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Analog Recipes

24 May

I have all these beautiful cookbooks filled with lovely, crowd-tested recipes. Their pages are filled with treasures from small communities, local businesses, good friends, and ladies who put heart into their meals. The secret ingredient is usually love…and butter.

And it occurred to me this winter that I don’t reach for them as often as I should. So I’ve purposed to try to “search” them before I consult Google. I’ve been richly rewarded with delicious offerings coming from my kitchen.

Monday night was no exception as I about foundered on this soup recipe from Grace Bible Church in Arroyo Grande, CA. The cookbook was sent to me years ago by my great aunt. It was exactly what I was looking for so I could use up a few ingredients I had on hand. And, oh my heck was it good. Church ladies have the best recipes!

(Full disclosure: my hubby and kids didn’t care for the corn in it, but I loved the sweetness it added. And my boy never really likes soup, so there’s that.)

Recipes can be much more than just a bunch of good ingredients in the right combination. They can hold memories and can help carry on a legacy. I put together a branding meal this weekend that included family recipes, favorites found in these cookbooks, and home-grown ingredients. My Grandmother made countless meals for work crews on their ranch and I carry on that task with pride.

What is a recipe that has a lot of meaning to you?


So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Lessons Learned from a Novice Canner

7 Dec

10 Canning Tips

Before we had a garden, I never canned anything. It looked scary and complicated and I wasn’t going to go there. But, once we planted our first garden in 2014, it became quickly apparent that my “waste-not, want-not ways” would force me to take on some canning. Thankfully I had my farm wife mentor, Melinda, on hand to help me and I got great advice and recipes from my Aunt Mary and Tyler’s Aunt Debby.

Tips from a Novice Canner

Now with two canning seasons under my belt, I can proudly say, I’ve become a canner! If you’re scared to get started, let me give you my best advice and encouragement. It really is wonderful, gives you a great sense of accomplishment, and saves you room in the freezer. And, it’s not as scary as it looks. I promise!

  1. Start small. One of the biggest mistakes I made was overwhelming myself with too many projects. Take on one recipe at a time and try doing a couple of batches at first. Don’t try to be like the woman down the street who has been canning for 50 years and can whip out 100 quarts of pickles in one afternoon. You’re a beginner and it’s okay to be proud of your 10 quarts of pickles!
  2. Get equipped.  Get all your materials and supplies ahead of time. Make sure to read the instructions/recipe thoroughly to make sure you have everything you’ll need. Nothing is more frustrating when you’re canning than to realize you are missing a key tool or ingredient while you’re in the middle of a batch.
  3. Read up on the general process. Most water-bath canning involves the same general steps. Familiarize yourself with the process so you feel comfortable and don’t miss a vital step.
  4. One jar at a time. When you are in the midst of canning, it’s so tempting to fill all the jars, and then check all the headspaces, then wipe all the rims, and then put on all the lids…BUT, that’s when you forget to do something important to one of the jars. Just suck it up and do one jar, then follow the same steps for the next jar.
  5. Seek expert advice. That woman down the street who has been canning for 50 years? Ask her if you can come over for an afternoon so she can show you how to do it. Most likely she’ll be thrilled to pass the tradition on to the next generation. And you won’t have to make 75 mistakes because she’s already made them and can tell you how to avoid the heartache. Be sure to offer to help her with something in return or bring her flowers to thank her!
  6. Do your research. There are lots of great resources out there. One of the best is your local/state Extension service. The University of Wyoming Extension service has a wonderful food preservation website. It is all specific to our climate and higher altitudes…which brings me to my next tip…
  7. Know your area. Canning is greatly affected by altitude, so be sure to do your due diligence in determining proper processing times for your region.
  8. Don’t get in a hurry. I was trying to do too much the first year and was distracted while carrying a batch of jars from the water-bath canner to the table for them to cool. Before I knew what happened, the entire batch was broken and splashed all over my garage floor. Don’t be like me. Take it easy and pay attention to what you’re doing.
  9. Safety first. You’re working with glass, hot liquids, and high pressure if you’re pressure canning. And, if you’re like me, you’re using a nifty propane camp stove so you don’t ruin your glass cooktop and you can keep the heat in the garage. All of these things can cause injury. It’s not scary if you’re careful and paying attention to what you’re doing. Just be aware that you can singe your eyelashes on the propane stove or burn your hand with hot water. Not that I’ve done either of those things.
  10. It’s a lot of work. But, it’s worth it! I always heard people talk about canning being a lot of work. There’s a reason they say that. It is a lot of work! It’s probably smart to team up if you have friends or family who like to can, but also know that if you go it alone, you can handle it. And when you are pulling home-canned peaches, pickles and salsa from your pantry all winter long, the great taste and sense of pride will make that sore back, stiff neck and achy feet just a distant memory.

