Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Healthy(ish) Sprouted Wheat Snickerdoodles

I have a picky eater in my house. She's a six year old refuser of many foods. She likes her raw fruits and veggies, I'll give her that, but when it comes to many "normal" foods like cheese, pizza, potatoes (in any form other than chip or fry), and chicken that is not in nugget form, she's a tough one to please.

Well, she actually loves pizza. Cheeseless pizza. With parmesan (because that is the one cheese exception) and sauce only, but only the powdered kind of parmesan... and don't be offering her any  sauce that is not smooth, because she has superhuman texture detection powers. I should tell her that she has those powers. She would think it's cool... but I don't want to encourage it.

 Anyway, you get the point. Over the years, her "selective eating" has morphed in slight ways, sometimes allowing new things into her palate, and rejecting old favorites. The pickiness remains constant.

So, on those school days that she rejects what is being served for hot lunch, I must pack her a healthy cold lunch, lest she starve herself... almost... and come home in starving monster mode (not a good time). This is a challenge, because the girl will not eat a sandwich unless it is crustless and it's contents consist of only Nutella. Sometimes even then, it is rejected, especially if it is cut into the wrong shape, or the bread is not the right texture.

 What is a mom to do? I toss in tons of fresh fruit and veggies, some favorite carbs, and... what else? Last night I was brainstorming, and lamenting that the school was serving tomato soup for lunch, and we had were out of both bread, and Nutella. I needed a replacement. With the high sugar content of Nutella, and the overly processed and preserved ingredients of store bought bread, I figured I may as well just be packing her a cookie. A homemade cookie, with no shady ingredients, and kicked up a health notch by using coconut sugar, which is lower on the glycemic index (no quick sugar high and subsequent crash), and sprouted wheat flour, which is also low GI and higher in absorbable nutrients and digestibility than white or wheat flour that is not sprouted.  Furthermore this cookie should be made with butter (which, if grass-fed, I consider to be a healthy fat) or coconut oil. So I basically needed to make healthy sprouted wheat bread, disguised in cookie form.

This is what I came up with, and because they disappeared so quickly last night and this morning (yes, we all had some for breakfast), I altered the recipe to make a double batch. This recipe was inspired by snickerdoodle recipes on allrecipes, and tweaked to fit our needs. It yields about 4 dozen smallish cookies.

Sprouted Snickerdoodles

  • 1 cup butter or coconut oil (I used butter)
  • 2 cups coconut sugar or granulated sugar of choice (can be reduced to 1.5 cups)
  • 2 eggs (from your backyard chickens, of course)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 cups sprouted wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
For rolling the dough in:
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Begin by creaming your soft (room temp) butter with your sugar. Try not to do what I did in this picture and add in your egg and vanilla because your room temperature butter was not soft enough to blend. For best results, cream butter and sugar, and then mix in eggs and vanilla until blended.

 Gradually add in your dry ingredients, or, if you're impatient, dump them all in at once and see them form a cloud of flour around you as you're mixing...

The resulting dough will be quite thick, and could potentially cause a strange burning smell to come from your mixer... you may even see bits of dough flying around you.

Don't be like me. Make sure your butter is soft, for easy mixing, and use a nice, big bowl to mix up that dough and catch the fly-aways.

Your dough should be thick enough to roll into little balls, and coat with your sugar/cinnamon mixture. If it's too sticky, you can refrigerate for a while. Set your little cinnamon-sugary dough balls on a baking sheet, and press them down lightly with the bottom of a glass, if you wish.

Bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. They should come out perfect, or, like this.

 Snickerdoodles are a favorite around here, with their slight crispness on the outside, and soft goodness on the inside.  The best thing about these cookies, other than the fact that they're easy on the tastebuds, is that they are also pretty filling, due to the fact that they are made with sprouted wheat flour.

Some might call it a cookie. I call it breakfast. Or lunch. Or a snack, that is healthier than a nutella sandwich.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Farm Happenings, or... Lackthereof...

I think it's about time I wrote another blog post, and that is about the only reason why I'm writing this now... maybe I'm just trying to figure out what I'm even thinking.

Nothing is really happening on my little "farm" right now. Just feeding chickens and goats each morning, enjoying just enough time to mutter a few words to them and give the goats a scratch on the cheek, maybe snapping a picture or two every few days so that the kids and I can enjoy them from the warmth of inside the house... repeat at night, only shutting the chicken coop door instead of opening it. Have I mentioned that it's cold out there?  This may give you an idea.


I enjoy spending time out there with the animals, even if it's just a few minutes, while waiting for the school bus in the morning with my oldest daughter, or sneaking a few minutes outside in the afternoon while Barney or Baby einstein entertain my 1 yr old. That time is calming, and restorative... and restorative is good, since I'm not getting any sleep at night (thank you, teething and genetics for poor sleepers).  Such is the life of this mom of three beautiful, busy children. Children who entertain me and the animals, by doing things like this.

Miss Red Hen really is the most kid- friendly chicken, even if she is a little... errr... strange... poor thing is at the bottom of the pecking order, possibly because she is always straying from the rest of the flock. She sometimes seems to prefer human attention.

These chickens, they never cease to amuse me. Those moments of comic relief are a welcome part of this harsh winter... a winter that, if it were up to me (and the majority of the animal and human population), would SO be over.

I feel like I'm in a tough place right now. I know what I want to do, and where I want to be.... and I'm not even close to being there. You see, I strongly believe in the future of micro-farming in this overpopulated world. Sometimes it's a necessity... and there really is a lot one can do on just a little bit of land, to be more healthy and sustainable. However, I live in a rural area, and I'm surrounded by land. I'm stuck where I am, for now, and none of that land is mine. By some cruel twist of fate, my life path is leading to a lifestyle that can not be supported fully by my current living conditions.  It's frustrating. And not the small kind of frustration, like this:

I'm talking about the "WHY, GOD, WHYYYYYY????" Kind of frustration.

Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic.

I do appreciate the things that I DO have, and truthfully, when I am fortunate enough to acquire some land, I will probably still be gardening directly outside my front door, and keeping my chickens and goats close to the house, because it's just convenient that way.

It would be nice to have some land for pasture... that option would be nice. I do have Alpaca dreams, after all, which is why I've begun to learn to spin fiber on a drop spindle. It's ugly yarn, but we all have to start somewhere, right?

I think that, being stuck where I am for now, I should push away those Alpaca dreams and make room for.... Angora bunnies! They don't take up much space at all!

"The Microfarm Chick" has big dreams of fiber farming, spinning beautiful yarn, more eggs, goat's milk, soap-making, Gardening and someday beekeeping.

I'm not an idealistic supermom/superfarmer, however, and I get depressed and discouraged. I'm in a darker place at the moment, and could use a ray of light. Or some sleep... that would work... but I don't forsee that happening anytime soon.

This is not my land, by the way. This is the view across the road... the beautiful view that taunts me every single day, and reminds me of what I do not have. It also reminds me of what I WILL someday have.  I can't decide if I'm an optimist, or a pessimist, really. I think I'm just human.

Someday... until then... stay warm.