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Lemon Zucchini Cake: Summer In A Cake Pan

Need something to do with all the zucchini your getting from the garden?

Lemon Zucchini Cake is a delicious summertime dessert that you won’t regret making!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C shredded zucchini
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 C vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 chicken eggs or 1 duck egg
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Ready, Set, Bake!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease/ spray a 13×9 inch cake pan.
  2. With a mixer combine melted butter, yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Stir in milk and shredded zucchini into the wet ingredient mixture.
  5. Using a mixture, add dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until blended.
  6. Pour batter into greased pan and bake 20-30 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Frosting Time!

  1. Using a mixer, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk until you reach the consistency you prefer.
  3. Frost cake once cooled completely.

Featured

Short And Sweet : Banana Bread With Crumble Topping

The bananas got too ripe for my families liking and I thought about making “nice cream”, but then I tossed that idea out the window and went with the traditional banana bread! Yay for carbs!!

I’ll save you all from scrolling through my life story and just cut straight the the recipe!

Banana Bread With Crumble Topping

Bread Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/2C very soft or melted butter (cooled down)
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 duck egg or 2 chicken eggs

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine and mix bananas, sugar, butter, and eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add to wet ingredients, mixing until combined.
  4. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  5. Top with Crumble Topping (recipe below) and bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes. Insert toothpick and if it comes out clean it’s done.

Crumble Topping

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons butter cold and diced
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C flour

Directions:

  1. Combine brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and flour into medium sized bowl. Cut-in butter until you get a pebble-like consistency.
Featured

Sunday Cinnamon Rolls- From Scratch

Everyone loves a good cinnamon roll but let’s face it, they aren’t a quick and easy treat to make. Good, homemade cinnamon rolls take time, a little bit of skill, and are truthfully a labor of love.

I took some time during our recent Ohio snow storm to perfect my cinnamon roll recipe! It only took me half the day, but now I have the perfect jaw dropping recipe to share with you!

If you’ve got some time on your hands let’s get started! If not, save this recipe for your next slow day.

Sunday Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Dough Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 1 Cup warm milk
  • 1/3 Cup melted butter (real butter)
  • 2 chicken eggs or 1 duck egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Cups bread flour

Dough Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl add yeast and warm milk. Let sit for a few minutes until yeast is activated (the mixture will start to look foamy).
  2. Once yeast is activated, add sugar, melted butter and eggs. Mix with wooden spoon until combined.
  3. Add salt and bread flour to mixture, stir with spoon until well combined, scraping flour from bottom and sides.
  4. Sprinkle flour on flat surface and knead dough by hand for roughly 5-8 minutes. This allows the proteins in the dough to break down and gives you that elasticity your looking for.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out into a rectangular shape that’s about a 1/4 of an inch thick.
  6. Sprinkle on cinnamon roll filling (recipe below)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

* You can combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl or sprinkle on top of dough one at a time. Spread it evenly on dough covering all surfaces. *

7. Once the filling is sprinkled on top of the rolled out dough, starting from the top of the dough, roll dough into a tight log and pinch the ends together.

8. Starting from the left, cut out cinnamon rolls 1 1/2 inches wides. Place 1/2 inch apart in greased baking dish.

9. Proof unbaked cinnamon rolls in the oven on your proof setting or at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also proof them in a warm spot in your home or covered on top of the oven while it heats up. The timing in this step can vary greatly. Prepare to proof them for 30-90 mins or until almost doubled in size.

10. Once proofed, take cinnamon rolls out of oven and heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven reaches temperature, bake cinnamon rolls for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown.

11. While still warm, pour on a generous amount of glaze! (recipe below)

Glaze Recipe:

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 2 1/2 – 3 Cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract or maple extract
  • 1-3 tablespoons of milk for desired consistency

* Heat glaze ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat until you reach your desired consistency. Pour onto cinnamon rolls while still warm. *

If you manage to find the time to make these scrumptious cinnamon rolls, make sure your family thanks you and at least cleans up the kitchen!

Worth all the work!

