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Weekly Top Posts: 2018-02-25
2018-02-25 05:00 UTC

  1. www.reformationacres.com/2014/10/fresh-spanish-rice.html
  2. Custom Homemaking Binder Printables
  3. www.reformationacres.com/2017/02/old-fashioned-sweet-potato-sour-cream-donuts.html
  4. www.reformationacres.com/2016/08/garden-fresh-chunky-heirloom-tomato-salsa.html
  5. www.reformationacres.com/2017/03/beef-pot-pie-herbed-biscuit-topping.html

Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice Recipe
2018-02-21 18:59 UTC by Quinn


The post Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice Recipe appeared first on Reformation Acres.

Want a warm soup to serve on a cold winter day? This recipe for Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice is ready in less than an hour but tastes like you've been slow cooking it all day! #soup #baconWant a warm soup to serve on a cold winter day? This recipe for Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice is ready in less than an hour but tastes like you’ve been slow cooking it all day!


Maybe it’s because I’ve got only ONE homesteading skill I’m planning on learning this year, and that’s to grow mushrooms, but I’ve got a new favorite soup this winter. (And I have many favorite soup recipes!)

You’ll never guess what it is.

Wait! How’d you know? Stupid spoiler post titles always giving me up.

Yeah, so you’re right. Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley. But not just barley because I didn’t feel like stopping there so I threw some wild rice into the mix. And what ended up happening when all the flavors of the meat stock and mushrooms, thyme and bay, onion and garlic… and, of course, BACON! came together is some seriously intense flavor!

Which is good because now that we’ve got a woodlot on the homestead, I’m ready to learn how to grow our own mushrooms. I’m keeping my homestead skill building super easy this year. Maybe for a couple-of-few years while we work on infrastructure, vision, and systems.

 

Want a warm soup to serve on a cold winter day? This recipe for Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice is ready in less than an hour but tastes like you've been slow cooking it all day! #soup #bacon
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/112941903140183129/

Besides building the house slow and steady-like this year, we also are building a cordwood chicken coop complete with a run. (Bye-bye free-ranging hens! I might let them out in the evenings every now and then, but the owl problem here is real and they’re going to have to forage a little harder than finding easy pickings from out of our flock.) We’re also going to be clearing and planting pasture and starting a new garden site because our stockpiled pantry from the failed market garden days is dwindling. (And I’m dying right now for some homegrown greens. I never dreamed my body would scream for kale as much as it is. But the stuff in the store is nee-asty!)

Of course, that is all on top of raising 100 meat chickens, brooding new layers, having 2 calves, and raising 3 pigs. Maybe planting a few trees and shrubs. Thankfully, that stuff is old-hat to us now so those things should run fairly smoothly (Ha!) and the kids are getting old enough where they are really able to help out with the farm chores quite a bit.

But all of it really has me stressing because I don’t want to mess any of it up. Or do it twice. Or kill anything. Actually, these are all normal homesteader worries in any given year, but I’m stressing harder about it this year for some reason. Do I really need to fret about where to plant an apple tree that badly?

But I digress. This is supposed to be about soup. Not stress. And apple trees.

The point is I’m learning to grow mushrooms this year and NEXT winter I’m hoping to serve up a warm bowl of this flavor-punch in the form of Bacon Mushroom Soup.


Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice is a quick and easy soup to prepare but it is so full of deliciousness it tastes like you’ve been working on it all day! The grains are cooked in a rich meat stock with the herbs for only half an hour until tender. You can experiment with beef, chicken, or pork stock and find which you like the best. If you twist my arm, I think I would prefer beef stock, but I use whatever is on hand.

The bacon is cooked first, crumbled, and set aside so you can use the bacon grease to cook the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. (This soup might be a great place to use your canned caramelized onions to save even a little more time.) The vegetables (and fungi) are added to the soup pot and sit there for about 15 minutes or so to let the flavors all come together. You can let it sit longer, but at least do it for that long.

You might want to have a savory cracker or a slice of nice crusty bread waiting in the wings to soak up every last bit of that stock. Because it would be just plain old wrong to leave it behind!

Want a warm soup to serve on a cold winter day? This recipe for Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice is ready in less than an hour but tastes like you've been slow cooking it all day! #soup #bacon

Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice Recipe

Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice

Want a warm soup to serve on a cold winter day? This recipe for Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice is ready in less than an hour but tastes like you’ve been slow cooking it all day!

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts meat stock, beef, pork, or chicken all work well
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup pearled barley 
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Warm the stock and water together in a large saucepan. 
  • Add the barley, wild rice, bay leaf, and thyme and simmer over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile chop the mushrooms, dice the onion, mince the garlic, and cook the bacon. ( I cook mine on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes so I can work on other things while it’s cooking.) 
  • Cook the mushrooms and onion in the bacon grease. The mushrooms should still be a little firm and the onions caramelized. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. 
  • Add the mushroom, onion, and garlic mix to the soup. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook for another 15 minutes until the grain is tender. 
  • Discard the bay leave and serve sprinkled with chopped bacon. 

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @reformationacres on Instagram and hashtag it #reformationacres.

Enjoy!

The post Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice Recipe appeared first on Reformation Acres.

SmartSteader Digital Homestead Management Binder

Weekly Top Posts: 2018-02-18
2018-02-18 05:00 UTC

  1. www.reformationacres.com/2014/10/fresh-spanish-rice.html
  2. Custom Homemaking Binder Printables
  3. www.reformationacres.com/2016/08/garden-fresh-chunky-heirloom-tomato-salsa.html
  4. www.reformationacres.com/2017/02/cast-iron-conditioning-bars.html
  5. www.reformationacres.com/2017/02/old-fashioned-sweet-potato-sour-cream-donuts.html

Salt Cured Egg Yolks Recipe (The Perfect Way to Use Frozen Eggs)
2018-02-14 17:58 UTC by Quinn


The post Salt Cured Egg Yolks Recipe (The Perfect Way to Use Frozen Eggs) appeared first on Reformation Acres.

Salt cured egg yolks are a great way to get a flavor punch and protein boost in many dishes! (And they're also a really great way to use eggs that were frozen in the nesting boxes before you gather them.)Salt cured egg yolks are a great way to get a flavor punch and little protein boost in many dishes! (And they’re also a really great way to use eggs that were frozen in the nesting boxes before you gather them.)


The only thing worse about hens not laying eggs over the winter is when they do lay eggs… and they freeze and crack before you gather them! So frustrating!

Especially if I had been planning on using them to make a creamy homemade Vanilla Pudding. (Which is all I can think about right now while I wait for Holly to have a calf and we start getting fresh milk again.)

But then I discovered the perfect way to use those eggs during one of our deep freezes this winter. In the form of Salt Cured Egg Yolks. But I didn’t stop there. Oh no, cause then I smoked them.

Ok so rather Bill smoked them. I was out in the barn spreading straw for the cows bedding while he smoked cured egg yolk.

Until now, whenever we faced sub-zero daytime temperatures, it was a showdown between me and old Jack Frost. Who would win the race to get to those eggs first?

To be fair, he was usually the victor. But you know what, I don’t care half so much now. Because at least the eggs don’t have to go to the dogs anymore. I know there IS something I can make with them after all.

Salt Cured Egg Yolks!!Salt cured egg yolks are a great way to get a flavor punch and protein boost in many dishes! (And they're also a really great way to use eggs that were frozen in the nesting boxes before you gather them.) #curedeggyolk #eggs #winter #backyardchickens #frozeneggs #homesteading

Salt Cured Yolks: A Great Use of Frozen Eggs

Making Salt Cured Egg Yolks is so cool! It’s such a unique way to use an egg. It’s not terribly difficult either, though it does take some (passive) time. And it turns out that using partially frozen eggs is the perfect way to separate the yolks from the whites!

If you have your own flock of backyard hens, (Which you should. All the cool kids do. And don’t worry, you’ll rock at raising chickens!) you know that when the temperatures dip below freezing during the daytime, it doesn’t take long for eggs to freeze. Which really stinks because now your options for using the eggs are really limited. Ours usually became pet food.

When you make Salt Cured Egg Yolks with un-frozen eggs you must use a spoon to make indentations in the salt to carefully lay the delicate yolk down into the pocket. With frozen eggs, you want to partially thaw them to make the egg white easy to remove. Depending on how warm your home is this could vary anywhere between 1-3 hours or so.

The egg shells are cracked (if they weren’t already) and then peeled off like a hard-boiled egg. The egg white simply sloughs off leaving the firm yolk behind.

