Thursday, February 23, 2012

Behold, the Triumphant Loaf!

That's the bread I made today.  Seriously.  A new light has shone like a beacon of promise into my world of homemade carbohydrate delight.  And just what was it that evoked such a rapturous response?  Get ready for it...

Whole Grain Bread.

Yup.  The name does not do justice to the glory of this loaf.  But I've been searching for about ten years for a whole wheat bread recipe that met my expectations for excellent, healthy homemade bread and folks, this is it.  The secret?  "Soaking" the dough overnight.  Basically you combine the ingrediets (minus the yeast) and let it sit overnight.  The dough develops an ever-so-slight sourdough-like tanginess, but it's the texture of this bread that really blew me away.  No more dry, crumbling whole wheat!  This bread is chewy, soft, and "stretchy" much like white bread.  Soaking whole grains also has nutrition benefits as well.  According to Sally Fallon in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions, "Soaking increases vitamin content and makes all the nutrients in grain more available.  This method has the further advantage of so softening whole meal flour that the final product is often indistinguishable from one made with white flour...not characterized by the heaviness that can make whole grain products so unpalatable."  I couldn't have said it better.  (That cookbook, by the way, is mind-blowing.  At least if you get excited about that kind of thing...)

I can't wait to try it sliced and toasted for grilled cheese tomorrow for lunch!  I'm not going to give you the complete recipe here because, well, it's not my recipe!  Go check out the recipe, Soaked Whole Grain Bread at one of my very favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking.  I would recommend doing 1/2 a batch unless you have a professional sized stand mixer (or very strong mixing muscles).

I am realizing as I write this that I must be some kind of bread nerd.  I mean seriously, who really gets this worked up over a slice of bread?  Well, I do.  And maybe once you try this recipe, you will too!  We're supposed to get a bunch of snow today, so go ahead and make yourself some homemade bread while you're snowed in!

See where I poked it?  Soft and spongy, not dry and crumbly!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I Love the Library Book Sale...

Seven great books for $1.75, that's why!  Here's what I scored last night...

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson.  This is a wonderful book.  Lawson ranks right up there as one of my favorite childrens' authors.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.  Never read this or any of her books, but it's a Newberry winner and on our history curriculum's supplemental reading list, so I picked it up.

Aster Aardvark's Alphabet Adventures by Steven Kellogg.  Here's my favorite page, letter "I":
"Infatuated with Iris Ibis, the illustrious ice skater, Irving Iguana inquired at her island igloo, but an intern icily insisted that Iris was indefinitely indisposed and an interview was impossible.  The iguana ignored this information and impulsively introduced itself to Iris, who was inspired by its invitation to indulge immoderately in ice cream."
Now that's my kind of alphabet book!

The Magic Fishbone by Charles Dickens.  I didn't know Dickens wrote any short stories for children.  Judging by the first page, it's going to be a fun one: [the king and queen] "had nineteen children, and were always having more.  Seventeen of these children took care of the baby; and Alicia, the eldest, took care of them all.  Their ages varied from seven to seven months..."

Bambi by Felix Salten

Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? by Jean Fritz.  If you have elementary-age children, you must check out Fritz's books!  Great little historical fiction books, most of which are short chapter books.

Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle.  For my oldest son.  I read Men of Iron by Pyle to him when he was about 6 (yes, 6!) and he fell in love with the world of knights and chivalry.  I hope this classic will be as much of a hit!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone--love on those kiddos and read a book!  And of course, give some lovin' to your sweetheart too...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Name Game Giveaway Winner!

The winner is...Shawna!  Congratulations!  Thanks to everyone who entered!  Nobody guessed our farm's name, but you all had some great ideas.  I would have to give the "most creative" credit to Matt, who suggested "From the Ground Up".  Sorta like that one...

Since I'm sure you'll all wondering, the name of our farm is...

(drumroll please.............)

"The Family Farm"!

Simple and easy, and it doesn't limit us to a certain aspect of farming, like if we chose "Courser Meats" or something like that.  But best of all, I hope lots of conversations in the near future will go something like this:

"Wow, this chicken tastes amazing!  Where did you get it?"

"At the family farm."

"Oh, I totally didn't know your family had a farm..."

"We don't!  It's the name of the place where we buy our meat.  They have such great products and they're really friendly.  They always welcome visitors, so you should check them out."

"Great!  I think we will!"

Catchy, isn't it?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Name Game!

I told you in the last post that we would be announcing the name of our farm in the near future.  Well, I thought we would have a little fun with it!  We're going to do a short giveaway!  Take a guess at our farm's name and leave it as a comment.  Be creative--who knows, it might earn you extra entries:)

You can also earn extra entries a few other ways:

1) Post a link to the giveaway on facebook (2 entries)
2) Tweet about the giveaway (2 entries)
3) "Follow" our blog with Google FriendConnect (2 entries)  If you're already following, just say so and you'll get your entries
4) Share the giveaway on your blog (4 entries)

Please make sure to leave a comment stating each type of entry you completed.  And sorry to some of you who already know our name...I got ahead of myself last night and sent a message to some of you about it!  So, unfortunately you not elligible...

So, I'm sure you're wondering just what the lovely prize will be, right?  How about a bag of homemade Cranberry Almond Granola and 2 sample bars of soap?  Can't wait to hear your responses!

The giveaway will end Friday night at midnight.  Yup, just 2 short days to get it done!  We're eager to get our facebook page set up and all that, so this will be quick!

And, just for fun, here's a clip that I kept thinking of in regards to "saying our name".  Couldn't resist!  One of my favorite movies..."Call my name!!!"