Refrigerator Pickled Radishes

It’s that wonderful time of year when we start harvesting from the garden again!! It’s a magical season where your yard can be your grocery store!

The first thing I was able to harvest this year was a handful of radishes. Delicious, but not exactly everyone’s favorite. I was on a mission to make them more appealing to the whole family and I came up with a quick pickled recipe.

This recipe is an easy way to give those radishes some flavor that will add to your meals. Keep them in the fridge because we are not processing them this time around, but they won’t last long anyways!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Handful of radishes or 1 bunch sliced thinly
  • 1/4 red onion diced
  • 1 jelly jar or 8oz mason jar
  • Apple Cider vinegar (about 3/4C)- enough to fill the jar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or you can substitute with a sweetener of your choice
  • 1 smashed clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder

3 Easy Steps:

  1. Place sliced radishes and diced onion into your mason jar. Add garlic, chili powder, and honey or sweetener if choice.
  2. Fill the jar up with apple cider vinegar, secure the lid, and shake.
  3. Place in the refrigerator overnight so flavors can infuse.

It seriously doesn’t get any easier than that!

Enjoy your pickled radishes on salads, sandwiches, or even as a nice topping for tacos! The possibilities are endless and if your lucky, your garden will give you an endless supply!

Spring: The Best Time Of Year To Start A Homestead

When you’ve been dreaming of starting a homestead, there’s no time like the present. However, Spring may be the easiest and best time of year to launch your homesteading journey!

Spring marks the time of new life. When the grass begins to grow and the birds start to sing again, we are filled with motivation. If you’ve been dreaming up a new homestead life, this fresh season can provide the perfect atmosphere to help you get a start towards a path of self sufficiency.

Ready to start making your homestead dreams a reality but not sure where to start? The good news is this time of year, even before Spring has arrived, the homesteading community is already throwing out tons of knowledge and tips for you to absorb. Bonus: most homesteaders love to teach others so find yourself a fellow homestead friend and start taking notes!

Easy First Steps…

When it comes to homesteading, everyone does it differently and has various homesteading goals in mind. The biggest goal for most homesteaders is to become more self sufficient for food. The best way to go about this is to start a garden, even a small one, and purchase a flock of chickens. It takes time to learn to garden and farm successfully so starting out on a smaller scale will help ease you into it.

Container gardens make an excellent choice for the beginner Gardner. You can take a few raised beds and plant your favorite vegetables or the ones you purchase most often at the store. If you pair that with eggs from your flock of chickens that’s already two food groups to check off your list!

As far as chickens go, there are many wonderful breeds out there. Before you make your purchase determine what your poultry goals are. Do you want frequent egg layers? Multipurpose egg and meat chickens? Or maybe you want to add a few rainbow layers in for some pretty colored eggs. Either route you take, chickens are pretty easy to come by and are a fairly inexpensive homestead purchase.

Just be careful of chicken math, and don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

Be Prepared For Rough Days…

Before you embark on your homesteading journey it’s important to realize that self sufficiency isn’t always dreamy and romantic. There can and will be some rough days on the homestead. The reality is, once you take on certain responsibilities like farm animals and gardening, those things need to be taken care of no matter what else is going on. Much like farmers, homesteaders get up early and brave the weather to take care of livestock and we have to tend the garden even when it’s hot, humid, and we’d rather take a nap! Homesteaders must be self motivated and push through those not so easy days to reap the benefits of homesteading.

Ready, Set, Go!

You can do your due diligence and prepare yourself as much as possible for your homesteading adventure but the truth is, you learn the most by jumping in and doing it!

From my own homesteading journey I can tell you that mistakes will be made. It’s through those mistakes though that you learn your own homesteading strengths and weaknesses and the process gives you a deeper appreciation for self sufficiency.

Take advantage of everything Spring has to offer and take those first monumental steps into homestead life!

Hunt For Food, Not Instagram Likes!

We raise our own meat here on the farm but this time of year we supplement with venison! In fact, deer meat is what started my family down the path of self-sufficiency. You see, I actually come from a family of hunters, not farmers!

