Friday, February 24, 2012

Winter Farmer's Market

One of my favorite things is the Farmer's Market. I don't call it an occupation because I don't make much money there when you count out how much I spend on ingredients and all the time it takes to bake and create. But it's something I love to do, so maybe it's a hobby. This winter I am helping a friend run their market booth. It's really a lot of fun sharing a booth with a honey operation,  and the couple travels a lot, so I can keep it open for them while they are gone. Either way, it gives me an excuse to be at every market, and soak up the wonderful atmosphere.

In preparation for market tomorrow, I am busy creating and baking. I make bird's nest necklaces to sell, as well as the random bracelet. (Tutorial upcoming). I also bake home-made granola with the local honey, and make a lot of Amish "friendship" Sweet Bread, in both banana and French vanilla. All this work leaves me feeling very admiring of a true “Proverb's 31 woman”:
The Virtuous Wife
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.

 Click here to readthe WHOLE passage… Notice how many things she makes and sells? How resourceful she is? I aspire to be like that... but sadly the market is only two weekends a month and I'm exhausted at that! I'll just leave it that this woman is admirable, and while I may never know her success, I love to read that chapter and be inspired. (ok, read that chapter, and surf Pinterest, and be inspired... lol) It's just nice to know God created me to be busy, resourceful, creative, giving, and serving. Now I just pray for the grace to aspire to all that!

My kids LOVE to help and love the market atmosphere as much as I do. I'm sure if hubby didn’t have to be at work, he'd have fun there too. Tyler helps vendors carry boxes, Emma dances to the live bluegrass music, Mayda collects her money off of her dog-treat sales, and Wyatt makes sure everyone's samples are up to par. 

At a recent market I had the opportunity to help with the cooking demonstration.  So I leave you with a few of my favorite market pictures and the recipes we did at our cooking demonstration. (That is not me in the picture below, but our lovely Market coordinator, Kathi, who was cooking with me.) If you are local, you can find the info for the market on Kathi's blog, and I do hope you'll come!

Best Homemade Chili
(This recipe is a combination of two recipes from Taste of Home Country Ground Beef Cookbook: Three-step Chili from pg. 22 and Best Homemade Chili from pg. 23) I have adjusted it to be gluten free. 
2 lb. Grass-fed Ground Beef 
1 Large onion – diced
1 Tbs of chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 clove fresh pressed garlic
3 cups cooked pinto beans (or 2 cans drained)
One large can of tomato juice (46 oz)
(or 1 qt and 1 pt of home canned)
¼ cup cornmeal
2 Tbs vinegar 
Cayenne pepper to taste

In large pot or Dutch oven, brown beef with seasonings and onions, until fully cooked. Add tomato juice and bring to a boil. Mix cornmeal and vinegar into a paste, and add a ladle of the hot tomato juice to it and then mix back into the entire pot (to avoid clumps). Return to a boil and then cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until thickened.  Add cayenne pepper to taste. 

Southwest White Chicken Chili
From my dear mom-in-law, Debbie 
3 Tbs Butter
2 lb. chicken (cooked and cubed)
1 small onion chopped
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano leaves
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 can (7oz) of green chili peppers
1 quart of chicken broth or 1 can cream of chicken soup, reconstituted
3 cups cooked white beans (great northern or white navy) or two cans, drained.
Green onion and Monterey Jack Cheese to garnish 
In large soup pot or Dutch oven, brown the chicken and onions in butter. Add all seasonings as well as the can of chilies.  Simmer on low heat to mix the flavors, about 5 minutes.  Add the beans and broth (less broth if you want it less soupy and more of a stew). Bring back to heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes to heat through. Serve with garnish as desired. 

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