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Medicinal Properties of Wild Strawberries 

Many of the foods we eat are medicinal.  It is my belief that Food is Medicine.  Every bite and swallow that we imbibe in either nourishes and strengthens the body, mind, and spirit, or in the case of processed, industrialized, or junk food, it harms, depletes, and overloads the body’s systems.  Wild and foraged food, if found in a pure, natural environment contain the highest amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants readily absorbed by our human bodies and those of the animals that we raise on our homesteads.

(I refrain from using the word “farm” or “farmstead” because the modernized, mechanized way of doing things has changed the way food is grown on most farms today.  It is my experience that those who choose to homestead, or classify their ideals as homesteaders, adhere to a much more natural, holistic view of growing and raising food).

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Heirloom seeds bridge the gap between wild & foraged and cultivated.  Heirloom plants are able to maintain their high nutritive value as they are the seed that has been curated and saved for countless generations, all being traced back, if you look far enough into their history, to indigenous and native peoples, before the modernized industrial food systems were introduced after the end of World War Two.

Hybrid seed and plants cannot do this.  They were developed for seed companies to market to heirloom growers and homesteaders, as a new modern variety, available only through their company.  You could not save the seed from these plants as they were engineered to last only for that season, so that you would have to buy more seed from the company for the following year’s crop.  This model exploded the use of mail-order seed catalogs and made a very profitable business for a few folks, at the expense of the nutrition and health of the plants as well as the fruit and vegetables that they bore.  This has directly impacted the nutrition of both us as the consumers of these fruits and vegetables and the animals that we raise.

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On our homestead we are becoming more aware and educated about the value of wild & foraged foods.  I grew up foraging for berries to make homemade jellies, jams, and a little country wine, and we have also added wild mushrooms, chaga, dandelions, greens, and herbs to our repritoire.  I am excited to learn more each season about the wild foodstuffs and medicines that grow native to our region, and also in our fields and forests of our own homestead.

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Enter the Wild Strawberry.

I always knew I loved freshly picked strawberries, but never paused to consider the “Medicinal” qualities of both the leaves of the plant and the fruit.  David and I always find joy in looking for wild strawberries.  They grow thick in our front pasture  and amongst some of our wooded areas.  Foraging for wild strawberries is much like a treasure hunt as they are very tiny little berries, (about the size of my pinky fingernail), with big, bold flavor that will knock your socks off, and make your eyes widen with delight!  I find it amazing how nature has packed so much power into such a tiny package.

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Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairacli Levy describes Wild Strawberries as being high in minerals, antiseptic, cooling, strengthening, healing, and a mild vermifuge (anti-parasitic).  They were utilized extensively by Native Americans.  Beyond the fruit, the leaves and root of the plant are also medicinal, administered as a tea for fever, to thin blood, treat lowered vitality, feeble nerves, a lack of appetite, bowel and stomach disorders, liver diseases, and undue sweating.  The leaves were also utilized in treating and preventing miscarriage, and bringing  balance to irregular menstration.

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The fruit of the plant, the berry, is a powerful nerve tonic.  It is thought to soothe and strengthen the nerves.  Wild Strawberries are higher in iron than those that are cultivated, and therefore an important part of a foraged, seasonal plant-based diet.  The leaves can  be eaten raw, a handful per day, and are great tossed in with salad.  With Wild Strawberries’ strengthening, cleansing, and antiseptic qualities, one can understand why they would be an important part of a seasonal, traditional diet, to cleanse, rebuild, and strengthen the body after a long winter.

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Externally, Wild Strawberries have wonderful antiseptic qualities.  The fruit may be used as a cleanser and brightener for teeth and facial applications.  The drawing power of the fruit whitens teeth and lightens dark spots, discoloration, and blemishes in the skin.   The leaves, when brewed into a tea, can be used as a soothing and healing lotion for eczema, sore/tired eyes, and styes surrounding the eyes and the lids.

Wild Strawberries pack a powerful punch for such a dainty little package.  I plan to utilize the medicinal properties of the plant and fruit much more readily now that I understand what a powerful herbal ally they really are.  I would imagine that my organically grown heirloom descendants out in the garden still retain at least trace amounts of these properties.  It is no wonder they are so good!!!!

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Strawberry Almond Milk

Oh my Heavens!!!!!!

I wanted to give you a quick little update on the Strawberry Almond Milk Recipe I have anxiously been saving with a bookmark here on the homestead, until my strawberry patch was bountiful.  