I can remember way back, as early as being two years old, checking out my dads fresh doe kill. I remember vividly how the deer felt when I put my hands on it, and how everyone in the family gathered around to celebrate the harvest.

Times have changed in the last twenty-six years but my family still celebrates each deer harvest like it’s our first. We stand out in a time where deer hunting is more popular than ever. We’re not trophy hunters or “sportsmen” as they call it, we are meat hunters!

The hunting industry has turned deer hunting and hunting in general into a billion dollar industry. More People are interested in hunting now than ever before, but now most of those people hunt for SPORT or fame more so than they do for food or passion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that so much of the population is enjoying the great outdoors and participating in an ancient skill. I just think that with all the new fancy hunting gadgets, gear, and hype being thrown our way all the time, hunters tend to lose focus on what’s driving them to hunt in the first place.

This day and age the hunting industry has become a bit of a fashion show in my opinion. Every year companies seem to come out with new and “better” technology and special camo aimed to take the average hunter to another level. While many of these new hunting systems can help improve your success rate, has anyone thought that by relying on gear and technology too much it could actually hinder your ability to reach your potential as a hunter?

In recent years I’ve noticed the younger generation, my generation, worries more about getting the latest hunting gear and clothing more than they care about actually improving their hunting skills. Business is business, but I’m afraid if we don’t stress the importance of passionate hunting, the fad will one day end and they’ll be no one to carry on this wonderful tradition.

Lucky for me and my family, we have a patriarch who is wildly passionate and skilled in all areas of hunting. My dad has been a hunter for the majority of his life and we all look up to him. We often joke about him being super-human because he literally glides through the woods as if he’s part of it. No one wants to have to follow him anywhere because there’s absolutely no hope in keeping up with him! He’s likely too humble to admit it but he is more skilled and way more passionate about the outdoors than half of the “famous hunters” out there today.

He’s shown us that a true hunter does not rely on fancy gear, but actual skill and talent. He does not use the latest technology and I don’t know when the last time is he bought actual updated camouflage. He uses a primitive recurve bow, laughs at anyone who scents down, and puts us all to shame each year with his skills. He is the one who passed on this passion to the rest of my family, and he’s the one who taught us to see the joy in every harvest, not just the giant ones!

So this season remember…

” A hunt based only on trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be”- Fred Bear

To keep this tradition raging on through generations, practice passionate hunting, respect the chase, and hunt for food, not instagram likes!

Bunny Brew: Compost Tea

Put the tea kettle on!

Just kidding, don’t do that! You don’t want to drink Bunny Brew but your garden sure does!

Rabbit compost tea, or Bunny Brew, as I call it is a miracle for the garden. It’s organic fertilizer as it’s finest and can be used to boost your plants safely without damage to your plants or the soil.

Plants love nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, copper, and calcium. All those lovely big words can be found in rabbit manure! The best news is rabbit manure isn’t a “hot” manure so it will not burn up your plants if applied directly to the garden, and it doesn’t take long to break down and compost.

Bunny Brew is my favorite way to take advantage of all the rabbit droppings we have from our meat rabbits. It’s easy to make, even easier to apply, and your garden will thank you!

Bunny Brew How To:

First you’ll need access to rabbit manure. We happen to have meat rabbits so manure is always in our reach, but you can also purchase rabbit manure in many home and garden stores, or you could just ask a local farmer!

Your also going to need a five gallon bucket with a lid, some kitchen produce scraps, coffee grounds, or yard clippings.

Now get the kettle on!

1. Fill your five gallon bucket with 2-3 scoops of rabbit manure, the kitchen produce scraps, coffee grounds, and yard clippings.

2. Using a water hose for convenience, fill the five gallon bucket 3/4 of the way up with water and give it a stir using a stick or something you don’t care to get poo on!

3. Secure the bucket lid on top and place bucket in a warm, sunny spot for 5-7 days. Remove the lid once a day and give the Brew a good stir, or if you trust the lid enough, pick it up and give it a good shake!

