Fresh Bread

1461002_622694174433329_389134313_n

I have been putting my hands to making more bread over the last few months. And, I’m so proud of myself. It’s taken me years to make an edible bread., yup, my first few tries had been tears and stress over making bread.

When our older kids where little, I would pull out the flour, yeast and whatnot, get my hands messy and try making bread, Henry would come home to find me flustered with bread in the garbage. I had no idea why my bread never turned out.

Now, I think I go into it much differently. I prepare myself mentally before hand. I tell myself to remember to be patient. I also have a special something, my Grandmothers bread bowel, given to me when we first moved back home here. For some reason, everything just turns out perfect when I mix in it. Like magic. The photo above is an easy no knead bread. If I can make this bread, anyone can. I enjoy her sense of humor in her writing and easy to follow steps.

Above is the No Knead bread with the link of the recipe below.

No Knead Bread

aThis bread is the same recipe I have had for years. I have 1 cookbook in my home and have tried this recipe many many times, years ago. This is the bread I have cried over, and swore I would never try it again.

Over 7 years later,” and my magic bowel”, this bread tastes amassing. I have also replaced the milk in the recipe with our hand made Soy Milk. It saves on money and gives it a slightly different taste. Now that I feel confident in my bread, I want to try many more recipes.

2

Oatmeal and Honey Bread

1

4

I took my soy milk bread recipe and added leftover cooked oatmeal and honey with it. I had to add extra flour when kneading it. It’s one of my best breads yet.

Do you make your own bread? What challenges did you have? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Advertisements

Beeswax Hemp fabric wrap

Something has been bugging me lately with our children’s lunches. Before school started we bought them stainless steel containers so that we wouldn’t use plastic for their lunches. These are wonderful, however they just don’t hold enough food to send a child to school for the day.  We have been sending them with an extra plastic bag to hold muffins, cookies, fruit, etc… but it’s killing me.

ab37001d4381caee265a2125952ca1fe

Every time I pull out plastic, I’m thinking, what a waist, how harmful, what am I teaching my children.

We’ve seen beeswax food wraps a few times. These are available in some lovely on-line shops but we already have hemp scraps and beeswax and lots of it too. I really wanted to try this myself so I looked up a few tutorials and got busy.

1

Here’s what I did.

7

 I cut some Hemp/cotton muslin into 10″ by 10″ squares to start  off for the first try. I surged all 4 sides and tucked in the threads. If you try this out you can cut your fabric to any size you wish, there is no need to surge your edges.

4

I used 100% pure beeswax. You can try this with a beeswax candle if you have one. Grate the beeswax into fine shavings. Preheat oven to 150 – 170 °F. My oven was at 200 because that’s as low as I can get it.

Take a cookie sheet and apply a layer of tin foil over it.

6

Sprinkle the beeswax shavings onto your fabric. I first added a small amount but had to add more so the cloth was evenly soaked with wax.

The photo above was my first try.

Place in the oven, the wax will melt in less then 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your cloth. Once the wax is fully melted, take it out of oven and quickly remove the fabric from the tin foil.

I had a string suspended over my sink and hung the fabric there with clothespins to harden.

2

3

The first 2 turned out perfect. You can use these to place over bowls instead of plastic wrap. They are also great to wrap up sandwiches, cheese, veg’s, etc.  Just use the warmth of your hands to mold them into place.

Care for these is so easy, cold water to rinse and wipe down with a cloth. Do not use hot water because you will melt the beeswax again.

If you just don’t want to make your own but would love to buy some, check out this company here: ABEEGO

We met this lady a few years ago at a small farmer’s market in Vancouver. It was wonderful to see how well they are doing today.

Out the front door….Garden walk

4

Small onions

2

Corn

1

Tomatoes

3Melon 

My Bad… This is a gourd

Today we are getting ready for a storm.

The garden may not look the same by tomorrow so I took a walk through to pick some tomatoes and onions.  Our good friend Jody shares this garden with us and has also stopped by to grab some goodies out of the garden before things get crazy here.

Out the front door has been inspired by Homesteadhoney

Handmade Soap with Local Organic Beer

beer-soap

We have been busy making a few batches of Beer soap for the up and coming markets.  Just down the road from us is the first Cape Breton Organic Brewing company. We decided to make some soap with their beer and they’ve turned out great. Big Spruce Brewing produce organic beers and also grow their own organic hops.

Some distinguishing  characteristics of beer soap are that it lathers well and is moisturizing for the skin. As a herb hops has several unique qualities, the two most prominent are its anti-bacterial preserving properties, which are important for making beer, and the other is its calming and slight sedative affects. These properties are only very slightly present in the soap due to the saponification process.

The last batch we are making with beer is our Favorite Shaven Soap. All 3 Beer soaps will be the perfect gift to give your Man for Christmas this year.

