Family and Holidays

Last night we celebrated with our little ones – and finally got them all to sit on the sofa together for a minute or two! 9 little Segils – 7 boys and 2 girls – how blessed are we!
Happy holidays everyone!Jack Jonah Noah Gabe Alex Sara Natalie Flynn Jameson Passover April 2014

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Picking and cooking beets at The Little Farm

Here our oldest grandson Jack is holding some of the beets that we grew this season.  Cooking beets could not be simpler – cut off the greens ( we don’t care for them in salads but some folks do) and wash the beets thoroughly. Light the BBQ and put them on the top shelf to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. Then peel – the skins will come off easily. Slice and eat! YEP! That easy – and they will have a lovely BBQ flavor.

Enjoy!

Jack holding beets from Little farm March 2014

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Pure Joy – Hugging all four grandsons at the same time! How blessed am I!

Here is a moment of pure joy – yesterday I was able to hold all four grandsons for one precious moment as I read them a story. What a pleasure! How lucky I am! Hope you ‘carpe diem’ and grab the moments of joy and imprint them on your mind to fill your heart all day and night! From left to right – Jonah (5) Jack (6) Gabriel (2.5) and Noah (2.5) and a very very happy smiling me with arms around all of them!

Larraine with all four boys March 2014

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Another scrumptious dessert – cooking with kids will be fun on this one! Tasting too!

My good friend Ilene made this last week when we had dinner at her home – and it was so good that I had to have it to share with you! Here it is!

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of peanut butter sandwich cookies such as Nutter Butters
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 4 tbsp of unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 Cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of salted roasted peanuts coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
  2. In a food processor pulse the cookies with the 1/4 tsp of salt until finely ground.
  3. Scrape the cookies into a 9 inch pie plate
  4. Stir in the melted butter, 1/2 tbsp at a time until the crumbs are the texture of wet sand; you may not need to use all the butter.
  5. Using your fingers press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the side of the pie plate. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes until light golden. Let cool on a rack
  7. In a medium bowl combine the peanut butter with the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar and a 1/4 tsp of salt and mix until thoroughly blended. In another bowl whip 3.4 cup of the heavy cream until stiff. Whisk the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Spread the peanut butter filling in the crust in an even layer.
  8. Refrigerate until chilled about 30 minutes.
  9. Using the same whipped cream bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 tbsp of sugar with the vanilla until stiff. Spread the whipped cream over the pie. Sprinkle the pie with the chopped peanuts, cut into slices and serve.
  10. You can prepare the pit through the refrigeration step 8 on the day before – and keep in the fridge overnight!

Tasting is SUCH fun! Here is Jonah enjoying the process!

Jonah baking and tasting cookie dough

 

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The most scrumptious and easy dessert – great for Cooking with kids!

This is so amazing that I blew my ‘diet’ for two weeks on it! But it was worth every mouthful. Look out! You wont be able to resist eating half this incredible dessert. Make it for your closest friends and family – and you will be asked to make it every time they come to visit!

It is called The Little Farm Cherry Pineapple Crumble

Ingredients:

1 Package of Big Valley Dark Sweet Cherries ( 16 ounces)

1 16 ounce can of Crushed Pineapple

1 Box of yellow cake mix

1/2 cup of butter

1/2 cup of salted chopped Marcona (or any kind of) almonds

Directions:

Mix cherries ( frozen) and pineapple in a large flan dish. Sprinkle the cake mix over the fruit evenly. Melt the butter and drizzle it over the cake mix. Top with the chopped nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream ( Haagen Daz Dulce De Leche is our favorite) or cold with whipped cream.

Sublime!

IMG_6360

 

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Gluten free Chicken Casserole with Rice – oh my ! We could not stop eating it!

IMG_6356This is one of the easiest and most delicious dishes I have ever made. I know that you will LOVE it. It is juicy, tasty and gluten free! Amazing! My son is gluten intolerant-and we are having a dinner party where one of our guests is gluten intolerant – and so I decided to make the whole dinner without gluten. Not without its challenges – especially when it comes to dessert unless its a  fruit or flan or caramel. But that will be another post. In the meantime here is the main dish! Enjoy!

Little Farm Gluten Free Brown Rice Chicken Casserole with Yellow Beet salad and Green Salad 

  • 6 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • Lemon Salt or Lemon Pepper if you prefer
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 cups of chopped leeks ( light green white parts only , cleaned)
  • 2 cups of diced peeled eggplant – about one big one
  • 4 Tbsp of chopped basil
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of chopped tomatoes in puree
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of brown rice ( Gluten free)
  • 4 lbs of grilled chicken breasts and thighs cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of shredded Parmesan ( I got the wrong kind – got the finely grated kind – and that worked fine too!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the chicken boneless skinless  breasts and thighs into pieces and put them with some lemon salt into your 9×13 baking dish with some olive oil under and a drizzle of olive oil on top.  Grill for 20 minutes until almost done. Do not let the chicken dry out – under done is better. Drain all the juice off and keep it to add to the rice mixture later.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic for 5 minutes, then add the leeks and saute until golden. Move the leeks to the side of the pan and put the hot part under the rest of the pan – and add the eggplant. Add more oil as needed. Cook until the eggplant is soft.
  3. Then mix the eggplant and the leeks together in the pan.
  4. Add the basil, tomatoes, chicken broth and liquid from cooking the chicken pieces, brown rice and mix.
  5. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the chicken pieces and stir.
  7. Then turn the whole pan into the baking dish that you cooked the chicken in, and put that into the oven which you reduce to 400 and bake covered for the next 60 minutes.
  8. Depending on the brown rice and how you like it ( we like it soft not al dente) you may have to add a bit more time. I cooked mine for 70 minutes.
  9. Just before serving add the Parmesan and turn the broiler on for just 5 minutes. Then serve.

