...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


The Importance of Rest and Rejuvenation

I picked parsley from the garden the other day.  What?!  It's February!
This warm--or at least snow-less--winter has really messed with my sense of "hibernation."  Just in the last couple of weeks have I finally felt like things are slowing down in our house/family life.  I tried to page through a seed catalog last weekend, which is usually a fun activity for me in the depths of winter.  But I just couldn't get excited.  In fact, I felt somewhat anxious.  Perhaps this warm spell--which is all I hope it is instead of the new norm--makes me feel like it's time to plant already and that brings me some unusual stress as I feel like I still haven't properly recovered from the last growing season.  Interesting how the weather affects me like this.  I didn't realize how vital those dark, snowy, cold days are for me to put all garden plans aside and breathe before commencing once again.  Give me a couple more weeks and perhaps I'll feel better, but for now I'm leaving the seed catalogs lie as I continue to experiment with using my preserves and tinkering with new gluten-free baked goods.

I've known about the health-benefits of soaking grains since I put Sally Fallon on my list of culinary/nutrition heroes nearly a decade ago.  Admittedly, I don't always soak or sprout my grains before cooking, but the notion popped back into my head recently.  Knowing I had a good amount of millet on hand, I went hunting for a sprouted millet pancake recipe.  I adapted this slightly from the original source, but was happy with the results.

Soaked Millet Pancakes (Gluten-free)
Makes about 6 medium pancakes

I love the warm spices in here--like coriander--that I wouldn't typically use for baked products--especially not pancakes.  Choose which spices you add; I stuck with coriander and lemon peel.

1 c. whole dry millet grains
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground coriander (or other spices/seasonings--like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, allspice, lemon zest, etc.)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. xylitol or maple syrup
1 T. ground chia seeds or ground flax seed
1/4 t. salt
2 T. melted ghee
Optional: sunflower seeds or other chopped seeds/nuts

Rinse millet and place to soak in water overnight or for at least 5-6 hours.  The millet will soften, but not necessarily sprout. (In the original recipe, the Quinoa will sprout!)  Drain and rinse well.  Transfer to a blender or food processor adding just enough water to cover.  Add salt, seasonings baking powder, salt, oil, vanilla, and xylitol/maple syrup.  Blend until well mixed and grains have been chopped up.  It will be thick batter.  Let sit for 5-10 min. for chia to absorb liquid.  Heat griddle and grease with butter, coconut oil, or oil/fat of choice.  When ready, spoon ladlesful onto griddle and let cook until bubbles pop up.  Flip and lightly brown other side.  Serve with warm maple syrup or fresh mashed fruit.

The last time I grocery shopped I rediscovered wraps.  Most of what I can find at the store are wheat based so those are for my family to enjoy.  I'm currently experimenting with a gluten-free flatbread that's pliable enough to roll.  I can't wait to figure it out!

Mixing som GF wrap batter
GF wrap.  Still in the experimental stage.  Stay tuned.
So far the GF flatbread only worked for a melt.  Need more pliability!
In an attempt to keep my little one from getting cabin fever, I asked her to make egg salad with me as she so enjoyed last year after Easter.  She enjoys using the egg slicer after I peel the eggs.  I'm still sneaking veggies into her foods so take note.

Dill Cauliflower Egg Salad
Makes 4 c.

Another easy food rocessor recipe.  I adapted this from Process This! by Jean Anderson.  Used my homemade cucumber pickles, but could have also used some homemade pickled cauliflower as a substitute.  I am still using some of the purees I prepared and froze last fall.  This would be a great opportunity to use pureed cauliflower.
Wrap it up!

4 large scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks (include some green tops)
1 small rib celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 c. cauliflower florets (or 1/4 c. frozen/thawed cauliflower puree)

12 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled, chopped
2 t. dried dill

2/3 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. bread and butter pickles
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1-2 T. milk, if needed to thin

Add scallions and celery to food processor and pulse 5-6 times.  Add dill, mayo, pickles, mustard, salt, and pepper and pulse quickly to combine.  Add eggs and pulse quickly a few times.  Transfer to a bowl and thin with milk if needed.  Adjust salt and pepper, to taste.  Enjoy in a wrap with local microgreens or sprouts, pickled cauliflower, and even a slice of ham if you wish.
Ham and Egg Salad Wrap
Kids love wraps too!
In other cabin-fever-fighting news, we built a "reading cave" for Vera this week.  One of my fellow craft bloggers brought up the idea that with Pinterest being so big these days as a way to put all of your craft/cooking/etc. ideas in one place, it's possible to...
"gorge ourselves on great ideas that we want to try out "one day." But what happens when that day never comes? When we become so overwhelmed by all the amazing ideas out there that we feel inadequately crafty ourselves?"
I thought it was prime time to show that my numerous Pins aren't for naught so we kicked out this lighted cardboard box.  I strapped on daddy's headlamp, grabbed some packing tape and a blunt edge to poke holes and within 10-15 min. we were in business.  Now V has a new cozy hideout in which to page through library books, eat a snack, or fall asleep (if I could be so lucky!)  How are you beating the winter blahs this year?

V's reading cave

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