What To Do With the Egg Whites?

If you were able to save the egg whites and would like to use them for something as well, they would still work well as “binders” in recipes. Try using them in meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf. Or in some baked goods like pie crust or a white cake like my Strawberry Chamomile Cake with Strawberry Buttercream. Some granola recipes will use egg whites as a binder to make clusters.

Or you use them to make an egg wash to brush over baked goods like bread, pastries, or glazed nuts or sugared violets. Maybe even substitute a few for the jumbo egg in homemade mayonnaise. 

If you’re not making anything like that soon, they can always be refrozen in ice cube trays (or I like to silicone ones like this for food) to use later. You could add a few to your scrambled eggs or Quiche Lorraine.

But delicious though the recipe itself may be, I wouldn’t try using once-frozen egg whites in anything calling for whipped egg whites that are stabilized such as my Berry Swirl Angel Food Cake or Meringue.

Salt Cured Egg Yolk Uses

Try Salt Cured Egg Yolk in some of these ways!

  • Over your favorite Pasta
  • Over Pizza
  • Stirred into Alfredo Sauce or Carbonara
  • Sliced on Burgers
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Rice

Homemade Bacon Mushroom Pizza with Arugula and Salt Cured Egg YolksSalt Cured Egg Yolks Recipe

I’m sharing the most basic recipe for Salt Cured Egg Yolks, but have fun and experiment with different flavor combinations! Mix herbs and spices into the salt and they will permeate the yolk and flavor it much like they do when you make homemade bacon. You can try adding some heat with chipotle pepper, chili flakes or black pepper. Or make them savory with garlic and rosemary or thyme.

Use kosher salt to cure salt cure your egg yolks. It will absorb the moisture better without clumping so you can even save the salt and reuse it for later batches. I put mine in a clearly labeled bag so no one else uses it!

Salt Cured Egg Yolks

Ingredients

  • kosher salt
  • egg yolks
  • apple wood, if smoking

Instructions

  • Use a small container to cure your egg yolks. The smaller it is the smaller surface area the salt needs to cover before building up the sides of the container and over the yolks. 
  • Fill the container with kosher salt to the depth of about an inch. 
  • Separate your frozen egg yolk from the egg white and set it on top of the salt. Make sure the yolks aren’t touching so salt can fill the spaces in between. 
  • Cover the yolks the rest of the way with more salt. 
  • Set the container, uncovered, in the refrigerator for a week. They will be firm when they are done. 
  • Remove the egg yolks from the salt and brush off as much as you can. You can use a moistened towel to help brush off some salt, but I didn’t bother getting it all off. 
  • Wrap the egg yolks in cheesecloth and set them back into the refrigerator to finish drying out for another week. I set my cloth wrapped yolks in a colander. 
  • You can cold smoke the egg yolks if you’d like. We used apple wood and smoked them for an hour. 
  • Wait another day or so after smoking for the smoke to mellow out. Then grate or slice them to use wherever you’d like the flavor boost.
  • I put mine in a mason jar with a lid. They should be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @reformationacres on Instagram and hashtag it #reformationacres.

 Enjoy!

 

The post Salt Cured Egg Yolks Recipe (The Perfect Way to Use Frozen Eggs) appeared first on Reformation Acres.

SmartSteader Digital Homestead Management Binder

Weekly Top Posts: 2018-02-11
2018-02-11 05:00 UTC

  1. www.reformationacres.com/2014/10/fresh-spanish-rice.html
  2. Custom Homemaking Binder Printables
  3. How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth
  4. Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread Recipe
  5. How Long Do Seeds Last: 13 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability

Soothing Homemade Echinacea Throat Spray
2018-02-07 19:30 UTC by Quinn


The post Soothing Homemade Echinacea Throat Spray appeared first on Reformation Acres.

Need a DIY Sore Throat Remedy? Try this soothing natural Echinacea Throat Spray made with the herbal ingredients echinacea purpea, sage tea, and propolis. A mist to the back of your throat brings instant relief! Need a DIY Sore Throat Remedy? Try this soothing natural Echinacea Throat Spray made with the herbal ingredients echinacea purpurea, sage tea, and propolis. A mist to the back of your throat brings instant relief!


I have a hard time whining about a cold. It’s really, really tempting to but I know there are so many worse illnesses I could be dealing with other than the common cold. I try hard to be thankful that it’s just a cold.

And it’s not so much the cold itself that bothers me. It’s the congestion I can’t stand. I just want to be able to breathe! (Is that too much to ask?)

But for others in my family, it’s the sore throat that drives them up the wall with irritation. They beg and plead for cough drops! But I have a little problem where cough drops are confused with candy. So when I make fresh Horehound Cough Drops each fall, they’ve often disappeared by the time the first illness strikes.

And it happens like magic. No one did it, no one saw it.

They simply vanished into thin air.

So then the kids start begging me to buy cough drops. But I know that most brands are full of sugar and artificial crap that I really hesitate to give them to these people whose immune systems are already struggling against the cold. Besides, I know that ultimately it’s only the extra saliva you make while sucking the cough drops that really does the soothing.

I needed a natural DIY sore throat remedy. One that is just as effective as Honey, Lemon, Thyme Cough Syrup and would sooth and relieve their sore throat pain without being treated like candy.

And that’s what makes Echinacea Throat Spray a game changer for me!

Need a DIY Sore Throat Remedy? Try this soothing natural Echinacea Throat Spray made with the herbal ingredients echinacea purpea, sage tea, and propolis. A mist to the back of your throat brings instant relief! Not only is it just as effective as sucking on candy (maybe more so!) but I feel good about using it knowing the herbals are working to bring healing. Echinacea Throat Spray combines two wonderful herbal methods. It uses echinacea tincture and an herbal infusion of sage & propolis, along with a wee bit of cooling peppermint essential oil, to bring soothing relief to a sore throat.

Why Echinacea Throat Spray Works as a DIY Sore Throat Remedy

Echinacea Purpurea

Each year, I make sure I already have a batch of Whole Plant Echinacea Tincture on hand before we head into cold & flu season in the fall. So that makes Echinacea Throat Spray a breeze to prepare. (Or you can just buy echinacea tincture. I recommend Herb Pharm tinctures. I appreciate what their company stands for and the quality of their formulas.) Echinacea is well-known and proven to boost immunity. It has pain-relieving analgesic properties and has long been used for throat conditions! Remember how I said cough drops work on sore throats cause they increase saliva production? Well, echinacea purpurea will increase your saliva! Some recommend using it for it’s antiviral properties right when you first feel that tickle in your throat that tells you a cold is on the way to ramp up your immune system. (Source)

Sage

As an antispasmodic and expectorant, sage is an excellent, balanced, all-around herb for sore throats and both wet or dry coughs. But it’s great for sore throats and laryngitis because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Because sage is an antiseptic with tannins it will “tighten tissues, making it more impervious to pathogens and infection.” A perfect addition to a DIY sore throat remedy! (Source)

Propolis

Studies show that propolis may not only shorten the duration of a cold, but may even prevent it in the first place. (Source)


Herbal Courses To Choose From
If you are interested in learning more about incorporating herbs into your care of your family, make sure to look into The Herbal Academy of New England! I’ve taken several courses with them through the years. These are serious, thorough, deep lessons on health and wellness and the roll that herbs play in achieving that. One of my resolutions this year has been to turn that knowledge into an actionable plan when illness strikes. I’ve created a “cookbook” for our family as well as a sort of “triage” system to determine what steps I should take and when depending on the symptoms.


Need a DIY Sore Throat Remedy? Try this soothing natural Echinacea Throat Spray made with the herbal ingredients echinacea purpea, sage tea, and propolis. A mist to the back of your throat brings instant relief!

Echinacea Throat Spray (DIY Sore Throat Remedy)

Echinacea Throat Spray

Yield 4 ounces

 Need a DIY Sore Throat Remedy? Try this soothing natural Echinacea Throat Spray made with the herbal ingredients. One mist brings instant relief!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup echinacea tincture, Buy it here or make your own
  • ¼  cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • ½ teaspoon propolis, Buy it here
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil, Buy it here

Instructions

  • Make a herbal infusion (tea) with the sage and propolis in ¼ cup boiling water.
  • Allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Strain the sage and propolis from the tea and compost them. 
  • Mix in the echinacea tincture and peppermint essential oil. 
  • Shake well and spray into the back of your throat as needed. 
  • Refrigerate between uses. 

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @reformationacres on Instagram and hashtag it #reformationacres.

Hope you feel better soon!


