Friday, August 30, 2013

The New Hens Update!


           It's been a week since we picked up the second set of hens and thought to do an update on my previous post about them. It was a stressful first few days. They would go into full on panic when I would come in and out of the coop. Although they were quickly picking up things from my original 4 hens,they were still missing out on alot. They were refusing to leave the coop at one point and I was pretty sure I was going to lose atleast one of them and was scared every morning when I walked out to give them fresh water and food. My original 4 were cutting them off at the food and water areas and chasing them all over the place.

Then one evening..I saw the above scene. All 4 of them out together. They were up and walking around..and pecking the ground :) They were still totally seperate from the other 4 but this was still exciting. The next few days I spotted them rushing for the food and water at every chance they could get and they were slowly trying to hang out with the cool group.

         They started figuring out that I was the one to welcome and not be afraid of..because I carried with me all sorts of wonderful treats. As the days went on the more hen like they became. They were eating,taking dust baths,scratching and finally clucking..they were so quiet for so long!

        They eat like pigs,can't wait for me to drop the goodies and run around all day. There is still slight tensions with the original 4 but that's normal. There is an actual pecking order and the one dominate female,Hyacinth makes sure everyone knows that she eats first,gets first dibs on all the good stuff and can at anytime,chase you around the chicken run. So life at Hen Valley seems to be going well.

Here is a pic of the original 4..they are thriving and doing so well. Now,if they would just lay eggs already! November can't get here fast enough!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole


          You are going to have to forgive me when it comes to the picture of this fantastic casserole..but I live in the real world and sometimes there is zero time to whip out a wonderful picture of the meal you are about to eat. My family can get pretty testy when it comes to meal time and me telling them that they need to wait incase the slice I just took doesn't look right on the camera..or if I ask one of them to please blow on the food because the steam is messing with my lense...or if I ask that they not touch the rather large piece of dessert while they eat a smaller piece because I need that for a photo. So yeah, you get a real world shot with this recipe.

         It's been one of those weeks where I was rushed for time,not thinking straight, and plain blew it when it came to grocery shopping for the week. I am ususally so good at planning down to the last item but things have fallen to side a bit and I need to get on track. To be fair, I am not buying total crap food..infact, I am not buying enough! I usually meal plan for 7-10 days but this time around I managed 3 whole days. Soooo not cutting it when a family of 4.

So I panicked a bit when all I had was 2 zucchini and not much else to go along with it. I was so happy when I spotted this recipe. I had everything on hand and it turned out wonderful. I'm fairly certain this recipe can handle more add ins..such as left over diced broccoli or maybe even some left over ham or chicken..but leaving it as is works for us aswell. You could also get more creative with the spices,maybe adding in some sauteed onions or maybe even mushrooms!

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

2 medium Zucchini,shredded and squeezed dry
1 Egg
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1 tsp. Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 cup (4oz) Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Cooked Rice

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease a 9x9 inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Place zucchini in a tea towel and squeeze out the liquid. 

In a large bowl, combine egg,yogurt and spices. Stir in cheese,rice, and zucchini. Stir until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture out into prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes,or until lightly set in the middle and lightly browned. Slice into squares and serve with either as a side dish or as a main with freshly baked bread and salad!

Serves: 4 as a main dish
Source: Cupcakes and Kale Chips


Monday, August 26, 2013

Chocolate Loaf


          Happy Monday! I hope everyone survived their weekend. Mine was filled with a visit from a great friends and their two wonderful dogs that we take care of while they zoom off to France for some rest and relaxation for around a month. They are having fun in our new place and getting used to the hens and all new sounds of living in a neighborhood with dogs!

 My 13 yr old headed off to high school this morning and I couldn't believe that I have two kids old enough for high school..time sure flies. He had a very easy in, he needed to show up at 11 and was home by 12:30! My 15 year old heads to his high school tomorrow and also has an easy day and should be home by lunch time about a relaxed week for them. 

Can you believe I have never baked a chocolate loaf before? I see them alot on various blogs but it was just not something I tackled as of yet. I decided to rectify the situation as soon as I saw this recipe on my facebook feed. It was calling me and I decided to answer it! This is such an easy recipe to pull together and has chocolate in it!! The bread is super soft and has a wonderful subtle chocolate flavor. I added in ground cinnamon because I'm a sucker for the cinnamon/chocolate combination but feel free to leave it out if you don't share that same view. It's wonderful toasted and slathered in peanut butter and is equally delicious plain or with butter.

