Eat, Cook, and Preserve Peaches: Ten Delicious Recipes

Peach TitlePeaches are one of my family’s favorite summer fruits, and we eat them by the dozens when they are in season. Last week, my husband Brian brought home 3/4 of a bushel of ripe Missouri peaches that are dripping with juice, and sweet with a bit of tart.  I was not quite sure what I’d do with so many peaches – somehow the idea of canning in the 90 degree heat just did not appeal to me.  So I asked some of my homestead blogging friends for their favorite recipes, and compiled this list of ten different ways to enjoy peaches, fresh, cooked, and preserved.

Peach Basil SalsaFirst, a Fresh Peach Basil Salsa that we’ve been making every day because I am so in love with the flavor.  Brian actually told me he thought it was the most delicious non-tomato salsa that he’d ever tasted. I created it with inspiration from a few similar recipes online, and it is perfect on grilled white fish, or as a dip for tortilla chips.

4 ripe Peaches, pitted and diced

3 tbsp fresh Basil, minced

1/4 Red Onion, minced

a splash of Balsamic Vinegar (around 1 tsp)

Salt to taste


Dani of The Adventure Bite shared her recipe for a Sweet Marscarpone Peach Tart, one of the most popular on her blog.  It is truly beautiful in appearance, and would be perfect for a summer celebration.


What is summer without cobblers and crisps? Here are a few tasty looking recipes to try:

Angi at shared a simple Peach Cobbler recipe.

Julie at Growing Days adapted her Peach Crisp recipe from one by Alice Waters; it’s simple, but decadent.

And this Roasted Apricot Tart from Jennifer at Black Fox Homestead could just as easily use peaches – oh my, does it look good!

I was amazed at some of the innovative recipes that were shared with me. I’m usually just a peach and honey or sugar kind of preserving gal, but these recipes are making me reconsider!

For instance, this Pickled Peach Recipe from Jenn at Frugal Upstate.  The pickling spices are cinnamon, clove, and ginger.  Yum!

Jennifer at Black Fox Homestead contributed this unique jam recipe – a Peach Rosemary Jam that she says would make a great poultry glaze, or topping for a croissant or scone.

Untrained Housewife‘s how-to post on Home Canned Peaches walks you through some of the basics of canning fresh peaches, with the skin on.

Peach-Refrigerator-Jam-Recipeimage courtesy of Erica Mueller

Erica from MomPrepares shared her very simple Refrigerator Peach Jam that only has four ingredients and can be made in under an hour. I love freezer and refrigerator jams because they capture the very essence of the fruit.


Finally, the method of preserving that I opt for most frequently – Frozen Sliced Peaches.  After quickly blanching peaches in boiling water, I peel, pit, and slices them.  They get a splash of lemon juice and some sweetener – either honey or sugar.  Then I place them in quart sized Ziploc bags until it’s smoothie making time!

Ten ways to eat and preserve peaches. Which shall I try next?

What is your favorite Peach Recipe? 

If you like, you can share in the comments below.

This post was shared on the Homeacre Hop, Homestead Bloggers Network, From the Farm Blog Hop.

In the Garden: Tobacco Hornworms

That is kind of a sad blog post title, isn’t it.  But it’s time to talk about the devastation of the Tobacco Hornworm. First, a clarification: I originally thought that I was dealing with the Tomato Hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata), but truly, the caterpillar that is chomping on my tomatoes is the Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta).  The two are very closely related, and are often found on the same plants, primarily members of the family Solanaceae (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants).  You can distinguish them by appearance: the Tomato Hornworm has eight V-shaped marks on each side and their horn is straighter and blue-black in color, whereas the Tobacco Hornworm sports seven diagonal white lines on the sides and a curved red horn (below).

Hornworm4Having never experienced Hornworms before, I had no idea what to expect of them, only that I had been told by countless Missouri gardeners to “just wait”.  On Friday morning, I went out to check on my sweet little tomato plants as usual, and instead of finding beautiful, lush green foliage, I was greeted by this sight:


Look at that defoliation!  No wonder – the Tobacco Hornworm can grow to 4 inches long!  You might also find their poop on your plants:


If so, look closely, particularly on the underside of leaves, because there is probably one or more of these eating machines lurking on your tomato plants!


My action plan?  I’ve started a find and pick regimen that involves going out into the garden several times a day (I’ve heard that dusk and dawn are the best times to look), hand picking the caterpillars off my tomato plants (creepy!), and feeding them to my chickens.  The chickens are giving them mixed reviews.  I can’t blame them. I don’t think I’d want to eat a 4 inch caterpillar either!

