Category Archive: Reviews

A Dog Lover’s Giveaway

Our farmhouse dog Pete Townshend has been busy testing out several fantastic dog products here at 1840 Farm. Omega Fields, Goodwinol Products Corporation, and You Had Me at Woof have generously offered their products for our Dog Lover’s Giveaway.

Our Dog Lover’s Prize Package includes a one pound package of Omega Fields Omega Canine Shine Omega-3 Supplement, one 12 ounce package of Omega Fields Omega Nuggets Treat Supplement, one bottle of Goodwinol Shampoo, and a Hand Embellished collar from You Had Me at Woof’s Etsy Shop.  If you’re not familiar with these products, take a moment to learn about our experience using each of them at 1840 Farm:

Omega Fields Omega Canine Shine Omega-3 Supplement

Omega Fields Omega Nuggets Treat Supplement

Goodwinol Shampoo

Hand Embellished Dog Collar from You Had Me at Woof

I know that you will enjoy using these products as much as we have with Pete here at 1840 Farm.  Enter to win and we’ll randomly select one winner on November 27th.  Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/11/a-dog-lovers-giveaway/

You Had Me at Woof Hand Embellished Collar

One of my favorite Facebook pages to follow is Read to Roo.  I love seeing Roo’s smiling face in my newsfeed and sharing stories of his work with the members of The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook.  While I have never met Roo in person, I can’t help feeling a connection to him.  Earlier this year, I published a post entitled, “The Greatest Dog” which explained that connection along with the fantastic work that he does to help enable children to become confident readers.

So, when Roo’s page shared a photo of his new custom dog collar, I couldn’t wait to learn more about it.  One click and I was in You Had Me at Woof’s Etsy shop finding myself amazed at the wonderful collection of hand embellished collars they offered for sale.

I just knew that our farmhouse dog Pete Townshend needed his own collar from their dazzling assortment.  After looking through the selection, I found that it was difficult to choose just one design.  I liked so many of them!

Then I saw a Snoopy collar and fell in love.  I have a lifelong love of all things Snoopy and this collar was perfect for me and for Pete.  Now all that was left for me to do was wait for Pete’s collar to arrive in our mailbox.

When it did, I was eager to open the package and see the collar in person.  I was astounded at what was waiting inside.  Both the product and its packaging were unique and of the absolute highest quality.  With one collar, You Had Me at Woof had made me their newest fan.

The collar was packaged inside a stamped, reusable muslin bag.  The collar itself was sturdy and strong and  features a reflective safety clasp.  The embellishment detail is firmly attached and appears to be seamlessly integrated into the overall design of the collar and its appearance.  A beautiful ribbon detail with “You Had Me at Woof” was applied to the collar without compromising the look of the Snoopy collar.  Everything about the collar was beautiful.

The package wasn’t the only thing that impressed me.  I also discovered a hand stamped, custom made dog treat waiting inside the package, Pete was suddenly very excited about a collar arriving in the mail.  I fastened the adorable Snoopy collar onto Pete’s neck and rewarded him with the fresh biscuit.  Pete carefully carried the grain free pumpkin molasses dog treat to his favorite sunny spot in the window of our Parlor and ate every last crumb while sitting in the warm sunshine.

With the treat gone, he settled in and took a nap.  Snoopy may have preferred napping on top of his red dog house, but Pete’s spot is the window.  Bathed in sunshine, both Pete and Snoopy seemed perfectly content.

Pete has been wearing his adorable collar for several weeks now.  I still love it just as much now as the day it arrived.  I can’t help but smile when I see Snoopy and Woodstock toasting marshmallows over a campfire looking up at me when Pete stops by to see what I’m working on in the farmhouse kitchen.

You Had Me at Woof offers a wonderfully diverse selection of collars and accessories.  I hope that you will visit their Etsy shop to select something for the dog or dog lover in your life during this holiday season.   Their collection of holiday collars is amazing.  Pete just might need another collar to celebrate the season!

Pete has been a lucky dog lately, testing out several fantastic dog products here at 1840 Farm.  Now it’s your turn to be the lucky one.  Several companies including Omega Fields, Goodwinol Products Corporation, and You Had Me at Woof have generously offered to add their products to our Dog Lover’s Giveaway.  You can enter to win this fantastic prize package to share with your best friend or the dog lover on your holiday gift list.  Visit our post:  A Dog Lover’s Giveaway to learn more and enter to win.

Good luck to all who enter!


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. Samples of the products that I review are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

I have personally learned which products would be a good fit for our farm by reading reviews written by other homesteaders and bloggers. It is in that vein that I choose to review products here. It is my hope that my reviews will help readers to determine which products might be best suited for use in their homes and on their homesteads.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/11/you-had-me-at-woof-hand-embellished-collar/

Goodwinol Shampoo

Bathing our farm dog Pete can be an interesting experience.  He’s a good sport about it, standing in the tub as we go about his bath.  Yet, no matter how patient he remains or how successful he is at fighting the urge to shake soapy water all over the bathroom, I still seem to end up soaked and then find myself cleaning up the bathroom.  In short, the dog gets clean and the bathroom and I get dirty.

No matter the outcome, Pete Townshend still needs a bath. While he is a non-shedding breed, he is still a dog.  He loves to tromp through the sloppiest conditions that Mother Nature brings to his backyard.  He, on occasion, smells like a dog that desperately needs a bath.

So, when our sponsor Goodwinol Products offered to send me a sample of their Goodwinol Shampoo, I was happy to accept.  I already use several of their products here on the farm, and I was eager to try their shampoo the next time Pete was ready for a bath.  I didn’t have long to wait.   I armed myself with the bottle of shampoo, the dog in question, and a stack of towels and marched towards the bathtub.

As soon as I opened the bottle of Goodwinol Shampoo, I was greeted by the pleasing scent of cedar.  The aroma was light and a decidedly non-perfume scent.  While I can’t speak for Pete’s preference when it comes to the scent of his shampoo, I was happy to have a scented shampoo that didn’t leave him smelling like he had visited a perfume counter.

I do love the way the cedar oil lends a pleasing scent to the shampoo.  I also love that it serves a much more important function.  The cedar aroma that I enjoy is known to naturally repel ear mites, fleas, mosquitoes, and other bothersome pests.

The cedar oil is paired with Benzocaine to help alleviate the dry, itchy skin that so many dogs suffer from.  Lanolin is also included to help soothe and soften the skin.  Lanolin is derived from the wool of sheep and is an oily compound that is an effective moisturizer.

Goodwinol Shampoo is also approved for use on cats.  It is safe enough to be used for puppies and kittens.

