Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our next show is:
Home Crafted Market
Saturday, November 22
229 Oakhurst Street
Altamonte Springs, 32701
One of a kind designs!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Frugality, Friendship, and Florida Pear Pies

Florida Pears are not so pretty!
 One of my simple delights is free foraged food.  Digging my own clams, catching crabs off a dock, gathering wild berries, hunting the elusive Morel Mushroom, discovering an abandon fruit tree and filling my skirt with the promise of a sweet smelling kitchen coming up, these things just delight me!

So when my neighbor came by with a pool skimming net full of Florida Pears, I gave him a silly smiling thank you and made a mental note to make an extra pie for him too!

pretty in a pie!
I have tried to find out a little history on these hard speckled skinned pears and here is what I have come up with after finding Sherry Boas's article from September 25, 2011 in the Orlando Sentinel:

                                               1.  They are an old Fashioned Southern Pear
                                               2.  Varieties such as Orient, Kieffer, and Pineapple pear were                                                                            staples of Florida Homesteads    
                                               3. They are nicknames "sand pears"
                                               4. They are used for baking and canning
                                               5. They thrive in our Florida climate but are mainly forgotten.

My Thank you pie for a very thoughtful friend!

The Recipe: Florida Pear Pie
Two pie crust (top and bottom)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons each nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
5 cups peeled and sliced Florida Pears
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:  Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest and juice in a mixing bowl. mix then toss into the peeled and slice pears covering them.  Layer the pears in the crust and dot with butter, moisten rim of bottom crust and gently place top crust over filling.  fold edges and press to seal.  Use a fork to vent the top of the crust by gently piercing it a few times.  
Bake at 450 degrees F.  for 10 minutes and then reduce to 350 degrees F and bake 30 more minutes.  Check the crust and cover with foil if it is browning too fast.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My five favorite vegetables to grow in Central Florida. 

1.  Yard long beans (asparagus beans, Chinese long beans). These grow so well here and look terrific in the garden with their extremely long pods.  Cook like regular green beans or stir fry.


2. Pickling cucumbers.  I love these for slicing and eating.  We make them into cucumber salad with a little sugar and rice vinegar, toss slices into our drinking water, or make cold cucumber soup with  onion and garlic. Mine are growing on a simple and free pallet trellis.

3. Heirloom tomatoes in Pots!  This is my biggest gardening advice here in central Florida, grow your tomato plants in pots, not in your garden.  There are some things to know however.  The pots need to be big, they need to have enough calcium added(egg shells) to prevent blossom end rot and they need to be watered regularly at the same time each day or few days without getting their leaves wet.  (unless you are watering with compost tea)  There is so much I could say on this but I will end with something about germination.  Heirloom tomato seeds need light and should not be planted too deep or they will not germinate.   Just a little dusting of soil over top.

4.  Pineapples.  These are just cool.  I mean you buy a pineapple, eat it and then plant the top and wait.  Now they do like to be fertilized.  Mine are in a sunny spot in the front yard.  They are planted very close together to deter any critters from getting in the patch.  So far I have never lost one to a critter but I expect to sometime.  I pick them when they just start turning yellow and let them ripen on the counter.  When they are all yellow its time to eat them up!  A side note is that pineapple is good for our pet rabbits to reduce hair balls, so we give them a little too!

5.  Greens.  Really all kinds. Collards, Mustard, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Kale.
These grow great and you can add just a little to so many different meals.  I chop it up like an herb and add greens to soups, tomato sauces,  salads, eggs, you do not just have to serve it by itself.  Add those vitamin packed leaves to almost anything you cook. You can make stuffed Collared or Kale leaves in place of cabbage.  Or instead of Kale Chips, try Collard Chips!

Happy Planting!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Studio shelving from free materials

One thing that really gets us excited here at the Brown Homestead is finding the materials we use in our projects!   We recently found a number of dresser drawers being thrown away at a local hotel and with some pallets we picked up from around town we were able to build wall to wall and floor to ceiling shelving in our art studio.  We wanted a way to see more of our supplies so we did not spend so much time looking for just the right thing all the time.  Since we all like to make things in our studio the hope is that it will be easier to keep it organized. So for the cost of the nails and screws, and our time we were able to put together a really useful wall of shelves. This would be great for a garage too!

