Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Solar Power

Solar power is plentiful in this part of world.  My kids are now strongly opinionated about their towels.  They like'em crunchy! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wheat Sandwich Rolls/Hamburger Buns

These are yummy!  Next time I make them though I will divide them into 10 or 12 rolls.  The recipe said to divide into 8 rolls.  These rolls were HUGE!  The original recipe can be found here.

Wheat Sandwich Rolls

  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup buttermilk, warmed
  • 1 T. honey
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1 T. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) plain white or unbleached flour
  • Wash= one egg white beaten with 1 T. milk
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Dissolve yeast in water in mixer bowl. Add buttermilk, honey, salt and 1-1/2 cups wheat flour.  Mix together with a wooden spoon and let set for 20 minutes. Stir down.  Attach dough hook and add egg, butter and 1-1/2 cups wheat flour. Start kneading while gradually adding the white flour.  You may need a little more than 1-1/2 cups.  Slowly add flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky.  Form into a ball and let rise, covered, until doubled, about 1 hour. Once doubled, punch down and divide into 8 equal pieces (10 to 12 if you want smaller buns). Pat each piece of dough into a circle, about 4 inches wide.  Place on a greased cookie sheet so that the buns are almost touching and will touch when they rise.  Cover and allow to rise until nearly doubled.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make your wash and very gently brush tops of rolls with wash being careful not to deflate these bad boys.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops and bottoms are browned.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two Flops!!

On Saturday I left the kids at home with Rowdy.  He entertained them well.  They went for a long bike ride and then came home for some swimming.  I left instructions for what was to be done while I was gone.  Just some basic pick-up and finish the bread for lunch.  When I left at 7:15 the dough was rising in the bowl nicely.  I had set the timer.  Rowdy turned the timer off and did not tell #1 chick.  #1 chick remembered bread sometime later and kneaded it slightly, formed a loaf and put it in the bread pan for the second rise. In the meatime there were bike rides and swimming and chicken chores.  When I came at home 10:45 I heard the click of the oven and knowing this meant it was on I went to investigate.  What I saw was disturbing. This was the first flop.

Doesn't that look appetizing?  If you let your bread rise to long, it will fall and be really ugly.  You can revive it by re-kneading it and letting it rise again.  Chick #1 did not know this, she is only 12.

The second flop involved the local homeschool used book sale.  I loaded up my box and headed out.  I enjoyed hanging out with some good friends and caught up with some old friends I hadn't seen in quite a while.  It seemed like it was going to be a great morning.  Then, I sold nothing.  Yes nothing!  I was too honest. 

Potential buyer, "Did you use this book? " 

Me, "No not really (that is why I am selling it!)." 

Now non-interested buyer, "Thanks for your honesty, don't think I want it either." 

That just about sums up flop #2.  I returned home with my box and will now try to sell my books on the world wide web.  Thanks Al Gore for inventing the internet.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nutrimill and Breakfast

I have a Nutrimill.  I grind wheat.  We are not total health nuts, but we try.  Last night #1 Chick measured out 10 cups of wheat berries.  Then we sorted through the wheat and got all the rocks out.  Ten cups of berries will get you about 20 cups of flour.  I am currently using hard red wheat.  I have a free source for this right now.  I would like to try some other types of wheat berries, but can't seem to justify buying different wheat when I have quite a bounty already (about 1500 pounds!).  This morning I made some super delicious whole wheat/oatmeal blueberry muffins. 

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan.