How to apply:

After 5-7 days the compost tea is broken down and ready to feed your garden! You can do this a couple of different ways!

1. You can strain the contents of the compost tea leaving only the liquid to use, or you can just apply the whole thing!

2. Either use the spray method or just pour it out of the bucket. Go around to each plant and pour some or spray some bunny Brew on the base of the plant and on the leaves.

3. If you’d rather not pour the brew directly on your plants you can make a trench at the start of each row, pour the brew in the trench and let it bleed out into the soil.

Apply to your garden once a week or as needed, use when transplanting plants to help ease with transplant stress, and reap the benefits of organic fertilizer without all the other junk!

Its tea time!

 

Handmade, Rustic French Loaf

Making bread by hand is an art; an intricate dance that is done differently by every baker. It’s also one of the best self sufficiency skills I’ve ever learned. To top it off, my hunky farmhand husband is the one who taught me all about bread baking. How lucky am I?

One of the first “grown up jobs” my husband had was as a production manager at a very large and popular bread making facility. He didn’t just manage employees, he also had to learn and master the science of bread making.

See my hunky farmhand husband pictured below!

I’m not going to get too deep into the science part because, wow it’s complicated! I also likely only retained half of what my hubby was explaining to me, lost in his charm I guess! Ha!

Anyways, this recipe for a French Loaf is made by hand and it’s fairly simple and worth the process!

Handmade Rustic French Loaf

 

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 Cups water
  • 3/4 Tablespoons salt
  • 2Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl add 2 1/4 C warm water and then sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Give it a quick stir after 30 seconds and then let it sit and activate for 10 minutes. Once ready the mixture will look foamy, this means the yeast is working.
  2. Once the yeast is activated, combine the rest of the ingredients together in the bowl. Once you reach 5 cups of flour, only add in half a cup at a time until you reach a tacky like consistency. It should be hard to stir.
  3. Sprinkle some four on a flat surface and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until the bread feels much more elastic and stretchy.
  4. Oil or spray a clean bowl and place the dough into the bowl(turn over once to coat in oil) , cover with plastic wrap, and place in the oven on the “proof” setting or in a warm spot in your home to rise until it’s doubled in size. It can take anywhere from 30 mins to two hours depending on the temp, humidity, and weather! This is the dance part!

* I use the proof setting on my oven which is set at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a proof setting sit the bowl in a warm area that is somewhere between 90-104 degrees Fahrenheit. You could also simply turn your oven on and place the bowl on top of the stove in a warm spot. Anything over 140 degrees might be too hot and kill the yeast! I was listening during this part of my hunky husbands explanation!

5. Once the dough had doubled in size, grease or spray a flat surface, and shape the dough into a rectangle.

6. Roll the rectangle up forming a log, fold the ends up underneath the bread roll, and place on a greased cooking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough proof and rise for a second time until it’s doubled in size again.

7. After it’s risen for the 2nd time, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Right before the oven reaches its temp, use a serrated blade to create shallow scores in the top of the bread loaf. This does nothing for the baking process but adds charm to the bread.

9. Insert bread into oven for 25-30 minutes. At the 25 minutes check the bread. When it’s done it should have a nice brown color and feel hollow.

* Pro- Tip: Throw a couple of ice cubes in the oven to create steam and give the bread a nice golden color and crisp crust*

10. Once done, remove bread from oven and let it cool completely on a cooling rack before cutting or packaging.

And That’s it folks! If your overwhelmed just take it a step at a time, no two-steppin’ it! The more you make the bread,the easier it gets. You just have to get a feel for it.

Like I said, it’s a dance!

 

 

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar: Good For You & Your Chicken’s!

By now you’ve probably heard through the grapevine that Apple Cider Vinegar has some pretty great health benefits. What they say is true! But did you know it’s good for you, good for chickens, and easy enough to make at home?

I take raw, unfiltered, apple Cider Vinegar with the “mother” everyday. I also give it to my chickens by putting a couple tablespoons in their water dish. Let me tell you why….

