Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chickens, chickens, chickens

I have chickens on the brain.  Last year we started the process of building a chicken coop in hopes that by late spring we could get some chicks.  Well, life got in the way again and we didn't finish that project in time. I know we could've gotten chickens at just about anytime but we did not want to overwinter our birds so we kept on getting ready for next year. Well, here it is 2015 and I can't stop thinking about chickens. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on. 
I love Mother Earth News articles on chickens.  I've bought the "Chickens" magazine at the farm store and asking local folks what they are raising. I have lots of ideas on what I want so now comes the research of where to get them. I feel like a chicken geek. But I love learning new things so this is right up my alley. 
As kids, my brother raised chickens and sold the eggs for his 4-H project for several summers. The day the chicks arrived was always full of excitement. There is nothing cuter than a baby chick. Plus it was the signal that spring had sprung as there was new life abounding everywhere you turned. Daffodils, trees, and grass emerging from their winter sleep. It's all so beautiful. My mother says the most we had at one time were 200 laying hens, and the crazy thing is we lived in a small town (approx. 200 people, tiny I know). Obviously this was before HOA's, because we always had at least one rooster.  
I remember that it wasn't always fun and games with the chickens.  Some were mean and those were the hens not just the roosters. Gathering the eggs was enjoyable when we had smaller flocks. Unless there was a snake in the nesting box. Ooooooooooo!!!!  And my poor father had the job of protecting the chickens from the nighttime predators. There was always a loss of a few birds every year. If my memory is correct it seems my mother did most of the work. Gathering the eggs most days, washing them, and weighing them and sorting them. The eggs were sold and were worthy of sale because of all the extra effort she out into it. 
Plus each late summer we had a large day of butchering the hens and then we had mountains for fresh chicken. There is nothing in the world like the taste of home raised chickens. While they weren't pastured because we lived in town, I'm sure they were better for us than what we could buy. 
My mom used EVERYTHING the chicken had to offer. Absolutely nothing went to waste. She even saved a special portion of fat on the chicken that was this beautiful deep yellow color and kept it in a tall Tupperware container in the freezer. Mom used some of that fat when she made homemade noodles, sugar cookies, and pies. I'll have to talk to her some more about that and get better details so I can write it down so I can do the same thing.  
One thing I learned about my Mom back then was that she was one tough bird ( lol, pun intended). This woman could kill a chicken in numerous ways and did not need a man to do it for her. Let's just say that when you are a pre-teen and you see your mother step on a chicken and pull its head off that you suddenly understand that you should not mess with this woman. ( I say this in the utmost respect). My mom was/is tough. 
At then end of the butchering day she would fry up the biggest plate of chicken you've ever seen. Everyone else loved this, I on the other hand would have had my fill of the smell of chickens and would eat the vegetables while my older brothers made fun of me. 
Going down memory lane is sure fun and reminds me that chickens are a lot of work. They are not for the faint of heart. They need a lot of care, and sometimes have to be put down or die on their own.  However I'm looking forward to all of the wonderful things the chickens will bring to our family.  
Beautiful healthy eggs, cleaning up pests from our pasture, providing some manure for the garden, and some nutritious meat for our freezer. 
Bring on the chickens. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Potato Hash - Paleo and Gluten Free

Hash ---- I love Hash.  Hash at our house is a fancy way to use up left overs.  Left overs you say, ick, I don't like leftovers.  Nonsense!  If the original version was delicous the remaining portion will be just as good.  Hash can be made of anything that suits your fancy.  If you have food leftover from last nights meal and are in a hurry this is a perfect way to use.  Or you can start from scratch and that's what I did with this recipe for Sweet Potato Hash.  My favorite way to make hash is with leftover roast beef with potatos and carrots.  Ooooh I'm making myself hungry.  This recipe is naturally gluten free - Bonus! It's also Paleo, Grain Free, and can be Dairy Free is you use Ghee. So onto the Sweet Potato Hash recipe:

