three treats with all the feel of fall

Happy First Day of Autumn! A strong warm wind blew all day yesterday warning us that the piles of leaves will soon be rustling under our feet. The sounds of summer fade to a crinkly whisper and rich green turns to dusty gold. Acorns keep the squirrels busy and we know the world is changing.

harvest apple dip

Applesauce, fresh apple slices, apple butter, baked apples, apple pie, or just a whole apple in your pocket can only mean one thing. September is for apples, and we love this three ingredient apple dip. I always double the recipe, cover the bowl we served it in, and store it in the fridge for next time. We have this at lunch, for a snack, and as a fruit side with supper. It’s only three ingredients: cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.

https://letsdishrecipes.com/2017/09/three-ingredient-apple-dip.html

apple bread

Apple bread is at the top of our family’s favorite quick breads. It’s sweet and soft and we often serve it alongside dinner. You’re going to love this recipe full of chunky apples! We use 1 cup of sugar instead of 2 cups.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-bread/

maple milk

The maple milk is turning into our family’s year around favorite special drink. We used to only have it cold during the summertime, but warm is the best alternative to hot chocolate in case sometimes you want something else :).

It’s just two ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (cold, warm, hot)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (we prefer FirstFruits Farms maple syrup :). Comment or email us if you’d like some!

We sometimes sprinkle cinnamon on top or a little nutmeg (the children’s preferred way).

Do you have simple recipes your family loves? Happy Fall Friends!

 with love, Damaris
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Life Lately

Pumpkins, acorn squashes, buttercup squashes, and butternut are adorning the inside and the outside of our house. Slowly they make their way into the oven, meanwhile, we still have a fall harvest farm stand. We have small decorative pumpkins for sale too!


Doesn’t fall inspire you to get in the kitchen? Butternut cream soup, snickerdoodle bread, maple pumpkin pie (here’s the recipe), beef stew, homemade chai lattes, fresh apple cake…Ahhhh. Our tummies are warm and full. Baking season is in full swing in our farmhouse kitchen, and no one’s complaining. I’ve been putting some muffins and sweet loaves in the freezer for when the baby comes. A little prep will come in handy : )


The crisp air is uplifting, and since the evenings are shorter, we’ve done a couple day outings with Nathan. Even the flower colors are stunning! We hope to get out a few more times before the northern frigid temps settle in.


The older five children are in fall sports. It’s really low-key, but it’s so fun to get out there and kick the ball on cool Saturday mornings! They play a game of soccer followed by flag-football.


Just throwing in a delicious baby eating doughnuts, because he’s irresistible : ) Nothing speaks fall cozy like waking up on the weekend to enormous doughnuts Nathan’s picked up fresh from the bakery!

with love. Damaris


Maple Pumpkin Pie

This week is proving to be the quintessential autumnal weather. Outside my window, the wind rocks thin branches with tawny leaves and weathered edges. The air current through the room made us all reach for a cozy pair of socks this morning! Certainly a season of inexhaustible flavors and tastes, cool fall evenings require creamy pies for warming the body and soul.

No better way to kick off October than with maple plus pumpkin in a satisfying pie dish.

As soon as there’s a chill in the air, I crave the textures and flavors of pumpkin. And here it is, our first pumpkin pie of the season. The addition of maple to the silky pumpkin adds a soft and subtle flavor. This maple pumpkin pie recipe is so simple, you’ll be putting this fall favorite on your regular dessert rotation.

For a pudding-like option, skip the crust and bake the filling in a lightly greased dish or individual ramekins.

The ingredient list is so wholesome, you may just want to have a slice of pumpkin pie as an afternoon snack with a cup of hot tea…every day until Thanksgiving : )

Maple Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin puree

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (maple sugar or coconut sugar would be perfect!)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs, well beaten

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • CRUST: use your favorite pie crust recipe, I recommend this one. Have it premade in the fridge (or store bought) for a faster way to enjoy your pie!

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll your pie crust onto a pie plate. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy and add all other ingredients. Stir until combined and smooth. Carefully pour filling in pie crust. Bake in the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it stand 30 minutes or more before cutting. It’s delicious slightly warm, but you might enjoy it best after it’s chilled in the fridge.

That’s it! To serve, sprinkle toasted pecans, drizzle a little maple syrup, or maybe whip up a little cream for a silkier, richer treat.

Let me know how you like it. Can’t wait to hear how you enjoyed it!

with love. Damaris


Heirloom Tomato Quiche

If you’ve been to the farmer’s market lately, the tables are overflowing with all sizes and every color of heirloom tomatoes. It’s a beautiful thing to see! Malformed, purple, lopsided, variegated, golden, pink, really every shape and shade is delicious.