I made a Beet salad ( roasted yellow beets in the oven, peeled and cut them, added olive oil and balsamic reduction and salt) – here they are!IMG_6359I served this along with our normal Little Farm Greens with dots of home made ricotta, chopped carrots and cucumbers and cherry tomatoes – and a lemon juice, olive oil, Parmesan dressing.

Sigh.

It was sublime.

Enjoy!

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The Ducks Come to Swim – an Annual Event! Is Spring around the corner?

Once a year a couple of ducks arrive in our swimming pool and take a dip. It happens just before Spring – as they begin their courtship and mating . Sometimes they will come back with their babies and take a swim – we heat our pool so it must be like a spa experience for them.

I took this photo at 5.30 in the morning yesterday – so it was still a little foggy . I don’t know how long ducks live – but since the duck couple have been coming to visit one month a year daily for about 36 years which is the length of time we have lived in our Little Farm, I have to believe that they are passing the message down to more generations, and that is why every year around the same time, members of the Duck Family,  arrive.

It always makes me happy – since another beautiful season is on the way. Spring is here! And today is our 45th wedding anniversary – how did that happen? 5 years in South Africa and the rest in the glorious USA. How blessed we are to be part of this amazing country with all its riches of freedom and opportunity. We give thanks daily for all of our blessings and the prescience of the Founding Fathers who created the Constitution on which our liberty is based. As a former lawyer, I had the privilege of studying Constitutional Law – and am in awe of the benefits that it enables in a free society. Along with beauty in nature, loving family and friends and good health – ours has become a world of joy and real happiness.IMG_6336

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Fresh Vegetables and Children- Grow and Pick and they will eat them!

At the Little Farm there are always fresh vegetables to pick and eat. Our four grandsons love fresh lettuce, cilantro, herbs of all kinds – but only in the vegetable patch. When we put them on a plate – their interest wanes! So our veggie patch becomes the place that our  little boys eat their greens! Take a look below! Jack Jonah Noah Gabe in veg patch eating fresh veggies The boys loved picking the fresh cilantro and tasted all the herbs – things that we could not have convinced them to taste at the table! And Jack is holding a Tangelo – we picked oranges, tangerines, tangelos and peeled and ate them as we walked around the farm. Jack jonah noah gabe eating fresh veg from little farm March 2014Oh and did I mention? We now have 13 baby goats!! Here Julia licks her new born baby (10 minutes old) along with one of her room mates, Dolly.IMG_6312

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Cooking with Kids – so much fun – especially making their birthday cakes!

Our middle grandson Jonah turned 5 recently and wanted a Candy Cake. Yep! What is THAT? So we went off to the candy store and I gave him a budget and said – any candy that you like. About 10 bags of candy later – we had a really good mixture and off home we went. I made a sketch. As I explained to Jonah one must always have a plan. And if you are creating something from nothing – which we were – making up the whole idea of a Candy Cake – then you definitely need to think about it in advance, do a drawing and make lots of mistakes in order to get to a better result. Jonah liked that idea. He considers himself an artist already! Actually – a chef and an artist. GO JONAH! So we drew a design. He and me. I did the circle and he helped make the design on it. We talked about what we would like. Of course we had to sample the candies to see which ones tasted really good. This is our design. We dated and signed it. For posterity!

Jonah's Candy Cake Sketch

Then we started to decorate the TRIAL cake. I explained to Jonah what a BETA Trial is and he understood! So then we started the decorating.

Jonah decorating the trial candy cake 2014This is what the Trial Cake looked like.Jonahs trial candy cake

Well, Jonah decided that he did not like the sour balls – yuck he said – so we left them out of the final cake. And then I made THREE Cakes as there were lots of little ones ( and their parents coming to the party). So below here is the final product – and a VERY happy Jonah on the day of his birthday. He jumped right into the trunk of the car – to have his picture taken!Jonah and his Candy Cake Jan 2014 5th bday

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Sam, The Broken Robot does it again! Our donation of Sam’s special boxes to children at the California Hospital Medical Center makes kids feel happier! YAY SAM!

We are so thrilled to have donated Sam’s special boxes to the California Hospital Medical Center for the kids who are in hospital. They loved him! And they smiled at his music and stories – and frankly – well , that just made MY day!SamSolo

I received SUCH a lovely note from the Pediatric Staff at the California Hospital Medical Center – what lovely giving and gracious folks. Thanks to all of you!California Hospital Medical Center Personal NoteCalifornia Hospital Medical Center

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