Goodwinol Shampoo worked beautifully for Pete and for me.  Yes, I still ended up worse for the wear and wet from head to toe.  I didn’t mind as Pete ended up smelling fresh and clean.  That lovely cedar scent stayed with him for days and his coat was soft and shiny

Pete has been a lucky dog lately, testing out several fantastic dog products here at 1840 Farm.  Now it’s your turn to be the lucky one.  Several companies including Omega Fields, Goodwinol Products Corporation, and You Had Me at Woof have generously offered to add their products to our Dog Lover’s Giveaway.  You can enter to win this fantastic prize package to share with your best friend or the dog lover on your holiday gift list.  Visit our post:  A Dog Lover’s Giveaway to learn more and enter to win.

Good luck to all who enter!

 


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. Samples of the products that I review are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

I have personally learned which products would be a good fit for our farm by reading reviews written by other homesteaders and bloggers. It is in that vein that I choose to review products here. It is my hope that my reviews will help readers to determine which products might be best suited for use in their homes and on their homesteads.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/11/goodwinol-shampoo/

Omega Canine Shine

Our farmhouse dog Pete Townshend is known for eating anything in his path.  His habits of eating blueberries fresh from the garden and begging adoringly for popcorn, oatmeal, and carrots are well-known.  So, I wasn’t at all concerned when Omega Fields asked if he would like to try their Omega Canine Shine as a supplement to his daily diet.  I knew that he would happily enjoy this new addition to his meals.

Now that he has been enjoying this healthy supplement for a few months, he has developed a new habit.  This one has nothing to do with him actually ingesting food.  Instead, it has to do with him anticipating its arrival.

Every mealtime, he waits with great anticipation as I place his food in the bowl.  Then, as I reach for the bag of Omega Canine Shine, he follows my every movement.  As soon as I touch the package, he registers his approval in a very canine manner.  He begins licking his lips as if he is about to dine on a T-bone steak.

The first morning he reacted in this way, I thought it was mere coincidence.  Now that I have seen him repeat it at every meal for weeks, I know that it is much deeper than that.  Instead, he is truly giving me his nod of approval.

I am happy to see that he looks forward to the Canine Omega Shine that I add to his morning and evening meals.  I am even happier to know that I am increasing his intake of essential fatty acids and giving him something delicious to look forward to.  While he may not realize it, those essential fatty acids help to reduce shedding, combat bothersome itching, and maintain his good health.

Pete and I have enjoyed our time evaluating Omega Canine Shine.  His coat is shiny and healthy and he comes running at mealtime.  Now we both want to make sure that you have the same opportunity to share this supplement with your best friend.  Thanks to Omega Fields, you can do just that.

Pete has been a lucky dog lately, testing out several fantastic dog products here at 1840 Farm.  Now it’s your turn to be the lucky one.  Several companies including Omega Fields, Goodwinol Products Corporation, and You Had Me at Woof have generously offered to add their products to our Dog Lover’s Giveaway.  You can enter to win this fantastic prize package to share with your best friend or the dog lover on your holiday gift list.  Visit our post:  A Dog Lover’s Giveaway to learn more and enter to win.

Good luck to all who enter!


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. Samples of the products that I review are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

I have personally learned which products would be a good fit for our farm by reading reviews written by other homesteaders and bloggers. It is in that vein that I choose to review products here. It is my hope that my reviews will help readers to determine which products might be best suited for use in their homes and on their homesteads.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/11/omega-canine-shine/

Omega Nuggets

As a dog owner, I am always looking for ways to ensure the good health of our dog Pete.  Lucky for me, Pete is a willing participant.  He happily indulges my attempts at grooming and eagerly eats the healthy food that I select for him.

When it comes to the grooming, I would like to think that he tolerates my efforts because I am such a wonderful owner and he loves me so much.  Deep down, I believe that his motives might not be quite so pure.  In fact, he may be allowing me to give him a haircut because he knows what will happen when I am finished.  He knows that I have an Omega Fields’ Omega Nugget ready and waiting for him.

While Pete enjoys the flavor of these bite sized treats, I enjoy knowing that they deliver more than great taste.  These Omega-3 treat supplements contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants in a delicious treat perfectly sized for use as a training reward.

Omega Nuggets are made using human grade ingredients.  They contain wholesome ingredients including ground flaxseed, barley, and molasses.  These treats promote healthy skin and coat.and are all natural and don’t contain any artificial preservatives.

I’m not sure if Pete cares about the ingredients in the treats that he loves so much, but I do.  I’m happy that I can provide him with the flavor he loves and the nutrition he needs with Omega Nuggets.  We both want to make sure that you have the same opportunity to share this flavorful and healthy treat with your best friend.  Thanks to Omega Fields, you can do just that

Pete has been a lucky dog lately, testing out several fantastic dog products here at 1840 Farm.  Now it’s your turn to be the lucky one.  Several companies including Omega Fields, Goodwinol Products Corporation, and You Had Me at Woof have generously offered to add their products to our Dog Lover’s Giveaway.  You can enter to win this fantastic prize package to share with your best friend or the dog lover on your holiday gift list.  Visit our post:  A Dog Lover's Giveaway to learn more and enter to win.

Good luck to all who enter!

.


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm.  Samples of the products that I review are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance.  The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided.  Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

I have personally learned which products would be a good fit for our farm by reading reviews written by other homesteaders and bloggers.  It is in that vein that I choose to review products here.  It is my hope that my reviews will help readers to determine which products might be best suited for use in their homes and on their homesteads.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed.  Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed.  It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life.  It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/11/omega-nuggets/

1840 Farm and The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour

When Lisa Steele from Fresh Eggs Daily asked me if I would like to participate in The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour for her new book, Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens… Naturally, I didn’t have to think twice.  Instead, I jumped at the chance to receive a copy of the book to review along with an autographed copy to give away to one of our lucky readers.

Lisa has been a trusted friend and mentor for well over a year.  I have been following the progress of her work on this book since it became a reality last year.  I have often joked with her that I was as excited as she was to finally see her book in person!

Last week, these beautiful books were waiting for me in our mailbox.  From the moment I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to read it from start to finish.  As I read, I recognized the hallmark style that I have come to expect from Fresh Eggs Daily.  The whole book was warm in tone and presented the information in an encouraging manner.

The information was extensive, covering a range of topics from planning your first chicken coop, natural strategies for the daily maintenance of your flock and discouraging pests of all kinds.  Common chicken keeping challenges such as molting, coop cleaning, and potentially dangerous foods and plants are also covered in detail.