All I can say is,  

 “RUN, DON’T WALK TO THE KITCHEN AND GET YOUR ALMONDS SOAKING!!!!!!!!”  

IT IS THAT GOOD!!!!

Seriously though, Strawberry Almond Milk is everything I dreamed it would be.  Smooth, creamy, dreamy strawberry-ness, with a kiss of sweet, mmmmmmm.  The boys loved it.  My hardworkin’ hubby thought it was divine.  The beautiful pink tint is a colorful celebration of all that is good and lovely.  

I made it pretty much to the recipe, using our homemade maple syrup to taste, a splash of vanilla, and a tich more strawberries than the recommended fifteen.  Oh, let’s say about 20.  My homegrown strawberries are not as big as the store-bought hybrids, so if you are not sure, I always say more is more.  And in this case it truly was.

And just in case you have not made your own artisanal almond milk at home yet, here is the link to my post on making almond milk in your own kitchen.  Yes, it is worth it.  Yes, you are worth it.  No, it doesn’t take a ton of time and energy.  Go for it, you will have no regrets, other than not having made it before.  Ditch the store-bought stuff, it’s not worth the time and energy invested, it is full of fillers, and preservatives, and minimal nutritional value.  Homemade is good.  It is worth it.  You are worth it.  

And Amen. 
P.S.  I just noticed at the bottom of the Strawberry Almond Milk Recipe is says:  Prep time 60 min.  Don’t let that scare you away.  I’m not sure what is being included in prep time here, but it takes me nowhere near 60 min to make almond milk.  Try 10 min.  Or less.  In the morning when it’ s ready to blend, and it takes me about 3o seconds to get the almonds soaking the night before.  Much less time than going to the store to buy some!

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It’s Strawberry Season!

It’s official!  Strawberry Season on the homestead is here!!!  We have picked our first bright juicy fruits from the patch that are bursting with taste-bud party inducing flavor.  All of a sudden it feels like summer.  Nothing tastes more like summer than a sunshine-warm strawberry picked straight from the plant and popped directly onto your tongue.

 

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There are so many ways I love to eat strawberries, most of them simple to celebrate the taste that is uniquely strawberry.  I love them fresh-picked, of course, but also simply quartered with a splash of keifer, or homemade almond milk.  Toasted almonds also top this beautiful little dish perfectly.  Makes a perfect summer breakfast.

Another of our family’s favorite way to enjoy strawberries is to muddle them with some chopped chocolate mint, and just a sprinkle of maple sugar to marry the herb and berry.  The boys LOVE this over a humble dish of homemade vanilla ice cream.  YUM!

 

Simple Goodness

Making Raw Strawberry Jam is my favorite preservation technique for strawberries on the homestead.  Preserving them in this way, allows you to maintain the most abudant nutrients available in the berry, rather than making a cooked jam.  Opening a jar on a cold, blustery January morning, takes the sting out of the winter blues.  See my recipe for my homemade jam here.

 

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I have been holding onto this recipe for Strawberry Almond Milk waiting for my berries to be in season.  It looks soooo yummy!  I am soaking almonds tonight for a breakfast treat tomorrow!!!!  I can’t wait for the sweet, creamy goodness!

What a beautiful way to start the day!  

 

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How I got Locked in the Chicken Coop

This morning started out as a fairly normal day on the homestead.   I woke to slightly ambient light coming in the window, and cold sheets beside me where my husband had already rose.  My eyes felt heavy and crusty from a summer cold lingering.  It felt too soon to be time to get up.  Last night was late to bed, as our chick order from the hatchery came in to the neighboring town’s post office and a 9:20pm call to pick them up was answered with a hasty anxious trip to the next town over, 30 miles away. Thankfully we were somewhat ready.

FIRST.TIME.EVER.

 

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David and I sped off hoping all was well inside that little cardboard box.  We have had experiences otherwise, but we have also had plenty of angels in the postal service willing to go the extra mile for our little chicks.  We once had an order of 30 chicks come in over the weekend, and got a 5am phone call from some good soul who was starting their shift, and saw they were there.  It was Sunday morning.  They had apparently come in sometime Saturday, and because they came to the neighboring town first, they were stuck there until Monday morning when the truck would bring the mail to out rural post office.  Needless to say, they would not have made it until Monday.  They were dehydrated and overdue, but we were able to save them all.  Rural mail service can be a little tricky.