What you will need:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 5 T. butter
  • 3/4 c. demerara, turbinado or light brown sugar
  • 1 cup oats (I use quick)
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl.  In a large bowl whisk sour cream and eggs together.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and mix in the brown sugar.  Add demerara/butter and oatmeal to the sour cream/egg mixture.  Fold in the flour mixture only enough to dampen the flour.  Toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour and fold into batter.  Spoon batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake until brown and puffy.  Cool and remove from baking pan.  Around here they usually cool for 5 minutes or so and then they are gobbled up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Coop

Here is our coop.  This is our farm dog.  What farm would be complete without a border collie?  Bridget would love nothing more than to get in there with those chickens!  On top of the coop you will notice all the must haves for urban chicken farming...1 pair chicken poo flip flops, one large can with a gardening shovel to collect chicken poo and 1 large can for refilling the chicken food.  That is all you need folks!  You notice how Rowdy Rooster designed the coop with a low roof...this is so that Rowdy Rooster and I don't have clean or care for the dirty birds ourselves!  We're no bird brains.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Challah Bread

Look at those cute little fingertips trying to grab those dough snakes!

What is Challah?  Challah or hallah is a traditional Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays (except Passover, when leavened bread is not allowed). This association with Judaism is most prevalent in the United States, as challah is also a traditional bread in numerous European countries, such as Hungary, among local non-Jewish peasant populations.

What is Challah at our house?  Good eats!  Last night when I made the Challah, after I brushed it with the egg, I sprinkle garlic salt all over it.  I usually sprinkle it with sesame or poppy seeds, but we were having pasta and garlic just seemed the right thing to do.  This bread is slightly sweet and so soft.  The Rowdy Rooster declares it his favorite bread.

  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 T. yeast
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame or poppy seeds

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the water and honey.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the oil, egg, flour and salt.  Using your dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place back into your mixer bowl. Cover and let rise for 1-1/2 hours.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Now divide your dough into three pieces.  Roll each piece between your hands forming long snakes  :O), the length of your cookie sheet.  Laying the three snakes next to each other on prepared cookie sheet, pinch all three ends together.  Now just braid the three pieces until you get to the end and pinch together.  Really easy and looks so awesome when done.  Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once the braid has risen, beat the egg.  Brush the egg wash very carefully over the bread so that I doesn't fall. Sprinkle with topping of your choice.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. There is an endless list of toppings:  sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic salt, cinnamon and sugar, whatever you have a hankering for.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Strawberry Jam

This is 2 batches of jam.

Strawberries are plentiful in this part of the world!  I recently got a 5 gallon bucket of  "jam berries" (day old/over ripe berries) for $7!  What a score.  Jam is really easy to make.   My friend Cindy taught me a simple method for making jam, which does not include boiling jars once they are filled.  This does not work for canning anything but jam or jelly, unless you want to get botulism.  This is not the case with jam my friends!  All you will need is a large 6 to 8 quart sauce pot, canning jars and lids, a canning funnel and various measuring tools.

  • 5 cups prepared fruit
  • 1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin
  • 1/2 t. butter or margarine, optional
  • 7 cups sugar (measured exactly, into a separate bowl)

Stem and crush strawberries, in single layers for even crushing, until you have exactly 5 cups.  Place new lids (not rings, just the flat lid piece) in a small frying pan and heat lids, not quite to boiling, watching carefully and keeping hot until jam is done. Place your strawberries in a 6- or 8-quart sauce pot. Stir pectin into prepared fruit, using a wooden spoon. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil.  Once it has returned to a full rolling boil, boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Ladle into prepared jars, just to the bottom of your canning funnel or within 1/8 inch of the top of the jar. Wipe rims with a damp towel so that the rim is clean and you will get a perfect seal. Remove lids from frying pan one at a time placing on jars and then screw the rings on.  Be careful the jars will be really hot!!! You need to work fast so you don't loose too much heat and mess with the sealing process.  The next step is carefully flipping the jars over (on a cookie sheet in case there are any leaks  :O) ) and setting the timer for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, flip the jars back over and listen for the music of jam making...the ping of the sealing jars!  Such an awesome sound.  Press the tops of the jars to be sure they are sealed (this make take a few hours).  As long as they don't spring back on you, they are sealed and ready to store.  If by some weird fluke your jar doesn't seal, store it in the fridge and eat if first.

