Friday, February 27, 2009

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

I took my own bread recipe and converted it to a recipe where I soaked the flour for 24 hours first and then made the bread the next day.  I have done this 3 times now and think I have some success.  You can see my two loaves that I made yesterday… 

I have had several comments left with people asking for this recipe when I get done so here goes… 

Soaked Whole Wheat Bread Recipe – 2 loaves 

1 ½ cups warm water
2T whey
½ cup olive oil
5 ½ cups freshly ground whole wheat flour 

Using a mixer combine the above ingredients until they form a ball of dough.  Place dough ball in an oiled pan and cover.  Let sit for 24 hours.   

After 24 hours 

In a measuring cup combine the following:

½ cup warm water
1T yeast
¼ cup honey  

Let this sit until the yeast bubbles.  Then add:

½ t baking soda
2 t salt 

Pour this mixture into your mixing bowl.  Add 1 cup white flour.  Now add your dough ball.  I break it up as I add it to the bowl.  Begin kneading.  This can take a few minutes to get it all incorporated.  If the dough still seems sticky add more white flour.  I added a total of about 1 ¼ cups (this includes the 1 cup I added to the bowl with the yeast). Knead for about 4 minutes in a Bosch, longer if you are using a Kitchen Aid.  Let rise for 1 ½ hours.  Punch down and knead for a few minutes more.  Divide into two bread pans.  Let rise.   

I found it rose pretty quickly.  You can let it rise till it reaches just above the top of the pan.  I actually think the loaves above rose a little to much.  I let them rise until they were about one inch above the bread pan.  Next time I will try baking when they just get above the top of the bread pan.  

Bake at 350 for 28 to 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday on the Homestead


 In the Barn
Well I woke up to snow again this morning.  I just KNOW spring will be here soon!  I was hoping we were done with the snowy stuff..  <sigh>  ..  But it does make a pretty site..  Sierra took this pic this morning…


I pulled out my goat sweaters and took them down to the barn to put on my babies to give them a little extra warmth….  I think they look so cute with their little sweaters on…


Here is the pattern for those goat sweaters if you have some little goat babies that need a little extra warmth..   

In the Kitchen
I am finding that keeping up with my Nourishing Traditions food prep is getting much easier now.  I figured it would be a matter of making these steps a habit.  This is what the extra steps have looked like this week… 

On Tuesday evening I put two free range organic chickens in my big pot to make stock.  I filled it water, carrots and onions and got that simmering.  Today I will strain it and debone the meat and put the broth in the freezer.  I am making a big pot of broth about every 2 to 3 weeks.   

Yesterday I started another gallon of sauerkraut.  It has been about a week and half since I needed to make any fermented veggies.  I started out last week with one gallon of salsa and about a gallon of sauerkraut and now the kraut is almost gone.  I will probably make salsa some time towards the end of next week. 

This morning I poured a little kefir into two – two quart jars and filled them with milk.  They are sitting on the counter right now and should be done by tonight or tomorrow morning.  With the cooler temps of winter I find it takes a little longer for the kefir to culture.  I make about 3 to 4 gallons of kefir weekly.

I am still working on perfecting/refining my bread recipe.  I have not got into sourdough yet so as of now I am soaking my hard white wheat flour in water and whey and then making bread the next day.  I am almost ready to share my recipe and technique with you all.  The last batch turned out better than the first.. but I am still tweaking..  I still make my regular 6 loaves a week..  just changing the way I do it.   

I have beans cooking this morning that I set in water and whey to soak last night.  They will be made into my Nacho’s for a Crowd recipe for dinner tonight (my menu got jumbled around due to baby goats and other busyness this week).   As long as I have a menu planned it has made remembering to soak my beans much easier.  

I have lots of whey still so don’t anticipate making any more feta cheese until I run out of whey (although we ate all the feta! LOL).  I now have my mama goat in milk so soon I will be able to have my raw milk again!   

So far that is where I am at..  and still working to keep these new year goals a habit for my family’s diet.   