Next time In the Garden: Squash Bugs – They’re Here!


This post was shared on the From the Farm Blog Hop and the Homestead Bloggers Network.

The Gardening Notebook REVIEW and GIVEAWAY!


When Angi from and offered me an opportunity to review and giveaway a copy of her new e-book The Gardening Notebook, I leapt at the chance.  After all, I am passionate about gardening but yet, despite my total administrator personality, have had little success keeping track of my garden successes and failures from year to year.  In truth, this blog has been the best record of my garden to date, with photo updates and posts about vegetables I have grown and loved.  Sure I have a garden journal, but my entries are few and far between, and it lacks any framework of organization.

The Gardening Notebook is divided into several sections: first, practical tips on the how-to’s of gardening, such as Enriching the Garden, Pests, Problems, and Solutions, and Plan.  Next, the e-book includes printable worksheets with cultivation, pest, and harvesting and storage tips for the most common vegetables and fruiting trees, along with space for your own notes.  Finally, there are over 50 pages of printable worksheets on topics such as garden layout, planting by frost dates, a garden calendar, garden expense worksheets, and a monthly journal.

For those wanting to get truly organized about their gardening, The Gardening Notebook is a great tool.  What I really appreciate is that the user can print what they feel is necessary or interesting to them, and create their own personalized notebook. I, for one, would love to use Angi’s guide to create a go-to calendar of when to plant each vegetable, by month.

Angi has offered a copy of The Gardening Notebook to a Homestead Honey reader!  Here’s how to enter:

1.  Leave a comment below.

2. For an additional chance at winning, “Like” Homestead Honey on Facebook, and LEAVE A COMMENT HERE TELLING ME YOU DID SO.

A winner will be selected by Monday July 8th at 8pm CDT.

Comments are closed.  Congratulations to our winner, Libby!

Many thanks to Angi for this opportunity!

* While I was provided a copy of this ebook for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

Making a Wedding Cake: Part One – Planning

For the coming week, this blog’s posts may seem a bit out of the ordinary.  The tales of building, gardening, and wild-haired children are going to have to wait a week while I recount my adventures in cake baking. Not just any cake, but a three tiered wedding cake for 200 guests.
When a local friend asked us to bake her wedding cake, I’m sure our first response was utter surprise.  Brian is a maker of sourdough bread and rustic pies, while I am much more of a muffin and granola kind of gal.  But the seasoned community wedding cake bakers were otherwise engaged in wedding participation, and really, how could we say no?  Besides, wedding cakes are just big cakes plopped on top of one another, right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you know there are entire online forums dedicated to wedding cake perfection?  I do.  Until last night, I felt pretty confident about our ability to whip up a yummy batter, bake it the night before, ice it the day of the wedding and call it done.  Oh, how utterly naive of me!  A few trips down the blog rabbit hole and I’m now planning Excel spreadsheets with proper ingredient proportions, and have a four-day cake baking schedule, and pages of notes.

Fortunately, the bride is kind, generous, and relaxed.  Her request was to have neither a plain Jane vanilla white cake, nor chocolate.  So we are going with lemon. Lemon cake filled with lemon curd, and layers of jam (made last summer by the bride), I think it will be a nice blend of sweet and tangy.

Here’s what we have planned so far:

  • A “naked” cake, topped with seasonal, edible herbs and flowers (violets and  lemonbalm are a few thoughts).  Naked cakes are not iced on the top and sides, so you see the layers of cake and filling from the side. Check out some images here.
  • Cake recipe: Martha Stewart Weddings Lemon Cake.
  • Three tiers: 8, 10, and 12 inches, plus a sheet cake.
  • Fillings: Lemon Curd (recipe from the bride) and homemade jam – Choices available to us are Apricot, Blueberry, Strawberry.
  • Icing still being debated. I tried a Swiss Buttercream recipe by Smitten Kitchen this evening, but wasn’t too thrilled by it.  I think I might go with your basic powdered sugar/butter combo.

Tonight we did our first test bake with a single 8″ round.  The cake came out perfectly golden and slid right out of the pan. The lemon curd is delicious, and only a bit clumpy – we’ll strain the yolks next time. Tomorrow, we’ll assemble the layers and sample a few flavor combos.

If you have a favorite lemon-jam flavor combo, let me know. And also, if you have a to-die-for icing recipe that is simple and will hold up to heat, PLEASE share it with me!

With cake love,

Making a Wedding Cake: Part Two – Tasting

Making a Wedding Cake: Part Three – Baking

Making a Wedding Cake: Part Four – The Big Day

Creating a School!

