Month : November 2012

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chickens on the Tree

This past weekend, we made our annual pilgrimage to our favorite local store to select a few new ornaments for our Christmas tree.  I am always on the look out for chickens.  This year I found two roosters, a hen and a wonderful honey bee to add to my collection.  I had to just share them with you today.  How do you decorate your tree?

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest



Giveaway: Chicken Cookie Cutter Set

For me, as the holidays approach, baking mode kicks into high gear.  We bake for school, church, get-togethers and cookie swaps.  You name it, we are usually baking something at least once a week in our kitchen.  I was so excited when our sponsor, Hobby Hill Farm, shared that they wanted to make one of our follower’s baking even more enjoyable by giving away a set of their popular chicken, rooster and chick cookie cutters.  One lucky winner will receive their very own set.  Complete with fail proof recipes for the cookies and frosting, these cookies are sure to be a real hit wherever you share them.

Sugar Cookies as found on the cookie cutters
Cream together:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar

Beat in:
1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour

Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Chill dough 3-4 hours before rolling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4″ thick and cut with your favorite Ann Clark cookie cutters, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until lightly colored. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with Royal Icing or eat just plain.

Now all you need are the cutters!

Here’s How to Enter:
1.  Visit Hobby Hill Farm and tell me what you would place on your wish list. (1 entry) For those that can’t wait, Hobby Hill Farm has also extended 10% off your order by entering “Tilly” at the check-out.  This offer is for a very limited time only.  
2.  Follow our blog-options on the right hand side (1 entry)
3.  Leave a comment on this post letting me know if you did number 1 or 2 or both.  Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you.

One winner will be randomly selected to win.  Giveaway ends 11/28/12 at midnight EST.  
One entry per person.  Items ship to US address only.

hgtv-cornucopia straight view
Crafts Fall Holiday Seasons Thanksgiving

DIY Thanksgiving Cornucopia

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our loved ones later this week, I wanted to take a moment and give thanks to each and every one of you.  Home has so many special meanings to me and my flocks, both feathered and human.  It is incredibly symbolic for so many reasons and having you part of this blog has brought great joy, comfort, inspiration and lessons not only into my life but to many others who visit each week.

Main Dishes Recipes Soups

Minestrone Soup with a Twist

All of a sudden Old Man Winter seems to have arrived on our doorstep.  It is cold, chilly, damp and windy.  Only the oak trees are left with their leaves.  They are stubborn, waiting until the snow to fall until they part with their leaves.  As the final warmer days of fall fleet away, I find myself making more soups and hearty meals.  The secret to my Minestrone soup is adding tortellini.  All the food groups are covered with this soup and usually the tortellini are the first things gobbled up by my little ones.


4 cups chicken stock
1  28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can white Cannellini beans
1 cup dried cheese tortellini
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces
1 cup diced carrots
2 stalk celery-cut into bite size pieces
1 medium diced onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 Parmesan cheese-the type in the can.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup green beans


In a large soup pot, over medium heat, saute the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, basil and parsley in the olive oil.  Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, zucchini and simmer  over low heat for 30 minutes.

Next add the beans, tortellini, green beans, Parmesan cheese and simmer for 20 more minutes on low.

Ladle into bowls while piping hot and serve with crusty french bread.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest


Giveaway: Egg Skelters From Manna Pro

I have been working with my sponsor, Manna Pro, for months now helping them to launch their newest product, The Egg Skelter. It has been so much fun!  Their arrival was delayed a few weeks due to a few logistical issues and I know I was not the only one feeling like a child anxiously awaiting Santa Claus’s arrival.  While I was on vacation, I received an email that the egg skelters were going to launch and Tilly’s Nest would be giving away one in each color.  Away from the computer, this post had to wait a few more days until I returned, but I definitely think it is worth the wait!

So without further ado, let me introduce to you the Egg Skelter.  Prior to this week, egg skelters were only available in the U.K.  They provide a simple easy way to keep track of your eggs in the order in which they were laid.  As you take one from the bottom, the rest gently roll to fill in the vacant space.

Eggs are laid with a protective bloom that allows them to remain at room temperature. However, if you feel uncomfortable with that, the Egg Skelter fits perfectly on a refrigerator shelf right next to the milk.  The Egg Skelter works well in both places.

Easily fits in the fridge on the shelf.

