Mom. Writer. Farmer.

Blogging:  Fitness Ideas.  Healthy Recipes.  Mommy Thoughts.  Farm Tales. 

MWF Blog

Welcome to our blog!  

Our blog you say?  Yes - our blog!  Here I will post anything useful and relevant (and perhaps, at times, not so relevant) to living life as a buy mom, writer and farmer.  Throw in fitness enthusiast and full-time worker, and something I write is bound to be helpful to someone!  And, when it is, please comment and share - then it goes from my blog, to our blog.  What a beautiful thing.

A note about my posts and me.  

  • I am foremost a mommy.  Posting may be sporadic depending on toilet training success and amount of time my "helper" choses to give to me whilst working.
  • I believe in healthy, whole-food eating.  I also believe a bowl of homemade hot fudge is good for the soul.  Recipes will conform to this philosophy.  
  • I like to run, jump, swim, bike and do anything fitness related.  I am not svelt.  Race times and general thoughts may demonstrate this fact.
  • I love farming and living self-sustainably.  I am also a modern woman with a smartphone and full-time, real-world job.  Postings and ideas will reflect what is feasible to accomplish with 24 hours in the day.

 Enjoy (and please let me know if you do)!

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The Naked Egg - A Children's Experiment

Posted by momwriterfarmer on February 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (2)



Although I'm blessed with a three-year old that seems to grasp the idea of entertaining herself (most of the time), I can't help but feel like I should provide her with some extra fun learning and play activities every once in a while.


This has, of late, become a bit of a quest of mine.  Sure, there's plenty to learn with the daily chores on the farm, but when the chores are done, and all the usual toys played with, then what?


In order to fill that "then what?" time, I've been assembling a binder full of toddler activites.  These ideas have come from a variety of sources: Pinterest, library books, daycare activites and whenever I hear a good suggestion.  This way, next time I have a "then what" moment, I'll pull the binder, open it and flip to a DIY, home-based activity.


One such activity that we've done together is the Naked Egg Experiment and comes from a great book written by Rachelle Doorely called Tinkerlab.  She also has a great website!


This activity is simple and requires only a few things:

 

  • an uncooked egg
  • white vinegar (about a cup)
  • a jar, bowl or small container

That's it!


Assembly and set up is a breeze too:

  1. Place the egg in the container.
  2. Pour in enough vinegar to cover the egg completely.
  3. Wait 24 hours.




My daughter and I set this up together (making note of the fact that older eggs sink and fresher eggs float).  Initially, there's a lot of bubbling as the vinegar breaks down the egg shell.  We came back to it the next evening and could gently brush off the rest of the shell.


You're left with a naked egg.  Held intact by the membrane.


I gave my daugher a bowl to place the egg in to play.  Although it needs to be held gently, it bounces a little and is see-through.  





She loved it!  It provided a good thirty minutes of fun and gave her an opportunity to see what's inside the shell.


When we were all done, I gave her a toothpick to prick the membrane.  And, although I appreciated her offer to make srambled eggs from it, I decided to leave this egg for play time!

 

Free Range Baking: Beyond the Books and Boxes!

Posted by momwriterfarmer on January 27, 2016 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)



These days, there are more prepackaged, ready-to-bake, one-step recipes than ever before. Believe me, I've tried many of them and they're delicious. And, yes, they're easy. But…

 

I'll tell you a secret…shhhh...

 

Free range baking is just as quick, easy and infinitely more tasty!

 

By free range baking, I mean baking without boxes and borders. Instead of following a recipe, you let your creativity and taste buds be your guide. I'm not saying I don't use or have recipes. One look at my blog and that's pretty obvious. Recipes are a great way to start and record what you've created if you want to duplicate (a must for restaurants!).

 

 

However, at home in your own kitchen, you're the boss and you should decide what goes until your food! Plus, it's a lot of fun and really broadens your kitchen know-how.


A few free range baking experiences can teach substitutes for when you run out of an ingredient by giving you a better understanding of how ingredients work together (meaning you can fix a lot of common baking blunders... see more on that below!)

 

 

So, let's unleash your inner baker and go free range!

 

Where to start?

 

 

  • There's no shame in using a recipe for inspiration. But, it's a guideline, NOT a mandate! Omit or add things as you want. Think cookies: Maybe instead of chocolate chips, use peanut butter chips. Add a little vanilla or almond extract and see what that does to the batter. Think bread: add nuts or dried fruit bits.
  • Master the art of substitution. Necessity is the mother of invention. Don't have an ingredient, check Google for some common substitutes. For instance, I love to eat cookie dough. I use some vegetable oil and a splash of milk rather than an egg. I've also used applesauce as a substitute. Then, I can share with my daughter!
  • Bake by feel. Pay attention to each bowl of batter or dough. Does it feel dry or too wet? What's the consistency? Did you know that how much flour you really need in cookies can vary by as much as a cup depending on the flour brand or how melted the butter started out? Note the dough feel and aim for the consistency that produces your favorite result.
  • Don't worry. Try things at home with an open mind. You won't like how everything turns out, but, in baking it's just as important to know how not to do things.
  • Look at the box. Look. Don't use! I've made some great baked goods by checking out the ingredients in boxes mixes and adjusting to my family's taste.
  • Start with some easy free range basics: pancakes, biscuits and cookies. It's remarkable how the only difference between standard pancakes and biscuits is the amount of liquid added to the salt, flour, sugar and baking powder.

