Marsh Edge Farm Notes

Marsh Edge Farm Notes:
Welcome to my farm blog. I don't have a farm, but I do everything possible to have fresh produce on my table all summer long, as well as can and preserve much of what I grow. I live on the edge of Tolland Marsh and three years ago began calling my home garden Marsh Edge Farm. I created a label to place on all my canned goods, and everything I preserve, from jams to saurkraut end up with one of my simple labels.

I have two gardens, one is a spring garden and the other is my summer garden. From each garden I usually can grow enough to keep me in fresh vegetables for the whole summer, as well as enough to can and freeze to last the winter.

I also grow many of the herbs that go into my dishes. One of my favorite things to do with all these vegetables is create recipes that my family will eat. That is what this blog is mainly about, the recipes I develop or create in my kitchen as I experiment. Hope you enjoy reading my farm blog, and I hope you will try some of my recipes.

Updates for 2014

After a few years of very bad crops, I have left behind the vegetable gardens for awhile. However, I have found that fresh produce is available throughout the summer at the many farmers markets in the area. Here is a list of some of the markets and farms I gather my fresh fruits and vegetables from.

Rockville Farmers Market: Thursdays from 10 to 1 at the courthouse parking lot.

Tolland Farmers Market: Saturdays from 9 to 12 on the green.

Coventry Regional Farmers Market: Sundays from 11 to 2 at the Nathan Hale Homestead on South St.

Wright's Orchard on South River Road in Tolland, CT

Larry Lemeks Berries on Goose Lane in Tolland, CT.

Johnny Appleseeds Peach Orchard on Old Schoolhouse Rd. in Ellington, CT.

Buell Orchards in Eastford, CT.

There are many other farmers markets throughout the state of Connecticut on different days as well as numerous roadside stands. Support your local farmers no matter how small and you will gain in health and well being by eating the freshest of the fresh.

A link to the Connecticut Farmers Markets for 2014

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Cookies to Leftovers - A few ideas from Christmas 2015

Christmas Table, 2015

It has been a long time since I last wrote in this blog. I have been very busy this year. I got my first book published called Facets: Homespun Poetry and Photography on New England under my writers name of Julyn S, Pride. I have also had several exhibits of my photography at art galleries and restaurants. Cooking has been at a premium, primarily consisting of a meat, a vegetable and a starch. The creative juices have been focusing on my poetry and art. So I have had very few ideas on food preparation for the year.

Christmas always lends itself to new recipes. This year was no exception. Our dinner included smoked macaroni and cheese, crockpot pulled pork, mashed potatoes, spoon roast, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce, and salad. All were incredibly delicious.

My brother, Craig, has developed a recipe for smoked macaroni and cheese using a wood fired smoker. I have not gotten the recipe or technique yet from him, but it may come about again on Easter. For now, I have two recipes to share, and one interesting way to bake boxed brownies. Though the holiday is done for this year, these recipes can be used almost any time. I hope my readers had their own creative moments this holiday season. All it takes are a few changes from your own sense of taste, and the recipe suddenly becomes your own to share with family and friends.

My first recipe is just a basic sugar cookie. I searched many sites for one that I liked and I found one on Food Network. I will first post the original recipe, then my changes to create my own uniquely flavored sugar cookie.

Christmas Cutout Sugar Cookies - The Food Network    


4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Colored Icing, recipe follows 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time to make a stiff dough. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out a portion of cookie dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Place on lightly greased or nonstick cookie sheets. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minute, rotating baking sheet halfway through cooking time. Cool completely on pans about 5 minutes, transfer to cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.
Colored Icing:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons water

3 to 4 drops food coloring, plus more as needed

Colored sprinkles, optional

In a small bowl, mix sugar and water to form a thick, smooth icing. Stir in food coloring to reach desired shade. Drop icing onto cookies using a small teaspoon and smooth with the back of the spoon. Make additional bowls for additional colors.

Additional multi-colored sprinkles can be added on top of icing before it dries for more decorative cookies, if desired

June's Adapted Christmas Cutout Cookie Recipe

4 cups all purpose flour                             
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup UNSALTED butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons Half and Half or Light Cream
Maple Syrup
Colored Sugar


1.) Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2) Mix flour, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl.
3.) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes time because there is no salt in the butter. 
   I think it took me about 6 minutes until I was satisfied that the butter and sugar was creamed.

4.) Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.

5.) Knead the dough with your hands if it is too dry to stick together. Add Half and Half a tablespoon 
     at a time to get the dough to stick together. The dough ends up being a lot like shortbread, which  
     is why I liked the recipe so much.

6,) Roll out the dough a little at a time to 1/4 inch thickness, on the shiny side of Freezer Paper. 
     This was a discovery I  just made as I was rolling out the dough. Lift your cut out shapes with
     a spatula. By pulling them off the paper with your hands, the cookies will tear.
7.) Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Check after
     8 minutes because sometimes you roll the  
     dough too thin and it bakes quicker. 

 8.) Let cool.

9.)   Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of honey and water in a coffee cup.

10.) Mix a 1 to 1 ration of maple syrup and water in another coffee cup. 

11.) Brush on either the honey mixture or the maple syrup mixture on a cooled cookie.

12.) Sprinkle colored sugar before the cookie dries then shake off the excess sugar onto a 
       creased piece of wax paper. Once the sugar is dry, you can pour back into its jar. 

 Cranberry Brownies


A boxed brownie mix, family size to fit 13 x 9 pan
1 1/2 cup Fresh cranberries
Powdered sugar


1,)Follow directions on box. Before baking, fold in cranberries. I usually bake my brownies in an 
    11  x 7 pan.

2,) Bake for about 45 minutes. The cranberries make it a little moist so it takes longer to bake.

3.) Cool, then cut brownies to desired size. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Stuffed Shells with Leftover Mashed Potato

This was a try it recipe that I decided might taste good. As I viewed the 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes from Christmas dinner, I wondered what I could do to use them up. I am not keen of reheating mashed potatoes, and I just didn't feel like making a Shepherds Pie, so I thought "Maybe it would taste good, almost like a pierogi, if I used jumbo shells and baked it." So this is what I did, and it was amazing. You have to try this one. Kids would probably even eat it, that is how good it is.


12 oz. box of jumbo stuffed shells
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1-1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
5 strips fully cooked Hormel bacon, original, torn into small pieces
1/8 - 1/4 cup additional 2 % milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
parsley or oregano to add color and flavor
1/4 cup melted Smart Balance buttery spread, Original


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. ) Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
2. ) With a hand mixer, mash cold potatoes with milk to make very smooth.
3.)  Add bacon and cheddar cheese to remashed potatoes. Mix well.
4.)  Add onion powder and salt to potato mixture and mix well.
5,) Stuff shells with a large spoonful of mixture.
6.) Pour melted butter over shells and bake for
      40-50 minutes

Enjoy these recipes. They are all very good. Happy cooking. Hope to see you sooner than a year. With the next book being written, I still may not have much time to keep up the blog. Be assured, though, that there will be future recipes, just maybe not every week. Thanks for reading and have a terrific 2016.


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