The post Soothing Homemade Echinacea Throat Spray appeared first on Reformation Acres.

SmartSteader Digital Homestead Management Binder

Weekly Top Posts: 2018-02-04
2018-02-04 05:00 UTC

  1. www.reformationacres.com/2014/10/fresh-spanish-rice.html
  2. Custom Homemaking Binder Printables
  3. Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with Ginger Candied Pecans
  4. amzn.to/2GHTj08
  5. www.tammysrecipes.com/homemade_wheat_bread

How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth
2018-02-02 18:18 UTC by Quinn


The post How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth appeared first on Reformation Acres.

How to Can Superior Meat Stock or BrothKnowing how to can your own meat stock (bone broth) is an important homestead skill! There are undoubtedly many nutritional and healing benefits to stock. Because I am a frugal homesteader and conscientious meat-eater, I want to respect the life of the animals I raise and feed my family by making the most of calories and nutrients they give us. If I’m going to go through the work and effort to can meat stock, I’m going to make it the best stock I can possibly make!

But not all meat stock is created equally.

One year we knew someone who had butchered their pig. Bless their heart… which I think means they did something thoughtful, but I’m going to talk smack about it. But I’m from up north so I may be wrong. Bless their heart, they brought us a big old 5-gallon bucket of meat stock so I could can it.

And then I cracked the lid.

A peek was all it took and I slammed the lid back on begging Bill to get rid of it before it started to stink. (Or the Stock Maker came back to claim the bucket.)

The “stock” was grey… and scummy… and watery.

It was pretty disgusting. I certainly wasn’t going to ever use it, let alone can it. Until then it never occurred to me that there is a wrong way to make stock. Now I’m here to tell you there is!

So what is the “right” way to can meat stock (in my clearly not-so-humble and food-snobby opinion)?

I’ve got some tips and “secret” ingredients to make not just any old meat stock, but a Superior Meat Stock.

Don't settle for bland stock! Learn how to make SUPERIOR meat stock using these tips and SECRET INGREDIENTS! (Including recipes for chicken stock, beef stock, and pork stock.)

Methods for Making Meat Stock

I have used all these methods for making stock…

Each has its advantages.

The stockpot is a readily available kitchen tool that doesn’t require extra storage space. Since it can cook up a reliably flavorful batch of meat stock in half a day or two, it’s a good choice.

The slow cooker is great because it doesn’t take up stove space. It cooks low and slow enough that you don’t have to worry about all the stock cooking away if you don’t get to can it right away. You can even make it while you sleep. However, I’m not the biggest fan of making stock in a slow cooker because some don’t get hot enough to simmer and bring impurities to the surface. I don’t always get an off-smelling batch of meat stock, but when I do it’s in the slow cooker.

I LOVE making stock in a Pressure Cooker like the Instant Pot! It is lightning fast, making a perfect meat stock in about an hour or so. You can have it cooked and canned before lunch! While I love using it, the drawback to a Pressure Cooker is in quantity. It simply doesn’t have the capacity to make more than a few quarts of stock once you put all the ingredients in the pot. I prefer this method for small batches I won’t be canning.

Right now, my favorite is the last one, the Multipurpose Electric Waterbath Canner. Most of all, I love using it when I’ll be canning the stock. That 21-quart beast makes a huge batch of stock and the spout strains it beautifully. The temperatures get hot enough to simmer and skimming the impurities that rise to the top is easy. The other thing I love about it is, much like a slow cooker, you can cook stock while you sleep. Whereas I wouldn’t leave a pot of stock going on the stove top overnight. I am forever indebted to Kathie from Homespun Seasonal Living for sharing this method!

How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth

Tips for Making Superior Meat Stock

 Skim, Baby, Skim

Get yourself one of those little mesh wire skimmers and whenever you notice foamy scum floating to the top, just skim those impurities right off. Your stock will taste better for your efforts.

Cooking Longer isn’t Better

I am not a fan of cooking stock to death or using the same bones over and over until the crumble.

When I first heard about “perpetual broth” I thought it was the best idea ever! Warm stock, when made in the slow cooker, is always on hand and ready to use, no canning! I quickly learned that “perpetual broth” meant perpetually making broth because successive batches get visibly weaker and blander. In fact, after 24 hours I think it starts to smell funky and taste off. If I wanted to keep the stock going, I would have to discard all the ingredients and start over. Personally, I’d rather just make a big batch and can it.

Not-So-Top-Secret Ingredients

Add these secret ingredients to improve flavor, gelatin, color, and nutrition!

1.) Roasted Bones. First of all, you want to roast your bones in the oven until they are dark brown and making your belly growl. Roasting soup bones will add both flavor and a beautiful color.

2.) Feet. Yes, feet. Whether it’s pig trotters or chicken feet, adding feet to your stock will improve the gel and therefore nutrition in your stock.

3.) Skin. No not animal skins! Ugh… that’s totally disgusting. How could you possibly think that’s what I meant?

Oh… cause of the whole feet thing? Ok, sure, I guess that makes sense. Well, I meant onion skins (and why not the garlic skins too for good measure?) Onion skins will naturally dye your stock a deeper, richer color.

4.) An Acid. This could be any acid you have on hand such as vinegar, wines, citrus, citric acid.

I’ll be honest, I usually reach for the apple cider vinegar, cause I’m lazy. But I don’t like the smell of it and it does tend to hang on in my opinion. Rather, wine or lemon juice is a much better choice.

Whatever you choose, the acid will leach more goodness from the bones, improving the nutritional quality.

5.) Make it Medicinal. These “secret” ingredients will take your already superior meat stock to the next level of healing and wellness. I’m talking about adding cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric (and therefore black pepper which is needed to help you absorb the medicinal properties of turmeric.). Another option is to add immune boosting mushroom varieties like Shiitake, Reishi, Maitake, or Turkey Tail. 

Give it Some Clarity

Finally, clarify your stock. This step is totally optional, but if you skip it, your stock will be a little cloudy. Even if you diligently skimmed it. It’s super cool though and does make for some beautiful stock, free of impurities.

To clarify your stock whisk an egg white together with about ¼ cup of water. Whisk it into the hot, strained stock. Bring it to a boil and then remove it from the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes or so. Strain it again through a couple layers of butter muslin while jarring it up.  (That butter muslin stuff. It sure is handy on the homestead. I buy it by the bolt. True story.)

How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth

 Canning Meat Stock

Once you learn how to pressure can, canning meat stock is really simple. You jar up the stock and can it for 25 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure. The only problem is, meat stock MUST be pressure canned because the acidity is too low to safely water bath can.

And if you have never pressure canned before, let me encourage you right here, right now to add that to your homestead skills set!

Because it’s one of those things that once you bite the bullet and learn how to safely can, your only regret will be that you didn’t learn it sooner. Seriously. It broadens your canning horizons exponentially! You can can your own dry beans, caramelized onions, potatoes and so much more!

I used to make all kinds of excuses about why I couldn’t pressure can. There isn’t the time to learn or I don’t have the money to buy a pressure canner, but when it came right down to it…

I was afraid.

I was afraid that I would blow myself up or my babies up or some other horror story you hear about. Then I watched At Home Canning for Beginners and Beyond and realized my fears were unfounded. Like anything else, there are precautions you should take for safety, but they’re not hard to do or remember. Because video made it so simple, it totally shattered my excuse for fear!

And check this out- I’m taking away the excuse that it’s too expensive to get started cause through the end of the month you can use the code below and save a total almost 40% off an All-American Pressure Canner at Lehman’s!



Take 15% OFF Orders of $200+ with code “PJP1520182” at Lehman’s. Valid now through 2/28.  Shop now!


How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth

Basic Meat Stock Recipe

The following recipes for chicken stock, beef stock, and pork stock are the basis for any meat stock I make. The method is more important than exact measurements. Adjust some of the flavors according to your taste preferences.

You’re awesome, “superior” stock will make your meals taste better. It will make them cook more quickly because it instantly builds flavor. Also, it can be a base for making scratch-made soup in a pinch too. Soups like Chicken Soup with Homemade Spaetzle, Ham Hock & Black-Eyed Pea Soup, or Kielbasa Soup with Kale and White Beans.

And of course, there are the aforementioned immune-boosting, healing and nutritional benefits to stock.

Basic Meat Stock (Recipes for Chicken, Beef, and Pork Stock)

Don’t settle for bland stock! Learn how to make SUPERIOR meat stock using these tips and SECRET INGREDIENTS! (Including recipes for chicken stock, beef stock, and pork stock.)

