Ball® Heritage Green Jar Giveaway

*****Our winner is: AJ Lemmons! Congrats, AJ!*****Green Jar Giveaway from Farmhouse38.com and Ball® Canning, August 14- August 17, 2014Thanks to Ball® Canning, we have an awesome giveaway starting today, August 14, 2014, and ending at midnight on Sunday, August 17, 2014. On Monday morning, August 18, 2014, one lucky winner will be selected to win a six-pack of Ball® Canning’s Heritage Green Quart-sized Jars, as well as a cute jar hangy-wall-thing made by yours truly (featuring four pint-sized Heritage Jars), and a copy of the book Mason Jar Crafts. Time to get your crafting on (or canning, or organizing, or whatever you do with your Heritage Green Jars!)!

Click here to enter!

Green Smoothie Deep Thoughts

Farmhouse38 Green Smoothie via Farmhouse38.com

 

I wanted to post this recipe, not so much to be jumping on the green smoothie bandwagon and pretending I re-invented the wheel, but more because I have a tendency to fall off said bandwagon, and then forget how I make it when I climb back on. So really, I’m just posting this for my own reference.

But also…I have thoughts. Sometimes. I know, I know–applause isn’t necessary. Thank you, though.

I always roll my eyes at these sorts of diet fads. People get crazy. Like: OMG…juice?! Smoothies? THIS IS GENIUS. Like we haven’t been squeezing fresh juice and making healthy smoothies for decades already. My mom used to squeeze my brothers and I fresh orange juice EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. To the point where it was torture for us to drink it–but she insisted it was the best, healthiest way to drink orange juice. And, as much as I hate to say it (don’t make me say it!!!)…she was right.

In my adult years, I have tried to eat as much fresh produce as I possibly could. I’ve always been mindful of it, at least. Why the heck should I drink it? Especially when, all sorts of said fresh produce is blended together or juiced and, let’s be real here, it looks so gross. So gross. Why. Why would I do that? But when I really assessed my diet, as much as I thought I was doing well, I realized I was still falling short. And I suddenly realized that packing a smoothie full of all this great stuff was a very quick and easy way to pound it down.

And yes, I chose to make smoothies, not juice, because…at the end of the day, the choice was about waste. Juicing creates a whole lot of waste product, and I just couldn’t come to terms with that. When you put produce in a blender and make a smoothie, you’re using almost every last bit. And all those bits and pieces have good stuff in them that would otherwise go down the drain, in the trash, or in the compost. Might as well put them in your face.

So I tried it. I floundered for awhile and produced some really vile stuff. But finally, I arrived at the following formula, and I am pretty pleased with it. The steadfast carnivore Texan even likes drinking it. Whowuddathunk.

I am a big fan of the Vega products (and I’m not sponsored or have anything to do with them–I just want to share). These vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free protein smoothie mixes can be used alone, or thrown into your own smoothie blend. They ain’t cheap, but they are a fantastic source of all-natural, Non-GMO, plant-derived protein. And they taste great. I think I really became a fan of green smoothies when I found these products.

For two approx. quart-sized servings:

–3 cups water (for a slushier version, replace some of this with ice)

–1 scoop Vega mix or other protein smoothie mix of your choice

–juice of 1 lemon

–2 cups frozen power greens (kale, spinach, collards, whatever floats your boat)

–1 frozen banana

–1 cup frozen mango bits

–1 medium fresh apple

–1 large fresh carrot

Put everything in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a schmancy big-name blender (which I didn’t for a long time), put these ingredients in one at a time and blend them slowly. This makes two servings that are approximately 220 calories each (if you use the Vega mix–you’re on your own if you go rogue).

Side note: I buy mostly everything in bulk, fresh (or pull it straight from the garden), cut it up into manageable pieces and then freeze it so that it’s ready to go into the blender when I need it. You could do everything fresh and add ice to the equation, of course. I like to make a week’s worth of smoothies at a time, seal them in mason jars, and then take them out a day ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator to thaw. Works pretty well for us.

Cheers to green smoothiedom! (It would probably cancel out all the good stuff if I added Vodka, right? Just checking.)

Hallo, St. Maarten!

Farmhouse38.com in St.Martin/St.MaartenOkay, this is a rambler; lots of photos to scroll through. I apologize in advance, but I can’t not share some images from our recent trip to St-Martin/St.Maarten. It has been a looooong time since the Texan and I have gone on a grown-up vacation (the last being our honeymoon in Belize, seven years ago–OY!), and this one was definitely worth the wait. Gotta give a loud shout-out to our friends, Laura and Dan (of oliveandlove.com fame) for letting us tag along!

St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

The amazing view from our unit.

