Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Homemade in Hooterville



I am not a crazy person with regards to prepackaged foods – heck, I love my Lays potato chips, Frito's, Cheetos!  But I know I feel better – my husband does too.   For me, it is time to reclaim our lives, and bring it home - HOMEMADE!

I have a new appreciation for the women of the past, taking care of your family is no easy task.   I have read a bit on the net, posts from other farm girls, homesteaders, and ladies that want to provide the very best for their families. I am so happy that you bloggers post your helpful hints on healthy, and cheaper living - and those recipes you share!  Thank you!!!

Convenience is what it is - convenient, not better, and in my opinion not good for you.  It takes no more time to whip up the seasoning for a skillet dish, making homemade nuggets and, taco seasoning etc….  

Over the past few years, I have gone away from packaged convenient frozen food and veggies.  I make my own bread, when we eat it – I have my own hens – fresh eggs is such a blessing – I love my girls.

I tend to not use anything that has any chemical in it or eat anything with an ingredient I can’t understand what it is.

I don’t eat as much, perhaps having whole foods is the key here.

We have planted new blueberry bushes and strawberry patches so we can harvest and freeze our OWN berries, along with our Pear and Apple trees -they are not pretty – but they are chemical free! – Snap, we freeze them anyway!

When it is just you and your hubby, canning, freezing and preparing your food is more of a challenge for just two.  I am up for this challenge and I welcome any input on making smaller batches of biscuit mix, cake mix etc..

This year I made my own Extracts, Meat Jerky (courtesy of a Blogger), Spice Mixes, Homemade muffins, yogurt and I prepare and freeze my own “convenience” meals.   It is a start.


Having in all in Hooterville, is having your health, a home big enough, but not too big.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Yummy, Healthy Muffins from L. Bird

Many of us get to the end of a bag of nuts, cranberries and raisins - sure we can add them to oatmeal - but I found a new home for these left overs.

My current boss provided me with his - "GO" to muffins - quick, easy, filling and packed with nutrition.  You can switch it it up too!  - I like the carrot/apple ratio, but he will make it with pumpkin, bananas, chocolate chips.

Note:  the first time I made these I used date sugar, and I loved the muffins.  Today, I made them with brown sugar and I could not taste a big difference, so I will continue to use the date sugar

I also add additional spices, feel free to personalize to your preference.  Next time I may add orange or lemon zest.

With spring and summer here, these muffins pack nicely, don't need to be refrigerated and would be a great addition to a potluck or an outside BBQ, camping and hiking.

Respectfully Hooterville Cooks  - Enjoy recipe below:

Bird Muffins (named after the person who provided me with this recipe)
Bake 350 for 18 – 22 minutes (I like moist muffins - I bake about 15 - 18)

Makes 24 muffins..

Weight Watchers 3 points –I freeze them for breakfasts with yogurt

1-½ Whole Wheat flour
¾ cup Oat Bran
¾ Ground Flax Seed
1 cup Nuts of your choice (or you can omit) I like pecans
¾ Cup Brown Sugar (I used Date Sugar) – With brown sugar it is sweeter – but date sugar is GREAT too!
2 tsp soda
1 tsp Baking Power
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
 (note I add a pinch of nutmeg, ginger and allspice) not part of original recipe
2 cups shredded carrots
2 apples (cut into chucks – this time I shredded with the carrots)
1 large egg
¾ cup milk (I used almond milk the first time I made these)
2 Tsp Vanilla  





Friday, April 10, 2015

Hooterville Hens Spring 2015

Having adequate distractions for free range hens can be a challenge, we tried to relocate the girls to the back yard where we had more room for them, but the temptation to fly over the hounds was costly for Grease Spot – Miss Mabel, our hunting hound snatched her out of the air.  So I put them back in the front yard, and I am trying to create areas for them to keep busy.  I covered my flowers so they won’t get them, I open the area in the winter – but until then they are prevented with netting – they don’t like it, as it was their prime dust bath area – they keep trying to find a way in, they will soon give up. … Anyhow – I have a tire filled with fresh dirt, and I will use my front yard container garden as the other dust bath area which is bigger.  I also left my hay bales in the front too, and I put a flat gate across so they can roost, I also have running water.  Having the hens eat their way through the pest is helping maintain the front yard fruit trees.  I have to keep them in the yard, so we are adding higher fencing that is bent slightly so they can’t fly up and over, as we are on hill, flying up and over is a challenge.