Ingredients

Chicken Stock

  • roasted chicken bones
  • 5 chicken feet
  • 1 onion, quartered, with skins
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, snapped in pieces
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • parsley, to taste

Beef Stock

  • 2 pounds roasted beef bones
  • 3 chicken feet or 1 pig trotter
  • 1 onion, quartered, with skins
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalks celery, snapped in pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 3 Tablespoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Pork Stock

  • Pork Bones, roasted if possible
  • 1 pig trotter
  • 3 stalks celery, snapped into pieces 
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered, with skins
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

To fill a 6-7 Quart vessel, add all of the ingredients and cover with water to the fill line.

Stockpot: Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat low. You want it to just barely simmer. Skim any foam that gathers on the top. Cook the stock. To a point, the longer you cook it the more flavorful it will be. Set a colander inside a large bowl or container and line it with butter muslin. Ladle the stock into the colander and let it strain.

Cooking Time: 

  • Chicken: 8-12 hours, Up to 24 hours
  • Beef: 12-18 hours, Up to 48 hours
  • Pork: 12 hours, Up to 24 hours

Slow Cooker: Cover and cook. Set a colander inside a large bowl or container and line it with butter muslin. Ladle the stock into the colander and let it strain.

Cooking Time: 

  • Chicken: 12-24 hours on low heat, 8-12 hours on high heat
  • Beef: 24 hours on low heat, 12-18 hours on high heat
  • Pork: 18-24 hours on low heat, 12 hours on high 

Pressure Cooker: Seal the vent and set the timer to Manual and the time needed to cook. Allow the steam to release naturally. Set a colander inside a large bowl or container and line it with butter muslin. Ladle the stock into the colander and let it strain.

Cooking Time: 

  • Chicken: 90 minutes
  • Beef: 3 hours (You may need to reset the timer.)
  • Pork: 2 hours

Multipurpose Water Bath Canner: Triple the recipe since you’ll be make 3 times the amount of stock. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat low. You want it to just barely simmer. Skim any foam that gathers on the top. Cook the stock. To a point, the longer you cook it the more flavorful it will be. Place a large bowl, vessel, or half gallon mason jar beneath the spout. Outfit your container with either a funnel or colander lined with butter muslin to strain it. Open the valve and empty the canner of the stock, leaving the vegetables behind in the pot.

Cooking Time: 

  • Chicken: 8-12 hours, Up to 24 hours
  • Beef: 24-48 hours
  • Pork: 12-24 hours

To Pressure Can Meat Stock: Funnel the hot stock into quart-sized mason jars, leaving 1″ headspace. Clean the rims and top with rings and lids. Can in a pressure canner according to manufacturer’s directions for 25 minutes at 11 pounds pressure. (Adjusted times for altitude can be found here.)

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @reformationacres on Instagram and hashtag it #reformationacres.

Enjoy!

 

The post How to Can Superior Meat Stock or Broth appeared first on Reformation Acres.

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Choosing the Best Pig Breed (Do you want Ham or Bacon?)
2018-01-24 14:16 UTC by Quinn


The post Choosing the Best Pig Breed (Do you want Ham or Bacon?) appeared first on Reformation Acres.

For the Love of Bacon: Choosing a Pig Breed for Meat-type or Lard TypeBy far, my favorite homesteading venture has been the raising of hogs! No matter where you raise your homestead pigs, on pasture, in the woods, or in a clean pen, the quality of homegrown versus store bought one is unsurpassable. Until you eat real pork- meaty, reddish-pink pork, you don’t realize how artificial conventional ham and bacon taste! But which pig breed will get you the best ham & bacon? 

One year, we purchased our pigs from two different sources. Because by the time we found the first one, he had only one left for us at that time, Big Pig. (Here’s a tip- if you plan to raise your own hogs this year, NOW is the time to start shopping for a breeder. They really go like hotcakes. We had a hard time finding them the first two years.) After much searching, we found a source for our second hog. And what we got was a much smaller pig for DOUBLE the price, Little Pig.

Original, I know.

Her breeder told us that he was selectively breeding for leanness, and the difference was noticeable as the two girls grew up. The older one certainly had a jiggle to her when she ran, whereas the younger looked as though she was working out.

For the Love of Bacon: Choosing a Pig Breed for Meat-type or Lard Type

Choosing a Pig Breed: Meat-Type or Lard Type


From: Back To Basics: A Complete Guide To Traditional Skills
Big Pig on left… Little Pig on Right

The difference turned out to be more than visual. When it came time to eating, there was a very discernible difference between the flavor of Big Pig’s and Little Pig’s bacon. And let’s face it, the best reason to raise a hog is for the love of bacon!

Big Pig produced bacon that was meaty, yet with an ample amount of fat to crisp and flavor the meat. My mouth is watering, just thinking about it! While Little Pig had virtually no fat and the results were a product that was chewy and tasted like ham. I would liken it to Canadian Bacon, only thinner.

The fat is where the flavor’s at!

What I’ve come to learn is that American pork production for commercial and show purposes is leaning increasingly towards lean to provide us with an alternative to chicken for our low-fat diets, since we don’t realize how important saturated fats are to our health. And there are several different types of hogs out there.

So while shopping for your partners in Homestead Waste Management (feeder pigs) this year, it might be helpful to know which pig breed would suit your needs so you’re not disappointed with your final results this winter.

Some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Do you not care about having lean cuts of meat?
  • Do you prefer having more bacon over ham?
  • Will you be using a lot of lard?
  • Do you want juicier, more flavorful meat?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you’re going to want to find yourself a lard-type of pig!

Identifying Meat-Type vs. Lard-Type

From: A Field Guide To Pigs

Most likely, the pig breed you choose will be limited to one of the two types on the right of this chart. So let’s look at the difference between “Fat-Type” and “Meat-Type” hogs:

Fat Type

Meat Type

 

Meat Type on Left… Fat Type on Right.


And while we’re on the subject, I found it to be interesting how the specific breeds have changed over the years.

Take a look at the difference between pig breeds from before and pig breeds now:

Duroc:

Hampshire:

Tamworth:

Berkshire:

I see the least difference in the Tamworth. If I were interested in raising heritage pork, I would definitely give Tamworth a try first. We know that Large Black Hogs and Gloucestershire Old Spots also produce a respectable amount of lard. The fattiest pig we’ve ever had was an LBH x GOS. By keeping good homesteading records we know that our yields on leaf lard off of those gals were more than ALL of the lard of any other breed we’ve tried. Hands down, that was the best pork we’ve ever raised. So long as we are able to get that cross we will raise them from now on.

Of course, if you’re not a bacon person, it would stand to reason that fatty hogs wouldn’t be the best choice for your homestead. You’ll probably have an easier time finding your feeder pig source. Thankfully, for those of us who want the fat-type hog, the slow food movement is making them easier to find.

It’s time to weigh in! Which do you prefer, ham or bacon? Or perhaps you’re all about the sausage? 

 

 

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New to Backyard Chickens? Choose the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds
2018-01-17 21:13 UTC by Quinn


The post New to Backyard Chickens? Choose the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds appeared first on Reformation Acres.

New to Backyard Chickens? Choose the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds (and a few to avoid your first year)You know what I hope? I hope there are lots of folks out there, right now, wondering, “What are the best beginner chicken breeds?” Because that means there is another family out there thinking about that next step to take control of their food production!

The modern homesteading movement is continuing to grow! More and more folks are realizing there are some great reasons to raise your own chickens! (Actually, I think you only need one!) And while it’s tempting to get choose those fancy chickens you see, they’re probably not the best beginner chicken breeds to start with.

Since you are gonna ROCK at raising chickens, you need to know there are some breeds of chickens are naturally more hardy, more productive, and more friendly than others. There are chickens that do better no matter what type of habitat they are given. And there are chicken breeds that are going to be great choices for you to learn the ropes by raising. All these factors will help you choose the best chicken breeds for your homestead.

But which ones should you start with?

We’ve had many different chicken over the years and some of the breeds I’ve seen suggested for those just starting out have left me scratching my head. Here are my top picks for beginner chicken breeds!

New to Backyard Chickens? Choose the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds (and a few to avoid your first year)

Best Beginner Chicken Breeds

Production Hybrid

Many chicken breeds fall under this blanket term. It seems every hatchery has their own term. I’ve seen them called Black Sex-Link, Red Star, Golden Comets, Production Reds, Golden Buff, Isa Brown, Cinnamon Queen, and so on.

