A Tale of Two Cookies

Friday Favorites

Macaron. A delicious French confection with a hundred different flavor combinations.

Macaroon. A delicious Italian coconut cookie.

Somewhere in their humble beginnings there is some kind of crossover hence why, when you type macaroon into the Pinterest search bar both types of sugary goodness pop up but when you use the word macaron only the sandwich cookie is offered. It is somewhat confusing and the best way to differentiate in my opinion, has been to use the word coconut when you want that little mound of slightly caramel tastiness.

I have to admit that I am more fond of the French treat than the Italian, no matter how their origins and stories intertwine. The flavors, the colors…more pleasing to my eye and my palate.

But they are a bit more demanding to bake and while I want to make some, I have not as of yet.

But the other night the coconut macaroon was a part of the Great British Baking Show and I learned that my beloved likes them. A lot. So I googled and pinterested and found they can be incredible easy to make. Obviously, the televised baking show required a little bit more from the cookie, and there are two different way to shape them, but for my first time I was willing to go easy and set myself up for success.

I made them while we were all home and I mean all of us. Emily wasn’t working and Sarah came over for dinner. It was such a pleasant evening and I treasure those moments because I realize as they keep getting older that it will be harder to make that happen.

What was funny to me is that they kept coming in to the kitchen wanting to know when they could have one…when will they be ready…cane we have more? I had no idea my people would enjoy them so much!

Three ingredients! That’s all you need to make these and if your people like coconut they are going to thank you and sing your praises. Next week I will share the recipe I used and you can give it a go and let me know how you like them!

For my local friends, we have so much to be thankful for going into the weekend as Hurricane Delta makes its way west, don’t we?
Have a lovely weekend friends, no matter where you are and enjoy a cookie or two.

Apple Trivia

Food, Trivia

Something you should know about me: I am a sucker for good packaging. Meaning, if you package it just right you will get my attention and an “Ooooh” and “Ahhh”. And, as in this case, maybe my money.

There were these cute little bags with handles full of cute little apples in the produce department the other day and it totally bamboozled me into buying one. Even though my people are apple variety specific. Even though I had no idea how this kind would even taste.

What can I say?

Apples. The quintessential autumn fruit right up there with pumpkins.

The other thing you should know about me is that I love autumn. And really I blame that impulse buy on that affection because honestly, the bag was cute in shape but wasn’t even just brown with handles. It was just small and made of a white waxy paper. The apples, the name of which escapes me now, were meh on their own. I enjoy a slightly firmer apple than these. But they photographed well (an actual reason I use for buying produce) and made up a rather tasty apple crisp for church Sunday.

Plus you cannot go wrong with the smell of apples and cinnamon in your house.

Some interesting facts about apples:

The science of apple cultivation is called pomology. China is the largest producer of apples in the world. In the 2019/2020 crop season they grew a whopping 41 metric tons of apples!

Apples are the second most produced fruit in the United States coming in behind oranges. There are around 2500 varieties of apples grown in the US with 7500 varieties being grown world wide. There are about 100 different varieties grown commercially in the US with the most popular being the red delicious but apparently the honey crisp is gaining in popularity.

An average person will eat 65 apples in a year.

It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.

The rarest apple in the world is the Bardsey apple. Bardsey Island is located off the coast of northern Wales and home to the the mother tree, discovered in 1998, growing in the remains of a monastic orchard. They estimate the tree to be 1000 years old. You should look it up because it has been pruned and cultivated to grow up the side of the house. It’s also referred to as Merlin’s Apple because legend says there is cave above the house where Merlin is buried in a glass coffin. Cuttings have been taken so that the tree is being grown and cultivated off the island.

The energy of 50 leaves is needed to grow one apple and 25% of the apple is air which is why they float.

A bushel of apples weighs around 42 pounds.

The world record for largest apple was grown in Japan and weighed just over 4 pounds. The most expensive apple in the world also comes from Japan and cost $20 each. Sekai Ichi variety is a large apple that weighs 2 pounds. It is hand pollinated and washed in honey to protect against blemishes. It is a cross between the red delicious and golden delicious varieties.

Apples are a rather versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh or made into about a bazillion different dishes. This is a handy guide to knowing which types of apples work best in different recipes.

Guide to the Best Apples to Use in Cooking and Baking :: PocketChangeGourmet.com

I mentioned making an apple crisp this past Sunday, which was a first for me but probably not my last. I liked the flavor a lot with that mix of butter and brown sugar caramelized with the oats.

I do have a really delicious homemade applesauce recipe to share with you over at She Feeds Her Family. You should pop over and give it a go!

Egg-Cellent

Friday Favorites

Why, yes, yes I did make a word pun for my blogpost title. And I did it because

1.) I love a good corny word pun and

2.) I really love fresh yard eggs.

