Breakfast, Home Cookin', Popular

Gooseberry Creek’s Amazing French Toast

I’ve never been a huge french toast fan. Waffles were always my favorite, and I preferred pancakes over french toast hands down. But this french toast is a different story.

When my friend, Sara, and I walked into our first spice shop we were like kids in a candy store. Sara immediately went to the baking section and started smelling samples while I milled about the selections. After a few minutes, Sara called me over with an exclamation of “It smells like Christmas!” And it did.

It was a special sugar mixed with spices and vanilla beans. At the time I didn’t know what I’d use it for, but I knew I wanted it. Sara wanted to use hers for coffee, but I’ve never been a coffee drinker. It wasn’t until my mom requested French Toast for her Mother’s Day Breakfast that I discovered the perfect use for my purchase.

Thus, Gooseberry Creek’s Amazing French Toast Recipe was born.

Ya’ll… even my dad likes it. He’s picky and he’s never liked french toast, but he likes this.

Gooseberry Creek’s Amazing French Toast

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


-8 Eggs

-1 1/3 c. Milk

-1/3 c. All-Purpose Flour

-1/3 cup Granulated White Sugar

-1/3 cup Spiced Vanilla Bean Sugar

-5 Dashes of Salt

-1 Loaf Texas Toast Bread (or your preferred)

-1 Stick Butter


1. Heat your griddle over medium heat. I prefer to use a long cast iron griddle that spans 2 burners. It will cook 6 slices at a time.

2. In a large, flat, edged dish whisk together eggs and milk until well combined. Continue whisking as you slowly add in the flour. Add sugars and salt. Mix well.

3. Depending on the size of your mixture dish and griddle, place 2-6 slices of bread in the mixture for 30 seconds. Next, flip slices to soak the other side for 30 seconds. This limited time prevents the bread from getting soggy.

4. Place 1 Tbsp of butter on the griddle and transfer your coated bread slices to the griddle. Cook each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove golden brown slices to a covered heated dish.

5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until all the bread or all the mixture has been used.

6. Serve Immediately with your choice of topping. Personally, I recommend Pure Maple Syrup.

7. Enjoy!

Fur, Feathers, Fluff and Fuzz, Pets, Popular

You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog

Consider this a public service announcement…

Ya’ll… I can’t even. I CAN NOT even describe to you the frustrations of owning a hound dog. Particularly a bloodhound.

We were still living in Colorado and on our way home to Missouri for a visit when we found him on Craigslist. After searching high and low for a reasonably priced pup for my husband (even those at the shelters were $300), we resorted to checking in Missouri while we were there. When I scrolled down to those floppy ears and all those wrinkles, we called the number listed and set up a date to meet the puppies immediately. Who knew something so cute could be SO much trouble! Our clearance puppy definitely had a catch… or two… or more.

Due to being bred as a working dog, he was not very attached to us at first and preferred to roam about on his own. It took 6 months to make him lovey and cuddly… and even then it was only with us! Discipline stuck about the same, seeing as he could care less if he pleased us or not.

Then the chewing started.

When he was bored… he chewed. When he was upset… he chewed. He chewed because he was teething and even when he wasn’t teething any more. He chewed anything and everything and didn’t discriminate! I bought that dog more chew toys than ALL of the many dogs I’d previously owned combined. He even chewed on a full grown tree once. I mean… come on!

Of note: I did not actually let him chew the stick. That is very bad for doggie bellies.


Then, at one point I suspected that part of the destruction was vindictive. I’d come home from work and moved him indoors due to a huge change in weather. I made sure there was nothing he could chew and opened the doggie door… he saw me leave again. My husband came home to find our wall photos scattered in pieces across our living room. I KNEW when Doc repeatedly went directly to our visitor’s belongings to chew after being chastised by said visitor. Multiple times

Oh the shedding and the slobber! I have hair and slobber EVERYWHERE. The slobber sticks to the wall like stucco and his hair clogs the vacuum. There’s hair mixed with dust, hair in the lint trap and hair in the air every time he shakes. There is no escaping the hair and the slobber requires significant elbow grease to remove. Though the hair is not as bad as a bulldog, it’s about as bad as a lab. That with the slobber is bad enough.

Did I mention that he still thinks he is the 25 lbs he was when he first came home with us? He turns around and backs up to sits on my lap like a child. Regularly. He weights 110 lbs now folks, and he doesn’t all fit. Oh but he tries too! Not to mention he still thinks he can play with the 10 year old Miniature Schnauzer we have. Not a good idea.

He likes to perch on unlikely objects. Objects he should not be, let along, stand on in fact. The arms of couches and chairs, the backs of couches and chairs, his igloo dog house, benches, plastic storage containers… the dog doesn’t care. If it fits he sits… sometimes even if it doesn’t fit.