Whatever their name, these chickens have two things in common. They are crossed between two heritage breeds and you can tell by their coloring as chicks whether they are chicks or dudes. The other thing that sets these hens apart is they lay a lot of eggs! Nearly one every day of the year!

Production Hybrids are easy to keep. They generally aren’t flighty, don’t go broody, and don’t eat a ton of feed. We have found them to be among the friendliest of chickens we’ve ever raised.

We add a few Production Hybrid chickens to our flock every year because they will keep us getting at least a few eggs when the other gals are slacking over the winter.

Black Australorp

Black Australorp chickens are such easy keepers! Having a few in your flock will be a pleasure! They will lay 5 or more eggs per week, are very hardy, and are friendly and quiet. The longest we’ve ever had a rooster was 4 years and he was a Black Australorp. He never once showed an aggressive bone in his body. We had fallen into a nice pattern of hens hatching out his hardy chicks each year. The only reason he retired is that that was the first year he only produced 2 chicks despite many clutches being sat upon. (So, yes, they can go broody.)

New to Backyard Chickens? Choose the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds (and a few to avoid your first year)

Barred Rock (Plymouth Rock)

This beautiful heritage breed is everything I’m looking for in a chicken. They lay well (4-5 eggs per week), are very friendly, and hardy. Barred Rocks do well in either freedom or confinement. They can be considered dual-purpose because they are heavier than other laying breeds.

Speckled Sussex

Speckled Sussex hens are a pleasure to raise. They are friendly and calm, lay 4-5 eggs per week, and will thrive regardless of your choice of habitat. Speckled Sussex are a cold-hardy heritage breed that is heavy enough (7-pound hens) to make a good dual-purpose breed.

Icelandic

While I do not have personal experience with Icelandic chickens, I am certainly intrigued by their reputation. As I’m sure you can imagine with a name like “Icelandic”, these chickens are very cold-tolerant and resourceful. They may make excellent additions to the “self-sufficient flock.” They are reported to forage exceptionally well which translates to they do very well free-ranging. Icelandic hens will lay about 3 eggs per week and will go broody,  mothering successive generations. They are pretty hard to find, but as demand increases, I’m sure that will change over time.

White Plymouth Rock

Like Barred Rocks, these hens will lay about 5 eggs per week with a similar temperament, but these hens are even better suited to warm or hot climates because of their light feathers and larger combs which work to regulate their body heat.


New to Backyard Chickens? Choose the Best Beginner Chicken Breeds (and a few to avoid your first year)

Wait To Raise These Chicken Breeds

There are some really great chickens out there! And one day they might be a great fit for your flock. But, maybe, it would be a good idea to wait to raise these breeds until after you’re asking yourself if the hens from your first flock are still laying.

Leghorns

Yes, Leghorns are definitely production rockstars! BUT, I was not impressed with them at all. Like the Holstein in the cattle world, this chicken breed has been selectively bred for confinement and short lifespans. They are the only breed we’ve ever had where everyone in the flock died naturally before they turned two! We had several Amish neighbors we split an order of pullets with and their experience was identical.

The large comb of Leghorns makes them less winter hardy. (That comb can easily be frost burned in winter.) They are nervous, noisy, and flighty. Though they aren’t very friendly, they aren’t mean either. I found them to be poor foragers. This was reflected in the color of their yolks. They were a dull, pale yellow instead of the vibrant orange I want to see in my eggs.

Buff Orpingtons

I can never understand how Buff Orpingtons make it on the top of every beginner chicken breeds list. No doubt, those soft butterscotch colored feathers are beautiful. But despite their popularity, they failed to impress me. Forget “jumping up in your lap”, I suppose they were friendly enough. Mostly I found them to be indifferent. Surprisingly unlike their Production Hybrids flock-mates, they could have cared less if we existed. The first year, they laid the promised 3-4 eggs, but after their first molt, it was cut by about half. The third year, after their second molt, they never came back into production. Meanwhile, the Black Stars in the same flock (so same diet & conditions) thrived and laid well long after the Buffs had entered a self-imposed retirement.

Silkies or Polish

Any of the fancier chicken breeds like Silkies or Polish should be added once you have more experience and your systems have been tested as predator-proof. The beautiful plumage on their heads makes these birds more susceptible to attack, especially from overhead predators like hawks, owls, and eagles because they can’t see them coming. These chickens lay less than ⅓ of what some other chickens will lay, only about 2 eggs per week.

Ancona

Ancona chickens are high maintenance drama queens! They are flighty, scaredy-cats who are mediocre layers. Ancona’s hate any type of confinement and are always looking for a way of escape. They definitely prefer forging free on the range. And they lay just over half as many eggs as a Production Hybrid and I’ve never thought twice about getting them again.

What is your favorite beginner chicken breeds?

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  5. How Long Do Seeds Last: 13 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability

How Long Do Seeds Last: 13 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability
2018-01-10 19:54 UTC by Quinn


The post How Long Do Seeds Last: 13 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability appeared first on Reformation Acres.

How Long Do Seeds Last: 10 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability Wondering how long do seeds last? These heirloom seeds have a long viability so you don’t have to throw the packet away next year if you didn’t use them all.

You won’t be gardening very long before you’ve got a fat stash of half-used seeds in packets with the tops rolled down, maybe all taped up an effort to re-secure them. When you get to that point in your journey as a home gardener, it’s time to start thinking about their viability and hardiness.

How long do seeds last?

The sad fact is that packet of 250 onion seeds you only needed half of last year aren’t going to grow too well this year. Onion seeds only have a viability of about 1 year so a germination test will show a great deal that failed to sprout. Many, like green bean seeds, will last longer, about 2-3 years. But there are others that will last 4 years… or more!

Knowing how long seeds last and will be viable is important for planning your seed purchases, cleaning up your inventory, and knowing how many to purchase.

How Long Do Seeds Last: 10 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability (These varieties are easy to grow too!)

Be Prepared with Heirloom Seeds

It’s not a bad idea to use this knowledge as part of crisis preparation plan. Seeds are inexpensive and buying some heirloom seeds with a long viability every 4 years or so specifically for the purpose of going into storage is wise. Hopefully, you’ll never need them and they can be used and replaced at the end of that time.  But it gives a peace of mind knowing that if there is anything that happens to your finances, the seed bank, the distribution channels, or our nation, you can at least count on eating well because you had the foresight to be prepared.

Now, I am by no means a “prepper.” I know, I’m an odd-duck among odd-ducks, right?  I have self-consciously decided to be optimistic because when I was worried about all of the “what-if’s” I was being ruled by fear and it was causing depression over a “maybe.” Generally, instead of preparing in cache’s I prepare in skill-sets and knowledge, but having a supply of heirloom seeds is one of the areas I do have stockpiled. If I ever need them, I have them and can harvest the seeds each year so long as I need to for a continuous supply.

Why not grow heirloom seeds all the time and not worry about it? 

For our family, I’ve learned (the hard way) that the ideology of feeding my family fresh, healthy, organic produce is more important than my ideology of growing 100% heirloom seeds. For years I tried with mixed success. There are reasons hybrid (note: not GMO’s- that’s different) seeds are used. They can be more vigorous, hearty, disease resistant, and productive. During our year of market gardening, I learned that I could grow so much more per plant of larger, more quality produce by going hybrid. It literally means that my garden doesn’t have to take up as much room! So if an heirloom like jalapeño peppers grows well for me, I will use it, but if I can grow better vegetables, like bell peppers, from hybrids than it’s Ace for me all the way!

These dates are good for all seeds regardless of being heirloom or hybrid. But if you plan to save your own seeds from one year to the next, they must be heirloom seeds to grow true to their variety. If you want to grow seeds with a long viability here are 10 that are easy to grow! I suggested some varieties for you to try that have done really well in my gardens!

How Long Do Seeds Last: 10 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability

10 Easy Grow Seeds with a Long Viability

Lettuce
• Lasts up to 6 years
• Try Paris Island Cos or Heirloom Iceberg

Beets
• Lasts up to 4 years
• Try Detroit Dark Red

Cabbage
• Lasts up to 4 years
• Try Red Express

Swiss Chard
• Lasts up to 4 Years
• Try Bright Lights

Radish
• Lasts up to 5 Years
• Try Cherry Belle

Winter Squash
• Lasts up to 4 Years
• Try Sweet Meat or Waltham Butternut

Cucumber
• Lasts up to 5 Years
• Try Boston Pickling

Tomatoes
• Lasts up to 4 Years
• Try Brandywine or Principe Borghese

Summer Squash
• Lasts up to 4 years
• Try Black Beauty or Golden Zucchini

Kale
• Lasts up to 4 Years
• Try Red Russian or Lacitino

Turnips
• Lasts up to 5 years
• Try White Egg

Kohlrabi
• Lasts up to 4 Years
• Try Early Red Vienna

Spinach
• Lasts up to 4 years
• Try Bloomsdale

How Long Do Seeds Last: 13 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability (These varieties are easy to grow too!)