If you’re a Fresh Eggs Daily fan like I am, then you’re already familiar with their collection of posts containing tips and suggestions for raising and tending your flock naturally.  I am constantly learning new techniques from their blog and Facebook page and sharing their content on our own page.

Now Lisa’s natural chicken keeping knowledge has been assembled into a beautiful book. Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally will teach you how to implement effective and simple strategies like drying herbs fresh from your garden for use all year long.  Lisa offers common sense tips for helping prepare your flock for Mother Nature’s extremes and handling inevitable chicken keeping challenges.  She also includes several recipes for natural concoctions and several DIY projects including creating your own brooder.  This book covers such a wide variety of topics that it is sure to be your go to chicken keeping resource for years to come.

I wish that I had been able to add Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally to my bookshelf when I was beginning my journey as a chicken keeper.  Within the pages of this book, I would have found the information I needed to ensure that our first flock had the very best chance of thriving here on our farm.

Luckily, I can add it to my chicken keeper’s library now and so can you.  Whether you are in the beginning stages of planning to become a chicken keeper, tending to your first chicks, or have already earned your chicken keeping stripes, I know that you will enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

To make this giveaway even more exciting, I’m adding one of our 1840 Farm handmade fabric coiled egg baskets to the prize pack.  While all of our baskets are unique, this one is a true original.  It was designed in the color scheme of Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally and features fabrics in Wedgewood blue, chocolate brown, tan, and garnet red with butter yellow stitching.

If you already follow 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook, then you have already earned a few entries.  Simply click on the buttons below to claim them.  While you’re at it, you can claim a few more entries and increase your odds of winning.

In fact, I’d love to hear where you are in your chicken keeping journey in a comment below and grant you another entry.  I ‘ll go first and share that we have been keeping chickens for three years.  Now it’s your turn to share:  tell me about your chicken keeping experience.  I can’t wait to read all about it!

After you have claimed all of your entries in our giveaway, visit the other stops on The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour by clicking on the links below.  You can read other chicken keeper’s reviews and enter their giveaways to increase your chance of winning your own copy of Fresh Eggs Daily:  Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


Visit all the other stops along the Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour to read some more great reviews and to enter to win a copy!

Week One

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/10/1840-farm-and-the-fresh-eggs-daily-blog-tour/

Yogurt Parfaits with Omega Fields’ Simply Omega-3 *GIVEAWAY*

Every day I find myself preparing breakfast for the children gathered around our farmhouse table.  I try to balance great flavor with solid nutrition when serving them the first meal of the day.  It isn’t always easy.  So many breakfast options, especially those aimed at children, provide one while sacrificing the other.

I decided to focus on a healthy product that both of my children love:  yogurt.  I was confident that I would be able to develop a recipe that would delight their taste buds and deliver the nutrition they needed to start their day off right.

I started out simply by adding fresh fruit to plain yogurt.  We had a record-breaking crop of red and blackcap raspberries this summer, so I layered yogurt with fresh berries in small jelly canning jars with reusable plastic lids.  I prepared them the night before and was able to serve them in moments when it was time for breakfast the next morning.

The parfaits were a hit, but they seemed to be lacking a little texture.  I had seen numerous recipes on blogs and Pinterest boards that combined yogurt and raw oats.  I always have old fashioned oats in the pantry, so I added a bit to the yogurt before layering it in the jars one evening.

The next morning, I discovered that the oats had softened and the mixture had taken on an almost pudding like consistency.  It was thick and delicious, with just a hint of the texture I had been looking for.  By the end of the first week, everyone in the house had decided that these yogurt parfaits were our new favorite breakfast dish.

Around the time that I found myself making these parfaits every day, I received a new product to evaluate here at 1840 Farm.  As luck would have it, this new product was delicious, nutritious, and quite possible the perfect topping for our yogurt breakfast parfaits.

Omega Fields sent me a collection of products including a bag of their Simply Omega-3 product to evaluate in preparation for a giveaway for the members of The 1840 Farm Community.  The morning after they arrived, I added a teaspoon of the Simply Omega-3 to the top of my parfait.  It added a lovely texture and flavor to my parfait.  It had made it even more delicious.

I wasn’t the only one who loved the flavor and texture that the ground flaxseed added to our parfaits.  I loved being able to sprinkle a little on my children’s breakfast knowing that they loved the taste and that it also delivered a healthy dose of fiber and Omega-3 in an all natural formula without any added sweeteners.

Several months have passed since I first made a yogurt parfait with the hopes that my children would eat it for breakfast.  Since then, they have requested them every morning.  My husband and I have followed their lead, enjoying them every morning as we prepare to start our day.  We have also been enjoying Simply Omega-3 in our favorite homemade bread recipe for Farmhouse Country Loaf.

Now you can enter to win a bag of Simply Omega-3.  Two lucky winners will be randomly selected and sent a bag of Simply Omega-3 courtesy of Omega Fields.  Enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below the recipe.  The winners will be randomly selected on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 and notified via Email.  Good luck to all who enter!

This is a sponsored giveaway. I was provided a complimentary bag of Omega Fields Simply Omega-3 to use here at 1840 Farm.  It was provided in order to allow me to evaluate the product and share my personal experience in this post  The opinions shared are completely my own and were not influenced in any way by the offer of complimentary product, nor did my receipt of product guarantee a positive review.   Any opinions shared in this post are based entirely on my experience using the product.

Yogurt Parfait with Simply Omega-3
serves 2

This recipe can be adjusted to include your family’s favorite yogurt and topping options.  I have used plain and vanilla whole milk organic yogurt and reduced fat yogurt and a variety of berries both fresh and frozen depending on what I have on hand.  All were equally delicious.

1 cup (8 ounces) yogurt
1/2 cup (40 grams) old-fashioned oats
berries or topping of your choice
Simply Omega-3 to taste

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and oats.  Stir to fully combine.  Spoon 1/4 cup (2 ounces) into the bottom of a container with a lid.  Add berries and top with another equal portion of the yogurt mixture.  Top with more berries before covering and refrigerating overnight.  Add Simply Omega-3 to taste and serve immediately.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post was featured in The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/09/yogurt-parfait-with-omega-fields-simply-omega-3/

1840 Farm and The Grain Mill Wagon Challenge

Earlier this year, I was invited to take part in the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge.  As a participant, I would use the WonderMill they supplied me with to mill my own flours and meals here at 1840 Farm.  Then I would share a collection of recipes that incorporated the freshly milled grains.