Chocolate Loaf

2-1/4-3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 TBS Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Instant yeast
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon;optional
1 cup Warm Milk..I used low fat
4 TBS Melted Butter
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips..I used 1/4 cup mini
Slivered Almonds for the topping

In a large bowl,combine 2-1/4 cups of flour,cocoa powder,brown sugar,yeast,salt, and ground cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add in the milk and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly combined. You want a soft dough so add additional flour until you reach that constistency ( I needed a total of 3 cups of flour to reach that).

Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add in the chocolate chips and gently knead until the chips are evenly combined into the dough. Shape into a ball;place in a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size,1-1/2-2 hours.

Deflate the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and place onto a parchment lined sheet. Cover and rise 45 mins.

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 clecius. Brush top of loaf with milk and sprinkle with slivered almonds..make a few slashes across the top if desired.

     Bake 25-30 mins or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: One Large Loaf
Source: Treat & Trick

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Hens and A Brothel Story


            I was going to post a recipe today but decided to do another update on the hens since we purchased new ones. I'm pretty stressed at the moment and hoping the new ladies pull through.

We called a phone number that listed they had tons and tons of chickens of all ages for sale. They gave us the address and we plunked it into google maps. It was about 10 minutes from the house and was located next to a brothel! I was soooo embarassed to pull in there. They aren't officially "open" until after 6 but just knowing there were people in cars going by wondering about us just made me cringe. So we drive by the building and then around the corner there is a huge barn area with an old style Dutch home. It was then that I started having visions of Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I wanted out of there. We slowly walk up to the front and there are chickens all over..and it's dirty. The people are sitting outside,swatting flies and staring at us. We said we had called about the chickens and could we see them? The father and his son took us over into a huge barn with a ton of doors on the inside and my skin started to crawl. I heard pig screams and it was dark and it smelled.

He said go to the second door and open it. We slid the door open and I gasped. Inside this large room was no less than 500 chickens of all ages along with turkey's of  every size and color. They.Were.Everywhere...They were above your head,on the floor,next to you,inside these metal caged areas..and then your feet start to sink and you are almost to scared to look down. The young boy took his pair of clogs off ( yep they wear actual clogs mostly see farmers wearing them though..and fyi, I want a pair. They are so handy to wear when working outside)..ok,Im getting side tracked. He takes off his clogs and walks around in his socks inside this crap hole of a room! he is leaping over the metal cages and asking which ones do we want. I can't concentrate because I am so shocked by the conditions. There was no natural light in there, no ventilation and I know I'm taking years off of my life from breathing the urine and dust that is floating through the air. My husband and I are quickly shouting over the sounds of all of these chickens and and turkey's.. we'll take that one, and that one, and that one, and that one! We couldn't get out of there fast enough.

So we come home and tip them out of their boxes and into their new home. They come out in a big thump and they won't move. Their eyes are dilating and they are squinting and screaming. It was then that we realised that this was honestly the first time they had seen the light of day and touched the ground. I'm scared for them and I'm constantly checking on them. I had to help them into the coop lastnight and they all screamed at me when I came near them. Only two screamed at me this morning when I had to help them out of their coop. My other 4 hens are pretty pissed at this point that there are new ones and Im keeping them apart as much as possible. The good thing is..they all take turns between hanging out in the larger chicken run and inside the smaller enclosure. The new hens have no clue about pecking for things outside and ignored all the treats. They watched the other hens and have now starting pecking at the ground. There is tension around the food and water bowls and I may need to get another set. I'm worried these new hens aren't going to make it. They are shell shocked and scared of everything.

I wanted to grab one of the turkey's and would have if we had the space for one..or two..but we don't. I'm turning the guy in because this can't go on. You can't do this to's inhumane.

