Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Autumn

The Autumn Equinox is here.  Fall has arrived and it definitely feels like it here.  We barely broke 60 today and it was downright chilly this morning when I went out to feed and water the chickens.
Today has been a bit slower than I would like, not as much accomplished as I had hoped- but I'm not complaining.  We'll see if we get to the chicken run.  It's not going to happen today.
I thought I'd share a few photos of the day and maybe a recipe :-)
First, breakfast:
Nothing better than our own eggs.  Mmmm.....
The last rose of summer:
 And, now, what you've all been waiting for, the finishing touches on the rumpus room.
V built a little custom shelf for the back of the couch:
 He used left over bits of the bamboo flooring to create this little shelf just higher than the back of the couch.  It allows the little lamp in the corner a space to sit (J17 does her homework in that corner), a spot to safely set glasses and cups and, maybe most importantly, keeps the cats from clawing the back of the couch- that space is just cat sized and they love to hang out there.
And, below, the new entertainment center.
V custom built shelves for the space.  The side shelves will be for books and such and we deployed a new TV,  X-box and a Kinect.  We have been saving for this AV stuff for quite a while.  We had planned to get the children the x-box and kinect bundle last year for the holidays but it didn't happen then.  The next technology item we'll be saving for: V still wants to get a sound system and then we'll have a fabulous home movie theatre.  Yeah, I know, it's a big a@@ TV and is not at all frugal or green or anything like that... in fact, it's decadent.  We don't watch a lot of TV but watch a lot of movies as a family and with the big couch and TV we can all sit comfortably together without people having to sit on the floor.  This is our family room and I can't wait until it is all done.
But back to the rest of life...
It's beginning to look like fall outside as well as feel like it:
 The trees are beginning to change and the goldenrod is blooming.
And finally, for a recipe. V had some work to do for one of his employers and I was left at loose ends in the kitchen... what to do, what to do....  Remember I had been checking out recipes for using lavender?  I made Honey Lavender Biscotti.  Mmmm., heavenly!!  Too bad V is still a bit congested, he's missing out on some of the subtle aromas and flavors of these lovelies.
But the recipe:
Whisk together in a large bowl:
3 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
to this add:
3 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons orange zest  (I didn't have an orange but used the zest of the organic lemon I had in the fridge- it was fine)
1 Tablespoon dried lavender blossoms (Please make sure they're not sprayed!!)
In another bowl, stir together:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to blend.
Divide the dough into three portions and, on a lightly floured board (and with floured hands- it's sticky dough!) shape each into a log about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch tall.  My loaves were probably about 8 or 9 inches long.
Place these on a parchment paper covered baking sheet (I used my big jelly roll pan) and bake for 25 minutes in a pre-heated 350*F oven.  About half way through, rotate the pan so it bakes evenly.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on racks for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven heat to 275*F
Then, using a long, thin serrated knife, slice on a slight diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices, like so:
V is always obliging when I make biscotti and eats the little end pieces before the second baking.  Poor suffering man!
Place these slices on the same parchment paper,  cut side down (don't have them touching) and bake for an additional 15 minutes at 275*F.
Don't be tempted to over bake them, they will continue to crisp up as they cool.  Too long and they will be rock hard! (take this as a word of warning from someone who has done this with a different biscotti recipe!)
Finished biscotti.  Allow to cool fully, preferably on a rack for air circulation.
Supposedly, these will keep for weeks.  I can't see them lasting that long!
I think I need to make some tea....


  1. Mmmmmm. I can almost smell those biscotti! And what an amazing room you have built! That looks like a great movie viewing studio/study room/den/family room!

  2. The biscotti looks great! Ad yes, now I need tea too :-)

  3. Progress, progress, progress! You folks sure have a lot going on. Your new family room will be used so much, I'm sure.

    I've never made biscotti (what's wrong with me?) but I must have a dozen recipes for it stuffed into my To Try file. Someday . . . :o}

  4. Susan- we watched a movie together last night- it was GREAT!!
    dr momi- I'll make a pot, come on over.
    Mama Pea- with your new kitchen, you can whip some up in a moment. We really love biscotti around here. They go great with tea and (except for what is in the eggs) are fat free. My personal favorites that I've made were ones with dried cranberries and pistachios. Mmmm....

  5. V did an amazing job on that unit! Love the egg photo, nothing like the deep orange of a fresh egg yolk, yum! Glad you are getting some nice seasonal weather, here, still mid 80's and crazy humidity, in fact it's been raining for 5 days straight!


Glad you stopped in. I would love to hear from you.