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Expecting chicks in the mail is much like expecting new life in any way.  You worry, fret, and finally remember to pray that they will arrive healthy.  You learn to let go and have faith that all will work out for the highest good, and you track your package like a schizophrenic with OCD.  Oh, sorry, maybe that’s just me.  All kidding aside receiving new chicks in the mail can be quite a tumultuous experience, you never know what you might find, so we zoomed to town on a wing and a prayer.

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Our post office angel last night was Donna.  She was awesome.  She gets it.  She must be a mama too, for she knew we would want our babies right away, and not let them sit in their little box an extra night.  As she carried the box up you could hear their robust peeping, and my heart exhaled, I knew they would be alright.  A noisy box is a good thing.  A quiet box is not.

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We got the noisy little brood home, after teasing Donna that she could now have some peace and quiet for the rest of the evening.  We set up the light without much incident, besides a smoking extention cord…A little creative reorganization elminated the need for the the extention cord and soon everyone was under the warming light, beaks had been dipped, and were scratching for grain.  It was approaching midnight.  All was well in the brooder, and I was wide awake with the adrenaline rush of caring for new peeps.  I wanted to give them some time to settle in and check on them before I went to bed anyway, so I made some tea and did a little reading.  About 1am I did last rounds, all was quiet but the peeping of bewildered chicks who are trying to figure out how they got here, and are you my mother???

 

 

 

I heard the kettle whistle shortly after my bleary eyes opened.

God. Bless. My. Husband.  

He started the coffee.  Amen & Halelujah.

Coffee on the homestead is a little salvation in a cup to shake the cobwebs loose.  We poured ourselves a steaming cuppa joe and headed out to the coop to check on our new additions.  The air felt cool and less humid than it had the night before, I wished I had grabbed a thicker sweater.  I set my coffee cup down on a shelf outside the coop, and opened the door to peek in.  Most looked well, but in the far corner of the brooder, well away from the heat lamp, was a little chick laying flat all alone, eyes closed, and looking less than lively.

Dang it.

It was the chick David had called Spot the night before, as his little head was marked with some kind of grease crayon.  He was the lone rooster I had ordered.  I thought he had died in the night, but just then he twitched, I knew he was still alive.  I picked him up, he was cold as ice.  Somehow he had managed to wander away from the flock, got cold, and couldn’t make it back.   Being not sure of the details, but I quickly realized that they are rather unimportant when you come across a hypothermic chick.

What mattered now was action.

I scooped his limp little body up and held him close under the heat lamp, praying he would come around.  It was then that my hardworkin’ hubby reported a fatality in the waterer.  When you are homesteading there is always a first time for everything.  He helped me all he could, but the time for him to leave for work was nearly past due.  We said our good-bye’s, he wished me luck with our impending crisis and headed out the door of the coop.  That’s when it happened.

I got locked in the chicken coop.

I just didn’t realize it at first, as all my attention was fixed on the cold little body I was willing to live.  I held him and stroked him under the light and pondered how to get some cayenne into this little chick, hoping that the warming spice would be enough to help him back from the brink of death, and soothe the shock he must be in.  I tucked him up carefully inside the folds of my shirt holding him skin close for warmth, and pushed on the door.

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Stuck.  Shut tight.

Seriously??????

I looked desperately for another way out, but I hadn’t opened the small side door for the mama hen and her babes yet, as I was so focused on helping my chick in need.  Anyway, I’m not sure I could even fit out the little door, it would definitely be a squeeze into less than a 12 inch square.  Everyone was still asleep, yelling would do no good, especially with the little voice I had left from battling a summer cold.  No phone either, but worst of all was the realization that my steaming fresh coffee  was on the other side of the latched door.

As I stood in the semi-darkness I realized that I would have to get myself out of the chicken coop.  I pounded a couple times on the door, refrained from any bad language, and realized my saving grace was that the bottom latch was still open. Thankfully the old weathered wood gave a bit after a couple of whacks with my hand.  Now remember that I am still holding a less than half-alive chick with one hand and trying to pound the door open with my other.  That wasn’t going to work.

Plan B.

It was time to get serious, a little chick’s life was very literally in my hand.  And wrapped in my shirt.  And pressed gently against my belly to keep him as warm as possible.  I knew I would have to go all ‘Karate Kid’ on the door.  It was the only way to get out of the coop and save the chick.  So I hiked up my proverbial homestead skirt, aimed as best I could at the latch and gave it my best Hi-Ya!!!  I saw a little more light in the crack of the door, the latch was easing away from the wall!  I wound up and kicked it again, trying not to loose my flip-flop, and then I gave it the beans a couple more times.  With each kick, the door inched slightly more open.  One more Hi-Ya!!! and the door finally exploded open.  Light streamed in and we were free.  I hurried to the house to continue my chick rescue mission.

