Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Go To Bread Recipe

We eat a lot of bread.  I have tried so many recipes and lately this one is the go to recipe for our family.  I have made it half whole wheat and 100% whole wheat (with a bit of added vital wheat gluten) but more often than not I just make it like it is.  Its a bread stick recipe but I use it for almost everything.  I am posting the original and you can alter as your heart desires.

Bread Sticks

2 1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 packet)
4 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt (I use kosher)

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8-1/4 tsp garlic powder (I use granulated garlic)
pinch of oregano

Put 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl and add yeast.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  Add flour, salt, sugar, butter, and 1 1/4 plus 2 Tbsp warm water.  Mix 5 minutes.  Knead 3 minutes.  Roll into 2 ft log and cut into 16 half inch pieces.  Knead each piece and roll into 7 inch long breadstick.  Cover and rise for 45 mins.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush with half the butter and  some of the salt, in seperate bowl combine remaining spices and salt for topping.  Bake 15 minutes or till golden, while warm brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with spices.

I make this into dinner rolls by shaping into a roll.  I have also made loaf bread, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon swirl bread, and pretzels with this dough.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Busy, busy.

We have been busy around here.  Joe is working hard at his business and we are venturing into a new one as well.  The kids spent some time at Grandmas while Joe and I celebrated our anniversary.  We celebrate 9 years tomorrow but who can say no to the offer of free babysitting for an entire weekend!  I have one garden bed filled and ready for planting and I cannot wait to get in there and plant something!  Today we are celebrating Michael's 8th birthday.  In a few weeks we will celebrate Marah's 5th and then a week after that my 30th!  Its a crazy month of birthdays for my family.  I feel more garden posts coming up as we get seeds started and some of the cooler weather crops planted.  I love spring!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our Urban Homestead Tour

I have pictures!  Thought I'd take you on a little tour.  I love being back in town though I do miss the wide open spaces of the middle of no where.  I am so excited to start my garden this year, I have plans for the raised beds, growing along the fences, as well as creating some micro climates with container gardening along the sides of the house.  The chickens seem to enjoy their little area as do the kids.  I don't know if Joe has fully realized we live in town as he keeps talking about a dairy goat!  lol  

Raised beds, you can also see the composter in the top bed.  We are going to save the end of each bed and just rotate it back and forth.  Since we don't own it will save us the hassle of having to "fix" the area where the composter is when we move.
Bantam Coop
My little greenhouse
East side of the yard
The treed area is the chicken coop/run
3 of the chickens
Naomi's birdhouse
You can see the red/white chicken coop back there behind the trees.
West side of the yard.  The kids have turned this into a sledding area, even when there's no snow. lol
View in the front.  That sliver of river is the Columbia and those hills are Oregon.
Front of the house
This was a few weeks back and it was the nicest sunny day we have had in a long, long time.  
I hope you enjoyed the tour.  I am so excited to have picture uploading back on the blog.  I have a lot I want to update from the last year as well as new stuff going on here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Maple Valley Farm

There is an excellent giveaway over at the Off Grid Maple Valley Farm Blog.  

If you have never visited their blog before head on over.  They are a large homeschooling family who moved to an off grid Amish Farm.  I wish I lived closer as I would definitely want to do one of these!

Photo from Maple Valley off-grid Farm

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hopes for Putting Up Food 2011

Canning season is something I look forward to almost as much as garden season.  As always we will be using our local u pick farms for what we cannot grow ourselves.  This is something the kids look forward to every year.  They especially love pear picking.

The other day I made a friend some elderberry syrup for her daughter who was sick.  As the syrup cooled the lid pinged and the noise of the lid pinging made me smile.  I love going to bed and hearing the sound of pinging lids coming from the kitchen.  Putting up food we have either grown or picked ourselves is so very rewarding to me.  I look forward to this year I hope to put up a lot of things.

Here is a list of my goals.

Applesauce 24 quarts
Apple Butter 12 half pints
Pear Sauce 36 quarts
Canned Pears 36 quarts
Canned Peaches 24 quarts
Grape Jelly 24 half pints
BBQ Sauce 24 half pints
Tomato Sauce 48 pints
Tomato Sauce w/ spices 24 pints
Ketchup 24 pints

Pears 12 quarts
Apples 24 quarts
Plums 12 quarts

Blueberries 8, 1 gallon bags
Strawberries 8, 1 gallon bags
Raspberries 2, 1 gallon bags
Blackberries 4, 1 gallon bags
Green Beans 5, 1 gallon bags
Snap Peas 3, 1 gallon bags

I am sure I will add things to this list and the quantities are only my hopes.  I would love to hear what you are hoping to put up in your house this year?  Or if you are on the other side of the world what did you put up all ready?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Garden Plans 2011

Its barely March and I find myself ready to plan the garden.  It will be tiny this year but sadly will produce more than last I am sure.  It better anyway.  I still think the garden year of 2010 will forever live in my memory as the worst garden year ever.

This year we have two raised beds and I am going to plant some things along the fence and in pots out front.  Not sure on the dimension of the beds but I am guessing 4 by 12 maybe.  They are deep as well.  They are in desperate need of some compost though.  I just found out our new 4H group offers free compost to all members so I am super excited!  Its horse, goat, chicken compost and their gardens look really great.

As for what to plant I have no idea!  I have tons of seeds and am sure we will do the regulars of lettuce, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.  The kids are going to grow some pumpkins for fair this year.  I will also do peas, cucumbers, and possibly try some melons out front where its super sunny.

I am excited to start the seedlings in my new greenhouse.  I finally figured out the roof situation I talked about in another post.  Duct tape and some garden bamboo stakes have provided enough roof support that even the heavy downpours are not collecting in the roof.  I need to start checking the night time temps in there so I know what I can start in there temperature wise.

Be ready for more garden posts as the weeks go on.  I am really excited this year (every year? lol) and am going to get out my seeds, garden books, and paper to start planning very soon!

I hope you are enjoying the first week of March.  Today is my youngest child's third birthday so I am off to make her birthday dinner, waffles!  Enjoy your week and feel free to comment.  I'd love to know what you are starting in your garden?