 

 

 

Also, you'll want an idea of the basic baking building blocks (that is, your most common ingredients).

 

Batter: for cookies and cakes:

 

  • You start with a sweet batter for cookies and cakes. This is comprised of:
    • a sweetener (brown or white sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave, etc), 
    • a moistening agent (applesauce which also sweetens, egg, oil or cream) 
    • and usually butter.
  • Then add the dry ingredients creating volume and working towards your desired consistency (moldable for cookies and thick, but pourable for cakes)
    • flour (white, almond, coconut, whole grain, etc) 
    • and a rising agent (usually baking soda for sweet baked goods) and any other goodies (nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc)

 

 

 

Doughs (non yeast based such as biscuits), the ingredients are even fewer. The trick is in achieving the desired consistency.

 

 

  • The base: in doughs, start with the dry ingredients:
    • flour 
    • a rising agent (baking powder is common for breads, biscuits and crusts)
    • and a little salt
    • You may also add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, etc)
  • Now add the liquids:
    • Water, milk, cream, fruit juices and more are all acceptable moistening agents. 
    • For thicker and richer dough, I'll add an egg or two!

 

 

Most baked goods I cook either at 350 or 375.

 

Know that it'll take time before you feel competently confident free ranging all the way! And, know you'll need to make on the fly adjustments. And for those times, see below for some quick remedies to common baking problems.

 

 

Dough for pie crusts and bread should be dry enough to handle without it sticking to your fingers or the counter, but it should be wet enough to be pliable to mold into a ball.  Batter for biscuits and cookies should not be as stiff, but should mold together into round balls to allow for placement on the pan.  Batter for cakes shoudl be very thick, but pourable into pans!

 

What if:

 

  • it's too dry and flaky? Easy, add some water (or milk if the recipe calls for it)! I'd mix in a tablespoon at a time until you're happy with the consistency!
  • it's too wet and sticky, sprinkle and mix in very small quantities of flour. Remember that the more you work the dough, the stiffer it will get (this matters for the rolling process). 

 

 

 

The key to the whole Free Range Baking thing is to experiment and keep on trying until you find exactly your kitchen taste and style!  And...HAVE FUN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla Sugar

Posted by momwriterfarmer on January 5, 2016 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)



A few months back, I posted the Homemade Vanilla Extract blog.


Well, the vanilla cured, was eaten and now remains as beans in an otherwise empty vessel.


I don't know about you, but the thought of wasting those little beans (that still smell plenty "vanillly") makes me downright sad.  Figuring I wasn't alone, I searched the web for some uses of partially spent vanilla beans.


Number one use: include them in the next batch of extract along with fresh beans.


The next: and the topic of this blog, make vanilla sugar.


Although sugar in large quantities isn't great for your physical health, I think a little can go a long way mentally. And what tastier than sugar with a hint of vanilla?


 

Now, this is probably the simplest recipe I'll ever post.

 

Ready?

  

  1. Put one or two vanilla beans in a Mason jar (or any other container).
  2. Fill with white granulated sugar.

 

 

 

Done!

 

In 24 hours you'll have tasty vanilla sugar to use in your tea, coffee, cookies, hot fudge sauce, and anywhere else you want that hint of vanilla.

 

Yum!

 

Race Bib Wall Art (and Motivation!)

Posted by momwriterfarmer on December 10, 2015 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Looking for a personalized and inspirational piece of wall art?




Check out this modge podge project using old race bibs!

 

I gave it a try using my favorite race bibs and hung the result on the wall in our workout room!

 

Race Bib, Medal and PR Display!

Posted by momwriterfarmer on December 8, 2015 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)



Do you race? I don't.

But, I participate in my fair share of racing events competing against myself.


With a goal of finishing, preferably faster than the last time, I enjoy the spirit and excitement of all kinds of races: 5ks, marathons, triathlons, obstacle and multi-sport. The people, the fun, the music and the food are catchy!

 

Over the last ten years, I must have completed forty or so races (the first being the Seacoast Half Marathon). In that time, I've accumulated a multitude of bibs, medals (participatory unless I happen to be the only one in my age group) and T-shirts.

 

Well...let me tell you, that's a lot of swag.   Although I may not have placed, I'm pretty darn proud of the miles I've run, biked, swam, slogged or skied!   Whenever I see my little collection, I get a jolt of enthusiasm for the next event.

