Asparagus Fries

It’s been a very long time since I have posted and I apologize.  Life has gotten away from me a little with time and I promise to be back at my blog much more often!!

These baked asparagus fries are delicious and super easy to make.  You can season the panko bread crumbs any way you like or even make your own bread crumbs to use.

Here is how I made ours:

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Trim the asparagus, dredge in flour and then dip into one beaten egg

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Roll in the seasoned bread crumbs (I used seasoned Panko crumbs with a mix of parmesan and some ground pepper added)

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Place on a wire rack on a foil lined cookie sheet or you can lay them directly on the foil lined sheet but should turn them once half way when cooking.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 12-14 minutes.  The crumbs should be browned and the asparagus softened.  Serve right away.

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I served ours with our oven roasted potatoes (recipe here: Oven Roasted Potatoes ) with a bit of sour cream and a ham steak that was warmed in a frying pan in a little pineapple juice.

Don’t forget to visit our family Facebook page to see all of our crazy daily happenings on the farm!!  Chasenchanceranch

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Hyacinth Oil

Hyacinths are a special Easter flower and smell very similar to a lilac. They also are grown from a bulb which can be replanted in your garden as a perennial.

Our local grocery store had them on clearance after Easter for $1.00 so of course I bought 10. The bulbs were planted today and now I am making some hyacinth oil to use in our homemade body scrubs (which I will use mainly for my hands and feet).

Place the cut flowers into a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1/8 cup of sunflower oil (or you can use olive oil) and let soak for a day or two.

Store the oil in a jar and use it to scent your body scrub!!

**Body Scrubs can be made many ways.  I will use this with organic cane sugar and a touch of glycerin**

Garden update

Things are starting to produce in our little garden.  Now is the time for some tender loving care to keep these plants healthy and productive!

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Hopefully nothing happens while I am Toronto bound with the boy for a hockey tournament this weekend.

You can see more of our garden pictures on my Facebook page here:  Garden update

How do your gardens grow….

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I had quite a few plants getting to big for the greenhouse and ready to plant.  I started with the gem corn and pumpkins in the ground in the first picture as well as a row of marigolds right along the fence line. **If you don’t know what Gem Corn is, you can read about how I received mine here:  Gem Corn.

The containers are holding peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and the yellow bin has our carrots.  I like using a longer, tall bin as I mix sand in with the soil which produces longer carrots.  This is how they looked last year:

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I then put in the peppers, cabbage and brussel sprouts and the sweet corn in the distance.  In between the corn plants are green beans as they are a good companion plant to grow with the corn.

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And in the second garden bed the lettuce is well underway along with kale, radish seeds and the second planting of romaine seeds.  The grape vines are starting to grow in the background.

Staggering your plantings will keep your plates plentiful with fresh veggies all season long and also into the winter months if you store them correctly.  You will not have all your lettuce ready to harvest at once as well as beans, peas, tomatoes, celery, etc.  It’s a little more work but worth it!!

Let the busy season begin 🙂

Making Maple Syrup

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We tapped 2 maple trees in our yard this year to collect sap.  This is a super fun project for the kids.  They get off the bus and run to the buckets to see what has dripped in during the day.  This Syrup is the best you will ever have!!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  keep in mind it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

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In 4 days we collected 6 gallons (after losing a gallon to a bucket falling off the tree because of the wind).

Today I decided to process what we have so we can prepare over the next few days to boil a few more gallons before the season is over.  The best time to collect the sap is when the days are sunny and above freezing temperatures yet the night is below freezing. The season may be short or long.  You will know it’s over when the sap stops dripping from your tree.

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We bring the sap in and pour it through a mesh strainer lined double with cheesecloth.  This filters out the impurities.

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You are left with clear pure sap.  The best way to store it is to keep it in cold temperatures until you are ready to boil it.  I store it in the refrigerator.

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When you have enough to boil, fill the pot and bring it to a rolling boil.  NOTE:  this throws off humidity and will fill the whole house.  I open a few windows and don’t mind the humidity as it feels tropical!

The sap will boil down and each time add more to fill the pot using all the sap you have collected.  I started with 3 gallons in our bucket and boiled 6 gallons over the course of 6 hours.  I also scoop out the foam every once in a while.

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The sap will begin to turn a light amber color.  When you get to this point it’s important to continue boiling until the syrup begins to foam.  That is when you know it’s ready.

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It’s a darker color and will thicken.

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Remove from the heat and strain again through the cheesecloth into your mason jar or container you are using to store it in.

You can cover it tightly after cool and store for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.  You can also can it (I personally have never done that but there are directions all over the internet).

Our 6 gallons yielded 1 pint of syrup but the tween queen had to have a separate container she could eat with a spoon before I could get it all in the jar for a picture!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Collect sap

Strain through cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator

TO MAKE SYRUP:

Fill a large pot with the sap and bring to a boil

When it boils down keep adding the rest of your sap until it’s all in the pot

Continue boiling stirring once in a while and removing the foam when needed

Test to see if it has turned a light amber color after it has boiled down the final time

Continue boiling until the sap is beginning to boil and foam, is darker in color and is slightly thicker

Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth into the container you are storing it in

Let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months

Butternut Squash

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I LOVE butternut squash.  It’s such a rich vegetable so filling and creamy when you whip it.  It’s loaded with vitamins and so good for you.

Tonight’s project was processing our squash to freeze.

You can see how I prepare our squash and freeze it for the year on my Facebook page here:  Butternut Squash