Water is one of his favorite things. Which is fantastic… I love having a water dog. Until he decided that it would be a fantastic idea to climb in the shower with me. But climbing into the tub willingly at bath time? Forget it. It’s like wrestling a walrus. That’s become my husband’s job because I find it ridiculous that it is so difficult to bathe a dog that loves the water.

Doc is also a very possessive being. He will push other dogs away that are being petted by us (eve the mini schnauzer that was there long before he was). He will squeeze between our legs when my husband and I are hugging. And food. Lord don’t mess with that dog’s food. Even if it’s your food he’s covetous.

The worst of it all? That nose. It has a brain of it’s own. Forget trying to get his attention when it’s elsewhere, especially if that nose is involved. Listening is not his strong suit. It also takes him on “adventures” if he’s not closely monitored. He can be gone for hours as my husband frantically searches for him. Not our favorite pastime.

I would be remiss if I did not mention all the things I love about Doc after listing all the hardships, though. Though off to a curt start, that dog is now one of the cuddliest you will meet. He leans in when he’s rubbed and wants to fit his entire self in my lap (which I did list as a fault but darn it’s so cute). He knows when we are hurt or sick and is so gentle with us in those moments. He loves smelling flowers and carrying around new toys for hours. He has a distinct “happy tail” (as I call it), a “meh” tail and a sad tail. Most of all he provides endless humor.

We love him. We would never trade him for anything in the world. We fret on the occasion he does get away from us and enjoy his presence immensely. Our homestead wouldn’t be the same without him.

But goodness, I know a lot of people who would have given up on him by now.

So… just please know what you’re actually getting before you get a hound dog.

Family, Popular, Traditions, Where the Heart Is

The Perfect Wedding

I always wanted a simple, outdoor, country wedding. I’d dreamed of it, the colors, the dress and, of course, the man standing at the end of the aisle for years. However, after my husband and I had been dating a while, I quickly realized that he had always dreamed of a church wedding. At first I was a little disheartened, but I have always held the opinion that the wedding is as much the groom’s as it is the bride’s. So I decided to search the beautiful world Pinterest for “Church Weddings.” There, I quickly warmed to the idea of the simple, undecorated, white churches as I scrolled the pages.

We are members of a small section of the Christian denomination known as “Missionary Baptist” and have been all my life. If you aren’t familiar with us, we have loud preachers, song services that could rattle window panes, and (conveniently) little white churches dotted all over the countryside. Note that I said “countryside”… I could still have my country wedding! My mother and I drove and drove looking at those churches in our area. She would send me pictures while I was away, and if I liked the outer appearance, we would attend church there the following Sunday to see the inside.

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

When I finally found a church I loved, undecorated, it had something a little extra special; honestly, I don’t know why it wasn’t one of the first I chose to look at. Goodson Missionary Baptist church had been my grandfather’s home church for years. In fact, his photo was still up on the bulletin board near the church doors decorated with pictures of military men they prayed for throughout World War II. What wonderful symbolism for my grandparents (who’d long since passed) attending one of the greatest days of my life. I still get goose bumps thinking about it exactly 3 years later today

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

What about my wedding dream, you ask? We had a simple, outdoor, country reception. We compromised. His dream became mine and mine became his until this wedding became OURS. OUR wedding was catered to US; a simple, inexpensive wedding with all the people we loved most invited. It wasn’t traditional to a T, but we enjoyed ourselves, had fun and look back on it with warm hearts.

Photo By: Devon Garton Photography

Sometimes the things that we always thought we wanted, end up not being the things we need or the things that end up being the most amazing. Compromising can result in one of the greatest days of your life. Not to mention that it is an awesome way to start off marriage and sets the tone for the relationship. My husband’s wish for his wedding day and my wish for mine combined to make something awesome that day. It symbolically marked the beginning of an official “Us.” The perfect wedding results in joining two hearts in love and all their ideas, hopes and dreams. And I’ll tell you what, that church wedding was perfect.

Fur, Feathers, Fluff and Fuzz, Popular, Poultry

My Case for Fluffy Chickens

Not that anyone has denied me a fluffy chicken (yes, I know they are also known as Silkies, I just like the term “fluffy chicken” more). In fact, I have a very wonderful mother-in-law who has volunteered to buy me multiple fluffy chickens and a mother who is willing to house said chickens on her property until we have a home and outbuildings of our own in which to put them. Nevertheless I NEED a fluffy chicken. And here is why:

1. First and foremost, I love a good laugh and have you SEEN a fluffy chicken? I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law thought I was bonkers when we visited them in North Carolina and I couldn’t stop my uncontrollable giggles when I saw her neighbor’s fluffy chicken. I didn’t even know such a creature existed and I grew up on a farm folks. Watching all that fluff bob up and down each time the chicken scratched, stepped, or,oh my, when it ran… I could NOT stop watching that chicken guys. If we were outside, my eyes were on the chicken. So point numero uno… who wouldn’t keep one around just for humor’s sake?