What to Do with Extra Seeds

How long seeds last depends on the expiration date on the packet and how well they were stored before planting.

How to Store Seeds

Seeds must be under stored 50 degrees with low humidity. A cool,  dark place like your refrigerator is perfect. The average years of viability in the chart above reflect those storage conditions. If you store seeds in less than ideal conditions, they may not last as long. If you store them in even colder temperatures (like in the freezer) they may last even longer!

Learn more about How to Store Extra Seeds

Germination Test

When it’s time to use seeds that have been in storage for a year or more, it’s a good idea to do a germination test. It’s simple and will give you an idea of how much you should over plant to plan for those seeds that simply won’t sprout.

You do a germination test much the same way you would pre-sprout or “chit” seeds like onions. Simple place 10 seeds between 2 wet paper towels and put it in a plastic bag in a warm, light spot for as many days as it should normally take the seed to germinate. (It varies greatly depending on what you’re growing.)

After you notice them beginning to sprout, give it another day or three. The number of seeds that sprout tells you what your germination rate will be. So if 5 seeds sprouted, your germination rate is 50%. Plant double for the number of plants you need to grow.

How Long Do Seeds Last: 10 Heirloom Seeds With a Long Viability

Vigor vs. Viability

While seeds that have been in storage for over a year may very well be viable, there is a chance they may not be as vigorous as they would have been if they had been grown when younger. (That’s why the packets have expiration dates.) While it seems wasteful to throw seeds away, you’re probably are saving more in the long run by not fighting to keep a week seedling alive. It’s just as frustrating investing all of that time and effort into starting your seedling only to lose it after a while.

Keep a Seed Inventory

Keeping good homesteading records, including an inventory of your seeds, is another part of homestead management that makes the simple life easier! It saves you a ton of time by not having to sift through seed packets. Or trying to remember when you purchased the seeds. When it’s time to make purchases in the winter, simply reference your Seed Inventory sheet and know exactly what you have in storage and what you’ll need to buy.

Seed Inventory and garden planning worksheets are part of the Homestead Management Printables! Load your Homesteading Binder with them today as part of your homestead management strategy. You’ll be amazed at how much keeping homestead records will give you a better overall picture of the health and efficiency of your homestead.


What are your favorite vegetable varieties?

 

 

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Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread Recipe
2018-01-04 12:45 UTC by Quinn


The post Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread Recipe appeared first on Reformation Acres.

Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread RecipeA healthy, multigrain seed bread made with whole grains like wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa and tasty pumpkin, sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds.


It’s inevitable. When I go to visit my Dad there’s going to be some food tasting involved. He loves to show me all of his Whole-Foods-Finds. And I’m cool with that most of the time. (Not so much of a fan when there’s a sauce or condiment on a spoon. I need to sample in context.) Last year he toasted me up a piece of “Seed Bread” he had been enjoying and it was darn skippy!

So good, I’ve been dreaming of Seed Bread ever since!

But I’ll be honest. I’m not really the bread-buying type. In fact, if we buy bread I’m usually angry about it and stewing over my mismanagement of menu planning. (Again.) And this was swanky, expensive bread. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my new Seed Bread fix.

 

Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread Recipe

Not too long ago, I could stand it no longer. I needed Seed Bread in my life! And I was pretty sure I could make a knock-off myself for a whole lot less.

It took some practice and quite a few failed loaves, but I’ve got something I’m real happy to add to our Family Cookbook!

I don’t think it’s a true knock-off. There were some ingredients in there I wasn’t interested in trying. Fruit juices, I think. But my loaves don’t have the store-bread flavor behind them that’s gotta come from making the loaves shelf-stable longer.  It turns out, I actually like this bread better! (I think all store bread tastes moldy. Seems like I’m just a food snob?)

So you can bet the next time I visit my Dad, I’ll be taking some for him to try!

Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread Recipe

This healthy, multigrain Seed Bread is a fairly straightforward loaf of bread. I started to get all fancy pants with technique. But then I realized I would never make it if it was a pain. (Which is why the Quintessential Sourdough Loaf was such a game-changer for me.) Really, the only extra step above and beyond a regular old bread recipe is soaking the seeds and whole grains for at least an hour or more to soften them up. And rolling the dough in seeds if you want them on the outside.

You can totally make this recipe by hand, in the Kitchen Aid Mixer, or in the bread machine! The dough cycle on my bread machine turned it out beautifully! I even rebelled against the mid-cycle beep signaling for add-ins. Just add the seed and grain mix in before the flours.

You can skip the seedy crust if you’d like, but man, why would you? The extra step takes about 2 minutes and the toasted seeds on the outside are amazing! (Also, it’s kids favorite part!)

Finally, this bread makes a fantastic buttered toast! (Let’s qualify that. I need to distinguish cast-iron-skillet-bread-toasted-in-butter from counter-top-toaster-bread-slathered-in-butter-post-toasting. The two don’t compare and after that realization, I threw away my toaster.) I’ve been loving the toast with headcheese or a toasted sandwich! My little girls do complain that the crust is too hard and chewy for them to eat un-toasted. If you plan to eat it that way and don’t want the chewy crust, just skip the steaming part of the recipe.


Try baking your bread in one of these pans! I’m loving using silicone right now! 0% chance of the bread getting stuck in the pan and super easy to clean. The first middle one makes a batard and the second middle one makes a nice boule. (It’s the one used to make the round loaf in my photos in this post.) For a loaf pan, I usually stick with ceramic or stoneware but I’d love to try out the cast iron loaf pan!



Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread Recipe

Healthy Multigrain Seed Bread

Healthy Multi Grain Seed Bread

Yield 2 loaves

A healthy, multigrain Seed Bread make with whole grains like wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa and tasty pumpkin, sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons flax seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Steel Cut Oats, or Cracked Wheat
  • 2 Tablespoons Buckwheat Groats
  • 2 Tablespoons Quinoa
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon dry, active yeast
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup Additional seeds for garnish, optional, not soaked

Instructions

  • Combine the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, steel cut oats, buckwheat groats, and quinoa in a small bowl. 
  • Stir in ½ cup water. 
  • Allow to soak for at least an hour. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yeast into 2 cups of warm water. 
  • Add the honey, whole wheat flour, rye flour, all-purpose flour, seed mix, and salt. 
  • Stir together to combine and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes. 
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until it has doubled. 
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. 
  • Divide it into 2 pieces and form the initial shape. 
  • Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes. 
  • Grease the pans with soft butter. 
  • Shape the dough once again.
  • If you want a seedy crust, brush the dough with water and roll them into a mix of extra seeds spread on a plate. (About ¼ cup of mixed seeds per loaf. Feel free to add in some sesame seeds too! But I don’t recommend using the flax seeds on the crust. When toasted they taste a little fishy. Literally.)
  • Place the loaves into the baking pans. 
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap then allow them to rise again until doubled. 
  • Place an empty oven-proof dish in the bottom rack of the oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • When the bread has risen, make ½”-1″ deep slashes across the top if you’d like. 
  • Place in the oven and close the door. 
  • For a chewy crust: Get about ½ cup of water and quickly pour it onto the hot, empty pan on the bottom rack of the oven to create steam. Quickly shut the oven door. 
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
  • Turn out onto a wire rack to cool for as long as you can stand. 

Enjoy!


Here are some other great homemade bread recipes to try!

Restaurant Brown Bread Dinner Rolls

Quintessential Sourdough Farm Loaf

Crusty Sourdough Dinner Bread

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

No Knead Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Kulich

French Bread

Carrot Cloverleaf Rolls

Easy Sourdough Bread

Cheddar Bacon Rolls

No Knead Sourdough Rye Bread

 

 

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Custom Homemaking Binder Printables
2018-01-02 17:51 UTC by Quinn


The post Custom Homemaking Binder Printables appeared first on Reformation Acres.

How I Set Up Homemaking Binder Printables and how you can get Custom Homemaking Binder Printables I want to share with you some of the Custom Homemaking Binder Printables I use in organizing my homemaking and homesteading binders,  free for the taking. Check these templates out and see if they might be useful in your Homemaking Binder as you try to get more organized while managing your home or farm! Simply enter your email in the box below and I’ll send you a link to the printables (including all of my favorite natural cleaning recipes) so you can get organizing!

