Each season brings new excitement!  

My Talk About is - managing living on a hilly property..... what are the challenges?

  1. Envision.... Your "Vision" - Don't make it too big (at first)
    1. Plan, Plan, Plan and take a year or two to figure out water issues 
  2. Know drainage issues, how to fix 
    1. What I did is take a video when it 'down pours' this helps me determine how to work on the problem (done this a few times :(..)
  3. Knowing what to plant & where
  4. Pick your plants based on soil, climate and adaptability
  5. Best places for Steps, fences, and sheds and retaining walls 

Walkway with flower border - keeps the water flowing - where it should flow 

Mint - a Weed-Gone-Wild 

Retaining wall - place for strawberries - I use all the space I can to grow

Add new garden beds to grow herbs...

We live on an acre in Northern Virginia in the Blue Ridge, a community not far from the "city."  Off a paved road, but once you turn into our development .... you enter "goat trails"..... hilly, muddy roads - awful...

Mistakes I made: 

Moving to this community
Thinking too big
Planting invasive trees and plants in my yard - Not knowing!
Planting trees to close to house

This year we have removed damaging trees, excess rock, put in efficient retaining walls.... Planted flowers that are not as acceptable to veggie planting, and put veggie planting in raised beds in a more manageable part of the yard.


My dad made poundcake often, many times to accompany strawberries.... a nice food memory for me.

Today is my 20 year wedding anniversary and I wanted to switch up the dessert and give my husband his favorite Ice Cream Cake..... Poundcake is hearty.....

I researched several cakes and I found this one.... Easy, Rich and Delish..... I broke up the recipes to add a few pound muffins.... for his lunch tomorrow.

Grandmother's Pound Cake II 

Grandmother's Pound Cake II

Rated as 4.62 out of 5 Stars

"This recipe is over 100 years old and is the original kind of pound cake: it contains 1 pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour and contains no salt, baking powder or flavoring (but flavoring such as vanilla extract or almond extract can be added if desired!)"


  • 2 cups butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 3 - 8x4 inch loaf pans, then line with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.

  3. Pour batter evenly into prepared loaf pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

  4. After removing them from the oven, immediately loosen cake edges with a knife. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans. 

  5. Strip off the parchment paper and cool completely on wire racks.
(I added vanilla - only change)



Chicken Tenders
I Tested a few air fryers and I give my vote to Phillips brand.  cooking a meal is easy, making healthy French fries!!!

I have made dessert too, but I can't recommend for that!


Money can be tight this time of year; Bills like property taxes! life etc... BUT, I have some fairly inexpensive ideas.... 

Homemade is Always Better - here are some ideas....

MY favorite gift to give is Granola and the feature of this Blog. - My recipe came from Alton Brown, from the Food Network..... I just 'perfected' it... add what I have on hand and it is SO very good by itself, with ice cream or yogurt.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown:

    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • 1 cup cashews
    • 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup raisins


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
  • Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

zest from one orange 
pinch of nutmeg 
vanilla powder 
quality honey (I use in place of brown sugar) 
quality maple syrup 
plus I omit raisins - why? many people don't like raisins.
Fresh warm Granola Hooterville Homestead 2018
Makes a Large Pan

Small jars of homemade jams, jellies, pickles are always a hit with me... I love getting them as well as giving them.... (pic's courtesy of the internet) - these are the easiest of all canning.

Fresh Garden Fruit Jam/Jellies - "IF" you can beat the rabbits to them!
Homemade Garden Pickles - Yummy

Ideas for Packaging!

I go after the holiday season and buy food gift bags!  so cheap!

25 Cents - all these cost - after holiday sale
I did this with Homemade Vanilla Cupcake mix

I do make my own Candles - Love his idea

Great idea for Jam/Jellies

Love the Family you have, give the gift of giving! 

Wishing all a beautiful, warm, thankful, blessed Christ filled Holiday!  All my love sent to you!


Fall, as I discovered... is most folks favorite time of year.... it stopped raining, we have had 8 days of beautiful sunny, warm weather.

I normally get the itch to cook & bake and scour over my recipes and cookbooks. - this year, I am not going to make candy or cookies - - - We will see how long this lasts?    I do plan to make stolen for Christmas, but just for my house - Selfish I suppose!

I did not put up apples or pears, we gave to a local horse farm.  Just me and hubby, and I did put up peaches!... Next year I do plan on making apple cider, that is, if we have a good crop.

I have made some 'mock' recipes, keeping with my low to no sugar and lowcarb lifestyle
Mashed Rutabaga!  Used my InstaPot to cook them down!

Zucchini Fritters
Crispy Goodness!

Pumpkin with rutabaga? Oh yes, so yummy and tastes just like pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkins Muffins - Pie on the go!!

A NO BAKE FALL for me!  or NOT?  I am debating!


This is a great fail proof recipe.... don’t be like me and used expired baking powder....