For the past few months, I’ve been part of a group of parents that are working together to create a Waldorf-inspired homeschool cooperative.  This year we have been meeting once a week and taking turns leading circles, songs, stories and crafts for nine children, ages 2-5.  Next year, our numbers will grow a bit, and we began to wonder how we could best meet the needs of our children as they enter kindergarten.  While we’re all committed to homeschooling, we also wanted to create regular, structured opportunities for the kids to learn and create together.

After much visioning and communication, we have decided to hire a part-time Waldorf teacher for next school year.  We are so excited to move forward with this plan, and have created a job description that we’d love to circulate far and wide. It’s a unique position in that we’re able to offer room, board, and many opportunities for learning homesteading and simple living skills at the various family farms, permaculture education centers, and radical simplicity projects in the area.

I’d like to share the job description here, in hopes that perhaps you might know someone perfect for the job!  Or perhaps you might know someone who could connect me with someone to connect me with someone!  Thank you.

An Extraordinary Teaching Opportunity
Waldorf-Inspired Homeschool Cooperative Seeks a Part-Time Teacher
for the 2013-2014 School Year

 The vision of our homeschool cooperative is to create a dynamic and inspirational learning community that embraces the holistic philosophy of Waldorf Education, fosters a deep love of all living things and a connection with the natural world, and incorporates ideas of simplicity, service, and sustainability while developing the unique gifts of our children.

We seek a loving, collaborative, creative individual to plan and implement a Waldorf curriculum and act as lead teacher in a Waldorf-inspired homeschool cooperative.  Two days a week you will teach a four hour Kindergarten program for 8-12 three to six year old students. In addition, one day per week, you will organize and facilitate an outdoor/farm/wilderness enrichment program that is open to a wider community of children, and is taught in cooperation with parent volunteers. Expect to work 15-20 hours per week, 12 of which is with the children and the remainder used for planning and preparation.

The ideal candidate will have training and experience in Waldorf Early Childhood Education, is enthusiastic about sustainability and homesteading, and has a desire to share his/her gifts while learning simple living skills.

We offer an incredible opportunity for personal development and professional creativity, with benefits including:

  • Private room on a small family farm
  • Delicious, non-vegetarian, mostly organic meals
  • A monthly stipend of $400
  • Access to a wide variety of classes and learning opportunities including: organic gardening, animal husbandry, permaculture, non-violent communication, restorative circles, food preservation, indigenous skills, natural building, and handwork/crafts

This is the experience of a lifetime for someone self-motivated that wants to work creatively, building a new learning community in Northeast Missouri.

For more information, contact Teri at:

Chicken Books (and a Giveaway!)

The first time Brian and I got chicks, we knew very little about raising animals of any kind.  Newly settled on a 30 acre rental property, chickens seemed like the ideal first farm animal – low entry cost, relatively simple to care for, and of course, the quality of farm-fresh eggs cannot be beat.  When our good friend and land mate expressed an interest in co-owning 10 hens, we began our journey into animal husbandry.

Once again, chickens will be the first animals on our new homestead. While it seems important to build a house and figure out basic living systems before we leap into the same level of animal care we enjoyed in Oregon, I cannot resist a small flock of layers and meat birds.

After thirteen years of homesteading, we have learned a lot about raising farm animals.  Much of this knowledge has been through trial and error.  And while I do believe that direct experience is the best way to learn homesteading skills, there is much to be said for research and education before one begins raising animals; after all, you are taking on responsibility for another living creature. While I wait for the weather to warm a bit before bringing home chicks, I’ve been reading up on raising chickens, and thought I might share a few books I’ve been enjoying.

Living with Chickens:
Everything You Need to Know to Raise your Own Backyard Flock

By Jay Rossier
With a warm, friendly tone, and a no-nonsense approach, this is a great choice for someone looking for an easy read and beautiful, inspiring photos.  I also have read several other books in this series, including Living with Pigs, Living with Sheep, and Living with Goats, and have enjoyed them all. I loved that the author included a chapter on Chickens and Children!

Keeping Chickens with Ashley English
All You Need to Know to Care for A Happy, Healthy Flock
By Ashley English
Ashley English has made quite a name for herself with a series of animal husbandry books (I was especially impressed with her Keeping Bees book).  I like the way she makes animal husbandry seem so fun and within everyone’s reach (which it is!).  Great photos, vignettes of farmers, and solid information make this book a great choice for beginning poultry farmers.