2. Apparently these fluffy chickens are extremely difficult not to love. According to the writer of The Do It Yourself Homestead, she is not easily attached to farm animals… and she loved those little guys. They ALL did. Furthermore, one of co-worker’s sons wants a fluffy chicken so badly that he did a report for school on the topic. His intent was to persuade his parents, but it was his teacher that went out and bought a fluffy chicken after his presentation. See? Lovable.

3. I don’t know if you’ve ever owned a Banty rooster or chicken, but folks the ones we had were mean. These fluffy chickens are of the Bantam category… but guys… they are friendly. Even the roosters are, not only, gentle with their ladies but with their owners as well! They even like to cuddle. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle with a fluffy chicken?

4. As an ornamental aspect, these chickens are sure to please (or at least entertain) any visitor you have to your hobby farm or homestead. Additionally, bantam chickens mean bantam-sized eggs! Kids, and people in general, LOVE tiny things. I mean there are whole YouTube channels devoted to those people that cook on working dollhouse sized stoves. Speaking from experience, the daughter of one of our friends prefers our “chocolate eggs” (particularly the ones with “polka dots”) over the white store-bought eggs. Imagine how she’d feel about mini-eggs! Novelty eggs anyone? I see a niche in the making.

5. For more practical applications… these chickens are notoriously broody. This means they will sit an egg til it hatches. You can use their natural broodiness to your advantage if your other standard-sized ladies are less than desirable sitters. You can simply tuck your standard-sized fertilized eggs under her bum and you’re golden! As long as they fit, she can sits.

6. Another practical use… not only are they good sitters, they are good mothers. Instead of having to worry about your new chicks drowning themselves in the waterer or wandering too far in the yard, getting lost in a stand of grass when you aren’t looking… there’s a literal mother hen for that. You, of course, still need to provide clean water, food and shelter. But that fluffy momma will take care of everything else.

Fluffy Chickens… who knew?

Popular, Where the Heart Is

Inquiring Minds

For inquiring minds:

Many of my friends have asked me in various different ways what “homesteading” and/or “hobby farming” is all about. I honestly never really thought about exactly what they meant when I started wanting to do this. I gave it some thought and to me “homesteading” means creating a home that relies on less of the outside world than a typical home. It also means, to me anyway, building a certain home atmosphere of hard work and a love to raise and grow.

As far as the term “hobby farm” goes.. my husband and I ENJOY this. It is a hobby to us and we have no intentions of making enough of anything for mass production. We would only like to produce enough for ourselves, gifts for our family and friends and sell whatever we have that is extra. Perhaps at a local Farmer’s Market… maybe on here, who knows! However, these questions also got me thinking about what the true definitions of these terms were. So I’ll start off with the term “homesteading.”

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “homestead” is:  “1 a: the home and adjoining land occupied by a family. b. an ancestral home. c. HOUSE .  2: a tract of land acquired from the U.S. public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract” Well folks, we sort of fall into all. Our homestead doesn’t have a house, yet. It is currently in process. However, it will be a house, it will be occupied by my family, and it was land owned by my family as far back as I know. As for the second definition, we my not have obtained it from the government, but we obtained it from my parents with the intention to live on and cultivate the land.

A more meaningful definition of homesteading, gleaned from “The Do It Yourself Homestead,” is gaining self-sufficiency. Tessa Zundel talks about many different ways to become self sufficient in this book and that homesteading does not mean that you have to be ENTIRELY self-sufficient (which is nigh impossible). It simply means that you are striving for personal freedom in some capacity.  Whether it be with energy production, produce production, meat production … really it could be anything! This definition also fits us, as we would love to know where most of what we consume comes from.

As for “hobby farm,” the Google Dictionary defines it as: “a small farm operated for pleasure or for supplemental income rather than for primary income.” Well, if this isn’t us… I don’t know what is. My husband is going to school full time with his GI Bill and I work full time at a small clinic near my home town. He may not love school and he won’t be doing that forever, but I LOVE my job and don’t think I’d ever be able to completely leave it. Regardless, I doubt the farm will ever be a primary income and we certainly find pleasure in growing green things and tending farm animals.

So there you have it! “Homestead” and “hobby farm” may not necessarily be interchangeable terms in every situation, but with our humble abode they co-exist quite nicely. Any other questions you all have, shoot them my way! I have no problem answering them, in fact, I usually learn something new myself when I do!