Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Free chocolate & cheap paper towels please!

How I stumbled on couponing...
One Saturday of cooking I flipped the tv on for some background noise.. An old episode of extreme couponing was on.. Fine.. Nothing else is on.. Next thing I know I was starring at the tv, couldn't take my eyes off these obscene savings... True a lot of it was on things I wouldn't want to eat or even feed the dogs .. What really got me was the paper towels, toilet paper... Cleaners!!!! 
And I admit ... Chocolate! 
So I decided to give it a go. I had my doughts it would work... Surely this can't be!
 I googled extreme couponing help and come up with a few step by step websites that led me to printable couponing sites and match ups for stores in my area...
Organizing is the #1 rule in the game... So I was a bit put off right from the beginning.. It's Something I struggle with unless I'm highly motivated ... Well cheap paper towels and chocolate does motivate me more than I had ever imagined ! Lol!

Baby steps.... A list with few deals from a circular and coupons in hand I hit the store .. Pretty sure this wouldn't work!
I bought these things for $4.97!!!!
If I had paid full price ...$18.55!!! What!

It works... It seriously works!
Ofcourse due to super coupon savvy masters most stores and manufacterors have things fixed so you can't clear the shelves and hoard 1,000 tubes of tooth paste . Which is fine with me! 
I also scored on another trip free head bands and pack of 38 diapers for $3!
Even at our local health food grocery store I got 5 full size organic food items and a gallon of milk for just $11!!  Retail was over $30...
Just wow !
Now the other big part of making this work is not buying anything in the store that you do not have a deal & coupon for.. I gotta work on that one!
I can't wait for next weeks couponing project :-) 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bringing back chickens and Adzuki bean fudge brownies!

So I've come full circle on goats , though in a much different light, with more realistic goals as a small farmer.... And now , back to chickens too!!!
Truth be told I do not need chickens, at all! Depending on the breeds, The ducks are better at meat , eggs & foraging than chickens... most importantly we like their meat & eggs much better.
They are Much More efficient for us..and I find them easier to manage.... BUT,,,
I miss chickens...
miss the cackling when they lay an egg... miss roosters crowing! and watching them scratch around for bugs..
So in an effort to enjoy the things I like about chickens on a tiny level.. cause ducks do rule here, I added Silkie chickens for a few reasons... the number one reason is I always wanted them but read they didn't do well in a mixed flock because they are super docile(chickens are kinda mean to other chickens!some breeds are bullies)... well perfect! I don't have any other chickens and now coming up on almost 5 years of figuring out the homestead I have much better means on managing breeds separately. They are small (easier on the feed bill) ,  non flyers( also making management easier) and they are broody (you can never have to many good mommas!)
so, starting small I bought 5 straight run chicks from a local breeder! Adorable!

Winter has slowed down outside work,,, not so much the cold.. it hasn't been super cold yet,, but its been windy and rainy.. no fun working in wind and mud . Which is fine because I've had a surge in orders for the farm business, Praise God! making Christmas presents and future grandbaby presents!
Oh... and more time to COOK! Until I learned to balance (and sometimes eliminate, ex. high production dairy animals) all the farm chores I had NO time for cooking... here I had all the best ingredients I could imagine.. fresh veggies, homegrown gourmet meats, fresh milk and duck eggs.. but no time or energy for cooking. Another Praise to God for helping me get all that straight... I think The Bald Man (my husband) is quite glad for this balance also.. though he is a great cook himself! No one wants to cook ALL the time when there is so much daily work.
You will want to try these... healthy... yes! healthy Fudge brownies.. made with adzuki beans! I have made plenty of desserts using both black beans and adzuki but adzuki beans are sweeter and don't leave a 'beanie' taste in the brownie at all... esp. if sorghum is used as the sweetener.
I came up with this recipe a few weeks rave reviews from the people that matter most.. the people I'm cooking for!!
GBF Fudgy Adzuki Bean Brownies

1 cup cooked and rinsed adzuki beans
1/2 cup high quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup real sorghum
2 TBSP espresso or strong black coffee
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup walnuts (or other preferred nuts)
lard for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease 8 in. square pan.
In food processor or high speed blender combine all ingredients but nuts. 
After batter is well blended and smooth add nuts and pulse until mixed.
Pour into pan, bake approx. 45 min. Cool the brownies. They will be soft and fudgy when cool. You can put the in the refrigerator for a firmer brownie if you like... we like them soft :-)

Now writing this has made me hungry...
Y'all have a blessed evening :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Basic Goat Milk Soap recipe

After over 4 yrs making & selling soap.... goat milk soap, lard soaps, tallow soaps,herbal soaps, vegan soaps, sheep milk soap...etc., I have alot of formulas for soaps!
But this formula/recipe right here started it all!
It makes a small 1 lb batch of soap.