Oh.. one other thing I did was make Kombuca tea.  I bought the mother and made one batch and it was ok..  the lady I bought my mother from said that often the mother goes into shock during shipping and the first baby culture can be thin.. and mine was.  So I started a second batch and put the mother and the thin baby into it and now it is almost done and this baby culture looks much better!  I will be straining that out soon and trying this batch of tea.  It is a different type of drink for sure..  but not bad.  I will be posting more on this later on.   

In The Home
Aside from kitchen and food stuff going on the kids are working hard on their school books..  they want to make sure they are done by late spring and ready for some time outside in the nicer weather.  Emily is getting ready to take her first two dante tests for her college degree.  She has taken just about all her CLEPS and now moves onto dauntes.  The only frustrating part we found is that we have to drive 2 hours to the nearest college that administers dantes.  But there are not as many of them to take and she is going to try and be prepared to take 2 at a time so as to make less trips.  Leanne took her 4th GED test and has one more take next month and then she too will begin taking a few CLEP tests as she gets ready to enroll in College Plus! and start working on her degree.   

That is all from the Homestead today..  Hope some of you are seeing more spring like weather than me! 


Goat Question Answered..


I received a question that I thought I would answer … 

I was thinking about getting goats. What do they provide you. We have cows right now. Milk, cheese, butter, and beef is what they provide us. Do you ever get meat from your goats. I hate to ask that question, but wanted to ask some one who would know. Can you eat goat and what does it taste like. I don't think I could seeing these beautiful little kids. I might should stick with cows, their not as cute. 

That is a good question!  I have articles on my website where I have discussed various topics on goats that might better answer your question..  

Basically our goat’s biggest job is helping to keep our property clear and clean of overgrowth.  We have lots of hills and places where it is not possible to get to with any thing other than a machete and that is so much work.  If we did not keep it under control we would literally be overtaken with blackberry brambles.

The goats roam two different areas that my husband has fenced in for them (we move them back and forth) and keep the area cleaned up and cleared.  That is the main stay of their diet during the spring/summer and part of fall.   

We milk the does and drink their milk.  When I have extra milk I make cheese and yogurt from it too.  I also use the milk to make soap.   

Yes we have used them for meat as well.  I can only maintain so many goats and it is a good use as far as we are concerned for them.  The meat, or so I have heard, tastes like venison.  I have never had venison so I can’t concur with this one way or another.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Kids on the Homestead!


My mama goat, Lilly, had her kids yesterday!  She had triplets!  I thought twins .. but instead we got 3 new sweet little goat kids.  Two bucks and one doe. 




 proud papa looking on...


Yesterday and Monday were so busy that I was wondering if she was going to deliver..  seems like that always happens.  I wait and watch and wait and watch and then have a day or two when I am everywhere but the barn and that is when it happens! LOL..   

I checked on her in the morning and she was fine. I took Leanne into town to take her 3rd GED test and then do some grocery shopping.  On top of that my refrigerator died yesterday too..  so when I got home it was time to make dinner, put groceries away and move the stuff I had not moved yet from one fridge to the other (I have a small second fridge in the basement).  I was feeling pretty tired by the end of the day and was just sitting down (finally) to take a break when Sierra came running into the house.  She had gone down to the barn to take the goats some veggie peelings from salad making and came back up to the house telling me baby goats were born!     

I threw my sweats on and Leanne, Jacob and Sierra and I ran to the barn..  only to find that the three kids were up, dry, and walking around and had already nursed.    So we took a few pics and cleaned mama up.  I gave her some molassess in warm water as a treat for all her hard work..  gave daddy some grain to snack on to congratulate him (actually it was to keep him busy because he was being a big pain! LOL)..  gave them all fresh water and shut the barn lights off and headed to bed.  Soon here this morning I will head back to the barn to see how they are all doing. 