The Egg Skelter can even accommodate smaller bantam sized eggs.  Sometimes, they need a bit of encouragement to “roll” but our Silkie eggs never fall through the cracks.  It holds approximately two dozen standard sized eggs, is dishwasher safe and comes in three colors-red, silver and cream.  I chose silver to match my appliances.  The Egg Skelter makes a wonderful, unique gift for your family, friends or anyone who keeps chickens during the holiday season.

Win one of 3 Egg Skelters in this giveaway! 
~Silver, Red and Cream~

Here is how to Enter:
1.  Become a follower of Tilly’s Nest, options are on the right hand side. (1 entry)
2.  Leave a comment below.  Be sure to leave an email address, so that I can contact you.

A coupon, for those of you who just can’t wait…

This giveaway will end on 11.22.12 at midnight EST.  Three winners will be randomly selected.  Colors will be randomly awarded.  One entry per person. Ships to US addresses only.

This post is linked up to the original Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop and Sunny Simple Sunday.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Comments are now closed.  This giveaway has ended.  Thank you for participating.

Crafts Fall Family Fun Holiday Seasons Thanksgiving

DIY: Felt Leaf Garland

Good Morning! I have returned.  Today I would like to share this with you this very easy garland that I created just for HGTV Garden.

For the rest of the day, I will be playing catch-up; unpacking, laundry, tidying up and of course spending some more time with the chickens until my little ones come home from school.  It is always wonderful to come home.

To make this easy versatile garland, click here.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest


Chickens Stories from Our Nest

The Definition of Home

Right about now, when I am so close to the end of my trip away from home, I always seem to become the most homesick.  I find myself thinking of my family, my home and how it feels when we are all together.  There is no place like it in the world.

Like many of us, chicken have a strong sense of home.  At night, they get in the habit of returning to the safety of their coop after a long day of scratching and seeking out delicious morsels.  As the daylight turns to dusk, they call out for flock members who are late; distracted by a bug, a snake, a tasty frog or a hidden nest of eggs.  Every night without fail, Tilly pops out of the coop for one last head count.  Even though her and Dolly don’t see eye to eye, she still checks to make sure that everyone has turned in for the night.

They have sleeping arrangement preferences.  Somehow, they have to agree with who they get to snuggle up with in the evening.  We’ve had some pretty strange arrangements around here.  The chickens must find them comfortable!  I’ve long lost the battle of Silkies sleeping in nesting boxes.  I think they must be a brood that not only tends to be broody, but prefers to sleep on the ground.  Who am I to tell a chicken breed that has been around since the days of Marco Polo and the 13th century, where they should sleep?

I can’t forget the pecking order as well.  In our own families, there is always someone in control.  I like to think its the parents.  In chicken families, the pecking order helps to determine everyone’s position and role.  Tilly is the head hen.  She rules the roost. Oyster Cracker is our resident love bug and greeter.  She is very social and does not fear much.  Sunshine is our guardian.  She watches the skies all day long and is quick to sound the alarm when threats are near.  Her deep voice is just perfect for the job.  The Silkies take mothering very seriously.  Their broody tendencies are amazing. They all get along and seem to have their own little pecking order within the larger order.  The pecking order, establishes their family.

In every family, there are times when we get along.  There are times when we disagree and there are times when we are apart.  There are times when we wish that we weren’t in certain situations.  The best part, is that we know we always have our families, through blood or friendship, that help us to persevere, survive, believe in ourselves and most importantly fill our hearts with love.  The same goes for chickens.  They are very smart.  You can learn many life’s lessons from pulling up a chair near the flock, sitting quietly and taking a glimpse into the lives of chickens.  I can’t wait to return home to both of my families, human and feathered.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest


Appetizers Recipes Sides

Rustic Greek Flatbread


The other day, I was in the mood for something salty, tangy and warm for lunch.  This seemed to fit the bill perfectly!  As most of you know, I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.  I always have one of their rustic ciabatta flatbreads on hand.  They are so versatile.  Like a Boboli, they are seasoned to perfection and can morph into many things from pizza to a savory tart in no time.

1 rustic ciabatta flatbread
1/2 cup of olive tapenade
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup of capers
1/4 cup of kalamata olives
1/2 cup of sliced tomatoes
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the flat bread on a large baking sheet.  Just as you would make a pizza, spread the olive tapenade onto the flat bread.  Layer on the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with olives, capers and feta cheese.

Bake approximately 10-15 minutes until the flatbread crisps a bit and the feta begins to turn a golden brown.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest