Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Low Gluten Pancakes

This afternoon Madigan and I went and tapped an additional three trees in hopes of increasing our overall net supply of maple syrup. He was fascinated by the whole process... he picked out a tree (he found one where the woodpeckers had been first and he was so excited!), then helped me drill the hole. While I tied the jar to the tree and inserted the hose he stood and watched with his fingers in his mouth (that's the "thinking pose").

Then, we came home and made pancakes, much to his delight. I don't know if he ate more batter or cooked pancakes, but I can tell you that he had his fill of both. We experimented with adding more protein and making them with less gluten and here's what we came up with. I highly recommend using maple syrup on top for a little extra yum.

Low Gluten Pancakes:
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats, ground into powder
1/2 cup walnuts, ground into powder
1/2 cup almonds, ground into powder
1/2 cup oatbran
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons honey

Mix together thoroughly. If too thick, add more milk. If too thin add more Oat flour. We cooked them on a griddle at 350 degrees and they turned out fluffy and lightly browned.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Like I said...

He loves to dance! And Daddy's hat just gives him inspiration!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Maple Syrup

Last week I decided to tap the maple trees on the farm. With the help of our dear friend, Paul, I drilled into the trees, placed a hose into the hole and then connected the hose to a 5 gallon glass jar. We looked for trees that were either dripping out sap on their own, or which had been drilled into by woodpeckers. You can see in one of the photos below that a woodpecker placed some holes into one of the trees, showing us exactly where to start!

After about 3 days (with cold nights and relatively warm days) we had 5 gallons of maple juice. I brought it home and boiled it down for about a couple hours. The maple juice to maple syrup ratio is about 40 to 1, so I yielded about 2 cups of YUMMY syrup! This is super fun! So, come visit us and I'll make you some oatmeal pumpkin pancakes with our fresh maple syrup on them.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Perfect Potato

I have a love, love relationship with baked potatoes. Always have. However, recently we've been trying to incorporate more protein and dark greens (Kale, Collards) into our diet. So, our baked potatoes have had a facelift... or something. They're even more DELICIOUS!

The Perfect Potato
Spread Grapeseed, Flax or Olive Oil over the skin of the potato. Poke several holes in each potato, using a fork, sprinkle with salt, then place in the oven on 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.

Sour cream
Bacon (if we're lucky)
Kale chips
Lentils (see recipe below)

Place 2 cups lentils in 8 cups water and bring to a boil. I usually let mine boil for a good 10 minutes, as this seems to keep them from giving us gas. Then, turn down and let simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. Pour off excess water, if there is any. Then, add 1/2-1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and spices (pepper, coriander, basil, oregano, etc.).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Tiger's World

The floor is shaking. There is a shouting match going on between Madigan and the Tiger within. Then, the cadence of hearty laughter, followed by "No, No, Come!" (I assume Tigger-Hun stepped out of line, momentarily). Madigan is in his crib for, you know, a "nap". Naptime for him has always been a battle, between him and the Tiger inside who won't sleep. I've implemented all sorts of creative techniques, from warm milk to hearty hikes, to try to ease the process and encourage slumber. Today, the boy walked the entire fence line with us to check for breaks in the electric wire, downed trees or broken boards. That's a LONG walk for little legs over rough terrain. Yet, he is none the wearier. Last night we took him for a walk with Valiant dragging him along at a full run. Still, the Tiger War prevailed upon our return. Sigh.

On another, slightly related, note... I've decided to start giving the boy "chores" to help keep him occupied during the daytime, when we're not at the barn doing "man chores". This website gave me some fun ideas and I'll keep you posted on our success!

And here are some Madigan-you-are-so-funny moments from this week:
  1. As we drove by Starbucks, he burst into tears because we forgot to stop. Our new plan of substituting homemade drinks for our weekend Starbucks date may be harder for the boy than for his parents! I don't know if it's the reaction he gets from his fan club (the Starbucks baristas) or the whipped cream (they give it to him in a little cup - so cute) that he's missing the most.
  2. When we were running him around the block last night, he heard some music coming from a neighbor's house. It was barely audible, but the beat caught his attention and he stopped all of us and started dancing right there on the sidewalk! The man loves music.
  3. When he saw the first of the snow this year he ran over and picked some up, then started crying and said, "Hot!". I assured him that it was actually cold and super fun for making snowballs! He quickly caught on and I'll probably regret that idea soon.
  4. He's obsessed with vacuuming. He asks me several times each day to get the vacuum out and usually throws a fit if I decline to acquiesce to his request.
And, what's going on in Declan's world, you ask? Well, he's soundly asleep. Sweet boy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Air is full of Spicessssssss (use British accent)

We've been organizing the spice cabinet while quoting favorite lines from Jane Austen. This is one of our favorites! Perhaps sorting through spices was the catalyst for the following inspiration.

I am completely addicted to Starbucks Chai as a few of you may know. We made this recipe at home and it is incredible! I think you could play around with the spice ratio depending on your particular idea for the perfect chai blend, but if you're aiming for something similar to Starbucks, try this! I almost cried when I tasted my first sip... pathetic, I know. I was overwhelmed with joy, happiness and spices!

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup brown sugar

3 black tea bags
7 Constant Comment tea bags (the orange flavor is a hit)
4 cups boiling water

Steep tea bags in water for 10-20 minutes, along with all spices (we mixed all spices ahead of time). Meanwhile stir together vanilla, honey and sugar. Once tea has finished steeping, add vanilla mixture and stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Store as a concentrate in fridge. When you are ready for a cup of deliciousnesssssssssss mix with equal parts milk. I like mine a little milkier, so I added a little bit more milk.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Declan William

I love this little boy more than words can say. He has such a sweet disposition and (even though his mommy starves him) he almost never complains. He's a GIANT... big feet, big hands, big torso, big everything. He's only 5 months old but already wearing 9-12 month clothing. And he's a cuddly teddy bear.

He can carry on a rather charming conversation with any willing participant. He's a huge helper at the barn, already, riding in the backpack overseeing all of mommy's work. He loves his big brother and watches his every move (hence, why we've been cracking down on the frequent bouts of screaming from the Tiger, of late - don't want Declan to pick that up!). He is very interested in numbers/letters/words and whenver we count from 1-5, he always lights up at 5 because we follow it up with a tickle on the nose. So fun to watch! I've been putting his play station on the kitchen counter, and though I've lost a good percentage of my counter space, I've gained one happy interactive boy!

And, on a COMPLETELY unrelated note... I'm giggling right now at my husband who just put on Virginia's vest which is so small on him it's embarrassing and totally hilarious. He never claimed that fashion was his strong point, though.




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