Cooking has always been a joy to me. But, lately, I don't know what it is, I've been really loving it. I've found such contentment in filling our home with the fragrance of baking and the sounds of chopping and beating and serving real food to those under my care. 

Maybe it has something to do with my obsession right now, reading homesteading books, back-to-the-earth cookbooks, gardening books, and watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and food documentaries while I'm in the kitchen (and everyone else is outside). I'm feeling convicted of the need for all of us here to fill our bodies with healthy fuel, real whole foods. Things fresh from the ground. Things new to us from the farmer's market.  (Our garden is a bit sad this year....too much rain early on.)  I'm being very deliberate about keeping a colorful assortment of veggies cut-up and ready to eat in the fridge.

In the bread aisle at the grocery the other day, I found myself standing and staring for what seemed like forever, grunting with disgust over the ridiculously long ingredient lists. Seriously, it's bread, people! Sorry. I won't turn this post into a tirade against processed food (even if I'm supremely worked up about it at the moment). I really just wanted to share some loveliness of the food that God's provided and a few recipes!
The first raspberry from our garden...exciting!
Good balsamic + heat + time = intense, thick, sweet and savory goodness to drizzle over veggies, meat, whatever!
Herbed focaccia with soup made on the fly, sort of a corn chowder with lots of veggies, chiles, roasted potatoes, herbs, salsa....a real mish-mash.

Say "hello" to Jamie at Home.  Actually, what I can't get enough of are his Jamie Does shows in Italy and Greece and Morocco and Spain and France, etc.  Gasp, sigh, travel PLUS food? Bliss.  And his Great Italian Escape? Be still my beating heart.  If you click on the links, you'll see that I just find them on YouTube.  (One's on pause right now! :) *Added....THIS one with Jaime teaching Italian monks to cook had me grinning from ear to ear!

My husband foraged for these wild blackberries (or maybe they're black raspberries?) behind our house (with a few of our raspberries thrown in).  Lucy and I made blackberry crumble bars which we ate hot from the oven with butter pecan ice cream. Mmmmm.  The ones we pick from now on will get frozen for the year's smoothies.



I don't mean to be cruel (smirk, giggle) but I'm finishing up the last morsels of that as I type this.  I'll make some for you if you come to visit!
I've been enjoying a new cookbook, Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood.   Now, I don't listen to country music but I sure am loving her family's country recipes.  Not necessarily healthy by any means but comforting and tasty.  Remember the sweet and salty cracker candy I made?  That recipe was from this book (which, incidentally, I got 40% off at Cracker Barrel of all places, woo-hoo!)


I served these at Oliver's family birthday party and everyone agreed they were SCRUMPTIOUS!

It's books like these that have been fueling my recent food and homesteading obsession (most of these still patiently wait for me to crack them open)....
The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love
The River Cottage Cookbook
Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping (uhh...not that we'll take up trapping any time soon but I do find it interesting)
Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener
Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer
Guide to Michigan Vegetable Gardening (Vegetable Gardening Guides)
Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast
The River Cottage Family Cookbook
The Illustrated Kitchen Bible
Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
Plus, if you remember me talking about, Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land, I still can't stop thinking about it.  ( I bought some raw milk cheddar at the farmer's market yesterday and OH MY YUM! :)
So much to read, so little time (left after spending it in the kitchen and with the family)!
And for dessert? Cowboy cookie pie. It's like a gooey chocolate chip cookie in pie form.....really rich, CRAZY EASY, and always a big hit.
Mix 1 stick melted butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar, then stir in 2 beaten eggs + 1 tsp. vanilla, beat well, 5 minutes maybe, then add 1/2 cup flour + 1/2 cup chopped pecans + 3/4 cup chocolate chips.  Pour into crust.  Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

"Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably."
— C.S. Lewis
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