Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pilgrim's Cottage Saturday Postcard...

The way we love to decorate the cottage

click to enlarge

if the Lord so wills, I will be back January 2, 2013

May the Lord be pleased to give you all a merciful and lovely month in His grace.
May His Light shine in your hearts and far outshine the lights of the season.

Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord:
peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest.
Luke 19:38

Friday, December 14, 2012

Homemade Cocoa Powder Pt 2...

Whenever I'm ready to use cocoa powder...
there is no need to go to the market for it

this is a continuation from my last post

the cocoa beans (which are actually the seeds of the cacao fruit)
are put on a cookie tray and roasted at 200* F for about 20 minutes...
or until the hull is easy to slip off the bean

the hulls get put into the compost and the beans are ready for grinding

because I usually use just enough beans for a recipe...
the coffee grinder is enough to do the job
and the beans are ground to a fine powder in just a few seconds

when I need a larger amount...
the food processor is more convenient

it is as simple as that

a cup of roasted cocoa beans will make a cup of powdered cocoa
and I can tell you...
the taste of fresh ground cocoa is nicer than shelved cocoa from a long time ago

the same way...
fresh ground coffee always tastes better than shelved sittin' around...
for who knows how long : )

while commercial cocoa powder is refinely processed...
our cocoa powder is truly unrefined and fresh from the tree

and I know that in this fresh state, it probably has most of it's antioxidant nutrients intact
if your market sells it, use organic, raw cocoa powder for your baking and cooking

And God said,
Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth,
and every tree,
in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed;
to you it shall be for meat.
Genesis 1:29

May your day or night be fruitful in the grace of the Lord.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade Cocoa Powder: Pt 1...

We have a cocoa orchard on our Pilgrim's Farm

that makes it convenient for making our own cocoa powder

I thought perhaps you might be interested in knowing how we do this

below, is a photo of the backside of the cocoa orchard...
and you are looking at some of the trees

we know the cacao pods are ready to harvest when they turn a deep yellow or red

my husband takes his cocoa picker and selects the ripe ones...
with Foxie "helping", of course

she loves to go chasing after the falling pod and bring it back up the hill

my husband opens up the pod

to reveal the pulpy seeds

and puts the seeds into a box for "sweating" preparation

the creamy pulp on the outside of the bean is edible...
and quite sweet when the cocoa is fully ripe
(btw, a cocoa seed can only be sown and grown when still wet with the pulp)

Foxie knows how good it tastes

and for her "hard work" of picking up the pods that roll down the hill...
she gets a wee bit of it and will lick the fingers clean

once the beans are in the box...

my husband puts freshly picked green banana leaves...

and carefully covers the beans

he makes sure the leaves cover the beans tightly enough...
to induce them to "sweat" the pulp off

the covering keeps the warmth in and this actually causes the pulp to melt
this process is also known as fermenting the cacao

then, he will cover the fresh leaves with dry ones to keep the green leaves from drying out...
and shrinking to expose the beans to air

the cocoa beans are then set aside and let to "sweat" for at least a week or two...
depending on the weather

after the beans have "sweated" off their pulpy covering and...
dried in the sun for another week or two...
this is what they look like

part 2 of this process coming up later this week

May your day or night be most blessed with God's grace.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Picture Perfect Morn...

We have been getting a bit of rain over the weekend
and it has certainly cooled things down rather pleasantly

still, the showers are falling in little spurts this morning
as the dove below can attest to

these doves love the rain and don't fly for cover when it falls

instead, they open their wings to make sure they get bathed in all the spots
it's so fun to watch them : )

imagine my pleasant delight to see more of my beautiful roses in the pot on my stair deck!

can anything be better than seeing such a pretty thing so early in the morn?!

the cool showers are giving the kitchen garden a sweet drink

and the plants are welcoming the water with open leaves : )

we shall soon have cauliflower to eat
and I love cauliflower to snack on raw

the cabbage leaves are starting to curl inside to make those delicious balls of green crunch

slightly steamed, it makes a great salad sliced up with tomatoes with dash of sea salt...
and a splash of oil and vinegar

I sowed some lettuce seeds that will soon be transplanted into the kitchen garden
more greens, please!

my chickens were let out of the coop and they are dodging the showers right now

of course, their favorite place to dodge under is right under the cottage

it becomes a congregation of small choruses of peeps, clucks and crows
love it!

we have enough bananas to keep us from becoming hungry if all else ever failed to grow : )

my husband hung a bunch this weekend under the cottage where it's easy to pick from...
any time we want a sweet snack

I looked outside the kitchen window and we have still more plantains growing

this past week, my husband and our farm hand cut down a whole bunch of ready plantains

they will be sold to the market in town

may I leave you with more rose?
these caught the rain drops just before I shot the last photo

it's a bit biased, but I think they are so lovely

the Lord is the best painter!
what a wonderful God we have!!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

May your day or night be ever so lovely in God's grace.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pilgrim's Cottage Saturday Postcard...

What we love to light our cottage home by in the evening

The light of the righteous rejoiceth:
but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

Proverbs 13:9

May your day or night shine with the light of God's grace.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hen Sweetness...

I find it rather endearing when chick keeps Mama hen company...
as she gets back to her egg laying routine

May your day or night be blessed by God's grace.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coconut Raisin Oatmeal...

On a grey, cool day...
oatmeal is a comfort food

but, before the oatmeal was prepared...
I had to take a turn around the cottage to say "good morning"

Shadow led the way

join me, dear readers, if you please

see? here waits a tiny hummingbird, resting momentarily...
from his morning breakfast excursion of nectar

he says, "good morning" to you all

I am most interested in how my cowpeas are doing

as you can see, the vines have flowered and...
look! there are some bean pods coming out

the truth is...
I think these are the cowpeas I planted...
I forgot to label them when the seeds were sown

but, oh! how pretty the flowers, no matter what they are

and there! a little finch who's nest just fledged a wee one...
and mama and papa are busy this morning picking up tiny seeds for baby

"good morning to you, too, Mrs. Finch"

on the stair deck leading to the verandah...
is a potted rose bush that is now blooming

I couldn't help but pick the bloom for the morning breakfast table

for two people...
I put in 1 cup of water
1/2 cup of oatmeal
a stick of cinnamon
dash of sea salt
and let it come to a simmer, stirring often

once it simmered for a few minutes till mostly cooked...
I put in 1/2 cup of coconut milk and simmered till the oatmeal was well cooked...
and to a consistency thickness that we like
if needed, more liquid can be added

raw honey was added to sweeten as we like...
and some raisins

this indeed, is a blessing from the Lord by His grace

My Beloved is gone down into His garden,
to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens,
and to gather lilies.
I am my Beloved's,
and my Beloved is mine:
He feedeth among the lilies.
Solomon's Song 6:2,3

May your day or night be ever so fragrant in the Lord's garden of grace.