The Urban Chicken
By Heather Harris
Another resource I enjoyed was a recently released eBook by Heather Harris of The Homesteading Hippy. Her eBook, The Urban Chicken is a great how-to guide for folks just starting out.  She includes many photos and wonderful personal stories and tips from her own backyard.  I especially appreciated that she guides the reader from chick to table, illustrating how to piece a chicken, and offering freezing instructions and information on pressure canning chicken meat.  I have never before canned chicken meat, but her instructions are so clear and easy, that I am really excited to give it a try this summer.

Heather has generously offered a copy of her eBook to give away to one Homestead Honey reader.  If you’d like a chance to win a copy, please leave a comment below! I’ll close the comments on Friday.

Congratulations to the winner, Tatiana!

*This post featured on The Homestead Barn Hop, Menagerie Monday at Let This Mind Be In You, and Natural Living Mamma’s Natural Living Monday.


I have been wanting to share so many things this week – my sweet potato update, seed order, thoughts about baking with kids – and I will get to these things in the very near future.  But this week, my mind is called elsewhere, to ponder the passing of my 92 year old Nonni, who died in her sleep yesterday.  I will join my family on the east coast and celebrate her life with others who enjoyed her spunky, sassy energy, and benefited from her no-nonsense approach to life.

Nonni and girls Silly Nonni

Four generations of women who know how to get silly.

Until next time, give those you love an extra hug.


Thoughts at the end of 2012

Hello Friends!

I feel like such a long time has passed since I’ve sat down to write.  It’s been a very busy holiday season, as I’m sure it has been for you too.  My little girl turned five (!), we celebrated each week of Advent with a beautiful and magical community ceremony, we had a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, we received the joyous news that our close friend had a baby, and we had visits from several dear friends.

And then things got quiet around here.  And it got very cold.  And we got pretty sad.  And homesick.

Sure, we could have easily picked up the phone to proactively get to know some new acquaintances, but it just seemed so daunting.  It’s hard to get out of a funk sometimes.  I had a few big girl tantrums and cried a bit.  I jumped into new projects (magic loop!) and tried to focus my energy in a positive way.   But it is hard to write a blog post about feeling sad!  I try to be authentic with my writing, but I also want to hold the intention of focusing on the the beauty and joy that exists in my life. Such a balancing act.

At the beginning of 2012, Brian and I set a guiding intention for the year: Be Bold.  It has played out in many ways including moving across country to Missouri and beginning to write this blog.  Over the next few days, I’ll be setting intentions for the year ahead and remaining open to any guiding words that come to inspire 2013.  I’d love to hear what sorts of intentions you are setting for your year.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for sharing in my life through this blog.  Some of you I know intimately, some of you I’ve only met across a computer screen, but it brings me great joy create this blog, and I appreciate your taking the time to read and respond.

Until 2013!


Guest Post: Good Girls Don’t Have Cobwebs

Hello!  We have arrived in Northeast Missouri (or NEMO).  We’re busy settling into our house-sitting home, checking on the progress of the shop that is being built on our land (almost done, but our Amish builder’s wife had a baby yesterday…), and making lists of all of the things that need to be done (getting firewood, having a pond dug, rescuing my transplanted perennials from the moving truck, cancelling our internet in Oregon, etc.).

And while I am itching to share the photos and stories of our cross-country adventure, I did a very silly thing, and packed our camera cord in the “electronics and camera stuff” box. Which means it is somewhere in Iowa, awaiting a Tuesday delivery.

However, today I have a very exciting treat – a guest post!  My good friend Sarah offered to share her debut post from her new blog Good Girl.  If you’ve ever questioned the “SHOULDS” of your life, then you’ll love Sarah’s exploration of what life can be like when a Good Girl says no to should, and yes to joy and authenticity.  That this particular post is about our friendship, my Oregon home, and our last meeting moves me to tears with its sweetness and candor.  Thank you, Sarah.

And so I present:  Good Girls Don’t Have Cobwebs, by Sarah of Good Girl

            Good writers can paint a picture with their words.  I can only wish my skills are up to the task.  The picture of Echo Hollow, the homestead of my dear friend Teri, was alive with all the beauty of LIFE.  A huge trailer parked in the driveway, kids running about in the autumn sunshine, a half-naked baby snoozing in a jogging stroller, adults bustling about in the business of packing up this lovely homestead for a big journey and me arriving with some home-cooking to sustain the troops.  It was my last visit to Echo Hollow.  Teri and her family are leaving in two days on the reverse Oregon Trail, as she calls it.  They are off to begin a new life and build a new homestead in Missouri.

