Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Favourites ~ Roast Veg Delights...

I’m not 100% sure what the name of this dish could say my mom and I ‘invented’ it, making us feel like real chefs – well – perhaps...

Our family love vegetables and whenever we have a lot of ‘extra’ veggies in the house and just a small amount of meat, we put together this yummy dish that has our family in raptures over its divine flavours and texture!

I thought I’d quickly share this recipe with you, seeing as I played cook last night and whipped it together for supper, but it would make a good lunch as well.

For this dish you will need:

 A few carrots, peeled and sliced (I used 4)
1 onion, halved and sliced into rings
Small butternut, chopped into small cubes
1 head cauliflower or broccoli, broken into florets
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 or 2 sweet potatoes, chopped
Herbs of your choics
Olive oil
1 tin chopped, peeled tomatoes
Sausage or meat of your choice
Fruit chutney

Method:  Prepare all your veggies and place them in an oven roasting dish.  Add herbs and a drizzling of olive oil and toss gently to coat all the vegetables.  Place roasting dish in a preheated oven (I used our wood stove) at 200 degrees Celsius for a good 45 minutes or so, stirring gently every so often.  Now cut up your meat and heat a blob of butter in a frying pan.  Add your meat (Note:  If you are using sausage, cut it up after frying but if using other meat, cut it up before) when the butter is very hot and fry lightly, adding some salt, pepper and some ‘special spices’ for extra flavour.  When vegetables are just about tender, add your cooked meat, tin of tomatoes and a decent amount of chutney.  Mix through and set back in the oven to warm thoroughly.   Serve on a bed of brown rice.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blessings {1}

Milk products in our fridge.

When our family moved to this farm, we had no idea we’d be getting a cow so soon after settling in! Molly, a black cow with a very big horns and an even bigger attitude, had just given birth to a calf which we named Dolly, and became our milk cow shortly after.

Nancy and I were used to milking so it was no problem at all for us. We milked every morning and evening but now things have changed and we only milk in the mornings.

Picture of Molly by Beth.

We were, however, unprepared for Molly’s grumpy moods that sent my temper flying and often the milk pail too. I can’t say those first few sessions went very well, but we did manage to find a method of keeping Molly content while we milked – phew!

It is only now, a few months later, that we are realising what a blessing having raw milk ‘on tap’ is! To have cream for butter or for baking is just amazing and I can have as much milk on my porridge as I want. (We used to drink rice milk only as our family is intolerant to commercial milk – a very expensive alternative.)

Buttermilk comes after butter making – of course, so we have buttermilk in the fridge almost all the time waiting to be used in rusks, scones or bread.

As well as having milk (we currently get 3 ½ litres a milking session as we leave most for the new calf), we have all the other wonderful products that can be made into yummy things as well.

Let me tell you about kefir.

We started to make kefir when a sweet friend in Sedgefield gave us a small jar of the kefir grains she had been growing. Kefir is a wonderful product that can be used in smoothies, in baking or just for plain drinking.

To find out more about kefir go to this site.
I decided to try making kefir but I must admit that the first few times I tried, I just messed it up – in fact at one stage my mom was quite certain we had killed the poor thing (Kefir is a live culture)! But I kept on trying and after a while of practising, I made our first jar of usable kefir!

We now have the most amazing smoothies which we make every second day or so with kefir and frozen fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, frozen papaya, banana and mango). We used to make yoghurt often, but the heating up process kills the wonderful bacteria in the raw milk, whereas it doesn’t in the kefir making process.

I love kefir for all its incredible health benefits and I love it for its divine taste in my favourite snacks!

And guess what? I even love Molly for all her buckets of attitude and I really love her for all her buckets of milk:)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review//Anne of the Island

Continuing the beloved story of Anne Shirley, a red-head orphan girl who came to live with the Cuthbert’s in Avonlea seven years previously, ‘Anne of the Island’ describes the ups and downs of Anne’s college life in Kingsport. Four years is a long time to be away from dear old Green Gables and Anne realises that everyone must grow up sometime, especially when a dark and handsome Prince Charming reveals himself. With Diana married and friends moving away from her, Anne is left to make a decision she’s not sure she will regret...But during the heart-ache and grief there is always some pleasure which Anne and her girl-friends discover in their cosy little college home during term-time and there are always the holidays to look forward to when she goes home to be with Marilla and the twins.

Anne of the Island is the third book in the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

A personal favourite in this delightful series!


Sunday took us for a walk down our road after much cleaning and organizing from chaos caused by the night before.

A cold day called for a cosy scarf – a colourful one indeed.

It called for beanies, too.

Sunday called for us all to relax and take a walk – doggy too.

It called Rebekah to pick its flowers and drink in their sweet scents.

Sunday called for Gabrielle to forget her training wheels and take her first ride without them.

Sunday called for tea and granadilla sponge cake...

...And for freshly whipped cream, straight from our cow.

Sunday called for cuddling kitties.
And Sunday called for bedtime prayers...

What was your weekend like?

P.S. Sometimes it is fun to take your little ‘Point N’ Shoot’ camera and take a few snapshots of a day like Sunday...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Winter Days.

Another winter has begun in South Africa. Cold days have arrived again with icy nights and pouring rain. It is a cold, dark time of year. The birds don’t sing and the sky stays dark for hours during the day. Nights are longer, days are shorter and a lot of your time and energy is spent keeping warm.

