How 25 fuzzy butts turned into 35…

photo

Just a few short weeks ago, we got our 25 new chickies in the mail….well it was supposed to be 25, but 27 fuzzy butts showed up. ūüôā ¬†Yay for extras!

Man, did we have issues getting chicks this year. ¬†First off, we’ve never ordered¬†this early. ¬†We started looking in February, after the Valentines day massacre (that’s what we’re calling it anyway) when we went to close the girls up for the night and found one of them pecked to death. ūüė¶ ¬†So sad, we had no idea what happened at first. ¬†We thought something had gotten into the coop, but there is just no way for that to happen so we deduced that it must have been one of the other hens that did it. ¬†That and she had blood all over her beak…that was the obvious clue. ūüėČ

So we decided that rather than chance another going rogue, we made an appointment to send them away to freezer camp. ¬†That left us chicken less…for the first time in 5 years!! ¬†It was odd not tending to them daily. ¬†Then the littles arrived and I was back on chicken mamma duty. ¬†I figured that we’d get them free ranging by 8 weeks or so, but I neglected to do the math. ¬†You see, the chickens as yummy, friendly and egg filled as they are here for tick control. ¬†They love to eat ticks! ¬†That is the whole reason that we have them. ¬†I am deathly afraid of ticks. ¬†They are creepy and carry disease. ¬†YUCK! ¬†We don’t want to use¬†chemicals on the lawn so that the kids don’t get Lyme disease, only to end up poisoning them, that seems like a bad plan. ¬†So enter the chickens. ¬†Although they free range year round, I like to get them out as soon as the snow starts receding so they can get a jump on the bugs. ¬†But, as I said earlier…my calendar and my math skills did not sync up this year so we had not birds to eat the bugs early on.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 5

About 3 weeks old

Anywho…Our first day outside this year and I see a tick crawling on the tiny blonde hairs leading to my baby’s angelic face. ¬†Cue the freak out!! ¬†AGGHHHHH!!!!

There is no way that I could wait the 4 weeks until the little ones could get out to eat the bugs so the search was on.  Within 2 days we had found 8 organic laying hens and within a week they were re-homed to our little farm and eating all of the bugs that their little hearts desired, as well as tearing up my flower beds.  A small price to pay for peace of mind.

photo 3

The “older”gals

photo 1

Meeting each other for the first time.

photo 2

First day in the sun!

photo 3

photo 4

Escape¬†artists…they popped right¬†through the fence!

I love these birds.  They are funny little creatures to watch and interact with and just having them roaming around feels like home.

So…Welcome all 35 fuzzy gals! ¬†We’re glad to have you!

The Dinner Party….

Our son hosted his first dinner party this past week!

He’s 7. ūüôā

This child has been groomed to be a foodie. ¬†He was never given the option to eat or not eat. ¬†His only option was try it once, if you really don’t like it, then you don’t have to eat it. ¬†To this very day he eats everything, except mushrooms

Lately his favorite show to watch is the Pioneer Woman! ¬†He loves to watch her cook and his favorite episode is “Ranching in the mist”. ¬†He has watched this particular episode so many times that he knows the recipes and the wording by heart. ¬†The last time he watched this episode, he asked again if I could make the pop pulled pork. ¬†Well, we don’t really drink soda , so cooking with it is out of the question for me, so I’ve said ¬†no in the past to that recipe.

That same week we were all struck with the flu…boooo! ¬†The hubs came back from the store with a natural soda called Dr. Better, because sometimes you just need something carbonated and it tasted just like Dr. Pepper!! ¬†Light bulb!! ¬†When everyone was feeling better and Ree Drummond was again on the screen, he asked again and this time I said sure!

He did the entire meal by himself!  I put everything in the oven and made the dough (which was Gluten free) but he did the rest from chopping onions to peeling and slicing the apples for the pie.

The hubs took the little one away for a few hours so we could have some space alone to work, and work he did!  He started at 11:30 am and finished when dinner was served.

IMG_5488

Cutting Onions

IMG_5489

Seasoning the pork shoulder

IMG_5498

Adding a little Dr. Better

IMG_5505

Slicing apples for the flat apple pie

IMG_5510

Cutting the cabbage for slaw

IMG_5512

Mixing up the slaw

IMG_5515

Making the potato au gratin (yes, he diced all of the potatoes) ūüôā

IMG_5524

The finished pop pulled pork!

IMG_5529

Dinner is served!!