Basic Goat Milk Soap 

10 ounces Lard
4 ounces Coconut Oil 
2 ounces Olive Oil 

2.3 ounces lye 
3.08 ounces water
3 ounces Goat Milk

1 ounce fragrance/essential oil (optional)
color can also be used, I use natural colorants from herbals or minerals 

Basic Cold Process Directions: 

1. Wearing rubber gloves/ safety glasses and a surgical mask careful not to breathe in fumes. If weather allows I do this outside.
Measure your goat milk/water into one glass bowl.
Measure lye, Pour lye into the water/goat milk SLOWLY while stirring with a whisk (never pour water into lye) - this will heat up quickly, Set aside to cool
*To keep milk from burning and turning orange I use some ice cubes as part of my water measurement . Lower butterfat milk such as Alpine seems to blend better and not turn as bad.

2. In another pot , Melt oils together 

3. When oils are approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit and lye water/milk is approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit, gently pour lye into oils (never pour oils into lye) Blend with stick blender... 
please have safety glasses and gloves on!!!

4. Mix until soap traces. 

5. Add essential/fragrance oil and color (optional)

6. Pour into prepared molds ..I use wood molds, they need to be lined with freezer paper.

7. Cover with plastic wrap. 

8. Allow to stand covered and out of drafts for 24 hours

9. Remove form molds, let air dry another 24 hours and cut as desired

10. Allow to age in open air for about 3 to 4 weeks before using 

From this point you can take this basic recipe and make it your own... different scents,, colors,, make it with different milks... coconut milk, cow milk... camel milk! ha!
Or no milk.. just use all water... or half water , half cucumber juice makes a wonderful soap!!
If you Do not want to use lard,, replacing it with palm oil works for this recipe too. It will not be as gentle of a soap, but it will still be nicer than anything you can buy at the store!

Happy soaping! If you have any questions just ask :-)

By popular demand: Sourdough Starter recipe

After my post to facebook about my fabulous Chocolate Sourdough muffins I had quite a few asking for the starter and the recipe... so to save myself some time ...all info is here!

First the starter.. which was insanely easy to do! 
This starter was shared with me by this guy
Check out his gorgeous photography!

I am so thrilled with the results. Here ya go....
2 tbsp. rye flour (or flour of your choice if you’re baking other than a rye bread)
2 tbsp. water

Add flour and water together in a Pyrex measuring cup or small jar and cover with plastic wrap. Stir daily for about 3 days and you should begin to see activity (bubbles usually within 24 hours) and detect a slightly sour smell. Once you begin to see bubble forming in the starter, you need to start feeding it daily.

To feed the starter, add 2 more tbsp. of water and 2 tbsp. of flour on the first feeding. By the second day, you'll now have about 1/4 cup of starter. When you feed it each time, you are doubling the amount you're feeding it so now you'll need to add 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of flour. As you can see, you can end up with a lot of starter very quickly so what you do is when you get the amount the recipe calls for, you throw out half of the starter each time you feed it. If you have 1/4 cup of starter, throw half of it away (1/8 cup) and add 1/8 cup of water and 1/8 cup of flour. You can give the discard starter to friends or refrigerate it for later use. You only need to feed it monthly in the fridge. Always make more starter than the recipe calls for so you can save some back for future batches. It will keep a long time in the refrigerator and the older it gets, the better it gets.

At some point you'll pull it from the fridge and notice a grayish liquid on top and it will smell like alcohol. It is alcohol and it’s because your starter is very his is because it’s hungry. This is part of the flavoring so stir it back in and start feeding the starter again for several days to get it nice and active for your next baking day. The alcohol cooks off during baking.

Now for the Chocolate Sourdough muffin recipe you need to go here:
Sign up for their newsletter and download the awesome sourdough e-book! Full of recipes and tips...
I want to say the Lacto-fermented vegetable book is also amazing, and really, so are all of them!

Remember, the right kind of carbs are not the enemy.... the ones that come in pretty packages, with 30 ingredients and fancy singing commercials .... those carbs are the enemy!
Getting and staying healthy in America is not easy... stay focused , pray for strength and get moving!
The human body is a beautiful machine that needs whole foods to preform its best....and if you're eating whole nutrient dense foods, you don't need to eat as much as you think you do!
As a former fatty that has battled my weight my whole life I would know ;-)
And as a naturally lazy person , It is truly only through the grace of God I am able to stay on track, eat right and have the energy to run this crazy farm!! Which is way more work than I thought I was signing up for that great day in 2010 when we bought the place! haha!!