 

It may not seem like much, but that little spark motivates me to train and try time and again.

 

So, what better place to display my racing career than in the workout room?

 

It took some Pinterest inspirations and a tad of light crafting, but I've condensed my bibs and medals into a manageable, growing display prominently placed on the wall!  It was easy - a board, a trip to Michael's and a hot glue gun later and I have a personalized reminder of all the work I've done and things I've accomplished!

 

Mom. WRITER. Farmer.

Posted by momwriterfarmer on December 4, 2015 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello friends!


You may have been wondering what I've been up to lately. Well, here it is! Additionally, we've been getting the Homestead ready for winter.


Curious what I like to do in the winter? You can read all about it in Soonipi Magazine (available FREE at most stores throughout the Lake Sunapee region). I've written down what a typical winter day is like in my shoes, or really ski boots.

 

Speaking of writing (yes, I know, obvious segway), I've recently launched my Writer Page. I am Mom. WRITER. Farmer. after all!

 

If you're looking for assistance organizing your thoughts to paper (or any other media), I can help you convey your ideas, mission or product. With experience from newsletters and blogging to creative nonfiction and scientific publications, I can help you craft the perfect page, tweet or story!

 

Take a tour of my writer side and drop me a line to get your word out.

 

DIY Vanilla Lavender Skin Balm

Posted by momwriterfarmer on November 16, 2015 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)



As someone with frusteratingly sensitive skin (read: commercial lotions make things worse!), I’m always looking for new and innovative products that will hydrate without the irritate!


Badger balm is a wonderful company (good to the planet and its people) and produces my favorite skin care products, but at $10 plus per 2 oz tin of balm, it seemed prudent to investigate some other options. Truth be told, no store purveyed them at a reasonable price.


 

So, what’s any good Yankee to do? Make your own!


 

After studying a few labels of my favorite crunchy skin care products, I ventured into my own recipe with my favorite scents: vanilla and lavender. I continue to tweak and experiment with each batch..that’s what cooking is all about anyway!


 

Do it yourself you say? Sound tough? Not at all!  Luckily, creating skin care products is much easier than one might think requiring very few ingredients!



 

And I mean, very easy:

 

Simply:

 

 

  • Melt together the following:
    • ¼ cup beeswax
    • 2 Tablespoons shea butter
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • ¼ cup coconut oil



  • When fully melted (should look like image below), mix in:

 

 

 

 

Before the liquid mixture cools, pour into tins or plastic containers. I prefer to reuse washed out Badger Balm containers!


 


Your balm should solidify in the tins, but be easy to dip your finger into when stored at room temperature.

 


Enjoy your new soft skin and soothing scent!

 

Dehydrate those apples!

Posted by momwriterfarmer on November 3, 2015 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Looking for an easy way to preserve your apple harvest?



Use your food dehydrator!

 


 

  1. Simply peel, core and slice your apples into 1/4 inch pieces.
  2. Then, place them in food dehydrator (the slices should not touch each other) and turn your dehydrator on!
  3. In 8 to 12 hours, you'll have dried apple slices that will keep for weeks!

 

 Great in oatmeal, granola, cookies or eat alone for a healthy snack!


Hint: If you have a lot of apples, plan on more than one dehydrator.  I had 3 going!  


Excess?  Maybe.  

Efficient? Definitely!  


And, mine all came from yardsales!

 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Posted by momwriterfarmer on September 26, 2015 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)



Making your own vanilla extract is oh so easy!

You need:

 

  • A container (or several)
  • Vanilla beans (I found 10 on Amazon for $7)
  • Vodka! How much vodka? Enough to fill all the container(s). Or, you can just go ahead and use the vodka bottle as a container!

 

 

Next: assemble! I sliced the vanilla beans down the center and cut them in half. Then, I placed 3 to four halves in a 6 oz jar and filled it up with vodka (different vodka brands yield slightly different flavor).  Finally, my daughter helped cap them.

 



Now...we wait. I'm giving it a month with a shake of the bottles every so often to encourage the mixing process.

 

Last step: Into my chocolate chip cookies, fudge and shakes!



Easy Homemade Granola (of the Apple Cinnamon Variety)

Posted by momwriterfarmer on September 18, 2015 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)



When I saw the price ($7 *gasp*) of a delicious looking bag of granola, I decided there must be a better way!


Well, guess what!  There is!  


Not only is homemade granola cheaper, it is tasty, quick and oh so easy!


All you need to do is:


Mix your dry ingredients in a big bowl:

 

  • 4 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit (I used cranberries)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt




Then, pour in your wet ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir up the bowl to moisten all dry ingredients.  Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  





That's it.  Done!  Now mix into your yogurt or munch away!


Of course, you can mix and match your ingredients to your taste.  For a great pictoral reference, check out: http://www.recipetineats.com/homemade-granola-muesli/

 


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