I will admit to being skeptical at first. It was hard for me to believe that milling our own fresh flour would be as simple as using a food processor or other type of straightforward kitchen appliance. I was also concerned that the resulting flour would be too heavy and that it would adversely affect the texture of our favorite recipes. For years, I had been using store bought wheat flours and trying my best to balance flavor and texture with the health benefits of whole grain flour.

I had produced many baked goods that were whole grain or whole wheat that had given me the basis for this concern. Those breads and pastries were often heavy and dense. Some had a sharp, biting flavor because the flour had been stored incorrectly long before I purchased it and brought it home.

Yet I was very interested in learning more about The WonderMill and trying my hand at producing our own freshly milled flour.  I wanted to try for myself and see if fresh flour was any different from the varieties I had purchased at my local grocery store and natural grocer.

It didn’t take long to convince me that freshly milled flour is superior in every way possible.  It also didn’t take long for me to fall in love with The WonderMill.  I cannot compare it to other mills as it is the only one I have ever used.  I can tell you that The WonderMill is so simple to use that it only requires setting it on the counter, plugging it in, and flipping a switch.  That’s it.

In minutes, the mill powers through an entire hopper of wheat berries or corn kernels and produces beautiful flours and meals from fine pastry flour to coarse meal.  I have been happily milling our own flour and cornmeal during this challenge and I don’t see myself ever returning to purchasing the store bought variety ever again.

By using this mill, I have been able to produce organic, non-GMO flour to use in the food that I prepare for my family.  I like knowing what I’m grinding and how long it has been stored.  There’s immense satisfaction in taking my scratch cooking that extra step and milling fresh flour to use in our recipes.

My time in The Grain Mill Wagon Challenge is drawing to a close.  You can see my collection of recipes by following the links below to visit The Grain Mill Wagon blog.  I intend to keep following their blog and hope that you will too.  There’s always something delicious being shared and a few of my blogging friends are just gearing up to begin their challenge.  I can’t wait to read all about their experience!

You can learn more about The WonderMill by visiting their website, or following them on Facebook, Google+Pinterest, and You Tube.  

Oven Baked Polenta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Whole Grain Waffles

Rustic Flatbread

Summer Berry Pie

Whole Grain Smoked Cheddar Gougères

 


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/08/1840-farm-and-the-grain-mill-wagon-challenge/

Fennel Friday – Smoked Cheddar Gougères with Fennel Pollen

Gougères are a favorite here at 1840 Farm.  We have been enjoying them for years.  A holiday or special occasion almost always includes a batch of gougères served at our family table.

I’m a tinkerer by nature, constantly adjusting recipes ever so slightly.  Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.  Once, I even attempted to modify our recipe for gougères.   The whole family was disappointed with that batch.  They just seemed to be missing something.  Sometimes, making a recipe different doesn’t make it better.

I learned my lesson, at least with this recipe.  Since that fateful day, I have not made even the slightest change to our gougères.  Well, that is until last week.  This time, I was smarter about it.

I didn’t make a change to the cheese in the gougères or in the method I used to make them.  Instead, I made them as I always did and then embellished them with a little something special that arrived in the mail a few days earlier.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in the Fennel Friday Cooking Club by The Hungry Goddess.  It’s not every day that a Goddess invites you to have fun in the kitchen playing with delicious ingredients.  I couldn’t possibly say no, so I didn’t.

Instead, I happily accepted the invitation and joined Fennel Friday.  A few days later, my package of ingredients from Pollen Ranch arrived.  From the moment I opened the package, I was taken with the delicious aroma emanating from the tins contained inside.

I couldn’t wait to try the fennel pollen.  Gougères seemed like the perfect place to start.  A tiny sprinkle of fennel pollen was added to the top of each mound of dough before they were transferred to the oven.

I only added the fennel pollen to half of the batch.  I really had learned my lesson.  I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to explain to my family why I had done the unthinkable and tried to tinker with our gougère recipe again.

As the gougères baked in the oven, the farmhouse kitchen began to have the most amazing aroma.  It was equal parts smoked cheddar and fennel. It was intoxicating.

A few minutes later, the gougères were ready to remove from the oven.  I always find it difficult to wait as they cool.  I know that they will have a deeper flavor when room temperature, but they smell so delicious that it seems torturous to wait even a minute.

I was rewarded for waiting.  The first bite made me a believer in the ability of fennel pollen to improve an already fantastic recipe.  The pollen added a wonderful herbal punch to the gougères without masking their earthy, rich flavor.

I waited anxiously as my family gave them a try.  Everyone agreed.  The fennel pollen was a nice addition to our gougères.  As we enjoyed them, we discussed what other recipes we could add it to.

I can imagine a whole host of recipes that could be garnished with a dusting of fennel pollen.  I know that my tinkering instinct will be indulged as I try a few of them in the coming weeks.  Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing them with you right here.

To make sure that you don’t miss any of our delicious recipes, sign up to receive our posts via Email and become a member of The 1840 Farm Online Community on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Stay tuned!

Smoked Cheddar Gougères
makes 60 one inch puffs

8 oz Whole Milk

4 oz Butter
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup Flour
4 large eggs
4 oz Sharp Cheddar, grated
2 oz Smoked Cheddar, grated
Pollen Ranch Fennel Pollen

Position the racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper. Measure the flour into a small bowl. Crack all of the eggs into a bowl and set aside until they are needed. Grate the two cheeses and gently combine them.

Combine milk, butter, and salt in a medium sized pot over high heat. Monitor the mixture closely, stirring often, to avoid scorching. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and add the flour in one addition. Stir rapidly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Continue to stir continuously for two minutes until the dough is completely smooth and leaves a film on the bottom of the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for five minutes.

Once the five minutes have elapsed, add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. With the addition of each egg, the dough will break. This is normal; rest assured that the dough will be perfectly smooth by the time the fourth egg is incorporated. Once the eggs have all been added, stir in the grated cheese until it is evenly distributed.

Using a spoon or a Tablespoon sized cookie scoop, drop the dough by rounded Tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets leaving 1 inch of space between each gougère. Sprinkle a pinch of fennel pollen on top of each mound of dough.  Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 20 – 28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.

The gougères will be done when they become golden brown in color and have a puffed appearance with a dry exterior. Remove the gougères from the oven and place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool. Gougères can be served warm or at room temperature.

Note: Rounded Tablespoons of dough can be frozen individually on a tray lined with freezer paper. Once they are completely frozen, store the gougères in a freezer bag until ready to use. To bake, simply place frozen gougères on a prepared baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 – 36 minutes.

