Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Farmhouse Christmas Brunch.... In the Summertime

We are gearing up for Harvest, and here on the farm harvest is important. Our whole family kind of eats, breathes and sleeps corn and soybeans for the next couple of months.

I am looking past harvest for a short while.....Christmastime.

I know to most of you this post might start out like the annoying part of Hobby Lobby that has Christmas decorations out right after the Fourth of July. But what is everyone favorite Holiday...Christmas.... and Everyone's favorite season...Summertime.

Which brings me to the perfect Farmhouse Christmas in Summer Brunch.

 A few weeks ago I was introduced to The Paperless Post who were looking for bloggers to give their best idea of a special Christmas Entertaining idea in the Summertime."
I'm a huge fan of brunch. This past year I hosted a Christmas Eve Brunch (one of my favorite new traditions) and a Mother's Day Brunch (one of my favorite old traditions)... The food, the brown sugar bacon, the quiches, the fresh fruit, the drinks, the mimosas, the mimosas, did I mention we love mimosas.... Add a Christmastime twist on all of this and you have the most delightful day with your friends and family.

Here is my idea of the perfect Christmas in Summertime Entertaining. A few of my pictures from last Christmas Brunch and several inspiration ideas from Pinterest.


My Kitchen table setting - I like to keep seasonal and Holiday decorations fairly simple
(my farmer would disagree with that statement)


The built in hutch in my kitchen is always one of my favorite things to decorate.




The is a photo of last years Christmas Eve Brunch. I have this huge serving tray and it's always fun to display drinks on. I wrapped a simple red double satin ribbon around two carafe's filled with orange juice and added Champagne to my Pottery Barn wine chiller to keep chilled.


I keep a pot of coffee and use this time to use my cream and sugar dishes like I did here below when I had a summertime brunch with my friend Adriane. her husband is a dairy farmer - so the cow creamer fit so well. Adding little extra touches like this make your event just a little extra special.



Onto the menu.

When I first started hosting things I would go WAY overboard with the food.... I spent the whole night before cooking and early the morning of cooking and right up until the party... still cooking. I like to keep things more simple now. Stick to a few items, keep the menu a little smaller and even... gasp.... buy some stuff pre made.... Now I'm not talking ordering a turkey for thanksgiving here, but for the perfect brunch I purchase a few baked goods from a bakery. Muffins for instance are a great brunch item. kids love a good ol blueberry muffin (see photo here from Pinterest), especially compared to your Bagel and Lox platter.




No good and fancy brunch is complete without a bagel and lox platter. I have made several of them, but this was (and still is) my inspiration photo.... Simple and elegant display, see more about it here



Cheese boards are served with everything that I host and/or attend. Pizza night, birthday parties, family dinners, Thanksgiving, it goes on and on... and brunch is no exception. I love the fresh herb stems, it makes your board very rustic and especially rosemary screams Christmas.


Christmas is all about traditions.. old and new - I love traditions. My mom always made brown sugar bacon Christmas morning. So yummy and easy it was a no brainer to add to my Christmas brunch menu last year. See recipe here



Quiche is another special thing that my mom made every year on Christmas morning, so it naturally makes an appearance at our table as well. I usually do a hearty meat one for the farmers in the family and a roasted vegetable and brie one for the farm wives of that family.




Although currently I am prepping my household for fall and my farmer heading into the fields for the next several months, this post does have me a little inspired for the upcoming Holiday Season. Take a look at The Paperless Post for all of your upcoming Holiday and invitation needs. It's one of my new favorite go-to invitation and card websites. Classic and simple designs. With so many e cards and email invites and Facebook invites, I am still a fan of old fashioned invitations that you get in the mail.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cake....... Farmer Approved

Around here we love this Jell-O Poke Cake. Super simple, easy, light, a little refreshing, perfect for a summertime evening. AND perfect to take to the guys at work - like I usually do. I even switch it up seasonally and have done a lemon lime green Jell-O for St. Patrick's Day!

Keep reading further in the post and see some pictures of the baby shower for my sister-in-law...


Bake a white cake. I don't mess around with a white cake from scratch when Duncan Hines does it so well.....




After the cake has baked and cooled (it's very important for the cake to be completely cooled-otherwise you will tear up your cake) poke holes all over it. It's a very complex system of stabbing your cake with a fork and/or spoon!