I will try and post some more pics soon..  That’s all from the homestead today! 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Weeks Menu




BLT sandwiches




Tortilla chips and homemade salsa





Salmon patties (I follow the brown rice patties recipe this is on the page and add canned salmon) made with leftover rice from freezer


Homemade sauerkraut

French bread from freezer (I make the pizza crust recipe into two loaves of French bread)




Chips and homemade salsa





Garlic toast





Whole wheat toast






Brown rice pilaf (I put all the ingredients in my rice cooker plus 2T whey or yogurt and set the timer to have it done by meal time)

Homemade sauerkraut




Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday on the Homestead


This has been a crazy busy week!  I have been into town every day.  And with all the busyness I am sure glad my mama goat did not decide it was her week to deliver! She is getting close however.. and is looking very big right now!   

On Monday Tobin and I had are weekly date into town.  We both love our day to hang out, run errands and spend some one on one time together.  The fact that we can get away like we do makes me appreciate life with older kids… it certainly does have its rewards!    

On Tuesday I took Leanne, Jacob, Sierra, and Isaac into town with me. We dropped Leanne off at the college to take her second GED test and while she was doing that the rest of the kids and I went to the library.  Everyone got a few books to read, except Jacob who spent his library time working on math..  he is determined to get his math book finished ASAP!  After we picked up Leanne (have not got the test results back yet but she said she felt very good about the test and finished with 10 minutes to spare.  We will know next week how she did) we headed to Starbucks and then onto Costco for grocery shopping.  Then it was Walmart and GI Joes.  Jacob has an airsoft war coming up with his friends and was in need of ammo and other stuff for the big event!  LOL..   

On Wednesday Tobin needed to go into town to buy a part for the furnace on one of our rentals and wanted me to come along to keep him company..  can’t say no to that!   

Yesterday Emily had her pre-calculus CLEP test to take.  She has studied quite some time for this test and was feeling a bit nervous.  So she begged me to go with her for moral support..  can’t say no to that either!  Thankfully we were all doing the “happy dance” when the test was over because she PASSED!!!!  We stopped at Starbucks on the way home to celebrate!   

This morning I am going to go and have coffee with an old friend..  I am looking forward to that and thankfully that is in my own neck of the woods (we actually found each other through the internet and we don’t live that far from each other!! Talk about a small world!).   

Needless to say with being gone as much as I was I have lots to catch up on today.  Last night before I headed to bed I got my flour for today’s bread baking soaking and some beans for dinner soaking and this morning’s oatmeal soaking!   

I am eager to make the bread.  I am working on converting my own bread recipe into a recipe that can be soaked first and then baked the next day.  I like Sally Fallon’s Yeasted Buttermilk Bread..  but ..  there is nothing quite as good as the recipe I have been making for years now..  I will let you know how it turns out.  The first time I experimented with it the results were fine, but I am tweaking it a bit to see if I can get better results.   

Laundry and school work with the kiddos is also on my list today and a quiet weekend ahead is looking pretty nice!   

Hope you all have a great Friday on your homesteads! 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

If you think you can find healthy fast food think again…..  

I have always been aware that fast food is not healthy.. but we all have our moments (however we are not big fast food people by any means)..  The above article was sure an eye opener and it has me thinking twice about eating out!!    Guess I will be packing lunches more often when we head into town!   

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kitchen Appliances Servants or Toys?

I like to play around in the kitchen quite a bit.  Over the years I have purchased various small appliances and gadgets for cooking and baking.  As I was using a new appliance that I recently purchased I had this thought.  There are some things we buy because they look like we could use them, some we buy for fun and some maybe are impulse purchases and before you know it many of our appliances end up stored on a shelf or given away.  

My recent purchase of a rice cooker got me thinking about how to best define the multitude of appliances available. I have seen so many different appliances that it could require a storage building to house them if I owned them all!  So I like to think carefully before buying any appliance or gadget for my kitchen today.  I try and define my appliances in two ways.  They are either going to be a servant for me or a toy to play with.  With budgets being what they are I look now only to buy those things that will serve me on a regular basis.  I ask myself, will they make my job in the kitchen easier and/or faster?  Will they save me money? Will they help to improve our health?  Will they help relieve stress or add to it?  