This post is included in the Fennel Friday Cooking Club on Fennel Friday and The Hungry Goddess

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/05/fennel-friday-smoked-cheddar-gougeres-with-fennel-pollen/

Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder Giveaway

Raising baby chicks is a wonderful experience.  Here at 1840 Farm, we have counted ourselves lucky enough to enjoy the process twice.  Each time, we were captivated by the sight of the tiny birds in our brooder.  We couldn’t help gathering in our barn to watch the little, fluffy birds mill about.

Both of our brooding experiences were positive.  The day old chicks matured into young pullets, moved into their coops, and went on to become beautiful, egg laying hens.  The major difference in our brooding experiences was our use of my favorite piece of brooding equipment:  The Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder.

I can’t say enough about the quality and effectiveness of the EcoGlow.  The EcoGlow provides the warm environment that chicks require without bringing the danger of a brooder or coop fire to your farm or homestead.  Instead of worrying about the brooder’s temperature or our safety, we could simply enjoy the experience of raising our chicks, content in the knowledge that all was well.

Now you can do the same.  Our sponsor, Brinsea Products has generously provided a Brinsea EcoGlow 20 Chick Brooder for this giveaway.  We’re proud to share Brinsea and their line of high quality line of products with our readers.  We use Brinsea products here at 1840 Farm and believe that they are the best products on the market.

I know that you will be just as happy with the Brinsea EcoGlow as I am.  You can learn more about the EcoGlow by reading my posts at Community Chickens detailing our experience using it here at 1840 Farm.  But first, take a moment and enter the giveaway to win your own EcoGlow Brooder.  Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/05/brinsea-ecoglow-brooder-giveaway/

South Hill Designs by LeAnn Gratton

I love learning more about the members of The 1840 Farm Community.  I enjoy reading about their experiences as much as I love to share mine.  A few months ago, I had the chance to learn more about LeAnn and the beautiful lockets that she offers through her business South Hill Designs by LeAnn Gratton.

I browsed her online shop and found an amazing collection of lockets, chains, and charms.  My daughter and I continued to browse and later created our own custom locket.  Each charm we selected had a special meaning from the small dog that reminded us of our Miniature Schnauzer Pete to the music note that represents our shared love of music.

When LeAnn offered me the opportunity to host a giveaway for my readers, I didn’t hesitate.  Instead, I jumped at the chance for one of you to win a $50.00 credit to build your own custom locket.  As luck would have it, the winner will have just enough time to create their locket in time for Mother’s Day

I hope that you will take a moment and visit South Hill Designs by LeAnn Gratton’s online shop and Facebook page.  I know that you will enjoy her collection of beautiful jewelry as much as I did.  The winner will be randomly selected and announced in an 1840 Farm blog post and on our Facebook page.  Best of luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/04/south-hill-designs-by-leann-gratton/

Moxy Restaurant – Portsmouth, New Hampshire

When I am asked what I write about, I often find myself saying, “I live and write at the intersection of family, food, and farming.”  More often than not, the food I am writing about is of the homemade and homegrown variety.  When I do venture down the long drive at 1840 Farm to have a meal out, my destination tends to be predictable.

There are a few local spots that I love to frequent when I do leave the farm.  It’s no coincidence that these establishments share a few common traits.  They are locally owned and locally run.  Their atmosphere is friendly and inviting.  They proudly use local ingredients and celebrate the work of local farmers just like me.

If pressed to select my favorite of these spots, I wouldn’t need much time for deliberation.  Without a doubt, that place is Moxy in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  I love everything about Moxy, not the least of which is the photo of Julia Child, my culinary idol, hanging on the wall nearest the kitchen.

The food at Moxy is billed as “Modern American Tapas.  I concur and would like to add: inventive, creative, and delicious to my description.  The menu is ever evolving, updated to feature the day’s best farm raised goods produced in our area.  I have eaten at Moxy innumerable times since they opened, yet I can honestly say that I haven’t come across one dish that didn’t delight me from start to finish.

The ambiance at Moxy is relaxed, yet lively.  Upon entering the front door, I know that Jillyin will greet us with a warm welcome before we have the opportunity to do the same.  There are plenty of wonderful tables on both the first and second floor, but I have never sat at one of them.  Instead, we always gravitate to the corner seats along the bar where James skillfully holds court, treating each patron as if they were a welcome visitor in his own home.

There always seems to be something wonderful in the works behind the counter at Moxy’s open kitchen.  That’s where the magic happens.  It’s the place where Chef Matt Louis and his staff achieve so perfectly what very few restaurants can. Just as the restaurant’s name and wall decor suggests, there is an element of bold fearlessness in each dish they create.

Each menu item celebrates the best of local ingredients and elevates each component in a way that I might never have imagined.  Yet after tasting the first bite, I am left to wonder why I hadn’t ever thought to combine the flavors and textures that work so beautifully and naturally together on the plate.

The cocktails at Moxy are every bit as inventive and delicious as the cuisine.  They feature local and seasonal ingredients and change regularly.  On a recent visit, the drink menu included house made sangria, a Brown Derby made with locally produced honey, and a gin cocktail garnished with a beautiful, paper-thin slice of a watermelon radish grown at a local farm.

During my last visit at Moxy something amazing happened.  Fresh eggs from 1840 Farm made their first appearance in the kitchen.  They were destined to be the star in one of my favorite dishes on the menu.  It should come as no surprise that this dish is listed on the menu under the heading “the farmer told me to”.  It is here that local ingredients from family farms just like mine are given their moment in the sun.

This isn’t a brilliant stroke of marketing.  It’s a deeply held philosophy supported and reinforced with every choice made at Moxy.  How else could you explain adorning the walls with handmade wooden plaques proudly bearing the names of the local farms whose products are celebrated on the plate and in the glass?

I’m not the only one who has taken notice of Moxy’s greatness or Chef Owner Matt LouisFood and Wine Magazine recently included him in the elite group of 100 chefs from across the country that are in the running for the title of “The People’s Best New Chef“.

The first round of voting will narrow the 100 chefs down to 10 finalists. Another round of votes will be cast to determine the chef who will be named The People’s Best New Chef.  I have read the biographies of these chefs, learning more about their restaurants, signature dishes, and inspiration for becoming a chef.

Their stories are as varied as their restaurants.  For someone who loves food as much as I do, it makes for fantastic reading.  I am certain that their restaurants are amazing and that they are all deserving of this award.

I can’t give you my personal opinion of the other 99 restaurants and chefs being considered for this prestigious award.  I can only share my vote with you.  I proudly cast my vote for Matt Louis, hoping that many others would do the same.