But come with me, friend, to the Gray Homestead and see what is happening here on a typical day in Winter...

I curl up in my bed at night, Izzie tucked up beside me as my hot water bottle and try to relax but my feet never seem to warm up...when they do I am fast asleep. All too soon I am awakened by the shrilling of the bedside alarm clock at six thirty – another day to be thankful for – “but Lord it is freezing and I don’t want to get out from under my toasty covers!” I cry.

Izzie, my JRT pup keeping cosy under the stove. What a life...

Somehow I make it through that first and awful hour of the day. Nancy and I wake up at six thirty which is the time Dad leaves for work, so we have to literally spring out of bed to catch him before he goes. It is probably best not to linger anyway...

I get warm quickly by starting the wood stove – I have to chop the wood into small pieces so that the fire will take faster. If I am up really early, Mom and I might chat a bit about the day ahead of us; things we’d like to do or try and about each other. Most of the time Rebekah and Sofia are awake and playing in Mom’s bed.

Rebekah age three and Sofia 8 months playing together in the bed this morning...what bliss.

After getting dressed (hurriedly) Nancy and I brave the outside world to the milking pen. We greet Molly (the cow) with a friendly “hello” and begin to milk. For the first time in our lives, we have experienced frost – we discovered the poor dandelion leaves were furry with frost when we took Molly to the field on Monday morning!

Cattle grazing in the field below our house this morning. Look at the mist!

Back inside with a pail of frothing milk, I strain it and pour it into a big jar. Everyone runs around to finish last minute pre-breakfast chores and then we eat. Oh yes. Breakfast time is when I can just relax and put the icy morning behind me...

Our view from the dining room window.

But housework keeps you warm. There is satisfaction found in the washing of dishes, feeding of guinea pigs, dogs and cats and even in tidying-up or sweeping. We start school when everyone is ready – it may take us a while to get done, but then we have a whole day ahead of us.

Sometimes it rains, other times the sun braves the cold and we can go outside and thaw a bit before lunch. The little girls play in the sand-pit, Izzie gets her morning training session with me and Nancy and Mom usually sit at the sand-pit and chat. Sofia is somewhere among the happy party.

Now and again Nancy will put Sofia in the pouch and walk with me.

Somehow the rest of the day gets eaten up in a matter of minutes...or does it? I never know where it goes, but when I look again it is time for an afternoon walk. I can’t describe the delight a walk in the crisp winter sunshine gives me. (I walk each day, rain or shine unless something REALLY hinders my going) I walk alone on the farm so I can think and be quiet. Izzie tags along for some (much needed) exercise. When I return, I greet daddy who has just arrived home from work.  He and mom usually enjoy a cup of coffee together to chat about their day, then dad goes off to chop wood and start the 'donkey' (our hot water system) and plant a tree/shrub/plant or dig up another vegetable bed, while mom supervises evening chores and dinner preparation.

Supper is eaten together as a family. I prepare half the meals each week – it is wonderful way for me to ‘potter’ in the kitchen doing what I enjoy most – cooking! Plus I have the opportunity to try new dishes:)

What a wonderful way to end the day – a home-cooked meal of Moussaka made by me:)

And so the evening wears on with dishes that need to be washed and little girls who need to get ready for bed. Then comes the special time...Some nights Mom, Nancy and I sew or cardmake while on other (rare) occasions we hire a movie. Most of the time Nancy and I either work on the computer or read a good book.

Snuggling up for the night is for me the most pleasant part of my day. I feel good that I achieved a lot of what I set out to do and that everyone is happy and warm under their blankets.

I send a prayer up to Jesus, talk to Him about my day and ask Him to be with those less fortunate than us. He has given my family so much that I can only praise Him.

What is a day in your life like?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review//War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Before the outbreak of World War 1, Joey, a young red bay colt was taken away from his mother and sold to a farmer in Devon, England. The farmer’s son, Albert, took a special liking to him, as the farmer was more cruel than kind. However when horses were needed for the British cavalry, Albert’s father is forced to sell Joey in order to save his farm. Joey has to face many dangerous situations in his new life as a war horse. Somehow his courage and magnificent strength help the soldiers in the terrible time of war, bringing a little light into their miserable lives. Although Joey has many caring owners and riders while away from his home, he misses his old life as a farm horse terribly. Will he ever see Albert again or even make it alive through the war?
This story is told through the horse’s eyes – his fears and excitements come to life in this beautiful book written by Michael Morpurgo.

My mom promised us we could watch the movie which has just been released once we had read the book. I wasn’t so sure about it but once we got started, all Mom ever heard during the days that followed was “Mommy PLEASE read to us”! There were always so many distractions or things we needed to do before we read and Mom would always stop in the most exciting part (or so it seemed:) Every one of us begged her for another chapter! We finished the book within a few days and now we excitedly wait to hire the movie.

I hope the movie is as good as the book – I love war movies but I’m sure this one will be sad like the book...I’ll let you know soon enough!

Have you read War Horse or watched the move?? What are your thoughts on the book/movie?


We Have a Winner...

The winner of my sewing challenge for 'anyting goes' is Sarah from Easy Make and Do!

Sarah made these lovely bean bags for her family.  Hop over to her blog for instructions!

Congratulations Sarah!  Please would you contact me with your postal address?

Have a blessed week everyone:)

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Tea Parties...



...And a beautiful little girl on her third birthday...