Morning Chores Pictorial #3

Last week I left you with a bucket of goat berries. Hee. Hee. And now, I’m off to dispose them.

Where does one dispose of goat berries? A manure pile, of course. I only know this because the previous resident had horses, thus a premade manure pile was left to our disposal. 🙂

Just around the bend on the side of our shop is where we’re headed this morning. The neighbors put up that cute greenhouse this fall. I’m only a little envious. Okay. Let’s be honest. I covet their greenhouse. I secretly scheme how I could sneak my own plants in there. I’m just sure they would never notice. Give me time. I’m sure I can figure out a way. Anyway, right there in front of the fence is the ‘pile’.

Oh, you couldn’t see? Here’s a close up.

You weren’t sure where you were looking? Well, here you go. Doesn’t look much like manure, huh? See that dark spot in the middle of the picture. The part that looks most like it could be poop. Yeah, that part. That, my friend, is God’s perfect genius working.

That there is where a chicken was scratching for dinner. See, after the manure ages a bit, yummy buggies start showing up (the larvae hatch). And chickens love buggies. What they don’t realize is that they are helping to make the world’s best compost pile. Every so often they scratch through the manure, breaking it down and spreading it out. Even if our chickens didn’t lay eggs, I would still probably keep some around just for this reason.

And this is about the time these girlies show up. Every morning they follow me to the ‘pile’. I’m not really sure why. But it’s nice to have the company.

“Whatchya doin’? Where you goin’?”

And then as soon as they see me starting back for the barn, they high-tail it outta there.

And now it’s time to milk.

Remember this mess? Oh, boy. This is what we call the ‘Milk Parlour’. It’s where we do the milking.

I can explain why it’s such a mess in here right now. Recently we bought a 1/2 ton of alfalfa that was terrible. It was thick stemmed and hardly any leaves. Suffice it to say, the goats do not like it. And that means they leave most of it in the trough uneaten. I had this crazy notion to not waste it and use it as hay for the barn floor.

So, I pile it up in a heap in the milking parlour for when we need it in the barn. Unfortunately, there is so much of it now that it’s taking over. Ugh. It’s usually not this messy. I promise.

First up, gotta check the supplies. Hand sanitizer? Check. Paper towels? Check. Baby Wipes? Check. Milking Pail? Check. (By the way, I don’t keep the milking pail in the barn. I bring it out with me each morning from the house and place it in the cupboard while on poop patrol. I don’t want unwanted dust and dirt to get inside.)

Plastic garbage can full of grain?

Check.

Now, it’s time to let these gals in…

and give ’em one of these.

But first, I need to wash up.

Xcel is getting pretty antsy at this point.

“Alright, already. Enough with the pictures. Let’s get on with it.”

Okay. Sorry, Xcel. Here she is on the milking stanchion.

Once she’s in, I make sure to close the head lock. I don’t know if that’s what you call it, but I do know it’s best to make sure it’s locked if you don’t want a goat deciding she’s done with you milking her before you’re ready to stop.

Here’s what it looks like on the other side of the head lock. Believe me, she’s a happy goat at this point. Grain is her form of Chocolate Cake.

And while she’s devouring her treat, I get to work. First, I pull out those baby wipes and give her utter and teats a good clean. I don’t want anything gross dropping into our precious milk. Then I dry her off with a paper towel. I know. I know. I haven’t gone green in this area of the barn yet. But at least everyone is clean and dry.

And now, I am finally ready to milk. Whew!

Okay, are you not totally impressed with this picture? I am milking and holding a camera at the same time. Well, I’m in awe. I mean, come on. How is this possible?

And there it is, folks. Warm, frothy, delicious milk. Mmm. Mmm.

Now, it’s time to weigh the milk. I know what you’re thinking, “Weigh the milk? What’s up with that?”

Well, my friend, in the milking world, we weigh our milk. If we measure it, like in a measuring cup, it won’t be accurate until all that foam and frothiness disappear. And well, the milk needs to get to refrigeration soon. We don’t have time to wait. So, we weigh our milk.

Xcelly’s milk weighs 2.5 lbs. Actually, we need to minus the weight of the pail. So that makes 1.5 lbs. What does this mean? Xcel gave 3 cups of milk. Each pound of milk is about the equivalent to 2 cups.