A Few Health Benefits of ACV:

  • Mildly anti-septic
  • Rich in antibodies
  • Boosts immune systems
  • Balances PH in the body
  • Promotes good bacteria and gut health
  • Mildly anti fungal

For all the reasons above and more, I take apple Cider Vinegar everyday as a daily tonic and also give a dose to my flock of chickens to promote health and boost immunity.

If your new to the world of ACV, it’s important to know that in order to get he benefits of this Vinegar, you have to have raw, unfiltered ACV with the “mother”. The “mother” is simply a colony of good bacteria. It’s where all the antibodies are. When you filter out or pasteurize the good bacteria you lose all those great health benefits.

Now if you’ve ever bought ACV from the store you know it can sometimes be pretty pricey. It’s so easy to make at home though! Here’s what you need…

Supplies & Ingredients:

  • Enough cut apples or apple scraps (peels, cores, etc.) to fill a quart jar.
  • One quart mason jar
  • Coffee filter or cheese cloth
  • Rubber and or ring to a mason jar lid
  • Water

Are you ready for the easiest directions ever????

Directions:

  1. Fill a quart jar 3/4 of the way with apples and apple scraps.
  2. Pour enough water into the jar to cover the apples, but still leave a little room at the top of the jar about an inch or inch and half.
  3. Place your coffee filter or cheese cloth over the top of the jar.
  4. Secure the filter or cheese cloth with a rubber band or ring of a mason jar lid.
  5. Store in a pantry or cupboard for 4 weeks.
  6. After four weeks, strain the apple pieces from the jar. Use them in your compost or feed them to the chickens.
  7. Once your left with just the liquid, cover and store again for another two weeks.

*This Extra two week period of letting the liquid sit will help form the mother. You can add a tablespoon of raw sugar or honey if you’d like to speed up the process.*

8. Once you reach the 6 week mark you should find the “mother” forming in your ACV. It should look like gelatin or a blob with stuff floating around in there.

*This means it’s ready!*

Now your ready to enjoy your ACV and use it as you please. Store it in your pantry with wax paper or cheese cloth between the jar lid. This will help prevent corrosion of the lid.

Once you have your first batch completed, you can use a couple tablespoons from it to jump start your next batch, making the process go a bit faster.

I like to use my homemade ACV as the base for Fire Cider, an immune boosting tonic that I make and take daily. I also cook with ACV, use it in my cleaning products, and of course feed it to my chickens!

All hail the power of raw Apple cider vinegar!!!

Taco Style Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With Lager

Taco Tuesday is pretty popular in my house. So is Taco Monday, Taco Thursday, and any other Taco day for that matter! Tacos with beef, chicken, fish, or pork, we devour them!

We harvested a few pigs from our farm back in the Fall and we are still enjoying them this spring. Pulled pork tacos are a hit around here. Here’s an easy recipe for slow cooker pulled pork using beer or lager!

Taco Style Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With Lager:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pound pork roast
  • 8 ounces of your favorite amber or dark lager beer
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 T liquid smoke
  • 1T worstechire sauce
  • Juice of a lime

Directions:

  1. Rub a generous amount of salt and pepper all over the pork roast. Heat a skillet with a little oil on the stove over high heat.
  2. Sear each side of the roast until caramelized.
  3. Place into slow cooker on low heat.
  4. Add all liquid ingredients and let Cook on low for 4 hours.
  5. After four hours, shred roast into fine pieces, do away with excess fat, and add all dry spices.
  6. Let cook on low another two to four hours until tender. Totaling 6-8 hours.
  7. Serve with your favorite tortillas and garnish with your favorite toppings!

Keep Scrolling For Homemade Tortilla Recipe…

Easy Homemade Soft Tortillas:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add oil and water and stir until combined.
  3. Form dough into a ball and knead for five minutes on a floured surface.
  4. Form dough into a disk shape and divide into eight sections like a pie.
  5. Shape each cut section into a ball and roll out on floured surface. The goal is to roll each portion into a 6-7 inch round surface.
  6. Heat a skillet to medium heat and cook each tortilla for one minute or so on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately.