"Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week!" [source]
That's total insanity, no wonder we have obesity rates at the highest its been and why not only adults, but children are also facing diabetes at alarming rates.
So, must we give up all the sweet things we love to bake? Certainly not but there is an alternative that is not only a healthy replacement to sugar, but also has health benefits when it is consumed.
The answer comes from the colder parts of the country, and despite the name, sugar making, the only sweetness here is from maple trees.
Ahh, light and fluffy, with fresh rosemary and savory cheeses! These Rosemary Gruyere Savory Scones are the perfect addition to your afternoon luncheon or tea. Served with a crustless spinach quiche and the perfect cuppa earl grey or English breakfast tea and you are set for a satisfying meal.
These scones come together quickly and are easily made in a pinch when you find out company is coming over or when you realize there isn't anything to serve with your tea. But the question begs to be answered. What is the difference between a scone and a biscuit?
If we could sum up our July in a few words I think they would be: Plant, harvest, eggs, zucchini, dirt, rocks..... and God's beauty. Pictured above is our 'coming soon' download in our Simple and Easy Steps to Ditch the Grocery Store series. If you haven't read part one you may find that here and the part 2 of 6 is coming early this week.
In the Barnyard...
Chickens! Now that we ferment and regulate their feed (thanks to Justin Rhodes and family at Abundant Permaculture) they know that I feed them and are SURE that I have food every time they see me. Or hear me. Or think they do! One was sure my camera was food and took a nip at it and me.
See that mean look in her eye?! Watch out!!
Ok moving on to something MUCH cuter. My buddy Tiny is the sweetest little lamb. We will see how this Farmer's Wife does when it comes time to butcher in the fall.
In the Greenhouse...
Transplanting round two of the pole beans hoping they survive the pill bug infestation.
Yep, that pill bug infestation! Timmmmmmber! I call them little lumber jacks. The Oregon extension office told me they only eat dead and decaying matter. Maybe after they fall over the bean plant... but it wasn't decaying when they fell it. Accepting all tips of how to be done with these things. A live trap so I can feed them to the chickens would be awesome. So far nothing has worked.
Harvesting spinach seed from the green house plants. I think we have enough for quite some time.
Harvest from our spring greenhouse clean up. Learning out the cabbage patch, it did ok considering it didn't look like it was going to do anything a month or two ago. Some bits of lettuce, green onions and the eggs.... those came out of the barn not the greenhouse. ::wink:: ::wink::
Around the Farm...
Our list of reasons for LIKING all the abundance of wild blackberries is actually growing though we are still constantly cutting them down and using every thing not made from chemicals to get them to go away. List of reasons we DO like them: #1 Pigmy Goat food = less animal feed #2 Blackberry leaves make great tea, check out our Bloom'n Hibiscus #3 Those lovely blackberries! Some work but they are worth it.
Red clover.... red clover.... send some Farmer's Wife tea right over! We love this time of year when the tea grows in our yard.
Bloom'n oregano! The bee's are loving this!
Lavender has to be the Farmer's and my favorite herb. Its such a pleasure to see it bloom and then to have that beauty in the yard. I have such a hard time cutting it down to dry it but here it goes! Featured in our Rose City Repose and Lavender Earl Grey Teas.
Oregano, rosemary and thyme from the yard going into one of our farm fresh meals.
Breaking ground on our up and coming tea studio!
After being sick for six weeks last year I'm finally making it back into the Mary Garden to clean it up and hopefully find a way to keep all the weeds (unwanted plants) out. Trying out some watermelon plants up here for now since we ran out of space in the crop garden.
In the Farm Kitchen...
One of our last salads with snap peas in it, good bye spring and yellow summer!
Sourdough Breakfast Braid featuring Mt. Hope Farm's Aroina Berry Fruit Spread.
Chicken Pesto Salad Sandwich with Kale Pesto and dehydrated tomatoes from last years garden.
Local grass fed beef, organic tomato sauce, garden fresh zucchini, and onion/garlic/mushrooms from the farmer's market...... all going into this.....