Yep, not a great day for Xcel. But give her a break, she’s nearing the end of her pregnancy (2 months to go) and her body is starting to shut down the milk producing machine. After those babies are born, that scale will read 8 pounds (1/2 gallon), no problem.

And then one last thing before Xcel is freed from her Chocolate Cake prison. See that black and White can called Fight Bac? Yep.

I gotta give Miss Xcelly a little spray on each teat. No. She is not a fan of this final step (it’s cold), but it’s gotta be done. Her teat health depends on it. This is a bacteria fighting spray. After milking, her milk ducts will stay open for another 30 minutes, allowing any bacteria she comes into contact with to crawl in and reek havoc. This miracle stuff prevents that from happening. Yay, for science.

All done.

Then, I let Xcel pig out for a bit on some alfalfa while I…

get to work with this girl.

Whew, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Next week, I’ll finally finish up my morning chores outside and then maybe I’ll take you inside to watch what I then do with the milk.

Love, The Goat Lady

Posted in Animals, Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Beauty Meets Mayonnaise

We’ve got fresh eggs here on the farm, and I love ’em. There is nothing like them. Not cage free. Not vegetarian fed. Nope. There is no comparison to a pastured egg.

What is a pastured egg?

It’s an egg laid by a chicken who is free to roam on pasture instead of being raised in confinement.

You know, one of these…

A chicken who likes to jump up on the patio table and say hello to you in the morning through the window. Like that.

Yours might not be allowed on the patio. If so, I applaud you. You have a poop-less deck.

I wish I could say the same.

The only thing that has bugged me about fresh eggs is that darn shell peeling of a hard boiled one. If it’s been around this earth less than 2 weeks, there ain’t no peeling that mother without BIG chunks coming off with it. Until…

I met Danielle at More Than Four Walls who showed me I could effortlessly peel my very own day old egg using her salt water method.

Oh, yes. Salt.

Here’s her method:

Dump some salt into a saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil. Add fresh eggs. Boil for 12 minutes. Rinse with cold water and then stick in a bowl of ice water until cooled.

That’s it folks. The most beautiful peeled eggs are the result.

That’s right. There’s going to be a round of egg salad sandwiches here tonight.

Look out you big basket of beauties. You’re about to meet some homemade mayonnaise.

I shared this page at:

Real Food 101, Traditional Tuesdays

Real Food Wednesdays

Simple Lives Thursday

Posted in Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Cabbage Check Up

As promised, here’s my status report on the Lacto Fermented Sauerkraut I made on Monday.

Lessons Learned

1.    I needed to do more squooshing and smooshing.

Remember this? I'm smooshing down the cabbage with a spoon.

When I added the cabbage in the jar and tried to smoosh it down so it was more compact, I apparently didn’t pound it down enough. I noticed this was a problem because as it started to ferment, the cabbage and carrots rose up almost over the top of the jar.

2.   After doing further research, prior to putting it into jars, I should have pounded my cabbage with a wooden mallet for 10 minutes. I guess this brings all the juices out.

Or, I guess you can smoosh with a small metal bowl like this fellow.

Photo Credit

3. Three days on the counter just didn’t seem to do anything. When sampled, the kraut tasted just like watered down cabbage. It wasn’t even salty, which brings me to the Lesson Learned #4.

4. Perhaps I should have dissolved the salt in the water prior to pouring it into the jar?

 

New Plan

Since I have three jars, why not take this experiment to the extremes. Let’s see what happens if I leave it on the counter for longer than 3 days.

Jar #1 – 4 days on counter

Jar #2 – 1 week on the counter

Jar #3 – 2 weeks on the counter

Check back tomorrow.

 

How about you? Have you ever Lacto Fermented something? What did you do?

Posted in Food, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

Grain Free Rice

Photo Credit

I’ve been trying to keep my intake of grains to a minimum since they cause your blood sugar to rise. Before my Candida Diet, I didn’t realize how much grains can reek havoc on your body. Before, I was actually proud of how many grains I consumed in a day. The Food Pyramid, after all, said I needed lots to stay healthy.