I wasn't sure about naming them because I honestly don't know if they are going to make it or not..but starting from the left we have Belle ( as in Jezebel. My husband wanted a name that would remind us of where they came from :) The half brown and half white is Astrid,the other brown is Annie Oakley and the darker one that looks like my other one,Eliza Doolittle is named Lily. I'll give another update next week as to how it's all going. For now..they are atleast up and walking around so thats a plus.  I'm hoping by sunday everyone is playing nice and sharing everything. Here is a pic of the new chicken run! Im so proud of my husband for building this for me :)

     It looks pretty good I think!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chicken and Coop Update


              I've gotten a few inquiries in regards to the hens..or "The Ladies" as we call them around here and the coop so I thought I would do a brief update. Things are going excellent! We have expanded their coop area and we are currently building them a larger chicken run. Since we have decided to get 4 more hens for a total of 8, we decided to give them as much room as we could allow so that they could streatch their wings so to speak. Our neighbors asked us if we were sticking sheep in there because of how much space we were giving them. I only wish we could give them more space to be honest but I know this will suit them just fine. Since snapping this pic over the weekend, we have finished building the frame and are now working on the putting the wire on,which will hopefully be completed by this afternoon. I hope to plant something large on the outside that they can't touch in order to give them extra shade for next summer and we plan to add a few things here and there to keep them busy.

As for the hens? they are growing at a crazy amount of speed!

           Their claws are crazy big and I just love watching them scratch the dirt looking for goodies to eat.

                                                           This is Daisy

               This is Hyacinth. She's Daisy's sister..much larger sister. You can't tell from the pic but she is huge compaired to the rest. I hope she doesn't pull a Tootsie on me and turn out to be a rooster.

               This is Eliza Doolittle and my favorite. She is the shy one of the bunch and has yet to eat out of hand. She wants to but she's holding out.

            This is Mabel and she's not shy at all. She is the first one to call out when she sees me, the first one to meet me at the door, the first one to stand up as tall as she can to see what I have in my hand, and the first one to rush my hand when I hold it out with goodies. I sprinkle chicken treats all over their pen but I also want them to get used to me so I always allow them to come and eat out of my hand for a few minutes.

            Soon I will have 4 more hens to introduce but for now, Im loving my little group of ladies. The biggest chore I have with them is cleaning out the coop once a week. I can't believe how much they can poo in there! Does anyone else own chickens? I'd love to hear from you if you do!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jam Oatmeal Bars


          Awhile back a friend from Oregon sent me a jar of marionberry fruit spread..I pretty much held on to that thing for dear life. It was this connection I had to home and I was afraid to let go of it. So I stuck it in the fridge and it made me feel good to see it in there. It was almost like I was home have a product in there that I could look at whenever I wanted. I know that sounds odd..but when you leave everything you know..sometimes you have to do odd things in order to keep functioning. I feel like an orphan about 95% of the time now. Family and friend relationships have become strained and the deep - seeded resentment has set in. It's alot to deal with sometimes and all I can do is grip the side of the counter top,take a deep breath and move forward.

    Thats why I decided to finally use the jar of marionberry..because I can't keep holding on to everything in hopes of never forgetting. I won't forget where I came from and who and what I left. We all have choices in life and sometimes you have to do things that other's don't understand or don't want to understand. It's not always easy making those big life choices..but at the end of the day it's your life. So live it.

So incase your're like me and you're holding on to a special jar of jam..use it in this recipe ( and then wash the jar while making sure to not tear the label off and then put it in your cupboard for safe keeping..because looking in your cupboard and seeing a jam jar from home makes you feel  much better). Incase you can get jars and  jars of marionberry..well I won't lie, I'm kinda envious but go ahead and use yours in this recipe aswell..Use any kind of jam for that matter. This recipe is quick and easy and downright delicious.

Jam  Oatmeal Bars

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter,softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Flour,All-purpose or even whole wheat!
1-1/2 cups Old-fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 cup Jam..use your favorite flavor

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with nonstick spray..make sure you leave enough of the parchment paper or foil in there to use as a means to lift the bars out later on.

In a large bowl,cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. 

In a seperate bowl,whisk together the flour,oats,walnuts,cinnamon,salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and mix until combined.

Press half of the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread the jam over it. Crumble the remaining mixture evenly over the jam.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Gently lift out of the pan using the sides of the parchment paper or foil and cut into bars.

** Make sure you allow the bars to completely cool down. They are super soft when they come out of the oven and need about 2 hours to cool down and firm up**

Yield:9 Large pieces
Source: The Tasty Bite

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Week, In Photos


           How was your week? did it fly by quickly or did it drag on?

             Did you get everything done or is your list like mine.. a mile long and growing?

           Were you able to get outside or were you stuck indoors and watching everything go by as you glanced out the window?

          When we moved in I spotted a strawberry plant all dried up. I decided to see if I could bring it back and started watering it everyday. Two perfect little strawberries started growing and I got excited.

              I snapped a pic of the ready to eat strawberry and when I went back to pick it..this was all that was left! You snooze, you lose I guess!