IMG_5532

Making caramel for the pie

IMG_5520

Pie is done!

IMG_5535

My guy! Sorry for the bad picture. 

IMG_5537

The whole meal was delicious! ¬†The gluten free dough was so good! ¬†You could never tell that there was no wheat in it at all. ¬†The caramel was not my favorite recipe…it was a quick caramel and it lacked the depth that I love in caramel, but I wanted to stay true to the Pioneer woman evening, so we made all of her recipes. ¬†I would certainly make them all again, with the addition of¬†this salted caramel. ūüėČ

I loved the feeling of pride that I saw on my little guys face when everyone was eating HIS dinner! ¬†He was exhausted when bedtime rolled around and I think a little bit more appreciative of the meals that we eat…knowing a little bit better what actually goes into them.

He is already planning his next party with meatballs, pasta and cake.  I love that he loves being in the kitchen and I love even more the time that we get to spend together cooking.

‚̧

A litte bit of Mexico…

IMG_2885

Perhaps the hubs was longing for our honeymoon to Mexico…Perhaps he looked around and saw nothing in the house to eat??

Anyway…

When the man is home on a weekend that we aren’t running around…then he is cooking Which is fine by me!!. ¬†¬†Enter the homemade corn tortillas.

IMG_2887

As I finished my own work, he was busy mixing and resting dough. ¬†He had his Sous Chefs by his side and together they were rolling while the littlest Sous was pressing. ¬†My little guy was so incredibly proud of himself that he showed me each and every tortilla before they were cooked. ¬†Which left me getting very little work done, but hey…them be some yummy tortillas made by a super kid! ¬†I am very lucky. ūüôā

IMG_2888

While Mj pressed, Mark cooked.

IMG_2891

This went on for a good while until we had a giant stack of warm, salty, corny (he, he) tortillas.

IMG_2894

IMG_2899

 

We ended up with tostada like yumminess topped with grass-fed beef, our own canned beans, organic corn, organic salsa and the BEST sour cream out there…Wallaby!

 Seriously, this stuff is almost drinkable!

Anywho…Here is the link to the recipe that was used. ¬†We were able to find organic masa harina too! ¬†NO GMO corn here…ever! ūüėČ

Give it a try…It is super fun for the kids too!

This Week…

This Week….

IMG_3439

~We are: learning about George Washington

IMG_3446

~We are: Drinking lots of coffee due to mid-night continuous wake-ups

~We are: Catching up on lots of work

IMG_3447

~We are: Falling way behind on laundry

IMG_3428

~We are: Wishing for spring but watching the snow fall

IMG_3448

~We are: Remembering where we were last year with piggie plans

pig pen winter

~We are: Planning for  this years piggies!!

~We are: Wanting a nap, very badly

~We are: Feeling pretty dingy for slipping on the ice while always preaching of “paying attention”

~We are: Wishing that the cleaning fairy would come over and do her magic

~We are: Thankful for the craziness of life and young, relentless spirit of these little ones

 

Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit…..

Beans!  Beans! Beans!

IMG_2364

From blazing saddles to kids songs, if you are a man or under the age of 14, beans usually bring one thing to mind..

The Fluffies!

That is what we call a gaseous emission around here, well mostly. ¬†My son is 6 so anything related to the bum is hilarious AND the talk of it is never-ending. ūüėČ

Now, if you are an old mom like myself, you think of the nutrition a value of  beans.  Cooked, dry beans are low in fat, high in fiber and packed with protein. Dry beans provide a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as plant phytochemicals.

So, take that Fluffies!

The other good thing is that my kids love them and I love serving the babes beans, that is until all of the BPA in metal can linings appeared.  When I found out about BPA, I went out and bought a ton of dried beans knowing that I could get around it all this way.  Except that you need to soak dried beans overnight if you want to eat them without breaking your teeth and who has time for that!?!  I am usually the one pulling frozen beef out of the freezer 30 minutes before dinner.  Organized for meal times, I am not!

So, since I am still afraid of the pressure canner that we bought and I had a closet full of dried beans and a husband that is willing to try anything, we set off to can some beans.

I had read how to do it and even asked a very helpful Facebook friend but was still leery about how they would turn out.  There were opinions about soaking first, not soaking, partial soaking, blah, blah, blah.  We were feeling lazy and impatient so we just put the dried beans in the jars.

IMG_2363

We canned black, kidney and garbanzo beans

IMG_2365

Black bean were treated to Mexican inspired spices, Kidney beans were left plain for soups and garbanzo got an assortment of herbs.