Must. Obey. The. Rules, you know. Hee. Hee.

I’m finding as I feel better, and can actually begin to add in some previously banned foods,  my desires have changed.

Here’s an example:

A few weeks ago, Renaissance Man and I dined at Red Robin. I ordered my usual burger wrapped in lettuce. By the way, Red Robin does the best lettuce burgers.  They’ve got the lettuce burger wrapped up, friends. Okay. Pun intended. Anyway, our waitress pointed out that RR now offers a gluten free bun. Woo! Hoo!

Photo Credit

Excitement protruded from every fiber of my being. Pure elation. I ordered my burger with bun and awaited the documentation that revealed its ingredients. Elation turned to disappointment. Rice flour. Cane juice. Yeast. Right. Although, where I am in my candida fight, most of these ingredients were probably fine to try once and while. It was just that suddenly I was struck by the feeling that I didn’t want to put it all into my body.

I’m not saying that I told them to ‘hold the bun’ or that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy consuming it (it was delicious), it’s just that I found myself sorry I had splurged. After dinner I got the biggest set of sleepies I’ve had in a long while.

Now, you must understand, it used to be that after every meal the sleepies would overcome me. I would drag for a good hour or so. I’m sure it had something to do with all the sugars I was feeding myself. But since drastically changing my diet, I don’t get drowsy after meals. This revealed to me that my body was on a bit of an overload. And then I just felt gross and bummed. Was it worth it? Hmmm. Well, I think I will stick to my lettuce burgers and treat myself every now and then.

And so what does this have to do with Grain Free Rice?

Does that even exist? I’m getting to that. Patience, dear friend.

Photo Credit

My friend Dawn mentioned to me that she was learning to rice cauliflower since she was on a SUPER restricted diet. I was intrigued, but not enough to try it myself until I came across Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Mexican Chicken and Rice (click there for her stupendous recipe that my family really likes).

Once I stuck my pinky toe into these new uncharted waters, I was ready to take a dive. Oh, yes. Cauliflower chopped to smithereens to look like rice is delicious. It doesn’t taste like cauliflower either. It takes on the flavors of whatever you’re serving with it. And boy, oh boy, is it filling.

I am now looking for other ways to consume it.  We had pasta on the menu the last two weeks, and I had purchased brown rice pasta to seal the meal. This seemed like a good option since it wasn’t wheat. But then I took a look at the glycemic level of brown rice and I about choked. Anyway, I have had the riced cauliflower since with a cream pasta sauce and a marinara sauce with meatballs. And I am chomping at the bit to make the cauliflower pizza crust recipe I found.

How Do I Make Grain Free Rice?

It’s easy.

1. Cut up some cauliflower and throw it into your blender or food processor.

2. Blend/chop until it looks like rice.

3. Saute cauliflower in some oil. I prefer refined coconut oil, myself.

Oh, and then, for heaven’s sake, enjoy it guilt free.

 

Now you can have a bowl of

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips.

 

Love, The Goat Lady

 

I shared this post with:

       Freaky Friday   

 

Posted in Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

They Gassed My Almonds?

Since starting my Anti-Candida Diet a year ago, almonds have become a close friend of mine. They have gotten me through many-a-snack-attack, not to mention all the grain free pancakes, cookies, biscuits, granola, and biscotti. I have come to rely heavily on my new friend.

And then it happened. Our friendship was suddenly on shaky ground. We almost broke it off, really.

Why?

Gas.

Yes, you read that right. It was all due to gas. (No. I didn’t eat too much broccoli.)

Propylene Oxide to be exact.

What is Propylene Oxide (PPO)?

Oh, no big deal really, it’s just used as a fuel additive in racing cars. Don’t worry though, the US National Hot Rod Association has since banned it for safety reasons. It’s also used to make plastics and thermobaric weapons (you know, ones that explode). It seems it is also on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s list of possible carcinogens. Hmm.

And it’s used to pasteurize almonds. That’s right. They spray your nuts with the stuff.

“Oh, but Kathleen, I only buy raw almonds.”

<BUZZ>  Sorry, you lose.

 

 

Photo Credit

How About Calling a Spade, a Spade?