Holler if you have questions. I might have an answer, or most likely, I might know someone else with an answer. Now go forth and can!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. – Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

Halloween Merriment

2 Nov

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe here). I made homemade pumpkin puree for the first time this year and this was my maiden voyage using it. Super easy and turned out great!

By the time Oct. 31 rolls around, I’m not always in the mood for Halloween. Sometimes it just seems like more work at a time when we’re busy getting crops out. But, this year I got excited to dress up with my pregnant belly. Who knows if I’ll ever be pregnant during Halloween again? So, putting together a simple costume really got me in the spirit.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I bought a $5 orange shirt, some black felt and green pipe cleaners to dress up like a Jack-O-Lantern. The hat is the stem and the pipe cleaners are the vines. I used spray adhesive to attach the felt and at 32 weeks along, Little Girl Lauck filled out the pumpkin portion of the outfit quite nicely.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I also talked my husband into carving Jack-O-Lanterns with me. We’ve never done this together and we thought it was great fun! We raised the pumpkins in our garden (I had 34 in total!). I think the convincing factor for him was the promise of roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s the best part of carving pumpkins. Here’s the link to the recipe for Jalapeno Pumpkin Seeds and several other yummy looking options.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

I got all geared up to give out candy. I get a kick out of seeing all the little costumes and since we live in town, we actually get quite a few trick-or-treaters.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

We live in a community where most kids say thank you and are a delight to interact with. And they come up with some great costumes! My favorites were Punky Brewster and a Lego Block. Clay, however, was not amused by the constant doorbell ringing and parade of strangers in startling outfits at his door. It was a stressful night for him.

Halloween Merriment | The Farm Paparazzi

Did you pass out candy? Dress up? Hope it was a fun and safe day!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. – Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 (NLT)

A Blanching Epiphany

19 Aug

We’ve had an abundance of green beans this year. It might have something to do with us planting twice as many. We like us some green beans during the winter!

Click here for my green bean freezing method.

Freezing Green Beans XV

As I’ve been blanching, vacuum-packing and freezing the beans, I came up with what felt like a food preservation epiphany. Ha! It’s really not that genius, but in my annoyance at trying to fish the “shocked” green beans out of the ice water and getting pieces of ice cube in my spoon, I decided to try this…


The water still gets extra cold with the ice, but the colander keeps the ice pieces from interfering and you simply lift the beans out and drain them to package. Hooray! I feel so smart!

So, now you’re probably going to tell me someone on Pinterest already came up with this. Oh well.

Go forth and freeze!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded. – Matthew 10:42 

From My Head Tomatoes

16 Aug

I saw a shirt on Pinterest that said, “I love Gardening From My Head Tomatoes”. I love clever people!

We’ve had quite a successful garden again this year. It was a rough start, but now we’re rockin and rollin! Here’s how the progress went:

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

May 27

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

June 25. Watering with water trailer and sprinkler.

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

June 30. Irrigating with gated pipe.

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

July 2

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

July 10

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Sweet corn on May 27

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

June 25

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

July 13

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Tassel coming out on the sweet corn

Now it’s all about the harvesting. We’ve been blessed by God’s bounty and have been enjoying and sharing snow peas, tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers, green chilies, yellow onions, zucchini, crookneck squash, red beets, pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers and sweet corn. The pumpkins are also coming along!

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Our daily harvest started out small.

With all the harvesting comes a lot of preserving. I’ve canned a batch of spicy dill pickles, frozen green beans and other veggies, and have got some relish “stewing” as I type. I’ve got more pickles, sweet corn and peaches from Utah waiting in the wings. Click here for a recipe on “putting up” or freezing sweet corn.

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

But, the daily harvest quickly grew and grew!

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Cutting up a beautiful cabbage for Cabbage Burgers! Get the recipe at

We decided to try selling sweet corn at our little local farmer’s market this year. So we planted that big swath I showed you earlier and have peddled the good stuff the last two weekends. There are great people organizing, vending and attending this community affair! I enjoyed it more than I imagined I would.

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

It’s only August 16, so that means I’ve still got lots of harvesting and preserving to attend to. In fact, I better get off my rump and get out to the garden soon. It’s time for another hour or two of picking!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us. – Psalm 67:6


Beans and Chili

10 Jan

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziOkay, so I know Christmas is over, but I was organizing some photos on my hard drive and ran across these gift bags I made several years ago. They are too cute, easy and inexpensive not to share! So, maybe it’ll inspire you for Christmas gifts next year, or maybe you can make some for birthdays and thank you gifts throughout the year.

