jump off of his 2×4 perch and attack my head.   I have an active imagination when it comes to things like that.  Should we say, Scardy Kat?

Pheasant Soup

Hunting season is a happy time of year for the man who puts his shoes in the closet(50/50) behind the front door of the dark blue house next to the RedBarn!  A productive Sunday afternoon hunt through the prairie, with  best  high school pal, Tom, visiting from Nashville, led to the suggestion , “Maybe it’s time we cook up a batch of the pheasant soup  we all like so well.”  Fine idea!  With  slow food and definitely use of local food being the prevailing thoughts for the day,  the hearty soup came together  for dinner at six.   Talk of old times, new times and the pleasure of dining on pheasant soup with a gracious, long-time friend at our table. . . .a meaningful way to  cherish the holiday moments.

A hearty soup serves well as the main dish for an evening meal.

Baby bella mushrooms. . . .beautiful!  Really, we made two pots of soup since not everyone agrees with me on that.

Only a few crumbs left from an amazing loaf of ‘peasant’, rhymes with ‘pheasant’, bread purchased at our local food coop, ‘The Granary’.

Anyone who makes bread this good deserves. . . . .a trail of crumbs to their door.

If you  have a pheasant in your freezer and need a reason to slow-cook I’m happy to share my recipe.  You are right. . . .it’s not diet food but perfect for a one night splurge!

 With my weakness for vintage linens, I wanted to show off my latest treasure from the thrift store.  All soft and broken in. . . .thanks ‘sister’, wherever you are.

Turkeys Pardoned at the RedBarn

Thanksgiving was once again so very. . . . .traditional!  The food, the football, walks outside, card games, putting the old cars away for the winter, the hunters getting in some last hours of sport and the grandchildren doing the variety of things that kids do to enjoy life.  Some days tradition is all we want and really, that is a huge thing to be thankful for.   No jobs lost, no family members facing illness, plenty of food on the table, lots of neighbors and friends who support our efforts in business.  There are plenty of little things that go wrong each day and many things to complain about, without looking very hard, no matter who you are or where you live, right?   Guess this is my note-to-self.

We felt so thankful for our family members that  chose to join us for the day that we went a little crazy and decided to  pardon the turkeys.   Not every turkey. . . .just the local ones that like to strut among the autumn tones of the Big Stone Lake bluffs and add to the rural Minnesota scenes that we love.  The one from ‘somewhere else’ was darn tasty!      Happy Thanksgiving Day and weekend to all!

Minnesota Apple Meets Wisconsin Cranberry

There is so much GOOD in this little gold dish-full of Chutney. . .I hardly know where to start!  IF there were nothing else, how about the color?   Luscious cranberry color comes to us from Mother Nature(by way of Wisconsin) with no food additives.

  • Beauty on the table for today, tomorrow or. . . .hey, an idea for holiday entertaining!  Pretty just settin’ there, don’t you think?
  • Time and materials. . . .very little time and very little cost .
  • Taste.   You want taste on your palate?  Life getting a little ho-hum, is it?  Honey, you can taste this!
  • Versatile.  Served on top of a brownie, as a compliment to pork-loin, spread inside of a turkey and provolone Panini?  You decide.
  • Health.  You know,’an apple a day keeps the doctor away’  and cranberries have been added to the list of healthy super-foods!
  • Make ahead.    Whip up a batch and store until you need it!

Ingredients:  Two large apples(peeled, cored and chopped fine), 1 cup fresh and lovely cranberries(it’s the season), 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of finely grated orange peel, 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider vinegar, 1/8 tsp of cloves, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.

Cooking it up:  Put all in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often throughout.  Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 15 minutes.  Take a little taste(don’t burn your mouth)to check that both apples and cranberries are cooked through to your liking.   Cover and chill.   You are going to be so very proud of yourself when you serve your Cranberry Apple Chutney and your guests ask for the recipe!  Life is short. . . .be sure to share!

Cranberry-Apple Chutney!

‘Thankful for Simple Graces’, got to love a happy- word reminder  mixed in with daily life!

You don’t USE your good silver?   Time’s a wastin’. . . .better start!

Buy up a few bags of the beautiful, Wisconsin cranberries and toss them in the freezer.  They are at their very freshest in your local grocery store right now!

RED, in all her glory!  I couldn’t resist adding a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Let me know if you TRY this apple experience, will you?