Not to worry, bathing in Beer soap will not leave you smelling like you spent the day at the Pub.

soap

We love that Big Spruce Beer comes in these Amber glass jugs.

soap-1

The soap shown above has Veg. Oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp Oil, Cocoa Butter and is scented with Bergamot essential oil.

soap-2

The soap shown above has Veg. Oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp Oil, Cocoa Butter and is scented with Sweet Orange and Clary-sage essential oils. Ground walnut husk are added for a bit of grit.

Let’s make a difference

When making our soaps as well as all our other products we carefully source the ingredients and materials that go into making each item. The main factor that influences our choice is the environmental impact any ingredient may inherit through production or processing. With our soap we make sure not to use any Palm Oils or derivatives from this entire industry. The production of palm oil has become one of the worst scenarios for environmental degradation on our planet. Not only annihilating animal and plant species but destroying complete ecosystems. Natural habitat for indigenous tree species (even within so called protected areas) has been totally destroyed bringing whole species to extinction. Another concern is the continued destruction of what is left of the critically endangered Orangutangs and Sumatran Tigers natural habitat. The destruction is so vast it is difficult to even fathom it’s true extent.

plantation

Palm oil is found in many products including processed foods, cosmetics, cleaners, soaps and shampoos and is now used extensively as a bio-fuel. In many instances companies hide the use of palm oil by labeling it as a vegetable oil. There are better suited and more local alternatives for us to use in place of Palm Oil. We strongly support using Canadian produced Hemp Oil and Canola Oil. Besides becoming aware of the negative impacts that products carry we must also take action by only purchasing and using products which help create and sustain a viable natural environment and future.

Gardening

Earlier this year we had resolved not to put in much of a garden, mostly due to our new location and the overwhelming time constraints with all the scheduled work ahead.  However …. after +/- 1600 shovels of turned sod a small plot has emerged in our back yard. This will provide a small space for a fellow gardener while she develops her own land for future gardens.

garden

The gardening has been very delayed this year mostly due to the continued frosts and damp weather. Despite all the unseasonal cool spring weather we now have a profusion of blossoms. The apple trees have outdone themselves and are literally overflowing with blossoms.

apple

The bees now have a fresh feast to enjoy in the apple orchard as all the dandelions turn into fluffy puff balls.

dandy

A cascade of white Spirea blossoms greets us at the corner of the porch and the Lilac blossoms will open soon and exhale their  sweet aroma into the air.

spirea

A Mountains Sweet Nectar

Yesterday we spent a day with our kids and the students from the Middle River School visiting a farm in Margaree that makes Maple Syrup. It was a fantastic outing and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Even though we home-school, our kids have been invited to participate in activities at this little school. It provides wonderful interaction for them and we will integrate them into this local two classroom school in September.

starting-up-the-steep-hill

With Silas strapped to my chest we joined the troop and slowly hiked up the mountain following the Tap Line winding through the maple forest. The trail gradually steepened as we ascended and the main Tap Line came in handy for many, assisting the ascent up the steep section.

slogging-up

The kids had a blast and as you can see Angela (the Middle River School principle) is also beaming on the hike.  There are 600 maple trees tapped on this slope providing an abundance of sweet nectar for many future pancakes and other delights.

hiking-up

Everyone, both young and old, made it up the steep grade.  The descent back down a side trail was much easier. A wonderful reward awaited us at the bottom. After having some snacks/lunch we were greeted to Maple Syrup Taffy. A pot of hot maple syrup was brought out. Everyone made a clean snowball and some hot syrup was drizzled on top. With the help of a wooden stick the cooled syrup was wrapped around the end creating a delicious sweet natural lollipop.

26

We also had an opportunity to bottle some fresh syrup and without any hesitation we purchased one.

23

Later in the afternoon I picked up some local farm eggs and made homemade pancakes topped with what else but fresh Mountain Nectar (Margaree Maple Syrup). A SWEET day overall in Cape Breton.

Today …..up here on MacMillan Mountain

boiling

Making fresh Soy Milk for Silas is a daily activity, it’s much easier and cheaper than owning a cow and he loves drinking this.

Fresh-Soy-Milk-for-Silas

Two bottles finished and more beans soaking for tomorrows batch. This soy milk is so much better than even the organic store bought stuff which has a ton of unhealthy additives.

snow

Snow, snow and more snow,  maybe later some rain if the weatherman is accurate. It’s pretty stuff but makes our move a bit more challenging.

snow-blasted

Add a bit of wind to the snow and you get a supreme frosted look to your house.

across-the-field

Peeking through the trees along our driveway. I’ll miss the daily strolls through snow filled meadows and forest up here once we’ve move down to Middle River.

down-the-mountain