             Enjoy your weekend! We've had some rain but the warm weather is back for a short time. I'm noticing the fall-like mornings though; foggy and crisp. Are you ready for it?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Potato and Rosemary Bread


           When it comes to bread baking I don't always pick the most obvious moments to do it. should probably not bake 4 loaves of bread when it's 85 degrees out but instead wait until it's a cool 65 out, like today! I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but I still manged to bake some seriously fantastic loaves while heating the house up like a sauna.

I've baked these loaves twice now..once using sweet potatoes and this morning I made these..using regular potatoes.

   There is something so incredibly satisfying about using a kilos worth (8 cups) of bread flour. I happily dumped the entire package into my big mixing bowl and got started. I admit I was a bit scared when it came to adding in the mashed potatoes. The author mentioned it was going to be messy,wet, and the dough would become in it will fall apart as you knead in the mashed potatoes..but do NOT give up, do NOT add anymore flour then what you need. I promise you this will work out and you will bake up chewy loaves of bread that smell fantastic and will have your family and friends convinced that you bought this at an artisan shop.

You can use a wide range of potatoes here..regular,sweet potato,yam,pumpkin,turnip or squash! What I will mention though is that each one could produce a new texture. The first set of photos I posted is of the sweet potato you can see the dough starts off with a beautiful round shape..then you knead in the sweet potatoes and it looks like a gooey mess. It was wetter than when I used regular potatoes so don't be alarmed if that happens..just flour your surface,hands and everything else really well when it comes to shaping the loaves. If you don't like rosemary then swap it out for an herb that you do like. This was my first time using it in a bread so I cut down the amount incase we weren't fans of it. I ended up using 2 tablespoons instead of the 3-4 and for us that was perfect..anything more and it would have been to much.

The hardest part about this recipe is kneading a kilos worth of bread flour for 10 minutes!!! roll those sleaves up and lets get started!

Potato and Rosemary Bread

1 Kilo (8 cups) White Bread Flour
2-1/2 tsp. Instant Yeast
2 cups Warm Water
1-1/2 TBS Salt
3-4 TBS Fresh Rosemary Needles (or other  fresh herbs of choice)
Mashed Potatoes..Up to about half the volume of the dough

In a large bowl,put all of the ingredients ( except the mached potatoes) and mix together with a wooden spoon. Tip the dough out into the counter and knead well for 10 minutes. Pop the dough back into the bowl,cover with a dry tea towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Pull the dough out of the bowl and gently fold in the potatoes until well incorporated but not completely blended in ( you want to see bits of the potatoes). The dough will be sticky,messy,gooey and it will appear to be falling apart..but don't give up! gently knead it and try not to add any flour during this time..if you must add some do so sparingly. You want a wet dough..wet dough equals chewy artisan type loaves. I pinky promise. Place the dough into a clean large bowl that has been lightly coated with oil and cover with either a tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 1-2 hours,until doubled in size ( mine has always doubled within an hour).

Grab two baking sheets and either grease with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper;set aside.

Dust both the surface of your counter top and your hands with flour. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. The dough is going to be really soft but make sure you do not stretch or fold the dough like you normally would because you will ruin this bread. It's super soft so make sure you have enough flour on your hands and on the dough to avoid it sticking to you and shape each portion into a round ball as best you can. Place onto prepared sheets,dust the tops with flour,cover with a dry tea towel and allow to rest 45 mins to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Make a few slashes in the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife or scissors if you like and dust with a bit more flour.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

** When it came to adding in my portion of mashed potatoes this is how I did it. I allowed the bread to rise for the 15 minutes. I then took it out and shaped it into a ball again. I then took my mashed potatoes and laid it next to the dough and kept adding more until I hit the half the size of the dough amount. It's impossible to give an amount of how many potatoes to use since each one and size will yield something differently. If I had to guess I would say maybe something around 2 cups or more of mashed potatoes are needed**

Yield: 4 beatitful round loaves
Source: All you knead is bread

Monday, August 12, 2013

Orange Banana Bread


           Happy Monday! I'ts been an interesting weekend over here full of our living room being flooded half way and having to wait for almost 5 hours for someone to come over to start pumping it all out (we discovered the problem at 4 am and then mopped and dumped bucket after bucket of water until almost 9 am)..and then waiting on the water company to figure out who's pipe burst and then fixing it. It was our neighbors pipe and the guy wasn't able to fix it on saturday. So they are next door now and they are ripping up his floor as we speak to hopefully fix the problem. We have damage to our place but thankfully the tiles we have in the living room along with the under floor heating is all ok. 