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Cayenne pepper and warm water administered with a dropper was our only hope.  I heard a faint peep from my belly button region.  I only hoped I had made it in time.  After all was gathered and mixed, I carefully placed a small drop on the end of his beak.  It was go time.  Either he still had the instinct to swallow, or he would be too weak to muster the strength.  I held my breath with anticipation, his head was still limp and my hopes dimmed.  I watched that tiny drop of water on the tip of his beak with what seemed a very long time.  Then it happened.  He swallowed.  Without raising his head or opening his eyes, he swallowed the drop.

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I placed another drop on the end of his beak, being careful not to let it run into his nostrils as his head was still lying against my fingers.  Slowly, again he swallowed.  After several minutes he had taken half a dozen drops of the cayenne solution.  His peeping was getting more regular, although still faint.  He opened his eyes a few times, and he started to try to hold his head up.  I was encouraged.  He seemed to be gaining strength.

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I nursed him gently for more than an hour.  He sat upright and reached out for the dropper when I offered.  Amazing how little creatures seem to know exactly what they need when they need it.  The cayenne was working.  He was getting stronger.  It took the better part of the morning, with David stepping in for a shift of sharing warmth and offering TLC to recooperate.  I am glad to report that he has recovered fully and is nestled back in the coop with the rest of his flock.

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And that, my friends, is the story of How I Got Locked in the Chicken Coop.

All this before my first cup of coffee, which if you remember is still out on the shelf by the coop, cold.

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Homesteading is nothing if not an adventure.

Now for that broken latch….

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The Homestead Bookshelf

Here’s what’s on the homestead bookshelf this spring…ok, so it’s more like stacks of books on every available surface, but a girl can dream she has a shelf…

I confess, I am a book hoarder, perhaps an addict even.  I cannot say I am reformed, or recovering, or even seeing the need too, although the stacks, boxes, and baskets overflowing with books may imply something else.  I love to read, I always have.  I love to learn, I love and value knowledge, and books embody this for me.  We won’t even talk about what’s in my cloud on my kindle app…

There have been several books that I have been wanting to read for an embarrassing amount of time, perhaps several years, but somehow in the midst of homeschooling, homesteading, and just trying to keep up, they have slipped to the bottom of the priority list.  I decided that now was the time to get these books read, and I have successfully done so.  I am so glad I did.

Enlightening, encouraging, and educational come to mind as I reflect on each title.  Each one spoke to the motivation I feel in living an intentional life.  Perfect timing to begin an active season on the homestead.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, chronicles her family’s journey back to the farm, raising their own food, and supporting other local growers, without the grocery store, for the most part.  It candidly reveals the challenges and triumphs they faced together with humor and introspection.  Barbara is a master storyteller, and the story of her family’s journey is at once highly entertaining as well as humbly authentic.  It makes sustainable seem doable.

An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, is one man’s attempt at understanding the food system which has evolved in our country.  It explains in depth how we got to where we are today with industrial agriculture, confined animal feeding operations, industrial organic, and the alternatives of small, local, beyond organic farmers, growers, and the artisan communities that are sprouting up all over our country. This book was mind-blowing.  Michael is able to intricately weave an immense amount of information as he reveals how intimately connected we really are to the food that we eat.  No matter what those choices are.

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, is a lovely cookbook written by an amazing local, organic, sustainable food pioneer.  Most people have heard of her famous restaurant Chez Pannise in Berkely California, where she started the local food movement by buying her food for her restaurant from local, organic growers and producers.  The cookbook is written to help introduce people to cooking with fresh ingredients, covers the basics, and helps you to grow as a food enthusiast and cook.

Cultured Food for Health by Donna Schwenk, is a compilation of knowledge and recipes on cultured food.  Donna will guide you through the sometimes mysterious world of fermentation with clarity and confidence.  She will get you started fermenting with kefir, komboucha, and cultured vegetables, plus she includes recipes for incorporating these magical cultures into your diet and life.   I highly recommend this book for it’s ease of use, understanding, and loads of new recipes using the cultured products that you have created.

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, is the bible of food fermentation and culturing.  It is very thorough, packed with knowledge and scientific understanding of the intricate microbial environment in which we live.  Included are guides to help you learn to ferment, troubleshooting notes, and details on traditionally fermented and cultured food.  This book is a must have for the serious homestead fermenter.

