Monday, March 14, 2011

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars - Our Favorite Recipe

One of my husband's favorite snacks for work are granola bars. They are portable, easy to snack on and calorie and nutrient dense. The kiddos love them, too. But with three guys in the house that love snacking, granola bars can get to be an expensive luxury if store bought. I've searched for years for a recipe that works for us, and finally, a few weeks ago, found one at the blog An Oregon Cottage. It is tasty, but not too sweet, and the bars stay together when cut (the biggest problem we've had with homemade granola bars). They can also be made with mostly local ingredients, which is important to us. The only problem I have with these bars is that my family eats them even faster than store bought bars. We are making some today, and I plan to put half in the freezer right away so that I can hopefully use them for hubby's lunches this week. I'll try to take some pics.

Check out the recipe at An Oregon Cottage.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homestead Baby Steps

I consider food preservation to be part of my homesteading adventure, so the banana chips currently in the dehydrator count as a baby step, at least in my mind ;) In addition, I was able to get some seed potatoes into the ground today, fourteen in all. The sprouted beans were ready today, so I fed them to the chickens who loved them. Success!! Outside of those three things, I did not accomplish much today. It was a day of itty bitty baby steps, and I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Homesteading Baby Steps - Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

As the titles of this post suggests, I have a lot of excuses for why I didn't accomplish much or post much for the last several days. First, the big boys spent all day Saturday and Saturday night with friends, so hubby and I and baby Evan spent the time just enjoying each other and our home. It was like a mini vacation and though unproductive, really recharged me. Sunday, after Mass, we picked up the boys and came home to greet my parents who were here for a visit. They stayed until yesterday, and when they left, offered my big boys the chance to go back with them, which they did. I knew my big boys were a huge help, but honestly, I am shocked at how much I depend on them every day to get things done. Wow!! Thankfully, they are coming back soon. :)

Still, with all these excuses, we still did manage to accomplish a few things from my list and many things not from my list .

1. We got some compost started again. Using a wooden frame we had here, we added some grass clippings (we planted rye on the property this winter), crushed leaves and rotting hay from the chicken run (which includes lots of chicken droppings) plus some of last year's compost. We wet it well and now it just needs to be turned and watered regularly. Temperatures here have been in the 70-80 every day, so we should have usable compost in a few weeks.

2. Chicken coop makeover baby steps have begun. We need to be able to access the eggs and food/ water containers from outside the coop/ run as well as need to repair the netting on top of the run. The first step to making the eggs accessible from outside the coop is to "renovate" the laying boxes. Baby steps we've accomplished in this renovation include removing one set of boxes and removing the back from it. I have hinges and a locking closure that I just need to add to the back to make a door before we can put the "legs" on it and then put it back into the run. I think I will be able to do this even without the big boys here to help with baby Evan, since I can work on it while he is in his sling (I hope, anyway).

3. I've begun collecting containers for indoor growing of micro greens. I plan to start some seeds today or tomorrow. We have also started some sprouts, including some bean sprouts for the chickens. This experiment is part of our investigation into a more natural and sustainable diet for the hens. We will also plant some squash this season just for the chickens, since they love it so much

4. We will be planting some of our garden on my parent's farm this year. They have agreed to water, harvest and store it in their freezer between our visits in exchange for us preserving it and sharing with them. We will also grow a lot of field peas, freezing some for people (us and my folks) and drying some for their hens and some for ours. I am excited about our arrangement!!

The lettuce we planted last week is up. If the nice weather continues, we should have true leaves soon. We have one part of our property, near the house, that gets good sunlight year round. It is getting some parsley and basil plants plus onion sets this afternoon.

Not on my list of things to do, but accomplished none the less, has been a lot of cooking for the freezer, and experimenting with homemade versions of snacks my family enjoys. We have lasagna, meatballs, meatloaf, burger patties, chicken stock, diced chicken, pancakes and cookies in the freezer ready to heat and eat. We also started making yogurt and granola again. Yum!! If time permits, I hope to post some recipes soon. We have also done a lot of decluttering, which feels great. I just love the way getting rid of stuff makes you feel so light :)