To be fair, I have easy access to both major ingredients in these gift bags. A) We raise pinto beans on our farm and B) Chugwater Chili is based just 30 miles south of us in, well, Chugwater, Wyo. However, you can obtain the dry beans at any supermarket (or check with a local farmer!) and you can find Chugwater Chili in many stores or order online at

Trust me, Chugwater Chili is the best! And I’m not just saying that because my Grandparents were co-founders of the company.

Start by making the fabric bags.

Cut a piece of fabric to a suitable size. Make sure to calculate for seam allowance on the width. Make it double the length you want to end up with plus about an inch for the drawstring pocket. Fold right sides together and sew along both long edges. The fold on the bottom saves you from sewing another seam. Leave the top end open.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziThen cut a piece of yarn or ribbon so it’s long enough to loop around the bag to create a draw string. Fold the top end of the fabric over and tuck the yarn underneath. Pin so the yarn stays above where you’ll sew (you want it to be able to move later, so don’t sew it down). Keep the two ends of the yarn showing outside the folded end and tie a knot so the two ends stay together.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziStarting at the end where you’ve tied your knot, sew a seam all the way around. You’re creating a pocket to hold the yarn, while leaving the top of the bag still open. Leave a little space on the end so the yarn can still move freely, and again, make sure you don’t sew over the yarn.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziPull out your pins and turn the bag inside out. You should probably use a thread that more closely matches your fabric. Don’t be like me.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziNext put the beans and chili together.

Fill small plastic bags with about 1 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans. If you’re using beans straight out of the field like I do, make sure to sort them first. You don’t need to rinse them, but make sure you tell your gift recipient to rinse them before cooking.

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Tuck a 1 oz. packet of Chugwater Chili in the plastic bag with the beans. The chili packet has enough seasoning for one batch of chili and the beans should be enough for the recipe (beans expand to about 2-3 times their original size when cooked).

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Tuck your yummy treat into the fabric bag.

Beans and Chili | The Farm Paparazzi

Pull the draw string and, voila! You have a fun, homemade gift.

Beans and Chili | The Farm PaparazziWhen I made these, I also included instructions for rinsing and cooking them. The chili recipe is on the back of the packet, so no need to repeat that.

Have fun!

Do you have some creative magic you want to share? Be sure to link to it in the comments below.

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT)

Fall 2014

29 Sep

Yup, I guess I have to admit that it’s officially Fall and has been for a full week. It’s a busy time of year on the farm. The time of year where I think back and try to remember what happened the past couple of weeks, but specifics don’t come to mind. It’s more like a blur of bean harvest, canning, family visiting, and volunteer activities. Do you ever get done with the day and remember being busy, but can’t remember exactly what went on? That’s been my brain for awhile now. But, I’m sure it has nothing to do with sleep deprivation. Nothing at all.

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Fall 2014 | The Farm Paparazzi

Well, Happy Fall/Autumn to you and yours!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Homemade Ice Cream

15 Sep

Last week we had temps in the 20s and 30s. As Eeyore would say, oh, bother.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziSo, in a last, ditch effort to squeeze every drop out of summer, I’m making homemade ice cream this week. It’s supposed to warm up considerably (forecast says a high of 90 on Thursday!) so my efforts will be worthwhile.

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe from my Gramma Marcie Brown

Makes about 3 quarts


Large sauce pan

Liquid measuring cups

Dry measuring cups and spoons

Whisk and rubber spatula

Ice cream maker (with freezer bowl already frozen)

Large container with lid to store ice cream in freezer



¾ C sugar

1 ½ T cornstarch

4 eggs, yolks and whites separated

2 ½ C milk

1 ½ C corn syrup (light or dark)

2 ½ C half ‘n half

2 ½ C heavy whipping cream

2 t vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. (For chocolate ice cream, add 4 T cocoa powder to the sugar.)

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziAdd half the milk.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziCook on medium, stirring constantly, until it resembles the consistency of custard.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziAdd the corn syrup and set aside to cool.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziWhile cooling, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziMeasure out the rest of the milk, heavy whipping cream and half ‘n half.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziWhisk the egg whites into the cream mixture.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziWhen custard mixture is cool, add vanilla and combine with cream/egg white mixture. My ice cream maker is 2 quarts, and this recipe makes 3 quarts. So, I pour half the mixture into the ice cream maker.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziBe sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream maker. When it gets to about this consistency, I stop the machine.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziIf you want to add chocolate chips, crushed Oreo, toffee bits, etc., pour them in about 5 minutes before the ice cream looks ready. They will mix in really nicely and not all land in the bottom.