Once the cake is completely cooled and your holes are poked - whisk together the Jell-O mixture on the stove top. (don't mind my dirty stove)



Pour Jell-O mixture over cake. Another very advanced technique. ;)


Cover with saran wrap and chill. Do NOT let any wrap touch your cake or it will pull it apart.... A friend told me this. ;)


Meanwhile, while cake is chilling whip up the icing AKA the best part.... Now I call this "icing" but it is hardly the heavy, sugary icing you think of when you think of a cake. This is light, cool - whip-y, marshmallow-y, fluffy....


Icing the cake and serve immediately. If you are waiting a few hours to serve simply keep chilled until serving time.




 

 

 
Bake this for your next summertime get together.... Soon fall deserts of very apple crisps and pecan pies will flood blogs and tables everywhere - enjoy the simple things while you can.

RECIPE:






























And on to enjoying the things in life - take a peak into the Baby Shower I co-hosted (at my sister in law's house, for my other sister in law) HA - large family....
 
We went with sort of a tropical theme... Bright colors, flamingos, palm trees, pineapples, etc....
 

My sweet nieces with my cousin's little girl, Molly.




Salt water taffy wrapped in cello bags as favors...





Those pesky pink hydrangeas that I've been trying desperately to turn blue all summer long came in handy with this baby shower.











Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lemon Blueberry Scones..... Farmers Wife Approved


I am dusting the cob webs off my blog... Seriously - it's been far too long and I have missed it. My farmer and I have had a pretty laid back summer. No big plans, just staying busy with friends and family. Neither one of us are big "vacation" people... Remember last summer's vacation to Moline, Il. the John Deere Plant. We both just like to be home. It's hard to get him off the farm much less out of the county, so maybe once every couple of years we will travel. The days of jet setting off to Mexico with my friends every winter are behind me. This year though, we did book a visit to Seaside, Florida (if you remember we went their on our "honeymoon") right after Christmas. It's a little slice of heaven and we are most definitely counting down the days.

Back to summertime.... and this heat.... I officially declared myself ready for fall the other night. I was outside, it was at least 9:15... and it was still SO HOTT. I am now longing for the days my farmer is in the combine, I'm sipping a pumpkin flavored something and watering mums a couple times a week.... Until then....



On to Lemon Blueberry Scones. Some of my very favorite people I have actually met via Social Media the past few years. One of them is Adriane Heins at The Little House on the Dairy. Not only does she live in a neighboring town, I went to Lutheran grade school with her husband, my borther and sister in law bought their puppies from them.... Seriosuly.... All kinds of stars have aligned and I just knew that Adriane and I had to meet. And we did, and it was a morning full of perfectly lovely conversation. Laughs, farm wife talk about late dinner and even later nights, giggles with her sweet little girl Georgia, coffee, more coffee... and Lemon Blueberry Scones. They were so deliciously easy and I have made them a couple of times since for lazy weekend breakfasts.


 


It's easiest to work with frozen butter.... here it is all cubed up.

 

Slowly adding wet mixture to dry ingredients.



Secret - Anytime I add juice (limes or lemons) to a recipe I also add the zest. The flavor is outstanding.



 



 




Out of the oven and ready to go.
 




 
When you are inviting someone over for coffee that owns a Dairy - you most definitely serve out of your cow creamer.
How cute....

Hydrangeas and American flags are my go-to summer d├ęcor. So very simple and easy.


 

Ingredients:

Scones

  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour, plus more for hands and work surface
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Glaze

    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Add more juice and powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F  Adjust baking rack to the middle-low position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Cube the frozen butter and toss into the flour mixture and combine coarse meal. Set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, egg, and vanilla together. Drizzle it over the flour mixture and then toss the mixture together with a rubber spatula until everything appears moistened. Slowly and gently fold in the blueberries. Try your best to not overwork the dough at any point. Dough will be a little wet. Work the dough into a ball with floured hands as best you can and transfer to a floured surface. Press into a neat 8″ disc and cut into 6-8 equal wedges with a very sharp knife. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
    4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. To make the glaze, simply whisk the confectioners' sugar and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice together until smooth. Add another Tablespoon of lemon juice to thin out, if necessary. Drizzle glaze over scones right before serving.
    5. Make ahead tip: Scones are best enjoyed right away, though leftover scones keep well at room temperature for 2 extra days. Scones freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up to your liking before enjoying.
    6. Enjoy with your new friend and her sweet baby girl....

    I hope you all have a great week ahead. We are finally getting a littler bit more rain which we are thankful for. My farmer and I are enjoying our evenings together until Harvest comes.



















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