*You may want to avoid this post if you’re not keen on photos of animals that will end up in our freezer and later the cook pot.This post was supposed to go up a few weeks ago. When the hunt was still relevant and fresh in my mind but I’m just barely coming out of the swamp that is Baby Bootie season in my Etsy Shop so it’s late. Very late.
This past October we drove out to where Travis grew up to do some Duck and Goose Hunting for the second time. It’s become one of those trips that is fun for so many reasons. One we get to visit with my inlaws, two we get to do some hunting, and three we get to fill the freezer a little bit more.
It’s an all around good time. The kids really enjoy the whole hunting experience and I really enjoy the opportunity to get out as well. I even got out once or twice without any kids thanks to Grandma!
The Geese were migrating while we were there and seeing the massive flocks was pretty incredible.
On top of all the ducks and geese we saw there were lots of antelope to be found and even a very large badger one night.
We had a very succesful week of hunting and turned all those birds into various kinds of very tasty sausage.
We have a slightly ridiculous amounts of beets this year. Last year was the first year we grew them and the entire family loved them so we grew three times as much this year. Beets should keep well in cold storage so I’m looking forward to eating them most of the winter.
However, lots of beets means learning new ways of preparing them so last week I took a stab at making beet pasta. It turned out great. The dough was a really pretty color and the kids thought that was pretty awesome. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the color of the pasta after it had been cooked. Most of the red came out in the water so we had very pale pink noodles. Aside from that they were easy to make and not a whole lot more time consuming that making regular pasta.
Want to make your own beet pasta? Here’s how I did it.
Recipe makes approximately 8 servings. This is a long process although not a ton of work. Start early!
Peel and chop 1-2 beets. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees until soft. Let cool.
If you store your eggs in the fridge, take 3 out to bring them to room temperature.
Blend until smooth in a blender. Try not to cringe at the color whirling around in your blender…
Once your beets are blended, measure out half a cup of puree. Save any leftovers for another meal, throw it in the freezer, or feed it to your baby if you have one!
Put 3 cups of all purpose flour in a stand mixer and crack your three room temperature eggs in.
Use the dough hook to mix all the ingredients together. Don’t have a stand mixer? No problem, use your hands and your dough will most likely turn out even better than mine.
Continue to knead your dough. Add flour until your dough is smooth and not sticky. Depending on the size of your eggs you may need to add quite a bit more, or just a small amount. If your dough is ever too dry you can add a bit of water.
Once your dough is looking smooth and elastic, remove it from the bowl and knead by hand for about five minutes. Longer if you’re tough, shorter if you’re a weakling when it comes to kneading. Like me.
Check out the color of that dough!
Cover your dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least half an hour. Longer if you have time!
After the rest period split your dough in to four sections. Keep one section out and cover the other three back up.
The rest of my instructions include using a pasta machine. If you don’t have one you can hand roll and cut them. I tried to find a good online tutorial for this but I didn’t have much luck. It might be worth looking into however, I’ve done it before and it’s not very difficult.
Cut your small section in half and roll one piece through the thickest setting on your pasta machine. Fold it in half and run it through again. Continue to fold and run through until you get a nice uniform piece. When you get a nice piece start rolling it through thinner settings until you get to the second smallest setting, or smallest, depending on your preference.
Cut your long piece in half. This is totally optional, I do it because my pasta machine is terrible at cutting the noodles so the longer they are the more of a pain it is for me to separate them.
Dust with more flour and run it through your choice of noodle. I always use my linguine cutter again because I have to separate all my noodles after they have been cut and that takes twice as long on the spaghetti cutter.
Repeat steps with all the dough.
This is also where I get help. Lots of help. Three kids fighting over who gets to help in fact!
The next step is optional. I like to hang my noodles partly because I freeze half of them and partly because I find if they dry for a half hour or so they just come out a nicer texture. You can however cut and boil your noodles right away. If you don’t hang them, flour them liberally as you continue to cut the rest or you’ll get a big pile of noodles all stuck together.
I use my laundry rack to dry my noodles. And yes I wash it before and after!It looks like a lot of noodles but this is barely enough for two meals for my family.
Once your noodles have hung for a bit get a big pot of salted water boiling. Add your noodles and cook for about 5-7 minutes. I’ve never actually timed it I just keep sneaking noodles and trying them until they are ready.
Drain and serve any way you like!
3 eggs, room temperature
3-4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup beet puree
Combine eggs, 3 cups of flour, and beet puree into a stand mixer. Mix with the dough hook until well combined. Continue to add flour until you get a smooth, elastic, and not sticky dough. Let rest for at least half an hour. Roll out and cut. Boil in salted water for 5-7 minutes.
My littlest dude is eight months. Already. This means that he’s been on solid food for a couple of months already. I made a decision when I was still pregnant with him to try to completely avoid processed food and formula for him. At first I thought it would be a little difficult when it came to baby cereal but it turns out it was extremely easy. I mostly fed him oatmeal cereal at the start and then quickly switched to regular cooked oatmeal when I decided to do Baby Led Weaning with him.
It’s really easy to make baby oatmeal. All you have to do is dump a couple of cups of instant oats in a blender or food processor and blend! I then put it in a mason jar and stored it in the fridge. When it came time to make Lachlan cereal I put a couple of spoon fulls in a bowl and poured boiling water over top, whisking as I poured. It starts out looking like it will be really lumpy but once it cooks a bit and you whisk it with a fork it smooths out.The only other baby cereal I made was rice cereal. I bought heritage grain short rice and cooked up a pot of it. Then I blended it and poured it into ice cube trays and froze them. Then I just pulled out a cube or two whenever I needed one. If you avoid using the microwave you have to remember to pull it out ahead of time to let it defrost then add a bit of boiling water to warm it up.