You see here’s the deal. Per the FDA, all almonds must be pasteurized. That’s right, even the almonds that say they’re raw,  aren’t. I don’t understand how you can sell something that you say is raw, but isn’t. The Almond Board of California says that pasteurizing your almonds does not change the nutritive value. That’s how they can still claim it is raw. Hmm.

When I first heard about this 2007 mandate passed down through the USDA, I didn’t believe it either. That is until I started making some phone calls.  Winco, New Seasons and Fred Meyers all have ‘raw’ almonds in their bulk section, but they are all pasteurized. Still skeptical? Go grab your phone.

When you call you want to ask,

“Which method was used to pasteurize your almonds, steamed or PPO?” 

You want to ask if they were steamed because some companies choose this method instead of spraying PPO. And the reality is, I would much rather have a steamed almond than a carcinogenic one. I don’t know. Seems better to me.

Who Sells What?

PPO Almonds:  Winco and Fred Meyer

Steamed Almonds: New Season’s and Trader Joe’s

UPDATE: My friend Dani talked to Fred Meyer’s and discovered the bulk organic almonds are indeed steamed NOT sprayed with PPO.

If you buy organic almonds, they must be steamed. But you know, I would check anyway. And just so you know, when you call, don’t be surprised if the Manager on the other line is confused. If they don’t have answers for you, ask for the supplier’s name. Sometimes the supplier has the info right on their website; other times you have to call.

Another Option

My good friend Dawna discovered an almond farmer (who just happens to be her brother’s best friend ) in California who was willing to sell us some of his raw almonds. Okay, some seems like a small number. Try close to 200 lbs.

Here they are...my portion of the almonds. 82 pounds.

And these are truly raw.

If you are set on having unadulterated almonds, this seems to be your only alternative. Find a farmer. I think we cleaned out our farmer, but if you know someone in California, it might be worth asking them if they know an Almond Farmer. I’m sure glad my friend did. We not only scored our own bulk section of almonds, but we paid just a measly $1.50 a pound.

Thank you.

I want to thank my friend Adrienne over at Whole New Mom for enlightening me about this almond scandal. I sure appreciate being informed about what I am eating. Thanks, Adrienne.

You all should bop on over and read her excellent article on this subject. If are dying to know why the FDA would agree to such ridiculousness, she explains how it all happened. When you’re there, stick around and look at some of her awesome recipes. She’s the one who taught me how to make my own coconut and almond milk, oh and those so delicious sugar free chocolate chips.

Do Something.

If you feel a bit outraged that you are not allowed to know through labeling how your raw almonds were treated or that you no longer have a choice to buy almonds truly raw, you can do something. Email the Almond Board of California and tell them about it. Hey, if enough of us complain, maybe they will consider changing their ways. I told them I’ll only be buying mine directly from the farmer from now on.

I shared this article on:

Posted in Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut

Renaissance Man and I stopped by the local fruit/veggie stand yesterday and I couldn’t resist this beautiful cabbage. I had to have it.

It’s kind of funny to me that I see veggies as works-of-art these days. I never have before. There’s something about seeing a bundle of fresh carrots with their tops still on. They’re magnificent. I know the gal at the fruit stand probably laughs at me because I often find myself commenting out loud about the beauty of her goods. I can’t help myself. They’re just so dang purty.

See. Amazing.

Anyway, back to the story.

I saw this cabbage and I decide this darling vegetable needed to become sauerkraut. And not just any old mushy sauerkraut, but lacto-fermented.

In on other words, crunchy.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to have a lacto-fermented veggie, this is something worth trying. And so easy. No really. I’m not pushing sunshine up your skirt. This is stinkin’ easy.

First, using a food processor (or cheese grater), grate your cabbage, and place in a quart size jar.

I used some purple cabbage and some carrot as well. (I love the layered look.)

Then take a spoon and smoosh down all the goodies.

You can’t tell…but here I am smooshing. (pressing down)

BEFORE smooshing
AFTER smooshing

                    Pretty easy stuff, huh?

Keep filling and smooshing until you get to about 1 1/2 inches from the top of your jar.

Now, add 1 Tablespoon of salt. It doesn’t have to be Kosher Salt. My grocery store was out of my regular salt. Any sea salt will do.