Here is an example from my kitchen.  I have a Bosch bread mixer.  It does make the task of bread making so much easier!  I can make 6 loaves at one time and it takes about 1 ½ hours to do this; saving me a lot of time and labor. Homemade good quality bread is much less expensive than buying it from a health food store so it saves me money. It improves our health as I am able to serve a good quality food to my family. It relieves the stress of making bread constantly to keep up with the demands of my hungry family.  So I would consider the Bosch a servant in my kitchen.  I also could categorize my grain mill and crockpot in this category as well. 

I also own a deep fat fryer.  I have had it several years and maybe used it a couple of times.  I used it to “play” in the kitchen and make some doughnuts, I believe.  But now mostly it sits on the shelf collecting dust.  I have a pasta maker.  I have made pasta a handful of times but really not enough to consider it a servant.  Both of these items to me are more toys to play with in the kitchen than a servant.  If I was to consider buying them today I would pass on them because neither has been a servant and they take up space making it more difficult for me to enjoy the benefits of a simple life (less “stuff” equals more simplicity in life to me).   

My Latest Servant 

I bought a rice cooker in December and have loved it.    Years ago when I served my family white rice I had a rice cooker and it was so helpful.  After I switched to brown rice the rice cooker was not able to cook it completely.  It automatically turned off when white rice would have been done and that was it.  So I gave it away and started cooking rice on the stove top.  I was in Walmart a couple of months ago looking for something in the kitchen department and happen to see some rice cookers they had on sale.  I took a look at it and was surprised to see in the last 15 years they have come a long way. They now cook brown rice with no problem.   The one rice cooker I was looking at also had a great feature, a delay timer.  I saw I could put my rice together and set the time for the rice to be all done cooking for as much as 15 hours in advance.  Well this definitely appealed to me!  Now that I soak my rice I thought wow..  I can put the water, brown rice and whey in the rice cooker in the morning and set it to be all done cooking by dinner time without ever having to think about it again.  Well I was sold.  Here was a servant that would definitely save me some time in the kitchen, make dinner prep time less hectic (one less thing to think about at meal time) and we can continue to enjoy the healthful benefits of soaked brown rice in our diet.   

Of course then the disappointment came, the model I wanted was out of stock.  So I wrote the name down, went home and found it on line for a couple dollars less in price.  I ordered it, with free shipping due to the holidays, and had it in less than a week.  

Here is a pic of the model that I purchased:  

You can find them on Amazon (unfortunately the free shipping is no longer available):  

  Aroma 8-Cup Cool-Touch Rice Cooker  

I have been using it and experimenting with it ever since.  It comes with a little rice measuring cup that says I am supposed to use so many of their cups of rice to so many of their cups of water.  I did this the first few times and was not thrilled with the results of my rice.  Plus I got annoyed that I had to have a separate measuring cup just for rice and if we ever lost it I was in bad shape! LOL..  So I began to play around the water amounts and rice amounts and each time I did I was happier with the end result.  Eventually I was making rice in the rice cooker just like I did on the stove, as far as ingredient amounts.  I tossed the little rice measuring cup that came with it and have been very happy ever since!   

Here is how I make rice in my rice cooker: 

2 cups brown rice
4 cups water
¼ cup whey, kefir or yogurt
1 ½ t salt

Combine all the above ingredients in rice cooker.  Set timer ahead how ever many hours until dinner time.  I try and shoot for at least 6 hours of soak times..  but sometimes it is 5 and sometimes it is 7.   And that is it.  When dinner time comes the rice is all done and perfect for our tastes.     

Since purchasing it I have used my rice cooker at least a couple times a week or more.  It has definitely fallen into the “servant” category in my kitchen! 

