Saturday, September 27, 2008

Knox Farm Fiber Festival

Located southeast of my little town is the village of East Aurora. It is a quaint town in western New York. At the outskirts of the village lies Knox Farm State Park. This was formerly the Knox Estate until it was purchased by New York state in 2000. I grew up a few miles from the park and regularly drove by the beautiful stone walls as a young girl. Today, Natalie, Carolyn and I headed out to be part of the 2008 Fiber Festival. I had just learned about it last night at Carolyn's 4-H meeting.

Here is our afternoon in pictures.

You are now entering the Knox Farm State Park.

The sheep rest peacefully in the shade of a tree. They are lurking just behind the stone wall.

Many of the fiber vendors brought their animals with them.

Are you lookin' at ME?

What a cute face!

Quaint buildings surround the entrance area of the park. This is where the vendors displayed their goods.

The highlight of Natalie's afternoon was the border collie herding demonstration.

This is Dennis, border collie herder in training.

Dennis' herd and trainer...

Natalie making friends with Dennis after his demonstration.

Going home...
This is a gorgeous view of the Holland hills across the pastures at the park. If you look closely you might see the goat in the middle.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homemade Tortilla Shells

I have been making my own homemade tortilla shells for well over a year now. We prefer them hands down to any store bought shell out there. They are soft and flexible. The flavor is delicious, and best of all these don't upset my stomach as some of the commercial shells have been know to do.

I started with the recipe from Hillbilly Housewife and then modified it somewhat.

My recipes is this:

4 cups flour-usually it is 3 cups AP flour and one cup of wheat (hard or soft is fine in this recipe)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups water (usually cold or cool)

Assemble your ingredients.

Add flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.

Whisk that up.

Add 1/2 cup shortening.

I mix it in with my fingers until I have little pea sized balls of shortening.

Add water and mix until a dough ball forms. Lay that out on a floured surface. Knead a few times and let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 pieces.

Roll pieces into balls.

Lightly flour your work surface. I use a wood board. Flatten your ball into a disk. Flip the disk over, so that both sides are floured.

I use a tapered rolling pin with the sloped ends and no handles. It is easier for me to work the dough with one of these. I roll and turn the disk. If it sticks to the rolling pin I flip it to the other side.

Finally, into the ungreased 10 inch cast iron skillet the shell goes. I cook it on one side until it bubbles up some and is slightly browned.

Then I flip it to the other side. You can see the brown spots on this shell. This is what I strive for. If I don't focus, they get a little more done than I may like.

As each one finishes, I put them on a plate that is covered with a kitchen towel. This keeps them plenty warm.

Enjoy your shells with your favorite taco fixings. We like meat, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, black olives, sour cream, taco sauce (or salsa) and onions. Well, I like the onions.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Up to our elbows in school.

This is why I have not blogged in two weeks. We are now back in school full swing. It is taking all my focus to keep all the plates spinning right now. So, I thought I would share with you a little photo essay of our day yesterday.

Natalie and Carolyn choosing the proper color for map coloring.

Brianna colored Antarctica orange.

Jonathan, the high school freshman, does his school work in his room.

Carolyn must have found the right color.

Natalie is finishing up English.

Have a great weekend!