By the way, I forgot to take a picture when I put in the water, so this is not accurate as far as how far up the jar to fill your veggies. You want them to be a bit lower than this picture shows. There needs to be room for expansion.

Next, fill your quart jar of extreme beauty with filtered water. You really want water that doesn’t have chlorine in it.

If you don’t have a filter on your tap water, you can always boil your water for 10 minutes. That’s suppose to get rid of most of the chlorine. Wait until your water cools and then add it to the veggies.

You want all the veggies to be covered in water. Drown ’em. So, take heed, as your jar sits for a little bit, the water line will sink.  See in this picture the carrots are not completely covered? You don’t want that.

Everybody (okay, every veggie) needs to be fully submersed in your brine (fancy word for salted water), otherwise you may be looking at some mold later. Mold. Yuck. Translation: Not Good.

When you’re satisfied you’ve completely dunked your kraut, give it a little cover. It needs a bit of privacy.

It’s gonna be busy for awhile, people. Have some decency to leave it alone, so it can do its thing.

And truly this is when the magic begins. Leave your jar on the counter…(this is going to be difficult to take in, friends…take a deep breath)… for 3 days.

Now, come on back here! It’s going to be okay. I know you’ve always heard that things left out of the refrigerator will go bad and you shouldn’t eat it. But just for a second, let’s consider what our ancestors did before the miracle of refrigeration and canning jars. This is one way they preserved their food.

And the truly amazing part, God made it so that it actually helped their immune systems. You want a healthy gut? Lacto-fermented veggies (or fruit) promotes the growth of healthy flora in the intestines.

“These beneficial organisms (found in lacto-fermented foods*) produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances.” Nourishing Traditions, page 89

*emphasis mine

After 3 days, you should be able to eat your kraut. I’m told the taste just gets better with time. Once the 3 days is up, cover the jar with a real lid and refrigerate it. Your kraut will keep for months in your refrigerator. Just think about the jar of pickles you have in there now.

This summer I made lacto-fermented green beans and cucumbers and they were so delicious. Crunchy and tasty. I added garlic and dill to the brine.

I’ve never made sauerkraut this way. So, come on back on Thursday when I taste my new experiment. (Cabbage Check Up)

Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In Summary

1 head of cabbage

1 Tbsp sea salt

Water

Shred cabbage in food processor or with cheese grater. Fill quart size jar with shredded cabbage. Press down and fill with more cabbage until 1 1/2 inches from the top of the jar. Pour in salt. Fill jar with filtered water (no chlorine) until all cabbage is fully submerged under water. Cover with a dish towel and set on counter for 3 days. Make sure to check back occasionally to see if all cabbage is still under water. If not, add some more water.

After 3 days, place a lid on your jar and refrigerate. It’s ready to eat when you are. Just remember, the longer it ferments, the tastier it gets. Enjoy!

 

This blog participated in:

Posted in Food, Uncategorized | Tagged | 7 Comments

Morning Chores Pictorial II

It’s been a crazy week here at the farm. Monday Renaissance Man whisked me away to the Oregon Garden Resort for a night; we came home Tuesday late afternoon, and then headed off again with the boys to Mt. Hood yesterday for a field trip. Whew! And we still managed some homeschool stuff to boot.

I’ve also participated in a few blog hops/carnivals/link up parties. Have you seen these? They are so fun. If you are a blogger, you can participate in them yourself. Debbie from Easy Natural Food showed me how be in one.

I haven’t had time to do any writing this week, but boy, oh, boy, it sure has been a blast to link up my Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy Mayo blog and then watch all the wonderful people come visit and leave really nice comments. I think I am addicted.

Anyway, back to the Morning Chores. Last week I showed you the beginnings of my morning chores, today we’ll head up through the mud to the barn.

Yep. There’s a lot of this stuff.

So much so that we started putting in these little concrete squares everywhere. They work beautifully. See how the grass grows up all around them? Just last year that green was all brown gooshy stuff. I. Will. Conquer. The. Mud.

Okay. Sorry. Enough of the mud. On to the barn.

Ew. Alien hand opening barn door.