Fancy Muffins Cups


 Yummy Goodness

 Gooey, Bursting with Berries


 In spite of all the rain this summer, I did have a good harvest, the peaches are a bit tart, but this lends to a balanced baked product.. not too sweet..

It was daunting looking at all I picked (just two trees, and I am thankful it was just two)  - What to do?  Jam was out, as many of my jam recipients do not prefer peach jam.
Harvest, trees are two years old!
Baked Crisp
Peaches ready for the topping

I made a peach crisp, using the Pioneer Women's Recipe from her very first cookbook.   - I gifted the crisp to the St. Dominic's Monastery, as it turned out it was a day of celebration for them.  

 I froze three trays of peaches to use during the winter months.... for use in oatmeal, pancakes and muffins and so much more!
Ready for flash freezer

My Winesap apple trees runneth over! - I have so many canned, frozen and dehydrated from past years.. I plan to give this harvest away...
One of 8 apple trees, so heavy they are on the ground!

Happy Harvesting to all you Gardeners!


I was recently gifted a hand cranked pasta machine.... from a friend who married into an Italian family from Pennsylvania...Laurie's husband -  Rich is deeply rooted in the Italian tradition, heritage and culture, and a good man! and one that knows his Italian Cuisine!....  It is an older machine made in Italy... came in the box with all the 'goods' (happy dance)...... My recommendation for anyone wanting an authentic tool... I recommend the Marcato Brand, and they do have a website....marcato.it.  Just make sure it is made in Italy...... (fakes out there)

Why make your own pasta?  first off, it tastes so much better, not that hard to do.....and you can store it (short shelf life) - but worth it.


1 - Use room temperature eggs and fresh is best (I have hens... good thing)
      Very important eggs are at room temperature.... I USED todays eggs for this goodness!


3 - If too sticky, add water, need water... add some (perfect dough should not stick to your fingers)

4 - As for the flour you choose, this is 'my' preference.... this is what I like - you can't go wrong with
     KA (but I recently ordered some from Italy to make some Pasta for Rich, cause Italians know
     there food. - which is a good thing!

Dough kneaded and resting
My suggestion on how to get a recipe and work the dough through the machine.... use the marcato.it website..... or the instructions on the KA pasta blend bag.

put some dough through the 'stretcher'

Making a thick spaghetti

the dough lightly tossed in pasta flour, drying and will have for dinner - tossed in Olive Oil and Garlic  - 

That is it Folks!  this pasta will accompany some Beef Tenderloin for supper tonite!

Birds, Their Nests, Babies....

My Robin did not come back to her tree this year... I was sad... I had pruned the pear tree this fall, and  well, I guess it was too much for her.   I'll miss her and the babies, they gave me joy to listen to their food cries and their parents hard work to provide them food.

Nest in my Kiefer Pear Tree

I provide a source of 'nest' building material.... this little ball, made from grape vines,,,, filled will alpaca wool.... I can tell you... my birds  have been busy plucking away at this for their nests.

Grape Vine filled with Wool for the birds

I have other birds that like to build nests on my porch in the shades I have...... we have had such strong winds they lost a few nests...  and when I went to investigate their latest..... well, they abandonaned it...so I added to my table of decorative bird houses......  can't say this broke my heart.......  as they make a bit of a mess....

Nest that fell out of the screen on my porch
My table with decorative bird houses...

This past winter we have had birds 'hanging' out.... this is a good thing.... I will guess all my tree planting has provided the birds with more sanctuary....

Wedding Anniversary, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Pork Chops...

My anniversary, April 10th... I forgot.... but my husband... he reminded me... Gosh, I am a horrible partner...... Good thing I can cook! (probably why he reminded me)

My hubby is a good man, provider and friend....   So, despite his low carb healthy lifestyle, I was able to make him a food friendly and Husband approved meal for our special day....  No worry on fussing over when to start the Chops.. I used my favorite new tool.... a power pressure cooker!... Ohh yeah folks, ya'll need one - for us gardeners (obsessed with the yard) - we can work in the yard ALL day and still provide a yummy quick meal.... without standing over it..!

My meal was Pork Chops cooked in onion, lemon juice, white wine and garlic.....
The veggies were roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, and radishes

Sautéed pork, .. ready to cook

Love lemon and Lime... always have in my home...

I love my $3.00 thrift store bowl..... hand blown and a classic.

Dipped Strawberries all packaged nicely
The past few years I have been making more of my own candy and choosing the best chocolate, not only to control the ingredients, but the sweetness too... and I came across these wonderful tools for dipping... gosh - what did I do in the past without them!

The specialty tools for chocolate dipping.

Chocolate, my preference is Guittard or Ghirardelli - if you ever go to San Francisco... make sure you stop by the Chocolate Factory (Ghirardelli).......  BUT hands down... I prefer Guittard...... 100% all the way!

Just dipped berries... ready for chilling