For those of you who don’t know, this pretty little Caribbean island has the interesting distinction of being one of the smallest sea islands divided between two separate countries. So a little over half the island is French (Saint-Martin) and just under half is Dutch (Sint Maarten). Makes for a charmingly diverse vacation spot. With lots of views like these:

Visiting St. Maarten/St. Martin via Farmhouse38.com

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Panoramic view from the rooftop of one of our favorite spots on the French side in Orient Bay, the Sun Beach Clubber.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

A relaxing lunch and cocktails inside the Sun Beach Clubber, St. Martin.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Swimming in the amazingly green water of Orient Bay.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

View from the beach of Simpson Bay, St. Maarten.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

The Texan and I getting our float on in Simpson Bay.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Great Bay, Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

More Great Bay gorgeousness.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Simpson Bay sunset group selfie! What is my face even doing?

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Sunset over the pool and beach of our resort.

I mean…the views everywhere were ridiculous.

Another of my very favorite things about the Caribbean is the architecture. I obsess over it. And took 900 photos of it (of which I shall spare you the lion’s share).

The Dutch capital of Philipsburg was so full of charm:

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin/St. Maarten

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

I kind of want this shed in my backyard.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

A lovely little alleyway in Philipsburg.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

The Guavaberry Emporium was a must-stop to sample their famous liquors and rums (and it is a darn darling little Caribbean building).

Farmhouse38.com at the Guavaberry Emporium, St. Maarten

There’s OliveandLove.com smiling with her guavaberry cocktail despite the fact that I had just been mercilessly dragging everybody through the streets of Philipsburg in manic pursuit of this place.

The French capital of Marigot was full of adorable buildings, too:

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

We happened to be on the French side of the island just in time for la Fête Nationale, so there was lots of festiveness everywhere!

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Just FYI…when I buy a house in the Caribbean, I’m painting it hot pink and neon yellow. Fact.

We love us some beach bars, and St.Martin/St.Maarten did not disappoint:

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin/St. Maarten

Farmhouse38.com in St.Martin/St.Maarten

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Incidentally, this is one of my favorite photos from the trip…this little hidden bar down a little side alley in Philipsburg. And just on the other side of that bar? The beach.

Speaking of awesome beach bars…this one kind of takes the cake:

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

The Sunset Bar & Grill is a great bar, perched on a pretty little beach.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

Which also happens to sit right next to the airstrip of the Princess Juliana International Airport.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten.

So…ya know…this happens.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

You can stand, literally, right beneath the planes as they are landing.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

And, literally, piss your pants.

The bar posts the flight times, of course, because it’s a big attraction on the island…I highly recommend experiencing a 747 coming in (pictured above). I also highly recommend a pina colada before, during, and after.

Though we mainly spent our time at the beach, our adventuring did take us briefly inland to visit La Ferme Des Papillons (the Butterfly Farm, read all about that here) and then on to spend a day at lovely Loterie Farm.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

A jungle oasis, complete with natural spring pools and private cabanas. Oh, and French pool boys serving you cocktails.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

These pools were to die for; connected by meandering streams and waterfalls all tucked away amongst the jungle. And your cocktails are brought to you, did I mention that?

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Beyond the pools, there is jungle zip-lining (that’s a nope for me) and hiking through the lush forest. And then there’s the amazing restaurant and bars on the property. It was a whole lot of awesome for one place.

Some other highlights from the trip:

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Climbing to the top of Fort Louis for the panoramic views of the French side of the island. That’s the Texan actually doing a panoramic on his phone.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Island goat!

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Island flowers.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

You know I had to find some chickens.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Awkward vacation selfies.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Farmhouse38.com

Little moments of island perfection.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Oh, hayyy lizard.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Holding an Atlas Moth like I do it every day.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Island sheep.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten

This is really how I spent most of my vacation.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin

Also this…

 

Can we go back yet? I’m ready to go back now.

Farmhouse38.com in St. Martin/St. Maarten

 

 

 

 

Shishito Pepper Salsa

Shishito Pepper Salsa by Farmhouse38.comOkay, so these arrived in my CSA box this week. And I got real excited because I thought they were jalapeños and I wanted to make salsa. But then it turned out they weren’t jalapeños. But I made salsa anyway.

(Backstory: shishitos are more bell-peppery than jalapeño-ey, though they do sometimes have a bit of mild kick to them).