Have you made baby cereal before? How did you do it?
A few months ago I found out that you could buy spinach frozen in little cubes which I thought was brilliant. That led to me thinking “I could do that!” Thankfully we’ve had an abundance of spinach this spring so I’ve had to resort to freezing some a couple times already. It’s really easy, quick, and seriously so handy.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any step by step pictures when I froze some last but really it’s so simple you don’t need them.
Drain the water out well and puree it in a blender or food processor
Scoop it into ice cube trays, tamp them down a couple of times to get air bubbles out.
Once the spinach is totally frozen pop them out and put them in a freezer safe container.
One or two cubes is seriously close to a huge bowl full of spinach so adding a couple of cubes to your dinner packs a lot of spinach punch. I also add these to smoothies, 2-3 cubes doesn’t change the taste or texture at all and adds a lot of nutrients.
The salad greens in our cold frames are, in a word, flourishing. We have more than enough spinach to eat every day and things like arugula, radishes, and carrots are all peeking their heads up, some with more bravery than others.
this cold frame was seeded just last month!
Among the spinach we had some open space which was quickly taken over by the fast growing chick weed. Chick weed takes over just about everything so it had to come out but why just compost it? Instead I turned it into chick weed pasta! It was even better than I expected.
pasta all rolled out and ready to be cut
chick weed linguine!
Supper last night turned out to be a join affair, I made the noodles while Travis bbq’d then fried up some of his home made sausage. Trav also made up a tasty alfredo sauce and added in some more chopped chick weed and some spinach.
It was good. More than good.
I got the basic recipe for the noodles from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. He did a post a while back on Nettle Pasta so I just substituted the nettles for chick weed. His nettle pasta recipe can be found here.
The only thing I will do differently next time is to at least double the amount of chick weed, or other greens than I used. I want my noodles to be ridiculously green, just for fun.
We all know flax is good for us right? It’s also one of those things you can add to almost anything, muffins, cookies, bread, smoothies, meatballs, without changing the flavor of what your making but much at all. It’s also not super cheap. Especially if you want to buy organic. Flax is also not nearly as effective whole as it is milled, and milled is even more expensive than whole.
Enter the coffee grinder. I buy all my flax seed whole and grind up as I need it. We bought a huge 22kg bag from a local farmer last month and I split it in half with 2 friends. (they each took 1/4, I took 1/2 the bag). Needless to say I have a LOT of flax seed right now. I’m adding it to everything and at the price we paid for such a big bag was really good.
You can also buy flax seed in bulk at most organic stores, even Superstore I believe.
I already had an old coffee grinder that didn’t work that great so that’s what I used. I simply gave it a good clean and now I use it solely for flax. You can get cheap grinders for as little as $15. If you want to use an old coffee grinder like I do, just grind a handful of white rice, it supposedly cleans it up really well.
Last month I mentioned that we’re really changing the way we do food. Switching over to local organic whenever we can and first and foremost growing and doing what we can ourselves. So far we’ve done pretty good but there’s always more to do.
Here’s what we’ve done lately.
These lovely Rose Hips are currently fermenting into some (hopefully) delicious wine. We did a little taste test a few nights ago and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I’m sometimes a little bit sceptical of Travis’ experiments but ninety nine percent of the time His stuff turns out amazingly.
rose hip wine
no that’s not olive oil, just proof you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make wine, that’s more rose hip wine in there.
the wine rack Travis built, as of now there are more empties than full bottles but once all those carboys get bottled up we should be good for a while
Our freezer is now totally full. I had planned to buy a few chickens from a local free-range farm but I just don’t have space for them right now. We still have a decent amount of beans, zucchini, and carrots from our garden last year, they should last us until harvest time again. We’ve also got some venison in there and a few kg’s of flour from Highwood Crossing. Travis made some sausage a while bag so we’ve got that as well. In all honesty we could probably eat out of freezer alone quite comfortably for a while.
We’ve ordered a bunch of seeds in for this Springs garden. We’ve planted some carrots already in one of our cold frames so I’m curious to see when those will start coming up. I’m actually really excited for this years garden, we’re trying lots of new things so it will be fun to see what does well and what doesn’t.
I’ve been working on cutting out white sugar from all my baking and one of the big things I’ve been replacing it with is maple syrup. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much more expensive than white sugar but it’s also much better for you.
I made these muffins this morning and they turned out so good. I used 3/4 cup of maple syrup which ended up being a bit sweet for me so next time I’ll only use 1/2 cup.
Maple Blueberry Muffins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup quick oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup wild blueberries
*you could use regular whole wheat flour of course, but the stone ground really gives a good texture. I get mine from Highwood Crossing
Beat together the butter and maple syrup and add in the eggs and salt.
Mix together flours, oats, and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients alternately with the buttermilk until it is all combined. Fold in the blueberries. If you don’t want your blueberries to “bleed” into your batter turning it purple, then mix them in with a bit of the flour mixture first.
Scoop your batter into muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 mins, or until golden brown.
**to make sour milk add 1 tbsp of vinegar to your 1/2 cup milk and let stand for about 10 mins. I recently started making butter so I find myself with buttermilk all the time but I really can’t tell the difference in baking between sour and buttermilk.