How I Set Up Homemaking Binder Printables

I put my Homemaking Binder Printables in a simple pocketed 3-ring binder with a plastic sleeve cover for easy cleaning, in which I keep a decorative coversheet. It’s very similar to how I set up my Homesteading Binder. 

The front and back pockets are used for storing scraps of paper for quick note-taking, writing down ideas, storing important papers or business cards that I’ll need to file later.

Inside, there are 5 tabbed dividers: Schedules,  Home Education, HomesteadingFinances, and my Home Business. You could also have a section for managing children’s chores, health, and nutrition, cleaning, etc. In the back, I have a folder that I 3-hole punched in which I keep magazine clippings for decorating or project (sewing, knitting & crocheting patterns etc.) ideas. All pages are kept in sheet protectors for easy cleaning if necessary. (Tip: I also print on both sides of the paper to reduce thickness/bulkiness of the binder.)

Schedules

My Schedules tab is most commonly used on a daily basis. However, I refuse to be a slave to the schedule. I use it as a guideline and outline for what I could ideally accomplish in a day. It helps me from getting too far behind on any one task so even if, say, for example, I miss one month’s organizing day because we went spent the day together doing something fun as a family, it’s certainly not as bad as if I let 6 or more months slip by. (Which has been known to happen!) While it doesn’t help me “get it all done” it sure helps!

Instead of having a cleaning day, I have found it easier to break up my household chores among Monday through Saturday. This eliminates having chores undone if something comes up on cleaning day. (And with 8 children, anything can happen to knock me off schedule!) This schedule is all on a Monthly Schedule page opposite my Daily Schedule page and is where I keep it open to all day.

My Monthly Schedule is broken down into 4 weeks, 7 days a week with Sunday being left blank for the Sabbath. To determine what week I’m on, I go by if it’s the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Monday of the month and I fly by the seat of my pants every couple of months when there is a 5th week to the month.

How I Set Up Homemaking Binder Printables and how you can get Custom Homemaking Binder Printables

My Schedule

It looks like this:

Monday– Mopping;  Launder sheets 1st and 3rd week
Tuesday– Clean Bathrooms
Wednesday– Grocery & Menu Planning; Clean the fridge; Shopping
Thursday– Ironing; Scrub-a-Room (I have a schedule for deep-cleaning each area of the home once every 6 weeks.)
Friday– Finances; Window cleaning; (Septic Treatment 1st week; Dusting 2nd & 4th week)
Saturday–  Clean cupboards inside and outside; Monthly Chores; Lesson Prep
I used to have a daily schedule for both Winter & Summer which basically only varied upon whether I was schooling or gardening. I am terrible at sticking to these schedules! Ever since Bill started working from home, it’s been nearly impossible to keep. My daily schedule had a list of reminders of things I should attend to before retiring for the night such as any planning that may be required for breakfast or dinner the next day and arranging our chore chart system, etc.

Next, is a Yearly Schedule broken down into major projects according to month? A yearly schedule is really helpful for those tasks that aren’t done on a regular basis and therefore easy to overlook.

Check out how I set up my Yearly Schedule and learn to set up yours.

How I Set Up Homemaking Binder Printables and how you can get Custom Homemaking Binder Printables

Homesteading


Get 115+ printable binder sheets for your 2018 homestead and garden–>> HERE


Gardening Expense Records (Or check out the SmartSteader Homestead Management app! It makes keeping gardening and homestead records even easier!)

Gardening Production Yields-  Record current & previous years production totals and record the difference to analyze homestead yields and growth.

Snag these homestead printables for free:

Seed Sowing Schedule & Template

Incubation Chart


Menu Planning

Menu Planner- Meal idea worksheet; 12 month/4 week Menu Planner; Price List, Pantry Inventory; Freezer Inventory

Grocery List Template


Coversheets

Homemaking

Home Education

Finances

Homesteading

Health & Nutrition

Menu & Grocery Planning


{Recommended Resources}

 

Home Economics: Vintage Advice and Practical Science for the 21st-Century Household Large Family Logistics Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House The Hidden Art of Homemaking

I hope that you will find them helpful in organizing your home or your homestead!


 

The post Custom Homemaking Binder Printables appeared first on Reformation Acres.

SmartSteader Digital Homestead Management Binder

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Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know
2017-12-29 11:45 UTC by Quinn


The post Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know appeared first on Reformation Acres.

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know (This is such great advice!)Starting a new homestead but don’t know where to begin? You’re not the only one! It’s easy to be overwhelmed. This is a great question and I’m going to share the lessons I’ve learned about where to start homesteading.

By God’s provision we were able to buy a beautiful 3 acre piece of land two weeks ago. I’ve always dreamed of living in the country and now that we are here I don’t know where to begin when starting a new homestead. Our property came to us completely fenced for goats and equipped with a small chicken coop and fenced garden. I guess my question to you is where do you start? I’m a little overwhelmed with the laying out of our little farm. I’m excited about all of it and don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. A homeschooler like you, I need to be able to balance all the work and feel like I should ease in.

It’s exciting when your homesteading dream first becomes a reality. You want to get in there and do everything straight from the beginning! It’s finally happening!!

But it is so easy to get too excited about all the possibilities when you get your first piece of land! The temptation is to dive into the deep end head first, not realizing you don’t even know how to swim.

This is a recipe for disaster. You run the risk of end up feeling overwhelmed, defeated, and, unless you’re of the most stubborn character, maybe even failure. We all grew up on Easy Street and this type of hard work isn’t in our nature (otherwise you’d see more folks doing it because it’s just so satisfying) and increasing accessibility to sustainable, local food makes it simple to pay someone else to raise our food for us.

So where do you begin when starting a new homestead?

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know (This is such great advice!)

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know

Learn the Land

One of the permaculture concepts is don’t do anything for a year,  until you’ve walked it, see where the water goes, see where the frost pockets are, see where the dry spots are. Let the land speak to you. Then start with something you like. What do you like to eat? What do you like to do? What fascinates you?  – Joel Salatin

Were I starting a new homestead, I wouldn’t make any permanent additions for the first full year. Each season you’d find me taking pictures, making notes, recording the first & last frost in my homesteading binder and all other relevant observations. Being armed with this information will increase your success the second year.

Let’s look at our orchard as an example. When we planted our orchard, the determining factor for deciding upon a location was, “Where do we have open space?” Our side yard seemed to have the most room and so that was where we planted. Thankfully, there’s southern sun in the winter and they aren’t shaded, but we didn’t think about that at the time.

Worse than that though was that the trees were planted in the fall and it wasn’t until the following spring that we realized just how wet it gets there. We planted half the trees in a very low spot where water sits for months in the spring. Fruit trees prefer to be 3-4 feet above the water table. Of the trees that survived that first year, their growth is visibly stunted. We have since built up the area and they’re doing better, thankfully, but careful observation would have prevented that issue.

I love that Joel suggests growing what you like to eat. Originally, we were planning on getting goats for milk production because operating on such a small scale we thought that was our only option. The problem was, we don’t care for goat’s milk and I really wanted to learn the skills associated with having a dairy cow- ice cream, butter, and cheese, etc… I’m very glad that we decided to go with a cow! While our cow doesn’t produce enough cream for ice cream and butter (which is one of the cons of having a Dexter cow), I have learned to make several types of cheeses and hopefully will one day have a cow capable of providing us with the others.


Avoid and Reduce Debt

When starting a new homestead don’t get too far into debt because you lose freedom. Do things that take time and not money and use your creativity to do for yourself. I would not recommend building your homestead by digging yourself into debt. Quite the opposite. If you happen to have debt, take that first year and try to get out of it. Reducing your monthly expenses will allow you to fit a new feed bill into the budget and ultimately give you so much more freedom to grow and expand when you are ready… not when the finances will allow.

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know (This is such great advice!)

Start Small, Start Slow

For many reasons “easing in” is one of the wisest things a new homesteader can do. It prevents burnout, helps you stay out of debt, allows you to thoroughly do your research. Starting a new homestead slowly, building knowledge, obtaining experience, gaining confidence, and working towards mastering each new skill will allow much of the work to be done effortlessly and as a matter of habit. Going about these new tasks habitually will go a long way to improving morale when there is a bump in the road.

And there will be bumps.

Especially since, in this case, there already is a hen house in place, I think that a small laying flock is a wonderful place to start. A few chicks this spring will generate a great deal of excitement and feeling of productivity like you’re doing something other than waiting.