Don’t you just love my black door. I got it for free. Yep. I’m like that. I get free stuff occasionally. The only bad thing is that my free door doesn’t always latch so well. And on occasion, the wind has been known to swing it open. The goats love that. Just a few days ago, I came out to the barn and noticed only one goat was around. Very unusual. Our goats don’t always especially love one another, but they are never too far apart. Protection in numbers, I guess. Well, low and behold…

This little lady was in the dairy parlor all by herself. The door must have swung open with the wind, she entered thinking, “Woo. Hoo. Free alfalfa.”, then the door slammed behind her with another gust of wind. I don’t know how long she was trapped, but the amount of poop I found on the floor suggested a few hours. Sigh.

Let’s peek into my oh-so-nice-and-neat dairy parlor/barn, shall we.

Maybe not.

I really do have a reasonable explanation as to why this looks like a goat was stuck in here for hours by herself. But I won’t bore you. Let’s just say the hay bales have attacked the dairy parlor and leave it at that.

Once inside the dairy parlor, the goats make sure to meet me on the other side of the barn. They know there will soon be fresh alfalfa in their trough.

To say they are eager might be a bit of an understatement.

“Hey, lady. Speed it up.”

“Hold your horses, ladies. I’m working on it. Let me get my gloves on.”

Note: Yes, that is a hammer under those gloves. “Why on earth would you need a hammer in your barn, Kathleen?” I’m so glad you asked.  Why, it’s for busting up ice in the water trough during the brief cold spats we have around here.

Now, I’m outfitted for the job. Time to grab some alfalfa.

And give to the girls.

My boys say this is ‘first person’ photography. If you have boys and they’ve ever played a first person shooter video game, you’ll know what they mean. Anyway, it made me giggle and impressed the socks off of them. I love it when I’m cool.

Now it’s time to clean up some poop.

And here are my tools: a dog poop scoop and a couple of 5 gallon buckets.

I know. It’s unsightly. But it’s got to be done. I try to keep the manure load low on our fields.

What’s manure load? The amount of poop on your pastures. If you get too much, it not only gets stinky, but it’s a breeding ground for parasites. Parasites = Bad stuff for goats. Apparently, where we live in Oregon is an especially nice place for a parasite to live. It’s very wet most of the year and the temperatures are very mild. So, scooping poop is just going to be a regular thing for me, I guess.

Well, the excitement never ends. I tried to get you a nice close up of the goat berries (that’s goat poop), but I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it…that’s a bucket of poop.

Come on back next week, when I’ll show you what we do with the ‘berries’. I know. How can I leave you hanging like this? Don’t worry, pretty soon I’ll show you how I do the milking. That’s the fun part. Hee. Hee.

Posted in Animals, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 5 Comments

From Scratch…Cream of Chicken Soup

Welcome back to “From Scratch”. I’m so glad you dropped by to check out what else I’m cooking up in my kitchen.  Since we made chicken stock a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to give you yet another thing you could do with it. Last week we made rice and today we’re going to make soup. But not just any soup, mind you. I wanted to show you how you could give up buying that canned soup so many good recipes call for. (I know. I shouldn’t end a sentence in a preposition. Please forgive me.)

Also, for those of you going gluten free, watch and see how you can still enjoy this delicious blend of flavors without your natural enemy, flour.

So, belly up to the bar (the kitchen bar, that is) and let’s get cooking.

First up, you need some butter and flour.

Or if you’re gluten free, go grab your corn starch or arrowroot.

Now we’re going to make something similar to roux. That’s how you make gravy.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter

Ew. I hate this picture. Sorry it’s so dark.

Slowly, add 6 Tbsp flour or 3 Tbsp cornstarch. That means add a bit, then stir. Add a bit more, then stir.

And whatever you do, do not accidentally touch the side of the hot pan with the hand holding your spoon of flour. And especially, never do this while trying to take a picture.

A very bad thing will happen. You won’t like it. Your camera, table, floor and window sill will not like it. Don’t ask me how I know this. Just know that every person’s first reaction to being burned on the hand, is to throw that hand as far away from the burning source as possible.   Just saying.

Ahem. Back to the regular scheduled progam.

Stir. Add. Stir.

Okay. Photography Lesson #1: Do not stir while your shutter speed is so slow. You get a ‘ghost’ spoon. Yikes.