This Weeks Menu



Pot roast in the crockpot

Baked potatoes

Homemade sauerkraut

French bread (leftover from yesterday’s dinner)




Roast beef n’ gravy over toast triangles (using leftover roast beef)


Organic tortilla chips w/homemade salsa



Chicken pot pie (using my 2 leftover pie crusts from our V-day pie dessert)


Fresh fruit: oranges & bananas

Homemade sauerkraut



Grilled steaks

Baked potatoes

Homemade sauerkraut




Homemade sauerkraut




Fresh fruit: oranges & bananas

French bread (made last Saturday.. I made two loaves and froze one)

Homemade sauerkraut




Organic tortilla chips w/homemade salsa




Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Making Feta Cheese


If you want to dabble in cheese making then feta cheese is a great place to start.  I have been using a lot of whey lately and was making yogurt and straining that to get the whey but I don’t get to much whey from a quart of yogurt.  So I decided to make feta instead.   

Here is what the process looked like…  

I start with a gallon of milk and my culture and rennet.  Then after the cheese has been made I hang it in an old sheet that I wash well in hot, soapy water with bleach added.  I set a big pan under it to collect the whey:


Then after 24 hours or so I take the cheese down.  Sometimes I will take the cheese down before the 24 hours are up and stir it and hang it up again to help get the whey completely drained out.  When I am done this is what the cheese looks like:


And this is how much whey I have: 


The last step is to cut the cheese up and layer cheese, salt and herbs in a quart jar.  This time I used basil and marjoram.  When I have it all in the jar I cover it with olive oil.  Then it sits on the counter for 3 days.  I turn the jar upside down once and then right side up during those 3 days..  after that, it is ready to eat! 


If you want more detailed pictures and instructions I have that on my website here:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Question on Fermenting Foods answered ...

left me a comment that I thought I would attempt to answer..

“I really want to try making the fermented salsa. I've read about fermented foods on so many blogs. The thing is, I just can't get past the idea of feeding my family something that sat on the counter for two days. Could someone please let me know how this works and what makes it safe. By the way, I love this blog!”

Before the days of canning and freezing, fermenting of food is how people kept their food from going bad.  The fermenting process created lactic acid which is naturally a preservative and will keep your food from going bad.  You are not just setting jars on the counter for a few days and then eating them..  you are putting them through a process called: Fermentation  very different.  I have fed my family a lot of fermented food over the last couple of years (since being introduced to the book Nourishing Traditions) and no one has ever gotten sick.  This is a natural process that has been around forever!   

If you want more information to do your own study here is a link to the Weston Price Foundation where Sally Fallon talks about lacto-fermentation:    Also for anyone interested in more information regarding the cooking techniques and nutritional information I have been discussing as of late on my blog then I HIGHLY recommend the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  It is well worth the money! 

Monday, February 9, 2009

This Week’s Menu


Lentil tacos on ww tortillas w/all the trimmings 

Hamburgers on homemade buns
w/all the trimmings 

Navy bean soup made with bacon
Dinner rolls or crackers 

Chicken soup made with leftover chicken from Tuesday
Dinner rolls

Baked chicken
Mashed potatoes

Valentines Day (and FIL’s birthday!)

Homemade French bread
Fruit platter
Something sweet and festive for dessert (haven’t figured it out yet! ) 

Crockpot Chili
Chips and homemade salsa (recipe on my last blog post)



Thursday, February 5, 2009

Updates from the Homestead



I can’t believe it has been more than a week since I last blogged.  Life has been very busy around here.  I spent a lot of time making products for my store.  I have some previously sold out items back in stock.  I have had a few emails asking when I was going to get out of stock items back.. well some of them are in now! You can check out my store and take a peek.    

Aside from keeping up on my products and other web chores (update site, get Feb. newsletter out, etc)..  I have been very busy in my kitchen and just loving all the results.  You may remember from a past blog post my goals for this New Year?  (if not you can read them here)..  well so far I am still keeping up with it!   In fact I just made a batch of salsa that I put in the fridge last night.  

The first time I made it I chopped everything by hand.. and what a job it was!  In the meantime I received an early birthday present from my hubby via the FedEx man ..  a food processor attachment for my Bosch!  (My birthday is not until next month but my sweet hubby wanted me to have it now.. especially if it meant I could save time in the kitchen and he could still be enjoying all the benefits of my good cooking! LOL).. 