We are growing a handful of heirloom varieties this summer. The good-lookin’ ones go out to the farm stand, but a fair share come into the farmhouse kitchen. Too many too eat sliced up, matter fact! We make batches of fresh salsa using jalapenos from the garden, and we also crush the tomatoes and slow simmer with garlic and basil for a simple, traditional marinara sauce. Since the abundance was exceptionally high last week, I picked the most gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and decided to make a couple quiches.

Our family loves quiches! It’s really a real food, fast food : ) Lately, I’ve been keeping a pie crust or two in the fridge for a late afternoon summer galette that can be made at a moment’s notice. When I told Eva I was going to write this post, she was very excited saying that I had invented this recipe. The truth is there are many similar ways to a quiche, all tasty and rewarding. I have made quiches for so many years, so many ways, that I’ve found how to simplify it to be a quick and easy breakfast, lunch, or supper pleasure for our family.

We don’t have chickens yet, but we’ve had hens in the past, and if you can get your hands on a half-dozen real eggs, this quiche will be all the more satisfying and goldenly delightful.

Heirloom Tomato Quiche

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon herbed salt blend (delicious with herbs de Provence salts, or just seasoned salt)

  • 1 cup of bacon, cooked and cut up/chopped/thinly sliced

  • 1 cup of sharp shredded cheese

  • 1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes (depending on their size), cored and sliced

  • more herbed salt bled of your choice for sprinkling over tomatoes

  • CRUST: use your favorite pie crust recipe, I recommend this one. Have it premade in the fridge (or store bought) for a faster way to enjoy your quiche!

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll your pie crust onto your pie plate. Beat the eggs until fluffy, add milk and herbed salt blend. Add the bacon and the cheese and pour the mixture into the crust-lined plate. Lay the heirloom tomato slices over the egg mixture and sprinkle a little herbed salt blend to flavor the tomatoes. Bake in the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it stand 5 minutes or more before cutting.

That’s it! Real food the fast way for any day of the week!

Let me know how you like it. I’m sure cooked sausage, ham, or meatless would be just as tasty. Can’t wait to hear how you enjoyed it!

with love. Damaris


Family Currents: August Abundance

August has been lambing season! We had marked the week on the calendar as to when the two ewes were due, but the exact day would be a surprise. On the last evening of our trip to Washington DC, we got a little text from a friend who was coming to count the barnyard animals once a day. We were in the outdoor hotel pool, and everybody was out of the water so fast to see pictures of the new addition. By the next week, the second ewe had her lamb, and now one cannot tell the lambs apart. We were surprised at how fast they are and how soft they are. Pure white little beauties!

Our mature pig Holly is due to have her litter in early September! Did you know a female pig’s gestation is 3 months + 3 weeks + 3 days?


Nathan found a swarm of bees in the work shop this week and rehomed them into a hive box. We’ll give it a couple more days to call it a success! Hopefully they like their new home. Then we’ll move the box to join the other hive. This will make a third hive. All of the mid-summer honey has been bottled! Feel free to email us, contact us through this post, Facebook, or Instagram if you’d like to enjoy some raw, unfiltered honey.


We love to go blueberry picking! This U-pick farm has a high bush variety which makes it very easy to reach and fill your bucket without bending low to search for the little fruit. It was a later in August than peak season, so we were left with smaller berries and fewer clusters. We ate our fill while picking and still gathered 8 pounds of blueberries! We enjoyed them all weekend and froze 6 quart bags with the rest.


Samuel’s birthday was mid-August, and it was so much fun to celebrate this sweet baby boy! We cannot handle all his sillies! You can read about his special day here. Since chocolate is his favorite food in the entire world, Eva baked this delicious cake. He was so tickled to open presents with trains, tools, and tractors!


A couple of weeks ago, our family went on a road trip to Washington DC where we attended the Bible Family Conference, visited nearby Arlington Cemetery and Mount Vernon, and of course enjoyed the national monuments, the Smithsonian, and the Museum of the Bible. Wrote about all the trip adventures here. We can’t wait to go back and learn some more! It was a great place for families – and large families too : )


The first Saturday in August always gets marked on the calendar early in the year. Our family doesn’t want to miss the Highland Games! It is such a summer highlight for us! The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit puts on a full day of Celtic dance competitions, scone and shortbread shops, kilts, swords and traditional jewelry booths, Border Collie dog races, Shetland Sheepdogs and long-haired cattle for petting, caber toss, tug-o’war, hammer throwing, and other traditional Scottish games. We came home with a dozen lavender-lemon shortbreads that were Mmmmmm.