As the butter absorbs the flour, you will begin to see it get clumpy like this.

And like this.

Yes, I had to move the pan back to my favorite spot on the table. You could just see the clumpiness better.

Now, s-l-o-w-l-y, add 1 cup of chicken stock.

Stir. Add. Stir.

Until you see a beautiful gravy appear.

Now, s-l-o-w-l-y add 1 cup of milk.

If you are dairy free, I recommend almond milk or rice milk.

Stir. Add. Stir.

If your soup turns out a bit clumpy, as this batch did, never fear. Give it a bit of a whisking. Hey, it’s been bad. It deserves a bit of scolding.

Give it what is due.

Then make sure to add 1/2 tsp salt. If you like pepper, now would be a could time for it to join the salt.

Now pour it into a bowl and photograph your new creation.

Hey, you’ve labored for this baby. Now it’s show time.

I think you’re going to love how rich and thick this soup will be. And so tasty in whatever you’re cooking.

I made Chicken Pot Pie last night. So delish.

Get fancy and add other herbs. I love rosemary in mine.

Cream of Chicken Soup in Summary

2 Tbsp butter

6 Tbsp flour or 3 Tbsp corn starch or arrowroot

1 Cup Chicken Stock (see my instructions on how to make Chicken Stock From Scratch)

1 Cup milk (almond or rice milk should work as well)

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste (optional)

Melt butter in sauce pan. Slowly (like a tsp at a time) add the flour and then stir. Add a little more flour, then stir, until all flour has been incorporated into the butter.

Slowly (like 1/4 cup at a time) add the milk and stir until that small portion of the milk has combined with the flour mixture. Add a little more milk, then stir until combined. Continue until all the milk has become one with the soup.

Voila! You have soup. Add to any recipe calling for cream of chicken soup. Makes approximately 2 cups.

Can you believe how easy that was? And it was so cheap. If you made the chicken stock yourself, this soup was practically free.

Let me know if you make some of your own. I’d love to hear how it went.

I got to share this blog on Sunday Night Soup Night.

Posted in Food | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Morning Chores Pictorial Part 1

Ever have a curiosity about what a used-to-be-suburbanite (that’s someone who lived in the suburbs her whole life) does every morning on her farm?

No?

I’m crushed.

That’s really very sad. Sorry. You’re going to find out anyway. Hee. Hee. (Don’t tell my kids I said I was sorry and then didn’t mean it. I’ll be in big trouble)

First, I get on my boots.

With all the mud around these parts, boots are essential.  Honestly, I did try to go for the cute factor here. But with two years of wear, mud and poop, they’ve sort of lost their curb appeal. A girl can try.
Yes, these footwares of wonderousness are well used.

 

Second, on the way to the barn, in my oh-so fashionable boots, I let the chickens out of their coops.

 

Here I am opening the ‘lid’ to this chicken coop.

If you strain your eyes, you can see in the center of the picture there is a little door opening. I open the lid to the coop so I can open that tiny little door and let our feathered egg laying friends out for the day. Thanks to Chez Misty’s husband for designing this fabulous coop and then GIVING it to us. I love this coop.

 

“Good Morning, girls.” Yes, I actually do say this every morning. I know. I’m silly. These girls are Americauna chickens. They lay blue-colored eggs. Very pretty, indeed.

Check out those fluffy cheeks.

Chicken Coop #2 built by Renaissance Man over 5 years ago back when none of us knew anything about fowl. It has held up really well.  This year R-Man is going to build us a BIG coop, so all the girls can hang together.

 

And finally, I head to the barn to take care of the goats.

Afterall, they’re waiting.

They know when they see me let out the chickens, they’re up next.

Sweet Xcel, “It’s our turn now, right?”

Rambunctious Sadie, “Yeah. Speed it up, lady. We’re hungry.”

Be on the look out for Part 2 of Morning Chores Pictorial. I’ll be wading my way through the mud and making my way up to the milking parlour. I know. I can hear the excitement in your voice. It’s going to be great. Just beware. You might have to look at a picture or two of poop. Hey, we’ve got animals here. It happens.

Until next time.

