Friday 31 January 2014

My Favourite Breakfast, by Kira

This has been my favourite breakfast lately, savoury, spicy and fresh.
Three fried eggs
A little sharp cheese, grated
A handful of sprouts
A tablespoon of organic extra virgin olive oil
A dash of hot sauce
And a pinch of sea salt

Thursday 23 January 2014

Sprouted Lentils, by Kira

I do a lot of sprouting, especially at this time of year.
We try to hibernate during the Winter and trips to town are few and far between.

Lentils are an easy way to eat something alive and fresh.
I have been buying organic dried lentils bulk so I always have them on hand.
They are easy and quick to sprout.

All you need is:
a large glass jar (I like the 56 oz size) with the lid ring.

A piece of cheese cloth or other loose cloth cut to cover the jar opening.

Organic lentils.
I like to use green lentils, but french lentils work well too.
Note that red lentils will not sprout because they are normally processed.

Rinse your lentils.
I usually rinse enough to fill the jar one third of the way.

Put the lentils in the jar and fill it with water to cover the lentils by about 3cm.
Place the cloth over the jar and screw on the ring.

Let the lentils sit overnight to hydrate.

The next day, pour the water out through the cloth.
Fill the jar with fresh water and pour it back out to rinse the lentils.
Let the jar sit upside down for a few minutes to drain.
You don't want extra water sitting in the bottom of the jar as the lentils may rot.

Rinse the lentils once a day.
They should sprout within a day or two.
I keep my sprouts on the kitchen counter.
If your house is on the warm side you may want to keep your sprouts in the fridge once they have reached the sprouted size you want.

We eat sprouts on sandwiches, in stir frys and one of my favourite ways to eat them is tossed with a little roasted sesame oil and salt.


Tuesday 21 January 2014

Perfectly Roasted Garlic, by Kira

Perfectly Roasted Garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 deg.F.
Cut the tops off the garlic bulbs.
Place the garlic into a cast iron frypan or similar oven safe container.
Drizzle all the heads with lots of olive oil.
Cover lightly and roast for 40 minutes or until the bulbs are golden brown and the cloves squeeze out easily.

Squeeze the garlic out of it's paper and store it in a glass jar along with the left over olive oil in the bottom of the pan.

We have been enjoying our roasted garlic on pizza!

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Spiced Honey Spelt Doughnuts, by Kira

We usually make doughnuts when we are rendering lard.
This past year we didn't have pigs, so there was no fresh fat to render.
But we did have some in the freezer from last year.
And every doughnut should be cooked in lard!

So simple; I just added some sweet goodness to a basic bread dough recipe.

Spiced Honey Spelt Doughnuts

6 cups of spelt light flour (you may need a little more or a little less)
1/3 cup of honey
1 3/4 cup of water
1 tbsp yeast
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp of grape seed oil
1 tbsp true cinnamon
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cardamom

Heat the water and honey until the honey dissolves.
Place the liquid in a bowl.
Put the liquid into the bowl of a stand mixer.
(Or just a bowl if you mix it by hand.)
Add the yeast and let it sit until it starts to bubble.
Slowly mix in half the flour, grape seed oil, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon,
and salt.
Slowly add rest of the flour until the dough forms a soft ball.
Cover and let the dough rest for an hour.

Spiced coconut sugar

1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg

Grind all four ingredients with a mortel and pestle and set aside.


Heat enough lard in a cast iron fry pan to generously cover the bottom of the pan.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Cut off small pieces and shape them into little balls and lightly flatten them.
(Try not to work the dough to much.
Overworkng will cause the air bubbles to burst and your doughnuts will be flat.)

When the lard is up to temperature ( about 375 degrees) you can start frying.
Fry for about a minute or until the bottom is golden brown then flip them and fry until that side is golden.

Put the spiced sugar into a paper bag or a container with a lid.
Once the donuts have cooled slightly, place them in the bag and shake them up with the sugar to coat them.

Doughnuts are best eaten when fresh.

They are also tasty dipped in coffee or along side a glass of fresh milk.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Swapping, by Kira.

Andrew and I swapped roles yesterday afternoon.
He went out into the bush first with snowshoes and chainsaw and dropped a few standing dead trees.
He bucked them up, and came in.
Then Andrew filled my role for a few hours,
while I went out for some much needed time alone.
I strapped my snowshoes on,
then grabbed the sleigh and headed into the woods with my frisky dogs.

I've been needing physical activity to get my heart rate up,
and some quiet time to let my mind wander.
I like swapping roles.
It's not that I don't do my share of physical labour on our homestead,
but just not much this time of year.
It helps me appreciate Andrew's role,
as I'm sure filling my shoes helps him appreciate my role.

Friday 3 January 2014

Keeping warm, by Kira


It's almost 30 below right now; the high today will be -21.
Yesterday was the same.
So I thought I would mix our chickens and ducks up a warm treat,
to help with the cold.
In a large steamy pot on the wood stove,
I am cooking a mixture of stale odds and ends.
Raw milk, water, whole oats, quinoa, french lentils, spelt grits, red fife wheat meal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, and garlic.
It actually smells really good.

It's been a few days of this cold weather.
And like many other families, it's been a challenge for us.

How do we cope?
Keep the wood stove hot!
Our home is really just an old cottage and not insulted very well so we need to give the fire special attention when the outdoor temperatures drop below -20c.

The blinds on the windows go down and windows without blinds are covered with blankets or sheets.
Our basement is not insulated so we put the heat line on.
And we put in a fan that draws hot air from upstairs down into the utility room to keep pipes and the water pump from freezing.
The wash machine is in the utility room.
The drain pipe usually freezes, so I get a short break from laundry.

Below -12 it's hard to get the kids out to play.
It's harsh on their young sensitive cheeks and fingers are quick to chill.
We keep busy inside for now with lots of crafts, play, reading, and movies.
Andrew makes sure the wood rack is full and I have been filling our bellies with warm hearty meals.

Tonight we are having fresh spelt flat breads and homemade pea soup,
inspired by my friend Samantha.

I hope everyone is staying warm.
The cold is supposed to break tomorrow and will give us some relief.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Citrus Pear Tart and a Happy New Year, by Kira

We had such a wonderful Christmas.
There were visits from family and friends, great food, music, and snowshoeing.

I have started my seed list and will be placing my orders soon.
Andrew is hard at work finishing off the school house so that it will be ready to host Spring workshops.
Final plans are being made for the small goat barn that will be built once the snow melts.

This year will be busy, exciting, challenging, and rewarding.

To celebrate, I thought I would share this delicious recipe again,
with a few alterations.
This time, I used an all butter crust.
It's usually a mix of lard and butter.
The citrus juice is half mandarin orange and half grapefruit.
I used double the nutmeg and cinnamon.
There are no currents in these tarts either.
The rich, citrus, nutmeg and cinnamon sauce is perfect for these cold wintery days.
Happy New Year!