….. well anyway I am sure it took me nearly an hour and a half to chop up all those veggies for that first batch of salsa..  but on Tuesday..  I was so excited to see the FedEx man.. cause I knew what was coming!  I opened the box, read through a few directions, washed my new little machine and started working on my salsa.  I had it done in about a half hour (and that was with learning the nuisances of my new processor)..  very worth it to me! 

I am kind of using Sally Fallon’s recipe for the salsa.. Except I really don’t measure out anything and I don’t do things like peel and remove the seeds from my tomatoes.. gee.. I would be at it even longer if I did that and it has not made any difference to our tastes.. 

The recipe I have been making is just about like my recipe for my homemade fresh salsa except for the addition of whey, salt and lemon juice.  For anyone interested in the recipe I will share what I have been doing:  

Lacto Fermented Salsa
Enough for approx. 1 gallon

About 18 to 20 roma tomatoes, chopped finely
3 large onions, peeled and chopped
6 to 8 large jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and chopped
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and chopped – just a little trick on peeling cloves of garlic: Set the head of garlic in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes.  The peels will soften up and slip off much more easily…
3 bunches cilantro, stems removed (I just grab hold of the stems and twist them off), then chopped up the herb 

The above ingredients will fill a gallon jar up.  If you are chopping by hand you may end up with more than a gallon’s worth..  this happen to me the first time. 

Now after chopping all those ingredients I combine them in a large mixing bowl that is big enough to hold everything.  Then I add: 

9 Tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup whey
3 Tablespoons sea salt

I mix this up and let it sit to draw out juices.  Then I scoop into a glass jar (I use a measuring cup to scoop with).  As I add the salsa to the jar I use a large spoon to push the veggies down.  When the jar is full I make sure all the veggies are under liquid. If there is not enough liquid I add water.  Then for a weight, I do my little ziplock baggie trick.. I put a gallon size ziplock type baggie into the jar and fill the bag with water.  I make sure the bag is firmly around all the edges of the glass jar and that the weight from the water is helping to push the veggies under their liquid and make a nice seal around the inside of the jar.   

Then I put the lid on and set it in a warm spot for 2 days.  Then transfer to fridge. 

This stuff, according to my family is.. well, Yummo!  

I have had a couple people ask me about soaking grains (mainly I mentioned soaking flour)..  why and how.  Well the “why” is because grains and beans all have a substance called phytic acid in them that binds up many of the minerals in those foods and makes it so we can not absorb those minerals like we should.  Soaking also makes the whole grains easier to digest and ups the vitamin content greatly.   

Now the “how”….  I have to say I have done a whole lot better at soaking beans, rice and oatmeal.  For beans I cover in water and add a couple tablespoons of whey for each cup of beans I have.  For the rice I soak that with a tablespoon of whey or kefir or yogurt per cup of rice, add the water and let it sit until time to cook.  For oatmeal I add 2 T whey for each cup of oats.  Before I go to bed I put the oats, whey and half the needed water into my pot.  In the morning I add the other half of the water and a pinch of salt and cook as I normally would.   

Grains like wheat can be ground into flour and then soaked in buttermilk or kefir before using.  Or for bread making you make a sourdough starter and make your bread using this.  I admit that this has been the biggest challenge for me to deal with.  I have used a few of Sally Fallon’s recipes and really do love them!  I have made her pancakes, waffles and muffins.  The waffles I made last week were the best I have ever had.  I ground up the flour the evening before, added the amount of kefir called for and let it sit on the counter overnight.  In the morning I added all the other ingredients and made waffles.  But other than these experiences I find it hard to incorporate this step.  Which right now I am not stressing over because I am doing so much more than I was, making my own broth, fermenting veggies regularly, making kefir and yogurt (I like to look at all that I am positively doing and not look at what I am not doing.. perfection at this is not my goal.. improving my family’s health a step at a time is). 

My next goal will be to learn how convert many of my own family favorite recipes into this style of cooking.  So I will keep you posted on my progress.  

Hope you all have a great day on your homestead..