So lets talk about this quick bread now. I do so love banana bread and try as many different variations on it as I possibly can. I never thought to add orange zest but this turned out to be one of my most favorite ways to have it. I did put a small amount of orange glaze on top when they loaves came out just to give the orange flavor a bigger impact when eating it. As always, I wrapped up my loaves and allowed them to sit for a full 24 hours before eating. It freezes beautifully by the way!

Orange Banana Bread

1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Sugar..I used 3/4 but you could go lower
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups ripe Mashed Bananas
1/4 cup Butter,Melted..I used oil
1/3 cup Plain Yogurt..I used Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs,lightly beaten
1 TBS Orange Zest
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray ( I used a mini loaf pan set).

In a large bowl,combine the flours,sugar,baking soda, and salt. In another bowl,whisk the bananas,butter,yogurt,vanilla and eggs until smooth. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the orange zest and ground cinnamon.

Pour mixture into prepared pan evenly and smooth the top. Bake between 50 mins to an hour or until a toothpick inserted towards the center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing and allowing to completely cool on wire rack.

** Some of the reviews stated the bread was soggy in the middle and that they needed alot longer than 50 minutes. To avoid this problem I used a mini 6 cup loaf pan. My bread came out perfect and incredibly moist. If you find your bread is not done, I would tent it with some foil to avoid becoming overly brown and then bake it longer.**

** I glazed the tops of my breads with an orange glaze that consisted of 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice. I then allowed the breads to fully cool down and wrapped each one in plastic wrap and then in foil.**

Yield: 1 large loaf or several minis
Source: FoodNetwork

Friday, August 9, 2013

Western Omelet Crustless Quiche


       It's friday..another week has come to an end..and it's been a long one. My husband has been working different hours over the last few weeks as they work together to cover shifts of those who are on vacation..and gosh,it's getting old now. Our favorite is when he has a late shift  ( home around 10pm) followed by a morning shift ( up at 5 am)..We are downing coffee during the day to keep functioning. I realise I don't have to get up with him during his morning shifts, but I love that quiet time we have together, and it makes me happy to get his lunch and breakfast made. I'm old school like that. Plus who wants to sleep in when there are chickens to be fed and a sunrise to enjoy?

         I've been working really hard on making meals using only the ingredients we have in the house and making a point to stay away from the grocery store. When I'm tired I can really do the mindless sort of shopping and not paying attention to whats going in my basket. I have decided to slash as much off from our grocery bill as possible and learning how to make due with what we have and learning to make new things from it all.

This quiche was one such creation when I had a little bit of ham,onion,cheese and peppers. I was super excited to spot this recipe and loved that it used flour and baking powder to create a crustless quiche with a little more oomph to it. It's a keeper!

Ham and Cheese Crustless Quiche

1 Medium Onion,diced
1 cup diced Ham
1 small Bell Pepper,diced
1 tsp. Seasoning Salt
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg Whites
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1-1/3 cups Milk..I used low fat
3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Lightly grease a 10-inch quiche/tart pan and set aside.

In a medium frying pan, pour a small amount of oil or cooking spray and cook the onion and pepper over medium-high heat until onion is translucent and both vegetables are tender. Add seasoning salt and ham. Stir to combine and set the pan aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl,whisk together the eggs and whites,flour,baking powder, and salt. Whisk in milk and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Then add the onion mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and top with remaining cheese.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until center is set and the outside edge is golden brown. Allow the quiche to sit for a few little as 5 and as long as 20. I prefer my quiche to be on the firm side so a 20 minute resting period works for me.

Yield: 6-8 servings
Source: Lemon Drop

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Got Chickens????


           Because I do!!!! Last week was crazy busy getting ready for these wonderful 6 week old hens.

One of the deal breakers for me with this house was that it came with a chicken coop already set up. Alot of the places we looked at barely had any outside space and I was loseing hope of ever owning chickens. I convinced myself that it was a stupid thing to want anyway and would be more trouble than it was worth. Then we got this house..and I got scared. When I see one of my dreams about to become reality, I seriously panick. I tell myself that I have built it up for so long in my head that it can't possibly be as good as I think it will be. So I announced I didn't want any. Then my husband ignored me and came home from work to tell me we needed to get the coop ready because hens were about to invade.