I walked into Teri’s kitchen to find her on the floor, wrapping dishes and packing them in an old vintage suitcase.  My visit was short but I offered to help do some packing while I was there.  Teri went in search of her hubby to get my packing orders and left me alone in her kitchen.  And that’s when I noticed them.  The cobwebs.  Massive cobwebs.   Up in the ceiling, in the windows, along the beams.  And you know what I thought?  They looked just like they belonged there.  They were a part of the décor of this rustic, homey little cabin.  And it was beautiful.  Seriously, beautiful.  I peeked out a side door that I had not seen opened before.  Down a few steps from the living room was an outdoor enclosed area that included their washing machine, but no dryer, and a shower.  I’m pretty sure they both bathe and shower in the great outdoors.  And again, I was struck by the beauty of this place.  There was a creek babbling by outside.  Sunlight streamed in all the windows.  Flies buzzed around the kitchen.  Just like all my other visits to Echo Hollow, I was in awe and a little bit in love.  All my Good Girl training goes out the window, and I just marvel in the realness, the beauty and the stark difference between what I think a home SHOULD look like and what this home really feels like.

Teri rejoined me and we spent our last half hour together packing and chatting.  Friends, neighbors, and her husband were in and out, getting kids lunches and consulting on packing jobs.  Before I left, we stood in the road out in front of their house, watching the big kids run in the garden.  As I pulled out of the driveway, Teri waved good-bye as she pulled her littlest (the naked baby) up the driveway in a big farm cart.

I drove my mini-van down the one lane country road that leads out of Echo Hollow and back to the main road and the tears just bubbled up.  I cried.  The thirty minute journey from Echo Hollow back to my reality was filled with all sorts of things Good Girls don’t usually do.  Let’s start with the tears.  Good girls don’t cry and especially not if the OTHER person wasn’t crying!  Well, let me clarify.  Good girls always cry one or two polite tears if in the company of others who are crying.  But “the ugly cry” as my mother-in-law calls it is NEVER shared with others, and for this particular Good Girl, it’s something I rarely permit myself to do.  But as of late (hence the creation of this blog), the REAL me is winning out over the Good Girl more and more.  And I wanted to cry.  So I did.  My mind searched for why I felt so sad.  I’m sad to have a friend move away.  I’m sad for what could have been.  Teri is so many things that I hope to be (beekeeper, garden grower, knitter, chicken steward) and while I know we will have technology on our side to keep us connected, nothing will be the same as being at her homestead in person.  And she won’t be here to visit my garden and give me the scoop.  “You better get that bindweed under control before it sets in.”  I’m sad to lose a kindred spirit.  Teri and I have always been able to share the deep stuff, even from our very first meeting.  And then regret set in.  Why didn’t we spend more time together?  I really wish we had.  Truly, deeply, I wished I had made more of an effort to be together.  We talked about me and my kiddos visiting their homestead.  We did that just once. We talked about making soup together while children played, but we never did it.  Now, that ship has sailed.

By the time I reached my homestead, I knew what was making me so sad.  The choice, albeit unconscious, I make most days when I choose rules over people, control over connection, schedules over friends, doing what I SHOULD over what I want, pain over pleasure.  I’m missing out!  Daily!  I pulled in the driveway ready to connect with my children and embrace the beautiful afternoon we had before us.  The irony of my life is that I CAN do this.  I’m a stay at home mother to two children who I’m homeschooling.  The world is our oyster and yet, often, I get all three of us bogged down with rules, schedules and shoulds.  Instead of embracing the ART of mothering and FLOW of life.   I’m realizing how many times I say NO to MY LIFE (the life that rises up to greet me each day) and YES to a whole bunch of rules.

So, I packed the girls in the van.  We headed to a local farm.  We had ice cream (at 4:30- GASP-good girls NEVER feed their children ice cream right before dinner!), visited some animals, walked through the fields of flowers and corn stalks.  All the annoyances I had been feeling in the past few days at Big C and Little C melted away.  Instead, we laughed, played and ate.  When Big C was afraid of the donkey (behind a fence) I didn’t explain to her how irrational she was being.  I played blocker with my body to clear a “donkey-free” path for her.  When they stood at the entrance of the hay maze wanting to go down the tunnel but balking for what seemed like forever (but was only minutes) and backing down anytime another kid came through, I did not sigh and stalk off.  I just stayed there, in the moment, letting my little cautious souls ponder the scene.  When they both started whining when we got in the car, I did not lecture them on how good they have it.  I just made a funny face and we all laughed.

So thank you, dear friend.  A visit to your world today was a gift to me and my family.  I saw the beauty of some cobwebs in a rich family life and home.  This good girl is no longer just trying to get rid of the cobwebs.  I hope that today’s good-bye isn’t really a good-bye.  In fact, I know that it isn’t.