IMG_2375

IMG_2371

IMG_2368

IMG_2379

IMG_2382

We topped some with stock and some with water. ¬†Some with herbs and some with spices. ¬†Capped them all and into the pressure cooker they went. ¬†After about 1 hour, we began to smell the spices and I was convinced that one had busted inside that was going to set off a chain reaction of events that would send the pressure canner careening into the air taking off like an inflated balloon that you’ve mistakenly let go of while blowing it up, zipping around the ceiling until it crash landed in the middle of the kitchen.

¬†Well, thankfully that did not happen. ūüôā Phew!

All of the jars were sealed, none broken and we had lots of fast and convenient organic beans to grab for any meal.  The best part, they are less than half the price of the already canned beans at the store and it took us less than 15 minutes to prep and a little over an hour to process, set it and forget it style (unless you are like me, cowering in a corner waiting for the explosion).

IMG_2389

IMG_2392

¬†Pardon the goo on the jars, they were the bottom row in the water…

Now we have a closet full of beans, ready to eat! ¬†I feel like I go to them more as an option for dinners because they are ready to go, easy and done. ¬†I’ve even popped open a jar of chick peas to munch on… They are soooo good!

This is how we did it.

In each of the 12 oz jars we put 1/2 cup of beans, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and whatever herbs or spices that you want in them and filled the rest of the way (leaving 1 inch at the top for expansion) and give a quick stir. Cap those babies and set them in the pressure canner. ¬†Follow the directions on the canner for water levels. ¬†Start ‘er up and let ‘er rip for about 70 minutes. Then let your canner de-pressurize naturally.

Pull those bad boys out (with canning tongs of course) set them on a clean dry towel to rest over night.  In the morning put them away.  Simple as that!

We’ve flown right through the jars that we made, so it’s time to do it again!

** I found that in the 12 oz jars, I would put a little less beans, the really sucked up the liquid. ¬†I might also try a really quick par boil before too…I bet that would help in pre-sucking up the liquid. ūüėČ

I’ll keep ya posted…

IMG_2454

Wheat pizza with salsa, cheese and a can of our beans with frozen corn added to it.

Quick and yummy Mexican pizza!!

The Perfect Sprouted Wheat Pancakes…

I am not afraid to admit when I can’t do something.

I CAN’T make pancakes!

Even after working in restaurants for all of my working years, 4 years of culinary school and owning 2 food service businesses and I still can’t make pancakes. ¬†Normally they turn out too runny, flat, undercooked or just plain burnt. ¬†Whether a mix or not, the only way the I ever got pretty griddle brown pancakes was opening a box of pre-made, pre-beautifully browned pancakes. ¬† If you know me at all, you’d know that I am very anti-processed and pre-made foods, so doing this to satisfy my kids want for pancakes really hurt my heart.

That is until now!

This is the recipe that saved my kids from years of therapy that would eventually stem from my pancake incompetence.

IMG_3413

Wahoo!! ¬†Fluffy AND hard to burn…for whatever reason.

Bonus is that they contain sprouted wheat!

A bit about sprouted grains…

Sprouting grains changes the composition of starch molecules, converting them into vegetable sugars, so the body recognizes and digests sprouted grains as a vegetable

In sprouted grains enzymes are created that aid digestion, complex sugars are broken down which can eliminate painful gas, and vitamin and mineral levels increase.

Sprouting neutralizes potent carcinogens and enzyme inhibitors, as well as an acid that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.

You can grab sprouted wheat flour

31CZnwlr3fL

at just about any grocery store, check out the natural and organic sections or here on Amazon !

Health Benefits abound and the kids were none the wiser !

Without further adieu..

Sprouted Wheat Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour

1.5 Cups Organic Sprouted Wheat Flour

4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Farm Fresh Eggs

2 (+) Cups Organic Whole Milk

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup (more or less to taste) Local Honey

Apples, Blueberries, Bananas, Coconut…any thing that you’d like to add

1. Mix together flours and baking powder

2. In separate bowl beat together egg, milk, salt and honey .

3. Stir in flour until just mixed.  Add fruits or nuts

4. Pre-heat griddle or pan over medium heat.  Melt a small amount of butter or coconut oil pan.

5. Ladle small amount of batter, cook until bubbly.  Flip and repeat with the rest of the batter unit you have a stack of golden brown pancakes.

Freeze what isn’t eaten and voila! fast breakfast on a busy morning.