Saturday, February 27, 2010

Amazing Pancakes!

This absolutely amazing pancake recipe is based on the one in the book Flour Power by Marleeta F. Basey. They were so good and so filling! I ate mine with homemade peach butter on top...oh, my...perhaps we should call it an "unbutton your pants" kind of recipe....you know what I mean? Here goes:

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (I used freshly milled hard white winter wheat)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 to 3 c. buttermilk (I subbed regular milk with a dab of vinegar)
2 T. oil

Mix together everything but the buttermilk. Add the buttermilk last to reach desired consistency. The author suggests something like thick mud stating that thicker batter results in less "gummy" pancakes, but she also cautions that the batter will thicken slightly while waiting to be cooked as the bran absorbs moisture. In other words, feel free to experiment with the liquid measurements!

Use a 1/3 c. measuring cup to measure your batter out...the size of each pancake will be consistent this way. You may need to use a spoon to spread the batter out a bit into a circular shape. If you, like me, love pancakes so much that you cannot confine them to breakfast, you might consider investing in an electric griddle. I got one for Christmas two years ago and LOVE it! I can cook 6 pancakes at a time without any oil or butter (because of the non-stick coating on it).

If you achieved the liquid/dry ratio, your pancakes will fluff up immediately after flipping it. The result is a hearty pancake that won't disappoint...even if it is served without sausage or bacon. The flavor is unbelievably rich, deep, and nutty...it seems almost a shame to top them with anything at all!

Now, as you all know, I find it almost impossible to follow a recipe without a bit of tweaking. To enhance the texture and nutritional quality of these pancakes, I ground my wheat a bit course to get a nice texture and also maintain the integrity of the fiber and I also added two heaping serving spoons full of cottage cheese to boost the protein content of these pancakes. They were much fluffier than the first batch I made, so I think I'll stick with that addition. You can also add blueberries, bananas, etc. as they are available.

Flour Power is filled with many more recipes and info on why milling your own grains is far better than buying previously milled flour. I would recommend it for those of you interested in home milling. If you are thinking you've heard me mention it before, you are correct...it was one of the books I received for FREE with my SwagBucks. If you are not a member, click on the link on the right and get started today! I'm about to earn another $5 Amazon.com gift card myself!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bagels


I ventured into the world of bagel making last night! It was fun to try and they are really yummy! Homestead Man said they were definitely better than store bought bagels, and they were made with fresh ground locally grown winter white wheat! I'm reading Flour Power (a book I got for FREE with my SwagBucks) and am so inspired by how much healthier freshly ground whole wheat flour is for our family!

I found the recipe, complete with step-by-step photos over at Heavenly Homemakes...this is a fantastic blog that features lots of healthy, delicious, from scratch recipes. Do you follow a blog that features scratch cooking recipes or cooking with freshly milled grains? Do tell!!

Garden Gathering...

In preparation for the upcoming gardening bonanza, I've been gathering supplies, seeds, onion sets, etc. Here's the progress to date:

16 pounds of assorted seed potatoes (buying more when they get a new shipment)
320 onion sets (overkill?)
a million assorted packages of seed ;-)
soil test kit (I'm gettin' all scientific this year!)
innoculant for legumes (from a local coop)
several varieties of seed proven for our region from the coop

Last, but certainly not least...I always seem to need ties for training cucumber vines, taming tomatoes, etc, but haven't been happy with any previous materials. It seems that garden twine is too rough and scars the plant...also, it has no give when the wind comes sweeping down the plain. My new idea you ask? (Okay, you didn't ask, but I'm telling you anyway.) I found an old pair of tights that my girls had looong since outgrown. After carefully cutting them into strips, I ended up with a bag full of stretchy, soft ties for the garden and a headband (made from the waist) that my oldest likes to wear when she's practicing yoga poses on the Wii! I think these will work perfectly and they didn't cost a penny! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Waste Not Want Not...

I hate wasting things...anything...even the wax that is left over when a candle has burned itself out. I started saving those bits and pieces of wax to pour new candles awhile back & finally melted them down. These bits were even more special because they came from my beeswax candles that I LOVE to burn, but are so expensive. Here are some photos:





Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We've got WATER!


Check out what happens to chicken wire when you get lots of freezing rain! The chickens were almost fully enclosed in their coop by the end of the storm, with ice filling the space in the screen door and the chicken wire surrounding the east end of the coop.

The ponds (tanks for your Texans out there) out at Willow Run have been looking a bit sad in the past couple of months...we'd begun to wonder what we'd do for water if they dried up. Then we were hit with an unbelievable winter storm that included hours of rain followed by hours of freezing rain then sleet then snow. While this was not good for driving or power lines, it was great for our fields and our ponds! Here are a few pics of both ponds after the storm...no more water worries for awhile!

This is the pond at the back of the property:

That's Homestead Man there, breaking the ice for the cows and horses.

And this is the front pond:


This was the first time we've seen water run in the usually dry creek bed that runs across the property!

In other news, the calves seem to be enjoying the new shelter Homestead Man and my dad built! Aren't they adorable?


And...an age old truth is revisited...boxes really do make the best toys!


For a great post on our winter storm and lessons learned, check out my neighbors blog today over at WatSourced!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More preparedness notes


(That's my clothesline you see above...coated in ice!)

After being without power for 7 days and counting, here are some of the things I've discovered that we need to have on hand at all times:

a generator
gasoline for the generator
several bottles of fuel for the Coleman Camping Stove
LOTS of batteries & candles
bleach (for washing dishes)
bottled water (we were under conserve water orders)
an inverter (device that allows you to charge items in your car with a regular plug)
extra propane for the gas fireplace
TOILET PAPER!!! (I'm so thankful for our neighbors over at WatSourced who shared their TP with us!)

In a perfect world, I'd have a lovely wood burning stove; but I don't have one or have space in my house for it, so that's out. This summer I'll also can more of my veggies so that the freezer is not AS essential...although it'll still be used for meat and stocked up sale items. I was so upset when I thought I'd loose everything in both freezers, but Homestead Man saved the day by buying us a generator! As long as we've got gas, I don't have to worry about that again.


(The top of the chicken coop...poor chickens! I let them out and cleared all this off when it started to melt as I was afraid one of them would be impaled with ice!!)

We had plenty of food and even instant milk, but absolutely no way to bake...that was a challenge. With the generator, we also purchased a toaster oven...but I'm not sure how it would handle loaves of bread, etc.

If we'd had the Airstream ready for camping, we could have stayed in it, but we are still doing some repairs and checking to be sure the heat, oven, etc. are safe to use and in good working order...that'll be another option if we ever are in this situation again.

We also had plenty of blankets and warm clothes, but the girls needed mud boots...that's already been remedied as Homestead Man took them in to Atwoods to get outfitted for heading out to Willow Run to check on the horses & cattle. Oh, and just wait till you see the ponds out there and how much water they caught! (I have pictures to post later!) We do have some clean up to do out at the land as we lost a lot of limbs from the willows, but nothing that can't be handled after it warms up and dries out a bit.

I'll leave you with a parting shot...isn't she pretty? Well...she would be if you'd been without power for a week!! Trust me!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oklahoma Ice Storm 2010

Our area has been without power since last Thursday, so BOY, do I have some preparedness posts for you guys later!! Here are some pictures from our area:







We're still without power, but we've acquired a generator and have a gas fireplace so we're getting by quite well. I'll post more later on!
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