1 pound of sausage (we use turkey sausage)
2 large Sweet Potatos chopped ( approximately 4 cups )
1 medium onion chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
1 granny smith applie chopped
3 T Butter or Ghee
1 1/2 - 2 cups of chicken broth
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 T sage
salt and pepper to taste

First peel and chop the sweet potatos because you will want to par boil the potatos so they don't take as long to cook with the celery and oninons. Depending on the size of your chopped potatos this could take 10-15 minutes. You want them to still be firm but starting to soften. They will continue to cook when you add the rest of the ingredients.

Next, or in a seperate pan, brown the sausage. Drain the sausage on some paper towels after browning.

Now add the onions, celery, sweet potatos, apple and butter or ghee to a large pan and cook until just barely softened. Next add the chicken broth. Finish the cooking of the vegetables and add the sausage to the pan and the spices.

If you want the broth to thicken you can save 1/4 cup of broth and add 2 tablespoons of your favorite starch (tapioca, corn, or potato starch )together and mix well before adding to the heated broth, vegetable and sausage mixture. This is the way we prefer our hash.

Once the vegetables are cooked thru you have your Sweet Potato Hash ready to serve.

Some of the best ways to serve hash is with mashed potatos but you could use mashed cauliflower or parsnips as well. Or you could serve it in a bowl with some of my Coconut "Love" Muffins to help sop up the broth.

Use the recipe as a guide but feel free to add whatever you have left over from last nights meal as your recipe. It's really that easy. For example if your using left over beef roast then use beef broth instead of chicken. You simply can't go wrong. This is now one of our new favorite go to recipes for a cool fall day.

See this post and many more like it at the following linkup sites:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Gluten Free Wendesays at The Gluten Free Homemakers Gluten Free Wednesdays
Whole New Mom - Allergy Free Wednesdays at Whole New Mom's site
Nourishing Treasures - Make Your Own! Monday link-up 9/30

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Spice "Bulletproof" Coffee

Pumpkin Spice "Bulletproof" Coffee

Fall is officially here y'all so why not start adding a little pumpkin to your coffee. This Pumpkin Spice Bulletproof Coffee came from a desire to add better carbohydrates to my diet (Since going the Paleo route) and because I love the coffee that can be purchased at Starbucks but what nutritional value could that possibly have? I must confess I love Pumpkin in anything (at least as far as I know now)

Bulletproof coffee is not my concept or idea.  This credit must go to Dave Asprey and this is a link  to his recipe and his story of how this deliciousness came to be.  I have been absolutely amazed at how great I feel drinking this coffee with either Grass Fed Butter (which is really just whipped cream folks) or some high quality coconut oil like Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.


Here is my take on this yummy fall goodness.  Enjoy.

6 - 8 oz of fresh brewed coffee
2 T of Pumpkin Puree
2 T Coconut Cream
1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 T Maple Syrup
1 1/2 T Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
dash of Cinnamon for the top of the drink

Place all of the ingredients in either a blender or you could use an immersion blender like I do.  If using an immersion blender you will need to place the ingredients in a glass twice as tall as needed.  This extra space will be needed for the whipping and frothing.  Blend all of the ingredients until well combined, approx 1 minute.  If using the immersion blender make sure to push it up and down the full length of the glass and at the end let it blend close to the top of the mixture to help create a nice froth.
**This recipe would also be delicious with some whipped Coconut Cream added to the top.** 

Pour your combined mixture into your favorite glass.  Add a dash of cinnamon to the top and enjoy! 

 I had to take a sip!
SheShe's Gluten Free
See this post and many more like it at the following linkup sites:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Gluten Free Wendesays at The Gluten Free Homemakers Gluten Free Wednesdays
Whole New Mom - Allergy Free Wednesdays at Whole New Mom's site
Nourishing Treasures - Make Your Own! Monday link-up 9/30