For those that can free range  you know the benefit and harm the hens can do, I focus on the benefit




!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I am a semi-urban homesteader - only got me some hens y'all!

Homesteading – and what it means – Really?

When I hear ‘homesteading’ I think of  clearing the land, building your own home, having livestock and large gardens for substance etc….. but for me in, in my semi-urban mountain existence, it is moving away from processed food, making my own cleaning supplies and relying on natural pest control; this seems to be my main focus these days.  At first, the move away from the convenience of store bought broth, noodles, and hash browns was difficult, but I as work my way through learning ‘how to’ prepare and store my own items -  I feel better, not only am I saving money, the real pleasure comes from knowing ‘what is in my food and cleaning products’ -  I have fulfillment that I am providing for husband, my dogs and chickens – a good, clean healthy environment.

I find I am more sensitive to buying plastic – I don’t if I don’t have to – when I run water, waiting on the hot to come, I keep a bottle nearby to collect the cold water – I use this water to rinse the dishes – fill up the pets water – I don’t waste it.

As I plan to grow more garden items to preserve, I find that real food actually tastes better when you grow it yourself.


Unfortunately I don’t have the time to post all I have rattling around in my brain, thoughts on food, baking tips, house cleaning ideas.  I am in envy of the folks that are afforded time to devote to posting on the internet, and keeping up with their blogs. I’d be lost without the help of those with more experience on baking, sewing, cleaning, tips on how to be more self-sufficient.  Whatever did I do before the internet?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quality bakers and blogs – simple things that make my day

New bakers and blogs – you gotta love em y’all.  I once thought only paper cookbooks would satisfy me... oh but no more;
I have switched to the dark side of the internet!   – A good cooking blog and especially on baking - make my day. 

Just received my King Arthur Spring Baking catalog - leaf through looking quickly, as I know their products well, I see a new recipe  “Joy’s Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl bread” – Oh my goodness golly I thought to myself as I read the recipe,,..heck, I don’t have fresh berries in the house -  not really in season in February in Virginia!  So I went to her blog “joy the baker” and did not see, to my dismay, any recommendation for using frozen berries.  I feel confident I can use frozen as long as they are drained properly - out of the freezer the berries came, but went to store and purchased some fresh too to play it safe,   I also stopped and purchased a new cast iron skillet - I only have one skillet and one Dutch oven, but I want to find one that has higher edges and use for the sweeter items I bake.

This weekend not only did I make the Triple Berry, I also made some healthy muffins as well, using oat bran, whole wheat flour, and date sugar... Yes, they were yummy and no fat was involved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February in Hooterville

Hooterville has been a bit cold, Very cold – hardly makes it to 30 degrees!  Much like most of the Midwest and Eastern states.  The hardest part of living here on Blue Mountain are the roads – they are so ‘backwards’ so ‘prohibition era’ to bring you to a visual of the moonshiners running the back roads to hide their stash and keep away from the law – Yeah that is really what is like here..

Planning ahead is vital, and knowing how to live without running water, heat and a convenience store are a must.    Of course having front yard chickens is a plus.

I find that being home (stuck home) is a blessing, I get to clean, I have the time to bake that bread, make those muffins and enjoy homemade hot chocolate after working to clear the snow and tending to the hounds and hens.


My hooterville hint for the cold and having to be in doors for any age – make that hot cocoa, have those marshmallows on hand, read a family book together, do a puzzle (which is what we do) – even if it just the two of you, make that time to ‘do something’.  A note on the book, this really is fun, pick a fun classic or a new one – read together even if on an ipad.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Planning for spring garden 2015


February 8th, I heard the birds chirping this morning as I was having my morning coffee,  and felt a tingle of excitement and anticipation of spring and a big plus...it got to 57 degrees.  Finally cleaned  out the coop, worked in the yard and decided on the new area for a raised  'hay bale' garden along an inside fence away from hounds and hens, (there was a recent post on bale of hay gardening, I got real excited after reading this blog!)   
Bought some new seeds and planning my new yard landscape.  I did not cook or bake too much this weekend, living off last weeks preparation, for which I am thankful for planning ahead.  My new area of focus is working on food plans, baking mixes and and other preparations for 'just two'.  I like eating whole foods and going back to basics.  With just me and Hubby I can't cook in bulk and  don't want to throw out food, I also decided to remove my microwave from my home, I just have a bad feeling about it, so out it goes,  I will have to post how 'removing the microwave' will impact me if it does?