One thing to learn about is how pallets are marked.  Their are codes on them that tell you if they have been chemically or heat treated so look into that by searching on your computer before you start a project!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Heart Healthy Loaded Peanut Butter Cookies!

Note: when I use my girls (chickens) eggs, I will use the whole egg because I know they have less cholesterol than store bought eggs...  I have one who lays me double yolk eggs.  Wouldn't want to waste that!  My girls are pets that give back!  If you want to omit the wheat germ to keep it gluten free you don't need to sub, just leave it out!

Preheat oven to 375*
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses 
 2 tablespoons ground flax
 2 tablespoons wheat germ
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Whisk the egg white with the salt till frothy.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with a spoon.  Use a teaspoon to scoop heaping spoonfuls about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Use a fork to gently push down then bake ten minutes.  Watch the bottoms don't over brown!
Serve with a cold glass of Almond milk!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How we got our pop up shop!

Before it was ours, when I saw our vintage Apache Ramada camper In very sad shape in the neighbors yard I started to get an idea that, even though my husband has been hearing my crazy ideas for over 25 years now,  made his jaw drop.   I can still picture him stamping his foot as he said he would have no part in this one, and I almost gave up right there.

 Now I had already been longingly gazing at vintage trailers and girlie campers, but knew they were out of reach, those cute Air streams and Shastas cost a good amount of hard earned money, but what about an abandon pop up camper that needed a ridiculous amount of work, Could it be cute?  Could it be a way for our creative bunch to share our vision and art with others! I thought it just might work.  So, I made a very special dinner and when my husband was sitting back full and content I made my move.  I usually just blurt things out but I waited for a good moment this time, (I had seen this camper) Now I wasn't expecting his reaction at all.  I thought he would catch the same fever I had already caught right away. He had not seen the Pinterest boards and the magazine articles,  but...he had already seen the camper, He already knew that what I call sad shape was really much worse.  I am not sure why he
changed his mind but I can tell you that after a few months of working all day Saturday, I had lost some of the dream and was kicking myself big time for letting my impulsiveness drive me.   This is something I have learned about myself and my husband.  I am great at getting an idea and jumping in, then I second guess myself, doubt and fret a bit when it takes longer than I thought.  Now my husband is cautious  at the beginning because he likes to have all the facts before starting and his impatient wife wants to just start, But then he gets going on the idea and stays steady working it unto fruition and inspires me with his love, loyalty and kindness.  The more we see how our differences compliment each other then we are free to appreciate those differences.  I know I need to research and have some answers for him upfront and he is getting better at learning as we go and letting mistakes be part of the learning process.  We can laugh and relax about how different our approach is because we know our destination is the exact same place!  Now that the project is done and we can look back to see what we learned, I will have to say he became a serious woodworking machine, we found out that pallets are an incredible free building material and that spurned on what I will tell you about some other time....a studio makeover with pallets!

Working on the inside with one of my girls!

All Done!
Thanks so much Scott!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Gifts of grace

Come visit us and we will show you what we have been up too!  Caroline has some cute new animal paintings, Christine has some new jewelry remade from all kinds of finds, Ethan has some great copper jewelry. What's is Awesome is that his copper comes from the side of the road!  he strips it out of discarded televisions, computers, electrical supplies, etc....

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Meyer lemon Sea Salt

When we moved to Florida the first plant I bought was a Meyer Lemon tree.  Then I waited and watched it for about 8 years. Now it gave me a few lemons each year but I only needed one hand to count them....but then year 8 I finally got about 30 lemons.  I am sure I counted them cause I do that kinda thing but I have forgotten, but this year I counted over 80 lemons.  enough to share, to try in recipes, to garnish with....lemon happiness, but the best thing I did with them was making this finishing salt.
Sea Salt and Meyer Lemon Zest before baking
For each jar I used 1/2 cup sea salt and the zest of two Meyer lemons. Chop the zest into small strips and mix it into the salt with your fingers.  Now the kitchen smells incredible, don't drool in the salt,spread the mixture out on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 170F for about 10 minutes.  It should feel dry and the lemon should look dehydrated.  That's it.  Find some cute jars and make a label.  I printed mine out on paper and tied a piece of twine around.  This is a great hostess gift, and friends who like to cook can put it to good use.  It is so good sprinkled on fish, chicken, roasted vegetables, I even add it to muffins.  My daughter can discern it each time I use it, "hey, you used the lemon salt!" She smiles and says.

Gift jars ready!

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