Despite a lot of what you’ll read out there, chickens are relatively adaptable and probably the most foolproof of barnyard animals. After 5-6 months of enjoying your young chickens, you’ll start being able to gather eggs. Get a few new chicks each spring so you’ll have fresh layers in the fall when the older gals are molting and over the winter. They’ll keep you in at least a few eggs when everyone else is complaining of empty nesting boxes. After the 3rd or 4th year, cull out the oldest hens who are no longer laying and they can finish their contribution to the homestead by providing your family with a wonderful stock. (I have some simmering away on the stove right now.) You’ll also get the benefit of a new skill- chicken butchering.

The second year on the homestead I would plant a garden in the spring. You could even start seeds in the late winter or early spring. I typically start my onions in January, peppers in March, and tomatoes a couple weeks later. I have found this to be a perfect cure for the winter blues and a fantastic and frugal way to extend the gardening calendar.

Make sure you mulch your garden. Mulching is a wonderful way to build soil fertility over time, reduce fungal diseases found in the soil from infecting your plants, and most importantly (for me at least) keeping the weeds at bay. Straw or hay mulching took weeding from a daily chore down to a once-a-week one that takes less than an hour of my time.

As to adding too much else beyond the garden and the chickens I would be hesitant to do so. It’s hard to be patient, but gardening and food preservation will take more time than you think.

Remember ease in. If you plan on putting in an orchard or berries, plant them in the late fall when the garden and all the related harvesting and food preservation isn’t consuming so much of your time.
For successive years… well, what do you like? What “stokes your boiler?” Do that.

Get Organized

There are many reasons to keep good homestead records no matter how long you’ve been homesteading, but it’s even more important when you’re starting a new homestead and learning new things every day.

Keeping records will help you know how much you’re growing and what it’s actually costing you. This information will help you make better decisions about the best breeds, what to feed, your favorite seed varieties and which yield the most. What amendments work best, how to tackle those garden pests, what you actually ate from the pantry last year. What’s buried at the bottom of your deep freezer, when’s the best time to start seeds, how many eggs did we get last year?

I’ve created several tools that have been a tremendous blessing in helping me remember all of this information, get a good idea of whether we’re saving money by homesteading, and to have a better system for scheduling homesteading tasks. They’ve helped me organize my homestead and they will help you too!

Homestead Management Printables– These are over 115+ printable worksheets for your homestead and garden binder! They’ll help you make and keep a schedule, keep records, plan a garden, and journal how your homestead works best.

SmartSteader Homestead Management App– Based on the Homestead Management Printables, this app makes keeping homesteading records even easier! They’re a math-free way to track your expenses and yields in every area of your homestead. The best part is you can take your binder with you wherever you go! It’s always on your phone, ready to use in a few taps. No more having to remember to write everything down when you get inside. This app is a game-changer for me and makes keeping homesteading records really, really easy!

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know (This is such great advice!)

Build Soil Fertility

Assuming that growing food in the soil will be a part of every homestead, I would focus on building the fertility of your soil. Since I believe in doing so sustainably and organically, the way food has been grown for thousands of years heretofore, I would recommend doing so via mulching, cover crops, compost, and aerobic compost teas.

Test your soil, make necessary holistic amendments using compost tea, compost, and mulch. I highly, HIGHLY recommend a book I read this winter called Teaming With Microbes. It will give you all the science behind building your soil food web and then the tools and knowledge to test and amend your soil accordingly.

To this end, if you plan on putting in an orchard or berry patch in the first or second year, in The Holistic Orchard (another excellent resource), Michael Phillips recommends taking a whole year to prepare your orchard site for planting.

Fruit plantings happen in one of two ways. The go-getter turns the lawn under and, plop, the trees and assorted berries are in. No real transition toward the fungal state occurs prior to the nursery order being made and delivered. The soil biology can recover from such unbridled enthusiasm- it’s not “wrong” to do this- but soil preparation prior to planting offers certain advantages worthy of consideration. People with just a wee bit more foresight understand that a year of cover cropping and woodsy mulching not only offers the grower a chance to build organic matter and correct fertility imbalance but can also hasten fungal dominance.

Finally, having that new flock of layers will come in handy while you’re building soil fertility on your new homestead. Either by encouraging your free-ranging flock to congregate where you’ll be planting by laying down thick mulches for them to scratch through (and subsequently leave their contribution) or by proactively managing the manure of a contained flock via composting, the fertile manure of chickens will give your soil a big boost ahead of that first year of planting.

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know (This is such great advice!)

Build Skills

All of this doesn’t mean that you can be actively homesteading. There is still much that can be done. My next recommendation is work on building your homesteading skills.

Food preservation such as canning, curing, smoking, experimenting with cheese or soap making will all go a long way to helping so that the future learning curve will be more focused on animal care rather than turning their products into useable goods. Learning to cook from scratch, if you don’t already know how will help you to know how to prepare the food you grow or raise.

You can spend your time reading and researching the ventures you plan on beginning with. Having that knowledge to draw on when you need it will be so helpful, allowing you to attack a problem immediately when it arises.

You could find a mentor. That’s not always easy, particularly if you raise your food unconventionally. If you find a mentor, gleaning from their acquired wisdom and experience, what a blessing that would be! When we started our homestead we didn’t know anyone like us. The community found on the internet has been a great benefit. One word of caution if you look to the internet for homesteading mentorship: Like the Titus 2 model the Lord gives women for godly female mentorship where the older, more experienced women are teaching younger women, try to look for homesteaders who are sharing wisdom and experience they have acquired over the years. 

Another suggestion for anyone starting a new homestead is to work out. This may seem odd since homesteading provides a built-in workout with all the chores to be done. I’m not talking about lifting weights or anything. While a cardio workout helps with endurance, if you’ll be raising livestock, stretching could prevent injuries that could happen while chasing animals, slipping in the mud, etc. I’ve been stretching twice a week with this workout, really enjoy it, and hope it will be beneficial I play a more active role around here in the coming months.

Check out these 30 skills you could be building while you wait for your homestead dream. 

Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know (This is such great advice!)

Build Infrastructure

If you don’t have the infrastructure in place, the first year, while planning, is a great time to work on it. (Without going into debt, obviously.) Having the whole year set aside to work on these projects will mean fewer impulse purchases. (Like when we bought a cow but weren’t ready for her. Who was supposed to be bred, but wasn’t so we bought a bull to breed her when we shouldn’t have. Who we then had to butcher because we didn’t have space for him which meant buying all the supplies to get that job done. She also wasn’t supposed to be lactating, but was- to the tune of 4 gallons a day! and there was that start-up expense. So much for having 6 months to prepare!)

And if you already have these things in place, you could buy high-quality tools and equipment. I emphasize high quality because the tools you get at a big box store are made for occasional use. If you don’t buy high quality, plan on making an annual expense of the most used tools. (We have more shovel and rake heads than I can count!)

Check out Lehman’s if you’re looking for a new tool! They have a large supply of traditional Amish tools (so you know they’ve got to be quality and build to stand the test of time!)

Finally, from the homemaker’s perspective, think about getting a  mudroom if there isn’t one in your home. Our home doesn’t have one and without an addition, there is nowhere to put one. “One of these day’s” we intend to put in an access and use the unfinished basement as a mudroom. Right now there 14 muddy- and by muddy, I mean “muddy”- boots strewn about our schoolroom. Which doubles as the common entry into the home. The walls are often scattered and splashed with mud. I took down my lace curtains over the door panels because I noticed they were no longer ivory, but beige. The maroon rugs look more dark gray than anything. I could go on. Point being, do yourself a favor and have a mudroom.

Of course, in some situations, a mudroom might be out of the question. In which case, I HIGHLY recommend saving your sanity and all the time spent cleaning up after an unruly husband or children and investing in a pair of these. Maybe one for each door of your home even. I know I sure would have appreciated having them in the past!

Easing into starting a new homestead doesn’t mean that you can’t be busy building your new lifestyle. There is always much work to be done and, as you’ll soon find out, the work is never really done. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by all the knowledge to be gained. It’s a big responsibility to steward that knowledge to the next generation so it isn’t lost again. I really feel like because of trial and error it could take more than a lifetime to recover these skills. There is really no sense in rushing it. So relax and enjoy the simple life and all the blessings and challenges it has to offer.

Seasoned homesteaders, if you were starting a new homestead all over again, where would you share with someone just beginning? What lessons have you learned? 

 

The post Starting a New Homestead: What You Need to Know appeared first on Reformation Acres.

SmartSteader Digital Homestead Management Binder


 

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