Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Silly Momma

I thought I'd have a little fun this time with the pregnancy update photos.

Here's me at 28 weeks. Only 12 more (give or take) to go!!!

In other pregnancy news, I'm feeling really great these days and love every minute enjoying our sweet baby's it gentle jabs, rolls, or full-out kicks in the belly! I've been trying to walk every morning to keep in shape too. My midwife says that thinner and stronger mommies have easier deliveries....and since we're going Au-natural with the delivery, I'm taking advantage of anything that helps on this side of the journey! I'm also documenting everything I eat so I can see what my habits are. It keeps me humble and helps me think twice before serving up a double helping of icecream. ;0) But no worries...I'm still getting my cravings in....just trying to be more wise with them so baby is healthy too!

I hope that whoever is out there that is reading my little blog is enjoying their day and is filled with God's grace & joy today. Take a look's a beautiful day out there. And if you're reading this, send me a note...I'd love to hear from you!

God bless,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Peachy History

When my family moved to the "country" in North Texas when I was about 9, my parents decided to plant a small fruit orchard on our newly acquired 4 acres. I'll never forget their humble beginnings when my mom chopped the little starter trees down to about 3 feet, leaving a gnarly stick shooting out of the ground, looking more like a stake than an actual fruit tree. It would be years before her research on how to care for and grow fruit trees would pay off, but as the years went by, the once simple fruit trees grew beautiful and strong, producing the most delicious fruit: apples, plums, pears, figs, and my favorite...peaches.

One year our largest peach tree produced so much fruit that we had to lift up the heavy fruit-burdened limbs by placing ladders underneath so they wouldn't break. That was a good year for peaches. And because my mom always tried to grow all her fruit and vegetables in the garden organically, sharing the year's bounty with the bugs and birds alike was second nature. If you found a little worm in the peach or plum you were about to eat or slice up for pie, there was never a second thought about whether or not to save the fruit in question. Of course we saved it...just cut around the little critter and move on. That's the way life went.

Aside from eating the ripe fruit straight from the tree, which is the most rewarding way of eating it, the rest we (and by we I mean my mom, with a little help from her 6 daughters) made into jam, pies, or froze for the cooler months. There's nothing more rewarding than a slice of homemade bread lathered in fresh jam or a pie baked to perfection made from the very fruit you saw growing on the tree yourself. It's nothing short of a little slice of heaven. YUM. {more on fresh baked bread later}.

Those early years of being exposed to growing a lot of our own fruit and vegetables are some of the fondest memories I have as a child, and has definitely shaped a lot of who I am today. I can't thank my mother enough for her influence in my life. She's the best homemaker I know...and one I will always look up to (I still call her when I have a kitchen question...which is frequent!). I love you, Momma....from the bottom of my heart!

So, you can imagine my sense of urgency after acquiring nearly 200 peaches at a farm in Lynchburg, Virginia. Something had to be done immediately before these prized fruits went bad. Having picked them at the peak of ripeness, that didn't leave me a whole lot of time!

So far I've used them up by sprinkling them over my homemade granola in the morning, adding them to smoothies, eating them fresh by themselves, freezing several bags for smoothies and pies, baking 2 peach pies, and mixing up a batch of delicious peach jam! I still have a few left, but they will get frozen or jammed up soon.

Here's a sampling....

~Peach Jam~

~Peach Pie~

First I start with a good, basic pie dough. I have yet
to find a pie dough I'm in love with, so I typically
try a different recipe every time. The key is to get it flaky,
but not too much so that it doesn't hold together. If you have a
dough that you'd recommend, please send it my way!

The filling, dotted with butter.

For a 9 in. pie, combine:

5-6 cups fresh peaches
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I always add a little more)
2 Tablespoons butter to dot on top of filling

Voila and oven ready!

Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until
crust is golden and filling bubbles up between slits in crust. I'd
recommend using a pie crust protector, too.
This will help it from burning.

And there you have it! So delicious and Summery. Yum!

Have a beautiful & delicious Thursday,


Thursday, August 12, 2010

I {LOVE} Peaches

Matthew and I just got back from a week-long trip to beautiful Virginia to visit and celebrate his sister getting married. It was a joyous occasion, and all who came to the ceremony were blessed and encouraged by this sweet couple's devotion to the Lord, their respect and love for one another, and their vows of commitment for the future.

Joy & Iain ~ We love you!!!! Congratulations!!!

Before embarking on our long drive back to Texas, I told Matthew, "Honey, we just have to get some peaches before we get home!"

You see, I have a thing with peaches. It's really sort of a love obsession. First of all, my favorite dessert of all time is peach pie, but you just can't get good peaches anywhere in the grocery stores here, and even if you're lucky enough to find some that taste good, they're still comparably sub-par to their tree-ripened relatives. For those of you out there that share my love of this delicious stone fruit, you understand what I'm saying. I always get my hopes up when I see beautiful peaches at the supermarket, only to find out later that they were either tasteless, mealy, or hard. Yuck! (spitting it out and swearing to never again buy another supermarket peach...although I always end up having my hopes up again and trying, yet again. It's like watching Gone With the Wind again and again and hoping beyond all hope that maybe Scarlett and Rhett will end up together in the end. They never do.)

Anywho, back to Virginia. After a little prodding (it didn't take much), Matthew located several farms near Lynchburg, where we were staying. Using his nifty GPS on his phone, we arrived at Johnson's Orchard & Winery about 30 minutes from town. Such a gorgeous scenic ride through the Virginia mountains, too. ;0)

I think my eyes are closed here, but it's
the only picture of the two of us. Wait,
make that three! ;0)

I was happy to see their prices were reasonable. Of course
I went for the bushel!

Normally I would want to pick my own off the trees,
but their irrigation lines were in the way (so they say) so
we settled for picking them out of the big barrels. They had just been
picked the day before, tree-ripe. One of the helpers said,
"taste as much as you like". She didn't know who
she was talking to. I think I probably had
about 3 or 4 right there! No shame..and oh so delicious!

This is half a bushel. I think each bag
contained nearly 100 peaches. Good deal, eh?

While I was busy filling our bags, Matthew and his
parents did a free wine tasting of 25 different
kinds of wines. Matthew especially liked this spicy
wine, which contained over 30 different kinds of hot peppers.
Talk about HOT!

Even their outhouse was cute. ;)

Beautiful countryside.

Matthew with half our loot. Those bags were
full to the brim!

Back at home. This is one of the counters
that held the peaches. I counted 188 peaches
total, not counting the ones we devoured on our
way home!!

That's it for now! So far I'm enjoying eating them atop granola with milk or
by themselves. Next time I'll share with you about the batch of homemade
peach jam I made and of course.....

Peach pie!

Until next time,
good life and good fruit,