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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Irish Soda Bread with milk kefir



Yesterday was St. Patricks Day and when the kids were young, I used to be fun and do themed foods for the day to make everything special. The kids are so much older now and don't seem to get the same thrill, but we were on a severe weather watch and I was anxious... I was also anxious about my first ever zoom call as part of the Homestead Open House, so I thought, I'm gonna take my mind off things and be fun mom again for the day.

I began by making them some green pancakes and bacon that morning! They were really good! I need to share that recipe for pancakes as well (with milk kefir). I'll do that soon.

Anyhow, so last night I made shepherds pie and Irish soda bread.
The shepherds pie is so forgiving and so good and honestly, I kinda used it like I do my fridge dump stir fry and whatever we have is what goes in! 
I used up some radishes, red bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and peas. It turned out great!

For the bread, here's the recipe!

Irish Soda Bread with Milk Kefir

Preheat oven to 400*

Dry:
4 1/4 cups flour (you can use a half and half mixture here of freshly ground wheat and white)
(or you can use a more white than wheat, but don't go more wheat than white)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Wet:
1 3/4 cup milk kefir or buttermilk
1 large egg

5 Tbsp COLD butter cut into chunks


Mix your dry ingredients together

Mix your wet ingredients together 

Take your hands or a pastry cutter and mix the COLD butter into the dry ingredients. You just want to get the butter incorporated into the flour mixture. Similar to when you are making biscuits. 

Now mix your wet into your butter/flour mixture and mix til JUST combined. This dough is not supposed to be smooth and supple like a bread dough, it looks kinda shaggy when pulled together. Once you get it combined, I greased my cast iron skillet and then put the dough on the skilled and slashed a fairly deep X on top. 

Bake for approximately 45-55 min depending on your oven. 

Remove when nicely browned, risen, and opened on top like a flower. 

The family really enjoyed this bread last night.
And you can make variations to it if you like!
Add some fruit and make it a little sweet. Add some herbs and make it a bit more savory! 
Play around with it! I've done both, and it works well! It's quick and easy to pull together and is great alongside a stew or shepherds pie like we had last night! 





Monday, March 15, 2021

Slow weekending




Yesterday was Pi (3-March 14) so it worked out extremely well that I made pies on Saturday... they turned out a little loose, so they had to set overnight, which was perfect cause I had forgotten pie day this year. Most years I always make pie for pi day. 

The weekend was busy but, not all that eventful, which was kinda nice. I like slow weekends... it makes them feel like they last a little longer. Most of the time they zoom past so rapidly! 

I worked on making jam and cutting a flat of strawberries on Saturday. I did a little work with our transplants and seeds. Getting some thing ready for the ground and some ready to start. 
I went and picked up hay and feed because Shannon spent the majority of his day doing a side job of welding. He normally does the feed run on Saturday. 
This little guy emerged from his slumber! I think rhubarb is one of the prettiest plants. I just love the various shades of green and pinkish reds! 

And then we got the surprise of this little man visiting for the evening! His parents were invited to go to dinner and this little love stayed with Granddaddy and Grandmoma! 


What an absolute joy he is to us!

I hope your weekend was lovely! 





Friday, March 12, 2021

It's the perfect time for Pumpkin Pie!



You may be saying... 
"Chas, seriously, it's March for heaven's sake!" 
"Pumpkin Pie in March?"
"It's not autumn, it's not November!"

Just hear me out! 

You may be like me and have some pumpkins or butternut squashes that are getting past their storing prime. And do you know what that means? 
IT'S THE PERFECT TIME FOR PUMPKIN PIE!!!!!

Split your pumpkin or butternut squash in half, scoop out the guts/innards/seeds.
Place flesh side down on a baking sheet.
Roast at 400* til nice and soft.
Scoop out tender flesh and puree...

NOW you have your own pumpkin/squash puree.

Let's proceed with the pie recipe, shall we?

Now if you are going to the work of making your own puree, I would suggest your own pie crust as well... but if you don't have the want to or the time, grab you a store bought crust!


2 cups of pumpkin puree
1/4 cup cream
2 eggs slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar 
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp FRESH nutmeg (I do not like ground nutmeg unless it's fresh)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter

Mix everything well and pour into piecrust.

Bake at 425* for 10 min
Lower temp to 350* and cook til set, approximately 30 more minutes

Enjoy!




Thursday, March 11, 2021

SURPRISE!


SURPRISE!!! 

We knew it was going to be soon, but we weren't ready for these little fluff balls to be coming home last night! We had built a brooder and had the heat mat, but picking up chick feed and shavings were going to be done THIS morning... WRONG! Haha... you gotta roll with it!

So last night I went to a friends house where they were delivered to pick up our chicks.
These are Cornish cross meat chickens. I hope to be able to document the whole process, start to finish at least on our instagram if you are interested! Follow along there! But I am planning to have some updates here as well, if you don't do that form of social media!


This morning I ran to our local feed store and grabbed the shavings and got these little ones set up in their new "for now" home!

The great thing about this is there is no heat lamp dangers. That warming plate/mat mimics a mother hen and the babies go under their to warm themselves and then come back out to eat, drink, and scratch! So neat! I'm glad we went ahead and bought it several months back in preparation for now! Plus it has this plastic dome on top so they can't get on top and poop all over it. VERY handy! 

Just one more step in learning and growing our own food! How exciting!




Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Happenings on the Homestead


March is flying by around here! We have several new adventures coming for the homestead. The first one is meat chickens, they should arrive THIS WEEK! Possibly even today. Shannon built a brooder for them and hopefully we will be able to keep them in the garage this way... we will see! 25 chicks may be a bit much in a tote in the bathroom. haha (we've always raised baby birds in a tote in the bathroom in the past)


We also will be diving into bees this year. Something Shannon has had a particular interest in for a long time, but beekeeping can be very pricey. We have acquired quite a few of the necessities from some dear friends, so hopefully by getting the bees we will be dipping our feet in the deep end and getting ready for this adventure. We are very excited (and nervous)!

As you can see above, the chickens are really producing right now and we are grateful! Eggs that are so full of flavor and nutrition. It's a tremendous blessing to be able to gather them each day! 



And it is about that time! The homestead open house starts in JUST 4 days!!! 
Have you signed up yet? Make sure you do! 
Click on the picture above for a link!





It's also that time of year for seeds! Planting, planning, and anticipating! So excited for what this spring/summer growing season will hold for us! 

Praying for good health, good weather, and great crops! 

Blessings!