Farm fresh produce are available every day at the farm stand. We pick heirloom tomatoes by the bushel. The dark purple eggplants, sweet corn, okra, bell peppers and jalapenos are glossy and gorgeous. The spaghetti, buttercup, and butternut squashes are perfect, huge, and at the stand. All restocked daily. We also have real maple syrup and raw, unfiltered honey for sale at the farm stand. Come stop by the farm!

with love. Damaris


Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

This free-formed pie is light as a summer supper al fresco requires. This delicate fruit galette is just sweet enough to nicely wrap up the meal all the while being wholesome and loaded with seasonal fruit.

Traditional galettes may have a crust on top too. We’ve served it up with a generous dusting of sugar, but a dollop of whipped cream would be extraordinary. Strawberries and rhubarb are so happy together! Sweet and tart are an ageless match. Whenever they’re paired, strawberries and rhubarb make so much juice that some will always run out.

Peaches are also absolutely delicious (not too mushy) in this galette instead of strawberries and rhubarb. Since blueberries are in season, I think blueberry-peach or blueberry-strawberry would be scrumptious. Apples in the fall are perfect for this recipe and yield less errant juices.

I’m convinced this is the fastest desert you’ll ever make!

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped

  • 1/2 cup sugar, any will do – we used coconut sugar in the galette pictured

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot

  • zest of a lemon or 1 teaspoon lemon peel

  • melted butter for brushing over the crust

  • 1 raw or coarse sugar for sprinkling

  • CRUST: use your favorite pie crust recipe, I recommend this one. Have it premade in the fridge (or store bought) for a faster way to dessert!

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper to collect any juices. In a medium bowl, add the sugar, zest, and cornstarch or arrowroot to the fruit. Mix and spoon into the center of the round crust. Leaving about 3 inches between the fruit filling and the edge of the crust. Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit. To finish the galette, brush the crust with melted butter and sprinkle with a few pinches of sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Allow it to cool before slicing. Enjoy it with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraiche.

Let me know how you like it and which fruit combination you enjoyed!

with love. Damaris


Family Currents: What we've been up to

Happy August, dear friends! The sun is hot and the tall straight grasses have been cut down. Haying time came in July, and now the hay bales are stacked and stored in the big red barn.


We’re certainly enjoying going through the summer bucket list! We recently went to the Henry Ford Museum and to the lake. Packing a lunch and calling it an adventure day is by far our favorite summertime activity.


Isabel had a birthday in July. She’s now 8 years old, and she’s so happy about it! Isabel has always been the most easy-going, low-maintenance, even-keeled child. She only requested cupcakes, and we made these filled with vanilla pudding. Filled with jam or any pudding is always absolutely delicious.


The two younger ewes are a mixed breed and shed most of their winter coat, but not all of it. After some time of high temperature, we realized we’d need to shear them. Nathan bought a pair of shears online and had his first successful sheep shearing experience. One of these ewes follows him like a dog when he’s in the pasture. Really, all the sheep (even the ram) are gentle and skittish.

By the way, the two older ewes are due to lamb in just a couple of weeks, and I’m giddy with excitement!


We’ve been at the pool everyday (all morning) for swim lessons. I couldn’t get all the children to swim in the same timeslot, so we bring books, a basketball, snacks, and I plop myself by the poolside until lunchtime. A couple of times we’ve taken a walk though the neighborhood, but it’s easier to just play and read while we wait.


Nathan and the boys did a mid-summer honey harvest this past week. We have about 7-8 gallons of raw, unfiltered honey. Couldn’t be more fresh! It tastes so different than the late summer/early fall honey! The color is very golden and the flavor is light and mild. Our honey bees can be spotted at anytime of the day feasting in the herb garden (hyssop, thyme, oregano flowers), the white clover in the pasture, and the vining plants in the garden (cucumber and squash flowers).


We opened the farm stand again this year! Farm fresh produce are available everyday. Eggplants, cabbages, red cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and jalapenos are looking good! The tomatoes are not quite there yet. We also have real maple syrup and raw, unfiltered honey. Come stop by the farm!

with love. Damaris


The Best Uses For Zucchini and Squash

Move over, asparagus, there’s a new garden boss!

So this is complicated. We have a quarter of an acre garden, and grow every kind of summer and winter squash known to the Midwest. Nobody likes them but me. ‘What are we thinking planting all those vegetables??‘ I know. I wonder too, but it certainly has pushed me to get creative and find the most flavorful uses for my family to eat the least favorite (also the most prolific) of our garden produce.