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher, is an exciting volume exploring while explaining traditional Cheesemaking techniques.  It is my experience that this book is a first of it’s kind in Cheesemaking.  Most of the recipes utilize the natural flora of raw milk in each different type of cheese, rather than a monoculture known to our more modern industrial and home based Cheesemaking.  This is very exciting to me.  When I embarked on my first foray into Cheesemaking nearly ten years ago, I was a bit distressed at the lack of a more natural approach to making cheese.  It seemed at that time, so limited, unnecessarily complicated, and plastic to me, with all the paraphernalia that was associated with Cheesemaking.  I wondered that there wasn’t another way, and here it is, at long last.  Looking forward to a glorious season of making traditional cheeses from our own raw milk.

Gap Creek, and The Road From Gap Creek by Robert Morgan, was a juicy indulgence of a novel reminiscent of summer reading from my youth.  One of my favorite things to do in the summer was read novels.  I am glad that I indulged, as these books are masterfully written.  Gap Creek regales the story of a young Appalachian girl growing up on the mountain, the hardships, faith, and family ties that bind them all together weave a story of a time when hard work, faith, and family were the fabric of life.  It is an honest, raw account of daily homestead life, and the realities that went with it.

The Road From Gap Creek is the book that follows and is an amazing story all in it’s own right.  Told from the perspective of the daughter of the main character from the first book, The Road From Gap Creek brings us through the birth of the Industrial Age, The Great Depression, and World War Two, all within the context of daily life on the homestead.  It reveals the growth, emotion, and changing of times within the changing of generations.  It humbles and empowers at the same time, as it gives us a look at where we have come from and how we have grown, good and bad, as a nation and a people.

I encourage you to add some reading to your summer season.  Visit you local library when you can, many titles are available there.  Audio books are a wonderful way in a busy season to check books off your reading list.  I love listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or Ted talks when I am working in the kitchen.  It keeps me moving forward on the never-ending list of things to read, do and learn while I continue my work around the homestead.

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On the Homestead

Spring has sprung around here in this part of our little country life.  We have been busy tilling, planting, weeding, cleaning coops, and making room for new additions to the homestead.  Lots of excitement I thought I would share with you!!!!

Surprise!!!  Mama Banty Hen with three new little chicks that she hatched and brought out to show us, proud as punch!  They are just adorable, and amazing to watch this mama in action as she teaches, protects, and cares for her brood.

I am terribly impressed with her “mama-ness”  It has really opened my eyes to the necessity of the mama in raising a strong and healthy flock of chicks.   These babies were a day old when she brought them out of the nest and started teaching them how to forage and feed themselves.  It was absolutely amazing to watch.  We are so used to the day-old orphan chick experience from a hatchery, that this rare glimpse into how simply amazing the natural world is by design, I am not sure why we continue to try to better it.  I don’t believe it can be improved upon.  

My mom always said that Banty Hens were the best little mamas, and the easiest way to hatch out chicks.  I have now experienced that and am glad that we have had the opportunity to give it a try.  We were luckily gifted with some lovely Antwerp Belgian Bantam Chickens from a dear friend from the farmers market, and they continue to win our hearts, more and more each season.  Davie loves these little hens and is so excited to build his flock.  He has claimed the new chicks as his own.  He has designs on starting his own egg business, a budding entrepreneur in the making!  We also ordered some hatching eggs to slip under another wanna be broody Banty mama!  They came in the mail last week, and we have high hopes that she will hatch out a healthy, and happy little clutch.  She is also a supurb mama, so I am feeling pretty confident.  

An early morning phone call from the post office is always exciting!  I also thought it was quite cleaver packaging!!!! I have never ordered hatching eggs before, so this was a brand new experience for us!!!  

Unpacking the eggs, and getting them ready for the last leg of their trip—To the Coop!!!! 

They are the prettiest sage green.

Presenting the eggs to our wanna-be mama, anticipation was high….would she accept the egg, or peck it and ruin it????


She accepted the egg with enthusiasm!!!! She sits atop her nest queen like and content now.  Sorry for the dark video, but I thought it would be fun to give you all a little glimpse into the coop, and we didn’t want to upset our mama hen with extra lighting and makeup…. it was a very quiet intimate few moments, not something that you experience everyday.  