It made sense to me to combine those two things for this week’s Friday Favorite post.

For a while we had several people in our church raising chickens and selling fresh eggs but then somehow there were no more to be had each week so I have made do with your plain old average grocery store eggs. I still buy brown eggs but there is something so homey to me about a bowl of lovely fresh yard eggs on the counter and you can’t do that with store bought eggs.

Plus I love the various colors and shades found on fresh eggs. They’re just, well…pretty. So while it may seem silly to some that I spent time taking pictures of eggs (eggs for crying out loud!) I don’t feel embarrassed by it. Obviously, because I not only took said pictures but I am also putting them out here for all and sundry to look at, basically inviting you to enjoy for just a moment the simplicity and beauty in something as mundane as an egg.

Two of my daughters have had a bout with Covid 19 and neither one has had her sense of taste or smell return yet. Same with some friends. They all say the same thing…eating is just weird when you can’t taste your food. And that got me to thinking. God could have made us without the capacity to taste. Or He could have made what we eat tasteless. But He didn’t do that. He gave us the gift of flavor and the ability to enjoy it. Of course we would have never known we were missing out but that makes it all the more remarkable to me. Us not knowing the difference just makes it a much bigger gift in my eyes…He did it because it pleased Him to do so. Just for the pleasure of it. Just for our pleasure.

Which is really the reason why I don’t feel embarrassed about taking and sharing pictures of weird things like eggs and such. He made a world full of taste and color and texture and shape and it is all there waiting for us to enjoy and appreciate. Simply for the sake of it.

“It is true that all people are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.” ~ Edith Schaeffer

So happy Friday, friends! May you have a lovely weekend abounding with beauty in the ordinary things.

Knowing Your Food

Fox's Farmstead

For the majority of my life I was pretty thoughtless about where my food came from. Not quite a city girl but not really a country girl, I knew a little bit about gardening because my grandmother grew veggies. (My Dad’s mother that is. My Mom’s mother had an amazing green thumb too but she was quick to tell you she was a city girl and only grew flowers.)

Basically, I knew a little bitty bit about growing vegetables and raising chickens for fresh yard eggs but nothing about raising animals for meat. Chicken was something wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store and the only thought I really gave it was did I need a package of thighs, breasts, or legs? You had fat ground beef and a little less fat ground beef. Some kind of rump roast. Thick or thin cut pork chops.

Years ago Rob and I came across a book titled, The 100 Mile Diet. It’s the story of a Canadian couple who decided that for one year they would only eat what was produced within one hundred miles of their home in an effort to learn and connect with the people who grew and raised their food. It was the first time I learned that the average ingredients in a typical meal I prepared probably traveled well over 1200 miles before reaching my grocery store shelves and then making its way into my kitchen pantry.

Our friends at Fox’s Farmstead allow us the opportunity to close the distance between knowing where our food comes from and also how it’s raised. They practice farming in a way that is respectful of the land and is also mindful of the animals themselves producing healthy and delicious tasting chickens.

I’m not going to lie…it was a little ewww for me at first. It was my first chicken slaughter day afterall. But the cycle of life and death is natural and there is wisdom I think in seeing how one thing dies so that another thing lives. Plus they have these cute little helpers just going about their business helping so I couldn’t be a big old cry baby.

We live in a society where entitlement is all but imbedded in our dna. We have choices and options for whatever food we fancy whenever we fancy and we can make those choices completely divorced from the reality of who made it happen, how it happened, and where it happened. And that does not make for a thankful people but breeds a certain consumeristic ignorance.

Throughout history food has always been about more than just eating. Eating has always been about more than just eating! Food nourishes our bodies but meals nourish our souls and community. Connecting the two deepens the connection.

One of the things I found so interesting about my morning spent at Fox’s Farmstead was the atmosphere and camaraderie of everyone. And the children! People brought their kids with them to pick up their orders and it allowed them to see the process in all it’s natural and messy goodness. They were by turns fascinated and grossed out but also intrigued.

The other thing that really stood out to me was how much life was being lived wherever you walked on the farm. Things were growing, creeping, and pecking all over the place! As I wrote this I realized I missed getting pictures of the goats they raise but I have eaten some of the delicious cheese made from their milk.

All in all it was an amazing experience. We’ve been friends for years and it has been really neat to watch them learn and create a place that offers a beautiful alternative to bigger is better mass produced food sourcing that benefits not just us in the here and now but also the land for generations to come.

I encourage you to check out their Facebook page and watch a couple of their videos and get a glimpse into what they are doing and why. It’s really interesting, not to mention delicious. Plus, I think they still have a few chickens for sale!