Love, The Goat Lady

 

Posted in Animals | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeazy Mayo


I’m so excited to share my newest discovery….Homemade Mayonnaise. Now, before you claim I’m Martha Steward to the extreme and roll your eyes at me, take a quick peak at how so STINKIN’ easy this recipe is. If you ever find yourself in a pinch for more mayo, you can whip this up in less than 2 minutes. No! I mean it. Seriously. Less than 120 seconds. And you get to decide what goes inside.

All you need is a few ingredients and a stick blender (immersion blender).

Now, let me first say that I have made mayo with my food processor and is was delicious and really not that difficult. So, if you don’t have a stick blender, never fear. It still can be done. It’s just a little more time consuming. You may be into it for 3 or 4 minutes. I know. I know. I ask too much.

Let’s proceed.

Oh, by the way. I’ve been taking some photography lessons from Pioneer Woman. I’m learning about aperture and shutter speed, and I was doing some experimenting with our camera. So, please forgive me for the massive amount of photos I use. It was fun.

 

First up, you’re going to need one of these babies.

But the trick to easy mayonnaise is a room temperature egg. Yep. You gotta leave this beauty out on the counter for a few hours.

Now, don’t get all wiggy on me. It’s okay. Trust me.

Once room temperature, crack the egg and place in a quart size jar. See. This isn’t difficult at all.

Yes, that is an egg going into that jar. A little funky looking, I realize, but it turned out so cool looking I couldn’t resist.

See. It really was an egg.

This is the challenging part. Go get these ingredients from your kitchen:

Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice (or vinegar)

Take a deep breath. The worst is over.

Now, find yourself a measuring spoon.

Measure 1/8th tsp onion powder, 1/8th tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3/4 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

Put into jar.

You still with me?

Get yourself some mild flavored olive oil. This is called “Extra Light Tasting”. Whatever that means.

This oil is not my favoritest (is that a word?). I would prefer to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but it is just too strong a flavor for me and my beloved new mayonnaise. I would love to use coconut oil because it’s just so much better for our bodies, but it solidifies in the refrigerator. For now, it’s just going to have to be extra light. I figure it’s better than the soybean oil that’s found in most store bought versions.

Pour yourself 1 cup of extra light olive oil.

Pour into your 1 quart jar.

Wait. Stop a minute. I think you might need a quick break to wipe the sweat from your brow. Don’t worry. We’ll wait.

Wait a few seconds for the mixture to settle. You want your egg laying on the bottom of the jar, not swimming around.

No back strokes for you, Eggy-Boy.

Go grab your $13 stick blender you bought from Big Lots. You know. The one you were going to dedicate to soap making. Yeah. That one.

Now, set it next to your egg mixture and admire the fun photo you took with your mini tripod and your low aperture setting.

This is when the fun really gets going. Put in the stick blender. Pulse several times over and over until you see…

mayonnaise beginning to form at the bottom of the jar.

Woo! Hoo! You’re almost done.

Once you are at this spot, you can hit the trigger button full bore.

And then move the blender up and down a bit to whip into submission the oil hanging at the top of the mixture.

At this point, you have full blown fabulous homemade mayonnaise.

It should be thick and the texture of the mayonnaise currently in your refrig.

Oh, yes. You did just make your own mayo in less than 2 minutes.

Now, congratulate yourself by grabbing a spoon and shmeering this delectable spread onto something. You know. Go find some bread or some tuna fish. Or be a rebel like me and just eat it off the spoon.

Homemade Mayonnaise In Summary

1 whole egg – MUST be room temperature

1/8 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 Tbsp-2 Tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar) – the amount here is dependent on how much tang you like in your mayo

1 Cup Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil – if you want to go healthier, experiment with different combos of oils

 

In a quart size jar, place all ingredients. Wait a moment for the egg to settle to the bottom of the jar. With an immersion blender, pulse for several moments until you start to see mayonnaise forming on the bottom of the jar. Now hold the trigger button down all the way, while moving the blender up and down and around the inside of the jar. In just seconds, your entire jar should look like mayo.

Wish you could see this all in action? Here’s the guy I learned from:

This article participated in 



Monday Mania, Tutorial Tuesday

Our Simple Farm
Posted in Food | Tagged | 60 Comments