Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Berry Scones Made With Oat Flour

We really love our grain mill and have been experimenting with different grains in our recipes lately.  One recipe that turned out perfectly with an alternative grain was scones.  In general, my scones are very moist and puffy like biscuits, but when I use frozen berries, the batter tends to be really wet and runny creating some unpleasant smokey smells from the oven from liquid dripping off the baking stone.  What a mess this creates and the scones are then over-baked.  To solve this problem, I discovered ground oat groats help absorb the excess moisture in the batter creating the perfect berry scones.  You have to try them!

Berry Scones:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ or flax seed meal
1 cup ground oat groats
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
5 T frozen butter, grated
1/2 cup berries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 egg

Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. 
Add grated butter to dry mixture using a pastry blender until it has a crumb-like texture.
In a small bowl, mix sour cream and egg together, add to above mixture.  Batter will be wet. 
Add berries and mix thoroughly.
Place mounds of dough onto baking stone, flatten the tops. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Optional: sprinkle sugar on top before baking.  

Making Peanut Butter with our GrainMaker Mill!

This is our first attempt at making peanut butter with the Grain Mill!  We ordered six pounds of nuts from  Organic unsalted peanuts were $4.86/pound.  

There are two separate augers for the grain mill.  The Coil Auger (on the left) is for small grains such as wheat, barley, and rice.  The GrainBreaker Auger (on the right) is for grinding corn, legumes, coffee beans, dehydrated foods, and nuts. For peanut butter we used the GrainBreaker Auger.

We were a bit apprehensive about using the grain mill for making nut butter because it seemed like a messy job.  Here is what the grinding disks (aka Burrs) looked like after grinding six pounds of peanuts. 

To clean the burrs, you simply grind some wheat berries.  It sounded too good to be true, but this is what the burrs looked like after grinding a half cup of flour.  (click picture to enlarge).  Voila!  The mill is clean and ready to go. We used the "peanut cleaning flour" in our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Grinding peanut butter was super simple and something we will definitely do again!

How to Pollinate a Meyer Lemon Tree

Three years ago we purchased several indoor citrus trees.  The time has finally come for one of the plants, the Meyer Lemon, to produce flowers.  It has been a typical spring with some cold days intermixed with a few warm days, so keeping the plant outside every day hasn't been an option.
Meyer Lemon Trees are for the most part self-pollinating, but if they are inside without wind or insects, they will need some assistance from the gardener.  We used a q-tip and lightly brushed the pollen from the stamens and then dabbed the stigma.  

And when the weather was warm, we had help from a few wild bees.  The blossoms are very fragrant so attracting pollinators isn't a problem.

Teaching Others About Gardening and Preserving Food

This week I helped my friend, Pam, teach a class on growing and preserving food at a local MOPS group.  This is the same place I taught homemade cleaning projects and soap making in 2014.  The group had a lot of great questions for us and there seemed to be a few interested in starting a small backyard garden and preserving food.

Years ago the very thought of speaking in front of a group sent me into panic mode; but now I willingly accept the invitation.  Why the sudden change?  I have learned that when I am passionate about something, the fear of public speaking goes away.  Teaching is probably my calling in life, but not in the traditional sense like a teacher in a classroom.  I get excited showing others the things my family does and the lessons we have learned.  To see someone else become interested in what we are doing is very satisfying.   

In one hour we covered a lot of topics including:

*Benefits of raising your own food
*Getting started
*Types of gardening (i.e. container vs. raised bed vs. tilled area)
*Where to purchase large amounts of produce (i.e. farmer's market, stores locally, neighbors, etc.)
*Benefits of joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

Pam gave everyone a packet of seeds to take home and we had a lot of stuff for them to look at.  We barely had enough time to cover all the topics and answer questions, but a handout was given to them before leaving.    

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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