My Favorite Things – December

Sunflowers

As you have probably guessed, I have been enjoying the holidays – I took last week off from blogging to spend time with my family! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

December is one of my favorite months of the year! Not only do we celebrate Christmas but we also have 2 sons born in December and one is on Christmas day. Plus, right around the corner is a new year – 2013! A new year always signals a new beginning, a time to start fresh and new. That is what New Year’s Resolutions are all about – a time to renew commitments whether it be to healthy eating, exercise, reading, you name it, it is a fresh start.

One of our family traditions is a trim the tree buffet dinner. Every year, before decorating the tree we gather to help ourselves around a  table full of foods including meats and cheeses to make your own sandwich, Salmon Ball, shrimp, spiced tea and lots of goodies. Most dishes are reserved for this buffet dinner so everyone looks forward to it!

On Christmas morning we have a nice breakfast and then open presents. Our oldest son at home turned 20 on Christmas day this year so we have a wonderful celebration for him. He is the only child who gets a turkey dinner for his birthday dinner! I will be posting the highlights of our day this week on Family Fridays.

Here at the vineyard, we have started preparing for planting more vines in the spring of 2013. We are also still working on the barn and filter house. I guess the work is never done because we are always starting something new. But, then again, that keeps life exciting, doesn’t it?

I was privileged to do a guest post at the Healthy Home Economist with my Sprouts and Squash Recipe which is a great way to get little ones to eat Brussels sprouts! And also, at my new found friend Megan’s blog, Love Letters 7.10, where I had the opportunity to share a bit about how we came to West Texas to start a vineyard and my journey on the GAPS diet.

Elsewhere, here are a few of my favorite things:

Recipe Books:

  • The DIY Organic Beauty Recipes from Mommypotamus is still 20% off! If you are ready to pamper yourself – this book is for you! It includes recipes for DIY, good-for-you beauty products like shampoo, conditioners, lotions, deodorant, lip balm, body butter, natural tooth powder and much more!
  • Empowered Sustenance’s Indulge and Heal contains over 70 recipes with treats that contain NO grains, dairy, nuts or refined sugar to nourish and renew.
  • Natural Cocktails E-Book from Our Nourishing Roots includes recipes for honey sweetened cocktails like Hard Lemonade and two Tea Bourbon Cocktails that are GAPS-friendly, as well as, other drink-making recipes that do not involve alcohol.
  • Mama and Baby Love has a slow cooker freezer recipes cookbook available in either an e-book or in print.

Articles:

 

Recipes:

Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/trans961 

Weekly Giveaway Winner!

 

 

It is time to announce last week’s giveaway winner who won 1 copy of the Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

 

And the winner is …..[Continue Reading]

Preparing for 2013 Grape Planting

We will be planting another 5+ acres of grapes in the spring – 4 1/2 acres of Montepulciano and 1 acre of Aglianico – that equals 16 more rows! While we will not be doing the actual planting of the vines until sometime in March, we are already getting ready! Our slow season (fall after harvest until late winter pruning) is a good time to prepare for the new vines by installing the drip system. We use underground drip irrigation which supplies the vineyard with water much more efficiently than above ground since you loose no water to evaporation.

We use a flat black tape which comes on a big spool and has holes in it. Once connected, the tape is expanded with water which escapes through all the holes watering the vines. The tape is buried about 18 inches below ground and is tied off at one end and connected to the water at the other. First, the rows were marked – we will continue the 1/3 mile long rows.

Then, using a tractor with a ripping shank – a hook which rips the ground – the rows are broken and “ripped”. Since we have had no rain recently, this is quite a task with the ground so dry and hard.

The taping rig is a platform with a holder for the spool of drip tape, a place for someone to sit/stand and rides over the ripping shank. As the tractor drives along, the person holds the tape making sure it goes into the feeding tube straight and not twisted. The ripping shank breaks the ground and the tape is fed into place.

As you can see in the picture below, the new rows are easy to see.

Once all the drip tape is installed, the tapes will be connected to the water pipes, filled with water and checked for leaks.

Tasty Traditions

Welcome to another edition of Tasty Traditions, a real food blog carnival.

What is a real food blog carnival? It is the time for Real Foodies to share their wisdom and creativity. For those of you not familiar with a carnival, it is a place for bloggers to link their posts on a particular subject – in this case, real food.  These posts can be Real Food Recipes, Book Reviews, Tips for Healthy Living, Giveaways (involving Real Food or neat kitchen gadgets), Video Tutorials or Green Living Solutions. Just about anything that would help in the quest to return to traditional healthy living.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog, you can still join the fun! Simply post your recipe or tip in the comment section.

Rules to Participate:

1. If you are posting a recipe – Please only post REAL food recipes. That means no processed, fake ingredients like margarine, white flour or white sugar.

2. Please link the URL of your blog post NOT your homepage.

3. Show you are cultured by using your best blog carnival manners - Update your post with a link back to Tasty Traditions so others can enjoy the fun! For example – ‘This post is part of: Tasty Traditions’

4. Speaking of sharing the fun – It would help me and others if you would share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media sites you participate in – you will help increase exposure to traditional real food.

5. Leave a comment with a description of your link.


Are You a Grape or a Raisin?

Our favorite time of the year in the vineyard is watching the grapes ripen and tasting their sweet, plump, juicy flavors. After harvest, any grapes left on the vine slowly become raisins. Over time, they turn into crunchy little things which most of us care nothing about. What is the difference between the coveted grapes and the crunchy things they become?

Water! Grapes are well hydrated with water and raisins are dehydrated.

[Continue Reading]

Sprouts and Squash Casserole

Do you like Brussels sprouts?

I do!

The problem is, my younger children do not particularly care for them. Oh, they will eat them but not with the enthusiasm that I like to see at the dinner table! You know how it is, you work in the kitchen to provide a nutritious and tasty meal only to be met with a ho-hum attitude by those eating it! It could be discouraging OR it could be taken as a challenge to improve!

I do realize that with a large family, it is difficult to please everyone all the time, but I try. So, I took the challenge and thus, the Sprouts and Squash Casserole recipe was born. And, I might add, met with much more enthusiasm!

I was privileged to guest post for my friend Sarah at The Healthy Home Economist  and share my new found way to get all the children to eagerly eat Brussels Sprouts – plus use the winter squash that our garden produces so prolifically!

So, for a great Sprouts and Squash Casserole, go to The Healthy Home Economist!

Weekly Giveaway – Nourishing Traditions Cookbook

 

 

It is time for this week’s giveaway! One reason I started a weekly giveaway is to encourage you to pursue a healthier way of life but mostly, I appreciate my readers – it is my way of saying “Thank You!”

These are not sponsored giveaways so, the prizes are not huge – but they will be free to you (if you win) and shipped right to your door! After all, it is the thought that counts – right?

This week’s winner will receive 1 copy of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This has become one of my favorite cookbooks! Not only is it filled with the “how-to’s” of  traditional real food cooking, but it is packed with interesting facts and information. Not only are there basic recipes for everyday foods but also more exotic recipes, such as, heart kabobs and liver – both of which my family really enjoys!

If you do not yet have a copy, a treat awaits you! Even if you already have your own, it will make a great gift!

Enter to Win:

1 Subscribe to the Cultured Palate Email Mailing list – remember to validate your email address or your entry will not be counted.

2. Click on this link: Nourishing Traditions to read about the product.This will take you to Amazon to read about the product.

3. Be sure to subscribe to the Cultured Palate Newsletter -You can unsubscribe at any time. Your email address will never be shared.

****If you are already subscribed to my newsletter and social media stuff – It still counts as an entry! Be sure you click the “Do It” buttons in the Rafflecopter widget below.

4. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to claim your entries after doing the appropriate task- click the “Do It” buttons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weekly Giveaway Winner!

 

 

 

It is time to announce last week’s giveaway winner who won 1 copy of the DIY Organic Beauty Recipe E-Book!

And the winner is ….

[Continue Reading]

December Vineyard – 2012

I thought you might enjoy seeing what a change has occurred in the vineyard since harvest. No longer is it the vibrant green signalling life and growth. After harvest, the vines continue to store carbohydrates in preparation for next year. Once the first freeze occurs, leaves began to die and start falling off the vines. While it is no longer the picturesque and romantic vineyard of spring and summer, it still has a beauty all its own.

Below shows the vineyard in July 2012.

Now, with most leaves gone, the vines look gnarly and brown.

 

In July the vines were loaded with ripening grapes.

Now, those same vines offer only raisins – which are very good – except for the seeds   ;)

When I look at the vineyard now, I think, “sleep vines, sleep – it is time for your well deserved rest!”

Tasty Traditions

Welcome to another edition of Tasty Traditions, a real food blog carnival.

What is a real food blog carnival? It is the time for Real Foodies to share their wisdom and creativity. For those of you not familiar with a carnival, it is a place for bloggers to link their posts on a particular subject – in this case, real food.  These posts can be Real Food Recipes, Book Reviews, Tips for Healthy Living, Giveaways (involving Real Food or neat kitchen gadgets), Video Tutorials or Green Living Solutions. Just about anything that would help in the quest to return to traditional healthy living.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog, you can still join the fun! Simply post your recipe or tip in the comment section.

Rules to Participate:

1. If you are posting a recipe – Please only post REAL food recipes. That means no processed, fake ingredients like margarine, white flour or white sugar.

2. Please link the URL of your blog post NOT your homepage.

3. Show you are cultured by using your best blog carnival manners - Update your post with a link back to Tasty Traditions so others can enjoy the fun! For example – ‘This post is part of: Tasty Traditions’

4. Speaking of sharing the fun – It would help me and others if you would share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media sites you participate in – you will help increase exposure to traditional real food.

5. Leave a comment with a description of your link.