Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
I've gotten some requests, so here it is. My raisin bread recipe.
|Raisin bread, toasty hot out of the oven with melting butter.|
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup scalded milk
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon butter, melted, for brushing top (optional)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon honey. Let sit for 10 minutes until frothy. Meanwhile in stand mixer bowl, combine raisins, butter, honey, cinnamon, salt, and hot milk, mixing till honey is dissolved. Let mixture cool to lukewarm. Mix in 1-1/2 cups of the bread flour. Mix well. Add the yeast mixture and beaten eggs. Mix to blend well. Add the rest of the flour, bread and white whole wheat, and mix well. All flour should be incorporated (if needed, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl). It should form a soft but stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 1-2 minutes. Shape into a ball and place dough in a lightly buttered bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover with a clean, damp towel and let stand in a draft-free warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch dough down, shape into loaf and place in a buttered loaf pan. Cover with damp towel again, and let rise until dough is about an inch above the top of the loaf pan, almost double in size. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, covering with foil if bread is getting too brown. Remove from pan, brush top of loaf with melted butter, and let cool on a rack.
This bread is great warm out of the oven with butter and a great breakfast treat toasted, too, but try making a smoked turkey or grilled cheese sandwich with it. Delicious!
Makes one 8.5" x 4.5" loaf.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
As 2010 rounds the bend into 2011, our family has been invaded by the pneumonia bug. First, we got a call from a family friend that Mickey's mom had been brought to the hospital by ambulance totally confused, not breathing well, and had something wrong with her heart. Scary enough all by itself. After 2 days of trying to communicate with the hospital long distance who kept telling us we didn't need to be there, we realized we couldn't, and Mickey headed to Tennessee to be with his mom. He had the beginnings of what we thought was a cold when he left, but didn't think much about it. With all the stress of worrying that his mom had had a stroke because of her horrible confused state (she had no idea where she was, called people incorrect names, etc., etc.), living at the hospital, and getting almost no sleep because of hospital routines, his immune system finally fell apart and what started as a cold turned into pneumonia. We didn't realize it until he made it home after his mom was discharged from the hospital.
When he got off the plane last Saturday night around midnight, I knew he had much more than a bad cold, and begged him not to go to work on Sunday. He went to work anyway, but couldn't make it through the day, and by Monday morning I was able to convince him to go to the doctor, who said he was about 2 steps from being admitted to the hospital himself.
Two weeks later, I can happily report that both Mickey and his mom are both on the mend. She is on strict bed rest at home with nurse, aide, and physical therapist visits at regular intervals and is of course receiving daily phone calls from us. We can hear the steady improvement in her voice. He is on strict bed rest here with me to hover over him, making sure he's getting his medications at prescribed times, drinking fluids, and eating properly.
So we won't be having much of a Christmas celebration this year as it's more important to get everyone well. I will look at the silver lining and feel blessed that I have them both safe and sound, almost healthy, and somehow (shouldn't say it out loud), I have successfully avoided the bug.
Wishing you all happy, healthy holidays.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
More progress has been made on the My Edible Yard Urban Homestead. We've got our own domain!
Our new web address is: www.MyEdibleYard.net.
Don't worry if you forget. The old Blogspot address still gets you to the right place.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Ida, our Cuckoo Maran, actually laid her first egg about a week ago. She seems to have gotten a slow start because today she laid her second one. I'm sure she'll kick in more regularly soon. She's the oldest out of 6, the last to start laying, and the most meek and shy of them all.
|Cuckoo Maran eggs - aren't they something with the |
Thursday, December 9, 2010
And as if a Facebook Page wasn't enough, coming soon to a computer near you is the My Edible Yard General Store. We plan to carry all sorts of nifty homesteading supplies from solar ovens to handmade clay ollas for water-efficient irrigation of your urban homestead garden.
Stay tuned ...
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Announcement, announcement. Come visit the My Edible Yard Urban Homestead on Facebook so we can chat about all things homesteading.
We've got Page!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Bartering is a good thing. Actually, it's a great thing—especially in today's economy when so many of us are trying to cut costs and pinch pennies.
This past week, my friend, Sydney, and I made another successful barter. She gets a weekly CSA share from Bee Heaven Farm, a local organic farm in the Redlands, and knew she and her family were going out of town for a week. That meant she was going to miss her weekly CSA share pickup and she didn't want it to go to waste. She's been short on eggs of late because her backyard chickens are molting, and she knew from my Facebook posts that I've got a surplus. So she contacted me to see if I was willing to make a swap and, boy, am I glad I was.
Look at what was in the share:
|Bee Heaven Farm CSA Share|
This swap really worked out wonderfully for me. My urban homestead garden isn't yet producing enough to start feeding us this year, so instead of having to make my weekly trip to Whole Foods, I got enough fresh produce to last us at least a week and didn't have to pay a thing. The Asian eggplant were delicious in a Moroccan chicken dish I made 2 nights ago.
So remember to consider the time-honored tradition of bartering if you have a product or service to offer. It keeps things local and saves money.
Does anyone have a good recipe for callaloo?
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I come from a long line of urban homesteaders. They wouldn't have called themselves that—urban homesteaders, but in today's vernacular that's what we would call them. They didn't homestead for the same reasons we do today, either. It never crossed my great great grandfather Abram "Kopel" Levin's mind that he should reduce his family's carbon footprint or be worried about the safety of the food that went into his children's mouths. He planted a field of potatoes because he had to feed his family. And his 10 children, my great grandmother Sophie included, tended to the potatoes so they could eat. Potatoes were sustenance. They were life.
|My great grandmother Sophie Levin Scherper|
With research in hand and my seed potatoes ordered, it was time to build and prepare the beds for planting. I made a post on FreeCycle requesting cinder blocks. My dad and I picked them up, loading and unloading the back of the pickup truck 6 times to get them to their intended backyard destination. Back-breaking work when you’re 5-foot tall and weigh 92 pounds, yet somehow so easy when compared to the way Leizer and Kopel would have had to do it in the 1800s. But we did it and we got two 3 x 16-foot beds built 2 layers high. Then we bought the soil, 120 bags of it if I remember correctly, got them home, unloaded, and the beds filled. I amended the soil with an organic all-purpose fertilizer I had purchased from the seed potato supplier and then waited for the seed potatoes to arrive.
|My great great grandfather Abram "Kopel" Levin|
|Sophie Levin Scherper|
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Here's a video I think you'll enjoy. It's about how Cuba has turned urban homesteading into their country's sustainable food system. Over 50% of their produce is grown locally, without the use of oil for transportation, and organically, without the use of chemicals or pesticides. We here in the U.S. could take some lessons from them.