RECIPE:

–1 lb. (approx) of shishito peppers, stems removed

–1 good-sized tomato, cut into tiny pieces

–half a small onion, chopped into tiny pieces

–1 medium red bell pepper

–4 cloves of garlic (less or more depending on how garlicky you like things)

–juice of one lime

–2 tablespoons of tomato paste

–1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

–1 tablespoon of liquid aminos (or soy sauce, or worcestershire sauce, whichever you prefer)

–1 tablespoon of habanero hot sauce, if you like it hot (I used Marie Sharp’s, which is my most favoritest hot sauce from Belize)

So. Throw the shishitos (seeds and all), the red bell pepper, and the garlic into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Then throw that and everything else into a small saucepan over high heat. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten to twelve minutes. Let cool and eat up! Yummy as salsa, and as a spread for sandwiches. Sooo yummmmmy.

Side note: people keep telling me to roast or pan-sear these babies (and just eat them straight like that). So that would be a great twist on this salsa–grill the peppers up first THEN throw them in the salsa for a nice, smokey vibe. Yeah. I like it.

Shishito Peooer Salsa by Farmhouse38.com

Salsa. Yes.

Shishito Pepper Salsa by Farmhouse38.com

Put it in your face.

 

If I had a World of My Own

Have I mentioned I love all things Alice?If I had a world of my own quote, via Farmhouse38.com

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin

 

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.comOf all the marvelous adventures we had on our trip to St. Maarten/St. Martin, I of course, must start by posting photos from La Ferme des PapillonsThe butterfly nerd wants what the butterfly nerd wants. If you are lucky enough to visit that beautiful little island, you simply must plan to make a stop at the farm. We arrived early in the morning, just after a rain storm, and it was magical.

La Ferme Des Papillons, St. Martin, by Farmhouse38.com

 

 

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, by Farmhouse38.com

The incredible Dead Leaf Butterfly…folded up, looks just like a…(wait for it)… dead leaf.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Holla, Swallowtail!

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Eggs on a banana leaf.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Young larvae of the Giant Owl Eye munching on a banana leaf.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

A nearly full-grown Owl Eye larvae.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

The Giant Owl Eye Butterfly (can you tell I love this butterfly?).

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

I was thrilled to see monarchs here (all the species represented at the farm are non-native). Our tour guide discussed the dwindling monarch population in America and, of course, got to hear me gush about my monarch-centric garden back home. This garden was full of gorgeous tropical milkweed that all the butterflies were going ape over.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

The curators of the farm collect many of the chrysalises they find and keep them safely in vented cupboards. These are opened every morning to release any new hatchlings. I was fascinated by these cupboards, and took billions of photos (of which I will mostly spare you)–they are treasure boxes lined with tidy rows of enchanting little charms. So breathtaking to see them displayed like this.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Particularly fascinating were the cocoons of the Atlas Moth, spun inside dried leaves as camouflage.

And…speaking of which:

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

By far, the most memorable moment of the farm (and maybe the whole trip for me), was getting to hold an Atlas Moth in the palm of my hand. The world’s largest moth…these things only live for seven days!!!

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

This is one of those creatures that makes me lose my breath. It is so incredible that this thing exists–it seems like a prop out of some fantasy/science fiction movie. Right? How is this thing even real!!!

And in case you were wondering…the island, itself, was teaming with indigenous butterflies–everywhere you looked things were just alive with them:

I don’t mean to overshadow the gloriousness of the rest of the island with my trip to the butterfly farm–I just get overly excited about butterfly farms and pavilions and gardens (ya don’t say!!!). Stay tuned for a subsequent post with non-butterfly highlights from the trip that look a little something like this:

Visiting St. Maarten/St. Martin via Farmhouse38.com

St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

 

St. Maarten/St. Martin is pretty easy on the eyeballs, let me tell ya.

 

A Little Change is Good, Methinks…

 

Hearts No. 1, mixed media metal art by Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.comIf you’ve been following me for awhile, you may have noticed I’ve slowed down a bit with my blogging. In fact, you may have noticed that there have been moments where it has come to a grinding, shrieking halt. Or maybe you haven’t noticed and I just think everyone’s been noticing. I’m a lot more important in my head. A LOT more important.

I know I’ve got some ‘splaining to do. So, it goes something like this: I’m an artist. Did you know that? I haven’t mentioned it much, aside from a little blip here and there in my profile, but so far, the art hasn’t surfaced much on my blog. There’s a reason for that…I’ve been on a prolonged, forced hiatus from the art. It’s the Farmhouse’s fault, you see. Sure, it’s been a real time-suck to renovate this house from top to bottom–I could easily blame it on that, right? But no–the real reason it has kept me from my art is that the garage renovation (err…studio renovation), was the very last on our kill list. It’s crazy how functioning kitchens and bathrooms and finished bedroom walls really take all the priority glory.

The Art Barn at Farmhouse38.com

The garage, pre-renovation.

