Some favorites from our kitchen over the last month.
Such gratitude for the return of plentiful backyard eggs! Frittata. Eggs & toast. Huevos Rancheros. Boiled eggs. Breakfast Burritos. Fried eggs over bowls of rice, greens and beans.
We joined the lovely Feeding Our People subscription and it's been the perfect thing to pull me out of my cooking slump. Gluten free, refined sugar free, mostly vegetarian fare that just feels like real food for real family life. I'm in love with it. Those braised beans above where the first weekly recipe and they've been a staple ever since. Delicious!
I've been playing with a nut milk recipe for months now and I've got it just the way I like it with a combination of coconut, almond, cashew & pumpkin seed. It's rich and creamy and all but the youngest here love it, which is close enough to a win in my book.
Oat + coconut + nut butter energy bites infused with herb powders. So delicious!
And those carrots. I have class on Monday night and I try to leave Joe with dinner mostly prepped (I leave at 3:30) so that when he walks in the door at 4:30 it's quick to get things going. He made these carrots and I just want to eat them every week now. We don't have a proper recipe for them, but I can tell you what he put it in them: carrots + butter + honey (or brown sugar) + sea salt. Cook at 425 or 450 until the edges are golden. Stir once or twice to coat the carrots in the decadent sauce (honey is my favorite over the two sweetener options). They are amazing you guys!
What's cooking in your kitchens these days? Share what you're loving.....
This Friday from 1-3 pm Sophie & I will be at the Providence Children's Museum with some of our chicks and hens for their annual Farm Friends event. Kids will be able to pet the chicks and feed our hens some sunflower seeds. The event usually draws a couple hundred people and I'm bound to run out of flyers about why chickens are such great backyard pets. I know many of you readers keep small and large flocks yourselves and I have a favor to ask, can you leave a comment with your favorite reason for keeping hens? I figure we have the opportunity to convert a whole new group of chicken keepers between the lot of us!
Here are my top ten reasons for keeping chickens :
1. Eggs!! After you start collecting and eating eggs from your own backyard you will never look at grocery store eggs the same way again. You will become an egg snob. Free range eggs from happy hens taste so much better.
2. They eat bugs. So. Many. Bugs. Everything from spiders to caterpillars to ticks. Less is bugs is good.
3. They are entertaining. We call it chicken t.v. here. Those feathered girls crack us up.
4. They are easy pets. We spend about 1.5 hours a week caring for them. This is about ten minutes a day for food and water and half an hour on the weekend to clean out their nest box. Sometimes it takes longer because we get distracted. (see #3)
5. Kids love them. My kids. The neighbors' kids. My friends' kids. Pretty much every kid I've met. Kids love to help care for chickens and even more so love to check for eggs every day. In fact, sometimes my neighbor boys check for me and bring me the eggs they found! Plus it's great for kids to be connected to where their food comes from.
6. They make great compost for the garden. Even if you only grow flowers, your plants will be so happy you decided to keep chickens as pets.
7. They're inexpensive. We feed our girls a high-quality organic, soy-free food (and bugs, see #2). A 50-pound bag of food costs $24 and lasts at least two months, in which time they lay at least 12 dozen eggs, averaging out to $2 a dozen for the best darn eggs you've ever eaten.
8. They eat your kitchen scraps. Any wilted lettuce, winter squash seeds, vegetable peelings, fruit cores, stale bread and other kitchen scraps are eaten up and turned into eggs!
9. They're beautiful. Well, first they are cute and then they are beautiful. Not everyone gets excited about egg color and breed type, but I sure do. I love the blue eggs and the dark brown eggs and searching out a rare breed to add to my flock. Aside from beauty, keeping rare chickens also helps preserve the breed.
10. You just might find your tribe. Or at least add to it. Chicken lovers tend to find each other. Or at least convince their non-chicken friends into becoming chicken owners. (and before you know it you might look at your breakfast of homegrown eggs and toast one morning and decide what that toast really, really needs....... is backyard honey....)
11. You can try it first. If you aren't sure if you want to commit, rent some chickens for the summer! If you're in our area of New England, visit our friends Twin Cedar Farms in Acushnet who have some of the most beautiful birds and a super awesome chicken coop setup. They provide everything and you get to see if chickens are a good fit for your family. (see that, I gave you a bonus reason!)
