Monday, June 6, 2016

Easy Baking Recipes, Desserts: Rhubarb Crumble (No Refined Sugar)

I love rhubarb season and am always looking for new recipes. I discovered this one last week, but made some changes to make it a little  healthier (no refined sugar).

Rhubarb Crumble

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup honey
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3 cups rhubarb chopped into apx 1" pieces
1/3 cup maple syrup 
* more maple syrup can be added to taste. Some people don't like the sour taste of rhubarb as much as others.
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon orange peel (optional)

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, oats, salt, honey and butter and mix well. I used a mixer for this. You don't want to over mix.

Spread 1/2 mixture (or a bit more if needed) into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate, You can use your hands to pat the crust into the pan. Don't worry if the crust is not all the way up the sides.

Combine rhubarb, maple syrup, cinnamon, orange peel (if using) and mix well. Pour into crust. Dot with butter.

Spread remaining crumble on top of the pie, covering as much as possible. It is okay if a few spots show, but try to cover as much as possible,

Bake for about 40 minutes, until rhubarb is tender.

Delicious warm or cold. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Our New Obsession: Indoor Gardening

As many of you noticed, up until a week or so ago we were away from our blog for quite a long time. The biggest reason was a new project (which I should have been writing about, but didn't)- a garden room.

We call it a garden room instead of a greenhouse because it is heated year round and is connected to our house. The room is heated with solar and wood. Our hopes are to incorporate solar heated water for heating next winter.

We are experimenting with tomatoes (which we enjoyed all of last winter....I know, I should have written), cucumbers, lettuce and greens and herbs. Oh..and we also had one squash plant last winter and got one squash.

The small piece of gutter pictured below has been planted with lettuce seeds. We plan on adding more gutters which we can suspend from the ceiling to gain more planting space.

Tomatoes are growing in hang baskets and large pots.


We put wire in front of the  window for cucumbers to grow on. It is the first time we are trying cucumbers indoors. Next to the cucumbers is an avocado plant.

The goal is to grow as much as we possibly can during the winter to have fresh vegetables. I even put a few carrot seeds in a hanging basket.

More to follow....I promise!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Bar Brat Ice Ball Maker

Every once in a while we receive a product for free for an honest review.  This week we received the Bar Brat Ice Ball Maker. I would not put a post on our blog about a product if I didn't honestly like how the product performs.

I will admit when we first opened the ice ball maker I was skeptical. It looked too small to really bother with for making ice. But after we made the ice we were quite happy. I like the fact that this seals well so we didn't have to worry about water spilling in the freezer (we have a small propane frig with a very small freezer, so things tend to get knocked around a bit). The ice also removed very easily ( the mold is made of 100% BPA- free silicone) and because of the large size of the ice balls we only needed one per drink.

Our drink of choice was our homemade rhubarb juice
I am also going to use the ice ball maker to freeze juice to add to drinks as well....some frozen pineapple juice in our seltzer water, maybe some frozen grape juice in the rhubarb juice.  I think this would even be a fun way to freeze some fruit (inside an ice ball).

 All this fruit talk is making my mouth water for summertime fruits! The grapes are budding and so are the apple trees. I have already started preserving some rhubarb and am looking for new recipes to try. One can never have too many rhubarb recipes!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spring Garden Pictures

It is finally feeling like Spring around here. The birds are busy making their nests and the flowers are starting to bud. I might even be able to cut some rhubarb in the next few days!

Spring Flower Closeups


Chive Bud



Pear Blosson

Poppy Bud

Pear Blossom

"Weed", but so pretty!


Friday, May 13, 2016

Easy Baking Recipes: Berry Cobbler

This recipe has become one of our favorites. It is a recipe I got from my grandmother, and I have made a few changes to make it a little healthier. I have replaced the refined sugar with honey and maple syrup.  We like this cobbler as a dessert, but even more for breakfast! It is good warm or cold.

Berry Cobbler


4 cups frozen mixed berries partially thawed.
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange peel
1/4 cup honey

For the biscuit topping:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine berries, flour and peel in a bowl. Combine well. Add the honey and stir in as well as possible.  Pour into 8"x8" baking dish

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender, or your hands to work in the butter until the mixture resembles small peas.  Add the milk and maple syrup and stir until the dough forms. Add a little more milk if necessary.

Drop the biscuit dough onto the berry mixture in globs. It is okay if the dough does not cover all of the berries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the biscuits are done.

Great served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Immune Boosting Tonic

This recipe was given to us by a friend a few months ago and this is the first time we have made it. He says it has worked really well for his family.....hardly ever a cold or flu in the house!

Immune Boosting Tonic

1 T finely chopped garlic
3 T finely chopped onion
3 T finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 T prepared horseradish (or finely chopped fresh)
1 t dried cayenne powder
apple cider vinegar

Sterilize a one pint jar.

Put all of the above ingredients into the jar, then cover with the apple cider vinegar, filling the jar to the brim.

Let sit 2 to 4 weeks. Shake every day. The longer it sits, the stronger it becomes.

Strain into a clean jar.

We take a small amount of this every day, diluted in some water. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Using Our Solar Sun Oven

I can't stress enough how much we love our   Sun Oven . I use it almost every sunny day and have cooked everything from soups, breads, muffins and apple sauce to pasta dishes.

It's such a different experience cooking in a solar oven than in a regular oven. Some times the food cooks faster, sometimes slower depending upon the amount of clouds that pass by.

For us, the easiest things to cook are those that don't need careful watching; put all the ingredients in a kettle, place in the oven and point it towards the sun. Through out the day I simply reposition the oven towards the sun.

Today we have a pasta dish cooking. I put raw hamburg, raw pasta, seasonings, tomato sauce and a little water in the kettle and it's been cooking for the past few hours. I didn't measure anything, just threw it all together. Yesterday we made apple sauce- 3 batches.

Pasta In The Sun Oven
 The great thing about a solar oven is anyone with access to south facing sun and an outdoor area can use one, city or country, doesn't matter. It's one more way to become a little more self-sufficient.