I am glad to see that Moxy, Matt, and everyone who makes it such a wonderful place to visit are getting the national recognition they deserve.  I am sure that a whole new flood of patrons will soon walk through their front door and experience the best that they have to offer.  I only hope that I can still find space at the bar the next time I am lucky enough to visit and that 1840 Farm eggs will be on the menu.

To learn more about the Best New Chef contestants, visit Food and Wine Magazine.  While you’re there, cast a vote for your favorite chef, or perhaps mine if you’re so inclined.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/03/moxy-restaurant-portsmouth-new-hampshire/

Product Review: Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder

Read my latest post on the Community Chickens  forum from the publishers of Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine:

Product Review:  Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder (click to continue)


Click to continue

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/07/product-review-brinsea-ecoglow-brooder/

OXO Food Scale Winner

Congratulations to Steve from Kempner, Texas!  He was randomly chosen as the winner of the OXO Food Scale with Pull Out Display.  The winning entry was chosen by Random.org on Saturday morning.  Over sixty entries were received in the drawing and Steve was lucky number 16.

I hope that Steve enjoys using the OXO Food Scale as much as I enjoyed hosting this giveaway.  Follow 1840 Farm for more contests, giveaways, and product reviews this summer.  You could be the next lucky winner!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/04/oxo-food-scale-winner/

Make Friday the 13th Your Lucky Day!

There are only three days left to enter the drawing to win an OXO 5 Pound Scale with Pull Out Display.   As the drawing will be held on Friday the 13th, I thought that I would give everyone the opportunity to increase their odds of winning.  Who wouldn’t like to win a fantastic food scale and make Friday the 13th their lucky day?

In order to earn up to three additional entries, you can:

  1. Like 1840 Farm on Facebook.   This is the best way to stay connected with 1840 Farm.  You can read our daily updates and learn what the chickens, goats, and farmers are up to.  In a few short weeks, our newest baby chicks will arrive and there will be an unending supply of adorable baby chick photos to share!  Once you have pressed the “Like” button, simply return here to leave a comment stating that you are following 1840 Farm on Facebook.  Already follow us on Facebook?  No problem, just leave a comment below that you already follow 1840 Farm on Facebook.  Either way, you’ll be given an extra entry into the drawing.
  2. Follow 1840 Farm on Twitter .  If you prefer Twitter to Facebook, you can follow 1840 Farm‘s activities there.  Once you have clicked the “Follow” button, leave a comment to let me know that you follow 1840 Farm on Twitter.  Again, if you already follow us on Twitter, simply leave a comment telling me so and you will receive an additional entry in the drawing.
  3. Subscribe to 1840 Farm to receive updates when a new post is added to the blog.  Click on the “Subscribe” button on the top right corner of this page and choose your preferred method of receiving updates.  Leave a comment below stating that you have subscribed to the blog and you will receive an extra entry into the drawing.  If you already receive blog updates, leave that information in a comment below and you will still receive the additional entry.

Of course, you are not required to follow 1840 Farm on Facebook, Twitter, or through a blog subscription in order to win the drawing for the OXO food scale.  If you prefer, you can simply leave your comment on the original post announcing the giveaway and wait to see if Friday the 13th is your lucky day!

Entries will be accepted until midnight on Friday.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 14, 2012.  Good luck to all who enter!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/04/make-friday-the-13th-your-lucky-day/

OXO Five Pound Food Scale with Pull-Out Display Giveaway

If I had to choose just one piece of kitchen equipment that I couldn’t live without, it would undoubtedly be my food scale.  I can’t bake without it.  I can’t serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner without it.  When my family travels, it comes along for the ride.  So far, I’ve traveled to Manhattan, Washington DC, and Boston all with a food scale in tow.

Before you get the wrong idea and assume that I must be an incredible control freak, the reason my food scale is never out of reach is much simpler than that.  One of the most important people in my world lives with Type 1 Diabetes.  I guess that I could try to match insulin to the precise amount of carbohydrates my daughter eats every day without it, but I’d rather not.  Instead, I use a food scale to give me the data I need to transform guessing into a mathematical formula with more predictable results.

Truth be told, I did use a food scale before my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  Nearly a decade ago, I purchased Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan and Dessert Circus at Home by Jacques Torres within a month of each other.  After reading about the importance of weighing the dry ingredients, particularly flour, when baking, I decided to give it a try.  I couldn’t believe what a difference it made.

Suddenly, I could produce consistent results when baking bread, cakes, and cookies.  I wanted to believe that I had discovered a deep, dark secret known only to renowned pastry chefs, but it was too simple.  At first, I found it hard to believe that weighing the ingredients instead of using measuring cups could make such a marked difference in the consistency and texture of my baked goods.  I had grown up thinking that measuring cups were the only tool necessary for accurate measuring.  Now my use of a food scale was turning that belief on its head.

Today, my food scale and calculator take center stage on the kitchen counter at 1840 Farm.  I can bake and cook without the calculator if need be.  It isn’t always easy once I’m adding the carbohydrate and fiber content of a dozen or more ingredients to find the total number of net carbohydrates in a recipe.  Next comes the task of determining the carbohydrate ratio which requires the yield in grams of the recipe.

Here’s where the scale comes in.  By weighing the finished recipe, I can divide the total number of net carbohydrates by the yield in grams and the result is the recipe’s carbohydrate factor.  Now I can attempt to do the impossible and perfectly match an insulin dose to a serving of the finished recipe.  Now wasn’t that easy?  Maybe not, but it sure is easier if you have a good food scale handy.

When I began thinking about this post, I tried to put into words just how important my food scale is to daily life here at 1840 Farm.  I considered trying to fully explain the difficulty of matching insulin to activity and the type and amount of carbohydrates eaten in a day.  I thought of simply trying to illustrate how useful a food scale can be to achieving baking success.  Then I realized that it only mattered that I use my food scale every day.  The reason I use it is immaterial.

In case you wonder just how much I could possibly use a food scale on a typical day in the 1840 Farm kitchen, I decided to keep track for twenty-four hours.  It wasn’t long before even I was shocked at just how often I was using a scale.  Weighing everything has become such a common practice, that I had forgotten how often I put something on the scale and wait for the display to give me the information I need.