I can't wait to meet a lot of new faces on Friday! If you stop in here after visiting us at the museum, do leave a comment and say hello.
Jade works at the best ice cream place in our area. They use as many local products as possible to make the most delicious ice cream. Her bosses are super sweet and love their employees.... so much that when last year was a record year in ice cream sales they give all of their employees a retroactive pay raise for the season! I love these hard working people so much, so when their first baby arrived this spring I knew I wanted to knit or sew something really special for him.
It started with a hat. (some of you saw it on instagram a few weeks ago!) The yarn is Mosaic Moon and has been in my stash forever. I love it so much and was just waiting for the right little one to knit it up for. Booties followed. And then I remembered how much I loved sewing tiny pants. (I've done this before once or twice). So the yarn was matched up with some favorite fabric and when I couldn't decide between the two prints I made them both.
You see where this is headed right? If you make some little pants, you're going to need some little shirts to go with them.....
I had a few little onesies in my craft supply stash and indigo dye in my cupboard. Little indigo tshirts where next. It was my first time dyeing with indigo - oh my goodness you guys - it's awesome! I really loved the way these little shirts came out and I'll be hitting the thrift store up for some more clothes to dye now that I have a vat going.
I topped off the basket with some of our really gentle soap and a big tin of our healing salve which is also really great for diaper rash or any little bumps and scrapes (whole family herbal magic!) I'm not sure who was more excited about gifting the basket - Jade or me!
I really do love how quick it is to pull together these little knit & sewn goodies..... I sew a lot less often these days and I had so much fun making these. The pants pattern is Big Butt Baby Pants by Rae (the best baby pants, especially for cloth diapered babies!) and the hat details are on ravelry.
Welcome to the world little one, the universe paired you up with some pretty awesome parents!
Tell me what you're making these days....
I feel like every blog post these days could be started with the last month has been so busy.....
We traded in Joe's jeep for a new-to-us truck. It's been something we've been thinking about since we bought the farm. We didn't want a new one, both for financial reasons and just practicality of use. Those scratches and dents hurt too much, and we know we'll be driving it onto the property and hauling things around with it. So after a few months of looking we found just what we were after. Then we found a popup. Joe was texting back and forth with an old Coast Guard friend who recently retired in New Hampshire, and somehow through talking about the farm Joe mentioned we were thinking of buying a popup or building a small cabin this summer. Our friend mentioned he was upgrading and selling his. He gave us such a good deal we actually felt kind of guilty driving away with it. We had been looking since last fall and we paid about half what it was worth. Sometimes the universe (or a really generous friend) hands you a gift, and all you can do is say thank you.
We picked up the popup two days before last weekend's trip north to attend a baby shower for our nephew. We packed the popup, thinking we would stay at my brother in law's house. The weather was saying 30 degrees and a snow/rain mix, but we had gear if it looked clear. You know what they say about New England weather, it changes a lot. An hour before we got there the rainy slush subsided and Joe says to me, change the address on the gps, we're going to the farm. So we drove through a little stretch of Vermont we'd never seen and arrived at dusk to set up the camper by headlights and the sweet sound of spring peepers.
This is crazy, I said to him. I know, he told me with a smile.
We drove half an hour north from the farm to visit family for the evening and got back to the camper with two very excited and tired kids around midnight. About 8 deer greeted us as we drove onto the property. The cold had settled in and the peepers had gone to sleep. It was so quiet. Our first night in the popup and on the farm, and the first visit since it was officially ours. The night was chilly and the wind came in along with a dusting of snow. But we didn't care one bit.
In the morning, Joe and I went for a hike while our sleepy heads slept in (after waking at 6 am and being asked to please go back to sleep, we were so glad they did). We wandered around as the sun peeked in and out of clouds and the snow fell softly to the ground. We stood in spots that got morning sun, thinking of house locations and barn locations. We checked on our apple tree (no sign of blossoms yet).
I couldn't help but think about how long it had been since this place had seen children. Laughter. Humans even for that matter. And how even though we're still years away from calling it home, it was already seeping into my heart and making its place. It felt like our first adventure up there.
The first of many more to come, I am sure of.
(ps I forgot my fancy camera and took these all with my phone (!!), goodness phone photography has come a long way!)