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm Paparazzi

Homemade Ice Cream | The Farm PaparazziI scrape my ice cream into my stainless mixing bowl with a lid (from Pampered Chef). I pop it into the freezer to harden and put the other half of the ice cream mixture into the refrigerator. Then I clean up the ice cream freezer bowl, dry it and refreeze it. Once it’s refrozen, I freeze the rest of the ice cream mixture with my ice cream maker and add it to the last batch to harden.

A great treat on a hot, summer day!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 119:103 (NIV)



Freezing Green Beans

18 Aug

Last year, before trying my own hand at gardening, my friend Melinda shared loads of veggies and herbs out of her beautiful garden.


Freezing Corn IX | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans XIVShe shared lots of delicious, fresh green beans. We ate many of them fresh, but I also froze some of them. This year, my garden is exploding with green beans so I’m freezing some again. It’s an easy process and there’s a great set of instructions here.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziHere’s how I do it…First, start a pot of water to boil on the stove. Put the lid on the pot so it gets hot faster. While the water gets to boiling, sort through the beans and toss any that didn’t look so great.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziThen trim off the ends. You can cut them with a knife or snap them off with your fingers.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziFill a large bowl with ice water.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziLower the beans into the boiling water in batches.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziCook them for a few minutes, until they turn a beautiful bright green. Then throw them into the ice water.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziThis process is called “blanching”. You dunk the beans in hot water for a few minutes to kill any bacteria and soften them slightly, then the ice water is used to “shock” them to stop the cooking process.

After they’ve cooled, fish them out of the ice water and drain them. I also pat them dry with paper towels.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziOnce all your beans are blanched, cooled and drained, it’s time to store them. You can put them in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and freeze. I have a food saver, so I use that.

Freezing Green Beans XII

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziVoila! Delicious garden green beans. These serve as a reminder during those long, Wyoming, winter months that summer will eventually come around again. Even if it seems so, so far away.

Freezing Green Beans XVGod Bless You & American Agriculture,


That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.

“Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! – Matthew 14:15-21 (NLT)

Cinnamon Rolls

9 Aug

Oh my, the first time I made these Cinnamon Rolls, I died and went to Heaven. My coworker and good friend, Kosha, and I made a load of them to take to meetings we were hosting around the state. They went perfectly with the Chugwater Chili we made.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziThe recipe is copied from The Pioneer Woman – Ree Drummond. While I used leftover dough from the Cabbage Burgers, everything else is pretty much the same as PWs recipe. I probably didn’t use as much butter, but who really uses as much butter as Ree? Ok, well, I probably do.

I won’t go into great detail because you should probably go to PWs website, since it IS her recipe. But, here’s basically what I did…

PWs Cinnamon Rolls


Rolling pin

Serrated knife and cutting board

Baking dishes (rectangle or round)

Mixing bowl, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons

Roll Ingredients:

Leftover roll dough from making Cabbage Burgers

1 stick of butter, softened (I mean really soft)



Melted butter (about 4-5 T)

Frosting Ingredients:

1 bag Powdered sugar

1/2 C whole milk

1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 C Orange juice

1 T maple flavoring

If you’re making these directly after the Cabbage Burgers, like I did, then wipe away the old dusting of flour with a dry cloth. Re-dust the countertop with flour. Roll out all the remaining dough with a rolling pin.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziTake the stick of softened butter and spread across the entire surface of the dough. PW tells you to melt the butter, but I like this method better so it doesn’t seep out the ends as much when you roll it up.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziSprinkle liberally with sugar (about a cup).

IMG_1390Then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. You could probably use more than I did. My dusting was a little light.

IMG_1392Tightly roll up the dough.

IMG_1394When you get to the other side, pull the dough up to the top of the roll and pinch it into place.


IMG_1400Put the log onto a cutting board. Don’t be like me, who cut directly on the counter. Take a sharp, serrated knife and cut into 1 inch sections.

IMG_1402Cover the bottom of each baking dish with a little melted butter and place the cinnamon rolls in the dish. Don’t overcrowd.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziCover with a dish cloth and let rise for 20-30 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm Paparazzi

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziBake at 375F for 15-17 minutes. Just until they start to get slightly brown on top. You don’t want to overcook them.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm Paparazzi

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziWhile they’re baking, mix up the frosting ingredients. Be sure to slowly add the orange juice to get the consistency you want. It should be pourable, but not too thin. PW uses coffee instead of OJ, but I didn’t have any brewed up.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziPour the frosting over the rolls directly after removing them from the oven.

Cinnamon Rolls | The Farm PaparazziI immediately ate the two goofy looking ones near the top of the right pan. It just didn’t seem right to leave them there.

Now, go share with your friends so your hips don’t get too big!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

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