Here’s what a day in the life of the kitchen scale at 1840 Farm looked like:

     

7:30 am Weighed the ingredients to make the morning oatmeal for the heritage hens in our coop
8:25 am Weighed the fresh goat’s milk I had just collected for the day
9:15 am Weighed kiwi fruit for my daughter’s breakfast plate
10:35 am Weighed the ingredients to make a fresh pie for my father’s birthday
12:35 pm Weighed leftover quinoa for my daughter’s lunch
1:15 pm Weighed ingredients for a triple batch of our favorite homemade Italian bread
2:35 pm Weighed ingredients for a batch of raspberry crumble bars
3:20 pm Weighed fresh goat’s milk to make quark to be eaten with freshly baked Italian bread
4:00 pm Weighed the ingredients to make mushroom and spinach quiche for dinner
4:30 pm Weighed fresh Italian bread for my daughter’s afternoon snack
4:45 pm Weighed the fresh eggs collected from our coop
6:00 pm Weighed a serving of quiche for my daughter’s dinner plate
8:35 pm Weighed a serving of raspberry crumble bars for my daughter’s bedtime snack

I was lucky enough to be selected to receive a new OXO 5 pound food scale with pull out display to evaluate in the 1840 Farm kitchen and one to give away to a lucky reader.  I put the OXO food scale to work as  soon as the package arrived on my front porch.  Right out of the box, I was impressed with its small footprint.  It took up less counter space than my previous food scale and had a sleek appearance.  The shape of the scale was also a plus.  It was rectangular in shape with a flat surface for holding the item to be weighed.  So many food scales offer a relatively small surface for supporting a bowl or plate.  In fact, my last scale was notorious for sending a meal hurtling toward the counter as it was being weighed.  It’s surface was too small and plates and bowls had to perform a balancing act in order to be weighed.  I looked forward to having the ability to set something firmly on top of the OXO food scale’s platform and not having to worry if it would soon come crashing down around me.

The display on the OXO scale is easy to read and large enough to see from a comfortable distance.  In addition to displaying the weight of the item on the scale’s platform, this food scale also has a capacity indicator.  If you have ever used a food scale, you know immediately just how useful this feature could be.

I can’t begin the count the number of times I have been weighing ingredients for a recipe only to have the scale max out without warning and refuse to weigh my ingredients.  This leaves me in the uncomfortable position of having to guess how much of the last ingredient I had added to the bowl before the scale hit its maximum weighing capacity.  Now I could simply check the status indicator and have fair warning if the scale was approaching its limit before my ability to accurately weigh the ingredients was at risk.

The buttons on the OXO scale are easy to operate and, more importantly, easy to clean as they are fully enclosed.  They won’t be collecting crumbs like the external buttons on my last food scale always did.  As much as I use my food scale, being able to easily and effectively clean the surface is important.  Small crumbs, particles of flour, and spilled liquids commonly come in contact with the scale.  Due to the flat surface  and compact design of the OXO scale, I could wipe its entire surface clean quickly and easily.

The feature that truly sets this scale apart from every other model I have used is also the one I have used most often.  The pull out display has the ability to revolutionize the way in which I can use our food scale.  So often, when  a dinner plate is perched atop a standard food scale, the display is obstructed to the point of being indecipherable.  This inevitably leads me to search for a small bowl to perch the plate on in order for me to accurately read the weight on the display.  It also leads me to serve my daughter a dinner grown cold while I worked to build a Rube Goldberg contraption to simply calculate her dinner’s carbohydrate content.

I am happy to say that during the last month, I have not had to endure this scenario and neither has my daughter.  The OXO food scale features a pull out display which allows the digital display to be moved up to 2.5 inches away from the scale’s weighing platform.  Even when the largest of our dinner plates was set atop the scale, I could easily and swiftly extend the display and read the resulting weight.  While this seems like such a simple modification to a kitchen food scale, it makes all the difference in the world.  After using this scale, I can’t believe how revolutionary this one feature has proven to be.  I also can’t believe that in an age where smartphones can practically drive your car for you, someone hadn’t thought of making this change before.

Four weeks into my love affair with this scale, I can’t think of anything that I would change.  It works reliably and easily.  Its unique pull out display greatly improves my ability to utilize it in my kitchen.  Gone is the need to attempt to invent new ways to perch my items high above the display as I have in the past.  The capacity indicator allows me to weigh ingredients without wondering if I’m about to push it over the edge and therefore, send myself right over the edge with it.

If it were to disappear tomorrow, I would head directly to the nearest store carrying this scale and promptly purchase another one.  For a person who intentionally tries to stay away from one use gadgets or tools that rarely live up to their promises and my expectations, I am sold on the OXO 5 pound food scale with pull out display.  It’s a winner.

Would you like to be an OXO 5 pound food scale winner?  If so, leave a comment on this post.  Each reader who leaves a comment will be entered once in the drawing to win a new OXO Good Grips 5 pound food scale with pull-out display.

One lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified by Email.  I will also announce the winner on the 1840 Farm Facebook page.  I will accept entries until midnight on Friday the 13th of April.  It’s true that Friday the 13th isn’t often thought of as a day filled with good luck, but I think we should decide to redefine its usual connotation for the better just as OXO has re-imagined the kitchen scale for the better of those of us who use it.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/04/oxo-five-pound-food-scale-with-pull-out-display-giveaway/

The Bucolic Plague

I’ve just finished reading The Bucolic Plague by Josh-Kilmer Purcell.  I was sorry to turn the last page.  I enjoyed it too much.  I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions.  I may need a moment to mourn the loss of a great read.  I find myself lonely without the company of Josh’s acerbic wit.

What will I do now?   There are no more anecdotes about how hard it can be to live with another human being 24 hours a day.  No more funny Martha moments.   There are no more stories that I can so closely relate to involving the insanity of living in a house that was built before your great-great-grandfather was born.

I have no intention of ruining any of the fun for you should you choose to read it yourself.  That would be rude.  Instead, I’ll encourage you to pick up a copy, have a laugh, and think of me when you read about how cold they kept the Beekman mansion during their first winter there.

In my opinion, this book delivered exactly what I hoped it would:  a witty read that kept me wanting more, laughing out loud while I read along.  No, it didn’t help me to determine the meaning of life.  I was truly sorry to reach the last page.  Having read it probably won’t make me a better wife or mother.  Or will it?  Maybe it will in the sense that I enjoyed it so much that I will be in a better mood.  Now if I could just figure out a way to clear the two feet of snow off of my garden.  Oh well, Josh lives in New York.  At least I have company.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2011/02/the-bucolic-plague/

Duckfat

 
Duckfat-Portland, Maine

Duckfat.  Portland, Maine.  For anyone who has eaten at Duckfat, I could stop right now and allow them a moment of silence to recall their last meal there.  It would be a happy moment.  How do I know?  Simple.  I’ve eaten there countless times and never had a meal short of extraordinary.  It always makes the top of my list when company comes to town.  Which is why I found myself there two days ago with my husband and a friend that we hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. 

