Monday, January 31, 2011


Finally! Our first baby goats of the year have arrived! I was sitting at the kitchen table earlier this afternoon and heard the goats hollering. So I went to the back door and stepped out to see if anything was going on. All the goats except Marshmellow were out in the front field. Then I heard a baby goat cry. So I grabbed my hat and coat, put them on, and stepped into my rubber boots and hurried off to the barn. When I walked into the stable, I saw two baby goats on the stable floor. Marshmellow was laying down, but got up to see me. When she stood up, there was a third baby goat between her and the stable wall!

Marshmellow has always produced plenty of milk, so hopefully after a week or so, we'll be able to drink goat milk again, as long as the babies get what they need first. Then I can make soft cheeses, kefir, yogurt, and freeze more milk for my goat milk soaps.

And the fun of playing with baby goats will commence very soon. I enjoy watching them run and literally bounce across the field or off the stable walls. And they love to play follow the leader with whomever comes out to the field to play with them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sprouted Grains

Continuing on the bread theme, I've learned about sprouting grains recently. Right now I have sprouted wheat berries dehydrating in my oven. After they dry and then cool, I will put them in a jar until I have time, in couple of days, to grind them into sprouted whole wheat flour. I'll use the sprouted flour to make biscuits, or tortillas, or bread, or pancakes....anything I want with whole wheat flour added to it.

But what's the big deal with sprouting grains? One reason is sprouted grains produce Vitamin C and increase some of the B vitamins. Sprouted grains also neutralize enzyme inhibitors and aids the good enzymes in our bodies' digestion process. Another interesting thing I've read about sprouted grain flours, is that it is easier on diabetics' blood sugar levels. I'm a fan of several nutrient-dense food pages on FaceBook and have several books on healthy eating and that's where I have found my information, plus various food websites. However, don't take my word for it, I'm NOT a medical professional. Do your own research, talk to your medical professional, and decide for yourself.

Next week I will sprout rye berries for flour. And also next week, my free order from Gardens Alive should arrive. I ordered a seed sprouter and some sprouting seeds. I want to try sprouting various seeds to steam and eat, add to breads, stir fries, casseroles, salads, soups, sandwiches, etc. Want to try something different and healthy? I recommend checking into sprouting grains and seeds. Some nuts can be sprouted, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Raisin Walnut Bread

After blogging yesterday about baking bread, I had to share with you the new bread I baked yesterday afternoon. From the title you can see it's Raisin Walnut Bread. I used an Oatmeal Bread recipe from the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." I made a few substitutions, like using honey because I didn't have maple syrup. And I used a whole cup of sprouted whole wheat flour and left out the oat and wheat bran. Then when the dough was ready, I took out a 1/3 of the dough; and after lightly flouring the bread and the counter, I rolled it out, sprinkled on raisins and walnuts, rolled it up and put it in a loaf pan, let it rise, and then baked. OOOhhhh my!!!! It smelled so good! I also used Black Walnuts I bought at one of the local farmers' markets in my area. If you've ever tasted Black Walnuts, you know they have a stronger flavor than English Walnuts. We had this bread this morning with breakfast, toasted, with cream cheese. This bread was absolutely delicious! I bet it would make good French Toast, too!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home-made Bread!

I love to bake bread! I love everything about making bread! I can't remember when I last bought a loaf of bread in the grocery store.....very few times since we've lived here at Patchwork Acres and that's been since September 1998!

I remember Mama baking bread occasionally when I was a little girl. It smelled so good while it was baking and then she took it out of the oven and let it cool a bit. After Mama sliced it, my sisters and I might get a piece of fresh, warm bread with butter and home-made jam for a snack, instead of having to wait until suppertime!

Maybe it started with play dough. Mama made play dough for my sisters and me when we were young. We would play and make pretend food that we "ate" or "fed" to our dolls. I liked the feel of the play dough in my hands. Now as a grown up, many years later, I enjoy kneading the bread dough and feeling how it turns smooth after several minutes.

There are several ways to make bread. There's the "traditional" way of mixing your ingredients and kneading the dough and letting it rise once or twice, shaping, another rise, then baking. Not hard to do, but it takes some time.

An easy way to bake bread is to use a bread machine. My husband bought me a bread machine for Christmas many years ago (I'm on my second one now). He liked home-made bread; and with a bread machine I couldn't say that I didn't have time to bake bread. Basically, you put your ingredients in the loaf pan, put it in the machine, close the lid, and push the button or set the timer and later you have fresh baked bread!

Another wonderful kind of bread is sourdough, which I've been making quite a lot of lately. Sourdough breads keep better than other home-made breads. Sourdough bread is made by using a portion of the sourdough starter and adding salt, water, and flour. After mixing, let it set for at least a couple of hours. Then add more flour, knead, shape, rise, and bake. If you know about sourdough, you may also know it's good for baking muffins, dinner rolls, cakes, and sweet rolls/breads.