Farm grown lunch; eggs from the chickens, zucchini from the garden, Rosemary from our herb garden and cherry plums from our wild trees.
Kale Grain Salad with locally grown quinoa, wild black berries, locally picked blue berries and wild cherry grapes with a watermelon from the farmer's market.
Its been hot so salads are in order! This was a Chicken Grain Salad with kale and zucchini from the garden topped with tomatillo salsa from last years garden.
In the Crop Garden...
Pulling grass and remulching the crop garden to give the starts a better chance at out growing the weeds.
The tomatillos and zucchini are coming along. Also a few cabbage seed pods in the greenhouse.
The crop garden is filling in and looking good. The tomatillos are in bloom and so are the potatoes!
Our nasturtiums are blooming! We planted them in the crop garden to help with insect replant and bee attraction.
A baby cantaloupe! Sweetness is in our future...
Our first pickling cucumbers are in their jar fermenting. Its super simple and a great way to skip the heat of canning. If you would like a short video tutorial make sure to follow us on Instagram!
In the Farm Store ...
We are still spending every other Saturday at the Salem Saturday Market enjoying meeting new customers and sharing our tea. Pictured below is some sample tea, make sure to stop by and try a cup at our next market August 6th!
Our lovely sign carved by the Farmer's brother-in-law and our bulk single teas.
Trying out a new tea display and trying to beat the sun! St. Fiacre is on guard making sure they don't get too hot.
This lovely photo is from Elizabeth Looney at the ModernHippy87 on Instagram. We swapped some goods during the #trademethursday swap. She took this lovely photo of our end of the trade. She did such a good job!
Thanks for visiting us down on the farm for July's update! We hope to see you in a day or two with our newest blog series; Simple and Easy Skills Make You Grocery Store Free . From our farm to you home we hope you have a blessed week!
Bread has been the staff of life for many ages and only in recent times has it come under attack for being hard to digest and nay even the cause of our ill digestion.
Celiac disease is on the rise and gluten free diets are all the rage. Did our staff of life go bad on us or did something change?
In our post today we are sharing a few thoughts on wheat along with our family recipe for whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread. It turns out, that it may not be the wheat itself at all.
Our family started using a sour dough starter about 2 years ago. I forget now how we stumbled upon it but my sister in law and I traded tips on sourdough back and forth for some time. I took a sour dough course online and since then we have been making several things with our starter.
When we started I tried to make my own starter from scratch and after many failed attempts and brick loafs I bought a boxed starter from Cultures for Health. From there on out things went much better. Once a week or more we have sour dough pancakes which are super easy to make and very tasty. We noticed with those right away that we didn't 'feel like a pancake' after eating them like we usually did with the white flour non-sourdough pancakes we had eaten for years . These freshly ground whole wheat sour dough not only tasted better but was easier to digest. We have also had sourdough cake, sourdough pie crust, sourdough muffins, and of course sourdough bread which I'm still trying to master. Today I wanted to share our sourdough English muffins as a favor to a friend that requested it, who would like to make them as well.
Ingredients: (Recipe makes appox. 8-12 muffins)
- 1 cup Active Sour Dough Starter (we are using a whole wheat one in this recipe, though any should do)
- 4-5 cups of freshly ground hard red winter wheat
- 2 cups of milk (here we are using Organic soy but any non-dairy milk or water will work)
- 2 TBL raw honey
- 2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp sea salt (We love using Real Salt)
A quick note about the flour used in this recipe. If you have a starter that uses a flour other than whole wheat you are welcome to use that type of flour to make your english muffins as sour dough starters prefer the flour they are use to being fed when making baked goods out of it. The starter may act differently if a different type of flour is used. We have always fed ours with hard red winter wheat as when we tried to feed it hard red spring wheat the starter did not grow as well or act as we needed it to. Store bought wheat will work as well but again it may act differently than you see here.