Monday, June 21, 2010

7-Grain White Bread

Do you like your bread with a crunch?  I do.  The kids will learn to eat it too.  This is my 7-Grain white bread.  Are you wondering why it is not 7-Grain wheat bread?  Well, I have not got around to grinding wheat for a week or so now, but went to the garage this morning and filled my wheat bucket.  I will get right on it, but in the mean time I had to use white flour.  Bread is really easy to make.  All you really need is a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer!

What you need:
  • 1/2 cup 7 grain cereal
  • 1/4 cup demerara (dried cane juice)
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 t. salt
In the bowl of your mixer combine 7-Grain cereal, demerara (you can also use regular old sugar or honey) and water.  Once you stir this together, sprinkle the yeast over the top and let stand for 5 minutes.  Once you proof the yeast, add your flour and salt. With your dough hook, knead for 5 minutes.  If the dough seems dry add a little warm water until you get the right consistency.  Same thing if it seems to wet, add some flour a spoonful at a time.  Your dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.  Once you have kneaded the dough, form a ball and place back in the mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes (unless it is really cold, it may take longer). Spray your pan with nonstick spray. Shape your dough into a loaf.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.  When the 30 minutes is up preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  This will give your bread an additional 10 minutes or so to rise. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.  This will make one 12 inch loaf.  I use a 12 inch Norpro nonstick bread pan.  This makes a nice long loaf that will actually last this family of six for more than just one lunch...we can get some toast the next morning too!

As for the 7-Grain cereal and demerara, I buy this in the bulk section at my local Winco. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Coconut Icing

Our Father's Day meal was really gross, but the dessert made up for it.  This cake is easy and everyone loves it.  The topping really makes the cake.  Butter, brown sugar, pecans and coconut sprinkled on top after the cake has baked and then broiled until golden brown and crispy.  This is an America's Test Kitchen classic. 

White Pizza

I love white pizza.  Any toppings with white sauce are super yummy.  I always use the The Pioneer Woman's pizza crust recipe.  The recipe can be found in her cookbook "The Pioneer Woman Cooks".  There are many delicious recipes in her book and on her site.  The grown-up's pizza was half tomato, basil and artichoke hearts and half sauteed red onion, yellow squash and zucchini.  The kid's pizza was half pepperoni and half cheese.  What's wrong with kids?


  • 1 t. dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
Pour warm water into your Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top. Add flour and salt.  With the dough hook, begin kneading while drizzling the olive oil in. I usually knead mine for 5 minutes.  If the dough seems to sticky add spoonfuls of flour until you get the dough to the right consistency.  I don't like sticky dough.  Once the dough is kneaded, form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.  This makes enough dough for 2 pizzas.

White sauce: 
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 shallot or garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Make a roux with butter and flour.  Slowly wisk in the milk.  Once you have wisked in the milk, add shallot or garlic (I love shallots!), parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.  This will be nice and thick by the time you have your crusts patted out in your pans.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Time to assemble your pizza. Divide dough in half and spread out in two cookie sheets with rims.  I usually just pat my dough out.  If it seems to be springing back on me, I will let the dough rest a couple of minutes and then pat it out some more.  Spread with white sauce.  If you want to top with zucchini, which was super yummy, chop half a red onion, 2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash. Saute in olive oil with salt and pepper until the vegetables are wilty and have released most of their water.  You can then drain on paper towel, or do it like I do and tilt the pan, scooting the squash to the high side and let drain a couple of minutes.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven and how crispy you like your pizza.  Here is one strange fact about my pizza...I almost always use Jack cheese, unless I have fresh mozzarella.  I am not sure how I started using Jack cheese, but once I started I couldn't stop!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Six Sassy Chickens

Meet the sassy chickens! They live under the shade of a rather large purple leaf plum tree. They have the good life. From left to right....Martha, The Unknown Soldier, Eliza, Jane, Ruth and Mary scratchin' around on the ground keeping everyone up.


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