             So we got busy chopping down some trees..3 to be exact. We wanted more space for them and that spot right there with the dirt was perfect.

            The weather was crazy warm and humid so we'd rush out in the morning to chop and clean up another one and then wait until the evening hours to do some more work.

         Within a few days,we built nesting boxes,roosting sticks,bought the supplies,cleared the trees out and finally went to pick up the girls! I was scared to death I was going to kill them the first day I had them. They were scared and wouldn't come near me. I was so sad. I read up online and through a wonderful friend that if you start putting our certain treats for them and then holding some of it in your hand, they will come to you.

So I waited. The first few days we had to put them into bed and then get them out until they figured out they could come and go as they pleased. They are totally contained in the first part of the coop and can walk down their ramp whenever they want. I don't worry about anything getting in there because of how tight the foundation was built and there are no gaps anywhere for anything to get in. Then within 4 days they were putting themselves to bed,getting up on their own, and eating out of my hand. They run when they see me now and cluck like crazy. They are 7 weeks old now and I should be seeing my first set of eggs sometime in November. 

They are more of a pet than anything else. They won't be able to supply our entire egg needs and we may end up getting one or two more, but then thats it. The girls will live out their lives with us in exchange for their wonderful eggs that they will start providing in a few short months. I'm happy to say that it is everything I had hoped for. I wake up smiling everyday now. I walk out in the mornings to refill their water and food bowls ( I know one photo shows their food on the ground but no worries..they have been hung up since then),talk to them,sprinkle some treats on the ground and then check on them throughout the day. We are working on the last part of opening up the second part of the coop so that they have even more room to run and will post pics of that when I'm done.

Oh! before I forget..they all have names. My husband laughs at me over the fact that they all need first and middle names..but that's just how it works! they are like cabbage patch dolls..they all come with names,birthdays and histories dang it. As time goes on I will beable to get better close ups..but for now the largest pic is of Eliza Doolittle,then we have the two sisters,Hyacinth Bouquet ( bonus if you know where that name comes from and why she will be hosting a candle light dinner at some point),Mabel Anne and Daisy May. I've probably gone off the deep end at this point but you know what? I don't care. I've got chickens and I can check off another one of my dreams coming true! And incase you are wondering..that is me in the photo wearing my coop cleaning mask..gotta wear those people!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Whole Wheat Peach-Oatmeal Quick Bread


           A few weeks ago I scored 2 kilos of wild peaches from the market here in town. I had never seen a wild peach before and wasn't going to buy any until the vendor handed a slice over to me. You see, I'm not a big peach fan. I don't really like the fuzzy skin and although the actual taste of a peach is ok, it's just not my favorite fruit to have around the house.

Wild peaches on the other hand are fantastic! the skins are thinner and the whole fuzzy texture is minimal. The taste is more delicate and as long as I can get my hands on wild peaches, I'm a fan!

I purchased the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook a few weeks back and decided to use some of the peaches in a quick bread recipe. The result was amazing. The bread was moist, had a wonderful whole wheat flavor, and the old-fashioned oats and cinnamon brought it all together.

If you want to take a step towards eating more whole grains, I can't say enough postive things about this cookbook. I'm going to be posting alot more whole grain recipes from this book and I hope you give them a try!

Peach-Oatmeal Quick Bread

2 cups Peeled,sliced Peaches
2 cups ( 8 ounces) Whole Wheat Flour,can use white whole wheat
3/4 cup (3-1/8 ounces) Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) Sugar
1/2 cup(3-3/4 ounces) Packed,Light or Dark Brown Sugar
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 cup (3-1/2 ounces) Old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Large Eggs
1 cup ( 8 ounces) Milk
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) Vegetable Oil
1/4 tsp. Almond Extract

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cut the peaches into small ( 1/4-inch) pieces;place in strainer to drain.

In a large bowl,stir together the flours,sugars,baking powder,baking soda,salt, and spices. Add the oats and peaches;stir to coat the peaces.

In a small bowl,beat together the eggs,milk,oil and almond extract. Add to the flour mixture,stirring just intil evenly moistened and no white flour streaks remain.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour.

 To test the loaf doneness insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it doesn't come out clean,cover the top of the bread with foil and bake for 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes,run a table knife around the edges of the loaf to make sure it's not sticking, then turn it out of the pan and return it to to the rack to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: One loaf,16 servings
Source: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

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