I almost can’t believe I just admitted to their very well-hidden food aversion : )

Here they are! All the recipes that we have made, and our family ate and finished their plate. You can switch yellow squash for the zucchini in all these recipes.

Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Curry (with petite diced zucchini instead of eggplant)

Zucchini Lasagna (we use jarred marinara and skip the mushrooms)

Zucchini Patties

Several other ways in which I have successfully incorporated zucchini and squash are:

  • Adding cooked zucchini to meatloaf (when making the raw meat mixture)

  • Adding cooked shredded zucchini to marinara sauce (for spaghetti, or lasagna, or stuffed shells, etc.)

  • Cooking shredded zucchini with the taco meat for Mexican dishes

Maybe your garden isn’t pressuring you to eat it as fast as mine is, but I thought it would be good to share the different ways my family enjoys eating zucchini and squash considering we have children’s taste buds at our table.

Do share your tips and tricks for using up zucchini! I’m all ears.

with love. Damaris


Kale, Farro, and Chickpea Salad

Farro has been my new favorite thing. There’s just something about that unique chewy texture and nutty flavor that I can’t get enough of this summer!

Farro is an ancient wheat grain that is small, light-brown colored. It’s wholeness and subtle bran tastes are flexible and adaptable to most recipes that would call for rice or other grains. Before farro is cooked, it looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley.

I always used to make this recipe with millet, which is delicious and gluten free. We also enjoyed this kale and chickpea salad the last couple summers with quinoa, but the farro is the softest, largest, almost creamiest grain. I’m sure barley would yield similar taste, but farro’s soft texture contributes a tasty surprise. I’m sure you’ve figured out that this is one of our unconventional uses for our prolific garden kale. But really, it’s so good that you’ll find it a gratifying compliment to your grilled chicken or broiled salmon dinners this week.

You may find that it has a bite from the lemon. I admit I like to taste the lemon. If perhaps you don’t, cut back on the amount of lemon to maybe 2 tablespoons. The smoky hint from the cumin rounds it all up. Other than that, this salad is pretty straight forward. I recommend “massaging” the kale first before incorporating the other salad elements. Because kale leaves are so sturdy, allowing it to sit in the fridge a couple of days helps soften the kale and allows the farro to absorb the salad juices.

An emotional side note: Two summers ago, an older friend was suffering from cancer, and her diet was very restricted to highly-nutritious, whole foods. Of all the meals we shared with her, this salad (with quinoa instead of farro) was her favorite. She liked it with the grilled boneless chicken thighs on top as a one bowl meal. Making this salad always reminds me of Judy.

Kale, Farro, and Chickpea Salad

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, leaves cut off the stem and chopped like lettuce for salad

  • 1 cup farro (I use Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro), cooked according to package directions

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 15 or 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Place cut up kale in a bowl. Add salt and massage the leaves with the salt until the leaves start to become tender. Add the cooked farro (cooled, warm is fine too) and chickpeas. Stir in the oil, lemon juice and cumin. Add black pepper to taste and enjoy. It really is better 2 and 3 days later. Refrigerate your leftovers.

Even if it’s not a weekly staple for you like it is at our house, I do hope you’ll give this delicious salad combination a chance.

Let me know how you like it and what you paired it with!

with love. Damaris


Family Currents: Niagra Falls, Birthdays, Doll Making

My cousin’s visit from Spain was undoubtedly the highlight of the month of June. Before he came, we had given some thought to what fun things he may have never tried or seen before, so we ate hard shell tacos, s’mores, had a bbq night, and roasted hot dogs over the fire. We took a short trip to Niagra Falls which will be memorable for everyone.

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Both Nathan and William had birthdays in June. We usually celebrate at home and let the birthday boy or girl pick a favorite meal and dessert.

William picked this cake from a Pinterest picture, and it was delicious! Here’s the recipe if you want to make it for your crew.

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Nathan’s mom came over a couple of days and taught the girls some basics of the sewing machine and a few stitches. Their diligent labors produced these beautiful dolls! Thank you, Grandma for teaching, helping, and guiding the girls!

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In the last few weeks, I also found a little bit of time to work on a couple projects. These outdoor ticking pillows and the linen throw brought be so much joy to make!

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Watching all the plants come into their full glory with big bright blooms and tiny vegetables brings us whoops of joy. We’re enjoying delicious kale salads, but nothing else yet ready for harvest.

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There are 20 new young pine tress on the farm! Ten are Norway spruce and ten are white pine. They’ll be replacing dead ones and being added to the perimeter of the pasture.

with love. Damaris