Turkey Creek Lavender

Turkey Creek Lavender

Friday, October 29, 2010

Autumn at Turkey Creek Lavender and Super Easy Olive Garden Soup Recipe

What a glorious morning! Our first really cool one. The air is crisp, and chilly, there's a light frost on everything. The trees are just starting to turn from green to rich amber, deep gold, and sunny yellow. Geese are honking in a neighboring field. There's a slight smell of woodsmoke in the air.

Autumn. Such a lovely word.

And it's time to prune the lavender. I prune in the fall. Since it's so warm here most of the year I usually get a second bloom from September to first frost. It might only be stragglers, but if I prune too early I just have to prune again. And I don't like to do that. So today is the day, and my oldest son is here to help me.

I took a little stroll around this morning with my camera and savored the sights and smells of autumn. The deer and turkey were in the field feeding together. I've seen it before, but it's always so odd to see them in the same frame.





The leaves blanket the floor of our woods, beckoning exploration.
As I looked up to take this lovely picture...
I spied this...
...one of the beautiful wild turkey's that run around the farm perched up in a tree.
And then he flushed and was gone. A lovely start to a beautiful autumn day.

Then I came in and made Olive Garden Soup for later in the day when Nathan and I will be worn out from pruning.

A wonderful and super easy recipe my Mom gave me years ago. I make it alot. And again, it's so versatile. Instead of ground beef you can use ground turkey, chicken, italian sausage, or venison (which is what I use). Sometimes I have a little leftover cooked zucchini, carrots, peas, etc. and I just stir that in, too. You can easily extend it a little by adding more water, and it freezes well, and doubles and triples for large crowds.
Olive Garden Soup
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Chilies, undrained (I use mild)
1 can Ranch-Style Beans, undrained
3 cans Minestrone Soup, undrained
1 can water
In a kettle or dutch oven, brown 1 pound of ground beef with diced onion. Drain. Add the tomatoes, beans, soup, and water. Simmer till hot.
And that's it. SO easy. To make alot I use 3 cans of ready to serve minestrone. Sometimes I use the condensed variety and add more water. Most of the time I use a can of condensed and a few cans of ready to serve, or vice versa. I always keep the ingredients on hand in case of unexpected company. When you live in the country it's not like there's a grocery store nearby! With crusty french bread, or breadsticks, it's so yum.
Wishing you a lovely autumn day, full of surprises!
Cathy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vampire Merlot!






















I know you think I'm joking, but it is an actual wine, and an actual vineyard. And they're website, Vampire Vineyards, is a wonderful place to peruse while you're sipping their delicious merlot. It's full of vampirish delights!

Every October I indulge myself by buying a bottle. Then the bottle makes a great Halloween decoration. I simply stick a short red candle in the empty bottle and let it burn down until it gets all luciously drippy down the sides.

Mmmmmm. "It's a good thing."

Cathy

Monday, October 25, 2010

Freaky Finger Cookies for Halloween and My Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe

It's almost Halloweeeen! And even though I don't have little ones anymore, and don't get trick-or-treaters out here in the country, we still do our fair share of decorating, baking, and consuming.

All of my big boys still expect it. So, along with a few bags of candy, I usually bake or brew up something spooky and special. Always a crowd pleaser...
Freaky Finger Cookies.

I took them to work last Halloween and heard alot of "eeeewwww's", but they were consumed, right down to the last nub!

And...bonus! This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe, my go-to of all time, the one I've been making for almost 30 years in every shape, color, size, you name it! Easy to mix, easy to roll, easy to bake, and delicious. Did I mention the "V" word? No? Oh yeah...it's versatile! I add different flavorings, toppings, nuts, icing, no icing, lavender, I roll it, shape it, cut it. Just a great all-around recipe to have.

Cathy's Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter or margarine (I use Parkay stick margarine)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Chill dough. On a floured surface roll dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut desired shapes. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 6-8 minutes. Yield: about 6 dozen. This recipe also doubles well.

Note: For the fingers you will need a package of sliced almonds for the grisly fingernails! Also, I added 1 teaspoon of almond extract because I like them to be almondy (Is that a word? No? Guess it is now.).
















After I mix the dough I usually just dump it out of the bowl and wrap in saran wrap to chill. It makes cutting off pieces of dough to roll out really easy, and I can pop the dough back into the fridge to stay chilled while I'm working.
Lightly flour your board. For the fingers just cut off a piece of dough and roll it back and forth into finger size, thinner is better because they do spread a little, making fat fingers. Using the edge of a knife make 3 indentations in the middle for the knuckle, then press a slice of almond in the end for the gnarly fingernail. I especially like those broken ones. Eeewww.
Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. This is great for kids because there's no cutting involved and they just turn out fun and funny no matter what they do to them. Sometimes I brush a little egg white on and add a sprinkle of sugar to a few just for a little shine.

And there you have it, Freaky Finger Cookies. Enjoy!

Cathy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Turkey Creek Lavender Products Will be Available at Lulabelle's in Medicine Park, Oklahoma!!

Hi all!

Just a quick post to let you know you can now purchase Turkey Creek Lavender Farm products at Lulabelle's Cobblestone Cottage in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. She is in cabin #2 right by the bridge.
The incomparable Lulabelle, aka Lou McConnel, helping visitors at the TCL booth at the Flute Festival last weekend.





If you've never made it to Medicine Park, well, you're in for a treat! The whole community is constructed of cobblestones, and has a very unique history. You can stay in quaint cabins, or B&B's, visit the cute shops and fine eateries, stroll around by the water, visit the winery, or drive out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, see the Holy City, drive up Mount Scott, our highest elevation in the area, where you can get a 360 degree view of southwest Oklahoma, and stop by the park visitor center, see buffalo, elk, long horn cattle, prarie dogs, and lots of awesome hiking and fishing.

















Did I mention you can buy TCL soap and lavender items at Lulabelle's? (Yes, a shameless plug!) And Lou can even fix you up a gift basket of regional items from Oklahoma and Texas. Candied jalapeno's anyone? Yes, they're good!
So, if you need a soap fix, or some lavender, Lulabelle's is open on Saturday from 10-6, and Sunday from 11-6. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful Saturday! Perhaps I'll see you at the flower show!

Cathy

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Little Fall Twist to Nana's Cowboy Cookies

Remember when I did a post on Nana's Cowboy Cookies with the St. Paddy's Day Twist? Well here's another way to tweak that recipe.

Just use the Fall Harvest M&M's instead of the green ones! Sometimes I add a little cinnamon in the fall just for something different, and it goes quite well with the oatmeal. Makes it more fallish!  
Have a favorite sports team? Like, say, the Dallas Cowboys? Okay, obviously we're fans. No secret. Perhaps blue and white M&M's on game day, or maroon and white for OU...or your kids school colors for that upcoming bake sale. Anyone for orange and white M&M's for Halloween? Perfectly versatile recipe! Just how I like 'em!

Here's the link again, here, just in case you missed it! Scroll aaaaallll the way to the bottom of the post for Nana's recipe.

Happy baking, happy fall!

Cathy

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