I've also been making no-knead artisan breads. I have the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I highly recommend this book. And, no, I do not receive any compensation by saying I like this book. I don't even know the authors. I have made a LOT of the recipes in this book. For folks who want delicious bread with minimal time invested, this is the way to go. The only thing to remember is that the dough is a slacker dough than most breads. These breads are similar to sourdough in this way: water, yeast, salt, and flour (and whatever else the recipe calls for) are mixed up, covered, and left to sit for 2 hours. Then the bread can baked right away or the dough put in the fridge to bake later. The book explains that the bread can be baked right away, but the dough is easier to handle once it's chilled. Take out as much dough as you want at a time, shape, let rise, then bake. A pan of water in the oven with the bread makes a crispy, artisan crust. And the aroma is heavenly!

You can make your breads unique and tasty by using different flours and/or adding other items.....raisins, cinnamon, and nuts for Raisin Bread; cheese and herbs; various seeds, other kinds of dried fruits....whatever you and your family like. You can shape your bread in a variety of ways, as well.....a braided loaf, a round loaf, a long loaf, a traditional loaf in a bread pan.

Are you hungry for home-made bread now! Well, get going! Put on your apron and get baking! Your family will love you for it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cheese Making Demo, Etc.

Oh, my!!! I haven't blogged in quite a while. My daughter and I are spending the night in a motel because she has an Orientation Day tomorrow at the school she will be attending this Fall. It has wireless internet and I'm having fun with the faster access, so I thought I'd catch up on my blogs.

Several weeks ago some 4-Hers from my County came to my house to watch and help me make mozzarella cheese with my goat milk. First I heated the milk up and explained the process to the kids and their parents. While the milk was coagulating, we went to the barn to see the goats. The kids enjoyed the babies goats and our new litter of kittens. Then we went back to the house, washed hands and stretched the mozzarella. And of course, they got to sample the cheese, plus the pineapple cheesecake and some feta that I had made for them. Everyone who tasted the cheese stuff liked it.

I'm in the same boat this year as last with my garden. It's either been raining or I haven't been home or had something else that had to be done and I'm behind in getting my garden planted. I do have peas, carrots, and lettuce up. And I did get a few tomato plants put in the ground, but I'm no where near finished yet. It's time to plant everything now! Guess I'll have a busy week next week. It's supposed to be warmer as well.

And I still have lots of soap to make to fill an order, plus soaps for all my markets. Three are open now and next month my fourth market will be open. Can you say B-U-S-Y?

I did finish the red, lacy, cotton sweater for my younger daughter. I'm currently working on a beautiful lacy, cabled baby afghan for my nephew and his wife. They are expecting their first baby later this summer. After I finish it, I have some hats and scarves to make my younger daughter. She wants several to choose from, not just one for the whole winter season. I am also going to make some wool mittens for a friend whose hands stay cold, unless it's above a certain temperature, because of the meds he's taking.

Until next time!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Farmers' Market 2010

Today was the opening day of one of 4 farmers' markets where I am a vendor and the one where I am the Market Manager. The morning started out cool, but quickly warmed up. A few vendors had arrived earlier than I did. We hurried to set up and the rush of customers started. Hubby and Daughter decided they'd better direct traffic and show the market customers where to park. The Market purchased 2 parking signs and I believe that helped. Parking did go better today than last year, but still had a couple folks try to drive out the wrong way. And a couple folks didn't like being asked to move their vehicles and drove off in a huff. Oh, well, we don't need customers like that. I've decided to write/print some type of a newsletter explaining the customer parking situation. I'll have copies made and then my son and other kids at the market can pass them out to the customers.

Now to study my Sunday School's my turn to teach tomorrow. Then off to work in the garden.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring is Here at Patchwork Acres

Haven't posted in quite a while...again! Too much going on. We're getting lots of delicious goat milk and I have been making lots of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, only because they are the quickest to make. I did make cottage cheese last week and it's almost gone. I also made some mild feta cheese because a couple of folks at church asked me to. I'm hoping that once the farmers markets start (next Saturday is the first one!!!) that I will pick up a few more milk and/or cheese customers. Will make more mozzarella, ricotta, and some strong feta this week.

Spring is finally here!!!!!! And it's been rather windy lately, but at least it's warm now. I've been working in my garden in between making soap, slicing soap, wrapping soap and my regular chores....laundry, cooking, baking, trying to clean house. I had to replant my peas because the first ones didn't come up. Probably because I planted old seed; so I bought new and hopefully they will be sprouting up this week. The spinach mustard and the radishes are up, as well as lettuce and Chinese cabbage. Still have lots of gardening work to keep me and my family busy all summer. If you garden, you know it's an ongoing job.

A funny thing happened last week. I've always heard that calico cats are only female and sterile. But the vets office told me that calicos can have babies. Well, our calico cat had her first and last litter of 5 kittens on April Fool's Day! I say last because after her babies are old enough, Cali will be going to the vets to be fixed and the kittens will get new homes.

The red lacy cotton cardigan I knitted for my daughter is finally finished except for weaving in the ends and sewing on 2 buttons. I'll have to take a picture and post later.

A couple of weeks ago, I set up with one my farmers' markets at a Home and Garden Show. We met lots of folks and sold a lot of soap. I'm looking forward to the farmers' markets starting again.

And since today is Easter Sunday, I hope everyone had a blessed day in celebrating, remembering how our Lord Jesus died for our sins and the best news: He ROSE from the dead! The tomb is empty! Jesus paid the price for our sins and some day we'll be in Heaven with Him! Jesus is Risen! Alleluia, he is risen indeed!

Until next time!