The bees have been busy!!!  I am seeing all kinds of honey bees in the garden and the flowering trees in the yard.  I am hoping that our little organic homestead is making a sanctuary for them to flourish and thrive, as I have seen more this year than I have in the past several years.  That is good.

Planning out last weeks planting schedule.  Using a biodynamic planting calendar again this year–more on that to come.  


Trying out a few new varieties of heirloom seeds again this year.  It’s always fun to try something new in the garden!  We plant all heirlooms on our homestead, and have for over ten years.  Just say no to GMO seed.  It’s not necessary, and a whole lot more expensive in the long run.  Once again, you cannot improve creation the way it was intended.


Garden is in!!!! YAY!!!  And coming up already!!!!  We lost a few tomatoes in the rough wind and rain yesterday, but luckily I always over plant….


Grapes on the vine this year!!!!  This is our third year after planting, and our first grapes!  We are thrilled.  The starts came from Mark’s dad, who also got them from his dad, so third generation vines!  I think it is extra special to have grapes from Grandpa Snobl’s farm, continuing the tradition.  We have high hopes of our first vinting of Country Wine– a little ‘Homestead Red’ come fall.


Strawberries bloomed heavily, and are now getting ready to bear fruit!  Looks like it will be a good strawberry season again this year!  

Flowers are planted, and it must be the life to catch an afternoon nap in the shade!!!  Maybe next week….

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Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Bites

YUMMMMM!!!!!!

Sums this one up in a tidy little package.  Why is it that Sunday afternoon always seem to call for a little sweet treat?  This one will fit the bill without landing you in the poorhouse nutritionally, energetically, or emotionally.  It’s a win for us all.  

The original recipe comes from our neighbors over at Wicked Spatula.  With a name like that, you know it’s gonna be good! Lauren is a dedicated food blogger, who embraces a whole food diet as well.  None of that processed food-like wannabes over at her house!  While the original recipe looked lovely, I am currently dairy-free so I needed to change it up a bit.  My tweaking still came out fabulously even though I didn’t have exactly what she called for in the recipe.  I made do with what I had on hand, and we all came out smilin’ in the end.  

For those of you, who may be like me, and the best part of baking cookies is the dough, then this recipe is for you.  When my sister and I were growing up, there were a few occasions that my dad would make chocolate chip cookie dough, that never did make it to the oven.  It was fairly commonplace in our home to even make a double batch of cookies just so we would have enough dough in the baking process to get our fill, and still have a few crisp cookies to show for it.  None of this talk of getting worms, bellyaches, or whatnot, cookie dough was part of the magic.  I love this recipe for the simplistic nature of it, and also for a little magic of my own to share with my family.  Indulge away loves, you are getting some quality nutrition whilst you are also gaining your fair share of bibbity-bibbity-boo! (With no energy crashes, and crazy mood swings–just magic wands and fairy dust). Everyone wins.


DARK CHOCOLATE COOKIE DOUGH BITES

Makes a dozen and a half, plus a few extra for sampling in the kitchen along the way….

1 c.  Almond Flour 

1/2c. Arrowroot Powder

1/2c. + 2 T.  Coconut Butter/Coconut Cream Concentrate

1/4c.  Maple Syrup

1/2t.  Redmond Real Salt, Sea Salt

2t.  Homemade Vanilla Extract

1/3-1/2 Bar of Fair Trade Organic Dark Chocolate, chopped

Place all ingredients except the dark chocolate into your food processor.  Give it a whirl until it mixes well, and is thoroughly combined.  It will be cookie dough consistency, when completely mixed together, not too dry and crumbly, and will be able to be formed into a ball.  

Chop the bar of dark chocolate as rough or as fine as your family likes it.  I was shooting for somewhere around chocolate chip size!  Stir the chocolate bits in by hand, so they don’t get pulverized in the food processor.

Scoop dough by either teaspoonfuls to shape into a ball, or use a small cookie scoop to create bite sizes.  

OR, just hand out spoons and have at it!!!!  

Enjoy them while they last, they are teenage boy and husband approved, so you know it won’t be long!!!

* A few handy tips…. 

I use almond flour (King Arthur brand),  not almond meal, as it gives a finer texture.  

Arrowroot powder, is sometimes called, flour, or starch.  It is all the same product, just different brands and labeling.

If you do not have coconut cream concentrate you can either get it here, or use cold butter or coconut oil.  

I am digging this brand of dark chocolate that I get on sale at our local co-op; Organic Equal Exchange Chocolates, Panama Extra Dark, 80% cacao.