So, what’s the big deal about a sandwich and french fry joint?  First, there are the frites.  I am not a big french fry eater.  I don’t crave them as some people do.  I don’t have to eat them if they come with my entrée.  Most of the time, I find them to be uninspired and I don’t have much trouble leaving them on the plate.  But these are frites we’re talking about.  Frites are a lot of things, but french fries aren’t one of them. 

Duckfat’s frites are in fact fried in duck fat.  Hence the name.  I don’t know if the duck fat is what pushes the taste of  these frites through the stratosphere, but I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t hurt.  The frites are served in a paper cone and come with a bevy of house made dipping sauces.  I can’t say that I have tried all of them, but I have yet to find one that isn’t delicious.

If you can stop eating frites long enough to try one of their Panini sandwiches, you won’t be sorry.  The sandwiches run the gamut from classics like peanut butter and jelly to new twists like the Comfy Cozy that pairs peanut butter, apple jelly, and thick cut bacon.  As an added bonus, they are all made on bread straight from Portland’s own Standard Baking Company.  In my opinion, the best bread on earth.  Our friend was so happy with his Comfy Cozy that he immediately took this photo and posted it.  Needless to say, it didn’t take long for people to start clicking the “like” button.

Duckfat also offers some of the thickest milkshakes I have ever had the pleasure of slurping through a straw.  That being said, I haven’t had one since my first visit.  Not because it wasn’t absolutely over the moon delicious.  My reason was simple, no milkshake meant more room for frites.  Sometimes a girl is forced to make difficult decisions.

The dining room at Duckfat is small and friendly.  Space is limited, so don’t be surprised if you find a line out the door as prospective diners wait for a table to open up.  There are two patio tables directly outside, but those seem to fill up as quickly as the dining room.  My preference is to sit at one of the bar stools that lines the wall opposite the kitchen.  While I wait for my frites I can play with the magnetic poetry pieces that line the wall.  It all adds up to an enjoyable, casual environment.

Chalk another dining victory up to Duckfat.  When the three of us left, we were still smiling from the effects of good company, good atmosphere, and good comfort food.  Maybe the food wasn’t the only thing that was comforting.  Spending the weekend with a friend who has known you since before you knew yourself can be its own comforting experience.   All in all, a perfect weekend followed by a perfect dining experience.  Sometimes you simply can’t improve on perfection.  That’s why the next time our friend comes to town, we’ll find ourselves happily back at Duckfat.  I’m looking forward to it already.

Duck Fat on Urbanspoon

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2010/10/duckfat/

Micucci’s – Portland, Maine

I have been having second thoughts about pressing the “publish” button on this post.  Do I really want to encourage everyone to visit the temple of pizza that exists in the back room at Micucci’s Grocery in Portland, Maine?  Right now, I feel like the cool kid who knows the secret handshake.  I mean, you have to know that the pizza is past the maze of the enormous cans of San Marzano tomatoes and Il Riso Beretta Carnoroli arborio rice.  If you didn’t, you might pass by the understated storefront that is Micucci’s in favor of a more upscale looking establishment, of which Portland has a bevy to choose from.

Me, I’m sticking with Micucci’s.  The Sicilian style pizza is so good that I’m struggling for words that can adequately describe it.  To say that it is the best pizza in the whole world makes me sound like some cheesy tag line for Domino’s.  So I won’t.  I will say that it is the most sublime pizza experience I have ever had.  It is all that you would hope that a great slice would be.  Except that to call this a slice might be a bit misleading.  It’s more of a slab than a slice.  I don’t think that a slice would weigh a full pound and require its own personal pizza box.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not criticizing its size.  I ate it all.  When it was gone, I found myself wondering if I could find a reason to go back for more.  In the end, I decided that having a slab for lunch and bringing a second home for dinner was probably sufficient.

The crust is crisp on the exterior while somehow remaining soft and incredibly doughy on the interior.  The sauce is simply tomato.  It is slightly sweet, but not overly so.  It perfectly compliments the rich, chewy crust without overpowering it.  All that is left to discuss is the cheese and the relative lack thereof.  Instead of the cheese drowned slices of the Americanized variety, this pizza has been topped with a very light hand.  There is just enough cheese to perfectly complete the flavor.  Usually, a slice of pizza that consists of crust, tomato sauce, and cheese would be called cheese pizza.  The pizza at Micucci’s can’t honestly be described that way because the cheese is the least important component on your plate.

Speaking of the plate, if you eat at Micucci’s, you’ll have to wait at the window for your slab and hope not to find the paper plate folded in half.  If you do, you’ll notice that someone has written ”5 minutes” on it using a simple black marker.  Five minutes can seem like a lifetime when you’re left to stand there staring at an empty stainless steel shelf smelling pizza this good.  Once the slabs hit the window, you’ll notice that they come on simple, white paper plates.  You can either box each slab up to take home or walk it back through the maze of grocery items to the cashier.  Once you’ve paid for your slab, you can return to the back room and sit at one of the two patio tables and finally dig in with your plastic knife and fork.  Welcome to pizza nirvana.  Now you know the secret handshake.

I’m not the only one who feels like this pizza is incredible.  In fact, when I did a search for “Micucci’s Pizza” a wide variety of diner’s comments and ratings all had one thing in common:  they all raved about how great it was.  I also found articles in The Boston Globe and The Portland Press Herald written about the pizza slabs from the back room.  I can’t blame them.  Afterall, I’m sitting here writing about it now.  It’s one thing for me to write about it, but quite another to share it with the world.  Should I really publish?  I don’t have a choice.  Food this good can’t be kept a secret no matter the consequences.

What if you all go running to Portland for the world’s best pizza and I’m left staring at the folded paper plate in the window?  I’ve stood there before.  Trying to look as if I’m not ready to pounce on the first corner slab like a starved jungle cat.  Somehow I survived, but it wasn’t easy.  It’s not like sitting at a restaurant table and waiting for your entrée while eating your appetizer or drinking your cocktail.  There are no distractions here.  And then there’s the haunting smell of something wonderful baking in the oven.

Now, if I’m lucky, I’ll find an excuse to get myself to Portland soon.  I’ll wait for my pizza if I have to.  I’ll drive home and try to ignore the heavenly smell radiating from the pizza box.  This pizza gracing my dinner table alone will make the meal a special occasion.   For you oenophiles, I can simply say this:  my husband and I recently brought home two slices for dinner.  We also picked up a bottle of wine.  The wine?  None other than Chateau Montelena 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Old Port Wine Merchants.  You might call it overkill.  I call it a well deserved reward for buying a delicious date night’s dinner for less than ten dollars.

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