Now be blessed and Happy Baking!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

And the fall harvest rolls in!

For those of you who really know me.. You know my obsession about the garden has grown over the last 4 years...

It's not enough to have a great summer garden.. I want a four season garden!!!!!
Living in southeast TN lets me achieve this fairly easy really. So many things grow well here . 
It's one of the reasons I have scaled back our livestock profile from high input/high producing dairy goats & sheep to low input heritage goats... Which can still be milked but are way less maintenance. 
Plus I truly believe fall/winter gardening is easier than spring/summer gardening!!! No there's not as much variety ... There's also not as many pests or weeds to deal with!!!!
I am growing garlic, onions, carrots, chard, spinach, lettuce, broccoli , aragula and many kinds of kale , mustards and collards. Some of these will be harvested through out the winter.. Some early spring 
I'm still learning about the best ways to get the most out of my fall/winter garden..
I think the trick to any successful garden is growing the right variety for your area ..  Which is hard sometimes if you don't like what grows in your area !...I don't like chard but I am learning ways to cook it so I will eat it! Chard grows so ridiculously good here for 3 seasons of the year! If I plant it in the right area it will grow year around!
Variety is so important also for taste...and can help you love what will grow...
For example, okra... My Yankee husband hates it... My southern self loves it ...
For 2 years I just grew what was most popular ... A lot went to the goats because I couldn't eat it all! But then I found this amazing tasting heirloom okra that my husband loves and I like better than any other okra I've had!!
So.. As for chard... Ive always grown rainbow which I think tastes like dirt unless in get real creative or totally hide it in quiches! However with a little research and thanks to those who save seeds I think I may have found a chard that doesn't taste like dirt :-) 
Now if it can be productive ....

Until then...praise God & Have a blessed day!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall... Time for farmers to take it easy ...

Lol!!!!! Yeah right!
There's no taking it easy here... Every year... Spring and summer I tell myself I'll get more free time when fall gets here ...
What a laugh!
This week along Had been so busy with getting livestock ready for winter.. My husband & son have built me a ton of new raised beds which I have been informed every square inch better be planted!
We had 2 litters of Baby guinea hogs born this fall! 
I still have 17 baby muscovies and 10 other ducklings growing out ...2 king squab have hatched..
Keeping the ram happy has been a challenge to say the lest...
Today alone I cut up 2 lbs of marinated lamb stake for jerky.. Juice 1 gallon of apple cider , planted 240 onion bulbs.. A pound of garlic and made a nice winter squash soup...

And I still haven't done my daily chores ....
Having a healthy body to keep up with all this is a blessing and that glory goes to The Lord ! 
Thanks for the healthy nutrient dense food I am able to grow !
Have a great weekend everyone ... Eat your veggies ... Fried in duck fat Ofcourse ;-) 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Once again,,,there be goats !

The such is over! The long 4 year search for Utility king pigeons.. Is done!
I have 2 proven pair and 5 squabs I'm hoping to get another 2 pair from.

Pigeon has long been in my brain because it's soooo tasty. I was starting to lose hope I would have the chance to raise my own squab plus enjoy the benefits of owning these guys! 
This is a blessing ... 

And I did it... I said never... Never would I ever have goats again.. Dairy goats were just to hard to raise , to rowdy and destructive , to expensive to feed and broke my heart to many times .... Losing my Nubian/sannan Miss Jackson was the last draw...I was done! But....
I now have 1 very myotonic buck and 4 beautiful myotonic does... Aka. Fainting goats !
They will serve the purpose of eating browse and weeds sheep won't eat..and young bucks will be used as a healthy meat source .. As well as leather! I think my body misses the high iron in goat meat honestly! It is a super healthy meat very high in iron,, which I always seem to be low in...and makes the best sausage I've ever had when mixed with our guinea hog ground pork.. Yum, I have missed that!!!
 I owned a small herd of fainters before and I really liked how calm and non destructive they were compared to my dairy goats .. But at the time my main focus was on milk and fast growing meat.. Myotonic are slower growers..said to dress out better and grow on pasture only... And Ofcourse not a dairy animal! Although I did milk my favorite fainter ,, she gave me a quart a day for about 3 months... Not bad for a meat goat ... still not what I was looking for at the can bet one or two of my new girls will probably end up on the milk stand at some point if they have a nice udder and it look milkable!

These guys are exactly what I'm looking for this time around.... More on my does later.. For now enjoy my picture of buck T-pain ... In the rut.... And be thankful you can not smell him!!!!
Y'all have a blessed weekend :-)