Freshly milled flour is the best way to utilize all the lovely nutrients that God placed in the wheat berry. Store bought flour, even whole wheat, has the bran and other parts removed to help keep it shelf stable otherwise it would go rancid quickly. The more that the flour you use is in its natural form the more health benefits you will get from it. We have been blessed with a Nutrimill for grinding wheat but have also previously used a Wondermill Jr. which is not electric. I'm afraid our wheat grinders got worn out and that is when we welcomed the electric mill. I highly recommend the Nutrimill, it has done a wonderful and consistent job. Our wheat berries are ordered from Azure Standard and sometimes we get them in the bulk section at Winco who usually carries Wheat Montana brand but our starter has been finicky with that on occasion so we stick with Azure for the most part.
The first step to making Sourdough English Muffins….
The night before or early in the morning mix your 1 cup of active sourdough starter (it does not have to be in its bubbly risen state as with bread but it should have been feed in the last 12 hours or so) with your 2 cups of milk. Once mixed well you will have sort of a thick looking milk with specs from your flour.
Add your flour, starting with 3-4 cups. Mix that well and see how sticky or dry your dough is. It will change depending on the freshness of your flour, which flour you are using and how wet your starter was. You want to add enough flour that the dough comes off the mixer bowl but make sure it is still sticky to the touch. Whole wheat flour is going to suck up some of the moisture but later on you will be adding honey that will make it sticky too so it will take some practice. Always err on the side of too wet, you can add it later even though it won't ferment but you can't take it out and will have dry muffins. The dough show here below the pictures is still just a little bit sticky, so I'll add just a little more flour, maybe 1 tablespoon or so.
Mix it up some more…
While sourdough English muffins don't need to be kneaded, a part I love, I do knead them a little in the mixer. Now that we added our flour I let the mixer knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it all comes off the edge of the bowl and starts to form a nice ball of dough. A quick tip! Make sure that you either wash the mixer/spoon right away or put it in water to soak. Sourdough starter is like glue and is very hard to get off if left to dry. Now its time to take a break!
Let the dough ferment…
Sourdough is not like commercial yeast in that it will take one hour to rise and then be ready. Sour dough works on its own time fermenting the dough as it rests. I find that my starter takes about 4 hours, some others say theirs will go 12 hours or something in-between. I have found though that if I let mine go past 4-6 hours that it usually starts to deflate so it will depend on the temperature of the room that the dough is in and how active your sourdough is.
If its a cold day I like to part it on a little chair in front of the wood stove, or on top of the dehydrater and turn it on low to warm it up or on the back of the stove if I'm baking and heat is coming out of the vent there. The top of the refrigerator is also a warm spot, or even out on the porch if its a sunny day (with plastic wrap over the top or a towel to keep out bugs, and kids fingers! )
Time to get cook'n!
Now that it has been 4 hours or so the sourdough has risen to about double its size. Warm up your griddle and/or frying pan to about 375 degrees. We have an electric griddle that takes care of this size recipe pretty easily with only a couple left for a second round.
Its now time to add the 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Sprinkle that over the top of your dough and put the mixing attachment back on and mix until all the new items are evenly mixed in. (If you placed your dough in a different bowl its just fine to move it back to the mixing bowl)
Once those are all mixed together, dump your dough out onto a rolling service that is well floured (according to how sticky your dough is). If you want you can use a rolling pin and roll your dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Usually I just pat out our dough because the amount is rather small and its less to clean that way! Using a biscuit cutter or as we use, a wide mouth canning lid, cut out your muffins. Place your muffins on the griddle or frying pan and cook on a med. low heat until they are nice and brown on one side. About 10-15 minutes or so depending on the consistency of your dough. Then turn the muffins over and do the same to the other side making sure the middles of the muffins on the outside are not squishy before taking them off the griddle.
Let cool and then slice and toast! They make great mini sandwiches, toast, mini pizzas and more. We mostly use this recipe for the bread in our house because they are simple and easy to make with just a little bit of planning ahead. Enjoy!
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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