The Art Barn at Farmhouse38.com

The studio, post-renovation.

The studio barn at Farmhouse38.com

The studio all lit up at night (with a couple of guard cats keeping the look-out for wandering bands of art thieves).

The studio barn at Farmhouse38.com

As you can see, it’s already quite well-used; those floors do not stay clean.

You may be thinking that this is a pretty weak excuse; this not-having-a-proper-studio baloney. I kind of agree (especially in retrospect). But my ‘artwork’ is a little off the wall (pun intended). It’s not as simple as setting up a temporary easel in the guest bedroom, because my medium of choice is actually metal (you didn’t see that coming, now did you??). So there is a lot of welding and grinding and metal shrapnel a-flying. I can’t do it in the house (obviously). I can’t even do it outside in the driveway because of the shrapnel (which becomes inherently dangerous to animal paws and crops when it’s lurking in the cracks and crevices and dirt). So I had to wait (rather impatiently), for my studio. And wait I did. For five years. But, in the meantime, I started a blog–so it wasn’t all for naught, right?

The mixed media metal art by Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.com

Me welding up a metal ‘canvas’.

Mixed media metal art by Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.com

Me being gravely serious at the easel.

Let me elaborate on the artwork. When I say ‘metal’ and ‘welding’ people tend to picture big, hulking sculptures–but no, that’s not what I do. My stuff is actually more along the lines of mixed media painting; my ‘canvas’ is metal, my ‘mixed media’ is a rather alchemic blend of patina, paint, and dye. Sometimes glitter. Sometimes a little dog hair. The latter two are kind of hard to avoid around here–they are in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Cheers! I digress. I grind a lot of pattern into that media, so the paintings all typically wind up with reflective ‘metal’ elements.

Ikat No. 1 mixed media metal painting by Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.com

Ikat No.1, mixed media metal painting on aluminum. (The whitish areas are actually reflective, raw metal).

So what’s my point here? For quite some time, I’ve been keeping the FH38 blog and the artwork completely separate…almost leading a double life, if you will. I was worried that, with so much stuff going on at Farmhouse38, the art would just further muddy it up–that the blog and the art would dilute each other, if that makes any sense. So I was gearing up to run two separate social media profiles…and you know what? I’m exhausted. I can’t do it, people, I just can’t do it. So after much deliberation and soul-searching (do I close up shop on one and focus on the other? How do I choose my favorite child?), I’ve decided to merge the two. From here on out, you guys are going to start seeing a lot of art on this site; all the rest of the stuff–the chickens, the garden, the crafting, the cocktails, the farmhouse projects–it will all still be here, just gently interspersed between the antics of my artistic ebb and flow. Eventually, my stuff will be available to buy on Etsy and other such sites, but for now, you can check out katerichards.com to see a straightforward gallery (I am going to leave that website up as a one-stop informational shop for just the artwork, but make no mistake, it will all eventually be found on Farmhouse38, too). Be sure to follow me on Instagram, because I’ve already been posting quite a bit of behind the scenes arting shots there.

Neon No. 1 mixed media metal painting by Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.com

Neon No. 1, acrylic on reclaimed steel. This is a good shot of what a ‘metal canvas’ looks like. Kind of like a metal box lid with 1 inch or so edges so that it can just hang on the wall like a normal painting.

In addition to all this art, you’re going to be seeing a lot more flowers. The flowers have always been a part of FH38, but now that my mini, wannabe flower farm is hitting its stride, slow flower arrangements and arrangement how-tos are gonna hop to the forefront along with the art. Metal art and flowers, people. And probably a whole lot of metal flower art. You’ve been warned.

As part of this Farmhouse38 redirection, I will also finally (FINALLY!!!) be switching the blog from its current state to a self-hosted situation. That means that the new blog will be found at Farmhouse38.com (which currently redirects to farmhouse38.wordpress.com–no more farmhouse38.wordpress.com already! Geez!!). I’m working on it now, and since I have never actually done this before, I expect that there will be some hiccups. In fact, I expect that I will make a complete and utter mess of the whole thing–so please, please, please bear with me as I muddle my way through it. As I always like to say: it has to get worse before it gets awesome. :-) Don’t worry, I will give you all plenty of notice when I make the switch so we can all have a good laugh at how I’ve gone and mucked it all up. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…it’s harder to mess those up (believe me, I’ve made some valiant efforts).

Rooster No. 1 mixed media metal painting by Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.com

I can’t not have some metal chicken art. This is Farmhouse38, afterall.

Mixed media metal artist Kate Richards of Farmhouse38.com

There are almost always chickens in my studio. It’s just how I roll.

So there you have it: my blog midlife crisis in all its glory. Who’s coming with me?!!

 

 

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